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