Hot, hot, hot…

…right off the sewing machine. (Yes, and the weather is hot, too, here in Alabama.) This new Christensen Creations pattern uses quick and easy strip-piecing to make a great patriotic runner and/or placemats. Can’t you just see this on your picnic table for July 4? Simple enough for a beginning quilter or an advanced quilter in a hurry, there is plenty of time to finish before the 4th. Click here to check it out:

#cc2401 Flag ’em Down for Dinner” by LJ Christensen

As a military wife, I love the flag and have often made hangings, throws, and other flag motif items for other military wives. Many of us have lived in other countries where the standard of living was so much lower than the U.S. We’ve lived in countries that don’t have our freedom. When my husband went to Saudi Arabia for a year, he was glad I couldn’t go with him because I’d have to walk behind him, cover my hair and legs, and not be able to drive. Goodness, that’s hard to believe in our modern times. By now, there may be some changes in Saudi, but I have to say I am very glad I’m an American. The military is not alone, though, in loving the country and wanting to express our patriotism. I’m sure there are many quilters out there who would be proud to make this pattern. I hope so.

“Hostess with the Mostest?”

That could be you or your friend on July 4. Imagine serving a platter of hot dogs and hamburgers or a big dish of potato salad or cole slaw, wearing this cute and colorful patriotic apron! (YOU, not the cole slaw.) No HAND stitching (H-A-N-D is a 4-letter word, you know). Easy to not only make, but to CUSTOMIZE.

U.S. Cooks cc1303 by LJ Christensen

Seriously, I know from being a “ample petite” (sounds better than short and fat) that NObody truly can wear a “one size fits all,” so I gave instructions and diagrams for 3 lengths and 3 “breadths.” Not only that, but the great matching hot pads come in 3 sizes, too. FOUR patterns–on sale for just $3.50 until July 4. If you’re just a beginning quilter, a hot pad is a great way to start! Click here for more info.

Now for some patriotic goodies!

By goodies, I mean food.

For a really big group, do individual tiny cheesecakes with blueberries, strawberries or cherry pie filling, and white one with a dab of whipped cream. Now put them on a table in a flag pattern. Pretty and scrumptious!

Ditto for tiny tartlets, but cheesecakes are easier…even buy them and decorate them. Ditto for cupcakes but you need a LOT of them–the mini ones would work, though.

Don’t forget mother’s Jello. It comes in red and blue, but you can add some coconut milk to make a white one or make it with gel packet. Find a recipe on line. It’s easy to mold. To unmold, dip it into a basin of warm water with a plate/platter on top. It’s not hard. You can even do layers. Don’t forget that you can load it with fresh blueberries or strawberries or pineapple and get an awesome and colorful fruit side dish.

You can play with cakes, too. If you don’t decorate much, just make a red cake and a white cake to layer alternately. You could use blueberries and some blue coloring for the icing in between layers for a pop of flavor and color. Ice it with rich white cream cheese icing and surprise everyone with the colors inside.

I don’t recommend trying red or blue burgers, though, unless you like bleu cheese and hot sauce. Happy Fourth! Get your apron made and go forth!

Summer breezes…

…make me feel fine! That’s as long as they are not accompanied by thunderstorms and tornadoes. So breezing along, I have a special kite wall hanging this week. It’s truly not hard. You paper-piece the background kites, which are great use of scraps! Then the optional 3D elements are easy to make and quilt right on–more kites and clouds. With my knees, I could no more fly a kite than fly to the moon, but “Kite Charmer: Sleeping on a Cloud” was delightful to make (from a seated position!) The pattern’s on sale for just $3.50–11 pages of templates and detailed explanations and diagrams–through the end of June. Click here to see more.

Detail of “Kite Charmer” by LJ Christensen

Thinking about kites and especially clouds led me to look for MORE clouds. I watched my good friend Carla taking pictures of clouds today. Well, here are a few of my own:

Field Clouds by LJ Christensen
Mountain Clouds by LJ Christensen
Cloud Covers by LJ Christensen

May your clouds be made of batting and not anger! Happy summer!

Continuing with Patriotism,

this throw and pillow pattern, “Stars and Strips Forever,” makes a bold statement. Made with Christensen Creations‘ unusual 60-degree folded “Modified Prairie Points,” the star points are layered and partially left unsewn on the edges for a bit of 3D texture. Easy strip-piecing–this is really not a difficult pattern. Can you just imagine it draped in a sun room when the family comes on July 4th? Check it out–just $5 on sale until mid-June. Click here for more info.

Stars and Strips Forever by LJ Christensen

I’ve seen people turn away from a quilt pattern because they didn’t like the colors of the sample. This is a good time to point out how differently a pattern can be made up. One of the biggest joys of quilting is playing with fabrics to choose your own custom combination. The one below is the same pillow done in upholstery velvet, with a focus of a big cabbage rose instead of string-pieced prints and cream piping in the seam. Now imagine it with a blue background and a blue/yellow flower….or go totally off the rails with a neon orange and yellow solid star on a gray background for a super-modern room. The combinations are endless.

Stars and Strips–Floral by LJ Christensen

The following one was made up from a starry Christmas print with accent of a heavy cotton braid. A simple star looked best against the busy print. However, it’s easy to also imagine red and white (or cream) stripes, pine green squares and gold stars for yet another Christmas look. Christmas in June? Why not? I’m working on some Christmas presents myself….better now than panicking at the last minute…though I can testify that this pillow goes up VERY quickly! Good gift!

Stars and Strips Forever–Christmas by LJ Christensen

We love our flag,…

… and this weekend we honor the patriots who lost their lives in support and defense of our flag and our liberty. I particularly want to honor my Uncle Frank, a young man of 20 whose plane was shot down in WWII. He never got to fall in love or raise a family or live to old age. He believed in what he was doing, though, and died a hero. I’ve taken the military “duty train” to old Berlin and felt the fear and constriction of a country without liberty. May we always preserve our liberty!

The pattern uploaded today is perfect for Memorial Day, July 4th, Veterans’ Day or actually any day. It’s “‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ 3D Folded Log Cabin Flag.” It looks amazing, but it’s really quite easy–the key is to remember to trim because the seams get really thick–in fact, this hanging doesn’t even need batting. On sale until June 15 for $3.50, click here for more information.

“My Country ‘Tis of Thee” 3D Folded Log Cabin Flag cc 1001

In my town of Wetumpka, Alabama, here is our flag in front of the 100-yr-old-plus copper doors of our area Chamber of Commerce. I think it’s a lovely sight.

“American Commerce” by L. J. Christensen

“School’s out for summer!”

Been singing that one for many decades, and right now it’s true in Alabama. We have early school ending in our district, so it’s time RIGHT NOW to get those teacher gifts ready. The rest of the country may have another month, but here you can’t wait! Try this darling “Little Red Schoolhouse” Platter Pad in 8″, 10″, or big 12″ size–easy to make by the dozen. So cute to hang or to truly use on the table, it’ll be well appreciated by any teacher. On sale for just $1.50 through June 15 this year…click here to get to the pattern:

Little Red Schoolhouse Platter Pad cc2005

I usually add some photos, but the sad truth is that I have absolutely no scintillating pictures of schools! So instead I’ll share some Applique Tips! Any zigzag machine can be used. Try it on a simple project like this one:

1) Fuse paper-back fusible web to the back of the fabric BEFORE cutting out pieces (saves time and gets the web to the corners).
2) To remove the paper, score it gently with a pin. (It works like a charm!)
3) Use tear-away stabilizer underneath the background (the type of tear-away for embroidery). 4) Use a close-together, wide zigzag and open-toe presser foot. (It’s always better to be able to see what you’re doing.)
5) As you sew, make sure the needle goes in a little past the edge of the fabric (to keep the “stray frays” in place).
6) Sew slowly and evenly, slower yet as you go around curves. (Better to be slow than jerky.)

Let me add that some patterns call for just using the fusible web instead of sewing. While that is fine for a wall hanging, it’s really not recommended when it’s something to be washed and dried. The heat sometimes unfuses the edges. I always prefer to sew them down for security–Libby

In the future I plan to add a “tips” page. Let me know what you think!

Your mother would love this!

It might be a bit late to start this for Mother’s Day, but there’s always a birthday. Besides, you may want this prize-winning spring jacket for yourself! The 3D gladiolus appliques are set into flower pot pockets. Lots of steps, but none are hard. I always provide lots of diagrams and instructions. Th secret to the flowers is YOYO! Yep, Grandma’s yoyos stepped up a notch!

Click here to check out the pattern, on sale for $3.50 until the end of May:

Glad Jacket cc2202 by LJ Christensen

While we’re on the subject of Mother’s Day, I want to thank my late mother for the gift of sewing. She had me doing lace-up books at age 3, sewing little doll dresses at 5, embroidering at 7, and sewing my clothes at 12 so that by 16 I was making prom dresses and lined suits. She was always there to help, but she made me learn to do it myself. I am so grateful. Thanks, Mama.

Mary Jacobs with new sewing machine ca. 1950
Mary Jacobs wearing a top she made in front of her oil painting–in her 80’s.

April showers bring …

…May flowers. Truly, April 25 it rained, it poured, it was completely dismal while I was trying to bring in loads of quilts and photos for my booth in the Tulotoma Art Trail in Wetumpka, Alabama. Certainly we were delighted to see the sun today for the actual event…and I even grew a few quilted flowers.

Here’s my latest pattern, “Happy to Gladiolus” Platter Pad. What a fun way to use “yo-yos”! Take a peek for more information.

Happy to Gladiolus cc2012

For those of you who weren’t able to see the booth, here are some photos, but come NEXT week–Sat., May 4, 9-1:00. Everything will still be up for the Community Expo. I’ll be inside the Wetumpka Chamber of Commerce (rain or shine!)

Sewing item on tables, photos in flip boxes

Quilts hanging from 2nd-story staircas

Motr quilts
Some photos including “95-yr-old Quilter: Laboring with Love,” a 1st-prize winner in the Elmore County Art Guild Winter Show. Photos and photo of photos by LJ Christensen

Late for Easter, but PERFECT…

…for Mother’s Day!   Wouldn’t Mom or Grandma LOVE this one?  The most precious cross with a stunning 3D flower is not nearly as hard as it looks.  It’s “jelly roll” friendly with 2 1/2″ squares, and the bloom is simple if you know the secrets included in the instructions, along with the colored chart and templates.  Just $3 through the end of the month, this one is adaptable to many different colors and fabrics.  Click for more info:

Risen-Cross-by-LJ-Christensen
The “Risen” Cross by LJ Christensen

For anyone in the region, it’ll be on display and up for sale at the Tulotoma Art Trail in downtown Wetumpka, Alabama,  11-5, on Sat., April 27.  Not to be missed, there will be more than two dozen artists showing a huge variety of works and even Steampunk metal sculptors at work with an auction of their work at 6 p.m.  I’ll be in the  Chamber of Commerce with quilted items, big and small, and matted and/or framed photos.  Come by!  I’ll be handing out coupons for the website.

Little-and-Bitty-Quilts-c-by-LJ-Christensen
Little and Itty Bitty Quilts by LJ Christensen

While considering the cross above, I thought of this image:

Old-Rugged-Cross-c-by-LJ-Christensen
 “The Old Rugged Cross”                          by LJ Christensen