Around the World Blog Hop - TAG! I'm it!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to the Around the World blog hop! 

Basically, this hop started, well, I'm not quite sure where exactly... I've tried to find the source of the hop to no avail... 

anyway, last week I was tagged by Leanne at Devoted Quilter. She's awesome by the way. You should totally check out her blog. Plus she's Canadian. Everyone loves Canadians. (right? RIGHT?? >says the Canadian expat... heheheh<)

So! Basically, this hop is a "Tag! YOU'RE IT!" kinda hop. The person hosting contacts 3 other bloggers to host for the following week. I was one of Leanne's tags.

Before I forget - here are the quilty peeps I'll be tagging for next week's Around the World posts:
1. Cathy at A Quilting Chick
2. Kathy at Kwilty Pleasures
3. Stacey at The Tilted Quilt
Make sure to check them out a week today, see who they are, and what they're up to!

Part of the hop requires that you tell your readers a bit about yourself. Well, here goes!

What am I currently working on? 
Oh boy. Question is: what am I NOT working on right now. Le sigh. In no particular order:
1. Pillow cases for the kids:

Pretty self explanatory, and, I've had a few requests for custom orders for some from friends and customers so I'm plugging away on those.

2. The Classic Meets Modern QAL here at Sew at Home Mummy
Each month I post instructions to a classic/traditional block, and your challenge (if you choose to accept it) is to put a modern spin on it. I'm busy writing tutorials now and finishing up December's block for you all. Feel free to join in and play along if you'd like! All of the instructions are in the right sidebar of my blog.

You can find September's block instructions, posted this morning, {here}.

sneak peek!

3. The Oliso Iron.
I picked one of these pretties up through Massdrop recently, and I've promised to write an (unsolicited, unsponsored, un-edited (ooh! hold onto your quilty panties!) review. Time! I need time!

In a nutshell, I love this iron. It took a bit of getting used to, but I liken that to having a new sewing machine - you just need to learn all of her quirks.

More on this, soon!









4. Cupcake block pattern/tutorial.
I made this block up for a charity quilt our Guild is working on, and decided I should write up how I made it. I'm trying to move toward writing patterns and (attempting) to make a few pennies off of it. I need to feed my fabric addiction and more importantly, fund more giveaways here! Woot!

5. Swapping, 101: A Lecture Series
Okay. So I'm not sure what exactly to call this series of lessons, but basically, it's an intro to swapping. How a fabric swap works, who's involved, what is involved, set up, cutting instructions, mailing instructions, etc. I posted the first "class" on Saturday, its topic being "SASE, Return Shipping, etc."





6. Coquette Diamond Quilt for Audrey
My little girl is quickly approaching the age where she'll need a 'big girl' bed; she's transitioned to a toddler bed, but she's so tall I'm sure it won't be long before we're investing in a bigger bed. So, of course, she needs a quilt!


I've been coveting a jelly roll of Coquette for the longest time - and I just couldn't decide on a pattern I liked which would adequately showcase how pretty this line is. And who better to make a pretty quilt for but my gorgeous girl?

(I'm probably a little biased but I think she's gorgeous!)














7. The ombre hexie quilt

This quilt has definitely been a labor of love - I've been working on it for well over a year. It's back from the long armer and ready to be bound...if again, I could get some time.


8. Heart quilt
A little (big!) wall hanging for over my little boy's crib, it's a project you'll see me feature later in the month on the Fat Quarter Shop's big blog hop:



How does my work differ from others of its genre?
To be honest, I don't think my work is all that different from what anyone else is doing. Quilting is an old art - to say that something you've done is truly original, is, well, poppycock in most instances (in my honest opinion). There are hundreds of years of fiber-crafting geniuses who have come before use, laying the ground work. I think really, it's all a matter of interpretation, and how someone decides to put their 'spin' on what someone has done before them.

I would call myself a 'modern-traditionalist' - I love traditional or classic quilts, patterns and blocks, and like to put a 'modern' spin on them - but really, what is 'modern'? The use of solids? Nope. The Amish have been doing that for more years than we can count. Improv piecing? Nope - Gee's Bend?  Crazy quilting?

I don't really like to compare myself to others within this 'genre' - I just do what I love, and love what I do.

Who cares what others are doing if you are happy with what you are doing?

Why do I write/create what I do?
The quilting for me started as an outlet, an escape. I am a Canadian expat living in the US - we moved here a few years back for my husband's work. We didn't have any friends, have no family or support network here. I was unable to work due to the type of Visa I was here on. This meant that I was at home with a newborn, infant and then toddler, by myself, day in, day out. No one to babysit or look after her for me. On my husband's days off, he would watch her while I went out..but with no money, how much fun could the mall or a coffee shop be, by myself? So I retreated to the basement, set up my sewing machine and started quilting. I joined the MQG's Chicago chapter. And, I started the blog. And the rest is history ehehehe. Flash forward 3 years, another beautiful baby, and now I have my Green Card (and to be quite honest, most days I don't want to go back to work), and an Etsy shop to boot. Life is good.

How does my writing/creating process work?
Well, it's certainly not a fancy process. It usually looks like this:


  1. It's 3am and I can't sleep. ZING! Idea pops into my head. Hop outta bed.
  2. Grab my notebook; it's one of these Quad Composition Books and I start sketching. Just make a quick note for myself so I don't forget about it in the morning. 
  3. Wake up, get kiddies going. Day starts. Kiddies eventually go down for their naps. Pull out notebook above and sketch the quilt out with a little more finess; dig out the pencil crayons and add a bit of color.
  4. Do the math. BLARGH.
  5. Make the quilt.


I wish I had a bit more time to make more quilts, but that time will come as the kids get older, so in a way I'm not in a rush for that. I've just come to the realization that I can't physically pump out a quilt a week like other bloggers and quilters, but that time will come, and for now I'm just enjoying my kiddies (and making a lot of sketches). 

Thanks to Leanne again for tagging me in this hop! Make sure to check out my tags next week to see what they are up to.

Feel free to leave some comments, too! If you're 
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Classic meets Modern QAL: September! The Maple Leaf block!

It's September!
Sew at Home Mummy

Kids are going back to school, the leaves are starting to turn, the weather is (hopefully!) getting a bit cooler.

Why not celebrate this (my favorite!) time of year with a nice Maple Leaf block? (plus, I'm missing home like crazy lately [I'm from Vancouver originally] and I thought I'd throw a bit of Canadiana into the mix ;))

This block is a really quick and simple block, even simpler than last month's Churn Dash pattern. It's basically a bunch of squares and HSTs. With a stem. I am really pleased with how my blocks turned out for this month, and am excited to one day create an entire quilt of these leaves!

If you're just joining us for the first time, welcome! Feel free to play along. Each month I post instructions to a very classic/traditional block, with a bit of a modern spin - be it in composition, style, or fabric choices. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to join in on the fun and put your spin on the block (and feel free to just use my instructions, or to take the proverbial ball and run with it! But please - no running with scissors.)

Previous month's instructions are posted in the right sidebar of my blog.

Please be respectful of my original patterns and work - and make sure that if you use my tutorials, you credit it back to me.

Okay! Let's get going, shall we?



{Click here for the instructions to the Maple Leaf Block, Sew at Home Mummy style!}

Feel free to link your finished block projects up below to share with others!

   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   
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Swapping 101: Return Shipping - Self Addressed, Stamped Envelopes

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Since I've been very busy lately being a Swap Mama, I thought I'd save myself a bit of work when it comes to sending out emails about information required with regards to swapping.

I'm posting this information not only for those who may be participating or thinking of participating in a fabric swap, but also for those who may be thinking of ever hosting a fabric swap on their blogs.

Hence, this new tutorial series.

I'm starting today with the topic of "Shipping" - i.e. - how do you ship your fabrics to me, how can you print your own shipping labels/buy your shipping online, how to calculate your postage costs, how to include a SASE envelope to get your fabrics back from your Swap Mama, and more.

Calculating the weight of your package
For accuracy's sake, weigh it. If you don't have a scale at home, most post offices have a scale off to the side of the counters you can pop in and use. Here is a *rough* estimate on how much your parcel may weigh (measurements don't include packaging supplies):

Fabric Measurement           (in yards)
Approximate Weight     (100% Quilting Cotton)
½
2.8 oz
¾
4.2 oz
1.0
5.6 oz
1.25
6.9 oz
1.50
8.5 oz
1.75
9.7 oz
2.0
11.1 oz
2.25
12.5 oz
2.25+
Over 13oz, must ship flat rate within U.S.

How to pack your fabrics (and what to include in your envelope)
In your envelope to your Swap Mama you should include:

  1. Your cut fabric (cut size based on swap rules) enclosed in a Zip-loc or water-tight bag
  2. Your SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope (see below) - be it a stamped manila envelope or a pre-paid, flat rate envelope

When you're swapping fabrics, it's always nice if you send your fabrics in a water-tight, Zip-loc bag; this ensures that during shipment, your fabrics won't be damaged on their way to the Swap Mama. This also allows the Swap Mama to enclose your return fabrics in a Zip-loc, ensuring there won't be any damage to them in return.

Calculating your Shipping Costs (How many stamps do I need?)
To calculate your shipping costs, both too your Swap Mama, and from your Swap Mama, head over to

USPS.com

Under the Shipping a Package tab, select:

-- Calculate a Price

Destination:


  • for you sending your fabrics to your Swap Mama, this would be your Swap Mama's home country & address/Zip code
  • if you're calculating your swapped package's return price, this would be your home country & address/Zip code

Select a Flat Rate Service or Shape:

  • If you're sending in your own envelope, don't select "envelope" - select "Package"
  • If you're sending FRE (flat rate envelope), select the size of the envelope you're sending.

In the following screen, select your shipping service (flat rate type or First Class parcel)

Unfortunately, you're unable to purchase First Class (domestic) shipping on USPS.com, but this'll tell you how many stamps you'll need on your packages. If you're shipping Priority Flat Rate, you can purchase your shipping online, and, it's actually cheaper than buying it at the post office.

Note: **you cannot pre-purchase your return postage (i.e. the postage for the envelope from your Swap Mama back to you) online - you can purchase a $5.60 stamp at the post office to stick on your return flat rate envelope, though - or, stick $5.60 worth of postage on the FRE on the back flap of the envelope.** Also note that this $5.60 rate is for this sized envelope:
Cardboard, unpadded, 9.5" x 12.5" Priority Mail envelope: $5.60 flat rate
(rate as of August 2014).

In most areas, you can also schedule an at-home pickup for Priority Post mail - your post-person will pick up your package from your porch, front door, etc., when they come to drop your mail off. You choose how they pick it up - and it's free.

To schedule an online postal pick up, click {here}.

SASE: Self-addressed, stamped envelope
All swaps where you send your assigned fabrics to a swap mama will require that you pay for your return postage.

In some instances, for those within the US, where your return package will be over 13oz in weight, First Class USPS mail options are not available. Any package over 13oz within the US must be sent by Priority mail or the like.

In the instance where your return package will be under 13oz, you can include a SASE or "self-addressed, stamped envelope" for your Swap Mama to return your fabrics to you.

This is what your enclosed SASE should look like:

  1. You should ensure that you have enough postage/stamps on your envelope for your package; the amount of stamps will differ based on 
    1. the weight of your package
    2. which ZIP you're sending from (i.e. - your Swap Mama's ZIP since she'll be the one mailing it to you).
  2. Your name should be in the Recipient's and Sender's spot. If there is insufficient postage on your parcel, the USPS will know to return to you, but may hold your package and leave a delivery slip for you to go into your local post office to pay the difference. This ensures that your Swap Mama doesn't receive your package back if there is insufficient postage, as Swap Mamas are not responsible for postage costs.
When including a SASE flat rate envelope, you'll need to attach $5.60 in stamps to the envelope when you include it in your package (based on the envelope size pictured above - please verify rates for the specific envelope you choose).

Hopefully this tutorial has helped a bit, and please, if I've missed anything or if you have any questions, please leave a comment for me below!

(ETA: Thank you to Carla from Modern Bias for pointing out that you can't pre-purchase FR postage online for return shipping! awesome catch, Carla!)
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C+S Swap, Moonlit - Update as of Saturday August 30!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Quick update!

Fat Eighth Group (RECEIVED):
All received! Woot!
Packages have been returned to those who were only in the F8 group.

Charm Square Group (RECEIVED):
All received! Woot!
All packages have been or will be mailed by Tuesday at the latest (with the holiday Monday, I apologize for the delay!)
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Sharing the Coupon Love #13

Happy Friday, everyone.

I thought I'd pass on some super-skookum deals I've come across in my inbox this week, and I encourage you to leave a comment with any you may have found across the great World Wide Web for this week!

Here we go!

Rose Room Quilts.com
Labor Day Sale starting Friday August 29 through Monday September 1.  The sale is 10% off plus Free Shipping in the U.S. on all orders $35 or more and the code is:

LD14SALE

Fat Quarter Shop.com
The Fat Quarter Shop is now offering free US shipping with orders over $80, and decreased rates on international shipping - with international rates never exceeding $40! Yippee!
..also check out their "Precuts of the Week" where they feature a line of precuts on for discounted prices.

Mad About Patchwork.com
Pam is having a Labour Day weekend sale! Save 25% on selected fabrics using the coupon code

LABOUR25

..sale ends midnight on September 1.

Amazon.com:
Save up to 70% on sewing and quilting goodies - my wish list just keeps on growing.


SewingMachinesPlus.com
...with coupon code:

SUMMER2014

...sale ends September 1.

Massdrop.com
They have a Quilter's Dream batting sampler bundle on right now; choose from Twin or Queen size 3-packs. Have you tried the Orient?? I am in LOVE with that batting. It's so smooth and soft, and really easy to work with. I actually much prefer it to the cotton, when I can afford it! It washes well, too. I've actually started to use this more and more in baby quilts I make.







So! What other deals have you come across on the web? Make sure to leave a comment below!

This post contains affiliate links and if you click and buy, I may see a few more pennies in the kiddie. By FTC Law, I have to disclose this to you, but really, I would anyway. Honesty is the best policy.
psst...those jeans make your butt look a *little* big... in the interest of full disclosure....yes, I am that friend you want to take with you shopping. I'll tell ya what you need to hear, not what you wanna hear. 
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