Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Wrangling Sewing Machine Cords

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Boy, it's so pretty out today here.  A soft snow fell last night, covering up the yucky muddy yard, and the sun is shining so nicely.  The sky is blue and lovely with just a few puffy clouds floating in the sky.  If it wasn't also 15 degrees, I'd really love being outside!  This is why I swear I'm going to have a sun room in my next house.  I want to at least be able to pretend I'm outside in the winter.

Well, it's Tuesday again, and I'm here with another cool trick for you all!  Today's trick is a sewing trick, and I'll admit it's not going to be something everyone will need to know, but I hope it can help someone.

As you may already know, I have a very large sewing machine family. 

So from top left, clock-wise: 1953 Singer 301, 1949 Singer 15-91, 1954 Singer 301A, Pfaff Ambition Essential, Brother PQ1500S.  I love every single one of them! 

I can't exactly explain why I have such a big family.  I mean yes, I can give explanations but they're really just excuses.  The truth is that I love sewing machines!  I literally look at vintage sewing machines on Ebay for fun, no joke.  I'm actually considering buying a couple more for my collection.  I may have a problem. 

I don't just collect them for fun, though.  I actually use my sewing machines, believe it or not.  Well, the Singer 301 is living over at my mom's house, so actually she uses that one, but I use the other four.  I just love to sew!  Plastic canvas designing is something I love doing as a job, but sewing is a passion of my heart.  You can tell the state of my heart by asking how long it's been since I've last sewn anything.  If it's been a while, I'm probably in a good funk. 

So as the owner and user of so many sewing machines, and also the owner of a rather small crafting area, I have to think about my use of space wisely.  I dream about having a huge crafting room someday, that's bright and cheery, with big long counters and built in cabinets and shelves, where every sewing machine has its own designated space so I can just go and work at it whenever I feel like it.  But for now, I work with what I have.

And what I have is kind of small.  Now admittedly, it's probably more than most people have, but it's smaller than my ambitions (which, as I just said, is a huge crafting room with lots of shelves and counters and such).  What I have is a tiny 8x10 crafting room and a couple spare corners to put my sewing tables.  Here's what my more frequently used sewing table looks like.

Ok, so it's more of a wall than it is a corner.  Here it is without the chair blocking the view.

And here's another view.

The cool white cabinet is relatively new.  I bought it last winter to house my modern machines.  It's got a hydraulic lift in it, so I can lift the sewing machine all the way up to be sitting on top of the table, push it down a little so the bed of the machine is level with the table top (like it is in the pictures), or push it all the way inside the cabinet and fold the two side pieces in on top so it looks just like a desk.  The current set up is perfect for quilting, because the long table surface gives me lots of space to move pieces around. 

However, sometimes I need to change up my machines and use the Pfaff instead of the Brother.  The Brother is great, but it's a straight stitch machine, which means it only does straight stitches.  If I'm working on clothing or something that needs anything other than a straight stitch, I need to switch them out.  That's where my tip finally comes it!

I have a power outlet right behind my sewing machine cabinet, and it's fairly close to the wall so I can still open the closet doors on either side of it.  So reaching down to grab the cords every time I switch machines would be a horrible pain in my butt.  I used to do that, actually.  Or rather, I would try to hold onto the cords or put something heavy on them, but they would always fall down behind and I'd have to reach down.  Ugh!  I wanted to pull out my hair.  So when I did my yearly reorganizing, I decided to tackle this problem.

It turned out to be really cheap and easy to fix, too!  First of all, it helps to know that modern sewing machines have a standard power cord.  You should be able to use any cord with any machine, as long as they're both fairly new.  However, you will most likely need to use separate foot pedals.  I tried to use just one foot pedal for my two machines, and I thought it should be ok because they use the same plug and everything, but it just didn't work. 

So knowing these things, I set up a simple system.  I have one power cord plugged into the outlet, and I have both foot pedals under the cabinet.  When I switch machines, I move one foot pedal out of the way and replace it with the other one, and then I plug the same power cord into the new machine.  And here's the trick to making it all so much easier!

Stupidly simple.  I bought a large cup hook at Walmart for about $1 and screwed it into the wall right next to the machine.  Then I took three hair ties and attached them to each cord.  I'm not exactly sure what you'd call that, but the best I can think of is a slip knot.  It stays on the cord securely, but I can take it off whenever I want. 

When I need to switch machines, I unplug both cords and hang them on the hook so I don't lose them.  Then I move the machines around and plug everything back in!  Super easy and no reaching down the back of the sewing machine cabinet!  Yay!

So that's my tip for the week, and you got a good ramble about sewing machines as a bonus!  I guess I'm in a really sewing kind of mood lately, so you'll probably be hearing more about them in the future.  Do you guys have any good tips for organizing your sewing room or your sewing machines?  I'd love to hear them! 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Free Friday: Heart Box

Happy Friday, everyone!  Well, we're one week closer to spring, which at least is progress, right?  I'm just starting to feel a little cabin fever, so I need to keep myself positive and stay busy.  I think I might also be getting that nasty cold my hubby had :( it's been making the rounds through my entire family, and even sent my dad to the hospital.  I had some medicinal tea this morning and I plan on taking it pretty easy today so maybe I can fight it off before it takes hold. 

This week's free pattern is another lovely Valentine's day design!  It's an adorable little box that you can put treats or gifts in for your loved ones.  It's just the right size for a piece of jewelry or some good chocolate.  Also, it's just cute and would look good as a decoration!

Heart Box

Skill level:



2 ½ x 2 ½ x 2 inches


  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn in colors listed in key
  • #16 plastic canvas needle


  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Whipstitch lid top and sides together, using Boysenberry to attach lid sides and top, and Perfect Pink to attach lid sides together. Overcast unfinished edge with Boysenberry.
  3. For box, whipstitch sides and bottom together with Boysenberry. Overcast unfinished top edge with Boysenberry.

Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  Please link back if you share this pattern.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

Well, I'd better go find a comfy spot sit and try to get better.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  Oy, another laundry day for me!  I guess I shouldn't gripe too much; at least it's only two people in my house so it only takes me half a day to do the laundry.  I can't imagine what you poor ladies with multiple kids go through!  Oh goodness, I just thought of my poor grandma.  She had 12 kids (yes 12!) and lived on a farm and probably didn't have a modern washing machine until most of her kids were grown up.  Can you imagine washing 14 people's clothes with a ringer washer?  Ugh!

So with that, I'll stop griping and start writing about my week!  After two weeks of total chaos, between my sister having an emergency C-section and my husband getting extremely sick, I'm so ready to get back to normal life.  I want 2018 to be an amazing year, so I've been doing a lot of journaling and reading motivating books, and I set some goals for myself.  My goals are:

  • Make one new pattern to sell every two weeks
  • Write in my blog at least twice a week
  • Find new blogs I love and meet people who have similar interests
  • STOP READING SO MUCH NEWS because it's bad for me
I've been doing really well so far this week.  I realize it's only Wednesday, but I feel like I'm really on track!  I got one blog post written, and here I am writing another.  I posted my Swedish Hearts Coasters on my Etsy shop on Monday, and I have another pattern in the works already.  I haven't started looking for new blogs to read yet, but I have a couple in mind to check out.  AND I haven't read any news all week!  That's pretty big, considering I used to be a huge news consumer.  I don't know why because all it did was make me angry.  Maybe I liked being angry? 

Along with working on my design business and my blog, I decided I needed to start sewing more frequently.  I love to sew, after all, so why do I do it so infrequently?  It's not like I don't have the time for it.  I'm a stay at home wife/designer, so I can do a little sewing between projects or while dinner cooks. 

I decided to start a new quilt to get me off on the right foot.  I bought three Moda scrap bags last fall, which I just love!  They're selvages with about 3 inches of fabric.  So essentially, they're extremely cheap jelly rolls and as a bonus, they have lots of selvages too if you like making selvage quilts (which I do).  I cut as many of the pieces into 2 1/2 strips as I could and decided to try making a strip tube quilt.  My MIL bought a cool ruler and book that explains how to do it, but it's basically this: you sew a bunch a strips together, then sew those into a tube.  Then you use the nifty ruler to cut it into triangles, and when you open it up, it's a neat square.  Then you sew those together to make neat blocks.  I discovered, though, that I already had a half square triangle ruler!

This one is really nice too because it has built in grippy bits and lots of extra lines to help you with your HST blocks.  

I decided to do a really simple version of the quilt.  Here's what the blocks look like.

All together, my three bags of scraps made 20 blocks, so it'll be a 40x50 inch quilt when I'm done.  I like using quilts as table cloths, and I think this one will be just perfect for our table.

I have just a small pile of blocks to make yet, and then I can start piecing the blocks together!

I decided this was the perfect project to help me get to know my lovely vintage Singer 301A better.  She's such a fun machine!

She sews like a dream.  I bought her on Shopgoodwill.com for about $60!  She was pretty dirty and needed a thorough oiling and greasing.  I still have a little work to do before she's up to tip top shape, but even still, she's working like a dream.  Her stitches are so smooth and even, and at full speed, this machine can do 1600 stitches a minute.  By the way, that's on par with my Brother PQ1500S, which cost me $650

I still prefer the brother for large pieces because it's got a deep throat, but the 301A is nice for piecing.  Plus I found out it's great for dragging around the house!  Its only 16 pounds despite being entirely made of metal, and it has a cool handle.  I had to sew downstairs a lot last week because my husband worked from home while he was sick, and I didn't want to annoy him with my sewing. 

Another cool thing about my little Singer is that, unlike older machines and even a lot of modern machines, it has a 1/4 inch marking built right into the cover plate.

I like using the marking on the machine much better than a 1/4 inch foot, but that's just a personal preference.  I guess I feel like it's easier to see, and also, the line is much longer than a foot would be, so you can keep the piece of fabric on the line a lot further and not swerve off track at the beginning or end of fabric.

I guess that's all for sewing talk today.  The other thing I have to report on this week is that my Aerogarden is starting to really produce a lot of lettuce!

Here's what I harvested yesterday.  I harvested it on Friday, and then by Tuesday it needed to be harvested again, so this is what it grew in just FOUR days!

Yay salad!

Alright everyone, I'd better go work on my laundry some more.  I hope you're all having a great week so far!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Yarn Storage Update

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Are you having a good week so far?  I'm trying to get back into a normal routine and a more sane schedule, which is really hard after the chaos of Christmas and then having both me and my hubby being sick! 

As part of getting back into a normal routine, I decided that I need to start posting more Tuesday tips, because I have a lot of them I want to share!  And hopefully they'll be useful to someone out there. 

In the week before Christmas, I had a burning desire to get my crafting space into better order.  I get that way every year, usually in the depth of winter, but I guess it came early for me this year.  I just want to sort through and pare down and make my space more efficient and pleasant to be in.  Since I spend a very large chunk of my time crafting every day, I need it to be easy to access and I also want it to look orderly and cheery.  For whatever reason, if my space is messy, I have a hard time actually working on my projects.  Is that just me or is that a woman thing? 

So one of the biggest things I did in my pre-Christmas organizing spree was to move my yarn stash out of my closet and into my crafting room so it's easier to access.  After all, I need to get to my yarn on a pretty frequent basis.  In case you're new to the blog, here's how my yarn stash looked before.

It was sorted by color and stored in milk crates, then stacked right inside a very large storage closet in my computer room.  It was out of the way there, but also kind of a pain to get to.  If I wanted a color that was in a lower crate, I had to take all the other crates off first.  And if I needed something from the back of the closet, I had to move a whole stack out of the way and squeeze my big butt through.  It was annoying, to say the least!

I'm not one of those people that dreads organizing.  In fact, I really love organizing.  It might be because I'm a Virgo and Virgos are supposed to be very well organized and tidy.  It might also be because I'm mildly OCD!  But whatever the case, I love sorting and ordering and thinking about how things could be more efficient.  I have two problems with organizing, though.  The first is finding the time to actually get around to doing it, because it usually takes several days at the very least, and I'm the type that dumps everything in the middle of the floor in the beginning of the project, so I have to do it at a time when I'll be ok living with a huge mess for three plus days. 

My second problem is that I have a tendency to want to buy my way to better order.  I grew up poor, so I don't know where this comes from, but for some reason I feel like I need fancy organizing apparatuses in order to be truly put together.  For this project, I spent probably a week looking at possible things I could buy to organizing my yarn.  I went back and forth between buying a new book shelf and buying a cube shelf and baskets.  However, I really want to cut down on my consumerism and the false belief that new things will solve my problems, so I decided to challenge myself to use what I already had on hand and buying as little as possible for this project. 

It ended up being a fun challenge, actually.  What I discovered was that I already have a bookshelf that's the perfect size to hold all of my milk crates!  The book shelf is in my studio already, so it would be easy to access it.  I could pull out a crate, grab the yarn I want, and stick it back.  Easy!

I'm sorry to say I didn't get many pictures of the process, but it was basically a big pile of crap in the middle of my tiny studio floor.  I decided to reorder all of my shelves in my studio, get rid of as much as I could, so that I could clear off my old bookshelf.  Here's what it looked like before.

It used to hold my crafting books, my scrap fabric, my journals and notebooks, and on top is my collection of 90s cooking and crafting magazines.  I took everything off and sorted through it.  I ended up getting rid of about half the books in the process, but I kept everything else.  It got new homes in spots where I purged other things I don't need (like lots of scrapbooking supplies I don't use anymore).  Here's what the bookcase looks like now.

Now I'm going to be the first to admit that this is pretty ugly.  The bookcase is old and the shelves are sagging, and the crates are not very aesthetically pleasing in the least.  However, it's way more useful and that's a huge bonus!  I plan on covering the crates in the near future to make it look nicer and to also protect the yarn from dust and sunlight. 

There's a cool tutorial over at Sew Many Ways that I plan on using to help me cover my crates when I get that far.  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures! 

For anyone interested, this bookshelf is a super cheap Walmart creation.  It was gifted to us as a housewarming present 11 (!) years ago, but I looked, you can still find them for between $25 and $50.  The top two crates are cheapy Sterilite crates I got for $3 a piece, but the rest are authentic milk crates which I like a lot better because they're a lot sturdier and also they're a standard size.  You can buy those in Home Depot right now for about $7 a piece.

Well, that's all for today, everyone.  I hope you're all having a great Tuesday!  Happy crafting!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Swedish Heart Coasters

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had an excellent weekend and are ready to tackle this bright new week!  I know I sure am.  I have a brand new pattern up in my Etsy shop today, just in time for Valentine's day!

Swedish Heart Coasters Pattern, $4 on Etsy

These little cuties are really easy and fast to make, and would make an adorable gift for any of your sweeties this Valentine's day!

Ok everyone, I have lots of chores I need to get to today.  Have a lovely week!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Free Friday: Lacy Heart Basket

Happy Friday, everyone!  I hope you're doing well.  Can you believe that it's almost been three weeks since the new year started?  Goodness!  Part of me feels like it's been absolutely ages, like maybe two months, but the other part of me feels like we just celebrated Christmas yesterday!  I wonder if I'm the only one who gets those competing feelings. 

Well, Valentine's day is coming up and it'll be here before you know it!  So you'd better start thinking about what you want to make for your sweethearts now.  Today's free pattern would make a really nice gift for someone you love, filled with candy hearts of better yet some really good chocolate! 

Lacy Heart Basket

Skill Level:

2 ¾ x 3 ¾ x 4 inches

  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn in colors listed in key
  • Hot Glue
  • #16 plastic canvas needle

  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graphs.
  2. Overcast edges of handle piece with white yarn.
  3. Whipstitch sides and bottom together with white yarn. Leave top edge unfinished.
  4. Use hot glue to attach ends of handle piece to the inside of long sides, as shown in picture above.

Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  Please link back if you share this pattern.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Watermelon Tissue Box Cover

Happy Monday, everyone!  I don't have a lot of time today, so I'll just say that I got my newest pattern posted onto Etsy today!

Watermelon Tissue Box Cover Pattern, $4 on Etsy
Isn't it cute!  Ok, I'll hopefully be able to post again tomorrow once things are a little calmer! 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Just a little note

Happy Wednesday, everyone.  I just wanted to let you all know that I might not be posting much this week.  My sister just had an emergency c-section to deliver her baby.  She doesn't have anyone else in her life right now, so it's up to me and my mom to help her and so I don't know what my days are going to look like or if I'll have time to design or blog or anything.  Hopefully I'll be back soon :)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Free Friday: Pretty Book Mark

Happy Friday, everyone!  How are you all doing this first Friday of 2018?  Have you had a good year so far?  I have to tell you, I'm having trouble getting motivated to do anything.  I can't decide if it's the weather or if I'm just coming down from a huge sugar high from all the holiday cookies and candy!  Ugh, why do relatives always get me candy for Christmas anyway?  I end up with about ten pounds of chocolate and it's just all so tempting!  Does anyone else have that problem, or is it just a special kind of torture I have to go through every year?

This week's free pattern is perfect for this time of year!  What better way to spend a cold and blustery winter day than curled up with a good book?  And of course if you're reading a book, you need a good book mark, am I right?  This is super easy to whip up and also a pretty set of colors to cheer you up when all you can see outside is white!

Pretty Book Mark

Skill Level:

  • 7-count plastic canvas
  • Red Heart yarn color #310 – Monet Print
  • #16 plastic canvas needle

  1. Cut and stitch plastic canvas according to graph.
  2. Overcast unfinished edges with Monet Print yarn.

Click the image above to see it larger.  You may share this pattern however you please as long as you don't alter it or claim it as your own.  Please link back if you share this pattern.  You may sell items made from this pattern.  However, you may not sell this pattern.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  It's already three days into this new year, can you believe it?  It seemed like the holidays just whooshed by so quickly and I hardly got to enjoy them.  I guess that's the nature of that time of year.  Truthfully, I'm glad it's all over so now I can get back to my normal life and get back to crafting and creating!  Do any of you feel that way too, or is that just me?

I've been pretty busy this week actually!  Despite being super sick all of last week with a stomach bug (I'm finally starting to feel better today, thank goodness), I just can't stop myself from doing stuff around the house.  So this What's Up Wednesday, I have lots to report!

First of all, I finally started taking down my Christmas decor yesterday.

I like to take it down and put it in a big pile, then have hubby bring down the boxes and pack it all away in one go.  I got most of it down yesterday, but I need to get the tree and I'm going to ask my giant husband to get the up high things (I'm not short, just lazy!).  It feels kind of good to get it away.  I'll miss the warm twinkly lights at night, but the house feels clean and fresh for the new year.

Shortly before Christmas, I cleaned out my Aerogarden and got some lettuce seeds planted, and they're up and doing really well!

There's something about the LED lights of my garden that make my phone take weird stripey pictures, but you get the idea.  I just love watching my little plant babies come up!  They're so cute!  I'm not much of a kid person, but I go gaga over my plant babies and my fur babies, lol.

I got some really cool quilting stuff for Christmas, so I decided that before I can even open that stuff, I NEED to finish the quilts I'm working on!!   So a few days ago I got back to work quilting my vegetable quilt, and it's coming along very well!  I'm trying to do 30 minutes of machine quilting a day, and so far I'm about a third of the way done, woo! 

It's a really cool pea vine design that's a lot easier to see on the back of the quilt.  This quilt is really starting to grow on me :)

On Christmas eve, I finally got to open my new and improved wedding ring!  Oh it's so beautiful.  I can't believe how lucky I am to have such a sweet husband who would give me such a lovely sapphire.

I made a set of really neat watermelon designs before Christmas, but I wasn't happy with the selections of pinks I had to make it.  I ended up buying a ton of yarn a few days before Christmas in the hopes that I could find the color I wanted.  And as it turns out, I found some goods pinks!  (P.S., Red Heart makes a lot of yarn.)  So this week I've been working on stitching the new design up.  I think it's coming along really nicely!

Well, that's all for this week, guys.  I hope you all had a safe and happy New Year!