Monkey Wrench Focus Through The Prism Link Up Post

May Project QUILTING Focus Through the Prism Challenge:  Monkey Wrench

Are you having trouble linking up?  Check out my post 'How To Link Up to a Link UP'.

If you don't have instagram/flickr/or a blog please email me:  lapaceksorchard {at} gmail {dot} com a picture of your finished project and a paragraph or so on how you came up with your quilt.  I'll get it posted and linked up for you!

Give It A Whirl!

My friend Sam Hunter has some fabulous new designs coming out.  She's slowly sharing them with you all so you get to get more an more excited about each new pattern!

I was lucky to be a 'stunt sewer' for her pattern 'Give it A Whirl!'.

I had a lot of fun putting this one together!  I tried to tone it down a bit for me but I guess I can't help myself.  I used one fabric for the background .. a fabulous ombre grey in x's and o's from Stof Fabric.  This pattern was written to go perfectly for a jelly roll.  I knew I wanted to make this for a new baby boy so I pulled out some of my fun and whimsical fabrics that I thought would be fun for this quilt and cut out my own jelly roll.  It had been awhile since I just took a pattern and pieced it.  I'm so used to have to come up with my 'own thing' all the time it was really nice to just sew.    

This quilt was for my girls' ballet teachers' new baby boy, Landry.  Every Monday I'd be at ballet I'd watch Ms. Erin get bigger and bigger and I knew I had to get this quilt done and finished for her so she would have it before she had her beautiful bundle of joy.  So I even quilted it myself!  It was the perfect size for putting on my long arm frame and it didn't take long before I had it all quilted!

Here you can see a closer look at my quilting.  I have a really hard time staying on focus with the same pattern/design over and over.  Does that ever happen to you?

All that was left was binding and of course the deer fence photo shoot before I gave it as a gift.  I finished this quilt back in February and I kept it a secret until Sam was ready to release the pattern!  If you know me at all you know that it is a huge deal for me to keep anything secret!

Once the photo shoot was done I brought it to ballet class and the girls excitedly had Miss Erin open it!  She loved it and I'm so happy I decided to make a quilt for baby Landry...who by the way ... is an adorable and healthy baby boy born at the end of March.  I love being able to share my passion with someone who shares her passion (dancing) so freely with my kids and so many other children around her.  

So ... what are you waiting for!?  Head over to Sam's website and get your 'Give It a Whirl!' pattern asap!   It’s for sale hard copy here and PDF here.

A Penny For Your Thoughts

We spent another long night with Pip last night.  She’s been super congested at night since I was gone at Quilt Market.  It just hasn’t been getting better so my ‘Mom-o-Meter’ told me it was time to go in and just get her checked out.  Sure enough – sinus infection.  She hasn’t had one since 2013 so we got some antibiotics will hopefully get my baby feeling better soon!  While I was there Pip mentioned that when she was at Grandma’s yesterday she swallowed a penny.  I hadn’t heard anything about it so a quick text to Grandma and sure enough, she had told grandma she swallowed a penny yesterday.

The doctor recommended a quick x-ray just to check on the location of the penny. She’s totally fine at the point but I have to say it’s really sad seeing your baby in a hospital gown!

And the x-ray proved two things:
  1. Pip was not lying.
  2. Pip did in fact swallow a penny.
They’re not sure if her insides are big enough yet to pass things on its own so we get to watch her poop until Monday.  If it hasn’t passed we’ll go in for another x-ray so the pediatric gastroenterologist can look at how things are progressing.  We’re hoping that it just passes naturally before then!

And I was just thinking this morning that I wasn’t sure what I was going to blog about today.  I do say that the crazy things in my life happen just so I have something to blog about!

Friendship Pineapple Gift Idea

I realized this morning that I hadn’t shared with you what I gave my mother for Mother’s Day/her birthday. 

I picked up this fun little ‘Friendship Pineapple’ kit from Fabrications by Doris when I was at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago this past March.  My mother’s favorite color is blue so I thought blue would be the perfect choice.  The kit includes a paper pieced pattern for the miniature pineapple block, Cherrywood Fabric for sewing your block, AND a nifty matted frame to make it look even cooler!

I would recommend getting an CM Designs Add-An-Eighth Ruler, ruler if you don’t already have one.  You could use a CottageCutz Add-A-Quarter Ruler, but these finished strips are TINY!  You’re going to want trim as much of that excess fabric from the seams as you can without compromising their strength.  And to be honest – both the add-a-quarter and add-an-eight rulers are worth adding to your ruler collection if you enjoy paper piecing at all.  It just makes it so much easier and faster to trim your excess fabric off. 

And here is what the final block looks like!  Sure … I could probably do this without a kit.  But sometimes don’t you just want to not think and just sew? 

And seriously – this gorgeous matte is worth the kit price.  It truly just adds so much to the quilt block.  My husband didn’t even believe that I had made this little piece of art when I showed him … he thought I just colored it!

And of course – after I finished my first one I had to go and order more.  Won’t these make the BEST teacher’s gifts!?  I’m in love!
Oh – and I did frame this but I didn’t snap a picture of it framed and up yet.  I promise to show you the next time I visit my parents house!

Time to Vote at the Blogger’s Quilt Festival

Have you been able to spend some time looking through the Blogger’s Quilt Festival yet?  There are quilts of all kinds from all over the world that fit into 11 different categories!  It’s definitely worth the time to look around to discover new quilters/designers that you love!  And of course … it’s time to vote for your favorites!  You can vote for three favorites in each category simply by clicking on the heart in the upper right corner of the quilts’ thumbnail (just like how you vote for Project QUILTING).

I have included the links to each of the categories so you can easily go to check them out.  I also included the prizes from the sponsors for the favorite quilts.  All these fun online activities are enhanced so much by the generosity of sponsors and I just wanted to include their links because not only as a participant am I grateful for this but as a blogger myself.

Please consider voting for my quilt ‘Fen Koan’ in the Original Quilt Category as one of your top three quilt favorites.

Please consider voting for my quilt ‘Gypsy Wife’ in the Scrappy Quilt Category as one of your top three quilt favorites.

And with that – enjoy the show and good luck picking just three favorites in each category!

Monkey Wrench–A Focus Through the Prism Project QUILTING Challenge, May

Can you believe it’s time for the first ‘Focus Through the Prism’ Project QUILTING Challenge!?  I know you’ve all been waiting so patiently for this moment and I thank you for all your enthusiasm!  To go over the story behind the challenge be sure to check out THIS POST and of course the FAQ post!

The Inspiration Block:  Monkey Wrench!

In honor of my good friend Trisha Frankland and May being her birthday month I asked her what her favorite block was – a Monkey Wrench!  So – that’s what we all get to be inspired by this month! 
monkey wrench
If you search ‘Monkey Wrench’ there are a few different versions out there but to be consistent I would like your inspiration to come from the Monkey Wrench Block above.
  • Each final project should read predominantly as one color in the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, or violet. 
  • A ROYGBIV hand-dyed color bundle of fabric must be purchased from Cherrywood Fabrics  Hopefully you already have your bundle but you can join in the fun anytime … just make sure you have your quit done by the end of the month!
  • You must use ONE fabric from the ROYGBIV challenge bundle in each quilt which should correspond with the color you want your quilt to ‘read’.
  • Any other fabrics from your stash may be added.
  • You must use the month's block
  • Quilts must finish 20” square.
  • Share the story behind your quilt and how the block ‘Monkey Wrench’ was the inspiration.
  • Your quilt must have a name.
  • Pictures of your FINISHED 20” square quilts must be LINKED UP at the bottom of this post by 11:55pm CST on Sunday, May 31st (Trisha’s actual birthday). 
  • ‘How to link up to a Link Up’ post
    • Don't use Instagram/Flickr/or blog?  Email me:  lapaceksorchard {at} gmail {dot} com a picture and description of your project and I'll link up for you.  
  • A 4" quilt rod pocket will need to be added to the back of the quilt before you send it to me January.  Check out THIS tutorial for how to do this.
Monkey Wrench Quilt
Other info …
    • I would still love if everyone posted to the Flickr Group as that makes making mosaics and looking over things much easier, but it is no longer required.
    • There is now a ‘Focus Through the Prism’ Facebook Group and a ‘Challenge Quilts’ Facebook Group you can join in on to share your thoughts, questions, or whatever related to quilting challenges.  You can always post progress pictures there if you want too!
    • Haven’t ordered your bundle yet?  No worries!  Order now!  You can join in on all seven or just one challenge! 
    • Please use the hastag #pqoff #focusthroughtheprism #roygbiv when posting on social networking sites to help spread the word
    • Prizes! There will be a grand prize at the end … more details to come.  In the meantime – check out THIS POST for details about the randomly drawn prizes given out each month just for completing the challenge!
    • I put together two tutorials for 20” Monkey Wrench Blocks – in either a 3 x 3 grid or a 5 x 5 grid HERE.


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Floressence Fabric Feature

I may have a bit of a fabric stash.  I’m going to start sharing with some pictures of fabrics I’ve acquired and tell you what caught my eye about them that I thought they should be added to my stash.  I rarely buy fabric with a project in mind and I do my best to purchase whatever moves me at the time knowing that it will someday get put to good use!Floressence from Art Gallery FabricsThis collection, Floressence, is from Art Gallery Fabrics.  I am particular towards Art Gallery because the fabric is not only beautiful but it feels amazing!  Seriously – if you haven’t pet some fabric from Art Gallery I highly recommend you head out to your local quilt shop and seek it out so you can ‘Feel the Difference’. 

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10028 Floresta Cashmere

Floresta Cashmere – This is a partially directional print.  It can either go up or down.  These are slightly tricky to work with but it can be done.  

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10026 Lotus Cerise

Lotus Cerise – this reminds me sort of a modern plaid.  I can’t wait to cut this up and use the texture that will be created – especially if I cut it on the bias!

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10022 Veiled Scarletts

Veiled Scarletts – this diamond print is absolutely fabulous!  If you cut it perpendicular to the ‘lines’ shown you’ll get a ‘stripe’ effect and it would be fantastic as a binding or even a sashing strip!

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10027 Joie du Jour

Joie du Jour – an adorable ditzy print.  These are always great in ones stash.  I would probably use this one as a ‘background’ fabric mixed with other ditzy on white/off white prints.

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10021 Trellis Gentian

Trellis Gentian – texture, movement, gorgeous color.  Yes please!

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10024 Notes of Mist

Notes of Mist –  when I look at this I want to applique clouds onto an art quilt.  If cut carefully (there is a directionalism to this print) it would be a fabulous stripe element to a quilt.  But you’d have to cut super straight to achieve this so be care!

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10029 Notes of Freesia

Notes of Freesia – and this one reminds me of cotton candy or balloons.  Definitely a fantastic piece to work with on applique projects.

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10020 Acqua di Rose Jade

Acqua di Rose Jade – big, watercolor-esque floral prints.  Always a must for my collection!

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10023 Meadow Aroma Creme

Meadow Aroma Crème – stunning!  This is a large print.  This would look great fussy cut or pretending it’s just one solid piece.  By cutting it up and using it like it’s a regular size print you create odd elements to a quilt that will really catch peoples attention.  BUT be careful – this can completely mess with value so be aware of what you’re doing and know that this can be tricky to piece with.

Floressence Fabric Swatch FS-10025 Fragrant Corsage Rouge

Fragrant Corsage Rouge – another large floral print!  Gorgeous color combination.  Gorgeous unexpected texture in the backgrounds.  This will truly add some unexpected elements pieced into a quilt – I’m always looking for the unexpected.  Again – BE CAREFUL with value!

What do you think of my new blogging addition about how I pick fabric?  Do you think this will help you understand my choices more?  Does it just confuse you more?  Let me know!  I’d love to hear from you!

Floressence Fabric

Elephant in the Middle Quilt

The actual title of this quilt is “Monkey Elephant in the Middle” but they wouldn’t let me put strikethrough text in my title.

monkey wrench sketch

I’ve found myself sketching ideas a lot more often then I ever used to before I start working on a new design.  The ‘Focus Through the Prism’ Challenge block was the Monkey Wrench for May.

The big thing now was – Can I actually make it work!?

   monkey wrench blocks

After the I had the first two blocks I knew that this was going to work!

monkey wrench blocksAnd before I knew it six blocks were together …

monkey wrench block layout

and then 9!  It was time to baste and quilt!

free motion quilting

I used my Bernina to do straight line stitching in the ‘dark’ areas of the monkey wrench blocks. 

free moition quilting

And then I put my free motion foot on and did pebble quilting in the ‘light’ areas.  I am so happy with how my quilting turned out!  It really added to the finished quilt and made the two sections – light and dark really show up!

 Elephant in the Middle Quilt

And voila!  Here is my final quilt! 

Quilt Stats

Name: Monkey Elephant in the Middle
Size: 20” square
Focus Color: Yellow
Designed, Pieced and Quilted by: Kim Lapacek

Elephant in the Middle Quilt - value check And by making my image black and white I can do a value check.  And what do you know – it was actually successful!!!!!  This isn’t that ‘crazy’ of a quilt but I am so proud of it!  Value in my quilts have always given me trouble and it feels so good to triumph over it for once.

Elephant in the Middle Quilt

I had fun doing the photo shoot on the deer fence.  The sky and clouds behind it were just stunning!

free motion quilting

Here’s a closer view of both the pebble quilting and the straight line quilting.  I used a yellow variegated thread from aurifil for the quilting.  It variegates from a light, almost white yellow to a deep, golden yellow, which also adds to the depth of this quilt.  I just love the contrast the soft and sharp lines make and it feels great when you swipe your hand across the quilt top too!

Elephant in the Middle Quilt

And for good measure … one more picture of Monkey Elephant in the Middle blowing in the wind.

So what do you think?  Would you like me to write up a pattern for this one?  Let me know!


Linking up to: Monkey Wrench, Focus Through the Prism Challenge, Finish It Up Friday, Can I Get a Whoop, Whoop?, TGIFF
Online Quilting Class

Ballet Recital 2015

My girls had their ballet recital this past Saturday.  They’ve been in dance since September and have been working really hard to be prepared for this performance.  AND – it was Pip’s very first recital ever! 

DancersI snagged a group shot of the girls with some of their friends who were also in the recital. 


I was in the WAY WAY WAY far back of the auditorium for both of the shows.  I had to put on my super zoom lens to get these shots but really … they could have definitely been worse!  Pip and TinsleyThis is Pip’s final pose at the end of the dance.  Every single time in practice and rehearsal, Pip just gets right on top of Tinsley and plays with her hair.

Pip and Tinsley

And for the final performance of the day Pip FINALLY does this!  It’s like she’s thinking, “Ta Da!  I did it and now I am done!”  I am so in love with this shot!

I don't want to be a Princess Dancers

Mercedi and Capri were both in the same dance class.


This was Cedi’s fourth recital.  Check out those legs!  I call her #Cedilonglegs for a reason!Capri

And this was Capri’s third recital!  They all did wonderful and it was fantastic to watch.Magic Mirrors Dancers

And here is the final pose of their group. 

The entire recital was wonderful and you could just see how hard all the kids worked and how much talent there is in this group.  I have to admit it’s a lot more fun for me to go to the recitals now than when Cedi first started.  Now I know a lot more of the kids that are in the show and it’s fun to see how much they’ve grown as kids and dancers.

Miss Erin and Pip Montage

But the main reason I keep my kids in dance is because of their teacher – Miss. Erin.  Miss Erin is absolutely wonderful!  She not only teaches my kids to dance but to have fun, to try their hardest, and to enjoy every minute of life.  I just had to share the shots I took of Miss Erin with Pip in the finale.  Pip was having  a ‘Pip’ moment in the final finale.  She was tired and didn’t really want to be up there. 

  • Scene 1 – Pip is alone.
  • Scene 2 - you can see that Capri and Cedi went to ask her to dance (super proud of them for that by the way). 
  • Scene 3 – Pip is still alone.
  • Scene 4 – Miss Erin stops to check on Pip (remember this is the finale so there are almost 200 kids on the stage at this point).
  • Scene 5 – Miss Erin hugs Pip
  • Scene 6 through 12 – Pip is out of her mood and dancing her heart away to freeze dance with Miss Erin.

PS.  I took over 400 pictures during the recital … I’m really proud of myself for editing this post down to as few as I did!

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