Wednesday, 31 October 2012

One Block Wonder Finished

Some quilts are completed quickly and others need time to percolate and age before they are finished. This one block wonder quilt was one that needed time. I rarely take classes, preferring to spend my $ on fabric than techniques I can learn online or through a book. My local quilt store, Along Came Quilting offered this class a few years ago and I loved the sample and signed up!

The first part of constructing this quilt was the hexagons that are made from little triangles. 6 layers of fabric were layered so that the pattern was matched on all 6 layers. With a new blade in the rotary cutter, strips were cut and then triangles and each set of six identical pieces were pinned together so they wouldn't get mixed up.

The second part was the 3-D blocks that are set into the background of kaleidoscope hexagons. These were fun to make, but difficult to incorporate into the background. There was a lot of playing with pieces on the design wall to come up with a final design that was pleasing to the eye!

But, finally, all the pieces were sewn together and I wasn't please with how it looked at that time. So off to the back of the closet it went to age. I took it out again recently and took a few seams out and redid it so the blocks flowed out into the borders and now I'm so happy this one is done! I still have a piece of fabric in my stash that was meant for another one of these. . . I wonder if it will take as long as the first one!

Do you have a project that needed time to age before finishing?


Monday, 29 October 2012

String Piecing Mug Rugs

I am a scrap fabric hoarder saver and this past week I took out my string fabric scraps. Strips of fabric that are larger than 3/4" and smaller than 2" are perfect for string quilts. I used some of my scraps up last year in this quilt that was made with a blocks from my online quilting friends:
Scrappy strings Baby Quilt
But I still have quite a few left and thought I'd use them for some craft sale projects. First thing I did was separate the strips by colour
Scrappy Strings ready to sew
 And on a piece of batting that was about 7"x9", I started sewing strips down, quilting as I went. The first strip goes on right side up and then the next strip right sides down on top of the first strip, lining up the edges. Sew a 1/4" seam and press open. Repeat on both sides of the first strip until the batting is covered.
Adding string scraps to batting
Trim square - I trimmed mine to 6.5"x8.5". Add backing fabric and bind as you would a normal quilt. Or if you're adventuresome, try turning your backing fabric to the front as binding.
Scrappy String Mug Rugs
And there I have some mug rugs (snack mats) that used up some of my scraps and hopefully will be great sellers at the craft sale I'm in on Saturday!


Linking up with:
Quiltsy WIP Wednesday #34
Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesday #63
Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday

Thursday, 25 October 2012

And the Winner is. . .

23 comments, 44 blog followers and 93 Facebook likers that aren't related for 160 entries!
Thanks so much for all your encouragement and comments - I really appreciate each and every one of you and enjoy giving something away to show that appreciation.

I made a list, checked it twice and gave every comment a number, every blog follower a number and every Facebook liker a number!

Then I went over to to generate a random number and this is what showed up:

Back to my lists and the winner is:

Congratulations Zita! I will be in touch with you to see where I can send your prize!

Thanks everyone! I hope we can do this again real soon!


Edited November 5, 2012 to add: If Zita does not contact me by the end of the day, Wednesday, November 7, I will be drawing a new number for a new winner!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tutorial - Placemats and Napkins

If you haven't entered to win the fall placemat and napkin set that will be given away on October 25, 2012 - click here and enter a comment. And if you want to make your own set, here's the how-to:

Materials Needed for 1 placemat and 1 napkin:
  • .5 yard (meter) Fabric A (front)
  • .5 yard (meter) Fabric B (border and backing fabric)
  • low loft batting 16"x20" (40.5cm x 51cm)
From Fabric B, cut 1x 18.5"x22" rectangle (placemat)
From Fabric B, cut 1x 18.5"x18.5" square (napkin)

Iron under 1/2" on all 4 sides on both pieces of Fabric B.

 Mark a point 3" (napkins, use 2") from each corner and draw a line joining the points.

Fold the corner in half right sides together and stitch along the drawn line, repeat on the other 3 corners.

Trim seams to 3/8", turn right sides out and press. This is the backing and the mitred border all done in one step!

Cut batting and Fabric A 3/16" smaller than outside measurements of the backing piece. (Napkin will not need batting.)

Slide batting and Fabric A (fabric only for napkin) under the flange of the backing/border and press. Pin to stabilize and edge-stitch all around the edges of the flange. If you want, you can quilt the centre of the placemat.

And there you go - easy peasy!


Friday, 19 October 2012

Shop Local - Stone Willow Jewellery

Nicole from Stone Willow Jewellery has a distinct and elegant style. Her pieces are simple and timeless and there is something in her collection for every taste and style.

Simple Beauty Earrings
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about how you started creating.
Hi, I'm Nicole of Stone Willow.  What you would normally expect from a jewellery designer would be someone who is always dressed to the nines, hair and makeup done,  pushing sales upon everyone who walks by.  This is definitely not me.  You may catch me out hiking.  More than likely,  I’d be wearing a bandana so I didn’t have to style my hair.  Make-up?  Only a little on a big show day.  I love outdoors,  I love all things natural, I yearn for a peaceful co-existence with nature.   Most of all, I am obsessed with creating beautiful things just for you.

I had left my career after years of juggling family life and work responsibilities.  We wanted a better family life and decided that I would stay at home with our little ones.  As time unlocked its door to me, my creative spirit indulged.  I began crafting once again.  As I have always had a passion for stones and natural products, I began making my own jewellery pieces out of gemstones and sterling silver.

2. What inspired you to move from creating as a hobby to creating as a business?

My hobby and obsession with stones quickly turned into a money making option, which isn't such a bad idea since I had left my career.  It was something I could do from home while still being with the kids.  At the start up, there was very low overhead costs as well.  I had made my first jewellery on my coffee table and used a tea towel so the beads wouldn't roll away!     My mother saw greatness in my jewellery and began promoting me among her contacts.  With successful results, Stone Willow was born in Bragg Creek, Alberta.   Several years later, Stone Willow can be purchased through retail stores, galleries and online, yet still a one woman show.

3. Show us a few of your favourite pieces and why they are your favourites?
Photo 0002 - Poppy Necklace
Photo 0002 is of my "Poppy Necklace".  I love the playful connection with nature with this handmade flower pendant of gemstones and sterling silver.  I make this style in many different colours.....more listings on Esty to come soon.

Photo 0022 - Sterling Silver Leaf Stud
Photo 0022 is my sterling silver leaf stud.  Funny how nature pops in again.  I have handformed the shape, forged it slightly, hardened, polished and filed the metal.  I love making things totally from the raw materials and creating what is in my visions.

Photo 0105 - Healing stone charm bracelet
Photo 0105 is one of my healing stone charm bracelets using gemstones chosen  for their healing natures.  I love to put colour combinations together that you wouldn't normally see, but still look like they belong.  This bracelet jingles and sways nicely when worn.  If feels nice on.

4. What does shop local mean to you and why is it important (or not important)?
It is nice to support an individual.  Someone who is making a good quality, handmade item and local is a bonus!  If we support what we have locally, we support our entire economic system which is what will carry us on into the future.  We also don't want to loose the skills of crafting, creating and building.  What will we do when one day no one is left knowing how to knit, metal smith, grow vegetables, build, make paper products?  We don't want to loose our heritage.  But, I'm also not against buying from overseas.  I have a beautiful mix of both.  I will spend the extra money on something precious and handmade, but also wear the less expensive imported product.

5. Is there any one moment or experience in developing your art or your business that stands out in your mind? Why?
When first starting out, there was doubt in myself and my designs.  Others commented that there is so much jewellery out there and you can't make any money selling it - especially competing with imported product where wages are lower.  Something kept me going.  I would lie in bed at night and I couldn't stop thinking of colour combinations and designs.  This obsession kept me creating and my creations developed further.  The design visions still continue when I lie in bed trying to get to sleep.  This keeps me obsessed.  If I had to pay myself per hour, it wouldn't look so appealing, but I love the creative process and I can have a flexible schedule from home so I can be there for my kids.

6. Do you have any of your pieces in a local shop or in an artisan market? Tell us where and when.
I have had my jewellery in many stores, galleries and online.  Currently, I am supplying a local store in Bragg Creek called Angela's Attic, and  the gift shop in the Whyte Museum in Banff.  I have my online shop on Etsy, as well, attend many different art and craft shows.  During the fall 2012, I will be at 10 different shows  which are listed on my blog and facebook page.  The following are still upcoming:

    Oct 20 - Calyx Art Show Calgary

    Nov 3 - Calyx Art Show Edmonton

    Nov 16-18 -Kananaskis Christmas - Redwood Meadows

    Nov 24 - Festival of Joy - Waldorf Faire Artisan Market  - Calgary

    Nov 22-24 - Christmas in the Country - Dartique Lodge north of Cochrane

    Nov 23-24 - Holly Days - Harvie Heights near Canmore

    Dec 8 - What The Craft - Calgary

Nicole can also be found here:
Etsy shop:


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

WIP Wednesday - October 17

Just thought I'd pop in and let you see what I've been working on the past couple days - it sure feels like Santa's workshop with all these lovely Christmas fabrics!


Linking up with:
Quiltsy WIP Wednesday #32
Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesday #61
Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tutorial - Fabric Basket

A year or so ago, my friend Marie taught me how to make these unique little fabric baskets. This is a perfect project for those fat quarters that you love, but don't want to cut into little pieces for a quilt! I'm making mine today with some Halloween themed fat quarters I won from Monika at Quiltlover from her Facebook page. I hope she likes what I decided to do with her fabrics!
Fabric Basket - FOR SALE

Material list:
  • 2 coordinating fat quarters (Fabric A-outside, Fabric B-inside)
  • 1 piece batting 12.5" square
  • 4 buttons
  • basic sewing supplies
This project involves hand sewing - I'm sure after making a few of these, a sewing maven could figure out a few machine short-cuts! My green fabric with the black cats is Fabric A, and my Fabric B is purple. Click on any of the pictures for a close-up!

Layer your fat quarters on top of each other on your cutting board and cut a 12.5" square - or you can cut each one separately - it's entirely up to you!
Prep for sewing by layering from bottom to top - batting, Fabric A right side up, Fabric B right side down. No worries at this point if Fabric A and B are mixed up - it will all work out in the end! Pin with 2 or 3 pins on each side to keep layers together.

Sew with 1/4" or 3/8" seam - I just line up the edge of my pressure foot with the fabric - around the entire outside edge of your layered pieces, leaving a 2-3" opening for turning. Clip corners, and trim batting close to sewn seam to reduce bulk.

Turn right side out, paying attention to the corners - we want these neat and tidy as they'll be very visible in the finished product. Hand or machine sew opening closed - I prefer hand stitching as it is less obvious in the finished basket.

Divide each side in half - put in a pin to mark the centers. And then mark halfway between center and the corners (each side will be divided into quarters).

And now, the tricky part - working with the inside of the basket up, bring the pins marking outside pins in to meet the pin in the center. Using a coordinating thread, stitch these 3 points together. Don't despair if your stitching is less than perfect - it won't be noticeable if your thread blends well with your fabrics. After the third side, you should start to see the bowl of the basket forming! We're almost done!

Now, take your fabric corners and flip over the folded edges made by the previous step. I've tacked those folded edges down as they tend to poke out with the passage of time. This is one of those times that a picture just doesn't quite cut it - you'll get it when you have your basket in front of you!

Sew the point down with a decorative button - I've used these sparkly pumpkin ones that I found in the fabric store, but would love to use these ones I found on Etsy:
Polymer Clay Pumpkin Buttons Cofanetto on Etsy
My basket is done and ready to be filled - I'm off to the grocery store to stock up on Halloween candy to fill mine.

These are great for any occasion - I've made one for my grand-daughter for her hair accessories, one in my sewing room for sewing essentials, but I'm sure you can find all kinds of uses for yours! Have fun creating!


Linking up with Tip Junkie - (so sorry, couldn't get the button to load!)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

WIP Wednesday & Give Away - October 10

After a slow start to the week last week, I did get a lot accomplished. I have a few custom orders that came in from my online Etsy shop, so that will definitely be keeping me busy over the next little while. And I found this Christmas stocking in the back of my closet, where it's been lurking since last November! I love the look of the crazy patches with the gold stitching and I will be adding my name to it and using it for my stocking this year! This was such a fun project and a huge thank you to Joanne for taking the time to teach us how to put these Christmas stockings together.

Crazy Patch Christmas Stocking
Potholders are such a great way to use up unique bits of fabric and small pieces of quilt batt that are left over from other larger quilting projects. I've added a few more to my Etsy shop this week and used up this awesome fabric that is so perfect for these little kitchen helpers.

I'm coming up to my 2nd anniversary of opening my Etsy shop (October 25) and in honor of that milestone, I am celebrating with you by giving away these lovely fall themed quilted placemats with matching napkins:
Placemats and napkins
To enter, just leave a comment below and if you don't have your email address displayed in your blogger profile, leave me a way to get back to you if you win! Additional entries can be made by becoming a follower of this blog (see FOLLOWERS on right side bar) or liking my facebook page. Draw will be made October 25 @ 9am in local time (Calgary, AB).

Good luck!

Linking up with:
Quiltsy WIP Wednesday #31
The Needle and Thread Network #60
Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Zucchini Salsa

I'm still putting away the last of my garden produce and with tomatoes ripening daily and zucchini lingering in my fridge, I searched online for a great salsa recipe that would use both of them up. I found a simple recipe at for zucchini salsa and canned a few jars. It's a little sweet and very mild, so if you like your salsa hot and tangy, just reduce the sugar a bit and add some hot peppers.

We had a great Thanksgiving feast with all the kids and grandkids home and when a little person asked for a story, well, how could I refuse?
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Quilt Retreat

It's been a sluggish Monday morning for me - but that's pretty normal after spending a weekend quilting with friends at a quilt retreat. From mid-afternoon Friday to mid-day Sunday, we had no responsibilities and could sew to our hearts content. I'm just sorry I didn't take more photos to share with you!
Penny's quilt in progress
 I did some sewing on my sweet grand-daughter's quilt. The layout will not be the Sudoko-style layout I showed you earlier, but I think this one will be a little calmer with a little more white through the quilt.
Plan C - pattern by Carrie Nelson
 This pattern is one that I marked off to try from Carrie Nelson's book "Schnibbles times Two". The pattern is called Plan C and this is the smaller version of the quilt. I had some coordinating fat quarters I had picked up at a quilt show earlier this year and used them rather than the 5" charm squares called for in the quilt pattern.
Triple Irish Chain - FOR SALE
This one was the triple Irish chain quilt that I have totally fallen in love with! The colours are just beautiful and the fabrics are so pretty! I sewed the binding on the quilt, thinking I would hand-stitch it to the back when I got home, but my good friend, Imogene, picked it up and finished it with her beautiful hand-stitching! Thanks so much Imogene!

Do you take your projects on the road? Or have a group of friends that you can share your hobbies with? I love the way friendships grow from shared activities!