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Creativity and Crafts

DIY Memorial Day Decorations: Red-White-and-Blue Ideas Everyone Will Love

Creativity and Crafts
DIY memorial day decorations
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Memorial Day is so many different things: the unofficial beginning of the summer. A day off work. The end of the school year. The day on the calendar after which your mom decreed you can wear white pants.

However, we all know the Federal Holiday commemorates something more. But through the years, as more and more time passes from those civics classes of our youth, it’s easy to muddle up some of our related holidays. So let’s take a moment for a mini educational opportunity, courtesy of yours truly.

Memorial Day: Last Monday in May. In remembrance of American service members who have died in armed conflicts.

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DIY Flower Arrangements for Mother’s Day

Creativity and Crafts
DIY flower arrangements
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If the Mother’s Day Gift Guide or the Mother’s Day Pistachio Bundt cake didn’t tip you off, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th.

Yes. This weekend.

You’ve still got time to Amazon Prime her a copy of my latest book, but why stop there?

Wouldn’t it make your mother feel special if you arrived with a DIY flower arrangement in hand in addition to a little gift, a few hugs, and a card? (Seriously, Fierce friends, don’t forget the card!)

Nod your head. The answer is yes. Though some of you may be saying, “Yes. But how?”

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Easter Crafts Abound!

Creativity and Crafts
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Easter crafts are just plain cute.

All crafting is fun. The fun is built in whether you’re quilting or painting or decoupaging or glittering or…you get the idea.

But in addition to being fun, Easter crafts are cute. Bunnies! Baby chicks! Flowers! Pastel colors! Little girls wearing bonnets with bows bigger than their heads!

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Free Quilt Pattern: A Companion Quilt for HOPE ON THE INSIDE

Creativity and Crafts
free quilt pattern
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If you’ve been around the blog for any amount time, you know that I L-O-V-E quilts and books. And quilting and reading.

These two favorite pastimes of mine have shaped my life in many different ways; they’ve built powerful bonds and friendships, they’ve offered a creative outlet, they’ve been my “therapy,” they’ve even paid the bills. (However, a lot of those earnings seem to migrate back into books and quilts. Weird how that happens.)

Quilting has inspired my books, and books have inspired my quilts. But what inspires me most is the sisterhood of life-long friends I have gained through it all: women who share my passion for reading, for happy endings, for stitching quilts with love. It’s for them that I write and it’s through them that my creative energy is renewed.

So when I get the chance to fuse together my two favorite things, I say YES and probably wave my hands in the air!

Quilting and Books Just Go Together

How do quilting and books go together? Well, for one thing, they both require a big investment of time from the artist who makes them. And they both tell a story, whether its in the lines of the book or the textures, patterns and stitching of a quilt. More importantly, both books and quilts can be enjoyed over and over and have an almost magical ability to bring people together.

As many of my readers know, the talented Deb Tucker’s Studio 180 Design creates a companion pattern that highlights a certain character or theme for many of my books.

Yes. You read that right. My books have actual quilt patterns designed just for the book. Pretty cool, right?

The quilts Deb has designed for my books have added an exciting dimension to the reading experience and her A-MAZING rules and tools have made me a better quilter than I am in real life.  Best of all, the friendship we developed over the years is something I treasure.

Here’s a picture of Deb and I standing in front of a gorgeous quilt. So much joy going on here!

A Companion Quilt for Hope On The Inside

For my most recent novel that came out last week, Deb really outdid herself.

Here’s a teaser on the right. How pretty is that? The colors! The lines! That fabric!

If you haven’t yet seen all the gorgeous collaborative patterns that Deb and I have created as companions to my books, you can check them out on her website by clicking here.  Deb creates two patterns to go with my books, a smaller project that is offered free on my website and a larger, full-sized quilt which is available for purchase at Studio 180 Design.

As part of our creative process, we go over the story line, the characters, possible quilt designs, and difficulty level for actual quilt makers. In the end, Deb is the one who does the heavy lifting (or should I say stitching?) and always creates something incredibly beautiful.

For HOPE ON THE INSIDE, we decided that a block titled “Dove in the Window” would be a perfect starting point. I love the imagery of a dove in the window felt very relevant as I think about the women serving time in my story, especially my character Mandy.  I envisioned her gazing out the window, dreaming of freedom and being reunited with her daughter Talia, the ultimate recipient of the quilt that Mandy stitches while behind bars.

The Dove in the Window block also represents the exciting moment when an inmate is set free. They take flight, return home, and begin to rebuild.

Design and Fabric

To spice things up – because it’s always fun to keep our quilts spicy – Deb nestled the traditional Dove in the Window blog inside a larger Dove in the Window block. It’s a lovely, fresh, and unique interpretation of this traditional block (and easier to make that it looks!)

The block size is large at 19½” finished, which by itself could make a nice wall quilt or throw pillow.  (The bed runner pattern is available as a free download from my website. The pattern to make a lap, twin, or king-sized version of the quilt is available for purchase at Studio 180 Design.)

In the instructions, you’ll see that the quilt is made with Deb Tucker’s second signature fabric collection with Island Batik titled “Steam Engine”. In the story, this is the fabric that Mandy chose when beginning her quilt for her young daughter. This gorgeous fabric will be in quilt shops late summer or early fall 2019.  I’m already dreaming up what I’ll be making with these gorgeous hues! A Doves of Hope quilt is at the top of the list!

Remember: we love to see your work! If you make this bed runner, please share on Instagram and make sure to include #DoveintheWindowBedRunnerPattern180 #sharehope so we will be sure to see it!

Download your Free Quilt Pattern!

To access the free quilt pattern, head on over to my author website here. All you have to do is enter your email and you can download all of the patterns for all of my books!

Happy stitching!

Adventures in Quilting: Using Stencils

Creativity and Crafts
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One of the really cool things about writing a blog is that, every now that then, you get free stuff. Some bloggers receive appliances, or furniture, or even fancy vacations from companies. They hope the blogger will enjoy that product and write a post about it.

Okay, sure. I guess those are pretty good items to get. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing. But what have I been offered?

Crafting supplies! Which, as we all know, is way cooler.

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The Book Launch for Hope On The Inside (and a special surprise)

Books, Creativity and Crafts
print at home stationary
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My latest book, Hope on the Inside, is released today.

Though this is my fifteenth time at this particular rodeo, celebrating a book birthday is always exciting, the culmination of at least a year of work. It’s true. Back when I did that sort of thing, it took me less time to gestate a tiny human than it takes me to birth a book.

As with my real children, none of my literary offspring can claim the status of favorite child. Every novel I’ve penned holds a special place in my heart; they’re all my favorites.

But I feel like there’s something extra special about Hope on the Inside. Perhaps it has something to do with my particular stage of life. Perhaps it has something to do with the times we’re living in.

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St. Patrick’s Day Crafting Roundup

Creativity and Crafts
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Let’s be honest, no one needs a reason to craft, but sometimes it’s fun to have an event or holiday in mind when getting those creative juices flowing. continue reading

Heartfelt DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Everyone You Love

Creativity and Crafts
DIY Valentines Day Gifts

You don’t need to break the bank to show your love this Valentine’s Day. Aside from saving some money, DIY gifts also give a personal touch that is hard to get with a store-bought present. In that spirit, I’ve collected some cute and personable ideas for you. Plus, you know how I love a good crafting project.

Whether it’s for your significant other, friend, or family, they will love and appreciate the thought and time that went into these homemade presents. And as an added bonus, these are all fun to make! continue reading

How to Celebrate Local Quilt Shop Day – January 26th

Creativity and Crafts
local quilt shop day
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I’m sure that, like me, you’re very excited about the holidays, right?

Hmmm…what’s that noise I’m hearing out in cyberspace?

Crickets?

Huh.

Well, clearly some of you are not as well-informed as you could be about the major holidays – Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and of course, one of my favorites, Local Quilt Shop Day! That’s right! It’s just around the corner! In 2019, it falls on Saturday, January 26th.

Why Local Quilt Shop Day is the Best Holiday of All

Local Quilt Shop Day is the ideal anecdote for winter doldrums.  Do you know what else is great about it? continue reading

Homemade Christmas Gifts in an Hour or Less

Creativity and Crafts
homemade Christmas gifts
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Posting gift guides for girlfriends, grandkids, and book lovers this month has been a lot of fun! I’ve referred back to the guides more than once while checking off names on my personal Christmas list. There really are some great ideas there.

Even so, to my way of thinking, very few presents for purchase can measure up to a gift made my hand.

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