Caravelle Arcade Tea Mats

Jennifer Paganelli’s new line Caravelle Arcade is in shops and Sis Boom fans are buying it up. Not surprising, as this collections has some strong hints of her Girlfriends collection (long since out of print) which goes for crazy prices on eBay, etc. Jennifer is known for flowers and frills and loads of colorful delight and Caravelle Arcade has it all. It’s perfect for girly get-togethers of all kinds–everything from bridal or baby showers to brunch to simple tea time. And who wouldn’t want a quilted something special for those occasions?P1070406A tea mat is just the thing. Whether you want one for yourself or a friend or two, these little mats are super quick and easy. I used the blues for mine, naturally. A pop of fuchsia for the monograms adds the perfect dramatic effect. Very Sis Boom. I put together a single page pdf for you with yardage and instructions (makes 4 tea mats, each measuring 9″ x 12″). You can click here to get started.Sis Boom tea timeThey’re just big enough for a cup of tea and a small plate of goodies. In this case, I picked some mandarin oranges from our tree at the back door to go with the biscotti. Simple but delicious. A bit like these little mats.tea time w SBCare to join me for tea?

A Winner & A Sneak Peek

may 15 winnerRandom Number Generator has chosen a winner. Congratulations to Jessica P. who said, “I have a monster of a king size quilt that I really want to get quilted before the summer is over.” Jessica, check your Inbox for my email.

Everyone seems to have a list of some sort going for the summer. Even though, for some, it isn’t going to be all fun and games. I do love the way quilters and crafters keep their creative To Do lists full. So much optimism! succulentAs for me, I am bound and determined to baste that AMH EPP quilt and start hand quilting. I also have some fun stuff coming up next month for Free Spirit and there will be more chances for you to win some fabric. There is also a little stack of voile to sew up for summer wardrobe additions. Plenty to do.Sis Boom sneak peekFor now, I need to put together a little vignette for these darlings bits. After I grab some fun photos, I’ll be ready to post the project, complete with instructions for making your own. Just a little something colorful for you to look forward to–maybe even an easy project for you to add to your To Do list.

Free Fabric Friday aka Let’s Do A Giveaway!

Happy Friday, everyone! How was your week? We’ve made it to the mid-point of May already. I had really hoped to have more done by now, but unfortunately, stuff got in the way. However, I pulled together some fabric leftovers for our giveaway. Priorities, you know.giveaway lootThe loot includes pieces from Tanya Whelan, Heather Bailey, David Walker, Tula Pink and Joel Dewberry–beginning at the lower left and moving clockwise. It’s an eclectic little mix of designer prints. I’m quite sure you weren’t expecting any Halloween fabric, but I made these bags for Free Spirit out of David Walker’s collection back in February.DW Halloween bagsYou can find my free pattern for the treat bags here. And my free pattern for the ruffled handbag here. I made a treat bag in Amy Butler’s Violette and you can see it holds plenty of treats. I have a couple skeins of yarn in there along with circular needles and the beginnings of a new project. (More on that project in another post.)Violette treat bagIt’s possible I’ll throw a few extra bits into the box before I ship it to the lucky winner. So…without further ado, here are the details for the sweepstakes (aka giveaway):

  1. Leave a comment on this post before the deadline to enter. Tell me what projects you have on your To Do list for the summer. Or at least on your Want To Do list. Or your I Can Dream, Can’t I? list.
  2. One comment per reader. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  3. You have until 12:00 midnight Pacific Standard Time on Monday, May 18, 2015 to enter.
  4. International entrants are welcome.
  5. Winner will be selected by Random Number Generator no later than May 22, 2015.
  6. Winner will be notified by email and will have 7 days to respond. If winner does not respond, a new winner will be selected by Random Number Generator and notified by email.

Good luck! I’m looking forward to hearing about your summer sewing plans.

Have a Happy Friday and wonderful weekend!

Magazine Winner

100 blocks mag winnerThank you all so much for your comments! I’m delighted you liked the geese/fish. It really is a versatile block and I hope you’ll be tempted to make something with it. If you do, be sure to let to me know!

Now for our winner….the Random Number Generator chose Lisa Marie who said “Lovely block! I always enjoy this magazine, must be exciting to be a part of it.” She’s quite right. It is exciting to be part of this fun magazine! Lisa Marie, check your Inbox for my email.P1070149Fabric has been piling up around here over the last two months. I think it may be time to have a little fabric giveaway. I plan to do a bit of picking up around here this week. When I’ve done that, I’ll be able to sort, stack, photograph and post some fabric goodies for a giveaway. Interested?

Have a wonderful week!

Quiltmaker 100 Blocks, Vol. 11 — Block #1091

QMMS-150044-cover_200_66012It’s time for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks again! The blog tour is going on all week so be sure to check out all the posts (and enter to win giveaways). My block is #1091, Frilly Goose.Quiltmaker book submittedI pulled from my Sis Boom stash for these pretty prints. They make for a very feminine version of flying geese. And of course, are a great way to use scraps from your stash. Win-win. Frilly Goose 2To prepare for this post, I made another one in Jennifer’s Jenny Eliza line for Joann’s. Same Sis Boom attitude but this version is a little more sassy than the first. These pretty geese need the right environment to preen and show off, so here are a couple ideas to get your flock underway.Frilly Goose digital quilt1Set the block on point and arrange in rows. Add sashing between rows. (For corner setting triangles, cut two 9 1/2” squares for each block. Cut on the diagonal to yield four triangles. Sew to Frilly Goose block. Trim as necessary. New block is 17 1/2”.) Or omit sashing altogether and add a narrow border.Digital Frilly Goose2It’s entirely up to you. Whatever you do, whether with my block or any other, just have fun! That’s the key.

To celebrate Volume 11, Quiltmaker will send a copy to one lucky reader. Here’s all you need to do for a chance to be that lucky person:

  1. Leave a comment on this post before the deadline to enter. Tell me anything you’d like, there’s no magic comment.
  2. One comment per reader. Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  3. You have until 12:00 midnight Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, May 9, 2015 to enter.
  4. International entrants are welcome.
  5. Winner will be selected by Random Number Generator no later than May 12, 2015.
  6. Winner will be notified by email and will have 7 days 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 happy sewing!”

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

A Bonnie Wee Quilt, A Friday Feline & Some Magazines

Happy Friday! Happy May Day! BonnieWeeQuiltIn the midst of all the activity, I stole enough time to finish my Amy Butler blue project. It’s a bonnie wee quilt with blocks based on the Scottish flag. There are lots of fun Union Jack projects out there but I thought a twist on the saltire was overdue. It’s a baby size quilt because I was dying to have a finished project in my hands that was mine to keep. It would look fabulous as a full size bed quilt, don’t you think?

Of course, I just finished reading Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching set of Discworld books so my head was full of the sound of the Wee Free Men and the constant outbursts of “Crivens!” as I put this one together. If you haven’t read Terry Pratchett’s books, and have even the slightest desire to read satire and humor in a fantastical world set on the backs of four elephants, who in turn are carried on the back of a giant turtle …well, just pick one and dive in. You can hardly go wrong, though I’m partial to any Discworld book with the witches or Death. Pratchett’s genius will be sorely missed though I am very grateful for the huge volume of work he has left behind. (Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg will be with me ’til I hear Death speaking in all caps.)Pete loungingThe days have been unseasonably hot again. All the fans are running and I find myself wondering just how soon we’ll need to pull out the portable AC unit. Naturally, the cats can be found lounging in the early morning but disappear by 9 a.m. I even managed to grab a photo of Pete before he could work up the energy to greet me.Pete yawningAs soon as I finish up the emergency sample sewing currently underway, I’ll be able to baste the AMH EPP and begin hand quilting. And I have a wonderful stack of Amy Butler and Jane Sassaman fabrics to play with as well. I’m looking forward to making room for all of that. And of course, sharing it all here with you.Spr Summer magsFor now, you can find my Amy Butler voile pillow in the Summer issue of Stitch magazine (it made the cover!) and my Jane Sassaman pillow cover with big stitch quilting in Generation Q. Oh, and the Star Landing quilt from Jenean Morrison’s last line is in McCall’s Quick Quilting. Phew! Next week, I’ll be part of the Quiltmaker 100 Block blog tour. And after that, you won’t have to see me in any magazines until Fall.P1070126It’s coffee time for me. Lots to do and not enough time to do it. I’ll be back again soon with some color and creativity to share.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Vision

Vision, by definition, is the act of seeing. It is also the word used to describe something experienced in a trance or dream. The same word describes a force of imagination. As words go, it’s an easy one. As concepts go, it’s pretty hefty.potato bush flower3 Creativity relies on vision–all kinds of vision. (Okay, maybe not everyone creates from visions through trances or dreams, but many artists do.) Having perfect eyesight isn’t a guarantee of creativity. Even a broad base of knowledge about what you are seeing doesn’t translate into creativity. And you can certainly have all kinds of visions of yourself as an artist without any basis in reality.

So what is it that sets apart a Creative from everyone else? What happens in the brain and mind to turn sensory input into something other/new/different? Is it something you are born with? Or can you train yourself to “see” like a Creative?

potato bush flower2While the general populace tends to believe you are either born with a creative bent or you’re not, I disagree. I believe we are all born with the ability to be creative–in some way, to some degree. I believe it’s part of our humanity, our soul. For many, the creative urge has been stifled. Usually, early on and with repetitive attempts to “normalize” behavior.

Often, that creative urge is lying dormant, waiting to be valued and set free. All it takes is a tweak to your vision, a change of perspective. After all, what is creativity but a different way of seeing the world and expressing it?

But even if you recognize that creative part of yourself, you may be frustrated. You may feel woefully inadequate at executing the creative visions you do have. Don’t despair. That’s perfectly normal. But you can’t wallow there. You have to build skills, practice your craft and create, create, create.red marigoldIn the meantime, you can feed your creative self by adjusting your perspective. Our eyes take in much more than we actually “see”. Our brains apply filters so we don’t go crazy from all the information we receive visually. But there are additional filters we can apply to change our focus and fill ourselves with beauty. orange marigoldWe don’t have to “see” the imperfections, the unappealing details. We can choose to focus on the things that feed us and inspire us. Once you start to do this, it becomes automatic. You can train yourself to pay less attention to some things and more attention to others. The choice of where your attention, your focus, goes is entirely up to you. Look at this photo:stuff to plantIt’s just a bunch of plants waiting to be put in the ground or in pots. They’re not even grouped to look particularly appealing in the interim. But that’s exactly they way they were when I grabbed the two close ups of the marigolds. And this photo:potato bushThat’s the potato bush waiting to be planted, in exactly the same spot as I got the first two photos in the post. I chose to look at the details and focus on them. Not on the stuff that needs doing in the yard–the weeding, the trimming, the ground cover, etc.

It’s a practical example of what I’m trying to communicate. Vision is not only about the light passing through your eyes and telling your brain what’s in front of you. Vision is as broad or as narrow as you choose. Focus on the things that are beautiful, interesting, different and you’ll soon be drawn to those things wherever you may go. Unexpected textures and colors combinations will show up. Bizarre details will pop out of mundane architecture.

One of the easiest ways to explore beauty and document the things you choose to focus on is to take photos. Those bits of captured inspiration can be turned into all kinds of creative “stuff”. And it’s a good way to train yourself to “see”. In an upcoming post, I’ll tell you about my cameras and how I use them. I’ll share the editing steps I take and talk about how to get eye-catching photos.

So stay tuned!

Family Trees

geraniumWhen you belong to a large family, there always seems to be some milestone or other on the horizon for somebody. It’s usually things like major birthdays (you know, the ones that end in zero) or anniversaries, the birth of a firstborn, etc. Sometimes, it’s a bit more mind-bending.

On Saturday, there was a baby shower for a little one who will soon join her voice to this loud cacophony–this family to which I belong. It’s a huge occasion, really. Because she will be my first great-great niece. I have five brothers and sisters, eighteen nieces and nephews and twenty great-nieces/nephews. But in about eight weeks, the first of the great-great nieces /nephews will be born.

Isn’t it crazy?! It’s really not that odd to think of my mother as a great-great grandma. Or to think of my great-niece being a new momma. And it’s only a little weird to think of my niece becoming a grandma. What’s really, really weird to me is that my brother (my brother!) will be a great-grandpa.

Apart from the familial diversion over the weekend, things are moving along here. Samples were shipped off last week for some magazine work. A few Market samples will be shipped off this week. And then, cross your fingers, maybe there will be some breathing room and time for some thoughtful posts.kaffe pillowsFor now, click over to MakeItCoats for my free rectangular pillow pattern in Kaffe prints. (Photo courtesy of MakeItCoats) Super quick and easy–a great way to add a pop of Spring color.

Happy Friday!

Wow! Friday. Already. I hardly saw it coming. It’s been busy here, of course. Between samples for Market and stuff for magazines, there’s very little time for much else. However, despite the mayhem, I grabbed a few moments of “spare time” and started a new throw quilt with blues from my Amy Butler stash. Aren’t they lovely?AB bluesSpeaking of magazines, you’ll find my Charmed pillow pattern in the current issue of Stitch magazine (Spring 2015).Charmed pillow in StitchAll you need is 25 charms for this one. And the “quilting” is done by sewing buttons at the points (which means even those with imperfectly matched seams can create a masterpiece). Of course, it’s a great way to use your scrap stash as well. You can find it online at Interweave for half the price. Just click here.beautiful surpriseHave a Happy Friday and a great weekend!

Brighten Up

The Kaffe Collective 2015 will be shipping this month. A few favorites are available in new colorways (like Kaffe’s Spots). Click here to see them. A few months ago, I made two Floppy Bag samples for Westminster Fibers. floppy Kaffe bagsAnd now I’m thinking I need to make one for myself. I’m always gravitating towards dots, so it’s no surprise that some of my favorite combinations from the collection would include them.kaffe 2015 comboBut I must admit, this combination of Brandon’s prints would make a fun beach bag.brandon 2015 comboReady to start your own wish list? For starters, go visit Canton Village Quilt Works, Quilt Home and Hancock’s of Paducah. With Spring in full swing, it’s time to add a bit of color to your life. And there’s no one like Kaffe and friends for color.orange floppy closeup