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.


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

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.  


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!   


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:

Pinterest:     https://www.pinterest.com/creativelatitudetime/
Instagram    https://www.instagram.com/creativelatitudetime/
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Creative-Latitude-Time-208859592955620/
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/CLatitudeT

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Sunday, April 30, 2017

setting things up

I'm working on officially launching a new blog (Creative Latitude) where I'll share insights on a variety of creativity, as well as more personal insights than my focus on QuiltShopGal.

You'll also find freebies, giveaways, tutorials and hopefully endless creativity and inspiration.

You'll be able to find me at:
Pinterest:     https://www.pinterest.com/creativelatitudetime/
Instagram    https://www.instagram.com/creativelatitudetime/
Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/Creative-Latitude-Time-208859592955620/
Twitter:       https://twitter.com/CLatitudeT