Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas,
Happy New Year,
& Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quilty Stuffing

Each year, I send about 30-40 holiday greeting cards to friends and family. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary about that! What makes my greeting cards a bit unusual is that I include a small hand-made holiday ornament with the greeting card.

I started this little tradition a few years ago. And now, it has become somewhat of a highly anticipated event for my friends and family. The pressure is on when October turns into November and I haven't started the card-stuffing-creation-process. Sometime in Mid-November I typically bump into a neighbor who says something like, "I can't wait to see what you've done for your cards this year!" Nothing like a little added pressure during a crazy time of year.

This year, my plan was pretty easy. The Mini Scrap Grid (sorry, if you are tired of hearing about this!--but I must admit that I'm rather addicted to the stuff!) allowed me to create a whole miniature quilt to stuff into each of my holiday cards.

Hand-made holiday quilt ornaments

While the grid is designed to make 9-Patch blocks, there are plenty of ways to create 9-patch blocks that have a bit of an attitude! All using a grid requiring 1" squares!

I decided to make some itty-bitty half-square triangles. Well, I cheated! They really didn't start out all that itty-bitty. I used two holiday-themed 2" scrap squares from my ScrapTherapy bins. On one I drew a diagonal line, then placed them right sides together and sewed two seams. Cut them apart, pressed, them, then trimmed them down to 1" square using my 2-1/2" Bloc loc half-square triangle trimmer.

making mini half-square triangle ornaments

I was making a LOT of cards, so I needed a LOT of half-square triangles, leaving a LOT of holiday-themed 'confetti!'

holiday confetti

I made a bunch of itty-bitty four-patches, too! These were strip-pieced with 3/4" wide fabric strips. You can get a lot of 3/4" by 5" fabric strips from a 5" scrap square (you got it, the scrap square came from the ScrapTherapy bin!).

quilted ornament making

I placed them on a section of the Mini Scrap Grid interfacing, one 9-patch at a time and fused them in place.

Fuse fabric pieces to interfacing

Sew. Cut apart. Press and trim.

I even 'furled' the seam intersections from the back, so my ornaments would be perfectly flat!

furl the seam allowance

Then stacked up the blocks. Lotsa stacks of fancy 9-patches! Ready for borders.

holiday 9-patch quilt blocks

Fused the batting in between the little quilt top and matching backing fabric. This is starting to look festive!

Quilted ornaments

A little pinking around the edges and add a perle cotton loop for hanging . . . Repeat about 50 times to have enough for my list (after checking it twice)!

Now, all I have to do if find time to stuff my cards! . . . Any one know any unemployed elves who know how to lick an envelope?

Happy Stitching!

PS. While it might be a bit late to begin your ornament-making project for this year, I say, it's never too early to start thinking about next Christmas. Ask for a Taste of Nectar Ornament pack at your favorite quilt shop, or order one (or more) right here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What's New!

Well. Look what arrived in the mail last Friday. All the months and months of preparation seemed like they'd never end. Then all of the sudden an actual book shows up! I received my first author's copies of the new book, When Bad Things Happen to Good Quilters on Friday.

It's quite different from the previous two books. This book is full of stories, tips, best practices, and advice--and even a little humor--to get a quilter out of a jam. Ask for it at your favorite quilt shop. Or place your order here, keep in mind, I haven't received my 'real' order yet, so it might take a bit before I can ship them!

I can't wait to hear what you think about the book. I hope you like it, if you decide to make a purchase. (It will be arriving in stores everywhere just in time to make it on your holiday wish-list!--just sayn *wink!*)

In the meantime, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, I headed to Las Vegas, Nevada. No, not to take advantage of the entertainment 'opportunities' available almost anywhere you go (like here at the airport).

I was actually headed to Henderson, Nevada and Quiltique.

Your first impression as you take your first step through the door is all about color, fabric, and pure inspiration.

. . . more color is around the next corner . . .

 . . . and the next one, too!

In fact, you can find colorful fabric and project ideas to inspire in every corner of this Bernina dealership!

Wait! I wasn't there only for the eye-candy. We had some 'work' to do. A trunk show and two workshops! The Runaway Thread quilt was the first of two workshops to be held in the spacious classroom.

Doesn't the quilt look beautiful hanging right behind the counter!

The second workshop, the Bloomin' Steps quilt yielded some beautiful scrappy colorful blocks made with some slick techniques.

Perhaps what made this trip more memorable than most is that the staff bowling outing coincided with my visit, and I was invited along. It's funny, I found my bowling 'skills' improved after a cocktail or two. Let's just say, I don't expect to see my picture hanging in the Bowling Hall of Fame any time soon!

It was difficult to leave my new friends in Nevada to head back home to New York state. But it was wonderful to see that everyone's scrappy masterpieces were under construction.

Happy Stitching,