Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shabby Fabrics Sponsored GIVEAWAY!

We haven't done a good old fashioned giveaway just for fun around here in a quite a while.  So I'm so pleased today to share this one with you all, compliments of one of my sponsors, Shabby Fabrics.

A $20 gift certificate is going to one lucky reader!  And that gives you the opportunity to purchase anything you want from Shabby Fabrics.  I love the flexibility of gift certificates.

But not only is there a winner, Shabby Fabrics is also offering  a coupon for 10% off of an entire order for ALL my readers!  Yay!   The code is SFPIECES10  and is valid through Friday.  So get yourselves shopping!!

Here's just a few fun things that I found while running around on the site.... so tempting to buy them all!!


Go Find your own goodies!!


To enter the giveaway for the $20 gift certificate, leave a comment below.  

I've been teaching my daughter SLOWLY how to swim...I'd love if anyone has any suggestions for that!  Or any funny stories about learning or NOT learning to swim yourselves.  

Good luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not Your Mama's Bee - Month 2


So a group of friends and I have gotten together from across the country and started a sewing bee for our children.  This is month two and the kids are still in the "it's really exciting" phase ;)  Hopefully they can keep that up.  We all know how attention spans can become limited.  But I love this idea for both introducing my daughter to the idea that quilting is something you do WITH people and for the opportunity to show her different techniques and fabrics one block at a time.

This month is Faith's (freshlemonquilts) daughter's month.  And Faith and her daughter Avery set the bar a bit higher with a Pinterest board (which I'm totally doing with my daughter right after this post because her month is next).  Avery chose a theme of navy, dark pink, aqua, gold and white colors and any size star block.

So I let Caitlyn dive into my scraps with perhaps a bit of guidance toward what I thought would be good starter fabrics and then she chose the fabrics from the variety that she pulled out. Sound familiar?  I do that exact thing!

My daughter is 5 1/2, so there are definitely some steps that she needs some guidance with such as cutting and ironing and reaching the pedal to sew.  But we are learning something new every time.
This month, with a star block, I decided to introduce her to the fun world of Accuquilt die cutters.  She's been eyeing those machines her whole life I think and I  had a new die from them, the kite die which I thought could be interpreted as a star.

Accquilt Kite Die with her pieces laid out

The beauty of using the die cutter is that Caitlyn was able to "cut" all of the fabrics herself...and she got some pretty specific shapes.  Plus it made it easier to make sure that all of her edges were line up since the cutter is designed to help you do all of that.


Here's a video of her using it for the first time!!  Isn't she adorable?!


I had her put the blocks on the design wall to lay out her pattern and understand how all of those pieces fit together.  We auditioned all of the fabrics and we decided that her initial pink fabric was not quite what we wanted so she went back to the stash pile and chose another fabric that worked much better...so we got to talk about contrast and such.  Good lessons!


I'll admit that she was a bit squirrely this time while sewing...let's chalk it up to summer.  But we only had one block to make and it really didn't have too many seams in the end.


My silly girl was excited to take her first picture of her own quilt block (I don't know why I didn't think of that last time).  And I was cracking up because she immediately put her feet in the picture...creating that classic photo that so many have horrors of - the foot picture! lol  Oh well.  Little kid feet are allowed I think. ;)


Then she gave me a variety of posed pictures based on emotions (this girl has a future in entertainment somewhere) and we ended up with fun group of photos.




Now we just need to decide WHAT she is going to want for her month.  She tells me she knows.... but I don't know WHAT that means. lol

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Dream

Sometimes there are moments when you decide to be vulnerable.
And this is one of them.

I've decided to share a dream that I have with you all.  It's scary for me to share because I've kept it close to my heart for so long.  But I realized that I was holding it close, practically squeezing the life out of it, because I was afraid.

Afraid that I will fail.

Afraid that people will laugh at me behind my back for thinking I could even try.

Afraid that people will kindly pat me on the head, say good luck, and not really mean any of it.

Afraid that I will succeed.


Can you guess what my dream is? To design.  To design fabric or stationary or puzzles or stonewear or push pins or anything!

I've been teaching myself Illustrator since November (with a long hiatus in the spring when I needed to get some major sewing done) and then reteaching myself it this summer.  It's a HUGE program that can do infinitely more than I know how to do with it.  I've been taking a couple online classes and then just TRYING.

I don't consider myself an artist.  That's a touchy word for me actually.  But I do see myself as a Designer.  I'm comfortable with that word.  One of my degrees is in Interior Design.  I've written a book and designed NUMEROUS quilts, bags and projects over the years.  I live color.

This just feels like the next step for me.

And that is exciting and scary.  Exciting because it might happen and then all new challenges arise.  Scary mainly because it very well might NOT happen.  I'm prepared for that.

But nothing comes from being too afraid to try. Too afraid to take the risk.  Too afraid to look like a fool.  Too afraid to fail.

And so I'm inviting you into my dream.  To maybe share that same dream.  Or even just see how hard it can be for some of us to take a leap into the unknown.  But I'm hopeful that sharing this with you all will give me support.  Hands to hold on to me if I fall.  Hands to help lift me up.  Hands to pull me to the next height.  Hands to clap and Hands to surround in hugs.

Will you be those hands?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lone Star Vintage Quilt

I did it!  I bought my first vintage quilt top the other day.  I got a random phone call from a totally random person I know (who I've probably never talked to on the phone) telling me about a garage sale in her area.  The woman running the garage sale was selling a bunch of fabric and this friend knew that I quilted so she thought to call me.

I'm not a garage sale person usually (mainly because it usually requires early morning hours) and I rarely answer my phone when I don't have the number plugged in.  But I DID answer it and I DID go to the sale.  I thought the fabric might be a bust but at the $1 a yard price I figured it was worth looking.


Turns out the woman had a mother who quilted who had passed away and was selling off her fabric stash (which made me want to put into my will what my fabric should sold for!).  For the most part the fabric wasn't my style but it was all good quality fabric and I so wished I knew someone who would quilt with it bc that's a BARGAIN price.  She also had a superb collection of vintage linens that she was slowly destashing and those were so beautiful.  I don't collect them myself but I can appreciate their beauty and work.

What I did end up finding was a quilt top of a Lone Star done in gradating shades of yellow.  It is beautifully pieced and in near pristine condition.  The few little age stains on the white fabric just make me love it more actually.  I've been wanting to make a Lone Star quilt for ever.  Seriously.  I think since I started quilting, this pattern has grabbed my attention.  And the solids and yellows are just perfect for me.  It is truly timeless.  The woman had bought it as at an estate sale and planned to use it for a tablecloth. (!!!)

I feel like I've rescued it and it is in a home where it will be truly loved as the creator of it (whoever that is) meant it to be.  I paid $40 for the top and it's about 80" x 80".  I did the garage sale barter thing and even had her throw in a few pieces of fabric and yards of eyelet lace.  I could tell she wasn't emotionally attached to the quilt top since it was not her mom's work so I didn't feel too badly doing that.

Now I have to figure out how to quilt it and bind it etc.  I don't know if I should add anything to it to make it larger and bed size or if I could keep it that size and hang it.  Hmm...80" is probably too big to hang in my house.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

To all my US friends, I hope you have a safe and happy 4th of July!!

Oh and just bc I know I'll get asked... yes, this pattern is available!  You can find it now in the most recent issue of McCall's Quilting Magazine.  More details HERE.

Sorry for the quiet over here lately.  My birthday was two days ago and I've been busy celebrating turning 36. ;)  This is always a fun time of year for me. But I did manage to start cutting out a quilt last night..so hopefully I can get into the groove of sewing again.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Profile Quilt - A tutorial

I promised you all a tutorial a while back for the profile quilt I made for a school auction for my daughter's Montessori school...and I'm finally here to deliver.  This idea is perfect for charity quilts like I did, teacher's gifts with her students, a family tree sort of quilt, or really any way you can think of putting profiles on a quilt or frame.

Profile Quilt

This quilt can be customized to any size, given the block size, the profile size, and the number of profiles that you want to include.  So my directions will be slightly generic on actual cutting instructions (though I'll tell you approximately what I did).  I just want you to know that it is adaptable to your needs.


Fabric - I used a number of solid color fat quarters that is approximately 1/2 the number of profiles.  So in my case, since I have 25 profiles I need about 13 fat quarters.  *this size worked for the size profile I used, but remember to adjust this amount if you are drastically changing the size of anything

Printable Fusible - I used a product by June Tailor that allowed me to print out pictures on a fusible that I could apply to the fabric. I needed a printable paper backed two sided fusible and this is what I found.  It was a bit of money to get as many sheets as I did but well worth it I think.  Follow the instructions on the product.
Profile Quilt

Photo Editing Software and Camera - Any camera and software will do.  I took my pictures with my good camera and edited them using picasa.

Basic Sewing Materials - Iron, Thread, Scissors, etc.


1.  Take individual photos of children all facing one direction (to the side for the a profile).  To make sure that the kids were all looking exactly the same way, I had another kid stand in one spot that they all looked at.  It worked well and helped keep them focused.

2.  Edit the photos of the children so that their heads are all approximately the same size when printed on a piece of paper.  I didn't go crazy over this but just eye balled it.  The pattern allows for plenty of room for error here.  OR in contrast, deliberately make the profiles different sizes for another effect. *note that we will end up with the image in reverse on the quilt, so be sure you are okay with that or reverse your image digitally now.

Profile Quilt

3.  Change your pictures to Black and White for easy contrast when cutting and less ink waste when printing.  Be sure your pictures fit nicely on an 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper (this is the size of the June Tailor printable fusible)

Profile Quilt

4.  Print out each child's face on the June Tailor Fusible.  I found the the paper curled a bit on itself due to the amount of ink being put of the paper fusible side.  So I printed one at a time and laid them out to dry flat on the floor.  *Don't worry about any imperfections in the printing.  Ultimately you just need the outline.

Profile Quilt

5.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions and iron on the printed profiles to a piece of fabric.  I trimmed down the printable a bit to waste as little fabric as possible.  I also used a pressing cloth to help protect my iron.

Profile Quilt

6.  Sit yourself down in front of the tv and put on a good show and break out your cutting scissors.  It is time to cut out every single profile.  Try to get as much personality as possible in the profile without making pieces that will be impossible to stitch down...you might find this particularly necessary around their hair.

My first profile! 25 more to cut out...who wants to help? ��

7. Lay out the placement of the blocks and colors. I used one profile per block and I *think* the blocks were 10" x 12" but don't quote me on that.  Whatever looks good to you. I chose to do an opposing loose rainbow theme with my colors and profiles and I really love how that turned out.  But school colors would be a great idea too...or black and white.  Whatever floats your boat.  

Okay! I think I'm liking this layout. Rainbow but not *too* rainbow. Now to iron them all in the center and stitch each down...

8. Remove the backing and iron profiles onto the background fabric.  I centered the profiles on the blocks by marking the center on both pieces and lining them up.

Profile Quilt

Profile Quilt

9.  Then it is time for "hard" part.  Stitch each profile down around the edges.  I changed my thread for almost every one and just used a slow and steady hand.  I find that an open toe applique foot works well because I can see where I need to go next.   This is definitely the bulk of the work for your quilt right here. 

Sometimes you want high five yourself! �� #montessoricharityquilt #profiles

Profile Quilt

10. And now an easy step!  Just sew all the blocks together.  Rows and columns...however you like.  And you will have a finished quilt top!!

Profile Quilt

Profile Quilt

11.  Then do the usual baste, quilt and bind as desired!  The amazing Penny Barnes quilted this for me and has my unending gratitude.  She truly has super hero powers.

Profile Quilt

Profile Quilt

Profile Quilt

Profile Quilt

I hope you all find this useful and that there are lots of profile quilts out there after this!  The teachers LOVED it and could spot each student immediately from their profile.  They ended up being the ones to win the quilt and it will be at the school.  I sort of totally love that. 

Profile Quilt

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

For Keeps

Today I am so happy to share with you all a wonderful new book written by a wonderful person. (I love when the people I love are legitimately good at what they do!) My dear friend Amy Gibson of sticherydickorydock just released her first book, For Keeps, and I just HAD to share it with you.


Amy's book is PERFECT for beginners (she has a real heart for teaching everyone how to quilt and sew) and so her book has a dense section called " A Patchwork Primer".  It is filled with instruction after instruction on how to everything from piecing basics to foundation and paper piecing.  It's a great resource for anyone looking for a comprehensive list of "basic" techniques. 


But truly my FAVORITE part of Amy's book is the meat of it I think...and that is the next two sections, entitled Memory Makers and Memory Keepers.  

Her concept is how some quilts are used in our lives and literally become part of our memory of the event.  Movie night with the kids?  Pull out the Popped Quilt (seen above and on the cover).  Dinner with friends?  Throw a quilt over the table as a table cloth or spread it at the picnic.  Her quilt Potluck is perfect for that!


And after you have made memories, sometimes you want to create a quilt to KEEP the memories. "These projects are intended to help preserve the memories of times gone by  - to honor those things that are worthy of honor, and bring these stories to life in a practical and beautiful way."
Her section titled, Memory Keepers, is filled with projects that do just that.


Amy also has a second site set up just for the book, Quilts For Keeps, and the premise behind the book.  As she says:

"Why do you sew? Who do you sew for? Does your patchwork give you joy, and bring your family together? We’re refocusing our hearts and committing ourselves to a more thoughtful mindset when it comes to our quilting and sewing intentions. Make a statement and join this uplifting campaign!"

Amy's heart is truly in the right place when it comes to sewing.  She is sewing with intention and purpose.  She is doing it to bring more beauty to the world (she and I see so eye to eye on this!)


And Amy even has a fabulous free tutorial for a darling house block available if you go to her site, Quilt for Keeps, and take the pledge.  Plus you can make a few charity blocks and send them to Amy who will be sewing quilts for Charity with them.  She's putting her money where her mouth is.  

Oh and by the way, if you didn't think Amy was already super talented, let me tell you that she is the force behind this book in so many ways.  Amy was the main photographer for her book and sourced her own props and locations and of course models (many of them family!) to showcase in the book.  It is truly HER story.  A rare thing to get in a book these days. 


So hop on over to her site and take the pledge, buy her book, or just spread the word about this lovely lady.  She's the real deal in every way.  


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