Monday, 24 October 2016

Scrappy Project Planner Box Opening

The "Scrappy Project Planner" and accessories that I ordered from Fat Quarter Shop arrived in today's mail. I made a video to show my fellow quilter's what it's like. I have also ordered the 2017 Quilter's Planner and I will do a video when that one arrives too. These videos are just for fun! :) They might help someone to decide if this is the product for them, or not, or maybe you're like me and you would like to have them both. I have the 2016 Quilter's Planner and am very happy with it and I am also very happy with this new planner in today's video. They are both great products.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Family Organizing Peg Board

I often find myself drowning in papers. My husband brings in the mail and my kids bring forms home from school and sports. I work at my dining room table and often everyone just dumps these papers there for me to deal with and it turns into a disaster by the end of the week. Today I have a solution for this problem that uses vertical space [because yelling at everyone isn't working. :)] I call it the "Family Organizing Peg Board." This was a pretty easy DIY project that my husband and I completed in a couple of days. It uses no floor space because it hangs on the wall.

My graphic above sums up the project but if you would like to know more so you can make your own then please read on. I have also created a Quilting Tools Peg Board Organizer which you can read about in this post.

Family Organizing Peg Board.

Here's how I made my peg board:

My Dad gave me some old peg boards that he had in storage for years. I chose one of the larger ones and got my husband to square it up for me with his skil saw. I bought panel edge trim at the hardware store (about $40 CDN - it was just over $2.00 a foot) which my husband cut with a mitre box. (If you are local to Wainwright, AB I found this at the Co-op Hardware store.)

While you are at the hardware store pick up some peg board hooks so you can hang your calendars and organizers. (See photos below for a closer look.) I found mine at Canadian Tire but they can also be found at Walmart and Home Depot. Just about any hardware store should have them.

If you, or your spouse, are lucky enough to own a compound mitre saw that would make the job really easy. If not, you can get a mitre box fairly inexpensively or even easier... get the hardware store to cut them to your measurements (I know they do this at Home Depot.) Just make sure your measurements are very accurate! Maybe take along the peg board just to be on the safe side.

Attach your trim pieces to your peg board with a brad nailer. If you do not own one you can rent these types of tools by the hour from places like Home Depot. (Wear safety glasses!) If you are going the rental route try to have several projects lined up ready to nail to make it worthwhile renting the tool.

Fill the nail holes with poly fill or paintable caulking. Sand smooth and paint. I painted both my peg board and trim with Country Chic Paint all-in-one decor paint. This is a clay based self priming paint that dries with a chalky finish. The peg board was painted with "Vanilla Frosting" and the trim base coat was painted with "Aurora."

To make it easier on myself I painted the trim before it was cut and nailed onto the peg board. Once the trim was attached I gave the whole peg board a second coat of "Vanilla Frosting" and let that dry for a couple of hours. Then I wet distressed the trim so the "Aurora" would show through by getting a damp rag and scrubbing the top coat of Vanilla Frosting off until I was happy with the amount of Aurora showing through.

Trim After Wet Distressing.

We attached 2 x 2 boards to the wall making sure to drill the screws right into the studs behind the drywall. Make sure to screw the 2 x 2 into the studs as the peg board itself has some weight and then when you add all the pegs, organizing systems and papers it will get heavier. Drywall on it's own will not be able to hold it!

Then we attached the peg board to the 2 x 2's by putting screws through some of the holes at the top and bottom of the board and drilling into the 2 x 2. This not only attaches the board securely to the wall but leaves a space behind it so you can easily get your pegs in and out.

2 x 2 Board behind the peg board.

A small Martha Stewart organizing pocket for important receipts.

Organizing Pocket from Martha Stewart found at Staples.
I do love Martha Stewart's organizing systems. This pocket was purchased a few years ago at Staples but I believe they're still available. It comes with the grommets on it already and they are perfect for hanging off of peg board hooks. These pockets can get quite heavy when they are full of papers so I found having them on a cork board with the push pins they come with did not work for me as they would fall down. These peg board hooks are a great solution.

Showing the type of hook pegs I used to hang my calendar.
I usually use the "Mom's Calendar" but couldn't find any locally for 2017. I bought this Mead calendar at Walmart for about a third of the price and decorated each month myself with Scrapbooking stickers I already had in the house. It's bigger too so not only did I save money but the calendar works better for me! (I do love those cute Mom's Calendars though! My 2016 one is in the photo below.)

I made sure to leave some space on the board so I can add more items as needed later on. Have fun if you make one! :)

Ahhh, nice and organized!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Daydreams of Quilts Facebook Group has been created!

Hello my quilting friends! I have finally plucked up my courage and created a Daydreams of Quilts Facebook group after receiving a positive response to this idea in my reader survey that I did in the summer.

  CLICK HERE to get to the group page and request to join. I will approve your request as soon as I see it.

 My hope is that this will be a fun and positive place for us to interact with each other. We can talk about Daydreams of Quilts patterns but I do not feel that the conversation in the group needs to be limited to only that. I would like this to be a place to ask questions and share successes in both quilting and quilting businesses. Ultimately I would like it to be a place to strengthen relationships between ourselves. I hope to see you in the group!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Starting an Online Creative Business

If you are thinking about launching a creative business now is a good time to start! My best advice to you if you are on the fence is "just do it!" Get started and figure it out as you go. The internet is huge and even if you make a little mistake here and there no one but you is going to know. That being said, there are some amazing resources at the bottom of this post that I recommend you tap into to learn as much as you can.

There are many ways that you can start an e-commerce site. You can set up a WordPress blog and integrate a shop into it with plug-ins like Shopify and Woo Commerce or you can create a stand alone shop using a site such as BigCartel. You can even have a web developer build a website for you. These options cost money though. Unless you are a web developer or you already have a large customer base my personal advice to you is start cheap and work your way up.

I have recently researched a lot about starting a WordPress blog and may still go that route in the future but I have been on Blogger and Etsy for over five years and they are still working out great for me while costing me very little (Blogger is free!) There are some big quilt blogs who have Blogger blogs (Fat Quarter Shop for example) so I feel comfortable staying put here along with them for now. Having a blog is a great business promotion tool and fun way to interact with your tribe so I encourage you to give it a try if you haven't already.

Etsy has a wealth of resources for it's sellers. If you are just getting started with them you can take a look at their handy Quick-Start Guide which has lots of great tips for online shops. In fact, they have a whole seller handbook which is an amazing resource for shop owners. There are online e-courses out there to help you optimize your shop but you can find all that information for free in the seller handbook if you're willing to look and dig a little bit.

So if you're not sure if your business model is going to fly I recommend starting out on a free blog platform and using a pre-built e-commerce site like Etsy. If things work out for you you can always upgrade to paid and custom sites later. These options worked, and are still working, for me.

There are business advice sites out there (tonnes of them!) who will advise that if you're serious about starting an online business or making money from your blog that you start out with a paid WordPress site from the very beginning. It is true that it can be a hassle to transfer all your content from your free site to your paid site and you would need to redirect all your traffic from sites such as Pinterest to your new site. If you think that is something you wouldn't want to sort out down the road, and you can afford to pay, then definitely go ahead and start out with a paid site. Many people have advised me that if I ever want to switch platforms that I should always go to one that I own (paid site) rather than another free platform so keep that in mind.

You will need to make yourself visible on social media so you can be found. Starting a blog and an online shop is not where it ends because how will people know where to find you? I am on many social media platforms (check the mason jars in my sidebar to find me!) but I recommend starting with one or two that you enjoy or that you think will be effective. I have found Pinterest to be amazing for driving traffic and Instagram is awesome for being seen and building relationships with your tribe. See this post for some quick advice about Pinterest.

What I am saying here is that it never hurts to try and then try again if it doesn't work the first time. Find people who will support and encourage you and go for it! (Hint: these people will probably be found online... there are very few people that I know in person who support me or even understand what I do.) Don't let fear hold you back from giving it a try.

Here are some online places that I recommend for finding information, support and resources:

Check my Business Tips Pinterest Board for pins on business advice.

Business Support Websites: (I just renewed my membership today!)

Facebook Groups:
(These are closed groups you will need to request to join)

If you have any questions I will try to answer them if I can. If I cannot reply by email to your comment I will answer here in the comments so check back if you don't hear from me. Good luck!

Friday, 16 September 2016

Spin the Bottle Block and Lap Quilt Tutorial

Who remembers playing "spin the bottle" when they were younger? (I do!) Luckily you don't have to take any dares with this spin the bottle.

Here's a quick tutorial for the Spin the Bottle Block:

To make this block you will need my Wine Bottle Block pattern which is available on Etsy ($5.00 CDN) and Craftsy ($4.00 US).

To make a spin the bottle block you need four wine bottle blocks.

You need about a half yard of background fabric per spin the bottle block and fat eighths or scraps for the bottles.

The wine bottle blocks measure 4 1/2 inches x 12 1/2 inches unfinished. Once you have sewn four wine bottles you simply sew an 8 1/2 x 12 1/2 inch background rectangle to the right side of each wine bottle and set them into the block by spinning the bottles in the four directions as shown in the photo above. Piece the block as you would a four patch. Sew the centre seam on the top two and bottom two blocks. Press the seams in opposite directions to create a nesting seam at the middle and then sew the top and bottom sections together. This makes a 24" block. This in itself would be great as a table topper but I plan to make a lap quilt.

To make a 60" x 60" lap quilt you need 3 1/2 yards of background fabric. Make four "spin the bottle blocks" as above and piece them together into a quilt top by sewing 4 1/2" sashing strips between the blocks.

Cut 6 - 4 1/2" x 24 1/2" sashing strips and sew them to the vertical edges of your spin the bottle blocks. You will have from left to right: sashing, block, sashing, block, sashing. Make two. Then sew the two rows together with a 4 1/2" x 60 1/2" sashing strip running horizontally across the middle of the quilt. Then add a 4 1/2" x 60 1/2" sashing strip across the top and the bottom edges of your quilt top. You are finished and ready to baste, quilt and bind your quilt.

I am sewing mine scrappy using various half yards of low volume background fabrics but if you want all of your background to be the same then cut the sashing strips first before you cut the rectangles and wine bottle background pieces.

I hope you like this fun block idea! :) To learn more about the wine bottle block pattern you can read this post.

Monday, 12 September 2016

The "Feel Better" Quilt

I have a friend who has been ill and in the hospital. I wanted to do something helpful for him so I set to work sewing a "feel better quilt". I wanted to get it finished quickly so I drew up a simple block in EQ7. This quilt took me four days to finish and I also worked 26 hours at work in those four days so you may be able to get it done in even less time if you have a weekend off. This quilt measures 60" x 72" and the blocks are 12" finished.

Here is the block diagram:

To make the blocks here is what you do:

Fussy cut a centre square that is 2 1/2 inches square. I used a 2 1/2" square ruler so I could get my fussy cuts centred as best I could by looking at the print through the clear plastic ruler.

For the first round in light grey cut 2 - 2 1/2 inch squares and 2 - 2 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inch rectangles.

For the second round in dark grey cut 2 - 3 1/2 inch by 6 1/2 inch rectangles and 2 - 2 1/2 inch by 12 1/2 inch rectangles.

Sew the light grey squares to either side of the fussy cut square and press towards the light grey. Sew the two light grey rectangles to the top and bottom and press towards the rectangles. Then sew the 3 1/2 by 6 1/2 inch dark grey rectangles to either side and press towards the dark grey. Sew the 3 1/2 by 12 1/2 inch dark grey rectangles to the top and bottom and press towards the dark grey.

Make 20 blocks.

Layout your blocks in five rows of four blocks each. I added a pop of orange into my quilt so you could consider doing something like that to add a bit of interest to the quilt.

Once your quilt top is sewn together you just need to add the borders if you wish to have them.

Originally I planned to have 3 two inch borders but in the end I went with a two inch inner border, a one inch middle border and a three inch outer border. These borders added a foot to the width and length of the quilt to get it up to the size I needed but you could leave them off or sew more blocks if you wish.

So there you have it! A simple and fast quilt to make quickly when you find out someone needs a "feel better quilt."

You can see more photos and close ups of this quilt in my Instagram feed.

I fussy cut dogs (and one spooky fish) for the centre of the blocks.

I put in one block that was different from the rest to add interest and a pop of colour.

Spooky the fish!

If you are a newsletter subscriber this tutorial was also sent out in last week's newsletter Issue 27. :)

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Ornamental Quilt

Hello! The summer is winding down and I haven't yet shared one of my quilt finishes this summer. This is the "Ornamental Quilt" from Angela Pingel's book "A Quilter's Mixology."

My Mom was given a large piece of fabric as a gift and she wanted me to use it as a quilt back. We decided on the Ornamental Quilt because its ornament shapes mimic the shapes on the quilt backing. (Plus, it was on my quilty bucket list!)

I quilted the quilt from the back following the shapes on the backing fabric. It was tricky and I did have to use my seam ripper a few times but in the end I am very happy with how it turned out. It took 75 times pushing the quilt through my Juki to quilt it. (Yes, I counted.) I broke it up over a few days and did the dance of joy when the quilting was finished. ;)

I added an extra vertical row to make the quilt double bed sized for my parents' bed. You can see close ups of the blocks on Instagram by clicking here, here and here. :)

This was a fun quilt to make. I really enjoyed choosing the fabric for the blocks from my stash. The background fabric is Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Espresso. The binding is an orange Michael Miller solid.