Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Heart Scraps

Hi!  It's Sherri from A Quilting Life!  It's always fun to be posting here at Stash Manicure (thank you Samm)! I also have a post over at my blog today--that post and this one begin the same but also have different ideas at the end--I hope you'll stop by a A Quilting Life as well!

Well, I love scraps and all the fun things you can do with today I thought I'd share just a few of my ideas. I've been collecting 2 1/2" squares for a scrappy quilt for a couple of years now.  It's okay if this quilt takes a long time to complete...I want it to have lots and lots of variety.

 When I first started this project I didn't have enough of the colors I wanted.  So I've been patient (sort of).  I've been saving my squares.  Every now and then I go through and make a few more blocks.

I'm making blocks in six different color ways--pinks/purples, reds, oranges, blues, yellows, and greens.  Actually, just the other day I figured out how I want to set them all together--when I started this project I had no idea what I was going to do with these blocks, but now I have the quilt completely planned.  I just need to save a few more scraps.

But sometimes you don't want to wait years to use your scraps, right?! Sometimes you want quick projects...something you can make in a couple of hours or an afternoon.  Jodi (yes, THE Jodi of Pleasant Home) made me the adorable "Snap Happy" bag above. She used scraps, and it's just as cute as can be!

I recently made these two little zipper bags--again using strips from my stash.  Whenever I cut out a quilt I cut the remaining pieces into strips or squares so they're ready to go for a scrappy project!

Well, these are just a few of the ways I use my scraps.  I also use a lot of my scraps to make hexagons...but I'll save that for another post!  Have a great day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

If Mama ain't happy it's because she is not Quilting...

I am  trying to create some PEACE.
My daughter's Missy H. 
Hi all, I am Denise.  I blog over at myfamilythinksiamworking where Madame Samm found me doing my thing and asked if I would do a guest post.  You will have to excuse me if I am a little giddy; you see…it is my first guest post…EVER!

How do you use your fabric scraps:
I LOVE scraps!  I am a scrap hoarder; I hate to toss them out.  You can really do so much with little bits and pieces of fabrics from a stash and I find it fun to see different pieces of fabric in different projects that I have done.  Here is a peak at my closet of scraps and projects.  We have a serious lack of closet space in this home of ours, so I have to keep it relatively small, i.e. share my linen closet with my scraps.  This means not buying in a lot of yardage unless I have a specific project in mind.  Fat quarter bundles are my favorite!
My scrap stash is organized by color in clear plastic shoebox bins and then larger yardage for backing, etc in a large plastic bin in my clothes closet.

Then there are the baskets…strings for string quilt (long-term project), baskets of WIP,
baskets of magazines with to-do projects, baskets with hexagons…you get the idea.

This basket sits in my sewing table.  When I find a project in a book or magazine, I put the fabric with the pattern and it sits here until I am ready to work on it.
I made my first quilt for my hubs almost 20 years ago, back before we had children and my time became theirs.  Oh, I would make little projects, wall hangings, baby quilts, pillows, etc, but I felt like life was too busy to have a big hobby.  I have only been seriously quilting again for the past year since last Christmas when my wonderful hubs gave me the gift of a quilt class.  So, for several weeks a girlfriend and I would grab our sewing machines and Starbucks, and head off to quilt class in a LQS Something to Crow About.  A night out each week just for me; it showed me how much I really needed to do this just for me!  Not to mention, each week I was tempted by all the gorgeous fabrics to add to my growing stash!  At the end of the class, I had overflow of red and black fabrics from this lovely quilt.

(I just love the stained glass look)
Some of the scrap stash from this class quilt has made its way into many of my me-time projects over the past year. 
Here are a few…

Lone Star, aka Nellie's Star, uses a lot of the black and some cream.  Pattern is from McCall's Quilting September/October 2010
Scrappy houses…these are truly tiny scraps, as the entire quilt is 15 x 15,
Note the red, gold, blacks…the class quilt scraps baby!

Mug rug…the gold moon and black from the class quilt…
The rest is all scraps from my stash too!

Okay, so the only thing from my stash here is the red stripe down the middle,
But hey, it is from the stash and the class quilt!

String blocks…all those leftover strips that are too small to do much with are making a wonderful stash of rainbow blocks for a future strip quilt. 
The red block and the golds in the yellow block…all from my class quilt stash. 
These are my go-to, nothing-is-inspiring-me-but-I-want-to-work-on-something project. 
So eventually they will get done, eventually.

In addition, my latest me-time project…a quilt for our local high school soccer coach…I literally had to buy NOTHING to do this top I had so much in my stash
(the T-shirts were donated!) 

It is so fun for me to trace back the stash fabrics from the latest project to the original project. 

What makes you do a certain you do many, one at a time…
If it is a gift, I like to match the quilt to the person and the colors they like.  It stretches me a bit at times, using colors I might not necessarily pick.  I see what I can use from my stash and then go shopping for the rest.  
Also if see a quilt on a blog or in a magazine that I want to do, I star it/save it for later.  Then I start going through my stash to see what I can use and buy additional fabric, because that is where a stash comes from right?!?  Shopping!  I love Etsy for finding fabric bundles! 
I like to have more than one project going at a time.  I like to make a quilt top and set it aside until I have 2 or 3 done, find just the right backing, etc, and then I baste them all, and start quilting.  When those are done being quilted on my machine, I go on to the next project I have waiting in the wings…usually something small and quick.

Something like a little walllet or a table runner that I can put together quickly from the stash/leftovers.

How do you balance how many hours a week you quilt?
I have my sewing space set up in a portion of our master bedroom where my machine is always out and ready to go...

...and I am lucky enough to work at home, so sometimes before the kids get home from school I sneak in a few minutes to sew.  Or like today, dinner is in the Crockpot (my BFF), I can spend the time I would making dinner, sewing (cue angles singing)!  On the days I don't work, the kids are in school, and hubs is at work, so I take advantage of that time to sew…that is if my house is not crying out to be cleaned!  LOL I like to try to spend a few minutes each day working on a keeps me sane, which makes my family happy.  Because you know the saying "If mama ain't happy… 
So that is just a little bit about my stash and how I use it! 

Thank you so much for your comments..hope you leave some
or many. My first post, can you believe it?
Mama Denise

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A little whimsy I always say!

Hi Everyone.
I’m Holly Mabutas, artist and general overseer of whimsy at Eat Cake Graphics (a rubber stamp and quilt pattern company).

Madamme Samm asked if I would write a little post about how I manage creativity, running a business and life in between. I have a stash, mine comes in the form of ideas, deadlines, stamps and pattern design (and of course fabric - which I can never get enough of).

Well, let me be the first to admit that some days I manage things splendidly...and then there are those days that I really need a crash course in time management because good grief, where did the day go.

For me, creativity comes in waves and I need to be conscious of those times as much as possible. I’ll go on a drawing streak and ideas just seem to flow from my pencil to the blank pages of my sketchbook. I am sure you know what I am talking about. You are probably one of those quilters who will be inspired for days and then you wake one day and nothing. You don't even want to walk into your sewing room. Anybody have their hands up?
I hear you.

For me and maybe for you too, your sketchbooks, notes on napkins, whatever you use to get what's in your head out on paper contain ideas in all forms – from totally complete to scribbled thoughts not fully formed. So there is always something to go back and look at, maybe spark something when the creative well isn't overflowing. I enjoy these times and I don’t think anything can replace actually holding a pencil in hand and sketching, doodling or just writing. And there's absolutely nothing that can replace getting on a roll at retreats! No cooking, no mail, no phones (ok well, maybe no phones). You can just quilt on a marathon. I get it. You are in the zone per say.

Then there’s the part of actually running a business. We are all managing some kind of business, maybe not income based, but running a thought process, figuring out which quilt you are going to make, which one will have you place binding on today, or sending off to a long armer (quilting-by-check as they say), we all are always managing something right?

I started small, so managing it wasn’t very time consuming. But then things grew and I now have an online shopping cart and maintain (try to anyway) two blogs. I bet many of you are in the same boat. I know Madame Samm manages two blogs, don't know how she does it all but she does it all. And there are many of you who manage kids, work, quilting and side jobs. We are women, that is our lot in life. Managing.

I branched out into quilting, adding appliqué patterns in 2006 (before that my business was strictly rubber stamps). So while the drawings overlap in both, that’s pretty much where it ends. Some days I’m out working in the garage making rubber stamps – pressing rubber, cutting wood for mounts, wiping sawdust off my clothes and then at other times I’m printing patterns. With patterns most everything is done on the computer, aside from actually sewing the quilt. I’ll have both printers going and papers all over the place waiting to be collated into a finished pattern order.

Managing a business, especially a “one person show” means you have to be ALL things – design, production, shipping, customer service, marketing… Much like quilt blogging, I know it can take over your life too. Some days you spend more time blog hopping than you do anything else. You have to be a good photographer, you have to have the right words to comment, you have to add photos to your blogs because who isn't visual these days! You don’t necessarily have to be an expert at all these things, but you have to be open to trying things, sticking with things that work and letting go of the things that don’t. Believe me, even after 10 years I’m still learning all the time.

And last, but certainly not least, there is family, making time for my husband, pets and the household. Some days the dishes are in the sink or “hmmm where did that layer of dust come from?” My husband works full-time so I do try to leave weekends, or at least one weekend day open as much as possible. Right now that’s been a little more challenging because I’ve added going to school to the mix – hoping one day, in the not too distant future, to design fabric.
So I guess when it comes to managing it all – creativity, blogging, business, life – it’s truly a balancing act and realizing that sometimes getting out of balance is just the nature of it all. It’s making sure we don’t stay that way and remembering what’s important that matters most.
How do you do it all? Short of just wanting more time that is. :)

Thank you so much for having me as a guest!  Leave a comment here - And...if you stop on over at my blog Sprinkles of Thought there's a free pattern giveaway - yahoo!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Oh look a video of Block of the Month Clubs

BOM I just completed!

Hi, I'm Valerie (you can find me over at Val's Quilting on most days) and I LOVE to Quilt! I most especially LOVE Block of the Month clubs as they are an excellent way to make a stunning quilt by creating a new block each month while learning a barrage of techniques as you go.

I need help deciding which one(s) to do...

My Block of the Month Club programs teach with private step by step how-to video blog and picture tutorials weather you're a beginner or an advanced quilter, my tutorials are an excellent way to start your skills and hone them and I will show you how, sound fun?

Pastimes Online provides you everything you need to get started, silk pins, sewing machine needles, 100% cotton hand dyed floss and wool, 100% silk floss and luscious dupioni silks...sound enticing now?

We are about to launch a new array of block of the month (bom) clubs from beginner to advanced. One of these will suite YOU! Each bom will include all of the above plus prizes (i.e. scissors, rulers, fabrics) each month.

Help us pick which ones YOU would LOVE to do by Voting through our Block of the Month Poll!!

Crazy Christmas by Lynette Anderson, 12 month bom, quilt as you go, to include stitching & the cutest Christmas wool applique within a crazy patch design.

Life is Beautiful by Hugs and Kisses will be set in the mood of creams, browns, lilacs and purples, with an interesting applique & quilt as you go technique. A 'beautiful' journal pattern including all the blocks.

HocusPocusVille by Crabapple Hill was one I just couldn't resist. Starting with the amazing drawings that will be stitched in veriegated flosses, and the adorable 9-patches will be perfect to hang during the fall.

Pies and Tarts by Sue Daley is one that is just stunning, with the overwhelming beauty combination of the curves and piecing. This will sure to be a show stopper. English paper piecing technique will be mastered throughout this process. Acrylic templates, paper templates and more included in this kit.

Truly Scrumptious by Cinderberry Stitches is the most adorably whimsical piece of patchwork and embroidery I've seen, this will look amazing in any hallway, or bedroom making it joyful and happy.

So I want to say, "thanks so much!!" Madame Samm for having me spend the day here with all of your wonderful viewers in this fantabulous community of quilting, sharing and loving each other up so much!! I've had a great time and would love to come back and chat about my favourite cutting tools including the desirable Gingher line of scissors, Gingher's unbelievable rotary cutter and sew much more on my next visit. If you need a fix or want to read up on Pastimes at, and sign up for our quarterly newsletter, The Times!

Until next time, stay happy and creative,

Editors note:: From Madame Samm's desk...when I invited Valerie to Stash Manicure it was to provide the readers YOU, with information on what to do with your stash (our stash)  to showcase, what was available in the Block of the Month world...It was not my intention or Valeries to think this was an Advertisement  of any sort ( I thought it was more of  a Marketing tool...find out if others like B.O.M's too...... This was my call, not Valerie's in any way)...I was the one that was sew excited to hear of what was available out there. I have seen many posts here that could certainly lean towards promoting  yourselves, your site, your new pattern, new blog, new event...... I look at Stash Manicure as a place where QUILTERS of all descriptions can come together and be educated and entertained.  Everyone who has posted here gains more traffic on their blogs. That is still  yours- future guest and all bloggers intent. Thank you for being here today and possibly
 I am honored Valerie took the time and energy to be here today...  I am always YOUR cheerleader... the question I ask...will you be HERS and OURS? 

Piece be with us all... Madame samm

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, SCRAP uses!

Hi everyone! I'm Vicki from Sew Inspired and I'm excited to be posting on Stash Manicure today! I like to save all my fabric scraps that are big enough to hold a seam allowance and I have a few ideas for using them up. Here goes:

1. Give your scraps to a kid. And then let them do what they want with it. I have a bag of fabric scraps that I don't want for my own use--my kids know they can use what's in there as long as they don't fight over it. The other day my 10-year-old son asked me if he could make something from a small rectangle of denim fabric. At first I hesitated, then thought of asking him what he was going to do, and then I just told him, "yes." I haven't been the best at letting my kids be in charge of their own creative projects, but I'm working on it.

I hang on to batting scraps too, the ones left over from trimming the edges of a quilt after it's quilted. A few weeks ago my 12-year-old neighbor had me help her make a pillow out of an old sweatshirt with the sleeves cut off. We were able to almost fill it up with my batting scraps--I'm glad I didn't throw them away!

2. Weave potholders. We have a potholder loom from Jennifer at Craftsanity and she included instructions for weaving with strips of woven fabric. My son and I have made a few of these and they definitely use up larger scraps quickly. These potholders are also good for using up fabrics that you don't love any more as the print usually gets obscured when you weave the fabric strips.
woven potholder

3. Join an online bee. I've been participating in two online quilting bees this year--each month, one member sends fabric to the other group members, who then sew up quilt blocks to the specifications of the sender, and then mail them back. Obviously, you don't have to use scraps, but you can if you want! For one of my groups, I requested these scrappy square blocks (made partly from my scraps and partly from regular stash fabric):

blocks received so far
For my other bee I divided all my strip scraps up and sent them to my friends to make string blocks. (I thought I took a picture of the stacks of strips before I mailed them, but I can't find it so I guess I didn't.) I can't wait to see what the blocks will look like!

If you want to know more about online quilting bees, including how to join one or start one, you can get lots of great information at

4. Make a charity quilt. A couple years ago I was working on getting rid of some fabrics I was tired of and I made this quilt top:
pink and purple quilt top
I cut my fabrics 6.5" wide in one direction and 6.5" or smaller going the other way, depending on the size of the fabric. It was a quick little quilt top that ended up being quilted and donated by my church friends.

5. Make a scrap ball. It's a ball, made from fabric, and stuffed with your tiny, un-sewable scraps! I first read about this idea from the Future Craft Collective last summer on and I made a couple of these balls with my boys. It is a great way to have zero waste from your projects!

6. Make a ticker tape quilt. This is an adorable, quilt-as-you-go type quilt created by Amanda Jean from crazy mom quilts. It's a perfect project for tiny scraps. I still haven't made a proper ticker tape quilt but I hope to soon! Maybe a potholder or doll quilt to start.

That's it for me--I hope you'll try something new with your scraps in the next few weeks! I'd love to read your creative ideas for fabric scraps in the comments.

Thanks so much, Madame Samm, for inviting me to contribute to Stash Manicure! I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Quilting, Diet and Exercise...OH MY!

Hi! I'm Nan and I'm thrilled to be the Guest Blogger du jour!! I write a little blog called Pots and Pins where I share my love of cooking and quilting, combined with stories about my life with a caveman. I wouldn't say I was a gourmet chef, but I do know my way around the kitchen, and I'm definitely NOT a short-order cook...I don't want my family to think they can waltz in the door and request chocolate souffle with a side of grits any time they want! After 30-some years of quilting I'm still a 30-foot quilter...which means my quilts look fabulous from 30 feet away! Up close, well, let's just say that precision and perfection are two words I've never understood.

Now, unless you are extremely talented, and if you are I want to meet you, there is absolutely NO WAY you can quilt and eat at the same time, therefore, I am here to tell you that IF you quilt more, you will eat less and lose weight. Can I get an amen?!

We all know that dieting combined with exercise is how to really lose weight...and even though quilting is not an Olympic sport - yet - it is MY favorite and only form of exercise. I am NOT the most physically fit person on the planet, I can't run marathons, you'll never catch me doing yoga and I’m certain I’m allergic to my own sweat - but my fingers are as fit as Cindy Crawfords’s and I try to sew, I mean “workout” every day!

To keep me out of traction, off the shrink’s couch, and from being a member of AA, I subscribe to the following on a daily basis and you should, too!

1. Sit higher than your machine so your shoulders are not can spot a quilter with a low chair a mile away, she's got hunched shoulders and she smells of Ben-Gay. Sit high, shoulders down and yourself some chiropractor bills!

2. Don't grasp your rotary cutter too tightly...apparently grasping is bad, very bad...use a gently touch to avoid quilting carpel tunnel's true! I read that somewhere! Besides, if you're trying to cut through 12 layers of fabric (which is my limit) then you're grasping/pushing/exerting WAAAAAY too much! Cutting less=cutting smart.

3. If you take your machine and all of your sewing paraphernalia to a quilting class, and you don't have it all on wheels, get your husband to carry it for you! Seriously, what else are they good for?!? Not even a Bernina 9000 is worth a ruptured disk! Is there such a thing as a Bernina 9000? If so, in my next life I shall own one!

4. If you have a cutting table, make sure it is high enough so you are not bending over to cut. You can purchase "lifts" to raise it up...stay with me, I'm not talking about breasts here although I know you can "lift" them, too! Raising your cutting table to a comfortable height will prevent sore necks and backs so you'll feel good enough to live to quilt another day!

5. I sew by the 20-minute rule. My own creation. I will sit at my machine and sew continuously for 20 minutes and then will force myself to get up and move around. And sometimes I only have 20 minutes a day to sew - it's amazing what you can get done in 20 minutes and the only thing you won't get is sore!

6. If you don't have a design wall, get one. Use the back of a door, throw a piece of batting over the front of a bookcase - just get up off the floor! I've done my share of designing on the floor (usually praying for inspiration!) on my knees, hunched over. It's not a pretty sight, especially when I try to get up! Woman was not meant to be on her knees...feel free to quote me on that!

So you see, quilting involves standing, sitting, lifting – don’t tell me that’s not exercise! Listen, here's the bottom line, I took up quilting so I wouldn't have to play tennis, golf, frisbee or do water aerobics. I've spent years mastering my hand-quilting technique just so I wouldn't have to jog, trot or learn the luge. I know I should exercise and in my next life I shall…in the meantime, IF you ever see me on a treadmill you’ll know I’ve learned to walk AND stipple at the same time!

I've droned on long’s been great fun to be here! Stash Manicure is my daily treat! But now, I’ve got 20 minutes and fabric screaming at me to be sewn, unsewn, then resewn...story of my sewing life! Come visit me at Pots and Pins and help me celebrate my THREE year Blog-a-versary!! I'm giving away a TURKEY APRON, matching hot pads and a few more MUST-HAVE T-Day things!! And I'll let you in on a little secret...if you win the apron and you wear it on Thanksgiving day with NOTHING underneath( maybe your undies) no one will notice if the turkey is undercooked or if the stuffing is dry!

xoxoxox, Nan
p.s thanks to Madame Samm and all who leave me comments...I will think of baking you something!~


Sunday, November 7, 2010

It is that time again...

I get an extra hour today....
I think I will SEW....
and YOU?