Beginners · Creative · Music · Tips

Tips For Learning How To Play Guitar

All of us would want to learn something new once in a while. It could be just a hobby or, like my once-amateur quilting hobby, it could be something we work hard enough at to make an income. No matter what the case is (and in mine, it’s just a hobby), it will certainly not be perfected on the first try. 

One of the most common hobbies that people learn or at least take a stab at is playing musical instruments, and guitar is definitely one of the more popular choices. Learning guitar is not as hard as people may think, but it does take a lot of patience and practice. Are you considering learning how to play? Here are some helpful tips for a beginner. 

1. Pick a guitar

The first step is to have the instrument. Some borrow from their friends or family, but if you are really interested and want to invest in your own instrument, there can be many advantages to having your own. It will be up to you to decide if you want to start off with a cheaper model or purchase a more expensive one. Another thing to consider is what type of guitar you want. Will it be acoustic or electric? Most people start with acoustic guitar since it is larger and has thicker strings, therefore more challenging to play and better for first training your fingers. It’s often advisable for beginners to start with an acoustic guitar and then transition to electric guitar when you’re ready to learn more riffs and other advanced techniques.

2. Learn the chords

Some of us have our favorite bands and guitarists. We get inspired by the way they play, but do not let their high level of skill intimidate you. Even our favorite guitarist has to start somewhere. When learning how to play guitar, knowing and learning how to form and play chords is a good place to dive in. Start out slowly. The secret to having a good technique is proper placement of your fingers when forming chords, so it will better to start out slow and with proper technique than dealing with the consequences of rushing later on. A nice way to practice is to have some songs to play. It will help your fingers form strength with adjustment and transitions. There are some easier songs for beginners for you to start practicing on.

3. Do not avoid the difficult chords

Not all chords will be easy, even some of the basic ones. Remember that all chords are important and need to be played from time to time. This will be a nice reminder that learning guitar is not an easy process. There will surely more difficult moments once you get past learning the chords, but they will come to pass with just a little patience.

4. Practice

Whether the chords are easy or difficult, it is important to practice. Even skilled professionals need practice because it improves their skills and techniques. As a beginner, that will be also the case. You do not have to practice for full days at a time. Even just 10 to 30 minutes can be enough to refresh you. This will also help you develop good playing habits and you’ll get used to it before you know it.

5. Take a break

Of course, it is also important not to pressure yourself too much. Have a break and once in a while and either listen to music or watch videos to get inspiration. This will not only help to get your mind at ease, but it will be also a great way to keep your technique in check.

Practice makes perfect, but sometimes it is easier said than done. Always remember that to learn something new requires patience and determination. It will be over once you give up on it. So, always be prepared and you will be great before you know it. 

Creative · How To · Quilt Making

Tips on How to Quilt the Perfect Blanket for a Futon

If it is your first time trying to make a quilt, you may feel like the task is too tough for you. However, the truth is that with the right tools and guidance, it is one of the easiest and most satisfying tasks. When it is your first time, you want to start with a smaller project. For instance, instead of making the quilt for a bed, you can start with a smaller piece of furniture such as a futon. Here are some important guidelines which will help make the process easy for you.

Gather the appropriate materials

The success of your quilting job will depend on how well-prepared you are for it. You will need the following tools and materials for a successful quilting job:

· Fabric: Take time and choose a number of appropriate fabrics to mix and match and come up with the pattern you desire.

· Batting: This is the layer of insulation which you will insert between the fabrics so that the quilt can be warm. Select the batting fabric which will be warm and durable for your projects.

· Thread: when choosing an appropriate thread for your quilting work, it is important to remember that the higher the weight number, the thinner the thread. Choose the thickness whose stitches will last.

· Cutting tools: You will need a variety of tools for the cutting job. The most basic is the rotary cutter and scissors. If you want to keep your fabric scissors sharp, avoid cutting anything else with them.

· Quilting ruler: this is the item which will help you determine the shapes and sizes of the small patterns that will make the quilt. A small square ruler will be great for a beginner in quilting.

· Cutting mat: you will need one whenever you are using your rotary cutter. This will protect surfaces such as tables from getting cutting scratches.

· Sewing tools: some of the sewing tools that you will need for your quilting work include pins and clips and other materials that hold the fabrics together for cutting and sewing.

· Sewing machine or needles: these are going to be used for the joinery.

There are a variety of other smaller tools that will make your work easier, but if you have these basics with you, you can easily start the sewing.

Picking a pattern

Part of picking the pattern should be done before getting the fabric because the pattern you have in mind will determine what you buy. When starting out, you can go with simple patterns. For instance, simple cutout triangles will be ideal for a simple quilt pattern. Another shape that is common is half rectangles. In short, pick shapes that will not give you a hard time when it comes to the joinery.

Sewing the seams

After choosing a pattern, you will cut your fabric into the pieces which will make up the final pattern. When all the pieces are ready, the next natural step will be sewing together the seams. This is the most crucial part of the quilt making process because it determines whether your final designs will have puckers, wavy and unmatched bits or other weaknesses. Teach yourself how to make a straight stitch seam ahead of this process to make your work easier.

Basting the quilt

After you have sewn together the small patterns which will make the quilt, the next step in the process is basting the quilt. This step will stop the final product from bunching up or getting distorted. Th baste the quilt, you will need:

· The quilt fabric that you have already joined

· The batting

· A large flat area for the basting

The simplest way is to use fabric spray to hold all the pieces together as you sew.

Quilting

This is the final part of the process and fortunately, the simplest. With the fabric basted and joined together, you can go under the sewing machine and make whichever quilting pattern you want ranging from the simple straight pattern, zigzags to everything else that you can think of. Note that the thread which you will use for this part of the process should be a good contrast with the fabric so that the design can pop.

In those few steps, you will have an awesome new quilt for your futon. Contemporary futons provide exceptional comfort, but they are pieces of furniture that are excellent candidates for infusing your own style. A well-made quilt will not only keep the user warm when relaxing on their futon but also make a fashion and interior décor statement. Start with simple quilting patterns, and as time goes by, you can choose more complex patterns.

Creative · Fun · How To · Quilt Making · Tips

Quilting Under The Stars

If you’ve been sewing for a long time, chances are you’ve amassed a fairly large stockpile of scrap material. Even more likely, you hang on to every last piece of scrap in the off chance that you’ll find a use for it. Fearing that you’re the next face of a Hoarders episode, you begin to formulate uses for some of the surplus. The moment has arrived. You decide to use what you can on the Quilting Under the Stars pattern. It’s a solid choice.

The materials you’ll need for an 80 x 86-inch, roughly a queen-size, quilt are as follows:

  • 126 — 5-inch squares
  • 40 — 2 ½ x 44-inch strips
  • 2 ¾ yards of background and inner border fabric
  • 1 ½ yards of outer border fabric

Nothing to it. Once you’ve gathered your color-coordinated pieces, it’s just a matter of cutting, piecing, and sewing them together. Yes, all of them.

It’s best to pre-cut the sizes you need all at once, and then you’re ready to begin assembly:

  • 126 – 5-inch squares
  • 40 — 2 ½ x 44-inch squares become 320 – 2 ½ x 5-inch rectangles
  • Out of the 2 ½ yards of background, cut the following:
  • 2 ½-inch square block = 110 total squares
  • 1 ½-inch square block = 880 total squares
  • 1 1/2 yards of outer border fabric

While this pattern is intended for the purpose of cleaning up some of your scrap, there’s another aspect you might consider. That’s right, buying more material, perhaps precut pieces that already match.

It’s actually a pretty straight forward pattern that takes a little thought and planning, but you also have a great deal of leeway for artistic license in the color and material department. It’s an intermediate, or very confident beginner, level pattern. Perhaps next time you’re sitting  by a warm, open fire, looking up at the clear starry sky, you’ll be quilting your “under the stars” pattern.

The key is to organize all of the precuts into individual groups, so that when you begin sewing, you can run through the quick stitches and ironing in an assembly-line manner. This is a pattern that you can do while you’re watching television; however, you do need to devote some attention to fit and measurement. Since this is a pattern focused on stars, it’s important to make sure that they line up as they should.

This type of design lends itself nicely to batik fabric prints. The colors in batiks are so vibrant that the star cut in a coordinating color really stands out and clearly defines the pattern. This design seamlessly lends itself to a variety of decorating styles. It all depends on the fabrics you choose, but it can work just as well in a modern setting as it does in one that’s traditional or country.