Wednesday, August 31, 2011


That’s me, late. With the Tips & Tricks block for September that is.

I have the block all sewn.

Pictures are taken, not cropped.

But no words are written and it’s getting super late (there’s that word again) on 8/31.

The September bonus block is even sewn…nope, nothing written about that one yet either.

Forgive me, it’ll be up soon {please please}


Monday, August 29, 2011


It’s the morning after the remnants of Hurricane Irene passed thru our area (Albany, NY). It came thru as a tropical storm and wow, did it rain here! Lots of wind, too. It started Saturday nite and last thru the wee hours of this morning. The small town of East Greenbush that we live in was spared the worst, thank goodness. We had a couple leaks in our home and a semi-flooded basement, but that’s it. Many we know had mudslides, massive flooding, trees down in their yards, on their homes. 140,000 here in NY are without power, many roads are closed. My DH just called and said he’s turning around because 1. He can’t get to work with the road closures and 2. His partner just called him and said the office is powerless! We are blessed and feel so lucky that we were spared the worst.

Let me tell you how scared we were…as we prepared driving around our town Saturday, it was eerie to see windows taped and boarded up, shelves depleted of batteries, water, canned goods….these types of storms just don’t happen here.

Kmart before Irene hit

Last time we had a major event like this was in July 2008 and it was a fluke storm that downed three trees in our yard. That one started and finished in less than 5 minutes.

Storm damage 

So, as I count my many blessings this morning, I’ll be sewing a bit and hugging my kids and DH (our 18th wedding anniversary was also yesterday!)

Carrie and Sal Wedding

Posting this hoping you all and your loved ones are safe and healthy today. If you are cleaning up, I am sending wishes that it goes quickly for you and that life returns to normal very soon.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Potty training, Back-to-school and In-Laws visiting ~ oh my!

All at once, life has interrupted life….what?

Seems like everything is happening at once these past few weeks – it’s all GOOD, but super BUSY!

Love seeing my in-laws. They are wonderful people, and I’ve been so looking forward to hugging them. Their month-long visit from Florida is a welcome change to our summer.

It’s a task I’d rather not do, but I need to now sort thru the huge pile of my daughter’s 1st grade papers to make room for 2nd grade. Less than 2 weeks away is the start of our school year, and I so need to get organized for it. Have to also clean off the kitchen table so the kids can eat their breakfast in there away from the distraction of TV and toys. Our youngest also starts preschool. September 6th is going to be a tough day for this mom.

And then there’s the potty training. My son decided on his own to tell this unprepared mom that the diaper fairy came and took his diapers to the new babies. He had to learn to use the potty. We’re into day #13 and actually doing well, both of us. I’ve held my patience in check and he and I are both better for it!

In all of this I am trying to work on a bonus block for August {grin} and the September T&T block…have some ideas, just have to get moving on them.

Back to life…think I can fit a shower in today?


Monday, August 1, 2011

Tips & Tricks ~ August 2011 repost!

Edited 9/1/11: Blogger did it again, grrr….it ate up my post for the August T&T block! Doing a very quick repost now and will fix the photos soon. Check the PDF file under the Tips & Tricks tab to print these out….

It’s August! We’re midway through summer – whew! We’re just back literally, hours back, from our two week vacation to the beach. What a fantastic time we experienced! Hope you’re enjoying time with your family, too, whether home, away or something in between.

A new month brings a new block in our quilt along. For August, let’s do a Brilliant Star. I just love LOVE star blocks and this is near the tippiest toppest of my list! The star is meant to glow from the center out and radiate brilliance, so color placement is important.

Pick out your fabrics:

Pulling from my stash again, I found some plain muslin, and blues and purples I just had to use.

Here we go…

Light Blue: 4 each – 5” x 5” squares

Dark Blue: 8 each 3-1/2” squares

Light Purple: 4 each 3-1/2” squares

Dark Purple: 4 each 2” x 3-1/2” rectangles

Lightest (here I used the muslin): 1 each – 3-1/2”  square AND 8 each - 2” squares


This block pieces together SO FAST! Yay – more time to get out into the sunshine this month {big toothy grin}. Take out your blue fabrics, both light and dark. On the back of the dark squares, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner. TIP #1: I use a chalk pencil to mark the back of dark fabrics. Lead pencils just don’t show up very well unless it’s a light fabric.


Place the dark square in the corner of the larger light blue square… clip_image006

and sew 1/4” away from that line on either side. TIP #2: 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 clip_image008

Cut apart 1/4” away from the drawn line. Set the extra HST aside (we’ll use it in the final quilt top layout). clip_image010

Press open the corner... clip_image012

Place another 3-1/2” square on the opposite corner of the light square and repeat what we just did above… clip_image014


  Cut apart 1/4” along the drawn line, set the extra HST aside and press the corner open. clip_image018


Make 4 of these units and press well. Square to 5”. Set aside and let’s work on the purple units.

Pull out your light purple squares and the muslin 2” squares. Using a lead pencil, mark from corner to corner on the back of all 8 muslin squares. TIP #3: Use a mechanical lead pencil and you’ll always have a fine pencil line and not need to stop to sharpen it! clip_image022

Okay, remember what we just did above? Sew…let’s repeat it with a couple of easy adjustments. First, these units are smaller than the blue ones. Therefore, no extra HST unless you are really a glutton for punishment {hee hee}. Sew, place a muslin square on the corner of the purple square…and sew on the drawn line. clip_image026


Trim 1/4” away from that line… and press open. clip_image030


Now, here is the where the other adjustment comes in…place the next muslin square on the corner BELOW the one we just did. clip_image032

Proceed as we did earlier making 4 units. Square up to 3 1/2”. clip_image036


Sew the purple rectangle now to the 3 1/2” unit. See the photo for placement. clip_image038

And press open toward the darker fabric.

Let’s layout your block and piece together. First in rows and then the rows to each other. clip_image040

And here’s my completed block clip_image042

Don’t forget to post your block in our group photo album! Enjoy your August and eek – it’s almost back to school time! Enjoy this last month of summer break!


©2011, Carrie Graziano, crickets studio

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