Wednesday, April 18, 2018

And The Point Is ?


Do you like to work on a project while traveling?  Do you have a favorite to recommend?  I often do hand piecing, hand quilting projects, including English Paper Piecing projects while traveling.

In 2017, my largest project (at home with a machine) was a King Size + quilt, using the free Jacob's Ladder video tutorial and pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop.   But large projects mean a lot of scraps that I like to find ways to use.

I had quite a bit of scrap fabric, from the backing, when I trimmed to add binding.  BTW - I used two sided binding for this project as I couldn't find a fabric that would work with both front & back.  I really liked the 2 sided binding.   This picture shows the batik backing fabric with the dark brown/grey side of the binding.

And here is a picture that shows the binding side for the top of the quilt (blue binding on a grey border, folded over where you can see that the blue in this binding didn't work with the backing fabric, thus I opted for 2 sided binding).


That left over scrap fabric of the batik backing I decided to cut to make an orange peel quilt.  I used EQ8 software to plan it out.  As I wasn't dealing with yardage, but 4 left over strips of fabric (cut from my backing), I was still able to use EQ to plot out how much fabric I needed.  And, it helped me to decide how large I could make this Orange Peel quilt, given I was limited on fabric.  It will end up being a lapsize quilt.




I've prepared my fabrics for hand sewing orange peels this summer, while traveling and have started hand sewing using Aurifil Threads.



One trip I wasn't planning on making, but I was glad I had this project kitted and ready to go, took me to Urgent Care a week ago today.  There was lots of time to hand quilt, while waiting.



Why you ask?  Well, I stepped on a handsewing needle and about 3/4" of it broke off and got stuck in my foot.  I tried soaking, but no luck to remove it.  I endured all day Thursday, but was convinced by hearing horror stories from quilting friends about broken needles, so I went to Urgent Care Friday morning.  To my surprise, my nurse was also a quilter who seemed to fully understand my situation.


Typically, I deal with pain pretty well.  But the angle of this needle made it painful to walk, even painful to press the pedal of a sewing machine.  But the  shot by the Doctor to numb my foot probably hurt worse than anything I can remember.  I'm happy to report after a week of stepping on that needle, my foot is really doing great.  It still needs time to heal, but I'm able to walk.

My point?

While none of us intentional drop needles, nor do we want to step on a needle, this type of accident happens to more quilters than one may realize.  While we may prefer to go barefoot, quilters need to wear shoes always.  Even flipflops would have protected my foot from stepping on a needle.  Thus, I want to encourage all my quilting friends to try to remember accidents can happen - wear shoes!

Even though surgery was Friday afternoon, we caught a plan to Hawaii early Sunday morning.  Some have expressed concern about my safety in Hawaii, as they are hearing about the flooding.  We are on the Big Island and the serious flooding damage has happened on Kauai.   Local news is showing many have lost their homes, cars and entire landscape.  I think they received 22" of rain in a 24 hour window.  Another big storm is coming in tonight and will most likely cause more flooding in Kauai, as well as parts of the Big Island (not where I'm staying in Kona).  

We did go diving this morning.  Water visibility wasn't great, but after a week of not much exercise (due to my foot) it felt good to be in the water and exercise.  We enjoyed being entertained with 4 Manta Rays, as well as many beautiful fish.   Here is a short underwater video that my DH created. If you have headphones you may want to put them on and enjoy the music.







Please don't forget my point - quilters should wear shoes, even flip flops even when inside their home.  I hope you never know the pain of stepping on a needle, nor having to experience a doctor "digging" into your foot to find the proverbial needle in a haystack.  Trust me, the xray doesn't help, nor does magnets.

Darlene

PS -  I'll share more about my summer project (Orange Peel project) as I progress, here on Creative Latitude, my personal blog.  Happy to have you follow me here.

Monday, February 5, 2018

My Day - Put A Little Love in Your Quilt Blog Hop

Welcome to my little "personal" blog, which I recently launched, to share insights about what I'm working on, as well as more personal insights than I would typically share as a blogger. To clarify and for those visiting for the first time, possibly you know me as QuiltShopGal, where I research and share insights about new products, designers, teachers, events - anything related to "in the business" for quilting, sewing & embroidery enthusiasts.  Each blog has a different voice, but I hope you'll check them both out and consider following both.

Needless to say, I'm honored and thrilled to be part of the "Put A Little Love In Your Quilt Blog Hop" this week.  Carol of Just Let Me Quilt is the host of this event and she has done a great job coordinating an amazing group of quilting bloggers who are sharing their love of quilting, with plenty of inspiration, as well as some giveaways throughout the hop.  I'll share more about this hop, later in this post.


I'm also honored to have Aurifil as a sponsor today and they have generously donated an amazing prize for this giveaway.  I'll share more about this in a bit.


While I'm not an expert and anything, I'll confess I do love freemotion quilting (and Aurifil thread).  But this past year has been so hectic for me, that I've had minimal time to quilt, even less time for freemotion quilting.  So, my goal for a creating a love theme project for this hop was to incorporate Ruler Work with free-motion quilting, while working on a "practice project".  To clarify, what I'm sharing today is a UFO top that is actually my 2nd ruler work project.  It is far from perfect, but a great opportunity for me to practice using ruler work combined with freemotion quilting.


This table runner was appliqued using hearts cut with an AccuQuilt GO! Heart die, which I stitched an iron an stabilizer and hand stitched the applique' hears vs machine stitched.  The applique', piecing, binding and quilting was all stitched with Aurifil 50 wt thread.


I used the Pro Diamond ruler by Lisa Calle and definitely want to use this ruler again and again.  But I did learn the benefits of marking your quilt before you begin, to help keep the diamonds of a consistent alignment.  As a result, my pebbles are of a variety of sizes.  Still, I find interest and love in this table runner.  It really is more interest in person vs a photo.  Still, I hope to encourage you to try freemotion quilting, as well as ruler work.

A few years back, as QuiltShopGal, I researched to see how much I could learn in a year. Previously, I was a happy handquilter who would periodically send out quilts to longarmers.  But in my year of research on freemotion quilting, I became impressed with what I learned in a year and absolutely fell in love with it.  I thoroughly enjoy FMQ and still try to encourage others to "play" for 15 minutes a day with FMQ.  You'll be surpised, in no time at all, how much you will learn and how much fun you will have.  Just takes a bit of practice and even the masters practice, typically daily!!!

On a somewhat related note, I attended a Threadplay class this past weekend. The teacher provided all the threads (not Aurifil).  While I enjoyed the class,  I was a bit disqusted to have so much lint build up in my machine, for a single class, as well as how many threadbreaks I experienced during the class.  It was a good reminder how much better quality Aurifil threads are. And, in all honesty, the quality and extensive color selection, as well as variety of weights, just makes it sew much more fun to create using Aurifil threads, that I rarely use another brand anymore.  For me, Aurifil is my go to thread for piecing, quilting, hand sewing and machine embroidery.   And, with Aurifil's help, I hope to inspire others to try Aurifl too!  I just want to warn you, it is easy to fall in Love with Aurifil and it can easily become your "go to" thread.

Even though I sew on a domestic machine, I've begun to purchase the super large spools of thread, for my more commonly used colors vs the large spools.  

DID I MENTION A GIVEAWAY?


Aurifil has generously donated an amazing new collection of 50 wt threads called "Woof Woof Meow", by Stacy lest Hsu
To enter to win this yummy thread collection, simply leave a comment on this post.  This giveaway is open to followers, as well as non-followers who are participating in the "Put A Little Love In Your Quilt Blog Hop".  Simply leave a comment, on anything you think is appropriate for the theme of this blog hop.  I will randomly select a winner on February 14th and update this post to announce the lucky winner, as well as send them an email.

UPDATE:
I used the Random Number generator to select the lucky winner -
Congratulations to Martina, whom an email has been sent to notify her.


You may also want to visit QuiltShopGal to enter a special love theme giveaway sponsored by Nicola Elliott of PictureStitch.  But don't forget to check out all the blogs participating in the "Put A Little Love In Your Quilt Blog Hop", as many are also hosting amazing giveaways.
Here is the line up for the "Put A Little Love in Your Quilt Blog Hop" which started yesterday:
February 5
February 6
February 7
February 8






Put A Little Love in Your Quilt Blog Hop

I've been working on a special project for Valentine's Day.  It is actually my 2nd project that incorporates ruler work with my freemotion quilting.  Can you believe my first total ruler work project was a King Size quilt?  Needless to say, I've fallen in love with ruler work on its' own, or combined with freemotion quilting.  I'm far from an expert, but I do enjoy it.  Just need to practice more to become more comfortable holding the rulers while quilting on a domestic machine, as well as being more comfortable creating more motifs.



Here is a sneak peak of what I've been working on:



I'm excited to be part of the "Put a Little Love in Your Quilt" Blog Hop, hosted by Carol of Just Let Me Quilt.  Carol has put together a super fun blog hop, with an amazing group of talented quilters & bloggers, who will be sharing their Love of quilting and creativity with you this week.  I'm confident you'll find plenty of inspiration and some great giveaways along the way too!


Here is the line up for this event that started today:
February 5
February 6
February 7
February 8
I hope you'll visit all the blogs participating in this hop and definitely come back tomorrow, to visit me where I'll show you my special project. I’m also happy to share that Aurifil is my sponsor for this event and has donated an amazing collection of threads.  But you need to come back to learn more and enter this giveaway.
While QuiltShopGal isn't officially part of this blog hop line up, tomorrow you can also find some special Love and a giveaway on QuiltShopGal too!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Simple Baby Quilt


I recently made a very simply Baby Quilt, that the design was provided by way of an EQ8 tutorial by QuiltShopGal.   This was an easy and fast quilt to make, that certainly is adaptable to just about any size.

The mother-to-be picked a whimsical animal theme for the coming soon baby's room, which included adorable lions.  When I came across a lion fabric that I thought would make a perfect baby gift, I bought a yard, not knowing what design I'd make.  I like the final design I came up with, but admittedly I wish I had bought more of this focus fabric, to make the baby quilt a wee bit larger.


The Lion Fabric made me think of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".  I enjoyed listing to several videos on Youtube, which inspired me to machine embroider the lyrics to this song, on the strips of this quilt.



Here is a photo of the finished baby quilt:


Here is a closeup of the machine embroidery



I'm also new to Ruler Work quilting and this was my first quilt to use the circles design by Westalee, creating a Baptist Fan motif.    I'll confess I didn't do a great job with this design, but I still liked the end result.



I'm hoping to find time to play with my Silhouette electronic cutter to cut some heat transfer vinyl to decorate baby bibs and embellish some baby onesies, before this baby arrives later in January.    I'll share once I get them finished.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2018 Planning Party

I'm joining the #2018PlanningParty hosted by Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl.


  2018 Planning Party

I always chuckle when someone tells me that they think I'm organized.  I'll be honest and share that life races by so quickly.  I love living life as it happens, but I also realize I can't get everything done that I want to without a plan.  Finding the balance is the key for me and I'll confess I need to do more planning and time management throughout the year.

This year, as I proceed with a personal blog (Creative Latitude) I've decided to come out with sharing my personal plans.  I'm joining the #2018Planning Party, hosted by Quilting Jet Girl.  I hope you'll click thru and check it out, as there are benefits of making annual plans for your goals.

My planning process always starts with reflection on my plans for the previous year.  In 2017 Plans that I shared for QuiltShopGal were not all achieved, as planned.  But it was a great year for me to step back and think about where I was spending time,  after 10 years of blogging to help increase awareness of new products, designers, events and encourage everyone to have fun and build on their skills, as well as encouraging talented quilters to make money with their skills.  I had thought by now I would have completely stopped blogging as QuiltShopGal.  But this year has shown me how much I really enjoy learning about those in the business,  learning about new products, and trying to help promote, in a manner that also helps to improve my skills, and the skills of other, as well as create fun.  I think I've found a good compromise to go forward with QuiltShopGal in 2017, while also allowing more personal time.   For 2017 QuiltShopGal will be a "part-time" activity, with some clear downtime windows throughout the year.  But the voice will remain the same (not about me as much as about those in the business of quilting, sewing, embroidery).


2018 Goals with Clear Deliverables

For years, I've been asked to share a more personal side vs QuiltShopGal's focus on those in the business.  I can say I've officially launched Creative Latitude to share such insights.  As time permits, I'll be sharing insights on what creative activity I'm working on.  For 2018, I came up with 10 goals:

1) Make a dent in my UFO pile (don't ask how many)
{above} a Bella Bella quilt, which I originally dreamed of making many, but right now I know I need to focus on finishing this one.
{above} A collection of Hawaiian applique' blocks have been waiting for me to do something.  I used to enjoy hand quilting, but have moved to prefer freemotion quilting.  For years I never thought I was good enough for FMQ on a Hawaiian style quilt, but I've decided to go for it.    
{above} This hand pieced quilt top was made years ago while traveling.  It was also made when I was more comfortable with hand quilting than freemotion quilting, but never found time to hand quilt it.  I've decided that this is the year that I will finish it with FMQ on a domestic machine.  

Trust me, there are more, but I don't want to let anyone think I'm wacko (trust me I am).




2) Work on my organization and planning skills.  Go back to using a Planner, which worked well for me when I worked for Corporate America.

I recently won The Quilter's Planner for 2018 from Becky Goldsmith of Piece O Cake Designs.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to using it to help me plan and organize in 2018.

3)  I've always enjoyed making charity quilts, but as I find I have limited time to sew, I feel I've not been spending enough time to help others.  My realistic goal for 2018 is to make 2 good size charity quilts, with a stretch goal of making 6.  Historically, I rotate my focus year-to-year for the cause.  There are so many great causes, where people need help of so many sorts, especially good quilty hugs.  For 2018, my focus will very much be on:

Victims of the California fires.  The Venture Modern Quilt Guild has a call out for quilt blocks (or quilts, supplies, etc).



4) Make handmade for Christmas 2018 and be prepared, far in advance, so I don't get stressed.  This means I'll start making handmade gifts in Spring 2018! 

5) I want to push my design skills (I've never considered myself a designer), by:
   submitting a design to Moda Bake Shop (and hopefully get accepted). 

6) While I'm not an expert, over the years I've learned a lot about blogging and blog tools.  As QuiltShopGal, I'd like to work with others to coordinate a blogging event with many bloggers, to share tips about blogging, including learnings over the years and their opinions for where blogging is headed.  If you are interested in participating, let me know.  This will most likely be scheduled late Spring '18.   While I obtained experience with QuiltShopGal in a self hosted blog and unique domain, I want to research and build expertise with domain mapping for a Wordpress blog as well as a blogger blog. I'll also be looking for ways to reduce the costs for maintaining QuiltShopGal, as I go forward.  It has certainly put a dent in my personal quilting budget over the years.

7) Spend more time being creative and having fun.  Where I can, I hope to share my fun with creativity, as well as any tips, tutorials and inspiration I can share - here on Creative Latitude.  Again, this is my personal blog, so I hope those that may want to follow me on my journey don't have high expectations.

8) Continue to build my freemotion quilting skills, learn more FMQ motifs, as well as working with rulers.  Tackle at least one small wholecloth quilt, ideally 2.

9)  Continue to exercise, eat well, do what I can to maintain good health, or as good as it can be.

10)  Speak kind words.  Encourage others.  Listen.  Spend more time thinking before I speak. 


I hope you'll consider joinng the #2018PlanningParty.  I'm a big advocate that taking time to reflect, to plan, to set goals, is a good thing.  And, if you don't achieve all your goals don't ever beat yourself up.  This is a process to guide you.  We all know life can get in the way, but goals should be viewed as a good thing vs a thing you don't want to do as you think you'll never achieve them. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Simple Snap Bags and ITH Christmas Stockings - Bag it 2017


Patty Dudek has been hosting the Annual Bag It Challenge, for a few years and I always have fun and find inspiration in this events.  She shares creative tutorials, showcases sponsors with beautiful bag patterns and/or supplies for making bags, as well as creates loads of fun, including lining up amazing sponsors that donate prizes.   I thoroughly enjoy this event as it inspires me in so many ways, to make and give handmade for Christmas.  Today is my big reveal:

Snap Bags:  I've never made a snap bag before, but had loads of fun making them.  These were made from a "practice sandwich" of machine embroidered snowflakes that I digitized, including my first experience with couching machine embroidery.  I also hadn't done any free-motion quilting in months and had fun stitching "snowballs" as a background on my practice sandwich (which you can't really see in this photo).  While just a practice piece, I decided it was worthy to turn into snap bags and I'm glad I didn't toss it.  What do you think?





To clarify, I've finished 3 snap bags (front & back are quite different on the first two above).  I have several almost finished, but not ready to share today.

BTW - I also used the same machine embroidery designs to create an in the hoop design for a Christmas Stocking.  Not sure this counts as a bag?  (Christmas tote?  LOL).




I've thoroughly enjoyed the Bag It Challenge and I'm already  looking forward to it in 2018.  Patty has shared several new tutorials this year, but also there are many from prior years of this event.  They all make great gifts, as well as for your own use.   I hope you'll click thru to check out all the wonderful tutorials she shared, as well as all the creative entries that have been handmade during this fun event.




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Virtual Cookie Exchange Blog Hop and Giveaway

Welcome. I'm so happy to have you pop by my new blog, Creative Latitude.  You may know me as QuiltShopGal (or SewCalGal), where the past 10 years I've blogged with a focus on increasing awareness of talented designers, teachers, creative events, new products and anything about our wonderful world of quilting, sewing and embroidery.  I was frequently asked to share personal info (e.g. what was I personally working on), but I rarely did such sharing as I felt it went against my objective for the voice of QuiltShopGal.  But with encouragement from friends, I decided to launch Creative Latitude as a personal blog.

While I'm still working on the look, feel & kick-off activities for Creative Latitude, I'm delighted to be part of the 2017 Virtual Cookie Exchange, hosted by Carol Swift of Just Let Me Quilt.  Carol has lined up a wonderful group of blogging quilters that will be sharing yummy cookie recipes. I think you'll also find holiday fun, #CreativeGoodness, and various giveaways along the way.  To clarify, this blog hop starts today and goes thru December 7th (line up/links shared later in this post).



To kick this Virtual Cookie exchange, I want to wish you a wonderful Holiday Season.  And, I hope you'll also enjoy some holiday music with me:




Last year a friend was telling me about a group that she participates in for an annual Cookie Exchange, but the event wasn't so much about the exchange of cookies, as much as the boxes that held the cookies.  The participants were crafters, but she was the only quilter in the group.  The "boxes" holding the cookies sounded amazing".  At a group sew-cial, she was making fabric boxes for her cookies.  She had enlarged the size, but this tutorial by Seaside Stitches would certainly work for holding cookies to make a special gift.


I opted to use a pattern from Lazy Girl Designs, called Button Boats.  I found this design to be fun and fast to make.  Definitely addictive to make.

I've used Christmas fabrics, but only have this one ready to share today:






I like to make a variety of cookies and share with family, friends, neighbors at Christmas.  Every year I rotate what cookies I make (time easily gets away, also helping to prioritize).  I do like traditional cookies like a good light sugar cookie, but I also enjoy Snowball Cookies (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies), traditional Chocolate Chip cookies, Cranberry Bliss Cookies, Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies,  Peanut Butter Blossoms,  and Snickerdoodles.  What are your favorite Christmas cookies?

Today, I wanted to share one of my childhood favorites.  I love "Blondies".  They are yummy anytime of the year, but I think the White Chocolate Blondies are perfect for Christmas.   I also like cutting it into bite size pieces vs traditional bar size.


WHITE CHOCOLATE BLONDIES RECIPE:

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 cubes unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C granulated sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 white chocolate chips

Steps:
1.   Preheat oven to 370F.  Prepare a 9x9" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2.  In a medium size bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.
3.  In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugars and vanila extract.  Once blended, add eggs, one at a time.
4.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to your creamed mixture, lightly blend together.  Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the last 1/3 of the flour mixture, until all cream mixture and flour mixture are combined.  But, do not over blend!
5.  Add chocolate chips and stir by hand.
6.  Press your dough into your baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.  Test the center with a toothpick to ensure it is cooked through.  If the toothpick comes out with signs that the center is not cooked, let it continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes and re-test.
7.  Let the baking dish with blondies cool on a wire rack.  Cut into bars of desired size (I prefer bite size bars).

I think they look great in the Button Boats:

They also look great with a mug rug:

Either way, they are yummy in your tummy and they also make great handmade treats for family, friends and neighbors.  

DID I MENTION A GIVEAWAY?

I've enjoyed making these cork coasters, an in the hoop machine embroidery design by Embroidery Garden.  For one lucky winner, I will make a set of 4 with your initial and favorite color.  If you are interested, just leave a comment on this post to let me know "what letter" (initial) and "what color" you want the letter to be.  Just be sure your "google" settings (aka blogger setttings, even if you are not a blogger) are not at the default settings, which tags you as a no-reply blogger (I won't be able to contact you unless, as your settings won't let me email you).

I will randomly select one lucky winner on Friday, December 8th.  I'm hopeful to be able to make these coasters in time for them to receive for Christmas!   

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT UPDATE:

Suze won.  An email has been sent to her to notify her. .  Congratulations Suze!




I hope you'll visit all the blogs participating in this Virtual Cookie Exchange Blog Hop.  Here is the schedule:


Don't forget, while you can still follow me as QuiltShopGal, you can also now follow me as Creative Latitude here on blogger and via:


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