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Beyond Neutral

September 24th, 2014

First things first… QuiltDad is my homeboy.  Oh man, I love this guy.  I’m telling everyone he wrote Beyond Neutral: Quilts Inspired by Nature’s Elements just for me.  I love making quilts that focus on fabric and that look complicated but are simple in construction.  In other words, quilts I can make that don’t require a lot of my concentration or, um, reading.  Not that John doesn’t write with lovely words, but I’m a read-by-illustration person. Words are hard. Pictures are easy. So thanks John for writing this book for me, and pretty cool of you to have plenty of copies for others, too.  And it gets better - John’s publisher is giving away an e-book copy to one of my readers (more info at the bottom of this post).

Beyond Neutral

I’m so smitten with the cover quilt - Pacific Crest. Crazy smitten. I even love all the fabrics and colors John chose. John writes in his book that Pacific Crest is, “… an asymmetrical repeat to mimic the movement of a flock of birds…”.  It totally looks like a flock of birds, but when I saw it I immediately saw sunlit sparkles on water atop darting fish, most specifically Pacific Ocean water which is just a few miles from my front door.   And then my mind immeadiatly went to fish tacos.

Beyond Neutral

What I especially love about the quilts in John’s book is that the patterns are what I think are easily adaptable to modify and personalize, which is something I like to do 99.5% of the time when I make someone’s pattern.  I set out to make a giant placemat/mugrug (<— just for you, homeboy) for my living room coffee table.  With John’s cutting instructions and a stack of yummy fabrics consisting of Anna Maria’s Dowry and Pretty Potent, Robert Kaufman Essex olive and Kona solids, and Moda Bella solids - I went at it.

Beyond Neutral

I got a little giddy when one of my smaller blocks (with the Echinacea print) ended up having some seam-magic with it’s bad self.

Beyond Neutral

I had an s-ton of fun making all these little blocks. So pretty and so fun to make. And the olive Essex goes so beautifully with Anna Maria’s prints.   I may be just a tad addicted to Anna Maria’s Dowry and Pretty Potent collections. I’ve bought it 4 times now, and no doubt will be buying more.   I did the same thing with Totem from her LouLouThi collection.   When I fall in love I fall hard.

Beyond Neutral

Tah-dah… my Fish Tacos table mat!  Next I need to quilt it - so I can bind it.   I think 80% of the quilts I make are for the sole purpose of having something to hand bind.  Up top, fellow hand binding lovers.

Beyond Neutral

Beyond Neutral

Beyond Neutral

I’m not sure yet how I’m going to quilt it.  Not that I don’t not have an idea of how - but this pattern screams so many possibilities.  Which is another thing I love about John’s quilts is that they are easy for me to come up with quilting ideas.   Often I find myself not knowing or seeing how I’m going to quilt something, so I could not be more tickled to have quilting possibilites dancing in my head. Thanks, John!

Beyond Neutral

RESOURCES
Linen:
Robert Kaufman Essex yarn dyed in olive

Solids:
Moda Bella Solids
Robert Kaufman Kona Solids

Prints:
Anna Maria Horner’s Dowry and Pretty Potent collections.

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

Fish Tacos eaten at:
Astoria Coffeehouse Bistro & Bar, Astoria
Fort George Brewery + Public House, Astoria

John’s publisher is giving away an e-book copy of Beyond Neutrals.  To enter, leave a “QuiltDad is my homeboy” or something like “I’d love to win a copy” comment on my Instagram post here.  I’ll draw a winner Friday, Sep. 26, 10am PST.  You really need this book so give it a go.  Be sure to check the Beyond Neutral Book Tour for more blog posts and more chances to win a copy!

Click here to my Instagram for comments/to comment or to enter giveaway.

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#travelhandmade - it’s the only way to travel

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.

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itty bitty quilt: cutting measurements + pdf

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

CUTTING FOR EVERY 4 BLOCKS:
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.

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Super-size me box bag

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 the 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:
Linen:
Robert Kaufman Essex yarn dyed in black

Solids:
Moda Bella Solids
Robert Kaufman Kona Solids

Prints:
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

Zipper:
zipit

Iron:
Hamilton Beach

Tutorial:
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.


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It’s Sew Yummy Day at Fabric Depot!

July 9th, 2014

It’s Sew Yummy Day at Fabric Depot in Portland this coming Monday!! (I wonder if I’ll get a key to Fabric Depot?)

Come hang out from noon to 2:00 on 18 July 2014, at Fabric Depot in Portland for a little meet-n-greet with Michelle Engel Bencsko (Cloud9 Fabric’s Creative Director) and me! We’ll be chatting, talking about fabric, and sewing, and showing my new Sew Yummy collection and saying hello. Won’t you come?  I’ll have a few Sew Yummy goodies, too!  Read all about our visit on the Fabric Depot blog post.

Sew Yummy

Oh, and did I mention that Sew Yummy will be available for purchase the first time ever in the history of the world at Fabric Depot on Monday?!!  Yup, Sew Yummy is getting it’s cherry popped at Fabric Depot!  Hope to see you there!

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

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Needle a little joy

June 22nd, 2014

The last time I was at Modern Domestic I picked up some Clover embroidery needles to try out. I’ve been using Peacemaker embroidery needles for over a decade now, but I’ve gotten so tried of their lack of availability. So I gave the Clover Gold Eye needles a try on the binding of my #fancyfoxquilt block potholders. Oh boy, am I glad I did!

The Clover needles poke through the fabric like soft butter. So dreamy. I’m using the No. 9 for binding and it’s perfect! Functions like a straw or milliners needle, but has the muscle of an embroidery needle. Who knew a tiny little needle could bring so my joy!

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

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Painting rig

June 6th, 2014

Painting rig

My clever son MacGyver’d a "painting rig" and it’s mad awesome. My crusty old white bike basket is now Sea Glass green (from Krylon). Everyone needs to make a painting rig.

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Mexican Loteria

May 29th, 2014

I’m so digging my new Mexican Loteria stitchery from Sublime Stitching!
Mexican Loteria

And I’m especially diggin’ the “all you need” drawings of the hoop, needles, scissors, floss and “something to stitch”. I think I’ll embroider those, too! Love, love, love!
Mexican Loteria

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

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iPhone holder/necklace

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.

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May The 4th Be With You

May 4th, 2014

May The 4th Be With You, originally uploaded by Happy Zombie.

Auditions for colors happening right now.  Madly adorable pattern by Mollie Johanson at wildolive.blogspot.com

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

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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. © 2006-2014

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