Wednesday, May 25, 2016

grow, Grow, GROW!

Grow: to become better or improved in some way. My mantra for this summer.

"Grow" Garden Sign by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I am participating in the New Quilt Bloggers group again this year. I learned so much last year and wanted to continue to grow and improve my blog, my interactions with other bloggers, and my online friendships. One of the first things we do in this group is to critique each others blogs and provide ideas of ways to improve our blogs. Today was my turn for the blog critique. After last year's critique, I completely revamped my blog based on all the helpful tips and comments. After today's critiques, I have a few things I want to tweek and will be making some subtle changes over the next few weeks. I almost hate to throw this out there, but if you have ideas to improve my blog, please comment and share. Just remember to be kind:)

I also want to grow my knowledge about fabric designing and pattern writing. It's been a goal for quite some time now but I seem to get sidetracked by all the quilt alongs, blog tours, swaps, and social media in general. I have two blog tour commitments in June and July, but I'm going to resist committing to any more so that I can dedicate some time to this goal. I'm writing this down here so you all will keep me focused and on target!

And after working in my yard all afternoon watering, weeding and mowing, I am hoping all my work will help it grow into a beautiful oasis. Ha! I'm really just hoping that it stays alive and survives the summer. I discovered today one large pot that I planted a couple of weeks ago has already become a victim of the rabbits that think my flower pots are their salad bar!

This post could grow exponentially with all the things I really need to become better at (time management) or improve upon (weight), but we'll leave it at this short list;)


P.S. I did take a creative break this afternoon between mowing and pulling weeds to make the "Grow" garden sign above. A reminder for me to continue to grow - personally and creatively.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pat Bravo Minis Blog Tour Winner

Drum roll please......
Pat Bravo Minis Blog Tour Giveaway Winner by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Congrats Quilting Tangent! You are the winner of my Fat 8th Bundle of Pat Bravo Fabrics (plus the scraps left over from my mini)!!!

Giveaway Drawing Results on Thistle Thicket Studio.
The winner was selected using Quilting Tangent, please email me your mailing address within the next three days. If I don't hear from you by then, a new winner will be drawn on Monday.

Thank you to everyone who visited my blog during the Minis Blog Tour and to everyone who left a comment. I really appreciate your support!

UPDATE: Quilting Tangent never responded so I drew a new winner. Congratulations to Kathy H. We've already been in contact with each other & the Pat Bravo fabric bundle will be on its way to her soon.


Friday, May 13, 2016

What's Up In My Studio

Wow, where has the week gone! Seems I've been quite busy but don't have much to show for it, but I thought I'd share anyway.

Spell It With Moda Blocks by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I've been spending most of my time working on my 'recipe' post for Moda Bake Shop that will be featured on May 26. I'm really excited to share my "Howdy Y'all" quilt and tutorial on my Cowboy Boot block. I am honored to have been selected as one of the co-hosts of Moda Bake Shop's Birthday QAL celebrating their 7th year.  Each co-host has or will be featured on MBS with a filler block tutorial and their quilt using Moda's "Spell It With Fabric" letter patterns. You can get some great ideas on how to use the letter blocks on Moda Bake Shop under the Events tab. I also shared an idea earlier this year for Monogram Pillows using the letter blocks. These blocks are really quick & easy to make so it's not too late to join in the fun!

Medallion Quilt Progress by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I took a break from working on my "Howdy Ya'll" quilt to work on my quilt guild's medallion quilt challenge this week before our meeting. I only got one corner completed as it took me awhile to figure out the math to determine my setting triangle measurements. But now that I have it figured out, I'm hoping the other three corners will go faster - unless I forget what I did by the time I get back around to working on it again! I guess it's a hazard of being a quilter with too many works in progress!

Barn Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I also spent some time working on a quilt block of a different sort. Next week, my quilting friends are getting together to paint barn quilts and we have to have our boards primed and ready to paint the designs on prior to getting together. Well, once I got started, I couldn't stop and have finished my first one (except for the frame). So now I've decided to make two more, all in the same red, gray & white color scheme, to hang on the front of one of our barns. Stay tuned for a future tutorial on how to make your own!

Tin Can Sunflower by Thistle Thicket Studio.
A few days ago, I went with the hubby down to one of our fields where his great aunt's original homestead is located. There isn't much there anymore but I managed to find a few rusty metal pieces - a tin can, an oil can lid & some old hinges - that I brought home with visions of a flower plant stake. It's primitive, I'll admit, and my husband can't see the beauty in it, but I love it! Doesn't it look cute out in the wheat field?

Toy Sewing Machines by Thistle Thicket Studio.
Last weekend my mom & I went to an antique auction & look what followed me home! Not one, but two, vintage little toy sewing machines! Aren't they cute too?

Irises by Thistle Thicket Studio.
The rest of my week has been spent on the mower or pulling weeds. Not my favorite things to do (although our zero-turn riding lawn mower is pretty fun to drive!). But, I am enjoying these irises, the first flowers of spring in my yard. Oh, and I planted flowers in all of my patio pots - 16 in all. My patios look so pretty now!

I better get back to that "Howdy Y'all" quilt. May 26th will be here before I know it! Have a great quilty week y'all!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Road Trippin': Sparks Antique Flea Market & Missouri Star Quilt Co.

My mom is my best friend & I love to go places with her. We have the same interests (junking & quilting, among others) and the same shopping style. So when I want to go on a road trip that the hubby isn't interested in, my mom is my go-to gal. There are places to see & things to do that are on my bucket list & this weekend my mom & I marked a couple of them off my list.

One of those bucket list items was the Sparks Antique Flea Market in Sparks, Kansas, population 9. Midwest Living Magazine called it a 'can't miss' flea market that attracts 75,000 people during the 4-day event each spring and fall. I can't believe I've lived in Kansas for more years than I want to say (a girl has to keep some secrets!) and I haven't been to Sparks!

Sparks Antique Flea Market on Thistle Thicket Studio.
So mom & I hit the road last week to remedy the situation. Sparks sits at a Y in the road and is home to a couple of occupied homes and a few vacant houses. We would have missed it except for the cars that lined the ditches along the highway.

Sparks Antique Flea Market on Thistle Thicket Studio.
Most of Kansas has been blessed with rain the past week and northeast Kansas was no exception, which made for a muddy mess at Sparks. It was cold & damp (Hey weather, don't you know it's May?!). But that didn't scare the shoppers, although I think it did keep a few vendors away.

Sparks Antique Flea Market on Thistle Thicket Studio.
Mom and I spent the day wading through the mud to scour the 450 vendor booths looking for hidden treasures.

Sparks Antique Flea Market on Thistle Thicket Studio.
I hit the yardstick jackpot in Sparks (you know how I love yardsticks!) and came home with my fair share.

Sparks Antique Flea Market on Thistle Thicket Studio.
And I came home with an upcycling idea or two also. I loved these wagon carts using old iron wheels.

Sparks Antique Flea Market on Thistle Thicket Studio.
At the end of the day, we had walked a little over 6 miles and found a few treasures. A few of my favorites were some vintage sewing notions and buttons, little vintage Shiny Brite balls, some feedsack fabric, a doily in my favorite green color, and of course, yardsticks!

On day 2, we hit up White Cloud, just down the road from Sparks, which also has a flea market on the same weekend. It was much smaller and by mid-morning we had seen it all and hit the road to visit a few quilt shops in the area. We were just getting primed for my next bucket list item - Missouri Star Quilt Co.!

Missouri Star Quilt Co. on Thistle Thicket Studio.
With my economic development background, Missouri Star Quilt Co.'s story just amazes me (check out these articles in Inc. Magazine and Business Insider) and I've been wanting to see this quilting wonder for quite some time. Located in Hamilton, Missouri, MSQC fills 10 or 11 (I lost count) of the downtown buildings on main street.

Missouri Star Quilt Co. on Thistle Thicket Studio.
Each building houses a different themed shop - batiks, florals, reproductions, modern, licensed fabrics, juvenile, holiday, etc. Each shop was so inviting and spacious, and decorated so cute.

Missouri Star Quilt Co. on Thistle Thicket Studio.
The 'Machine Shed' housed notions - threads, rulers and more.

Missouri Star Quilt Co. on Thistle Thicket Studio.
The 'Modern Shop' had a hip, retro vibe.

MSQC thought of everything! They even have a man cave for the hubbies to hang out in while the wives shop - or for tired quilters who need to prop their feet up!

Quilting Finds by Thistle Thicket Studio.
I managed to bring home my share of quilting supplies from our quilt shop stops, including some Lori Holt Calico Days fabric & her Aurifil thread collection for my Bloom quilt that I haven't started; some Paw Patrol fabric to make zipper bags for my grandson; some Bobbins & Bits selvedge print fabric by Pat Sloan; MSQC Mod Block magazine; some cute trim; a charm pack or two; and what I'm most excited about - some fabric dye to try my hand at ice dyeing (I feel a new blog post coming in the near future).

I always have a good time with my mom and this road trip was no exception. Thanks mom for being my best friend! Hmmm, wonder what I can come up with for our next road trip? Any suggestions to add to my bucket list?


Friday, April 29, 2016

The Pat Bravo Minis Blog Tour + Giveaway

Welcome! I'm so pleased that you stopped by my blog today! I'm honored that Pat Bravo invited me to participate in her Minis Blog Tour and excited to share my mini "Whirl & Twirl" quilt with you.
Whirl & Twirl by Thistle Thicket Studio.

This blog tour is featuring two of Pat's fabric collections, Dare & EssentialsII, with Art Gallery Fabrics. Truthfully, I had never sewn with AGF fabrics so I jumped at this chance and so happy I did. The fabrics have a wonderful weave making them so luxurious and great to work with. And the bright colors and bold designs of Pat's fabrics are so fun! Check out the Dare LookBook and the EssentialsII LookBook for some great eye candy and lots of ideas of how to use these fabrics! (Be sure to check out Pat's blog and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest too!) Pat provided a bundle of fat 8ths in a mix of Dare & Essentials II fabrics for me to work with. Lots of blues and a pop of pink. Perfect!
Pat Bravo Dare Fabrics and Essentials II Fabrics on Thistle Thicket Studio.

If you've stopped by my blog lately, you know I've been playing with designing blocks that create secondary patterns. I continued that exploration with this mini. The blue pinwheels in the final design reminds me of the many windmills that have dotted the western Kansas landscape for 100+ years, while the pink blades reminds me of the wind turbines that have graced that same landscape in more recent years. Although the wind wasn't cooperating in this photo, I love how the quilting really shows up in it!
Whirl & Twirl Mini Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.

The block I designed for this mini is so quick and easy to make. For one block, cut:
  • 1 - 1" x 1" square (blade pinwheel)
  • 1 - 1" x 3 1/2" rectangle (blade)
  • 1 - 2" x 3 1/2" rectangle (background)
  • 1 - 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangle (background)
  • 1 - 1 1/2" square (pinwheel A - light color)
  • 1 - 1 1/2" square (pinwheel B - dark color)
Whirl & Twirl Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Blade Section: Draw a diagonal line on the back of the 1" square. With right sides together, layer the 1" square on top of the end of the 1" x 3 1/2" rectangle as shown below. Sew on the line, trim seam allowance to 1/4" and press. 
Whirl & Twirl Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Pinwheel Section: Draw a diagonal line on the back of the 1 1/2" light color square. With right sides together, layer the square on top of the 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" background rectangle as shown below. Sew on the line, trim seam allowance to 1/4" and press.
Whirl & Twirl Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the 1 1/2" dark colored square. With right sides together, layer the square on top of the 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" background/triangle as shown below. Sew on the line, trim seam allowance to 1/4" and press.
Whirl & Twirl Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Sew the 1" x 3 1/2" blade section & the 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" pinwheel section to either side of the 2" x 3 1/2" background rectangle as shown below, using a 1/4" seam. Press.
Whirl & Twirl Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Your completed block should measure 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" (3" x 3" finished).
Whirl & Twirl Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.

I used three different background fabrics since this design required more than the fat 8th provided and I love the scrappy look of the finished quilt.
Whirl & Twirl Block Tutorial by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Make 36 blocks for this 18" x 18" mini quilt. Rotate the blocks to create the blades and pinwheels. I selected all small prints to make my mini....
Whirl & Twirl Mini Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.

...then used some of the larger, bolder prints for the backing.
Whirl & Twirl Mini Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.

Be sure to stop by Pat's blog for all the details about The Minis Blog Tour and also visit each of the other bloggers to see their minis:

April 27th - A Crafty Fox and SnickerDoodleStew
April 28th - Why Not Sew and Anjeanette Klinder
April 29th - The Little Bird Designs and Thistle Thicket Studio (That's Me!)
May 2nd - Christine Blessing and TinCat13
May 3rd - My Crowded Nest and Sewn Modern
May 4th - Sarana Ave and Storts Market
May 6th - Kate Basti and ModernMakerie
May 11th - FortheLoveofFabric and t_jaye
May 16th - A Recap by Pat Bravo

And now, if you've made it this far, be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win these 6 Fat 8ths of Pat Bravo's fabric!
Pat Bravo Fabric on Thistle Thicket Studio.

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed your stop, you can follow me at all the usual places by clicking on the links at the top of the right-hand column of this blog:)


Disclaimer: Giveaway is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Blogger. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Blogger of responsibility, and agree to Blogger's terms of use. No purchase necessary to win. Open to legal residents in the contiguous US only that are 18+ years of age. Giveaway starts at 12:00am CDT April 29, 2016 and ends at 11:59pm CDT on May 16, 2016. Winner will receive 6 pieces of fabric with approximate size of 9" x 18" with a retail value of approximately $10. Odds of winning determined by number of eligible entries received. How to enter: leave a comment on this post. One comment per person. Duplicate comments will be deleted. Winner will be chosen by on May 17, 2016 from all eligible entries and notified by email. If prize is unclaimed after three days, a new winner will be chosen by Winner is responsible for paying any taxes related to the prize. By entering this giveaway, you release Thistle Thicket Studio from any liability whatsoever. Void where prohibited by law.

Second disclaimer: I received all fabrics for free in exchange for making a mini quilt and blogging about it as part of a blog hop. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pat Bravo's Minis Blog Tour Starts Today!

I'm so excited to be a part of Pat Bravo's Minis Blog Tour that starts today. Pat is a fabric designer for Art Gallery Fabrics and she invited 30 quilt bloggers to make mini quilts with her latest fabric collections: Dare and EssentialsII. Those 30 bloggers will be sharing their minis over the next three weeks. You can find all the details and links to each of the bloggers at Pat's blog here. I'll be sharing my mini on Friday, April 29. So, stop back by on Friday for the tutorial for my mini and details on the giveaway of 6 fat 8ths of Pat's fabric!


Friday, April 15, 2016

B&C Log Cabin Swap Quilt Done!

I finally got around to quilting my Bonnie & Camille Log Cabin Swap Quilt this week. This is the first online swap that I've participated in and I'm very happy with the results. Of course, I love Bonnie & Camille fabrics so anything made with them would make me happy.
Bonnie & Camille Log Cabin Swap Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
This was a swap on Instagram hosted by Samantha (@samanthaleeolsen) and Riann (@riann_g) and when they posted the invite last August, they were hoping for 11 people to participate. In less than 24 hours, they were overwhelmed with more than 200 participants! They did an awesome job with the swap too. It was so popular, a second swap was held last winter. Lissa Alexander, Director of Marketing at Moda, hosted the original Log Cabin Swap with a group of Moda designers last summer. You can find her instructions to make the blocks here.
It was fun seeing all the different layout designs people came up with. I opted for the traditional log cabin layout - but with a twist. I had a few charm squares leftover, so I made pinwheel diamonds in the corners of the log cabin blocks. I used an edge-2-edge design to quilt it but trimmed out the pinwheel diamonds and used a spikey fill in those. The quilt is so busy, though, that you really don't see the quilting.
Bonnie & Camille Log Cabin Swap Quilt by Thistle Thicket Studio.
The quilt ended up being 57" x 77", a great throw size. And check out that binding. I just love a stripey binding! Is 'stripey' a word?
Just to keep it real - not everything went perfectly. Out of the 36 blocks that I received back from the swap, I had to remake, repair, replace fabrics, etc. on 8 of the blocks due to holes, frayed seams, or spliced fabrics that just bugged me. Maybe I'm too picky! I was kind of disappointed at first, but it really didn't take that long to fix the issues. The fun part was a couple of people tagged their blocks so you could see where they came from. Wish I would have thought of that! And I received back blocks with a great mix of Bonnie & Camille fabrics that I would never have been able to accrue!
Have you participated in an online swap? What was your experience? The good experiences far out-weighted the bad (and it really wasn't that bad) for my first swap and I may consider another swap in the future - if I ever get caught up on what I've got going on right now in my sewing room. Who am I kidding! Do quilters really ever get caught up?!
P.S. This is also my first finish for the Q2 Finish-A-Long so I'll be linking this up at the end of the quarter. I'm also linking it up to TGIFF! (Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday).