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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pillow Tutorial and a Coupon!

Hi! I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday season so far!! It came quickly and I feel it is going by just as quick! We've had so much snow, and have been enjoying it as much as we can! I hope you are all safe and enjoying whatever weather you are receiving wherever you are in the world!

I told you I'd let you know as soon as my pillow tutorial was up, and it is!

You can find the tutorial HERE!

 I love how my pillow turned out, and now I can finally send it to my sister. 4 months later. ;)

The tutorial includes lots of photos, and some fun techniques I've picked up through the years. I hope you like it!

As the days rush by, I can't help but reflect on what an amazing year 2015 has been! There have been so many changes, exciting events, and so many opportunities present themselves throughout the year! I am humbled and grateful for every one of them, good or bad. I'm a little sad to say goodbye to such an amazing year!

I'm also extremely excited to say hello to 2016!! With new opportunities already at my doorstep, and so many possibilities to choose from with where I want to go with my family, business, and life in general, I can't wait to see how it all turns out! I'm excited to take it one day at a time, and thoroughly enjoy the ride!

To celebrate the goodbye's and the hello's, here's one last coupon to end the year with any patterns you wished you'd tried, or to start the year with the ones you want to make in the coming year!

Use code: "GoodbyeHello" to save 10% 
off anything in my Etsy shop (including sale items, bags, and destash fabric) 
or in my Bigcartel shop!

Coupon good until Jan 1st, 2016 at midnight.

Happy New Year!!! 
Wishing you safe and happy celebrations!


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!! + Coupon! + NEW Pattern!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends stateside! And Happy Day to everyone the world over!!

We can choose to be grateful no matter what. - Dieter F Uchtdorf, General Conference April 2014:
 {Image from Pinteres}

My heart is so full this morning as I reflect on this day today, and Thanksgiving days in the past. This is one day in the year that every year, has been a good day! I have so many memories spending this day with family and dear friends! I wish I could take a picture of all my memories and post them on my wall so I could look at them every day! :)

There is something magical about this day, where all the worries of the world seem to disappear, where being with, and thinking about, loved ones become my focus, and we play and eat good food, rest, laugh, and enjoy life. I love this day. And I'm grateful for the time to reflect on all the blessings that I have! The power of gratitude is real, and something I want to hold closer to my heart every day of the year.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful day!! Enjoy your blessings!! It is such a sweet emotion. :)

 {Image from Pinterest}

And... to say thank you to all my quilty friends, I'm offering a coupon that starts now and will end on Monday 11/30/2015 at midnight!

Save 30% your entire order!
enter code: GIVETHANKS

Coupon works in my Etsy shop AND my shop!

I also recently updated my Paypal account so sales on Craftsy is now open to buyers outside of the USA. Please let me know if you have any trouble with any of my shops.

This will be the biggest coupon for the rest of the year... so don't miss out! ;)

ALSO, I want to announce my newest pattern:

Space Gem!

It comes in 4 sizes: 9inch, 12inch, 18inch, and formatted to print on legal paper (8.5in x 14in) is the 24inch size.

It includes the usual coloring pages, cutting templates, and detailed instructions for constructing the block.

 I will share more testers photos in the next few days, but if you want to see them, you can check them out now HERE. and here's a screenshot of just a few...

This pattern is available on Craftsy (price discounted since coupons don't work on Craftsy), Etsy, and My Shop

{Image from Pinterest}

Thank you everyone for your love and support!! This journey of pattern designing has been more than I ever expected and I'm so grateful for all of you!!!


Monday, October 26, 2015

A Happy almost Halloween coupon!! and what I'm up to...

Happy almost Halloween!! I usually really love Halloween!! I love decorating, carving pumpkins, halloween candy, making costumes, etc. But this year I have been avoiding the topic. I think I'll dress up as a sleeping mommy this year! oh wait!! I'm basically already a sleeping mommy. Or at least I wish I were... sleeping. ;)

Anyway, I thought a coupon and a little giveaway would be fun way to kind of get me in the mood.

Save 15% with code: HALLOWEEN15
expires 10/31/15

Would you like to win a FREE pattern of your choice? 
  • Leave a comment and let me know what you and your family are dressing up as for Halloween. 
  • If you don't celebrate Halloween, let me know what your favorite holiday or time of the year is.

In other news....

I'm working on a new pattern this week. I hope to get it out to testers by the end of the week.

Space Gem

I'm going to really make my son a quilt with this pattern (I always say that...). He's getting too tall for all his quilts and blankets, so naturally I need to make him a new one. And I'm really going to this time.

Anyway, this block will be a fun one for spotlighting focal prints. The center square that is on point, will be one solid fabric! (which means the assembly of this block is a little trickier, as apposed to constructing it as a 4-quadrant block. It was a tough decision to make, but I'm excited! I'll show you more soon...)


because I honestly can't just work on one thing at a time, I'm going to make up some Halloween fabrics and print them on Spoonflower. I want to make a "Happy Halloween" banner like this "Happy Birthday" one I made a while ago.

But I haven't found just the right fabric for it... we'll see how this goes!! I'm really excited to finally try some fabric designing!! :)

I am still planning on turning this banner into a pattern, or perhaps kits. I'm just waiting for the right time to squeeze it in.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!!! 
Don't forget to pick up those patterns you've been eyeing!!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Bee Hive Block: Hidden Gems & My Design Process

 I am so excited for this blog post today!! Almost a year ago Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts emailed me and asked if I would join her in being a guest designer for The Bee Hive - a quilt block tutorial series that she's been hosting all year. The focus of each block design has been taking a single block that when repeated creates an interesting secondary design, which is one of my favorite things to do!! (I could look for secondary patterns all day long if I had the time.)

Each month Alyce posts her own quilt block designs, and has one quest designer share a quilt block. All of the blocks are fantastic!! I do hope you will check them out!

Today I am guest blogging over at Blossom Heart Quilts and sharing my block!

Hidden Gems

I must admit, it doesn't look like a whole lot here, but on Alyce's blog I share loads of photos of what you can do with it on repeat. Though there are more than what I shared, so definitely use the coloring pages I included in the pattern! Be sure to take a look... and then come right back! Because I have more fun things to share with you.

 Did you check it out?! What do you think? The pattern is available for free on Craftsy! Due to the size of the paper piecing templates, I formatted it for printing on two different paper sizes:
  • You can print it on letter size paper (the standard 8.5"x11" paper. Note, the pattern will need to be taped together before piecing.) 
  • OR legal size paper (8.5"x14". Because it's the same width as letter paper, you can print this size on all printers. Just be sure to change the paper size settings before printing.Oh, and you don't need to tape anything together if you print on this size of paper.)
Not sure which you want to use? Grab both patterns! They're both free. :)


 The next thing I want to share with you is how awesome Alyce is! (you can follow her on instagram by the way, she's @blossomheartquilts. And if you don't already, you should.) Anyway, this month she has been hosting her DIY Block Design: Challenge and Blog hop! It's been really fun! She's has been encouraging all of us to take our quilt design ideas from our head, put them to paper, and turn them into an actual quilt! Sound fun?! But maybe a little scary?

 If you have ever had the desire to design your own quilt block, but haven't known where to begin, I do highly recommend Alyce's ebook! It's called, DIY Block Design: Your designs from sketch book to quilt by Alyce Blyth.
eBooks are nice because you can take them with you eveywhere you go!! Put it on your phone or tablet, and you never have to worry about losing these great resources!!

She does a fantastic job at explaining the ins and outs of quilt block layouts, breaking them down into basic structures making them easy to assemble.


She also includes a lot of the quilt math for you so you don't have to! (Like what size block to start with when making HST's, QST's, flying geese and even no-waste flying geese! and more! Thank you Alyce!!)

That alone is useful information for anyone designing a quilt block - beginner or experienced!! Be sure to check it out! Purchasing the book isn't required for the challenge and blog hop, but it would definitely be helpful. And I wouldn't be saying this if I didn't think it was awesome!

So anyway, my point is, is that Alyce asked me if I would share some of my design process with you to go along with her event this month! And of course I would!

My Design Process

On Alyce's blog, she shares a great list of tools and software you can use to design your own quilts. One thing she mentions is graph paper. That is one thing I always have near by! Though I don't use it as much as I used to.

My go-to software, or tool, that I use to design is Adobe Illustrator. I know there are other designers that also use Illustrator, though it's not designed to be a quilting software, so it doesn't have all the advantages that other programs do (like telling you how much fabric you'll need. I'm a little jealous of that feature). It also has a steep learning curve if you aren't familiar with it. But you can find so many tutorials online, on YouTube, as well as online classes, that will teach you all about it. So don't be afraid of it! Though it isn't cheap either, (and now I'm sounding like it's all negative) but I do recommend it if you are serious about designing! I absolutely love it and could NOT live without it!

So now I'll going to share with you a little bit of my process of designing, hopefully without boring you too much.

Thinking about my process, I realize how much it has evolved over the years! I started out on graph paper, making a bunch of quilt block outlines, and drawing away, creating lines and shapes and designs until I found one I liked.

Here are some early drafts of my Grandma's Lawn Chair pattern.

Now I feel like I've found a freedom in Illustrator where I can just sit down at the computer and a little while later (and sometimes a lot later) I have a design that I then spend hours more exploring and coloring - not because I have to spend hours on it, but because that is maybe my favorite part of the process!

I think that is one huge advantage of using computer software. It takes me two seconds to copy and paste a design, a minute to color it in, or I can re-color it a hundred times! Whereas graph paper, for every adjustment, or color change, I want to make I have to redraw the entire block all over again.

Anyway, it's fun! :) So let's begin:

First I start by making a box. (Since I design quilt blocks, I always start with a box. Though lately I've really enjoyed the idea of creating designs that are not square... I'm excited to see where that takes me in the next year!)

Since I mostly design paper piecing patterns, my process is a little different than what Alyce shares in her ebook, though the concepts really are so much alike!

I am kind of obsessed with geometric designs, so the next thing I almost always do is make up a grid to fit inside my box.

I have recently started making my grid very small (each square being 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch). It means that I have more accuracy in where my lines start and stop, and I can also create more detailed designs.

A quick tip: there is a grid tool that will make the grids for you! You just enter the finished size of your block, and how many lines you want, and there it is! Super fast and easy!

In this image I made 1/2 inch squares. Notice how I have 23 divders instead of 24?! It's just like cutting bread. If you want to cut a loaf of bread into 5 pieces, you only need to make 4 cuts. (Something I remember from my early childhood years. I don't know. lol. But it helps me remember!)

I use the grid, not necessarily to section off my block, but more as guides in creating symmetrical or asymmetrical designs. It helps me ensure that everything is accurately placed, and that everything will line up perfectly when I go to actually piece the pattern with my fabric. If one line ends even just a little bit off, it makes it harder to get my fabric sections aligned just right. And we all know how much we love those perfect points!!! This has been a great method for helping us all achieve that to the best of our abilities!

Also, because it's a paper pieced pattern, I don't have to worry about all the quilt math in a traditional quilt block. Which is really nice. ;)

From here I use the line tool and start drawing lines!

 I will usually lighten my grid lines, or make them a different color or weight so that I can tell the difference between the grid and my lines.

I get my inspiration for this step from anywhere and everywhere. When I look at patterns on clothing, buildings, photographs, nature. From other quilt blocks - I might see a design and think about how it would look if I changed basically every line, but using the original concept as a starting point. etc.  There are so many possibilities everywhere you look!

I usually will only draw lines in one quadrant of the block, depending on the type of design I'm making. My quilt block I'm sharing today, Hidden Gems, is basically a giant half square triangle (HST) with a design in each triangle. Once I have something I think I'll like, I group all the lines, and copy, paste, and rotate them until I have a complete block.

Next I'll make a copy of that block and color it in to get a better idea of how it will look.

From here I'll either make adjustments and repeat until I have a block I like. Once I have something I'm satisfied with, I'll put the block on repeat and color that in.

...reapeat block colored...
I like to play around with the repeats as well. Simply repeating the design, and then rotating the blocks within the repeat.

Repeating a block is a HUGE part of what I do. I love blocks that can stand alone and be beautiful, but I love even more the creativity that comes in finding different ways to play with it on repeat.

My Winter Holly block is an awesome example of that.

this is a 16 block repeat: or 4x4 design

Look how changing up where you place the colors and values, really change up the look of the block!

From here, I'll make more adjustments to the initial block and repeat the process until I have something I like. Once I'm happy with the design, I then go back to the individual block and then convert that into a paper piecing pattern.

This step can also sometimes change the overall look of the block.

See how once you add the lines that break up your block for paper piecing adds more options for coloring it?

And the repeat design changes also! But don't worry, you can still create the original design! You just have a few more options now.

After finishing this step I'll often go through all the steps again, making sure I'm happy with the repeat design, and will sometimes go back and adjust my lines even further.

Pretty soon after that I have my pattern pieces! Next I label and number them, and create cutting templates and coloring pages! I throw it all into Adobe InDesign, and poof! I have a pattern! Ha! I wish it were that simple, but that's the basic process from start to finish!

Now I have to add, as I've been reading through the stops on the blog hop, I realize that I design a little differently than some. It seems like a lot of people start with a design, or a color scheme and go from there. Sometimes I do start with a specific design in mind, but I don't know that I ever have a color scheme. I just seem to wing it! And personally, the color schemes I use to color my blocks with when I'm testing it out, are almost always super ugly! And never anything I would make in real life! It's not until I have the finished pattern, that I can then take it to my fabric and start figuring out colors and prints to use. :)

"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul." Elder Uchtdorf #quote:

Isn't this so true?!! Creating is such an important part of who we are!

And I'm alright with that! Because it works for me! If you are starting out, and learning the design process from others, and something just doesn't flow for you, don't fight it! Try everything, explore new ideas and techniques, and find what works for you! That's the only way that you'll love the process and be happy with the end result!

nice...while I love to sew and craft sometimes things don't turn out the way I see them in my mind!:
I had to include this quote too! Because it's so true! Don't let the fear of failure stop you! Whatever you create will be beautiful!! So enjoy the process!!

Thank you so much for stopping by today! And thank you so much Alyce for having me! I have enjoyed this so much! 

If you do use my Hidden Gems pattern, I would love to see what you make! You can tag your photos on Instagram with #fbpPatterns and I'll be sure to see them! Or you can share them on Craftsy, or shoot me an email fromblankpages@gmail.com. It always makes my day to see your beautiful creations! And be sure to share your pictures with Alyce too! For the Bee Hive blocks: #thebeehivequilts and for the blog hop: #myDIYblockdesign

Have a great week!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

No matter what, always be you!

I get a daily email with random quotes, and somedays the timing couldn't be more perfect!

I've had a lot of decisions weighing on my mind recently. How to better spend my time, what I want to focus on in different aspects of my life, what goals I want to focus on, etc.

One decision that I have really been struggling with is what I want to do with my *business*. I would like to take it to the next level, and try to amp it up a little. Which has led to questioning if I want to/should be more professional with it. As I consider what that would mean, and trying to visualize the balance of work and life, and running a business that stays in accord with my values and desires (one desire being that I just really want to help people), I've really struggled with taking the plunge and making a decision at all.

For one thing, I constantly remind myself that while I'd love to ... insert goal... such as write a book, I am not at that stage in my life to work on that goal. Right now I'm raising a family. And that is fine! I love raising my family!! And I also love my *work*. (See, I'm still not 100% committed that it's even my job. But I'm getting there.) šŸ˜‰ I'm happy with baby stepping my way into it.

My point is, is that I think this quote sums it up perfectly. No matter what we are going to do in life, we can only be ourselves in doing it!! I've struggled with become *professional*, because I've been looking at it in a way that takes so much of who I am out of the equation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tutorial: Decorative Pillow Case with Hidden Zipper

There are a lot of pillow tutorials out there, and a lot of them are fantastic! (Sew Mama Sew is an awesome place to start if you are looking for some pillow tutorials!) Over the years I've combined my favorite techniques from ones I've liked to create the perfect pillow. Ok, maybe not perfect, but it's my favorite way to make them! I hope you'll enjoy this method as well, or at least pick up a few techniques that you can incorporate into your own pillows.

What You Need:
  • A pillow front (a quilted piece of fabric or a quilt block make for beautiful pillows! You can google decorative pillows to get a lot of ideas, or check out the patterns in my shop... I have a lot of patterns that would make beautiful pillows!) ;)
  • Fabric for the back: you'll need two pieces. 
    • One piece that is the about the same height as your pillow by the same width (for above the zipper). 
    • One piece that is between 3-4 inches by the width of your pillow (for below the zipper).
  • One zipper, equal to the width of the pillow or longer. 
  • Normal sewing supplies: thread, scissors, rotary cutter, cutting mat, ruler, sewing machine, walking foot, zipper foot, and any other tool you like to use while sewing.

Before you Start:

1 - Prepare your pillow front. My pillow fronts are almost always a quilted "quilt top" or "quilt sandwich" (a piece of fabric that will be the front of the pillow, a layer of batting, and a backing fabric. You can quilt this by machine or by hand. If you don't want it quilted, at least baste around the edge to keep the layers together.) Square up your pillow front so it is the finished size plus 1/4 inch on all sides.

 For my pillow front I'm using a block I made for the MQG fabric challenge using The Cottage Garden designed by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake. I based my block off of one of the flowers in one of the prints.
The pillow front is cut to 14 1/2" x 14 1/2" for a 14" square pillow.

Assembling the Pillow Back
2 - Cut the fabric pieces for the back. You will need two pieces of fabric for the back. One piece go to above the zipper, and one to go below it. I didn't have enough fabric left for one solid piece to go above the zipper, so I pieced the top piece, shown below.

 Both pieces need to be the same width as your pillow.
:: Cut the top piece the same height as your pillow (you will probably end up cutting a little off the top, but it's better to be safe than sorry, and I like a little wiggle room). My top piece is 14 1/2" wide by about 14 inch tall.
:: Cut the bottom piece about 3 1/2 inches to 4 inches wide. My bottom piece is 4" by 14 1/2".

I didn't realize that my SD card was full in my camera, so a few of the photos I thought I took, didn't take, so the photos skip ahead a little, but the process is still the same!

3. Layout your top piece, zipper and bottom piece. (The bottom piece is already attached in the photos, just ignore that.)

4.  Draw a thin line of glue (Elmer's washable school glue) along one side of the zipper. I like LOVE using these glue tips from Cristy of Purple Daisy Quilting. You can skip this step if you prefer pinning, and continue with step 5.


5. Flip over your fabric, aligning the raw edge of the fabric (the edge that is closest to the zipper in the above step) with the edge of the zipper (here is where you would pin the fabric to the zipper) or if you used glue, use a warm iron and gently press to set the glue.

6. Use your zipper foot and sew along the edge you just basted. Back stitch at the beginning and end.

7. Use your walking foot to zigzag along the same edge, to prevent fraying of your fabric. You won't see this part, but it'll make for a nicer finish on the inside.

 Here's what the zigzag stitch looks like on just the bottom piece.

 A close up of both sides of the zipper with the zigzag stitch.

 8. Flip over the fabric and press the fabric away from the zipper teeth using your iron. Use your zipper foot and top stitch along the edge of the fabric.

 The top stitch on just the bottom piece.

 The top stitch on both the top and bottom.

 9. Repeat these steps with the other fabric piece, so that both top and bottom pieces are attached to the zipper and top stitched as shown in the photo above.

10. Fold the top piece down and press.

11. Fold the top piece back up, with the fold in the fabric on the opposite side of the zipper. The zipper and top stitch of the bottom piece should be covered. Press to crease the fold.

12. Unfold the fabric and draw a thin line of glue near the edge of the fabric. Fold the fabric back up, careful to keep the fold on the crease. Press. OR you can simply pin the fabric in place. But don't just sew it... I tried that and it didn't look pretty. ;)

13. Use your zipper foot and sew down the fabric along the size of the zipper teeth. It should be close to your original top stitch.

Here's a close up of what it looks like under the flap and you can also see how it looks with the flap down.

14. Open your zipper so the zipper pull is towards the center of the pillow back. Top stitch both ends down, stitching over the zipper a few times to secure it (this secures the zipper pull so it doesn't come off. You don't want that to happen... trust me!)
Look at where the zipper sticks out and you can see just inside where I stitched across the zipper. Keep these stitches less than 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric so they don't show on your finished pillow.

15. Trim your pillow back to the same size as the pillow front, also cutting off the ends of the zippers that are sticking out in the photo above. If you've made the top and bottom pieces taller than needed, you can know play around a little with how high up you want your zipper to be in the back. I like it towards the bottom, though not at the bottom. You could also adjust the fabric pieces so it's more in the middle if you would like... there's no right or wrong.

 Assembling the Pillow

16. Lay the pillow back over the pillow front, with right sides facing. Make sure the zipper is open at least half way, or a little more.

17. With your walking foot, stitch all the way around your pillow. Backstitch at the beginning and end. Trim your corners.

This next part I learned from this tutorial. I've only used it twice now, but I actually really love it! I'm tempted to go back and do this on all my pillows I've already made! The original tutorial says that it eliminates the floppy corners that form on pillows after a while, something I've noticed on my pillows. Try it, maybe you'll like it too! And once the pillow is stuffed, you really don't notice the tapered corners at all! This part is optional, so you can skip it if you don't want to do it, continuing to step 21.

18. Measure 1/2 inch in from each corner, mark. Measure down 5 inches on each side and mark. Use a ruler or straight edge to draw a line from the 5 inch mark to the 1/2 inch mark. Repeat on all corners.

Here's a close-up of what that looks like.

19. Use the lines you just drew as a guide, and sew 1/4 inch on the inside of them.

20. Trim the corners to your new sew line.

 21. Trim the corners (the points of the corners - you can see the difference from the above photo and the photo below). Using your walking foot, zigzag stitch around the entire pillow, careful to stay in the seam allowance. This keeps the pillow from fraying on the inside. Even though you won't see the inside, I like to know that my pillow doesn't only look great on the outside, it also has great quality on the inside!

22. Now you can turn your pillow inside out, poke out the corners and press the sides. Here is the front and back of my pillow.  (Notice how the corners look after I tapered the corners.)


The zipper is nicely hidden under the flap.

23. Stuff with a pillow insert and you are ready for a nap!

 Notice how the corners are still pointy, even though they are tapered, but not so much that they begin to be floppy. I like it. What do you think?

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!