Monday, June 30, 2014

Final Call for It's A Sister Thing Swap

Do you have a sister? Or two? Do you not have a sister and want one? I can help with that.

Sisters have unique relationships with each other and I'm thankfully every day for my 3 sisters who I cherish immensly. There isn't much that I don't ask their opinions about.

My sisters and I have a motto when it comes to things we do together or buy for each other.

"It's A Sister Thing"

Our mom, brother and hubbies understand that line and usually don't bother asking questions, because they'd probably never get it anyway!

To celebrate sisters, both those with whom we share blood ties and those of the heart, I'm hosting the 2014 version of last summer's It's A Sister Thing Swap.It is designed to have you become a "sister" to another quilter and hopefully along the way you'll become really great friends too.
Today at Midnight is the final day to sign up! All of the info about the swap can be found here. You will have all summer to stalk your "sister" and to make 1 item for her.What you make and send is totally up to you, no restrictions or rules other than you need to make her something. 

If you want to join in and gain a great quilty "sister", hop on over to the original post for this year and read through it thoroughly so you understand how it works and then immediately email me all your pertinent information. Don't forget to the button to your blog (it's on my sidebar) and let everyone know that you are a "sister" too.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stunning Stitchin Sunday

Life (and the end of the school year chaos) has kept me unable to do the normal Stunning Stitchin Sunday posts for a couple of weeks but I'm happy to say that things are finally quieting down and I can get back to the regularly scheduled programming.
I have plenty of jaw dropping gorgeous stitching to share with you today.

Enjoy and have a great week!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sneak peak and It's A Sister Thing Swap reminder

This past week was filled with end of school year activities for the kidlets and some super fast sewing for me. I'm working on another kids art quilt but this one is for Sunshine's school by request of their art teacher just a few weeks ago. Though I still have one more row to add to the quilt top and the school's name to applique onto it, the rest of the top is done. Here is a sneak peak.
I wanted to have this part completed before the last day of school so that all of the kids could see it and find their own blocks in it. As I expected they were super excited when I unfolded it. The teachers hung it on the wall and they located the blocks made by each and every child. 
The school wanted to leave it up hanging on the wall for a couple of weeks, through the start of summer camp, so after that I will pick up back up and get it finished. When it is completed, it will hang permanently in the school's lobby for all to see when they enter. 
I also wanted to remind you that the deadline to join in on this year's It's A Sister Thing Swap is coming soon (Monday, June 30th) and you don't want to miss out on this fun Secret Santa type event. All of the info about the swap can be found here. You will have all summer to stalk your "sister" and to make 1 item for her. Last year I know of one "sister" that sent frequent small teasers to her "sister" before she sent the final package at the end of August. Of course I knew who the teasers were coming from but I didn't tell and the receiver was so tickled that her "sister" would make the swap so much fun.

So if you want to play along, make sure you read through the instructions carefully and then email all your pertinent information. Then add the button to your blog and spread the word. The more the merrier! Like last year, this is going to be a blast.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Teacher gifts 2014

Although I would have liked to again make full size quilts for the kidlets teachers this year, I knew that there was no way that I could ever get them done in time plus since both kids moved to different schools this year it was a good time to not do that so there wasn't any expectation from future teachers for quilts too.

But I do like to still give the teachers a handmade gift, something useful and pretty. For this year I chose to make tote bags and I used my Boho charms. I modeled my versions after the one made by TeresaDownUnder. First I laid out the charms how I wanted them and sewed them together (the 2 rows in the very middle are actually the bottom of the bag and the row at the bottom of the picture is the top of the opposite side.)
 Then I added the Bella Sienna strip.
 I quilted it with the Honeycomb design with my domestic machine Lucy. I love that this is so fast and easy, 45 minutes from start to finish for both panels.
 I added handles in the same solid fabric.
 Here is the finished result. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.
 I didn't want to over quilt it but I think this is just the right amount. I used Cocoa Essentials thread from Connecting Threads.
 I used one of the prints from the line for the lining and added a small pocket on each side using leftover charms.
 This tote is a great size for being on the go, big enough for books or to use as a purse but not so huge like a beach bag.
 Jammer picked that one for his teacher and Sunshine chose this other version for her teacher. I used the other colorways of the Boho line, the Pink and the Yellow prints, for this one. Here is the Pink side.
 And here is the Yellow side. I used Bella Paper Bag for the solid strip and handles.
 This time I quilted a line 1st going down the middle of the panels corner to corner. Then I added 2 more lines on either side of the 1st one. Then I moved over 1 inch and quilted 3 more lines diagonal across the panel. I continued on that way until I got to the end and then flipped it around to do from the middle to the other corner. Again this was fast and easy and I like the look. I originally thought that I'd do the same in the other direction but once I finished the 1st direction, I decided that I didn't want to add any more. I used the Taupe Essentials thread from Connecting Threads.
This one also got a couple of pockets, made with leftover charms. They are just big enough for a cell phone and a set of keys.
 The evening before they were being gifted I quickly ran outside to grab these photos.
 The wind was picking up good because of the incoming thunderstorms so getting some good shots was a challenge.
 I love how colorful and cheery they both are and the teachers were pleased as punch to receive them along with the gift cards that I tucked into the pocket.
I will definitely make these totes again though I'll tweak the instructions a bit the next time.
Whew! Teacher gifts done this year speedy quick and I wasn't as stressed out. That is a good thing. I'm linking up today with a few parties!
Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Have you seen this yet? I just came across it on the interweb.
It took place in Switzerland. You can read about the project in English here.
Though I can't read it and I can't find a button on the site so that I could translate it, here is their website. If you scroll down a little, you can see all 4 videos about this very cool quilt project.
You can't watch the video from the above, it is just a photo I borrowed from their site to encourage you to click on over there to watch it. It is way cool!

One more link to of the brother's Facebook page, where you can see a ton of posts about Bignik.
Enjoy and spread the word. This is something definitely worth shouting about. 
Congratulations to the Riklin brothers for pulling off such a fantastic idea.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New York License Plate Block Tutorial

Because many of you have asked for it, here is my little bit of instructions of how I made my New York license plate block for the American Made Brand Blog Tour.
I started by making the NY Beauty Block. I followed this tutorial by Kim of My Go-Go Life however I reduced the foundation pattern until it measured 7" wide by 3 1/2" tall and I did not add the outer arch but instead used a lightweight fusible to adhere it to the #1 White background and then stitched around the outside to secure it. For the inside half circle and the spikes I used colors #32 Light Aqua, #33 Aqua and #34 Dark Aqua. I will warn you...sewing the inside quarter circles to the paper pieced section wasn't so easy since it is so small but if you go very slowly and continually adjust it as you sew, it will work.
For the horse head I printed this pattern and used the smallest size and color #64 Light Caramel. The horses features were freehand embroidered with DMC #898.

For the cross stitched Rose, I followed this pattern and used DMC floss #s 776, 3326, 335 and White on the #41 Light Pink fabric and did not cross stitch the lightest pink of the pattern but instead let the pink fabric shine through in those areas. Again I then fused it to the background fabric and stitched around the outside to secure it. The satin stitched embroidered leaves were done freehand with DMC #367.
Next came the apple and I used this pattern and the #81 Dark Tomato fabric. It was simply fused to the background, stitched around the outside and the stem and leaf was then freehand satin stitched with DMC floss #s 702 and 898.
The letters for New York were cut from the #93 Light Navy fabric. I printed off each letter pattern I needed from this page and then reduced them down until they were 1 1/8" high. They are fused to the background 1/4"' above the NY Beauty Block. Finally I cut off the White background fabric 5/8" above the letters, attached a 1/2" strip of the #81 Dark Tomato fabric and then added back the rest of the White strip that I had cut off and trimmed the entire block to the required 6 1/2" x 12 1/2". 

If you make your own version, I'd love to see it. This project truly was a pleasure for me to do and afforded me the opportunity to try some new things. I look forward to much more paper piecing projects in my future.

Monday, June 23, 2014

It's a Sister Thing Swap 2014

We're you here last summer? If so you might remember the It's A Sister Thing Swap. Well so many of those that participated last time wanted to do it again so now is the time to open the sign ups for the
It's A Sister Thing Swap 2014!
This swap will run exactly the same as it did the 1st time. For all of my new readers, here is all the info:

Sisters have unique relationships that others can't understand. Sisters aren't just those who have the same parents, they are also those with whom we have the very closest connections of the heart. My daughter is lucky enough to have 14 sisters who are all the little girls who were in our China Travel group. Together they  share their unique stories of their journeys to their forever families.

I have 3 biological sisters myself and we are extremely close. I'm also very lucky to have my very bestest BFF who is as much a sister to me as the ones I grew up in the same house with. We share things with each other, the good and the bad, we borrow clothes from each other (if we can) and we never have a hard time telling each other if an outfit looks horrible on one of us. We shop together, we know each others' tastes and we laugh at each other A LOT.
You are never alone in this world as long as you have a Sister!

My sisters and I have a motto when it comes to things we do together or buy for each other.

"It's A Sister Thing"

Our mom, brother and hubbies understand that line and usually don't bother asking questions, because they'd probably never get it anyway!

To celebrate sisters, both those with whom we share blood ties and those of the heart, I decided to put together this really fun swap. It is designed to have you become a "sister" to another quilter and hopefully along the way you'll become really great friends too.

Here's the plan:

1) This is a 1 time only swap. You will send 1 package and you will receive 1 package.

2) You will have all summer long to get your package ready.

3) You will be matched with 1 person and over the coming 2 months you get to follow stalk their blog to get a good sense of who they are, what they like and what sort of handmade goody they'd love to receive from you.

4) Yes you must have a blog to participate in this swap. How else would your Secret Pal be able to learn all about you?

5) You should make one handmade item for your Secret Pal. If you want to make more, that is totally up to you. It could be a tote, a clutch, a clothing item (good luck guessing their size), a small quilt, a wall hanging, a set of place mats, a table runner, a pin other words...anything your heart desires. This is what I sent to my partner last year.

6) If you wish, you could include some other fun items that you find during your summer travels that you know your Secret Pal would just adore. I for one am looking forward to searching out some cool trinkets during my upcoming summer trips.

7) This isn't meant to be an expensive swap. One handmade item minimum and whatever small additional goodies you wish to add, if you wish to of course. I suggest the box be no bigger than a USPS Priority Mail Medium sized box.

8) The person that you will be a Secret Pal to isn't the person that will be your Secret Pal. I'm sneaky, I know! You won't know who has been stalking you until your surprise package arrives.

9) Mailing deadline will be August 31st.

10) You must post about the box you receive on your blog. We certainly want all the world to know what sort of goodies our Secret Pals send to us, don't we? This is the over-spoiling awesomeness that I received last year from SpartanBabe of Annie Oak Designs.

Sign ups will remain open until Midnight, Tuesday June 30th. Your Secret Pal match will be emailed to you the following day. This is open to international sisters too.

To join in, email me:
*Your full name
*Your complete address
*Your phone number (just in case)
*Your blog address
*If you are willing to ship internationally Yes or No

I was lucky to be a Secret Pal to someone who is now a good friend and to receive packages from my Secret Pal while we waited the long years to bring our daughter home from China. I cherish the memories of the days the boxes to me arrived and think of her each time I see something she sent. I also remember all the fun I had shopping for just the perfect little goodies to send to the person that I was a Secret Pal too. To this day we still laugh about the crazy things I sent to her (like the multitudes of Mr. Potato Head theme accessory sets).

Those same feelings and memories are what I want to create here for you, both for the person that you will be a Secret Pal to and the person that will be your Secret Pal. I hope that your new motto will become
"It's A Sister Thing!"

Sunday, June 22, 2014

American Made Brand Blog Tour - Final collage

Never can say goodbye,
No, no, no, no I...
I never can say goodbye.

The fabulous American Made Brand Blog Tour is now over.  It has been a wonderful journey across America and I'm sad to see it come to an end. But for me at least it isn't truly over because I'm now a huge fan of these terrific solid fabrics and will be using them again and again in my future projects.
I hope you have enjoyed touring along with us and if by chance you missed any of the stops along the way, you can always go back and check them out, either by clicking on the American Made Brand Blog Tour link above and that will take you to the blog tour's main page with the entire schedule, or you can click on American Made Brand on my sidebar and then you'll see all of my posts about this blog tour.

Here are the final collages with all of the license plate blocks, so you can get some sense of what the final quilt that will be shown at quilt market in Houston this fall will look like. This week I changed the collage up a bit for a different look, the 1st one has all the odd number blog tour stops and the 2nd one has the even numbered blog tour stops.

In this day and age, with so much of the things we purchase made somewhere else, having a great fabric 100% American Made is something to celebrate. The fact that they are really wonderful to work with makes them even better.
With 50 gorgeous shades, the line has a bit of every color family. I'm sure if you haven't given them a try yet, when you do you'll love them as much as I do.
Thank you again to Clothworks for affording me the opportunity to be a part of this exciting blog tour. It was an honor and a pleasure and I've made a ton of new blogging friends. 
Now it's time to go and sew.

Friday, June 20, 2014

American Made Brand Blog Tour - Day 25

It is the final day of the fabulous American Made Brand Blog Tour. I truly have enjoyed touring the United States and seeing all the gorgeous sites each blogger has shared with us in her state.
What has been even more fun is seeing what design they created when they made their state license plate block.  The final quilt constructed of all 50 state blocks will be wonderful and I just wish that I was going to Houston this fall so that I could see it in person.

We are ending this journey with our last 2 stops:

Hawaii - barbara bieraugel designs

And 2es there are 2 more chances to win a FQ bundle of American Made Brand fabrics. Make sure you enter.
I will do one final collage post tomorrow showing all of the state license plate blocks. While I'm sad to see this road trip end, I'm glad that I've got to "meet" so many great bloggers along the way.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Behind. So, so behind.
No, not that behind, the one that you sit on.
Behind as in too many things going on at once and I'm not caught up.
But it seems that this typically happens every year around this time.

With my insane schedule lately I haven't had much time for blog reading. When I opened up my Feedly on Sunday morning there were 1,001 unread posts that were almost 3 weeks old.
I'm now up to those just 7 days old but there are still almost 500 on the list (60 new ones got added since leaving for work yesterday). I don't like being behind on things so Yes this bugs me a tad bit. I'm also behind in many other things but I know that come mid July the craziness will settle down and I can get everything caught back up.

The weekend before last we attended my cousin's wedding. Here she is walking down the isle with her dad (love him bunches...he had a hard time holding back the tears the entire day).
The newly weds' first dance. The are both in the military and are stationed in Hawaii.
The kidlets had a blast and loved spending time with the extended family. Sunshine couldn't get enough of my Uncle Kenny. I kept seeing them gigling together and being silly.
Jammer was a blur the entire day. That kid never stops until he is sleeping. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold so it was a glorious day.
Towards the end of the event, they put big bowls of Hershey Kisses and other chocolates on the tables and then Sunshine and Uncle Kenny proceeded to play some sort of game with them for quite a while.
Speaking of that behind (TMI? I promise this isn't dirty), I'm a happy, happer camper these days. You see I hate shopping for pants but really needed to for work. My problem is the fact that I have hips and a smaller waist and many pants are made for ladies with much different waist to hip size measurements. I can't stand having that giant gap at my waist. So last week, in prep for the work industry trade show I had to attend I tried on a ton of pants and found these that actually fit. Hallelujah! And as you can see they were on clearance. Score! I bought 2 pair of the Khaki and 2 Black, which for some reason weren't on clearance. Go figure. Anyhoo...finally having pants that work for me is a really good thing.
Along with all the usual things going on here, Sunshine's Preschool Graduation was on Tuesday morning. She always makes these silly faces when in front of a group.
Of course I shed a few tears (I'm such an emotional sap). Here she is getting her certificate.
She had a fabulous year and is excited to be moving up to kindergarten. She'll be going on 6 in the fall but the deadline for starting kindergarten in NY is 5 by Dec 1st and she misses the deadline by a few days.
The kids changed out of their fancy clothes for the rest of the school day. Hello...I didn't want Purple popsicle to get on that dress. We were able to wrangle her and her BFF for a quick shot before they took off.
Once I got back to the house, I got started on these. Yes I'm making another class art quilt, this time for Sunshine's school. The art teacher asked really late in the school year so this won't get 100% completed by the last day next week but I should have the top done so they can show it to the families and then after I will take it back to quilt and bind. It is going to hang in the school lobby for all to see when they enter.
This time around the kids used the new Crayola Fabric Markers and this method was so much easier than the relief paint method we used last year plus the blocks aren't as stiff. Here are all 81 blocks trimmed up.
Then it was on to chain stitching one side of the sashing. I love that this goes so fast.
A rainbow of sashing is done and now it's time to press, hopefully this afternoon.
Another get-it-done fast project also came up the other day. I got an email from the other class mom for Jammer's class about what we were going to do for the class end of year gift. What? I didn't know that we needed to do that. After some quick thinking, a little shopping and some help from the class aide, it is all done.
Tuesday afternoon and last night after dinner some down and dirty simple scrapbooking happened and although it isn't as fancy as I would have liked to make it, it still turned out great. Each of the kids wrote a note to the teacher and drew a picture and I added the background papers, each student's picture and the sticker embellishments, with help picking out each from Jammer. You should have seen the piles of paper and stickers strewn all over the dining room table. After adding a cover page, a poem, a fun ending page and a Thank You signature page with all the kids' names, it is ready to hand to her today at the class picnic.
Other than Jammer of course, none of the kids have seen the final result so I know they will be excited to see how it turned out.

The next few weeks are still going to be crazy for me with a bunch of 1/2 days of school until they let out for the year plus getting them settled at summer camp so who knows when I'll be able to blog more but I'll try. I certainly don't like to lose touch with all of you. Whatever your end of June days bring, I hope they are bright and sunny.