Thursday, July 17, 2014

sewing class

Last week, I taught a kids sewing class. Sponsored by the fabric store I work at (Country Fabrics in Garnett KS) and the Anderson County Extension office, and with help from three ladies from the Pieces & Patches guild, we held two afternoon classes.  The fabric store gave the kids a discount on their supplies, and the extension office loaned us the room, a machine, and supplied me with folders for the students.

We didn't charge a fee, partly because with 4 kids, I take advantage of any free activities I can for my family! And never having done this before, I was reluctant to charge in case it was a disaster. Thankfully, it was not! We had a great bunch of kids.

Wednesday's class

The class project was pillowcases. I used the free tutorial for the burrito method at - they have a boy and a girl version.  This only requires sewing three seams, so it was simple enough to ensure we could get it done in our 3 hour time window. I had them purchase extra fabric - 1 yard of the main and 1/2 yard of the contrast band. I'd rather them have too much than not enough, and I had a plan for the extra fabric.

We started out with a walk through of the sewing machine. I drew a diagram on the board and gave them each a handout to follow along with. Because we were using several varieties of sewing machines, not all of the parts were the same, like where the presser foot lifter was located, or if there was a button or a lever for reverse stitching. So we took a few minutes to find where things were on each machine.

During this part of the class, Terrie & Carolyn (Terrie & Ruth the 2nd day) were rotary cutting each child's fabric to size. I wasn't going to hand over rotary cutters to kids! And cutting with scissors would have been inaccurate and time consuming. I debated with myself about this step, but figured if they were sewing at home, their mom or dad would likely help them with this anyways.

Then we did a bit of hand sewing. Before the class, I took some thin styrofoam plates, and marked a star on them. I used a tapestry needle to pre-punch holes along the star. Then I gave them each a plate and a needle with embroidery floss and let them practice the running stitch. The plates were easier to hold than fabric and a hoop would have been.

Each class had room for 12. We ended up with 10 in one day and 9 in the next. I think if I did this again, I would either ensure I had another helper or I would cut the class size back to 8. It would have been nice to spend a little more time with each child.

We made our pillowcases. The kids did really well! There were a couple of snafus - one had trouble keeping to the 1/2 inch seam allowance and veered off to 1 1/2"! So we did some unsewing. :) I loved everyone's fabric combinations. One girl had a mix of Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler - swoon! Another used a Riley Blake ombre for her band, so fun!

Thursday's class

I brought out some heat & bond lite, and we cut out appliques from the extra fabric. I had made some templates for basic shapes. The kids loved this part, and got very creative with their ideas! Monograms and butterflies and lightning bolts. One boy even did a battleship! A few did some hand stitching to sew their appliques down, while others did it on the machine.

It was a lot of fun, and I can't wait to do it again. I already got a text from one of the kids in the class who went home and made a dish soap apron for her mom! I also found out they are doing a special entry at the Anderson County Fair for these pillowcases. I love our small community, they really do a lot to encourage our kids. Have you ever taught someone to sew? Any good tips or tricks to share with the class?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

cool quilters

I mentioned I haven't been to any guild meetings lately. Every month there's been something going on with the kids - and that's ok. They are my full time job after all :) But I did get to meet some awesome quilters anyways!

This month we were having Vanessa Christenson of V & Co. at KCMQG and I arranged a sitter and was so excited to go listen to her speak and see her quilts. I saw her booth at market last fall, and love her fabrics and designs. Then the night before the meeting, my husband reminded me about the town fair. Whoops! I spaced off the fair?! It's one of my favorite things about living here!

Luckily I was signed up for her workshop on Friday, so I did get to meet her and work on a fun project (I'll share mine soon, it's almost done!)

I had to leave class a little early so I could get back to watch the kids race their turtles at the fair. But I did get this photo with her before I left!

Yesterday I drove to Lawrence to listen to Victoria Findlay Wolfe at the Kaw Valley Quilt Guild. It was my first visit to their guild, but I plan to go back. It was a very inspiring talk, with gorgeous colorful quilts. She's the author/blogger behind 15 Minutes of Play.

Her idea is that if you just spend 15 minutes playing with your fabrics every day, you keep your brain focused on the creative process.

She makes her own fabrics by cutting up and stitching together lots of scraps, and then using them in other blocks. The end result is amazing. I would have loved to take her workshop, but it was full. She will be at QuiltCon next spring though! Take a look at her book and blog. She has lots of challenges to get you inspired and creating!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

summer ball

wow! It's already the middle of July! How's everyone's summer going? Mine has been more about family than crafting, so bear with me a minute...

We wrapped up a long season of kids ball and I'm sad to see it end. The kids have amazed me with their improvement and skill this season.

Kansas Rage

Alex played on two teams, a rec league and a 9U tournament team.

Greeley Grey

He's worked his butt off, practicing every day, and for a little guy can throw the ball crazy hard and far. As one of the youngest on the tourney team he spent some time on the bench, but moved up to 2nd batter with his consistent hitting. He's done a great job as catcher on his rec team. He even pitched a game the other night! Not bad for my 8 year old!

Emma was in her 2nd year of 10U softball. She spent time at both short stop and 3rd. Next year she's hoping to pitch a little. They took 1st at their tournament! It was super hot, I spent the day circling a tree to stay in the shade :) Those girls did it without complaining and with smiles on their faces. So much fun to watch!

Zach was in his first year of coach pitch, and he's gone from twirling in the dirt to hitting the ball and made two awesome catches at 3rd base. He learned to slide too, and of course now he does it even when he doesn't need to!

Like I said, I am super proud of them. I've never considered myself athletic - but I think that I was just a lazy kid who would rather read than sweat, lol. But watching them makes me wish I had played more sports. If you're a parent, please encourage your kids to give it a try. There was a girl on Emma's team who had never played before, but she worked hard at practice and never got discouraged or embarrassed. She ended up with 3 RBIs in that tournament!

Troy coaching Emma at 3rd
So, I guess now I will head back into my sewing nook. It's been a little neglected this summer! My husband helped coach all four teams, so it will be nice to have him around the house again :) Next year - 4 kids playing (Sawyer will start t-ball), 4+ teams - not sure how we'll make it work but it'll be a lot of fun!

Monday, July 14, 2014

luke and tula (and me!)

I have so much catching up to do here! School will start soon and, I hope, so will a regular schedule of blogging! Don't forget you can always check out my posts over at the Kansas City Star modern quilts blog, My Stars.  (From now on I think I will call it the KCSQ My Stars for short - that's a lot to type out!) I post over there every other Friday!

It's been such a crazy awesome summer! Even though I haven't spent much time in my sewing nook, I have had the chance to meet some fabulous quilters. A month ago, I went with Denise and Jan from KCMQG to St. Joseph MO for the Luke Haynes/Tula Pink exhibit Pattern : Repeat.

We went for the artist's reception, and that meant we got to hang out with Luke and Tula and their fabulous quilts!

Even better, she invited us to her house afterwards for pizza and beer. She recently moved into a renovated barn, and it was amazing. Such a fantastic quirky place. I didn't take pictures, as she had some of her next fabric line on display (eep!) and asked us not to. But here's an instagram shot of the cool table she painted! You can't see me in it but that's my beer, haha!

I got to visit with Carl Hentsch, who has a new book coming out soon with KCSQ. He's also teaching a class at Harper's this weekend. And I met David of Quilting by David and Jill of the Quilt Mistress. It was so cool being around a bunch of quilters. I haven't made it to any guild meetings all year, and miss the company!

I have lots more to share but the kids are restless. I'll try to post again later! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

preserving by the pint

I've been watching the garden seeds grow into little plants, it's very gratifying.

boston pickling cucumbers

The peas are slowly getting taller, and there are tiny peppers swelling on the plants. The lettuce the kids helped to plant is poking through and needs to be thinned!

lettuce sprouts
The corn is getting taller and the potatoes are flowering.

The idea that I'll be able to can some yummies from our garden fills me with excitement.

Maybe I'm alone in this, but in our family of six, I'm the only one who likes green bell peppers (or peppers of any kind, really) peas, green beans, the list goes on and includes pretty much all garden produce except corn on the cob and cantaloupe. So it makes no sense for me to can a gazillion jars of something like pepper & onion relish, because there's no way I can eat it all myself. Even with giving jars as gifts and taking some to potlucks, I still have leftovers. And after doing all that work, I really hate to waste any of it!

image found at

So when I saw this book, Preserving by the Pint, at the library the other day, I snatched it up and read it cover to cover. The author, Marisa McClellan, is the blogger behind food in jars, one of my favorite canning sites.  It's full of recipes that make use of small quantities of produce. Most recipes make 2 or 3 half pints, and that's ok with me!

I couldn't wait to try the honey-sweetened strawberry jam. Doesn't that sound amazing?!Well, it's every bit as good as you'd think. I like making jellies and jams but the amount of sugar in them is a little crazy, am I right? This one uses honey instead, and that gives it a richness that is super yummy. Delicious on biscuits! I also want to try it as a glaze for chicken, and throw that into a salad.

There's lots of jams, pickles, and sauces to try. I can't wait to make the Sweet Pear Caramel and the Spicy Apple Cider & Mustard Glaze. Even though I got this book at the library, I bought the kindle version to use in my kitchen all summer long!

So if you are anticipating summer produce like me, do yourself a favor and get your hands on this book.

If you purchase through my link, I receive a tiny percentage, so thanks! here's the link for the kindle version:

update - I've now tried 4 recipes from this book and they were all amazing! :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014


so, remember last year about this time, when we got a new kitten? fast forward a year, and Snowball (or Smudge or whatever the kids have changed her name to now) had her own litter of kittens!

I knew she was getting close, but was not expecting to come home from baseball practice one evening to a skinny cat. Yes, she had them, we still don't know where. I tried following her but never could find her hidey hole. She would disappear into the thick tangle of brush, trees, poison ivy and old metal behind our chicken coop. My husband and I both tromped through it more than once, trying to figure out where she was. Then we just gave up and waited.

Then about 2 weeks later, I noticed she'd been hanging around the garage for the last couple of days. I told Troy I was afraid she didn't have babies anymore :( Well she did, and she had moved them into the attic above our mudroom. Troy heard them and climbed up there, brought them down.

Only, two of them had fallen into the wall between the mudroom and kitchen. So we had no choice but to cut holes in the back of our cabinets and wall to rescue them! The mama then tried to move them back up there, so we got them down again and quarantined them in the mudroom. She has now settled down and seems very happy to be a mama. She purrs so loudly when she's with them. They are starting to explore a bit, and are super sweet. I am so glad she was ok, and that they are all healthy. 6 kittens, I still can't believe it!

My daughter is determined we are keeping them all (NOT going to happen) but I have already found homes for a couple, when the time comes. Two of them look like their daddy, Brownie - that's him above, 3 are orangey, and there is one little gray one. I'll be sharing them on instagram, so follow me for daily kitten pics!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

teacher appreciation

It's that time of year, where I scramble around, trying to figure out something cute and practical to give all of the kids' teachers. I know several teachers and they all say gift cards are best! Since we're an hour from the closest Starbucks, Target, etc, I wanted to give something they could use without making a special trip. I decided on Sonic gift cards and made this tag:

And if you want to take it a step further, you can laminate them to make a coaster! Wish I'd thought of it myself, Alex's teacher mentioned it! 

You could set up a basket of cute notepads and clip this tag to it -

And one more that you could use for anyone. Bus drivers, friends - everyone loves happy hour! You could add this tag to a good bottle of wine or whiskey for a grown up gift.

Feel free to use any of the tags for your own gifts. You can see other ideas on my pinterest board! I'd love it if you followed me on facebook, instagram, pinterest, etc...Now, only a week of school left! Hooray for summer!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summertime Sewing!

I am very excited for this summer! I'm planning a few afternoon workshops locally, so if you're in the Garnett/Greeley area, let me know! These will be for kids grades 3-6, boys and girls. I'll have some machines available, but if you have your own you're encouraged to bring it along. I'm working out the final details and dates, but will update as soon as it's finalized! :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

100 Blocks, vol. 9

The issue is out, so I can finally share a few of the test blocks I did for this round!

There's a blog tour going on right now, with chances to win a copy of the issue, so be sure to check those out at the Quiltmaker blog.

There were so many fun blocks this time! I adore this one, Dashing Geese #883. I can see me making a whole quilt with just this block.

This one is Star Gazing #852. I have been trying to use similar fabrics for some of the more classic blocks, thinking I could turn them into a sampler.

This block is Pinwheel Polka #866. I chose fabrics based around the brown & the green Happy Camper florals from Moda.

The real challenge will be making them all work together in one top. We'll see if I can swing it! I definitely need to bring in more gold. (One of these blocks is from a previous issue, the center left, and inspired the fabrics for the others.) This is an ongoing project, and will feature blocks from each issue I test on, so it will be a cool memory quilt for me as well. Other blocks are American Crossroads #838, top left. Camelia's Garden #864, top right.

Here are a couple more of the blocks I tested:

Sweet 'n Corny #837 (this would have been good for my sampler but I used cream for the background - doh!

Surfin' #815 - this one is adorable. I didn't trim my block up yet, I'm going to frame it out and make a pillow for our youngest's room.

And Abby's Star - I made this one in colors of my daughter's room. This will become a pillow too.

That's all for now. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I finished up a few projects that were weighing on me. First, I made a pillow for the school's auction. I won't be able to help out at the actual event, but I thought I could still contribute something.

I started with Jeni's Modern Plus Pillow tutorial. I wanted to try putting a zipper in a pillow, so I made the back from a single piece of fabric.

I quilted both the front and back with grids of somewhat straight lines.

I'm happy with it. I wish I could have found a shorter zipper for the bottom, I think it'd look better with a 14" but I used what I had on hand. Yay me! Shop that stash!

Another was a quilt block for my MIL's church.When she asked me to make her block for her, I said yes without asking for details. It turned out to be an embroidered block, and since I don't do much of that, I was nervous. It turned out nice (I forgot to take a picture!) and I finished it before the due date, which doesn't happen often. 

I also tackled painting out stairway. Ugh. My body is sore but it looks much better. It's nice to knock projects off my list.

Some of you already know this, but I'm going to be blogging for the My Stars blog every other Friday! My first post went up last week. I'll be covering a variety of topics, but if there's something you want to hear more about, let me know. 

Go follow us on facebook so you never miss a post, then enter to win at this post. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Around the Block tutorial

Welcome to my turn on the Around the Block Round Robin. If you're new here, thanks for stopping by. I'm Tammie, and I am so happy to be sharing a block tutorial with you all! Anytime is a good time to join in on this quilt along. Just make the block of the week, and submit it to the flickr group for a chance to win that week's sponsored prize. This week, Andover fabrics is giving away a fat quarter pack!

Here's what we're making today. A trio of pinwheels surrounded by sweet squares. Spins & Squares!

And because if one is cute, two is cuter, I made a second version out of solids. I reversed the colors in the pinwheel so you can decide which way you like best. So let's get started!

You'll need:
six 3" squares - white
six 3" squares - purple
fourteen 2.5" squares - assorted
two 2.5" x 4.5" - white
two 2.5" x 6.5" - white

Start by laying out your block. Decide on your fabric placement. Then begin making half square triangles. Pair up one white and one purple 3" square. Use your favorite method, I have a tutorial here. You can finger press the white one in half along the diagonal and then stitch 1/4" from the fold line. Sometimes I draw a line instead of pressing.

Cut them apart and trim them to 2 1/2" squares. I recently bought a Quilt in a Day triangle square up ruler, and I love it for trimming. As you can see, you aren't trimming off much.

Snip off the tips before you press them open.

Once you have your HSTs trimmed & pressed, decide which way you want them to spin. I think I prefer the white to be on the bottom of the half square triangle, instead of on top like in these pictures. But you can decide for yourself.

Sew them together in pairs. Then sew two pairs together for your pinwheel. I open out the center seam when I press, it seems to give me the flattest block. Now you have a pinwheel! Repeat two more times.

Next, start piecing together your squares. This block is put together in three columns, as shown below. (don't be intimidated by my artistic skills, lol!) The arrows show the direction for pressing most of the seams, to allow them to nest neatly together.

For the first column, piece three of the 2.5" squares together. Then attach a white 2.5" x 6.5" strip to it.  Repeat. This unit gets stitched in between a pinwheel block and a set of two 2.5" blocks(sewn together).

For the middle, it's two of the 2.5" squares stitched together, with a white 2.5" x 4.5" strip sewn to it. Repeat. Then place one unit on the top and bottom of a pinwheel block.

The third column is the same as the first, only upside down.

In no time at all, you have a sweet 12.5" block of your own. Go on, go make one! Be sure to post pictures in the flickr group for a chance to win some goodies! Thanks so much to Becky for letting me be a part of the Around the Block Round Robin.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

spring has sprung

hi all! I thought I'd pop in and say a quick hello before I dive into a massive to-do list. the grass is turning green and the birds are singing, it's hard to make time to stay indoors and get things done! Here's what I'm working on this week:

Finishing a 14" x 14" quilted pillow for the school auction.

A test block for the next issue of 100 Blocks. We had a short break after finishing the last issue, and it's time to go again!

I started a quilt for my cousin Katie - who is due, like, really soon. I have my blocks almost finished, and today some fabric I got on #thegreatfabricdestash came for the back. I am excited about how this one is coming along! It's the Kisses quilt from the Modern Applique Workbook.

KC Scrappy Bee blocks - gosh I am so behind! I have Lesley's bookshelf block to do, Nikki's blocks (above) to deliver or mail. I missed this March's meeting because Zach was sick, so I didn't get my kit yet, I don't even know whose turn it is!

Around the Block Quilt Along - I am behind there too. This is my week though, so you'll get to see my block on Wednesday.

The baby chicks are getting their feathers in! Gwen and Evie, the barred rocks, are a lot tamer than Charlotte and Esther, the silver laced wyandottes. Those two are super skittish and tend to freak whenever they are disturbed. I need to make a few changes to the run before they are introduced to the flock.

The garden is tilled but I still need to get my onions & strawberries in the ground. No potatoes this year.

Oy. On the bright side, I have knocked some things OFF my list, like shopping for baseball gear with my 8 year old. He had to get his first cup, lol. Soccer practices and games for all four of our kids. Preparing for AJ's First Communion. Troy is working an outage, which means 5 days of 12 hour shifts on, one day off. Ugh. I'm still working at the quilt shop on Fridays, and I even made it to my local Pieces & Patches guild meeting this month! Thank goodness for free babysitters like my mom and sis-in-law!

I took a workshop at guild with Donna Lynn Thomas, which was fun. We worked on her Shimmering Leaves block, and her technique has got my mind whirling with ideas to use it in other projects!

She stresses accuracy, and gives lots of advice on achieving it.

I have a few other things in the works, like a summer sewing workshop for kids! But that deserves it's very own post and as I said, I have a lot to do right now. I better get to it, but be sure to stop back in tomorrow for my block tutorial!

happy sewing!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...