Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I'm really so tired today.  We've been going full blast this week at Vacation Bible School, not to mention the children's museum.  One thing I created this week?  Iron on transferred t-shirts.  We bought the transfers at Wall E World and the very cheap shirts that go along with it.  Man, how easy? 

So I will be making shirts for family reunion.  My great Grandmother's name was Charity Wright Willis, so i will be playing with her first name.  Perhaps her picture and the saying Charity starts at home...i dunno...I'm still brainstorming.  More on that later.

Seeing and teaching other kids at VBS and then seeing my boys reinforces so many values and reasons I had in staying home.  They are awesome boys.  Several people at my mom's church has said so to me.  Just awesome. 

Last night i had a song request.  Chunk asked if I wanted background music and then started strumming his necklace.  The boy needs a guitar. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Modern Stair Step Tutorial

Hello Everyone.  My name is Lisa and I want to share with you a tutorial for  my Modern Stair Step Baby Quilt.  I generally make this Quilt using Riley Blake's All Star 2 Fabrics and 1-2 coordinating solids.  This is a very easy pattern and the quilt is fast to finish if you chain piece and follow these steps.

Material List:                
  • 7 or more Fat Quarters in any print, or 1 jelly roll and 1 charm pack
  • 2 1/2-3 yards of Coordinating Solid Fabric
  • Rotary Cutter, mats, ruler, sewing machine, 1/4" presser foot.  (the usual stuff)         

Cutting List:

  1. From the Solid Fabric, Cut 6 2 1/2" strips.  You may need more or less but can use any excess for binding.  (Note)- you will be cutting from 1/2 yard or more of fabric so you will have two times the fabric than you will with just a fat quarter.
  2. From the Print Fat Quarters cut --  
  • 2 - 2 1/2" strips        
  • 2 - 4 1/2" strips               

Sub-cut each 2 1/2" strip into 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares.    Cut all 4 1/2" strips into 4 1/2" squares.

The top right shows the larger Brown Strips.  When I started making this quilt I realized the brown had no partner because there were no other dark brown fabrics in this line.  If you choose this route this is how the blocks would be arranged.  You basically Alternate the fabrics until you used all the fabrics.  choose lighter shades for the steps and darker for the 4 squares and visa versa.

 But for this example I am using my solid for the 4 step squares and not using the solid anywhere else in the quilt.  

The next step is to choose your fabrics for each block.  I liked pairing the light blue, white, and dark blue prints with each other.  I think it would look good either way!  This pattern is very forgiving and looks good anyway you choose.   I chose my blocks first and then group them together.   With this tutorial you will get around 28 blocks.  You can really make it with at least 20 blocks.

Start chain piecing your 4 square units first.  Each solid is matched with a print.  This can be random unless you are like me and want your stripes to line up.  I arrange all these blocks on my cutting board and pin accordingly.  

Using a 1/4" seam allowance sew the two patches together.  You may continue making the block or you can simply stack them on top of their 4 1/2" "mates."

I tend to do things in stages.  I sew all the 2 patch units, press, then sew the 4 patch, then press then sew.  

Press your seams towards the brown patches.  Feel free to finger press here as well.  

Nest your seam for each 4 patch unit.       
You really don't have to pay much attention to arrangement in these steps unless you have a directional print or want to keep your stripes in the same direction.  I paid attention here and wouldn't you know i had some stripes not line up....but OH WELL!

Sew the 4 patch units together.  I always finger press my units into a fan to make the seam lie flat in the center. you may have to use your stitch ripper to loosen those threads.  

Sew Each 4 patch unit to the matching solid square and press towards the 4 patch unit. Nest the seams and sew and press into a fan with this block as well.  

Here is your finished block.  

I arrange each block to create an X with the brown or solid squares.  When you are finished it will look like this.

I sewed a 4" border to this quilt and mitered the corners.  I had about 4 blocks leftover that I split in half and sewed end to end.  I needed a few more fabrics to have a big enough backing.  I added the leftover pieces from when I cut my 4 1/2" squares and added this as well.

Please pardon the thread!  

I will post more after I finish quilting.

The previous Modern Stair Step quilts were made with the Orange and Green variations.  These fabrics had a brown Medallion print.  In this case I used my solid brown in the larger blocks.  I also had each print take a turn being the 4 patch stairs.  It really can be done either way.  I like this version better actually because it plays with the negative spaces a bit more.  If you decide to do this, you should cut 1 less 2 1/2" strip and cut at least 1 4 1/2" strip of the brown, and you will need to cut at least 1 more 2 1/2" strip of each print to make the 4 stairs.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

doing too much with my hands...

carpal tunnel...

My arms are getting tired. Returning from vacation brought some awesome things.

But as with most things in life the good things are always accompanied by bad things.  You may think these rows look great but i worked so hard on these rows right before we left.  The pepper picture is ridiculous with weeds.  Whats worse We have record heat in June.
It's crazy because it was May and I came back home to August!  I worked all day Saturday cleaning up my tomatoes.  I told my friends at church that I worked in the garden 5 hours on Saturday.  Later DH tells me "you didn't work for 5 hours."  He was watching a show on the computer the whole time i was outside,  so i had to remind him that i started at 9 and ended at 2 to eat lunch.  He did come out and help me with the cages though.  5 hours and this is all I accomplished.

I have many projects in the air right now.  I am quilting my Kyoto 4-patch poesy.  It's okay.  I wish i had just stippled it instead of doing a center fill on each block.  It's going slow...and I'm not too happy with it BUT  I don't want to rip all of it out either.  I hope that when I'm done I can do a nice border to help it along.  I wanted to try something new with this quilt but sometimes a simple stippling is so nice.

I also started English paper piecing on vacation.  it has gone fast.  I have quite a few more scraps to piece and then i need to find some solid white or brown or something to do the outside rings.  i may just do a portion and then put aside hoping for more awesome scraps.  I have some really cute fat quarter bundles I splurged on over at Fabric Worm.

But I'm starting to love crochet as much as quilting lately.  This activity makes my arms sore too.  I have tried knitting but it's not as fun as these little flowers.  I will be adding this to my shop soon I just need to finish it out and maybe add a stamen or something.

And in between all this I have two very busy boys that are hungry all the time.  I told them we could get a dog after vacation but I'm scared the dog will eat my garden and everything else.  With the way they are so hungry all the time I may be getting pet chickens and a pet cow.  We will be doing alot of movies and splashpads and swim lessons.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


We went really crazy eating in Branson. I have been wishy washy with my weight watchers. Well I went to the store today and bought a ton of good for you food. This is my dinner. I may not even eat it all but i thought it was beautiful. I've been making a veggie tray every week and it's been great to just get some fresh veggies. I made some tabbouleh when i came home from shopping. It was ready by dinnertime.

We had two wonderful dinners in Branson. The first one is Dana's . We had the best burger here. After spending $40 at Denny's we were very happy here. We actually saw some BBQ nachos and had to come back and try them. They were awesome.

The second great place to eat in Branson was Florentina's. We walked in thinking oh they might be owned by Zio's. They were better. The kid's pizza was huge! The next time we go we will order that for the boys to share. My husband loved his food and seriously the lasagna was the best I ever had. I usually don't order Lasagna though. There was so much food we had it again a day later, so it's a great place to share an entree or if you are like us go the first day and you can have leftovers. Service was fast enough it could be better but it wasn't the waitress's fault. She had at least 8-10 tables this night. They offer whole wheat and gluten free pasta in any of their pasta dishes too.

As good as that food was though I felt blugh afterwards.  I just ate this meal and finished with some grapes.  I'm full, satisfied and feel so much better.

I'm also starting my Apple Cider Vinegar drinking today.  They say it helps sinus infections.  I have one every two to three weeks.  I do not want to take antibiotics every month though.  I have to work in my garden soon and I'm dreading the flare up. Showering immediately and changing clothes might help though.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

when handmade should be avoided like the plague

I just came back from Branson.  Yes there were some cute things...I really admire the handmade items especially the woodwork.  But I walked into the "handmade Quilts" shops several times only to hear the owner brag about how their quilts are handmade and that other store gets theirs from overseas and are mass produced etc.  All the store owners are saying it.  These quilts were all the cheapest batting, the cheapest material (maybe cotton).  A few washings and they would bunch and look eh.  the quilting looked like yarn and it was done in straight lines with a machine, not sure if it was a sewing machine or hand stiched honestly.  So here I am with my small etsy store churning out high quality quilts and nobody is buying.  I saw some empty booth space...might have to move.

However they HAVE to skimp on materials and labor if they are selling quilts like I think they are.  Quilting is not a moneymaking venture.  If it was I would a millionaire and not from my quilts but i would have inherited it!

I did make a really cute hat over my vacation.  A free pattern when i went into Michael's to get a crochet hook (i accidentally forgot to pack it).  --the horror.

I made this hat for my beautiful niece.  It was so fun and super easy but I got confused by the pattern.  You start with the bottom so i stopped in doubt and tried a different way, finally I decided just to follow the pattern blindly.  I only had one size hook and it might have been too small.  I will definitely be making this hat again it was so easy and I think it was adorable.