Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Quilt Retreat Preparation Tips



It's time for my annual guild retreat again! I've been doing this for 20 years and I've learned a few things along the way.

I shared how to pack HERE and some good tips HERE so I decided to share my thoughts going into this year's retreat. I hope you find this information helpful to keep in mind before you leave on your next retreat.

Sewing Time

  1. Verify your machine is in good working order and has been serviced. Make sure all of the parts needed are included. Don't show up without your machine foot, it will impede your sewing abilities! 
  2. Pre-wind lots of bobbins and bring extra thread, needles, and rotary blades. Even if you don't need them, someone is sure to, and then you will have a new best friend!
  3. Cut strips, blocks, or even make up entire pre-cut kits. Sitting at your machine sewing will be more productive than waiting in line for the cutting mat or iron!


Social Time

  1. Bring healthy snacks to share (and non healthy ones will be appreciated as well!)
  2. Bring magazines to pass along after you've read them. I've discovered magazines this way that have become favorites. 
  3. Have an open mind and make it a goal to meet someone new, or get to know an acquaintance better. This will be even more rewarding than a finished sewing project!


Unwinding Time

  1. Bring several books to read. You might not like your first choice, or you might finish it.
  2. Bring walking shoes. Take a walk before or after every meal, or in the mornings, or whenever it feels best. Your body will thank you.
  3. Check out the facilities online and see if there is a pool, or hiking trails. Plan accordingly. Or bring your own yoga mat...this is a retreat for your body as well as your sewing projects, reward it!


I would love to hear about your retreat tips and advice. And remember, I'm available to teach at your retreat if you want to hire me, visit my workshops page HERE. I can customize an experience just for your group!

Diane

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Quilt Room Renovation


The construction and painting are finished in my quilt room. I had painted the walls white a few years ago and quickly discovered that I am NOT a neutral lover when it comes to wall color. So I chose Sunflower by Sherwin Williams for the wall color this time. I love it! It's bold and bright but remember, much of the wall is covered in design walls and cabinetry, so bold is okay. That's just my opinion, but since it's my quilt room, I'm sticking with it!

The cabinets are the 'in stock' cabinets from Home Depot. I would have preferred a shaker style, but I was going for quick and easy and low cost...so these fit the bill.


I decided to fancy them up with some cute painted knobs I found online. I was going to have to buy knobs anyway, so why not go for some fun ones?


I also decided a butcher block counter top would be most practical and cost effective. I could have gone with laminate but the in stock choices were hideous. Also, the counters are often where I do my photography so I wanted to natural wood. It was easy enough to install (since I had two strong men to carry it...no stress for me!)


I used a conditioner and a wax finish on it. Super easy and I can always wax it again when it starts to show wear.

The back splash area is covered in cork tiles. I installed these on a day when it was raining and think they were swollen because they have since shrunk! Also, the two sided tape I used isn't holding them very well so I think I'm going to have to glue them. I was hoping to avoid that. I like that they give me lots of area to display notes and blocks and other things I want to keep handy.


I chose to only have two top cabinets installed and ordered two pieces of shelving to connect the cabinets. This allows me to see my pretty fat quarter bundles and other fun stuff while keeping it off my work surfaces. I hope this is going to help me keep things tidy, time will tell...


The drawers are filled with fabric. LOTS of fabric. I have a drawer for each color. The big drawer is for large rulers and rotary cutters. I love having it right next to my cutting surface. So much easier than trying to keep them all in those little holders I had been using. One could argue that I have too many rulers, but is that even possible?


You will notice there is lots of empty space in the middle of the room. Someone mentioned that I needed to make room for a longarm, and while I won't believe it until I see it, I decided it's best to be prepared just in case.


Bill assembled both of the red cabinets that were ordered from Target on the recommendation made by Tonya and I love them. Thanks Tonya!

Edited to add:

The link for the cabinet is here. I also bought the small version here.  You can see the color is much darker and richer than the website shows. It is heavy and requires assembly. Hubby mentioned something about 37 screws in the back panel LOL. It is very sturdy once assembled and I am super happy with it. My only complaint is that the doors don't completely meet in the middle, there's a small gap. And I didn't pay full price, watch and wait, it goes on sale frequently!


There is still room for my fur babies of course, they are never far from my side and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Edited to add:

I have florescent lights installed in the ceiling. Three full size panels. It is very bright in my room. I like it that way for photography. I also have a couple of windows and lamps. The lighting is more than would typically be installed, but I had them add those when we originally finished this room in the basement, knowing I would need it down the line.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments below. I will gladly share sources, etc. I hope you enjoyed this peek into my 'new and improved' sewing space.

Diane

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Save the Date!



Hi local folks! Be sure to mark these dates on your calendar. The Bulloch Hall Quilt Guild Annual Quilt Show is featuring a national exhibit all about our amazing National Parks. Be sure to come see the quilts, visit the lovely historic home, buy a chance for our gorgeous raffle quilt and purchase a small quilt with all proceeds going directly to the preservation funds for our National Parks. More information and details available here and here.

We sure hope to see you there!
Diane

Saturday, January 13, 2018

ALL NEW WORKSHOP available NOW !!!

Ruler Play...Free Motion Quilting with Rulers


I am now offering a machine quilting class! Have you always wanted to learn free motion quilting but think you can't? Don't know what all the fuss about ruler guided quilting is all about? Feel like you should be doing more with your sewing machine, but don't know how to start? Then this class is for you!


What will you learn?

  • how to assess the entire quilting space on your quilt
  • how to divide the quilting spaces into smaller sections
  • how to fill different shapes and areas
  • the best tools and techniques for avoiding common mistakes
  • lots of tips for getting great results


What will you practice?

  • how to hold the ruler and move the quilt
  • how to get multiple designs from one ruler
  • minimize stops and starts
  • proper techniques for best results


What will you discover?

  • how to begin machine quilting more of your own quilts
  • taking one step at a time makes it EASY and FUN
  • there are so many more possibilities than you can imagine



Contact me to schedule a workshop with your group, guild, store or retreat. I can custom plan an event just for you!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

2017 Review and Highlights



Before we get too far into the new year let's review the 'goals' I set for 2017 and see how I did...

1. READ more books.

SUCCESS! I read (and listened to) more books this year than I ever have.

2. NAP. 


I managed a few but not nearly as many as I had hoped for. Life happened instead.

3. RIDE MY BIKE 

Again, I enjoyed my bike during the summer, but never found enough time when the weather wanted to cooperate. I'm going to try harder this year.

4. FAMILY AND FRIENDS will get priority on my calendar over work or 'stuff'.


FAILURE. I wrote another book and that sort of consumes all day every day for too many days. Sigh. I am going to give this a renewed effort this year for sure!

5. THE BEACH. 



I didn't make it to the beach this year but I did go to LONDON with my daughter and we had an amazing time!! So I will happily skip the beach this year.

Results: 1 success, 3 'needs improvement' and 1 'better than I hoped for' so there you have it. Pretty sure I'll just skip that whole "Resolution/Goal Setting" crap this year and get on with life.




However, there were lots of HIGHLIGHTS in 2017 and I put together a list of the top 12 again. See last year's HERE


1. Tiny Stitches Retreat




2. Falcons Playoff Game with the boys


3. LONDON

4. My Boys Graduated from High School


5. Summer Star Sew Along


6. Check me out on Checkers!


7. Empty Nest


8. Teaching Trips


9. Carowinds with the boys!


10. My 1st trip to Houston Quilt Market



11. Snowstorms to begin and end the year


12. Some seriously good reading happened along the way when I wasn't doing this...


While 2017 was an exhausting year with a LOT of difficult transitions, it was also filled with quite a few special moments and big joys. I am still struggling with #7 but I have a great support system. Maybe 2018 will surprise us all!

I hope this will be your best year yet!
Diane

Monday, January 8, 2018

Handmade Quilted Gifts


This past holiday was filled with lots of handmade quilted gifts! I had a wonderful time making as well as receiving them. These bowl cozies were given to all of my friends in my bee group. I used a pattern similar to this one and this one.


I used this infinity scarf pattern to make scarves for my mom and all the college age girls in my family. It was fun pairing the flannels and trims and colors to suit each one. My mom loves blue and white so that was an easy choice, and Danny's girlfriend got VT hokie colors. The others were just fun combinations that hopefully will be enjoyed by the girls.


Before Christmas, I sent pillow cases in each of the kids care packages. I make these pillow cases in fun fabrics to celebrate every holiday and season. They are much more popular with my daughter than with my boys. My boys think they are silly, but they've had me for a mom for 19 years so they are used to it by now.


I treated myself to this quilted pendant from the very talented Julie at her webstore. I have several in traditional quilt blocks, a few holiday charms, and even a pair of earrings. I might be slightly addicted to this jewelry but it makes me so happy to see a tiny package from Julie in the mail.


My sweet friend Anne made wool mitten ornaments for each person in our bee group. She did such a lovely job and doesn't it look adorable on my Christmas tree?


My bee group friends are also talented in the kitchen. Every year I look forward to Darlene's Sugared Pecans and Anne's Baked Granola. These recipes are similar to the ones they use. Please don't just that the pecan jar is empty, I couldn't wait long enough to take the photo before eating them. 


My sweet friend Mary Ruth made each of us a Valentine Mini Quilt from a panel of pre-printed valentines. They are darling with hand quilting and sweet fabric combinations. It's going to be the first valentine I hang as soon as the Christmas decor comes down. That's right, I still haven't done that huge task yet, but I have good excuses I promise!

I hope you enjoyed some handmade goodness this holiday season too!
What's the best handmade gift you've given or received?
I would love to hear all about them in the comments.

Enjoy!
Diane


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Currently...


I just finished this fun little pillow from a panel at the shop. It's on display at Tiny Stitches and just ask for the free pattern when you purchase the panel. It was so fun and easy. I hope you enjoy it!

I've also made another super-cute top-secret mini project for the Tiny Stitches Retreat this month. I can't share it until it's been unveiled at the retreat, but I promise you will see it here as soon as I can share it!

And I'm still putting the finishing touches on my sewing room renovation. Um, actually my husband is doing most of the work. He assembled two pieces for furniture yesterday and is still putting the adorable hand painted cabinet knobs on the built ins. I did wax and seal the butcher block counter top and it looks gorgeous now! I promise to give a full tour when it's ready. I'm hoping that will be next week.


But mostly I'm just sick. Like totally-congested-head-cold-and-I-feel-like-crud sick. No fever, no sore throat, so that's good. And I noticed all of my cold meds expired in 2015 so it's been a while since I've been sick. I love to boast about how I NEVER get sick, and then I feel like a total failure when I do. I know that's silly but I am the worst patient ever, I have too much to do to nap on the sofa!


But I've got some very good companions who are giving me lots of snuggles. Although I have to be careful because one of them likes to eat the tissues...ewwww!

Stay warm and healthy friends!
Diane
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