Friday, April 29, 2016

Spring Cleaning my Sewing Room

I have to confess that I did more of a tidy up than a spring cleaning, but what a difference!  I hardly knew where to start, there was such a mess in there.  You know it's time for a good cleaning when you walk in and want to walk right back out again!

I started with the worst corner - this is where I store my scraps and scrap batting.  When I get busy, everything just get tossed in the corner until I have time to fold and put away the leftovers.  Here is the before, and the after:

Yikes!  Towers of leftover batting and fabric ready to fall over!


Much better now, leftovers are piled neatly and batting is folded and put away in it's bin, except for some small scraps that are easy to grab when I need a small piece for something.

The next area to tackle is the dresser.  Again, random stuff is just piled on top of it - makes it hard to get to anything and is really unsightly!

Now it looks much better - still cluttered, but at least there is some order going on there!

Next I worked on the Design wall area:
I could barely even reach my design wall due to the stuff on the floor in front of the plastic drawers, not to mention the mounds of stuff piled on top.  The two plastic bags of fabric were gifted to me from a friend who got them at an estate sale.  Good stuff - lots of calicos and florals to make scrappy quilts from!  I need to purchase a large bin for those because I do want to keep them.  The rest was just sorting and putting away, so now this area looks relatively tidy:

Much better!

Now to get the cutting board cleared off - both on top and underneath.

It makes it really hard to get anything done when your cutting table looks like this:

Again, more putting away and sorting so now this area is ready for some quilting!

So many projects that I want to work on in all those bins and drawers!  I cleaned off the sewing table, that was also a mass of piles of fabric and leftover supplies from all the projects I've worked on over the past couple months.  Yes, that pattern laid on the floor for several days after I first dropped it - so embarrassing, but I want to keep it real here!  Do you see the ruler jutting off the edge of the table with a rotary cutter sitting on it?  Looks like an accident waiting to happen!

I put everything away, then organized the most urgent projects into piles so I can get to working on them:


Yay!  I can see clean table space!  Plus, as I work on those projects there will be more clear space, so hopefully I will be inspired to get them done in good time.  Now that I've got everything cleaned up I'm ready to get to work and do some sewing - a good reward for the time spent cleaning up.

I'm linking up on Cheryl Sleboda's blog - She and some bloggy friends did a fun spring cleaning blog hop and she has started a link up on her blog for other bloggers to join in!  I felt so much better seeing that mine is not the only hot mess sewing area around, so go ahead and check out all the other posts.  I hope I can keep my room looking a bit better this month, but I can't promise anything!  At least I hope I can get some of these piles of projects finished up.

What causes the most mess in your sewing room?  I know that I just have too many projects going at once and it makes it hard to keep things neat and tidy.  But I just can't see myself as a one project at a time kind of a person, so I will have to try a bit harder to keep things neat.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Royal Proclamation

Greetings!  This princess has just returned from a very fun and inspiring weekend at ladies retreat in the beautiful kingdom of Lake Bradley:

I got to stay in one of these sweet little cabins all by myself so I could enjoy some quiet and restful sleep at night:
And spent some wonderful quality time during the days with the women of my church.  We were inspired, encouraged, and treated like queens all weekend!
I think I'll start wearing my tiara in my sewing room to inspire me :)

Onwards to the royal proclamation....doot, do, do do....

The winner of my giveaway for one fat quarter of beautiful Island Batik fabric is:

Christi Scheffel!

Congratulations, Christi - I have e-mailed you, asking for your address so I can mail you the prize.

Since this princess does not have a staff to do the household chores, she had best get busy and do some vacuuming and laundry.  Even royal palaces need dusting!  Plus the Princesses inner chamber/sewing room is badly in need of organizing and clean up.  She is a bit messy when she works!  Plus she is doing a good deed this evening and bringing a meal to a new mommy and her family, so shopping and cooking are on the agenda as well.  Being a Daughter of the King isn't easy, but it sure is rewarding!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Topiary Trees and Blue Lions

I am always amazed at the fabrics my local Interior Designer finds!  I am working on another set of curtains for a dining room and music room.  The dining room panels are gorgeous - Blue lions for the top part of the panel with a velvety rich blue for the bottom portion.  They are lined with blackout, so are quite heavy and will last a long time!



The Music room curtains are topiary trees - really a fun print!   Two panels, one a single width, the second 5 and 1/2 widths for a total of 286 inches wide.  I'm not sure how I am going to get this one all sewn together including the blackout lining.  It's going to be quite the job.  So far I have sewn the panels into pairs.  I think I'll have to shift my machine to the dining room table for the finish.  Pleating the top of this monstrosity will be interesting as well, but I will have to tackle that next week as the rest of this week I need to finish my projects for the Ladies Retreat that is taking place this weekend.

Now I am off to brave the rain and work at the quilt shop for my half day.  Tomorrow is full day as my boss is going to vend at a show in Roseburg.  Here is a terrific article I read the other day about supporting your local shop -  The High Cost of Discount Pricing.  I love a good fabric bargain, but at the same time I know how important it is to keep our shops in business.  It's a tough thing, but the truth is that if everyone would just buy fabric and notions for one project a couple times a year it would help tremendously!  We love helping our customers and work hard to make sure you are happy with your quilts!   What do you think?  Do you shop with your local store very often?  Why or why not?  I'd love to know.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mail Call!

Today I got a fun box in the mail!  My mom ended up being given a bunch of fabric and kits earlier and wanted to know if I would be interested in sharing some...well, of course!  Today I got a medium flat rate box stuffed full of goodies.  This one grabbed me right away:
This is just the pattern, there was a full kit with all the fabrics to make this.  I know someone who adores Thimbleberries, and will just love this quilt!  There are a lot of other fun goodies as well, but I'll have to show those to you later.  I am excited to add this to my pile of projects that I want to work on this year.  Not that I needed to expand my list at all.  See, this is how I always get into trouble!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April Showers with Island Batik!

I've been looking forward to finding the time to work on this project all month!  I designed this journal for a retreat several years ago and always had in mind to publish it as a pattern, so the Island Batik Ambassador Challenge for April was perfect timing to get this done.

We had a gorgeous spring day today here, so it made for some wonderful photographs!  I had so much fun making this that I ended up making two of them.

Both of them were created using a stamp pack (5 inch Squares) of Tuscany Sun that was included in my Spring/Summer Ambassador box.  I needed a bit more yardage for the bindings and flaps, but I found the perfect fabric for the purple one in one of the Stash Builder rolls!  Just one 5 inch strip was enough for the binding and the flaps.

I used the purple for this project, but I'm sure the other three strips will be put to great use!  Who know how useful a 5 inch strip of fabric could be?  I'm sold on these fun packages!
For this version I had a fat quarter from the Lavish line that worked perfectly for the binding.  I love the colors in this one.  There's a fun surprise on the flaps:

It's a bit from the Christmas line!  Holiday Happenings - absolutely yummy colors in these, and fun prints with the woodsy animals.  It worked perfectly for the finishing touch on my journal.

Interested in making your own version of my journal?  It's available in my Craftsy shop now:  Blessings Quilted Journal Cover

What about a giveaway?  I have a fat quarter of Holiday Happenings in this colorway:

Just leave me a comment telling me what you would like to make with this line - give me some good ideas so I can figure out what I would like to do!  Due to the high cost of postage the fat quarter will have to go to a US winner.  If you would like to enter and live outside the US I will send you a copy of my Blessings Journal if you win.



Thanks for stopping by - I'll add links to the other Ambassador's projects as they publish them! Don't forget to look for other projects by searching #aprilshowersib on social media sites!

Barb - Bejeweled Quilts
Nancy - Patchwork Breeze
Joan - MooseStash Quilting
Vicki - Vicki's Crafts and Quilting

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Designing a Barn Quilt Block Using EQ7

One of the responsibilities I have at work is to help design quilt blocks for the annual quilt run we participate in (Quilt Run 101). The shops in the run added another activity in 2015 that takes place in October - Octoberfest 101.  Last year we needed a block with a barn and quilt block.  We found an inspiration for the shape of the barn and started designing!



We use EQ7 on the computer at work, so it's easy to work on a block there and e-mail the project to myself so I can work on it at home as well.  Designing the block was done in the Easydraw mode.  I used a 12 x 12 block layout with snaps set at 48 horizontal and vertical.  Since I knew I was making a symetrical block it was pretty easy to create by just drawing the different sections.  I made strips along the sides and bottom for the grass and sky.  I decided to make the small spool block 4 inches square and it seemed easiest to use that dimension for the center part of the roof.  Adding a 1 inch section to each side of that made the top section slope just right.  I had wanted a flying goose block for that, but it didn't work out with the proportions I wanted, so ended up deciding to make that part with templates in the end.  It was also easier to use templates for the two steeper roof slopes as well, but the rest of the block is made using basic rotary cut pieces.  This is what my finished design looked like after we were done tweaking it:



I really love that with EQ7 it's simple to print just the templates you like.  I was able to remove all the un-needed units and just print the three that are necessary, then added them as a second page to the pattern.  I also printed the key block, and used the numbering on that to write the instructions for my pattern to make it easier for the people making the block to see where the pieces go.  At that point it was time to actually make a sample block following the written instructions to make sure all the steps are clear and easy to follow. I had to add a seam line in the sky sections on the side so we could use the smaller pieces of sky fabric that we wanted to use in the kits.  It passed my test and I was ready to take it to the quilt shop at this point and cut kits.


I added embellishments to the doors, then quilted and added a binding.  We were really happy with how the block came out and our kits sold well during the quilt run.  Our theme for 2016 is Halloween.  Guess I'd better get my thinking cap on and get designing!

If you would like to make a barn block, I have added this pattern to my Craftsy store.  Have fun making your own version - send me a picture if you do and I will add it to a future blog post.

For more EQ7 posts check out QuiltShopGal's blog - she will have a nice list of posts to check out!  We are enjoying celebrating Electric Quilt's 25th birthday all year by writing a special post on the 10th of each month featuring how we use it to create unique quilt designs, as well as other ways you can use EQ.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Quilting with Scraps

It's no secret that I love quilting with scraps. It seems like ages since I actually got to work on a scrap quilt, so have been looking through my pictures to find some that I have made.  My favorite is this one, and I have plans to make several more when I can.

This quilt is known as a strip quilt.  It is made by sewing strips (or strings!) of fabric onto a stabilizing base.  The strips can be of any width desired, and can be uneven in width.  The more unappealing the contrast, the better I say!  It just makes it all the more crazy and wonderful.

If you leave a diagonal line going through the center of the block, it works like sashing! These were blocks I swapped with members of my Quiltsy Team on Etsy years ago.

You can even make small things out of strip piecing, like this mug rug.  Getting the right colors is a little trickier with a smaller piece, sometimes it's better to be a little more coordinated.

I've got a couple big bins full of strips waiting to pieced into some fun projects, so I'd better get busy on them.  They breed, I think. If I turn my back I may have 3 bins before I know it!  Time to put all those scraps to use for sure!