Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Quilter's Mixology Sew Along!

Hey All!  

I meant to post this yesterday but crazy deadlines have me hiding for cover in my sewing room for the next week.  But I'm really excited to share that Sara, SewSweetness, is currently hosting a sew along on her blog for my book.  Each day, a different blogger will share there a version of one of the patterns from my book.  You'll see each of them made and how others have interpreted the patterns.

But the fun doesn't stop there!  After that there will be a chance to enter your own creations from my patterns and win lots of fun prizes!!  Fun prizes people!  We love those.

Today is just day two on the stop and already I'm in love with what the quilters are creating.  Today Kaye, Miss Print, has shared a mini version of my butterfly pattern and it was her first time sewing curves!!  Yay Kaye!

And yesterday, Heidi, Fabric Mutt, created a beautiful pillow version of my medallion quilt that I just want to steal.  She used all those darling Heather Ross prints that are so yummy and precious!

I love how she chose to make the same design at a smaller scale and created a beautiful pillow rather than the baby quilt I designed.  Just goes to show how versatile these patterns are.  And Heidi too shares her thoughts on the book as a whole.

It's going to be so fun for me to see these projects being made and hearing everyone's opinions about the book and the designs.  I hope that you all check out the fun as well.  You can see all the projects on Sara's blog over the next couple of weeks.  And I'll try to keep you all updated every few days with the projects.  But in the meantime, feel free to start your own to enter later or finish up a project you have started.  As you can see, there are lots of ways to make a quilt a more accessible small project by doing a mini version of it.

I can't wait to see what is next!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Beyond Neutral - A book review and giveaway!

Today I'm excited to share with you all the beautiful book Beyond Neutral by the talented John Q. Adams aka Quilt Dad.  This is not John's first book nor his last I expect...he is a man of many talents and one of the forces behind the Ezine Fat Quarterly.  (And they have a couple of books too!  Check those out!  I really want their latest one on color!)

Half Moon Bay 
Pieced By Kristen Danis; Quilted by Angela Walters

I like, like many women, find John's take on the quilting world fascinating.  Let's be honest.  Men are in the minority when it comes to the demographic of quilters.  So his choices of patterns and fabrics are always interesting to me.  There is some overlap, but I love to see a masculine perspective on quilting.  And this book gives you that.  John is not afraid of "natural neutrals" as he describes the colors of nature that balance out life.

The main premise of John's book is about using nature as an inspiration color palette for the backgrounds of his quilts.  John rather aptly describes the "fear" that so many quilters have in using a background other than cream or white when piecing a quilt.  And he boldly embraces the use of other colors that he sees commonly in nature, knowing that these colors will work in quilts because they work in nature.  Our eyes are accustomed to seeing these "natural neutrals" all the time already.  So why not use them in quilt backgrounds?

Pieced by Cathy Reitan; Quilted by Angela Walters

I love that when I look at John's designs, I see quilts designed by a man.  Because his quilts will be appealing to men.  And we all know how hard it can be to find quilts that men will love...err...tolerate. ;) His color palettes may well appeal more to men too.  I would suggest showing John's book the boys and men in your life that you are dying to make a quilt for.  I bet they will find a pattern that they like!!

Pacific Crest
Pieced by Melinda Mathis; Quilted by Angela Walters

The quilt pictured above, Pacific Crest, the cover quilt, is easily my personal favorite from the book.  I keep telling John that I'm going to make this.  And I swear that in this lifetime I will.  I just adore it.  The dark blue background and the selection of colors is right on.  But for me, it is the movement that this quilt has that makes it so special. I feel like these are shooting stars or arrows raining down on troops.  It brings out my fanciful side and I like that. 

Cape Lookout
Pieced by John Q Adams; quilted by Angela Walters

And the Cape Lookout quilt is a inspired by a sunrise or sunset.  But I see a rainbow that will actually appeal to people who don't care for "Rainbow quilts".  You know what I mean. The navy background is grounding this quilt in a way that white can not.  It pulls you in rather than popping off the quilt.  Both techniques are valuable to have in your pocket of color selection.  And I'm inspired to continue using any color I want as the background for a quilt.  I personally adore a robin's egg blue for a background color and can make that work with any color scheme...just challenge me! lol


I hope that you all enjoy my peek in John's book.  And if you are as intrigued by it as I am,  you are in luck.  I am able to offer one e book version of this book to a lucky winner!  

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite color to use as a background for a quilt. (And it is okay if it is white or cream! lol  We all do it!)  

Good luck!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DIY: Painted Wooden Utensils

Painted Wooden Utensils

One of the many things I've been doing lately is this new birthday club I started with 11 other ladies where each person gets a month and will be inundated with birthday packages from the other 11.  I had the first month and got loads of lovely crafty goodness and cuteness.  So now I get a chance to make gifts and shop for the other ladies.  This is one of the things that this particular birthday girl wanted...some hand painted wooden utensils.  So I thought to myself, "self.  You can do that!" And off I went.

* wooden utensils - found everywhere!
* acrylic paints from craft section of store
*small bottle of varnish - found in the same section as the little bottles of acrylic paint
*foam paint brush
*washi tape

Painted Wooden Utensils

I started with my washi tape and carefully taped off the end where I wanted the paint to end (no paint on the part of the utensil touching food).  Then I taped off the tip of the handle creating an even starting point as well.  I taped a few sections off in the middle of the handles, making each one unique.

Painted Wooden Utensils

Then I took a smaller width washi tape and added in some more tape options.  One thing to note: anywhere you place the tape will be the natural wood color in the finished product. And be sure to place the washi tape firmly so that paint does not slip underneath destroying your pretty pattern.

Painted Wooden Utensils

And then color!!  It was time to play with the different colors I had chosen (I went with a bit of a retro color scheme that made me happy).  I chose to paint each handle to be unique, so I got to play with color arrangement on each.  Definitely the most fun part of the project for me!

Painted Wooden Utensils

I didn't choose the most expensive (ahem...quality) acrylic paints, so my utensils took many coats of color to get the saturation I needed.  The blue went on well but the other three colors were pretty thin.  I probably should have invested more in the paint. ;) Ah well.  It just took more time.  I used low glasses to hold each utensil while it dried between coats.  

After the color,I removed all of the washi tape except the bottom one near the spoon end.  I added at least four separate coats of varnish to make the paint last and protect any food from paint.  It was great watching the handle get glossier and glossier.  It was like painting my nails (which I haven't done in a long time! lol) It was my top coat.

Painted Wooden Utensils

And then finally! The big reveal.  I carefully pulled away the last piece of washi tape on each utensil and saw my clean fresh lines (and perhaps some not so clean ones...but that's the beauty of handmade right?).  I gave the utensils a few more days to dry thoroughly before shipping to be sure the paint had set completely.

Painted Wooden Utensils

I think that this is a great activity for friends who are looking for a craft project together.  You just need to take into account the drying time.  With high quality paints and perhaps a hair dryer you can probably speed up the process.  Otherwise, you can do what I did, and let them hang out in your kitchen for a weekend while you randomly chose moments to add an extra coat of this or that.  It kind of depends on how tolerant your family is of random craft projects around the house. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Quilter's Mixology Book Reviews

So my book has been out for a couple months now and it's been fun to see book reviews pop up here and there across blogland.  Each one is a complete novelty and I'm completely flattered (seriously!) by anything nice that is being said.

Today you can find a review of my book over on Pat Bravo's blog.  Pat is the genius behind Pat Bravo designs and Art Gallery Fabrics, so it means a huge amount to me to hear her opinion.  And she put together this great image which I'm happily stealing from her. ;)

I've had other dear friends write book reviews as well on their blogs.

Faith, Fresh Lemon Quilts, was such a dear and I love what she said about how thorough my directions were.  That was something I worked REALLY hard at doing and debated a lot about how much to include.  Basically I gave as much info as they would let me fit in there.  lol  And she started an amazing mini version of my Petal Pushers Quilt using some of my favorite fabrics from Cotton & Steel and Violet Craft.  Yum!

My lovely friend, Ayumi of Pink Penguin Quilts, was sweet enough to write a review of the book.  And she has an interview of me on her blog where I attempt to sound pulled together and knowledgeable. ;)  You can be the judge of that.

Ayumi and I were working on books at similar times and she was a great resource for me during the process.  She is the MOST encouraging person!  I read her blog review and I'm not quite sure I believe all of that stuff she says about me.  But it's a good thing to go read if I'm having an off day.  lol

Kati, From the Blue Chair, wrote a review earlier this summer as well.  Kati too has an interview of me on her blog post and she talks about how she was skeptical of my topic but I won her over. I love an honest review! lol  I'm skeptical about a lot of book concepts that I hear these days too.  Mainly because I feel we are a bit over saturated with books.  But trust me...writing a book has been a life long dream of mine.

Kati also started a version of my Arabian Nights Quilt.  She used a different die cutter and offset the pattern and it is looking beautiful!!  I can't wait to see the finished version!

I don't want to get too long winded and I don't want to leave anyone out...but some other great reviews out there are from Christa of ChristaQuilts who I met at Sewing Summit last fall in my class on curves.  It was great to hear her perspective from being in my class to reading the book.

Melissa of Happy Quilting, also wrote a lovely review.  She was sweet enough to attend my school house event at market this past spring.  So she has gotten to see these quilts up close!   That can be a true test you know!  Do the quilts actually look good in person or has clever photography made something more appealing? 

And oh I'm sure there are more!  It gets a little hard to keep track of actually.  And I ADORE seeing anyone work on a quilt from the book.  I usually catch it when I'm tagged on IG, but feel free to email me pics of your work too.  It really makes my day to see people using the designs.

Quilts made from designs in my book!

And don't forget that Sara, Sew Sweetness will be hosting a Sew Along/Blog Hop of sorts starting in September!  There are several fabulous amazing people who are sewing up quilts to show their take on a pattern.  And there will be fun and prizes etc.  Sara always does an amazing job with these things.  So stay tuned for that.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Electric Quilt Featured Artist

Just in case you can't get enough of me ;) you can find me featured over at Electric Quilt.  This is the computer software I use when designing quilts.

And as part of the feature, I also have a little project design that I'm offering for free over on the Electric Quilt site.  Celebrate the current year with this 2014 design.  Create a calendar or pillow or whatever your heart desires.  You'll notice that I used my favorite little curves like I use in my book. This lets you get some extra practice or start with a small project!

I hope you enjoy the pattern and please let me know if you make it!!  I'd love to see!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ginkgo Trees - Can you help?

I know that not everyone who sews is an avid gardener or horticulturist, but I'm hoping there is some crossover out there among my readers who could give me some advice about Ginkgo trees.

I'm looking to plant a Ginkgo tree as a memorial tree and I want to know the best variety to plant.  I know that I want a male species due to the foul smelling berries from the female species.  I realize that these grow SUPER slowly (the tree pictured above is at least 100 years old) but they also have very long life spans.  They are the oldest living species of tree, having existed during the times of the dinosaurs and saw the arrival of mankind on earth. (they've been around a while...let's just put it that way)

But I'm having some difficulty deciding on the correct variety to plant and how old the tree can be and be transplanted.  I've been given the species name Saratoga Ginkgo but I am finding many more pictures for the Autumn Gold variety.  The plan is to have a bench under the tree and I am looking for a shape more like the one pictured above (though it obviously would not be that large perhaps even in my lifetime)

Can anyone help me?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tshirt Dress Success - for the most part ;)

Tshirt dress up cycle

One of the things I have wanted to try for a long time now is up cycling tshirts of Caitlyn's into dresses.  There are a variety of reasons I want to do this, it's economical and gives me a chance to try to play with knits.  But mostly because my girl is a girly girl.  There has not been a single pair of shorts worn this summer.  It is all dresses, all the time right now.  So tshirts are being wasted on her.  lol

One late night I was searching Amazon (you know, because it's always smart to shop on Amazon late at night when you wish you were sleeping) and I stumbled upon this book: Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses

Yes...I'm sure there are million free tutorials out there but I'm a book girl.  And it was cheap enough that I was willing to risk the author had some good tips and ideas that would be worth me not spending days searching through tutorials to find the one I liked.  So purchase I did.  And I think it was worth it.  There are tons of examples of dress types in here and that alone helps me.  I can decide what type of t-shirt dress I like and what I don't.  That's half the battle people.

Tshirt dress up cycle

So I gathered a couple of languishing t-shirts from her drawer that were hand me downs, AKA if I messed them up I would feel no remorse, to try out this technique.  I don't want to give away any details of the author's technique because I would encourage you to buy her book if you are interested.  (Gotta respect the work the author did and not share it for free! ;)  ) But I will show you some pictures of my process and my final dresses.

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

I started by chopping up the tshirt as required.  What a gloriously freeing activity! (Yeah...I may need to get out more)

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

There were some bows permanently attached to this shirt, so I needed to make sure I gave myself a seam allowance around them.

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

I picked out a sweet little cotton print (Moda I believe) that worked well with the t-shirt print and hemmed it and sewed the side seam.  And then sewed it all together!

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

And my little model loved it!  She tried it on and didn't want to take it off.  That's always a good sign!  Plus she does like to model for me. lol

Tshirt dress up cycle

tshirt dress

I did do a second dress as well with the other t-shirt.  It turned out cute, but I made some other decisions in sewing it that made just a larger dress overall.  Perhaps the tshirt was a bit larger to begin with.  I'm not sure.  Regardless, though it turned out cute, I've put the dress up in the closet for next year.  It's just a little too oversized and looks a bit homemade rather than hand made. ;) It's always best to wear clothes that fit you.

Tshirt dress up cycle

So, it was an experiment that worked...sort of...one that will work for now and one that I guess will work for later. I still have lots of other ideas for combing t-shirts and other fabrics that involve elastic and shirring and other such crazy ideas. ;) But for now I'm comfortable with this new skill in my back pocket.


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