Monthly Archives: January 2016

‘Machine Quilting with Style’ Book Review + Giveaway!

If you are a quilter active online, you’ve undoubtedly run across the beautiful work by Christa Quilts. I had the chance to meet Christa a few years ago at Sewing Summit, while we were waiting to grab lunch. She’s very passionate about teaching and modern quilting, and a great person, too!

Machine Quilting with Style book review

Machine Quilting with Style: From Walking-Foot Wonders to Free-Motion Favorites by Christa Watson is a recent release from Martingale. I noticed they are running a great deal where you can get both the print book and e-version together in a bundle. This is nice if you like flipping through a book, but also prefer to have access to patterns on your laptop or tablet, to take back and forth to your machine!

Machine Quilting with Style book review

“Little Man’s Fancy” quilt

So, I own quite a few books on free-motion quilting. In fact, my goal last year was to become really confident at my quilting and branch out into different patterns. Although I can rock the meandering stitch and interlocking squares, I have to admit that I’m afraid to branch out and try different techniques. I almost never venture into straight-line quilting, but then I see a dynamic quilting motif like this (in the “Little Man’s Fancy” project), and my mind is blown. Why didn’t I think of that? So doable and yet so striking.

Machine Quilting with Style book review

“Square in a Square” quilt

The truth is, you can do some really great things with quilting designs that I’ve never thought of! Christa teaches you how to do all this on your home sewing machine. The book covers 8 designs you can quilt with your walking foot plus 10 for your free-motion foot. Add to this the 12 patchwork quilt patterns, and you have everything you need help you piece AND quilt your next masterpiece. This “Square in a Square” quilt is one of my favorites from the book, and Christa shows you how to combine straight line quilting and free-motion designs in the same project.

Machine Quilting with Style book review

“Focal Point” quilt


Quilting a continuous spiral is something I’ve only attempted once in my Turntable Quilt, and honestly, I just winged it. It came out a little oblong. The next time I try this quilting pattern, I’m going to use Christa’s tips to get an accurate circle. This “Focal Point” quilt is another fun patchwork design from the book, and I like this one because it’s a baby quilt size. Very doable and would make a great gift!

This is an outstanding book, and I’m so glad to have added it to my library of quilting resources. Want to win a copy for yourself?


Martingale is generously offering a copy of Machine Quilting with Style to one lucky Craft Buds reader! Leave a comment on this post telling us your biggest challenge when it comes to quilting (any stage of the process), and we’ll choose a random winner on 1/19/16! Good luck!

If in the U.S., the winner will receive a hard copy. International winner will receive a digital version.

Congrats to commenter #11, Cecilia!

Bigelow Tea, Oatmeal Apricot Bars & Downton Abbey

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MeAndMyTea #CollectiveBias


With the start of every new year the thing I’m most excited about is the start of another season of Downton Abbey! I know this season is the last so I’m looking forward to seeing how they wrap up the story I’ve followed for years now. Each week I get together with some friends to watch the show. We get out the fine china and create a different tea and baked good pairing. Today I’m sharing the recipe for one of our favorite combinations, Oatmeal Apricot Bars with Bigelow I Love Lemon tea. I picked up my tea at Walmart where they have a big selection of Bigelow varieties.


Oatmeal Apricot Bars

These are super easy to make! To get started, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Add 1 1/2 sticks of semi-softened butter (3/4 cup) and mix until uniformly crumbly.

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Press 2/3 of mixture firmly into a 9×13 pan. Stir an 18 oz. jar of apricot preserves and spread over top. Try not to disturb the bottom layer, but don’t worry if some of the crust gets pulled up by the jam.

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Crumble the remaining flour mixture over the top and press down lightly.

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Bake for 35 minutes until edges are light brown and bubbly. Let bars cool before cutting.

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Then brew yourself some tea, pinkies up, and enjoy the show! Our favorite tea with the bars is Bigelow I Love Lemon. It tastes like tea with fresh lemon juice (and it includes a daily dose of Vitamin C!). The tart tea goes well with the sweet apricot bars, especially if you add a splash of milk to your tea. If you prefer a less bold lemon flavor, Lemon Lift is a combination of lemon and spices that’s a little more subtle. Both teas are caffeine free and each teabag comes in individual foil packets.


Are any of you readers fans of Downton, and do you have a favorite tea to drink while watching? Let us know in the comments! And, if you’d like to find out more about Bigelow Teas and all the varieties they offer, check out their site here!

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