If you could have 2 more hours…what would you do?

Would you spend it with family or friends? Would you get some extra sleep? Would you use it for sewing, quilting or being creative?

Rengar Kitty (left) and I would love to know.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Note: I have to approve comments to prevent nasty spam from appearing so it may take a bit of time for your post to appear.

The above picture of Rengar Kitty was taken when he was just a few weeks old but his first birthday will be creeping up soon. He’s very curious and loves to help me sew and quilt (in his own special way). He does have one blue eye and one green eye (this is known as Heterochromia), but he definitely is NOT deaf as people sometimes suspect.

M’s Quilt – BEHIND SCHEDULE – But I’m OK With That

Let me get this out there in the open first thing. I’m behind schedule. I wanted to have M’s quilt quilted, bound and finished before today. Didn’t happen.

I could tell you a million different reasons why I let things get in the way and all the unforeseen interruptions that occurred. But I’m not going to waste your time or mine doing that. What I am going to say is that I own it and I’m OK with it. Things come up. Things happen. I’m tired of fighting the flow and taking it out on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. Do you ever do that?

OK. So where am I in the process? I am a bit over 1/2 way finished with the quilting, which I decided to do wonky echo quilting (using King Tut #918 thread) instead of wavy horizontal or vertical line quilting. Once the quilting is finished, I will apply the binding which is a randomly pieced scrappy binding made from the colors/fabrics that were used to make the M and accent strip. The binding has already been pieced and prepared, so it is ready to go (a PLUS!). I really like the look of the variegated thread on the solid navy background. I can’t wait to get it finished and wash/dry to see it all crinkly.

I think if I push myself and work really hard I might be able to get it finished today. But if I’m being honest, I need to admit that I already know that’s not going to happen. (See where I’m going with this self-honesty thing?) With all the uncertainty in the world right now, virtually EVERYONE is under incredible stress. That includes me. I was never a particularly fast quilter to begin with. Stress makes me even slower. You know what? That’s a perfectly normal response to stress.

SEW. What am I going do to help myself so I don’t revert to Perfection Paralysis and allow M’s quilt to join my UFO pile? I’ve decided I’m going to lower my expectations of myself–and of others. I’m going to stay true to my personal values but I’m also going to cut myself–and others–some slack. This is all new territory we are in and no one knows when it’s going to end. Sew. YES, I’m going to sew, quilt and work at a healthy pace, allow my process to just be. It will BE imperfect and I’m going to celebrate that because I AM IMPERFECT. I’m going to take breaks when I need to go for a walk. I’m going to spend time with and care for our chickens, goats, and seeds I’m starting for our garden. I will make frugal but tasty and nutritious meals for my family every day. I’m going to take care of myself so I can “be there” for Jeff (husband) and Jacob (son who is a college student finishing his semester online from home) and 3 adult children serving active duty in the military. I’m going to do my very best to be kind, extend love and encourage others. I’m going to look for the good and I believe I’m going to find a LOT of it everyday.

When I feel myself getting sucked into negative thinking and doom & gloom, I’m going to come back here and read this post to remind myself how to get back on/stay on track.

No matter what the situation, giving up is never a good answer. We can always choose to tweak, adjust or even change course entirely. But as long as we remain honest, stay responsible for our own choices and keep moving forward, we retain our own personal power and dignity. With that there is peace and satisfaction at the end of every day.

OK. Enough about me. How about you?

What are you going to do to take care of yourself and keep moving forward?

What do you think about M’s quilt so far?

As always, I absolutely value and appreciate constructive comments and sharing. Please remember that in order to protect the blog and my readers from hideous spam posts I must approve each comment that is submitted. I have numerous responsibilities, so sometimes it takes a bit for me to get to reading and approving posts. Thanks in advance for anything you care to share. It means a lot to me.

And Sew On…Reigniting Passion

Life is funny.

You can love something so much all your life and yet one day you wake up and find yourself in a rut. Tired. Burned out. It’s not that you–and by you, I mean me–hate what you’re doing. You still love it way down deep inside, it’s just not quite the same anymore. What used to hold so much excitement now feels lackluster and dull.

Shhhh….I’m going to tell you a secret. This happened to me with sewing and quilting. YIKES!!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I still love it.  I’m not leaving. I plan to be around for a long, long time.  But the same old stuff just wasn’t lighting me up like before.  I felt like something was missing. I needed something….more.

But…what?  I reflected a long, long time. I resisted an even longer time.  And then…I surrendered. Meet my new best friend, Buelah.

  • B – is for Brave, together we will bravely explore new territory.
  • U – is for (virtually) unbreakable…quite literally, she is an industrial machine.
  • E – is for exquisite stitches sewn, strong and straight.
  • L – is for love, my love for creating beautiful new items out of old stuff that would otherwise go into the trash.
  • A – is for able, because together we are.
  • H – is for happiness and the joy that has been returned!

Buelah is a Juki DU-1181N, single-needle, straight stitch, top and bottom feed industrial sewing machine. She is truly a WORK HORSE! She comes with a high capacity M bobbin, has her own Servo motor, and can sew up to 2,000 stitches a minute (not that we ever get close to that!). She has a max stitch length of 9mm and even has her own sexy knee lifter that can lift her presser foot up to 15mm.

Right about now you’re probably asking what on earth possessed me to purchase this machine. The short answer to that is: Bike Tubes.

As you may–or may not–know, I love recycling UP-cycling old bike tubes (and other things) into useful items. Yes, it’s true. I was able to sew bike tube on my domestic machine…but not without a lot of fiddling, prepping and babying because that machine was NOT made to sew rubber. Buelah? Well…she sews rubber like butter, baby. The truth is that–before I made the decision to get Buelah–I knew I was killing my domestic machine. That made me really sad. So I realized what I was doing was really limiting myself not doing the sewing/work that I crave the most because of course I couldn’t bear to kill my domestic sewing machine. I love her.

What have I created so far?  These are just a couple items. Several more prototypes are in the works.

UP-cycled Bike Tube and UP-cycled Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet/Pouch gift I made for a dear cycling friend from the southern part of New Mexico
Inside of the UP-cycled Bike Tube/Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet Pouch.
The patch pocket is an original block print by Tammy Schurr, my very dear friend and Adventure Cycling Event Director/Tour Leader.
Minimalist UP-cycled Bike Tube Zip Pouch
Minimalist Zip Pouch
Lined with UP-cycled DenimJeans

Sew what’s the point of all this?  Here are 3 points I can share right now: 

  • Exploration of my passion to recycle/UP-cycle old materials into something new, useful and beautiful through sewing.
  • Diversification of business for SewThankful. I will be sewing and selling a limited number of finished UP-cycled bike related items. Many bike friends and associates have asked me to sew and SELL my creations. This will be a new adventure and I am excited to see where it takes me.
  • Vehicle for development of new Sew TracyLee Designs patterns. The patterns will be adjusted and written for sewing quilting cottons and traditional fabrics.

What do you think?  I’m interested in your constructive thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to share below but note that in order to prevent spambots and junk I have to moderate each comment so it may take a little while for yours to post.

How to make & add a hanging loop to your project in 3 easy steps!

 

Do you have a small project–like the Double-sided Button Rick Rack Flower used here as a decorative zipper pull–that you’d like to hang as a decorative zipper pull or wall ornament or tree ornament or attach to something like a gift/package, etc. but you need a way to do so?

 

 

Adding a hanging loop is a super simple way to solve that problem and here’s how to do it in 3 easy steps:

1.  CUT a length of string, yarn, narrow ribbon, bakers twine, etc. I usually go with about a 6 – 8 inch length unless I need a longer dangle. If longer dangle is necessary, then cut a longer piece.

Remember, the length of dangle will be 1/2 the length you cut MINUS about 1 inch give or take depending on how close to the end you tie your knot AND whether you are looping around a button (or similar) or through a hole.

2.  KNOT the ends. Make the knot as close to the ends as possible.

Knot the ends.

3. ATTACH to your project. Loop the string around (or through–if there is a hole to insert through), then insert the “folded” end of your loop through the strings of the knotted end.

Click image to enlarge picture and view detail. Pull the “folded” end so that the knot disappears behind the button (or on the back side of your flat item if inserting through a hole.)

If you have a small fabric item that you need to add a hanging hole to, you could use an awl to pierce a hole.

Want the pattern for how to make the Double-sided Button Rick Rack Flower shown here?  It’s included as a bonus in my StandZa Zip Bags sewing pattern.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Holy Super-Sized Spooky Sweetpea!

Giant Sweetpea PodsJust one 18″ square of vinyl mesh and some rick rack, ribbon, an extra long zipper (recommend ByAnnie’s 4yd package) and two zipper pulls will make 2 Spooky-Sweet Treat Pods of Deliciousness. The ones I made (above) have made fun Halloween candy dishes for my desk and coffee table.  They’re virtually un-breakable and they pack away easily.

You’ll need to use zipper yardage for these extra big pods.  Cut the zipper several inches longer than the longest side of your triangle (see your Sweetpea Pod pattern for basic cutting instructions).

Also keep in mind– if you’re going to swap out the zipper pulls to a different color than your zipper tape–you must be sure to use the SAME BRAND and SAME SIZE pull as the tape. Test your zipper tape and pulls for compatibility BEFORE using in your project.  Not all zipper brands will work.

It’s SEW FAST and SUPER EASY to make super-sized vinyl mesh Sweetpea Pods because you omit the interfacing and lining steps.  For the zipper pull strings, I used thin strips of recycled bicycle tube, but you could choose to dangle a spider charm from a jump-ring or use almost anything interesting.

If you don’t have the LazyGirl Sweetpea sewing pattern yet, what are you waiting for?!? Get it ON SALE NOW. Click here and order yours today.

Save