Studio Time

September was busy and I'm settling into a studio rhythm. Early last month I attended the Holly Girls Quilt retreat as I do every fall. While there, I designed and prepared the last two strips of my Susan McCord inspired strip quilt. 

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After basting the applique for stitching later, I pulled out my Oakshott scraps and made some tiny little basket blocks.

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As I go through my home sewing area and deciding what to take to the new studio, I am finding lots of treasures like this stash of leftover 2" stars from my Stardust quilt that is on the cover of my book. I am now feeling the need to put them together in another quilt.

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The downtown studio has no computer or distractions of home and I am enjoying a bit of focused sewing time there each day. Look at that light!!! 

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After school sewing clubs on Mondays and Tuesdays are well underway. We are having a lot of fun sewing and making projects.  

I'm also ready for hosting quilting workshops in the studio. Let me know if you and your friends are interested. 

Moving In

I've spent the last week or two moving in to the new space. I've got the machines all set up for sewing club next week. 


The studio/classroom has a long wall of windows overlooking Main Street and I'm looking forward to sewing with all of that morning light!

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I still have a little more settling in to do but things are starting to look good. 

Check out the class schedule, I've got after schools sewing clubs on Mondays and Tuesdays. I'll be adding some more events soon. Let me know if you or your group want to schedule a workshop

Old School Sewing

I am thrilled to announce my new sewing adventure!

I've leased a space in downtown Chelsea. I'll be doing my own work there as well as teaching classes. Read more about Old School Sewing on the new website.

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I'll be leading sewing clubs for youth and young adults on Mondays and Tuesdays. On-going sewing clubs offer young people the opportunity to learn the skills for success in their world of sewing and creating, from learning to thread the machine and basic sewing skills to quilt making and garment sewing. Clubs are offered early and late afternoon to meet the needs of both home school and public-school students. The students well be sewing on vintage sewing machines and all materials for club projects are provided.

I will also be teaching workshops for quilters. Check the website for scheduled events or contact me to set something up for you and a group of friends. There is a bed and breakfast two blocks from the studio and several other lodging options within a couple of miles. I have several Featherweights and a Necchi Supernova available for those who do not wish to travel with their own machine.

Other project workshops will also be offered occasionally, and will be announced on my facebook page and the Old School Sewing website.

Come sew with me!!

Tool Time

Brewer Distributors sent me the new Quilters Select rotary cutting mat and some rulers by Alex Anderson to try. You guys, these tools are AMAZING! 

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I know what you're thinking. Can these rulers really be any different that all the others out there? Well, let me tell you, they ARE different! 

The rulers are made with a finish on the bottom that grips to the fabric. They DO NOT SLIP. Even the long 24 inch ruler stays put when cutting across full yardage. The markings are easy to read and the inch numbers on all four sides of the ruler, start at BOTH ends. This means that no matter how you pick up the ruler you will be able to measure correctly.  And with the numbers going in both directions it works great for both left and right hand users. 

The markings are easy to read on both dark and light fabrics as seen here. 

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The mat is double sided with dark and light sides.

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The rulers and cutting mat work together quite well. The mat has a finish that is a little bit slick which helps when squaring up blocks. As you can see in this video, the ruler sticks to the fabric and when you rotate the ruler, the fabric rotates with it. You can easily trim a block without repositioning the ruler. This makes for more accurate cutting and can save a lot of time. 

Thank you Brewer for letting me try out these fabulous new tools by Alex Anderson. I am smitten and will be collecting all the sizes of these rulers!

Cat Pencil Bag

It's fair week here in our town. This weekend, while Miss P was getting things together to enter in the fair, I helped by looking through our photos since last August. I came across photos of this cute pencil bag that she made. I found no record of having shared it with you. I couldn't find a post on the old blog or on FB. So, I'm sharing it now. Clearly, I had plans to share this because look at this photo!

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She did it all herself and loosely followed this tutorial. 

I love the tail!!

I hope this little cat enjoys her stay at the fair this week. Maybe she'll even come home with a ribbon.

How to Put a New Cover on an Old Spiral Notebook

Today, my daughter wants to share how she's getting ready for school. She has found some of her own partially used spiral notebooks and is spiffing them up with new covers. Here's her tutorial!

The school supply list for seventh grade included spiral notebooks. Last year, I used only a few pages from each of my notebooks, so I decided to tear out the used pages and make the books new covers, because the old ones were all falling off, and I liked what I ended up with so much I decided to make a tutorial.

The supplies for stage 1 include the back of a legal pad, (or you can use other thin cardboard), a paper cutter, (or scissors, if you can cut through the material you are using), a small hole punch, needle-nose pliers, Scotch-Tape, a pencil, and eraser.

To begin, use the pliers to unbend the wire at either end of the spiral, so that it can be twisted out.

Next, I twist the spiral until it is completely free of the papers. Then Scotch-Tape the pages and back cover together so they don't go all over the place and set them aside.

Tape the cover to the legal pad back as shown, and trace all the holes and around the edges.

 Next, use the hole punch to cut all of the holes, then cut along the lines with the paper cutter as shown below.


The supplies for stage two of the project include an iron and ironing board, Mod-Podge and brush, a chosen fabric, the prepared card board, a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and ruler.

Press your fabric first, and press a fold into the edge of the fabric as shown. Lay the cardboard on top of it with the holes hanging off the folded edge. Cut the top corners away like the picture shows, 1/2 of an inch past the edge of the cardboard.

Now, for the Mod-Podge! brush one side of the cardboard, and line it up on the fabric.

Once the front is stuck, flip it over and brush the top edge, folding the top flap down as shown, before beginning to brush one side, and folding that side over, followed by the other side. 

Then brush a little bit on the raw edges so they won't fray, and wait for it to dry.

Finally, once the Mod-Podge is dry, l laid the new cover on top of the other pages, twisted the wire back in, and re-bent the ends with the pliers.

TA-DA!!!! You now have one super cool spiral bound notebook!

These are the original covers. See the improvement!

Alexander Girard Exhibit

A friend and I recently went to the Alexander Girard exhibit at the Cranbrook Art Museum.

An interesting part of the exhibit was a display area about his time in boarding school when he invented an imaginary country - the Republic of Fife. "He spent all of his free time designing maps, flags, currency and coins, postage stamps, and games as well as developing a range of secret languages and codes that he also used to communicate with his family. In Girard's imagination, the Republic of Fife, whose name he had borrowed from the Scottish county of Fife, was part of a larger empire known as Celestia. Other parts of Celestia were "given" to his parents , his sister Lezlie, and his brother Giancarlo.
At its core, the Republic of Fife displays the same characteristics that would later define Girard's work as a designer: his faschination with other cultures, his interest in design as a means of communications, his ability to create imaginary worlds, and his love detail."

This section of the exhibit displayed stacks of composition books filled with the language of Fife, maps, coats of arms, and postage stamp designs. There were also painted rocks that he used as coins and a hand made deck of cards and board came with hand drawn playing pieces. It was a superb collection from his time at boarding school.

I was impressed with the variety of artifacts on display in the entire exhibit. There were some of his early creations along with the preliminary sketches .

One room was filled with many textile designs.

The exhibit continues into other rooms displaying an astounding variety of his creations as well as some of his own folk art collection from which he drew inspiration. 

I am eager to see the exhibit again. One visit was just not enough to absorb all that was on display. 

Broken - domestic abuse quilt #7

Broken, finished size 16'' by 16''

This quilt is based on the traditional log cabin block. The centers here are black instead of the traditional red that symbolizes a warm hearth. 

The "cabins" are also not complete shelters; they are broken.

Domestic abuse does not affect just one person or even one household or nuclear family. It leaves extended families and friends fragile and disconnected.

Domestic abuse leaves a wake of breakage:

broken objects of sentimental value,

broken  hearts,

broken  friendships,

broken trust,

broken  promises.

If you have a friend or family member who is experiencing abuse here are some things you can do to help. The most important thing to remember is that the choice to leave or not is theirs. You can't make them leave a bad situation but you can be supportive and helpful in their choice. They will need someone they can count on when/if they do decide to end or leave the abusive relationship.

Domestic Violence knows no boundaries when it comes to race/gender/sexuality/age/socioeconomic status/geographic location/culture.  

Remember, domestic abuse affects ten million people in the US every year.  If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please know that the folks at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1 800 799 SAFE or are ready to listen and support you, as well as refer you to a local program or organization. If you observe someone being abused, you can also call the hotline.  A good samaritan call can save a life!

All of the quilts in the Domestic Abuse series so far can be viewed here.