I am no longer actively blogging here but I’d love if you could join me at my new creative lifestyle blog A Girl in Paradise.
I hope to see you soon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter

Once again as I prepare my house for Easter dinner I am reminded of how the whole idea of blogging and reading what others have to say can enrich ones life.  A while back The Sewing Chick posted this picture of how she irons her quilt tops.

Source: The Sewing Chick

It is the really simple things that can change your life sometimes.  So, now not only do I have an easier more effective way to iron my quilt tops, this little trick also makes it easier to iron large tablecloths.  I will admit though lowing the ironing board to the table is not as easy on the back as the counter… but I think twice a year I can handle the discomfort. 

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I hope all of you who celebrate Easter have a wonderful day, fill with love and laughter.  As for me as soon as I get this dining room in order, I will be spending the afternoon with the kids decorating Easter eggs.  One of my all time favorite things to do. 

Below are some things I have done in the past with the kids.  Enjoy!

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Dying Easter Eggs

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Pip Squeak Easter Eggs Tutorial

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Personalized Easter Eggs Tutorial

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Sew South Retreat {part two}

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One of the many things that made Sew South special was the swaps.  The secret sister swap was something we signed up for before the retreat and it was another way for us to get-to-know one another before hand on the Sew South Flickr page.  Then throughout the course of the retreat we secretly gave our secret sister little treats and gifts, revealing our self towards the end of the retreat.  Above is what I received from my secret sister.  Jennifer out did her self.

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Then there was the sample swap.  This is where you made 4 of the same thing and then everyone who participated were broken off into smaller groups of 5 where we swapped the things we made within that small group.  I made some cute cathedral window pincushions that were filled with crushed walnut shells. 

In the picture above is what I received from the others in my group.  From left to right, Karen from Lintonville made an oversized change purse with some cute little goodies inside.  Lindsey from LR Stitched made a handy zippered jewelry pouch.  Alex from Sew Cute by Alex made a market bag that folds into itself.  Lee from May Chappell made the adorable orange corduroy bag. 

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And of course no retreat would be complete without a fat quarter swap. 

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One of the other things we did as group before the retreat via the Sew South Flickr group was to make house blocks for the Ronald McDonald house in Charlotte.  A fun way to give back to Charlotte while we gathered together for our retreat.  With everyone making just a couple of blocks there was enough to put together 2 quilts.  One of them shown above.

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Here is one of the blocks that I made.  There was another but I never took a picture of it before I mailed it off to Jennifer. 

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Leah Day of the Free Motion Quilting Project was also there at the retreat sewing along with us and was a guest speaker.  She is a wealth of information when it comes to free motion quilting on your home sewing machine.  I enjoyed her talk and learned so much, the main thing being I definitely need more table space.

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Dana from Old Red Barn Co. was kind enough to make sure we all went home with some of her handmade blackberry sage sugar scrub.  Thanks Dana it is already being put to good use.

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Last but not least, was the swag.  I always hate posting these kind of pictures because it screams look what I got, but I must admit the sponsors for this event were amazing and they deserve proper credit, but instead of posting all the individual links, you check out the sponsor page of the Sew South website for more information.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

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Monday, March 25, 2013

The Sew South Retreat {part one}

The Sew South Retreat in one word was amazing!  I spent the last 4 days in Charlotte, North Carolina with some the most amazing women I have ever met.  The retreat organizer Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane Quilts did an amazing job of putting this retreat together. 

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Her attention to details and southern charm made this a memorable experience.  I came home from this retreat fully recharged and inspired to sew again.  I know I sew all the time but it has been a while since I have jumped into a really big non-quilty project.  I have been doing so much quilting lately I had forgotten how much I really like to sew. 

Mike & Ann  -  April 1993

You will have to excuse the hair, this picture is circa 1993, but back in the day all I did was garment sewing.  My mother was and still is a garment sewer, and from an early age I spent many of a Saturday afternoon helping my mother cut out patterns or I sat behind the sewing machine making things for myself.  By high school I was making my own homecoming and prom dresses.  In the picture above I had made this outfit for the first day of my first real full time job as a shampoo girl in a fancy salon.  

So, I am sure you are now wondering how we spent our time at the retreat. Well, I guess I should start at the beginning…

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On the first day we took a field trip to We’re Sew Creative in Concord, NC for some fabric shopping.  Then it was off to Ikea for some meatballs and still some more fabric shopping.  By the time we got back to the hotel I was exhausted but thankfully we had some time to rest and freshen up for an informal cocktail party.  It was so nice to mingle and get acquainted with one another, after that we grabbed dinner, then we had the rest of the night to sew.

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One of the best parts of the retreat was the projects.  I really enjoyed how we sewed as a group and had some completed projects to bring home. 

I made a paper pieced star designed and taught by Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane Quilts.  There was also a cute bunny she shared with us but I got carried away with the star and made a few more of those instead. 

We also made a Duffle Bag.  Lindsey Rhodes of LR Stitched taught this class.  It was a complicated pattern but Lindsey was an amazing teacher and took the time to help us all.  There was a real sense of pride and accomplishment as people finished their duffle bags one by one, and even through all the broken needles and frustration everyone was so helpful and supportive.  I will always remember Sew South 2013 as the year of the duffle.  Mine still sits unfinished, but that is a story for another day…

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Then we made this amazing metal framed clutch.  Diane Stanley of Random Thoughts …do or “di” created this pattern to fit the 8” x 3” metal frame that While Baby Naps provided for the class.  The pattern is posted for free on Craftsy if you are interested in making one for yourself.  I will definitely be making more of these. 

The pajama pants class was taught by Jennifer Roycroft from We’re Sew Creative in Concord, NC.  She taught us how to make pajama pants from a Kwik Sew pattern and how to add a cuff.  Again, I was touched by how supportive and helpful everyone was.  Tessa, The Sewing Chick shared a few tips and tricks with a few of us making the pants a lot easier to put together. 

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There is still so much more to share, but I miss my kids.  Check back in tomorrow and I will tell you all about meeting Leah Day, the Ronald McDonald House quilts, the prizes, the swaps, my secret sister, and the swag…

P.S. if you are on Instagram or Twitter you check out the hash tag #sewsouth for even more pictures of the event.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Madrona Road Challenge Quilt

It’s finished!  Just in the nick of time, too.  Today is our Tampa Modern Quilt Guild meeting and even though I won’t be able to attend I am still able to submit my quilt via some pictures.  I know it will not be the same as being there in person, but some things can’t be helped.   

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This was part of the Winter 2012 Fabric Challenge using Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller, for the Modern Quilt Guild.  Even though the national challenge is over, our local chapter is having it’s own challenge.  The guidelines were simple, by adding only a solid fabric (or additional Madrona Road prints) to the bundle we received at out January guild meeting, we could make anything with a quilted element to it.

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I went with the traditional bow tie block with a set in center square and up-dated it by piecing the blocks without the obvious bow tie and then sashed the blocks in a 4 by 5 layout.  I had planned on buying the additional fabrics in this line to make a bigger quilt, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to use just what I was given, making it more of a challenge for me.

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For the quilting, I went with my favorite way to go, straight line quilting.  I echoed the center set in square giving it some visual interest. 

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The details:

This quilt measures about 30” by 40” with 20 blocks pieced together in a 4 by 5 layout. I used this tutorial for the blocks. For the fabrics I used Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller and Kona Snow for the solid background fabric.  For the binding I also used Kona Snow. The quilting is a basic straight line echoing the center set in square, using an off white cotton tread.

Thanks for stopping by, and for all your continued support. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Have a great day!

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