A new cutting table!

Slowly my sewing room is coming together. I’ve been using our pool table as a cutting table for the past two years, and it’s murder on the back. I saw this table on Pinterest and liked it, but really wanted one that I could also put stools under for those rare moments I get a bug up my butt and want to craft. So I tinkered with the top, and love the way it turned out. It’s made with three Kallax units from Ikea. Whaddya think??

Yeah, forgive the mess. No quilt on the frame, so it’s being used as a fabric clothesline 😂. DH built a base that the units sit on, and put six casters on it to easily move it where I need it.

It has plenty of room for chairs – the top is 7’ x 4’ and it is 39” tall, made to my height.

I see you eyeing those holes! This is the 4th sewing room I’ve “built”, and with each one I add something I wish I’d had in the last one. This time, it’s cup holders and a trash can in the cutting table. Yes! Those are cup holders! No more spilling my wine or having to walk over to the trash to throw away scraps.

I ordered three cup holders that are normally used on boats. I used two here, one on the side where I cut, and one on the side where I longarm. The other will be put into the sewing table we’ll be building. DH used the hole saw to cut two holes side-by-side in the center, and jigsawed and sanded it into an oblong hole for the trash can. I was going to get a drop-in trash can, but realized that I didn’t want a “lip” on the top. I wanted to be able to just swipe bits of fabric right into the hole. So he added a little slide-in underneath to hold the trash can.

The top is 3/4” melamine, which we picked up at Lowes for $35. Cheaper than the doors that are often used for tabletops!It was 4×8, so we just had to cut a foot off one end. We put melamine stripping around the edges of the top to finish it, easy-peasy with a small craft iron. I just painted around the trash can hole with some acrylic paint I had laying around.

The best thing about this cutting table? We are able to completely disassemble it in the event (heaven help me!) that we ever have to move again. The top is NOT screwed into the Kallax units, but is held tightly against the units with 1.5×1.5 strips. And the units are NOT screwed into the base, but held in by the molding strips around the base at the bottom. And yes, it’s easily moveable. It slides wherever I need it without falling apart. The casters roll smoothly, even with the unit full.  I’m a bit concerned about the overhang, but I’ll wait until I craft something before having DH attach some type of stabilizer.

Yeah, I’m one happy girl 😊

New quilt clock

Well, since I’m updating my sewing room – slowly but surely – I decided I needed a new clock. Once I found this tutorial, I was off and running. I used the block supplied with the tutorial, but decided I wanted mine a little different – a little more me. Like Alton Brown, I believe the only “unitasker” in my sewing room should be the fire extinguisher that hangs on my wall. So my clock will serve several purposes.

clock2Not only will it tell me when I’m late, I’m using it for my quilt show pin collection and to hang blocks or pictures. The blocks were made from leftover charm squares I had, which I glued to poster board with a glue stick (no warping!). While the tutorial called for gluing the blocks together, I decided to hand-sew mine, even though there was poster board behind every block. Why? Two simple reasons: 1. I’m a quilter. 2. I’ve never completed anything hexagon-y before, so now I can say I’ve done it 🙂 The burlap canvas and clothespins were purchased at Hobby Lobby. That 40% off coupon sure does come in handy! I bought the clock hands through Amazon. The total cost of the clock? About $14. It only took a week to get everything sewn together, glued, and up on the wall.

And yes, that is a cow on my clock.

IMG_1409This quilt won 3rd prize in the quilt competition at the Ohio State Fair this year! We stopped in today so I could see it 🙂

PebbleSo glad DH talked me into entering it. Being a practice quilt, I didn’t think it had a chance of even being accepted! It certainly wasn’t perfect quilting, lol. But, I’m proud as punch, which you can see in that smile on my face. So, that’s why there’s a cow on my clock. My quilt was in the show there, and that means a pin must be purchased!

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Shoe doodling. Took me a year to get up the nerve to draw on these Vans. Nobody wants to ruin a perfectly good pair of Vans! But once I got started, it went really quick. It was a nice break. Love Pinterest for all the ideas. I used Sharpie medium and fine markers, and sprayed them with waterproofing. Don’t think I’ll ever wear them in the rain – I don’t want to find out the hard way that these markers aren’t “permanent” enough, lol….



Weaving finished

Well, it took a while…

weave 2abut I got all the weaving done.

weave 3It was easy but time-consuming.

weave 4

weave 6Done!  Whew!

trimI trimmed it and stitched the raw edges.  The glue holds it together nicely, but since this was so labor-intensive, I didn’t want any risk of the weaving coming undone.

stitching edges Several years ago I made this bag for my laptop.  It’s worked very well, but it’s a hair too small.  It fits just my laptop and nothing else, and the flap should have been longer.

orig bagI want something big enough for my laptop, a binder, a couple of notepads, pens, and other office accoutrements.  I decided this weaving project would be a cool replacement for my original bag.

bag fabricBummer! I started this wild-hair weaving project before I really knew what I wanted to do with it, and I didn’t make it big enough to work as a replacement laptop bag.  So I’ll put the woven fabric aside for a while, until I stumble across a different use for it.

I don’t feel that my efforts were wasted, however.  I learned a lot, had some fun, and will probably make another woven project soon!

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I got a wild hair

I started a new project, because apparently I just can’t have enough UFOs.

This was inspired partly by this woven pillow cover I made a couple of years ago, and partly by a gorgeous woven leather handbag that I saw in a store.  It was gorgeous but hoooo boy, very expensive!

I bought some lightweight denim and cut it into 1″ strips.

cuttingRan the strips through a bias maker.

binding toolI’d started out with putting a 1/4″ strip of fusible web in the center, but I ran out of it, so I resorted to starching the strips, then moved on to using Elmer’s glue.

Elmer’s has this neat little glue tube.

glue 1 It dispenses a thin line of glue at one end…

glue 2…and a wider one at the other end, with a tip that spreads the glue evenly and thinly.  It worked perfectly for my strips.

glue 3Next, I lined up the strips on a 45° angle and taped them down with duct tape.  Ha!  Never thought I’d use duct tape in a sewing project, but I was wrong!

weave 1My husband got curious when he saw me with his roll of duct tape in hand, so he came to see what I was doing.  After observing me for a few minutes, he dryly pointed out that although this is a quilting blog, there didn’t seem to be much sewing involved in this project.  He then asked me if I was going to swipe his WD-40 also.  I pointed out that not only do I know where he sleeps, I also cook his dinner.  He was quick to bring me a glass of wine and a slice of chocolate cake.

Next up:  I’m ready to start weaving!

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I’m gonna dye trying!!

These arrived on my doorstep yesterday.DyesYep. Twelve colors. If I’m going to do something, I’m all in. Once I get the PFD fabric my dear Peggi is sending me, I’m gonna have myself a crazy good time trying to dye fabric. Or I’m going to turn myself 12 shades of color and have to explain THAT at work. One way or the other, I will be dyeing something!

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The saga continues

I really, really like these next birthday blocks.  They’re for Virginia, who wanted blues, greens, and purples, which just happens to be one of my favorite color combinations.

1  I love working with stripes. 2This one with the drops was not as easy as you’d think.  It’s hard getting all those droplets spaced evenly, especially when there’s an odd number of them!

3Next set of birthday blocks are for Debra.  She wanted green, red, and gold.

The Carpenter’s Wheel block on the right is one of my all-time favorite blocks, and I’d always wanted to add some applique.  red and greenI think it turned out quite lovely, if I do say so myself.

CWWith this fan block, you really gotta pay attention to how the patches are sewn together.  I was obviously distracted.

fanThere, all better now.

fan 2Both sets have been delivered to (and warmly received by) their birthday block recipients.

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Birthday blocks

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve shown any birthday blocks.  Time to fix that!

pairAt the beginning of the year, I joined a birthday block swap.  Everyone makes 2 blocks for each participant, to be sent to her on her birthday.  Birthday girl gets to pick the colors, but the block patterns are totally up to the maker.

This birthday girl picked purple, teals, and light blues.  For her first block, I picked a neat variation of the 10-minute block.

10 minute block variationHer second block is “Caned Seat” from Quilter’s Cache.

caned seatI really like that one.  It could be a stunning quilt, done in the right colors.

I was a little nervous about the two different block colors not playing well together, but after seeing all her other blocks, I felt assured they will fit right in.

What I find fun and enjoyable about this (and forgive me if I’ve said it before) is I get to try out new blocks or techniques without committing myself to an entire quilt.  I think both of these might have to go on a “someday” list.

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What’s black and white and red all over?

September 10, 2017 EDIT:

If you have come here from a Facebook page called “I Love Quilting” and are looking for the free pattern for this block, I am sorry to say the pattern is no longer free.

4The owner of that Facebook page took the liberty of reposting my picture on their page without my knowledge or permission, and didn’t bother to check their facts about this “free” pattern.  It was free four years ago, when I first made the block and blogged about it.

However, you may still purchase this lovely Bobbie Ashley pattern for $7.95 on Craftsy.

I apologize for any aggravation this has caused.

And now back to the blog....


My latest blocks for the birthday block exchange, that’s what!  And I have to say, I absolutely LOVE them!2I’ve never been much of a black and white fan, but lately I’ve been noticing that black and white, even if it’s just a small touch, adds quite a bit of zing to a quilt.  So when this month’s Birthday Block Swap partner requested black, white, and red, I accepted the challenge with anticipation.

3I’ve had a fat quarter of that adorable mushroom house print for a while, and this was the perfect project to use it in.  LOVE it.  And yes, I did make the striped print match in the corners on purpose.  My husband teases me about it, but sometimes being anal detail-oriented has it’s benefits.  I like paying attention to the little things.

4But this is the block that has stolen my heart.  I love, love, love it.  It’s actually a free download from RJR.  (Edited to add that after nearly 4 years, RJR has finally taken it down from their website, but you can purchase it from the designer here.)  Is it not absolutely gorgeous?

One teensy, tiny problem I discovered while pressing and starching.  Gasp – one of those red fabrics was a bleeder!

6A cautionary tale, to be sure.  That fabric is good quality quilting cotton – designed by Alex Anderson, manufactured by P&B Textiles, and yes, it was prewashed.  It still bled.  I took a deep breath, snagged a couple of color catchers from the laundry room, and filled the sink with hot water.  I put one color catcher on top of each petal and let it sit for about 30 minutes.  I squished, pushed, and crunched the color catcher on top of the fabric.  I swished the fabric a bit more, then I drained the sink.  Filled it up again and added one fresh color catcher.  Let it soak.  This time the water was clear and the color catcher stayed white.  I rubbed and squished it some more on the bleeding reds and it stayed white.  So I drained it, let the block air-dry, then pressed it.  I’m confident it’s done bleeding.

I usually don’t trust color catchers to catch everything in the wash, but I didn’t have anything else to use.  My guidance regarding bleeding fabrics comes from Vicki Welsh.  She hand-dyes her own fabrics and did a little experiment with bleeding dyes – go ahead and read about it here, I’ll wait.  It’s totally worth your time.

Nowadays, I would (as recommended by Vicki) soak the snot out of that red fabric, instead of just washing it.  However, I acquired this fabric before I stumbled across Vicki’s experiment.  Fortunately, the color catchers worked.  The back of the block is dyed where those fabrics bled, but the front looks crisp and perfect.

5And I might have to put a black, white, and red quilt on my Bucket List!

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