December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!!

Hey Everyone,

It has been a whirlwind over here the last few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas! We have had two parties here at the house and I have shopped, knitted, sewn, and baked more than I would like to discuss.... I can't believe it is all here already. As mentioned before, I am "one of those people" who gets my halls decked before Thanksgiving since I do so much holiday decorating. I have decided to share my Christmas cheer with you and provide you with a tour of our home at the holidays. I have several large trees up on display, each with its own theme. I do love Christmas decorations as you will readily see. So come along with me on a tour...starting with our front door, through the formal areas, family room, kitchen, studio, hall bath, office, and the master bedroom and bath. I will let the photos speak for themselves. I sincerely hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

November 24, 2009

Big Studio Reveal!

Hey Everyone!

Yes, it has been a whole month since I have written. In that period of time, I have been to Cincinnati for the step by step photo shoot for THE BOOK at the end of October. The trip went well and I enjoyed the process. I think these photos will be a great addition to the techniques featured in the book on various projects. We had some extra time while I was there, so we also shot 3 short technique videos for You Tube to accompany the book. Will let you know more when I do.... anyway, it was fun and the weather there was perfect. The leaves were all changing colors and just lovely...we don't get a lot of that in TX....just green leaves, then brown leaves, and finally....NO LEAVES until spring....but that's okay! We don't get a lot of really cold weather either and even though I think I would like to see snow for an extended period of time, I think I would grow tired of it.

But I digress. There is more that I have been up to in the past month. Getting orders out, running around getting errands completed, and decorating for Christmas. Yes, I am ONE of THOSE people who decorates before Thanksgiving, but it is because I put up seven trees and decorate every room, so I like to get it up early and enjoy it. Perhaps I will take a few photos to share these "decked" halls of mine!

Well, this is supposed to be about the studio, right? A while back I posted about the start of this project and the awesome sewing table I had built, The Sewing Studio, Part I. Well the rest of it is done and I finally have a chance to share the results. It is in a word....FABULOUS! I can't begin to tell you how wonderful it is to have a dedicated space to work. It took us two full (VERY full) weekends to make the island featured in the photos you are seeing. There used to be a bed in this room since it doubled as our guest room, so I have been stooping over a bed to cut out and create designs for more years than I would like to count. I finally decided that this was just pure silliness and decided to get the bed out and make a real work space. I should have done this years ago! It is refreshing not to mention inspiring to go in and work in my studio, and who wouldn't love being able to say, "If you need me, I'll be in my STUDIO!".

To give you some background on this piece, we started with an oak base cabinet from Home Depot. It measures 60" long by 24" deep and regular counter height. It was designed to have a large sink placed in the top. We used that space to create a slot below the countertop to store my cutting mat when not in is ingenious! If you look closely at the photos, you can see the framing for that inset before the top was installed. I access it from the side where the stools are.

When creating the top, I wanted to make it wider than the original 24" so I could have an overhang on one side to sit and make notes about designs and do other types of work. It has already come in so handy. I finished up the last of the illustrations for the book there and the lighting was just perfect! The top is made from 3/4" thick MDF with wood trim added to the edges to make it appear thicker than it is as you can see in this photo:

We added faux beadboard to the sides and back, then I painted the entire cabinet with cheap white latex paint. I wanted to be able to use this piece without having to worry about messing it up, but I still wanted it to look nice. By using this type of paint, I achieved a matte look and was able to blend the oak parts with the non-oak parts. I sanded it pretty heavily to get a slightly distressed look. I even rolled the top with the same latex, then hand sanded the whole thing. It looks like laminate! I was amazed with this result. I have to say I wasn't sure it would work out, but it did.

Notice the faux feet at the front? I cut a piece of wood with the jigsaw to accommodate for the overhang of the cabinet, as I wanted it to look like a piece of furniture. We added it to the front and I distressed it to match the rest....I have to say that we are quite pleased with ourselves for building this thing! As my husband likes to say, "It took about $300 in materials and $5000 in labor...." Go figure!

There is a lot of space to stash stuff in cabinet itself and the countertop is divine for laying out large patterns and cutting out stuff. I am the queen of the castle now!! Hope you enjoy the photos....

And, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Hope you fill yourselves to the gills with all the goodies and enjoy your family and friends. I know how thankful I am to have a successful business doing what I love. Thanks for your support and enthusiasm. It means more to me that I could ever say!!

October 24, 2009

Here are the Winners!!

Here are the three lucky winners (and their comments) for the latest giveaway!

#28: Melissa said...
The designs all look fabulous! I especially love that strip skirt.

#32: 3 Stitch Creations said...
Love your bag & pruses! & those skirts are just gorgeous! Keep them coming!

#41: Dorothy said...
Love the Stella pattern....want it, need it.....want to make it for my daughters. All of your patterns are wonderful..have ordered 3 of them so far and am making the Dharma Eco-Friendly bag for Christmas gifts. You are so talented and have wonderful designs.

The winners were selected by Congratulations, gals! Please contact me here to leave your mailing information, so I can get those patterns out to you. I will be out of town for a few days, but will get your stuff out by the end of the week.

Thanks to everyone for leaving comments. They were fun to read and I appreciate all of the kind words!

Next up, the big STUDIO REVEAL.....stay tuned and as always, happy sewing!

October 20, 2009

Market and A GIVEAWAY!

Hey Everyone!

Things have FINALLY settled down from market now, so here is my post of the happenings. We had a great time, got to visit with friends we only see twice a year, and sold a lot of patterns. Below are a few shots of our booth at market. We tried different lighting this time. I bought some clamp lights from Home Depot and made little slipcovers for them so they wouldn't be hideous in the booth. They worked really well, so I am going to add a few more for Minneapolis in the spring.

Of course, we had the new designs in the booth and everyone loved them! I wore a bit of something new every day to showcase the different new clothing designs. Stella was a BIG hit, especially when everyone found out she is made from Jelly Rolls! A lot of shops are excited about doing a class with the pattern, so I am excited that they liked the pattern so well. The mini-book, Little Luxuries, was well received. I think that the idea of pretty little organizers for traveling turned out to be a good idea. Torii and Emaline did very well also, with a lot of people excited about a more fitted design for a tunic. It looks like bag designs are still going strong, as Bijou and Abigail got a lot of attention too! Check out the photos of my outfits for each day to see how the new stuff "wears".

Here I am in the Stella Strip Skirt:

And the Torii Tunic:

And the Emaline Skirt:

Here is a good story involving Bijou. I have been very fortunate to get to know Kathy Miller of Michael Miller fabrics. She is such a wonderful person and so very generous. She has been so kind to promote my work along with her fabrics. If you haven't seen her blog posts at Making it Fun that I mentioned in a previous sure to check it out (you'll have to scroll down a little bit). The photos are just fantastic. I have been lucky enough to work with their fabrics for most of the year now as they are coming out of production for my design work and it has been such a treat! As a big thank you, I decided to surprise Kathy with a bag of her own from one of her favorite new fabric lines, Plain Jane, in the citron/gray colorway. It couldn't have played out better....she snuck into my booth, saw the bag, swooped it up, and acted like she was going to run away with it! Imagine her surprise and delight when I told her it was hers anyway!! I couldn't have planned it any gotta love it when that happens. Here is a picture of us with "the bag". If you are reading this, Kathy....thanks for everything! You are the best.

That's about it for me with market. I did get to see some wonderful new fabrics that will be coming out soon...always an inspiration for new stuff, and a few other little delights that I found there as well that I hope will be influencing what I do for 2010. It will be an exciting year, I know already.

I leave on Sunday for Cincinnati to do the technique photo shoot for the book. I am excited to see the process and so happy to be a part of it. I hope to take some behind the scenes shots of that to share with you when I return late next week. Remember that the book will be out the last part of June next year. I hope to share more as we get closer to that release. The book so far has been a good adventure. I have learned a lot and feel it has made me a better pattern writer.


Now for the FUN is Giveaway time!! I will choose at random 3 LUCKY WINNERS for a pack of one each of the new pattern designs....that is 6 patterns, folks! Just leave a comment about how you can't live without them or something to that effect and you are entered! This giveaway will run until noon CST on Saturday, October 24th, with the winners announced Saturday afternoon.

September 22, 2009


Hey Everyone! I know, I know, I have been gone a while. There has been a lot of fabric and thread flying around in the air around here in preparation for market. Since market is a WHOLE TWO WEEKS EARLY this year, everyone has been going crazy trying to be ready. I think our whole industry will heave a huge sigh of relief when this one is over, so listen carefully because you may actually be able to hear it!

Anyway, I thought I would share my new designs for fall now that most of the sewing is finished and the patterns are currently at the printer. They should be here by the end of next week and be available for purchase the first week of October.

So without further ado, here are the new designs:

The Stella Strip Skirt: Stella is made from pre-cut fabrics, such as jelly rolls (Moda) or you can cut your own is up to you. This skirt can be made almost entirely with a serger, if you have makes the construction super fast. It also features an easy to wear elastic waist with four rows of elastic. This means that the upper portion of the skirt lays really flat and does not add bulk to your mid section. You can also choose to wear it at the waist or slightly below, as I like to do.

The Emaline Skirt: Emaline is a redesign of Emily. Em was due for a reprint and I decided it was time to freshen her up, make some new samples with new variations, and improve the pattern pieces. For those of you who have worked with this pattern, I made the pleat markings really confusing....sorry! I didn't intend to do it, but the way that Emaline is marked, there will be no confusion at all....wish I had done it this new way to begin with....we all learn as we go along, I guess! There are three basic variations.....plain, pleated, or gathered, with lots of options to add ruffles, bands, and even a wonderful tulle ruffle to the bottom! It can be sleek and casual or ruffled and ultra feminine...your choice!

The Torii Tunic: Torii is my first long sleeve tunic. She has sort of an Asian flair, depending on the fabrics you choose. This design is featured in three lengths so it can be worn with jeans, leggings, or as a dress. You also have the choice to make the sleeves three-quarter or full length. Of course, there are also trim options with contrast at the neckline, sleeves, waist and obsession of mine! Oh, and you should also know that this design zips up the gear up for that invisible zipper again!

The Bijou Traveler: Bijou is a wonderful travel bag that features two exterior being my special media pocket complete with a grommet for your earphone wires. This bag will slip nicely "under the seat in front of you"...if that sounds familiar at all..... The zippered top keeps all your stuff safely inside and the bag also has divided pockets along both interior sides. The long shoulder straps make this bag a breeze to sling over your shoulder and get going!

The Abigail Bag: Abigail is a great shoulder bag in two variations....yoked or gathered, with or without a magnetic or latch tab closure. She features two zippered exterior and one interior for keeping your keys, sunglasses and whatever else you have within a fingertip's reach. There is also a high interior pocket so your phone won't get lost! This design is a lot of fun using three different fabrics and is a breeze to sew together.

Little Luxuries Mini-Book: Little Luxuries is a collection of travel organizers for your jewelry, lingerie, and toiletries. These are all quick to sew projects that would make a wonderful gift for the sophisticated traveler in your life. I decided to try a new format with this collection and put them in a small booklet. It is the same physical size as a pattern, but in a booklet form instead....I will be anxious to see what everyone thinks of this! I decided to showcase the new French General fabrics for these....and they turned out so feminine and fun! I can't wait to show them all off at market with their matching Bijou Traveler.....a set to die for!

I would like to take a moment to thank all the generous people out there that make my work so fun....
Moda: thanks for all of the wonderful fabrics!
Michael Miller: Thanks for the fabulous fabric and for promoting the new patterns on your sure to check them out....Kathy Miller had some wonderful photographs made of her nieces in my new skirt designs....thanks so much, Kathy!

So, that is about it in a nutshell.....let me know what you think....I think I will be doing a giveaway maybe the first part of October for some of these patterns, so stay tuned.....

Oh, and the Sewing Studio, Part II should be ready pretty soon....can't wait to share that with is going to be fabulous!

Happy Sewing, Everyone.....

August 18, 2009

The Sewing Studio, Part I

I am writing today about the changes I am making to create a "studio space" for my work. This is something that will be taking a few more weeks to complete, but it is well on its way as I am happily sharing Part I with you today. I have been working out of the guest bedroom of our house since I started the business. I use the bed as a cutting surface which is a bit too low, as you could well imagine. Since no guests stay in this room (heck, I would have to do some MAJOR stuff removal for that), I have decided that it is time for the bed to go and to put in a great work island (not built yet....but will be soon....thus Part II at a later date).

When I started my business 8 years ago, I had just bought my first serger and didn't even have a table to put it on! So I improvised and put it on one of those rickety little round know, the ones with the screw on legs? That got old pretty quickly, but it took a while to get a solution. Since I sew all the time, I never put my machines away. I like for them to be out and handy at a moment's notice. I don't really care for the sewing cabinets that are available because most are made from non-wood products and boast about their storage and the fact that they fold up into a small cabinet....not interested in all that! To suit what I wanted, we found an unfinished wood sofa table (which was too tall, but my handy husband cut the legs off for me). We finished it and I have been using that for the last 6 years. It was fine, but I didnt' like that my machines had to be so close together. I really wanted more space, so I began to think about how I could upgrade my sewing space. I had my table near a corner of the room and wouldn't it be nice to have an "L" shaped table where the serger could have its own space?? Wow....that would be I began looking around to see what was available. As I suspected....nothing! At least nothing that I really liked and was willing to spend any money for....which leads me to the solution that worked just perfectly.

A few years ago, my husband had some guitar cabinets made so that he could display them on the wall, beautifully "framed" and protected from UV rays. The craftsman that made them did such a beautiful job, as you can see in the photos. Jim is one of those guys that does everything couldn't ask for better made cabinets. I knew that he had also made furniture, so I decided to ask him if he would be interested in making my table, and thank goodness, he was! We worked out the details on what I wanted...wood choice, style, and size, and he drew up some great sketches of the sewing table of my dreams..... Please visit his website, Ozark Valley Displays, to see photos of his amazing work. You will mainly see guitar cabinets, but keep in mind that this talented man can build just about just have to be willing to ask and know that quality takes time.

This wonderful table arrived last Friday and we have been busy ever since, getting it set up, redecorating, and moving other stuff around. I covered the cork boards with fabric over and got those hung up over the weekend and just finished the cover for the office chair yesterday. Notice my polka dot light? It is a clamp light that I covered and it takes up no space on my table top!

Stay tuned for Part II, because we are planning on making a large work island next for the center of the room. We will be doing that part ourselves in the coming weeks, so it may be a while before the big reveal. By the time we are finished, it is going to be one sweet space! I already feel like a spoiled sewing queen over here... just imagine how I will feel when the whole studio is complete....there will be no living with me!!