Friday, December 30, 2011


Today I'm pleased to be hosting a little fabric giveaway, courtesy of Pat Bravo.
Up for grabs are two different bundles...(10 fat quarters each) in some of my favorite colors ever!
Aren't they so pretty? I know from experience that Art Gallery fabrics are super soft and great to work with!

If you would like to be in the drawing, please leave me a comment. One per person please. In your comment, I'd love to hear if you have any New Year's eve plans. Or else you can tell me something you are looking forward to next year. I'll plan to pick two winners on Monday.

I'd like to take the time to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of you for reading my little blog, leaving such wonderful comments and for all your encouragement this past year. I appreciate it very, very much! xoxo

Hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year's!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

little A's abstract

Well, there are only a few days left of 2011, which means I'm doing a final push to get as many projects done as possible before the new year arrives. Anyone else doing the same?
Yesterday I was happy to find the time to finish up this little quilt. It was a joint effort between myself and my 5 year old daughter. We started this last spring and we worked on it VERY intermittently since then.
She designed on my design wall using my strings and I sewed up the blocks. (She is soooooooo silly almost all the time!)
Here is the block that started it all. I just loved it, so we kept going.
This is the second block she designed. It looks a little rough, but...
here it is all sewn up. Pretty fun! Then we just kept adding to it until it was big enough for her to use. (And to grow into a bit.) 
We had a lot of fun working on this together. I tried my hardest to let go and run with her ideas. (Not always easy for me!) But overall, it was a good experience and I'm so glad I took the time to do this project with her.
She picked this backing from my stash. It is decor weight fabric that I got for super cheap at Mill End a few years ago. It's extra wide, so no piecing. (Hurray!) It gives the quilt a nice weight.
I did a simple stipple over the entire quilt in white thread. She wanted swirls, but I had to go with something easy because of all the strings and seams.
We pieced the binding from my scrap bin. She picked these colors....
and I suggested the orange to finish it off. I'm glad she agreed! :) I love a pieced binding, and I think it works especially well on a scrappy quilt.

She LOVES her new quilt!
I sure do, too!
It measures 43" x 54".

Monday, December 26, 2011

apple cake quilt

Merry day after Christmas! I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. We enjoyed some quiet time home (just the five of us) and we also spent some time with friends. It was lovely and fairly relaxing, which is quite a feat with 3 young children! ;)
Today I am so happy to share my apple cake quilt with you! I started it in the spring of 2010. When I started this quilt, I wanted to stretch my quilting skills and I also wanted a portable project to work on while I hung out with the kids over the summer. This is my first foray into hand applique (you can read my thoughts about it here) and I'm glad to have the experience under my belt. I enjoyed applique very much!
The other way I challenged myself was to NOT rely on solid white for the background squares. Once I got out of my box, I LOVED using print on print and working with light and dark values. It gives so much depth to this quilt! I have plans to do that more often. It's a very good way to reduce the stash.
 The backing is asymmetrical, which wasn't my first choice, but in the end I kind of ended up liking it.
I hand quilted the whole thing, which was also a stretch for me. I think I only hand quilted one other quilt ever. I'm still not very good at it, but I love the results.
I love how delicate the hand quilting looks on the white portion of the back. The white also hides uneven stitches very well. :)
I used bliss dots to bind it. I hand stitched down the binding on this one. It was odd to do that after machine binding so many quilts. I was surprised that I didn't really miss the process all that much. It's funny, because hand stitching the binding used to be one of my favorite parts of quilting. Maybe I got my fill of gazing at the quilt during the hand quilting process instead?!
I think I took about 60+ photos of it. I am so, so thrilled with this quilt. I've been snuggling under it every chance I get.
It measures 56" x 70".

Happy Monday to you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

photo field trip

I ran into my friend Val today at the library and I ended up dragging her (don't worry, she came willingly) on a little quilt photo field trip this afternoon. We had so much fun! I wanted to get some good shots of a few quilts. The quilt I'm sharing today is Lazy Summer Days, made back in 2009. I'm trying to work up the pattern for my shop and I never had a decent photo of it. Makes total sense to photograph it in December, right? Ha!

We went on some back road on the edge of town and found this cute little white building. We took a few there....
right next were these awesome grain bins. I'm not sure why I didn't have a quilt photo taken in front of these.
Then we went down the road a bit and found a red barn. LOVE the horses in the background of this shot. :)
While we were about to get set up for the previous photo, a guy pulled up in his truck and asked if we were having car trouble. We explained that we were taking photos and we loved the red barn. He told us that his neighbor had a good red barn just up the road. (Don't you just love that???) He told us to go over and check it out.
Oh, my goodness! It was just absolutely perfect! Their whole yard was super cute. This tree had a little branch that was just waiting to hold a quilt. I may have to go and visit them again. :)
I also took my apple cake quilt out and got some fabulous photos of that as well, but I need to get some detail shots before I post that one. They turned out so fun, I can hardly wait to share them with you! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

strings of hope

This quilt was made with the help of a few of my friends.
We started it a few months ago and I finished it up last week.
It will soon be headed to Margaret's Hope Chest.
I hope & pray that it brings someone comfort and HOPE!

It was made from strings from my bottomless scrap basket. :)
It measures 48" x 60".
I've decided that I've never met a scrap quilt I didn't like.
Shocking, isn't it?

Happy Monday to you!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

random Saturday stuff

Thank you for all your well wishes and great response to my shop opening! I am so thankful for your encouragement, your kind words and your orders. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! All went well, I'm happy to say! Phew!

***Maritza Bush, if you are reading, please email me!! I tried to send your order, but the email was undeliverable. Please contact me ASAP, as I have no way of contacting you. Thanks!
Last week I read this post, and I totally fell in love with the wrapping paper. Thanks to Anna I now have a few rolls of my own to hoard use. It took some determination, but I held back from buying the whole box at Target last night. I'm dubbing this my "Camille wrapping paper", because I can't see red and white polka dots without thinking of her, for some reason. :)

Also, after some gentle urging from several people, I have started a crazymomquilts flickr group. It's a place to share your photos of things you've made from my tutorials, patterns, quilt alongs or classes I've taught. I can't wait to see what you share there!
And the last thing for today...after all the finishing I've been doing, I started something new today. A 30's quilt. SO not appropriate for this time of year, but I woke up with an idea and I just jumped in before I could talk myself out if it. It's pretty fun to have a new project to work on! Plus, it's a great distraction from the messy kitchen I should be taking care of...

Hope you are having a happy Saturday!

Friday, December 16, 2011

finish it up Friday, week 8

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I hope that those of you who are working on ambitious Christmas sewing lists are making great strides this week. :)
It's been a BUSY week here. Oh. My. Goodness. I finished a few quilts (yay!), but it's been raining/snowing, dreary and windy, so I haven't taken any photos of the finished goods. All in good time....

But, I do have a VERY exciting finish to share with you today. I am happy/nervous(oh-so-nervous)/excited and scared to death to announce that I've opened up a little shop to sell a few pdf patterns. Well, at this point, it's pattern, singular. (I have big plans to add more as I have a chance.) I can not believe how much work it takes to get the ball rolling. (Accountants, sales tax, pay pal issues, oh my!) No wonder I've been putting it off for so long. But, I've finally taken the plunge and thanks to my finish it up Friday challenge, I'm forgoing sleep in order to go live today. Gotta love a deadline!

My first pattern is for a 20" quilted diamond pillow cover with an envelope closure. You may remember these from last Christmas.
I have a few that live on my bed (that my husband loves to bat/launch/fling off the bed right before crawling in each night).
And here are a few new ones I sewed up using a Divine charm pack by Windham Fabrics. I love that fabric! The pillows were prizes at the Colorado quilt retreat last month. So now one lives in Colorado and the other one lives in Virginia. That makes me smile.
I've made many versions of this pillow and I love them every time! They are fun and easy to finish in a fairly short time. You might even have time to eek out a few for Christmas gifts? Not to add to your list or anything.....
Since everything is brand spankin' new in my shop (I know it shows-I've still got lots of work to do there), please let me know if you have any glitches in the ordering process. I have no idea how this is all gonna go...I'd appreciate any feedback in a gentle form, as I'll be extremely sleep deprived and it won't take much to drive me to tears today. (Ha!)

Now it's your turn! Step right up and link up your finish for the week. Please remember to link to a specific post. Thanks for joining in. Happy Friday!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Ironing is a big part of quilting...there's no two ways around it. There's a whole lot of math involved, too. I do WAY more math than I ever dreamed I would, all in the name of quilting. However, that's a subject for another day!
I've gone through a bunch of irons since I've been married. I've probably gone through between 12-14 irons in the past 14 years. I've kinda lost count, but I know it's a LOT. I should add, that once I started quilting over 11 years ago, my iron usage has gone up 1000%. At least. :) It absolutely makes sense that I've gone through a few irons since then. All that to say, when the folks at Panasonic asked me to test and write a review of their 360 degree cordless iron, I couldn't say no.

I really enjoyed giving this iron a test drive. I'm not a girl that likes change (my husband would laugh out loud at that understatement), so it took me a bit to get used to it. But I've been using it for a week and a half or so, and I'm loving it.

What I like about this iron:
The look. Silly, I know, to say that first, but it gives a good first impression. It's modern and sleek. I love that it's simple in design and very straightforward to use. All good things.
Ease of use. This iron has a simple push button to select the temperature rather than a dial feature. LOVE. THAT. The light flashes until the iron is up to temperature, which is very helpful. It also has a 10 minute auto shut off feature.

The weight. This iron has some substance to it. It's heavy (but not annoyingly so), which ensures a nicely pressed seam. I found it to do extremely well when I was piecing scraps together. The weight helped the scraps (even strings!) to lay flat. And to me, those are some of the toughest blocks to press well.
Carrying case. The iron comes with a clip on cover that has a handle, which doubles as a carrying case. An excellent feature if you want to take it to along to a quilt retreat or class. It's also handy just for storage. Not that the storage thing would happen in my house. :) But still a great and well thought out feature.

Detachable water tank. The tank detaches from the iron so you can fill it easily over the sink or wherever and you don't need to worry about spilling water all over the iron itself. The tank clicks back in place easily after it's filled.

Cordless. No need to worry about getting your fabric tangled in the cord when you are ironing! Also, the power base has a retractable cord, which is a super nice feature.

What took a bit of getting used to:

The football shaped sole plate. There is no flat bottom on this iron. I've been ironing for well over 20 years and it's hard to NOT just set the iron down just anywhere. When using this iron it must always be returned to the power base. I can see why the design is such...the shape allows you to iron in any direction at any time (the 360 degree feature). It's actually quite smart considering the fact that it's a cordless needs the power base to heat the iron, so it's very helpful to HAVE to place it in the base every single time. This feature did take some getting used to, but not a deal breaker.
Where it's a bit weak:

Heat. When not using the steam feature, I felt like the iron could/should be just a smidge hotter. However, when using the steam feature, I was very pleased.

A few other minor things to consider:
The power base remains on the ironing board (or wherever you choose to place it in your work area), so it will take up some space, somewhere, even when you are ironing. Very minor detail to me, but something to consider.

The cordless feature. When ironing large pieces of fabric (like the backing of a quilt), it doesn't have the constant heat source of a corded iron. I found it helpful to place the iron on the base periodically during the ironing process to make sure the iron was good and hot before continuing on. Usually this coincided with my need to readjust my fabric on the ironing board, so it wasn't a big deal. However, if you were ironing several large pieces in a row, I could see this becoming an issue.

One small story/confessional:

The day I got the iron, I was ironing and talking on the phone at the same time. Needless to say, I was distracted and I happened to set the iron down on the ironing board without thinking, rather than on the power base. (Force of habit!) The iron fell to the floor and I was so shocked/scared/surprised all at the same time. I felt completely horrible! The water tank had detached, but had not broken--thankfully!! I popped the water tank back in place and continued ironing. So, through that dreadful experience, I am happy to report that the iron is rugged! I assure you, I haven't dropped it since. In all fairness, I have dropped my other irons before, too, and it's always a scary experience. Thankfully I didn't get burned!

Overall I'd rate this iron 4.25 stars out of 5.

The folks at Panasonic are offering a discount to all my readers. The coupon offer is for a $20 instant rebate at checkout for the 360 Freestyle Cordless Iron while supplies last. Enter the code FREESTYLEQUILTER at checkout. The offer is valid through Wednesday, 12-21-11. Also, there is free shipping for a limited time on

edited to add: You must use all caps for the coupon code, as it is case sensitive. I hope that eliminates any further problems at checkout.

This iron could make someone (you?) a dandy Christmas gift!

Friday, December 09, 2011

finish it up Friday, week 7

It's Friday again! Already! I hope you've had a productive week of finishing.
This week I was able to finish my daughter's abstract quilt top. I LOVE IT! She does too! I'm excited to have her pick out the backing. So far I know she wants flowers. Perfect!
I also finished hand quilting my apple cake quilt. WOO-HOO!!! I am so anxious to bind this baby and use it! It'll be a happy, happy day!
I did have a REAL finish this week 36 patch quilt.

It's been a busy week, and it's so good to see progress, but I still have 14 WIP's! That's way too many! I guess I need to keep plugging away on this challenge. :) It's been good for me and I'm happy to report that I didn't start anything new this week. That's progress right there! Thanks to those of you who are joining in on this weekly challenge. It's more fun to finish with others!

How about you? Do you have a finish to share this week? Please link up to a specific post so we can see your accomplishments. Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

a few things

I've heard from several of you who have used my "one way to machine bind a quilt" tutorial and loved it. I'm so happy to hear it! Since reading all your wonderful comments on that post (thank you!) I've learned a thing or two. I've tweaked my method just a bit, so I've added an edit to the end of the tutorial. Just wanted to give you a heads up. 
Also! My and Cheryl's book is available for pre-order on Amazon!!! (That feels ALL kinds of crazy.)

Monday, December 05, 2011

36 patch quilt complete!

I'm soooo excited...I finished my 36 patch quilt this weekend. There is a LOT going on in this one! I think I used 75 different fabrics in all. Wowza! All from the stash. Double wowza!!
If you recall, I made this for the quilt along I hosted this summer here on the blog in celebration of my 36th birthday. You can find the block tutorial here.
I'm very pleased with how it turned out! I was stalled for quite some time trying to figure out the right backing. I wanted to make a 36 patch back, and I started by picking 36 different fabrics from the stash for the back. When I tried to lay them out, things just weren't coming together. A good friend suggested that I use just 2 fabrics from my stash, so it would look like a 36 patch on the back. Of course! That made perfect sense. Thanks Tara! After rummaging around in my stash, this is what I came up with.
I used Jennifer Paganelli dots (LOVE!) and this fun black/white/gray print from Prints Charming. The backing makes me happy! With a 36 patch on the back I realize that I was in great danger of carrying the theme way too far. But I had it in my head to do so and I just couldn't let it go. I'm very glad I stuck with my original vision. Here's a bit of a closer shot.
To quilt it, I used my free motion foot and quilted vertical lines down the center of each row, and added a little circle/loopy thing in each square. It went so smooth and QUICK! After I was done quilting, I couldn't believe it. I used less than 4 bobbins! I almost felt like I cheated. :) I am very pleased with the quilting, though. I'll definitely try something like this again.
For the binding I used Denyse Schmidt tiles fabric. I LOVE this fabric. LOVE. IT. It's a crazy choice, adding more chaos to the already busy quilt...but I like that, actually. Usually I like a darker binding, but this seemed to suit it just fine. Plus, I'm trying to get better at using my favorite fabrics rather than hoarding them. This is one little baby step in the right direction!
The quilt measures 72" square.

If you'd like, you can check out some of the other 36 patch quilts from the quilt along here. Thanks to everyone who joined me for this quilt was a lot of fun! I've got another quilt along idea up my sleeve, just waiting for January. Can't wait!