Unlikely Quilting Tools

You might call it cheap entertainment, but I like to find useful quilting supplies in unlikely places. I also find it fun to use things for quilting that aren’t meant for that purpose.

It makes a necessary a trip to town a little more exciting.

First, you might wonder why I’d combine an ordinary trip to town with looking for quilting supplies. I guess I’m one of those people who could sport a “I’d rather be quilting” bumper sticker. The reason is because I tend to put some off things (like buying groceries) until I just really HAVE to (we have no food).

Therefore, my (let’s call it creative) mind has come up with a few ways to make these tasks more bearable.

The first one (if I’m at Walmart), is to see if there are any new Pioneer Woman products – that’s a given. (See Watercolor on a Whim about my trip to Pawhuska!)

Next, is that I am always, always, always on the lookout for items that have any useful way to be a part of quilting, sewing, painting, or crafting.

I have three to share with you today!

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Big scissors, hair spritzer, and popsicle sticks. And, yes, Bubbles in the background.

Hairitage Continuous Spray Bottle

You can find this item in the hair care products at your local Walmart.

It’s a continuous spritzer, very similar to one I’ve purchased at a quilt shop. This one has a light mist, but it does spray a bit longer with each pull of the trigger. These spritzers work especially well if you use a dry iron but want to mist your fabric for a good press. These also are a great tool for watercolor painting as they don’t leave heavy droplets. The best part is that it was about half the price as the one marketed for quilting. Now I can leave one at my iron AND have one at my painting desk – perfecto!

Whether they were expensive or not, I have always had trouble with steam irons that leak or spit. I have found it’s much nicer to use a dry iron and I control the moisture with a spritzer. No chances for rust spots!

Really Big Scissors

Next up is the very long scissors, found at Harbor Freight. I have no idea what they are meant for, but I use them to cut batting. They work beautifully! If I remember correctly, they were about $8.

Craft Sticks

Lastly, I have a little package of craft sticks (popsicle sticks) that I purchased for less than $2 at Hobby Lobby. I suspect they could also be found at a dollar store or discount store for even less. I chose the wider (about 3/4 inch) ones. There are 40 in the pack so I have plans for the rest of mine!

Use this little guy for projects that need to be turned right side out a pressed. This will help push the fabric outward to make the seam nice and flat. It helps to insure you don’t crease extra fabric while pressing.

Just position the craft stick on the inside on either side of the seam and gently push the seam outward while pressing with a small iron. The rounded edge won’t compromise the seam. This is especially helpful for curved seams.

Which brings to me the next thing I want to share with you, my friends…

Image of Bubbles Cuddle
Meet Bubbles Cuddle!

This pattern is coming very soon to my Etsy shop! He’s so much fun to make! He’s shown here sporting BOTH beautiful sides of “Bubbles Geometric Medium” fabric printed on Spoonflower’s Organic Cotton Sateen, so he matches the original quilt. Of course, you can make him with BOTH beautiful sides of whatever you want YOUR Bubbles to be!

Old Barns, Red Trucks, Mercantile and More

Nostalgia at Christmastime

There’s a nostalgia that happens at Christmastime for me more than any other time of year.

Does everyone have vivid memories from childhood? From an old rendition of a Christmas song (Time Life Collection) to “holiday” foods we made when I was a kid (Pizza Fondue), Christmas brings back strong and warm memories for me. Sometimes I wonder if everyone reminisces their childhood and feels strong nostalgia at Christmastime as me.

For instance, one display in my dining room this year holds a host of happy and varied memories. I’d like to share these with you. Some are from long ago and some are very recent.

Simply put, some things we have are more than just things when they spark memories of loved ones, here and gone, and things we’ve experienced throughout our years.

image of plaster water wheel mill

Let’s start with this water wheel mill. Oddly enough, I painted it (probably during finals week) when I was in college. My aunt’s family owned a plaster shop. My friends and roommates and I would walk down to the shop on Broadway to pick out affordable gifts that we could paint for family. I suppose it was also a form of procrastination from studying, but let’s say it was a “break”!

The trees are made from the old red barn.

See three wooden trees? These are made from an old red barn at our family farm. The barn is no more, but here, in it’s place, is a pavilion and cross. Notice the roof line of the pavilion mimics that of an old red barn?

image of pavilion and cross
Image of Lighted Church

Next up is this lighted church. This belonged to my mother-in-law, Pat. It plays “Silent Night” and the lights blink.

As the video scrolls, you can see a wool-wrapped candle with a snowflake made of fringed cotton fabric. Only a few years old, I made this wrap to add another texture to my Christmas decorations.

Image of P.Town

Behind the candle comes the lighted P. Town. and Mercantile. These are two buildings in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman) renovated these buildings (and more), making the town a tourist and vacation destination.

In addition, my daughter Paige and I spent her spring break on a “creative getaway” here and had a blast. We ate pizza in the corner of the balcony shown here! See Watercolor on a Whim to read about our adventures and the creation of “Watercolor Whimsy” fabric and more! These decorations will spark new memories in years to come.

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Pioneer Woman Mercantile

At the very least, click on the link above to shop for this lighted Mercantile building and see more items fun things from Pioneer Woman!

Do you notice how many of these memories are connected to crafts and creativity?

Lastly, you find Merry, the good ol’ red truck quilt. One of my favorite pattern designs and, of course, made with both beautiful sides of fabric, she’s sure to be a part of our decorations for years to come. Merry reminds me to stay focused and never give up on goals, dreams, and creativity.

As always, you can shop patterns, fabric, merchandise and more by using the easy-link, blue SHOP buttons at Creative Bee Studios.

Add a Little Joy

Use both sides of Christmas scraps to add a Little Joy to your gifts!

I think every stitcher has a Christmas stash. You might have leftover fabric from a quilt, stockings, or napkins. Personally, I don’t keep a lot of Christmas stash, just two cubbies (!). However, you don’t need much to add a little joy to your gift decorating.

About a year ago today, I was part of my local quilt shop’s Christmas Open House. See the sample gift bag with Little Joy. Download the free pdf (further below) on gift bags using your Christmas scraps. Consider adding Little Joy to craft paper covered boxes as well.

Image of Little Joy at the quilt shop

This mini pattern mimics the JOY and Joyful quilt patterns which both use the large template of JOY.

You can see that the tree is made with the front side of a Christmas motif and the gifts under the tree are made from the reverse.

Like all my patterns, it requires auditioning BOTH sides of fabric to test their values. You’ll want to see the tree first, then notice the gifts under the branches. In the quilt patterns, you’ll also audition your background fabrics and try to pull a fun variety of fabric styles together to give the quilt an added interest.

Of course, for your gifts, just choose a surface with the contrast you desire. If you choose blue bags and have blue fabric, your design will be subtle. Use white bags for a high contrast.

It’s just a simple and fun way to use up some fabric scraps and get a little playtime in!

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Joy Quilt Pattern
Image of Joyful Quilt Pattern
Joyful Quilt Pattern

Shop #usebothsides quilt patterns in my Etsy Shop: CreativeBeeStudios

Image of Red Truck Quilt
MERRY Quilt Kit

See the new products on Red Bubble by clicking the button above! Read A Christmas Passed HERE and Christmas (Quilts) in July HERE.

Wishing you JOY and MERRYiment this Christmas season and God’s blessing throughout the New Year!

Christmas Quilting by Julia

Julia’s trip to Missouri Star found her bringing home fabric to do some Christmas quilting!

Julia chose a beautiful line of Christmas quilting fabric for her first large, quilted throw. Their first quilting project together began when, my daughter, Paige, and her best friend, Julia, took a trip to nearby Missouri Star this summer. While Julia chose a beautiful Christmas motif, Paige selected a warm, autumn line (see What is Quilting Heritage?).

Julia started with colorful layer cakes of a variety of reds which included traditional Christmas red, warm orange-y reds, and deep (almost burgundy) reds. The collection was rounded out with deep greens, black, warm whites, and lots of gold. To me her fabric has a traditional Christmas feel, but with LOTS of interest and sparkle to boot!

Christmas quilting

Next, Julia added a narrow green and gold border. Lastly, she chose a red and gold fabric for her outer, large border. Both border fabrics are found in the quilt center. Julia’s new Christmas quilt is a nice, large throw size.

Julia's Christmas Quilting

As you can see, Julia and Paige chose to keep their layer cakes whole. They got together for an evening to “play” (arrange their layer cake squares). Paige sent me black and white photos to show she was testing the values (YES!). See The Tricky Traits of Value for more information.

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Paige’s autumn throw.
Julia showing her Christmas quilting throw
Julia’s cozy Christmas throw.

Before the girls got their quilts finished, Paige and her husband moved 1,000 away, ending the frequent couples’ nights, friend walks, and quilting together. I know they enjoyed living near one another again (they grew up as neighbors and best friends, but were apart after high school). They will cherish their memories of their young adulthood and, both newlyweds, their young married life together.

Julia’s quilt will hold warm memories for her.

Lastly, Julia had her throw quilted with swirls and holly leaves in red thread.

Christmas quilting motifs

Also, Julia shared her other Christmas quilting projects:

It’s so fun to know that twenty-somethings are enjoying quilting! I hope to share future projects by these two friends. What do you think they should do next…maybe a quilting retreat?

In the end, it’s fun to see a quilting journey begin so early in life. Here’s a reminder to you to enjoy your quilting journey!

Meet the Calico Needlers

The Calico Needlers Quilt Guild meets in Saint Peters, Missouri at the St. Charles Library. This day-time guild meeting starts bright and early at 9:30.

Even so, the room was filled with friendly quilters.

The Calico Needlers Quilt Guild is a fun group of quilters!

Everything about this event was smooth sailing! I am grateful for their kind welcome and hospitality and the ease of setting up everything from technology to hauling my wares!

For starters, each guild program presentation begins with selfies of the group. I am currently without my selfie stick, so disregard the mop of gray at the bottom of these pics!

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It’s always a “Good Morning” when it starts with guild!

Likened to eating dessert first, we had the program straight away.

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Enthusiastic quilters!

In Our Quilting Journeys, I challenge quilters to ponder their own journeys.

Take a quiet moment, maybe over a cup of coffee or tea, to think about who has influenced your quilting journey.

First, many quilters have family quilters who either directly or indirectly expose us to the craft. In other words, “we get it honestly”!

Furthermore, our quilting journeys are influenced by many things, like shops we frequent (they choose what we see), friends, emails, sales, free shipping offers, retreats, and even Show and Tell!

There’s never a wrong reason for making a quilt!

As expected, much of the program is dedicated to sharing my quilting journey, which I often refer to as a “very curvy quilting journey”. With the newest curve in my journey being repeat pattern design, I remembered just days before the presentation a big influencer on the latest curve of my journey: Tula Pink.

Several years ago, at the Fall Paducah Quilt Show, fabric designer Tula Pink was the featured guest. We were fortunate to get tickets to “An Evening with Tula”. When Tula began her talk, she announced she was going to tell us the process of how she designs fabric. I guess I had been thinking about it back then because I took out pen and paper and made notes. She mentioned she uses Adobe Illustrator, a vector software for digitizing her designs.

Later, when I needed to update my laptop, I told the computer guys I would be getting Adobe Illustrator. I didn’t have a clue what it was or how incredibly powerful and involved this software was. But it was in my Tula notes!

Sometimes we are surprised by the memories we gain by quiet reflection.

The power point/trunk show continued with pattern quilts and what influenced me to make them.

The Calico Needlers meeting continued on, with business and pleas for volunteers – a common thread amongst guilds. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stick around for Show and Tell, my favorite part of any guild meeting! But I must say these quilters were most helpful and gracious to me as a speaker. Aren’t quilters the best?

While in the area, I made a stop to Batiks Plus and, eureka, I found a gem!

Hidden away, under another bolt of fabric was this bolt of Crystalia, the Hoffman digital spectrum fabric used in my original Phoebee pattern! Phoebee is the gal that started it all and helped me discover how to use BOTH beautiful sides!

See more about Designing for Hoffman Fabrics HERE.

Read more about Phoebee HERE.

A special note of gratitude to the quilt holder gals! You did a great job!

Finally, a big thanks to my new friends in Saint Peters!

Remember to enjoy YOUR quilting journey, Karla

Spoonflower How-To

Discover Spoonflower’s fabric and home decor!

Spoonflower’s fabrics and home decor are so stimulating, I liken it to walking into Hancock’s of Paducah (or any fabric warehouse) for the first time, without a clear quilt plan or shopping list! There’s so much to choose from -it can be delightful AND overwhelming!

Where do you start?

This is an overall guide to Spoonflower’s fabrics and home decor. I’ll explain what it is and how it works. You will “walk in” with an overall idea of where to go and what to do!

First, let me say that Spoonflower.com is not a difficult website to navigate. It’s just that, as creatives, we imagine ALL the possibilities when encountering a new product or venue. When you consider there are thousands of designs that can be printed on a variety of products, THAT can be overwhelming!

Because there are so many possibilities with Spoonflower, I think it’s helpful to wander in with some idea of what you will see.

spoonflower's fabric and home decor
Example of traditional designs.

Basically, Spoonflower is a print-on-demand fabric shop. Artists create design swatches. You find the one/ones you like, choose the type of fabric you want it printed on and place your order.

Pretty straight forward, right? It is. However, when you “enter” Spoonflower, you can see thousands and thousands of designs, it’s easy to get distracted. (You think you want frog fabric but you’re suddenly engrossed in pages and pages of beautiful florals.)

artistic nature
Example of “artistic, nature” designs.

So here are some basics to remember when you visit Spoonflower so you can stay on track:

Let’s start with fabric. There are categories, color, and fabric types.

Examples of categories include Style (Traditional, Modern, Nautical, etc.), Animals, Nature, Occasional, Holidays, etc.

Twelve color categories include numerous swatches in each to really pick the colors you are searching.

When it comes to fabric types, hold on to your hats! Spoonflower prints on 24 different types of fabrics! Examples are Canvas, Performance Velvet, Jersey, Organic Sweet Pea Gauze, Chiffon, Performance Linen, and my favorite, Organic Cotton Sateen! That’s just seven of the twenty-four!

Keep in mind that artists upload their designs for you to choose to print. There are thousands of artists uploading lots of designs!

Fill-a-Yard is a great option!

Fill-a-Yard is a great way to get many different designs in one yard of fabric. When you choose this option you first pick the designs you want. Next, choose the template. Do you want two half-yards or 12 dinner napkins?

When you find designs you like, click on the designer’s shop to see more. You can “favorite” what you like so you can go back to see that designer’s newest work.

What about home decor?

Spoonflower’s home decor is divided into four categories: wallpaper, living and decor, dining, and bedding.

Wallpaper: Choose from Prepasted Removable (smooth), Peel and Stick (woven), or Non-pasted Traditional (pebble).

image of wallpaper
BUBBLES Wall Paper by Creative Bee Studios

Living and Decor: Order pillows, blankets, curtains, or wallhangings in your favorite designs!

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Bubbles pillow on Spoonflower

Bedding: Options include duvet covers, sheets, pillow shams, and lumbar throw pillows.

My designs on Spoonflower, like Seashore Friends Fabric Collection, are hopefully just a beginning point for my adventure into design work.

Image of Bubbles Quilt and Fabrics
Bubbles Quilt and Fabrics

Now head over to Spoonflower.com and have a ton of creative fun!

Enjoy your quilting journey, Karla

What is Quilting Heritage?

Quilting heritage might mean something different to each of us quilters. However you define it, I’m betting you consider it a good thing!

It began several months ago when my oldest daughter assisted me at a guild program I presented. This was Paige’s first guild meeting. I think that was a big influence in determining a quilting heritage for her. She told me afterward she loved seeing all the women in one room come together with a passion and excitement for quilting.

In reflection, both of our daughters enjoyed attending quilting camps when they were young. Since then, they’ve each had their own individual experiences with sewing. Our youngest, Jacquelyn, sewed theatre costumes in college and a few other projects. Paige has sewn several costumes, including an Elsa costume from Frozen. Because their sewing interests were more varied and more difficult than I consider quilt piecing to be, I hadn’t thought much about them taking an interest in quilting. At least not for a few decades!

You never know what will trigger someone to make a quilt!

So when Paige helped me set up my program which includes an integrated power point and trunk show with more than 45 quilts, plus patterns, kits, and shirts to sell afterward, I didn’t expect it to be a big influence on her. Learn more about products and programs HERE.

Next thing I know, she and her friend, Julia, take a trip to Hamilton, Missouri, home of Jenny Doan and Missouri Star Quilt Company! They each buy some layer cakes and get together to start laying out their quilt plans. They haven’t yet discovered all the many variations of quilt blocks they can make with layer cakes, but that’s okay! They totally enjoyed making their own quilts from the 10-inch squares.

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All by herself!

Paige is not one to do anything small. (See Her Role, Our Town, My World for a look her opera background.) So when she told me she put this quilt top together because she decided she needed to carry on the quilting tradition, she also informed me she wanted to quilt it…on my longarm. She never even looked twice at this machine, all these years!

There’s something to be said for the fearless energy of youth.

While I did suggest she practice a bit, she didn’t stick to the loops and swirls I suggested for the beginner. She wanted to make pumpkins and cats – and she did!

image of quilting heritage

The fearlessness of youth is amazing!

Image of Paige quilting

And just like that, she’s a quilter – and so is her friend!

Image of Paige holding quilt

Quilting heritage is alive and well!

Enjoy your quilting journey!

Seashore Friends Baby Quilt

Brand New: Seashore Friends Baby Quilt Pattern!

Create a fun, fast baby quilt using one block, four fabrics, and BOTH beautiful sides!

The new Seashore Friends quilt is made with this one block – Reflecting 4-Patch.

Image of Reflecting 4-Patch

To start, the Reflecting 4-Patch block is made with seven squares and two 4-patch units. Make the reflection by using the reverse of each fabric for the “sunlight on the crest of the waves”.

Use both beautiful sides of four fabrics!

Next, use four fabrics to make the blocks that repeat outward from the center diagonal line.

In this baby quilt you see four fabrics from Seashore Friends Fabric Collection (my own designs), printed by Spoonflower on the exquisite Organic Cotton Sateen. Learn more about Organic Cotton Sateen HERE. This fabric is a delight for quilters and PERFECT for baby!

Gentle waves come to shore in this one-block quilt. Use the reverse side of four fabrics to mimic the sun’s reflection on the crest of the waves. No matter what your fabric motif, the reverse will add an “I Spy” activity for baby.

Seashore Friend Baby Quilt

See the full Seashore Friends Fabric Collection HERE

Stitch up a quick little soft book for your special baby using the fat-quarter panel of Organic Cotton Sateen!

See more about The Adventures of Bubbles the Baby Whale HERE

Suppose you (or the baby’s parents) aren’t into nautical baby. What to do? Consider other motifs like tractors, frogs, flowers, hearts – anything really, as long as they have beautiful reverse sides that work for your quilt!

image of babyquilt and merchandise
Use the easy-link, blue SHOP buttons for patterns, fabric, and merchandise at Creative Bee Studios!

Follow on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!

Enjoy your quilting journey!

The Adventures of Bubbles the Baby Whale Soft Book

“The Counting Game” featuring Bubbles the Baby Whale is a soft book made from a fabric panel.

Stitch this new, soft book (to match the quilt, baby bib, and more – see pics below) using a fat quarter fabric panel and a little bit of batting!

Printed on the exquisite Organic Cotton Sateen fabric by Spoonflower, this book makes a perfect gift for babies and toddlers! Not only is the fabric super soft, it is vibrant, a delight to stitch, and perfect for little ones!

The Adventures of Bubbles the Baby Whale – The Counting Game

Stitch this fun, easy project for your favorite baby or toddler! Available on Creative Bee Studios Etsy Shop (click here) OR at Spoonflower (click here).

The Adventures of Bubbles the Baby Whale begins with the friendly whale inviting the little “reader” to count with him. Through the pages, Bubbles counts his seashore friends, seashells, and more.

First to appear is Bubbles’ friend, Pinky, the baby octopus. Shop the Pinky Quilt Pattern here.

In addition, “readers” count (or point to) Sally (the seahorse), colorful corals, Fiona (flamingos), fish, sea turtles, sand dollars, and seashells.

Learn more about the creation of Bubbles Geometric fabric for making the matching Bubbles quilted wall hanging here!

What’s wonderful about the Bubbles soft book?

To start, the fabric has a great feel for little hands. The cotton fabric has a satin-y sheen that makes a great tactile experience.

Secondly, the size is just right for small hands to hold or carry around.

Third, it’s fun and easy to make.

Lastly, the book can be just a part of a whole gifted package of Bubbles items! Make the quilt or order a onesie and bib. You might grab a matching wall clock, rug, or curtains – there are lots of possibilities!

This soft book fabric panel is a fat quarter (28 x 18 inches) of Organic Cotton Sateen (56 inch width).

image of bubbles quilt on beach

Use the easy-link, blue SHOP BUTTONS (click here) to shop for patterns, fabric, and merchandise!

Please invite your friends to Join The BUZZ and enjoy your quilting journey!

Old Friends Fare Well

Old friends might not be those you’ve known the longest.

Old friends might be those you connect with instantly. Or maybe its someone you haven’t seen in a while but you pick up right where you left off, not missing a beat or…a word!

That’s what I mean by “old friends”. Not age. Not how long you’ve known them. It’s those people who connect with your soul. Who KNOW you. Really KNOW you!

Actually, old creations can be old friends, too.

When you’ve work on something so long that it becomes a part of you, it becomes a friend. It’s like when you know every inch of a quilt, or a drawing or a garden or whatever it is into which you pour your heart and hands and time.

You might not always like your this creation of yours. But a good thing rarely comes without hard work, glitches, and maybe the need for a seam ripper…right?

In the end, when you have accomplished what you set out to create, you can take stock in that process and friendship. Like when you see an old friend in passing and you both talk “a mile a minute”. When you turn to walk away, you are smiling. Old friends truly are the best!

All of this talk leads me to announce the culmination of a long creative process for one simple thing: this guy.

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BUBBLES the Baby Whale Quilt Pattern

I know you’ve seen BUBBLES before…but now he’s sporting his very OWN fabric!

It’s called Bubbles Geometric and it’s part of my Seashore Friends Collection!

If you want to take a look at the original guy, made with Kaffe Fassett’s Paint Pots, click HERE at “Uncork the Bubbles”.

To review, the whale and binding are made from the RIGHT side of the fabric. His under-belly, blowhole, and the floating bubbles are made from the REVERSE.

The real fun was choosing fabrics from the collection to help make the background for BUBBLES. In addition to seven fabrics from Seashore Friends, you’ll find batiks, ombre, and white on white stash fabrics.

AND…(drum roll)…how fun will it be for quilter moms and grandmoms to be able to choose little extras to go with their quilts?

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A BUBBLES Onesie!
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Peel and Stick Wallpaper
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A pre-made pillow – because you just made a quilt!

These are just a few of the BUBBLES items available – I hope you’ll take a look! Start HERE, and use the easy-link blue SHOP buttons!

I’ve been waiting for the day when I could share this with you all – my “old friends”. (Even if you don’t know me in person, I think you KNOW me by now.)

BUBBLES is an old friend of mine. I hope he’ll be yours, too.

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