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October is for MYSTERY & Adventure!

Here comes Halloween and what every kid knows is the best time for Mystery and Adventure!  Dressing up, braving the elements, walking the streets in the dark, knocking on stranger’s doors – getting candy for free!!?  Everything we teach our kids not to do the whole rest of the year!

Well, I bring you a perfectly safe and fun “3D Mystery Adventure!” that I like to call Hugs & Kisses.  This is a “quilt-along” at your own pace sort of mystery quilt.  I’m providing 8 clues for the total project; the first one being posted via Facebook/TheMasqueradeNH on October 1st, 2019 at 10am.  You can also click on this link to get Clue 1 right here!

CLUE 1 and Supply List

After that you will be able to receive each of your next clues at your own pace!  Just send a pm via Facebook or email to TheMasqueradeNH@gmail.com with a picture of your  finished clue pieces, and I will send you the next clue!

The only rules are:

  1. Do Not post any pictures of your progress (after Clue 4) publicly – definitely NO FINISHED QUILT pictures until after October 1st 2020.  I’m keeping this mystery running for the entire year so those who sew at a slower pace, or have way too much life getting in the way, can still have the fun of the mystery revealing itself in their own sewing space.
  2. Do Not request a clue every day.  Please take a break for 1 day in between requests so that you can catch up with things like shopping, cooking, kids, cleaning, laundry – did I say that?!  Anyway, it will give me time to keep up with the requests if this becomes a popular project.
  3. Please DO share this project with other quilting friends, so they can sew along with you and the rest of the group!  I will start an email list for anyone who is not on Facebook – and I promise I will never send out spam or sell your email address to a third party. (I hate that stuff!!!!)

That’s it!  Three simple rules!  The 8 clues will become your own copy of the pattern – and during this year it is totally FREE.  After that I will offer it for a minimal download fee on this website.

So make sure to check out www.facebook.com/TheMasqueradeNH tomorrow morning after 10am for your first clue, or send me an email: TheMasqueradeNH@gmail.com  or   Donna@TheMasquerade.net to be put on my 3D Mystery list.  I’ll also post the first clue here on this blog in the morning!

I’ve conveniently put together some kits of fabric, like the one pictured above for those who are too busy, or have difficulty picking fabric.  You will find a variety of kits choices on the “SHOP” page under “Project Kits” right here on this website.  However, if you want to shop for your own fabric, this is what you will need:

  1. 4 variations of neutrals ranging from white to black (with gray in between) or beige to brown (with gradations of tan in between).  1 yard of each.  If you often make mistakes while you quilt, then buy 1.25 yards of each – for piece of mind. These variations should show contrast between each step.  White/light gray/medium gray/dark gray – are a good example.  Or for a darker quilt, start with the light gray/medium gray/dark gray/black.  These fabrics will be numbered 1 – 4 from light to dark.
  2. Two colors that you love to combine – also in light, medium, dark variations.  You will need 1/4 yard of each as follows: light color 5 and medium version of the same color (we will call it color 6); medium color 7 (a different color than color 5, and make sure it’s one you like combining with the first one!), and a dark version of the same color.  For example, you might like to choose a light blue and medium blue, a medium green and a dark green as your 4 choices.  You will need just 1/4 yard of each.
  3. Finally, if you want to add a narrow border to your quilt, I suggest just a 3″ border.  You will need to purchase an additional 3/4 of a yard of one of your first 8 fabrics, or choose a different fabric that combines well with all the others.  You may also want to bind your quilt with the same fabric.  That would be another 1/2 yard.
  4. Backing fabric will require 4 yards of 42″ wide, or 2 yards of 106″ wide fabric.  The finished size quilt is approximately 62″ x 82″

Hope you decide to join the fun!

Till next time,

Smiles,

Donna Viau

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The Season of Giving

Winter is upon us, and so is the cold weather up here in the North East.  That means cuddling up with a cozy quilt, and getting a toasty fire burning.  For me, it’s time to start a new quilt.  Recently, I’ve decided to teach my twin grand daughters how to sew.  When they were just 5 yrs old, I bought them each a little sewing machine – more of a toy than anything else, but they really did sew!  We started with sewing on paper without threading the machine – to practice manipulating the page to follow some lines – to see if we could make the machine sew where we wanted it to.  When we finally put some thread in the needle – we got busy making some simple puzzle quilts using squares and rectangles.  They were so proud of their first creations!!

Now they are 6 1/2 yrs old and itching to do more sewing/quilting.  We’ve worked on triangles and are in the process of putting together a fun quilt for their Dad as a gift.  The quilt has 30 blocks – each girl is trying to get 15 blocks complete. I’ll quilt and bind the quilt for them – after all, he is my son.  LOL

We found an easy block that has 4 half square triangles, 4 rectangles and a center square.  When the blocks are all put together, the girls decide it looks like a snow flurry.  So that’s what we are calling the pattern – “SNOW FLURRIES”.  I’m offering it here as a FREE download for those who want to tackle what my 6 yr olds are doing.  If you want to try teaching your child how to quilt; just be prepared for many moments of distraction, lots of irrelevant questions and tons of fidgeting at the machine.  If you can get past all of that; it’s fun to see them learn and grow with a new skill.  We try to sit down to quilt for no more than an hour at a time.  Any more would be too much for a child that young.  As it is, after 45 minutes they are itching to do something else – but it takes them an hour to make 1 block (at least it did at the beginning of the quilt)!

Fast forward from September 19th, to December 17th – and the quilt is done!  By the end, they were each able to finish 3 blocks in an hour.  Good thing, too – as they wanted to give this quilt as a gift and time was running out!  I kept the quilting simple – so it wouldn’t outshine all their hard work.  This is a gift that will be cherished, I’m sure.

They are happy to share their adventure.  So enjoy the following pictures.

If you want to try your hand at this fun quilt,  just click on the link below (“Snow Flurries Pattern”) to download your FREE copy of the pattern today!

Halfway done with the quilt and progress is getting quicker – two blocks in a day!

    Here’s the first half of the quilt!

By the end they got 3 blocks done on the last day! (and one of them found some time to throw together a little hooded costume! LOL)

 Borders are on and it’s ready for quilting!

We backed it with fleece (using no batting) so it wouldn’t need too much quilting – just enough to hold it together.

Click on this link “Snow Flurries pattern” to get your free copy today!

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Magical Unicorn!

It’s all the craze! It seems like every young girl is into Unicorns lately; so I took it upon myself to create a pattern I could print out on letter paper and make available for all of you to download for free!

The pattern is easy enough that a 7 year old was able to make one – with a little help from an adult.  So here it is – my “Magical Unicorn” fun project #23 for you to download for FREE!  🙂

MAGICAL UNICORN instructions

Magical Unicorn Pattern Pieces

And here is a tutorial for you to follow along with while you create!  Have fun!!

Magical Unicorn Fun Project Series #23

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Out with the “OLD” – but let’s be nice!

Where did 2017 go?!  Wow – time really does fly when you are having fun – or just plain old. LOL

So here we are at the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one.  Many of us celebrate Christmas – and with that comes a Christmas tree and all the ornaments we put on it.  Some people like just some lights and fabric bows – others collect ornaments from past years – or ones their children made for them.  Sometimes it’s a real trip down memory lane!  I used to have a box full of memories – many of them breakable – that found a spot on my tree.  Hubby and I also used to insist on a “real” tree each year when the kids were small.  Along with the real tree came a real mess – and the need to dispose of the tree after Christmas was over.  We used to take off all the lights and ornaments, put them in a box and store them away – then cut up the very dry and hazardous tree and burn it in our fireplace on New Year’s Eve.  A “Yule Log” that would bring us good luck in the coming year.

Then one year after I packed all our breakable memories in a box and placed the box by the top of the cellar stairs (to bring down to storage later when I finished taking down more decorations), I went back to the living room to vacuum and tidy up.  Hubby’s brother was visiting and they were both well into celebrating New Year’s Eve.  As I was running the vacuum, the men decided to go out to the shed to get the saw to cut up the Christmas tree.  Hubby decided to use the back door to do this – which happens to be the door by the top of the cellar stairs.  He saw the “ornament” box – red & green Rubbermaid – and thought it strange that I didn’t bring it down the stairs.  He decided to help it on it’s way by nudging it with his boot till it toppled over the edge and rolled, bounced, twisted and opened all they way down the stairs.  I could hear it happening – even over the dun of the vacuum – and alas, knew I was too late to save the day.  All of our memories were broken into tiny little pieces all over the stairs.  When I got to the scene of the crime, Hubby was standing there with his jaw hanging wide and the guilty look a child gets when he’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  Well, nothing could be done to reverse the moment – so he continued out the door with apologies – to go get the saw; and I started vacuuming up all the pieces of the last 20 years from the cellar stairs.

For many years after that, we put up an artificial tree with nothing more than lights and some plaid fabric bows – with an occasional felt ornament here and there.  Then along came the grand children and some more lovely ornaments that were gifted to us from various people.  Then after many years of “fake” trees, we decided to go “real” again – and take the grandchildren “Christmas Tree Hunting” as a fun activity on a sleepover night.  I also chose this year to start a new tradition that I’d like to call a “Making Ornaments with your Grammy Party”.  We took a trip to the local pottery painting spot just a mile from my house – and painted our own ceramic very special ornaments.  Treasures I hope the children will keep and remember me by someday when they have their own homes and are decorating their own trees.  So, I thought – how can I make this a possibility – how can I keep these treasures safe – how can I teach the children to preserve and protect what we spent so much time painting and having fun making?  That’s when this quick idea came to me.  “Safe Pockets” – zip them up in a comfy soft bag of fleece and store them in a special box.  I went right out and bought decorative boxes for the children and then made a bunch of safe pocket sleeves.  My ornaments fill my sleeves and my box, but the children have big almost empty boxes with one sleeve that holds 6 ornaments.  This is so that they have something to look forward to in years to come.

Enjoy this quick tutorial “Safe Pockets – Fun Project #20” video.  Maybe you can use this method to preserve and protect your own breakable memories.  😉

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Cathedral Windows one stitch at a time!

I’m a little late posting this one, because it’s still a project in the making!  I’ve been interested in the Cathedral Window pattern for a very long time.  One of my best friends since 1st grade had one of these quilts hanging in her living room.  Her mom made it by hand and was taught by her great aunt – or something like that.  It’s kind of hard to remember – that was 50 years ago!

I stopped in for a visit in my old neighborhood recently, to have a cup of tea and visit with “Noni McRae” – this little old Italian lady who I have always adored.  I asked her if she could show me how to make a Cathedral Window Quilt block.  Her memory is not so great anymore – but she tried her best; folding and unfolding, cutting and snipping and folding some more – till I sort of understood where she was going with this.  We had a lovely visit and I thanked her graciously for showing me the block, and I went on my merry way – with a brand new interest in learning how to make a Cathedral Window quilt!!

I must say, that the instructions I received were not complete – so I went on to research the technique and found that there were not a lot of people out there doing this by hand anymore.  I understand we live in an “instant” society – but I didn’t want this age old pattern to die, so I took it upon myself to make a video to teach anyone who loves to hand sew – how to go about making one of these quilts.

Well, to make the video – I needed to make the quilt; and I have to say that I have very limited time to sit and hand stitch an entire quilt.  So I decided to start it in January when I flew to Florida for a family vacation and then I took it with me again in March when I moved my sister from Miami to Boston during a 5 day road trip.  Maybe you’ll see your town in the video!

So I applaud you Noni!!  Thank you so much for all your effort – this one’s for you!

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Lobster Fingers! Fun Project #15

What?! More like “save our fingers” when shucking that yummy lobster!  This is a very useful “fun project” if you like eating boiled or steamed lobster.  So quick to make – you can make a couple sets in just an hour!  Makes a great gift paired with some lobster eating tools and a fresh live lobster!  Click on this link:  Lobster Fingers for a FREE PATTERN  to make a few sets for your next lobster bake.

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Summer is all about FUN!

I don’t know about you, but summer fun can mean a lot of things.  Cookouts, swimming, biking, time to relax – and  QUILTING!  That’s right!  I’ve decided this summer I’m going to spend my evenings quilting instead of sitting in front of the TV.  My first quilt of the summer was done during a rainy mini 4 day vacation up in the Lake Winnipesaukee area in NH.  This went together in no time at all! (and I got to spend a couple days boating, too!)  Don’t be “bored” this summer – do something you’ve been meaning to do for a long time, and enjoy time with friends and family, too!  Happy Quilting!!  🙂

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Think Out of the Box QUILT CLASS!

Who says “SUMMER SCHOOL” is no fun?  We certainly don’t!!  Getting out a couple nights a month with a friend to make something beautiful and enjoy a cold beverage and some snacks while you are at it – now that’s the kind of summer school I like!  Check out our “Events” tab on this website for the new 2017 class schedule.  You’ll see more great classes like this one coming up in June . . .  .

For “Confident Beginners to Intermediate” quilters.  Make this 3D quilt in just 4 Wednesday night classes in June & July!

Learn how to cut and piece 60 degree triangles to create a 3D illusion of stacked or floating cubes.  This quilt is a step up from the traditional baby block quilt.  Class nights are on June 14th & 28th, July 12th & 26th.  Sign up with a friend and enjoy a night out!

For more information or to register for a class ($80), drop Donna a line at TheMasqueradeNH @ gmail . com

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Recycle – Reuse! Make something useful!

Old towels are a fact of life – we all find them in our laundry eventually.  I’ve decided never to throw them out – but reuse them instead.  Sure, you can cut them into squares and use them as rags; but why not make something useful AND cute out of them?  Here are 3 ways to make a bib – but once you get started, I’m sure you’ll think of many more styles and uses for “the bib”!  If you are not sure of size – then make sure you click on the link below for a FREE pdf pattern to get yourself started!

Towel BIB pattern

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HST’s – What are they and how do you make them?

I’ve had some requests lately from sewers wanting to know how to make quilt blocks. Here is a good ole’ traditional block called the “Maple Leaf”.  Living in New England we see a lot of these leaves!  They don’t have to be just green – you can make them almost any color!  In this video you’ll also learn how to “chain piece” and make “half square triangles” (aka HST’s).  You’ll also learn an easy way to “reverse applique” the stem block.

So far, the only other tutorial I’ve done on a quilt block is the Angel Jewels block in my Quilt As You Go tutorial.  If you have a special block you want to learn how to make, let me know!  I’ll be glad to make a video with all your options!  Currently I’m working on samples to show you how to make a “Cathedral Window” quilt – the traditional way – and also a much quicker version – “kind of a cheat” way.  😉  It’s not ready for posting yet, but I’m hoping to have it ready soon.  So for now, enjoy making these maple leaves!

If that wasn’t fun enough – try this SUPER QUICK and SIMPLE method!!

Using 5 1/2″ squares will help you create all the 3 1/2″ HST’s you’ll need to make the Maple Leaf Block described above 🙂