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?

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. ♥

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 fabric.com 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!

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! 

vintage hankie pillow cover tutorial


I'm super excited to be guest blogging over at Elsie Marley today!

Please jump on over and check out the full tutorial here
Tell Meg I said hi!

yay for jammies!


Since I started really looking at my fabric collection I realized it needs to get used.  I've kept some prints for longer than I think is really necessary (for me it's been about a year and a half), but I think it's time to move on with some of them and get to ordering more! 

One sure fire way to use up a fabric stash is to make clothing.  Usually they take up a lot of fabric and that's just the ticket! 

So I decided a few pairs of jammie pants would do the trick for a little while anyway.

I thought I'd give Toni's pattern a try and I really like how they came together.

I ended up squeezing out a pair for Emily from a half yard for the main part of the pant, and I really liked the way the pants were assembled, so they came together really nicely.  It's pretty straightforward and I think the fit is really cute. 

It was fun to get a chance to make a few buttonholes, which I haven't made in forever.  But they're merely cosmetic, so don't let that throw you off, you could always omit them if talk of buttonholes makes you break out in hives.

And doesn't this pattern, Coastal Breeze look fun? Makes me want to start daydreaming about summer. 

Just and FYI, you can also buy Make It Perfect patterns from tons of online retailers. Here's some at fabricworm.com and a nice selection at Pink Chalk Fabrics.

hot chocolate


The other day I stumbled upon the blog Creature Comforts again and saw she had made her own hot chocolate mix and marshmallows.  It looked like a fun and easy project and although I didn't try a marshmallow recipe yet, we had fun putting a hot chocolate mix together.

I dug through our cupboard and found an empty jar to store it in.  Made a little label for the jar...

We even got to use our mini snowman hot chocolate cups that we got for Christmas.

I decided to add mini chocolate chips to the mix.  It adds a little more chocolate kick at the end of your cup!

And now it's way more difficult to say no to "hot chocolate please?"

new baby gift and flood relief


This little gifty is going out to one of my friends that I've known since elementary school.  I can't say that about a lot of people, so needless to say I'm really glad to still have her as a friend.  She's due with her second boy in a couple months and I figured these would come in handy with the new babe.

a nursing cover

I highly recommend this tutorial and the final end product for any new mom.  This is such a fun and quick project!  Better yet, it's a great way to show off a beautiful bold print.  My sister-in-law has a similar handmade nursing cover and it worked so slick. 

Makes me wish I would have had one when my girls were nursing.  It came in really handy for her, especially at restaurants, plus it kind of doubles as a giant mommy bib, niiice. 

and a diaper pouch


And on a completely different note, Toni of Make it Perfect (book writer, pattern maker extraordinaire) contacted me about the Queensland Flood Appeal Auctions. All of the money being raised in the auctions is going to the Premier's Auction Relief Fund.

There are over 200 auctions happening on blogs and Facebook starting on Monday, but some have already started (please refer to the master list of auctions on Toni's blog: http://www.tonicoward.blogspot.com/) and help out our friends on the other side of the hemisphere!

vintage modern door block


Here's my block for this month's Ringo Pie {a patchwork bee} theme.  Lisa of Vintage Modern Quilts choose vintage modern doors for her theme.  Isn't this a really cool idea?  Each door translated into fabric is so amazing, go check it out for yourself in Ringo Pie's group pool.

I knew I had to get this block done because the ones already finished are just too amazing! 

I used a white linen for the body of the door and a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton (Ikat Streak Pool) for the 'siding'. 

I had actually attempted to make a different door and ended up scrapping it.  Do you ever have that happen?  I finished it one night and wasn't super satisfied with how it ended up, slept on it, then the next day still didn't like it and cut it up!  I'm so glad I did though, this one turned out way better than the first.

Hope you like it Lisa!

scooter tray


I found this perfect scrap of scooter fabric while sorting through my fabric stacks the other day and remembered a project I needed to make for my dad (as requested by my mom).  They recently did some remodeling and that left my dad without a place to drop his glasses, wallet, spare change kind of stuff. 

So out came this little scooter and linen tray from my sewing machine (wish all projects were this easy). 

It's perfect because way back when my dad actually owned a vespa scooter - like the ones pictured in the fabric.   Here's living proof, my dad on his vespa.
Now he has a handy little place to keep all those valuable items you just can't have strewn about. 

valentine window garland


In an effort to get out of the post-holiday funk that's going on around here, I thought I'd jump right in an do a little Valentine's day decorating!  It's always nice to see some bright fun color added to our space in this cold cold time of winter. 

I picked up some pom poms in various sizes and threaded them on lengths of some transparent thread.  Just tied a knot in the bottom and threaded the pom poms on with a needle and tried to evenly space them.  Then I taped each strand to the trim at the top of the window (not fancy I know, but it works and it'll only be up for a little bit anyway). 

I think these would be fun to do in any window for any season, it's fun, modern looking, and adds a little extra special touch.  This would be a great project to try with an older child who is fairly comfortable with a needle!

Now the tricky part will be to keep the little hands and a wagging dog tail away from it...

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