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April 2012

Crossing the river!

One of the things that always amazes me is when I hear people ... on both sides of it ... say "I don't cross the river". And I always think ... oh honey, you have no idea what you're missing! Like being able to visit Sewtropolis! If you're afraid to cross over from the St Paul side to the Minneapolis side you really need to check your fears at the car door and head on over.

Sewtropolis relocated a few weeks ago to their new space at 48th and Chicago. It's in a darling neighborhood with some gift shops, coffee spots, and tasty restaurants. If you're familiar with the area, its across the street from Turtle Bread and near to Pepitos. You can take fencing classes nearby too if you're looking for a new way to slice up your fabric!

Nikol's skills shine in one major way ... she's great at teaching! When I was there she had a group of kids learning to sew and I have to say ... I've never seen anyone that calm around such energetic sewers! If you want to learn to make garments, this is where I'd go. As she expands into quilting classes, I can see her going far!

Sewtropolis has a bend toward the modern look but I found plenty of fabrics that I liked! I'm more of a middle of the road person ... not modern not traditional. Once a month, Nikol hosts the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild in her party room. Don't let the word 'modern' scare you off ... its all just quilting but with a new approach. We all can relate! And there's plenty of eye-candy to go around. The atomosphere at Sewtroplis is very friendly and welcoming which is what I love the best!




Not all of the fabrics are on a bolt and the kits aren't always folded into bags. Clever displays here! The location came with these pretty yellow awnings that bring a mellow, happy look to the inside of the store. I can imagine sitting in the class area on a cold Winter day and still feel like I'm in a warm oasis!



They make bias binding. If that's not enough to get you in the car ... well then I just don't know what will! For those of you on the Minneapolis side of the river ... well you won't have any trouble finding Sewtropolis ... you're already on the right bank. Coming from St Paul ... take my way ... mostly because you get to see some interesting neighborhoods on the way. Cross the Marshall Street/Lake Street Bridge and turn left on Chicago ... then just drive until you get to 48th and look for a parking space. It's that easy. Worth the trip!




Who doesn't love a place to escape! At the Bachman's Idea House they have a knack for putting together rooms where you dream of heading to at the end of a busy day.

I loved the boys room. Why didn't I think of this when I had those little boys hanging around my house? Probably cuz it would have led to more mischief on their part!

How many coconuts did they have to eat to get enough for a string of lights?


Astro turf on the floor! I overheard two women commenting on how this room would be a nightmare to dust. Who dusts anymore??



Transition in the hallway ... on to the girls room ... but I love this laundry chute!

I'd love to have a sweet room for a couple of little girls to hang out in! (hint hint!!)


The thing I find amuzing is that I used to do this kind of thing in the room I grew up in. It was great being the youngest ... my Mom let me do just about anything I wanted in there! I still love floaty things on ribbon.


I just recently completed a project using hoops so I'm finely tuned to them right now. I was excited to see them being used as a bulletin board ... or maybe an inspiration board? Hoops were my first dip into applique a million years ago ... it's amuzing to me that they're back in style!



My other favorite room in the Bachman's House is the craft room. I love these little purses but hesitate to buy them because really ... how many can one person use? But now I have a reason ... we all need to be more organized, right? Love that blue burlap, too.





I love the Bachman's House and can't wait to see what they do next season!





Everything's coming up roses!

Imagine my delight when I discovered the living room at the Bachman's Spring Idea House had roses roses everywhere!

Don't you love that mirror table??



This sweet desk with the roses stationery had vintage postcards on it. They were scattered around the top and then had glass on top. I have such a random collection of postcards ... some don't have a lot of value but are pretty to look at. On others the messages written on the back are so cool!  This would be a wonderful way to show them off. Now ... I wonder which table I should cover!


Shadow boxes are the trendy rage right now ... no exception here! These were simply boxes that had a frame and pretty molding for embellishment. You can buy the plaster flowers at the craft store and paint them. Pot up a couple of plants and your shadow box is ready to hang!

It seems like anytime you slap a mirror on something it turns it into a stunning home dec piece! With ceiling tiles as a back drop these mirrors helped bounce light all around the room. I love how the  metallics and white works together with that little splash of color from the roses.




The half bath off the kitchen was covered in vintage mirrors ... you know the ones ... they sit like orphans on a shelf cuz no one wants to buy them ... the silver is off the back. But hung together in a group they turn into a piece of art!


I'd feel kind of squeamish drilling screw holes in treenware bowls but the effect is kind of interesting on this wall. What's even more interesting are the stripes on the wall. Tree wrap ... the kind you use on your trees to protect them in the Winter. Genius idea!

Another trip to the garden shed and they came back with an armful of peat pots and some leftover lights.  Use a hand punch ... maybe with little stars instead of holes ... and punch around the edge to let more of the light shine through. Imagine these painted in some pretty colors for a patio party!

My mom used to start seedlings in egg shells like this. Aren't the little tags cute? The porch was turned into a pretty little place to dream about the garden. It had great East and South light to encourage the seeds to pop out of the ground.




I want this potting bench ... I can see some other uses for it!



As usual ... the kitchen was cute! Behind the shelves most of the walls were covered with old newspaper. Very vintagey! I like all of the old touches ... like the sink.



The Bachman's House is open through April 15. If you go ... check out the pretty paint in the living room and dining room. They're the same color but they look totally different in each room. There are so many fabulous ideas at Bachman's ... it's amazing that they keep coming up with new ideas season after season!


Stick a fork in it!

Last week on our April Tool's Day post I mentioned Fork Pins. Well actually ... I mentioned them on the Moda Lissa blog.  Anyway ... since then I've had lots of quilters ask me what they were. Well ... they are a quilter's secret weapon when it comes to getting perfectly matched seams!

Clover is a genius at making great tools ... they are clever ... well made ... and they always have some kind of reusable storage. You can't beat their seam ripper ... or the Fork Pins!

To help understand them I took a page from the book ... the demo book we keep at the counter in case quilters have questions. Need to know how to make half-square triangles ... or use Fork Pins? Stop in and ask to see 'the book'!

I think pinning is important to getting nice, sharp points on quilting projects. But sometimes straight pins don't always do the job ... they may shift a bit or don't stay put as the fabric is moving along. Fork Pins really keep the seam stable with the bonus of keeping the seam edge underneath from flipping back.

After you nest your seams, poke each leg of the Fork Pin on either side of the seamline, 1/4" down from the raw edge. Make sure you go through all the layers ... including the seam edge. The pins are flexible ... a little bit bendy. That allows you to spread them apart to get them in the exact spot you need them. They are terrific for those diagonal seams that are a little hard to keep in place.

So then the other day I was struggling with stitching this curved project I'm working on ... its the new bottle shape die from Sizzix that we got in recently. I wanted to keep the straight edges even while I sewed the curve. Fork Pins to the rescue! They solved the problem ... especially on the longest edge. I'm going to use them on the Drunkard's Path shapes, too. I know they'll work to keep everything in place. Oh! And you know how I love making those darling Dresden Plates? They are perfect for putting the plates together!

I use them when I'm working with large pieces of wool applique, too. For handwork like this my thread doesn't get tangled on the pin head ... well probably because there isn't one! The pins are shaped like a big U so really there's no where for them to catch.

I wish I could brag and say that I knew about these since they came out ... but I can't. Chris who retired from the Cottage last year was the one who turned me on to them and showed me how to use them. I can't even think how long ago that was!! They've become such a piece of my quilting life that I can't remember a time we didn't use them. I can't even think about making a quilt without them now!


April Showers with Aurifil!

Aurifil April
Didn't your breath catch as you saw Gail Pan's sweet stitching? It's so pretty! Gail is April's Aurifil Designer of the Month. Download your pattern at The Aurifil Buzz. I have mine traced and am ready to stitch on the patio this weekend.

I've known about Gail for a number of years ... she's been designing for her business ... Gail Pan Designs  ... for quite awile. She's one of that cool group of Australian designers I love to follow. Stitching and applique ... one of my favorites ... is her specialty.

I enjoy seeing what Gail is up to on her blog is because like me, she's the mom of three boys. We're in a special club when we're the only girl in the house!

Gail and her friend, Helen Stubbings, just returned from a three week teaching adventure in Europe. I've been following along with her on her Facebook page. Those girls had quite the time!

I know you'll fall in love with Gail's projects ... if you see something you need let me know and I'll order it at Quilt Market next month. We're staying in the same hotel so I know I'll be bumping in to her there as well as on the show floor. Can't wait!

So get out your fabric ... your Frixxion pen ... your April Aurifil thread kit ... and get to stitching! Take it in the car if you're traveling for Easter. Hasn't this designer program been a great way to track 2012? We're going to have a wonderful keepsake when the year is done!

Happy stitching!


Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration 5
Some people may start an idea with an assortment of colored pencils.

Inspiration 6
Or maybe its stuff you've nailed up on an inspiration board.

Inspiration 8
Perhaps your best ideas comes from flipping through quilt and craft books.

Inspiration 1
Here at Rosebud's Cottage  ... it seems inspiration is merely on the other side of the door.

Inspiration 2
And then the ideas just start to flow and we're on a roll!

Inspiration 3
You can imagine the excitement around the table at our Tuesday Creative Workshop when one member headed to the potty and came back  totally inspired! A new brand of TP had been installed! She thought we had chosen it specifically for the rosebuds on it but this one was brought in by some other tenant in the building. I'm more of a Quilted Northern kind of gal. On closer examination, though, we all began to see the potential in these three squares. One person saw die cut flowers ... another quilting designs for her longarm. Me? I'm thinking water color paint and some Mod Podge!

So next time you're tempted to Twitter tinkle ... stop yourself! You may be missing a truly inspirational moment!!

Inspiration 4

Moda Lissa has declared today April Tools Day!

OLFA tools
When it comes right down to it ... quilters are not fools for tools! They are very discerning ... I see it every day at the Cottage as customers search for the right product to do the job. And it seems there are new tools born every day! It's really hard to keep up with what's available so I was delighted when Lissa Alexander ... she's the  Director of Marketing at Moda ... asked me to take part in her April Fools Day project on her Moda Lissa blog. Wait until you see the line up of what other quilters find to be their favorite!

Most of you know that OLFA products are my go-to for rotary cutting! I've been using their mat and rotary cutter since 1985 when I picked up my first one working at Reed's Fabrics. I can't tell you how many mats I've purchased over the years ... and really ... the amount of cutters I have is kind of crazy! But once they came out with the Quick Change cutter ... that has been my favorite. I love love love their rulers and use them exclusively. And now they have two sizes of scissors that cut as smoothly as their rotary cutters. I'm a big fan of buying the best equipment I can afford and I'm so glad I chose OLFA from the get-go. You get what you pay for, ya know?

My other favorite tool is my Sizzix die cutter. I use it for so many things ... mostly for cutting wool. But now they're coming out with some great quilting dies that I can use on my little machine and I'm loving it! I brought in a lot of the hexagons and circle die cuts for use ... or purchase ... in the Cottage. And I have these new curved die cuts that I'm goofing around with. So much fun! I like the Sizzix products because they're heavy duty but affordable ... and portable.

There are so many choices in quilting! Go over and read Lissa's blog ... then pop over to my Facebook page and tell me which ones you use ... which are your favorites ... which tools none of us have ever heard about that are your must haves!

Happy April Tools Day!!

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