Merry Christmas

Christmas decorations certainly get me into the holiday spirit.  I was cataloging some photos, using the new “tag” feature in Windows 7.  I enjoyed looking at some older photos of Christmas quilts that I wanted to share with you, and wish you a very Merry Christmas too!

{above} Wallhanging, by Martha A. Norstrand (More Quilts Please).  Martha was a Featured Artist at the Road to California 2009 quilt show and she will be teaching at the 2011 Road2CA show too!

{above} Christmas Chickadee by David M. Taylor.  This beautiful quilt was displayed at the Road to California Quilt Show in 2009.
{above} table topper made by Ann Conn
{above} Wallhanging, by Karen Zappone
{above} Wallhanging, by Judy Leftwich
{above} This cute Christmas tree design was displayed in a quilt shop called “Material Possessions”, in Lake Forest, CA.  which closed their doors and later reopened under a different name, with new owners.  I do have several patterns by Material Possessions, but there are quite a few more that I’d like to get.  I understand the owner of the original Material Possesssions may be at Road to California in 2011, where I’m hoping to be able to buy some more of her designs and gain insights on her new online business (tbd site?).
{above} This beautiful row style Christmas Quilt was made by Marcia Monroe and exhibited at the Orange County Quilt Show in 2005.

{above} This whimsical quilt was also made by Marcia Monroe and exhibited at the Orange County Quilt Show in 2005.  The name for this cute quilt is fun and inspirational “UFOs Never Melt”.

This new photo “tag” feature in Windows 7 allows you to add a number of tags to a photo or group of photos, without needing to change the file name.  You could easily include a tag for the name of the quilter, designer, show (event), etc..  Steps are quite simple:

When you view your photos from windows explorder you can click on the photo (s) you want to tag.  You will see a menu bar that will show “Tags: Add a tag”.  You click on the add a tag and type in how you want to tag this photo.  In my case I used “Christmas Quilt”.  After you type your description in a “Save” button will appear on this same menu bar and you’ll need to click save.

After you have added a tag to one or more pictures, when you do a search on that description (tag) you will find all photos (and other files) that have that description in the name of the file or tag.

I find this new feature in Windows 7 to be very helpful in organizing my photos, as well as helping to see if I have more than one photo of the same quilt or more copies of the same photo(and may want to delete). 

Again, I do hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

While you may already be thinking about the New Year, but either way I want to invite everyone to come to Southern California  January 20-23rd for the Road to California Quilt Show, at the Ontario Convention Center.  It is also near Disneyland, shopping, restaurants and great hotels.  Might just be a perfect winter getaway for some that live out of the area and want to get out of the snow and enjoy a wonderful quilt show.


Amy Butler Software, by Electric Quilt Company

Amy Butler Softwares is Amy’s first digital collection of home sewing projects, including quilts, pillows and bags. There are lots of projects for your home, with step by step instructions, for sewing and quilting enthusiasts of any level. Plus, using this software enables thousands of possible variations.

The original Software package includes 22 unique & stylish projects for the home: 8 quilts, 3 table runners, 7 pillows, 1 floor cushion and 3 bags. Plus 9 bonus projects. All with clear, step-by-step illustrated sewing instructions for all skill levels. Print patterns, yardage charts, and sew, an inspiration gallery, sewing glossary & tips & techniques, detailed project instructions in PDF format that each contain well written instructions and great visuals.

On December 17th, the Electric Quilt Company released a free downloadable update to this software that includes a bonus project, plus access to Amy’s latest fabric lines, Love and Soul Blossoms, in the software.  This update is very easy to download and install.  And it is free for any Amy Butler Software users!

The Amy Butler Softwares allow you to make projects just as  Amy designed it, or you can change it and make it your own design.

The software is user friendly and very similar feeling to using EQ6/EQ7, whereby you can add various borders & border styles, select fabrics (Amy Butler fabrics) for your projects, and embellish (thread selection). 

This is a fun software package that is perfect for any Amy Butler fan, as well as those looking for fun and easy projects for making things around their home. I also think this software would make an excellent gift for those that are new to sewing & quilting. And, if you have EQ6 or EQ7 you can open any of the Amy Butler software projects and re-design within EQ, as well as link your EQ software to the Amy Butler Software fabric library.  

There is also an Amy Butler quilt trunk Show that quilt shops can schedule for display in their store.  For more information on this trunk show and/or software check out this post on the  EQ Blog, as well as the EQ website.

If you do have this software and have not yet downloaded the free update, I highly encourage you to take a few minutes to download it.  And if you don’t have this software and are a fan of Amy Butler, this might be something you want to ask Santa to bring you.  You may even know a young person whom you are wanting to inspire to learn to sew and/or quilt and this software could be a good segway to launch them into sewing, quilting, and/or designing.  Thus, I think it would also make a great gift for almost anyone too.  And it is really very reasonably priced, with a great value of what you get with this software package.

Rowenta Pressure Iron and Steamer

When at the Mogel Mountain Quilt Retreat, this fall, I had a chance to use the Rowenta Pressure Iron and Steamer.  Wow, is this a great iron.  It was always very hot and and the weight of this iron really made it  great for pressing.  There were several irons available at this retreat, but this was my absolute favorite at this retreat and for any iron I’ve ever used previously.  Loved it.

I haven’t told my existing Rowenta iron that I’m dreaming of an upgrade.  My current Rowenta has been very good to me for many, many years and will probably do a great job for many more to come.  But there is something about this Pressure Iron and Steamer that has certainly caught my eye. 
Do you have a dream iron or are you dreaming of a particular iron?

Fun Machine Embroidery Christmas Projects

I like to machine embroidery (ME) tea towels (lightweight dish towels) and include in baskets of homemade cookies, for gifts to neighbors and friends at Christmas.  I haven’t finished baking treats, but wanted to share insights on this fun ME project.

The beautiful “M” and “C” are from the Christmas Fonts collection, by and the cute little mouse is from Pixies Rule.   These ME designs stitched out very easily and with great quality, detail and fun.

Now I just need to bake some yummy cookies to go into the gift basket with this cute dish towel. 

Guess the Designer Challenge Part 1 & Part 2

It has been a long time since I’ve held a Guess the Designer Challenge.  So, I feel like I should clarify how these work….
As one of my goals has been to increase my ability of recognizing designers by their quilting designs and styles, as well as research and learn about more designers, I thought it would be fun to hold a two part challenge where a photo(s) is posted and you get a chance to guess who the designer is.  When the correct guess is placed this post is updated (Part 2) sharing more insight about this designer.  And, the person that correctly guessed the designer gets recognized on the Guess the Designer Challenge page of my blog too!
So here is a photo of part of a quilt.  Can  you correctly guess the name of this designer?

Part Two

Greg Bryson (Flat Out Quilting) was the first to correctly guess this designer, based on the snippet of a photo of a quilt.  Greg is also now listed in the “Designer Challenge” page (aka Hall of Fame for being able to correctly guess designers by photos of their quilts).

This designer is the very talented Sarah Vedeler.  Sarah designed and  made this spectacular GO! Be Dazzeled Quilt. 

This quilt also recently won First Place, at the International Quilt Festival Houston, in the Computer-Aided Machine Embroidery category of the 2010 “A World of Beauty”. This was the first time Sarah has entered a quilt in the IQA show. Congratulations to Sarah Vedeler!

GO! Be Dazzled was created with popular GO! designs cut out from the GO! Round Flower, GO! Funky Flower, GO! Star-2”, 3”, 4”, GO! Heart-2”, 3”, 4”, GO! Feathers, GO! Circle-2”, 3”, 5” and GO! Diamonds dies, which are all also compatible with the new GO! Baby™ Fabric Cutter, to make the beautiful quilt top. Sarah then embellished the motifs with her own artistry by adding computer-aided machine embroidery to complete her work of art.

Sarah Vedeler and AccuQuilt have partnered together on new designer GO! dies featuring Sarah’s Sparkle Tree collection and Stars collection. In addition, Sarah Vedeler Designs offers digitalized embroidery motifs to accompany the new dies. GO! fabric cutting dies as well as the GO! Baby™

Quilters By The Sea

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of presenting to “Quilters By The Sea” (QBS) Quilt Guild in Long Beach, CA..  All of the members were very friendly, talented and committed to helping others. QBS is a nonprofit corporation promoting quilting excellence through education and philanthropic projects.

This year QBS members made 290 beautiful quilts that were given to the following programs:  Long Beach Battered Women’s Shelter, St. Mary’s Medical Center Pediatrics, Long Beach Police Department, “For The Child”, New Life Beginnings, and the VA hospital in Long Beach. 

In addition to the quilts, a variety of toys, clothing items, gift cards, toiletries and other items made and/or donated by members were also given to these programs, as appropropriate.

The meeting ceremonies were very touching, as representatives from these programs were presented with beautiful bundles of quilts, and monetary donations were also given to several programs too.  In addition to all of the above, QBS  gave two $250 scholarships to a program at the Long Beach Community College, for students studying clothing designs. 

The heartfelt appreciation from representatives of these programs brought tears to my eye and QBS will forever have a soft spot in my heart.

I also learned insight on their fun guild challenge for 2011, where members select 5 UFOs that when they complete they will share with members and be eligible to win prizes.  What a great quilt guild challenge!  And I can tell from the QBS calendar, they also have great speakers and workshops throughout the year.

As such, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to QBS for all they do to help others.  And, thank you for having me come to their wonderful quilt guild.  I had a wonderful time and was truly inspired with your Quilt Guild.

Ok…as I expect some of you are wondering what SewCalGal would present to a Quilt Guild, my presentation focused on “Emerging Opportunities on the Internet for Quilters”.  My goal was to increase awareness and inspire QBS Guild members to have fun following blogs and/or creating their own blog, or even tweeting or playing on Facebook.  The virtual quilting community is actively growing, and filled with inspirational quilt shows, challenges, contests, fun giveaways, quilt-alongs and more. 

What is your favorite aspect of belonging to the virtual world of quilters?

Fast Favorites From McCall’s Quilting

Fast Favorites from McCalls Quilting“, published by Martingale & Company, Home of That Patchwork Place, is a recently released book that is already a best seller!  And SewCalGal believes this book is going to be in hot demand for a very long time.

McCalls Quilting has been creating wonderful quilt patterns for generations, where just about every quilter is familiar with McCall’s Quilting family of magazines.  They pride themselves on publishing accurate, complete patterns for quilts of all descriptions.  And they also create quilt patterns that are fast, that work with fat quarters, Jelly Roll strips, fat eights, or other precuts, along with sharing insights on various time-saving techniques for their patterns. 

This quilting book contains 20 patterns that are easy to follow, have inspirational photos, and great visuals.  Sizes range from 16 3/4″ x 31 3/4″ to 81″x92″.

The majority of the designs are pieced blocks, with a few including simple applique.

There is also a nice section on Basic Quiltmaking Instructions which provides insight on rotary cutting, machine piecing, chain piecing, applique’ (freezer paper for hand or machine, needle-turn hand applique’, fusible applique’), borders, finishing , and more. 

These beautiful projects would look great in a variety of colorways.

Nearly all the patterns are fat quarter friendly; many are suitable for other precuts as well.

Excellent ideas for making beautiful quilts quickly, yet will last for generations.

Seems to me that I can think of someone that I’d love to give a quilt to with every pattern in this book, as well as designs that I’d love to make to have in my home.

I have so many fond memories of making quilts with patterns from McCalls Quilting. Have you ever made a quilt with a pattern from McCalls Quilting? Do you subscribe to any of their magazines?