Category Archives: Challenges

Day 1: Six Favorite Small Businesses

31dayblogchallengeWelcome to day one of the 31 days blog challenge. This challenge is Cheryl Sleboda’s idea and I’m glad to be a part of it. I’ll be blogging every day from now until the end of this year.

Yesterday was Cyber Monday, which wrapped up the Thanksgiving holiday weekend shopping specials. The 30% off moving sale is still happening in my etsy shop. You know, ’cause I’m still moving and want to have less stuff to shlep. Anyway, I highlighted a few of my favorite small businesses this weekend on the quiltartbymegan Facebook page. Here they are in one spot. Check ’em out!

6favbusinesses

Alex Cook is the artist behind the Multi Mural Project. Community art at its finest, messages like “You Are Loved” are painted on places like school walls, city streets, and inside prisons. It’s led and organized by Alex and the community come in and help paint within his outline with colors he’s chosen. Here’s Alex’s website which includes the murals as well as his musical and written art.

Fed By Threads is a clothing store (in Tucson and online) with American-made organic clothing. It’s body-positive and built to pay everyone from designers to sewists living wages. This is in stark contrast to most clothing companies which use sweatshops overseas to manufacture most of their products. Facebook ’em here and check out their website and shop here.

Katwise makes whimsical coats out of old wool sweaters. Watch her Facebook page for announcements on when the next sale will be. You’ll want to be waiting at her etsy shop when it goes live because they sell out in minutes. No kidding. She also has patterns if you want to try your hand at it. I’ve made a bunch of arm-warmers from her tutorial.

Gregory Patrick of Mad Man Knitting is a blogger, author, and pattern designer. He knit teddy bears and worked his way out of homelessness with this small business. His story is inspiring and his stuff is super-cute. Here’s his website and Facebook page.

X-bility has experiential learning courses that have enhanced how I view myself, my relationships, and the world around me. They’re well worth flying into St. Louis for. Check out their website and Facebook page.

Carol Carter is a watercolor painter. Check out her website here: and find her on Facebook here. She’s great at posting photos of her paintings on Facebook so you’ll want to follow her page. Carol does commissions as well as buy-now paintings. She also teaches.

See you tomorrow.

Teal Mini Quilt Blog Hop: Ovarian Cancer Awareness

12107159_10207273810744087_3802108283043761333_nWelcome! I’m the last stop on this year’s teal mini quilt blog hop. Yay caboose! This swap, hosted by Beth of EvaPaige Quilt Designs, raised $2,000 and awareness for ovarian cancer. The quilts in this post were exchanged between me and my new friend Sarah. Here’s the quilt she made me. It’s double sided!

12122792_775864102539995_2773070823610694724_n kittyquilthung

Sarah lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer. She has a Pinterest Board dedicated to awareness for this specific disease. I encourage you to check it out. The biggest predictor of successful treatment is early detection and there’s no medical tool that catches it in the earliest stages. Pay attention to your body women of the world! If you feel like there’s something amiss get it checked out. My survivor friend Trisha’s here today in part because she was paying attention and became her own advocate.

Ready to see what I made? I had a back injury while I was making this quilt so it’s 100% hand sewn. I started with some teal yo-yo’s and a contrasting orange batik background fabric. It needed s’more circles but I wanted the teal to be the star so I chose brown. After playing with the placement for a bit I appliqued those yo-yo’s upside down onto the fabric. They’re dimensional and a bit poufy which is fun.

auditioning threads teal quilt

I wanted the thread to stand out a little so you could see the quilting but not too much. So I auditioned them like so. It’s helpful to unwind a bit of thread to see what the strand looks like against the piece. The red’s too bright on the spool but just perfect this way and it’s what I ended up choosing to quilt with.

glue basting teal quiltDouble-fold binding is my jam but it was going to be a pain to sew on entirely by hand so I decided to fold the back over onto the front instead. Usually I’d use a gazillion pins to hold it in place but I saw a cool new thing on Sam Hunter’s Back to School Blog Hop. It’s glue basting and it’s pretty amazing. I learned on the tutorial from purpledaisyquilting in minutes. All you need is Elmer’s glue and a hot iron. I found these cute fine-tipped ones at the dollar store. Score!

final press teal quiltfinished teal quiltHere’s a nice close-up I took while doing the final pressing and the finished quilt. There’s no right side up; It can be hung vertically or horizontally. Can you see the concentric circles quilting? No? How ’bout in this pic Sarah took upon receiving it? It got a little smushed in the mail but this is a much better angle to show off my handiwork. Pretty cool.

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Check out these links for the other artists in this blog hop and mark your calendars for August 2016 to participate in next year’s swap. Sign-up via Facebook.

October 12th Tweety Loves Quilting and One Quilting Circle

October 13th Susan Brehm and Books, Hooks, Sticks, etc

October 14th Teachpany and Bobbin’s Lullaby

October 15th Splitting Stitches and Purple Leaf Quilts

October 16th Blue Ribbon Sewing and quiltartbymegan <— you are here!

Lemonade Mode Table Runner for Project Quilting

This week’s Project Quilting challenge is to make a quilt out of charm squares. I had a pack of 5″ squares from moda called Spring House. I thought it’d make a cute baby quilt. charm challenge first cutSo I started by cutting all of the pieces at the same spot. This was done in groups of five so my rotary cutter would go through the layers. I used a piece that was already cut as the template for where to cut the next sets. charm square quilt second cutI mixed the fabrics up and sewed ’em back together then made a second cut. And again.
charm square quilt squaring blocks I squared the blocks up and laid ’em out. Well, this certainly won’t make a baby quilt. It’s too small. There were some leftover charms so I cut ’em in half and sewed them into a long line. My art told me it wanted to be a springtime table runner. Sounded good to me so I went with it. 🙂

pansies and charms on floorThe chop and sew blocks became rows which alternated with the half-charm bricks. I was also working on a pansy-center log cabin quilt.

charm table runner on shelf
So what’s with the name, “Lemonade Mode”? Making lemonade when life hands you lemons is all about problem solving. Even more than that, it’s focusing on solutions rather than on problems.

 

I’ve been in lemonade mode recently and it’s helped reduce my anxiety and increase productivity. While I deal with some health issues I’m feeling fatigued. Instead of overextending myself I’m prioritizing and getting more efficient. My husband and I take turns cooking and make sure to plan for leftovers. I save up errands and do them all at once. (No driving across town just to do it again tomorrow!) I multi-task when quilting. Chain-piecing is great for this. My appointments are in the afternoon when I have the most energy. I read and write at night.

What problems have you solved / can you solve by switching to lemonade mode?

 

When the Playground’s Crowded

I went to the park today to photograph some baby quilts. I talked about using appropriate props in this post and aimed to do that. Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. The playground was crowded and I wasn’t going to ask all the kids having fun to get out of my frame. So I took the quilts back home and looked around my yard for other options.

blackwhite crumbs backMy fence is actually a pretty good backdrop. I pinned a string of fabric on the back of each quilt for hanging. The strings loop around two nails on top of the fence where we hung Christmas lights last year. I like the natural look of the wood and the contrast it adds.

blackwhite crumbs frontHere’s the front side of the above quilt. How cool is it that this crumb-pieced baby quilt is double sided?! The front has crumb blocks pieced into black, white, and red fabrics. The back has crumb blocks appliqued onto a green, red, and white floral.

raggedy ann frontHere’s a Raggedy Ann and Overall Andy quilt. I paired this sweet fabric with a solid red to merge modern and traditional. The chevron zig-zag looks a bit like a crown too.

floral baby front This one is a simple floral patchworkcharm challenge first cut
I’m working on two more baby quilts. (And I have several more in mind that haven’t yet been started!) One is for this week’s  Project Quilting challenge. It uses only 5″ charm squares of fabric. I’ll be cutting them up and piecing ’em back together. Here’s the first cut. I have one week to finish and enter it.
three more

Quilts and more are for sale in my etsy shop! Here’s a sampling of other baby-sized ones that are ready today. Want something specific you don’t see here? I specialize in custom orders. Let’s talk.

 

Linking up to Oh Scrap!

 

Chopping Up the Table-Runner

I cut up an incomplete table runner this week. I gave myself permission to wreck a project that wasn’t working and turn it into something new! Here’s what it used to look like.

ufo challenge beginning runner

What inspired such a bold move? It was last week’s Project Quilting Challenge on unfinished works. Several people took meh pieces and turned them into something amazing like this and this. Click on those links. You’ll be glad you did.

So here’s my work in progress. I started by cutting the four-patches out of the table-runner. I only seam-rip when it’s absolutely necessary. The blocks were framed in green fabric I was going to trim off anyway.

cut out four-patches

They’re all beautiful Asian prints. Why are fabrics like these called that? Asia’s a continent with a wide variety of cultures, styles, and looks. It’s a little weird that this category is so broad. There are Japanese prints out there, which is a little better, but these aren’t them.

ufo challenge four patches

Anyway, I cut each four-patch block in diagonal twice and sewed ’em back together.

ufo challenge disappearing four patch

Now they’re much cuter pinwheels.

ufo challenge block

 

I joined the pinwheel blocks for the center and added some borders.

asian fabrics quilt thus far

I like the skinny grey border near the edge and think there needs to be something similar between the pinwheels and first border. I’m not willing to rip three borders off to make it look right. Instead I’ll applique a skinny blue there. I’ll be sure to show you guys how it turns out in the end.

Project Quilting’s Voting is open through February 13th. My tiny heart is #44. Check out all of the awesome entries and choose your favorite six! The next challenge begins on Sunday the 15th.

 

 

I Tiny Heart You Too Paula

My friend Paula, who likes working in tiny pieces like me, made me this paper-pieced heart before she moved. The heart measures one inch square and has 12 pieces. So cool, right?!


Paula's pp heart

I made it into an ornament for this week’s Project Quilting Challenge which had the theme of finishing an incomplete project. So I made this cutie into a little ornament that will go on my idea board once my new studio (formerly a storage room/bedroom) is complete. That way I can look at it every day!

heart ornament

Like the many fabrics in this heart, my friend has encouraged me to reveal all the parts of myself not just to her but in my art as well. We weathered joint events and separate ones and always found something to smile about. She made me feel important and seen… and let me see her as well.

out of my head

Do you have a friend like that? It’s such a special relationship that I’m not mourning her moving across country like I thought I might. Instead I’m delighting in hearing about her adventures in snowy Boston and looking forward to seeing her again. Nope, I don’t know when that’ll happen. But with a bond like this I’ll be making it a priority.

Plus, I can’t find a single photograph of the two of us. How crazy is that?!?! Something to be remedied for sure. 🙂

 

 

 

I’m linking this post up to Show Off Saturday, Slow Sunday Stitching and Tuesday Archives.

Sometimes I Need a Bit of Quiet

Sometimes I need a bit of quiet. Do you ever get that way? Life’s just so go-go-go noisy and it’s good to take a break to breathe. So that’s what I’m doing today on my 31st birthday. Hubby and I went grocery shopping and that’s really the only thing I’ve checked off my to-do list…. which is totally okay. We’ll cook together tonight and watch a RedBox movie. I’ll quilt a bit and fold a load of laundry. Maybe have a nice long soak in the tub. I’ll return those phone calls and emails later.

have to put clothes on

I’m getting real quiet and listening and learning about myself and my business. I’ve noticed that I don’t have a real clear direction and want to remedy that. One thing I have planned is to participate in a group read and discussion of The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano, a business book that many people have recommended to me.

This week’s Project Quilting Challenge is to finish a UFO (unfinished object) so I’ve been working on the Turtles Quilt for my childhood summer camp. I’m up to the final border on the top. I’ll post some updated photos of that in a few days. It almost definitely won’t be finished by Sunday so I may work on a smaller project to submit. There are some great prizes that are randomly drawn this year and it always feels good to have a finish. If I don’t this week, well, I’m not going to stress about it.

turtle sees who can get home first

We’ve been doing some gardening this past week. Living in Southern California does have benefits! We loved the potatoes so much last year that we’re planting three times as many. So far we’ve weeded, pulled up some stumps, laid a brick path, transplanted the bird of paradise plants, painted some pots, and planted seeds that’ll be flowers.

tatobucket

I’ve linked an older post up to the Tuesday Archives link party. This week’s theme is nine-patch quilts. The last nine-patch that I made is in my etsy shop. It’s a disappearing nine-patch baby quilt with kids’ prints on a pink and orange background. pink d9p finished

A Brutiful Quilt for Project Quilting

This week’s project quilting challenge is sunrise/sunset. My quilt is called “Brutiful,” a term I heard this morning in a TED talk by Glennon Doyle Melton. It’s a mash-up of the words brutal and beautiful. Isn’t life both most of the time? This term is perfect for what I’ve been thinking about while designing and making the quilt this week. (Yes, only 7 days to make quilts in this challenge!) It’s thinking about a sunrise in autumn while in a deep dark pit. It’s the hope that in the brutal beautiful still exists and is accessible. With that in mind here’s my process story in photographs.

leavessunrise setting crumb blockssunrise big yellowsunrise small yellowsunrise start leaf
sunrise bold leafsunrise lines drawnHere’s the finished quilt. It’s 30×40 inches and has machine piecing, hand embroidery, hand quilting, and machine quilting. I did them in that order too. It’s bound in black so as not to distract from the dream. The sunrise is yellow, orange, and pink crumb-pieced blocks.Brutiful Quilt PQ Sunrise Challenge
Brutiful Quilt Close-UpClick here and check out the other sunrise/sunset projects. Vote for your favorites and be inspired by the art! 


I’m linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching and Main Crush Monday and Show and Tell Tuesday.

 

You Are Not a Yellow Starburst

dont let them treat you like a yellow starburstThis week has given me a lot of practice in standing up for myself. Hopefully some of that will pay off soon. I am not a yellow Starburst! You don’t get to put me on the bottom of the list or stash me away for later in the junk drawer. Oy.

new wee purseAnyhoo… I did finish this bag for myself a few days ago. I’d been meaning to make a replacement for the one I made while testing the pattern for Sam Hunter over three years ago. Here’s the new one! Isn’t it cute? I used a fabric I bought just because I liked it for the flap and a warm brown for the rest of it. There’s a button and loop closure because I couldn’t find my velcro…. until after the purse was done.

audreys january bee blockI also completed the January block for the 2015 Stash Bee I’m a part of. This month’s blocks are navys and white and will go to Audrey of Hot Pink Quilts. Click on the block above to go to her tutorial. 
dealing with wood rotHubby and I are still working on the house. Here’s a before pic of the wood above the garage door. It was soft and squishy from rot; not so great structurally. We replaced the wood and flashing (the metal stuff on the top corner) and the silicone sealant is drying.

Painting is another large project we’re in the middle of. We’re repainting all of the trim its original brown and painting the house a little yellow-er of an off-white. So far the front off-white and the trim around the front windows and doors is completed. There’s lots more to do. project quilting

 

This week’s Project Quilting challenge is sunrise and sunset. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to make. There’s 6 days left. Ready, set, go!

 

I’m linking this post to Show off Saturday and Handmade Tuesdays.

Not Goodbye, See You Later Tama.

Cancer won over my friend Tama a few days ago. She was sick for a while before the doctors discovered it was stage four cancer… and then was gone so very quickly. She was a quilter, an artist, a writer and someone I never got to meet in person but knew through Facebook. It’s hard to say goodbye. But it’s not goodbye. See you later Tama.
Tama

I’m also saying, “See You Later,” to hosting a link-up party. I’ve discovered that I’m not quite ready to host one yet. I have more to learn first. So I’ll be participating in others’ parties for now and retiring Favorites Fridays.
no fav fridaysHere’s my completed table runner for the Project Quilting trees challenge. This piece started out happy and fun: Easter, Springtime, new growth. It still is those things but with another layer. It’s also something I worked on while thinking of Tama. I believe life doesn’t end here. I don’t what that might look like but it gives me some peace. Maybe Tama’s in the springtime of her life somewhere else. Maybe she’s a sprout growing and learning with many years ahead of her to continue her journey. green runner finishedMaybe she’ll have some things to show me when I get there. Maybe.green trees runner close

I’m linking this post up to Show and Tell Tuesday and Scraptastic Tuesday and Needle and Thread.