Part 1 – Starching Fabric

Several of you have asked me about starching fabric. How I do it, what I use, what the purpose is, etc. So I decided to do a quick live on Instagram and recorded it for everyone. This video shows the brand I use (Faultless heavy finish) and the method I learned from Kimberly Jolly (who learned from Lisa Bongean). Hope you enjoy!

Part 1 – Starching Fabric

Scrappy Cute

I’m a big fan of saving scraps for future projects, but not a huge fan of messes. Scraps can tend to get a bit out of control and definitely not cute! I needed to keep my space clean, cute but handy. So the solution? A large mouth Ball jar.

A jar in itself is very cute. But kicking up the cuteness factor was what I was after since this would be sitting on my cutting table. So I gathered some scrappy strips of fabric, leftover twill ribbon from fat quarter bundles and a sweet enamel charm!

This jar creates a perfectly cute way to store trimmings and scraps until I’m ready to deal with them.

Sew Many Projects!

Welcome to 2022! I don’t know about you, but I have so many fantastic projects lined up for the new year and I am thrilled to get started. There are so many fun sew alongs and block of the months that will keep me busy all the way through the year. I thought it might be fun to share some of the projects I have lined up. Here we go!

Block of the Month (BOM)

A Quilting Life 2022

Sherri McConnell with A Quilting Life has a fantastic blog and each year she walks us through a new block each month. At the end of the year, she gives the finishing requirements and it is all for FREE! I love picking out the fabric I’m going to use for her BOM. She releases her free block every first Thursday of each month. This is a slower paced program, so it is perfect for the quilter who has a lot going on, but would like to participate in a fun block of the month program and learn new skills along the way.

Last year I used Lori Holt’s Flea Market fabric. This year I have quite a bit of Bonnie & Camille Sunday Stroll left from a fat quarter bundle, so I am tackling this BOM with this beautiful line. I am also switching from the 12″ version to the 6″ this time around. I think it will be fun to challenge myself with some smaller blocks and have a smaller quilt at the end.

Electric Quilt Audition of Fabrics with Block One

Riley Blake Block Challenge 2022

The Riley Blake Block Challenge is a great project that includes blocks from 16 different designers. The first month was designed by my personal favorite, Lori Holt. Other designers include Bev McCullough, Christopher Thompson and Riley Blake’s own Cindy Cloward. This program is weekly, so the pace is a bit quicker than a traditional block of the month. They release a new, FREE pattern each Tuesday. This project runs through May 17th. The block size for this challenge is 10″ so it is a nice size. The final quilt is a surprise so you’ll want to stick around to the end!

This year I have decided to take my inspiration from the sunset view from my quilt room. This particular day, I was mesmerized by all of the colors. I took that photo to my local quilt store and one of my friends helped me pick the fabrics. I went with Moda’s Basic Grey Grunge in six lovely colors. I’m excited to see how this one turns out. It will definitely be a quilt for my studio!

Sew Alongs

Flea Market

I am very excited to start working on this beautiful quilt! Lori Holt designed this beautiful 96″x96″ quilt. It starts with a medallion center. This will be the first time I’ve built a quilt from the center out, so I’m excited for this new challenge! I am using her Flea Market fabric line for this one. It follows a monthly calendar and will go through all of 2022. The first month is the center block. It is a nice size at 18 1/2″!

You will need the book to get started and your favorite fabrics. I chose her Flea Market fabric line since it goes right along with the book and I have tons of leftover from the fat quarter bundle I used to create my last quilt. The Jolly Jabber blog has all of the information on the schedule, as well. The Fat Quarter Shop will also be releasing an alternate pattern in a couple of months for those who do not want a huge quilt. I love that they think of customers and those who may not want a large quilt!

Chicken Salad Sew Along (SAL)

Chicken Salad is a beautiful 64″ x 80″ quilt that incorporates both piecing and appliqué. For those of you who are nervous about trying appliqué, don’t be! Lori Holt has fantastic tutorials available on how to make the process easy and fun! This sew along starts on February 14th and uses Lori’s latest fabric line, Cook Book. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. It is adorable with a vintage feel.

To get started, you will need the quilt kit and the Sew Simple Shapes. I also recommend Lori’s sew-in interface. It is the best weight for her appliqué projects. She will be releasing the patterns through her blog each month. The blocks will be 12″, so they will be a fun size to see a lot of progress quickly!

I look forward to seeing how many of you join along in these journeys in 2022! Good luck with your projects and happy quilting!

XOXO,

Leslie

Clean or Messy?

Recently when I have posted photos of my quilt studio on Instagram, I have seen comments asking me why I am so tidy. I found that so peculiar. Why wouldn’t I be tidy? Then I started thinking about it and realized not everyone works the same way that I do. So I thought perhaps it may be good to give some insight into why it is important to me to have a tidy quilting space.

Creative Thinking. I enjoy a crafting space that is clean for every start and finish. It is better for me to have a clean slate every time I start a project because it helps me be more creative and think clearer. When my space is a mess, I have too many things to look at and think about which distracts me from the creative process. Clearing out my space helps me focus on my project and find ways to make it mine.

Efficiency. An organized space also helps me work more efficiently. When my area is a mess, I’m unable to find my tools, patterns, or notions I need to complete a project quickly. My goal is to complete projects timely mostly because I find so many fun things to work on and am ready to move on to the next thing. Time spent searching for my tools to complete a project seems like wasted time to me. If it is neat and orderly, it is more efficient. That frees up time for me to move on to the next fun project!

IKEA Alex Drawers on Casters – Holds all of my notions nearby

Sense of Calm. I don’t know about you, but there is just a sense of calm that comes over me when I walk into my quilt studio each morning when the sun is shining through the windows and peeking out from behind the pink curtains. I turn on soft music, sip my coffee and sit back in my chair looking around at my clean space. It brings me such a sense of calm to start my day. The same goes for the evening. After I’ve had a long work day in my room on the weekends, I can get a lot of things flying! So, it is nice to tidy up at the end of the day so I know I can enjoy my room without having to stare at chaos.

My Quilt Studio – Christmas 2021

I do think it is entirely possible to have a functional space that is beautiful. Not all crafting spaces have to be filled with chaos and mess. Some crafters can work in that environment, but I am definitely not one of those who can. I say do you! If messy chaos helps get your creative thinking flowing, by all means mess away! But if you’re like me, tidy rooms lead to beautiful creative thinking, efficiency and a sense of calm which turns into finished projects that make room for even more!

Happy quilting!

XOXO

OttLite Sanitizing Lamp Review and Giveaway

My friends at OttLite have a new line of sanitizing lamps available for crafters, quilters, home office, in office, basically anyone with the need for extra lighting and the peace of mind of having a sanitized work surface. They have generously provided their new OttLite Emerge LED Sanitizing Lamp with USB Charging for me to review and they are going to give away a lamp like mine to a lucky winner. Read more about how to enter and win one for yourself!

OttLite has a fantastic line of lighting solutions and I happen to already have three that I use on a regular basis. The floor lamp, which you have seen on my IG posts, is something I use every single day. I also have the one you can clamp onto your desk. I use it on my cutting table. The other one is a small lamp that has a flexible neck. One thing I was missing in my lighting arsenal was one that would fold and be easily transported to classes or retreats.

When OttLite sent me their new line up of lighting options with the sanitizing feature, I immediately was drawn to the one that could fold flat. This would allow me to take it to quilt classes and retreats with ease while at the same time not taking up much precious space!

Some of the wonderful features of this new lamp include a built in charger for my phone or iPad, 3 levels of brightness, 3 light settings: ClearSun only (regular), ClearSun and SpectraClean (regular and sanitizing) and SpectraClean (sanitizing only). So far, I have used all of these settings! I especially love turning on the SpectraClean at the end of my day and letting it do it’s job of killing up to 99% of bacteria, mold and fungi.

Features of the OttLite Emerge LED Sanitizing Lamp with USB Charging

The LED life is 40,000 hours and also has incredible color accuracy! I love that I can put a fabric under this light and really know what colors I am using in a quilt. Some lights that put out different hues can cause problems with color matching. There is nothing worse than piecing a beautiful block and finding that your white background was actually ivory!

If you struggle with lighting in your quilt studio, I highly recommend OttLite. The new wellness series that includes sanitizing features is such a bonus. The lamps themselves were wonderful before, but adding this feature just gives us all a peace of mind!

My friends at OttLite are giving one of my followers a chance to win their very own OttLite Emerge LED Sanitizing Lamp with USB Charging! This giveaway is happening over on my IG page and starts at 3pm CST TODAY and can be found HERE. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram and due to shipping, is only open to U.S. entrants. Giveaway closes this Friday, December 10th at 11pm CST. Winner will be randomly selected and contacted via Instagram direct message. Please do not provide any credit card information – you will not be asked for that. Good luck to everyone!

Mystery Quilts… yay or nay?

I have a love-hate relationship with mystery quilts. I get into them thinking it will be fun but quickly realize that I hate not knowing what the final product is going to be. Do you struggle with that, too?

The first one I ever did turned out hideous. I picked fabrics according to the pattern and was so excited! The fabric was beautiful! But as I started piecing it, I quickly realized I had picked the wrong fabric for this project. But I’d already cut, so onward and upward.

It was a complicated pattern and I just didn’t enjoy it at all. What I learned in the process was that I don’t like not knowing what the final project is going to look like since I can’t pick fabric based on the final look.

Mystery Quilt 2018

After getting this quilt done, I moved on and promised I would NEVER do another mystery quilt. But, when the 2021 Designer Mystery quilt was released, I decided to take the plunge. Let’s try this again.

What I have learned is that I don’t like picking fabrics for a project where I can’t see the finished piece before getting started. But if professionals are picking my fabric, the pressure is off! I’ve truly enjoyed this year’s Mystery Quilt SAL and I love the fabric! I mean you really can’t go wrong with Joanna Figueroa fabrics.

Quilt Block #2 for 2021 Designer Mystery

I hope this encourages you to start something one more time that you may have disliked before. You may find a different way to enjoy it like I did!

Happy Quilting! XOXO-

Leslie

My First Free Motion

When I started quilting in 2018, I knew that I wanted to quilt my own quilts because I needed to experience the entire process. It became clear to me that straight line quilting was easy but quickly became boring to me. It was time to try my hand at free motion.

First try at Free Motion

I had honestly no idea what I was doing. I just knew that I needed a plan, some practice and some determination. I spent some time thinking through the spaces on my quilt and what I wanted to do. Then I went for it!

The first few blocks were hard. Really hard. I almost second guessed myself. “What was I thinking? I can’t do this!” But I persevered. By the time I started my fourth block, I was in a rhythm and had it going well.

My encouragement to you is not to give up! It will feel weird. It will feel difficult. But keep going! The more you do it, the more natural it will feel.

PJ with my Sing Your Song quilt

At the end of the day, it is your quilt! And as long as you learned along the way, that’s what matters. You’ll either find a new technique that you enjoy or you’ll find that it isn’t for you. But give it a try! That’s the only way you’ll know!

Happy Free Motioning! XOXO-

Leslie

Weekend Reading

I don’t know about you, but I love a good audiobook while I’m sewing. It passes the time while giving me something to take in.

This weekend I downloaded the audiobook for the book club I’m in. I got to pick this month’s read and it did not disappoint! I have always enjoyed a good “who done it” and love watching true crime in my spare time. My husband thinks it’s weird that I like what he calls “murder shows”. But it isn’t about the crime for me. It’s the solving it part that I get into!

I thought this book was well done! It gave me just the right amount of suspense and really drew me into all of the characters. I really enjoyed it!

What do you like to listen to or watch while stitching? Leave your comments below!

Happy stitching! XOXO-

Leslie

Fri-yay!

Fridays are my favorite. It’s not quite the weekend yet, but you start feeling sweet freedom that is just around the corner! I love to plan my projects on Friday mornings before work while listening to some music and sipping a cup of coffee in my quilt room.

Using a planner is critical for me. My friends are perplexed at how I get so much done. Most of it is due to planning ahead of time. I have several projects that I plan at a time and work on them in my free time. If I’m not working or sleeping, I’m sewing. Over the last couple of years, I’ve invested in The Quilter’s Planner.

I hope you plan a ton of fun projects this weekend and share on Instagram! I would love to see what everyone is working on.

Happy Sewing! XOXO-

Hello!

Hi there, friend! Welcome to my blog! I am new to this blogging thing, so bear with me as I get going. I am also pretty new to the quilting thing, so I am hopeful that this site will create a safe place for those of us who have little experience, but big hearts!

Why do this?

  • To create a place to document and journal my experiences with quilting.
  • To inspire others to create beautiful things in cute spaces. Because cute is ALWAYS better!
  • To connect with other quilters who are either new to this wonderful hobby and need a little inspiration.
  • To learn from those who are experienced and have great ideas and tips to offer.

I hope you find this to be a fun experience and would love for you to come along for the ride!

Happy Quilting! XOXO-

Leslie