Lately in january

One of my favorite quilt buyers is a photographer (her website is here).  She takes the most amazing photos, but I particularly like it when she takes photos of the quilts she has bought from me.  Like the one above.

You might remember the quilt.  It was my first hexagon quilt.  I made it last year.  Still in love.

Quilters Planner

I hope everyone is having a bright and shiny new year.  For Christmas, I was gifted this planner from Quilters Planner.  I am loving it.

I have used a planner since the beginning of 2016 and find myself much less scatterbrained.

This one is full of quilt patterns and block patterns and has plenty of pretty pictures to look at as well for inspiration.

Sewing Machine Drama

There has been some drama in my life lately.  That is what happens to someone who uses their sewing machine ten hours out of everyday and then it suddenly locks up and won’t perform a single stitch (my husband doesn’t understand this).  It’s quite dramatic.

My bernina machine’s timing is off.  Yesterday I took it to the shop and they said it would be four weeks.  My mouth hit the floor.  Four weeks!  There is no other Bernina dealer anywhere near me and even that dealer is almost an hour away.

This all would be workable if I had a back up machine that I loved.  BUT I DON’T.  I have a backup machine that I tolerate.  And I also learned that that backup machine will no longer do FMQ.  It just decided that it didn’t want to and no amount of petting could turn it around.

I have orders.  I have people waiting on their quilt.  So I bought a new machine.

And no I’m not happy about it.  It was not in the budget.  I can’t afford it. But these are things that happen.  I can’t get my job done without it.  But now that the decision is made, the stress has been lifted, and my drama over the whole ordeal is over…. I might be a little excited about this thing.

I’ve made a smart purchase.  Let me tell you why.

This is a juki.  Juki’s are incredible machines.  I already own a tank of one.  It’s industrial strength, it’s my husband’s machine and we only use it for the rag quilts.  It’s too powerful for anything else.  I tell you this because I KNOW what a good machine Juki makes.

I couldn’t afford another Bernina, obviously (if I’m being honest is exactly what I wanted).

And if I had to spend this much money on a machine that could handle the amount and size of quilting I do, I wanted to buy a machine that could one day work on a long arm machine.

Here is the machine I purchased.  If you take the time to read about it, it actually sounds quite amazing.  And quilters review had nothing but good things to say about it as well.

And then one day that juki machine will be apart of this.

So basically, I’m less than two thousand dollars away (best I can figure) of having a long arm machine.  Now that is something to be excited about!

I’ll let you know what I think of the machine soon.

Wandering Quilt Stuff

I’ve been working on my journal for my wandering quilt.  It’s a slow process.  And I’m taking my time with it, doing a little each day.

We have two weeks before we have to have these shipped off.

Photo Contest

For my quilt buyers of the past, I will be holding a photo contest this month (details to come tomorrow).  This is the prize quilt.

This is fabrics called: When skies are gray by Riley Blake.

and you can see below me quilting on that Juki I mentioned earlier, the one I’ve had for years.  I’ve had to do straight lines because that is all it does and I’m just having to be very careful since it’s so fast, but I wanted this one done and couldn’t seem to wait on the new machine.

The Whimsical Dresden

I’m also still working on this quilt.  I did completed all 77 of my dresdens and they just need sewing down.  I’ll be doing this for most of the week.

Miscellaneous

I took a little test (not really a test) at MakeLight.com.  They have a look at your Instagram pics of 2016 and then decide what your color palette for the year is.  This was mine.

Not sure if I like that.  Must add in more colors for 2017.

So I’m drowning in scraps and they actually stress me out when they get too full.  So there is a link in my shop now where you can purchase almost any size square 2-7″ in almost any colors that you prefer  in sets of 50 squares eac.  We will even draw a line on the back of them for an extra fee just in case you want to make half square triangles and want some extra help.  Read the details of that here.

Recent Meals

I really don’t talk about food much here (I take horrible food pictures), but I REALLY like to cook with real ingredients.  When I was a child we always ate hamburger helper and food similar to that, as an adult, Hamburger helper and similar foods are not allowed in my house.  We eat real food.  And I love to cook.

Sometimes I get uninspired and we end up eating some of the same meals to often.

Foods that I cook way too much of:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo: my own recipe.  It takes me over an hour to make and then we eat on it for three days.  This is a winner.

Jambalaya

Chicken Bacon and Ranch pasta

Chicken Dumplings

Taco Mountain

and so on.

The family wants some new meals and some lighter-ish meals.  I always head to pinterest when I need to be inspired.  I was and thought I’d share the new meals I tried.

Tried last week:

General Tso’s chicken.  I even went and bought some of the never heard of ingredients, like hoison sauce.  It was good.  It didn’t taste like General Tso’s (my favorite chinese food) to me, but it was good and different.

Chicken Enchiladas with sour cream white sauce.  This was amazing.  REALLY amazing.  The white sauce was perfect.  We will add this to our meal rotation.

Creamy Herb Chicken.  Heaven help me.  There was not enough of this to go around.  We all wanted more.  I served it over mashed potatoes.  In love.

And finally, Chicken Lazone.  I loved this one too.  I prefer the white sauce I normally make, so I’ll prob tweak this one a bit, but the chicken was incredible with these seasonings.  I also added a little Creole seasoning to it, because I’m obsessed and add it to everything.

Are you seeing a trend?  Chicken, chicken and more chicken. Yep, that’s us.  Tonight we are having chicken and waffles.  I have skipped lunch in preparation of the heaviness.

If you have any recommendations for food, I am always in need.  Leave a comment or a link.

xo, Melanie

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Sunday in the studio

Awhile back I moved a dresser into my studio and moved all my fabric stash in there. Re-arranged a bit and loving that my fabric is no longer in display, but tucked out of sight within the drawers of the dresser. 

Every time I walk into this room I see clutter, so having a place to hide stuff is nice. But still there is clutter. 

I can’t seem to escape from it and it nags at me. 

This week I wanted to take down all my mini quilts from the wall and arrange them in a more non-cluttery way. Separate them.  

So I did that. I also went ahead and prettied up the couch a bit. 

I really like this space. I sit here often and so do my kids while I work and they chat. 

I moved the rest of the mini quilts here. You might remember that this is where that crib was. 

The crib was there for picture purposes only. But I so rarely make nursery sets anymore like I used to so I thought I’d get rid of it (fingers crossed I don’t regret that). 

The table that is there on that wall now was on the opposite of my cutting board table. 

This whole arrangement has opened up some space AND more importantly it’s rid me of some clutter. 

Now to just some work….

I’ve been working off and on this one for weeks now. I’ve almost got the blocks completed and I can’t wait to share it soon. 


And this is just a custom crib quilt I am making for a customer, but I had to take a quick pic. I just loved the color palette and beach theme. 

Until next time. 

💜, melanie

Sunday in the studio

I’d like to start a weekly post about just what is happening in the studio. Projects I’m working on and some to come. 

Hopefully I won’t forget to make this happen every Sunday. 


I just straightened up. A lot of the time one of my kids will sit here and chat while I work, and they tend to smoosh my pillows and things so this is something I’m doing daily. 

And here too. This is supposed to always be a pretty spot, but it continues to be a place where I stack projects I’m working on. 

This is my next slow make project. A Priscilla quilt. As soon as I finish up my current slow make quilt, all my favorite things quilt, I’ll start this one. 

My Aqua/turquoise stash is currently miserable. So I’m adding it to it here and there. 

I tend to lean towards prints with multiple colors and I’d like to make an effort to collect prints that feature only one or two fabrics. 

Two memory quilts were finished this weekend and I need to box these up. 

This just came in. I haven’t done the research in the pattern yet. It is a vintage quilt that I’d like to finish. 

One more picture of it. 


I haven’t blogged about this one, but I did post about it on my Instagram, southerncharmquilts

I finally finished the top. I had purchased the star on eBay. It’s made with all vintage fussy cuts and solids. 

I’m very worried it’s not going to lay flat, but more in that later. 


And this is what I’m piecing right now. Another guest book quilt. See here. 

It’s about half way done. 

Thanks for taking a tour with me. Until next Sunday. 

💜, melanie

Some changes, some pillows and a block

  
A bear paw. My favorite of all the other quilt blocks. And weird that this one is the first one I’ve ever made. 

But I havent made one because of how many pieces and how complicated and ALL those HSTs!  

But look at this block!  There must be more of these in my future. And it IS a fussy little block!  But I guess the best blocks deserve the most work. 

I made this one block for a pillow cover I gifted. And I’m adding this to my list of quilts I must make. And yes, let’s keep with the pale paleness. 

  I also found these too lovelies folded up and forgotten about in my embroidery bag. I had done them last summer, poolside. 
I decided they needed to be pillow covers too while I was making pillows. 

   
I’ve been saving selvedges for the past year, or the pretty ones anyway and keeping them for just the right projects. Found it!

 I’ve also moved and fluffed the studio about. Moving an old dresser down stairs and removing all those milk crates that held my fabrics on display. 

  
Now there are all folded and tucked in the dresser, organized by color. 

  
This change has made everything look less cluttery. Which makes everything look cleaner. Which makes me happier. ❤️

  
  
And things can sit on top of the dresser all pretty like this. And I can stare at it and get all happy inside.  Cause that’s how I do. 

  
  
Now if only I can stop touching my things and moving them around I’ll get some work done. 

💜, Melanie

A storybook version of the Honey Butter Quilt

   
 
I’ve been working on a custom order for my Honey Butter quilt.   This time with a story book theme. I told myself that the best way to achieve a story book theme would be to dip into my Heather Ross stash. 😬 

I keep all my Heather Ross fabrics in their own basket, away from all the other fabrics bc well, they are special, most out of print, they are the sweetest, most adorable fabrics. If I could save one thing from my sewing room from danger it would be…. The Bernina and the Heather Ross fabrics. That’s two things, but you see how high up there they are. 😊 

I rarely use them. In fact I’ve only used them in two or three projects since I started collecting them. 

But I decided they were too perfect for this project not to use. 

  
Here are just a few. You’ll also see some Sarah Jane fabrics and a very old Alexander Henry fabric of owls I ran across in my stash. 

The cuteness has been owning me all week as I’ve worked on this. 

  
Also, this is the first quilt where I have tried using starch on my blocks. I will be using starch on every quilt from here on out. I think it made piecing easier for me and I didn’t work so hard to get everything lined up. Chain piecing especially was a breeze with it. 

I just used a grocery store brand, nothing special, but next time I will probably try to find something that smells extra nice. 

  
I usually give my half square triangles a little light press on the back to open the seams and then flip it over and press it down harder. And now I’ll be using starch before I do that. And then so on and so on until the block is complete. It feels much crisper. 

  
If you have any tips on starch please feel free to leave them in the comments section. 

💜, melanie

A beginning + pictures from this weekend

  
While I was working on my last quilt, I had an idea for the next quilt (as always). 

I drew it out on grid paper with my markers and just sat and stared. Then I opened up my eq7 and worked out the math. 

I could not get the rotary cutting instructions on eq7 to go where I needed them to go, but that was okay. I had it in my head. 

I cut all my pieces and began and WHAM!  Rectangles and squares do not so the same thing. This might be obvious to some of you and maybe it should not have been to me, maybe I had a dumb moment, maybe I was confused, but what was in my head did not work out. 

I sat and thought and thought and every way I worked it I could not get my block to come out without altering the design. 

I tried different ways even with changing the design and then it just wasn’t what I wanted. 

I went to bed fussy and irritated.  And then…

  
It literally was in my head when I woke. And I knew exactly what needed to be done to not alter my design. 

I am crazy about this block!  Crazy, crazy, crazy for it. I feel like I think on a very traditional level and mostly have a traditional look to my quilts, and this block feels more modern to me and fresher than anything else I’ve done. 

I’m rambling… I do that when I’m excited. My apologies. 

This post has lacked pictures so here is a few from this weekend. 

   
    
 
Until next time. 

💜, Melanie 

More of the mod corsage

   
 
Lots of fussy cuts appliqués with decorative stitches has been going on with this one. 

I can’t believe I used to hate appliquéing. It was always a bigger deal in my head than it it actually is. And the possibilities with it are endless. 

  
I’ve been working on this one fairly steadily, adding something each day to it. 

I had this idea in my head of my spring quilt would be full of pastels and maybe even some appliqués bunnies, but that idea was overtaken by this one. 

Flowers are blooming around here. The daffodils and the tulips have filled cases around my house and creating a lovely welcome at my front door. 

  
So I think this quilt is perfect for the season. 

  
And I didn’t have to stop working on my strip quilt basket. The border of this quilt was all pulled from that basket, so my goal continues moving forward. 

Have I mentioned those block “flowers” are actually some of my farmers wife quilt blocks. The quilt that I never worked on. I was tired of them sitting up on my design wall, staring at me and calling me out for giving up. Now they have a home and seem quite a perfect fit here in this quilt. 

  
Almost done with this one now and I’ll be very glad to be too, for my next quilt has been in my mind for about a week and I’m anxious to start it. 

💜, melanie