Mini Series Courthouse Steps Pillow

AKA Terry’s Pillow!

For the last couple of years Giucy Giuce has teamed with Alison Glass and have hosted a sew along to sew his mini series patterns. Last year I signed up and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. A friend of mine loved the Halloween pillow I made four years ago. And I wanted to make something for her using this pattern.

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I didn’t end up sewing along during the actual sew along, but later I got to sewing and made a bunch of different sized courthouse steps blocks using the Mini Series pattern.

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I always have a problem with actually quilting these blocks. I debated on thread but ended up only quilting in the ditch with the cream fabric. But I love this picture to illustrate the scale of the piecing of these blocks!

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I chose a few details to zoom in on. Each of these blocks look a bit different, but they were all started using the same pattern. I varied the size of the center. And then some of them, I only did two sides (rather than all four sides) for some of the block. And I varied the placement of the orange and cream fabrics. By changing each one up a bit, it looks like I used a different pattern for each piece, but I didn’t!

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Check out my not so invisible invisble zipper! I should have used an orange zipper…. Oh well! If it’s sitting on the couch, are people really going to be checking out my zipper installation? I hope not!

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I used a single fabric for the back. Even though it’s a single fabric, I still also use a layer of batting and a backing piece of fabric. Then I serge the edges to keep the layers together. I feel like it gives the pillow a bit more shape.

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I thought it would be fun to share this pillow this week since it’s the second week of the Mini Series Sew Along and the Courthouse Steps block is one of the blocks to sew this week! Are you sewing along? I am! I’m back to Halloween fabrics for this sew along.

A Bunny Embroidered Bag

And now for my third embroidery project!

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This project is a combo of two projects from The Love magazines! Since I’m still learning this embroidery thing, I’m enjoying following the directions from the Love Embroidery Magazine instructions.

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This pattern by Stacie Bloomfield aka Gingibear was featured in Issue 1 of the magazine, but it’s also online at Gathered. It was a pretty easy project, but the split stitch that I did to fill in the body took me forever! and it doesn’t have the same lovely texture as her project. Maybe I didn’t do it exactly right. Not sure!

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For the bag I followed the tutorial in Love Quilting Magazine for the Stitch and Stroll bag by Sotak Handmade. I forget the issue number, but it looks like her pattern is in now in her etsy shop, here. It’s called the Denver Tote in her shop. It’s a great little drawstring tote bag pattern. I’ve made it a couple of times now and it goes together quickly! In hindsight, I wish the bunny was higher up on the bag…. Oh, well!

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I choose to use some fun chicken fabric on the inside! I thought it was bright and fun and went well with the bunny!

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I gave this as a Christmas present, but maybe it should have been an Easter present! 🙂 ha!

Disposable- An Upcycled Quilt

Or as they say on Project Runway, an Unconventional Challenge.

Not too long ago I saw a call for the UW Recycling Trash Art Contest. As soon as I saw the call, I knew what I wanted to do. I had to make a quilt from all the disposable masks.

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When the pandemic hit, I made a ton of masks. I HATE the nature of the disposable masks. I’m that person that also hates to buy anything that is individually wrapped. No single servings pre-packaged for our lunches. And the same with the masks, no one time use in this house. Then I went to work in a hospital and the disposal masks are required as a way to slow the spread of Covid. But honestly, it makes me cringe to see all these disposable masks strewn about the streets. In addition to the disposable masks I also used a neighbor’s worn out scrubs and disposable gloves. Not a single bit of new fabric was harmed in the making of this quilt!

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For the round blocks I used my used masks and my neighbor’s scrubs. I cut the masks in half and made a quick template for the outer piece. The problem I realized with these materials is that the masks melt if you try to iron them. So, no ironing the seam allowances!

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I made this block out of my husband’s masks, the neighbor’s scrubs and a disposable glove. I love the secondary shapes the masks make. In the end, as much as I love this block, I didn’t love it as part of the quilt, so it ended up being left out of the quilt.

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And the half square triangle blocks made with disposable masks and disposable gloves. I sewed together two masks and cut out about a 5.5″ square and sewed the two together around the edge. Then cut down the middle to get 4 HSTs. Or course, no ironing here either!

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The quilting inside these masks represents the germs bouncing around inside the masks, but not being shared with those around me. The circular quilting around the masks represents the germs staying on the outside, another reason we wear the masks. I quilted the circular blocks first, then the mask blocks. It was a pure, happy accident how this quilting came together in the corner.

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One of the questions for the Trash Art contest was to explain how this art piece is relevant to my personal and/or UW campus waste? 

This quilt is relevant to my personal experience in so many ways!  For the last 10 years I have worked as an architect in the healthcare industry in local hospitals, including UWMC and Harborview. I have always grappled with the irony of all the disposable items used in healthcare to keep our patients safe and healthy versus the amount waste these same items make in order to also keep our patients safe and healthy. When I transitioned to an employee at UWMC last year, I had to give up my handmade, washable face masks for the disposable one time use masks. Every day on my walk to work, I pass mask after mask disposed of on the ground of the UW campus. This quilt is literally made of my own personal, disposable trash being upcycled into a work of art.

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And the back….

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I used the last ‘larger’ piece of the scrubs on the back. And in good upcycling fashion, I just happened to have these blue and white striped sheets in my stash waiting to be used.

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ok, maybe I didn’t tell the truth… I did use one small piece of new fabric. The label is new. The binding is, again, worn out scrubs.

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I had this idea to take these pictures hanging on the side of a building next to a dumpster. That situation didn’t exist where I thought it did. But my husband spotted this recycling dumpster and it was perfect for my photo shoot. It did make it a little hard to get the color perfect in the pictures though.

I’ve Got My Eyes on You – A MQG Fabric Challenge Quilt Part 2

I’ve Got My Eyes on You… The second quilt made from the fabric for the fabric challenge for Quiltcon, hosted by Windham Fabrics using their Artisan Cotton fabric line. I didn’t finish this one in time to submit, but I really like it! I like to think it may have had a better chance at making it into the show, but who knows!

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In case you missed the first quilt, you can read all about it here.

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Testing, the quilt I shared the other day, had A LOT of scraps. So much so that the front of this quilt is made out of about 98% scraps from the other quilt! I didn’t mind having so many scraps, because I loved the shapes that were being left over and I knew a second quilt was in the works from the beginning!

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The blocks coming together.

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Details! I just started sewing the circles on top of each other. All improv, no inset circles, no pins, no real planning. I just had fun. I made the basic oval shapes, then puzzled them together. After working on the previous quilt, tying to make something a little more precise, this was a fun exercise in just making for the pure joy of sewing things together to happy shapes!

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The back is pile of scraps as well! The scraps from the front scraps became the back scraps! But I did eventually run out of scraps and I had to fill in with larger pieces of my fabric pile.

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This is how the back started… Literally the last of the last scraps!

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And this is how the back finished!

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To me, I love the juxtaposition of these two quilts. I love how different they are. And I love that they are so different, yet both started from the exact same quilt block! Do you find that fascinating? Or is it just me?

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I’m pretty excited about this one!

Be Kind- a SMQG BOM Quilt

Here’s a first! I started a Seattle Modern Quilt Guild BOM quilt and finished it in the same year! I have NEVER done that before!

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This year the guild’s BOM quilt was titled ‘Salsa Medallion’. Each month they gave a theme for the medallion quilt border. Along with the theme came suggestions for different levels of involvement with the quilt. These levels were Spicy, Medium or Mild. You can find all the instruction here.

Of course, starting off I didn’t follow the directions. The first block I made was the center block even though it was technically one of the last pieces we made. I never really understood why you wouldn’t make the center first and build off to it, so I just didn’t think too hard and made my improv log cabin center block. It’s kinda big… Coming in at about 18″!

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The next two borders were designated as stripes and triangles. For the stripes border I used leftovers from my Balanced Courthouse Steps quilt. I added in a little bit of other colors to make it blend a bit.

For the triangles, I decided to do improv flying geese. I’ve done a lot of improv and I’ve done a few flying geese in my day, but I’m not sure I’ve done improv flying geese before! I’m pretty happy with how they turned out!

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The next border prompt was ‘Text message’. I was full on ready to skip this border. I waited for the next prompt. I was convinced I didn’t want to put words in it. time went on and I remembered a meme I had seen online somewhere. And I knew I needed to quilt it:

Be Kind to Others, to Earth, to Yourself. Be kind of weird.

And that’s the text message I made. And it took a long time….

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The letters were all improv pieced. I didn’t follow a tutorial, I just made it up as I went along. I really, really like how they turned out!

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Each letter with a curved part started with a small inset circle using the freezer paper and glue method that I always use for the inset circles. You can read all about it here.

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The last two borders were circles and diamonds. Again, the improv versions for me!

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And the back. This one is on the more simple side for me. Using leftover fabric from the front.

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You can really see the quilting on the back! I started in the center and did an improv ‘square spiral’ all the way to the edges. Is a square spiral even a thing? I don’t really know if those two words work together, but I think it describes my quilting pattern just right! ha!

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Token quilt label picture!

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And that’s a wrap! Ok, not only did I start and finish this quilt in the same year, which is unheard of from me and our guild’s BOM quilts, but I also photographed and blogged about it in the same year! Woah!!!

Fresh Linens- A Pillowcase Tutorial

I wrote this tutorial back in 2015! Way back! It’s been hanging out on the Go To Sew website all this time and I decided to bring it back. (hence the old branding, etc…)

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I love making pillowcases for gifts! I’ve used two methods. One, my own method detailed below. And secondly, the burrito method by The Seasoned Homemaker. Both are good! Since I haven’t made this one in years, I kinda want to go back and try it again!

Have you ever made your own pillowcases? Did you know that it takes about a half hour for a new pair of fresh linens??? I was shocked! I had been thinking about making pillowcases for a week or so when I decided to give it a try. And I’m hooked!

I don’t have a serger, and I didn’t want any exposed seam allowances, so this pillowcase is chock full of French seams!

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To start, gather your fabric. For the pillowcase you’ll need 1.5 yards of the main fabric, 1/2 yard of the hem fabric and a little bit of the accent color.

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The first step is to cut your pieces. SO for the main fabric, you’ll need (2) 49×20.5 inch pieces. For the hem piece, you’ll need (2) 8.5×38.75 inch pieces. And for the little accent piece, you’ll need (2) 1.5×38.75 inch pieces.

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First, sew the main piece of the pillowcase. Fold the fabric wrong sides together, stich a 1/4 seam allowance along the long sides. Then trim this seam allowance, but only by a hair! Then pull the case inside out and sew another 1/4 inch seam allowance along the long sides, covering the seam allowance from the last hem! Done with the main piece.

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Now assemble the hem piece and the accent piece. Fold them both in half, the long way, and iron flat. Wrong sides to wrong sides. Then, at the ends open the fabric flat, right sides to right sides and  sew a 1/4 seam at the ends. Iron the seam open and then fold in half again and re-iron it flat. You will end up with two long circles that kinda look like the infinity scarves everyone loves!

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Assemble! Here you need your main case right side out. Next to that the hem piece and in the very middle the accent piece. Align all the stitched edges. Pin the rest with edges aligned.

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Sew another 1/4 inch seam. Trim the seam allowance, again, just a hair! Fold the pillowcase with the inside of the case out and the hem and accent inside the case. Iron the seam flat and sew another 1/4 inch seam. I’m all about the 1/4 inch seams here!

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And finish! Pull the pillowcase right side out and iron the seam flat. Then topstitch along the last seam.

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Lastly, insert pillow, snuggle up and take a nap! Did you know they are that easy? They are so quick and easy! I’m in love and thinking about some Christmas presents!

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!

Red and White Quilt

It’s almost perfect for this holiday weekend! It’s just missing that Blue part….

This one was started way back in 2018 and finished last year. It is a paper pieced pattern that I did with my do.Good Stitches group back in the day.

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My group was usually not fans of my paper piecing obsession! But they played along nicely anyway. Well, some of them did. I bowed out of the group not long after designing this one and presenting it to the group. A few members never sent me their blocks… Oh, well..

There are actually 3 different blocks in the quilt and I had assigned different blocks to different people. The original quilt design was intended to be a little larger, but I think the size it ended up is just right.

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One thing I do love about bee quilts is the variation in colors of fabric. I love how this is a red and white quilt, but when you look closely each block is just a little different.

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And the back. I had a few blocks that were a little smaller than the rest so they went to the back. That is a typical problem when doing paper piecing. Be sure to always print your pattern with no scaling. If you don’t, different programs treat PDF’s differently and some scale up or down the image.

Anyway, they ended up being perfect for the back, so it all worked out in the end.

The little triangles in the top corners are not part of the quilt. I basted them on to make it easier to hold for photographs! And it seemed to help.

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I just really love this one! I did have a little trouble quilting it due to the bulk in the corners. I need to figure that out before I attempt this one again.

I’m also considering publishing the pattern one day soon. Yes, no?

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And my quilt holder fighting with the wind. You can see how he used the corners. Not my idea. I got the idea from my friend Debbie, aquilterstable, who got the idea from Zak Foster Quilts.

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It’s quite Red, White and Blue for the holiday weekend, but it’s as close as I could get! I hope everyone in the US has a great 4th of July weekend and stay safe!

A Graduation Gift Set for a Drummer

I may have mentioned this, but I’m really bad about giving graduation gifts on time. It takes me a while to figure out just the right thing!

My cousin’s son graduated high school during the pandemic and started college at Troy University playing drums. I’m just a year late on this one!

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I had the bright idea to make him a drum stick bag. My original idea was much more simple than I ended up making! I mentioned it and was introduced to the world of drum stick bags on Amazon. No drawstring bags here… But I was up for the challenge. Pockets and straps and handles, oh my!

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I also took a while to figure out how I wanted to make it special. Then the idea of cork came to mind. I ended up ordering some black and grey cork from Sew Sweetness and it’s just perfect. The school colors are black, grey and burgundy, so I stitched the outline in burgundy thread.

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The biggest detail on the outside is the T. I love how it turned out. But I also added handles and a key fob and a little cork detail to finish off the double zipper.

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The inside has 4 pockets and a long adjustable strap. The strap can hook onto the side of a drum and hang there for easy access to the drum sticks.

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I also made a bucket. For the drum stick bag, I just made up the pattern as I went. But for the bucket, I used the free Faithwell Storage Bin pattern by Sew Sweetness. I’ve used this pattern before with my cross stitch koala and love it. I have never included the handle, though.

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The storage bin actually came out of a mistake I made on the drum stick bag. I originally sewed in the T in the wrong orientation. So then I was was like what do I do with this extra Troy T? I make a bucket! Perfect!

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I followed the directions, but changed it up some with the cork. The directions call to use fusible foam and fuse it to the exterior fabric. I was hesitant to add to the cork, so I flipped it and added the fusible foam to the lining. I was also concerned about the seams in the cork, but they turned out great!

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I also made a key chain with the scraps from the cork pieces. I used my own tutorial for that!

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Then I filled it with fun goodies. Seattle Chocolates, a WA state flag, a Troy pin, some Legos, and a stress ball thingy! I was super excited about how it turned out. and I’m pretty sure the kiddo liked it as well.

Do you have a favorite Graduation Gift you like to make?

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?