Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This Week's Posts...

Wow, how's that for a blogging hiatus! We've had a lot of changes going on in our lives the last few (ahem....several) months. But now my sewing machine is out, and I have a new sewing area, all set up and ready to go!

Right now I'm working on a strip patchwork dress for my daughter (possible tutorial on the horizon...but no promises on that one) and that long-awaited purse tutorial using the cute turquoise and orange fabric featured in the last post. I may even consider doing a giveaway on it, if there is any interest (and I can force my hands to let go of it).

So be sure to subscribe so you don't miss when they're posted. I'll probably post pics of my sewing studio, even though it's definitely still a work in progress.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tutorial of Adorable Cuteness is on Its Way

Just a sneak peek of what is to come:

This fabric will brighten up anyone's day...especially when it involves a free tutorial!

(Forgive the poor pictures, it's a combo of poor lighting, a rainy day, and a bad camera. Trust me, it's twice as cute in person!)

It should be up in the next few days. And I promise to try to get a shot in sunlight, if the weather cooperates!

What will the tutorial be about? Hmmm, so you want a hint....let's see...

Nope, you don't get one! Hee hee...

Check back here, or better yet, sign up for RSS or Follow Me to be the first to know when it's up!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stop Staring and Start Sewing

The last few days I have been reading sewing/design blogs until my bleary little eyes are ready to fall out of my head. One that has really caught my attention is Stop Staring and Start Sewing, by Jona. (I just love that blog aptly describes me, always doing more looking and not enough sewing!)

She has some tutorials (including Apron in an Hour, lots of pictures to look at, and pictures of her cute dining set and awesome fabric room (wouldn't we all love a room filled with neatly arranged full bolts of fabric? Only, we'd probably want to keep it all, lol!

Don't miss her posts about Quilt Market. Quilt Market, for those of you who don't know, is the be-all, end-all place to go if you are a quilt shop owner, fabric store owner, fabric designer, etc. It's like a big expo held twice a year, where there are booths full of fabulous fabric goodness, displayed via quilts, adorable outfits, upholstered pillows and furniture, and more. Sadly, it is only for the above-mentioned professionals, so non-pro fabric lovers must ogle the goods at a distance via the internet. Almost makes you want to open a fabric store, just to go, huh?

Jona also has an online fabric shop, Fabritopia, complete with fabric by the yard, pre-cuts, patterns, notions, trims, books, magazines, finished goods, and prepackaged sewing kits.

I think my favorite item so far in her store is the Mia Top by Pink Fig Patterns. I've had a similar design idea in mind for a long top/dress, but with a more closed neckline. I'm just trying to figure out how to get it to look the way I want it. Ruffles are in this year, which excites me, because I'm all about the feminine girly stuff!

So definitely check out Jona's blog and store. You'll be there for hours!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Business Card Giveaway at Grosgrain Fabulous!

Over at Grosgrain Fabulous there's a giveaway for 500 free business cards from

Their website is pretty cool, and since I'm starting up my own fabric-related business, I'm thinking I need me some business cards. Hmmm....

Check it Free Business Cards GUEST GIVEWAWAY!!!!

My New "Baby"

Let me introduce you. This is my baby:

She's a Singer Quantum L-500. I bought her during the HSN World Launch of the Quantum L-500 for Singer. She retails at $1200, but during the launch, they had her for $799, free shipping, and 5 flex pays. Not only that, she came days earlier than expected (thank you HSN)!

She's a lot like the Babylock Quest, from the Quilter's Dream series. Which I believe is a LOT more money. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

She has a hand-free presser foot (can be operated by a knee-lifter, and I love that), integrated dual feed (like a built-in even feed foot, which can go both forward and backward and be used for decorative stitches too), an integrated bobbin-winder with it's own separate motor (can be operated while you are still sewing), and a low-bobbin sensor.

There is also 401 stitches (though some of those are actually individual letters of the alphabet for monogramming, etc.) The stitches are super cute!

There are also 7 LED lights to light the work area, which is a HUGE improvement over the Singer Futura line, which had only 2. While I'm glad there are 7 lights now, I could still use a little more light. Honestly, I'd rather have the plain old style bulbs, and have to replace them once in a while. I never had a problem seeing with that style, and I do NOT like the bluish cast that the LEDs give off. I'll probably have to use my OTT LITE when I sew.

There is soooo much more to this machine than what I've mentioned. Check out the specs from the sales page on HSN .

For those who came to this site looking for a place to buy bobbins for the Singer Quantum L-500, I have been told that the real part number is Singer Part 006S1A0001 and can be purchased at I have not confirmed that, because I want to make sure that I'm keeping my machine before I purchase bobbins from another website, but that was where I was told I could buy them.

HSN has a demo video on their site, but for some reason they put up the worst of all the demo videos they did on launch day, so it doesn't do the machine justice. (Yes, I really did watch every single demo of the machine they did, all day. I was excited! ;-) Besides, I like watching their demo videos for ideas...they show cute projects.)

I'm still learning my way around this beauty, but I will report more as I play with it. I'll probably do a more in-depth review, and if I do, I'll link to it here. I may even consider doing a You Tube "getting to know" the machine video. Check back often, or sign up as a follower to keep tabs on the latest.

Singer Futura CE-250 Review

I could cry. I really could.

Two years ago, my generous husband bought me this:

A Singer Futura CE-250 Sewing and Embroidery Machine. I loved it from the moment I had it. It was soooo easy to use. I've always had issues with tension. I would follow the directions of every machine, and still have issues. Not with the Futura.

It has a little screen that shows digital numbers (for the 100 stitches, which are great) and two slide knobs with little lights next to them. One is for the tension, and the other is for the stitch length. When you enter in the stitch you want, you then slide each of those knobs until the red light next to the knob changes to green. Then you know you are in the proper range for that stitch. You could choose a different range if you wanted to, though.

If there is an error with the machine, the little window will show "Er", then flash a number. You look it up in the book, and you know what to fix. It could be anything from "presser foot is up" to "tangled thread". I only had a tension problem one time, and was able to fix it relatively easily. I LOVE that machine.

I only used the embroidery part of the machine once, but it worked great, especially for a first timer. My biggest advice with this is that if you're doing your lettering small, test it on a scrap first. When I did the medium sized lettering, it looked fine, but with the smaller lettering, it didn't show up as well. It probably would have in a different, thicker font.

The unique thing about this machine is that instead of having proprietary software, which would keep you from using other companies' embroidery designs unless you bought a separate card reader, the Futura can read all the common software. So you can download most embroidery designs on the internet, including all the freebies! If that wasn't good enough, Singer includes a whole bunch of software programs, including the most important, Autopunch, which helps you create your own embroidery designs. You can turn any font or clip art into an embroidery design, and then EDIT it! It's really cool.

This used to retail for around $900, but it's usually going around $200 more right now. The CE-150 is similar, but has only 24 stitches, and doesn't have the "error" window (but does still have the tension and stitch length slide knobs). HSN has some videos of the Futura on it's website.
I would HIGHLY recommend this machine to anyone, based on ease of use. I can't say about longevity, however. Here is where the crying comes in.

You see, a year after I got it (and without having had the time to use it enough), we had to sell it. Some financial problems and an impending move forced us into it, and I've regretted it every day since. (Stupid, stupid, stupid!)

Because now, HSN no longer carries this machine (I don't have a nice big tax return this time to afford one...I need the flex pays on HSN.) They carry the Futura CE-150, which is probably fine, but has less stitches, and is now selling for the same price that the 250 sold for two years ago! They're also selling the step up, the new Futura SE 2000, which is $1500! Yikes, even flex pays won't help me get that one. So no Futura for me in the near future.

I could cry. I really could.

But I did find a new sewing machine. Tune in for the unveiling...

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Hypnotic "Nature's Notebook"

Have you SEEN it? It's positively gorgeous.

As I walked into my local quilt shop, I stopped in my tracks. There, before me, was the most beautiful sight this quilter has ever seen: Nature's Notebook line by April Cornell, for Moda. These pictures do NOT do it justice. The fabric is twice as fantastic in real life.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I'm a traditional kind of gal. I like pastels, feminine prints, elegant designs. So normally, the trendy stuff doesn't excite me too much, and there's always trendy stuff mixed into every fabric line. Then, I saw her...

She was the most beautiful collection of fabric I've ever seen. Just the right shades of blue (did I mention that I go gaga for light blue?), butter yellows, and serene greens. This line manages to have traditional patterns, but done in a fresh new way, making each fabric timeless. Of course, I like some of the fabrics more than others in the Nature's Notebook line, but there isn't a one that I don't like.

I mean really, what's not to like?

Back in the quilt shop, I stood gazing upon the row of beautiful bolts before me. The words "it's me!" and "it's perfect" swirled 'round and 'round in my head, and it was all I could do not do scoop the little darlings up in my arms and make a mad dash for the door. (Really, it was very silly of them to put such desirable stuff right by the door. What were they thinking?)

Then the moral part of my brain kicked in, and I shook off the alluring spell which these decadent reams of delight had cast upon me. Since I didn't have the $3300 or more that it probably would have cost me to purchase all the bolts in the entire line, I decided to settle for some charm packs...little bits of love. (sigh) Then...HORROR!!

There were no more charm packs.

No jelly rolls.

No layer cakes.

Only two...


...honey buns!


"All right, who's in charge of inventory here?!" I wanted to shout. "Where are my charm packs? My jelly rolls?" Don't get me wrong, honeybuns are great, but I loved this fabric, and I wanted to see as much of the patterns and colors as I could. You know, so I could go home, pet them, hold them up to the light and admire them. The normal stuff. How was I going to do that with 1 1/2" tall strips?? Oh, it was a travesty.

I pondered the possibility of taking a smidge from each of my favorite bolts, but it was closing time for painful decisions and harried bolt-cutting. So I hemmed. I hawed. I pondered perplexedly. Finally, I snatched a honey bun and took my treasure to the counter. I was NOT leaving empty handed!

Once home, I sat in quiet contemplation, wavering between the desire to admire the little strips of heaven in their pretty little roll, and the lure of letting loose the long ribbons of fabric to behold in their full array of beauty. (sigh)

At long last, eager to share my find with my husband, I unrolled the ravishing reel to reveal the refined patterns and color combinations that make this collection so exquisitely elegant.

Holding the strands of splendor in my hands, I saw in my mind's eye a bright, airy bedroom of blue, with a white antique cast iron bed. Upon this bed lay a quilt of surpassing loveliness. The hues were reminiscent of the pale cerulean sky and newly budding leaves outside the window, and the cool whites picked up the color of the pale sheer curtains that stirred in the fresh spring breeze, which carried with it the scent of apple blossoms...

"Yeah.'s nice." My husband's voice broke into my reverie.

"Nice? Just nice? It's stunning!"

"It's very nice." He turned back to his reading.

Men just don't understand.

Wherever you are, April Cornell (and Moda), thank you, thank you, thank you!