Portable Quilting for Vacation and Busy Lives.

With a long awaited vacation to the happiest place on earth looming near I have been checking off my to-do list like a crazy woman...

Get sick - Check!

Arrange for house sitter- Check!

Get kids sick- Check!

Have dog get sick- Check!

Cancel and rearrange appointment's - Check!

Get husband sick- send him to the doc where he then picks up the the flu- Check!

Start everyone on TamiFlu- Check!

Needless to say I am getting things done but the going is very slow but today I did take the time to pack up the things that I find the most important while on vay-ca.. my sewing and knitting!

To be quite blunt the idea of going a week without sewing or knitting.. well it makes me all pale and shaky to think about it. You are talking about a woman who actually smocked a baby gown in recovery after giving birth via emergency c-section.

I do have a knitting project but I am at the part when I need to concentrate and count.. that is not so easy when traveling full family so something mindless will have to do.

I have decided to dive back into my hexie-project since hexies via English Paper piecing are very portable, only need a needle and thread and lets face it.. they don't take a lot of brain power but do keep the hands busy enough to pretend you don't notice the travel chaos that surrounds you!

I am getting some awesome inspiration for what to do with my finished hexies from the book I just got-

Hexa-Go-Go: English Paper Piecing   This book is adorable and has a fresh take on colors and combinations for using your sweet big and little hexies. It also shows multiple ways to make them and talks about the pros and cons of each method.

I will not need the book while on vacation but what I do need is a way to easily bring my supplies both in the car and on the plane.

Building a Sexy-Hexi Kit for Travel

First off some paper templates- You can print some 1 inch hexi templates here

Cutting templates not your thing? You can buy Pre-Cut Hexi Papers

Or maybe you would like to ditch the paper altogether and sew Hexies without paper!

Want to spent some time playing with hexi color and layout? .. Here is a free hexi planning sheet

 I like to carry my supplies in a plastic bin, not too big, not too small- this is the one I use.

A flat top and sturdy locks with enough size to store everything I need in a self contained portable space.

I pre-cut my little squares of fabric and stack them in my box.  I will take about 200+ squares.. it is amazing how much you can get done during all the waiting that comes with travel!

Don't forget the needles and thread and of course some Quilters Heaven

I never stitch without it!

I keep everything neat and tidy but using zippered bags to keep things separate and easy to find.

So now I am ready.. and as long as no one else gets the flu it should be happy stitching all the way!

Do you continue to sew/knit/craft while you are on vacation??

Crafty Organization - New Years Challenge


 I suspect I have hit close to my personal zenith of craft supply goodness and once again it is time to tighten up and re organize.  

There is just something about the coming new year that makes me want to put purge a whole bunch of stuff and then put the rest in containers!

The week after Christmas and before New Years really gets me going and this year I have even started a bit early!

I posted up this ~before~ photo with a challenge for my other crafty friends to see what they could spot. This is just one shelf unit  of my stuff... CRAZY!

1-  Sizzix Vintaj    Of course you can use all the paper cutting dies for this as well but I use it for making stamped brass jewelry.

2) Beaders tote case but I use it to hold all my Hot Fix crystals and supplies like hotwand etc.

3) Vintage papers

4) Most used jewelry findings

5) Epic Letter press    Such a fun tool!

6) Slice Elite   Uhhh yeh, what can I say.. I love my toys!

7) Shaped Big paper punches

8) Professional button making machines

I totally need to have a crafting party!!  Who wants an invitation??

3365 Pre-progress- The Luxury of Less Choice

Free motion quilted on my Avante 18 by Handi Quilter

 In for a penny, in for a pound. When I decide to do something I usually jump right in right there right then.  ( Luckily I have never had the desire to skydive!)

Diet?.. no big meal with big piece of cake send off.. it starts that moment and it seems I am doing the same thing with my 3365 project.

No last minute runs to pick up fat quarters ( but I do admit a small twitch when I saw the sale email from my LQS) no hoarding fabric like a junkie looking for one more fix.

In fact I have already found a couple minutes of total peace in this project and that has been divine.  Just yesterday I needed to bind the table runner I finished up.. I had not planned binding but since a quick run to the fabric store was not an option I gave myself it was quite nice to dig through my stash, find something that worked well enough and just do it.  No worrying that there might be something " better" out there...  divine.

Perhaps it is not perfect.. or maybe it is.. but it is done and it makes me smile.

Another Mother and Her Response

It is Monday morning at bit after 8 am and my youngest children are still under the covers and deep in sleep on this rainy day as the rest of the world already beings it’s heavy hearted  trek to school and work and whatever else their day holds for them.

I was asked many times over the past few days if I felt “lucky” that I homeschool given all that has happened.  Of course my answer is yes but not for the reason that they question was asked. In fact of all days today I wish I could wake them up and put them on a bus with all the children who launch into this day knowing what they know.. even if what they know are half truths and Fox News propaganda in the wake of the tragedy .

You see I would be sending them in support of each parent who has made the choice to use public school ( or private or charter).. and for those who don’t think they have a choice and public school is their babysitter so that they can work to put food on the table. For whatever reason those kids are there they deserve the best we can give them and at the very very least they deserve to be safe. Their safety is our job, but it starts at a cultural level and is way lost by the time they enter the school house doors.

Our children deserve teachers who can teach without keeping a wary eye on the door for a stranger in the hall or worry over any of the other heinous things they need to now worry about. Our job as parents in helping those teachers starts at the cradle in the way we choose to parent.

I don’t live in a bubble or under any silly illusion that homeschooling would protect my children from something so senseless as the Sandy Hook shooting given that the incident before this was at a mall and before that a theater but what I do believe is that as parents we are  part of the problem and the catalyst of the solution.

Yes, I am going to say it..  parents are culpable in the creation and acceptance of a culture where violence is glorified, merchandised and one where our children wallow in it to a degree where many of them don’t think it is all that strange or are horrified that this happened. If you buy, use or condone your child or yourself being part of this pseudo-violent culture you are part of the problem.

There is a very good reason violent video and games such a first person shooter games are used to train and desensitize  military sharp shooters and even your average solider. The mind of even a young adult is malleable to the extent that the military can make killing .. the pulling of a trigger to end a life so routine that there is no hesitation involved.  So now put an even more sensitive forming mind deep in the soup of regular use of first person shooter games, gore filled movies and acceptance of this as common and constructive entertainment and see what you get.  If you as a parent permit this.. YOU are part of the problem but if you have real guts you can be part of the solution.

I grew up around guns,  I owned my own and I target shot at least a couple times a month with my father. Safety was paramount as was respect for all around me but it was a different time.. a time when the most violent thing you could see on occasion was a western cowboy shoot out on Saturday afternoon television. My mind was not steeped in killing for entertainment and for that I am glad. At the time it was the culture, now for me as a parent it is an active daily choice not to bring petty market driven commercial entertainment based violence into our lives. It is a small step and not the total answer but it is the start. 

If you have the guts now is the time to remove the violence from your life and that of your children as you are able- this means your teenagers as well as your little ones. That means stripping the computers and your video library  and music of such trash. It means actually policing what your children ( newborn to 18)  watch and what they are doing when they are over at you’re their friends’ houses ( and can PROMISE you that you will be shocked). It means stepping up  pulling your head out of your ass and actually parenting your children for good and not so they just exist.  They are going to wail and bitch like an addict denied their next hit, for a very good reason .. they are addicted to violence.. and as parents we let that happen.

This culture has made is really really easy to abdicate our roles as parents to both the video nanny and the school. The schools job is to teacher the three R’s.. not morals, not God’s place in our lives and not a respect for those around us, that is our job as parents and right now we are failing our kids in epic proportion but in that same breath we are the only hope our children have.  Are you ready to step up?

What can you do?

Whovian Gifts for the Last Minute Crafter

This year my home has been taken over by two things.. All things Dr. Who and all things Minecraft. With that inspiration much of my holiday crafting has centered on these two themes.

I already have my Minecraft stuff done but thought I would share with you two of the transfers I created to make t-shirts for all of the Dr. Who ( or "The Doctor" as we say around here) fans in my life.

While not something everyone will understand true fans of the newest Dr. Who will really love this image and totally "get it".   Fezzes are cool printable

Bowties are cool again  ( thanks to Dr.Who) and super fun when put on a t-shirt.. in fact you could make multiple t-shirts with this file just by cutting out the colored tie you want to use and the wording.. lots of fun when you can't be wearing the real thing! Bowties are cool printable

Please note that these are for PERSONAL use only so if I find you selling these on Etsy I will rain down my wrath on you.. but otherwise make them for all the people you love.

The files are already flipped and ready to use with printer transfer paper.. so just got for it!!

@ remember, if you love it, put a Pin on it! 

Picking a Light Box for Your Quilting Studio

So I mentioned the other day over on the BadAss Quilters Society page that I really thought that my AutoGraph Light Pad was  my favorite tool of the day and I got some questions how I was using it.

Like  most quilters I have times when I need to take a pattern and trace it onto fabric. There are a bunch of different ways to do this. From the very low tech and budget friendly method of tapping  the image and the fabric up to a sunny window and tracing to the use of a full size light table.

For years I made do with the well lit window method but this required a large window and day light.. and while I have the large window I often work at night and oddly my children balk at standing out in the dark in a bush  with a flashlight pointing it at the glass so I can finish tracing one last thing. ( Ungrateful children!)

And while I would love to use the projector method open wall space is rather limited around here.

Same for dedicated light table space although this would be a DREAM!

So I decided on a table top box and in that category there is no lack of choice and price points.

Everything from very serviceable and simple models like the Artograph Glo Light Boxes to the big and beautiful Artograph - 17x24 Inch Light Pad . So from $22 to over $200 there is a price for every budget as they say!

While the online world is full of options my local stores were a not overflowing with options but I did end up with the 9x12 Artograph since it was nice and flat and stays cool to the touch. It is also an easy size to store on the shelf on my studio when not in use.

As for HOW I use it.. I often work with large images that I have blown up and then retraced and modified.. I then slip the light box under these over sized patterns, lay my fabric on top and then just trace on with my blue pen or white chalk depending on the fabric.

The LightPad is plenty bright to go through the darkest and thickest of quilting fabrics making it just about perfect for my needs.

As a total bonus my kids like to use it for their art and tracing so while it was sort of pricey it sure does get a lot of use around here!

Got questions?.. leave them here or over at FB and I would be happy to answer them!

In our Hearts

May the pain all of us feel find a place to rest in safety knowing that words alone cannot do justice to something so senseless.

UFO Destashing- Project 3365 New Year

He is rather disappointed in me-thus the judgmental stare.

 So I announced earlier this week my 3365 Challenge  and to go along with that I have dived in to clean out my stash of  long forgotten or just slightly neglected un-finished objects (UFO's).

Despite their nifty packaging (I store all in process projects in these awesome Iris Project Cases) I still had about 10 projects that had sat for too long and choices needed to be made.

Some of the hi-lights included-

Massive Halloween project- this is a keeper.. I am about 1/3 finished.. still love it and will keep plugging along on it.. maybe I should set a goal.. 1 block per month for the next year?

Guard cat on duty- don't come any closer!
This one is top secret.. pretend you never saw it.. ok????

Love these fabrics- have no idea what I was going to do with them.. but they are now back in the main stash waiting for the adventure of the coming year!

This is a lost lamb come home.. and it will be on the frame by the end of the week... turns out it was fold up in some other fabric.. I had thought I had lost it! This is one of the best and most fun ways to combine a love of machine embrodiery and quilting, I wrote about this piece last year!

Others fabrics were shunted back into the stash and some went straight to the scrap bin.. in the end there were only 2 projects that needed new homes and have already been adopted.

But never fear... I still have the whole other side of the closet and my whole crafting collection to sort - plus the 1x a year great scrap bin giveaway is coming soon!!

How are you getting ready for the New Year of crafting and sewing?

3-365 Quilting Challege

So as the end of the year approaches at breakneck speed I am already pondering  projects, goals and more for the new year ( I am nuts like that)

And while looking over my lovely but aging stash of fabrics I am getting that "tight in the chest" feeling that comes from having too much. ( I also get the same feeling if I  see an episode of Hoarders - shudder)

Past that I feel like it might be a nice creative kick in the pants to use what I have to it's fullest potential.

With these reasons in mind I have come up with a TOTALLY hair brained plan I am calling the 3-365 Quilting Challenge here at Domestic Anarchy.

Now don't worry I not asking anyone else to get on board..this is my own crazy train to ride.

Starting on Jan1st 2013 I will be taking a pledge to quilt only from my stash and 3 bolts of fabric which I will buy between now and that time.  The bolts will be mostly for backing but I will be free to use them for quilting in anyway I wish.

I will be giving myself 2 "get of jail free cards" for which I can use to buy fabric that is a once in a lifetime opportunity such as when I am at Quilt Con.

I will be free to buy notions, books, and batting as needed, I plan to buy these all at my LQS so I can still be supporting them during my adventure.  So what do you think?

And here is a question- if you could only buy three bolts of fabric for use the whole next year what would you buy??

Ribbon Organization 101

Ribbon, bolts and bolts of it.. I love the stuff but it is also my nemesis. Rolling off spools, being difficult to store, you name it I had a problem with it.

After multiple failed attempts at ribbon organization over the years  including  the "on the dowel" method as well as the tidy but ineffective "in the box, with cute little holes punched in the side" I think I might finally have this PIA issue fixed.

What I had ended up with is what I kindly call the " big old crap pile of ribbon method"

 This method had one advantage going for it.. the wicker trunk was easy to move around.. the rest not so much.

So after some thought and a riffle through the craft storage room for some foam core board that I cut in to 4x10 strips.

From there it was a friendly couple hours of ribbon wrapping done by a well compensated willing youngster  and I now have this.

Full spools stayed as such, the rest was wrapped on the core board and pinned to hold it in place.  With a little luck this method will be right one for me.

Save This Quilt- Thinking Out of the Box When Things Go Wrong with Your Project.

Sometimes plans in my head don't actually work out when it come to fabric and sometimes my lack of a plan bites me in the ass. In either  case I am stuck to figure out how to either save a project or if I want to scrap it.

Truth be told I rarely scrap a project but I will put it away for a jolly long time until  I once again trip on it and find new inspiration in what was before a project that was going nowhere.

In the case of "Rare Beauty" I had done the center panel and then was stuck.  I felt like it was too narrow. I added mitered trim borders.. better, but still stuck and missing something.

And there it sat... and sat..... and sat some more as I would try ideas, one after an other only to reject them for some reason or another.

I suspected that I was going to have to take off the borders and damn if I did I not want to do that since I had mitered them and had no more of the fabric with which to replace them.

Stew- Think - Grumble .....................

Since the whole heart of this quilt was applique I came up on the idea of adding applique strips that would look as if they have been pieced into the border... now I was getting somewhere.

So side by side I created an internal border and used some dots of Roxanne Glue-Baste-It to hold it in place as I made sure it was lined up exactly with the seam. 

The Roxanne Glue-Baste-It also made sure that I was getting a perfect miter at the corners.. after all if you are going to fake it you need to do it right!

Next I went around the whole (new) border with a custom sized buttonhole stitch ( thank you Bernina 830!) - Once again the Roxanne Glue-Baste-It was an amazing help here.. no scooting or buckling . just smooth sailing the whole way! 

 Have you gotten the point about how much glue can be your third hand in the sewing room?

I have no idea what is next but at least I am back on the path to getting this piece done!