‘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.

2016-01-07 13.47.52

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.

2016-01-07 13.51.36

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

2016-01-07 13.53.34

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

2016-01-07 14.36.19

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!

Giveaway! Join the 2016 Tribal Block Club with Amy of 13 Spools

We have a really exciting giveaway today! Our friend Amy at 13 Spools has recently launched a new quilt club, which you can join for 2016. Comment at the end of this post for your chance to win a membership (that’s a $39 value), or go sign up now to get the early-bird discount.


Registration is currently open for the Tribal Block Club!

EEEEEEEEEEK! I’ve been waiting to show you all. I’m so excited! Fully tested, detailed tutorials & quilt patterns, coloring pages, free motion quilting discussions, etc. The whole shebang people. Because I love to teach, love these quilts & blocks, and ….. I mean, that should be enough, right?

Anyway, if you’re looking for your next project, boom it’s here! (And if you’re not, you can always sign up and work on it later!)

If you sign up before January 1st, you’ll get the early bird price of $29. After that, it’s $39. The class starts on the 15th. (Purchase here or keep reading for more details!)

DSC_4934 copy

What you’ll get:

– 6 block tutorials: Each block tutorial will be available in blog post and and PDF format for greatest ease of use. These blocks range in difficulty, giving everyone enjoyment. Each block has been inspired by antique tribal patterns in Navajo & African works.

– 3 quilt top patterns: Don’t know how to use those blocks? Look no further – these three patterns do all the heavy lifting for you. Jump right into a project you love with great tribal flair.

– Endless possibilities: Do you love designing? The blocks are all made with easily combined sizes, making it even easier to design your own projects above & beyond the quilt top patterns provided.

– 18+ weeks of content: You won’t get bored! These projects will last you well into 2016, and even longer should you go on to create your own quilt block combinations. There are three “units” in the club, each lasting 6 weeks and including 2 block tutorials & 1 quilt top pattern. The full content of each unit is released at its start to allow you to go at your own pace. Want to save it all for later? That’s cool, too! You’ll have unlimited access for as long as 13 Spools is here.

– A community: Each tutorial & pattern post will include a linkup for you to enter a photo or blog post of your finished block. Peruse other students’ entries to gain inspiration & offer encouragement. Need more than that? We’ll have a Facebook group just for students to chat all things Tribal Block Club, post WIP photos, and cheer each other on to help forge even deeper relationships & communication.

– Design support: Coloring pages for every block tutorial & quilt top pattern take away any second guessing. Have questions about how to combine blocks for a new quilt top design? Ask away!


Q & A:

1) How much paper piecing is there? There is only one block that is paper pieced, and it is a very simple block. If you hate paper piecing, don’t worry, you’ll still love this club!

2) How will I receive my content? All content is provided on a members-only section of this website, which you will access with an account you create. You’ll also receive emails every time new content is posted so you won’t have to worry about checking back to see if anything new is available!

3) What if I have a question about one of the tutorials? Simply post your question on the appropriate blog post, email me (13spools@gmail.com), or post your question in the Facebook group – we’ve got you covered!

4) Do you offer shared accounts for groups, such as my local quilt shop, or my guild? Yes! If you are an official guild or brick and mortar shop, you are more than welcome to contact me to chat about group memberships & teaching licenses.


Leave a comment on this post telling what fabric designer or collection you think would look good with the tribal quilt blocks. I’ll choose one random winner on Jan 4th to win access to the Tribal Block Club for FREE!

If you’ve already purchased, you’ll receive a refund. Don’t delay… the price goes up after January 1st! Sign up here!



Stamped Christmas Gift Tags with Expressionery

Today we’re partnering with Expressionery for these adorable stamped gift tags! Every year I like to make a box of baked goods for our UPS, Fedex, and USPS delivery guys as a thanks for the million Amazon.com boxes they deliver each year, especially at Christmas! This year’s box includes chocolate dipped oreos, bourbon balls, and butterscotch bars. To finish off the box I used the Merry Christmas banner stamp to create a gift tag and wrote in the delivery guy’s name (kid names are blurred in the photo, but it looks perfect in real life).


For presents to our kids I used the Inspector Elf stamp. I thought this one was a lot of fun. One night we asked our kids what they thought elves might be named. Then I cut out squares of craft paper and stamped them, then used a calligraphy pen to write in the names of the different elves the kids had suggested. Then I used rubber cement to glue them to the packages like an actual approval sticker. The stamp can be customized for both the wording on the top and bottom, and for the elf name. I chose to leave mine blank but if you want to have an elf name put on the stamp (like the name of your elf on the shelf) you can do that!


The stamps are high quality self-inking stamps that come in their own little muslin bag. The stamps have a lock on them that’s great to prevent your 3 year old from stamping elf approvals all over your dining room table (I discovered the lock too late).


One of my favorite parts of ordering from Expressionery is the preview window! As you customize your stamp you get an instant preview of what your final stamp will look like.


There are tons of stamp designs to choose from and right now you can get 30% off by using the code VERYMERRY!


Game Day Recipe: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sliders

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

Slow Cooker Pork Sliders - Craft Buds

I have to admit… my favorite part of any football party is the FOOD! Though my husband is a serious sports fan, I don’t know the difference between a fullback and a halfback. And I’m pretty okay with that.

If you’re getting ready to watch the game with your friends or family, or just eat like it’s the Big Game, I have a must-try recipe to share with you today! My family loved this, and it was so easy to prepare in the slow cooker and forget about it all day.


I picked up all the ingredients for this recipe at Walmart. Wanna know a little secret? I use Pace® Salsa in most of my crockpot recipes! I picked up the Medium flavor of 24 oz. Pace® Salsa to use in this recipe, and I had plenty left over for chips and salsa.

I adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking, but put my own spin on it. It was delicious, and the smell was so good, we all couldn’t wait to eat it!


  • 4- to 4-1/2-lb. bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp. Medium Pace® Salsa
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbs. vinegar cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Mini sandwich buns

Crock-Pot Pulled Pork Sliders

Toss the onions, 1 cup salsa, 1/3 cup vinegar, brown sugar, cumin, and chili powder into the crockpot. Stir.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sliders - Craft Buds

Set the pork on top, then roll it around to get it evenly coated in the mixture. Cook in the crockpot on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

Crock-Pot Pulled Pork Sliders - Craft Buds

After it has cooked, move the pork to a cutting board. I placed mine on a cookie sheet with edges to keep the juices from running everywhere. Shred the pork with a couple forks. Remove the bone and fat.

Pour the juices into a bowl and add 1 cup of juices back in to your crockpot. Add 1 Tbsp. ketchup, 3 Tbsp. salsa, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, and 1 tsp. salt. Put the shredded pork back in the crockpot with the juices and mix well.

Crockpot Pulled Pork Sliders

Serve on mini sandwich buns. These are great topped with pickles and cole slaw! Add a dollop of steak sauce or barbecue sauce if you prefer. Be sure to check out more delicious recipes with Pace.

I’d love to hear about your favorite game day recipe!


Make a Photo Canvas from Your Instagram Feed

Instagram Photo Canvas Craft Buds

Earlier this year, I decided to turn some of my nicer photos of my son into canvas wall art. I had invested in a 50mm prime lens and taken the time to learn how to use my DSLR, so I wanted to make sure those images weren’t destined to live only on my computer. Now I have 6 canvas prints of Elliot at different ages and seasons all around the dining room. It’s a really nice way to remember his first year!

Most of the time, I only have my camera phone with me. Since those images are smaller and not really suitable for printing or framing, they exist only on Instagram. But they include some of my very favorite memories, like first time Elliot pet a kangaroo… and the one where he made that grumpy old man face… and that time with the chocolate pudding.

Instagram Photo Canvas | Craft Buds

Then I discovered a really cool service called Postrgram! This site allows you to instantly (in 5 minutes!) import photos from your instagram feed or from a specific hashtag and turn them into a canvas-worthy print. Here’s how it works:

Postrgram screenshot | Craft Buds

Postrgram asks you to select your photos (50 to 250) from a specific username or hashtag. I chose the hashtag I use for my son, so all of the appropriate photos showed up. From that, you can choose one image to be your “Main Photo.”

In the next step, you can select all or just some of the specific photos which will be included in the tile mosaic. Pick your print size (I went with the 20″ x 20″ canvas, but you can also order many sizes, or even a hi-res digital image). A great feature is the little slider that lets you adjust the image transparency. This way, you can decide how much you want to be able to decipher all of the mini images, or if you’d rather they just blend in.

Instagram Photo Canvas | Craft Buds

This is how my 20″ x 20″ canvas print from Postrgram turned out. I have to say, it’s a really high-quality print! And the square format is really unique and perfect for Instagram photo cropping. My print is definitely on par with the other canvas prints I’ve ordered from my DSLR photos… I never would have guessed looking at this that the pics were pulled from my Instagram feed!

I’d say the one feature that could improve Postrgram would be the ability to swap out a couple of tiles with others. For instance, in both of the Main Images I tried, my son’s nose slightly disappeared. I realize this is just one of the quirks of a photo mosaic, but I wonder if I’d swapped a couple of tiles if it would have made a difference.

Instagram Photo Canvas | Craft Buds

All in all, I’m so happy with the way this Postrgram photo mosaic turned out, and I’d definitely recommend the service. The canvas print arrived in a protective plastic and cardboard wrap, and came with hardware installed so it was ready to hang!

If you are looking for a creative, last-minute holiday, birthday or anniversary gift, check out Postrgram and start building your own custom photo mosaic in just minutes! It’s a really fun and unique way to print Instagram photos.

Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for my review, but was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...