Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tips & Tricks ~ December 2011

Wow – when did it become December? About eight days ago silly (yup, that’s me answering my own question!)

It’s time for the last LAST block for our Tips & Tricks sampler. You all have been so fantastic bearing with my tardiness these past few months. I am honored and humbled by all the emails of encouragement I’ve received since going back to work full time in October. Yup, I’m blessed. Super duper.

Sew, I pulled out all of my blocks, my big and little ones. We have six 6-1/2” blocks and eleven 12-1/2” blocks. Naturally, my first question was, “what is missing? A color, block pattern, something to fill everything in just right.”

zxdcvffdzaqwsdgg, qbkhwerty says my 3-1/2 year old son….he’s “helping” Mommie with this post.

What I realized is that all of you are asking that question, too. Each of our quilts are going to be very different, so what I may need to complete my top, you may not need. The December block will fit this perfectly…..


Drumroll please…..









The December block is…..










A Block of YOUR CHOICE! Yay! Yahoo! Yippee!

Really, I am not just copping out here. I had this plan, and in order to fill in what your quilt top may need, and to personalize it even more, you get to choose what your last block will be.

Here are my blocks:

Tips & Tricks December 2011

Right off I see I have only a smidge of red that shows predominately in one block . I need to use this color in this last block. I also see alot of medium blues, muted tones, and a good balance of darks. The light violet in the one block needs to be repeated somewhere, too.Another scrappy looking block would fit here nicely. Maybe one with some ample background.

You’d think I’d had already made my December block to show you. Nope. Simply haven’t had time and I don't wish to rush the process. It’ll get done and then I will show you the top layout I’ve been brainstorming. See, I really am working right along with you. None of this “planning ahead” stuff for me!

Also, trim your extra HSTs into 2-1/2” units. We’ll be using them in our final quilt top (of course, if you wish to use them in this 12th large block, go ahead!!!) We’ll be using 2-1/2” strips in our setting, too, so pull out some that fit into your color scheme. Don’t have exact measures yet. Just have some handy.

Lastly, add a signature to your 6-1/2” siggie block we made a few months ago. Here’s a tip – yay! Using a warm iron with no steam, press the siggie block to the shiny side of freezer paper. Then write on the light part of your block. The freezer paper give the fabric stability so you can write a but easier.

Lots to do, lots to do. I’ll get working on my December block – get working on yours! Can’t wait to see {hugs}.

Carrie Signature

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tips & Tricks ~ November 2011 (Really!!!)

I know, I am so super late with this block. I picked it out eons ago, and well, life got in the way. I think you’ll like it, and not just because I have finally gotten it sewn and posted for you. It’s a super easy and cute block!

What is it you ask? Wait no longer….it’s “Tennessee” found on Since I am sew sew late, the tips will be few affording you more time to get this month’s block before {yikes} the month is over!

What do you need?

Pull out your extra half square triangles (HST) pile and take out 6 that are 4-1/2” or larger. Trim to 4-1/2” square. Cut 3 each 4-1/2” squares of coordinating dark fabrics.

If you don’t have any or enough extra HST units, then just whip up what you need. See my post in my March post for directions using these fabrics:

Tips & Tricks November 2011

5” squares – 3 each in a light background fabric (can be scrappy or all the same)

5” squares – 3 each on a dark fabric (can be scrappy or all the same)

4-1/2” squares – 3 each of dark fabrics. Maybe use a charm pack, or spare parts left over after a project.

Tips & Tricks November 2011

Make up six HST and square up to 4-1/2”

Tips & Tricks November 2011

Layout as shown….

Tips & Tricks November 2011

Sew up into rows…. and then into your block – and you are done!

Tips & Tricks November 2011

Okay, so no tips or tricks this month, except one cool looking block. Hope that works for you {wink}.

Carrie Signature

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today is the day we celebrate our thankfulness.

And I am in so many ways. Every day.

Love your families today in whatever form they take.



Appreciate the moments.

Thank YOU for tuning in.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I’m late, I’m late, I’m late…

….and I missed an important date!

The Tips & Tricks quilt a long November block date, that is!

So, my new job is wonderful…and whoa, talk about full time. An 8 to 4 job outside my home, really cuts down on what I’m able to do in a day (or week for that matter!)

Not that I’m complainin’ because I know how very blessed I am to have found a job, a good job with great people when so many are still out of work.

And I have the best bloggie buddies that will wait for my November QAL block, right?

You’re the BEST!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tips & Tricks ~ October 2011 (and a surPRIZE, too!)

This month’s block is a wee bit late – thank you all sew very much for your patience. There is a little surprise at the end of this post, and I am hopeful that you all feel this block and your “prize” were worth the wait.

This month I am feeling my family’s support in my re-entering the traditional sit-at-a-desk-in-an-office workplace. I’ve worked my own direct sales business from home now for so long, that it’s upset the household and the family dynamic a bit (okay A LOT) and I’ve realized just how important it is to sit and enjoy my family. So, I picked our block to be Table for Four. It reminds me of my husband and two kids and I sitting around the dinner table catching up with each other after a day of being apart.

(I should note that the photos, well, aren’t the best. I have to work on this now in the evenings, and that is so not the best time to take pictures. Thx for bearing with me.)

The original pattern came from Quilter’s Cache and may be found here. In this pattern only two fabrics are used. I changed it up a bit to a scrappier look, and that changed the cutting directions, too.

So, here we go…

Pick your fabrics: Select from your stash a solid or tone on tone that will be your background. Then pull out a variety of medium and dark fabrics.

Tips & Tricks October 2011


4 each – 3 ½” x 4”rectangles

2 each 4 ½” squares

2 each 2” squares

1 each 3 ½” squareTips & Tricks October 2011


Medium and Dark Fabrics:

4 each 4 ½” squares

2 each 2” squares

8 each 1 ½” x 4” rectangles

4 each 1 ½” x 3 ½” rectangles

Tips & Tricks October 2011

Using a pencil, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of each 4 ½” and 2” background square.

Pair a background square with a colored squares of the same size right sides together.

Tips & Tricks October 2011

Sew a scant ¼” seam on either side of the draw line on all square pairs.

Tips & Tricks October 2011

TIP #1: Press all the squares once sewn. This helps to have more accurate cutting in the next step. Cut all squares apart on the drawn line.

Tips & Tricks October 2011

Press all HST units open to the darker fabric. You’ll now have 2 identical sets of HST.

Trim the four smaller ones to 1 ½” and set aside.

Tips & Tricks October 2011

Separate the larger HST into two piles each with different fabrics in them. Take one pile, untrimmed, and set it aside for your surprise. TIP #2: There is ALWAYS a way to use every bit of fabric we have! Trim the other set of four to 4” square.

Tips & Tricks October 2011

Layout your block using my photo as a guide. TIP #3: Double-check your layout before sewing! You’ll avoid problems later.

Tips & Tricks October 2011

Sew first into rows and then sew the rows together. Remember to press your seams so they nest together nicely. Trim to 12 ½” unfinished.

Tips & Tricks October 2011

Ta da! I just love this block – happily scrappy and fun!

Now, your SURPRIZE! October is a BONUS block month, and we will use some of our leftover HST units for it! Wa hoo!

I found this neat 6” block called Little Geese. It’s was a Block of the Day from Quilt-Pro Systems back in September. It’s perfect to use some of our extra HSTs that have been just waiting and waiting to be pieced into a block.

Tips & Tricks October 2011 BONUS

Sew, pull out those 4 HST from above, and 4 more from your “extra” pile.

Trim the all to 2 ½” square.

Cut one (1) 2 ½” square from a scrap piece of fabric to be your center.

Tips & Tricks October 2011 BONUS

Layout as shown in my photo, sew together into rows (being careful to match and next your seams). Sew your rows together and press.

Tips & Tricks October 2011 BONUS

Trim to 6 ½” unfinished. Here’s my block – what do you think? I mixed it up a bit by throwing some reds in there {wink}.

Congratulations! You now have six bonus blocks, 10 large blocks and one signature block.

Don’t forget to post your block in our group photo album! Enjoy the rest of October and Halloween – boo! Thanks for sewing with me!clip_image001

©2011, Carrie Graziano, crickets studio

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It’s my turn!

Yay! It’s my turn for my block to be posted for the Moose on the Porch Fat Quarter Quilt Along! So silly exciting, isn’t it? Mine is block #2.
It’s a cool block based on friendship and fun – I call it “Friendship Twist”. You just never know when a new friend will turn up thru all the twists and turns of life. Or, as in my case, a steady rock of a friend will shine brighter and delight, surprise and fill my heart with love in the blink of an eye.
I’ve recently found that out during my sudden babysitting job loss and then resulting search for a full time traditional desk job. The wonderful support of my friends and family, some friends I knew were awesome, and during my family crisis, they stepped up and showed me they could be even more amazing than ever!
I made it with Origins by Basic Grey for Moda. The soft colors represent the friends that hover in the background, quietly supporting and affirming your actions all the while waiting for the moment to come into the foreground and shine just for a moment, but at the exact right moment.
Fat Quarter Star Quilt Along
I dedicate this block to them. Without their encouragement I so could not have found a new really good job in only 27 days!
Sew, pop on over to see Konda’s blog and her wonderful new Quilt Along. It’s just started so it’s easy to catch up and win neat prizes, too.
Let me know if you’re joining the quilt along!
P.S. I’ve sewn up the October Tips & Tricks block and now have to type up the post. Thx sew very much for your patience!!!!! There’s a surprise in the post for you, too, for having to wait a while for this one…{grin}.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I am late with the October Tips & Tricks block. Sew very sorry! I've been job hunting all of September, and yes! I did find a job. A truly wonderful full time job doing what I'm really good at. I am really blessed. However, I've not worked in a traditional work place since having my kids. AND I only found out about the job this Thursday and I start this coming MONDAY! Eek! I have no professional clothes, only "mommie" clothes, have to get child-care squared away and who is picking up which kid when….in a bit of a pickle, but I'll work it out.

It's all good.

Even the mommie-guilt I am carrying around and I haven't even started the job yet.

Keep checking back – I'll get the October block up soon.

Really, I will.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yummy fabric

Fat Quarter Stars QAL

Just opened a fat quarter pack of Origins by Basic Grey for Moda. I’ve had it in my stash for a while (got it at an absolutely incredible sale). Konda over at Moose on the Porch Quilts asked me to be a designer in her new Fat Quarter Starts Quilt Along, and I just knew I had to break into this fat quarter pack for it!

Sew today, I am working on my block for the QAL…shhhh, it’s a well-kept secret, considering I haven’t even sewn it up yet – ha! My block is the 2nd block in the QAL and is scheduled to come out October 11. The quilt along starts on September 27 and new blocks are introduced every other week. Plus, there will be PRIZES!

After I make up my QAL block, I have to get back to job hunting and packing for my daughter’s weekend camping trip with the girl scouts. Last year’s camping trip was really wonderful. This year the forecast is for rain, but I’m sure we’ll still really enjoy ourselves.

What are you doing this weekend? Sewing? Scrapbooking? Playing with the family? Whatever it is, I hope you put yourself completely into it and have a super fun time!clip_image001

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tips & Tricks ~ September 2011 BONUS Block

Surprise! Here’s a 6” finished bonus block for you! Every quilt needs a label, and I thought this Signature Block fit the bill perfectly. You can use it in the front of your quilt top, or as a label on the back. Let’s wait until we have all the blocks done and see what happens.

I found this signature block on and adapted the directions – I am so not a template quilter, so I changed it up a bit. Since this is a bonus block, I won’t have as detailed instructions nor as many tips…we’ll have fun with this simple block!

Pick out your fabrics:

Pick two of your fave fabrics for the squares and a light solid for your “signature” part.


Favorite fabric squares: 2 each 5-1/4” squares, each one a different color.

Signature fabric (here I used the muslin): 1 each 4” x 11” strip

Let’s sew! Stack the two 5-1/4” squares and cut once diagonally from each corner to corner to make four quarter square triangles (QST). You’ll only need two of each for this block so save the others for another block or project.

Sew the QSTs right sides together in pairs using a scant 14” seam. Press to the darker side. See below for placement, make two the same. (please ignore the muslin in the photo….)


Fold the signature fabric strip in half long ways, open up, and line up the seam of one triangle unit with the fold…


Flip right sides together and sew a 1/4” seam. Press open with seams to the triangle unit.


Repeat for the other side…



Now we need to trim up the block to 6-1/2” unfinished. Use a square cutting ruler for this. Lay your ruler on the square lining up the bottom and left edges of the triangles units with the 6-3/4” markings. 



Trim the right and top edges. Pick up the ruler, turn the block 180 degrees and repeat, instead this time line up the bottom and left edges with the 6-1/2” markings. Trim the top and right edges even with the ruler.



Viola! You are done!


Remember to post your block in our group photo album! Enjoy your September BONUS!


©2011, Carrie Graziano, crickets studio

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tips & Tricks ~ September 2011

Whew! Wasn’t sure I’d get this T&T post typed up! August was a busy month, and adding Tropical Storm Irene to the mix last weekend, well, all of a sudden August was over. I actually finished sewing this block during the tropical storm – used it as an excuse to take my mind off of what may happen. Of course, I remembered to take photos, you’ll note they are a little wonky as the lighting in the house wasn’t great that day, but I so totally thought I’d already typed the directions. Surprise! I forgot to do that one small step {sheepish grin}.

We’re doing the block Louisiana this month. I found it on and adapted the directions a bit.

Pick out your fabrics:

I used my stash again, and wasn’t completely thrilled with the end result, but hey, it’s going in a sampler quilt, right? I am confident these colors and their combination will work out fine. TIP #1: Sometimes you just have to say, “what the heck” and roll with it.

Tips & Tricks September 2011

Small pinwheel fabric: 4 each 3-1/2” squares

Large pinwheel fabric: 4 each 3-1/2” x 6-1/2” rectangles

Background (here I used the muslin): 4 each 3-1/2” x 6-1/2” rectangles AND 4 each 3-1/2" squares

TIP #2: Aim for contrast not only in color, but also in scale. See how the background is a solid, the small pinwheel fabric is a marble (much like a small print) and the large pinwheel fabric is a large print. Say I were to use all large scale prints for this block – they’d fight each other and the block pattern wouldn’t stand out well at all.

Tips & Tricks September 2011

This is another quick block. Take out your squares, all 8 of them. On the back of the squares, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner.

Tips & Tricks Block September

Place the background square on the left side of the large pinwheel rectangle…

Tips & Tricks Block September

and sew 1/4” away from that line. TIP #3: And another repeat of the same ole’ tip…sew a second line 5/8” away from your first seam. This will result in an extra HST and not wasting the “unwanted” corners in the sew and flip method

Tips & Tricks Block September

Cut apart 1/4” away from the drawn line. Set the extra HST aside (we’ll use it in the final quilt top layout or maybe even a bonus block along the way).

Tips & Tricks Block September

Press open the corner...

Tips & Tricks Block September

Now place a small pinwheel square on the opposite corner of the light square noting that the guideline is now opposite the first square. Repeat what we just did above…

Tips & Tricks Block September

 Tips & Tricks Block September

Cut apart 1/4” along the drawn line, set the extra HST aside and press the corner open.Tips & Tricks Block September

Tips & Tricks Block September

Make 4 of these flying geese units and press well.

Next, take a background rectangle and a flying geese unit, layout and sew as shown. Wait! Don’t sew yet until you read Tip #4…

Tips & Tricks Block September

TIP #4: When sewing these together, sew with the flying geese unit on top so that you can see the stitching lines…you’ll want to sew your seam so it’s not only 1/4”, but also so it falls just a stitch width ABOVE the “X” formed by the previous seams…see my close-up below:

Tips & Tricks Block September

If you do this, you’ll end up with a nice sharp point like this…

Tips & Tricks Block September  

Make 4 of these unit and then layout your block. See? It’s a simple 4 patch to piece together now. Easy peasy, with one more tip before you sew….read on….

Tips & Tricks Block September

TIP #5: When placing these units rights sides together to sew your 1/4” seam, take time to match the seams as I have below. When you do this, your pinwheel center comes out perfectly. Also remember to sew one stitch width away from any “X” stitching to ensure sharp points.

Tips & Tricks Block September


And here’s my completed block

Tips & Tricks Block September

Don’t forget to post your block in our group photo album! Enjoy your September and back to school and apple picking season. I’ll be back soon with a BONUS block for you. Thanks for sewing with me!clip_image001

©2011, Carrie Graziano, crickets studio

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