Tuesday, May 5, 2015

April, in a nutshell

April kind of flew by, didn't it? All four kids were playing rec soccer. I love to watch their games. When they're little, it's just funny. There's always someone doing cartwheels on the field, or kicking the ball the wrong direction. But as they get older, and start actually making plays - so cool!

Zach did a good job of moving the ball this year, and made several goals. But I think he kicked his shoe off every game, lol! He almost scored a goal with his shoe once. :)

Emma and AJ's team hadn't had a win until the last few games of the season, but improved with each game, and ended up taking 1st in the tournament! So much fun to see them grow as a team. Even Troy, who ranks soccer pretty low on the sports totem pole, said it was fun to watch.

oh, side note? I heard recently (don't remember where) that the saying "low on the totem pole" doesn't actually mean what I thought it did, because the most honored carvings were the ones at the bottom. But you know what I mean, right?

Sawyer loved playing soccer, the little cutie had a couple of good kicks in his last game! He's been wearing his medal everywhere to show people. :)

Our son AJ plays on a tournament baseball team called Rage, and practices 2-3 times a week, with tournaments every other weekend or so. They played their first one in KC a couple weeks back and took 2nd place! Pretty exciting for those 10 & under boys! Rain meant we didn't play at all on Saturday and got a late start on Sunday, playing 4 games back to back and finishing up around 10pm. Late night for everyone, especially in the chilly, misty weather.

The kids' school put on the Music man Jr. for their spring concert, and it was really cute. They had fun with their costumes and had a set and everything! Emma has a pretty strong singing voice, and I wish I had a way to get her some voice training. We recently got a piano so the kids can start lessons this summer. And I heard a little something about a choir group, so I need to get some information about that. They are practicing for the talent show tryouts later this week, Emma's going to sing and Zach wants to tell jokes :)

I haven't had much time (or energy) to make anything. I just sit back and watch the little people I made do their cool stuff  :) Summer is almost here, and I can't wait. Ball games and lots of books, sounds great to me!

Monday, May 4, 2015

May is...

May is a lot of things to me. Field trips and school assemblies, baseball practices, planting flowers in my garden. But this year, May is also something new to me.

May is Lupus Awareness month.

I was diagnosed earlier this year with Lupus, as well as Connective Tissue Disease. Strangely, it was a huge relief to have a name to the mysterious aches and pains. That relief lasted for several weeks, while I tried to learn about these diseases. Then a bit of melancholy crept in, because there is no cure, only treatment. And when my daughter asked me one afternoon "Can I catch Lupus?" it about broke my heart.

I consider myself very fortunate. My rheumatologist is optimistic that with medication we can prevent this from affecting my organs. All drugs have side effects, so I hate the thought of swallowing pills for the rest of my life. I'm taking them, though, because I want to be around for the rest of my life. I've also been taking steps to reduce stress, making sure I get enough sleep, eating better -  and that has helped too. I am learning to say No (mostly to myself, lol)

It's estimated that 5 million people world wide have Lupus. But lots of us don't even know what it is. No two people have the same exact symptoms. That makes it very difficult to diagnose. There's no "test" that says yes or no. That being said, it was a simple blood test that showed I had elevated markers for auto immune. My doctor called it an arthritis panel, and I truly believe he didn't expect anything to come from it. I'm pretty sure he believed I was a hypochondriac lol. I know that's what my husband thought. It's been kind of a lonely road, actually.

Lupus is an auto-immune disease that primarily affects women. It has a whole range of symptoms, and there is a checklist of criteria that must be met to be diagnosed. It can range from mild to severe, and I definitely fall on the mild side, for which I'm thankful.

I'm still figuring a lot of things out, and adjusting. I was felling pretty sorry for myself one day, and my husband reminded me that nothing has changed. I'm still the same as I was before I had a diagnosis. And on the plus side, I can take naps and say "doctor's orders!" haha! :)

Well, I hope you've learned a little something about this crazy disease. If you have any questions or advice for me, I'd be happy to chat in an email! craftytammieATyahooDOTcom

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sanibel Blog Hop (and layer cake giveaway!)

Good morning! Today I get to help kick off the Sanibel blog hop. It's going to be a great week! Sanibel is a new collection by Gina Martin for Moda. Packed with luscious color and graphic patterns, it screams summer and makes me want a fruity umbrella drink!

A photo posted by Oda May (@modabakeshop) on

Once again, Gina has included some prints every quilter will want to add to their stash.

The lawn chair basket weave is cool, and these chairs are fab! I chose three of my favorite prints and made a pool bag!

 They are fast and easy to make, and a great way to show off your favorite fabrics!
 Click here to go to the tutorial!

We are giving one lucky reader a Layer Cake of Sanibel! Use the rafflecopter widget below to enter. Winner will be drawn on Sunday April 12th, and contacted via email. Please make sure I have a way to reach you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with this week! Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog hop, there are giveaways going on all week!

Monday - April 6th
Tuesday - April 7th
Wednesday - April 8th
Thursday - April 9th
Friday - April 10th
Gina Martin at Pattern and Hue

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Now go sew something!

Drawstring Backpack Tutorial

Hi all! Today I'm going to show you how to make a super easy and fun drawstring backpack! There are lots of tutorials out there, and I didn't reinvent the wheel or anything ;) but I think my version is the perfect size and weight to handle anything I need to shove in it.

I made mine using Sanibel, a new fabric line by Gina Martin for Moda.

Let's get started! Here are the supplies you will need:

a half yard of outer fabric (more if you want to add a pocket)
a half yard of lining fabric
(2) 1/4" grommets (and installation tools)
4 yards of paracord, cut into 2 equal lengths. (If you've never used paracord, when you cut it, you need to melt the ends with a lighter to stop it from fraying.)

From each of your two fabrics, you will cut (2) 15" x 18" rectangles. (If you are piecing fabric, just make sure you have (2) 15" x 18" rectangles) From your lining fabric, you also need to cut (4) 3" x 14" rectangles. When sewing, all seam allowances are 1/4". If you are adding a divided pocket, you will also need (2) 7" x 15" pieces (you could adjust this to make a deeper pocket. For example, 9" x 15") I used a print and a white. Sew them together along a 15" side. Press. Top stitch the sewn edge.

Pair up two of the 3" x 14" rectangles, right sides together. Sew around three of the sides, starting with a short edge. One of the long edges will be left open. Clip your corners, and turn right side out. I use a chopstick to poke out my corners. Iron flat, and then iron in half, lengthwise. Repeat with the other pair.

Center your folded piece to the short edge of your outer fabric rectangle. The raw edges need to line up with the bag's raw edges.You will have about an inch on each side of the folded piece. This is the top of your bag, and will become the drawstring casing. If your fabric is directional, make sure you have the print running the right direction. Pin and baste in place. Repeat with the other side.

If you're adding a pocket, let's attach it. Center it along the bottom edge of one of your outer pieces, with the stitched edge at the top. Stitch down the center to create the two pockets.

I used the print itself as a stitching guide. This pocket is deep enough for a pair of sunglasses or a small tube of sunscreen :) If you wanted, you could add pockets to both sides, but you would have to increase the size of your grommet to accommodate the extra thickness of fabric.

Place your outer pieces, right sides together, and pin. You will stitch around the two long edges and the bottom edge. Leave the edge with the tabs open. Clip corners and turn right side out. Press. This is the outside of your bag.

Take your lining pieces and place them right sides together. You will sew around the two long sides and across the bottom, BUT you will need to leave a 3 inch opening in the center of the short edge. This is for turning your bag right side out.  Clip corners but do not turn right side out.

Place your outer bag inside of the lining right sides together, and match up side seams. Pin in place, and pin all the way around the top. Stitch together, and then turn right side out through the hole in your lining. Press and sew the turning hole shut. (you can do this by hand or machine)

Now it's time for grommets. Measure in about an inch from the bottom corner. Mark the spot by circling inside one of your grommets with a pen. I use an Exacto knife to cut a small x. Push your grommet through the hole, top it with the other piece, and hammer it on.

Next we do the drawstrings! Use a safety pin and thread through one casing, and back through the opposite casing. Pull both ends through the grommet and tie a knot. Repeat with the second cord, going the opposite direction.

 All finished! Thrown in a beach towel and your favorite magazine and hit the pool!

I've made several of these - we have one in a soccer ball print for all our shin guards and soccer socks. You could coordinate these for all your kiddo's activities! (I'm still looking for a cool wrestling print to make one for the boys' headgear and shoes) Hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any questions just leave me a comment!

Friday, April 3, 2015


Today I am sharing a post with you guys that is absolutely and compleeeetly unrelated to sewing or crafting or anything really. But I'm bursting with pride and can't keep it to myself! 

Last weekend, we traveled to Topeka for the Kansas Kids Folkstyle Wrestling Tournament. Two of our sons wrestle for Kansas Thunderstruck Wrestling, and my husband coaches for them as well. It's a pretty long season, starting right after Thanksgiving and not ending until, well, last weekend!

Our oldest boy, Alex, made it through sub-districts, and then took first at districts, earning him a spot at the state championship. And I am so proud to say that he won! He had to win three matches on Saturday and a 4th on Sunday, and he did it! :) It was a huge accomplishment. He's wrestled (and lost to) most of the other boys on the medal stand, and so he went there knowing what he needed to do to win and he pulled it off!

AJ and his proud Daddy

I don't know if you know much about wrestling. I still don't, and this is his 4th year! You get points for doing certain things, and there is some strategy involved. But I can say that it takes some serious hard work and determination. And that makes it perfect for AJ, because he is the stubbornest, hard headed little man I know!! I just love watching him out there. He's been the wrestler of the year (for his age group) the past two years in his club, mostly because of his great attitude and sportsmanship.

the winners from the District 1 tournament, all three placed at State!
I've been blown away by the outpouring of support for Alex from his coaches, fellow wrestlers, their families and even opponents! Monday at school, they played "We Are the Champions" for him at the beginning of school. His teacher brought in donuts for the whole class, and then at lunch, they watched the video of his match and took this picture.

Do you see his big muscles?! lol
All those kids? That's K-6th grade at our school. Yep, that's the entire school. There's a couple you can't see but not very many! It really is a little family, and the kids are such good friends. I love living where we do!

I'd never been to a state tournament, and it didn't disappoint. They did a Parade of Champions before the final matches, with lights and music and announcers. The crowd even did the wave, which my kids thought was awesome! The kids wrestling for 1st and 2nd met up in the spotlight to be announced and shake hands. I admit it, I teared up a bit seeing my son on the jumbotron!

A word about our wrestling club: They work them hard at practice twice a week, and then there are tournaments almost every weekend. They stress sportsmanship above all else, not just from the kids but from their families too. They teach for the long term - hopefully we will have a fantastic high school team in the future, and that some of these kids might get some scholarships after that. Our coaches are amazing with the kids, and we couldn't ask for a better family than our club.

If you're interested in watching his final match of 2014-2015, I'm posting the video below - but fair warning, there is quite a bit of screaming so I'd watch it with the sound off!! I think I broke my camera's speakers at the end!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

tuesday takeover

Later this morning, I'm taking over the Moda Bake Shop on Instagram! I've got some sneaky peeks to share, as well as some other fun stuff. Hope you'll follow along @modabakeshop !

Sunday, March 22, 2015

dreaming big!

Spring break has flown by, with all my kids home (and a few extras at times!) and running them from place to place. I have been trying to sneak in a few minutes here and there to work on a new project - The Dream Big Applique Quilt by Jennifer Jangles!

It's a super fast and completely adorable applique pattern. And I do mean fast! OK, tracing out the pieces takes a little time, but it's one of those things you can do while doing something else, like watching a movie with your kids. That's what I did. (We watched Night at the Museum 3, and loved it!)

photo courtesy of Jennifer Jangles blog
Here's the pattern version - isn't it adorable!?! I love the fabrics she used (and designed!) called Bugapalooza, especially the wood grain for Daisy the Hedgehog. It's pretty much exactly the colors and prints I lean towards!

I thought about making a very girly version, with pinks and greys, but I decided to go with navy, red, grey, and aqua. No specifically girly or floral prints, so I think the end result is appropriate for a girl or a boy.

These prints are all from my stash and are a variety of designers and brands. Can you tell I love polka dots?! Chicken wire and gingham are also faves, I collect them in every color I find! I used Kona Ash for the background.

The stars need some accent stitching to make it pop, I think. I will probably hand stitch around each star with red thread to help them stand out. And I still need to stitch on Daisy the Hedgehog's smile :) I may play around with some of the decorative stitches on my machine when I stitch the edges of the letters.

I am kind of at a loss for quilting ideas. I want to do this one myself, but I am basically a straight line quilter. I'm thinking about trying echo quilting around the letters? Will that look ok on the backside? I haven't chosen a backing fabric yet, but I'm leaning towards the red gingham for binding. How would you quilt it?

I hope you like my version! I rarely make the same quilt twice, but I am already thinking about making a 2nd one of these! I think the hedgehog would make a fun pillow too. If you want to make your own, the pattern is available over at Jennifer Jangles!

You should also check out her bunny applique pattern - so cute for spring!
Thanks for stopping by! Now, go sew something!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

more bitty blocks


Have you been sewing along with the Quiltmaker's Bitty Blocks? March's block is this sweet little 3" house! Super fast and easy, and a great use for leftover jelly roll strips!

February's Bitty Blocks were tiny baskets! 1.5" HST - don't be scared, hey, if I did it so can you! They actually went together easily, although I made my HST blocks slightly bigger and trimmed them to size. Ain't nobody got time for 7/8" nonsense. lol I have several more of these to make.

They also shared some layout ideas for us, in case you're one of those quilters who likes to see the big picture! There are several sizes to choose from, or get creative and design your own!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Break Sewing!

I am excited to have another kids class coming up! The pillowcase classes we did last summer were a lot of fun, and I have had several people ask when we'll do another one. It is hard to find (free) space and enough machines to allow us to have very many children in a class. (And I don't like to charge a fee, figuring that the kids already have to buy their fabric.)

We are going to make drawstring backpacks, and I am still working out the details (also known as experimenting on my own kids!) I have to make sure they can complete the project in 3 hours or less, and that the instructions are pretty simple to follow. And decide if I want to tackle grommets with these kiddos, or opt for simple tabs. That is today's task, after I go to work for a bit. We've got a school group coming in to choose fabrics for their class. I get to take my son Sawyer along, just another reason why I love my (very part time) job!

It kind of makes me laugh that I cut off my star points in my sign. Not that I EVER do that in my quilt blocks! haha!

If you're local, call right away to reserve your child's spot. I checked on Friday and the class only had 3 spots left! Happy sewing!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

good morning!

Hello there, and welcome to my stop on the blog hop! If you're new here, welcome. I'm Tammie, a busy momma of four who tries to carve out a little time for creativity every day. So I'm a big fan of Moda and their pre-cuts, anything that gets me sewing faster is a winner in my book! I'm glad to be able to share this fabulous new fabric line with you guys today. (There's another stop today as well, over at Young Texan Mama, so head there next!)

Gina Martin's newest line is called From Bump To Baby. Now, maybe you're not in the market for any baby prints right now. The good news is, the line includes several designs that are fresh and fun and would be at home in any quilt. The graphic patterns are cool, the teensy hearts are to die for, and the floral prints are pretty too.

That said, there are some adorable prints that ARE perfect for babies. I love the scatter print - even though my youngest is 4, I still find myself wanting to buy all that sweet baby stuff at Target, like divided plates and cute onesies! The text print is another favorite.The colors are a nice range, not the same old pastel pinks and blues.

When I got my pretty stack of fabrics, I decided to make a baby quilt. I used a simple layout with an easy to stitch block, commonly known as "sister's choice". I used this block pattern for the barn quilt I painted last summer. It's a favorite of mine, but one I hadn't actually used in a quilt before! Time to remedy that.

Here's how it goes together:

For one block you need:
white - five 2.5" squares and four 3" squares (for HST, corners, and center)
print A - four 2.5" squares for center 9 patch
print B - four 2.5" squares for outer
print C - four 2.5" squares AND four 3" squares for HST

Take one background 3" and one print 3" and pair up for half square triangles. (tutorial here)
Repeat, making 8 HST. Trim to 2.5".

Lay out your squares and stitch together. See, simple and fast! Perfect for chain piecing too.

Once you have your blocks completed (I made 9), it's time to sash them together. I used 2.5" wide sashing in both grey and white for my quilt top. Grey for the inner, white for the outside edge. You will also need four 2.5" squares for the cornerstones.

I stitched on a flange before adding the chevron binding. I used a 1 inch strip, folded in half and basted to the edge. I love how it frames it in without being a big border. Plus, I stitched my binding on by folding the flange up and stitching in the ditch underneath it. I wasn't able to get all the way into the corners, but I'd rather hand sew 4 corners versus an entire quilt! You could, of course, stitch on top of the flange. I was being lazy frugal with my time and didn't want to change my threads to match. ;)

My friend Laura did the machine quilting, with an allover design. I like how the pale grey thread looks with all of the fabrics! There's lots of room for some custom quilting in this quilt layout though. You could switch this up using any 12.5" unfinished block - or make each block different for a custom sampler.

Since this one went together so quickly, I whipped up a 2nd baby quilt using a pattern called Square Dance by Bits & Pieces. This is a popular pattern at Country Fabrics, where I work Friday afternoons. It uses 8 fat quarters and is super fast to put together! I just love these colors!

I changed it up a little and added a solid white in place of the prints for a few of the rows. I added a flange again. I love the text print for binding. Laura did the fun quilting on this quilt too. (Thanks Laura!)

I was going to borrow a friend's little girl to take some photos with, but poor Hattie got the flu and we had to cancel our photo shoot. So picture this sweet little dress on a happy 12 month old with cute curly hair :) I used the Snappy Toddler top tutorial at Prudent Baby.

Well, if you're still reading, thanks, I know that was a long post!! So how about a giveaway? Gina and Moda are letting me give one lucky reader a layer cake of From Bump To Baby! You know how I feel about precuts, and there are so many things you can make with a layer cake!

Enter to win the layer cake using the rafflecopter widget below. US only please. Winner will be announced Sunday afternoon, March 1st, and I will contact by email, so make sure I have a way to reach you! Thanks so much to Gina Martin and Moda for the giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's the list of stops, in case you're new to the hop. Each stop has a project to share and prizes to be won, so go check it out!

Monday the 23rd
Becca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts
Tuesday the 24th
Sally Keller of Sally's Angelworks
Wednesday the 25th
Brooke Sellmann of Silly Mama Quilts
Jessica Toye of Jess Toye Quilts
Thursday the 26th
Hilary Smith of Young Texan Mama
Tammie Schaffer of craftytammie
Friday the 27th
Gina Martin of Pattern & Hue

now, go sew something!

Monday, February 23, 2015

♥ From Bump To Baby Blog Hop!

The blog hop starts today!  Each stop will be sharing something fun that they made using Gina Martin's new fabric line, From Bump To Baby, and each one has a pre-cut to give away! Make sure to stop by each blog and enter for a chance to win. I'll be posting mine this Thursday, so I hope you'll come back and visit that day too :)

Here is a list of the hop participants. Be sure to check each site and register with each blogger for a chance to win precuts of From Bump to Baby. The winners will be announced on Sunday March 1st!

Monday the 23rd
Becca Bryan of Bryan House Quilts
Tuesday the 24th
Sally Keller of Sally's Angelworks
Wednesday the 25th
Brooke Sellmann of Silly Mama Quilts
Jessica Toye of Jess Toye Quilts
Thursday the 26th
Hilary Smith of Young Texan Mama
Tammie Schaffer of Crafty Tammie
Friday the 27th
Gina Martin, Pattern & Hue

Sunday, February 8, 2015

From Bump To Baby blog hop - coming soon!

Recently I jumped at the chance to help Gina Martin promote two of her new Moda fabric lines by participating in upcoming blog hops. Gina is a fellow member of the KCMQG and you might remember, I chose her Folk Art Holiday line for my Jelly Roll Jam 2 quilt.

The first hop will run from Feb. 23-27, and will highlight From Bump to Baby, which has beautiful colors and patterns - not just for the nursery! There are several prints in this line that would be great basics for any design. I think you're going to love them - even if you don't have a baby to sew for! Take a look at the line at the Moda site.

There are going to be prizes, and I am super excited to share a new project with you! Be sure to check back in on my day, Feb. 26th. I'll post a baby quilt tutorial. Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

scrap bin for the win!

Have you heard about the Quiltmaker Bitty Blocks? Each month in 2015, they'll be offering a free block pattern to make little 3 or 4 inch blocks!

The block pattern for January makes tiny little bow ties. They are 3.5" unfinished. I have never really liked this traditional bow tie block, (not sure why!) But there's something so cute about them in this size!

I decided I could only start this if I made it a scrap buster project! So I dug around in my scrap drawers looking for (mostly) monochromatic pieces. I already had some pulled from my map project last week, but I found a few others and whipped these out in no time. I will continue making them this month, until I have enough for a row.

I know it's kind of boring, but I decided to stick with white for the background.  Low volume could be fun, or what about a polka dot, or another solid color? I decided though that white was my best bet in making sure all of my scraps could play well together. It's my favorite :)

ooh, these could be addicting!
They'll be giving more ideas, tips, and instructions on making these little blocks as the months progress, so be sure to follow along at their blog, Quilty Pleasures. And use the hashtag #qmbittyblocks and share your blocks on instagram, facebook,etc!


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