The Poky Little Puppy and Trick or Treat

I only know one person who likes to read more than I do. That’s my sister, Lois. Not only do we both share a love of reading, but we both love books– we love to hold them, flip through them, display them on shelves, and read them.

My sister has found a new creative outlet for her love of children’s books. She brings the story characters to life by creating play sets from Little Golden Books. Children can read the books and play with the characters in their own setting. She just opened an Etsy shop, Tuscaroraarts, to sell her books and playsets. Here is my favorite, The Poky Little Puppy:

Poky Little Puppy Play Set and Little Golden Book handmade pretend play toy with storage box

You should go visit and see her other amazing, creative playsets.

Here is one of my newest projects, a trick or treat quilt. The triangle at the end of the stripe kinda reminds me of candy corn. This was a subliminal addition to the quilt, a product of my unconscious desire for Halloween candy 🙂

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The quilt is available in the shop here.

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Witch Says Halloween Best: Bats, Jack O’Lanterns, Spiders or Crescent Moons?

This is my last week designing and creating Halloween quilts for 2014. Because the quilts and patterns have to be in the shop for sale well before the holiday, I have to make and market items wayyy before the season. I shouldn’t complain because the lag time for merchandise in the olden days (a few years ago) was 3 – 6 months. Now, I can have a new item for sale the same day I make it. The time I need to allow for now is about 1- 2 months. This gives buyers a chance to browse, decide, purchase, receive, and enjoy the product for a couple of  weeks leading up to the holiday.

So since this is almost the end of my Halloween sewing time, I am cramming in as much as I can and working like crazy to get some of my ideas into fabric. Here is a photo of some mini quilts/ table toppers for sale in the shop:

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Would anyone like a pattern for these? I’m considering writing a pattern that would include all of the table toppers. If you are interested, let me know and I’ll make time to create it. Here is the link to the most popular mini quilt.

Linking up to Do Tell Tuesday.

Renovations Completed on the Haunted House Quilt

If you are considering a new renovation project, I highly recommend choosing a haunted house. Imagine the satisfaction of taking a sledgehammer to an old wall, and then not even having to rebuild it! So I was able to fling off roof shingles, bar up windows, post dilapidated warning signs, and bring in undesirable neighbors– and the house looks even better, even more haunted.

Here is the new haunted house:

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And a detail of my favorite part, the cemetery with an eerie tree:

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The quilt is available in the shop here

Want to build your own haunted house? The pattern is available, and it is detailed! 38 pages of instructions and full size pattern pieces, including an extra full page of optional Halloween appliques to customize your house. A beginner or experienced sewist will enjoy this project. Here is the link to the download pattern

Easy as a Charm Quilt

We live in exciting times. For many of us, the daily rhythms of our lives are subtly changing almost daily. How often do you go shopping in the mall today versus a year ago? 5 years ago?  One of the big changes in my life over the last few years is buying fabric online. What a world of possibilities! It’s not just the variety of fabric that I can find, but also the way I can explore what is out there, find styles that appeal to me, learn about the designers, study the trends, make new connections with shops far away in physical distance but close to me in aesthetics.

I’m also thrilled to explore the new precut fabric available. My current love is charm packs. I love the way you can get 42 pieces of a complete design collection, cut in perfect 5 inch squares for under $10.00.  Here are a couple of the quilts I’ve made lately from charm packs. They may look different. but the pattern is the same.

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The quilts are for sale in my shop here The pattern, Easy as a Charm Quilt,  I’m still working on, but it should be available in the shop by August.

Have Some Red, White and Blue Sewing Fun!

Celebrate Independence Day with a red, white and blue pinwheel quilt. The pinwheel is made with a unique 3 dimensional pattern that is both striking in appearance and easy to create, even for a beginner. What I love best about this quilt is the texture– the pinwheel seems to pop out of the quilt– maybe it wants to be a real pinwheel.

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The quilt and pattern are available in the shop, here

There’s No Such Thing as Dragons

My daughter, Elizabeth, named this week’s quilt and pattern. As soon as she saw the rough drawing of the dragon, it reminded her of a children’s book by Jack Kent, called There’s No Such Thing as Dragons. The book is about a real dragon that comes to visit a little boy. His mother refuses to believe it exists because she doesn’t believe in dragons. The dragon starts out small but keeps growing and growing. Finally, the mom has to acknowledge it’s existence and as soon as she does, the dragon shrinks again. The story is sweet and entertaining. The message is subtle, but the question is posed– how big and clear does reality have to be in order for someone to alter their worldview and accept it?

Here is the very real quilt and pattern:

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They both are available in the shop here.

 

Second Star to the Right and Straight on ‘Till Morning

When my grandmother got confused and frustrated sometimes she would say, “It’s so convoluted!!”. Usually things went downhill from there into more colorful language, but I still understood the sentiment. Something that should be straightforward in design and application was twisted instead. Quilts often fall into this category. In an effort to make a better quilt, we just make a more convoluted one instead.

Here is a pattern that is new yet seems very familiar in it’s design. It’s a simple patchwork quilt, updated to work well with precut fabric in a “fat quarter” size.

 

 

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The pattern is called “Easy Peasy Fat Quarter Baby Quilt” and it is available in the shop here. The quilts in the picture are also available for sale here.

 

The Three Most Important Design Elements in a Quilt Pattern

I believe that all great quilt designs should be clear, easy to follow, and efficient in both use of material and use of time. I want everyone who buys one of my patterns to actually make the quilt, start to finish, in a short period of time. So all my patterns have complete directions all the way to “wrap quilt around recipient”. The pattern never ends with “layer, quilt as desired and bind” — to me that means you will have an unfinished quilt top to leave to your heirs.

Every pattern also has to be clear. If you stop because you don’t understand the next step, your project may be gathering dust for years. So numbered, detailed instructions with lots of photos and email support free from me is included with every pattern.

Another important ingredient to a great pattern is efficient use of materials. And that brings me to this week’s project. I had some fat quarters in this great pattern called Indian Summer. There were teepees on one of the prints and their triangle shape inspired me to make a saw toothed edged baby quilt. When I finished the quilt, I had lots of leftover triangles, so in the interest of efficient use of materials, I designed a bunting to use the triangles. Then, because I was on a roll of inspiration and had 4 corners of leftover fabric, I designed coasters to match.

Here is the result:

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The completed set is available in the shop here, the pattern is in the works.

Simple Pleasures Continued….

There is something about sewing that is therapeutic. Maybe it is the steady rhythm of the needle. Maybe it is the soft comfort of the fabric. I don’t really know why sewing is so soothing. I only know that it is. Maybe sometimes we just have to enjoy the pleasures in life and not have all the answers. Yesterday, I did just that. I made this quilt just for the relaxation of the act of creating something simple and pretty. I layered the top, the batting and the backing. The three layers are connected with simple ties of embroidery floss. The edging is a ruffled rag finish. It’s just a small lap quilt but it gave me a lot more.

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The quilt  is available in my Etsy shop here.

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes the small pleasures in life are the most satisfying. Watching a butterfly skim past your window, feeling the sun on your face, returning a wave from a neighbor, all tiny bits of a happy life. Here is another sweet bit of happiness: a perfect pair of pot holders. One for each hand, soft yet sturdy, with a simple applique design or just a bit of quilting. Brand new ones to replace those old worn out ones, and yes, you have to throw the old ones out. Then when you open the drawer and see those pretty new pot holders waiting for you, a bit of pleasant satisfaction comes along, too.

Here are some of the perfect pot holders available in my shop, handmade, patterned from perfect pot holders my mom made me years ago:

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These pot holders and lots more are available in my shop here.

If you want a larger dose of pleasure, most of the pot holders have matching tea towels available, too 🙂