Thursday, May 30, 2013

The World's Fastest Teacher Appreciation Gifts and a Flimsy

 It's been a great school year and I couldn't have asked for better teachers for my kids.  I'm so thankful for the teaching and love they received every day.  Their teachers really gave 110%! Today is the last day of school and as always, I waited till the last second to put something together to show my appreciation.  So last night I ran down to our local smoothie shop and got them all gift certificates (2 teachers, 1 teacher's aide and 1 bus driver).  

 
With a little graph paper and Washi tape, I attached a little note that says,  

"You've been a real 'SMOOTH' teacher this year!"
and
"Thanks for giving us a 'SMOOTH' ride to school this year!"

(Both of my kids commented on how cool the tape was!  
What can I say, Washi makes everything cute :) 
  

There isn't a gift that could sufficiently thank their teachers but I hope they'll enjoy a yummy treat on us :)  

I also finished this flimsy last night.
I've been working on lots of different projects lately (that I can't share pictures of quite yet :) so it was fun to squeeze in some time to make something for the quilt shop I work at.


This was a fun little project to try out the new Jaybird Quilts Hex N More ruler.  I used Summer House fabrics from Henry Glass + a few random pieces.  I really loved working with the Hex N More ruler!  It was easy to cut with and the pieces went together quickly and easily.  It was a little pricey (about $24) but I splurged because I figured I'd use it time and time again.  After finishing this flimsy last night I started itching to make another quilt with my son's collection of fat quarters!  So I guess that's a good sign!

Well, I'm off to the school now to catch a little of 
the end of year festivities!
Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today

 I am quilting.


Not pebbles.

 
Not swirls or circles or flowers.


Not feathers or clam shells.


 Not headbands (although those are really fun).


Not leaves or bouncing bananas.


Just some little stars.


I'm not perfect.  I'm just a beginner.  But I'm having fun trying.


My little folk artsy flag is all basted (sorta - I'm too lazy to go to the store to get real basting pins so I'm using straight pins).  It's a small project so I think it'll be okay.
 

Time to dive in.
Wish me luck :)

~ Amber

P.S.  What are YOU doing today?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

TO YOU. FROM ME.



I wanted to let you know that I have changed my price on my Sew Classic Sampler.  It's now $29.99 (instead of $40 - that's a big savings!)  AND everything in the shop is 20% off until Sunday!

"Why?" you may ask.
Because you're awesome :)

Head on over to my ETSY SHOP.
   Shop to your little hearts content and then enter: 
"20PERCENTOFF" at checkout. 
This coupon code is good till Sunday night.

To you.  From me.
♥ Amber

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How-To Square Up Half Square Triangles

Most of my friends are not quilters but recently one of them decided to make a quilt for a family member.  She chose two fabrics (grey and white solids) and began to make lots of half square triangles (HST's).  She planned to put them together to create a simple, modern chevron quilt.  After she made all of the HST's she started to sew them together in rows.  Everything seemed to be going great until she started to sew the rows together.  Then, she called me in frustration.  We met up and she showed me how the intersections of the HST's were not matching up, her points were either getting cut off or weren't lining up and some blocks seemed to be bigger than others.  She had pulled, pushed and tucked to try to make them all fit but it just wasn't working!  I could see she was very frustrated and discouraged.  We checked her seam allowances and tried to figure out the root of the problem.  While trying to stay positive and remind her that "finished is better than perfection" I could tell she wouldn't be happy until she unpicked her rows and squared up her blocks.  That was the only, yet critical step, she had missed.  So I told her how to square them up and she went home.  She called me a couple days later asking if we could meet up so I could show her (again) how to do it.
 
 
For a newbie quilter like my friend, using rulers for cutting and squaring up can be confusing.  I work in a quilt shop and I see how intimidated people get by it.  Sometimes they'll even bring their blocks in and ask us to square up their blocks for them! :)  

But it really is necessary to take the time to square up.  Squaring up can help you straighten up (so your diagonal seam goes exactly from corner to corner) and it can help you to size up!  Your quilt blocks will be so much easier to put together if they're all the exact same size!  It will take a little extra time but squaring up is totally worth it in the end!

Then I got thinking, there are probably others out there that struggle with the same thing as my friend.  So I've decided to do a little "How-To" on squaring up HST's.  Of course, there are several ways to do it.  This is just the method I like.  Let's begin, shall we?


 First, you'll need a self-healing cutting mat, a rotary cutter and a small ruler that is at least the size of what you want your trimmed size block to be.  I am not one to have a million different size rulers but I've found that my 6 1/2" square ruler works well for most projects.


Decide what size you want to trim all of your blocks to.  As you can see in the above photograph, my HST was about 3 5/8".  I wanted to trim it to an even 3 1/2".  So that doesn't give me much room to square up (only an 1/8").  I only need to trim off a sliver of fabric from each side.


Note: You don't need to pay any attention to the grid marks on your mat.  We're strictly using it as a medium to cut on.  Only pay attention to the marks on the ruler. 

Step 1: Line up the top and right edges of your ruler on the HST.  Make sure your 45 degree line on the ruler is directly over the seam.  You will be trimming both of those two sides first but make sure that the other two sides extend beyond your desired trimmed size (3 1/2" for this example).  If they do not extend beyond the 3 1/2" mark then you will have trimmed off too much and your block will be too small.


 Go ahead and trim the first two sides when you're sure you have the right ruler placement.  Be careful that nothing slips while you're cutting.


Step 2: Rotate the block 180 degrees to the left so that you can trim the other two sides in the same exact way.  This time you can line up the two trimmed sides on your 3 1/2" marks on your ruler.  Also make sure that the 45 degree line on your ruler is directly over the seam.  When everything is straight and lined up, trim off the top and right sides.


Your block should measure exactly 3 1/2" (or whatever you chose to trim yours to).  The dog ears will be cut off and your seam will be a perfect 45 degree line from corner to corner!


That's it.  It's really quite easy peasy.


I think you'll find that although it takes a little extra time to square up...


it's totally worth it and will save you from lots of headaches in the future.

I hope that helps!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's a Thimble Blossoms Kind-of Day

 Look what I found on my kitchen counter at about 10 o'clock last night.  It was a nice little surprise at the end of a hectic day.  I'm so excited to spend some time devouring it today :)


And before I even realized it had arrived I had already started petting my new Scrumptious Layer Cake that the sweet ladies at Moda sent to me the other day!  It really didn't take more than two seconds for me to start cutting into it once I unrolled it.


Even the trimmings are pretty.
 

This is the start of a new project :)


And for those of you who haven't seen some of the DARLING prints in this new line...this one's for you!


I love all of the prints in this line and I think Bonnie and Camille really out-did themselves this time (I think I say that every time).  Apparently, I'm a big fan :)  Anyways, good job (again) girls! 

Now, I've been waiting all morning to be able to go back in my sewing room to have at this fabric.  The kitchen is clean, some weeding has been done, laundry has been started.  Now it's time for me to say good-bye to you.  

Have a wonderful day!
~ Amber