Loons Here and There

This doesn’t happen often! A quilt that I started this year, finished this year, photographed this year and am blogging about this year!

This one I’m calling, Loons Here and There. If you are a fan of Maria Shell, you may recognize it as a play on one of her quilts.

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I took Maria’s class, Improv Triangles: Perfectly Pointless, at Quiltcon From Home in February. I love a good improv triangle quilt and found the class very inspiring! I also have a bad habit of starting quilts at QuiltCon and never finishing them. (But thanks to the WIPs Be Gone Challenge, I’m going to change that soon!) But this class inspired me to get out of bed despite my broken leg and sew for a little while each day! I fell in love with Maria’s Break Up quilt and wanted to give it a go!

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She recommended pulling 8 to 12 fabrics for the fabric pull. I pulled 17, plus I added in brown later. I didn’t think much about the pallet, actually. I pulled a bunch of leftover fabric. Fabric that I had about a fat quarter’s worth of or so. Then got to cutting the squares.

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Once I had the squares, I cut them in stacks into triangles and then sewed them back together. The rule I made was that the sides of the triangles couldn’t be the same color. In keeping with improv, I only used the ruler to eyeball the size of my blocks. I did use it to get a straight cut on the triangles, but not to measure anything. Once I sewed all the pieces back together, I do trim the blocks, but just to give me straight edges, not a particular size. And I repeat this every time I sew blocks together.

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Then I just laid them out and played with contrast to place the blocks.

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I would sew them into smaller blocks and then added a few straight pieces as needed to get all the blocks to fit together. I love the quilting pattern I used. Again, using improv a bit. I laid out the diagonals first using a guide, but then went back in between adding the diamonds ‘freehand’ with the walking foot! I did have a little problem with the quilting and the fabric not staying put. I spray baste and I think it was a combo between the actual brand I was using and also with the the fact I sprayed and then it sat without being quilted. Anyway, once it washes, I think it will be just fine for a potential baby quilt for a friend.

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I did piece this back. I love how the orange block is reflected in the rock formation behind the quilt! You may also recognize this backing fabric from a few other quilts… The Spark and Tic Tac TIgerlily and Scatterlilies. I still have more so you may see it again!

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And my label shot. This also gives a nice view of the quilting pattern.

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And the cutest quilt holder…

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And that’s a wrap for this one! In case you’re wondering where this awesome ‘quilts in the wild’ photoshoot took place, I’ll tell ya! It was at Steamboat Rock State park in Eastern Washington. One of my most favorite places in WA!!! If you haven’t been, you should go!

The Spark- A Mini Quilt

If you follow me on IG, you know I have a to do list this year to get my WIP completed and my sewing area purged. I also have a list of exceptions and one of those exceptions is to participate in the Quilt Improv Studio’s quilt challenges!

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This challenge is Monochrome Dreams!

“Monochrome dreams” is our new improv patchwork game, aimed to let you play with one hue in many shades.

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Originally, I had a plan for a pink quilt. I’m on a bit of a pink kick right now. Not that you’d know if from what I’m sewing, but you would if you saw what I’m buying! 🙂

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Then, I was sorting through scraps I had pulled for an ongoing scrap project I’m working on, I found all these orange scraps that were already pieced…. I couldn’t resist! They are the leftovers from the Improv Flower Pillow I made a while back.

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I didn’t have quite enough to hit the 24″x24″ size requirement, so I also pulled more orange scraps to get me to the right size. I also cut way more squares than I needed for another quilt I just finished and will tell you about soon. So I pulled those orange squares and started cutting into them too, making flying loons.

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I was going to cut out the yellow (or the very, very light orange hehehe) pieces, but in the end I decided to keep them in. They are what give the quilt it’s name. The Spark!

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I usually am not very creative with my quilting thread. This year I participated in the monthly Aurifil 2021 Color Builder program. Mostly to get the awesome wildlife paper piece patterns by Cassandra Beaver. But the ones I just recieved happened to be orange, so I used them!

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Some detail shots….

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The back was almost just one piece of fabric. Which isn’t really my style, but for the smaller ones, I don’t piece as much. This one I cut the back wrong, so I had to add the orange anyway. And you know me, I always like to throw in a picture of the label!

I know there are a bunch of pictures, but I also wanted to share a few behind the scenes…

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My kiddo did the quilt holding. We did 4 photo shoots. Two just didn’t turn out quite right. Then we found these fields! The pup looked happy to stop and smell the fresh air!

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And that’s my Spark for the Monochrome Dreams Challenge! Are you participating? What color would you use?

Firefly Tote

I have a to do list to finish all my half done projects this year. This project was NOT on my list, but I did it anyway…

The tote is the Firefly Tote by Noodlehead. It’s one of her new patterns and she just hosted a sew along. I really liked it, and knew I wanted to try out my waxed canvas on it, so I joined in. Even if it wasn’t on my To Do List! The pattern has two sizes, a smaller ‘Project’ size and the larger ‘Tote’ size. I made the Tote.

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I was able to pull all the fabrics from my stash! I’ve had a few of these for a while and was excited to finally use them.

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The pattern directions say to shop local. So I did! There is this leather store, MacPherson Leather Company, about 5 minutes from my house and I’ve driven by it saying I’m going to go for about 15 years. I took this opportunity to finally go and get my materials. I took my kid and his friend, which was not the best idea… I left with way more than I went in for….

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The first piece was the pocket. I didn’t have much of this fabric, and I didn’t pay attention when I cut the fabric in order to get the pieces above and below the zipper to align! If you make it, keep that in mind when cutting! I love the bright pop of color in the zipper!

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Then we put the exterior together and left it right sides together while we moved on to make the interior pieces.

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I was intrigued with the drawstring topper on the lining. I think I like it!

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I decided to go with a black leather tie for the drawstring closure.

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I really wanted to use this stripe fabric for the drawstring top, but I didn’t have enough. so I wasted a LOT of time hemming and hawing about it… What other fabric to use???? I just couldn’t make a decision. Finally I complained to my buddy Debbie and she is brilliant and recommended using some of the lining fabric to make the drawstring the correct size. Genius! I think it worked perfectly!

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(check out how well the lining and the drawstring fabric lined up on this side!)

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I used the ‘kite’ fabric for the lining of the outside zipper and also for the interior pocket. I think the pocket in the Tote is a little too deep. When I make it again, I’m going to make mine smaller. It probably works great for something like knitting needles, but otherwise, it’s too deep for pens and pencils. IMO, anyway…

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The other thing about this project is how the hardware makes the bag look really professional! I just happened to have the rivets already, so that was nice.

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The back is nothing exciting, except for those fancy rivets!

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I like it! One thing I did realize about the waxed canvas is that dog hair has a tendency to kinda stick to it… So if you have a large white dog that’s fluffy and sheds a lot, this fabric in black may not be the wisest choice… Just sayin’! Otherwise, I love it! The pattern is great. She also has the pattern all in YouTube videos so you don’t even have to read the instructions! Love!

Courthouse Steps Mini Quilt

My first quilt finish this year.

I’m off to a slow start this year with my broken leg in January, but I’m hoping to catch up soon!

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I started this one to submit to the Curated Quilts Mini Challenge for the ‘Stripe’ issue coming out later this year. The challenge was:


Please use “balance” as inspiration for your quilt design. Balance can be interpreted at many different levels and we encourage you to explore what balance means to you. You can improvise or paper piece your mini quilt. We love seeing how creative everyone is and appreciate all forms of piecing in your mini quilts. The color palette we would like you to use is included in the image above, soft grey, jade green, bright pink, bright blue, purple, and highlighter yellow. 

Originally I was going to make a striped mini, with circles cut into it and in the circles the lines were going to go in a different direction. Maybe I still will make that one, but I saw a lot of others using circles and I didn’t want to anymore. But I kept making my stripes until I figured out what I wanted to do!

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Balance was the inspiration…

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I started my stripes picking out some of the colors from the challenge. Well, all of them except green and purple. I started with paper piecing the stripes, still unsure where this was going.

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I drew lines on a large piece of freezer paper and started sewing. The lines are spaced in 1/4″ and 1/2″ increments.

Doing this wasn’t very quick and it gave me time to realize where it was going.

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To balance the color, I went all grey. To balance the precise straight lines, I went improv.

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It almost killed me, but I finally got up the nerve to cut into all my stripes. They were so pretty just the way they were that I didn’t even want to cut them!

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The traditional courthouse steps quilt pattern was my third ‘ode to balance!

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I was falling in love with this mini quilt and knew I couldn’t keep it small enough to submit it for the challenge and that was perfectly fine with me! The challenge submissions can’t be bigger than 16″ square. This one ended up about 24″ square. Maybe one day they will do a Courthouse Steps issue and I’ll submit this then. in the meantime, I’m just loving on it!

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I also got new labels this year. Similar to all my other ones, but these are put together a bit different than last years version. Maybe I’ll do a blog post one day! I think these are my favorite.

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I love a good challenge to get me trying new things! I had never freezer paper pieced anything, much less small lines. I wouldn’t have picked these colors together, yet I love them! I had a great time making this one, even if I struggled for the design for a while.

Happy Easter!

I made a couple of quilted Easter decorations in time for Easter this year!

OK, full disclosure… I made them last year, but didn’t get them done in time for Easter! So technically, my first statement is true… LOL!

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As soon as I saw this bunny banner pattern by Sugaridoo in Quiltnow Magazine Issue 60, I was super excited to make it! I just think this little bunny is adorable!

FYI- Quiltnow Magazine is not longer being published and they have taken down the website where this pattern was located. The pattern is not in the magazine. Sugaridoo doesn’t have this pattern on her website, but she does have a similar bunny that you could use for a bunny banner project!

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So cute with the little chick on top! The pattern is a paper pieced pattern. I did not get very creative with this one, even the fabric colors are very similar to the one she made in the magazine. I really debated the quilting. I couldn’t decide what to do and was worried this diamond shape would take away from the bunny. In the end I think it turned out just right.

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I didn’t piece the back on this one. I did add a sleeve, but didn’t use it in the photoshoot!

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And you probably know that I love to just my scraps from a project in another project or a coordinating project right away. So I made Easter eggs! Scrappy, improv Easter eggs. I used this tutorial for my eggs, but instead of a circle, I made the egg shape.

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And I used more scraps from the eggs to make the back!

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A little invisible zipper action.

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Three eggs and another chick from the original pattern, makes for a cute pillow, if I do say so myself!

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I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend and hopefully you are able to get some sewing time in! I plan too. A little Easter Egg dying and sewing for my weekend.

Wishing you LOVE this Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day! Yes, I’m one of those people that like to make seasonal pillows and quilts! Are you?

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I love (no pun intended) this pattern from Quiet Play. You can purchase it here. It’s a 10″ block and then I added the pink and grey borders to make it a larger pillow size.

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A good invisible zipper never gets old! At least not to me. I get so excited when I get it right!

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I had this little scrap of pink fabric with little hearts on it in my stash. I have no idea why. It’s not my style at all and I don’t know where it came from. But I’ve held on to it for a long, long time… Very confused by this, but… It’s perfect for the back of my pillow! I guess I knew I’d want it one day!

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ok, I’ll admit, we leave this one out all year. We need love all year, right???

Impossible is a Bad Word- a mini quilt

Here’s a min quilt you may recognize. I actually finished it in 2019, but again, never blogged about it. Catching up! Late is better than never! ha!

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This mini quilt was a Curated Quilts challenge for the Well Said Issue. The challenge was to incorporate a word into the quilt, literally or figuratively. I have always told my son to never say, ‘I can’t,’ without at least trying first. During Christmas time we read a book by Matt Haig, A Boy Called Christmas, and in it the word ‘Impossible’ is considered an elf swearword. The book was great, but that sentiment has stuck with me. That sentiment, combined with our family not saying ‘I can’t’, inspired this quilt.

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I absolutely loved the color pallet for this challenge! Pink, orange, teal and bright green. I could use this color scheme over and over.

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I started by piecing the letters. No plan, pretty improv. The strips of pink were all the same size and I tried to make the letters the same size. But pretty much just winged it!

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Then I sewed them together. It had to be a square, so I had to rotate the letters in a ‘circle’. And I added the border.

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Then I do that crazy thing that quilters do. I cut it into pieces and sewed it back together. I wanted the word to look shattered!

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I wanted the quilting to further enforce the idea of the word being shattered.

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I took these pictures at Jackson Lake Island near Montgomery, AL. It’s a little island where they filmed the movie Big Fish. The only inhabitants are the goats. I just loved this series of pictures and watching the goat look and me, then see the quilt and then head over to maybe take a taste of the quilt. We moved fast, so maybe he just wanted a closer look, but I wasn’t taking my chances…

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Quilts in the Wild! ha!

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Have you made a word quilt? This was my first. And even though I made it in 2019, I still love everything about it. I’ve since made another word quilt last year. Before I made this one, I didn’t think I’d ever really make a word quilt. But now I wouldn’t be surprised if I make more!

Begonia Quilt Leftovers- Pillows and Potholders!

I just shared my Begonia Quilt that I finished last year and now to show you what I did with the leftovers!

To make the Begonia Quilt there was a lot (A LOT) of HST action. Too much for me to make another one. But apparently, I made a few extras without realizing it! When I finished the quilt top, I was like, ‘uh, oh… Did I forget a row or two somewhere???’ Kinda like when you take something apart and put it back together but you still have pieces left over!

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I used some of the leftover HST’s on the back of the quilt. Then I used the rest to make these two pillows.

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For the little pillow I used only HST’s. And I tried out a more detailed quilting pattern. I love how it turned out!

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And for the large pillow I made a row of HST’s with negative space around it. This one I went for a simpler quilting pattern!

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For the backs I just used a plain piece of grey. One of the grey’s from the quilt top design. For my pillow backs, I always use two pieces of fabric and then serge the edges. I feel like it gives it a more sturdy, professional feel than just one layer of quilting cotton.

And then, you know I love an invisible zipper!!

These pillows are coming in super handy now that I am pretty much stuck in my bedroom due to this stupid broken leg I have! The big one is perfect to prop me up to work on hand work projects and the small one is just right for knee exercises! Who knew how much I’d need these things!!!

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And then when I ran out of HST’s I used the other scraps! I was starting to wonder if I would ever run out of HST’s or if they were duplicating on their own…. But I still had a few extra rectangles cut and some scraps, so I made those into potholders.

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I basically made quilt as you go blocks, added the binding and then added little leather straps on the corners. Easy Peasy!

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And like the pillows, I used a solid grey for the back.

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What do you do with you quilt scraps? Usually, I just through them in the scrap bins. But I love it when I use them right away to make something else. I wish I did this more often!

Yellow and Grey Improv Complete

This little lovely is the 2016 Seattle Modern Quilt Guild Block of the Month! Yep, 2016. It took me four years to finish it for some reason… No idea why… It wasn’t hard.

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Each month there was a different block or ‘slab’ as the designer, Matt, described it. Each month he’d give us a type of block. Since it’s improv, there weren’t many directions rather a type of block.

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One reason it probably took me longer was that I did it as QAYG (quilt as you go). Which in theory, should make it go faster, but it didn’t seem to be that way for me. When I do these as QAYG, I do it slightly differently than a traditional QAYG. I start the blocks with quilting the middle blocks on the batting. Then I combine the blocks with a 3/4″ seam allowance. then once two blocks are combined, I continue to quilt the blocks, sewing over the seam allowance. At the end I add the quilt back and sew it on by adding more quilting, including some stitch in the ditch.

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I even took my friend, Debbie’s improv class to get some blocks done. And this was back in July of 2017. I got to hang out with her, learn some improv tricks and also get some more blocks done!

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I think that center block is my favorite block in the whole quilt! I could make a couple of quilts from that layout! Right now I’m thinking Christmas placemat and a whole quilt.

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Second favorites are probably all the triangle blocks!

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And the back is made up of all the scraps, extra blocks and extra fabric left over from the front.

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One thing I’ve done this year is finish my stack of SMQG BOM quilts! I need to share the others soon!

I Really Do Care, Do U?- Vote!

The US election is in less than a week. Have you voted? I have. And you probably know how I voted. I’m lucky enough to live in WA and I have voted by mail in ballot and my voted has been counted.

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Do you recognize this? It is definitely not an original graphic image. What’s that word the MQG likes to use?? Derivative? Yep, it’s derivative alright…. But I did make a little change, from Don’t to DO!

I was recently watching a show that mentioned how fast the news changes. One day you are on the front page, the next day, the public has moved on and won’t remember. I’ve shown this to a couple of friends who had forgotten the inspiration behind it.

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This image of this coat on a very important person (to some people) on her way to a very emotionally and politically heated location was seared into my memory. I will never forget this. I will never forget the statement she was making as a part of and for this administration, as it is clearly a feeling the administration has for about half of our country. This is not an administration for all.

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I have never made a politically motivated quilt. My quilting usually doesn’t make a statement. Quilting to me is a way to disconnect from the world and the heaviness that I can’t control. It’s my therapy per se! Kinda like that shirt that I love, ‘I quilt so I won’t kill people.’ That’s totally me!

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Making the letters was a little harder than I imagined it was going to be! For each one I did a version of the inset circle tutorial I have on the blog. Just not always circles! Not all of them look exactly like the jacket I was trying to recreate, but I think I got pretty close.

Another technique I used was just curved piecing.

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If you look closely, check out the quilting. It’s actually hard to see, but it does say VOTE. Our way as Americans to make change is to VOTE for those who we feel will represent us and our ideals in the law making. There seemed to be a lot of apathy in the last election, but I’m hopefully that this election year has brought out the power of the VOTE for the upcoming younger generations.

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And the back… A little play on our flag… I had this red and white striped fabric sitting on my shelf for about 10 years now, so I was so excited to use it. I took it down and it had these stains on it. I was so bummed!

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Sitting next to the striped fabric all these years was also this red and white gingham that is very Americana to me. An upcycled sheet waiting for it’s new life! It was big enough to use as a whole piece. But as I was standing there, looking at it, I looked up and saw this bright blue fabric (Cotton and Steel Freckles) with the little ‘stars’ on it, I had to throw it in there!

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I always throw in a label photo….

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A little behind the scenes, ‘Are you done yet?’ Ha!

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I had so many Halloween makes planned, but this got in the way…

I really do care, do u?