Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tactile Fabrics Giveaway plus Blog Hop News 20

Plum and June

I'd like to introduce you to one of my blog's sponsors, Tactile Fabrics.

Tactile Fabrics is a small, independent fabric shop that specializes in modern organic and premium cotton fabrics for sewing, crafting, and quilting.  The shop has a wonderful selection of bundles and yardage including beautiful fabrics from Birch Fabrics, Cloud 9, and Art Gallery.  Jennifer, the owner, comes from a long line of seamstresses and has always loved fabric and sewing. And coming from the corporate world of interior architecture as an Interior Designer, she is inspired by modern art and enjoys the process of designing and creating patterns through modern quilting.

To introduce you to her shop, Jennifer is generously offering my readers 15% off your purchase by entering COUPON15 at checkout.

For today's giveaway, Jennifer will be sending one lucky reader this fantastic fat quarter bundle of Art Gallery Fabrics.

You have 5 chances to win:

1.  Leave a comment on this post - if you'd like a topic, is there a new sewing notion that you are loving?

2.  My followers - old and new- get a second entry (leave a comment saying how you follow)

3.  Visit Tactile Fabrics and come back to leave a comment about one of your favorite items in the shop.

4.  Follow Tactile Fabrics on Facebook. (leave a comment saying you did)

5.  Follow Tactile Fabrics on Twitter.  (leave a comment saying you did)

The giveaway will remain open until Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 8pm EDT and one winner will be chosen at random and announced in next week's blog hop news.  And, please, unless you are sure that you are NOT a no-reply blogger, leave your email address in the comment.

The winner of last week's giveaway from Quilting Lodge is Marcia W. who said:  My best tip is to hold your camera steady when taking a photo (my usual mistake is an unfocused shot).   Congrats Marcia - I just sent you an email.

This giveaway is closed.  The winner is Jane from T

Plum and June
Fun blogs to visit this week:
Oct 2
         Martha from Weekend Doings
         Melissa from Sew Bittersweet Designs

Oct 4
         Catherine from My Life in Binding
         Patricia from Quilting Lines

Plum and June
And for this week, again link up your recent sewing and quilting posts, visit each other, promote the link up with a text link or the button on my sidebar and when the link tool asks for your name - I'm really running out of ideas for this so how about a suggestion for what I should suggest for next week.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Crazy Quilt

I wrote about this quilt in several WIP posts over the summer but never posted the finish.  Probably because the second it was finished, my oldest daughter whisked it away and I haven't seen it since!  Well, she was the intended recipient.  

I was thinking about it today so I ventured up to her attic bedroom and took it out for some photos.    I used the crazy nine patch square from Oh Fransson using two squares of essex linen for each set.

I hand-quilted it using various shades of blue (basically what I had in my stash)  BUT I only quilted it to the batting - I really don't know what I was thinking.  Well, actually I was thinking that I wouldn't have to bury a bunch of knots but I obviously didn't think it through to the next step.

I ultimately decided to hand-tie the quilt using perle cotton and so it all worked out in the end.

This was a fun quilt to make plus it was actually quick and easy but I think if I were to make it again, I would limit my color pattern (like Elizabeth did in hers).  I mean, I know it is called crazy nine patch but I think with all these colors it might be a bit too crazy.  Luckily, as I have written many times before, the recipient, my oldest daughter, loves it and told me she wouldn't change a thing.  Hope those  rose-colored glasses she sees all my quilts through don't break anytime soon.

Linking to TGIFF which is at Quiet Play this week, Crazy Mom Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lots to Report

1.  I finished the ballerina bag for my daughter using my block from the Dots Hop.  I decided to try something different and added a drawstring top (needed to put something crafty in this post!)

Sweet Treats Blog Hop

2.  Alyce from Blossom Hearts Quilts has organized the Sweet Treats Blog Hop where six of us will be  making projects using the new Moda Mini Charm Packs which are 2.5" squares.  The hop is sponsored by the Fat Quarter Shop and we'll all be having giveaways on our dates.  My date is October 8th and I'm really excited about the project I made.  Visit Alyce's post for all the details and to see my hop partners.

Tula Pink Sew Along

3.  Later that week on October 11th is my turn on the Sew Sweetness Tula Pink Sew Along.  Visit Sara's blog for all the details as well as information about the sew along contest. 

4.  But wait, there's more!  The Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop - looks like there might be a few October spots available in this fun hop.  My date is October 29th and this requires EPP so I better get started!

Kelsey Sews

5.  Realizing that there are 100 days left in 2012, Kelsey has started a "work-along" called The 100 Day Hustle encouraging us to write a list of what we want to do, craft-wise, for the rest of the year - here are the details.  This fits nicely in with this post today since the above blog hops are all definitely on my list.  Aside from those, I also want to (1) make a quilt for my middle daughter who has been patiently waiting; (2) make some toy buckets for my baby's room; (3) make a stroller blanket that attaches to the stroller; (4) get a variety of pouches, journal covers and other similar items made so I'm not doing so last minute for birthday parties; (5) make a table runner for a present for a specific person; (6) oh, buy a sewing machine so that I can stop using my kid's little one!!! - that should probably be number one on my list but . . . ; and (7) make some more floor pillows for us all to use when playing in my baby's room - hm, I think that is about it for now.  I'm sure I'll add to this list many times between now and the end of the year.


Blog Hop 19 with Advice from Bijou Lovely and a Giveaway

                                                                                                                                                                       Image from Bijou Lovely

Today's advice is by Holly from Bijou Lovely.  Have you been on her blog?  If so, you must have noticed her beautiful photography.  And so I am excited that she has written a wonderful post for the advice series all about how to take better photos for your blog.  The post is packed with valuable and informative advice and she explains it all with before and after photo examples.  Be sure to check it out here!

Blogs to visit this week: 

Sep 25
        Amanda from Material Girl Quilts
        Amanda from Fabric Engineer
Sep 27
        Vicky from Vicky K Creating
         Francine from Mocha Wild Child

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Vicki from the Quilting Lodge.  One lucky winner will win a Lazy Angle Ruler and a Jaybird Quilts pattern that uses the ruler.  

You have five possible entries:
1.  Leave a comment (any comment) but if you would like a topic - what about your blog photography tips.

2.  My followers - old and new- get a second entry.  Leave an additional comment saying "following."

3.  For a third entry, visit Quilting Lodge and come back here to leave a comment about one of your favorite items in their shop.

4.  For a fourth entry, follow the Quilting Lodge Blog and leave a comment saying that you did.  Vicki is also participating in the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop.

4.  And for a fifth entry, promote this giveaway on the social media of your choice and leave a comment (please do not leave a link to the actual promotion, just say how.)

This giveaway will remain open until Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 8pm EDT and a winner will be chosen at random and announced in next week's blog hop news.  And please, unless you are sure that you are NOT a no-reply blogger, leave your email address in your comment.
The winner of the Marmalade Fabrics giveaway is #7 which was lynaeveSeptember 16, 2012 9:43 AM.  Congrats.  I'm sending you an email.

Plum and June
And for this week, again link up your recent sewing and quilting posts, visit each other, promote the link up with a text link or the button on my sidebar and when the link tool asks for your name, what about favorite fall vegetable?!?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Granny Square Sampler Finish

You might remember this post from early August when I wrote about joining in the Granny Square Sampler Along at Wisecraft since I was going to be away from my sewing machine for two weeks.

I thought this was going to be a very long term project but then the sewing machine drama began and since I was without a sewing machine again, I spent all my "free" time working on the blanket and now less than 2 months later it is complete!

It is a bizarre size and I doubt any of the four sides are even but I love it.

I decided to use a combination of crochet stitches to attach the squares together treating it like an improv quilt.

I started by arranging all the squares on the floor and taking a photo.  Then, using either single crochet or the crochet stitch that I don't know the name of where you alternate single crochet and half double crochet in the same row (anyone?), I would take a square and build it up until it was the size of the one next to it.  I would then attach those two squares using a single crochet stitch and then build up that section until it was the same size (meaning number of stitches) as another section and attach those two with single crochet, etc., etc., etc. - does that make any sense at all?

Click here to see the latest blog hop news which includes this week's calendar, a giveaway from Marmalade Fabrics, and a let's figure it out together post by Janice from Better off Thread.

Linking to Sew Happy Geek and Quilt Story.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dots Hop

Yep, I joined another blog hop!  But how can I resist this one - dots!  Looking back at my recent mosaics, it appears that I use at least one polka dot fabric in almost all my projects - hmmm . . .  (see here and here.)

I'm not going to talk about my sewing machine drama again but let's just say it is a good thing that this blog hop only asked for a block and not a finished project!

For my first block, I used the quilt-as-you-go method and this will soon be a bag for my daughter to carry her ballet shoes and other items to class.  Since it will be used for a bag, I wanted to use dense quilting but I didn't want to quilt over the little ballerina so I just used a bit of random stitching for the middle square and then organic - in other words, "not straight" lines - for the rest. 

Also, not sure if you can tell from the photos, but the ballerina is surrounded by very pale yellow dots!  Maybe with a closer look (but not too close up - again, the sewing machine situation!)

I've also been wanting to try reverse applique circles (I think that is what these are called).  I added a bit of embroidery to the gray/green block - I'm thinking I might use that to make a journal cover and stamp "inspiring" words onto the embroidered lines (hopefully I can press out those wrinkles in the green dot circles - yikes!)  

Oh, and here is a little mosaic showing several projects that I've made using polka dot fabric - I've used dots as the main fabric, as binding, as sashing, as background, for pockets - yes, I guess I really like dots!

If you would like to enter the giveaway for a Moda Happy H"owl"-o-ween Layer Cake sponsored by Material Girl Quilts, click here.  If you click on that link, you'll also find a wonderful Advice for New Bloggers post written by Faith from Fresh Lemon Quilts and this week's calendar for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop.

Thanks to Corrie from Quilt Taffy and Madame Samm from Sew WE Quilt for organizing another super fun blog hop!  Click here to see the full schedule for the Dots on Dots Blog Hop and here are the hoppers for today:

Thanks for visiting!

And since the ballerina bag is my main WIP of the week, I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blog Hop 17: Advice from Fresh Lemon Quilts and Fabric Giveaway

Plum and June

Blogs to visit this week!
Sep 11
        Anne from SpringLeaf Studios
         Kristy from Cotton Addiction
 Sep 13
         Julie from That's Sew Julie
         Chelsea from Pins and Bobbins

Today's Advice for New Bloggers comes from the very talented Faith from Fresh Lemon Quilts.  Here is what she had to say:

Image from Fresh Lemon Quilts
What do you think is the most important thing for new bloggers to know?

Have fun!  A blog should be an outlet for your creativity.  Share what you learn, the successes and the failures.  Reach out to make friends with other bloggers on Flickr, Twitter or Instagram.  Go meet other bloggers in real life at your local quilt guild or blogging/quilting conference (such as The Sewing Summit or Quilt Con).  I love blogging, but even more than that I love the friends I've made through my blog.  When you start blogging, you become part of an amazing and supportive online community.

How did you find your blogging voice?
I basically have just tried to be myself on my blog.  I do like to keep my website a very positive and professional place.  I want my readers to come and feel inspired when they are visiting, not weighed down by drama or negative posts.  I strive to encourage new quilters to try new techniques, through tutorials or quilt alongs with LOTS of pictures, which I think helps build confidence when starting something new.

Image from Fresh Lemon Quilts
Any technical advice for us new bloggers - how to organize posts, how many topics per post, how to respond to comments, photography, etc. . .
I try to keep my posts to one topic at a time.  For example, I typically don't write one post with several projects from the week in it.  This obviously isn't a hard and fast rule, but it helps me organize my thoughts better.   I attempt to reply to comments/questions within the blog post comments so others can see the answers as well (as opposed to directly emailing the commenter back).  For photography, I like to take my pictures outside in the shade.  Natural light is so wonderful!  A lot of my block photos are taken flat on my wooden deck which provides a consistent background.  I also edit my photos and create my blog graphics using Photoshop, but any photo editing software would work.

How did you find your place in the vast quilting blogosphere?
Initially I just wanted to blog about my quilting/sewing journey.  I wasn't sure if it was something I would stick with but I wanted to document the quilts I was making.  Eventually I decided I wanted to "give back" to the blogosphere.  I had learned so much from other bloggers when I was starting to quilt, I strongly felt the need to share techniques/patterns with other people starting out.  I started posting free patterns and tutorials, then co-hosting quilt all really snowballed after that!  

Image from Fresh Lemon Quilts
What is your advice as to what NOT to do as a new blogger?
Don't stress out over your blog.  At times it can feel like you HAVE to post x number of times a week.  You HAVE to finish a project to share each week.  If it stops being fun, change what you are doing.  

What do you wish you knew when you started your blog?
How much time blogging takes!  :)  Between sewing projects, writing patterns and tutorials, participating in blogosphere events like blog hops, answering reader's almost like a full time job!  I'm not complaining - I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it and I do love it.  But I'm shocked at how many hours a day it can absorb.  Sometimes I have to step back and remind myself that I'm a mom and wife first and a blogger second.  And that's how it should be for me.

Image from Fresh Lemon Quilts

Looking back at your early posts, what do you think has been the most significant change in your blogging style/life?
I'm scared to look back at my early posts.  LOL  I would say I'm more comfortable in my skin now.  More comfortable being "me" on my blog and less technical and impersonal with my writing.  I hope so anyway!

Thanks Faith for such thoughtful and informative advice!  Be sure to visit Fresh Lemon Quilts to see all of Faith's beautiful quilts as well as her patterns and tutorials including the Summer Sampler Series and the Solstice Stars Blocks.  Faith also has a FAQ section on her blog where she answers questions on everything from how long she has been quilting to what type of supplies she uses - what a great idea!  

Today's giveaway is from Amanda from Material Girl Quilts.  Amanda has a  wonderful blog where she shares her beautiful projects and is part of the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop (her date is September 25th.)   She also has an etsy shop where she stocks a fun selection of fabrics including Riley Blake's Chevrons and Moda's Simply Color.  For today's giveaway, Amanda is offering one lucky winner the chance to win Moda's Happy H "owl" ween Layer Cake.

You have 5 possible entries:
1.  Leave a comment (any comment) - if you want a topic, how about some suggestions for what to put it in a kid's lunchbox and/or your reactions to today's advice.

2.  My followers - old and new - get a second entry.  Leave an additional comment saying "following"

3.  Visit Material Girl Quilts and come back and leave a comment about your favorite thing in her shop.

4.  Amanda's followers - old and new - get an additional entry.  Leave a comment saying "following Amanda."

5.  Share this giveaway via your favorite social media and leave a comment about it for a final entry.

This giveaway will remain open until Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 8pm EDT and a winner will be chosen at random and announced in next week's blog hop news.  And please, unless you are sure that you are NOT a no-reply blogger, leave your email in your comment.

The winner of last week's giveaway from Christa Quilts is MelissaSeptember 3, 2012 8:12 PM who said:
"I'm still in love with Seaside by October Afternoon and Vintage Modern. There is a new spot in my heart for Bella though."  Congrats Melissa!  I'll send you an email soon.

Plum and June

Same as always:  Link up anything sewing or quilting related, visit each other (and say hello in a comment), add the button or a text link to this post, and when the link tool asks for your name, what about your favorite afternoon snack.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What's up Wednesday!

Back to school sewing:  Me edition (just a little zip pouch to hold my phone and keys while carrying the baby in a carrier back and forth to the girls' school.)

Granny Square Sampler Along:  figuring out how to join all the squares together (similar to improv quilting!) 

(thinking I should have this done by New Year's - 2017!)

What else to do when you don't have a working sewing machine?  Why, crochet some hats - for everyone you know - of course!  I forgot how much I enjoy small crochet projects like this.

I should have a sewing machine by next week but for now I have no progress to report on any of my WIPs.

If you are looking for the giveaway from Christa Quilts or information about the blog hop, click here.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and TGIFF.