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The new Cricut Maker cutting machine

A couple months ago I got some verrrry exciting packages in the mail. What was inside? The brand new Cricut Maker cutting machine and a whole bunch of supplies and accessories to go along with it!

I’ve never owned or used a machine like this before, so it’s all brand new to me (and admittedly it took me a while to actually plug it in and start figuring out how to use it, because I was intimidated!), but let me tell you: this machine is so fun and easy to start using right from the get-go, I’m not sure why I waited so long.

Check out all these fun and amazing supplies:

A crafter’s dream, am I right? Scissors in multiple sizes! A tape measure! Markers galore! Tweezers! A paper cutter! Multiple cutting blades! PIns and a pin cushion! It was like Christmas opening up all this stuff; that’s not even an exaggeration.

One thing I love the most about the design of this cutting machine is how they thoughtfully added places to store the supplies and machine accessories right on the machine itself:

I also got a variety of papers and cutting mats:

As you can see there on that pink mat, this machine cuts fabric. You guys, THIS MACHINE CUTS FABRIC!!!

This past weekend I took a class at a local fabric store all about English Paper Piecing. Basically we spent a bunch of time cutting out hexagons and other geometric shapes using a template and a rotary cutter. Which worked fine and wasn’t too cumbersome cutting out shapes for just a small project. But I got to thinking about what a gigantic and time-consuming pain in the neck it would be to cut out, say, 300 hexagons in order to make a quilt something larger. 300 hexagons with a rotary cutter? No thanks. I don’t have time for that. I have a toddler and a business to run! ;)

So I started thinking about how I could make the process more efficient and TA DAAAAA, that’s where the Cricut Maker comes in. That’ll be the next post. I’m going to EPP (English Paper Piece) a little project and cut out the pieces with the Cricut Maker and show you alllll the steps along the way. That’ll come next week!

For now I’ll tell you a bit more about the machine.

What’s different about the Cricut Maker compared with other versions of the Cricut machine as well as other cutting machines is that there are more tools available to use and it’s waaaaay more versatile. It can cut all sorts of materials, from fabric to balsa wood to vinyl to leather to paper to matboard and beyond. You can make more than ever before, and it’ll look super professional because a wobbly hand isn’t cutting things out (are your hands wobbly and imprecise sometimes like mine are?), a smart machine is!

I’m going to be preparing a booth for Quilt Market over the next couple of months, and this machine is going to come in *very* handy, cutting fabric pieces for me to make my sewing projects come together more quickly and precisely, along with vinyl and paper pieces for booth decorations and probably a lot more that I haven’t even thought of yet.

So, I’ll most likely be creating all my own projects, since that’s the kind of creator that I am (I am terrible at following a pattern. Like, terrible. I’m the same with cooking recipes, haha.), and the Design Space program that Cricut runs on makes it easy to upload your own designs and sewing/cutting patterns; but there’s also an incredibly extensive and creative sewing pattern library available in Design Space, which uou can easily purchase and use right away. This is truly a machine for every kind of creative maker.

THE ROTARY BLADE:

The new Rotary Blade is the tool I’m going to find the most useful for my sewing purposes; it cuts fabric for a sewing project – without backing material. With its gliding, rolling action, this blade cuts through virtually any fabric and delicate paper quickly and accurately. You simple stick it on the cutting mat, load it into the machine, and press go. Voila. Perfect pieces every time. I can’t wait to show you.

Somehow the machine controls are so smart they can detect the direction of the blade and the cut pressure to match the material – so it knows if you’re cutting cotton, knits, canvas, etc.

THE WASHABLE FABRIC PEN:

This is another tool I’m pretty psyched about. My sewing machine is not very fancy, and I don’t have the best sewing set-up in my studio (I’m still a beginner and don’t know all the “shoulds” for setting up a sewing area yet!), so my lines are not always very straight. Ha, I blame the machine and my setup; I’m sure the problem is really just me and trying to rush through things, haha. Anyway, with the washable fabric pen you can eliminate the guesswork as you’re stitching and know exactly where to put your needle at all times and how pieces are supposed to fit together. SO valuable, no?

The machine has a lot of thoughtful details as well, like a docking slot on the top so you can put your iPad or phone there while you’re working. The Design Space app makes it really easy to lay things out right from your devices, and then you can have the design right there in front of you as you’re readying the machine for printing and cutting. Also, there’s a USB charging port on the side, which: how smart is that?!

WHAT COMES IN THE BOX?

Here’s what you’ll get if you order just the machine:

– Cricut Maker™ machine

– Rotary Blade + Drive Housing

– Premium Fine Point Blade + Housing

– Fine Point Pen

– FabricGrip™ Mat 12″ x 12″

– LightGrip™ Mat 12″ x 12″

– Welcome book

– USB cable and power adapter

– Cricut Access™ free trial membership

– 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns

– basic materials for a first project (paper and fabric pieces)

I got some extra things to go along with what comes in the box, which you obviously don’t have to do; once you’re comfortable using the machine and want to expand its uses, you can add accessories and materials as you go. :)

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Next week I’ll show you what I made with this baby. Perfectly cut hexies, here I come!

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


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Tallinn, my first fabric collection with Art Gallery Fabrics

Why it’s taken me so long to share photos of my new fabric line here is a mystery to me, because I’ve been sharing them like crazy over on Instagram lately! But I’m remedying that right now because Tallinn, my first collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, is in stores now and I want everyone to know about it!!

The Tallinn fabrics lookbook was just released last week and YOU GUYS, it is so amazing. The team at AGF is just so talented, it’s unreal.

The projects, the design of the lookbook, everything is just exquisite (if I do say so myself). Check it out by clicking on the image:

The quilt that I designed and that Kimberly Baird, a very talented hand quilter (!!) made for me, was in the lookbook, and I love how they photographed it:

So bright and pretty!

Here are some more of my favorite shots from the lookbook, but seriously, go check out the whole thing:

(I made these pillows!)

(my mom made these dolls!)

(I did not make any of this stuff, but I WISH I’d made that tiger because isn’t it just incredible?? So creative.)

(Eleri Kerian made this adorable dress from the Baltic Swans knit from my collection, and I honestly can barely see the dress actually because I’m blinded by the cuteness of her daughter.)

I’ve been making things myself with the fabric, too, mostly consisting of zippered pouches lately:

I think I finally understand how to sew in a zipper!

Mister Domestic snapped this shot for me at one of our local Portland fabric stores, Fabric Depot:

So fun to see my fabric displayed this way! I’m taking a class there this coming Saturday, taught by Mister Domestic (Mathew Boudreaux), so I’ll get to see this setup in person, too. Yay!

Your own local fabric shop might carry the collection, too – I’d love to hear about it if you see my fabric out in the wild!
You can check out the full collection on the Art Gallery Fabrics website, and it’s available currently in many online fabric shops. Just Google ‘Tallinn Fabrics Jessica Swift’ and you’ll easily find it.

If you make something with the fabric, please send me a photo or tag me in anything you post on social media! I’d love to see it. :)

Oh, and I’ll be hosting a blog tour for the collection beginning April 19th, so you’ll get to see lots more goodies made from this fabric. Stay tuned for more about that soon…

 


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Pattern Camp starts in 2 days – sign up now!

There’s still time to sign up and join us this weekend and beyond!

Full course details are here.

Find out if Pattern Camp is for you, right here.

There are also answers to many FAQs here.

The cost of the course is $159 USD. This is $80 less than usual, and this price will get you forever-access to the course material/classroom. So you can revisit it all whenever you like.

Have questions? Email me! I’ll help you decide if the course is right for you.

Hope to see you in class. Pattern design obsession is waiting for you…..

xo
jess

 


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The final session of Pattern Camp is coming, January 27-28

Hi friends!

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2018?

One of my intentions for the year is to blog more. I got completely out of the habit when Coen was born in 2015 (new motherhood is intense, y’all), and I want to start putting more attention here again.

So today I want to tell you about my online course, Pattern Camp.

It’s time for Pattern Camp to enter phase 2.0, so I’m running the final course in the current intensive-weekend-style format on January 27-28, 2018.

When I first launched Pattern Camp in October 2014, I offered it at an inaugural price of $129. So many budding pattern designers signed up for that first session and it was an absolute blast for everyone!

So in the spirit of that first Pattern Camp excitement, I’m happy to tell you that you can sign up for that very same price for this final session.

For 3 days only, from January 8-10, 2018, Pattern Camp is $129. Simply use discount code finalsessionhurrah when registering.

 

 

A bit about the course:

In Pattern Camp you’ll learn how to design your own unique repeating patterns using both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

If you’re new to the programs, there are primer videos in both Illustrator and Photoshop that you’ll be able to watch before class begins, to begin familiarizing yourself with the programs. Countless Pattern Camp students have been brand new to Illustrator and/or Photoshop and have successfully completed the course. You will, too!

The live weekend portion of Pattern Camp is Saturday + Sunday, January 27-28, 2018 from 8am-4pm PST both days. Again, you do not have to participate live unless you want to. (It is very fun to participate live!)

During the live weekend I am available for technical support 100% of the time that class is in session. You do not have to participate in the live weekend in order to take the course; not everyone does, depending on schedules, time zones, etc. The course lessons will be available to you forever afterwards, so you can work through the lessons at your own pace, revisit them, etc, as needed.

You will be invited into our thriving private Facebook group as part of the course – it’s the best group on the internet! So supportive, uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring. You’ll love it!

The course takes place in a private classroom area of the Pattern Camp website. You’ll create your login info when registering and will have immediate access to the classroom once your registration is complete. Before class begins on January 27th you’ll be able to watch the primer videos as well as 6 video interviews with inspiring creatives that are included as part of the course.

There are many more course details + answers to questions on the Pattern Camp website.

 

 

If pattern design is calling your name, come join in this fun and final session of Pattern Camp! Now is the time to say YES to your creative dreams and come join the pattern party. I promise, obsession is waiting for you.

Remember, for 3 days only, from January 8-10, 2018, Pattern Camp is just $129. Same as it was for the very first-ever session. Simply use discount code finalsessionhurrah when registering.

Hope to see you there!

xo
jess

 


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Utility Style Quilts for Everyday Living Blog Tour

I was invited to join fellow Art Gallery Fabrics designer Sharon Holland’s blog tour for her new book, Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living, and I was so happy to say yes and have an excuse to spend some time sewing.

Now, I am not a quilter, and in fact I wouldn’t even consider myself a very skilled sewer. For better or for worse, my mom taught me a style of sewing in which I just wing it and figure out what I’m making as I go along, so that tends to be the way I sew to this day. I chose the Pixel quilt from Sharon’s book and made it my own by using a couple of the quilt blocks she created to form a pillow (because making a whole quilt still seems wayyyy too scary!).

I used my upcoming Tallinn fabric collection (my debut collection with Art Gallery Fabrics). What a joy to sew with my own fabrics!

Sharon’s instructions were so easy to follow, even for a winging-it-style sewist like me. :)

Here’s the fabric assortment I decided to work with:

I decided to make 2 full blocks for the pillow, and to combine it with 2 solid squares, to make a sort-of checkerboard pillow.

The first thing I did was cut a bunch of 2 1/2″ squares. Because I didn’t properly read the instructions before beginning to cut (typical), I saw each block as having 25 squares rather than noticing some pieces were actually 2 1/2 x 5″ rectangles. No matter! I could sew 2 squares into rectangles later.

So, I cut fifty (50) 2 1/2″ rectangles from my fabric assortment. (There were 16 pink squares, which would form the rectangle pieces.)

Next I cut two (2) 10 1/2″ squares from this light blue Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements solid:

The next step was sewing all but the pink squares and two pieces that would be the center square in each block into pairs of two (I used a 1/4″ seam allowance throughout):

After sewing I pressed them each flat.

I didn’t pay too much attention to what I was pairing together, as I wanted the design to be random. Once they were sewn, I started laying it out into the two different blocks:

Next I sewed each quadrant into a square of four (4) squares, pressing them flat when I was finished (I pressed the seams open in the back, too, which you can see here in the bottom right square):

Then I sewed the pink squares into pink pairs of two (this is how I corrected my cutting mistake!):

Then I sewed the top 2 quadrants and the top pink rectangle together to form a row:

I then sewed the middle and bottom rows together, pressed each section flat, then sewed all three rows together, and pressed them flat again:

After following those same steps to finish the second block, I laid out the pillow. As you can see, my blocks don’t match up perfectly and are a little wonky… this is where my lack of skill and precision really shows. Oh well! Gotta learn somehow, right?

I sewed the two right and left pieces together, then the bottom right and left pieces, pressed them both flat, and then sewed them together along the center line, so all four quadrants were connected in one big square, which would become the front of my pillow.

I cut a piece of batting to be just slightly larger than my pillow front, which was measuring about 20×20″, and placed the pillow front on top of it:

Then it was time to quilt! I admit, I have no idea what I’m doing and have zero skills or tricks to share as far as how to quilt anything. The way I thought about it was that I just needed to attach the batting to the fabric in some way, and the sky was the limit. When I first starting thinking about this project, I thought I’d just do some simple straight lines to quilt it, but apparently my creative muse had other ideas for me when the time came:

I had fun sewing lines and diagonals and triangles and seeing what happened! Here’s how it turned out when I was done quilting:

Then it was time to turn it into a pillow. Since I don’t really know how to sew a zipper (and am intimidated by it), I opted for a simple overlapping pillow back.

I cut two (2) pieces from the same light blue fabric measuring 20×14″ each. I folded one edge of each piece over twice to create a “hem” (I folded it down about 1/4″) and pressed flat, then sewed along the edge and pressed again. I layered the pieces (right side down) on top of the quilted pillow front (right side up) so the edges matched up and the overlap was in the center:

Next I sewed all around the edges and snipped each of the four corners:

I turned the pillow cover right side out next, popped in a pillow form (the one I had available was 18×18″, and my pillow cover ended up being about 19 1/2×19 1/2″, so I could’ve probably gotten away with using a 20×20″ pillow form for a tighter fit), and voila! The finished pillow:

I’m pleased with how it turned out, given my beginner skills, my lack of following directions, and my knack for winging it and figuring it out.

Plus, I think it looks kind-of coo with the pillows that are currently on my couch, so that was a nice bonus. :)

Signed copies of Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living can be purchased by US residents directly from Sharon in her new online store, and you can also get the book through Amazon.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you visit the whole tour! Yesterday Sarah from Designs by Sarah J posted a lovely project from the book, and tomorrow Lisa from Love to Color My World will be sharing her creation for the tour.

Also, here’s the full line up in case you want to look back or ahead on the tour:

Monday 12/4  Heidi Staples – Fabric Mutt
Tuesday 12/5  Amy Friend – During Quiet Time
Wednesday 12/6  Maureen Cracknell – Maureen Cracknell Handmade
Thursday 12/7  Amber Johnson – Gigi’s Thimble
Friday 12/8  Karen O’Connor – Lady K Quilts Designs
Saturday 12/9  Kori Turner-Goodhart – Olive Grace Studios
Sunday 12/10  Silvia Sutters – A Stranger View
Monday 12/11  Sarah Maxwell – Designs by Sarah J
Tuesday 12/12  Jessica Swift – Jessica Swift
Wednesday 12/13  Lisa Ruble – Love to Color My World
Thursday 12/14  Cindy Wiens – Live a Colorfullife
Friday 12/15  Eleri Kerian – Sew and Tell Project
Saturday 12/16  Anjeanette Klinder – Anjeanette K
Sunday 12/17  Stephanie Kendron – Modern Sewciety
Monday 12/18  Christopher Thompson – The Tattooed Quilter
Tuesday 12/19  Susan Playsted – Hopewood Home

Enjoy!


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13 Guiding Nights

GUYS! I’m running a FREE 13-day email series called 13 Guiding Nights that begins on December 26, 2018.

 You’ll be guided through 13 nights of choosing a card from my Animal Allies oracle deck and discovering your animal allies/guides for each month of 2018.

It’s said that the veils between the human and spirit realms are the most thin at this time of year, so it’s a wonderful time to set intentions, reflect on your past year, and call in your guides and helpers for the year to come. This is something I do each year beginning on December 26th with various oracle decks that I own and love, and I’m really excited to do it with my very own deck this year. I hope you’ll join me!

Sign up here

If you already have a deck, go sign up if you want to join in! If you need to order a deck, you can order a copy right here and then sign up. I’ll be shipping orders right up through December 23rd, so you’ve still got time to order.

Tell your friends! Tell your neighbors! It’s going to be so fun!


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2018 Goal + Intention Kit is now available

Hi guys!

It’s December today, which means it’s almost 2018 (what?! How.Did.That.Happen.), and the new 2018 version of my Goal + Intention Kit is officially ready.

Here’s a peek at a few of the pages:

 

 

The kit is 38 pages of printable planning goodness, all wrapped in prettiness to make it feel more fun.

Why not schedule a retreat day for yourself, head to your favorite coffee shop, and lay out all the dreams and goals you’ve got for the coming year? (I’m doing that on Monday and I can’t wait.)

What’s inside:

– 38 printable pages of goal and intention setting goodness including:

– 4 pages of 2017 review – so you can get clear on what went well, what was challenging, and what it’s time to let go of.

– 1 How I Want to Feel in 2018 worksheet

– 1 worksheet to figure out your word / theme for the year

– 12 calendar pages where you can schedule in all the goals + intentions you’re setting

– 4 quarterly check-in pages, so you can keep track of your progress

– 1 sheet to fill in ideas you don’t want to forget (because they might float away otherwise)

– Monthly intention-setting spaces

– 3 Goal-setting worksheets (where you’ll work backwards, acting as if you’ve already achieved you’re goal – it’s totally fun!)

– space to list your 2018 money goal, personal goals, and career/work goals

– 1 big dreaming + possibilitizing worksheet

– a reminder cheat sheet where you can write all the goals and intentions you identified – print it out, fill it in, and hang it on your wall as a reminder each and every day to help you focus on your plan

– download it instantly once you’ve purchased and paid (the link will be automatically emailed to you) – so you can start using it right away

– And this year it’s just $10!

 

Happy December, and happy planning!

xo
jess

 


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Black Friday Weekend Sale

Hi friends –

Happy day after Thanksgiving to those of you in the United States, and happy Friday to everyone else!

For the next 4 days, November 24-27, 2017, any oracle deck purchase will come with a free 5×7″ animal totem print of your choice.

The paper size is 5×7″ and the image size will be 4×6″ – these small prints will fit perfectly in a 5×7″ frame (with or without a mat) and will make wonderful holiday gifts!

Here are a couple examples, in a simple, lovely, and affordable IKEA Ribba frame:

  

Aren’t they cute?!

(Please note: free prints with deck purchase do not include mat or frame.)

How it works:

1. Purchase your oracle deck(s) here.

2. Choose your print(s) here.

3. Let me know in the ‘notes’ section when checking out which print(s) you chose. No code needed!

4. I will send everything to you together, asap.

 

 

The oracle cards are wildly popular so far. Join the fun and get a deck for yourself and for the people you love!

From a happy customer:

“I can’t express how much I adore your Animal Allies deck! Really, the images make me feel beyond happy! First, the quality of the deck is outstanding – a joy to shuffle and handle and the printing and color excellent. I own many, many decks. Yours is top notch. And the box! The details and surprise messages inside are lovely.”


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Animal Allies Oracle Cards are here!

My Animal Allies Oracle Cards are finally here!

I spent several full days last week shipping our pre-orders, and I’m so happy to report that people are absolutely loving the deck so far. (Yippee!)

Here’s a bit from a happy customer: “The quality of the deck is outstanding – a joy to shuffle and handle and the printing and color excellent. I own many, many decks. Yours is top notch. And the box! The details and surprise messages inside are lovely.”

The deck is made up of 60 cards, each a different wild animal. A fold-out sheet with descriptions of each animal’s unique energetic qualities is included, to help guide you in understanding what the card you pulled is about and how it might apply to your current life/situation.

The holidays are coming and I personally think this deck is going to make a really wonderful gift this year – perfect for animal lovers, mystics, tarot enthusiasts, believers in magic, children (buy two and turn it into a memory game!), people who are looking for some hope/support/guidance/love…. everybody could benefit, really. :)

You can grab your own copy of the Animal Allies oracle deck right here.

(If you’re an Amazon Prime member, they’re also available there, fyi.)

I hope you love them! I’m so proud of this project and how it turned out; if you decide to pick up your own copy of the deck, I hope it makes its way into your daily life in a powerful and positive way.

Big love!

 


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Quilt Market – Houston 2017

A couple weeks ago I debuted my brand new fabric collection called Tallinn with Art Gallery Fabrics at Quilt Market in Houston, Texas. This is my first collection with AGF and to say I’m excited about it is an understatement. This was my first time exhibiting at Quilt Market (I’d been to the show a couple times before, but never with my own display like this), and it was quite the undertaking. 6 talented and amazing sewists helped me make products for my display – quilts, tote bags, dolls, garments – and I spent a lot of time sewing myself, too. I lost myself in the making in a way that I haven’t in a while; it felt so good. I can’t wait to sew more once I get more of my fabric in – I’ve always loved sewing but haven’t ever had a great excuse to spend a lot of time doing it (since I always have so many other things going on), so I’m happy to have the excuse now.

It was also the first time I’d been apart from my sweet babe (who’s 2 now – how did that happen?!), so that made the whole undertaking a bit more stressful and emotional, but everything turned out just fine and we all survived. I even got 3 good nights of sleep while I was away!

Here’s are a few of the pillows I made:

My mom was a doll-maker when I was young, so I obviously enlisted her help. She made 5 adorable dolls for me (thanks, Mom!). Here’s one of my faves:

These adorable vintage suitcases really helped bring the booth to life:

And that quilt, oh my! It was made by Isabelle Selak.

My pal Bonnie Christine and I stayed together and had a blast. This is the first time we’d actually met in person, which is crazy. She’s a kindred spirit soul sister for sure:

It was so great to meet and spend time with everyone at Art Gallery Fabrics, including all these incredibly kind, welcoming, talented designers:

It’s Bonnie, me, Bari J, Maureen Cracknell, and Dana Willard above. Such fun ladies. :)

I even got to match my booth one day! Eleri Kerian made this adorable Bondi top for me:

My Tallinn fabric collection will be shipping to stores in February 2018; I’ll be sure to keep you updated when it’s available and I’ll share a full peek at each fabric in the coming months, as soon as I’m able!


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©2018 JESSICA SWIFT