Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A new stocking for the newest family member!

When I made our family holiday stockings a few years ago, Lorelei was most definitely not part of the equation, so fast forward to this year and at fleeting moments throughout her first year, I've thought of how she'd need a stocking, but over the last two weeks, that need became super pressing. We're one of those families that does our Christmas decorating the days after Thanksgiving, often on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but this year, I was truly worried the stocking issue would keep us from it! That and the Gilmore Girls revival release at 3am that very Friday (which of course was just about equally as important!).


But somehow, I finished up a stocking for sweet Lorelei, and managed to watch the Gilmore Girls Netflix revival (no spoilers ahead, I promise!), and our family decorating tradition is still holding strong. Phew.


I realized when I hung the stockings that Lorelei's stocking is fairly matching, save for two things - the embroidery thread is different (white-white instead of off-white, darn it!) and then I managed to introduce mint to the color palette, but it works, I think, so I'm not going to go and restitch, that's for sure!


Oh! And this year, the stockings are hung differently! When the husband saw what 3M Command hooks cost (this is precisely why you shouldn't take husbands to Target), we re-thought things for something we didn't have to keep re-buying year over year, so this is a fun set of lights from Target, a shower rod in bronze from Amazon, and shower hooks, plus various Christmas decorations I've gathered over the years (some new, some old). And one day, I'll have a real fireplace and mantel to hang the stockings on. Just not in Florida.



What are you stitching up for the holidays? I'm finishing up some fun hand-stitched gifts, which you can follow along with some sneak peeks on Instagram @dontcallmebetsy and I'll post the finished makes as soon as the receivers open them! Happy holiday stitching everyone :)
Friday, November 18, 2016

Stitching with Lorelai - You've Been Gilmored

Next week promises to be a really good week. Not only will it be Thanksgiving, but it's going to be the week where the Gilmore Girls releases four new episodes, "A Year in the Life," with each episode showing us a season in the life of the Gilmore Girls, now that it's been nine years since we last saw them. Admittedly, they never left my life. It's been one of my favorite shows of all-time, and constantly a show that I watch (or listen to) while working or sewing. It's the kind of show that you can enjoy just listening to, because the dialogue is so sparkling, or you can get the full experience and watch and listen too. All that to say, if what I've said so far sounds like a foreign language, you've got some time left before the "new" season pops up on Netflix next week, so you could totally start catching up...


And while you catch up, or while you watch the new episodes, why don't you stitch up a little something? I've got a fun little cross-stitch pattern you can make! Download your You've Been Gilmored tutorial right here :)


You've Been Gilmored happens to be both a great quote from the series and an episode title from Season 6, when Emily and Richard (Lorelai's parents) try to get to know Lorelai's beau, Luke, better, and in the process, Luke and Lorelai find themselves pummeled by the elder Gilmores. They leave dinner in a daze, worrying about insurance and real estate and con men, until Lorelai coms to her senses and says "You've been Gilmored!" She tells Luke that this is what the Gilmores do best, mess with your head, and it's precisely on point, it's one of the things they frequently do throughout the years of the show, so it's why I picked the phrase. It's totally evocative of the show, of the rapid-fire dialogue and spit-fire relationship between Lorelai and Emily, which is often one of the best parts of the show.


For the record, I used a few Cosmo thread colors, but you could use whatever floats your boat! I used a Seasons ombre blue, color 910, with two shades of pink for the flowers, and black for the block letters at the top.

Never cross-stitched before? No worries, here's a super simple basic tutorial you can use!

You can check out the other Stitching with Lorelei tutorials right here:
May Chappell will have a bonus one tomorrow too!

Stitch something up? I'd love to see it! Tag it on social media with #stitchingwithlorelai and #dontcallmebetsy and I'll be sure to check it out! Have a great weekend everyone :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lorelei's Building Block Dress Adventure

When I heard about Liesl Gibson's new Building Block Dress book, I was super excited to see it. Not only has she chosen to self-publish it, but the book itself is like having a garment teacher in your sewing room. Your very own Liesl Gibson, if you will. Liesl's Oliver + S patterns are some of the first modern garment sewing patterns I first noticed when I first started quilting that made me think to myself, hey, maybe I should try sewing garments!




The Building Block Dress book is focused on the art of learning a simple dress, the Building Block Dress, and then learning a zillion ways to alter or customize it, to make it in a bunch of different ways, essentially giving you a ton of new skills along the way. I look forward to spending more time with this book because I know I am going to learn ever so much from it!!! There's custom sleeves, different skirt options, pockets, necklines, you name it. Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? It's like that, but with garment patterns, in sizes from 6 months all the way up through size 12. For a beginning seamstress like me, it's a little overwhelming to start from, but at the same time, it's super exciting because I know it's the kind of book I'll come back to over and over again. In fact, I need to take it to my local UPS Store to get the binding cut off so I can have them spiralize it!





I started off planning to make a sleeveless tunic for my daughter, Lorelei, who's now nine months old and crawling up a storm. I still love putting her in dresses, but she seems to get kind of irritated by them lately, because they get caught under her knees. Measuring her to figure out how long I could make a tunic however, proved to be easier said than done so what I thought could be a tunic, really wound up being a dress. For that same reason, I also didn't quite follow Liesl's advice about making a muslin - though I think maybe next time, or maybe when she stops growing so quickly, I will go that route. I definitely can see why that would be wise.


While not everything went exactly as planned in making this dress, partly because I managed to slam my thumb in a car door (for the record, it's my right thumb, not shown above, and you're welcome for that!) and it severely changed my hand's normal mobility, I'm still super proud that I made this dress. I love that I sewed a bias neckline. I love that I shortened the bodice and skirt of the dress without fear. I love that my dress is unique, and is a mish-mash of many different techniques in the book. I think it looks adorable and I can't wait to plan out my next Building Block dress.


You can check out all things Oliver + S, including their fantastic patterns, great videos and tutorials and so forth on their website right here. And best of all, you can find the new book right here.

Have a wonderful week everyone, and hopefully once my thumb heals, I can manage to sneak into my sewing room to sew up another Building Blocks dress, or do some more fun cross-stitching. :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#QuiltsforPulse

The last several days have been awfully challenging to be a citizen of this world, let alone a citizen in Florida. Like so many of you, the recent Orlando tragedy has both shocked and saddened me, but I am proud to see that the quilters of the Orlando MQG are banding together to try to bring comfort to those affected by this tragedy, the best way we know how: quilts.

The Orlando MQG is collecting heart blocks and quilts of heart blocks for the victims, victims' families and first responders. There's a very simple heart block tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew you can use right here, or if you're not a fan of stitching and flipping you can download my new free heart paper piecing templates right here or via Craftsy. There's no cutting instructions on these templates, they are strictly templates, but they're extremely simple and easy to use.



While you may say, who needs quilts in Florida, you'd be surprised how many my family piles on in the wintertime, not to mention how much joy a quilt draped across a couch can bring. There's loads of ways to get involved if you don't want to make blocks or quilts, and you can check out all of the details right here: The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.
Monday, June 6, 2016

Even more adventures in garment sewing

Thanks for all the encouraging comments last week! They were just the kick in the pants I needed! I spent the weekend, well the free time at least, working on my first Geranium dress. If you haven't heard of the Geranium dress, it's a super adorable little girls' dress or top pattern by the indomitable Rae Hoekstra (a.k.a. Made by Rae), and it's a garment pattern that I've heard from some friends was not entirely scary, so I decided to go for it, after my successful attempt at knits.


I will say this - I tend to bite off more than I can chew, so to start with, I truly considered making four of them. At once. Then the rational side of me took over and I decided to try one first, sew it all the way through, before cutting into the other pretty, pretty fabrics I gathered for my Geranium possibilities pile. I narrowed it down to a gorgeous Eastham by Denyse Schmidt print, and got to pressing and cutting.



Everything was going well with the cutting and such until I got to the actual sewing and realized that while I thought "View A" in the pattern was the cuter of the options (though both are adorable), it was also the more challenging one, for me, because it required gathering, which I am absolutely dreadful at. I always pull the threads so hard that I break them. And unsurprisingly, I did just that in this project, but kept on trucking and gathered the best I could.



Aside from the gathering, I didn't really struggle much. I fully expected to struggle. A lot. With the whole three dimensional-ness of garment sewing, I expected that I'd have a hard time understanding what to do and where, but the instructions are written quite well, very clear and concise at the same time, so it was really a breeze.



The dress still needs buttons or snaps - I haven't decided which yet, in part because I've never installed either, but also because the mom in me thinks the snaps are more practical and I don't have any so it requires a trip to Jo-Ann's - but other than that, it's totally done. All hemmed and everything. And it's super cute!




And it even fits her! Look how darned adorable she is in it!



So, I think the chances that I'll make another (or twelve!) are mighty good. This pattern was definitely a good one for a complete garment novice like myself, so if you're on the fence about trying your hand at garment sewing, go for it. It's not as scary as I thought it would be. Need some proof? I even bought a few adult garment patterns, like the Scout Tee and the Bianca top/dress. And I might actually use them! Have a fantastic week everyone :)
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Adventures in garment sewing...

There's nothing like having a daughter to make you want to sew pretty, pretty clothes. I've wanted to try garment sewing for years, but always felt intimidated by the large pattern pieces and crazy thick pattern packets for adult garments. But baby clothes? They're tiny! How hard can they be?


I've been slowly gathering my courage to try making something garment-y for a few weeks now. Goodness knows that I surely have plenty of fabric to do it with! But I was totally lacking in the confidence department. Quilts are flat. They don't have to go over anyone's head. They always fit. I like quilts. Garments? That's a whole different story.



So I thought I'd start small - even though I wanted to dive in and make a Geranium dress right away. I decided to pace myself, and start with a simple knit headband. I've never sewn with knits, so it was a bit of an adventure, but it turned out pretty okay. Having a cute baby to put said headband on sure helps it turn out okay! But sewing the headband made me feel a little more prepared for garment sewing, what with the curves and wiggly fabric and all.



Now I'm thinking that maybe I might just be ready to a Geranium dress, having been told by a few friends who know better that it would be a simple pattern for me. I just need to work on printing out the pattern pieces and taping them together and then build up my guts to cut into some pretty, pretty fabric. I'm leaning toward this print from Denyse Schmidt's Eastham collection, because purple is totally Lorelei's color. It looks so adorable on her. So we'll see what this week brings, but who knows - maybe by next week I will have officially sewn a garment! Imagine that! Have a great week everyone :)
Monday, May 16, 2016

The Circus Star Mini - in the new issue of MQU

It's no secret that I love solid fabrics - they're one of my favorite groupings of fabrics to use, especially in paper pieced blocks, because they make those beautifully crisp and sharp angles and points even more pronounced. But ombre solids have a special little spot in my heart. Ombre solids can be so much fun to work with, figuring out how to cut a single half-yard, for example, into eight or so different shades of one singular color and then seeing them come together in a finished block or mini. And if there's one designer I always associate with ombres, it's for sure Vanessa Christensen of V + Co.






Before the baby came, I had a chance to work with some of Vanessa's beautiful ombre fabrics for a project for Modern Quilts Unlimited, and the Spring 2016 issue featuring the quilt, pattern and an article about paper piecing by yours truly has finally hit the stands. You'll find my Circus Star quilt pattern on page 40 of the magazine, with my article on paper piecing just before that on page 36.


The Circus Star totally reminds me of the multicolored patterns you see on circus tents and such, and yet also gives off a kaleidoscope kind of feel. It's a three template project, and has loads of possibility. It could easily be done in a color wheel kind of style, or even in grayscale, and be really and truly stunning.



Quilt Stats
name: Circus Star
pattern: Circus Star pattern in spring 2016 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited
size: 24" square
fabrics: V + Co ombres
quilting: Aurifil 50 wt in assorted coordinating colors in multiple styles, including straight lines, zig zags, meandering stipple and wiggle

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Quilter's Paper Piecing Workbook: A Sneak Peek

So my second book, The Quilter's Paper Piecing Workbook, has started to ship a whole month early, and I'm so excited!!!! I'm incredibly proud of this book, so I wanted to take a moment this morning to show you a few sneak peeks of some of the things I love most about it.

The Quilter's Paper Piecing Workbook by Elizabeth Dackson photo QPPW1web_zps0dxygsiq.jpg

I love the photography. I gave my publisher, Interweave, a "mood board" to work from, trying to give them an idea of the style of photography I hoped to see in the book and oh boy, did they deliver. Absolutely the look and feel I had hoped for!



I love the projects in this book. They are so very me. And it's impossible to pick a favorite, but right now I'm crushing real hard on Steely Gaze...


I love the amount of me that's still left in the text. The amount of personality that didn't get edited out.  I think my voice really comes through in the writing, and that's really exciting to me.




I love the amount of illustrations and photos throughout. It makes the book so much more vibrant.

And really, I love a lot more about it, but that's all I'm going to share for now. Don't forget, you can order a copy from Amazon right here or you can order a signed copy from me right here! Stay tuned for more, and have a fantastic day!
Monday, May 2, 2016

A gift for Henry

Once upon a time, we bought our first house and lived in a neighborhood where we had great neighbors. And one neighbor became a good friend of mine around the time my son was born, so much so that she's had the title of auntie since he could talk. And though she moved away a few years ago, after we left that neighborhood in search of a bigger neighborhood with more kids around, we're still in touch and she recently welcomed her first child, a boy she and her husband named Henry.



Henry came a good bit early, but he's doing really well so far, which is so wonderful. I'm so excited for her to become a mom and to get to enjoy all the sweet mom/son things that I've enjoyed with my son. I know that Henry is a lucky boy to have her as a mom, and I wanted to send my love to them both the best way I know how - a quilt.





This quilt isn't super technical or super fancy, but it's meant to be loved and enjoyed, and will be a great playmat for Henry after he gets to come home from the hospital. I did some simple plus blocks using fun blues and yellows, with one of my favorite text prints as the background, Heartfelt in Snow from Littlest. I bordered the patchwork with simple improv piecing using some great shades of Kona: Alegria, Copen, and Cadet.


Quilt stats
name: Henry's quilt
size: 35 1/2" square
fabrics: assorted prints, low volume Heartfelt in Snow from Littlest, Kona Alegria, Kona Copen, and Kona Cadet.
binding: Valley in Azure by Leah Duncan
quilting: improv hills in Aurifil 50 wt 8605



Monday, April 4, 2016

Most days...

Lorelei is now 13 weeks old, and while most days, I think balancing things is getting easier, I by no means have it all together. Most days are still a struggle, from at least one area of my life if not all of them. It's time to keep it real - because while things may look pretty and shiny and happy, that's not always the whole story, so here goes...



Most days, I'm wearing one if not many spit-up spots on my shirt. Spitting up is absolutely one of Lorelei's great talents.

Most days, I wind up with baby poop on my person somewhere at least once.

Most days, I get a super fun migraine or headache from the ear-piecing sound of my daughter screaming about something mysterious that she's upset about.



Most days, I fall asleep at least once in front of my computer while working on a spreadsheet or while writing a work email.

Most days, not only do I have to change diapers and take care of my daughter's waste products, I have to the same for my elderly dog, who's having accidents in the house. Poor Sam.

Most days, I can't remember if I found time to brush my teeth in the morning.

Most days,  I screw up the laundry in some way, whether it's forgetting about a load in the washer only to discover it when it stinks up the laundry room or pink splotches on my husband's white undershirts. I hate sorting laundry, but it often bites me when something bleeds and I then have to try to fix it.



Most days, my husband and I are ships passing in the night as he works crazy long days or is off traveling.

Most days, I feel some sort of guilt. Whether it's guilt for not listening to something my son said over breakfast, or guilt for working on spreadsheets and schedules when my daughter's cooing at me, or guilt for not washing dishes...there's always something to feel guilty about.

And on the worst days, I wonder what on earth I'm doing. Then something happens that turns me around - whether it's a smile from the baby or a hug or sweet words from my son or a little bit of extra coffee or chocolate, or just a few quiet minutes to myself to get my head on straight. Motherhood is hard work, for sure, but it has its moments.

So there, that's what's really happening behind the scenes. Hope that you all have a good week ahead of you!
Monday, March 28, 2016

Sewing by the seat of my pants

These little blocks are totally making my day these days. Whenever I pop into my sewing room for a few minutes, I can cut a few squares for the next block or sew a few seams - it's the perfect project for a few stolen moments here and there, and it's starting to actually look like something. So far, what I'm doing is making four blocks per color and then arranging them from light to dark into these big diamonds...




And I know I have more diamonds to make, I'm just not sure how many exactly...at least one more big cool diamond and one more big warm diamond, but likely more than that, to make a quilt big enough for our bed. I think I'll likely employ an alternate grid of some kind to make the blocks float and have a more varied, interesting layout, but I haven't quite gotten that far yet.


For now, I'm going to keep enjoying the process of making these little blocks and not worry too much about the final result. Sew by the seat of my pants, if you will. We'll see how long my Type A personality can tolerate that! Have a great week everyone :)
Monday, March 21, 2016

Coming soon to a bookstore near you: The Quilter's Paper Piecing Workbook

Guess what else I did while I was pregnant...wrapped up my second book! The Quilter's Paper Piecing Workbook was a big-time labor of love, chock full of helpful tips and tricks for paper piecing with ease, with gorgeous patterns to boot, and it's now available for pre-order on Amazon.


If you've ever thought that paper piecing was beyond you, or thought it was just too hard, this book will hold your hand through getting started with this fantastically fun sewing skill. If you're obsessed with paper piecing, you'll find great fresh patterns to feed your obsession. All in all, I'm really, really proud of this book and can't wait to share more of it with you all mighty soon.

The Quilter's Paper Piecing Workbook will hit store shelves in late May this year! Have a fantastic week everyone!
Monday, March 14, 2016

If you're scrap happy and you know it, clap your hands...

Baby songs are all up in my head these days. While Lorelei is still quite little to appreciate songs and stories, I still spend time with her each day singing those familiar tunes and reading a story or two. Her smiles are becoming more frequent, which makes the days where the crying stretches on for what feels like eons a bit more bearable. And playing with my scraps this weekend also helps soothe this tired mom.



I've been wanting to make a new quilt for our bed for probably two years now, and after many different ideas that just didn't quite feel perfect, I think I've stumbled on one that is. These simple little patchwork blocks, sorted into warms and cools. They're crazy easy to stitch up, super fast, and let me play with all the little bits and bobs of leftover fabrics in my scrap bin. Perfect for naptime sewing.



Here's hoping I manage to sneak in some more sewing time this week! Have a fab week everyone :)
Monday, March 7, 2016

A quick visit to my sewing room

The days are just flying by lately - between diaper changing, baby rocking, working full time, and trying to take care of the rest of the family, it's safe to say that sewing has been on the back burner. Though QuiltCon 2016 is only a few weeks behind us, I'm already hard at work on QuiltCon 2017 (and beyond!), setting up exciting new instructors and building the loads of spreadsheets that make event planning my jam. I managed to sneak into my sewing room twice over the last week though, to make some really simple scrap blocks that will hopefully turn into something cool at some point...


Nothing too exciting or special, but it sure did soothe my soul to spend a few minutes with pretty, pretty fabrics and hearing the hum of my sewing machine again.

Baby Lorelei is doing quite well, growing and changing rapidly. Her eyes are beginning to turn brown, I think, or maybe hazel like my dad's, and she still is the spitting image of her big brother at this age. It'll be interesting to see how much they wind up looking alike as they get bigger. The biggest difference so far is hair color - hers is much darker. She's smiling and cooing now, which is quite possibly the most adorable stage of infancy, in my opinion, and she's (knock on something!) becoming pretty easy-going. She's clearly my daughter, as she loves having a schedule and routine, and she gets several cases of hiccups a day, just like I did as a kid.


I hope you have a wonderful week, thanks for stopping by my little corner of the Internet! :)
Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Epic Sampler BOM Club Month 6: March

Epic Sampler BOM Subscribers, it's that time again! The first of the month has crept up on us and you know what that means!! This month's pattern kit is winging its way through the interwebs to your inbox, with three new block patterns for the Epic Sampler quilt project. This month's blocks are: Baby Paw, Polaris and The Claw.

Block 1 - Baby Paw (6")

Block 2 - Polaris (6")

Block 3 - The Claw (6")



If you haven't joined in the Epic Sampler Block of the Month fun just yet, no worries, you can still join in! You'll receive all of the past block pattern kits within 48 hours of purchase, as well as the current month that we're on regardless of when you purchase. You can purchase your subscription right here in my Pattern Shop or on Craftsy. Have a great day!!
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Epic Sampler BOM Club Month 5: February

Epic Sampler BOM Subscribers, it's the first, and you know what that means!! This month's pattern kit is winging its way through the interwebs to your inbox, with three new block patterns for the Epic Sampler quilt project. This month's blocks are: Courthouse Steps (6"), Double Star (6") and Radiant Ring (12").

Have fun with these blocks, and don't forget to share your progress with me through social media - you can tag me on Instagram by using #epicsamplerbom or #dontcallmebetsy

If you haven't joined in the Epic Sampler Block of the Month fun just yet, no worries, you can still join in! You'll receive all of the past block pattern kits within 48 hours of purchase, as well as the current month that we're on regardless of when you purchase. You can purchase your subscription right here in my Pattern Shop or on Craftsy. Have a great day!!
Monday, January 25, 2016

Getting back on my feet...slowly

Life is flying by already - Baby Lorelei is three weeks old today and I'm starting to feel like we're getting a bit of a routine going at last, which is the kind of thing I thrive on so I'm starting to feel at least a little more human. Still a sleep-deprived zombie at times, but that's what coffee is for, right?


She's starting to be awake more (often not at "appropriate" hours of the day, ha, but she's starting to get the hang of this whole daytime/nighttime thing, I think), and is very determined to hold up her head on her own. For someone so little, she's definitely full of personality already. She's so tiny, I still find myself incredulous at the wonder of her. She looks a lot like my son did at this age, so I think they'll definitely resemble one another as time goes on.


Oh, the cuteness. If only there was smell-o-vision on computers, I can't get enough of that newborn smell. Hope you're all having a great day today and have a wonderful week. Thanks for all of the baby welcoming wishes you've sent over these last few weeks, I greatly appreciate them all! :)
Monday, January 4, 2016

A special welcome for my little lady

When we come home from the hospital with our new little baby in tow later this week, there's quite a few handmade touches in my daughter's nursery to greet her. From a little embroidery hoop design I made...



To her ABC embroidery sampler...



And the baby mobile I made of fussy cut prints...



And of course her baby quilt...



Make that baby quilts...


Stay tuned for photos to welcome our new arrival very soon! Have a wonderful week everyone :)

 hello

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