Friday, September 30, 2011

Joyfully Simple

(Sorry for the word play.  When your name is Joy, it kind of comes naturally!) 

At our last two shows, I had a new kit called Joyful Jewels.  I was so inspired by Jennifer Paganelli's line Honey Child, that I HAD to design my own pattern.  The colors and prints in this beauty reminded me of sparkling jewels.  (I'm a huge fan of jewels!  Ask my hubby!)  Everyone just LOVED it!  I sold quite a few but since the shows, I've had about 15 emails asking about the difficulty level.  They saw it, loved it and can't stop thinking about it.  A lot of my customers are new to the world of sewing and quilting so I can totally understand the anxiety in looking at a project and thinking it is beyond your skill level.  While Joyful Jewels wouldn't be the perfect "first time quilt" project, if you have basic quilting and rotary cutting skills, I will show you just how easy it is!




First off, this is a fat quarter quilt.  You'll receive one fat quarter of each print in Honey Child as well as Bleached White Bella Solid for your sashing and all of the fabric for your centerpoints and borders plus binding.  You just need a batting and backing.  ALSO included in the kit is the Strip Tube Ruler by Cozy Quilt. This is a special ruler that will allow you to make the coolest most sparkl-y-est blocks EVER!  (yes, it's a word).

To make the blocks, you are separating your fat quarters into jewel colorways.  You see my Sapphire (blues), Amethyst (purples) and so on, you get the idea!  After you've seperated for four jewels, you'll actually have 6 fat quarters left.  That is my Australian Opal, my favorite!


You'll be cutting your fat quarters into 2" and 1.5" strips.  Piece 1 2" strip to a 1.5" strip and then put another 2" strip on the other side.  You need two of these sets to make one block.


If you've never "tube" pieced, this is the cool part!  Put your strip sets right sides together and sew down BOTH long sides to form a 22" tube.


Your finished block size is 10" but it's made up of four 5 1/2" units.  You'll use your ruler and line up your thread line from your seam on the 5 1/2" line on your ruler and cut down both sides.


Now flip the ruler to the other side and line your ruler up with the seam line under the 5 1/2" line.  (I know this pic is wonky, just noticed that!  Make sure your ruler is straight!) Flip again and flip again!



So here's what you get from your cuts.


Here are your squares from one tube arranged to form your opal. 


Do you see how simple this is?  And you can do SO much more with this ruler.  The ruler comes with instructions on how to do your half-square triangles as well as a really cute block called "Daniela" that is PERFECT for your jelly rolls (2.5" strips)!!

Oh, we are placing this kit, as well as ALL the Honey Child line on sale 20% off for a limited time!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coffee Cozies Anyone?

Yet another CRAZY quick project for you!  I drink massive amounts of coffee.  I love it, I've tried to quit it, but it just ain't gonna happen.  Coffee is my BFF.  So imagine my giddiness when I came across this pattern by Erin Harris of House on Hill Road.  Here is a link to her coffee cozy .pdf pattern:


I found this pattern a couple years ago while trolling the web for cute projects.  At the time, I had two very good friends who were as addicted to Starbucks as I was so I made this for them as a Christmas gift.  They both loved it!  I LOVE giving handmade!!

I am going to make these for the people who work with my husband.  Of course, I'll have to find some Air Force and Army fabric.  My closet is already full of Navy fabric so my Navy peeps are taken care of!  We'll make each instructor a cozy and put a Starbucks Gift Card in there as well.  Here are some pic's from my "tester".  Yep, it's MINE!!  (I know, I'm pathetic!)



I dug through my scrap bin to find my fabrics.



The instructions say to use a cotton batting or an insulated batting which I happen to have plenty of from my I-Think-I'll-Make-My-Own-Pot-Holder episode.  (Never did.)

This part I thought was ingenious!  Erin has you use a hair elastic for your button loop.  I've seen other patterns for cozies like this that just use elastic.  How BORING!  This way, I can color coordinate!

Sewing all the way around, leaving a 2-3 inch opening to turn on the bottom.


Trim out the seams to a scant 1/4".


Push out your corners VERY CAREFULLY.


Top stitch all the way around to close up your opening.


Attach your button!

How awesome is that?!  Go to Erin's blog and check it out.  Gorgeous photography!  Puts my pic's to shame but hey, you get the picture!  I also LOVE Erin's copyright statement on her pattern!  "For personal use only.  Please don't sell anything made from this pattern.  It's bad karma."  AMEN to that! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Staying on Subject!

I'm so proud of myself!  In keeping with the thought of the week, I am Holiday Sewing today!

I'll go through this kind of quickly seeing as how I have a child, two dogs and a husband to get to bed so I can go catch up on my Vampire Diaries episodes!

Sewing for:                                        TEACHERS!!

My daughter is in the 6th grade and has 7 teachers!  They say they are preparing them for Junior High but I don't think I had 7 teachers in high school!  Lucky for me, all seven teachers are women!  Yeah!!  Last year, I made some cute little key cuffs and tissue holders for the two female teachers she had.  They were well received!  I think handmade gifts are so appreciated by teachers!  Better than chocolate or cookies!  (For TEACHERS, not me! I prefer chocolate and cookies!)

I was playing in my "sewing lab" this afternoon.  I had a customer in my booth, once upon a time, who mentioned this really cool idea for a purse closure.  Wish I could tell you I was smart enough to come up with this but I'm not!  I wish I knew the persons name who brought this to my attention so I could give her credit. Measuring Tape!  The metal kind!  You know when you're measuring something with a metal measuring tape and snaps and goes flying through the air and almost hits you in the eye?  No?  Must just be me.  Anyway, went to the Dollar Store and found one for a buck!


Fabrics used:



Bliss Bouquet Teal                                                            Sun Spots Olive





I cut it to 8 inches and rounded the ends.  Next time I will also put a layer of duct or painters tape around the cut edges.  It slices right through fabric, fingers and I'm sure a metal can.  I used an old pair of kitchen shears that will NEVER be the same!


One cut for each side of the purse.


 I cut a pattern piece that was 8.5" across the top and 10.5" across the bottom and I used my ruler and rotary cutter to make a cut from corner to corner, tapered.  I cut 2 exterior and 2 lining pieces.  I also attached pieces of Thermolam Plus to both exterior fabric pieces.  Thermolam is single sided fusible fleece that is my favorite interfacing ever!


I then sewed the top of the lining to the top of the exterior on both sides and placed them right sides together, pinned at each seam to line them up and make sure they were matched.


I sewed 1/2" seam allowance all the way around leaving a 4" opening in the bottom of the lining.


Trim the corners of your exterior.  That's a lot of bulk!


4" opening across lining.


Okay, now I sewed a topstitch all the way around the top of the bag about an 1/8" from the edge.  Then I worked the two tape measure lengths, with the curve facing the exterior on both sides in between the exterior and lining.  I actually ended up having to trim the tape measure a little to fit into the top of the bag.  Once you've worked it all the way up to the top, pin all the way around the bottom of the tape measure piece so you can sew all the way around to close it up.


You can see how the tape measure "pops" open and stays open.


Snapped shut!


The finished project.  No, you probably can't keep pennies in there without them falling out but I wanted to make a cute little bag that would hold a lip balm, a cell phone, personal items...something they can either toss in their purse or maybe keep in their desk.  We'll put a lip balm, small lotion and a tide pen in each one for our teachers!  Since this was my "tester"....yep, you guessed right, I'm keeping it!  Gosh, I'm doing a lot of sewing but not a whole lot of "list scratching"!  Anyway, I really do want to play with the construction of it.  I want to use the lining fabric as a trim across the top but when I tried it, the metal sliced through the fabric.  That's why I need to probably tape the ends so it won't do that.

I'm really happy with the outcome!  I placed my sunglasses in there and it was a perfect fit!  My daughter put her DS in there, perfect fit!  So many uses and it was a QUICK project!  

This was the fastest blog post I've ever done so if anything wasn't clear or you have questions, comment here and I'll get back to you right away!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Holiday Sewing on the Mind

My calender says it's the first day of Fall today.  This is truly my FAVORITE time of year!  Snuggly sweaters, pumpkins, falling leaves and cool crisp autumn afternoons.  So would it be too much to ask Mother Nature to fall in line and give this to me?  PLEASE!?  I am so tired of the 100 degree plus days.  Okay, so it's cooled a bit, only in the 90's.  I am not letting this wacky weather detour me from my holiday sewing to-do list!  I love making handmade gifts but yes, they are time-consuming so the list of recipients ends up being much smaller than what I started with.  I am Queen of Procrastination.  I have a plan to maximize my sewing time this year.  #1 Start Early (yes, this is early for me!) #2 Stick to smaller projects. (sorry, sis, no queen size quilt this year!) #3 Pre-cuts Pre-cuts Pre-cuts!  (what's better than a yummy jelly roll and charm pack?)

I found an awesome pattern called French Bread.  I've been obsessed with the French Braid quilts for some time.  I've even bought several books on the technique but honestly, I thought it would be too difficult and that I wouldn't have the time to learn.  Well, this pattern utilizes the french braid technique and it's super easy!  The pattern is for a table runner.  I am making Christmas gifts for my grandmothers and they both would love this little shot of color in their houses.  The pattern will give you a small runner, roughly 12" x 28".  Plenty big enough to lay across a small kitchen table. 

The pattern calls for 2.5" strips so I grabbed one of my favorite Jelly Rolls off the shelf.  Summer House by Lily Ashbury is a bright and beautiful line of fabric that I have been obsessed with for a few weeks now!  I know my Gran's will love it!


I picked out 9 of the 40 strips and trimmed off the selvege edge.


I then cut them into 2 1/2" x 7 1/2" rectangles.


The directions had awesome diagrams on how to piece your rectangles together but here are some pic's of how it's done!


Piece 1 to Piece 2.


Piece 3....see?  Isn't it so easy!?  I don't know what I was so worried about!


And you just keep going and going for as long as you want!  I figured I could piece a row long enough that I could just cut it in half and have  two pieces I could make into two different runners.



Once your piece is as long as you want it, trim off all sides to square it up.  The pattern has you trimming it to 8" x 24".  That's what I did seeing as how I was going to do two.  (gosh, these colors are so pretty, they would look awesome with my vintage Pyrex... get back to sewing.)  Now, you only need a 1/4 yard to cut 2.5" strips for a border.  Or you can use strips from the roll to make a scrappy border.  Then just 1/4 yard for binding but I'm using strips from the jelly roll, I only used 9 and that roll has 40!   (this would look SO good in my kitchen!)

Okay, I'm kind of ashamed of myself now.  What started out as TWO Christmas gifts has now turned into one table top quilt that will go in my kitchen.


What?  I whipped this thing out in like 30 minutes!  I have 30 strips left!  I'll still make them one too!  This was my tester!  (I always say that.) 

If you go the shop and purchase a jelly roll, I'll make sure a copy of this pattern gets in your package!  If you'd like me to help pick out borders and binding, just email me at shop@ajoyfulsoulfabrics.com.  I'll be happy to help pick out some coordinating fabrics.  Remember, if you just want to make the runner, you only need 9 strips which means with one 40 piece jelly roll and 2 yards of fabric for borders and binding, you can make 4 runners!  That is if you don't get all selfish like me and keep them for yourself!  The pattern also gives you ideas on how to make this into a quilt!

In Anticipation of Fall!!

First off...HI!!  How ya been?  I know, it's been a while, but we've been traveling, sewing, traveling more and just trying to keep up with things around here!  I have so much to tell you all!  But if I put it all in one post, you'll be reading for two days so I'll keep it short and sweet.

The studio has been abuzz talking of cold fronts, rain and the prospect of cooler weather.  Now, it's still in the 90's mind you.  Not cool to this San Diego girl but it sure beats the nearly 60 days of three digit temps we've been enduring in South Texas.  It's not even the heat that bothers me so much, it's the lack of precipitation.  You remember, that wet stuff that falls from the sky on occasion.  I think they refer to it as....RAIN?  Well, we've seen very little of it around here and my backyard is starting to look like Death Valley.  Cracks and everything.  We had a much welcome storm blow through a couple nights ago and the weather people are positively giddy about our "Fall-like" weather.  Yes, apparently here in South Texas mid to upper 90's is "Fall-like".  (Note to self: When the Navy is through with us, rethink this retiring in South Texas thing.)

So, along with the welcoming of Fall and the hope for appropriate weather, we've added quite a few new things to the shop and are anticipating more daily!  Have you seen our new quilt kits?




We've had wonderful feedback on the kits that have been added to our shop.  Joyful Jewels is a pattern that I developed using the Strip Tube technique.  A super easy ruler tool that allows you to piece what looks like extremely difficult blocks very easily!  My inspiration was Jennifer Paganelli's line, Honey Child.  I wanted this quilt to look like sparkling jewels!  The Sophie's Garden is actually a take on a tutorial that has been traveling the web.  I made a couple changes to the fabric placement so it looks like little butterflies flitting through the garden.  So vintage and pretty, I'm not sure why, but it takes me back to my Strawberry Shortcake days!  Love it!  And lastly, the rag quilt.  Y'all know I'm a sucker for a good rag quilt!  Super easy, fast and if you use the right flannel (HIGH QUALITY!), the softest most snuggly cuddly thing you've ever created!  (Did I mention easy?)  If any of these interest you, just click the title under each picture and it will take you right to the kit in our shop.  And as always, if you have any questions, post them here!

Along with the prospect of Fall comes holiday sewing season!  I don't know about you but I love to give handmade holiday gifts.  We are on the lookout for quick and easy gifts you can feel good giving to just about anyone in your life.  From your closest family members to your hair stylist, everyone enjoys a handmade item!  Subscribe to our blog today to make sure you don't miss out on these ideas!  We'll be scouring the web for you to bring you the greatest ideas!  Tomorrow, we'll show you a cool table runner idea!  Here's a sneak peek!


Yes, friends!  That is a "Basket O' Jelly Roll Strips"!  Jelly Roll project tomorrow!  Don't miss it!

OH, we're having an awesome giveaway too!!  You need to be a blog follower to be eligible though!  So hit "follow" today!  This is the biggest prize we've ever given away!  Tell your friends too!  We will giveaway a pattern book with yards and yards of fabric!  It's gonna be awesome!  Til tomorrow!