Fabric Organization

A few months ago I finally came up with the best layout for my sewing studio, but my fabric storage has always been a problem. I’ve used all sizes of bins, organized by color, or everything in one large bin. It’s always a mess.

Last week while on vacation, I was surfing Pinterest and found the perfect solution! Wrapping fabric on comic book storage boards and storing them upright on shelving.


I couldn’t wait to get started and was at the local comic book store as they opened the doors on Monday morning! A package of 100 boards cost $10.00.

fabricstorage4I love how it looks like mini bolts of fabric in the store! I also love opening the cabinet and seeing all my fabric together. It really helps to see that I don’t need to buy any more black and white (which, of course, won’t happen!), and I can see the colors I’m lacking. I also think I need a lot more fabric! I better bring two tote bags to Quilt Expo in Madison next week!

I used the 7″ x 10 1/2″ size boards, cut them in half for the fat quarters, and used them whole for anything over 1/2 yard. The top shelf holds all of my commercial fat quarters and a bin of Marcia Derse fat quarters. The bottom shelf has commercial yardage and hand dyed fat quarters.

We had a relaxing week in the northwoods of Wisconsin last week. Gorgeous weather the entire time and we were either in or on the lake every day.


Marley and I went out every morning for a paddleboat ride. It took a couple of days for her to get her sea legs, but she finally settled down and found her spot!

I spent an hour or so sitting on the dock one day making a list of everything I want to accomplish the rest of the year … quilting, house projects, personal stuff, etc. Labor Day weekend always feels like the “new year” to me. I get into this goal setting and re-organization mode just like I do at the start of the year. Maybe it’s my realization that there’s still lots of to-do items on the list I made at the first of the year and now I’ve only got 4 months to get them done or carry them over to next year’s list.

So on that note, I better get off the computer and get busy today! (But, blogging more is on the list!)

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Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book

I ordered Tula Pink’s “City Sampler 100 Modern Quilt Blocks” book a few days ago and was hoping it would arrive during the 4-day weekend. It came today and I promptly went into my studio, starting digging through my stash, dumped the scrap bin on the bed, and made two blocks.


The blocks are categorized by Crosses, Rectangles, Triangles, Stripes, Squares, and Haiku. In the back of the book, there are patterns for several quilts, some containing all 100 blocks and some with fewer blocks. The blocks are 6 1/2″ unfinished.

My plan is to make every block in the book and then decide how to put them together. I started with Block 1 (the top one in the picture), then turned the page to Block 2 and got stuck. The block isn’t difficult, but it calls for five different fabrics and I got hung up coordinating the fabrics. I skipped ahead to Block 6 which is the bottom block in the picture.

I’ve been wanting to start another pieced quilt, but couldn’t decide what pattern to make or if I wanted to try my first improvisational piecing project. 

When I saw this book on-line, I thought it was just the thing I needed. No deciding on a pattern … just open the book and make a block. It will help me improve my piecing skills, and I won’t get bored making tons of the same block over and over again. I do see myself getting bored with this if I make them in order, so going forward I’ll be randomly opening the book!

We’re enjoying a low-key 4-day weekend … doing some small house/yard projects, reading, listening to music, and enjoying time to spend on our hobbies. We had a quiet 4th yesterday … we were quiet, our neighborhood was not. We live a block from the country club and across the street from a park. Our neighborhood association puts on a picnic and kid’s activities at the park and the country club has fireworks. The 4th is not our favorite holiday. We spend the day dealing with a very frightened dog. Last night we started a Monopoly game which is still on the living room floor. We’ll play some more tonight while watching the Phish show broadcast live from Saratoga Springs, NY. There will be some dancing going on, too!!

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New Kitchen

Sorry I’ve been away for so long. The last 7 weeks have been stressful even though I think I did pretty well without a kitchen. We had to wait 5 weeks for the counter tops, but were able to hook up our old sink and I had lovely plywood counters! I became quite adept at cooking with a hotplate, microwave, toaster oven, and gas grill. We only went to a restaurant once (on our anniversary), but did get take-out twice a week. The counters and appliances were installed late last week and we’re back to eating healthy.

The trim work still needs to be done when my contractor gets back from vacation and then I’ll paint that. I decided to wait on picking out the backsplash tile until everything was in. My brain is about done with making decisions and I spent 1 1/2 hours in the tile store the other day, pretty much in a daze! My brother who lives in Iowa and does tile installation as an extra job is coming through town Friday, and I’ve asked him to help me pick out the tile.

You can see the before pictures in this post.

Here are the after pictures so far.



kitchenafter4I’ll be replacing the ceiling fan and the light fixture above the table later because I’ve gone over budget (surprise, surprise). 

I’m enjoying all the extra counter space and storage, and I love my quartz counters and undermount sink!

On the quilting front, I did get some more piecing done on the Kaffe Fassett lap quilt. Now that I’m settling back into my normal routine, I can start sewing again.

We had to have a health screening at my husband’s work today for the new insurance plan and my blood pressure is a little high (and I didn’t like what the scale said) … well, no wonder! I’m hoping with most of the kitchen done and time to get back to sewing it’ll come back down to normal.


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Successful Quilt Show

Our quilt show was this weekend and I’ve been busy this morning, as the Director of Social Media for the guild, writing blog posts, Facebook entries, and uploading videos to our YouTube channel. Now I have almost 300 pictures to resize and turn into a slideshow. It’s really a time consuming job to keep all of the social media sites updated, and I’ve recruited a small committee to start helping me this summer. If you’re interested in seeing pictures of the show, you can visit our website in a few days, www.sinnissippiquilters.org. A few pictures are up on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sinnissippi-Quilters-Inc/108741872478157.

As I was starting to resize the photos, I realized I never posted a picture of the quilt I made for the show. I entered it as a display. My piecing skills are not ready to be judged yet!

modern_cross1I really wanted to do a modern quilt instead of my usual art quilt this year. This is a pattern from “We Love Color”, Modern Cross by Kathy Mack. I chose my own colors and quilted it in vertical straight lines in a very light gray thread. It measures 45″x45″. I don’t love this quilt. I do like the bright colors and the quilting, but I don’t like that all the fabrics are solids.

I’m feeling the need to get out my art supplies and make an art quilt, but I have a throw quilt started using Kaffe Fassett fabrics that I want to finish first.

The kitchen remodel whirlwind has died down a bit while I wait four weeks for the counter tops. The cabinets are in and the old sink has been mounted to plywood and hooked up so no more washing dishes in the basement laundry sink … yeah!! I’m going to start moving stuff back in tonight. I’ll still be without stove, oven and dishwasher until the counters are installed, but at least I can get the microwave, toaster oven and hot plate out of the dining room and onto the lovely plywood counters! The new floor will be installed next Monday. Now that the messy part of the project is done, I can finally clean the house this week.

And it’s finally spring here and I’ve got perennials to transplant, annuals to buy and plant and pots to fill. Gee, I thought I’d be able to take a little rest after the quilt show, but noooooooooooooooo!!

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Kitchen Demo

My contractor, Paul (who is also my next door neighbor) and I demolished the kitchen on Friday. It went well and I had fun tearing everything out!

Here are some before pictures.

kitchenbefore1 kitchenbefore2 kitchenbefore3

Gee, the kitchen looks kinda cute in these pictures! They don’t show that the oven has been broken for two years because they don’t make the part for it anymore, I can barely get the drawers open and closed, and the countertops are ugly laminate. The cabinets pretty much fell apart as we took them out.

Here it is after demo.


This is the entire kitchen broken down and piled by the garage. It’ll be picked up tomorrow.

kitchendemo2The electrical work and other repairs will be done this week, I’ll be painting next weekend, and the cabinets and floor will be installed the following week. Then we wait for the countertops.

We moved the fridge into the dining room and I’ve got a temporary kitchen with microwave, toaster oven, hot plate, and crockpot set up in there. We’re washing dishes in the laundry sink in the basement. Since I haven’t had an oven for two years, I use the gas grill most nights and make a salad or steam veggies. So, I anticipate cooking most nights as usual for the next 4-6 weeks.

On the quilt front, our guild’s show is May 4-5. I finished sewing the binding on my quilt this afternoon and still need to sew on a hanging sleeve. I’ll get a picture posted soon.

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First Star Block

I wanted to take an hour to sew this afternoon but didn’t want to go back to piecing the Fassett project or making a decision on the binding fabric for my quilt show quilt (which I finished quilting on Sunday). I purchased The Summer Sampler Series pattern a few weeks ago. It includes 12 different star blocks and thought I could make the first one pretty quickly. This Star of Virginia is the first star block I’ve ever made!

starofvirginiaI was nervous about venturing away from squares and rectangles and didn’t want to spend a lot of time choosing fabrics, so I pulled out some scraps to make it. I think I want to make the whole project scrappy, but don’t know if this block will make the cut. I like the orange and green, but am worried the brown won’t go with my other choices. We’ll see how it plays out.

This series is really going to challenge me. It looks like each block gets more difficult and a lot of them are paper pieced which I haven’t done yet.

The sun is out, the thermometer has finally inched above 40 degrees, and the snow is melting!

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Dense Quilting

Yesterday I started quilting my quilt for the show. There are nine different solids and the Kona Snow. I initially planned (and bought the thread) to quilt white in the white areas and a matching thread in all nine colored sections. That’s a lot of starting, stopped, and changing thread in my limited time period. I decided to see what it would look like if I used a very light gray for the whole thing and sew dense vertical lines.

cross3I like it! This is the first time I’ve used all solids and have decided that’s really not my cup of tea. I like the visual interest of prints paired with a neutral, so I think using the same thread color on the whole things breaks up the solids and gives them some texture. This is going to take a while to quilt … good thing it’s only 46″ x 46″!!

Yesterday I ordered the cabinets and counter and paid half down … no turning back now! I can’t believe that after three years of saving money and hashing out a plan, I’m finally going to have a nice kitchen. We’ve lived here 20 years and the kitchen was classic 70’s when we moved in … horrid wallpaper and vinyl peel and stick floor tiles. About 10 years ago I stripped the wallpaper, painted the cabinets white, tore up the floor and installed laminate. It was supposed to be a temporary cosmetic fix, but other critical house repairs (like a new roof) kept taking priority.


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I’m Just a Little Freaked Out

“I’m just a little freaked out” is a line from the song, Cities, by the Talking Heads and is playing over and over in my head. I wanted to take a few minutes to let you know why I haven’t posted in a while.

cross1Here’s a sneak peak of my modern quilt I’m making for our quilt show the first weekend in May. I finally got it basted yesterday.


I had planned to enter a second quilt made from these Kaffe Fassett fabrics, but that’s not going to happen. I chose a pattern that uses various sizes of strip sets that are then cut into different sizes and sewn into squares. Very time consuming.

Time is something that’s lacking in my life right now, hence the “I’m just a little freaked out” that’s stuck in my head!

Kitchen demo begins on April 19th. I’m excited, but have so much to do before then. I’ve made a decision on the cabinets and counters and am ordering them tomorrow. Still getting floor quotes and have to shop for all the other stuff … appliances, back splash tile, faucet, disposal, lights, etc. Oh, and my contractor wants me to paint in between demo and installation which falls the weekend before the quilt show. I haven’t even started to think about what color to paint. I’ve hung a white board in the kitchen to keep myself organized.

As I was telling my husband the other day about the several stores coming to measure and give quotes, I started to laugh. Since I work at home (and am nosy), I see the comings and goings at my neighbors’ houses. I hope they aren’t wondering why there are different men coming to my house every day!! It does pay to be nosy, though. I saw someone breaking into a neighbor’s house at 9:30 in the morning a few months ago and called the police.

Other than getting the quilting and binding done on the quilt for the show, I won’t be sewing until the kitchen is completed, so my next few posts will be about the remodel.





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Cutting Favorite Fabric

I splurged on a fat quarter bundle of Kaffe Fassett at Quilt Expo in Madison last September and have been afraid to cut it! I’ve spent months looking for just the right pattern to showcase this beautiful fabric. I chose one this morning that uses 18 fat quarters … I’ve selected 17 Fassett fabrics and am adding Kona Snow for the 18th. I just ironed it and am still nervous to cut it, but I’m done procrastinating and want to get this pieced and my entry form turned in for the quilt show (which is due next Thursday).


I went to IKEA two weeks ago and finally bought the extender legs for my table. I’ve been wanting them forever, but always had better things to spend $60 on … like fabric! I decided to use my birthday money and am now kicking myself I didn’t do this a long time ago. Besides the design wall I made from foam core and flannel, this is the best thing in my studio! I can iron and cut without bending over and if I want to sit and work on something, I bring a bar stool up from the basement. Now that I can see everything under the table, I need to reorganize that area with some nice storage boxes or baskets. Everything in the credenza is jewelry making supplies which I can probably put away in the closet. The rolling carts hold a lot of my mixed media supplies. I love spending a day cleaning and reorganizing my studio, but it’ll have to wait for now.


Yesterday I finished the top for the quilt I’m displaying at our quilt show in May. Picture taken, registration form filled out, and in the mail this morning … 6 days ahead of the due date! I have until the end of April to get it quilted and bound. I’ll wait until it’s done to post a picture here.

My vertigo caused by an inner ear issue kept me down all of last week. Didn’t feel better until Sunday afternoon. Still have a few “spells” of vertigo when I bend over or turn my head too fast, but at least I feel like I’m almost at 100% this week. I tried to sew last Friday and ended up tearing everything out because my seams were more crooked than usual!!

Okay, I’m going to stop procrastinating and cut the Fassett fabric! What’s the worst that can happen … I don’t like the quilt and I have to buy more!!

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I Made a Tote Bag!

I have wanted to make a tote bag for a long time, but just don’t understand the written directions. So when one of our guild members offered to teach a quilted tote bag workshop last Saturday, I signed up immediately!


totebag2I used Sweetwater’s Mama Said Sew charm pack for the outside and Sweetwater’s Reunion Johnnys Jacks for the lining and handles. The inside as six deep pockets. I love it!

Last week I started on the modern quilt I’m making for our quilt show. Also took another trip into IKEA on Friday to make my final decision on kitchen cabinets and get a sample piece of cabinet. I planned to go around town today to look at counter tops, but I’ve had a weird bout of vertigo since Monday that has kept me down, feeling nauseous, and missing two days of work. My guess is a migraine minus the headache or an inner ear thing. I’ve had it before, but it usually only lasts a day or two. I’m on day three and sick of laying on the couch watching TV, so am trying to push through it and at least get a few little things done around the house today. I have gotten some kitchen ideas from watching two solid days of HGTV and DIY!

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