Monday, February 28, 2011

Charity {updated}

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Margaret's Hope Chest is using this tutorial!
In browsing through some blogs that linked to my blog this morning, I stumbled across a post that really left me disheartened and asking the simple question of really?  Typically, I enjoy finding new blogs this way but this was not one of those times.

Quilters are some of the most generous and caring people I know.  We make quilts that provide physical and emotional warmth for the recipient of that quilt.  Most often we know who we are making the quilt for but there are also amazing charity quilting groups who give quilts to complete strangers.

But when did we become picky and selective about someone who wants to help make a quilt for someone less fortunate?   I am all for making a quilt that is both practical and beautiful but does someone in need care about a quilter's style?  I doubt it. 

What would happen if quilters and other artists stopped donating to charities for fear of their work being judged as not being good enough?  Charities already struggle enough as it is...

I love designer fabric, pretty points, matching seams, modern design, and flawless quilting just as much as the next quilter.  But what I don't love is exclusivity and outright rejection because of someone's style or skill.  There shouldn't be a "in" crowd of quilters because that's just jr. high.  For me, quilting is about the art and the time invested doing something that I love... and if it helps someone else, that's even better. :)

Is it a group's right to exclude?  Sure.  But we are all different with different strengths and weaknesses and when it comes to helping someone in need, {to me} that is the last place with room for such behavior.

I debated writing this for about half a second but I think that "we" all need the occasional reminder about what is important, that quilting is not a competition, and that style is nothing more than personal preference.  In writing this post perhaps I am turning in my designer fabric card but oh well.  I would rather do that, be real, and continue to quilt without obligation.

Edited to add: after receiving several emails from some who applied to this group because of my encouragement and were then declined because of their style, etc; I wanted to apologize to anyone else who may have had the same experience.  Margaret's Hope Chest is a wonderful quilting charity and they just started a bee open to anyone who wishes to volunteer!  I am no longer a member of the exclusive "charity" group and I will be focusing my charity quilting efforts with Margaret's Hope Chest.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Breaking Up

Pin It So after doing my business taxes and seeing the amount of fees that I have been paying, I have decided to break up with Etsy.  Now, I love Etsy and I will always shop there because of the incredible artisans and suppliers that sell there... but I can't seem to build in enough markup to justify what it costs me when I sell something.

Goodbye, Etsy... Hello, That Girl The Shop right here on my blog!  I really like having everything self-contained here with a more seamless feeling.  Plus, I can house my PDF patterns and make them instantly download-able in my shop here which was impossible on Etsy.  And BTW, I am about to have several new patterns done... yay!

The shop is still a little bare bones from a design standpoint because a lot of it is up to me and what I want to do HTML-wise which is definitely more of a Steve project. ;)  But in the meantime, I'm still excited because it's very cost effective and easy to manage.

I hope ya'll are having a wonderful weekend...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fabric {Friday}

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I was down with a stomach bug yesterday but fortunately it was just the 24 hour variety.  So while I was feeling sorry for myself and my stomach look what appeared in my mailbox! 

I instantly felt better.  I wonder if Steve would believe that 9 out of 10 doctors recommend new fabric for sickness??

Metro Living yardage from Marmalade Fabrics

I bought the White Rings on Pewter a few weeks ago and loved them so much that I went back for more.  I'm also loving the two colors I'm missing plus Tammy has Essex Linen now.  I am seeing another order in my near future.  *cough cough sneeze*  I think I need some more fabric!

I have been making a concerted effort to add more use-able fabrics to my stash.  I am drawn to the gorgeous larger scale prints but sometimes those aren't the most practical for making a quilt out of.  So once I organized my stash it became very clear what I was lacking.  The basics... the polka dots, smaller scale prints, solids, stripes, etc... all the fabrics you need to pair with the beautiful large scale prints.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I will be working on a tutorial to show ya'll how I made my zig zag quilt in between other projects and a busy weekend...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rounded Quilt Corners {a bias binding tutorial}

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Thanks for all the awesome comments on my Bliss quilt!  I got more than a few questions and requests to show how I did my curved or rounded corner binding so I thought I would do that today. 

Curves might look a little frightening but if you cut your strips on the bias and piece them together properly you are almost golden.  When you are done you will have a unique and eye-catching quilt!  It might seem like there are a lot of steps but if you take them one at a time, you will be surprised how fast this goes.

Preparing your quilt:

I used a Pyrex bowl and placed it on the edges of each corner.  Center it on the angle and trace with a marking pen or pencil. Repeat for each corner and then carefully trim along your traced lines.

Making the Bias Binding {this is super easy and fast}:

Open your fabric with no folds

Fold your bottom selvage side up to the cut side create a 45 degree angle

Turn the fabric so that the fold you just made is on your left

Fold up on top of the first fold

Fold down

Cut off the left fold {this is a really thin strip} 

 Cut your strips {you will be left with two triangles on the right}

*I always cut my binding strips 2 1/4" wide but this tutorial will work with whatever size strip you like to use*

Now match your ends and stitch them together with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Press your seams and then press your strip in half width-wise to make your binding.  You are now ready to attach your binding!

Attaching your binding:

Lay your binding strip with the raw edges matching the raw edge of the quilt.  I highly recommend using a walking foot if you have one.  I don't pin the strip to the quilt but if you are more comfortable doing so then go ahead and do that.

Begin stitching your binding in the middle of one of the sides of the quilt.  Stitch until you get to the curve and stop.  Raise your foot with the needle down and turn your quilt slightly so that your foot begins to line up with the beginning of the curve.  Lower your foot and S-L-O-W-L-Y stitch around the curve. 

Don't stretch the binding, just let it follow the curve as you stitch.  {If you stretch your binding your corners won't lay flat}  If your fabric starts looking like it is getting a pucker in it; stop and raise your foot.  Tug gently on the strip and then lower your foot and keep stitching.  If you go slow it really isn't hard!

Continue attaching your binding like normal and repeat the the step above for each curve.  Once you get to the end, stitch your ends together with your preferred method.  Your binding is secure and now you are golden!

Finishing your binding:

Hand stitch your binding to the back of your quilt with your preferred method.  I use binding clips and they are especially helpful in keeping the curves smooth.  There really isn't a trick to stitching the curve down; just follow the curve and don't pull on the binding... let the binding clips do the work.

  Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bliss {is a finished quilt}

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This quilt contains a few firsts for me... including working with a layer cake {Moda Bliss} and making a quilt with lots of red in it.  I don't know what my aversion to red has been but I'm over it now because I.Love.This.Quilt.

The simple half square triangles {HST's}were arranged according to color make the zig zags.  I have avoided working with HST's but my fear of them was for no reason because it was a breeze putting this quilt together.

I have a thing about quilts having some sort of balance to them and I found my balance here by using rounded corners.  Don't you just love them? 

I used a variegated pink thread and quilted the red/pink rows with two double lines and the blue/green rows with single lines that follow the zig zag pattern.  I lengthened my stitch length and I really like the defined stitches I got by doing that.

It's backed with a vintage sheet that is so soft and complements the feel of the quilt nicely.  I love free motion quilting and its results but sometimes I forget how nice it is to read under a quilt that hasn't been quilted as heavily because it drapes so nicely.

Despite Steve's surprise, this quilt is going to live with me.  I suppose I could sell it but I just shipped my Swell quilt off to its new home and it is always a little sad to part ways with a quilt-baby.  But now I have another red and aqua quilt that makes me smile... 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Single {Girl}

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Chaney:  so there's this boy at school and he's really cute...

Steve:  what's his name?

Chaney:  *giggle*

Steve:  who are his parents?  where do they go to church??

Chaney:  *more giggling*

Steve:  does he have a job?  a car??

Chaney:  noooo... we are in first grade!

Steve seems to have his line of questioning down already.  I sure hope the right future boyfriends will be able to think quick on their feet because he's going to be well-practiced by the time Chaney is old enough to date!

I'm thinking that the Single Girl Quilt Along is going to be hit on all fronts at our house.  I'm making the quilt for Chaney's bed so it's only fair that she has a hand in the design...

Here are the fabrics that Chaney selected.  She even went as far as to pick Kona Sky for the background fabric and Kona Candy Pink for the binding.  She wants to use the left over scraps for a long strip down the middle of the quilt back... she has been watching me quilt even closer than I thought!

We had a lot of fun "playing quilt" together.  We talked about color value and the scales of the different prints.  And let me add that I didn't even say a word when she went for some of my prized fabrics although, I did steer her away from my voiles because I'm just not going to piece curves with slippery voile fabric. 

I think she has a great eye for color, don't you think?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poor Buddy

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Remember this?

All I can say is poor Buddy and...

...great job, Chaney!

Chaney won the special award for "Outstanding Pet Health Project" in the science fair.  We are so proud of her especially considering that she was competing against mostly older kids with her first entry ever!  The best part is that she thoroughly enjoyed the process and is already on the lookout for next years original project idea. 

I can't wait... :)

And for those wondering... according to the germ colonies growing in the petri dishes, Buddy by far had the dirtiest mouth, followed by Gus and thankfully Chaney had the cleanest mouth.  As her parent, I can't help but feel relieved!

See ya'll tomorrow with Chaney's fabric selections for the Single Girl quilt that I'm making for her...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Journal {Love}

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Tufted Tweets scraps
Don't you just love a good journal or sketchbook?  Me too.

Sherbet Pips scraps
As much as I try to be modern and design my quilts on the computer, I can't seem to get away from using colored pencils and paper.  I use Moleskine journals and I buy them in bulk.  I'm not a big scrap user but I really like embellishing my journals with them.

More Tufted Tweets scraps
Now while I have put my own spin on these, this is not my original idea.  The book that really got me interested in quilting and fabric, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, shows how to make these journals and a lot of other really cool fabric projects.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day!  Happy Fabric Tuesday!

Edited to add: I buy my Moleskines here. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Swell Day & A Winner

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First, thank ya'll so much for your kind words this weekend.  They meant a lot and I'm ready to tackle a new week.

As you can see, I finally got my quilt-in-the-snow pictures!  This is my quilt along quilt all done and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. 

Swell is one of my favorite fabric lines I loved being able to feature each beautiful print in it's own square.

The biding is Nicey Jane Hop Dot.  I really like how it repeats the color/white/color/white scheme of the quilt.

This quilt is now available in my shop :)

And now... thanks so much to everyone who entered the Impressions giveaway.  I hope you also found a great new shop in Marmalade Fabrics!  Who won??  Well...

According to True Random Number Generator:

Min: 1

Max: 161

Result: 115

Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Cindy Anderson of Rose Room Quilts who said, "I really love the Kona Cactus and also the Kona Ash".

Congrats, Cindy!  I'll be contacting you to get your mailing information.  And BTW, if you haven't seen her blog, go take a look.  She does beautiful work!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a *sigh* and something cute

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This was supposed to be a happy, look-at-the-cuteness post but I just can't seem to pull it together enough to fake it. 

Fake it 'til you make it... that's the old adage that I used to follow.  But that can become a slippery slope of  fake it 'til you make it a habit of faking it... and that's just not healthy.

People are mean.  People are sneaky.  People are ruthless.  People are selfish and greedy.  And of course, I am speaking of no one in blogland.  These people are real life ones that I have to deal with and sometimes it takes a toll.  The past few days have been like this so please excuse me for a bit while I restore my emotional compass back to working order.

Ya'll are the best and I very much value having a place to talk and be my quilty, crafty self even on those not so great days.  I'll be back on Monday to announce the winner of the Impressions giveaway and show a new quilt.  Promise. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

And now a word {about} sponsors...

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This stack available here...
I have received several emails about me taking on sponsors.  Of course, not in a rude or questioning sort of way... more of a genuine interest.  So today I thought I would take a few moments to have an open discussion with ya'll because I always want to be real here.

When I started this blog back in late 2009, I had no idea it would grow like it has.  I have made so many great quilting friends here and I wouldn't change a single thing about my blog.  Late last year I started getting inquiries about sponsorship I was surprised.  I thought that only the big blogs had sponsors!

So when 2011 rolled around and I was examining my own goals both personal and professionally, the subject of sponsorship popped up again.  The problem was, those asking to sponsor my blog were not people I know or have shopped with.  Now, I'm sure they are great shops and perhaps I will shop with them at some point but I could not in good conscience recommend online stores that  I do not have personal experience with.  I love my readers and ya'll deserve only the best!

And then there is the personal side of all of this.  I love to quilt, I love to write and I would do both even if my only reader was Steve.  But sewing and blogging take time and time is my most precious commodity.  So to have a little bit to show for it is a nice tangible benefit for my family... that and I'm not raiding the family bank account to buy fabric {I can hear Steve clapping right now}.  Additionally, we have had to make some adjustments to our budget recently because of another persons decisions and it stinks.  But like my Intersection{s} post, I can either complain or be resourceful.  I'm choosing to be resourceful because it's the right thing to do AND it's a lot more fun.

Lastly, I love supporting homegrown stores like Fresh Squeezed Fabrics and Marmalade Fabrics.  Both of these ladies are stay at home moms who are being resourceful.  I love that and I want to support them.  I don't ever want to have an entire sidebar devoted to sponsors.  I plan on taking on no more than three to four at one time because I don't read blogs for the advertising and I don't want my blog to feel like that either.  But if you want to know where I shop, that I will gladly share and at the same time hopefully send a few quilting friends to some awesome fabric shops.

Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a fat stack of Ty Pennington's Impressions fabric!  I will announce the winner on Monday and share my Swell quilt-in-the-snow pictures.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Impressions {Giveaway}

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 Have you seen Ty Pennington's debut fabric line, Impressions?  I bought some a few weeks ago and turned some of it into this pillow.

The details are gorgeous. 

The patterns are so balanced and symmetrical and the colors are fresh and bold. 

Would you like a stack of your own??  I thought so. :)

Meet my second sponsor, Marmalade Fabrics!  I have been shopping with Tammy and I just love working with her.  I especially love her rewards program!  She has great communication and her selection of fabric is unique.  She is also a talented quilter!  Here's a little about Tammy...

Everything changed for me in the spring of 2010 when I discovered modern quilting. I had quilted for years prior to that, but suddenly quilting moved from one of my hobbies to a full-blown passion. Less than a year later, I opened Marmalade Fabrics.

I've been married 7 years to a creative man-of-my-dreams and we have 2 sons; Quinten is 5 and Zach is 3 years old. I'm very content with my life as wife and mommy. Now that I've opened Marmalade Fabrics, I can say that I've finally found my professional calling.

Here's what Marmalade Fabrics is all about:

Exceptional Service (This has top priority in my book.)
Fair Pricing (A must for any business.)

Variety of Cuts (Order one fat quarter if that's all you need.)

Fair Shipping (Marmalade Fabrics offers free shipping on all orders of $25 or more shipped within the United States.)

Rewarding Returning Clients (Our rewards program is simple. Earn $10 free fabric for every $100 you spend in twelve month's time. Choose from any fabric in stock. It's like getting an additional 10% off every order.)

Offering Organic Options (I'm committed to offering organic cotton fabrics and eco-friendly batting as alternative choices.)

For me, Marmalade Fabrics is more than just a business, it's a passion to provide modern fabric to quilters & artists and to support the awesome modern quilting community.

Tammy has generously offered to give away a Fat Bunch of Impressions in the spice colorway!  How do you win?  Easy.  Head over to Marmalade Fabrics, visit the Kona Cotton Solids section, pick your favorite and come back and tell me.  I think you are going to love Marmalade's selection... :)

The giveaway will run through midnight on Sunday and I will announce the winner on Monday.  Good luck!

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