Category Archives: Giveaway

Ferrari Handmade – Grand Opening Celebration

Today I have something really fun to share with you. This week my sister Patti is celebrating the grand opening of her shop, Ferrari Handmade!!  She has been working incredibly hard on this for several months now and she is ready to invite you to come and browse her shop.

Let me take a few minutes to introduce you to Patti.  Of the six of us sisters, she is number three and I am number four which means…. yes, she is older than me. I will admit this gives me satisfaction in a sort of unhealthy way.  It is readily apparent in the photo above. I am the baby and she is to the right of me — even at this age, she is clearly older and wiser than I. (I love this picture – two more girls were born not long after this.)

Patti and I shared a bedroom growing up and we fought constantly.  Like, really and truly — all the time. Funny how once you live apart you miss the person that drove you nuts for so long. We would love to live near each other again.  We share a love of sewing and we both took sewing classes from Mrs. Handley back in high school.  She haunts us somewhat and if we have a sewing mistake or a major project fail, we will say “Mrs. Handley would be so disappointed.”  (I wrote about Mrs. Handley a long while back if you want to hear more about our esteemed sewing teacher.)  Yes, Patti and I have been sewing a long while now.

We both made lots of our clothes during high school (remember,  my father owned a fabric store so we had ‘easy access’.). Not long after high school, Patti moved to Southern California, married and started her family. (Click here for a post about the bridal gown she made for her wedding.)

Once Patti started having children, her sewing changed a bit and she began sewing for her kids.  She has a five children, three girls and two boys. One of the things Patti really enjoyed was making costumes for her children. Her girls were very involved in theater when they were in high school and she made costumes for them.

Maria playing the part of Tina Denmark, in the play “Ruthless”

As Patti’s kids grew up and began their own families, she shifted her sewing priorities yet again and began to focus on her grand children.  Hers are very lucky grand kids because she has made some really fun costumes for them.

When her first grandson, Jack, was just a baby, his mother, Maria (same girl as the one that played Tina Denmark in the costume above)  had to speak at Comic Con in Southern California. She asked Patti to make a costume so she could dress him up as Jack-Jack, from the kids’ movie, The Incredible’s.

Last year, two of her grand daughters wanted to dress up as Princess Lolly and Queen Frostine from the kids’ Candyland game.  Grandma came through and the girls were adorable.

The older grand daughter (Queen Frostine) had a recent obsession of Veruca Salt, the character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.  She was thrilled with this costume from her Grandma.

Am I getting the idea across?  She loves to sew and she sews a lot! It came time to think of another way to put her sewing to work for her.  Now that her children are out of the house, she has a lot more time.  I have written before about how helpful she has been by working the quilt shows with me.  As we spent time together preparing for and working the shows,  the more she thought about having her own business.  She loves creating these wonderful outfits for her kids and wanted to expand on this hobby of hers.

And so it began. Ferrari Handmade came to fruition just days after she decided to open a shop. Once Patti decides to do something, there is no going back.  She epitomizes the phrase, “Go big or go home”.  She commits and dives in. Patti began researching fabrics and selecting designs and creating dresses. She had a soft opening at the last quilt show we worked and she was quite successful. She sold a number of dresses and little tote bags and took home orders for custom work.

She has been sewing fiend over the past weeks.

She is lucky to have a great studio to work in. I may be a wee bit envious. Ok, yes, I am envious – it is a lovely space. (Real life crafting comment though…. she made me promise to tell you it never looks this clean. She wasn’t ready to go public with a picture of a messy space just yet.)  😉

Her inventory grows daily as does her selection in her Etsy shop. Right now she is focused on creating a dress in each of the fabrics she has on the shelf. She is making sizes 2T through girl’s size 8.  I really like the system she utilizes for stocking her shop. She lists at least one finished dress which the customer is welcome to order, or the customer can place an order for that dress in a size that works for her child. Patti will take the order and ship the dress within five business days (though she is usually faster than that– she does not seem to require very much sleep.)

I think one factor  setting Patti’s product apart from others, is her use of trim work and unique accents. Most of her dresses have piping accents at the sleeve, bodice or neckline and many have ruffles or under skirts in coordinating fabric.

Her fabric selections are the perfect combination of pretty and practical.  She uses quality cottons which are easily washed, so her dresses are beautiful but also practical for children; ready to be worn and played in.

Of all she has made for this season, this is my favorite.

I love the dark blue celestial pattern with that bit of gold trim peeking out at the sleeve and from the hem of the lining.

 

How about these snowmen on blue – it is great for the holidays but could easily be worn all through the winter months.

This dress features snowflakes on a deep red background. I should note that Patti uses a very generous hem so these can be worn for a long while before the child out grows the dress.

 

This sweet holiday dress has a rustic feel to it.  Patti chose a print featuring Christmas ornaments decorating a background of pine. I love the bias strip of plaid she used to accent the bottom of the dress.

Handmade doll dresses to match your little one’s dress.

One more thing I have to show you.  Patti also makes doll dresses that fit American Girl Dolls, or other dolls that are 18 inches tall.  I love this!! How fun to surprise your little one with a matching dress for her doll. If you are shopping and select a dress for your special girl, you can also order a matching dress.  She has some in stock but will happily take orders for others to match the dress you are purchasing.

Hopefully you now have an idea of the style and excellent quality of the items made by Ferrari Handmade. Because so many of you either have children or grandchildren, or a special child in your life, I know you will be happy to hear Patti is offering a custom dress to one lucky winner.  To enter the giveaway, you need to do two things.  First hop over to her shop and take a peek at the dresses she has listed so far.  Come back and comment here to tell us which dress is your favorite. (Hoping this will provide some input on the fabric choices she is using and then she can plan accordingly.)  The other requirement is to either like her Etsy shop so you can keep track of what she is offering, or to follow @ferrarihandmade on Instagram. Either way, you will then be able to hear about any promotions or new product that might be available in her shop. So, you have two simple tasks to complete and you may win a lovely handmade dress for your special girl.

Additionally, readers can use the coupon code GRANDOPENING20 to receive 20% off any orders at Ferrari Handmade.  This coupon is valid through the end of day on October 10th.  Definitely a great deal on a gorgeous gift for a little one.

Thank you for taking part in this celebration of Ferrari Handmade. I am so proud of my sister and the work she has done to get this up and running. If you feel so inclined, please share the  news of her shop with any of your friends who might appreciate Patti’s work. It takes a village and I love the way our community supports each other!  Good luck with the giveaway!

Mid-week Update

What a crazy month September has been. Horrible weather is affecting so many – hurricanes, flooding, fires – too much rain in many places and such a shortage in others. I hope you haven’t been adversely affected by all of this.  But for those who have, I am sorry for what you are enduring.  We haven’t had as much wildfire activity nearby as we usually due in late summer.  Today it is substantially cooler than it has been and I am so thankful.  Maybe fall weather is coming to our part of the state.

I wanted to share a few things with you.  The first is to show you a mini I won from a giveaway held at Quilting Jetgirl. Yvonne celebrated her birthday earlier this month with an incredibly generous giveaway where she gave a box of fabric from her stash, a gift certificate to Hawthorne Threads, and two pieces she had made. I was so lucky to win this mini, called Sidekick Sampler.

I just love it. The background is deep purple which was challenging to photograph for some reason.  The star is made with light blue and lavender fabrics. It is just exquisite.   Yvonne has a well deserved reputation for precision piece work and lovely quilting. This mini displays both.

Quilting this with an all over motif of stars was the perfect choice for this piece. I was thrilled to receive it and quickly added it to the wall over my sewing machine.

What a generous way to celebrate a birthday by giving such awesome gifts to others.  Don’t you love Yvonne’s labels? Thank you Yvonne!:-)

I have done a bit of sewing this week, though not as much as I would like.  Last week I took a quilt top to the local long arm shop that rents time on their machines.  I hadn’t been there for just about a year and it took a while to remember everything. The woman that works there was so patiently helpful as I tried load the quilt – there are so many details involved in that process and I definitely needed a refresher.  Once I got going though, the quilting went quite well.  I am excited to share this quilt and if you come back on Monday you’ll see it.  I made it for the Back to School blog hop that is ongoing with the Island Batik Ambassadors and my day to post is the 18th. Luckily I got it done and spent the past two nights stitching the binding to the back side. Be sure to check out the post on Monday as I have a wonderful giveaway  to go along with this blog hop.

Much of my time this week is being spent preparing for another quilt show. I will be a vendor at the Elk Grove Quilt Guild’s show this weekend. I am looking forward to it and the Vendor Chairwoman for the show has been a delight to work with. This show is just over an hour from my house so it is pretty convenient. My sister (Ferrari Handmade) is working it with me and I am so looking forward to spending the weekend with her. If you are local to the area and plan to attend the show, please be sure to come by and say hi.

Finally, I drew names for the two winners of the Shine fabric panel and border scraps. Lucky winners, Roxie and Tami, should have their fabric in hand by now.  I asked readers for recipes or foods they love to make when autumn rolls around.

Roxie said:

I love candy roaster squash pie. It is like pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie. I know it is fall when I put this in the oven and smell the great aroma!

Tami commented:

This is so cute! That “Just shine” panel would be fun for a little wall quilt to hang by my desk at school, or even a floor cushion for the reading area. Its really a darling print! Our favorite fall tradition is soup on Sunday. We usually manage to come up with a different soup every weekend until Thanksgiving! my girls pick recipes and we try them out. Starting with cheeseburger soup tomorrow! Good luck at the show next weekend!

I have not heard of candy roaster squash pie but if it is anything like pumpkin pie, it sounds great to me.  Soup on Sundays sounds like a wonderful tradition to have when the cooler weather comes.  Hope Tami and Roxie enjoy the fabric.

See you all back here on Monday to celebrate some gorgeous Island Batik fabrics.

Making Connections; Quilting Book Review & Bloghop

About two weeks ago, I was contacted by C&T Publishing asking if I would provide a review of one of their newest quilting books. Always up for learning something new or reading pretty much anything about quilting, I was happy to help.

The author, Dorie Hruska, is a long arm quilter, mom, and blogger.  She has her website,  Forever Quilting, set up as both her blog and her professional site for her long arm business. I really enjoyed looking at her gallery to see the work she has done for others. Her quilting style is lovely with many intricate patterns.

The book, Making Connections, is all about free motion and long arm quilting. The goalof the book is to help the quilter choose a motif or pattern for the quilt and then to set a travel path up for moving around the quilt in the most efficient manner, with the least amount of starts and stops possible.  This is really appealing to me. Like many of you, I struggle with how  to quilt something once that quilt top is done.

Reading this book through, I noticed two things that I really liked.  It is written as a workbook with very clear illustrations and directions. The practice builds in complexity as the reader learns the steps.  Also, there are lots of grids printed in the book to draw on.  The grids are bigger than graph paper but not quite big enough. When I practiced, I copied the page and enlarged it on our printer.  Finally, the book is printed in landscape orientation, not portrait. This makes it much easier to use as you don’t have the binding on the left side making it awkward to draw.

I took away a few really helpful ideas from Dorie’s book:

  1. Doodle the design before quilting.  I know this, we all know this, but it helps so much! There is such muscle memory in free motion quilting and by drawing it several times over, that routine settles into our brain before we begin quilting.
  2. While doodling the design and then while quilting, think, or say, the pattern you are moving in to keep you on track.  For example, Up, Down, Over, Up, Down, Over – or whatever works.  When Dorie maps out a path in the book, she sets this up for the quilter. As a beginner quilter at best, this was pretty helpful.  Seems so simple, but that little mantra was kinda cool. 🙂
  3. Don’t try to quilt the whole design in one pass.  Dorie layers the design so you might do one pass, the come back and add a layer to add another detail.  I get this and think, eventually, it will be helpful to me.  I am not quite there yet.  Some of the designs she illustrates for the reader are quite complex. She does use different colors so you know which pass you are working on each time. Also, she numbers the path so you can see what direction she is taking you in. This is quite helpful.

Note the complexity of the design, stitched in several passes.

The method used in this book is based on grids.  The perfect example is basic patchwork, or nine patch blocks, where there is an obvious grid.  The more experienced quilter would be able to apply it to more complicated blocks.

I didn’t have a quilt top on hand that would work for this so I didn’t actually quilt anything.  I did do some drawing to get that path ingrained into my brain though.  After drawing a bit, I made a quilt sandwich with some scraps of fabric and batting.  I drew a 3″ grid on it to practice.  Once I got going, my sewing machine gave me fits.   So, I had to quit and I took the machine in for service.  I have been putting it off and now it was sending me very clear messages that it wasn’t going to perform well! But ugly as the stitching was, the idea worked – I knew how to move along the design without getting stuck in a corner somewhere.  This methodology requires planning though.  It isn’t one where you move freely around on the quilt top, filling in sections as you go along.

If I were asked, I would tell the readers this is probably a book for an intermediate quilter. I think I could follow it for the basic design and travel flow but I don’t think, as a beginner, I could layer the designs and achieve a nice result.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and think it is a valuable resource for my library.  As I continue to practice, this will be very helpful.  Dorie and C& T Publishing have generously provided a book for me to giveaway to a lucky reader.  If the winner lives in the US, a hard copy will be sent.  For winners outside of the US, an Ebook will be provided. For those of you that want to go ahead and purchase the book, it is available through C&T Pubs or directly from Dorie’s website (she will send an autographed copy!)

To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you are welcome to leave a 2nd comment for another entry.  Sign up for my newsletter (which is sent out every month) for another entry.  (Sign up form is at the top of the page on the right side.)  That is three possible chances to win!!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

For even more chances, please visit the other bloggers involved in this hop.  Lots of gorgeous quilting has been done to display all this book offers. Go check it out!  Here is the schedule:

BLOG HOP SCHEDULE

Friday September 1st

C&T Publishing Blog@ctpublishing on Instagram

Monday September 4th

Holly Anne Knight Blog@stringandstory on Instagram

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Tuesday September 5th

Becca Fenstermaker Blog@prettypiney on Instagram

Teri Lucas Blog@genqmag on Instagram

Wednesday September 6th

Sherry Shish Blog@poweredbyquilting on Instagram

Pam Morgan Blog@sweetlittlestitches on Instagram

Thursday September 7th

Katy S Blog@katyquilts on Instagram

Laura Piland Blog@sliceofpiquilts on Instagram

Friday September 8th

Suzy Webster Blog@websterquilt on Instagram

Bernie Kringel Blog@needleandfoot on Instagram  — You’re here!!!

Monday September 11th

Jamie Mueller Blog@sunflower_quilt on Instagram

Nancy Scott Blog@masterpiecequilting on Instagram

Tuesday September 12th

Sherri Noel Blog@rebeccamaedesigns on Instagram

Anorina Morris Blog@sameliasmum on Instagram

Wednesday September 13th

Yvonne Fuchs Blog@quiltingjetgirl on Instagram

Barbie Mills Blog@thequiltingmill on Instagram

Thursday September 14th

Afton Warrick Blog@quiltingmod on Instagram

Kathy Bruckman Blog@kathyskwiltsandmore on Instagram

Friday September 15th

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Dorie Hruska Blog@foreverquilting on Instagram

Sunshine and Inspiration

Sunshine has been all to strong in my part of the world. We have had such an intensely hot summer this year. Craving fall, I decided to make something with this cute panel from the Red Rooster fabric line called Shine. This was designed by Jackie Paton and it is adorable. Autumnal colors, inspirational phrases, sunshine, kitties, owls — so much cuteness wrapped up into one fabric line! I have had it in the shop for a short while now and it has sold really well. Because I have a quilt show I am working later this month, I wanted to make up a sample with this fabric. It will decorate the booth a bit and maybe inspire shoppers to take a look at this sweet fabric.

The panel consists of six different items that can be used individually or in one project. I decided to use the four small blocks from the panel as well as some strips of the border print. I also used a bit of each of the three accent fabrics I have available. It was so fun to sew something with these colors. C’mon fall!!

The piecing was quick – just some sashing of the four rectangles and then a few borders to add color and whimsy. The best part was choosing how to quilt it. I took some time and stitched around the perimeter of each rectangle to anchor things. Next I followed the print of the blue and green border and echoed circles around the print.

The panels are really sweet and I spent just a little time thread sketching some of the bits of the scenes such as the clouds, the sun, that sweet kitty and the wise owl.

 

The outermost border was made with flying geese and rectangles. I love the way it came out.  (Shout out to Mari of Academic Quilter who helped me when I got stuck figuring out what size blocks would work best. Thank you Mari!) I like the deep rust color of this fabric. So much so that I also used it as the binding.

A quick modeling session before school this morning!

Lady really wanted to be included in this photo shoot.  She is also concerned that there are no dogs, only cats, featured in this fabric line. Why would I use such fabric?? Well, for one reason,  I like the little inspirational words – Learn, Shine, Explore and Grow. The fall colors make me happy and I could totally see this project of mine hanging in a classroom, library, kid’s playroom – or maybe even downstairs in my shop! It will be a fun one to hang in my booth at the next show. I will be a vendor in Sacramento over the weekend of September 15-17th. This little quilt will surely add some fun to the booth.

Measures about 14″ x 21″

Measures about 10″ x 15″.

Since I only used a part of the panel, I would love to share the two pieces that are left. I also have some of the border print that I cut into but didn’t use up.  I will divide the border fabric and the two pieces into two bundles and give it to two lucky quilters who would like to use it. One bundle will have the larger piece with the tree.  The other bundle will have the piece featuring the sun.  I would love to see what you make with these!!

 

If you would like to throw your name in the hat, please leave a comment and tell me what recipe is your go-to fall food. I am all about muffins – apple, pumpkin, cinnamon & sugar – Yum.  Should you want the other accent fabrics you can find them here.

Meet the Designer – Carrie Bloomston

Today I bring you another fantastic conversation with a talented, giving and very friendly artist, Carrie Bloomston. This is the fifth interview in my series, Meet the Designer. I have had the pleasure of getting to know some really fantastic women in the world of fabric design.  Previously I have posted interviews with Sarah Golden of Andover, Maureen Cracknell of Art Gallery Fabric, Kim Schaefer of Andover, and Sharon Holland of Art Gallery Fabric.  Each of these women have inspired me with their tales of how they design, what their process is and how they came to work for the company that creates their fabric.  Today’s interview will not disappoint. I loved every bit of the conversation I shared with Carrie.

Let’s get started!  Carrie Bloomston is currently designing fabric for Windham Fabrics. Her latest line, Dreamer, is a stunning collection of color and pattern with a bit of a southwestern feel.  We will touch on that in a bit though.  When I was reading about Carrie on various sites, prior to talking to her, I came across this bit she had written for her bio on the Windham Fabric site. Re-reading it, after talking to her, I realized it just describes her perfectly so I want to share it with you.

Life is so beautiful.
We are lucky.
We do cool things,
collect experiences,
and hopefully,
love well.

My work-
whether abstract painting,
designing patterns and fabric,
or parenting,
is all about expressing joy and love.

For me, art is a place to figure the world out-
to make sense of it.

After getting to know Carrie a bit, it became clear she treasures life and the ordinary experiences in day to day life. She is always eager to put those experiences into her art and writing, as well as her teaching and parenting. Carrie is a wife, mom to her two children ages seven and eleven years old, artist, author, and teacher. Like any working mom, she strives for balance.

Sweet family picture; Photo credit to Jill McNamara

I love the family picture she shared with me.  Take a look at the artwork on the wall behind them. They drew frames directly on the wall and have a place to display the kid’s artwork on an ever rotating basis.  What a cool idea!

Painting since she was thirteen years old, Carrie innately likes to ‘work big’. Small canvases feel constricting to her. She explained she wants to be able to use large gestures, painting from her shoulder, not her fingers. Because Carrie is a very tactile artist, I wondered how this translated to creating designs for fabric.  She explained to me she does not translate her art to an electronic file on the computer.  She hasn’t wanted to learn this part of the process.  She sends her paintings and sketches to Windham and they create the files for the manufacturing process. Carrie spoke highly of the process used when designing for Windham. She greatly appreciates their expertise in the conversion process and said they are wonderful to collaborate with. It takes some back and forth between Carrie and the in house designers to get the colors right which are based on a hand painted palette created by Carrie.

We talked about creating a line of fabric and how it comes to fruition. I loved the parallel Carrie used to explain her process. She said it is ‘like true jazz where one instrument starts and the others follow, as though a magnet were pulling them in’. So it is with the story her fabric lines tell. She gets an idea for a theme, creates a focal point, and then begins to design the other fabrics to tell the story. With her most current line, Dreamer, she thought about telling a story containing an earthly or ancestral feel. She wanted it to have a tribal element to it as well as a southwest feel. (Carrie lives in Arizona.) She went off to take a hike and paint inspired her.  While out there she tried to capture the spirit of the bees and this became one of the focus fabrics for the line.

She continued working to develop her story. While her son was studying Arizona Native American history, they found pictures of pottery on line. This process then provided inspiration for the broken pottery fabrics in the Dreamer line.

The line continued to develop in this fashion. As they worked together Carrie and Windham agreed to support the Xerces Society with this line. Each of them donate a portion of the earnings from Dreamer to Xerces in an effort to support the research and improvement of the declining bee population.

Within Carrie’s fabric lines, you might notice she often uses newsprint within her patterns. It might be the focus of the entire piece of fabric or just a small element within a complex print. She enjoys incorporating text and encouraging words within her fabrics. Also, illustrating with newsprint, she demonstrates her love of “elevating low materials to higher forms of art”.

Sometimes her projects might involve brown paper grocery bags and even styrofoam meat trays.  She loves to create vision boards with collages of newsprint and magazine clippings as well. Another reason to incorporate newsprint in her work is to memorialize the print media. As we all know, print media is in rapid decline with the rise of technology. It makes her happy to know that people will look at quilts made with her fabric years from now and read bits of print media.

Carrie learned to sew when she  was pregnant with her daughter. She joined a Sunday Sewing group and the women in the group taught her about sewing technique. She in turn enjoyed explaining her feelings about creating. Describing herself as a creative enabler, she strives to teach others to listen to their creative voice. In 2014 Carrie wrote her book, The Little Spark, 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity.  The book was published by Stash books, a division of C&T Publishing. You might want to watch this short video about her book.

When I first purchased the Dreamer line for my shop, I did a bit of research on Carrie as the designer of the line and discovered her book. I quickly ordered it and read it cover to cover. It is written as a workbook with each chapter providing a little exercise to help the reader discover the creative side of herself. As I read the book, I felt it not only reinforced the creative part of me, but the exercises emboldened me. They help you to feel confident in your knowing, your experiences, your creativity.

Carrie talked to me about being a seeker. She defines it as trying to live with a ‘beginner’s mind.’  This frame of mind means to remain curious and continually look for ways to expand one’s skills and be challenged,  If you keep seeking new ideas, ways of doing and knowing, you will be able to experience the almost euphoric joy of discovery. Children have this. Remember the joy of watching a child figure something out? They live with beginner’s mind. Carrie loves to “not be the expert” and would rather always be learning and stretching beyond her skill level. In her book she illustrates how to find the confidence to stretch ourselves and grow in our creativity. She hopes her book encourages the reader to live life in a fuller way and to remain open to experiences which will increase the richness of day to day life. When I read the book, I kept thinking that many of the little lessons she describes in each of the thirty chapters would be applicable to my home life, my personal life, and my work life. These projects she describes are beneficial on many levels, both creative and emotional. It is sort of a ‘self-help’ book published in the crafting and artistry genre.  I mean this as a positive – It is a very cool book.

Carrie in her studio; photo credit to Jill McNamara

As we talked we touched on social media quite a bit. While Carrie has a strong social media presence, she touched on one point that struck me. (This is also covered in her book.) She mentioned that to share one’s work constantly causes the artist to lose the intimacy of creating. When she is painting or drawing and then stops to take a picture and post it, she has removed herself from that creative zone. It is precious to stay with your project, or artwork, and let it happen organically. Keep it to yourself and see where it takes you. Additionally, constant sharing on social media causes a person to rely on external validation from others. How many likes do I get? How many followers responded to this piece of work. This can be damaging – if a post doesn’t receive enough ‘likes’ it isn’t necessarily due to negative reaction to the work. Rather it is likely because of the algorithms used by the software.  Your post probably didn’t pop up in the feed of every follower. Social media requires a creative person to have such a thick skin! Isn’t it better to validate from within? To know that your quilt, painting, recipe or photo is your creation, to enjoy both making it as well as the finished project is very satisfying.

Lest you think this is easy, let me assure you it is not. Carrie knows how difficult it can be to pursue a creative path. She spoke of her own personal issues with control and how difficult it has been for her to relinquish control of her work. She continues to work on this and is becoming more comfortable with it. For example, when she sends her artwork off to Windham for them to convert it into files and print it on fabric, she has to let go of it and trust them to use what she has made in the way they see appropriate. Never easy to do,  but it is very gratifying when she sees her work being sewn into quilts and so many other projects by quilters and sewists everywhere.

Another theme that runs through her book and our conversations is to live with gratitude. I commented on this thread that I kept reading and hearing in our discussion. About nine years ago, Carrie and her husband had a terrible scare when their son was diagnosed with a serious blood disorder at the age of two years.  He had a tumor in his hip bone. The bone scan happened on Christmas Eve and they spent the next two days anxiously waiting to find out the severity of his illness.  He was treated aggressively for the next year and they are deeply grateful for the good health he enjoys today. Carrie feels this experience dissolved some barriers between herself and others. It taught her to appreciate receiving help from others and to give of herself to others. She said where she was ‘almost maniacally controlling’, she learned she is not in charge of these things. Gratitude became “the bedrock of her life”.  I love that sentence. ‘The bedrock of her life’… gratitude should be the basis from which people react, create, and interact with others.

At the risk of making this post too long, I want to touch on one last part of our discussion.  When I read her book, I kept questioning the value of certain parts of the book in relation to me and the things I make.  I usually make things after being inspired by something I have seen, or using a pattern I have found or purchased.  When I made the THREAD and FABRIC mini quilts (where I practiced relief quilting and surrounded the thematic words with improv pieced fabric), I felt more joy in making those than most of the items I make. It was hard for me to articulate this but the more we talked about it, it began to make sense.  Carrie talked to me about arts and crafts and how the two co-exist.   In her opinion, crafting is done using a skill(s) one possesses and creating something. 

Then my notes say this:

Art = Personal = Free

When I wrote this, she was teaching me that to create an art form is to trust yourself and use those skills you have in a way personal to you, somehow meaningful to oneself. Not following directions but allowing yourself to create independent of direction and instruction. This is a vulnerable place to be. What if it comes out terribly? If I fail miserably? I cannot ‘blame’ the pattern or the instructor for the less than awesome project if I am creating it independently and in my own fashion. But creating or making something personally meaningful is so satisfying. It is worth the risk of disappointment in the project. I remember when I made those two mini quilts, there was no plan other than to practice relief quilting. It sort of just evolved. I love those two little quilts and I remember feeling really satisfied and focused when I worked on them.  It was so interesting to talk through this with Carrie.

OK – Let’s wrap this up, though I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, I loved this interview and feel like I learned a great deal. Oh, wait – one more thing….  When we talked it was late afternoon and both of her children had play dates going on in the house. I loved how often she had to stop, talk to the kids, take care of the dog and be a mom.  We are all just regular people, doing regular stuff and these designers we so admire are too.  Carrie kept apologizing for the interruptions but it was fine. She is a mom. That’s how life is.

C&T Publishing has generously offered two copies of The Little Spark, 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity for two lucky readers. Let’s get a good discussion going in the comments. To enter the giveaway, tell me please:

If you could be assured success in something, anything, what would you try to do?  It has been mandated, you will succeed! You will not fail.  What would you want to do? I would love to hear. There are so many things that I would like to do but the risk of bombing out creates these inhibitions. Actually that fear of failure limits me in what I try to do.  How about you? Here is one for me.  If I knew it would work, I would make a quilt for my king size bed. I feel like that is such a huge canvas to make a quilt that large. In my mind’s eye, the quilt is somehow made with very large pieces, lots of negative space and straight line quilting in some sort of geometric pattern.  But I don’t want to use a pattern and I don’t know “how” to start. Making a king size quilt will take a lot of fabric and batting and time. It frightens me on some level to invest time and money into this when I am not confident of the result.

The giveaway will remain open until Tuesday night, July 11th.  I will pull two names.  If you live in the US, you will receive a hard copy of Carrie’s book.  If you live internationally, you will receive an E-book.

As always when I post these interviews, Carrie’s fabric is on sale in my shop.  I have marked it down by 15% so no coupon code is necessary. Her work is gorgeous and inspiring. If you haven’t seen this line yet, come take a look. I bet you will love it. Sale ends on Sunday night, July 9th.

I Am the Sewcial Bee Sponsor This Week!

Are you participating in the Sewcial Bee Sampler Sew Along, sponsored by the wonderful Maureen Cracknell and the talented Sharon Holland?  It has been on-going for the past twenty-one weeks with one block released each week.  There will be 25 blocks total.  I am making blocks, though I must admit to being behind by about three or four blocks at this point.  But I love the quilt I am making. I have been using fabrics from the Fleet & Flourish collection and the Garden Dreamer collection, both of which are designed by Maureen Cracknell. I have mixed in solids as needed.  It will be sashed with one of my all-time favorite, low volume fabrics, Mesh Joy – designed by Sharon Holland. Click here to see it in my shop!

If you are participating in the sew along, you are aware of the giveaway that happens each Friday.  Wonderful prizes have been offered up by the event sponsors each week.  This week I am hosting the giveaway. If you are eligible, hop over to Maureen’s site to find out how to enter to win this bundle of fat quarters! A combination of eleven fabrics from two of Sharon’s lines, you could win pieces of both Gossamer and Bountiful. These muted, peaceful prints are gorgeous as a bundle.  They are available now in my shop, both as fat quarters and yardage.

Essentially each participant is a winner this week.  You may use coupon code SEWCIALBEE15 to receive a 15% discount off of your purchase from my shop all weekend long.  The code will be active through Sunday night, June 25th. If you purchase one of the special SBS bundles and then are lucky enough to be drawn as the winner, I will refund the amount of purchase. No worry there. Take advantage of the coupon code to do some shopping — there are all sorts of wonderful fabrics to choose from! Happy Sewing. 🙂

 

Island Batik Goes Modern + A Giveaway!

 

The challenge presented to the Island Batik Ambassadors this month was to create a modern quilt. That’s it, there were no other guidelines. Talk about a blank slate! I decided to turn to my copy of Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson. There are so many fun projects in this book. For this batik challenge, I selected the Swirling Medallion quilt.

This project is quite simple. It is constructed of HST’s created with 4 1/2″ blocks. A subset of the HST’s have a triangle of black applied to a corner, improv style. (Basically a stitch and flip method.) Those black corners are placed so as to create some movement within the quilt (the swirl). Were I to make this again, I would have made my black triangles larger. There are places where they don’t touch each other and I feel this lessens the effect substantially.

The pattern would have you add another row of the background blocks to frame off the orange diamond shape. I didn’t add these because I wanted to hang it in a certain spot in my entry way and it would have been just a tad too large. I was careful to leave enough of a seam allowance so I wouldn’t cut off the orange points. Hurray!

Using a buttery shade of Aurifil thread, I quilted with straight lines in each quadrant. Once I got to the  corner beyond the orange stripe, I changed direction and quilted on the diagonal, radiating out.

I am happy with the overall look and think the blue and orange are bright and cheery for summertime. My quilt model was in a mood.  Can you tell she is two weeks away from summer break?

Island Batik has been incredibly generous with the ambassador program. It is time to share the wealth!  Let’s have a giveaway. Just because. A batik celebration of sorts! First up for the win is this package of ten inch squares, called River’s Edge.  It is a selection of earthy browns and blacks and there are two of each print for a total of 42 squares.

 

The second prize up for grabs is a charm square pack.  This is a gorgeous set of charms with a theme of dots and circles.  Blues, grays, whites, browns and some black make up the pack of 42 charms (2 of each print.)

 

NOTE:i  Giveaway is now closed!

I would love to share these with two winners. Due to the cost of postage, this is open to US residents only. (I’m sorry!)  To enter to win, leave a comment that will make us smile. Did you do anything fun over the weekend? Share with us. If you are a follower, leave a second comment and tell me how you follow.  I will draw a winner on Thursday evening announce on Friday morning!  Also, I want to remind you I have a newsletter sign up form on the right side of the page. I will be using my newsletter to communicate information about my shop. When I have new fabric, a sale or a fun event, I will send it out in the newsletter. I hope you will sign up and join in the fun.  Happy Monday!!

No Scrap Left Behind – Blog Hop

I am thrilled to be a participant in the Blog Hop celebrating the new book No Scrap Left Behind. This book, written by Amanda Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts, is an excellent book. The second book for Amanda Jean, she includes 16 projects which are sure to inspire you to pull out your scrap bins and start creating. You might be familiar with her first book which she co-authored with Cheryl Arkinson, Sunday Morning Quilts. I have that one as well and love them both!

Amanda Jean is the queen of scrappy quilting – if you are not already familiar with her work, please check out her blog.  This blog was one of the first ones I discovered back when blogging was becoming such a resource for information and tutorials.  I remember one of the first quilts I made was based on her (free) pattern, Fair and Square.  Since then, I have been a loyal follower who has learned an incredible amount by reading Amanda Jean’s blog.

Back to the book, I ordered this just as soon as it was released. After reading through it, I was pleased to find out the quilts were divided into sections. Some quilts use strings, some use squares and others, triangles. There is also a section on tiny bits and pieces where she outlines the methods to made adorable pin cushions. (Next to her scrappy quilts, I think Amanda is known for her deep affection for pin cushions and polka dots!)  Another facet of the book is Amanda’s explanation of color with some of the projects. She designed quilts that are great examples of projects using different scales, or sizes, of pieces as well as a broad selection of color and value.  The explanation of fabric and color selection is clearly written and very helpful. She gives several ideas for alternate ways to make the projects which enables the reader to find just the right project.


Looking through the book, I was tempted by several different patterns. For the purposes of this hop, I chose to make the Ring Me quilt. I love the effect of the stripped piecing and the open, solid background. Trying to stick with using my stash, I chose to use a gray background. I had a large piece of Bella solid in Graphite and love the depth it gives the quilt.

I must admit, I was overly confident when I told Amanda that I would be able to get the quilt top finished for the hop. It looked so simple when I looked at the pattern. And it is simple!  But oh my gosh, it is a fair amount of piecing going on there! Losing just over a week to my Vermont trip earlier this month didn’t help matters either. For a few days I tried to push myself toward a finish but I (thankfully) decided to slow down and just share my progress for this post. I really like how this is coming along and didn’t want to hurry it and end up with a lesser finish.

For now, progress shots will have to do. Like I said, the pattern is quite simple. I strip pieced the colorful rings around the solid gray blocks. The only trouble I had was the strips are prone to stretching. When using scraps, they are cut every which way and not always with the grain of the fabric. Attaching the two strips to the top and bottom of the block was fine. The problem seemed to occur when I added the background squares to the pieced strips. I think I am too careless with the iron and you know what those rock star quilters are always preaching, “press, don’t iron”.  I was ironing and it stretched the strips and I would end up with corners that don’t quite line up. For the most part, I don’t think the lack of precision there will really matter. The overall effect is still going to be good.  Once I realized the problem, I started to watch this part of the process and be more careful with the iron. This is helping and my precision is improving.

Finally, I love the exercise in color this quilt provides. As I grouped strips and stitched them together, it was satisfying to try different colors together. As I have mentioned in prior posts, color can give me trouble at times. This was a nice side benefit to this project. At any rate, I love the quilt so far and should finish it up soon. You can expect another post when I have a finish to share!

As part of the hop, we were also asked to share our scrap sorting and storage methods with you. Being a fairly organized person, I do have all sorts of scraps sorted and stored. My scraps that are less than say the size of a fat eighth, are sorted by color and kept in shoebox size bins.  Each are labeled by color which probably isn’t entirely necessary since I can basically see through the bin enough to know what is in there. The shoe box size is really not big enough and currently my blue and green bins hardly close since they are just bursting with scrap. My solid scraps, of all colors, are kept in a separate tub. Until this project, the solids tub was overflowing. It will close now but still, it is quite full. Do you see the large zip lok bag between the print and solid scraps? That contains my extra bits and pieces of improv or ‘made’ fabric.  These are left over trimmings from improv projects and certainly couldn’t be tossed!


This isn’t all though, nope not by a long shot. I also have zip lok bags for squares. When I am cutting and happen to remember, I will cut my scraps into squares. I cut charms (5″ squares) as well as 3 1/2″, 3″, 2 1/2″ squares.  Those are just stacked by size and kept in a bag.  Well, except for the charms, which are kept in a box and marked. Trimmings from flying geese blocks, you know, those tiny HST’s, are in their own bag too. Finally, I keep holiday fabric scraps in their own (very large) bag.


Reviewing all of this, I am not sure whether it is the sign of a very organized quilter or someone who may end up on the reality TV show, Hoarders. Is this a problem — is an intervention needed??? Will I ever use these bits and pieces? I hope so and having both of Amanda’s books, Sunday Morning Quilts and No Scrap Left Behind, should help me use them.

Do you have a similar problem? Are you a scrap hoarder like the rest of us? The first step is always admitting the problem, right? The second step is to win this book!  C&T Publishing and Amanda Jean have offered a giveaway for each blog on the hop. If the giveaway is won by a USA participant, they will receive a paper copy. International winners will receive an e-book.  Either way, this is an excellent book to add to your library!! To enter the giveaway, please share your scrap busting habits or your scrap storing and sorting methods. Help us out here. Some of us are drowning in scraps.  Help!  For an extra entry follow me on Instagram, Facebook or the blog and then let me know how you follow.   The giveaway will be open through the weekend and a winner will be selected Monday morning, May 1st. Good luck!

NOTE: this giveaway is not closed. Thanks to everyone for participating!

There are many more chances to enter the giveaway to win a copy of this book! Here is the schedule for the hop. I hope you will check out the other projects and interpretations of the quilts in this book. You will surely be inspired.

Monday, April 24th Mary Kolb
Tuesday, April 25, Lee Monroe
Wednesday, April 26, Sandi Hazlewood
Thursday, April 27, Bernie Kringel — You’re here!!
Friday, April 28, Erin Cox
Monday, May 1, Katherine Greaves
Tuesday, May 2, Tracy Mooney
Wednesday, May 3, Cheryl Arkison
Thursday, May 4, Debbie Jeske
Friday, May 5, Amy Smart

 

Note: There are affiliate links in this post, meaning if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small payment as part of the sale.

Springtime Blog Hop Celebration

Happy Monday Everyone!  Back in December when I first started working on the expansion of my Etsy shop, I wrote to a few blogger friends and asked for their support of my project. As one would expect of this quilting community, they immediately said they would be happy to help.

My original plan was to host this blog hop at the end of January. When I placed my fabric orders in early December I was foolish enough to believe the ship dates that I was given by the manufacturers! Silly me. There were all sorts of delivery issues. It really wasn’t until the beginning of February that product began to steadily arrive.  But then February always means QuiltCon and several of the bloggers in the hop were heavily involved with that event. Anyway, time marches on and here we are in the third week of March!  Today is the first day of Spring which is a time of new beginnings; thus the perfect day to celebrate my new shop.

 

Each of the six quilters were given their choice of fabrics to work with.  You will see lovely projects made with Allison Glass’ 76 fabric, Kim Diehl’s Modern Tykes fabric, as well as Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer. One quilter requested an assortment of prints because she had a few projects in the works so you will see a medley of fabrics in use there.

Monday through Friday this week, there will be a post celebrating the fabrics offered at Needle & Foot and with each post there will be a giveaway (of course!).  On Wednesday there is a bonus, with two bloggers posting that day. There are lots of opportunities to win this week.

I don’t know how the various bloggers are setting up the giveaway but I can tell you that each one will award one prize. The winners will have the option to choose six fat quarters or three 1/2 yard cuts from my shop. I welcome international quilter’s to join in. However, I ask that if an international person wins, they will split the cost of the shipping with me. It gets a little bit pricey!

OK – TIme to start visiting blogs! Here is the list of bloggers to visit this week!

I have only had small sneak peeks of their projects so I am really excited to visit each one and see what they have made. I hope you will enjoy it as well. Additionally, I want to offer a discount for each of you. I am truly grateful for all of the good wishes, support, as well as purchases, that many of you have provided over these last several months. It has been a blast to get this set up and I look forward to continuing to build my inventory with the fabrics you love.  For this week only, please use the code NANDFREADERS15 to receive a 15% discount on purchases made through Sunday, March 26th. Thank you so much and enjoy the hop!!

Monday Updates

Wasn’t that a wild Super Bowl game yesterday? I think that is what all the cool kids are saying today, so I am joining in. Truth be told, just a few days ago, I had to google who was going to be playing. We are not a football family. Like, not at all.  Somehow though, Ray and Julia have developed a tradition of watching the game together.  They each pick a team, based on scientific evidence, such as the color of their uniforms or the mascot on their helmet. The fighting begins just as soon as one team has scored. Let’s just say Julia was very cocky for the majority of the game, lording the success of her team over that of her father’s. The tables unexpectedly turned during the dramatic ending of the game. Ray was merciless this morning and will surely fit this into any conversation, as much as possible, over the next few days.  As for me, once the nachos were gone, I was in the other room playing on my iPad.

Last night I spent quite a bit of time on-line meeting a new group of quilters. (Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?)  Last week I received an email stating I was selected to be one of the ambassadors for Island Batik.  Island Batik has been in business since 1997 and is located in Southern California. Their product is made in Bali. I am very impressed by the philosophy held at Island Batik. They diligently strive to enrich the community their employees live in.  I can tell from the amount of communication and direction I have received from their Marketing department that this is going to be a good experience. She is so organized, very creative, and responsive. Ask a question and she is back with an answer within an hour or two.

Each year Island Batik accepts applications for their ambassador program. Once they make their selections (of about 30 quilt bloggers), a closed Facebook group is created so we can all work together on Island Batik promotions and blog hops. I felt like it was the first day of school. Would I know anyone? Would I make new friends? But everyone seems so nice and there were several names of bloggers I am very familiar with. I am really looking forward to the arrival of our box of supplies. It should be here this week.

This picture was posted on Facebook the other day – doesn’t that just run a chill down your spine? So much possibility is contained in that cardboard box. You can expect to see some fun projects, blog hops and giveaways as a result of that magical box that is headed my way.

On to other business. The name has been picked for the giveaway of the I Love Precut Quilts book. I used Random Number Generator this time because my amazing name-drawing daughter is at school this morning.  Random Number Generator picked number 2!!  So, Wendy of Piecefulthoughts.com, it is your lucky day! A copy of the book will be sent off to Wendy soon. Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway. Looks like I am not the only person hoarding charm squares and fat quarter bundles!

Time to go. I have a binding to make – I finished quilting my Knock Knock quilt the other day. I am volunteering in the See’s Candy Shop for Julia’s 4-H group this afternoon.  It is pouring rain today which will likely keep the shoppers at home. Since I don’t expect to be terribly busy selling Valentine candy, I want to take some hand sewing with me. Hope to have a finish to share with you later this week.

Linking to Main Crush Monday.