Organization in My Sewing Room!

My sewing room can get in a mess, for sure, but thanks to a good friend things are looking a lot better around here!  Through my quilt shop, I have met some of the most talented people and made some very sweet, creative friends. Meet a very special one today, Mr. Paul Johnson. His wife, Ann, is a prolific quilter/sewer, giving away most of the things she makes to charities and family. I can't say enough about how thoughtful and kind and generous they are.

Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Placing Paul's ladder (which isn't technically a ladder, but a quilt display rack) right next to my machine keeps strips in perfect order and ready for sewing.

Sewing organizing tips at maxiemakes.com

Paul happens to love woodworking...and he's very good at it. His finished projects are as smooth as melted butter, and the woodgrain is fine and pure. He loves wood like I love fabric.

For my birthday, Paul and Ann (Ann's part was allowing it to come to my sewing room and not hers!) gifted me with a beautiful 'ladder' for displaying quilts. It lives in my sewing room, and when I'm working on a project that requires sewing lots of strips together I remove the quilts and hang my strips on the rungs! Placing the ladder right beside me at my sewing machine is like having a sewing butler at my side, holding the strips neatly in order for me!

 

Then...just look at this thread cabinet (below, left)! It organizes my embroidery thread cones and keeps them free of dust! The other cabinet holds containers of buttons and other necessities, all handy and harmonized. Notice the yardstick trim and wooden spool knobs on the doors? Perhaps one of my very favorite things is the embroidery hoop organizer placed between the two cabinets. Where else does one keep all those hoops? Oh, and don't overlook the ruler rack on the left wall. Thank you, Paul and Ann!

In addition to the things I've shared today, Paul makes wooden chests with clear sides and tops for storing quilts, custom plastic rotary cutting templates (any shape!), customized wooden quilt hangers, and thread stands for using large cones at your sewing machine. If you're in need of something beautiful to help you organize, just let me know and I'll put you in touch with the Handicrafter!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

What I wish I had Known When I was starting out

Bonnie has written a most beautiful, encouraging letter to all of us, sharing the things she has learned through looking back on her journey thus far. Because we can't see into the future, sometimes we don't know just how hard the journey to reach our goals can become, but Bonnie does a great job of inspiring and cheering us on to fulfill our dreams, and asked if I would share what I have learned along the way.

What I Wish I had Known When I Was Starting Out

If I answer this challenge honestly, I have to look at several journeys. I'm old enough to have had more than one 'start' in my life, from the first seam I stitched at the age of 12 to a fairly recent start into the world of blogging. So let me go back and hit just one thing about several of my journeys and goals.

1. Never worry. The things I worried about never happened. If I could go back and re-live my youth, or my newlywed years, or my early days of motherhood, I would live them blissfully without worry. Trust God.

2. Dream. Pray. Little known fact: I dreamed of being a dental assistant when I was a teen. After I married, I applied for an open position in a local dental office, prayed much about it and was hired! I worked and learned a lot about life for the 5 years in that office. It was the best thing that could have happened for me, and I left to start my family.

3. Believe. I wanted children so badly, and after 10 years of marriage Becky was born! 3 years later, Bonnie arrived.

4. Give. Give your time; give your talents; give your financial gifts. Make yourself available for others, but don't overlook giving time to yourself.

5. Forgive. This one can be tough, and the longer I live the more forgiveness I have to experience. Sometimes I'm forgiving others and sometimes I'm asking for forgiveness. We are human and no one is exempt. I forgive so that I can be forgiven. When you're working hard toward a goal, remember that you'll need to let go of some things at times and keep moving.

6. Have fun. After my girls left home, I opened my quilt shop, A Stitch in Time. It was, and continues to be, a source of community, strength and outreach for me. I'm happiest when I'm teaching and sharing, and my blog and shop give me plenty of opportunities.

I still have goals, and things I want to do, both in my sewing career and my personal life. So, in looking back at what I have learned, can I apply these things to my own future? If so, I will never worry, I'll keep dreaming and praying and believing and giving and forgiving, all while having the time of my life.

I'm tagging Sarah Overton and Andrea Walker, two beautifully creative young women that I am blessed to work with! Visit Bonnie's blog to read all the responses from other creatives...and be inspired and encouraged!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless. Maxie

A Pincushion for My Daddy

You know that feeling when you hold an object in your hand that you’ve made. Some things are distinctive, and you know how that feels, too. Like this little pincushion. It's an unconventional memorial, I know, but this pincushion is dedicated to the memory of my father, who passed away March 12. As I share a little tutorial, let me also share why this is for Dad.

Juicy Goosey Paper Pieced block from Jeli Quilts

Juicy Goosey Paper Pieced block from Jeli Quilts

The pincushion came about because of a challenge hosted by my local Modern Quilt Guild. I ended up with all the solids shown, and we were instructed to make something using them all plus one additional fabric of our choosing. I chose Tim Holtz' Dictionary print as a background, and decided to check off a paper pieced block I'd been longing to make: Juicy Goosey, designed by Jeli Quilts.

Four paper pieced sections.

 Even though I have sold about 12 bolts of this particular fabric in my quilt shop, I had never read the words on the dictionary fabric. But as I began to piece the tiny 2" sections, I noticed the word "memory" landing in my focus over and over. Each time I saw it, I thought of Daddy, who had been in memory care for several months before he passed. The entire project stirred up so many memories of him, and I thought of him every minute I sewed. Lots of minutes...

4" paper pieced block.

Memory care is hard. Hard on families, hard on caregivers, but hardest on the sufferer. Although Dad never forgot who his family was, the only other thing he could remember was that he was not with Mom. They had been separated for six months because my mother had sustained brain trauma in a car accident, requiring full time skilled nursing care. I brought her to North Carolina to be near me, but dad remained in Georgia while I worked out his transfer to my town. When I finally was able to bring him to North Carolina, I arranged a meeting with mom. It was the sweetest day. Dad was strong for the 30 minute ride to Momma's facility. Every day for six months his only goal had been to get to Mom, and this day had finally come to fulfillment. Their visit was beautiful; they were both so happy, embracing while the family and nurses watched and cried.  Mom's doctor said it was "the most touching scene of love and devotion he had ever seen". 

Thought you'd like to see the back side. Mmmmmhhhhhmmmm.

Thought you'd like to see the back side. Mmmmmhhhhhmmmm.

It took just about everyone present to get dad to the car to head back to my town, but he finally agreed to leave Mom and we headed back to his home. The next day, Dad wasn't himself. He continued to decline and passed away 10 days after that visit with Mom. They never saw each other again, but Dad spoke of the visit often, and how beautiful Mom was. Hospice felt that he had been holding on to see Mom just one more time. I will always be thankful for that meeting, and for bringing him to my town.  I cherish the time spent with him during the last few weeks of his life, and recalling our visits as I sewed this little pincushion has been such a blessing.

I decided to add yellow piping to the top edges around my little block. Baby Lock's mini piping foot made short work of that task, both in creating the piping and attaching it to the edge of the little paper pieced square. I also used this foot when sewing the sides to the block, because the piping stayed right in the groove, keeping the seam straight and close to the piping. Click on the photo, left, to read more about this helpful little foot.

After applying the piping, I attached the sides and bottom. The top of the pincushion measures 4.5", so I cut four sides 4.5" x 2.5". I cut a 4.5" square for the bottom piece.

The sides are attached separately, placing each one on the pincushion top (right sides together) and stitching the seam, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance unsewn at the beginning and end of the seam (as shown in the first photo, below). Be sure to secure the seam with a knot or back stitch at each end. Sew all four sides on.  Next, sew the short sides together, leaving the 1/4" seam allowance unsewn at both ends in the same manner (last photo).

Sewing a box pincushion.

The bottom is sewn on in the same way, leaving about 2" unsewn on one side for turning and stuffing. Slipstitch closed.

So, Daddy, every time I use my pincushion I'll be thinking of you. Thank you for all you meant to me. I walked into Momma's room the other day to find her clutching your photo to her heart. I promise to take care of her until you're together again and never have to be apart.

Thank you for

  • Never telling me that I sewed the buttons and buttonholes to the wrong side of your shirts I made for you. You wore them proudly.
  • Surprising me with money for the expensive puppy I wanted.
  • Believing that I could sing, and buying me a guitar. I pushed through the lessons, mostly to please you.
  • Lots of airplane rides, and even one glider ride. You were a great pilot and I always felt safe.
  • Loving my peach pie.
  • Letting me bring you a bowl of ice cream and cookies every night to the sofa. (How did you stay so thin?).
  • Making a cradle for my baby, and beautiful fabric display tables for my quilt shop.
  • Driving me to church every Sunday without fail when I was a teenager. Oh, how I wanted you to go to church with me.
  • Giving your life to the Lord, finally.

I could go on and on. I'll love him forever.

Thanks for visiting. Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

 

A Noteworthy Notebook or Journal Cover

Everyone loves a journal cover, but making one requires a bit of math to figure out the wrap and the perfect amount of extra fabric to tuck under at the edges. Right? Wrong! My quilting friend, Lee Monroe of May Chappell Designs has developed a great Scrappy Journal tutorial that includes a downloadable worksheet with fill-in-the-blanks for your specific journal's measurements. The result is just about as math-less as possible! Since she has done all the work and provided a step by step tutorial for creating our own personalized cover, we have no excuse to not have a beautiful journal cover! You'll find her worksheet available in the Scrappy Journal tutorial link above.

Journal Cover in Sweet as Honey fabrics.
Journal Cover with Sashiko Stitching.

I used one of my favorite fabric lines, Sweet as Honey, by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics. I did a bit of fussy cutting for the patchwork, and then I had fun quilting it with my Baby Lock Sashiko machine! It looks like true hand stitching, but is done in a fraction of the time! By the way, the Sashiko machine has many other facets of performance. You'll find a myriad of Sashiko ideas on Evy Hawkin's blog, A Bit of Stitch.

Baby Lock's Sashiko machine gives a truly hand stitched look.
Pieced and quilted journal cover.

You could omit piecing the cover altogether by using just one fabric for the entire cover...which would be a great place to feature your favorite fabric or practice your machine quilting skills (or let your quilting artistry shine)! A small project is the perfect way to try out a new skill or design.

Make a Journal Cover

So stop over at Lee's fun website, and while there, check out all her tutorials, tips and beautiful patterns. You can even sign up for her weekly Tuesday tip to be emailed directly to your inbox.

Enjoy making your journal cover! Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing, and God bless. Maxie

Machine Embroidery, Sweets for the Sweet!

I've been a fan of Evy Hawkins' work for a while. You may be familiar with her beautiful Sashiko techniques, or her monograms and embroidery designs, or her machine cutwork (she teaches a Machine Embroidered Cutwork Class on Craftsy). Her website is a wonderland of delicately beautiful needlework, ranging from quilting to hand embroidery. It's packed with projects, tutorials and inspiration, so brew a cup of tea and have a visit with Evy!

Baby Deer Embroidery Design by Evy Hawkins

When I first saw her Baby Deer embroidery designs I knew I had to make something for my new granddaughter, Ollie Doe! I could hardly wait for the 5 second download to complete. By the way, she offers this for both hand and machine embroiderers.

Baby Lock Destiny Sewing and Embroidery Machine
Baby Deer by Evy Hawkins (abitofstitch.com)

My Baby Lock Destiny stitched it out perfectly! Tip: My machine has an optional basting feature, which adds a basting stitch around the design, spaced perfectly around four sides. Before removing the stitches, I used them to square up the embroidery piece perfectly! I simply measured 1" off the stitching line and trimmed. See photo below. Ready for the borders!

Using the basting stitching line as a guide for trimming.

I added 3" borders of pink check printed linen and piping and it was ready for little Ollie's visit in no time! Thanks, Evy, for your beautiful work!

And thank you for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless. Maxie

The LookBook: Forest Floor by Bonnie Christine

I love the day that Art Gallery releases their beautiful LookBooks for their fabric lines. You'll find one for each collection, and I'm so excited that the eagerly anticipated LookBook for Bonnie Christine's newest line, Forest Floor is here! Click the book to view! All fabrics are available with free shipping at A Stitch in Time.

This project was particularly fun for me for several reasons. First of all, not only did I make a few of the projects inside, I was able to tag along on the photo shoot, which took place in Pisgah Forest, NC. The photographs taken that day were shot by Callie Lynch, photographer and long time friend of Bonnie's.* What fun we had, traipsing around in the forest, clinging to logs and wading in the creeks, while finding spots to make wardrobe changes in the frigid weather!

Second, Bonnie is on the cover and in several photos inside!  A few of the other reasons I love this book are listed below:

  • My granddaughter, Ollie Doe, is on pages 19 and 43! You might remember that I shared one of the outfits she's wearing in a recent post, Sewing for Baby Girls.
  • You'll find my grandson, Bear, on page 43!
  • I have two new quilt patterns (Forest Path and Zippy Strippy), available as downloads on pages 29 and 31. Both of these quilts, along with several other projects from the book are on display at my quilt shop in Franklin, NC, A Stitch in Time.
  • You are probably familiar with Sarah Overton and her blog, My Crowded Nest. Sarah, who works with me at my quilt shop, has three marvelous bags with downloadable patterns featured in the book!

The book is packed with projects, many made by other pattern designers, and each have links to their downloadable patterns! So, have fun perusing the book! I hope it inspires you to take to the forest!

*Other photography credits are listed under info with the Look Book.

Uncomplicated Quilting

Sometimes a quilter's life just calls for the uncomplicated quilt. One that can be pieced one day, quilted and bound the next, and enjoyed for years to come! Zippy Strippy to the rescue!

Pieced and Quilted by Sarah Overton. https://mycrowdednest.wordpress.com/                             photo by Callie Lynch

Pieced and Quilted by Sarah Overton. https://mycrowdednest.wordpress.com/                             photo by Callie Lynch

This pattern, available here, is perfect for showing off a full line of fabrics and how well they play together. I've made several in the past, but for this Zippy Strippy, I chose Forest Floor fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics. Art Gallery offered one of the prints from the line in voile, which I decided to use for the backing! Pima Cottons for the top, organic cotton batting, and billowy voile for the back pretty much guaranteed the softest, cuddliest quilt I'd ever made!

Bonnie Christine all wrapped up in Forest Floor Fabric!

We took to the forest to photograph Forest Floor for Art Gallery's Look Book, and since it was a little chilly, Bonnie took the opportunity to bundle up! She said it was her favorite quilt, just because of the softness of the voile. If you've never tried using this ultra soft fabric, by all means, give it a try with your next quilt. By the way, the term voile comes from France and means veil. As a proper southerner, I tend to pronounce it as if it rhymes with spoil, but here's a YouTube video sharing the correct pronunciation. I stand corrected. No matter how you say it, it's soft, drapey fibers are wonderful for quilts, garments, scarves, window treatments and more!

Bonnie Christine, enjoying a quilty embrace.

You'll find Forest Floor fabrics, with free shipping, here. While on the website, don't forget to check out Bonnie's other fabric lines, which include 100% Pima Cotton, Cotton knits, canvas and, of course, voile!

Soft, billowy voile for a quilt backing! Forest Floor fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Using the Silhouette Cameo Cutter to Repurpose Art!

So...we have been remodeling our home and I've been enjoying some DIY projects here and there. This one came from a gift from my husband. A little back story first...

We took almost 2 years to complete our little space, and the bedroom was practically the last thing on the list. We ran out of hardwood, so I had to settle for carpet. I researched my options and, for several reasons, landed on an organic wool from a wonderful company in Dalton, Ga.,  Earth Weave. They list on their website the many benefits from wool...did you know that it actually purifies the air? It was a splurge, but after all, my room was small. We planned the budget and decided to go for it! Installation day came, and it was as lovely and soft as I had hoped it would be. But it smelled of, well, sheep! Ok, a barn full of sheep. Wet sheep.

I figured the smell would dissipate, and it eventually did. But not until my husband had plenty of opportunities to tease me. One day he smuggled in a very old, framed canvas photo of sheep in a pasture and hung it in the room. He thought it was very funny, but I actually loved the picture so much that I decided to preserve it and make it mine by adding a sweet verse!

Silhouette Cameo Vinyl

The scripture verse is not painted on the picture, but is vinyl that I cut with my Silhouette Cameo machine. The font was created by my daughter, Bonnie Christine, in her own handwriting! The Silhouette Design Studio software is so easy to use that it made the whole process fast and easy!

Silhouette Design Studio Software

I love that this font is Bonnie's handwriting. One day we were playing around with an IPad app that creates fonts from handwriting. She just whipped out A-Z and I saved it to my computer. Since the Silhouette automatically imports all the fonts on my computer into the Design Software, Bonnie's Handwriting was right there, ready to use!

Silhouette Cameo Cutter

I cut the words apart so that I would be able to place them exactly as I wanted them on the picture.

Vinyl Wall Clings with the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

When transferring a vinyl decal, the first step is to place a piece of vinyl transfer paper over the top of the design. The red grid lines make it easy to keep things nice and straight. (First photo.) Simply peel it off it's backing, place it over the vinyl lettering and rub to transfer the letters to the grid transfer sheet. (Middle photo.) Peel up the transfer sheet and it's ready to set in place. (Third photo.)

Vinyl Wall Decals with the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

Place the transfer sheet in position and rub to transfer the lettering to the surface. It's as easy as that! And did you know that Bonnie also designs files for Silhouette? Check them out here! They coordinate with her fabric lines, but can be used for anything you can dream up! I have another DIY project in my head using one of her designs, so I'll be sure to share that with you soon!

And after it's all said and done, I love my wool carpet!

Organic wool carpeting

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing (or cutting) and God bless! Maxie

Sewing for A Baby Girl

You probably know already that I'm the happy Mimi of a little 2 year old boy named Bear, and you also probably know that he has a little sister named Ollie Doe. Bear affectionately calls her "Ah-ee Doe". I love how they already love each other.

Bear and Ollie Doe

When my daughters were small I enjoyed smocking and heirloom sewing, so I thought I'd try my hand at something a little modern with a touch of the old fashioned.

Smocking Bonnie Christine's Fabric

This little top is made from Bonnie Christine's latest line, Forest Floor, for Art Gallery Fabrics. We've been working on projects for the Lookbook that will accompany the line's release, and I thought I'd share a little peek with you today.

Getting ready to pleat the fabric.

The first thing to do was to find a pattern that would give me a place to insert the smocking. Kwik Sew 3689 fit the bill with a center gathered front section, just below the yoke. I cut that part of the pattern, adding a couple more inches at the fold to allow for a little fuller panel.

Smocking Stitches
Inserting piping

The piping, made from bias strips, is applied between the seams. I have two presser feet that help to make the piping smooth and perfect. In the above photo, left, I am using the Mini Piping Foot, which has a small tunnel under the foot that rides over the cord inside the piping. Moving the needle into a position that will sew just one thread closer to the cord will make that piping thread (shown with white thread) invisible.

The photo on the right shows my preferred way to attach the two panels. The normal technique is to sandwich the piping between the two panels placed right sides together and sew, hoping to sew at just the precise place that won't be too close or too far away from the piping. Instead, I sew the piping to one panel (which is what is happening in the left photo) and press the seam allowance to the wrong side, flipping the piping over on the panel's edge. Then I just lay the piped panel over the seam allowance of the piece it will be sewn to, pin in place and stitch in the ditch, catching the seam allowance of the unpiped panel in the process. I use the Edge Joining Foot for this technique, and it really is very helpful when sewing piped fabric to gathers or smocking because I am working from the top side and all fabrics are visible.

Photo by Callie Lynch Photography

I think Ollie Doe likes it! For more pictures, just watch for Art Gallery Fabrics' Look Book link here soon!

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

My Turn on Bonnie Christine's Succulence Blog Tour!

My day is here! I'm happy to, once again, participate in one of Bonnie's blog tours for her fabrics. This tour features her most current line for Art Gallery Fabrics, Succulence. You'll find all Bonnie's fabrics, including these, available with free shipping at my quilt shop, A Stitch in Time! And, did you know that I'm blessed to be Bonnie's mother?

Bonnie Christine's Succulence Blog Tour

I love the colors and prints in this line so much that I decided to use it to check off one of the quilts on my bucket list! I have wanted to make a Winding Ways quilt for years, but I just couldn't make myself take the time to do all the precise curved cutting. Hmmm...I do have an AccuQuilt machine, and to my delight I found that they make the Winding Ways die! Oh heaven. AccuQuilt recommends cutting six layers in one pass, but I found that the fine pima cotton that Art Gallery produces allowed me to cut eight! (I can cut at least 9 binding strips in one pass, too, using the 2 1/2" strip die!)

Cutting the Winding Ways Quilt with the Accuquilt

For the AccuQuilt machine, I cut 10" strips, width of fabric, and found that folding them in half fit perfectly on the die. I layered two dark fabrics and two light fabrics, yielding 4 blocks in about 30 seconds! Some people ask me, "Do you waste fabric with the AccuQuilt?" My answer is, "Maybe a little...but I don't waste any time!" And each piece is cut perfectly, with notches for matching together.

This quilt block is 100% curved piecing. Wait! don't leave me! I promise it's easy and I made a short video to show you how easy it is. Click here to view it.

Winding Ways Quilt. Succulence Fabrics by Bonnie Christine forArt Gallery Fabrics

The magic happens in this quilt by making two versions of the same block: a dark center with light corners, and a light center with dark corners. The effect is quite entertaining, to me, because my eyes just won't stay still when I look at it!

Winding Ways for the Succulence Blog Tour
Bonnie Christine's Succulence Blog Tour

I quilted in the ditch to accent the design, and to keep a soft feel. I used one of Bonnie's voile fabrics for the back to make it extra soft!

For now, this one will live on the wall in my sewing room because it just makes me happy...and because it makes me think of Bonnie. Do you have a quilt on your bucket list?

Maxie Makes Sewing Studio

Be sure to visit yesterday's post by Ali Brorsen and see her beautifully sewn projects and her angelic model. Tomorrow's stop is Michelle Cain at From Bolt to Beauty.  See the full lineup, and read more about the blog hop on Bonnie Christine's blog, Going Home to Roost.

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless. Maxie

DIY Ottoman Makeover!

So...we moved into our new loft apartment this week! It's been a long 2 years in the renovation, but we are finally just about finished. My sewing space was the first thing to be finished, because I record the Maxie Makes videos there. You can read all about how my daughter, Bonnie and I made that space into my little corner of the world.

But, after it was all said and done, I hated my ottoman. Ugh. (That's short for ugly.) Agree?

Slipcovering an ugly ottoman.

Transformation complete!

Slipcovering an ottoman.
Shabby Chic Slipcovered Ottoman

How? With a little bit of simple canvas, pom pom trim and elastic! I made a two piece slipcover. Here's how:

Supplies:

  1. About 3 yards 58" wide cotton canvas (prewash...it will shrink...and most likely, it will wrinkle so much that it can't be ironed out, which I adored)
  2. Enough pom pom trim for the perimeter of the ottoman.
  3. Enough 1/2" elastic for the perimeter, plus an additional yard for tying.
  • I measured the top length and width of my ottoman. I also measured the depth of the drop I wanted, which I decided to be 6 1/2" before hemming. I cut a rectangle the measurement of the top with 6 1/2" added on all four sides.
  • I measured for the skirt, planning to let the bottom edge ravel and not hem it. If, however, you want to hem your skirt, be sure to include that in your measurement. My ottoman has two sections attached to each other at the middle area. This middle allowed me to sandwich the top of the ruffle between the top and bottom section, nestling it in the crease. I measured the bottom section and added about 1" to tuck inside the crease between the two sections. If you work with an ottoman that doesn't have this option, you could use velcro attached to the ottoman and the top of the ruffle.) I tore 4 canvas pieces, width of fabric. Because I gathered the skirt with elastic, I didn't fuss too much with how much fabric to gather; I just knew I wanted lots of gathers, and four sections would give me a little more than twice the measurement of the perimeter.
  • Next, I boxed the corners of the top by cutting away a 6 1/2" square from each corner and stitching those cut edges together. Using a zipper foot, I attached the pom pom trim to the edge by stitching it to the right side, upside down, then flipping the seam allowance to the inside, allowing the pom pom trim to hang down. I also top-stitched the edge to give it a crisp look (first photo below).
  • Because the canvas is thick, I made a casing at the top edge to run the elastic through. For this casing, I cut 2" strips, sewing enough of them together to fit the top edge of the skirt fabric. I pressed the long strip in half, lengthwise, then attached it to the top of the skirt with a serger, (middle photo, above). Serger is optional, but heavenly! I pressed the seam allowance toward the skirt and top-stitched it in place (third photo, above).
  • Using a safety pin attached to the end of the elastic, I fed it through the casing. I allowed about 20" of elastic to extend out both ends of the casing for tying together.
  • Placing the skirt around the mid section, I nestled the casing into the crease and pulled the elastic tight, evening the gathers on all four sides. I tied the ends of elastic together, into a bow so that I can easily remove the skirt for cleaning and trimmed away the excess elastic ends.
  • Last of all, I placed the top section on, snugging the pom pom trim over the mid section to hide the crease where the casing fit. Tip: I placed a double layer of cotton quilt batting on the top of the ottoman to smooth over the existing piping, and I stuffed the top corners with wool batting to completely fill in the corners.

Ugh-ly ottoman: history.

Slipcovered Ottoman

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless!


Succulence Blog Tour is Just Around the Corner!

It's almost here...the Succulence Blog Tour!

Succulence Blog Tour, by Bonnie Christine

16 bloggers share for 16 days their creations with Bonnie Christine's latest line, Succulence for Art Gallery Fabrics! It begins this Friday, January 29 and continues through February 19! All you need to do is check in on Bonnie's blog this Friday for the lineup. Each blogger will link to the previous blogger, as well as the next-in-line blogger, so it's easy to hop from one blog to the next. I love the anticipation each day of visiting the current blogger's website to see where their imagination has taken them. You'll be inspired by creatives from various parts of the world, seeing their interpretation of Bonnie's fabrics in their own projects. Aren't these colors yummy?

Succulence Fabrics by Bonnie Christine

I'll be up on Tuesday, February 16, so be sure to check back here on that day. But for now, here's a sneak peek at where my imagination is taking me:

Succulence Blog Tour Project by Maxie Makes
Succulence Fabrics Line by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless, Maxie

Sewing Curved Seams in a Quilt Block

Sewing curved seams in a quilt block is easy! Seriously. Maybe I've never been too afraid of them because I moved into quilting from garment sewing. When you think about it, sleeves, princess seams, necklines, etc. are all curved seams.

My daughter, Bonnie Christine, designs for Art Gallery Fabrics and is hosting a blog hop tour to spotlight her new line, Succulence. Of course, I was on the ready! The project I chose to make is a quilt that has been on my bucket list for a long time. I won't reveal that just yet, but I'll let you see one portion of the block that includes a curved seam. Actually, all the seams are curved, and I'm planning a video tutorial to show you all my tips and secrets for success!

Sewing Curved Seams in a Quilt

So, it looks easy enough in the left photo, right? But placing them right sides together makes it look a little daunting. Watch the video below to see how this seam is sewn, with no pinning! My Baby Lock sewing machine has so many helpful features for this technique. With the touch of a button my machine will automatically raise the presser foot each time I pause, making adjustments to the seam line easy!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for updates on this project, and watch for the Succulence Blog Tour over on Bonnie's blog, beginning January 27 and continuing daily through February 19!

Thanks for visiting! Happy sewing, and God bless! Maxie

 

These are a Few of My Favorite Things!

Another Christmas is behind us (not really, because my tree is still up), and I thought I'd share a few of my most favorite (received) gifts with you! No sewing in this post, just some fundamental fun!

My Favorite Things
  • First up, from my daughter, Becky. #1 is an under sink water filtration system and this marvelous instant hot water dispenser from Insinkerator! It delivers filtered water at boiling temps for coffee and tea and cooking, and cool water for drinking! The plumber is on call to install it and I can hardly wait to enjoy tea or french pressed coffee!
  • Photo #2, from Becky and Bonnie, is this lovely group of lovely-fying products! 1. Origins Anti-Aging Foundation gives great coverage with no harmful ingredients. 2. This Christmas happily discovered Beauty Counter! Becky gave me several products from this company, whose mission is to make quality skin care with responsible ingredients. Among my favorites is the Touch Up Concealer Pen, the best concealer I've ever used! 3. Origins Three Part Harmony oil-infused serum is non-greasy and silky smooth! 4. Beauty Counter's Anytime Eye Cream absorbs quickly and leaves skin velvety smooth. While on Beauty Counter's website, be sure to check out their luxurious lipsticks! 5. Sugar Advanced Lip Treatment is the most amazing lip care product you'll ever need! I already loved the regular version, which is clear and unscented, but this rose version adds a little color in the same therapeutic product.
  • #3: Bonnie gave me this beautiful vintage ceiling tile to use as an accent piece in our new home. It's so 'me'!
  • #4: Becky gave me a lovely basket as my "Christmas Stocking"! What a great idea! It was full of goodies, and I get to use the basket all year long!
  • #5: Another vintage piece from Bonnie, this leaded glass piece is about 36" long and 15" tall. I am having it built into a barn door for our pantry! I'll be sure to post a picture of it when it's finished!
  • #6: Comenzar's Flameless Flickering Candles. These battery operated candles look so real! They include a remote with an optional timer, so I can schedule them to come on at night and turn off at bed time! I'm enjoying them at this moment.
  • #7. Again, from Becky and Beauty Counter, Lustro Sugar Scrub and Enrich Body Butter. Enough said.
  • #8: Bonnie did her homework on this gift: The Rode Microphone to make more Maxie Makes videos! I preparing for one in the sewing room, and I'm very eager to try this baby out soon!
  • #9: Becky knew how much I'd love this: Phone Soap! A UV Sanitizing Light for my cell phone! I won't tell you that I'm a germophobe. But I put my car keys in it...and anything else that fits. If it fits, it's clean.
  • #10: Bonnie made this beautiful little woven wall hanging for me! I cherish it. She taught me how to weave on a Wood Creek Loom, so I know the work (love) that goes into it.

So, these are a few of my favorite things from my favorite people! I'd love to hear about your favorite things, so leave me a comment!

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

Hexagon Rainbow Quilt

Our local Modern Quilt Guild offers a challenge each month and last month they decided it was time for an Alison Glass Ex Libris challenge. One of Alison's prints included a circular rainbow colored menagerie of florals and insects, and it was this print that was chosen by the guild to use as the challenge fabric.

Hexagon Rainbow Quilt with Alison Glass Fabric

I posted in a former blog post about how my no-baste method for making the hexagons. The fabrics used are Modern Solids from In the Beginning Fabrics for the hexies, using a precut collection of 5" strips that included all but two of the colors I needed.

Alison Glass' Ex Libris Fabric is center stage for this Hexagon Rainbow Quilt.

The hexagons are hand applique´d in the border (which is, by the way, Jen Kingwell's fabric) and placed close to the corresponding color in the Alison Glass print.

For the quilting, I chose to echo quilt in a hexagon shape, which was a little more challenging than the circular design I had originally thought of stitching. First, I traced the hexagon paper used to make the hexagons in the center of the quilt. In order to pivot at each angle correctly, I drew three straight lines that intersected in the center and ran through the angles of the hexagon. In the photo below, the lines are highlighted in white.

Finding pivot points to echo quilt a hexagon shape.

Stitch the center hexagon first, then begin to angle, or taper, your stitching line to reach your desired distance between rows. (After the first or second go-around, you won't need to taper your stitches.) When you reach a drawn line, lift your presser foot and pivot, lining up the stitch path with the side of the hexagon. You can see my blue marker line in the three photos below.  Raise your foot and pivot every time you reach a drawn line!

Guess what? My Baby Lock's guide beam helped me tremendously with this task! In the video below you can see that the red beam of light tracks directly in front of the needle, making it easy to stitch straight and evenly! I love the look of hand guided quilting, so I didn't really care for all my lines to be exactly the same distance apart. (Didn't want you judging me on that...)  The pivot lines make the overall effect pleasing, so I'm happy!

When quilting angles, drawing pivot lines is important, and works with any shape you need to echo! Try it the next time you want to quilt something a little more challenging than a circle!

EX Libris Rainbow Hexagon Quilt

I took all the pictures of this little quilt at my daughter, Becky's, house. She had so many neat vignettes that I couldn't decide which pictures to use, so I used them all!

Hexagon Rainbow Quilt

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless! Maxie

Padded Ribbon Key Fob

Sometimes I just need a nice little project that I can finish in.....say, 10 minutes. Sometimes I need a little gift in a hurry. Sometimes I need to take a break from that quilt I've been working on for six months and actually finish something. I think I have just the ticket.

Working with beautiful textures and textiles always lifts my spirit, and this project is a delight because it includes a little bit of luxurious ribbon from Renaissance Ribbons! And because the end result is something that everyone needs, (whether you're gifting yourself or someone else), it will long be appreciated for both its usefulness and beauty.

Padded Ribbon Key Fob

The two ribbons used above are from Bonnie Christine's designs for Renaissance Ribbon.  Because they coordinate with her Hello, Bear fabrics, you may recognize the sweet little fox and owl. I have several of these key fobs and they are so great because the ribbon is easy to find in my purse and I can wear it like a bracelet when I need to keep up with my keys.

  • Supplies:
  • 9" braid trim a bit wider than your ribbon. I used a 1" wide braid.
  • 9" ribbon
  • matching thread
  • BInding clips or pins
  • Key Fob Hardware Set
Supplies for Ribbon Key Fob

Assembly:

  •  Lay ribbon on top of the braid, centered. Hold in place with binding clips or pins.
  • The Edge Joining Foot from Baby Lock makes it so easy to sew straight along the edge of projects. See the fabric guide in the first photo, below? In the second photo you can see how the guide is placed next to the stitching edge, keeping your stitches on the straight and narrow!
Baby Lock's Edge Sewing Foot

I've made too many of these to count, but this green one gave me a new idea. I decided to try to slip a 1/2" strip of batting inside, between the ribbon and the braid. To do so, I sewed one long edge of the ribbon to the braid and lifted the unsewn edge and placed the batting inside (center photo, below). I used a glue stick to hold the batting in place. Next, I stitched the remaining long edge to the braid. The grey ribbon, (shown left in the far right photo, below) is unpadded, the green is padded. The padding adds an extra layer of special-ness to this special ribbon!

Padding the Key Fob

After stitching both sides of the ribbon, stitch across the short ends to secure. You'll need a key fob hardware set to complete your project. The optional pliers simplify things and press the clamp smoothly together (first photo, below) Simply fold the ribbon/braid in half and place the short ends inside the hardware clamp (middle photo, below). Give the clamp a good press (third photo, below). Add your split ring and you're done! At least, with your first one! Hardware,  Hello, Bear Ribbons and braid aren't listed on my website, but are available at my quilt shop, if you'd like to call! 828 524-3300. See other available ribbons by Bonnie Christine here.

Hardware and tools for making a key fob.

Thanks for visiting. Happy Sewing and God bless!  Maxie

Sewing No-Baste Hexies

Hexies are everywhere in the quilting world. While certainly not a new idea, the Modern Quilt Movement has breathed new life into this time-honored little patch.

Allison Glass and Hexies

Grandmother's Flower Garden would stand up and cheer, seeing all the innovative ways these six sided scraps are being used. So, when our local Modern Quilt Guild challenged us with this lovely Allison Glass print, I thought a rainbow of hexies would mix nicely with it!

Most quilters are familiar with the English Paper Piecing method of wrapping fabric around hexagon papers, hand basting the fabric from the back side to hold it to the paper. The hexagons are then stitched together by hand. But I wanted to individually applique´my hexagons around Allison's circular rainbow, and I wanted to skip the hand basting. So, here is my no-baste method of making hexagons:

For this method, I use a spray starch alternative. My favorite is a product called 'Flatter'. It has no fabric protectants, no starch, is plant derived and non-toxic. Spray a small amount into a dish and get a paint brush handy. Center a hexagon paper on the wrong side of your hexagon fabric (I cut it into shape by holding the paper on top of the fabric and roughly cut a hexagon shape around it, leaving a good 1/4" seam allowance around the edges of the paper. (First photo.)

Next, using the paint brush, lightly brush 'Flatter' onto the seam allowance of the fabric. Let it soak into the seam allowance of the fabric, making sure the area that will fold over the paper edge is wet. (Center photo.)

Press all six edges over the paper, working around the hexagon one side at a time. (Third photo.)

Finishing the Hexie

The first photo, above, shows all six sides crisply pressed toward the back side of the hexie. The second photo shows the hexie from the front side. Press well.

The last step is to pin in place on your background fabric. I found the 'Flatter' spray starch made the fabric crisp enough to remove the paper before stitching to the background. I just pinned in place and hand stitched the folded edge of the hexagon to the background (machine stitching with your favorite method would also be nice). Alternately, you may leave the papers inside for this step; after the hexie is stitched in place, make a slit in the background fabric (underneath the hexie) and slip the paper out.

I'll show you the finished project in my next blog post, so please visit again on Friday!

Thanks for stopping by. Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

How to Make a Christmas Stocking...Extra Special!

As Thanksgiving approaches, the onset of Christmas Spirit commences. Let the Christmas sewing begin!

How to make a Christmas Stocking!

I made these two stockings for my grandchildren, Ollie Doe and Bear. You may recognize that the fabric for the cuff is from Bonnie Christine's fabric line for Art Gallery Fabrics, Hello, Bear. There happens to be a doe in the fabric, so by adding Ollie's name to the embroidery design I was able to personalize her stocking, too! I posted last week about Bonnie's coordinating machine embroidery designs for the new app, Acudesign, from which I chose the Bear and the Doe to make their stockings. Whether you choose to embroider a design on your stocking, or applique´, use patchwork or plain fabric, you can follow these simple directions to make a stocking extra special for your special someone!

First of all, draw a stocking shape on your pattern paper. Trace another stocking or create an original shape; stockings come in all shapes and sizes! I used a basic shape from a great little pattern by Sharon Hollifield, who teaches occasionally at my shop (if you'd like to order her pattern, just send me an email).

  • Trace the design onto your stocking front fabric. If you are planning to embellish in any way, don't cut it out yet. Embellish as desired first, within your drawn stocking line.
  • After embellishing, cut out your stocking front and another plain stocking for the back. Make sure they match when placed right sides together.
  • Cut two lining pieces the same size.
  • For the cuff, cut two pieces the width of your stocking top by 8". My stocking piece measured 9" across the top edge, so I cut two cuff rectangles, each 9" wide and 8" deep. If your fabric is directional, as mine, keep in mind that the top half of the cuff rectangle will be folded down to the front outside (the center line of the cuff will become the lower edge of the cuff). I was able to plan a bit of the deer and the bear to be placed in just the right spot. Get creative with your cuff...use faux fur, leather, corduroy, satin, an old sweater, etc.
  • With right sides together, stitch the front cuff to the front stocking. The photo below shows the cuff sections stitched to the stocking front and back, and the lining pieces are laid in place. This photo also shows why a separate cuff is needed for directional prints! Had they been cut from one piece of fabric, either the cuff or the lining would have been upside down.
Stitching the cuff pieces together.
  • Next, place the lining pieces and the cuff right sides together and stitch, as shown below:
Attaching the lining in a Christmas Stocking.

Hint: Press the cuff seams toward the cuff on the front piece and away from the cuff on the back piece. This will allow your seams to nestle in opposite directions and reduce bulk.

  • Place the two pieces right sides together (nestle and pin those cuff seams) and stitch around the outer edges, leaving a 3" opening (for turning right side out) at the bottom of the lining 'foot'. To reduce bulk and allow smoother seams in the curves, clip almost to the stitching line in the inner and outer curves. Trimming the seam with pinking shears, as I did, will accomplish the same thing.
Stitch the stocking around the outer edges.
  • Turn right side out and press well. I cannot stress how easily this little turning tool makes the job a cinch. After turning, simply run the curved edge along the seam inside the stocking (through the opening at the lining bottom).
The Best Pressing Tool

After pressing well, sew the opening closed by machine. It will never show, no need to waste precious time hand sewing! Stuff the lining down inside the stocking. The cuff will extend above the stocking, simply fold it down over the outside of the top and press well. Attach a ribbon at the back seam for hanging. Give it to someone extra special!

Hello, Bear Christmas Stocking

Thanks for stopping by. Happy sewing and God bless! Maxie

Hello, Hello, Bear Embroidery Designs!

Did I need anything to make me love the Hello, Bear fabric line any more than I do? Aparently, there was more to love in the form of embroidery! AcuDesign, which is an app for your phone or tablet has contracted with Bonnie to offer designs from four of her fabric lines for Art Gallery Fabrics, including Succulence, Sweet as Honey, Cultivate and Hello, Bear! The app is easy to use and download designs in your needed format. My Baby Lock .pes and .dst formats were available, so I was all in!

Hello, Bear Embroidery Design

This was my test run of the design and I think it turned out beautifully, so I'm on to some real projects with it now...with Christmas in mind! Look how it's perfectly true to the original design.

Hello, Bear Fabric by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

My Baby Lock Destiny did a flawless job, as usual!

Baby Lock Destiny Embroidery Machine and Hello, Bear by Bonnie Christine

Maybe I'll be back here with my Christmas projects, soon!

Hello, Bear and my Baby Lock Destiny Sewing/Embroidery Machine

Thanks for visiting! Happy Sewing and God bless, Maxie

Bonnie Christine's Quilt Market Booth with Art Gallery Fabrics

With another quilt market behind us, I thought I might share some photos of my daughter's booth at Art Gallery Fabrics. We (Bonnie, Sarah and I) were busy bee workers in the weeks prior to market, finishing projects in record time! Bonnie's new line will release in February, and will be the perfect lift for a wintry sewing day!

Forest Floor at International Quilt Market. Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics.

These soft colors of grey, teal, peaches, deep rose and creams are feminine and calm. Forest friends include a hare and a luna moth among all the botanicals you'll find in a forest. A pattern for the quilt, shown above (more pics here), will be available when the fabric releases and at that time you'll find links to all the projects in the coming Forest Floor Look Book that will be published online by Art Gallery Fabrics. A shout out to Sarah for sewing up the rabbit ear jacket and the knit peach top, and the 241 Tote from Noodlehead.

Here are a few close-ups with a little more detail:

Forest Floor Fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

Bonnie made her logo using her Silhouette Cutting Machine. I can't say enough about how great these little machines are. In my book, quality and ease of use are two essential must-haves for anything technical, and Silhouette fits the bill on both fronts.

Forest Floor Fabrics by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

All the skus shown above will be available in 100% Pima Cotton, with a couple in canvas and voile.

The biggest Luna Moth ever! Forest Floor by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics

Bonnie made this huge moth, which will probably land on the wall in little Ollie's nursey soon!

Clothing sewn by Sarah of mycrowdednest.com

Stellar seamstress Sarah skillfully sewed a sweet shirt, smock and shoulder-bag).

241 Tote by Noodlehead in Forest Floor by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics
Forest Floor Quilt

Thank you for visiting! Happy sewing and God bless. Maxie