Thursday, February 26, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday-You Can Quilt IT!

Creative Eye 
You Can Quilt It!
by Deborah M. Poole

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

After reading this book, the best description of how I feel is inspired and humbled.  Deborah has been long arm quilting for only 6 years...probably since this book was published, 7.  But even though that seems long to some, to be this accomplished after such a short time is wonderful.

I love that her message to all of us quilters, is perfect practice makes perfect.  This is definitely a physical task, its an art, and we need to train our muscles.  If we train them by doing something incorrectly, we won't be able to make the progress we desire.  (I feel like I try to teach this to our children all the time).

Just FYI...this is definitely from a long arm quilters perspective.  I wish with all my heart, I had a long arm quilting machine.  But I don't.  So some of these things are a little hard for me practice.  {But Luckily....sometimes I get to work on a long arm quilting machine}

Some of the gems I learned from this book are:
  • use templates
  • mark less, but use registration lines
  • imperfection is to be expected, give the illusion of perfection
  • use different feathers for different kinds of quilts
  • tips for using less thread
Deborah gives instruction for common mistakes, and their solutions.  She also gives solutions for tricky corners, she has all sorts of math tricks to make things work out perfect.  She even gives her favorite thread choices for blending.

If you have ever wanted to really tackle quilting, and challenge yourself to become amazing, you should definitely check this book out.

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Make it....Frames

Yep, that beautiful, organized, and perfectly clean garage is mine.

Okay, this was during Christmas preparations.  This was a particularly difficult year in getting my Christmas plans done.  Luckily, a dear friend and I had already planned our Christmas neighbor gifts, and we had planned to make them together.  The parts we did do together were really fun, too bad, I wasn't as much help as I should have been.  But, that's why we have awesome friends...they forgive us when we are a little less awesome. to make it.

1.  Have fun crafty friends.

2.  Decide the size of frame you want.  And cut the wood to the appropriate size.
(Since we were making about 40-50 frames each, we decided to make them frames by taking thicker boards, and cutting it into 1 1/4" wide planks by about 22".  We really tried to get as many frames out of each plank we could, so measurements were a little free and easy)

3. Glue and Nail.  Instead of mitering the edges, we butted them together.  Dotting a little wood glue on each connection point, and then use a nail gun and nail those little babies.

4. Sand and Stain.   After the frames have dried from glueing, sand and distress the frames to your liking.  Remove the sawdust, and stain.  For our stain, we mixed a little brown and a little gray stain until it looked like we liked it.  (Super duper scientific and exact).

5.  Attach the chicken wire.
Holy bananas.  Get some leather gloves. And some awesome wire clippers, you are in for the long haul if you are making very many of these.  We made about 14 of the chicken wire variety before giving up.  I was cut to pieces all over my arms. My wrist hurt from all the wire cutting.  Let's just say it was unpleasant.
Use a staple gun.  AND A MILLION STAPLES.  To attach the chicken wire, using a staple on each intersection is necessary.  And crazy time consuming.  Just saying.  

6.  Maybe give up, and use STRING. 
After working on those chicken wire frames, which were super cute and fun, but 50?  Uh no.  So, we found this string solution.  SOOOOO much easier, less pain, and tons faster.

To make it easier, my hubby made a template from a wood yard stick, then marked where the string needed to be attached with staples.  Once the marks were made, staple, staple, staple.  And Done.

So fun!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Creative Eye Thursday - Stack, Shuffle, and Slide by Karla Alexander

Creative Eye Thursday

Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

When I started scanning through this book, I found a number of fun quilts. I also noticed, that I was looking at an author who loves individuality.  I love how Karla has her own take on quilting, she doesn't take herself too seriously, and her love of quilting shows.

Deciding which quilt to make wasn't hard.  I thought I was just going  to make one block, like every other time.  But, as I got into it, I realized that this is a method/technique book, and the stack and whack method definitely requires a little more fabric....stacks of it actually (ha ha ha).

At this moment I wished I had more solids.  I have tons of fabric, so I made due.  I mixed patterns, with solids, and I think it turned out well.  I really had a blast making this.  I spent every free second I had yesterday putting this together.  I definitely enjoy freestyle quilting, but it does take letting go of the "rules" a little bit.

These are the blocks I put together.  Because I was just trying this out, and not fully committing to a whole quilt, I ended up with 8 blocks.  Hmmm.  So I quick pieced together the top left block, and pretended it was a block that could fit.  It's freestyle, things work out.

Here it is.  My quilt top, the Sarah version.    There are a couple things I wish I had done differently, but putting this together was really fun.  This could be a really fun quilt idea to play with in the future.  

If you are the type of quilter that doesn't like strict rules, and that likes to be a little free, you should totally check out this book you will love it.  I loved everything about this.  Hopefully you will too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Remake Your Table for Almost Free

A few months ago I was sidelined with a surgery that had me out of commission for 6 weeks.  Nobody likes to be out of commission.  After 2 weeks I was itching to get something done.  Even though I had just barely started driving again, I thought.."I can totally paint a table and chairs."

Sometimes I am not the brightest.

So, I gathered the family and sent them to take the chairs apart and carry the furniture outside.  They are my awesome helpers.

I found this little tutorial on pinterest, and used the recipe that used Plaster of Paris.

It was pretty easy.  Just light coats of paint.  Dry.  Sand.. And Repeat.

Next was time for distressing.  I mean really, these were going to get distressed either way.

Covering the table and chairs with PolyAcrylic was next on the menu.  It was easy to do.  And I was pretty excited to get it done.  Even though this project wasn't hard, it wasn't fast.  And I am a fast worker.  Mostly, just really impatient.  Plus, I got really tired, really fast.  Maybe painting while recovering from surgery wasn't my very best idea ever.   (but it was still fun to have it done)

The chairs definitely needed another cover.  In keeping with the idea of having this be "free" I went to my stash of fabric.  Pulled out a few vinyl covered fabrics and let my 14 year old choose.  I think she did a pretty amazing job.

I was pretty thrilled to have a staple gun at this point.  I've tried with with a manual staple gun before, having a pressurized one was AMAZING.  So fast.  I got these covers done in about an hour.

It was all finished!!!

What do you think?  Maybe you can make something for free, from the leftovers in your house too....
What will you create today?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Creative Eye - Sew Practical

Creative Eye

Sew Practical

This week I got to look into the book, Sew Practical, by various designers.  These are all nice quick little projects anyone could finish in no time.  As I looked through this book, there were a bunch of things I wanted to make.  The cover shows those cute grocery bags, I thought for sure that's what I would make, but as I looked at the materials I needed, I didn't have everything on hand.  

 Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

And I found this adorable bag.  But, again, I didn't have all the supplies.   But it is so cute.

Collecto's Item Tote Bag, Adrienne Smitke, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved 

Apron Strings Waist Apron, Adrienne Smitke, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved
Girl's Cool Tool Case, Linda Lum DeBono, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

And then I came upon Linda Lum DeBono's, Cool Girl's Tool Case, and not only did I love the way it looked, but I had everything on hand.

I got to work.  Luckily, I had some wool on hand, and I LOVE working with wool.  If you have never worked with wool, you should definitely give it a try.  Wool is the bomb.  

Things went together very smoothly, and this was a very easy project to make.  One tip I would give anyone making this is keep checking the measurements as you work.  I didn't, and even though I used  interfacing, my wool distorted slightly, making the measurements not perfect.   

The front and the inside of this Cool Girl's kit are made separately, and then hand sewn together, so having them turn out the same size is of vital importance.  If you know this before you sew, you might make some adjustments before you sew each side. thing I learned.. Beading.  I have never beaded before, and well, I loved it.  But, I love working with wool, so, I wasn't surprised I loved it.  What did I learn?  Embroidery needles and beading needles, are not the same thing.  Who knew?  Well, I do now, and I have a nice set of beading needles now (why does it matter? beading needles need to have a very small head to fit through the bead).

And here's my, Cool Girl's Tool Case.  What do you think?  Want to go make one for yourself?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Awesome, Fast, and Inexpensive Headbands Tutorial

This weekend I spent some time making headbands for my girls.  My own girls, and the young women I serve at church.  This was really no big deal.  And certainly, if you sew at all, you may already know how to make these things. But, why not share the love, right?

First of all, do you all know the hidden gem that is Tuesday Morning?  They have tons of stuff, like dishes, sheets, pillows, toys, luggage, decorating items, etc.   But did you know, they kind of have some amazing goodies in the craft department.  And honestly, they are always a good deal.  The stock on hand changes all the time, so going often is important.  Sometimes I find things I love, sometimes I walk away empty handed.

I'm sure you have seen the elastic headbands and ponytail holders that are sold now.  It's kinda crazy, they are sold for $3-5 for 4 elastics or 4 headbands.  I got two headbands out of each package, and it was 79 cents.  Better part?  These were super good quality. A little thicker, nice for headbands, not as great for ponytail holders.
Figuring out this morning, this is what I wanted to blog about, there was a little sadness that I didn't have some adorable models to show off the headbands.  But, luckily, I have a head, and I have a ton of hair.  So, I will do.  But focus on the head band.  It stays tight, without slipping around, even when you have a lions mane.  And this thing is comfortable.


  • Cut the 1 yard of fold over elastic in that's 18"
  • Right sides together, sew together with a zig zag stitch
  • Finish it off by sewing a straight stitch on each side of the zig zag. (Why???? it helps secure something that really stretches, make it strong)
  • Turn inside out, and put in your hair.
  • DONE!

So easy, so cheap, so perfect.  I love easy things, especially when they are cute, and useful.

Okay....I had to show something else I pulled together this weekend.  This head band is adorably cute.  It's an 18 1/2" strip of twill, covered with a white stretch elastic.  So comfortable, and even looks a little dressy.  It was super easy to put together.  I just wrapped the lace around the twill, and did a straight stitch around each edge.  So Simple.  Then, I used a soft elastic to join the two ends.

I honestly loved this, because it was kinda serendipity.  I went to the fabric store to get something else, and found this lace on the clearance table.  Then the idea for this headband came to me.  And it is cuter than the idea I originally had.  When those things happen, I love it.  Like it's meant to be.

Questions?  Ask me in the comments..

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Creative Eye- Review of Sew A Modern Home

Creative Eye Thursday

Sew A Modern Home
by Melissa Lunden

 Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

What a fun book. As I looked through all the possible projects to work on, I was HONESTLY drawn to all of them.  Each quilt, pillow, project was totally up my alley style wise.  The designs are smart, creative, clean, and the fabrics are perfect.

What will you find in this little gem?
Small Quilts
Bed Quilts
Table Runners
Fun Little Fabric Creatures

Deciding which one I wanted to try out was a little hard, it was between these two quilts below. 

Girls Room, Melissa Lunden, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved
Dining Room, Melissa Lunden, Martingale, 2014; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved

But, when it came down to it, I loved the Girls Room quilt.  And I may have failed on my mission here to show you something totally different.  I just loved what the quilt maker/author did, and I couldn't go totally different.  So, I changed it up a little bit.  

Here's mine.  I used some fabric from way back when my Noah was still just waiting for arrival.  It may be an oldie, but it's a goodie.  So maybe mine should be called boys room?  Such a cute quilt, and the instructions were easy to read, and the quilt was easy to put together.  

What colors, fabrics would you use? Bright reds? Kaffe Fassett fabrics?  Black background, with light neutrals?    I'd love to hear what you'd love to do.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

For the love of...

Holy Bananas...

Today is my work day.  The day I have scheduled to get some sewing done, I have a long list of wants, and a fairly long list of needs, in my sewing room. I have some deadlines looming for magazines and books, and yet....NO TIME for that.  Nothing.  There were other needs more important.  I have had no time to do the work I have scheduled.  I have the 10 minutes, right here, right now, before my next thing.  Maybe I should clean up the dinner dishes, nah, my hubby can do that (when he gets home later).

Why do I do this then?  Why am I even trying to keep this blog updated, if I really am so short on time?  Why do I try to take on more quilting.  More this, or more that.

Well, the truth is, I love it.  I love quilting.  Each time I actually do sit down to quilt, I love it.  I love feeling connected, well, to myself.  I love the feeling of accomplishment when I take something from concept to completion.  I love being alone.  I love the solitude, and quiet, and the hum of the sewing machine. I love the creative juices that flow.  I love all of it.  And, really, I just want to share that love with others.  Maybe someone else in the world is just like me, or a little like me, and could use an outlet that centers them.  Maybe the tips and tricks I share could actually help another person have a pretty fantastic day.

We are all busy.  I remember thinking when my kids were younger that life would be easier when they were older.  Uh,...wrong.  Now I understand that each stage is hard, in different ways.  We each have different responsibilities and different priorities.  Whatever we choose to do, we do for LOVE.  The love of family, of friends, of peace, of God, of work, and even sometimes for the love of self.  We grow people, we shape people, we build companies, we inspire, we solve problems, we create joy.  Whatever we do, I hope we love what we do.

May you find a little love today.