Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Are you up to the Challenge?

Home Machine Quilting Show 2016 Design Challenge.

Look at this lovely lusciousness.  What would you design with these fabrics?
Riley Blake Designs has graciously donated fabrics for this challenge.  Contestants will receive eight half-yard cuts from Amanda Herring's Ardently Austen fabrics.  All quilts in the contest will be auctioned for this year's HMQS charity of choice, the The Christmas Box International, which provides assistance to prevent child abuse and services to improve the quality of life for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.  

Grab a couple of friends and challenge yourselves!  And maybe win a cash prize for the effort!  Don't miss out!  Kits are now being distributed and are going fast.  The contest is open to anyone, with the finished quilts due back by April, 2, 2016.  Register and see all the details for this worthwhile challenge at

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Quilt, St. George Style kicked off with a "quilty" start at a great little retreat last week:  Quilt St. George

The first night I taught a Carpenter's Star class.  There were several groups of ladies who were sisters, cousins, even double-cousins in class!  We cackled together like a regular "Hen Party", as my grandpa used to call gatherings like this, but got a lot done in the mean time.  We ended class with a quick demo on pre-cut mitered borders.  Too bad we were so busy I forgot to snap any pictures!
The next day was a full day of teaching.  First up, Sheep Shape!  I was so happy to see my friend Carol of Just Let Me Quilt, who joined me for the class.  She's got a fun sense of humor and I adore her!  
(photo credit)
 In no time, little hexie sheep began appearing around the room!

As of yesterday, Carol finished her quilt top and has already sent it to the quilter!  Take a look:  Just Let Me Quilt.

Ended the day by hosting a Little Owlie Pincushion Make & Take project from this "tutowlrial" by Moonstitches.  They're a hoot, and so dang cute!  Here's a pic of everyone's creations!  Whew!  What a day!

The next morning, I got to hang out with my cute friend Rochelle, whom I had met at a quilt retreat a few years back.  We explored a few little kitschy places around St. George, including the local Habitat for Humanity's RE-Store.  It was a blast.

 Her little owlie pincushion on the dashboard led the way.
The fun didn't end there.  I attended a few luncheon trunk shows including Sandra Starley with an antique quilt collection that was a true feast for the eyes!

And Kimberly Bourne who shared her inspiration and creative process for modern quilt design.  I took Kimberly's Allyson class, featuring "pinless" curves.  I'm always excited to try new techniques - especially if it can simplify the process!

And finally, I spent a day with Barb, shop owner of Quilted Works, at her home studio where we laser-cut the applique' pieces for my next pattern, "Owl Always Love You".


Who (or "hoo" in this case) wouldn't want a kit, laser-cut and all ready to go?!  I'll be teaching at a few retreats and quilt shows in the upcoming months, offering these laser-cut kits (see schedule HERE).  Thanks for a fabulous day, Barb!  Girls with power tools rule...

And thanks to quilty friends both old and new for a fun and fabulous weekend in St. George, Utah!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Happy Christmas!

Last Fall our family headed for the hills to try to get a decent family picture.

It was a perfect evening together - perfect weather, perfect scenery, perfect company, perfectly fun... but the pictures, well... let's just say they're less than perfect.

Here's wishing you a perfectly wonderful Holiday Season!

And a little something more to add to the Christmas cheer...  

Look for the full broadcast of this Christmas Special with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir featuring Santino Fontana and the Sesame Street Muppets on your local PBS station this weekend.  Here's a Preview:  So delightful!!

I could not wipe the grin off my face the entire concert!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Click for more ↓ Christmas videos

Monday, December 7, 2015

Stitchin' Kitchen Blog Tour

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Riley Blake Designs Stitchin' Kitchen Christmas Blog Tour!

Little Birdie Ornaments.   Today's tutorial will give instructions to make a whole flock of sweet little birdie ornaments.  Can you tell I love red?  I just can't get enough of these luscious fabrics from Riley Blake Designs.  This "recipe" will yield 21 to 24 delectable little 1-1/2" x 2-1/2"ornaments, and we'll speed up the process with some time-saving hints too.  To make just one, click this link →  Little Birdies.

Making Time  ~  About 10 minutes each; a couple of hours for a couple dozen, or all day if you're making a whole flock....

Ingredients & Cut List  ~
1/4 yard Red/White Large Damask ~ Bird Body
              Cut :  3 @ 3" x width of fabric strips
1/3 yard Red Mini Quatrefoil ~ Head & Wings
                     24 @ 2-1/2" squares
                       3 @ 1-1/2" x width of fabric strips
1/8 yard or scraps Sunshine Solid ~ Beak
                     24 @ 1-1/4" squares
5-1/2 yards 1/8" ribbon, cording, string, etc. for hanging
                    24 @ 8" segments
Polyester Fiberfil, or other filling of your choice.
Mini elastic bands in matching color.
Washable Glue Stick
Chop Stick (for turning)

Instructions ~
Prepare Beaks:

Fold each square in half and press.  Bring folded corners to the center, forming a triangle. Then fold in half again to form the beak.  Skewer with a long pin and set aside.  Make 24.

Prepare Wings:
Fold each 2-1/2" square diagonally in half with right sides together.  Stitch raw edges together, pivoting at the point.  Back-stitch at beginning and ending.

Hint:  Chain-piece.   Take a few stitches between pieces, then slide the next piece under the foot. Saves time and saves thread.

Cut each stitched triangle in half  through the center as pictured.  Trim corners and little dog-ears, then turn each wing right side out using a chopstick.  You should have 24 sets (48 total).  

Hint:  If turning corners is not your thing, cut 48 @ 2-1/2" squares and prepare them like the beaks.

Prepare Bird Bodies:  On one long edge of each 3" strip, press a 1/4-inch seam allowance.  This will help in the final closure.

Lay out each 3" strip of body print along a ruler or cutting mat.  Each bird body will be 5" wide.   I usually mark my ruler with tape and lay it alongside the strip.  Position each set of wings about 1-1/4" to 1-1/2" apart as diagrammed with an inch between the next set.   Pin or glue in place.

You should be able to place 8 sets of wings for each strip.  On this fabric, since I wanted to fussy-cut, I was able to place 7 sets.  

Using the ribbon segments, tie a knot to make a loop.  Center a ribbon loop between the wings with the knot hanging over the edge.

Hint:  Use a washable glue-stick to adhere loop in place between each wing set.

Layer the 1-1/2" strip (head print) with right sides together, lining up the raw edges to enclose the wings and ribbon.  Stitch, using 1/4" seam allowance.   Repeat for all three sets.

Press seam open, making sure that the wings are pressed toward the body.

Cut each bird unit apart in 5" segments, trimming if necessary.

Next, fold each bird unit in half with right sides together, matching the side seams; pin.  Do this on all your little bird units.

 Taking the first one, crease to find the center of the head.  Insert the folded edge of the beak about 1/4" from the crease.  Pin or glue in place.

Stitch the end seam, enclosing the beak, then pivot at the corner and stitch the long seam, backstitching at the beginning and ending.  Chain-piece as you repeat the process with each of the bird units:  insert beak, stitch the seams.

Cut apart each unit.  Next, we'll shape the little bird's body with a box seam at the chest.  Warning:  this is a bit "fiddly" but so worth it!

In the corner opposite the beak, finger-press the seam open, then feel to match the long seam with the end seam, forming a triangle point.  Pin in place.

The stitching line is right alongside the raw edges of the seam allowance, providing you have pressed your seams apart.

Hint:  It may be easier to stitch if you poke the beak down inside the tube to keep it out of the way.

Repeat with all bird units.  Chain stitch.

Turn each little bird right side out.  Use a chopstick if necessary.

For the final steps, work on each little birdie individually.  Stuff and fill Little Birdie only half full.    Pin to secure the stuffing.  Re-fold the bottom pressed edge, then center the seam and edge-stitch by machine to finish.

Gather tail and wrap around with a mini-elastic.  Fan out the tail, give a little tug on the beak to straighten it out, and they're all ready to hang on the tree!  So sweet!  Make one or make a ton!

Oooh, I love this fabric, especially the red/white damask paired with the red mini quatrefoil.  The little birdies, woven star and mini tree skirt are made from scraps leftover from this year's tree skirt.  I also used white and red shimmer, and the quilt backing is large red shimmer quatrefoil.  

Star Medallion Tree Skirt < pattern
Here's a quick demo of my lazy-girl quilting.  This design works not just for longarm quilting, but the motifs work on a home machine or by hand.  You may notice that I love feathers... 

I use cheap school chalk to draw a slight S curve, then quilt teardrop shapes up one side of the chalked line and down the other.  I don't quilt the stem, I just "imply" a stem with long tails on the teardrop shapes.  

To quilt the square sections, I use a bowl, CD holder, or whatever I can find lying around the house and chalk a circle, then quilt teardrops inside and outside the circle to make a feathered wreath.  And, I leave a bit of space between the feathers.  I would say it's for more texture, but I already told you it's just lazy-girl quilting...
And now for the sweet tooth, perfect for the season!  

Soft GINGER Cookies
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Cream together:
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg

In a separate bowl sift together:
2 c. flour
2 t. soda
1 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. salt
Mix together well.

Roll into 1" balls, then roll in granulated sugar. 
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Yield:  48 cookies
Crispy outside, chewey inside... delicious!

For this and more fun & tasty, quick & easy, mouthwatering, prize-winning recipes, check out our family cookbook HERE.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Here's a master list for the Kitchen Stitchin' blog tour schedule 
to find more wonderful ideas for Christmas stitching and baking!  

12/2 - Simple Simon
12/3 - Mode de Lis
12/7 - Quiltscapes <<
12/10 - Melly Sews
12/12 - Jedi Craft Girl
12/14 - Polka Dot Chair
12/15 - Sew Like My Mom
12/18 - Messy Jesse

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