Interview – Catalina Barceló Maimó – Amarar Creacions

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Catalina of Amarar Creacions. She designs beautiful paper-pieced patterns. Her Ying-Yang Heart block normally retails for $9 but until May 12th you can get it (plus 8 other patterns) in the Quilting Medley Bundle at Pattern Chest for around $20.

Catalina Barceló Maimó of Amarar Creactions

Catalina was kind enough to tell me more about herself and her work!


I am Catalina from Spain, an enthusiast of the crafts who has found in the fabrics and threads the best way to express her creativity.

From very young I grew up among the sewing machine, needles, fabrics, threads, metric tapes, … of my grandmother, a professional dressmaker all her life. So maybe something was thrown into my blood, although I focused on another area. I studied Economics and passed an opposition to enter to the public administration. I also do music studies and give classes for some time. Even so, the desire of creating has gone along with me all my life.

After having my two children, I bought a sewing machine to get into the world of sewing and a few years later I have decided to make a radical change in my life and create Amarar Creations. So, currently, I am an autonomous entrepreneur who tries to make of her passion her work. Amarar Creations is my small business with which I can develop my creativity.

At the beginning of my sewing path, I started experimenting with different materials and creating an assortment of accessories like belts, bags, pillows, curtains, etc. However, when I discovered the world of quilting I instantly felt in love with it and I started sewing quilts and experimenting with differents techniques, specially Foundation Paper Piecing. As I always loved making my original designs I started to create my own patterns and now it has become a part important of my business.

You can follow my work by subscribing to my newsletter at my website www.amararcreacions.com and becoming part of my comunity, being the first to know my last news and reviging discounts with my pattern releases, at my Instagram (@amarar_creacions) or at my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/amarar.creacions/).

The Yin Yang Heart Pattern is a Foundation Paper Piecing Pattern that reproduces an image that combines the figure of a heart with the Yin Yang symbol. Since without black there is no white and without dark there is no light, with this pattern I wanted to reflect the duality in love and in life itself.

This pattern is intermediate, and it requires certain knowledge and practice of Foundation Paper Piecing technique. The pattern includes: Templates to elaborate the Yin Yang Heart pattern in 2 sizes (9″ (23 cm) and 16.5″ (42 cm), assembly instructions, sections diagram, scaling formula so that you can elaborate it in different sizes and cutting templates. It is also incorpores a new version system so that you can download for free future changes or updates made to this pattern.

The pattern is available in 3 languagse: English, Spanish or Catalan. The Spanish and Catalan are in A4 sheet size and for the English one you can choose between 2 sheet sizes: Letter (8.5 “x11” (21.6 x 27.9 cm)) or A4.

It is a pattern in a modern and casual style, with which you can create quilts, hanging quilts, pillows, bags and everything you can imagine. Start up your imagination and let’s go sewing!

-Catalina


Keep it Thimble!

Making Bags

Bags and purses are one of my favorite things to make. I have the perfect bag for almost anything. My favorites to make are roomy bags with lots of pockets and storage.

This first one is from a Quilts Illustrated a pattern. I can’t remember the fabric, but it is a lovely blue color with yellow accents. It’s just the right size for a handbag that carries a wallet, book, and a few other odds and ends.

Mini Bow Tucks Tote Pattern by Penny Sturges of Quilts Illustrated

This second one is a By Annie pattern. I love her patterns! I’ve made several of her patterns, but this is my favorite one so far. When I finished sewing the bag I used a tailor’s point press to help me press all the seams on the bag to give it a nice crisp look! The fabric is canvas weight from Melody Miller’s “Picnic” line. This is a very durable and versatile bag.

Ultimate Travel Bag by Annie Unrein of By Annie.

Thanks for stopping by. Check back tomorrow for another post!

Keep it thimble!

Scrappy Hawaiian Quilt

Five years ago, my brother gave me a box of 3.5″ and 6″ squares cut from vintage Hawaiian shirt fabric and asked me to make a quilt.  I found the perfect pattern in the ScrapTherapy book by Joan Ford.  I’ve worked on it off and on for the past few years, and finally finished it!

Fall 2014 August 029

This quilt has over 1,000 separate pieces and lots of triangles.  I tried to set up somewhat of an assembly line to sew and trim the half-square triangles.  Every few months, I would pull out the project and do a few more half-square triangles.

The best part was figuring out which squares to pair with the half-square triangles in order to make the fish.  I think the fish turned out great and I really like how the blue fabric makes them pop!

What long-term project have you finally finished?  Comment below!

Keep it thimble!

Peek-A-Boo Drawstring Pouch

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I found the tutorial for these drawstring pouches at Twinkle and Twine.  They are so cute and very easy to make.  I made six in one afternoon, I could have made more, but ran out of vinyl for the windows.  The tutorial has great directions, even for beginners.

I plan to make these with other cut-out shapes for different occasions – a baby rattle, christmas tree, cupcake, and so on.  I’m even going to make one with a thimble, of course!

Keep it Thimble!

 

Still Here!

It’s been awhile, but I haven’t forgotten about you!  Hopefully, I can get back to a more regular posting schedule.  I am doing plenty of projects, just haven’t had the time to show them off.

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This is a little pin cushion and a needle case made from selvages.  I must admit,this is kind of addicting and the possibilities are endless once you have the basic selvage blocks completed.  The needle case pattern from a book called Save the Selvages.  The book contains all kinds of small projects you can make in just  few hours.

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Here’s a pattern for what the book called a tea bag holder, but I used it for a wallet and check book cover.

Start saving your selvages and see what you can make!  Keep it Thimble!

 

A Little Inspiration….

Wow, the summer is almost gone and I still have so much I wanted to accomplish.   However, I had a great summer so I’m not complaining.  I promise to get back to more regular posts this fall.  Everyone deserves a summer break, don’t they?

In order to get inspired for writing up some new patterns and tutorials, I decided I needed a little inspiration.  The sewing room is looking a bit drab because I haven’t made the curtains yet (which will be in a very vintage and cheery looking Minnick and Simpson fabric).  So I decided to create a sewing machine cozy!

Sewing Machine Cozy

The tutorial is from Strawberry Patches and I figured this would be the best way to bring in a dash of cheer and inspiration to the room.  Once the cover was completed, it seemed like it was missing something, so I decided to applique my favorite sewing slogan on it – and voila! –  a constant and fun reminder of how to approach life.

For the applique, I used Steam a Seam 2, which is double-sided fusible web.  I cut out the letters, fused them on, and then did a basic zigzag stitch around the edges to hold them in place.   I love how it turned out!

Keep it Thimble!

April Flea Market Finds

Here’s the current stash reduction report (through today):

  • Used the last month: 3 yards
  • Used Year to Date: 8 yards
  • Added in the last Month: 25 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 57  yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 49 yards

The reason there was such a huge leap in what I added this month (I have to justify this) is because there was a big sale on fabrics and I purchased a bunch of half yards to use in my quilts.  I also have to take 1 yard of fabric to my monthly sewing circle and I will need at least 20 more yards for the duration of the club (so I am all set for the next two years!).

I haven’t been as productive in the sewing room as I would like.  I’ve done a lot of traveling and the spring weather makes it difficult to stay inside.

Antique Spool Chest – Front

Of course, I always have time to go to the thrift store and flea market and have some great finds to share with you this month!  The best find this month is this antique spool chest.  Make of oak (I think) with 4 drawers.  It is small enough to set on a table.

Antique Spool Chest
Antique Spool Chest

I have a  huge antique postcard collection – it’s a hobby I had when I was younger, so do keep an eye out for good postcard bargains.  Most of the good cards are at least $5 these days (I remember paying 50 cents for the same cards 30+ years ago), so I don’t usually get them.  However, I find a treasure trove of some Thanksgiving and Valentine cards (some of the harder holidays to find) and got the whole lot for $2!

Antique Postcards

This is a great old tool carrier –  probably from the 40’s.  I may put some plants in it, or wash it off a bit and arrange some mini quilts on it.

Antique Tool Carrier

This is a sweet little handmade basket.  It is signed by the maker and was made in 1980 – so it is over 30 years old so it qualifies as vintage!

Handmade Basket

Here is a real find – some vintage Hawaiian fabric from the 1950’s.  There is enough here for me to make making shirts for my husband/son and a sundress for me.  Family picture time!

Vintage Hawaiian Fabric

There were some good book finds this month.  I usually find one or two sewing/quilting books each month (note, I will never have time to read them all), and they are always fun to look through for ideas and inspiration.  This month there were a ton of books at one of the stores – someone must have been doing some major spring cleaning!

Stack of Quilt Books

Finally, the treasure of the month is this special seashell toilet seat!  My son saw this and had to have it – he is obsessed with sea creatures.  What he doesn’t know is that I am re-doing his bathroom this summer with a Hawaiian theme.  This will be a perfect match!

Seashell Toilet Seat

Hope you are having a great spring.  Keep it Thimble!

True Fabric Confessions

I have to confess, I’ve already blown my stash reduction resolution made at the beginning of the month – it’s a lot harder than I thought!  In my defense, I had good reasons for purchasing the following items (and some of it falls under the rule exceptions).

Adding to my Halloween stash

Here is a bundle of Halloween fabric I purchased at an online quilt shop.  This fabric line features “Boo Kitty” and is designed by Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night.  There are several good reasons why I needed this much.  First, it was on sale for a very good price and there was a 1 yard minimum cut per fabric.  Second, this line was released years ago and is VERY hard to find.  Third, I have the cutest pattern for a Halloween table topper that uses this fabric and I WILL make it – I promise!

Halloween Celebration by Bonnie Sullivan, All Through the Night

Here is my haul from the thrift store.  I usually find nice large pieces of corduroy and denim that I can use for my bags.  There is a new pattern in the works and I will need to make a few prototypes.  It’s better to use fabric from the thrift store since it is so cheap (about $1 a yard).

Thrift Store Stash

So, as you can see, all these purchases were justifiable.  But just to keep things honest, I am going to write down my MONTHLY stash report (it’s apparent these need to be done monthly, in order to have the desired effect of actually reducing the stash):

  • Used the last month: 1 yard
  • Used Year to Date: 1 yard
  • Added in the last Month: 30 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 30 yards
  • Net Used for 2012: 29 yards
Keep it Thimble!

Scraps Gone Crazy!

In keeping with the theme of reducing and organizing your stash, let’s discuss the “scrap problem”.  Right now, my scraps are stored in a single plastic bin.  However, when I take the lid off it literally explores from all the fabrics I have stuffed in there.  This method also makes it difficult to track what colors and styles of fabric are there.

Scraps gone crazy!

Since the Scrappy House blocks are made from scraps, this bin needs organized so that the blocks can come together more quickly.   The first one was finished yesterday and only 18 more are needed in order to be caught up! I plan to work on them this weekend so that things are back on track by Monday.

First Scrappy House Block!

The first one turned out really cute.  This uses some of the modern fabrics in my scrap bag – do you see the little bird in the window?  My plan is to mix up all the fabric styles.  It will look nice and scrappy when completed.  In order to give the final piece some unity, the same black and red fabrics will be used to create the border and corner stones that surround each block.  The search is still on for these two fabrics.

Anyway, back to to the scrap problem.  I purchased 8 clear plastic shoebox bins and will be organizing the scraps by the colors of the rainbow (black/white for the last bin).  This seems to be an easy way to get them in order  for now.  Since I have so many vintage scraps, these will be organized in another set of bins.

How do you organize your scraps?  Please post your suggestions in the comments section.

Keep It Thimble!

Stash Reduction Isn’t SO Bad – Is It?

What goes through your mind when someone says the words  “Stash Reduction”?  Do you get a sheepish look on your face and nod knowingly?  Do you cringe at the idea of actually using your beautiful fabrics? Does it mean nothing since you don’t have a stash or even know what one is?

My Fabric Stash - January 2011

For some reason, whenever I think about my stash, I get a twinge of guilt.  It does seem a bit … indulgent…to have more fabric in my possession than I can ever use in a lifetime.  When people come over to my house I am a bit shy about showing them my stash closet for fear I will be judged harshly.  However, most people obsessed with sewing understand where I am coming from and don’t judge me :).  In order to alleviate some of these guilty feelings, I sort through my stash once or twice a year and either sell or donate the fabric.  My goal is to not outgrow the current stash closet, because once that happens I will have TOO MUCH FABRIC.

Fat Quarter and Miscellaneous Stash - January 2011

There are many reasons that it’s hard to use the fabrics in your stash.  One, you never know if you will see that same bolt of fabric again, so you need to get a yard “just in case”.  Two, once you have the fabric in your stash, you have to find the perfect perfect project for it.  Three, when you start a new project, you need to buy more fabric because you don’t have anything in your stash you can use (this is similar to looking at a closet full of clothes and not having anything to wear).

This year, I am making a concerted effort at Stash Reduction with a two-pronged approach: first, I don’t plan to buy any new fabric in 2012* (gifts are fine), and second, I will get rid of at least 300 yards of my stash by using it, donating it, or selling it.  I have some projects in mind and I think I can do it – but it will be a challenge.

Stashbuster's Pledge (from http://www.patchworktimes.com)

Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times created a Stashbuster Pledge in 2009.  While I’m not ready sign a formal pledge, I think this is a great idea.  Judy’s blog is very inspirational for people like me who hope to reduce their stash.  She does a weekly stash report that I plan to adopt (although my reports will be posted every 2 months – first one post at the end of February):

  • Used the last two months:
  • Used Year to Date:
  • Added in the last two Months:
  • Added Year to Date:
  • Net Used for 2012:

Do you think I am crazy for doing this?  Anyone want to jump on the band wagon and join me?  Any ideas for stashbuster projects? If so, please email me or post in the comments!

Finally, I am pleased to announce the debut of “The Straight Stitch”, an advice column for those to love to sew, embroider, craft, etc.  Please email me your questions and they will be answered!  Feel free to ask me anything, I’m here to help you Keep it Thimble!

*Exceptions: it is from the thrift store, on sale for $4 a yard or less, needed for binding or backing, or it is the only non-stash fabric needed to complete a project.