Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Craftsy Fabric and Classes

Hey all!  Just a quick post in between travels for me.  I just spent the most lovely vacation in San Diego with my husband and daughter....a much needed break for us!  And now I'm off to Sewtopia Atlanta. It's totally bizarre to be jet setting around like this, but I won't complain!

While I'm gone, you may want to check out some great new fabrics that Craftsy is now offering, Boundless Fabrics.  I'm sharing them because I thought that they would be perfect for my class there on working with precuts to make disappearing blocks!

Click on the Picture above for $20 OFF the class price!

According to Craftsy:
For quilting addicts, Boundless Fabrics is the brand of affordable indulgence that’s so stunning, you’ll want to use it for all your projects. Other quilting fabrics can’t compare to the quality hand, exceptional color and gorgeous prints of Boundless, especially at such a great value.

I'm especially loving these blues!!!

Click on any picture to check out more!

Oh and I am so excited to see that another fabulous class has been added to the list of classes available at Craftsy.  I'm definitely going to be taking this one!  Elizabeth Hartman has a new class, Patchwork Piecing, Woodland Animals.  If you are familiar with any of Elizabeth's recent patterns then you know she has a knack for creating creatures that are completely rotary cut (no paper piecing) which are utterly adorable!

There is Dwight the Deer

And Bjorn Bear!

How cute are her signature glasses?!!

So be sure to check out Elizabeth's Class too!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

One Sheep, Two Sheep, Read Sheep


I'm so excited to FINALLY share with you a bookmark that I made for a Valentine's day swap.  I had to keep it a secret until my partner received it.  But clearly we are past Valentine's day now and I can share it now.

My partner requested a bookmark that she saw on Pinterest which had the basic idea of the heart book mark.  It is made from two pieces of felt that are hand stitched together along the straight edges (the white floss).


And even though I used my favorite color blue and the white thread really pops, I knew that I wanted to bookmark to have a sweeter detail to it.  And so began my search for a cute embroidery.  I'm not a huge embroiderer AT ALL.  But I wish I was.  I find it to be super satisfying.  And of course adorable.  When I saw this little lamb/sheep embroidery I knew I had my cuteness factor.

The lamb is made almost entirely of french knots. tube to the rescue!!  I always need to look that up to refresh my brain.  There are tons of tutorials on you tube thankfully.  This is one of those things that I need to see in live action.  I get a better sense of the correct tension on the floss.  And I definitely got to practice a TON of french knots on this.

And I LOVE it.  This was hard to give away.  And totally worth making.  How cute would a little kid's outfit be with these embroidered on it?! Some one do that, okay?


And the embroidery had no effect on the ability of the book to lay flat.  I was pleased that even with that much stitching, the bookmark worked particularly well.  I will definitely be doing this again in the future.  And remember, if you don't want a heart, you can pretty much do this in any shape that will have two straight edges and an opening.

Give it a whirl. I bet you'll love it.  It's a great gift idea!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hummingbird Dress Maxi Style

I'm so excited about the dress I just finished for my six year old!!  The pattern is from RabbitRabbitCreations on Etsy (she's got tons of great patterns at great prices! I bought a bundle of five patterns to try out).  I was introduced to this pattern by my friend Emily and I've wanted to make more ever since.  The original dress looked darling on Caitlyn but she didn't love the fabric choices...she's crazy...those fabrics were awesome...but whatever.

This time she picked the fabrics and this was a trial run version for a third dress that she wants for Easter...made with a knit ruffle skirt!  So I needed to tackle this pattern again, on my own, and make sure I had the size correct.  And check on making it in the longer length like my fashionista daughter wants.

I'm so happy to say that it turned out beautifully.  I always hold my breath with clothing because you just never know until that fitting.  But the size was just right for her.

My daughter is six, but tiny for her age.  She wears a size 6 in a lot of clothes but I can still get her into a 5T if I need to...I made the size 5 pattern for her and it fit beautifully.  I might even take the elastic in the back slightly shorter on the next version.  She's a petite princess.

The dress is made from a quilting cotton on top, Simpatico, by Michelle Bencsko and the skirt is a lawn from Heather Ross' Tiger Lily Collection.  It is fully lined as well as I was concerned that the lawn would be too sheer.  It was iffy so I opted to line it.

It took me an evening to sew it together.  I'm not a fast sewer as I think I have mentioned before.  I'll go faster the next time because the pattern will be more familiar to me.

And thankfully she LOVES it.  I put it on her to try on and forced (err...asked) her to take pictures and now she won't take it off.  I just asked her if she likes it and she said "I don't like.  I LOVE it!"  High five mama!

Oh and I hope you have enjoyed her interpretive dance poses.  She kills me.  lol

Monday, February 15, 2016

When people ask "how are you?"

Am I the only one?  When people ask me "how are you doing" or "how are you?" I just don't know how to answer anymore.

I know that some people just want the "I'm fine, how are you?" response.  But I can't even give that convincingly anymore.  (My face doesn't let me lie even if I wanted to lol). I want to tell them what is really going on.  But I know that is too much for most people.  I need to find an abbreviated answer.

But for all are either going to stick around and read this...or you've already clicked away having figured out that this is not really going to be about a particular craft.

So how AM I doing?  It's pretty rough actually.  Well, it feels rough to me.  I already feel guilty for saying it is rough when I know so many people have worse problems.  But these are tough for me...and this is where I am when I am not creating.

In November, I was diagnosed with Ehler's Danlos Syndrome.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I.  Basically, it's a connective tissue disorder that is genetic.  I must have got it from one of my parents and my daughter has a 50% chance of inheriting it as well.  My type is Hyper mobility (there are some more deadly types).  Basically it means that I have a lot of pain that comes from unstable joints.  I'm working a lot on what I can do to help it from getting worse.  There is no "cure"....only treatments.

I regularly see a Dr for series of Injections to help regrow tissue (a painful, expensive, but thankfully slowly making a difference with my pain, experience).  I've been working on changing my diet to be anti-inflammatory because that is major trigger for pain for someone with my syndrome.

The diet has been extremely challenging for me itself.  I recently completed 4 week detox/cleanse elimination diet that was like hard core Paleo eating.  No grains, No dairy, No sugar.  No fun.  I've been Gluten free since August in an attempt to be anti inflammatory, but I will probably need to eliminate more than that permanently.

I'm trying now to SLOWLY add foods back in, but it's particularly difficult to see if they cause problems because I didn't gastrointestinal problems before with them.  I feel like I'm taking so much on faith and the long term goals of eating this way for my future and health.

It means that I spend days not able to move while I'm recovering from injections.  That I've already eaten more avocados than I knew I would (it doesn't help that I'm a SUPER picky eater to begin with).  And I'm trying to be a good mom and wife...let alone sew, design, write here, etc.

I've recently decided that for my health, I really shouldn't be quilting my own work anymore.  Which means investing in sending my quilts out to be long arm quilted.  Don't get me wrong...I don't mind that, but it's not free by any means.  lol   In fact, as I write this, my back is in a ton of pain, partially due to trying to quilt something.

I'm a person who likes to be in control.  And I'm definitely not in control right now.  There are a lot of tears and prayers and doubt about what the future will look like.  But I'm being as proactive as I can.  Once I get the diet under control, the next plan is to tackle physical therapy/exercise that will strengthen my muscles.  That is key because the other connective tissue is so weak, you need strong muscles to hold yourself together.  So hey, maybe I'll be a totally hot 40 year old in a few years! There's hope for that bikini body yet.  ;)

I tell you all this, not for loads of sympathy or attention.  I'm just trying to be transparent.  My word for this year is "Vulnerable".  And sharing this feels extremely vulnerable.  But it's also a reminder that I myself am vulnerable.  Every time I choose a project to work on, I'm making that decision based at least partially on how I feel physically.  Every time I blog or don't blog, it's based on if I can act like all I do is quilt and sew.  But I don't just do that.  I live my life.  And right now, even with some answers, I have a lot a questions and doubts and pain.

I hope to look back on this in a year and say "wow! look how far I've come from there".

Right now, I feel I relate most to this:


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


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