Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Going off the grid...

My darned laptop (which is barely eight months old) is giving me some serious troubles, so I'm going to be going off the grid for a few days, attempting to resuscitate it with some Recovery disks and lots of patience. Hopefully, I can get rid of the zillion and twelve errors that are popping up in my Event Viewer and nip my blue screens of death in the bud.


In the meantime, you can still enter to win a gorgeous fat quarter bundle of Art Gallery fabrics right here. Wish me luck...
Monday, August 27, 2012

Simple Patchwork Mat tutorial

It's official: I've been initiated into Art Gallery's Fat Quarter Gang as an honorary member! I'm sharing a simple and quick tutorial today, perfect to spruce up just about any space or to give as a housewarming gift: the Simple Patchwork Mat. Hop on over to the Art Gallery Fabrics blog to see the full tutorial!

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I used eight prints from Bari J's amazing Lilly Belle collection and added two Oval Elements prints for some added pop, in Smoke and Aqua. 

And lucky you, Art Gallery is giving away the very same fat quarter bundle to one lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment here on this post, but be sure to follow AGF's rules to qualify as well: you must follow Art Gallery on your favorite social media tool like Facebook or Twitter as well as subscribe to the Art Gallery blog. This giveaway will be open until the end of the day, Friday, August 31st, and a winner will be announced Saturday, September 1st. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

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You can also find Lilly Belle fabrics and Oval Elements fabrics in stock at The Intrepid Thread! Have a great day :)

A little Saturday shopping

Today we're having Florida's equivalent of a snow day...except way less fun: a hurricane day. School's been cancelled for the day, though thankfully, we're not expecting to see much more than gusty winds and rain in my area, so I'm hunkered down with my munchkin for an uneventful kind of day at the house. Hopefully there will be some sewing in the forecast :) In spite having to stock up my hurricane supplies (also known as my stash of Oreos, Ritz crackers, bread, peanut butter and bottles of water), I had a really great weekend, thanks to a fun field trip with a quilty friend.

On Saturday, I met up with a Tampa MQG friend, Katie, who blogs and podcasts at Katie's Quilting Corner. We had plans to meet up in historic Ybor City to visit the Tampa Upcycle shop. Tampa Upcycle is a materials exchange, for artists, crafters, sewists and the like, and we were both super excited to bring in some old supplies and see what they had. Unfortunately for us, they didn't open as scheduled, but fortunately we came up with an awesome backup plan.

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Our area has a new quilt shop, Inspire! Quilting and Sewing, located in Plant City. Normally, that would be nearly an hour long drive from my house, but Tampa Upcycle just happened to be halfway between my house and the shop, so the drive was nice and short.

I've never really visited Plant City before, but the historic downtown area was really gorgeous. We parked near an adorable antique shop that drew me in when I spotted a gorgeous old Cinderella sewing machine in the window. The shop interior didn't disappoint either, it was filled with interesting old pieces that were fun to look at.

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The new quilt shop was just beautiful, inside and out. I'm oh-so-glad that we drove out there! Inspire! is owned by Lynn and Lisa, two sisters who share a love of quilting. While they are currently open for business Monday through Saturday, their grand opening will be held next month on September 22nd, complete with some great sales as well as refreshments and music all day.

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Inspire! Quilting and Sewing has all of the fabrics for the Dear Stella QuiltCon challenge, the entire Madrona Road collection by the uber-talented Violet Craft on the way, as well as boatloads of my favorite thread, Aurifil 50 wt! I tried to restrain myself, and just picked up a fun Dear Stella Squiggles print to use as backing for my Swirling Medallion quilt. The shop was really a great place to visit, and I definitely plan to go back again soon. If you're in the area, I highly recommend them! Not only were there tons of beautiful fabrics and things to see, but the staff was super friendly and helpful. Thanks for exceeding every expectation I could have had, Lynn, Lisa, and Amber!
Friday, August 24, 2012

Letting loose and getting my improv on

I've been working off-and-on this week on a project from Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson's seriously awesome book, Quilting Modern. Improvisational piecing is just so much fun to do, and Jacquie and Katie do a wonderful job teaching various improv techniques that you can put to use in lots of different projects, not just those in the book.

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I'm working on the Swirling Medallion quilt found on page 113 of the book, using some green, gold, gray, and aqua prints, This quilt uses the improvisational stitch and flip technique, which can be super duper versatile. You can use it to make wonky stars, wonky zig-zags, just about anything you could make with a half-square triangle unit. I think a wonky zig-zag quilt might just be in my future, using this method of piecing.

Swirling Medallion quilt top - side view

I just finished up the quilt top, but haven't decided on backing or quilting just yet. I am totally in love with this quilt and am half-heartedly trying to find a place in my house I could hang it, I love it so much. Fortunately, I suspect I'm going to be indecisive for a little while about this one, so it can hang out on my design wall for the timebeing, making me smile whenever I look up at it. Next up? While I'm thinking about how to quilt this one, I think I might just attempt to make a dent in my string scraps and work on a string project!

Swirling Medallion quilt top
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Double Flip HSTs Tutorial

School has officially started, and that means that I've suddenly got lots more sewing time (yay!). I got right to work yesterday after bringing the kiddo in to school, and just played for once. Playing with fabric is positively the best part about being a quilter, and I haven't done much of it lately.

After making a list of the projects that I've been neglecting over the summer, I started working with some lovely charms from Laura Gunn's new Cosmo collection for Michael Miller, due to hit shops next month. I started playing with a new technique that I gleaned from the uber-fabulous Quilting Modern book by Jacquie Gehring and Katie Pederson - they teach an improv version of this double-flip technique, so I thought it could certainly be adapted to be used in a precision kind of block, and sure enough, it worked!

Double Flip HST Tutorial

Double Flip Half-Square Triangle

This sophisticated cousin of the half-square triangle unit can be used in any half-square triangle block you can think of, and is made quite simply. Starting with a half-square triangle unit, you add a smaller square and sew along the diagonal using a stitch-and-flip technique, much like you use in improvisational piecing.

For one Double Flip HST unit, you'll need:
5" print square
5" solid neutral square
4" print square

1. Begin by using a clear quilting ruler and tracing a line across two corners of the neutral 5" square, marking the diagonal of the square. Use whatever type of marking tool you prefer.

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2. Align the raw edges of your neutral square with a print 5" square, right sides together. Stitch a scant 1/4" on both sides of the diagonal line you traced, then cut along the traced line to separate into two units. Press seams open and trim HST unit to 4 1/2".

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3. Using a clear quilting ruler, trace a line across two corners of the 4" print square, marking the diagonal again as you did in Step 1.

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4. Place this square at the top of your solid neutral half of the HST unit, making sure that the diagonal line you've traced is parallel to the HST seam in the center. Stitch along the diagonal line, and trim the seam allowance to 1/4". Press.

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5. Ta da! A finished Double Flip HST unit.

NOTE: This type of unit can be constructed using any size half-square triangles. Just be sure to cut your accent print one inch smaller than your HST. This will create that skinny strip of solid neutral between your two prints.

Auditioning some block layouts using double flip HSTs and gorgeous @lauragunnstudio charms!Layout option number two...I'm torn! Help!

For my Double Flip mini, I made a total of 16 of these blocks, and arranged them in a diamond formation.

Double Flip HST Mini

I really love these gorgeous prints, and I think this was a really great way to show them off. If you follow this tutorial, I'd love to see how it works out for you! Add your projects to my Flickr group, Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I sure enjoyed working on it :)
Monday, August 20, 2012

100 Quilts for Kids charity quilt drive

Have you heard about the 100 Quilts for Kids program, co-hosted by  Katie Blakesley of Swim, Bike, Quilt and the DC Modern Quilt Guild? This charity drive has a super simple premise: Make a quilt or two and donate it to a child in need.


I'm working on a twist to my Sliced Coins quilt-along this year to donate, using some Urban Chiks' Hullabaloo charms that I've had sitting on my shelf for a while. It's so relaxing to do some simple patchwork for once! I was pleasantly surprised that I could manage to put together a cute little quilt top using just a charm pack and a little over a yard of sashing.

100 Quilts for Kids


Last year, I made what is quite possibly my favorite charity quilt to date, for a young woman's 18th birthday, my Drunk Love quilt, featuring some of my favorite pink and green fabrics.

MHC Drunk Love quilt - finished


This was a hard quilt to say goodbye to, because I loved working on it so much, but it put a smile on my face to know that I was making something for someone who truly needed it. I donated this quilt through Margaret's Hope Chest's Wrapped in Love program, which benefits children with an incarcerated parent. If you are interested in making a quilt for this program, simply email Carin for more information.  This quilt is still one of my favorite quilts that I've ever made, and maybe one day I'll make another like it.

Need some inspiration or a pattern to work from? Join the 100 Quilts for Kids Quilt Along at Swim, Bike, QuiltLink up your finished quilt here for a chance to win great prizes from sponsors, including Moda, Fat Quarter Shop, Westwood Acres, Rowan , Free Spirit, and Ty Pennington Impressions, and others. 

Swim, Bike, Quilt
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.swimbikequilt.com/p/100-quilts-for-kids.html" title="Swim, Bike, Quilt"><img src="http://i1188.photobucket.com/albums/z420/swimbikequilt/100quiltsbutton2011.jpg" alt="Swim, Bike, Quilt" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


100 Quilts Blog Hop Participants

July 2: Lynne @ Lily’s Quilts
July 16: Lee @ Freshly Pieced
July 23: Katy @ Monkey Do
Erin @ Sewing Summit
July 30: Dana @ Old Red Barn Co
Heather @ Olive & Ollie
August 6: Jessica @ Twin Fibers
Holly @ Bijou Lovely
August 13: Leigh @ Leedle Deedle Quilts
Heather & Megan @ Quiltstory 
August 20: Melissa @ Happy Quilting 
Elizabeth @ Don't Call Me Betsy
August 27: Jeni @ In Color Order
Miranda @ One Little Minute
September 3: Ellen @ The Long Thread 
Faith @ Fresh Lemons Quilts
September 10: Elizabeth @ Oh, Frannson!
Anne Marie @ Gen X Quilters
September 17 Cheryl @ Dining Room Empire
Jane @ Quilt Jane
September 24: Angela @ Moda Home Mom
September 25: Sara @ Sew Sweetness
Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our last week of summer

The munchkin goes back to school next week, for his final year at preschool before kindergarten. He's so excited he can hardly stand it! We've been busy gathering all of the things he needs for school the last few days, so we're making sure to spend these last few days of summer having a lot of fun. My mom has been visiting for the last several days, too, which has been a lot of fun for both me and my munchkin.


Yesterday, we all trucked over to the beach. We love going to the beach, especially the munchkin. Sand is his friend, big-time. He just loves getting covered in sand, and digging, too. He had a lot of fun with two dump trucks yesterday, pretending that one was a bad guy that kept dumping sand on the good truck. It was a gorgeous day for the beach, not blazingly, stiflingly hot like it has been lately, and with a lovely breeze. We all had a great time, and even saw a pair of dolphins frolicking near the shore. Naturally, I couldn't grab my camera fast enough to get a picture of them, but it was really fun to watch them splash and play together.


 

It's hard to believe that school starts a week from today. I feel like the summer positively disappeared in a flash this year. While I'm looking forward to the amount of "mommy time" I'm going to be getting with him in school five days a week this year, I'm also going to miss him terribly. I know for sure this year that he won't be tearing up on the first day of school, but I sure will :) Have a great Tuesday everyone!
Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scrappy goodness always makes me smile

Thanks everybody, for all the wonderful ideas and feedback about my desk troubles. My husband has constructed an extra support under the desk that seems to be helping quite a bit, so I think things are on the upswing on that front. I'll try to get a decent picture of the way things are now real soon. I've been sewing the last couple of days, trying to get caught up on a few projects that have snuck up on me, and I've actually got some things I can share for once, yay!!

I finished up this gorgeous block for Brioni, using this tutorial. I highly recommend it. Such a pretty finished block! I can't wait to see her start to put all of her blocks together, they're going to be so super pretty. I just love scrappy blocks like this!

Lone Starburst for Brioni

I also finished up quilting a quilt I can't share just yet, but I'm really happy with how the quilting turned out, and I can definitely show you that part! It was a lot of fun to work on, and it was a big relief to see that my new set-up really did make the quilting go much more smoothly, thanks to the large work surface.

Quilting - check!

It feels good to be spending some time with my sewing machine in between getting ready for school to get started up again. It's been a great summer, but I'm ready to get back into the swing of school again!
Monday, August 6, 2012

Playing the Name Game Today


Ever wonder where on Earth my blog name came from?? You're not alone :) Today, I'm visiting over at my friend Cindy's blog, Live a Colorful Life, to play the Name Game. Cindy is a fantastic quilter, who recently finished up all 111 Farmer's Wife blocks, and after spending the last year or so emailing back and forth, we finally got to meet up in Kansas City at Market. I love the way Cindy uses color, and her blog posts are always so authentic and vibrant, just like she is. Check out my interview here and have a great Monday!


 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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