Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fabulously Fast Quilting!

Sometimes you need a project that goes quick!  You may have some special event you need to make a quick quilt for or you may be like me and need something fun, fresh and quick to give you a break between those projects that require intense piecing over a lengthy bit of time. Maybe you have some fabric you just love and want to see it worked up.  Oh there are a million reasons to purchase Amy Smart's book Fabulously Fast Quilts!

Amy Smart's book, Fabulously Fast Quilts plus 2 Layer Cakes of Miss Kate by Bonnie & Camille for Moda, a little Kona Cotton White and we are off and running!

I endeavor, like many of you, to work out of my stash of fabrics, but once in a while (pretty frequently actually) I am tempted by the bright bits that are out there...this was one of those times.  I had to snap up these two layer cakes.  No particular project in mind, just fell in love.

Amy's book give you instruction for flat fold fabric, but I wanted to use these.  Her pattern is also designed to be pieced rapidly and so she has duplicated certain colors in certain areas throughout her pattern to make it quick.  I wanted to change it up a bit with random colors and placement.  The blocks are simple enough so I just jumped in.  Cutting the fabric for the first block...worry about the others after.  There is plenty of fabric (with enough left over for another quilt!)

June Taylor makes a 1/4" ruler that is great for rapidly cutting the squares that you need for this or any other quilt.  Take a long strip, folding it in half, place the ruler on top and make your quick can place a little sticky or a mark  where you want to cut, so you don't accidentally cut smaller or larger than you need.

Remove the ruler, toss the selvages and you have 12 perfectly cut squares!

A tip for quick piecing, is to fold your fabric in half, press and use that line for your stitching line.  Stitch just a thread or two to the right of the line for perfect piecing.  Now go back and stitch a generous 1/4 inch away from that original stitching line and you will give yourself instant bonus Half Square Triangles to use in another project!

Squeal Worthy!!!

This is where I deviated from Amy's inspiration...Lay out the snowballs to find a pleasing order...take a picture for reference to figure out what colors need to be in the 9 patches and where they need to be.  Still Fabulous but not as Fast as Amy's version.

 Okay, I promised to show you how to piece a perfect 9 patch!

Tip #1 - make sure you have cut your pieces all the same size and that they are cut perfectly.  Don't be slap dash about this part of the process, you will pay for it every time you try to put two pieces together.  Take your time, make your cuts accurate.  Just like building a house, measure twice, cut once and make sure that cut is accurate. There are tons of videos on YouTube that will help you perfect your skill in this area.  Take a moment, take a breath and learn the proper way to make your cuts. The benefits will be worth your investment of time.  Fabric is expensive.  Quilting is an expensive hobby. Don't waste your time and money...Right! Lecture over...

Lay out your block next to your machine, in the order that you want to see it finished.

Starting on the right side, flip over that row to the center and chain piece those bits, you don't need to pin at this point, unless you feel that it helps you, just keep your edges even as you feed it through your machine, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Chain piecing is when you feed one piece into your machine after another without clipping the threads as shown below.

Press your seams in opposite directions, press the top row to the center, the next row to the outside and the bottom row to the center. In this particular case you would press all your seams to the dark side.  This is another important step and you will see why shortly. To properly press your seam, first set the seam with the two pieces still together by pressing, then open your fabric out and from the right side, finger press your seam to the correct side and then press with your iron again.  This ensures that you have your fabric pieces fully pressed open.  

Now do the same for the other side.  Make sure that you have your pieces in correct position by laying them back out on your table next to your machine, check the position of all your bits. Repeat the process of flipping the squares from the left side over onto the center row, again chain stitch.  (I clip my chain apart, some like to leave it together. It's your own personal preference here, for me it just gets a bit fiddly)

Now you should have three rows stitched together as shown below. Place them on your table next to your machine and again check the position of your fabric bits, making sure everyone is where you want them.

I have flipped my rows over here to show you how the seams should be pressed.  Top row to the inside, Middle row to the outside and Bottom row to the inside.  This is important as you will see in the next step.

Take the top row and flip it to your center row, now we pin!  You will be able to feel the seams "nesting" together because you have pressed them in opposite directions.  It will make a tiny ridge for you to snug them up to each other.  As you do this over and over again, you will become familiar with the "feel" of that seam and you will know when you have it just right.

When you first start doing this, you may be a bit uncertain, you can roll back the top layer and see those seams lined up perfectly as shown below!

That's right!  See how they match up?!  Yes!  That is what you want to see!

We will place a little pin now.  But not in the seam, we will place it in the seam allowance next to the seam.  Placing a pin in the seam will distort your seam and you risk not having them match properly. Place your pin in the seam to hold the piece beneath in place.  You can control what is going  on top of the fabric, it's the part beneath that can fold the wrong direction if you are not careful. A little pin will save you from that and makes everything wonderful!

Do not stitch over your pins!  Hard on your machine, even if they tell you you can.  Stitch right up to it, take it out and continue on.

Again, set your seams with your iron, finger press open, pressing from the center row to the top.  Don't "scrub" your fabric, press.  If you have finger pressed first, you will know that the seam is open all the way and you won't have to wrestle it.

Your Reward...Perfectly matched seams!  Ahhhhhh...Hear the angels singing?

Benefit #2 of taking your time.  Less struggle to square up your final blocks!  They are going to be pretty much right on the money!

I hope this little tutorial on matching up your seams in a 9 patch block will be helpful for you going forward in your craft.  Enjoy yourself, you will master this technique, it just takes a tiny bit of effort at first and you will love the results!  Squeal Worthy!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

#GIVEAWAY - Missouri Star Mod Block Magazine

This month, we will be giving away a copy of Missouri Star's New Mod Block Magazine Special Edition!  We love Missouri Star Quilt Company and if you are new to them, you have to go for a visit!  Yes, they are online and they also have a brick and mortar location at 100 North Ardinger Street in Hamilton, Missouri. They are truly a Mom and Pop operation.  You will want to make them one of your online go to LQS!

You will recognize Jenny Doan in the great video tutorials that she posts. Be sure to take a moment and read about their company, they are an inspiration to any start up business and a true testament to family. You can read about them here: The Missouri Quilt Company

Check out their Quilter Daily Deals, it changes all the time, so if you see something you like, snag it!  The pricing is unbeatable and they have a flat $5.00 shipping fee or FREE Shipping on orders over $100.  Be sure to sign up on their website, they have lots of special deals you won't want to miss.  Daily Deals Here!


1.  LIKE our Facebook page at

2.  COMMENT  on the post that features the giveaway, it will be pinned to the top of the page.

3.  SHARE our Facebook page with your friends or on your Facebook page.

Random drawing will be held on May 31st for one lucky winner of the MISSOURI STAR MOD BLOCK MAGAZINE SPECIAL EDITION!  No purchase necessary. Open to USA residents only.

Good Luck Quilters!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Picnic Basket Time! #Giveaway and Some Red,White and Blue Inspiration! (Winner Announced!)

We missed winter altogether here in California.  It feels a bit disorienting.  The weather is in the 80's, the sky is clear, the wildflowers are abundant.  It's as if the whole forest said we aren't going to get much water, this might be our last year we better pollinate everything we can and quick!

It is however, perfect picnic weather here, the grasses are still green and as I said, it's lovely out.  With that in mind, I am pulling out an old basket my mother picked up for me years ago at Big Lots which is a bargain store out here.  You could go to your local thrift shop or watch the yard sales or maybe you have one sitting around like I do!
French Meadows Reservoir

My plan is a pretty lining, create a top for it and head out next weekend with my husband for a picnic in the mountains perhaps up to French Meadows Reservoir.

There are several fabulous tutorials online for lining a basket, my personal favorite is this one from The Polka Dot Closet

She has cleverly given instructions to create this liner with minimal sewing involved!  Yes that's right!  And her liner can be removable. She has fashioned hers from a plastic table cloth, which makes it pretty easy to wipe clean.  It's hot glued into easy is that?

But wait!  She also has instructions for you to make a removable liner if you wish to use fabric and have it be washable!

She also tells you how to stain your basket if you want to have that Shabby Chic effect.  Very sweet.  I'm still auditioning fabrics, I may find something that just fits the bill.  I'll be sure to share the finish when I'm done.

This month I shared on my Facebook page, several links to quilted items that are red, white and's a great time to be thinking ahead about your projects so they are done in time for the Fourth!

The little table runner under the basket at the top of this post is just a simple split rail fence.  You stitch four 2 inch x width of fabric strips together, measure the width of your strip set and cut your blocks that width. Make as many blocks as you want. Turn them back and forth in a layout that pleases you and stitch them together, a couple strips around the entire thing and you have your table runner!

I found this link from Paula Deen for a lovely lemon scrub I think you will enjoy. Easy to make, would make a great gift for a friend, but heck, just spoil yourself, you deserve it! 

This easy for beginners quilt reminds me of the first quilts I made with my mom when I was in high school.  We had a cabin up at Lake Tahoe and we made 12 quilts that year, one for every bed! This pattern is fat quarter friendly, so gather up your pretty bits and you will have this one done in time for your picnic! Here's the link:

Another beautiful and simple to make table topper!  This one is posted at All People Quilt. Again, make as many blocks as you need for the length of your table!  Link Here:

Don't let this frighten you, it's not a hard one at all, goes together quickly and really easy for a beginner to get great results! Link Here:

Beautiful napkins are a must in a the picnic basket.  This little tutorial walks you through the simple process to make your own co-coordinating spectacular napkins!  Link here:

I'll be adding some more links soon, so check back!


Susan, please contact me via my Facebook page to let me know what your choices are and where you would like them sent, you can message me privately there. 

And, if you haven't gone by to say hello to my little sister Janet on her new Facebook page, here is the link: Janet Harrer Jewelry Designs  Remember to LIKE her page, COMMENT that you were sent by Sister of The Divide, and SHARE her page with your friends.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. At the end of April, I will pick one lucky winner who posted a comment on her page and you will WIN 5 yards of fabric, your choice, mix or match from our Etsy shop.  Don't miss out!

Friday, April 3, 2015

#GIVEAWAY! April Giveaways!


To celebrate Easter and the month of April, we will be giving away a ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION of Quilting Arts Magazine, to one lucky winner.

To Enter:  LIKE our FB page at Sister Of The Divide
                 COMMENT on the post that features the picture above.
                 SHARE the post with your friends

That's All! Drawing will be held on April 30th.

Who doesn't love Quilting Arts Magazine??? Filled with instruction and inspiration. Be sure to check out their blog site, filled with free Quilting Arts instruction and inspiration. Quilting Arts Free Articles



My little sister Janet, has a new Facebook Page featuring Jewelry that she creates.   She recently had a trunk show in Berkeley, CA. Let's help her get a roaring start! 

THE PRIZE:  5 yards of fabric, your choice from our Etsy store.
Drawing April 30th.

That's right!  The winner can pick 5 yards of fabric, your choice, mix and match, what ever you select from our Etsy store!

To Enter:  Like her FB page at Janet Harrer Jewelry Designs
                          COMMENT on her post here: make sure you say that you were sent by Sister of The Divide
                           SHARE her page with your friends

It's that easy!  5 yards of fabric to 1 lucky winner, YOUR CHOICE from our Etsy store.

Sending you lots of Love this Easter sister!  Remembering all the joyous times we shared over the years and thinking about how proud our mother would be of your success and the person you have become if she were here today.  

Mom and her Grandson Andrew

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter Traditions

I'm having fun today making these little bunny bags.  They are just the right size to hold a handful of something sweet and delicious!

I'm using a pattern by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield which is on her blog here:  They are very easy to make and go together in a jiffy.  All you need are 4 charm squares and a little ribbon!  I think these will be cute on the Easter table, sitting on the plates.  Caroline has a new book out on Amazon, 

Just for You: Selfish Sewing Projects from Your Favorite Sew Can She Bloggers: 24 Simply Stylish Projects 

Holidays and traditions go hand in hand it seems.  This picture by Norman Rockwell pretty much sums up my childhood and probably that of many others.   I think back over the years and all the holidays and the attendant chaos that seemed to go with it.  My mother in the kitchen cooking, her table was always set just so perfectly.  Stay out of her kitchen and don't touch anything on the table, we're going to eat soon. There would be trays of food out on the coffee table for "company". We had to look just so in our holiday outfits.  There would be the typical family arguments that would ensue and finally we would all sit down to the holiday meal. It was always delicious. Whew, glad that's over. And she would always be angry during and at the end of the whole ordeal.  It seemed she felt that no one appreciated all the effort that she went to. And there was always the perfunctory "I'm not doing this again!"  She just could not relax for a moment poor thing. Expectations.

Gramma's house, right next door, was different...there would be crafts leading up to the gala event, painting, cutting, pasting, general mess making accompanied by cake and tea.  Gram always had a cake and tea.  She loved pudding cakes. She was from England and I'm sure this was from her upbringing.   There would be bible stories, Gram knew the bible forward and backward,  the bear and the jello stories, the bear and the jello stories...Oh, did I repeat myself?  Now you have the flavor of the day...Gram had great stories, we all heard them a thousand times and never got tired of them...she was a great story teller.  Even my son remembers her stories.  The food was okay, she wasn't fussing and a good time was had by all.  Gramma was a product of the roaring 20's, she knew how to enjoy life, she was artistic and she let that spirit soar.  And after dinner and desert we would gather at the foot of Pop's recliner and he would cut apples for us while we watched tv together and if we were very good, there might even be a candy bar.

I didn't get to spend much time with my father's mother.  Baba lived in New York and we moved out to California when I was 7.  I never saw her again.  She passed away when I was 9 and I lost my father at 10.  But I can remember her like it was yesterday.  She was an amazing cook.  Ukrainian food, Polish food, Russian food. Thanks to my mother, I have some of her recipes and I make them to this day.  I remembered the beautiful Ukrainian Easter eggs and made it a point to learn how to make them.  Mine are not elaborately detailed as some that I have collected over the years but they are incredibly fun to make.  

The process consists of heating a copper stylus in a candle flame and then scraping it across the bees wax, heating it again until the wax is flowing and then waxing the portions of your egg that you want to be white.  Then you dip your egg in your lightest color, wax again those portions that you want to be that color, dip into the next darker color and continue until you have completed your design.  Then you hold the egg up to the candle flame to melt off the wax and wipe it with a soft cloth.  This is the result below.

These are just a few of my eggs in my collection.  Mine along with some that have been intricately decorated by others.  Each village has their own style.  The wooden objects in the front of the case are the hand carved top two sections from the last Christmas tree that we had just before my father was killed.  They were carved by his father, my grandfather and are just incredibly special to me.

The first time I decorated one of these eggs was many years ago, when I was visiting my son who lived in Brooklyn at the time.  We drove over to St. Mark's place to the Ukrainian store and got all the stuff we needed to make the eggs.  We had a ball, sitting on the floor in his apartment, wrapping rubber bands around the eggs to section them and then drawing our designs.  It is a long and tedious process but so worth the effort.  It was a bonding experience. Just the two of us, decorating eggs together.

If you want to get your own kit and try this out you can get one here:  Your local library will have how to books. You only need to google Ukrainian Easter Eggs and look at the images to see the thousands of ways that people decorate their eggs.

Here is a little video showing you how to make a beginner egg.

Here is video showing you how to make an intermediate egg.

So family traditions, a way of honoring and remembering our past...they are what you want them to be.  It doesn't have to be stress filled.  Take your time, enjoy your family and friends.  And make things that you enjoy!  Remember the most important thing you can give your family is you!  We wish you a joyous Easter!