Friday, February 20, 2015


Even though it isn't quite finished, I couldn't resist posting pictures!  I still need to make a wristlet to attach to the loop, sew a snap to attach the end of the zipper to the kit when carrying, and one or two other things.

Introducing my Travel EPP Kit !

On the left side, and behind the flap, there is room to store two small Altoid tins, a container of needles and my EPP papers.  I still need to cover the lids of my Altoid tins with pretty pink paper, lol.

Small Altoid tins are perfect for holding paper clips, tiny binder clips, a thimble, pins and a needle threader.

The middle of the kit holds two tiny, or one larger spool of thread and a good sized pin cushion.  The right side holds 2.5" fabric squares, my snips and the most important, lol.  I still need to add a seam ripper to the center pocket.  I thought I had an extra lying around, but I can't seem to find it. 

A zipper goes all the way around to keep all of my supplies clean and intact.  Dang, I just spotted another thread I missed!  Every time I think I have snipped the last wayward thread, I find another!  I know my sewing "technique" needs improvement...I can't figure out WHY my zipper is wavy...but I just LOVE the design.  After I finish the wristlet, zipper snap and covering the Altoid tins, my next hurdle will be writing the pattern.  Wish me luck, lol. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015


WOW!  This is a LOT harder than I had ever imagined!  The only pattern I have written to date is the pattern for my Collapsible Craft Container, and it contained a reasonable number of supplies and a reasonable number of steps.  Feeling cocky and confident I decided it was high time to begin work on my next pattern (grin).  Did I progress slowly and logically along my "pattern-writing journey"?  Heck, no!  When have I ever taken the slow and easy route?  This second pattern is a "doozy"!

I am up to 76 photos and I am not yet finished sewing!  I know some of them will be discarded as the step is pretty much common knowledge among sewists.  But, I also know there were at least one or two steps that I forgot to photograph completely!  Guess I will be snapping a few shots with scrap fabric, lol.  How do you ladies and gents DO this for each and every new project you envision?  I bow in deference to superiors.  And just WAIT until it comes time to put it all into clear, concise instructions...that will fit into a downloadable PDF file!  I am not "techie" at ALL and my head is spinning at the mere thought!

BUT... during the first few months of my retirement I found a need in my "sewing life" and I promptly sewed up a solution.  In the past 3+ years I have discovered necessary additions, deletions and just general reworking.  For each of those remade versions I used free "utility fabric".  There was absolutely no way I was going to waste "pretty" fabric for my trial and error.  Time passed, changes were made, and I learned.  Is this final version "perfect"?  Heck, no!  I'm sure there are lots and lots of things I still don't know, and more than a few sewists out there who could point out easier ways to put it together.  That's what "testers" are for, lol.  I can see quite a few "V8" moments heading my way, lol.   However, I'm lovin' the design, even if my technique leaves a lot to be desired.  Soooo...

Today I began the fourth incarnation of my project.  For this "final version" I searched through my stash and pulled out this pretty pack of fat quarters.  I am in LOVE with this color combination.  In all honesty, I can't remember if this bundle is a designer collection, or if I (or another quilter) put together a custom bundle that was just Oh. So. Sweet!  In any case, I'm head over heals "smitten" with these fabrics in my creation and hopefully some day soon the instructions will be written, the pattern will be tested by a willing volunteer or two, and the completed PDF will be listed in my Craftsy shop.  Of course, I will have to have a Tah-Dah moment here on my blog so you can see this pretty stack of fabrics transformed into something "practically" perfect in every way (at least I think so, LOL!) 

Wish me luck!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Once again I have been unable to get random generator onto my blog.  Sometimes technology just eludes me!  So, next best thing...take a photo!

Paula Collins, you're the winner!  I will be emailing you shortly. 

Thanks everyone for playing along!

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I'll admit I am VERY late to the gate on this one!  Sorry!  Unfortunately, life has been nuts and I haven't been as diligent with my blog reading and blog posting as I should have been.  Oh well, better late than never, right?

Included in this giveaway is a project bag, pin cushion, needle book, two skeins of embroidery floss, one fat quarter and a scissor fob.  To enter, just leave a comment below.  Please remember to include your email address if you are a "no reply" blogger.  You don't have to follow my blog, but I would sure love it if you did, lol.  This giveaway ends at midnight on 2/16/15

Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


This is the tote and toiletry bag that I use as my travel quilting set.  I recently pulled out some purple stash fabrics to make a "thread catcher" to match, since I had arrived at a recent sew-in with NO THREAD CATCHER!  Horrors, lol.  In my own defense, it was my first ever UFO sew-in and the thought of a thread catcher never entered my mind.  I was lucky I remembered the HSTs I needed to sew together, lol.

Today I finished the last of the sewing on the thread catcher.  I am getting more and more "hooked" on purple...not a color I have ever been drawn to in the past, lol.  At least changing my mind every so often keeps life from getting boring, lol. 

I unfolded my thread catcher and popped it into the toiletry bag...ready and waiting for the next sew-in.  The pin cushion was purchased on deep discount at JoAnn's and resides here permanently so I know I always have pins and "snipping" scissors with me.  Oh...and a supply of band-aids!  Probably the most important thing in my case, lol.  This thread catcher was a "3 stick" project!  I hold the band-aids together with a clothespin.  Why a clothespin?  On this recent sewing expedition I needed something to hold my block pattern upright for easy viewing.  I clipped the pattern to the front of the toiletry bag and placed it to the right of my machine.  It was always in view and my supplies were within arm's reach.  Sweet!  Hope this gives you a few ideas to make "travel" sewing more organized!



Sunday, February 8, 2015


It has been a really bad, really crazy week here at the cottage.  More than I can go into right now.  Suffice it to say, I have been totally overwhelmed physically and emotionally and haven't been concentrating on "frugal" as much as I would like.  But I have accomplished a little bit.

I'm still doing the usual frugal things that have become a habit (turning off lights, quick showers, free toiletries, etc.).  Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to really "think" frugal...though some "making do" was definitely frugal in nature.  

Friday night a local shop was running a Quilter's UFO sew in.  The cost was only $5, which would be returned in the form of a gift card, and included dinner and snacks.  That was FRUGAL!  It was a sew-in from 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM.  Dear Hubby volunteered to take me and pick me up since he knows I usually turn into a pumpkin around 9:00, lol. 

I pulled out the FREE travel bag and matching toiletry case (not shown) that I got as a gift with an order from Woman Within.  I LOVE it.  The toiletry case holds all of my "notions" and there is still plenty of room for all kinds of fabric, etc.  

I took all of my "already cut" HSTs  (half-square triangles) in containers left over from takeout food.  I consider them FREE as most people would probably just toss them into the trash.  It was a great way to keep all of my HSTs separated and stacked right side of fabric facing up. 

By 10:00 PM I had finished the HST blocks (36) necessary to complete one "large block" of the quilt.  I even got some of them sewn together into rows.  My row markers are a pattern for "tea tags" that I found online.  The pattern was FREE and I printed out a bunch of them on a single sheet of card stock, cut them out, and used a hole punch to make an opening I could pin through.  They work GREAT to keep similar looking rows organized!

But, by ten o'clock I was BEAT.  I hurt too bad to continue and was so horribly fatigued I was glad Dear Hubby was picking me up.  I called him and asked him to come right away instead of at the end of the sew-in at 11:30. Bummer.  I was really having FUN and hated to leave.  Dang body...

One thing I DID forget to take with me? A thread catcher!  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?  I sell the pattern for my Collapsible Craft Container on Craftsy...and I forgot to bring one with me to class! 

I got a few parts of the thread catcher sewn together today, but my hands are shaking too bad to continue.  I should have it completed before the next sew-in and will store it in my purple toiletry bag permanently!  I used stash fabric and old index cards to cut out the hexie papers.  They will never show, so it doesn't matter if they have writing on them.  I use magazine inserts and junk mail to make them, too.  Frugal. 

Yesterday Dear Hubby and I did some shopping at Target.  They had Tide on sale and it is the type of laundry detergent I usually use.  In addition to the good price, they were giving away a free Target gift card with the purchase of two.  Now that J is living here we will go through Tide even faster, so buying two was no problem.  Dear Hubby also picked up the tax program he needs to do our taxes.  That also had a free Target gift card with purchase.  So, I came home with much needed items, at good prices, and two $5 Target gift cards.  I'd say that is frugal, lol. 

I know there were a few other frugal things that I did over the past week, but my mind is too overloaded to remember them all.  No matter.  As long as I am TRYING to "frugal" I'm ahead of the game!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015


This morning I finished the pillow back.  I was going to go out today and buy a 14" pillow (the size this cover needs).  However, I received an email this morning from Nancy Zieman about the 2015 Pillow Challenge she is running.  Not wanting to delay my entry, I stuffed a 16" pillow into the 14" cover.  The pillow is nice and firm (which I like), but the back envelope closure is pulling (which I don't like, lol).  I haven't decided if I am going to use this as a pillow, or if I am going to put 3M hangers on the back and hang it on my wall.  If I decide to use it as a pillow I will buy the appropriate form, lol. 

Voting in the contest begins on March 7th and ends on March 14th.  If anyone cares to vote for my pillow I would sincerely appreciate your support.  I would imagine you can access the voting on Nancy's website. (The link is on the right side of my webpage, near the top!)

Monday, February 2, 2015


Last week I was doodling some FMQ designs for the petals of my project. 

Today I quilted the design onto my petals.  On the first petal I drew the design with disappearing purple marker and tried to follow the lines.  It was actually MUCH easier just doing it free flow, so that is how I quilted the rest of the petals.  Unfortunately, the understated same-color thread I chose is impossible to see in a photo. 

After outlining the flower I used a loopy meandering pattern to quilt the background blocks.  I used a bright green called Lichen to do the quilting.  I may need a bit more practice with my loopy meander (I kept looping myself into a corner, lol) but I am really happy with how the project looks so far!  With this project I wasn't striving for perfection, just fun playing!

Tomorrow I hope to make the pillow backing for it.  I will hold off on sewing it together until my beading needles arrive and I determine if I want to add any more "bling".  This project has been completely "design as you go" (with the exception of the beading,,,I could SEE that in my head) and I am having a ball just "winging it".  It is making me HAPPY!  Goodness knows we could all use a bit more HAPPY in our lives!



My goal for 2015 was to live a more deliberate, "thinking" lifestyle in order to reach our long-term goals.  Well, that was the INTENTION beginning January 1, 2015.  Unfortunately, an overabundance of family health issues, and feeling like "donkey doo-doo" most of the month, meant that my focus was otherwise occupied.  But, NO MORE!  It is time to FOCUS on FRUGALITY, paying down debt and increasing savings!

To keep my "eye on the prize" I made my own little vision "dream house", my "dream studio" (Marcia's studio at and my "almost dream sewing machine".  I say "almost dream" because there is a newer, INCREDIBLE machine put out by BabyLock, but I question if I would spend the amount of money necessary to purchase it even if I had MILLIONS!  For now, a few steps up the sewing machine ladder will be my "dream".  

Piggy Bank - Saving Money Stock Photo 

Yesterday morning I began my day with a quick shower.  I take a shower every day, and since I was not doing any physical dirty can I be?  I took the equivalent of a Navy shower with a hand made cotton washcloth (which is wearing like iron...much better than terry washcloths) and a shower gel that cost me $.25 for the bottle.  CHEAP!  I washed my hair with free shampoo and after drying off completely, slathered my dry skin with free lotion.  I then brushed my teeth with a free toothbrush from my dentist and toothpaste I had gotten free with a doubled coupon. 

Next, I made my coffee in a reusable K-cup (I turned the Keurig off immediately after brewing to reduce phantom draw) and a free pastry (a snack given to us by a relative). 

Since the weathermen were calling for another snow storm, Dear Hubby and I made a trip to our local Shop Rite to restock the house with food and other necessities.  Although I find some of ShopRite's  prices a bit high...their sales are PHENOMENAL!  Our best buys of the day were a pound of coffee for 8 cents, a package of napkins for 8 cents, a free prescription refill for Dear Hubby and one for me!  There were tons of other items on sale, but these were the true stand-outs.  Of note, Dear Hubby and I did the shopping ourselves because of the impending weather system.  In the future, no matter the weather, we will PAY to have the order delivered to our home!  The pain we suffered after our shopping definitely warranted the cost of delivery!  Frugality is saving money to spend it where you want or need... and delivery is definitely a NEED!

When we got home I scanned our receipt into ReceiptHog.  ReceiptHog is an online app that gives points for receipts scanned.  When I reach 1000 points I will qualify for a reward.  I have to shop anyway, so why not spend the few seconds needed to scan in the receipt?  Even if it takes a while to achieve, the reward in my pocket is still FREE!


Last evening I spent a couple of hours searching for the "bunny" in the 111 shops participating in the Fab Shop Hop.  For every bunny you find, you are entered into a drawing for a gift from that addition to some other wonderful prizes.  I have been participating in the Fab Shop Hop for several months now and have won several prizes.  I am very thankful to the shop owners who participate and give away such great prizes, especially when those prizes help me to continue sewing/quilting for the least amount of money possible.  

As soon as the Superbowl was over (sob, Seattle lost, sob) I climbed into bed...exhausted...but proud of my frugal accomplishments.  More tomorrow...