Friday, April 28, 2017

Beginnings and Endings

When my daughter started kindergarten I went around to area quilt shops to see if I could sew displays for them. I hit three before I found one that said yes. I was thrilled! Little did I know how that venture would snowball.
 A few months into this venture I was making a charity quilt and messed up on my math. In my attempt to fix the mistake I created a whole new quilt. I showed this to Ruth Ann, the owner of the shop and she said, "Make that into a pattern and we will sell it."
 So I did. A few more months of sewing for her and I had designed a few more patterns. My neighbor, heard what I was doing. She owned a wholesale fabric and quilting business that is now a little company you may of heard of, Riley Blake. She was having a vendor's mall and asked me to bring my patterns to see how I would do.
 I continued to sew for Ruth Ann until she retired and her daughter, Joani, took over the business. She wanted me to sew in the shop. I preferred to sew at home and bring in the quilts when I was done so we parted ways.
Fast forward  to today, Joani recently closed her store. All these beautiful tops she donated to Quilty Hugs. I just need to find tops and get busy quilting. Thanks Joani and Ruth Ann for a wonderful start and a beautiful ending.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Playing in the Mud

It's spring and I've been getting my garden ready. A few weeks ago I planted broccoli, beets and peas. Now they are starting to sprout. 
I remembered last fall Cynthia told me about some gardener's soap she had used and how great it was for washing the dirt off after gardening. I had just begun my soaping adventure and told her I would give it a try in the spring. Like a said it's spring, though a few moments ago it was snowing outside my window, spring that fickle girl. None the less I made my gardener's soap. It is full of great exfoliates to get you super clean after playing in the mud. It also has a wonderful blend of oils to keep your hands soft, and smells wonderful with a blend of citrus and basil essential oils.
I was telling my friend Carolyn about it while shopping at JoAnn's and I'll be bringing her a few bars tomorrow. She wanted some for her and her daughter. She thought it would make a great mother's day gift. I think she might be right. Find this and my other skin loving soaps here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday Tutorial ~ Precuts

Precuts are a great invention. Especially for someone who is no so fond of cutting. There are tons of patterns, books and free tutorials available for these handy creations. Like this one from Diane of Stash Bandit. I first met Diane while working on the Scrap Squad. She is a joy to work with and so very talented.
 This charm friendly wonder came about when I needed a quilt for my nephew. It is quick and easy if you need a quilt in a pinch.
 This jelly roll friendly quilt makes a great picnic quilt.
 And this layer cake quilt looks difficult but is really a breeze.
I hope these have whet your appetite and have you itchin' to pull out your precuts and start sewing up a storm.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Moving It Forward

I've had such a pleasant time playing in my scraps. There is just something about leftover bits of fabric that speaks to my heart. Memories from past projects and the challenge of making something from those bits what's not to love? 
I not only made these blocks. But these scrappy log cabin like blocks.
 Another great thing about playing with scraps; your get the prettiest garbage.
Now it's your turn what have you been up to in the sewing room? What are you moving forward?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Finishing up

Last time I showed this quilt it was a flimsy. Now it'a quilted and bond. I love all the scrappy happiness in this quilt. The stars are leftovers from this quilt, that was also a scrap quilt. You know your a scrap quilter when you make scrap quilts from the scraps of a scrap quilt. I didn't have a real plan for them but while organizing some pre cut scraps this idea came to me. I'm pretty pleased with the results.
I quilted it on the diagonal through the rows. I used leaves, they are easy for me. Then tried the starburst in the stars. 
This next quilt is a group effort. It was made at my Quilty Hug Sew Ins. Sue cut it out. Shelly pieced it. 
I quilted with simple organic lines. Finally Sherri bond it. I like it's simplicity and fell it will work for a man. I often worry I don't make enough masculine Quilty Hugs. I need to work on that.

 After posting last week I made it to the fabric shop for matching thread and got this little wonder bond. I'm glad I held out for the matching thread. I love the way the orange binding sets off the quilt.
Dahlia pattern
Feeling pretty productive with this weeks results. Even if they were mostly done to begin with.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Piece and Love

I spent a lovely afternoon playing in my scraps. Oh, how I love spending time with my scraps. They always play so nice. I made me a bunch of nine patches and then a few string blocks. 
I also found a little time for a fun photo shoot with my All Natural Patchouli Soap. Despite my best efforts I still get dandelions in my yard. To make the best of this not so great situation I picked a bunch and made a fun peace sign to go around my soap. 
My hubby thinks I'm crazy, but since he calls me his hippy wife, I thought it fitting.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Tutorial~ Different Size Blocks

I really like to play with scale in my quilts. Taking the same block and using it in different sizes can add interest. It may look difficult but it's really quite easy. 
 The secret is to use blocks with common multiples. My Bear Scraps quilt uses blocks with multiples of 3 (ie 3, 6, 9) This scrap busting log cabin uses 6" and 12" blocks. You could also do 5" and 10". You get the idea.
A little more difficult are my Plan B quilts. 
 Made from blocks intended for other quilts.  Test blocks because sometimes it's a good idea to make sure everything fits before you commit.  Orphan blocks, because some blocks are so fun you get carried away.  Mistakes, not failures, but lessons learned.  Healing blocks made by friends.  And scraps because when life falls to pieces remember there is always plan B.  And life is all about how you handle plan B.
These quilts use up all sizes of blocks. I like to put similar sized blocks together, add strips to build up blocks that are slightly smaller. 
 Pat Sloan has a tutorial for her method that is helpful.
These are fun quilts to make, kind of like a puzzle. If you haven't made one I would recommend it. My orphan bin is getting full. I think it's time for me to make another one. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Moving it Forward

I'm so happy to share my row in Cheryl's Neighborhood row quilt. I live about a block from the local elementary school. While working in my gardens I often hear the sound of children playing during their recess. I just love that sound. So I knew I had to have a school and children in my row.
 To get the pattern for this row and the rest of the rows in this friendly, happy quilt visit Cheryl's blog.
I changed my mind with my weaving. I thought I would be making a bohemian style purse, but I didn't like how it was looking with my warp. So I undid what I had done and decided a spring table runner would be better with my warp. Here is my progress so far.
That's what I've been moving forward this last week. Now it's your turn. Show us your progress. I love watching you projects grow.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dahlias and Marigolds

I was hoping to finish this quilt yesterday. I'm calling it Dahlia. I used to grow dinner plate dahlias when we lived in Oregon. For some reason this block reminds me of them.
I got the quilting done. Trimmed it to put the binding one.
  Just in time to fix dinner. Darn, my family thinks they need to eat.
 After dinner I went to cut and sew on the binding only to find that I didn't have matching thread. Grrr! I'll be of to the fabric shop for thread latter.
In addition to growing dahlias I also grow marigolds in my garden. I harvested petals last fall to make this soap. Good Morning is a blend of oils infused with annatto seeds and calendula (aka marigolds) to create a sunny yellow soap scented with citrus and mint. It is in my shop now.
Linking up with Sarah, Amanda and Cynthia

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesday Tutorial ~ Strips and Strings

While cleaning out my sewing room I found several bins with strips. I intended to only have two, one for brights and one for cozy colors. Since I had more than would fit in the two bins I went on a hunt for quilts to use a few of these up.
I've made many string quilts. They are fun, easy and scrap friendly.  I found several ideas and tutorials on my search so I thought I would share today.
 My method for making this string friendly quilt is here.
 Ann at Fret Not Yourself and Kaja of Sew Slowly have been having a coin quilt challenge. Make sure to visit there are lots of inspiring quilts and ideas to use up your strips.
 I made this quilt for Moda Bake shop.
 And Tia Curtis has this video with three variations.
And finally this braid quilt. You can find the pattern here.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Moving It Forward

I've been working on my neighborhood row quilt. This weekend I finished the third row. At the end of the week Cheryl will reveal my row. I had a lot of fun designing my row and love the way it looks with the rest of my rows. I can barely wait to show you.
 Last week I received a notice from the power company saying my power will be off from 11- 5 today. Now that throws a wrench in things. I was racking my brain. What will I do with no power? If the weather is good I can work in my garden. I do need to get my peas, beets and broccoli in. But that won't take me all day. Finally I realized I could weave. I haven't used my loom for awhile. I've been wanting to but had a hard time squeezing it in with all my other interests. Since I can't sew or make soap without power the loom got warped and I'm ready to do a little weaving.
I know spring is a busy time. Are you finding time to move a few projects forward? Link up and share. I love watching your projects progress.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hug of War

I'm always so grateful this time of year as the quilts from Sarah's Hands 2 Help start rolling in. The generosity of her readers amazes me every year. It enables me to help so many battling cancer. The only person I ever feel bad for is my mailman. There are days he has to make several trips to my door carrying boxes full of Quilty Hugs.
Thank you Mona
 I've always loved the poem, Hug of War by Shel Silverstein. I think of it often as I open all these packages.
Thank you Mona

All these heartfelt hugs in the form of a quilt really do bring giggles, cuddles and grins. I don't know if everyone wins but I know they help in the battle, and that means a lot.

 So as the hugs start to roll in, thank you everyone for your generosity. I wish you could see the faces of those that receive them. It is priceless! Tears of gratitude are often shed. They can't believe that someone would donate something so beautiful just for them.
Thank you Cynthia
Your time and talent are appreciated so much.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tuesday Tutorial~ Managing Projects

 I used to keep my projects in large zip lock bags hung on a clothes line. That worked great until one day I came home and apparently I had too many projects because one end of the line had pulled out of the wall and all my projects were on the ground.
Lucky for me many of the retreats I teach at give a project box when you check in.  So I've been collecting them. If you don't have a collection they are fairly cheep at Costco. I think you can get a set of five for about $20.
In addition to storing projects in boxes I keep a list of the status of each project. This helps me know in a glance where each project is. Once a project is cut out I add it to my list. Then I update as I progress. Here is a sample of my list minus my projects.
Inspired by the list Chelsi did for her mom Sheri, of A Quilting Life, I dolled mine up a bit.  

Sheri has some great tips on keeping projects organized and moving forward. You can find them here.
How do you keep track of your projects? We'd love to hear any tips you have.