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Silk Color Block Pillows - Standing Crane: Cascading Bottom Pleats with Bow Accent

Friday, 21 January 2011 9:00

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Did anyone ever try to teach you origami? I'll wager a paper crane was your first, and maybe your only, project. So here's your little known fact for the day: origami is Japanese paper folding; its predecessor is the Chinese paper art called zhe zhi. The graceful crane is revered in China as the symbol for longevity. Although often depicted in flight, the four pleats of our Standing Crane Pillow, the last project in our Silk Color Block Pillows week, simulates the beautiful folded wings of a crane at rest. While you are resting, ponder today's Chinese proverb: 
Better the cottage where one is merry, than the palace where one weeps.

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Silk Color Block Pillows - Tiger Eye: Five Knife-Edge Box Pleats

Thursday, 20 January 2011 9:00

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The Chinese consider the tiger to be king of all the beasts and a symbol of powerful energy. Ancient myths tell of five tigers – white, black, blue, red and yellow – who hold the universe in perfect balance, preventing a collapse into chaos. Our fourth Silk Color Block Pillow is the Tiger Eye with five sharp box pleats representing the five tigers of protection. A hidden line of edgestitching keeps these pleats crisp and clean without any topstitching to disturb the beautiful surface of the silk dupioni. Today's Chinese proverb is: A gem is not polished without rubbing; nor a man made perfect without trials.

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Silk Color Block Pillows - Yin Yang: Swooping Curve of Light Against Dark

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 9:00

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Light is to dark. Hot is to cold. Force is to passivity. Yin Yang describes how both sides of any coin must exist in order for the coin itself to remain whole. The third project in our week of Silk Color Block Pillows is our Yin Yang pillow with a swoosh of light against a line of dark. We show you have to make and insert a facing to produce a sharp, flat curve without topstitching. If you don't spend much time in the world of garment sewing, a facing with understitching may be a new technique for you. Something else new is today's Chinese proverb: Forget the favors you have given; remember those received.

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Silk Color Block Pillows - Feng Shui: A Mirror Image Four-Patch

Tuesday, 18 January 2011 9:00

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Feng Shui is the Chinese art of arranging your surroundings to promote balance and comfort within the patterns of yin and yang and the flow of chi. We arranged the second pillow within our Silk Color Block Pillows week to showcase a perfect balance of light and dark. The front and back are mirror images so when you look at the pillow from the side, the colors meet and match each other. The steps of this pillow are quite easy; it's the attention to detail and the patience to make sure all the seams align perfectly that create the beautiful balance. That... and a really sweet invisible zipper. Today's Chinese proverb is: A closed mind is like a closed book, just a block of wood.

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Silk Color Block Pillows - Good Fortune: Three Blocks & Four Buttons

Monday, 17 January 2011 9:00

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Welcome to our week of silk color block pillows, each one guaranteed to bring you good luck and long life... or at least to be fun and easy to make. Our first pillow is Good Fortune, which features a beautifully balanced trio of color blocks with a button-front closure. Breaking a square into three varied sections is pleasing to the eye; our four equal buttons then add a measure of even symmetry to the odd number of blocks. Here is your Chinese proverb for the day: A bit of fragrance clings
to the hand that gives flowers
.

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Scrap It: The Angela Shoulder Bag

Thursday, 13 January 2011 9:00

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This cute tall and narrow tote is named after my very favorite Angela, my oldest daughter. She designed the bag with a bit o' help from her very favorite aunt. Together they created a simple yet stylish shoulder bag, using Angela's own stash of fave fabric scraps and cotton webbing for the strap. We thought it turned out so well, we asked the designer's permission to share it with you. She graciously agreed to let us re-create the bag, and even let us pick our own fabric. I guess the whole 'designer thing' hasn't gone to her head yet, causing her to throw scissors across the room and shriek, "Tell that Klum woman and Tim what's-his-name to get me some fabric I can work with!!! " If you want to make your very own Angela Bag, you get to pick your own fabric too... and no one will throw scissors at you – I promise.

Scrap It: Patchwork Pillow

Wednesday, 05 January 2011 9:00

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One easy way to use up odd-sized scraps of pretty fabric is to patchwork them together into an interesting pillow. Our Scrap It Patchwork Pillow is an example of one made using a grid. The design is the same on both the front and back, however, we turned one grid panel 90º to create an interesting effect when the pillow is viewed from the side. Our pillow shows off the fabulous new Central Park collection by Kate Spain for Moda, but the concept will work with any pile of scraps you think look good together. Just goes to show there is almost no cute little scrap without a future in one of your creations.

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Scrap It: Ruffled Hot Cup Jacket

Monday, 03 January 2011 9:00

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What's the number one sewing resolution for 2011? Get organized! We thought a great place to start would be to use up some of our scraps we can't bear to throw away, but which are starting to take up almost as much room as the new stuff. We have a series of fun projects this month called, 'Scap It' - the first one is our girly-girl reusable hot cup jacket for your morning coffee or tea. There are lots of patterns out there for this type of thing, but none with our signature touch: the ruffle! Skip that boring ol' cardboard sleeve and wake up your cup with a fun and frilly custom jacket.

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Liz's "Blissful" Triangle Mantle Cloth

Wednesday, 29 December 2010 9:00

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Life is not always square. Other geometric shapes sometimes waft through to give our brains a design challenge. I have a corner fireplace in one bedroom, which means the mantle is... a triangle. In addition, all the moldings in the house are very Arts & Crafts, so ruffles and frou-frou need not apply. After staring into the triangle corner for awhile, Alicia came up with a simple yet striking solution: a simple bound triangle with two drop panels to accentuate the heavy vertical design of the fireplace surround. Proving once again that, a) Alicia is smarter than me, and b) there's always a solution to your home décor challenge.

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