Choosing Fabric Marking Pens

If you’re looking to mark your fabric, you have a lot of choices when it comes to fabric marking pens and other tools for marking your fabric. Not all fabric marking pens are created equal, and different pens are ideal for different purposes. Are you marking the back of the fabric for half-square-triangles or are you marking the front for quilting? Is the fabric light or dark? What about options for when you are in a pinch?

When testing marking pens, you want to understand how visible they are on both light and dark fabrics, and how easy they are to remove after you no longer need the marks.

In this video, I show you what the different marking pens look like on dark and light fabric, and how well they do (or do not) erase from the fabric.

Here are affiliate links for purchasing the different pens shown in the video:
Micron Pen – permanent and used for writing on labels.
Felt-tip Water Soluble Pen – for the front or back of quilts. This one makes nice dark lines. You can also find it here.
Second option for Water Soluble Pen – for the front or back of quilts.
Fine-tip water soluble pen – for marking precise lines.
Frixion Pen – watch the video for details on using this pen – recommended for the back of the fabric only. You can also find it here. If you want several colors, you can purchase this set of pens or this set of frixion pens.
Chalk Pencil – can be used for the front or back of quilts. You can purchase lead in different colors if you like.
Mechanical Pencil – uses graphite, and can be used to mark the back of fabric.

Marking pens are a very popular way to mark fabric, but another option for marking the top of a quilt before quilting is a Hera Marker. This is a great way to draw lines for walking foot quilting, as well as mark of sections of the quilt for free motion quilting. You can watch this video to see how easy a Hera Marker is to use:

You can use these affiliate links to purchase the Hera Marker from the video or the Clover Hera Marker.

I Spy Quilt Book Review

I am so excited to share with you this super fun I spy book! I first heard about this book (that the ladies from On Williams Street wrote) a couple months ago, and when I saw pictures of the blocks, I squealed out loud! When my boys were little I made an i spy quilt with different fabrics I collected and traded – but making an i spy quilt with pieced blocks is such a clever idea! You can absolutely make all the different blocks for a large quilt, or you can pick and choose blocks to make for a special kiddo, such as just the animal blocks for an animal lover.

I was offered a free copy of the book to play with, which of course I said yes to! How fun are these blocks??

This post contains affiliate links. Making a purchase through these links helps support this site at no extra cost to you.

The blocks finish at 4″, which sounds really small. But, once I started sewing them I saw that it really was the perfect size. And they don’t feel small at all. They sew together very quickly, making them a great block-a-day project to do with a group of friends. Gather up some friends who all want to make the quilt, have everyone purchase the book, and then have fun making your way through the book one block at a time.

The book comes with the printable templates you need to make all the blocks. The blocks print two to a page, which is awesome for not wasting your foundation paper.

While the blocks in the book have all been made using solids, you can absolutely pick out fun prints to use in your blocks as well. I was committed to using at least one print in each, and was using mostly fabrics from my scrap bin. It was super fun finding prints that worked for each block.

To make the blocks, or the whole quilt, you will need:

I Spy Book (For 10% off use the coupon code ISPYBLOGHOP – good through Dec 16.)
Foundation Paper for printing the patterns (Quiet Play and Carol Doak both have great foundation papers)
Add-a-quarter ruler in yellow or in pink (and you may want the add-an-eighth ruler for the more detailed blocks)

If you’ve never done foundation paper piecing before, I have a video that will take you through the basics of how Foundation Paper Piecing works. It is such a fun technique for making “non-regular” shaped blocks like this.

Some others got to check out this super fun book as well, and are sharing their thoughts – go see what they have to say!

November 30: Kimie and Missy of On WIlliams Street December 1: Audrey Mann of The Cloth Parcel December 2: Jen Frost of Faith and Fabric December 3: Bea Lee of Bea a Quilter December 4: Sarah Goer of Sarah Goer Quilts December 5: Joanne Harris of Quilts by Joan December 6: Susan Smith of Stitched by Susan December 7: Simone Fisher of Simone Quilts December 8: Lissa LaGreca of Lovingly Lissa December 9: Catalina Barcelo of Amarar Creacions December 10: Laura Strickland of Orange Blossom Quilts December 11: Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts December 12: Carolina Moore of Always Expect Moore December 13: Tammy Silvers of Tamarinis December 14: Kim Niedzwiecki of Go Go Kim

Best Gifts for Quilters

If you’ve got a quilter in your life, and you’re looking for a gift to give them for a holiday, birthday, or just because … I’ve got you covered! I’ve sorted these gifts into different categories to help you out, and if I’ve been able to find the gift in multiple places, I’m giving you multiple links so that you can compare price and shipping options.

This post contains affiliate links which provide a small commission to this site when you purchase through these links.

If you’re more of a home-shopping-network type shopper, I’ve shared many of these gift ideas in this video, in which I give you a more detailed look at many of these items.

Let’s get started on all the links!

Best Splurge Gifts for Quilters

If you have an extra special quilter in your life, or you’re feeling super generous this year, these spurge gifts are always appreciated! Quilters are known for our generosity in giving away quilts, and we often feel guilty for spending big dollars on ourselves. Treat your quilter with something from this list!

Sewing Machine – I love Baby Lock machines. They are easy to care for, and high quality. For a beginner, or a quilter who wants a machine for travel, the Baby Lock Jubilant is a great choice. You may want to check out Baby Lock’s Embroidery Machines for a quilter who wants to step up their game. I’ve added the Baby Lock Sashiko machine to my wishlist this year – it is a specialty machine just for quilting, but gives a hand-quilted look for a lot less work!

Accuquilt Go! Cutter. Accuquilt is a cutting machine designed specifically for quilters. They have so many different specialty quilting dies designed to make cutting fabric easier and more accurate. So that quilters can get to their favorite part – the sewing! The Accuquilt Go! Me is great for someone starting out. However, if you have a serious quilter on your hands, the Ready Set Go! Cutting System is an awesome splurge. Accuquilt does an amazing job of offering free patterns that compliment their dies, so this is really an investment that pays off in the long run.

Oliso Iron. Oliso is a well known brand in the quilting world. While the price point of an Oliso iron makes it a splurge, it is a high-quality iron that will last your quilter for years and years! It gets beautifully hot and makes great steam – though it can be used without steam for a steam-less quilter. Pair it with a wool pressing mat and a hot iron rest for a very thoughtful gift.

Creative Grids Stripology XL Ruler. Splurge on the big one! This ruler cuts strips, squares, squares up blocks, and more. It is a huge time saver and such a fun ruler! And yes – I absolutely own one of these!

Gifts Every Quilter will Love

These gifts won’t be as big of a splurge as the items on the list above, but any of these would absolutely be appreciated by a quilter.

Gift Card to their local Quilt shop
Oliso Mini Iron – available in four colors!
Wool Pressing Mat (also available here) (and available here)
Spot on Dot (also available here)
Creative Grids Specialty Rulers – Creative Grids has tons of specialty rulers! My favorites are the Strippy Star, Curvy Log Cabin, and Kitty Cornered rulers.
Plan to Quilt – this great book will help a quilter track their projects – use code MOORE for 10% off!

Best Gifts for a New Quilter

For someone just starting out, these gifts will be appreciated!

Gift Card to their local Quilt shop
Cutting Mat
Rotary Cutter – the Olfa Splash is my favorite (also available here) (find it here in pink)
Replacement 45mm Rotary Blades (also available here) (also available here)
Good Scissors (also available for left-handed quilters)
Replacement Sewing Machine Needles (these are also a good option)
Good Thread – Madiera is what I’ve been using.
Good Quality fabric – if you don’t know their favorite fabric designer, you can’t go wrong with AGF Elements in their favorite colors.
Good Rulers – this Creative Grids Quilting Ruler and Creative Grids Square are great for beginners.
Machine cleaning set

Best Stocking Stuffers for Quilters

If you’re looking to fill a quilter’s stocking, or you’re looking for a great gift to give a friend, these small gifts go a long way! And, if you’re a quilter yourself, make sure to add one to your cart for you as well! For a fun surprise, you can tuck the gift into a locked stocking made with my locked stocking pattern!

Mini Wool Pressing Mat
Spot on Dot (also available here)
(or the Spot on Dot Single Dot)

Mini Creative Grids Ruler
Creative Grids Seam Guide
Alphabitties
Seam Roller
Pin Points enamel pins for Quilters and Fiber Artists
“Handmade” hardware
Thread cutter caddy (also available here)

Hot Iron Rest (also available here)
Dritz Number pins (also available here)
Clover Wonder Clips
Scissors Mug
Perfect Pincushion
Purple Thang (also available here) (and here too)
Madiera Thread
Stash and Store (also available here)
Olfa Splash rotary cutter (also available here) (find it here in pink)
Machine cleaning set
Mini Scissors – there are so many awesome mini scissors, and one can never have enough! I have a small collection going, and always want more! Here are some fun options:
* Covered Scissors
* Wood Handled Mini Scissors
* Mini Heirloom Scissors
* Gold Unicorn Scissors
* Rainbow Unicorn Scissors
* Cat Embroidery Scissors
* Bronze Warm Crochet Scissors
* Pink Flamingo Scissors
* Christmas Themed Scissors

Gifts that are Sewing Themed

Bee in my Bonnet Puzzle
Thimble Blossoms Puzzle
Festival of Quilts Puzzle
Pin Points enamel pins for Quilters and Fiber Artists
Password Keeper (also available here)
Smartphone Lounger
Scissors Mug
“Quilt” Popsockets
Quilt Calendar

Quilting Made Easy with Riley Blake and Cricut

As an avid quilter, I love it when quilting can be made easier. There are so many steps and parts to quilting, so when some of those can be taken out for us, it makes quilting easier (and more enjoyable)! Quilt kits are a great option when looking to make a quilt. You know that all the fabric you need is in the kit (yay for no quilt math!), and you know that all the fabrics will work together wonderfully. That is why I was super excited when Cricut asked me to share a bit about their new Riley Blake Quilt kits with all of you.

Quilting Made Easy with Riley Blake and Cricut - Part 1 of 3

This post contains affiliate links. Income from these links helps to support this site at no additional cost to you.

I did a quick YouTube Live where I went over all the details of picking out the fabric (I went with the Comfort and Joy quilt kit) and picking out the pattern. The Log Cabin is a great beginner block, which is why I chose this fun Half Log Cabin.

And for those of you curious – yes, this is a project that you do need your Cricut Maker for. You need the functionality of the rotary blade in order to cut the fabric.

 

The back of the quilt kit shows you a couple of the different patterns you can make with this throw-sized quilt kit. But the great news is that you can make any of the throw sized quilts with this kit! While I love the options that they show, I also love that I have the flexibility to choose from any of the throw sized patterns.

quilt options with the comfort and joy quilt kit

You do have to buy the quilt pattern in Cricut Design Space. But once you buy it, you own the pattern. And the price really is comparable to quilt pattern prices everywhere else – with the bonus that this pattern has already been digitized to do all the cutting!

Riley Blake Half Log Cabin Quilt Pattern

The pattern includes all the Design Space files to cut the pattern, and a PDF with the step-by-step instructions to make the quilt. I’ll be going through the cutting and piecing in parts 2 and 3 of this series!

cutting the throw quilt

All those mats might be a little intimidating at first, but don’t worry! They really are broken down to make the whole process as simple as possible. This is quilting made EASY, right? And easy for us also means that it will be more fun!

cricut quilting tools

If you’re planning to make this quilt along with me, you might want to check out these great Cricut tools. I’ll be talking more about these in part 2!

wuilt kit and pattern option

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Block Printing with Fabric Creations by Plaid

Earlier this month I attended the Crafts and Hobby Association (CHA) annual tradeshow in Anaheim. I love going and checking out all the new products that are coming out on the market. Many of the products are crafting products, and there are lots of scrapbooking supplies at the show. I love seeing all the new papers, scissors, punches, and cutters… but I’m always on the lookout for fun new fabric finds. This year, in the Plaid booth,they had these Fabric Creations inks and block printing stamps. I was intrigued, and excited when they sent me home with a bag filled with the supplies!

Block Printing with Fabric

I had the supplies in the craft room, and decided to give them a try last night. I have never done block printing before, and I had not seen a demonstration at the CHA show. I have done some rubber stamping, and figured I would give it a shot on some cotton solids I had lying around. I made a video of the process. Spoiler alert: it was crazy easy!

The inks dried beautifully. The gold has some sparkle to it, all the inks are wonderfully flexible – not at all stiff or crunchy.

Plaid Fabric Creations Fabric Ink

I only had a chance to play with three of the stamps. They all created beautiful, crisp designs on the fabric.

block stamps for fabric printing

There are still several more stamps… I’m looking forward to stamping with those, too!

Additional Blocks for printing on fabric

Holiday Crafty Goodness at Consumer Crafts!

This post is sponsored by the lovely folks at Consumer Crafts, who fuel my crafting addiction on a regular basis. Refer a friend and see what I’m talking about.

So often I get asked WHERE I get all my craft supplies. I live fairly close to a craft store, and so some of it comes from there… but honestly, they’re not open at 2am when my crafty brain is really going. So I hop online to Consumer Crafts, and start clicking away… their site is super easy to use, and I always end up with a basket full of craft supplies that I can’t wait to use! They ship them in a big box right to my door. It is like the pizza delivery of craft supplies! Everything from big machines to basics like glue and markers, they’ve got it all…

And right now they have an awesome Refer a Friend Campaign going!

Consumer Crafts Refer a Friend

Did I mention that their prices are insanely good? Yup. I’m not saying that I’ve stood in my craft store considering the purchase of a big machine… and hopped onto the Consumer Crafts site with my handy smart phone, then seen that the item was cheaper at Consumer Crafts. But I totally could. Because that happened. So, if you’re one of the 6 lucky winners… let me tell you that that $250 will get you quite a bit!

I’ve run to Consumer Crafts for Christmas crafts, birthday party craft supplies, baby shower craft supplies, general crafting supplies… just head on over and check it out… after signing up for the Refer a Friend campaign!

I recently used their supplies to make this wreath (tutorial to come)…

all holly leaves in place

And a bunch of these snow ornaments… and even though I bought two packs of these glass ornaments… not a single one broke in shipping!

Snow Writing Ornament

Enough with my Consumer Crafts Love fest… go Refer a friend and see what I’m talking about.

Oh… and if you need some inspiration, check out all these great places you can connect with Consumer Crafts:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ConsumerCrafts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Consumer_Crafts
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/consumercrafts/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/consumercrafts
Blog: http://www.craftsunleashed.com/

Catbearding and other kitty love… (like cat litter)

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Do you have a cat in your home? If you do, and love your kitty the way we do, your cat is a member of your family. Our cat, Trouble, joined our family back in 2002. She was a tiny furball who loved playing with my shoelaces. She loves to sit on whatever project I’m working on, and she loves to snuggle by my feet at night – under the covers when it starts to get cool at night. And every now and then she’ll give a slight nibble at my toes to remind me that she’s there.

snuggling with the cat #shop

We’ve had Trouble longer than our two kiddos. Which means that I was exempt from litter box duty for each of the 9 months I was pregnant with my boys. Which is like one of the best perks of being pregnant. In fact, it is how my brother found out I was pregnant with my first. I was visiting him for the weekend. He left to go to work, then called from the road to ask if I could scoop the litter box. They had 3 cats, it litterbox duty was one of his morning chores. I started to say sure… but then told him I couldn’t. When he asked why, I told him that I couldn’t tell him. He shouted into the phone, “YOU’RE PREGNANT!?” I was shocked that he knew. It turned out that his wife had told him over and over that she was so excited that as soon as she was pregnant she could give up her share of litterbox duty!

Having a litterbox is part of having a cat… but that doesn’t mean that you have to have it right under your nose all the time. Our litterbox is in our laundry room, about 20 steps away from where I do most of my crafting. But thanks to Fresh Step’s Odor Shield Technology, I don’t have to smell my cat’s “business.” I love that there are scientists out there who think of things like “triple action” cat litter… so that I don’t have to!

Instead, I can think about snuggling with my cat. After the kiddos have gone to bed, she loves to come snuggle with me while we watch whatever show we’ve DVRed for the evening. Sometimes I’ll share my snack with her, and sometimes I’ll see if she’s interested in turning the snuggles into a little cat-bearding. I’ll admit – we have some work to do when it comes to getting the perfect cat-bearding shot.

cat bearding first attempt #shop

although… we have gotten better with practice… lots of practice…

Cat Bearding Attempts #shop

Oh! And if you want to pick up a 42lb bag of Fresh Step with Odor Shield at Sam’s Club for your cat-bearding partner, they’re offering double-paw points through the end of the month! You can check out my shopping trip here.

 

Boys Can Play Dress Up with Costume Express

When Collective Bias gave me the opportunity to check out Costume Express, I was super excited. Sure, this is a sponsored post, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love everything about these costumes!

boys love to play dress up

My son loves to play dress up. I discovered this during the course of the summer. His summer preschool has themed weeks. Every Friday, the children dress up to go with the theme. For Wizard Week I made him a Wizard Costume, and he LOVED it. When he wore his robe and hat, and picked up his wand, he felt like he really could be a wizard. I loved that I was able to provide him with a few simple props to help him stretch his imagination.

This got me to thinking about what other costumes I could provide for him – and this is where Costume Express comes in. They have an amazing variety of costumes for all occasions – themed parties, Halloween, or dress-up clothes!

Nowadays, it is so easy for kids to spend time in front of a screen. My son knows how to operate my tablet, and plays a mean game of Bad Piggies. He has several favorite movies that we rotate through, and he’s recently learned to operate the Roku remote on his own. All this means that he is spending way too much time plugged in. Living in Vegas with 110 degree heat all summer, I can’t just send him outside in the middle of the day. Having fun, indoor activities that stretch his imagination without putting him in front of a screen is key. That’s why I wanted a well-stocked dress-up box.

I ordered everything online, it was super simple to find what I wanted. You can see my whole Costume Express shopping experience here.

Opening the Costumes Express Box

When the box came in, Little Moore was excited to see what was inside. I hadn’t told him that I’d bought costumes – just that I had a surprise for him.

He dug through all the costumes – so many choices! He decided to be a fireman, and that his little brother could be a police officer.

Pulling out Costumes

I love that these simple costumes are easy for the kids to take on and off themselves, and that my 14-month old can wear one to play with his brother. He’s not entirely sure what is going on, but he knows he is in on the fun. Plus, both of them are running around having a good time and NOT watching TV or playing video games.

I also love the option to add hats to my order. Costumes are great, but I think a hat does a great job finishing the look, and making the experience feel a little more genuine for my little guy.

Fireman Costume

It was tough getting him to stand still for this photo… all he wanted to do was run around and be a fireman!

He loved these costumes so much, I’m sure that I will be taking many trips to the grocery store with my little fireman, police officer, doctor, or road crew! Instead of handing him my phone to keep him entertained in the store, we’ll have a conversation about his new profession. Groceries might be “on fire” and need to be put out. We can be on the lookout for bad guys. I might come down with mysterious symptoms he needs to diagnose. Or everything might need fixing in a dangerous construction zone (watch out for pot holes!) And they’re sturdy enough that his little brother will get hours of fun out of them as well. I can’t wait to have a playdate so that we can put the kids in costume and crank YMCA… maybe I need to get an Indian costume first?

Road Crew Costume and Doctor Costume

I had a great experience shopping at Costume Express – it was easy to find what I wanted, they had great options, the prices were reasonable, and the package arrive a day earlier than promised! With Halloween coming up I can’t think of a better resource for costumes, and get your kids to #Unplug2Play!

For more details, you can catch Costume Express on your favorite Social Media Channels:

Follow Costume Express on Twitter
Like Costume Express on Facebook
Circle Costume Express on Google+

Monsters University Game in a BluRay Case

Make a Monsters U game inside a BluRay Case

I bought the pre-sale of Monsters University on BluRay, and made some cute Monsters U Countdown blocks to go with it. I’ll be mailed the movie when it comes out… which leaves me with a BluRay case that has no movie in it. (PS – I also made Monsters U Juice Box Printables and a Mike Wazowski t-shirt if you’re into Monsters U crafts)

Monsters U Movie presale copy

I thought I’d turn the movie case into a little portable game in a BluRay Case. This is super simple to do, I’ve got all the printables ready to go… here is what you need.

Print the new BluRay Game Cover on standard paper
Print the BluRay Game Pieces on cardstock
Sharp scissors with a pointy end (or scissors and a craft or hobby knife)
Double-sided tape
Paper fastener (aka a Brad)

After you print out the Monsters University Game pieces, cut them out.

Open up the BluRay case and pull out the old cover, slip the new BlurRay Game Cover into place.

Monsters U Game made from BluRay Case

Leave the case open so that you can see the inside. You’ll want to use sharp scissors or a craft knife to cut away the raised lip on the left side. It is about 3/4″ down from the top. Just trim it down as close to the base as possible. Now you can slip the game board in on the left side.

On the right side, use the point of your scissors or the sharp point of a craft knife to carefully make a circle in the very center of the circle that holds the BluRay movie. You’ll want your hole to be about 1/4″ in diameter. Carefully cut away any plastic that gets pulled up when you make the hole. Be careful not to damage the cover or plastic on the other side.

Cut a hole in the center of the large numbered circle so that it slips over the raised center, and use double sided tape to stick it in place where the DVD would go. Use the tip of your scissors or the brad itself to make a hole in the center of the spinning arrow. Insert the brad into the arrow, an then into the hole you made in the raised center circle. Fasten the brad on the back LOOSELY. You want to make sure it still spins easily.

Fold your game pieces, and use a small piece of double sided tape to stick the bottom flaps together.

You’re ready to play your game in a BluRay Case!

Monsters U Game inside a BluRay Case

Monsters University Count Down Blocks

I picked up the pre-order copy of the Disney Movie Monsters University as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias®. Yes, Monsters University is still in theaters, but you can reserve your BluRay Combo pack copy already! The movie won’t be available on your home screen until this fall, but you can buy it now and have it mailed to you when it is officially released. You can see my whole shopping trip here.

Monsters University Count Down Calendar

Before we count down the days to the movie release date, we’ll be counting down another special milestone in this house… my oldest is off to Kindergarten! I made a simple Monsters University Count Down Calendar that I can use with him to count down the days until he starts his first day of school… and then we can reuse it to count down to the movie release date – and lots of other special days!

count down block suppliesSuper simple to make, here is how you can make your own. You’ll need:
4 – 2″ wooden blocks
Small Wooden Plaque
Printed numbers (download my Monsters U numbers 1 through 6 and numbers 7 and up and print out.)
White Paint
Paintbrush
Mod Podge

 

Paint the wooden pieces white. I painted each with 2-3 coats of paint. Allow the paint to dry.
Cut out all the numbered pieces. Use Mod Podge to adhere a number to each side of the blocks.

mod podge onto blocks

Add a coat of Mod Podge on top to make sure that the numbers stick well.

Use the numbers to count down to whatever special day you have coming up – school, vacation, a special trip… or the release of Monsters University on BluRay!

stacked blocks

Find out more about Monsters University on the Monsters U site or
Monsters U site or on the Disney Pixar Facebook Pagee.