More Guidelines for the AMH EPP

For those of you working on your own version of my AMH EPP project (which sadly, still doesn’t have a “real” name), I’ve put together the remaining information for the paper piecing. You can download the two page pdf file by clicking here.Black Cat on EPPThis is the information you need to prepare all the remaining pieces–the fillers for the sides (half diamond star units and half star flower units) which complete the rows and fillers for the top and bottom edges. If you’re already far enough along to be needing this, I commend you! If not, file it away for future use. Or…just wait for me to write the pattern.ceramic tea kettleBetween starting on the sample sewing and working on the backyard projects, it’s been a bit busy around here. Naturally, the coffee maker has taken it as a sign to quit producing. I know! Catastrophe. We’ve had a Bunn My Cafe for several years and we’ve loved the versatility of the machine. It seems, however, they’re not making them to the same standard. We didn’t even get one year out of this last one.

Because the cost is going up and the quality is going down, Mr. P decided it was back to a drip maker of superior quality. The new machine will be here this week, thankfully. But it doesn’t have the hot water feature I’ve gotten used to on the Bunn. (Believe it or not, we do actually drink tea around here as well.) I was ready to deal with an ugly electric kettle until I found the one above. I’m sure you can find a fantastic assortment of electric ceramic tea kettles elsewhere in the world. In the US, however, this is a huge find. Not only does it work amazingly, it keeps the water hot far longer AND it matches the kitchen! I found this one on Amazon, in case you feel the need for a pretty electric tea kettle.african irisLately, I’ve been spending time thinking about vision. Vision, as in the visual sense through which we experience our world. Vision, as in the forward thinking process of imagination. Vision, as in the unexpected presentation of thoughts and ideas from our unconscious. The word itself covers a lot ground. When you get down to it, the things that set us apart from each other have to do with the way we see and experience our world–past, present and future. And of course, the ways in which we share this with each other.

You can expect to see a post or two sometime in the near future about all this. It will segue into a post about cameras and how to get the most out of what you have. It’s a natural progression from seeing to documenting. But first, you have to train your eye to see.

NOTE: You can find the first AMH EPP project sheet in this post.

Working Hard

cape honeysuckleOn a occasion, the hard work takes place outdoors. The sewing machine sits idle and the days are spent doing never-ending yard work. The beautiful weather we enjoy means weeds are a problem for most of the year, but especially in the Spring. Mr. P had three days off last week and we made good progress on the weed crop. oleanderWe hauled a load of rocks from my brother and got them situated. It will take a few more trips before we have enough to do all the things we have in mind. For now, we have a beginning on the lizard houses. (Not that we are building houses for lizards, but that’s what stacked rock becomes. Stinka will be thrilled to have more “playmates”.)Ohia Lehua in HawaiiWe found the plant above at the local plant nursery. It’s a gorgeous drought tolerant plant called Ohia Lehua in Hawaii. I love the gray green foliage and am looking forward to it reaching its full size of 5 ft. x 5 ft.stinka lays down the lawOf course, our efforts were supervised by the felines. Stinka in particular had something to communicate to anyone and everyone.  Poor Pete could only observe and stay out of her way.

This week, it’s back to the sewing machine. The first box of fabric to be turned into samples has arrived. It’s time for the craziness to begin! If you need to stock up on fabric for your own kind of crazy, be sure to visit Quilt Home. The Daily Specials section has some incredible prices on great prints–perfect for backings.

Let’s See…

It’s scorching! The weather is ridiculously hot. When Mr. P checked the temperature around 2 p.m. (not quite the hottest part of the day), it was 95 in the shade. In March! Ugh…. All this heat means my feline visitors make their rounds early.pete's morning roundsOn days like these, you won’t see Pete again until the sun is nearly down. Stinka hangs out a bit more but has plenty of shady spots to choose from. I’m afraid my spot is directly under a fan. It’s not great weather for sewing; however, dreaming up projects….definitely doable.ABpossibleThis short stack of Amy Butler fabrics is calling for attention. The sunny days and warm weather seem to go perfectly with the yellow. These fabrics ended up together by accident. And when something so magical happens by accident, you should listen. (The lace print if from Amy’s True Colors, the yellow from her Belle collection and the fabric on the right is from Violette.) So these will stay out where I can think on them some more.P1070025I spent several days this past week in brainstorming mode. There was a lot doodling, sketching, line art drawing and yardage figuring. During one Pinterest distraction, I decided to check out Tina Given’s pdf patterns. Her loose fitting style and airy comfort are exactly what these hot days are demanding. For starters, I downloaded the free Bloom dress and got it taped together. I even managed to dig deep enough to find some voile in a fun print. Now for the cutting and sewing part. I’ll omit the split in the front and wear it with leggings or skinny jeans. But more on all that when I have something to show you.

I hope you’re having a relaxing weekend. Stay cool (or warm, depending on where you are)!

The Elizabeth Tote — A Free Pattern

Some months ago, Free Spirit asked for a bag pattern to go with Tula’s Elizabeth collection. We talked about size and style, as well as print combinations. If you’ve seen Elizabeth (which just shipped to stores this month), you’ll know that it has everything we’ve come to expect from such a talented artist. Free Spirit wanted this personality print to be featured.TP Elizabeth Tote 2I wanted to design a bag that would hold a lot of stuff. You know, a whole project’s worth of stuff. For some reason, yarn projects were on my mind. Probably due to the Fall weather at the time. So I knew it needed some needle pockets–which also work great for scissors and miscellany.TP Elizabeth tote 1I made two and shipped them off to their home at Free Spirit. My prototype bag went to my mother for Christmas. Which left me without one of my own. So yesterday, I got out my Gregory’s Garden (Jane’s Spring 2014 collection) and got to work.Elizabeth tote in JSJane’s harlequin diamonds are a favorite of mine and they work beautifully on this bag, just as they do in every application.  Naturally, I had to add some bugs for the lining–a little whimsy is always welcome.Elizabeth Tote sideSo…the bag measures 16″ x 5″ x 16″. The exterior pieces (front, back and sides) have fusible fleece. I used Thermolam because it provides just the right amount of body to the bag. The bottom and sides have heavyweight stabilizer, which helps it stay upright, more or less. There are also two interior side pockets and one interior pocket across the width of the bag. Plenty of room for your project and then a little more.Elizabeth Tote closeupThe bag requires a small bit of finagling to get the side stabilizers situated before you fuse it. But since you leave the sides open to do it, you have easy access.  I suppose you could leave those two pieces of stabilizers out altogether, but you wouldn’t have the same bag.

You can find the free pattern at the Make It Coats website. Enjoy!

Friday Feline

Happy Friday! I’m a bit confused. The calendar keeps insisting it’s March. How on earth can that be true?Stinka sitting under pergolaMarch did come in like lion, bringing us some much needed rain. The weather has since changed back to dry and sunny–something that makes the plants really, really happy. The ice plant is rioting. It almost hurts your eyes to look at it. Of course, weeds love it too.iceplant riotBesides doing some weeding this week, I added that gorgeous amber Sew Sassy thread to the AMH EPP project. Next step….baste and quilt!blanket stitch amheppI even finished up the Violette table runner I started a couple weeks ago. Super easy nine patches made it a cinch to sew. (I added some of Amy’s True Color prints to the mix. They go so well with Violette.)violette runnerI hope the first week of March has been a productive one for you as well. Enjoy the weekend!

Time Off

My forced time off last week included a quick road trip to Arizona with Mr. P to see his mom and her husband. We spent one morning in Sabino Canyon in Tucson. I could have stayed there for most of the day.cottowood shadeThe weather was perfect. The air smelled fantastic. Sitting in the shade of a cottonwood by a slowing running stream is a great place to be when you’re in the desert. I would have been quite happy to sit quietly in this spot and sketch. Since I wasn’t able to do so, I contented myself with photos of the trip down the canyon. From delicate wildflowersdelicate wildflowerto bristling cactus spines,cactus spinesfairy dustersfairy dusterand chollas.jumping cactusAnd of course, the saguaro.saguaro blue skyAfter all that beauty, I’m ready to start creating. The “short list” is growing. I’m sure you’re not the least bit surprised. And don’t worry, I have not forgotten about the AMH EPP. I’ll be working on another information post for those of you who are working on your own version. It will have the necessary pieces for finishing the EPP portion.sabina canyonHave a beautiful week!

Decision Making

My order of Sew Sassy thread (by Superior Threads) arrived this week. Of the amber, green and black in my order, I decided on the amber for my AMH EPP project. It will set off the rich colors of Anna Maria’s prints perfectly.sew sassy goldThis is 12 wt. thread which requires a larger needle and tension adjustments. I haven’t started in on that yet but perhaps on the weekend. spoonflower stuffAnother decision I made lately…order the color and swatch guides from Spoonflower. I have been entertaining some ideas involving Spoonflower for a ridiculously long time. However, I never got around to the follow-through on those ideas. Step One in that long list of follow-through is having the guides in hand so the lengthy decision making process can truly begin. Who knows how long it will take to get to Step Two, but at least I have one less reason to procrastinate.hong kong orchid (628x800)But by far, the hardest decision I’ve been making lately is this–choosing to be still. It’s a hard one. I’m driven by many things, not the least of which is the never-ending stacks of fabric I want to make into projects before I lose my “free time” and Market sample sewing gets started in earnest. purslane bloomHowever, I know from experience I should take time out voluntarily. Time just to marvel at Nature’s beauty. Time to soak up inspiration. Time to be silent and receptive. If I refuse, I’m likely to find myself sidelined by illness or a migraine or something equally unpleasant. My body knows better than my mind on this point. yellow nasturiumSo I made the decision to go easy on myself this week. Stinka makes sure I take at least one of my cups of coffee outside where we can sit in the sunshine. We listen to the birds–mockingbirds, phoebes, robins, sparrows, crows, hawks. We watch the butterflies flit through the yard. We notice all the blooms and blossoms in their striking colors. It’s a gift–this experience of Nature in my own backyard. I’d be a fool not to take the time to enjoy it to the fullest.

Meanwhile…

How about a post to catch up on things? Sit back and let me show you what I’ve been up to lately. Where to begin….well, let’s start with a text from my younger brother. He sent me a photo of an apron I made for my niece and sister-in-law several years ago. The text said “My shop apron”. Clearly, time to jump into action and make him something appropriate. Shop ApronI hopped online and found some Parson Gray home dec weight fabric on sale at Quilt Home. He loves orange so the choice was easy–two different prints for one reversible shop apron. I even added a masculine touch for the neck straps. He’s a very satisfied sibling.shop apron neckI also made the last block for the Color Therapy quilt. This month the colors are Oriental Blue and Citrine–confident and bold. I settled on two prints from past collections of Amy Butler’s. I’m a sucker for dots and could not resist adding them to this last block.ColorTherapy12It goes well with all the others too, don’t you agree? Now I just need to set aside time for choosing and adding sashing.color therapy blocks 1-12But the thing I’ve been spending most of my time on is the AMH EPP project. Look!!! No more papers!AMH EPP flimsyYesterday, I finished removing the last of the papers and stitched it to a border. I haven’t decided on the treatment for the EPP edge where it meets the border. At the moment, I’m torn between adding a hand embroidery embellishment or using a decorative stitch on the machine with some of Jane’s new 12 wt. thread for Superior Threads. I have time to decide as I only ordered the thread and the backing fabric yesterday.AMH EPP flimsy up closeSeeing it without all the papers, following the unevenness of the gravel, is amazing. I can’t quite believe I’ve gotten this far. Soon, I’ll be stealing time to baste and quilt it. (Because, of course, it’s almost time to start on sample sewing for Spring Market.)

And that’s about it for the goings on around here lately. Yesterday’s mail brought me a copy of Neil Gaiman’s short story collection, Trigger Warning. I’m looking forward to a little sewing break and some great reading.

Winners!

TW-winnersThank you all for entering. And a huge welcome to the new subscribers! I’m so happy to have you here.

Over the weekend I managed to get all the straight edges on the AMH EPP project. Look for photos of that later in the week, along with photos of my other WIP’s and finished projects from the last week or so.

Thanks again for all your comments. Have a great day!

Lulu Roses — Free Patterns & A Giveaway

Valentine’s Day is almost here. And no designer says “Valentine’s” better than Tanya Whelan. I designed a simple table mat (or wall hanging, if you prefer) for Free Spirit using Tanya’s Lulu Roses.Sweethearted Table Mat2 (800x660)Four easy applique blocks, some simple fussy cut sashing and there you have it! I even put together a bonus project to go with it. The Hanging Hearts use the leftover fabric from this table mat, along with additional yardage for the bow (which you could omit and use ribbon instead).Lulu hanging heartsYou can find the free patterns here and here on the Make It Coats website. And you can win some free fabric here on the blog by commenting on this post!

Free Spirit has generously provided Lulu Roses yardage for a sweepstakes (aka giveaway). I will be choosing three winners by Random Number Generator. Here’s what each winner will receive:P1060798That stack has eight half yard pieces plus one quarter yard piece of the blue with red dots! That’s a total of 4 1/4 yards to each winner. Definitely enough for a quilt top._DSC1737So….here’s the deal:

  1. Leave a comment on this post before the deadline to enter. I’d love to hear about your current project, but it’s not a requirement. Any comment will do as an entry.
  2. One comment per reader. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  3. You have until 12:00 midnight Pacific Standard Time on Sunday, February 15, 2015 to enter.
  4. International entrants are welcome.
  5. Winners will be selected by Random Number Generator.
  6. Winners will be notified by email and will have until February 22, 2015 to respond. If a winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected by Random Number Generator and notified by email.

Good luck! I may not have time to reply to each and every one of you who comments. So, to everyone who enters, “Thank you!” I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Winners have been chosen and notified.