Oh Moxie and Oliver why must you tempt me so? I *LOVE* this purse.

I'd like to thank the people over at Design Disease for the fabulous new blogger template. This is one of their free themes available all the way to the right on their main site. I actually found them from a comment in a post on Smash Magazine's 45 excellent blog designs (which was inspiring).

I haven't been happy with the standard cookie cutter blogger backgrounds for a while, but absolutely love this one. it's fun and funky without being over the top.
Many of us are facing the crunch of the recession and facing cutbacks. I'm sure that as many of you know from doing your own budgeting, crafts and hobbies were the first to go on my list of expenses to trim. I've been consciously working the supplies I have, and only buying things I need (like elastic last week for a costume).

So what's better than shopping? Free crafty and sewing things. Some require you to sign up for a shop's email list, others are free with shipping and handling. Many of the scrapbooking sites have free printable things.

These are a variety of links, and I haven't done them all personally. Much of this information is from the slick deals website, but much of it can scattered and hard to find over there, so for you viewing pleasure... free crafty things!

(i've checked most of the links, but if you find a bad one let me know!)

Free "Jewels" for joining the Online Quilt Club

Fabrics-Store Free Fabric Samples

Free Yarn Card Samples

Free Knitting Patterns

FiberShop Free Yarn Samples

Free pdf Pattern from Cherry Yarn

KNoon Designs Free Patterns

Free Sample from Lana Knits

Database of Arts and Crafts Freebies

Online Knitting School

NeedlePointers.com - Samples and More

Free Flame Resisitant Fabric Samples - call in

Free American Drapery Fabric Samples

Shower Curtain Store - Free Fabric Samples Page

Free Leather and Fabric Samples

Free Curtain Fabric Samples

Free Fabric Samples from Vassar - email

North Solar Screen - Free Fabric Samples

Free Leather Sample

Oriental Fabrics Email for free Sample Swatches

Free Rubber Stamper and More

PatchKraft Free Swatches

PriceYourSuit Free Fabric Swatches

Free Patterns







Five Free Paper Samples from Leader Paper

Free Photo Paper Samples

Free Sample from Daiei Papers

Free Sample Kit from Living Tree Paper

Free Organic Wedding Paper Sample

Free Samples of IBM Paper

Free Paper Samples from Q-Cee's

Free Samples from Paper Thoughts

Free Paper Tube Samples

Free HP Paper Packs

Free Samples from Ripped Sheets

Free Sample Paper Pack from NoCopi

Free Soft Paper Sample

Free Samples from Cox Paper

Free Linen Paper Samples

Free Colored Paper or Envelope Samples

Free Wedding Paper Sample

Free Safety Paper Sample

Free Commerce Paper Samples

Free Diecut Paper Samples

Free Samples from Twisted Limb Paper

Free Samples from WhiteHallPrinting

Malloy - Free Packet of Paper

Free Samples from Reich Paper (says to contact them)

Lean On Me Bookends

Free Cloth Doll Patterns

So as many of you saw in the last post, I got the bug to start doing things again after being home for the holidays and seeing my mom back on the making kick. She and my father retired and built a "cabin" on a mountain in the woods. It's nice, but my dad's garage is bigger than my house. On that note, my mother has a beautiful space to work as well, with two big windows and great light!

So they don't live far from Keepsake Quilting, and they went one weekend and as my father wandered he apparently found the patten from Seams like Home called "Bringing home the Tree" and commented "Gee, this would look nice on the wall in the living room..." As you can imagine, the pattern went home with them. I'd also like to note that my mother's background is also not quilting, she made our clothes as kids, but in general she's WAY to anal to quilt.

So as you can see in the photo on the upper right, it's a nice winter scene applique that's done as a wall hanging. And it is nice, but she wasn't sure where to start but once I looked at the pattern I had some definite ideas. When I was home for thanksgiving, we went back to Keepsake, they had a kit available to make the wall hanging, but I really didn't like their fabric choices. We wandered and decided on a nice stack of pale and muted batiks. Most of them were pale blues, and tinted creams, but we also picked a frosted piece. I left for home without getting much farther than picking and buying them, I told mom to let me think about it before starting, as I really didn't like the snowball background. The more I looked at the pattern, the more I thought they took away from the pattern and the overall image. I ran across a book on watercolor quilts at one of the local quilt shops and had my idea... but did I want to sew all those little squares? She's got two nice Pfaff machines with the IDT (even feed) but come on....

I thought for a while and decided I'd really like to try a Quiltsmart background for this one. I admit, for those of you that really know me... I'm normally not a huge fan of the Quiltsmart interfacing. In particular, because I used to do machine quilting, and I absolutely hate the extra weight and bulk it adds to the quilt top. BUT we're not making a bed quilt, but a wallhanging. So, I went to the local shop and bought a couple of yards of what ends up being 1.5 inch finished squares. I brough it home with me for christmas, and my mother was horrified (being an anal retentive non quilting seam matcher) that we were going to sew that many little squares. (we also walked into Peggy Anne's while I was home and they were working on an awesome Quiltsmart Mariner's Compass/Star that should be on their website soone.

For those of you that haven't played with quiltsmart, it's admittedly pretty nifty. It's iron on interfacing that has the quilt pattern printed on it along with sewing and quilting lines. It's easy to do, and is pretty much no fail. AND it's got the directions printed on the interfacing..... can't beat that. It's impossibly to lose the instructions (not that I would ever lose instructions). The one that I bought is also used for Scrap Therapy projects.

So mom and I cleared the counter in the Kitchen and cut what seemed like a bazillion little two inch squares and then arranged/ironed them all onto the interfacing in some sort of random order that made me happy. And then came the sewing.... which was no where as bad as I expected! I sewed and ironed and sewed and ironed and ended up with a really cool looking piece of modern art from the back. (Go look at the flickr page! people were more interested in the sewn and folder words than the piece).

And when it was flipped over and done, I was really impressed. You're not going to notice the extra weight for two reasons. 1 is the fact that there is going to be tons of fused applique on top of it, and 2 it's a wall hanging! So the back is done and the border is chosen, but that's as far as we got over the holidays..... So more photos to come when the project gets farther!

I do have to admit that the quiltsmart went together really easily... the squares are 1.5 inches finished, and it's a fairly good sized piece. All total the whole thing from cutting to finished background went together in an evening, and overall I really like the effect of the small pieces better than large 5 inch snowballs.

1. Enjoy crafting again. I had gotten so stressed out with work and my dissertation and all that goes along with eing a full time student, that I had been using my sewing room as a storage area, and hadn't even gotten close to a machine in almost a year.

2. Make things. I want to make things again, and part of this was inspired by being home for thanksgiving and christmas and seeing my mom get back into sewing a lot was good. She decided she needed help for a project and it felt good to go shopping and see what was new and exciting.

3. Organize my sewing/crafting stuff. I just plain can't get moving when the room is a mess and I can't find anything.