Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Kid's Christmas Gift Guide

While I'm usually all quilting, all the time on my blogging home, I thought I'd lead a had to parents or grandparents that want to keep in good graces this holiday. Since I have four kids of my own, I have some experience with toys kids like, without the items driving parents to the brink of insanity. (Affiliate links and expert advice 😏 included here.)

Provided the kids are beyond the stage putting-everything-in-their-mouth stage (and the moment I said my kids knew better, they'd show everyone I gave them too much credit), LEGO bricks are awesome. You can find all their favorite things such as Mario, Minecraft, Disney, or Harry Potter in a variety of prices. LEGO sets don't make noise, and durable, and have a minimal storage footprint. The only bother is that kids tend to make critical pieces magically vanish, and some sets can be up there in price.

For all kids, including those of younger ages, Magna Tiles are fantastic. They are indestructible and kids remain interested through the years. Do get the name brand, in spite of the cost, because they attach successfully, no matter how you connect them. You can also add additional sets later without compatibility issues.
For mimicry, Melissa and Doug is a dependable brand. The play sets come with a warranty and clear instructions. The parts lock together with incredible durability. I have the Star Diner, and my little one has stood on the table a time or two without his full weight bringing it down. Use coupon code CYBERWEEK for 24% off $75+.

My kids also enjoy their play food sets, especially the ones with hook and faster attachments that allow for the foods to be cut into pieces.

For a small, quiet, inexpensive, portable toy, I love the Water Wow! books.
For small children, Little People are a classic. There are such fun sets available.

For elementary-aged kids, Imaginext sets are awesome because of the interactive cause and effect elements. The figure legs serve as a key to toggle elements of the play sets.

Encouraging reading is a major plus. If you invest in a Kindle, e-books can be checked out from the local library.

What have been your favorite gifts for kids? And what have been the biggest banes of your existence?

FYI December 2021

Perhaps the snow is starting to fall, and you're in the mood to make a holiday quilt. Click the logos below to be taken to some delightful, free quilt alongs.

And to get you all set for the project, check out the holiday collections at Fat Quarter Shop.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Holiday 2021 Quilter's Gift Guide

Here are a few of my favorite things. (Links included to make items much easier for you to find on the web and for a slight affiliate commission. I'm nothing if not an enabler. 😉)

First off, check out the specials at Fat Quarter Shop!

You can never go wrong with a convenient and beautiful fat quarter bundle or Aurifil thread.

Starch can be a great help, so fabrics don't stretch out of whack, especially when they are cut on the bias (at a diagonal). I like fragrance-free Best Press and a fine mist bottle.

As a splurge, I like the Oliso iron with legs that pop up without you tipping it. No more singeing my ironing board when I lose focus. The best deal is at Piece N Quilt. Use my referral link for $10 off.

Pins and a dish are essential. You can't beat the Harbor Freight Magnetic Parts Holder, and I prefer skinny Clover Glasshead pins.


Perhaps you don't want your pattern pieces to get all mixed up. Personally, I can't even find the fabric I was cutting pieces out of, so there's much room for improvement. Anyhow, Alphabitties are good for that. Attach with some Clover Wonder Clips.
Rotary cutting tools are a must. My favorite mat size is OLFA's 24" x 36". Brand and size do make a difference. This one allows me to lay out yardage and cut without further folding, which improves accuracy. It's a self-healing mat with flexibility, that can be cleaned with soapy water. Just make sure it lays flat when it travels in a warm car to prevent warping. 


For extras, I love the OLFA 12.5 rotating mat. It's great for squaring up blocks.

My favorite rotary cutter is the OLFA Splash. It's easy to change the blade, comes in fun colors, has a comfortable grip, and is very affordable. Upgrade the blade to their Endurance model for lasting sharpness. As for rulers, my favorites are the OLFA 6" x 24",  and 12.5" square. Smaller sizes are very handy for maneuverability and transport. For paper-piecing, I love the Add-A-Quarter Plus, and for HSTs I favor the Bloc_Loc 6.5".

For book lovers like me, take advantage of C+T Publishing's Black Friday sale. Use code BLACKFRIDAY30 to save 30% off everything.

And if you are in for an industrial quilting machine, Juki is a favorite coming in at under $1,000 for durability and a beautiful stitch.
A drop-in cabinet for your sewing machine is extremely helpful for quilting. Arrow has cabinets at deep discounts. Use the code THANKS for 20% off and free shipping (excludes Black Friday deals).

Or a low-budget solution is available at Joann's for $129.99.

This year Cricut machines have hit the best prices I've seen.

And if your quilter is well-stocked in fabric and notions, classes would be fun. Creativebug is running quite the deal.

What's on your quilting wish list this year?

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Mini Charm Chiffon

Today I introduce Mini Charm Chiffon to you. It has an organized randomness to it that works well for a scrappy look, but makes use of mini charms.

Pick up your free pattern for this quick and pretty 36.5" square project. It requires four mini charm packs (140 squares), 1 yard of background and 1/2 yard of binding. Fat Quarter Shop has a Quilt Kit available in Love Lily by April Rosenthal for Moda. 

Check out Kimberly's YouTube video.

I used Sunprint 2021 Day Trinket for the background and a charm pack of Sunprint 2021 cut into quarters in place of the mini charm packs. I set aside the white and black prints to edit the selection into a cheery rainbow.

For the quilting, I did diagonal lines 3/4" apart only on the background.

I bound and backed this with Alison Glass Sunprint 2021 Cosmo Tuesday.

What have you been making lately?

Friday, October 15, 2021

Fat Eighth Flapjacks Quilt

Fat Quarter Shop has released a new free Shortcut Quilt pattern and YouTube video. They offer a quilt kit and backing set in Lady Bird by Crystal Manning.

For my rendition, I used Sunprint 2021 Day Trinket by Alison Glass yardage for the background and a Bloom Pure Solids Fat Quarter Bundle. Check out all the beautiful Art Gallery Pure Solids Fat Quarter Bundles Fat Quarter Shop has available. 

Bundles come with a clever card specifying the name of each individual fabric.

The pattern calls for twenty-two 9" x 20" rectangles cut into six 3" x 8" rectangles (132 total). Instead, I cut the fat quarters into two 6"x 18" strips. I cut the background into twenty-two 3" x 18" strips. These were sewn together before cross-cutting into 3" x 10 1/2" strips to be assembled into blocks.

The final quilt size is 60 1/2" x 70 1/2".

This pattern is a wonderful way to highlight scrappy fabrics, fun prints, or a favorite collection.

For the quilting, I stitched organic curves running horizontally.

Aurifil 50 wt were my threads of choice in Plum 4030, Light Jade 1148, Antique Rose 2430, Fuchsia 4020, Emerald 2865, Lemon 2115 and Light Grey Turquoise 2805 for the bobbin.

I backed this with Alison Glass Favorites Remix in Sunshine from my stash.

Along with the other Shortcut Quilts, I recommend this pattern for a fast make that doesn't involve massive background experience, but is still enjoyable for more experienced quilters that want a stress-free project.

It's kid-approved!