Summer Sampler quick tips Block 1

In my last post I talked about joining in on the Summer Sampler.

The first block was released this week and I was super excited to get cracking on it, as this quilt is right up my alley- modern, solids friendly, and-- easy (ish).  

The middle section of little  squares can be made quickly, rather than piecing a ton of tiny squares together one by one.  Sew  strips together to make a section of four, in the measurement listed in the pattern. Then slice this section of 4 rows into blocks. See photo.  * I am not listing the measurements on purpose because you will need to buy the subscription to support these pattern makers. Thanks!

Make 4 rows and sew together. There's the center piece, nice and quick.

To make the 10 half square triangle pieces you need, use the "eight at a time" method to speed things up.

The two large squares of fabrics will be 7".
Draw diagonal lines to make an "X".
Sew along each line at 1/4" seam allowance (see red thread in third photo).
Cut the squares in half along vertical axis and horizontal axis. Then cut again on the drawn diagonal lines. 
Press open and trim to size stated in the pattern.

Make two more as directed in the pattern.

Assemble Turkey Vulture block.


Join in the fun-- here are the kickoff details.

At our last Modern Quilt Guild meeting we talked about not being obsessed with mistakes. "It can cripple you" said speaker Judy Gauthier, of Bungalow Quilting in Ripon,Wisconsin.

She spoke a bit about diving in, and going for it. I think I've always been like this but never heard anyone else verbalize it out loud. In a room of Quilters. Who make stunningly beautiful quilts. And can tend to be a bit OCD. Just sayin'.

So, now that I'm looking at my block and I see the non-perfect bits, I will take a deep breath and relax. Once the quilt is together I doubt it will be noticeable to most people.

In other news,  there is a super cute pattern being released very soon by Sew Sweetness that I had the sweet fortune to test. I cannot wait for you all to see this pattern--it is the cutest!

Another Quilt Along I'm doing is the Fat Quarter Shop CrossRoads quilt- a benefit for March of Dimes charity organization. The family block about killed me, but I got there in the end. 
It wasn't difficult, just time consuming because I opted not to take short cuts, just in case...

Next time I'll do the short cuts. 

I'm making mine with Pam Kitty Morning fabrics because I like retro and bright! I could never sew with anything subdued, it's just not me. 

My IG friends always amaze me--I'm constantly inspired! This little beauty arrived in the mail last week and literally made me gasp. FishSkinDesigns out of Canada made it for me for the Perfect Pouch Swap. The other side is a fish--which is perfect because I'm a Pieces. ;)  Thank YOU Jill!

That pin cushion too-- soooo good! I can't wait to take this with me to Glamp Stitch a Lot in 2 weeks!

I made the Brooklyn bag for Bag of the Month club, and Ruby claimed it right away. I used leather that stretches (I didn't pay attention to that detail) so it does have a couple mistakes. My next one hopefully will be better--and with longer handles. These are a touch too short for me.  This pattern is easy to follow and turns out a bag that looks very professional in my opinion. You can still join in the fun you know! Click the link and come along.     ;)

I'll post about my Sailor tops in a future post- I made two so far with plans to tweak the fit a bit. More on that later! Get the pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts.

 I made Ruby two pair of Moon Pants this week, with plans to make Mia a pair also--but she has requested "Dragon fabric" so I need to shop on Spoonflower first. :D 

She really loves the style, and they sew up so fast = bonus!

This fabric was on clearance at Joann Fabrics, so of course I grabbed it! Pink stripes! Plus I was in the state of mind to actually match my stripes on the sides--whooo hooo! I'm wearing it today.
Pattern from Meg's Sewing with Knits Class on Craftsy. (Blogged about that a few posts back.)

Since the weather is having a mood lately I took pics inside.
  Here- a big shot of my Improv Quilt. 

 I quilted it in gold metallic thread, which is hard to photograph. I feel fancy using gold thread.
Feeling fancy is fun, right?! 

Speaking of feeling fancy..
I don't mean to go on a tangent, but doing a cat eye eyeliner is super fancy, and I do that maybe once a year. I love it though! SUPER fancy!

What I want:

What happens:

I'll stick to sewing.. and.. the natural look.

I've blogged a lot about the Improv process, so I'll spare you.. you can find Sherri's book here.

I liked this quilt so much I ordered networking cards from Moo in the design.
I'll show you the rest of my cards another day-a few of them are top secret at this time.

Ok, I'm off to do some crafting. I've started this whole "paint your piano thing" and it's morphed into "make your piano an abstract painting with details that take hours to complete" thing. Wish me luck. If it turns out a disaster, I'll never tell you.  bahahahahahahahaaa

Have fun & make stuff!


Dougal is my hired help some days. He's my Quilt guard dog.
All 10 pounds of him.

Here we are, almost summer. This year has been flying by like--- like-- Superman when he goes around the Earth really fast to speed up or turn back time. Remember that? Circa 1984?

I've had a couple boomtastic revelations so far this year.
One is reading and listening to this book:

Like famous literary legend Joan Didion said "I don't know what I think until I write it down"...YES.

I didn't know what I thought until I heard Liz Gilbert say it out loud. And then I was all "where have you been my whole life?"  This book is beyond "self help"--ewwe gross I don't even like saying that. 

It's a reckoning. 

When I had this book on Audible with Elizabeth Gilbert reading it to me in the background, I realized we are all running around in this comfortable bubble, afraid to test those waters of uncertainty. . . Well, at least a lot of us. The thing is, there isn't much time, so why waste another minute? You will understand more when you listen to her, or read the book. I know it sounds bossy- but GET IT. 
Be open.
Show up.

By the way, I love Audible. ;) 

To keep on the theme of "Creative Living beyond Fear"...

Here is my finished Improv Patchwork Doodle Quilt.
This was born out of a need to make something without rules or tools + guidance from Sherri Lynn Wood's book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters.

If you're looking at it going "Is it wonky?"  Yes. It IS. It's not square. It's bending and curving and wonky and wild. I felt so giddy upon finishing that binding, I can't even tell you.

I fee motion quilted it in many different patterns/styles. I just quilted what came to me, circles, matchsticks, squiggles, crescents, chevrons, loops....

It's pretty large, I hope to get a full view outside when the rain stops.

I did have to use binding cut on the bias to finish this quilt. Most quilts I don't do that, but it was obligatory for this one. All the shapes in this quilt were made without measuring or matching, organic in nature. I used mostly Kona solids (fabric) with a few prints thrown in for good measure. ;)

I have to say, this book has changed my thought process with quilting completely. I love how beautiful something can be without following the accepted "rules" and guidelines of the profession. 

Happy Mail- Kona fat quarter bundle in luscious colors.

I'm doing the Summer Sampler 2016 quilt project this summer. Mostly to meet like minded friends, but also to support the makers of this quilt a long.
Would you like to sew along with us? Join in! There is a new quilt block introduced every week (plenty of time to sew up a block). It's a great way to step in and learn techniques that otherwise might seem overwhelming.

I've never been a person that likes to participate in group projects- (scarred from school life I suppose). But things have changed! I have met so many awesome people this year because of forcing myself to be more open. As Shonda Rhimes would say- "Saying YES". 

This includes commenting on posts, leaving blog comments, posting in groups on Facebook, or sending messages on Instagram-including tagging "famous" people that I admire...and by that I mean sewing celebrities NOT Hollywood. (AS IF).

I attribute it mostly to getting rid of the fear of what others think. There is always a critic. There is always somebody better/faster/thinner/more talented/more whatever. Why waste my time thinking of them? It's pretty silly. I feel such freedom in the realization that most people are too worried about themselves to spend time worrying about me and what I think.  ;)

As I let go of fear, this happened:

This is a shot I took while running a 20K last Saturday, that I decided to do the day before at 4:25pm.

Here is my piano in progress of being chalk painted in Sea Foam:
I decided to do this, and five minutes later dove in. 
Shocked the husband, good thing he knows I'm the boss by now. Lololol

Hand Mixer quilt block (pattern by Lori Holt). I love Lori's patterns so much, and her books are just so happy and inspiring. Every pattern is easy to complete because of her construction method. How can you not be happy when the blocks are like this? :D

I have to hand stitch the plug in bits, I forgot those!

Here is my recent Town Square quilt I finished, pattern in Lori's book Quilty Fun.

This was a fun and fast make. It's a cape thing/ sleeveless kimono I think.
 I love to wear because it accentuates my eccentricity (that's what I'm saying anyways).
Made with Cloud 9 Voile fabric by Leah Duncan. Pattern is from New Look S0805.  I had to make view A because I didn't have gobs of yardage. 

My next garment project is going to be this Sailor Top by Fancy Tiger Crafts

 I joined Creative Bug because it seems like a really good deal to have access to all these classes for only the cost of a cappuccino every month! I mean hello!

 I can't wait to start painting this summer, or doing some leather crafts, or perhaps even crochet myself a onesie. 

This is a real life Etsy listing, I shit you not.

Only $250. 


More than anything else though, I need to organize my sewing room. I think my patterns need to be put in folders, categorized in some way because it's getting cray up in here.

That's all for today- thanks for stopping by!!


Sewing / Quilting / Art and Life

Artists from top left: Ellsworth Kelly, Mark Rothko, Evelyn Henson, (middle row from left) unknown artist wallpaper woman, The Big Picture, Notocorda, Orovida,James Abbott McNeil Whistler, unknown abstract from blog.

Art in all its forms inspires me. Often I am so blown away by what humans can create that I have to stop what I'm doing and take "in" the moment. Most nights, while in that in-between moment in bed where I'm too tired to read but still awake enough to think- I will daydream of paintings. Big color riots full of energy and life.. It's those moments that often bring me to my next quilty make. 

Do you have these moments? Times when it feels like everything else can fall away and you breathe in the space between...

When I am in the midst of a project (or 20)-- sometimes my interest is distracted to another idea, another color way, another shape. It's no use fighting, now I know to just follow this impulse. No more punishing myself as something lays undone for six months. Like Shakespeare said- what will be, will be.  (Or actually, "come what may".)   By now, I'm' down with that wisdom. 

Keeping this in mind, I thought a few photos of some recent makes are in order.

This is the Manhattan Bag, pattern by Emmaline Bags. I used Jennifer Paganelli fabric along with Essex linen blend in indigo for a lively and summer-filled feeling. There are so many pockets in this baby I feel like James Bond, as some are hidden and continue to surprise me. (LOL! I forget they are there, I swear I don't have amnesia.)  The front flap even has a pocket in it. I put my pounder Cadburry bars in there. 

If you eat Hershey we can't be friends.

Janelle's patterns are so detailed, I mean -- every last little thing is pointed out and typed up. I think a beginner could tackle any of her patterns, as long as you are confident and have a "can-do" attitude. Don't let zippers scare you. 
I like her patterns so much I recently signed up for her Craftsy class on making Clutch Bags. Of course I have to actually sit down and watch it (a whole nother' battle)--but the first lesson taught me a few tricks that I never thought of, so already it's worth the money. 

My Mom went and bought two of the same patterns from Sara of Sew Sweetness. She does this so she can send me one (that's the story anyway)-- so I made up two Filigree pouches a few weeks ago. These are super fun because they don't take a lot of materials, and are relatively fast. I can see these being good teacher gifts for end of year!

I think of Sara as my BFF because I feel like our brains think a lot alike. I can skim her directions now and sew away, it's almost like osmosis.

I said almost.

This fabric is my favorite, it's cotton lawn by Robert Kaufman in Kew Gardens. The line is London Calling-which of course had me at hello. 

This is actually real osmosis:

Shew. My brain almost exploded.
Back to sewing.

This domed bag is the Lola pattern by Alicia over at Swoon. Her patterns are new to me, and ultra clearly written. I've been so impressed with the Sandra and Lola that I may have to purchase a few more. (AS IF I need more bags! Guys--stop me, this is becoming severely close to a hoarder situation.)  And I'm talking bags AND sewing patterns.

Oh... and then...

My raindrops quilt is in this months Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. Whoot whoot!
Issue 34

I'm subscribing to the digital issue now because I am Earth friendly and ----- impatient. I can't wait the six weeks for it to cross the pond. (It's published in Bristol, England.) I mean, we have the Concorde and the Stealth Bomber that can cross the ocean in two hrs so WHY the lag time publishers?! Is it a customs issue?--Because I will call Obama right now if that's the case. This is an emergency I tell you. I neeeeeeeeed my quilty magazines as soon as they go live. Does anyone understand me?! Do I sound like a whiny teenager? lolol   #priorities

I'm realllllly close to releasing my eyeball quilt pattern. Life has gotten in the way lately, so hold tight. A few more days / weeks. Nobody knows. Not even me.

I'm also working this Improv quilt to the max---I was going to stop and then I was like "CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP!" ya know?  It will probably end up massive, because I'm loving how it's just an explosion of color and weirdness. It suits me. 
No tools/no measuring/no patterns/ total and utter nonsensical- ness.

Oh, and I wanted to say that I have a lot more mess ups than a blog would ever want to show. It makes me kinda crazy when people get all weird with me about the fact that I make a lot of stuff, or maybe once in a while if I'm lucky I get published. Most of the "behind the scenes" action is too cray cray to talk about publicly. A LOT of time. A LOT of work. A LOT of eating PB&J.

I get rejected too:

In the end I think the most important thing is to keep your chin up and have fun.

Despite disappointments or mess ups or obligations that suck the energy out of you.

When friends ask me about how I started sewing, I think of that fateful day when I just thought- "I'm going to make this bag right freaking now."
So I did. It was terrible. And -- lovely.

This is the real reason I started to sew/quilt:

Find something you love to do, even if you aren't good at it, and do it. Because one day you will be much better than you are today, and when that day comes friend -- you will thank yourself for beginning.

I'm feeling dangerous now as it's almost midnight, so I'm going to go wind 20 bobbins up and get to quilting. I may even put some Frasier on and be reallllly dangerous. 

LOVE and PIECE to you.