TGI Thursday

Top 5 Things to Do This Weekend #7

Hello again and welcome to my weekly post where I share ideas that I hope will inspire you to spend your weekend doing something fun and creative and… maybe learn something new along the way!

Before September completely slips through our hands I’d like to say a word or two about sewing and National Sewing Month.

National Sewing Month

(The above image is from the National Sewing Month website. If you want other graphics to promote NSM or your site or other social media platforms, the site has a link that will direct you additional downloadable files.)

Sewing was my path to quilting. Before I even thought about quilting, I was making many of my own clothes in high school – an accepted practice back then as a majority of the designer clothing and designer labels available for mass production were in the very beginning stages of influence and significance.

Forty+ years later, fashion and design trends continue to be vitally important guiding principles that help us form many of the decisions we make.

Since the Industrial Revolution our culture has gradually evolved from “handmade” and “homemade” to mass-produced and ready-to-wear however, the need for self-expression remains unchanged. The need for self-expression is just as vital to our sense of well-being today as it was in generations past.

Sewing, of course, is not the only path to self-expression but for those of us who love the texture of fabric and find inspiration creating an usable item from a flat piece of cloth, a pair of scissors and a spool of thread, sewing offers endless opportunity for self-expression.

Are you new to sewing? The National Sewing Circle is a great place to start.  Instructional videos are available and cover a wide range of topics.  While browsing their site earlier today prices on most (if not all) instructional videos in this cateory are drastically reduced!

I also found a project pattern set – 10 patterns for $15.99!

All this is just for starters…

So scroll down and let’s get this weekend started!

1. Work + Flow

Sew / Quilt Flow Chart

September, aka National Sewing Month, offers 30 full days to sew, create, design and dream. That’s the potential for a LOT of projects and ideas to be transformed into projects. With that comes the potential for many projects to go unfinished or neglected however, there is a solution: “WorkFlowy“.

I discovered this system of organization about a year ago and love it. It is a clean, uncluttered outline format designed to help you keep track of multiple projects.

WorkFlowy is designed to not only help you get organized, you stay organized.

Do you look at your ‘To-Do’ list and feel so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start?

As you accomplish a task or goal, you are able to mark it off (a line is drawn across the task) and the wording is faded. (You can completely remove as well – your choice) but sometimes a visual that allows you to see what all you have accomplished is just the incentive you need to forge ahead – to put one foot in front of the other and get that next task checked off.

What else is so great about it?

It’s FREE. It’s FUN and it’s EASY to use. Want to take a look around? Here is your very own invitation to organization!


2. Fall in Paducah

Paducah, KY

The American Quilt Society has created another Four days of Fun – September 11 – 14. It is my intention to be in Paducah, KY this time next year. If I start planning now…today…(see item #1 above) that is a goal that should be completely doable. While I’m there, I’ll also be taking a tour of National Quilt Museum.


3. What’s Happening in the Sewing Room

It seems a quilter I follow – Sherri at A Quilting Life and a blogger I also follow – Christy at Confessions of a Serial DIY’er have been channeling each other’s thoughts.

~~ My own sewing room is getting smaller by the minute however, I am not at a point in my life where that is going to change anytime soon. So, in the meantime I have to continue to make the most of what space I have. Accomplishing this involves organization and re purposing existing furniture.

Antique Sewing Table

The image above is a sewing table I found in a thrift shop about 20 years ago. It needs some TLC – quite a bit of TLC to be honest, but I think after a little cleaning, some fresh stain or paint, leg extensions and new hardware, this would be one (of many) solutions to my sewing room organization dilemma.

~~ Bowl Fillers – I’ve been scouring Pinterest for ideas that are cute, unique and easy to make. I found a few but when I checked out my blog following this morning and found these cute, unique and adorable sweater pumpkins I knew my quest was over.

Christy's Sweater Pumpkins

Now, if I want to get both of these projects done this weekend, I will certainly need to plan ahead and get organized!

The sweater pumpkin post includes a video tutorial – watching this first will surely save time and frustration I would otherwise experience if trying to “wing it” on my own.


4. Going Green

I love the idea of reusable shopping bags but I don’t love the bags I’m currently using. Browsing the web for ideas and inspiration brought me to this shop and then to this colorful pattern!

As much as I love color, I may give this pattern a try in a solid canvas or even waxed canvas to make it super sturdy and water resistant. I think it would be fun to make 3 or 4 of these for each of the four seasons and a perfect excuse for a fabric road trip!

To accomplish this monumental task without adding to my unfinished project pile, devote one weekend at the beginning of each season for purpose of making 3-4 reusable bags.

My ‘WorkFlowy’ is getting a workout!


5. Hey Susan! What ‘Ya Cookin’?

Pam at House of Hawthornes has done it again. This time with a quick, easy and delicious recipe using all my favorite ingredients: apples, walnuts, cinnamon and butter. 15 minutes to prepare + 2.5 hours in a crock pot – the result = a slice of autumn heaven in a bowl…

Crock Pot Baked Apples

I can’t think of a better way to end a weekend full of planning, dreaming, creating, re purposing and organizing than this!


How will you spend your weekend?

Have a favorite recipe? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Be Creative & Have Fun This Weekend!

Blog

Top 5 Things to Do This Weekend # 6

Seems like it was only yesterday…OK, yesterday two weeks ago, that I was sitting here eager to share with you a week’s worth of great finds, projects and inspiration to help you plan ahead and make the most of the weekend ahead.

Since my last post a holiday has passed and we are now full swing into the first week of September – aka National Sewing Month.

There is a lot to cover here so, here we go…

1. Fabric Releases and Reserves

We’ll start with a beautiful fabric collection by Sherri and Chelsi for Moda Fabrics – Summer Sweet. The link takes you to the Fat Quarter Shop which lists the option to reserve the Jolly Bar fabric cut. This, and the honey bun are the only two cuts from this fabric line to be released in January 2020. If you want another cut (yardage, fat quarter, etc.,) you’ll need to wait another month for the February 2020 ship date.

Summer Sweet Quilting Fabric

Also shipping in February 2020 is this fabulous collection, Modern Farmhouse by Simple Simon & Co for Riley Blake. A beautiful variation of the “Farmer’s Daughter” collection I fell in love with a couple of years ago.

Modern Farmhouse Quilting Fabric

Wanting something to be released a bit sooner – like maybe next month (September 2019)? This quilt kit includes the pattern, a Jolly Bar fabric cut (plus binding fabric) to make this Refractions quilt. Both the pattern and fabric line – Harper’s Garden were also created by Sherri & Chelsi.


2. Re purposed & Remarkable

The minute I came across this great find I knew I didn’t need to look any further. Gail from myrepurposedlife.com is so creative and her newest creation – from a cutting board – is now on my list of “things-I-must-do-before-I-die”.

Wooden Cutting Board

After viewing her creation, it becomes easy to see a cutting board as one of those items that also serves as a blank canvas filled with endless possibilities.


3. Good Eats

Nothing has better taste or scent than fajitas. I’ve made them a few times in a skillet (stainless steel fry pan or saute pan) and they were OK but not great. I no longer have my well seasoned iron skillet – although I could purchase a very nice one here – and I’m thinking the iron skillet makes a lot of difference with this type of dish. However, I came across this Sheet Pan Chicken Fajita recipe and I am inspired to give this a try.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

If fajitas are not your thing but a quick, easy and good tasting recipe is, take a look at the multitude of Jamielyn’s other recipes and videos (DIY / holiday projects Too!) She also loves naps and chocolate and I love everything she posts!

UPDATE: Between writing about his recipe and publishing this post I have tried the Sheet Pan Fajitas – used chicken and I have to admit they are the best I’ve ever tasted!!!


4. Return to the Template

Clam Shell Template

My original intent was to revisit another of my UFO’s, the “Fruit Stand” quilt (an image of Trisch Price’s finished quilt can be found in this post). It uses a unique template called the “Clammy” but various web articles and Pinterest images depicting the upcoming fall / winter / Christmas season diverted my attention and the next thing I know I’m thinking of ways to use the same pattern and template but switching out the “fruit in a wooden box” motif for one depicting Christmas ornaments in a cardboard (or wooden?) box. I’m hoping this will inspire me to do something productive – and finally finish a project using this template.


5. National Sew Jelly Roll Day

Jelly Roll Quilt Fabric

This yearly event is still just over 2 weeks away but I want to give you a head’s up now – Saturday, September the 21st will be here before you know it!

At this time last year I was not aware such an event existed and it was only by a stroke of luck that I happened upon last year’s announcement – on that day which officially occurs on the third Saturday of every September.

Curious as to what all the fuss is about I did a little research and discovered a few interesting facts about Moda’s “Project Jelly Roll” and National Sew a Jelly Roll Day. The whole idea began with a problem frequently encountered by quilters (so glad to know I’m not alone here!) We purchase a significant number of these tempting fabric precuts and, do so without having a specific project in mind. A few months will pass by and all of a sudden we will take notice of these nice and neat round rolls of fabric strips sitting quietly on a shelf waiting patiently to come out and play!

The good people at Moda reached a threshold and decided to do something about all these stacks of unused jelly rolls and created National Sew a Jelly Roll Day as an incentive to take down a jelly roll, unwrap it and make something – anything!

Those rolls were made for sewing and that’s just we’ll do!


Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found something to inspire and help make the most of your upcoming weekend.

As always, feel free to leave a comment letting us know what you did this weekend!

Susan

TGI Thursday

What To Do This Weekend #5

I cannot believe how fast this past week has flown by!

Kids are back in school. Retail merchandise and displays are making their seasonal shift replacing outdoor furniture and pool side toys with Halloween, fall themed (and in some cases Christmas) decor.

As much as I love the scent of pumpkin spice, watching the transformation of color to the typical red/orange/yellow hues in everything from nature to fashion, snow flakes and jingle bells I’m not yet ready for any of that. Not yet.

Today, my main interest is the coming weekend and as I have been doing every Thursday for the past month, providing you with a handful of ideas to inspire that spark of creativity you need to make the most of your weekend.

Let’s enjoy these last few days of August and who knows, you might also find something that helps to be a little more prepared for what fall and winter will soon bring!

So with that in mind let’s head…


1) On the Road Again

If the combination of a road trip and quilt festival is on your agenda for the near, mid and/or not-too-distant future, now would be a good time to start making plans for one of American Quilter’s Society (AQS) sponsored Quilt Weeks. Their first is already underway in Grand Rapids, MI, but if you hurry and don’t have to travel too far, there is still time to attend on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th!

This is too far a drive for me right now and if the hubs and I hadn’t made a trip to Michigan a few months back I would very likely be there now! Reading about this brings back memories of the Kansas city Regional Quilt Festival (KCQRF) I attended back in June. I loved every minute – especially the class learning to use the “Clammy” template and being able to take a test drive on a high an end Janome and Juki sewing machine.

Janome Memory Craft Quilting / Sewing Machine

I will admit, my bucket list does include another trip to Paducah, KY – this time to hopefully attend an AQS Quilt Week (I’m not going to make it there this year) and visit the National Quilt Museum.


2) Getting Things Done

IKEA Storage Fabric Sewing Room

So, let’s assume you’re simply not in the mood for another sewing/quilting project. Typically, when this happens to me it is largely due to feeling overwhelmed and nothing makes me feel more overwhelmed than disorganization.

I cannot live in clutter – everything must have it’s place and when not in use, it must be IN that place!

When I began quilting as a serious hobby, I soon realized (like after about 15 minutes or so) that this new hobby brought with it a new set of organization and de-cluttering challenges. There are a multitude of issues regarding storage alone – fabric, patterns, thread, bobbins, presser feet, rulers, scissors and rotary cutters and cutting mats – and this is just for starters. From this, you need storage for quilt kits and works in progress. And beyond storage, is the need to be able to access what you need, when you need it and be able to do without wasting a lot time searching.

Having a small space to sew is a double-edged sword. While there isn’t a lot real estate to store and display my quilting items, when I do find myself having to search for a particular item the space in which it is potentially located isn’t large, so… it should take too long to locate “that” item, right?

As much as I’d like to answer in the affirmative, most of the time the answer is no. If I had space to devote to the storage unit in the image above (hat tip to myblogika.com) I would be able to report that a majority of my storage issues would be solved!

However, until that day arrives, I have discovered a couple of very useful and efficient strategies that have helped immensely – especially in keeping up with my works in progress.

Kate Colleran of Seams Like A Dream reports she is currently working on “about 14 quilts”. I am finally down to 2 but the prospect of a third and fourth in the planning stages has me a little anxious – I cannot imagine how many anxiety-reducing medications I would need if I had 14 quilts PLUS a multitude of other projects in the works, and ALL with October and November deadlines!!! Wow.

So how do I stay organized and keep up with my handful of projects?

~~~ These handy, dandy storage bins with lids – Snapware 16″x3″ Storage bin w/ Turquoise Lid:

Snapware 16' x 3' Storage bins w/ Turquoise Lids

I have a stack of them – they are the perfect size to hold all your cut quilting pieces, backing fabric, pattern and thread. If you are like me, when you have o stop in the middle of a project – sometimes for a stretch of several days and do not have the space to leave everything out until you return, being able to pack everything into one stackable, covered bin is a lifesaver!

Another go-to storage item is from Sterilite – these are another of my favorites!

Sterilite Divided Storage Bin


~~~ Utilize a Design Wall for Multiple Purposes:

To channel Kate Colleran once again – she speaks of using her Design Wall to help with visually organizing quilt blocks and has taken the idea one step further through the use of a curtain rod for a similar purpose.

You can read more about my thoughts on both of my design walls here.

Wall Mounted Design Wall for Quilting

The more of use them (both the large wall mounted shown above with, if all things, a UFO from Kate Colleran’s Road Trip Quilt Along!) and small portable shown below with an empty surface…

Portable Design Wall

… the more I rely on them not just for quilt top design but to keep me on track. It is my intent that as long as an unfinished quilt is still up on both walls I won’t begin a new project until at least one quilt top is ready to come down.

Looks like I can start something small 🙂


3) Vintage Quilting with Jo Morton

Jo Morton Hearth & Home

I can’t talk about Jo Morton without revisiting the KCRQF where I was able to view and vote on several beautiful quilts however, the ones that really struck my eye were those in that warm, primitive style that is so Jo Morton.

One of my favorite online fabric and quilting shops: Connecting Threads has available for sale (and on sale!) a book by Jo Morton entitled, “Hearth & Home”. I think this book paired with these fabulous fabrics would be the perfect ticket for some serious weekend sewing!


4- Words to Live By


Warren Buffet Quote


For those of us with an interest and desire to be our own boss – earn a living without corporate 9-5 grind, building an online business – at least today – seems like the most sensible and profitable way to achieve that.

The days of receiving any type of reward for company loyalty are gone and what has evolved is an entirely new mind-set. One that allows each of us to be in charge of our own financial destiny. The new start-up culture is slowly but surely replacing the oppressive corporate ladder that only a few were allowed to climb.

I will admit here today, one of the purposes of my website is to use it as a tool to earn income in my retirement (I actually have a 5-year plan for that), and a large part of that success is by harnessing the power of social media.

If your weekend plans – this one or any other weekend – involves building / tweaking / updating / branding or re-branding your online business image, Melissa at Tailwind has a ton of information to help you take your brand or business to the next level.

Here is an excellent and timeless article (note the date) on how to “Plan the Ultimate Pinterest and Instagram Visual Marketing Strategy”. However, after all is said and done, the key to success be it blogging or social media lies in knowing your audience. And this is the one main aspect I continue to struggle with.  (I do have one solution at the end of this article!)


5) Saving the Best for Last

Kristi's Craft Table corner Brackets

Adding this little jewel to my weekly blog was a complete surprise! Just as I was putting on the finishing touches, adding images, editing, etc., with only an hour or so from hitting the button to publish this blog another email from Kristi at Addicted2Decorating lands in my inbox! I was not expecting this but what a happy surprise this turned out to be!

Her newest project really speaks to me… actually, it’s practically yelling at me! This large Craft-Sewing-Workroom table is exactly what I’m looking for. As much as I love power tools I don’t have the tools (or right now the time, space or motivation) required to build a table like this but it doesn’t stop me from wanting one nor does it stop me from thinking of ways to acquire one (or two) as she plans to do.

Building two of these tables that can be pulled together when a larger surface is needed or separated when a smaller work surface is needed is a brilliant idea.

So where am I right now?  On pins and needles waiting for Part 2 of this project!

___________________________________________________

So here’s my plan for this weekend:

~ Finish a couple of charity quilts

Lap Quilts for Charity

~ Organize my sewing space (gotta make room for Christmas!) and,

~ Continue the quest to define my audience. This article may just what I need to better understand how to define my target audience so I can continue delivering high (maybe even higher) quality content to my loyal followers each week!

Now it’s your turn!    What will you be doing this weekend?

TGI Thursday

What to do This Weekend #4

Cnva - This Way to the Weekend

Once again it’s Thursday and with the weekend barely around the corner, you know what that means! A front row seat to view five of my favorite ideas and inspirations collected throughout the week – and in plenty of time to ensure you have the Best Weekend Ever.

So let’s get started:


1) My Sewing Room:

Making a Machine Stitch Bible. This is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while and discovered it’s usefulness when I was making a baby blanket using machine applique. Knowing exactly how a decorative stitch – especially a blanket stitch – appears when using different stitch widths and lengths. This saves time having to reset these settings each time you turn off your machine or change from a decorative stitch to a straight stitch and back.

Blueprint - Stitch Bible

Of course, another option would be to invest in a machine with a stitch setting memory but until that happens, I plan to create a stitch bible.

I also see this as a great “filler” project for those says when I want to sew something but I don’t have the time or motivation to start a big project.

Need more reasons to sew a stitch bible? Five more can be found here.


2) Flipping Out:

Here is an update on the “stitch-and-flip” applique technique I talked about last week. It took a while to get a few shapes with edges that would easily turn and maintain the appearance of a flower.

Stitch & Flip Applique Flower

The blue background is one solid piece – I went ahead and did a blanket stitch all the way around. The yellow and gold petals are separate units – each sewn using the stitch-and-flip technique as well. Before adhering to the blue base I did a few quick embroidery stitches and finished off the embellishing with a button.

Here is a close up:

Stitch and Flip Applique flower

My plan is to make this into a small pillow – the checkered fabric will be used for the back, a white front with an applique flower and blue piping around the perimeter.

Stay tuned for the finished product!


3) What’s Happening in Hamilton:

Today’s Daily Deal: The “Deal” is for today (8/15/19) only but even without the discount, this is still a very good deal for any day of the week. Perfect for the little ones in your life. When I see such fun projects like this it makes me sad my “little ones” are too old for these cute guys however, I may go ahead and sew up a couple of these for Christmas.

Mickey Moose Plush Toy

Returning to the subject of applique – a topic I can’t seem to get too far away from these days – you must check this out! I’ve renamed it, “applique-all-the-way” and a great way to get through a small basket of scraps!


4) Planning Ahead:

” The Quilting Tool that Makes You Smarter” ~ Stephanie Palmer.

2020 Quilter's Planner - Aqua

Taking a closer look, I certainly agree however…this new (and improved) 2020 Quilting Planner offers so many more benefits! Not that being ‘smarter’ isn’t great…it is! But this “quilting tool” is just as functional, informative and inspirational as it is educational. That’s packing quite a punch between covers of a spiral bound stack of paper!

Just for starters, this planner will help you become more organized which translates into better time management which leads to improved creativity. An elevated level of creativity then leads to higher quality products which in turn not only makes you a happier (and smarter) person but increases the level of happiness your followers and the recipients of your handmade treasures will experience as well!

I cannot think of one reason not to go here and pre-order yours today but, if you do need a reason, maybe this will help!


5) Kristi’s Sewing Room:

Simple DIY Curtains: It’s been a long while since I’ve attempted making my own window treatments. It is a project that requires a lot of space – tabletop / counter top space and LOTS of fabric. Sure, the interior designer in me prefers the quality of designer drapes ( you can read why here and here) but at the same time, the logical left side of my brain finds it hard to resist a great bargain on ready-made off the shelf drapes.

DIY Drapes - Addicted 2 Decorating

Kristi at Addicted 2 Decorating has found a solution that is nothing short of pure genius. For her particular space I think it is a very logical solution that checks off many boxes: 1) Softens the hard lines and finishes within the space, 2) absorbs sound, 3) visually provides a line of continuity between the trim height discrepancy between the french doors and the solid doors on either side and 4) creates a design detail that helps to establish the french doors as a focal point.

The image above gives only a sneak peek of the room but does give a good illustration of the drape’s effect.

Going back to give greater attention to that trim detail in the image above (and she has blogged about it as well in a previous post), I’m wondering if there is another way to camouflage that height discrepancy. It would involve some deconstruction and re-construction…something like this maybe?

Door Trim Options

I believe, continuing with the current drapery panels on either side of the doors, the trim height discrepancy would not be noticed at all.


Anyone with a DIY project on their To-Do list this weekend? Feel free to post comments or any images you would like to share in the comments section below.

Happy Thursday and as always….

Have the Best Weekend Ever!

Susan

TGI Thursday

What to do This Weekend #3

Canva - this Way to the Weekend

Here we are again… Thursday has arrived and Friday just called to announce she will be arriving bright and early in the morning!

I’m glad you have arrived – the perfect place to gather all the ideas and inspiration you’ll need to carry you through and have the Best Weekend Ever!


So, let’s get started:

Missouri Star Quilt Co

1. Let’s Have Some Cake.

It’s Layer Cake week at the Missouri Star Quilt Co. Head over and take a look at the great deals on layer cakes and while you’re there, take a look at the multitude of and eye-catching and layer cake friendly quilt patterns! Each one is available as an instant download (my favorite) or for purchase in paper. The layer cake special end tomorrow (8/9/19) and if you’re looking for an excuse – reason to take a road trip to Hamilton, MO, this Friday would be the day!


Artisan Collection - Creative Market

2. Vintage Finds

Looking for a fresh Vintage font, or, even better, a fresh, Vintage font bundle? Rather than release just one product, the Artisan Collection bundle is being released to include 6 different products: 11 fonts, 16 premium logo templates ( for use only with Adobe Illustrator) and 20 vintage shapes. If your brand is calling for some vintage style you can also save a bundle on this bundle but you’ll need to move fast – it is only for a limited time.


Black & White Neighborhood Mini Quilt - Flamingo Toes

3. In the Neighborhood

Nothing does a better job of catching my eye than the contrast of black and white or, as in the image above, black and white with little pops of color and this great find has certainly caught my eye! I’ve been saving (hoarding) fabrics that would be perfect for this project. This is also THE project for when you cannot or do not want to invest in time-consuming tasks such as perfect cutting, perfect piecing or perfect anything and yet you want the finished product to have a perfectly neat and polished appearance. I also feel these particular geometric shapes lend themselves to this applique technique – something I’m – once again – putting on my to-do list for this weekend!


4. Just Beachy

Anyone ready for the beach? Already at the beach? Or anyone, like me, who would love to be at the beach but a beach vacation is simply not on the itinerary for this summer?

I was scrolling through of the images I captured while on vacation 5 years ago: (The “Good Pictures” are on another PC)

Atlantis Lodge and Beach Atlantic Lodge and Beach

These still do the job to convey as sense of nostalgia – I so love the sound of ocean waves and the feel of sand beneath my feet!

Ironically, my next great find is not found anywhere along the east coast or even on a beach for that matter but rather in a Bake Shop, the Moda Bake Shop to be exact. So where is this leading? To another sea shore. This link will take you to the latest block of the At the Seashore Quilt Along – a QAL I didn’t have time to start when it began June 3rd. However, the blocks are available by scrolling through the blog roll and the QAL itself continues through August 26th.

Here are few of the beach – seashore inspired blocks:

Moda At the Seashore Quilt Blocks

Need more inspiration from Moda? Check out their Cutting Table here.


Interior Design Magazine Cover

5. Good Design

This final item for this Thursday’s round-up still has us enjoying the great outdoors. A short trip inside a major retailer will quickly remind you that fall and winter are in the not-too-distant future and now is the time to take full advantage of all the fresh air, warm sunshine, and cool water summer has to offer!

A visit to one of my favorite monthly publications has all the outdoor inspiration you’ll ever need to help you soak up every last bit of summer in the most stylish way possible.

Here is a slideshow that showcases the best in terms of architecture and design. It is a home that was designed and built to take full advantage of lake views and demonstrates one the most efficient uses of land resources I’ve observed in a long time.


Whether it’s a short road trip to Hamilton, MO, a medium-sized road trip to Austin, TX, a long road trip to the Atlantic beaches of North Carolina or no road trip at all – we’ve got you covered and ready to have the Best Weekend Ever!

What inspired you this weekend?

TGI Thursday

What to do This Weekend #2

Canva - This Way to the Weekend

Hello!

And, welcome back to “Thank Goodness It’s Thursday”, or (TGIT) !

The day when Friday calls to announce she will be arriving tomorrow, but have no fear! My Quilting Space has been busy this past week collecting a few fun ideas and inspirations all designed to have you prepared and ready for you to have the Best Weekend Ever!

August Calendar

For the first time in a really long time I’ve taken the time to observe summer’s transition from July to August – a pastime I typically save for the fall when the change in seasons, weather, etc. is more noticeable and much more anticipated.

However, this year, I seem to have a new perspective on life and I feel I have this blog, my quilting hobby and my website to thank.

I am also thankful for This past week has been chocked full of useful information and inspirations culminating into this one serendipitous event and the result of pure coincidence (I don’t think I could pull this off if I intentionally tried)but, all Four of my Favorite Finds this week revolve around the letter “K” – Kansas City, Kristi and Kori or the “K” soundChristy!

Special 'K'

So, lets get started with this super Special “K” Weekend!


FLW Home Roanoke, KCMO

1. Calling All Architecture Aficionados! In particular, those, like me, who love the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. If you want to own a FLW home, it just so happens one of two FLW homes in the Kansas City area will be put up for auction in August. I’m looking for my checkbook now!


Kristy of COASD - Before Headboard

2. DIY of the Week – Christy of Confessions of a Serial DIY’er has a great solution for that pesky headboard (Shown above), or in my case a foot board, just lying around in your basement collecting dust. While I don’t have power tools or access to power tools needed to make this same transformation, I do have a couple of ideas that I can do. A) Attach the foot board to the back of a ready-made bench. Or, B) Re purpose it into a rack to hang quilts!

Gail at My Repurposed Life has at least 50 different solutions for that headboard or foot board just sitting around doing nothing!


Bathroom Make Over - A2D

3. On the Subject of DIY – If you’ve never heard of Kristi at Addicted 2 Decorating, now is a fine time to get to know her! In addition to totally remodeling and renovating the home she shares with her husband, Matt, she is blogging about every aspect of every project she does. The image above is from one of my absolute favorites!

Her latest project can be found here.

If ever you needed color inspiration, project instruction or just want to see what happens when you make a decision, create a plan and stick with it, this is the place where you will find all this and MORE. This girl is amazing!


Stitch and Flip Applique Bed Runner

4. It’s OK to Applique. And this video by Kori will have you saying it’s not only OK to applique, it’s Thursday…and what better way to spend the day than doing a little applique? The video is short and sweet but the technique is a huge game changer!

The image above is just one example of a “stitch and flip” applique project from Kori Turner-Goodhart’s amazing new book.

I DO have to try this technique THIS weekend – and I promise to post my finished project here so, stay tuned!


I hope you were able to find at least a little inspiration to get you motivated for the weekend. If you went with item #1, then you could potentially do items #2- #4 in your new address!

Leave a comment and share how this was Your Best Weekend Ever!

Susan

TGI Thursday

What to do This Weekend – #1

Canva - This Way to the Weekend


CONGRATULATIONS!

You did your part – survived the climb up and over hump day! Now it’s my turn to deliver a road map that leads you to the weekend.

As of today, Thursday’s are no longer considered “Friday Wannabe’s”.

Thursday now has it’s own special significance. It is the day when Friday calls to give you a head’s up that, ready or not, she will be here tomorrow! But before she arrives, you need to be prepared and there is no better place than My Quilting Space to get started.

This is the place where, each Thursday, I offer a variety of ideas and inspirations I’ve collected throughout the week, all wrapped up and ready for you to enjoy just in time for A Best Weekend Ever!

So let’s get started!

1. Christmas in July.

Christmas Ornament

Approaching this final weekend in July it seems fitting to squeeze in at least one more ‘Christmas in July’ project. OK, so I already have 3 Christmas projects going but when I came across this “Pine Tree Strip” quilt pattern in my stash by Deb Eggers of “The Cottage Rose” I knew I had to begin a search for the perfect fabric – as a jelly roll precut. I may have found it here . I will likely purchase this online but if I had the time, I would much rather make that 1.5 hour drive to what I consider to be the most wonderful road trip “quilt fabric or bust” destination in the entire Midwest!

2. Barn Quilts.

Etsy Listing - Barn Quilt

Continuing on the subject of quilts – barn quilts to be exact, I’ve had my eye on these. A Google or Pinterest search will locate several articles and videos however, I found this short, sweet and to the point instructable to be a great place to start for those who seriously want to give this a try. I know I do…and will…eventually!

So, you like the idea of a barn quilt but not ready to take the DIY route take a look here – you’ll find so much inspiration you’ll be adding another day to your weekend!

3. Cutting Edge Design.

Cricut.com - Cricut Maker

Another item I’ve kept my eye on for sometime. When I first learned that this and similar cutting machines could cut fabric for quilting I have been all eyes and ears. I’ve been reading reviews mainly to find a reason NOT to buy one these…no such luck – at least not yet. However, now through the end of July you can get a substantial savings on all Cricut machines and accessories.

4. Creativity Part 1.

anva - Creativity

Each Monday a set of unique fonts and templates are available as a FREE download for a limited time. Re-discovering the powers of power point, I found this template to be as interesting as timely. Follow their TOS and while you’re there take a look around…the level of creativity showcased on this site is truly awe-inspiring.

5. Creativity Part 2.

Canva - Make Something

I’ll finish this round-up of goodies with a visit to my go-to platform for all things graphic: blog banners, Pinterest pins and Twitter posts, etc. I continue to use the FREE service and pay for individual elements as I go but I also recognize that at some point it will be to my benefit to go Pro. It’s FREE for 30 days!

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found at least a little inspiration and a few ideas to carry you through the weekend.
I’ll see you again next Thursday with another collection of ideas and inspiration designed to fill your weekend with discovery and creativity.

As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments about any of the topics listed above and…

Have the Best Weekend Ever!

Susan

Blog

Christmas in July

How Did This All Get Started?

The phrase “Christmas in July” likely has its origins dating back to an 1872 French opera, “Werther”, where a group of children are overheard rehearsing a Christmas carol in July. The English translation of a character’s responds is as follows: “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season”.

My own personal response: July carries its own bitter-sweet perspective. To some, the word July produces a restless cry of impatience…” Christmas is still 6-long-months away!!!” However, for those of us who craft, sew and quilt, that 6 month mark can instill a frenzied sense of fear and panic. “What? Only 6 months to finish _____ and _____and_____and_____?!?”

X nay on the Arolcay

That’s right – we don’t need to sing Christmas carols to “rush the season”. We’re already doing our part by allowing the fear of not “getting it all done” before Christmas carry the same proportion of responsibility for hastening the season as those children rehearsing a carol in July.

Whether the calendar reads a short or long 6 month duration between now and Christmas, we can embrace this timeline with joy and enthusiasm. Save the fear and anguish for another day…a rainy day maybe?

So, how do we accomplish that?

By choosing a project that is: 1) quick and easy; 2) offers guaranteed success using no-fail techniques and, as a bonus, 3) looks complicated but is actually very easy to do. In this heat, the last thing you want is a project that causes even 1° of heat to slip under your collar!

Keeping Your Cool

Today it was 95° in the shade with a current heat index of 107° – it seems this is the new norm for a Mid-west day in July. So how does one begin to even think about Christmas…in July? This July? Below are a few ideas to help you get one foot moving in front of the other:

1) Pour a frosty glass of strawberry lemonade or if you really want to divert your attention from the weather try this!

2) Dig into your stash of cool Christmas projects, patterns and fabrics.

3) Adjust the thermostat so your sewing room is as cool as a meat locker and,

4) Get the air moving with a few Pinwheels!

There is no better way to cool things off than revisiting one of my favorite Christmas projects. These pinwheels are quick, easy and so much fun to make. If time isn’t on your side right now, check out this short video I created which allows you to quickly view, in less than 3 minutes, the entire process from beginning to end.

However, if you feel more inspired by the summer sunshine than Christmas cheer, raid your stash of bright, colorful charm squares and make something fun like these:

Pinwheels in Summer Fabric

Pairing a citrus solid with a petite print – these would look stunning appliqued on a solid quilted top and maybe used as a wall hanging to brighten up a neglected space on a wall. (Oops! I may have just added another item on my To-Do list!)

If pinwheels just aren’t your thing no worries! Below you will find another cool project perfect for a hot afternoon!

From Pinwheels to Paper Piecing

A new-to-me technique that has become my new favorite is paper piecing. I happened upon a paper piecing block pattern here . This star has a Nordic appearance that I felt would be a perfect match for the pretty Christmas themed fabric (Scandi 5 fabric collection by Andover) I had on hand.

The specifics of paper piecing are somewhat complicated so I will not attempt to go into great detail here but show you my condensed version. These first two images illustrate the basics of paper piecing: sew thee foundation paper onto the fabric then tear it away.

Paper Piecing a Star Block

These next images show what I really love about paper piecing – the ease in getting seams to match! This is the most frustrating part of sewing triangles.

Paper pieced star block unit

Another bonus – the neat appearance of each unit. Having a consistent seam and cut lines makes piecing each unit together a cinch!

Below are my first two finished blocks.

Paper pieced quilt block

Paper pieced star block

My next decision: make each into a hot pad or try to find more of the same fabric and complete 25 or 30 blocks and make into a throw or bed sized quilt.

Want more Christmas in July?

Quilter's Digest

The “hot” little gems pictured above are from Quilting Digest and just happen to be the perfect inspiration to start singing your own Christmas carol in July.

Stay tuned…more Christmas in July projects are in the works!

Blog

How to Purchase a Sewing / Quilting Machine with NO REGRETS

Which one to choose

Choices…a coin with two sides. The Up Side where the opportunity to make a choice is a good thing. It allows us to be in control – allows us to pick what we want, not what another deems to be the best choice for us.

The other side of the coin or, the Downside, where often there are too many options to choose from which strips the joy of being able to make that choice.  When too many choices are available, it is fear that sets in.  The last thing we want to do is make the wrong choice – we want to avoid regret at all costs!

And, for some reason, this is what happens whenever a quilter/sewest is faced with the need to purchase new or upgrade to a new machine.  The fear of making the wrong choice stifles our pursuit of happiness.

Before a major purchase, in particular a new sewing machine is made, there seems to exist an undercurrent fear of regret collectively shared by those of us in the market for a new machine.

It’s something I have yet to explain. It took me only 30 minutes into a home showing to decide to make an offer to purchase an item easily 200X the purchase price of most any sewing machine I have seriously considered! Yet here I am, 2 years later and STILL in search of “THE” machine!

However, these past couple of years have allowed me time to develop a more focused sense of direction and more a specific answer to the question, “What do I want this new machine to do?”.

If you too are at this point in your search for the machine that is right for you and want to make that purchase with “No Regrets” then you have arrived at the right place!

“Must-Haves” vs “Considerations”

I previously published a post listing the Top 5 Things to Consider When Buying a Sewing Machine. True, that information remains valid however, it doesn’t really get into nitty gritty of what decisions need to be made before making such an important purchase. As the title implies, it is a list of things to “consider” and was based primarily on what I had read and not enough on experience.

Here, my goal is to do much more than just offer “considerations” – the goal is to give you a definitive list of “Must-Haves” if you want to purchase a machine with NO REGRETS.

For those of you who follow my blog, you may remember a review I posted a few months back on what I considered to be my “Dream Machine“. Initially, my research was in response to a concern regarding my current machine (a Janome DC 2014) and its growing list of annoying noises and quirky habits – tell-tale signs that retirement, or at the very least, an extended vacation on a warm, sunny beach with a cold beverage in one hand a book in the other was looming on the horizon.

And if retirement or an extended vacation was the case and I woke up one morning to find a note on the refrigerator that my Janome had indeed packed its bags and headed for the beach I would then be forced to answer a second question, “If I were to buy a new machine, which one would I buy?”

Taking a Test Drive

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival (KCRQF) in Overland Park, Kansas. In addition to “oohing” and “ahhhing” hundreds of quilts on display and visiting with vendors that allow me to spend oodles of money on must-have fabrics, patterns and anything else my mind deems necessary to joyfully pursue my quilting hobby, this festival also gave me an opportunity to try out a few high end sewing machines.

My first encounter with a much coveted machine was during a class where each of us were set up with a Janome Memory Craft 9450 QCP.

Janome Quilt Class

This is the exact machine I used:

Janome MC 9450 QCP

A Little Housekeeping

Before I go any further I want to clarify that this article is not an endorsement of this or any Janome product. In my limited experience I have had only positive experiences with Janome machines but there are many other makes and models with their own brand of greatness.

I’m choosing this particular Janome machine because it is from using this machine for several hours that I was able to determine exactly which “bells and whistles” I want/need and those that I don’t. I have spent more time using this machine than any other I’ve “test-driven” and feel I can give a more authentic description of each of my must-have items using just one machine.

Spending a good 6 hours with this machine on day one and another 3 hours on day 2 (in addition to the “test drives” on other brands on the vendor floor) I have to say I am so grateful that I did not give in to impulse and purchase a new machine before now.

Do’s and Don’ts of Researching a Sewing Machine

Read

Relying on written product reviews simply cannot compare to a hands-on test-drive. So many of the reviews I’ve read provide information is that is too general. Once you read three or four of these you begin to see a pattern of repetitious and generic content. While these “reviews” serve a purpose, the absence of specific experiential details is a clue the review was not submitted by an actual user. That’s not what I need to make this type of decision. Sure, I will continue to read reviews but only as spring board to propel me to my next level of research – the “test drive”.

Test Drive

DO visit a local deal/retail business and try out as many machines as you fell necessary. It is often through this process that you learn about options you never knew existed. And of those options you read about and thought, “yes, that’s what I want” you may also learn that option is more hype than function.

As much as I love learning a new technique and networking with others who share my interests, the main reason I attended the festival and enrolled in a couple of classes was to have the experience of trying out a new sewing machine.

While the Janome Memory Craft 9450 QCP may not be “the” machine for me however, using it for several hours has taught me what I do want and need in my next sewing machine. And, as my search continues, I will be asking about the following items listed below and the moment I encounter a “no”, that will be my signal to move on.

Good Stuff

So here we are – the “good stuff” – the top five items, I have so far, identified as items my next sewing machine must have:

1)  Box Design Feed Dog – this could easily be the ONLY item on my list. Other manufactures have a similar design, the Janome system is called the “Acu-Feed Flex”. Every other bell and whistle can go straight to the recycle bin but this Acu-Feed Flex system is a must! When it comes to piecing and quilting I cannot over – emphasize importance of an accurate fabric feed system.

Janome Acu-Feed Flex System

2) Automatic Thread Cutter – At the push of a button thread is cut at the end of a stitch which means less thread waste and no more long thread tails to trim later.

3) Auto Presser Foot Lift – Can be set to automatically raise when pressure is removed from the foot pedal or after cutting the thread. Doing this when the needle is down is perfect for sewing corners or curves.

Janome Thread Cutter & Foot Lift

4) Quarter Inch Presser Foot without Guide – FINALLY – a presser foot designed to accurately place a seam exactly 1/4″ from the edge. The eliminates the use of the inaccurate ‘1/4″ presser foot with seam guide’ that DOES NOT measure 1/4″.

Janome Quarter Inch Foot

5) 11″ Sewing Bed. A wonderful thing if you do your own quilting but do not have or use a long arm quilting machine. An 11″ sewing bed (or throat) is considered a mid-arm and in my opinion, the optimal size for quilting on a domestic machine. Many manufacturers boast about their “large” work space which is actually in the 8.5″ – 9″ range. This will do and if you fall in love with a machine that has a 9″ sewing bed that’s really not too much of a compromise. (I did a test drive on Juki with a 9″ sewing bed and I found it to be more than adequate). However, if you have the opportunity to choose a machine with an 11″ sewing bed by all means do!  I’ve yet to hear anyone complain of having too much sewing space!

Janome 11' Sewing Bed

Final Thoughts

While at the KCRQF I also had a chance to try out a Bernina, Husquavarna-Viking and Juki each an outstanding machine.  Interestingly, each of the five items listed above are things my current machine does not have so, in reality, most any other sewing machine would be a good choice!

I still have some additional test-driving to do but I feel so much more informed and more confident my decision will be based on function vs. name and appearance – a purchase made with no regrets!

I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below. Tell us what sewing machine you use and how you made that choice. Were there ever any regrets?

Blog

Countdown to the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival

Yes, the official count down has begun…

and the preparatory jitters – making lists, ordering fabric, getting organized and making sure when the day arrives I have everything I need.

In just over 3 weeks the convention Center in Overland Park, KS will open its doors to thousands of “quilters” as well as quilting/sewing vendors and instructors making their third bi-annual pilgrimage to the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival (KCQRF).

Last year, I feel I was probably too filled with wild eyed wonder and somewhat overwhelmed to fully appreciate all this festival had to offer. So many quilts to judge – so many fabrics – so many sponsors with their wares for sale and demonstration. Too much to take in on one day. You really need two – three if you plan to take a class or two.

However, this year I will approach it with an entirely new perspective and a mission – or two.

Mission #1 – Learn Something New

To accomplish my first mission, I’ve taken advantage of the class offerings from professional quilters and signed up for two classes.

Thursday Class

The first is a 6-hour class taught by Trisch Price where we will be making a variation of clam she’ll quilt entitled, “Fruit Stand”. A couple of the new techniques I hope to learn to include curved piecing and inserting a circle in a circle. This will also be a good opportunity for me to improve my paper piecing and applique skills.

Below is an example of Trisch’s quilt we will be making in the class:

Fruit Stand Quilt by Trisch Price

Friday Class

The second class is a 3-hour Machine Applique class taught by Mary Honas. I’m really looking forward to this. After discovering the versatility and design opportunities using applique to embellish a quilt I have wanted to learn and do more of it. Right now, the process is somewhat time-consuming for me but I feel that will change once I learn firsthand, from a professional, all the tips, tricks and techniques that make applique such an eye-catching embellishment to any fabric project.

Mission #2 – Research the Perfect Quilting Machine

One of the greatest aspects of a festival like this is the opportunity to “test drive” sewing and quilting machines. In a previous post I described my Dream Machine and this festival will be a perfect opportunity to help decide my next big sewing machine purchase.

Getting Prepared

So, here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:

1) Choose and Purchase Fabric for the “Fruit Stand Quilt class.

Right now I’m going with the solids shown below from Bella Solids Collection by Moda fabrics. However, anyone who knows me knows how often I can change my mind and “when” I do, you will find my updated choice(s) here!

The prints will be pulled from the Robert Kauffman (Studio RK) collection “On the Lighter Side”. I feel these low volume prints will coordinate nicely with the solids. The citrus colors will be used to depict the orange, lemon and lime shapes as well as the appliqued fruit slices.

Fruit Stand Quilt Fabrics

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate summer’s arrival the following week than with fresh and fun citrus inspired quilt! Stay tuned for the finished product – Can’t wait to show it off!

2) Getting Organized

Being obsessed with bags and totes and anything “organization” can only mean one thing – I may need another bag to hold-and-organize-everything. Currently, I have my eye on this, the Maker Bag by Noodlehead. Sure, I could use the Beetle Bag I wrote about a few months back but I made unnecessary and unflattering changes to the pattern and want to do a do-over before presenting it to the public.

The problem with this idea, as always, is time. The festival is only a month away and since there a few other things on my plate (housework, yard work, “work” work, finishing another quilt, sleep, etc.) it will be a challenge to fit this in but I do intend to give it a solid try.

Should I by some miracle finish this before the festival I will definitely post it so stay tuned!

All other listed tools and notions for each class I already have. For photographic purposes I have these items neatly organized in a clear tray from my large and bulky sewing basket – and this could work in a pinch. However, I need these easy-to-loose items in a bag or organizer that makes each item easy to access and the blade, snips (and anything else sharp) needs a safer storage option.

Quilting Notions

All Aboard!

Anyone else ready to climb aboard the quilt festival train?

At this time of year there are many festivals and markets in a variety of locations to choose from. If you do attend one these great events do tell us about your experience and post a picture or two if you like!