An address change

Hello!!

During the last few days I have migrated my site from this domain to a new one here.

Everything will be exactly the same except the address.

If you are following me here, I would love it if you would come follow me there.

Big Hugs!

xo, Melanie

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Guest book quilt SALE

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All of the guest book quilts in my shop are on sale 10 % off now through Wednesday of this week!!  No coupon needed.

However, the whole shop has a sale for 15% off, coupon code “happybirthday9”.  That means that on guest book quilts you can save 25% just by purchasing before Wednesday.

25% off!!

Shop guest book quilts here.

Additional items you might want to have at your wedding if you buy a guest book quilt (click pictures to view details):


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The photo contest continues, and you have until January 27th to send me a picture. I choose a winner on January 28th.  Winner gets a quilt!  See the details here.

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guest-book-quilt-promotion

Win a Quilt – Photo Contest

On January 28th, Southern Charm Quilts turns 9 years old!! In celebration, we are having a little contest.

Yep, yep, we are giving away a quilt! Have a look…

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about the prize quilt:

The size of this quilt is a lap quilt. It measures approx. 55″ square.

The fabrics are called “When skies are gray”. They feature umbrellas, raindrops, and other sweet little lovelies.

The colors are palest blue, bright white, gold and black.

I’ve used two different fabrics for the back, a gingham and a turquoise fabric. It blends with the front beautifully.

Then I’ve quilted it with wavy lines both horizontally and vertically.

Then finished off with a black and white scallop print for the binding.

how can you win this quilt:

To enter the photo contest you just need to send a picture of one of my quilts in use or displayed like the pictures below.

HOW TO WIN:

I will be selecting my favorite picture from all the entries I receive, the more creative the photo the better. I love to see my quilts in YOUR life. I love to see people in the photos or around landscape or just a beautiful place spread out in a meadow. There is absolutely nothing you can do wrong with your picture so feel free to make it your own.

RULES:

– any photograph is eligible as long as it features an item handmade by me. So if you have purchased from me before and are willing to take a picture of your item you can enter the photo contest.

– all entries must be received before January 27, midnight. That gives you 10 days to take your picture and send it to me.

– you may enter as many times as you like as long as each entry features a different photo.

– it doesnt matter if it is professionally taken or you take the photo yourself as long as you own all rights to it.

– by entering you are giving me the photo to use in my shop, blog, marketing, etc.

– I’m happy to allow my international customers to enter as well, but the shipping will not be included for the prized quilt and must be paid if the winner is from outside the US.

HOW TO ENTER:

Please email me at mel.tray@gmail.com, with your photo as an attachment. Please put in email subject “photo contest’. Please make sure all your contact details are in the body of the email OR tag me on instagram @southerncharmquilts and comment that this is your entry for the photo contest.

On January 28th, I will send out a newsletter announcing the winner. Good luck!

pictures from some of my customers:

15% off

Since we are turning 9 years old this month, I thought we’d finish off the month with a sale. Take 15% off all purchases for the remainder of January. Use code ‘happybirthday9’ at checkout on any purchases from today through January 31.

SHOP NOW.giveaway-quilt

Lately in january

One of my favorite quilt buyers is a photographer (her website is here).  She takes the most amazing photos, but I particularly like it when she takes photos of the quilts she has bought from me.  Like the one above.

You might remember the quilt.  It was my first hexagon quilt.  I made it last year.  Still in love.

Quilters Planner

I hope everyone is having a bright and shiny new year.  For Christmas, I was gifted this planner from Quilters Planner.  I am loving it.

I have used a planner since the beginning of 2016 and find myself much less scatterbrained.

This one is full of quilt patterns and block patterns and has plenty of pretty pictures to look at as well for inspiration.

Sewing Machine Drama

There has been some drama in my life lately.  That is what happens to someone who uses their sewing machine ten hours out of everyday and then it suddenly locks up and won’t perform a single stitch (my husband doesn’t understand this).  It’s quite dramatic.

My bernina machine’s timing is off.  Yesterday I took it to the shop and they said it would be four weeks.  My mouth hit the floor.  Four weeks!  There is no other Bernina dealer anywhere near me and even that dealer is almost an hour away.

This all would be workable if I had a back up machine that I loved.  BUT I DON’T.  I have a backup machine that I tolerate.  And I also learned that that backup machine will no longer do FMQ.  It just decided that it didn’t want to and no amount of petting could turn it around.

I have orders.  I have people waiting on their quilt.  So I bought a new machine.

And no I’m not happy about it.  It was not in the budget.  I can’t afford it. But these are things that happen.  I can’t get my job done without it.  But now that the decision is made, the stress has been lifted, and my drama over the whole ordeal is over…. I might be a little excited about this thing.

I’ve made a smart purchase.  Let me tell you why.

This is a juki.  Juki’s are incredible machines.  I already own a tank of one.  It’s industrial strength, it’s my husband’s machine and we only use it for the rag quilts.  It’s too powerful for anything else.  I tell you this because I KNOW what a good machine Juki makes.

I couldn’t afford another Bernina, obviously (if I’m being honest is exactly what I wanted).

And if I had to spend this much money on a machine that could handle the amount and size of quilting I do, I wanted to buy a machine that could one day work on a long arm machine.

Here is the machine I purchased.  If you take the time to read about it, it actually sounds quite amazing.  And quilters review had nothing but good things to say about it as well.

And then one day that juki machine will be apart of this.

So basically, I’m less than two thousand dollars away (best I can figure) of having a long arm machine.  Now that is something to be excited about!

I’ll let you know what I think of the machine soon.

Wandering Quilt Stuff

I’ve been working on my journal for my wandering quilt.  It’s a slow process.  And I’m taking my time with it, doing a little each day.

We have two weeks before we have to have these shipped off.

Photo Contest

For my quilt buyers of the past, I will be holding a photo contest this month (details to come tomorrow).  This is the prize quilt.

This is fabrics called: When skies are gray by Riley Blake.

and you can see below me quilting on that Juki I mentioned earlier, the one I’ve had for years.  I’ve had to do straight lines because that is all it does and I’m just having to be very careful since it’s so fast, but I wanted this one done and couldn’t seem to wait on the new machine.

The Whimsical Dresden

I’m also still working on this quilt.  I did completed all 77 of my dresdens and they just need sewing down.  I’ll be doing this for most of the week.

Miscellaneous

I took a little test (not really a test) at MakeLight.com.  They have a look at your Instagram pics of 2016 and then decide what your color palette for the year is.  This was mine.

Not sure if I like that.  Must add in more colors for 2017.

So I’m drowning in scraps and they actually stress me out when they get too full.  So there is a link in my shop now where you can purchase almost any size square 2-7″ in almost any colors that you prefer  in sets of 50 squares eac.  We will even draw a line on the back of them for an extra fee just in case you want to make half square triangles and want some extra help.  Read the details of that here.

Recent Meals

I really don’t talk about food much here (I take horrible food pictures), but I REALLY like to cook with real ingredients.  When I was a child we always ate hamburger helper and food similar to that, as an adult, Hamburger helper and similar foods are not allowed in my house.  We eat real food.  And I love to cook.

Sometimes I get uninspired and we end up eating some of the same meals to often.

Foods that I cook way too much of:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo: my own recipe.  It takes me over an hour to make and then we eat on it for three days.  This is a winner.

Jambalaya

Chicken Bacon and Ranch pasta

Chicken Dumplings

Taco Mountain

and so on.

The family wants some new meals and some lighter-ish meals.  I always head to pinterest when I need to be inspired.  I was and thought I’d share the new meals I tried.

Tried last week:

General Tso’s chicken.  I even went and bought some of the never heard of ingredients, like hoison sauce.  It was good.  It didn’t taste like General Tso’s (my favorite chinese food) to me, but it was good and different.

Chicken Enchiladas with sour cream white sauce.  This was amazing.  REALLY amazing.  The white sauce was perfect.  We will add this to our meal rotation.

Creamy Herb Chicken.  Heaven help me.  There was not enough of this to go around.  We all wanted more.  I served it over mashed potatoes.  In love.

And finally, Chicken Lazone.  I loved this one too.  I prefer the white sauce I normally make, so I’ll prob tweak this one a bit, but the chicken was incredible with these seasonings.  I also added a little Creole seasoning to it, because I’m obsessed and add it to everything.

Are you seeing a trend?  Chicken, chicken and more chicken. Yep, that’s us.  Tonight we are having chicken and waffles.  I have skipped lunch in preparation of the heaviness.

If you have any recommendations for food, I am always in need.  Leave a comment or a link.

xo, Melanie

A whimsical Dresden quilt – the making

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a little history about dresdens

 So the Dresden Plate quilt block is named after the city Dresden in Germany.  A place known for it’s romantic embellishments during the Victorian era.

Porcelain plates were created there with lovely floral designs.  Here is some of them.

The Dresden Plate was a popular quilt during the 20s and 30s and still remains popular today.  It’s obvious why too.  They make up some amazing quilts.

Look at this one.  And oh my goodness this one!  And another favorite of mine, this one.

We are not only still making them after all these years, they’ve even gotten BETTER!

the Dresden quilt I’m working on

For the past few days I have been working on a dresden quilt for a quilt order I have.  This will be my fourth dresden quilt that I have completed.  Here is the last one I did.  And here is the very first one I made that I was madly in love with.

I learned much with both of those quilts.

The biggest thing I learned is that I am a fan of making dresdens, but I am not a fan of quilting dresdens.

It’s irritating to quilt them down after you baste.  The quilt is heavy.  It needs turning this way and that to properly sew them down.  It’s a thousand times easier to just sew them down onto a square.  And that sounds nice doesnt it?  However, then you still have to quilt them and you are again left with having to maneuver your machine and quilt to these frustrating positions.

Last time I made this quilt I knew this, so I prepared and decided to quilt as you go.  But I chose a tutorial that didn’t live up to my expectations that consisted of quilting all three layers by blocks one at a time.  Sounded easy enough, until I had to piece the blocks together and made it incredibly hard to get a quilt that I was pleased with.

This time I will again use the quilt as you go method, but I’m using this one.  Here is why:

with this method I will sew/quilt each dresden down onto the top fabric and the batting, getting the top of the fabric quilted and the middle of the flower quilted in a cute design, like swirlies.  Each block will still be small enough for me to maneuver my home machine.

Then I’ll add the backing and I plan on doing a meander quilting design at that point all around the dresdens, but not on them.  This should give me enough quilting on the quilt to be happy and on all three layers and not lose my mind while doing it.

I feel like it’s a good plan.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

On to the fabrics:

My buyer chose the fabric collection Anu by Hawthorn Threads.  It’s lovely isn’t it?  I’m pretty smitten.  The colors are great, and it’s got all these scenes of nature.

These are fabrics that Hawthorne Threads prints themselves, so they are a little stiff to work with, but they wash up nicely.

My quilt buyer gave me some creative freedom with this one, something I’m always grateful for.

So this is the color palette that needs to be used, but I can add in fabrics to give it more depth.

I ordered the full collection and it came with these lovely panels.  I was going to keep them for myself and use them for pillows, but kept thinking how lovely they would look in the quilt surrounded by the dresdens.  I’m hoping my vision is correct.

The four smaller blocks are the same size as the dresdens, 12.5″ unfinished.  The larger panel will be in place of four blocks and measures 24.5″.

And this is what cutting 1,460 dresden blades did to my space.  yes!  YOu read that number correct.

I’m making a king size quilt that should measure about 108″ square.  I’ll have 77 dresden plate blocks, the four small panels and the one large panel.

Doesn’t look too many when piled up here though.

a few of my favorites.

So I sewed them all, then punched them right side out, then pressed them and now I’m sorting them and grouping them into groups of ten.

Most of my dresdens will be using only two fabrics, but there will be others that are mixed and scrappy looking.  This will be something different from the other dresden quilts I made.

That’s it so far.  I’m still piecing the dresdens.  After this step, I’ll move onto sewing them down onto the top fabric and batting.

More info on sizes of my pattern later.

Help Links

dresden ruler (exact same one I use)

a great dresden tutorial (its how I learned to make them)

xo, Melanie

Migration quilt

The  Migration quilt was my last quilt of 2016.

It was also a quilt I first made back in 2014, before I even had started free motion quilting.

Here is the original quilt:

and here is the block:

You can see that I turned it a different way from he original.  Same difference though.

This is a super easy quilt and made exactly the same way as those two scrapbuster quilts I made a few weeks ago.

The only difference is that in those two quilts the corner blocks were the same size 2″.  In the Migration quilt, the corner blocks are different sizes ranging from 2-4″

and altogether.  The look kinda like a hundred butterflies.

This is another great quilt for using up your scraps.  However, this particular quilt was for one of my quilt buyers.  She sent in her own fabrics, Fig Tree fabrics, and wanted everything on a solid white background.  The back of the quilt is white as well and so is the binding.  Please stay clean!

This one differs from the original migration quilt in another way by it having free motion quilting instead of the straight line quilting I was doing back in 2014.

Do you see my little heater pulled up close to my chair?  Thats because I’m in a basement and freezing to death.  I can’t get warm down here.  I live in Alabama and I like hot summers.  This 25 degree business needs to go back where it came from. 🙂

I really like this quilt.  It’s so fresh and clean looking.  I’ve gotten FAR away from using white backgrounds, but this quilt reminds me of how nice they do look.  And this particular quilt could probably fit seamlessly into any decor or color palette.

Last 2016 quilt label.  I’ve got new ones that I need to show off.  Soon.

white on white on white.  That’s a first for me.

The Block

Each background block measures 6.5″

Triangles on blocks started out as squares measuring 2-4″.  Anything in those sizes will do and the more different sizes the more varying your butterflies will look.

On each small square I drew a line diagonally.  Pinned it to two opposite corners diagonally and sewed directly on the drawn line.  Then cut 1/4″ on the outside of your line.  Press open.  I have a tutorial here, but note the changes that you will need for the Migration quilt.  The tutorial is for all four sides of the square.  Don’t let that confuse you.  You only need two corners for the Migration quilt.

The Quilt

This is a throw size quilt measuring 60×72″

You will need (120) 6.5″ background squares and (240) 2-4″ colorful squares to complete the quilt top.

Happy Sewing!

xo, Melanie

A wandering quilt – mine, the honey bee quilt

This month I start a journey with a new traveling quilt group called Wandering Quilt.

I have done a traveling quilt group before in 2015 and received an incredible quilt that I never posted about.  Maybe I should post that soon.  Here is a pic of that quilt in case you are interested.

That project really tested my skills.  Our group had some incredibly talented women and I doubt I measured up, but I was honored to be a part of their group.

Just in case you are not familiar with traveling quilts here is the idea:  Each member of your group creates a starter block and usually writes a journal with details, theme and style they would like their quilt to end up.  You send your starter block to another member in your group (usually there is a list, and you send it to the next lady on the list), they have a month to add on to your starter block and get your quilt going.  Then, they send it to the next woman on the list and so on and so on until your quilt arrives back to you.  In the meantime, as your quilt is traveling to each member of your group, their quilts are as well, so you will be adding to their quilts.

We have 10 women in our group.  That means that 9 ladies besides me will be working on my quilt and I will be working on 9 different quilts.  All themed.

The Theme:

I’ve been working on my theme and starter block for quite a bit.  And have decided that I would like to have a ‘bee’ themed quilt.

My dad has about 5-6 bee hives and every summer I am out there helping him with the honey.  Being allergic to bees I stay away from their hives.  My chore is usually running a knife over the honeycombs and removing the wax caps so the honey can flow.  I think it’s called skiving (not positive about that).

I usually eat quite a bit of honey as I do. 🙂

Some pics of inspiration:

what goes better with bees than flowers?  I’d like a fair amount of flowers on my quilt as well.  Early last year, I finished a mod corsage quilt, and I LOVE cutting flowers from fabrics and then appliqueing them onto other fabrics.  I’d really like to see that on my quilt.

Naturally, I’d like a fair amount of bees on my quilt.  I found several blocks from Bee in my Bonnet that I liked.

I’m also envisioning lots of hexagons.

This year is going to be THE year for me and hexies, but more on that later.

Besides bees, hexagons, and flowers, I thought it would be cute to have phrases that have been altered to include the word ‘bee’.

Style of Quilt

At first, while planning, I had thought my bee quilt would probably end up similar to my daydream quilt from the 2015 traveling quilt group, random and whimsical, but after some serious thought, I’ve decided that I want a medallion quilt.

But not just any medallion quilt.  I want a modern medallion.  I want a medallion where it’s not just rounds and rounds around a center square, but the rounds aren’t always symmetrical.  I found some examples of this below.

The quilt below was what pushed me over the edge for a medallion quilt.  I love the quirks.  The diamonds in only a few places, the color differences between one side and the other.

the only thing about medallion quilts is that they always end up square.  And since I received a square quilt last time, I prefer to get a rectangle one this go round.

I found some examples below.

Color Palette

For colors which is my favorite part this time, I want GREEN.  I want dark moody hunter green and bright happy emerald green.

I also want a fair amount of black and white used in my quilt, particularly black and white stripe.  I like metallic gold as well.

The green in the above and below image is the PERFECT shade of green I’m looking for.  I’m also looking at pastels with the green, gold and black.

I’m very excited about this quilt.  All of the images used in the above part of this post were taken from pinterest.  They are all pinned on a board here with links to their original places.

The Starter Block

For the center of my medallion, I wanted a little lady bee with lots of flowers.

I made her first, embroidery and applique and I had my lady bee.

Then I cut lots of flowers from fabrics and interfaced them, planning on applique them like I mentioned earlier.

This week i cut all of my hexagons from pastel fabrics.  I used my hex n more ruler and cut 4.5″ half hexies.

I bordered it with black and white dots.

My lady bee has been sewn down to my starter block, but I have yet to sew the flowers.  I’ve been playing with the arrangement.  I also didn’t end up using all that I had cut and planned to use.  And I ended up with a different arrangement than the one I had in my head.

But I like it.  Quite a bit actually.

I didn’t use much of my color palette.  I had the idea that if I used all light colors my center my glow in the middle of all the rounds the quilt might end up with.  Maybe.

My daughter took one look at this and laughed.  I’m not sure what that was about.  She probably thinks I’m always silly.  Maybe I am.

I’ll think I’ll just leave lady bee hanging here until I have to ship her off to another quilter in February.

I cannot wait to see her grow and I also am excited about working on other themed quilts for the women of Wandering Quilts.

xo, Melanie