by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter
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Valentine’s Day Project

February 8th, 2014 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Tutorials | Uncategorized - (0 Comments)
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Need a quick project to make this weekend? You might go to Pinterest and look around, perhaps search “tutorial” and hope to find some good quick instructions? I like to do that! But I hate it when the “tutorial” is just a picture…or in another language…or a bunch of ads and not what you clicked at all! Ever happened to you?

So here’s a tutorial for a pin I’ve been thinking of making for a while, but really had to figure out how to do myself. Yeah, you could probably figure it out with just the photos, but you didn’t really want that much work, did you?! Just follow me… (more…)

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I may just be a little nuts, but I just found another thing in my home that needed a quilt…my George Foreman Grill! I have been eating grilled sandwiches almost every day for lunch and trying to wedge it back into a high corner of my cupboard after every meal…usually causing a crash down of a few spices in the process. So I decided to keep the thing on my counter. But its just not pretty enough for that. (more…)

Summer Flag Tutorial

May 28th, 2012 | Posted by Emma in Inspiration | Tutorials | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)
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We’ve had a wonderful weekend! It’s been hot and sunny and feeling just like summer! The boys played in the pool, sprinkler and slip n’ slide and Dave and I trimmed the hedges, mowed the lawn and planted the last square of the square foot garden with some big healthy vegetable plants.

Brennan was so inspired by the fun he had Saturday and Sunday that today he wanted to make a quilt to celebrate it! (I so love that kid!!) Together we came up with a project so great, I thought I’d share it…. (more…)

Fabric Boxes

April 16th, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)
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I found a great tutorial to share with you! At “The Sometimes Crafter” Tutorial :: Fabric Scrap Basket

You may have seen it already, or something like it (the tutorial is dated 2009), but if you haven’t tried it yet…you should! (more…)

Tree of Life Block

February 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (3 Comments)
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It’s my turn for the block of the Tree and House Quilt-along at Kim’s Crafty Apple. Here it is!

It’s a little bit of a pieced block to fit in with the others and a little bit Quilties, but I hope you have fun with it too!

 Download the TreeofLifeBlock PDF pattern.

If you’d rather see the instructions online, keep reading.

Materials Needed:
• Lightweight fusible interfacing
• 12 – 2 ½” squares
• Flower and leave fabric scraps
• Light background fabric 8 ½” x 10 ½”
• Ground strip 8 ½” x 2 ½”
• Water soluble glue stick
• Optional fusible web

Step One: Patchwork Squares Side
Cut a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing 5″ x 15″ and arrange your 2 ½” squares along this strip in two columns.

Line up edge to edge as perfectly as you can, then fuse the squares to the interfacing.


First you will sew the short seams across these squares by folding over the first two right sides together and sewing a ¼” seam from the edge of the interfacing.

Fold the next two and sew the seam and so on, for five short seams.


Trim the seam allowances just a tiny sliver (just enough to cut off the fold) allowing you to press the seams open.

Press open, then fold in half the long way and sew the ¼” long seam. Trim and press open as before.


Step Two: Assemble the Background
Press an 8 ½” x 10 ½” piece of interfacing to the reverse side of your background fabric. Sew the ground strip to the bottom of the interfaced background. Then stitch the side panel to the background/ground unit.


Step Three: Appliqué the Tree of Life
If you prefer to appliqué with fusible web, fuse the web onto several green and floral scraps. Free cut various flowers from floral motif fabrics. Also free cut some simple leaf shapes and 5-6 small strips of brown tree trunk fabric.

Note: I do not use fusible web, it gives it a little fluffier look, the edges will fray more, but I like that. You can decide what will suit your quilt better!

Arrange your tree free-hand, starting with a good tree trunk and branches, adding flowers and leaves until you like the look of your tree. Don’t worry if the flowers are not all from the same fabric, it looks a little more whimsical that way! Use a glue (or the fusible web) to adhere them to the background just enough for quilting.

Step Four: “Quilting” the Tree
At this point, you are not exactly quilting because you have not assembled your sandwich, but you can sew a single line of stitching around the edges of all the appliqué pieces. This will hold the pieces on and can be decorative as well. I added a little texture to the tree trunk and veins in the leaves. Use thread that is either matching all the parts or neutral enough to not stick out. (click the photo to see it bigger and see the stitching.)


That’s it, your “Tree of Life” block is done and I’m sure it’s as unique as you are!
Enjoy the rest of the Quilt-a-Long!
– Emma Thomas-McGinnis

p.s. If you’re a new guest here, please stay a little while and look around my blog. I hope you’ll join me as a friend of Quilties too!

Valentine’s Day Quilties

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

I love Pincushions

January 2nd, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Crafts | Quilting - (1 Comments)

That’s right, pin cushions are not only practical, they’re a lot of fun to have around and fun to make too. This treasury by Kim Lapacek got me started thinking about how much I love pin cushions…

And if you like making them, like I do, here’s a round-up of some pretty nice tutorials I found online.

Wrist Pincusion By Planet June

Best Babyfood Jar Pincushion by Craft Pudding

Anna Marie Horner’s Wild Flower Pincushion at bhg.com

Wow, this one is really cool…an oldie but goodie from Monkeyroom

Yo Yo pincushion by Craftypod…gotta love this one!

Hmmm, I have too many projects to get into making more pincushions. But small projects like this are easy to sneak in when you need a break from the big ones, so go ahead!

Here are the pincushions I use on a daily basis…the stacked pin cushions I made from an American Patchwork and Quilting pattern a few years ago, the cake shaped pin cushion that was a gift from my friend Doris and the little knit one I found at a garage sale for 10 cents.


Happy Sewing!

A Tote Bag Giveaway!

December 20th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All - (8 Comments)

I’m pretty joyful today! It’s almost Christmas and I’ve had a lot of fun making presents and packages…the Christmas tree is right by my desk sparkling and looking pretty…so I’d like to try my first blog giveaway and have an excuse to send another package!

If you’d like to win one of my reusable shopping bags, here’s what you can do:

1. Make a comment on this post about anything you like in my Quilties Shop.

2. Like Quilties on Facebook and then leave a comment here that you did. Look in the right sidebar for a link.

3. Join this Site with Google Friend Connect and leave a comment on this post to let me know you did.

That’s three chances to win.

I’ll close comments on December 26, and draw the winner on December 27. Then after all the gift giving is over, there will still be one more in the mail for the lucky winner!

Gift Bag Tutorial

I also decided to make a quick little tutorial for the holiday gift bags I had so much fun making and wrapping gifts in. They’re really easy and you can have lots of fun mixing and matching festive fabrics and picking out a big perfect button.

See the projects tab on top for a link or click here.

Handmade Christmas Part 2

December 12th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Crafts - (0 Comments)

I came across a tutorial this morning that was one of those things that I had to go make right that minute….do you know what I mean?? Sometimes I come across ideas I think are clever or look fun to make and I bookmark them for later, or save a pic/pdf in a folder on my computer, and sometimes I get around to digging through those folders and bookmarks…but this one just couldn’t wait!

Paper Christmas Tree Ornament by Elsie Marley

Here’s what I did with them. I started by fusing fabrics to cardstock, because I can’t pass up a chance to use fabrics. I had a lovely selection of green, holiday prints.

Then I started assembling the cute little trees. The first one wasn’t that successful, because the tension was off for paper and it didn’t seem very sturdy the way the two tiny threads were holding the whole thing together. So then I decided to overlap the strips just a bit.

Here are some more successful ones. See the cute one on the left with the overlaps in the right direction like branches of an evergreen! I love them!

And they were so fun to make, I did several more!

I’m going to write to and from on the backs and use them as gift tags, I think. It was a great hour or so this morning, playing with these little trees anyway! Thanks Elsie!!

And just for fun, here’s a photo of the view while I was making these. Winter has finally made it here!

We went shopping for snowpants and boots this afternoon!! (Boys grow too fast, that’s all I have to say!)

Happy Winter!

Handmade Christmas Part 1

December 12th, 2010 | Posted by Emma in All | Crafts - (0 Comments)

I LOVE making Christmas presents! There is nothing as fun as spending the whole day playing “Santa’s Workshop” and making as many presents as I can. I remember my mom trapping herself in the “sewing room” (a very small laundry room off the kitchen) and not letting anyone in while she was playing “Santa’s Workshop” so I know I’m not the only one who loves this. I have a very big list to get through and I hope I can do it in time for Christmas. I’ll show you a few of my creations as I am able…and I’ve also found quite a few ideas online to share with you.

The DIY Basic Bag…

The first thing I did was this pretty handbag. I made it from the DIY Dish’s “Basic Bag” tutorial. It’s super easy and fun, but I think it looks complicated and fancy, not basic at all. Check it out here. It’s really neat that you need 2 yards of coordinating fabric, how easy is that for shopping?! Although, you’ll see that with mine, I had trouble finding full yards in my stash, so I used a jelly roll to first make a yard of striped fabric, then make the bag.

Aren’t they pretty fabrics?! The jelly roll was a really nice one I received from Lisa at my quilting small group’s Christmas part last year…everyone loved the fabrics so much and passed them around, I knew they would like something made from it! So this was the gift I brought to this year’s gift exchange!

The Zippered Pouch…

Another perfect little gift is the zippered pouch. I made a few for my etsy shop and I may be giving away a few for Christmas! They’re fun to make and easy to customize for whatever style you think your recipient might like. Make it the right size for a handheld video game, phone or other gadget and it’s sure to be a hit!

This is the tutorial I used and loved, by “Make It Perfect.”