CGM Podcast Episode #53: BBW Challenge

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 

Life Update:
  • School started!
  • Potty training continues...

Banned Books Week Challenge!!
Join Sandy (Quilting for the Rest of Us) and I 
for a fun mini quilt challenge this Fall.
  • Make a mini quilt based on your favorite banned or challenged book. Applique, paper piecing, art, multi media..any technique used is fine as long as it can be called a quilt!
  • See the list of banned and challenged books from 2000-2009 here.
  • Post your completed quilt(s) in the Flickr Group .
  • During the official Banned Books Week (9/22-28), Sandy and I will be posting about the Challenge and giving away fun prizes! 
WIPs and FOs:
  • Tinker Tote based on Tara Redman's Craftsy class
  • In Threes Cardigan for Sam...had to frog it. Will c/o after a smaller project is done.
  • F*ck Blocks for the F*ck Block Bee
  • King Spiderweb quilt
Classic Movie Review:
 To Kill a Mockingbird
with Gregory Peck 
 Book Review:
by Therese Anne Fowler

Thanks for listening!



Best Christmas Quilts Magazine: I'm In It!

I was thrilled to have another project in this year's special issue of Best Christmas Quilts from Quilter's Newsletter. My Merry Christmas Owls wallhanging is a simple fusible applique project that can be completed in a weekend. 

The Best Christmas Quilts issue is on newsstands now, 
so be sure to pick up your copy! 

To get you in the Christmas mood, I am giving away a charm pack of Ho-Ho-Ho, Let It Snow by Nancy Halvorsen for Benartex Fabrics.

This line has a fun and modern look, and would work great in a fusible project with smaller pieces, like Christmas Owls.

This giveaway will be open until 12 am Monday, Sept 2nd when 1 winner will be randomly selected. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by



WIP Wednesday

Lots going on these days, I am on a deadline for a few projects, updating the blog, working "behind the scenes" with Sandy from Quilting for the Rest of Us on some Banned Books Week fun, and trying to take some time to just play.

I have purchased at least 12 Craftsy classes, and watched bits-and-pieces from most of them. Recently, I bought Tara's class: Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags, and really liked the look of the main project, the Tinker Tote. It also helped when I saw Rita's recently completed totes on Instagram and her blog - so nice!

So in between other things, I've been watching the class and piecing my tote. Here's an early pic of one of the tote panels:


The QAYG method is very simple, and Tara's instruction in the class is straight-forward and easy to understand - she is a natural teacher!

Be warned though - you may end up with a sewing room floor that looks like this after you raid the stash:

 Holy Scrap!

I also put together a lined drawstring bag for the MQG bag swap, which is due August 31st....so I'm not late thank goodness! But it's funny about a swap - if you receive yours in the mail before you've had a chance to make and send your item...you start to feel guilty. Even if the deadline hasn't passed, LOL. At least I do! This is why I limit my participation in swaps...does a mom really need any more irrational guilt in her life?

Luckily this is a 1-time swap, and the bag is easy to make. I've already made a few as knitting bags, so I knew I could knock this one out for a partner in about an hour. We had to put together "style/color collages" to give our partner a sense of our likes in fabric choices. My partner loves flowers, so it was an easy pick as I have some nice florals on hand. I used some Dear Stella fabric for her bag.

Hope she likes it! Now just to remember to swing by the post office and actually get it mailed out by 8/31...it's been sitting on my passenger seat for 5 days now. Anyone else do that, LOL?

What are you working on?


Linking up with:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


A New Look

It's been a long time coming, but I am working on several updates to this blog, including a new header (see above), page links, and sidebar buttons.

Bear with me as I am doing this on my own...well with many other blog tutorials and videos help, and taking it step-by-step. I like how it's coming along so far, and am excited for the rollout of some other enhancements along the way.

Hope you like it too...stay tuned!



Anthropologie: Another Reason Quilter's Don't Sell Quilts For a Living

I don't often get on a soapbox about things that tick me off but when I heard about Anthropologie selling king size handmade quilts for just $228-$248, I couldn't help it.

The logo with their description of the line of quilts currently on their website, and I assume in their stores, reads: "what takes 72 hours, 16 hands, 12 different processes and countless colors to create?" My answer would have been a Twinkie, but since it's on their House & Home page, I assumed they meant some kind of bedding. 

As I clicked the link to find the source of such supposed handmade fabulousness, my mind kept saying "let it be some amazing-looking quilt that they are charging over a thousand dollars for..." Not such crazy thinking in my opinion. After all this is the same company that charges $140- $300 for dresses made with a yard and a half of fabric. Lest you think this entire post is me knockin' Anthropologie's game completely, and trashing the goods they peddle, I happen to be a big fan of their aesthetic, style, and fashion forwardness. It's all I can do not to add this and this to a shopping cart.

But something gets my hackles up when I see non-big-box retailers with "style street cred" marketing handmade quilts, highlighting the hours spent making it, all the hands that touched it, all the processes and colors, etc... and then you click on the quilt and see they're not even charging what some of their more expensive clothing costs!

I don't want to be accused of lifting any of their photos from their site, so I will only link to my examples here, here, here, and here. I'll wait while you go look.

I know, right?

So they're telling the world, which is made up of mostly non-quilters (let's face it, we're an awesome bunch, but we aren't in the majority...I think the woodworkers have us beat), that the retail value of a king size handmade quilt can be boiled down to the equivalent of $3.44/hr ($248 / 72 hours)?!?!

Do I even need to rant about how many other jobs, already considered low-wage, pay more than this? I don't think so.

I will say that this angers me because it is devaluing the learning and making of a craft...ANY craft, including quilting, to a level so low no one could possibly compete in the marketplace. It perpetuates the myth that a real quilt, made with quality materials, only costs around $250 to make! And we all here know, it really doesn't.

According to Anthropologie's pricing structure on these handmade quilts, the time put in to make one isn't even worth the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. This would put them at an apparently unreachable $522, which to someone who has put in that kind of time, energy, and skill into the making of a quilt before (not to mention the cost of materials) is chump change.

So for those people who have already purchased one of these "Hothouse Quilts" and are snuggling down under it, you should feel awesome. Great. Fantastic! Because as far as I'm concerned, you just got the deal of a lifetime. Just don't go asking your local quilter to make you one for that price and wonder why you got such a nasty look in return before being told sweetly (quilters are usually saccharine sweet when giving this reply, don't be fooled though, we want to smack you upside the head....hard) "Sorry, but I couldn't make you that for anything less than $500, plus materials."

As for me, I'll seethe in silence (and on my blog apparently), but stick to making quilts for myself and as gifts.....the only way for a quilter to stay sane and solvent in this market!

Stepping off the soapbox to make room for your comments below,



CGM Podcast Episode #52: Doll Mama Drama

Listen to the episode HERE

Show Notes 

Life Update:
  • Back-to-School soon!
  • Sam's American Girl "experience" turns into a hair nightmare...that ends well.

WIPs and FOs:
  • FO: In Threes cardigan for Maddy. Blogged here.
  • FO: She Art mini quilt #1. Blogged here.
  • Drawstring bag swap for the DC/VA/MD Modern Quilt Guilds. Using the free lined drawstring bag pattern by Jeni Baker.
  • F*ck Blocks for the F*ck Block Bee
  • King Spiderweb quilt
Big News! I have a pattern included in the magazine Best Christmas Quilts 2013 from Quilter's Newsletter. On sale now. 

Classic Movie Review:

 Cyrano de Bergerac
with Jose Ferrer and Mala Powers

 Book Review:

by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Thanks for listening!



So Much For The Diet....

The fabric diet that is. Since I'll be going to the Houston Intl. Quilt Festival this Fall I've been trying to save up my fabric purchases for the show. And I'd been doing fine, until I came across these lovelies in JoAnns (while buying thread!)....

These are prints from Tim Holtz's new line, Eclectic Elements.

As a (lapsed) scrapbooker, I am very familiar with Tim Holtz's name in the paper and stamping world. I must have missed the news from last Quilt Market when this line from Coats & Clark was displayed.

It hits all the right fiber buttons for me right now... I could buy yards and yards of this tape measure print alone. (I didn't, I saved you some).

And don't get me started on the text prints....faaab-u-lous! (she says in a high pitched voice). The popularity of text and low volume quilts will make these prints a must-have in many a quilters' stash.

And if you love clocks, or have been waiting to make a steampunk quilt, well, Tim has that locked down in paper-form so it doesn't surprise me at all he included them in this line.

For JoAnn Fabrics, this is not an inexpensive quilting fabric line to carry at $14.99 per yard (currently on sale for 40% off). However, I am so happy to see them embracing more designers with a great eye for graphics that can be used in quilts, added to their assortment. Grab some of this line quickly, it will sell out fast!



What I'm Reading This Month

Hope you're all having a great summer and getting some fun reads in! Here's what I'm pulling off my nightstand pile this month:

Being Me by Lisa Renee Jones

Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell
(on sale 10/15/13, I am reading an advance copy)

Skipping A Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

What are you reading this month?



F.O: She Art Mini Quilt #1

After weeks of being in a "creative pause" I am so happy to get caught up in a large gust of inspiration. I have been taking an online class, the She Art Workshop with Christy Thomlinson, and fell instantly in love with these quirky girls and the mixed media techniques she goes over in great detail. While Christy primarily works with canvas, paper, and paints to create the girls, I immediately began working out how this could translate into fabric.

Here is my first mini quilt of a She Art girl:

 "She didn't care if it was perfect"
7" x 12"

The background is made with one of my own hand dyed fabrics in a pale gray. Then I used stamps, stencils, and acrylic paint to add texture to it. 

I used some Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps for her dress. A signature of the She Art girls is the little quotes or "She Phrases." For this one, being my first She Art girl, and using a different medium than a painter's canvas used in the class, I knew going in it wasn't going to be "perfect." 

This can be hard for anyone starting a new process or technique. You want it to turn out a certain way, or look like the samples you've seen that got you excited to try in the first place. But we have to let go of that need for perfection when we're still in the beginning stages - heck I didn't even have half the supplies I "thought" I needed to do this - I'm a sewer not a painter!

So I decided to let go and enjoy the process. Got my hands dirty. Thought several times along the way I was messing up a perfectly good piece of hand dyed fabric.

For her face, arms, and legs I used another piece of hand dyed fabric with a text print stamp. I think this is my favorite part of her - the subtle texture the text adds to her skin. Her hair is made of a bark print fabric from my stash.

And I love the dressform stamp I found in the clearance bin at Michaels. I was even happy that a little spritz paint experiment I tried went wrong and left a stain on the dressform...I'm calling it the vintage look, LOL. Again, not perfect, but by this point I was having so much fun with this girl, I really didn't care.

So that's what I've been up to! I already have several more She Art mini quilts in process and will share them soon, so watch this space. 

Happy Crafting!



I Knit a Sweater Y'all!

And she loves it! It came out way too big after blocking, but since she's growing like a weed, it will fit her perfectly any day now.

This is the In Threes Cardigan by Kelly Herdrich. Very simple and straightforward pattern, perfect for a first time sweater! I have already cast on one for Sam in a deep purple (her favorite color).

Here are some more photos from her own private session/show-off this morning:

 Yes those are the cutest ever little owl buttons (JoAnn Fabrics).
Seriously, could they be any more perfect to complete this sweater?

Side detail

To make this sweater you need to know how to knit, purl, KFB (knit in front and back), YO (yarn over), BO (bind off) in the middle of a row, and cast on in the middle of a row. The bind off and cast on in the middle of a row (to make the cap sleeves) were new to me, but I watched a You Tube video on each and it was so simple to do - and very clever way to make sleeves while not having to piece them on later! 

The whole sweater is knit from the top down, using circular needles, but not knit in the round. I used KnitPicks Swish Worsted yarn in the Orange colorway, and it knit up quickly and was so soft in the hand.

Best reward of all is knowing she loves her new sweater, made by Mommy, just for her. 

 She double-dog dares you to try and take it away.


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