Friday, May 25, 2012

Congratulations to Our Winners!

We have our two winners of the Sew-ichigo paper piecing patterns! 

Using's number generator, here were our results:

#28 was Rebeckah Austin and #50 is Quilt Happy!

I'll be contacting both of you to get your email addresses so Penny can send you your free copy of the pattern!

For those of you who would love a copy of this pattern, go to the Sew-ichigo shop!  The pattern is only $8.00 and you get the tea pot, coffe pot, mixer and label patterns!  Plus, it's a download so no shipping charges!  Thank you SO much for participating in our giveaway!  We had so much fun reading all of your comments!  And congrats to Tanesha, our $25.00 gift certificate winner on Sew Take A Hike!  Your gift certificate has been emailed to you!

Have a fabulous weekend!  We are busy working on our Tula Pink Nightshade display for Abilene.  Can't wait to show you some pictures!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Franny's Housecoat

Franny is finally clothed!  I was sewing until midnight last night.  It seems my teaching/pattern writing/show schedule has taken over!  The only sewing time I have is late at night now.  Then when I'm done sewing, I MIGHT clean the house.  (We're going to be condemned soon, I really need to clean.)

So Franny is dressed up in her housecoat now.  What a fabulous tutorial!  It was originally written for the big KitchenAid, the Pro.  I have the little one, Artisan, so I took my tape measure and just kind of eyed it to see what changes I needed to make to the tutorial measurements.  I decided not to change it much, just a couple inches all the way around.  Turns out, I could've brought the measurements down a little more but I'm so completely happy with it.  The tutorial is also written to insert the small KitchenAid Mixer block and remember I increased the size of mine to 12" finished.  So I just needed to do a little math to account for the larger block.

Of course, the block is done in Amy Butler's Gypsy Caravan.  I am slowly redecorating the kitchen in this line!  The solid I used is Amy Butler's Quilting Solid in Banana.  I was hoping for better light but I'm teaching at the quilt shop this morning and need to get myself ready!  It almost looks fluorescent in these pictures but I assure you, it's kind of a soft yellowy lime-greeny color.  (Yes those are all words in my vocabulary.)

This is Franny!  We made Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownies last night.  Yuuuummy!

Here's the tutorial on Sew-Ichigo and Sew Take A Hike:

See how the sample above hangs a little above the counter?  Mine doesn't do that but that's okay.  I still love it.  It's lined too!  Now, I did make the label but I left it blank for now.  I'm going to put "Franny" there but I want to find some cool "vintage-y" stamps to do her name.  I have an ink pad for fabric, kind of an antique sienna brown color, that will be perfect. 

I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading all of your comments in our giveaway post!  You all inspire me!  The fearlessness!  The creativity!  This is why I love doing this blog!  You all keep me going!  Good luck in the giveaway!  Remember, we have TWO patterns up for grabs!  And go over to the Sew Take A Hike blog to enter to win a gift certificate from us!

I'll see you soon!  We have a really cool project we are working on!  I'll give you a clue,
Mod Podge!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Paper Piecing AND a Giveaway?! RAD!

The other day, I was watching an entertainment type interview show.  You know, where celebrities get interviewed to push their latest movies and all on the masses.  I think it was one of the girls in What to Expect When You're Expecting and she was saying that Jen Aniston was her "Girl Crush".  She made a disclaimer stating that she loves her husband very much but that she had a "crush" on Ms. Aniston.  For obvious reasons; she's gorgeous, successful, stylish, just plain cool.  I'm certain we'd be besties if we ever met!  It got me thinking who MY biggest girl crush was.  And when I made my mental list, it made me giggle.  Apparently, my list of "must haves" differs widely than your average list of "crush" necessities.  No, my girl crush isn't on the big screen, on the cover of fashion magazines or singing on a stage to a-gazillion adoring fans.  Nope, my girl crush designs paper-piecing patterns!  Yes, you heard right, the most amazing paper-piecing patterns.

So I guess you could say my crushes are on people who inspire me!  People who are just so darned talented that they will BLOW YOUR MIND!  I have a long list of crushes but today I am going to introduce you to two women who are tops on my list! 

First, meet Penny Layman!  Lindsey actually found Penny when she was strolling through the blogo-sphere one day.  She sent me a link to her site and I was instantly excited!  I LOVE to paper piece and this is Penny's specialty!  Now, I try to have my finger on the pulse of this industry but sometimes I find myself a little behind.  I very rarely have the opportunity to look up from my Pfaff.  Penny is a celebrity in her own right!  Just check out her Press Page on her website!  And I am seriously contemplating NOT vending at the inaugural Quilt Con (Modern Quilt Guild Convention in Austin, February 2013) just so I can listen and learn from the genius herself!  YES!  She's a featured lecturer among the likes of Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Denyse Schmidt! 

Here is your Penny hook-up:

Sew Take A Hike on Facebook

Sew Take A Hike Blog

Sew Take A Hike on Etsy

Sew Take A Hike on Pinterest (love!)

You're welcome!

So what's better than one paper piecing genius?  How about TWO!?  Kerry of verykerryberry is a designer and popular quilt blogger out of the UK.  Penny and Kerry met while part of an online quilting bee called Ringo Pie.  Both having a love for paper piecing, they put their heads together over "the pond" and came up with Sew-Ichigo!  And thank goodness this little collaboration happened,

or I would have never discovered this:
Check out the AWESOME Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer block!  I have been obsessed with owning one of these appliances for years.  Hey, we're a Navy family and on a budget, and it always felt like such a frivolous purchase.  I have a perfectly functioning arm, I can whisk and stir on my own and put that potential "mixer money" away.  Well, my fabulous husband decided that I needed one for Christmas and while I was tempted to take it back to the store.....I realized, I loved it...a little more than a person should love a kitchen appliance.  So Franny and I have done some serious damage in the kitchen (and subsequently on the scale)!  I immediately bought a copy of the "Kitchen Classics" from the Sew-Ichigo shop and got to work!  I increased the size of the block and made it 12" square, used Amy Butler's Gypsy Caravan and here is what I came up with:

You wanna know what makes these ladies even cooler??  They are giving us TWO Kitchen Classics downloads to giveaway to a couple very lucky readers!!  Just answer this question in the comments below:

Have you ever paper pieced?  What was your experience? 
Did you love, not so love?  SHARE!
We'll give away the patterns on Friday, May 25 at 6:00 PM CST.  If you leave an "Anonymous" comment, make sure we have your email address!

This block was SO much fun!  If you've never attempted paper piecing, try it!  These instructions were great and they offer a Tips and Tutorials page to help you out.  Check out the Patterns and Tutorials page at Sew Take A Hike as well.  FUN stuff!  I am going to end it here.  I'm probably pretty close to having a couple restraining orders slapped on me by these two ladies!  I swear I'm not weird, just completely passionate about these patterns!  Wednesday, I'll be working on the Mixer Cover for Franny, a free tutorial at Sew Take A Hike!  (Yes, I named my mixer...okay, so I might be a little weird.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ugly Stool Update

Yes, we have finally come to a meeting of the minds and I must say, I truly adore my business partner.  Not just because he happens to be the father of my child and husband but because this man would happily sit on a hot pink stool for three days if he thought it made me happy.  I am a lucky girl...the luckiest.  I don't always show him how grateful I am.  Sometimes I can be an absolute bear to live with but how many girls can say that their husbands follow them around the country, planning and executing amazingly beautiful fabric booths, driving for hours on end dragging a loaded trailer, sweating his behind off doing ALL the heavy lifting and helping me with customers 8 hours a day for 3 days straight all with a genuine smile on his face? (And yes, even demo-ing the Strip Tube Ruler!) 

So, the ultimate decision was left up to me.  He was perfectly happy with whatever I wanted to do.  At first, I messed with him a bit...because it's so much fun...and told him I was covering the seat in the most floral-y, hot-pink and turquoise fabric I could lay my hands on.  I told him I was spray painting the stool hot pink and I was going to spray an overlay of glitter and hang pom pom trim around the seat.  Even he didn't believe I was being straight with him so he just said, "That's fine, whatever you want to do."  No fun! 

To be honest, I really did want to spray paint the metal but it has rained here everyday for two weeks (Thank goodness!  We needed it!) and the air is saturated.  I'm worried that the paint wouldn't dry right with all the moisture so I'm keeping it black....for now.  I found a scrap of Treasure Box from Amy Butler's Lark Home Decor line.  We sold out of this fabric in Dallas but I went digging through my project scraps and I found a piece I think will work perfectly.  It has a beautiful geometric print on it with a charcoal color so it will work great with the black stool but it is very frilly in the print with green, pink and turquoise.  A perfect meeting in the middle!  Plus, I have a gum drop pillow that matches so this stool might actually become a permanent fixture in my studio!  I laid the seat down on to the wrong side of the fabric and trimmed around with my rotary cutter leaving plenty of fabric to pull around and staple with a gun.

Look, he even did the stapling for me because the gun scared me to death!  I'm such a girl.  (We had to make sure the staples were the right length.  The board in the seat was very thin and you certainly don't want to sit down on long staples poking through the board!)  Once the fabric was tightly affixed to the seat, he trimmed out all the excess and installed it back onto the frame.

So, while the metal parts are still a little banged up and I will eventually take it apart again to spray paint, I think it looks amazing.  So much better than the ugly black vinyl.  And I feel even more blessed than I did before this project.  I realize that I am married to a man who would gladly sit on a "girl-ified" chair for three days if it made me happy. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meet Debi!

Good Morning!

While vending at the Dallas Quilt Show, I had the great pleasure of meeting Debi, a fellow quilting enthusiast who loves to share her creative process through her blog, Quilting With Debi.  I've had so much fun the past few weeks keeping up with what she's been working on and checking out some adorable grandkid pics too!  Who doesn't love a chubby-cheeked baby!? 

We've sponsored a cool giveaway over on her blog!  She's even giving you MULTIPLE ways to enter!  Head over to her blog,, to read about how to enter and you could win this:

A Gypsy Caravan Stash by Amy Butler Fat Quarter Set (12 Fat Quarters total)
and a pattern card by Villa Rosa Designs! 

All you'll need is a little bit of solid and you are on your way to a gorgeous quilt top!  Oh, and we are offering a special discount code for her readers too!  Head over there for your code!  (Discount code is not valid on sale merchandise, monthly clubs or gift know...the typical stuff!) 

I hope everyone had a fabulous Mother's Day!  I know I did!  Just to let you know what's happening in the studio this week, we are working on some children's clothing that utilizes elastic thread for shirring!  Exciting stuff!  We'll be doing a video tutorial on this so if you've ever been too afraid to sew with elastic thread, WATCH the video!  It's easy!  We are using Pink Fig patterns and the designer, Chelsea Andersen, likes to use this elastic thread a lot and for good reason!  It's just super cool!  We are also hoping to get this ugly stool thing straightened out!  A "discussion" took place over the weekend.  I am hoping to have an update for you by Wednesday....we still have not come to a meeting of the minds.  Thursday, I am teaching my first class at The Scrappy Quilter here in Schertz!  This is a new shop that has opened up and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be teaching again!  New fabric is coming this week, we are getting ready for the Abilene Quilt much going on! 

Have a WONDERFUL week! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saving the World, One Tiny Strip at a Time!

My family thinks I'm a hoarder.  I don't mean to make light of the disorder that is "hoarding", I realize it is a very serious disease that can ruin lives.  I don't have a house piled to the ceiling with items of no value but I DO have storage bin upon storage bin of fabric.  A lot of it is nice size pieces that will most certainly have their place in the perfect project someday but about half of them are filled with these:

What is this, you ask?  Well, they are very tiny strips of fabric left over from our Accuquilt Cutting Studio.  We cut our own 2.5" strips and 5" squares from the lines of fabric we receive and this is what is leftover from those runs.  Very thin strips of fabric that run the entire 44" width of fabric.  Even though the logical person would look at this and see no value in it, I am CERTAIN they have value and could be turned into something beautiful rather than another bag in a landfill somewhere. 

(The picture above are the remnants from our Gypsy Caravan and Freshcut runs.)

So, with really no extra time to speak of to come up with my brilliant idea of how to put these seemingly worthless scraps to good use, they accumulate.  We've had this machine for nearly 5 years.  That's a lot of scrap!  And I wonder if maybe my husband, in his attempt to straighten the studio up (my perpetual state of chaos) has either inadvertantly...or maybe not so inadvertantly....tossed bags of these without my knowing.  If I ever find out he's done's the dog house for him!  (You've been warned, Chief!) 

I decided it was high time to start experimenting and see what I could come up with.  Have you ever had an idea but were too afraid to try it?  Worried that it might not work out?  Well, I am here to tell you, DON'T BE AFRAID!  I do this all the time.  And to be honest, I fail a lot!  I very rarely have a plan and I just let the organic process of creating happen.  And the process is so much fun!  And how awesome when one of your ideas actually works out into a gorgeous creation that you will forever be proud of!  Follow me during my process!

I went with my first inclination of foundation piecing the strips to a piece of muslin in the traditional "String Quilt" method.  Except, in a traditional String Quilt, you are usually dealing with pieces that are wider than the 1/2" to 3/4" which is what I'm working with.  I know what you're thinking, "How in the world are you getting any fabric to show in a 1/2" piece of fabric?"  Well, I am using a very scant 1/8" seam allowance.  Which means I need A LOT of strips to complete my block!

I start with a 12" square of muslin.

I wanted my blocks to complete a diamond so I started piecing on the bias...I knew I was going to have issues doing this but I wanted to TRY!  Just to see what happened! 

Sew two strips, right sides together onto your muslin foundation and press them open.

Place another strip down on top of the right hand strip and match raw edges.  Notice no pins.  I hate them. 

Sewing a scant 1/8" seam allowance.

Pressing seam open.  You can see here the fabric already starting to pucker.  Against my better judgement, I just kept going!!  So I throw it out if it becomes a huge bubble.  You never know if you don't TRY!  I kept laying strips down on top of the next, alternating sides.

So here it is! The entire 12" muslin square covered with teeny tiny strips!  And NO amount of starch was going to make this baby lay flat!

Flipping it over you can see what I mean about the bubbles!  It was one ripply piece of fabric!

I trimmed it down getting rid of all the straggly strips.

Then I decided to quarter it and see if I might be able to get rid of the ripple by sectioning it down to smaller squares.

It worked!  Love it when it works out!  I trimmed each piece down to 5.5".

And here is what my finished square will look like.....but no, I wasn't happy with that.

So I took each 5.5" square and quartered IT into 2.75" squares.

And here is what I ended up with in all it's tiny strippy scrappy glory!  I think I like!  Three more of these and I'll have myself a mini quilt to hang over my sink in the kitchen which is slowly being redecorated with Gypsy Caravan!

So tell me!  What kind of project would YOU attempt with these itty bitty things?  Would you be tempted to save them and make them into a fun project?  I think this is a fun way of repurposing something that most people would just throw away!  I'm saving the world!  Well, okay, maybe I'm giving myself too much credit but I am proud that I'm finding uses for these scraps!  Give me more ideas!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Beach BAG Bingo!

**For those of you waiting on an update about the manly vs. girly stool.  I am a total chicken and haven't admitted to the man that I tore his totally grotesque stool apart yet.  I intend on gaining the courage necessary this weekend.  I am hoping he won't have a problem with my spray painting it hot pink and covering it in a turquoise and pink floral print.  What?  He naps under an Amy Butler Love flannel quilt (with his boy dog) so he shouldn't take issue with sitting on a hot pink stool...right?  Okay, I should probably keep my mouth shut now.**

It's getting hot out there and with the end of school fast approaching, it will be Summer before you know it.  Days filled with beach, pool or if you're a South Texan, floating down the Guadalupe River!  (I've never actually done it.  I'm a wimp!)  And if your family is anything like mine, you are probably the designated pack mule.  Towels, flip flops, water bottles and snacks are all my responsibility and they must all fit in one enormous bag....that I have to carry.  May as well make it pretty!  Here are some ideas for the perfect travel bag showcasing some of your favorite fabric! 

Birdie Sling

My standard go to if it's just me and my daughter, is my trusty Birdie Sling.  First, I have about 10 of joke.  It's my favorite pattern.  I have them in every color of the rainbow!  I love it!  The strap is comfy and long enough to hang nicely on my shoulder.  The pattern is so easy and I've made so many of them that I can whip one out in no time flat!  One drawback you may experience is the narrow opening.  It contours up but I kind of like it.  It's not easily accessed by anyone if it's hanging on you.  What can I say, I'm paranoid.  The size won't allow me to carry more than a couple towels, a couple bottles of water and my personal stuff so it's good if it's just us two!
Need a larger option?

Above photos courtesy of Amy Butler Design

This is Amy's Spice Market Tote and it is ENORMOUS!  I made the large size to hang in our booth.  I could so easily fit enough beach going supplies for the whole family in this stunner!  The only difference between the large and small sizes is the height.  The smaller size is shorter but would still be perfect if you weren't carrying a lot of high profile items that may fall out.  My suggestion on this one is use Home Decor weight fabric!  If you'll be toting it a lot, you'll appreciate the heavier weight as it holds up much better than your average quilting weight.  And pre-wash your fabric and interfacing before putting it together so you can just toss in the washer and dryer if need be!  Not gonna lie, pre-washing interfacing is a pain in the patookie but I have had projects that were ruined after laundering because the interfacing wasn't pre-washed.  Not happy!   

Above photo courtesy of ME!

This one I'm kind of proud of!  It happens to be MY pattern!  I've developed the Summer Tote Bag as part of my bag making class.  It incorporates basic piecing, quilting and bag construction skills so you can go home and create your own original bag!  It's a good size and I made MY straps a little longer so I could swing it across my chest for more comfort. You can make your straps whatever length you want.  In fact, I'm scheduled to teach this class at The Scrappy Quilter in Schertz, TX this month!  My May 17th class is full but there are a few spots left for my Saturday May 26th class.  If you're near Schertz or the San Antonio area and you are interested, go visit The Scrappy Quilter and sign up!  We're going to have some fun!

There are so many other bag patterns that are perfect for Summer!  Visit our pattern page at A Joyful Soul Fabrics to take a look at what we have!  You may just find your next project!  And if you'd like us to kit something up for you, let us know via the Contact Us link on our website!  We provide extra personal service!  We'll cut exactly what you need for your project!  Have a wonderful weekend!  (I'll be spray painting a stool!  Hopefully HOT PINK!!) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Booth Blemish

I am always so proud of our booth.  It never fails, every show we vend at, we get such nice compliments.  Like,  "You're my favorite booth!" or "Oh my goodness, everything is so bright and beautiful!"  and my favorite...the person who walks up to the booth with her eyes wide open and jaw on the words necessary.  We work hard to make sure our booth is beautiful and inviting.  It wasn't until recently that I recognized a major blemish among the pretties.  THIS:

Isn't it AWFUL!?

It's a cheap stool, I know, but I can't believe I've allowed it in my booth for so long.  It never occured to me how horrible it was.  So I asked my husband if he thought I could take it apart and at least recover the seat since there is a hole in it now.  He said no.  Oh, he should have known better than that.  I took that as a challenge.  So, after he went to work, I went rummaging through this big red thing he has out in the garage to find the thingy that takes the pointy things out of stuff that holds things together.  You know?  After all, I didn't want to ruin ANOTHER butter knife!  (Okay, I'm being a little sarcastic here.  I know what a screwdriver and screws are but I HAVE taken screws out with a butter knife before...not proud.)

See?  I can do it! 

I tore that awful plastic stuff off and the padding underneath is in great shape!  Now to choose what fabric to use!  I went digging through my stash!  One of my favorite things to do!

Some vintage Amy and some Sandy Hendersen that I've been holding onto for years! 

Now that I'm looking at this, I know WHY he said no.  He didn't think that I couldn't accomplish it...this stool is his perch at shows.  He runs the register and this is his seat....uh-oh. 

Well, I AM NOT covering it in Navy fabric and painting it red, white and blue.  I mean, I'm patriotic and a good military spouse but I draw the line. 

Okay, which is the least girly!??  helllp...

(I think I might be in trouble here.  I may be buying him a new cheap black stool.)

Update to soon as I figure out how the man feels about perching on a pink, purple, or tangerine seat.  (Man, I hate it when smug turns into "oops".)