Fishy Stash

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a relaxing weekend with some fun sewing! Things were a little fishy around here, so let me show you what I worked on this weekend!

Last week, Nancy from Grace and Peace Quilting posted a picture of the mini quilt she made from a pattern in the current issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. When I saw her quilt, I knew I had to make one of my own. So I did. You saw a little peek of this on Friday, and many of you knew what I was up to. Here it is, all done.

Fishy Monday Quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

Well, actually I made it for someone else, but more about that in a minute.

I chose to make only four fish rather than five. Why? Because I only had enough of the background fabric for four fish! It’s a fun low-volume polka dot, which I thought worked well. I also made the red fish and the bottom blue fish out of prints rather than solids. Again because it’s what I had in my stash. The bottom blue fish is actually made using the wrong side of the fabric. The right side was just a smidgen too dark, so I just flipped it over and used the wrong side, which was just right! Do you ever do that?

This was my first time using straight line quilting, and I really enjoyed it! I didn’t measure other than to add a few little marks to try to keep me somewhat straight. I wanted to make sure I stitched straight through the middle of the fish first, then I just kept adding lines around it. I didn’t get too worried if the lines bent a little. It was fun to use the red thread for the red fish and then switch to a light blue on the rest.

Fishy Monday Quilt - detail shot - piecefulthoughts.com

This is going to a sweet friend of mine. She and her husband are pastors to missionaries. They travel often, and this is a welcome home gift for her when she arrives home next week. She is one of my closest friends, and we have walked through much together. The symbol of the fish has much meaning to her. The colors in the quilt are not only colors in her home, but colors of her heritage. The red fish swimming the other way will have special meaning to her as well. I cannot wait to give this to her, although she will likely read this post and know it is coming her way.

Fishy Monday Quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

This is a really fun quilt to make. Go grab a copy of Modern Patchwork and make one of your own!

I’m linking up today with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts and Em’s Scrapbag

See you Wednesday!

Wendy

 

Three Project Peeks

I have three project peeks for you today. This week has been a fast one with the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop and seeing all the fun projects from the bloggers who are participating. I hope you keep following each day, fill your to-do list with some fun Christmas projects, and make sure to comment on each blog so you qualify for the great giveaway. You can find the details on the giveaway and the blog hop  here.

So let’s get to the peeks! I’ve had some fun this week working with my stash of fabric. Do you ever get fabric and know you want to make something — like, you kind of have an idea, but not really? I have had a couple of pre-cuts that fit that description. Finally this week the lightbulb went on, and I had to get to work on them.

So I’ve been doing a little of this. This will be a gift for a friend.

Three Project Peek - piecefulthoughts.com
This is not my design, but a fun little project.

And a little of this. I have no idea what I will do with this.

Three Project Peeks - piecefulthoughts.com
This isn’t a design of mine either, but it sure is colorful!

And a whole lotta this. I have no idea what I will do with this either, but I am having so much fun.

Three Project Peeks - piecefulthoughts.com
I told my husband, “It’s improv, but I have a plan!” He thought that was funny.

None of these projects are done yet, but they are well on their way. I’ll post my progress!

In Other News

What else is going on in my life? Here’s a few random things.

  • In less than a month we move our daughter to Florida.
  • In a little more than a month we go on our 30th anniversary trip.
  • I have 6 quart jars of brandied cherries soaking up the sun in my kitchen window.
  • Fred and I have separated, but we are still friends. He is residing with my other boots and shoes. PT is more fun than wearing Fred the Boot.
  • I’d like my own personal chef so I wouldn’t have to make dinner.
Before You Go

Since we’ve been talking about Christmas projects this week, and if you’ve enjoyed the QAL that’s been going on with the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop, I want to put a little plug in for another QAL coming up on August 1st.

Earlier this year, I was part of the 2017 New Bloggers Blog Hop and I have met some of the most amazing bloggers through that group. Some of them have put together the I Wish You a Merry Christmas Quilt-A-Long and if you enjoy QALs, you don’t want to miss this one! I’ve seen the blocks that will be part of this, and they are cute! You can get all the details here.  Don’t miss it — you’ll have a fun quilt all ready for Christmas!

Have a great weekend, everyone! I hope you sneak some sewing time in!

Wendy

Mini Garland Tutorial

Well, wow! What a fun week it has been for the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop! Thanks so much for all of your kind and encouraging comments! I hope you have been visiting the blogs each day and finding some great ideas for Christmas!

So many of you commented on the little JOY mini garland that I thought I’d do a really quick tutorial on how I put it together. It really goes together quickly. Depending on the number of blocks you in the garland, this can easily be made in a day or less. So let’s get started!

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

You’ll Need These Items
  • Your colored block. I’m using a leftover block from when I was drafting the garland. If you are just joining us, you can read about how to make the colored letter blocks here.
  • Four 1″ x 5″ strips of fabric to use as borders around the block. You can adjust the length of these strips to match the size of your block after it’s cut. I used a charm pack square, so I cut mine 1″ x 5″.
  • One piece of background fabric. I also used a charm pack square here, but you can go scrappy with this. It needs to be just a bit bigger than your trimmed block.
  • One scrap piece of fusible fleece or regular batting the size of your backing fabric.
  • Chopstick or other turning tool

Take the colored block and trim it down to the size you want. I leave 1/2″ around my letter, to allow for 1/4″ seam allowance and some space around the letter.

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Next, gather your scrap strips, or charm pack square for your border, and cut them 1″ x 5″, or 1″ by the length of your colored block square after trimming.

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Take two of the strips and sew one strip to each side of the colored block.

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Trim them even with the colored block. Then take the other two strips and sew them to the top and bottom of the block. Trim them to the size of the block. Now you have your bordered block.

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Next, take your scrap piece of fusible fleece and fuse it to the wrong side of the block. (Note: If you are using regular batting, place it on the wrong side of the block. You can either secure it with a quick spritz of spray baste or with pins.)

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Here it is with the fusible fleece added — you just can’t see the fusible but it’s underneath there!

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Next, take your backing fabric and trim it to the exact size of the bordered block. Lay the backing fabric on top of the block so that the backing and block are right sides together. Stitch around the block, using a scant 1/4″ seam. Make sure to leave an opening so that you can turn the block.

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Clip the corners to reduce bulk. Just don’t clip through the stitching!

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Turn the block, and use a chopstick or another tool to push out the corners.

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

Give the block a good press with the iron, tucking under the seam allowances of the opening. Stitch close to the edge all the way around the block.

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

All done and ready to hang with a cute mini clothespin!

Mini Garland Tutorial - piecefulthoughts.com

I hope you enjoy making this little mini garland. I’d love to see pictures of what you make!

Don’t forget to keep following the Blog Hop and commenting — you don’t want to miss out on that giveaway. You can find all the details over on Sarah’s blog at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Happy stitching, friends!

Wendy

 

Color Me Christmas

This is the 4th day of the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop, and today I’m one of the stops along the way!

Be sure to check out the other blogs for today; I have them listed with links for you at the end of this post. Remember that commenting on all of the blogs today makes you eligible for giveaway, too!

Kids and Christmas

When my kids were little, I recall having a mad scramble around Christmas for gifts for teachers, friends, grandpa and grandma — you know what I mean, right? I was always looking for something fun for them to make that didn’t add further stress and cost to the works!

Today I want to revisit an old craft with you for an easy kids sewing project that is relatively easy to do and can be used in a variety of ways. Using some scrap material and a few art supplies, this easy project goes together pretty quickly. So let’s get started.

Gather Your Tools

You’ll need the following items:

  • Light table or sunny window
  • Tape (opt)
  • Simple drawing or design with bold lines for tracing (or you can freehand the design)
  • Pencil for tracing
  • Freezer paper (optional)
  • Crayola® brand crayons (other brands don’t saturate well)
  • Crayon sharpener
  • Two sheets of paper towel OR a sheet of clean paper
  • Iron
  • Small piece of light background fabric (I used a 5.5″ square)
Kids’ Fun for Kids of All Ages

We’re going to be tracing a design on fabric, coloring in that design, and then setting the color with the iron. (Remember doing that as a kid?) Kids should be able to do all of this with a little guidance, depending on their ages.

You can use plain white fabric or a low volume fabric. I experimented a bit and found that low volume fabric adds a bit of fun to the background, yet the crayons cover it quite well.

Color Me Christmas - piecefulthoughts.com

If you are going to be tracing a design onto the fabric, this is where you use the light table or sunny window. Choose a design that is simple and easy to trace. I used letters, but you could find a fun pattern from free online clip art or a small coloring book (you might have to reduce the image), etc.  Place the design under the fabric and center it. Trace lightly around the design. Don’t worry if the lines get dark, it can be covered up in later steps. Besides, those little imperfections will bring a smile in years to come!

Color Me Christmas - Tracing with Light Table - piecefulthoughts.com

Tip: If you are going to freehand the design, or have the kids draw rather than trace a design on the fabric, consider stabilizing the fabric with freezer paper to keep the fabric from stretching and frustrating those little fingers as they try to draw. Taking a scrap piece of freezer paper and lay it shiny side up on your ironing table. Iron the shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric. The freezer paper will adhere to the fabric and is easily removable once the project is done. Leave the freezer paper on for the next step.

Color Me Christmas - Freezer Paper Stabilizer - piecefulthoughts.com

Okay, now to the fun stuff. Have the kids color in the design with the crayons. Let them be creative and use whatever colors they wish. Encourage them to color with bold strokes; darker coloring shows up better. This is also where that sharpener comes in handy.

Once the coloring is done, remove the freezer paper (if you’ve used it) by simply grabbing a corner of the paper and pulling it away from the fabric.

Place the fabric between two sheets of paper towel (or paper) and iron to set the crayon. Just run the hot iron over the paper towel or paper a few times, holding it briefly over the design.

Color Me Christmas - How to - piecefulthoughts.com

Working Together

Now that the coloring is done and set, it’s time to jazz it up a bit. This is where you can have all kinds of fun and let your imagination go. Kids can also do this with guidance, depending on their age, but you may have to do more oversight on the following steps. I’ve kept my designs pretty simple, but you can feel free to use your imagination and give your block some personality!

You can embroider around the design, as simple or elaborate as you like. This can be done by a child if they are comfortable with using needle and thread. You can stabilize the block before stitching with a bit of fusible interfacing if you wish.

Color Me Christmas - Embellishing - piecefulthoughts.com

Or you can just outline the design with a permanent ink pen designed for fabric (I use a Micron pen). Be sure to set the ink with a quick press of the iron.

Color Me Christmas - Mug Mat - piecefulthoughts.com

For the mug mat above, I used a 5.5″ square of Moda Grunge for the background. I simply drew a freehand snowman on my block, so you can see how easily and quickly this project can be done. This is helpful for those little ones who just want to quickly draw something and be off on another adventure! I didn’t embellish the snowman much, other than adding some outlining and three tiny buttons on his tummy.

To finish the mug mat top, I used two 1.5″ x 10″ strips of fabric, one light, one dark, and sewed them together on one long side, pressing the seam to the dark fabric. Your strip should measure 2.5″ wide. Then I cut the strip into five 1.5″ pieces and sewed them back together, alternating the red and white squares to form a checkerboard. Sew it to the right side of the snowman block. Spray baste the top, add batting and backing and a little quilting. Bind it, and done!

Here are a few samples of some fun things I did with this crayon art. Let your imagination flow.

A mini quilt with a touch of improv. I just cut around the letter in a wonky shape and added scraps of fabric by following the shape.

Color Me Christmas - Mini Mini - piecefulthoughts.com

A fun little mini garland to hang in a little nook or cranny.

Color Me Christmas - Mini Garland - piecefulthoughts.com

Here’s some other ideas:

  • Rather than mini garland, add a magnet to the back of each letter for use on the magnetic board.
  • Add a colored block to a zipper pouch for a personalized gift.
  • Make ornaments — you could even date them using the fabric pen (don’t forget to set the writing with a press of the iron!)
  • Using a fusible like Steam-A-Seam, fuse the small block to a lunch-size brown paper bag for a cute gift bag.

See? All kinds of ideas! Have fun with this project! I’d love to see a picture of what you and your kids create!

Don’t forget that in order to qualify for the giveaway, you need to leave a comment on my blog as well as the others scheduled for today.

Here are the other blogs to visit today.

Ok, friends, leave a comment and then hop on over to the other blogs!

Wendy

Bloghop Day!

It seems to happen to me every year, right around the month of July. I tell myself that I need to get going on Christmas projects. I think to myself, if I start in July, I can have most of my Christmas gifts done and waiting to be wrapped by December. Great idea, but it never happens. Does that happen to you?

Well today is the day to make it happen! The 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop begins today. This blog hop is going to be chock full of great projects that you can start now and have your Christmas gift list well on its way to being done! With 30 bloggers posting over the next 12 days, you’re sure to find some great projects for Christmas that you can make right now.

You really shouldn’t miss a day of this blog hop, so let me give you the details.

Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict is once again coordinating this blog hop. Visit her post today, take a look at her fun project, and thank her for hosting. By the way, if you don’t follow Sarah, you should. She is delightful and so creative!

Starting today for the next 12 days, a group of bloggers will be posting their Christmas projects to share with you. Be sure to visit each one of their posts each day and leave a comment in each blogger’s post. Why? Because we love positive feedback, but also because you will then be eligible for the amazing giveaway during this blog hop! More about the giveaway in a moment.

Here’s the blog hop schedule.

Friday, July 14th

Saturday, July 15th

Sunday, July 16th

Monday, July 17th

Tuesday, July 18th

Wednesday, July 19th

Thursday, July 20th

Friday, July 21st

Saturday, July 22nd

Don’t Miss the Great Giveaway!

So here’s the deal on the giveaway — you don’t want to miss out on this! If you visit each blog each day and leave a comment on each blog, you’ll be eligible to win prizes. This giveaway is world-wide, by the way!

The lovely folks over at Free Spirit Fabrics have donated not just one item for a giveaway, but THIRTEEN!  And it’s pretty drool-worthy stuff, too – it’s Tula Pink’s new holiday line, Holiday Homies!!!

Sarah has six design rolls, six layer cakes, and one fat quarter bundle to give away – and here’s how she’s going to do it!  Visit each stop on the hop, including Sarah’s blog, and leave a comment on each post for the day.  At the end of the hop, Sarah will do a giveaway for each day by putting everyone’s name in the hat who commented that day (from all that day’s hop-blogs), and drawing a winner for that day.  That will be twelve winners!  Then Sarah will put all the names from all the days in a hat and draw out a grand prize winner!  You have until July 27th to comment on the blogs. One caveat — only one prize per person — but don’t let that stop you from entering! 

Join in the Fun!

I hope you visit each of the blogs during the next 12 days. There will be a variety of projects, so I’m sure you’ll find at least one that you want to do! And don’t miss the chance at the amazing giveaway!

And don’t forget to stop by my blog on Monday. If you are looking for some ideas for kids (and kids at heart) crafts during the holiday season, you’ll want to see what I’m up to. See you Monday!

Wendy

Cool Tool Monday

Cool Tool Monday is a week late, but I promised you, so here it is! Today I want to share a couple cool little tools I found while I was at the Minnesota Quilt Show.

I recently decided to try English Paper Piecing. I have a sampler pack from my local quilt store. It’s a great way to decide if I like EPP without committing to a whole project. So I’ve been doing some reading, watching videos, etc. as I learn.

At the Minnesota Quilt Show, one of the vendors was Traditional Primitives. Missie’s quilts were beautiful, a blend of EPP and traditional piecing. Two little tools in her booth caught my eye.

Cool Tool Monday - EPP tools - piecefulthoughts.com
Finger Stiletto, upper right; starch brush, upper left.

The first is the little finger stiletto. You’ll find other finger stilettos if you search for them, but I like this one. It’s adjustable to my finger, and it’s shorter and easier to control. Take a look at this video by Missie; she’ll show you how to use this cool tool.

I’m pretty sure I’ll find this stiletto useful for other quilt projects as well. For example, I can place it on my finger and use it like a regular stiletto to feed my fabric under the foot of the sewing machine as I sew.

I think it will also be handy when I want to open my seams up to press them; sometimes I can’t get those two little seams apart with my fingers. I think the stiletto will help as well as protect my finger from getting burned while I press.

The other cool tool is the starch brush. I haven’t used it yet, but I do like the starch method idea for EPP as well as needle turn appliqué. Watch Missie’s video showing how she uses the brush and her starch method.

She doesn’t show you how to load the brush on the video. After separating the brush so that you have the wand to load with starch, you simply point the nozzle of the spray starch into the wand and gently spray in the starch. It will foam a bit but it will settle down to liquid. Put the brush end back on and you are ready to use the brush.

So that’s the two Cool Tools for this Monday. What other tools would you like me to review? I’d love to hear!

I’m linking up today to Main Crush Monday with Beth at Cooking Up Quilts.

(By the way, I’m not affiliated with Missie or Traditional Primitives.)

Wendy

Friday Fun

This week was a little off with the holiday and other things happening, unrelated to quilting. I planned to get a post done on Wednesday, but spent the day at the Twins game on Tuesday (it was hot and the game was long) so I had nothing to post about.

Now that Friday is here, I thought I’d introduce you to a new, hopefully temporary, member of our household. Meet Fred.

Friday Fun - meet Fred - piecefulthoughts.com

Fred and I are getting to know each other. I’m not sure I like him much. He’s a bit cumbersome and messes with my fashion statement.

Back in April (yes, April) I sprained my ankle while we were in New Mexico. We did all the things you should do for a sprain, except go to the doctor (because we thought it was just a bad sprain, y’know?). This week, 4 months later, I decided I should ask the doctor why the swelling wasn’t going away and find out what stretches I should be doing now that it felt good enough that I should be able to start my daily walking again. I came home with Fred and a possible fractured fibula. Another doctor appointment next Tuesday. Thankfully, it’s not my sewing foot! I’m not sure if this is Friday Fun, so let’s move on to the fun part.

When I have been doing some sewing, it’s been mostly secret sewing. Here’s a peek at the fabric I’m playing with. This little project will be for the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop, which starts on July 14th. Watch for my post on July 17. I hope you’ll stop by and see what I’ve been working on.

Friday Fun - Secret Sewing Sneak Peek - piecefulthoughts.com

When I have deadlines and I get overwhelmed, I start a whole new project, totally unrelated to anything. Do you do that? Please say yes. Here’s what I decided to start on over the weekend, thinking I could get it done in a day or two. I’m itching to finish it, but it needs to wait for now. You may need your sunglasses, this fabric is bright!

Friday Fun - New Project - piecefulthoughts.com

Stay tuned, friends. Fred and I will be back soon. I expect he’ll be around for awhile. We’ll see!

Enjoy your weekend! I hope it’s full of stitching!

Wendy

Happy 4th

I’m taking a break from Cool Tool Monday to celebrate July 4th with family. Watch for Cool Tool Monday next week.

I’ll just post a few red, white and blue small quilts of mine for you today.

Happy 4th - mini banner - piecefulthoughts.com

This little 6″ mini was fun and fast to do. A little straight quilting and it’s done. The hanger is made by my brother and sold at What A Hoot Quilting.

Happy 4th - tablerunner WIP - piecefulthoughts.com

This tablerunner is one of the WIPs languishing in a pile waiting to be quilted. Maybe, just maybe, I can get it done for next year!

Happy 4th - mug mat - piecefulthoughts.com

Here’s to a happy, relaxing and safe 4th celebration for my American friends!

Happy Stitching!

Wendy

Small Finish

I have small finish to show you today. With the 4th of July holiday just around the corner for those of us in the U.S.A., I thought it would be nice to make something patriotic. Nothing like waiting until the last minute!

I knew exactly what fabrics I wanted to use. I have had these fabrics for quite awhile. In my mind I was thinking on a design for a flag mini with them, but the idea I ended up with is totally different.

I started with the fabric, my small cutting mat and rotary cutter, and ruler. In addition to that I used this mini Made Fabric template from Victoria Findlay Wolfe. While this project is easily done without the template, the template is clear and makes it so easy to fussy cut for this project.

Small Finish - piecefulthoughts.com

I fussy cut four stars from this Jo Morton fabric. Then, taking red, white and blue fabrics, I began to sew.

Small Finish - Sewing the block - piecefulthoughts.com

I just alternated the strip colors as I attached them to the star piece, going around twice.

Once that was done, I pulled out my little scrap pieces of batting and got them ready for quilting. Just enough of the cream colored fabric was left for the back.

Using simple straight line quilting,I  just followed the flow of the strips around the center star. One 22″ black strip cut 1-1/4″ was used for a single-fold binding with an envelope finish.

Small Finish - Quilting Detail - piecefulthoughts.com

Our daughter is coming home this weekend, so these will be fun to use when we’re all together. I am hoping the weather holds enough for us to spend some time around the table on our deck, sipping on something refreshing and catching up with each other.

Small Finish - 4th of July Mug Mats - piecefulthoughts.com

I’m linking up with Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts, Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Anja of Anja Quilts and Myra at Busy Hands Quilts today.

To my Canadian friends, Happy Canada Day on July 1st, to my American friends, Happy Independence Day on July 4th, and to my other international friends, may you have a wonderful and relaxing weekend!

Wendy

Batiks and Babies

Batiks and babies are on my mind here at Pieceful Thoughts today. While I am procrastinating on other projects, I pulled out some batik strips and whipped them up into a quilt top.

The batiks are leftover from two other quilts I made, one for my daughter and one for friend who let us stay at her cabin. They are bright greens and blue batiks; very calming and fun to work with.

Batiks and Babies - piecefulthoughts.com

The pattern is a free download I found a few years ago. I used  this pattern for my daughter’s quilt, so I knew it would be easy to do again. However, I miscalculated in one step of the cutting so things don’t quite match up correctly. No matter, this is going to be a practice quilt for me as I learn free motion quilting.

Batiks and Babies - lawn view - piecefulthoughts.com

Babies and Baby Quilts

Both of the finished baby quilts are in their new homes, and just in time too! One of the babies has arrived. A beautiful little girl named Sophia Joan. I can’t wait to meet her and see her with the quilt. The day I took the picture, which was, of course the morning I was handing it off, was rainy and cloudy, so the pictures aren’t the best. I hope to have some better ones to show you soon!

Batiks and Babies - SoJo's Quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

Batiks and Babies - quilting detail - piecefulthoughts.com

Batiks and Babies - Backing View - piecefulthoughts.com

The Mini Periwinkle Quilt was given to my cousin Deb, who is the grandmother of the soon-to-arrive little girl. We are all waiting, (im)patiently for her to make her appearance! Here’s a picture of the quilt, taken on yet another very wet, dark day. This pattern is from the Missouri Star Quilt Company, and the fabric is Sugar Pie by Lella Boutique.

Batiks and Babies - Periwinkle Quilt - piecefulthoughts.com

Batiks and Babies - Periwinkle Quilt Back View - piecefulthoughts.com

The rest of the week has been spent secret sewing, in anticipation of the 12 Days of Christmas in July blog hop! I’m looking forward to sharing my project with you!

Linking up today with Jennifer at The Inquiring Quilter, Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts, and Susan at Quilt Fabrication.

Wendy