Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Farewell to Summer


It's the close of another month, and in our home, the end of summer as well. This Friday my husband goes back to the local middle school and his advanced history students. A week later I'll be starting up home schooling again. My Bunny is so proud to be entering first grade, and I'm beginning preschool activities with Bear and Mouse as well this year. It means going back on a set routine, lots of planning ahead, and moving my sewing time to the evenings and weekends. It's all a little overwhelming, but exciting too in a way. I love a new challenge, and I want to make this year a great one for our family.

I was a little shocked when I looked at the pictures for July -- I accomplished less than half of what I did in June. I have no regrets though. This month I tried to slow down, make projects that I truly enjoyed, and take time with the people I love.

It's been a great summer.

Linking up to Fresh Sewing Day and WIP Wednesday.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Perspective


I have so enjoyed the two project swaps I've participated in this year: Modern She Made and Modernista Homemade. The projects have been fun, and the people have been marvelous -- there is an unbelievable amount of talent in both groups. It sounds like they'll both be having another round this fall, so be sure to check it out.


For my Modernista project, I made my Perspective Mini Quilt -- you can read about it here. One of my swap friends loved it so much that I decided to attempt making a similar mini quilt with the last of my fabric scraps as a gift for her.


This one is definitely different -- one rectangle instead of two circles, pieced instead of appliqued, different binding and backing -- but I enjoyed trying to do a variation on one of my projects. I'm hoping that she'll enjoy it too.

In other news, be sure to stop by Maureen Cracknell Homemade today. Maureen was kind enough to hold our last pre-QAL giveaway this week. Another $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop is up for grabs, so don't miss out! The Vintage Holiday Quilt Along starts up officially next Monday -- can you believe it? -- so be sure to get your fabric and pattern this week so that you can start sewing with us on August 6th. I'm thrilled to see that there are more than fifty of you already joined up in the flickr group. This is going to be so much fun!

Also, I want to remind you to keep following the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop this summer. I have so enjoyed getting to meet so many new bloggers over the past few months; Beth has done a phenomenal job putting this whole hop together. Stop by Plum and June to see who's up this week!

Happy sewing!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Winner!

Groove Quilt Pattern

We have a winner for the Groove quilt pattern!


Thanks for the giveaway! I think blues and greens would look great in this.

Congratulations, Sallie! Look for an email from me any minute now!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zakka Delightful Linen Bag


Earlier this month I fell off the Zakka train...between our road trip and day trips and all the activities we've been trying to squeeze in these last few weeks, I just couldn't stay on track. But this week I'm back, and I'm remembering why I love this book so much. The projects are small, relatively easy to finish in a day, and almost always useful.


To decorate my bag, I pulled a few of the hexagons I've been making out of a charm pack of Aneela Hoey's darling new line Sew Stitchy. Her prints for this collection are on a small scale, so they work perfectly for hexies. The inside of the pouch is lined with a Denyse Schmidt print, and I used a black and white stripe for the binding around the edge. When I was finished, I noticed that the binding had gotten a tad puckered as I was attaching it, but I decided not to stress over it. Instead of a ribbon closure, I used more of the lining fabric to make a thin strap, and I like the way it all works together with the vintage wooden button.


I'll be using my bag to hold...what else? Hexagons! Now they'll always be easy to find.

Linking up to the Zakka Along.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Focus


I'm in love with this little quilt.

Polaroid blocks take a bit of work to get the fussy cutting just right, but the end result is worth it. My husband is the one who suggested turning the berry block askew while leaving the others in straight rows, and I love the way it looks. I kept the quilting simple -- just two intersecting lines of hand stitching in red thread. With the picture theme in mind, I'm calling this quilt "Focus."


I wanted all of the prints to be Lizzy House except for the Kona solids in white and coal, so I used some leftover pieces from Hello Pilgrim and Outfoxed for the back along with one of the blocks. I enjoy using her pearl bracelet prints for quilt binding; they really make an interesting frame. Though I hadn't originally intended it, the red and green in the quilting and binding perfectly match the colors in my featured berry block.


Lizzy House's designs hold a special place in my heart. They were some of the first designer fabric I ever bought. I knew when I first saw them that my children would love them, and I couldn't help loving them too. While I've used most of her fabric to make items for my daughters, this quilt is for me. I have it hanging next to my desk where I'm going to enjoy looking at it every day. It's a great reminder to me to focus on the small but important things in my life, and to remember why they matter.


Linking up to Fabric Tuesday, WIP Wednesday, and the Let's Get Acquainted Monday Link Up.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Quilt Alongs Galore & a Giveaway

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! THANKS FOR ENTERING!!

Happy Monday, everyone! It seems like there are a million great quilt alongs going on in blogland right now, and I wish that I could join up with all of them! If you're still interested in getting in on my Vintage Holiday QAL, click here for the details. Also, be sure to stop by the always inspiring S.O.T.A.K. Handmade blog today -- my friend Svetlana is hosting another $25 Fat Quarter Shop giveaway for the VHQAL and showing off the darling stack of fabrics she's planning on using for her version of the quilt. You'll definitely want to check it out!

Totally Groovy Quilt Along at Pile O' Fabric


Meanwhile, I get to hold a giveaway here this week too! My friend Alyssa is hosting a quilt along of her own this summer on her beautiful blog Pile O'Fabric. The Totally Groovy Quilt Along will give you a chance to make the fabulously retro Groove Quilt by Emily Cier of Carolina Patchworks. Alyssa has put together an incredible roster of sponsors and prizes for this QAL, and I love that she's also recruited some experts to give you advice as you go through the quilting process. You can get all the details for the event right here.

Groove Quilt Pattern

But before you head over there...why not win a Groove Quilt pattern first? Leave me a comment on this post -- any comment -- and you'll be entered into a drawing for a pattern of your own. Everyone is welcome to enter.  Please be sure that your email address is included if you're a no-reply blogger! The giveaway will remain open until this Friday morning when I'll pick a random winner.

I'm putting the finishing touches on my Lizzy House Polaroid mini quilt tomorrow, so I'm hoping to have pictures in a day or two. This has been a fun little project, and I can't wait to show you how it turned out!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Polaroid Swap


When I heard that Debbie was starting a Polaroid Swap, I just had to get on board. I've seen several Polaroid block quilts online, and they always look so cute. Because things are a little busy right now, I only signed up to swap ten blocks, but I decided to make two of each block -- one to swap and one to keep. All of my fussy cut squares are leftover scraps from various Lizzy House collections. Her clever little prints are just perfect for these tiny blocks. Forgive the indoor pictures on this post, by the way, but the wind would have blown all my little blocks into the next county if I had tried taking them outside...


The blocks I get back from the swap will be used for a separate project, while my own versions are going together to make a mini quilt. I still had a few extra squares to finish framing this evening while I was playing around with the layout. This is going to be fun!


Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Beginning



It's been a busy week, full of errands and activities, so I wasn't able to do any real sewing until today.  It's a start anyway! I'll have more for you tomorrow...

Happy Thursday, friends. :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Responsible Thing


It has been exciting to hear that so many of you will be joining the Vintage Holiday Quilt Along next month! Some fantastic fabric stacks are starting to show up in the flickr group. I had originally planned to buy some new Christmas fabric for my quilt, but after going over the family budget with my husband last week, I'm trying to do the responsible thing and pull from my stash instead. I've been collecting prints by Denyse Schmidt for months now, planning to use them for something special, and I've finally decided that this quilt will be it. I'm already picturing different blocks in my mind using these prints, and I can't wait to get started!

Aneela Hoey's lovely blog Comfortstitching was one of the first ones that I followed when I discovered the online quilting community last year. Her fabric designs are both sweet and clever -- I'm personally drooling over her two new lines: Cherry Christmas and Sew Stitchy. Be sure to stop by her blog today because Aneela is sharing her finished Vintage Holiday quilt -- yes, the one that inspired me to start this quilt along! While you're there, be sure to leave a comment because she's also hosting our second quilt along giveaway this month: a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop! See...even if I can't buy new fabric, you can!

Do any of you ever struggle with the financial aspect of quilting? I seem to be constantly trying to balance my desire to buy every new collection on the market with my need to pay the bills. My friend Beth and I were talking about this just last week, and it's made me curious. How do all of you support your fabric addiction?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Perspective


For the past few weeks I've been slowly making progress on my project for the Modernista Swap. It has been an almost therapeutic process for me to be able to take my time with something rather than try to whip it out during the few minutes of free time I can snatch here and there.


I used the Looptastic pattern by Elizabeth Hartman from her new Modern Patchwork book for the circle pieces, and I cut into two charm packs of Innocent Crush and Lou Lou Thi by Anna Maria Horner for the fabric. For the background I used some of my favorite architectural print from Etchings by 3 Sisters, and I bound it in a blue dot Modern Meadow print by Joel Dewberry. It's also backed in a pink Lou Lou Thi fabric. Since I had the time, I added some hand stitching around the inner and outer borders of the circle. Pulling from the words inside the center, I'm calling this piece Perspective.


To go along with the mini quilt, I made a thread catcher with leftover AMH prints, natural linen, and a green Mini Mikes print by Michael Miller for the lining. I echoed the original design by placing the prints in color order and adding more hand stitching around the border. 

I can't tell you what a delight these were to make. As so many of you have said when you finish a swap project, it will be so hard to let these go. Not only do I love the way they look, but they also reminded me how much I enjoy the creative process. It's easy to get so caught up in my to-do list that I forget why I started sewing in the first place. I've done a lot of thinking this week about slowing down, using what I have rather than always trying to buy more, and choosing quality over quantity in the pieces I make. If I can follow through with my resolutions in these areas, I think I'll be better for it, and I know I'll enjoy what I'm doing more.

Hope you're enjoying what you're doing this weekend.

Linking up to...

There and Back

Friday, July 13, 2012

Cow Appreciation Day


For those of you who are unfamiliar with this much anticipated date on our family calendar, it's the day in July when Chick-Fil-A restaurants offer free food to people who are crazy enough to come in dressed up like cows. My daughters, of course, consider this to be a major holiday along with Christmas and Easter. This year my sister was sweet enough to make ruffled cow skirts for both her girls and mine.

Does it get any cuter than this? I don't think so...

Vintage Holiday Pattern Winners!

Photo courtesy of Camille Roskelley at Simplify
I'm so excited to be able to give away copies of the Vintage Holiday quilt pattern to the following ladies:

11. Lucy @ Charm About YouJuly 9, 2012 11:24 AM
Very cute pattern! I only started sewing last August so I think I made Christmas things starting in about November... not sure how much I'll get done this year either since I have a baby due in Jan!! So August would be a good time to start!
I'm super excited about this quilt along! This would make a perfect gift for my mom!
I usually start my holiday sewing in November, which is not nearly soon enough!
Just barely found this but LOVE it!!!! I will definatly be quilting along. I generally start my holiday sewing way to late in the season, like octoberish but am trying very hard to start early this year and already have first project in the works :)!!!!

I've already sent emails to all of you, so please send me your information as soon as possible.

For those of you who didn't win, remember that you can still get the pattern for only $5 this week through Camille herself. Check it out here!

And remember that there will be another giveaway starting next Monday on Aneela's blog, so be sure to stop by and get in on the fun!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

If we haven't convinced you yet...

Photo courtesy of Camille Roskelley at Simplify
...to join the Vintage Holiday Quilt Along, Camille is offering a wonderful deal for the next week. You can buy the PDF pattern -- or her darling Spools pattern also -- for just $5!! Drop by her blog for all the details!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vintage Holiday Quilt Along!!


THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED BUT THE QAL ISN'T! 
YOU CAN STILL JOIN US!!

I am so thrilled to announce a new quilt along that will be happening here at Fabric Mutt over the next few months! When I first saw Aneela Hoey's adorable version of Camille Roskelley's Vintage Holiday quilt pattern (take a look here), I absolutely fell in love. I knew that I wanted to make one myself, and I knew that I wanted lots of company while making it. Camille was gracious enough to give me her blessing when I asked if I could host a quilt along, and Kimberly at The Fat Quarter Shop was kind enough to agree to sponsor it. Though I first mistakenly entitled this the Vintage Christmas Quilt Along -- yes, that's what happens to your brain when you're up all night with small children -- we're officially calling it the Vintage Holiday Quilt Along.

Photo courtesy of Camille Roskelley at Simplify
So who wants to start sewing a gorgeous Christmas quilt??

To kick things off, we'll be hosting a giveaway every week during the month of July (the details are on the schedule below). You can use this month to get yourself a copy of the pattern and choose your fabric. Be sure to grab a button from the sidebar on the left and join the Flickr group here. I can't wait to see pictures of the fabric you'll be using -- there are so many great new Christmas lines coming out this summer!

We'll start sewing on August 6th, doing two blocks a week before we put all the finishing touches on our quilts. Once we reach the finish line, I'll have a linky party here at Fabric Mutt where everyone can show off their completed quilts. At the end of the week, we'll have a random drawing, and two of you will win one of these...



An entire fat quarter bundle of Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille...my, how I wish I could enter this drawing with all of you!

Here's our schedule for the next few months:

July 9: Heidi Staples at Fabric Mutt/Vintage Holiday pattern giveaway
July 16: Aneela Hoey at comfortstitching/$25 Fat Quarter Shop giveaway
July 23: Svetlana Sotak at S.O.T.A.K. Handmade/$25 Fat Quarter Shop giveaway
July 30: Maureen Cracknell at Maureen Cracknell Handmade/$25 Fat Quarter Shop giveaway
August 6: Blocks 1 & 2
August 13: Blocks 3 & 4
August 20: Blocks 5 & 6
August 27: Blocks 7 & 8
September 3: Blocks 9 & 10
September 10: Blocks 11 & 12
September 17: Finish quilt top
September 24: Finish quilt back
October 1: Quilting
October 8: Binding
October 15-19: Link-up Party/Giveaway prize drawings on the 19th

Once we start sewing, I'll be showing you my version of that week's assignment on Monday. Be sure to add your photos to the Flickr group throughout the week so that we can see everyone's take on each part of the quilt. There's going to be a lot of creativity going on, I know!

I'm so grateful to Camille and Kimberly for making this QAL possible, as well as to Aneela, Svetlana, and Maureen for helping me spread the word by hosting giveaways on their incredible blogs. Be sure to stop by in the next few weeks -- they're each going to be giving away a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop!

Photo courtesy of Camille Roskelley at Simplify
So let's start things off with our first giveaway! Kimberly has given me three Vintage Holiday patterns to give away to three of you wonderful readers. All you have to do is leave one comment on this post answering this question: when do you usually start your Christmas sewing? Please do leave your email address in your comment if you're a no-reply blogger (you can fix that problem here) -- I don't want to have to disqualify anyone because I can't reach them! The giveaway is open to everyone. I'll be drawing three random winners on Friday morning.
If you have any questions, just send me an email at hjstaples@gmail.com, and I'll be happy to answer. I truly hope that some of you will decide to sew along with us. I can't wait to get started!

Linking up with Let's Get Acquainted Monday.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Patio Place Mat Tutorial


Here's the tutorial for the Patio Placemats that I showed you in the previous post!

Materials:
  • (2) 12" x 15" pieces for the main body of the place mat
  • (1) 12" x 15" piece for the pocket
  • (1) 12" x 15" piece of batting
  • coordinating thread

1. Cut out your pieces.


2. Fold the pocket fabric piece in half lengthwise and top stitch 1/4" from the fold. Place the pocket on top of one piece of main body fabric, aligning all the raw edges on the bottom. Pin in place and baste 1/8"-1/4" from the edge along the three outer sides of the pocket.


3. Use a pencil or fabric marker to draw a line 4 1/2" from the right side of the pocket and stitch straight down over the line to split the pocket in two.


4. Make your place mat sandwich in this order:
  • Main body piece without the pocket, right side up
  • Main body piece with pocket, right side down
  • Batting

5. Pin and then stitch the sandwich together, 1/4" from the edge, leaving an approximately 6" opening on the top edge of the place mat.


6. Clip the corners and trip any excess batting. Turn the place mat right side out, pushing out the corners with a chopstick. Tuck the edges of the opening inside and give it a good pressing all over.


7. Top stitch 1/4" from the edge all around the place mat.


Load it with your paper goods and enjoy!

Again, if you make yourself some place mats using this tutorial -- or any of my tutorials! -- be sure to add some photos to my Flickr group. I'd love to see what you're making!

Patio Place Mats


After taking a few days to find my way back from the fog of vacation, I finally got my sewing machine out last night and started work on a new project. A few months ago I bought several yards of Maude Asbury's adorable Crabtastic line for Blend Fabrics with a picnic quilt in mind. Now that we've set up the patio so nicely, however, I think we're far happier eating at the table. And you know what that means...place mats!


When we enjoy a dinner on the patio, it always involves paper plates, plastic silverware, and paper towels for napkins. After all, we're a messy crowd, and who really wants to do dishes anyway? Unfortunately, paper products have the unfortunate side effect of blowing away with the wind that always seems to be breezing through our backyard in the evenings. My solution? Place mats with pockets for everything.


It took me only a few hours to cut and sew a set of seven mats (Mouse won't be needing hers for a while yet since she's still in the high chair, but I figured that I might as well make it now along with the others.) I wrote up a tutorial for these also which I'll be putting in a separate post. If you end up making some for yourself, be sure to add a photo to my Flickr group. Now that these are done, I have them all loaded up with utensils for the next patio cookout. I'm thinking maybe tomorrow would work for me...

Linking up with Tuesdays at the (Picnic) Table.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Little Shopping

My mother-in-law has given me a tour of all the local quilt shops here in Arizona this week. Store #1 yielded this...


Followed by this from Store #2...


And then this when I sneaked back to Store #1 by myself during nap time today...


I got to chatting with the owner of Hearts and Hands Quilt Shop (a.k.a. Store #1) this afternoon. Her lovely little store carried a thoughtfully curated mix of traditional and modern prints. I told her what a treat it was for me to get to see modern fabric in person since I make about 95% of my purchases online. "Isn't that hard?" she asked with a truly concerned look on her face. "We believe that you need to actually feel the fabric."


If only I could do it more often...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Fresh Sewing Day: Vacation Edition


We're having big fun in southern Arizona this week. Good food, great outings, and lots of family time. My mother-in-law (or should I say partner-in-crime) even took me to the local quilt shop and furthered my fabric addiction yesterday. She has another shop for me to visit this week, so I'll hold off on pictures of my treasures until then. For now, here are my projects from the month of June. It was a great to finally finish the girls' quilts this month, and I had fun making some gifts and bags in preparation for this wonderful week of vacation.

Big things are coming up next month around here, so be sure to drop by. For now, I have three little girls and a swimming pool calling my name...

Linking up to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts.
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