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Friday, January 22, 2016

AvantGarde Blog Tour - my AvantGarde Garden

Good morning friends,

Today is my turn to celebrate beautiful new fabric line, AvantGarde, by oh so very talented Katarina Roccella, for always inspiring Art Gallery Fabric. 
Let me confess right from the start - yes I am very partial to everything Katarina designs for so many reasons! I just LOVE it. This collection is no different with its beautiful, bold colors that sing and so much subtle and amazing design on each one of them. It's bold and subtle in the same time, it has amazing deep colors and simply stunning low volume fabrics too. 

It is very modern, inspired by modern art and yet I could immediately see even some very classic patterns in these beauties. 
So after trying and playing in my trusty EQ7, after few different ones, I decided on this one:

It's a classic Lone Star pattern, with pieced setting squares, surrounding diamonds and  pieced corners.

Yep...I was going to go there... Diamonds, bias, Lone Star, Y-seams - the whole shebang!! Crazy woman. 
Don't get me wrong, I do love a challenge and all, but when it is for a blog tour... What if it doesn't work out?? You know, math and all, sewing, bias... But hey, that is also half of the fun, right? (that is what I kept telling myself, ha ha!)

I started easy, with these easy flowers:
These are just squares with flipped corners, some rectangles on one side and one partial seam to put it all together with the yellow center. I love making these flowers in many sizes. 
Here they all are, pieced and on my wall, a happy garden while it was snowing outside... Quilter's magic, right? :)

Let me know if you would use a tutorial on these simple flowers - I can do one!

 Then it was time to conquer those diamonds...
Strip sets cut (I really, really love these colors!!)

Unlike what I normally do - cut all and do serial-piecing of parts, this time, I had to see if it is going to work! 

Points - check!! Phew....

Yes this was all bias edges too, and I didn't pin the living daylights out of it, I pinned just to match the points (I use the stabbing pin technique) and then go slow, use my Pfaff's integrated dual feed and ... Hope for the best?? Haha!

But seriously now, another tip I can share is that having the ironing surface with the grid helped A LOT to check and stay with the correct geometry. I would align my diamond with the lines of the grid and make sure it stays within. I know some spray starch can help here too but I didn't use any this time. Part of the reason - working with such high quality fabrics like AGF just didn't demand it. Well done AGF, well done.

I won't hide it, these perfect points just make me smile...

So first six diamonds in the center ...two more to go!

And then all 16 of them later:


Now for some corners and then to put it all together! 
Yeah, that should have been another note to self - maybe don't go for a set-up that you have never done before for a Blog Tour? Lone Star I did before, but not one with additional diamonds around! Talk about a plethora of Y-seams!! 
But you know what - it worked!!
And here is another good tip I can share:
The method I used to piece these is a bit different then what I see in most instructions that are around, and it is so much better!! I learned it from an old book, by an excellent teacher (yes I did take a class from her too): LaMoyne Stars Made Easy, by Sharyn Craig. 
The main difference is that in most instructions you are told to piece the diamonds together first and then set-in the squares and triangles. That is just way more difficult than doing it this way: 
You piece it in units like this:

By placing the square on the lower diamond:

Then joining it with the upper one:

 And then joining two diamond sides together:

There are few more details in all this that I won't bore you with now but it just works so well!
(another tutorial I could do? Yes? :)  )

(Note using the grid on my ironing board again to stay in shape! :). )

Now for those outside diamonds! That was the part I never did before, but it turns out they go in by just good old fashioned "stop with needle down and pivot" technique! It is a wide angle, so not really too hard to do. 

So slowly but surely, it all came together - HOORAYYY!!

So what do you think??

Unfortunately, this is where this post will end - I did not get to quilt this one yet, but it is going  to be sandwiched tonight after dinner and can't wait to dream up some quilting!

Any suggestions?? How would you quilt this one? 

Here are few more photos...

And at the end - some very important stuff:

Make sure to visit Katarina's blog post with the link of all participants and get a lot more inspiration and have a chance to win some of these beautiful fabrics!!

I will leave you now with a promise to come back soon with some quilting on this one (again, I would love suggestions please and thank you!!)

Have a wonderful weekend,

#AvantGardeBlogTour, #KatarinaRoccella, #AvantGardeFabrics #ArtGalleryFabric

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fresh start in 2016

Hi everyone,

and first - wishing you a happy, healthy, creative and joyful New year! 
I hope that 2015 was a great year for you and that 2016 will be even better. In my case, 2015 was a truly wonderful year full of deep family happiness, lots of joyful moments that are now lifetime memories. I am truly and deeply humbled and grateful for everything I have and all the family love I enjoy every day. I wish you the same.

There is one part of my life that I can vastly improve - my creative life.

Sewing, quilting, teaching, designing patterns and sharing it with all who are interested through this (currently neglected) blog. Of course one question is obvious - WHY? Why do I think that? Why do I want to do more? At the end, it is mostly just a hobby and pastime, so as much as you get to do is as much as you should do, right? And that would be completely true if I  didn't constantly feel the need to do more - need to create, need to make, need to share. Constantly.

So, what is one to do? Any good suggestion my friends? :)
Well, I do know one thing I should NOT do - whine about it. Right?

So I decided to start fresh, clean up my sewing room, get few tools to get organized better and just - DO IT!
I have truly the best ally and supporter in my wonderful daughter and she used her time here during the holidays to help me do just that. We went to Lowes, got supplies and added more shelves to my fabric storage - she cut with circular saw, she drilled, she measured...I helped and - VOILA!!

I almost doubled the shelf space and organized better and yes - even got rid of some fabric! But let's not be kidding ourselves - I still have A LOT! Ha ha!

And my design wall is now a blank slate, waiting for something new... 

By the way, this design wall is made out of two Tyvek home insulation boards (4'x8') that you can get in any Home Depot or Lowes, wrapped in white felt (about 60" wide, from Joanns), then reinforced with a frame made out of 1"x2" slats (on the back of it), and hung on the closet door sliding kit (again, in any Lowes or...) - really easy to make!

We also re-organized my ruler storage and hung this great peg-board - I simply LOVE it!!
And see that great work table? That is all my daughter's handyman skills!! She turned my old cutting table (one from Joann's, with two leaves that fold) and two cube shelving units (ones from Target) into this great work table!! Still using cubes for storage and also some free space in between them - just perfect for few bolts, batting etc.

Nothing like a good cleaning and reorganization to make a fresh start and get you going!

I decided that my humble goal will be to finish one UFO and one new project every moth. Do you think I can do it?? Well, it's here, it's written, so hold me up to it, please?? :)

OK, so starting with something NEW. Just look at this stack of beauties!!

This is yet another amazing new collection from my talented friend Katarina Roccella, called Avantgarde , for Art gallery Fabric. You can see it in more detail HERE

As soon as I saw it, ideas started flowing and one of them Katarina liked a lot, so here I am again, with huge privilege to play with these gorgeous colors and designs and help her celebrate her new collection! Lucky me!
So if you like it as much as I do, hop on to follow all the creative ideas during the AvanGarde Blog Tour - you will find all the links HERE! And yes - you can win some of this great fabric too.

In the meantime, I am cutting and sewing...

Flipping corners and pressing...

...and will let you see the whole thing in just few days!! Hope you come back and let me know if you like it!!

OK, with all this "fresh start" talk, I completely forgot to show you something very, very important and - CUTE! 


Charley is a new member of our family, Marley's new brother!!
He is about 8 months old bundle of love and huge cuddle-bug. We adopted Charley from a wonderful local rescue organization, called Educate-a-Bull and we can't be more in love!!
Marley too! Him and Charley hit it right off as if they lived together forever (and that was the biggest factor in how we choose him), and big brother is showing him the ropes now.
They eat together just like you see them here - what more can you ask for? :)

Did I mention Charley is a big cuddle-bug? 
Specially if I am sewing on biding...

...or in any other moment too! His poses while sleeping are just hilarious!

So, this southern boy (he came to the rescue from roadside of North Carolina) is learning how to love snow now that winter finally arrived in Buffalo

He is not entirely sure what is so cool about snow, but if big brother says it's cool, then it is!

See what I mean? He makes me laugh and giggle every day! 

Puppy love is all around in our house again and that makes us all smile.

Leaving you now and off to my sewing room to finish that project - can't wait to show you!!

Have a wonderful week ahead,