Welcome to Sew in the Snow Blog

This blog is about my passions in life: family, quilting, and new adventures. Quilting is my main passion! I also love my family tirelessly and devote most of my energy to my young preschool girls and my husband. This blog will be about my creative process in quilting and some about being a Mom in this busy world. Being of Irish descent, I love a good story. So buckle in, here we go!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP: writing a pattern

I finally decided to try writing a pattern.  I've thought of it for awhile... But I decided to go for it!  I spent 3.5 hours this morning typing up directions, trying to make them very clear and concise.  The most difficult thing for me is consistency.  I have a touch of random in my personality so being consistent is a challenge.

Now I'm ready to make some illustrations for it.  I thought I could use my new EQ7 program, but I'm not very good at it yet.  I HATE learning new computer programs!  Ugh.  I know it'll be useful... But it takes so long to learn!  I could be sewing!

So, to complicate matters, I'm making a bag pattern, not a quilt pattern, so I really couldn't figure out how to diagram it using EQ7.  Lame.  Tomorrow I'm going to draw diagrams using graph paper.  Not fancy, but it should work.  

I emailed a class form today to Material Girls where I hope to teach some quilting classes this winter.  Since I've modified the pattern that I'm teaching, I realized I need a new pattern.  That has led me on my wild pattern making bonanza today!  Wish me luck!

if anyone would like to be a pattern-tester let me know and I can send it to you to try out.  All I ask in return is that you give me constructive criticism so that I can make a better pattern!  First 5 people to request it will get a free pattern.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kindergarten start up

Jessie and Claire Best Friends
Kindergarten has begun.  It's been a challenging adjustment. It's been hard for both the girls to be separated for so long each day. They are best friends and play together so much!   The first few mornings were filled with tears for Claire.  After dropping her off, Claire would get very quiet, then exclaim, "I miss Jessie!  I need my sister."  It was so hard, she was inconsolable!  My heart broke to experience her sorrow and nothing I did made it better.  She was morose.  However, Claire is getting used to it now. Jessie has done very well, much better than I expected.  She has only cried twice.  I am very proud of her!  She is so brave.

Claire and I are on our own

I had prayed for a teacher that would fit Jessie's personality and God has answered my prayer!  He gave us a great teacher!  She is very experienced, kind, and no-nonsense.  She is even left landed like Jessie!  She also loves nature, and takes the kids out frequently.  They've gone on field trips to Creamers Field each week.  Claire and I have gone along on two of the field trips, which has made both of them so excited!  Claire even got to spend an hour in the classroom with Jessie while I was volunteering/ helping with picture day.  They were both so ecstatic to be together in the classroom!  My heart sang to see them sharing the new experience of playing in a classroom together.

Lots of hugs

Some of Jessie's highlights have been recess, gym, and the classroom bunny named "Blue".  The first few days all she talked about was recess.  All the kindergartens (3 classes) get to play at recess at the same time without the big kids.  She has a friend, Anastasia, that's in a another class and she gets to see her at recess. They run around like a little gang with several other little girls.  In gym she has learned how to do the hula-hoop!  Very exciting stuff.  I remember when I learned how to do the hula-hoop!  I used to practice for hours with my brothers.  He he... boys doing the hula hoop.  Enough about me.

Jessie's classroom pet Blue gets to hop around the class sometimes.  She loved it when he got turned loose for the first time.  The kids got to follow him around the room, playing Follow the Leader with a bunny.  How delightful!
Blue the classroom mascot

So, we're adjusting.  For me, I've been playing, hugging, and reading a lot to the girls as they've needed some extra love lately.  I have volunteered for an entire morning once each week.  It's very busy.  I joined the PTA... And survived the first meeting.  Yuck.  I hate meetings.  Next time I'll bring my knitting!

I'd love to hear any beginning school stories from you.  Sorry it's been so long!  I should be able to do more regular notes now.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cutting Update

Cute fish quilt

Hey all.  I thought you might be wondering... did I succeed in my crazy quest to cut 5 quilts?  No.  However, I did get 2 quilts cut and the fabric picked out for the other three.  I was distracted by a good book and (of all things!) work.  It was somewhat busy so I didn't have time to do it all.  LOL.  But, it was a good day. 

Now I'm ready to make the blue and white Celestial fabric quilt and a cute fish quilt for my girls.  It's a jelly roll quilt.  I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WIP: Scrappy Quilt Kits

Today I've decided to spend a few hours cutting fabric to make my own stash scrappy-quilts-kits.  I hope to have 5 quilts worth of fabric cut by the end of work today. That does sound ambitious, doesn't it?  Hmmmm.... 

I do have some strips cut to start one out. It's going to be a blue and white celestial theme quilt.  The others I haven't really decided on yet.  I have two fabulous quilt books that use jelly rolls, so that's easy to cut.  I also have some fun quilt quilt patterns that I've been thinking of making lately.  Here's an example of some of them.

Since I haven't actually sewn anything, I'll show you pictures of quilts that I have made in the past and I'm going to cut fabric to make similar quilts this winter.  With the cutting done, I should be able to get out a kit and make a quilt pretty quickly.  Cutting can be tedious, but it can also be fun as I imagine how all the fabric will work together.  I love color!  It's my favorite thing about quilting... matching the colors up for a stunning quilt.  :)

 I am going to share my quilting stash with you.  WARNING: don't panic.  It is kinda messy.  I've tried having it neatly organized into color ranges and such, but that doesn't fit my style.  I love to root through a pile of fabric like a dog joyfully digging a hole.  So, now I keep each color  or theme fabrics (like Celestial fabrics or outdoor fabric) in it's own bin so that I can freely paw through it.  It feels like Christmas to me... searching for just the right fabric can be messy and fun!
theme bins: sailing, fall, fruits, fall, flowers, blues, finished blocks, coffee, etc

Precut strips: 1.5" in bag, 2.5" out of bag
color bins: red/orange, black/brown, blues, yellows/whites

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIP: Athena's Puzzle

This week I've hardly been sewing because it's been beautiful outside!  Hurrah!  I love the sunshine in August.  Yesterday it was 82 degrees here.  Delightful!

So, I haven't been thinking much about quilting.  I dug out an old project to work on today while I'm at work.  (Yes, I get to sew at work!)  It's an Athena's Puzzle quilt.  I have 6 blocks done, 3 blocks started and many more to do.  It's in lovely fall batiks.  So, I didn't feel like working on it until it was nearly fall.  :)  You know how that goes, right?

Here's the picture of what I've got so far.  I hope to get several more blocks done today.  Wish me luck!

Friday, August 10, 2012

FAF: Doug of SDI Woodworking

I have had the privilege of trading and buying kid's spinning tops from Doug, the owner and creator of SDI Woodworking on Etsy.  He does a magnificent job with the wood!  I loved his work so much, I just had to share with you all.

I have a neighbor that has a 4 year old boy.  He seems to have a ton of toys already, so it was difficult to know what to get him for his upcoming birthday present.  I leisurely scanned through the wood section of Etsy looking for gifts.  When I saw the picture above my search was arrested;  I marveled at the beautiful range of wood.  It is so perfect with the natural glow of the wood grain shining through!

We arranged a trade for an equally priced handbag from my Sew in the Snow shop on Etsy.  I eagerly awaited the gift in the mail.  It was so smooth and perfectly balanced!  It also came with two little tops as well.  I love these tops.  My kids were with me when I opened it, so we had to test them out.  We spent over an hour playing with all three tops.  It was so much fun.  Even my 3 year old could spin the little one!  We got a big one (about 5") that has a pull-string on it.  It is difficult to manage for the kids, but I think they'll learn how to balance it soon.

We decided that we had to keep the tops we ordered.... so I ordered another set for the birthday party.  That arrived today!  How exciting!  I thought I was getting 3 little tops, but he gave us 5!  What a delightful surprise!

Doug is a very talented craftsman. I highly recommend his shop to anyone looking for well-made wood products.  You won't be sorry...  I sure wasn't!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

No WIP Visiting with Dad

Hi all!  I have had the rare pleasure of my Dad visiting us in Alaska this last week.  So I haven't had much time to sew this week.  Instead we've playing outside, riding bikes, and cooking up a storm.

We've had great homemade food from salmon chowder and fresh Sourdough to double-decker tacos, to grilled steak with corn on the cob and ratulie.  Splendid food!

Tonight he leaves on th "red-eye" back to Denver,  it's been a good visit though.

Hope your week has also been good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIP: Binding Day

I looked at my closet to dig out more fabric to start a baby quilt, and I realized that I had 3 quilts waiting for bindings.  So, after a loving pat to my cute fabrics, I decided to do the deed and bind my quilts!

The first one is a dinosaur toddler quilt for a boy.  It is a simple quilt made for charity, but I like how it turned out.  The big panel even has  the dinosaurs names on it!

The second one is a jelly roll quilt I made to sell.  I didn't like how bland the colors were, so I added extra dark oranges and some dark browns from my stash.  It isn't my usual color range, but I really like the pattern!  I'm thinking of doing it again in purple and greens.  I have a jelly roll from Christmas that I've been saving.... It could be perfect for this!

The final one is also a jelly roll quilt. It's my favorite!  I love purple and green together.  The fabrics are from a Christmas exchange of half a jelly roll (20 strips).   I added in some of my own fabrics too.  It's now on my bed.

Both of the jellyroll quilts are patterns from a book titled: Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott.  I really like the selection of quilts that they have designed in there.  I highly recommend it!

I'll try and get pictures of the completed quilts later this week.  Have a great day!

Friday, July 27, 2012

QT: Quilt Tutorial--Sudoku Wall Hanging

Hello, I wanted to try something different today.  I'd like to do a tutorial once a month or so.  So, this is on how to make a Sudoku Wall Hanging Quilt.  There's lots of free patterns available.  I started on it this week, and now I've got the top done.  A pretty quick little treat!

Material and Cut:
81 – 3.5” squares (9 each of 9 colors)
 6 – 1.5” x 9.5” strips for sashing
4 – 1.5” x 29.5” strips for sashing
2 – 1.5” x 31.5” strips for sashing
4 – 3.5” strips for border--optional

**Note: you should press after each seam is sewn.  It makes it much neater.  Trim each block when completed before adding sashing!

Once you've cut it all, sort into 9 stacks.  Then, make a "key" of your colors.  Label each color with a number to make it easier!

Numbered squares "Key" on felt

Next, take one stack of squares at a time and organize in rows.  Then sew together into a block.  Once done, put a colored pin in the top left-hand corner.  I used orange for the first row, white for the second row, and purple for the 3rd row.  You can also add two pins in the second block, and 3 pins in the third block to make it easier later on.  I also labeled the blocks with a piece of paper.  Redundancy can be good if you don't want to solve the puzzle!

Finished block by sashing
 Next, sew on the sashing to the right side of blocks: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7.  The others will get sashing later.

All the finished blocks in rows with marker pins

Then sew the blocks of each row together.  This is where your pinning really makes it quick and easy!
Next, sew on the sashing below all rows and also on top of row 1.

Then sew all of the rows together making sure to keep them in order!  Once that's done, sew on the outer sashing and a border if desired!  All done!

Once it was done, I realized I needed more contrast between the squares.  So, beware and good luck!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WIP: Sudoku Quilt

 Hello!  I have been working on a quilt for my friend who's a Math Wizard and Sudoku Lover.  She has been my quilting buddy for 7 years and now she's moving out of town.  So, I'm going to give her a Sudoku wall hanging quilt as a going away present to memorialize our many good times quilting together!

As with nearly any two quilters, we have very different quilting styles and preferences for fabric.  She loves traditional prints for quilts.  I prefer brighter fabrics with animals or berries or colorful batiks.  She enjoys doing applique, hand-stitching, and making cute embellishments like yo-yos for her quilts.   I enjoy strip-quilting or intricate stars for my quilts.   Over the years we have learned to embrace eachother's differences. Seeing the beauty in eachother's quilts has challenged both of us to come out of our comfort zones.

I am challenging myself with making a quilt that she will love.  Although I'm not good at doing Sudoku, I'm making her a quilt like that.  You use different colors instead of numbers for the puzzle. I think it would look better in more distinct colors, but that is my preference.  I wanted to  honor her color preference by choosing fabrics from the Cabbage and Roses line by Moda.

Separated fabric for each block
It is very different than whipping up a strip-pieced 9 patch.  I had to cut up individual squares and  each block is unique.  I had to cheat and look at the key to get the colors correct!  LOL.  Sudoku is not easy for me.  However, this week I managed to get all of the blocks done.  I've cut the lattice, but haven't sewn it on yet.

Cabbage and Roses Fabric by Moda

I plan to finish the quilt by Friday and do a picture tutorial on making a Sudoku quilt.  Tune in on Friday for a step-by-step instruction on Sudoku quilting!  Hopefully, I'll be ready!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July Parties

Tons of Parties.  I have been to 4 parties 
this weekend.  This has been one of the busiest weekends of the summer for me.  I have been to so many parties, I think I may be full-up for awhile.  It's been a whirl-wind!  Fun, yet somewhat taxing for me now that I'm used to staying home so much as a Mom.  

Are you curious yet? What kind of parties have I attended?  I have been to a Going-Away Party for a good friend, a Ladies Night out party, a kid's 3rd Birthday party, and a Wedding Reception.  A busy 3 days.

The Going-Away Party was for my quilting buddy and good friend, Michelle.  She is moving out of state, so she threw one last BBQ. Her husband is an amazing chef, and we ate like royalty.  He grilled up some great home-grown chickens, some Copper River Salmon, and made various sides to make your mouth water.  Yum!

At the end of the gathering, as a strange turn of events, Michelle gave out presents instead of receiving them.  Michelle is an incredible gardener.  Everyone that came got to take home at least one basket of flowers or some veggies.  I was persuaded to take home 4 baskets: one flower basket and 3 veggie baskets.  Wow!  What a terrific haul.  

I will miss her tremendously.  I am making her a going-away wall hanging gift.  I'd tell you what it is, but I haven't given it to her yet.  ;)  I felt strangely like if I put off making it, she'd have to stay longer.  Silly.  But, the heart wants what the heart wants.  A treasured friend.

Then it was time for Ladies Night Out party.  My friend found a great little gift exchange theme for this party.  You find your 3 favorite things and bring them to the party: appetizer, drinks, and a set of 3 gifts (all the same) for around $10.  You then exchange the gifts by drawing them from a hat.  

My favorite thing (besides quilting!) is tea and honey.  So, I went to the Farmer's Market and found cute little bears with local honey and flavors: chocolate honey and raspberry honey.  Then I got a selection of my 5 favorite teas available locally (I mail order many special teas too) and put one in each bag.  The teas would pair perfectly with the honey that I included.  A strong cup of English Breakfast is delightful with some chocolate honey. It feels like a decadent treat, yet has very few calories.  I love it as an after-dinner treat.  Each bag held 2 honeys and 5 tea bags.  It was a fun challenge to think up a gift that I really love for around $10.  But, I did it!

I received 3 gift bags in exchange from different people.  I got a cute garden bee ornament, some superb salted caramel, and chai green tea and mints.  What a fun party idea!  Everyone choose such different things!  It's a neat way to get to know each-other a little better too.  

The next day was my friend's 3-year old Princess birthday party.  I made her a cute tote with Princess themed embroidery and embellishments.  I have a 3-year old also, and she loves her little tote.  So, it seemed like a good gift.  We got to make foam-sticker crowns for each child and play in a giant cardboard box castle.  It even had a draw-bridge.  The girls loved it!  The boys frequently charged the castle with fake swords and my daughters acted like a  dragon roaring in defense of the Birthday Princess in side.  Hilarious!

Finally, I went to a BBQ for a wedding reception for a long-time friend.    She got married this winter in a remote Lodge here in AK.  Then she held the reception this weekend.  There was lots of grilled meats: ribs, chicken, and Cooper River Salmon.  It also had great sides: potato salad, bean salad, rolls, 3 pies, cookies, and green salad.  It was fun to hang out on the porch and enjoy the sunshine while mingling with people I rarely get to see.  My friend, Oline, was positively glowing...  I'm so happy that she is enjoying married life!  She deserves it! 


Friday, July 20, 2012

FAF: The Butterfly Quilter

Pat belongs to my Etsy Team Quiltsy.  She has many spectacular art quilts in her shop, The Butterfly Quilter.   I was looking for something amazing, and I found it in her work!  Such artistry!  Her detailed quilting really enhances her quilts.  So, I was curious, what makes someone like her tick?  Find out for yourself.

What originally gave you the idea to create such an interesting Etsy shop?
Living in Maine we didn’t have high speed internet till Oct. 2011. Yup it was that late for us in this part of Maine. One of my friends told me about the site and then my husband found it and said, “I think you should sell on Etsy”. I had a hard enough time having people tell me my quilts are beautiful so this was a big step. I made a decision to put on the site quilts that I would want for myself and not just to make to sell. So far it is working out for me. I have to force myself not to just make to sell but to make them as if they were for me and really like them.

Ideas are often so hard to implement– tell us a bit about how you started and what were your first steps in creating you niche in the Etsy and handmade community?
I am one of those people that just go for it once my mind is made up. Like creating a quilt. Sometimes I have to think outside the box. Etsy was way outside the box for me. For the first months I was on the site reading and listening to the labs and working the forums. I am talking about 4 to 6 hours a day. My quilting was on hold at this time just to get my shop up and running. I am not computer savvy at all so this was something so foreign to me. So I tackled it like a quilt, once piece at a time.

What is your main hurdle in running your Etsy site to date?
Time is my greatest enemy and a major hurdle for me. I get up first thing in the morning and check in and comment in the forums and teams. Then do some work on my tags. Then I check in at lunch and one more time at night. I can tell when I slack off a little my stats go down. So time management is big since it takes away from my craft. Not enough hours in a day.

How do you promote your business? Facebook, Twitter, blogging or other?
LOL I don’t have anytime to do any of the above. My husband just got facebook. I don’t Twitter or blog. All of my promotion in on Etsy alone. My friends pass on the word thru their facebook page when I download a new quilt. I do pass out my business cards when I am out and about though.

Describe the process of creating one of your handmade items.
Nature is a part of the process for me. If I am blank and can’t come up with a design my HB and I go hiking. Things just start happening from there. He is a photographer and he has his camera with him so I have him taking photos of certain things. Then I save them in a file just for me. I dream a lot about design so as soon as I get up I write it down and keep it in a file. When I have time I will look thru them and come up with something.
An example my earth texture quilt. I wanted to incorporate macro photos on a background of  the earth, like a sand feel.  I start with a ruff sketch then from there transferred it to a more definite sketch onto muslin. Then cut out hundreds of pieces of different tone on tones with  heat and bond to adhere to the muslin that I drew the design on. Then printed my macro photos onto fabric with my computer and heat set them onto my piece. Never pieced a quilt this way before. Did my layer of batting then back and quilted it all over to hold everything in place with a tone on tone variegated thread. Once done I new I needed to add beading of wood and abalone beads. Then I thought it needed definition around the edges of the photos so I used helm to finish the piece off. So my quilting just keep progressing sometimes. 

What do you love most about making your products?
Seeing if what I image it will look like comes out the way I thought it would. Most of the time my designs go in a different direction once I start and always for the better. My quilt tops speak to me and tell me what they need.

Fun Facts:
List three adjectives that describe you.
Adventurous, generous, and energetic. According to my husband. LOL

Favorite Food: Too many to count. Scallops, cantaloupe, popcorn

If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Why?
Probably an Elephant. Ok they can be stubborn, but I am working on that. I am loyal and dependable. People always seem to come to me when they need something and know that I will always be there for them. Elephants seem to wander so it no wonder I do not stay in one place long. An Elephant never forgets, this is so true for me also. Once I learn something I seem to retain that knowledge, hopefully to use some day when it is needed. The Elephant is also patient and my students when I was teaching quilting too always said I would always answer questions and be patient till they understood what I was trying to get across.

 I certainly can understand the time issue!  I never have enough.  I dare you to take the time today to look at Pat's Etsy shop...  you won't be disappointed!