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Let There Be Sunlight! (And Flowers Too)

It's a Spring posy with a rainbow of colors--best wishes for royal romance!

Sample block for a Four Seasons quilt block exchange from Material Obsession 2 by Doughty/Fielke.

Can you sense it yet? The telltale signs of winter passing? Sure the temperatures still can dance about, but they’re definitely upward bound. For me, the dawning season tickles a shedding impulse. I want to lighten up and refresh my outlook so I can try new things without the burden of disorder and half-finished projects, but the clutter? That’s holding me back. Somehow I’ve got to vanquish the teetering piles of stuff and banish the dust bunnies (as cute and furry as they may be).

Am I really about to give you a peek into the mess that threatens to slide off my worktable? One chaos-busting tactic is to purchase more plastic containers, but that’s a band-aid approach at best; even boxes need places to sit. A partial solution is a dose of self-administered tough love: Dare to open your studio space to a compulsive personality and authorize him/her to question every storage decision. I roped in a son prone to pithy observations. Phase I was pretty successful, but he was shocked that a bigger pile replaced the one we tackled a week earlier–it’s temporary, I swear!

This clutter queen needs help!

Once I (finally) tame those piles, my next step will be to prioritize the UFOs starting with the easiest to finish because getting them done will fuel my enthusiasm for the tougher challenges. At least I think it will, any suggestions out there for this quixotic clean freak? The Tree block pictured above is a block-exchange quickie that I’m tackling now (yes, before organizing, but there’s a deadline). My assignment is midsummer and I opted to make day and nighttime views. Clip art gave me a classic man-in-the-moon face that I also morphed into a friendly sun. It’s a fun block embellishment that I’d like to share with you–after all, making pretty things is our passion whereas cleaning is merely obligation.

For your sun, you’ll need:

  1. A yellow print (40″ strip of 1 -1/2″ fabric, folded in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and pressed, an 8-1/2″ x 11″ rectangle to fuse to the sun base, and a 5″ x 5″ scrap for the dimensional appliqué sun)

  2. A sheet of ExtravOrganza by Jacquard Products

  3. An 8-1/2″ x 11″ rectangle of lightweight fusible material

  4. A clip-art image of a sun or moon face (mine is 3-3/4″ in diameter, finished

Assembling the sun’s rays:

Cut the 1 1/2″ folded strip into ten  3″ lengths. Fold 5 strips once (middle column in photo); press. Fold the remaining 5 strips twice (rightmost column). Run a stabilizing stitch along the base of the fold.

Sun dimensional-applique how-to:

I dropped the clip-art image into a Word document, printed it on ExtravOrganza, and then fused it to the yellow backing fabric. To make the sun applique dimensional, I sewed the sun image to the 5″-square scrap of backing fabric, right sides together. Then I cut out the circle, leaving a small seam allowance, turned the sun to the right side via a tiny slit cut in the backing fabric, and pressed. Follow the photos to place the sun’s rays.

Arrange the 5 single-fold rays around the circumference of the sun.

Slip the 5 double-fold rays between the single-fold rays and pin. Secure with stitches.

Of course, where there’s sunshine, flowers will follow.

Use a double-fold to create the buds and wrap in single-fold leaves. Machine stitch at base to secure.

Recently, for a special finishing touch, I stitched tiny rosebud posies in sets of  3 to 5 and scattered them around the perimeter of a rose-themed patchwork quilt–gorgeous!

P.S. The winner of the Color Shotz pattern was Jennifer Lucot. Congratulations!

P.P.S. Check out the 2012 Empty Spools Seminars brochure where yours truly debuts her Flower-Powered workshop and Laura offers expert guidance for Independent Study (with Benefits).

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