New Wedge Project Revealed

I just returned from a quick overnight getaway to one of my favorite places, The Monterey Bay Aquarium. My wonderful husband purchased “Behind the Scenes Tour” tickets for us to get up close and personal with the sea otters. The tour was spectacular, complete with fluffy baby otters. The tour was almost as good as the previous one we took last year on the jellies. I must admit however, the highlight for me was seeing the Giant Pacific Octopus on display in the newly installed Tentacles exhibit. What a fascinating and magestic creature!

Giant Pacific Octopus on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo taken from the website at www.montereybayaquarium.org.
Giant Pacific Octopus on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo taken from the website at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Our final walk on the beach this morning gave me the perfect setting to photograph my new beach totebag. My vision for this project was to design a circular beach totebag that would double as a groundcloth.  I used the large 36 degree rulers to cut fabric wedges. I doubled alternate spaces creating pockets for holding some beach necessities, such as sunscreen, flip-flops, sunglasses and waterbottles. There would be enough space in the middle of the bag to carry your towel, beach coverup and bikini ; ).

Alternate wedges are doubled to create pockets for carrying necessary beach items.
Alternate wedges are doubled to create pockets for carrying necessary beach items.

I used Kim Andersson’s new Tidal Lace line by Windham Fabrics and our new Making Waves pattern as inspiration to create a beach ball design on one side of the tote. The opposite side is a solid piece of vinyl covered cotton fabric. Everything was running smoothly until I came to adding the casing to the outer edge of the circle. Notice the rippling in the casing? Ugh!

Here's a close up of my problem.
Here’s a close up of my problem.

I’m generally not one to encourage pointing out disappointments, but in this case, I think there are two valuable tips I can share here. First, since I was working on a circular design, the casing strips should have been cut on the bias to prevent rippling. I didn’t have enough of the backing fabric to cut bias strips, so thought I might get away with some wide straight-grain cut strips . . . WRONG! I know better than this ; ). Second, I didn’t have my teflon presser foot with me while sewing on the vinyl fabric. Stitching with my regular foot only contributed to the problem. In an effort to resolve the situation, I put some blue painters tape on the bottom of my regular presser foot. This works in a pinch but I highly recommend using a teflon foot for any serious  sewing with these fabrics.

Sooo, not being happy with the end result, I decided to cut off the wobbly casing and attach a new bias cut strip. Finally, I inserted some cording/rope through the opening to create a drawstring strap. Ready to insert all my gear and head off to the beach.

A calm grey overcast morning at the beach.
A calm grey overcast morning at the beach.

I found a comfortable spot, spread out the tote and began setting up with some goodies purchased in town . . . local wine and Ghirdadelli chocolates!

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While I was setting up, I noticed that one of the locals was keeping a close eye on me!

One of the locals on the beach this morning.
One of the locals on the beach this morning.

Goodbye Monterey, until next time!

Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

Playing with Wedge Rulers

It’s been a crazy, busy week here but just want to pop in and share an apron design I made using some new and very large wedge rulers from Quint Measuring Systems, Inc. It’s hard to tell in the photo but the skirt is so cute and swishy when worn. Since I’m a huge lover of all dotted fabrics, this black and white became the perfect choice when combined with the beautiful large scale floral print. It’s super simple and sews up fairly quickly.

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Dots and stripes on the backside make this a reversible design. Two in one . . . not bad.

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Ok, just one more shot since I couldn’t resist having the adorable Jamie Hirano of Wooden Gate Quilts model the finished product. Love the look on you, Jamie!

Apron Jamie sml

 

Here’s a sneak peek at another wedge project I am working on. Any guesses on what it will be? It was inspired by our new Making Waves quilt pattern.  It will be something that can be used along with the quilt. If all goes well, I’ll reveal the completed (not going to tell you) in my next post.

Hmmm, wonder what this will be?
Hmmm, wonder what this will be?

It’s been fun making these easy projects but I’m so anxious to design and make a new quilt. Feel like it’s been way too long.  I’ve just not been inspired, until this week when I came across this gorgeous print by M&S Textiles Australia. Yes, it is one piece, NOT pieced. Circles and stripes in jewel tones, oh my! I can hardly wait to get started. I’ll be away teaching at Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar next week and hope to find a few minutes in the evening to play and work out some new designs. Fingers crossed.

I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!
I love EVERYTHING about this fabric!!

That’s it for today. Hope wherever you live, you are staying warm and cozy. It’s such a perfect time to be inside working on projects. Take advantage.

Until next time, keep your eyes open for inspiration, it’s everywhere.

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Laura Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Linderman Shares Her Frida Kahlo Inspired Projects

Here she is, all decked out in her Frida Kahlo inspired vest. With a passion for color and design, quilt artist Margaret Linderman finds inspiration in the works of painter, Frida Kahlo. From quilts, to wearable arts and collage works, it’s evident that this talented woman just oozes creativity. It’s who she is and what she does.

Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.
Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.

 

Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.
Frida Kahlo Vest #1 designed and made by Margaret Linderman.

 

This beautiful mola is the lining of the Frida Kahlo vest.
This beautiful mola is the lining of the Frida Kahlo vest.

If you missed my last post about Margaret’s recent surprise birthday party and beautiful Frida Kahlo quilt, simply click here to read about this special day. As promised, here are just a few of the many projects Margaret has made over the years. Enjoy!

Frida Kahlo jacket by Margaret Linderman based on a pattern by Marci Tilton.
Frida Kahlo jacket by Margaret Linderman based on a pattern by Marci Tilton.

 

Folkloric wallhanging. Our Lady of Guadalupe made with Guatemalan and Indian fabrics for All Souls Day.
Folkloric wallhanging. Our Lady of Guadalupe made with Guatemalan and Indian fabrics for All Souls Day.

 

Margaret with her Square in an Square quilt.
Margaret with her Square in an Square quilt.

Margaret joined the hexagons with marigold as she tells me that this color is the custom used on graves for All Souls Day.

Day of the Dead/All Souls Day quilt made for Margaret's granddaughter.
Day of the Dead/All Souls Day quilt made for Margaret’s granddaughter.

 

A beautiful example of Margaret's collage work used to border her silk jacket.
A beautiful example of Margaret’s collage work used to border her silk jacket.

 

A 1960s mola is added to the back of this jacket.
A 1960s mola is added to the back of this jacket.

 

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Couldn’t resist sharing with you some of the beautiful silver bracelets Margaret is known for wearing.

A sampling of Margaret's collection of silver bracelets.
A sampling of Margaret’s collection of silver bracelets.

Here’s the cover of one of Margaret’s favorite books on Frida . . . obviously chock full of inspiration.

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Thanks for stopping in today and wishing  you all a week filled with inspiration. Until next time…

Laura Signature

 

 

Quilter, Margaret Linderman Inspired by the Works of Frida Kahlo

Margaret wears a beautiful Frida Kahlo inspired headpiece made by Erica Cronin.
Margaret wears a beautiful Frida Kahlo inspired headpiece made by Erica Cronin.

Classy, kind, generous, talented, and gracious are just a few of the many adjectives one could use to describe one of our beloved local quilters, Margaret Linderman. Although Margaret has been the subject of a past post, her recent surprise birthday party inspired me to share with you the magic of that special day and  Frida Kahlo, the woman whose  paintings inspire much of Margaret’s beautiful work.

If you are not familiar with Frida Kahlo, you can visit this website which contains a wealth of biographical information along with images of her work.

Margaret has many interests, among them being quiltmaking and  wearable arts. Her work has been featured at both local quilt quild shows as well as the Pacific International Quilt Festival. In a recent interview, here’s what Margaret has to say about her interest in Frida Kahlo.

1.When did you first become interested in the work of Frida Kahlo?

In grade school (I was a student at the lab school at SDState) we studied murals. The school had a wonderful one in a hallway, so I became familiar with Diego Rivera, Mexico’s preeminent muralist. After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in late 70s, I was invited to view a documentary about Frida Kahlo at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. I only knew that she was the wife of Diego Rivera. My eyes were opened and I was curious to find out more about her. I particularly loved her costumes, her passion for animals and native plants that were evident in many of her paintings. I had always loved folkloric colors, costumes, and fabrics. At that time I was primarily interested in Art-to-Wear and small fiber constructions. When Alexander Henry issued their first Frida Kahlo fabric, I knew a Frida vest and jacket were about to emerge using techniques I had just learned at Empty Spools Seminars, a fabric collage class taught by Rosemary Eichorn.

Frida Kahlo fabric by Alexander Henry.
Frida Kahlo fabric by Alexander Henry.

2. What is it about Frida’s work that inspires you?

I saw the fabulous exhibit at SFMoMa of Frida’s work. I also saw the photographic exhibit in San Jose. Frida’s use of bold colors, dark subjects, and native flora and fauna inspired me to incorporate them into my work.

Magnolias by Frida Kahlo
Magnolias by Frida Kahlo
Fruits of the Earth by Frida Kahlo
Fruits of the Earth by Frida Kahlo

3. How do you use her designs, colors, etc. in your own work?

After taking Alethea Ballard’s  wonderful dream chair class, I knew I wanted to create a piece that was inspired by one of Frida’s paintings. The Frida and Diego Dream chair was that piece. I have continued to use images that were reminiscent of her work–but perhaps a little brighter. I am also a huge fan of the Day of the Dead or All Souls Day customs. Those images play well with Frida themes.

Margaret Linderman's "Dream Chair". Pattern by Alethea Ballard.
Margaret Linderman’s “Dream Chair”. Pattern by Alethea Ballard.

 

4.What types of projects have you made that reflect this inspiration?

Several quilts, vests, coats, and wall pieces dance with folkloric themes that are already completed.
I have a couple in the design process that incorporate floral tributes, skulls, and images of Frida.

It was no surprise that Margaret arrived at the party wearing one of her Frida inspired jackets.
It was no surprise that Margaret arrived at the party wearing one of her Frida inspired jackets.

In addition, I was lucky enough to have been gifted a lovely book about Frida Kahlo with commentary by Judy Chicago:  turning pages brings me information and images. And now I have my very own Frida quilt made for me by my friends and organized by my daughter, Janis and friends.

Margaret shares a special moment with her beautiful daughter, Janis Stob and dear friend, Alethea Ballard.
Margaret shares a special moment with her beautiful daughter, Janis Stob and dear friend, Alethea Ballard.
Friday Kahlo inspired birthday quilt for Margaaret.
Friday Kahlo inspired birthday quilt for Margaaret.
Detail showing center of quilt.
Detail showing center of quilt.

Be sure to check back on Friday as we share a gallery of Margaret’s work.

Until then, Happy January everyone!

Laura Signature

 

 

Simple Wedge Tree Skirt

Friday already? Yikes! I’m still curious about where November went. I’m guessing like many of you, this is a busy time of the year. Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up on me and then I start rushing in preparation for Christmas. I’m not one to purchase gifts throughout the year, but instead I wait until I’m inspired. I guess that’s why they call me “Last-Minute Laura.” Oh well, it works for me.

I’m still organizing my sewing/quilting room and promise to share photos as soon as it is ready for viewing. It amazes me how much stuff one person can collect over a 30-year period. I am happy to report that I HAVE donated lots of it, but there is still so much left to organize . . . one box at a time.

I needed to take a break from all the boring work and decided to do something simple and creative. I may be one of the last sewers/quilters who wraps the base of the family tree with a piece of holiday-printed fabric. Not this year, I decided it was time to actually make a proper skirt for our tree.

Our tree isn't up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.
Our tree isn’t up yet so I must use a cabinet for display.

I was recently given a 9-degree wedge ruler and thought it might be fun to cut and sew pieces together to form the needed circle. It’s pretty simple, and just 5 fat quarters are needed to make this skirt.

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After sewing the 40 wedges together, I felt it needed some decorative trim around the edge. Prairie points! After sewing them on I preferred the look of them folded inward and so I decided to secure them through the layers with red beads. I think it makes for a nice finishing touch.

Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.
Buttons, beads or even bells could be used to secure the points.

OK, skirt done. Now I just need to get the tree up so I can enjoy the new look, at least until the presents make their appearance. Speaking of presents, here’s a fun website I stumbled across today. If you enjoy unique gift wrappings you will enjoying watching the many tutorials. I am anxious to try the pleated one, it’s adorable. Click here to watch the beautiful Japanese gift wrapping by SHIHO Style and Design.

Enjoy!

Laura Signature

Blackbirds & Blossoms OH-LA-LA! Our Completed Quilt-Along Quilt

Quilt-Along-J:  Center blockHow did December sneak up on us so quickly? Seems like were were just introducing our first Quilt-Along quilt and, in the blink of an eye, we are revealing the finished product. With the help of our talented friend and long-arm quilter Cyndy Rymer we were able to complete it in time for this post. I attached the binding last night and, since we had a bit of sunshine today, I was able to take a few nice shots outdoors.

We are quite pleased with the quilt and hope you feel the same. If you have been following along and have any photos to share, we would love for you to send them our way. We always enjoy seeing your work.

Sooooo drumroll . . .  here are some photos showing an overview as well as details shots featuring some of the design motifs Cyndy used throughout the quilt.  I am also adding some notes that Cyndy made about her quilting design process.

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Cyndy: “I have to admit it was a terrifying honor to be asked to quilt the fabulous quilt-along project that Laura, Jennifer, and Pati created. But hey, I love a good challenge. And the quilt suits my taste – very whimsical and fun. I’m still a young punk in the world of long-arm quilting, and I admit to hanging out on every pro quilter’s corner looking for tips. Last year, I bought a Nolting Pro 24 machine with an Intelliquilter computer system, which allows me to use other designer’s digitized designs as well as those of my own design. And, I have to admit, this was my first stab at designing. Let me tell you, it is NOT easy. I created the quilted designs in the large triangles, but the stitching path was not very elegant. I used the repeated circles in the quilt as the inspiration for most of the quilting, but did free-motion echo quilting in the areas around the center of the quilt. I thought about feathers for the outer border, but thought a vine with circles and leaves to be more appropriate. Hope you agree! What fun.

 

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Check out our Pinterest Board to see all the photos of the quilt, and all of the projects that were inspired by this quilt. Blackbirds and Blossoms Pinterest Board

Happy December everyone! Hope you have enjoyed the project as well as the insights of our quilter, Cyndy Rymer.

Until next time, happy holidays!

Laura Signature

 

 

Confession of a Fabric Fanatic & a Giveaway

Ok, I admit it, I have way too much sewing and quilting stuff. What can I say? I love buying the latest fabrics, notions, and quilting books. However, I’m guessing that I’m not alone, as many of you who have been passionate and true to your craft are more than likely in the same boat. The reality is that there is more stuff than space conveniently allows. The big question is, what to do with all of it: continue storing it or find new homes for it?

Closet2

The recent challenging and painful experience of helping the son of a quilting friend clean out his mother’s sewing room has pushed me to deal with my stuff now. I don’t want anyone to have to go through the task this son is faces. A friend from the local guild and I went in and hauled it all out.

Now I have been collecting fabric, patterns, notions, books, and many other sewing and quilting-related things for over 30 years. I’m sure when I made the purchases I truly believed I would be using them in special projects . . . someday. Well, the reality is that many of those well-intentioned projects are still waiting to be started and, if my history tells me anything, it will probably never happen.

Starting to sort through a 30 year collection of books.
Starting to sort through a 30 year collection of books.

Fabrics have changed and so has my style. I’m looking at my collection with fresh eyes and have sorted everything into categories.

  1. What was I thinking? Time to find a new home for this one.
  2. I still love this fabric/book/tool, etc. and am not ready to pass it on. I will keep them.
  3. MUST keep this one, not that I ever intend to use it;  just has sentimental value so I plan to keep it forever.
This fabric was used in my wedding quilt that was made by my dear friends over 30 years ago. I will NEVER get rid of it.
This fabric was used in my wedding quilt that was made by my dear friends over 30 years ago. I will NEVER get rid of it.

After sorting through boxes, bins, bookcases, and baskets, I now have a pile of things that I am comfortable parting with. My suggestion is that, once you have designated it to the “find it a new home” box, don’t take a second look as you will more than likely change your mind.

I have been donating to local guilds for their outreach programs as well as to our local White Elephant Sale which benefits the Oakland Museum. I know they will both find good homes for everything.

Now that we are officially empty nesters, my husband has moved all of his collections into my newly married daughter’s previous bedroom. After 30 years in this business, I am excited to say I now have a dedicated sewing room.

After the sorting process is complete, it will be time to organize everything. I went to the IKEA website and found the perfect wardrobes (PAX System) to store all the keepers. It was actually pretty fun as there is a design program on the website that will allow you to move the parts around and put together a system that works best for your space as well as your treasures.

I’m excited to say that my cabinets arrived yesterday! Now, the fun, and the work begins. I’ll be busy the next few weeks with assembly and organizing.

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Hopefully next month I can share some photos of the results of my of my hard work.

Giveaway-GoldSooooo, IF by chance you were to receive a box of fabric (not too big, I promise), what style and colors would make you happy? Just asking ; ).

If you’re interested in sharing your wish, please leave a comment by end of day Sunday, November 2nd and I’ll see what I can pull together for you.

Now back to purging and organizing. This feels so good. If you haven’t yet, you might want to give it a try!

Laura Signature

Memory Board Game, A How-To-Make Tutorial

Since many of you have requested instructions on making the Memory Board Game I made in a previous post, I’ve decided to write a short tutorial giving the simple instructions. It’s a fun and easy project to make, using vinyl chalkboard fabric on the cover. It is a perfect “quiet” game doubling as both a drawing board and matching game board. Start collecting your favorite fun fabrics and  kid-type prints and get ready to create!  In case you missed the original post on this project, it was included here, with the review of Lisa Fulmer’s new book “Craft Your Stash”.

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The finished size of the game board is 10-1/2″ x 15-1/2″. It folds in half like a book and is secured on the side with a ribbon tie. You can certainly make your game board any size, in fact you may want to adjust it to accommodate the size of the picture squares, or rectangles. Just have fun with this one! Will make an adorable game for a special little one in your life.

 

Supplies

 

Here’s what you will need:

10-1/2″ x 15-1/2″ piece of vinyl chalkboard/blackboard fabric

Two 10-1/2″ x 15-1/2″ pieces of felt

Two 2-1/2″ x 10″ pieces of Timtex or Peltex (heavyweight stabilizer)

Twenty- four kid-prints or fun fabrics; dots, numbers and letters work well too.  May be more or less, depending on size of prints.

1/2 yard of fusible web

20″ piece of 1″ ribbon, cut in half

Thread & glue

Rotary cutter – I used a scalloped edge blade for added interest

A walking foot will be helpful for stitching through the layers.

Box of colored chalk

Fabric to make small pouch to store chalk and matching squares.

 

Instructions:

1. Press the fusible web onto the wrong side of all the kid prints.

2. Cut the fabrics into squares, using the rotary cutter. Need two squares of each image. Remove the paper backing from the fusible web.

3. Arrange one-half of the squares onto one piece of felt, leaving a larger space in the center to allow for folding in half.

Board1

 

4. Arrange the other (matching) set of picture squares onto the other piece of felt.

5. Press to secure the picture squares and then stitch both horizontally and vertically approximately 1/4″ from the edges of the squares.

6. With the right side of the chalkboard fabric facing out, layer with the pieces of stabilizer and then one piece of felt.

7. Insert one piece of ribbon on each side of the board, between the layers. Use a little glue to hold in place.

8. Stitch through all layers around the entire edge of the board.

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9. Use the rotary cutter to cut around the picture squares which were stitched to the second piece of felt. These are used to match/cover the picture squares stitched to the board.
Here’s the final game, front and back.
Game board with matching pieces.
Game board with matching pieces.
The chalkboard cover makes a nice writing surface.
The chalkboard cover makes a nice writing surface.
10. Consider making a small fabric pouch for storing the matching squares along with a box of colored chalk.
Hope you found this helpful. Until next time everyone, take care everyone.

Laura Signature

 

 

Lisa Fulmer’s Craft Your Stash Today at SHWS + 2 Giveaways!

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We are thrilled to participate in Lisa Fulmer’s  Craft Your Stash Book Tour and Giveaway!
The term “stash” is quite familiar to any crafter, sewer, quilter, or scrapbooker. In fact, if you are true to your passion you probably have more stuff in that stash than any person could possibly use in one lifetime. We here at SHWS are always on the lookout for great stash-busting inspiration no matter the medium. Well look no more, our friend and crafter extraordinaire Lisa Fulmer has just released her book, Craft Your Stash. It is chockful of wonderful projects and inspiration to help you in using fabric, paper, stamps, stickers, buttons, bling, and so much more. So, don’t delay, order your copy today, you wont be disappointed. Lisa also provides suggestions how storing and organizing your stash.
Our SHWS Riff on Stash Busting
We tried our own stash-busting efforts and riffed on a couple of Lisa’s projects. Of course, we opted to use fabric because we have loads and loads of the stuff!
Jennifer:  I took on a variation of Lisa’s heart-themed door plaque, but I opted for a pair of doorknob hearts as I’ve been known to decorate my guest room door with a welcoming gift of a fabric heart. I think Lisa and I must be on the same wavelength with the idea of embellishing doors with hearts–it is, after all, an expression of loving welcome.
Lisa's hearts
I’ve got two special people I want to celebrate with a handmade gift and so I made a pair of hearts. If you’d like to bust your stash and make heart pillows, well, click the Pattern tab above and scroll to the Jack Sparrow Valentine pattern I posted there a couple years ago.
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 Project-J:  Lisa Fulmer inspiration--Jennifer's heart 1
 Laura:  I was inspired by the Mosaic Scrapbook project in Lisa’s book.

Lisa's book

My immediate thought was to make a toddler friendly Memory/Matching Game Board:  bright, colorful, and portable! I also took advantage of this opportunity to use chalkboard fabric for the cover of the game board.

Search through your stash for lots of cute kid -type images.
Search through your stash for cute kid-appealing images.
Hope this will entertain a little one on a long car ride.
Easy clean up too–just wipe the chalk markings off the fabric.

No blog hop would be complete without an enticing Giveaway opportunity–want to participate in Lisa’s the Craft Your Stash giveaway?

Go to Rafflecopter or Link to the Giveaway tab on Lisa Liza Lou Facebook Page for an opportunity to win a copy of Lisa’s book.
To purchase Craft Your Stash:
1. Signed copies for sale on Craftyourstash.com
2. Amazon 
3. Local craft and book stores

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Want the details for the other giveaway? We too have a copy of Craft Your Stash we’d love to share with our SHWS readers. Leave a comment by Monday, October 6 letting us know: are you or are you not a hoarder of crafty items and would Lisa’s book be a good intervention for your habit?

Do check out the other bloggers participating in the blog hop–here’s the talented lineup:

Click here for the schedule overview – and the direct links to each post will be updated below each day.

Craft Your Stash

 

 

Until next time, Happy Stash Busting Everyone!

Laura Signature