Friday, December 12, 2014

Belated October Memories

Breast Cancer Awareness month has come and gone, but we are still sporting our pink proudly.

Casey's story: I love public parks. From national monuments to suburban grass fields, from botanical gardens to concrete courts, I love them all. Parks, the most remote and the most urban, unfold their open space and embrace a visitor in a moment of relaxation, reflection and space. In doing so, they allow people from all walks of life to come together in play, enjoyment, gathering and love. I know this... after all, my wife and I had our first kiss in a park.

Kissing aside, this is my favorite photo of a park. I love the fact that pink is such a prominent color across the entire photo. I love that a man is in a pink shirt (a seemingly forbidden color for most men in US Mountain West). And, I love the cat.

I put this photo together for our October Breast Cancer Awareness fundraising, where we raised $1,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It isn't much, but it is more than nothing and we were proud to write that check in mid-November. Thank you to all of our customers who bought pink products throughout October.

Last, since this post has included so many things I love, I'd like to say I love my wife Gloria. If you didn't see Gloria's story about cancer, I suggest visiting our October newsletter. Thank you and happy holidays!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Our Top 12 Stocking Stuffers for Quilters

Looking for a little something to stuff in your favorite quilter's stocking? Or for a small gift for a quilting buddy? Or, would you like to just treat yourself to something that will make your job easier and more enjoyable?
We've picked 12 of our very favorite tools and supplies for you. We promise that ANY quilter or crafter will enjoy and appreciate these terrific products.

Friday, September 26, 2014

White Door Color Inspiration

Who knew a simple white metal door could have so much color?

Casey's story:  There is a saying: When one door closes another one opens.  I like the saying.  I believe one should always be seeking out new opportunities.  Opportunity is the defining characteristic of youth.  So much before you, so little behind. 

I took this photo in September.  It was a cool day, but not like a cool September day in the USA.  It was a cool September day in Argentina and, unlike the USA, Argentina was on the doorstep to Spring.  I had the day off and I strolled down to the docks to take in the view.  I was in my twenties, happy and, while perhaps a little too skinny, healthy.  The docks greeted me with the smells of the salty air and the noise of lapping waves.  I photographed boats, birds, cargo and a the infamous Ford Falcon, which was driven by the death squads of the military junta in Argentina's Dirty War.

I moseyed away from the docks into the rows of house nearby and found this locked door barring my passage.  It was simple door, made to accept a key that is foreign to most North Americans, being like a two-sided skeleton key.  The door showed its age and the abuse of the sea air, but stood firm.  I snapped a shot, peeped through the key hole for curiosity's sake and then moved on.  Now eight years later, I am glad to see the photo and that moment put to use.  The closed door opened a new one... color inspiration for you all.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Pencil Case for Lola Tutorial

Download the pattern for A Pencil Case for Lola at our website. Then follow along with our step-by-step tutorial. Happy stitching!

NOTE: Use accurate ¼” seams unless directed otherwise.

A. Cut project pieces, quilt the fabric, and trim to size.

1. Following the Cutting Instructions on the back page of the pattern, cut out pieces for the project.

2. Sandwich the three 9” x 12” pieces (lining face down, ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable™ or batting, main fabric face up). Pin through the layers every 6” to 8” to hold together. Optional: Before making the sandwich, mark a vertical line from top to bottom in the center of the main fabric to use as a guideline when quilting.

3. Quilt the layers together. Suggestion: Quilt vertical lines 3/4” to 1” apart across the piece. TIP: A walking foot is helpful to prevent puckers when stitching.

4. Trim the quilted piece to 8” x 11”. Stitch ⅛” from edge around entire piece to seal edges.

B. Mark and sew fold lines.

1. Mark horizontal lines from side to side 1” down from the top and 1” up from the bottom.

2. Mark horizontal lines from side to side 3” down from the top and 3” up from the bottom.

3. Sew along each of the marked lines. The finished case will fold more easily along these stitched lines, adding definition to its shape.

C. Sew

1. Attach the border to the case.

a. Mark a horizontal line from side to side 1¾” down from the top.

b. With right sides out, fold the 2¼” x 11” border strip in half lengthwise to 1⅛” x 11”; pin every 3” to 4” along raw edges to hold together.

c. With the fold of the fabric toward the top of the case, align the raw edge of the border strip along the line marked 1¾” down from the top. Sew across long raw edge, stitching ¼” from raw edges.

d. Press the seam to set, fold the border over; press. Stitching ⅛” from the edge, sew the border to the case. Begin stitching on right side, continue by stitching across bottom, and up left side. Finish by stitching across the top, sewing ⅛” from the seam line.

2. Attach the zipper to the case.

a. With right sides together, position the closed 14” (or longer) handbag zipper on the top edge of the case with the zipper pull to the left side and the zipper tape extending beyond the case on each end.

b. Using a zipper foot, attach the zipper to the case, sewing ¼” from the edge.

c. Turn the zipper tape to the inside of the case and finger-press to flatten. Sew along the very edge of the zipper tape. This will close off the raw edges and produce a nice ¼” topstitching on the outside of the case.

d. In the same manner, match the other side of the zipper to the other edge of the case and stitch together, being careful to align the sides of the case so that the sides of the case are even on top and bottom.

e. Open the zipper, fold the zipper tape flat against the inside of the case and stitch down, closing off the raw edges. Leave case turned right side out for next step.

3. Make and attach the handle.

a. With right sides out, fold the 3” x 6½” piece of fabric in half lengthwise to 1½” x 6½”; press to mark the center. Bring the raw edges in to the center fold; press.

b. Fold in half again to make a piece ¾” x 6½”.

c. Sew along each side about ⅛” from edge.

d. Being careful to sew through only the top layer of the case, position the ends of the handle with their raw edges even with the raw edges of the case and their inner long edges along the inside edge of the quilted fabric at each side of the top (open) end of the zipper.

e. Stitch in place.

4. Sew side seams and bind raw edges.
TIP: Wonder Clips work well to hold the layers together.

a. With right sides together, fold case so that zipper is aligned in center of the front. Clip/pin each side together, aligning raw edges on each side. Move zipper pull to inside and sew each side together.

b. Trim ends of zipper even with sides of case.

c. With right sides out, fold each 2” x 5” strip of binding in half, turning raw edges to inside ½” at top and bottom, making two 1” x 4” strips.

d. On zipper side of seams, align raw edges of binding with raw edge of sides of case and sew across.

e. Turn binding to other side of case, enclosing raw edges of seam; stitch along folded edge of binding.

5. Make a boxed bottom and bind edges.
a. Fold each corner to form a triangle, with the bound side seam running down the center.

b. Sew a straight line across the triangle about 1” from the tip. Repeat on the each corner. Turn the case right side out and push out all the corners.

6. Make and attach a zipper pull. 
a. Fold the 1” x 12” piece of fabric in quarters to make a piece about ¼” x 12”. (A ½” bias tape maker makes this easy.)

b. Sew down the middle of the pull to secure the layers together.

c. Trim one end to a point and pull it through the hole in the zipper pull. Bring the ends together and tie in a knot close to the zipper. Trim any excess fabric.

Enjoy your pencil case!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fruit Color Inspiration

We loved this photo because it showed such clear examples of the primary colors and their combinations. 

Casey's story:  Fruit, purple corn, yucca, and other foods are a regular feature of Peruvian markets.  This photo is taken in a very small "grocery store" operated out of the home of a Kiva micro-entrepreneur in Paijan, Peru.  The female owner operator would wake up early each morning to go to the local wholesale market to buy food for the daily consumption of her customers.  She would then return home, spread her wares out on a table, and greet her customers.
Such simple businesses are the life blood of commerce and economic stability.  I hope you enjoy the colors!