Thursday, December 22, 2016
Happy Thursday! I'm sharing my 2017 printable and desktop calendars early this year, because I have two extra calendars to share that may require a little pre-work before hanging. Get those colored pencils sharpened and ready!
Instead of doing the same calendar in two colors, I decided to do two completely different calendars. I thought it would be fun to do a few coloring book style calendars this year. I'm looking forward to coloring mine.
2017 Desktop Calendars
2017 Printable Calendars
2017 Printable Color Yourself Calendars
You can download all the calendars in one fell swoop, here. For the printable calendars, print at 100% on regular paper or card stock. You may choose to trim it down to size (7.5"x10") or leave some white space. My printer won't print on card stock, so I print it on regular paper then I mount my print on card stock using spray adhesive. Afterwards I trim it down.
I hope you enjoy these calendars. I'm signing off for the year, to spend time with my family. See you in the new year!
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
As we come to the end of this year, it is hard not to have goal making on my mind. I for one can't help myself; I end up making loads of unrealistic goals I consequently can't keep. When it comes to crafting, I enjoy reminiscing about the past year's projects and dreaming up new ones. I am a planner, so the process of figuring out what I would like to make next is not only necessary, but also something I look forward to. On the other hand what good are goals and plans if you can't keep them?
Goal making can be very personal and I think we all approach it differently. My general life goals are to eat better, relax more, exercise, etc. Pretty run of the mill. For crafting though, I like to change things up each year to help keep myself creatively inspired. When I sit down to make craft related goals, I try to keep in mind that they need to be flexible. I think that's one of the hardest parts about keeping crafty goals. Sometimes you have to go where your creativity takes you.
To set yourself up for success, goals should also be measurable, specific and realistic. Let's make some goals together!
For me, the measurable aspect is the most important. It is so satisfying to feel like you are making progress and it can help motivate you to keep working. So, instead of a goal to "finish more projects", a goal to "finish 10 projects" is more measurable. It's important to measure your progress often throughout the year or time period. This may mean breaking your goal down into smaller, more manageable goals.
Being specific about your goals makes them easier to understand and achieve. Rather than a goal to "finish 10 projects", a goal to "finish 10 throw quilts" is more specific, but still pretty vague. Think about mapping out projects you would like to make and think about what patterns and fabrics you will use. Consider pulling fabric for a quilt or project and taking a photograph to remind yourself of your choices. Pair it up with the pattern or instructions and you'll be ready to tackle your projects as you have time throughout the year.
Finally, your goals need to be realistic. If they are realistic, you are more likely to meet them! Perhaps finishing 10 throw quilts this year is too high, evaluate your time and energy and arrive at a realistic goal, perhaps "finish 6 throw quilts". This doesn't mean you should undersell yourself, but being able to reach your goals will help motivate you work towards them.
A few other thoughts on making and keeping crafty goals:
Break it Down
So you've got your goals, now what? It's time to break those large goals into more manageable and actionable pieces. For our "finish 6 throw quilts" goal, we can break that down into a quilt every two months. To help meet that goal, you could choose to start a quilt every other month. Break down the steps within the project and assign them to certain weeks or days. This may involve some upfront work each time you start, to choose fabrics and a pattern.
This of course isn't the only way to work, but it can be a good way to get started, and thinking about your goals in a less overwhelming way.
Enjoy the Process
These are great tips for project-based goals, but what about the process? Consider making some non-result oriented goals, like "find more meaning in crafting". This could be a much deeper goal, which would take more planning and thought than a project-based goal. It's not quite as measurable, but adding a journaling component or checking in with a friend could help you track how you're feeling.
Make Goals with a Friend
Making goals with a friend is not only more fun, it gives you someone to help keep you accountable. This past year, Jacey and I had a number of goals that lined up together, and it was really motivating. Knowing that if I didn't follow through she'd be asking me about it was the little extra push I needed. On the accountability front, posting each month here on the blog about my goal progress helped a lot too. I didn't want to have to admit that I was falling behind or not meeting my goals.
Think about how you might reward yourself for meeting your goals or making progress. It could be a little fabric shopping spree, or starting a shiny new project. Consider what would help motivate you to work towards your goals!
As 2016 wraps up, I am taking time to reflect on what parts of my crafting really make me happy. Maybe it is a particular type of piecing or project. I also like to continue to grow my craft, so I like to come up with a project or technique that is outside of my comfort zone for the new year.
Do you make crafty goals? I'm looking forward to sharing my goals for 2017 soon!
Friday, December 16, 2016
Happy Friday! It's time for my 3rd annual holiday sale! Take 25% off all PDF patterns in my online shop using code HOLIDAY25 at checkout. For EU customers, this code works in my Payhip shop too!
Sale will run from now through Sunday (12/18). It cannot be applied to previous purchases.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
I'm excited to share my finished Archer Popover today! I am so proud of the way this garment turned out.
When Grainline Studio's released the popover variation pack to go with their popular Archer Button Up Shirt pattern, I knew I had to make it. I was never super interested in the original Archer, only because I never wear button up shirts. I always liked seeing the finished garments, but didn't think I'd wear one. The popover version though, was right up my alley!
Instead of buttons going all the way down the front of the shirt, the popover variation features a placket and buttons that only go halfway down. I feel like this makes the shirt feel a bit more casual.
I dove in headfirst with my first one and cut it out of some hoarded Robert Kaufman Chambray Union fabric. It's really soft and the dots are just too sweet.
This shirt took me 8 months to make, start to finish. Almost all of that time was spent procrastinating. There were a lot of steps in making this shirt that I had never done before (inserting a placket, make a collar, etc), so I would work on it a little and then set it aside. I don't know what I was worried about! The instructions were easy to follow, and when I needed extra help, the Archer Sew-Along on the Grainline Studio blog helped fill in the gaps.
It was definitely a labor of love, with all the little pretty details. I'm happy to say that it was all worth it. I've already worn this shirt a ton. It's so comfortable and it looks a little nicer than my usual weekday top. I've been wearing it with the sleeves rolled up.
I already have fabric picked out for another one. Hopefully it won't take me 8 months to make!
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Picture this: you have just spent hours of your time and hard earned money to make a quilt, and as you finally pull it from the wash, you discover it is covered in stains. Let me tell you, it is not fun. It seems just about every quilter has some sort of quilt disaster story to tell. Thankfully, it has been a few years since my last quilt catastrophe (knock on wood!), but when I first started quilting, I had more than my share.
One of my worst quilt-care-gone-wrong moments was when I made my Sherbet Pips Quilt. It was my first bed quilt, and I was making it for our new apartment. When it came to the quilting, I decided to quilt simple diagonal lines in a crosshatch design. The quilt had large sections and eyeballing the lines just would not do. So, I made the decision to draw all over my quilt with water-erasable marker to mark the lines for quilting. I am sure you can see where this story is going.
The quilting came together quickly, and then it was time to bind it and throw it in the wash to finish it up. I was so excited I did not even glance at the quilt as I tossed it from the washer to the dryer. Big mistake. As I pulled it out of the dryer an hour later, my heart sank. Not only had my lines not "erased" they had turned brown in some places, and bleached the fabric prints in others. I was crushed. My Mom and I tried half a dozen stain removers to no avail. We found some success in plain old vinegar, but not much. It was a devastating way to learn a hard lesson. As it turns out, erasable markings should be removed prior to washing with cold water, and they may react badly with stain fighting detergents.
Unfortunately, I could not completely save my quilt from its fate, and I am sure I have not seen the last of my quilt disasters. On the plus side, it forced me to be more careful with my quilts and develop a system for maintaining them. Thankfully, as time goes by my feelings of disappointment and even the stains themselves have faded some.
First things first, as soon as I finish binding a quilt, it heads straight for the wash. I use a gentle cycle, with cold water, and a gentle detergent that is perfume and dye free (my personal favorite is Arm & Hammer for sensitive skin). I chose not to pre-wash my fabrics for quilting, so I add about half a cup of salt to the load to help prevent bleeding (this has not failed me yet!). Before heading to the dryer, I inspect the quilt for any stains or bleeds; because once it has dried it is harder to treat. My quilt gets a tumble in the dryer on medium heat, and is then laid out on the bed to dry completely.
Tips for Good Quilt Care
These are some of the things that have helped me take care of my quilts. There are lots of other methods for good quilt care, and I don't think there is any one right or wrong way to care for a quilt. However you chose to do it, I encourage you to take the time to find a consistent method to help minimize quilt disasters and make your quilts last!
Exercise Caution when Marking
When making any marks on the right side of your fabric/quilt, be aware of how to safely remove it. As I mentioned above, the blue water-soluble markers need to be removed with cold water. The quilt should then be washed with a detergent that is free of stain-fighters. My favorite alternative marking tool is the Clover Hera Marker (the white tool in the above photo). It creates a crease in the fabric with a little pressure, and it disappears over time and/or after being washed and dried. You could also use masking or painter's tape to mark out lines for quilting.
Treat Stains and Tears Early
Just like with clothes, treat any stains or tears in your quilt as soon as you can. The longer they sit, the more likely they'll set or you'll forget about them!
Blood, Sweat, and Tears
It's not much of a stretch to imagine poking yourself with a pin and getting blood on your quilt. It can be hard to get out with stain fighters, but a little bit of your own spit does the trick in minutes. Gross but true! I have tested this and can say it does work.
Prevent Color Bleeding
An easy way to prevent fabrics from bleeding is to pre-wash your fabrics before using them. If it's a hand-dyed fabric I'd recommend washing with Synthrapol before using. For commercially dyed fabrics that you're nervous about bleeding (reds tend to be particularly prone to bleeding), consider treating with Retayne. Personally, I don't like to pre-wash my quilting cotton. Instead, I throw 1/2 cup of regular table salt into the washer with my quilt when I wash it to prevent color bleeds. My Mom mentioned that my Grandmother used to do this, so I gave it a try! I don't know why this works, but I haven't had a problem since I started using salt. I have used Shout Color Catchers in the past, but didn't find it was successful 100% of the time. Plus, salt is super cheap! Perhaps I'm living on the edge with this salt method, but so far it hasn't let me down.
Quilts and people alike are prone to sun damage. Keep quilts and fabrics out of direct sunlight. You'd be surprised how little time it takes for fabrics to fade in the sun.
Proper Quilt Storage and Unfolding Quilts Periodically
If you have more quilts than you use on a regular basis, consider taking time every 6 months or so to unfold those quilts. If you can, let them lay flat for a few hours. When you refold them, fold them differently. This will help avoid permanent creases in your quilt. Amy Friend has some great tips for quilt storage and folding tips on her blog.
Gift with Care Instructions
When giving a quilt as a gift, consider including a note with your recommended care instructions. That way the recipient will be able to care for it easily.
Add a Label
I'll admit, I'm not great at this. There are a lot of different ways to label quilts, from embroidery and hand stitched labels, to stamped or hand written labels. I like to keep it simple with a custom stamp and a hand written date. I ordered my custom stamp from here. I use an ink pad made for fabric, and a gel pen for fabric. However you choose to do it, it's a nice finishing touch on any quilt.
Use Your Quilts
To me, the best way to care for a quilt is to use it. Quilts in use are less likely to get musty, or show wear or breakage due to being folded. Plus, they're probably happier!
Disclaimer: I have made these recommendations based on my experiences with my quilts. I cannot make any guarantees that the methods I use will work in all circumstances. Please exercise caution and use your best judgement when caring for and washing your quilts.
Friday, December 9, 2016
1. Let's Get Married by Jill, 2. Old Ways quilt by Lotje, 3. Arboreal Quilt by Amy Friend, 4. Star Value by Melissa Corry, 5. FO: Hexy Wreath by Jacey, 6. Drunkard's Path by Jennifer Worthen, 7. Triangle quilt by Joy, 8. Hand Dyed Patchwork by Malka Dubrawsky, 9. SeaSlab BOM by Matt Macomber.
Periodically, I go through my favorite photos on Flickr, and choose nine sewing/quilting related projects to showcase here. These photos and projects are not my own, you can find the original images and creators by clicking the coordinating links! If for any reason you do not want your project featured here, please email me and I'll remove it!
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Happy Wednesday! Today I have some fun Christmas projects to share. This Fall I decided it would be fun to have a few sewn holiday decorations to switch between. After making my Halloween Patchwork Projects, I knew I wanted to make some Christmas ones.
First up, a Christmas pillow for our lone armchair. I actually made this pillow last year, but didn't photograph it. I picked up a fat quarter bundle of Tinsel by Cotton and Steel and cut into it for this pillow and then set it aside. I used up most of the bundle for the rest of the projects.
It was fun to frame a few cute scenes from the prints inside each star block. I love how this pillow turned out!
I finished it with a simple zippered back.
Both of the table toppers that I made used up some leftover half-square triangles that came from making the pillow. It seemed a shame not to use them up/ I pieced the half-square triangles into strips of four. Then I added strips of the prints to make pieces wide enough for both toppers.
Above is the large topper for the dresser.
And the small topper for the side table.
I also made another tiny mini quilt to put inside the Pyrex dish we throw our keys in. Keeps it from getting scratched up.
Before I cut up pieces for the toppers, I cut up the larger pieces into two lined drawstring bags. I'm using one as a knitting bag right now, and the other will likely be used to wrap a gift. These are both the tutorial size.
Another satisfying and practical group of projects. It makes the apartment feel extra festive having a few sewn holiday decorations.