• 07Jun
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, fabric design Comments Off on Quilt Market

    A belated Quilt Market post.  Why? Because I spent the week after Market in Iowa!  Yes, IOWA!  And I loved it.  But more about that in an upcoming post–or two.

    The day before Market starts is a crazy day of classes and presentation called Schoolhouse.  I presented two Schoolhouses, one for Fabric Shop Network on a program I’ve written called Stash Pot Pie.  The other was for Timeless Treasures, who manufactures my fabric designs.  My friend, Karen Montgomery, also designs for Timeless.  Her  presentation was right before mine.  We both showed up in the hallway a little early, only to discover we had dressed alike!

    My new Dear Dorothy fabrics and quilt looked great in the Timeless Treasures booth.  It’s so fun to see my name up there–almost as much fun as seeing it on the selvage!  The quilt is a free to download pattern on my website, and, of course, kits are available!  The dresses are from patterns by Izzy and Ivy.

    I also discovered some of my toile fabrics used by the talented designers from Beach Garden Quilts.

    There was a new exhibitor there, Chitter Chatter Designs.  Mom’s the designer, but her daughter and her mother were both there helping her.

    This was my favorite new booth, Hemma Designs.

    I don’t know what I liked best–the fact the “Hemma” is Swedish for “At Home” or their fresh, new designs.

    Make new friends, but keep the old…….

    Here I am with Jill Mead, editor of Quilts and More, Elizabeth Stumbo graphic designer for Quilt Sampler, Linzee MacRaePam Viera and Monica.  Hmm, I wonder what’s afoot?

    You probably already know that my sista friend, Monica, had her first fabric line debut at this market–Holiday Happy.

    Her Gnome-A-Claus is so adorable!

    I know someone who’d love a green sewing table!

    And in the quilt exhibit area, was this quilt, entitled Remembering Sweden by Helena Sheffer.  If you’ve ever been to Stockholm’s Old Town, you’d recognize it immediately.

    And, oh, I even had dinner in Hell’s Kitchen!

  • 06Jun
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Fun With The Mariners

    My mom and dad recently invited a group to a suite for a Mariner’s game.

    It was great fun watching the game, even though we lost in extra innings.

    The food was great, and so was the company.

    I even wore a coat!

    Bob loves the girls, you know!

    I love it when the grounds crew performs while doing their job!

    We had a visit from the Moose!

    Even the big kids liked him!

  • 05Jun
    Categories: Everything!, travels here Comments Off on Las Vegas – The Entertainment

    My recent trip to Las Vegas with my mom, sister and daughter wasn’t about gambling, it was about eating, shopping and being entertained.

    The first night we were there, Melissa and Grandma went to see Donny and Marie.  Melissa grew up watching them and mom fell in love with them on Dancing with the Stars.

    That same night, Sally and I went to see Terry Fator.  He’s the ventriloquist that won America’s Got Talent a few years ago, and, boy, does he have talent!  Besides a ventriloquist, he’s an impersonator.  His act would be great even if his lips did move!

    I loved all his characters, but the funniest was when he got a big guy up from the audience, dressed his like Cher, and talked for him.  Then Terry donned a Sonny wig and they sang “together!”  Honestly, if you’re ever in Las Vegas, don’t miss this show.

    In our hotel we went to see the Cirque de Soleil show called “O.”  It’s done in the water.  Well, some of the time.  First the stage is a pool, then it’s a stage, an so on.  The guy taking the high dive really has to trust that the guy operating the stage mechanics doesn’t foul up!  It was amazing.

    Melissa provided some entertainment for us–and a gathered crowd–when she got up-close and personal with a mime!

    Good thing she’s young and cute!

    Shoe shopping…..

    This is the size Michael Jordan wears!

    We tried to get Melissa to buy some new evening wear.  Love how she tried it on, hanger and all!

    This was my favorite display.  It’s at Brighton and the dress is made from their tissue paper.  Amazing!

    The Brighton store at the airport had this mannequin dressed in newspaper!

    I wanted to buy this mannequin, but it wasn’t for sale.  It sure would have looked cute in the studio!

    Check out this window display.  Those are pantyhose!

    So, here’s what I had to pack when it was time to go home.

    And this is the size of my suitcase!  Believe it or not, I got it all in–well, a little of it had to go into my carry-on.

    Viva Las Vegas!

  • 03Jun

    I just had an email from one of my newsletter subscribers reminding me of a speedy way to make nine-patches.  I’d seen it done years ago, and forgotten all about it.  With this method, you get two nine-patches at a time.  How perfect for our Summer Nine-Patch Project! Now you can make two blocks a day faster than making one block the traditional way.  That means you’ll either end up with twice as many blocks, or you’ll only have to sew every other day!  Thanks, Peggy, for the reminder.

    Here’s a tutorial on how to make the Two-For-One Nine-Patch blocks.  The example is for a 9″ finished block, but at the end of the tutorial, I’ll give you the formula (and chart) so you can make any size block you want.

    1.  Layer a light and dark fabric, right sides together, and cut a 10-1/2″ square.

    2. Using a 1/4″ seam allowance, join the squares together on two opposite sides.

    3. Take the to your cutting board and measure in 3-1/2″ from one stitched side.  Cut.

    4. Measure in 3-1/2″ from the other stitched side and cut.  You will have two stitched segments and two unstitched strips.

    5. Press the stitched segments toward the dark fabric.  Add a contrasting strip to one side of each block.

    6. Stitch and press toward the dark fabric.

    7. Place the two segments right sides together with the seams running in the same direction.  If you pressed everything toward the dark fabric, the seams will nest together.

    8. Now stitch together across the previously made seams.  Stitch both opposite sides.

    9. Cut 3-1/2″ from each seamed edge.

    10. Press toward the side with the most dark fabric.  Add the unstitched strips to the pieced segments, dark to light.

    11. Voila!  You have two mirror image blocks!

    Here’s the formula for cutting the squares.  Take the size of the strip that you would cut for a regular nine-patch block and multiply times 3–it’s that simple.  In our example, we would have cut strips 3-1/2″, so 3-1/2″ x 3 is 10-1/2″, the size of our square.

    Here’s a chart to make it a little easier.  Block sizes given are for finished blocks.

    For 3″ blocks, start with a 4-1/2″ square

    For 4-1/2″ blocks, start with a 6″ square

    For 6″ blocks, start with a 7-1/2″ square

    For 9″ blocks, start with a 10-1/2″ square

    For 12″ blocks, start with a 13-1/2″ square

    Have fun and be sure to join the Facebook group and post pictures of your blocks!

    Sign up for my email newsletter at annalena.com.

  • 01Jun
    Categories: brilliant ideas, Everything!, quilting Comments Off on The Summer Nine-Patch Project

    If you’re like me, it can be hard to find time to sew in the summer when there are so many distractions.  Well, this summer, why don’t you join The Nine-Patch Project?

    What’s the Nine-Patch Project?  There really are no rules.  It’s just a commitment to make one nine-patch block each day this summer!  If you do this from June 1 through August 31, you’ll have 92 nine-patch blocks at the end of summer!

    What size should they be?  Make your nine-patches any size you want.  Here are the sizes of squares to cut for various sized blocks:

    Cut 1 1/2″ squares for 3″ Blocks
    Cut 2″ squares for 4 1/2″ Blocks
    Cut 2 1/2″ squares for 6″ Blocks
    Cut 3 1/2″ squares for 9″ Blocks
    Cut 4 1/2″ squares for 12″ Blocks

    What fabric should I use?  Anything goes.  Use all the same fabric, use up strips and squares from your stash.  Surely you must have some.  You can be color controlled or completely scrappy.  You can do light/dark, dark/light, you can use two colors in each block or you can use nine different fabrics in each block.  It’s up to you.

    What if I miss a day?  Make two the next!  Miss a week, make seven next week.  C’mon, they’re nine-patches.  Nothing could be easier!  This is a no-stress, anything goes project meant to be nothing but fun.

    There’s even a Facebook page where you can sign up to join the fun.  9-Patch Project at Facebook here.  You can post pictures of your blocks and be inspired by the pictures others post.  Several of my web  friends are involved in this project, and in the end, we’ll give you some ideas for setting your blocks together.  Don’t overlook the power of the nine-patch!

    Here’s a vintage nine-patch quilt that’s in my collection.  Very scrappy, but every center is yellow.

    Here’s my version of the above quilt, just using orange for my centers and setting the blocks on point.

    Here’s a controlled scrappy that I saw on the internet.  Again, all the centers are the same.

    Here’s another on-point version made by Marla.

    I sure hope you’ll join in the fun!