Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WIWOW June 29, 2011

Hi everyone:

Yikes, it's Wednesday again already. I've had my head down at the sewing machine finishing off a project which I need to ship out this week (sorry, still can't show you what I've actually been working on). It's finally finished and I've learned a thing or two while doing it. 

First, if you're going to do a project with a deadline, keep it small and simple, or what I like to call the KISS principle. As any of my friends will tell you, keeping it simple is not my strong suit! I always have plans larger than my time allows, but that's okay because I definitely work better with deadlines and I haven't missed one yet (at least I don't think I have).

I guess one small owl wouldn't have been enough!
Second, don't plan projects with tight deadlines around the busiest time of the year, which in our household would be either December or June. Now I'll admit that I don't always have control over this, however, I should really learn to say "I'm sorry, that doesn't work for me" a bit more often in December and June.
You need it when?!!

Third, don't think too much about it, just get going on it. I tend to agonize over small details, rather than just moving along. Too much thinking equals nothing completed. Better to complete the project and then think about what you might change next time after it's done, then to miss out on an opportunity.
Should I add a second border? Are these colours exactly right? Just get on with it!

So it's been good to learn a few things from this experience. Now if only I'll remember them when the next opportunity comes along...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy 1st and 4th

Hi everyone:

I'm looking forward to this upcoming Holiday week-end. Here in Canada, we celebrate Canada Day on July 1 and our friends south of the border are celebrating Independence Day on July 4. It also means that school is officially over and summer holidays are starting. Yay! Or should I say "Yahoo!" since the Calgary Stampede will be starting shortly thereafter.

And, as if a long week-end isn't enough reason to celebrate, here's four other reasons. AccuQuilt is having some amazing specials over this upcoming week-end, covering both the Canadian and American holidays. You'll certainly want to check these out. 

There are sales on GO! dies.

Free GO! Alex Anderson dies when you order a GO! Baby Fabric Cutter.

Special pricing on the Studio Fabric Cutter (really want to get me one of these!).
And, to go with your Studio Fabric Cutter, savings on Studio dies.
Wow, that's a lot of savings! Also, if you place an order before the end of day on Wednesday - yes, in two days - you'll get double reward points on your order. All of these specials are available now through July 5.

I'm not sure about you, but I know what I'll be doing for the long week-end!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Free AccuQuilt Patterns

Hi everyone:

Here's a great way to start off your week-end! How would you like to receive 22 free patterns? Who wouldn't! It's easy and here's how:

Just click on the AccuQuilt icon that you'll find on the right side of my blog. You'll be taken to a screen where you can register an account with AccuQuilt and then you'll have access to 22 free patterns. See, I told you it was easy! 

Thanks so much to AccuQuilt for providing these patterns to my blog followers. 

If you hurry, you may even complete a project or two this week-end.

Have fun and get GO-ing!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WIWOW June 22, 2011

Hi everyone:

This week I'm focusing on just getting through all the school events that will be happening! 

Monday was the staff appreciation lunch at our school, which is always a nice event. We all truly do appreciate the effort that the parents put into providing us with a chance to enjoy lunch together and chat. Not to mention the food, which was great!

While Monday was an event for me, the rest of the week is filled with special events for my children. My daughter's grade 9 celebration was over a week ago - but that was just for the kids. Yesterday was her award assembly at school where the parents actually got to attend. It was amazing to see how these kids have matured - and grown! - since grade 7. 
Sarah ready for grad
Today is my son's grad/celebration from grade 6. While he didn't want to get "dressed up", we did manage to agree on a dress shirt and pants. Just couldn't quite justify spending over $200.00 for a suit for a 12 year old! There's a reception after the ceremony, so that will be a great time to catch up with the other parents.

So now the big events are over (aside from Provincial Achievement Tests for my daughter), I can hopefully concentrate on finishing my current project. I will be spending some more time on finishing the edges on the appliqué and tweaking the pattern and will hopefully be able to send it off for photography soon. The fact that we are currently "enjoying" a postal strike certainly doesn't help when you're working on a deadline. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they settle soon so life, or at least the mail, can get back to normal.

Here's a sneak peek of the background of this project. You'll have to wait a few more months to see this one completely done. 

Hope you enjoyed a wonderful first day of summer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WIWOW June 15, 2011

Hi everyone:

Well, it's been a very busy week for me. I did manage to get the binding stitched on two of my quilts - the Olivia one and a 5 & Dime quilt. Now I actually have to do the hand sewing part. I always think this will take a long time, but really it's only a tv show or two :)
Olivia's My Girl quilt

5 & Dime quilt in Moda fabrics
I've been receiving emails from followers letting me know that they've received their Summer 2011 issue of Quilter's Connection Magazine with Blossoming on the cover. I'm so excited to hear their positive comments and so glad that they like my pattern. 

Still riding the excitement of my first magazine cover, I received more positive news. Quilt shops will soon be able to order Chatterbox Quilts' patterns through The Pattern Peddlers. I'm very pleased to be working with them and look forward to a successful relationship.

As if that wasn't enough, I am currently working on a tight deadline to finish a pattern for an international magazine. Can't say too much about this yet, but you'll be the first to know when it's published. Also, you may not hear much from me for the next week or so as I'll be head down in the studio cranking this one out. 

I'm also looking at some local teaching opportunities for the fall. The class is still being finalized, but I'm hoping that it will involve my GO! cutter. I'm often asked about this little baby (well, they have one of those too!) and enjoy using mine so much that I would love to teach others about it. Plans are still in the works, but hopefully I'll be able to tell you about this soon as well.

It seems that it never rains but it pours, but I'll take this kind of rain any day! 

Loving this "job" I have :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

AccuQuilt GO! Die Giveaway

Hi everyone:

Just what you'd like to hear about on a Monday! Talin, who blogs at Talin's Corner, is hosting a giveaway for 3 AccuQuilt GO! dies of your choice. Yes, not only could you win 3 dies, but you get to choose which ones. How could it get any better? 

Well, you have three opportunities to win, that's how. So make sure you enter to win your choice of 3 AccuQuilt GO! dies by Sunday, June 19 because that's when the draw ends.

In case you're wondering which dies I would like. Here they are:

AccuQuilt GO! Rob Peter to Pay Paul die
Image courtesy of
AccuQuilt GO! Fall Medley die
Image courtesy of

AccuQuilt GO! Sleigh & Snowflakes die
Image courtesy of

Good luck!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pets on Quilts Show

Hi everyone:

A while back I blogged about my Posh Pets quilt which I completed for a guild challenge. Luckily for me, it will be perfect to enter in the upcoming Pets on Quilts Show that is being hosted by SewCalGal. This is the 2nd annual show and you will want to get started on your entry right now!

If you're worried that you won't have time to create something to enter, relax! The 2011 Pets on Quilts Show won't be starting until August 15th and runs until August 19th, 2011 (my daughter's birthday!). Plenty of time to whip up a pet-themed quilt or take hundreds of photos of your pampered pooch on your prize winning quilt so you can select just the right entry. You can even do up a quilt design in EQ7 if you only have a virtual pet. 

But I've save the best part until last: there are prizes! You can check out the sponsors and complete details here. 

I hope you'll consider entering this fun contest. I know my Posh Pets will definitely be in the running and who knows, I might even win something.

Hope you've got your own "posh pet" to snuggle with under a cozy quilt.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WIWOW June 9, 2011

Hi everyone:

This past week I've been spending time rearranging and cleaning up some of my quilting area. There's still more to be done in my office, but things are looking better in the studio area. 

While cleaning up, I came across my Olivia quilt, which has been languishing in the sauna storage area waiting for it's binding to be attached. I didn't think I had binding for it, but actually I did. And, even better, it was ready to piece together! I stitched it together, pressed it and now it's ready to be attached to the quilt.

 "Olivia's my girl!" ready for binding
Detail of "Olivia's my girl!"
As you know, I've recently quilted a few other quilts and want to attach all the bindings on at one time so I'll have some projects to work on while watching tv in the evenings. I hope to get these stitched on sometime this upcoming week.

I have had some kits for fabric wine bags which will be sold at the "Bags, Babies and Beyond" sale for the Ujamaa Grandmas this fall. I thought I should probably get these done as I'm going to a meeting this week. I haven't made these before, so I read the instructions over several times before I started and they came out quite well.
Wine bags ready to be sold and filled
I also said that I would make some credit card holders for the sale. I went through my stash and picked out enough fabrics to make 6 of them. Here they are ready to be stitched up. I'll need to finish these up soon too!
Credit card holders ready for stitching
In between the quilting, we have several school events going on this week. My son, Jamie, is in a baton group at school and they'll be performing at various elementary schools this week as well as at his/my school and on Friday evening. My daughter, Sarah, has her grade 9 celebration on Wednesday evening and will be running in Betty's Run for ALS Sunday morning with some of her friends. It's their first running event and they're quite excited about it. I just hope that it doesn't rain!
Hope you're enjoying a dry, hot Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Organizing my quilt studio - Part 2

Hi everyone:

In Part 1 I showed you my quilting studio and explained how it has evolved. In this post I'd like to examine the various areas to show you how I've organized them. I hope that you'll pick up a few ideas for your own studio!

Any good quilter has to have a few machines in her studio. I have two sewing machines, a Bernina Virtuosa 153 and a Juki TL-98Q (a straight stitch machine). The Juki used to be on my quilting frame until I purchased the B-Line 18 machine. Now I use the Juki for most of my piecing since it is so fast and accurate. I use the Bernina for any satin stitching or other-than-a-straight-stitch sewing. I have an original sewing cabinet, which I inherited from my grandmother, for my Bernina and was fortunate to find a table at Ikea that matches the finish perfectly. I guess the colours in laminate haven't changed that much over the years :) I find the L-shaped configuration of the machines works very well and allows me to spread my work out a bit more.

If you haven't noticed, I like to shop at Ikea. The price is right and I often find exactly what I need there - even if I don't use it for its original purpose!

I'm not always quilting on my frame, so I find the table useful for holding project pieces that I'm currently working on. It's also handy to drape fabric and quilt tops over after they've been pressed. Although you can only see a little sliver of it, I have several large rolling bins under my table which hold my magazine collection. It's just empty space under there, so I had to fill it with something. 
Note: I no longer have my mid-arm frame. I sold it and have upgraded to a Handi Quilter Infinity as of December 2015.
As I mentioned before, some of my fabric is stored in my cutting table - on one side. The other side has a shelf and I use it to hold books, bulky items and my trims and buttons (also in storage containers). I have cup holders on the side of my cutting table to hold my rulers. The cutting table is on castors to allow me to roll it out of the way when I'm working on the frame and to allow easier access to the back storage room. I also have metal measuring tape (Lee Valley) on both long edges of my cutting table. I find it helpful when I'm determining if I have enough fabric for a particular project as I can just measure it quickly along the edge of the table. I use the pink foam core board stored along the wall when I'm photographing large quilts. I cover it with flannel and I'm good to go.
I also use flannel covered foam core board for my design wall. It's 8' x 4' and I use it as a display wall as well. In this photo you can see one of the large wheeled carts at the right underneath the frame (blue lid), as well as the carts with drawers where I keep my thread and other supplies. The curtain rod on the wall at the end of the frame serves as a display for some of my finished projects. Again, it's from Ikea.

I have an AccuQuilt GO! cutter and several dies which I had been storing in a Rubbermaid contained (I know, bad me!). The GO! cutter is usually tucked under my quilting frame, close to the cutting table, but the dies really needed better storage. So... I cleaned out a small bookcase and moved it into the quilting area. The dies fit in it very well and it's easily accessible. Currently I have some projects in boxes on top of the bookcase where they're out of my sewing space, yet easy to retrieve when needed.

I have the labels facing out so I can easily retrieve the one I need. I know that the dies lean a bit, but I've ordered a few more of them, so I expect that the bookcase will soon be full and that should keep them all standing upright. I may put some cardboard in between each die to protect them - I have all the original die packaging still, so I'll just use the cardboard from that. 

So, that's my quilting studio. I'd show you my office where I do the computer work, but it still needs some tidying up. I'm hoping I can talk hubby into helping me with that project in the next few weeks!

I'd love to hear your organization tips, especially if you have an AccuQuilt GO! or Studio cutter. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Organizing my quilt studio - Part 1

Hi everyone:

I was rearranging some of my quilting space this week-end and a friend was asking for some tips and photos. I'm certainly no organization expert - if you saw how I work on designs you'd agree with me - but I do have a fairly efficient quilting studio in a small space, so maybe I do have a few ideas that you might find helpful. As this is a bit of a lengthy post, I'm breaking it into two parts. In this first part, I'll show you my studio and in the next part I'll explain a few of my organization tips - or at least tips on how to cram as much as you can into a small space!

I am fortunate enough to have my own little quilting space in my basement. I would, of course, like to have a little more room, but reality is that this is it. I've taken over about half of our basement as well as my husband's office, so I really can't complain - but I sometimes do! 

My challenge in this space has been the fact that there are only 3 walls, and of these, one has a window and another has a door in it. Although I've tried to come up with different configurations, I think the present one is the most efficient use of the space - at least until I add more toys to it!

I started out with one sewing machine and a cutting table, made from our old kitchen cabinets (thanks to hubby, Gary) and have now expanded to a long-arm machine and frame, two sewing machines, an AccuQuilt cutter and dies and the original cutting table. It all fits into the original space, so how'd I do it? 
Note: I no longer have my B-Line mid-arm machine as I sold it and have upgrade to a Handi Quilter Infinity as of December 2015.

Well... first we had to renovate the entire kitchen so that I could use some of the old cabinets to make my cutting table. Okay, so we were going to renovate anyway, but my husband did make my cutting table from some of the old cabinets. I store some of my stash in the cutting table and some in the wall cabinets, also courtesy of our old kitchen. The rest of my fabric, as well as kits, is stored in our sauna. Okay, I know what you're thinking, but actually it was Gary's idea as we don't often use the sauna, and it works very well as a fabric repository. I have my fat quarters in a plastic cart and the rest is in labelled boxes and bags. While it could be organized a little better, I can find what I need and know what is there. I freed up additional space by getting rid of some furniture and rearranging the rest. I recently realizing that I need a few more appropriately-size storage containers to handle some of my tools and WIP's, but things aren't too bad. 

Here's a few photos of my current quilting space. 
Rolling cutting table with laminate top,
rulers hung on side and fabric storage

Sewing machines and wall cabinets for fabric and tools

B-Line 18 machine and frame at 10' set up

Overall view of studio

View from back of frame
So there you have it. This is where the magic happens - or where I get an idea, start a project, get interrupted, leave the project, well, you know how it goes! 

In the next post, I'll examine some of the areas in my studio and give you my organization tips.

Do you have a special quilting space in your home? I'd love to hear about it and see your photos.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Winner of 3 Chatterbox Quilts Patterns

Hi everyone:

I hope you had an opportunity to enter to win 3 of my patterns. Welcome to my new followers and thanks for entering to my existing friends. 

Now, for the moment you've all been waiting for... time to let the cat out of the bag and announce the winner of 3 Chatterbox Quilts patterns. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!).

The winner is #30, who is Deb. Congratulations! Deb's favourite patterns are Serenity, Hoot-mon and Hootie. 
I'll be sending these out to you once I receive your address information.

Look for another blogpost later today to let you know what I've been up to.

Hope you're quilting something fun!