Inspiration straight from the Girl friend squad

Many of my friends here in NH know that for the past several weeks, I’ve been working on the staff of a new quilt show here in New England, the Connections Quilt Festival.  One of the things I did for the show was to create the Viewers Choice ribbon…and I had such great feedback on it, I wanted to turn it into a blog post for this week…it’s so much more interesting than blogging about spreadsheets and layouts!

This isn’t my pattern – the basic idea came from a post on my timeline on Facebook early last week.  Nancy Myers did a post about the basic ornament last week on her blog, Patchwork Breeze.      That post credited a tutorial that she had found on Nancy Zieman’s site, and given the news of NancyZ’s passing this past weekend, it seems to come full circle.  The basic pattern for this uses 5″ squares as the source of the triangles (although NancyZ’s tutorial works for several sizes);  given the color scheme that Connections was working with, and my stash of turquise blue batik fabrics, this was actually quite easy to make up.

The ribbon is shown pinned to the quilt that won the Viewer’s Choice…and things like this always look better against a great background.  What doesn’t look better against a quilt?

To make the basic ornament,  I pulled my turquoise/blue/scraps out of the shelving, and selected three that worked well together (and that were big enough to work with).  Although I didn’t have

the templates that were referenced in the video, I did find that for my purposes, a blank CD worked well (and hold that thought!).  The instructions (linked above) call for cutting (12) 5″ squares out of the fabric you’ll be using, and pressing them once on the bias, once again in half, and then a third time in half…you wind up with all the raw edges  along one side, and tucked into one another to make the pinwheel shape shown.  It doesn’t matter which way you make them spin (in both pictures I am spinning to the left).

That CD above served as a great makeshift template for the circle of interfacing which is hidden in the center of the star, and I was able to draw the registration lines on with a pen.  You do wind up needing some sort of button for the center to cover where the points meet. I dumped my button collection out on my cutting table and found a clear one that covered the raw edges,  and then a smaller blue button to lay on top of it.

At this point, I had the button – now how to turn it into the ribbon.

  1. I used two of the fabrics that are in the star (marked as A and B), and cut each into 2 strips of fabric, 3½” wide x  12-15″ long.  This is a scrap project, so the dimensions are vague. This was a batik project, so I wasn’t worried about the right vs wrong side so much – in a woven project, stack the fabric strips with the right sides together.  Using a ruler with a 45º angle, cut once through the short end of each stack, and then move to your sewing machine. You’re going to sew around three sides of the ‘ribbon’, leaving the short straight end alone so that you can turn the ribbon right side out.  Press well.  Repeat for the other set of fabrics, so you now have two.
  2.  The CD used above now has a useful purpose for this project.  It’s going to serve as the back of the ribbon.  Lay the ribbons made in step one on top of the CD, and make sure you’re happy with the length and orientation of both of them. In the picture above, my ribbons are shown with the points of the ribbon facing in…this is another bit of personal preference.  Once you are satisfied with the ribbon and the ornament, secure both with white glue and let them dry.  I used what I had in the cabinet (Elmers), but any clear drying glue will do.
  3. There are a number of ways that you can mark or tag what your ribbon is for…I was working on a very short timeframe, so this is what I came up with…Picmonkey.  Simply, I have a photo of mine of free  motion quilting I did, uploaded it into Picmonkey, tinted it, shrunk it, added text to the front of it, printed it and then trimmed it with pinking shears…I tucked it up under the ornament and secured it with more Elmers.  Ten minutes – and I’ll do a tutorial on that for next week!
  4. The final step is to attach a pin back to the back of the CD so that it can be attached to the winning quilt.  I found that for this, you need SuperGlue – Elmers would not adhere the CD to the metal pinback.
  5. Enjoy! 

The Magic of Houston – It began with Ice Cream

Ok, most of the great stories of my life include ice cream, so there’s nothing new with any of that.  This week, it’s Houston show time – Market was last weekend, and Festival is this weekend. I’m not there because I am working with a new show here in New Hampshire, the Connections Quilt Festival, which is next weekend.  I did both events last year – back to back, but this year’s show here is so much larger and more complex, that I knew I couldn’t do both – and being the responsible grown up, I chose to be, well, a grown up.  I am missing Houston a lot.  And I know I’m missing a lot in Houston – apparently, even baseball.

The “It” in the subject line of this post is a quilt, called Tranquilty Nights, that I (along with Cheryl Szynkowski) have hanging in the Houston show as part of the  Ovarian Cancer  Online Auction display.  For the casual reader, that’s a lot different than having a quilt hanging in Houston.  Trust me on this – or else I’ll have to explain it.   I have done several swaps and quilts in support of OVCR research – it’s a cause that is very close to my heart. Every other year, the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston hosts an online quilt auction, and this is our entry…there’ll be more information about the Auction, and how you can bid on the over 150 amazing quilts – all to benefit Ovarian Cancer research – at the end of this.

*This story keeps getting updated – I had no idea before the picture of the quilt with Cheryl at right was posted to Facebook yesterday that the quilt would be taken to the show and used as part of their information booth…but I logged on and there’s Cheryl – and the quilt.  TN is a queen sized quilt I designed using an asymetrical ‘rif’ of Jaybird Quilts Boomerang pattern, and a good portion of the last Island Batik Ambassador box.

So…where is Ice Cream in all of this?  And if it’s Houston, shouldn’t there also be Tequila?  Keep reading…

My friendship with Cheryl Szynkowski of North Port, Fl began several years ago in an ice cream line for the MQX Show in New England…two random people standing maybe not so patiently for a treat at the end of a long day. I had most likely been in the vendor mall, she in classes- or so I thought.   What I came to find out in that line was that Cheryl was truly experiencing ‘a trip from hell’…her purse (and ipad) had been stolen en route from FL to NH, and she had had to deal with all the ensuing crap ( tickets,  bank…etc) upon arrival in New Hampshire.  MQX took good care of her, making sure she had had what she needed for classes, etc…but the rest of the afternoon had been spent dealing with the logistics of everything.  That ice cream line was her belated arrival into the ‘swing of things’, and after she told me her story – I could sense that she was starting to have it hit her.  I saw her square her shoulders, look straight at me, and say…I’m hear to enjoy my quilting, the rest of the crap (ok, maybe that wasn’t her exact language) can wait til I get home.

I fell in love with her spirit at that time, as did several others in the line. We kind of adopted her – making sure she fell supported, was in the swing of things so to speak.  For the rest of that weekend, we all kind of kept tabs on how she was doing…a discrete, but concerned flock of new found friends.   It could have happened to any of us, but I wondered several times whether I would have been able to pull myself up as well as Cheryl did…she just has an indominable spirit, and over the course of the next several months, we kept in touch (via Facebook and  on the phone), until we found ourselves meeting in Houston again, last year.  We were staying at the same hotel, and booked a dinner one night after the show closed.  It was good to really be able to connect with her – and to discover how talented she is. Truly, amazingly gifted. I had some skills that she needed, and we agreed to barter together for my donation to the Ovarian Cancer auction quilt.  She and I blindly put our faith in one another – neither of us discussed details, or design…

Now, I am blessed beyond belief with many good girlfriends in this business, and I’m a huge believer in the power of supporting one another.  Besides Cheryl, I have worked with several very talented local long arm quilters in my time, and I have a wonderful working relationship with one who happens to live 5 miles away from me, and has my same sense of wacky sense of humor, and we play nicely together.  Terry Burris of Terry Burris Quilting was my absolute first phone call when I got home…I wanted to give her the entire backstory of this collaboration, and I wanted her to hear it from me personally.  Terry and Cheryl are both in Houston this week, and I’ve attempted to ‘hook them up’ together.  If it works, I’ll know because I’m sure I’ll get a tingle on the back of my neck.  And I have two personal shoppers on the floor…the texts I’m getting are funny.  Le Big sigh!

In January, I took the fabric out (along with my calendar).  The completed paperwork needed to be in Houston by May 1, and that meant that I needed to get the top to Cheryl with enough time in her queue that it could be done without rushing.  I love Boomerang, but I decided that I wanted to give it an asymetrical touch and only run down one side of the quilt.  I’ve never designed something like that as carefully (we’re talking drop lengths and pillow tucks and everything, and sent it to Cheryl in February.  She had not shared with me what her ideas were going to be until she started quilting it – talk about Quilter’s Choice.  This is the first quilt that Cheryl had ever done exploring her ‘inner modern quilter’….I tease her about that all the time.  Photo courtesy of Cheryl Szynkowski.

I know it’s really really difficult to see white on white quilting on a computer screen – I found this on one of Cheryl’s posts so that you can see the level of detail on it.  It truly is (to my eye) the epitome of a custom quilter going to town, and she added some unique touches along the way.

I do need to  tell you, in all honesty, that I’ve not seen the completed quilt in person…from my unquilted top, it went to Houston after she bound it.  We both agreed that it didn’t make any sense to keep sending it back and forth through the mail. Those of you who have the chance to get up close with it, and see it – do yourselves a favor and do that.

Cheryl called me from the show floor with some information about the auction that I didn’t have, and she sounded very excited.

There are over 150 quilts (from 24 states and the UK) which have been donated to this year’s auction.  The online auction is held every 2 years, and each year, the Auction is given space to showcase information about the auction and to showcase some of the donations.  They have been very early and vocal supporters of this effort – MD Anderson is in their hometown – and it’s an incredible honor for Tranquility to have been included in their exhibit space.  ALL of the quilts – and there are over 150 of them – are available to see (and bid on) here.   The mission statement of the Auction is as follows:

The 2017 online quilt auction will benefit the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Through innovative research, this program aims to develop effective screening methods and ultimately a cure for ovarian cancer. The online auction also raises awareness

 for ovarian cancer and its symptoms.

On that phone call from Cheryl yesterday, she asked me if she can do the 2019 quilt.  Anyday you want to work with me, all day long.

Back to name badges…




Batiks Go Retro Blog Hop – Solving one of my problems!

Batiks Go Retro Blog Hop Buttin

Hi, and welcome to my stop on the Batiks Go Retro Blog Hop! I’m Linda, and I’m loving playing with the great fabrics that are part of Tammy’s new line of fabrics for Island Batik.

I’ve known Tammy for several years – we met while I was part of the Island Batik Ambassadors Group, and this project has been part of my secret sewing piles since last Fall’s Quilt Market.  The color palette is clean, fresh and fun…much like Tammy herself.

icky packing

Since we’re on the topic of secrets, may I share something?  For all the traveling that I do for business, my packing leaves a lot to be desired as far as cosmetics and whatnot goes. Although I’m home based for now, this is what my personals bag usually looks like…and my, isn’t that the stuff of TSA agents nightmares?  I have wanted to so something special for me for keeping my cosmetics separate from my toothbrushes (yes, that is mine!)  and from my contacts.  Is that too much for a quilter to ask?

Batiks Go retro fabric

Um,  no it’s not… and the Batiks Go Retro palette that I got in the mail made it all the more fun to play with…don’t you agree?  I got two versions of starburts and one of atomic tvs to work with – I love how Tammy said they reminded her of the Jetson’s cartoons – because I see Rosie in there too.

The pattern that I picked for this is something that I came across on the Baby Lock USA’s  timeline on Facebook, a project that they featured from Pam Damour, The Decorating Diva.  I loved the project…it’s very easy to understand and to make.  I think she had me at either a 6 year old could make it, or at the it takes less than 20 minutes to make it.  I shared it on my Facebook page, and it got tons of engagement there…so I knew that I had to give it a try…

Trio of cosmetic bags

The bags are ridiculously easy, and I made them in several colors…the one in the center bottom is where I changed the dimensions a bit,

My waterproof bag

added cork fabric to the outside of the bag, and then lined it with waterproof fabric…that’s for when I’m running late, and I need to grab things out of the shower quickly….probably not entirely dried off.

Here’s the link to Pam’s Video for the Eazy Zipper Purse…

In Pam’s video, she sews on a Baby Lock, and she used a foot which has a groove on the bottom of it.  I sew on a Janome 8900, and I used a zipper foot…it worked well for me. The zippers used in the project are called reversible zippers, and have a few which I’ll be linking to my webstore in a couple of days…for those of you who want to try this.

Now, here’s the part that’s funny. I was vending at a show over the weekend, and I brought the bags with me as a conversation piece.  I had a friend come by, on the way to an engagement party for her son – where it’s customary for the MOTG to bring a gift for the MOTB…and Heidi loved this bag.  So I made another one – the one in blue in the corner – and one of my pieces is headed to this woman’s home in Turkey.  So apparently, I’ve gone global…I had a good laugh over that – while i was making one more bag.  I see Christmas presents in my future!

I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts, and will take a look at the line when you see it in your quilt shops.  I always like it when I fabric makes me smile.

Here’s the link to the other participants in the blog hop…

Sept 11th: Island BatikAurifil Thread

Sept 12th:  Susan Emory Swirly Girls Designs

Sept 13th: Toni Smith Quiltoni

Sept 14th:  Terri Sontra Purple Moose Designs

Sept 15th:  Kris Poor  Poor House Quilt Design

Sept 16th:

Tammy Silvers Tamarinis ,

Sept 17th: Libby Williamson

Sept 18th:  Sandra Johnson  Sandra Johnson Designs

Sept 19th:  

Linda Pearl One Quilting Cirlce

Sept 20th:  Kate Colleran  Seams Like a Dream

Sept 21st:  Jo Hillstead Fat Quarter Gypsy

We have tons of sponsors in the blog hop, and here’s your rafflecopter link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Random thoughts – Batiks Go Retro Blog Hop

I hope this evening finds you well. It’s been a particularly crazy week this week (and it’s only Wednesday night?) I just want to put it out there that I am grateful to all who have had my back this week – I do feel frazzled (more in a bit) and supported.  It’s just one of these weeks that when I look back, I’ll say – it didn’t kill me, it made me stronger.

I’ve been reading online about the quilt police raising their ugly heads again…and it does make me question things. I want to be the kind of person who’s a supporter – not a naysayer. The things that make you go, Hmm. Right now, I’d rather be grateful to those people helping the people in Texas and Florida…and has anyone looked at Jose lately?

I’m loving all the comments that last week’s blog post on organizing your space generated, and I’ve got one more for you tonight…a bonus if you will.  Many thanks to Sam Hunter for organizing this, and letting me blog along with some real big people in the industry. Here’s a handy link to Sam’s original blog post, which has the listing of all the bloggers.  It’s something I need to go back and make sure I’ve read them all…some really good tools.

My BONUS tip…so you’re practicing your free motion quilting on your sandwich…what if you’re sandwich wasn’t a conventional square?  I’ve seen a lot of tutorials show that they you should use a 12 X 12 (or even an 18 X 18).  Here’s my tip…use a sandwich that’s 12 x 18, and when you have finished what you want to practice…make it a pet bed. There is a real need, and you’ll keep your sewing room neat as well.  Here’s a link to my friend Nan Baker’s post for The Quilt Pattern Magazine, giving you instructions, and directions as to how to help.

It’s interesting now that I’m not part of as many Blog Hops this year…somehow, the two I am part of are overlapping (again).  This time, I’m finishing a secret sewing project that dates back to last Quilt Market.  The Batiks Go Retro blog hop is hosted by my friend – and fellow designer – Tammy Silvers, of Tamarinis.  Tammy’s debuting her new line of fabrics with Island Batik, and I was invited to blog along with the gang. My post is up on the 19th, and I’m really excited about it because it solves a problem I’ve had for years…wait until you see how easy this is.  Click on this link to go to Tammy’s blog to see the Batiks Go Retro page…have fun.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, by now you must be wondering why I’m frazzled. I am vending as me for one of the first times that I’ve ever done this, and it’s scary to put all this energy into getting things together…it’s scary putting yourself out there…hmm, maybe that’s another blog post waiting to be born.  Off to sew.

Back to School Blog Hop – TOP TEN LIST of low cost tips for Organizing your sewing room

Good morning – and Happy September. I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on the Back to School Blog Hop here at www.onequiltingcircle.  I’m Linda Pearl, and I have been quilting for a long time; really, after 25 years, is it really relevent? In that time,  I’ve gone through several versions of a quilt space, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I am enjoying being part of the hop this month,and I’ve been amazed at the great tips that I’m learning.

When I began quilting, I had a bag behind my chair which held everything I needed for that first project – ok, it was a big bag, but with 2 sons, life left little time for quilting. Over the years, my physical location has been upgraded from that chair  to where I am today – in the second largest bedroom of my home. I have  central air and 3 large windows which give me bright sunny light. My space also doubles as  my home office for The Patchwork Pearl, where I do marketing and media consulting for small businesses in the space, and I also run a small pattern design business.  My room is painted a bright sunny yellow, but once you back out the storage units, the design wall and the quilts on the wall, it’s more of an accent color than anything.  A Happy accent color.

Like many quilters, most of my furniture in my space was a hodge podge of cast offs, discards, yard sales and for years, I ‘made it work’ for me.  Before I begin, I want to share that to me, low cost means money well spent – and money which is going to pay you dividends (ha!) in the future. It’s not necessarily the cheapest way out of a given dilemma.

So here, in no particular order, is my Top Ten Tips for Low Cost Studio Organizing.

organization dupe thread color

 Keep Like items together – as in Thread.  I used to have a very bad (read – expensive) habit of pulling all the component parts of a UFO together (thread, fabric, batting) and stashing that together in a plastic bag. As in your forget you have it.  During one of my purge/reorganization cycles, I pulled everything out of everywhere and consolidated. And found this – probably more of that one color of thread (I’m not really a purple girl) than I’ll ever use. That was an expensive boo boo…now I keep all the thread in a central location in my studio,and I leave notes in with PhDs.  I also have made a concentrated effort to eliminate PhDs…but do they ever go away? Note to self…investigate a destash.  If I hadn’t learned this lesson well the first time, on the last studio organization I did, I had to repeat that lesson for panels…I would have thought I didn’t own any (or maybe one or two)…when I grouped them together…well, it’s a lot more than 2.

organization fabric ruler fold

Folding your fabric consistently will give you a great way to save space as well as to be able to see what you have for fabric, allowing you to actually use what what you have more efficiently.  There are a number of options for being able to handle fabric for this, and I have found the Ruler method of folding my yardage works for me.

If you are not familiar with the Ruler method, there are several videos on you tube which you can reference…here’s one that I especially like.

organization ruler hanging


Pegboard is a key component to great vertical storage space in any craft or creative space, and here’s mine. This is the original piece of pegboard that came into my storage space all those years ago…I just keep trimming it to refit the space.  Here, it’s on the back of my cutting table/cabinet, facing into the room – and it’s perfect for keeping my specialty rulers under control.  I have a couple of favorites that I use for my primary tools, and they have their own special spots.

organization ruler instructions

Ruler Instructions can be odd sizes and shapes, and if it’s a while between uses, you might not be able to remember the ins and outs of how to make something work.  Some rulers have QR codes on them, some don’t. Today’s rulers can be expensive, and it’s important to know how to access their instructions so that you can work with them…if you can’t access that, you’ve wasted your money. So I have a thick plastic envelope in which I keep all the literature for rulers that I get. I’ve done this for years now, and I can always find what I’m looking for. That envelope lives in the top drawer of my cutting table, and it’s easy to access – or use – if I need it.

organization drawers boxes

Pens and pencils (and marking tools), and fabric pens…oh, my. Everything I need to mark fabric is kept in here. My family has a phobia about throwing out gift boxes – we reuse them from one Christmas to the next, but every once in a while, I go downstairs and liberate some of the smaller boxes…they make great drawer organizers.  Do I decorate them – no, but they do keep things from flying all over the place when I open a drawer.  These are, essentially, free (hey, more money for fabric!

organization bobbin storage ice cube tray

If you like that, you’ll love the next one…something else that makes a good drawer organizer…ice cube trays. This could be great for keeping anything small organized – beads, buttons (coming up!), small embellishments.  This is my pieceing thread drawer…In a nutshell, I take the 4 colors I use most often (black, white, light grey and tan), and prewind bobbins at the start of a project.  It’s a little thing, but it helps me stay organized (and use my thread more effectively.)  The other bobbins in there are remnants of recent projects – and need some cleaning and sorting.  For those wondering, the rest of my thread collection is in a drawer below this – in a shoebox.  It works for me, and if I need to move the shoebox to one of my natural lighting areas, it’s easy.

organization sewing machine feet

This one is my best tip for you…and I stumbled on it by accident. I sew on a Janome 8900, and I absolutely adore it. It purrs like a kitten, and I am so fortunate to have the long harp to work with.  But there was one complaint I had with the setup.  For my machine feet, I upcycled a segmented box – and labeled the feet with what they were for.  If I was working on something that called for a blind hem foot, first off I would look at the feet…and then have no idea what they were called or what they were for. I’m not a complete novice, and I could have guessed a bit. Instead, I sat with the manual, went through each foot and figured out what they are used for. Then I labeled them…The whole exercise took me about 5 minutes, and I feel much more confident with my machine.  I selected a box that has dividers all the way up…so if this gets tossed in a bag for a class or an event, everything stays sane. Talk about feeling pampered – and it’s a good exercise to go through with any machine, if your feet are a mess.  Just saying, an Aurifil box for thread works very nicely for this…I have a second box for sewing machine needles too!

organization buttons yankee candle

I don’t have an overly large collection of buttons, but like any self respecting quilter, I have my share. I store them in reused (and cleaned) Yankee Candle jars that we have burned through. Trust me, they are plentiful around here in the fall, and they have tons of uses…

organization scraps

This is a variation of grouping like things together – they are all scraps, but they are sorted by color…This was a game changer for me, because it allows me to see and sort my scraps much more effectively. Whether it’s a small project, a test run of something, or just playing, this allows me to work with the smallest scrap that I need to, and not lose my mind.  This was an Over the Door Shoe Organizer, and it was something I bought through Amazon.  I  resisted this for a while (I have no idea why), but it’s amazing useful.  I do know that you can search on Pinterest to see other ideas for using this in your home or craft room – or in a kids room!  Lots of potential here.

One thing my husband didn’t like about it was the original metal hanger – we have luan (hollow) doors, and he felt that they were digging into the top of the door.  We compromised, and it now lives on the inside of a solid closet door. Problem solved.

Lastly…. All those pretty bins, boxes, totes, bags…do yourself a favor (after you’ve used these prin

organization labels big print

ciples) and Label. Label Everything. It can be pretty – in my book, these are beautiful because they are done (and I can read them). I knew that I had some ‘widebacks’ around here somewhere – and fabric I bought so cheap that they are great for backs.  Now I know where to find them.  Life is good!


Stopping by on today’s version of the Back to School Blog Hop. I hope that you’ve found something useful here.  If you have a tip to share, please leave a comment below – thank you.


To see a list of all the bloggers who are participating in this hop, please click on the photo below. 





Thoughts on Hearts – and other things

Good morning, Blogland.  I hope that you’re enjoying the great content that has been put out there by the other sewists in the group for the Back to School Blog Hop.  I linked back to the original post by Sam Hunter for your convenience…and there’s so much that I’m learning as I read along each day.  It’s the kind of hop that begs for a cup of something (or glass, no judgment here!), a quiet corner (it’s not called the back to school blog hop for nothing!), and a chance to just breathe… and reconnect with your inner creative soul.  I’ll see you next Wednesday, the 6th for my topic – room organization on a budget.

Today, however…I have something else entirely I want to explore with you. I had a little ‘incident’ on Facebook – and that tapped into something.  I received a seemingly innocent message on FB from one of my friends, asking me to put a heart on my wall – with no explanation and nothing else – to ‘remind’ women that this is breast cancer prevention week, and….what, exactly?

Yeah, that’s a no from me.  I responded (politely, I thought) to the messenger (and dreading the next several iterations of this…because they tend to populate quickly. I then went onto my personal wall and stated my PSA…that people should just own their own health, period.  That proceeded to a number of messages (on the wall and behind the scenes), with people who were concerned about me.  Loved the love, but I wanted to take the opportunity to elaborate.

I am fine – completely healthy. In fact, maybe this was a part of this, this week I had my first colonoscopy – I had put it off  (who wants to do that?), and found that it’s not the worst thing in the world. It’s not something that I was looking forward to – but I did it and I survived it.  And I’ve been reading and watching  the stories of both Jake Finch and Debby Brown this past year – and maybe, just maybe…this is my line in the sand.

Please don’t misunderstand…I wholeheartedly support cancer screenings – but why only one week a year? And I always think of the logistics – if everyone scheduled their tests in the same week…that will create an artificial logjam in the system – which may result in someone skipping her tests, or having to wait a lot longer than she should. And why only breast cancer this week – shouldn’t we also be screening for just general good health all the time?  If you only are concerned about breast cancer, you could be ignoring other areas of your health that you shouldn’t.

Then there’s the whole secret code thingy…really? Why are we hiding it in secret? Why can’t we tell people what we’re doing, and why? Are we ashamed (I’m starting to feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw here)? Why the secrecy…won’t we reach more people with a message if we just state it matter-of-factly?

So, I’m climbing off my soapbox here…and realizing that I just uncovered some Linda work that I need to do; I’m not ready to talk about that now – but stay tuned.

Have a great day…love you, ladies!

The Back to School Blog Hop

Good morning, blogland!


A group of online quilters got together recently, and launched the Back to School blog hop. It’s a collaborative effort – as all hops are – and I am so happy that they have invited me to participate.  Back to school means taking a fresh start, a fresh look at how we quilt, why we do the things we do, and understanding the basics a bit better. No matter how long you’ve been quilting, you can always learn new things.

We started off with Sam Hunter on Day 1, talking about the logistics of working with spray basting a full size quilt!

Day two was Mandy Liens (a new favorite of mine) with how to remove a dark thread from something light once you’ve begun to quilt it. I hate that when that happens to me, and Mandy has a great tip (And tool) for that.

I’ve recently begun to take another look at batting choices (my not so great ones), and Nancy Stovall has lots of things to review and consider when you’re selecting yours.

Sam has a list of all the hoppers, and this is the kind of appointment blogging you’re going to want to digest – there is tons of good content here, whether you’re a new quilter, a garment sewer…or just someone who needs to go back to basics occasionally.

My day on the hop is Sept 6 (but you’ll see me before then, I promise!


On finding my inspiration again…

If you’ve visited my business page on Facebook this spring,  you’ve noticed a series of postings relative to Creative Inspiration being everywhere…you just have to look for it.  And that’s by and large true, but this spring I’ve been fighting a creative demon that’s shown up consistently.

I know my technical piecing skills improved dramatically over the course of my time as an Island Batik Ambassador, but truthfully, I was never happy with where my free motion skills were. I defaulted a lot to straight line or walking foot quilting, which did get the job done…but always left me feeling unsatisfied.  I am very fortunate to have a lot of friends in the business who quilt beautifully, and I have several choices – but I wanted to expand my base. I even have  all the tools in the toolbox needed. I once had the privilege to sitting in a Harriet Hargrave lecture, where she reminded us that there is no shortcut to becoming a good quilter (or painter, or piano player, or chef….do you see where I am going).  You need to be willing to put the work in.

It’s no coincidence that when I looked at my treasure trove of UFOs to work on this year, they all had one thing in common -they tended to get stuck at the place where I’d begin to quilt them.  Seriously, of the 12 projects I listed, I was stuck there on at least 8 of them.

This weekend, I heard it put another way…and this time it sunk into my head.  You have to be willing to stink at this for a while.  I knew, when I heard that, that I was in the right place…because I certainly stink at this. (Gee, I said it and the world didn’t stop spinning…).  But may be after this weekend, I stink a tiny bit less.

This past weekend, I indulged myself with a weekend at a quilt show as a ‘civilian’; the Maine Quilts Show in Augusta was celebrating their Ruby Jubilee, and this was the one show this year that I will be able to go to and experience on my own.  I can tell you that it’s been far, far to long since I’ve done something like this.  I had put the show on my calendar back in January, and waited until they put their teaching faculty out before selecting classes.  I was thrilled to find out that they were adding Jamie Wallen to their staff this year.

I first found Jamie’s techniques in his prolific video list on You Tube; even though I am not a longarmer (nor do I ever aspire to be), I found his easy listening techniques to be very easy to follow and adapt. Over the years, I had adapted many bad habits as a quilter; I was terrified of marking quilts because I didn’t want to

Jamie Wallen Maine Quilts 2017

be left with something that would never come out.  But I watches, and I learned…the prequel to his classes in Maine.  I probably won’t ever be his most successful student, but his classes definitely made an impact on me, and I can already see the difference in my approach to projects.  Things that used to terrify me no longer do, and I can see that there are ways to modify things to my own skill level.

We were given a great opportunity in the classes in Maine to work with new Longarm machines from Innova (you might as well start with the best), but the biggest thing you needed in his class was a willingness to work and a lot of paper.  My arm was tired from drawing by noontime of day 1 (and I had signed up for 2 days of classes); I needed to run for more paper at lunch that day.

Sketchbook – day I Miles to go…

Jamie’s theory was that you need 15 minutes of drawing to equal 1 – 2 hours on the machine, because of the variables involved (tension, thread, different mobility).  I can see that – and I now have a roadmap to use as I continue on my journey to becoming a better – and more confident quilter.  All it’s going to take is practice… and a lot of it.

Off to doodle, because I will get this.  I dare myself to do it.   What do you need to dare yourself to do?

Oh, and a suggestion – put yourself onto the calendar every so often – it was a fabulous weekend, full of fun, fabric, friends…and adventure.  It was good for my creative side…



My second biggest addiction is…

I know you might be tempted to go for ‘chocolate’ (and before this exercise, I might too!), but my recent adventures in spring cleaning yielded some surprising results.

This is the second part of a series on spring cleaning, the 2017 edition.  TO see the first entry in the series (and to look at the giveaway opportunity that I included in that entry, please click here.)

This organization happened in layers – or truthfully, it’s still happening in layers. I feel some days as if I’ve reached Dante’s 8th ring…but I am getting closer to complete tidiness. I’ve seen enough partial videos of people embracing the concept of decluttering and cleanliness to know that the word ‘joy’ shows up here someplace.

It’s important to remember here that this serves as both my creative space (with all the sewing supplies that go with that), but also as my business office – and that comes with it a treasure trove of office supplies. As I shifted around the various carts and bins in the space, I realized that the office supplies needed a home too.

Seriously, this ‘collection’ came out of three different locations in the ‘office’ – and is funny in that I never have enough pens in the kitchen.

This next picture is my collection of note pads that I’ve accumulated from events, trips, office supplies store. Now you can see why I’ve often said that I shouldn’t be allowed to buy sticky notes – even the color coded ones. 

I decided the best way to get a handle on this was to pull everything out of bags, bins, drawers into one space so that I could see how much of what I had. Once I did that, I could then decide how best to organize what was left. Everything that I will now use on a daily basis  is now on one shelf (there are two boxes), but still – this looks a lot better than what it did.  I have one large sterilite cart under the Ikea desk – that’s the over flow.

At least it looks pretty when I look at it!

Next week – the total reveal (I’ve got the desk under control), and then my top 10 tips for keeping your sewing room under control.   Enjoy!

Spring Cleaning time…and a Giveaway!

To me, there’s nothing like spring to get my cleaning and organizing mojo going, and the sewing room seems to be the Ground Zero for it (yet again) this year.  I’m not sure why it’s this room in the house – more than any other, by far, which needs a good clean and purge every so often…but (like clockwork) here I am again.  It wasn’t simply a case of reshuffling/stuffing things into the same old place, it was time for a complete rethink. This adventure is so big that it’s going to take several posts to cover it…

I started this process with a lot of frustration, a simple sheet of graph paper,  a tape measure, and a list of what was bugging me.  My room is the second bedroom in the house, and it’s a good sized space – with two uninterupted lengths of space in it. It’s also been filled with an ‘eclectic’ mixture of upcycled and repurposed furniture over the years – shopping the basement is my favorite sort of upcycling.

The furniture layout was a major problem – the widest portion of my L shaped desk was directly opposite the widest portion of my sewing desk – and there was an issue whenever I wanted to move to the design wall on the short end.  There are two significant lengths of linear space in the room, one on the end (design wall), and one on the left hand wall, which was a lot longer.  The design wall stayed put, and decisions began to fall into place.

The upcycled, recycled approach way I had furnished the room  meant that I had a lot of unused vertical space above short, stocky pieces that I needed to reclaim.

This was the before shot of part of my yardage stash.  Problem # 1 – it was one of three units in the room; Problem #2 …it was short. Problem #3 was that it was packed so tightly that I couldn’t access any of it.  The problem that it wasn’t was too much fabric…are you nuts?

This is another older shot that I found, with the bookcase in the corner…again, please notice how short it is. There’s a lot of vertical space being left unused in this area…hard to access, but it’s there.

The cutting table next to the bookcase is one of only 2 pieces of furniture that will stay in the room. I worked on the layout, and then I started looking online.  I found that Instagram (using the #sewingroommakeover) offered up the best sources of inspiration, and I began to explore options which might work using Craigslist.

The cliff notes of that was that I was very quickly able to locate some Ikea secondhand pieces  a short drive away from where I live,  one sandwiched in each of our cars. I did have to walk Mike through the measurements to assure him (and me) that the pieces would fit.  First though, there was the clearing out of the room –  Saying good bye to a dresser,  2 bookcases, and the blue shelving unit that once housed the kids legos and race cars…it’s now on its’ way to the next home at Andy’s house, waiting for his kids and toys. I do love that.

And the moving of the contents – this was just a portion of what had to be moved out so we could bring in the new stuff. It’s good to note that I’ve been doing this a long time. This pile doesn’t even begin to address the yardage stash – or the UFOs. There was too much for one photo.

But then…this happened (and it all made sense!)…

Storagegasm – see how tall it is!

In the process of beginning to load in the fabrics, I found (yeah, problem #5 with the layout) items which I had brought back from QuiltMarket in the fall. They are a product I found in the Paper Pieces booth, and they are the boards that you can use to wrap fabric.  I brought back 2 packs of the yardage sized bolts, which I used to wrap the biggest pieces of batiks in my stash. They do work, and my bolts are seen in the top left hand corner of the photo below. They are space saving…

Here’s a chance for you to win the third pack of the Polar Notions boards to try out in your stash – these are Fat Quarter sized (see below). Just leave a comment below about your favorite organizing technique for your sewing space…and I’ll announce the winner when I p



Just leave a comment below about your favorite organizing technique for your sewing space…and I’ll announce the winner when I post up the second part of the series – the unknown issue that I had that I found out during this process.   I have a second obsession that I didn’t even know I had.

I also know that there’s a blog hop on this subject that started this week – organized by Cheryl Sleboda of for information about the Spring Clean your Studio Blog Hop for more tips on this subject.

Til next week…