Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It doesn't get any better than this...

Aahhhhh...hand applique on a perfect west Michigan afternoon, listening to fantastic music on the last day of Session One of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.  Yep...I had to actually leave home to get some sewing done this summer!  I was just hanging out in the 'cheap seats,' stitching and enjoying the perfect place to applique until my daughter's Symphony Band was ready to play.  Then we moved up to good seats and enjoyed a fabulous concert with all the other adoring parents and grandparents.

Before leaving home, I had hastily prepped some of my Blackbird Design basket blocks and placed them in my "Magic Box" with needles, thread, scissors, beeswax and my thimble.  I had everything I needed for a good time.  It was Heaven!


To prep the blocks, I glue basted everything together using my light box and my Roxanne's Glue Baste.

First, I placed my placement guide on the light box, lined up a background square on top, then used my pattern weights to hold everything steady.  This is what it looked like before I turned the light box on.

Now the light box is on and the placement guide shows up nicely.

Next, I put tiny dots of Roxanne's Glue Baste on the background fabric where the basket handle will go.  Can you see the tiny dots?  Remember, "dot-dot-not-a lot!"

After placing the handle, I applied tiny dots of glue on the background around the edges where the basket went (and around the edges of the peep hole!).  Once pressed in place, I set this aside to dry and prepped another block.  I am careful not to put the glue dots right at the edge of the outline...I don't want to have to stitch through the dried glue when I come back and make my applique stitches.  I only glue to hold things in place temporarily so that I don't have to work with pins.

All ready for hand applique!  Once appliqued, I will soak the block in water to remove the glue, then press it dry with my iron on the WRONG SIDE (dry iron, no steam), working on a towel placed on my pressing surface.  Once dry and pressed, I trim the basket block to 5 1/2 inches square.

nce the glue dries, into the Magic Box it goes until I have about 10-15 minutes to stitch it (and a few of its friends...).

While on the west side of the state, I had the opportunity to visit a new quilt shop (new to me, anyway...).  The shop is called "Fabric Quilt Scissors" and it is located in a charming little town called New Era, just northeast of Whitehall, where my husband and I were staying while waiting to pick up our daughter from music camp (not far from Muskegon, MI).  It was not in my Quilters Travel Companion...I asked the Innkeeper where we were staying if she knew of any quilt shops in the area.  She had hosted a quilt retreat recently, and the quilters attending had nice things to say about this shop.  I programmed "New Era, MI" into my GPS, and off I went, looking for an adventure!

What I found was a charming shop!  New Era is about 2 blocks long, and this shop was right in the middle of town.  I noticed there was a nice bakery right across the street, but since I'm dieting, I steered clear of THAT little adventure...

The shop is bright, cheerful, and full of fabric and project temptation!  Owner Kathy Szczesny (pronounced "chez-ny") carries a nice variety of fabrics...batiks, modern, baby, kids, brights, florals, color blenders, northwoods, novelties, patriotic.  There were plenty of patterns, books and notions to temp me as well.

The back room hosts more fabric, samples and a classroom.

I loved the Amy Bradley bug sample...

I gave into temptation many times, but by FAR, my favorite fabric purchased was this glow-in-the-dark piece from the "SKELETOONS" collection by Mark Hordyszynski for Blank Fabrics.  Fun, fun, FUN!

I love the colorful sneakers!

So, if you find yourself near the coast of west Michigan, check out Fabric Quilt Scissors, located at 4708 1st Street, New Era, MI, 49446, (888) 861-4646 (http://www.fabricquiltscissors.net/).  When visiting new places, don't be afraid to ask the "locals" about quilt shops...there are lots of charming shops that aren't listed in the travel companions.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. Love a shop with lots of open floor space - not cramped. Just think those skeletons are the bomg and yes, the sneakers are the statement.

  2. Hi Teresa - I've never done any of the handwork like you do. Can you direct me to a good source to learn to do what you did with the baskets? I think that's totally awesome looking.

    And love the skeletons, and glad you showed it to us. I'm going to see if I can find some. Both of my daughters (I have 34 year old twin daughters) love Halloween. It's their favorite holiday. And I know they'd love to have a quilt that features some of that glow in the dark skeleton fabric. Too, too cute!

  3. How nice to be able to go to a Blue Lake concert. :D

    I need to get a better container for applique work - I have a project I want to start, but no good carrying case. . .

  4. Your baskets are beautiful! I love to applique outside - the lighting is excellent :0)

  5. Love the little baskets. Where can I find a light box like yours?

  6. I was in this shop last summer!!! It was great, people very friendly- I bought a kit by Minick and Simpson~ waiting to be made!
    Thanks for the re-visit!

  7. What a wonderful place to sit and sew!! I bet the music was fantastic :0) I have found some great shops by asking the locals too...always a great adventure.


  8. A great idea to take your sewing with you. Glad you found a great shop too!

  9. Question. Once you set the glue, it will stay until you are ready to stitch it? How long will it stay?

  10. looks like a great time to me.

  11. im an jelous of the west michigan summer day. I grew up in michigan but live in texas now.... when temps are 110... i miss those cooler breezy days!

  12. Those little basket blocks are a great take along project and what a nice place to do some. The shop looks lovely.

  13. Your baskets always turn out so nice. I tried one a month or so ago and I couldn't get it to cooperate. I will have to try your method.
    I'm glad you like FQS shop. You have one of my quilts in your second picture. We did a hst exchange at the shop and Kathy hung my quilt to show it off. (It's the one by the window).
    Thanks for sharing your fun!


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