Monday, November 29, 2010

Felt Circle Pillow and Someday Crafts

This little felt-circle pillow was my weekend project. I LOVE how it came together. And so much faster than I thought. Today I'm guest blogging over at Someday Crafts and sharing the tutorial to make your very own! And it's even easier than it looks!

And it looks great with the Snowflake felt pillow from last year.

If you haven't visited the Someday Crafts blog, you must go. Michelle started her blog as a way to save great crafting tutorials to make "someday". The great thing is she does all the work finding creative stuff and shares it all in one place! She is a great resource. I met Michelle last summer. She is one of the funniest and most genuinely kind people I've met. I love meeting cool people. Go visit her!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A happy weekend

 A busy, happy, family weekend around here. We've been having an great time with my husband's family in town from Maryland.  My mother-in-law made 9 pies! YUM. And my husband's brined turkey was a home run. Oh my goodness. I am officially declaring him responsible for Thanksgiving turkey for the rest of his life.
I've also been working on my project. I'll have it ready to share on Monday.
WAS Blog Button.jpg

Also, many thanks to We All Sew for their DofaQuilter shoutout this week. Have you visited A great sewing resource sponsored by Bernina. My machine is a 30+ year-old Bernina and I LOVE it. Totally no-frills, but a heavy-duty work horse. We're a good pair.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thankful Heart

From my back porch last week
"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, 
but the parent of all other virtues."
               --Cicero, Roman philosopher

"A thankful heart is a happy heart."
-- Junior Asparagus, the Veggie Tales

Happy Thanksgiving from Utah.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A little shopping FYI

These circles are for a little project I'm working on this week. Details and instructions to follow. Stay tuned. I cut these circles with my AccuQuilt die. Hallelujah.  If you're looking for any AccuQuilt loot this holiday season, they are kicking off a big sale today. Details here.

Also, the Retro Christmas Quilt pattern is finished and ready for download for only $6.50.

  • Fabric requirements: 1 1/8 yard total of scraps and remnants for novelty blocks, 3/8 yard for post blocks, 2 yards solid white, 1/2 yard binding, 3 1/2 yards for back.
  • 3 page color PDF format, instantly downloadable.
This quilt is super fast and very beginner level.  Yes, you could pull it off before Christmas!

All this fun and no camping out in front of Walmart in a sleeping bag! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A little bit of Fall Thrifting

I haven't done a lot of thrifting lately. Mainly because I am actively trying to de-junk my house and adding more junk (no matter how desireable it might be) seams to defeat the purpose of my de-junking. But when I happened to be at the thrift store looking for some Halloween items I ran across a couple of little lovelies.
I was in need of a little more 'height' in my fall decor on my mantle and I found these two Japanese stoneware plates for 75 cents each. They've been a nice addition.
I've also been much more disciplined in buying vintage sheets until I finally DO something with the ones I already have.  But I couldn't pass this one by. 
Especially because it's kind of the Holy Grail of thrifted sheets - a perfect sheet still in it's original package! I have this print in blue, but I've never seen this one in this color scheme. Don't ask me what I'm going to do with it.
Here's the silliness of this purchase.  The sheet was priced $5.99 (is it just me or have thrift stores caught on and are charging more for linens? Oh well, more power to them.) The original price tag was also still on the packaging. Am I right in thinking someone got this sheet for $3.33 at Grand Central back in the day?? Well, there's a little lesson in inflation for you!

Happy end of Fall! (At least around here. Blizzard coming this way tonight and 19 degree (F) high temperature predicted for tomorrow. BRR! I don't remember a Thanksgiving this cold!  We're hosting my husband's family at our house this year. Lots more to do! (I'm going to try brining my turkey for the first time ever. Calli gave me confidence that I can do it. Actually, I might let my husband do it. He's actually more excited about the process than I am, so I'll let him. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Green Binding Update

Oh no! I've led you all astray. (I HATE when I do that.) While YES the green polka dot binding IS from Lecien, it is NOT part of the Holiday Happy collection. (I bought the chipper dots at my local quilt shop and they had it displayed WITH the Holiday Happy so I just assumed.) Sorry, should have checked before I tried to sound like such a fabric know-it-all.  

The green dot is one of Lecien's Color Basics.  It is number 4505 G to be precise. To be honest, I am having a hard time finding some online.  If anyone else finds some, please share.  If you are desperate to get your hands on some, send me an email. I'll call the shop and see how much they have available.

So much for trying to use something that was readily available. D'oh! Sorry to mislead. And sorry about the CAPITALIZATION epidemic. I sound so pre-teen dramatic that way.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Retro Christmas Quilt

Ready for the full reveal of the Retro Christmas Quilt?
I've had a little growing collection of retro Christmas prints for a while now and this was the year to finally do something with them.  The prints are so busy that I've struggled to decide how to put them all together.  Once again, white fabric to the rescue (Kona Snow to be specific = seems appropriate for a Christmas quilt).
  Aren't these girls adorable? 
Almost as adorable as this girl.  This is my mom visiting Santa in downtown San Francisco in the 1950's.  I love this picture. 

I think that's the reason I love those vintage kids - they remind me of the Christmas decorations from my mom's childhood that I played with when I was growing up . And they remind me of all those stop-and-go animation Christmas classics, a la Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. (Remember in the prehistoric days before VCR's when you had to watch the TV listings religiously so you wouldn't miss it?)
The quilt was so 'red' - I was excited to find just the right green to finish it off.  I used a green-dot basic by Lecien

 As I mentioned, I cut up the remainder of my fabric to make a few kits for this quilt. There are only a  few - I wish I had more!  They are listed in my etsy shop.  Edit: The kits are gone! Whoa - even faster than I expected. I'm so sorry I don't have more. Seriously, really sorry.

The pattern is available for only $6.50. It is available in the Pattern Shop.
I'm also doing a little bit of Christmas fabric de-stash.  I have three one last set of 200+ 4 1/2" squares listed as well. There are enough squares there to easily make a quick throw-size Christmas quilt.  (These are the same size squares used in the new quilt pattern.) 
Last, my girls are earning some Christmas money selling die-cut coordinating Christmas gift tags. These are cut from American Crafts paper. Each set is $4.50 and contains 25 tags in three different sizes and a large variety of prints. There are two different collections: traditional red/green and another that's blue/red/green/brown. All are very chic and classy. Shipping is free if included with another purchase and even if it's not, we're keeping it super cheap. :) 

Thanks again for your kind comments and for your support of my sporadic etsy endeavors.  It's always more work that I think it will be, but it's fun to share something that I enjoy so much - and I'm glad to know some of you people out there enjoy it too. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Two new Patterns

After a few years of writing patterns for a local quilt shop, and after a few requests, I am finally getting my act together and polishing and publishing some of them.  These are the latest two. Both patterns come as instantly downloadable PDF files, 4 pages long with color photos.  They will continue to be available in my Pattern Shop.

Windows Quilt Pattern $7.50

This pattern is charm pack and scrap friendly. I've also done all the math and written it so that there is minimal amounts of wasted fabric (because I hate fabric waste!)  Fabric Requirements: 35 print 5” squares (1 Charm Pack or a total of ¾ yards of fabric), 2 yards total of various 2 ¼" and 3" strips, Sashing: 1 ¾  yard solid white fabric, Outside print border: 1 yard, Binding fabric: ½ yard (or 5/8 yard if you prefer bias binding), Back: 3 ½ yards. 

Hour Glass Quilt Pattern $8.00

This quilt pattern is Layer Cake Friendly and a lot faster and easier than it looks. The fabric requirements are: 48 – 10” squares (1 layer cake + two 1/3 yard cuts of fabric OR twelve 1/3 yard cuts) Inside border – ¼ yard fabric, Outside border - 1 1/3 yard, Binding – ½ yard  Backing – 3 ¾ yards

Kits for this Hour Glass quilt (pattern is included) are still available at American Quilting in Orem, Utah.  You can order one by calling 801-802-7841.  There are three options for border fabrics (subject to availability):


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Cute Kitsch-y Fabric

I couldn't resist sharing a few recent acquisitions. I've been pretty disciplined about buying fabric lately because I'm making a really concerted effort to use what I already have. (I'm trying to 'shop the stash' first.) But I'm always on the look-out for some good I-spy fabrics and those kitsch-y Japanese prints are my weakness.
These two are from Kerri's Etsy shop. (I love shopping with Kerri and I always love her selection!)  Check out these two storybook prints.  I always crack-up at the German or French text on Japanese prints. And how can you not love those selvages?!
 Here's another I got from this shop.  
I think this print is gone, but she had some other cute novelty prints.
Finally, I love it when local quilt shops carry the Japanese prints - a: because it's fun to see them and touch them in real life and b: if I do want some, I don't have to pay shipping.  There are a couple local shops that carry a good Japanese import selection but both are about 30 min away, so I don't get there that often (which may not be a bad thing. lol.)

Anyway, I happened to be in the area of Material Girls  in South Jordan, Utah one Saturday and found this awesome print from Caramel Town by Lecien. Oh dear, I love this. The best part? It was 25% off that day. As was everything else in the store . . . and that's when I succumbed. Not out of control, mind you, but cash was exchanged. And I'll stop there.

If you are looking to loose a little restraint yourself, Anna at Crafty Girls Workshop is offering a 10% discount with the discount code 'smartquilter'. She's got more Dream On Charm Packs too. I'm just saying . . .

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Christmas Quilt sneak-peak

Is anyone else out there slightly shocked that we're half-way through November?? Seriously, how did this happen? Summer feels like yesterday! I still haven't accepted the fact that I have to sort socks again.

The good news is for once I'm starting Christmas sewing before December. I've been collecting some Retro-Christmas fabrics for a few years and have been trying to decide what to do with them.  I finally found the right thing.  Full reveal to come - and possibly kits!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Good Causes

Quilters as a group are some of the best people. I know I'm slightly biased in this statement, but I continue to witness so many acts of kindness among quilters and I am so inspired.  

And here's another opportunity to prove me right:  Kate of SewBikeQuilt and Aunt Spicy are hosting an opportunity to give back to your local community. It's the perfect opportunity to pull out those old WIP's and give them a loving home.  And just to make it more fun (because quilters are also a fun bunch) prizes and giveaways are involved. I recently found a quilt top I made a while ago that never got finished - thanks Kate and Spicy for the motivation to get it out of one of my many piles and give it to someone who would use and need it. Click on the button above for all the details.
If your time for creating quilts is short this busy time of year, but you'd still like the opportunity to give to a meaningful cause (and get some beautiful quilts in the process!) please visit  The American Quilting shop in Orem, Utah is raising money for the Paul Peterson Cancer Fund by hosting a silent auction of a few dozen of their sample quilts from the past few years.  100% of the proceeds go to the Paul Peterson family.

These quilts are all hand made and beautifully machine quilted.  There will be eight new quilts each week until December 30. Go to the AmericanQuilting blog for more details and pictures of the new quilts each week. Stop by the shop or call 801-802-7841 for more information. 

I'm feeling a little peeved at Cancer today. Along with the loss of my friend Allison's husband last month, this weekend I got the news of my sweet friend Jen's diagnosis with leukemia.  In less than 4 days she went from not feeling great, getting admitted to the hospital, being diagnosed, and starting chemo on Monday. It happened that fast! Jen introduced me to fellow kindred spirit and anglophile, Aunt Spicy last year and I had a hilarious thrifting adventure  with them when I was visiting family in Maryland last summer.  I love you JR! Keep fighting - my prayers are with you!

And finally, while we're on the top of praising fighters: Happy Veterans Day/Remembrance Day. (This was my son's PTA Reflections Contest entry this year. The theme was "Together we can. . . " and he choose: "Together we can remember people who died in the army to protect our freedom.")

Many thanks to the men and women and their families (in countries everywhere) who sacrifice so much for the well-being of others - especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. God bless you all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bias Bindings 101

IFor our final week of the Beginning Quit Along Series we are going to talk about another method for binding a quilt and how to care for quilts. Today we are talking about bias binding, hand finishing and curved borders - which might be a good option for those of you who get the heeby-jeebies with mitering corners.

The baby quilt above was made with Charm Packs from the Bliss collection by Moda
Cut a Bias Binding: This binding method is very similar to the one last week. The major difference is that instead of cutting the fabric straight across the grain of the fabric, we are going to cut it on the bias. Cutting something on the bias means to cut diagonally across the grain of the fabric.  There are a couple of benefits to cutting binding strips on the bias: stretch in the fabric for going around curves and scallops, and added durability.  There are lots of nifty methods for cutting your own bias strips, but I’m going to go with super basic and just cut strip by strip.
First, open your fabric and lay right-side up on the cutting mat. (I am using a ½ yard piece of fabric. That’s more than enough for a baby quilt, but the wider yardage gives me longer strips for less piecing.)
Starting at the bottom left corner (if you are left handed start at the bottom right), find the 45 degree line on your cutting ruler. (Most quilting rulers should have this line.) Line up the 45 degree line along the selvage edge of the fabric. Cut off bottom left-hand triangle.  Now turn the ruler parallel with the new bias edge. Line-up the 2 ½” line along the new bias edge and cut your first 2 ½” wide strip.
Continue cutting 2 ½” strips. When the fabric gets too long diagonally to cut with your ruler, flip it to wrong-side up and fold the fabric wrong sides together matching up the bias edge. Then you can lay your ruler on top, and continue cutting 2 ½” strips.  For this 42″ x 42″ baby quilt I cut 7 bias strips working right from the bottom left hand corner.
Because they are cut on the bias, these strips will have 45 degree edges.  Match strips going opposite directions (top left) and place strips right sides together (they will be perpendicular to each other). Match edges to be sewn and stagger ¼” (see picture).  Sew ¼” seam. Press seams open. (These diagonal seams will create a lot less bulk than the straight seams we used last time.)
This next step is totally optional – I’m going to show you how to round your edges.
For some of you who are a little wary of mitered corners, this may be a good option for you. :) This will only work with bias strips because they have some stretch!  Using a small plate (or some other circle) mark a gentle curve at each corner of your quilt. I like to use the plate itself as my guide for trimming the corner.
Press bias strip in half.  (The pressed fold creates a nice, straight edge that is easily blind-stitched to the backing.)
Hand Finished Binding: pin the raw edges of binding to the raw edges of the quilt FRONT.  When you get to the curved corner, carefully pin the edges around the curve. (I obviously like a lot of pins here to hold it in place.) You can also miter with the bias binding as we talked about last week.
When it’s time for the strips to meet-up fold and press back the start side ¼”, pull the strip taught over the end side of the strip and mark a line.  Trim the end side of the strip ¼” past the line.  Match up strips and sew on the line. Press open.
Sew binding to the FRONT of the quilt using a ¼” seam allowance. (I recommend a walking foot with the bias binding.) Move carefully around the corners, keeping your seam allowance consistent.
Fold the binding to the back side of the quilt and pin in place. Using a matching thread knot one end and hide it under where the binding will cover.  Coming through the very bottom edge of the binding’s folded edge slip the needle through the quilt back, slide it through the layers of the quilt, coming up at the edge of the binding fold about ¼” away. Repeat the process tacking down the binding edge with this blind stitch.
Even thought it takes more time than machine binding, I like this method of finishing a quilt best because all stitching is hidden.  You can do the same with straight-cut binding strips as well.  It’s a great project to do while just watching TV and you’ll be surprised how fast it goes.
Washing quilts: I LOVE to wash my quilts right when they’re finished – especially if they’ve been machine quilted – because it softens them up a lot and gives them more of a crinkly, antiqued look.
If you’ve used Cotton batting, the batting will shrink a little adding to the puckered feel.  I usually wash my quilts in cool water on a gentle cycle with a small amount of detergent and dry them in the dryer on low.  The first time you wash a quilt, throw in a Shout Color Catcher (found in your grocery laundry aisle) to catch any dye. Nothing worse than dye running through a finished quilt. If you’ve used high-quality quilting fabrics, you shouldn’t have this problem.  If you buy fabrics at the big box fabric stores, or if you’re using a lot of solid reds or blacks, I would pre-wash the fabrics before you make the quilt. If it’s too late for that now, use the Color Catcher and don’t let the wet quilt sit in the washing machine. Check for any dye running before you put it in the dryer.
We're done!
And that's it! Thanks so much to all who commented and contributed.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Fallish afternoon

It's a fallish day here. I wish I could just sit at my sewing machine with this tree outside the window next to me, sipping hot chocolate, watching Jane Austen movies. Sounds lovely. And maybe a unicorn will come lay it's head in my lap and share my cocoa. . .
Instead, we're off to an afternoon of four consecutive kid dentist appointments. 
Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Robot Quilt 2.0 for new nephew #2

Remember the robot blocks from this summer? The quilt is finally finished.
This quilt is for this little guy. Another sister of mine had her first baby boy too! We did some baby sewing this summer and now both babies are here. These little cousins are just about a month apart. This guy was visiting from California last week, but I didn't get any baby snuggling because I was the last man standing who didn't get the throw-ups and I was feeling petrified at the thought of sharing. Sad. I'll have to wait until Christmas.
Some close-ups.  I'm still in love with David Walker's Robots line. I've been hoarding my scraps from this quilt last summer  for just the right project.  This was the perfect worthy cause.
I am also pleased with this one, because I did the machine quilting myself. Woo! While I still have serious inadequacy issues with free-motion quilting, I knew that straight lines would compliment this design best and after doing the Halloween Quilt, I was feeling empowered. I'm mostly pleased with how it turned out.

The back side.

linking to: 

Fresh Poppy Design