Monday, September 26, 2016

Exploring Creativity: I would like to buy a vowel, please! + Tips!

This post is a part of the Exploring Creativity series. You can read all about it HERE. And HERE is the post sharing the pattern for this month, My First Alphabet.  

I have been in full on letter piecing mode, and that is the phrase that I keep thinking over and over again!

"I would like to buy a vowel"

Do you know what that's from? I feel like I might be just old enough to know it, so I'm curious to see who else does too.

Here are my completed letters so far. I made the easiest ones first! So I could feel like I was making fast progress. ;)  The rest are in progress and should be done soon

I have to say, with those tiny pieces on letters like B and R, it's harder to chain piece them. I just can't seem to do it! They are so intense that I just have to get through them as quickly as I can! How about you? Do you make one letter at a time? Or do you chain piece them?

We're at the last week of exploring the My First Alphabet pattern!! That went fast! :)

Have you linked up your projects? Just as a reminder, you can link up any project that you've made with this pattern! Even if you made it 3 years ago! Thanks to everyone who already has! It's fun to see the variety in what people make, and how they use the pattern.

Did you start working on a new project this month? How are you incorporating the letters into your projects? I'd love to see and hear about your experience!


As I've been working on my projects this month, I've learned a lot of new tricks and have really enjoyed using up my scraps that I've been keeping, but haven't been using. The smaller sections of the letters have been awesome scrap busters!! So if you feel overwhelmed by your scrap pile, print out a few letters and turn them into something scrap-tastic! ;)

Here's another new tip!

Tip: Using Dark Fabrics

I think it was on Instagram, someone commented on how they fold the paper back when they paper piece. I'm not exactly sure what they meant (if it was you, please share! I'd love to know more about your tip!), but as I was piecing with my dark fabrics, which can be so hard to see through for piecing, I decided to try folding my paper back. WOW! what a help that was!

So of course I'm going to share with you...

Even with my old school light table, it can be hard to see through dark fabrics to see where the sewing lines are on the pattern. It does help to close the blinds and make the room darker, but even then it can be difficult.

The next section will be on the right.

I drew over my next sewing line in red so you can see which one I am trying to see (it's to the right in the picture above - but it's too hard to see).

Fold back the paper exactly where the line is.

When you flip it back over, you can see very distinctly where the line is, because now the light can easily come from the fabric, instead of also being blocked by the paper.

If you glue baste, which I highly recommend!,  draw a thin line of glue to the side of the line as shown. (I usually don't use that much glue... oops. I mean I did it like that so you could clearly see where it is. yep. ha.)

Next, take the piece of fabric you will place there, and fold under the edge by 1/4". Crease the fold.  Align the crease on the "line", or in this case the line created by the shadow and the light, so the crease will be perfectly aligned with the sew line.

Carefully unfold the paper and make sure that the fabric is overlapping all of the edges of the section by at least 1/4", flip over the fabric and stitch on the sew line and continue like normal.

Wasn't that easy?! I love this technique of folding under the edge of the fabric and aligning the fold with the stitch line. It makes it really easy to align my fabric and takes out all of the guess work!! No more seam ripping, hooray! ;)

Happy Monday everyone!! I can't wait to see the projects that you finish up this week! Link up your finishes below! I'll announce the winner on Friday in my newsletter!

Share your projects below



Saturday, September 24, 2016

Zodiac BOM: Libra Block

I totally forgot to share my Libra block on Thursday. If you follow me anywhere else on social media, or read my newsletter, then you've probably already seen it, but I want to share it here anyway. (Because I'm on a blogging role!) ;)

 Prints are by Sandi Henderson and solids are Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman. 

I love how this block turned out and I really love the design. Here it is with my other blocks.

Only 3 more blocks!!! I can't believe it! 

I kind of had a hard time coloring this one on repeat. While I enjoy playing with these, I think I was kind of in a creative rut when I made these. Here's what I came up with. Everyone in my family liked a different one best, so I'm sharing them all. 

 I was trying to go fall with this one... :/

 Then I gave it one more go and came up with this... this one I love! I want to snuggle in it right now!

Which one is your favorite???

I think this design is definitely one that I would have to plan out in grey scale first, and then add color. I really LOVE the repeat design, but it's definitely a little more tricky to get it just right. Value seems to play a strong roll in this one!

You can still purchase the Zodiac Block of the Month pattern! But only until the end of the year... Sometime in December I'll be expiring the pattern, and I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet... though I do know the patterns will still be available after that, but not in the bundle that they are in now (which is a real steal of a deal!) Anyway, just letting you know in case you wanted to snag it while it's available.

I hope you are having a fabulous weekend!!!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Last Day for 40% OFF! Plus more Tips!

Hey! It's me, again! Look at all this blogging I'm doing. It's crazy sauce! ;) lol.

I just want to let you know really quick that
today is the last day for 40% OFF the 

Make sure to click on the drop down menu and select the 6 inch Alphabet option.  
(sale is for the 6 inch size only. no coupon necessary - which means for my Creative Explorer peeps, aka, if you are on my newsletter list, you just might have a coupon that you could add on to that for extra savings... if you're not on the list, you can sign up by clicking the button on the sidebar for an instant coupon! ;) Just saying.)


I wanted to also share my A's with you!

Aren't these pretty?! I'll be making a whole bunch of letters this weekend, so I'm glad to be starting off with good results and positive energy, which will hopefully help carry me through the rest of them... ;) (I have 82 letters for my 2 projects plus I decided to do an alphabet mini with the 6 inch letters and a pouch for my son, so that's another 26 letters plus 7. I have 3 done so far! but I'm not going to think about that. though I will think about how in all of those letters I only have 4 S's! so that's awesome! lol.) ;)

In the photo, from left to right: 6 inch letter from the new 6 inch alphabet, 3 inch letter from the original pattern, and a 2 inch letter which I shrunk down from the 3 inch pattern (I show you how to do that in this post).

As I was piecing my A's I did discover a new tip that I want to share with you as well! I'm pretty excited about this one! :)

If you know me, you know I LOVE using cutting templates when I paper piece. But cutting templates with these letters would be pretty ridiculous.

I shared one tip in my last post about cutting long strips for the letter sections. I'll tell you here how I figured out how wide to cut the strips: measure the width of the letter section, and then add 3/8 inch to each side,

width of the letter section + 3/4 inch = width to cut your strips

By letter section I mean the single line of the letter. You can see that in the A there are two different lines that come down each side of the letter, and then one small line that goes across. Find the width of one of those lines (or the height of the horizontal line).

Then cut those strips to length for the sections you are piecing. Super quick and easy!


Ok, that wasn't actually my tip. lol. Here's my tip:

Some sections are weird shaped and can be a little harder to figure out exactly where/how to fold your fabric to cover the entire section. Here's a super quick and easy way to get it right the first time WITHOUT needing to unpick anything!

First make sure that your fabric piece is large enough to cover the entire section PLUS 1/4" on all sides.

Lay it right side down on the BACK of the pattern template - the printed side. Align the fabric so it's aligned nicely with all the surrounding edges. Don't worry about the stitch line just yet.

Now fold the fabric to the back, or to the wrong side of the fabric, and align the fold with the stitch line, making sure not to shift the fabric (it still needs to cover all the other edges by at least a 1/4", or as in these images the seam allowance). Crease the fold.

Now flip the pattern template and fabric piece over so both are right sides up, keeping the fabric folded.

If you glue baste, draw a line of glue just to the inside of the stitch line.

With fabric still folded, align it on the stitch line so the edges cover all the edges of the section and overlap by a minimum of 1/4".

Unfold the fabric without letting it shift (this is why I like glue basting, it doesn't shift!) Then piece like normal.  Trim around the block, leaving the 1/4" seam allowance.

You'll have a little more fabric waste than you do when using cutting templates, but it's so quick and easy that it's ok! :)

While I'm sharing, here's a quick scale chart if you are starting out with the 6 inch pattern. REMEMBER, if you make the pattern smaller, you MUST adjust the seam allowances as they will be toooooo small. ;) (see this post for instructions). If you enlarge the pattern, the seam allowances will be too wide.

Alright... I'd love to stay and chat, but I have some letters to make!

Don't forget the sale!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Exploring Creativity: Sizing, Tips, a SALE! and Freebies!!

This post is a part of the Exploring Creativity series. You can read all about it HERE. And HERE is the post sharing the pattern for this month, My First Alphabet

Have you linked up your old projects using the My First Alphabet pattern yet? or tagged them on Instagram? (use tags: #fbpMyFirstAlphabet, #fbpExploreCreativity, and #fbpPatterns) Don't forget! The month is passing quickly! ;) (you can link them up at the bottom of this post for your chance to win $10 credit to my shop as well as $25 to Llama Fabrics! - and be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can know if you win!)

Here is a pouch I made a few years ago for my oldest.

If you're just starting on something now, how is it coming along??? Have you started yet? I have my letters printed and cut out, and I'll be starting tonight. (Is that bad that I haven't even started yet?? lol. too many things to do at once! I'll share those other things soon!)

If you haven't started yet, you're in luck!! I have some great freebies and info to share with you to help you along! Make sure to read to the bottom, because the good stuff is at the end!! ;)

First let's talk about sizing!

The My First Alphabet letters finish at 3 inches tall, and vary in width by letter (because "I" is definitely a lot narrower than "W" lol). If you want to shrink or enlarge the pattern, it's really not that hard, though there are a few things you'll want to do to adjust for the change in size.

Adjusting the size can definitely make for some really fun projects!!! You can make name pillows, monogram bags, make them smaller for coin purses or pincushions, pencil pouches. The options are seriously endless!

Let's talk technical for a moment:

You can change the size in the printing dialog box when you go to print. I print mine from Preview on my Mac, so that's where my screenshots are from. The print dialog box may be different on your computer, but the main features will be there, you just might need to look for them.

To keep the pattern at the correct size (3 inches tall), make sure that your settings are set to 100%, or it may say "no scale". 

If you would like to change the size of your pattern, here are some different percentages that you can scale your pattern to.

If you do scale your pattern by even the smallest amount, the seam allowance will no longer be an accurate 1/4 inch. Included in the pattern is instructions on how to adjust this. I did take a few pictures yesterday of when I made my pattern pieces 2 inch tall.

First I scaled down the pattern in the print dialog before printing to 67% and then printed it.

To adjust the seam allowance, align the 1/4" mark on your ruler with the INSIDE line (I drew over it in green) of the seam allowance (SA - the shaded area). Draw a line all the way down the side (it will be larger than the printed SA if you scaled down, and inside the SA if you scaled up).

*** Which reminds me. If you scaled your pattern larger, you really don't have to redraw the SA. Since it is big enough, it's easy to trim down once you are done piecing it. You will have more scraps left over, but it will save time. So pick your benefit, right?! :)

*** The reason why I highly recommend redrawing them if you scale down is because if you don't extend your fabrics far enough past the seam allowance, it's going to make for some real trouble when you go to join your letters or sew them to other fabric. I would fail miserably if I committed myself to remembering to add extra fabric around the outside as I pieced. I know that's how some people make their patterns and/or paper piece. And that's great if that works for you. But I want to use my brain as little as possible while I'm piecing to avoid messing up as much as possible. If I know my SA are accurate ahead of time, that's one less thing I have to think about while I'm piecing.

So... repeat that step of aligning your ruler with the inside line, and then drawing a line down the entire side of the pattern template, until you have done that on all sides.

Next I shade in all of the new SA so I know exactly what is what.

Then cut out around the SA. Now I have a 2" (finished) letter with a 1/4" SA.

For letters that have multiple sections, you'll need to print out a copy for each section, since the pieces are so close together the new SA will overlap (unless you didn't scale it down by much, they might still fit.)

Now you have small letters with an accurate seam allowance! Hooray!


Here's a tip. If you know me, you know I LOVE using cutting templates when I paper piece. But can you imagine cutting out cutting templates for all these letters? I only love them so much. ;)

To make piecing these letters easier, here's a quick tip:

All of the letter sections in this pattern are a pretty consistent width. This means that you can cut strips that are 1 1/4" wide or wider, and then cut those strips to length depending on the letter you are piecing. If you are using the same fabric for the letters, you can simply cut a few 1 1/4"+ strips, and go from there! It will save you time by not needing to stop and cut every step along the way. No one has time for that!

These strips will be enough to cover all of the vertical letter sections. I will need a few more strips for the horizontal sections. If you are using directional prints, but the fabric 1 1/4"+ tall, and then trim the width based on the section.

I hope that is helpful!

Now on to the good stuff!!


Especially if you are making a large phrase, it can be quite the task to figure out how many of each letter you need to print. And with the new pages in the pattern, with multiple copies of the same letter per page, it can be even more confusing to know which pages to print.

To make it easier for you I made this cute and simple Tally Sheet!

You simply write out your word(s) and/or phrase at the top (since I'm making two different projects I simply wrote them both at the top so I could print out all the letters at once).

Then, count up the total number of letters that you just wrote down.

Next, go through your word/phrase and tally how many of each letter you will need.

Then, add up all of those numbers. This number should match the number you wrote next to your phrase. If it doesn't, you'll know that you either missed some letters (if the number is lower) or you counted some numbers twice (if the number is higher). It's an easy way to check to make sure you counted all of the letters right.

Once the numbers are the same, check the box to make yourself feel good!! (because it made me feel good for knowing how to count and add! lol). :)

Simply click on the drop down menu and click on Letter Tally Sheet. Once it's up and it shows that it's FREE, you can easily add it to your cart and checkout!

Now that you can easily see how many letters you need, you can figure out which pages to print and how many. With the new page options in the pattern, you can easily use a combination of pages to get the letters you need! If you need a lot of E's, you can print the sheet with only E's. I only need 1 F and 1 G, so I will print the page that has D-G on it, instead of getting too many extra F's and G's.

 You get the idea. It's easy to look at the sheet and see how many of each letter you need, and go from there to figure out the best combination of pages to print. :)

If you end up printing extra pattern templates, simply store them in a sandwich bag for a later time! (It's a great pattern! I'm sure you'll want to use it again!) ;)

So I talked about shrinking the pattern, but I didn't really mention enlarging the pattern. That's because making the letters bigger, is much more of a hassle. At least in my PDF viewer, Preview on the Mac, I can't specify how my enlarged image fits in the printing area, so if I enlarge my pattern, it just centers it and I don't get any complete letters.

You can print them all out, cut them out, scan them all back in one by one and then scale/print from there, or even skip the scanning and just scale and copy the pattern templates. But that's a lot of work. If you like that kind of thing, awesome!! High fives all around.

But I don't like work. (Ok, I do, but not unnecessary work.) So here's what I decided to do instead...

I made a 6 inch version of the My First Alphabet pattern!!!


Yep. I went ahead and scaled the pattern templates up, cleaned them up even more, and now they are available to you in a 6 inch size! You can still scale them down to get a smaller size, but I also made them centered on the page so you can easily enlarge them to an even bigger size if you want!

I get that you might already own the pattern, and maybe you don't want to pay full price for the same pattern, so here's what I'm going to do...

For a very limited time, like until this Friday, I am going to offer this pattern for 40% off!! That's crazy good! I never, or very very rarely ever offer patterns at that kind of discount.

So, if you think you'd like to make something with the larger pattern without the work, here's your chance to make your crafting life a lot easier. BUT you definitely don't have to. Like I said, it's very possible to do this with the 3 inch version, but I just figured that perhaps some people would enjoy this new option. :)

Get your 6 inch My First Alphabet pattern for 40% off 
until Friday at midnight PST


Alright, that was a lot of info in one post! I'll get better at breaking things up more, but I didn't want to put off any of that any longer since the month is zooming by! 

Thanks for reading and sharing your makes!!