Friday, July 13, 2012

A Few Changes

I have been working on sprucing up the blog a bit lately.  Nothing major, just some layout changes and such.   My goal is to keep this space neat, tidy, and easy to navigate, but still pleasing to the eye.

Some of the changes included shifting everything to the left as I was starting to wonder if it was hard to read the posts in-between so much information on the sides. I also moved the Featured Buttons onto it's own page as they were starting to really crowd things up.  (Although that Featured Page still needs a lot of work :)  And a few other size adjustments to columns and such.

 My favorite part of the change is my new Follow Me buttons that my good friend Becca made for me :)  Aren't they cute!!

I still have some more changes that I want to make to spruce up some of the "Pages"  (All the links at the top of the blog under the header :)   But I will have to work on those here and there when time allows.

So what do you think??  Is it easy to navigate but still yummy eye candy??  Any suggestions on how to improve would be appreciated :)

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

TNT - Playing with Scraps

This TNT was actually a few weeks ago but I have been so busy this last week that I am using it anyhow (otherwise there would be a great big "I Got Nothing" post :)

My daughter had her friend over for a play date.  They asked if they could play with my fabric scraps.  This usually means cutting them out in fancy shapes, throwing them in the air and watching them fall.  But this particular day I decided they should Try Something New so I  came up with a New way for them to play.

They made Fabric Collages!!!  I simply sprayed some adhesive tack (same stuff I use for my Slice) onto some scrap-booking paper.  Then I let the girls cut up their desired scraps.  Then they just stuck their shapes onto the paper and Wha La . . . Instant collage.

They really had a great time . . .   And each made about 3 separate collages.  Kept them busy for 2 hours!!!!  And they even managed to keep the scraps in a pretty neat and tidy order.  What a great way to spend the afternoon.

And Josie even got in on the fun :)  She loves watching her big sister craft :)

So that is what we have been trying new (a few weeks ago :)  What have you tried new??  Link on up :)


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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Swap Completed and a Lesson's Learned

*** Note - If you are looking for the Sew Stitchy Jelly Roll Giveaway you will find it here :)

The Tetris Color Charm Swap is complete!!!  The packages have all been mailed.  I had so much fun checking the mail each day to see what fun fabrics arrived.  Sorting was actually pretty enjoyable.  And I really didn't mind the organizing and so forth.  In fact . . . I loved just about every minute of this swap . . . That is up until the last 120 minutes.

And in the attempt to show the bad along with the good . . .  here's the story . . .  (Which could be subtitled What Happens When Melissa Doesn't Think.)

I arrived back in town on Sunday night.  I had a huge pile of packages that I sorted on Monday.  I was expecting the last 4 packages Monday evening.  The mail arrived and 3 packages were there.  Okay, slight panic.  But there is still a day to work with.  I packaged everything so that all I have to do is add the last 8 charms as soon as they arrive.   I wrote the last package owner and she assured me it was on it's way.   So no worries, everything will still be fine.  Still having fun at this point.

So today I go to check the mail . . . and you guessed it, no package!!  (Start the last 120 minutes)

I figure 2 things are against me now.  1 - The quilt-a-long starts on Tuesday (that's in 1 week) and 2 - I am going camping tomorrow. (so I can't really send packages)   So basically. . . I am out of time now. So, I decide to resort to my stash. There was no way I was going to hold up the entire quilt-a-long on one package.  I have some yard cut's in my stash so I iron them and lay them out on the cutting mat.  And I am in such a hurry that I cut the first row wrong!!!!  Grrr!!!

So . . . after totally kicking myself, I get some more stash and continue cutting. I finish cutting the charms, admire my completed stack for about 1 minute, bag the remaining charms, and put them in their designated envelopes, and then seal and tape all of the packages.   First lesson learned . . . The next swap, leave more time.  Set the deadline and then leave a good week of wiggle room.  (Down to about 90 minutes now)

I box up the packages and call my husband.  He will be home in 5 minutes, which is awesome as I don't have to take the kids to the post office!!!  The second my husband gets home I tell him I'm headed to the post office and I will be back in about 10 minutes.  I just have to run in and drop off all of these packages.

So I get to the post office and gladly there is no line.  I place my packages on the counter and tell them they need to be posted today if at all possible.  The clerk looks at the first package and informs me that I will need more postage.  I am confused as I know it is a flat rate envelope and there is enough postage on it.  She then informs me that the postage on it is VOID because it has been taped over.  HORROR!!!

In my haste to make sure none of your packages opened in transit, I taped them up super good.  I was super generous with the tape as some of the packages that came to my house were pretty hammered.  Here I am trying to make sure everything is just perfect, that they won't have to take time adding tape at the Post Office, and wham, it slaps me in the face.  (Please don't tell me that most people know this already :)

I was about to just start crying at the counter.  I wasn't up to forking out all that shipping and it made me sick to think they had already been paid for and I totally messed them up. So after a few panic moments,  I asked if I could try and peel  off the tape.  The clerk said I could try but they closed in 45 minutes.  (45 minutes left now.)

So there I was . . . over on a side counter trying to gently get the tape off of the stamps without ripping the stamps.  You can imagine some of the looks I was getting from other patrons.  The whole time I am just dangling somewhere between furious and devastated.  After 40 minuites (of what felt like 4 hours) I headed back up to the counter with my packages.   I managed to get all of the tape off on the packages but one.  (It decided not to cooperate and just rip off all together.)  I ran back up to the counter with 5 minutes to spare.

I watched them date stamp each one to make sure it was good to go!!!  A few they were a little hesitant on as a corner of the stamp had ripped or a little tiny piece of tape was still on it, but I think they took pity on me and let those ones slide.  After they said they were good to go I climbed in my car and started crying.  I think the stress was just needing to come out.

Major Lesson Learned - So . . .  For any of you out there that want to do a swap of your own some day . . . Remember, Never, ever, ever tape over the stamps!!!  (And yes, I am probably the only one that needed to learn that at the Post Office but just consider it a reminder :)

So that's the story.  And even with the crazy end . . . I am still so incredibly happy I hosted this swap.  It was a lot of fun.  And yup, I am starting to bat around the idea of another fabric swap.  (but not for a month or so.)  What kind would you like to see???
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BasicGrey Pattern Winners

And now for some winner's of the BasicGrey Patterns!!!

Congrats to Shar and Christine M!!!  I have sen't you emails :)

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tetris Quilt-A-Long - The Rundown and A Giveaway

So the Tetris Color Charm Swap is just about finished up which means we are ready to get going on the Quilt-A-Long.  The Tetris Quilt-A-Long will officially start on July 17th, and will have weekly posts each Tuesday until August 28th, with a Parade and Grand Prizes on September 11th.  So . . . How about a rundown on how it's going to work!!


When I came up with this idea I wanted it to be pieced as if you are playing the game.  Therefor, their isn't a set pattern.  For 6 weeks, on each Tuesday ( July 17th - Aug 21 ) you will be given the tools needed to build  a block.  Everyone's blocks will be different as everyone has their own strategy on how to play.

I think the easiest way to explain will be to just show an example.  Do Not build this block.  It is only an example!!!

You will need to print off a grid each week to start.  This is a basic 6 x 6 grid.  You can draw it on a piece of paper or just print off this diagram.  It doesn't have to be fancy, just workable :)

On each Tuesday post you will be given a group of Tetris Pieces.  They will vary in color and shape.  It will look something like this.  (Except it will be a bit larger and more spaced out :)  

Starting with the first rectangle, color the first "piece" into your grid.  Now if you have never played Tetris before here is a bit of a crash course on placing your pieces.  Your piece will continue to move down the grid until it hits another piece or the bottom of the grid.  (So don't color your first block in the center of the grid, that's impossible).  If the rectangle has more than one piece in it that doesn't mean you use all of those pieces.  Those are just the variations on how that  piece can be used.  Choose the variation that works the best for you.  And Tetris was a timed game.  So don't think about it to much.  Just place your piece and move on to the next one.  (Having little holes here and there looks cool.  When you get to the top of your grid and can't fit any more pieces you are done.    

So . . . as if that isn't totally confusing.  Let's show the example on how I "played" these particular pieces.  (Remember, everyone's will be different but this just gives you the idea of how it works :)

Hopefully that helps to illustrate how to "play".  Now, you have a grid drawn on a piece of paper but this is a quilt-a-long.  So now it is time to sew the grid into a block  So you need fabric.  Those that participated in the charm swap will already have the charms they need.  If you are cutting from your own stash you will want to cut appx. 224 5" print charms.  28 charms in the 8 colors (red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, pink, and white) used, and if possible in sets of 4.  (So 7 different prints of each color, and 4 charms cut out of each print).  Here is my stack of charms.  Isn't it fun :)

So . . . using your grid as a guide, layout your charm squares to create a copy of your grid.  This is where having the 4 charms of one print comes in handy.  I use the 4 charms to create each piece so that it really adds to the illusion of the Tetris game :)

 Now you can sew your charms into a block.  Start by sewing your charms into rows.  Then, taking care to match seams, sew the rows into the quilt block.  (If you are in need of more detailed instructions on how to sew square grids (or patch blocks as they are referred to) you can find a more detailed description here.  It is a 4 x 4 layout but the concept is the same and should help :)   Sorry there is no picture here but as this is only an example I didn't want to have to unpick the block as soon as I was done :)

We will be sewing 6 blocks in 6 weeks and then finishing up the quilt top by sewing our blocks into a 2 x 3 layout and adding borders.  The quilt will measure 54 x 81 with the blocks sewn together and then borders can be added as you like to finish it to the size you desire.  It will look a little like this :)


I really want to keep this fun and I want you to be super happy with your results, so with that in mind . . . Please don't feel like you have to make yours exactly like mine.  Make it so you will be happy with it.

If you don't like a color I am using . . . Don't use it.  Just pick another color when that one pops up.

If you don't like the size square I am using . . . Use a different size.  To figure out the total size of your quilt just take your size square minus .5 and then times that number by 12 for the width and by 18 for the length.

If you don't like the size grid I am using . . .  Make up your own grid.  I am doing 6 x6 so that when we sew the blocks together you can get a lot of variation in the layout.  But you can do a rectangle grid if you want a different size quilt.  To figure your total size just take your square size minus .5 and times it by the number of squares going across the entire width of your quilt.  Do the same for the length.  (But I would suggest keeping a 6 block layout as the prizes and playing coincide with that :)

If you run out of pieces in a week . . . Either make up your own or go back to the top and start over :)

If you don't like print charms . . . Use solids instead.

If you don't want to use 4 charms of the same print to make up a piece . . . Don't.  Make it super scrappy fun

If you don't like the idea of just squares . . . Make it fancy.  I think a HST version could look really cool!!

You get the idea right . . . Just feel free to go outside the box and make it your own :)


I am so very excited about the Prizes for this Quilt-A-Long!!  I don't know about you, but I know that I am highly more motivated to keep up and finish when there are prizes at stake ;)  So how about this for a little motivation.

All those that finish their quilt top will be eligible for the Grand Prize.  The Grand Prize's are sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and huge Thank You goes out to Julie for her generosity in these prizes.  Wan't to know what they are???

A $75.00 Gift Certificate that you can spend as you like!!

A Build your Own Bundle Certificate that you can use to create the perfect Fat Quarter Bundle for you!!

And a Complete Fat Quarter Bundle of La Dee Da by Erin McMorris!!!

There will be 3 lucky Grand Prize winners.  Their first will be allowed to choose their prize, and so on.  We thought it would be fun to really mix up the grand prize allowing you your choice to which way you prefer to get fabric :)  And if that whopping amount of fabric goodness isn't motivation, then I don't know what is!!

But . . . Sometimes it is hard to keep motivated when the end is so far away.  So for that . . . We have a little Weekly Motivation.  Each week you will be able to link up (You don't have to have a blog to link up, you can link to a flickr picture :) your completed block for a chance to win the weekly prize.    These will come in the form of Layer Cakes and Jelly Rolls!!!  (I love pre-cuts!!!)  These Weekly Prizes are sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop and a huge thank-you goes out to Kimberly and her team for their support in this Quilt-A-Long!!!

And just to keep you on your toes . . . And keep things lively . . . We will also be having random giveaways through the term of the Quilt-A-Long.  They might be in flickr, they might be in the posts, they might just be on the blog throught the week :)  But they will be great and super fun!!  The random giveaways are sponsored by Burgundy Buttons and Green Fairy Quilts.  Once again, thank you to these sponsors for their support!!


So there is lots of wonderful fabric to be won!!!  So keep up and sew on!!!


 Now down to the last of the nitty gritty.  First, If you are Quilting-A-Long and have a blog, It would be wonderful if you added the button to your blog :)   It really helps to spread the word and  the more that Quilt-A-Long the better!!!  (I am already so excited to see everyone's first block!!)


Second, I would love it if you joined the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group.  You can post your fabric here, your progress, and . . . there just might be some giveaways here :)  I'm just saying!!

THE GIVEAWAY - (Giveaway Closed)

And last, but certainly not least . . . How about one of those Random Giveaways!!!!  Thanks to Judi of Green Fairy Quilts for sponsoring this random giveaway!!  So . . . How would you like to win a just released Jelly Roll of Sew Stitchy by Aneela Hoey!!!

Just leave me a comment about the Quilt-A-Long.  Do you plan to participate?? Are you watching from the sidelines and encouraging others??  Are you a Tetris junkie??  Do you love all things charms??   Do you just love Quilt-A-Long's in general.   Anything along those lines will do :)  The giveaway is open to everyone and a winner will be announced Monday the 16th :)  

So that just about wraps it up!!!  If you have any questions at all regarding the Quilt-A-Long please do not hesitate to email me at  I don't want anyone to not participate because they are confused by my rambling :)
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