Thursday, May 2, 2019

May



Welcome to May!



I'm looking forward to a fun, busy month and I hope you are too!

The weather has been great here in Florida, we've been busy with our master bath remodel, and my college son is finishing up his first year away from home.

It's hard to believe the first half of 2019 is almost over!  Yikes!

I'd like to squeeze a little more sewing time in each day because it seems like the year is going by so quickly and there are so many projects that I'm interested in working on.

At the same time, I'm also trying to finish up some of my favorite UF'O's so I can get them out and use them.

I don't really like having unfinished projects around, but somehow that doesn't stop me from picking up another one before I've finished the last one.

That's habit I'd like to break! 

Hopefully,  I'll get in a few more finishes before the month is over and we're officially halfway done with the year

What are you interested in accomplishing before we reach the halfway point?





Well, I didn't mean to go in that direction when I started typing but that's just what came out. 

 Sometimes its just fun to chat with you about what's on my mind for a minute before we start the Parade.

Flowers are what we should be talking about today, because that is the theme of today's Parade!

Half of the Parade is here on my blog, and you can see the other half on my friend Sherri's blog,  A Quilting Life.

Be sure to go over there and see what Sherri's up to.

She always has the most inspiring and informative posts!






Here is the first Parade entry from Vicki in Colorado.

She used a free pattern called Bay Breeze and she was kind enough to include a link to the pattern that you can find here.  The flowery fabric she used is from one of her favorite lines Coney Island, by Fig Tree Quilts.  It's a favorite of mine too! Vicki says she's working on the quilting today.  When she pieced the quilt Vicki used Sherri's 'Best Tips For Mini Quilts' and and she was really pleased with how it went.  It looks great Vicki!










Janice submitted the next picture for today's Parade.

She made this table runner after being inspired by a wall hanging made by Taunja Kelvington of Carried Away Quilting. She has some really cute flowery fabrics in there and I just love that bunny she has on display too. I wonder if she used a template for cutting or just her ruler?  (Edited to add:  Janice was kind enough to contact me and let me know that she use the Marti Mitchell Tumbler Template to cut her blocks.  She says it has 8 sizes on it!  Thanks so much for letting me know Janice.)   That's a great shape and a really nice table runner!  Thanks so much for sharing with us Janice!         









I went way back in my blog and found a few of my favorite flower pictures to share with you.

These flowers are paper pieced and I made them for quilt that I entered in a local quilt show back in 2007.

I remember when I got the phone call and I learned that won first place!









No doubt, they are some of my favorite flowers ever, so I thought it would be appropriate to pull them out and share them with you in the flower Parade today.

I remember having my doubts about that black background, but I'm glad I went with it.

It really made the flowers pop!







When we have the Parade at the beginning of June, we'll be focused on everything that's




Red, White, and Blue!


That way, you can have some new decorations ready for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July too!

Send a picture of your project for the next Parade to me, or to Sherri, and we'll put it in the next Parade.

We always welcome photos from new and old friends so don't hesitate to send one in and if you have any questions about how the Parade works we'd love to help you, just ask!


Enjoy May and see you again soon!


  

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

It's Springtime!



Hello!

This edition of the Minis and More Parade welcomes the season of spring!



I've been working on these butterfly blocks from the Fig Tree and Co. pattern, Painted Ladies.

I made some last year and I've added to my butterfly blocks collection this year too.

Right now I'm planning to make twenty four blocks, even though the pattern only calls for twelve. 

 Sometimes its nice to put your own spin on a pattern even if that's just adding a few more blocks!











Vicki has been doing some spring sewing too!

This adorable bunny was pieced and quilted by Vicki from Colorado.  The fabric she used is Nest by Lella Boutique and the pattern is Little Cottontail, also from Lella Boutique.  The diagonal line quilting that Vicki did is perfect for this cute, little mini!  Now Vicki is all ready for spring!








While we're on the subject of spring,  I'd like to share a few of the springtime quilts that I have around my house right now.

You may remember some of them from past blog posts.



This is my Gentle Art mini quilt. 
A Schnibbles pattern!  You know I can't get enough of them!









 This is Mini Shine!  One of Sherri McConnell's patterns!








Here's a Sweetwater Label Crew project that I made years ago.  I don't do much hand embroidery, but I'm so glad I did some on this table runner.








Endless Summer is the name of this mini pattern by Pam Buda from Heartspun Quilts.  I used the Sweetwater line Sunkissed.  I do love that fabric collection!





That was just a few of the quilts that I have around my house right now.

What quilts do you like to have out in the spring?





Aren't you ready to think about flowers?

You're in luck!

That's the theme for the Parade at the start of May.

You know the saying 'April showers bring May flowers'?

We'd like you to send us a picture of any flower quilt project that you made by the end of April, so we can put it in the May Parade!

Please email your picture to Sherri McConnell at her blog, A Quilting Life or you can email it to me.

We'd love to see your quilted flowers!

If you have any questions, just leave comment and we'll get back to you. 




Here are a few ideas to get you started on your flower quilt!




A few free tutorials-








Some flower patterns from Fig Tree and Co.-






Sherri has some great flower patterns available-









And you can find the rest of the Parade on Sherri McConnell's blog, A Quilting Life!

Happy Sewing!




Monday, March 4, 2019

Pincushions on Parade



This month's Parade is all about pincushions!


I've got a little collection of pincushions going on and I was happy to add to it this month.



I've always had a thing for Cathedral Window quilts, pillows, and all crafts that have to do with Cathedral Windows

 When I was looking up some free pincushion tutorial links to add to the last Minis and More Parade and I discovered that there was a Cathedral Windows Pincushion, I knew that was the one I was going to make.

Right, like I'm going to be able to just make one.

I started out thinking that I'd make just one, but when I was picking out fabric, three different piles of coordinating potential pincushion fabric appeared in front of me as my stash fabric started flying.












I guess it will be three Cathedral Window Pincushions for me!

So far, I've only finished the one you see pictured above because I have a few other projects in the works.

It didn't take me long to finish this white and blue pincushion because of Kim's great tutorial and I'm sure I'll be even quicker on the next two, since I've got the hang of it now.

I used extra charm squares of some random fabric lines that I had used in quilts in the past. 

I noticed that I had lots of extra charm squares with white backgrounds that were leftovers, probably because I tend to use white background fabric, and the charm squares with white backgrounds themselves tend to not show up as well when using a white background fabric with them.

Does that make sense?

As not to let those white charm squares go to waste, I thought I'd use some solid Kate Spain Bella Solids for the window frame, I guess you would call it, and the charms for the squares I needed. 

I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Another pincushion for my collection!




Speaking of collections, you need to see Mary's sweet collection of patriotic pincushions!  Mary said that for years she's been thinking about starting a basket of holiday themed pincushions.  She started adding to that basket this month with these cute patriotic ones.  She told me that she thinks the grandchildren might use them as beanbags, but she's okay with that.  Mary is always so much fun!  You can find her enjoying sewing and spending time with her grandchildren over at her blog, Needled Mom.    











Next month, we'll be well into the season of spring, so let's have a Parade of spring projects!

If it says spring to you, you can make it for the Parade.



One of my favorite spring mini quilts is this Vintage Tulip Mini pattern by Camille Roskelley.













I also love the Mini Painted Ladies Pattern by Fig Tree and Co.

We did it for the April Parade last year and I've still got a ways to go on it.











While doing a little research for this post, I ran across this list of free Easter and spring quilt patterns on a blog called Quilt Inspirations.

There are lots of links to great free patterns there if you're interested in taking a look.





Well I've given you some pattern ideas for the next Parade, I hope you're inspired to join us!

Just send in a picture of your spring project to me, or to Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life, before the end of March and we'll be happy to get your project in the Minis and More Parade at the beginning of April.

Before you take off and start sewing don't forget to look at the other half of today's pincushion Parade on Sherri's blog.

She hosts one half of the Parade and I host the other half!












I'll let you go so I can make some chocolate chip cookies for my college son who's home for spring break.

It's an amazing recipe using coconut oil that was going around a few years ago.

If you didn't make them then, you might want to try them now.

 My family loves them!

You can
 click here to find the recipe for Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies on the blog Gimme Some Oven.

Let me know if you give them a try!


Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you here in April.



Friday, February 22, 2019

The Jolly Bar Bon Bons Quilt




I just completed a fun, new quilt that I'd like to introduce you to today.


The free pattern is available from the The Fat Quarter Shop's Shortcut Quilt pattern collection.  

There's a helpful YouTube tutorial available for you to check out to get some extra information about the quilt if you need it, or maybe you'll just want to watch it because you enjoy watching The Fat Quarter Shop's video tutorials like I do! 









Did you notice the bold background fabric I chose?

It's a beautiful Moda Grunge called Kiwi.

The brighter green background was a little bit of a risk for me.

I tend to stick to more neutral background colors, but lately I've been trying to go a little crazier and experiment with different, brighter, bolder background fabrics.

And if you follow me, you know I'm a huge fan of Moda Grunge!

A few posts back, you'll see that I made the Maple Leaf Quilt, another pattern from The Fat Quarter Shop, with a purple Moda Grunge that I just love!











Don't think I didn't use any neutral fabrics in this quilt though!

I actually reversed what I normally do, and I used the neutral fabrics as more of a focus fabric in my blocks.

As you may have figured from the name of the pattern, this quilt has a Jolly Bar in the fabric requirements.

  A Jolly Bar of Zen Chic's Modern Colorbox Background fabric is what I used here to create the shell and the filling for my Bon Bons in the quilt.











A Jolly Bar is a precut portion of fabrics from a single fabric collection, which measure 5" x 10" that's only available from The Fat Quarter Shop.

There's a lot you can do with this size precut!

If you'd rather use scraps for this quilt, that's not a problem.

You'll just need to gather 36 - 5" x 10" rectangles and then start cutting!











As I was putting this quilt together, I was thinking that it would be a great time to pull out some really cool background fabrics, like some fun text prints, or some other print that you'd love to see as the star of this quilt!

It would also be a great place to use some of those large prints that you've never wanted to cut up into little pieces as a focus fabric, because the blocks in the quilt are pretty big.

In fact, it would make a great quilt for a beginner because the cutting and sewing is pretty simple and the fabric selection could certainly be quick if you just chose your background fabric and a Jolly Bar.











You've only got to choose two things to get started!

Choosing only two things sounds like a dream to me.

We're doing a remodel of our master bath and 
I did not realize how many choices we'd have to make.

That's what we were doing this afternoon, picking out some fixtures, so making a quilt with only two fabric selections sounds like a dream to me!











The fabric selection was quick and easy, but I did make my quilting a bit more complicated.

I took the opportunity to practice some ruler work on my new sewing machine and I did a different type of quilting each time I went around the quilt.

It was so much fun!

I really enjoyed quilting it and I learned a lot in the process too.

I like a quilt that gives me the freedom to quilt it anyway I'd like, and the Jolly Bar Bon Bons Quilt definitely fits that bill.












Traditional quilting, modern quilting, or even something in between, this quilt would look great no matter how you wanted to quilt it!

Well, I hope I've given you some creative ideas about how you can customize this quilt to your own tastes or needs.

It's a fun pattern that goes together quickly and I had a great time making it for the Jolly Bar Bon Bons Quilt Along.


Don't forget to take a look at the YouTube video and check out The Fat Quarter Shop's blog, The Jolly Jabber to see the other quilts that the other participants in the quilt along made to get some more great ideas!  




Monday, February 4, 2019

Tip time!



It's tip time!

And I'm not talking about 'tip off time' as in basketball, or any other sport right now.

I've got sports on the brain as we just watched the Super Bowl and basketball season is in full swing.

With a family full of sports enthusiasts, there's always plenty of sports talk around here, but right now I'm  happy to be talking about quilting and specifically quilting tips.



Can you have too many quilting tips?

I don't think so.

Even if you don't think you can use one, you never know when that tip will come in handy in the future.

This month's Minis and More Parade is all about quilting tips and Sherri McConnell of A Quilting Life and I have been collecting the suggestions and helpful hints you've sent in so we can share them with our readers.

Brenda, who blogs at The Quilting Nook, sent in these two great ideas, one about journaling and the other about how to keep your ruler from slipping when cutting long strips of fabric.



Brenda says it best herself, so here is her first tip in her own words -



  
Quilt Journal Tips

You don’t need anything to get started with a quilt journal except a notebook, but a pretty one makes it more fun. Even if you’re not into the details, having a record of your quilt that has taken lots of time, thought and energy to make will hopefully give you and your family fond memories to look back on. This is my list of a minimum of things to include:
·       Start and Finish Date
·       Pattern Name, Designer, tutorial, blogger, etc.
·       Fabrics 
·       Who the quilt is for or why you are making it (special occasion)
·       Pattern changes or special techniques used
·       Block/Quilt size
·       Picture of the final quilt




 You can take Brenda's tip, or anyone's tip for that matter, and put your own spin on it or modify it to fit your needs. 

For example, I do some quilt journaling, but I'm not quite as detailed in my journaling as Brenda. 

I focus more on my sewing machine and what kind of needles I used during quilting, what tension settings I used, and what worked best for me on that quilt.  That way, I can look back to replicate the results if I'd like to, years later.

Brenda has another great tip for us and again I'll let her explain it in her own words-




The second tip is about cutting fabric using a weight.

I saw this tip in a Jordan Fabrics video and have been using it ever since. To keep your long ruler from slipping when you are cutting strips across the width of fabric, use a hand weight at the top or near the top of the ruler to keep it from slipping. Even with non-slip rulers, I found my ruler could still slip slightly at the far end even while walking my hands to the top. I feel more confident cutting more layers of fabric using the weight now.    







Wow, thanks Brenda!

I've never heard that tip before, and I usually don't cut multiple layers of long strips of fabric because I am worried about the ruler slipping.

After my workout this morning, I'm going to keep out the hand weights and give that a try!


When I had one of my sewing machines on a quilting frame, I was using my hand weights to keep the machine steady on the frame so it wouldn't roll to one side or the other while I was changing the bobbin or cleaning it.

Who knew hand weights could be so useful in quilting?


Brenda has a whole blog post dedicated to helpful hints on her blog The Quilting Nook that I'll bet you'd love to read. You can find it here -  









Another item that you probably have around your house that I've found to be tremendously helpful for piecing is a paper plate!

I have a large stack of thin, inexpensive paper plates that I put beside my sewing machine when I have individual blocks to piece.




Not the most glamorous picture, but this is a tip post so I'm keeping it real.




I put the pieces for each block on a separate paper plate and then stack them up, so the pieces for each block stay together.

 I don't usually ;-) get them mixed up this way.

Sometimes I even scribble a few notes on the plates or write down the size of fabric pieces beside them on the plate, so I can keep track of whats what.

I use a pencil, so I can erase them later (or not) and reuse the plate for another quilt project.




Beside my sewing machine I also keep a scrap of batting or two, like in the picture above, that were cut off the side of a quilt after quilting.

I use it as a thread catcher to keep stray pieces of thread and small scraps of fabric that I toss over there together, so they don't end up on the floor or on me.

Then when it gets pretty full, I just roll it up and throw it away, because it was just a leftover scrap of batting anyway!

I have one beside each of my machines and one on my ironing board too.

Be sure to visit Sherri at A Quilting Life to see the rest of the tips from our readers.

Feel free to add any quilting tips you'd like to share in the comments.






Now lets talk about March!

It's going to be all about pincushions!









Everybody's got pincushion fever right now, so why not make a few of your own?

I've collected some great free tutorials if you don't have any patterns in mind, and 'wow' these are so cute!





The first one is was brought to my attention on a post by Corey Yoder .  It's from a company called Just Another Button Company. It’s adorable!




Here are some other free pincushion tutorial links from the great people over at The Moda Bakeshop-


Scrap Bag Pincushion by LeAnne Ballard



Flirtatious Pincushion by Julie Cefalu



Giant Pincushions by Julie Herman



Charming Twin Pincushions by Vickie Eapen



Sweet As Candy Pincushion by Lisa Calle



Cathedral Windows Pincushion by Kim Niedzwiecki



Sew Simple Star Pincushion by Kimber Van Heukelom 



Moda Love Pincushion by Margot Languedoc



Fabric Strawberries by Vanessa Christenson



Sugar Cube Pincushion by Vickie Eapen



Charming Pincushion #1 by Vickie Eapen





Wait, I'm not done yet...........




This is a link to an adorable pincushion YouTube video that Sherri made for The Fat Quarter Shop. 


This is one that I made using Sherri's video and some scraps from her fabric lines too!



Sherri has other great pincushion ideas on her blog,  A Quilting Life so be sure to go over and visit her to get all the information!


Send in your pincushion pictures before the end of February to see them in the Parade at the beginning of March.

We'd love to have you join us.




Right now, I'm going to grab my hand weights, work out, and then cut some long fabric strips using that new tip I just learned from Brenda!

Have a great day!



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Handmade gifts and some new quilting ideas to start off the new year



Happy New Year!

I just finished putting some Christmas decorations away.


This Fig Tree mini quilt is one of my favorites! 







It seems like taking them out is always fun, and I look forward to it, but putting them back is not my favorite thing to do

 Somehow that doesn't stop me from getting a few more decorations each year, and I still try to put them back into the same amount of space.

I really need to get a few more Christmas storage boxes or give away some of the older decorations that I'm not as fond of anymore.

That seems difficult for me to do.

I did finally toss the artificial evergreen wreath that I had on my pantry door for years.  Every time someone opened or closed the pantry door, needles would fall off and scatter everywhere.

It was getting to be ridiculous.

My oldest son 'wore' that wreath when he was in a wreath in the first grade Christmas play.  He's graduated from college now, so you know that was an old wreath.

It did have some sentimental value to me, but after continually sweeping up those old needles every time someone wanted a snack, I decided it was best for that wreath to move on.

I took a picture of it and let it go, because pictures fit much better in the Christmas storage boxes! 

As I put back the Christmas decorations, I do a little bit each day, I'm going to try to part with a few other items that I've probably been hanging on to for a bit too long, even thought it's not easy.





In the spirit of out with the old and in with the new, trying new things, and refreshing your home or your quilting habits, this year Sherri and I have a fun and different idea for next month's Minis and More Parade.

We'd like you to share your favorite quilting or sewing tips and tricks!


Tell us one or more of your favorite shortcuts or maybe a clever idea you have for sewing storage. You know, a helpful hint that you'd like to share with your friends.  Send in a picture too if you can!


For example, I've used more painter's tape over my quilting career than I've ever used for painting, and we've done lots of painting!

I use it to mark quilting lines on quilts, I use it all the time on my  cutting rulers to mark lines so I don't have to look at the ruler as closely when I'm cutting the same size over and over.  I also use it on my quilting rulers, now that I'm doing some ruler work on my new sewing machine.





As far as storage goes,  I like to store my old cutting mats vertically between two bookcases full of fabric.  They occupy what used to be wasted space. I use the old cutting mats on the floor when I trim the edges of quilts before binding.

So share your tips by sending a few to me or to Sherri McConnell at A Quilting Life.  Then visit both my blog and Sherri's at the beginning of next month to start out the year with some new tips and tricks to try, inspired by your friends!






In December,  Hildy did an amazing job at making lots of handmade gifts, which is the theme of today's Parade.




This cute drawstring bag was made by Hildy using a combination of a patchwork gift bag tutorial of Sherri's and a Santa pattern by Nadra






This pillow and the next one were Christmas gifts for Hildy's parents.  This one uses Bonnie and Camille's fabric........






........and this one uses a Fig Tree fabric collection.






Although it wasn't a Christmas gift, Hildy made this cute quilt for a friend's new baby boy.






This adorable butterfly mini is also a pattern by Nadra that Hildy made for her brother's girlfriend.


Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful handmade gifts with us Hildy!  You gave me so many great ideas for next Christmas!






Don't forget to send us your best sewing tips with pictures before the end of the month and be sure to visit Sherri's blog, A Quilting Life to see the other half of the handmade gifts Parade.

See you there!