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Sunday, November 23

Vintage Holiday Wreath Quilted Topper & Fabric Giveaway


































Christmas is just around the corner.  I love this time of year!  After spending time in Blogland last week, I am even more in the spirit.  So many of you have been happily working away, making beautiful quilts, gifts, and decorations.  It's awesome!

The Vintage Holiday Wreath fabric is another fabric that I created on Spoonflower.com.  If you saw last week's giveaway:  Celebrating with a "Cookie" Giveaway, then you know that I'm a Spoonflower fan through and through!

Do you like vintage graphics?  How about vintage table linens?
Then you will probably love this fabric!  I've recreated the graphics from a vintage tablecloth that has to be around 60 years old and sized them so they would fit neatly around a plate.  My goal was to make round placemats, with no binding, to put under each place setting at Christmas.  I used the "birthing" technique, sewing the layers a lot like I did with my cookies and then turning the whole thing right side out.  

After I got the wreath all right side out and ironed nice and flat, I drew a circle in the center with a cereal bowl, quilted it, and then filled it in with a simple grid.  Then I did a little bit of quilting to outline the ornaments and greenery. The whole thing took me about two hours, and that's counting the time I spent ripping out my "free" motion quilting.  I am more of a "plodding" motion quilter. This is going to be one of my New Year's resolutions:  To learn to free motion quilt; at least well enough to handle small projects.  

With that in mind, I've enrolled in Christina Cameli's Craftsy class: The Secrets of Free-motion Quilting.  
I love this girl and am very excited to be taking her class!  You all might know Christina because of her blog: A Few Scraps, or perhaps you have her first book: First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting.   Her second book is coming out soon too! Step by Step Free-Motion Quilting  
Yup - I am Jazzed and Ready!  

Here is a picture with just the wreath topper.  I wet it and chucked it in the dryer to make it puffier.  
I cropped the photo and was amazed when I saw that the topper was a pretty neat circle:




My Christmas Wreath looks great as a placemat, don't you think?  The greenery and ornaments surrounding each plate looks very festive!  


We are having pizza tonight, so I can't show you a picture with a beautiful dinner.  Just the place setting.  On the floor.  And the dogs were just there inspecting it for goodies.  Fancy, ain't I?  

So.  Would you like to win a fat quarter of this wreath fabric?  I have enough for two lucky winners this week!  Each wreath is about 17 1/2 inches in diameter and fills a whole fat quarter. 

To enter this giveaway, just push my buttons and leave a comment.  I love to hear from you!  You don't have to be a BuzzinBumble follower, although of course that would be great if you decide you'd like to be.  I will happily ship to Canada or even overseas.  But please: make sure that I can reach you.  Sometimes people are "no-reply commenters" and I have no way of contacting them.  This will mean they cannot be in the drawing for the giveaway.  I'll answer your comment here on the blog if this is the case and let you know if you are.  Hopefully we can fix the problem before the random name drawing, which will be at 7PM EST next Sunday, November 30th. 

Good Luck Everybody!  
In case I don't "see" you this week - Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Lara






Saturday, November 22

Cookie Fabric Giveaway Winners!


Today is the Day!  

Thank you everyone who left such wonderful comments and shared great ideas for creating your own fabrics!  With almost five months of blogging, and still a little wet behind the ears, this was my very first giveaway.  It was fun and I plan to do another one, starting tomorrow!  

It turns out that I had enough Fresh Out of the Oven fabric that we can have FIVE winners instead of four!

Here is a list of the wonderful people who entered the drawing for my Cookie Fabric Giveaway:  I've assigned everyone a number based on the order of their comments.  I also added links to their blogs if applicable.  If you want to have a lot of fun and find a lot of inspiration... Just Go Visiting!  

1 – Carolyn at sew.darn.quilt
2 – Jess at Everything is Coming Up Rosie
4 – Maryse at Maryse Makes Things
5 – Christine at triangles & squares
6 – Joanne at Canuck Quilter
8 – Jan at Sew Peace to Peace
9 – Kaja at Sew Slowly
10 – Susie at Susie’s Sunroom
11 – Ann at Big Paws
12 – Amanda at The Cozy Pumpkin
13 – Martha at Weekend Doings
14 – Steffi at Just Quilts
15 – Zenia at A Quilted Passion
16 -  Leanne at Devoted Quilter
17 – Paulette at The Way I Sew It
19 – Anna at Woolie Mammoth
20 – LeeAnna at Not Afraid of Color
21 – JanineMarie at Quilts from the Little House
22 – Vicki at A Quilter’s Mission
23 – Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts
24 – Bea at Beaquilter
25 – Connie at Freemotion by the River
26 – Linda at Linda’s Life 
27 – Ilana Joffe  

I used the handy Random Integer Generator at Random.org to create the list of giveaway winners and here it is:

So I am off to notify Bea, Carolyn, Lorna, Jan, and Christine to let them know they were the lucky winners!   

Be sure to come back soon, because there will be another opportunity to win more of my Spoonflower fabric Tomorrow!  I will posting another giveaway for this festive Vintage Christmas Wreath Fabric in which two lucky winners will each receive a fat quarter sized wreath!  






Thanks for visiting!  Lara


Friday, November 14

Celebrating with a "Cookie" Giveaway!



These yummy looking chocolate chip cookies have zero carbs.  Yep - It's true!  And don't they look mmm-mmm good?
  
Good enough to fool people into thinking they are real, which has happened repeatedly.  They are really Cookie Coasters made with fabric that I created on Spoonflower!  

The funniest reaction I had was when our son Sam came home for the weekend.  We had just walked into the kitchen.  I had this plate full of cookies on the kitchen table,  sitting by the sewing machine, so I could add to it whenever I made another cookie. Sam made a beeline for the table.  Jim and I heard a sharp intake of breath, followed by a strangled "What?! Huh?! Argh!"  And then he bellowed something rather indelicate.  We all died laughing.  It wasn't intentional, there was no glass of milk photo prop sitting there, but I got him good.  Hee hee.  Even though I owe him for a thousand pranks, I made him a batch of real cookies later, because I am a nice mommy.

I have a lot to be happy and excited about!  I made my book submission deadline for the American Quilter's Society! Woohoo!!!  There is still more work coming up, but creating the projects and writing the chapters was the biggest part of the hurdle for me.  It was a huge challenge and I am completely tuckered out, but also very happy that I took the leap!    

To spread around some of that happiness, I am giving away cookie coaster kits to four lucky winners, whose names will be drawn at random.  You do not have to be one of my followers or a regular here to enter, although of course that would be great! Each winner will receive a roughly 18" square of cookie fabric, which has 16 whole cookies. They will also receive one fat quarter of Kona cotton in Gold, for the backing of the coasters. 

"Gold" was the closest match to the cookie fabric.  You can see it in the photo below, which shows a flipped over cookie.  I made the cookie coasters using the same technique I used for making the Maple Leaf Mug Rugs.  The exception is that after turning the cookie right side out, I ironed and then glued the opening shut so that no stitching would show.  They make really fun and useful coasters.  The fabric would also make a cute apron, or tote, or a pillow front too. 

You can see the fabric here: Fresh Out of the Oven - Chocolate Chip Cookies   

It is really fun to design your own fabric on Spoonflower and if you have not tried it before I encourage you to give it a shot!  I am not being paid to say this: Spoonflower is so much fun!  It is a gathering place for indie fabric designers too, some of whom have gone on to design for major fabric companies.  It's also a great place for people like me who just want to play around with a few of their own designs.

For these cookies, I had Spoonflower print out the fabric using their Basic Cotton Ultra process - for very sharp color.  They offer that if you join their Basic Cotton Ultra Test Squad.  I wrote and asked if people could still join and they said this option would be available until they competed the testing.  You can get a behind the scenes peek of what the company is all about with Julie Schneider's Spoonflower tour.




To enter the contest, just leave me a comment telling me what type of fabric you might make if you created your very own design.  I think it would be fun for everyone to read about each others ideas!  Also - please make sure you are not a "no reply" commenter.  If you win and I am unable to contact you, I will have to re-award the prize to someone else.  

We will randomly select and announce the names of the four winners on November 22nd.  









I really do follow a lot of links from every linky party I join - it is such fun to see what everyone has been up to!  
Thanks for visiting!
Lara

Sunday, November 9

Cats on Quilts - by Alina B.


Little Willow napping on the Lil' Twister Pinwheel Quilt.
All that play time must have tuckered her out!

video



Thursday, October 30

A Quilt for a Hero

Sometimes, if you focus on one thing for too long you start to go a little bonkers.  Lately, I sort of feel like this guy:



So today I am taking a break from book writing to write about something very special:  Homes for Our Troops and the Quilt Angels.

One day, while rambling around on The Quilting Board, I spied a post entitled “So, I Opened My Big Mouth…”  Of course, I had to see what that was about.  There, I had the privilege of meeting Donna M.  
Donna is a quilter who lives deep in the heart of Texas.  She is very active with the Homes for Our Troops organization.  Homes for Our Troops is somewhat similar to Habitat for Humanity, except that its volunteers build specially adapted homes for wounded veterans.  She won't want me to say too much about her, because (and I quote) "What these soldiers have done and who they are, is what it's all about!"  Donna has a beautiful spirit and a huge heart for our country’s troops.  She offered to make quilts for the HFOT homes being built in her area.  But, because the need was so great, she soon found herself pulled into taking on more than one person could handle.  So she wrote a post on the QB and put out the call for other people to swap for red, white, and blue fabrics.   The response she got was nothing short of soul stirring.  Before you could turn around she had people willing to send not only fabric, but quilt blocks and quilt tops.  Donna even received quilt blocks from a Canadian quilter.  Interest kept building until Donna named the whole group who joined her “Quilt Angels”.  She labels all the quilts like this before they are gifted:
Made especially for ……………
Thank you for your service to America
Date
Made with grateful hearts and caring hands by
The Quilt Angels at www.quiltingboard.com

This continues to be an ongoing effort: to give the gift of love and gratitude, in the form a quilt, to each Homes for Our Troops soldier.  I know many, many of you have made quilts for the Quilts of Valor program.  I thought you might like to know about this opportunity too.  If you have any interest in taking part, you can contact Donna via her post on the Quilting Board: http://www.quiltingboard.com/requests-f25/so-i-opened-my-big-mouth-t69186.html
Or you can contact Homes for Our Troops directly: 

Our country’s men and women in service mean the world to me too, and I surely felt the pull to make something.  At that point, I had never done a large quilt, but wanted to try and make a whole quilt top.  Before long, I learned more about the admirable young man my quilt would be going to.  HFOT specifically asked for a red, white, and blue quilt because he is a very patriotic and gung ho US Marine.  He is also a young man of astonishing courage and spirit, with an adorably quirky smile. Often, while I sewed, I prayed for him. 

The plan was that I would send the quilt top on to Donna and she would take care of the rest.   That plan changed one weekend, when my husband and I made a light hearted bet over something so silly I can't even remember what it was.  He said that if I was right, that he would hire a long arm quilter to quilt the quilt for our young man.  I suspect he wanted to lose the bet.  Although I won, we both won in doing something that made us happy.   

Thus, Julie D. entered the picture.  She is a very talented long-arm quilter in our area.  She feels the same way I do about our service people and gladly took the quilt on!  That was another blessing that came from taking part in being Quilt Angels:  New friendships were born!
    
So now, our quilt had a piecer (me) and a quilter (Julie) and could be sent whole and finished to Donna in time for our young soldier’s key ceremony for his new home.  I have some wonderful photos of our young man during his presentation ceremonies.  In the interest of his privacy, I am not putting them here.  If you visit the Homes for Our Troops website, you can find many such stories and hundreds of wonderful pictures that show what a community that cares can do.   The HFOT organization is incredible and gives regular people like us a chance to do something more than simply saying “Thank You!”


Back in August, when people asked to see more of the Littlest Lone Star blocks I had made, I mentioned that I would post this quilt in time for Veteran’s Day.  This is the quilt that Julie and I made for our soldier.  The quilt took shape around a beautiful eagle panel from Marcus Fabrics’ American Valor collection, by Faye Burgos.  The panel has printed Lone Stars (or Prairie Stars) along its sides.  I wanted to repeat those Lone Stars in a slightly larger version at the corners of the eagle centerpiece and that is what prompted me to learn how to make Little Lone Stars.  So when you look at the photo of the quilt, the twelve smaller Lone Stars around the edges are part of the printed design.  (Julie quilted them so that they look pieced.)  The four larger Lone Stars at the corners are the ones that I made.  Everything else from that area out is pieced.  To bring the Eagle centerpiece to life, Julie did some amazing thread painting, which I will show close up.   All together it made an 80" square quilt.  

This was a thrilling project for us both to work on.   

Quilt for a Hero - through Homes For Our Troops


Pieced Lone Star on the Left
Julie's thread painting on the eagle
Detailed quilting around the flag and bell and stars
These last two photos really show what a talented quilter can do with a printed fabric panel!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Veteran's Day will soon be here.  It is good to have a day set aside, but may we always honor and remember the men and women who served or are serving our country.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  
Thank you for visiting!  Lara


Saturday, October 4

My Daughter's First Quilt

It hardly seems possible that this last month flew by so quickly.  I have been working more than full time on my book and somehow managing to stay on schedule, despite unexpected surprises.  It has wiped out my free time and I miss visiting everyone else's blogs.  There are only 5 1/2 more weeks to go before my deadline, so wish me luck!  

I had to steal a little time today to crow though, because my daughter Kaitie made her very first quilt!  I am so proud of her!  

It is quilt for her friend and co-worker Mary Ann, who found out that her cancer has returned.  Kaitie came up with the idea of having everyone at work draw on a square of fabric in themes that Mary Ann loves - like the beach and pizza, etc.   
Before we started, we got wonderful advice from Val of Val's Quilting Studio, who wrote a tutorial on How to Make a Quilt with Kids.  Val did a lot of helping us via emails as well.   Thank you Val :) !  

Kaitie sewed the squares all together on her Featherweight and then came over last weekend to sandwich, quilt, and bind the quilt.  (One of my sewing machines has an even feed system that we thought would help)  Kaitie chose Minky for the backing fabric and satin binding.  She was aiming to make this quilt super cozy, like a hug.  Kaitie used fleece for the batting, because the quilting was going to be very minimal and she wanted the quilt to hold up well in the wash.  Wow was that satin binding a pain in the patooty to put on.  It kept slipping as Kaitie sewed.  She wanted to try fusible seam tape and I don't know why we didn't switch to that after we found out the clips weren't holding very well.  It might have helped.  

How do you all cope with satin binding?  I would love to hear any tips you have on that because my next big quilt for my son Sam is going to have homemade satin binding.  

Kaitie's first quilt:

Some of the neat blocks people drew



Mary Ann's finished quilt

My blogging is going to be spotty for the next month, but I do have something fun planned to celebrate after I meet my deadline.  My only hint is that it is non-fattening!   



A little update to add here:  Mary Ann was very surprised and over-the-moon-happy about her quilt and has it on her bed now.  It was just in time for her birthday, so they had a pizza party for her.  

Monday, September 1

Maple Leaf Mug Rugs or Coasters - Tutorial & Pattern

Autumn not really here yet, but I love this time of year so much that I start our Fall decorating right after Labor Day. 

Maple Leaf Mug Rug and Coasters

Since I cannot show anything I’m presently working on, I thought it would be fun to post this tutorial for making Maple Leaf Coasters and Mug Rugs.  I wrote it a couple of years ago for The Quilting Board and even though it is beginner level, people seem to really like it.  The basic idea can be used for any number of things.  I'll be making cookie coasters next.

Half the fun of making these little maple leaves is digging through your scraps, picking out fabrics you like and then seeing how they turn out as a leaf. These are a really simple and quick project and they look great as table decor when not in use.  We especially like the coaster size, but they are neat done up larger as mug rugs and even larger as hot pads too.

1. Start by printing out a simple pattern for a maple leaf.  I use cheap quality printer paper.  Size it a little larger than you want your finished leaf.  I was really silly and searched the internet for a pattern I would like, before it dawned on me to step away from the computer and go outside, pick a leaf and make my own pattern.  Do you get stuck in a rut like that sometimes?  


Print out the Maple Leaf Sewing Pattern


2. Make a layered sandwich in this order: Bottom - Quilt batting / Middle - fabric square, face up / Top - fabric square, face down.  I've been sewing since Hector was a Pup and I can't tell you the number of times I have gotten layers like this in the wrong order.  Pin your pattern onto the fabric sandwich.  

Layer your materials

3. Set your sewing machine for a very small straight stitch. Sew around the outside edge of the leaf pattern, starting and stopping at the arrows on the pattern. Reinforce the first and last corners with backstitching along the way.

Sew around the outside of the leaf

4. Remove the leaf from your sewing machine and flip it over.  Trim the batting away, following very close to the outside of the stitching, including into the v-shaped indent at the base of the leaf pattern.

Trim the Batting around the edges

5. Flip the leaf over. Pull off the paper around the Outside of the leaf. Leave on the paper within the leaf pattern. Keeping it in place will help you to see the stitching line as you trim the fabric, especially if your thread matches your fabric.

The paper left inside the sewing line

6. Cut away the excess fabric, leaving an 1/8 inch seam allowance, EXCEPT along the V shaped opening at the base of the leaf, where it is better to leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim the corners and clip the curves all around the outside edge of the leaf, being very careful not to cut into your stitching. (This is where leaving on the paper really helps!)


Trim the corners and clip the curves

7. Now remove the paper leaf pattern carefully, keeping it whole for later use.
Turn your fabric leaf right side out. 

Somewhere, back in Kansas, a rooster is missing his toupee 


8. Very carefully work out the tips of the leaves to points and fill out the curves. I used a dull pencil to help me. Turn under the seam allowances at the opening and tuck them into the leaf, covering the batting. Now iron the leaf flat. Stitch or glue along the opening to close it.

Ah, now you see my points!

9. Now, sew the veins of the leaf.  If you are confident, then do it free hand, or you can replace the paper pattern you set aside and use it as a guide.  It is really pretty to use variegated thread for this.

Using the paper pattern to sew the veins on the leaf

10.  If you use the paper pattern, be sure to use a very tiny stitch, that way it is pretty simple to pull off the paper when you are finished.  Use tweezers to remove any little bits of paper that get stuck under the stitches.

Remove the Paper Pattern


Your leaf is finished… Now go brew a cuppa and enjoy!

Maple Leaf Coasters Finished!

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