Thursday, January 18, 2018

Finding my focus with the Scrappy Project Planner

One of my goals for 2018 is to become more focused in my quilting life. I have a tendency to get carried away with numerous project ideas bouncing recklessly in my brain, each competing for the top spot on my mental to-do list.  Sometimes, I admit, it makes me feel scattered! I know I’m not alone. Other quilting friends in this new social media age have told me the same thing.

My first step toward quilting focus was to purchase Lori Holt’s Scrappy Project Planner.  I ordered it from my friend and sponsor, Allison of My Timeless Day.  We’re both big fans of Lori’s clear and concise pattern writing, as well as her self-proclaimed love of list making (a passion I share). Somehow I knew that Lori’s planner would suit my needs, and I was right!

The Scrappy Project Planner includes project planning/sketching pages, weekly planner pages, tips on organizing your scraps, and six awesome scrappy quilt patterns!  It is spiral bound, printed on high quality paper, and just as cute as can be. I’ve only had my planner for a couple of weeks, and already three positive things have happened!

1.  I created a list of quilts I want to make. That may sound like an obvious thing to do, but I have never done it before.  It was exciting to see them all on paper, in one spot! Focus!
2.  I read Lori’s tips on better organizing my scraps, and I’m going to make that a sub-goal for 2018! Act!
3.  I feel a renewed desire to sew from my scraps and stash. I adore these fabrics I’ve been hoarding . . . why on earth am I not sewing from them? That’s going to change. Sew!

I felt so excited by #3 that I pulled out my much loved and long saved collection of Fig Tree creams and bit the bullet. (Or should I say, bit the rotary cutter?)  I selected one of Lori’s patterns from the planner called “Happy Trails” and got to work, first in my planner, and then on the cutting mat!

While Lori's original quilt is much more colorful, I decided to make my chain the dominant color element (in red and green), with the low volume creams making up the main portions of the blocks.  I've made one block so far, and I'm really pleased with the result!

Before any cutting, I used the planner to sketch out what was in my mind.  I spend a lot of time working on my computer, so it was gratifying to pull out some colored pencils and play around on paper. You can see some of my doodles and notes below.

I also purchased some of Lori’s washi tape from My Timeless Day.  Okay, that may have been a frivolous purchase, but I really like washi tape and it was super fun to tape fabric bits to my project planning page. (quilting nerd alert)

Here’s my Scrappy Project Planner, at work on my kitchen counter, in tandem with my personal daily planner. Right now I have 10 quilts on my Project List.  Only three of them have deadlines and a couple are already in progress. The rest are just quilts I really want to make. This was a simple exercise that left me feeling very focused and excited.

Having said all this, I want to assure you that I will continue to get carried away now and then, and I think you should too.  But, I am feeling a sense of quilting focus today that I am enjoying!

When I mentioned to Allison that I would be sharing my Scrappy Project Planner experience on my blog, she asked that I share some fun shop news from My Timeless Day.  All of you Lori Holt fans will enjoy these tidbits:

The Let’s Bake Sew Along with Lori Holt starts next week, and My Timeless Day has a few Let’s Bake Quilt Kits remaining in stock. You better snatch one up quickly!

Also (drum roll) Allison has just opened preorders on another fabulous quilt kit which will feature Lori Holt’s upcoming fabric collection, Autumn Love. Isn't this beautiful?  

With that lovely news from My Timeless Day . . . I may have just lost my quilting focus.  I better head over to my planner and rethink my project list.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Loves Notes Pillow: a free tutorial

Last weekend I found myself with an empty house and time on my hands! My husband went ice fishing. My two college kids (home on break) were busy with friends. The house was relatively clean and the laundry was done ~ all the ingredients for a day of sewing and movies! 

While I have two quilt tops in the works and other projects I need to prep and cut, I decided to just have some free-form sewing fun with my stash of Fig Tree & Co. reds and creams. I made this sweet little pillow I'm calling "Love Notes," and I've provided a tutorial below.

“Love Notes” is a great project for using a favorite mini charm pack or 2 1/2” squares from your leftover scraps, which is what I did. Just lay out 16 sweet little squares, embellish a few with prairie points or lace trim, and before you know it you will have a set of “envelopes” that give a nod to vintage valentines.

And of course, mismatched mother of pearl buttons add a romantic finishing touch.  I secured my buttons with Aurifil 12 wt thread in light sand (2000).  Aurifil’s 12 wt thread has a pearly sheen just right for tacking down pretty buttons!  

I added simple straight-line quilting to highlight each love note. While I auditioned a few different thread colors, I settled on the same light sand (2000) color, but I used 50 wt for the machine quilting.

What really tickles me about this pillow is how lovely it looks with my orange peel pillow and Sweetly Scalloped quilt.  Confession: sometimes I walk into the guest room just to give myself a smile ~ the little things can bring so much happiness!


I really enjoy a sewing project that is both easy and pushes me to be creative and "artistic."  I think that's good for all of us!  I hope you find yourself with a free Saturday afternoon like I did, where you can get carried away quilting!


Love Notes Pillow
  • (1) 16 inch pillow form
  • (16) 2 1/2" squares
  • Additional 2 1/2" squares for the prairie-point envelope flaps. (Do as many as you like, 1 or all 16!)
  • Scraps of trim, lace, etc. (each 2 1/2" in length)
  • Buttons
  • 1/3 yard neutral for sashing and borders (I used Moda Cross Weave in the color sand.)
  • (1) 20" x 20" piece of batting
  • (1) 20" x 20" piece of scrap muslin or neutral
  • (2) pieces 11" wide by 16 3/4" tall (for envelope back of pillow)
  • 1/4 yard binding


      Note: I’ve used Moda Cross Weave in Sand for my neutral fabric.  It has a linen-like look that I love.  I use a best press product before cutting to give it a bit of stability and avoid fraying.  I do not use spray during or after piecing, as it can shrink the fabric very slightly.  WOF means width of fabric.

      1.    From the neutral fabric, cut (2) strips 1 1/4 x WOF for sashing.
      Subcut (12) 1 1/4” x 2 1/2” strips.
      Subcut (3) 1 1/4” x 10 3/4” strips.
      2.    Also from the neutral fabric, cut (2) strips 3 1/2” x WOF for borders.
      Subcut (2) 3 1/2” x 10 3/4”.
      Subcut (2) 3 1/2” x 16 3/4”.

      Note: My finished pillow shows more embellishments than the tutorial photos below. Once I finished the top for the tutorial, I realized I loved the little flap and trim so much, I wanted more.  I did some surgery on my top to open seams and add a few more flaps and bits of trim. Express your creative side and add as many prairie points, bits of trim and buttons as you’d like.  And above all, HAVE FUN!

      Use a 1/4” seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

      1.         Arrange your (16) 2 1/2” squares in a way that looks pleasing to your eye.

      2.    Create as many prairie points as you’d like for your pillow. (My finished pillow has three prairie points.) To create a prairie point, simply fold a 2 1/2” square twice on the diagonal and press well.

      3.    Position the raw edge of your prairie points to the top edge of select 2 1/2” squares. Also position bits of 2 1/2” trim to the top edge of select 2 1/2” square. 
      4.    Sew the prairie points and bits of trim along the top edge of selected 2 1/2” squares using a 1/8” seam allowance.

      5.    Sew the four vertical rows together. Each row includes (4) 2 1/2” squares and (3) 2 1/2” x 1 1/4” sashing strips.  Press toward the neutral.

      6.    Sew the four vertical rows together with (3) 10 3/4” x 1 1/4” vertical sashing strips. Press toward the neutral.

      7.    Sew the 3 1/2” x 10 3/4” borders to the left and right.  Press toward the neutral.
      8.    Sew the 3 1/2” x 16 3/4” borders to the top and bottom.  Press toward the neutral.

      9.     Layer your pillow top, batting, and muslin (scrap backing) using your preferred method of pinning, thread or spray basting.  Since this is a small project, I found that fabric adhesive was enough to keep my quilt sandwich in place and flat during quilting.  
      10.   I kept my quilting simple and used 1/4" quilter's tape to mark my quilting lines.  When you have finished the quilting, trim the backing and batting.


      11.   Add buttons if desired. The pillow top is now complete.

      12.   Using your two backing pieces, sew a 1/2" seam on the right edge of one piece and a 1/2" seam on the left edge of the other piece.  These two pieces will overlap in the middle and need finished edges.

      13.   Lay the pillow top right side down on your cutting mat. Then lay down the two backing pieces right side up.  Overlap the two backing pieces so that when overlapped, the backing measures 16 3/4" wide.  Adjust the backing pieces slightly to make sure all outside edges line up nicely. Pin around all four sides. Using a 1/8” seam allowance, sew a basting stitch around all four sides. This will keep everything in place for binding.

      14.   Bind your pillow as you would normally bind a small quilt. (I use 2 1/4” strips for quilts, but 2 1/2” strips for pillows.)
      15.   Insert your pillow form, and you are done! 
      Please share your version on Instagram using the hashtag #lovenotespillow and be sure to tag me @taunjalynn so I see your creation!

      Wednesday, January 10, 2018

      Star Spangled BOM with Fort Worth Fabric Studio: Block 1

      Have you heard about the “Star Spangled” block of the month available at Fort Worth Fabric Studio?  Well here’s your chance to make a lovely patriotic quilt by sewing just two blocks a month, using free illustrated instructions provided by FWFS designer Lindsey Weight! I’m sewing along, and I hope you will too! 

      This BOM runs for five months, from January through May. The first block pattern was released on January 9, and I’ve already whipped mine together from red, white and blue (and aqua) fabrics in my stash.

      Because all of the blocks are traditionally pieced and generously sized, this is a great project for quilters of all experience levels! Lindsey's instructions are clear and easy to follow. This block measures 14" square.

      I’m sewing from my stash, but the great news is that Fort Worth Fabric Studio has put together a KIT using beautiful Moda fabrics from various designers. The kit includes all material you need to create the quilt top plus binding.  They also have coordinating backing you can purchase! Here’s a photo of Lindsey’s finished quilt, which measures 60” square.

      Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

      All of the details for the Star Spangled block of the month can be found here:

      The instructions for block one are available here:

      The fabric kit is available here:

      Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today!  I’ll be checking back in with updates on my progress and also sharing photos on Instagram and Facebook.  Now go and get carried away quilting red, white and blue!


      Friday, January 5, 2018

      December Sew Sampler box with Fat Quarter Shop

      Well hello quilting friends.  It's a brand new year, and I'm so excited for all the quilting goodness I have to share with you in the coming months.  I will be releasing several new patterns and have other fun projects up my sleeve. I've been making my lists and getting organized for a fun year of sewing.  I'm sure you're doing the same!

      Our family went on vacation over Christmas. It was such a treat to return home and find a new Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop waiting for me. My first stitching of 2018 was to make another basket block to add to my growing collection.  I've been using my Fig Tree scraps and having a great time with this.

      Each month the Sew Sampler box includes a basket recipe card designed by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet.  The blocks can be made in one of three sizes: 5 1/2", 10 1/2", or 15 1/2".  I'm making the 5 1/2" blocks, and eventually these blocks will become a pretty runner or table topper. 

      The December Sew Sampler box is titled Family Tradition, and it includes these lovely goodies:

      Fat 1/8 bundle of Kim Diehl fabric
      Sew Sampler exclusive pattern: Star Twist, designed by Kim Diehl
      4" Thread Snips
      Presencia cotton thread
      Quilter's Planner Mini
      Stash 'n Store for all your favorite tools
      And of course, another Basket Block recipe card (#9)

      If you haven't yet signed up for this monthly subscription box and want to know more, just follow this link:   Sew Sampler box from Fat Quarter Shop

      Fat Quarter Shop does a wonderful job curating these boxes.  Every month is unique, with handy notions and pretty fabric!

      And thank you all for stopping by the blog today.  I hope you get carried away quilting real soon!


      Thursday, December 21, 2017

      Patchwork Quilt Along: A finished top and back!

      Today is an "icing on the cake" day in my quilting world.  I've finished my Patchwork Quilt Along top and the pieced backing!  

      This journey began in January of 2017, and I have thoroughly enjoyed making these petite blocks each month with Fat Quarter Shop. There is something so satisfying in taking your time and enjoying the piecing process. Now the reward is a beautiful quilt top, just ready to be quilted and bound.

      My finished top is one row smaller than the pattern.  I ended up with a few blocks that I thought were just too light in color.  They seemed to disappear when I laid them out with the others.  I'm sure I'll find a use for those orphan blocks some day!  

      I used the pretty Fleurs collection by Brenda Riddle for Moda.  Brenda's "Petite Bouquet" print in the sprout green color was my absolute favorite from the collection, so I used it for the border and also for the pieced backing.

      This quilt along was a charity event hosted by Fat Quarter Shop. The patterns were free on the Jolly Jabber, and quilters were asked to donate $5 for each block pattern that they downloaded.  All proceeds will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation! As of mid December, the Fat Quarter Shop has announced that they exceeded their goal of $10,000 in donations from the generous quilting community.  Both Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics are matching $10,000 as well! Wonderful!  

       Here's a recap of my 12-month journey:

      Thank you to Fat Quarter Shop for including me in this quilt along, and to all of you for following my progress. I'll report back when my top is quilted and the binding is tacked down. I can't wait! In the meantime, I want to wish you all a very happy holiday season!