Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hello Again

Just checking in here to say Hello! It has been some time and there have been quite a few changes. I spent couple of hours reminiscing with my blog this morning. What a trip down memoy lane! As much as things have changed, I was also amazed to see how much has stayed the same.

The biggest change? I would have to say that would be my kids growing up. Blogging with teenagers at home can be challenging. It is so easy to share a fun post about your cute little kids and what they have been up to. When they are a little older, privacy becomes an issue. Now? Now they are all adults!

The world has brought us many beautiful days and, I hate to say, a lot of ugly days too. Those days have been hard, Im not going to lie, but pulling together as a family has helped us through the darkest of them. I'm not going to talk about any of that in detail and I even hesitate to bring it up here in my happy place. Time and circumstances may change that. I don't know.

On a much lighter note...I have a few new patterns in the works! Watch for them in the shop I will also be selling some of my homemade quilty goodness at

Grown children are cause for much self reflection and adjustment for us moms. Apparently hiring managers don't really care that you had an amazing career at Kodak...if it was 15 years ago!

Well, I'm off to spend sometime with the family. I hope to check in here more often.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Blocks From The Past - Part 2

Today, I'm continuing to share my techniques for the Blocks From The Past Quilt Along. All of the details for the quilt along can be found here.

Clay's Choice (page 17) has 8 half square triangles, so I thought I would share a quick half square triangle tutorial. I started with 5 1/2" squares because I'm using charm packs. If you are cutting from yardage, you can cut your squares 4 1/2". You will need 2 from your background fabric and two from your choice of fabric.

Lay one background fabric and one regular fabric right sides together. Using a 1/4' seam allowance, sew completely around all four edges. Press.
Cut diagonally from corner to corner, rotate and cut again from corner to corner. This will give you four triangle sections. A rotating cutting mat makes this super easy.
Press each section open and you will have four half square triangle blocks. Do this again with the other two 4 1/2" blocks. Trim them to the size that you need. For this pattern, it is 2".
Sew the blocks together to make four rectangle units. 
For the next step, rather than cutting eight 2" squares and sewing them back together again, I cut four 2 x 3 1/2" rectangles from the background fabric. Sew one rectangle to each of the rectangle units that you just made.
Sew them all together and you have your block!
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

The last block that I had was Jack in the Pulpit on page 18. I used the same method for the four half square triangle units in the corners. Other than that, I followed the instructions in the book. My only tip is to use Maggie's Classy Hooch Press or your favorite spray starch to press your fabric before you cut your triangles out. It will help to keep the bias side from stretching.
When you complete your blocks, leave a link to your blog post in the comments below, I would love to see them! You can also post them on Instagram with #BFTPqal and add a @aprilmaedesigns so I see it :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blocks From The Past Quilt Along

This week it is my turn to share my techniques for the Blocks From The Past Quilt Along. All of the details for the quilt along can be found here.

I'll be sharing my tips on the blocks from pages 17,18 and 65. I'm going to split my tips into two posts.

The first block that I worked on was an applique block called Plume on page 65. I decided to work with Jelly Bean Batiks from Moda with a few other bright batiks from my stash mixed in.

Applique has been something that has titillated me for a few years now, but I've never really had a chance to get serious about it. Since my pattern was all one piece with narrow curves, it made the most sense to try using the back basting needle turn applique method. Marion and I learned about it at our local quilt show and she has had great success with it.

After tracing the pattern on the back ground, I pinned, hand basted and cut out the extra fabric leaving a seam allowance.
The idea is to remove the basting a few inches then turn the fabric under and hand stitch it down. After struggling with it for about an hour, I ended up with something that looked like a two year old made. I ditched it and started over with the freezer paper method.

For this method, trace the pattern onto freezer paper, cut it out on the drawn line, then iron it to the wrong side of the applique fabric. Cut the fabric out leaving about an 1/8th inch seam allowance.

Now you'll need some spray starch, a paint brush and your iron. Spray some starch into the plastic lid. This will be your paint. Working with a small section at a time, paint the fabric with the starch, then turn it up onto the freezer paper and iron in place. You will get the hang of it pretty quickly. Try not to get the paper too wet, or it will curl up and leave you with sloppy curves. On the sharp inside curves, you may need to clip a little of the fabric to get it to lay flat.

Once your applique piece is prepped, pin it to your background fabric with the freezer paper side touching the right side of your background fabric. Hand stitch in place leaving the freezer paper in. Once you are done, flip it over and carefully cut away the extra background fabric under the applique and remove the freezer paper from the back.

I didn't want to fuss with the circle in the center, so I just left it off.  I love the way it turned out! This just goes to show that the same method doesn't work for everyone. Before giving up on hand applique, try a few methods until you find the one that works the best for you. Let me know if you have any questions. I'll see you tomorrow with tips for the other two blocks :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Warm Bottle Quilted Cozy

Necessity is the mother of invention. My daughter was having bad cramps, which of course led to a google search for natural remedies. Before I knew it I was looking at old fashioned water bottles. They are rubber and ugly so naturally, I wanted to make a cover for it. Have you looked up warm water bottle cozy? There are so many hand made, knit, crocheted, recycled sweater and quilted cozy's out there. 
The best tutorial that I could find said to trace the water bottle (they very in size a little) and make your own pattern. You might want to go a little less contoured at the neck of the bottle, as you can see in the picture. I found it helped when it came time to shove the rubber bottle in. I went with an eight pointed star for the front.
You basically make a mini quilt complete with batting and backing and quilt it. Then I placed the template that I made over it, and cut it out leaving a half inch seam allowance. I only used a 1/4 inch seam allowance when I sewed the front and back together, but the extra 1/4 inch leaves a little wiggle room when getting the bottle into the cozy.
The back was the same process, except it has two overlapping pieces. Cut each piece about two inchs longer than half the length of the bottle. Add some binding to both pieces, then sew the front piece to the back pieces right sides together. It really is that simple. I was able to finish two from start to finish at a sewing day.

Fill with warm water and cuddle with it under a quilt - yum! It can also be used with cold water for a sore back after sewing one for all of your friends :) Let me know if you make one, I would love to see it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

It feels good to knock those cobwebs off of the blog and get back at it!

Over the past few months I've been relying on Instagram to keep in touch with you all because it is so easy to just click a picture and post. I have missed the blogging world though. How have you all been? What have you been up to?

Now that I've dusted off the blog, it is time to tackle the sewing room again. I want to move things around, unfortunately it is a domino effect type of thing. I ultimately want to move the cabinet from the sewing room into my bedroom to store my husbands clothes. This will free up some space in the sewing room as well as the hallway built ins that he is currently using to store clothes. The only problem with all of that is I need to move the treadmill out of my room. That takes man power that I don't have right now. Especially since there are stairs involved in that move. In fact, it may have to go out the front door and around the long way to live in the basement. Cold temps with snow make that a little less pleasant than it has to be. 

Have you seen the Blocks From the Past Quilt Along that is going on? It isn't too late to join.  In fact, I have just joined and need to start my blocks. Week 7, I will be sharing my tips for making three of the blocks. So be sure to check into it and check back then.