Friday, August 31, 2012

Giant Granny Panties {week 2}

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Welcome to week two of our Giant Granny Panties quilt along!

This week we are cutting our fabric.  This step used to cause me major anxiety as a new quilter; so much that I used to have Steve do it for me.  So I'll do my best to help ease any stress with some tips along the way...  A lot of this will be the basics so feel free to scroll down to the cutting instructions after you read the *important* notes.

Getting started:

- Start with a new rotary blade.  I always put this off and once it's changed I always wonder why I waited to long.
- Iron your fabric well.  I don't pre-wash my fabric but that's just my preference.
- Make some small labels {A-G} to pin to your fabric stacks.  This will help you keep the cutting requirements straight.
- Once you cut your strips, stack them in the same groups with their labels.  I'll be referring to the fabrics like this {A-G} from here on out.

- Because a cut of fabric always measures yardage x 44" or width of fabric, think through how you are going to make your cuts before you start cutting.  The last thing you want to have happen is to have purchased the correct yardage but then cut it the wrong way.  Measure twice, cut once! ;)

*these next instructions are important!  You will run out of fabric if you make your cuts the wrong way*
Cutting Basics:

*thanks to an alert reader who caught my labels being reversed.  This diagram is correct now*

A typical cut of fabric will measure 44" selvage to selvage.  The selvage is the tightly woven edge that usually has the fabric name, designer, etc printed on it.

The raw edge will be what is cut when the fabric it cut from the bolt.  When you have a yard of fabric, this side will measure 36".

Lay your fabric A out as shown and then fold it raw edge to raw edge. Smooth it out and you are ready to start cutting.

Line up the edge of your folded fabric on 0" and then take your ruler and place it at 7.5" on your cutting mat.  With your ruler held in place, use your rotary cutter to cut along the edge of the ruler. *if your ruler slips, you can spray a tiny bit of basting spray on the back of the ruler*

Cut six 7.5" strips.  Open up your folded 7.5" strip and cut it into two 15" strips.  Repeat this until you have twelve 7.5"x15" strips.

Repeat these steps with fabric B, cutting five 7.5" strips.  Open up the folded strips and cut them into two 15" strips.  Repeat until you have ten 7.5"x15" strips.

Repeat again with fabric C, but only cut four 7.5" strips and once again, cut those strips into eight 7.5"x15" strips.

*this next instruction is important too!*

Take your fabric D and this time, fold it selvage to selvage.  Cut three 7.5" strips and then open them to cut six 7.5"x15" strips.

Repeat with fabric E, but only cut two 7.5" strips. Open them to cut four 7.5"x15" strips.

Repeat with fabric F, but only cut one 7.5" strip.  Open your folded 7.5" strip and cut it into two 7.5"x15" strips.

With fabric G, cut it into one 7.5"x 7.5" square.
*You will have leftover fabric but don't worry, we won't be letting it go to waste!*

Cutting instructions:

-Fabric A - cut 12 7.5"x15" strips
-Fabric B - cut 10 7.5"x15" strips
-Fabric C - cut 8 7.5"x15" strips
-Fabric D - cut 6 7.5"x15" strips
-Fabric E - cut 4 7.5"x15" strips
-Fabric F - cut 2 7.5"x15" strips
-Fabric G - cut 1 7.5"x7.5" square

If you have any questions please let me know!  Have a wonderful weekend.  It's a long weekend for me that is hopefully full of some good sewing time!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Words {Decompressing}

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I love that word.  decompressing  It just sounds like the largest exhale one can muster.  And that feels very good.

I know I have alluded to enormous amounts of stress that Steve and I have been under; especially the financial kind.  I haven't felt like I could talk about it before now because much of it was tied up in the legal process.  The stress of this is what triggered my bout of depression and beyond that, feeling like I couldn't talk about the reasons behind the feelings left me stifled. 

The short of it is that I have received next to no child support for Chaney for nearly two years.  And during that same time Steve continued, like always, to pay his own child support for his two older kids so no money coming in + money going out = a big deficit.  He worked hard to help pick up the slack and in those two years because of the other family keeping what should have been Chaney's child support for themselves, Steve and I worked to not only support our household but we also indirectly supported their household.  Add in his two older kids and all of a sudden, we were essentially supporting 9 people in 3 different households. 

That's a big obligation.

And in my most overwhelming moments, I felt like it was my burden to bear, because it was my ex, and that was crushing.  In trying to manage my emotions I began to focus on being thankful for a job that allowed me to earn more by working more... but then that created an entirely new kind of stress.

We cut back drastically, and yes that includes fabric ;) , drained our savings, and pulled together as a family to make things work.  It was a tremendous test but we also saw over and over that God's provisions were always there; even when someone else was blatantly and willingly causing our hardships.

But then everything came to a grinding halt last Thursday with some long-time-coming accountability for others and some resolution for us. From there it's been one long decompressing breath for our entire household.

This week has brought a new and welcome change.  The emotional freedom from the clouds of anxiety hanging over me {& Steve} is a blessing for sure.  And even though it's still hot it feels like fall is just around the corner.  School started on Monday and we have taken more than a few thankful breaths.  New beginnings are nice sometimes and this is certainly a welcome one.

Chaney is now in 3rd grade, happy, healthy and suddenly silly which is new for her.  Judo started back on Monday night and while Chaney may not be bigger, she is stronger and is throwing unsuspecting boys {in class} with ease.  Violin lessons begin this coming Wednesday and all of a sudden we are back in our routine.  Yay!

What does all this have to do with quilting?  Not a lot really.  But I've always tried to be real here but  sharing about my struggles with depression without talking about the catalyst left things feeling rather incomplete for me.  So I write all this, first so that I can have a place of reference to remember where our family has been and how far we've come, but also because I know that I can't be the only with struggles, especially financial ones, and of course struggles with depression and anxiety as well.

Things do get better, sometimes it just takes awhile. :)  And in the meantime, you find the things that you are incredibly grateful for... like Steve who meant it when he proposed to me AND little 2 year old Chaney and committed himself to creating a family, loving us and keeping us together even when the going got tough.

You can also read more of our family's story here...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Giant Granny Panties {week 1}

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Quilt Along kick-off post here...

Welcome to the Giant Granny Panties quilt along!  This week we will be selecting your fabrics and going over some sewing basics.  This quilt is very beginner friendly so I want to make sure that any new quilters will feel comfortable jumping in and making one of their first quilts.

Fabric Requirements:

•2.25 Yards of white or off white solid {this will be your outermost round and border}
•1 Yard of a medium tone fabric
•1 Yard of a dark tone fabric
•3/4 Yard of a light tone fabric
•1/2 Yard of a light tone fabric
•1/4 Yard of a dark tone fabric
•1 Fat Eighth of a contrasting fabric {this will be your center square}

image from Sew Lux Fabric
The important thing in choosing your fabrics is to choose fabrics that contrast with each other either by print size, color, or warm/cool tones.  You want each round of squares to contrast enough that they don't get lost by blending together.

If you are still unsure about your fabric selections, there are still a few kits left at Sew Lux Fabric... just click their button on my sidebar to go shopping!


Rotary cutter & self healing mat

Ruler {6"x24" ruler will work well for this project}

Straight pins



Iron & ironing board

Sewing machine {not an absolute must but it will definitely make your life easier}

Sewing basics:

Sewing a scant 1/4" seam allowance {we are not making HST's} so scroll to the end of the tutorial for the part that shows you how to sew a good seam allowance.  Learning how to do this well will make your piecing super accurate.  I wish I had learned this sooner when I was learning how to quilt!

This same tutorial talks about pressing vs. ironing as well as starching when you are making your quilt top.

*I'll cover other basics as we go along so if there is a question or topic you would like to see, make sure to leave a comment so I can go over it!*

And don't forget our Flickr group either... that's a great way to get a question answered or get input from a group about fabric choices, techniques, notions, etc...

See ya'll on Friday {8/31} for cutting instructions!

Monday, August 20, 2012


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I hope ya'll had a relaxing weekend!  It sure looks like we did.  I got a little bit of sewing in but as usual, not as much as I would have liked.

I did get some beautiful fabric in the mail though.  Look!  It's my Chicopee kit for our Giant Granny Panties quilt along.  I'm working on another quilt using Chicopee and it is an absolutely beautiful line.  Pictures just don't do it justice...

I was having a day on Friday so like any fabric loving girl would do, I headed to Joann's.  My local Joann's is a really old one and pretty much a disaster organization-wise.  I had been looking for those quilter's quarters by Denyse Schmidt and I finally found them!  They were 30% off plus another 10% with a coupon that I had.  Score!  I'm planning on mixing some of these prints in with the Chicopee/Hope Valley quilt I'm working on.

Oh, you're here to see who won the Christa Quilts giveaway?  Well ok...

#151 Margaret who cracked me up with her comment...

"Sherbet Pips charm packs! But don't tell anybody else she has them."

August 17, 2012 11:16 PM

I wonder if she will be OK with me telling everyone about the Sherbet Pips charm packs in exchange for winning the gift certificate??

Congrats, Margaret!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Christa Quilts {giveaway}

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Today I'd like to introduce a new sponsor, Christa of Christa Quilts!  She has generously offered a $20 gift certificate to one lucky reader and believe me, you will have a hard time choosing between all she has to offer in her store.

A little about Christa...

I started selling fabric online about 9 years ago when a former quilting student of mine suggested I sell some of my leftover fabrics on eBay. Before then, I taught quilting classes and sold quilts on commission. About 6 years ago, my husband Jason suggested we make it our full-time business and we’ve never looked back! He keeps the website running smoothly (his passion) and I get to play with all the fabric and design interesting quilt patterns and kits (my passion).

Some of the more popular designers we carry are Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Paula Nadelstern, Laurel Burch, Loralie Harris and Dr. Seuss. We also carry an impressive selection of Moda jelly rolls, layer cakes and charm packs, plus tons of basics and coordinates. We just added a bunch of Kona cotton solids to the mix and are on the lookout for more modern fabrics and designers.
We also offer individual precut fat quarters on nearly every fabric we carry and they’ve been one of our most popular items.

Probably our biggest selling point is that we offer FREE US shipping with no minimum purchase required. We ship orders within 24 hours of purchase and can usually accommodate same day requests. We ship internationally, too for a flat $10 rate, anywhere across the world.

Our real-time inventory also guarantees that what you order is what you get – no worries about out of stoc buy, the more you save. This is in addition to the special group discount. k items or not getting all of what you ordered. You can see how much of an item we have in stock before you order it.

For your blog readers we’d like to offer a special group discount. If they enter code G12TGTQ at checkout they’ll save 5% on their first order. But what makes it even better is that they’ll automatically get 5% off all future orders, too, so it’s like a permanent coupon!

On top of that, all orders that are over $25 qualify for a little freebie – a selection of fabric, patterns, notions or gifts that I call“Christa’s Candy” – guilt free quilt treats!

All of our customers receive an automatic repeat buyer discount, too, sort of like an automatic rewards system – the more you save!

Free shipping and a permanent coupon?  I'm in!  And I do have to say that her website is extremely user friendly which can be hard to do with such a large inventory.  Christa is also super friendly, a talented quilter and has a great blog too!

aren't these pencils cute??

 How do you win?  Easy!  Just head over to Christa Quilts, look around and come back and leave a comment telling me what you would spend your $20 gift certificate on if you won.

For an extra entry, be a follower of mine or become a new follower and leave a second comment telling me so.

This giveaway will end Sunday, August 19th at 10pm CST.  I will announce the winner on that Monday.  Good luck!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Words {creativity}

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I think I've briefly mentioned my love of Denyse Schmidt's new line, Chicopee.  If I haven't... well, I love it!  I'm even using it for my own Granny Panties {quilt}.

Fabricworm had charm packs calling my name and that was a great way to get a little of every print so that's what I did.  That way, if Steve asks, I can actually tell him that I was being economical by only getting 6" squares of each print... ;)

I didn't need another project but sometimes designs just happen and have to be made so I started a new quilt on Sunday.

Yesterday morning, as in 4 AM {ugh}, I woke up with anxiety running rampant so I headed up to my studio.  I've said it over and over but it really is amazing what creativity can do for us. 

For the next two hours I cut, stitched and played with designs... I also thought, prayed, and worked through my anxiety.  I'm sure there's some left brain/right brain thing going on but being creative {for me at least} shuts off the logical side that tends to make me over-think and worry so that I can focus on the bigger picture.

I even trimmed my squares which is one step I usually loathe... but didn't mind at all because it was so repetitive and calming.

Was the rest of my day perfect?  Nah.  But pretty blocks with pretty points will definitely make any quilter smile. :)

PS... If you are looking for the Giant Granny Panties quilt along post just click here. :) 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Giant Granny Panties Quilt Along!

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It's time to join me in making your very own Giant Granny Panties {quilt}!

Over the next six weeks we will be quilting along together to make a quilt that measures approximately 65" x 65":

Week 1: Choosing your fabric and notions
Week 2: Cutting your fabric
Week 3: Piecing and assembling your quilt top.
Week 4: Backing, basting & getting ready to quilt
Week 5: Quilting
Week 6: Binding

I will be posting each week's instructions on Fridays and will give everyone the opportunity to link up and show off their progress each Monday.

Anyone is welcome!  If you are a new quilter, you will be a more confident quilter by the end of the quilt along.  If you have made a few quilts, you will hopefully pick up some new tips and tricks.  And if you are a seasoned quilter, well you can make another awesome quilt! 

We will use the That Girl Flickr Group for posting progress pictures, detailed discussions, and help.

I am super excited to be partnering with Sew Lux Fabric to offer kits in four different colorways!  Beginning today {8/13/12} thru Saturday {8/18/12} kits for this quilt along will be $42.00 + shipping.    So that works out to $7.15 per yard which is an amazing deal! 

We will be using six color prints and one neutral solid {fewer fabrics than the quilt along button because I figured that not many would want to make a 90" x 90" quilt}.

The solid will form the outermost "round" of the granny square and the border. The yardage increments decrease with each round until you reach the center square. If you decide to use alternate fabrics from your stash, you can still find the yardage requirements listed in any one of the kits by Sew Lux.

Each kit contains everything you need for the quilt top.  Binding and backing fabric will be up to you and are a great way to personalize your Giant Granny Panties {quilt}.

After Saturday, the regular price will be $47.00.

& Chicopee {my new favorite}!

Click on the link and then head to the kits/project kits sections to see all four kits...

You can find a blog button up on the right hand side of my blog.  And really, who doesn't love a good pair of granny panties?  So spread the word!

I'll also be adding a blog roll on the other sidebar of my blog for all my friends and their Giant Granny Panties so comment and let me know that you are in and I'll add you to the list.

We will begin Week 1 on Friday {8/24} so that everyone has plenty of time to get their fabric...  Until then, if you have any questions please let me know. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


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 This is my first time to participate in Cindy's Really Random Thursday!  This is a good one to start with because the past few weeks have been pretty much nothing but random.  Here goes...

We went to Gruene, TX {pronounced green} on one leg of our road trip. 

They had some great shops with some really great antiques but they also knew that they had some cool stuff and they priced it accordingly. 

Pyrex sets {with chips} were $100 and up and antique quilts in fair condition were $750 +.  Fun to look at though!  I think this quilt looks pretty "modern".

We stayed in 4 hotels in one week.  The Grand Hyatt on the Riverwalk in San Antonio was my favorite.

I broke in my new Saltwater sandals on vacation.  Navy and orange... my new favorite color combo.  It's also very obvious in these shoes that my right foot is a full half size smaller than my left foot. 

My blog has been on the blink for more than 24 hours.  Something about my web hosting service moving something... I don't really know!  The page still seems to be coming up blank but if you hit "refresh" my blog shows up.  WTH??  So I hope that this post makes it somewhere other than the black internet hole.

Chaney is growing up SO fast!  Her individuality is something I love and aspire to.  She wore these glasses almost non-stop on vacation.

Steve and Chaney are my favorite people in the world...
... but they are also crazy.  I can't believe they wanted to sit in a swing that is whirled around 20 stories in the air.  I love a good roller coaster but no thanks to flying through the air hanging by a few chains.

Books were a big part of vacation.  I got a lot of reading done.

With this fun book, we also discovered that Steve's favorite scent is lavender.  It's going to take him awhile to live that down. LOL

And last but not least, The Giant Granny Panties Quilt Along is almost here!  Depending on how my blog is behaving, all the details will be posted tomorrow or Monday...

Monday, August 6, 2012


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After 1600 miles, in 7 days, all in Texas... I'm home!  We had a wonderful time floating the lazy river, swimming, eating, drinking, sightseeing, shopping, and spending time together as a family.  Oh, and watching the Olympics; you can't forget that!

I took lots of pictures but I'll try and hit just the highlights...

We went to Fredericksburg, TX one day and visited the Nimitz and Pacific War museum.  We spent three hours there and I highly recommend it.  Chaney enjoyed it and was fascinated by all the hands-on features.  The Pacific War section of the museum is brand new and they have done a fabulous job telling the story, especially with all the artifacts.

The other highlight of Fredericksburg was the fabric shop we went to.  I've been there once before but I wasn't quilting obsessed like I am now. 

When I own my own quilt shop I will display my bolts like these!

They had tons of hard-to-find fabrics, all the new lines, and great prices too.  The owners are sisters. They were super sweet and we had a fun conversation that started off by them asking me what my quilting style was like... more modern or traditional.  They went on and on about how fun it is to see "younger" quilters in their shop and when they met Chaney they were even more excited when she told them that she loves to sew and quilt too.

I didn't get my other quilts done and ready to bind so I went commando on vacation... sans sewing projects, that is. ;)  I was bummed about that but it also gave me lots of time to read and even design a few new quilts.  I obviously didn't blog either but it was kinda nice to completely unplug creatively.  But after we got home, unpacked, and started the laundry I headed straight up to my studio and rolled around in my fabric.   

I've missed ya'll and reading blogs!  Between hitting the ground running at work and school starting soon, I don't know that I'll really be able to catch up on my reading so if I've missed something really exciting please comment here or email me. :)

edited to add: This shop is not online, I can't remember the name, and their shop name isn't on their receipt either.  From the outside of the shop it doesn't even look like fabric would be sold there.  I'm going to look on my credit card bill and hopefully the shop name will be on that so I can pass this wonderful shop's information on to ya'll!

edited again... Danielle commented with the name of the shop!  Its name is "Things in a Room".  It's on Main St.  Thanks, Danielle!

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