Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cross Quilt - Work In Progress

I thought I'd share with you my current WIP.   I'm trying to work on it in between working on new things for my Handmade Whimzy shop.

 I'm working on a simple cross block that will hopefully be a Christmas present for a special person.  I want to do most of the blocks with solids but I'm going to mix it up a bit with a few prints and a couple inside out blocks.

 Here is my photography helper.  She's probably better at it than me although she has trouble being still to have her picture taken.  If your wondering why her hair is so short, she has had her summer shave.  Now she looks like a little hairless rat.  It's very cute.
Also, I wanted to share a major score that I had a couple of weeks ago.  I happened to stop into my local Hancock's (where I don't normally go because they have poor customer service) and guess what they had on sale?  Go ahead, you'll never guess.
An Olfa Splash rotary cutter.  I had been thinking about buying one because I'm left handed and I try to cut as much fabric as I can with my left hand.  This cutter is for both right and left handed people.  So, now I can use it with both hands and when I take a quilting class, I'll only need to take this one cutter.  I got it for $8.00.  I kid you not.  The lowest I've seen it on Amazon was $17.  I was so excited.  Great score, huh?

On a personal note, we are now at 3weeks of school at our house.  I know some school just started this week.  My son is a freshman in high school and so far things are going well.  It does seem that I'll be having to make a homecoming mum in the next few weeks and I've never made one before.  I'll be sure to share my frustrations here so you all can commiserate.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Learn-a-long Quilt Block Tutorial - Honey Bee Block

Welcome to something new I'm starting.  I'm going to call it my learn-a-long quilt block tutorial. 
Normally, when you read a quilt block tutorial on a blog, it's perfect.  The instructions are perfect, the block turns out beautifully and everything is perfect.  It can be very overwhelming for a beginning quilter.  
Well, mine's not perfect.  
As a beginner quilter, sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes I just don't know what to do.  So, I thought I'd have a learn along.  You can learn along with me and if you know how to do something that I don't or easier than the way I'm doing it, please leave a comment to let me know.  Let's all learn together.

My first block is the Honey Bee block.  It is a block that I did for the Saturday Sampler that we're having at my LQS.  These blocks seem to be getting harder each month which is good because it forces me to expand my horizons. :)

For this block we were given strips of 2 purplish batiks and some white muslin.  Here are the instructions which are crude at best.  
**(These blocks are all copyright free and can be found at 
And here is the fabric we were given.  I took some of these pics at night and the lighting stinks so I'm sorry about that and I will try to do better next time.
I would like to note that I followed the written instructions, not the picture.  So my final block came out slightly different than how the picture looks.   Ok, here we go.
Center 9 patch
1. From the dark fabric, cut 2 strips 2.5 x 5 inches and 1 square 2.5 x 2.5
2.  From the light, cut 2 squares 2.5 x 2.5 and 1 strip 2.5 x 5 inches.
3.  Sew the 3 squares together, light-dark-light.  Press the seams to the dark fabric.
Ok, now here is where I start to mess up.
4.  Sew the 3 strips together, dark-light-dark.  Press the seams to the dark fabric.  Sub cut into 2 rectangles, 2.5 x 6.5 inches.
See what I did there?  I did the squares fine but the strips, not so fine.  I knew it was wrong but at the time I just couldn't figure out why.  Sad isn't it?  But once I had it sewn wrong, I figured it out pretty quick.  This is why you have to think as you sew and read directions.  Duh!

Here it is sewn correctly.  Bless my heart.
Now here they are as they were meant to be sewn.
 Sub cut into 2 rectangles, 2.5 x 6.5 inches.
 5. Sew the 9 patch together.

 Ta Da!  Now it's right.
 Finishing the block.
1. From the dark cut 4 squares, 3.5 x 3.5 inches.
2.  From the background, cut 4 rectangles 3.5 x 6.5 inches.
 Since I was following the written instructions at the bottom and not the words written in by the picture, I didn't use my fabrics in the places the picture said.  Oh well.
 3. Piece the block.
I sewed my pieces like you would a 9 patch.  Left to right starting with the top row and then I sewed row 1 to row 2 and then to row 3.
4.  Cut 12 flower petals.  This was optional for our LQS as they did not include enough fabric to make the petals but since I used my fabrics differently, I had enough of the lighter batik to make the petals.  Sometimes mistakes DO pay.  HAHA
That was the end of the instructions so from here on out I was on my own.  I've done a handful of applique in my life and even took a beginner's class last year at the International Quilt Festival so I thought I could figure it out.
  First I tried just sewing the petals to the square using the blanket stitch on my machine.  I was going slowly and carefully.  But when it started to look a bit wonky, that's when I remembered the fusible.  You have to fuse the petals to the block first and then stitch around the block - either by hand or by machine.  That's why it looked wonky.
 I carefully took all of those stitches out and pulled out some pellon fusible.  I don't know all the different kinds of fusible.  This is just what I had.  If you know of a better kind or an easier way to do this, please leave a comment letting me know.  I do realize now that I need an applique sheet - ?I think that's what it's called.  It prevents the fusible from getting on the iron or ironing board.  I used a pressing cloth but now it's pretty much ruined.

One thing I did learn is to let all your fused pieces cool down all the way before trying to take the backing paper off or else the fusible comes off with it.
Once I had the petals ready to go, I tried them on the block 2 different ways.  With the points going in and with the points going out.
  I liked the points going out better.
 So, I fused them in place using the heat setting recommended on the Pellon instructions.
 There you have it.  My finished Honey Bee block.  I haven't stitched the petals down yet because I didn't have any thread to match.  Once I get some matching thread, I do plan to stitch them down using either the blanket stitch on my machine or just a straight stitch.  I'm proud of the way it turned out and I only made a few mistakes.
Now tell me how you would have done it differently or what I could have done to make it easier on myself.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Zipper Pouch for Martha

I have a sweet, special friend who is one of the nicest people I have ever met. I had a lunch planned with her recently and I wanted to surprise her with a little gift. 
I decided to make her a patchwork zipper pouch because I knew it would be useful for her and this Boho fabric from Moda was just screaming  her name.  She likes red and she's really cool - so is this fabric.

I've been sort of "collecting" mini charm squares for some time but I haven't made anything with them.  Well, let me tell you - they are GREAT!  No cutting, just arrange them anyway you want, start sewing and ta da! 
When I was playing with the little squares of fabric, I realized the Noteworthy line mixes well with the Boho line.  Who knew?  So, I added a few in and arranged them until I liked the pattern.  Then I sewed them up.
I used this cool brown pezzy print on the back.
A coordinating zipper.
Of course, the inside of the bag had to be red.  I knew she would like this Ta Dot fabric from Michael Miller.

Inside and outside.
Sweet huh?  Just like my friend Martha. :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fabric Tuesday

The nice mail lady brought me some new fabric last week.  I got it all on sale from

 Some of the new hipster line from Riley Blake.  I Love this fabric.  I could only get 2 so I had to do the enny menny minney mo to choose.
 The text fabric is Michael Miller's Madrona Road and the other is Essex Linen.  I've been wanting to try this linen so I bought a bit to use on zipper pouches and such.  I also bought a few new fabrics from my local quilt shop last week (I think I was trying to make up for not buying any while I was on vacation) but I forgot to take a pic and now I've mixed it all in with my stash. 
 Here's a sneak peak at a quilt I've been working on for what seems like forever.  It's the "quilt that would not be finished!!".  I've started straight line quilting it in a grid but I'm only about 30% done.  I've had to put it on the back burner so that I could work on some new items for my Handmade Whimzy shop.  I've got lots of new eye pillows, Christmas stockings and aprons to list to get ready for Christmas shopping.  (well, the aprons are cut out but I'm sure the sewing fairy will come sew them up soon!)
**Linking up to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story**

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Sewing Room

Kimberly at Polka Dotted Bliss was kind enough to ask me to share my sewing space with her readers a few weeks ago.  I thought I'd repost it here on my blog for anyone who missed it over at Kim's blog.  (I've made a few revisions)
I moved into my current sewing room about 1 1/2 years ago.  It was an empty bedroom in our house that we were using as a game room - or at least that was our intention. We did have all our games neatly organized in there along with a game table but unfortunately you couldn't see it because of all the junk we were "storing" on top of it.


My husband kept saying we should move my sewing room into that room from the little bitty room that it was currently occupying. I kept saying no because I had just painted it a lovely light aqua.  But finally, I agreed because the new room was twice as big as the old room and I would no longer have to keep the ironing board out in the hallway. :)

We really didn't have a budget while we were setting it up. We knew before hand that we would have to change out the lighting. We reused the track lighting from the old room and put it over my sewing tables. We did buy a new light fixture for the center of the room.

We didn't repaint because I had repainted the room a couple of years before and it was still in really good shape. But it is not my lovely light aqua - it is super bright lime green which I thought was great for a game room.  My two favorite colors though are lime green and turquoise so having a sewing room that's lime green doesn't really bother me. The only other thing I bought for this room was the cube storage shelving that I got at Target on sale. It holds my smaller cuts of fabrics like fat quarters, charm packs, jelly rolls, etc.
Oh, I did spend about $100 on 8 art prints from jellybeans on etsy that I had coveted for a long while.  But I used the money I had made from Christmas sales to buy them.  And I LOVE them. 

My corner desk is a castoff from my husband.  I hate it and would love to change this area.  I've been thinking maybe I could find some type of buffet that I could put in this area for my desk that would also hold all the shipping stuff.  I think I'll start looking around at yard sales.  Also, I'd love to be able to put a comfy chair in that corner.

My hubby made some wooden risers for my cutting table to make it counter height so that I wouldn't have to bend over.  The white shelves on the left of the picture go all the way up to the ceiling.  There are 4 in all.  The top two, however, have some of my hubby's collectible toys and games on them.  I left them there because I can't really use those shelves on a daily basis but  I've been thinking about removing that stuff and putting up some girly stuff.

These are my 2 sewing machines.  I've talked about them on my blog before.  I have a Brother SE-400  that I still need to play with because it can do lots more things than I've ever used it for.
I also have a Janome DC2010 which is the machine I use the most.
(I have little sticky notes to myself everywhere.)

I have fabric that I bought a year ago to make skirts for all my tables so that you wouldn't be able to see the storage I have under them. 

And one day I'm actually going to make those table skirts.  Also, I've bought some foam core boards that I'm going to tape together and cover with flannel for a design wall.  I'm going to hang it on the door.  Right now I'm using the floor for a design wall.

I have more fabric storage in the closet.  It's where I keep all my fabric yardage.  I'd like to eventually get all the fabric together so that I could organize it better.  The fabric stored in these cubbies are the smaller pieces like fat quarters and large scraps.  Also I seem to have a lot of yarn considering I don't knit or crochet.

The main thing I love is that I have a space all to myself where I can go to get away from all the boys in my house.  It smells nice - like lavender (not like smelly boy).  I am so thankful everyday that I have such a nice space.  Sometimes I just sit in it and do nothing.

I hope you've enjoyed visiting my little space.  Come back anytime. 

**Linking up to Sew Many Ways linky party**

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back to School Sale at Handmade Whimzy!

Since I missed the EtsyMom Team Christmas in July sale, I thought I'd have my own sale just in time for back to school!
Sale starts now and will go through Sunday, August 4th.

You can take 15% off all ready to ship merchandise in my Handmade Whimzy shop by using the coupon code GOBACK at checkout.  Discount does not apply to shipping charges.

Custom orders do not qualify for the discount.

Now is the time to start your Christmas shopping or just pick up something for yourself.  Lots of aprons, eye pillows, and bookmarks to choose from and there are also a few Christmas stockings.

Happy Shopping!