Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Here is Lil' Witchy.
She is perfect to make into a pincushion, sachet,
or to place on your Halloween mantle.

She is easy crochet with a wee bit of hand sewing if you choose.
She can be made in about an hour with scrap yarn.

She can be good..
or bad..

I will be adding more patterns & items for sale on the blog now.
I don't know why it never occurred to me before that I do that...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tri it, you'll like it!

Yesterday I finally competed in my first triathlon. I missed one about a month ago because Baby developed a dreadful stomach bug. Subsequently, I have not been able to train this past month either - too busy with family and work. Honestly I was a little afraid how I would do. I told myself that I was not in it to win it, rather just to finish it. I reminded myself that even if I came in last, I was way ahead of where I used to be.

And I won! You'll never guess who I beat!! I beat that whiny voice in my head that wanted to sleep in, that wanted to slow down, that wanted to quit. Now I didn't win the *whole* triathlon, I came pretty much in the middle at 1:48.

My body is still pretty tired this morning and a bit sore, but I'm so happy I did it. It was an amazing experience. I plan doing 1-2 each summer and I can't wait for the next one. My true nature is starting to rear its head and I'm already hoping to cut my time down by 20 minutes, but in the end just getting your butt out there is accomplishment enough.

For those of you not super interested in my athletic activities, this was the last one for the season. Well unless I can pull it together and do the Halloween 1/2 marathon.

I hope you are inspired to test your body. You are stronger than you know. Go surprise yourself!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tats, Bloggers, and Cheesecake

One of my favorite Etsy stores, Rae Gun, posted about a blogger party being hosted by Crafty Cupcake & Tootsie Wootsie at the Cheesecake Factory. How fun does that sound? Even though this is the evening before my Tri, I wanted to go. I spent time doing my hair just right and picking out a cute outfit... And before I went to the party, I registered for my Tri..and was subsequently tatted up. In very large pretty stamps, my reg number was imprinted up and down both bare arms..

Right... So I went to the blogger party tatted up. The waiter was super impressed by my street cred and I was asked by several attendees what the importance of "112" was. Oh well, instead of chic quilt designer, I looked more like gansta blogger ..

But what a fun, cute party it was!
Look at the decor they set up..

And here are the hosts.. Aren't they adorable? They worked so hard to make sure everyone (and there was TONS of ladies) had a good time. Lots of prizes (I won a super cute Halloween subway art piece...pics soon), yummy food, and fun networking.
They made the sweetest little badges for everyone!
I didn't partake in the cheesecake.. With the Tri tomorrow, I instead loaded up protein and carbs. I won't say which blogger enjoyed this delicious cheesecake..but doesn't it look amazing??
Met some fabulous ladies! I was excited to meet Amy from Naptime Crafters. Did you know she sells patterns too? She has the most adorable pattern for western boots!

Spent time chatting with the lovely Camilla from First Lady of the House. I think I may have talked her into sewing! I am loving her fall wreath.. and such beautiful pics of it on the blog!

And I probably scared Meagan & Kristi of Meags & Me. I get super excited when I meet other quilt designers. Love to talk about quilting, designing, and sharing ideas. They have some adorable designs!

It is way past my bedtime. The Tri is literally in a couple hours.. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

WIPS for This Week

Can you believe Halloween is just weeks away? I'm so excited! It is one of my favorite holidays - some may argue it is my very favorite! I love to decorate, make costumes, and eat lots of pumpkin goodies. A Starbuck's pumpkin spice latte can fix many wrongs!

I have 2 Halloween mug rug classes going on in October. Here is a sneak peek at the one I'll be doing over at Thimbles & Threads in Draper, UT. The class is only $15 and I'll teach you everything you need to know about paper piece foundation quilting. I'm going to have to make a couple more of these myself - Isabelle is wildy fascinated by this "witchy house".
What else is on my plate? Well one of my favorite Twitter pals, revealed her project for Feeling Stitchy's September motif and I just about died from the cuteness. I of course HAD to get in on the action. Now, I'm not against hand embroidery.. I actually quite like it, but I'm just not *feeling* it these days. As many of you know, I'm *all* about the free motion sketching. So here is my take on it...
It's just a work in progress. I'm hoping the girls will let me finish before the end of September. I made the major outlines in chocolate brown and am going back and "coloring in". I love the sketch look to it - do you?

What projects are you making for fall or Halloween?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wonder Woman Ride

The day after I returned from The Creative Connection Event, I had my Wonder Woman ride with some awesome friends. (I'm the one on the far left if you couldn't tell)

There we are before our 30 mile race in Payson, Utah. It was a beautiful ride! Lots of chatting and catching up, but we all finished in just about 2 hours.

I love bike riding. It is the closest I feel to flying. I love how it clears my head and makes my body feel alive.

But I have to say if I'm Wonder Woman, my amazing husband is Superman! He watched our girls from Wed -Fri..then all day Saturday during my ride.. And when I came home from the race, I passed out from 8pm -8am. He is amazing.. I could not be the person I am without his love and support..

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Creative Connection

As many of you know, this past weekend I attended The Creative Connection in St. Paul. I was picked to pitch a book idea to four publishers and a magazine article to four editors. This truly was a once in a lifetime experience. That's me up there - all ready and sassy. New haircut, new clothes, and tons of hopes...

Now my flight & hotel stay (I did not stay at the Crowne Plaza..big mistake!) was a nightmare. I don't want to bore you, but let me inform you that Murphy's law was well and alive. If you really want to know my sad travel story, I'll tell you over martinis.. yeah, it was that insane.

On to the good stuff!!
After a crazy night and about 5 hours of sleep, I made my way over to TCCE. The Crowne Plaza is gorgeous and such an amazing venue for this event. TCCE was spread over three floors of the hotel - a marketplace (which opened after I traveled home), a complimentary suite to work or relax, and more. You literally could not walk 3 feet without there being a beverage or treat for you.

I arrived early to scope out the scene and geek out out on all the celebrities. A few minutes after embarrassing myself in front of Elisa from Blogher, I met and subsequently attached myself to Julie from ZoZo Bug Baby. What an amazing business woman & mother. I'm truly knocked out by everything she gets done in a day while mothering two little ones. For those that think I do so much in a day, I hand my crown to Julie! I knew of her business well before TCCE and was so excited to get to know her as a person. She is so creative and humble - the kind of person you want to chat with for hours! If you haven't heard of ZoZo Bug Baby, go check it out..like now!

As more women arrived, I was awe struck to see so many established celebrities there to pitch ideas. I met Kass Hall, TomKat Studios, Sharon Sews and more. These ladies are all phenomenal in their field, truly kind spirits, and beyond creative. This was the best part of my day. I love to meet fellow women that have something they want to share with the world. I hope they stay in contact, I would love nothing more than to see their dreams comes to fruition.

My first pitch was for a magazine article. I did not come home with a contract in hand, but I am confident that this is not the end of the conversation so I'm not going to reveal everything.. It was an amazing experience and I will be submitting to magazines much more in the future. My biggest piece advice to you is submit a 99% completed project. They want professional photos and copy ready text. Don't assume that work is done in house - make your proposal as ready to go as possible!

After my first pitch I had a few hours to talk more with my new friends and hear about their pitch experience. I don't think I could have survived the anxiety and excitement of it all without their support. I also had a chance to geek out on Claudine Hellmuth. I can't help myself - I love her work! I luckily had the latest edition of Somerset Holidays in my briefcase (thanks Mom!) and I obnoxiously asked Claudine for an autograph.. I know, I'm an uncouth craft geek. I'm okay with that..
My book pitch was next.. To receive immediate feedback was beyond invaluable. I learned the book's weaknesses and where I need to work on as an artist/author. Was it easy to hear that the book you thought was a slam dunk was not so much..no, not easy, but I learned so much! Again I did not return home with a contract, but I have a new plan of action. I also found out that my previous two submissions to Lark have slipped through the cracks. Advice to you - follow up!

During the roundtable discussions I had a chance to meet with Betz White, Kaari Meng, and Tiffany Threadgould. Yeah.. That's was a mouthful. They provided so much insight, advice, and knowledge about the industry. An amazing opportunity to meet with authors that I have the utmost respect for.

What did I learn from all of this? A lot has happened for me this summer. I've narrowed my focus and the doors have opened with a slight knock. I'm connected to Moda, Riley Blake, AccuQuilt, and more. I was a teeny tiny little fish and I thought I had hit it big. Not so much. I'm just a bit bit bigger. I'm on the right path and it will take more time. And all those big fishes that I see around me - they still have to hunt for the next big thing. In this industry there will never be a time you can rest on your laurels. But is there that chance in any business? Nope. And the rewards for the lifelong pursuit of beauty, creativity, and art just reaps so much rewards for everyone.

Thank you to everyone that helped create The Creative Connection Event! It was amazing. My only regret is that I wasn't able to stay for the full event. I will be there next year and I can not wait!!!

I will leave you with the words of Betz White...

You have your own light to shine


Don't compare and despair,
instead admire and inspire..

Monday, September 12, 2011

Celebrate Christmas - Quilt Along

Welcome Quilters!
I'm so honored to be a part of Quilting Gallery's Quilt Along.

If you are new to my blog, let me give me a little background.
My name is Jennifer and I live in Utah with my 2 adorable little girls
and super supportive, handsome hubby.
I've been sewing on and off for two decades, and quilting in the more recent years.
Earlier this year I tried paper piece foundation quilting and fell in love.
I'm completely hooked on the technique and started creating my own patterns this summer.
I like to post free patterns & tutorials weekly - I highly recommend subscribing to my blog to keep up with latest!

For this Christmas quilt along, I created the paper pieced block "Santa's Mittens". If you have not done this technique before, I have a very simple tutorial here. If you have any trouble at all, please do not hesitate to email me!!

The block pattern is here. There are a total of 3 PDF pages to print - each one is a 6" printed square. ** With paper piecing you will use your add 1/4" ruler around the edge so it will be a 6.5" square upon completion.

I suggest printing out multiple copies - one to sew on and one to color in as a reference. Please remember that your block will be the mirror image of what you print.

How much fabric do you need?
I used 4 fat quarters and had LOTS leftover.

The wonderful thing about paper piecing is it's easy to use up your stash rather than having to buy new fabric, but I of course always want to buy new fabric.. I'm sure none of you can relate.. ;o)

How do you create the block?
You will do a single block of each mitten.

You will do two blocks of the 4 square. I alternated the colors in my triangles, but of course you can do what you like best.

For this block - you will need to cut the letter groups from each other - A,B,C,D,E, and F.
Complete each letter group and then sew together.
For example, sew A1 to A2, B1 to B2, and then the A group to the B group.
When you paper piece, you will leave a 1/4" border around the printed piece. Thus your printed 6" square will be a completed 6.5" square.

You will then sew the four blocks together and have a completed 12.5" square that will be 12" finished once you sew them to the additional Christmas blocks.

I thank you so much for your time and truly hope you love this block. I know that foundation piecing maybe new to some of you, but please give it a try. I personally find it much easier and I think you will have fun. Happy Holidays!


Paper Pieced Snack Mat

I made this adorable little snack mat for Kiddo.
Sorry I don't have a picture after I bound it - she was eager to use it..
in fact it already has a sour cream stain..

Want the pattern?
Come visit Craizee Corners today - I'm guesting posting!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Adventures in Dyeing

I have been wanting to do a paper pieced project with velvet for awhile now. One of the great things about that technique is you can use fabrics other than cotton since the paper gives you so much stability. I really wanted some uniquely orange dyed velvet, but wow can I tell you that is a way under filled niche. The few pieces I found were priced way beyond their value. I was pretty sure that you could not dye polyester fabric and looked into ready-to-dye velvet online. Again the price was pretty high and I have trouble waiting - patience is not my strong suit.

I was beyond thrilled when I found that Jacquard has an easy peasy way to dye nylon & polyester fabric!! They sell these packets of dye that you simply toss in a metal pot with your fabric. Here is what I did...

Here is my 100% polyester velvet panne from the local fabric chain & 1 iDye packet in Orange.

Find a metal pot that you can easily fit your fabric into.
This pot will now be your crafty pot - no more pasta in here please!!

Toss your fabric into the pot and enough water so that the fabric can swish around easily.

Toss the whole packet in - it all dissolves!
I swished it about with some chopsticks.
Turn the heat up on the stove and simmer it for about an hour.

Here it is simmering..

After an hour, I carefully placed my fabric out on the grass to dry a bit before the rinse.
Now the dye is intended for man made fabrics, but I wanted to dye
some lace and thought I'd dunk it in the pot while it cooled down outside.

Here is my delicious velvet panne after a rinse with some baby detergent!
Isn't it wonderful??
I can't wait to do some fall quilting with it.

And here is that bit of lace I dunked.
I love that it is not solid and there is only a hint of orange -
it is exactly what I was hoping to achieve!

This was so easy and I was amazed by how well the dye worked on 100% polyester! Initially I wanted to do more resist options with the velvet and I couldn't figure out how with a dye packet. If you have experience with this - I would love to hear how you did it! I personally didn't have tons of time (I did this during Baby & Kiddo's nap) and I didn't want to mess with harmful chemicals either.. so it was perfect. I may try altering the color a bit with fabric paints before I quilt it.

Hope you try this! So much fun and way easy!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bountiful Baskets

A couple weeks ago I shook things up at home - clean eating..only! A friend suggested it and I haven't looked back. If you Google it, you'll find lots of blogs and books about it. Basically it's taking out everything processed and chemically charged. We eat tons of fruits, veggies, lean meat, whole grains, and some dairy. Since most food at the grocery stores is not clean, I cook almost every meal from scratch. While I'm not fond of the increased dish washing, we have already reaped big health benefits in as little as 3 weeks. I can't encourage this way of eating enough.

However, it does cost money. I try to have most of what comes in our home organic, but we simply can't afford to have it ALL organic. It's a huge bummer that healthy foods cost more than processed junk, but that's the truth.

In an effort to save money and keep on with our healthy ways, I tried a co-op group this calledBountiful Baskets. They have all kinds of fruits, veggies, breads, and more you can order. Now you don't get to choose what type of fruits & veggies - it's whatever is in season.

This week I bought 2 baskets & 1 Mexican option. It was a TON of food, but we go through produce so quickly now. I think I'll probably do 1 basket & 1 Mexi one week and 2 baskets & 1 Mexi the next. I'm also planning on freezing whatever I can mid-week.

Now on to the delicious food pics!
The full bounty!
The fruits
The Mexi pack
The veggies!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Giving Tree

Do you love my little tree design? Did you know you can get the pattern for free? Did you know it's over at Quilting Gallery?

Would love to see if you make one!

Did you know I have a Flickr group for pictures of your projects using my patterns? Check it out!


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