Thursday, December 14, 2017

Fun Handmade Christmas Projects!

Christmas giving starts on Christmas Day ( the 12 days of Christmas), in the days prior to Christmas it is Advent, a time of preparation, reflection and calm.  I am trying something different this year by embracing the reflection time by being in my projects.  Everything I have been making has been purposeful in either the process or the function.

I was asked to be part of a sew along for the new pattern by Moss & Lotus.  The pattern includes fun Tomte of various sizes and attitudes.  I love them all! You can find the pattern by visiting here. These are fun and make snow outside not so bad.🎄

This Tomte is Thom.  He is fun loving and has a thing for gingham! I used a variety of fabrics to create his look and paper pieced this block using Aurifil 50wt. I prefer 50wt for all piecing but with paper piecing it is an absolute must!

I made simple gift tags with store bought canvas tags from Tuesday Morning and fabric scraps! The letter just a print out I printed on freezer paper ironed on the fabric scrap and cut out the letter. I did not use interfacing, it was small enough that just stitching it down was easy enough!

Stockings were another item I had been wanting to update and in my sewing room there were bits and pieces of a vintage quilt.  I was not sure that these would work out but they are and I could not be more pleased with them.  I have a few more to make and will share them when they are finished!

More fun with Tuesday Morning finds!  Gift bags for little things! I hoard anything Kate Spain! This Christmas fabric I keep every shred and oh boy am I happy I had! It makes for a festive simple bag!

These are so simple with fusible interfacing ( I think I used Wonder Under). The trees parts are just improv. A quick measure of the width of the bottom first, cut a triangle, make the curves with your rotary cutter and repeat for the middle and top! When you are happy with the sections, secure them with the interfacing!

For the first time in many years, I am sending out Christmas cards! There have been numerous hours spent attempting to paint trees.  The results are not professional.  The cards are all me!  A work in progress!

Wishing you are peaceful Advent in preparation for Christmas! There will be more fun projects I will be sharing in the next week and then time to decorate!  Enjoying the process again is wonderful!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Check out this great wallet I sewed!

When Sara told me that she was coming out with a Sew Sweetness Wallet that did not require hand stitching piping, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out! Her first wallet pattern Greenbacks Trio has three options but the one that seemed the most likely for me to make had hand sewing.  I am not a huge fan of stitching anything by hand.  Embroidery or binding, okay, but if I can avoid it, I will.

Sara had her first Sizzix dies released earlier this year and they are pretty fabulous! She kept telling me that the new ones were going to be even better. I cannot say she was wrong.  I jumped about 10 feet in the air when I saw one was a wallet and even more exciting ( for me) was that there is a video for how to assemble the wallet on the Sizzix YouTube channel! If you are a visual learner, this resource is invaluable!

The outer is Liberty of London Lawn cotton. The print is one of my favorites in classic and timeless blue and white. The inside of my wallet was made using some thrifted, gifted and found fabrics ( you can learn more about them here)  and a touch of Liberty for the inner pocket.  The zippered section was a pattern hack added because I have to have two things in my life...

Pockets and zippers in my bags, wallets and skirts. 

This wallet has enough room for money ( if you have some that your kids have not used), cards for Costco, and even room for your phone.  This wallet it the perfect size to hold in your hand for quick trips into the market too! 

I used Aurifil 40 wt for he construction of the bag. Aurifil 40wt is a little heftier than the 50wt.  The thick layers and high use of the project make this weight more suitable.

You can find all of Sew Sweetness Sizzix dies and hardware by visiting here. Sara has everything you need and she will also ship internationally. 

For all of my visual learning friends, check out the video that will help you create this useful wallet!

If you are looking to make a new wallet for yourself or someone you love, this one is pretty fantastic!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back to School! Choosing Aurifil Thread Weight!

Back to School means Back to SEW for many moms and dads around the country!

I am sharing tips on Thread weights and where to use them today!

Using the correct thread weight for upper, bobbin and needle size will help make your sewing projects more fun! Less skipped stitches and no breaking threads!

Time to go Back to School with Sam Hunter!

Thread and needle compatibility with the materials and thickness of the project being sewn. There are different weights ( thicknesses ) of threads and each has their recommended use(s).  the same applies to needles.  Some people have difficultly with their projects and look to their machine as the culprit. many times the issue is with not choosing the proper thread and needle weight/size.

Our machines are everything! If it is not happy, we are not happy!  Choosing the right thread and the correct needle size will eliminate many "machine" issues and will also help your machine sew better LONGER!

I wrote notes in my planner to help keep track of the Aurifil thread weights and needle weights.  I use Schmetz needles for my machine sewing.

Aurifil 12 wt, the red spools,  is the thickest thread.  It comes in both cotton ( mako) and wool ( lana).

This thread is a wonderful choice for
Machine quilting

When using on your domestic sewing machine:
Use 50wt for the bobbing thread
Reduce your sewing speed

Needle size:
100/16 machine embroidery
90/14 machine quilting

I have also used 12wt cotton for hand sewing buttons on my Cathedral Window Pincushions.

Aurifil 28 wt is the grey spool.  It is cotton (mako)

This is my favorite thread weight and is also perfect for
Higher impact quilting without the fussiness of 12wt

For a domestic home sewing machine:
Use 50wt for the bobbing thread ( although I have successfully used 28wt in top and bobbin)

Needle Size: 90/40

Aurifil 40wt is the green spool and is cotton (mako)

This is a wonderful All Purpose Thread!

This is a thread you will want to have on hand for a variety of uses, including

Piecing ( not the number one choice but many people do)
Garment sewing
Bag sewing

For a domestic home sewing machine:
You can use 40wt in top and bobbin with ease

Needle size: 70/10 or 80/12

Aurifil 50wt is the FAVORITE, the star of the show!  50wt is cotton (mako)

This is the number one piecing thread!  Other uses for this wt include:

Garment sewing
Quilting ( for when you want the quilting to melt into the fabric)

For a domestic home sewing machine:
You can use 50wt in the top and bobbin

Needle size:

Most importantly! BE ADVENTUROUS!  Make a 10x10 of what you want to try and give it a GO! I always make a sample to try out some old and new! 

There is also a wealth of information on the sticker on the bottom of the Aurifil spool!

Here is a short tip clip on how to read the information on a spool to tell you all you need to know before you sew!

Make sure to check out the other tips by these amazing designers!

Day 1 – August 15 – Sam Hunter: How to spray baste a BIG quilt –
Day 2 – August 16 – Mandy Leins: Thread Dread: removing stray bits after quilting –
Day 3 – August 17 – Nancy Stovall: The Sweet Creamy Filling –
Day 4 – August 18 – Ebony Love: 7 Indispensible feet for your sewing machine –
Day 5 – August 19 – Michelle Freedman: Machine throat plates –
Day 6 – August 20 – Teresa Coates: Edge/Under/Top stitching –
Day 7 – August 21 – Kelly Cole: Ten ways to regain your sew-jo –
Day 8 – August 22 – Megan Dougherty: Choose to Fuse: tips for working with fusibles for applique –
Day 9 – August 23 – Kim Lapacek: Tricks to being productive while hauling your kids around –
Day 10 – August 24 – Yvonne Fuchs: Circuitboard quilting on Domestic and Longarm Machines –
Day 11 – August 25 – Sandi Hazlewood: Chain Piecing Quilt Blocks Tips –
Day 12 – August 26 – Juliet van der Heijden: Paper-piecing with children –
Day 13 – August 27 – Maddie Kertay: Fabric folding for any storage solution –
Day 14 – August 28 – Cath Hall: Working with Lawn fabric –
Day 15 – August 29 – Tracy Mooney: Tips for the perfect seam –
Day 16 – August 30 – Teri Lucas: How to bury thread –
Day 17 – August 31 – Debby Brown: Securing machine quilting knots – www.
Day 18 – September 1 – Flaun Cline: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 1) –
Day 19 – September 2 – Jessica Darling: How to put some sparkle in your fabric pull (part 2) –
Day 20 – September 3 – Trish Frankland: A bigger blade really IS better?! –
Day 21 – September 4 – Robin Koehler: Tips on how to travel with handwork –
Day 22 – September 5 – Jane Davidson: How to make scrappy HSTs –
Day 23 – September 6 – Linda Pearl: Low cost tips for organizing your sewing room –
Day 24 – September 7 – Christa Watson – Top 10 tips for quilting on a domestic machine –
Day 25 – September 8 – Sarah Nunes: To Starch or Not to Starch –
Day 26 – September 9 – Suzy Webster: Testing fabric for bleeding –
Day 27 – September 10 – Sarah Goer: Machine bind your quilts like a pro –
Day 28 – September 11 – Vanda Chittenden: Beginner paper-piecing tips –
Day 29 – September 12 – Cheryl Sleboda: Needle threading tips –
Day 30 – September 13 – Kim Niedzwiecki – Different thread weights and when to use them –
Day 31 – September 14 – Sandra Healy: Conquer Your Fear of Machine Appliqué –
Day 32 – September 15 – Sandra Starley: The Basics of Antique Quilt Collecting –

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Upcycled O Brother Quilt Top Completed!

I had forgotten to share so much in the past month!  Sewing has happened at a Summer Break pace but it is happening. Writing about it has been happening less.

O Brother Quilt Top has been finished ! This quilt is made from 100% up cycled garments.  I call them my thrifted, gifted and found.  They are mostly from the blue bins at the Goodwill where you can buy textiles by the pound for very little. I choose mostly 100% cotton mens button up shirts but am not afraid of blends. I piece all of my quilts using Aurifil 50wt threads.

There was no way to take a photo so I had the not so little guy run into the sunset with it.  He was not thrilled about doing this at all.  I may have had to bribe with ice cream but it got the job done and that is what was needed!

This was in Jun and now it is almost much catching up to do!


This quilt will be sent to Mandy Leins for her incredible quilting and then time to bind! 

Here it is almost finished up on the design wall. I love the way the different fabrics give the quilt a texture and depth that regular quilters cotton cannot.

Curious what more I can accomplish in the next few weeks of Summer Break...hmmm...

What have you been working on this Summer?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hello! Blog Hop with Susan Emory

Hello!  is the fun new collection by Susan Emory for Michael Miller Fabrics!  The bright colors are delightful to work with!  The retro prints are perfect for larger fussy cuts, small bags or journal covers.  I can even see some people wanting to Mod Podge these fabrics on many items...because Mod Podge works on I right 😊

When my bundle arrived, I thought I was going to be making another project.  I had everything cut out and ready to go but it sat unfinished.  Mostly because I thought it was going to be the PERFECT project for these fabrics but this one is even BETTER!

This Hello mini quilt is fussy cut fun!  The pattern is by Kate Basti  and is a free paper piecing block!  It is called Tall Tales Block and you can find it here!

The pages fabrics are from thrifted mens shirts. So far, that is the best fabrics I have found to make the pages really look like pages! 

All of my blocks were pieced using Aurifil 50wt thread on my Bernina.

If you were not at Quilt Market, here are some photos of Susan's booth with all of her lovely fabrics! 

Susan is also sharing a FREE PATTERN for you to get started making something!

There are more fun projects and GIVEAWAYS for this Blog Hop so be sure to visit EVERYONE to get in on the fun! 

Blog Hop Schedule:
Monday, July 17th: Aurifil and The Fat Quarter Gypsy
Tuesday, July 18th: Seams Like a Dream and Tamarinis
Wednesday, July 19th: My Go Go Life and Unspooled
Thursday, July 20th: Geta’s Quilting Studio and Pieces of Me

Monday, June 19, 2017

Monday Motivation { fussy cuts, up cycling & pat sloan}

Welcome back to Monday Motivation!  This week includes so many exciting things!  Fussy cuts, up cycling and Pat Sloan...OH MY!

I will be a guest on Pat Sloan's American Patchwork and Quilting radio show this afternoon at 4pm EST!  Pat and I will have fun chatting about SEWING ( I know you are all surprised!)!

Pat and I will be chatting about my favorites!  She knows I am a fussy cutting fiend!  I will fussy cut just about anything!  

For many of my blocks for The Splendid Sampler, I added fussy cuts like this incredible paper pieced block!

I have also been slowly adding to my economy blocks with fussy cut centers.  I have a tutorial on how to create a template for these fussy cuts with a video included by visiting here.

For really tiny pieces, this pincushion center was 1/4" finished, I use a stiletto.

I also try to take full advantage of the fabrics in my stash!  Try making a template with parchment paper and try different angles for more variety! 

I have been sewing along with The Fussy Cut Sampler on Instagram and here are my latest blocks.  There are 48 total and we are on number 13 this week! 

Finally, I was going to have this quilt top finished yesterday but the final block went MISSING!  I was counting as I was sewing up to a certain point but then lost track and LOST a block.  Not quite sure what happened to it or where is is hiding.  I will have to send in diggers to find it so I can finish this top!

This is made from 100% what I call thrifted, gifted and found textiles.  It is mostly shirts from the thrift store but friends have sent me garments and i will dive into my own closet to add to the stash if need be.

I have tons of links to sewing projects with up cycled garments that you can find by visiting here

I hope you find inspiration in these tutorials and make some creative time for yourself! 

Please join me for more fabulous tutorials, inspirations and humor that I share everyday on:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sunday Sewing { Fussy Cut Sampler Sew Along}

This past week started the Fussy Cut Sampler Sew Along!  My friends Elisabeth and Nichole wrote this fantastic book about something that is near and dear to my heart...fussy cut quilt blocks!

If I can add a fussy cut, you know I will 😉

Fussy cuts are a way to add an element of surprise, bring a block to life or tell your personal story.

You can start your fussy cut stash by looking in your existing fabrics!  There really is fussy cut potential in almost all small print fabrics! if you do not have a huge stash, you can start asking your friends if they would like to swap or find organized swaps online.  And even I am not above buying scrap packs from time to time!  You can find scrap packs in Etsy shops or sometimes in fabric destashes on Instagram.

We had the first chapter fly by this week!  Here are my first blocks...

Block One is a fun fussy cut fabric sent to me by +Pat Sloan!  Vintage FAB!

Block Two won votes on my Instagram stories!  The Heather Ross vans are always a winner!  I chose them and and his dog for the center and the campers for the outer two spaces to keep it less cluttered and to give a more complete overall look.  It compliments instead of competes.

The chickens were another Instagram viewers choice winner!  There is a cat in the upper left corner too ( someone has to keep the chickens in line) but she is very difficult to see hiding in plain view ( as cats do)!

I simply could not resist all of the crazy HOT PINK and red dots when I found this tiny piece of cake! 

When working with small pieces and bias cut fabrics, I use two things to make my piecing more accurate:

1. Spray starch!  I LOVE starch!  I may overuse it but it helps the fabric keep its shape and gives you crisp blocks.

2. Aurifil 50wt.  This is the most popular and best piecing thread.  It is strong, thin and will not let you down.  This thread melts into the fabric to give you the most accurate seams and the flattest backs you have ever seen.  Not all 50 wt threads are the same.  The weight is the raw material, not the final product.

I hope you will join the fun of this sew along with these fast beautiful blocks!

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