Friday, October 18, 2013

Guilty Secret Part 2

Hi everyone:

In my last blogpost, I let you in on a guilty secret: I love to shop at estate sales and purchase way too many vintage linens. Since I'm running out of storage space for them, I should probably do something with them. But what?

Here are some of my ideas:
A few of my recent estate sale treasures
Hankies - More of a fashion accessory than a practical item, you can still find vintage embroidered hankies still in their original slim boxes. These can be used as a centrepiece in a quilt with embroidery added to them or they can provide colour and design inspiration. They also make lovely focal points on pillows, large or small.

Hankie detail - gorgeous colours and sweet design
Interesting basket shape for appliqué design
Damask napkins and tablecloths - These can be dyed to the desired colour and used for their original purpose. Or... they can be made into a wholecloth quilt by sandwiching them with batting and backing and quilting them. Napkins are a good size to start with if you've never done a wholecloth project before. 
Damask napkins are often bundled in groups of 4 or 6 - or 5!
Love the pretty pink colour on these damask napkins
Doilies and crocheted tablecloths - These are my favourite finds. They can be dyed as desired and then added to various projects. I cut them apart into smaller sizes to add to stuffies or as decorative embellishments to quilts. Hand stitch a doily to an appliquéd wool flower, add a button and frame. Done. 

5 doilies all ready to be added to a project
A nice assortment of doilies
Just because there may be staining or damage to vintage linens doesn't mean that they can't be repurposed. Heavier linens that are damaged can be cut apart to make stuffies. Add hand embroidery, lace, buttons and other embellishments as desired. Lighter weight linens can be cut into squares or rectangles and then pieced together to create a pillow, table runner or even a full quilt. 
While this is stained in the centre, the embroidery details are lovely.
Love the embroidered detail and edging on these napkins
What are your favourite estate sale finds?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guilty Secrets

Hi everyone:

I have to confess: I have a guilty secret. This summer I started going to estate sales. Even worse, I've been buying while at them. I know, it's shocking, but it's the sad truth. Some of my quilting dollars are now going to estate sale purchases.
Look at the gorgeous lace on the edge of this luncheon cloth!
It's not like going to a garage sale (although I've never been to one of these, I'm sure they are different from an estate sale). Estate sale items have been appraised and priced to sell and are still in the home that housed them for decades. It's sort of like opening up a time capsule to see what treasures you can find. Of course, one man's treasure is another man's junk - or is it the other way around? In any case, I've found lots of (what I consider) treasures. 
Lace edging detail
I like going from room to room browsing through old china, vintage jewellery and bric a brac. Sometimes the houses themselves are the main attraction, such as the one I visited a few months ago with red shag carpeting in the basement and shag carpet wall murals. I like talking to family members to hear the history of the items I'm interested in, such as the antique quilt that I purchased recently. 
Centre detail of quilt - love the touches of solid red!

A corner detail

Beautiful leaves and look at those prairie points
which are all around the quilt edge
Hand appliquéd and hand quilted, it's still in excellent condition and I love the colours in it. I was glad that I picked it up right away as I could feel envious eyes on me as I made my way through the rest of the house. 
Another view of the leaf border
While I can wear the jewellery and clothes that I purchase, what am I going to do with the vintage linens that I've purchased? 
Vintage wool blend bolero jacket with mink collar

Detail of stitching - quilting motif inspiration
Hankies, table cloths, cloth napkins, doilies, table runners, luncheon cloths, none are left behind. Beautiful and cherished, what am I going to do with them? 

Being a quilter, I love looking at all the designs and colours used in the items and the feel of the various textures. I can imagine how they were originally used, reserved for special occasion dinners or tea with cherished friends. This is the "honeymoon" stage, where we're getting to know one another. Then I start to think of how I can give them new life and make them useful and vibrant again while still respecting their past. 

I'll let you know some of my ideas for these vintage linens in my next post. In the meantime, I'd like to know if you go to estate sales, and if so, what are your favourite finds? If you collect vintage linens, do you use them to create new designs? I'd love to hear your ideas. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Giveaway winner

Hi everyone:

It's Thanksgiving in Canada, so I hope all my Canadian readers are enjoying a wonderful week-end with their friends and family. Before I indulge in too much turkey and chocolate cake (it's my husband's birthday this week-end too!), I'm excited to announce the winner of the Fall issue of Quilter's Connection magazine. 

I hope you had a chance to enter to win this latest issue of Quilter's Connection magazine, featuring my recent pattern, "Fall". 

Now for the winning entry .... 

The winner is Shelly C., who advised that she is working on a quilt for a new granddaughter. After she finishes this quilt, she also has another one to work on for a new grandson. She's definitely going to be busy in the next few weeks!

Congratulations, Shelley, I'll be contacting you for your address so I can send you the magazine.

If you didn't win, you may still be able to find a copy of the latest issue at your local Chapters store. 

Next time I'll be letting you in on one of my guilty secrets - and no, it's not eating chocolate while I quilt (I guess that one is no longer a secret, is it?!). 

Enjoy your week-end!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Giveaway Excitement

Hi everyone:

It's been an exciting fall so far. First, the completion of the basement renodecoration and new studio space - finally! I'm really enjoying my new space and am feeling more inspired. I was in a summer slump, probably due to all the work going on in the house. Now I feel re-energized and have lots of new pattern ideas to work on. 

Speaking of new patterns, have you seen the latest Quilter's Connection magazine? I hope you enjoyed the cover quilt, because it's mine! It's called "Fall" (so original, I know:) and is a combination of fusible web appliqué and hand embroidery: what I call HEAT (hand embroidery appliqué technique). 

I will be publishing more patterns using HEAT as I enjoy the extra detail and texture that hand embroidery gives to my appliqué patterns. 

You'll see two versions of the pattern in the magazine. While I don't usually do two samples of a quilt for magazine submission, I wasn't happy with the way the original quilt photographed, so I quickly whipped up another one and was pleased with how it looked - and it's the one they used for the front cover so I guess my decision was a good one.

First sample of Fall
Second Fall sample made with brighter fabrics
If you have a local Chapters store you should be able to find this issue there. I did when I visited my local store last week - and came away with several quilting magazines, of course. Let me know if you find it at your local store.

If you don't have a Chapters store near you, don't fret! I'm giving away a copy of the magazine to one of my readers. 

To be entered in the giveaway, just leave a comment below telling me what you're currently working on - or would like to be working on :) 

The draw is open from now until 7:00 pm MST on October 11, 2013. Sorry, this draw is only open to Canadian and U.S. residents. 

Good luck to everyone!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Inaugural Craftsy Blogger Awards and Shameless Self-Promotion

Hi everyone:
Welcome to the first (annual) Craftsy Blogger Awards. Craftsy wants to celebrate creative bloggers who have truly inspired us through their original content, vivid imagery and exceptional online personas. That’s why they are presenting the first ever Craftsy Blogger Awards, to honour those individuals who spend so many hours behind the scenes (and the computer) crafting the blogs you love to read! Nominate your favorite blogger, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free online Craftsy class!
Logo for Blogger Awards

How it works

During the nomination phase, we’ll ask you to tell us your favourite blogs in any of these eight categories:
Knitting & Crochet
Cake Decorating
Fine Art
Food & Cooking
But that’s not all. Craftsy is offering three Craftsy Blogger Awards in each of the categories above, to recognize the top blogs in each specialty:
Best Tutorials
Best Photography
Best Craftsy Instructor’s Blog
 How to nominate
From October 1 - 14, you can nominate your favourite blogs in any of the eight categories, such as sewing, knitting or quilting. Choose the most fitting award for each blog, based on what you feel makes it special. Only four blogs from each category will move on to the next round, based upon votes from readers and the Craftsy Judging Panel, comprised of their editorial team and industry experts. Your nomination is important!
On October 15, Craftsy will announce the four nominees in each category and award, and then you’ll have two weeks to vote for your favourite blogs. Again, these winners will be determined by reader votes and the Craftsy Judging Panel.
On October 29, Craftsy will announce one Winner and one Runner-Up for each award and category, for a total of 48 honourees!

Here are the Rules (yup, there are always a few, but these are easy)

You must have a valid email address to nominate or vote. You must use your own email address, and Craftsy will also email you to let you know when the voting round begins.
Nominees must suit the category they are placed in. Please choose the category that best fits the blog (i.e. sewing or quilting, if both are covered). The Best Instructor’s Blog Award is open to Craftsy instructors only, and it is also the only award that will be determined 100% by your votes!
What can YOU receive for nominating a blog?
When you nominate your favourite blogger you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free online Craftsy class!
What will Craftsy Blogger Awards winners receive? Each Craftsy Blogger Awards winner will receive:
  • 1 free Craftsy class of their choice!
  • A Craftsy Blogger Awards Winner badge to wear proudly on their blog!
  • Winners may also be featured on the Craftsy blog and/or newsletter, providing great exposure for their brand.
If you'd like to nominate me for one of these categories (I'm thinking that would be quilting), you can do so by clicking on the following badge or on the one located in my sidebar. I'd be so grateful :) My blog URL is, in case you would care to nominate me.
Blogger Awards "Nominate Me" Badge
Remember, nominations start now and end on October 14, 2013, so click here to get started!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Renodecorating the Quilt Studio - Organization Tips Part 2

Hi everyone:

In a previous blogpost I told you about the new fabric and die storage areas in the newly renodecorated studio. I promised I'd tell you what I was doing with the Alex drawer unit that I purchased from Ikea
Alex drawer unit
Photo courtesy of
I added wheels to the Alex drawer storage unit so I can move it around if I want. It has several drawers and holds more than I would've thought possible, probably due to the length of the drawers - an awesome 21 inches! As you can see, the top two drawers are narrower than the bottom three, but that's okay, because I keep my cutting tools in the top drawer and smaller thread cones in the second drawer. 
Cutting tools and tape measures in the top drawer
Small thread spools in drawer #2
Can you guess what I store in the remaining three drawers? No, it's not chocolate, although that would be the perfect place for it as the Alex is next to my computer area, but they actually hold more thread. 
Thread in another drawer in Alex
I put rubber drawer liner in each drawer to keep things from sliding around. I find it helps to keep the spools standing upright.

My thread organization tip: organize your thread by type, rather than by colour so you can find the particular type of thread and then see what colours you have in it - and which ones you'll need to buy the next time you're at the quilt shop.

As I added more furniture pieces to the studio, I found that the cutting station was becoming a bit of a problem. It was too big! I really liked the size, but it was really bigger than I needed, so I decided to cut it back by a third. It's still big enough for a large cutting mat and that's really all I need. There are still cup hooks on either end of the cutting station to hang rulers and adequate storage on both sides. 
Smaller cutting station, but still large enough for me
I now have two sewing areas set up:  - one for piecing and one for free-motion quilting. Now when I want to piece for awhile and then do some quilting, I don't have to spend time setting up the machine for another technique. I like that!
Large Sylvia quilting table set up for free-motion quilting
To save time and keep me better organized, I keep duplicate items at each station: snips, used needle holder (pill bottle), garbage pails. This saves me from rummaging around for notions when I want to get to work. The appropriate bobbins and attachments are stored with that machine. 
My Bernina (hiding behind the cover) is
ready for piecing whenever I am
Another tip for smaller studios is to have large furniture on wheels. This makes it easy to rearrange these pieces and even move them right out of the studio area if I need the floor space to pin a quilt. I can set up folding tables for quilting buddies or even use the space for other projects or teen sleepovers.

That's the new studio space. How do you organize your space? Email me your best organization tips for quilting and sewing.