Category Archives: Useful Items

Sulky Zen II Machine Embroidery Seminar

Embroidered Mini-tote

What a fun break – traveling with my sewing room to Hanover, MD with friends and a fabulous couple of days of just sewing and forgetting the rest of the world is out there. Would love to have stayed for a couple more days, but it is time to get back to reality.  Now comes the task of putting my sewing room back together again.

I just attended the Sulky Zen II machine embroidery seminar.  It is always fun to gather with those of like-minds and spend the hours sewing.  Now here is a shocking reality – I actually completed 3 of the projects at the seminar.  That NEVER happens.  I usually spend my time experimenting with some of the new techniques and socializing with the other students, picking up new ideas along the way.  One of the projects was a cool mini tote and being the original bag lady, I had to finish that project.  Good thing I did because when it came time for our class photo, our instructor wanted all of us to display our completed totes.  I was able to stand with the rest of the class and be photographed with my tote – finished!

Some of the students from my previous years of Sulky seminars were there and it was great seeing them again.  We learned a lot of fun things and made our annual trip to Timbucktu for dinner.  Our instructor, Ellen Osten, was superb and we learned that the Sulky cotton threads are bleachable.  My favorite Sulky stabilizers are still the water soluble collection and the heat away.  We stitched over puffy foam for great padded monograming and over  felt to make a fun little in-the-hoop scissor holder.  We stitched over organdy to make free standing butterflies and over toil to make a lace pocket.  We stitched on commercial products like the mini-tote and jewelry case and created fun tea towels with free standing appliques and a tea-time poem.

I am ready to pack up my sewing room again and return next year.  Who knows – I might complete 4 projects!

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My Grandson the Dolphin

My Grandson the DolphinNice dorsal fin and the flippers really work

After a little time off – away from my desk – traveling around the country turning my grandson into a dolphin and other such wild sewing activities, I am now back home in Virginia setting up a pretty aggressive sewing class schedule.  We will be hosting some Fabulous Free Furlough Friday Fun Festival (F6) demos beginning in July at Quilt and Sewing Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  I have set up some beginning sewing classes that should be fun for everyone.  I am also continuing my series of  Heirloom Notebook Classes and offering some heirloom projects along the way.  One of the most fun project classes is our Heirloom Christmas Stocking with a Twist.  The twist is, if you decide not to make a stocking, we will show you how to take the techniques and design whatever is your fantasy – it might be a pillow, table-runner, baby coverlet, bell-pull – you decide and we will help you design and complete it.  As an added incentive, after the 20 hours of class instruction and some home sewing on your own, we will have a special little wrapped gift for your stocking (or whatever) for everyone who finishes the project by the last class.

Our beginning sewing class schedule is filled with mini-one-day (3-4 hour) classes where you can complete the project before leaving (or with minimal sewing left to do when you get home).  We have placemats, tote bags, sachets, bell-pulls, table runners, etc. planned that will delight your creative side.  If you are in the area, drop by the shop and sign up for some of these little min-classes.

Mini Wine Glass Lamps

Mini wine glass lampWine glass, battery tea light and a shade

Here is a fun idea for that 4th of July backyard Bar-B-Q or tailgate party.  All you need is a couple of wine glasses (I use plastic ones for outdoors), some battery operated tea-lights, and a little time in your sewing room with the new Quilt-Smart pattern for wine glass lamp shades.  Whip some shades up in red, white, and blue fabric, add a little trim if you like, and you have a very simple, fun decoration for your party.  Do them in white lace and you have a perfect addition for your wedding reception tables.  Why not some pastel “shades” for the baby shower?  These are sure to get comments – and they are fun and easy to make.  Bright colors will add a magic glow to that special birthday party.  Check out your local Quilt-Smart dealer (or buy them on-line if you can’t find them in a store near you) and start designing your next party.

Multi-functional Traveling TV Tray

To increase the functionality of the traveling TV ironing table, add a cutting mat under the removable ironing board cover and attach a small bag for rotary cutter and ruler, and your ironing board becomes a handy personal cutting table.  Remove cover and cutting mat, add a cup holder clamped to the side and your snack table is ready when you are.  Sewing classes, here we come!

No More Waiting in Lines for Me…

Sewing Traveling Ironing Board

Wooden TV Tray Is Perfect Traveling Ironing Board

Here is a cool tip I just heard the other day.  I love traveling to take the myriad of sewing classes that I “sew” enjoy, however, packing up the sewing room and organizing all those little essential pieces of equipment is always a challenge.  I always think I will need everything in my sewing room.  To make packing easier, I have worked hard to support my true title – “The Bag Lady”.  I have made bags for everything from the small bobbins to the large serger table top.  I have even made bags to fit inside other bags.  When my car is finally ready to roll, there are so many different bags in the back of my jeep, it is a good thing I am the driver because that is the only bit of space left in the car.   

The problem is, no matter how much “stuff” I take, there is always that one singular item that slows down “in class” progress.  There are never enough ironing boards and irons for all the students.  Over the years I have bought every type of mini iron and folding pressing board I could find in order to avoid having to wait in the long “ironing lines”.  Trouble is, there is never enough table space to open the boards and I am always afraid of burning something (or me) with the hot iron next to my machine.  Problem solved!  A wooden TV tray with padding and a nice cover makes a perfect traveling ironing board.  The TV tray can be set up next to the sewing chair without taking additional table space.  The iron can sit on the TV table without fear of burning anything on the cluttered sewing table.

Sew…this year’s classes will find me packing one more item into my jeep – an $8.00 wooden TV tray with some padding and a cover and I am ready to roll.  Now all I have to do is make another bag to hold the TV tray and the new little traveling steam iron I just purchased for $10.00.  No more waiting in lines for me – and, oh yes, those who take classes with me know I don’t sew in those classes anyway, so that TV tray will double nicely as a lunch/snack table.

Many, many thanks to my friend, Iva, for sharing that wonderful tip for a traveling ironing board.

Never more at home with their own hearts…

Traveling Treasure Catchers

To all who sew with a passion:  “It is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne

My daughter sent this quote to me and I wish to share it with all of you.  Thank you, Christina.