Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winner of giveaway

Hi everyone:

I was excited to see so many entries in my giveaway to celebrate the Quilting Gallery's fifth birthday. While I'd love to send fabric, appliqués and patterns to all of you, I had to pick only one winner. Thanks to the random number generator, the winner was #21. 
Congratulations to Peg who will now be receiving the lovely winter fabrics, die-cut snowflakes and two of Chatterbox Quilts' patterns
If you didn't win this time, don't worry - I'll be having more giveaways in 2013. 

You can always order these and other patterns through my store as PDF downloads and will receive them instantly - or close to it. 

Now it's time to get back to work on finishing up a few projects for Christmas gifts. 

I hope you've finished your shopping, making gifts and baking and are enjoying the holiday season.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Party with Giveaways

Hi everyone:

I'm glad you decided to check in with me today as I have exciting news (yes, more exciting news - it never seems to end!). Today I'm helping to celebrate the 5th birthday of the Quilting Gallery by participating in their Blog Hop Party with Giveaways. Yes, that's right, it's their birthday, but I'm hosting a giveaway, along with over a hundred other bloggers. 

If you don't know about the Quilting Gallery, you must check them out. Michele has a wealth of information on her site, including listings of bloggers all over the world, free tips and tutorials and block exchanges. She also has a weekly themed quilt contest which is always fun to enter - or vote on. I'm so pleased to wish the Quilting Gallery a happy birthday and excited to be a part of this blog party.

If you're new to my blog, let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm the owner and chief designer of Chatterbox Quilts. We publish quilting, hand embroidery and stuffie patterns, which you can find on our site. If I had to describe the style of our patterns, I'd probably say "whimsical and cute" and I'm addicted to fusible web appliqué. I hope you'll check out my website for free patterns and tutorials. If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on and to be advised of upcoming special events (such as this one), please subscribe to my blog. 
Detail from Hoot-mon! quilt
Pattern by Chatterbox Quilts
Now, let's get down to the important part - the giveaway. Since it's the holiday season, I've put together a package containing two of my seasonal patterns, Bundle Up and Snowflakes a' Fallin', but that's not all. I'm also including 4 die-cut snowflakes already backed by HeatnBond Lite - all ready for you to create a wintry project. You'll receive 2 large snowflakes and 2 small snowflakes. But I'm not done yet! I've also included 4 fat quarters of sparkly cool fabrics in blue and silver. 

Bundle Up, Snowflakes a' Fallin' patterns
with 4 die-cut snowflakes and 4 fat quarters
One lucky winner will receive all of these items. How do you enter to win? I'm glad you asked. 

To be eligible to win, please "like" Chatterbox Quilts on Facebook and advise me that you have done so in the comments below. If you've previously "liked" us, please just let me know in the comments. For an additional entry, please subscribe to my blog (see the button in the right sidebar). Again, just let me know in the comments below. If you are already a blog follower, just put this in your comment. 

So, you have two ways to enter the giveaway. Just be sure to indicate how you've entered in the comments below. Oh, and one more important thing - be sure you're not entering a comment as "anonymous". I won't be able to advise you if I don't have your email address.

This giveaway is open from December 10, 2012 until December 15, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. MST (10:00 p.m. EST). I'll be drawing a winner after this time and contacting them on December 16, 2012. This giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. residents only.

Good luck to everyone and happy birthday to the Quilting Gallery!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Video Review - Inspired Modern Quilts on Craftsy

Hi everyone:

If you haven't heard about Craftsy, you'll be hearing about them from me now. Craftsy offers on-line classes in such areas as quilting, sewing, knitting, and crochet. They even have classes on cake decorating and food craft. The class instructors are chosen for their expertise in their particular craft and the classes are organized, informative and thorough. 

I've enrolled in many several of the quilting and crochet classes and although I haven't yet actually made all of the samples, I have made some and have really enjoyed the process - and learned a lot at the same time. In addition to learning by watching the videos, you can ask questions of the instructor as well as other students and receive quick responses. You can post photos of your project in the Projects area and get help with any problems you may be encountering. You can make notes anywhere in the video to remind you of pertinent information, and these, as well as the patterns and materials, are all available for download. The best part is that you can watch the classes over and over again as your access never expires. Am I enjoying my classes? You bet I am! If you have an iPhone or iPad, they have an app to allow you to watch the videos on them and it works really well (ask me how I know!).
Photo courtesy of
Craftsy recently allowed me to review one of their classes and I chose Inspired Modern Quilts by Elizabeth Hartman, as I thought that this would put me a bit out of my comfort zone and allow me to experiment with different patterns than I would normally choose. This class consists of 7 quilt projects; I have been working on one of them. 

Rather than jumping ahead and tackling one of the projects that appears later in the video, I (for once) decided to start at the beginning and make the first project, Scattered Squares Quilt. This is not to mean that I haven't already watched the entire class and am itching to make some of the other projects :)
Materials printed out, fabrics cut, now what?
Scattered Squares is a simple 24" x 30" quilt (instructions are also provided for a lap size quilt) using 3 1/2" squares, where you're encouraged to "embrace randomness". After cutting your fabric squares, you mix them up and randomly choose each piece and start composing your quilt on a design wall. 

Fabric squares being mixed up before being randomly selected
 Okay, randomness really isn't my thing and I would usually spend hours rearranging all the fabric squares until the quilt was perfect -at least in my mind - but I complied and randomly selected squares and built my design. You can rearrange the pieces if there are too many of the same kind in one area, but I found that I didn't have to do much of that. The idea is to have an asymmetrical design, which is one of the characteristics of a modern quilt.
Squares "randomly" arranged on the design wall
Surprisingly enough I found this exercise very freeing and less stressful as I didn't have to ponder and analyze over the design. Being a simple pattern, if didn't take me long to stitch my squares into rows and my rows into a small quilt. I was even able to use fabric that I have in my stash, which made me feel even better about the quilt. 
Rows stacked up and labelled before construction
This part is not random
One row stitched together
Having completed this project (almost - still deciding if I want to add some borders), I'm excited to try some of the other ones, especially the Improv Pods pattern. 

The patterns in the class are definitely modern and are simple enough for beginners to make. In addition to the 7 patterns, Elizabeth discusses fabric choices and has included directions for making a simple design wall and a pressing board, again helpful for beginner quilters. Her instructions are clear and thorough and the pacing is such that you have no problem working along with her. 
Squares stitched into rows and ready for row construction
This would be a helpful class for new quilters and a wonderful introduction to modern quilts for those more traditional quilters. Projects are easy, effective and quick to construct. Elizabeth explains all the steps as she constructs the quilts and gives helpful tips along the way. 

I know that you'll love this class and you'll be pleased to know that you can currently sign up for it at a discount.

As a special treat for Chatterbox Chitchat readers, Craftsy is offering a special 50% discount on Inspired Modern Quilts. What a great early Christmas present! 

I'm sure that you'll want to check out the Craftsy website to see what other courses they offer (lots of quilting classes - yum!). Sign up on Craftsy to receive emails about special offers on other classes, as well as to be informed when new classes are offered. You'll want to visit the Craftsy blog and sign up to receive future posts. 

They also offer great pricing on fabric packages, such as fat quarters and jelly rolls, as well as yarn specials, and are currently shipping to the U.S. and Canada. The best part: they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

I hope you'll sign up for Inspired Modern Quilts at 50% off and let me know which project you're working on. I'd love to see your creation in the Projects area.

Now back to deciding about those borders...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stitcheries, stuffies and sales!

Hi everyone:

Welcome to Monday and time to let you know about my exciting news.

I've been hard at work on some seasonal patterns and am pleased to release two new stitchery sets just in time for Christmas gifts.

Christmas Stitchery Set includes 3 patterns related to the season, including:
Holly Jolly from Christmas Stitchery Set

Lotsa Presents from Christmas Stitchery Set

Christmas Tree from Christmas Stitchery Set

All 3 patterns included in Christmas Stitchery Set
The Winter Stitchery Set includes 3 designs inspired by our Canadian winters, including: 

Wintery House included in Winter Stitchery Set

Starlit Snowman included in Winter Stitchery Set

Ribbon Snowflake included in Winter Stitchery Set

The 3 patterns included in Winter Stitchery Set

Each set contains full-size templates to create 3 hand embroidery projects. Regular and reversed designs are included in both patterns, as well as a heart template should you wish to create ornaments or pincushions with these patterns. They also make adorable shelf sitters for the mantle or nestled together in a wicker basket. Add some potpourri and you have seasonal sachets!

But that's not all! I also have just uploaded 4 embroidered stuffie patterns to my website. I really love these little guys and they're perfect gifts for little ones with no loose bits to catch on their fingers and toes. (Almost completely out of the bag). Let me introduce Hoot, Screech and Whoobie.
Hoot embroidered stuffie - the daddy of the family

Screech, the momma of the family

Whoobie, the baby of the family
These patterns are for hand embroidery and work up very quickly. While I prefer to cuddle them, you might want to use them as pincushions and they also look adorable all together on a shelf. Each stuffie is available as a separate pattern or you may prefer to purchase the entire family together. The patterns all include full-size regular and reversed format templates as well as coloured diagrams and stitch suggestions. 
The Hoot family
Now, that's a lot of excitement for a Monday morning, but I'm not done yet. 

As my Christmas gift to my readers, all my patterns, including my new ones, will be on sale this week (December 3 to December 9) at a 20% discount. 

As these are PDF downloads, you'll have them instantaneously (okay, maybe not that fast, but fast!) and will be able to start working on them right away. Or you could get a headstart on next year's presents :)

I hope you'll browse through my shop and take advantage of the Christmas sale this week.  

As for me, I'm currently working on another project, which you'll hear about later this week - yup, more surprises coming.

Now that was a busy week!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cat out of the bag #2

Hi everyone:

Well, one of the cats is out of the bag - my interview with Helen Dickson of Bustle & Sew has now been published.

Charlie out of the bag
Remember I told you that there was another exciting event happening this week? Okay, time to let that cat out of the bag.
Time to let Teeka out of the bag

One of my patterns is going to be featured in Bustle & Sew! I'm thrilled that Helen wanted to include Flourishing Heart in the December issue of her magazine. This little heart-shaped ornament is one of my favourite designs and is very quick and easy to create. It makes a wonderful tree ornament for Christmas or a sachet for your favourite aunt's closet. While my blog readers are aware of this pattern as it is on my blog's sidebar, I doubt that it has yet made it's way "across the pond", so I'm excited that it will now be available to Helen's readers. I hope they enjoy it as much as my North American readers have. 

Flourishing Heart pincushion, ornament, shelf sitter or sachet
If you haven't yet subscribed to Bustle & Sew, you can always do so by clicking on the Bustle & Sew button on my blog sidebar; either button will take you to the website. 

Whew! It's been a great week and I'm looking forward to more excitement next week. I have a special treat for my blog readers on Monday, so see you then!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Meet Helen of Bustle & Sew

Hi everyone:

When you're a pattern designer, I think most people believe that you work in your own little world, focussing on your own creation and oblivious to what others are creating. In reality, I believe that it's the opposite - well, at least it is for me. I do focus on my own designs, but am influenced and inspired by the projects other designers are creating. Helen Dickson of Bustle & Sew, is one of those designers.
Helen Dickson, publisher of Bustle & Sew
Photo courtesy of Helen Dickson
For the past few years, I've been a subscriber of Bustle & Sew, a monthly e-zine published by Helen. 
Bustle & Sew ezine
Photo courtesy of
I must admit that I'm in awe of Helen's accomplishments: not only is she an incredible designer with whimsical and sweet patterns, she also manages to publish her magazine every single month! And each issue has not one, not two, but many patterns in it! You'll find stitchery designs, quilt patterns and always a stuffie or two. I eagerly anticipate receiving each issue every month to see what she's created this time. Since Helen lives in Devon, England, many of you may not be aware of her accomplishments. She has graciously agreed to an interview so you can get to know her a little better.
One of the free patterns offered on Bustle & Sew
Photo courtesy of
Thanks, Helen, for taking the time to chat with me today about Bustle & Sew. 

Before we get going, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to feature on your blog.  It’s very exciting to be here and I’ve really enjoyed having a good look around at all your lovely designs.

You're welcome and thank you for the compliment.

Your patterns all feature hand embroidery, so it's obvious that this is your first love. How did you get into hand embroidery and what is its appeal for you?
Yes, I love hand embroidery and have been stitching for as long as I can remember.  Both my mum and grandma were very talented embroiderers and I learned literally at my mother’s knee.  Hand embroidery is great because it’s so easy to try for yourself – you don’t need any expensive tools and equipment, just a needle and thread, and possibly a hoop.  It’s a great hobby to take around with you too as it’s so portable, it’s really easy to stuff your project into a bag and just bring it along when you’re on the move.  I also love that there is such scope for personal interpretation in freestyle hand embroidery.  Often people send pictures of projects they’ve completed from my patterns – and you can really see how they’ve stamped their own personalities on the design – creating something that’s truly unique.
One of the Rosie and Bear stitcheries (January)
available at Bustle & Sew
Photo courtesy of
In your e-zine, Bustle & Sew, you have a variety of projects from quilts to wall art to stuffies. What made you decide to branch out into these types of projects and to merge hand embroidery with other crafts?

Ah, well, this is because I have a bit of a butterfly mind – with a very low boredom threshold and quite unable to concentrate on one particular aspect of sewing for very long.  When I’m working on a design I always try to think of how the finished project can be incorporated into a useful item – whether that’s a bag, cushion, quilt – or anything at all really.  I like my work to be used and handled every day, with a life of its own, and I don’t mind when it gets a little worn or tatty as that’s a good excuse to stitch some more!

I love softie making as I love animals (all kinds apart from spiders.  I know that spiders are good, useful creatures but I do not love them).  I’m not at all keen on dolls and didn’t play with them at all as a child.  Instead I had a soft toy menagerie and could often be found pushing my favourite panda around in my doll’s pram, whilst my dolls languished unloved at the bottom of my toy box.
Little Geese Softies from
Bustle & Sew (November 2012 issue)
Photo courtesy of
I think our minds work in a similar way - I call it monkey brain since I jump from idea to idea. I like how you see this as a positive thing since it allows you to create many different types of patterns, which I'm sure help you when it comes to designing an issue of Bustle & Sew.

Speaking of Bustle & Sew, I love the variety of patterns in each issue of the magazine, and there are so many of them. How do you manage to make all these projects each month – what's your secret?

Thanks so much for your lovely comment – I’m so pleased you are enjoying the magazine – I put a lot of myself into every issue and it’s great to hear that others like it too.    I worked full-time in an office for 30 years, during which time I raised my daughter – and all of this left very little time for sewing, just a few moments snatched from a busy schedule either late at night or weekends.  Now, through Bustle & Sew, and the internet, I am able to spend all my time doing something I really love.   So I guess you could say that 30 years’ worth of ideas are bursting out of me now!   Also, I am the sort of person who can’t bear to sit and do nothing – I always have to have something to do with my hands.  When my daughter Rosie was little, I used to knit and sew for her – I think her most demanding request was for a cardigan – featuring sparkly buttons and dancing mice! (I managed in the end).  I still do find myself sewing and knitting for her mind you, even now she’s all grown up!  When she visits (luckily she doesn’t live too far away) she always has a good rummage through my project cupboard and usually goes home with one or two things.  This month she’s snaffled my Nordic Reindeer Cushion and SewFlapdoodle Christmas Bunting! 
Nordic Reindeer Cushion from
Bustle & Sew (November 2012 issue)
Photo courtesy of
I can certainly see why she would've taken these two items, but am surprised that she left you with the Starry Night Embroidery cushion and the Little Geese Softies, just two of the wonderful designs in the latest issue of the ezine. I would've taken these projects as well! 
Starry Night Embroidery cushion from
Bustle & Sew (November 2012 issue)
Photo courtesy of
It's obvious that you devote a lot of time to choosing the projects and creating each issue of Bustle & Sew, what's your favourite part of publishing it?

Definitely not the uploading bit!  That has given me so many grey hairs!  I don’t think I could really choose a favourite part of the publishing process – but what I do love is when my readers take the time and trouble to send me feedback on each issue.  They’re all very lovely, and hardly ever say anything unkind – but do make some really good suggestions, which I try to incorporate as I go along.

I empathize with the computer part of the publishing - this seems to be what slows me down in producing new patterns. I'm glad to hear that you're receiving positive feedback from your readers and I'm sure this helps you to decide on what you'll include in future issues of Bustle & Sew. 
Summer Birdie Bag from Bustle & Sew
Photo courtesy of

What direction would you like the e-zine to take in the future?

Last year I carried out a reader survey to ask just this question and over the last 12 months have tweaked the contents in line with the survey results.  It was a very worthwhile exercise which I’m planning to repeat in the New Year.  So … if you’re a magazine subscriber and you’d like to see any changes to the magazine – whether that’s to the content – format – or anything at all really, then please do complete my survey when it lands in your in-box.

One exciting new development is that I’ve started publishing the magazine as a “proper” publication – available from Amazon.  It’s great to see it in print as well as online.

Congratulations! I didn't know that there was a "hard copy" of Bustle & Sew available through Amazon. I'll definitely have to look for this. Any other ideas you'd like to incorporate into the ezine?

I would like to have more interactive media in each issue – embedded video or sound would be good – if I can master the IT skills necessary!  I’d also like to include more guest contributors – and am totally delighted that you’re going to be contributing to the January issue – can’t wait to read your article! 

I would love to see videos of you giving helpful tips for completing your patterns with Ben helping! I'm also looking forward to the January issue - and had better start focussing on that article :) 
Detail of Calendar Bunnies quilt
Photo courtesy of
When you're not designing or creating projects, what do you enjoy doing?

That’s easy .. walking on the beach with Ben, my enormous Newfoundland dog, enjoying tea and cakes with friends, snuggling in front of the fire with Townie Husband, shopping with Rosie and … very soon ….. playing with Ben’s new “little sister”.   Daisy will be joining our little family in the spring – watch the blog for updates!

More exciting news, Helen! Perhaps Daisy and Ben can both help out with Bustle and Sew :) At least Daisy may provide you with more design ideas - do I see a Newfie stuffie in the future?
Ben, Helen's Newfoundland companion
Photo courtesy of
Now, I've left the most important question for the end: what's your favourite snack to eat while you're working on the next issue of Bustle & Sew?

Chocolate has definitely been proven to aid creativity.  So I feel obliged …….

I feel the same way, Helen, and chocolate has never let me down!

Thanks so much for allowing my readers to learn about you and Bustle & Sew, Helen. I'm sure they'll want to visit your blog to hear more about the projects you're working on and subscribe to your newsletter for sneak peeks of upcoming issues, special deals and free patterns. Visit Helen's store to purchase all of her patterns, including those featured in this article, as well as back issues of Bustle & Sew. 

If you're not already receiving Helen's ezine, you'll want to subscribe to Bustle & Sew, because the December issue is going to be outstanding - and you'll receive a free ebook just for subscribing. 

Now if I can just be a patient for a few more days until the December issue is published...

Monday, November 26, 2012

3 exciting events

Hi everyone:

This is going to be a great week! First, I've finished some stitchery patterns that I've been working on for some time and that feels great! 

I love it when I've finished instructions, tweaked photos, created PDF's and finally "finished" a pattern. But it's not really finished until it's been uploaded on several sites and that's what I'll be working on this week. 

Look for these new patterns, and maybe another one, on my website by next week-end. I'll also have a special treat for my readers on December 3, so mark your calendars now.

You may have noticed a few new blog buttons on my blog sidebar. Yes, I have added Snow Cool as a free pattern, but that's not the one I'm talking about. 
Snow Cool appliqué and embroidery pattern
by Chatterbox Quilts

I'm talking about this button. 

And this one:

What's this all about? If you haven't heard about Bustle & Sew, you'll definitely want to read my upcoming interview with the publisher, Helen Dickson, which will be posted later this week. I'm very excited to introduce you to her and her whimsical designs from "across the pond".

There's one more event coming up this week that I can't tell you about yet. I really want to let the cat out of the bag on this one, but... no, I must resist. You can read all about it - yup, you guessed it - later this week. 

Have a great Monday!