Monday, February 8, 2016

Craftsy 1000th Class Celebration!

I've been a little quiet over here but never fear...every day is filled with fabric.  And some of it is REALLY exciting.  But I can't share all with you yet. (Do you know how frustrating it is to be working on things that you cannot share?  #firstworldproblem)

But in the meantime, another thing I've been doing is exploring some of the classes on Craftsy.  Since I filmed My class with them, on using Precuts to create Disappearing Blocks, I've been anxious to explore all of the classes they have to offer.

Just last night I was watching a photography class that made me want to understand it all even more and get out there and practice!

Lucky for you all, Craftsy is celebrating their 1000th class with a special sale on their most Wishlisted classes.  They are 50% off.   Here are a few that I would recommend or plan on taking myself.

I've been watching this class on family photography.  I have found it particularly interesting because the teacher, Kirk Tuck, is not working a studio.  They are out and about working with real sunlight issues and trying to capture the best picture with kids who are not models.  And he spends the whole time teaching a dad how to use his DSLR camera and the kinds of settings to use.  Some of the technical part is over my head, but I've certainly gained some great tips for photography.  And I just want to take more!

Click on the photo or my LINK here and you can get this class for 50% off!

Not into photography?  Or just can't tackle it yet?  How about this quilting class on Jelly Rolls.  Having just done a course on precuts, I'm eager to see the other exciting things that people are doing with them.  And you've got to admit that the cover quilt here is stunning!  I'll be watching this one next!

Click on the photo or my LINK here and you can get this class for 50% off!  Then the class is only $14.99!

There are oodles of classes to check out.  Just click over to the site HERE to see them all!

And don't forget, you can always get 50% off of my class right here on my blog as a special thank you for being a follower!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Not Your Mama's Bee - January Edition

Well another month has come and practically gone.  And before it ended, we had a little matter over here of getting a six year old to buckle down and sew a block for another little girl that she's never met in person. LOL.

Yes.  It's another edition of "Not Your Mama's Bee".
Take your anxiety meds.  Grab a stiff drink.  Eat some chocolate.  Because you are about to sew with a strong willed child whose attention span seems to be split second at moments.


This month's block was for Lee's (of Freshly Pieced) daughter Elsa.  It's a darling block from a pattern by Holly DeGroot called The Amsterdam Quilt.  Caitlyn selected fabrics from my plentiful wall of fabric based on the color preferences of Elsa with a refreshing lack of concern for how the prints might look together.  I actually learn a lot by the freeing way that she chooses what she wants to use. 


Given her age and abilities, this block was fairly mama heavy in terms of cutting and reading the directions.  I was working with her on sewing on a straight line, and we definitely made some progress on that! And reminding her to sew with the Right Sides Together...or as well call them, The Pretty Sides together.  

I will admit that in my effort to have her follow the pattern herself, I followed only the pictured instructions.  Well that meant that I missed a crucial step where we were supposed to trim down the HSTs of the leaves.  So we finished putting it together and I just chalked up the weird seams to the fact that I was having a six year old sew them.

But nope.  It was mama's fault for not reading the directions.  So after we were all done and she went on her merry way, I undid most of the block so that I could trim down those triangles.  Then the block fit together beautifully.  :p 

I feel a bit guilty that the end block is only half sewn by Caitlyn, but it was originally all sewn by her.  And trust me.  There was NO WAY that she was going to sit down and sew this again.  lol


But now, having sewn half of the block and cutting it all...I would TOTALLY make this quilt myself.  It's darling!  And a great option for a bee quilt like we are doing.  Just be sure to trim down those HSTs for the leaves and you'll have no problems! ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sister Sampler Quilts and Giveaway!!

*the giveaway has ended*

My dear friend AnneMarie Chany has a brand new book out and boy is it pretty!!  It is full of great block patterns to make the most interesting samplers.  I think my favorite blocks might be her inverse pattern blocks.  You can see an example of those in the bottom pictures of the picture below.  She's played with color placement to change how you see a block pattern and it's completely genius.  I've done that on occasion but she's been playing with the concept for a couple years now.  

Fons & Porter/F+W; $19.99

Her color schemes in the book are bright and juicy, so there is lots of eye candy.  But for my stop on the blog hop I wanted to try something a little different.  It's actually totally out of MY comfort zone.  I'm more familiar with choosing colors like AnneMarie did.  But life is about growing right?  So I tackled her Moon & Star block with some different fabrics.

I couldn't resist a block with curves!  

And I wanted to try a new to me way to trimming HSTs!  Someone mentioned it on Instagram, that instead of trimming the square while it was pressed open.  To instead, trim it while it is still in triangle shape (before you press it open).  


I'm not sure I got the best picture of exact measurements here, but this is what it looked like while I trimming.  You can see the seam along the diagonal side.  It is sewn together there.  And I am trimming the side and top edges to square it up BEFORE I press it open.

It worked like a charm!  I think I'll do that from now on.  Only two sides to trim instead of four!!


And didn't the colors and patterns turn out fun?!  Definitely a departure for me.  I'm working on using prints for the background rather than a solid.  And this tiny beautiful floral by Kim Kight from Cotton and Steel was too pretty to ignore.  I picked my other fabrics around that.

If I'm being totally honest then I would say that I *might* change the coral color to a lighter one to better balance with the light pink.  But that is part of my learning curve here.  I'm still struggling to find balance with a block of all prints and wanting to really see the beautiful design of the block.  It's such a great design AnneMarie!


And if you've read along so far, then now is your chance to get in on the giveaway.  One lucky reader will have a chance to own their very own copy of AnneMarie's book Sister Sampler Quilts.  

To enter, simply leave a comment below.  I'd love to know what your feelings are on samplers.  I personally struggle with them and my only UFO's left are all Sampler Quilts.  I just cannot figure out what to do!  I get tired of a typical sashing and all the blocks square.  I'd love something different.  Do you love them? hate them?  Never tried one?  Have a great finish you can share?  Let me know!!

Congratulations to the Lucky Winner!

I've only made one quilt so far - for my son's 18th birthday but I think a sampler quilt would be a good way to try new techniques.

Good luck!

And don't forget to follow along with the whole blog hop! There are tons of people sharing about this great book and you'll all kinds of blocks and quilts made up to get a really great idea of what AnneMarie's book is all about.

Monday, January 18  
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters - Introduction
Sara Lawson / Sew Sweetness

Tuesday, January 19 
Leah Day / Free Motion Project
Brenda Ratliff / Just A Bit Frayed

Wednesday, January 20
Faith Jones / Fresh Lemons Quilts
Angela Pingel / Cut To Pieces

Thursday, January 21
Lynne Goldsworthy / Lily's Quilts
Amy Friend / During Quiet Time

Friday, January 22
Christa Watson / Christa Quilts
Violet Craft

Monday, January 25
Lee Heinrich / Freshly Pieced
Melissa Corry / Happy Quilting

Tuesday, January 26
Karen Lewis / Karen Lewis Textiles
Amy Gibson / Stitchery Dickory Dock

Wednesday, January 27
Sherri McConnell / A Quilting Life
Melissa Mortensen / Polka Dot Chair

Thursday, January 28
Heather Valentine / The Sewing Loft

Friday, January 29
Cindy Wiens / Live A Colorful Life
AnneMarie Chany / Gen X Quilters - Wrap Up

Monday, January 18, 2016

All NEW Craftsy classes on sale!

There are only about 7 hours left on this fabulous sale!  ALL new Craftsy classes are on sale right now!

They are 50% off!!

So that obviously includes my own class, Disappearing Blocks with Precuts, but it also includes fabulous baking, cooking, knitting, crocheting, painting and all other kinds of goodies!

If you have been waiting for a class, then this is the time to grab one.  Oh and if you use my link, it helps me out a bit so I can keep doing all of this.  Click on any image to get to Craftsy.

 Someday I will actually make money.  I keep telling myself that. ;)  Good thing I love it.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Listen to me chat with Pat Sloan

This week I was on Pat Sloan's podcast American Patchwork and Quilting Radio.  

We chatted about working with precuts, my new Craftsy class and organizing fabric.  I was one of four! guests she had on that day (she was working very hard!) and I'm the last one.  I like to think that they saved the best for last. ;)  And the podcast is now live!

You can go to this link to listen

You can listen on their computer, subscribe by itunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting), or download to a player. 

 Enjoy!  Now I need to get brave enough to go listen to myself. Oih!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hand Dyed Bottle Brush Tree Tutorial

So I finally decided to join in on the bristle brush tree bandwagon!  I bought some last year with the intention of attempting to hand dye them but I chickened out.  This year I was determined to try it myself and gathered loads of information via pinterest.  But as always, somehow I can't just straight follow a tutorial.  My hybrid method follows the materials I have available, my patience, and well...just how things turn out.

These pretty trees have taken over the Christmas decorations and are my new WINTER decorations!  I've got to have something nice to look at while all the cold weather is around.

Tutorial for Hand Dyed Bottled Brush Tree

 - Bleach
 - Bottle Brush Trees (widely available near Christmas)
 - Containers for holding bleach
 - Metal Tongs
 - Glass for Dyes with Trees
 - Wilton Food Dyes
 - Glitter Spray (optional)

Step 1:
Gather Bottle Brush Trees, Container, and Bleach


Step 2:
Place Bottle Brush Tree in Bleach.  I didn't bother diluting it, but to be safe I just used my metal tongues to handle the trees and worked in a well ventilated area.


It doesn't take long for the bleach to start working.  But you'll notice that delightful brown color that came off.  I had to replace my bleach about half way through my bundle of trees.


Here's a tree that has been in the bleach for a minute or so compared to a fresh tree added to the bleach.


You can see how pretty the white tree is compared to the original dark green.  I was surprised at how the "flocking" on the trees stayed on so well.  If you look closely at the tree, you can see the white tips of "snow" on it.


Here are my trees all dye free.  I briefly rinsed them under a gentle stream of water to remove any bleach and set them to dry.  They are a lovely off white color.  I decided to keep some of my trees just like this!  


Step 3: Adding New Dye to the Trees.

I chose to go with Wilton Food dyes.  I had read that someone used them and had success.  And to be honest I didn't feel like paying for more dye.  I will say that for more intense colors than the soft red and green/aqua, I think I would purchase non food dyes.  The purple dye and peach dye did essentially least at the amounts that I used.


I used a glass partially filled with water and put a dollop of dye in.  I stirred it until dissolved.


I placed my trees upside down in the glasses and filled them over the sink until the water completely covered the trees.  I let the trees soak for varying amounts of time to achieve different colors.  I even double dipped some to get new colors.  Then I rinsed them and let them dry.


At first I wanted more intense color, so I was disappointed in my results.  But I LOVE them.  I don't know what my problem was. lol   They make me so happy.  Although I did decide to add one more step...just for fun.


Step 4: (optional)
Use a spray glitter to add a little extra something special to the trees.  This particular glitter created an all over shimmer to my trees.  If I had more patience then I might try hand painting each with glue and adding a thick chunky glitter.  Like I said earlier...this is all depends on my patience and products I had on hand. 


I added some bags of tiny trees to my little collection.  They just happened to be in similar colors as my larger ones and added some nice depth of color to my collection.  

I love how my collection turned out and next year I might attempt to do some more trees with more intense dyes to create a rainbow of trees.  But we will see...patience. ;) I sometimes have it and sometimes don't. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Word of the Year: Vulnerable

The past few years, I have taken on the habit of adopting a word for the year.  I have never really understood New Year's resolutions and waiting until a new year comes around to start changing.  I'm just not wired that way.  But a word.  A word that describes my goals and my heart.  That makes a great deal of sense to me.  It is something to embrace; something to aim for.  But it not something that I will fail at.  It is my motivation, but not my pressure.

I've chosen some great words in the past: fun, joy and last year's, best word so far.  I'm getting better at choosing the very particular word for myself that describes my heart.

And so, this year?  My word?  My word is VULNERABLE.

Oh that's a tough one.

I first really heard about the word vulnerable and vulnerability from my therapist (yes, I have a therapist...vulnerability acknowledgement #1).  She suggested an amazing speaker and therapist Brene Brown.  If you have not heard her Ted Talk on Vulnerability, do yourself a favor.  Drop everything right now and go watch it on youtube.  It has literally changed my life.

All kinds of people are using her words as you can see.  She is just one quotable phrase after another.  One pearl of wisdom after another.  I need to go listen to her again...and read her books again.  She was the person who introduced the concept of vulnerability as a strength.  And not just a strength but something necessary to FEELING.  

I am using the word vulnerable in two ways this year.  One is for the way that I think of when I think about Brene Brown's version.  The idea that vulnerability is the root to strength.  That without letting ourselves be vulnerable, we will never experience the true high of happiness.  You can't have success if you never risked anything to have it.  

I've been using this word this way for a couple of years now.  It has changed the way that I think about risk and love.  I'm willing to share more of myself because I understand that without sharing my goals and risks, I will never truly experience the joy of realizing accomplishing those things.

Being vulnerable allows me to embrace my imperfections.  Something that I truly struggle with as a type A personality.  I fight the need to be perfect.  I want to be gentle to myself.  And that means embracing imperfections.  But when you allow imperfections,  you open yourself up to vulnerability.  
For instance, I recently chose when filming my Craftsy class to not freak myself out over every tiny detail.  And of course, someone called me out on it.  Not in a mean way, but in a way that just asked why I didn't suggest the "perfect" way to do something.  As the teacher, she assumed I would do things perfectly.  But I had chosen to let it go.  But that means that I need to answer humbly, knowing that her way is indeed more "perfect" but knowing that I had made the choice to not be perfect....terrifyingly hard for a perfectionist.  People notice. 

So I make choices.  These are indeed choices and not something I am forced to.  But it changes the way that I might present myself.  No longer "perfect" and "pulled together".  I never have been, but there is always that temptation to present the world with that view.  

I have shared my dreams and goals, knowing that they may easily never come true....or if they do that I won't actually want them.  All of these things are extremely vulnerable.

But I said this was twofold.  And by that I mean that I also understand vulnerable not just in a way I choose to present myself.  But also an acceptance of who I am.  I am a person who is literally vulnerable....or rather my health is.  I have new diagnoses that make me more and more aware of the limitations on my body and my health.  I will not be able to do what I do forever.  I will experience pain and suffering and have indeed already done so.  I will have days that are tougher than others and days that are better.  To put it succinctly, I am not quite sure what my body will do and where I will have strength.   

So this last quote below is especially true for me this year.  Be gentle with yourself.  I really am doing the best I can.  That will look different at different times.  You all may never hear me talk about it again, but I am on a personal health journey that requires to me acknowledge my own personal vulnerability.  

So in body and in mind, I am vulnerable.  I embrace it.  I will discover more about it.  I will be open and sometimes I will be shut off.  All because of that vulnerability.  But I know that I am striving for goodness and for health and happiness.  Vulnerability is part of the package.  Much like how without sadness, we cannot have joy...without vulnerability, we cannot have strength.


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