Saturday, November 15, 2014

Organizing, wow.

I have a confession...I'm terribly unorganized. I can basically keep my house clean (not organized) with the exception of my bedroom. I will always close the door on that room. Always. What a pig sty! 

My sewing room is another story. I have friends over all the time that come to sew with me. I can't keep it messy or they'd stop visiting. So what do I do? Shove everything in the closet or the shelf, of course!

{that ain't pretty}

Well, lucky me, I was asked to try out a new product by Polar Notions/Paper Pieces.

The perfect opportunity to tackle at least one of my problem areas! I was both excited to try these out and terrified at the same time. Excited because I could straighten out that shelf and make it pretty! Terrified because well, I had to straighten out that shelf and make it pretty! Haha

Want some close ups? Sure you do. Check this out...

That's just downright frightening!
I mean, seriously, how does one find anything in there??

That iron doesn't even work, you know. Shameful...

Well, so I pulled everything off the shelves, threw out the trash and nonsense, found some stuff that I'd been missing for quite some time (oh hello, unopened bag of Skittles and hello, cute little sewing machine print that I thought was lost forever!) and put some bins to good use, rather than have them sit empty or unorganized.

The result?
Much better, huh?

The best part was being able to fold up a stack of fabric and display it up there on
The top shelf. How about a better shot:

Isn't that fun? They were so easy to use. I went on YouTube and searched "Polar Notions" for directions. In no time I had a neat little stack of GeoFabulous on mini bolts.

These bolts can hold up to 15 yards of fabric and be only 3" wide, how cool is that?? I don't actually have 15 yards of anything, but if I did I would definitely roll it around one of these little magical bolts. That's so much easier and nicer than wadding it up and stuffing it wherever it'll fit!

{info so you can grab a set or two}

I wish I had about 5 dozen more of these! My shelves would look even prettier!

Oh! Before I go, I should tell you that Paper Pieces is offering all Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap participants a 20% discount on your entire shopping cart until February 1, 2015. Use the information below to get your savings.
Happy organizing!

PS Stay tuned for information on how to win a set of your own!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mini Quilt Swap Round 3 Labels

Hi there! This is Ali from a.squared.w taking over today. Kristi asked me if I would design a few labels for round 3 of the swap and of course I said yes. While I haven't spent much time sewing lately, I love designing sewing related stuff still.

There are 3 PDF options. All are 8.5" x 11" and have a 4.5" label in the top left corner. There are 1/4" seam allowances on all sides so the label will finish to 4" square. There are 2 ways that you can print your selected label.

Always do a test print first so that you know how your printer feeds the paper (usually right side down on ink-jet printers)

Method 1
1. Buy Printable Fabric sheets (similar to this or this or this. I have never used any of these brands before so I can't say that one is better than the other)

2. Print selected label at 100% on an inkjet printer.

3. Trim on black line.

Method 2
I like this method because you can pick the fabric that you use (colors, prints, etc). Make sure it's 100% cotton. Pre-washed will hold the ink better.

1. Cut Freezer Paper and desired fabric to 8.5" x 11".

2. With a dry iron on a mid-low setting, iron the back of the fabric to the shiny side of the paper. Iron from the fabric side on a firm surface.

3. Once the fabric is cool, place in printer and print selected label at 100%

4. Press design with a warm dry iron to set the ink.

5. Peel off the freezer paper and trim on black line.

A note about scaling:
If you want a smaller or larger label you can certainly scale up or down in the printer settings. However, since the 1/4" seam allowance is included, scaling down will reduce the seam allowance and scaling up will make it larger (although it can be trimmed down to size).

Click on the label of your choice to be taken to Google Drive where it is hosted. You can select to download it from there. The download button looks like an arrow pointing down.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Book Review: present perfect: 25 Gifts to Sew & Bestow

Did you know that there's only six weekends left before Christmas?? SIX!


Ok, let me just pick myself up off the floor, brush myself off. I will not panic, I WILL NOT PANIC! Know why? 'Cause I have a new book and six weekends to sew. Six weekends is really twelve days, and just think of all the days between those weekends, really there's PLENTY of time, right? Right?? Work with me, k? I'm about to save your hidey ho on the holiday gifts.

This is such a cute book! Betz has obviously put her best work into it and has given us a project for just about anyone on your list. Inside the pages are full of tips on how to make your gift one of a kind and how to make the most of what you might already have around the house. Each project is defined by skill level with a cute little pincushion illustration to help guide you in the right direction.

The book is broken up into three chapters/sections: Memorable Milestones (gifts for special occasions), New and Little (things to make for the little ones) and Happy Home (gifts to celebrate the home). 

Some of my favorite projects, and the ones you'll find under the tree from me, are The Gentleman's Travel Case:
Surely that beats a gallon size zip-top plastic baggie, right? 

The Sweet Life Pillow
I was surprised to see that this project only has two pins in the pin cushion illustration! It's so detailed, I thought for sure it was going to be hard! (Mom gift, check!)

The casserole carrier on page 131:
{at first glance, I thought it said "It's Your Lucky Day casserole daddy-o" but no, it doesn't! Ha!}

Hopefully my sister isn't reading this blog post because the Casserole Daddy-O has her name all over it! She has a crazy huge vintage Pyrex collection! 

And, oh my gosh look at this! Forest Friends Finger Puppets:
How cute is that?? My two year old nephew would love it!
I'm definitely making this for him! Even that worm on top of the stump is cute and that's saying A LOT considering I have a worm phobia (ridiculous, but true.)

Honorable mentions, and not pictured, go to the Market Shopper (mother-in-law gift for sure!), Hexie the Turtle Floor Pillow (Roo), Tagalong Teddy (no one in particular, maybe I'll just make them for the satisfaction of creating such a darn cute toy!) and Color-Blocked Felt Bins (maybe my friend Katy could use them in her kitchen? She could store her dry goods like pasta or dried beans?)

I have flipped through the pages of this book so many times and each time it's like looking at it for the first time. Something catches my eye and I think "That turtle is so cute!" Or "Oh my gosh, how did she make that bear quilt?" I think you're going to love this book. 

Pick it up at the Interweave online store. It's on sale for $19.88, how great is that? (It was $26.99.) AND!! You don't even have to wait for it to be shipped to you because it's also a digital download. Awesome!

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap: Round Three

 You've waited...

...and waited...


Guess what Quilter's of Awesome?


 {storybook quilt made for me by Amanda of Westwood Acres}

The Third Round of the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap is finally here!

I've done some plotting and planning and brainstorming to make this one even bigger and better than our previous rounds.  We have sponsors and prizes, optional donations to various Animal/Humane services, printable quilt labels and discounts from a few of my favorite fabric shops and pattern designers and more coming in every day!

Let's start with a couple of the prizes, but only a couple because I want to keep the excitement going:

**a SIX MONTH subscription to Make Modern Magazine**

**A Brand New Pattern by Kelly Biscopink**

Discounts for swap participants have generously been offered by the following:

(more info coming soon)

And, this is really exciting, Patchwork Threads and I have teamed up to help out our four-legged, feathered and/or furry friends by creating a special Animal/Quilt themed T-Shirt for you:

20% of the profits from the sale of this very special shirt will go to the 
ISN'T THAT AWESOME???  Thank you, Lindsay, for making this possible!

Now, most of you know how much my pets mean to me and what a softie I am for animals.  One of the goals of my career is to be able to open an animal rescue for misplaced, mistreated, unwanted, homeless animals.  It has been suggested to me that I charge people to participate in this swap, but for me it's not about making money.  This swap is all about making friendships and building community; breaking down walls and getting to know each other.  I am not interested in making a single cent off of any of you.  I am interested, however, in helping others.

So, here is my proposal:

Let's make a donation in our partners name.  I've had quilt labels designed for you by Ali Winston (Instagram user @a_2_w).  Feel free to print these off and use them for your quilts.  There is a place to write in your name and donation info (or not-there's an option to keep in anonymous, too!)  Be on the lookout for a separate post with these labels.  Ali will be guest blogging for me, and will be able to explain better how to print and use them.  Thank you, Ali!

Here is a list of shelters, rescues and charities that I love.  Donations are completely optional, and there is no pressure whatsoever to do it.  I just thought it would be a nice way for one community of friends to help another.  Take a look, if you have one that you love, please send me an email or contact me here so I can include the link.  Thanks!


One last change before I give you the sign up link.  This round will be EXCLUSIVE to Instagram users.  Since this is an Instagram based swap, I thought it would be best to keep it on that platform.  We have a Flickr group that is great for communicating and stalking, but most of our activity happens on IG.  If you DO NOT have an Instagram account, you WILL NOT be able to participate.  I have so many participants in this swap that it is extremely challenging to keep on top of it if everyone isn't in the same place.  I know this is a disappointment for some, but it's the way it needs to be.  Thank you so much for understanding!

Here's some of the important stuff to know:
1. You will be assigned a partner according to the answers you submit, so think carefully!
2. Be sure to give as much information as possible so your swap is a happy success.
3. Quilts can be as small as 6"x6" and as big as 24"x24".
4. This is a secret swap, give us sneak peeks or even full views, but don't tag your partner!
5. Due dates to have your mini quilt in the mail is Friday, January 16, 2015.  This gives you two plus months to get through the holidays, finish up your WIP's, clear your cutting table off and stock your shelves.
6. Because the ship-by date is so far off, and this is a secret swap, please make every effort to send your swap by January 16 for International Swappers and January 23 for Local Swappers.
7. Come join the Flickr group to share all of your pictures, gather ideas and meet up with new and current friends.
8. Use the hashtag #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap and #makeaquiltmakeafriend to check out what everyone else is doing. These are the exact same hashtags that we used during the first round, let's keep it going!
9. Feel free to send goodies with your Quilts, if you want.  It is nice, but NOT necessary, so don't feel obligated to do so and don't feel bad if you don't. 
11. Have fun!
12. Upon receipt of your Swap Package, PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE take the time to post in on IG, say thank you and send your partner an email.  This is ESSENTIAL!

Please keep in mind that this swap is open to ALL SKILL LEVELS.  You may not get something that equals your own skills, so please be thoughtful (and gentle!) when receiving.  Send something that you are proud of and would be proud to display on your own wall. 

For more information on how this works, click here:

Are you ready to sign up?

Well then, here you go...

Now, sit back, relax and enjoy the flight!  Erm, I mean, give me a little time to organize.  Because I don't set a limit on the number of participants, the partnering up process can take a week or so.  HANG TIGHT!

 Happy swapping!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Book Review: Mollie Makes "Weddings"

Wanna know what happened on March 11, 2008? Here's a hint:

Yep. We got married. On a Tuesday evening in downtown Seattle in March and it was the best day of my life (you know, until our daughter was born the following year.) I knew even before he got down on one knee (and never really asked the question) that our wedding was going to be unique. We didn't want any of our guests to feel like they were attending yet another same ol' wedding/different couple kind of shindig, so we set out to make lots of personalized touches and unusual choices. I wish I had photos to show you, but I'm limited to what I've got here (remember that our belongings are still I storage in Seattle and we're in Atlanta). 

{this is the groomscake that my sister made! Isn't it the coolest?}

Anyway, since then, I've discovered Etsy and have noticed that more and more couples who are getting married have also chosen the stand out route. No more homogenized weddings! 

Mollie Makes has come up with a very useful, totally adorable book on exactly that: making your wedding as stylish and creative as you are whether you are good at paper crafts, sewing, stitching or stamping. 

Inside, you will find 95 pages of inspiration and good ideas separated into four categories.

 Handmade Invites (which is something we did):
{stitched paper save-the-day garland}

 Bouquets and Flowers (holy cow-instructions on how to make a button stem bridal bouquet):
{painted glass flower display}

Wedding Favors:
{felt appliqué ring pillow}

 and Table Decorations:
{felt cutwork lantern wraps}

Even if you're not getting married or you're long past the I-Do's and honeymoon, I think this book is essential for any crafters library. Just because it says "Weddings" doesn't mean you can't adapt it to any other life event. How about those felt cutwork lanterns? Perfect for a birthday party or Independence Day BBQ, right? 

I kinda wish this book was out on March 18, 2007 (you know, the day after we got engaged/the day I started planning our wedding haha). Hey-maybe you know a crafty bride-to-be? I bet she'd love to receive a copy of this book!

And now, one last picture of our wedding day 'cause I'm feeling all nostalgic...

Happy crafting!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Our community: Upcycle Ethiopia

Instagram user/friend Karri (@karriofberries) wrote me a very sweet and polite email the other day and asked if I could help spread the word about an organization that she is a part of. When she told me what the group was all about, there was no hesitation. I am amazed every day at the generosity and endless love that our community has. I always say that if quilters/sewists ran the world, there would be no war, no starvation, no hurt. We'd all be wrapped up in warm hugs (quilts). You can't have hugs AND war, right?? 

I would like to thank Karri for introducing me to Upcycle Ethiopia. And now, it is my turn to introduce all of you to it, as written by Karri herself:

n 2012 our Upcycle Ethiopia organizer, Meghan, was visiting her daughter in South Africa. She saw a beautiful bag at a local art shop made by “Wren” from an upcycled cement bag. Meghan got to thinking about the potential of asking her network of friends to create upcycled products to benefit non-profit organizations in Ethiopia, the home of her two small sons and the country where her own small non-profit, Roots Ethiopia, is located.

Meghan, not a seamstress herself, began networking with her friends, suggesting a theme of repurposed coffee bags as a strong and vibrant connection to Ethiopia, the land where coffee originates.

Upcycle Ethiopia was invented – with over 20 women sewing and creating with inspiration and purpose. “Sewing for Good” resonated with the women. A Facebook page was created to share, strategize, lament (burlap is a tough fabric to work with), and joke about hoarding coffee bags with beautiful graphics.  Each and every item made by our amazing team is donated; all time, all fabric, all notions, all the love and creativity. It’s a true giving event.

This is our third year --- each year we have represented a different non profit working in Ethiopia. This year we will benefit Roots Ethiopia, the non-profit Meghan founded. It’s a moment of symmetry for Meghan to bring together two great loves!

The official Statement of Upcycle Ethiopia:

A community of women has gathered together from across the U.S. (from New Hampshire to Oregon) to sew on behalf of women in Ethiopia. This is our 3rd year creating unique items to benefit organizations that promote sustainability for women and families in Ethiopia.

This year Upcycle Ethiopia has chosen Roots Ethiopia ( for their strong work with women and families in southern Ethiopia. Our ‘Upcycle for Ethiopia’ team is repurposing burlap coffee bags and other items to support hardworking mothers in Ethiopia who will receive small business grants funded by the generosity of your purchase! Mothers are ready to work and your purchase provides the needed financial resources to get started on the path to economic independence.  Our craftsmanship and your purchase makes a difference!

Anchoring our original work with upcycling coffee bags makes perfect sense to us; coffee originates from the beautiful country of Ethiopia. Our coffee bags come from all over, but resonate with the essence of Ethiopia. We’ve added more repurposed products this year, all sticking with our upcycle theme. Our hope is that ‘Upcycle for Ethiopia’ sells YOU an awesome product, and delivers economic opportunities for mothers and families in need. Thank you!


{I Spy Charm Pack example}

Karri has offered one of my readers a charm pack, 56 squares (a full yard's worth) of "I spy" charms. Please visit and have a look around. Come back and leave me a comment about what you read, saw or liked the most. One winner will be chosen from a drawing on Saturday, October 11, 2014.

Good luck!