2014 International Quilt Festival

On Halloween, I took the day off work, and drove myself down to Houston so I could check out the International Quilt Festival!

Ruby Jubilee quilt display

I spent about 6 hours at the festival, and quickly learned that only one day spent there is not nearly enough time to see everything!

I spent most of my time just walking around and seeing the beautiful quilts, and checking out the many, many (as in, over 1,000) vendors selling all sorts of quilty things.

I couldn’t resist buying some fabric:
Fat Quarters from the International Quilt Festival
Fat quarters from Web Fabrics.

Half Yards from the International Quilt Festival
Half yard cuts from Heartway International.

owl stamp
And this cute owl stamp from Country Keepsakes.

I had also heard some great things on Molli Sparkle’s blog about Bloc Loc rulers, so I was excited to come across their booth…but unfortunately they were all sold out of the two sizes I was considering! I think I may have to order one online. I often find myself needing to square up blocks, and this seems like the perfect tool!

Now, let’s move on to the amazing quilts! I’ll just jump right into it with the photos. I picked a few of my favorites, and listed them under their specific categories.

Ruby Jubilee: A 40-Year Celebration

This is a special exhibit to celebrate the festival’s 40th year. The photo at the top of this post shows how they were beautifully displayed. I couldn’t see the quilt labels for these, so I’m not able to credit the artists.

Ruby Jubilee Quilt 5Ruby Jubilee Quilt 2

Continue reading

Quilted Fall Table Runner

Don’t you just love when autumn rolls around and you get to start buying pumpkins and candles and Halloween decorations? This year I thought I’d spruce up my kitchen table a bit with some fall colors. The remnants of Cherrywood fabric I had leftover from my chevron pillows was the perfect fit for an easy table runner!

The quilted table runner is made up of two inch squares from 6 different variations of red, orange, and yellow. I made up an easy-to-piece cross pattern that reminded me of my very first quilt, and it came together really quickly! I loved making it because I got to work on my piecing and quilting skills, without having to make a huge project.

quilted fall table runner - front

The fabric on the back is also from my stash – you may remember the yellow polka dot pillows I made with this fabric a couple years ago.

quilted fall table runner - back

Once I basted the layers together, I did some easy straight-line quilting with my little sewing machine, alternating between quilting two lines and four lines of simple orange thread.

straight line quilting

The binding is also pretty scrappy, using up more Cherrywood reds and oranges, and a little more polka dot fabric thrown in for good measure.

scrappy binding

I love these intense colors! What an easy way to brighten up a table for the fall season.

Halloween table runner


Hope you have a fun and spooky Halloween next week!


How to: Make a Design Wall

Did you know that fabric sticks to flannel? This never really occurred to me until I saw some awesome sewing and quilting studios that incorporated a design wall into their space. A design wall allows you to to lay out fabric and play with quilt blocks until you find the perfect arrangement! It’s a super helpful tool when laying out a design for your next project.

fabric design wall

Here’s a couple of shots of my sewing space before. I knew I needed something in the far corner, but I didn’t know what to put there. Once I started thinking about a design wall, I knew it was the perfect place!
Craft Takeover sewing studioCraft Takeover studio

Here’s how you can make your own. It’s easy and cheap! Two of the best things when making crafty projects 🙂

Materials needed:

  • foam core board – found at craft or office supply stores.
  • flannel
  • staple gun with 1/4 inch staples
  • packing tape or duct tape


1. First, measure your space to see what size design wall you can make. I had a long narrow corner of the wall that I wanted to utilize, so I used two foam core boards stacked on top of each other. I found mine at Hobby Lobby, and they were 32 x 40 inches each.
Craft Takeover studio wall

2. Next, determine how much flannel you need to cover your board. My design wall is about 7 feet tall, so I bought 2 and half yards of flannel. If you are making a wall that is wider than the flannel, simply sew a couple of pieces together to fit.

3. Tape the foam core boards together.
tape foam core to make a design wall

4. Attach the flannel to the board by pulling it taught, and stapling around the edge with a staple gun. 1/4 inch staples worked well for me – do not use long staples or you’ll go all the way through the board! If you have a wider board, some spray adhesive may be helpful during this step. Cut off the excess fabric on the back.

5. The foam core board and flannel are so lightweight, I simply nailed through all four corners and in the middle of both sides to hold it in place on the wall.
Design Wall detail

And you’re done!

Craft Takeover sewing studio with design wall

It is so, so helpful as a quilter and sewer to be able to simply stick some fabric or block on the wall, and then be able to rearrange and move them around. It really helps you perfect your design!

10 Inspiring Quilts from the 2014 Capital of Texas Quilt Fest

You guys know I love some quilt inspiration. So of course I had to share more inspiring quilts from last weekend’s Capital of Texas Quilt Fest here in Austin.

It was hard to pick only 10 quilts to share…but any more and I would have had WAY too many photos overloading this post. So 10 quilts it is.

These are in no particular order, other than the order I walked around the fest.

Over the Edge, by Joseph Stroman
First, we have the winner of Best in Show! Over the Edge, by Joseph Stroman. Isn’t it so amazing?! The photographs don’t do it justice (especially with those chairs blocking your view!). Just take my word for it, it was spectacular.

Over the Edge, detail of quilting
Check out how the quilting thread jumps out at you on the back. I loved the colors.

Delicious Mountains, by Rebecca Salinger
Delicious Mountains, by my friend Rebecca Salinger. She won Judge’s Choice, go Rebecca! Again, I didn’t do a great job with this photo, so it’s a little tricky to see, but the embellishments were really neat.

Balancing Act, by Art Bee Austin
I love art quilts, and this is such an inspiring example of one. Balancing Act, by Art Bee Austin.

Balancing Act detail
Isn’t the hand painting on these rocks amazing?

Feral Cats, by Kathy York
Feral Cats, by Kathy York. I’ve posted about some of Kathy’s work before in this post, but I continue to be inspired by her work every time I see it. Plus…I love cats!

Cancer Cats, for Heather Grant
See? More cats! This one is called Cancer Cats, and it was made for Heather Grant. Make sure to read the description in the photo below.

Cancer Cats quilt description
I love the friendship behind this quilt. Learn more about the Sarcoma foundation here.

Lonestar Brother, by Marilyn J. Roskey
For the beer lovers out there…this one is called Lonestar Brother, by Marilyn J. Roskey.

Sea Glass Herringbone, by Claire Jain
Sea Glass Herringbone is a quilt by my friend Claire Jain. This quilt was featured in a book I mentioned just the other day in my Recent Reads post – Lucky Spool’s Guide to Modern Quiltmaking. I haven’t made it all the way through the book yet, so I was super pumped to find out her quilt was in it. Congrats, Claire! Your quilt is beautiful.

Quilts by Corinne Sovey
I loved both of these quilts by Corinne Sovey. On the left is Waves (you can find her awesome tutorial for this quilt right here), and on the right is Garden Trellis (you can purchase her pattern here). I am finding that I am more and more drawn to modern quilts, and these by Corinne are super inspiring!

Twilight Stars, by Linda Scheible
Here is Twilight Stars, by Linda Scheible. I really like the color gradations on this one. And you know my obsession with Cherrywood fabric, which made me drawn to it even more!

Swoon, by Stacey Napier
And finally, Swoon by Stacey Napier. These blocks are awesome, and I really like the fabrics she chose. She has a lovely post on her blog about this quilt if you want to read more.

Oh yeah, last but not least – I didn’t count my quilt in the 10 shared here. But I better show you guys the finished product, since I talked so much about it in my last post.

Liberty Geese Number 3, by Laura Ward
Liberty Geese Number 3 Honorable Mention
Liberty Geese Number 3 is my first quilt entered in a show, I’m so proud! I’ll take that Honorable Mention any day.

Here are a couple more shots of the front and back with better lighting out in my backyard.

Liberty Geese Number 3, front Liberty Geese Number 3, back

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the quilts from this year’s show!

Click here to see some of my favorites from 2012.

Capital of Texas Quilt Fest, September 12-14

In 2012, I attended the Capital of Texas Quilt Fest as a total quilting newbie. I was just getting into quilting, and finding the styles I loved. I stopped by and enjoyed walking around and taking in all the beautiful quilts, checking out the fancy sewing machines for sale, and of course browsing around all the fabric and quilting vendors. (p.s. some of the awesome quilts from the 2012 show are featured in my Quilt Inspiration post if you want to check it out.)

This year, not only am I attending, but one of my quilts will be on display in the show! I joined the Austin Area Quilt Guild, and entered my latest quilt in the novice category, as this is my 3rd quilt to make. I’m excited and looking forward to the show. I hope that some of you Austin folks will make it out to see all the lovely quilts on display – there will be over 350 quilts there!

2014 quilt fest banner

Here are a few sneak peaks of my quilt, which I’ve shown progress shots of earlier this year. I’ll reveal the finished quilt when I get the binding on, and after it’s all fancied up and hanging at the show!

flying geese quilt blocks
flying geese laura wardhamilton on the flying geese quilt  flying geese quilt topwk 18 insp 04
liberty geese hand quilting

If you’re in Austin next weekend and you enjoy quilting, or sewing, or fabric, come out to Quilt Fest! It’s held at the Palmer Event Center, September 12-14. Entrance to the show is $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and the hours are as follows:

Friday and Saturday: 10am – 6pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm

I can’t wait to see all the lovely quilts and check out a few of the demonstrations. Some of them that sound really interesting and informative: Art Quilts, Quilt Preservation and Restoration, Quick Basting Techniques, and Basic Free-Motion Quilting, plus a bunch more!

Hope to see you there.

Recent Reads / 02

I thought we might be due for a book update around here!

I posted about my recent reads back in February, and since then I’ve made it through several more books. Our book club has been consistently reading every month, and we have fun meeting up and discussing over food and cocktails.

John also surprised me earlier this month with a new Kindle Paperwhite. I like having the built-in light feature, and it’s a touch-screen, which are some cool updates from my previous Kindle. I’m looking forward to using it as much as possible!

So without further ado, here are my recent reads:

The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester. This was one of our recent book club picks. The Oxford English Dictionary has an interesting story behind it!

Blood Meridian, by Cormack McCarthy. I picked this up a long time ago, but never finished. I’m giving it another shot. One word describes this book – violent.

The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick. This was another of our recent book club picks, when we decided to go with the sci-fi genre last month. I thought it was pretty interesting. Apparently, Amazon may turn this into a TV show? I’d probably watch it.

Written in my own Heart’s Blood, by Diana Gabaldon. This is the 8th book in the Outlander series. I am currently re-reading the entire series from the very beginning, because I need a memory-refresher (I’m on book 2!) Though it may be cheesy at times, I love this historical fiction/romance/time travel series. I’m super pumped about reading this latest one.

George R.R. Martin’s short story “The Hedge Knight” is included in this book. John and I are joining in on a Reddit re-read of the Game of Thrones series, and each week there’s a discussion posted. The re-read begins with a few short stories by George R.R. Martin that I hadn’t read before. I figure, I loved reading the Game of Thrones series so much the first time around, might as well do it again and maybe learn some new things from the group discussion. (nerd-alert!)

Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making. I picked this up at the book store and I’m enjoying reading and learning more about modern quilting. It includes 10 “workshops” that I’ve found pretty useful so far!

What are your current or recent reads? I love any and all book suggestions, so bring it on!

>> all book images are from Goodreads. Click the book covers to read the descriptions.

Liberty of London Wishlist

I have a slight obsession with Liberty of London fabrics. The only issue I have with this lovely fabric is that it will cost you about $36. I did splurge a few months ago and purchased some for my modern heart pillows, and I think it was worth the cost! Purl Soho has a great selection of their different fabrics. It’s hard to choose which one you like the most!

modern heart pillow

I recently came across this pair of pumps from a brand I love, Marais USA. They are collaborating with Liberty of London on a line of shoes!

Marais USA Liberty of London pumps

I think I gasped out loud when I saw them, then immediately purchased. After I saw these, I started thinking what other great stuff might be out there from this famed fabric line, and found a ton of cute stuff.

Here is my current Liberty of London fashion wish list!

Liberty of London Wish List

1 – Marais USA flats
2 – Vans Old Skools
3 – Saddle Bag
4 – Nike Black Collection
5 – Marais USA wedges
6 – JCrew swim top and bottom.
7 – Gola sneakers
8 – Lord and Taylor wedges
9 – Boticca birdcage earrings

What’s on your fashion wish list?

My New Succulent Container Garden


Today my friend Charly and I spent our afternoon at East Austin Succulents, finding the perfect plants to make our own succulent container gardens! Not only did they have an amazing selection of succulents, air plants, and cacti there, but they also had some helpful tips for caring for my new little plants.

East Austin Succulents
Rows and rows of succulents and cacti.

Plants from East Austin Succulents
It was tough narrowing down which ones to get!

Tillery Street Plant Co

East Austin Succulents shares a space with Tillery Street Plant Co., which also has a great selection of beautiful plants.

Giraffe Planter
Isn’t this giraffe planter awesome? It can be yours for about 500 bucks.

Craft Takeover Succulent Container Garden
The container for the plants came from Target. At about 8 inches wide, and not too deep, it’s the perfect size for all 10 tiny plants. There is also a drainage hole at the bottom of the planter, which is important to prevent overwatering.

Succulent Planter
Fuzzy details. That one in the front is so soft!

Succulent Container Garden from Craft Takeover
I’m so in love with my new little succulent garden. I plan on keeping it indoors on the dining room table. When I water it, I’ll leave it outside for a couple of days to get a little extra sun and not get too moist. The soil is a special blend that East Austin Succulent Garden makes, instead of regular potting soil.

Succulent Container Garden
I hope I can keep it healthy and beautiful for a long time to come!

Week 22 Inspiration / New York Edition, Part 3

Here are the final photos from our trip to New York! (Here are Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed them)

wk 22 insp 01
We spent nearly half a day just walking through Central Park. I never knew how huge it really was.

wk 22 insp 02
Can you spot the person perfecting their downward dog yoga pose?

wk 22 insp 03
Loved the peaceful Conservatory Water with all the sailboats.

wk 22 insp 04
Giant bubbles!

wk 22 insp 05
After all that walking, we treated ourselves to some delicious ramen at Ippudo NY.

wk 22 insp 06
Stopped inside the Chrysler Building and spotted these Amazing Art Deco doors.

wk 22 insp 07
That evening we headed to Brooklyn.

wk 22 insp 08
We spent the rest of the afternoon sampling some beers at Brooklyn Brewery.

wk 22 insp 09

wk 22 insp 10
Pretty vintage beer bottles.

wk 22 insp 11
We followed the brewery with a “Good Morning” hotdog at nearby Crif Dogs. Can’t beat a bacon-wrapped hotdog topped with a fried egg.

wk 22 insp 12
The next morning, we took a quick walk to get a glimpse of the United Nations headquarters.

wk 22 insp 13
The last bit of time before we had to head back to Austin was spent kicking up our feet, and relaxing one last time in Bryant Park during the beautiful weather.

wk 22 insp 14
It was the perfect ending to our wonderful trip.

Hope you enjoyed all the New York photos. John and I are so glad we got the chance to spend our 1st anniversary there! Can’t wait to go back again.


Easy Cinder Block Planter

I’m so excited to start working in our new backyard. There are a few things on my wish list, like an outdoor table with an umbrella, a hammock, and a little veggie garden. One thing I recently marked off my wish list though, is this simple concrete planter. I love how cheap and easy this project is!easy cinder block plantercinder block flowers

This is actually the 3rd time I’ve done this project! Here’s the first attempt in 2012. I lived in a townhouse with a teeny tiny little yard. Once I made the planter…I didn’t really do much else, and it sat without plants until I moved out. Sad, right? At least the cats liked climbing on it!cinder block planter 2012

Since the concrete blocks were empty, they came with me when I moved out. I made the same planter a second time, and my dad helped me fill it with plants when he was visiting. (Thanks, Dad!)
cinder block planter 2013

Here’s another photo after the plants got big and took over.cinder block planter 2013-2

Here’s how you can make your own!

Cinder Block Planter

Materials Needed:
10 regular-size cinder blocks
2 half-size cinder blocks
Mulch (optional)
Plants – any kind you like. I’ve had good success with various cacti and succulents. They are hard to kill!

1. Find a good spot for your planter, and clear the area of any rocks and weeds.space for cinder blocks

2. Place your concrete blocks nearby, and lay the first row of blocks according to the diagram below. The “x” on the diagram means the block is turned sideways. (P.S. Gloves are helpful when moving the blocks around. Those things are not soft and cuddly! Careful not to drop one on your toes, either.)stacked cinder blocks

concrete planter 1
3. As you go, use a level to make sure you are placing the blocks evenly. Otherwise, they will not stack nicely. (Note: I know that in this photo the blocks don’t follow the diagram. I changed my mind and moved them around!)
leveling the cinder blocks

4. Continue layering the blocks until finished.
cinder block planter

5. Spread mulch around the planter, fill the holes with soil, and plant your flowers! cinder block flowers

Besides these pretty flowers, I think I may try to grow some herbs like basil, thyme, parsley, and mint. I’ll be filling the rest of the planter up soon!

This time around, I did a slightly smaller version of the cinder block planter. For the bigger version pictured earlier in this post, you would need 16 regular blocks, and 4 small blocks. Here is a diagram for the large version:

concrete planter 2


Have fun making your own cinder block planter! I’m glad I made mine now before the Texas heat gets too insane 🙂