Thursday, November 29, 2012

Deck the Halls: Dotty Garland Tutorial and Giveaway!

Dotty Garland Tutorial

Hi, welcome to day FOUR of the Deck the Halls blog hop! Jennifer from Ellison Lane Quilts has put together a fun group of  bloggers who are each sharing a project you can make and decorate your home with this holiday season. Today it's my turn and I'm sharing how to make this fun Dotty Garland.

Funny story, I made the garland for our mantel, but I put it in my daughter's room for cute pictures. She saw it, loved it, and insisted on keeping it there. Now I need to make a second garland for our mantel.  : D

Here is a list of the entire blog hop. Each day has a different tutorial and a giveaway. Make sure to visit each blogger. The more the merrier!!!  : )

11/26: S.O.T.A.K. Handmade / Giveaway from Sew Me a Song
11/27: Live A Colorful Life / Giveaway from Zipit!
11/28: Petit Lyons /Giveaway from Zipit!
11/29: Little Bluebell / Giveaway from Mountain of the Dragon
12/4: Jednoiglec / Giveaway from Sew Fresh Fabric
12/5: Owen's Olivia / Giveaway from Sew Fresh Fabric
12/7: Ellison Lane Quilts / Giveaway from Contemporary Cloth

COUPON CODE:  Hey fellow fabric shoppers! Save 15% when you shop at Mountain of the Dragon now through Christmas with the code DECKTHEHALLS15. This fat quarter stack of Echino is on my wishlist.


This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Wendy from The Crafter's Apprentice!!

Enter to WIN a $20 gift certificate from Mountain of the Dragon by leaving one comment below.  I will randomly select a winner December 6th, 2012. International entries are welcome. Winner will be announced in this post and contacted via email. Good luck everyone!!

Thank you Jennifer for inviting me to play along! And a super big thanks to YOU for visiting today!!!

Happy Making,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cross Stitch: Kawaii Winter Wonderland

It's so freaking cute, I'm teaching myself how to cross stitch! The pattern is by the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and it comes with a cross stitch guide, diagrams, color charts and 25 super cute patterns to make up a wintery, holiday countdown.

Kawaii Winter Wonderland Sampler
My four weeks of progress.  It's slow, but fun!

The weather is finally cooling off in California and the nights are dark. It's a perfect time of year to cozy up for a few minutes at the end of the day and stitch.

Kawaii Winter Wonderland Sampler
      Beige Aida                                              Light Oatmeal Aida

I started out with a natural colored Aida (above right) called Light Oatmeal. By the time I got the second square I could see it was too light. There was not enough contrast with the white numbers and borders. So I started again with a color called Beige (above left). It didn't look that pretty in the package, but I really like how it looks with the thread colors.

My kids are obsessed with this project. They keep asking about it and checking in on my progress, "still working on the square, Mom?". Yes. They can't wait to hang it up. It might be awhile kids. My daughter likes to sit next to me and run her fingers over the bumpy stitches.

Scenes from my kitchen table. We wound floss and had a snack.
Scenes from my kitchen table

I wanted to find a way to get the kids involved. One afternoon my daughter and I wound the floss while we snacked and chatted at the kitchen table. Her favorite part was labeling the floss bobbins with the color numbers. Excellent number practice for preschool.

Kids Crosstitch
Fun for kids!

I also picked up yarn needles and coaster blanks for the kids to play around with. They were a big hit! Then the dog chewed it. Daisy!!! Many tears were shed. I keep it under my coffee cup anyway.

Kawaii Winter Wonderland
Secret code coloring page

Both kids love to color, so I printed out over-sized copies of their favorite squares from the pattern and a copy of the color key. I set out some markers for them and I explained how each color has a symbol. They were excited to be coloring detectives and decode the picture. It's actually a lot like the color-by-number worksheets they do.

Cosmo Floss
Floss Bobbins
Aida Cloth
11"x11" Q-Snap Frame

Come and join us!! It's more fun stitching with friends. There is lots of stitching action on instagram (#kawaiiwinterwonderland) and flickr.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Constellations by Lizzy House

Constellations by Lizzy House

Constellations by Lizzy House

Constellations by Lizzy House

Constellations by Lizzy House

Constellations by Lizzy House

Is that some serious eye candy or what? It's a new line called Constellations by Lizzy House for Andover. New pearl bracelets too! Eeek! My super sweet friend Julie brought me some from quilt market. I know! I'm totally spoiled.  : )  She'll be stocking the whole collection plus the new pearl bracelet colors in her shop. The grey pearl bracelets are so perfect and don't even get me started on the new blues and greens. My super-super favorite print is that last one with all of the peeps in the stars. I feel like I'm sharing an inside joke with Miss Lizzy herself and it makes me smile... BIG.

There are even more colors and more prints that aren't shown here. Preview both collections at The Intrepid Thread: Constellations and Pearl Bracelets

Asterisk Block

My first plan was to make something similar to my love quilt using circles. Lizzy House designed something similar and it's a free pattern available on the Andover site. Isn't that cool? It looks like phases of the moon.  Another choice might be asterisk blocks, with white asterisks, or stars depending on how you look at it.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Spinning Stars, A Quilt Top

Spinning Stars, A Quilt Top

I made huge progress on this quilt at my last sew day. In just under eight hours of sewing and chatting, I finished up most of the twelve blocks. Yipee!! Then I slowly worked on piecing the top this last week during the evenings. I'm so happy to finally have the top completed! Now to figure out how to quilt it. Maybe something simple and squishy.

Fabric: Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt (mostly, I added a few others)
Pattern: Spinning Stars by Anna Maria Horner
Previously Bloggedhere and here

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pillow Talk Swap 9: Modern Butterflies

Modern Butterfly Pillow

Wrapped and ready for my partner

From Instagram: Test Block, Fabric Pull, Butterflies in the Wild

Wow, another fantastic round of the Pillow Talk Swap!  I had so much fun stalking my secret partner.  Darci made a great inspiration mosaic to get me started.  When I was thinking about what to make for her, I knew I wanted it to be not only scrappy and colorful, but also crisp with a touch of whimsy.  Butterflies are whimsical, right?  Well, this is my spin on butterflies.  It's a nod to a traditional quilt block with a twist of my own.  I loved making it so much, I'm already working on a butterfly quilt.

Does anyone else want to try it?  I'd be happy to write a tutorial.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Modern Quilt Guild Pincushion Swap

I'm slowly checking off items from my to do list. Next on the list was to make a pincushion for a swap with several other modern quilt guilds; Austin, Boston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, North Virginia, Vancouver and Wichita. I was so excited when Kansas City invited us to participate. I often think of the modern quilt guilds as one big extended family and it's great when there is an opportunity to meet and get to know some fellow guild members a little better. When I was explaining the swap at our last meeting, I said it was like having a modern day pen pal, but with handmade goods and pretty fabrics.

This is a blind swap, in that we don't know who is getting the pincushion we make and we don't know which pincushion we are getting in return. Sometimes that makes it hard to decide where to start with your design. What colors? What fabrics? What size? What filling?  See???  It's not easy. I've done several swaps now and one thing that helps me get started is to make something that I would love to receive.

On Friday I made a Wildflower Pincushion using prints from Field Study, both the pattern and the fabrics are by Anna Maria Horner. I really want to keep this one. It's big and bold and beautiful!! Check out that center print. It puts the WILD in wildflower, don't you think?

I found the pattern here (warning there are missing diagrams, but the steps are written out). If you need a little more help, Kim at bitty bits and pieces has some great tips on her blog. I love the way she handles the small petal pieces.

I've made a few pincushions over the years, usually they are tailor made to the recipients tastes. Pincushions are fun to make because they don't take up too much time and since they are small, you can use bits of special fabric.

Pincushion #2

This one is all mine! That cute puppy was begging to be fussy cut. I added fabric one piece at a time until it was big enough. Did you see that great bandana fabric from Katie Jump Rope? Sigh, I will never get tired of that print.

Pincushion #1

This pincushion was for a swap a couple of years ago and my partner had a thing for typography. I made a stencil by tracing the letter C in a few different fonts and cutting it out. Then I hand painted them onto linen. Next I framed it out and added just a touch of hand stitching. Even though this is two years old, doesn't it look oh so trendy now?

Freshcut Pincushion

I used quilt scraps for this cutie I made for my Mom. Now her sewing space matches her quilt! I used a pattern from the book, Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

Cathedral Window Pincushion

Here is another color coordinated pinnie.  This one was for a swap and it matched a pillow I made for my partner. My friend Kim from My Go-Go Life wrote this tutorial, the Cathedral Window Pincushion. It's fun and easy to put together. It looks a lot more complicated than it is.


I especially loved making this pincushion. It was also for a swap and my partner and I are both big Anna Maria Horner fans so I used some of my precious Good Folks scraps. This is also using a pattern from the book, Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

Alright, what do you think makes a good pincushion? Is it the size? The stuffing? The FABRIC?!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ever wonder about Sour Punch?

Sour Punch Continued

Do you ever wonder what happened to the string quilt I started this summer? The one based on a Gwen Marston pattern? You can catch a glimpse of it on the Stash books blog today and see it a lot further along than it was in June.

Why isn't it finished? Well, I learned an important lesson making that top. I learned that sometimes going with the flow will result in a tall skinny quilt instead of a average sized lap quilt. Oops. It needs a little beefing up if I want to cover both sides of me at the same time. Soon my pretty, soon.

On the Stash blog post, Alison wrote about improv. I demoed the improv string technique at a recent guild meeting and at the same meeting, we got to see Alison demo her log cabin blocks. It was so inspiring to see her work. She just goes for it and I love that about her. Working without planning is the hardest part for me. I needed lots of hand holding and some good natured teasing.

Put down the ruler!

Just start already!

You can do it!!

I ended up having so much fun and I even made the log cabin block below. Yes! It felt great. Do you know what saved my sanity? Color placement. As long as I could choose the colors, and choose how they went together, I was happy. I didn't need my ruler, diagram, cutting list and measurements. See that strip, the very left of center (red gingham, black with white pin dots, baby blue solid)? THAT is my favorite part of the whole thing!!!

Image Source: Stash Books

Do you have any improv tips? Paper bags? Piles of scraps? Glass of wine? I'd love to hear.


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