Thursday, June 28, 2012

My New Favorite Hobby ~ Stalking the UPS Man & A Giveaway!

I spent all day yesterday working on a quilt.  In my spare time I was also stalking the UPS man.  Why, you ask?  Because I knew he was bringing me a box of goodies!  

Lookie here...Lookie here
These are all brand new Moda Pre-cuts that will officially release later this year.
I'm having a hard time deciding on my favorite.  I love Cuzco {Kate Spain} but Simply Color {V and Co.} is pretty awesome too.  Now I have lots of computer work to perform to get these bad boys on our website.

It's been pretty quiet around here since I've been spending so much time quilting.  I think it's time to liven the place up a little.  How about a giveaway for some of these awesome fabrics???

This giveaway will be for one charm pack of either Marmalade, Juggling Summer or Simply Color ~ winner gets to pick. 

You all know the drill but here are the rules...

You must be a follower of our blog to be eligible to win. 
~Here's how to enter~
{You do not have to do each of long as you follow our blog and leave a comment you are eligible to win.  We simply like to give you ways to earn extra entries} 

What's your favorite collection
(one entry)

Tweet or Blog about our giveaway...make sure you leave us a 
comment so we know that you did
(one entry)
Find us on facebook and friend us or like us...make sure you leave us a 
comment so we know that you did
(one entry) 

The giveaway ends on Wednesday, July 4th at 11:59 PM (CST).
The winner will be randomly selected and announced on 
Thursday, July 5th.  The winner will be contacted by email.

Please make sure you leave a comment for each entry.  For example, if you friend us on facebook and tweet about the giveaway you should leave 2 separate comments.  If you already follow us on facebook...just comment that you currently follow.  Also, it is important that we know who you are.  If you leave an anonymous comment we won't have a way to notify you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Milestone Day

As a parent we get to watch our children achieve milestones.  Today was a milestone day around here.  My little baby girl got her permit to drive an automobile!  Okay, so she's not really a little baby girl anymore but it sure feels like she's only 2.  I can't believe she's soon to be 16!

She was a little ball of nerves driving home but she has to start some where.  She did a fantastic job.  I better watch out...I think she likes my VW!
After I dried my tears and regrouped I managed to finish piecing the last two quilt tops for my step mom.  Now all that's left is quilting and binding!  Woohoo...I can see the light at the end of this tunnel.  Still looking for the binding fairy, she refuses to show her face around here.

Both of these were originally started by my step mom's mother.  She embroidered all the blocks before she passed.  I'm simply helping finish what she started.  These lovelies will be passed onto the great grandchildren as keepsakes.

I think that's all for tonight.  I'm still trying to get over my baby driving.  It's just so strange! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Almost Ready to Start Quilting

The last couple of days have been quite a challenge for me.  I've been battling a monster headache which makes sewing pretty interesting.  I have managed to get another top almost ready for Roscoe.  

Please excuse the terrible picture.  I had to take it indoors because we've been having hurricane force winds here in Texas.  
I used my favorite Pink Moda Cross Weave for the sashing and I threw in some yellow cornerstones.  
I should be able to get the border finished tomorrow.  After that I plan on finishing the borders on the other top and then quilting, quilting, quilting!  I can almost see the finish line.  

Funny story of the day...I was sitting in the family room all by myself watching TV yesterday morning and I kept hearing a scratching noise.  Being part chicken I was pretty freaked out.  I kept pausing the TV and listening.  I thought the scratching was coming from inside a cardboard box behind me so I did what any normal chicken person would do.  I very carefully carried it outside and banished it to the patio.  

I started watching TV again.  Within a few seconds I heard more scratching.  I was really worried now because I couldn't figure out where it was coming from.  I tip toed over to the door and listened.  scratch.  scratch.  scratch.  Yikes!  I kept looking around and I noticed the screen door was wiggling around.  Good.  The monster was outside. 

Guess what was trying to get me....
This cute little turtle got stuck between the screen door and the patio door.  I rescued him and got him unstuck. 

I just have to show off my daughter's new do.  She loves it and I think it turned out pretty cute.  Different, but cute!

Yes!  Those are purple and pink highlights.  She'll go back to a normal color before school starts.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a headache free day and I can get lots of sewing done!    

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One Down, 3 to Go!

First, I would like to wish all the Fathers out there a very Happy Father's Day!  And to all the special men in my life, my husband, dad, step dad, & father-in-law {in no particular order ~ of course}. 

I want to share with you all how I trim my quilts to get them ready for binding.  I'm not one of the super talented long arm quilters who can put binding on while the quilt is still on the frame so I always have to do a little prep work before I can sew it on.  One of these days I'll be brave and try sewing it on while it's still on the frame.  

I always trim my quilts in the middle of my family room floor.  I find it's much easier to get a clean cut if I'm not fighting with the 
quilt.  And I always fight the quilt when it's hanging off of a table.  So, I decided it's just much easier to take them in the family room and lay them out on the floor.  Crawling around on the floor isn't much fun but it's definitely better than the alternative. 

I stitch a horizontal line across the tops of my quilts when I have them loaded on Roscoe {my Gammill}.  I know it's a nice straight line because my machine has a horizontal lock.  This stitch line comes in super handy when it's time to trim my quilts. 

You can't really see the stitch line in the above photo because it's white thread on white batting.  

I lay my quilt on the cutting mat and the side with the stitching will be trimmed first.
For the first cut I line up my 6x24 ruler with the stitch line.
I trim a little and then stop and move the ruler up. I keep going until I reach the end of this side.
I line up the 6" side of the ruler on the side that was cut first.  Then I make sure the 24" side of the ruler is lined up with the second side that will be trimmed.  

It's pretty easy to tell if the quilt is square.  After trimming all four sides the ruler should line up on each corner.
As you see in this picture, the quilt lines up pretty nice on the bottom and right sides.  

Sometimes trimming can be a little tricky especially if the quilt isn't perfectly square.  This quilt in particular wasn't perfectly square because it was pieced partly by hand and partly by machine.  I ended up having some spots where the top pulled in a little.  This left some batting showing but I didn't really worry about it because I knew the binding would cover it.
You can see what I'm talking about in the picture above.  As long as it doesn't pull in more than 1/4" everything is fine.  The binding will magically hide all the imperfections.

I did a decent job...the corners lined up quite nicely after all the trimming.  I was a little nervous with this one.  I'm glad it turned out okay.

All done!

Now I just have 3 more quilts to get finished!  I guess we all know what I'll be doing tomorrow.   

Friday, June 15, 2012

I Really Should Be Quilting!

There hasn't been much sewing going on around here the last month!  So now I have a month of marathon quilting in front of me.  I have 4 quilts that I must finish before I return to Missouri in July.  My step mom has been very patiently waiting on me to finish them up.  

Here's what I have to get done...

This one needs a border and quilting.

This one needs to be pieced and quilted.

Only binding left on the next two {who volunteers to bind them for me?????}

Remember the Pink Beast?  It's only ginormous and needs binding!

The vintage pinwheel will be much's a lot smaller. 

Yesterday, when I should have been quilting, I was playing around with paper piecing again.  I think I might finally get it.  

I made this cute little pinwheel block

And a little peek of the next one...
This one is only a peek because I have big plans for it.  But I will show you all the whole block later...I know you love it when I do that.  I wish the purple point was better.  I know I know....I am a little OCD when it comes to my points matching.  It just drives me crazy when they don't line up.  I almost ripped it out and tried again but I didn't.  I'm trying to let it go.  

I must say paper piecing is a messy project.  I had a huge pile of scraps from just one block.  Notice all my chicken scratch on my paper.  I made notes so I wouldn't get confused.  It worked...all the colors ended up in the right place. 
Today I must quit obsessing about paper piecing and move on to finishing those quilts.  Sigh...I wish I had a binding fairy!
We had a lot of great suggestions for more product reviews~tutorials.  I have some ideas but I think I have to get a few of these quilts done first.  The next couple of weeks I plan on boring you all with the progress I'm making on these quilts.  

I'm off to go quilt...right after my hair appointment.  A girl has to get her hair did every now and then! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

OLFA Circle Cutter Winner!

I know I'm a little late in posting the winner of our OLFA Circle Cutter.
In my defense I was pretty wiped out today after that long ride in the car yesterday.  We had a rocky start with Jake getting sick twice within the first 2 hours!  Yes, that's right...sick!  I just knew we were in for a very long day but my little guy started feeling better after that.  Thank goodness!  He got pretty sick of me asking him every five minutes if he felt okay.  So, I finally stopped.  I didn't want to drive him completely crazy.

Without further delay, our lucky winner is...number 88!
88. Sandy said...
Your posts about the circle cutter really have made me want to own one. Great tutorial and tips. Thanks for sharing the giveaway.
Congrats Sandy!  I have emailed you to get your shipping information.  I hope you enjoy your OLFA Circle Cutter!

I wish I had more exciting stuff to share but I just didn't get anything done today.  I'm hoping for a more productive day tomorrow.  Wish me luck!      

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy Saturday

Hello fellow quilting buddies!  I hope you are all enjoying your weekend.  Tomorrow, I will be spending all day in the car with my son.  We're headed home to Texas after a week in Missouri with mom and Gene.  Hopefully we can get there in 12 hours or so.  Doesn't that sound like so much fun?  I would rather be quilting but I'll have to wait one more day.

I'll be too tired to post anything tomorrow but I'll be back Monday.  After all, I do have to announce the winner of our current giveaway for the OLFA Circle Cutter.  I'm also going to share my massive list of things that have to be finished before I return to Missouri in July. list is terribly scary.  

Mom tried to give me a crash course in paper piecing today.  It went pretty good but I'm still not sure I like it.  I'll have to keep practicing and see if I get any better.  Who knows...maybe I'll end up liking it.

Here's a look at what I was working on...
I want to share a picture I took a couple weeks ago.  I thought this was such a pretty flower.  Little did I know it's actually considered a weed.  It's called Thistle.  Don't you love the matching butterfly? 
Well, it's about time for me to hit the hay.  I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow.  One thing's for sure, I know I won't fall asleep while I'm driving.  My son will talk nonstop the whole way home.  Maybe I should've invested in ear plugs....

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sometimes You Have to Say NO

I don't know about anyone else but I'm always getting asked by family members to fix things.  Sometimes it's clothes, sometimes it's quilts and sometimes my dad tries to sneak in a sock or two. I usually try to help if I can even though it's not my favorite.  I'm a quilter...I love to make quilts.  Clothes...not so much.

I have a little story to tell about a project my step sister has for mom and I.  I was scared as soon as she called me and said "I have a little project for you."  She showed up at the house with a quilt in hand.  I was relieved to see a quilt and not clothing. 

This is what she brought to show us.

 Not a bad looking quilt...until you look at it closer!
Yes, that brown spot is the floor!
Has she lost her mind?  She wants us to slap some fabric over these holes and just fix it!  Say WHAT??  Just fix it??  Did I hear that right? 

The back is worse than the front!

Peek a boo...I see you!

Now I'm sure you can all imagine how we reacted when we saw the quilt.  We laughed hysterically and told her there's no way to fix this bad boy.  It's time to let it go and find a new favorite quilt.  She kept whispering, "I think you could fix.  It's not that bad.  I know you could do it." 

Bless her heart she has no quilting or sewing experience so she really doesn't get how much of a lost cause this is.  So, we showed it to Mary and guess what?  Mary laughed hysterically too.  See, it's not just us.  It really can't be fixed.  It's time to let it go.  

My grandmother came over tonight and we showed it to her.  She laughed hysterically and said "What?  Fix this?"  It's time to let it go...  

As much as I love her I'm not fixing this pitiful quilt.  I told her I would make her a new one instead.  She can have a new favorite quilt to love.  Hopefully the new one won't die a slow painful death like this one. But if it does...I'm not fixing it either!

Surprise Giveaway Winnner

It's time to announce the winner of the Riley Blake Shades strips!  And the lucky winner is...number 33!

33. Crickets Corner said...

Congratulations on having a post featured on Free Quilt Patterns and thanks for the pop up giveaway. Such pretty colors.

Congratulations!  I've sent you an email to get all your info.

I should have posted the winner earlier today but I'm all out of whack.  I'm at mom's house this week and it seems to be throwing me off schedule.  And to top it off my dad has my laptop so he can update it.  Boy, that really messes me up.  I'm not used to using windows and it's driving me bonkers!!!  I might be bald if he doesn't get it finished today.

Don't forget about our current giveaway for the OLFA circle cutter!  There's still time to enter.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

OLFA Circle Cutter Series: Part 4 ~ A Giveaway

Today marks the end of our OLFA Circle Cutter Series.  And we're going to end it with a giveaway!  OLFA has generously supplied me with a circle cutter just for you guys. 


You must be a follower of our blog to be eligible to win. 
~Here's how to enter~
{You do not have to do each of long as you follow our blog and leave a comment you are eligible to win.  We simply like to give you ways to earn extra entries} 

Leave us a comment
(one entry)

Tweet or Blog about our giveaway...make sure you leave us a 
comment so we know that you did
(one entry)
Find us on facebook and friend us or like us...make sure you leave us a 
comment so we know that you did
(one entry) 

The giveaway ends on Sunday, June 10th at 11:59 PM (CST).
The winner will be randomly selected and announced on 
Monday, June 11th.  The winner will be contacted by email.

Please make sure you leave a comment for each entry.  For example, if you friend us on facebook and tweet about the giveaway you should leave 2 separate comments. 
If you already follow us on facebook...just comment that you currently follow.  Also, it is important that we know who you are.  If you leave an anonymous comment we won't have a way to notify you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

OLFA Circle Cutter Series: Part 3 ~ Tips

It's time for some OLFA Circle Cutter tips!  Are you ready? I hope so.

Don't forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2 from our OLFA Circle Cutter Series.  There's lots of good information and a tutorial too!  

Today's lesson is geared towards cutting the circle rings I used in the No Name Circles table runner.  These rings are a bit trickier than a normal circle.  

You may recall from Part 1, I told you that it's normal for the fabric to bubble and wrinkle when you're cutting circles.  I discovered that isn't so great when cutting a 1/2" wide ring.  If the fabric bubbles, the ring isn't an even 1/2" wide all the way around.  Well, I have the solution...Steam a Seam!

I found that Steam a Seam helps the fabric adhere to my cutting mat and keeps it from moving.  I ironed the Steam a Seam to the wrong side of my fabric and then peeled off the paper backing.  

I placed my square of fabric in the lower left hand corner of my cutting mat and ran my hand over it.  I wanted to make sure it was firmly pressed to the cutting mat.  

Now that it's pressed down I can cut my circles.  The Steam a Seam will hold the fabric in place and all my circles and rings will turn out perfect!
I can say for certain that Lite Steam a Seam works wonderfully.  I tried doing the same thing with heat and bond but it wouldn't stick to my mat.  Obviously, there are a million choices of fusibles, some cheaper than Steam a Seam, but I didn't try them all.  There could be another brand that works as well but I haven't found it yet.

I also found it was easier to cut the circles from smallest to largest.  Of course, every one is different and you might find largest to smallest works best.  Just have fun with it and get creative!  

Come back tomorrow for our final day of the OLFA Circle Cutter Series.  I have one last surprise.  I hope you are all enjoying learning about the Circle Cutter.  It really makes circles fun and not scary!  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

OLFA Circle Cutter Series: Part 2 ~ A Tutorial

Welcome to Part 2 of our OLFA Circle Cutter Series.  Today I'll be sharing a tutorial.  You all might remember this circle table runner from the recent guest post over at Melissa's Sew Bitter Sweet Designs.  I'm posting it here on our blog because OLFA has asked me to share my design with their facebook friends!  I can't believe they liked it so much!  So I would like to welcome any new friends who have found us through OLFA...please have a look around and get to know us. 

As many of you know I'm terrible at naming projects!  This is yet another project with no name.  I'll call it No Name Circles. {haha}  
And guess's still not quilted!  I just haven't had time to do much sewing over the past 2 weeks.

Let's get started...
All seams are 1/4" 

6 ~ 7" square pieces of fabric {I used part of a Good Fortune Layer Cake}
5/8 yard for background & outer border {grey}
1/4 yard inner border {purple}


First, I cut out all of my circles.  I took each 7" square of fabric and applied  a 6 7/8" square of Steam a Seam to the wrong side.  It's very important that the Steam a Seam is smaller than the fabric.  Otherwise, you will have a sticky mess on your iron. {I wonder how I know that????}

Steam a Seam on Wrong Side
Ironing it on

Almost ready to cut circles
There are two different ways to cut the circles out.  The old fashion way...scissors.  Or the easy way....use an OLFA Circle Cutter.  I went with option number 2...I used my handy dandy OLFA Circle Cutter which made my life a whole lot easier!    

Before I cut my circles I peeled the paper backing off the Steam a Seam.  

I laid my square right side up on my cutting board and started cutting.

Ready to cut
Cutting the 4.5" Circle

I made a total of three cuts.  I started with the smallest circle, the 4.5" circle.  Then I cut the 5.5" circle.  Then the 6.5" circle.

{You can refer back to yesterday's post, Part 1, to see how I determined where the pivot spike needed to be in order to cut each size.} 

Cutting 5.5" Circle
Cutting 6.5" Circle

Check out what I did in a matter of minutes...

Next, the 5.5" circle must be cut into fourths.  I only used 5 of the 5.5" circles so I picked my favorites.  Cut in half and then in half again.

Line up on the 2 3/4" mark and cut
Flip ruler and line up on other 2 3/4" mark

All done! 
Now I'm ready to lay out the circles on the background fabric. 

I cut a 10" x width of fabric strip of grey

I laid this strip out on my ironing board, right side up.  I pressed it in half lengthwise to create a mark down the center.  I used this mark to help me align all the circles that will be applied.

Right side up ready to press
Press in half lengthwise

This is the center mark used for aligning circles
The 6.5" circle rings will be the first to go onto the grey fabric.  Also, I started with the two center rings and worked my way out.  I folded each ring in half and made a crease on each side.  This crease was lined up with the center press mark on the grey fabric.  Keep going until all 6 rings are laid on the fabric.  They should be touching but not overlapping.  Do NOT iron anything yet.    

Next, take each center 4.5" circle and fold in half to make a crease in the center.  This crease will line up with the center press mark on the grey fabric.  

If you look closely at the picture you can see all the crease marks line up with the pressed line I made earlier.  This is how I made sure everything lined up just right with no measuring!  Do NOT iron anything yet...

Next, add the connector pieces.  These pieces will be tucked under the outer rings.  I used my 6" x 24" ruler to make sure they were all placed the same distance from the edge of the grey.  I used tweezers to move them around if I needed.  {I might be a little OCD} Everything is still NOT ironed down at this point.

Stand back and take a look.  If you're happy you can iron it all down.  If something looks off, just wiggle it around until you're happy and then iron it all down.

Here's what you have before adding any borders. 
All we have left is appliquéing the circles, adding borders and quilting!

I used my open toe foot and stitched around each circle.  It's a little time consuming but not too bad.  Just stop and have a little chocolate every now and then!

When I appliqué I always leave the threads long at the beginning and end so I can pull everything to the back and tie off.  I don't like how it looks if I backstitch.
The two threads on top will be pulled to the back and tied off

2 bobbin threads
2 bobbin + 2 top threads

Double knot & Trim
I very gently tug on each bobbin thread which helps me find the top thread and pull it to the back.  I use a pin or needle to get the top thread started.  It's just easier than trying to grab it with my fingers.  I also leave a 1/2" tail when I trim the knot.  No one will ever see it.     

A close up of the appliqué...
After everything is stitched down it's time to add borders.  

Almost done!

I added a 1" inner purple border to frame the design and a 2.5" outer grey border to finish it all off!

I know I didn't give a step by step on the borders.  I figure you've had enough of me for today.  Plus, these were standard run of the mill borders that don't really need a lot of explanation.  

Boy oh boy that ended up being a really long tutorial.  I hope I didn't lose too many of you along the way.  Hopefully I'll get No Name Circles quilted and named before long!

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for Part 3 of the OLFA series.  I'm going to have some tips on using the OLFA circle cutter.       
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