Friday, July 31, 2009

Giveaway winner...and a quick solution

Thanks for the comments and for sharing your projects. I haven't been very motivated to sew these last few weeks and reading your comments got me excited about all the different things I could be working on! I tried to find all of your blogs and loved checking out all the great ideas.

So, as I posted last time, I combined all of the initial comments from the tutorial post and the comments from the giveaway post. I made sure to throw in the extra entry for those who mentioned it on their blogs too. I decided to put all the names in a hat and........
My little helper picked Renee G!! Congrats! I have your email address so I will get your address and get that Aviary Layer Cake out to you! Thanks everyone!

The one thing I have taken care of this week is a solution to our sand box problem. Our neighborhood has a cat that roams outside and well...leaves us presents in our sandbox. I have been wondering what to make and I finally settled on an easy fabric cover for the sandbox. I bought an inexpensive outdoor tablecloth from Target and cut it to fit the play set. After sewing the seams I added grommets. I will then add little hooks to the sides of the sandbox to hook the grommets and keep the cover tight. I read a tip that if you tip over a small bucket in the center under the cover the rainwater will not pool. I plan to do that too. Hopefully this will deter my feline friend!

Friday, July 24, 2009


To celebrate my first tutorial I am going to do my first giveaway! I really love how this quilt turned out using the Aviary fabric by 3 Sisters so I am giving away a Moda Layer Cake like the one I used to make the quilt top. It is a pack of 10 inch squares, all different fabrics in this line. There are a lot of contrasting fabrics and patterns yet all the fabrics coordinate really well. you want to win? Here's what you need to do...leave me a comment introducing yourself, where you are from and what project you are working on right now. If you left a comment on the tutorial posting already I'll add that one. Don't worry if you don't quilt, there are plenty of other things you could make with this; or just keep it on the shelf all wrapped up to admire. :)

And...I'll give you another entry if you post a link on your blog!

I will leave the contest open until Thursday July 30th at 8pm CST. I'll use that Random Number Generator thing and post a winner by August 1.

Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself! Good Luck-


The first baby tooth...gone!

Well, big things have been happening in our house! Kids are loosing baby teeth. Well, just one kid and just one tooth, but it's a big deal. :) Sorry about the photos; I would think they were kind of gross had it not been my child!

Apparently, chewing on the strap of a toy will help your teeth fall out. The tooth fairy was pretty nice leaving four dollars under the pillow, even though mom didn't get a chance to sew a cute, special tooth pillow or anything. (I'll have it done for the next one!) So, what to do with all that $$$? Color Blaster Hot Wheels here we come!

Last night I found my daughter sleeping with the bright light on and surrounded by all her favorite friends. She is even snuggled in with her quilt; most nights it ends up on the floor!

Tooth fairies...animal friends...night time is pretty magical in our house!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Simple Swap Squares Tutorial

(a simple and fun tutorial from Alyson's Petals)

This is a great way to whip up a quick quilt when you find a Moda fabric line that you LOVE, and you need just a little bit of every single fabric! This is also a great first quilt for all the new quilters out there.

Quilt Size: Throw, 51"X59"
Fabric Requirements:
  • 1 Moda Layer Caketm (I used Aviary by 3 Sisters) OR 42 10" squares of your choice

  • 2 1/2 yards fabric for backing

  • 1/2 yard fabric for binding
Step One: Cutting
You will be cutting each 10 inch square in the Layer Cake. With a rotary cutter and ruler, cut two strips 1 1/2 inches wide off the side of the 10" square. Each strip will measure 1 1/2" X 10".
Turn your rectangle and cut two more 1 1/2 inch strips from the 7" side. These strips will measure 1 1/2" X 7". You are left with a 7" square of fabric. Group the four strips together and set aside. Set the square in another pile. Continue cutting all of the squares in this manner. You can cut more than one at a time if you feel comfortable with a rotary cutter. (5 or 6 at a time works well)
Step Two: Swap and Assemble

Now here's the fun part! Grab a square and a contrasting set of strips (different color, different pattern). We are going to sew them together to make a 9" block.
Take the 7" strips and sew to opposite ends of the square. Always use a 1/4 inch seam. Press seams to the outside.

Next, sew the 10" strips to the other sides. Again, use a 1/4 inch seam and press seam to the outside. You will have overhanging fabric, that's OK.

Continue framing all 40 squares with contrasting fabric, always using a 1/4 inch seam.

Step Three: Trim Squares

Trim the excess off all 40 squares. Your squares should be 9" (or close ;))

Step Four: Arrange Squares

Find a place to lay out all the squares, trying to place contrasting squares next to each other. The quilt will be six squares wide by seven squares long. This process allows your creativity and preferences.

After the blocks are arranged and before sewing begins, make sure the block seams are alternating so that the longer 9 inch framing strips are not side by side.

The photo below shows how the seams will look after everything is sewn together. I am showing the seams that match well, I do have some that are not so neat! Don't worry if everything doesn't match up just is handmade with love (my grandmas taught me that!)

Step Five: Sew the quilt top together

Starting with the top row, sew the blocks together to make a row six squares wide. Use a 1/4 inch seam. Press seams to one side. Then sew the next row together, pressing seams to the other side. Continue sewing the rows together until all seven are finished.

Once the rows are completed then sew the rows together. You may want to use a walking foot for this step to keep the fabric feeding through the machine evenly.

Once the rows are sewn together the quilt top is finished!

Layer, Quilt and Bind

Check the links on the side of my blog for great tutorials on how to finish a quilt. I don't think I could explain it better!

You are finished! Grab a book and some coffee and cuddle up...or show all your friends your new project! Stay tuned for a giveaway...

I would love your feedback! This is my first tutorial and I would love to know how I can make it better. Please let me know if you find errors, or if you end up creating your own Simple Swap Squares quilt...I'll post your photos!

Copyright 2009 by Alyson Steil. This pattern is intended for personal use. Do not distribute without permission.

Friday, July 17, 2009

64...are you kidding?

In my previous corporate life I traveled a lot and worked with people all of over the country. I was always surprised at the number of people who didn't realize we actually have Summer here in Minneapolis. We do put on shorts, swim and get a tan! Actually, during the summer months the average high is in the 80's. We also (most years) get plenty of 90's and even a few days hitting 100.

Not this summer. Most days have been low 80's-perfect!! Although I love to swim with my kids this year, I love to have the house open and the air conditioning off. Today is just weird, like fall is here. We are set to break a record for the lowest "high" temperature, set in 1939. It is going to be 64 degrees today, brrrrr! This stuff fascinates me (I also have a degree in Meteorology).

So, finally back to some sewing. I am very excited because I have been working on my first tutorial! I'll give you a few sneak peeks but it should be ready sometime next week. It is a fun, simple throw quilt for the beginner to try, the experienced person to whip up fast or anyone who loves Moda fabric and who wants to use a layer cake (pre-cut 10 inch squares of Moda fabric).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Anyone?

We "topped off" our awesome vacation week with a stay at Grandma and Grandpa's lake home. Perfect weather, great family time. My good friend owns a great berry farm in Wisconsin that seems to be just too far for us to visit these days so we make do locally. Hopefully we will get back to the Madison area next year (I say that every year, don't I?).

We had the perfect morning to and sunny, 65 degrees.

We even had a visit from the farm cat.

After a few years of "staycations" we really enjoyed getting out of the house and traveling a bit this last week (but not too far!).
Now it's back to work, summer school and projects. Summer is half over; hope you can take a break and enjoy a bit of it!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My First Quilt

A parade of quilts is going on at Camille's and at Carrie's blogs. What a fun idea! I just started writing about the quilt I made for my daughter but then I thought back and realized I finished this quilt first, about a year and a half ago...and even though it is small it is my first quilt.

This project confirmed my love for great fabric (this is Amy Butler), put me on a search for a walking foot and showed me I needed to learn a better way to bind a quilt. (This one I machine sewed both sides of the binding). I do love the quilting pattern, I hope to use the same pattern again, maybe on my next one!)

I have been on vacation (and preparing for it) for almost two weeks so I have not been sewing. The project below is one thing I am trying to finish up. I'll let you know more info in future posts!

Sometime this week I hope to take a look at every one's fun first projects...thanks Camille and Carrie!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Perfect Vacation

We are taking this week off from our everyday, and embracing vacation time. We spent a long weekend in the Wisconsin Dells area and enjoyed every minute. The kids are at great ages and we can really Go and Do things! Mini golf, water slides and pool time equals fun for everyone...

Hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend!

We are still a little dizzy and sunburned but relaxed and still getting along!