Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Murphy's Law

Good afternoon!  It has been such a long time since I have had a chance to share with you.  Do you ever have a project that almost everything goes wrong?  I call it "Murphy's Law"!  My latest finish was one.  I belong to a wonderful group on FB called "Sew Swapit".  It is a group of fabulous quilters that sign up to "swap" projects with one another.  I love getting the little surprises in the mail from my swap partner!  It's better than Christmas!

The latest swap was a Fall themed swap.  I decided to use the disappearing 9-patch block from an earlier tutorial in my swap.  The fabric I chose reminded me of all the beautiful foliage I remember when I was growing up in NW Pennsylvania.

I decided to make 2 additional blocks and make a table runner.  Easy, right?  Well I thought so.  Enter Murphy.  I allowed plenty of time to make the table runner.  Then a few other deadlines snuck in.  Such is life.  Then, WHAMMY!  I was bending over, trying to add basting pins, and I threw out my back.  No sewing for me.  Ouch!

I went to the doctor, and rested my back.  I was so worried I wouldn't have my swap ready in time.  After about 4 days my back started feeling better.  Time to quilt.  I decided to give my table runner a little modern flair while practicing my FMQ (free motion quilting).  What do you think?  Is it too much?

I chose a different FMQ patterns for each section.  All the large squares had a meander pattern, the small squares a concentric square, etc.  I began quilting, when Murphy struck again.  I turned the runner over, to check my stitches, and lo and behold there was a huge fold in the backing fabric!  Ugh!  Time for the seam ripper.  I really like all the quilting, but it took such a long time.

Finally, I was ready to bind the runner.  I decided to try the easy binding method.  I trimmed the batting and folded the backing fabric to the front to make the binding.  I should have known that anything that said it was "easy", was too good to be true.  Good ole Murphy again!  As I was trimming, I accidentally sliced a small hole in the binding.  I had to decide if I wanted to cut it off and add a traditional binding, or try to patch it.  Luckily I could patch it.  Whew!  What an ordeal!  I hope my swap pattern likes it.  Maybe if I send her a lot of chocolate she will forgive me.  ; )

Thanks for letting me share my story.  Please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear your stories!

Have a crafty adventure today!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Special memories

Good morning!  It has been a long time since I have shared an adventure.  The end of summer and beginning of a new school year is such a busy time.

I had the privilege of helping a friend save some special memories while learning a new technique.  A friend of mine lost her father last year.  She received some of his ties.  She picked out a few special ties to keep, gave some to her children and husband, but didn't know what to do with the rest.  She asked if I could make something out of the ties to give to her mother.  I was so honored to help her with this process.

This was my first experience sewing with ties.  I was a little overwhelmed!  A member of our local quilt guild suggested a pattern that used foundation piecing to construct the quilt.  Ties are usually made of a slippery material, such as silk.  The material tends to stretch or can be tricky to handle.  The foundation (in this case, muslin) would make the ties easier to manage.  Off to the drawing board!

My friend wanted something special to give to her mother.  She didn't have a lot of ties to work with, so we both decided a wall hanging would be perfect.  I wanted the design to be unique.  I decided to strip piece the ties in the shape of a heart.  How would I cut out the shape of a heart without any raw edges showing? My friend, Laura, suggested pillow casing the heart.  Brilliant!  I sewed the strips of ties to the muslin, added another piece of muslin on top, sewed a heart shape through both pieces, cut off the extra material, and flipped it into a pillow case.

The next step was to appliqué the heart onto a background.  My friend loves the color blue.  Off to the fabric store!  I needed to find a blue that wasn't too fussy, wasn't too dark, or wasn't too overpowering.  I really needed the heart to be the showcase.

I loved it!  The background fabric is from the Stonehenge collection by Northcott Fabrics.  I appliquéd the heart onto the background fabric using a satin stitch.  I had to make sure that heart stayed put!

The next step was choosing a border.  I chose a piano key border with cornerstones.  I love how the various ties added another dimension to the piece.

Finally, it was time to quilt.  My friend requested that I quilt the names of her mother and father in the center of the heart.  I also quilted the names of her siblings and the grandchildren around the heart, adding swirls and hearts throughout.  Very subtle, but all the members of the family are included in this memorial.  Very sweet!

I was really pleased with the finished product.  My friend was also pleased, which is all that really matters.  She will be giving the wall hanging to her mother on the anniversary of her father's passing.

Thank you for letting me share this wonderful story.  What an honor it was for me to hold so many special memories.  Would you like to share a special memories project of your own?

I hope you have a crafty adventure today!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My new favorite accessory, the Infinity Scarf!

Good morning!  I wanted to share my new favorite accessory, the Infinity Scarf.  I love, love, love these!  "What is an Infinity Scarf?", you may ask.  Let me share with you.

The infinity scarf is a scarf that has no beginning or end.  It is a continuous loop.  Infinity scarves may also be referred to as Loop Scarves.

The material is sewn end to end to form a loop.  The first two pictures are infinity scarves made with light weight material.  The first, or light gray, scarf is made using a polyester-knit blend.  The second, or geometric block, scarf is made using a chiffon-like fabric.  Aren't they fun?

The third infinity scarf is perfect for winter.  It is crocheted using a chunky yarn.  This particular scarf was crocheted with Homespun yarn manufactured by Lion Brand yarn company.

I think I love these scarves so much because they are really versatile.  You can wear the scarf long, or you can double it up like a cowl.  Twist the scarf into a figure eight shape and you have a cowl.

Infinity scarves can be worn with jeans and a t-shirt, a work outfit, or a dressy outfit.  Who doesn't love that?  I know I do!

Thank you for visiting with me today.  Please leave me a comment below, and share with your friends.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To sash or not to sash revisited

Good morning!  Today I am updating my progress on my scrap buster quilt that I featured in "To sash or not to sash".

I really like the sashing!  What do you think?  

The next step is to add the borders.  I would really like this to be a bed size quilt.  The quilt pattern is featured in Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville's Quips and Snips, under the free patterns tab.  The pattern is called, "Pineapple Blossom".

Bonnie Hunter chose a thin white border in her first example.  The white fabric really accentuates the white triangles and center squares of each block.  The second example features a thin black border.  The black border showcases all the different color fabrics in the quilt.  Hmmm.... Two very different options.  Which should I choose?

Another bonus to this pattern is this little HST (half square triangle) block.  The block was made from trimming the corners of the block after each addition of another small white square.  The trimming of the corner results in the white diagonal triangles in the blocks.  This gives the block it's "pineapple" feel, like the crosshatch markings on an actual pineapple.  I simply sewed the remaining white triangle to the trimmed color strips, as suggested in Bonnie's instructions.  

These bonus blocks will make a great additional border!  I love Bonnie Hunter's method of using up all the scraps.  I will post new pictures when I decide which borders to add.

In the mean time, I hope you have a crafty adventure today!


Please leave me a comment below.  I would love to hear your opinions.  Also, please share this blog with your friends.  : )

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tips of the Trade

Good morning!  I love learning new tips that make quilting, crafting, storage, or my life in general, easier.  I would like to share a few of those tips with you.  : )

The thing I love the most about crafting is the sense of community.  I love meeting other crafters and sharing ideas with them.  Most of these tips I have learned from others.  I would like to pass along their wisdom.

The biggest problem I have is storage.  Ugh!  Where do you keep all your supplies?  I am always on the look out for easier ways to store my craft items.  The first one is the coffee can!  My MIL first introduced me to this method.  She has a ginormous coffee can full of buttons.  When she finds a loose button, it goes into the can.  The only drawback is digging through the endless supply to find the right color or size button.

I have 2 coffee cans.  (Can I still call them cans if they are plastic?)  One is for buttons, and the other is for a stamp I use on shipping envelopes.  Look how nicely they stack on my shelf!

The second storage selection I find useful is the Ziploc heavy duty dry bags.  My friend, Liz, shared this with me.  If you have a project and want to keep the materials together, put them in one of these bags.  I don't have to search through all supplies to find what I need.  Perfect!

I love to reuse things for a new purpose.  What is the saying..... Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?  Love it!  I am reusing this vinyl table cloth as a design wall.  My husband hung the table cloth using 3M strips.  The vinyl side is against the wall.  The back, or flannel side, is perfect for hanging quilt blocks.  Pins are not required!

Here is the close up of the 3M strip.  I also use these strips to hang wall hangings.  (Another tip my friend, Liz, shared.)  The 3M strip is easy to apply and doesn't damage the quilt or the wall.  Please make sure to check the package for appropriate weight.

My final tip deals with quilting.  I love to use straight line quilting on geometric blocks, such as the disappearing 9 patch from my previous post.  No matter how diligent I am with the quilting guide on my machine, it is never straight.  Introducing the blue painter's tape!  Another quilting friend, Donna, introduced me to this nifty little trick.  When you line up the painter's tape across your block, you can use it as a guide for a straight line without marking your quilt.  It is similar to using a ruler, but the tape can remain on the quilt during quilting, and picked up and moved to the next block.  No marking, no residue.  Just be careful that the tape is placed correctly.

I would love to hear about any other tips you would like to share!  Please leave a comment below.

As always, if you like what I have to say, share this page with your friends!

I hope you have a crafty adventure today!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Disappearing 9 patch tutorial

Good afternoon!  I love to share my quilting with others.  I decided to share one of my favorite blocks with you!  The Disappearing 9 patch.  I love the geometric shapes in this block.  There is enough interest to keep your eyes busy, but not so much that it is overwhelming.  Don't worry!  This is a beginner level quilt block. : )

I love to use this block for table runners and other small projects.  Today I chose Fall colors.  I separated my fabrics into 4 groups.  Greens, browns, light neutrals, and warm colors (yellows, maroons, and oranges).

I have a ton of 6 inch squares that were sample fabrics.  Sample fabrics are a way for a fabric company to give you a taste of their new fabric line.  These are the fabrics I chose.

I chose 9 squares of fabric to for this block.  I like to alternate my squares by color value.  The top row follows the pattern light, dark, light.  The middle row is opposite; dark, light, dark.  The bottom row mimics the top; light, dark, light.  (Even though the green squares can be considered dark, the color looks light next to the maroon.)  I also like to place a neutral color in the center of the block.  I will explain why later.

Next, I sewed my squares together in rows, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I made sure I pressed my seams toward the center square, or the dark.

When I sewed the middle row together I pressed my seams toward the outer squares, also toward the dark.

This is a very important step!  When I sew all the rows together, the seems will be "nested" or pressed in opposite directions.

This allows the seem to lay flat and line up between the rows.

My 9 patch is complete.  I can stop there, but I would like to make this block more appealing to the eye.  

Time to rearrange my block.  I begin by measuring my center square.  The center square measures 5 1/2 inches.  I find the half way mark (2 3/4 inches) from the left edge of the center block.  I center my 2 3/4 inch line of my ruler on the seam between the left column and center column, and cut the entire block down the center.

Next, I turn my cutting mat, find the 2 3/4 inch mark on my ruler, place that mark on the seam between the left and center squares, and cut the block in half.  The block is now cut into fourths.

Almost finished!  I now take 2 diagonal pieces of the block and rotate them.  (I chose the pieces with the green square).  The small white squares are now facing the outer edges of the block.  This is why I like to choose a neutral color for the center.  The contrast of the neutral color always makes the block "pop"!  Much more interesting, in my opinion. 

I think the block is so much more interesting in this configuration.  Do you agree? 
Hang in there!  One more step, I promise.  Now it is time to put the block back together.  I sewed the top two pieces together, pressing the seam toward the green square.  I sewed the bottom two pieces together, again pressing toward the green square.  The seams are pressed to opposite sides of the block, allowing for the "nesting" to occur.  Finally, I sewed the two rows together.  Wha-La!  A finished Disappearing 9 patch block.  Isn't it interesting?

I hope you have enjoyed learning something new today.  I know I have enjoyed sharing it with you!

Remember to share my blog with others.  If you get a chance, please leave me a comment.  Let me know if I explained things clearly, or if you have any questions.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

From UFO to WIP

Good morning!  I have been going through my UFO (Un-Finished Object) bin.  Ugh!  No matter how much I try to get done, my UFO bin keeps growing!  I swore I would not start a new project until I finished some UFOs.  Today is the day I am turning a UFO into a WIP (Work In Progress)!

I found this adorable Debbie Mumm panel in the discount bin at JoAnn's a few years ago.  I love Halloween!!! It is my favorite holiday.  I made a few sets of placemats from this panel last year.  Two placemats have the "Spooky" design and two placemats have the "Haunted House" design.  They sold like crazy.  I found another set in my UFO box.  Why weren't these finished?  I guess I just ran out of time.

Time to finish them up!  I FMQ'd (Free Motion Quilted) around each character to make them pop.  I followed the same process on the haunted house.  The FMQ really brings out the details.  Love them!

These will be available in my Etsy store later today.  Just click on the slide show, which is on the right of my blog.  Or you can click the link.

Please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear what you have to say. : )

If you like my ideas, please share my blog with your friends.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!


Friday, August 9, 2013

Measure twice.....

Good morning!  I am trying to finish one of my UFOs.  (That means Un-Finished Objects for those of you who do not quilt.)  I am working on a quilt for myself for a change!  My Local Quilt Guild (LQG) has a quilt-in every year.  Each year we participate in a mystery quilt.  *A mystery quilt is when you receive fabric requirements, but you don't know what the pattern looks like until the event begins.*

You didn't know quilters had all these secrets, did you?  Special abbreviations, mystery quilt patterns... All very intriguing! 

I digress, anyway, the mystery quilt pattern was called the 10 minute block.  Very quick as far as quilt patterns are concerned.  Here is a link to the you-tube video.

Here is my version of the 10 minute block.

Look at the upper right corner.  It doesn't quite fit my bed.  Time to add some borders!

 I decided I was going to add 3 borders.  The inner border is a white strip, to tie in the white diamonds.

Still not big enough.  I then added strips of each of the fabrics in the blocks (all the blues).

Excuse the wrinkles! LOL  Still not big enough.  I think one more border should do the trick!  How much do I need to add?  Ugh!  Time for math.  I love math, but let's face it, I hate measuring!  Have you ever heard the saying "Measure twice, cut once"?  Well, I usually follow the wing-it philosophy.  I cut, then fix it later.  Not the best policy, but all that math makes my head hurt!

See what I mean????  Oy!  I have my calculations.  I am trying to get my quilt to measure to a queen size.  I'm ready to cut.  I double check everything.  I measured my fabric.  I should have enough.  I cut my strips, sewed them together, and pinned my border to my quilt.

Ugh!  What happened???? I am a 1/2" short.  I know what you are going to say.... I didn't account for the 1/4" seam allowance.  Oh no!  I've learned my lesson about the tricky seam allowance.  It wasn't that.  Hmmm?

I finally figured it out.  That %$@# selvage!!!  Grrrr.  Now I have to cut another strip to fix it.  Guess who's going back to the fabric store?

Please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear what you have to say!

If you can relate to my stories, or would like to pass my blog along to your friends, DO IT!!!  Also, please visit my Etsy store.  Click on the box, in the top right side of my blog.

Thanks for visiting!  I hope you have a creative adventure today!

Anni : )

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Giving back : )

Good morning!  It is time to give back.

Not only is it good for my karma, but it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I love making things for charity, especially our troops.  Thursday, my friend Sara and the Stafford Craft Queens will be crocheting beanies for the troops.  We will be donating the beanies through an organization called Beanies for Bravery! Click on the link to check them out! : )

If you would like to join us, leave me a comment with your email, and I will send you the info.  It doesn't matter if you are local, you can still contribute.  Just follow the information in the link.  There are specific guidelines, so read the information carefully.  Always remember that the pattern is copyrighted.  Please do not resell the pattern!

It is raining here.  Hopefully that will mean some time to work on my projects.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!

Please leave me a comment below!  I love to hear your opinion.  Tell a friend about my blog.  I love sharing my creative thoughts with others.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Horizons broadened : )

I had a great time "broadening my horizons" at the Painting on Cotton class.  What do you think?

This was a tricky technique.  It was so much fun working with all the different colors, but I didn't realize how much the paint spread on the fabric.  It was definitely a learning curve.  I began to paint, but didn't use enough water.  I then added water, and the paint bled too much.  Oy!  Then I decided to add salt to see what effect that would add.  According to my instructor, the salt attracts the paint and adds a different effect.  Very cool!

Once I started, I couldn't stop.  Creativity is very addictive that way!  I added a yellow background to make the reds and the oranges pop.  I really loved it about half way through the class, but the paint kept spreading!  Again OY!

Kim (my instructor) suggested setting the paints with an iron and adding purple outline.  Well, ironing is not my favorite thing to do.  I made the cotton more wrinkled.  Can you see all the wrinkles???? LOL!  Kim was right.  When I added the purple outline, my painting became more defined.  Thanks Kim!

Now, what do I do with this?  Kim made her example into a convergence quilt.  Do you remember?

Stunning!  Hmmm.... maybe Kim will offer another class with this technique???

The final picture is the example Kim painted during our class.  She is truly the artist! : )

If you like my posts, please share my blog with your friends. Remember to add a comment!  I would love to hear your opinion.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Broaden my horizons

Good morning!  I am very excited to learn a new technique today.  My friend, Kim from moonwhispers, is teaching a class.  Here is a link to her shop.

The class is Painting on Cotton.  Yikes!  It is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I would love to broaden my horizons.  It is always good to have another tool, right?  The class is at LizbQuilting in Stafford, VA. (  Check out Liz's blog!

Here is Kim's latest project.

Amazing!  I love the vibrant colors she chose.  I don't think mine will look nearly as good, but I'm willing to give it a try.  Here is another picture.

If you enjoy reading my thoughts, please share with your friends.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!  I know I will.  : )

Thursday, August 1, 2013

To sash or not to sash?

I've been working on my stash buster quilt that I posted in scrapaholic : ).  I finally finished the blocks.  Hooray!  It just isn't the size I want it to be.  Hmmmm..... Sashing to the rescue!

This picture is the before picture (before sashes were added, that is!)  I love how the pattern really stands out.  Will the pattern be as vivid if I add sashing?  I'll let you be the judge.

What do you think???  The pattern seems to pop more with the sashing!  Do you agree?

Maybe I should back up a little bit.  Sashing is the addition of strips between the quilt blocks.  The sashes frame the blocks.  Think about a window.  The glass panes are seperated by the panes.  Do the panes detract from the view?  I guess that depends on what the view is.

I think I like the sashing.  It's going to stay.  Next step, borders!

Thanks for reading my blog.  If you like the posts, please share with your friends.

I hope you have a creative adventure today!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time Management

I recently read an article on Etsy about making time for your creativity.  Great thought.... except life tends to get in the way!  My day is packed full of work, husband, 2 children, housework, deciding what to make for dinner...... whew!  I can go on and on.  Where do I find the time to create?

I sometimes feel like the guy on this clock, just trying to hang on.  I don't know about you, but I am a creature of habit.  I feel better when I follow a routine.  I know what to expect and when to expect it.  Where does creativity come into play?

I try to save time just for me, usually in the morning before the kiddos get up.  Great plan, right?  In theory, but I can't just turn on the creativity like a light switch.  Creativity is a funny being.  It doesn't like to be on a schedule, it just happens.  Sometimes I get an urge to create and I just go with it.  I can be in my sewing room, in the middle of a project, and before you know it, the entire day flies by.  Crazy!

I guess I need to be better about carving out a little time each day to create.  Where do you find the time?

If you enjoy reading my posts, please share my blog with your friends!

Enjoy your creativity whenever it hits you!  : )


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What are mug rugs????

I am fascinated with this mini quilts, called mug rugs!  What are mug rugs? Is it a fancy name for a coaster, or is it more?  Wikipedia to the rescue:

A coaster, or beermat, is a mat used to rest glasses of beer (or other beverages) upon

So.... it is a coaster.  I think it is a little more, though.  Many of the mug rugs I have seen are much bigger than a coaster.  Why so big?  I believe the mug rug was intended for your mug of choice and a little room (well, let's be honest.  A LOT of room!) left for a cookie.  How sweet is that?

These are two holiday mug rugs I have for sale in my Etsy store.  They are 10 1/2" quilt blocks that I quilted.  I am really trying to perfect my free motion quilting.  Can you tell that I am into spirals?  Perfect place to practice quilting on these miniatures.  

I hope you enjoy my rambling so far.  Don't forget to click on my Etsy store!  (The little slideshow on the right.)

I hope you have a creative adventure today!

Monday, July 29, 2013


I L-O-V-E Scraps!!!
My dear friend hates scraps.  She gives them to me, a perfect solution.  This is my scrap buster quilt.  It is a WIP (Work In Progress), but grows every day.  Can you see all the different patterns in the material?  Valentine's Day, Day of the Dead, Baby Elephants????  What a hodge podge.  I love it!  This pattern is called Pineapple Blossom.  It is from Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville.  She is the queen of scraps.  If you love using every last bit of your material (or your friend's material in my case) you can find tons of pattern's on Quiltville.  Have fun!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Here goes nothing!

A good friend of mine suggested I start a blog.  Well, here goes nothing!  I'm very new to the blog idea.  I love following other crafters and quilters, but I never thought of creating my own.  I hope you enjoy following me through this learning curve!Here goes nothing!