Friday, September 11, 2015

Jaftex 85th Anniversary Blog Hop day 11.

 Hello and welcome to my blog!!

If you're new here, my name is Penny and I call my blog (formerly Sew Simple Designs) GHMN Quilts, named after my four children (Gillian, Matthew, Hannah, and Naomi).

I have been sewing and quilting for a few years but first learned when I was 12 in the seventh grade. I have written tutorials and even a few patterns... You can find me around the internet by using the links in the right sidebar :)

From Jaftex I received two bundles of Peppered Cottons fabric by Studioe to create a project. They also sent me a second set of bundles to giveaway to one of you!!

First my project, a table topper I call "Peppered Cotton Leaves". I love the way it came out. I would share with you the name of the pattern and the book it came from, but that'll have to wait for another day as we are moving right now and the book is packed away.

I added hanging pockets to all four corners so this can also be used as a wall hanging and hung in any direction.

I really enjoyed working with the Peppered Cottons bundles, especially the brighter colors, they're absolutely gorgeous!!!

You can enter to win your own two Peppered Cottons bundles by using the Rafflecopter widget below AND answering this question in the comments: What will you make if you win? And if you haven't already, don't forget to visit this post and enter to win some MAJOR prizes!!

And tomorrow don't forget to visit Cow Town Quilts!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Jaftex 85th Anniversary Giveaway & Blog Hop

I am a day late posting this. Things have been super hectic around here with school starting, but with the kids off to school this morning things have settled a bit.

Jaftex Corp. was founded in the 1930’s when Jacob A. Fortunoff started selling fabric on the streets of New York.  At that time, the mainstay of the business was women’s sleepwear and lingerie.  In the 80’s, Jacob’s grandson, Robert, dramatically changed the business of the company.  The business focus was transferred to the over the counter quilt industry when Robert purchased companies like A.E. Nathan, Henry Glass, Stylemaker, Chanteclaire, Fabric Editions/Studioe and more recently The Blank Quilting Corp.  Robert is now joined by his two sons, Scott and Greg.  Scott currently is the President of Studioe Fabrics, The Blank Quilting Corp. & A.E. Nathan Co., Inc.  Greg just joined the business in late 2014 and has successfully spearheaded the company’s foray in to precut fabrics among other contributions.

There will be lots of great prizes in addition to the prizes on the Gleam widget below. Visit each blog below on the specified day to enter and come back here on September 11th to see my project and enter for your chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Peppered Cottons.

September 1 - Kim Diehl guest posting @ American Patchwork & Quilting
September 2 - Pepper @ Pepper at the Quilt Studio 
September 3 - Anjeanette @ Anjeanette Klinder 
September 4 - Leanne @ The Whole Country Caboodle   
September 5 - Mark @ Mark Lipinski's Blog
September 6 - Heather @ Heather Kojan Quilts  
September 7 - Heather @ Trends and Traditions  
September 7 - Martha @ Wagons West Designs  
September 8 - Linda @ Linda Lum DeBono 
September 9 - Heidi @ Red Letter Quilts 
September 10 - Jill @ Jillily Studios  
September 10 - Dana @ My Lazy Daisy  
September 11 - Penny @ Sew Simple Designs  
September 12 - Ida @ Cowtown Quilts 
September 13 - Liz and Beth @ Lizzie B Cre8ive  
September 14 - Melissa @ Sew Bitter Sweet Designs
September 15 - Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl    
September 16 - Amy @ Kati Cupcake 
September 16 - Barbara @ QuiltSoup2 
September 17 - Erica @ Kitchen Table Quilting 
September 18 - Leona @ Leona's Quilting Adventure 
September 19 - Margot @ The Pattern Basket  
September 20 - Sylvia @ Flying Parrot Quilts   
September 21 - Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts  
September 22 - Kim @ Aurifil Threads  
September 23 - Rebekah @ Don't Call Me Becky   
September 24 - Julie @ The Crafty Quilter 
September 25 - Mary Ellen @ Little Quilts  
September 25 - Mary Jane @ Holly Hill Designs 
September 26 - Daisy @ Ants to Sugar
September 27 - Melissa @ Happy Quilting
September 28 - Janet @ One S1ster
September 29 - Jenny @ Martingale& Co.
September 30 - Teresa @ Third Floor Quilts
85th Anniversary Giveaway

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

an app for quilting?

Given that it has been six days since I finished the top and started quilting it, I wish I had something to show today, but there were a few days here and there where I didn't get to quilt at all, plus a day or two where all I had was maybe ten minutes worth of quilting. So the Quilt is still not finished...

But I thought I would share something else.

For quilts where I can't decide how to quilt them and I just sit and stare with absolutely no real ideas, I take a picture of my quilt with my iPad and then open the picture in an app called "Drawing Desk". When you're in the app there are a few "desks" to choose from, if you choose "Doodle Desk" you can open your photo in there and "quilt" on it.

It's not a bad app, really. Although it's not meant for "quilting", as you can see it does get the job done.

I used this app for my Whirl Around Quilt too. What apps do you use for quilting that aren't meant for quilting?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Scrappy Crosses Quilt Top & 300th post!!!

First... I just noticed this is my 300th blog post!! That is crazy.

 Anyway... still trying to use up my scraps but for some reason I seem to be using up my solids more than my scraps. Oh well. I started these blocks yesterday and finished the top this morning. I could only make six blocks because I ran out of the off-white colored solid, so I guess this can be a wall hanging or table topper when it's finished since it definitely can't be a quilt now.

I know us quilters are not supposed to point out our mistakes... but with this top alone, SO.MANY.MISTAKES!!! Hopefully they will be a lot less noticeable once it's quilted. Not sure what I will use for the backing or how I will quilt it but I'm sure I will figure something out later today. I think I will most likely end up using techniques I learned in Angela Walter's class on Craftsy. I did use what I learned on this quilt and love how it turned out.

Oh yeah... I added a page to my blog just for photos of my finished quilts, in chronological order, including my very first "quilt" from 2001.  I really haven't made many quilts but lately I seem to be sewing random things less and just focusing on quilts. Funny how that happens.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scrappy Fall Leaves Table Runner

I finished my table runner! I can't remember the last time I finished something so quickly. I just finished binding it. All it needs now is to be washed. But here it is before washing (pattern can be found here)

I realize I am not the greatest free motion quilter... but oh well. It's mine... actually I was thinking I would give it to the wife of someone my husband works with since my husband has taken over their garage while building me a rocking chair.

I'm just glad to finally be using up my scraps.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Working on... something finally.

I haven't sewn anything in a while really. Except two quilt blocks. I bought EQ7 and it is just so addictive I spend all my free time on that instead of sewing.

My sewing room was really messy, it happens all the time, so the other day I spent my free time in there cleaning. Then I organized all my fabric again, sorted my scraps again, moved my tables a little.

Yesterday I decided I wanted to try to use some of my scraps. I use small plastic containers to hold them and most are starting to get full. (see my craft room here, although the tables are constantly being moved around).

I went in there for a couple hours and just took one scrap box at a time and ended up with five maple leaf blocks. I didn't even get bored making the same block repeatedly like I usually do, I guess because they were different colors?

As is the norm for me, these were supposed to be 6 1/2" unfinished blocks but they are more like 6 1/8" unfinished blocks. Well at least they are all the same size. I still haven't figured out why this happens to me. My math is right!!! I mean I hate math, but this is simple math and I know my math is right. My squares are cut at 2 1/2"... frustrating for sure.

Recently I read something about thicker threads can cause you to lose some fabric in the end, and the more seams you have across a row the smaller your block will end up being. Makes sense to me.

Anyway, today is Sunday and nobody has to go to work, we can't really go anywhere because it's raining, so hopefully I will get extra time to sew today, as I really want to finish whatever this is going to be. Right now I am thinking it's going to be an autumn table runner... which now that I think of it, if I add hanging pockets to the corners it can double as a wall hanging. I think that's what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

For my reference and yours. EQ fabric downloads.

So far this is all I have been able to find. I will update this post as I find more. But really... how much more "fabric" does a person need in EQ7?

Connecting Threads fabrics can be downloaded here.

Moda fabrics can be found and downloaded here.

Riley Blake fabrics can be downloaded from here after choosing a fabric type and then a fabric line. There is a blue button on the right that says "download images".

Fabric of the Month downloads from DoYouEQ are here and go back a few years.

Northcutt fabrics has a "download fabrics for EQ" button on each fabric collection page.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Giraffe Quilt Block and a confession

I designed this cute giraffe quilt block a while ago and finally decided to try to put it together. This first one I messed up on :/ I wasn't paying attention to my diagram and I put the nostrils on upside down. Oops. He is still cute though. I used this green fabric because this was a test block and I have never liked this green fabric (somebody gave it to me) but now that I see it used I kind of like it.

My second block came out better, I did not mess up the nostrils on this one.

I have a confession to make. Some of the rows in these blocks have a lot of seams, which means my block came out too small because I suck a little. It's not just this  block, but anything I do that has several seams comes out too small. Both of my lonestar quilts, which start with a large lonestar block, came out too small... and both times I watched the Craftsy video as I was working to make sure I was doing it right.... always so careful with cutting and so careful with piecing and still my lonestars were much smaller than they were supposed to be. Why does this happen to me???

Even when I use the 1/4" foot that came with my Juki... I think I read somewhere maybe my thread is too thick.

Anyway, so my blocks are smaller than they should be, but the measurements are correct. You can find the pattern for the giraffe quilt block here. It should finish at 12" square.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Playing around, here are a few patterns

I bought EQ7 and I've been messing around with it. Oh my gosh it is soooo addictive. Currently I am working on two quilts that I think are super cute but writing the patterns is taking a while. One of those two I absolutely cannot wait to make.

Here are three that are finished though. Well two quilts and one quilt block. All super simple because I was learning the program.

You can find them all on Craftsy and one is FREE.

 12" x 12" quilt block

48" x 60" lap quilt

40" x 40" baby quilt

So that is what I've been up to, outside of the typical mom and family stuff.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

School backpack complete.

I have wanted to make a backpack for a long time. I finally made one for my daughter! She picked the fabrics herself.

I used the pattern found here. I added two inches to the width and I think three inches to the height (if I remember correctly). I also added a front pocket as requested and side pockets with elastic. And I made the straps a few inches longer and a bit wider. I also made the carrying loop longer.

It is not perfect by any means. I didn't use the piping and that messed up the measurements a little bit I think... I'm not sure. But my daughter loves it, and it works, it's lined, it fits. So it's good.

I can now cross one thing off my to-do list.

In other news, I did finally finish my secret project. It came out nice and I can't wait to show you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June's Most Popular Posts, a little surprising.

The top ten posts for June were:

Sewn: a lot of little things: just a bunch of stuff I was working on for Craft Fairs.

What a Disaster: where I share with you how miserably I failed at the local Farmer's Market.

Three of my Zoe art quilt posts made the top ten this month, including, of course, the finished quilt post.

Getting Along: an art quilt I finished in 2013. My largest art quilt and the one that I am most proud of.

DIY, fast, east and inexpensive baby changing pad: a few people link to this super simple and fast tutorial

Jelly Roll Thread Catcher: this has always been popular on the blog, it is one of the all time most popular posts.

Jelly Roll Reversible Tote: another consistently popular tutorial.

And the number one most popular post for the month of June, which I found really surprising and can't quite figure out why it's the number one post: A Finished QAYG Bag

Also you may have noticed a name change on my sites. I decided to change directions and while my link is still the same because it's kind of a hassle to change it and switch all that over, I have gone ahead and changed my name from "Sew Simple Designs" to "GMHN Quilts". GMHN being my children's first initials in order of their birth.

I am almost finished with my secret project and then I can move on to my to-do list, which now includes a backpack for my daughter.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Things I Want to Make

I am writing this list now to get it out of my head and for a reference to come back to later. There are so many things I want to make and my mind is always swirling.

First, I've already made my son a monogram wall hanging... so I have to make three more for my three daughters.

Second, my father asked for a quilt. I am thinking lap quilt with some kind of golf theme to it. Not sure where to even look for golf themed fabric but I will find some! ** edited to add: Just kidding. I have decided to go with a Megaman quilt since I searched online and could not find golf themed fabric that I like.

Third, my little brother asked for a quilt. Blue and black he said. Twin size or lap size is my plan, no pattern idea yet.

I bought fabric for the back of the Vortex Quilt, so I can finally finish that. Picture is of a single block, there are four in my quilt. Pattern is from Elizabeth Dackson's Craftsy Class.

These are the only things that are constantly on my mind. So these are the things I need to be working on after I finish my secret quilt.

** edited to add: First things first, I found a pattern for a backpack and have been dying to make one to see if I can do it, so I will be making my daughter a school backpack... one of a kind, of course!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Working on... a mini quilt.

That's about all I can tell you. And this is about all I can show you.

I have about a month to finish this. Or just under a month before it has to be mailed out. I've never had a deadline before and it's a little stressful. I need a total of 24 blocks but I've only managed to complete 11 blocks in the last week. I was busy with the markets and summer vacation just started for the kids, but now I really need to focus on this.

It only takes me about a half an hour to complete one block. I should definitely be able to finish it in time even with the sporadic sewing time. We will see.

I think you'll see the full and finished quilt in September. Make sure you stick around because I will also be giving away some fabric at that time!!

That's about all I have to say so I will leave you with this, the reason why I love living in Northern New Hampshire :)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What a disaster.

I wasn't going to talk about this because I was so very upset, angry, disappointed, embarassed and humiliated. But after some Googling this morning I realized I am not the only person this has happened to, and they all shared what happened, so I guess I will share too.

Yesterday was a beautiful day for the local Farmer's Market. Or it seemed like a beautiful day. I got there early to set up which was important because my 15 year old daughter was at work and not there to help me, my only help was my short and clumsy 11 year old son. He was such a champ though, I love him so much and appreciate all his help yesterday.

So at the North Fryeburg Community Market there was some wind and I had a gallon of water tied to each corner of the tent, and except for my cardstock price cards nothing blew away and the wind wasn't a problem really, even while it was lifting tents around me, mine stayed put. I fixed my price cards knowing what had happened and not wanting it to happen again. But I guess that wasn't enough.

Yesterday was crazy windy. I mean... I didn't even really notice the wind all day until we got there. Let me start by saying: I left before the Market even started, it was that windy and I was that frustrated and anxious.

Setting up the tent took much longer than I thought without my daughter's help. My son was very helpful but he's short so he could only do so much and we had not done a test set up together. I just thought I could direct him as we were setting it up. It was hard because the canopy kept trying to blow away before we even had it secured to the frame. But eventually we did get it up... only to have it lift off the ground. My water was still in the car so he ran to get it, but he can only carry two gallons at a time. Tent stakes? Yeah... comfy in their stake bag at home on my dining room table. Ugh. Even with the water the wind was still too much for the tent. So instead of just leaving the water sitting on the ground (tied to the canopy using the strings that came with it) I wrapped and wrapped around the legs so that the water was up off the ground. So that kind of worked.

But then we set up the tables... you know... quilts, especially small quilts, candle mats, etc, they are very light weight, which yes meant every time I put anything on the table it quickly blew away. My dress form blew over four times before I left her laying on the ground. One wind gust was so strong it lifted this plastic basket I had off the table and across the lawn. It's not even really a light weight basket, I don't understand how that happened.

Anyway, so I have anxiety. I have had anxiety for years and I can only take so much before I start to full on panic. Which is what I did. I started to panic. I took down the tent but only after I called my husband completely freaking out because my brain quit working and I just kept saying "I don't know what to do, I don't even know what to do right now, I don't think I can take down the tent by myself." Ha. I did though, take it down by myself.

So we left before it even started. Nobody else was having problems but they all had heavier items than me. Soaps, vegetables. Heavy enough that the wind wasn't taking it.

It was a huge disappointment. I was very upset. So yeah. Wind. I told my husband I am never doing another outdoor show again. Ever. He said I'm being ridiculous and he's proud of me for even trying, etc. He was very sweet, and very supportive and if it wasn't for that conversation we had, the things that he said, I probably would give up and never try again.

I need to come up with some way to weigh down my things. How do you weigh down candle mats? Or burp cloths? Mug rugs? A dress form?  I really have no idea but I have one week before the next Farmer's Market to figure it out.

And I got invited to a huge show in August which I would love to do, it's not just a market... the kids will have so much fun, there will be live music and a petting zoo among other things. I need to figure this out.

I refuse to quit. I refuse to give up. Okay so I had a bad day. It's not the end of the world, it could have been worse, I read where glass blowers had all of their globes smashed at a show because of the wind, I didn't lose anything. I read where rain storms ruined paper goods, nothing of mine got ruined.

So it could have been worse. I will figure this out.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Community Market.

Today I participated in my first craft fair... which was really called a "community market". It was hosted by a church in a Maine town 30 minutes away. The fee was small ($10) so I decided it would be perfect for my first time.

We used every minute of the one hour set-up time. And there were things I wanted for my booth but didn't have time to make in the weeks prior to the market (for instance, curtains and a back wall panel). And there were things I did last minute that actually came out okay (the table covers were done two days ago). There were also things I did as an afterthought that I wasn't happy with (my sign, for instance).

I bought four gallons of water the yesterday to weigh down the tent. I wasn't sure if I would actually need any extra weight since my tent is pretty heavy on it's own, but I had read online that it was a good idea and last minute gallons of water was all I could come up with. Which, it turned out, was a good thing, the tent next to mine was not weighed down with anything and when a huge wind gust blew through their tent came up off the ground (they staked it down after that). But mine stayed put.

A fabric curtain would have been great here!!!!

I decided to raffle a handmade basket with some handmade stuff in it.

This is one of those closet things we had, which we had bought when we had a tiny closet, you're supposed to hang pants on the bottom and tops on the top. It's a closet rack. But I took some shower curtain rings, ones that are hooks that stay open, and used those to hang some bags and purses. It worked out great.

Clothesline tied to the tent and clothespins worked great too, for hanging quilts and reusable shopping bags.

And of course my mannequin or whatever they're called had to come along with us.

It is a good thing I don't have more stuff because my car was packed. I mean... really packed, and the poor kids were crammed in there with all that stuff. The kids did well though, not a single one of them misbehaved which surprised me since we were out there at 7am to setup and didn't pull out of there until 2:15pm. It was a very long day. I have a horrible sun burn on the left side of my body, but I made way more money than I thought I would, which was great.

One thing I enjoyed was people touching and looking and commenting on my stuff, especially my quilts. Because here on the blog people don't say much. It was nice to get all those compliments.

Four days from now is the local Farmer's Market, which is much shorter (4-7 as opposed to 8-2) plus it's right down the street, and right next to the park, so it should be a lot easier than this one and more fun for the kids. Plus it's during a time when my husband can help out. I am excited to see how we do at this one.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sewn: a lot of little things.

Since I finished the Zoe art quilt I have made:

These five notepad folders to start. They came about because I always keep a notepad in the diaper bag and the pages always get crushed and folded and it really irritates me. Now I can keep one in there and the pages will stay straight and neat. Pattern here.

I made some simple tooth fairy pillows out of scrap felt and fabric. I don't know why, I just wanted to make something quick and easy that I don't normally make.

I also finished another fabric basket. Tutorial here.

Oh! I almost forgot... I also made a bunch of coffee cup cozies and some cardstock cups to hold them. Cozy template here (no instructions) and printable cup template here.

I also made myself a vendor apron with a zipper for money and a few small pockets (pattern coming soon?).

Well... It seemed like all I've been doing is sewing non-stop but now that I've put it out there, it doesn't seem like much for 9 days of work... Hmm.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Finished! Zoe, an art quilt

In case you missed it:   Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five

Here is the face before I was finished with it. I had uploaded a copy of the photo to a Facebook group and asked for a few suggestions :) They were very helpful, quilters are great.

Close up of the leaves:

Close up of the feet on day six, prior to finishing:

Flower close up on day seven, final day (TODAY!):

And here is the finished quilt!! I really hope my cousin likes it. I've never done an art quilt by request before.

Again here is the original photo:

And don't forget, if you're interested in learning how to make a quilt from a picture like this, I learned this technique from a Craftsy class called "Pictorial Techniques with Machine Applique". I can tell you it is definitely worth the money.. #ad

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Zoe, day five.

In case you missed it:   Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four

So first I thought I would share a little video of me doing machine applique in my small sewing machine with a very small throat. So if you haven't done a pictorial quilt like this you can get an idea of the time it takes when you're stitching down your fabrics. It involves a lot of foot lifting and quilt turning.... (forgive the video, this was my first time trying to record myself sewing, next time I think I will use my Nikon camera instead of my old video camera... for better quality, but you get the idea.)

Well after all that I found a solution to what I felt was a problem.. an unbalanced quilt. I added some flowered fabric down on the left corner of the quilt and while it's not perfect I do believe it helps a lot.

Here is the before and after:

 Anyway, after adding that and stitching it down, I just added my batting and backing and starting quilting it. I have a long way to go but here is what I managed to get done yesterday working with black thread on Zoe, I still have to go in with brown thread and do more work....

As I have said before, I learned this technique from a Craftsy class called "Pictorial Techniques with Machine Applique", which is currently 25% off. I can tell you it is definitely worth the money, especially on sale. #ad

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fourth day of work.

I haven't touched this quilt in a week, I was busy with the kids and busy around the house and busy shopping for my daughter's FIFTEENTH birthday!! It is very surreal that I have been a mother for fifteen years, it certainly doesn't seem like it's been that long. And when she asks me sometimes "hey when I move out can I take that table over there?" I realize she is growing up and can't wait for her own place, and that is only three short years from now. It makes me sad.

Anyway, so my fourth day of work on this quilt has me here. I did finish piecing it.

The face was full of small pieces so some of them will end up being raw edge applique. But I know that will be fine, some of the pieces on my Getting Along quilt are also raw edge. You do what you gotta do to make it work!

Since I knew some of them would be raw edged I did the entire face in one color and then added the raw edge layers on top of that, like this:


So here is the pieced top, ready for stitching. I am going to be 100% honest and say: I do not like it. I should have put the flower elsewhere, not directly behind Zoe. I have no clue how to fix this, I think I will add some smaller flowers around her. I don't know. I have a few ideas.

Zoe herself, especially her face, is going to require a lot of detail stitching to make it look right, but I'm not too worried about that. I'm sure that will come out fine, it's really just... I don't know, I feel like with the sunflower directly behind her the quilt isn't really balanced. But I am determined to fix that.

I ironed some stabilizer to the back and then started zig zag stitching all the pieces in place with clear thread. I didn't get everything stitched down, hopefully I get that finished today. This is my least favorite part of the process haha. But it is necessary and worth it in the end.

It really amazes me every time I make a pictorial quilt like this... when you peel back your freezer paper it all looks neat but kind of... flat. And what a difference quilting makes in the end. It is a pretty amazing transformation.

As I have said before, I learned this technique from a Craftsy class called "Pictorial Techniques with Machine Applique", which is currently 25% off. I can tell you it is definitely worth the money, especially on sale. #ad

In case you missed it:   Day One, Day Two, Day Three.