Category Archives: Crafts

Tempted by the Fruit of Another . . . Quilt Pattern Designer Carrie Payne + A Giveaway

Now how can I possibly connect the pirated lyrics of a 1980’s era British band* to a quilt-themed blog post? Where there is a will, most certainly there is a way. Check out these charming patterns from designer Carrie Payne and let me explain.

Patterns of Carrie Payne @

Carrie Payne patterns displayed at Scottsdale Quilts in Scottsdale, AZ.

Just one look . . . yes, another stolen lyric . . . and I was seduced. I’m not typically drawn to figurative patterns, but there is something so charming about Carrie Payne’s style that I couldn’t resist. Luckily, my eldest son was about to throw a surprise engagement party, which gave me the perfect excuse to make a gift for his fiance. See that bride on the blue background above? That’s my launching point.

Scottsdale Quilts owner Evan Duke got me totally committed to the project when she told me how popular the little quilt has been as an engagement/bridal shower gift, especially when family and friends contribute charms for the bride’s tiered skirt. Perfect! What a cool way to bring together two families who’ve never met and celebrate the engagement. It also helped that Evan the shopkeeper has a weakness for vintage lace and pretty doodads to add to the project supplies–check out that lace snippet below.

Test 1 of Hannah's bride

First draft of my bride on a composed background from a digital print.

I took a look at Carrie Payne’s website Believe Magic before I started the project and was transported by the diversity and wealth of her ideas. She has an aesthetic that’s easy and fun to tweak. That design-on-the-fly approach is reflected in her pattern which comes with multiple hairstyles, bodices, and sizes. I opted for the side bun and the V-neck bodice as I knew my son’s fiance’s taste in hairstyles and I also knew she wasn’t one for strapless fashions.

Test Hannah's bride

Next draft: more festive with the batik floral, but my son asked me to reorder their initials to something less like a famous Swedish clothing outlet.

I didn’t get my son too involved in the project, but I did get feedback about the monogramming–he banned the H&M draft as ridiculous, even though I figured the bride should get top billing in this era of female empowerment. Oh well, M&H it would be.

Detail of Hannah's bride

Charms from my mother and sisters as well as local friends.

If you’ve followed my adventures on my past blog See How We Sew, you’ll know I’ve a fondness for bead shops and embellishments. I must admit, that’s probably another motivator for this engagement gift, but beyond the glitz and sparkle, it’s emotionally uplifting to collect charms from the women important to the bride-to-be. I even teared up as I stitched them in place!

The finished engagement quilt with embellished with charms from women on both sides of the family.

The finished engagement quilt with embellishments from family on both sides as well as friends.

One item to mention is that I followed Darra Williamson’s approach to making postcard quilts when I assembled my little quilt. Carrie uses the classic quilt sandwich and binds the edges, whereas in Darra’s scheme, the quilt top, batting and backing are fused together and the slightly longer/wider edges of the quilt top are folded over to the backing and stitched in place. It was quicker and easier for me to take that road and I like the end result.

Giveaway Details!

Carrie is generously donating several patterns for you to enjoy. I’ll be doing a coordinated post here and at See How We Sew to spread the word to crafters and sewists.

Leave your comment here at Chasing Bright Shiny Objects by Monday, November 14,  to be entered for the giveaway. Here’s your challenge:  Please give me quick Do or Don’t advice for my future as a mother-in-law. I suspect “Say nothing” will be the most common suggestion!

Narrowed signature*Tempted by the Fruit of Another by Squeeze.



Filed under About, Artists, Crafts, Patterns, Projects

Mission Accomplished: 2 Baby Quilts + 1 Scrap Throw Quilt

Carrie Bloomston fabric line

Carrie Bloomston’s fabric line available at Modern Quilting, Paradise Valley, AZ

Just back from the post office where I mailed the last of my trio of quilt projects. I won’t make Father’s Day with the delivery, but my dad knows his is on the way. So, would you like to see what I’ve accomplished this month (with the help of the talented long-arm quilter Renee Miller and the creative input of Heather Ripley at Modern Quilting in Paradise Valley, AZ)?

Ta-da! Three Quilts Conquered & Delivered!

Boy Baby Quilt front

The blue version  is for my niece’s newborn son.

Boy Baby Quilt detail front, back, & faced binding

A two-fer photo: quilting detail, backing, and faced binding.

Girl Baby Quilt Front--Carrie Bloomston fabric + others

The white version is for my nephew’s baby who will make her debut in a month or so. Hey, I was able to get one of my original quilt holders involved in the photo shoot. You can see the battered legs of my youngest son who used to make himself scarce when I needed a quilt holder. Got him this time!

Girl baby quilt back--Carrie Bloomston fabric

This Carrie Bloomston print was the inspiration for my fabric selection. Once I spotted this happy print, the notion of a quilt made of mini blocks of solid fabrics flew out the window.

Girl Baby Quilt front detail

Close-up of the quilting pattern. I selected the same design for all three quilts, although Renee kindly tightened up the gauge of the quilting design for my father’s quilt.

Dad's scrap throw quilt

I absolutely adore the simplicity of the design for my father’s quilt. I had a big pile of 3-inch squares left over from the baby quilts and opted to cut each in half in order to create a band of colorful slices. Love it!

Label for dad's scrap quilt

I made variant of this label for all three quilts. A little raw, a little handmade and referential to the fabrics used in the quilts.

What Happens After Conquering Three Quilts?

If you’ve read the news you’ll know that the Western U.S. is hot, hot, hot. So, what does a quilter do to avoid a furnace blast of heat? This quilt maker decided to tackle the leftover’s stash from the quilt trio in air-conditioned comfort. Yes, there was more fabric, but now there is much less. I’ve got to say this fourth quilt just might be my favorite so far. I got some interesting finishing details in the works . . . I’ll share soon!

Narrowed signatureQuilt #4 in the works

Stay tuned for further developments!




Filed under About, Crafts, Projects, Quilts

Design + Fabric + 720 Days = A Finished Quilt

A ghost Union Jack in place and quiltedBefore I got distracted by prepping a house for sale and then moving, I was a quilter on a mission. Mind you, it took me over two years and a lot of head bashing, but I got a mega quilt done just in time to pack up my quilt room.

The quilt was a personal commission from my dear friend Tara for her husband Peter, who was my flatmate during my college junior year abroad in England and is one of my all-time favorite people. London-born and bred, Peter was one of my go-to sources for all things British. Thankfully, our sojourn predates the smart-phone-era so I know he doesn’t have a record of an embarrassing episode when he caught me singing off-key and dancing about his room like a crazy, gawky fan-girl. The less said, the better–I won’t even reveal what singer made me swoon back in those days.

Anyway, back to the point of this post:  commission to tackle, no boundaries, no time frame, no consensus on theme. Tara and I started with a flurry of idea exchanges through Pinterest with little result. Making a quilt for a grown man isn’t easy because they typically aren’t all that jazzed by something that will ultimately be a bedspread. Ultimately, I was left with a strong conviction that I should cut to the chase and make something personal to Peter and so I compiled a few guidelines to spark my creativity: a color scheme suitable to their bedroom and decor, a desire to celebrate Peter’s roots, and a yen to incorporate some quirky things I knew about him in the design.

Color Scheme:  honey gold and bordeaux red to fit with their decor

Theme: a tried and true emblem of Englishness, the Union Jack

Quirky Details:  visual references to some of Peter’s faves and to his oddball sense of humor

Building a Union Jack quiltTara was game to the Union Jack theme when I showed her a sketch, but it took me two years to get from concept to completion. Hey, I had to take a creative journey with twists, turns, and dead ends before I could get a clear idea of how to tackle the project. The initial idea was somewhat Amish in inspiration: a square-in-a-square format.

Beginning the quilt layout

The central square would be composed of a large Union Jack with three smaller ones lined up below in the non-regulation color scheme of gold, burgundy, and French blue–the flag has three colors after all. The borders that would compose the outside square would be made of neutral patchwork blocks partnered with “ghost” Union Jacks and images printed on fabric that would resonate with Peter.

Paper piecing a ghost Union JackIn theory the basic layout should have been reasonably easy to build, but a true Union Jack has specific proportions and layout. I figured paper-piecing the quilt would be key to accuracy. Ha! I build the mirror image of the Union Jack the first time around . . . yes, there was abundant thread sacrificed to the cause of making Peter’s quilt!

Paper piecing the main Union JackI made a design adjustment once I read about the origins of the Union Jack that flies today. The national flag is built from the three flags that constitute the United Kingdom: the crosses of St. George (England), St. Andrew (Scotland), and St. Patrick (Northern Ireland). Well, okay, substitute that trio for the three smaller Union Jacks planned for the middle square. That turned out to be an excellent idea that simplified the paper-pieced flag-building process, which was sufficiently complicated by my decision to use strip-pieced fabric swatches. I was about 50% successful with that–true alignment would have blasted through a lot more fabric.

Building the smaller central flagsOnce the center block was finished, I moved on to the details I thought would amuse Peter. I transferred sepia-toned images onto printable silk organza and then fused them to fabric. You can see some of the images below: the logo from Peter’s favorite soccer team;  the Royal Pavilion, a royal palace near the university where we met; the name of his favorite band; among others. I wanted all the ghost Union Jacks and the other images to blend into the background. Can you find all five ghost flags in the border? Even I can’t!

Final layout

Here’s the completed quilt top just before I passed it on to Kathy August to quilt in simple, straight lines. You can just about see one major tweak I made to the design. There is often a disconnect between a sketch (not to scale) and execution of the design. In order to make the arithmetic work I added pencil-thin linen borders between the flags as well as linen bands to represent the edging for mounting flags. Completed Union Jack quilt

I ended up embroidering sets of grommets on those edges for the sake of authenticity–you can see my grommet-in-the-making below.

Details of final Union Jack: quilting, rivets and label

The best part of the project was giving the quilt to Peter. He was nonplussed and that was fantastic. He hadn’t a clue that Tara and I had been in cahoots years. It was by no means easy to stay on task as I had a lot going in that interval, but finally finding the way to express my regard for him was wonderful.

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Filed under About, Crafts, Quilts

Ticking Off a Bucket List Item: Bead-a-Palooza in Tucson!

Well, I just experienced an ultimate “bright, shiny objects” event: I took a stroll through the gem and mineral shows in Tucson, Arizona last week with my long-time friend Ginny.  This renowned event has been on my radar for years and, now that I’m an Arizona resident, I can indulge! And, I used my trusty smart phone camera to share the abundance of gems, minerals, beads, findings, and other beautiful objects on display. Believe me, just as our tour covered a slice of the whole, these photos capture a mere fragment of that slice. The mind boggles at the possibility of hitting every venue!

Here’s your head’s up: at the end of January and the beginning of February of each year, international and national vendors gather in Tucson, Arizona to sell their sparkling wares. It’s a wholesale event for the most part, but there are vendors who do sell to the public. It’s a combination of sales and exhibitions and the venues are spread throughout the city. The Tucson shows are part of a larger exhibition/sales universe, but they are the Big Kahuna of the gem & mineral events in the U.S.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

So, what do you think about trays filled with sparkling gems? Don’t you just want to pick them up and let them trickle through your fingers? I can’t say that it’s show etiquette, but it’s certainly a temptation. Did I purchase? Nope. I may have a modicum of jewelry-making talents, but setting gems is not one of them.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

There were yards and yards of bead strands in every conceivable type and color spread throughout the two venues I visited. The trend in matte-finished beads surprised me, but waxy, matte-like finishes are a rising trend in kitchen and bath design for natural and manufactured stone counter tops. Well, duh, makes sense then.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Here I offer you only a portion of the rainbow array of wire-linked bead strands. The greens and blues really spoke to me. I wish I’d had a good reason to buy yardage because the selection was stellar, but alas, I decided to stick to my buying plan/budget–a not fun, yet necessary strategy when visiting a bead mecca or even a quilt show!

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Here we have a bonanza of gold and silver findings which provide decorative elements to jewelry design. Love, love, love them!

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

I’ve got a soft spot for Swarovski crystal beads, especially this latest generation of crystal-bedecked beads. This vendor took those beads in a new direction for me:  multi-colored ones! She said some of her designs are directed specifically for collegiate use and thus the school colors and sports gear (i.e. those baseball/tennis ball beads) models.

Tucson Gem & Mineral Shows 2016

Ah, my favorite photo. I could dive into this pile of colored-glass beads. I have a recurring fantasy of wearing all of them at one time stacked on my neck, running up my arms, and wrapping my ankles. Ludicrous and heavy, but fun! Thanks for the fun day Ginny!

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Filed under About, Crafts, Inspirations

Caught Up in St. Valentine’s Day

Newbie blogging soloist here–I must confess I goofed when I published my second BSOz post last week and few, if any, of you received a WordPress notice. If you’d like to catch up, scroll past this Valentine’s edition to read a sunshiny post from me.

Rain-kissed rose

Back to the  of the matter:  St. Valentine’s Day! 

See, here’s the thing about Valentine’s Day for me:  I enjoy romance–especially movies, novels, songs, etc. that end optimistically with kisses and embraces. February 14 just makes me happy because it’s romantic. I don’t care if it’s a “Hallmark” holiday for my guys, it’s pink, red, white, flowery, and maybe even chocolaty. Perhaps I favor holidays with reddish color schemes? Does it matter? No. St. V’s Day is an opportunity for an expression of regard to anyone. Romance is not a requirement of a valentine, friendship is as legitimate a reason to bestow a valentine as any.

For you, dear readers, I’ve got a photo series of heart pillows that I made as gifts for friends. One of my favorite things to do is to make an embellished silk heart pillow and hang it on a bedroom doorknob as a welcome gift for a houseguest.

Lime valentne


Pink valentine


Red valentine

A Free Valentine Pattern

Back the early days at See How We Sew, I designed an offbeat piratical valentine and wrote up the pattern to share with our readers. I’ve dropped those instructions into the Projects page here at BSOz just in case you’ve got the urge to sew up some hearty pillows  of  your own. Go for the Jolly Roger theme or use the instructions to riff on something that touches your sense of romance.

Pirate valentine

Here’s hoping for kisses from romantic rogues–why not?!!?

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Filed under Crafts, Patterns