Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Quilter's Mixology Book Reviews

So my book has been out for a couple months now and it's been fun to see book reviews pop up here and there across blogland.  Each one is a complete novelty and I'm completely flattered (seriously!) by anything nice that is being said.

Today you can find a review of my book over on Pat Bravo's blog.  Pat is the genius behind Pat Bravo designs and Art Gallery Fabrics, so it means a huge amount to me to hear her opinion.  And she put together this great image which I'm happily stealing from her. ;)

I've had other dear friends write book reviews as well on their blogs.

Faith, Fresh Lemon Quilts, was such a dear and I love what she said about how thorough my directions were.  That was something I worked REALLY hard at doing and debated a lot about how much to include.  Basically I gave as much info as they would let me fit in there.  lol  And she started an amazing mini version of my Petal Pushers Quilt using some of my favorite fabrics from Cotton & Steel and Violet Craft.  Yum!

My lovely friend, Ayumi of Pink Penguin Quilts, was sweet enough to write a review of the book.  And she has an interview of me on her blog where I attempt to sound pulled together and knowledgeable. ;)  You can be the judge of that.

Ayumi and I were working on books at similar times and she was a great resource for me during the process.  She is the MOST encouraging person!  I read her blog review and I'm not quite sure I believe all of that stuff she says about me.  But it's a good thing to go read if I'm having an off day.  lol

Kati, From the Blue Chair, wrote a review earlier this summer as well.  Kati too has an interview of me on her blog post and she talks about how she was skeptical of my topic but I won her over. I love an honest review! lol  I'm skeptical about a lot of book concepts that I hear these days too.  Mainly because I feel we are a bit over saturated with books.  But trust me...writing a book has been a life long dream of mine.

Kati also started a version of my Arabian Nights Quilt.  She used a different die cutter and offset the pattern and it is looking beautiful!!  I can't wait to see the finished version!

I don't want to get too long winded and I don't want to leave anyone out...but some other great reviews out there are from Christa of ChristaQuilts who I met at Sewing Summit last fall in my class on curves.  It was great to hear her perspective from being in my class to reading the book.

Melissa of Happy Quilting, also wrote a lovely review.  She was sweet enough to attend my school house event at market this past spring.  So she has gotten to see these quilts up close!   That can be a true test you know!  Do the quilts actually look good in person or has clever photography made something more appealing? 

And oh I'm sure there are more!  It gets a little hard to keep track of actually.  And I ADORE seeing anyone work on a quilt from the book.  I usually catch it when I'm tagged on IG, but feel free to email me pics of your work too.  It really makes my day to see people using the designs.

Quilts made from designs in my book!

And don't forget that Sara, Sew Sweetness will be hosting a Sew Along/Blog Hop of sorts starting in September!  There are several fabulous amazing people who are sewing up quilts to show their take on a pattern.  And there will be fun and prizes etc.  Sara always does an amazing job with these things.  So stay tuned for that.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Electric Quilt Featured Artist

Just in case you can't get enough of me ;) you can find me featured over at Electric Quilt.  This is the computer software I use when designing quilts.

And as part of the feature, I also have a little project design that I'm offering for free over on the Electric Quilt site.  Celebrate the current year with this 2014 design.  Create a calendar or pillow or whatever your heart desires.  You'll notice that I used my favorite little curves like I use in my book. This lets you get some extra practice or start with a small project!

I hope you enjoy the pattern and please let me know if you make it!!  I'd love to see!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ginkgo Trees - Can you help?

I know that not everyone who sews is an avid gardener or horticulturist, but I'm hoping there is some crossover out there among my readers who could give me some advice about Ginkgo trees.

I'm looking to plant a Ginkgo tree as a memorial tree and I want to know the best variety to plant.  I know that I want a male species due to the foul smelling berries from the female species.  I realize that these grow SUPER slowly (the tree pictured above is at least 100 years old) but they also have very long life spans.  They are the oldest living species of tree, having existed during the times of the dinosaurs and saw the arrival of mankind on earth. (they've been around a while...let's just put it that way)

But I'm having some difficulty deciding on the correct variety to plant and how old the tree can be and be transplanted.  I've been given the species name Saratoga Ginkgo but I am finding many more pictures for the Autumn Gold variety.  The plan is to have a bench under the tree and I am looking for a shape more like the one pictured above (though it obviously would not be that large perhaps even in my lifetime)

Can anyone help me?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tshirt Dress Success - for the most part ;)

Tshirt dress up cycle

One of the things I have wanted to try for a long time now is up cycling tshirts of Caitlyn's into dresses.  There are a variety of reasons I want to do this, it's economical and gives me a chance to try to play with knits.  But mostly because my girl is a girly girl.  There has not been a single pair of shorts worn this summer.  It is all dresses, all the time right now.  So tshirts are being wasted on her.  lol

One late night I was searching Amazon (you know, because it's always smart to shop on Amazon late at night when you wish you were sleeping) and I stumbled upon this book: Sew Pretty T-Shirt Dresses

Yes...I'm sure there are million free tutorials out there but I'm a book girl.  And it was cheap enough that I was willing to risk the author had some good tips and ideas that would be worth me not spending days searching through tutorials to find the one I liked.  So purchase I did.  And I think it was worth it.  There are tons of examples of dress types in here and that alone helps me.  I can decide what type of t-shirt dress I like and what I don't.  That's half the battle people.

Tshirt dress up cycle

So I gathered a couple of languishing t-shirts from her drawer that were hand me downs, AKA if I messed them up I would feel no remorse, to try out this technique.  I don't want to give away any details of the author's technique because I would encourage you to buy her book if you are interested.  (Gotta respect the work the author did and not share it for free! ;)  ) But I will show you some pictures of my process and my final dresses.

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

I started by chopping up the tshirt as required.  What a gloriously freeing activity! (Yeah...I may need to get out more)

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

There were some bows permanently attached to this shirt, so I needed to make sure I gave myself a seam allowance around them.

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

I picked out a sweet little cotton print (Moda I believe) that worked well with the t-shirt print and hemmed it and sewed the side seam.  And then sewed it all together!

Tshirt Dress Upcycle

And my little model loved it!  She tried it on and didn't want to take it off.  That's always a good sign!  Plus she does like to model for me. lol

Tshirt dress up cycle

tshirt dress

I did do a second dress as well with the other t-shirt.  It turned out cute, but I made some other decisions in sewing it that made just a larger dress overall.  Perhaps the tshirt was a bit larger to begin with.  I'm not sure.  Regardless, though it turned out cute, I've put the dress up in the closet for next year.  It's just a little too oversized and looks a bit homemade rather than hand made. ;) It's always best to wear clothes that fit you.

Tshirt dress up cycle

So, it was an experiment that worked...sort that will work for now and one that I guess will work for later. I still have lots of other ideas for combing t-shirts and other fabrics that involve elastic and shirring and other such crazy ideas. ;) But for now I'm comfortable with this new skill in my back pocket.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sewtopia Chicago

Have you all heard about Sewtopia?  It's the brain child of Amy Newbold and Jemellia Hilfiger.  They are hosting the first one this fall in Salt Lake.  But they listened to the pleading of many of us in the midwest and are hosting the NEXT Sewtopia in Chicago!!

The date: April 16th – 19th, 2015.

Location: Drake Hotel located in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Registration Fee: $375 (does not include travel or hotel) with limited early bird registration discounts and discounts to past attendees of Sewtopia Salt Lake and Sew OK.

Registration Time: Opens at August 1st at 10 AM MST

Registration includes:
 Shop Hop Thursday, April 16, 2015
 Open Social Thursday night, April 16, 2015
 Classes and lunches for Friday and Saturday
 Access to Sewtopia’s Sewing Lounge after classes are done
 Swaps and any Challenges (if you choose to participate)

This event is structured a bit different from the Salt Lake City, Utah 2014 event.
Included in your registration fee, you’ll have the opportunity to take classes taught by extraordinary and influential women from the modern quilting world.   And boy did Amy and Jemellia go all out with these two teachers.

I don't know if you recognize them, but that is the amazing talents Latifah Saafir of The Quilt 
Engineer and Rita Hodge of Red Pepper Quilts.  I know!!!  

And they are both teaching amazing classes.

Rita Hodge will teach you how to make Kansas Dugout blocks. You will learn how to accurately piece inset seams (Y seams) and no longer will you be afraid and call them names, like “pesky” or “annoying.”The Kansas Dugout quilt is a great scrap buster project, use up those favorite pieces that you could not stand to discard.

Latifah will be teaching one of her new quilt designs called Molehills.  With the Molehills quilt, you will learn and practice curved piecing and a relaxed version of foundation paper piecing.

you guys know that I'm particularly interested in the curved piece!! ;)

I know that there are a limited number of spots available for this event.  So if you want to attend, I would be ready to sign up right at 10 AM MST on August 1st.  Which is soon!

Have I mentioned how excited I am that there is going to be an event in Chicago?!  Finally I don't have to pay $$$$ for a plane ticket.  lol Although honestly for this event I would have been highly tempted wherever it was! 

I plan on being there!  How about you?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aurifil Threads...Scandalous?

I wasn't planning on writing this post today.  But I've been reading a few posts in blog world that have popped up the last couple of days that call into question the advertisement practices of Aurifil Threads and the main face of the company, Alex Veronelli.  One of the posts is by Abby of While She Naps and the other is by Florence of Flossie Teacakes.  I found both blog posts to be well considered and thoughtfully written by the authors and they raise a point about the "scandalous" behavior or perhaps sexist behavior that they have observed through social media of Alex as the face of Aurifil Threads.

Their main concerns are the tweets and/or facebook jokes that Alex posts are that undeniably racy, the #aurigirl photos that were taken at quilt market this sprint, and a previous "hey girl" caption competition that apparently was held last year.  I won't belabor their points here.  I think that they raise some concerns that the company can look at and decide how they want to handle what seems to be a common reaction of dismay and/or disgust at these things.  I read their posts and every single comment on each earlier today...there were over 100 comments on each I believe with LOTS of opinions thrown in there.  I'm seeing chatter on IG and I felt I had something to say in response.  I'm honestly not trying to fan the flame or deny that people could well be offended by the things they have seen.  Not everything is to my taste either.

What I WILL say is that I have long been a fan of this company for their unfailing generosity to the blogging community.  So if you have read the blogs or go read them now and think that is the whole story, please consider otherwise.  Integrity is a big thing to me.  HUGE.  And I wouldn't post this if I didn't honestly feel as though in spite of what some feel are tasteless practices, that this company is doing things that others are not.
This company has been sponsoring blog hops and sew alongs and competitions for years now.  Constantly.  Continually.  With Generous prizes to multiple winners.  And not all of these have been for big blogs or big names.  They simply have supported the blogging community since they entered the scene with unfailing generosity.  I would challenge many of you to reflect and think back over how many giveaways you have entered where Aurifil threads were a prize.

You may consider that all marketing and oh of course they would do that.  But let me tell you...NOT all companies do that.  In fact, I'd venture to say that most do not.  I see a lot of individual shops who support bloggers well, but getting the big companies themselves to support a blog hop is far more rare.

They also support all bloggers who use their thread by sharing literally hundreds of quilts and projects via social media as well from those who have used #aurifil on their photos.  I have had exposure daily to new people and their work because I follow Aurifil on Facebook and see all of these shared photos.  These are not Sewlebrities who have been given the thread or who will advance the face of the company.  These are photos of what all of us are doing, on every type of quilt imaginable.

Here is a photo of my personal thread collection....


I took a quick photo today of what it looks like.  As you can see, there are Aurifil threads and there are Coats and Clark and Gutterman and goodness knows what else.  I like thread. ;) I like different types of thread.  So I own different types of thread.  In full disclosure, I HAVE been given thread from the company, but the main purpose of that was for my book.  And the reason they gave it to me was out of generosity AFTER I asked them for it.  And they responded quickly and professionally.  It was a gift that allowed me to create the 16 quilts I needed to make without going into crazy debt.  And I am grateful for that.  But my personal story aside, I chose to request thread from Aurifil BECAUSE I had seen how supportive the company is of bloggers.  I made that decision after years of being impressed by their generosity throughout the blogging community.  As I said before...not all companies do this.  I'm not going to defame anyone else, but you should know that this generosity of goods is simply not true of all companies and certainly not true for the little blogger.

So please, make up your own mind about the practices of the company and their products.  You may love both, you may hate both.  But I encourage to reach out and communicate to the company (any company for that matter) if you are displeased with their marketing.  And of course to see if you are seeing a portion of the truth or all of the truth.  Perhaps you only need to see a portion to make your decision, and I respect that.  But I couldn't read what I had and the responses without knowing in my heart that there is so much more to this company and this man.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Flower Pond Dress

Flower Pond Dress

I had the chance to work with some of Alison Glass' latest fabrics from her line Field Day by Andover Fabrics.  I met Alison in person at Quilt Market this past spring and just adored her.  She is down to earth and fun and oh so talented.  I felt very comfortable with her, which can be a difficult thing to achieve with a person you have just met.

She sent me a bit of her fabric to play with and I was stumped for a while I'll admit.  I had some various fat quarters from the line and I felt a bit like I was torturing the fabric.  I don't know if you know what that is like but I was overworking it and trying to make it into something rather than letting it become something.  I finally had a bit of inspiration with one of her large floral prints and realized that I kept seeing it as clothing.  So I begged a bit more fabric from Alison and paired it with one of her Bike Path prints that I had already bought from a previous line.  And ta da!!  The Flower Pond Dress was born.

Flower Pond Dress 3

I used a McCalls pattern (6065) which is actually the same pattern I used to make Caitlyn's Easter dress earlier this spring. I like the pattern because there are no closures to worry about but it comes off a bit oversized on Caitlyn.  She's fairly petite and should I make it a third time I would definitely make the front bodice smaller.  The back is great, but the front is too wide for her petite frame.  I raised the neckline a bit from the first time, and I prefer that, but a few more alterations would be needed still.  Regardless, I made this darling dress.


I forgot to check the colors against Caitlyn's skin.  The mustard color was a last minute design change because the fabric looked better than the pink bike path I had been planning on using.  And I neglected to confirm whether my daughter actually looked good in that color.

Turns out...she doesn't.  lol  

Alison Glass Dress

I know...the pictures are cute.  I hope so!  I took a lot of them to get these shots. ;) But trust me when I say that I visibly flinched the first time I put the dress on her.  I just did NOT get the color right for her.  It's a darling dress and a darling girl, but sometimes the two just don't go together.  (Just long enough for a photo shoot with a great prop)  I'm happy to say that someone has already claimed the dress and it is going off to a happy home to another darling four year old.  And the two of them will make each other look better. ;) 

Flower Pond Dress Details

We're not concerned over here.  I make Caitlyn plenty of dresses and certainly could make this in another color.  She loved playing my model and in typical four year old fashion has promptly forgotten about the dress and moved on to greener pastures (hmmm...I wonder how GREEN would look on her? )  I do adore the little dress and the way Alison's two fabrics pair together so beautifully.  The large floral print is a perfect scale for garments and looks so bohemian and sweet at the same time.

Alison Glass Dress's a color for her.

Oh and Alison is showing off all kinds of beautiful projects that people are making with her Field Day line.  And you know what that means...a giveaway!  So hop over to Alison's site to see more projects and enter to win a FQ Bundle of the Field Day line or a set of her Aurifil threads.  


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