December 4, 2015

Update on Recipe Cards Fabric

A while back, I told you I was taking Bonnie Christine's Skillshare class on surface pattern design.  I had borrowed my grandmother's recipe book with the idea that I would somehow print her handwritten recipes on tea towels.  If you missed the original post, you can find it here.  Without any previous experience using Adobe Illustrator, I thought it would close to impossible to learn how to navigate the program well enough to create anything but circles and squares.  Bonnie, however, is an incredible teacher.  Her class covers everything from opening a new document to creating an interesting repeating pattern.  And lots of stuff in between.  The entire process was fascinating, and I'm now able to do things with Illustrator that I never would have learned on my own.

After I finished the recipe card design, I used the re-color tool that automatically changes the placement of the colors, then selected three different prints to upload to Spoonflower for printing on fabric.  Here's how they turned out. 

When I first started quilting by machine, I really, really wanted to learn how to quilt feathers.  So I drew them on paper until my brain learned to sew them.  While I was learning to draw directly in Illustrator recently, I kept thinking of a particular feather design that I've used for a few of my quilts, and ended up making a repeating feather pattern.  Here are my new feather fabrics.

It's so much fun to start with a blank computer screen and end up with fabrics that are unique and meaningful.  If you ever considered it, but didn't know where to start, just enroll in Bonnie's class -- she'll tell you everything you need to know.  And if I can answer any questions about how to get started there, just ask. 

Hope you all have a good weekend!


July 29, 2015


I hope you all enjoyed the Charleston by REVIVE Blog Tour!  I enjoyed seeing everyone's projects, and love all the blocks submitted for the Electric Quilt/Timeless Treasures block challenge.  In case you didn't know, the block challenge has been extended for those who submitted a block.  Scoot on over here to find out more.

Thank you so much for visiting and for participating.  And congratulations to Jeanna, the prize winner for my day of the blog tour.  Jeanna, if you'll shoot me your mailing address and let me know which print you'd like, it will soon be on its way.  (You can see the whole collection here.)

Happy Hump Day!


July 23, 2015

Charleston by REVIVE Blog Tour

Welcome to the Charleston by REVIVE Blog Tour!  Charleston is the first REVIVE collection that is re-colored from vintage prints from different eras, movements, or artistic styles. This collection has been curated to highlight the Art Deco period, but colored and styled for use in modern-day projects.  You can see all 28 prints in the Charleston collection here.  The prints are mostly metallic, and are very elegant.  

I designed a quilt block for the blog tour, and have provided a tutorial below. Before you get busy sewing, though, you should hop over to Timeless Treasures' blog, Sew Timeless, to enter the giveaway for a complete 28-piece fat quarter bundle of Charleston.  You just might be one of the three winners chosen on July 27th.  And don't forget to leave a comment here to win one yard of your favorite print from the collection!  I'll close the comments Monday at 10:00 p.m CDT, and announce the winner here on Tuesday.  

And one more thing -- Do you EQ?  You can download the entire Charleston collection over at The EQ Blog.  And there's still time to design a block for the Timeless Treasures Block Challenge!  You'll want to hurry, though.  All blocks need to be submitted electronically by Monday, July 27.    

In case you missed any stops on the tour, here's the schedule.  
Monday, July 20:
Shayla Wolf, Sassafras Lane Designs

Tuesday, July 21:
Leslie Meltzer, 50 Sq Ft Studios
Kim Buffington, Make Something/Dritz

Wednesday, July 22:
Rebecca Silbaugh, Ruby Blue Quilts

Thursday, July 23:
Kim Brackett, Magnolia Bay Quilts (You're here!)
Lee Chappell Monroe, May Chappell

Friday, July 24

And here's a little tutorial for you.  The block I designed for the Charleston by REVIVE blog tour is 12" square. "Bonus" triangles from one block are switched and used to complete a different block so that you end up with two different main fabrics in each block.  The cutting list below is for two blocks.  

For the first two blocks, I used:
Glitz Revive CM4205 Red
Art Deco Revive CM4208 Cream
Glamour Revive CM4212 Navy

In the instructions, I'll refer to the fabrics as red, cream, and navy.  

Cutting for two blocks:

From red fabric, cut 4 rectangles, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".
From navy fabric, cut 4 rectangles, 4 1/2" x 6 1/2".
From cream fabric, cut 8 squares, 4 1/2" x 4 1/2"; and 8 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 4 1/2".

Assembling the Blocks

1.  On the back of each 4 1/2" cream square, use a sharp pencil and the edge of a ruler to make a light diagonal mark from corner to corner.

2.  Mark another diagonal line 1/2" away from the first diagonal line.

3.  Place a 4 1/2" cream square on top of a red print rectangle, right sides together, as shown below.  Pin in place, then sew along both of the diagonal lines.

4.  Using a rotary cutter and acrylic ruler, cut between the diagonal lines.  

5.  Press the main unit (folded-corner unit) so that the seam allowances are directed toward the cream triangle.  Make 4 matching folded-corner units.

6.  Press the seam allowances of the "bonus" half-square triangle unit toward the red print.   

7.  Place a square ruler along the upper and right edge of the half-square triangle unit as shown, with the diagonal line of the ruler following the seam line.  Trim the top and right edges.

8.  Rotate the half-square triangle unit so that the trimmed edges are aligned with the 2 1/2" horizontal and vertical markings on the ruler as shown.  Trim the extra fabric from the top and right edges.  Make 4 matching half-square triangle units.

9.  Repeat steps 1 through 8 using 4 blue rectangles and the remaining 4 cream squares.  

10.  Sew together a red half-square triangle unit to a cream 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle as shown. Press the seam allowances toward the cream rectangle. Make 4 matching units.

11.  Sew together the blue half-square triangle units to the remaining cream 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles.  Press the seam allowances toward cream rectangle.

12.  Sew a blue pieced unit from Step 11 to a red folded-corner unit from Step 5. Press the seam allowances toward the blue pieced unit.  Make 4 matching units.

13.  Sew a red pieced unit from Step 10 to a blue folded-corner unit.  Press the seam allowances toward the red pieced unit.  Make 4 matching units.

14.  Sew together together two units from 13.  Press the seam allowances to the right.  Repeat for the remaining two units from Step 13.  

15.  Sew the two half-blocks from unit 15 together.  Before pressing, remove the vertical stitching above the horizontal seam allowance with a seam ripper. 

16.  Turn the block to the back, and open the seam allowances and "rotate" them to form a tiny pinwheel.  Press the tiny pinwheel with the tip of an iron. 

17.  Turn the block to the right side and press the seam allowances in a clockwise direction.  

18.  Repeat Steps 12 through 17 using the blue folded-corner units and red pieced units. 

How easy was that?  Now you have two different 12" blocks!  If you have any questions about how to construct the blocks, just leave a comment here, or e-mail me using the link in my sidebar.  

And here's what your quilt might look like using almost all of the prints from Charleston.  

I hope you're enjoying the Charleston by REVIVE Blog Tour!  Be sure to visit all the stops.  And good luck with the drawings!


July 18, 2015

Getting Closer to Turning Paper into Fabric

A few years ago, I read a Spoonflower guest blog post by Emma that discussed how to turn handwritten recipes into tea towels.  You can read the blog post here.  At the time, my grandmother was in her 80s, and I thought something like this would be meaningful for her children and grandchildren.  So I borrowed her recipe book. 


My mom bought several of these books to support a fundraiser many, many years ago.  She gifted one to me, and mine contains my favorite recipes shared mostly by my mother, but other family members as well.  My grandmother routinely included the name of the person who shared the recipe, and sometimes included the date. 


I loved the idea of tea towels, but thought having fabric would be more fun.  I imagined all the things I could make for my mom and her siblings -- aprons, potholders, casserole covers, napkins, tablecloths, etc.  (Yeah, I got a little carried away.)  I decided to try including several recipe pages into one design to make a repeat pattern that would fill this imaginary fabric.  It took a while to scan all the pages, then clean up the images and remove the backgrounds using Photoshop Elements.  I made an arrangement of four recipes that had originated from my grandmother and each of her daughters.  After working on it for many hours, it looked very boring to me, needed color, and definitely did not repeat. 
I tried a few more layouts, then looked for tutorials on creating repeat patterns in Photoshop Elements.  Eventually, I got bored with it and gave up, thinking that one day when I had more time, I would figure it out. 

Between then and now, my grandmother passed away.  It has become even more important to me to preserve her handwriting in a way that can be shared with her children and grandchildren.  In a serendipitous moment, I ran across a link to Bonnie Christine's blog, Going Home to Roost.  You may know that she designs beautiful fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics.  (Links for all of her fabric collections are on her blog sidebar.) Turns out that she also teaches classes at Skillshare on surface pattern design!  She also teaches at Creative Live, is working with Spoonflower on its four-week SpoonChallenge 2015: Creating a Fabric Collection, and hosts the Roost Tribe, an online membership that cultivates creativity and provides tips, recipes, and all sorts of fun stuff.  I will likely purchase the class at Creative Live, but since Skillshare is a membership website with other types of classes, I signed up there first and enrolled in her classes. 

For now, I'm only watching the lessons a little at a time, and will repeat the lessons from the beginning when I'm ready to try creating a repeat pattern.  So far, I'm loving the classes, and learning so much!  Bonnie shares her journey as a surface pattern designer, and it's quite impressive.  She teaches her tricks for navigating Adobe Illustrator, converting sketches and drawing in Illustrator, and creating repeat patterns that can be used for fabric and other products.  And that's just in her first class!  In the second class, she teaches you how to create a collection.  Bonnie is so encouraging, and shares everything that it took her years to learn.  If learning Illustrator or learning how to design repeat patterns (or an entire pattern collection) interests you, you won't be disappointed with these classes.   Stay tuned -- I'll be back to share more as soon as I begin working with my grandmother's recipe book.  Hopefully, the next time you see it, there will be lots of color and much more personality.    

Hope you're all having a fun weekend!


July 5, 2015


Hi there.  I know, it's been a long time since I was here.  I didn't mean to be away for so long.  I gave thought to abandoning my little blog, and also gave thought to sneaking in a post and pretending that I haven't been so absent.  Rumor has it that not many people read blogs any more.  I hope that isn't true, but honestly, I haven't been reading many blogs myself.  I follow many of you on Instagram, though, and have been able to keep up with you there. 

I'm still working full-time at a law firm.  For a few months, I also worked on a huge quilting project that took almost every spare minute, and I had to give up a lot of things to get it finished.  Things like blogging, reading, housekeeping, lunch hours and, occasionally, shaving my legs. 

A few weeks ago, I was finally able to take a short trip with my mom and aunt to Savannah, Georgia.  Such a beautiful city with so much history.

My mom and aunt were searching for Gullah sweetgrass baskets that are found in the Savannah/Charleston area.  We went walking along River Street, and found Oji Lukata.  Oji is a gracious man whose family has been sewing sweetgrass baskets for generations.  Here is Oji with my mom who is still so excited about her basket and thrilled to have met Oji.  And below the photo is a short video on the tradition and history of these baskets.

From Savannah, we took a short drive to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to visit Michael Smalls who also makes sweetgrass baskets.  We found Michael sewing a basket while sitting in a shady area on the grounds of the Coastal Discovery Museum.  We didn't have a lot of time to spend at the museum and, since it felt like 140 degrees in the shade, exploring the grounds may not have been a brilliant idea anyway.  I would love to go back to the museum when the weather is cooler.  It's an incredibly beautiful place surrounded by towering live oaks draped in moss.  Here are photos of Michael and my aunt, and the front of the museum. 

I'm slowly getting back to quilting.  Very, very slowly.  Have you ever slowly worked on three projects at once?   My progress is almost invisible without time lapse photography.  But I'm enjoying being able to sew just for fun, and working on some long-term projects.  One of my projects is Lissa Alexander's Rainbow Rows quilt that she made for American Patchwork & Quilting's Go Four It quilt-along.  Tee-tiny little four-patch blocks set on point.  I haven't even bothered to check the number of four-patch blocks I'll need for a whole quilt.  I'm sure it's like eight thousand or something.  I just make a few when the mood strikes, and watch the stack grow.  Slowly. 

That's pretty much everything I've been up to, all in one post.  I'll be working on some fun things to share with you soon.  Until then, take care and have a great summer!