Thursday, August 9, 2012

Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop!

Hi and welcome to Sewing By Stephanie! Whether you're just stopping by as a part of the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop or are a regular follower I'm happy you're here. 

Plum and June

For those of you who don't already know me I'm Stephanie and I've been blogging as Sewing By Stephanie for a little over a year.  I started this blog in March 2011 thinking that it would be a fun way to share my finishes with friends and family but as I blogged more and more I discovered that there is a whole world of other quilty bloggers out there who share the same passions I do, so now I blog as a way to connect with other quilters online. 

With that said, I think it's time we got acquainted! 

How long have you been quilting?
I've been sewing since I was 6 but only got into quilting after I graduated college, so for a little over 3 years now.
Quilt for Harriet
Harriet's Quilt.
Favorite quilting tip(s)
The #1 tip I have for beginning quilters is to be precise with your measurements and your seams.  You'll save yourself a ton on time later on if you're precise to begin with. 

Little Leaves quilt detail
Little Leaves Hand Quilting (this quilt won "Favorite Hand Quilted Quilt" in the 2012 Blogger's Quilt Festival)
Favorite blogging tip(s)
Use Flickr!  I host (almost) all of my photos on my blog through Flickr and I love it.  There are so many great swaps and QALs hosted through Flickr that you're really missing out if you don't have an account.

Padded Camera Pouch and Little Wallet
Padded Camera Pouch & Wallet.
Favorite fabric (or wish list fabric)
I'm currently dying to get my hands on some Out to Sea by Sarah Jane Studios.  It's so whimsical and fresh, I love it.  Also, as a general rule I love any fabric with either gnomes or dachshunds on it.

Olive's Quilt
Olive's quilt.
Favorite craft book
One of my favorite bloggers when I got started was Alicia Paulsen of Posie Gets Cozy and her book  Embroidery Companion is one of my favorites.  As far as quilting books go though my first and favorite is The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman.

Dogs on Stacked Coins Quilt
Dogs on quilt.
Favorite book (or book you are currently reading)
I have a deep love for books so picking one "favorite" is impossible.  I'm currently reading A Dance with Dragons (book 5 of Game of Thrones) and I'm really enjoying it.  Some authors I enjoy include Sarah Addison Allen, Deborah Harkness, Julie Garwood, Terry Goodkind, and Kathleen Woodiwiss

4th of July Table runner
Reversible Tablerunner.
Favorite children's book  
This one's an easy answer.  My favorite by far is Pickle-Chiffon Pie by Jolly Roger Bradfield.  It's my sister's favorite as well and we fought over which of us would get to keep the original we had in our childhood.  She won and got to keep it, but luckily it's back in print so I have a copy for myself as well. 

Justin's Quilt
Manly T-shirt quilt.
Favorite quilting tool
Either my mega mat, my huge ruler, or my rotary cutter.  I pretty much can't do anything without all of them!

Wonky stars quilt
Wonky Stars baby quilt.
Favorite music to listen to while quilting
I listen to Pandora a lot while working on my machine.  Currently I have it on a country station I made. 

The gang
Custom Dolls
Favorite TV show while hand stitching
I love historical pieces, but I watch pretty much anything.  Recently I've been watching Doc Martin and Misfits.

Back of Onesie
Back of ruffle onesie
Binding - by hand or by machine?
By machine to the front of the quilt and then by hand to finish.  I use the hand binding time to kind of wind-down from making the quilt.  It's so relaxing to sit and sew by hand knowing that the quilt I've been slaving over is almost done.

Tree Quilt
Tree applique quilt I made a friend's little girl.
If I'd only known - what you wish you knew about blogging before you started your blog
I don't really know what to say here.  I feel as though I'm still figuring all of this out.

Okay, enough with the introductions.  Let's get to the tutorial!

I don't know what the weather is like where everyone else is but where I am it's in the 90's, so today I have a quick tutorial on how to make a cool down for your neck.  I'm sure there are other tutorials out there on how to make these since this isn't my original design, but I wasn't able to locate one when I went looking so I thought it might be a good thing to write up a quick tutorial for.

For this you need a few simple ingredients:
-A piece of fabric 36 1/2" long by 4" wide ( I used my favorite Gnoming Around print, it has both gnomes AND dachshunds!)
-A water soluble pen
-A sewing machine
-Jumbo aqua gems (I bought mine in the floral section at Joanns for about $4)
Optional: a 12-16" length of PVC pipe (I used one of the sides of my lap quilting frame)

Step 1: Cut your fabric to the desired size of 36 1/2 " by 4" wide.  Fold fabric along the long edge with right sides together and sew down the long side and along one edge keeping a 1/4" seam allowance.  Turn right side out and press.

Sew closed long side and one end.
Turn and press.
Step 2: Using a water soluble pen mark lines along the length of your tube every 6 inches, separating your tube into 6 sections. With your sewing machine stitch along the line you just drew that is closest to the end of the tube that is sewn shut, effectively closing off the section.

Mark lines on the outside of the tube every 6 inches
Step 3: Measure out 1/4 teaspoon of your jumbo aqua gems.  Using your length of pipe as a guide, put your aqua gems into the tube (if you're not using a length of pipe you can just put your aqua gems straight into the tube, just jiggle it to make sure that all the gems make it down into the bottom of the tube.)  Using your machine sew along the next line, making sure to inclose all aqua gems in the section.

Measure out 1/4 teaspoon of aqua gems
Insert the pipe into the tube and use it to guide aqua gems into the tube.
Step 4:  Repeat for the next three sections.  When you are done you should have 4 sections that each have 1/4 teaspoon aqua gems in them.  The two sections on the outside should have no aqua gems in them.  Close off the last side of your tube by turning the fabric in 1/4" and sewing shut.

Turn the end in and sew shut.
All Sewn!
Step 5: Soak your cool down in water overnight until the gems are fully expanded.  When you're done you'll have a nice easy way to stay cool in the summer heat! 


20 hours later and ready to go!
I have 4 that I've been using and I love them.  I took them camping with me and whenever we got a little hot I just threw them in the ice chest and they got nice and icy cold for us.  Whenever it gets a little dry you can roll it on your neck or if you need to you can re-soak it and it will get full again.  Also, when the summer is over and you no longer need it you can lay it out and let it dry and the beads will go back to their original size so you can store it until you need it again.  I should warn you though that you cannot freeze them.  If you freeze them the aqua gels will burst and will no longer soak up water (so once they dry out, they're done).

I hope you all enjoyed this quick tutorial!  And I hope you come back again soon!!!

Don't forget to go and check out the other featured blogger for today, Kirsten from Gemini Stitches

And be sure to check out Tuesday's featured bloggers, Sarah from Sarah Sews Quilting Blog and January from Sew Sew Go.

p.s.  I plan on posting more pics of my gnome cool down once it's fully soaked up all it's water, but that will have to wait for the morning!

Edit: I added the pictures of the finished cool down!  Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 

Edit: I made a pdf file that details how to use and enjoy a cool down if you want to make one of these as a gift for someone.  You can find the pdf here.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial and absolutely love your Little Leaves quilt. Not surprised it won the prize!

  2. Smashing post and tutorial and loved seeing some of the things you've made throughout, good to meet you on the blog hop :)

  3. Nice to meet you Stephanie! Your little leaves quilt is fantastic and I love the quilting on Olive's quilt! I feel the same way you do about handstitching a binding. And thanks for the tutorial. I've never heard of aqua gems before.

  4. Your quilts are all so fabulous.

    And funny you should mention dachsund fabric. I just bought THIS: 23,&ID=84 to make some bags/cloth buckets for some dachsund loving friends and family. (bonus, Delta Patchwork has their animal prints on sale--you know that's why I bought--I hate paying full price).

  5. Stopping by on the blog hop - nice to "meet" you. Your projects are so pretty and I especially like your Custom Dolls, so sweet and simple.

  6. Hi Stephanie - great getting to know about you. Your quilts are all beautiful and that is a great idea for a tutorial.

  7. This is such a great idea! Love that leaves quilt so much!

  8. Hopping here from Let's Get Acquainted - Thanks for the aqua jem tute and learning more about you.

  9. Your projects blow me away. You are so talented with color and design! Did you ever share how you did the leaves on the Quilt Festival quilt? Are they applique or set in? Also, nice to meet you!

  10. Hi Stephanie, nice to meet you. All of you quilts are beautiful. I love that hand quilting on you leaf quilt.

  11. Nice to meet you! Always nice to have another way to stay cool! I love your tree quilt.

  12. Hmm ... I've heard of the cooling kercheifs, but I didn't realize you could buy the beads that go inside. My mother in law has one that she runs in.

  13. Hi Stephanie - so nice to meet you and to learn more about you. Love your tute too!

  14. Nice to meet you. I remember your leaves quilt from the Bloggers Quilt Festival. The hand quilting was inspiring to me. Actually thinking about doing some on a quilt I'm finishing up right now.

  15. I love you leaves and the Harriet quilt! I found you through the Plum and June Blog Hop. Nice to meet you and I can't wait to see more of your quilts!
    Sew Incredibly Crazy

  16. Nice to meet you! Your quilts are lovely and well done on your hand-quilting win - it's beautiful!

  17. I have to look into aqua gems. Love your projects

  18. So great to meet you. I love seeing your projects. Olive's quilt is adorable, and I love your dogs -- so cute!

  19. Great post and you have some very lovely projects to show off :)

  20. I enjoyed reading your post. Gosh you have some beautiful projects! Your hand quilting is amazing!

  21. wow, All of your quilts and projects are beautiful! I'm following you now and I can't wait to see more!

  22. Stephanie, nice to meet you! Your quilts are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Nice to meet you Stephanie! I love your Little Leaves, it was obviously a deserving winner. Great tutorial too, I've never heard of Aqua Gems but they sound very useful :-)

  24. Stephanie, I remembered your quilt from the quilt festival, I know I loved it and still do! I was stopping by through the blog hop. Thanks for posting the awesome tutorial! I'm currently on book 4 on the Game of Thrones, but it's taking me forever to finish it... It's very nice to meet you!

  25. Nice to learn more about you and fun summer tute!

  26. I love blog hops, because you get to meet new people and have a glimpse into their world. Nice to meet you and I love this tutorial. I had some of these when I was a kid and they were great!! Living in Texas (the surface of the sun) they would be perfect for hot summer days.

  27. What a great idea. I've seen these cool down things before but never thought about making them. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  28. I like your choices of authors. Especially Game of thrones series and Terry Goodkind. Thanks for sharing. ;)


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