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!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Plucking Along

Well, hello there friends.  Lots of goings on around here.  Not too much of it sewing.  But, I have done some since I last blogged.

These are my most recent Splendid Sampler blocks.  I'm REALLY happy with this one.  I just love all these fabrics so much!

I chose to only go forward.  Maybe, when it's over, I'll decide to re-do a few.  Namely my paper piecing.  We'll just have to see what we see...
This little fan is a personal best.  Usually, my Dresden plates are really wonky.  This one's pretty round.  Then, I did a crappy zigzag with the center...Totally missed the edge on half of it.  I really needed a closer thread match but I was trying to use what I had.

One of the bonus blocks.  This was a derby hat in honor of the Kentucky Derby.  Yep.  I'm a little behind...
 A really cute sewing machine.
While doing this paper pieced heart, I did learn a few things.  1) my iPad doesn't give me many printer options.  2) just make it bigger, it'll be fine.

So, since I couldn't check the "print full size" option, I just went bigger on the sides and cut it down when I was done.

I'll have to print from one of the desk tops when I want to do something a little more complicated in the future.  Then, I decided to skip that one really cute block of the dress and thread spool.  Maybe later.

This is such a sweet little block.  By now, I'm probably another 10 blocks behind.  It's a long weekend.  Who knows, maybe I'll catch up.

Yeah, probably not.  But, let's look on the brighter side!

Nice plug for my Etsy shop, right?  Have you taken a look?  You might find something you need:)
In other news, one of my daughters moved out.  I was NOT emotionally ready for that to happen.  But, it did and I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually.  I keep telling myself people grow up, they move out.  It's all totally normal.  And, we do try to appear normal when we can.

I'm dealing with my pain by turning her room into a studio.  It's been the plan for years, and I'm excited for it but also very conflicted.  Life is so complicated.  Parenting is complicated.

I now have lots of room for books.  I haven't been a big book collector over the years because there was no where to put them.  Just look at all the room I have now!  I'm researching the right floral arrangement for the top shelf.  I also have that cool vintage, aqua, sewing machine to use as decoration.  It's heavy though and I'm not sure if I should put another brace in first.  The middle gets a little saggy if the weight goes to the middle.  I've got enough sagging going on by myself!  Don't need the shelves sagging, too!

I got matching binders and mag holders because, you know, I'm a diva.

Neither of the girls wanted their old dressers, so now that's my paint/ dye/ shipping storage.  I was able to display my Sew Tweets wall hanging, finally.  I made that about 5 years ago and had no where to put it until now.

I added shelving to their 5 foot closet.  And, took over their linen closet for my quilts.  No more bins in the basement!

Next up, I plan on making a design wall.  I've already spent too much $$ on the shelving.  I really need to pace myself.  And, I'll be putting up new curtains.  I'm thinking Pam Kitty Morning with aqua dots.  Yikes.  That'll take a whole bolt.  4 windows. $$  And, I'll want a big peg board painted pink with white trim.  $$$$$

Please check out my Etsy shop, I'm gonna need some cash:)

Enough of that, I'm giving myself another anxiety attack...

I did a crazy quilt block for my July CQJP.  The tatted flowers are purchased.  There is gold hatched in to the bee hive, I wish that showed better in the photo.  That's an "H" in the white block.  Not sure how obvious it is.  I did a double running stitch and then wove through them to give the letter some substance.  The bright pink flower was all you could see at first.  The peach button is my first attempt at doing a bezel technique.  I can definitely use some practice on that.  I used one of the czech buttons Rich bought me for my birthday.  Love it!  Far bottom right is a yellow rose for my mom.  Her favorite.  I pretty much did the whole block in 2 days.  I just couldn't stop myself.  I find stitching to be the best therapy!
Here is my finished block from a Batik Me round robin.  I made the block and 5 others did the stitching.  It's all so cute.  I just love that sun!  And the butterflies are so sweet!  It's all very fun and cheerful!  Good job ladies!

Until next time, my friends!  Have a fantastic holiday (if you're in the US) and be safe!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Crazy Ideas

 Crazy times call for crazy measures.  Things have been wild around here. Not the ususal business, that's for sure.

On May 29th I turned 45!  Yeah, I know, I don't get either.  Then on June 4th, my step-daughter Alyssa got married.  Crazy!  I met her when she was 3!  Then Father's Day rolled around and I went outside.  That's when things got really messed up.  Apparently, I'm allergic to something that I wasn't tested for and fluid built up on my inner ear.  I haven't been able to stand up straight since Sunday... Tried to go to work yesterday but fell in the shower.  Then, face planted into the counter while pulling on my pants.

Any who... Here I sit and sit and sit with the room spinning around me.  And no, I still don't drink.

So, I thought I'd show you my last round on the Novice Round Robin.  This is Beth's block.  I'm the final participant and I'm still finding it really difficult to add to other people's work.  I know, that's supposed to be the challenge.  But, some people are much better at it than me.

I used some TAST stitches to inspire me.  The first photo is of the Berry Stitch.

Then, a ribbon monogram for Beth.  I really struggled finding something to compliment the very cool swirly print.  I chose the orchid color to bring out the purples in the swirls.  That is something I've learned through this experience and taking Kathy Shaw's classes.  I like working on solid fabric.
 I did a Sailor's Edge stitch and Colonial Knots to bring more red around the block.  I love these cool beads that someone else used.
This was new for me.  I did a thread weaving treatment around a button.  Something I saw on Pinterest.  I loved it but I could do with a little more practice.  It was pretty difficult to get the base stitches evenly stretched without pulling too tight.  This worked better on the swirly fabric than the monogarm, in my opinion.

I added the rick rack with herringbone stitches and colonial knots because, that's what I do.  Then, the swirl of straight stitches to mimic the swirly dot fabric.  My least favorite treatment.  Sorry, Beth, I was really running low on ideas.
 This is the picture of the whole block with everyone's work.  Round Robins are fun but I might be a little too OCD to work on them.  You know what I mean?  When I make something, I have a vision.  Of course, no one else sees it because they have their own vision.  I think it takes a more talented person or maybe just a more layed back person than me to successfully  build on someone elses art.

That being said, I'll probably start another one next month.  They are fun...

Remember the part where I turned 45?  Right, hard to forget.  Well, I decided to gift myself with a business license.  I've ALWAYS wanted to have my own quilt shop.  Sadly, I don't think a brick and mortar store is really viable in this day and age.  However, an online shop would be the next best thing!  So, I'd like to announce that On The Brighter Side Fabrics is open for business on Etsy.  You can click the link on the far right of the blog to see what I have.  Cant miss it, the badge is GIANT!  Yes, I'm starting out by selling my stash.  Soon, after the spinning stops, I'll add my hand dyed silk embroidery ribbon.  But, that's just the beginning!  I hope to invest in yardage soon.  I'd be thrilled if you stopped by to check it out!