Friday, November 29, 2013

winter is just round the bend

Today is Black Friday in the United States - something that doesn't exist here in Germany. It is a great sports event (not really but it feels like it), and I miss it every year. My sister and I would actually get up around 4 a.m., brush our teeth, drink a cup of coffee and start out the door to get the BEST possible bargains at our favorite retail stores. {Black Friday is the biggest shopping day in the United States where you get better bargains the earlier you shop.} We would try to get all of the Christmas shopping done on this day. Sorry Sis! I know you are having fun at the beach this year.

We, my German-American family and I, normally celebrate Thanksgiving on the Saturday preceding the fourth Thursday of the month which usually coincides with the first Adventswochenende. We invite friends over to share the day with us. We eat a huge brined turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake (totally from scratch - I cook fresh pumpkin into pulp as well), rosemary dressing, gravy and mashed potatoes. I love my American Thanksgiving, and I have learned how to make everything from scratch to make it 100% authentic. Why? Because you can't get all of that stuff in a can over here.

Although we decided not to have Thanksgiving this year, it makes me all the more excited about Christmas. I have more time to concentrate on my projects and planning the larger Christmas get-together at our home now that we finally have the room. So that is going to be my main focus until X-Mas...finishing a few projects including Christmas presents and planning a big Christmas in our new home.

I finished up a few Advent Calendars. The one at the top of the post above I made for Amy as a part of our quilt exchange through Doll Quilt Monthly. It is a really great group of women who swap quilts every month with optional themes. I am really enjoying it and learning lots of new things. The Advent Calendars below have been in the works for two to three years. I finished them just today. My kids already have one, but they always want the NEW. The other two matching ones will probably go to my niece and nephew in the States.

And now off to the very important part of the post. Who was the lucky person to receive a giveaway charm pack to start making lots of Forgotten Five Minis???

KAHOLLY - my daughter drew your name! I had to laugh. Now you can really sew lots and lots of your new favorite pattern. ;-) I'm still waiting on a picture of your current one.

Karen, please contact me with your address, and I will send your package including this yummy charm pack called Coquette right out (on Monday). Thank you everyone for your support!

Monday, November 25, 2013

the forgotten five mini quilt

Hello everyone! My new favorite pattern is now available at Moda Bake Shop! Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments and support. A warm and special thanks to Lisa Calle for planning and organizing the project and to Sarah Huetschtemann for sewing it all together! The Moda Weaves
Collection looks like real linens in fantastic modern colors.

The pattern has directions for one 12" mini quilt, one 4" pin cushion and one 15" (40 x 40cm) pillowcase.

I can't explain how much fun this pattern really is. Everyone thinks that it is really complicated and time consuming, but it goes together like a snap.

I know that some people are intimidated by little quilts or little blocks, but now that I am making more mini quilts, I try to find ways or use special techniques to simplify the block and quilt making, especially for you. It is really too bad that mini quilt magazines are no longer published, because they illustrated a lot of very useful techniques.

I think you can use just about any type of fabric to make this creation. I have used solids, brights and pastels. Everything works, even plaids. You might want to steer away from large scale prints though. Larger scale prints don't usually work in any miniature quilt.

Here are a few of my favorite Forgotten Five Minis:

Don't forgot to join the site. I will be drawing a name/number this Friday. The lucky viewer will receive a little package of goodies from me including a charm pack to make lots of Forgotten Five Minis!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

quilting retreat

It has been a while since I really had the chance to sew for myself without interruptions. So, I signed myself up for a quilting weekend at the Quilt Oase to rejuvenate my vitals and relax with the girls.

What to work on? I have a stack of woven plaids that have been with me for about a good ten years. I started a project for my husband using half-square triangles - HST and a tan neutral color. I found the pattern in an Australian Country Patchwork magazine and thought it was really great (at that time). Needless to say, I never completed the project and the patches are still in a metal tin somewhere in the basement. I still want to finish up a quilt for my hubby incorporating plaids, especially since we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary this year. How to make a modern quilt for a man using plaids?

I have been asking myself this question for about a month or two now. I have been looking high and low for patterns. I want to do something with 60° triangles to get more experience but don't want a typical country quilt. This one caught my attention by Jaybird Quilts? I can't exactly see who made it, but saw it referenced once.

I thought this could be a down and dirty pattern to cleanse and go quickly. Should I do it, or should I try to come up with something else? It states that the triangles are sewn on paper log cabin style. Do I really need the paper? Can't I just sew strips onto a pre-cut center triangle? I need advice. Does anyone have any?


Monday, November 11, 2013

sneak peek - a new free pattern at moda bake shop

Almost one year has gone by since I had my first free pattern published at Moda Bake Shop. If you remember, it was called "prairie Traditions" - made from one layer cake. I have submitted a few more patterns for the Bake Shop over the year, but they are a hard bunch of Chefs! However, they did like a small quilt which I named the Forgotten Five Mini made from your favorite charm pack. You will be able to download the directions for one miniature quilt, one pillow case and one pin cushion over at their site sometime this month.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations and what you can do with your free pattern.

Also, if you haven't already, register to win a free charm pack to make items from the featured pattern. I will be drawing a number from registered Google Followers one week after the pattern is published. You can join this site under Patchwork Friends at the bottom of this page. The lucky winner will receive a little package of goodies!

Warm wishes,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

let your kids go crazy

Last week was fall break in school, so the kids were with me all week. No vacation was planned, and we didn't go anywhere, the entire year. I will have to put that on my list for 2014. ;-) So, I tried to concentrate on housework and getting things back into order. I should put a cleaning lady on my list as well. My eight-year-old son told me that he wanted to sew! How cool is that? So, instead of taking one of his previously started projects out, I thought of a new one. I grabbed my tote of Christmas fabrics and taught his how to go crazy. He loved it.

He wanted nine blocks in his quilt, so we agreed on a 6 x 8" block, 2 x 3 rows. I cut a few foundation blocks, and we got started. My son really enjoyed picking out the fabric and making sure that we only used the fabric once in each block. He also understood the concept of contrast. It wasn't always easy to understand how to sew on the patch so that the first piece was completely covered, but I also had problems there. We managed to get one block done, and then he decided he wanted to pick out the fabrics, iron them and position them; it was my job to sew them on.

We now have four out of nine blocks, and I am looking forward to getting the other five finished, and that before December! He will have his first ever X-Mas quilt that he can share and remember - Mom and I made this one together.

I know a lot of you sewing fanatics have young children at home, and I would really like to encourage you to teach and share with your children this technique. It is great to use up those scraps (it doesn't have to be for Christmas either). It also doesn't matter if the sewing lines are 1/4" or 1/2"; they just have to be relatively straight.

Start with a small project similar to the one below using 6.5 x 8.5" unfinished blocks. The final size will be about 17 x 19 inches and a great size for a wall hanging, placemat, doll quilt, center piece or tote. Teach your kids how to sew, how to rip a seam, how to iron (correctly), and so on.

If you accept this challenge, I would love to see what you came up with, and we will have a little contest - first, second and third place winners. I look forward to hearing from you.

Get your patch on!