Riley Blake Fabric Fest!

It is here! Riley Blake Fabric Fest!! Four days of hanging out with other quilters, sewing, teaching, learning… and shopping! Oh… the fabric!

I don’t have much time, but thought I’d share with you a few of my impressions from the first day… no classes, just registration, shopping, and chatting with other quilters…

 

This is what it looked like when the doors opened onto Fabric Fest. All the ladies looking forward to the fabric awesomeness behind the doors…

walking into fabric fest

Riley Blake and Quiltique did a great job of setting up all the displays and the fabric…

quilts at fabric fest

I love all the seasonal fabrics – Halloween, Christmas… yay!

Halloween Riley Blake Fabrics

I’ve got a quilt at the quilter right now that I made with Dresdens… I love this colorful version (and I can’t wait to share mine with you next week!)

dresden bursts

Pinwheels go very modern, and very colorful in this quilt.

colorful pinwheels

I always have hexies on the brain lately, and I love what adding a chevron print did for these hexagons!

chevron hexagons

More coming soon… I promise!

The Best Last Day of Summer EVER

We just celebrated my son’s very first last day of summer. He officially starts school on Monday, but with events going on this weekend, this was his true last day of “freedom” before he starts Kindergarten.

the best last day of summer ever

I thought that this was a fun milestone, and that celebrating the last day of summer in a blow-out fashion would be fun for the whole family. So I planned a day of fun, out-of-the-house activities for us to do. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some of the fun we were up to. I used the hashtag #FirstLastDayofSummer to keep track of all the photos.

We actually started the day off the night before. We set up the kiddie tent in L’s room so that he could spend the night in the tent. He’s been wanting to sleep in a tent all summer, so what better time to let him sleep in a tent than on the last day of Summer? This way, he got to wake up on his last day of summer in a tent!

wake up in a tent

We got in the car. There was a fair amount of driving, so I let L watch movies in the car as we drove around town. I don’t usually pull out the movies unless we’re on a long trip, so this was a special treat.

watching a movie in the car

We headed to our favorite pool. We call it “the Beach Pool” because it has a beach inlet on one side. Great for my youngest, because he can walk right in and play. And they both love the sand.

at the beach pool

After spending the whole morning at the pool, we grabbed lunch at McDonald’s. Like most kids, my son has a passion for chicken nuggets. This was not the McDonald’s close to our house, this one has a different playground that L caught a glimpse of through the windows one day and had asked to go. I had put it on our “someday” list, and this was the perfect day to go.

playing at the play place

Dad got off work right as we were finishing lunch, so we met up with him at mini golf. I got some work done on my phone (yay for smartphones!) while the big boys played a round of golf.

playing mini golf

The baby was asleep at this point (a big day at the pool will do that), so the boys hung out in the arcade for a little while.

playing at the arcade

Then, of course, we had to pick prizes. This was the hardest part. So many choices (and only so many tickets)!

pick a prize

We went by the bookstore so that L could pick a new book, and then went to the grocery store to grab a much-needed item for our next step in our blow-out last day of summer. While at the grocery store, we grabbed donuts. Yum!

getting a donut

We went home and filled the bath with as many bubbles as we could manage! Bubble baths are more fun when they are EXTREME bubble baths!

lots and lots of bubbles

We had L’s favorite dinner (Orange Chicken and Garlic Bread), and then sat down for popcorn and a movie. L was asleep before the movie ended… it was a great day!

I’m looking forward to celebrating the last day of summer every year… hopefully we’ll find some new things to add into the mix, but I’m sure that several of the things we did yesterday will stay part of the tradition.

This week was brought to you by: The Letter T

T is for travel. We’ve been traveling this week with a fun trip to visit my mom. We met up with my brother, his wife, and my baby nephew, and had a fun weekend. I love hanging out with my family, and giving my little brother (who stands about a foot taller than me) a hard time. And my son LOVES visiting with all of them! The rest of my family is way more fun than I am!

T is also for trouble … as in car trouble. And for Towtruck.

car on towtruck

I went to pick up my son from “kindergarten camp”, and when I got back to the car, it wouldn’t start. I was stranded in a parking lot 2 months ago with a dead battery, so I was sure it wasn’t that… and I was right. The car needed a new starter. Luckily, I have a handy husband, so after having the car towed back to our house, he was able to replace it.

T is also for.. TIME! As in… it is about time! I FINALLY got a new laptop. I’m still working on the old laptop some as I make the transition… moving programs, files, links… everything I need over to the new computer. I’m very excited to have a computer with a battery life more than 2 minutes (I only wish that was an exaggeration), and can’t wait to get it all set up.

I also am finally getting my own space. We’re moving around some rooms in the house to give me my own room for writing, crafting, and sewing. And I really need it. It is a work in progress… here is how it looks now:

sewing room progress

Have you seen what I’ve been up to lately? I FINALLY shared my variations of the Jelly Roll Race Quilt… and I’ve got one more I’ll be sharing soon!

I had some fun with Mod Melts and made some Butterfly Decor and decorative paperclips. American Crafts sent me some fun supplies as well. I made Candy Fireworks, a Light-up wand (great alternative to sparklers), and paper bunting straws.

I also started a new series with my friend Brandie, called “Cook and Craft”. She cooks something, I craft something, and you get two fun things to do with the kids this summer! I made a school backpack turned summer pack (to pair with her yummy granola bars), and Movie Printables (to go with her PB&J popcorn).

Last week I went on a mommy-son date with my oldest to see the new Monsters University. I made him a special Mike Wazowski t-shirt to wear to the movie preview.

I also participated in Watermelon week, and made some mouth-watering Watermelon Plates for Watermelon Week. You won’t believe they only took 30 minutes to paint!

And, since I’ve been writing lots of notes, I thought I’d share my Tips on how to write a Thank You Note. It might come in handy for someone, so feel free to pin it.

One more thing… you might have seen my post on Facebook about picking up my son on Wednesday. The teacher mentioned that Friday the students should come to school dressed as Wiazards. So… I spent most of Thursday making the best Wizard costume I could come up with! I’ll be sharing the how-to soon, but wanted to share the finished result, in case you don’t follow me on Instagram

Yup, T is for TOTALLY AWESOME. Which is what my son said when he tried on his finished costume. This was the best thing I did all week!

Wizard Costume

Come back tomorrow… I’m sharing a fun giveaway!

How to Write a Thank You Note

Writing a Thank You Note is a lost art. With all the technological ways we have to give our thanks – Facebook, Twitter, Texts, e-mails… the hand-written thank you note is dying.

How to Write a Thank You Note

I’m not saying that every thank-you needs to be hand-written. Sometimes, a simple text message is best. Sometimes, giving the person a shout-out on Facebook so that all your friends can share in the awesomeness is the perfect touch. And any way that you reach out to thank someone is better than not thanking them at all. But there are times that a hand written thank you note is the best way to express your gratitude.

Starting your Thank You Note

You can start with a salutation of some kind. “Dear Auntie” might sound stuffy, so you can start with “Hello” or jump right into your note.

Thank them specifically

Start your note by saying thank you, and give the reason why. Say “Thank you for the wonderful gift” or “Thank you for sharing your time.” “Thank you for taking time out of your day.” Be specific as to why you are thanking them.

Tell them why you are greatful

Don’t stop at thanking them for their action. Tell them the significance of their actions or gift. Phrases like, “It meant so much to me that you took time out of your day to help me with my project, having you there made it go much more smoothly, and the finished result was better than I could have imagined.” tell the recipient that they mattered. When thanking a person for a gift, tell them what you love about the gift. “I love the sewing kit and have it tucked in my bag – it is so helpful for small projects on the go, and it has already come in handy on several occasions.”

Thanking someone for money or a gift card

Thanking someone for money or a gift card calls for special attention. Let them know what the gift has been used for, or will be used for. “Thanks so much for the check. I’ve deposited it in my savings account so that I can use it on my upcoming vacation. I’ll be sure to think of you when I’m relaxing on the beach!” “The Target gift card has already come in handy – I bought some cute and colorful new tops for myself.”
When thanking someone for money or a gift card, don’t mention the amount. The value of the gift is not measured in dollars, it is measured in your appreciation for their kindness.

End the thank you note with a forward-looking message

If you can, use a forward-looking message to end the thank you note. Tell them you look forward to seeing them soon, or at a specific upcoming event. If you have no plans to see the person in the future, tell them you look forward to seeing them online, or seeing their photos on Facebook. Make a final, shared connection with the recipient of your thank you note.

Use an appropriate sign-off

End your note with a sign-off that feels appropriate. “Sincerely” might feel too formal for a situation like this, so try “Love”, “with thanks”, “thanks again”, or (my favorite) a symbol like a heart or a smiley face.

 

Remember that the most important part of writing a thank you note is saying thank you. If someone gave you a gift – a present, time, money, they gave it because they wanted you to have it. Showing your appreciation for what they gave – in whatever form you can show that appreciation – is the way that you value that gift.

 

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

This week was brought to you by: Star Shaped Bubbles

Today we burst my son’s bubble when we explained to him that it doesn’t matter what shape the bubble wand is… the bubbles will still be circular. Even star shaped wands make circle bubbles.

yes. that is his “I’m not impressed” face.

When he asked “why?” in typical four-year-old fashion, I’m pretty sure my answer was, “Well kiddo, it has to do with surface tension, and that a star doesn’t make for a very secure structure.” With answers like that, I’m not sure why he even asks “why” anymore!

This whole week has been a pretty amazing bubble, though! Over on 30 Minute Crafts I’ve been doing Craft Lightning, with a whole week of crafts that can be done in FIFTEEN minutes or less! Yup, for Craft Lightning week, I up the ante. I shared tutorials for my Falling Star and Tumbling Heart EarringsFelt Cowboy VestFabric Flower topped Gift Box, Fabric Banners, and  Fancy Felt Clutch. Each evening I shared a roundup post with quick crafts from my friends about the interwebs. You can catch the roundups for Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five.

The fast crafting doesn’t end there, though! At 4pm PST Monday and Friday of this week, I’ll be live crafting TEN minute crafts with Angie from the Country Chic Cottage as we do live crafting videos. Check us out, as well as our other awesome participants at Crafty Hangouts.

Here on Always Expect Moore, I shared my Mod Podge Dinosaur wreath, and then wrapped up the Dinosaur birthday party, and shared with you how to make super easy ice cream pizzas. Yum!

I started a new series on Craftsnark on the difference between the terms DIY and Craft. {{spoiler alert: I’m not a fan of one of them. No, I’m not telling you which one. Yes, that wasn’t much of a spoiler. HA!}}

We had some fun this week. Wednesday hubs got a year older, and we celebrated on Thursday by watching him jump out of a practically fine airplane. You might have caught whiff of it on Instagram. And it is the inspiration behind a fun parachute craft project I’ll be sharing here later this week!

Then today I took the boys to the park for a Mommy and Me event. It was quite a few hours in the wind and sun, but they both loved it. And that’s all that matters, right?

I hope you have an amazing week! And enjoy this last photo… my son is a “ladybug whisperer”. Any ladybug will find him, or he will find it, no matter how giant the park!