crafts, hobby, Home and Garden, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

Monday Blues and Greens

Greetings everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. My weekend wasn’t too bad until…

WIP/Design board
My Design/WIP board

I was working on my project and was at the point where I almost had side one of my reversible tablecloth complete when I realized my 3.5 inch squares were in fact NOT 3.5 inch squares. Talk about disgusted with myself. How could I have made such an error? Eighty-eight pieces of fabric unusable in this project.  That would be those “squares” on the far left. The pretty ones, white background, little blue and green flowers. Yep.

I wanted to throw a fit! Instead I nicely put all of the project into a tote, fabric, notes, drawings, everything. I didn’t have enough extra fabric to fix it. The place I bought it from only have it in the store. I couldn’t order any more on line. All I could do was hope I can get to Missoula during the time my husband is home and get some more. Maybe.

I got on FaceBook and said something on a quilters group about my mess. Let me tell you, those quilters on Sew Quilty Friends (you can join the FaceBook group – go to Jacquelynne Steves blog) were really encouraging! After having set the problem aside for a day and being encouraged by other quilters, who have done the exact same thing, I decided to make some adjustments to my pattern.

So after some time at the drawing table with my pencil, eraser and graft paper I came up with a modified version of my tablecloth. It requires me to cut those non-3.5 inch squares to 3 inch squares. Add fifty-six more squares of the same size and repeat the process for side two white on white squares. That’s eighty-eight times two plus an additional 112 pieces, well, you do the math.

Now I have to re-measure my left over fabric to make sure I have enough. I think I do, I think I do, I think I do. Fingers crossed.

The moral of this story is, don’t cut your fabric late at night when your eyes are blurry, no matter how close you are to the end of cutting your pieces. And, measure, measure, measure. And re-measure, re-measure, re-measure. Hopefully this mistake will only cost me time and not money.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Until next time – Got a square ruler?

crafts, hobby, Home and Garden, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

Setting Up My Space: Part 2

Sewing table
Sewing table in front of the window

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you set yourself a goal and at the end of the week you realize you didn’t quite make that goal? That is where I am right now. Granted I technically have one more day to this week, and with that in mind, I may reach my goal after all. But I don’t feel too bad. In thinking about Part 2 of Setting Up My Space, I spent two days reorganizing and cleaning my sewing/quilting/office room. I even tackled my little closet space and made room for some things that were cluttering up my room. Don’t worry, everything isn’t going to fall out if you open the door. It doesn’t even have a door! I did find an unused curtain and managed to hang it up in lieu of a door! Now instead of a gaping hole I have a pretty curtain to look at when I am pressing blocks.

I like to be organized as much as possible. Some times when you have limited means, like most people, you have to improvise. Think outside of the box. Go with something different yet functional in a way that will work for you. Hmmm, I think you get my meaning.

WIP/Design board
My Design/WIP board

My “design” board which is really my WIP board is made from cork boards. I bought them at Walmart. I use it primarily to hang up my little pieces to 1) keep them organized 2) keep them out of the way and 3) makes it easier to find them as I follow a pattern. I also tag each stack with a little post-it. Each stack of pieces has the corresponding letter or number assigned to it from the pattern. Eventually I will put up a different design board but for now it works for me. Oh, I bought the white clamps from Walmart as well.

Space being limited on the floor and walls I had to think of where I would put my thread, rulers and cutting mats. On the wall behind the door my husband, Wes took two white shelf units and put them together to make a place for me to store my thread. On the top of the shelf I put some of my favorite birthday cards from my best friend, Mary. There is also a very old oil can. On the bottom of the shelves there are knobs where I can hang things, like a Mother’s day gift I received from my grandchildren.

White shelves
Re-purposed White Shelves with baskets

I took small white baskets and put them in the cubbyholes. Under each basket is a label denoting what thread colors are in each basket. Now I can find what I am looking for and see what colors I need.

These shelves were going to be thrown away. I feel pretty good that we were able to re-purpose them and find a home for my thread.

If you have ever cut 12 inch squares you know how difficult it is to keep them square just using your 6.5×24.5 inch ruler. That’s why companies like Omnigrid and Creative Grids make the big boys. I have a few of those big boys. They are hanging on my walls. I also have my smaller rulers hanging on my file cabinet. My 6.5×24.5 inch ruler stays on the cutting table. I have a handle attached to it so it makes it a bit awkward to hang. The big rulers are heavy so I used a screw instead of a nail. It made things a bit more secure.

Well that just about covers how I set up my space. The only thing left is my sewing table. My original sewing table was accidentally destroyed when it was being moved. Not any one’s fault, really. It was something I had put together from a kit. My husband felt bad though and bought me another sewing table. Nothing expensive. It came from a second-hand place. It has one large drawer and that’s fine. I keep my book about my sewing machine in the drawer with a few other items. I did however need the well to be modified in order for my sewing machine to fit. So Wes did a wonderful job of doing that. It involved saws and other sharp objects. I’m not very good with those things. The large extension does need to be propped up because the hinges are giving a bit and when I have a lap quilt on it, it will sag under the weight. But other than that it does what I need it to, hold my machine.

Now you know how I did it. Now it’s your turn! Go set up your quilting area, get organized and get quilting! I would love to hear how your space is set up! So send me an email and pictures if you have them to, I’ll be sure to post them in a blog. How fun it will be to see what other people have done with their space!

Until next time – Are you organized?

crafts, hobby, Home and Garden, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

Kits Please!

Trivet Set
Trivet Set designed by Ann Johnson

I really like kits. They can be so much fun because they basically take all of the guess work out of whatever little or big project you decide to do. Some times you only need to purchase backing and batting for your kit project.

This particular kit I want to talk about is just one of the fun ones I purchased from Connecting Threads some time ago. I kept it for something to do between any big projects. Sometimes I just need to do something little and simple.

This kit came with great instructions, all of the fabric I would need except for backing, and batting. I bought coordinating fabric for the backing from the Grace collection by Heritage Classics on Connecting Threads. Unfortunately I don’t believe you can purchase from that collection any more. It also required Insul-Bright batting and regular batting.

This would have probably been a one day project but I took my time and did it in two. Cutting out all of the pieces probably took the longest, like usual. (I am going to get one of those Go Cutter systems from AccuQuilt. Just thinking about how much time I would save in cutting pieces and the wear and tear on my wrist makes it worth it!)

One of the great things about this trivet kit is there are four sizes, and two of each size. That gave some diversity in how they looked. It probably would be all right if they were all the same, but I like how they were all different. Another thing is I can reuse this pattern with different fabric. They would make a nice home-warming gift.

Mine are sitting in a little basket on the kitchen counter. I have a terrible habit of placing a hot pot on the counter without nothing under the pot. My husband informed me that the heat could cause the glue to separate from the counter top and cause problems. Or something like that. I took it to mean, Don’t Put Hot Pots and Pans Directly On The Counter. Hence, trivets. He really is patient with me. What can I say, he married a nutty red-head.

I have a few kits left in my stash. And of course, I have the patterns in my pattern book. So no matter what, I can always make neat trivets, placemats, and mug rugs, hobo bags, well, you get the idea.

Thanks for coming by and sharing a little of your time with me.

Until next time – Got Kits?


crafts, hobby, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

Moonlit Lily Pond

I don’t know what comes into your mind when you try to picture Moonlit Lily Pond. Maybe something Monet-ish? I am a fan of Monet and I have to admit when I was looking for fabric for this particular project, he did come across my mind, a lot.

The actual name for the pattern is “Solitude.” It was designed by Tricia Lynn Maloney. I found this pattern in a book called Jiffy Quick Quilts: Quilts for Those Short on TimeI was searching for the perfect quilt for my best friend, Mary Dostal. We have been friends since our daughters were little. It was going to be her birthday gift.

Moonlit Lily Pond
(Solitude designed by Tricia Lynn Maloney)

Because I wanted very particular colors I had to look at a lot of different places for fabric. I finally found what I wanted on Connecting Threads. They had a lovely collection of batiks that would work perfectly.

The colors are various shades of purple, periwinkle, greens, pale yellows (moonlight) and a gorgeous blue with turtles. (She loves turtles.) The backing is a printed flower blossoms in periwinkle. I machine quilted it with large petals.

This project didn’t take long to make. It is 58″x58″, the blocks are nice and big 10″ squares and it takes 25 blocks. It uses basic Four Patch and Five Patch squares and it has a lovely wide border. I was really happy with how it came together and even though it wasn’t perfect, it was still beautiful.

I also wanted to say, I really like this particular book. Even though it may be geared for the beginner quilter, there are some really nice patterns in it. I have made a couple of different quilts from it and there are still many more to be made.

That’s all for now, my friends. Thank you for joining me today. May the rest of your week flow smoothly.

Until next time – be inspired by art!


crafts, hobby, home gifts, Montana, quilting tools

Setting Up My Space: Part 1

When my husband, Wes, and I first moved into our home in Montana, we had decided which of the three bedrooms would be my quilting/sewing/office. The other spare bedroom would be his hobby room. That actually works out nicely, because I’m an organized person, most of the time, and well… he’s not. He is one of those people who thrives in chaos. Whereas for me, chaos makes me crazy.

Sewing table
Sewing table in front of the window

My selected room had carpet, green carpet. In fact the previous occupiers had a dog, which they apparently kept in that room. Can we say lingering dog urine odor? So the first thing we did (I say we but I really mean my husband) is pull up that nasty, stinking carpet and padding. Phew, that was some bad stuff.

Then we, I mean my husband, put down some nice flooring. It wasn’t anything expensive. After all it was for my quilting/sewing/office. The only traffic in here would be me and my puppy, Monty.

My new wood flooring
My new wood flooring

As you can see, the room isn’t that big. In fact, my desk is hidden in a little cubby hole. I’m not really sure what its intended purpose was for but my little desk fit right in it.

My office
My Cubbyhole Office

The four drawer file cabinet went against the wall the door is on and my sewing table is in front of the window. My cutting table (that my husband bought for me from Costco) went along the long wall adjacent to the file cabinet.

Cutting table
My cutting table with a WIP


Now mind you, everything was still in boxes and totes.( In fact a year later I still have unpacked boxes in the little closet space. I’m looking forward of moving those out.) My fabric was hidden, buried and just plain unattainable until I could come up with some kind of a solution.

One day, strolling through Costco I saw a commercial metal rack. The shelves were adjustable, it was chrome, all pretty and shiny and it was sturdy enough to handle totes of fabric and whatever I needed. We bought it and I put it up the same day. Yay! Taming chaos into organization!

Chrome commercial rack
My chrome commercial rack

I bought some little “S” hooks to hang different items to help me organize. I have various projects in the small colorful totes on the top shelf. The fabric in the tote on the second shelf has been organized by size, brand, collection and where purchased and rolled into recycled toilet paper and paper towel rolls. (Don’t throw those empty rolls away! Reuse them!)

The tote beneath that is WIPs. And the one beneath that is my fleece tote. I put my all my fleece together because it’s rather bulky.

In Part 2 of Setting Up My Space, I will show you how I set up my WIP board, rulers and a few other little things to make quilting easier, even modified my sewing table. So be sure to come back and see what I have done!

Until next time, organization pays!