Design 1

Out of the Box
with Easy Blocks
Fun with Free-Form Piecing
Mary Lou Weidman and Melanie Bautista McFarland
Lift the lid on creativity! Using step-by-step instructions, learn to make out-of-the-box blocks, square them up, and fit them together in a dynamic border or quilt top. • Treat yourself to patterns for 13 whimsical blocks and seven colorful quilts. • Make pictorial blocks, such as cats, shoes, Summer Ice Pops, and letters, as well as wonky traditional blocks, such as Nine Patch and Stars.
• Enjoy confidence-building projects that anyone can create.
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Out of the Box with...

Lessons my book taught me

Well, nothing like a good lesson… made all the better when you can self-teach.  Lately, Ive been reaching into my book, “Out Of the Box With Easy Blocks,” and making a block to two that I either hadn’t before (because Mary Lou did & I didn’t have to) or I was just out of practice.  Recently, I made the star block, from the princess quilt, “Her Royal Highness,” pages 58 – 66.  The star is at the tip of her wand.  This is a different way to construct a star, with fewer seams (and I think, less fabric!)  Here are some step-by-step photos that might explain the process better.
First, I draw the shape of the star I...

Sewing Joy (or completing a long-put-off project)

OK, so I am a procrastinator.  This I have know about myself for much of my life: “always put off til tomorrow what you don’t want to do today!”  That is, until I began my professional career and quickly found that research for a meeting 6 days away was almost always moved to the next day.  Then I relied on my back up motto, “Be prepared,” just like the Girl Scouts.  For nearly nine months, I’ve been sitting on some beautiful outdoor Sunbrella fabric, all fourteen yards of it.  I just couldn’t bring myself to cut into its beauty.  Plus, finding the time and space to lay it all out and “measure twice, cut once!”  Whew!  I knew once...

Inspirational Shopping

Sometimes I have the urge to shop, but I really have to be in the mood.  My husband, Jeff is the REAL shopper.  We both can’t spend at his level, but we can try.  As a former fashion industry insider, I love both finished garments and fabric for ready-to-make clothes and home projects.  I find myself in Anthropologie, not only looking at the clothes, but the kitchen & domestic art stuff too. Their soft all-cotton dishtowels are appliquéd and embroidered and difficult to resist.  Featured designs include stamped and ric-rac embellished birds, calico cakes, pies and muffins, and even a few fabric dogs.  But...

Momen+ and the Mailsack

When I’m in my sewing room, I’m often conflicted about which sewing projects to work on.  While I love quilting, I also enjoy sewing all kinds of projects.  It’s all good, isn’t it, spending time doing work you love in a place you love to be?  Well, I probably don’t need justification. My conflict lies in devoting time to projects that are NOT quilts. Some of my diversions include making aprons and bags.  I picked up this patternfrom one of my all-time favorite quilt shops, The Back Porch, in Pacific Grove, California.  It’s a cross-body bag in two sizes, by Pink Chalk...

Mel’s First Blog

So, here I am new to blogging.  Can’t help but feel I’m a little behind (the “8 ball?”)  While this is a new format for me, I’m not new to sewing and quilting.  That has held me captive for many years, since I was 10 at least.  Sewing is my soul, my meditation & relaxation. Maybe, sewing is my very being.  But then you would think me dramatic, yet I’m not.  I just LOVE to sew – all day long, if I could!  We all have to stop & eat and get out of the chair once in a while.  And my family usually asks for a meal now and again.  Not sure they know I am an “artist!”
I’ve been thinking lately, of how creative I was in my early...

Hipster New Year

Happy New Year to All!
Well, now we know I’m not the most prolific blogger, darn!  Something to work on for a New Years’ resolution, eh?  I read recently that if you are going to blog, you should do it everyday.  Here’s hoping for more frequent, but perhaps shorter, blog posts.
My immediate family of four spent a few last days of 2011 in Palm Springs, California.  It’s just a short drive for us, but a fast track back in time.  The area is exploding with vintage 1950′s, 60′s & 70′s era architecture, clothing, and furnishings. It’s fun to just walk around town, with your eyes peeled and your camera at the ready. ...