Friday, June 28, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee Tutorial - Block #9

This weekend it's time for Block #9 of the Virtual Quilting Bee. This block was designed by the clever Colleen Molen of the Busy Bean blog. While you're there, you should also check out some of Colleen's other tutorials - she is a crazy talented girl.


If you're new to the Virtual Quilting Bee click here for all the details as well as links to block and introduction to quilting tutorials. 

Let's talk briefly about blocks.  Some of these blocks have been a little bit trickier. I like to look at it as an opportunity to try something new, broaden our skills and become more awesome. That said (important public service reminder:) this is YOUR QUILT. You can make whatever blocks you want, however you want. There is no quilt gestapo that is going to come check on you OR give you a grade.

Remember, this is fun. If it suddenly feels more stressful than fun, step away from the block. Make a second block using a tutorial you really liked or even found elsewhere! Do what feels enjoyable to YOU. There is enough "have to do" stuff in our lives. It's important to keep the "want to do" stuff relaxing and fun.  :)
Here is the Happy Go Lucky version.  Happy Go Lucky (Moda fabric collection by Bonnie and Camille for Moda) is officially in stores right now. You can also find it in these online retailers: Westwood Acres, Southern Fabrics, Pink Castle Fabrics, The Little Fabric Shop, and the Fat Quarter Shop
And here is the Kona Solids version. These ones are so pretty all together. I'm getting excited to put them into a quilt.  If you are looking to collect some good solids for your stash, you might want to check out Marmalade Fabrics Around the Color Wheel monthly bundles.  Also, Mad About Patchwork has a great Kona Solids bundle consisting of 25 different brights.
Block #'s 1-8
And speaking solids, check out these beauties by Elrem on Flickr. To see more of the fun variations, you can find the Virtual Quilting Bee Flickr group here. Thanks so much to all of you who are playing along! Be sure to leave questions in the comments and I'll respond as quick as I can.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bloomerie Fabrics + Giveaway

Bloomerie Fabrics
Are you familiar with Bloomerie Fabrics? It is a wonderful online shop specializing in modern designer fabricsa handpicked selection of quilt and sewing patterns, books, magazines and embroidery supplies. 
In From the Cold by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics - NEW!
Some recent collection additions include In From the Cold, The Boo Crew, and Love to Sew. They also stock a huge collection of Moda Bella Solids and Cotton Couture solids from Michael Miller. Be sure to check out the Sale section for some great deals on recent collections.

Today, Bloomerie Fabrics is giving away a Fat Quarter Bundle of the new Love to Sew collection by Michael Miller. 
As well as This Pockets to Go pattern by Atkinson Design.

To enter to win these prizes, visit Bloomerie and come back here and tell me what collection you love most (if you can narrow it down). Giveaway open until Saturday, June 29 at midnight, MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

WINNER: ShaunaJune 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM
It is so hard to choose, I love PB&J and Matilda, but could pick 20 more too

Thank you Bloomerie! You can stay connected with Bloomerie Fabrics by following them on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Flickr.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Easy Fat Quarter Drawstring Bag Tutorial


Summer is such a great time for teaching kids to sew. This summer I'm hoping to work on some simple sewing projects with my kids, so I'm always on the lookout for creative ideas and tutorials to use.
Fat-Quarter-Series-U-Create
Which is why I love the Simple Fat Quarter Sewing Series at Ucreate. There are some really great tutorials for some fun and creative sewing projects, perfect for light summer sewing, all using one of those fabric staples: Fat Quarters. (Are you wondering what is a Fat Quarter? This will explain!) Fat Quarters are such a great way to collect some of your favorite pieces of fabric, without having to invest a lot of money. I love that Kari and Becky started this series to show of lots of great ways to use them.

easy learn to sew drawstring bag pattern
Today I am sharing a tutorial for a super-simple draw-string bag made from one fat quarter and 25" of ribbon as part of that series. These bags come together SO fast. They're perfect for teaching kids to sew - or anyone else for that matter.
Start by trimming any selvage edges off the fat quarter. You will be left with a roughly 18" x 22" rectangle of fabric.  (It's okay if it's not exact.) Fold down the top edge about 1/2", press, and sew in place.
Fold the fat quarter in half width-wise with right-sides-together. Sew bottom and side edges together using a 3/8" seam allowance. Stop and backstitch about 4" from the top.
Press side seam allowance open, including 4" portion that is not sewn together. Carefully sew those edges down, starting at the top of one side, pivoting about 1/4" below the opening and backstitching once, then up the other side.
Fold top edge down 2" and pin in place. Sew this flap down to create your casing. I just stitched right on top of the stitching for the hemmed edge. Go all the way around the bag. 
I then stitched around the top edge of the bag about 1/4" away from the edge to give it more of a finished look.
This is how it will look. You can go ahead and add the drawstring now, if you like. 
I added a quick gusset (fancy way of saying boxed bottom) to give my bag a little more shape. This is purely optional. But it's super easy if you want to do it. Take the bottom corners of the bag and fold them so that the side and bottom seams run down the center, creating a point. Measure down 2" from the point, mark, and draw a line perpendicular to the side seam.
Sew right on the drawn line and trim away excess fabric 1/4" away from the seam. Repeat with other corner.  If you want your gusset more or less boxy, you can measure more or less than the 2" away from the point and mark and sew accordingly. The options are endless...  
Turn bag right side out. Put a safety pin at one end of your ribbon to help thread it through your casing.
Tie the ends of the ribbon in a knot. And you're done. It's seriously that easy!  
This bag finishes at about 13" long by 10" wide. In addition to altering the gusset, you can change the length of the bag by trimming some of the fat quarter length before you start sewing. I promise after you've made one, you'll be able to start whipping them out quickly. They're great for holding craft projects, birthday presents, Legos, you name it.

Here are a few other simple Fat Quarter projects. These projects are perfect for beginning sewers and once again, would be good summer sewing projects with kids too.
I'm also giving away a fat quarter bundle of Ann Kelle prints from Robert Kaufman you can use with all of that sewing inspiration. To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Giveaway open until Friday, June 28 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Winner: Karrie SmithJune 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM
Thanks for the tutorial! and for the chance to win ;)

Online Sewing Class
And while we're talking about sewing ideas, did you know that Craftsy has lots of FREE mini-classes including free sewing and free quilting patterns? You might want to check them out too!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Juggling Summer

Oh Summer. We have such a complex relationship. Last night my  talented friend Jami helped me with a professional photo-shoot. (More of those pictures to come.) It was such a gorgeous night. I honestly don't think there is anything better than a breezy, warm summer night. (Here in Utah we don't have much humidity, so nights outdoors are amazingly pleasant.) Those kind of nights always bring back waves of nostalgia - especially of my teenage years and being out with friends.
But summer is tricky too, and sometimes a little bit exhausing. I finally realized what makes it stressful for me - the lack of structure. Don't get me wrong, one of the great things about summer is the lazy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, care-free lifestyle. But the part of me that craves planning and schedules can sometimes get frustrated...
I'm trying to do better about just 'letting-go' and enjoying the moment. I actually read a book, or two, over the past few weeks, which I honestly haven't done for months. So there you go. Has anyone else watched or read Call the Midwife? It's my latest favorite show from the BBC [of course.] Highly recommend both books and show. There are some gritty, hard, tragic parts, but that was the reality that people faced (some of it makes Dickens look like a fairy tale.)  And the hope, and faith, and human kindness that come out if it, is so endearing and inspiring. (Although there is a little TMI about the "Cafes" (aka Brothels) in the first book. You may want to skip that part.)
We've been trying to explore new places. This is one my friend Calli told me about. It's a 110-yr-old summer-house in the foothills a few miles from our house. All that is left of the house itself are two crumbling exterior walls, but there are remnants of the flower garden surrounding the house.
The coolest part is the poppies that were part of the original garden have spread over the surrounding hills and bloom during mid-June. What an awesome legacy of the original gardener. Makes you wonder what small act you do that might leave a remnant behind 110 years later for other people to enjoy. 

I'm trying to remind myself to embrace this time with my kids right now and do a better job of living in the moment - a constant battle. They are at such fun ages - I seriously think we're in the golden years before they're too grown up and don't want to hang around with us as much anymore. I feel like I need to soak it up and make the most of it while I can.
One thing we're doing is volunteering at This Is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City. (Think Pioneer version of Williamsburg or Old Sturbridge Village.) It's a place we've liked visiting in summers past and my kids were so excited about volunteering there once a week this summer. I have to admit, I was less enthusiastic, but felt like I'd better run with it since they were gung-ho (even the boys), and probably won't always feel that way about dressing in pioneer clothes and hanging out someplace with no access to phones, computers or other screens. The first week we went there, I realized that this is going to work out even better than I'd hoped. Time to hang out together, un-interrupted and un-distracted. We're even working on a quilt. I think it's just what I needed. I'm going to have to share more thoughts and pictures on that adventure in a future post.
So life feels full and busy, but it's a good full and busy. My time at the computer gets more and more limited in the summer - but that is not always a bad thing. I am getting some sporadic sewing time, so that is a nice little bonus. I finally finished piecing my blocks for this version of my Double Crossed pattern (that I started last summer), using a vintage-sheet-inspired line, Dream On for Moda. (That collection is a few years old.) I need to add some borders and get it quilted, but fingers crossed, it will be done before the end of summer! Maybe.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A new Union Jack bag + Fabric Fest

Welcome to my stop on the Riley Blake Fabric Fest blog tour. I'm so excited to show off my latest sewing project: a Union Jack bag! I made it this past weekend and I'm quite pleased with they way it turned out. (whew.)
I will be teaching how to make this bag in a class at the Riley Blake Fabric Fest in Las Vegas this fall.
If you've been around these parts before, you already know that I'm a total Anglophile. I've lived in the UK twice, loved it and still miss it constantly. It's my dream to go back and live there again at some point. I finished a Union Jack quilt last summer in bright, primary colors. It was fun to try a new version in pastel colors.  I've also modified the Union Jack pattern.
This bag was made with fabrics from the new Kensington collection for Riley Blake, due out in July. The prints in this collection are SO pretty and I love the way they play together. If you sign up for this class at Fabric Fest, kits will be available for $35.

I will also be teaching three other classes at Fabric Fest including introductions to Modern Quilting as well as a class about using up those scraps. (A constant battle.) For more pictures from teachers and class teasers visit these other stops on the tour. Some of them even include Riley Blake fabric giveaways. There are some amazingly talented teachers involved with this event. I am still feeling a little bit out of my league!


Wednesday, June 5 Jina Barney of Riley Blake Designs 
Thursday, June 6 Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet 
 Friday, June 7 Elizabeth and Liz Evans of Simply Simon & Co 
Saturday, June 8 Nancy Zieman/Deanna Springer of Nancy Zieman.com 
Monday, June 10 Melissa Mortenson of The Polka Dot Chair  
Tuesday, June 11 Carolina Moore of Always Expect Moore 
Wednesday, June 12 Paige Hill of Riley Blake Designs, Jennifer of Tatertots and JelloBecky & Kari of U-Create 
Thursday, June 13 Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish 
Friday, June 14 Kim Christopherson & Kris Thurgood of My Girlfriends Quilt Shoppe 
Saturday, June 15  Bonnie Bailey on Riley Blake Designs 
 Monday, June 17 Lila Tueller of Lila Tueller Designs 
Tuesday, June 18 Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter (moi) 
Wednesday, June 19 Lindsay Wilkes of The Cottage Mama
Thursday, June 20 Sue Daley of Sue Daley Designs 
Friday, June 21 Eleanor Burns/ Sue Bouchard of Quilt in a Day 
Saturday, June 22 Jenny, Natalie, & Sarah of Missouri Star Quilt Company 
 Monday, June 24 Andrea Goddard of And I Sew 
Tuesday, June 25 Becky, Brooke, Jamie, Kirsten, & Nikkala of The Crafting Chicks 
Wednesday, June 26 Deonn Stott of Quiltscapes   
 Thursday, June 27 Sandy Workman of Pine Mountain Designs  
Friday, June 28 Sydney Haglund of Memory Quilt Maker
Click here for more information about Fabric Fest. And let me know if you are planning to come! I hope you can. I love meeting blog-land friends in person.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Three Cheers for Dads

A few random thoughts on Father's Day: I recently saw this photo at my parents' house and snapped a pic of it with my phone. (I'm the one on the left.) A happy reminder of family trips to Yellowstone. I think it felt a little extra poignant since we took our own kids to Yellowstone for the first time this past year. Some of my favorite childhood memories were going on road trips. My Dad was such a trooper doing all the driving, and putting up with a fair amount of whining along the way. I'm so glad he did.
Speaking of being glad, as I started writing this post, I realized that I never shared this Father's Day wall hanging on the blog. I'm going to have to pull it out and hang it up today!
I actually sewed this about a year and half ago as a pattern for the Sweet Celebrations with Moda Bakeshop book. It's still fun for me to see it in print. I especially love it because the words on the wall hanging came from a song we would sing for Father's Day when I was a child.
I am so grateful for the father of my own kiddo's. I'm so glad I finally figured out a few years back how great it is that we're different; that we think differently, and do things differently. I've realized that's what makes us a better team. (I mean, I would have never in a million years have come up with this creative children's wardrobe solution/upcycled refashion.) Like my own Dad, he puts up with a fair amount of whining. And no just from the kids... I think he's one of the best Dad's there is.
Happy Father's Day, awesome Dad's everywhere.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee block #8 + an awesome giveaway

It's hard to believe that we are already on Block #8 of the Virtual Quilting Bee - which means we are almost half way there!
If you're new to the Virtual Quilting Bee click here for all the details as well as links to block and introduction to quilting tutorials. 
This month the block is designed and taught by Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts. Doesn't it look fancy? I'm so excited to learn Judi's technique for making this block. It is a little more detailed than some of our earlier blocks, but we are ready for a new challenge! Just keep in mind what I shared in my last post: pin your points when you sew and sew your seams with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. Don't forget to press carefully - don't stretch the fabric. You're going to do great!

If you are not familiar with Judi or Green Fairy Quilts, you must check out her blog to see her amazing quilting! Judi and her husband also own an online fabric shop specializing in pre-cut fabrics, specifically Moda's, at great prices.
And today Judi is offering to giveaway a fat quarter bundle of Moda's new collection Baby Jane by Cosmo Cricket. I have been seeing sneak peaks of this line popping up in social media land and I am totally smitten. I may have break down and get some!
If you would like the opportunity to win this pretty fat quarter bundle (a $90 value!) visit Green Fairy Quilts and sign up for their newsletter, come back and leave a comment telling me that you did. That way you'll get the latest head's up on the amazing sales, specials, and pre-order announcements when new things arrive in the shop. There's even a great sale going on right now! Giveaway open until Wednesday, June 19 at midnight, MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Winner: ELNMJune 14, 2013 at 7:04 PM
I'm already signed up for Green Fairy Quilts newsletter! Love this fabric line - soft colors with the pop of red. Many thanks for the inspiration! 

Thanks again to Judi for the latest block tutorial and for a snazzy giveaway to go along with it!