Staying Busy

pink bottlebrushSummer continues to move along at a brisk pace. The weather seems to be unchanging and Mr. P and I are constantly wishing for Fall with its drier air and cooler nights. It will be here sooner than we think. Time does seem to be flying by at ridiculous speeds this year.

In between the sample sewing, and consequent shipping, I have managed to add to the EPP project. I’ve almost completed the required full blocks. Just one more to finish and then I can work up the half blocks and the connecting stars. Here’s a peek at another finished block. AMH EPP blockIt’s a busy week here–a quilt to make, some embroidery to do and a bag to create. It will be a full caffeine week with plenty of sitting in front of the portable AC unit.

What’s on your plate this week?

Controlled Chaos Block Ideas

Controlled Chaos BQThe Fall Market sample sewing is underway. It hardly seems possible, but here we are in mid August already! While I sew through stacks of fabric, I thought I’d give you a little inspiration to mull over. This is my Controlled Chaos block from Quiltmaker’s 100 Block, Vol. 9 issue done digitally in Jennifer Paganelli’s Beauty Queen collection.

It also looks great in Jane Sassaman’s Gregory’s Garden.Controlled Chaos block2Both light and dark colorways look quite dramatic, don’t you think?Controlled Chaos block1You can purchase Volume 9 here. Hop over to for Jane’s fabric at a good price. Same place, different page for Jennifer’s fabric.

I have a fun stack of Jane’s prints waiting for me. And a bit of Jennifer’s Jenny Eliza brand. The EPP project still needs more piecing. I need some minions! Stinka, however, disagrees and tells me that any minions found will be eaten on the spot. Cats.Stinka ears back

A Little Lovelorn Project & Some Yarn To Match

Over the next seven months, there will be three new grandnieces/nephews in the family. The first of these is due to arrive next month (on my birthday, even). It’s time Aunt Melissa got started on some handmade projects for these little ones!lovelorn pillowI have a wonderful stack of Lovelorn in my possession, left over from Market sewing earlier in the year. It was just the thing for a sweet but lively little pillow. On my recent trip to Joann’s, I found yarn that goes extremely well these yellows, oranges and greens. So yesterday, I started a loom knitted afghan.loom knitting citrus colorsI’m very fond of loom knitting simple blankets. They come together quickly–very helpful when you have a lot of things going on at the same time yet still want a handmade gift.

I listened to Bryce Courtenay‘s Jessica while I knitted up the first panel. If you haven’t read any of his books, you absolutely must! He was an incredible storyteller, someone who understood the complexities of human behavior and interaction. His characters stay with you for a long while after the book is finished.

And speaking of books, I just finished listening to Patrick Rothfuss‘s books–The Name of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. If you’re a fantasy reader, you have to read these two. I’m particularly enamored with Rothfuss’s approach to the Hero’s tale which is told retrospectively with attention paid to the difference between the Hero’s actual deeds and the legends. It seems to me Kvothe is between archetypes–no longer the Hero or the Magician but not fully the Hermit either.

Waiting for the third book is going to be hard. I miss Kvothe and Bast already. And Willem, Auri, Fela and Sims. It’s a good thing I have plenty of other books to fill up the reading list for the next couple years.

Color Therapy Block #6

CT block 6 JD (1024x1024)It’s time for another Color Therapy block! This month the colors are Lemon Yellow and Red–sunny, adventurous, magnetic. I chose to go with a more golden yellow and a deeper blue red in order to match the feel of the other blocks I’ve made so far. Adding primary colors to the mix was not going to work.

I turned to my modest Joel Dewberry stash for both of these prints. The wood grain is from his True Colors collection and the tonal floral from his Heirloom collection, both for Free Spirit. They give the right summery vibe even though they’re softer than the Lemon Yellow and Red.

This color combination is perfect for Kaffe lovers. The only problem you’ll have is choosing which two prints to put together. And speaking of Kaffe, you can find some pre cuts here, here and here. (If you’re a Kaffe fan, you know you can never have too much variety in your Kaffe stash.)

Friday Feline

Happy Friday! Stinka helps with the ironingThis week, I made great progress with the EPP project, but didn’t accomplish much else.  The heat and humidity just sucked the life out of me. I don’t feel very bad about that though. My EPP is keeping me occupied and happy. Here’s a little peak at the evolution of the star flowers. EPP fussy cut star flower and thensomeHave a great weekend!

More EPP & A Friday Feline

Did the week go by in a flash for you? It certainly did for me. Many hours were lost to EPP this week. I just cannot stop. Absolutely, positively cannot stop.epp beginningsFor this project, I’m into my Anna Maria Horner stash. There are lots of fun fussy cutting possibilities.AMH1Although sometimes, it’s all about the color combinations.AMH2Or the mix of design elements.AMH3Old favorites keep popping up in different combinations.AMH4Decision making does take up a bit of time when there are so many beautiful choices.

And of course, I often stop to consult with Stinka. She has very strong opinions, as you might suspect, although those mostly have to do with how often she should get a treat and when she should be allowed in to visit. 225Have a Happy Friday and a relaxing weekend!

12 Hexies Blog Hop

Welcome to another stop on the 12 Hexies (or less) Blog Hop! I’m so happy you’ve joined us. When Diane asked if I would be interested in participating in an EPP blog hop, I didn’t have to think twice. Her challenge to each of us was to use 12 hexies or less for our original project. Brilliant idea because we all know how hard it can be to complete an EPP project once you realize you have to make and sew a gazillion pieces. With this hop, you’ll see ten different projects–all doable without investing years of your life in the process.
12 hexie blog hop buttonI had no idea what project I would make, only that I wanted to use some Anna Maira Horner fabric. I grabbed some bits and scraps and made 12 hexies. Then I played with the arrangement and decided on a triangular shape which only uses 10 hexies. Once I settled on something to act as a canvas for these pretty hexies, it came together fast. The end result is this very stunning grocery tote.12 hexie grocery tote To make this tote you will need the following:

  • 2/3 yard of medium to heavyweight fabric such as canvas, twill, or cotton duck
  • 1 1/8 yard of 1″ webbing in coordinating color
  • 1 1/3 yard of 1″ to 1 1/2″ trim (I used Anna Maria Horner’s Gold Reliquary ribbon for Renaissance Ribbon)
  • 10 scraps of cotton fabric at least 4″ x 4 1/2″ (5″ charm pack pieces work great)
  • 10 – 1 1/2″ hexie papers (I use Paper Pieces)

Prepare your hexies. If you’re new to EPP, there are numerous video tutorials available showing you exactly what to do. Here are links to Diane’s clear instructions to check out:

Got hexies? Now you’re ready to sew them together in a triangular shape. Sew each row. Then sew the rows together.hexie triangle stackPress well on both sides and remove papers. You’re ready to applique!

Cut a rectangle measuring 23″ x 41″ from the medium to heavyweight fabric you have chosen for the bag. Place your hexie applique on the right side of your rectangle, approximately 6″ from the top edge and 6 1/4″ inches from the sides.applique locationUse pins or fabric glue to secure. Edgestitch around all outer edges of the hexie triangle.applique close upWith right sides together, pin the side seams and sew. If desired, finish the edges (a simple zig zag or pinking will work fine). Press the folded edge of the bottom to create a crease. Keeping the bag wrong side out, line the side seam up with the freshly pressed crease. Measure 2″ from the point and mark this line. boxed endStitch on the marked line. Cut off the pointy end leaving a seam of approximately 1/2″. Turn the bag inside out. Sew a narrow hem around the top edge.

Cut the webbing into two equal lengths. Place the handles as shown in the picture below. The handles should be overlapping the top edge by approximately 1 1/2″.  Don’t worry about the raw ends. They’ll be covered by the ribbon trim. handle locationStitch the handles in place. For extra security, sew a box stitch on each end. A box stitch is made by sewing a box with an ‘x’ through it.boxed stitchTo finish off the tote, pin the ribbon trim in place around the top edge of the bag. Center the ribbon over the raw edges of the handles to cover them. Stitch along both edges of the ribbon to secure.ribbon placementAnd that’s all there is to it! The prettiest grocery tote in the store will be yours.071

Be sure to check out all the other projects. The links below will update as each day of the hop continues. The hop ends on the 25th so there are more great projects yet to come.

Big, Bold Ribbon Block

Remember the stack of HST’s from my Amy Butler stash? It’s time to show you what I did with them. Up first, is a lively summer throw, perfect for picnicking.HST quilt and StinkaI used a home decorator weight solid for the backing and left out batting. It’s durable and a bit more compact when rolled up. As you can see, Stinka approves of my choice.HST quilt flatI mixed the prints for a riotous blend of color and pattern. The block itself is quite simple as you’ll see. But the end result of my play is not the least bit boring. (You’d hardly notice an accidental spill on this quilt.)

Quilt Details:

  • Measures approximately 54″ square
  • Consists of 9 – 18 1/2″ blocks
  • Backed with home decorator weight cotton
  • Patchwork is from numerous collections by Amy Butler for Rowan

Think the busy nature of this quilt is too much? Do you like things that are calmer? Here’s the same block done a bit differently.HST ribbon quiltFor this quilt, I used a solid to set off the prints. I used a color wheel effect for this one, but you could simply choose your favorite prints whether all from one color family or not.Ribbon quilt mirrored blocksI mirrored the blocks (look top to bottom) because of the way this drapes on my table. But you don’t need to do that.

Quilt Details:

  • Measures approximately 42″ square
  • Hand quilted with Anchor pearl cotton thread size 8
  • 4 – 18 1/2″ blocks with a 3″ border
  • Patchwork is from numerous collections by Amy Butler for Rowan

I’ve prepared an information sheet for my version of this big and bold ribbon block. You can find it by clicking here. It also gives you the fabric requirements to make the wild 54″ square version.Stinka relaxed on HST quiltLarge blocks and piece sizes make this a quick project. In no time, you’ll be relaxing on your new quilt, taking in lazy summer days and pleasant weather. For everyone in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve plenty of time to make a small stack of these before those lazy summer days arrive.

And if you’re really adventurous, why not use this colorful patchwork as a field for large scale applique. The results would be stunning. A large black monogram in one of the lower corners would make a great gift for kids going off to college. Just look how fabulous Stinka appears against this field of color!


Winner Announcement

Olfa winner 35thThe winner of the Olfa 35th Anniversary Giveaway is Mar who said, “I’ve been using Olfa rotary cutters for decades! My personal favorite is the ergonomic handle, I highly recommend it!” Congratulations, Mar! Check your Inbox.

Thank you to everyone who entered. I’ll be doing a little fabric giveaway soon, so stay tuned for that opportunity.

Olfa Celebrates 35th Anniversary of The Rotary Cutter!!!

Did you know the rotary cutter is 35 years old? Olfa introduced this revolutionary tool in 1979 and things haven’t been the same since. To help celebrate this milestone, Olfa sent me a little rotary cutter, a 6 1/2″ square ruler and a 12″ spinning mat to review. I was also given the opportunity to design a quilt block to help memorialize the event.Olfa Goodies (2)First, let me just tell you a story about rotary cutters. If you’re new to quilting and/or are too young to remember the early 80′s, you missed out on the stir this tool created. Long ago, I worked for a large retail fabric chain, House of Fabrics. I started out as a sales clerk and worked my way up to store manager. During those years, I overheard many conversations between customers on the sales floor. One of the most heated, and often repeated, conversations had to do with rotary cutters. Women actually stood at the notion’s wall and argued about whether or not “real” quilters used these things. Because in that first decade of existence, the amazing rotary cutter was not embraced by each and every long time quilter. Some people even said it was just a phase. Boy, were they ever wrong!

It’s hard to imagine my sewing area without Olfa cutters and mats. I find that Olfa mats last longer and heal better. When it comes to the rotary cutters themselves, you can always rely on Olfa to deliver consistent quality. I have two 45mm cutters for regular cutting, one 45mm with a pinking blade, one with an old blade and labeled for paper cutting, plus this cute little 28 mm cutter that just arrived. More than enough, but probably not the end of my stash of cutters. I do need one of the ergonomic safety cutters after my little accident the other week.Happy 35th Olfa blockTo get everyone in the celebratory spirit, Olfa will give away a small mat and cutter to one lucky reader. Here’s all you need to do for a chance to be the lucky one:

  1. Leave a comment on this post before the deadline to enter. Tell me when you got your first rotary cutter.
  2. One comment per reader. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  3. You have until 12:00 midnight Pacific Standard Time on Monday, July 14, 2014 to enter.
  4. International entrants are welcome.
  5. Winner will be selected by Random Number Generator.
  6. Winner will be notified by email and will have until July 21, 2014 to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected by Random Number Generator and notified by email.

Good luck! Please note that due to the large volume of giveaway commenters, I will be unable to thank you all personally for taking time to visit and enter the giveaway. So to everyone who stops by, “Thank you!” And don’t forget to check out Olfa’s FB page.

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed. A winner has been chosen and notified.