What I’m Lovin’ in October

My very favorite month is coming to a close, but no hard feelings – we’re just closer to my favorite holiday: Christmas!

Keep reading for the short list of what I’ve been lovin’ this month…

october

1. This beautiful reminder…

october

What colors have you revealed this month?

2. Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream at Sweet Cream Company

Part of me didn’t want to share this in fear that they would run out of this delicious treat. My Mom, sister, both Hubses and I visited Sweet Cream after my birthday dinner {at my very favorite taco place, Cantina 76} to discover that they had Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream! It was the best thing I’ve tasted since the pumpkin spice cookies Kathy brought to our last sew-in.

ice-cream

L to R: Pumpkin Cheesecake, Coffee, and Black Sesame Ginger

Sweet Cream is a locally owned ice cream shop with the most interesting flavors imaginable. You can follow them on Instagram so you’re up-to-date on their latest flavors, but be warned: you will experience mouth-watering and serious cravings.

If you’re not local to Columbia, SC – they ship! But you should still experience the sweet shop in person so add the Sweet Cream Company to your “must try” list when you visit 😉

3. Progress on my <> Quilt

Our office was closed for a few days as Hurricane Matthew approached and I got a serious craving to start a quilt {it’s hard to predict when it’s going to hit! 😉 }

quilt-1

I dusted off my Handmade Style book {let’s be honest: there’s no dust on that book. It’s in constant rotation in my sewing room!} and picked out the <> Quilt. It’s made from big blocks which I thought would be a great idea so it would come together quickly {patience is not a virtue I have}.

I’m making it entirely from fabric I have on-hand so each set of “<>” will be different {you can peak at the pair for the middle row here}.

quilt

First set of <> down, 2 more to go!

4. Wrapping bird nest necklaces

It’s been a while since I’ve made a batch of the bird nest necklaces…I’d forgotten how soothing wire wrapping can be!

necklaces

I used to make the nests all the time {so often I sold my extras at the Soda City market for a while} until I started sewing heavily and got too exhausted from pedaling my handmade goods {shout-out to all my handmade hustlers out there: selling your goods is no.joke. – it’s far more stressful than most realize}.

A few weeks ago I got a request that energized me. An organization that is near and dear to my heart recently re-branded and their new logo is a nest. Thus, the bird nest necklaces were a great accessory for their team!

If you have mama birds on your holiday list and are in need of a necklace, let me know – I’d be happy to chat with you about a custom order.

5. Maker Style Podcast

I love listening to podcasts all.the.time – while I sew, while I cook, while I eat my lunch

I’ve shared a few of my favorites before, but the Maker Style podcast is my favorite as of late!

maker-style-podcast

{Click the image to read all the details about the podcast via The Wild Stich}

I discovered this podcast when Indie Sew posted about Allie’s interview on Instagram. I immediately found the Maker Style podcast in iTunes and started listening.

The interviews are great! I really appreciate that Rachel posts all the details in the show notes. If you hear about a new pattern you haven’t heard of yet or want to learn more about the sewing genius she’s interviewing, you can find it all linked on the website.

6. Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast at Drip on Main

This post is turning out to be more like #ConfessionsOfAFatKid…

french-toast

It’s no secret that I love Drip. Last weekend the Hubs and I wandered in for a quiet Sunday brunch to discover that the Blueberry Mascarpone French Toast was still on the menu. DELISH! But hurry in because the menu is changing soon {although I have yet to be let down by any of their menu changes}

7. Palmetto MQG Quilt Block Challenge

We just wrapped up Month #2 of the block challenge for the Palmetto Modern Quilter’s Guild. This month we made Plus blocks.

plus-block

See last month’s block in this post.

8. It’s my birthday month!

Hurricane Matthew’s approach caused our district to be shut down for 3 days prior to my birthday. He totally rained on my parade/plan to take my birthday off (#sewcation)! But no worries – I spent those 3 HURRICAtion days soaking up all that is wonderful: I spent a full day with my sister and spent the other two catching up on the blog (did you notice the extra posts this month?!) and sewing!

birthday-seams

Big thank you to everyone who took the time to reach out to me on my birthday. It meant the world to me!

Hope you are all enjoying beautiful fall weather and soaking up time with family and friends. Until next month ❤ – Jordan

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

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DIY Beach Blanket

I know I’m wayyy late (like, a full month), but I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of my oh-so-festive Independence Day brunch at Eggs Up Grill!

july 4th

The Fruited Plain Ultimate French Toast {y’all know my sweet tooth…it was worth every calorie!}

Don’t worry – I suffered through a very humid run before consuming these tasty, festive treats 😉

Onward! To the beach quilt!

Remember that time I made my first quilt? Oh yes, me too. I love it so much…in all it’s flawed beginner glory. I love it so much that I make the Hubs lay it across our comforter every morning so I can see it when I get home! (I know, I’m a nerd.)

Anyhow – as soon as my Mom saw it she was all “Ohh..you should make me one to take to the beach.” After giving her the side-eye and replying that I don’t make things to go in or on the sand, I revisited her request (I mean…the woman stayed with my dogs for TWO AND A HALF weeks OVER CHRISTMAS. She’s a saint. I owed her).

I was planning to visit her this summer so we could walk go shell hunting at the beach. As my trip approached, the idea of a beach quilt floated in and out of my mind (mostly out)…until I ran across this Picnic Blanket Tutorial on Pinterest.

At first, I had planned to buy some terry cloth, but I was running low on time (and if I had to go to JoAnn’s in search of terry cloth, I’d most certainly lose a solid 4 hours after getting “lost” in all the other great fabric and craft supplies I so desperately need). In addition, I’ve been on a mission to purge my fabric stash (after realizing it was suffocating my creative process/sewing room/space to create, I purged and then offered free bags of fabric to my friends on Facebook. I highly recommend offering your Facebook friends things you want to get rid of. They jumped right on it! By passing my stash onto friends, I didn’t have to live in fear that my fabulous fabric might not make it to the sales floor of the local thrift store). On that note, I decided that I shouldn’t buy any new fabric for this project. In my Mom’s original request she said “you could use big pieces for my quilt so it wouldn’t take as long” (she’s thoughtful in her requests, right?!). Since I’d be raiding my stash for this one, her “easy solution” was great inspiration.

Step 1 – Find a large piece of fabric (or piece together scraps) that represents the size and shape you desire for your blanket. This will serve as your template for the quilt.

I had one beautiful curtain panel in my stash that had previously adorned the one window in my tiny dining room until the pattern had become too aesthetically busy. I knew it would be the right size for this – larger than a regular beach towel, but smaller than a traditional quilt. After cutting off all of the finished edges of the curtain, I laid it out flat to use as a template.

The unused curtain edges made a great doggy bowtie…

My helper, Twitch, snoozing on the job (like usual) while wearing the fancy new bow tie I made him ;)

My helper, Twitch, snoozing on the job (like usual) while wearing the fancy new bow tie I made him 😉

Step 2 – Find some batting.

There are lots of options here – you don’t have to use traditional batting. You could use an old fleece blanket, towels, flannel, etc.

Last year (while on the high from beginning my first quilt) I found a large white polyester-blend blanket at a thrift store. I bought it thinking it would make great batting (after some bleaching of course). The material wasn’t up to my standard of soft-n-cuddly so I knew I wouldn’t necessarily want to use it for a traditional blanket. It worked out perfect as batting for the beach quilt!

Step 3 – Cut your batting to match the size and shape of your “template” fabric.

Using the curtain piece as a template, I cut the batting to be the same size and set aside.

If you are using scraps of material for the batting, just sew the pieces together and trim as necessary until you have a piece that fits your original “template” (made in Step 1).

Step 4 – Gather fabric for your “top piece” (this will be the fancy side of your quilt that you will most likely use as the “top” so be creative with your selection).

For my quilt, I raided my fabric stash and stuck with large pieces of home decor / upholstery weight fabric for durability. I recommend using canvas, home decor fabric or upholstery weight fabric – something sturdy and durable.

I also recommend sticking with similar weight fabric (i.e. I wouldn’t recommend using lightweight cotton and upholstery together as it will cause one area to be heavier than the other. Additionally, the lightweight cotton wouldn’t be able to withstand the same wear-and-tear that the upholstery which may alter the look of your quilt in the future).

Step 5 – Piece together your quilt top.

Once you have gathered a stack of prints you like, start cutting the pieces to straighten the edges (basically: you want to turn your pieces into rectangles of sorts – all straight edges. Differing width and heights are fine for now – just focus on straight edges).

Now place your scraps on your template and arrange until you get the look you desire. Overlap them slightly (by about an inch) to ensure that your piece will be large enough to cover your template.

Starting with rows that use more than one piece of fabric to cover the quilt horizontally, sew the pieces together along the vertical seams so that they construct one long horizontal “row” that matches the width of your template. Trim the pieces so that the row is the same height across all pieces horizontally (making one long rectangle). Be sure to press the interior seams open and flat.

Once you have all multi-scrap rows constructed (you should have several rectangular rows now), lay them across your template in the order you want them to appear.

Step 6 – Begin sewing the rows together to build the top of your quilt.

I free-styled this (aka: made it up as I went along) so I don’t have great instructions. I used my basic quilting knowledge (piecing, pressing seams, squaring up, etc). If you have never pieced together a quilt top before, have no fear! You can do this with two giant pieces of fabric that are the same size and skip steps 4-6.

Starting from the top, take the second row and flip it up so that its’ right side is facing the right side of the first row. Align the pieces along the bottom horizontal edge and pin. Stitch along the bottom horizontal edge. Press the seams.

Now align the third row (right sides facing) to the bottom edge of the second row and stitch. Press the seams. Repeat until you have your entire top piece stitched together.

Step 7 – Make a quilt sandwich.

Layer the fabric flat (make sure there are no substantial wrinkles on any of the layers as you place them on top of one another):

1) Bottom layer: Quilt back [made in Step 1] facing right side up

2) Middle layer: Quilt top [made in Steps 4-6] facing right side down (so that your bottom and top pieces have the right sides facing each other).

3) Top layer: Batting [made in Step 3]

Step 8 – Pin the layers together.

Using a bundle of large safety pins, carefully pin the layers together. Since you are only going to be sewing around the edge of the quilt, you only need to pin around the edges.

Step 9 – Square up the top piece of your quilt.

Cut the edges of the quilt so that all three layers match along all edges.

Step 10 – Sew the layers together to hold in place.

Before you start sewing the layers together, make two marks along the bottom edge of your quilt (about 10-12 inches apart). This will be the opening that you use to flip your quilt – do not sew this area together in this step. If you are using extra fluffy batting or layers, you may need a slightly larger opening.

Starting at the left mark, begin sewing around the quilt until you reach the right mark (again: do not sew between these marks – this is the opening you will use to flip your quilt).

The seam allowance is not strict, but I recommend something larger (1 inch) to ensure that you are sewing through all 3 layers.

Step 11 – Flip your quilt inside-out so that the right sides are facing out.

Before flipping, trim the corners of your quilt (cut diagonally across each corner – be sure not to cut into your stitching).

Using the opening you left in Step 10, reach inside your quilt (between the top and bottom quilt pieces) and begin pulling the right sides out to “flip” it.

Step 12 – Sew around all edges of the quilt.

Once you have the right sides out (with the bottom and top quilt pieces in place and the fleece inside), tuck the edges of the opening under and pin. Starting with the opening, sew all the way around the edges of the quilt. I recommend a 0.5 inch seam (this seam needs to be slightly smaller than the seam you chose in Step 10 so that when you sew across the opening, you are able to sew all 3 layers to keep it securely closed).

Step 13 – Take your quilt out to play!

Congratulations! You just finished a fabulous beach blanket / picnic quilt / whatever-kind-of-blanket-you-want-it-to-be! I’d love to see your creations – tag me on Instagram when you share: @jordslice11.

For a little inspiration, here is the Beach Quilt I made for my Mom (she loved it by the way!):

blanket back

This is the quilt BACK – the curtain I used as a template for the rest of the quilt. {Oh, and Mr. Twitch posing alongside with his matching bowtie}

blanket front

This is the quilt TOP {And the Hubs who had way too much fun helping with these photos!} 😉

It’s hard to believe I had scraps that large in my stash. It sure felt good to use them up – this is a great scrap buster and easy gift!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and are inspired to make something pretty for yourself! I’d love to see what you make – if you blog it, link your post in the comments and tag me on Instagram with your photos: @jordslice11.

{UPDATE: See my beautiful Mom enjoying the beach quilt here.}

My First Quilt

Last fall I got a serious craving to make my own quilt. I had resisted for a while because I like projects that I can finish in a weekend (I’m very impatient) and I knew this would be a long process.

And boy has it been  l o n g! So long in fact that after constructing the top piece and quilting almost all of it to the batting, I abandoned the quilt to gather dust for a few months while I researched binding (which was the most intimidating part of the entire process!) and procrastinated with smaller projects (and a trip to England!).

A few weeks ago I picked it back up – dusted it off, rolled it up and finished those last few stitch lines. I even made my own binding (store selections are so bland)!

Before I show you my final product, I wanted to give you a little background on how my quilt idea came to fruition..

Inspiration

There are 2 things that really pushed me from dipping-my-toe-into-the-idea to diving-completely-into quilting:

1) I had been following (and admiring) April Rhodes on Instagram for a while and had fallen completely in love with her “Arizona” fabric collection.

april rhodes

April Rhodes’ Arizona collection from Art Gallery Fabric {Click image for source}

{The quilt took me so long that April Rhodes released her second fabric line – admire it here. And just announced her third – sneak peek here.}

2) I hadn’t been a huge fan of most quilt designs UNTIL I saw Taylor Made’s “Briar Rose Quilt” design.

briar rose

The Briar Rose Strip Quilt by Taylor Made {Click the image to see more on her blog!}

I loved how the vertical strips didn’t line up symmetrically which gave it a more eclectic / less traditional feel. As a first-time-quilter, this really worked out in my favor: the pressure for straight lines and perfect stitches were not a barrier.

In addition, it didn’t require that I follow a traditional pattern. While many would say that a beginner only benefits from following a physical pattern, sometimes I find them intimidating and need to experiment first to prove to myself that I can do it (and next time I should follow a pattern..).

Fabric

I ordered a collection of fat quarters to match the 3 swatches below (my top Arizona collection picks!) from Stitcherie on Etsy. Kristan (Stitcherie’s shop owner) has a beautiful selection of fabric in her shop – which only made my choosing coordinating fabric harder!

[insert heart-eyed Emojis!]

[insert heart-eyed Emojis!]

So, I cut the strips and stitched them all together in one long strip and pressed my seams just like Taylor recommended on her blog.

Mr. Norton really enjoyed the pile of stitched strips :)

Mr. Norton helping with piecing the strips together last fall.

Once I had the strips stitched, I started to lay them out on top of my bed to come up with my design.

Then…

I realized I didn’t have enough scraps for the size I was hoping to make (this is where following a pattern probably would have helped).

Yes, I could’ve ordered more fabric, but I was on a mission to stay motivated [at least at the time]. So instead I raided my stash and had enough of other random cotton scraps that coordinated reasonably well.

Another life saver: I picked up a bundle of fabric scraps from Allie Mac at the Soda City market last fall. They were a little brighter than my original collection, but I kind of dig the vibrant colors against the muted tones of the Arizona collection.

After some altering, I finally had a rough design for my quilt top.

After some altering, I finally had a rough design for my quilt top.

Stitching

From this point, all the nitty gritty of quilt-making takes place: sewing the top pieces, pressing seams, placing the top piece on the batting, pinning, rolling and stitching (lots & lots of stitching).

Stitching and rolling :)

Stitching and rolling

I chose to do random horizontal stitches across the entire quilt. It took quite a while and none are straight or evenly spaced 😉 My inspiration for that was from this pin, but my lines look nowhere near as neat (I am a beginner after all!).

Procrastination 

At this point, the quilt gathered some dust. We visited England. I did way too much research on quilting. Had a few moments of feeling like a fraud (my only quilting training has been via Pinterest / sewing bloggers / google). Then picked it up, dusted it off and set off on my mission to finish it for good!

Special Details

After constructing the top piece, I embroidered a heart onto the bottom right corner of the quilt using a tight zigzag stitch (remember it from last September?!).

a heart.

It’s only appropriate as I poured MY HEART into this quilt 😉

Before adding the binding, I added one last super special detail!

quilt2

Our family name.

I shamelessly hope this quilt becomes a treasured family heirloom. Because of that, I knew I wanted to add our names so that the future lovers of this quilt would always remember where it came from. My machine can embroider letters, but [to be honest] they are kind of an ugly block print (all capitalized). Instead I decided to hand embroider my last name (Slice) and the Hubs’ (Metcalfe) with a deep purple/wine colored thick embroidery thread. I’m totally smitten with this corner of the quilt because it makes my heart so happy.

Since I wasn’t following a pattern or specific measurements, I laid my quilt out and measured a few different places to try to get it even and then cut straight lines with my handy dandy rotary cutter (remember when I discovered how amazing a rotary cutter is last August?!).

Binding

I chose to do a very scrappy binding using leftover fabric – mostly from the backing.

To figure out how much binding I would need, I measured each edge of the quilt (also as a final check that the vertical edges were the same length as well as the horizontal) and added about a foot. I used that number as the ballpark for the length of binding I wanted constructed before I started sewing it on.

I cut my scrap fabric into strips that were 2 inches wide (for a thin binding) and attached with straight edges (no fancy diagonal attaching here – I read somewhere that wasn’t a big deal and the straight attaching seemed easier because that’s what I’d done with the strips for the top piece so I ran with it).

quilt3

See all the different binding patterns – very scrappy 😉

This tutorial is pretty close to what I followed for attaching the binding (I can’t seem to find the exact tutorial I followed..).

The fabulous part about reaching the point of binding is that you can take your quilt wherever (in front of the TV, on road trips, wherever!) as long as you have your thread, a needle, a thimble (lesson learned the hard way) and a pair of scissors! In fact, a few weeks ago we were in Atlanta staying with my in-laws which is where I added the final stitch.

Final Product

quilt

Voila! My first quilt.

As you can see, there’s no edge to my quilt. Originally I had thought I was going to add a frame around the strips, but I gave up on that somewhere along the way (I really just forgot..). The quilt is roughly the size of a traditional throw – it measures: 52.5 inches wide by 61.5 inches tall.

I have to admit, I get the heart-eyes every time I look at it.

Taylor Made has some great advice and instructions (including lots of pictures!) on how to recreate a strip quilt on her blog if you are interested in trying it out for yourself!

If you’ve ever made a quilt, I’d love to hear the story of your first! I think I’ve gotten the quilting bug – as proof: my growing Pinterest board of all things quilting. And I’m all ears for tips & tricks for my next quilt – leave ’em in the comments below.