Monday, July 30, 2012

Sponsored giveaway from Quilt My Phone

Quilt My Phone is an online shop that specializes in quilt-inspired cases and sleeves for smart phones, tablets, and laptops. They have a large selection of available designs and prints as well as the option to upload a photo and customize your own sleeve or case! There is a large variety of of products available including fitted cases for phones by Samsung, Motorola, Blackberry and HTC.
I recently got my own phone case from QMP and I love it.  It's a high-quality Barely There Case-mate from Zazzle (way nicer than my previous case from Walmart) and I love the graphic look of the pickle-dish design.


Picture
Quilt My Phone was founded by Cathleen Savage in 2011.  Most of the listed designs at Quilt My Phone are images of vintage quilts, some from the Bennington Museum and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, two institutions founded to preserve antique quilts. Sales of cases in the Bennington Museum Collection and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum Collection generate a royalty for the museum.

If your style is more contemporary you can upload your own quilt design onto any case as well as customize any design by adding a monogram or initials. 

To find out the latest on products and deals from QMP join the mailing list from the website , follow QMP on Facebook and on Twitter @quiltmyphone...



Cathleen has generously offered to give away an iPhone 4 case or a zippered neoprene case that fits a 10" tablet or Kindle (and can also be used for carrying piecework) to one of you lucky readers. 

In order to enter, join the Quilt My Phone mailing list here and leave a comment on this post telling me you have done so. The winner will choose from available designs!  Giveaway open until Thursday, August 2 at midnight MST.  Winner will be chosen via random number generator.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. Winner: stitchfabric4me!

Thanks, Cathleen!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

More flag blocks + Olympic fever

Anyone else out there an Olympic junkie?  Official Olympics nerd right here. 

In 2002 the Winter Olympics came to my home town, Salt Lake City.  I had a 3-yr-old and a nursing baby at the time so I didn't attend a single sporting event, but we did take in the atmosphere downtown and let me tell you - it's magic. Celebration of hard work and the unique cultures and traditions of the nations of the world juxtaposed with the brotherhood of man - the Olympic spirit is tangible.  As soon as that cauldron went out, things were back to normal and it was gone. But it was so amazing while it lasted!
Combine my Olympics die-hard-ness with my favorite city on the planet and I just might spontaneously-combust. Olympics nirvana.
So in honor of the parade of nations, I've been making more flag quilt blocks. (Fine. I know. It's a sickness. I can't help it.) I'm using my stash plus some of my new Vintage Summer prints. I'm going to do something along the lines of this quilt that I made a few years ago for a friend.  Want some geography trivia? I'll give you clues as to which countries these flags represent as they may be less obvious.:
Notre Dame (as in The Hunchback of), Monet, and crepes
Maria Von Trapp and Arnold Schwartznegger
Andy Murray and haggis
And you know this one.  

Did you watch the Opening Ceremonies? I was in heaven. Seriously: Kenneth Branagh, Jerusalem, Mary Poppins, Chariots of Fire and Mr. Bean. What more could an anglophile want? The only thing I was missing was a good chippy.  Proud of you, Brits.
Speaking of which, if you're jumping on the British-love-bandwagon, checkout this new collection of fabrics from DearStella called Town and Country.  Lots of London icons like Eros at Picadilly, the Tower, and St. Paul's, but it's those London buses that kill me.  I need to find the perfect use for them.

Cheers my loves!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Easy Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial

 
Today I am going to share a tutorial for a couple of versions of a quick and easy bag made from Fat Quarters as part of Elizabeth's Christmas in July series - to help all of us get started on those handmade gifts early so we're not sewing zombies on December 24th.
This tutorial is inspired by some purses I made for my daughter's friends for Christmas a couple of years ago.  They were so quick and so cute and I've been meaning to write a tutorial for them ever since. I'm grateful to Elizabeth for this opportunity to finally get my rear in gear and share how I did it.  They were inspired during a Christmas when funds were a little tight and I needed to use resources already on hand (i.e. a giant fabric stash) to create Christmas gifts.  

Each bag uses the equivalent of one Fat Quarter + 1/8th of a yard (or scraps) for the handle. (You could also use sturdy ribbon as handles.)  
Step 1: Cut your Fat Quarter (hereafter FQ) in half to create two 11" (roughly-might be slightly narrower depending on the width of the FQ) x 18" pieces. You can use the second piece as the lining of your bag or cut a coordinating piece the same size for a contrasting lining and save the second piece for a second bag.
For this bag we are going to make two short handles.  Cut two 4" x 18" pieces of fabric. These can come from a 1/8th yard piece of fabric, you could cut them from one of your FQ's or you could find them in your scrap bin like I did.
Step 2 - Create the handles. Fold both handles in half lengthwise and press. Open up the handle and press both sides in, meeting at the half-way crease.  Press and fold in half. You should have a handle, 4-fabrics-thick about 1" wide. Top stitch down both sides of the handle piece right at the edge to make it sturdy and to give it a nice finished edge.
Step 3- Pin both handles to the short sides of the lining piece of fabric. Measure in about 2.5" from each corner and pin the handles to the the fabric.
Step 4- Place the outside fabric right sides together on top of the lining piece and handles. Pin short sides and sew 1/4" seam allowance down both sides, over the edges of the handle straps, careful not to catch any other part of the handles in your seams.
 Step 5- Press seams open and bring seams together, matching them up at the center. The bag's outside fabric and lining fabric should be folded on top of itself, right sides together. Now pin the long, open sides together.  Sew a 1/4" seam along both sides, leaving a 3" opening in the lining to turn the bag right-sides out.
 Step 6 - Pull the bag right sides out through the 3" opening and top-stitch the opening closed. (This doesn't have to look pretty because it will be inside the bag.)
Step 7- Tuck the lining inside the bag and press the bag carefully, paying extra attention to the seam around the top of the bag. Make it look nice and crisp. 
Step 8- Top-stitch around the top edge of the bag.  This will help secure the handles' attachment and give the bag a finished look.  I did it twice. 
Step 9- Now to give the bag a nice boxy bottom, we are going to add something called a gusset.  Don't stress, it's much easier than it looks. Turn the bag inside-out and line up the side seams perpendicular to the bottom edge, creating two triangles at either end of the bag.
 Step 10- Measure down 1" from the point and draw a line perpendicular to the side seam.
Step 11- Sew directly on the line, back stitching at both ends.  Repeat the same process with the bottom corner on the other side of the bag.  You could hand-tack down the gusset flaps if you're picky, but don't have to worry if you're not as they will be hidden in the bag.
And there you have a quick finished bag!  Once you have made one, it's very quick and easy to mass-produce a lot of them.
 Now here is a slight variation to create a bag with a longer strap and a little more of a 'purse' shape.
Repeat Steps 4-8 above to create the body of the bag, leaving out the handles.

To add a decorative ribbon or trim I measured down 2.5" from the top and drew a line with an erasable fabric pen.
Line up the trim along the drawn line and pin in place.
Topstitch trim to the bag.
Repeat Steps 9-11 to add the gussets to the bottom of the of the bag.
For the handle of this purse, use a 4" x 42" piece of fabric.  Use the same method as above to create one long purse strap. (Fold in half and press, open up and fold edges toward center, press, fold in half again and topstitch both sides.)

Trim the strap to the desired finished length. I think I trimmed mine down to 38" for a tween-y girls purse. Tuck bottom raw edges inside the purse strap. 
Pin the end of the strap about an inch down and directly next to one of the side seams on the outside of the bag.
Fold the side of the bag on the opposite side of the seam on top of the purse strap.  Seam should be on the inside edge of the strap with equal parts of the bag holding the strap end in place. 
Sew a square holding two sides of the bag with strap end in between in place. Repeat the same steps on the other side of the bag, with the other end of the strap.
When the bag is done, you can always add a cute embellishment of some kind to 'bling-it-up' if you want.

And that's it!  Again, once you've made one, you can whip out a bunch more in no time.  They're great gifts to have on hand for all those little-girl Christmas or birthday gifts. (Or you could make a 'satchel' version for boys too!)

Be sure to visit the other guest-bloggers for Christmas in July to see the awesome ideas and tutorials they have for you!
Monday 7/16 - Don't Call Me Betsy
Tuesday 7/17 - Sew Crafty Jess
Wednesday 7/18 - Pink Penguin
Thursday 7/19 - Freshly Pieced
Friday 7/20 - Sew Sweetness
Monday 7/23 - Happy Quilting
Tuesday 7/24 - Comfort Stitching
Wednesday 7/25 - Diary of a Quilter
Thursday 7/26 - Felicity Quilts


And finally, as part of this series, Elizabeth has arranged a fabulous giveaway for you of a $20 Gift Certificate from the online fabric retailer, Pink Chalk Studio! Lucky you! Pink Chalk has so many pretty choices.

logo-pinkchalk
To enter, leave a comment on this post. One entry per person.  If you want to, tell me something handmade you'd like to make this Christmas, but it's not required.  Giveaway open until Saturday, July 28 at midnight MST.  Please be sure that I have a way to contact you if you win!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

WINNER: Heidi StaplesJuly 25, 2012 11:54 AM
I've got a lot of things in mind to make for Christmas, but nothing definite yet. Darling tutorial! Thanks for the giveaway!

Monday, July 23, 2012

More Summer Sewing + a Satchel

My Dream On quilt is growing.  
It kind of screams summer, doesn't it? 
(I'm using this pattern.)
I also spent a lot of the weekend sewing bags. I've got a new tutorial to share on Wednesday as part of Elizabeth's Christmas in July series - ideas to help you start getting ready for Christmas now so that you're not in that last minute funk, trying to finish all those handmade projects.
While working on the bags for said tutorial,  I had a little guy who patiently reminded me that I'd promised to make him a bag a long time ago. *guilt*  So we did it.  He specifically requested "a satchel that doesn't hit my bum when I run" - which pretty much describes your ideal little boy bag, right? Plus I loved the strategic choice of the word 'satchel' - so much more manly that 'man-purse.'

We used some the rocket fabrics from Sarah Jane's Children at Play (available here and here).  Hedgehogs were also requested since, you know, hedgehogs and rockets just go hand in hand.  So the hedgehogs made it to the inside of the strap.
This bag was made using my Messenger Bag tutorial, only I shortened both the bag and the strap to help prevent bum-hitting. Such a cutie with his fresh from the barber summer haircut. (Who I have strategically placed with his back to the camera so that you can't see all the chocolate ice-cream drips on the front of his shirt.)

Linking to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, July 20, 2012

Finished Union Jack Quilt

*Drum roll...* (By a guy in a tall, fuzzy, black hat)
I am proud to finally present, after about 2.5 years under construction: The completed Union Jack Quilt.  This quilt is probably my all-time favorite quilt I've ever made.  I know I say that all the time, but I decided that if my house were burning down and I could only save one quilt, it would be this one. So that is saying something, right?
And I am so very well pleased with it that I even took it out for a photo shoot.  Partly to give you all a break from my ubiquitous backyard fence, and partly because this quilt is so huge, I couldn't find any proper place to hang the full thing for display at home. 

I used this pattern, but I added three extra blocks (mainly because I couldn't stop making them) and borders to make it even bigger.  I will say that I modified the pattern slightly because I felt like the original method wastes fabric when making the diagonal stripes of each flag. I ended up doing something closer to paper-piecing for those parts, but all the other measurements, etc. are from the Victory Garden pattern by Busy Bee Designs.  And as always, I used my favorite 50-wt Auriful thread, that makes everything turn out so nicely.
I've decided that inspiration for these Union Jacks is a bit of Andy Warhol meets Cath Kidston. Here are a couple of close-ups of the fabric. For years I've collected fabric and hoarded carefully saved some pieces for 'just the right project.'  Well this is that project. I pulled out all the favorites and used them the best that I knew how. 
I have to give a shout-out here to my friend Aunt Spicy.  Her Union Jack pillows were one of my first inspirations to make a quilt like this.  She even shared with me a few pieces of her beloved Jennifer Paganelli's Casey Scroll fabrics to use in my blocks, and so I lovingly think of her when I see them.  Through that initial connection we discovered our mutual love of all things British, not to mentioned some similar experiences living in the UK. We even discovered that we are descended from the same British great-great-grandparents. I kid you not. Cosmic, huh?

I was determined to use as much stash as possible for this quilt- and really did well. Because it's so huge, I needed to piece the back, but found a good stripe that went with a big hunk of London lawns-inspired fabric, covered with red English roses, which felt very appropriate.
For those of you who have been around these parts for a long time, you are well aware of my British obsession. Here's the scoop if you're new: most of my heritage comes from England (and a wee bit from Scotland).  I've visited a few times as a tourist, but also lived there twice in the 90's: in London for a semester as a college student (where I fell in love with that city) and later for 18 months in Manchester, Liverpool and on the Isle of Man as a Mormon missionary.  I left a piece of my heart in the UK when I came home and I still miss it every day.  My dream is to take our family and live there for a summer (if not a little longer).  I am still keeping that dream alive...one day it's going to happen.
Amazing Image by Dieter Braun
My goal was to finish this quilt before the London Olympics start. Ace!  I started making these blocks 2.5 years ago while watching the Winter Olympics in Vancouver so the quilt has a nice Olympic connection as well.  I am so excited to watch the Olympics for the next few weeks - and I have a feeling I'm going to get very homesick...but a good kind of homesick.
Cheers my dears! You are all dead brilliant.
Now bring on the Hobnobs, crumpets and Ribena!