Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hey There, Mrs. Big Shot

Hello dear friends,

I've been trying to catch up with all the blog stuff that I have been so remiss with.  I meant to do this and I meant to do that.  Before I knew it, I was trying to refer to something on the blog but it wasn't there...  Apparently, thinking about doing something doesn't ACTUALLY get it done...  Who knew?

First, I want to tell you how excited I was to be selected as December in the Crazy Quilters' Quarterly 2017 Calendar!  Many months ago Pam Kellogg, creator of the online magazine, issued a contest for the calendar.  She requested blocks with a secret garden theme.  The blocks had to evoke a feeling of something special happening in the garden.  My little snowman made the cut!  Super excited!  Lots of other really talented artists were selected so, I felt really honored.  If you'd like to purchase a copy go to MAGCLOUD.  You can get a paper version or a digital copy.  They'd make great gifts for your quilty friends!  If the link doesn't work, try Pam's blog link.

So, as many of you know, I started hand dying silk ribbon to sell in my online shop.  Well, I was toting it all around in my storage bins and it was a mess.  Carol P. would tell me how much I needed a new solution.  EVERY TIME I SAW HER...  So, it took me awhile to figure out what direction to go in.  I knew I didn't want it to bo be too bulky.  Here's what I came up with:
Aren't the ribbons so pretty all layed out in a rainbow!?  It all rolls up nicely into a cute little carrier.  I should have gotten a better shot of the quilting on it.  Pretty cute if I do say so myself.  I also made an aqua one for the cool colors.    Apparently, I didn't take a pic of that one.  I tell you, if my head  wasn't attached, I'd forget to take it with me... 
 I finished a block for my Vintage Valentine quilt.  This block is not my favorite.  I am thankful for choosing to do the quilt because it has inspired me to design my own stuff.  That being said, I'm not sure that I love how I altered this block.  The ribbon section gives me fits.  Also, I have fixed that straight sided heart. 
I had another retreat in Mascoutah recently.  It's always a good time.  Except I always seems to be going through some crazy emotional upheaval during that weekend.  Last time, Sierra had just moved out.  This time, I found out my brother had died while I was there.  Luckily, the people there are all so supportive.  I did manage to get a few things accomplished in between breakdowns...  This super cute Ditty Bag!  Don't you just love that lace zipper?
 I also made a new iPad cover.  By the way, all of these fabrics can be found at !  There is a new tab at the top of my blog now, just click on SHOP and it has links to Etsy and Craftsy.

 A few years ago, Donna D. gave me a wool applique book as a gift and I made this super cute daisy block.  I had it laying out the other day while I was looking for something else and I realized how perfectly my gold fabric (available in my shop) matched the handle of the garden clips.  So, I made it into a wall hanging and hung it in my studio!  I just love it!  Thanks again, Donna D.!
 Last but certainly not least, I took an embroidery class from Catherine Redford through my quilt guild.  What a great way to spend a day!  She was a lot of fun.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  I'll admit that I'm pretty experienced and dare I say GOOD with a needle.  The class was on folk embroidery and was completely out of my element design wise.  It's good to realize that the stitches are all the same, it's just how you use them that makes the difference.  My kids think my class sample looks very "cell like".  Everytime they look at it, I hear how the mitochondria is the power house of the cell.  So, you know, it was also a great science lesson.
In other news, I added pages to the blog.  I've got a tab for the shops and a tab for tutorials.  I'm considering a tab for my award winning quilts.  Too pretentious?  I might do it anyway.  Makes me feel like a big shot.  Dress for the job you want, not the job you have, right?

Talk to you soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Assembling a Basic Crazy Quilt Block

Basic Crazy Quilt Block


Muslin 4" larger than block's finished size
Freezer paper
square ruler
pencil & marker
paper & fabric scissors
iron & pressing surface
WOVEN interfacing
8-12 scraps of fabric

Step 1-Drafting:

On the matte side of your freezer paper, draw the size block you want.  My favorite is my 8.5" ruler, traced on all sides.  Then use your ruler to divide block into sections.  I start in 1 corner and work my way around in a spiral until I have roughly 7 spaces in my 8.5" square.  The number of sections you end up with is your design choice.  Avoid drawing parallel lines, it will give your block more interest.

Step 2-Numbering:

Starting with the inner most center piece, mark it 1.  Then "trace your steps" backwards, numbering as you go.  All spots should be numbered, ending in the first section that was created.

I then like to trace my pattern in marker.  Lay your muslin over the bold pattern and sketch in piece #1.  At this point, some people like to make a copy of the pattern for visual reference on a separate piece of paper or take a picture with your cellphone. 

Step 3-Cutting:

Using your paper scissors, cut the pattern along the lines you made.  Be careful to lay the patterns down in the order they were cut, if you are skipping the extra copy step.

Step 4-Fabric:

I like to prep ALL my fabric with woven interfacing, including my base muslin.  I find it keeps things in shape and I don't need to hoop it later.  An especially important step if you're using a stretchy material.  20 seconds with a hot iron on to the wrong side of your fabric will set the interfacing.  

Decide which fabric you want to highlight and make that piece #1.  Using your iron again, lightly press the freezer paper template onto the right side of the fabric.

Using your fabric scissors, cut out the piece using a generous seam allowance, 5 - .75".  This is crazy quilting, don't worry about a big seam allowance.  Put piece 1 in place.  Prep piece 2.  Using your visual reference, lay the right sides together.  Take special note which side the seam is supposed to be on.  This is where you would add lace trim, in between the 2 pieces.  This will hide your lace ends in the seams of the other pieces.  Sew the pieces together, again with a generous seam allowance.  Feel free to trim your seam allowances after you've sewn the pieces together.  Finger press open.

Repeat until all pieces are added.  Sometimes your block ends up a little bigger than expected, not to worry... If you have gaps in some spots, don't worry too much, you can always add some treatments in that spot to cover it up!

Step 5- Finish:

When all pieces are added, baste around the perimeter of your block.  This keeps the ends from flying around and helps you regain the size you were looking for in the beginning.  When embellishing, don't bead within .5" of your edges.  You don't want to sew over a bead when you're finishing your project.

Have fun!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pucker Up Buttercup!

I'm so excited to announce that I've just launched the next phase of On The Brighter Side Fabrics!  It's long been a dream of mine to design and sell my own designs.  It was slow going but I think I finally figured out all the ins and outs of my software.  We have an old Mac that has a retro fitted version of Word that doesn't LOVE working with EQ7... any who, I've lost a little hair over the whole deal but I'm over it now.  On to the next!

If you're interested in being a pattern tester, please contact me.  I'd like to get 3 or 4 people's honest opinion of my pattern writing skills.  Gently point out what works and what can be improved on.  Yeah, I said gently.  I can't pay anything because I do want unbiased opinions but I can send you the pattern for free.  Then, I can include your name in the pattern as a tester.  No need to be an expert, I need beginners and advanced quilters to tell me if I'm making any sense.
It hasn't escaped my notice that it makes more sense to test the pattern before publishing but I was SOOO excited!  Isn't it so cute?  The piecing is very simple and the appliques are large and easy to handle, I promise.  Instructions are for fusible, so no needle turn necessary.  I'd need you to commit to getting it done in a month.  Completely doable!  I designed and made one in a 3 day weekend....

Let me know, Heather

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Who's Ready For Some Shopping?

Hello dear friends, sorry about the long gaps between posts but life does tend to get away from me.  I wanted to share with you a quilt that I crossed off my UFO list from the first of the year.  It's a Dresden Flower quilt with origami style flower centers.
It started several years ago as a shop display for Sweet Annies' but the fabric was so sweet, I had to buy it and finish it.  It has sat in my cupboard since then.
 The pink is the exact color of the carpent my mom and I had in the 80's!  And the large print rose fabric is very reminiscent of the coach I forced her to buy... My decorating game has always been on-point.
 The scraps were in my stash forever & I admit to using them without reguard to my unfinished quilt.  I just let the cards land where they may.  It was a close thing.  I think I had to super search for the last matcing petal.  And kicked myself the whole time...

 Over Labor Day, I took a Craftsy class on machine quilting feathers.  She also instructed on how to do a continuous line rope.  Which turned out really cool, that's how I quilted the sashing.
 I did a cusom 4 pointed feather motif in the centers between the flowers.
 There are flourishes in the petals that I quilted in monofilament.    There's also feathers around the outer border.
 If you're interested, I've got this quilt for sale on my Etsy shop HERE.  Might be time to start your Christmas shopping!
The only other thing that really got done this month was my CQJP for Sept.  I'm pretty happy with it. I put them all together when I finished this block and I really love the whole project together.  I'm pretty excited to finish it.  Hopefully I will get it done and into the quilt show in June.  The small round appliqué on the bottom was already stitched.  I think it was a collar on something in another life.  It was this collar that was the inspiration for my whole project.  I added the firefly.
I also fixed 7 of my previously appliquéd blocks.  I found that I had a really bad problem with shadowing.  I just couldn't live with how bad some of my projects looked with the light appliqués on dark fabrics.   No picures because you've already seen them and I doubt the difference would photograph well.

And, that wraps up my month!  Hope all is well with you and yours!  See you soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Mad Catch Up

I made yet another mad dash to catch up on my Splendid Sampler, only to fall behind again.  I'd gotten really sick for about 3 weeks and did no machine work at the time.  Then, when I got a little caught up, I forgot to take pictures...  And, you know, became obsessed with sports while the Olymics were on.  You know sometimes you just got to let it go.  Thank God the Olympics are over so I can go back to not caring about sports at all!  That sucked down SOOOO much of my time!

So, I apologize for the crappy pictures once again.  I bought a proper lighting set up but did not anticipate that I would be too lazy to use it...  I love the fabrics I used in the "crazy block" above.  The large floral is from the backer of a quilt that I just finished & I was super excited to use it again!

 I like this block but I feel like I might need to add a bit to the center of the flowers.  In the picture, it looks a little mashed together.  I loved using the rick rack for the basket handle.
 This hand applique one took awhile.  I had a couple pieces on, then realized they were super crooked, so I took them off and started again.

 I tried stitching this while I was sick and watching the Olympics.  You can see how wonky I got.  Also, the fabric really reads lavendar next to my other blocks.  It may not make it to the end.
  I thought this block was so cute!  I decided to use buttons for the pin heads, not sure if it reads like a pin now that I did it but it was a decent idea.
 Then this cute little guy!  Lots of little pieces but he's so cute!  His light pink body shows up better in real life.  I thought using red barn wood fabric for the tree was genius.  Just sayin' I have my moments.

Here's another redo, I originally had a solid pink where the stripes are but they got totally lost.

No complaints on this one.  Very cute block.  I do love hand embroidery.

So, I'm probably another 10 behind by now but that's okay.  I might have some time this weekend.  I think the next few were pieced which might go a little quicker.  Be sure to stop by, check out all the new stuff that's been added.  You might find something you just HAVE to have.  Use coupon code HELLOTHERE to receive 30% off.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 12, 2016

It's Been a Weird Month

Well, apparently, I HAVE been sick.  I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I blogged and I don't have a whole lot to show for it.  Above is my August block for CQJP 2016.  The big daisies on the blue background is a really cool woven stitch from TAST.  If you haven't already, you should head over to, very cool stuff!  She's been traveling but things are about to start up again.
 I managed to do another Art Nouveau block.  This is my TAS project for the year.  I kind of lost my motivation for awhile but it was nice getting one done.  I love the black background, all the colors pop.
 Look what came back from the long arm quilter!!  You've probably already seen it on Facebook, or at a meeting,  I can't help it!  I'm showing it everywhere I am!  I'm so proud of it!
 Hopefully you can see Judy Burk's amazing quilting skills.  The thing is, I'm pretty jealous of her work!  Seeing her work, having everyone ask me if I did the quilting and seeing the disappointment when they find out it wasn't me, has me determined to do it myself some day...

 I love the way she seperated the blocks.  They're almosted encircled by the cross-hatching.

The scalloped edges are filled with feathered hearts.

Each block is different, filled with leaves, stems, hearts, SO GREAT!  Full disclosure, I used a floral backer and it totally shadows in the front... But other than that, I' super happy.

While I was getting my on-line store ready, I did an inventory of ALL my yardage fabric.  It was exhausting and probably not neccessary...however, I found this cute panel set among it all.  So, I decided to finally make pillows out of them.  By finally, I mean I got these from Sweet Annies' somewhere between 5-8 years ago.  Then, I decided to donate them to my quilt guild for our auction in November.  
They're each a different picture but made the same.  I did some light quilting on them.  You know,
bone up on my own skills a bit.  I think they turned out really cute!  I was tempted to keep them but throw pillows die an ugly death here at Mantz Manor.  Ain't no body got no respect round here!

I guess that's all the artistic stuff I did this month.  The rest of the time, I was super sick while starting my website, and you know, working full time.  Still trying to figure out why NOW was the time I needed to start the website.  But, I did it...  Hope you take a look, I add new stuff all the time.  Use coupon code HELLOTHERE to get 30% off your order.  If you're local, message me and we can make an appointment for you to pick up your order & save on shipping.

I've got the weekend off, so hopefully, I'll be migraine free and stitching like a maniac!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Busy Summers

Hi Friends!  Well, I tell ya, this summer has been a wild one!  Things have been really humming along since we last spoke.  I'll admit, a nice long vacation would do me some good.  Alas, I'm not getting one.  So, onward we plow!

A few weekends ago, a bunch of us went to Mascoutah for our little stay-in-your-own-bed retreat that we have every few months.  It's always so great to catch up with friends!  I did manage to sew in between the socializing!  Donna D and I put our heads together and worked on Splendid Sampler blocks.  She's doing hers in multiple color batiks and it looks fantastic!  She's also more caught up than I am...
As I was uploading these photos, I realized I duplicated one.  I think it's interesting that I chose a plaid for both blocks in the same spots.  I must have been REAL sure about my decision!  Also, chose red both times...
I think I had this one done last time I blogged but forgot to take a picture.  I LOVE it.
As, I scrolled down, I thought there was something wrong with this next picture.  Nope, it really is that pale.  Wierd next to all my red!
 I don't save salvages, although I love the look of those blocks.  So, I chose stripes instead.  More red.

 Here we go with some pink.  My sweet little rosettes.
 Now, this next one...I looks really wonky in the picture but I think its just a problem with my pressing.  The middle is supposed to be a lemon.  I'm not an expert with curved piecing and such a tiny little block didn't help things much.  What can I pretend mine is?  Persimmon, maybe?  One of those moments that having such a limited color palette was really annoying.
 My pencils!  Donna D was really helpful picking out fabrics for this block.  You know, paper piecing.  ( insert body shutter here).  And, I'm really happy with the outcome.

 I'm a huge fan of designer Kristyne Czepuyk!  You should  check out her blog Pretty By Hand, she makes the cutest stuff!  She designed this next block.  I still have to add the embroidery down the light pink pieces.  Totally forgot about that...
And, for one brief, beautiful moment, I was almost caught up.  It's been a week again already.  So, that puts me 4 or 5 blocks behind again.  We put the English Paper Piecing blocks off to the end but then didn't get to them.  I guess thats better than a dozen...

I've recently restocked my Etsy shop, I'd love for you to take a look!  I also very recently made my first whole bolt purchase!  That was very exciting and nausiating all at the same time!  Woowee, it's expensive when you do that!  I can't wait to show you my new website, too!  I've been working diligently to get that up and running.  I work on it until I'm completely frustrated, then I go back and what I was so frustrated with starts to make sense.  I've got kind of a rhythm going...  On The Brighter Side Fabrics is going to happen!  And, I'm really excited about it!  Until next time, much love!