Twelve Words Block of the Month: #1: January Sparkle

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Introducing the Twelve Words Sampler! I’m so excited to share this Block of the Month with you…and even more excited to see the blocks you make! I’m calling it the Twelve Words sampler because, as you’ll notice, each block will have a word on it. I chose these words to be uplifting and encouraging, they inspire me and I hope they will inspire you, too.

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So here’s how it works: each month I will post a block with basic instructions. Then, for the next couple days I will post tutorials on how to complete each step of the block-making process. That way, those of you who are ready to just jump right in can just go for it as soon as I post the block, and those of you who are learning some new skills as you go will get to finish the blocks too.

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Each month the blocks will incorporate a basic quilting “building block” as I like to call them, the elements that make up a large majority of quilting projects out there, in some combination or other. This will help build and refine skills, as well as help me build an arsenal of tutorials here on the little old blog.

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By the end of the year, you will be old hat at machine applique, basic embroidery, flying geese, pinwheels, and lots of other things! Don’t worry, if you need a little hand-holding, I’ll walk you through it. Promise.

01242013g Please,  join along! We’re going to have so much fun, and the end result will not only be beautiful, but positive and uplifting–and I don’t know about you, but I can use all the bright cheeriness I can get in this weather.

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Like I said earlier, basic instructions today, more thorough explanations over the next 2-3 days. Please ask questions if you have them, and I will be sure to answer you.

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Before we get too into this project, a few words on fabric selection so you can plan. I chose 8 solids and 2 linen blends to work with for this quilt. For each block I am choosing two or three solids to form my color palette, and then pulling print scraps from my stash in the same color values. You can see the black and white linen on the bottom of the pile, that will be my sashing. I wanted something that would set off every color nicely, but I didn’t want to use white. Finally, I am using a natural colored linen for my background of my embroidery and applique, and plan to use that natural color in each block as well.

Here’s the details on making this month’s block!

Piece 2″ squares in (4) strips of (8) squares, and (2) strips of (4) squares, as shown.

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Press seams in alternating directions to avoid bulk.

Align intersections, pin, and sew top two rows together. Repeat for bottom two rows. Press.

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With disappearing ink, mark a line 1″ from each side of your 7″ x 10″ rectangle. Trace center snowflake for embroidery. Using templates provided, and following manufacturer’s instructions, use fuseable web to adhere applique pieces INSIDE the lines you just marked.

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Using a small zig zag or other decorative stitch, sew around each applique piece.

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Using navy thread, embroider the main lines of the snowflake. Switch to aqua thread, use large stitches to embroider the small middle star. Press the block.

Trim to 6½” x 9½”.

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Sew remaining (4) piece strips to the sides. Press.

january6 Finish block by putting all three units together and pressing well.

Download templates here. January Sparkle Templates

I’m starting a flickr group where you can add pictures of your block, please add yours! (I just might have a giveaway planned, and your entry is your block picture in the group…) Join the flickr group here.

More tomorrow!

xoxo

April



Goals, and Becoming.

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I’ve been missing around here, enjoying the quiet and magic of the holidays, and the potential of a new year. I’ve really been thinking about my goals, and what I want to do, and where I want to go this year. It’s been a lot of thinking and a lot of decision making. I think it must be something us artist-types have to do on a regular basis (probably everyone else, too)–evaluating where our plans are taking us, and trying to evaluate and course correct before we get too far from where our hearts really want us to go.

11-Crocus Over the break, I jumped in and made a Scrappy Tripalong quilt (it’s all the rage on Instagram, just check out hashtag #scrappytripalong, and follow me: amrosenthal–or I’m posting my pictures on my Facebook Page, too)–and as I’ve been working on it, I realized it’s the first quilt I’ve made just for fun, because I want to. Every other quilt I’ve made over the last 10 years has been as a gift, for a deadline, to show a pattern, etc. It was a strange realization. Pair that with the fact that I’m having so much fun making it, and I think I’m on to something. Creativity flourishes when it’s set free. If you’d like to make one, the tutorial is here.

This year, I’m excited to learn more, slow down, develop my personal style, and really marinate and become the person I want to be–do the things I’ve always wanted to do. If not now, when? Each month, I’m setting 5 goals (a la Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project), each month building on the previous. It sounds like a tall order, but when each goal is truly a delight to work on, I think it will be blissful and restorative.

10-Blooming-Pearl I’ve also joined in on a few other things that will help me Become (my One Little Word) who I want to be. I joined in on Fifth and Hazel and Ollibird’s 365 Pattern challenge. I’m creating a repeating pattern every day this year to move me toward one of my goals: cultivating the skills necessary to design fabric. I’m making a schedule and committing to blogging more regularly. (I hope you don’t mind). I’m using Project Life to document these fleeting days, weeks, and months. I’m picking up my Farmer’s Wife blocks again (Posts about these blocks: 1, 2, 3, 4.) I’m decorating my newly remodeled studio–my shelving gets put in Tuesday, and then pictures! I’m eating better, exercising early, and taking my vitamins and supplements (if you’re curious, I’m in love with my doTerra supplements). I’m keeping my family healthy, and enjoying these last few months before my kids start kindergarten. I’m trying to get up the guts to start up the IVF process again. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a year of nurturing and growth, for sure.

9-Tumblers And in case you think I’m forgetting you, my sweet friends, I’m most definitely not. Many of my goals revolve around sharing tutorials, creating a community, and learning more about my friends. That absolutely means we’re going to have lots of fun this year. Together.

What do you think, friends? Have you done any reevaluating yourself lately? Any creative (or other) goals for the new year? I’d love to hear them. Maybe we can help each other along.

xoxo
April

PS First up? That Block of the Month I hinted about in September. I can’t wait to show you. Who’s in?
PPS My Home for Harvest pattern is being featured on the Fat Quarter Shop’s Jolly Jabber blog today–go suggest a fabric line you’d like to make it in, and you are entered to win a $50 gift card. Score!



Christmas Day

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One of favorite days of the year. A day that I remember in hazy twinkle lights, and sparkling paper and overwhelming good.

Thank you for being born baby Jesus, and thank you even more for your life and your kindness and your patience with me.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be mommy to my sweet sweethearts, and a man that is better to me than I could have dreamed. So much love. I am grateful for my talents and the opportunity to do the things I love, and for the many many people who have encouraged and helped me along the way. I am so so thankful for the darling people who I have met through this blog, and their love and goodness. <—(that’s you)

I hope your holidays were filled with indescribable magic, love, and hazy twinkle lights.

All my love,
xoxo
April

PS More to come on the new patterns, and now that the recipients know about their gifts, I can tell you more about some of the handmade fun I made this year. Let’s just say it was the year of the quilts. We’ll talk soon.



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