Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

Every year, Sew Mama Sew hosts one of the biggest and best giveaway link ups that a sewist could wish for. And since it is the season of giving, I thought I would gift a copy of my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern! (PDF pattern) In case you've not been here before, be sure to check out my "Freebies & Tutorials" section, which is filled with fun project patterns, how-to videos, and even includes a tutorial that I did for Sew Mama Sew last year.

My paper pieced quilt pattern is for the advanced beginner to intermediate quilter, is available in four sizes, and even includes a mini version, which can be used in a variety of ways including a pin cushion, or even a favorite pillow.

The pattern is so versatile that you could literally spend all day coming up with various color combinations and layouts. Here are a few of my favorites:

So how do you qualify to win?

* Leave me a comment letting me know if you are sewing gifts for others this season, something for yourself, stitching holiday decorations, or taking a break from the sewing machine and enjoying the Christmas time hustle and bustle. Please be sure to leave me your email so I can contact you.

* Giveaway starts December 7th and goes through December 11th, 2016. The winner will be announced by December 14th. A PDF version of my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern will be sent out you via e-mail.

* If you decide to buy a pattern now, and win the giveaway, your money will be refunded.

* This giveaway is open internationally

Merry & Bright Pillow Finish

Searching through boxes and boxes of packed away things, it feels like I can only find about half of my Christmas decorations since our move. It's always a delight at the beginning of the season to pull out all those hand made pillows and other sewn things to adorn our living space. So needless to say, this pillow finish comes at the perfect time in the absence of my missing holiday decorations.

This project actually came to be because of a couple sick days on the couch. I already had it prepared for my Denmark trip, but without those "forced" days down, I'm not sure it I would have finished it this year. I decided that a radiating quilting design would highlight the wreath and draw focus to the center text.

Notice a trend with all my Essex linen pillows? (here, here, and here) It's actually THE perfect fabric to compliment those rich, deep, warm tones that match our living room so perfectly. 

Pattern: "Merry & Bright" by Minki Kim, as found in issue 40 of Love & Patchwork Quilting magazine.
Fabrics: Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton & Steel, and various additional scraps. Essex Linen, espresso. Cori Dantin,i Seeds (backing)
Finished size: 20 x 20 in. (ca. 50 x 50 cm)
Quilting Thread: Aurifil thread Sand 2326 

So, now that this is checked off the list, it's on to a couple present making projects... and you?

Linking up with Let's Bee Social 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Without sounding totally cliché, it really is amazing to me the connections that you make online... especially within the quilting community. When I first moved to Germany, I never would have imagined that one day so many of my daily contacts and friends would stem from relationships with people that I had met online.

Even just a few weekends ago, I spent the weekend with the ladies from our HH Modern Patchwork Treffen for a retreat in Denmark... all of them, with the exception of one, I had met online! 

I think I "met" Magda about the same time that I "met" Melanie... it was a WIP Wednesday connection, back when Freshly Pieced was still hosting. Before I knew it, the three of us were also in a quilting bee together, and Magda was joining us in Hamburg for our monthly quilting meetings... and coming all the way from Denmark!

Not long ago she shared with us that bundle-of-joy number two would be joining her in the world. Mell and I decided that it would be fun to ask our other bee members to add in a few extra blocks to make a baby quilt for her. We had pulled the colors from Magda's bee blocks, and added some greys and chartreuse to the mix. We scoured our Pinterest boards, and picked an easy block that would come together quickly, but with a nice design despite its simplicity. (inspiration design here)

I connected the paper pieced blocks together and Melanie quilted it. I really love the straight line quilting design that she used to finish this! And now this quilt is snuggled around ten tiny fingers and toes this winter... what a perfect way to stay warm.

Do you have any fun quilting community online connection stories to share?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.  

Thursday, November 24, 2016

THANKFUL Pattern Sale

Thanksgiving is not just a time to drool over the scrumptious and perfectly browned turkey, but I dare say your favorite fabrics and projects too! I've been drooling over the new Alison Glass collections, Seventy Six and her 2017 Sun print fabrics, and I can't wait to get my hands on them! You too? Can't you just imagine my Jeweled Kaleidoscope pattern made with them?

To celebrate the spirit of the holiday, I would like to let you know how grateful I am for your support by offering 20% off my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern November 24 - 28th! Simply enter the sale code: THANKFUL in my Payhip shop.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Merry & Bright

Are you a pre-holiday project planner? As much as I would like to say that I belong to this category, the honest truth about things is that I usually think about making a holiday project when I am already in the middle of that holiday.

On our recent sewing retreat to Denmark, I did, however, have to have several projects planned ahead of time, and I wanted to have a hand project in case I needed a break from the sewing machine... what was I thinking, right?!? a break from the sewing machine? HA! (big laughing here behind the scenes)

This past weekend, the traveling sick bug hit everyone in the family except for my husband. It's almost torture for me when I am too sick to make it to the sewing machine, but also too fit to just sit on the couch and do nothing.

It was so nice to just pull out my little project box since it was already prepped and ready to go... and who doesn't love Minki Kim's sweet illustrated sewing projects? I was really excited to see this great little holiday wreath in the latest issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. My oldest son, was joining me on the couch that day with the same yucks. He asked if he could make a wreath too... I had to say that despite feeling so bad, it was still fun to be snipping happily away together.

There's nothing better than a relaxing and fun scrappy project, don't you think?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Where The Heart Leads

Ten years ago today, the decision to step on a plane to Germany completely changed the rest of my life... in every way that could be imagined. It was on my granmother's 80th birthday that I was flying halfway across the globe to be with the man who had captured my heart.

Almost a year later, I started blogging about my life in Germany, and the feelings and emotions about living in a country that was not my own. Talk about not being in Kansas anymore?!? Those first years were very much processing what it means to experience daily life in another language, another way of doing things, and another culture... all different from mine.

At the time, there is no way that I could have possibly understood the depth of what I was about to do. And I really don't know if I will ever be able to comprehend the full depth of it. There is so much to process on so many different levels, although I am grateful that the struggles are not what they once were.

The processing has been daily, it's been gradual, even seasonal, and it's given me a deeper understanding of who I once was. There are things that I've only realized about myself since I've made that leap.

In our afternoon tea time with my husband today, he posed the hypothetical question "if you knew what you know now, would you have done it again"? Perhaps some things are actually better if you leap before you think about the landing. Would it have helped to know ahead of time what challenges I would go through, and am still going through? I doubt it. Would I have done it all over again for the same man? No questions about it.
 ... supposedly the number 10 represents perfection or completion, which I dare say, does not apply in this case, but it sure does help to give guidance to know where to go from here.

Pattern: My Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern, mini block made into a pin cushion
Fabrics: Cotton & Steel, Carolyn Friedlander, and various low volumen Art Gallery fabrics.
Thread: Auriful

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Denmark Weekend Show & Tell

A weekend away from the daily rush, snuggled up in a cozy cabin in Denmark with your sewing girls, and nothing on your hands but time to sew sounds pretty much like a dream, doesn't it? Well, that's exactly what my past weekend looked like!

Usually when we get together for our monthly HH Modern Patchwork Treffen, it always feels like we don't get very much accomplished. Usually chatter and the exchange about fabrics, patterns, techniques, quilting ideas, etc. distract from the actual time at the sewing machine. But, I think that everyone left this time quite pleased with the amount of things that we got accomplished. Perhaps it might have helped that the WiFi wasn't working in our cabin. On one hand it was really frustrating because it makes you feel so disconnected to the outside world, but on the other hand, it's not necessarily a bad thing to cut the cord either.

I was able to get my bee quilt top put together, and almost finished a second quilt top. It's always fun when you run out of fabric in the middle of a project, huh? You can see the second top on the quilt wall in the background. This is actually my oldest WIP to date, and essentially my first quilt blocks. Oh, I don't want to talk about all the cut off points, but I'll share it's long story when I get the top finished.

On my part, there was a good bit of secret sewing done, and tons of chain piecing, which should make things whiz by once I pick it back up again. We did a little photo shoot for a project before gifting it to another member who lives in Denmark just an hour from where we stayed. Hope to share that one soon too!

 Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Finish Line In Sight!

I've been working really hard on my second quilt pattern, and am now almost finished with the quilt top! I just have to add a border and some additional applique circles to finish it off. Generally when I work on a pattern, I make it first to see if my idea will even translate into a usable pattern, and then I backtrack to write the instructions.

Perhaps it might be a little backwards in my thinking, but it's somehow the way I work best. I suppose it could also be because I procrastinate on the computer work, much preferring to sew than to calculate math... you too?

Of course there is still the quilting ahead, and as usual, this will be no small quilt. It would appear that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and as my dad would say, if you're going to do it at all, then do it big!

This pattern will be a little of everything with curved piecing, traditional piecing, and applique. I had originally thought that I would include paper piecing in this pattern, but realized that I could accomplish the same result with traditional piecing. I have to admit that I love paper piecing so much, that sometimes I much prefer the method to traditional simply based on those perfectly matched points! 

No release date planned yet, but I am planning to share more this time before an official release because I would like to allow my pattern testers a little more time to work on this one. 

Linking up to Let's Bee Social

Friday, November 4, 2016

Pattern Testers Finishes

The last couple weeks have been an absolute whirlwind with my new pattern release, two giveaways, and preparing for my upcoming sewing retreat... and I realized that I had not officially shared what my pattern testers came up with. They not only came up with some really fantastic projects, but gave me the feedback that I needed to make improvments on my pattern that hopefully translated into a very clear, understandable, and usable pattern. It's always nice when credit is given where credit is due, don't you think?

1. I love Elina's idea to put my pattern on point, and her well thought out details and accents complete this beautiful cushion.

2. Melanie used her blocks to make a lovely fall decoration table runner. Bold oranges, reds, and pinks are just one of her signature color palettes.

3. Mareike really pushed the limits on how far this design can go. Her soft color choices are calm and soothing.

4. I love Julie's bright and bold mustard and berry combination, and the grey accents set just the right tone.

5. Wendy's use of  the Alison Glass' Art Theory panel for the center circle appliques was simply brilliant!... and a few of my favorite Sun Print fabrics make it even better!

6. Tracy incorporated my favorite, Basic Grey grunges, in her mini that she made for me!?! I love the metallic thread quilting that she used to highlight the design.

7. Friederike managed to make not just one pillow, but two! She used some of my all time must-have Carolyn Friedlander prints in this one, and beautiful Alison batiks in her second one.

8. At first, Saija noticed that she had picked from the same color palette that I used in my quilt, but these more subtle shades give her beautiful cushion a totally different look and feel.

9. Who would have thought that leopard print and stipes would so totally work? Laura's combination with a clear blue make this pillow she made for her son really pop.

10. Bold contrasts of black and white set off Heidi's take on my pattern. She also had the idea to add an extra smaller circle to mini, which gives a very nice extra added touch.

A really, really, big, warm, and heartfelt thank you to all my pattern testers for such lovely and inspring projects!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cut, Cut, Snip, Snip

This week has been more about cutting to prepare for my upcoming Denmark sewing retreat than it has been about sewing. Even though I understand the benefit of time saving when you cut, sew, and iron all at once, etc., the reality of it is that I have never cut all the fabric needed for a quilt all at one time. I'm so tempted to stop in between and stitch up a block before cutting some more, but I suppose that would leave me with having nothing to work on during our trip.

I'm nearing the finish line for completing the quilt top for my second pattern, and I wanted to whip up a smaller project in second colorway. I keep grabbing for this essex linen over and over again, and why not? Another project that will land in my living room once it's finished!

This past week, I joined in on the #missingmarket fun on Instagram sponsored by @gogokim and @thesewingloft. One of the topics of the "party" was to share our #longestWIPever. Wheh... what a scary topic?!? 

When I pulled out these Anna Maria Horner blocks that I started aeons ago with no real plan, I was inspired to figure out some kind of layout for them and get them together. Since I'm not as thrilled about this project anymore, and I don't really want to make more blocks, so I thought I would add some simple Basic Grey grunges to pull out the color in the blocks.

I'm really not sure if I am biting off more than I can chew, but I usually like to have at least on "basket project" in the works, and when I got the latest issue of Love Quilting and Patchwork, I knew this project from Minkikim had to make it in my basket. Her sweet applique projects are just adorable, and I love all the attention to detail.

I'm really excited to see how much I can get done on this retreat... everyone always seems to overpack, but if nothing else, then I'll be ready to just sit down and sew once I get back.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pack Your Bags

My Patchwork Treffen group has a small little trip planned this fall to go to Denmark for a quilting weekend. As far as projects go, it really takes a lot of planning to have enough to do, even though at such get-togethers you never accomplish as much as you think you can. Seeing as how I can't take my sewing room with me, I really want to make sure that I carefully plan all my projects because there's no going to the favorite stack for a forgotten snippit.

As far as my my quarterly goals list goes, my bee quilt has not exactly taken top priority since I am working on my second and third patterns right now. But it is actually the perfect kind of project to put together when we are snuggled up in a cozy cabin, sewing machines humming, and chattering happily away.

I have to admit that at first I really struggled with this layout. With so many shades and tones, when I first laid this out randomly, it really wasn't coming together as I had envisioned. At some point I had the idea to cluster the diamond points according to color. Once I shifted blocks a bit, I knew it was my "that's it" moment.

Sometimes you just need a sew-without-thinking project, and I would say that this will be a perfect snuggle up on the couch, and pull the papers out after a long day of sewing... don't you think? But you'll have to wait until after the trip to see this one put together.

Any sewing retreat/quilting group stories to tell? Any unfortunate forgotten snippit tales?

Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I've Got A Notion

My earliest memories of sewing was with my mom. As a trained home economics teacher, her desire to teach was there, but she had a "student" who was not only willing to learn, but quite eager. At the time I did not value her contstant urgings to do things the proper way, and iron each seam... for me that took too long. But the deeper I got in the craft, the more I came to appreciate her good advice.

Walking hand in hand with those memories of learning to sew, are the  memories of me digging through her notions boxes. I had favorite buttons, and bobbins, thread, and what-nots... and there was nothing more delightful than to dig and dig, making one new discovery after the next. 

I thought it would be fun to use the 6" mini version of my Jeweled Kaleidoscope quilt pattern as a single block for a pin cushion... well, actually the idea came from one of my pattern testers. I've been itching to cut into these notion themed fabrics from Cotton & Steel, and I pulled some of my favorite low volume sewing fabrics to go with it.

There are some projects, usually small ones, that I really enjoy the process of carefully thought out fabric placement. Fussy cutting is not always for the thrifty quilter, but I love the challenge of a perfectly placed snippit.

Cotton & Steel always had such fun selvages, and the Trinket fabrics from Melody Miller, are no exception!

Do such sewing themed fabrics like these evoke any memories of crafting and sewing as a child too?

Linking up with Let's Bee Social.

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