The Droid Is Not For Sale – supplement for x2 scale BB-8

Woohoo! Lots of you have downloaded The Droid Is Not For Sale, and I have enjoyed seeing your quilts come together on Instagram!

I see a lot of people making just the BB-8 from the pattern – yes, I know… despite it being about Rey, the droid is just so dang cute! So last weekend, during my guild’s monthly sew day, I decided to do the same as a gift for someone. I scaled it up x2 to get a lap quilt:

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I kept track of my calculations, and put them in a pattern supplement for you. You’ll still need the original pattern for the construction steps, and I’ve given you only the fabric requirements for the BB-8 block, not the rest of the quilt – I’ll leave that sizing up to you! (I used about an additional 2 yards of background to build mine out to about 45”x 59”)

I also added some snowballed detail to the smaller black dot on the dome – it was too tiny to snowball easily at the original scale (and I’m all about it being easy to make!)

Download the supplement here.

My quilt top is with Nancy Stovall at JustQuiltingPDX – can’t wait to see what magic she makes on it!

Enjoy!

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Rey & BB-8 Pattern – color charts – need your help!

Last week, a reader wrote and asked if I could chart the Rey & BB-8 pattern in Kona for her – sure thing!

Not only have I charted it in Kona, but in Hoffman Indah Solids too (I made a second quilt in the Hoffman colors – look for it in their booth at Quilt Con!) – grab the chart here.

I know there are plenty of other solids out there, and would love to add other companies’ info to the chart. So can you help me? If you have a color card for Miller, or Andover, or Art Gallery, or Northcott, or ???, can you please chime in (in the comments) with your best version of colors that will work for the pattern?

Thank you! I’ll gather it together and add it to the pattern download.

HDS.038 - Rey - Cover - 300dpi

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The Droid Is Not For Sale – It’s FREE

Spoiler alert: This post is about the new Star Wars movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to move along… this is not the post you’re looking for!

I love a good action movie, but I’ve grown tired of not having lady heroes to root for. I’m a Wonder Woman aficionado, but honestly, a lot of that is due to a lack of other options on the mainstream super-hero menu.

I’ve seen The Force Awakens twice… fandom of the Force is strong in my family. And can I just say, finally, we get a Jedi heroine. FINALLY.

I have many friends whose daughters are inspired by the character of Rey. She is strong, capable, resourceful, and caring. My friends are thrilled that their daughters saw a woman kicking serious patootie, and not doing it scantily clad, either.

And then come in the reports that Rey has been left out of a lot of the merchandising. You can get a set of all the new fellas (plus a Storm Trooper or two), but not Rey. It caused some outcry, to the point of spawning the #WheresRey hashtag. Hasbro said it was because they didn’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, yet I ask… how does including Finn, Kylo Ren, and Poe Dameron not constitute a spoiler? I’m not falling for that slick attempt at justifying a major misstep in marketing strategy. Suffice to say, Hasbro is hastily adding Rey to manufacturing right now. Duh.

This tired excuse bugged me heartily. So instead of just grumbling about it (see Tina Roth Eisenberg’s “Rules to Live By“, specifically number 3), I decided to do my part to upend the inequality of merchandising for girls: I designed a Rey quilt pattern.

HDS.038 - Rey - Cover - 300dpi

Of course, I included BB-8 because there is no way I would pass up the chance to design an ORANGE droid. And check out the insanely talented quilting done by my friend, and fellow Star Wars fan, Nancy Stovall:

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The pattern is all straight seams and snowballs, with a few templates for the funky shapes. It’s nothing you can’t sew if you can hold to a decent 1/4” seam. It finishes at 42” x 52”, which is perfect for a snuggle, or a great start to something bigger.

Best of all, it’s FREE. Seriously. Yours for the taking – though be sweet, and send people back to me for it, and if you like my other stuff, do consider buying some :-) Yes, I don’t want to tangle with Disney, but more than that, I want our girls (and my fellow fans) to be able to finally have a quilt that includes such a great HEROINE.

So this one is for YOU! You can download it here.

And here’s a chart of suggested colors of fabrics by manufacturer.

May the Force be with you!

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Rejected from QuiltCon

Rejected.

I’ve been told I shouldn’t use such a harsh word on myself, but it certainly is a clear statement of facts: I offered one of my quilts to QuiltCon, and it was not accepted for display. Don’t worry, my self-esteem is still quite intact… I love the quilt I made, and no amount of quilt show rejection will change that!

I have not attended the last two QuiltCon shows, so my impressions of what got in is somewhat distorted by the limitation of what can be seen on social media. I will say that, while I saw some envelope-pushing work in the feeds, I saw an incredible amount of “been there, seen that.” I have wondered on more than one occasion if the displayed quilts were chosen more for their illustration of and adherence to the definitions of modern quilting (as put forth by the Modern Quilt Guild) than for being perhaps more challenging examples of where quilt-making is going in the moment. Really, how many wonky what-evers (set off-center in a solid background with matchstick quilting) should be displayed? We get it! Point made! Mind you, it is their party, so they do get to groom the guest list. I will be attending the show in Pasadena next month, and am looking forward to making an informed opinion or two about the works in person. And of course, I’ll be sharing those thoughts here!

Here’s my rejected entry:

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Photography by Bill Volkening

I made this quilt top in 2014 as I was developing my Five Stars pattern, with not a thought in my head about sending it to competition. I had been playing for some time with the idea of nesting stars, and thought the complexity of nesting them offset was a modern way of looking at things. I chose the color palette because I love ORANGE and teal, and love them both when paired with gray. I chose batiks as I’ve worked with them for years, and love the texture they have over solids. While they are often dismissed in a modern guild or shop as “your mother’s fabric,” they are one of the most hand-made fabrics available to us, a quality that I believe important to contemporary social and ecological interests. And if I’m being candid, I liked the idea of challenging the modern structural ideas with some batiks.

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Photography by Bill Volkening

Once the top was done, I was so happy with it that I was bouncing about the studio. I knew my utilitarian quilting skills would do it a terrible disservice, so I hired Nancy Stovall to take it to the next level, and couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome. Truly, she leveled it up out of the park – it’s stunning. It was at that point that I thought, perhaps, I should show the quilt.

In general, quilt show competitions (not exhibitions – the distinction is important) bother me a bit. As a formally trained artist with an MFA, I find it frustrating that the usual criteria that separates the winner from the runners is craft. And for the record, I’m a HUGE proponent of attaining good craftsmanship; I just don’t think it’s the only thing to look at.

While I have no idea if the QuiltCon judges will be checking quilts for square and checking the binding miters to see if they are stitched (don’t laugh, I was critiqued about the lack of stitches in my miters some 20 years ago on a quilt that went to Paducah), the fact that such technical nit-picking seemed to outweigh artistry made me abandon competition years ago. I was tired of getting judges’ notes about my miters, and having no mention of my artistry, choice of colors, or my prowess with hand-dyeing my fabrics. I see us wanting our work to be considered ART, but then still approaching it like it’s CRAFT. It’s hard for Craft to ascend to Art when it’s judged less for the artistry than the craftsmanship. By these criteria, a Monet would be rejected because the paint was a bit thicker here than it was there.

I know… it’s a bit of a chewy conversation, but hey, I’m trained in thinking about art this way, and these are the thoughts I ponder in the wee hours. You can take the girl out of art school, but it’s hard to take the art school out of the girl!

Anyway! The quilt won’t be heading to QuiltCon, but no matter. Right now, it’s sharing the walls with other QC rejects at Modern Domestic here in Portland (and wow, am I thrilled to have my quilt seen with these works). Soon it will be home and back on my bed. Lucky me.

Oh, and I still don’t sew down my miters ;-p

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FREE Spoonflower shipping TODAY

If you were thinking about making one of these for someone in your life…

… you might want to jump on getting the custom Spoonflower FQ for all the wordy bits TODAY – they are offering FREE SHIPPING through Dec1 at 9am EST

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And if you don’t have the pattern yet, you can get yours here :-)

Cheers!

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Quick Holiday Projects

Do you still have time in your holiday sewing schedule? Of course you do! It’s not even December yet!

Over the years I’ve created some quick holiday projects and I’m reposting them here today in case you’re tempted to add them to your list.

Holiday Table Runner – free pattern

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This pattern can be sized to fit any table, or adapted to a wall hanging by making just one tree. It’s paper-pieced, and features my usual easy pre-cutting instructions.

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Go here for the free pattern.

Santa Snow Globe – free pattern

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This is a cute 15” block that can be a wall hanging or pillow. It’s paper-pieced, and features my usual easy pre-cutting instructions. It’s also a great canvas for embellishments – what better time than the holidays to play with some sparkle?

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Go here for the pattern.

Countdown Advent Calendar

And if you have time to be a little more ambitious, I have a great Advent Calendar pattern for you.

HDS.011 - Countdown - Cover - 300dpi

Here’s a link to a photo tutorial for the pattern – it’s so much easier than it looks! It’s made with easy strip piecing, and each number is a pocket to fill with a treat. You can make one for a grown-up friend too… I made one for a girlfriend using one of the Alexander Henry Hunks fabrics, and filled it with chocolates!

Enjoy!

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FREE Tutorial: How to Adapt a Cross-Stitch Pattern for Quilting

This is a tutorial for adapting a printed cross-stitch pattern into a quilt top. This year, I made a couple of cute Star Wars themed quilts using cross-stitch patterns from Jacqueline of Wee Little Stitches. If you are a fan of anything remotely nerdy, from Star Wars and Star Trek to Buffy and the Big Lebowski, the chances are you’ll find a fun cross-stitch pattern for it at Wee Little Stitches.

When I shared my creations with Jacqueline, she told me that she receives frequent requests on how to do this type of adaptation of her patterns, so with her permission and encouragement, I decided to create this tutorial.

I’ll be using one of the Wee Little Stitches freebie patterns, specifically Captain America from The Avengers. And before I get started, I’d like to remind you that while this tutorial is a free offering, both Jacqueline and I support ourselves by making cool stuff for YOU. So if you’re inspired by any of the patterns on either my site or Jacqueline’s, please be cool and BUY them. Also, all Wee Little Stitches patterns are for personal use only, so no selling the things you make from them.

One last thing before we get started: this tutorial assumes you already know a few things about quilting, such as how to set up for a 1/4’’ seam, how to rotary cut, basic block construction, and finishing techniques. I’ll just be leading you through how to adapt the pattern to a fabric top.

1. Choose your pattern!

I’m using the Wee Little Stitches free Avengers pattern, and I have decided to make Captain America. I’ll be calling him Cap for the rest of the pattern.

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2. Choose the scale of the character

Count the number of squares for both the height and width of your character. Cap is 36 squares tall, and 16 squares wide. I’m calculating JUST the character, not any additional background – we’ll get into that once the figure is together.

Each square of the cross-stitch pattern will represent a square in the quilt top, so now to choose a size for those squares:

  • If the squares are 1/2’’ finished, Cap will be 18’’ x 8’’, which would work great on an oversized pillow (and for the record, be pretty fussy to work with)
  • If the squares are 1’’ finished, Cap will be 36’’ x 16’’, which would work great on a child’s quilt, or the center of a lap quilt
  • If the squares are 2’’ finished, Cap will be 72’’ x 32’’, which would top a twin bed (once borders are added).

I’ll be making the 2” size as I like to make quilts that are big enough to snuggle well on a couch, and versatile enough to toss on a bed if needed. Yes, 32’’ is skinny, but I’ll border it out once I have the figure together.

3. Make a copy of just the figure as big as a sheet of paper

There are a couple of ways to do this:

  • Enlarge the character on a copier until it fills the page
  • Open the pattern on your computer, and do a screen shot section of the character (on a Mac, Command Shift 4, or on Windows, using the Snippit Tool), and capture just the rectangle that will include all the character and no more

Print the screen shot at full page size. You might print a second to have on hand just in case. This is will be your master template for cutting.

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4. Choose the fabrics

I recommend using quilt store quality fabrics, in solid colors to maximize the pixelated effect of the squares. If you’re going to invest your time in something like this, be sure to invest in high quality fabrics that will last! The cross-stitch pattern has a floss color chart that’s easy to follow, and you can use its suggestions for your fabric choices.

Cap is pretty easy – he’s primarily red, white and blue, with a few squares of black and skin tone. I have decided to use a light gray as my background as all my colors will look good against it.

I purchased 1 yard each of red, white, and blue, and 2 yards of gray. I have skin tone and black in my stash. Yes, I will probably use about half of that yardage, but a yard gives me room to goof up, plus decent yardage for making into a border or backing.

5. Prepare a design surface

I find that making something like this is best done with a design wall. If you don’t have space that you can dedicate to a design wall, then either tack a piece of flannel or batting to the wall, or pick up a couple of cheap plastic table cloths that have flannel backs (often in the seasonal aisle of a chain store like Joann’s or Target). With plastic on one side and flannel on the other, these are easy to roll up mid-project if you are sewing at a retreat or need to clear space for dinner.

6. Section out the pattern

This is where the work begins. You have a few options, so let’s talk about them:

  • Cut one fabric square for each stitched square. This is probably the easiest to figure out, but it will be the hardest to sew as you’ll have LOTS of unnecessary seams to both make and match up. If you like the look of all those seams, you can create it easily with your quilting stitches later.
  • Break the pattern into either columns or rows. This means you make a group of strips, and then assemble them. This is also easy to figure out, but again, a lot of unnecessary seams.
  • Cut the pattern into blocks. This means that, when possible, you use a larger chunk of fabric for an area. There will still be areas that are made of single squares, but as few as possible.

I’ll be showing you the third method. Note: I made a lighter copy of the pattern, and I’ll be working with a thick pen for this so it shows up well in tutorial pictures – you’ll probably be fine with a regular copy and a pencil.

First, look for the major blocks in the figure’s design, or the easy stuff. Use a ruler, and mark these blocks.

Think about the major sections that you’ll need to make. For most of the characters, the sections will follow the major body areas quite well, and they’ll often be quite symmetrical. In the case of Cap, I need to navigate the shield, and the wings on his helmet outside the body structure. I also want to keep the background in large chunks for simplicity.

In this drawing, you can see that I’ve split Cap into 4 major segments: top of the helmet, face and torso, shield, and legs.

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I’ve also drawn some section lines within those. In all cases, I’m trying to make the block simply, with the least amount of seams. Note that there is certainly more than one way to get to the solution! I’m working the face mostly horizontally as it breaks up easiest that way, but I’m working the upper body vertically as it makes for fewer single strips.

Being as the colors in the shield are mostly in single rows of squares, I’m not going to get away with big chunks, so I’ll just cut it up as best I can. There’s a spot in the middle of the shield that can be 2 squares wide, so I’ll start with that and work out from it.

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7. Begin construction

At this point, you can cut out every square and rectangle, and lay them on your design wall, or you can cut and sew a section at a time. I prefer the latter method as it means I need to label fewer things. I’m also less likely to lose a piece if I work in smaller segments.

I’m making the 2’’ version, so for every square I need to cut 2’’ PLUS SEAM ALLOWANCE. Every measurement you make, regardless of which size (1/2’’, 1’’, or 2’’) requires an extra half-inch in both directions for the seams, so write that somewhere obvious in big letters! So, for example, if I need a piece that covers 2 x 4 squares (at the 2” per square size) I need to cut 4 1/2” x 8 1/2“.

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I’m going to work on Cap from the feet up. My reasoning for this is the first section is very easy, and will make me feel like I’m getting somewhere pretty quickly! Then the shield section will be the trickiest, so I’ll get it out of the way next. Back to easier on the torso, and a fast finish on the helmet.

I cut the pieces and put them on the design wall in their correct place as I go:

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I cut out the largest pieces first, and work the smaller pieces from the scraps of that, paying attention to saving large fabric for later sections as needed. The largest piece of red I need is 3 squares wide (6 1/2’’), in this or any other section, so I’ll cut that first.

Then I’ll cut a strip 2 squares wide (4 1/2’’) and save a piece of it for the right hand section in the shield. I’ll cut all my 1 square wide (2 1/2’’) pieces from the scraps of those before cutting any more 1 square strips.

The next step is where I get all my exercise – I sew and press each section as I go, and put it back on the design wall until I sew it to something else. I press the way that goes easiest (who needs to fight with seams?) and I try to press away from the white/light whenever possible, but without being terribly uptight about it :-)

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And the feet are done:

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On to the shield:

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I laid it all out, but failed to notice that I made the lower right corner white instead of gray until it was assembled! Perhaps I should have shaded in the background of my reference drawing!

First I sewed the major rows together:

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Then sewed those into the section:

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And then I fixed the lower right to be gray!

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That’s better!

Here’s the lower half of the quilt top – you can see Cap beginning to take form:

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And on to the torso, paying SPECIAL attention to the background gray!

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Here it is, with the smaller sections together:

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And here’s the section, finished:

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And onto the helmet:

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And the helmet, put together:

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And the whole figure assembled:

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This handsome fella still needs and “A” on his helmet, which I will applique or fuse once I have the big sewing done.

Next are borders. I will start with about 4” top and bottom to give the figure some room, as I don’t like the binding to run into the compositional elements:

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So at this point, Cap is about 80” tall. For good visual balance, as well as a useful size, I think he should be about 50” wide. The character section is already 32” wide, so I have about another 20” to add. Cap is not symmetrically centered – his shield moves the center line to the left, so I need to put a little more background on the right. I added 8” to the left and 12” to the right. (If you’re worried about balancing something like that, just add a few extra inches to both sides, and then trim it back as needed based on how it looks on the design wall).

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And he’s ready to be layered and quilted!

I will probably do 2” vertical lines across the entire quilt, and then cross only the character with 2” horizontal lines so that the pixellated effect is emphasized, similar to Leia and R2D2 below.

Here are a couple of other Wee Little Stitches patterns I’ve adapted – they belong to my son and his fiancée!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorial! If you use it, please tag @weelittlestitches and @huntersds on Instagram so Jacqueline and I can enjoy what you make!

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Fall 2015 Pattern and Button Releases!

Did you follow Quilt Market on Instagram and Facebook? There were lots of exciting images coming from market, as always. I think my favorite feed was from one of the several great stores in here in Portland, Fabric Depot – check it out here – the ladies did a great job of sending images out for those of us who weren’t there.

Although I didn’t go to market this time (I chose to be in Europe in September instead!) several of my quilts went, and were displayed in Hoffman Fabric’s booth. I also had new patterns and Sassy Buttons with the distributors, and I’m happy to report I have stock of all the new stuff on hand now!

Here they are… and they are available in the store.

HDS.034 - BigStarPop - Cover - 300dpi

Big Star Pop is a strip-friendly pattern – yep, one strip pack will make both the star and the borders. The cover was made using one of Hoffman’s latest Pop packs of 885 fabrics that are all tiny batik dots. I also wrote instructions for both y-seam and non-y-seam settings, depending on the pattern texture of your background fabrics, and your stomach for making y-seams!

HDS.035 - FourteenOnPoint - Cover - 300dpi

Fourteen on Point is the fourth in the “Fourteen” series of patterns. Each takes 14 fat quarters, and they all look like they were improvisational – but they’re not. Each pattern details exactly which block goes where, so the construction is a snap – it just looks hard! The cover was made using the second collection of Me+You fabrics from Hoffman’s new modern batiks line.

HDS.033 - Sushi - Cover - 300dpi

This quilt was such a blast to create. I found a cute image of a towel that rolled up like sushi on the internet, and tracked down the artist that designed it. She kindly gave me permission to adapt her idea into this fun novelty quilt. The front is color blocks, the back is any conversation print of your choosing (mine have novelty sushi prints), and it all rolls up like sushi! We have a lot of great solid readers and textured fabric out right now for rendering the fish, rice, and avocado!

HDS.032 - Point The Way - COVER - 300dpi

This table runner is made of strips and prairie points, and goes together quickly. Being as it’s strip-based, you can modify the length to fit your table exactly. The cover is made of Hoffman batiks.

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And lastly, here are the latest Sassy Buttons! Some of them are old favorites with new colors, others are brand new fun. I’m especially proud of drawing the crossed seam rippers under the skull of the Grim Ripper 😉

And if you managed to read all the way to the end, I have an opportunity for you! I’m doing a drawing – one package with each of the new patterns, and a set of the newest Sassy buttons. Comment below and tell me about something you’re making right now – I’ll draw randomly on Monday Nov 9th.

Cheers!

11/09/15 Update – The winner is Julie D! 

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100 Quilt Blocks in 50 Days

Earlier this year, I was asked by Janome to design a block for their 100 Quilt Blocks in 50 Days event. For 50 days they will be publishing free patterns for 100 quilt blocks, designed by industry professionals like me, from lovely Cotton Couture solid fabrics supplied by Michael Miller.

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It just kicked off! And you can sign up here to get email notifications when new block patterns are released. You can also potentially win a Janome 8900 QCP, which is my main Power Tool and current weapon of choice.

I have no idea when my block will go up but I’ll be watching for it. Hint… it has prairie points!

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Back to School – wrap up, with direct links!

I’m back from my travels, and have just spent a lovely morning, drinking fresh mint tea from this pretty new cup I bought in Paris, and catching up with everyone’s posts from the Back To School Blog Hop.

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Such great information shared! A HUGE thank you to all my fellow writers, and especially to you lovely readers!

I know that a few of my friends had some technical difficulties (why the heck do people hack other people’s websites????) so if something was missing when you looked for it on the posting day, know that it’s all there now – thank you all for your patience!

I’ve updated all the links below to send you DIRECTLY to the BTS posts (not just the blogs), so you can bookmark this page for fast and easy future reference:

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