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New Cafe Tiles Quilt Release

I am SO excited to share my newest pattern, Cafe Tiles, with the world.

Two Decembers ago, I was eating at a cafe with some friends.  We were downtown at a quaint little place, and I couldn’t stop admiring the floor.  Thankfully my friends get me, and they encouraged me to photograph the floor so I could turn it into a quilt pattern.  That’s when you know you have true friends.

It only took me two years to turn that design into a quilt pattern.  Okay, okay, I admit, it took a while.  But the pattern is here now, and that’s what matters.

I reached out to some pattern testers who’s work I adore.  I asked if they would be willing to test this new pattern for me.  I am just blown away with the different looks and designs each tester created with the Cafe Tiles pattern.

Let me introduce my Cafe Tiles pattern testers.  I’m adding their Instagram names so you can go and see their accounts.  They have some really pretty work!

1. Julie Gehman – @thelittlepineneedle

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2. Kaylee Hildreth – @31rubiesquiltstudio

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3. Sharon Challenger – @shashalaruequilts

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4. Laurel Aigner Ray – @porcupinestew_threads

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5. Alex Hoffman – @hoffmamacompany

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6. Morgan Alonso – @thesweetestsnuggles_quilts

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7. Erin Grogan – @lovesewmodern

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8. Valerie – @threebirdsnstitches

3 birds 2   3 birds 13 birds 3    3 birds 4

Aren’t these quilters amazing?  I love ALL the looks!  Scrappy, Solids, Prints – they are amazing!

Last but not least, I am sharing some photos of my original Cafe Tiles Quilt, along with the newest version I am working on.  When it’s done, I plan to update this post with the finished quilt showcased.

For my original version, I used Art Gallery Fabrics solids in grey and oranges.  For the backing I used Amy Sinibaldi’s ‘Pastoral Crescendo’ from her Sonata line.  I loved the bright oranges that complimented the oranges on the front of the quilt.

 

What I am working on now is also using Art Gallery Fabrics solids.  I decided to try a brighter color scheme, and go with ‘Cottontail Explore’ from their Meriwether collection for the backing.

cafe tiles purple

How about you?  What fabrics would you like to use to make your own Cafe Tiles quilt?  The world if your oyster.  I will be watching the hashtag #cafetilesquilt to see what you design.  To grab a copy of the pattern, CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions or comments about the pattern, leave a comment and I will respond as soon as I can.  Happy quilting!

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Want to Write Your Own Quilt Pattern?

Have you wanted to write your own quilt pattern?

Learn to create your own

I am sharing the two most useful tools I use to create and write my quilt patterns, plus I’m sharing a coupon code for one of them!

WHAT I USE TO WRITE QUILT PATTERNS:
1. I first design my quilt using the Electric Quilt 8 program (EQ8).  It is THE BEST program out there for creating quilt patterns.  I’ll show you a little video tutorial of what it can do.

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A Glimpse at creating ‘X Marks The Spot’ pattern

If you are interested in buying the EQ8 program, you can use this coupon code to save 20% off their entire website until March 31st, 2020COUPON CODE: EQ8Elizabeth Website: Electric Quilt Website  Direct Link to EQ8: EQ8 LINK

EQ8-box

SEE VIDEO ABOUT EQ8 HERE

2. After I design my quilt, I use Adobe Illustrator (AI) to write my patterns.  I actually used Microsoft Word to write my first pattern.  It worked, but it wasn’t pretty.  I didn’t even know how unattractive and clunky it was until I really started doing my homework.  I will never turn back from using AI.

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Inside AI working on a first draft of ‘Cafe Tiles’ Quilt Pattern

I have thought about creating an online course for how to write quilt patterns.  I’m thinking it would include step by step  tutorials on using EQ8, AI specifically for writing quilt patterns, and some business tips on marketing, printing patterns, and the like.

Would you be interested in a course like that?  If so, click HERE and I will get in touch and see if there’s enough interest and share some more ideas with y’all.

Do you have other questions about writing quilt patterns?  There’s SO much to share on the topic, but if you have questions, leave a comment and I could even write another blog post answering some more specific questions if there’s an interest.

And if you are a quilter not interested in quilt pattern writing, that’s great, too!  We need both the pattern writers and the pattern users! 😉

If you are interested in writing quilt patterns, I highly recommend looking into the EQ8 program and using that 20% discount while you can.

Happy quilting and quilt pattern writing, if that’s your jam.

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How to Stay Focused as a Creative

If you’re like me, a creative, it can be difficult to stay focused and organized.  Doesn’t creativity mean being scattered?  Okay, I’ve told myself that long enough.  Enough is enough.

There are a lot of planners and people to turn to.  I want to share with you what I am using this year to achieve my goals, and why I picked it.

I decided to use Bonnie Christine’s new Flourish Planner for 2020.  I have watched Bonnie grow her business and achieve her dreams.  When she said she had a planner that comes along with video tutorials on how to organize your year, I was on board.  She has figured some things out, and if she’s willing to share that knowledge, I’m ready to learn and apply.

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Inside the planner there are places to track daily habits, set goals at a glance, and then get more detailed by month and day.

One of the things I like most about this planner is keeping track of my daily habits.  Because I have a box to check if I have done certain things each day, simply knowing I will either check the box or leave it blank helps me do my daily habits.  Weird, right?

I remember learning that Benjamin Franklin did something similar.  He wrote a bunch of habits he wanted to work on, and then put a mark for each day of the week that he practiced it.

Here’s Benjamin Franklin’s habit tracker:

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Not a bad idea, Ben.  Not at all.  In our own, modern way, Bonnie included a place to do something similar.  Each month you can write habits you want to work on, then you put an X for each day you do that habit.  It has been surprisingly helpful!

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Here is a glance at a few other pages from inside the planner:

Another huge help is that this planner comes with a class.  There are a series of videos where Bonnie walks through how to use your planner.  It’s like having a personal mentor helping me get on track.  Here’s a screen shot from one of her videos.

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Besides a planner, I also have a large calendar on my wall that Bonnie designed.  I love having something I can glance at that reminds me of my deadlines and what things I have around the corner.

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When the year wraps up, I’m excited to write another post on how my year played out and how the planner plaid a role with that.

We’ll see if I achieved my goals!

MY BUSINESS GOALS FOR 2020

  1. Add value to membership (studying how to make membership best as possible)
  2. Plan and host a large retreat this year.
  3. Exercise at least 4 days a week (yes, I count this under my business, because it helps me be more productive).
  4. Add at least 1 video tutorial to my YouTube channel per month.
  5. Write at least 3 blog posts per month.
  6. Get my patterns all in paper format.
  7. Reach out to Pattern Distributors and have my patterns carried with them.
  8. Enter at least 2 quilts for QuiltCon in the Fall.

How about you?  I would love to hear what you use or do for goal setting.  Do you have something you’ve found that works?  If so, please share in the comments.  I would love to hear about it!

 

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Best Quilt Binding Tip for Quilters

One of the quickest and most helpful tips I have learned for doing quilt bindings is this: Press your binding.

Let me explain.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve sewn your binding to the front or to the back of your quilt.  Once you’ve sewn your binding completely on either side of your quilt, press the binding out, away from the quilt.  Then pull the binding to the other side of your quilt and press it so it lays flat, just how it will look when it’s sewn down.

This makes sewing your binding a piece of cake.  No more tugging and pulling and fighting the binding as you sew.  In fact, this has been so helpful that I hardly use clips to hold my bindings anymore.

If you’re like me, you’ll want a visual example.  Maybe even a video.  I’ve got you covered.

WATCH VIDEO TUTORIAL HERE 

This is an action shot of me ironing my binding OUT, away from the quilt.  This is step one. Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 9.42.06 AM

After your binding is pressed away from your quilt, you will want to flip the quilt over, and press the binding down.  Do this for the entire binding / quilt.

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That’s it!  Now that your binding is ironed in the direction you want to sew it, it is so much easier to work with!  I hope this helps you with your bindings.  If you want to see how I hand quilted this binding, see my blog tutorial HERE.

  • The quilt shown here is my soon to be released ‘Cafe Tiles Quilt’.  It will be available in my shop by the end of the month.
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Stretches Every Quilter Needs To Practice

Quilters, listen up!  I am here to tell you that sitting and quilting, or cutting your fabric for long periods of time, can reek havoc on your back and shoulders.

Here are a few simple stretches to do every day, or at least while you are sewing and cutting fabric.  I even set a timer for every 20 to 30 minutes, otherwise I lose track of time and pay for it later.

You can watch a YouTube video where I show you these stretches ‘in person’.  You can refer to this blog post if you need a refresher or reminder of some simple stretches.

WATCH VIDEO

NOTE: I am not a certified fitness instructor.  I AM, however, a quilter who benefits from doing these stretches.  I hope these stretches can help others the way they have helped me.

Shoulders

Grab your left wrist with your right hand behind your back.  Then lift your chest and tighten your abdominals so that you feel the stretch in the front of both shoulders.  Hold for 20 – 30 seconds.  Switch arms and repeat with the right wrist.

Triceps

Reach your left arm overhead with the elbow bent. Grab your left elbow with your right hand and gently push your left elbow back until you feel a nice on the back of the upper arm.  Hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.

Upper Arm

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Bring your left arm in front of your chest, hand held straight.   Grab your upper left arm with your right hand, gently pulling your left arm toward your chest.  Feel a light stretch.  Hold for 20 -30 seconds.  Repeat on the opposite arm.

Neck and Back

With your left arm in front of you and out to the left of your body, Cross your right arm over your left, interlock fingers.  Tilt your head to the left until you feel a slight stretch,  Hold for 20 – 30 seconds.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Chest

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Interlock fingers behind your back.  Press your chest forward and arm back until you feel a slight stretch,  Hold for 30 seconds.

LOWER BACK and HAMSTRINGS

The following has helped me with my lower back pain.  Again, this is just my experience.  If you have serious back pain or injury, consult with a medical professional for help.  I have learned, however, that a lot of lower back pain if due to tight hamstrings.  So the next two stretches focus on your hamstrings, which in turn can help with lower back pain.

TOE TOUCH

Keeping your back straight, reach your fingertips to your toes.  Notice that I can only make it to about mid shin.  That’s okay.  Go as far as you can until you feel a slight stretch.  Make it a goal to get lower and lower as you do your stretches regularly.

HAMSTRING STRETCH

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This is a more advanced pose, as far as stability goes.  If holding this pose is too tricky, use a desk or sturdy object to hold on to.

Bend your right leg to rest on your left upper leg. Squat until you feel a slight stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.


I also got a great Christmas gift this year.  It is an AMAZING hand held massager.  It gets the job done!  If you are feeling tight anywhere, just turn this on, swapping out the head of the massager based on what you want it to do, and it really gets the tightness gone.  You can adjust the speed and strength of the massage, and its easy to use on yourself or have someone help you.  Here is a link to the one I have:

GET MASSAGER

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There it is!  Be sure to visit the video tutorial HERE if you want real life demonstrations on these stretches.  Leave a comment with your favorite stretches and what has helped you avoid quilting aches and pains.