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Silk Color Block Pillows - Feng Shui: A Mirror Image Four-Patch

Tuesday, 18 January 2011 9:00

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Feng Shui is the Chinese art of arranging your surroundings to promote balance and comfort within the patterns of yin and yang and the flow of chi. We arranged the second pillow within our Silk Color Block Pillows week to showcase a perfect balance of light and dark. The front and back are mirror images so when you look at the pillow from the side, the colors meet and match each other. The steps of this pillow are quite easy; it's the attention to detail and the patience to make sure all the seams align perfectly that create the beautiful balance. That... and a really sweet invisible zipper. Today's Chinese proverb is: A closed mind is like a closed book, just a block of wood.

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Silk Color Block Pillows - Good Fortune: Three Blocks & Four Buttons

Monday, 17 January 2011 9:00

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Welcome to our week of silk color block pillows, each one guaranteed to bring you good luck and long life... or at least to be fun and easy to make. Our first pillow is Good Fortune, which features a beautifully balanced trio of color blocks with a button-front closure. Breaking a square into three varied sections is pleasing to the eye; our four equal buttons then add a measure of even symmetry to the odd number of blocks. Here is your Chinese proverb for the day: A bit of fragrance clings
to the hand that gives flowers
.

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Sewing with Silk

Friday, 14 January 2011 9:00

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How can something so lovely come from something so icky?? Ohhhh... I'm going to get emails from the insect lovers on that one. But you have to admit it's pretty amazing how one of the world's most luxurious fabrics gets its start wrapped around a pupating silkworm, which actually isn't a true worm at all, it's the caterpillar of a moth in the Bombicidae family. One cocoon contains approximately 1,000 yards of silk filament. One thread consists of up to 48 individual silk filaments. A very picky eater (similar to my middle child, who I believe subsisted on Goldfish® crackers for nearly a year), the silkworm's diet consists solely of mulberry leaves. Starting Monday of next week, we have a series of beautiful color-blocked pillows made with rich silk dupioni. We thought you'd like to know a little history as well as some tips and tricks for successful sewing with silk.

Scrap It: The Angela Shoulder Bag

Thursday, 13 January 2011 9:00

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This cute tall and narrow tote is named after my very favorite Angela, my oldest daughter. She designed the bag with a bit o' help from her very favorite aunt. Together they created a simple yet stylish shoulder bag, using Angela's own stash of fave fabric scraps and cotton webbing for the strap. We thought it turned out so well, we asked the designer's permission to share it with you. She graciously agreed to let us re-create the bag, and even let us pick our own fabric. I guess the whole 'designer thing' hasn't gone to her head yet, causing her to throw scissors across the room and shriek, "Tell that Klum woman and Tim what's-his-name to get me some fabric I can work with!!! " If you want to make your very own Angela Bag, you get to pick your own fabric too... and no one will throw scissors at you – I promise.

Quick Tip: Deciphering The Marks on a Measuring Tape

Thursday, 06 January 2011 9:00

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A few weeks back, we got an interesting email that kind of knocked us for a loop. It was someone needing help figuring out what all those tiny marks are on a standard tape measure. What?!?! We deal in fractions every day and are forever measuring quarters and eighths and sixteenths and whatnot. It's completely second nature to me, but when I stepped back and looked at my trusty tape with the eyes of someone brand new to sewing, I saw she was right... there are a lot of marks with no identification. So, we came up with a handy chart to help decipher those little black lines, and thought it would be a good tip to share with everyone.

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Scrap It: Patchwork Pillow

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 9:00

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One easy way to use up odd-sized scraps of pretty fabric is to patchwork them together into an interesting pillow. Our Scrap It Patchwork Pillow is an example of one made using a grid. The design is the same on both the front and back, however, we turned one grid panel 90º to create an interesting effect when the pillow is viewed from the side. Our pillow shows off the fabulous new Central Park collection by Kate Spain for Moda, but the concept will work with any pile of scraps you think look good together. Just goes to show there is almost no cute little scrap without a future in one of your creations.

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Scrap It: Ruffled Hot Cup Jacket

Monday, 03 January 2011 9:00

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What's the number one sewing resolution for 2011? Get organized! We thought a great place to start would be to use up some of our scraps we can't bear to throw away, but which are starting to take up almost as much room as the new stuff. We have a series of fun projects this month called, 'Scap It' - the first one is our girly-girl reusable hot cup jacket for your morning coffee or tea. There are lots of patterns out there for this type of thing, but none with our signature touch: the ruffle! Skip that boring ol' cardboard sleeve and wake up your cup with a fun and frilly custom jacket.

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Liz's "Blissful" Triangle Mantle Cloth

Wednesday, 29 December 2010 9:00

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Life is not always square. Other geometric shapes sometimes waft through to give our brains a design challenge. I have a corner fireplace in one bedroom, which means the mantle is... a triangle. In addition, all the moldings in the house are very Arts & Crafts, so ruffles and frou-frou need not apply. After staring into the triangle corner for awhile, Alicia came up with a simple yet striking solution: a simple bound triangle with two drop panels to accentuate the heavy vertical design of the fireplace surround. Proving once again that, a) Alicia is smarter than me, and b) there's always a solution to your home décor challenge.

Love That Fabric: December

Tuesday, 28 December 2010 9:00

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I got my first peek at Amy Butler's newest collection, Soul Blossoms, in early May and have been drumming my fingers waiting for the day when I could get my hands on it. I've been dreaming of exotic billowy curtains for the master bedroom, an eclectic patchwork quilt for the bed where my two little kitties could snooze against a pile of throw pillows blooming in colorways of Bliss, Joy and Passion. Amy says she was influenced by her travels to India. "It's impossible to spend time in such a soulful place and not be inspired by the culture, rich colors, amazing textiles, and ornate architecture. I was instantly consumed by the heartbeat of everyday life and smitten with the beautiful way people expressed themselves. This collection is my interpretation of an enchanted, modern passage through the floral delights of India. Dreamy jewel toned prints in multi-hued flowers and designs - uplifting and passionate - weave together my ethnic inspired story."

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