Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dear Loyal Readers

Or should I say loyal quilting buddies? ;) I'm going to stray from my usual blogging format today because I have a fun announcement! I meant to do this sooner (like yesterday...I was going to April fool everyone that I had decided to quit quilting...hahaha) but sadly it didn't happen. So first of all, I am happy to report that the Radiant Orchid Quilt won 2nd place in the Mini category AND Viewers Choice Award in the Pantone Quilt Challenge! Yay!! So exciting!

In other news, I have finally decided that Quilt Design and I were meant to be together. There isn't going to be a wedding or anything (I'm already married!) but I thought everyone should know that I've decided to take our relationship to the next level by selling some of my patterns! Frankly, I have been resistant to being in the pattern making business, mostly because I didn't want the pressure of having to market patterns and get them printed and ship them, and talk about it all the time on my blog. I didn't want to be disappointed if nobody wanted to buy them. I didn't want it to become my whole life. So I didn't do it.

But then, in January, I discovered Craftsy! I promise I do not live in a cave...I don't know why I didn't find it sooner. :) I had actually seen ads for it here and there online, but I thought they just had online classes. Then, I bought the pattern for my daughters birthday dress on Craftsy and I went, "Wait a minute! PDF download only? Perfect!" And a couple months later, here we are. I have myself a sweet little Craftsy shop with one pattern in it (well actually 3--but two of them are free) and I have all the benefits of being in business and none of the stress of actually being in business! It's really kind of fun! And you know who is the most excited? My husband. That's right...he is thrilled at the possibility of me subsidizing my quilting habit and therefore NOT spending the family fortune on fabric every month. :) 

So...there you have it! :) Also, just a heads up--there are going to be some changes to the free pattern page. I'm just letting you know so if there is anything on it that you would like but have not yet downloaded, do it now!

Also, If you have suggestions, requests or would like to possibly test a pattern for me, please let me know!!

Ok, back to quilting! ;) 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Radiant Orchid Quilt Challenge

Here is my quilt for the Pantone Radiant Orchid Quilt Challenge. Normally I don't find out about these kinds of things until after the fact, but a couple weeks ago I happened to see a post about this years challenge. I was a little bit excited about this one since I am a huge fan of the color! Just ask my favorite shirt...or my handbag...or my roll of masking tape. :) Usually it takes me the whole year to warm up to the "color of the year" --so by the time I get around to making a quilt using it...there's a new color of the year! :) This year, that was not a problem! I already had some good fabrics in my stash so I figured I could whip out a Mini in no time flat...but let's talk about it...I am finishing this up with less than one hour to spare. Woah. That was close.

This mini quilt is 21" x 27". It actually took me a little while to figure out what I wanted to do. Surprise, surprise. I thought about it a lot and even came up with what I thought was a really good idea. I mocked it up in Inkscape and showed my husband and he looked at it kinda funny and said "I don't get it." So that kinda ruined my enthusiasm for the whole project...since it was Sunday night-- I had less than a week to get it done and I was now back to the drawing board. I got all frustrated and decided I would probably just forget it. I went upstairs and held the baby for a while. When I came back downstairs I just started messing around in Inkscape, looking at old files...and found a quilt design I made last year...the Circles and Rings Baby Quilt. Somehow, ten short minutes later I had come up with this design. And I totally loved it. Luckily, my husband did as well. (Good thing too or I might have fired him again for killing team morale). 

This quilt is entirely appliqued using fusible web (I use Pellon 805). I stitched around all the shapes using a blanket stitch in matching thread. Then, rather than drive myself crazy trying to figure out a cool way to quilt it, I decided to just do a grid (similar to the original quilt) only I decided to make an imperfect grid that I drew on with disappearing ink before quilting it. Then I bound it in my favorite black Alexander Henry June bug dot. It's the same fabric I used when I made my small wall quilts a few years ago...I am hoarding that fabric...but I think it was perfect for this quilt so I figured it would be ok to use a little bit of it!

I haven't decided what the fate of this quilt will be yet...I have a friend who just had a birthday who might like it, and one of my daughters wants it on the wall in her room. And I made a pattern for it!! I made one for the Circles and Rings Quilt but loved this one so much I added a bonus layout to the pattern so you can make either quilt (or both!) with the same pattern (get it HERE)! Glad I didn't give up on this challenge!!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Rainbow Dress

A rainbow exploded at my house last week! I half expected skittles to rain from the sky. My oldest daughter turned 6 and decided she wanted a rainbow birthday. She requested a rainbow cake. And a rainbow dress. And a rainbow pinata. And rainbow shoes. You get the idea. She LOVES rainbows. I planned and started working on a rainbow quilt for her bed, but of course I didn't finish that with all the other rainbow stuff I had to come up with. But that's ok...that will give us all something to look forward to in a future post! ;) On to the dress!

Isn't it SO cute??? I searched far and wide (pinterest) for the perfect rainbow dress and eventually I found one on etsy (this one) that I thought was almost perfect!! As I was looking at the price, I was wishing I could just find the pattern for it (since I like to make dresses)...well I scrolled down a bit and lo and behold, there was the name of the pattern they had used! Score! It is called the Peppermint Swirl dress pattern by Candy Castle Patterns. I hopped over to and bought the pattern so fast it was scary...(since I rarely buy patterns).

I have never used a pdf clothing pattern before, but it was actually pretty easy to print out and attach the pattern pieces together. I changed the neckline a bit so it went straight across and decided not to add the optional flutter sleeves. I also added lining to the bottom of the dress (the pattern included lining for the top) since I knew my sweet girl would think it was scratchy if not lined. It was a surprisingly easy dress to make considering how complex it looks.

I had a bit too much fun picking fabrics for this dress...I decided to do white for the top and the sash...and I had all but the orange and dark blue in my stash. I know real rainbows have red in them, but I couldn't bring myself to ruin this bright fun rainbow with red. And after the fact my daughter asked me why I put the purple after the pink...apparently real rainbows also read from left to right. I'm just not a rainbow expert, ok? ;)

So after the dress was mostly put together, I was trying to figure out a good way to tie the top and bottom together. I was thinking of just using bits of the extra fabrics from the rainbow to embellish the top a little. But then on a random trip to Walmart, I found this giant bag of flower buttons that matched perfectly!! I bought them thinking I would just use them on the back, but then decided that some of the bigger ones would be so cute on the front too! I love it when stuff like that happens!

Here is the back...

And the best part about this twirls...really good! I made bias tape for the hem and it worked out really well...gave it more volume too! 

And some of the leftover fabrics became this cute rainbow headband. I saw one similar in one of the pictures in the pattern- so I decided to make this at the last minute. Just happened to have a white headband to glue it on too! The dress was a surprise and Madi girl loved it and she looked so adorable in it on her big day! Now here are some pictures of the cake and some of the decorations...just for fun! 

The rainbow cake! This was fun. I had no idea how I was going to decorate it until the day before...then I had a stroke of genius to add that rainbow to the top of the cake. I had the star candles, but the rest I just made up as I went along so I was happy with how it turned out! Oh...and wish I would have snapped a few pictures before my 3 year old decided to stick her fingers in it and mess up the name!

Here's the back side. The white blobs on the left there are supposed to be clouds (in case you couldn't tell). I thought I was pretty clever making the squiggles wrap around from the front to the back of the cake. The squiggles aren't beautiful, but no surprise most of us know, I have issues with loops! I used cream cheese frosting (flavored with coconut - yum!) which tastes so much better than buttercream in my opinion...but this dang thing took 3 batches of frosting. I don't even want to think about how much sugar was in it!

And here is the inside! Yes! This was in the original plan...normally we are totally chocolate cake people, but sadly, you can't make a rainbow cake out of chocolate. So we had a mediocre tasting cake that looked AWESOME inside! I used Wilton gel food coloring --I had the regular ones and the bright ones with purple, orange, magenta and teal. And I was too lazy to level off the cakes with a knife so I just smashed them flat with the bottom of a spring form pan that was weighted down as they were cooling. Yeah. I like to cut corners. ;)

We had a little get together with some friends for is the fruit and veggie rainbow my sister set up for it! 

And here is the rainbow streamer wall...I got this idea from my friend Mindi who did one of these for her daughter's rainbow party. I decided to add white balloons at the bottom for clouds. :) Yay for birthdays. Glad the next one isn't for a few months! I need to take a break and do some quilting! :) 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Peppermint Swirl Quilt

Here's one more quilt from last year...a Christmasy quilt! Yes, I know Christmas was almost 2 months ago, but since it is red and white and almost Valentine's Day, I figured there was no harm in posting it now! :) 

So this quilt was another one that I had to make because I had a cool photo op in mind. (Remember this quilt?) I feel no shame in admitting this. Sometimes you just have to use whatever motivation you have to get things done. ;-) I needed a December photo for my calendar, and was trying to think of something that would look cool. I wanted simple, but classic. So I decided on peppermints, and was thinking of making this quilt again in red and white. Then I came across this super cute afghan in a Google search and decided that the peppermints needed to be swirly. Unfortunately, after it was all done, the photo location I had planned didn't work out after all (broken pipe flooded the place) but oh well --the quilt was done!

This was constructed using my favorite method...applique on a big piece of white fabric. Naturally, I mocked this up in Inkscape, printed out one of the red wedges and used that as a template for tracing onto fusible web. Then I ironed them to the red solid (Kona Ruby) and cut them out with a rotary cutter. Then I also printed one of the whole peppermints. I put it underneath the white fabric and used it as a guide for placing the red wedges and tracing around the outside of the circle with a water-soluble marking pen. Then I ironed these on a few at a time and stitched around the applique pieces with a blanket stitch and outlined the outer edge of the circle with a thicker straight stitch. I thought it would take forever to stitch these down, but it was surprisingly fast since I could sew each one without breaking thread. 

I quilted this very simply. Just a big swirl inside each peppermint using a groovy board. Of course I wanted to do something amazing and fancy, but lets face it, I just don't plan things well enough to allot time for awesome quilting. I am usually trying to finish in a hurry and often sacrifice "amazing" for "done". 

In between the peppermints I decided to do these holly berries. I made the picture in Inkscape and then just used my laser light to trace it--just like with a pantograph.

I backed it in Crimson Minky and bound it in the matching red solid. 

Then I took this picture of it for the calendar and gave it to my cute friend Teresa, who was my neighbor in Minnesota. She asked me if I would make her a quilt for her bedroom, and gave me paint chips in the colors she wanted. Well, I tried for over a year to come up with a good quilt using the colors but I just couldn't do it. But I still wanted to give her a quilt. And she loves Christmas, so I hoped this would suffice. She loves it. :)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Willows Wall Quilt

Here's a quilt I made forever ago. Ok, it was just last spring...but it feels like forever ago. I started it right before my sweet baby girl was born. I had just finished the Watermelon Wedge Quilt but still had about 3 weeks of pregnancy left, and I was bored. Or stir-crazy. Or...I just felt like starting another quilt! So I did.

This was fun to make because it was small and somewhat of an experiment. Originally the design for this was on some fabric I made on Spoonflower a few years ago to decorate the family room in my Minnesota house.

(Story time!) I had been trying to figure out what to do with that basement room since we moved in. It had yucky green walls and these horrible cornice boxes above the windows that had a maroon, green and gold wallpaper border running down the center. I needed a new color scheme for the room that would look good with the brick. I was also on the lookout for a different border to replace the ugly one, but no luck. Then my mother-in-law (HS interior design teacher) told me about liquid starch and how it can stick fabric to walls. So I started thinking about using fabric instead of wallpaper. Then my little sister Kaeli came to visit and we decided it was definitely time to redo the basement. So Kaeli, being the brilliant design genius that she is, suggested orange and aqua for the color scheme. We hunted for a week for the perfect fabric, but of course, did not find it. So I decided to make my own. I had been wanting to make something on Spoonflower since I discovered its existence, but hadn't gotten around to it. It was so exciting. Kaeli told me I should make fabric with some of those "willow things" on it. I had no idea what "willow things" were, so she drew me a little sketch and I loved the idea! I looked for the sketch but couldn't find it...luckily, at one point it was up on my bulletin board...

It's tiny...but there it is! So anyway, I made the fabric design using inkscape (of course!!). Then I had the fabric printed, used it in the cornice boxes and for a couple pillows. It worked out well, and I really love the design. So long story short (too late) last spring I decided it would make a fun wall hanging.

The background is mostly paper pieced. It was the only way I could think to make the design precise with all the different angles and overlaps. And I had never paper pieced anything, but it worked out perfectly. The little ovals are appliqued on using fusible web and a blanket stitch. Fun fun!

I quilted it on my regular sewing machine...I figured it would be easy to do the straight lines that way and it was. I used painters tape as a guide and it turned out alright. At first I just did the vertical lines, but decided to add the horizontal ones just for fun. I was planning to bind it in the same color, but I ran out of fabric! So I used a slightly darker green instead. It works. 

And I gave this one to my cute friend Laura in New Hampshire. She loves this had to be hers. She lived across the yard from me and we hung out all the time. And she was nice enough to watch my older girls while I had a baby! I even conned her into making her first quilt even though she said she could never do it...and let's talk about was super cute! She had never used a sewing machine, but she did it all herself and even machine quilted it and did a great job! The best part is that she loved it, so there's a good chance her first quilt won't be her last! Her husband just bought her a sewing I'd say mission accomplished! Quilting bug...planted! :) Miss you Laura!