Inspire Me!

Quilts and projects that inspire us!

do SOMETHING: YES! Quilts

A few months ago I realized again that I can’t fix the world. I know, it shocked me too.

And at the same time I realized again that I can influence my corner of the world. And after a conversation with a quilting teacher/lecturer/designer who held a common secret dream for influencing a specific part of our culture, we plotted and schemed about how to do SOMETHING, even though it would not be everything that needs to be done.

I had held an idea in my heart to make small cuddle sized quilts to encourage women who were experiencing the stress of unplanned pregnancy. Just something soft and beautiful to remind them that they aren’t alone – that there are resources and people to help them. My friend’s face lit up when I mentioned my secret dream and she told me she had thought the same thing — and even had a name for such quilts – YES! Quilts. You’re Each Special.

I’m SO thankful for my graphic artist friend, Gail Wilty, who worked on this logo for us to use on this first batch of quilts!

So, we sought advice and counsel from some folks who work everyday in that area of our culture – and also from Him who knows all things. And we made some preliminary plans. Then I announced this opportunity to the quilters in my guild. I was delighted at the gracious, generous response! The result (so far) is that I delivered ten small quilts this week to Safe Harbor Pregnancy Medical Center to be gifted to a select number of their clients – women who need an extra reminder that there are resources available to them and their babies. 

Let me introduce you to Dion who is the director at Safe Harbor Pregnancy Medical Center.  I also met one of the client advocates who will be distributing these quilts.

The quilts are each uniquely beautiful…

one holds words of grace – literally,

another the calm of deep blue,

the beauty of a whole cloth design with the soft touch of a wool blossom,

the sweetness of hearts and accented quilting designs,

the soft touch of pastels,

 

the happy delight of daisies,

the sparkling whimsy of flower fairies,

the fun of two quilts which started with the same happy floral and ended up very distinctly different

– this one features vintage buttons!

It may be that you, too, want to change the world and realize that you cannot. But, maybe there is SOMETHING you can do to make this world more beautiful, more caring, more safe … Take fabric in hand and make it happen. We are cheering for you!

Learn more about Safe Harbor HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday- August edition

We are over half way there, my friend! Keep it going!

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You will find your free printable for this next month HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – July edition

 

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You’ve come to the right place! Print your free list HERE!

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Fight the Chaos Friday – June edition

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – May edition

Are you still in the fight? This month’s items to conquer the clutter are actually fun to do!

 

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You will find your free printable HERE.

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Can you choose just one?

Part of the fun of going to a quilt show – like the one in Sterling, CO, that I enjoyed with my sister this spring – is voting for Viewers Choice. You look and examine (without touching) and decide which one (and only one) you would take home if you could.

There are patriotic quilts  …

and seasonal quilts …

There are traditional quilts with a twist  …

There are big quilts with lots of pieces

and little quilts with applique.

There are quilts for special days

 

and quilts for special new family members.

There are quilts with embellishments

and quilts with lots of cross stitched embroidery.

And there are quilts that seem to be dimensional

and quilts that took LOTS of time to make!

But most of all, there are quilts that you love to share with your sister!

 

PS – Just in case you are wondering, the Colorado sister voted for the Maze quilt and my first choice was the embroidered Block of the Month.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – April edition

They say confession is good for the soul and I’m going to believe that is true because I have to confess that I’m behind on our Chaos Challange in order to celebrate an “I did it myself!” moment. And since it’s just between us stitching sisters, I’m sure my secret is safe.

The January list said it was time to clean my sewing machine but [drum roll – confession to follow] I keep avoiding that cleaning business since I had never done it before. I have taken my machine in for professional tune ups but I had never opened one up to clean it myself. If you are horrified, I understand. It is a deep flaw for sure!

So, here I am facing April – the queen of procrastination – and I got just the nudge I needed! I visited the Colorado sister (more details on that in a later post) and her quilt club had a presentation from someone with a long history of fixing and cleaning machines. When I saw her walk through the steps, I thought, “I believe I could do that without doing irreparable harm.”

a picture + patient demonstration = great teacher

To give myself a little reinforcement, I consulted — the manual (genius idea!)

A manual with pictures – what a great invention!

And “TA_DA!” [insert trumpet fanfare]

Just seeing the clean metal parts gives me confidence!

It was so do-able that I did both my Bernina workhorse and my little lightweight Singer. (which I picked up at a garage sale for the price of a nice dinner and I LOVE the blanket stitch it produces!)

I think I heard a little sigh of appreciation and a soft “Thank You!” coming from the machines.

I have to tell you that cleaning the second one was absolutely necessary since my Bernina foot has died. [moment of silence, please] Having survived a house flood and limped along after a couple other disasters, it had given a noble contribution. So while I wait for a new one to arrive, I’m very happy to have my garage sale buddy as a stand in.

Someone downsized and we were happy to help them!

So now I’m caught up on my Challenge lists and I’m ready for a new one for April. Except for the fact that the Colorado Sister shared some treasures with me so I have some more “cut into usable sizes.” [see January list] But that is an ongoing effort in order to maintain victory over the chaos!

And in a coming post I’ll tell you one thing we are doing with those self-made precuts which allowed us to check off the “make a block-or 10” item this past month. Stay tuned.

Make it easy on yourself – Fight the Chaos! Clear the Clutter! Mash the Mess! okay, maybe my alliteration skills are weak today!

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You can print your free April Challange list HERE.

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Fight the Chaos Friday – February edition

The Sister and I have a Challenge going this year. We are going to fight the chaos and conquer the clutter in our sewing studios. I call it “studio” because that sounds more like serious business whereas “sewing room” sounds like an option. It’s a mind game with myself. She has a bit of an advantage since she thinks and even breathes in a more orderly fashion than I do. But, I’m giving it my best shot.

So, we started the year off with a once-a-week list called Fight the Chaos Fridays and last month it focused on:

  • Put away gifts and Clean the work area
  • Clean machine, including a new needle and Put a new blade in the rotary cutter
  • Cut fabric that has accumulated on cutting table into usable sizes
  • List and post projects and due dates

Here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots of my “work area” i.e. cutting table.

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Remember I cropped out the really messy part.

 

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Amazing how this open space motivates me!

You can tell already it is a necessary challenge. And you will be more convinced as the year moves along and you see the other BEFORE pictures I will post – as often as I can stand the embarrassment.

And you’ll agree that it’s a good thing Sister was here for a visit last month to get me off to a strong start. Here’s some more of the work area AFTER we fought through the chaos.

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And an empty ironing board is actually quite handy.

While Sister2 was here we went on a hunt to find creative storage for the “useable pieces” we cut from my accumulated scraps.

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We stuck gold! What a pile of treasures!

 

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The Colorado sister’s creativity tells us that 2 1/2″ squares can be tucked away in so many places – even a little chicken feeder!

 

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My 2 1/2″ squares fit perfectly in the little drawers of the tin space cabinet. Thank you for the gift, sister!

And now, as you can see above, there is a place at the end of my vintage ammo box to hang our Spools for Tools project (get pattern HERE) which holds my favorite rulers – like the skini minis by Martelli with their wonderful non-slip backing.

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A metal vintage film reel box is just the right size for the Colorado sister’s 5″ squares!

 

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And this vintage metal filing drawer is filling up with my 5″ squares. My own “pre-cut” charm square stash!

 

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The 10″ squares (some call them layer cakes) will be tucked away in this portable school desk I just couldn’t resist.

 

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This beautiful spool cabinet, found on her Florida road trip, is just the right size for Sister 2’s 10″ squares. (and some 5″ strips she added to the equation.)

 

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For now my 2 1/2″ strips will nestle in this metal mesh lantern so that I can see them in their light, medium, and dark glory.

The whole cutting process to get control of accumulated scraps has been addictive! Probably because we have been using some templates made by Martelli. The non-slip backing grips through about 8 layers of fabric and you can turn the template without the fabric slipping! If you want a set of non-slip templates to help you cut those “pre-cut” sizes, send me an email (SistersAtHeartMilesApart@gmail.com) and we’ll give you a special Stitching Sisters price. Look HERE under Template for Precuts for details.

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These non-slip templates make cutting your own “pre-cut” sizes so easy!

So, how’s the rest of my Fight the Chaos Friday list?

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I still have a little work to do as far as cleaning my machines. And my project To Do list is right on the Notes section of my calendar, although some of the due dates are a little flexible.

Remember, it’s a year-long effort so celebrate the things you check off each week and don’t worry about what is still left to do. Trust me, honey, it’ll still be there when you find it on our challenge list in a few weeks.

We’d love to hear from you if you think of things we have missed. And we’d love to see pictures of your progress!

Here’s the list for February:

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Since it’s the first Friday of the month, you can get your FREE February printable checklist HERE.

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The Button Box: recommended therapy

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This has not been the most productive month of my quilting, stitching life due to some kind of lingering skjoxpeddlfkdjf-ITIS. And for much of the last 30 days my life has centered around this box:

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So glad to have them but so ready to see them disappear!

You can imagine how quickly that got to be ENOUGH ALREADY!!!

Since a variety of medicines and medical approaches were not bringing relief very quickly, I knew for my sanity’s sake I needed to find some kind of therapeutic distraction. Something sewing related, not too strenuous, not requiring much focus. (Even 2 Tylenol can make me fuzzy)  hmmmmmm  I needed to trade the Kleenex box in for a different kind of box!

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So much fun from such a simple thing!

The button box was in chaos! Okay, I admit – the buttons were not even in a specific box. There was a box, a couple of tins, some jars and some plastic bags.

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What treasures would I find?

The whole sorting by color and setting special ones aside goes back to the days when our great grandmother would keep us occupied with the button box.

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Grandma’s button box looked much like this. And so did our mother’s.

 

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Some of the vintage buttons were divided by color into old milk jugs

 

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The special vintage buttons still on their cards were tucked away in this special wooden box.

 

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I love the pearly sheen through this old canning jar.

I cannot explain it but I feel better already.

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Have you tried button box therapy?

What are your tips for keeping your buttons easy to access?

 

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I’m a “Prepper”–Are You?

I’m a “prepper” but with no bunker or ammo or supply stock (other than fabric).  I’m not prepping for the end of the world but I am prepping for the first winter blizzard. Here in Colorado it is very hard to believe that it is even fall let alone winter. But a dear friend (I think she is still a friend even though she totally destroyed the order I had just put into the sewing studio. :/) has given me BAGS of fabric and “stuff” to go through.  I don’t mean little grocery bags, I mean trash bags! Six of them!

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Bags of friendship!

There were yardages, starts and stops of projects, kits, scraps, books and one whole bag of Christmas fabric.  It is enough to keep me busy all winter.  I’m ready for a little snow on the ground to keep me in the house. If you know me at all, you know I have never met a shade of green that I didn’t like but would you believe that in all those piles there was only ONE piece of green.  Guess I’ll be OK working with the bag of fall colors. 🙂

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Lonely Green

All of us have projects that we start and then put away for a while (Tell me I’m not alone in this).  A couple of these were put away for good reason (not working out as planned), but some I’m sure were just not on a deadline.  So I’m thinking about imposing a deadline on myself to finish these up.  I can’t let my sister in on the decision because she knows my procrastination skills are excellent. The first special treat to work on are the squares of embroidery that are completely finished. They await a special setting that will of course use some of the bag fabrics.

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Embroidery blocks

I know a little girl that is REALLY in need of a new quilt for her big-girl bed.  She might like the mouse, or the bear, or the A-B-Cs.  I know that she would like some fabric out of the purple bag.

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Girl without a quilt.

Other pieces are not my favorites. As my mom would tell me, “Don’t say “Ugh!”  until you’ve tried it.” But I’m prepping for winter not for a character building session, so I’ll pass them on to be used as backs for a charity quilt or book bags for the kids.

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Ugly fabric. Ummm, backing pieces.

There was even a challenge inside the bags and Sister knows I can’t resist a challenge.  I’ve seen the block in magazines but never attempted it before.  Someone made an excellent start on the 3″ nine-patch blocks set into hexagons and even sent along the extra pieces.  I can just see this finished with maybe some very large wool applique on it.  Back to the design board after I finish this little start up.

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Fun in a bag.

I do have one last confession to make.  I’m keeping something just because.  I have no plan for these blocks.  I have no purpose for them.  They don’t match anything in my house.  But who wouldn’t want to look at butterflies in the middle of the winter and that’s what I’m preparing for.

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Wouldn’t they look great with black sashing?!

I’ve got extra needles, now if I can just find a sale on thread before the snow flies I’ll be prepped and ready to be house-bound for a few days.  How are you prepping for winter?

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