Hit the scraps. Even in the middle of the night...
I leave a basket by my cutting mat and drop in bits as I cut pieces for other quilt tops. Then when I feel like sewing but don't have time for a new major project, this passes the time, uses up scraps and leaves me with cute little stocking stuffers or hostess gifts. I add a little mat to a candle or vase or serving bowl as a one-of-a-kind homemade touch.
Easy as sew and slice. I start with a few similar sized scraps and sew them together. (right sides together, 1/4 " seams, just like any other quilt construction) It works best if each seam is a straight line, not curved or wavy.
Then I press them with the seams open, and square up my new block a bit.
And then it's time to slice. I cut at an angle across the block and insert another scrap in the opening. Sew both sides to the new insert piece, see photos.
Press and repeat. You can add strips of other pieced sections instead of a solid piece of fabric. Continue to press seams open and square the block as you go. It doesn't have to be perfect, but have an idea of how large you want your mat to be and work in that direction. Great for placemats, trivets, hot pads, and table runners.
When you have your mat the size you want, square it accurately and make a quilt sandwich with backing face down, batting in the middle, and pieced mat on top, face up. If you're using this as a hot mat, you can add or substitute regular batting with heat resistant batting (like Insul-Bright brand) and quilt as desired. Then square again, cutting off extra batting and backing, and bind as desired. I like folded binding with 2 1/2" strips.
Quick, satisfying project that can be made with theme scraps (like Christmas colors) for all kinds of occasions.
Give it a try and post a pic when you're done!!