winners circle….

April 10th, 2015

Hey there,

In my last post, I had a giveaway for the book All Lovely Things by Lea Redmond.  It wasn’t really “quilt” or “fabric” oriented, but it was kind of a fun book. And I said I was going to draw a name April 2nd…well, that didn’t really happen.  But I did get to it, and we have a winner!

And our winner is Patty, who wrote:

I too have been “sorting” thru things trying to get rid of the excess possessions I have. The first thing that came to mind was an antique quilt I have from a great-great-grandmother, probably made in 1890. But the one thing that defines me is my mother’s ring with the birthstones of my children. I wear it every day along with a ring from my mother.

Thanks to everyone who commented, I enjoyed the conversation about giving and hanging onto things…and the thoughts on which “things” do or do not define us….or even those that did once, but no longer do define the world around us.

Part of the reason that I didn’t quite get around to doing the drawing and writing up this post was to blame on these two bad boys.  I haven’t really named them yet, but I am open to your suggestions!

2 New machines

My 24 year old Singer finally bit the dust in the last few weeks. The old girl just gave her little heart into my sewing for as long as she could.  I was sad to lose her.  She never did very well at actual quilting, so I always have hired out my long arm quilting.

Well, I sent out MOST of my quilts for quilting. For a couple of years, I had a B-line Quilting Frame and this Juki set up. I had terrible issues with it, the frame wasn’t the right height, the tension was constantly giving me grief, etc. Last winter I sold the frame on Craigslist, but kept the machine because I had only heard good things about it…I thought maybe I could get it to do what everyone else said it could do.

not so new Juki

So when the Singer died, I hauled this guy out….And I think I am in love. It is working fine now, I played with some free motion quilting and it seems better than I remember it. Not my quilting skills, the Juki’s ability to do the job!  And speedy?? Scary fast!

It does most everything that I need; straight-stitching and free motion quilting.  But it doesn’t do any zig zag or button holes or other stuff like that….

I bought this Brother Project Runway model for all of the rest. And it’s pretty good too…both are SOOOOOO much faster than my poor old Singer was going at the end…felt like I was working with a rusty treadle machine by the last stitch.

New Brother machine

And so, I have been playing around and making stuff, mending some clothes and overall experimenting with both of these machines. Juggling the space is part of my concern too, so I think there will be some cleaning on the to-do list too…

I will show you some of the stuff I have been creating in the next couple of posts!

On the “teaching” side of things, I have a gig tomorrow in Mount Vernon, Washington at Calico Creations. My next class group will be in Sisters, Oregon for the Quilters’ Affair Event in July 2015. Last I checked, all of my classes were full except Fireside Chat, but check with the Stitchin’ Post staff to be sure.  And then I will be teaching in Mount Vernon for a week in September this fall at the Treacy-Levine Center. Classes are still at the to be determined stage right now.

So that’s it for now….now what am I going to name these two working boys?

Keep Happy, Keep Sewing,


All Lovely Things by Lea Redmond

March 28th, 2015

Spring Cleaning time! Well, it will be here soon maybe….I have been so freaking busy, I am not sure that I will ever get to spring cleaning. I want to every year, as soon as I hear the frogs croaking, I get all thrilled for spring.  And then Bam! it’s July!

Recently the peeps at Penguin Random House offered to send me the book All Lovely Things – A Field Journal For The Objects That Define Us by Lea Redmond from their Perigee division. Normally I just don’t have time for books if they aren’t related more directly to my fiber obsession, but this one seemed different, so I said yes.


And part of the reason that I said yes was because Lea talks in the beginning about the “things” around us. And like it or not, those objects around us, define who we are to a degree.  As Spring Cleaning comes around and we toss things or donate things or sell things in garage sales or on Craigslist or re-purpose things, I like how she talks about recording them in this journal and take the time to think about our lives; where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.   And the little promo flyer on the book talked about how we can get “to know ourselves better through the objects that are the inanimate companions to our lives.”

The basic concept on the “journal” part of it, which is Most of the book,  centers around two page spreads of blank “boxes” for you to fill in with sketches or photos, or what have you….basically to reflect on who you are…who those you love are, and then people you admire as well. It’s a very “Gestalt“y way to analyze and think about your life I think.  (and after I read the definition of Gestalt psychology, I realized that I think of it in the greater that than sum of all things, not other than the sum of all things… just so you know what I was thinking…if you even care! :) )

So anyway…Back to the book. it doesn’t have to be just about you either. It can be about family, friends, historic people that have meaning in your life.

Lea, the author of this book, gave numerous sample sections, Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau, pictured below, to give you an idea of what the journal is intended to do for you.



I apologize for the lighting in some of these shots. The below is the actual light. I didn’t really work the filters as much as I should have on the above shots.

I think the real appeal that this book had for me is in the fact that we are headed to the phase of downsizing our household. The boys have moved out and may be coming back for short stays, but the fact is they will be going further and further away. And Mimi isn’t far behind them.  That and we have started working on actually budgeting in real way and we are realizing that we don’t really NEED all of this stuff. This isn’t an easy process by any means. I am a packrat by nature and everything seems very sentimental to me.

For my first sketch in this field book I started with this plate. It is not a family piece. We picked it up at a garage sale somewhere. But it is my favorite plate of this size.  And it’s developing a crack. So I know I won’t be able to keep it forever. So that is why I chose to start with it as my first sketch.  I have no idea how it “defines” me, but I love it and I want to remember it for a very long time.


And a closer look at my sketches and the actual plate:


Another cool thing that you can do with it, is have friends and family take a section too… I plan on having at least two of my kids do their own pages. Don’t think the oldest will want to do this.  There are lots of prompts, but then there are lots of blank sections too. So many cool things that you could do with this book.

So that’s it…A fun little book to use and record some of those things you may be tossing out or donating this year so you can keep a little bit of them behind for old times sake. Call it a scrapbook, a memory book, a visual diary….whatever, I think I will be enjoying this for a very long time!

And the Penguin peeps have generously offered to share a copy for a giveaway here at the Blue Nickel this week. So please leave a comment on this post about something that defines you…..something that would be the very last thing you would be getting rid of as you spring clean this year and into the future…and it can’t be fabric or your phone!!   :)

I will give you until April 2nd then I will draw a name sometime that day and the Penguin peeps will send you your very own copy.

I can’t wait to hear what you have to say (New readers, please remember that this blog is set up to have every comment approved before it is posted, so if you don’t see your comment right away, don’t fret, it just means that I haven’t gotten around to approving it yet).

Week of Happy….Day Five

July 18th, 2014

And here we are at Day Five of the Week of Happy! Today I wanted to just kinda celebrate my favorite kind of “solid” or “non-solid-solid” as it were. True these are mostly prints, but compared to other prints I use, they are very calm and settling. Particularly Violet Craft’s little birds....I just LOVE these.  All of these fabrics are from Michael Miller and the little birds on the right are Violet’s design. The prints above the tiny houndstooth and the large houndstooth on the left are from Patty Sloniger’s line, Emma’s Garden.


And of course more treat bags ...... I made 100 of these suckers…...I wanted to make sure that all of my students at Quilters Affair got a little treat….a thank you from me for selecting my classes.

So totally digging this tiny houndstooth as a basic!!



So here’s the surprise package (not so much of a surprise now!) that I have been referring to all week as the second prize in the Week of Happy. A whole bunch of stuff from Spring Quilt Market and a few things from the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon.  So comment about what makes you happy on every day of the Week of Happy and some time on this coming Monday morning,  I will pull two winners from all of  the comments.  One winner for this package and one winner for the Chronicle Books package (read about that prize on Day One of Happy).


And again, I have been loving hearing what is making you Happy this week….Helps me to maintain a bit of Happy in my life too!!

Keep Sewing, Keep HAPPY!


Week of Happy…..Day Four

July 17th, 2014

Welcome to Day Four of the Week of Happy. If you are just hitting the Blue Nickel this week, then you need to check out this post to see what’s going on, but if you have been here all week, then you know the score.  It’s all about Happy around here this week.


When I was passing by the Dear Stella booth at Quilt Market last spring, I saw Woodwinked all lined up in a row of pillows, and I totally fell in love with the deer in this line (yes, I know I lamented the deer that frequent my yard in yesterday’s post) and again I thought it was so pretty. I commented to the gals sitting there about how terrific it was and they gave me a fat quarter pack to play with!  I hadn’t noticed the owls or the mushrooms at first, but discovered them in the mix. Too cool!



So I made stuff with it even! Here’s another of those cool little wallets designed by Valori.


And more of those little treat bags designed by Monica.


Since I only have Fat Quarters of this line, I will be working them in with other prints down the road, and I am sure they will play together very nicely.

So to win either Monday’s Chronicle Book prize or my surprise pile-up from tomorrow’s post, simply comment here about something or someone or some event that makes or will make or has made you happy lately. And to have more chances, comment on each and every Week of Happy post this week….including tomorrow’s.  It’s been super uplifting to me to hear all of your Happiness spilling over. If you are feeling a little worn down this week, read the comments. There is a lot of happy to be found out there.

Keep Sewing, Keep Happy!

Week of Happy……..Day Three……

July 16th, 2014

I have been so enjoying everyone’s “Happy” comments! Keep them coming! They make my day, and in this crazy world we live in, a little bit of Happy is very good to have isn’t it?

Today’s Day on the Happy Train features Rustique by Emily Herrick. I was delighted with a lunch date at Spring Market with Emily and the equally fun Frances Newcombe, and I sure can tell you they are both the greatest company!

So here is Rustique!  I love the deer in this line….Much more than I loath the deer that try to destroy most everything I try to plant. They are like locusts around here…well, not quite, but it seems that way.

Anyway, Emily’s deer are marvelous, and the perfect size for more of these little treat bags….I tell you I am addicted to making those!



Here’s a little more Happy for you! I can’t love this song enough!!


Look at that little blue deer….perfect! and BLUE too!   :)


Also totally digging that Fuchsia, Orange, White and Black plaid too!!

DSC_1840 DSC_1839 DSC_1838

There are some great “blenders” that I love using in place of solids too!

So Day Three….If you have been here for the other posts, you know what to do.  If it’s your first day in the week of Happy, here’s the score: Leave a comment about what makes you Happy on today’s post as well as all of the Days of  Happy Week this week. Two prizes are being awarded. The first prize is shown on Day One and is from Chronicle Books. The second prize will be revealed Day Five and will be an assortment of things that I picked up at Spring Market plus a few cleaning out items from my studio.

Keep Sewing, Keep Happy!

Week of Happy…..Day Two

July 15th, 2014

Did you see yesterday’s post? It was the first Day of my Week of Happy series where I shared about my friend Amy Butler’s latest line Hapi.

Today’s post features a good friend of  Amy’s and mine, Valori Wells Kennedy, with whom I also just spent a magical week with (along with a whole lot of other incredible students and teachers!) in Sisters, Oregon. The fabric line is Quill and it came out a few months ago…Newer than Amy’s Hapi, but not as new as Valori’s NEWEST line Ashton Road.

Anyhow….I am working on a really fun project that is either going to go in a magazine OR become a Blue Nickel Studios pattern.  So I can’t show you that project yet, but I can show you the fabric.

DSC_1848 DSC_1847 DSC_1846

And I can show you more of those little treat bags that I am so enamored with …..


Also, I made some of these little wallets that Valori designed out of Quill. Very fun project….


So that’s it for today’s Happy post….remember to make a comment about what makes you happy on one or all of the Happy posts this week to win that nice prize from Chronicle Books that I talked about in yesterday’s post.  Commenting on each day’s post DOES better your chances to win, so it’s worth it. Plus you have to think up a different reason to be Happy each day….Win, win, right?

Week of Happy……Day One

July 14th, 2014


So I am just back from Sisters, Oregon and my second season there as a teacher at the week long event called Quilters Affair. I can only say it was just as Awesome again this year as when I went in 2012.  I hope you can come out next Summer in 2015.  It is the show’s 40th anniversary and I am sure it will  be spectacular!  And come take a class from me and some of the other incredible teachers there!

I have more to share about that but, for today, I wanted to share this lovely line that is hopefully still in stores from my friend Amy Butler. I have been meaning to get this in a post for MONTHS as I have a cool giveaway going along with it.

So to start out the Week of Happy, I wanted to start with Amy Butler’s line Hapi. This line was inspired by her trip to Egypt a few years back and all of the color and pattern she soaked up there.



If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I have been making a lot of these little totes.



I had a great time giving them (stuffed with goodies) to all of my students at Quilters Affair.  Cause I like giving stuff away…...

And now to the fun part….Chronicle Books loves giving away stuff too….so they are going to give the following items to one lucky commentor this week.  If you comment on this post or any of the next 4 days of Happy you will be entered in the drawing for a package of Amy Butler Eco-Stationery goods from Chronicle including:

A four pack of little journal books (these are a great, handy size—I am going to re-write all my passwords in one  of them),


A paper mouse pad with beautiful Amy Butler prints and room for notes on the bottom,


and a gorgeous box of Notecards for those occasions that emails really aren’t the way to go.


ALSO Chronicle is giving away Amy’s Stencil book.  This book is really cool,  full of ideas and the stencils are on nice stiff, slick card stock, so they are great for stenciling.  I can’t wait to use it in a couple areas in our house. If I ever get to that, I will show you what I came up with!




So every day this week, comment on all five of the Happy Posts. I will draw a name from ALL of the comments between now and then. And then on Friday to wrap up the Week of Happy, I have another prize – my loot from Spring Quilt Market.  On each day simply tell me something that makes you happy, or made you happy that day.
Ready, set…..Comment!


Keep Sewing, Keep Happy!

Stitch ‘n Swap!

May 7th, 2014


Okay peeps! I knew this was coming and it was so crazy around here, I never told you about it!!  The timeline is short but you have a chance to win yourself  of the copy of  Stitch ‘n Swap that was created by my teammates at Generation Q and I and a whole lot of our friends for Stash Books.  I have been wanting to make placemats for our place for years now, but never seem to find the time…..I know placemats, right? How hard could that be to take time for? Well, I never did, but for this book, I finally made myself to it. I think the frustration for me is keeping it simple enough for placemats, but still will a lot of design, color and pattern going on.

broken dishes1_set

So I made two sets for the book, mainly because we couldn’t quite decide which we liked better.  This set “Modern Broken Dishes” ended up in the book. Seen above in a much better setting than they will ever see when they get back to me, although, we do have glasses a bit like that.

For the design, I simply looked at one of my many books on traditional blocks, found the Broken Dishes block, and played with different variations. Obviously, I basically took the basic concept and changed it entirely, so it really isn’t a Broken Dishes block any more, but I did keep the “original” 8 triangle together concept.  I know, that’s how I roll.

Here’s one of the place mats:

broken dishes_placemat_2

And here’s the runner:


And here’s a horrible picture of the second runner that I made for the book that they didn’t have space for:

runner vertical

Really, it looks much better in person. When I get it back here, I will take a better picture of it. I somehow managed to trash ALL of my original pictures of it when I made it last summer.  Since it didn’t make it in the book, we did get the instructions as a free download that you can get here. The placemats are simply those side bits around the center vertical bit.

The book has a BUNCH of other fun projects too,  you can check out the entire list of contributors here and see more of what’s in the book that way.

Now onto the Giveaway part!

How does this giveaway work?

 Go ahead and comment on the original Generation Q Stitch ‘N Swap post letting the GenQ team know if you’ve ever participated in a swap and the coolest thing you’ve ever gotten in a swap. That’s it!

And here’s the kicker, there’s no time to lose! Click on the Link above and comment on that original post. Three books are going to be given away to three commentors on that post Thursday May 8th.  (That’s Tomorrow!)  Go. Now. Comment. Good luck!

(and PS, I will announce the winner of  the peachy tablerunner  top tomorrow….so come back to check that out!)

Jaybird Sew Along and Giveaway!

April 28th, 2014

Jaybird 6

I stopped by to visit with my friends Sara and Julie the other day (check all of the other visits out too, Sara is hosting a bunch of reviews on Julie’s patterns and rulers)......okay Virtually stopped by, whatever…..that’s where I talked about the above runners made with Julie’s Seaside pattern. But today here is where I am going to give one of them away…..Just the top, you will have to quilt it yourself….but at least the piecing is all done.


I also wanted to show you all of these little bags I made with a lot of the Jelly Roll leftovers. I can’t believe how much fabric was in that Jelly Roll!!


All of the fabric in these projects were from one yard a jelly roll of  Joanna’s new line Mirabelle  (with the exception of that one fleur de lis stripe cream and tan print in the lining of that middle bag [and a few more]. That print is an older Michael Miller print). I am making a TON of these bags that will hopefully be filled with goodies from my many industry friends for giving away at Quilt Market and Quilters’ Affair coming soon.

So back to the giveaway.  Since this line reminds me so much of Peach Cobbler, leave a comment about your favorite fruit or fruit concoction or any story regarding fruit. I will draw a name sometime this weekend and send the winner one of the runner tops above. As I mentioned above the winner will have to quilt and bind it, but the piecing is all done for you.

And I have to get back to sewing and writing. I am almost caught up on my sewing, but my writing is SOOOO far behind. (and those of you waiting for the Quilters’ Affair patterns that I was going to have done months ago, I am eternally grateful for your patience. I am getting close to having them ready, but they are still not quite there….you are awesome for being so graciously waiting for them!)  (And this simple little post took freaking forever to get done…programs acting up etc…I need a faster computer…or I need to clean this one out {that is probably very true!})

Durathon Winner!

April 24th, 2014

And the winner of the Durathon Iron is #76 ….....

Mary, who wrote:

I have many memories of Easter growing up and with my own family. One that is most fond is that I made my niece an Easter dress patterned with jeweled toned eggs. My niece and her mom loved that dress so much that she wore it all the time. And I mean all the time. It was her most favorite dress. This was heartwarming.

I am always on the hunt for a great iron that works well with the fabrics. And one with a retractable cord, oh my!!


I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your Easter/Spring memories, peeps! There were some familiar ones in there to be sure!

Okay back to the sewing dungeon…..I have SOOOOO Much to do between now and Market and Quilters Affair!

But I need to give you something to look at….so look at this and enjoy Spring here at least if not outside your door:


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