Friday, December 9, 2011

Quilt Gallery's Blog Hop Party-Spreading Some Cheer

Blog Hop Party


December 9-17, 2011


I hope all of you know Michelle from The Quilting Gallery....if you don't...now is as good of a time as any to become familiar with Michelle and The Quilting Gallery!  She has put together this wonderful event as well as so many other great events...visit The Quilting Gallery and check out all the wonderful events and resources she offers.

IHAN is participating....who could resist a fun Blog Hop that includes Giveaways especially during the Holidays....Not me!!  There are well over 200 participants from 20 countries participating. 

For all of you have never been to the IHAN Blog...WELCOME :)  My name is Kelly Jackson and I am the author of this Blog as well as the owner of I Have A Notion (aka IHAN) a web-based Quilting, Machine Embroidery and Needle Art Supply shop.  The focus of my blog is reviewing quilting, machine embroidery, and needle art notions, books and patterns.  If that sounds interesting to you, feel free to click the "follow" button on the sidebar and you'll be able to keep up with the adventures of the IHAN clan! 

We are giving away this Happy Holidays Panel, Wintersong by Cheryl Haynes of Prarie Grove Peddler for Benartex, and the embellishment kit that goes along with the panel.
The Wintersong Embellishment Kit is by Hillcreek Mills and includes instructions, linen thread to embellish the Wintersong panel, hand dyed buttons, beads and beautiful bells. 

I thought this would be a wonderful giveaway during the Holiday Season.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with one holiday wish you have this year.  On the the 17th of December, Mr. Random Number Generator will choose a winner.  This giveaway is open to anyone and everyone all over the world :)

I can't thank you enough for visiting and I wish everyone, everywhere joy, gratitude and health.

Smiles,
Kelly

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Increase Your E-Notion IQ - Quilter's Grips and Tips by Nobel Notions

Today I'm reviewing three products by Nobel Notions.  The Quilter's Tips, Quilter's Grip and Quilter's Clamp.  The gals at Nobel Notions gave me this set to review....so it is a "sponsored" review I guess you could say :)
More photos from Quilt Market ....hurray :)....this was the Nobel Notions Booth.
 I was interested in learning about their products and giving them a try.  The fact their table cloth was so beautiful didn't hurt one little bit :)
These are the Quilter's Tips....they fit on the ends of your fingers and grip the fabric while you are sewing or quilting.
The Quilter's Clamps are used for clamping fabric when basting and great for use as channel locks for long arm machines.  They are great to hang things on the edge of the table too...you know I liked this little notions caddy being so handy.
Ok, my turn....here I am using the Quilter's Grips to practice some Free Motion Quilting.  The Quilter's Grips are different from anything else I've tried for Free Motion Quilting.  They are rigid and molded so your fingers easily slip into the Grip.  The nice thing about this type of Grip is they are easy to slip my fingers into and out of quickly.....which is helpful when I need to grab the phone...
 The Quilter's Tips are soft and flexible and really grip inside and out.  Here I was wearing them while piecing and they definitely grip the fabric...very nicely.  Another thing I liked about the Quilter's Grips is I could choose to put them on one finger or as many as I wanted/needed.  Six Grips come in a package.
 I just put three on because those are the three fingers I use most when sewing.
The Quilter's Grips come off easily too...I just rolled them down.  The Grips can be used for other tasks as well...they grip paper very well.

Both the Quilter's Grips and the Quilter's Tips say "One Size Fits All" and you know me....I believe One Size Fits Most.  I've met women with tiny fingers and hands and mine are...lets just say "Queen Size"...I'm guessing they fit most but if you have very tiny fingers...please e-mail me before ordering :)

I want to thank everyone who has been leaving comments on the IHAN Blog Posts.  There are 3 giveaways going on right now....just in case you have missed a few days of blog reading:

Click here to read about the "Reasons For Quilts" by Edyta Sitar
Click here to read about the "Square-agonals" by Sandi Blackwell (Book and Pattern giveaway)

AND if you are willing to share why you do or don't shop at IHAN you can click here to have an opportunity to win these fun gifts.

Before I close I also want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has shopped at IHAN and has taken the time to leave a thoughtful comment.  I've gotten some great feedback and I so appreciate that so many of you have taken the time to help me out :)  Feel free to spread the word with your friends and guild members too....that really helps quite a bit.  There is an IHAN logo/button in the upper right hand sidebar of my blog that you can feel free to copy and paste to your blog or website if you are so inclined.

On the topic of prices- IHAN will price match ...just ask...my e-mail is IHaveANotion@yahoo.com  I will tell you if there is a reason I can't match someones price...after all...I can't loose money....but I'll do every thing I can to be competitive.  We also offer discount pricing for group purchases...so if your guild members want to purchase for an upcoming project....just let me know!

On the topic of shipping-I am in the middle of yet another colossal project....working on the USPS shipping zones and adjusting my website for individualizing those totals.  If there is ever a question.....please e-mail me....I can make sure your postage is exact with just one e-mail :)

Now...I've got to run...Mr. McSteamy is having a issue....some sort of pinched nerve in his leg....we can't let him go without lunch now can we?  LOL

Smiles,
Kelly

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why Shop at I Have A Notion (IHAN)?

Why Shop At I Have A Notion this holiday season? Or at all, for that matter?

That's a good question, don't you think?  Why do you or don't you shop at IHAN?  I've been honest and forthright in my posts (except where I put the practices and acknowledge I'm telling a lie or the truth is being stretched :)  and I would like to hear what you have to say too.

Do you have any feedback that would be helpful for me or the IHAN website.  Could it be more user friendly?  More convenient?  Better prices?  What is it that would cause you to shop at IHAN for your Quilting, Machine Embroidery and Needle Art Supplies on a  regular basis? (please don't say money because I know we all have money trees hidden under our fabric stash....lol :)


To keep this conversation balanced, I'd like to tell you why I own IHAN, what I love about my work here and why I'd like to invite more people to shop with me.
IHAN found me, I didn't set out with a plan to open a Quilting, Embroidery and Needle Art Supply Website.  It has grown from a tiny seed and now has several budding branches.

I have frequently asked myself why am I doing this? And why do I continue to put my energy here.  The answer is, and has been, because of the connections I have made with other people that have grown my soul and added beauty to my life and the world.  Honestly, it has little to do with sewing at all...although I love to create, sew, play and encourage that pleasure in others.  It's all about the people....drawing wonderful people into my life...that is why I'm here at IHAN

I spend quite a bit of my time doing the type of research I want to do....not that someone has asked me to do....but because I want to know if the products we see in magazines are worth my time, money and energy.    It does benefit others and I so enjoy that....but I love being able to network, share ideas and information and seek goodness in people and in business.

The IHAN Blog?  Well....I have to say it has a special place in my heart...it is a platform to share ideas, thoughts, strange humor and experiences with other like minded people and it is a privilege, freedom and a gift I deeply appreciate....I still can't believe it's FREE!


While at Quilt Market in Houston this past November, I became more aware of  the way I run my business and life too really.   How I do business (never feels like "business" to me but..)...it has to be a win/win...good for everyone...and I care about those I buy from, or network with, to support their businesses and lives.  It's all personal to me....if that makes sense...it's more about my value system I guess.  

My life energy is  precious to me and so is my time.  Lucky for me, I spend quite a bit of my time exchanging information, ideas and thoughts with so many people her on the Internet and also while at Quilt Market.  While at Market, I spend quite a bit of time getting and giving hugs, hearing about who others are and what they are interested in doing or creating.  There is very little time spent talking about  about money or making money.  Funny thing is...when I spend my time doing that...I end up making more money...not only a bit for myself....but for others as well.  I'd say that is a win/win, wouldn't you? 

When I shop I think about who and what I'm supporting...I ask myself...do I want to pay their mortgage for example.  I think many people would be surprised to see how I engage sales people and businesses before I make a purchase..especially a large purchase.  This is not to say I haven't been mis-led...nope...that has happened too....and I'm wiser for the journey.

Sorry if this sounds a bit heavy for you....if it is...go turn the TV back on or play computer solitaire.....we all need a break every now and again : )


Time for you to share your thoughts.....and here is some enticement...ya gotta love enticements :)


For everyone who leaves a sincere comment on this post or who sends an e-mail to IHaveANotion@yahoo.com (please put IHAN Feedback in the subject line) I will enter your name into the drawing for the gift package....and of course I'll be adding more fun things to the collection too.   I'd like to know if you have any suggestions for improving IHAN or the IHAN blog....why you do or don't shop at IHAN (remember, forthright and honest) or things you'd like to see expanded, changed or stopped.  (If you tell me to stop with my strange humor...sorry I can't do that...I was born this way).

For the folks who like routine...YES I DO KNOW IT'S WEDNESDAY...LOL...and I'm working on Increasing your E-Notion IQ post too :)

Oh yeah....when will I tell ya who gets the prizes?....don't even say you weren't thinking about winning...we all love to have some fun things arrive at our doors....I'll let the Mean Mr. Random Number Generator do the dirty work....on Monday December 12th...sound good?

Sincere Smiles,
Kelly

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Is Here : Sandi Blackwell's Square-agonals Re-Review and Giveaway

Winter has arrived in Ohio and here is the  proof


IHAN Headquarters has been full with family for several days. 

Maddy, our youngest daughter, Abby and James (R-L) are visiting ...there has been lots of decorating, arts and crafts, games and of course dress up too.
 Aaron's version of a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree (that is play dough on the branches)

"Momma, are you interested in buying a snack...they are 25cents each?"

Zach decided he needed to raise a little holiday cash.  He walked around Headquarters offering to sell snacks to those who may need a little nosh!  (Paying twice for your groceries isn't always a bad thing..lol)

On to our Giveaway:



You may remember my first review of Square-agonals (click here if you don't) and how impressed I was and am with Sandi Blackwell's NO MATH method of making triangles and on-point blocks go together without the fuss and muss.  Sandi's Square-agonal Method will take you from fabric that looks like the sample on the left to the fabric on the right...without ever setting in a triangle.  Since her book has come out she now has some fun patterns and guide tapes.
Square-agonals Cutting Guide Tape - gives you a visual guide for the cutting and re-assembling process of your quilt sections as well as securing the bias edges. The tape can also be used as a guide for cutting of any quilt or fabric.

 Square-agonals Arrow Guide Tape - makes it simple for you to mark the numbered sections of your layout design.

Sandi just so happened to be in Houston for Fall Quilt Market 2011 and look at all the beautiful patterns she bestowed upon me...and another autographed copy of her Square-agonals book. 



If you leave a comment on this post promising me you will make a quilt/table runner/place mat/etc. using one of Sandi's patterns, I will put your name in the drawing to win.  There will be three winners, one for Square-agonals book, and two others will receive a Square-agonals pattern.  Entry comments close Monday Dec. 12, 2011.


IHAN's newest spokesperson...Rad Zach

Rad Zach wants everyone to know that IHAN does have Gift Certificates available for holiday gift giving. 

AND

To see IHAN's Holiday Gift Giving Guide and our other Holiday Specials you MUST enter your e-mail address in the " Newsletter Subscribe Here" on the upper right hand side of this blog post. 


Smiles,
Kelly

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reasons For Quilts by Edyta Sitar

Time for a book review and more photos from Quilt Market!
(this post was started 4 days ago...hmmmm...perhaps it needed to marinate)
 
The book I choose is "Reasons For Quilts" by Edyta Sitar (Laundry Basket Quilts). I had the great pleasure of visiting with Edyta and Michael in Houston for Quilt Market. They were both very busy so I only visited for a short time. I did take lots of time to take photos of course :)

Edyta gave me an autographed copy of Reasons For Quilts and I am in love with it.  Don't fret...I also got one to give away too (you know I wouldn't forget about you!).
This is how Reasons for Quilts begins...

Life Beneath The Threads
Every quilt is a piece of art-but the true art lies among it's layers.  Deep beneath the colors and patterns are the meanings that embrace the fabric of our lives.  through cutting, assembling, and painstaking stitching, we dream of our quilts in their finished form.  Yet the true beauty lies in the making of quilts.  In the hundreds of pieces that teach us patience; in mistakes that make us a bit more humble; and through setbacks that spur even greater resolve, quilting both reflects and shapes our being."

For every quilt, there is a reason
  • TO VALIDATE OURSELVES
  • TO HONOR MILESTONES
  • TO HONOR FRIENDSHIPS AND CLOSE COMMUNITY
  • TO RECOGNIZE THE HUMAN CONDITION
  • TO CREATE A MEANS FOR GIVING BACK
  • TO MARK IMPORTANT SPIRITUAL OCCASIONS
  • TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE AWE IN EVERY DAY
  • TO CONTINUE A MUCH AMERICAN TRADITION
                                                              (written with permission of the author)


Any surprise I'm so drawn to Edyta's work? Edyta embraces and emphasizes addresses  human connectedness and reasons why we are drawn to quilt.  The more depth and meaning...the more attracted I become to a  persons work.


 These are photos of Laundry Basket Quilts booth at Quilt Market in Houston, 2011.

 If you just like to piece...Edyta has a pattern for you....if you like applique....Edyta has a pattern for you and if you like machine embroidery...Edyta has that too!! 
 I absolutely  love the smaller quilt and the machine embroidery quilt behind it.  I have taken close ups of both...
Edyta's batiks (Moda Fabrics) are absolutely beautiful. 

 

 This cornucopia is just stunning isn't it?

 You know I couldn't overlook her Aurfil Thread Collection (Can you believe I didn't even try to take it?  That is self restraint at it's best!!)
 or her lovely quilts under her patterns....such a beautiful booth.

 This is the close up...or closer up of one of my favorites....I'd love to have a quilt like this to snuggle with at night...and I'd love for all the scrap pieces to come from my friends...wouldn't that be so special?

Back to Edyta's latest book....Reasons For Quilts
There was a very long line to get an autographed copy of Reasons For Quilts.  I arrived early and the line was already wrapped around the corner. 
 
Edyta has written the stories behind many of her quilts and she has added quilts from her family as well.  The stories and photos are beautiful, inspiring, and meaningful...such a treasure.  There is also a bonus CD included in the book with 9 of Edyta's quilt patterns...can you say BONUS!  That is a bonus :)
 
I am thrilled to have a copy to give to an IHAN blog follower.  I know who ever wins this book will be thrilled.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and share one reason you have made a quilt...just one....so easy!  On Friday, December 9th I'll let the Random Number Generator choose a comment and I'll announce the winner.
 
THANK YOU Edyta for the books and for giving your permission so I could include some of your beautiful words in my blog post!
 
Smiles,
Kelly
 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Increase Your E-Notion IQ - Creative Grids Rulers

Today I'm going to not only review one ruler....but I'm also going to share my opinion about an entire line of rulers from Creative Grids. 

Penny Haren introduced me to the Creative Grids Square It Up or Fussy Cut Square Ruler during a Checker Distributors Open House event. She had some fabulous quilts she had made from her book, "Pieced Applique."   Lets just say...Penny is very good with math....and with her design talent...she has made it possible for those who fear math to avoid having to do it themselves while quilting.  Her books are very detailed with lots of photos....you know how much I like that!  

 I have the 8 1/2" Fussy Cut- Square it Up ruler and I'm going to show you how I use it.  They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and I'll tell you about that later.

I just so happen to have this fun bird print fabric ("Dancing Chickens" from Timeless Treasures) and I only want to use the one chicken for a mug rug.  Sure I could eye-ball it....but I'm certain if I did that I would have a wonky mug rug and that just isn't what I'm looking for today. 

You can see that the chicken has been centered in the middle of the ruler...photo above.
 Next, I'm going to mark the exact points for my Fussy Cut Square.  There are small holes at the intersections for marking.  I took my Sewline Marking Pen (they rock!) and put a dot in each of the circles at the 4 1/2 inch mark.

I love the lines on this ruler (all Creative Grids Rulers) because I can see where the 1/4" seam will be and I know when I mark the fabric I'll just get the portion I want.

Next I lined up the dots at the 1/4" seam allowance marking because I want my design to be centered and still have the 1/4" seam.  If I didn't line it up that way, I could have cut exactly the size and leave off my seam allowance.  I've done this before...so you are probably not alone :)


You can see the dark dot in the upper right of the photo above.  That is the dot I'm going to line up on the ruler....see below.
 If you look very closely you will see a tiny bit of the black dot at the intersection of the 1/4" marking in the upper left of this picture.  I lined it up and cut out a perfect Dancing Chicken for a fun mug rug...a Christmas Gift. 
The dots you see on this ruler are the non-slip dots that keep your ruler from shifting on the fabric when you cut...I love the Creative Grids Non-Slip dots because they don't set on top of the ruler....they are made into the ruler...hope that makes sense.  Another way of saying that is,  they don't peal off because they are part of the acrylic.

If you CLICK HERE you will be able to see Penny Haren demonstrate her Fussy Cut-Square it Up Ruler and she is using it to square up her pieced blocks.    Below you can watch a different video of Penny centering designs for Prairie Points.  Talk about a cool tool....the Fussy Cut- Square it Up Rulers are really a fantastic addition to your sewing notions.


The first video is a bit out of date because the Square it Up / Fussy Cut Rulers come in these sizes:

Ok, now on to the Big Picture....the Creative Grids Products.   I really like the Creative Grids Rulers and Templates because they are so much easier for me to read.  The markings are in black and white and I find the black and white to be  much easier on my eyes.  They are clear.... I don't particularly care for frosted rulers...too hard for me to see as well as I'd like to.  The embedded non-slip dots keep the ruler from slipping on the fabric....a must for me!  I'm always impressed with the quality and design of their rulers too.  Creative Grids has several talented designers working with them and these people really know what they are doing.  They think of everything....I mean everything and then they make the knowledge accessible to everyone.

The coolest Creative Grids feature,  I love, love, love it..... is not on the rulers or templates at all....it is the Creative Grids Website.  There you will find all their products, descriptions, instructions, videos and as if that isn't enough....they also show you some of the designs that are possible with the ruler you are considering. The folks at Creative Grids have done everything I can think of to make using their rulers a positive experience...Bravo Creative Grids!

Guess you can tell I have a sincere appreciation for Creative Grids ay?  Can't hide it....if I'm thinking it...it just comes right out.

I hope this edition of Increase your E-Notion IQ has inspired you and educated you about another great product and product line for quilters, stitchers and sewers aka sewists (another new word is invented each day).

Centered Smiles,
Kelly

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