Creative Bee Studios

Sweet Ideas for Creative Minds

Author: The Bee (page 1 of 9)

Introducing…Bubbles & Bonus Tips

You might think that once you’ve chosen a good focus fabric, your work at auditioning fabric is done. But really, you’ve just begun to have fun!

Background fabrics for these quilts are really what make the quilts sing! If you’ve been in one of my classes you know there is a certain “feel” you are trying to achieve in the relationship between your focus and background fabrics.

It DOES truly begin with your focus fabric choice – you have to pick that first and foremost. (I’ll discuss focus fabric auditioning in an upcoming post. Tips for choosing focus fabric are included in each pattern.) Once your focus fabric has been chosen, you want to achieve a balance between your focus fabric and your backgrounds.  I encourage using a mix of fabric styles and to use this quilt as an opportunity try something new. I figure, it IS a fun quilt– so use fun fabrics  which may not be appropriate in your more serious quilt work. I’m going to use two quilts as examples. They just happen to me my first and my latest (not last) patterns:

Notice that the bee is made from very bold fabric. She really makes a statement. She’s not one bit shy. The background fabrics can be bolder for her because her focus fabric and her character allow it. When I take a black and white picture of Phoebee, some of the backgrounds are darker in value than I would use with my other patterns, depending not just on the focus fabric, but also the subject matter and what I want you to feel when you look at the quilt.

Now looking at Bubbles, I hope you see a sweet, endearing “fellow”…youthful, happy, maybe adventuresome… maybe up to something. Bubbles can be a boy or a girl and you can change his or her attitude just by choosing a different focus fabric! What I am hoping you have noticed by now is that the background fabrics also have a different feel. In fact, most of the accent strips I used  are reversed to keep them from overpowering this sweet whale friend.

Once I’ve chosen my focus fabric, I lay the fabric out, loosely shaped for the pattern I’m making– but with a twist – literally, I twist the fabric so half of the fabric shows the reverse side. Then I take my backgrounds and audition them with BOTH sides of my focus fabric, taking lots of black and white pictures until I’m happy with the values I see. When I look at those pictures, I want to see my character (bee, butterfly, bouquet, cauldron, seahorse) first, my reversed fabrics next (flowers, vase, bubbles, etc.), and my backgrounds last. The accent strips are just that – small bits of fun that flirt with being “too much”, but because they are small enough, they can stay and add interest to the quilt.
My husband and “silent” business partner just happened to name the two above quilts.

Now compare the FEELS of these two quilts with relation to their backgrounds:

Image of Flamingo Quilt

Fiona

Now, you don’t want to get too serious about your fabric auditioning, because these patterns truly are fun, fast, and easy quilts to make. There are no matching seams. They are a good way to use up scraps. They make great gifts. I just wanted to give you a little bonus peek into the value of the #usebothsides backgrounds.

For more auditioning fun, take a #usebothsides class. Next up is “Christmas in July” at The Golden Needle in Cape Girardeau, MO. July 7, 10 – 3 p.m. Choose from Pepita, Rose, Emily or Kate. Sign up and prep info in shop.

Bubbles may be my latest#usebothsides pattern, but it is the fourteenth pattern using a scrappy 36-inch square background. See all my patterns by clicking on the Patterns Page above or click here.

 

River Heritage – Port and Starboard

Quilts Ahoy! Month six in our river-themed mystery quilt is called Port and Starboard.Image of River Heritage Ad

I knew from Girl Scout days and canoeing that port meant left (both words have four letters) and Starboard meant right when looking out the front of your boat, vessel, canoe, ship, or even kayak, I guess. What I didn’t know was how those terms came to be.  Here’s what I found out:

When boats were controlled by a steering oar (before the rudder was centered on the boat), it was usually on the right side of the stern. Sailors would call that side the “steering side” and eventually it became a combination of two Old English words: “steor”  and “bord”, which mean “steer” and “side of the boat”. 

The opposite, or left side, of the boat was usually used for docking and loading the boat and was known as the “larboard”. Apparently, “larboard” was too easily confused with “starboard”, so the term “port” was adopted to refer to the side that faced the porters who loaded (ported) supplies onto the boat.

So there you have it: Port and Starboard.Image at Ferry Dockign

Image of Elmer Wichern

Uncle Elmer.

Now for the ferry! While brainstorming for ways to photograph the river for this fun mystery adventure, I thought of the ferry crossing in Ste. Genevieve. I have vague memories of crossing the ferry as a kid and I knew my Uncle Elmer piloted the ferry for a number of years. My cousin, Bonnie, shared with me that he and 4 other men purchased the ferry in 1975 to keep it running for farmers who lived in Ste. Genevieve and farmed in Illinois. He would pilot the boat on the weekends during his retirement.  Uncle Elmer loved the river and spent a lot of time there. If my Aunt Alice didn’t know where he was, she could find him at the river talking to fishermen and farmers. Before he married Aunt Alice, he was a river boat pilot pushing barges from St. Louis to New Orleans. Image of Young Man Working the RiverNow his grandson, Jeff, pushes barges from Tower Rock in Ste. Gen. down the river as far as New Orleans.

Elmer’s younger brother, Bill (my dad), also worked the river as a young man. The only story I remember from my dad about working on the river is that once while in New Orleans he got an anchor tattood on his arm–and a lot of trouble from his siblings when he got home! I loved that anchor tattoo.

Image of Orville Wichern

My dad.

Image of River Crossing

The Ste. Gen – MoDoc River Ferry Summer hours  (April 1 – October 31):
Monday – Saturday: 6 am – Last run at 5:30pm; Sunday : 9 am – Last run at 5:30pm
There are different rates for pedestrian, horseback, bicycles, motorcycles, and different size vehicles plus you can choose round trip or one-way. It was a lot of fun and I recommend it! Click here for more information.Image of River Image of Ferry Piloting across River

                                                  River Heritage

Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt

Month 6 Port and Starboard

Welcome to the sixth month in the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt! Port and Starboard is made from sixteen half-square triangles squares, like Trail of Tears, but with a different layout. Follow the instructions for value (light, medium, and dark) and use your own color scheme to make your block. You can use as few as three different fabrics or as make your block as scrappy as you like. Remember to check your values by taking a black and white picture of your fabric choices.

Cutting Instructions:

From light fabric:                                         From dark fabric:                                        Image of Quilt Block

Eight– 4-inch squares                                     Four – 4-inch squares

From medium fabric:

Four – 4-inch squares

RST = right sides together

Half-square triangles:  Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the reverse side of each of the eight light squares. Layer one dark square and one light square, RST.  Likewise, layer the other three dark/light pairs, RST. Stitch ¼ inch from the diagonal line for each set (chain-piecing method). Remove and clip the threads connecting the sets. Stitch ¼ inch seam on the other side of the drawn line. Clip apart. Cut on the drawn line. Press. Trim/square each set to 3 ½ inches. Makes eight sets.

 

Repeat the above method using medium/light combination to make eight sets. Trim/square each set to 3 ½ inches.

 

Assemble block:  Position the sixteen half-square triangles according to the picture. Take a black/white photo to double-check your layout using value.Image of Black and White Port and Starboard Block

 

Turn each piece from Column 2 onto Column 1, RST. Chain-piece a ¼ inch seam on the right edge. Clip apart and press odd rows to the right, even rows to the left.

 

Repeat with the next section by turning Column 4 onto Column 3, RST, stitch and press.

Repeat with the final two columns, stitch and press.

 

Nestle seams and pin Rows 1 and 2, RST, and stitch. Press open.

Nestle seams and pin Rows 3 and 4, RST, and stitch. Press open.

Repeat with final two sections, stitch and press open.

Trim and square your block to 12 ½ inches.

River Heritage Month 6 Port and Starboard Printer-FriendlyImage of Vehicle on Ferry

 

Share your block using #riverheritage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Month Seven will be posted on July 9, 2018 at www.blog.creativebeestudios.com.

Tips for Half-Square Blocks

Here’s a simple but effective tip for trimming up your half-square triangle blocks. Keep in mind, there’s more than one way to…(I love my cat too much to finish that phrase)…make a half-square, but here’s how I do it for the mystery quilt:

In this example, we are wanting 3 1/2″ finished blocks so I’m starting with 4″ squares. Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the reverse side of the lightest fabric.Image of Two Fabric Squares

Put right sides together and use a 1/4″ foot ti stitch 1/4″ from either side. (If I was making a lot of these – like for last month’s block- I’d run them all through, stitching down one side (chain-piecing) and then turn them all and stitch down the other side of them all.)Image of Block with Stitching

Cut on the center line and press to the lighter fabric. The block should be larger than 3 1/2″ and have threads and tails (or ears) on them.

Here is The Tip: Using any ruler with a 45-degree line, place that line along the diagonal seam of your block and so that the over-all size after you trim the first two sides is still slightly larger than 3 1/2″. Notice the extra fabric outside of the 3 1/2″ marks? Trim the first two sides.Image of Block and Ruler

Spin your block and now line up the trimmed sides directly on the 3 1/2″ marks. Trim the last two sides.Image of Last Cut for Block

Maybe you figured this out on your own, but I needed a kind teacher to show me why I shouldn’t just trim that block to 3 1/2″ with the first cuts. I AM from the Show-Me State!

If you are making the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt, you are probably figuring out that there are a lot of half-square triangle blocks  in the design. Here is a pic of last month’s Trail of Tears block. Be ready to make some more half-square triangle blocks when the reveal for Month 6 comes out next week!

Having quilted for some time, I take for granted the piecing techniques I learned in classes. I hope sharing some of these techniques helps our newer quilters.

See my Mystery Quilt page for links to all of the months and Introduction or scroll down through the blog.  Mystery Quilt posts are published on the second Monday of each month at 9 a.m.  Each month has interesting river pictures, stories, or facts about river life along with the block of that month instructions. Month 6 is revealed June 11!

Focus fabric kits available in my Etsy shop:

Traveling Quilts

Do you travel with quilts? Guilty! I take quilts on vacations, retreats, even short hotel stays…for warmth and beauty, to work on, to photograph, and to just enjoy.

Last week I had the pleasure of taking 40 quilts and a power point guild presentation to Memphis, TN (Cordova, to be exact) to the home of the PUPS (Pickin’ Up the Pieces) Quilt Guild.

I find it fascinating to see the differences between different quilting groups. Size alone can change the dynamics of a group. Meeting location is another factor. Personalities of the members can change how a guild operates. What seems to be constant, though, among all guilds is that the love of quilting, creating, and discovering new opportunities outweighs any of the challenges brought to a group of women (with a sprinkling of men).

A few take-aways I recall from visiting PUPS include:

Show and Tell:

I didn’t get all the details,  but there was this Master List of projects that the members must have filled out earlier in the year and when  a show and tell item from that list was completed, that quilter got credit and, I think, entered into a drawing for retreat funds! How cool is THAT? Look at all this SHOW AND TELL from only 22 members present!!! I really liked being able to go around and look at each quilt closely during the break!  I did later find out that this particular meeting was their LAST CHANCE to complete those projects and that may have contributed to their prolific quilting!Image of QuiltsImage of Show and Tell Quilts

 

Image of QuiltsImage of PatternsBlock-of-the-Month:

Being in charge of Block-of-the-Month for my guild (blatant promotion to follow), I was surprised when their quilters showed up with their blocks dutifully completed for that month and laid them in a pile on a table. The PUPS gals take those blocks and make them up into quilts for their community. It’s a really nice way to help the community while quilters  learn new techniques.

 

Virtual Retreats:

I thought this sounded like loads of fun! Pick a weekend (pretty far in advance for planning purposes). Choose your projects, your favorite jammies, and snacks and have your own retreats at home – but shared with pictures and videos on the guild Facebook page! Sounds like a winter thing to me…although my studio feels like winter year round, so I am game whenever!

I’m always a bit nervous before giving a presentation, not because I’m not prepared…but because I might go off script (“I am not a THIEF?”) ugh! Thankfully, I didn’t know before I got to town that I had SUCH BIG SHOES to fill:  Marie Bostwick (My Favorite Author) had spoken the month before. Had I known that, I would’ve driven there a month earlier! Thankfully it didn’t sink in until the next day that I was following that awesomeness. (I’m pretty sure we’d be besties, if she actually knew me;)) She’s a class-act and I was honored to follow her.

A big shout-out and thank-you to the PUPS Quilt Guild for their hospitality!

Blatant Advertising for BOM and some summertime quilt patterns:

 

 

 

Join all the fun by subscribing below – you’ll get a post once a week sent to your email. Check back often for new announcements…I’ve got some secrets to share! Join the FREE River Heritage Mystery at any time – it’s not too late! Please share this post, my Etsy shop, and website on Facebook and pin on Pinterest! Thank you for following!

OKLAHOMA! Backroads in South Dakota

In 2014, I made this Bonnie Hunter quilt called “Oklahoma Backroads” (click here for pattern link) for my daughter’s graduation from high school and to commemorate her role as Laurey Williams in OKLAHOMA!. Image of Quilt

Image of Quilt Label

Notice I named Jacq’s quilt using all caps with an exclamation point – as the musical is named –OKLAHOMA!.

I used lots of scraps (as you do in a Bonnie Hunter quilt – which I LOVE)! Some of them included fabrics from  my mother-in-law’s stash. One of those fabrics was from matching colonial dresses she made for Jacquelyn and her American Girl doll, Kirsten, for a trip to Colonial Williamsburg.  Also, i used fabric and lace on the borders which were used on Jacquelyn’s costume for the role of Laurey. Image of OK! PosterImage of Dancer SpinningImage of Quilt by PoolImage of Scene from OKLAHOMA!

As a graduate with a major in musical theatre, Jacquelyn heads out tomorrow to work three months in South Dakota and she’s taking “OKLAHOMA! Backroads” quilt with her as she’s once again playing the role of Laurey Williams for Black Hills Playhouse. As you might guess, our vacation this year will be to South Dakota for opening night!

I love that there are meaningful fabrics in the quilt she’s packing.Image of TheatreImage of Theatre Inside

We’ve never been to this area of the country, so I’m looking forward to seeing all the sights AND quilt shops (recommendations please)!

When I made this quilt, I separated my scraps into lights, mediums, and darks. However, I really hadn’t discovered that the values change, depending upon what values surround them. I would have achieved a more defined pattern and secondary pattern had I paid attention to that AND had I used my camera’s black and white function to check the values. I’ve learned a lot with #usebothsides quilts when it comes to VALUE! (Click here for a post about value.)

Be sure to check out the newest pattern, AngelinaImage of Pointe Shoe Quilt and all the #usebothsides patterns (click here) in my Etsy shop!

 

 

River Heritage – Trail of Tears

River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt

Month Five – Trail of Tears

 

The Trail of Tears State Park, located on the Mississippi River, in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, is a beautiful park with four trails, three river overlooks, a lake, campsites, picnic areas, and a visitor’s center. It  also is a burial site which commemorates the tragic deaths and hardships of the forced relocation of the Cherokee.

Image of River View

View of the Mississippi River from Trail of Tears State Park.

Image of Cherokee on Trail of Tears

The visitor’s center is filled with information including audio recordings, video presentations, books, and static displays about the Trail of Tears, plus information about wildlife found in the area.

 

It is difficult to read, see, and hear about the struggle of these people at the hands of our government and, consequently, our country.  Still, it is wonderful to have the history and beauty of the state park right here in our own “backyard”.  If you haven’t been to the Trail of Tears State Park in a while, I recommend the drive, the views, and the history lesson.Image of Trail of Tears SignImage of Mississippi River

Image of Stone

Later found to have inaccuracies, this covered stone still stands to honor all those who endured the march of relocation on the Trail of Tears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Quilt BlockThe Trail of Tears quilt block is made from sixteen half-square triangle squares (eight made from a dark/light combination and eight made from a medium/light combination).

Follow the instructions for value (light, medium, and dark) and use your own color scheme to make your block. Remember to check your values by taking a black and white picture of your fabric choices.  I look forward to seeing the variety of blocks you make!

Cutting Instructions:

From two light fabrics:                                             From dark fabric:                                        

Four – 4-inch squares, totaling 8                        Four – 4-inch squares

 

From medium fabric:

Four – 4-inch squares

                                                                                               RST = right sides together

Half-square triangles:  Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the reverse side of each of the eight light squares. Layer one dark square and one light square, RST.  Likewise, layer the other three dark/light pairs, RST. Stitch ¼ inch from the diagonal line for each set (chain-piecing method). Remove and clip the threads connecting the sets. Stitch ¼ inch seam on the other side of the drawn line. Clip apart. Cut on the drawn line. Press. Trim/square each set to 3 ½ inches. Makes eight sets. 

Repeat the above method using medium/light combination to make eight sets. Trim/square each set to 3 ½ inches.

Assemble block:  Position the sixteen half-square triangles according to the picture. Take a black/white photo to double-check your layout using value.

Turn each piece from Column 2 onto Column 1, RST. Chain-piece a ¼ inch seam on the right edge. Clip apart and press odd rows (1 & 3) to the right, even rows (2 & 4) to the left.

Repeat with the next section by turning Column 4 onto Column 3, RST, stitch and press. Now you have two columns.

Repeat the above assembly with the final two columns, stitch and press.

Nestle seams and pin Rows 1 and 2, RST, and stitch. Press open.

Nestle seams and pin Rows 3 and 4, RST, and stitch. Press open.

Repeat with final two sections, stitch and press open.

Trim and square your block to 12 ½ inches.

River Heritage Month 5 Trail of Tears (Printer Friendly Version)

Share your block using #riverheritage on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

Month Six will be posted on June 11, 2018 at www.blog.creativebeestudios.com.

Image of BeeIf you visit the Trail of Tears Visitor Center soon, you may experience the carpenter bees working at the entrance. While their buzzing is loud, they aren’t aggressive at all and are too busy making holes in the soft wood to bother you. It’s kind cool and I had to get a picture of one to share, because…you know. 🙂

Subscribe for posts to come to your email. Please share the mystery with friends – it’s not too late to start!

Welcome the latest #usebothsides pattern: Angelina!

Introducing…Angelina

Pointe shoes are just…beautiful. This #usebothsides quilt pattern is for the ballerina in your life.Image of Pointe Shoe Quilt

Angelina Ballerina is a cute little mouse who loves to go to ballet lessons. Part of the American Girl collection, we had (er, still have) the dolls, her stage with a player piano, and many accessories. And…Angelina wore pointe shoes.Image of Mouse Doll

Both of our daughters loved ballet…but I’m not sure either of them would have stayed with it if they’d ever thought pointe shoes were off the table.

Pointe was the point!

I was excited to find focus fabric which works for a new #usebothsides quilt pattern with pointe shoes as the focus! I did my research and then checked with my youngest who is still taking  pointe  (as a senior in college) to make certain the  shoes in my pattern  were properly on pointe!

Angelina Quilt Pattern uses both sides of one focus fabric for the shoes and ribbons, tights and soles (reversed), and the binding on a fun, scrappy background.

Image of Paige

Paige, 2011

Pointe isn’t all glamour and glory, though. Mom’s of pointe students are well aware of the time spent stitching in ribbons and elastic. Girls generally never outgrow point shoes because they break down too quickly and must be replaced often. They take special fittings and there are hundreds of options from which to choose.

Image of Jacq on Pointe

Jacquelyn 2018

For the young dancer, pointe shoes seem to be a right of passage. It takes determination, maturity, time, and skill…and the acceptance of bloody toes, ugly feet, and a large collection of expensive and eventually smell shoes!

Determined girls wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

See all the #usebothsides patterns HERE.

Angelina Quilt Pattern and Focus Fabric Kit now available at www.etsy.com/shop/CreativeBeeStudios!

The Tie that Binds

Blest be the tie that binds.Image of Orville

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds.

Is like to that above.

 

Before our Father’s throne,

We pour our ardent prayers;

Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,

Our comforts, and our cares.

 

We share our mutual woes,

Our mutual burdens bear;

And often for each other flows

The sympathizing tear.

 

When we asunder part,

It gives us inward pain;

But we shall still be joined heart,

And hope to meet again.

I think some of you will know exactly what I mean when I say that my heart is sorrowfully heavy and full of joy–all at the same time.

I lost my 91 year-old father this week.  I’m sad that our family doesn’t have pictures of the times I remember most from my childhood…my dad in our garage, fixing the brakes of my bike so I could ride to the pool – or dad pulling our boat around for the hundredth time to try to get me up on skis, or of him hitting the throttle and telling me when to pull the plug as we drained our boat, or of him directing me and my sisters to help put up our tent on a hot afternoon when we were NOT happy campers AT ALL.  Memories are precious.

In these last 13 months, while he struggled with his health, my sisters and I got to see Dad again–the witty, silly, playful side of him. He was an endearing man who softened the hearts of his caregivers and doctors when they figured out he was messing with them.

I am full of joy and forever grateful that not only did my dad have faith, he asked, “Where am I?” and answered peacefully, “Heaven” as he passed. Few of us get such confirmation at the end of our loved one’s life. When I start to focus on the doubts and questions of what could have been, I remember that incredible “God Wink” given to us at Dad’s death.

 

This is supposed to be a blog about quilting and there are so many analogies I could make that use quilt themes to describe family and loved ones and friendships. Instead, I’ll leave a few pictures of the man I called dad. And thank you, friends, for allowing me to share with you.Image of Willie with QOV
Image of Willie

Dad acting silly with his cap.

Image of Dad and MomImage of Willie and WWII capImage of Willie and Karla

Image of Orville Wichern

Orville J. (Willie) Wichern
1926 – 2018

How do YOU Quilt Week?

..drool over the quilts …view the vendors …proceed with a plan …hit it haphazardly

…all of the above?

We start with a plan each year. Some years we really study the quilts. Some years we REALLY shop the vendors.  Some years we take classes. Some years we throw our plans  out the window and just go!

Of course, this year I made several stops into Hancock’s of Paducah!

Thanks for everyone who took the time to take a pic and post it with #usebothsides! You were entered into the drawing and the winner of a #usebothsides pattern of her choice is…

(drum roll and scroll down)…

 

Image of Quilt Shop

Rose, Pepita, and Emily hang in the distance.

Image of Quilts Hanging

L to R: Sally, Kate, Lily, Belle, Phoebee, Something’s Brewing, and Fiona hanging at Hancock’s of Paducah!

Image of Jacket

That’s me looking at Phoebee and Pepita patterns hanging in Hancock’s.

Image of Hancock's Post

Fiona was a featured quilt in Hancock’s of Paducah Facebook Promotion.

All the names went into the honey pot and the winner is….Image of Honey Pot

Cindy Spaeth! Congrats, Cindy! Pick your pattern, girl!

How do you Quilt Week? What’s your favorite vendor? Favorite quilt? Favorite food?

Shop all the #usebothsides quilts HERE. New focus fabrics and patterns arriving real SOON!

 

 

 

 

Favorite Binding Tool

As a new quilter (and even as a more experienced, but less prolific quilter), I would struggle with attaching binding to my quilts.

I’d refer to my Happy Endings book each time I came to that part of the quilt-making process and try to remember how to prepare and put on binding. Even after I understood the technique, there would be so much time in between bindings that I couldn’t remember how to do it. Image of Rule 'n Gauge Tool

While trying to get the end my stitching to the exact size of my seam allowance, I’d use a familiar tool, mostly used in garment construction.  One brand calls it a “Rule ‘n Gauge”. In addition to providing a precise measurement, I use the straight edge of this little tool to give me a perfectly square fold for my binding corners. While any straight edge will do, this is a thin and readily available tool that has passed the test of time for me. Image of Quilt Binding

Having made 14 patterns in nine months, stitching on binding is second nature to me, but I still use the Rule ‘n Gauge every time.

What’s your favorite binding tool?

Remember to add prairie points (Click here) for easy hanging options before you turn your binding!

Headed to Paducah for AQS Quilt Week? See you at Hancock’s of Paducah! Take a picture with any or all of the ten #usebothsides quilts and post on Facebook with the hashtag for a chance to win a pattern of your choice!

Image of Bee Quilt

Phoebee Quilt Pattern

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