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Archive | January, 2011

fear and creativity

I feel like I’ve been developing certain fears about my creativity.  It’s been holding me back, now and then I’ve found myself at my desk wanting to start a project and not being able to because I’m scared I might screw it up and waste a bunch of time in the process. 

I have other fears too:
  • fear that I won’t be able to keep up, with my family, my job, my blog, with the 8 gazillion other awesome bloggers out there
  • fear that I’m not using my time wisely, like I should be doing ‘this’ instead, etc.
  • fear of creating something someone else has already done and I’ll be accused of copying
  • fear of failing
  • fear that people won’t like what I made
  • fear that I’ll use my favorite fabric and not like how a project turns out, this one’s kind of sad, but true
I think papernstitch had a great video post on her greatest fear, check it out here.
Here’s a great article on etsy about fearless creativity.  Hopefully I can spend some time and figure out how to move past my own unjustified fears.
And lastly, something a little off topic, but there’s a great discussion going on over at CraftyPod, some thought provoking articles:
I originally popped over to that discussion from The Long Thread‘s post here.  It really makes you think…
Do you have fears that hold you back?
Comments: 83

blogger’s pillow party January winner

Hi everyone, hope you’ve had a great weekend! I was bestowed the great pleasure of choosing a winner for this month’s Blogger’s Pillow Party going on over at Stitched in Color?  Remember this post

Well, Rachel was kind enough to narrow it down to 9 entries for me, but still, it was incredibly difficult to chose just one pillow. 

Starting at the top left:

1. mod mosaic pillow in Good Folks by Don’t Call Me Betsy.
2. purple dresden plate pillow for Grandma by Blue Elephant Stitches
3. trellis-inspired pillow in Central Park by The Rebel Homemaker
4. the “love machine” pillow by Maureen Cracknell Handmade
5. pluses pillow in Innocent Crush by i like orange, too!
6. fresh, fussy-cut pillow by i have to say…
7. picket fence-inspired pillow by Made on Maple
8. Sherbet Pip log cabin pillow by Belle + Bee
9. (crocheted!) owl pillow for Valentine’s by Meghan

There are great design stories and even a tutorial in there, but one really stuck out to me.  Not only was it artfully created, but done with detail and love.  I think anything created with that much love for someone, there’s no way it wouldn’t shine through!

Congrats Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches you are the Blogger’s Pillow Party January winner!

Oh, and don’t worry if you didn’t have time to make or enter a pillow this month, there will be plenty of opportunity for that in the coming months.  The judge for February is Rita from Red Pepper Quilts and for March it’s the lovely Aneela of Comfortstitching!

Congrats Jolene, Rachel will be in touch with your shorty. ♥

Comments: 20

my most favoritest shirt ever

Yes, favoritest, that’s a word, right?!  This one really took me by surprise. 

I had the pieces all cut out and ready for maybe two months or more and just now found some sort of motivation to pull it out and finish it. 

I’m so happy I did.  And I think I found that I’m not going to make clothes with quilting cottons ever again.  Don’t get me wrong, I think there are a lot of great patterns and of course awesome fabrics out there.  But for me the comfort and drape of this Alexander Henry cotton lawn is just amazing.  It’s even on super sale at Pink Chalk Fabrics for a total bargain (I had originally purchased mine from for a really great price, but this is great!). 
I did not use interfacing as called for, I think that was the perfect choice.  I also omitted the bottom band and just did a narrow hem.  I think with the band as the pattern calls for, it would be too long.  That’s the scoop!
Just a random side note: We had a blast taking these pics, it was 16 degrees that day.  And that’s Emily toddling off in the distance – so funny. Oh, and I’m standing on a frozen lake. A special shout out to my husband for taking the pics, love you.  Happy Friday everyone!
Comments: 57

my new sewing machine and some tips

 Ok, I confess, I got a new sewing machine.  A while ago.  Actually, almost 6 months ago is about right.  I didn’t really feel like posting on it right away, especially because I didn’t know much about it myself.  So I’ve been busy breaking it in, testing it out, and sort of figuring out all the doodads. 
I decided I was in need of an upgrade from my free machine when I wanted these things:  a buttonhole setting, variable needle position, and a needle up/down function (really handy for free motion quilting with your darning foot). 


Here’s the low down. 
  • Love it.
  • Still can’t figure out why I keep forgetting where the backstitch button is.
  • I now know why people fuss about getting a new machine so much, it’s a big change!
  • The tension is perfect.
  • It chugs through just about anything I throw at it except my brother’s jeans with about 8 layers of denim.

Read on if you feel inclined to do so…

Okay, I might have mentioned it before, but my uncle is a sewing machine repair man.  I know, how did I get so lucky you ask?  Well, I married my husband and he came fully equipped with a super handy uncle!  Not only does my uncle repair machines, but he’s an avid sewist himself.

Here’s a little summary of what things I’ve learned from him:

  • To get a quality machine, you should plan on spending around $300.  Now, that doesn’t mean the less expensive models won’t work for you, but if you plan on sewing a lot and need something reliable, a machine in the $300 range is probably the ticket.
  • He didn’t recommend buying any of the Bernina Bernette models, unlike the higher end Berninas which are made in Switzerland, the Bernettes are made in Asia.
  • Keeping a clean machine is really important.  I had been getting an error with my janome and it ended up that I just needed to clean out under the needle plate.  The needle plate on my machine is attached with one little screw (see pics below).  I unscrewed it, lifted off the metal needle plate and underneath the bobbin was a giant mess of lint!  I should have taken pictures for you, but it was really nasty.  And that’s with only 6 months of sewing.  My uncle recommended that I clean out this area every 3 months or so.  To do this, he recommended using a vacuum cleaner and the lint brush that came with my machine, just wipe with the brush and the vacuum will suck up all the gunk.  Worked like a charm. 
The only other machine that I’ve looked into extensively is the Bernina 330.  I got to try it out at my local quilt shop and it’s really nice.  My memory craft has tons of stitches and memory options (which I haven’t really used much yet), but the Bernina would be a machine that I think I could sew pretty much anything I’d ever be interested in sewing. 
So there’s my two cents, take it or leave it.  I’m no expert, but just someone who loves to sew.  Feel free to leave any notes or tips you have about sewing machines in the comments section.   I’m sure everyone would enjoy learning something new! 
Comments: 73