Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tutorial ~ Counting Stars Quilt

Number of blocks 22 / Finished quilt size 72 1/2"x 86"

{Materials} I used the delightful fabric line: "floriography" by Pink Fig Design.
3/4 yard of 7 different fabrics

4 yards of light blue fabric for background (Shades/Aqua Marine)

5 1/2 yards for backing (I had a lot less fabric than that, but that is the standard requirement by the chart I found.

batting that is slightly bigger than the finished quilt top

*If you are going to hand quilt like I did --- I used 100% cotton size 10 crochet thread, but there is a variety of threads available from DMC and such. I like using chenille needle. The needle hole is large enough for the thick thread and the needle is sharp enough to quilt.

{How to}

1. {Cutting}

* From 3/4 yard of 7 different fabrics --- To make 22 star blocks, cut 18 pieces of 10" diamonds from each fabric so you can make three star blocks; except one of them you need to cut 24 pieces of diamond to make 4 star blocks. Also, I cut 1 3/4" wide strips out of the leftovers to make 9 yards of binding strips.

* From light blue fabric cut 138 pieces of diamonds; 132 pieces for creating star blocks 6 pieces for adding to the sides later.

There are several ways to cut out diamond shapes out of your fabric. At first I was using Amanda's diamond ruler to see how the star blocks would look...

Line up the edge of the ruler to the folded part of the fabric, and make cuts. Voila! now, you have a diamond. For those of you don't own a diamond ruler I created a 10" diamond template you can print out. OR, since this doesn't require fussy cut, you can draw a line on the fabric 10" at 60 degrees and cut a whole bunch at once. It goes much faster when you are cutting 138 pieces of background fabric.

2. {Construct the star block} --- You will need 6 diamond pieces with patterned fabric and 6 light blue fabrics to make one star block

Sew 2 pieces of diamonds with patterned fabric together and sew. Leave 1/4" from both ends, make sure to lock stitch(or back stitch) to secure the stitches. Press with iron.

Pin the light blue fabric and sew.

Open up and pin from the middle to the other end and sew. When you pin the points, make sure that they line up perfectly, so your blocks have less irregularities.

Press all the seams toward the same direction and press with iron.

Then the middle of the quilt block will look like this in the back...

Make two more of the same thing and piece them together with three light blue diamonds to fill in the gaps.

The back... When you always press the seam towards the same direction, it is much easier to have a beautifully finished back with less bulkiness where the corners and points meet.

{Putting Together the blocks}

After you are finished making 22 blocks, lay them out to see the color balance and such. You can make 4 half star blocks, since you are cutting off that part. I just went ahead and made regular blocks because I didn't know which colors will end up where. Use the picture as a guide. "d" is where you need to add light blue diamonds to fill in. I decided not to add any fabric on the corners to give this quilt a little unique finish.

After you added 6 pieces of light blue diamonds on the sides, cut half of it off.

Then, half of the star blocks from where it is shown in the picture...

Now, you are done putting the quilt top together! I hand stitched my quilt, but part of me wanted to see this quilt with a modern machine quilt design too.

I had to tell my kids not to touch the quilt until I am done taking pictures. Now, it is official. They can wrap themselves, make a fort, take it on our road trips and make a bunch of memories with the quilt this summer. I hope those memories are just like stars; bright spots in their lives for years to come.

Thank you for reading my tutorial, hope you enjoyed it. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tutorial ~ Faux Button Down Tunic

I realized that I had several guest tutorial posts I did for others, but haven't reposted here. Since I am working on a couple "secret" projects right now (and you won't see them till Spring/Summer), I thought it would be the perfect time to repost one. I am planning to repost different tutorials here and there in case you have missed them. :)

This is a very simple-to-make tunic and no major pattern is required. This particular tunic I made is for size XS and S, but if you need to make it larger, you can always add fabrics on the sides or join two pieces of fabrics at the front and back to create the same look. :)

* You will need

1 yard of main fabric
2/3 yard of contrast fabric
1 Strip of interfacing
8 3/4" Buttons
Matching thread

* How to

* I soaked the fabrics in the washer over night without detergent and lightly washed them the next day. After I let the fabrics air dry, I ironed them to prepare them for sewing.

1. Cut the main fabric 25" by the width of the fabric, and cut the bottom trim fabric 7" by the width of the fabric. I am short and have a short torso, so if you are a tall girl you might want to add an inch or two to the measurements.

2. Put two fabrics right sides together and sew on the width length. Treat the edge with your preferred method to prevent fraying. Fold the seam toward the bottom trim and press with an iron.

3. Add 1" wide x length of the fusible interfacing on one side of the side seam and fold.

4.Lay the fabric flat; wrong side of the fabric up. Bring both sides to the middle to fold. Over Wrap the seams by about 1" and match up the design and pin in several places. Make sure that you don't pin the other layer of the fabric.

5. Sew the edge with 1/8" seam then sew 1" in parallel to that line. Now, you have created a faux button down front. Again, make sure not to sew the fabric in the back with it!! ( I do stuff like that when I am not thinking...)

6. Now you have a giant "tube". Lay it down on the table flat to determine the center of the tunic. Make sure that what you have created in step 5 comes right in the middle of the fabric and both sides of the fabrics are equal width from the center. You can download the PDF template I have created for the top edges for the tunic. Print, cut then you can trace the outline onto the fabric and cut to create a curved line. You can use same template for the front and back, the back is 1" higher than the front.

7. Use the largest stitch length and sew 1/4" and 3/4" from the top edges. Pull the threads to gather the fabric. I shrunk mine to about 9" wide, you could do slightly more or less. Press with an iron.

8. Make bias tape. Cut the rest of the contrast fabric diagonally 2" wide. Sew them together, open the seam, press with an iron. Fold both seams to the middle and press with an iron. You will need this for the seams for the tunic and to use it as a belt, so you will need at least close to 4 yards.

9. Sew the bias tape to the front and back gathered seams. Open the bias tape and pin the bias tape, sew on the folded line.

Fold the bias tape to the back, pin and top stitch to finish it.

10. Sew the bias tape to create armholes with same manner as step 9. Mine is 23" circular, but it is best for you to try it on and find out what is the best fit for you.

11. Sew the bottom edge. First, fold 1/4" from the edge and fold at 1" then sew.

12. Sew ribbon belt with rest of the bias tape. Mine is 32" long.

13. I sewed the ribbon belt in the back of the tunic. I think the best position to sew this on is about 1" or 1 1/2" above the waist line. If you prefer not to, you can skip this step.

14. Sew buttons. Mark 1" from the top edge for the first button, mark 3" apart each for rest of 7 buttons. Sew them on.

15. Guess what? You just completed the tunic, hooray!

I had to try it on and do a test run. The fun and cheerful design of the fabric really made me long for the arrival for the Spring. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Infinite Scarf Giveaway Winner!

Before I announce the winner, I should clarify why I named the scarf "infinite scarf" instead of "infinity scarf". Nope, it wasn't a mistake (although I misspelled the first time) naming it that way.

I just thought that infinity scarf is everywhere and it is kind of boring. My version, which is cutting the fabric in bias instead of a straight cut is original and new. I wanted some name that differs from "infinity" eventhough the end result looks pretty much the same.

Then I had the thought (after everything that happened)... I probably should have named it infinity scarf, just so that when people are looking for the tutorial, they can find it easily. Hardly anybody is gonna type "infinite scarf" to look for the infinity tutorial. So, when I am going to repost the tutorial, I will probably change the name a little. :)

I had over 150 entries for this giveaway; combining blog comments, new Instagram follower and comments to the Riley Blake post. Thank you so much for participating everyone! So, are you ready for the big reviele? The winner for the scarf is....

Congratulations!!! Please email me your shipping info, the scarf will be on its way!

I feel bad that I can only give away one scarf, especially feeling so much love and support after that mess. So, I am planning on doing another giveaway in November! I will let you know the details later, so check back often. :)

Thanks again for your participation. You guys are the best!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Aftermath and Good News

Wow, it was a kind of an eventful for me week last week... I mean emotionally. After that incident, I received many supportive comments on my Facebook, Instagram and, blog. Also tons and tons of emails. I am trying to reply to all, but it is taking me a long time, sorry if you haven't gotten a response from me yet. It doesn't mean that I didn't read your email or don't care, it is quite this opposite. I truly appreciate many of your kind, encouraging words. Because of your great support (and of course my family's) I am pretty much over it.

I knew I always had such supportive friends and readers, but times like this really helps me to remember not to let a few negativities drag me down and instead to focus on my many blessings in my life. I hope I can be the person that is there for my friends and family when they are in need to lighten up their burden.

Our lives are weaved by many good and bad moments. I am a believer that they are there for a reason. As is human nature, I would love to avoid tribulations, but how we react to those "bad" moments determines what type of person we are and is how we become more interesting and beautiful, wouldn't you agree?

I have been doing a "pep talk" with myself again in my head. I still make mistakes in English but you know, I have come a long way since I got here. As I wrote in my last post, I did horrible in English when I was in school. I thought "I would never use it or need it, therefore I am not going to put effort in to it". Boy, talk about an attitude! After I got married and moved out here I wrote to my high school English teacher; he got a kick out of the fact that me, his failing student got married and moved to America! I know if we have a chance to meet again, I can knock his socks off with my English skills, hehehe...

At last, I have a great news to share...

One of my projects has been featured in the latest American Patchwork & Quilting magazine! It is a Christmas issue, and has many wonderful projects that are perfect for a Christmas gift. You can find my project on page 31 and page 114. If you see them on the magazine stand, please check them out! :)

Thank you again for being there for me, I am done dusting myself off and am standing again! I hope I can save a safe and fun spot here in blogland for you when you feel like you need a friend. :)



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Um...Misspelling, Mean Comments, and Here is What Happend

I just felt strongly about writing this post about what happened after I posted the scarf tutorial for Riley Blake Designs the other day. I really thought that sharing my experience might help others who have gone through the same thing. I will warn you that it will be kind of a lengthy post. If you are not really interested in reading about this well known truth: "The internet can be a brutal place as well as an amazing place" (or maybe it's the other way around) post. I have seen this happen to others, but I never in the 6 years of blogging needed to deal with it. Well, we live and learn right? This is a story about my experience.

So, here is what happened...

I checked to see my post on their blog in the morning, and made sure my post for the giveaway was up on my blog. Then I walked away. Throughout the day, I would publish the comments on my blog, and saw the comments on my Facebook and Instagram and they were fine. I was really busy that day, and I didn't check to see Riley Blake Design's Facebook page.

Long story short, they found a spelling mistake in the title picture after it was published, so we fixed it during the day. I thought it would be fine and didn't think twice. Then... I found out that there were several not really nice comments about me, and about the misspelling of the word left on the Riley Blake Design Facebook page. By the time I found out and read a couple of them, other ones were deleted by the people at Riley Blake. I don't even want to know what had been said.

Before we move on, let me tell you a little of my background, in case you don't know:

I moved here to the United States from Japan when I was 23 years old, and since then it has been a journey to get to this point. In Japan, I learned English from 7th grade to 12th grade. It was mostly memorizing words, grammar and reading from the textbook out loud (of course with a thick Japanese accent!). We pretty much only studied for the exams. We did not study nor attempt real conversations. Also, I had this attitude, "I will never be able to leave this country with my health issues anyways, I don't need English" (boy, talk about teenage attitude) I did poorly in English. Little did I know, a few years later I married the man of my of my dreams and moved here. No family, no friends, and left everything familiar to me behind. The first couple years were very tough, I am not going to lie.

When I was in Japan, unlike the subject of English, I did very well in the subject of Japanese. I read all the time, I wrote essays that were featured in newspapers; I won awards at speech contest and essay contests. Now I want you to imagine... coming from feeling like you are really good with words to BAM! Here I became a caveman. Even though, I knew the words, my pronunciation was bad, so people had a hard time understanding me. I was having a hard time understanding people and was too shy to speak, because I didn't want to sound stupid or child like. If you ever lived in a different country and struggled with the language, you will probably know exactly what I am talking about. It was very humbling, and an eye opening experience for me. Eventually, I attended ESL (English as a second language) and saw many people who were like me. Some of them had really thick accents, or their use of words or grammar was no better than mine, but they kept trying. They had a determination to keep progressing. With their great examples and love and support of my family and friends, I eventually gained more confidence; confidence that I needed to get to this point. I still make mistakes, and sometimes I feel anxious about opening my mouth in front of people I don't really know. But, you know what? Whenever I feel that way, I give myself a little pep talk, "The language is just a tool, the most important thing is to communicate with people!"

When it comes to writing, it is a little different story...

I have been blogging for about 6 years now and even though this is my hobby (as well as partly my business) I take writing good content take very seriously. I also create embroidery/sewing patterns, I make sure there are no mistakes in them. People are willing to spend money on my creations, I want to make sure whatever I produce; either the writing or physical item are high quality and worth their time and money. I especially get worried when I am writing an article for a company or magazine.

After I write everything, I always ask my husband to edit it for me. He is such a supportive and loving husband, the last 6 years, he has been the person behind the scene, editing the content. Without him, I don't think I would be doing this.

That night I wrote the post, I was really tired, and I didn't think that I made the spelling mistake, Mr. TRH was working at the same time when he was editing the content, didn't catch it and the post went live. It hardly ever happens, but it did. Because we are human. So, after I found out about the mean comments and such, I felt mortified and embarrassed, mostly I didn't want my error to reflect poorly on Riley Blake Designs who are so kind and supportive during the whole thing. I just wished I could go back in time and catch the mistake on the picture. Negativity... it is a funny thing. Even when you don't want to think about it, the thoughts creep in your heart and mind. Then, it just keeps growing and festering in your head if you let it. I just wanted to curl up in my bed and pretend I didn't exist. Ugh... then, something amazing happened.

There was an outpouring of supportive comments on the Facebook page that started to appear from people that I became friends with through blogging and even from strangers!! They were so encouraging and kind, it literally made me tear up. If you are reading this and you are one of them, THANK YOU! Your comments turned my worst nightmare moment into an amazing moment. Not only that, some of my blogging friends link-shared the corrected post, so people will be aware of the giveaway I am doing! I don't really know how social networking works but it was amazing to see the different ways you can support your friends on the web. I am going to return the favor if someone is going through the same type of situation. It made a world of difference to me.

I have seen really nasty and hateful comments before left in other peoples' posts. I feel like it happens mostly on Facebook and YouTube. I just don't understand why people take their precious time and effort to leave such comments. What do they get out of doing that? Did they have a bad day, so they feel like it's OK to take it out on others? I feel like they are hiding in a dark ally and jump out at you as soon as you make a mistake saying "HA! got ya!". Also, there are problems in our society with cyberbullying. Just because you are not face to face with that person and you can just walk away does not mean you can be mean and rude? This whole experience gave me a lot to think about. As a mom of three, there are several things that I want to teach my children. Here are some examples:

"Don't say anything when you don't have anything nice to say" (Golden rule)

"It matters how you treat people and how you make them feel. Especially when they don't really matter to you, or when people aren't looking" (I really strive to live by this. This shows who you really are, don't you agree?)

"Words can hurt people, as well as uplift and edify others. Use them wisely." (In the end we become who we are because of our thoughts and action.)

If you can think of more, please share them in the comment section!

I want to clarify that I am not against good constructive criticism when someone is honestly trying to help. But people can tell when you are really being genuine, or just plain mean. One of the comments that was left on the Facebook page that really lifted my spirits up this morning was from a friend who quotes by Dr. Seuss:

" ...those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

When it happened, I really felt sad and gloomy. Though, I know who I am and I know what I have been through to get to this point. I am not letting this put me down nor am I going to stop what I love to do which is to create and share (with misspellings or not!) I will put my chin up and go about my way!

I want to give a big thanks to Riley Blake (and Paige, you are so awesome! I love you!!) from the bottom of my heart for your supportive way of handling the situation. Thanks my blogging friends and my readers for your kind and encouraging words. People like you make this community a brighter place to hang around. Lastly my family... Thank you for being there for me, always. It is because I know have a safe place filled with those who love me despite my countless flaws, I can be who I am and do what I do everyday.

In the end, it's all good.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tutorial + Giveaway / Warm and Cozy Infinite Scarf

I had a chance to work with this delightful fabric Primrose Garden, which is a new line from Riley Blake. I am sharing a tutorial at their blog today. Please head over to check out the tutorial and say hi. :) Oh, but wait, there is more...

I decided to make an infinite scarf with very plush fabric for the up coming season. Guess what, I made one for me, one for Rachel, and one for... YOU! I can't remember the last time I held a giveaway with my own creation, and I thought it would be fun.

Does this interest you???

Here are the rules.

1. Leave a comment here --- One entry

2. Follow me on Instagram (it is on my side bar) --- second entry

3. Lave a comment on my tutorial post at Riley Blake blog. --- third entry

That's it! I will run the giveaway til Midnight October 14th and announce the winner on the Morning of the 15th. Please email me with your shipping info so I can send you the scarf. If I don't here from you in 48 hours, I will pick a different winner.

Good luck everyone and thank you for visiting!

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