Category Archives: Tips

Spicy Coasters for Project Quilting

I made some coasters for the seasons challenge in Project Quilting. “Seasons” made me think of seasonings. So I started with colors of spices we have in the kitchen: white salt, green parsley, red pepper, and so on. Keeping with the cooking theme, I wanted to make an oven mitt. Plans changed when I didn’t like how the blocks I’d made fit together. These coasters are pieced from 1.5″ solid fabrics. autumncoasters

How’d I get that cool wavy thing to happen when starting out with a square grid? With the quilting. I went back and forth in straight lines which shifted the fabrics just enough that they came out a little wonky. Cool, huh? This happened by accident the first time but I liked it so much that I kept going.

autumncoastersquilting

Creating in Southern California as I wish my east coast friends a happy blizzard. Keep warm out there! Quilts help. Just sayin’. ūüôā

Day 11: Donate These Non-Food Items at the Canned Food Drive

Another #31dayblogchallenge post.

There are a lot of canned food drives happening now for food banks. Awesome! Please donate what you can. Did you know that they also accept non-food items? A friend of mine recently was given light bulbs at his appointment and received deodorant at another visit. Here are the most helpful things to donate.

Socks. They’re the most needed item at homeless shelters and the people who need them also go to food banks. Socks wear out the quickest of any clothing item. They’re a moral boost and a comfort item in addition to providing heat. Ever walk around with holes in your threadbare socks all day? Imagine that’s your only pair.

socksneeded

Baby Toiletries. Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, baby shampoo, etc. Don’t forget baby when you donate food. Formula is in high demand.

diapers

Toiletries. Maxi pads, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, razors, hand sanitizer.

maxipad

Paper plates were super helpful back when we lived in a motel. Dog food is a relief for those who choose to live in their car rather than give up their beloved companion. Chocolate bars are a fun treat.

 

 

I’m still looking for more tree blocks to finish the final border on the turtles quilt. This is a community project for Crystal Lake Camps. Will you please help? Details and a tutorial can be found here.¬†

 

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.

Getting Organized is Messy

getting organized is messy Getting organized can be so messy! I’m looking forward to getting into my new studio soon. Really, like soon soon. We need to give the wood a few days to acclimate to our house then glue it down and install the trim. Then I can move in.

In the meantime I’m getting some sorting done. The more organized I get now, the easier it will be to load up the shelves and get to sewing. I’m starting with my fabric stash. Here are the new categories:

  • Donate
  • Solids
  • Tone-on-tone
  • Batiks
  • Hand-dyed
  • Holidays
  • Floral
  • Prints with animals
  • Prints with fruit
  • Dots and stripes
  • Flannel
  • Everything else

It’s so nice to be able to find everything quickly! Some of these are further sorted by color or type. I started with yardage (anything 1/8 of a yard and up) and am going through my scraps now. I also have boxes for types of items for sale in my shop. The baby quilts are all snuggled together and when one sells I won’t have to search twelve boxes to find it.

march stash bee block Of course, I need to take sewing breaks. So I made this month’s Stash Bee block.¬†Then I traced some baby bibs which’ll be sold in sets.¬†tracing baby bibs
What about you? How do you organize your stuff?

Lights Up at Sunset

We’re not late until after Christmas, right? We painted the front of our house before decorating with lights. So, yeah, that project took longer than expected because of some much-needed California rain. The house looks better as you can see from the in-progress photo below. The door and bottom right are now that nice eggshell color.

partially painted front

Hubby and I got the Christmas lights hung outside today. I just wanted to do around the eves but he talked me into a lot more: the columns, the fence, around the windows and even up on the roof! The sun was setting as we finished so I got some gorgeous photographs! 
house lights21st sunset21st sunset street view

 

My Facebook followers have seen updates¬†this year’s Christmas decoration. I explained what and why I was doing at each step like marking colors, pinning on paper,¬†3-D quilting, and angling the binding. ¬†I’m entering¬†the decoration¬†into this month’s Project Quilting challenge. The theme is, “Baby it’s Cold Outside.” Here’s my little snowflake wall-hanging.

snow front

T-Shirt Quilt – Sewing the Top

Do you want to see how the T-shirt quilt is going? It’s spray basted and ready to quilt. Here’s how I made the top.

***I will write¬†a father’s day post, just not today. Growing up, my Dad had a yearly meeting on father’s day weekend. So we never actually celebrated with him on that day. I’ll be celebrating my Dad (and the fathers I got when I married my husband) in a post later this week.

Okay, back to the quilt. I’m making a queen sized t-shirt quilt, so I was sent enough shirts to get thirty six 14″ blocks out of them. (Some used just the front of the shirt, others were double-sided.) After cutting the shirts apart and into big square-ish shapes, I ironed fusible interfacing¬†on the back of each one. Why interfacing? T-shirts are stretchy and these ones had different thicknesses too. The interfacing stabilizes the fabric so blocks stay the size I cut them to, leading to a nice quilt instead of a puckery wonky mess.

I chose¬†lightweight Pellon fusible interfacing. It happens to be the cheapest one available, which is nice, but it also has this cool feature. Can you see it? I ironed the interfacing to the back of the shirt AND the ironing board cover. You’re not supposed to do this. Also, don’t mess up and try to press it sticky-side-up. Your iron won’t recover nicely.

fusible ironed to towel

This lightweight fusible, however, peels right off the cover and leaves no residue. This meant that I could get nice firmly fused edges on all the shirts. Yes!
peels right off

Alright, so here you have your stack of shirt squares with the fusible on them. Once I’ve got the layout just right, I put sticky notes on each to know where they belong in the grid. So the one on top of this one goes in the fourth row (D) and the fifth column.

stack of shirt blocks

Then I trimmed the shirts to 14.5″. The extra half an inch goes into the seams, 1/4 inch on each side. I didn’t have a large enough ruler to measure out this size, so I combined two of them. To make it more likely I wouldn’t have mess-ups I marked the 14.5″ line with tiny sticky notes with arrows. When I could, I centered the motifs.
cutting squares with postit notes 
Here’s the top! It’s not a super-glamour shot but you can see the whole thing.¬†Now it’s time to quilt it!
tshirttoponcouch