Monday, December 31, 2018

Welcome 2019 - Happy New Year

Creative Latitude is my personal blog.  I'll confess I haven't spent much time sharing here, but one of my goals in 2019 is to do more sharing this year. 

Today, I want to welcome in 2019.  My DH is preparing a yummy breakfast and serving Memosas.  I'm enjoying watching the Rose Bowl Parade on TV (happy to be tucked under a quilt and not outside in the cold). 

I also want to share insights for my goals this year.  Of course, I'd also enjoy hearing your goals too!



What will 2019 bring for you?  Well, for me, my word of the year will certainly be "Focus" and fight to keep my internal squirrel under control to accomplish my goals for this year:

  • Learn a new technique 
  • Finish a pile of UFOs
  • Create a quilt using a challenging design  (yes, a personal challenge)
  • Make more charity quilts - as there are so many in need of a good quilty hug!
  • Continue to build on my freemotion quilting skills
  • Publish!  Yes, I want to challenge my skills to officially publish at least one of my own designs.



As mentioned, I'd honestly love to hear what your goals are for 2019?  I'm not one to use goals completed/uncompleted by a metric to judge, but to me goals are a way to help us determine where we want to "try" to focus.  And, sharing them helps us get to know each other better and identify ways to encourage and support each other.

Whatever your goals are for 2019, I do wish you much happiness, good health, and plenty of time to enjoy and be creative.  Let's make creativity infectious in 2019.  Spread good cheer and #CreativeGoodness.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Virtual Cookie Exchange Blog Hop And A Giveaway Too!

Today, I'm delighted to be participating in the Virtual Cookie Exchange Blog Hop, hosted by Carol of Just Let Me Quilt.  If this is your first time visiting me, welcome.  This is my personal blog, which I have plans to simply use to share a variety of forms of creativity that I work on and personally enjoy.  I'll confess I need to do more sharing on this blog and do I have plans to do so shortly (all the holiday projects I'm working on).  To clarify, you may know me as QuiltShopGal (or ages ago as SewCalGal).  As QuiltShopGal moved from a self hosted blog to a free wordpress blog last year, I sadly lost a lot of followers.  While I hope you'll follow me at my personal blog (Creative Latitude), I'm also hopeful you will follow me at QuiltShopGal - www.quiltshopgal2.wordpress.com


This year I added a Christmas themed wallhanging as a table topper.  Even my DH likes it!  Definitely getting me into the holiday spirit. It was gifted to me via a Quilter's Christmas party, gift exchange, several years ago and I do enjoy it. I'm looking forward to putting out more holiday decorations, but I really don't put up that many decorations. For the most part, what Christmas decorations I will put out this year will be quilted items, many of which have been given to me by friends. They really help to provide a simple touch to help capture the spirit of the holidays, as well as provide good quilty hugs.

I also enjoy Christmas music and Christmas movies, but refuse to listen or watch until after Thanksgiving.  What about you?  

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is baking Christmas Cookies and sharing with family, friends and neighbors.  I'll often make little gift baskets that include not just cookies, but some handmade items (e.g. embroidered dishtowels, table runners, etc.).  I like to bake a variety of cookies to share, but today I want to share a light cookie which I think is perfect for the holidays and certainly goes well with a cup of hot tea.  

I'm addicted to shortbread and still on the search for the perfect shortbread recipe.  The recipe that I'm sharing today has the combination of cranberries and orange in these cookies to create a cookie that is not overly sweet, but tasty for the holidays.  This is the only type of cookie I've made so far, this year, but as mentioned, I do plan on baking more types of cookies to fill these aluminum tins that are currently filled with my Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies:


I also plan on making handmade gift tags for these aluminum tins, as inspired by this photo I found on Pinterest.   



Here is the recipe for my Cranberry Orange Shortbreak Cookies:





DID I MENTION A GIVEAWAY?

Martingale Publishing is sponsoring this giveaway, where one lucky winner will receive a copy of Simple Reflections - A Journal For Memories and Musings, by Kim Diehl.  This fun new journal is perfect for quilters, as well as those that appreciate quilts.  And, as a journal it offers a fun way
 for you to capture memories, musings, project planning and/or project progress notes, cooking notes, sketching, logging your dreams,  thoughts about your kids (or gkids). or whatever you may want to log in a journal.  The possibilities are endless.    It is also packed with yummy recipes.


To enter simply leave a comment on this post saying anything you wish.  Maybe you want to share what your favorite Christmas Cookie is, or if you bake any treats to give to family & friends.  If so, when do you typically give them away?  I'll be randomly selecting the winner on Monday, December 3rd and I'll email the winner to let them know.  Due to postage expenses, I can afford to ship this prize to someone in the US/Canada, but if you live elsewhere if you are willing to pay for postage I will happily ship to you.

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT:


Sue is the lucky winner, but sadly, Sue is what is called a no-reply blogger (her Google account settings are at the default status, which does not provide the ability to contact via email).  I will leave this up for 10 days, in hopes that she will see this and contact me.  If I don't hear back, I will randomly draw another name.






DID I MENTION A BLOG HOP?  Here is the lineup where you can find more yummy cookie recipes, inspirational quilts, and even some giveaways along the way:


Time flies by so fast.  Thus, I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I'm happy to have you pop by today.  Of course, I hope you'll also consider following me at Creative Latitude and come back to see what #CreativeGoodness I do in 2019.

via GIPHY

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.