Superhero quilt with fuzzy backing

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My eldest son Ethan turned FIVE last week. I wanted to share his superhero quilt that I made, as well as the tutorial I used. It was time he got a big boy quilt because he’s outgrown all his baby ones. He’d been asking for a superhero quilt with Wonder Woman since last Summer, and I promised him one as soon as I finished writing my 2nd book. It was worth the wait! πŸ™‚

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Soo…I’m gonna vent a little here. My son has a blue, store-bought blanky that is his absolute favorite since he was a baby. Sigh. I don’t blame him….it’s super soft and plush. None of the many quilts I’ve made him could compare to his “blue” (that’s what he still calls it today). *jealous quilter over here*

I knew without question I had to make his new superhero quilt super soft…softer than “blue.” Otherwise it would just get tossed aside, forgotten in his quilt pile. Do I sound bitter I’m not bitter.Β  😐

So I bought the most snuggly fabric I could find for the backing. This is rose marble cuddle fabric by Shannon Fabrics. I found it at my local fabric shop, Pacific Fabrics. It’s great because it’s 60″ wide, so I didn’t even need to assemble the backing.

And here’s my quilting secret: My friend Monica Skov has long arm services, and YES! she quilts fuzzy backing!!!! Monica is located in Seattle, but you can ship quilts to her as well. Details at her website over at It’s Just Sewing. I’ve had 4 or 5 quilts finished by her already, and totally recommend her long arm services! She has a quick turnaround time too!

So here’s how the whole quilt looks πŸ™‚

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I used my Rainy Days quilt tutorial, which can be foundΒ  HERE. I chose this pattern because it showcases all the details of the superhero fabric so well. And it also comes together very quickly!

For the name block, I replaced two 10″ blocks with one 19.5″x10″ rectangle. For his name, I chose a font I liked in Word and typed out his name, enlarged it, and then printed it. Then I used Steam-a-Seam fusible webbing (by Warm Company) with navy blue fabric, and traced his name onto it and cut it out. It’s very easy…just follow the directions on the back of the Steam-a-Seam package. Lastly, I simply ironed his name onto the rectangle. I did a top stitch around the edges of the name, though it probably wasn’t necessary as Steam-a-Seam sticks forever.

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This green fabric is very special because if you look closely, it has Ethan’s drawings of our family on it.

He designed this fabric and then I had it printed on textile via Spoonflower. He was so proud to see his own designs on fabric, and it was a fun project we did together.

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I realized I forgot Spidey (one of Ethan’s fave!) so I added him on last minute.Β  This quilt was seriously So. Much. Fun to make! I really enjoyed choosing all the fabrics for it too as they’re all things that my son loves. Even the background fabrics are little ghosts because he loves Halloween. πŸ™‚

I bought all fabrics for the quilt top from Jean Marie’s Fabrics etsy shop. She shipped everything very quickly!

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I don’t usually do quilt labels, but I did for this one. I just used a 5″ square and wrote on it using a Sharpie permanent marker. Then did a blind stitch to attach.

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I also made him a matching superhero pillow case using my friend Monica’s Perfect Pillowcase video tutorial. It was very easy and quick.

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I couldn’t help but go down memory lane and was looking through all his old baby photos. Forever my baby boy he will be. <3

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Not to say I have baby fever, because I still have his 18 month tasmanian devil of a brother, lol. He loves the superhero quilt too!

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Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post! Hope you’re all staying warm this winter!

 

xo

Jera

 

 

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Make Time for the Things you Love

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I realized it’s been months since I last made a post! I’ve had so much I wanted to share, but the end of the year got busy with the holidays, making deadlines and my family getting hit with the nasty cold bug. I hope all of you have been well and healthy, and keeping warm with all the ice storms happening in the states.

In this post I will share some sneak peak photos from my 2nd book, including how I made time for it. These days time seems few and far between! Making time isn’t easy…in all honesty I almost quit writing my book…but I kept at it and got it done with some help.

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Quilt As-You Go – book 2 sneak peak

Some news on the quilting front: My second quilt as-you-go book is well on it’s way! It will be released Fall of 2017. This book builds upon my first, Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern, with some fresh qayg ideas plus a 3rd joining method, which creates a reversible quilt. I am so excited to share it with you all! In addition, my second fabric collection for Lecien Fabrics will be released this Spring! My fabric will have a very cute notion to go along with it…can’t wait to share more!

Also, a quick thank you for 300 reviews on Amazon for my first book! My second book would not have been possible without all of your support and enthusiasm. A heartfelt thank you for that.

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‘Husband of the Year Award’ goes to my Ben. <3 Leading up to my 2nd book’s deadline(s), my husband and I shared a handful of late nights binding quilts together. I didn’t even need to ask him, he just did it. Ben and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary this July.

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Our Summer basically consisted of Ben coming home from work, we would eat a quick dinner and then he would take over the kids and cleaning the dishes from that point on so that I could work on my book, as well as designing my 2nd fabric collection. He’d take the kids to the park, get them ready for bed and then tuck them in for the night. That typically gave me from 6:00pm until the rest of the night to work. This helped me not have to stay up until 2am every night since I got an earlier start. He also took the kids during Saturdays to give me a full day to work.Β  I like to think we make a good team.

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Quilt As-You-Go Blocks

Yes, my husband and I didn’t see much of each other over the Summer, but we knew it was only temporary. My complaints were that I didn’t have enough time, and so we made time. It’s funny how it’s a simple concept, but it doesn’t mean it would be easy to do. Love this quote.

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Doing this also allowed me to spend 100% of my time with my two boys during the Summer days. We picked blueberries in our yard, went on long summer walks, went to the zoo and played at local Seattle parks and made wonderful memories during this fleeting time where they grow up too fast.

Before our crazy schedule I was trying to squeeze in work here and there during nap times, putting on movies so I could try to get a bit done during the day. But if any of you have ever tried to work with a one-year-old and 4-year-old milling about, you’ll know it’s just not possible. LOL. It was also very stressful…I became a mean-mama-monster with every little interruption.Β  It wasn’t worth it.

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One emotional nightΒ  I wrote an email to my publisher telling them that I would have to quit the book. Even with our crazy, new schedule, I still felt that I couldn’t do it all.Β  I almost hit “send,” but felt that I had to have my husband’s blessing first. He told me to try asking for help before I make any big decisions, and that I should reach out to some quilting friends that I’ve met on instagram to see if they would be interested in making some quilts for the book.

I’m usually very independent when I work, and I try to do it all myself. For my first book, I did it all on my own – I made every single quilt. But my situation was different then. At the time I only had one child who took 4 hour naps during the day! Now I have two kids that were wide awake pretty much all day, lol. Let’s get real…I did need help. And it took my husband telling me so to realize it.

So that night I went out of my comfort zone and reached out to some friends from instagram to see if I could contract them for some help. I emailed them and waited for a response the following morning. Just like that, I had found some help. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, and that the impossible might actually be possible now.

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Writing my second book and continuing designing fabrics is important to me. It’s a way for me to express my creativity and share it with the world. My kids are my world. I love them to “finity and beyond” as my eldest would say. The days can escape us, and some days they can drain us. We can find ourselves in a tired, stressful loop. I’m not claiming to know how to fix this for everyone, but I do know that it’s important to take time to do what makes your soul happy.

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Spending time with my kids and creating beautiful things makes my soul happy. If you feel like you don’t have time, then make time. With the help of my husband, we were able to make time. I admit that the crazy schedule was not sustainable, but as mentioned before we knew it was a temporary fix. Perhaps down the road we’ll be able to afford child care to help us out for the next round πŸ˜‰

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Anyway, I hope my story might be helpful in some way. If not, I hope you at least enjoyed the photo sneak-peaks, lol.

Here’s a few more I pulled from my camera.

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My youngest son is Simon. He is now 1 1/2 years old. He is a Tasmanian devil…quite the handful!

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And my eldest, Ethan. He is the sweetest and has the biggest heart. He turns 5 this February.

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Some more sneak peaks of book 2. These are quilted blocks using my fabrics from my first fabric collection, High Tea for Lecien Fabrics.

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Isn’t this the daintiest binding…!?

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I hope you all enjoyed this post and that you have a wonderful new year ahead!

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In 2017, don’t forget to make time to do what makes your soul happy! πŸ™‚

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Hugs,

Jera

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Holiday Table Runner Tutorial

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How’s a big stack of gifts for some holiday cheer!? πŸ™‚Β  I’ve been putting off making holiday projects because, well,Β  life has been so busy. You know how it can get. But before I knew it, Halloween had already passed and it’s already mid-November! Yikes! How did that happen? I decided to make time this weekend and put together this quick and fun project to share with you all. It’s doable, even with a busy schedule!

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I just love an excuse to buy candies, for “staging purposes.” πŸ˜‰

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The sun came out in Seattle during my table runner photo shoot, so I felt obligated to take a photo of every single possible angle. ;-p

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The fabrics I used are Flower Sugar Holiday by Lecien FabricsΒ  – I love the vibrant colors!

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This tutorial makes a ~59″ long table runner. If you want it longer or shorter, simply add or subtract some gift blocks to customize the size.

Tip! For a fun alternative (and an even faster finish!), skip sewing in the ribbons as a part of your block, and instead pick out some real ribbons and top stitch them onto the tops of your gift blocks.

I hope you enjoy the project!

Materials for a ~59″ long table runner:

  • 5 fat quarters for the top (this will be the gifts)
  • 1/4 yard for ribbon (or buy real ribbon and sew it on the top)
  • 1 yard backing and batting
  • coordinating thread

Step 1 –Β  Cut two 9.5″ x 12.5″ rectangles from one fat quarter. Cut each rectangle in half as shown below. From your ribbon fabric, cut a 2″ strip along the WOF. Then trim the strip to be 2″ x 9.5″. Sew the ribbon strip in between the two halves previously cut.

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Step 2 – Then, cut it in half again as shown below, but this time along the length. Sew in another 2″ strip between the halves.

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Step 3 – Make 2 more gifts, except the ribbon on these next two will be slightly to the left. To do this, cut two more 9.5″ x 12.5″ rectangles from one fat quarter. Cut each rectangle at the 4.5″ mark as shown below. From your ribbon fabric, cut a 2″ strip along the WOF. Then trim the strip to be 2″ x 9.5″. Sew the ribbon strip in between the two pieces previously cut. Lastly, repeat step 2 to add the cross ribbon.

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Step 4 – Next, make 3 smaller gifts: From your remaining fat quarters, cut three 8″ x 10.5″ rectangles. From your ribbon fabric, but 1.5″ strips along the WOF. Cut and add a ribbon strip as shown below.

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Step 5 – You should now have a set of 7 gifts. Sew them together as shown below.

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Step 6 – Baste the top onto a long piece of batting and quilt the entire top.

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This smaller project is a great way to practice free-motion quilting. I always stick to quilting loopy-loops because it’s easy and fun. dsc07519

Step 7 – finish it! Cut and sew your backing fabric so that it’s approximately 14″ x 60″ long. With right sides facing together, pin the quilted top to the backing fabric all around the edges. Sew a 1/4″ stitch along the perimeter, but be sure to leave an opening about 6-7″ wide along the side of one of the gifts and away from corners, as shown below by the heart pins. Start and end your stitch with a back-stitch.

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Then, trim all the excess backing fabric off.

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Trim the excess fabric off the corners too. dsc07533

Turn right side out through the 6-7″ opening. Make sure to poke the corners out using your fingers. Iron flat using the steam setting. To close the 6-7″ opening, simply iron the opening 1/4″ inwards to match the seam, and then use fabric glue or steam-a-seam to glue it closed. A quick and clean alternative to binding home decor projects πŸ™‚

Step 8 – Add bows. To make these bows, I cut a 4″ x 20″ strip. With right sides facing together, I ironed it in half along the length (the 20″ side), and then sewed a 1/4″ seam allowance down the length and bottom to close it. Turn right side out and iron flat. Use fabric glue to close the other end. Then, I simply tied a bow and then top-stitched it to the runner with two parallel stitches right in the center of the bow’s knot to secure it. Be sure to use a canvas or denim/jean needle when attaching the bow. A stronger needle makes it easier to attach the bow since the bow’s knot is so thick. Alternatively, you can buy ribbon and attach that instead of making your own. I made 3 bows for this runner.

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That’s it! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving in the weeks ahead!

xoxo

-jera

 

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My New Cutting Table!

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I had to write a quick post to share my very FIRST cutting table ever! Who knew a potting bench could make a perfect cutting table?! For those of you who have been following me for a while, you may recognize photos similar to the following where I used to do all of my fabric cutting on the floor:

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Alas, no more Paige butts on my cutting mat! (no offense Paige)

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My new cutting view…ta-dahh!

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My new cutting table is a sturdy potting bench made of reclaimed cedar fencing.

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I was looking on my local Craiglist and stumbled upon some awesome potting benches that eventually led me to this website:Β http://fenceboardfurniture.com/

I contacted Harold, the owner, and asked if he could make me a potting bench that was at least 28″ deep (to fit my cutting mat) and 35-36″ high, which is a good cutting height for me while standing. If you look at his website, he has so many fun potting benches to choose from! Harold custom made me this bench within a week and delivered it (from Lakewood, WA to Seattle, WA) for $200 total. An amazing deal! The surface of the bench was sanded to be smooth and leveled, perfect for my cutting mat. I highly recommend ordering a potting bench from Harold if you happen to be in Washington.Β  He was quick, the workmanship is very high quality and sturdy, he rounded all the corners leaving no jagged edges, and it was no doubt worth the money. Harold is also up for the challenge if you have something custom in mind. I am a very happy customer!

Here it is when it first arrived…it felt massive in our living room but my husband and I were able to maneuver it into my sewing room, thank goodness!

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I really like how this cutting table keeps all my sharp cutting tools high up and away from my little ones.

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It has a nice top shelf for displaying my antiquey stuff. πŸ™‚ I hope to eventually decorate the wall behind it with some vintage dishes.

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Here’s a side view. The depth overall is about 30″.

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I couldn’t end this post without a peek at my stash πŸ™‚

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And here’s the other side of my sewing room.Β  I use a Pfaff Grand Quilter – it has no bells and wistles, just simple straight stitching.Β  I’ve had it for about 10 years now and it’s a work horse. In other words, I LOVE it. To the left of it is my fabric collection, High Tea. πŸ™‚ I will need to make room for collection #2 soon! πŸ™‚

oh yes, and those are my boyz…

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Say hello to Daryl, Jamie and Jax. Their favorite pass time is to watch me sew, obviously. And as you can see, they take guarding my stash quite seriously.

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Anyway, that’s it for now. I promised to share details of my new cutting table after I shared a photo of it on Instagram. Let me know if you have any questions. πŸ™‚

Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Quilty Box

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Last week I received my very first Quilty Box in the mail, so I thought I’d share what goodies were inside! Simon was very excited to see it’s contents and kept walking away with my Quilty Box ;-p

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Quilty Box is basically happy mail for quilters. (I squealed with delight when my box arrived). It’s a box filled with premium fabrics, quilt swag, patterns and tools curated by quilting designers and bloggers. You can subscribe to receive monthly boxes in the mail, or gift one to a friend or yourself. πŸ™‚ Details can be found at their website, Quilty Box.

Okay, enough talk. Below is what was inside the September Quilty box which was filled with 6 fun items! I was photographing the items as I excitedly unwrapped them from the box, so you can unwrap them with me πŸ™‚

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I had been eagerly waiting for this particular box because I knew it was curated by Kaari Meng of French General. I learned from the card (above) that in the Summers, Kaari “takes groups of women to the South of France to live in a large old house and visit local flea markets, artisans and villages – as well as craft and learn to cook like a Frenchwomen.” I like to think Kaari and I are cut from the same cloth. *sigh* That sounds like pure bliss to me…sign me up!

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The first item was this beautiful bundle of Madame Rouge designed by Kaari Meng of French General. This collection was inspired by the fabric scraps left behind at the atelier of an old seamstress in France. I love hearing what inspires designs, and that is so dreamy.

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This bundle came with 9 fat quarters.

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Next were these curved embroidery scissors. I’m a collector of cute little sewing scissors so I was pretty happy about this addition to my collection!

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The third and fourth items were Cosmo Embroidery floss by Lecien, and a pattern. I love the silky texture of Cosmo floss and the rich colors. Pictured under the floss is an embroidery/quilt pattern that can be used with the floss and bundle.

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The fifth item is this beautiful, full-size pattern which showcases Madame Rouge. And lastly, the sixth item were embroidery needles (which I forgot to photograph). I like how all the items go together and can be used to make one of the patterns.

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I am swooning over the rich colors of this collection as they put me in the mood for Fall. The weather here in Seattle has been colder and windy and the leaves are starting to turn colors similar to this collection.

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Anyway, that wraps up my Quilty Box goodness! I hope you or someone treats you to a Quilty Box real soon – it’s a great gift idea with the holidays around the corner. Thanks for unwrapping my quilty box with me!

 

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