Family Time, Hot Tips, My Life

New uses for old rotary cutter and blades

Do you have any rotary cutters that you no longer use because you got a newer and better one?

I do too, and finally decided to make that my paper cutting rotary cutter.  I used to change blades from fabric to paper on the same cutter, then I got smart and started using an older, smaller cutter to cut just paper.

I’ve used that cutter to cut apart lots of paper items.  If you don’t already know it, you can cut paper with a rotary cutter long after the blade is not sharp enough to cut through fabric.  This is why I have a separate cutter just for paper.

Just this morning I made tags to go on my donation for our guild’s Christmas auction.  I first made a sheet of tags and printed them on a piece of card stock, then sliced them apart.  It’s quicker than using scissors and more accurate too because I also use use my mat & rulers.

I’ll be making more of the chocolate pecan pretzel bark for our church’s bazaar this weekend so I made a sheet full of those tags.

Other things we’ve cut are school projects for science fairs, book reports, and I use them to cut apart our sheets of photos each time we order another portrait package from JC Penney!  The blades last a very long time.

More recently I retired my original 45 MM cutter and realized it’s big enough to cut through cardboard!  That’s right, now I have a cardboard cutting rotary cutter too.  School projects are quick to cut now.  I have a 2″ x 36″ ruler than can really make long, accurate cuts.

My rotary cutter has become at least as useful as my hot glue gun of years ago!

Any other uses for that rotary cutter that I’ve not thought of yet?

Until next time,


new fabric collection

Another Moda lovin’ post…say hello to Cosmo Cricket’s Salt Air

It doesn’t get much better than when the UPS truck drives up my driveway with a package wrapped in Moda/United Notions tape…

This post comes to you when my sewing room is in TOTAL disarray from my urge last week on the last nice day of the year that I decided to FINALLY repaint my fabric “cages.”  It worked out quite nicely because they’ve been drying the whole time I was on a quilt retreat with other quilt pattern designers.  But I digress…

Yes, I knew what was in the box, but it’s just not the same seeing the fabrics on Moda’s website as it is seeing them in person sitting on my counter!!!

Ooh, la, la!!!!!

I knew I’d like these fabrics, but since opening that box, I’ve decided on about a bagillion projects so far!  I also think I’ll need to add a couple of fabrics to make the collection “just right!”

Can’t wait to show you my newly painted fabric cages, but for now it’s off to bake my Thanksgiving Day goodies.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time,


Hot Tips, My Life

Using tape to help remove un-stitching

I have to say one of my least favorite things to do while sewing is un-stitching, you know, making a mistake then having to make it right.  It’s not that I want to appear perfect by any means.  It’s one of those waste of time things.  I learned a way to speed up the process and I want to share it with you.

First I want to show you that I use little pointed scissors that I use.

Instead of a seam ripper I use these and snip every 4 stitch or so.

You can then pull the two pieces of fabric apart and this is what you’re left with.

If the seam was of any length, you’re left with a bunch of little threads that annoying to remove, say you sewed on your entire binding and realized you used the wrong needle position (sound familiar to anyone???).

So, take out your masking tape

and press it onto those pesky little pieces of thread.

Pull tape off and viola!

The pesky little threads are on the tape and no longer on your fabric.

I keep masking tape in my sewing room anyway for basting my quilt sandwich, so it’s always handy.

I hope you don’t need this tip any time soon, but if you do this will make your sewing life a little bit easier.

Until next time,


A Giveaway!, My Life, Quilt Shopping Out & About

And the winner is…


Rachel B. please email me with your mailing info so I can see that you receive a free copy:

Thanks to all of you who joined Quiltmaker and all of us to introduce the newest 100 Blocks Volume 4! A special thank you to those of you who commented on my blog and those of you that became subscribers.

If you were not lucky enough to win one of the free issues, head to your local quilt shop or news stand next week to purchase a copy.  It’s full of lots of inspiration for just $6.99!

Until next time,


A Giveaway!, New Pattern Sample, Quick Little Projects, Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

It’s Tuesday…

…and my day to blog about the new 100 Blocks Volume 4.

My block #313:

How strange is that, my favorite number is #13!!!

Olde St. Nick

Notice the signature on the block?  It’s one of the requirements when sending in the block.

  Run right over to Quiltmaker’s blog and register to win original blocks!

Not only that, they’re offering lots of free stuff all week on the blog hop.

Now that you’ve met my Olde St. Nick, take a look at him (and his twin) on a fast & fun table runner that is also included in this issue on page 90.

To make a table runner of  your own:

First win or purchase a new copy of 100 Blocks Vol. 4

Make 2 Olde St. Nick blocks pg. 24 (see my last post for quick cutting)

Some of my favorite tools for this job include:

Wonder Under fusible web by Pellon,

an applique sheet to fuse all the pieces together on and

my machine’s button hole stitch with Sulky’s 12 wt. thread!  It makes my applique “pop”!

Cut 60, 2-1/2″ red squares

Cut 1, 10″ red square

Sew the red 2-1/2″ squares into 6 rows of 10 squares each.  Sew the rows together to make a 12-1/2″ x 20-1/2″ rectangle.  Sew an Olde St. Nick block onto each 12-1/2″ end.

Cut 10″ red square in half diagonally. Sew a triangle onto bottom of each Olde St. Nick block as shown in photo above.  Trim excess from triangles.

Quilt as desired, bind and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy the issue as much as I enjoy being part of it.

Now go UP, UP, UP to the TOP of my blog and leave a comment telling me your favorite season to sew for.  By doing this you’ll be entered to win the drawing for a FREE issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks vol. 4.

The blog hop lasts all week, and I will personally draw for my winner on Friday after midnight.

Good luck and have fun!

Until next time,


Hot Tips, New ideas

Hot Tip Tuesday #25, reinstated, at least for now!

It has indeed been a while since I posted a hot tip for Tuesday hasn’t it?

It’s not that I don’t have any more hot tips, it’s just that I got busy with market, then I just plain had no time to think about it much less work at it, so my apologies and I hope you can appreciate this hot tip.

While getting ready for my post for the new Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 4 blog hop I realized I’ve never shown you how I cut multiple applique pieces at once.  I’m sure many of you already do this, but I’m always amazed at those that it has never occurred to, so…

When I have an applique piece that is used several times in a project and the pattern says to cut 4, I NEVER trace that piece 4 times then cut it out 4 times, no, no,no!  I’m much too lazy for that!

Look at the repeated flowers.

I don’t want to trace that same pink flower 4 times…

I determine how big the item is,

I trace the item 1 time,

calculate how big 4 would be,

fuse that much fabric,

trim fabric

peel off the paper backing,

cut the rectangles,

stack them up***********  VERY IMPORTANT:  Layer fabric to fusible web.  If you layer fusible web to fusible web and cut out, you will fuse the two layers together and you will NEVER get them apart. (Ask me how I know! You won’t make that mistake twice!)

Also make sure you pin the pattern right side to your fabric so you don’t accidentally reverse it.  With these flowers it will not matter, but with some designs it’s important.

pin together with template,

cut ONCE!


4 pink flowers with cutting once!

I can usually cut 4-6 applique pieces if the design isn’t too intricate.  If I needed 8 of these same flowers I would have fused twice as much fabric, cut 4 more rectangles and cut out another flower (x4).

Even if each peice is not cut from the same fabric I use this technique.  Trace once, cut once, have 4-6 applique shapes.

If you need a shape and the reverse of the shape, like the bunny on this pattern, layer fabric to fabric then cut out. If you need 4 bunnies, do that twice since you can’t lay fusible web to fusible web.  It’s still cutting your time in half!

Now if you decide to make my table runner from the 100 Blocks magazine coming up next, you’ll have a way to cut your cutting time in half!

Until next time,


Family Time, My Life

Guess what I did over the weekend?

I met one of my all-time favorite artists, Mary Engelbreit!

Mary has a new book that came out November 1st, “Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker”.

I noticed on Mary’s blog that she was going to have a book signing in Washington, MO (a mere 90 miles away) on Saturday.

When the weather people promised a beautiful day for a drive, I invited my mom and daughter, Clare to go along.  We took in a few antique shops, gift shops and the gallery where Mary’s book signing was to be held, Jane and David Arnold’s gallery, The Art Center.  A lovely gallery with very nice owners who baked  delicious chocolate chip cookies with hot chocolate too.

I’m glad to have finally met Mary in person.  Funny though how years of subscribing to her magazine that is sadly no longer being printed, plus owning several of her books, all gifts from my mom, sister and a friend, and of course reading her blog, I felt that I already knew her!

A lovely lady!

She took time to listen to and chat with all of us there who appreciate her beautiful artwork that makes us smile.  If you live in the St. Louis area, Mary will have another book signing at the County Library on November 19th.

Thanks Mary!

Until next time,


A Giveaway!, My Life, New ideas, New quilt pattern, Quick Little Projects

One more day!

…until the blog hop.

You’ll want to join in the fun, trust me.

Each participating designer will be giving away one issue of the 100 Blocks vol. 4.

More freebies will be available from Quiltmaker including the original, signed blocks from the issue!!!

Just go to Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks to join in the fun!

My day is Tuesday.

Don’t forget to come back here then to see the project that I created with my Olde St. Nick block and its instructions.

Until next time,


My Life, New quilt pattern, Quilt Market, Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Exciting news, I’m a cover girl!!!

I’m excited to announce that my block made it into the newest issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks from today’s top designers.  I’ve known for over a month, but while at International Quilt Market last week I learned that my block made the cover!!!

I know it’s a small photo, but if you look closely you’ll see a green block with Santa’s head and hat, see it?

I also made a table runner with the block, so stay tuned…

The blog hop starts Monday November 7th, and the issue will be available November 15th!

I can’t wait…

Until next time,