Cricut Maker - The Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine!

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Two words for the new Cricut Maker: Game Changer! After using and loving another cutting machine for years, I was introduced to the new Cricut Maker cutting machine after Fall Quilt Market last October. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

First of all, (vainly speaking) look how beautiful it is next to my Baby Lock Destiny! It was a visual match made in heaven!

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But, to speak to the important features that make this the Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine, let me name a few:

  • Cricut Maker has the tools to cut hundreds of materials quickly and accurately, from the most delicate fabric and paper to matboard and leather. Though I'm placing the limelight on the Maker's ability to help me sew, it's capacity to cut hundreds of other materials makes its purposes limitless. Fabric does not require a backing material, fusible or otherwise! This sets the Maker apart from and far above the competition. It is equipped with a real rotary blade, featuring a gliding, rolling action that is more accurate than my hands could ever be! And with a large 12" x 24" cutting mat, the capabilities are huge!
  • Intelligent controls. Cricut Maker detects the direction of the blade and the cut pressure to match the material – which is essential for using tools like the Rotary Blade. The Adaptive Tool System will continue to be updateable  with new products as they become available.
  • Washable Fabric Pen. When using this pen, Cricut Maker automatically marks ready-to-make patterns in Design Space so you’ll always know how they fit together.
  • Flexibility to use your own designs. You can upload and use your own images and fonts for free, in a variety of standard file formats. I've tried this and found it to be very user friendly. I'm currently working on a sewing project to share with you next week, and I'll be including the cut file for free, so be sure to check back in!

Want a little glimpse of this sweet machine in action? See the video below:

 A helpful docking slot holds your tablet or smartphone while you’re busy. You can even charge your device using the USB port, and built-in storage keeps your tools and accessories organized and ready to use. I'll always take some organizational help.

Ready to give it a try? Click on any of the links in this post to learn more and to purchase your own machine...and be sure to send me photos of what you make!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

 

Fun with Labels!

January's Maxie Mail Subscription Sewing box was all about labels! Have you ever admired a quilt that had no label? I know I have. I own several antique quilts and a few that were passed down through my family that have no labels. I only wish I knew the history of that quilt and its maker, especially those that my grandmothers made. Quilts passed down through families can loose their meaning when no connection can be made to the maker. As for current quilts, recipients need to have that visual reminder of the love that brought that quilt to them.

Two types of quilt labels were covered in our box this month. First, included in each box was a label designed especially for me, collaborated between Bonnie Christine (have you seen her new website!?) and Michael Newman of  Story Patches. Michael produces labels, each with a unique QR Code that, when scanned using the free smartphone app (stkr.it) the label will be connected to a video message created by the quilt maker!  For loads of inspiration and more information about documenting our quilts, visit the Quilt Alliance website.

Second, a copy of The Quilt Label Collective CD was included in the box. This CD has over 150 labels in many different styles that can be placed in your word processor and personalized with text. It's then printed on fabric, through a regular ink-jet printer. Left as is or embellished, it will add the perfect personal touch to your quilt or project. Here's a short video explaining how to open the labels in a word processor, edit and print them. Note: our box included supplies to print and embellish labels, and subscribers have access to an additional video detailing different ways to embellish printed labels to make them beautiful and meaningful.

Quilt Labels

It's easy to make beautiful labels! Here's a short video (below) teaching how I create labels with The Quilt Label Collective CD, my word processor and printer.

                       A sampling of labels from The Quilt Label Collective, Volume 2.

                       A sampling of labels from The Quilt Label Collective, Volume 2.

  • Want a copy of The Quilt Label Collective? Click here!
  • Want a package of Electric Quilt's 100% Premium Cotton Lawn fabric printable sheets? Click here!

For more information on subscribing to Maxie Mail's Subscription Sewing Box, click here! Receive a monthly sewing project each month, log into the "Member's Only" page to access video tutorials and other supporting content. It's a class in a box!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Binding the Quilt: A Video Tutorial!

I have two reasons for today's post. First of all, I've received several requests to publish a video tutorial on the topic of quilt binding. Second, this month's Maxie Mail box contains a quilt project, binding included, and I wanted to provide information for the beginner quilter as well as the experienced. Hence...the video tutorial, "Binding the Quilt" was made! No password required, it is for all who visit my blog here or my videos on Vimeo. I hope you find it helpful, and that you refer to it as often as needed.

Machine Embroidering on Hard to Hoop Items!

Hooping your items for machine embroidery can be one of the biggest challenges embroiderers face. There all types of stabilizers to help us, including adhesive, fusible, water activated glue, and more, yet my favorite stabilizer remains a 'crispy' tear away with no adhesive at all. I found the best answer is to simply baste the item to the stabilizer and then hoop it as usual. For example, our local Platoons were in need of gear tags for their troops, and two of my friends and I wanted to help. We needed about 150 gear tags, so we searched out a tactical supply source, divided the names and tags and got busy.

I found the easiest way to hoop these small tags (they are about 8" x 2") was to carefully draw a grid on a stabilizer sized for my hoop, with a line down the side of the length (to help me keep things straight) and perpendicular lines for each tag to be basted to.

Embroidering Gear Tags

The next step was to lay each tag on the grid and baste in place. All ready to hoop and embroider!

Gear Tags Stitching

A topper stabilizer kept the stitches from burying into the tags, so I just taped it in place on top of the hoop. I used my camera on my Baby Lock Destiny to load all the names at one time and let them all stitch. If you don't have a camera, it's pretty easy to center and place the names independently on each tag because the grid lines kept all the tags nice and straight in the hoop!

So, things that are practically impossible to hoop can always be stitched to tear away stabilizer and hooped very easily! (Shirt collars, cuffs, socks, etc.!) What hard-to-hoop thing can you embroider today?

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

Maxie Mail October Reveal!

Are you ready? Spoiler alert: If you want to be surprised when your October Maxie Mail Box arrives, don't watch the reveal video below!! And remember, the deadline to receive October's box is tomorrow, October 20. Subscriptions received after tomorrow will receive November's box!

As promised, I'm sharing October's contents prior to shipment so that all can see the value included in each box. We are starting off with a small project, but the box is packed with great notions and information in the tutorial inside the Member's Only page. This month's project will teach (among other things!) mitering a 120° angle, and perfect machine stitched binding! I think you'll love it!

If you haven't subscribed, please join us! Here is an excerpt from Bonnie Christine's (my daughter's) current blog post, and I couldn't have said it better myself:

What's special about this sewing box? I'm so glad you asked!

  • The purpose of the box is to help you be successful in your sewing room. No more UFPs (unfinished projects), no more frustrations in trying to figure out a project. Can I get an amen?
  • By working through each box, you'll be growing your sewing skill set. Each month you'll learn a new technique that you'll be able to use for projects for the rest of your sewing life!
  • Subscribers will get access to a member's only portal where they'll find exclusive content to support that month's box each and every month. Think patterns, video tutorials and more!
  • Projects will use an assortment of modern fabrics exclusively from Art Gallery Fabrics, the highest quality pima cotton in the industry.
  • Each project box will include helpful tools, notions and a special treat just for you.
  • Boxes make great gifts and a fun opportunity to host a ladies sewing night each month!

Click here to subscribe!

I hope we will be stitching together soon! Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and blessings in your sewing room.

Maxie

Maxie Mail October Deadline

I'm so excited I can hardly breathe! The response to my Maxie Mail Subscription Sewing Box has been fairly overwhelming! I can't tell you what this community of sewing enthusiasts does for me, and to be able to share the thing that brings therapy and creative expression to my life is a dream come true. In fact, this particular dream has been a while in my thoughts and I'm glad its time has come! Here is a short video sharing my goals for what this sewing box can do for you:

The deadline to sign up to receive the October box is tomorrow, October 20! Subscriptions received after the 20th will receive November's box. So sign up and let's sew together!

Thank you for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless!

Maxie

 

Maxie Mail Subscription Sewing Box is Here!

You probably know how passionate I am about sewing, and even more so about sharing that love of sewing and the benefits it brings, not only to our souls, but to those that we love. I understand what expressing this inspiration does for us, and that we are fulfilling an innate need to create when we work with our hands. So this project comes from an anticipated plan to share with you in such a way that will nurture that creativity inside you and help build skills that will give you the confidence to tackle anything your sewing heart desires!

Maxie Mail Subscription Sewing Box.jpg

Maxie Mail is a subscription box for sewists that comes right to your door every month, filled to the brim with happiness that will include fabrics, patterns, new ideas and tools to help you be successful in your sewing room. But perhaps most importantly, my motivation for this box is to sweeten your skills month to month, growing your knowledge and self assurance! There will even be something personal tucked inside, just to celebrate you! And if you subscribe before October 16, I’ll include one of my favorite notions in your box!

What's in the box? Having owned a quilt shop for over 12 years, I know the value of having the best fabric, quality tools and notions, well composed patterns and, of course, good instruction through either written or video tutorials. My box is packed with all of the above, and will include a password to the "Members Only" section where you'll find even more information, available exclusively to subscribers! Hop on over to the Maxie Mail Subscription Box page to read more about it and get started! It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Let's celebrate YOU! You get a value-packed surprise once a month, filled with something wonderful, easy enough for beginners yet sophisticated enough for the more experienced.

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

Another Go-around with the Honey Pot Quilt Kits!

I'm so happy to say that I have restocked my supply of Honey Pot Quilt Kits! And the best part of this kit is that it's completely pre-cut for you with my Accuquilt die cutting machine! Hexagons aren't all that fun to cut out, and when you need 257 of them, pre-cut is the only way to go, right?  And another wonderful thing about this quilt is that there are no blocks to piece! I love one-patch quilts for that reason. There is even a video tutorial to help you along the way, in which I share my very easy, fail-proof method of sewing "Y" seams! You can view my video in my original blog post.

The photo below shows the pattern front in the Spring version of Bonnie Christine's fabric line, "Sweet as Honey". Since most of those fabrics are unavailable, I have made two color choices from the "Autumn Harvest" colors in that line, and from her newer line, "Forest Floor".  And those hexie edges are not bound with traditional binding; they are faced with backing fabric for a smooth, easy finish!

The Honey Pot Quilt featuring Bonnie Christine's Fabrics

Pretty fabrics = pretty quilt! Don't be afraid to try "Y" seams! Hop on over to my video and check it out!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless!

Maxie

Wonderful Things Blog Tour!

Here am I, coming up on the last day of Bonnie Christine's wonderful blog hop tour for her new line, "Wonderful Things", for Art Gallery Fabrics. This has been one of my very favorite lines (that's a lie, they are all favorites, but as I can't choose a favorite between Bonnie and my other daughter, Becky, I can't choose a favorite fabric either). I do, however, love the bright colors that she included in this line, stepping slightly away from some of her beloved soft hues we've all come to associate with her style, so evident on her blog.

Wonderful Things Blog Hop Tour

So, for my tour stop I decided to share a favorite wallet pattern with you. I've made more of these sweet little clutches than I can count because they perfectly meet my needs for what I require in a wallet/purse...a place for cards, money, coins, lipstick, a cell phone and more! And I suppose one of the most appealing things about this pattern is that it's so very easy to make!

SewSweetnessWallet.jpg

The Prima Diva Wallet, by Sew Many Creations is not only beautiful, but one of the most functional wallets you'll ever own. The outside can be trimmed with ribbons, (as shown above using Bonnie Christine's ribbons for Renaissance Ribbons) or in any manner you like. I made one of my favorites using Bonnie's canvas for Art Gallery and added no embellishments at all. And you may recall my woven version from this post.

Prima Diva Wallet

Just look at all those pockets! You can't even see the credit card pockets, but they are there, neatly tucked in the center fold.

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I love how it falls open

...and stays open! It sits nicely on the checkout counter when I'm shopping. And I love getting all those compliments!

 

 

 

Purchase Bonnie's fabrics at a number of online shops or your local shop, including my former quilt shop, A Stitch in Time. Wonderful Things fabrics, offered in cottons, knits, voiles and canvas, in typical Art Gallery quality, are truly wonderful things!

Yesterday's beautiful post was written by Alexis Wright of My Sweet Sunshine. You can see the recap with the full lineup on Bonnie's blog, Going Home to Roost.

Thanks for visiting my stop on the blog tour! Happy sewing and God bless!

Maxie

Presenting the "Hello, Bear Buck Forest" Quilt Kit!

Quilt kits make our lives easy and let us get straight to the fun of sewing! This project was a long time in the making, but today's the day that I can finally say that the "Hello, Bear Buck Forest" quilt kit is ready! The Buck Forest fabric line, designed by my daughter, Bonnie Christine, is now a basic with Art Gallery Fabrics, but it is originally a print from her "Hello, Bear" fabric line. Prompted by my good friend, Linda, I began to think about using Hello, Bear to make Buck Heads and border it all with a Buck Forest print.

Hello, Bear Buck Forest Quilt

The quilt, which is 76" x 84" includes sixteen (16) pre-fused, die cut buck heads, (ready to apply to the background fabrics!), background, sashing, outer border and binding fabrics!

I used Lite Steam-a-Seam2 as the fusible material for each head. This product is re-positionable and very easy to work with. Although touted as "no-sew" on the package, I recommend stitching around each head after fusing in place. To do this, simply drop your feed dogs and work free-motion style with each block individually, before constructing the entire quilt. I recommend a dark thread in the bobbin and top, and I'm loving this whimsical straight stitch, with about 3 rounds to hold everything securely.

Stitching the edges of Buck Forest Blocks

However, I have to share that I found an even easier way to stitch the Buck Heads in place...on my Handi Quilter long arm machine! I simply loaded the completed quilt top without the batting and backing, put dark thread in the bobbin and top, and stitched away!

Stitch Applique´on the Handi Quilter Long Arm!

I may never look at applique´ the same again! I've stitched applique´ on my long arm in the past, but always when loaded with backing and batting, which results in a lot of stitches on the back side of the quilt. Working with only the top loaded prevents any of the these stitches on the back, and allows me to use dark thread in both the bobbin and the top, regardless of my backing fabric color! (This quilt's backing, by the way, is Art Gallery's billowy cotton voile. Soft.)

For the quilting, I chose a free-motion woodgrain design in Superior Thread's clear Monopoly, allowing me to stitch over the Buck Heads without conflicting with the applique´stitches. Straight lines or simple meandering would also be great with that same thread.

So, go ahead, order my kit (here) and whip up a Buck Forest quilt for your own little woodland adventurer!

PS...Want a little back side view of making a quilt kit?

There were so many details to work out in creating this in kit form, and I began with contacting Custom Pro-Dies to make a die that would allow me to cut each buck head accurately and quickly. That required a letter of permission to the die company from Bonnie Christine before they would even agree to make the die. That's right. Bonnie gave me exclusive rights because I gave birth to her.

Even before the die was ordered the quilt and yardage had to be determined. I work in Electric Quilt, so I downloaded Bonnie's fabrics into the program so that I could use the actual fabrics I wanted for the quilt. As soon as the die arrived I began the sample. I fused Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 on the back side of every buck fabric prior to running it through the die-cut machine. The machine will handle about 3 layers, so that required about 5-6 passes to cut sixteen Buck Heads.

After all the Buck Heads were ready, I cut the background fabrics to size and fused the heads in place. I use a steam press in my studio, which makes all the fusing more efficient and it results in a good, strong bond. This is how the rest went:

  • Make the quilt top.
  • Write a rough draft of the pattern as I sew.
  • Stitch the applique´ on my HandiQuilter long arm machine.
  • Reload the quilt with batting and backing. Quilting time!
  • Bind the quilt.
  • Photograph the quilt for the pattern. (This involved a trip to the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC!)
  • Edit photos.
  • Figure fabrics for X number of quilts and place an order with Art Gallery Fabrics.
  • Order a boat load of Lite Steam a Seam2.
  • Cut Buck Head fabrics and Steam a Seam to size for each block, 16 per quilt kit.
  • Fuse Steam a Seam to each fabric, one by one.
  • Run fabrics through die-cut machine.
  • Cut fabrics for background blocks, sashing, outer border and binding.
  • Prepare final draft of pattern and order copies.
  • Assemble and package quilt kits.
  • Begin dreaming about the next quilt I'll make...

Happy Sewing! Thanks for visiting! God bless, Maxie