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"Make Something" Archive

Love Quilt

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

With a feeling of helplessness, sadness and horror over what happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, I went straight to where I find my comfort and happiness and that is to my sewing room.   I think every quilter can relate to that do-something-mentality of needing to make a quilt, to give love through cotton and thread, to hug someone with a quilt.  The Modern Quilt Guild has a great blog post about #QuiltsforPulse Charity Drive with the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.  There are lots of great ideas and info on quilt blocks.   For my own personal needs and desire, I wanted to create my own and I thought I’d share it.  I made a pattern that could be used by guilds, clubs, or individuals. Individuals/groups making blocks or individuals/groups making entire quilts.

There are 49 heart blocks in the Love Quilt, one for each person who lost their life.  One heart for each person who left behind a grieving spouse, partner, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins, and friends.  One very important heart of forty-nine very important hearts.

The Love Quilt can also be used to just show love, and maybe it wants to be made for other loving purposes.  Please use this pattern for all kinds of love that need to be celebrated!  I ask please that no profits from this free pattern be made.  Unless of course a finished quilt is used for a charity auction/raffle to raise money for such organizations like Equality Florida/Support Victims of Pulse Shooting,  your local LGBTQ center, It Gets Better - any charitable organize that promotes love, kindness, safety, help, shelter, equality and support would be awesome.

This Love Quilt pattern is very basic and for quilters who know how to make quilt tops.  Not included are finishing measurement and instructions (sandwiching, batting, backing, quilting, and binding), and is intended for individuals as well as guilds, groups, and clubs.  Please feel free to download the PDF version and share with your friends, or group, or you can give your friends or group the link of thehappyzombie.com/love and they can go download and/or print it themselves.

Love Quilt by Monica Solorio-Snow

Love Quilt by Monica Solorio-Snow

Love Quilt by Monica Solorio-Snow

Love Quilt by Monica Solorio-Snow

Love Quilt by Monica Solorio-Snow

Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

BLOCK BUDDIES - piecing boards

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Years ago I took a quilting class with Darlene Zimmerman, and one of the things I learned from her was a nifty tip to keep your cut block pieces organized before piecing them. The tip so simple and so genius is hurt my brain a little.  That tip was to use el-cheapo paper plates for each block to corral each of it’s pieces.  And each paper plate could be stacked, too. BRILLIANT. I’ve been using this method for almost a decade now. But suddenly I needed something more - something where I could layout out the block, stack it, and then join the pieces a block at a time without a big mess and confusion.  Ideas danced like Elaine Benes in my head with ingredients like Soft & Bright poly bat (by The Warm Company) and corrugated plastic sheeting. And most of all, I didn’t want glue in my little dance.  And most, most of all I wanted it to be fast and easy.  Sweet Fancy Moses, I’ve got it!

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

I went to my local big box home improvement store (which BTW is Home Depot and we appreciate immensely the discounts they give to veterans) and found a big 36″ x 72″ sheet of corrugated plastic sheeting for $10.50 USD. I found it near all the flat stuff (acrylic, glass, plastic, etc.). It’s super lightweight, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to get this piece of sheet (hahaha I crack myself up) home, so I waited until I was shopping with my husband and could pop the sheet in the back of his truck. Getting this home is the most creative part of this project, but is also available on Amazon.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

With an old rotary cutter (that’s dedicated for paper and crafting use), I cut the big piece of sheeting into ten 14″ x 14″ pieces.  I chose 14″ so I would have room to work on a 12″ finished block.  I saved all the leftover small pieces and set them aside. Of course anyone could cut any size they wanted, larger or smaller.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

I took a “Baby Size” package of  Soft & Bright and cut ten 15″ ish squares - so all sides were larger than my 14″ plastic squares. Soft & Bright also available by-the-yard here.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

I adjusted my sewing machine’s pressure foot as high as it would go.  I also used an old needle (or if you use a current needle, be sure to replace it with a freshie once you’re done).

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

I did a test run on the plastic and it sewed like a charm.  I used Aurifil cotton thread (because I love it and it’s always threaded in my machine) and I put my stitch length somewhere between a basting length and a piecing length.  Everyone’s machine is different, so kinda in the middle but more towards a baste length.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

With the smooth side of the batting towards my worktable, and bumpier side towards the plastic, I centered the plastic on top of the batting.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

It is important to stitch on top of the plastic so that your sewing machine’s feed-dogs have something to grab on to (ie, grab the batting).  Stitch about 1/4″ (or less if you’re comfortable) from the edge.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

At each corner, be sure to back-stitch to lock your stitching. You do not need to cut your threads at each end, just pivot 1/4 turn to start the next side.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Trim the excess batting from your plastic board.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Flip your board over and admire your work. High five yourself.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Give it a go - try out your new board buddy and build a block on it. Pretty cool, eh.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Do a vertical test. What? Yup. Awesome. And you can even stack your board on top of other boards that have block pieces on them. The plastic backside no-likey the fabric pieces on the stacked board below it and doesn’t want to stick to them.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

With your leftover pieces you can make mini Block Buddies. It’s also a good way to use up some batting scraps. I did try cotton batting scraps (Warm & White is what I use for quilting), but I particularly like the Soft & Bright poly for this project as it’s not too stretchy, has a low loft, and the poly makes for a nice stick.  It’s just perfect.

Block Buddies - DIY quilting piecing boards

Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

New addition to my shop!

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Strawberry Delight - needlebook tempalte PDF

The Strawberry delight PDF template pattern is now available in my shop or at my Craftsy shop.

Strawberry Needlebook

Strawberry Needlebook

Put some pants on!

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Since it’s Christmas-tree season, I thought it might be the perfect time to leave a gentle reminder that not all trees like to wear skirts.  I live in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by big, tall majestic trees - so I know this to be true. That’s why I have a tutorial at Sew,Mama,Sew! for “Christmas Tree Pants - because not all trees like to wear skirts“. My tutorial is from 2011 but is of course good year after year.  Tree pants never go out of style.

Christmas Tree Pant

I made my red & white Christmas Tree Pants, as well as made a scrappy version.
Christmas Tree Pants

My scrappy version as modeled by Violet Craft.
Sew Mama Sew Christmas Tree Pants Sew-along
Blam-O, tree pants!
Sew Mama Sew Christmas Tree Pants Sew-along

Sew,Mama,Sew! has made a Christmas Tree Pants Sew-Along flickr group if you’d like to join that, too. Come sew with me.  Friends don’t let friends have trees without pants.

Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

#travelhandmade - it’s the only way to travel

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be one of those artists who paints on a piece of rice. I wonder how much equipment they have to lug around, how many supplies they need, what they use to haul around their goodies. And then I slap myself and think how much I love every piece of equipment and fabric that fills my trunk to the brim for a few glorious days of quilting and sewing with friends. I bet a rice artist doesn’t get to make cool handmade gear for travel, either.

The downside to being a quilter and a sewist is that we have an S ton of stuff to haul. The upside is that we can make really kick-ass things to haul our stuff in and adorn ourselves in. There’s no better way to travel than to travelhandmade.   If anyone is headed to Sewtopia in November (or any retreat or communal sewing adventure), there’s a super-fly list of #travelhandmade patterns and tutorials featured on the Sewtopia blog.  One of the patterns featured is my ID/Badger Holder:

Business in the front…
ID / Badge Holders PDF patterns available in my shop (happyzombie.bigcartel.com)

Party in the back…
ID / Badge Holders PDF patterns available in my shop (happyzombie.bigcartel.com)

Fabrics above are from my Sew Yummy collection with Cloud9 Fabrics. (in stores now! :)

At work, at play, at anywhere you want someone (or anyone) to know your name. My PDF pattern is available here.

My little ID/Badge Holder pattern was made and spotted in the wild at the Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, PA this last May. Loving all the people who made it and all the yummy fabric combos used. Such a thrill to see all these super-fly, beautiful people wearing the ID/Badge Holders!

ID / Badge Holders in the wild (Quilt Market, Pittsburgh 2014)

ID / Badge Holders in the wild (Quilt Market, Pittsburgh 2014)

ID / Badge Holders in the wild (Quilt Market, Pittsburgh 2014)

ID / Badge Holders in the wild (Quilt Market, Pittsburgh 2014)

Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

itty bitty quilt: cutting measurements + pdf

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I recently found out about a do-something-good quilt making event for the new NICU at Providence Portland Medical Center through my guild (the Portland Modern Quilt Guild), so on the fly I wanted to jump into action and make a quilt. Problem was I didn’t know what to make. So I came up with a simple plan and whipped up an itty bitty quilt. I wanted my quilt to be meaningful and full of effort, but I also wanted it to be quick as well.
itty bitty quilt

Seems like every time there’s a do-something-good quilt making opportunity there’s not a whole lot of time involved, so I thought I’d share my cutting instructions.  Patchwork hundreds of fabric pieces together and you snuggle one baby.  Share a baby-quilt pattern and hundreds of babies get snuggled.   Tiz my hope.  It’s not a rocket-science pattern by any means, but hopefully it’ll be a project that others will want to do as well.  Fast and yet meaningful,  and stitched with love.  I came up with the itty bitty quilt, and I also wanted to make fabric gathering a simple task, too. Two 2½” strips of print fabric + one 5″ strip of background fabric = four 8″ finished blocks.
itty bitty quilt

I decided to make two quilts, one in citrus colors…
itty bitty quilt

… and the other in by-land-and-sea colors. The quilt requirement for the Providence quilt is 36″ square, so I’m adding a simple border on my 32″ square quilt to plump it up to 36″.
itty bitty quilt

What’s also nice about this pattern is that each block can be alternated in direction so no seams need to be met on the blocks when joining them into rows (and then joining all the rows). Perfect for beginner and young quilters. I think it would be fun for youth groups (any groups, for that matter) to make itty bitty quilts for some nice do-something-good project.
itty bitty quilt
itty bitty quilt

From two 2½” strips of print, cut each:
2) 2½”x 8½”
2) 2½” x 4½”
4) 2½” x 2½”

From one 5” strip of white/background:
2) 4½” x 4½”
4) 2½” x 4½”
4) 2½” x 8½”

*for a 32″ square quilt you will need 8) 2½” strips of assorted prints and 4) 5” strips of white (⅝ yard)
itty bitty quilt illustrations

I mocked up some different size quilt tops and the fabric needed:
4 x 4 grid | 32” square
8) 2½” strips of assorted prints
4) 5” strips of white (⅝ yard)

4 x 5 grid | 32” x 40”
10) 2½” strips of assorted prints
5) 5” strips of white (¾ yard)

4 x 6 grid | 32” x 48”
12) 2½” strips of assorted prints
6) 5” strips of white (⅞ yard)

5 x 7 grid | 40” x 56”
18) 2½” strips of assorted prints
9) 5” strips of white (1⅜ yard)
itty bitty quilt illustrations

I have a cutting chart/alternate sizes in PDF format available here. My intention is to provide a free, simple, and meaningful option for anyone who wants to make a do-something-good charity quilt or just make an itty bitty quilt for a teenie weenie person you love.
itty bitty quilt PDF

—-> —-> Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

Super-size me box bag

Friday, August 8th, 2014

I bought a new travel-iron, so first my order of business was to make a cozy, protective bag for it. Pretty much the iron was an opportunity to make something cute and useful. There are 18 gazillion patterns and tutorials for box bags, but the tutorial (by Stacy Schlyer) I found most helpful is from the PBS show “Sew It All“.   The tutorial is short and to the point, and the illustrations are clear and easy to understand (huge thumbs up to the illustrator!). I read by illustration so this tutorial was perfect for me. I used my own measurements and made a jumbo, super-sized me bag. I measured around the box my iron came in and then tinkered with muslin-ish fabric to yeild a just-the-right-size bag.
jumbo box bag

I made my outer bag by serendipitously/making-it-up-as-I-went-along into a small quilt top. I then sandwiched it with batting and a muslin backing and machine quilted it. I trimmed it to 16″ x 20″ (and also cut a matching piece of fabric for the liner).
quilt top for the jumbo box bag

I used a 20″ zipper for the 16″ edge (that I bought at zipit - the best zipper source ever) which gave me lots of room for trimming. Probably overkill, but I always am in need of wiggle room.  Always.  After some sewing (and un-sewing and re-sewing), I finished my bag.  It’s a perfect fit for my travel iron and it’s box.  Of note, I LOVE my Hamilton Beach travel iron.  It was an impulse buy as I was totally glamored by the shiny sole-plate and the low price (under $20 USD). This iron is so good I’ve been using it at home as an everyday iron this week. My Oliso is jealous.
Jumbo Box Bag
Jumbo Box Bag
Jumbo Box Bag

When I finished I thought, dang, this box is as big as a loaf of bread. Sure enough, it’s the exact size of the Costco version of an Oroweat loaf.
jumbo box bag

And of course I had to check. Curiosity may kill the cat, but I’ll be a rock-star if I’m ever invited to a sandwich pot-luck.
Jumbo Box Bag

For everyone who’s asked, here’s the resource info for my bag:
Robert Kaufman Essex yarn dyed in black

Moda Bella Solids
Robert Kaufman Kona Solids

Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Tsuru from Cloud9 Fabrics
Anna Maria Horner’s Postage Due (Kaleidoscope) from her Dowry collection.

Fabrics purchased at:
Modern Domestic, Portland
Fabric Depot, Portland


Hamilton Beach

Sew It All ep 704

My bag’s measurements:
(edited in - I made my corner cut-outs at 2″ x 2¼” (or 2″ x 2″ at bottom seam/side fold)
jumbo box bag

—-> —-> Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

iPhone holder/necklace

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

I made an iPhone/iPod holder “necklace” to wear so I can listen to podcasts and music while I sew/FMQ, vacuum, cook (read take-out menus), etc. I often, ok, always, put my phone in my bra. I’m trying to break that habit, at least while I’m sewing. I made an iPhone “necklace” holder complete with pockets for iPhone accessories and for credit cards, cash, keys and punch cards for on the go.
iPhone Necklace

My pattern can be found in the Summer 2014 issue of Better Home’s and Gardens Quilts & More.

NOTE: My pattern was reworked in the magazine article for the iPhone/iPad holder to be more like a “clutch” bag, but my original instructions as a “necklace” were written into a “Ask The Designer” blurb at the end of the article (just look for my mug).
iPhone Necklace

I made one iPhone holder in Violet Craft’s gorgeous Waterfront Park and one in Mo Bedell’s beautiful Full Moon Lagoon.  I made these projects a very long time ago, so Google is another option for searching for these beautiful OOP collections.
iPhone Necklace

The back is loaded with pockets.
iPhone Necklace

Big center pocket for the phone or iPod.
iPhone Necklace

Lots of awesome projects (and their designers!) in this issue of Quilts & More!

—-> —-> Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

ID / Badge Holders!

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A ways back I made a little iPhone bag slash ID & badge holder for the 2011 Summer issue of Quilts & More. I’ve since revised my pattern and it’s now available in my shop.  A superfly little badge holder & wallet PDF sewing pattern for fashionable neckwear.

The BADGE HOLDER is for everyone and great for retreats, guild meetings, kids’ field trips, trade shows, work ID’s and people who like having their chest looked at. The front of the badge holder has a clear vinyl window pocket, and the back has a fabric pocket. Business in the front, party in the back. Vinyl ID window is sourced from a clear vinyl show curtain (available for under $4 USD at stores like IKEA, Target and Fred Meyer).
Badge Holder PDF sewing pattern

Big, roomy center for all kinds of little goodies like business cards, hotel key cards, transit passes, credit cards, candy, gum, keys, lipstick, stickers, coffee punch-cards, love notes, coupons, ear buds, tissues, mints, iPhone/cell charger cable, mad money, happy money, drivers license, blood donor card, “I voted” sticker, ICE - in case of emergency card, hair barrettes, rogue gummi bears, work ID card, movie tickets, etc.
Badge Holder PDF sewing pattern

Super yummy in all kinds of fabrics, especially fabrics from Cloud9 Fabrics.
Badge Holder PDF sewing pattern

My BADGE HOLDER PDF patten now available in my shop!
ID /Badge Holder PDF sewing pattern

—-> —-> Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment.

Olympic love + Norwegian curling pants revisited

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

My family and I are huge fans of the Olympics.  HUGE fans.  Especially the Winter Olympics.   The Olympics transcend sports and competition, but through sports the world comes together.  In peace.  In awesomeness.  Global conflicts are set aside (for the most part), and people represent countries - not the politicians, or monarchies, or leaders, or dictators, or rebels, or evil doers… but people like you and me — our kids, our siblings, our parents, and our friends.  Global happy.  I get really irritated with the Internets dogging the Olympics (I’m talking to you AV Club), and I feel bad when the magnitude of the Olympics is just. not. got. Go, happy, go!

When the last Winter O’s were in Vancouver, BC, we drove up there just to be there. No events. Just to be there. My blog post about our trip Vancouver is here.   I heart Canada people. Go, Canada, Go!
Vancouver 2010

One of my favorite things about the Vancouver Olympics was the Norwegian Curling team’s uniforms. Pretty much my MOST FAVORITE THING EVER, Olympics or not. And the Norwegians are at it again (and some other teams, too). My head exploded and little bubbles of joy floated out of my skull’s cracks when I eyed this on google images today:

I got all nostalgic thinking about Vancouver, and I how I want to celebrate with fabric, needle and thread again. So for now, I’m revisiting my Norwegian Curling Pants Market Bag project. I heart curling people. Go, curling, go!
Norwegian Curling Pants Market Bag

In other Olympic awesomeness, this story made my heart swell - and I bet even the anti-olympicite Internets would experience some heart swelling from this, too.

– My trip to Vancouver, BC
– Make my Norwegian Curling Pants Market Bag

Farting around with needle & thread and then blogging about it.

Monica Solorio-Snow
Happy Zombie

Pacific Wonderland
Astoria, Oregon

This blog's content, photos and original graphics/artwork are copyrighted. Please do not use, copy, reproduce or distribute. All projects are strictly for personal/non-commercial use only. © 2006-2016

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Visit my shop for the
CHICKEN & STARS PDF quilt pattern!
CHICKEN & STARS - PDF quilt pattern

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PATIO PDF quilt pattern!
Patio - PDF quilt pattern

Visit my shop for the STRAWBERRY
DELIGHT needlebook template PDF!
STRAWBERRY DELIGHT - needlebook template PDF

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PDF sewing pattern!
Poochie Bag - PDF sewing pattern

Visit my shop for the
SPRINKLE PDF quilt pattern!
SPRINKLE - PDF sewing pattern

Visit my shop for the
BADGE HOLDER PDF sewing pattern!
Badge Holder - PDF sewing pattern

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