Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blog Hop Winner!

Thank you so much for joining me on the 
Quilting Gallery Blog Hop!

I hope you found new blogs to enjoy and learn from.
And I sincerely hope that you will return here as well.

And now the winner is........

Wendy said...
I love Lori Holt's patterns and I love her fabric, this is an amazing giveaway, thanks so much!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Nation Mourns

Last Friday afternoon both of my girls were in school. My husband and I were signing papers to refinance our home and then ran to Target for some stocking stuffer shopping. We knew there had a been a shooting incident at a school in Connecticut. We didn't know children were the victims, we didn't know how many lives had been lost. After my husband left Target for work, I checked my phone for more details. In Target, pushing a cart full of little toys for my sweet girls, I received the news and bawled. 

Like many of you, I've cried on and off all weekend. I've tried to hide it from daughters and of course I've told them nothing of the news. At almost 5 and 2, there is nothing to tell them that would make sense. At 34, I can't make sense of it. 

I've held my girls close, I've kissed them hourly and hugged them tighter than they like. I've ignored every mess, stayed calm during minor tantrums, and relished their early morning wake ups. Everything that may have irked me before is a loud reminder that my children are alive. I know miles away there are twenty homes where the halls are quiet, the home is clean from children playing and parents ache with a pain
I can't fathom.

I don't know how to reconcile with this loss. I don't understand. 
I am not going to discuss gun control anywhere other than in my home. It's a complicated issue. 
What our hearts want and what our reality can be are not going to be easily met on this issue.
I pray our country can find effective ways to help those suffering from mental illness and the families that are in despair over a loss of help.
I pray that every family that suffered a loss last Friday feels our nation mourning. 
Our nation is in desperate need for healing.
If we can not see those 20 little faces lost and not hear it as a screaming S.O.S., 
I'm not sure we can hear anything at all.

Connecticut, we are mourning with you.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quilting Gallery - 2012 Blog Hop

Have you been to the Quilting Gallery? I joined last year and have had so much fun! I did an Easter quilted basket swap, a Christmas quilt-a-long, and was a featured designer. If you have any interest at all in quilting, you have to check them out!

This month they are doing a blog hop and I am of course participating! The best part? Every blogger is having a give-away! That's right!! Last time I checked I think they were up to 150+ bloggers all with fabulous giveaways! Crazy goodness..

Since I first joined Quilting Gallery, my style has evolved and I'm so happy that I have now found my quilting voice. I'm now dedicated to art quilts in my profession, though I do create a number of  lap quilts for family and friends. In 2013 my blog will be focused on exploring silk paints, silk applique, and a multitude of collage art quilt themes. If you would like to see more of my work, jump on over to my gallery. I would love to stay connected with you, please feel free to sign up as a blog follower!

Now what is my giveaway that I've been mentioning? A random, lucky winner will receive a fat quarter pack of Lori Holt's Daisy Cottage for Riley Blake. I love this line and have used it with a number of projects for my girls.

What do you have to do? Just leave a comment on this post anytime by midnight (MST) Monday, December 17th.

I will post the winner's name on Tuesday the 18th and ship out the gift that week.
And yes this giveaway is open to International readers!
In your comment, please leave an email to contact you.

Best of luck and enjoy the rest of the blog hop!

What some ideas on what you could make with your fabric? Check out  my tutorial page!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorials

Last year I designed two tree skirt tutorials, one for a Christmas tree and one for a table top tree. In case you are looking for some inspiration, I thought I would repost the tutorial links!

This is my Ribbon Candy tree skirt that I designed for Moda. You could easily change the serger thread or jelly roll fabric to any desired color for a different colored "candy".

And this is my paper pieced skirt for a table top tree that I designed for Riley Blake. If that much paper piecing gives you the shivers, you can easily replace those panels with coordinating fabric.

I have both of these skirts on our trees now and love the quilted touch. If you can believe it, I still have not made stockings for my family - we use store bought ones (boo!) That will be on my to-do list next summer.

What are your favorite holiday tutorials?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Modern Nativity

Yesterday I was able to complete my Nativity art quilt. Lots of free motion quilting, hand embroidery and it is gallery mounted. There is a little embroidered halo gracing his sweet head. Loved I was able to create what I wanted to do in a timely manner.. I must be gaining some of my old energy back. It is placed in my Etsy shop for about another week or so if you are interested.

Now off to finish some teacher gifts.. lots of needle turned applique going on here!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Starting to Look a lot Like Christmas

We have spent today decorating for Christmas. Oh isn't this the best time of the year? I love the decorations, the food, the nostalgia and cheerful mood that seems so contagious. I hope whatever holiday you celebrate, that you are having a wonderful time.

If you have followed my blog for a bit, that you are familiar with the Disneyland silhouette tree. I love having the silhouettes created with every visit. Such a treat to see how they've grown through the years on this very special Christmas tree.

And well... we have to get the doggies involved in the decorating. Needless to say they are not feeling the holiday cheer!

A sweet little candid shot of Baby enjoying the tree decorating. It's wonderful to feel their excitement!

And I was inspired to create a little holiday collage textile art. My nativity scene is almost done and will be listed in the Etsy shop tomorrow afternoon..

Happy Holidays to you!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mr. Sunshine

Mr.Sunshine - 2012

Wowzers! This art quilt took way longer than I had anticipated. I originally wanted to do a series of sugar skulls with different bone tones. I may still continue to slowly work on that series, but I have seriously missed my personal November deadline.. My pregnancy exhaustion mixed with two active little girls has required I slow way down. It's been a great test of my patience and I'm glad I saw this through to the end.

It is a collage applique style with shimmery tulle machine quilted on top. Lots and lots of hand embroidery on the face.

Really enjoyed working with such bright colors and a primitive design. The more I shut off the parts of the brain that tell me what is trendy and I listen to my inner voice, the more fulfilling my work has become.

I can't wait for 2013! I have a number of collage series that I will be working on. I have 4-5 macabre carnival sketches that I'm itchy to sketch on fabric. I'm going to also try moving my art quilting style on to wearable goods by request.. i.e. clutches, scarves, and more. And I have bought a TON of silk painting supplies and I'm so excited to jump in and learn something new. I haven't found too much current information on silk painting or in combination with applique quilting, so I'm planning on documenting my fails and scores on the blog in the hopes of helping others.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The BIG (little) News

We had our first visit with the doctor today and heard a strong, healthy heartbeat. Tears flowed and I had no idea how anxious I had been until I heard that sweet sound.

I've always pictured our family with three children; three little ducklings skipping behind me.

The last piece to our family chapter is en route. I can't wait to kiss those baby cheeks and breathe in that heavenly scent. Kiddo is ecstatic and kisses my belly daily. Baby is not thrilled about not being the baby anymore, but knowing how she adores her dollies - she will be an amazing big sister too.

I'm tired all the time. I'm elated. I'm hungry..for pie!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Winner, Winner!!!

Thank you to everyone that stopped by the blog and entered for Ebony's amazing book, "The Big Little Book of Fabric Die-Cutting Tips". 

And the winner is...

Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts said...
A die cutter is on my quilting wishlist!! I'd love to make an equilateral triangles or tumbler block quilt.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Guide You Need To Get

Before I get into why you really need to buy this book, I wanted to give you  my personal history in relation to die cutting fabric and my friendship with Ebony.

Two years ago I really wanted a die cutting machine. I searched, I read, I analyzed. I worried about investing too much into a tool that I wouldn't use a lot and I also worried that if I bought too small a machine, that I would be upgrading within the year. The information I had to go on was supplied by the different manufactures and blog reviews. I finally purchased the AccuQuilt Studio; a couple months later I also purchased the Sizzix Big Shot.

It would seem that die cutting is intuitive, right? You place the fabric on your machine, roll it through and end up with perfectly cut shapes for quilting. However fabric is not like paper. You can have issues with the grain, with the bias, and with how you place it on the die. To be honest, die cutting can be fast and effective, but you need much more instruction than what comes with any of the machines.

After a few bouts of frustration and ruined fabric, I joined the AccuQuilt Yahoo group to learn more tips. At that time I met Ebony Love. Oh my goodness, what a wealth of knowledge! I learned so much from her experiences. Then I learned about her YouTube videos and was awe struck! Honestly, whenever I use a new die, I first go to Ebony to see if she has already created a video about it.

This past year I learned that Ebony was creating a book with all that amazing knowledge on die cutting. Her book, "The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips", is the book I wish I had a little over two years ago. It will help you determine which machine is best for you, how to use the machine and more. I'm eagerly awaiting my copy later this month and I'm planning on keeping it with my dies for quick access.

Why should you buy this book?
1.) It will help you determine which machine will rock your world.
2.) It will help you to understand how to use different dies in different machines.
3.) You will learn tips on how to correctly cut fabric without costly mishaps.
4.) Lots of amazing quilting tips and tricks.
5.) Tips on all the consumables used with die cutting machines.

I want you to have this book so much that I'm giving one away! The book is scheduled to ship in early November.

How to enter?
Leave a comment about the first project you would like to make with a die cutting machine.
You have until midnight (MST) on October 31st. Please be sure to leave your email so that I can contact you.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby

I don't know how my baby turned two. It has been the fastest two years of my life; I could probably sit and shed many tears over how fast it went. This picture from today perfectly embodies her sweet spirit. Love her gentle, silly ways more than I can say.

Her ultra sweet big sister desperately wanted to decorate the princess birthday cake. I squashed my type A desire to have it "perfect" and let her shine. She was extremely proud to make this for her sister and I'm not sure I've seen a sweeter cake. (Though it's been affectionately nicknamed "Hot Mess Barbie Cake")

Happy birthday sweet baby girl..

Thursday, October 4, 2012

WIPS this week

Near the end of last month it dawned on me that in the space of two weeks I had Baby's 2nd birthday, Sewing Summit, and a big Disney trip. All wonderful! Except I'm that crazy loon that thinks each event needs all kinds of handcrafted items. Gah!

So here are my WIPS for the week, note I have not even started on the Disney stuff ( don't mind me hyperventilating over here..)

For Sewing Summit.. I made my Weekender bag..

My zipped pouch for the swap and my nametag..

What's left? Well I have two days to finish a camera strap and some fun clothes. We'll see what is accomplished..

I've been slowly working on this quilt for a bit. Playing with string blocks and the idea of a deconstructed chevron. In the interest of time though this may end up being a runner or a quilt with *lots* of negative space..

Working on my next collage, which will actually be a series of sugar skulls. P.S. If the skull theme is not your taste, have no fears.. I'll be moving on to my next series in November ;o) I know it's not for everyone, but it is something I've wanted to play with for awhile now..

And lastly, working on completing my second table runner for the holidays made with circle appliques. The ornaments were fun and I love their whimsy.

Starting to wonder how many seasonal runners I will be able to design with just the circles!

What are you working on?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Beauty & the Beast - Part One (The Fun, Artsy Part)

Well if you are friends with me on Instagram, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Yup, I drank THE kool-aid, I made an Amy Butler Weekender bag. Let me preface that I did not originally intend to.. Okay, here's what happened..

I used to live in Arizona and that's where I was first introduced to the mega fabulous Crafty Chica. I fell in love with her style, her confidence, and her desire to inspire. She is such an amazing artist and inspirational, positive Latina role model for my two ankle biters. I have followed her success and am so happy to watch her make it national and with a craft line of her own.

This past month I had the opportunity to work with one of her craft products - flocked decals. Not boring ol' traditional puppies and teddy bears, but really awesome designs that you will want to go crazy with. And I went crazy all right!

I ironed on the flocked decals to white linen - I knew I wanted a canvas-ish base to work off of. For the sacred heart, I used watered down acrylic paints to bring it to life. You could of course use fabric paints or even the Crafty Chica's fabric pens!

For the muertos couple, I really wanted to enjoy some mixed media flavor.. lots of paint with lots of hand embroidery.

There is SO much embroidery that is hard to highlight in the pictures. If you are going to Sewing Summit in a few weeks, come get a closer look! The flocked decal was perfect for this mixed media project. It provided yummy texture and a fabulous base for painting.

Needless to say, quite a few hours went into working on the decals. I didn't want to just frame it, I wanted to enjoy this all the time. With Sewing Summit around the corner, I thought it would be fabulous to create The Weekender bag and include this as the highlight.

And I do have lots to say about the actual construction of the bag.. which I will give you later this week in Part Two.. Until then Click here to see if a Michaels store in your area is carrying the Crafty Chica line.

I received this complimentary product from CraftyChica.com as part of the Crafty Chica Design Team, 
 and was asked to share an original DIY project.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's Orange and Black and Comfy??

What's orange and black and comfy??
My first Halloween lap size quilt and throw cushion!

This was originally destined for my Etsy shop..but these Halloween fabrics are my most very favorite EVER. I couldn't part with it..

I did not plan making this matching pillow.. what happened? Well... this was my first large quilt on the midarm and I underestimated how large the back fabric needs to be.. So while the top and batting were all quilted.. one whole row did not have adequate backing. What to do? I was pretty annoyed.. I adore this fabric and I didn't want to toss it. So I had my first try at improv piecing and I love it! It has a fleece back just like the quilt, so I'm pretty confident it is the comfiest throw pillow ever.

Fleece back you say? Yup! This is the back of the quilt. While fleece may not be modern or the hippest back to a quilt, it is comfy and durable with two little ones that like to curl up in it with juice boxes. Do you like the traveling star? My first time with it..it took awhile to grasp the motion, but it ended being a lot of fun.

Are you making some Halloween quilty goodness??

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Park City Vacation

As much as I love vacations that are jam packed with adventures, I adore vacations that involve one word - relax.

Before we had kids we purchased a timeshare with Marriott and for the most part we love it. Every year we take an annual week trip up to Park City to swim in the hot tubs, make s'mores by the fire pits, hike around the mountain, and not much else. There is no agenda, no rush, and no stress. The kids love this dedicated time with us when neither of us have to work. It is a time when we recharge and I usually find renewed balance and focus in my life.

Here are some of the photo highlights of our trip..

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hey, Hey We're Monkeys!

Are you ready to see my next project using Sharon Kropp's new line Little Monkey for Blend Fabrics? Earlier this week I did a tutorial on how to create a traditional quiet book, perfect for learning your numbers. But this fabric line is just perfect of course to create a song book for "No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed"!

It's constructed different than a traditional soft book and will be lots of fun for the older toddlers.

Want to know how much fun.. well you can see my monkeys in action with it here..

Little Monkey Song Book

Materials Needed:
1 panel of Little Monkey - multi numbers
1 yard of woven, fusible interfacing
1 yard of No More Monkeys - blue
1 fat quarter of Chevron - light blue
scraps of fabric from Little Monkey line
scraps of heavy no-sew fusible web
8 sew on snaps

1.) Cut out each of the numbers (0-9) and trim down to 7.5"x 10.25". Cut out 10 pieces of interfacing measuring 7.5" x10.25" and iron on to the back of the fabric numbers.

2.) With a 1/4" seam allowance sew the numbers together in descending order (9-0). See reference photo below.

3.) Cut two rectangles out of the No More Monkey blue fabric measuring 10.25" x 35.25". With right sides together, sew the rectangles together to form a piece measuring 10.25" x70". This will be the back panel to your book.
** You could patchwork the back with various fabrics from this line, just be sure your final shape is 10.25" x 70"

4.) Cut four rectangles out of the Chevron fabric measuring 2" x 17.5". Take two of the rectangles and place them right sides together. With a 1/4" seam allowance, sew the two long sides and one short side. Turn the strap right side out and press. Repeat with remaining two rectangles. These will be the fabric ties. Set them aside for now.

5.) Iron on the fusible webbing to the backs of the scrap fabric pieces. Fussy cut out various monkeys and shapes to decorate the songbook cover. See reference photo below. Since it is a heavy duty fusible webbing, you will not need to sew them in place, just iron them on and you're done!

6.) Pin straps on top of the number panel - one centered on either end. Lay the back panel piece right sides together to the number panel (your straps should be sandwiched in between the two panels). With a 1/4" seam allowance, sew along the perimeter leaving a 4" gap. Clip corners up to the stitching line and then pull right side out. Press.

7.) Topstitch the perimeter of the book with a 1/8" seam allowance - this will close your gap and give it a more professional appearance. I also stitched in the ditch between each of the number panels.

8.) Your book is almost completed, to complete the accordion fold out construction, we will now hand sew between the pages. On the backs of each number panel, sew a snap into the top and bottom corner. (See reference photo below)

9.) That's it! The pages will snap together and the book comes together with the fabric ties. Older toddlers will love singing the song, counting the monkeys, and learning fine motor skills with the snaps.

I have one more inspiration project to share with you later this month. An improved quilt built around the number panels. I can't wait to show you!

Friday, September 28, 2012

What Happens To A Dream Deferred?

Have you ever had your greatest desire answered but were too blind to see it? The path to success is winding, bumpy, emotional, and mostly behind closed doors. All my life I've wanted to be an artist. In high school I was on that path.. then there was college, graduate school, marriage, babies, and more. A dream deferred. Then the dream changes.. and changes once again. 

Rather than talking about what I want to be, I've decided to just go do it. I'm putting on some blinders for the first time in my life. Looking past the quick immediate gratifications, to be in and enjoy a dream delivered.

We have been vacationing this week and it has helped clarify so much. I've laid out my plans for 2013.. It includes some fabulous events, starting homeschool with my adorable daughters, lots of projects for those I love.. and art. Lots of of it. Lots of surface art quilting. 

To kick it off early, two of my pieces are in the National Arts Program and will be on display for the month of October.

Don't deffer your dreams for too long or lose sight that they may already be in your grasp.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hilltop Presale Winners!

And the winners are....

#2 Ashlee - I'm Topsy Turvy


#6 Nessie

I will be contacting you both with the details for tonight!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Little Monkey Counting Book - Tutorial

I really love making my children toys and books. There is something so peaceful about knowing exactly what materials were used. I especially love when I can create a soft, fabric toy for them. My youngest is almost two and still loves to chew and rip books. I was elated when I saw Sharon Kropp's new line for Blend Fabrics, Little Monkey. The line is full of sweet monkeys, chevrons, and more. The numbers panel in particular is quite versatile. I made a counting book, song accordion book, and have an improv quilt in the works. Today I will be show you how to create this fun counting book that is sure to be hit with your children.

Little Monkey Counting Book

Materials Needed:
1 panel of Little Monkey- multi numbers
1 fat quarter of the Chevron - light blue
1 fat quarter No More Monkeys - brown
Scrap of Jungle - light blue
Scrap of fusible fleece
1 yard of woven fusible interfacing

1.) Cut out each of the numbers (0-9) and trim them down to 8.25" x11.25".

2.) Cut out (1) 8.25"x11.25" rectangle from each of the two fat quarters - these two pieces will be the front and back covers.

3.)Fussy cut out a monkey from the scrap piece of Jungle and iron on a piece of fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric. Cut a 6" square of Chevron with pinking shears and iron on a piece of fusible fleece to the back of the fabric. Now you will place these pieces on top of the brown No More Monkeys rectangle and free motion applique them in place. If you are not comfortable with free motion sewing, you can of course use a decorative sewing machine stitch instead.

4.) Cut out (12) pieces of fusible interfacing measuring 8.25" x 11.25" - iron these to wrong side of each fabric rectangle. This interfacing will give your book more weight and body. You could use fusible fleece or batting instead, but I prefer the weight of interfacing.

5.) With right sides together, sew the front and back cover along the left long side with a 1/4" seam allowance. See placement picture below.

6.) Continue sewing page panels together in the following order:

**If this page construction seems odd or wrong, jump down below to see photos of finished pages**

7.) You are almost done! Now we will complete the page panel construction. First place your front/back page panel right sides together with the 0-9 page panel.

Pin them together and sew along the perimeter with a 1/4" seam allowance - leave a 3" opening.

Clip corners up to the stitching line and pull right side out through the 3" opening. Press and topstitch with 1/8" seam allowance - this will close your opening and provide a nice finished look to the pages.

8.) The second page panel set is 8-1 and 2-7 (see reference photo below). Construct as described in step 7.

9.) Your final page panel set is 6-3 and 4-5 (see reference photo below) and construct as described in
 step 7.

10.) Now you will lay the three completed page panels on top of each other in order.

After carefully lining up the pages, sew a straight line down the center of the seam.

That's it! It makes a fabulous gift for babies and toddlers paired up with a coordinating blanket or quilt.
My Kiddo loved counting the monkeys on each page.

Come back later this week to learn how to create a song book for "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" in an accordion style construction with snaps and ribbon tie.


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