Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Break

We had a great trip for Fall Break last week. It was such a nice thing to get away with minimal internet or phone access for a few days. In addition to hiking and spending time in the great outdoors, I think I also started catching up on some much needed sleep.
I always like bringing along some handwork on road trips. This time I brought my baby Hopscotch quilt so that I could finally finish the binding. And then decided to take advantage of the dramatic backdrops available and snap a couple of pictures where I didn't use my usual white fence.
Here's a closeup of the finished quilt with the amazing quilting my Melissa of Sew Shabby Quilting
As I've been going through my pictures, I found some that were pretty and share-worthy, so I thought I'd add them here, since this kind of scenery is somewhat unique. We visited Capitol Reef National Park in central Utah. We'd been once before in the spring, but it was even more spectacular in the fall!

One of my favorite parts of Capitol Reef are the old orchards that are all that's left of the little pioneer town of Fruita. They are so beautiful in the shadow of those tall, red cliffs. And those trees still grow fruit that tourists can pick and eat!
There is one house remaining in the Fruita area, the Gibson house, that's become a little museum and shop.
 It's mostly a gift shop now. They stock fresh preserves and pies and a few quilt souvenirs.
With a setting like that, I'm wishing now that I'd brought a bunch more quilts to photograph!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dritz Mystery Box Challenge + new quilted bag

A few weeks ago, Jennifer of Ellison Lane invited me to participate in the Dritz Mystery Box Challenge. To participate in the challenge I would be sent a "mystery box" containing a variety of Dritz sewing tools and notions and then get to create something using at least five of those tools. 
This is the box that showed up at my house. Whoa! Look at all of those goodies! It was fun to see what was available and get my wheels turning. Who out there hasn't used some kind of Dritz sewing notion? They've been around for almost 100 years. I remember my mom using them when she sewed and when I first started taking sewing lessons in my neighbor Pam's basement when I was 10.

Dritz has a fantastic new site, where you can see the wide variety of their products as well as find tutorials and patterns for using them.
Here are a few of the Dritz products I used for my project. I've had a specific bag project in mind for a while and this finally gave me the push to make it.
I got these mini charms of Robert Kaufman prints last spring at quilt market. While I was there I saw Lee Chappell's amazing bag she made with a similar palette and had to do something like it. So this bag is a shameless copy an "homage" of Lee's beautiful style. My bag shape is different, so it's not a total copy, but I definitely need to credit her as my inspiration.
The sewing clips came in handy for assembling the bag.
A few other fun new-to-me notions that I used were the Swivel hook on a tab for keeping track of my keys, the awl for making holes for the grommets. I have to admit, grommets have always slightly intimidated me so I've never actually used them. This was a perfect way to push me out of my comfort zone and just try it! 

I used the handy grommets and tools tutorial to walk me through it, got out my hammer, and success! I felt so empowered. Why did I wait this long? (All of you who have successfully used grommets for years are chuckling and those who are like me, and feeling intimidated by them, let me be your grommets-empower-er!) 
And here is the finished bag. I brought it with us on our family Fall-break trip to Capitol Reef National Park. I think it coordinates nice with the scenery.
I will be writing a tutorial for this bag in the coming weeks so you can make your own, if you so desire.

Dritz notions prize pack from ellison lane
In more fun giveaway news this week, Jennifer at Ellison Lane has three more boxes of Dritz supplies to giveaway. To enter, visit Jennifer's giveaway post here.

You can see the other items created using the Dritz Mystery Boxes by visiting these bloggers:

Jennifer at Ellison Lane - 10/13
Amy at Stitchery Dickory Dock – 10/14
Caroline at Sew Can She – 10/15
Heather at The Sewing Loft – 10/16
Amy at Diary of a Quilter – 10/17 (here you are!)
I hope this provides you with some fun inspiration of your own to pick up some fun new notions and try something new!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Project Teen + Free Quilt-tag Printable

I'm excited to share a new book with you called Project Teen: Handmade Gifts Your Teen Will Love by Melissa Mortenson. This is such a fun book full of 21 great patterns geared at the tween/teen in your life. With lots of books out there with projects for babies or young children - it's so awesome to have a great resource with ideas for big kids.
The book is divided into categories of items like bags and pouches, things to wear, and stuff for their rooms like quilts and pillows. Many of these projects can easily be made in an afternoon, or would be great projects to do together with your tween/teen.
And it's not just ideas for teenage girls. This book is great because includes a full section on hand made stuff to make for boys - that they'll actually love and use!
In addition to the 20+ projects included in the book, Melissa also teaches techniques such as printing on fabric, ideas for incorporating your kid's school or favorite sports team, and how to make, cute personalized appliques so that you can make unique and highly personal gifts for your tween/teen.
Melissa is also good at coming up with smart projects using things you already have on hand or upcycling something you'd maybe throw away. Like these clever t-shirt pillows - such a great way to put to use that collections of sports or travel t-shirts. Other ideas include using upcycled wool jackets for a clutch or old ties for headbands.
Reading Project Teen, I remembered an old wool jacket I'd reclaimed from the thrift store and decided to make my own tablet clutch.  
This project was so do-able and fun. (It's fun to make something you can finish in an hour! I need to do more things like that.) Plus now I can feel kind of tweedy-chic with my snazzy new clutch.
Another project on my to-do list are these cute canvas flag pouches. I'm thinking they would be fun to make for my kids for Christmas as a memory of our trip abroad this year.
Project Teen is full of ideas for hand-made gifts for the upcoming gift-giving season. And to go along with those handmade gifts, Melissa has designed this awesome free printable to make your own gift tags! I LOVE it! I'm always needing a cute gift tag for the quilts I give away and this one is perfect! I'm going to print a bunch of these.

To see more projects and inspiration from Project Teen as well as collect more free printable gift tags (a different tag at each site!) visit these other blogs this week:

October 13th: Sew Can She and Piece N Quilt
October 14th: Generation Q Magazine and UCreate
October 15th: Diary of a Quilter (moi) and Noodlehead
October 16th: Flamingo Toes
October 17th: Simple Simon and Co  and It's Always Autumn  

**this post contains affiliate links

Monday, October 13, 2014

Panasonic Cordless 360 review and giveaway

I was recently contacted by Panasonic to see if I would like to participate in their "Keep Calm Press On" challenge, including the Panasonic 360 Freestyle cordless iron. I was excited to participate, particularly because I loved the thought trying out a cordless iron.
I'd been wanting to make another one of Anna's Divided Baskets and felt like this would be a great project for experimenting with a new iron.
Pros: First of all, it's cordless! No cords to get tangled around projects or ironing board legs. The unique shape with points at both ends, plus the freedom of not having a cord to work around, means that the iron can get into some tighter, more awkward spots than a traditional iron. (This is the reason I chose to experiment with the Panasonic 360 while making a structured, shaped item, as sometimes bag shapes are a little trickier.) 

The iron itself is sleek and beautiful. It's made of substance so it feels weighty and solid in your hand, but not heavy, and the stainless steel plate glides beautifully. 
Steam: When I make a Divided basket, I like to use fusible Peltex 71F because it gives the basket great shape and stability. The instructions with the fusible Peltex suggest using a damp presser cloth to help the Peltex really fuse to the exterior fabric. I found that using the Panasonic cordless iron on it's highest steam setting helped the Peltex fuse great without the need of a damp presser cloth. (But be sure if you're using it on it's highest setting, you only press on the cotton-fabric side. I did press the Peltex lightly in place on a lower setting so that it would be set in place before I flipped it over to the fabric side.)

Another nice feature is that you can take the iron and use it to steam vertically. I used it to help get the crease marks out of some new curtains.

If you prefer a scorching hot dry iron, you may wish this one got a little hotter, but if you prefer to work with steam, then I think you'd love this iron. It even worked well with the heavier canvas and decor-weight cottons I was working with.
One more 'pro' of the Panasonic cordless iron is that it comes in a nifty, self-contained carrying case, making it easily portable without having to worry about any cords (the cord itself is retractable and stores nicely inside the base.) If you're frequently on the go with your iron to retreats, etc, than this is a really handy feature!
I will admit the trade-offs for the convenience of a cordless iron take a little bit of getting used to. First of all, you must keep the iron charging-base close by because you can't just set the iron down on it's own. Because both ends have a point (hence the 360 name) you can't simply rest the iron on it's end. It must go into the base itself when you set it down- which is not a bad thing as it keeps the iron hot.

The base takes up some room, but you can easily keep it close by your pressing station (which I do since I usually use my portable pressing table.) It would also work fine on the end of your ironing board. At first it takes some getting used to, but once it becomes a habit, it's no different than getting used to any other new ironing process.
Since I was making the Divided Basket as a gift for my sister who had a baby not long ago, I decided to also use the World's Easiest Burp Cloth tutorial to make a few new burp cloths to coordinate with the basket. (Since it's baby number 3, you know fresh burp rags will come in handy.)

I used stash fabrics for this basket and burp-clothes. The birch print as well as three of the burp-cloth prints are from a Riley Blake collection called Mod Studio. The numbers canvas is from Sweetwater's Reunion collection and the grey-and-white gingham is from Ikea.
Today, Panasonic is offering to giveaway a cordless 360 Freestyle iron to one of you readers! Fancy! To enter share this giveaway and leave a comment for each share saying how you did it. You can share via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (including retweet, share or re-gram) or Pinterest (pin one of the images from this post and leave a link to your pin in the comments below.)  Use the hashtag #keepcalmpresson in your sharing so that I can see your shares. Best of luck!

Giveaway closes Friday, October 17 at midnight, MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

WOW! Thanks for all the sharing. It was so hard to pick a winner for this one - I wish I had Irons for everyone! The WINNER is:

 Crickets Corner said...
Looks like a great little iron to have around and to take to retreats. I shared on Pinterest.

**this post is sponsored by Panasonic, but opinions are all my own 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gift Certificate giveaway from Canton Village Quilt Works

Canton Village Quilt Works

Toady we have a sponsored giveaway from Canton Village Quilt Works. Canton Village Quilt Works is owned and operated by Jackie Kunkel who has been quilting for over 20 years. 
image from CVQW blog
Jackie is an amazingly talented quilter and her quilts are always full of beautiful, saturated color. Jackie has been a professional long-arm quilter for 14 years and opened her fabric shop 5 years ago. She is also a designer for Quilt Magazine, a podcaster and a sought-after teacher. You can follow Jackie's quilting adventures on her blog, Canton Village Quilt Works as well as on itunesYouTube, and Facebook.
Kona Cotton Solids
Just like Jackie's quilts, her shop, Canton Village Quilt Works is full of saturated color as well. She carries a huge selection of Kona Solids, Kaffe Fassetts, and Batiks. CVQuilt Works has also been my go-to resource for Essex Cotton-Linen blends (including the Natural Essex that I used in my Modern Maples.)
In addition to yardage, CV Quilt Works carries assorted precuts and bundles as well as a large selection of patterns, including a large collection of foundation papers for gorgeous, complex paper-pieced quilts.

Today, Jackie is giving away a $25 gift certificate to Canton Village Quilt Works! To enter please visit Canton Village Quilt Works and come back here sharing something you love. Then leave a comment on this post with that item listed. For additional entries you can sign up for the Canton Village Quilt Works newsletter, or let me know that you already receive it. Giveaway open until Wednesday, October 15 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

WINNER: lalaluuOctober 10, 2014 at 1:49 PM
CVQW has the Aviatrix Medallion pattern and quilt kit! This is something I've been wanting to try, and I love it just as much as I did the first time I saw it!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oakshott Modern Maples quilt

This weekend I finally finished my Modern Maples quilt. (Huzzah!) This quilt has been in the works for a couple of years now. This fall, I was determined to finally get'er done.
Most of the blocks in this quilt are made using an Oakshott cotton Rubies bundle. I needed a couple more blocks and used a Kaffe gold shot-cotton for yellow leaves.
Last spring I sent this quilt off to be quilted by Emily Sessions. She quilted my Kona Virtual Quilting Bee quilt and did such a great job,  I decided to just turn this one over to her creativity. I knew she would do something fun with the negative space and she didn't let me down.
I love what she did! Her work is gorgeous and totally makes the quilt. I had Emily use some Pellon Legacy Bamboo/Cotton blend batting I had on hand and the quilt is so soft and drapes amazingly, even with all the dense quilting. It feels luscious!
I finally finished the binding this past weekend with the help of this snuggly little helper who literally wanted to help pull the needle out on every stitch. I made it a little slower-going, but after a crazy, frenetic week on the run almost every day it was so nice to just s l o w down and hang out with the family, watching LDS General Conference (a broadcast of inspiring talks from our church leaders.) It was just what I needed.
Since I've got cheap labor going, I cooerced another child to help me with a photo-shoot last night. She was a good sport. And so was the sky which cooperated so nicely on a gorgeous fall evening.

Happy to have this quilt finished. The maple block pattern is a traditional quilt block motif. The measurements for this block came from a pattern by Amanda Jennings in the Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays book. I changed up the layout to make it my own and to make it fit a certain spot where I want to hang it on my wall. Such a fun pattern and so many fun options. You can see lots of other Modern Maples inspiration on Flickr.