Sunday, July 10, 2016

New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

Yay! It's my turn to be apart of the 2016 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. Don't say that fast, you will get all twisted up. You went back and tried to, didn't you? That's ok, so did I, and I'm the one who told you not to. Ha!



My name is Jen Shaffer and Patterns By Jen (PBJ) is my baby. Well, the last of my babies. I have four real babies, who are now 20, 17, 15 and 12 (so not so baby-ish) and I run a family child care out of my home, so I get to play with other peoples babies. 

PBJ is my "grown up" baby (as in, I get to be an adult while running this), that morphed from Jennygirl designs. Jennygirl designs was something I had planned on naming my business for years. Then one night, I decided I wanted something catchy, something that would stand out (plus there was already a Jennygirl Designs for something else). As I tossed and turned Patterns By Jen just came to me, but the best part was the acronym. PBJ. It made me smile, and maybe giggle a bit, and since I love purple, I decided my business colors would be the colors of a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. Mmmmm, it makes me hungry every time I see it, or think about it, which could really end up being a problem.

I made my first quilt my senior year of high school, a gift for my grandma. It used pre-cut squares of, I think, upholstery fabric out a sample book. I could be wrong, but it was a long time ago. I laid them all out, and wound up having enough to do a cross in the middle. Perfect for my Catholic grandmother. :)



This quilt was tied and my mom helped my bind it on the way to Grandma's house.

It took me 10 years to make another one. This time I chose to make 2 quilts for my boys. They were 6 and 3 at the time. I found a panel that I loved for my oldest, John, and then found a younger looking cowboy fabric for the 3 year old, Jacob. Then I had to come up with a plan. It was my first voyage into quilt designing.




They have been used and abused, the binding is fraying, the applique is coming apart. I love that they got so much love.


I have made my daughter a couple of quilts, the girl likes to change colors often. This one encompasses ALL of the colors. :)


My youngest loves America, and asked for an American flag quilt. Done. It's busy, but he loves it.

My favorite design that I came up with was a wall hanging for my father-in-law. He and my mother-in-law moved and I wanted to make something that would remind him of their old town, Mobridge, SD. He loves to fish for walleye, but as any quilter will tell you, walleye fabric is pretty impossible to find. Bass, yes, walleye, no. This forced me to design the entire quilt, and I can't deny that I'm very happy with the outcome.



I took a coloring book picture of a walleye and used fabrics to replicate it. Using some black fabric and stitching in black I made my version of the bridge. I say my version, because there is no way I was going to be able to replicate that bridge.



I filled in with fabric that had rocks, and made my own rocks, as well as the tree. It was fun to quilt it and give it some underwater life, but it was more fun to give it away. That is why I make my quilts.


I also love EPP, English Paper Piecing, and hand embroidery, and flamingos. Thank goodness my husband likes to drive, because that is the only time I sit still long enough to do handwork. I love this table runner, I have finished two of them. There are plans in the works for this to be a class.




I am particularly proud of the quilting on this one, especially the little acorns. CUTE!


Lets get back to the blog hop basics. There are four other bloggers in my "hive" this week that you should go check out and leave comments with. As bloggers, we live to get comments, because that means someone is listening!



Heide @ Heide's Quilty Hugs
Ann @ Brown Paws Quilting
Velda @ Granny can Quilt
Lorinda @ Laurel Poppy and Pine

You should also go give some love to Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs, Yvonne @ Quilting Jet Girl, and Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter the three amazing women that pulled the newbie bloggers together for this blog hop and gathered the sponsors for all of the great prizes. (Yes, there are prizes, go check it out!) Yvonee and Stephanie also have "hives" of their own, so go check out those awesome bloggers, too.

I have been encouraged and helped so much through this blog hop. I still have more to do with my blog, but it is so much better then it was.

Now the fun part, tips and inside info:

1) Blogging tip: Running a blog takes time. You can drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with it, literally crazy, and nobody wants crazy. At least in my house they don't want *more* crazy. Find a time that works for you to focus on your blog. I try every morning before my child care Littles show up to do bloggy type stuff. Sometimes I'm ahead of the game enough that I can get a couple of blogs written for future publishing. Sometimes it's catching up on emails, or getting watermarks on pictures for future posts. I try really hard not to work on it after that morning session (other then to take pictures for it). I have plenty of other things to do, so sticking to that schedule means I don't let other important items get pushed back, but also means I am still doing things to improve it.

2) Quilting tip: SLOOOOOOOOWWWW down. Seriously. When I am getting frustrated or start to feel like I'm behind and I *need* to finish this, I put my machine speed down a level. It's amazing how your blocks can once again go together like they should, and how your seams are more accurate. If slowing down doesn't help, then walk away. Walk around the block, lock yourself in the bedroom away from everyone for a while, pour a bottle of wine, I mean, glass! Glass! Pour a glass of wine. Quilting should be fun, and if you are frustrated/sad/angry, it's just going to get worse, so get out of there for a bit.

3) Questions time! What quilt is on your bucket list that you don't think you would ever do, because it's beyond what you perceive to be your quilting level?  Mine is the Mariner's Compass quilt. I love that design. Love, love, love it. I hate paper piecing. I'm so not good at it. Not at all. So it remains on my Quilt Bucket list.

4) Insider info. I love Anne of Green Gables. I love everything about her.  I've read the entire series so many times I could recite all eight books for you. I love the first two movies, but have never watched the third, as I have not heard any good things about it as far as following the story line goes. My dream vacation would be to go to Prince Edward Island. Really.

Yes, I think this is officially the longest blog post ever. Thank you for sticking around and getting to know me. Please, please, please head over to my fellow bloggers pages and check them out, and show them love.We need love in this world, lots of it, and we need to spread the love. Go spread it, and have a fabulous week!

Happy Stitching!
Jen












58 comments:

  1. Lovely post Jen. So nice to get to know you a little better! I think making a quilt with curved shapes is the one thing that scares me too much to ever get to. I love quilts with circles but I'm too busy, no wait that should be lazy, to learn how to do it properly. I think I'm going to set myself a time to learn it... someday

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    1. Sue, I've made one quilt with curves. It wasn't *as* bad as I thought it would be. It was definitely a time I had to follow my own advice to slow down. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Hi, I found your post on Smiles with Kate and have enjoyed learning about you, your family and your quilting. My daughter years ago went to PEI to see Green Gables and loved it. I enjoy making charity quilts like Project Linus for sick kids. I love color and hope you will,check out my blog and Rainbow Scrap Challenge at soscrappy on Saturdays. A great bunch of folks. Good luck with your obvious talent,for quilt design.

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    1. Paula, Thank you so much for the nice compliment. I will check your blog out! Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Great into post Jen, you made me smile and laugh out loud, so entertaining. I do so love your walleye quilt, you made such a good job of it from the original and inventive design to the great fabric choices, you nailed it. It has been lovely reading about your life and family and how you organise your time, something I am not always good at. There is one quilt on my list I am desperate to do, I have even had the pattern for over a year. Can't share it though, I'm doing a guest post at Quilter in the Closet in a couple of weeks and I'm finally launching the start of it then.
    Smiles
    Kate

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    1. Kate, I can't wait to see your secret bucket list quilt. :) So glad I made you laugh, that's what I was hoping for. My husband laughed out loud when he read it over for me, but he already thinks I'm funny, so I wasn't sure. The walleye quilt will probably always be one of my biggest accomplishments quilt wise. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Hi Jen, I'm visiting you via Smiles with Kate. I've enjoyed reading your blogging and quilting tips, and had a little look found your blog. You have made some beautiful quilts! I am slowly FAL with The Splendid Sampler, and making lots of other tiny quilting things along the way! Nice to meet you, and good luck with your quilt designing.
    All the best, Barbara xx

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    1. Barbara, thank you for stopping by and taking a moment to comment. I appreciate it! Oh, the Splendid Sampler, if I had time... There are so many fun, beautiful things to work on, isn't there?

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  5. Hi this is Velda from PEI Canada, home of the fabulous Anne of Green Gables...I went to school in Cavendish, which is the village that Avonlea is styled upon. Green Gables house is just down the road. Hubby and I retired here 2 years ago. We love it here. Oh and I took my granddaughter to the musical Anne of Green Gables a week ago. There is lots for Anne lovers here. You should come visit. I lam also GRANNYcanQUILT and a member of the blog hop this week. Your post is fabulous. I enjoyed reading it and seeing your quilts.

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    1. Oh Velda, I'm so jealous! We will definitely be making the trip someday. When my husband finished reading this over for me, he went to check out travel info. Apparently, when it's in a blog post, it's serious! I will be over to visit soon! Your blog, PEI will have to wait a bit. ;)

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  6. Hi Jen....Heide Here, What a great post. Love how your got your blog name...PBJ makes me smile too! You quilts are wonderful, love the quilt you made for you in laws. Great getting to know you. Hugs, Heide

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    1. Hi Heide! Thank you for stopping by and for leaving a comment. :) I hope PBJ never grows old for me, because I love it so much right now!

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  7. Great post! I'm in the blog hop, too. I like the story of your blog name - very cute. I did a king sized mariner's compass as one of my first quilts. I learned paper piecing first. It isn't bad once you get the hang of it. You should try it - do one large block and make a pillow or a mini out of it.
    My bucket list quilt is a portrait collage. I don't know if I can slow down long enough to get anything like that finished.

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    1. Jen, I should just go try one. My fear of not getting it perfect is holding me back, and it shouldn't. A portrait collage would be an amazing quilt to make. Thank you for stopping by!

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  8. Great post! I enjoyed seeing some of your older quilts and learning more about you :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl, and for all the behind scenes work that you do to make this successful!

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  9. I loved reading your post. The quilter in me has been trying to come out more lately and being part of your testing group is giving me more courage. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I'm so glad I can encourage quilting! I appreciate having you test my patterns!

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  10. Awesome post!!! Thanks for your tips, I will keep them in mind!!

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  11. What an adorable cowboy quilt - and love how you used a coloring page as inspiration!

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    1. I do love that cowboy quilt. How I wish he was still 3 and not 17. :) They grow too fast.

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  12. I made my first quilt in high school as well, Jen. I love hearing stories about how we got started as quilters. And your advice to slooooow down is really awesome. It's a hard piece of advice to remember in the moment, but it definitely helps! I don't really tend to have a quilting bucket list - my actual quilting list is long enough on any given day as it is, LOL. And I'm so glad you said that PBJ made you giggle; I think of the sandwich every time I see your logo!

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    1. My pintrest board of quilts I want to make is a bit insane, but if we didn't dream big... ha! Thank you for stopping by Yvonne, and for all the work you have and are doing to make this hop successful!

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  13. This is a great post and if you think it's long then you haven't visited my post (I am also on the blog hop today!) I love all the quilts and I would love to make something that'll be so loved like yours. On my bucket list will be a pixel Quilts I dread cutting all that tiny and voluminous number of pieces it takes to make one that looks really good. I would love to get the courage to try working with curves too :) Great tips...when I'm feeling frustrated I take a break to just go lay down and catch up on some TV series even if it means repeating a particular episode, I always make sure I have some downloaded on my PC. Very nice to learn more about you.

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    1. A pixel quilt would be a lot of work, but the outcome...stunning! Thanks for "stopping by"! :)

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  14. I love that cowboy quilt - so cute!! :)

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    1. Thank you, it makes me smile whenever we pull it out to snuggle. Since he's 17 a cowboy quilt just doesn't cut it anymore. :)

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  15. Hi, Jen! So good to know you better. I really like your pbj nickname and logo. The first time I ran across your blog, I immediately had visions of my favorite kid sandwich that I still enjoy today. I have so many quilts and blocks and techniques on my bucket list, that I know I have far exceeded my time to get them all done! I would like to do a grandmother's flower garden. Have you tried the technique of making hexi's out of circles of fabric without any template? I watched a youtube and it was intriguing.

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    1. I have not tried that technique! I started a Grandmother's Garden a few years ago, but I keep finding other hand sewing to work on, so it gets pushed to the side. I need to pull it out and give it some love.

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  16. Jen, I love the story behind your blog name and logo- now I'm craving a Pb&j! Great quilts- I especially love the American flag one!

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    1. Thank you, Lorinda. My son would come home from school every day for a week and wrap himself up in it. Makes a mama feel good.

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  17. Hi Jen! It's been fun getting to know you through the hive. Love your blog name and the colors! So much fun. It's wonderful that your quilts have been so loved they are falling apart. That makes me smile. My first quilt was for my daughter and it took five years. She loves it too, and that makes me so happy. Small world because Anne of Green Gables is my favorite as well, and I would love to see Prince Edward's Island because of it. I must have seen the PBS series (all three) a hundred times. Megan Fellows is perfect as Anne.

    Let's see. A quilt I love but probably won't ever make is a Lone Star. Too many bis edges and I don't know if my piecing is precise enough. Maybe someday!

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    1. I agree, Megan Fellows was the perfect Anne. I have made one Lone Star, for my oldest after he outgrew the cowboy quilt. It wasn't as bad as I thought, and I pinned a LOT, but it turned out well. What didn't match quilted out. ;)

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  18. i love to see where quilters start and how they got to where they are today. great projects.

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  20. Jen,

    It was fun to learn more about you. I love the quilts you have made. You ate so talented. I also think of sandwiches when I see your logo. In fact, I look for and & sign in there.

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  21. Nice post - good variety of quilts too!

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    1. Thank you, June. I had to hold myself back, it's fun to share our quilts.

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  22. I was in my 50s before I made my first quilt so I have a lot of catching up to do skill wise! i enjoyed reading your enthusiastic blog post. I like to do EPP as well but it's been a while since I've done any.I haven't done a lot of paper piecing but I am going to a workshop at Quilt Con that is a full day of paper piecing so if I'm not good at it after that I guess I never will be. Nice meeting you.

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    1. I think that is what I need to do, Lisa, go take a class. Teaching myself was very unsuccessful. Have fun at Quilt Con!

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  23. I like your tip to slow down..... sometimes I think that quilting is a very mindful exercise... each step needs to have thought put into it and going fast just leads to lots of time with Mr. Ripper.... I like that you get to put time into a quilt... after all this is one of the most precious gifts to give someone, your time. :)

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    1. Lovely thought, Said With Love, we do need to be mindful of each step, and sometimes in our hurry or frustration, we forget why we are making this quilt/gift.

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  24. We have something in common besides quilting...flamingos! I have a pretty big stash of flamingo fabric just waiting to turn into a quilt. Great post!

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    1. I have more flamingo fabric then I realized, and then just bought more, lol. I have a couple things coming up this week using flamingo fabric, because flamingos are fun to play with. :)

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  25. Great post and great to get to know you! I was just wondering about the mariners compass: I think Quiltmania now has a QAL (mystery) running for a mariners compass that is appliqued instead of FPP. You might want to check it out if you are interested in different ways to tackle this beautiful pattern.
    cottonpaperflowers at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, I will have to look into that. :)

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  26. Anne of green gables so love them movies...hmmmm might have alot todo with name..lol..I just bought Ladies in lavender at a yard sale...Love that one too..ohhhhh another great one is The Inheritance....Now..Ty for sharing your great quilts and your kids are so lucky to have you..... happyness04431@yahoo.com

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  27. Hello Jen, nice to meet you. Your quilts are wonderful and come from such a lovely place. A double wedding ring is on my quilty bucket list! Maybe when I'm retired I will tackle that. Cheers!

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    1. Ooo, a double wedding ring! I almost talked myself into doing one, and then talked myself out of it. :)

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  28. Loris and I were the lucky recipients of that gorgeous walleye quilt. The pictures, although very nice, just do not do it justice. The detailing is so intricate and finely done. The water, pebbles and rocks, bark on log, Sky with seagulls. The Missouri River bridge brings us "home" again.. And the Walleye! Exquisite! We love this quilt. It is an heirloom that will always be treasured. Thanks again Jen for this (and many other) works of art, ๐Ÿ’• #Blessedinlaws #lorisandjayne

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  29. Hi Jen - lovely to learn more about you and your journey into quilting. Your walleye is stunning! Love the tip about literally slowing down your machine .... I will remember that for the future.

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    1. Thank you. That Walleye quilt turned out better then I imagined, and that doesn't usually happen. :)

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  30. Hi, Jen,

    A little late on the hop, as I thought I'd made the rounds, but don't see my comments!

    My mother is another Ann-lover, so you're certainly not alone.

    I'm very much about "walking away" when needed, from a project. I even have a "time out" bucket for projects that I need a break from.

    Bucket list... him. I'm willing to tackle nearly anything, difficulty-wise. But I'm also aware of the level of commitment some projects take. EPP King sized quilt of 1/2" hexies? Yeah, probably not. The one project I'm going to try as a "stretch" project is the Baltimore By The Sea pattern that comes out in September. I've never attempted that much or that detailed needle-turn applique.

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I love to get your comments and hear your ideas. I always respond to comments (though it may take me a few days), if you haven't heard from me it might mean you are a no reply commenter. If you haven't heard back from me, check back here, because I will reply to the comment.