Should I Press My Quilt Seams Open or to One Side?

Should I press my seams open or to one side

 

The quilting question “Should I press my quilt seams open or to one side?” comes up very often in my quilting classes. When my students ask me, I think they’re looking for a single, definitive answer. A quilting rule that they can follow or flaunt. The problem is that I believe in very few quilting rules.

I believe that when quilting, you should press your seams. But how you press your quilt seams depends on a variety of factors. You should take these factors into account when you decide if you’re going to press your seams open, or to one side.

press seam open

How are you going to quilt your finished quilt?
If you plan on doing a “stitch in the ditch” on your quilt blocks, your decision has been made – you must press your seams to the side. The quilting technique “stitch in the ditch” is so named because of where the stitching falls. Pressing the quilt seams to the side created a slight raise on one side of the seam – which results in a slight ditch on the other. This is easy enough for a newbie quilter to find and aim at when quilting.
If you try to “Stitch in the Ditch” on a quilt where the quilt seams have been pressed open, you will be quilting along the seam line right between the pieces of the quilt top, and instead of securing the backing, batting, and top, you’ll be securing the backing and batting while tacking the top in place.
If you plan to do an all-over or a stitching pattern that does not closely follow the piecing of the blocks, you can press your seams however you like.

 

How flat do you want your finished quilt top to be?
Pressing quilt seams open results in flatter piecing. This is because instead of pressing all the bulk of the seam to one side, the bulk is divided in half and spread equally over two sides. Your finished quilt blocks are much flatter than a block with the seams pressed to the side. Once your quilt top is quilted together with the batting and backing, much of the flatness created by pressing seams open is lost into the batting, and a quilt with the seams pressed to the side is no more lumpy than one with the seams pressed open.

press seam to the side

What piecing techniques are you using?
Depending on the techniques you are using when piecing your top, you may prefer one pressing method over another. If you are piecing many small pieces together, you may want to press the quilt seams open to reduce the bulk at the individual seams. However, if you are doing intricate piecing where you want to match your seams, pressing the quilt seams to the side may actually help you. If you press one seam up and one seam down before laying two pieces with their right sides together, the ditches of the two seams will “lock” together, helping line up the piecing, and resulting in more crisp lines and points.

 

How do you press best?
What is most important in pressing is that you do it, and do it as well as possible. I have seen new quilters who did not press properly, and lost as much as 1/2″ of fabric in each seam because of poor pressing. So, if there is one way that you prefer pressing because it makes you happier, go ahead and use that method. Because staying happy while you quilt is what it is all about anyway, right?

New Simplicity Kids Backpack Pattern by The Sewing Loft

Tree backpack by The Sewing Loft and Simplicity

When my friend Heather from The Sewing Loft told me that Simplicity was printing her pattern and that it would be for sale at major retailers, I might’ve done a little happy dance! If you haven’t checked out Heather’s site, and seen her great designs, you really must. She does so many fun projects that I really wish we didn’t live on opposite sides of the country, because I want to do a sew-in weekend with Heather!

Later, Heather told me that she’d be able to share one of these cute patterns with me, and when it arrived in the mail… well… there was a second happy dance! Such a cute pattern, with so many fun variations, and inside I found all the great step-by-step instructions that Simplicity is known for.

New pattern by the Sewing Loft

Here on the blog, I primarily do quilting-type projects when I sew, but my sewing background includes more than just quilting. I have done a fair amount of garment sewing, and the feel of a tissue paper pattern always brings back memories of making my prom dress. My mom and I made more than one of my dresses for Jr. High and High School dances, and I’ve made plenty of other garments, but for some reason, the crinkle of a tissue pattern makes me think of senior year.

I decided to make the cute tree design (bottom left on the pattern cover). I pulled out tree fabrics and got to work. This is a great pattern for a new sewist. I’ve taught beginning sewing classes and, with some supervision, a child as young as 12 should be able to tackle this pattern. It isn’t difficult, but has a great variety of basic techniques, like threading in the cords, creating the casing, applique, and cutting and marking a pattern.

applique on tree

I had fun with the applique on this project… especially after I replaced my needle. I find that when my sewing machine is giving me a hard time, replacing the needle goes a long way towards making us both happy.

Here is the finished backpack – I know my boys will love using it!

finished backpack

Once I finished, I carefully folded back up all the pattern pieces and tucked them back into the pattern envelope – there are many other backpack patterns and instructions in this pattern, and I’m looking forward to trying the others… I have some nieces that might like a set of cupcake packs!

tuck pattern pieces back in

This pattern is on sale now at JoAnns Fabric and Crafts Stores, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, and Walmart. You can find it as Simplicity #1602. I’m sure you’ll have as much fun making it as I did!

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.

Hexagon Fabric Bracelet

Do you have some favorite pieces of fabric you’d like to turn into wearable accessories? Or maybe you love hexagons and want to show it in your wardrobe. Maybe you want to try out some of this hexagon madness without committing to a big project. These hexagon fabric bracelets are perfect for you! They make a great gift for a fabric-loving friend, or to mail in a swap package with a fellow quilter. Simple to make with just hand stitching, you’ll get addicted to these fun hexie bracelets!

Fabric bracelet stitched out of hexagons

Supplies:
1″ Hexagon Template
Pellon 71F
Pencil
Scissors
Fabric (I used 4 Charm Squares for each bracelet)
Needle and thread

Start by tracing your 1″ hexagon onto the Pellon. You’ll need 12 hexagons for each bracelet. For reference, a 1″ hexagon has sides that are 1″ across.

trace hexies onto pellon

Cut out all your hexagons.

hexies all cut out

Fuse the hexagons to your fabric, and trim the fabric. You’ll want to give yourself a generous 1/4″ of fabric all the way around each hexagon.

Fold over one edge of the fabric and tack down with a few stitches.

stitch down corner

Fold down each side, and put two stitches in each corner to hold down the sides.

stitch down hexie corners

Add a few extra stitches on the final corner to secure, and cut the thread. Repeat for all 12 hexagons.

finished hexie

Put two hexagons right sides together, and stitch along one edge. You can whip stitch them together, or you can use a ladder stitch to secure the edges. Repeat with all the hexagons to make 6 pairs.

The ladder stitch, I found, is less visible than whip stitching the pieces together. Start by making a stitch on one edge. Where the needle comes up, start a stitch on the opposite side. Keep making stitches on alternating sides all the way across. Your stitches will look like a series of straight lines up and down across the edge of the hexagons.

stitch together pieces

When you unfold the hexagons, and make them flat, you’ll see the stitches. Pull on your thread to tighten the pieces together, then secure with a few stitches.

stitched together hexies

Once you have your 6 pairs, use the same stitch to stitch them together.

stitch into a chain

You’ll want 6 hexagons down the middle, with the extra hexagon for each hanging off of either side.

chain of hexies

Fold over the matching pairs, one at a time, and stitch down around each edge. making a sandwich with the right sides out. This hides all the backs of your hexagons, and leaves just the pretty side.

stitch together front and back pieces

Repeat this with each hexagon, all the way around. When you get to the end, match up the two ends and stitch them together. Line the two pieces up, and stitch the two inside edges together first.

stitch into a bracelet loop

Then go back across, stitching together the two outside edges. Secure the thread with several stitches, and adjust the hexagons to form the shape of your hexagon bangle bracelet.

Hexagon Fabric Bracelet Tutorial

They’re pretty addictive… you’ll find yourself making a whole armful!

Hexaon fabric bracelets tutorial

Simple Wizard Hat

wizard hat and wand

When I found out my son needed a Wizard Costume to wear to Summer School, I looked up pictures of Wizards online, and he and I studied them. We decided that what he needed was a hat, a wand, and a robe. We headed to JoAnns to get our supplies. I wasn’t quite sure what we would use, so I got a variety of things:

What I ended up using for the hat was:
supplies for wizard costumePellon Peltex 71F (fairly stiff, and fusible on one side – not shown in photo)
Satin in blue and green
Phoomph (a double-sided adhesive felt/foam)
Copper colored ribbon (this one was like a netting or lace)
Some Gear Embellishments (I wanted to make sure the hat looked more Wizard than Princess)
Large Bead
Glue Gun
Coordinating Felt
Copper Chain (optional)
Needle & thread

I started by cutting the Peltex to make a cone for my son’s head.

check hat for fit

Once I had my cone shape, I unpinned it and laid it flat. I ironed my blue satin to the fusible side of the Peltex. Follow the instructions on the Peltex to make sure you get a good fuse. Be careful not to melt your fabric if you are using a synthetic fabric like I did.

iron satin to wizard hat

Roll the cone back up and stitch in place. You could hot glue, but I thought that adding a few stitches would be more secure. I then ran the copper ribbon down the seam to cover it up, and secured it with a couple dabs of hot glue.

stitch up wizard hat

Then it is time to make the band at the base of the Wizard Hat. I cut the Phoomph into 2″ strips. I cut my green satin into 3″ strips – 4″ strips would be better, though. It took 3 strips of Phoomph (cut from one sheet), and two strips of fabric for a hat to fit my 4-year-old.

I started by joining up the Phoomph strips. I cut each end at an angle, and lifted up the paper on each section to attach them together. Putting the joints together in this way prevents a big crease or bulge in one section of the hat band by distributing the seam over a larger area. Measure and cut the Phoomph strip to size to fit around the bottom of the hat.

connect phoomph

Once I had the Phoomph in one long strip and cut to size, I started “ruffling” the fabric with my fingers. Pushing the ruffles down on the Phoomph was fast and easy, much easier than trying to ruffle it with a sewing machine or by doing a running stitch by hand.

ruffle fabric onto phoomph

Once I ruffled it all the way to the end, I flipped it over, pulled off the paper on the back side, and folded over the raw edges of the fabric to adhere them to the Phoomph on the backside. My strips were 3″, but because of the ruffling, 4″ strips would have been better.

I cut strips of coordinating felt in 1 3/4″ widths, and glued it down on ONE edge with hot glue, securing the raw edges of the satin between the Phoomph and the felt. Once I had the felt on, I wrapped the hat band around the Wizard Hat, putting the felt on the inside and the satin covered Phoomph on the other side. I then glued both sides in place with more hot glue.

inside of hat

I pushed in the top point of the hat in, and glued a bead in place.

Finish tip of Wizard hat

My finishing touchs – where the two pieces of fabric met on the hat band, my ruffling wasn’t so great. I made this the “front” of the hat, and glued on a couple gear embellishments. I wasn’t sure they would hold up to a day with a 4-year-old, so I added a few stitches for security. I added a little copper chain around the edge and tacked it in place as well.

gears on wizard hat

Paired with the Wizard Wand I made, these were some great accessories. Tomorrow I’ll show you how I made his Wizard Robe

Wizard Costume

Monsters University Craft – Juice Box Printables

I created these fun Monsters Inc Juice Juice box campus printables as part of a paid social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Monsters University Juice Box Campus - Free Coloring Printables

When I was asked to make a Monsters University Craft using Juicy Juice, a great healthy drink for my kids, I knew exactly what I was going to make! I loved watching the movie with my son (I made him a special Mike Wazowski shirt to wear to see the movie), and I loved the campus buildings. Most of the movie takes place at Monsters University – there are all kinds of buildings with great monster-y details – the dorms, library, and (my favorite) the Scaring School! This Monsters craft was fun for us to make – and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

I designed Monsters University Campus printables that you can use with your kids to re-create the movie. These are specifically designed to go on the Juicy Juice products – the Scaring School printable fits perfectly on the 64-oz Juicy Juice bottle, and the archway pieces and building blocks wrap perfectly around Juicy Juice Fruitifuls juice boxes. Use the 1″ Mini Monsters, Inc. Monsters University Toys to play with the buildings you created (only available at Walmart). I bought my supplies at Walmart, you can see my whole shopping trip here.

Monsters University Toys

Start by printing out the pages. Print one of the Scaring School, one of the Monsters University Gateway, and as many as you want of the Building Blocks. The building blocks can be used to make the library, dorms, or whatever other buildings you would like.

Let your kids color the pages, or color them yourself.

coloring Monsters U printables

While your kids are coloring, rinse out your empty juice boxes and juice containers. Moms know that dried juice is sticky, so stop the mess before it starts! The bottle is easy to rinse out – just take off the cap, fill with warm soapy water, put the lid on, shake, empty, and rinse. Do the same with the Fruitifuls juice boxes, but since there is no lid to take off, lift up one flap, and cut off a corner to give yourself a large enough opening to rinse out the box.

trim off flap

After the pages have been colored, cut them out. The Scaring school can be attached to the Juicy Juice 64-oz bottle with double sided tape. You can take the label off the bottle first, if you like so that you can get the instant win code from the underside of the bottle. Go to juicyjuice.com to redeem the code and you could win a $5,000 scholarship AND a family trip to Pixar Studios! I redeemed mine… it was super simple. I won’t tell you what I won, but it WASN’T the trip and the scholarship, so those are probably still up for grabs… You can find the sweepstakes details here.

Scaring School Juice Bottle Printable

The other pieces need to be folded. You’ll see dots at the top and bottom of each piece that indicate where the folds go. Fold down these lines to fold into 5 segments.

fold at dots

Using double-sided tape, attach the smallest flap (on the right) to one of the short sides of the Juicy Juice Fruitifuls juice box.

Tape printable to box

Then fold the paper all the way around the juice box, and attach the last flap in place with double stick tape. Repeat this process with all the pieces to make the campus!

For the archway, cut out the archway piece, fold on the lines so that the flaps are facing to the back, put double-stick tape on the flaps, and attach to the two pillar juice boxes.

Monsters University Juice Setup

Stack your building pieces up to make the dorms, library, or other campus buildings.

Monsters University Juice Library

My son loved playing with his juice box campus and Monsters University Toys!

Paying with Monsters University

Did you love Monsters, Inc? Then you’ll LOVE the new Monsters University movie! Get the details about the movie on the Disney/Pixar Facebook page, and about Juicy Juice on the Nestle Facebook Page.

Fabric Fest and a Rolie Polie Giveaway!

I’m so excited to share more of my Jelly Roll Race Quilts here today! Those of you who follow my blog know that I made a Jelly Roll Race Quilt in less than 24 hours from start to finish earlier this year, I called it my “#Instaquilt” because I Instagrammed the process of cutting fabric, stitching, getting it to the quilter, and binding it. Since then, I’ve been busy coming up with fresh ways to revise this new classic so that I can share them all with you at Riley Blake Fabric Fest here in Las Vegas.

three jelly roll race quilts

I first learned about this quilt when I was working at Quiltique, an awesome quilt shop in Henderson, just outside of Las Vegas. One of our customers shared it with me, and it was love at first stitch. I have 2 nieces and 3 nephews all born in the last 3 years (3 of them in the last 12 months), so having a fast “go to” quilt pattern is a must!

I’m going to be teaching the Jelly Roll Race Quilt at Riley Blake Fabric Fest this fall. BUT – not just the plain jelly roll race quilt. I’ve deconstructed, re-constructed, and updated the jelly roll race quilt. These variations add 10-30 minutes to the time it takes to make a regular jelly roll race quilt – and give you so much more variety! If you’ve never made a Jelly Roll Race quilt before, I’ll show you the basics. Then we’ll take it up a notch with fun ways to make the quilt your own. Let me take you through some of these new quilts I’ve stitched up…

Christmas Jelly Roll Race Quilt

This first is a Standard Jelly Roll Race quilt. If you’ve seen or done one, you can tell by the mitered seams, and the random placement of the fabric. I used 42 strips from Riley Blake’s new Christmas Fabric “A Merry Little Christmas“. Don’t you love how cheery it looks? This quilt is the perfect Christmas gift! I love giving quilts as Christmas presents, and these quilts are the best for making as gifts. They don’t take weeks to make, they look cute in any fabric, and there is very little waste. After piecing your quilt top, the only waste you have is one piece 2.5″x18”, and the little bit you trim off to square your quilt top.

 

This second one is so much fun! I used Riley Blake’s “Pirate Mateys” and added squares between half-strips of fabric. There are some secrets to putting this top together, but it is a lot easier than it looks, and the result is darling! I’d love to do more of these with bright colored squares that really pop against the fabric.

Pirate Jelly Roll Race Quilt

I’ve been enjoying this quilt a lot, it sits on my livingroom floor and my kids play on it all the time. My friend Nichol of A Desert Quilter quilted all of these for me, and she quilted some darling pirate motifs into this quilt top!

Appliqued Jelly Roll Race Quilt

This last one, made out of Riley Blake “Cruiser Blvd”  has me completely tickled. A Jelly Roll Race Quilt is like a deck of cards. You shuffle up the strips, stitch them together, and there is no telling where they will show up. For this quilt, I “stacked the deck.” I’ve mapped out the final locations of the strips, and I put them in the order I wanted them to give me a beautiful “solid” space to applique in. This technique is so much fun for anyone who likes to applique, who wants to super-customize a quilt, for machine embroiderers who like to have large areas to embroider on, or machine quilters who like to have space in which to stitch up quilts and really have their quilting stand out… really, just about anyone will love the options that stacking the deck gives you! Here is the whole quilt all laid out:

Applique Jelly Roll Race Quilt

My son is 4 and a half, and he loves this quilt. It is “his” quilt and he loves reading his name on it. Once you’ve deconstructed the placement of the strips in a Jelly Roll Race quilt, there are so many new possibilities that open up to you!

I still have at least one more idea up my sleeve … but I’ll wait to share that one at Fabric Fest. You’ll have to come to my class so that I can share it with you!

Giveaway!

The base to make these quick quilts are Rolie Polies from Riley Blake. So, I’m giving away TWO Rolie Polies to one lucky winner! Just leave a comment at the end of this post letting me know which of these fast quilts you’d most like to learn more about! Make sure to include your contact information so that I can get in touch with you if you win.

This post is part of an awesome blog hop with the rest of the teachers who will be sharing all their amazing talents at Riley Blake Fabric Fest. Check out the rest of these great teachers!

During the blog hop, these great sites will be blogging all about Fabric Fest and the wonderful classes they are teaching. They will also be giving away some great prizes, so you’ll want to keep this list close by!
Trust us.
You CAN’T miss a single day! 
Wednesday, June 5
Jina Barney of Riley Blake Designs
Thursday, June 6 Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet
 Friday, June 7
Elizabeth and Liz Evans of Simply Simon & Co
Saturday, June 8
Nancy Zieman/Deanna Springer of Nancy Zieman.com
Monday, June 10
Melissa Mortenson of The Polka Dot Chair 
Tuesday, June 11
Carolina Moore of Always Expect Moore
Wednesday, June 12
Paige Hill of Riley Blake Designs, Jennifer of Tatertots and Jello,
Becky & Kari of U-Create
Thursday, June 13
Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish
Friday, June 14
Kim Christopherson & Kris Thurgood of My Girlfriends Quilt Shoppe
Saturday, June 15
Bonnie Bailey on Riley Blake Designs
 Monday, June 17
Lila Tueller of Lila Tueller Designs
Tuesday, June 18
Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter
Wednesday, June 19
Lindsay Wilkes of The Cottage Mama
Thursday, June 20
Sue Daley of Sue Daley Designs
Friday, June 21
Eleanor Burns/ Sue Bouchard of Quilt in a Day
Saturday, June 22
Jenny, Natalie, & Sarah of Missouri Star Quilt Company
 Monday, June 24
Andrea Goddard of And I Sew
Tuesday, June 25
Becky, Brooke, Jamie, Kirsten, & Nikkala of The Crafting Chicks
Wednesday, June 26
Deonn Stott of Quiltscapes 
 Thursday, June 27
Sandy Workman of Pine Mountain Designs
Friday, June 28
Sydney Haglund of Memory Quilt Maker

Ever-changing Wood, Nail, and Rubber Band Maze

My son is a maze savant. Yes, I’m his mom and I’ll brag about him even if nobody is listening, but at not quite 5 years old, he totally rocks mazes. And he loves doing them. We’ve gotten him maze books, which he loves, but I wanted to do one better. I wanted a maze that could be fully customized, changed, and never get boring. So I came up with the idea to make a maze board out of wood and nails. Now he has a maze that can be changed in a nearly infinite number of ways! And, it was super simple and easy to make. It took us less than an hour. Totally my kind of craft!

First, we started with our supplies:
18″x18″ square of 3/4 inch plywood
Box of nails
Quilting ruler
Pen
Cordless Drill
Hammer
Rubber Bands

I picked up the plywood at The Home Depot, and had them cut it to size. Having them cut it on their giant saw is so much easier than trying to cut it at home.

Using my quilting ruler, I marked a grid on the board, spacing the lines 1.5″ apart. Once I had my grid marked, it was time to drill pilot holes into my wood. I made sure that the drill bit I was using was a couple sizes smaller than my nails.

The idea is to drill a guide hole, but you still want the nail to be super snug when it gets hammered in. I made sure not to drill all the way through the wood.

Then it was time to hammer in my nails. As I hammered them in, I tried to keep them about the same height. This isn’t essential, it just looks nicer.

I hammered…

And hammered…

It took a while.

Once all the nails were in, I double-checked that they were all pretty much the same height.

Then it was time to add the rubber bands! We stretched the rubber bands along the nails to make the “walls” of the maze. We were so excited about this part, we didn’t bother washing all the black from the nails off of our fingers… we just went for it!

Then my son got to find his way through the maze. Once he figured it out, I adjusted a few of the pathways by moving around rubber bands, and he got to do it again. I kept switching them to give him new routes through the maze. He LOVED it.

I know we’ll be using this toy a lot this summer – such a fun boredom buster!

I might still give it a coat of paint… I haven’t decided yet. But for now, it is getting plenty of use!