Monday, July 31, 2017

In Memory

I rarely share a lot of my personal life on my blog or any social media.  It's something I keep to myself, and frankly it isn't all that exciting!  Today, I'm choosing to share the saddest of events.  As a therapy, as a remembrance, as a way to honor.

Friday me and my family learned that my oldest brother Michael had passed away from an apparent heart attack.  

The shock was terrible.  The grief unbearable.  My heart is heavy.  I don't have adequate words to express myself and how we or I feel.  We just got our Mother settled a couple weeks ago back in Portland, where she would be closer to many of her children.  She was looking forward to being with her son once again.  My heart is broken for her.

Michael was a grumpy old man!!  A grumpy old man with a heart of gold!  It was all part of his charm to me!  My children use to call him Uncle Bubble Gum because he would often stop by after work and drop a package of bubble gum through the mail slot for each of them.   
This photo is one of my favorites.  Gruff, but with a twinkle in his eye.  I loved him so much and he will be missed.  

Our family has a void that will never be filled with the loss of Mike The Spike! (a name bestowed upon him by our Grandpa)  

We will grieve together as a family.  We will come together as a family.  We will never forget our dear brother.  

Take the time today to tell someone you love them.  You could put if off until tomorrow...but don't.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Happy As A Clam :: It's A Finish!

I. Did. It!!!  It doesn't seem real!  I knew when I started this quilt that the biggest hurdle would be finishing it.  There were times when I wanted to stuff it in the back of the closet, or worse!  But I didn't.  I kept my wits about me (for the most part), hoping that if I stay calm and in control this quilt would not get the best of me!  

One day I might give it another try.  For now I will revel in my finish, but will say it again...this quilt was awkward for me to make!  Even so there is no denying the beauty of the Glam Clam!

Not only did I finish it, but I used a ton fabric from my stash!  Between the front and back there has been a significant decrease prints that have stared longingly at me for years screaming 'Pick Me! Pick Me!'.  And of course...I never did.  

Instead, I let them languish on a shelf because I never knew what to do with them!  Prints. My arch enemy!  My nemesis!  

The good news is it didn't hurt half as much as I thought it would using prints, and it gives me hope for those other purge worthy fabrics I have! 

Clams are quite pretty!  Regardless of the minor issues here and there, I do recommend giving it a try.  I may have had problems on my end but that doesn't mean you will!

There wasn't a lot of time between finishing the top and quilting the top.  Which is not usually the case.  I set about taking all my undesirables and piecing together the back. The more the merrier!  It only meant that I wouldn't be left with any of it in the end.  

You gotta love a scrappy back!  It was a matter of laying out each piece and figuring out the puzzle!

On to quilting!  Because there were a few bumps in a few seams, I opted for wavy horizontal lines spaced randomly.  Once the first lines were laid, I went back and added more.    

I used Aurifil Thread #2310 Light Beige for the blending factor.  Which it did perfectly.

Then I had the idea of circles, pebbles or as I was calling them 'pearls'!  It wasn't until I finished adding the pearls that I realized Clams don't have pearls inside them...Oysters do! One of those palm to the forehead moments!

When I took the Glam Clam class with Latifah Saafir, she showed us how to make a wide binding.  I tried my best to follow my memory and cryptic notes for the binding and I guess you could say...not bad for the first time!  Size does matter!  This is a 1" binding and quite a difference from my usual 1/4"!

One place that matters is the corners.  I had a difficult time whipping them into submission! Having done this chunky binding once, I'm really looking forward to giving it another try!!  I like it a lot!  I used Kona Breakers for the binding.  The color and the width perfectly framed the quilt!

After washing this quilt finished at 63" x 69".  A pretty good size lap quilt.  If I was do another, I think I may take a clam or two out of each row.  I guess I can make that decision when I get to it!

Glam Clam
63" x 69"
It does feel good to have a full quilt finished finally!  I hope you like the finish, the eye candy! I know I'm excited about it!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Round Robin :: Sweet Delight

When this quilt was passed off to me for my round, I was pretty excited!!  With each round it is becoming more and more amazing.  I was also excited and relieved that we would be given two months on this round.  

It has a great scrappy feel, but with a sense of direction.  Even though this is a Round Robin and there were no specific requests from the 'owner, there is a definite direction with in the color department!

30 1/2" x 30 1/2"
The last round is full of fun little 'tidbits'!  Emily went c-r-a-z-y with her round!  The paper pieced butterflies, lady bug, snail, a bee are just too cute!  I had to think very hard about my round and where I should take it.  Not an easy feat!


And eventually I did come up with an idea, now to execute it!  I wanted to keep it simple and bring a little light and airiness in.  

Hearts would be rather cute I thought and found a paper pieced pattern that I reduced to meet my needs.  You can find this heart and others at Piecemeal Quilts.  

These hearts are 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" unfinished.  Aren't they cute?!  I thought they were the perfect size for this round and the best way to add prints.  We all know I'm afraid of prints!!

Of course I needed one more element...something just right, just perfect.  The cuteness factor is off the charts!

This is another free pattern available on Craftsy called 'Tall Tales' and is designed by Kate Basti.  

I reduced the templates to 75% which made these blocks 3 1/2" x 5 1/4".  They were fun to make even at the reduced size.   

Have you ever over thought a decision about placement?  It can be pretty agonizing!  At least it is for me and certainly was with this project.

Hearts were flipped, turned and shuffled.  Should they go this way or that, here or there? The books went through the same routine until I couldn't stand it any longer!  I made the decision and went with it.  Come hell or high water...what's done is done! 

That being said...I'm wondering if I should flip the corner books on the bottom!  It made sense at the time!

41" x 45"
Anytime I can paper piece, its a good day!  And anytime I can get something done early is even better!  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

AH-mazing Heart :: Another WIP Bites The Dust

I've made a bit of progress with my WIP's this past week.  I finished my Glam Clam top and made a scrappy backing for it (here), and glue basted a bunch of Drunkard Path blocks.  I started and finished a quilt that was made from placemat scraps (here).  And I finished a mini quilt.

AH-mazing Bias Tape Heart
15" x 15"
I started making bias tape maze hearts back in February.  It started with a big one (here) and a small one (here), and led to a third one and now...this one.  I wanted to try different widths of bias tape, different grid sizes, colors, techniques to see how each heart would change depending on what combination I went with.


After the first couple, I made a maze heart template.  I printed the template and centered it under the background fabric.  On my ironing board, I pinned through the fabric and template to secure both pieces together.  And then began to glue baste the bias tape down following the maze along the way.

I decided to try 1/4" bias tape for this heart.  Fussy cutting the strips with the X's centered on a 1/2" strip wasn't too bad!  They seemed to be made with 1/4" bias tape in mind!

Once the glue basting was finished, I could add borders.  Lot's of borders it seems!  It just happened...I kept going!

Heart Block:  9" x 9"
White Border:  3/4"
Blue Border:  1/4"
Magenta Border:  1/2" 
White & Low Volume Border:  2"  

I added a 'flanged' binding that or added interest and also because I thought it would look amazing!   When I do my flange, I cut strips that are 1" wide. I press wrong sides together and then sew it around the entire quilt.  Then I sew my 2 1/4" binding mitering the corners like usual. The flange sticks out about a 1/4" and it really does look good!

The back is a piece of fabric I've had forever.  I'm trying to use those misfit fabrics I have!  And to finish it off I did my usual technique for hanging corners.  I use my tutorial for Hanging Mini Quilts.

Quilting was very basic and simple.  I stitched around the edges as close as I could by adjusting my needle to the right and aligning my walking foot on the edge.  I used a matching magenta thread for that and in the ditch around the third border.  White thread was used for the rest of the quilting.  

I have come to the conclusion that 3/8" bias tape is the best width to use for this project.  If you take a look at the second bias heart I made (here), there is less space between the rows giving it a chunky, chubby look and I like that.  Using a template was a very good idea. It makes it so much easier to place each bias tape row.  However, you would have to use a light colored fabric so you are able to see the maze through it.  When gluing the bias tape down, the fabric has spots where it has stuck to the printed template.  It easily pulls off but may also pull off some of the template with it!

Now if I would only get this written in a pattern!  Would anyone be interested in such a thing?!


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Clammed Out and Scrap Magic

This quilt!  I started it in May (Glam Clam Prep) and just a couple days ago finished it. Happily, but not without issues.  I slowly made my way through row by row.  A little here, a little there.  To me it's a tricky block to handle and I needed to keep going so I wouldn't forget how to do it.  

This is has not been my favorite quilt to make!  I shouldn't say that, but it's true!  I found it very cumbersome sewing each clam row by row.  And that last row!!!  I had to redo the last several blocks because somehow...I went very wrong!

All that being said, I love the design and I love how this one turned out.  We all say we love being pushed and trying new things.  Well, this did both of those things for me.  My Clams are 8" and I can imagine the 12" would be much easier.  I actually wanted to use the 6" still could happen!

I don't want to influence and scare you away from the Glam Clam.  I think when (yes, I'll do it again!) I try again it will be much easier and perhaps the results will even be better!

My goal coming back from vacation was to finish all my WIP's before I start something new. I can check this one off my list!

Next on my list is using the scraps from this quilt.  And there are plenty!  The waste after cutting the clams is substantial and well worth coming up with a scrap quilt plan.  I decided to make Drunkards Path block.  

What I do love about the Clammy Ruler is you can make quarter, half and full circle blocks. All the info is on the ruler.  I took the 6" ruler and cut my scraps into quarter circles first.  

Works like a charm!  I then had to decide on the background fabric.  Simple, keep it simple and go with white.

And by the way...I now have a stack of quarter circles in white I have to figure out what to do with!!  It's possible they will make it into this quilt since I am just making for the sake of making these blocks!  Wait and see!

All the parts and pieces are ready.  I pressed a crease in the center each piece to make it easier to line up.     

My next brilliant idea (debatable!) was to glue baste all the blocks.  Why would I do that? Couple reasons.  I don't have to pin.  I don't have to fight with the pieces to line up.  And most importantly, I could glue baste the blocks in the evenings while watching my favorite programs!  

I put the portable pressing mat on my lap, the iron hot (no steam), the glue and fabric all within reach.  I've said in many times that I like having something to do in the evenings. This was a pretty mindless process that would have used a chunk of my productive daytime time. 

Another reason I glue basted these blocks was so I'd be able to stitch a few here or there and in between projects.  I didn't necessarily want to stitch them all right away.  My main goal was to use the large scraps from a previous quilt right away so they wouldn't linger in the abyss!

I'm starting to get ideas for this quilt.  Maybe make circles with four blocks, maybe not. Maybe half circles or maybe full circles!  Aren't Drunkard's Path blocks fun?!

I have my green tub full of blocks ready to sew.  Can you guess how many I have so far?  I'll admit...I did count them!  I have 121 blocks primed and ready to go!

Have you made a Glam Clam quilt?  Or two?  Was it easier the second time around?  I certainly don't want to be a quitter and throw in the towel...but in my was hard!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Home Again :: And A Little Fabric Too!

I'm home again!!  I rarely travel, so a week a way from all my creature comforts took more of a toll on me than I ever would have thought!  I love my shower!  That being said, I had a fabulous time in Minnesota with family.  I was able to see my sisters, aunt & uncle, nieces & nephews and cousins, but most importantly I was able to see my mom and help her pack up for the big move back to Oregon.  I know she was worried about flying and the toll it would take on her.  Happily she had my two sisters to help her every step of the way and she made it in one piece!  She is doing well and has nearly recovered from all the chaos that is accompanied with a big move like she did.

The hardest part of the trip was not having Wi-Fi for my laptop!  Another creature comfort we take for granted!  After a couple days of being without, I actually enjoyed having that pressure removed.  Taking time away from social media and computer access is something I recommend even if you are not on vacation!  We all know how easy it is to get sucked in to the electronic black hole.  Time consuming is an understatement!  

Maybe it's time to set some limits for myself.  Imagine what I could accomplish if I could cut the electrical umbilical cord once in a while!!

When I got home I was greeted with this love bunch of precuts!  I was lucky enough to win a random drawing for entering my quilt 'Revitalized' in the Pantone 2017 Quilt Challenge.  The challenge was hosted by  No Hats In The House and Bryan House Quilts.  I've admired Me + You Indah Batiks for a long time and I'm thrilled that I get to see, touch and use them!  I love the modern take on batiks with the geometric designs.

Once I figure out what I'm going to make, I'll take detailed photos of the prints.  I'm that way...I like to look and touch the bundles for a while!

The Hexagons are 8" and the triangles are 4".  I'm not sure if I'll keep the hexagons intact or cut them into triangles.

This one is full of rainbow colors and naturally has me salivating with ideas!  

Before I left for Minnesota, I had to see if there were any quilt shops near.  And happily there was! 

I loved this colorful quilt block mural painted on the side!  Like a magnet it drew me in! 

Quilterati is in Cambridge Minnesota.  A cute little shop that had fabric in three rooms. Prints...lots of prints!  It wasn't until the third room that my heart skipped a beat, the room with solids!

I ended up buying only three colors because frankly, I didn't need more fabric!  However I wanted to support the shop and I knew I didn't have these three in my stash.

The print was actually on clearance which is the only reason I bought it!  It'll come in handy one day!

Because I like to write the color on the selvage of each solid, I figured the best way to remember the names of the colors was to take a photo.  Very helpful especially if the receipt doesn't include that information.

That's that!  A little vacation, a little fabric, a little fun!  I am so ready to get to work on something!!  A week without my machine is torture!  

I'm slowly easing back in the swing of things by trying to finish my Glam Clam quilt!  I keep worrying that if too much time goes by I'll forget how to piece it together!  Only a couple more rows to go!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Glitter :: Clear Vinyl Placemat Tutorial

They say 'a little glitter never hurts' and I think that might be true!  Unless you get glitter in your eyes, its not hard to be happy when you see it.  

It wasn't long ago when my daughter came home from her best friends house with her very own glitter-tastic placemat.  Truth is, that was over 20 years ago.  Carrying on the tradition of crafting with friends, Britt and I introduced her God-Child Vincent, to the joy of glitter a few months back.  

In sharing with you, I'm hoping you will introduce a child to the fun and joy of crafting. Quality time well spent!

Where do you find clear vinyl?  It's readily available at Joann Fabrics, or online fabric shops such as  If neither of those are an option, consider a clear vinyl shower curtain! You can get different weights or gauges whether you are buying by the yard or buying a shower curtain.  

I've used 8 gauge, 12 gauge and recently 20 gauge.  The 20 gauge is much thicker than I thought it would be and frankly too thick in my opinion.  I recommend 12-14 gauge.  

The three main supplies needed for these placemats are clear vinyl, 'bling' such as glitter, confetti, sequins and thread.

Start by cutting your vinyl.  Cut two (2) 12" x 17" rectangles.  They say size doesn't matter...and 'they' would be right!  You can make them any size you wish.  

Cutting vinyl can be a little tricky.  It slips, slides, sticks to the ruler and it's hard to see. But don't let that stop you!  I line an edge on my cutting mat and carefully lay the ruler on top using the lines on the mat.  Using your rotary cutter, cut your vinyl rectangles one at a time.  

One bonus of the clear, you can easily see when you have your ruler lined up.  

Vinyl is sticky and will stick to your sewing foot or sewing machine table.  You don't need to buy special accessories or gadgets, instead with a couple tips and tricks you can use what you have!  

If you have a teflon foot, like the white one on the left, you certainly will want to use that. Otherwise put a piece of masking or painters tape on the bottom of your regular foot and it will work just as well.

Tape a piece of tissue paper on your sewing machine table prior to sewing the vinyl.  This will keep the vinyl from sticking.  I tried it for the first time and can say it works like a charm!

Lay the two (2) pieces of vinyl together lining up the sides.  Take your time and try not to get frustrated!  Vinyl is sticky and you may need to adjust it a couple times.  Clip around all sides. Whatever you do, don't use pins!

Lining up the side of the foot with the side of the placemat, stitch around all sides leaving at least a 5" opening.  Increasing your stitch length to 2.6-2.8 helps.  Backstitch at the beginning and end.  


It needs to be big enough for your hand to fit through.  I would suggest taking a scrap of vinyl and do a little practice stitching.  You can then decide what stitch length to use and feel how the vinyl sews. 

Now the fun begins!!  Grab your sparkle supply!  

Some of the bling will slide easily in between both pieces, some will stick like glue!  What I do works for me, but use your expertise or judgment when inserting the glitter.  I put some in my hand, insert it through the opening and wiggle it into the corners.  And repeat some more.  

Add as much or little as you like.  Disclaimer:  you will have glitter, confetti and sequins everywhere!!

When you have it just the way you like, sew up the opening.  Just to make sure none of the glitter escapes and because I like the look better, I stitch another line around the entire placemat. Again I use the edge of the vinyl as my guide with my foot, but I adjust the needle by moving it to the right.  You could even add a pretty decorative stitch.   

The very last thing I do is trim the corners round.  And that is that!  It's fun, festive and kids will love it!  And, it cleans up with the wipe of a rag after each meal!

How fun is that?!  If you have any experience with vinyl and have your own tips or tricks, please share!  Were all looking for things that will make our sewing experience easier.

Good luck and if you happen to make one or two...I'd love to see them!