Review: AccuQuilt English Paper Piecing Hexagon Dies

Review: AccuQuilt English Paper Piecing Hexagon Dies | The Zen of Making

Fact: AccuQuilt’s new English Paper Piecing Hexagon Dies are currently my favorite tools in the craft studio. I mean, cutting perfectly matched fabric pieces AND paper templates at the same time? Goodness, yes!

Available in both a ½" size and a 1" size, the AccuQuilt English paper piecing dies basically take the ease of buying pre-cut packs of EPP templates and pre-cut packs of fabric shapes and applies that same simplicity and convenience to your own fabric stash. I love that, in one step, I can cut out as many or as few hexies and paper templates as I need for a project, and I never need to pull out my rotary cutter or ruler!

Review: AccuQuilt English Paper Piecing Hexagon Dies | The Zen of Making

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Crafting 101: How to Clean and Oil Your Scissors

Crafting 101: How to Clean and Oil Your Scissors | The Zen of Making

How long has it been since you’ve shown your scissors some love? (Hint: If you can’t remember, it’s been way too long!)

Dirty, stiff, or dull scissors can lead to sore hands, imprecise cuts, and high replacement costs. Luckily, it’s actually really easy to keep your favorite shears and snips in good working order—all it takes is a soft cloth and a little bottle of oil! (I mean, why waste money on a good pair of scissors if you aren’t going to take care of them?) Still need convincing? Picture those lovely antique shears that your grandma has been using since the dawn of time, and behold the power of regular maintenance!

Note: This tutorial isn’t just for sewing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a paper crafter, yarn crafter, embroidery lover, quilter, seamstress, or mixed media artist, happy scissors make for much happier makers.

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Monday Snapshot: A Very Crafty Christmas 2013

Monday Snapshot: A Very Crafty Christmas 2013 | The Zen of Making

Monday Snapshot: A Very Crafty Christmas 2013 | The Zen of Making

I think it’s safe to say that my incredibly generous Michigan family and friends know me pretty darn well, because there was a whole lot of crafty awesomeness with my name on it under the Christmas tree this year. (Okay, under several different Christmas trees.)

My holiday highlights include a Dremel workstation/drill press, a mitre box, Modern Log Cabin Quilting, by my friend Susan Beal, and a set of lovely Gingher pinking shears to round out my collection of fancy scissors. And, of course, we can’t forget Betty, my amazing new Singer Featherweight. (She decided to stay in Brooklyn for the holidays, so she wasn’t around when these photos were taken.)

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to jump back into the craft studio and get creative in the New Year!

Did you have a crafty Christmas too? I want to hear about your holiday favorites!

Sunday Video: My Iron! It Moves!

Sunday Video: My Iron! It Moves! | The Zen of Making

Guys, I’m desperately in love with the fancy new Oliso Pro iron that I won at this year’s Quilters Take Manhattan.

At first, I was skeptical that a high-end iron—even one that automatically raises the soleplate when I’m not touching it to avoid scorching—would really make that much of a difference in my sewing projects. Well, I can now assure you that it does. Also, that my Oliso Pro is clearly full of awesome and/or black magic.