by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter

Christmas Gift Round-up

January 6th, 2013 | Posted by Emma in Crafts | Inspiration | Quilting | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Hi Friends! Did you miss me? It’s been a long time since I posted anything on this blog, so I hope I haven’t lost you, my dear readers, but I just didn’t feel like blogging and didn’t see the point of making myself blog. Now I’m starting to feel like it again, so I’m going to see how long that lasts. Project Quilting just started up again and I was just sewing with my small group and we had big plans for challenges for the year to come, so hopefully I’ll find plenty to write about!

But really, I never have a lack of sewing projects to write about!! I mean come on!

I’d like to start getting back into things by telling you about the awesome Christmas I just had; full of homemade/handsewn gifts. I found lots of inspiring projects in books and magazines and online tutorials that I’d like to share with you! (more…)

Valentine’s Day Quilties

January 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

I love hearts, I love pink, I love flowers and roses and all things Valentine’s Day!!!! I just love it! Here’s a few of the fun things I’ve made for this fabulous holiday!

This first heart wreath quiltie sold the day after I posted it. Sad to see it go so fast. I love that border fabric!

This next one is available to purchase at my etsy shop and so are these fun sets of heart sachets (click the photos to go to the listings).

UPDATE: If you would like to make some of these cute little sachets, look above to the links bar and see Projects…I made up a pdf pattern for you! It’s not a step-by-step tutorial, because it’s really simple, and I like patterns that can print in only one page. If you make some, let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

I noticed that my roses quiltie had been in a few treasuries and favorites, so I decided to make another one. Love this border fabric too, it’s a little funky, a little vintagey and really pink!

Then you might not have noticed some of my zip pouches from earlier in January, they would be great for Valentine’s Day!

Can’t wait for Heart Day!

Quilt Show Weekend!

October 4th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

I just had the best time at AQS Quilt Show – Des Moines and the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild Annual Show! It was last Wednesday through Saturday. I took lots of photos, which I am really enjoying looking through, now that my feet aren’t sore! I’m sorry I can’t show them all to you though, AQS doesn’t allow the sharing of photos from their shows on the internet.

You can view the winning quilts of the AQS Show here. Hint: if you click on the name of the first quilt (Ambrosia), you can essentially see a slideshow of the best of show quilts by clicking the next arrow!

Instead, I can show you the ones I entered in the Guild show. I had six, five were judged and I won two ribbons!

This is my best, I won second place for this teacups quilt. I made it with the beautiful fat quarters that members of my guild gave me as thank you gifts for designing the newsletter for two years. They were so pretty in a big stack, but I love them even more in this quilt!

You’ll recognize all the others if you’ve been reading my blog…but here they are at the show.

I love quilt shows!!! I feel so lucky that we have one of the big AQS shows right here in our own town! They really do a wonderful job! Don’t forget to go look at the AQS show winners!


A Bowl of Keychains

September 30th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Crafts | Quilting - (3 Comments)

I finished up those keychains you got to see a peek of last post…

I wish you could hold these, because they are really so cute in person! They’re just like little baby quilts that make you want to hug ’em!

After I had this great stack of them, I thought I should have a good way for Red Barn Retreats to display them. So I got out my trusty old book “Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Bowls” and made a nice display bowl! Really, I love making these bowls!! If you haven’t tried them yet, you really should. (Clicking that link will take you to the book on sale for a super bargain!) You won’t be able to make just one! I have made several, one is my fabric fruit bowl for my kitchen counter. But I really have to make an updated one soon, as it no longer matches my kitchen.

Anway, here’s a photo of the keychains in the bowl.

I really hope the quilters on retreat at Red Barn want to take one home as a keepsake from what I’m sure is a wonderful quilting retreat…I mean what quilting retreat isn’t time to be savored?!

Just the bowl.

Design Wall, Finally

September 1st, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Uncategorized - (4 Comments)

Almost my only complaint about my studio space has been that it has so many windows that there isn’t enough wall space for storage. I know, I know, I can hardly admit that I sometimes think it has TOO MANY WINDOWS! But practically speaking, without a closet, I need more wall space for storage AND I’ve always wanted a design wall and could never figure out where to put one. Then it became clear, I would just have to cover a window. I’d been mulling this one over for quite a while, years probably, and finally settled on this solution…so when Dave said he was going to the hardware store Saturday, I jumped at the chance! So this weekend my husband put up this design wall for me!

It’s a simple roller window shade. With spray adhesive, I covered it in white flannel. The hardware was a little tricky, since the flannel made the shade much thicker than the original depth of the bracket, but my husband figured it out. He’s good at that kind of tinkering!

It is over the window that goes from the house into the studio, so I will not be able to keep it unrolled most of the time. (That would make my dining room feel like a cave without windows…but that’s the beauty of it being on a roller shade, I can roll it up any time!)

Here it is in use already!

And just for fun, here’s a new teddy I made. He’s flannel, I was just having so much fun with my flannel design wall, I pulled out some other flannel and made a bear. He’s listed on etsy here.


Reiman Gardens Quilt Show 2011

August 8th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

Now an annual event, I love the Reiman Gardens Quilt Show at Iowa State University! Beautiful garden quilts, beautiful gardens & butterflies all in one afternoon!! My boys even enjoyed our trip! Here’s just a few photos for inspiration…be sure to click them to see each one bigger.

Janet Pitman “For Frieda”…spectacular coleus!

Also by Janet below, “Butterfly Garden.” She really has a way with batiks!

Sandi Petsche “Flourishes”

Conal and Brennan were fascinated with the butterflies, both in the display case and the atrium.

Then out in the gardens, we saw our favorite butterfly, the monarch!

And there was a little fun splashed in, a beetle and some giant bugs!!

Look at that blue sky! It was a gorgeous day. Too hot and muggy to stay outside long, but at least it was pretty! We went to the pool later to compensate for the sweltering heat. All around a wonderful Sunday with my boys!

Taking Orders!

August 7th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

I’ve been making a few custom items that I’m excited about…

Keychains for Quill and Quilt, a Bed & Breakfast that specializes in retreats for quilters and writers. Now this place has really special room keys.

And some custom zip pouches too! I’m still working on the others, (pieces all over my studio table right now), so I only have one to show…

My client is very talented at selecting fabrics, don’t you think?! I love working with such luscious colors. I added a sturdy handle (with batting inside), so these bags will be great for taking along on kayaking adventures.

Doing custom orders is pretty nice, I love knowing who they will go to and what they will be used for. It helps me make choices to make them just perfect for the customer!! In the case of the keychains, I actually looked at photos of the rooms and color-coordinated the fabrics to the decor! I added the names of the rooms to the center block of each quilt AND even used the font from their logo, to make them uniquely belong to the Quill and Quilt.

If you like something in my shop and would buy it if only it matched your couch better (just an example)…let me know! I’d love to make something special just for you!

Violet Sashiko Round Quilt

July 31st, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Looks like I took July off from blogging! I didn’t mean too, but I guess it got away from me. Isn’t that how summer goes?!

But I’ve had a fun summer so far. We just got done with Grandma Ginny’s second visit of the summer. Here’s a photo of her with the boys, in front of a lovely fairy tale quilt she made for Brennan a while back. We didn’t get much time to sew together this visit, but we did have a good time.

On my sewing table right now is a small group/guild project, a quilt for a veteran. Here is a not very flattering photo of the work in progress. Each of my small group members made a set of blocks, now I am sewing those into the rows and adding borders.

I’m also making yo yos in any spare moments I’m sitting down with my hands free…so here’s a basket with my progress. I’m half done with the count I need for my yo yo quilt!!  I saw a blogger with a  yo yo sew-along that I considered joining, but hers calls for more than 1,000 yo yos!! I’m thinking 409 is plenty for me for one project. I’m already itching to get stitching them unto a background. But then I have to decide which color the background will be and buy the yardage! I’m a little afraid of making that decision!

Now for the project I previewed in my last post…the Violet Sashiko Round Quilt. I need a good name for it still, obviously. But I designed this fun little circle quilt for my small group’s “Solids Challenge” to use solid fabrics in a project. I broke the rules with the binding…but I think you’ll agree, it was worth it. The binding has a purple and white dotty design that shows off the sashiko stitches fabulously!

I really wish I had a cute little round table to put this on!

The flowers are the Folded Rose from Rebecca Wat’s Book “Fantastic Fabric Folding.

Well, that’s all I have to show you for now, have a great summer Sunday!



Project Quilting Off-season

May 12th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

I have been working on my challenge about the colors of my initials, but I just finished it last night, not by the Sunday deadline. I blame soccer and seam ripping!

But I thought you might be interested in seeing the Project Quilting pieces that were submitted…

Very pretty, huh?! From left to right, top row: Uniquely Nancy “Starry, Starry Night shoulder bag”, Marcia’s Crafty Sewing & Quilting “Marcia’s Tiny Treasures, ForQuiltsSake “Celebrate Your Differences” and bottom row: Kim Lapacek “The Tree”, AllthingsBelle “Garden Party, and Diane Lapacek “Pansy Fury”

I love the last two.

Middle bottom row, AllThingsBelle, said she had been wanting to try the “Sprockets” pattern. I think she’s talking about the same one I have on my ironing board (from Cluck, Cluck, Sew)…so that was fun to see. I love the embroidery hoop idea! I’ve also been wanting to try that as a mounting technique.

And lastly, Diane’s is gorgeous! She has been a judge for most (if not all) of PQ, so it was fun to see what she did with the challenge! It’s obvious she’s a great choice for a judge, her work is amazing. The color scheme is really cool, the design is interesting and the quilting intense! I’m not sure I like the lower left hand corner. She says it was for balance with the curves, but somehow it’s just too much of a contrast without anything tying them together in one composition. (except the intense colors, which by the way, she dyed herself!!)

The others are great too! I can’t believe Kim was still getting that quilt done just before her new baby was born!

So go read their stories and look closer if you’d like at Kim’s Crafty Apple….

I’ll show you mine tomorrow. Now I want to wait until after my small group meeting tonight to post a pic, so none of those friends see it here before they see it at our “reveal.”

101 Patchwork Projects

May 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

You may have already heard the news, but I don’t know what has taken me so long to blog about this….I’ve been published! I have a pattern in the great big Quilting Arts special issue “101 Patchwork Projects.” I even brought it to my guild meeting before posting it here. They gave me the warmest, most enthusiastic applause I have ever received at just a show and tell. I think they were proud of me!

Anyway, here’s the project that gave me the honor of sharing my craft with the quilting world.

And here it is in a magazine!

And here is where it says my name, in a magazine!

Oh, I know, maybe someday having something in a magazine will seem just as exciting as my everyday job, I hope anyway…but right now I’m basking in the newness and excitement of it.

I’ve made three of those “Tree of Life” wall-hangings since that first, just to make sure I could do it again. I had the magazine open and pretended to be someone else, just following the directions in a book! I had to really concentrate on reading each step before just rolling ahead and doing it, but it was fun that way!

Here’s one of the others. (I still have to photograph all of them.)

I’m sure I’ll be offering them on Etsy, so if you’re interested, stay tuned (or convo me on etsy and get the listing up!) BUT better yet, go get the magazine and make your own!! I do hope I get to see what some other quilters do with the pattern. So, if you’re going to make it, be sure to show me you finished quilt!

By the way, the project is super-fun! It’s made in a fun and easy method that really allows you to play with the design before stitching it all down.

Here’s the cover of the magazine and the link for you to purchase your own copy. It’s a really great book. I made a pretty big list of projects in it that I want to do someday soon. I’m sure there are a few more blog posts about it to come! Bracelets, slippers, a headband, vases, placemats, a few simple quilts, and lots more.

Thank you Interweave and Quilting Arts, for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful project. I am so honored!

– Emma