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Testing 123. . . .Im ba-ack

If you are a follower of this blog, then I owe you an apology.  I had given up on my blog and stopped putting any of my energy into creating posts.

I guess I needed a break. I went so far as to cancel my wordpress account, so I’m not even sure this post will reach a single soul. Which is why it truly is a test. I’m sending it out mainly to see if it gets published.  So, if you are by chance hoping for some life changing inspiration here . . . . . uh, this isn’t it. For today anyway.

Ive had a long break from posting and am ready to get back on the pencil. So stay tuned and please share with your pals because that’s how you inspire others, by sharing your experiences.  Um, I don’t mean share this exact post cuz it’s just a little blabber, but please share the future fantastic posts.

Tah Tah for now.

-julie

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Peek at New “Quilty” Patterns

A Peek at the New


(our booth at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City)

Oooh whee! We now have Spring Quilt Market 2016 behind us and we’ve come up for air. If you’re not sure what “quilt market” is, I’ll give ya the cliff notes.
Quilt Market is a culmination of everything “quilty” coming together under one gigantic roof. Companies large and small, showcasing their latest/greatest fabrics, threads, gadgets, patterns, batting, sewing machines, quilting machines . . . whatever products they create/sell related to quilting, it’s all under one beheamoth of a convention center roof.
Oh, and any and every “quilty” celebrity is there, just walking around as if they’re not famous . . . .and you can waltz right up and talk to them. Yeah, you don’t have to stalk them, it’s really cool. I’m talking really famous folks like Eleanor Burns, Rob Appell (star of Man Sewing), Nancy from Nancy’s Notions, Fons and Porter just to name a few you may know.

Anywho, that’s what quilt market is. It’s a really big deal for those of us companies who vend at quilt market, and we’re swamped for a few weeks afterwards, as we fill orders and catch our breath.

Now that you are in the know, how about that peek I promised you.

We released several new products at market.
I’m going to show you 2 of them today, so as to not overload and thus short circuit your creative juices.

Click on images for direct product purchase link.

This is P162 Sew Vintage – it finishes at 12″x14″ and can hang upon a 12″ hanger or on your 12″x14″ table stand if you have one of those.  Just a little embroidery needed to add the thread and needle. I love the modern fresh colors I chose for the pieced borders.


And, here’s P159 Sew Necessary. It finishes at 6″x12″ and it too can hang on a 6″ hanger OR a 6″x12″ table stand if you have one. If the style looks familiar, you’d be correct. The checkered background is the same style as all my designs in the Monthly Minis 8 series. A little embroidery is necessary to define the folds in the fabrics and creases in the pincushion, but all the embroidery stitch directions are included in the pattern. So don’t let a little embroidery intimidate you if you’re new to it. As for the cute ruler tape, you can use just about anything for this (if you don’t have exactly this). If you have a fabric company’s ribbon from purchasing an entire fabric line’s fat quarter bundle, that would work perfect!

Purchase options on both include getting the pattern and hanger or stand all together. Lots of quilt shops loved these patterns at market, so if you have an awesome quilt shop near you please check with them for getting these patterns. If, you do not (gasp!) have an awesome quilt shop near you, then we’d love to help take care of you.

Oh, yeah – if you love my fabrics in my samples, you can get those exact fabric kits from my Mom’s shop (where I pick all my fabrics for new designs). Go here: www.merrysstitchins.com

And  . . .that’s all I’m gonna let you peek at for today. Everything in moderation, right?
Uh, besides, I’m still updating the website anyway.  HA!

I’ll send you more spanks, oops I mean brand spankin’ new peeks in a day or two.

As always, I want to thank you sincerely for being part of my tribe. I love what I get to do for a living. That’s what being a kitten has helped me achieve, pure occupational freedom.


 

Ooh Ooh! We’ve added “Pinterest” pin buttons to every item on our website. So, please feel free to pin everything you love and wish for. Oh go ahead and get pin happy.  Pin pin pin pin pin.


Wishing you happy stitchin!
~Julie

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Make Easter More Exciting Then Christmas

MM804onstandEaster rocks!  It’s far more exciting than Christmas, in my opinion and here’s why . . . oh, and my little boys (2 & 4 years old) agree with me.

Easter in our home is exactly what you see here in this cute little quilt:  An Easter bunny, early spring blooming flowers, coloring eggs the night before so the Easter bunny will stop by and hide them all for us to find in the morning, along with our Easter baskets filled with a few goodies.  It’s the entire family, kids and adults, getting excited about hunting to find all the eggs/baskets.  And I don’t know about your Easter bunny, but ours is quite good at hiding those eggs.  Some years it takes us all day to find that last egg.  And, if the spring is an early one and warm enough to be outside, we take all the plastic eggs and do another hunt outside – the kids love to play “Easter bunnies” for this hunt, teasing the adults to find all their hidden eggs.

It’s spring, the long cold winter is behind us (mostly) and we get teased with warmer days and sunshine.  The fun lasts all day long.  The presents are just 1 or 2 instead of many – as a parent I find this to be refreshing.  Ahhh.  Crocus flowers are usually blooming, the very first sign of spring that I’ve longed to see all winter.

My little boys are beginning to share my love love love for Easter and I love love love it.  Considering they are little sponges, it’s no wonder.  They hear me talk about Easter with all the dreaminess I’ve just told to you.  And they’ve been telling me for weeks now how they can’t wait for Easter to come.  Ahhh, I think to myself, they’ll grow up appreciating Easter as a renewing, awakening, egg hunting, crocus-blooming, spring holiday.

This may be a good time to point out that we are not a religious family in any structured sense, and that our definition of “Easter” does not involve any holy figure’s resurrection/biblical reference at all.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not our family belief and this would not be the place to talk about those anyway.

So, whatever this glorious spring holiday means to you, I wish you a renewing, warm, sunny, crocus-blooming Easter.

~Julie

 

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“F” Applique – Make your own words

Do you ever find yourself thinking “I wonder how I could make my own words or letter” for an applique project?  I have a method for creating words, any words, in just the perfect font you want, and turning them into fabulous fusible fabric.  Here’s how I do it.

If you’ve been following along for the past couple weeks, you know that I’m sharing all my tippy top tips and tricks for “F”un applique.  And if your experience with applique has been some “F” word other than FUN, then you’ve come to the right place.  I want to show you that it is a fun, fantastic technique that is very user friendly.

And, since it’s 4:33pm as I sit down to write this post, I’m gonna be brief.  I pick up my peanuts (little boys) in 15 minutes . . . . this will really test my get-to-the-point skills.

So, you want to create your own words or letters, and you don’t want to embroider them.  Follow these steps and you’ll open up endless possibilities for fabric-word creations.

  • grab your computer or tablet that is connected to a printer (very important)
  • open up a program which you can create letters, documents, etc.
  • open a new document and type the word you want on the screen
  • highlight the word and change the font until you find the font/look you want – –wording 3 - Copy here’s my “welcome” in a font I like
  • next widen the stroke of the text – I put the stroke at 3 to make it bolder, like this: wording 4 - Copy
  • then widen the word until it is wide enough for your space: wording 2 - Copy

 

  • then mirror the entire word:  wording 5 so you can use it with fusible web.

 

  • last, print it out, trace and use!

I hope this all makes sense . . . . my 15 minutes are up!

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback.

 

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How to Bind a Quilt Video – 6 Easy Steps

Binding.

For most beginner quilters, it’s intimidating.  Pff, for many seasoned quilters, it’s still a challenge.  I too was intimidated at first.  Then challenged once I did learn how to put them on my designs.  But, now I’m comfortable at doing bindings.  MM809onhanger

I’m sharing a terrific video by Heirloom Creations today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWh90tXr7g4

It’s a terrific video that may help you too, become comfortable at binding your quilts.  Happy binding everyone!

~Julie

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Wishing for a new way to hang?

How do you hang your finished quilted wall hangings?

I’d love to hear your creative ideas and thoughts.

Let me guess:

  • pin to your wall by pounding in sewing pins with the handle end of your scissors. Yikes!
  • Use really sticky double sided tape and press the hanging to the wall with the force of a rhino until the tape has no choice but to stick to the wall and your fabric
  • Run an unsharpened pencil thru the hanging sleeve to act as a dowel and hang upon 2 sewing pins (pounded into the wall)
  • use a nice metal or wire hanger that compliments the design
  • Or you hadn’t thought of any of these clever ideas, so it’s still lying on “the pile” (and we all know what the pile is and don’t deny having one . . .. . Cuz we know better)

When I do get around to hanging them up, I generally use one of the handy Ackfeld Wire hangers that I’ve designed. 6i beachchairBut . . . . . sometimes I want something different.  Something more “home decor ‘ish”.

I began thinking how I could hang my new pelican in my bathroom with a “fresh” “beachy” look.  See, the Pelican on the left looks like he’s sitting near the beach all framed up.

Pelican framed in 6x22 White Barnwood frame
Pelican framed in 6×22 White Barnwood frame
P155
Pelican bound, unframed

Here on the right, is another Pelican and he’s been simply bound (fabric) and will hang upon a lovely metal hanger (eh hem, rather than one of my other inventive hanging methods).

I really didn’t want it to hang on a “hanger”, as I said, so being a creative gal, I thought “my Pelican would look real classy in something like a wood frame that looks slightly weathered, not all shiny and new.  Hmmm.  Oh yes, that sounds like a terrific idea.

 

 

Here’s what I came up with, a white Barnwood frame.  An all-wood frame, not laminate, not plastic, not pressed or processed wood, not plywood.  Real wood.  And it’s assembled by an actual human, who glues the corner seams in addition to nailing it together.  Yes folks, it’s well crafted.  It can take a slight drop and not snap like dry spaghetti  . . . . and I should know because I’ve, well, tested it accidentally.

6×22 white Barnwood frame

Oh, say!  This is cute.  And I can frame any 6×22 quilted hanging.

Any 6×22 hanging you say?

Yes, any 6×22 (finished size) mini quilt can be mounted and framed in this beautifully crafted all wood frame.

You can check out all the product details here.

So, that’s my new fantastic (if I may say so myself) idea for hanging my 6×22 quilted wall hangings.  I’ll be hanging many more of my own designs in our home now.

~Julie

 

 

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Be Wary Where You Buy Your Berry

Yesterday was a Wednesday.  A beautiful day.  The sun was shining with a smattering of puffy white clouds in the sky, birds were chirping, a gentle breeze and a mild 74 degrees.  As I said, simply beautiful.  sunshine-wallpaper_1920x1200

It’s the middle of June.  That’s prime strawberry time here in Iowa.  Mmmm . . . strawberries.  Can you smell them?  Their perky green tops upon plump, juicy, red berries just beckoning your lips. . . . mmmmmm.

My kids love berries of all kinds (any fruit for that matter).  So I told Lewie (3 1/2) that we were going to get in the car and drive to get a great big box of strawberries.  He excitedly jumped up and down and climbed up into the car all by himself.  Considering he usually asks me to help him into the car, tells you how exciting this little journey was for him.  I plopped Jack into his carseat, buckled the munchkins in, buckled myself in and we set off for Decorah, IA.  A 30 minute drive from our home, but worth it for delicious berries that we do not have in our own garden. june

We were headed for a drop off spot in Decorah where a berry farm (30 minutes N of Decorah, into Minnesota) sells their big red yummy strawberries during peak season.  We arrived at 12:30 on the nose, as that’s the time they arrive.  There was a line of folks waiting patiently, or so I thought.  The white delivery Jeep was packed with crates full of berries, which easily appeared to be enough to fill the desires of the line of people.  I was immediately discouraged to see the line, as I knew I would not get out of my car and leave my toddlers in the car while I “waited” in line to buy strawberries.

I opted to hop out of my car, and politely asked the delivery lady if she anticipated her load of berries would satisfy all those currently in line, judging on the amount of berries and the # of people.  Her reply, obviously annoyed that someone dare ask her a question, was a short one but she thought so.  I then quickly explained I had 2 toddlers in the car and could I purchase 2 crates – – yes, 2 crates . . . .not a piddly quart, but 2 whole crates.  I had my money in hand might I add.  Apparently I had just crossed a line.  She snapped, again, at me stating “there’s a line”.  Then immediately a woman in line who clearly was far past child-bearing years, not having small children in her car and had all the time in the world to wait in line for berries yelled at me “the line starts back there”.  Everyone in the line was glaring at me at this point, to which I calmly said I have toddlers in the vehicle and again turned to ask the delivery woman one last time if she would allow me to purchase 2 crates of berries.  She snapped one last time “there’s a line”, then gave me a nasty look of what-do-you-want-me-to-do snide look and went back to feeding the line of vultures.

Children safety or berries.  Hmmm. I chose my babies.  I hate to think what the vultures in that line would choose, given the choice.  Besides, I didn’t care how delicious those damn berries were at that point, or if they were giving them away, that was the last time I purchased a strawberry from this berry farm.  I got back into my car, picked up my phone and dialed the berry farm owner direct, thank goodness for smartphones.  The owner answered my call and I calmly told him of my experience with his delivery driver.  He replied “oh dear” several times, which I took to mean was not the type of customer experience he was going for.  Then, I said to him that he’d unfortunately just lost a good customer, all because one nasty woman could not show kindness to a young mother with babies in her car, not for gold, not for free money, but for strawberries.  Lewie and I were crushed.  I nearly cried (a bit much I admit, but in the heat of the moment my mommy emotions were tripped) as I heard Lewie ask why we didn’t get strawberries and I explained that those people were very mean and nasty.

Yes, we were in the thick of mean, nasty people yesterday.  I was so disturbed by how mean ALL of those people had been.  getimgBut the story is not over.  It gets better and by better I truly mean better.

I started our 30 minute journey home . . . without strawberries.  As I ascended up the big hill out of Decorah I recalled seeing a strawberry sign at a small roadside farm drive about 2 miles out of town.  I slowed down as I neared the gravel driveway and sure enough they had a berry sign.  We drove into the driveway and pulled up next to their wooden stand.  The sign on the dorm-size fridge read “serve yourself”.  Inside I found 6 quarts of fresh strawberries.  I happily gathered up the clear containers of red berries, mentally calculated the amount I owed, wrote out a check and deposited it into their little safe.  As I took them to the car, Lewie asked if these were strawberries.  “Yes they are peanut, these are yummy, juicy strawberries” and I picked the top of a couple and handed them to the boys to sample.  Jack was holding out his hands, he knew just what they were.  I suddenly realized in my excitement (and nerves still twitching from my encounter with the vulchers), that I had grossly miscalculated my amount owed and paid them double for my berries.  I looked around the gardens of growing vegetables nearby and saw a man on a lawnmower, he came over to see if I needed help.  Yes, I said and told him of my great math skills in his favor.  He rounded up 8 more quarts of berries for me, and even gave me a bag of garlic scapes (like green onions with a garlic flavor) because he wants folks to try them, as they’ll be growing more and selling them next year.  We settled up with the proper amount of money, I thanked him several times for his generosity and kindness.  I shook his hand, told him my name, where we live and that he’d just earned a new customer today.  His name is Jerry Hunter he said, this man of about 60.  Hunter’s Produce is the name of their farm stand.

This story is a rather long one, I know.  But I wanted to paint a vivid picture of the entire journey.  We set off excited with anticipation, we hit a dark wall of vultures and meanness.  I turned us around and went back the way we came, and then we turned down Mr. Hunter’s drive, a driveway of sunshine and kindness and generosity. sunshine-wallpaper_1920x1200 I made a new connection with a man who loves gardening with his wife and selling their produce at the end of their driveway.  Karma will find those who were nasty to me and my little boys.  I am just grateful that I did not let the nasty experience radiate for the rest of our journey or our day.  We have 14 quarts of plump, red, juicy strawberries to eat and freeze for later.  Today I’ll make us shortcake for a fun afternoon snack of strawberry shortcake.

Final thought:  I’m ashamed to say, I know I’ve been a vulture at times in my life.  I wish I could turn back time and change my behavior at those moments, but I cannot.  What I can do, is remember to be kind to everyone and teach my boys to do the same.  We never know why that person is butting in line . . . could be they have babies in the car and they have just 30 seconds to spare.

Does this story have you craving a juicy strawberry?  I can help you in the form of fabric, how about that?  Here are 2 cute strawberry patterns that aren’t as tasty, but they certainly capture the feeling of strawberry time, wherever you live.  You can find them at many terrific quilt shops or on our website:  www.patchabilities.com

june
MM406 Big Juicy Strawberry measures 12″ x 14″
sm_strawberriess
P31 Strawberries measures @ 6″ x 20″
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New T-shirt Design

PO5669051-front2bI went to college at Iowa State University wuh-hay back in 1990.  Jeeze, it’s been that long ago?  Yes, I say proudly, yes it was that long ago.  Anywho, while in college we made up lots of T-shirts which we’d get printed for our loop of friends.  It’s a cliche I know, but it’s college and college is all about the experience . . . . and making T-shirts that will remind you of your very expensive “experience” for the coming years.  I’ve lost them all thru the umpteen moves over the years, which is okay.  I like to think I’ve graduated from “reach down and grab your junk” T-shirts, I mean I’m a Mom now, I can’t be caught wearing that!

So . . . what in tarnation do my memories of making “suggestive” T-shirts in college have to do with . . .. well anything?

I’ll tell ya.  As I was finishing up my newest designs a couple weeks ago, which happen to be flip flop and seashore themed, I had an urge to make myself a new “summer” T-shirt like that of one of my patterns.  One in particular kept talking to me, I swear, telling me “I’d look so good on a T-shirt, Julie, you know I would”.  And since I’d just weeded out some old ratty see-thru T-shirts from my wardrobe (if the term wardrobe can describe my drawer of T-shirts and Columbia nylon shorts – yeah, I’m that fancy) this was the perfect time to send in replacements.

First I’ll show you the cute cute cute summer flip flops pattern I created.  By the way, they were called thongs when I was a kid, but I thought it might hinder sales if I designed it using the word “thongs”.  then again maybe it would open new sales avenues.  hmmm.

P154

P154  Keep Calm Yeah – pretty cute eh?  The background is meant to resemble weathered wood.  If I had a beach bungalow, this would be an absolute must to hang on the wall.  Mmmm . . . . beach bungalow . . . . .  Wake up Julie, you’re dreaming of the beach again.  I live in Iowa in case you didn’t know . . . . not a seashore within 2 day’s drive.  This is the design that kept nagging me to make a T-shirt.  It’s worthy of T-shirt frontage, don’t you think?  It’s quilt inspired, but doesn’t scream quilting.

PO5669051-front2b PO5669051-front2 PO5669051-front2aAnd Here it is in 3 summer “beachy” cool colors.  I tested a couple t-shirt brands first to find a soft, lightweight 100% cotton shirt that fits me nice.  By nice I mean it doesn’t cling to me like a wet T-shirt, it lets my eh-hem, curves relax without enhancing them, and I hate the newer so called “woman’s cut” T’s that have sleeves that crop up to my shoulder, thus defeating the purpose of a sleeve, which we all know is to hide upper arm flab.  Duh.  Short sleeves must actually be sleeves in my fancy wardrobe, not slivers.  Oh, and it must be machine washable and dryable.  The last thing I need is to be handwashing anything I wear.  If it can’t be washed and thrown in the dryer, it simply is not worthy of my one-of-a-kind wardrobe.

You may be asking “what about me, Julie, how can I add this cool summer T to my fancy summer wardrobe”?  Well, my friend, I thought of that too.  In fact we are selling these on our website and thru a handful of terrific quilt shops (check with your local shop).  So for a mere $19, you too can enhance your T-shirt collection and look and feel cool this summer.  These won’t be like our patterns which are available always.  They are a printed in a limited quantity and available for a limited time.  When they are gone, they will be gone.

As a matter of fact, I’m using this T-shirt as sort of a test.  If our one-of-a-kind T-shirts are a hit, then I’ll be happy to tap into my T-shirt idea folder for future wardrobe enhancements.  So, we need your feedback because that’s what a test is all about . .. testing the market.

Do you enjoy wearing a quilt-inspired, one-of-a-kind T-shirt ?

Would you buy such a T-shirt?

Would you give this type of T-shirt as a gift?

If you own a shop, would you want to carry T-shirts such as these for your customers to purchase?

I would really love your feedback on the T-shirt concept.  If you will give me feedback (to these posted questions or any other good feedback), and post it to our Facebook page, I will be GIVING A FREE T-SHIRT to one very lucky person.  We will draw a name on Friday May 29th from all the feedback posts on our FB page and award them a T-shirt of their color choice.

So, to recap, here’s how you could win a FREE super cute T-shirt

  1. go to our Facebook page: and leave feedback to those questions
  2. if we draw your name, we will contact you via email or FB message for your mailing address.
  3. or to make darn sure you get your super cute T-shirt, go to our website and order one for yourself
  4. better yet, drop great big hints to your friend, hubby, or whomever and get them to order one and suprise you with it!  That’s the best idea yet!!!  but please give us feedback.
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New Design – Reveal

Well . . .. did you guess what this is?

image First picture was this – white stripes on red wool background.  The clue was it is a crafty Christmas garland material.

Second sneek peek was this:

imageI personally think this one nearly gives it away, the theme that is.  The clue was it can come in buckets and is best hot.  So, do you know what it is? . . . well, how about this next image?

imagePOP CORN!  Of course!  It’s just in the design phases here, so I’ll give you one more sneek peek here:

imageThis is pretty raw yet.  No details are put on it yet.  The next time you see this, most of the hand applique stitching will be done and it will be coming to life.  This is of course “Fresh Pop Corn”.  It’s done in wool and I plan to make this a hanging.   Mmmmmm.  I’m in the mood for buttery popcorn, how about you?

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New Design – Guess #2

Okay, hopefully this is exciting to see the progress.  As I said before, my goal with this method of peeks is to entertain with tease.  So here we go:

imageI think this picture will reveal the theme.  But in case you’re still stumped, I’m going to give another clue:  It may come in buckets.  And it’s best hot.

If the clues aren’t helping you guess what this is, perhaps you can tell me what this reminds you of.

~Julie