Thursday, February 14, 2013

A special Valentine for you all!

Happy Valentine's Day!  I decided to celebrate one of my favorite holidays with something special and new - just for you. Let me know if this is the kind of thing you'd like to see more of.  This will also get today's DaGMT challenge requirement taken care of for today.

Let's start with what it is - a mug-rug that I came up with using the bin of fusible scraps that I have - and that is growing way too fast. If it has any kind of fusible backing on it - it goes in the bin. I had the idea that if I made a fusible crazy quilt and sandwiched it with a heart, you'd have a holiday mug rug. So let's get started.

These were all the pink and purple scraps I pulled out with one hand.  I started making free form snips and placing them on the applique pressing sheet.

I found a pile of more when I moved my foot under the ironing board - which is probably more than you wanted to know - so I took the chance to add it to the pile (and move said pile to the bin).  Once I began to artistically arrange the scraps - and fuse them together, this is what it looked like.

Next, I took a 4 and a half inch square of red fabric (the back), a piece of batting, and a piece of white fabric for the front. Fold the white fabric in front and free form cut a heart from it. Before you sew the layers together, put the white 'frame' over the scraps and make sure that you have all the scraps covered - if you're missing any, now is the time to add. You now have all the pieces you need...

Layer the batting, the scrap (centered), and the red backing fabric (wrong side up) and sew around all 4 sides.  Cut a small slit in the back and turn all the sides out pillowcase style. Stay with me - this is what mine looked like -


A little time with the iron, and it should flatten out nicely. I took it to the Horizon and went around it with a decorative stitch, and then played with the free motion quilt foot a bit.  It fits your beverage of, tea or something else.

Enjoy!  And tell me what you think of this. I'm thinking of Lions and Lambs for March...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Switching it up...

Hello - from soon to be snow buried NH. I thought that you might like to take a listen to a recent interview I did on the New Hampshire Women In Business Radio Show. I've been a guest on her show before, in her Friday segments where she highlights local entrepreneurs in short bursts, but this was my first hour long interview.  I was worried about how I could fill an hour - mee? - but it went by quite quickly.  It might be something different for you to listen to as you are hunkered down this weekend.

Seriously, did we survive in the old days.

Off to meet some great ladies in the coastal region today - enjoy!

I'd love to hear the feedback.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Five for February

I'm planning on spending a good deal of time this month exploring some of the challenges associated with the concept of "Work Smarter, not harder".  As a craft professional, I am always struggling with balancing the creative energies, the business energies with the life is supposed to be fun energies. All work and no play makes Linda (or Belinda, as my dark alter ego is known) a dull girl...and we can't have that.  So this group of 5 ideas is loosely 'stitched' around the idea of how to get more productivity out of what you do.

1.  Multi-task wherever does take time to creatively come up with an entry to a show or a quilt challenge, so whenever you can make one challenge piece to fit into 2 contests, it's worth a shot to explore the options. I have two that I'm looking at right now, and by massaging themes and deadlines, I think I've come up with a concept that will fit 2 different entry forms.  I will get back to you on that one, but I also know this is a strategy that other quilters employ a lot. Sometimes, you might need to pick your battles, but sometimes, if you just look at an issue from a different perspective, it will work out. Funny, those old sayings ARE true after all.

2. I love magazines, and as the picture below shows you...I have my fair share (and then some).

But how to read them all, let alone find some of the projects?  These are mostly from the sharing tables at the guilds I belong to.  I'm good at returning 2, and then taking 3 more. This pile is probably as bad as it ever gets. This does tend to be a screen porch activity, but I take 2-3 down with me every morning over coffee. There's something about the peace and quiet - I get to just leaf through a magazine leisurely before things get crazy. If I find something that's of interest, I scan it into the PC and file it as a technique, a pattern, a resource article - and (this is important) I always put the magazine title and issue month into the title so I can find it. Then the magazine is put into a tote bag with the word "share" on it, so I take them with me to the next meeting.

3. If it's anything to do with Christmas - or with the words 'fast' and 'gift' on the cover, that goes into the Christmas magazine basket..I'm not kidding you. Saves me money every September when they hit the news stands. One thing for sure, I know by now which ones I'm going to make, and which ones I just like looking at. 

Both 2 and 3 were discovered before I found Pinterest...we'll see if it keeps up.

4. Never, ever leave your sewing room for the night with an empty bobbin or a broken needle...somehow, it just seems too hard to walk on by and not start sewing.

5. Use online activities, such as the Drop and Give me Twenty Challenge for 2013, to tackle an overwhelming project one step (or block) at a time.

What is the biggest time saver you've found?