Category Archives: My Thoughts

Temptation Procrastination


There’s something that seems to be common among most creative people/makers that I know. None of us can resist the siren’s call of new fabric and new quilt patterns and quilt-alongs. It causes us to throw aside everything we had planned on making to start something wonderfully new. I call that temptation procrastination.

Temptation procrastination is the reason I have 15 completed quilt tops, 2 quilted quilts awaiting binding, and 3 basted and partly quilted quilts languishing in baskets in my sewing room. Let’s not even get into my WIPs that are just cut fabric and various quilt blocks. I can’t count that high.

Is there are cure for this ailment? I think throwing some money at my problem and sending a few quilt tops off to longarmers is a good start.  Then I’ll need a few good shows on the DVR to hack away at that binding and some audio books to keep me company during basting and quilting the rest of that sad, neglected pile. I may not leave my house for the remainder of the year…

Tell me, are you a one-at-time kind of quilter? What are your secrets? I must know.

Snow Day, Sew Day

VMQ-snow-day-01Today is a snow day. 27 degrees with light fluffy flakes falling until late afternoon. Of course, we have no milk…but there’s chocolate, coffee, and wine – something for everyone.  When I woke up this morning, I told my son that we’d do something fun, maybe play at the park because I thought the weather was going to be warm,  Then I looked outside…VMQ-snow-day-03Plans were revised and my little homebody said he didn’t want to go in the car anyway. My current plan is to spend as much time as possible in my sewing room. Snow day = sew day!

VMQ-snow-day-02In a perfect moment of serendipity, my “new” vintage pattern arrived this morning and the countdown to Easter has begun. I’ll start with the less ambitious bonnet and move onto a dress if there’s still time. VMQ-snow-day-04Our lives have been a bit chaotic lately. We have some big changes coming up and I’m just wading through it all one day at a time. Good changes, though We have lots of exciting things to look forward to, but many steps to take to get there first.VMQ-snow-day-05

Our baby girl just turned 5 months. She’s sitting up and chattering and laughing. She adores her big brother.  Her face lights up when she sees him and her baby blue eyes follow him everywhere. Their little games and giggles together are the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. VMQ-snow-day-06I am working on a new tutorial for the Moda Bake Shop, too. I’ll share here once it’s published. It is Valentine-related but better late than never is my motto.

Happy snow day/sew day to all of you!

Hello, 2015

2015-01-02_1420164401 There’s just something about this time of year that is so hopeful. Maybe it’s the blank pages in my planner (and all of the temptingly beautiful planners in stores!). Maybe it’s the contrast with the excesses of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas. (So many cookies! So much candy!) Whatever it is, I love this time of year. I love the feeling that we can start over with a clean slate. It even feels good to jump back into blogging and I hope to be around this space a lot more in 2015 than I was last year.

I’m starting out the year with some personal resolutions and some that may strike a chord with you.

2015-01-02_14201757931.  Spend 5 minutes cleaning up my workspace before bed. Every single day. I tend to create a huge explosion of fabric and notebooks and templates and notions when I sew.  My hope is to at least tidy away the surface of my cutting table and sewing table each night so things don’t pile up. Then instead of avoiding the room because of the mess, I’ll feel invited to come in and sew.

2015-01-01_14201490482. Don’t take shortcuts. I used to take a lot of sewing/quilting shortcuts, mostly out of ignorance of the proper way to do things. Many of those shortcuts have been cut out of my repertoire, but some remain. Not taking the time to pin is the main thing I’d like to stop doing this year. #justpinit

2015-01-02_1420242610One of my shortcuts that has come back to haunt me while working on some old WIPs is failure to cut sashing/block borders. I used to take one WOF strip and just sort of space out my blocks on it and trim it up at the end. (This method looks like a block bunting where the string is a WOF strip).  Doing this adds bulk to your blocks and creates waves and wonkiness. The results are so much better if you cut the strips to the necessary length and PIN.

3. Share the Love. There are often times when I see or read things online that I don’t like. But there are also times when I see things I really like and this year, I’m going to tell people! There is so much negativity online. It’s always been there, but I suppose since I now seem to straddle both sides of this industry (consumer and producer), I really notice it more. I see it in book reviews, on Instagram feeds, on Facebook walls, and all over blog comments. There are some real butt heads out there. It particularly irks me when people are giving things away for free and others leave rude comments. If someone used their time and talent to produce something (pattern, tutorial, lesson, photos, giveaway),  it is really beyond the pale to complain about said free thing. It’s not your taste? You find it too simple? Don’t partake! There are so many makers out there so instead of leaving that rude comment, just move on and find someone you like better to follow. I love this old-ish Bonnie Hunter post about all the whiners who complain about her free mystery quilt sew-alongs. Seriously, don’t be that person; be the nice person. I’m going to be.

2015-01-03_14203114224.  List everything. I used to have an amazing memory. I honestly thought people were full of bull when they said having kids or being pregnant gave them “baby brain.” I also thought it was pretty insulting to women (how are pregnant CEOs going to overcome said baby brain and do their jobs?!) I don’t like to blame it on the kids per se, but being a mom, working from home, running a small business, and maintaining a household requires a lot of hats. I have a hard time focusing and it’s often hard to decide which task to do. Lots of juggling and frankly, just getting it done rather than doing it well occurred in 2014. List making is my go-to for managing all of the disparate tasks that can easily overwhelm (and paralyze!) me. Every night after dinner, I list 5 tasks I need to accomplish the following day. These are specific tasks (answer emails, cut out blocks, write fabric requirements in XYZ pattern, grocery shopping) and often these tasks make up a bigger goal I have for the week.  It helps me to stay on track when I only have 15-45 minutes to spend on a task at one time.

5. Timers are my BFF. Timers tell our 3-year-old when it’s bedtime, naptime, etc. and it minimizes back talk. Timers also help me with my most-hated household tasks (pretty much all cleaning). If I spend 30-45 minutes per day cleaning, that’s enough to keep the house looking nice. I usually break that down into smaller segments: 15 minutes is enough time to clean a small bathroom and 30 minutes is enough time to Swiffer and dust our bedroom and make the bed – even put away some laundry. The house will never meet my Aunt Irma’s cleanliness standards, but it’s not disgusting and sometimes that is enough.

Happy New Year to you all!

Our New Normal

10735601_198767150309570_1461045788_nSweet Diana is 7 weeks old now and we are all slowly settling in to a new routine. I’m even finding time to sew in between catching up with work and keeping up with the never-ending housework. (seriously, will it ever end?)

10787865_874339549251585_1988092098_nI find that I can fit a lot of TO DOs into my day but completing tasks is not so simple. Starting projects is easy and tempting…

10731619_322124651302963_312864909_nSome days all I want to do is sew and sew but in the absence of that, I give myself the gift of at least 15 minutes a day with my sewing machine.

10755786_1559162237653809_473843075_nSome days that means I only have time to clean out the lint and oil it,,,

10748072_454857501323519_276497927_nBut I have finished a few small projects ({Take Flight Art Smock} and {Sweet + Spooky Halloween Mini Quilt}) and made progress on several that have been sitting untouched since my last quilt retreat (in June or July?).

10724943_711571812258519_1448043671_nI do get to stare at this beautiful face every day, which makes up for all the sewing I’m missing.

DSC_8882-4-webIt’s a pretty fair trade.

New Patterns

I’ve taken a long break from pattern writing. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s more accurate to say that I’ve taken a long break from pattern finishing.  But now that I’ve reached the countdown phase of this pregnancy, I’m feeling anxious to get some sewing and such done! There are fewer than 8 weeks before we meet this little girl.

Of course, one of the patterns I’m working on is baby-related.  I’ll post again once I’ve got it finished and linked up on the shop. The others I’ve got in the works are quilts and a patchwork nap mat. I hope to get three released before baby with several more to come around Quilt Market. But whether I get them done or not, it’s fun to be sewing and writing again! I’ve missed it.

Get Out of My Quilt

Many times, I’ve had the thought of starting a series called “Quilting Confessions” where we can all share our little secrets – slicing off our fingertips with rotary cutters, swallowing pins, and sewing through our fingers. I’ve done many ill-conceived and just downright stupid things in the pursuit of quiltiness but one of my ongoing issues has to do with something that I actually used to be good at….math.


I did well in math at school. In college, I took three semesters of engineering calculus, differential equations, and linear algebra. But when I’m designing a quilt, the math can still get the better of me.


I’m fine with the 1/4″. It’s a fraction I can really get behind. Who doesn’t love quarters of all kinds?  Fat ones, scant ones, and silver round ones that allow you to briefly purchase complete happiness for a toddler. To my two-year old son, quarters are magical. He very quickly learned that “money coins” buy things from vending machines and make little horses in the grocery store giddyup. Just after Thanksgiving, I let him, for the first time, buy some candy (in the shape of dog bones) from a vending machine and put it into his favorite skeleton covered bucket leftover from Halloween. Yesterday I asked him what he wanted to do for the day. I’m thinking park, library, bounce house, yogurt place, play date with the neighbor. His response? “Go to store and buy dog bone candy. Put in skeleton bucket.” See what I mean? Quarters bring happiness.


My problem is the 1/8 and the truly hated 1/16,  When I’m designing a quilt and I have to go to these detestable fractions, I can’t even tell you how many times I have to punch in the keys 7 divided by 8. 3 divided by 8. 5 divided by 8. Because I can’t remember what they are in decimals! And even when I am pretty sure I remember, I still do it just to be safe.


And it goes beyond the designing aspect. I don’t like cutting to the 1/8 of an inch. When I’m using a pattern that calls for let’s say, 3 7/8″ squares, my brain just goes “uggggghhhhhh. 7/8?! Get out of my quilt!” A big part of my disgust is that most of my rulers have terrible marking for the 1/8″ segments. Oh, those tiny specks mark the 1/8″? Or it’s a fat yellow line that doesn’t allow me to even see the edge of the fabric.


How do you feel about quilt math and fractions?

Don’t Let This Happen to You

Oh my gosh, you guys. I follow a local thrift/vintage shop on Facebook and yesterday they posted some photos of someone’s fabric stash that is now sitting in their shop.

This is what they said about the fabric stash:

We have a MASSIVE lot of fabric for sale! It’s 68 boxes & tubs full! It’s about 1,280lbs!! (I actually weighed them!)   It ranges from vintage to modern, and there’s every type of material imaginable! We’d really like to sell this as one big lot, so we can move it on outta here! We’re asking $1,200 for the whole thing. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! It’s insane.

And it is. Insane. The idea of all of the once-loved fabric in sad busted boxes just seems so depressing to me. I don’t ever want to amass so much fabric (or anything!) that it ends up like that.

Destash. Destash, Destash.


My Stars Blog: Photos, Minis, and Resolutions

If you’re new to this blog, you may not know that I also blog for My Stars – the modern imprint from Kansas City Star publishers. I write about quilty stuff, but it’s usually a little different than what I share here. So here’s what I’ve been up to over there:

Sharing some quilt photography basics and mistakes I’ve made. Screenshot-2014-01-15-11

Talking about my current obsession with mini quilts.

Screenshot-2014-01-15-11.33Making resolutions and goals for 2014.

Screenshot-2014-01-13-01.18Stop by and say hi!

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Color Palette: Modern Prep

Sometimes I pull fabrics together based on a graphic I love or even a piece of clothing, but these fabrics practically threw themselves into the basket at my local quilt shop.

The Botanics + Honeysweet prints are really, really, REALLY  pretty together,  I added in some Shelburne Falls, Acacia, Hand Drawn Garden, and few repros to round things out.

Color Palette: Modern Prep

I’m not sure if this stack of fabrics will ever become a quilt, but I do so love the combination. It is preppy and classic with the jade, navy, and mustard, and the minty and peachy shades add some fresh zing to a palette that might otherwise be quite simple.

What colors do you think of as “modern prep”?


Table Top Sewing

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably very much like me in that you’re obsessed with quilting (and fabric). We all want to sew as much as possible and actually finish projects. I have some big things going on in 2014 that will limit my personal sewing time to a degree, but I still want to make time for some just-for-fun projects.

My solution? Table Top Sewing. I changed things around a bit in my sewing space (tour to come soon) so I now have a lot more surface space. That means more room for stacks of fabric and papers and notions and other random junk, right? NO! I’ve set up five baskets on my table tops with sewing projects mostly ready to sew.

Table Top Sewing

Top Center: Mini quilts. Currently working on Camille Roskelley’s Mini Puddle Jumping quilt

Bottom Left:  Scrappy 4-patches. All scraps!

Bottom Right: Economy/Square in Square Blocks with my Munki Munki stash

Table Top Sewing

Left: APQ Quilt-along Tone It Down quilt (still need to finish cutting this one out)

Right: Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks. Lots of them.

How is this different from what I used to do? Most of my WIPs are in bins in a closet and out of sight is out of mind. I pulled several projects that lend themselves to being sewn in short stints (i.e. nothing with complicated instructions or fabric placement that needs a design wall, etc.). My thinking is that I can sew one or two blocks from a basket each time I go in my space (whether its to work or to sew) and I”ll slowly whittle down each project.

Since there are likely going to be large gaps of time in between when I work on these projects, I’ve made a check list to help me keep track of where I am. This is a good habit to start for any sewing project you’re working! I usually make a post-it or keep track on the pattern page – never quite as formal as the this:


I am a super nerd for organization though….

RESOURCES: Mint berry basket {World Market}, Bird tray {IKEA}, Teal baskets {Target}, white bins {IKEA}