My last UFOs for the Year – Done!

4 – what to start

A couple of weeks ago, I created a post about 5 changes I’m making to Christmas this year – and I’ve loved hearing from many of you about changes you’re making.  I confess to you all that although I had been working on being realistic, there were two projects which I knew I needed to get done before Christmas Eve.

Stockings – one for my grandson and my granddaughter.

In our family, the get together is held on Christmas Eve, and we do food, fun, presents and stockings.  With 5 granddogs between my sons, a puppy or two has been known to be added to the mix in year’s past; I wouldn’t have Christmas any other way.  Last year, Hadleigh was 10 months old – and she got a basket instead of a stocking because, well…Nana lost control of the sewing room. I don’t think I scarred her, but I’m also sure I needed to put one together for her – and if I’m going to make her one, why not her brother (cuts down on next year’s UFO list, right?)

Stockings are a big deal in our family. I had a big one from my crafty nana as a little girl – when my husband and I married, I found he didn’t have a special one (they used adult socks in their house), so I made him one, then my older son, then my younger son.  This was the 80s, and rather than quilted stockings, we all have felt and sequined Bucilla (remember them?) stockings, which are on the smaller size. It worked.

When my daughters in law joined us, each got a stocking made for them. I have a book by Eleanor Burns full of Christmas patterns, and in there is a stocking pattern that I have used several times.  Including this week.

Hadleigh’s stocking

I confess, I had no grand plan for either of the stockings…I keep a bin of fabric that’s Christmas themed in my closet, and that’s where the inspiration for Hadleigh’s stocking came came from – that and some amazing Christmasy leftovers from my Island Batik days.  This was all ‘winging it’, with some help from my Cricut (the tree and her name), and my sewing machine.   I have a button jar, and that’s where the tree garland comes from. It works for a toddler…and I’m hoping it will work for an older girl too.  After I put it together, I realized that it looks like the Spode Christmas china..

Colby finished

One down, one to go…and back to the bin. The Pearl men love their plaid (it’s a year round obsession), and this fabric just seemed to work for him.  I think it’s something i had used for table coverings back in the day, so this is a green project. I used the cricut cutter (and there’ll be more coming on that in the future) again for both his name and the gingerbread men themselves.  I embellished with more buttons and some fabric paint (I can see a couple of places where I went heavy on the ‘icing’), but oh well.  I hope he likes his stocking…he’s 6 months, how will I tell?

My 2017 to do list

So with that, I have finished my last ‘to do’ for this month, and most likely the last of my APQresolution projects for the year – I really don’t see another finish.  Here’s the page from my quilter’s planner mini which I keep handy on my sewing table. I don’t expect you to be able to read my handwriting, but the top list are the items 1-12 that I selected to finish for the year.  I finished 5 (a 6th one not on the list), and I worked on a 7th one.  There were more projects that have been added (although I don’t think that there are as many of them as I took off the list…net net, I’m probably down 3 of the items…that sounds like a great exercise to work on in the last week of the year.

I will definitely work with this list again, but for now,  I’m heading back to Ringo Lake.


Postcard from Ringo Lake –

Today’s post is an update on a new project I’m working on – the zen of last week’s post can’t really stay zen for long.  I had posted an interesting tidbit on my facebook page about being vaguely intrigued about the newest Quiltville mystery quilt, On Ringo Lake…had many of my readers thought about it, were a lot of you going to do this?  I heard back in very short order that many of them had not ever done a “Bonnie Hunter” mystery before, but they were hooked on this one.  I pondered.

Then my newsfeed began to fill with many many photos of paint chips and beautifully folded samples of fabrics – beautifully laid out, just waiting for the beginning of the mystery – scheduled for Black Friday.  I was in – without really any context of what I was getting myself into…does that sound familiar to anyone?  But I wanted to play.

On Ringo Lake Fabric pull

One of my first decisions was that this quilt would be a scrap quilt…I’m using my stash as is, and my color choices are a little more sharply defined than the prototype colors are.   My fabric supply for this can only be described as a ‘Hot Mess’, but the good news is that in this process, I went through my stash of UFOs, and determined that there was enough to work through a major portion of this. I have a lot less of the coral/salmon family to use than I would have liked, but I’m working on a switch to the orange/tangerine part of the color wheel. and I’m making that work for me.


As a newbie, I had no idea of the pace of this project, and I thought that the quantity required for the first clue was daunting.

Clue #1 finishe

..It was running through my head as I wrote last week’s zen post.  Imaging my surprise when clue #2 was released, and there were four times the number of units from clue 1.  I saw a joke about this on Instagram, saying they were waiting for 20,000 HSTs…it makes me wonder.  This may be part of my 2019 UFO project list. 

I can say that this is a great project to work on if you’re trying to improve your accuracy.  Like many quilters, I have struggled from time to time with Flying Geese; I can say that the practice/repetition of this project has already improved…now if we can just work on the speed, I’ll be good.

The other part I’m loving is the comraderie of people working on it.  The variations of colors seem endless, and I saw a post (again on Instagram) of a quilter who was flying (according to the tray table) and passing the time by trimming his geese on the flight (with a notably small set of scissors).

For now, I’m enjoying the journey…I’m sure that I won’t set any land speed records for this project…but that’s ok. Every once in a while, you do need to slow the pace down and enjoy the journey. See, I’m back to zen.

You can find out more about this by visiting the page at the top of the post.  Or look for the hashtags #onringolake.

Enjoy the week…I’ll be talking to you next week!

Clue #2…scrappy organized



5 Changes I’m making to Christmas this year…and why

It’s November 30, and like many of you, I’ve started looking ahead to Christmas.  There have been years I’ve dreaded it, postponed it, procrastinated it – and really didn’t find myself enjoying the holiday season.  Once upon a time, I worked for a company which ended it’s year on 12/31…so you can imagine how joyful those holiday seasons were for me. Not much.  I’m at a season of my life where I can take some stock, realize that I am part of the problem, and make some course corrections.  I’ll report back in January to see how this goes.

This isn’t a typical 5 tips post, where I share with you my  best advice on the holidays…it’s more of I’m switching things up and I’ll let you know how it works after posts.  But I have talked to a lot of girlfriends, and these are things that bother many of us. So…

thing 1

Thing 1 – this year, the decorations are up. Part of that is that the calendar gives us more time post Thanksgiving, but it’s also a concerted effort to do a bit everyday until the boxes are out of my dining room.  We have lived here a long time, and we’ve collected a ton of Christmas things…might as well get them out and up to enjoy them.  This year, with a granddaughter in the picture (and a creeping grandson), we’ve had to move some things up and out of the way. My Santa collection now goes part way up my stairs…and they look great there.

Thing 2

Gift wrapping is not something that I particularly enjoy, and it IS something that I typically procrastinate until cars are in the driveway.  My sons tend to be this way, and I hate to admit it, but I know which parent they get this from.  The good news is that as they are now older…gift cards tend to be so much easier to wrap than packages.

And whoever invented gift bags is a saint in my opinion.

Thing 3

I have a lot of gaps in my Christmas movie knowledge, and this is the year I make time to enjoy this part of Christmas…I keep hearing about these movie marathons, and I have made time to enjoy It’s a Wonderful Life before.  Truthfully, we’re more a Christmas vacation kind of family, but I’m always looking for recommendations for good Christmas movies.  I’d love it if you leave me a comment below about that.  And what’s the controversy about Die Hard?


Thing 4 and 4A

Oh, how many times have I fallen into THIS trap over the years…I have a closet full of T shirts on this one. Between the fabrics in the shops, the magazines at the store, and even the blogs and posts on Facebook, this bites me every darn year. I’m the mom who was stitching my oldest son’s Christmas stocking as we were on the way to Christmas eve celebrations…and this beast still comes out every year.  I have two  very doable projects to finish (and their scheduled in my calendar next week)…stay tuned for that.

Thing 5

I’ve seen this phrased many ways…smell the roses, live in the moment, pick a sentiment. It’s so very true.  I hate to say it, but Martha isn’t stopping by to inspect my house – or yours. So enjoy the chaos, the music, the mayhem. This year’s Christmas is going to be a memory soon enough.

Oh, and if this was a 6 tips post…I’d say buy the wine now.  It makes great hostess gifts.


Inspiration Part 2 – Using Picmonkey for the Ribbon.

In last week’s blogpost, I showed you how I made the Viewers Choice ribbon for the Connections Quilt Festival (inspired by two ladies named Nancy); I also promised to walk you through how I made the tag for the ribbon.  It’s actually a photo of a picture I took, tinted and with text added using a free program named Picmonkey. Picmonkey is a photo editor which I use for all kinds of projects – everything from watermarking photos of your quilts to editing backgrounds for my own business cards and promotional materials.  Picmonkey has both premium options and a free version; everything I’m going to show you  can be done using the free portion. And I work on a windows based laptop…just in case you are wondering.

The picture above is a good one of the finished ribbon, but it’s a little hard to see what I did for the tag.  Let’s get started…there are pies to bake and grandchildren to snuggle today!

  • Select a photo you want to use as the background for this project, and save it to your desktop. In this case, I had a photo of some FMQ swirls that I had taken of one of my quilts – it should go without saying that you should only use your own work on this!
  • Open picmonkey, and select the option to Design a Canvas.  The controls for picmonkey are on a drop down bar on the left…you want to select the butterfly, which allows you to add an overlay to the canvas. Click on add your own, and select the photo you you saved to your desktop in step one.  That lays your photo on the canvas, and allows you to add color to it using the color picker – you can either specify the color number or you can use the drag and drop method.
  •  At this point, the next step is to flatten the overlay to the canvas; that will ensure that the color is attached to the photo.  To flatten it, click on the layers box on the left side of the canvas, where the down arrow appears over a layer of papers. That’s how you flatten something – which is different than saving.




  • The next step is to go back to the main menu on the left side – where it says overlays in the picture above. Select the top menu on the left (it has three horizontal lines on it). Select the crop option, and that will place a cropping button over the canvas.  This might turn out to be specific to this project, but I knew I wanted to have the tag be something long and skinny…if you were going to add text to a photo, you could skip this step.  Crop the canvas to the approximate size you want it, and then hit save on the top menu.  Saving at this point gives you something you can always reload later as a blank canvas.
  • After you have cropped and saved it, you’re ready to add text.  Cropping your piece allows you to more easily judge the font size and appearance – and Picmonkey gives you many to choose from.  On many of the drop down options for Picmonkey, you’ll see a crown next to the option – that means that an option is available as part of their premium package (Royale). For this project, it wasn’t needed.  The ribbon tag has 3 separate text boxes, all the same font, but slightly different font sizes for each – Connections Quilt Festival, Viewers Choice and 2017.  By using 3 different text boxes, you can place each one onto the piece independently, and then edit center each (or adjust the font for each).


  • Save your work, then export it back to your desktop so that you can print it.  I printed it onto a 4 x 6 photo paper, but because it has been cropped, there was a lot of white space around it.  Not to worry – I did that on purpose!  I trimmed the white borders around all it evenly with a pinking blade, and punched a hole in the top of the tag.  To finish, I took a 12″ piece of embroidery floss in a color that blended in, looped it through the hole, and tucked the end up under the blade of the fan, securing it with Elmers.  Let it dry, and you’re all set.

Enjoy –



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!