A Quick and Easy Summer Project- and then some..

by Heidi Emmett

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Grab a glass of iced tea and let’s take some time to be creative. Let’s make some fiber jewelry. Pull out your copy of my new book, Fashion Quilted Accessories. What? You don’t have it yet? I sell them at my Etsy store/DesignsbyHeidi, Sugar Pine Quilt Shop in Grass Valley, CA sells them, and yes, find it on Amazon. Only $12.99 for some nifty projects. Two pull out patterns included. A great gift idea. On page 2, the first project is the Easy and Fun, Circles Earrings and Necklace. 

Here’s a quick synopsis. Sew two of your favorite, small scaled, fabrics together. Mindless sewing, rows and rows of stiching, straight, gentle waves, Whrrrrrrr…..  Here is the reverse side and one circle cut out.  Before cutting out the circles some spiral stitching is done. This is time consuming. I only do it on the earrings. Adds some interest and weight to the earrings. 

Whoa, are you dizzy yet?  They are so addictive to make, these cute circles. Use little black eyelets to give a nice finished look. Attach them to cording and voila!   I mailed all my projects off in the early fall of 2016. I had to take a picture of them, as I thought I would never see them again. As you can see, these work all year!  Here are 4 more pieces I stitched, ready to be cut out.  I try to have some pieces ready to go at all times and ready to stitch( with that mindless stitching (great time for thinking up NEW projects!). 

Finished and ready to wear! There is still room in my workshop, Mary’s, and Sandra’s. Do something fun for yourself this year, and sign up to come to Zephyr Point! You wont regret it. Make new friends, enjoy a great view, and learn new things. And you don’t have to cook!

Speaking of “Thinking up More Projects,” I came up with a fun ring idea. You will need one of those pull tabs from 1/2 & 1/2, orange juice, and the like(next picture). Cut out a circle of stitched fabric about 2 1/2″ or larger. Picture #2, wrong side showing, shows the spiral shape I cut out. Form it into a flower shape (picture #3) and glue that shape in place and then fabric glue the flower to the top of the pull tab thingy. I wear mine as a pinky ring. If you cut that ring open at the bottom, it will open up more to fit any finger. Thanks for stopping by and get creative this weekend! Hugs, Heidi

Summer Play

by Christine Barnes

Gardeners pore over seed catalogs, and fashionistas wait eagerly for the Fall fashion issue of Vogue. Me? I pull out my big book of 501 block patterns because, as you may have noticed, I adore traditional blocks made in today’s fabrics. I also look for opportunities to simplify a block to make it more modern. That’s my idea of a relaxing afternoon—looking at block designs and playing with fabric.

When my good buddy Heidi (I believe you know her) gave me a half-yard of this fabulous Anna Maria Horner print called “Fibs and Fables,” I thought it would be fun to do a three-block series, with each block having a different-size center square. 

I chose “The Crayon Box” for my first mock-block.

My supporting fabrics—a red-violet Marcia Derse, a yellow-green Grunge, and a slate-blue/gray by Parson Gray. I tossed in a low-volume background fabric, “Rush Hour” by studio e fabrics. (it’s a bit difficult to see, but it’s under the yellow-green square.) I challenged myself to use the same supporting fabrics in each block.


With a center that’s only 3 x 3 inches (the block finishes to 9 x 9), you don’t see much of the AMH fabric. The supporting fabrics seemed to overwhelm the print and confine it.

I started to deconstruct the mock-block (one of the benefits of gluing over sewing!) and really liked the simplicity—an example of “less is more,” I thought. How about using fewer pieces of the magenta and yellow-green, with a low-volume background fabric to open up the design? The simplified version is airier, with the possibility of rotating blocks to create an original quilt plan. 

Returning to my original idea of varying the proportions of the fabrics, I brought out one of my favorite blocks, “Cypress.” This block is also 9 x 9, but the center is 4½ inches, or half the width of the block and 50 percent larger than the center of The Crayon Box. I love seeing more of the AMH print. You also see more of the magenta print, but less of the yellow-green and slate-blue/gray. The Rush Hour background keeps everything light and airy.

Next up, the block “Counterpane.” This version is 10 x 10 inches, with a 6-inch center that reveals even more of the print. Blocks like Counterpane are perfect for showcasing gorgeous, splashy prints, while the small triangles make effective accents.


So now you know what I do on hot summer afternoons—I “play with my blocks.” And, no surprise, some of them actually turn into quilts, like the two new projects for my Zephyr workshop.

Hoping you are staying cool. And for those of you coming to my Zephyr workshop, I hope you’re having fun poring over your stash and deciding which fabrics you want to play with!

p.s. To my students, I’ll be in touch!

On the Go

by Sandra Bruce

Above is the Row by Row for Sugar Pine Quilt Shop which I stitched and quilted for the shop.  This morning I am truly “on the go”!  I am leaving literally in minutes to go to Templeton, CA and King City to teach both a Matrix workshop and also my Color Dance quilt.

What makes this trip different is that my son Matteo is joining me, so there should be some fun photos and stories when I get back. He is fairly “free” lately, having recently had surgery on his knee (ACL and meniscus). He’s visiting a friend in Templeton while I’m there. “Mom”, he said to me, “I’ve never seen exactly what it is you do, I’d like to attend your lecture”. So! That’s what we’ll do. Since he’s tall I’ll volunteer him to hold up my quilts :-).

So, stay tuned, and in the meantime, here’s a shout out to anyone who has contemplated coming to Zephyr, as the time will be here before we know it and 3 of us have limited spaces left in our workshops. I am so excited to be doing polymer this year, and we will be  trying lots of techniques and having a blast! Here’s Carolyn from a past workshop, with her beautiful buttons, after just one class!

Gotta run, have a great weekend!

Claim to Fame Part Deux

by Mary Boalt

The time has come for another major house purging. It gets to feeling claustrophobic when the closets begin to regurgitate their contents. Or the drawers won’t close. Although we can still park our cars in the garage, staging for this garage sale may change all of that as the boxes of discard items placed in the narrow strip between the two cars continues to grow. Soon the only way to exit the cars will be through the sunroofs.

I sew….a lot! What does one do with all these clothes? The Kon Mari method of clearing out clutter asks you if the item “sparks joy”? Most of my stuff sparks emotions but joy is not one of them. When I clean out my closets I ask questions like, ” Really? What was I thinking? Will I ever wear this again, if I ever wore it at all?”  All of this brings me to “The Vest”.

“The Vest” was a joint effort with my sister. It was at her insistence, uh, encouragement, that we entered this into the newly launched Belle Armoire magazine in 2001. They were requesting submissions and she though it would be fun. I admit it was. We had just started to get interested in fabric painting. The results were not what we planned or expected but we entered it anyway. Patty did the painting and I did the sewing. It’s made from black silk matka with black cotton lining. The lining is also painted using stamps.

Some close up views of the paint, stitching and beading.

Asian coins and loops were used for closures on the sides.

So, this is my second claim to fame. Last month I blogged about my self portrait published in Quilting Arts Magazine. Thanks, Patty, for pushing me to do this with you. It was fun. But  that was fifteen years ago and it remains in my closet. I think “The Vest” would enjoy some time in your closet!

I’m happy to show pictures of some finished painted canvas bags. These women took my class at last year’s Zephyr Retreat. Their bags show how these canvasses take on a new life when they are cut up and sewn back together. They look totally different and so cute. Thank you, Lynda and Kari for sharing these. I love them. Here are the befores and afters.

I still have one more opening in my class this September. A great group of women have signed up and I know you would enjoy yourself. In the meantime, I hope you are all having a wonderful summer traveling, vacationing, relaxing, creating and enjoying family and friends. Or having a giant garage sale as I am.

Running Hot and Cold!

by Heidi Emmett

“Kaffe Fassett Extravaganza!” That is the name of our Trunk Show. Christine Barnes and I have long had an interest in all things Kaffe, from fabric to his knitwear, to his needlepoint, mosaics, and of course, quilts. So we were off to Merced for Trunk Show # 1, this past Monday. Below is the coolest Mosaic in the hottest part of the day, 108 degrees! I saw this as part of a wall to sit on. That streak of white is the blazing sun.  The A.C. was on and the quilt guild in Merced was a hot group! They were such a creative, lively, and nice group.
And look what Lora Wheeler made, her own Mommy & Me vest! I love it. She bought the pattern at our Artistic Alchemy Booth at the Pine Tree Quilt Show back in May in Grass Valley, CA. It is always so fun to see what you all create with one of my patterns. She used a fabulous puckery type of rayon. I thought it was silk.

I just love what you did Lora. You were thinking outside the box! I sure wish I could come back and take your “upcycling” workshop-taking four shirts to create one.

On to San Francisco! It was 63 degrees when we arrived! Ahhhhhhh, so refreshing. As soon as we got to our hotel, I took a walk across the street to Sutro Park. It has tons of Nasturtiums, they are such a happy plant. Great colors.

I came close to the edge of a trail and stopped in my tracks! Yes, this was my view. It is just astonishing! That large green patch is the beginning of Golden Gate Park! Did you know that it is 3 1/2 miles long and 1/2 mile wide? Wow. And check out that HUGE beach area.  A lovely rose. Sutro park is 128 acres of loveliness. Adolph Sutro purchased that acreage in 1881 and built a Mansion, Conservatory, and a Parapette. When he passed, the whole place went to ruin. All the buildings were torn down but all the foliage stayed. It is now a city park within San Francisco.   

These homes border the park on one side.These home owners can walk down the hill to the Cliff House restaurant.  Don’t they look like places on the Cote d’Azure in France?  Succulents in front of the hotel, Seal Rock Inn. Cool and crisp looking.  There it is, Seal Rock Inn from Sutro park. 

The ladies of the S.F. Quilt Guild were also a delight. We had a great time telling them  some things they didn’t know about Kaffe Fassett. He grew up at Nepenthe which is near Big Sur, just down Highway One, south of San Francisco. Thank you Cathy and Laura, you were great hostesses.

No, NO! Christine and I didn’t want to leave. A 63 degree high, I had to dig through my Kaffe samples and find my Kaffe Alpaca sweater to wear. Who knew?  

Thanks for stopping by. At our Artistic Alchemy Retreat in September, my workshop, “Pick a Pattern”(Designs by Heidi patterns) is still taking students. Maybe you will want to design and create your own Mommy & Me Vest. I would love to have you in my workshop. I will help you fit whichever pattern you choose. Let’s all get our creative going. Hugs, Heidi


A Detour, Short and Sweet

by Christine Barnes

I’m home from my teaching travels, and after so many weeks on the road, my own bed never felt so good. (Naples was wonderful—thank you Judy and Linda! I’ll write about it in my next post.) I’ve been working away on the project quilts for the retreat. One of them is based a block that is so versatile that I just had to try it with transparency.

The block is known as “Antique Modern,” which seems a bit of an oxymoron. And here’s my quilt top, which I’ve named “Aerial,” after the name of the sashing fabric. If you don’t follow my newsletter, you can click here to see the April issue and read the story behind choosing the fabrics.Every time I looked at the block, I thought, “I wonder if . . . .” So yesterday I took a quick detour from my “Crazy Anne” quilt for the retreat to play with the design.

I fell in love with this mini harlequin print when I was at Rosie’s in San Diego in April. The three pink solids you see are from the width of one ombré, which I folded to show the color and value range. I know, I’m a broken record, but ombrés have SO much potential.The result isn’t quite as transparent as I had hoped. Some ombrés aren’t that successful because they tend to be too opaque. Never mind—the center fabric carries the day for me, and the black-and-white “stripe” makes it even more modern.Then I asked myself, “What would happen if I eliminate the center square?” Instead of rectangles surrounding a center square, you see a large, open area with a whole new set of possibilities.For this version I needed three fabrics—a light parent, a dark parent, and a child. The lightest fabric is actually the lighter area of a yellow-green/olive ombré. The dark green is the wrong side of a Grunge. (Hey, all’s fair in love and quilting.) The “child,” a Loni Rossi print, looks like a combination of the two parents, as if the light and dark colors were combined but not completely blended.I layered and glued the cut pieces to “fool the eye.” The real thing, when sewn, is much more convincing because it’s flatter. (This pic was taken in the evening, so the color is off.)

The finished mock-block.

That was fun, like reading a few chapters in a novel when you should be studying for finals. Next week it’s back to my retreat projects and full speed ahead on Zephyr. As always, thanks for looking and reading. I hope your summer is off to a great start—and that it includes a little color play with fabric you love!












Wilma Flintstone Meets Polka-Dots

by Sandra Bruce


I am a sucker for polka-dots. When I saw this tunic on the website http://www.gudrunsjoden.com I knew I must have it. I also knew I had to make a polymer necklace to go with it!

First, I went to my “stash” of polymer canes….I decided what would be best was a big, chunky Wilma Flintstone kind of necklace. No canework, just color.

This required doing one of my favorite things in polymer, mixing polymer colors to match something, in this case the tunic. It had great colors that were fun to mix.

I was happy with my big beads, and I made a few smaller ones to go in-between. I used SoftFlex as the base wire and composed the necklace to see how it all looked together.

Here’s the finished necklace. I used a magnetic clasp and blue spacer beads to fill up the length.

And see how cute it is with the tunic! Wouldn’t Wilma approve!

This is one of the things we’ll be doing at the Zephyr workshop in September. Ladies can bring garments to match colors in polymer to make jewelry or buttons! The deadline is coming up and I have 2 spaces left, if anyone is wondering 🙂

Lastly, here’s a couple other necklaces in the works, also to match garments I already have. More on those later!