I am no longer actively blogging here but I’d love if you could join me at my new creative lifestyle blog A Girl in Paradise.
I hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hooray! The kids are back to school!

I know that sounds awful but yesterday was the first day of school for us and I can't wait to be on a normal schedule again.  This year is also the first time in 12 years that I will have all my kids in school and a little freedom during the day to get stuff done.  I don't know what I am going to do with myself. Just kidding, I know exactly what I am going to do with myself.  
Sew. Blog. Exercise. 
There may even be a 5K in my future, we will see, but all I know for sure, this year is going to be all about trying new things.  I must admit though, I have missed the kids, and the best part of my day is picking them up at the bus stop in the afternoon. 
For now I have been working on my to do list and getting all those unfinished projects done.  The first order of business was my Hello Sunshine quilt.  It has been neglected for far to long and it feels great to be working on it again.    

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Little Christmas Sewing...

How cute are these?  A couple of weeks ago I saw this tutorial for Tree Trivets over at Stitching and Bacon and I have been itching to make some ever since.  So, since yesterday was dark and raining, I took some time to make a few.  They were easy to make and took me no time at all.  I think they are adorable and plan to make a few more for Christmas gifts. 
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Negative Space Challenge Quilt

The Tampa chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild had a negative space challenge and yesterday was the big reveal.  I entered this quilt as part of that challenge.  The rules were simple,  make a quilt top using negative space.  This quilt went through many changes through the design process but in the end I am very happy with the results.  I definitely had to step outside my comfort zone for this one, but isn't that the best thing about a challenge, pushing yourself to try new things.  
Here are some of the other quilts that were part of the challenge.  Truly, I am inspired by them all. 
Georgia chopped up a quilt she wasn't happy with to create her entry.   
Katie's quilt was inspired by a Corgi legend and she was the winner of our little challenge.  You can read more about her quilt here
Ellen's quilt was inspired by lanterns from the movie Tangled.  I can't wait to see what she does with the quilting. 
In the mist of packing for a move Elizabeth managed to put together this quilt.  Don't you just love the pixilated aqua background?  You can read more about her quilt here.
Before this design even took shape I knew I wanted to use this line of ombré solids by V and Company.  I liked the idea of having many shades within the same color palettes. 
Again, here are some pictures documenting the process.  This quilt also contained a few firsts for me... strip piecing on the 45, which I have done before, but not using this technique.  Also, I tried out a new type of thread and a new pair of quilting gloves.  You can read more about what I thought about them here.
The details:
This quilt measures about 36” by 58” pieced together in chevron strips.  For the fabric I used the Simply Color collection by V and Co for Moda and kona white.  The was binding was pieced using the remaining fabric and the back was a single piece of kona white.  The quilting is a straight line that follows the flow of the quilt, using Superior Thread's Rainbows color #837 called Spring Fling.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Now Available on Craftsy - Modern Folded Star

I have received a couple of emails of late that people are having a problem downloading the PDF instructions to my Modern Folded Star via Google docs.  I not sure what is going on with Google docs, things look good on my end, but since people are having trouble with it, I decided to offer it as a free download through Craftsy.  Enjoy! 

You can read more about this project here and here.

You can download your free PDF pattern here.

You can also download a free PDF pattern via Craftsy here.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

New Fabric Friday - Pearl Bracelets

Lizzy House for Andover Fabrics  has come out with 2 new color ways in the Pearl Bracelets print, Luster and Vivid.  They are perfect for stash building and why I just had to have them.  
The Luster color way has to be my favorite.  It comes in 12 different low volume shades that just make me happy. The colors in this line open a whole new world of color combinations for me. Just imagine the pinks and greys in this line paired with some low volume text prints... The quilty possibilities are endless.
The Vivid color way was also a must have because if you have been following this blog for any length of time you know I love bight cheerful colors set against a white background.  I was happy that this color way included some of the colors that I am always looking for in my stash but never seem to have on hand like the purple and brown.
Have a great weekend. 
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Good Fortune Quilt

Originally I designed this quilt as a Moda Bake Shop tutorial but because of poor communications on both sides that never came to be.  I am not terribly upset by this, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, this quilt was just not meant to be a Moda Bake Shop quilt.  It now can be whatever I want it to be, I am just not sure what that is right now.  Instead I am just enjoying the moment of a job well done.  I am very proud of this quilt for many reasons, the main one being the design. 
I designed this quilt to efficiently use 2 jelly rolls with very little waste.  It is a modified Bright Hope quilt block that uses the traditional robbing Peter to pay Paul setting, meaning that both blocks are the same but they are pieced together using opposite color values, which gives the quilt it's positive and negative appearance. 
I am also very proud of this quilt because when I use pre-cuts I look at it as a personal challenge to use as much of the pre-cut fabric as possible.  The biggest challenged I  faced in the design of this quilt was that I didn't want it to look like a string quilt.  How do you do that if all you have is strips?  In the end it required a lot of quilt math but I figured it out and I love the results.
For the backing I used a single print that was pieced together. Usually I like to incorporate my scraps into the back but because there was very little left over in the way of scraps, so I made this pillow instead. 
Here are some of the pictures that I posted along the way. I find the process just as important as the finished quilt.  If you are on Instagram or Twitter and want to follow along you can find me at @agirlinparadise. 
The details: This quilt measures about 64" by 82" with 154 bright hope blocks pieced together in a 11 by 14 layout. For the fabrics I used a jelly roll of Good Fortune by Kate Spain for Moda and a Bella Solids white jelly roll also by Moda. For the backing and the binding I used coordinating prints, that were also part of the Good Fortune line by Kate Spain. The quilting is a basic straight line that follows the quilt block, using white Aurifil tread.

Thanks for stopping by, and for all your continued support. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Have a great day!

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

The New SCHMETZ App!

As you know I have been doing more and more research on the different threads that are available to quilters and how to use them, I have found that is just as important to find the right needle to go with the different threads that are out there on the market.  So, in the process of doing this research I found the new SCHMETZ app. 
It just came out last month and I am very excited.  It has everything from the different needle types, trouble shooting, a link to their blog for all the latest news, and how to order all their needles. 
I am still in the process of experiment with some different threads, but I want to share this with you.  It contains a wealth of information that you can use to make informed decisions, and it doesn't hurt that it is mobile.  I think we both know if you are standing in front of the notions wall at Jo-Ann's and have a question there isn't anyone there that can help you, trust me I have been there.

You can find the app here.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Reveiw - Grab-A-Roo's Machine Quilting Gloves

Last week I shared with you that I was trying some new threads and a pair of Grab-A-Roo's gloves for machine quilting.  I had a chance to try them and was pleasantly surprised.  I also finished my negative space quilt that I am very excited about.  I wish I could share the finished quilt with you today, but I think I will wait till after the big revel at our next guild meeting.  Thanks to all of you who commented and shared your suggestions.  You played a big part in how this quilt evolved.

First up are the Grab-A-Roo's gloves.  They are made for machine quilting, sewing, scrapbooking, and general crafting.  They claim to keep hands cool and comfortable with a unique snug fit.  Which is the exact reason I bought them.  I have tried quilting gloves in the past, but have never been happy with them for one reason or another.  Grab-A-Roo's come in several sizes, are seamless, and have grips on the tips of every finger. 
Ok, so the first thing I did was quilt a couple of lines with bare hands as I usually do to get a feel for the quilt, and the machine.  As you can see, in the picture above, starting and stopping with bare hands without a good grip of the fabric, sometimes creates these skips.  Not cool, and why I need a good pair of gloves. 
Then, I put on the gloves to quilt the remainder of the quilt.  First, the fit is amazing, a unique snug fit is a good way to describe how they feel.  They are made out of nylon and spandex so your hands are able to breath.  I don't know if I would say my hands stayed cool, but they definitely were not sweaty or clammy when I was done. 
The gloves only have grips on the finger tips not the entire hand.  I wasn't sure if that was going to be enough grip but it was, giving me more control to move my hands around without sticking to the fabric. 
I am glad I tried them and think they will help with my machine quilting, and I would recommend these to others.  I bought mine at my local quilt shop but here is the link for Grab-A-Roo's if you are interested in trying them out for yourself.  
Next up is the variegated thread.  I used Superior Thread's Rainbows color #837 called Spring Fling.  It is a 40wt. high sheen trilobal polyester thread with one inch color change.  I also used a #90/14 topstitch needle in my machine. 
I liked it a lot.  I didn't have any trouble with breakage and because of the high sheen if glided through my machine effortlessly.  As a rule, I almost always use cotton threads when it comes to quilting, but I think that is another antiquated rule that needs to be broken.  Today, we are lucky enough to have so many options and I look forward to trying more threads and learning how to use them efficiently. 
This has been another topic that I have received a lot of reader response.  Thank you for sharing what threads you use and why.  I am excited to try some of them out. 

*all opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review in any way. 

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Sew Sew Modern 3

So, have you heard?  There is a amazing swap that is just about to start it's third round, Sew Sew Modern 3.  It is being hosted by Lee and Karen who I met at the Sew South Retreat.  This is just what I need for some fun summer sewing.  Sign ups are now till July 5th and the mailing isn't until September. 
Here is the inspiration mosaic that I put together for the swap.  As you can see I am inspired by bright, clean lines and modern patchwork.  I hope my partner is inspired by my board and gets a good sense of what my likes are, but if she still needs a little more inspiration there is always Pinterest

1. Retro pouch spring 2008, 2. quilt no. 3 of 4 basted., 3. & mini quilt top done /// #freshminiquiltclub, 4. #freshminiquiltclub march 2013 using @artgalleryfabrics pure elements, 5. Pillow Talk 10 Front, 6. New York Beauty - Circle of Flying Geese Quilt, 7. Wannabe Feathers mini (1), 8. Mug Rug for Modern Mini Contest, 9. Modern Mini, 10. Hexie Mini-up, 11. Pillow Swap Round 2 - Full View, 12. the pillow talk {swap} 10, 13. Pillow Talk Swap 9 - Done!, 14. Pillow Talk Swap round 10, 15. Modern Quilted Pillow Swap, 16. Pillows Gone Wild - Tutuorial, 17. Pillow Talk {Swap} R.5_Finished Outside, 18. Super Tote Pattern, 19. Aeroplane Bag, 20. Sew Sew Modern Round 2
I am so excited to part of this swap and I can't wait to be assigned a partner. 

Happy Sewing!

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Friday, June 28, 2013

New Fabric Friday - Love By Hand

There is a new weekly feature over at Love By Hand that I wanted to share with you.  It is called New Fabric Friday.  It is a weekly link up where you can share the new fabrics that you have added to your stash, because let's face it we all love fabric just as much as we love sewing it together. 
Love By Hand
I meet Christen last year at Sew South and was instantly impressed.  She has such a passion for life and for what she does I couldn't help but think that this girl is going places.  She has already been featured in a few publications and has teamed up with some other bloggers to host The Christmas in July Sewing Challenge presented by Sew Lux Fabric

After the thread crisis I had this week I didn't add any new fabrics to my stash, but I did add some new threads.  I purchased some cool variegated threads by Superior and a pair of Grab-A-Roo's gloves for machine quilting.  I thought the variegated thread would be a nice addition to my negative space quilt that I have been working on.  Also, I am in the process of doing some research and comparing the different threads to see what I like and what I don't like.  I will keep you posted.     
Of course, I did place an online order for some more Aurifil, but it hasn't come in yet.  In the meantime I purchased a few spools of my faithful Gutermann to make it through till my order comes in. 
All this talk has of thread has made me wonder... What is your favorite thread? and would you like to see a comparative review of some of the threads that are out there?   

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Monday, June 24, 2013

My new to do list...

So, the unthinkable happened yesterday... I ran out of thread.  Not just my fancy new Aurifil thread that I love so much, but all thread.  When I tell you that I have used up every last bit of thread in the house, I mean every last bit, including last remnants of Coats and Clark that I had left over from my days when I use to garment sew, and that was pre kids and ages ago.
How does this happen to someone who sews almost everyday?
I was so upset I almost put the kids in the car to go buy some more, but thought better of it when I realized 3 kids in the car, and torrential rains probably wasn't a good mix.  Instead I decided to clean out my sewing room and to make a list so I could get everything that I needed all at once.
1. Thread.  Can't do anything without that.  Place an Aurifil order online, but will still need to buy a spool of Guttermans in the meantime to curb off the withdrawals. 
2. Buy a yard and half of white kona to back my negative space quilt.
3. Measure and buy enough batting for my Hello Sunshine quilt top that has been done for a while and is ready to be quilted.  
4. Again with the thread, I was actually quilting this one when I ran out of the thread.  This quilt top has been sitting in the unfinished bin for a while now, and the thing that frustrated me the most was that I finally got off my tush and ordered the backing fabric that I needed and almost couldn't find any more.  Thank goodness for the Etsy seller that still had the 2 yards that I needed.
5. Fusible fleece and a zipper, then this cute little pillow I made with a Noteworthy charm pack will be done.  

I am off to the store, list in hand, but wish me luck, I am going to have to bring all the kids to the store with me...

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Friday, June 21, 2013

New Fabric Friday - House and Garden

You may or may not have heard that there is a new line of fabrics that is now available at Jo-Ann Fabrics, it is House and Garden by Cloud 9 Fabrics.  One of the things that makes this line so special is that, like all Clould 9 Fabrics, it is 100% organic cotton.  A first for Jo-Ann Fabrics.     

My local store here in Tampa is carrying 8 of the 12 prints that were designed exclusively for Jo-Ann's, and I was very excited to pick some up yesterday and that I got the first cut off of each of the bolts.  It is of good quality and weight, though not as soft as most designer fabric.  The only major downside was the price tag.  I am not use to paying $14.99 a yard for fabric at Jo-Ann's but I had to remind myself it is organic and I would expect pay that price for organic at a quilt shop.  At least at Jo-Ann's I was able to use my 30% off total purchase coupon.
The prints have a fresh modern feel especially the yellow mod flowers but I am obsessed with these chevrons.  The color range is current and what I want to see more of in my stash.  I know exactly what I want to make with these fabrics and I can't wait to cut into them this weekend.   

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Negative Space Challenge Quilt - (Progress in Pictures)

Sometimes a quilt just evolves and you end up in a completely direction than you originally though you wanted.  I am currently working on a quilt for the negative space challenge we are having as part of the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild and I am becoming a big fan of my design wall.  They really were not that common when I started quilting oh so many years ago.  As was evident in some of my earlier blog posts.  I use to lay out my blocks on the living room floor and look at it for a few day, move some things around, and then when I was happy with the layout, I would start sewing things together.  Now, it is all about my design wall.  It is nothing fancy just a 4' by 6' piece of foam board covered in batting and stuck to the wall using some command Velcro strips, but I love it.  Especially now that I am old and don't want to crawling around on the floor anymore. 
The other benefit to a design wall is when I am having trouble deciding on the direction I want to go in, I can arrange my blocks, take a picture, and then try another option.  Of course, that always leads to some more obsessing, but it does make it much easier to make a decision when you are just scrolling through pictures. 
My original thought for this quilt was a horizontal chevron panel with a lot of white space for quilting, but the more I looked at it the more I thought, it looks so predictable.  So, I put some space between the rows, but still I wasn't feeling it.  Then I thought how about a vertical panel?  But still I wasn't feeling it. 

Finally, this arrangement has formed and I think I might go with it.  What do you think?

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