Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Finally Got Some Inspiration

Recently I ordered Kathy Shaw's new book "Fancy Seam Designs" and it was just what I needed to get inspired for my CQJP.  I had really stalled on this because I find the monochromatic theme so limiting.  Or should I say, CHALLENGING.  I finished my June block, then went back and re-did a few things on previous blocks.

 It also helped to a little shopping on Etsy.  I got a few brass pieces to add.
 I took out some chunky beads and replaced it with embroidery.  The more delicate seam is much more to my liking.  I also tried a smidge of goldwork.  The bottom bee hive... meh.
 This is my favorite so far.  The white button is made of bone.  I picked it up at a gem show last year that Ethan drug me to.
 I'm excited to share that I've been giving quilting lessons to Sierra's 1st grade teacher!  Barb has her first grandbaby and couldn't wait to make a baby quilt!  She's a little farther than this already.  She's added some applique borders top & bottom.  It's super cute!  I'll share another photo when she's done.
 I worked on our guild's BOM.  It's an alien, right?  Something was really bothering me with the coloring.  It seamed so faded...  only to realize I'd attached the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.  So, since I had to do it a second time, I changed the stitches around a bit.  Still looks like an alien that's flipping me off with it's leafy hands.  I sense much anger... don't let the hearts fool you.

 Last but certainly not least, I made a bunch of these cuties.

 I don't know where her smudges came from.  Must have been on the wood...

 And this girl, will do the worrying for you.

I think that's enough for now.  I've got a bunch more but I've been slacking with the picture taking!  Next weekend I'm off to Peoria for my next quilt show vending!!  If you're looking for something to do 8/26 & 27, come over to the Peoria Convention Center!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Quilt Storm Dead Ahead

I've been quilting up a storm lately!  I hung this wall hanging in my bathroom to cut down on the glow from my insane aqua paint.  It's Tisket A Tasket by Bunny Hill Designs.  It was one of the very first applique projects I ever did by hand.  I think #2, in fact.  But, I never quilted it properly because I hadn't tackled that particular skill yet.  So, having it in my throne room... made me realize it was past time to finish it properly.
I did flowers and loops in the outer border, fat loops in the inner border, ribbons for the sashing, hearts for the setting squares and swirls in the main block background.

I really enjoyed revisiting this old friend.  At the same time it was nice to see how far I've come in my applique skills.  Not that I'm admitting to anything but, dang, some of it's pretty rustic.
 Weekend before last, I was at our Mascoutah retreat again.  Always a good time!  My focus was to finish Bethany's graduation quilt Shoe Shop Girl.  And, I did it!  I'm either 2 years late for high school graduation or I'm 2 years early for college graduation.  You decide, I know which one I'm claiming...There were still 3 blocks to make, then assemble and add borders on the first day.

 Then, I took it home and stayed up all night to quilt it.  I tried to do a different pattern for each of the different blocks.  I also ended up using several different threads.  I had LOTS of breakage until I came to accept that my machine just really prefers Aurifil 50 thread for free motion.
 Ballet slippers because she was a dancer for so many years.
 Ribbon flip flops.
 I used applique paper to do the turned under applique by machine.  It seamed like a good idea at the time... not so much.  There are some really tiny pieces that a sane woman would have just done with Steam a Seam.
 I designed the Go-Go boots myself.  We weren't crazy about the fur-lined boots that the original pattern had.  I tried to make each shoe something that Bethany would actually wear.
 No, she wouldn't actually wear these Grandma pumps but I was out of ideas.  I may add shoe laces to the orange striped tennis shoes.  They don't seem quite done.
 For the inner border, I did loops and daisies, the outer is just loops.
 I'm pretty happy with the end result.  You can find the pattern at  It's a fairly small lap but a good size for my tiny Bethany.  This will be my first entry for my guilds UFO challenge!  I didn't pick my UFO's very smartly.  I chose 5 which is the max number, but I only have until November to get them done.  One quilt a month?  Come on Heather, reality break.  Some are NO WHERE NEAR being finished.  Well, at least I got one done.  Then, when my card gets pulled, I'll win all my money back... heavy eye roll.
I also made a money belt for my vendor booth.  Didn't think to take a picture.  I'll try to get one later, maybe.  Talk to you soon!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Design Board Tutorial

First, you'll want a big area to work with.  Your supplies will be: foam insulation board, Gorilla Tape, straight pins and king size flannel flat sheet.  The foam board was purchased at Home Depot in the insulation section.  It's 4ft wide and 8ft tall, 2 inches thick, purple and had the Pink Panther on it.  I used the board for a year with no cover and it worked just fine but I wanted to be fancy.

My Large Work Area

 I draped the sheet over the foam and used straight pins to keep the sheet stretched and straight.  Please note how I managed to keep that print fairly straight.  I took some effort.  Pin on all four sides.
Pinned into 2" side

 Once all four sides are pinned, I flipped it over and transferred the pins to the back.  I used the Gorilla Tape to secure the edges down.  Duct tape will also work but when I consulted the expert (Rich) he said this was stronger.
Pinned and taped on back to keep stable.
Here's where I thought I could have sewn it into a pocket to make the whole thing removable.  But, I don't think trying to slip that giant board into a sleeve would have been a good time.  I was afraid the king sheet was over kill but I really needed it for the height.  8 feet is pretty long.

Once everything was done, I decided to do a second round of tape just to make sure.

Tape overkill, just to be certain.
My finished design board.  I have it propped up against the wall.  I am considering attaching it to the wall but honestly, it's pretty stable.  It's held it own pretty well all year without the fancy cover.  It would be easier if you chose a sheet without a print but at the time, I couldn't find one.  And, yes, I bought it a year ago certain that this was going to get done right away.  Yep.  Do you have a design board?  What did you use? 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Time For Some Change

Oh my goodness, it's been a busy, busy month over here at Mantz Manor.  I may split this up in installments.  Don't want to take up your whole day!  When Hunter came home from Australia last month, he announced he'd be moving out with his lovely girlfriend Carmen.  Parenting is so strange.  I wafted between being upset that my son was leaving to being excited about the extra room.  Constant wafting!  Not to mention not having to do his laundry...  He got the keys to his new place on the anniversary of our move to Iowa and Illinois, if you can believe that.  What is it with the first of July that makes our family want to make big changes?  Any who, we've been furiously cleaning, rearranging and painting since he left and I'm exhausted!  Hunter's exit made room for Bethany to have her own room, ie) leave my studio.  Which made room for me to complete my studio!!!!  What.  What?!

You've seen this bit before, I think I'll keep it as a To Do list.

I asked Rich to move the cabinets from the loft to the studio and this happened.... I cried.  He claims that it was impossible but I say he was being dumb.  The jury is still out on who was right.  But, we all know I was...

And, because he loves me and doesn't know what to do when I'm crying, he bought new cabinets.  These are actually better than the old ones.  The others had weird little drop doors underneath that was basically wasted space.  Rich hates doing these things.  HATES.  He also hates painting.  He's done a lot of painting this month and I'm pretty sure he's about to leave me.  Just kidding.  Not really.

The girls' bathroom walls had a pencil mural that Bethany had done in middle school, I think.  It was time for a change.  Then this aqua was so bright, it blinded you.  So, I put Tisket A Tasket up.

A view of my sewing station.  I had some pink file cabinets on order through  I received an email stating their delivery would be by a certain date.  The date came and went, when I contacted Walmart, I was told to contact the third party.  Then it turns out that the order was only placed through Walmart, not the third party and that they didn't know anything about it.  What I'm saying is, don't order through   I still want to raise the table a bit, I think it'll be better for my back.  Then, I wrapped some batting around an old cork board to make the small design board.  I had to ask Rich for help getting it up on the wall.  It was too soon, he wasn't pleased...

 I finally finished my big design board!  Next time, I'll share a tutorial on how I did it.  I'm really pleased with it.  I've got my clam shells on it now.  I have since filled in that open spot.  I still have about a hundred more shells cut.  I think I'm going to do one more row of shells that will require about 15 more shells than what I've already got.  I did the math but I can't remember exactly now.  Of course we all know what happens when I try to do math.  Each block is 6 wide and 8 long.  What I have so far is 2 blocks wide and 4 down.

 I will leave you with my guild's new BOM.  LOVE IT!  I used all Caron threads, available in my shop!

****This just in**** Rich and I just got back from our first couples pedicures!  It took me 10 years to convince him he'd like it.  I was right again!  He loved it.  Enough so that I think he's forgiven me for the paint and the cabinets.  He actually offered to raise the sewing table!!  LOL.

Friday, June 16, 2017

My First Vendor Show!

 Well, hello dear friends,

How the heck are you?  Things are good in my little corner of the universe.  I've got lots to share from our recent quilt show.  But first, I wanted to share this great way to make tiny applique circles.  Dana D had shown us this method at one of our TAS meetings awhile ago.  I'm here to tell you, it's fantastic!  I went to ACE and bought about 35 tiny washers and bought a pkg of TINY plastic ponytail holders at Dollar General.  Pick the fabric of your choice, slip in the washer and wrap tightly with the band.  Make sure you smooth out any obvious wrinkles.  Now drown it in starch and walk away.  When completely dry, you just cut off the circle just under the washer but above the band.  It stays perfectly round and ready to applique.  As you can see from this half of my apple tree.  Now trust me, these are the best circles I've ever done.  The wonkiness is completely my own stitching.  I thought I had a pic of the complete block but I'll have to share that next time.
The biggest news is that On The Brighter Side Fabrics had it's first Vendor opportunity!  And, it was very successful!  Yay!  Thanks to all my friends for their support, you're awesome!!  I did fix my uneven table cloth before opening, by the way...  So successful in fact, I have already committed to 2 more shows.  I'll be in Peoria Aug 26 & 27.  And, Champaign on Oct 6 & 7.  I've also got some things in the works for Sept and Nov!  Very exciting.  I'm also interested in a show in Batavia, IL but no one I spoke with could say they'd heard of it.  If you have any info, let me know.
 This is the display our crazy quilt group put together to highlight crazy quilting.  Everyone did a great job!  Several of the girls had not done it before.  Way to go ladies!
 A close up of my entry.  I was trying for a French Lavender vibe.
 A bunch of guild members contributed blocks for the Under the Sea display.  Another fantastic job done by everyone.  We were provided with the background fabric and we could basically do whatever we wanted with it.  With that many people being involved, I was skeptical but it really turned out amazing.  Mind you , his is really, really tall...
 A close up of my contributions.  I've shared these before.  I was contacted by a reporter from the Belleville news paper that she loved my Mermaid and sent me a link to the article she wrote about the display.  No, mention of me or the mermaid in the article.  Soooo, there's that.
 Terrible zoom photo from my phone... it was a long way up.
 I entered my State Flowers quilt into the show.  It didn't place but many people commented on how they loved it.  It's also one of Bethany's favorite quilts that I've done to date, so that works for me.  It took forever.  I think maybe 5 years to finish.
 My lace cottage. 
 Hearts and Tulips got a 3rd place ribbon!  That particular category had some stiff competition.  However, I did work with the NACQJ (formerly NQA) before the quilt show.  We hired her to come do a judging session independent of the regular show.  You paid a small fee and she came in and told you what was good and what could use some improvement.  We also had ribbons.  Anyways, after her very long session, we showed her around the rest of the show.  When she came up to this quilt, she gasped out loud.  Not knowing who had made it, she said "Why wasn't this one being judged?"  Well, I hugged her and said that was all I needed.  I thought I'd just lay that out there, you know, brag a little.  Maybe next time, I'll have the nerve to have a professional give me a critique of my work.  But, for now, I'll take what I got, and gladly!!
 Now, Frostie's Enchanted Garden placed second.  But, it's important to note that there were only 2 entries in his catagory...  Yeah.  You may remember that he was published in the Crazy Quilting Quarterly Calendar 2017.  However, the general public of O'Fallon, IL was less impressed.  It's a little too reminiscent of my 3rd grade track meet for my comfort.  Yes, it's second place but it's also last...  So there you have it, life forever keeping me humble.
I'm sorry I didn't get more pictures of other people's work.  I had to rush to get these as I was tied to my booth all weekend.  Hearts n' Hands Quilt Guild is amazing.  The people are not only super talented but super nice as well!

Hope you all have a wonderful father in your life to help celebrate Father's Day!