Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Road Trip {and a finished project and some funny things}

This is my little nephew that lives in Montana. 
He is so fascinated with quilting and sewing machines.  He's been asking lot's of questions since I've been here, like "How old do you have to be to sew?"   His sweet little 6-year-old self whispered to his mommy the other day {as I was finishing sewing the binding on this quilt} "Aunt Amber is really good with sewing."  I mean what little 6-year-old would even pay attention to that kind of stuff?  Then when we pulled out his Mom's sewing machine, he got all excited and asked me if it was mine.  I said, "No, it's your mom's."  He didn't even know his mom owned a sewing machine!  We practically had to wipe the dust off of it.  :)  His mom is really depriving him...I mean the kid wants to learn.  (J/K, my sister's reading this over my shoulder.)

One of my little sidekicks and my parents and I came to visit his family last Saturday.  My little sis and her kids are here too.  We've been enjoying a little R and R, shopping, banana hazelnut crepes {at the Posh Chocolat cafe in downtown Missoula - yumm!} and Tivo'd Dancing With The Stars.  I even had time to finish a little project.  Wanna see?
That's my older sister, Tammy.  The one that doesn't sew.  EVER.
But she IS a great decorator.  And cook.  And mom.
This is her guest room {where my little sidekick and I are staying.}
I love this bird.  And the eggs.
It's kind of our joke that everything in my sister's house is either from Costco or T.J. Maxx.  We don't even have to ask.  And seriously everything she owns is cute.  Like things you wouldn't even think of - like her salt & sugar containers, her toilet paper holder and this keyboard that I'm using right now is resting on a beautiful wood "pad" with bevealed edges and painted scrollwork around the edges.  Seriously, if I only had her talent.  So needless to say, we always have to make a stop at T.J.'s while I'm here.  I mean, I have one about 30 minutes from my house that I only go to once in a great while, but I am so inspired when I come here that it's one of the first places I want to run to when I come to Missoula.   

So after a run to T.J. Maxx's and the Missoula Antique Mall, this is what I'm going home with:
Each of these items was $7 or less.  Pretty good huh?

Well, I just wanted to say "Hi" but I'm missing out on arm hair conversations so I've got to go.  Something about "Locks of Love."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Restless or Creative?

I'm feeling restless.  Needing a change.  Wanting to freshen things up around here.  I'm not really wanting new projects, but at the same time I am wanting new projects.  Do you know what I mean? 

Lately I've been enjoying this blog.  Holly is amazing.  I'm loving all of the white she uses. 

Like this:

and this:

and this:

Oh, and this:

Beautiful right?

From Holly's blog, I found this blog. 
[I've gotta remember this little shade if I ever decide
to make the change to WHITE.]

Love the pleats (or a ruffle would be cute too.)  Hmmm...my mind is reeling.

And then last night I was inspired by this: 

[Thank you Better Homes and Gardens for this lovely photo.]

When I saw it, I thought, "Hey, I could do that!"
I mean, I've got this space that desperately needs to be updated:
[Yeah, I've still got my Valentine's Day stuff up.  I know I'm a slacker.]

* O.K.  I was just rereading my post and am kind of embarrassed.  Seriously, is it really the end of March?  Oh my gosh.  I really need to get on the ball here...
And I've got these:

Are you seeing the potential here people?  All I need is just some white paint and some crown molding, right?  [I like to downplay the amount of work and money that goes into these kinds of things.]  I know it would be just lovely though.  But then I'd have to repaint this:


this:

and these stools:

(plus the dining set in the background)  Yeah, don't ask. I just painted that green last summer.  I'm already regretting it. 

I haven't convinced my husband yet of all of this.  How crazy would it be to transform a house full of lots of red and green to whites and beiges?  Really crazy I think...  I'll probably have to let the idea go for now, at least until I finish some other projects.  It's fun to dream though isn't it?  It is.  But it's also a little bit of a curse - this creative gene.

Well, thanks for listening to me while I redecorated my whole house in my imagination.   I'm off to reality now.  Bye! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why Do You ♥ To Quilt?


I've been thinking about that question...


The textures, the colors, the softness...

Never-ending creative possibilities.

A HUGE sense of accomplishment.

Cuddling up in a beautifully worn quilt with someone you love
~ what could be more cozy and romantic?

This thing {that I made!!!} is lasting. 


WHY DO YOU LOVE TO QUILT?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

a {SWEET} bias binding tutorial

I love to do my bindings on the bias.  Especially stripes.  It's like a candy cane wrapping around the edge of my quilt.  So cute!  Yes, it does take a little more fabric, but not much. 


Here is an easy trick for cutting your fabric [FAST] on the bias.  You just have to figure out how to fold the fabric and then the cutting part is easy.

First, lay down your fabric at an angle with the right side of the fabric facing DOWN.  Take the bottom corner and fold it up so that its right edge is parallel with the right edge of the main fabric.
Next, take the left corner of the fabric and fold it over so that it makes a "right angle" on the left side of the first fold.
Then take the right corner of fabric and fold it over, making a "right angle" on the right side.












Cut off the folds. 
Then cut your strips the desired widths you like.  The strips will come out varying lengths.  Use as many strips as you think you'll need.  I usually pick out the longest strips and discard the ones that are really short.
Cut off the angled ends. 








Connect the strips: lay two strips on top of each other {with right sides together} so that they're ends are perpendicular to each other.  Draw a line from corner to corner and pin in place.  Stitch on this line and then trim 1/4" away. 


Iron in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.
In the middle of one side of your quilt, begin sewing the binding to the front of your quilt, lining up the raw edges.  Leave about 5 inches unsewn at the beginning.  Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew along the edge until you reach the first corner.


To miter corners: sew up to 1/4" away from the first corner.  Stitch in place a few times and then cut the threads.  Rotate your quilt, getting ready to sew the binding on to the next side.
You'll need to make this little flap. 
Flap it back and forth.  Adjust it, if necessary, to make sure that its edges line up with the raw edges of the quilt in that corner, no matter which way it lays.  
Before sewing again make sure that the flap fold is lined up with the top edge of the quilt {the edge that already has binding sewn on} like you see in this picture. 
Position the needle 1/4" away from the corner.  Stitch in place a few times and then sew down the entire length of that side of the quilt.  Repeat the mitered corner process in each corner.
When you get back to the side you started on, stop sewing about 8 inches from where you began.  Flip up the end of the binding so that it is perpendicular to that side of the quilt.
Bring the unsewn binding from the beginning across that ending piece of binding that you just flipped up.

Keep the strips taut.  If they're too loose, you'll have too much fabric there~ resulting in tucks in your binding.  Pin the two pieces of binding together and sew on the diagonal.
Trim off excess, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
Line up the binding along that side of the quilt again and stitch over that part with a 1/4" seam allowance.
You're almost done.  The last thing you'll want to do is put on one of your favorite movies (one that you know by ♥ is best so that you don't have to look up very much) and begin hand stitching it down on the back side of your quilt.  Here are a few more great tips on that.


Now you're done.  Grab a little cutie {like Miss M} and have some snuggle time together with your finished quilt!  After all, that's what they're really for, right?

A {SWEET} quilt

I ♥ getting a quilt back from the quilter.  I can see the finish line on the horizon.  Just a quick binding and then I'm finished!  It's such an exciting feeling! 

This is my "Sweet" quilt. 

The fabric line = Sweet by Urban Chicks for Moda
 The pattern = Shortnin' Bread by Fresh Cut Quilts

[Fresh Cut Quilts is doing a giveaway right now so be sure to check out Kari's blog and give her some comment love!  She is a fabulous Utah designer.  I love this pattern ~ it's perfect for charm packs and so cute!!]

  I know this fabric is kind of past it's prime, but I still love it.  My problelm is that I whip out the quilt tops and then I get stuck because I hate forking over the big bucks to buy the batting, backing and get them quilted.  I usually have at least 4 or 5 quilt tops waiting to be quilted.  This one has been sitting in my quilt cabinet for many months.

Well, I'm trying to be better.  It's my new goal ~ trying to see projects all the way through to the finish before starting a new one. 

I will be posting a binding tutorial next; including instructions & photos on how to cut fabric [FAST] on the bias and how to do mitered corners on a quilt.  Basically, the whole sha-bang.  Doing a great binding is an important thing to know if you ♥ quilting.  Don't let it scare you, it's really quite easy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cheat Day

So my amazing cousin, Tina, just started a new business, called "Cheat Day", where she sells goumet cupcakes!  I'm so excited because I am going to a girls night out at her place tomorrow night, where we get to try all of her fabulous creations (now that is my kind of party!!!)

This is her Snicker-duo cupcake, but the Brunette Bombshell, the Lemon Chiffon & the Guava cupcakes all make my mouth water. 

She's doing a giveaway right now for 2 dozen gourmet cupcakes (your choice of flavor) for one lucky Utah resident or a great assortment of baking accessories if you're out of state.  So go on over to her website and enter to win.  Look around (or don't if you're on a diet).  Can I just say YUM?!? 
Well, it's time to bring this 3 Week Giveaway to a close.  Our third and final weeks' winner is #11:  Denise (who is a full time RVer with her husband!  Yes, that would make for very interesting quilting!)  Well Denise, I hope this Rest Your Feathers wall hanging can make a nice home in your RV or feel free to give it to someone you love!  Send me your info and I'll get this in the mail to you.

Thanks to everyone else who participated in all three weeks of giveaways.  I know that was a lot and I'm excited to get back to some normal blogging around here. I appreciate all of the comment love and support of my patterns.  For anyone wishing to get their hands on any of my first 3 patterns you can visit my etsy shop or click on one of the retail stores on my sidebar.
 
Also, I just thought I'd let those of you who keep up with the Moda Bake Shop know that the date that my Candy Hearts tutorial was suppose to post, got pushed back because of some fun MBS easter projects that take priority.  So, I lied when I said it would post March 14th - it's actually posting on the 20th now.

photo courtesy of naturalexpression.net

Wishing you all a great day!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

One lucky winner & one last giveaway [for now]

Wow, that was a fun one!  Thank you all for playing.  I really appreciate all of your encouragement with my new patterns.  It was fun to read about how you entertain yourselves while sewing.  Like many of you said, sometimes it's nice to just listen to the hum of the sewing machine while my thoughts go towards anything and everything.  It can be a very reflective time.  But, sometimes it's nice to have a little entertainment.  You guys really like your music and your shows - everything from books on tape to zombie movies (that one cracked me up!)  I personally have been busting through another version of my Sugar and Spice quilt (which has only one block throughout the whole quilt) so I definitely needed my music.  For some reason, I was listening to the kind that makes you want to get up and boogie.  But when I watch TV (usually when my husband is out of town) I like to watch HGTV or my reality shows (that's right, I'm a reality show junkie - shh, don't tell!)

Anyways, we have one lucky winner of last weeks' giveaway.  Do you want to hear who it is?  Will lucky number "40" please stand up! 

#40 Mary Burn said... I usually have the TV on -- quilting episodes or "soap operas".  Thanks for including me.

Congrats Mary!  Send me your info and I'll send the goodies your way! 

So it's been kind of an exciting week.  Moda decided to pick up my patterns for distribution (I am really excited about that) and I got my Candy Hearts quilt done, the tutorial written up and it's scheduled to post on the Moda Bake Shop on March 20th!  Here's a sneak peak of the newest version:


Looks pretty similar to the first one right?  Well it's got a little surprise feature on it so check it out on the Moda Bake Shop March 14th to see what I'm talkin' about! 

So are you wondering what the 3rd giveaway is going to be?  L
et me give you a hint...

It's a wall hanging...

And it's one I made for my house...

And it has a birdhouse on it...

O.K.  you probably already know because I already mentioned that I was going to be giving it away on a few posts back, but it is the original Rest Your Feathers wallhanging!  Here, let me show you some pictures -

The fabrics are Dandelion Girl by Fig Tree.  It measures 25" x 28".


This wall hanging was custom quilted by a wonderful free hand quilter here in Utah named Wren Woodlalnd.  Notice the little sun tucked behind some clouds in this picture:


Here, you can see some of the sweet little birdies she quilted.  I also like how she quilted the birdhouse.  She made the "welcome" look like it's on a plaque.



Well, I hope you are excited about this.  It's a little bit scary offering this as a prize...what if you don't even WANT it!?!

This giveaway is simple though~

Leave me a comment below (telling me something fun about yourself) for one entry.
Leave a separate comment if you're a follower and I'll give you one extra entry.
Post about this giveaway on your blog (and let me know that you did in a separate comment) and you'll get one more entry!

This giveaway will close Wednesday night.  I'll let you know the winner Thursday morning.  Good luck!