Thursday, February 26, 2015

Accuquilt Go! Big (and a giveaway made by me!)


I'm so excited to be today's stop on the Blog Hop for Accuquilt's newest die cutting machine, the Go! Big.  I was honored to be asked to give this machine a try.





·        The GO! Big is AccuQuilt’s fastest cutter giving you the ability to cut two 6” wide dies side by side at the same time
·        It is safe & easy to use. It maximizes efficiency and alleviates hand and arm strain
·        All GO! Dies can be used in the GO! Big, plus there are 5 NEW GO! Big dies that are used exclusively with the GO! Big. The larger die boards allow you to cut a 12 ½” finished block with just one die.


Feel free to laugh at me, but I even filmed a little homemade video with the help of my brother (and a little less help from my daughter) on how this works!  I'm in love!!



With the Churn Dash die and cutting just the HSTs from it, I was able to get going on a fun wall hanging.  

Andover Fabrics provided us with fabrics for the blog hop from their Downton Abbey collection.  But I was a bit stumped by what I wanted to do.  And then I got a little package in the mail from Art Gallery Fabrics and their Maker collection.  The two together made perfect sense to me.  All of the low volume fabrics from Maker helped balance those darker saturated colors from Downton Abbey.

And so...Manners and Manors was created.

Manners and Manors


I paired the fabrics together in high contrast combinations and laid them out in a random pattern.  Then I quilted the whole piece with three different colors and weights of thread for texture. And I LOVE that!

Manners and Manors


But HSTs alone were not enough for me and in the end, I felt it needed a bit of something extra.  So I raw edge appliqued the Dowton Abbey Manor onto the piece.  Those towers are only about a sewing machine needle wide...so it was some detailed work!

Manners and Manors

And then reaching into my stash, I finished it up with the perfect backing and binding to tie everything together.  

Manners and Manors

And the end is one wall hanging perfect for the avid Downton Abbey fan measuring about 2' x 3'.

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And guess what?!  I'm giving it away!

Yes.  One of you will be the lucky winner to own or gift this wall hanging to the Downton Abbey fan in your life.  I just feel like it belongs with someone who LOVES the show.  Make someone's day or your own by entering to win!
Oh! and I'm also giving away the rest of the Downton Abbey fabric I have which includes ones you see in the quilt and some other colors like a gorgeous Blue.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear what you think about the new die cutter.  But if not, then let me know what you love about Downton Abbey.  I made it through the first season myself but never got past the 1st episode of the second season.  So share!!  About either one or both!


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Follow Along on the Whole Blog Hop to see what everyone is making!

Monday Feb. 23rd: Bea Lee - http://www.beaquilter.com/ - GO! Big Snails Trail – 12” Finished
Tuesday Feb. 24th – Haley Pierson Cox – The Zen of Making - http://www.thezenofmaking.com/ - GO! Big Circle – 4”, 6”, 7”, 8”
Wednesday Feb. 25th – Lee Monroe - http://www.maychappell.com/ - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring – 12 ½” Finished
Thursday Feb. 26th – Angela Pingel – Cut To Pieces - http://cuttopieces.blogspot.com/ - GO! Big Churn Dash – 12” Finished
Friday Feb. 27th – Jodi Nelson – Pleasant Home - http://www.pleasant-home.com/ - GO! Big Square – 10” (9 ½” Finished)
Saturday Feb. 28th – Connie Campbell – Free Motion by the River - http://www.conniekresin.com/ - GO! Big Snails Trail – 12” Finished
Sunday March 1st – Sherri McConnell – A Quilting Life - http://www.aquiltinglife.com/ - GO! Big Churn Dash – 12” Finished
Monday March 2nd – Belinda Karls-Nace – Blue Ribbon Designs - http://blueribbondesigns.blogspot.com/ - GO! Big Square – 10” (9 ½” Finished)
Tuesday March 3rd - Karen Way – Sew Many Ways - http://sewmanyways.blogspot.com/ - GO! Big Double Wedding Ring – 12 ½” Finished
Wednesday March 4th – Elizabeth Evans – Simple Simon and Co. - http://www.simplesimonandco.com/ - GO! Big Churn Dash – 12” Finished






Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Little Dresses for Africa - Progress update #1

If you've been with me for a bit, then you might recall that last year I expressed a desire to do more charitable sewing.  There are a lot of options for this out there and I get asked about quilting for charity pretty often (in fact I'm planning a pretty big quilt for my daughter's school fundraiser - more on that later).  But I wanted to do something that I didn't organize...that was pressure free for me in terms of deadlines and something that let me use the fabric that is sent my way or fabric from my stash. (I have A LOT in my stash)

So last month I got started...January.  My "goal" is to make three dresses a month but that might not happen.  I'm not going to lie...I don't think it's going to happen this month.  But that is why I chose Little Dresses for Africa.  I get to make darling cute dresses on my own time.

So I wanted to share with you the three dresses that I made last month.  Amanda Herring aka The Quilted Fish had sent me a 1/2 yard bundle of her line Magnolia from Riley Blake fabrics to play with.  And the sweet fabrics just begged me to patchwork them together into little dresses.  Dresses really need at least a yard of fabric just for a little one.  But you can get away with 1/2 yard combos if you are clever enough.  So I started combining fabrics and cutting away!

I used a couple of "easy" patterns from Simplicity and the like to make my dresses.  Little Dresses for Africa actually gives examples of MUCH simpler patterns from pillow cases which I think I'll tackle next in some larger sizes.

Little dresses for Africa.


Little dresses for Africa.


Little dresses for Africa.

Little dresses for Africa.


Little dresses for Africa.

Little dresses for Africa.


Aren't they ADORABLE?!  They make me so happy.  What is sweeter than pretty dresses?

My 5 year old daughter is used to me making little dresses for her so she didn't quite understand why these dresses were NOT for her.  I tried to explain that they were dresses for little girls who didn't have ANY dresses.  That was pretty mind boggling in her 1st world life.  But I was tickled later to find her cutting out a paper "dress" for her doll who she said did not have ANY dresses.  She needed to make clothes for her.  

One of those happy mom moments I'll hold on to.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

40 Bags in 40 Days




So you may not know but I'm Catholic.  And for Catholics (and perhaps other Christian churches - sorry for my ignorance!!) today is the beginning of Lent.  40 days of preparation for Easter.  Typically people try to give up something for Lent; make a sacrifice for 40 days as an acknowledgement of Christ's sacrifice for us.  I've got to admit...giving things up is never my first choice.  I don't feel like I allow myself too many pleasures...though I'm sure I do.  I personally have always felt more inclined to DO something rather than give up something.  Both are great ideas, I think that it depends on what feels like more of a gift to you.  To me, giving my time and doing things is a better reminder of what Lent is about than giving up a treat here or there.

Last year I remember hearing about 40 bags in 40 days.  And trust me when I say that this is something EVERYONE can participate in.  It was started to coincide with those celebrating Lent, but has become something that speaks to many people.  It is about simplifying and decluttering.  Letting go of the excess and giving life a fresh start.


Check out the link above for more details on this and how you might participate even a little in your own life.  I'm personally going to make it a goal to tackle something new every day.  Even 15 minutes to clean or tidy goes a long way when you do that for 40 days!  And you will begin spring with a fresh decluttered mind.


I know that personally I could probably spend all 40 days just in my sewing room.  You think I'm kidding.  I'm not.  And my sewing room is organized.  But there is excess and there are things to let go of.

- I've started already with a major tossing of tiny toys and junk that seem to mysteriously appear in my 5 year old daughter's toy box.  She's a great purger so it really helps.  She knows what she is done with.

- We've also gone through her bathtub toys and tossed the gross ones that probably had mold growing in them and moved some new toys into that bucket.

- I'm not counting them as my forty days but we recently did a MAJOR purge on her wardrobe and I made her try on EVERYTHING to see what fit and what she actually wore.  And guess what?  She's now wearing more than the one outfit she insisted on wearing every day.  She LOVES that everything is something she loves.  *I desperately need to do that for myself but feel like I need help*

- We went through the game closet and organized all of that. Had bags of things to get rid of!

- We went through her crafts and reorganized so it was more accessible for her.  She now has access to her scissors (God help us!  So far only one incident of doll cutting hair!).


There are cyber cleanups to do and shoes and bathrooms and cleaning supplies and oh so many things.  But remember...one day at a time and one little idea at a time.  I'm not in a rush.  I have 40 days.

Has anyone else done this?  Any tips?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Deliberate

Miss me?  Notice I wasn't around last week?  If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I was in beautiful WARM Florida drinking up some much needed sun and a bit of relaxation.  I say a bit because our first day of vacation was spend at Urgent Care and pharmacies where my 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia.  Sigh.

Florida Vacation

Florida Vacation


 But we actually think that the warm moist air really helped her cough a lot...and heck...we were all happier there anyways, so why not I guess.

Florida Vacation

Florida Vacation

We returned to bitter cold reality, literally landing in a snow storm with White Out conditions on the road.  What a welcome home!


But what I really wanted to share with you today is not the simple pleasures from last week, but rather my word for the whole year.  Each year I try to choose a word that reflects what I want to achieve or how I want to think or feel. I think I've shared those words with you all the past few years.  It is my way of thinking about the year in the new light rather than making resolutions for myself.  I'm one of those people who doesn't wait to change with the new year in terms of resolutions.  If I see a need for change then I act on it then.  But a word for the year...that's different somehow.  I like to have a year reflect a certain tone.  Then there are no feelings of failure if and when I inevitably fail at a particular resolution (like exercise more or keep a better temper or go to bed earlier...).


So all that talk...but what is the word you say?

DELIBERATE

One word.  But one big idea.



My goal for this year is to really take charge of my choices.  And not let myself be overwhelmed by them and say "yes" to everything.  It overwhelms me to know all the possibilities before me in all aspects of my life.  So I need to be more deliberate in the choices I make.  I do not want to be a victim of my choices but rather delight in them, knowing that each one was made with careful thought and consideration to all the other choices I'm making.


For me, it is an exercise often in restraint.  I need to be free to say "no".  That's hard for me.  HARD.  I'm a people pleaser and a perfectionist.  I want to do things a very particular way...and it takes its toll.  So I need to learn limits and I need to be focused.  All of which could have been great words of the year.  But what spoke to me most was DELIBERATE.

It's an ACTION.  It is not passive.  It's about being in control but not controlling or controlled.  It helps me sift through my options for how to spend my time, money, creativity and friendship and be peaceful with my decisions.  It doesn't mean decisions are not hard, but I am not being railroaded by life.

"When you’re living deliberately, you’re living from a position of responsibility; you’re making choices with greater awareness. You’re taken yourself off autopilot, so you’re better prepared to align your actions with the results you want to achieve.” 
– Lauren Mackler from her book Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness and Transform Your Life 
See more at: http://www.thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/10-benefits-living-deliberately/#sthash.v35hSLaH.dpuf

Deliberate.  Think about it.  Perhaps it is the right word for you as well.  Or maybe something else entirely speaks to you.  One year my word was JOY.  What is your word?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Me Being Crafty - Podcast Interview

Hey guys,
  I recently sat down to chat with Tsoniki on her podcast "Me Being Crafty".  We chatted about all kinds of things and I apparently was ready to talk because I talk a lot. lol



If you want to hear our convo you can catch it on her podcast.  Follow any of the links below to my specific interview and then check out the others.  That's what I'm going to do today while I'm sewing!

My show’s link:

iTunes link:


Stitcher link:


Friday, January 30, 2015

Crepe Dress in Black and White (and giveaway!)

*the giveaway is now closed*

Today I'm delighted to be a stop on the blog hop for Jennifer Sampou’s brand new fabric line, Black & White, for Robert Kaufman fabrics!


 I met Jennifer at Quilt Market this past fall and just had a blast with her.  There may or may not have been an evening of charades in the Hilton bar complete with singing by Amy Gibson and myself.  ;) It might be have been pretty epic.  When I wasn't laughing away after hours, I was on the market floor and able to see Jennifer's fabrics up close and in person.  When she asked me to be part of the blog hop, I thought about tackling a garment for myself with her yarn dies and an accent fabric from her collection.  And so, I made the Crepe Dress by Colette.



Crepe Dress

This is a wrap style dress designated by Colette Patterns as "beginner".  Hmm...well probably compared to their other patterns this is a beginner pattern.  But I think it is a bit more like an intermediate pattern for your average sewer.  The facings are a bit tricky...that's the main difficulty.  Well and the six darts in the bodice... And it requires a good amount of fabric.  There's at least 4 yards of fabric in this dress!

Crepe Dress

Crepe Dress

I'm decently happy with how the dress looks on me but I think that I might still need to do some alterations to fit my proportions better.  The bodice is a bit large on me in the center of the front.  And I'm not sure if there is supposed to be that much fabric in the bodice back wrap. (But isn't it pretty?!)

Crepe Dress

I love how flattering a wrap dress is for any body size.  I'm not feeling my smallest these days by any means with a post surgery body and this dress helped hide a lot of that.

Crepe Dress

I think you can see the beauty of Jennifer's fabrics in the photo above.  Her Studio Stash yarn die looks really lovely with her fabric from Black and White (with a not so easy to remember name AJS-15017-290 ASH).  

But if anyone has any suggestions for how the dress should fit me better please feel free to suggest away!! Because I'm certainly loving the wrap skirt!

Crepe Dress



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And now for some giveaway fun!

Taquito  prize on MY BLOG:

For a chance to win this little bundle of fabrics just leave a comment below.  You all know the drill.  Let me know your thoughts on the dress!

Congratulations to the winner, #89 Erin McSweeneyJanuary 31, 2015 at 9:13 PM
The dress is beautiful I love the belt 


FQ TOWER prize on Jennifer's BLOG


($84 value): Drawn from her comment page opening day only! Open to new and established followers. Instagramers must sign up on blog and comment to be entered to win. You must comment on Jennifer's blog by February 8th about which project they were most inspired by and what they would make with the fabric if they win. 
Drawing February 9th. 


 Follow Along with the Entire Blog Hop!
January 31 Angela Pingel
February 2 Sarah Sharp
February 9 Jennifer Sampou Announce Winner. 


What's your Remix - A contest with Cotton and Steel fabrics and The Fat Quarter Shop



Eeep!  I meant to blog about this sooner but my blogging week has just been packed this week!  But The Fat Quarter Shop is running a super fun little contest where you get to play with your favorite combo of fabrics from Cotton and Steel that they carry.  I love opportunities like this because i just love to mix and match fabrics between collections.

So the bad news is that the contest ends TODAY.  (Again, sorry!) But the good news is that you still have time to play if you hop on this.  I put my collection together days ago when I saw this but am finally posting it here.  Frankly there are really no wrong or bad concoctions to work with with such a broad range of design styles and colors.  But here is what I came up with:


You can find my list of fabrics on my pinterest board if you are interested in the particular fabric names.  But go have fun and make one of your own.  All the contest details are on the link to the Fat Quarter Shop above. 


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