I am no longer actively blogging here but I’d love if you could join me at my new creative lifestyle blog A Girl in Paradise.
I hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

Progress.  I am making lots and lots of progress this week.  Of course, it also helped that it was a rainy long holiday weekend and we were stuck in for the most part. 

Here is a look at what I got done…


First, I finished my Pineapple Blossoms quilt top.  Now I just need to hit the quilt shop for some backing fabric and fabric for the binding.  Then I can hopefully get this quilt sandwiched and quilted later this week.

I also, finished my May bee blocks for the Bee a {modern} Swapper.  These were some fun blocks to put together.  I made them using this tutorial from Silly BooDilly.


Sorry, I know, I am a woman of few words this morning but I am off to visit with an old friend and her sweet little boy and I don’t want to be late. 

Want to hear more of what’s going on in the quilt world? Hop on over to Freshly Pieced and check out her Work in Progress Wednesday link-up. There you will find other talented quilters and hear all about what they have going on.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Building Blocks with Friends - Em from Sewing by Moonlight

Good morning A Girl in Paradise readers! My name is Em and I have been blogging just since January at Sewing by Moonlight. I have two small, exceedingly energetic daughters who keep me busy all day and most of the night. Whenever do I find time to sew, you wonder? (I know the suspense is killing you!) ... by moonlight! After I finally get those sweet, loud, darling mess-makers finally (finally!) tucked in bed for the night, that's when I make myself a cup of tea and close myself in my sewing room where I drink my tea and sew, usually with just the soundtrack of my sewing machine and the voices in my head.

This summer, my family will be out of town for nearly two months and traveling through 16 different states for a wedding, a Masters thesis defense (my husband's), a trip to Glacier National Park, a reunion with some college friends, visits with family, and a whole pile of other national parks. Since I just started Sewing by Moonlight a few months ago, I don't want to leave it languishing for two months with no posts. Since I also don't want to lug my heavy and expensive Bernina 330, Tori, into the Wilderness, I bought a half size Janome Sew Mini specifically to bring on the trip. Her name is Trixie, and she will be helping me host my first every quilt along, the Summer Road Trip Quilt Along.

Each week for 16 weeks, beginning June 1st, I plan to post a block associated with each of the 16 states we will be traveling through this summer. I would love it if you would join me. But today, I have a tutorial for the block I designed for the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee on Flickr. Let's make a Double Staircase quilt block!

You will need: Focus fabric: Eight (8) 1.5-inch x 5-inch rectangles

Background fabric: Eight (8) 1-inch x 5-inch rectangles Four (4) 2-inch x 8-inch rectangles Four (4) 2-inch x 5.5-inch rectangles Four (4) 2-inch x 3-inch rectangles Choose your focus fabric and cut out eight (8) rectangles, 1.5-inches x 5-inches.

You might choose 8 different fabrics or a combination of a few fabrics in your desired colors. Since these pieces are 5 inches wide, this is great project to use some charm squares.

Now, cut out the fabric for your background. For each 12.5-inch block, you will need 2 strips of background fabric 2-inches x width of fabric (WOF). Iron the fabric (you can still see wrinkles in mine, but trust me, it lies flat) and fold it in half so the selvage line up. You might have to slide the fabric along the selvage a bit so that the fold is even. Place the background fabric on your cutting mat, lining up the fold with one of the guide marks. Trim off any uneven excess perpendicular to the fold.

Now line up your clear ruler with the horizontal guide marks and cut two, 2-inch strips of background fabric.

Lie the two folded strips of background fabric on top of one another so that you now have 4 layers of fabric (two stacked strips, each folded in half).

Cut the stack of strips in the following lengths (you will have 4 rectangles of each size): 8 inches, 5.5 inches, 3 inches, 5 inches. I love this block because with these two 2-inch strips, you get all the pieces you need with very little waste. This is all that's left at the end of the strips:

Cut the 5-inch strips in half lengthwise, so that you have eight rectangles that are 1-inch x 5-inches.

Now you have all your background pieces cut. This is what you will end up with (the leftover is the little bit in the bottom right of this photo):

Match each of the eight 1-inch x 5-inch background pieces with one of the 1.5-inch x 5-inch rectangles of focus fabric and sew them together along the length.

When you're finished, iron the seams either open or to the side.

Decide on the arrangement of your steps. You can construct the block so it appears to have the same structure right side up or upside down. In this case, the lower four steps will be arranged so that the background fabric is toward the bottom. The upper four steps will be arranged so that the background fabric is toward the top.

Alternately, you can arrange the steps so that the background fabric on the steps is always to the same side. With this arrangement, you will have the effect of a continuous staircase across several blocks, should you choose to put more than one together.

Add the rectangles of background fabric to the focus fabric.

I usually only pin the pieces with a rectangle of background fabric on either side so that all the pieces stay together.

Line up your pieces and chain piece them together.

When you're finished, you will have to attach the other side of background fabric to those pieces with background on both sides of the "step".

Iron the seam open or to the side and sew the rows together.

Between rows, I actually prefer to iron seams open for this block. It makes the block lie flatter and you don't have to worry about the direction of the seam if you are putting more than one block together. I sew the rows together in pairs, then sew sets of pairs together, then sew the top half of the block to the bottom. Trim to 12.5-inches. Finished!

In the block I used to take the photos for this tutorial, I arranged it so that the background fabric with each step (the "space" between the steps) was toward the outside of the block. The block has the same look right side up or upside down. In the blocks I made for this baby quilt, I wanted the steps to continue across the quilt, so the space between the blocks is always on the lower side of the focus fabric.

I made a mistake when I was putting the blocks together for this quilt. Did you notice right away? Can you see it now that I mentioned it? (I'll show you in a minute.) I think I like the back of this quilt as much as I like the front. Each piece of the rainbow solid has the addition of two charm squares in that color.

I quilted it by following the step pattern above and below as well as 1/4 inch into the white space in the border pieces.

Remember that mistake I mentioned? Here it is. On one block, I accidentally flipped the bottom half of the block so that there is no white space between those two steps when the quilt is put together. I didn't notice when I put the block together and I didn't even notice when I put the quilt together. I didn't see it until I was actually quilting it, and there was no way I was going to take all that stitching out!

I love it. I love it so much I almost want to have another baby who will use it. Ha! In any case, I don't think I can give this one away. I still need to bind it, though. I'm thinking red. What do you think?

If you'd like to see more photos of this delicious quilt, come over and visit me at Sewing by Moonlight!

Thanks Em, what a great block.  I wouldn't have even noticed that "mistake" if you hadn't mentioned it.  I can't wait to see what you have in store for us with your Road Trip Quilt Along.  That sounds like lots of fun. 

Thanks for joining us for another edition of Building Blocks with Friends.  If you are interested in showcasing your block here, just let me know, I would love to hear from you.   

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

So, I am feeling so much better this week.  Thanks for all your supportive comments and e-mails.  They definitely put a smile on my face and gave me the motivation I needed to get things done.  I am so glad last week is a distant memory.  I hate that feeling of being overwhelmed.  Now I feel I can concentrate on getting things done.  Not just around the house, but with the kids, and thankfully in the sewing department.

I even have some finishes to share with you.

First, my Twist on Tradition quilt is done with a label and everything.  I did some straight line quilting but I had a little problem with pulling.  I am hoping once I wash it it won’t be so obvious.


Second, I finished my pincushion for the Fab Little Pincushion Swap.  I hope my partner likes it.  I mailed it out yesterday just in time to meet the shipping deadline.  It is a little big and somewhat resembles a brick but I am really happy with how it came out.  I especially like the folded fabric flowers and the little pocket for your needles.  I got the idea for this pin cushion from this zippered pouch I saw on Pinterest.  The directions for the flowers I got from this book, and although I had to modify the directions just a bit to make the flowers smaller it was well worth the time.


Lastly, I am just about finished with the blocks for my Pineapple Blossom Quilt.  Now I just need to decide on the layout and if I am going to add a border or not.  The tutorial for this block can be found here


I still have a few things on hold.  Including the Memory Quilt for my Daughter, my Apple Core Quilt, and my 2010 Scrap Quilt.  Someday I will get these done but for now… it is one day and one project at a time. 

Want to hear more of what’s going on in the quilt world? Hop on over to Freshly Pieced and check out her Work in Progress Wednesday link-up. There you will find other talented quilters and hear all about what they have going on.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday…

Um… not so much. 

I have this dream.  You know the one.  It is the one where the kids are playing quietly, my devoted husband is taking care all the household responsibilities and I have uninterrupted time to sew for hours on end.  Fulfilling all my quilting dreams and desires. 

Instead, in the real world, the kids are never playing quietly and if they are there is always one child who is starving and must be fed immediately.  And that devoted husband of mine?  Where is he?  Work.  Real work.  That unfortunately for me, paid work comes first.  

This little creative outlet of mine is a hobby.  Sometimes I have to remember that.  Which is hard.  Blogging and all things crafty is my therapy and keeps me sane.  Like eating, and a little daily exercise it is a required activity that keeps me off the nearest ledge contemplating my next move.

Can any of you relate? 

I am a live in the moment kind of girl.  I like to create when inspiration strikes, but that has been my biggest problem lately.  Inspiration strikes and I am otherwise occupied. 

Case in point is this blog post.  Originally I had planned to write up a blog post of what I have going on this morning.  Which sadly, is not much.  Now it is almost 8pm and I am just sat down to the computer.   My poor blog has been seriously neglected for the past couple of weeks.  Not to mention my quilt and swap commitments.  Sorry for that.  I will eventually get my stuff together and get back to regularly scheduled programming.  Promise.

This is not what I had originally planned for my post and by no means is a woe is me post.  This is just the result of an overworked mother of three who needed to vent just a little. 

Thanks for listening.  I needed that.  Feeling better already.


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P.S.  Some of you might find this amusing.  As I sit here re-reading what I have just written making sure I have crossed all my t’s and dotted all my I’s.  I have been informed that the toilet has overflowed.  Of course.  Sadly, it is in the bathroom I cleaned yesterday.  Go figure.  So, please ignore any grammatical mistakes as I am just going to press the Pulish button and move on to what needs my attention right now.  A clogged toilet.