Sewing Space Re-do, Phase One: The Awful Truth

One evening, I decided to just sew a quilt block. One little block. Just one. To sew that day. For a little sanity, you know what I’m saying? Sounds harmless. Inconsequential, really. But what happened was a maelstrom of havoc on my sewing area. You see, I was a chronic sew-and-dasher. That means I would sew something and then dash off to the next activity. The chaos that ensued is nothing short of disaster. But back to that block.

I needed my add-a-quarter ruler because the quilt I’m working on is a paper-pieced pattern. I could not find it. Anywhere. So I sat at my sewing machine and looked around at the awful truth. I had reached maximum out-of-control sewing supply and fabric clutter. I had found the proverbial ruler/straw that broke the camel’s back. It was time to take control.

Here, for instance is the inside of my green cupboard:

And here are some other shots of the embarrassing truth:

Anywhere there was a horizontal surface, I would just pile stuff in there. And it kept on growing with each trip to Joanns, each purchase online of the latest fabrics, and each project I never cleaned up after starting. I was deeply ashamed.

So, for the last several days I have been going through every thing. It has been daunting. But finally I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be back to show you phase II after I dig out a little more.

I found the ruler. But I won’t sew another block until I have a sewing space I can be proud of.

I hope you still love me.



Recently I hosted a fabric swap on Instagram involving Tiny Floral fabrics. I’ve been involved in other fabric swaps hosted by @purplepoppyquilts where we all purchased three yards of fabric in a color scheme and sliced them up into 10″ squares. I became a huge fan of these swaps because it’s a terrific way to build up stash without having to buy large quantities of different fabrics. I also like scrappy looking projects, so it was a good fit for me. Briawna’s (aka @purplepoppy) Color Square Swaps focus on a color theme. I wanted lots of florals, so after contacting her for advice (and also not to step on her toes since the format was her brain child), I cautiously hosted the first swap, limiting it to just 40 participants. 

The spots filled up quickly and off we went! Everyone posted a photo of their selection, in hopes that we wouldn’t duplicate prints and it worked! Everyone checked in before purchasing for the go-ahead. I kept track of all the choices. 40 wasn’t bad! My choice was from Quilt Gate, which I discovered after seeing it on @sunnydaysupply’s Instagram feed. Her feed and her shop are irresistible!

All the packages started arriving (I wonder what my mailman thought?) and I was giddy with excitement! I sorted them and sighed a bunch of sighs. You fabric lovers know what I’m talking about! Here they are:

Others posted their own arrangements and I LOVE them all! I actually might have a hard time deciding what my favorite is between the fabric selections or the creative posts showing all those lovely prints off! 

I’ve decided to host another round. Sign ups are Friday, April 21 at noon EST (USA participants only). 

Embellished Hexies

Hello and thank you for stopping by! Today I’m sharing my method on making 1″ hexies embellished with embroidery. I hunted and pecked my way around it until I found a method that worked for me, so I hope to share any tips you might not know yourself!


Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Fabric (I used quilting cotton) with small scale prints that you like
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery thread and 50w thread for basting and needles for each
  • cardstock hexagons
  • 1″ hexagon template (the one I used in the photo I found at my local quilt shop)
  • iron
  • Lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Heat disappearing marker. (I use Pilot Frixion)
  • small embroidery hoop (4″ is what I use)




1. Place embroidery hoop around the portion of the fabric you’d like to embroider. I usually do not cut the fabric until afterwards, and I work towards the outside edge of the fabric, so as not to waste.


There are several fabrics that I would consider printed and primed for embroidery. Use your clear hexagon template to see what is the right scale. Then go ahead and embroider whatever you’d like. A note about technique: I use knots to start and finish, but that would not be the case for “regular” embroidery. There is simply not enough from to start  and finish. Also, we will be using the fusible interfacing to kind of seal the back. As you can see, the back of my embroidery work is quite the mess!


After you are satisfied with the embroidery, prepare the fusible interfacing.


Using the hexagon template, trace around the shape on the fusible interfacing (I “accordion” the interfacing up so I can cut several at once. These don’t have to be perfect!). Trim just inside the traced line. You can see I’m about 1/8″ inside the template. This helps to not have so much bulk when you are turning in the edges for basting.


Now iron on the interfacing to the back of your embroidery work, making sure your interfacing hexagon is placed correctly. I use the traced lines on the fabric as a guide, since you can see them fairly well through the fabric if you are using a dark erasable marker.

Flip over and use your hexagon template again to trace around the design on the front, and trim from the traced lines at least 1/2″. Give yourself plenty of room. You can always trim some more away, but adding is impossible and you’ve already done all that beautiful embroidery work!


Now you are ready for the final couple of steps. Are you excited? Use your cardstock hexagons and fold over the edges and baste in place using your 50w thread.


Use your iron once last time to get rid of the heat disappearing ink line. Not too much…just enough to get rid of the line. You don’t want your card stock to warp. Please not there is a whole punched in the middle of the cards. This facilitates removal of the paper after they are all sewn in. A chopstick or something similar would work. (And notice I didn’t give myself enough allowance on the deer head so I stitched a few more on that one)

All done! They are secure, ready to use, and best of all CUTE!






Dumpling Pouch

Here’s my latest completed project I am happy to cross off the list for #sewufo2016. This one was an Angel project, which means I sewed up and sent a package to an Instagram swap participant that did not receive a package from their original partner (aka a FLAKER). I’ve been flaked on before and let me tell you, an empty mailbox when you are expecting a package is no fun.

This Instagram swap was the Dumpling Swap. Participants were to sew a Dumpling Pouch from Michelle Patterns and one other sewn object. I have sewn several dumpling pouches, so since I had the hang of it, I decided to embellish this one a little more. Someone commented on Instagram that it looked like the top was whipped cream. I have to agree!


The pattern is cut on the fold, so if you are using directional fabrics, you’ll need to sew a seam where the fold is, paying attention to how you are cutting the fabric (with the direction headed in the way you want). On this one I didn’t want to do a seam, although I did utilize directional fabric (the strawberries and the music staff). I used batting instead of the fusible interfacing the pattern calls for. I stitched in the ditch and also stitched across, making little boxes.


For the strawberry fabric I simply switched it so who knows which way is the right way! I didn’t mind about the music (although I am a musician…so I surprised myself that I didn’t mind). In the end, I think it looks just fine.


I used the green striped fabric (which is Tasha Noel…as well as the strawberries) to line the interior


Here’s a photo of the two sewn items I did. I will cover the needle book in the next post. Thank you for reading!




Swaps and bees…bees and swaps. That pretty much summed up my 2015. I made some new and interesting friends, honed my 1/4″ seam skills and learned some new techniques (as long as there are innovative tools being released, there will always be new techniques!) Now that I have LOVELY blocks for the three bees I participated in, I have quilts to sew, promised family projects to complete and ideas in my head that just won’t stop!

2016 will be a year of tremendous change for my family and while I absolutely have loved swapping on Instagram with my quilty friends (with two very disappointing results…sigh…ok, moving on now), shipping deadlines and coming up with the perfect creative new project might not be the best pressure for me this year. But I realized if I wasn’t actively swapping or in a bee, I might lose touch with this wonderful IG quilting community that has brought me such joy. And then I discovered the perfect solution!


#SEWUFO2016 was born! It means I’ll be sewing up my unfinished objects this year and whoever wants to join in certainly can! To join, simply post a picture on your Instagram feed with the hashtag sewufo2016.

Have fun and I’ll be enjoying seeing your UFO’s become FO’s!

Star Quilt Getting Quilted!

Well, I’m just so excited today. Yesterday was Easter, which was so wonderful because it meant I could ship of my quilt! Whaaaa? Yep, that’s right. You see, my dining room is my makeshift sewing studio until we move into our new house, where I will have my very own sewing alcove. I mean it, y’all, a real place for me to set up my sewing machine, unpack my fabrics, and leave it! Anyway, I had to clear off the table because there were 11 people gonna be chowin’ down for Easter. This caused me to take care of things that had been sitting around on the table, including my quilt top and backing.

easter table

I filled out my request for Crinkle Love to quilt my Stars over Iowa quilt, which I sewed from Sherri McConnell’s Fresh Family Traditions book. I took a long arm class. Not for me…yet. Plus I didn’t want to try out all my newbie skills on a quilt top I spent a good amount of time making.

fresh family traditions book

I read this book from cover to cover (minus instructions) when I first got it. I love that her patterns are from quilts that are important to her family quilting heritage.

So, I was inspired and sewed up my very own. Sherri McConnell used Amy Butler fabrics in hers. I used, well, everything but the kitchen sink. I had fabric I’d ordered from Etsy that was either knock off or real Cath Kidson, WalMart Fabric, Tanya Whelan, and I’m not sure what else but I wanted that Shabby Chic look that I love but have nothing in my house in that style.

stars quilt1

I made the quilt for myself because first, I love quilts, and second, because I’m a little bit Princess and the Pea when I sleep. I love my husband bunches, so we sleep in the same bed. But when I get into bed first and I’m all comfy cozy, then he pops in, there is a draft that comes along with him that makes me very uncomfortable. Then I have to readjust everything. Then he moves. Then I have to readjust.

stars quilt

My sister in-law is a genius. You might think this is a sudden change of topic, but it relates. Read on, friend. We visited her a few years ago and she graciously gave us her entire home to sleep in while she and her husband went to their second home. So we got to sleep in her bed, which had two separate duvets, his and hers. Best night’s sleep!

So, I’m making this cottag-y quilted, cozy and all mine quilt to put on me at night. Hubby can create drafts all he wants to. I will have my Stars over Nevada quilt!

stars quilt2

So, thank you Easter Bunny for helping me box up and ship off my quilt. It left today and I am feeling quite accomplished!

Thanks for dropping by. Piece out!

Modern Bee…Please Help Mee

I’m new to this online world of connecting with others who share the same interests as I do. And to be honest, I’m a little confused. Add to the confusion the overwhelming internet world and there you have it-a morning filled with trying to figure out Flickr, then off to read a blog about a fabric swap, the oooh, look at that quilt, followed by, aw, that’s a cute puppy, then, sigh, I wish my paper piecing was as nice as that and I’ll get to it someday but first let me check my bank balance, which leads me to check email and then oh, there’s a fabric sale, all the while having a the photo stream from Instagram replaying in my head (lovely quilts, I must say!) In the meantime I haven’t learned one thing about how to participate in a fabric swap or online quilting bee. Can anyone else relate to this stream of activity in front of a computer screen?

I have found a book that promises hope in figuring this all out called Modern Bee by Lindsay Conner.


So far so good. I’m on page 13. 🙂 I landed on Flickr…which lead to my chaotic online morning. I shall press on though, but if you have great tips for quilting bees, I’d love to hear them!