Sitting Pretty…..

April 15th, 2014

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I know this line has been out awhile, but I still wanted to share the joy of it with you. It is called Sitting Pretty by Laurie Wisbrun for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. And I also had this charm pack of Kona Solids from Robert Kaufman lying around.  I was thinking what could I do with them, and then it hit me. ...

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I could make my favorite little treat bags designed by my friend Monica. So I did….I made a lot. I have a couple of big events coming up that I would love to give away goodies, so I decided I would just make up a few bags from each new line when they come in so I would always have a few on hand. I modified Monica’s pattern a bit so that I could more efficiently incorporate the charm squares.

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And fittingly enough, you could use them for Easter. Tonight, tomorrow whatever. Now that your taxes are done, you might as well make some of these before the weekend!

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They are addictive, I tell you…...well, not as addictive as Cadbury Mini Eggs….but close….really close….

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My next post will have some more of these handy dandy little bags…..AND a great giveaway!! So come back soon, you hear?

Charley and Birch

April 3rd, 2014


Charley and Birch, sounds like a brand name, doesn’t it? Maybe for some hot indie fashion house, right? Well in a way it is a “brand” of sorts, more of a merging of two great entities, Charley Harper designs printed by Birch Fabric on organic cotton fabric.   Pretty much a win-win in my book!  The first time I remember hearing about Charley Harper was when my friend John sent me a little wall calendar one year.  It was a great introduction. I love the clean graphic interpretation of the natural world. Since then I have seen his work in many spots. I wonder if it was always there, but I just wasn’t paying attention to it.

I know this line came out last fall, and yes, it is part of my massive catch-up run I am trying to work on.  But I still think it is great news, and I wanted to share it with you.

I love the mustards and blues in this line…and this “panel” piece…..some of these will make PERFECT labels, right??


To show how they intermingle in a block I have made two more of my Maple Leaf blocks.



That’s it for today. Have a happy spring (in the northern hemisphere at least



Not So Secret……

March 29th, 2014


So my dear friend Victoria Findlay-Wolfe came out with this line of fabric that came out last fall, so hopefully you can still find some.


Scrumptious, isn’t it? Lots of layers, my favorite thing in prints. The hand of the fabric is nice to work with too.

So to show off how the prints play nice with each other, I did what any normal and sane quilter would do. I cut up those big chunks of fabric into smaller chunks of fabric and sewed them back together again with some “solids” from the Blue Nickel stockpile stash. More Maple Leaf blocks of course.



That’s it for today.  I have more to catch up on, so the next few posts may be short but sweet, and of course, I will have pix to make your day brighter.


the hand embroidered haven….

March 28th, 2014

Have you heard of Megan Frock? By now, I bet more of you have, but just in case you haven’t I want to share with you something wonderful Megan worked on for quite awhile under the radar, and brought to the light of day last summer or fall I think. (or heaven help me if I forgot,  last spring??)


Megan sent me her wonderful book late last year….so bad of me, I don’t remember when….I loved it from the start, but like many, many things it fell behind the wake of my other adventures….which is no indication of it’s greatness to be sure.

I first met Megan when she was helping out our mutual friend Tula Pink at one Market. I barely spoke to her at the first one, I think I was crazy busy, and I think Megan was a bit overwhelmed by the amazingness of the whole event.  But at the last few Markets, I have had the opportunity to chat with Megan, and I tell you that each conversation is a treat in true Southern charm. Her accent is just delightful and her love of the craft it just as sweet.

the hand embroidered haven is Megan’s first book (I am sure she will have more!) and it is chock full of some great sewing projects with an emphasis on embroidery as a featured part of each project.

I truly love these zoomorphic framed projects below:


I can particularly relate to the Rabbit Ears on the TV…..had those all of the time growing up…We could only get three stations, sometimes we were lucky enough to get the fourth station from the border of Washington State and Canada.

And Megan also has some great instructions for stitches…including some I had never heard of but sound compelling. Like the Couched Filling Stitch.


And Twilling…I am sure I have seen this, but never knew what it was called. Love the full texture it brings to the needlework.


But as you know already, I rarely get to carving out the time to embroider. So of course my first loves in her book were the quilts  and these two are my favorites!



So that’s it for today. If you don’t already have Megan’s book, go right out and get it. You’ll be happy you did!

Oh, and the fabric behind all of these shots? Beauty Queen from Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit. New this Spring. Look for it, You’ll love it!

World Tour Mystery Tour # 3

May 14th, 2013

And here is clue set # 3 for the Mystery Game we have been playing with Dave Butler’s World Tour line.

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As in previous posts here at the Blue Nickel, the game works like this:  Check out these pictures and previous shots here, here, and here.  Then make your best guess as to what is in the center of the quilt Dave designed and I pieced (quilted by my friend Becky Marshall).

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Make your guesses on the Free Spirit Facebook page at anyone of the posts there regarding this quilt mystery game.  The big reveal post will be here on Friday the 17th of May!  There have been some great guesses!! Can’t wait to see the next batch of guesses!!

As this post goes up….I am in the throes of last minute packing and getting things ready for Market and trying to make sure the house will be maintained and all the other “stuff” that happens when you leave the house with kids in charge….

Don’t forget to check out the blog Friday and Saturday for some great “surprise” posts regarding some of the projects I have been working on for Market…and then there will be more after too because I just don’t have time to get them all up before!

World Mystery Tour …. #1

April 30th, 2013

So the folks over at Free Spirit wanted to have some fun with Dave’s new World Tour line in conjunction with the quilt that I am wrapping up for them.  The quilt was designed by the fabulous Mr. B, and has a really unique feel to it, well branded into his Parson Gray aesthetic. The center of this quilt has something in the center that the Free Spirit peeps thought it would be fun for you to guess what it is…...AND give you a cool prize to boot!

Here’s the deets:

For the next few weeks before Quilt Market,  I am going to be posting some successively “revealing” photos of the quilt here on my blog, and then you get to go over and  make comments on Free Spirit’s Facebook page guessing what is in the center of the quilt.  Each post will reveal a bit more about the quilt, and on the Friday of Market, you will get to see the full thing here at the Blue Nickel, if you aren’t already down in Portland, Oregon for Market.  If you have the correct answer to the mysterious center of the quilt, then you will be put in a drawing for a fabulous gift package from Free Spirit!

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 So go ahead make your guesses over on Free Spirit’s Facebook page on this link.

Good luck, happy guessing, and all that good stuff!!

World Tour …….

April 17th, 2013


Once again I get to play with David Butler’s newest line for Free Spirit. This one is called World Tour, and yup…it’s his best yet!


The first thing that I noticed and absolutely love in this mix is the printed linen!!   First, it is just a bit thicker than the regular quilting cotton, but much more “substantial”.  And the drape and hand of this linen is just incredible!  It is perfect for bags and lightweight jackets, etc. I am thinking about getting a vest made out of it, but not sure if I will have time before Market which is when I want it for.


Each print is named after places around the globe, from Fiji to Canterbury to Osaka to Kashmir and they go great with his past lines. I am sure they will also play well with others even though I haven’t had much of a chance to do that yet.


The quilt that I am making for Market is David’s design, and you are going to love it! I am not allowed to show the full thing here yet, you are just seeing pieces of it today…...... I will post a photo of it here while I am at Market. It is great for those guys in your life! Very Dude-sanctioned!!

But I did have scraps, and you know how I can’t throw out any scraps! So I have been playing with this  “planned” improv piece tonight while the World Tour quilt is at the quilter’s, and I am waiting for the other fabrics for three other Quilt Market projects to get here.


Not sure where this is going, but this is where it is starting from.  I am thinking more and more that this one is going to be named Reykjavik. I added some hot pink solid I had floating around, and I have some  Curious Nature prints in mind as well as this red/burgundy Ombre from my stash by Blank Quilting


I have similar plans to do this with some Glimma from Windham fabrics that have been here in the studio for awhile that I have been wanting to feature…..and actually I had drawn up this idea for Glimma first…..but I had all these half-square triangles and skinny strips from fussy-cutting…..and well, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…..  :)

Time to Play….

March 27th, 2013

well, really there isn’t much time for playing around these days. Even though I am down to one dayjob from two!  This last month and more than a half, I feel like I have been catching up on rest and not much else.  It is probably very much needed.  The nice thing is that I am getting a little time back to sew, and though I really do need to work more at time management in other areas, this sewing bit is still fun (most of the time).

Here are some progress photos on a Free Spirit project that I am working on using Ty Pennington’s Fall 2012 line. It is fairly new by current industry standards (or OLD by past industry standards) and you still should be able to find some it out there. I went with the Sunset colorway as I have been working with a lot of cool colors lately and the warmth of these prints felt very summery to me!

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I am working on a tablerunner and placemat set out of these. Hope to be done with a Free PDF for you to download soon.

And here are some scraps I have been sewing together as I go in the fashion that my friend Victoria has now made “famous” although it really isn’t anything “new”.  I love how Victoria has made it fun for others now too though! I have loved doing this for so long, it’s fun to see what other folks do with their scrappy playtime!

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I have been doing these type of things for years. Here is a photo of some very old ones that I turned up during ….ahem…. “cleaning” the studio.

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I love finding these old things and see how my palette has diversified since then. I don’t want to say changed, because I still love these old things…well, most of them at least…

Well, back to sewing….and actually in a bit, I may go out to do some mowing…before the rains come again....

What about you? what are you up to??



inspiration….it’s literally EVERWHERE!!

March 6th, 2013

I know, I know….I haven’t been posting like I had hoped to this year! These FOLK journal prompts at least help push me to get one up a week, but I’d rather do more.  The GOOD news is that I HAVE been sewing and designing more…..and actually doing a little yard work also (don’t think I’ve been out there at all since last June??)

This week’s FOLK prompt is about inspiration…. (okay technically last week….but they were late too, okay already?) :)

Inspiration is available everywhere we look. Flip through some magazines, cook books, or an encyclopedia. Reflect on the images and/or words that catch your attention.

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I do look at a lot of magazines for inspiration…a lot! Although I stopped looking at Quilt Magazines awhile back so that I can say that my designs are fresh and my own. I don’t want to “copy” anyone else’s designs, even though sometimes quilts can look very similar just because there are some basic blocks that designers make, that can indeed look very much like other designers.

I am actually working on a class concept incorporating magazine covers as the design starting point for quilts.  These are the covers of the two magazines that really drew me into this idea:

life beautiful cover blue and white Victoria cover

Being on a magazine staff now myself,  I have more of an appreciation for all the thought that goes into the cover of a magazine.  There are many opinions and in the end the one is thought to sell the most copies is the one that goes.  But composition is also very important in attracting people in general.  I love both of these covers for many reasons and I am excited to be working on the quilts that will go with these covers for my class offerings coming up.

But truly inspiration is everywhere, not just in magazines, right? Check out this print from Valori Wells’ line Novella:

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I have been fascinated with this print, and I have an idea for a quilt that is still morphing. I can hardly wait to get started on it! (there are SO MANY Things that I can hardly wait to start on! Do you have this terrible problem too??)

If you follow me on Instagram, you can see even faster updates on everyday things that inspire me (or my facebook page  is good too, most of my Instagram shots go there too…  Speaking of everyday inspiration, you should check out this photo by my friend Heather about unusual places to find inspiration! I met Heather in person last year in Kansas City at Spring Quilt Market, and we have fallen into a great little friendship I think.  I feel a kindred spirit with her in how she views the world….She “gets” everyday inspiration.  Not a lot of people do.

And here’s some more inspiration that has come my way from the fabric companies.  From Westminster the latest Ty Pennington (fall 2012) that is going to become a project for free somewhere online…not sure where yet…stay tuned on that one:

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And here are some new and not quite new lines from In The Beginning Fabrics that I am going to be playing with soon…Some, I know will go into the book project, and others will be in various projects…


What’s inspiring you this week??


February 25th, 2013

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This week’s FOLK Journal Challenge prompt (okay LAST week’s prompt…I am just barely getting this post up in time!) is:

How do you perceive ingenuity? Where do you see ingenuity thriving today?

Wikipedia describes ingenuity as being “the quality of being clever, original, and inventive, often in the process of applying ideas to solve problems or meet challenges.”

To be honest, I have been thinking about this all week.  And it has me a bit stymied…most likely I am overthinking it…I do that with most things.  I think ingenuity is actually all over the place. I do especially think I see it thriving in the arts and crafts world where things are not “necessary” as far as “economy” goes, but so very necessary for the soul. I believe we are all created to be creative by the Greatest Creator of all, and I think that in that creativity, ingenuity pops up in many forms, especially when times are hard financially….which a lot of the world is right now…

I really have more than one example of that, but I thought I would take today’s prompt to talk about a little hole in the wall “shop” so to speak in a suburb of  Seattle called Ballard.  About a month ago, I managed to squeeze in a little time to stop and visit Keli at Drygoods Design and learn a little more of what she has going on over there.  I thought it was a regular quilt shop, but it is more of a community, sewing / learning lounge with some great stuff for sale as well. It is small, but packed with great “modern”  Sewist-stuff.  Keli birthed this idea of a place where people come together to sew and learn and TRY out a large variety of tools and ideas BEFORE they have to buy said tools, etc.   There’s more to it than that, but all of it is pretty hip and well, “ingenious” is one of the words I would use to describe the place.

I didn’t have nearly enough time to visit with Keli, and so I am planning another trip over there as soon as I can to spend more time learning about the great things she has going on.  But I thought I would show you a few pix of the place.

And if you go to find the “Lounge” it isn’t easy…You go into a coffee shop and there up the backstairs is Drygoods Design…a wonderful little discovery.

I just discovered that all of the great pictures that I took there are nowhere to be found….so I only have this one of the wonderful Liberty Tana Lawn and blue baker’s twine that I bought that day…..and the free Pixie Stix (Keli says every in in store and online order leaves tied up in baker’s twine with a Pixie Stix)....I thought that was a pretty fun little concept myself.

I really wish I had more time today to talk to you about it, but I gotta skadoodle!

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