Monday, April 23, 2012

Zede's Sewing Studio is Close to Their Goal

Zede's Sewing Studio, who I mentioned in an earlier post, is making great progress in their goal to get 250 Garden of Daisies-designed "Read" bags out to the "Jumpstart" reading program in Columbia, MO. Lots of local customers and friends are contributing as well as others not so close to them, like Julie in NJ. This is great! Keep up the good work!!
If you'd like to make a "Read" bag for Zede's, click here to get started!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hexagon Intrigue

I have sewn my whole life. I have sewn for a living for most of my adult life and I've owned my own embroidery business for the past 13 years. What I haven't done a lot of, though, is quilting. But...I think the bug has bitten. I am so in love with the fresh, new designer cottons -- especially the ones that give a nostalgic little nod to days gone by. I especially go for the ones in candy-sweet colors and if there's a polka dot or a gingham check, I'm head-over-heels in love.

I love traditional quilts themselves, but not sure I have the patience to make one, so I'm really drawn to the other types of quilty goodness I've seen. Purses, pouches and pillows, clothing all look good to me. I now know what a mug rug is and think I can probably handle one.

I've started with hexagons. They're small, portable and fairly easy to make. I've got a very big project in the works right now, so these little cuties are perfect for when I need a break or find myself with a few spare minutes. I'm not sure what I will make with them yet, but I know something will come to me. And in the meantime, I'll keep adding to my stash -- that's a given.

What Time Is It?

For all of you machine embroiderers, Oregon Patch Work's "Silver Threads, Golden Needles" membership club is a great way to add new and fun designs to your stash. Each month, subscribers receive 70 to 100 designs for a low set fee and if you pre-pay 3, 6 or 12 months at a time, you get a discount. All sets from previous months are available for purchase, too, by clicking the "Archives" link at the top of their page. I am happy to be a designer for the club. This month, my "Tea Time" designs are included and would make great embellishments for tea towels, place name it! 

So...make yourself a cup of tea and look around the club archives. There are lots of wonderful designs and most archived pages have FREE designs for you to download right at the bottom of the page.
Happy stitching!!

Fabric Obsessions

Yes...I have many. Internet browsing makes it SO easy to know what I don't yet have in my stash. There is a line of fabrics that I absolutely love -- Flower Sugar -- by Lecien Corporation. It puts a sweet, contemporary spin on vintage-y, candy-colored florals. They have released many versions, but because they drop them from their website as time goes by, I have to resort to searching online quilt shops to A: determine the depth and breadth of the entire line, and B: determine which individual fabrics MUST be added to my stash. I have learned, through my research, that some fabrics are difficult to acquire -- especially the ones from the earliest releases.

I picked up a few pieces that were relatively easy to find. Then, of course, I find myself most attracted to the most elusive of prints. Like this one:

I was lucky enough to find 1 2/3 yards at The Quilting Garden. It shipped yesterday -- can't wait to get it! Did I mention that I love to get mail?
Next up is this one: 

This is from Lecien's "Antique Flowers" collection. These are the colors that are in my "dream studio" that's dancing around in my head. I can feel an order being placed right now.

I hope I'm ahead of the game in admitting my obsessions: great cotton prints and vintage sewing books. And chocolate. Can't forget that one.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Show & Share

I love to hear from people who have used my patterns and designs and are happy with them. I heard from Donna M., from Claremore, OK, on Tuesday. She had this to say:

Hi JoAnn,
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed both patterns.  The E-book layout is delightful.  I love the vibrant colors and also the clean lines & understandable organized instructions.  The tips are a pleasant surprise & so helpful.  It makes you want to dive right into sewing.  I can hardly wait for your next pattern!

Thank you,
Donna M.
Last night, I received pictures of her creations using my "Out & About Zippered Wristlet" pattern. These are great!! Donna told me that she made them for her four granddaughters and is filling them with treats for Easter. I love the candy colors and and the cute holiday print. I know Donna's grandduaghters will love them, too!

Thanks for sharing, Donna!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"Best of Craftster 2011" Winner!

I just found out that one of my embroidery designs -- "Chic Chandeliers" -- was a Craftster's "Best of Craftster 2011" winner in their Machine Embroidery category!! How exciting!! These little "gems" are machine embroidered on stiffened craft felt and make great home or party decorations. Decked out in beads and crystals, they will brighten up any girl's room, bath or porch. They make sparkly little sun catchers when hung by a window. What a great bridal shower decoration or gift!! Thanks Craftster, for the nod!!

Craftster is an online community where people share hip, off-beat, crafty diy (do it yourself) projects. The term "Craftster" means "crafty hipster" and is also meant to be an homage to the pioneer peer-to-peer sites Napster and Friendster. Currently, there are over 265,000 members sharing crafty goodness every day.

Craftster was started in August 2003 and has since grown to a readership of over 1,000,000 readers per month. It has been written up in numerous publications including Time Magazine, the New York Times and the London Guardian.

Craftster is the largest online community for what is now commonly known as "indie crafts." ("Indie" stands for independent as in indie music, indie art, indie film, etc.) Craftster is regarded by many as one of the cornerstones of the recent renaissance in crafting known as the "indie craft movement."

Thanks, Craftster!!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

You've Got Mail

I think I've mentioned before that I love to get mail. Well, not junk mail. Packages, really. And I just got the sweetest little package in the mail from a wonderful etsy seller: pinkedfabrics. I love ribbons and trims and have no problem buying them even if I don't have a specific project in mind. One will come to me, I know. Amy, the shop's owner, took such care in packaging my little purchase. All of the trims came bundled in colorful baker's twine and were protected in a clear cellophane bag sealed with a sunny & cheerful piece of gingham washi tape.
Her business card is adorable and really speaks to what her business is all about - color, creativity and craftiness. I will be shopping there again for sure!!
Visit Amy's blog, lots of pink here!, when you get a chance -- lots of pink AND lots of inspiration!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Read" Tote Bags For Jumpstart Readers

I just found out that Zede's Sewing Studio is creating our "Read" bags, featured in the Sept/Oct 2010, Volume 64 of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine! The bags are for the Jumpstart reading program in Columbia, MO. What a great idea for such a great cause -- I wish I had thought of it! The free "Read" embroidery file is still available on the Designs magazine website. Click the magazine image below to get it. The totes make a great gift or donation. So far, Zede's customers and staff have made over 250 totes, with another 250 on order. Keep stitching, Zede's!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Can Fabric Be "Delicious"?

I say "Why, yes, it can!" Today, I got a package from a wonderful Etsy seller -- Kerri at SewDeerlyLoved -- just full of yummy, fun and charming fabrics. (I LOVE getting things in the mail.) Checks and florals are some of my favorites. And let's not forget polka dots -- they cheer me up! I'm not sure what I'll be making with them yet, but they are a welcome, spring-time addition to my ever-growing stash!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I think That I Shall Never See...

How can one tree provide so much entertainment? I don't just can. :) This post proves it. So does this one. I call it "my tree", but it really belongs to my neighbor on the street behind us. And I haven't told them yet how much I appreciate their tree. I guess it's time to send them the links. :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Aprons Aplenty!!

This past Christmas was the first in many years that I had made up my mind to sew gifts and followed through with that decision. And I had a blast! I made aprons for my sister and 4 sisters-in-law. They really liked them! Instead of making a pattern, I used one from the book "More Retro Aprons" by Cindy Taylor Oates and modified the pocket of style B by making it bigger and lowering it to the waist. I also left out the darts because I was a little lazy but in hind site, wish I had used them. Sewing for a living sometimes makes sewing more "business" than "pleasure" but this project was just fun for fun's sake! Here's what I ended up with:

My Tree

I know I've posted about this before, but I just can't help myself. I get to see this everyday and it changes all the time. I know my appreciation of a pine tree might seem odd, but it's become a touchstone I can look at anytime and then I think "it's all good". I can see it from my kitchen window and my studio (read: basement room with 2X4 studs & insulation) window. I know...wacky.  :)

Just In Time For Spring Sewing...

Just in time for Spring -- "Her Highness" -- will have your little Princess jumping for joy!! Garden of Daisies March Sale continues, so now is the perfect time to stock up!! You get 2 FREE Shamrock Appliques with any purchase all month.
Happy stitching!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Get Sewing For Spring!!

It's time to get sewing for Spring! There are lots of great designs to add to all your springy projects. Lots of great giftable ideas, too! With any purchase, you'll receive 2 free Shamrock applique files -- 2" & 3" sizes to help you get your green on. Happy stitching!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Inspires You?

For me, one of the things at the top of that list is fabric. The way I see it, there are very few things that a good fabric stash can't cure. Boredom, the blues...all gone when you're in the presence of a good stash. Just to look at it is to be inspired. It's hard to pinpoint what attributes inspire me most -- I think it's a combination. Color, texture, pattern, feel and even smell all speak to me of the inherent potential in a pile of cloth. Although I am not really a quilter, quilting cottons are what I use most in my embroidery and sewing projects, so quilt fabric shops are my favorites. A well-stocked quilt shop is like a candy store to me. I'll have a little of this one and a little of that one... In no time, my stash can be filled out so well that projects can be started at any given moment.

I am lucky enough to have a little place in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and had to make my stash "portable". Since most of my projects are pretty small, I cut a fat quarter from many of my fabrics and have them in two plastic totes that I can pop in the back of my car when heading north. That way, I'm ready to go when inspiration strikes. I am lucky, too, that one of the biggest and most popular quilt shops is the USA -- Keepsake Quilting -- is on my route to the mountains. It has become a regular stop coming and going.

I've also made it my mission to find all the independent fabric retailers within driving distance of my house and my little place up north. I found a great shop in Salem New Hampshire -- Pine Tree Quilt Shop -- that has already been added to my "must visit again" list. I'll keep you posted on what else I find.

Happy stitching!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Am Embarrassed To Admit...

...that although I have been an avid and eager (read: addicted) collector (hoarder?) of printed cotton fabrics for many years, I somehow missed two wonderful fabric shops within easy driving distance of where I live. The first is about a 6 minute drive. How could I not know they were there??

Quilters Common, at 364 Main Street in Wakefield, MA, offers a HUGE selection of gorgeous, colorful fabrics: designer, traditional, batiks, kids, etc., lots of tools and supplies, as well as patterns and books. The owners Collette Emelian and Antoinette Evans, who are sisters, are friendly and fun, and if you want to take your coat off and poke around, they are happy to let you. Pull around back -- the entrance is near the parking lot. Visit today and prepare to be inspired!


The other great shop I found is Quilter's Way, at 75 Commonwealth Ave. in Concord, MA. Owner Jane Barnett offers colorful, designer fabrics, notions, patterns, pre-cuts and more. Their innovative, online "Kit Designer" allows quilters to pair patterns with their own fabric choices for creative, one-of-a-kind projects. Classes and studio time are available so you can hang out with other like-minded souls who understand the appeal of great fabric. :) Visit them in person or online -- you won't be disappointed! 

How I missed these two gems is beyond me. I guess I'll have to chalk it up to my head being filled with "so many projects and so little time".

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Can Make This!

I am so happy to have my patterns available now through!! Sisters Kim Christopherson & Kris Thurgood of the DIY Dish offer designers/patternmakers a bright and cheerful showcase to highlight fun and creative patterns.

More patterns to come!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Show & Share

It's so much fun to see customer's creations!! Bonnie N. sent me a picture of her "Button Basket" project. I love her fabric choices and the fabric flower punctuates it perfectly! There are so many uses for these little baskets. They're great for organizing any little stash that needs controlling. They're quick and easy to make, requiring only basic sewing skills. Stitch up a whole bunch!

Thanks for sharing, Bonnie!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oregon Patch Works

I've been a commercial embroiderer for 13 years now. I started out by embroidering and making Irish step dancing competition dresses. Through that, I found out how much I love designing for embroiderers and with the help of Oregon Patch Works Embroidery Designs Mall, I've been able to get my work out there and connect with others that share my passion for embroidery. Jackie, OPW's developer and owner, makes sure that customers are 100% satisfied. Over 100 designers offer creative and exciting designs including fonts, applique, in-the-hoop and free-standing-lace designs, quilt blocks and much, much more. There's something new everyday so visit often.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Button Basket Pattern Ready!!

Seedlings Sewing Patterns newest pattern -- Button Basket -- is ready!! This little charmer keeps all your teeny tiny things together in one spot. They are quick and easy to make, so you can make a bunch. Great as gifts, too!! The pattern also includes the "Happy Puffy Flowers" pattern so you can embellish the basket -- or anything you like!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ruffle Skirt Tutorial

This is a quick-and-easy skirt to make. It is sized for a 9-month-old with a 17" waist. You can customize it to the size you need by determing the waist measurement you need and the length you want and adjusting the main rectangle accordingly. This one is paired with a dollar-store snap-crotch t-shirt with a machine embroidered lady bug applique and neckline bow added to it. A quick and cheap outfit that doesn't look it at all!!

Ruffle Skirt:

One 7.75” X 35” rectangle of printed cotton for skirt
Two 3” X 35” strips of coordinating printed cotton for ruffle
1/2 yard of 1/2" elastic

  • 1: Edge finish all edges of rectangle by serging, pinking, or zig-zag edge-stitching.
  • 2: With right sides together, stitch short ends of rectangle together using a ½” seam allowance.
  • 3: Press down 1” around top edge and press up ¾” around bottom edge.
  • 4: Topstitch bottom edge in place ½” from fold.
  • 5: Topstitch around top edge 1/8” from fold. Topstitch again ¾” from fold, forming the casing. Leave 2” unstitched for elastic insertion.
  • 6: With right sides together, stitch the ruffle strips together at the short ends, using a ¼” seam allowance.
  • 7: Edge-finish both long edges of the ruffle by serging, using a narrow, rolled hem foot on a conventional sewing machine or serger or by pressing the edges into a narrow hem and topstitching.
  • 8: Run 2 rows of gathering stitches around the ruffle ¾” from edge. Gather ruffle to same width as hem edge of skirt. Distribute ruffle evenly. 
  • 9: Place gathering stitches of ruffle on top of topstitching at hem edge of skirt and topstitch ruffle in place, using a zig-zag stitch.
  • 10: Insert elastic in casing. Overlap the end 1” and stitch together. Topstitch casing closed.
Lady Bug machine embroidery applique design is available at
Garden of Daisies Embroidery.

Some Fabric Favorites

Fabric is the medium I work in. To say I'm like a kid in a candy store when I'm fabric shopping is an understatement. Shopping in person is best -- the sight, smell and feel of fabric are heady and intoxicating. But shopping online has its place, too. I live in New England and when the weather isn't cooperating, browsing on my laptop is a worthy alternative.

What are appealing to me right now are rose-y, spring-y prints. Some of these may have been out for a while, but they deserve a mention for their happy, cheerful demeanor.

Pam Kitty Morning by Lake House Dry Goods
Flower Sugar by Lecien
Rose Parade by Moda
Sugar Hill by Tanya Whelan for Free Spirit
Sweet Shoppe by Michelle D"Amore for Benartex

I love sweet florals like these and had fun using Sweet Shoppe (above) to create this little "Button Basket".