Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday Motivation - Beauty in the Midst of Busyness

I unburied my Quilter's Planner this morning in the hopes of attempting to get my crazy life under a bit of control again - and because pre-orders will be coming up soon so I need to be using the one I have in order to justify ordering a new one for 2020.  (Who am I kidding - it's a given that I'll order it anyway, after all August is my birthday month, so any wants and desires are purchased as a "present for me").

What's nicer than a fresh clean calendar page before it gets filled up with all the to-do's of life? 

Maybe a pretty block fresh off the ironing board?  I do not know why this block gave me so much trouble, but I finally got it completed!  This is the April block from the 2019 Color Challenge Quilt.  Yes, I am that far behind, but am catching up so I can be ready to help blog about it for August ;)

The first time I tried to make this block I got out fabric, then a squirrel came around and distracted me.  Not a real squirrel, just another project.  Saturday I got back to it, then ended up cutting the squares for the hourglass units the wrong size and had to re-cut them.  Then I realized that I forgot to cut the squares for the background corners.  Of course in between each of these steps I had put all the fabrics back into the closet, so had to get them all out again.  Grrr.  But the block turned out lovely despite all my silly issues. 

Beauty in the midst of Busyness. This line stood out to me when I was reading this morning.  I don't want to be so busy that I don't see the beauty.  That I don't enjoy the creativity that each day brings as I sew and plan the next project.  That I don't allow my frustration at times to cloud my appreciation of each small step in the progress, and that I know that the end result will be worth persevering through the struggle at times.  And I hope these thoughts will carry over into the rest of my life as well.

Hope you find some beauty in your day as well!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Seashore Splendor, House by the Bay

Are you ready to make a really fun house block?  I originally published this post for the Home Sweet Home Quilt-a-long sponsored by Persimmon Dreams, but have been saving it to re-use for the Seashore Splendor quilt!  (Makes it an easy week for me since the pattern just needed a quick update and the blog post is already written)  So here is my House by the Bay:

I really love this block so I hope you enjoy it! It looks a lot like my house (not that it really sits right on the bay, but who says it can't in my quilt block?)  My house doesn't have a red roof anymore either, but this will make a good memory of how it looked when we first owned it.

I know there are a lot of little pieces, but they all go together super easily to make this cute little house block. You can download the full printed instructions at the end of the post. I've even included a paper piecing pattern for the house itself, so if you would prefer to work on it that way you can. If you want to learn how to paper piece see this Tutorial on Connecting Threads.

The pictures below show another color scheme, but for Seashore Splendor use white for the house, red for the roofs, yellow for the windows, green for the hill and sky and water in the appropriate spots.

So.... let's get started on our House by the Bay!

You need a lot of pieces for the house block, but they are small so it really won't take too much fabric! You'll need 6 - 1 x 2 1/2 inch pieces, 4 - 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch pieces, 2 - 1 1/2 inch squares, 2 - 1 x 2 inch pieces, 1 - 1 1/2 x 1, and 2 - 1 x 6 1/2 inch strips for the house itself. I used white for my first house, then a fun blue stripe for my blog version!

Then you will need 2 - 2 x 2 inch, 2 - 1 1/2 x 2 1/2, and 1 - 1 1/2 x 2 inch pieces for the windows. Yellow is a nice window color.

For the roof you will need a 2 1/2 x 6 1/2 inch piece and a 1 1/2 x 2 inch piece. I used a nice brown piece that looks like shingles for the instructions one below, but I used red for my Seashore Splendor block.

A nice door - I picked a red one - 1 1/2 x 2 1/2.

Blue for the sky - you'll need 2 squares 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, one strip 2 1/2 x 8 1/2, one strip 4 1/2 x 8 1/2, and one strip 4 1/2 x 2 1/2.

A piece of green for the hill, or brown rocks, or how about a sand dune? Just one 2 1/2 x 10 1/2 piece will work for this.

And water for your bay - 2 1/2 x 12 1/2.

Now for the sewing! It all goes together in sections, so it won't take long!

For the roof, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the 2 1/2 inch squares of sky. Sew these to the sides of your big roof piece:

Trim away the extra fabric 1/4 inch from the seam. Press your seams toward the roof, then add your first 1 x 6 1/2" house strip to the bottom:

Sew a 1 1/x x 1 house piece to the bottom of the 1 1/2 x 2 window. Then add a 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 house section to each side of the window, then add a 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 window to each side, and finish with a 1 x 2 1/2 house section on the ends, so you finish with a strip like this:

And sew it to your roof!

Now, take your 1 1/2 inch house squares, draw a diagonal line on them and sew them just like the big roof! Trim and press and add the last two 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 house pieces to the side like this:

Sew it the bottom of the house, then add the second 1 x 6 1/2 inch strip - almost done now!

Sew a 1 x 2 house strip to the bottom of each 2 x 2 window square. Set aside. Now sew a 1 x 2 1/2 strip to each side of the door piece, add the windows (house strip toward the bottom) and the last 1 x 2 1/2 inch strips. Press seams.
Add to bottom of house - the hard part is done!

Sew the 2 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch sky strip to the left side, and the 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 to the right side of the house.

There's a little trick to the hill - with your 10 1/2 hill piece right side up on the bottom place your sky piece right side down at a 90 degree angle so you can sew the angle - like this:

Mark your line, sew, trim and press. Add to the bottom of your house and sky unit:

For the big finish, add your 2 1/2 x 12 1/2 strip of water to the bottom! Stand back and admire!

If you are worried about whether your house block will be accurate in size wait to cut your 2 1/2 x 8 sky piece and 2 1/2 x 12 1/2 water piece until the house is done. Then you can easily adjust the size of these pieces to make your block come out to 12 1/2 inches, sometimes it's nice to have that little "fudge" factor!

Download House by the Bay block!
We are really making great progress on our quilt now!  You can almost see where all the rest of the blocks are going to fit in, and I've saved some of the best blocks for the end of the quilt-along - I am getting so excited about sharing them with you.  Thanks for sewing along with me - see you again in a couple weeks!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Island Batik Ambassador Box for July 2019!

Happy Friday!  I'm delaying the Seashore Splendor block for a day so I can share my Island Batik unboxing video today.  Yes, it's that time of year when all the Island Batik Ambassadors are excitedly receiving packages and seeing what awesome fabric we are going to be working with for our next challenge projects.  And goodies from Aurifil, Hobbs and Accuquilt are in store for us as well - are we ever spoiled :)

See what I mean!  I was really delighted by the collections I received - my brain is going crazy thinking about what I can make over the next few months!

I received this awesome Cleapatra's Fan die from Accuquilt!  I'll be using this for a project in September and have been having a great time looking for ideas using this block.  Right now I am thinking I'll use the Sunny side up bundle, but that is subject to change!
Aren't those blues and yellows gorgeous?

I love this Stack (10 inch square) and coordinating yardage!  This is Graphic Gems.  These are so fun, and I already have the perfect idea for putting them to use!

Some gorgeous coordinates to go with them.  These are blenders and basics - fabrics that are always available to order, which is really great for shops to use in projects because you can get more if you need it.

Mermaid Cove strips!  Plus light and dark yardage to go with them.
Plus some more basics and blenders - love the happy colors here!
And some Aurifil thread to go with them!  Love that pink!
Black, white and gray solids!  These are batiks with no pattern, and are so wonderful for setting off the glorious patterns and colors in the collections.
And a wonderful piece of neutral fabric - perfection!
Last, but not least - a nice supply of batting to finish up our year.  I love the wool - so soft!  That needs to be something for me, I think!

Here is my unboxing video if you want a better look at the collections -
Some of us are really getting pushed out of our comfort zone making these videos - but it's fun, too!  I'm learning how to edit with the iMovie app on my phone, so hopefully I will get better.  I think it will be fun to try to do some tutorials with it - in my spare time, you know...

Keep your eye on facebook - there are 50 of us, so we'll be showing you lots of Island Batik goodness over the next couple weeks!  And our Summer Blog Hop starts in August, so that's going to be awesome, too - you are going to love seeing what we do with the new lines.

See you tomorrow with Seashore Splendor!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Pink Sheer Curtains

It's been a busy week - lots of fun, and some work as well.  My sister came for a short visit - we had fun chatting and catching up on our families as well as talking quilts!  It was fun to show her some of the things I've been working on.  We did remember to take a picture!
She may be taller, but she's still my little sister :) 

After they left, I got busy working on some new curtains for my neighbor lady.  She wanted pink sheers, so I found some pretty pink fabric and did them for her.

These were pleated at the top, so it took a while to get them all done.  It's repetitive work to pleat drapes, but it's very satisfying to see the results!  My wonder clips sure came in handy to hold them all in place.
I devised a great way to make sure I sewed the pleats evenly - I used a few glue dots to hold a small ruler to the bed of my machine at 2 3/4 inches.  It worked great and I didn't have to mark on the sheer fabric at all. 
I hung them up for her yesterday and she was delighted!  The old ones were quite gray and aged, it was definitely time for some fresh new sheers in her living room.  So that's one thing off my list.  I'm working on sewing some skirts this week for boutique.  I really like the pattern, it's almost a full circle skirt, pleated to a wide waistband.

One of the best things that happened last week was a big box from Island Batik - you know what that means, new fabric to play with for the upcoming challenges!  So exciting!  You'll have to wait until Friday to find out what I got - I can tell you that I am going to have sew much fun with these goodies!

Now, I need to work on the next block for Seashore Splendor, it's going to be another busy week :)

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Enjoying a couple days of nothing but sewing!

After a couple of very busy weeks, I've been enjoying some time just sewing at whatever I feel like working on.  It was really fun, and I'm looking forward to more of the same this afternoon.  I made good progress on a secret project for August - you are going to love it! Here's what I've got so far (sorry for the black and white, but I want to wait until the reveal to show you the lovely Island Batik fabrics)

 I almost finished up the pieced borders for the Brothers and Sisters quilt, sewed two sides on, and got them quilted.  I am closing in on being able to cross this one off my list!  I need to make some corner blocks and figure out how to work that corner part, then add the end pieced border.  I think there just might have to be a partial strip because of the size of the small border there.  Then three solid borders and I'm done!

I also started sewing a new shop sample.  This is my Tidepools pattern.  The fabrics are Marabella by Free Spirit fabrics.  This literally came home with me right off the cutting table as soon as it came into the shop - so pretty!  I've got one more set of flying geese and the square in a square units to compete before I start making blocks.
I've decided that I want to make this my OMG (one monthly goal) for July.  Pieced, quilted and bound!

I also need to update three patterns with new covers and write one pattern.  That should keep me busy for the month!

Well, I suppose I should go get some sewing done before the day gets away from me.

Linking up with Becca at Pretty Piney for What I Made Monday
Beth at Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making

Friday, July 05, 2019

Seashore Splendor Block 11 - Ocean Waves

Hello everyone!  It's time for another block for the Seashore Splendor Quilt.  It's back in the water, and down at the very bottom of our quilt for Ocean Waves.  This variation is made from simple half square triangles and two squares and is quick to make using the Magic Eight method for most of the triangles!

You'll be using dark medium and light sea fabrics for this block.  After cutting your pieces, arrange them in color sets for easy sewing.

You will be making 8 triangles at a time out of the two large squares.  This is called the Magic 8 method and it's a great way to make multiple triangles!

Start out by drawing two diagonal lines on the back of your lighter fabric.  Note that I did use directional fabric for this, and that my sharks are going to swimming in different directions.  If you want to use a directional fabric and this will drive you crazy, you can always make your half square triangles individually.
Layer your two squares together with right sides facing and edges even.  Pin the edges, then sew 1/4 inch seams on each side of the lines.
Cut square in half horizontally and vertically, then cut each square on the diagonal between the stitched lines.  Press your triangles open and trim to 3 1/2 inches, and you'll have 8 half square triangle units done in a flash!  Sew the rest of the triangles together and lay out your block.
I like to use the "webbing method of sewing my blocks together.  Sew the left pairs together, leaving them chained as you go.  Then add the next column of squares to the pairs, then the final column.  You end up with your four rows sewn together, all attached by the chains:
All you have to do is sew the rows together and your block is finished!
You can see how the sharks are all swimming in different directions.  Kind of looks like a feeding frenzy! 

Seashore Splendor is looking good so far! 
Don't forget to go download your block pattern!
Download Ocean Waves Block here!
See you in two weeks with the next block!

Monday, July 01, 2019

Quilts of Valor Blog Hop

Welcome to my post for the Quilts of Valor Blog Hop!  I was very excited to join in on this hop, one of my goals for this year was to make more quilts to give, and this was a terrific opportunity.  Island Batik sponsored this hop, providing us a wonderful bundle of their Freedom line to work with, and Jennifer of Dizzy Quilter is our awsome host!

I have never had the opportunity to make a quilt for Quilts of Valor, so the first thing I did was check out their website to see what the guidelines were and how to participate.  Turns out that it's pretty darn easy!  There are some size suggestions, and they ask that the quilts be pre-washed.  You can choose to give a quilt to someone that you know, or if you like they can find a recipient for you!  When you donate you are asked to register your gift so that it can be counted - so far the total of quilts given is over 200,000!  Isn't that awesome?

There are even patterns you can download to use.  I saw the Carpenter Star and decided to make that, thinking it would be fun to use with the Stack of Freedom Fabric I was sent.
There was the perfect amount of red and blue for the star, and I supplemented the white with the solid white yardage included.  While I was cutting 6 7/8 inch squares from each piece, I had a brainstorm that I could make a piano key border using the leftover strips of fabric instead of solid borders.  I love a scrappy looking quilt, so I was really happy with this plan!

Aren't these fabrics gorgeous?  Love the patriotic look of them!  I had a few issues with my math for the borders, but in the end they came out perfectly!
So pretty!  One tip for making this quilt is that you don't have to sew the whole thing together in rows.  I made four separate quarters - they are identical so it makes it easy to rearrange if you don't like the way the colors align.

I had planned to use white in the border as well before I realized that there was white all around the stars - which would make white bars in the border look kind of weird.  I needed to cut some extra pieces from the yardage to make enough strips for the borders, but that left me with enough of the yardage sent to piece the back as well - but I didn't get a picture of that yet.

I quilted the white with a medium meander, and am filling in the blue and red with simple lines.  I'm not quite finished yet, but will do the borders with loops and stars then bind it in the darkest blue.

I haven't found a recipient yet, and there is no local Quilts of Valor group.  I am hoping to make a connection through a local project for veterans, and will definitely follow up and let you know who I end up awarding this quilt to.  Thanks again Jennifer for the opportunity to make this quilt and show appreciation to someone who has served our country, and to Island Batik for providing the beautiful fabrics!

If you are interested in making a quilt yourself, make sure to visit Dizzy Quilter and enter her giveaway!  There is also a block drive, if you don't want to make a whole quilt, make a block (or 2 or 10!)  See the Quilt of Valor website for all the information you need to participate!

And make sure you check out these blogs for more Quilts of Valor, featuring Island Batiks:

July 1
Becca Fenstermaker — Pretty PineyDenise Looney — For the Love of Geese
Gail Sheppard — Quilting Gail
July 2
Pamela Boatright — Pamela Quilts
Anne Wiens — Sweetgrass Designs
July 3
Bea Lee —Bea Quilter
Carla Henton — Creatin’ In the SticksJuly 4
Emily Leachman — The Darling Dogwood
Joan Kawano — MooseStash Quilting
Jen Strauser – Dizzy Quilter
July 5
Steph Jacobson — Steph Jacobsen DesignsLeah Malasky — Quilted DelightsAnja Clyke — Anja Quilts
Maryellen McAuliffe — Mary Mack Made Mine