Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2014

Houston is hopping right now at the International Quilt Market! I haven't had a chance to stalk everyone's feeds, but the photos I've seen so far show me that I'm going to have a lot of fabrics on my wish list!

During market, Amy's Creative Side hosts the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and so today I'm sharing my last finish - the Zippy quilt.



I love this simple design! Almost all of my quilts begin with charm squares, and I love swapping and collecting charms. So when I decide to create a quilt, odds are good that it will be based around a 5 inch square.



You can find the tutorial over at Moda Bake Shop, in case you'd like to make one yourself.



I made Zippy using Sweetwater's Elementary line. Lots of fun fabrics with letters, numbers, and symbols! I decided to split the colors into rows in my quilt, but you could definitely mix them up and get a scrappy look, like in my WIP above. (psst - that's the same block with a slight variation!)



The blocks are 12.5" unfinished, and you can really make this as big or little as you'd like. Here's a sketch of a larger quilt, 6 x 8 blocks, using solids for the rows. 

So that's my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. There are some amazing quilts up in all the categories, so stop over there and get inspired! Thanks so much to all the sponsors and to Amy for organizing and hosting this fun event! Voting starts November 1!

quilt stats
name: zippy
designed and pieced by: Tammie Schaffer
machine quilted by: Jess Toye Quilts
fabrics used: Moda Bella Solids in white and Elementary by Sweetwater
size: 48" x 60"

AmysCreativeSide.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

hey friends

I know I've been quiet here lately. Life seems to get busier everyday. This last month I've been doing a lot of reflecting, on priorities and my "creative journey" and such. Wish I could tell you I've found all of the answers, but you'll have to look elsewhere for those. Here's what I did figure out.



My full time job, of course, is being the wife and mother to my family. Besides being mommy, I am the driver, the shopper, the maid, the cook, the gardener, the referee, the nurse, the accountant, the social coordinator, all of it. (as is every other mom out there, raise your hand, you know who you are!) And all of this other stuff, the blogging and sewing and such, it has to come second. (or never, as the case has been lately! And for a week or two, I was feeling pretty resentful of that. Upset that I never get any time to myself. Exhausted at the end of the day, where even if I tried to stay awake to sew, I wouldn't be making anything worth making. I'm burdened with a lot of quilt guilt right now, bee blocks that are way late, a swap gift that is 75% finished (and late) and deadlines I've had to push back. I haven't been to a KCMQG meeting yet this year! The rare chances I've had to meet up with my stitchy friends have been squeezed in, and were never long enough. Waaah, right? It's a huge pity party, come on in.

A photo posted by tammie schaffer (@craftytammie) on


I think the most challenging thing about being a parent is that each day, your kids get another day older and require something different. Needs change all the time, schedules fluctuate, homework gets harder (seriously, I can't figure out what they're supposed to even do half the time and my oldest is only in 4th!!) And dividing my time equally between all four kids? Impossible. Spending 15 quality minutes with each kid per day? Again, a struggle. My husband and I have pretty much ignored our own relationship for far too long, and that has added stress on us too. I worry far too much and enjoy far too little. And let's not even talk about laundry. Or the state of my floors.

It all finally caught up with me. I started feeling terrible, with a bunch of pain in my left shoulder, running down my arm and making my fingers tingle and zing. I have a history of neck and upper back pain, so I assumed it was flaring up and was using muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, and stretching to try to get relief. Then I woke up with a cluster of bumps on my palm. After a day or two, they started to show up on my fingers, and my arm ached so much, I was cradling it against my body like it was broken. I saw my chiropractor a few days in, and he was able to give me some relief, but over the weekend it all hit me and I was a blubbery mess. I usually don't realize how bad I'm feeling until I'm bawling in front of a stranger. I went to the hospital clinic and was diagnosed with SHINGLES. Yes, the thing that people ages 60+ get vaccinated for. Absolutely stress related, and (probably) completely preventable. When your own body says "hey you, calm the f*ck down or I'll give you something to freak out about." Well, let's just say, you listen.

I realized this week as my son played in his football game (and was a one man wrecking crew out there, it was awesome!) that I won't be attending fall quilt market for the next decade or so. I would be missing too much in my little's lives. Like hearing my son's name announced during the game. Or watching my daughter master her volleyball serve at practice. Or putting on an big Halloween Carnival fundraiser for their school with just a handful of volunteers. I am so blessed and not really missing out on anything. And don't worry, my husband and I are off to Nashville for a much needed couples vacation in a few weeks. (It will be the first time we've spent more than one night away from our children, at the same time. In 10 years. Yes, I know that is crazy!)

That doesn't mean I won't love seeing all of your quilt market posts, or that I won't be a teeny bit jealous of the fun everyone is having. I'll enjoy following along from here! I won't stop blogging. But I am going to stop worrying about blogging. If I have something to share, I'll share it (although it will probably be on instagram), and I hope you'll all understand that when I'm not here, I'm enjoying my lovely little chaotic life. On that note, let me introduce you to our latest rescue - Lucy.


Lucy was found by a family that had two big dogs and an allergic mom. So when she mentioned on facebook she needed to find a home for this sweet stray, I knew she'd fit in here. My daughter's cat Isabelle passed away recently, and I showed her Lucy's picture. Emma was smitten with her, so I snuck off and brought her home. The kids are so excited to help welcome this shy girl into our pet family.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Denyse Schmidt Charm Swap, round 4

It's time for the next round of the Denyse Schmidt charm swap! I am hosting this time, and can't wait for all that happy fabric mail.



If you've never joined in on one of our swaps, now is the time! Head over to the flickr group to grab a spot. The swap is open for 56 spots, but you can sign up for more than one, if you'd like.

Each spot requires you to choose 1 yard each of two DS fabrics, cut them into 5" charms (56 from each fabric), and mail them to me. I will then sort them all out, and you will receive 112 different charms in return. Make sense? If you are ordering fabric online, you are welcome to have it shipped direct to me and I will cut them for you. It would save you some shipping costs.

We do not allow duplicates within each round, so be sure to post a photo of your fabrics in the group pool so no one else buys it. Fabrics from both her FreeSpirit lines and her DS Quilts for JoAnn's are fine for this swap.

The deadline to mail charms to me is November 14th. Hope you'll join us in trading charms!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blog Around the World

Hi everyone! Today is my stop on the Blog Around the World tour, and I was invited to it by my friend Heather Kojan. (hi Heather!)


If you're a new visitor, welcome! I'm Tammie Schaffer, and I live in rural Kansas, about an hour from KC. My husband Troy and I have four kids, preK-4th grade. I also blog over at My Stars, the Kansas City Star Quilt's modern quilt blog. I work a few hours a week at a local fabric shop called Country Fabrics. I'm a member of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild and also the Pieces and Patches Guild in Garnett, KS. (Although I am a terrible member and rarely make it to meetings!)

So here we go, four questions, my answers. Read on, my friend.

What am I working on?

It would be easier to tell you what I'm NOT working on! I have a bunch of UFOs and WIPs.



Top priority will be given to my Modern Maple quilt from last fall, when I ran out of the background and couldn't recall the name to buy more. (I finally matched it in a quilt shop in Humboldt KS!) I have 17 more blocks to make and then I need to piece them all together. I can't wait to have a few hours to sit down and crank this out. It will be sent out for quilting, so I need to get it done before winter comes! I challenged myself to make it only with fabrics from the shop. I needed an excuse to use all the fat quarters I'm always buying from there!

I'm also making a flannel tie for a friend's son who has to dress up on Fridays for football, but doesn't care much for it. Hence the flannel, which she is hoping will ease the sting of grown up clothes. I've never made a tie before, it's going to be interesting to say the least.

I have a birthday cake to make for our son Zach's 7th birthday on Wednesday. I'm thinking I'll make this monster cake, unless he decides on something else soon. We're having a birthday party in a week or so for both Zach & Emma, who will be 10 later this month.

My House/DIY list is endless. I am in the middle of painting trim and doors in all three sons' bedrooms. Emma wants to change the color of her room from a pale aqua to a dark aqua and fuchsia. I told her we would tackle that project next weekend, so it's done before the party. I spent the weekend painting the trim on the outside of the house and working on my flowerbeds.

OK, I really could use a nap now.
 


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have been wondering that myself! I feel sometimes, just like in regular life, that I don't really fit in anywhere. I am not modern enough to be a modern quilter, arty enough to be an art quilter, traditional enough... you get the point. I just say, I am a Quilter. I love handmade quilts, whether they are calico log cabins or improv solids. I don't spend a lot of time trying to fit into a certain niche.



I would say my "style" is based on simple, easy to piece designs, that make the most of your fabric and time. I don't get more than a few minutes at a time most days to play with my fabric. So although there are lots of designs I'd like to try, for now I stick with easily attainable ones. No Dear Jane or Mariner's Compass in my 5 year future! I usually make block based designs, but I'm challenging myself to play around with alternative layouts. And I love me some charm squares.

Why do I write/create what I do?

It makes me a happier person. I just love being able to make things. I always knew I wanted a sewing room and I collected fabric years before I made my first quilt block. It took becoming a stay at home mom to "find" the time I needed to sit down and create on a regular basis. The irony of that, of course, is that I have no free time, and my husband gets very frustrated if I've spent the afternoon sewing instead of, oh, making dinner!

I have found, though, that if I don't spend at least a few minutes a day stitching something, planning something, even just mending something - if I don't get those minutes, I feel grouchy and unfulfilled. I carry an embroidery or crochet project with me, so if I'm sitting at football practice, I can stitch myself into a good mood.

How does my writing/creating process work?

It's very messy, and unorganized. I never measure first. Math and I aren't friends. I just start playing with pieces and adding in until I like the way it's going. I make the backing work out of whatever I have to use - I don't think I've ever bought material with a specific pattern in mind. I start with a general idea, and it grows from there. Even when I do have a pattern, I end up changing it so much that it's irrelevant by the end anyways! It's been a challenge working in the fabric shop, where people want me to tell them exactly how much fabric they will need!

For me the rewarding part is the process, not the product. I love playing with fabric on the design wall. I can zone out to some marathon chain piecing, and when I'm in the right mood, paper piecing is very satisfying. But pushing through to the finish, well, not so much. I need a deadline to make me complete something. Otherwise, there's always tomorrow, and HEY LOOK A SQUIRREL lol.

So that's me in a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed this peek and if so, come back and visit soon!  Thanks to Heather for tagging me! I haven't had a chance to ask anyone else to be next, so how about I tag any of you who haven't been asked yet! If you write up a post, come back and tell me in the comments so I can come read it!

Have a great week, GO ROYALS!!
 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

that face you make when someone regrams

So, there's been a lot of discussion of late about "regramming". If you're not on instagram, it means that you repost a photo from someone else's feed onto your own. One reason you might do this is to enter a giveaway. A LOT of people were complaining that their instagram feed was clogged up with the same posts over and over because of this trend. (You can read more about it at sew, mama, sew).

that face you make when...

I appear to be in the minority, because this doesn't bother me! I actually enjoy it when someone tags me to enter one of these, because I usually haven't heard of that shop or blogger, and I like to check them out. A lot of people use these regramming contests as a way to promote a new business, or celebrate a milestone.  I really love entering contests, and have won my fair share. So yes, I regram. In fact, I realized I never shared one of my regram wins with you!



I reposted a photo on instagram last March for a chance to win a fabric camera strap from August Blossoms. And I actually won! I got to pick any strap from her etsy shop, and I chose this lovely one made with older Amy Butler fabrics. It's a wonderful strap, I've been using it for many months now and I get compliments on it all the time. It has a little pocket for my lens cap.



Denise's straps are very well made. She's got some super cute listings available in her shop right now. I love this one made with April Showers! So if you're in the market for a strap (or a gift for a photographer), be sure to check out her etsy shop, August Blossoms.

I had never considered that regramming might be annoying to anyone else. I guess I thought of my instagram/twitter/facebook feed as MINE, and not just something I put out there for others.

But then again, isn't that exactly what I'm doing, putting my photos out there for everyone else? So it has made me reconsider what I post. Sometimes I post something to instagram just so I can share it easily with facebook or flickr. If I've ever offended you by regramming or tagging your in a giveaway, and made you make that face above, I apologize. I didn't mean to bother anyone! I just love free goodies :) 

Another subject that came up in one of these discussions, was asking people to jump through hoops to enter giveaways. Well, I used to just ask that you comment to enter. But then Rafflecopter came along, and made it so much easier for me to run a giveaway. And it gives you options like "like my facebook" or "follow on pinterest".

When I host giveaways and I offer extra entries for following me on facebook, etc. - it's simply a way to reward my followers with an extra chance to win. They are already doing those things, and they can easily get another entry with one click. I also offer a simple "click here to enter" option for everyone. No one has to follow anything if they don't want to. To be honest, it's rare that I get new followers from a giveaway, so I'm just happy to be able to share a prize with someone who takes the time to read what I write.

Anyways, I just wanted to publicly admit my regramming habits. Admission is the first step, right?! lol and psst - don't forget to enter the Time To Make book giveaway here ;)

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend! It's gorgeous here, and the Chiefs are playing today! Get them donkeys!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Time To Make - Throw Yourself At Your Creative Life. Don't Wait.

I have a fantastic new book to share with you today!



Time To Make, by Ginger Hendrix, is like having a crafting cheerleader, best friend, and personal trainer all rolled up into one little paperback package. This book's goal is to give you that little bump you might need, a sweet little nudge towards a more creative life.

Remember when Ginger stopped in here on the blog, with this awesome post about free motion quilting? (No? Go ahead, take a minute, and read it. I'll wait.) It's still one of my favorite posts. And she took her writing skills and coaching ability and made a real live book. It's full of ideas and discussions and tips for getting your crafting mojo on. No actual projects - it's not that kind of craft book. This is a book to address all of the reasons you aren't as crafty as you could be. 



A little about her:

Ginger Hendrix lives and writes and makes things in Morro Bay, CA. She once made a couch cover out of old polyester, once wrote and recorded a CD for kids, once learned to cook by hacking at low-fat magazine recipes (and then just doubling the cheese), once sewed at least 30 aprons out of strange scraps, salvaged old quilts into new ones, and even tried making a lamp out of an old coffee pot. She has been known to teach writing and sewing. She writes the blog Wienerdog Tricks at gingerhendrix.com.
 
 

She's got a deep love of re-purposing, and was the first person I thought of when I had a big box of Granny's polyester that needed a worthy home. Her passion for sharing the joys of crafting have led her to sit on a couch in the middle of a festival and teach people to rip up old sheets and crochet. So, Time To Make, like her, is fabulous. And I have a giveaway today to share a copy with one of you!

I bought a copy as soon as it came out, and sat right down and read it all. I love her hilarious and quirky and honest style. Here, I'll let her tell you about it herself in her book commercial!



So enter to win a copy. Or even better, don't wait, go buy this book at amazon! She's giving one book away to a reader - just enter using the rafflecopter widget below. Open to everyone, worldwide! You can get another entry for answering this question - what's your biggest crafty hang-up? Is it that you can't make any money doing it? Is it a fear of wobbly seams? Let us know what yours is in the comments (but you still need to enter using rafflecopter, thanks!) Giveaway will run through Monday the 22nd, and winner will be contacted through email. Good luck to everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 25, 2014

Zippy

Here's my latest charm quilt, named Zippy, and it's available as a free pattern over at Moda Bake Shop!


I got to work with Sweetwater's newest line, Elementary. Great prints as usual, and the aqua color is really pretty.



I am working on a little something with the leftover charms. Uses the same block as Zippy :)

What's on your to-do list this week?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fun Drawstring Pouch

Up next is another new friend of mine, this time through the KCMQG. I met Denise when I rode along with her and Jan up to see the Tula Pink/Luke Haynes exhibit in St. Joe. She is super fun and has a fabulous tutorial for you today!

Fun Drawstring Pouch
                            by: Denise K. Bane

When Tammie asked me to guest blog for her Sew Full of School week, I got so excited to share this tutorial with you.  I have been sewing in one form or another since I was 6 and I started quilting in 2003.  I really delved deeply into the quilting vein in 2012 when I joined the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. #kcmqg  It is filled with wonderful, inspiring, and encouraging people and I am so happy I found them.  Quilts are typically big projects and once in a while I need some instant gratification.  A small project that I can make quickly and have a finished product.  And sometimes I need something practical and I can't find what I'm looking for in the stores.  So, I figure out a way to make it.  And thus became the Easy Pouch of Holding.  It really is easy to make and it can hold all sorts of things, hence the name (plus I'm a bit of a scifi/fantasy nerd).

I came up with this pouch about a year ago when I needed something to hold dice in (did I mention that I'm a nerd?).  It is really easy to make.  The first one you make may take up to an hour, but I would doubt it, even for a beginning sewer.  I highlight 3 sizes in this tutorial, but you can easily change up the sizes for whatever you wish.  I use quilters cotton for both the body and lining, although you can use just about any fabric.  You can see in one of the pictures I have used upholstery fabric (red bag with yellow dragonfly) for one and faux suede with some sort of garment fabric that looks like snake skin for another. The beautiful thing is that you might have scraps of fabric big enough for this.  The thing to remember, is DON'T STRESS.  This is supposed to be fun!!  You cut the body fabric 1/4" too small?  So what, just trim down the lining fabric and there you go.  I specify a 3/8" seam allowance, but, seriously, 1/4" works too.  Or 1/2".  Finished sizes are approximate because of these things.  I tried to make the instructions easy to follow, but if you have questions, please ask.

If you like this tutorial, please visit my blog at http://iamaquilter.wordpress.com  Have Fun!!


Easy Pouch of Holding
This drawstring pouch is so easy to make you will be amazed.  It takes less than an hour and very little fabric.  You can use it for anything.  There are 3 different sizes listed, but there is no limit to what sizes you can make with a little manipulation.  I hope you enjoy!!


Time to make:  less than 1 hour
Materials needed:
·         Fabric for the body
·         Fabric for the lining
·         Shoestring or cord for drawstring
·         Thread
·         Scissors and/or rotary cutter
·         Optional: Decorative beads for end of drawstring
·         Seam ripper



Step 1:  Cut fabrics for the body and the lining.
Crayon Pouch (approx finish 5 1/4" x 6 3/4")
·         Body - 6" x 11 1/4"
·         Lining - 7 3/8" x 11 1/4"
Colored Pencil Pouch (approx finish 8 1/2" x 4 1/2")
·         Body - 8 1/2" x 9 3/4"
·         Lining - 10 3/8" x 9 3/4"
Mechanical Pencil Pouch (approx finish 7 1/2" x 3")
·         Body - 7 1/2" x 6 3/4"
·         Lining - 9 3/8" x 6 3/4"


Step 2:  Layer the fabrics right sides together and stitch along the top with a 3/8" seam allowance.




Step 3:  Press the seam allowance toward the lining.


Step 4:  Align the bottom of the fabrics and press a crease in the top of the lining.  This is how your lining will wrap around to the front.


Step 5:  Topstitch 1/8" on the lining portion of the fabric.  This is how you get the tube portion for the drawstring.  TIP: If you have a "stitch in the ditch" foot, this would be a good time to try it out.



 Step 6:  Fold the whole thing in half lengthwise right sides together matching the side and bottom. Tip: Pinning is helpful on this step.


 Step 7:  Stitch along the side and bottom using a zig-zag or serging stitch.  Tip: Start in the upper corner since that is where it matters most if things match up well.


Step 8:  Turn right side out.


Step 9:  Get your seam ripper and VERY CAREFULLY, slice 2 holes in the lining fabric that wraps around the front near the seam.  DO NOT cut through the inside.  (really though, if you do, no one is going to know) You want the hole to be only slightly larger than the shoestring you are using.  Tip: Don't be hasty.  Take your time on this one and be careful.




Step 10:  Thread the shoestring through one hole, around the bag, and out the other hole. Tip: Take a breath.  This part can be frustrating.  Check for twists.



Step 11:  Trim shoestring so that you have several inches on each end and tie a knot on each end.  Tip: I tied my knots before I trimmed. You could also put decorative beads at the ends.  Or you could use cording instead of a shoestring.


Step 12:  All done.  Fill with anything you like.  Enjoy your new pouch.





If you enjoyed this tutorial, please check out my blog at http://iamaquilter.wordpress.com  Thank you!!


And thank you Denise!! Love the fabrics you used in your pouches! Be sure to head to her blog and check our her Anchors Away quilt pattern - it's a free download and so cool!

Laminate Pencil Cases



Today's guest is a new blog friend of mine! 
Here's Donna with a great pencil case tutorial!

Laminated Pencil Cases (In two sizes)
Finished Size 11.5 x 4.5 inches and 7.5 x 4.5 inches

This project takes about one hour each to complete.  Just before starting to sew, I changed zipper colors on the small case.  I decided I liked the yellow zipper better than the navy, and then decided I wanted to try a longer pencil case as well with the white zipper. 
 Materials needed:

One piece of laminate fabric for each case
One zipper 14 inches (at least) for each case
One laminate measure tape (you will cut approximately 6 inches of the tape for the pencil case handle)  I received this one free.  You can use ribbon instead if you prefer not to cut up you measure tape.
Time needed:
Approximately one hour sewing time for each.

Cut your laminate fabric 8 inches by 8 1/2 inches (for the small case) and 12" by 9 1/2" (for the longer case).  Other than size differences, the directions are the same.
On the right side of the laminate, lay your zipper down with right sides together along the longer length measurement.  Leave excess zipper on both sides, which will eventually be cut off.  Sew with a zipper foot fairly close to the zipper's plastic teeth. 
Fold back laminate and stitch down through laminate and zipper, be sure to sew through the zipper's tape.  Then repeat prior step above and this step for the other side of the zipper.  I used a Teflon sewing machine foot, and as my machine has a built in walking foot sewing over the laminate was very easy. 
Pull zipper down half-way, center bottom of case with zipper teeth the center line, stitch 1/4 inch across bottom of case.  Be sure to double up on stitching over the zipper. Trim off zipper even with seam edge.
Trim off 6 inches of the laminate measure tape for the case handle.  Fold tape in half ready to insert into top of pencil case.  
Center top of zipper and case and insert tape measure handle with folded edge inside the case, and raw ends that will be sewn into the seam.  Sew 1/4 inch seam, and be sure to sew top of zipper and ends of handle again about 1/8 inch from edge to secure.  Trim off excess zipper top even with seam allowance. 
Now all you have to do is turn your case right side out! Make sure corners are completely turned out. 

Thanks so much Donna for your post! I love the measuring tape tags - and I saw that they have a variety of colors like aqua, fuchsia, and lime green for 99 cents at JoAnns right now! 

Hope you've been enjoying this week of back to school posts. We have one more guest to finish up the week, so check back later today for another awesome tutorial!
  

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