Friday, July 01, 2016

Let Freedom Ring - Fabric Frenzy Friday!


Well, hello quilty friends!

It is Friday, which means that it is time for another Fabric Frenzy Friday over at Fort Worth Fabric Studio!  I was so honored and thrilled recently to be asked if I would like to be a contributor for these fun fabric bundle Fridays.  Of course, I said I would LOVE to!!

This Friday's bundle is called Let Freedom Ring and it is a perfect combination of fabrics for creating something patriotic for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and all those other days when we love to celebrate our nation!

I especially loved this bundle because it not only has seven fun fat quarters, but also comes with this US map panel.  I love this!  When I saw the panel my mind started dreaming up possibilities.


I decided to make a patriotic quilt that you can hang or use as table topper for the holiday.



The neat thing about this quilt is that I decided to use the US map panel as the backing for the quilt!  Some of you may know that my full time job is home school mom.  I thought it would be really fun if  when this quilt is not being used as a patriotic decoration, it could be used as a learning tool.  Even moms who don"t home school could really enjoy using this map with their preschoolers or as a wall decoration in a playroom.  You could even use it for some learning games!  Get a few beanbags and have the kids toss the beanbag and name the capital of the state it lands on.



There are so many fun ways you could use these fat quarters for a quilt!  I chose to use a pattern that is available from Fort Worth Fabric Studio.  The pattern is called Silver Star by Villa Rosa Designs.  I love these little patterns.  I happened upon these Rose Cards patterns at a quilt show and have made several of their designs.  They are super fun because they only cost $2 and the entire pattern is contained on the back of the postcard - photo on front and fabric requirements/pattern on back.  Such a clever idea!

So before I give a little more information about how I put the quilt together, I'll give you the list of the fabrics I used.

Fabrics Used (all from Fort Worth Fabric Studio):

* 1 Let Freedom Ring Bundle (includes the US map panel) - this is used for the star, the top and bottom borders, part of the backing, and scrappy binding
*1/2 yard Riley Blake Swiss Dots Red - star background
*1/2 yard Celebration Red Stars by Northcott - part of the backing


From the bundle I chose the two red prints, the dark blue print, and the red, white and blue stripe for the star points.  I cut my squares to use for these half square triangles (HSTs) a little bigger than the pattern calls for.  When the amount of fabric allows, I prefer to oversize my HSTs and trim them down a bit.  


I also cut 2 rectangles for the two borders from each of the prints I used for the star - one rectangle per border.  The other 8 rectangles for the borders I cut from the really fun firework print.
 

The pattern calls 3/8 yard for the border.  Instead I used the red and white stripe fat quarter from the bundle to cut the border strips.  While you can't cut 4 complete strips for the border, the one fat quarter is more than enough to create pieced strips for the border.  I even added a little extra interest by cutting some squares from the dark blue print to use as corner posts on the border.

For the backing I used the US map panel as the focus.  Because it is not quite large enough for the entire backing, I added some additional fabric all the way around it.  I cut the 1/2 yard of the Celebration Red Stars into two long strips and added them to the top and bottom of the map panel.  I also cut the red and blue star fat quarter into strips, pieced them together, and added them to the left and right sides of the panel.  After quilting and trimming the quilt, there won't be much of the star print visible, but it came in handy to extend the backing.


Then it's time to layer, quilt and bind!  I had a lot of fun free motion quilting an all-over design of swirls and rounded point stars.  You will have plenty of fabrics left over to create a fun scrappy binding for this patriotic quilt (I love scrappy bindings!!)



Thanks for stopping by the blog today.  I had a lot of fun creating this quilt for Fort Worth Fabric Studio and sharing it with you!  Go on over and visit their website for this super cute bundle, the pattern, and the few extra fabrics you'll need for this fun quilt.  It's so quick and easy.  I know you can get it done to hang for the next patriotic holiday!!  

Blessings,
Celeste





Monday, June 27, 2016

Charming Checkers at Moda Bake Shop



 I am feeling so excited and blessed today! 
Come visit me over at Moda Bake Shop to day for my very first post there!

It is a fun pattern for a pillow or a mini called Charming Checkers!
I hope you enjoy it!!

 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Yes, I have a scrap system!

Once upon a time I had a drawer.  That drawer was very large.  That drawer was full to overflowing with scraps of fabric. 

My system?  I cut.  I opened said drawer.  I tossed.  And I shoved it closed as best I could.

It was quite an impressive collection of scraps to pull from.  But there was the problem.  I never "pulled from".  Ever.  It was such a tangled, fraying heap.  Awful.

Then the amazing Lori Holt, of Bee In My Bonnet fame, created a whole blog post on how she cuts and organizes all her scraps.  It was the first time I had been introduced to such awesome scrap storage.  These were scraps I could really see myself reaching for and using over and over again!  To learn from the scrap master (and see some super cute quilty pics), GO READ the original blog post!  Go.  Now.

Way back when, I took all those scraps out of the awful drawer and I began to organize!  Following Lori's lead I began to iron and sort and cut.  It took a while, but I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the results.

I used Lori's helpful information in her post and then I customized it to what I felt I would really use.  I decided on the sizes I would keep and then I also decided I wanted to sort mine by color.

When I save scraps now, I save the following:

* 3.5" squares
* 2.5" squares
* 2.5" strips
* 1.5" strips
* in a glass dish all their own, assorted 1.5" squares

 When I began working on the drawer several years ago, I first sorted every usable scrap into color bins.  Then began the task of choosing a bin, ironing, sorting and cutting.

The blue bin is the before.  The pink bin is the after.


I bought six neat bins I found at Target and I chose to sort them into the following colors based on those fabric colors I own the most of and buy/use over and over again!

My six bins are:

* reds
* pinks
* blues/aquas
* greens
* oranges/yellows/purples
* whites/multi/blacks/grays/browns

These were the finished buckets.


Recently, I had a large green bin full of all my wonderful scraps that I used while making all my Farm Girl Vintage blocks in the sew along.  It, too, was a little out of control.  A big raveling, tangled mess.  Very unusable.

Yes.  That's it.


So I spent many evenings ironing and sorting by size.
 

 Once I was finished ironing and sorting, I turned on some Gilmore Girls, and started cutting!  It really was a lot of fun because as you cut and organize you get to look at all these fun fabrics you love!!
 

When I was all done cutting, I sorted them by size and color!!
So pretty!!


 And then I added them to my awesome buckets of goodness and I was done!!!!
 

Normally I don't let scraps get so out of control.  It is way easier, and not a chore at all, to cut as I go.


When I am cutting fabrics for a project, I cut up the left overs that I don't want to add back to my stash on the shelf.  I cut them into one of my useful sizes and then I file them away.

It's that easy!

Plus, I always end up feeling like I am being a good steward of all this beautiful fabric I am blessed to own.

Have fun creating your own scrappy saving system!!

Thanks Lori!

PS - Next on the agenda.........

My very, VERY out of control Bonnie and Camille scrap bins!  Oh my!



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Scrap Jar Balls

Tell me, quilty friends.  Who doesn't love a project that uses up those scraps and trimmings we have laying around?  Recently, my daughter Nicole and I made these really cute Scrap Jar Balls.  I was looking for something cute and affordable to fill this fun lime green metal basket from Hobby Lobby.  This basket sits on out kitchen table and gets moved at least three times daily, so I wanted something that would also stand up to being dropped and dumped and wouldn't be hard to replace.  Fake fruit looked fake and I knew it would chip as it got dropped. 


Then I came up with this super easy idea.  They were fun and quick to make.  You can use trimmings and scraps and can even cut some strips from other larger scraps.  You can make each ball from all one fabric or combine different fabrics of the same color to make them extra scrappy!  I did a little bit of both.  So grab your scraps and let's get busy!


Supplies Needed:

Styrofoam balls from your local craft store ( I used 3" diameter)
Fabric scraps in a variety of colors
Small silver straight pins with a flat head


The best size strip for wrapping around the balls is about 3/8".  If the strips are much wider, they don't lay as flat, but if they are too thin, then they might break as you tie knots.  If you want to cut some strips from larger scraps of fabric, just cut strips about 3/8" wide.


Next, you will want to tie together all the strips you will be using for one ball.  Tie a good, strong double knot and trim the tails short.  You will need a total of about 13 to 14 feet of scrap strips to cover the ball well with no gaps.



You will need two small straight pins for each ball.  I have some of these small, thin silver straight pins.  They have a flat head so they will lay flat and be less noticeable.


Insert one end of your long fabric strip into the Styrofoam ball using one straight pin.  (Please ignore my totally awful cutting mat.) 


Now begin wrapping!!

Wrap in circles fanning out around the ball, trying to keep the fabric strips right side up and not leaving any gaps.  Every once in a while you will come upon one of your knots.  Just work over it and keep going.  (These are my sweet girl's pretty hands.)


Wrap all the way around the ball, covering it completely and adjusting for any gaps showing through.  If you didn't cut quite enough, you can always add on a little more.

At the end, use your other flat head straight pin to affix the end of the scrappy strip to the ball.


You did it!!  You are done!!!!
Now wasn't that easy and fun.

 Here's a pretty blue one!

Friday, March 25, 2016

My FREE binding tutorial is up and ready!

Finally!

I have had this binding tutorial halfway completed for quite a while.  And now it's done!

I am sure there are other methods for machine binding a quilt.  This is my method of machine binding that I have pieced together over the 15 years I've been quilting.  I do not bind by hand.  I wouldn't have any finished quilts if that were the only way to do it!

I hope this binding tutorial is a help to any of you that may want to give it a try.

I don't claim to be an expert, but I have bound MANY quilts this way (MANY) over and over and over again!

Enjoy!
Blessings,
Celeste

You can download the PDF file by clicking on the 'Binding Tutorial' tab at the top of the page under the header.

Or click here: Celeste's Illustrated Machine Binding Tutorial

Remember.  This is free to all, but please do respect my labor of love by not reselling.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Celeste's Personal Quilt Along

Every once in a while I have a really great idea!  Really!

Now I know this doesn't look like much, but let me explain......introducing (drum roll) Celeste's Personal Quilt Along!


I am sure we can all think of times we've learned something about ourselves and the way we operate best.  Sometimes these revelations can be life changing and sometimes they just help you get your quilts finished!

Recently I have discovered things I love about being a quilter and things I don't.  After a very exhausting season of swaps last year I felt exhausted.  I wrote and posted in my sewing room a little list of things I love to do, things I sort of like to do occaiosionally and those things I better think really hard about saying yes to.  

What I already knew is that I love making quilts most of all (surprise!) - not bags, clothes, etc.  Then I realized how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE quilt alongs/sew alongs.  They are so much fun to me and I feel like I can manage the sizable weekly or monthly chunks they come in.

So my revelation was, "What if I did this with all my WIPs (Works In Progress) that already had cut out and ready to go?"  So I decided to make the list above and have my very own personal quilt along.  Each day is dedicated to a block or two of a current quilt along online (like the Bloom Sew Along) and any quilts that I have cut and waiting to be finished!  

And so far?  After a week?  I am loving this method!  Even if a day goes by where that block doesn't get done, I can just pick up where I left off the next week.  

Really all this is a method of organized madness for making all these beautiful quilts instead of keeping them in drawers!

Maybe you too could host your own personal quilt along!  Join me!

A few progress shots.....

#daisiesthursday

#swoonfriday

#simplestarmonday

#toneitdowntuesday

#greatgrannysquaredwednesday

Bloom Sew Along Progress

I have been having such a wonderful time participating in the Bloom Sew Along from Lori Holt and Riley Blake.  Every week we have been making an applique block using Lori's super adorable Sew Simple Shapes!  It has been a real learning and growing experience for me!  I used to only do applique with raw edge shapes and I HAD to use Steam A Seam to hold it down.  And this I didn't do very often!

Using Lori's Sew Simple Shapes and the amazing tutorials on her blog, I have learned to love applique!

I have been using the wonderful Calico Days fabric by Lori Holt for Riley Blake Designs.  It has some of the most adorable little prints and the colors are so bright and happy - right up my alley!

You can get the free pattern over at the Riley Blake blog and then follow along on Lori's blog every Monday for her block tutorials!

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Weeks Five and Six

Week Seven

Week Eight

Week Nine


At the end of every four weeks, you will have enough blocks with borders to create a row.  I have been sewing my rows together after each fourth block!  I love how it makes the quilt feel so much closer to being finished!

 

Hurry up!  It's not too late to grab your shapes and some adorable scrappy happy fabric and join in the fun!!
Have a super happy quilty day!
Celeste

Friday, June 21, 2013

Plain Vanilla

Every year my sweet nieces sell magazine subscriptions as a fundraiser for their Christian school.  This year I decided I ought to subscribe to Martha Stewart Living again.  It has been so very long.  Needless to say, I have a whole stack of unread magazines.  Yes, they are lovely, but after a few issues I realized how far Martha's path and mine had diverged.  Were they ever really even close?

I find myself thinking how hard it must be to work at the Martha Stewart Magazine company.  I mean, really, these people have to work to keep digging up new stuff for these articles.  Sometimes I am not sure where they find it all!

I do not forsee myself baking tarts for Bastille Day, inspecting my beehives, or placing straw under my pumpkins (?). 

Anyway, I digress.

The true purpose of this article is really about ice cream.  Yes, ice cream.

Now, first, let me warn you we are ICE CREAM PEOPLE.  You would fall over backward if you really knew the amount of Blue Bell flavors we have at this or any given moment.  In fact, we really only keep the important stuff like ice and ice cream in the kitchen freezer.  The other less important items like beef, chicken and frozen veggies get to hang out in the freezer in the laundry room.  Priorities.

This evening I was rather pleased to see there was an article in the latest issue of Living about ice cream.  Perfect summer time article.  Ice cream.  Actually, perfect anytime article.  Anyway, I flipped to the article, read a few photo captions, and seriously, burst ought laughing.  I guess I have been a Blue Bell fan for far too long (nah).  I know I am prejudiced and I am very OK with that.  But, even so, I am just not sure my delicate palette can handle the flavors the article was suggesting I should make for our summertime enjoyment.

I am not sure which I will try first: Avocado Cilantro Sherbet or..... Sweet Corn and Basil Ice Cream.  You?

How about some Cucumber, Celery, and Gin Sorbet?

Oh, wait.  I know.  I think I am going for the Strawberry Aperol Sorbet.  What's an Aperol?

The Cantaloupe, Tarragon, and Vodka Sherbet might be a hit with the kids.

And who really puts roses and lavendar in ice cream? If you want to dress things up you can always just add Hershey's Chocolate Syrup!

I think I will remain a die hard Blue Bell fan.  I feel like I can trust them.  Count on them in my need.

How about some Homemade Vanilla?

PS - Next time I order magazines, remind me to stick with quilting ones.
PPS or PSS (whichever) - If you are surprised that I could write this extensively about ice cream, just remember my freezer!

Quilting Advancements

I am so excited about this quilt!  First of all, it was really fun to play with another one of Bonnie and Camille's fabric lines, Happy-Go-Lucky.  Such a precious bunch of fabrics.  I love everything they create!
It was also a lot of fun to make all these half square triangle and then come up with a design.  I really love how it turned out.
Once I got the quilt top finished, it was screaming, "Quilt me differently!"  Every time I looked at it, I kept feeling like it needed something different than one of my usual all over quilting designs.  It seemed like it might be a good time to try something new, especially since I have a block of the month quilt which will definitely need some special quilting!
I have had this book for a while and have used it to try some designs every once in a while.  It is a great book!

Then I bought the Kindle version of the following book after thumbing through it at a bookstore and liking what I saw!

Both books were super helpful in helping me think about the design for this quit and then put it into action.  It felt weird to quilt it all at a much slower speed.  I was able to adjust my speed higher after a bit, but never wanted to go too fast and lose control.

In hindsight, I wish I had flipped the designs on the patterned fabric to the white areas and vice versa.

Quilting this was such a huge learning experience for me and did a lot to build my confidence in working with other free hand designs.  What fun!

So here is the finished quilt before washing.  Yes, I am washing it as usual.  To me a quilt that is going to be used isn't a quilt until it is washed and dried and soft and snuggly!  I am interested to see how it looks post wash and dry.
 Here are a couple of up close front photos.  In the center white square is a fun flower.  Love this part!  In each of the patterned triangles I quilted a loopy flower looking fan thing (technical name, yes).  In white areas I did double circles.






Honestly, my favorite part of the quilt is the back!  I love how well it shows off the quilting design.  Stunning.  Makes me want to do a solid color quilt just to play with quilting motifs!

I am so excited about doing this and learning all I did!  Can't wait to get it out of the dryer!


Thanks for bearing with all my quilty gushing!