A Quilt Finish

I had a stack of fabric in my large pile of fabrics, that has been slated for a particular quilt.  The quilt, you ask?  The Bright Heart Quilt, by Amy Butler for Free Spirit Fabrics.  I love the color green, so this quilt kit, as it came, was a no brainer for me.  The deep hues of emerald, along with a lime green and a bright pink, which is hard to see from the photo, called to me.  I had to make it and so I did.

The quilt pattern is available for free on the Free Spirit website, and it’s easy.  Any of you out there with “half square triangular” experience will certainly find this to be an easy and quick quilt to construct.

img_0367  The fabrics that come with the quilt kit are all voile.  I have to say, I have never, never made a quilt with voile before.  It’s texture is more slippery than quilting cotton, which for me at times was a little frustrating, but I managed.  Above is the quilt top only.

img_0377I quilted and bound this baby in less than a day.  I did a straight stitch on either side of the “ditch” instead of in the ditch. I chose this particular stitch because I like the way the stitches look when they cross over each other. The photo above is an outside shot and below you will see an inside photo of the finished quilt.


Making a quilt completely out of voile, (even the quilt back is voile) really makes for a lightweight quilt.  It has such a different feel that all the other quilts I have ever made.

Well, I hope you all have a great weekend.

Stay Crafty!

It’s a Give-Away (my second)

There are many things in this world that make me happy.  Most of the time it is something very small, like getting a key parking spot, finding a 5 dollar bill in my coat pocket from last season, sleeping in with my pugs or confirming that I am indeed right, over some silly fact that Jim and I might disagree over.  🙂


Of course these are just a few of those things that make me happy.   It really goes without saying that anytime my boys and my hubby are happy I am too.


Giving also makes me happy!  I love giving presents!  So because I find February to be such a dull month I am going to do a give-away!  I discovered during one of my sewing room clean-ups that I had two of the same Amy Butler books, “Style Stitches”.  It’s a great book with lovely pictures and 20 awesome bags to construct! It’s silly for me to hang on to both, so I am giving the duplicate away in a give-away.ss2

In the photo above you can see that I made the “Cosmo Bag”. Such a lovely bag that I injured terribly over a wine accident while Patty and I were visiting Asilomar!  So sad.  😦

  To Enter for a chance to win Amy Butler’s Book:

Just leave a comment stating what’s that something that makes you happy, it could be anything.  I would  also love for you to become a member of my blog if you aren’t already, (that would make me happy), but it isn’t required.

The winner will be drawn by “Random.Org” and will be announced 2 weeks from now on Monday March 11th at 9:00am PST on my blog Swell Sewing.  You may only comment once and I will not be accepting any more entries after 12:00 midnight PST March 10th.  So please get those comments in early!  I can’t wait to see what makes you happy, maybe I can borrow a couple of new ideas from all of you!

Have a Wonderful Week!

Your Friend,


Somebody Stop Me! Please?!

Yes, this is a cry for help.  I am a MAD woman!  I cannot stop making things for the Sewing Summit!  I imagine I am like a person on crack, but instead my vice is fabric, and I can’t stop manipulating it into different shapes and sizes.  Ugh!   What the heck!  Last year, I wore two dresses, and received an incredible response and it was really fun.  I wore Gretchen Hirschs’ Bombshell Dress that I sewed with the help of her tutorial on Craftsy and I also wore the Burdastyle Heidi Dress, that I downloaded off of the fabulous Burdastyle Website.  So this year, I wanted to do the same, but bigger.  Well, I am well on my way, but the family, house and pets are all being a little neglected because, I can’t stop myself.  I need more, more, more.  What will I wear for the trip to Utah, on the plane?   Hmm- still trying to figure this out.  Then Thursday morning shop hop needs something handmade and of course and there must be a change of clothes for our evening cocktail party.  Friday classes will need a different outfit and Friday dinner will need a costume change, Saturday!  Wow- OMG I am so crazy on this end!

So far I have created The Amy Butler Weekender Bag,

The Amy Butler Cosmo Bag

The Amy Butler Business Card Keeper.

The Deb Stoeller One Skein Scarf from Creativebug.

The Anna Maria Horner Schoolhouse Tunic.

The Anna Maria Horner Proper Attire Skirt.

My Quilted Computer Cozy.

A Name Tag- still in the process of finishing:

A pouch to trade in the Zipper Pouch Trade.

Needle keepers that I am going to give as gifts to my wonderful Sewing Summit teachers.


a new business card that I designed using Illustrator, Thank you very much!

Still not sure if I LOVE it, but I did learn a lot when I was working on it!

As I bid adieu to all of you, I am eagerly awaiting the Sewing Summits arrival.  I wait in my hotel room for the first of the festivities to begin tomorrow!   Many of us sewists  are heading out early for the “shop hop” and it should be a fun shopping experience.  I have already met some really great people- and am so GLAD that I came!!   Yipee- Stay tuned for some great pictures.  And if you would like to follow along, many of us Summit attendees,will be posting pictures to twitter and Instagram under the #hash tag #Sewingsummit.  You will probably feel like you are almost here!

Have a lovely weekend!

Blood, Sweat and Tears….

Well, blood and sweat anyway.  In a couple of weeks I will be heading to Utah for the second annual Sewing Summit.  It is a meeting of crafting minds.  Crafting, sewing, creating minds that also blog.  Last year I went and it was a blast.  I thought I was going to be the youngest person there and I ended up being one of the oldest.  That wasn’t cool, kind of like when you go to see your doctor and you realize that you are actually also older than your doctor.  This just started happening in my life.  When you add in, failing eyesight, morning aches and pains- you really start feeling older than dirt!!  Tip, for any of you that work as servers for restaurants, if you want a bigger tip, call me “Miss” NOT “Ma’am”.  You will put a smile on my face, a swagger in my step and a huge tip in your pocket!!! Okay- getting back on topic……

In preparation for the Sewing Summit, someone smart working for the Sewing Summit established “Travel Handmade” or #Travelhandmade on twitter and instagram.  It gives folks that are heading out to Utah an excuse to sew all kinds of travel bags.  Everything gets a bag now, right?  Your cosmetics, computer, toiletries, jewelry, camera, cosmetic brushes, sewing supplies-you name it, it should get a bag!   Heck, why not make a bag for all your bags?  Just to keep them all nice and tidy!  I guess that I did do that.  I have completed the Amy Butler Weekender Bag, a cosmetic bag, and a computer bag (I call it a computer cozy).

The blood and sweat comes in to this story with the sewing and assembly of the Amy Butler Weekender Bag.  There are all kinds of interfacing and peltex that is used in this bag, creating many, many layers of sewing pleasure.  NOT!  I broke a sum of 14 needles with this little project.  I read Amy’s directions thoroughly, easing all the pieces together slowly.  I still broke a ton of needles.  I love Amy and this pattern though…

I poked myself many times also, this explains the blood.

My DNA on the inside of the bag thank goodness!

There was a lot of wrestling involved in the sewing of this bag.  After completion, I noticed that my body was sore.  From the clenching of my teeth to the pushing of many, many layers of interfacing with the feed dogs.  Good thing I wear glasses while sewing, cuz of all those pins that were flying  all over my sewing room.

So here are a few pictures of the  Amy Butler Weekender Bag that I will be using for my trip to the Sewing Summit.

I added feet to this bag so the gunky floor on the airplane wouldn’t yuck it up!

I also added a tag to the front of my bag to insert my business card.  The pattern didn’t call for these two things, but I really thought they were necessary.

This was probably the easiest and best zipper I have ever done.  Looking back it would have been great if I would have lined the zig zags up.  Oh well, live and learn.

The interior:

For me, the interior didn’t fit into place as easily as I would have liked.  I made it so much harder than it had to be.  Live and learn – right?

The final picture.

Here also is my computer cozy that I constructed from Denyse Schmidt fabrics purchased from Joann Fabrics.  These 2.5″x 2.5″ squares were sewn together and then quilted. It took a whole day to do this and it was very fun to do.

One more thing before I say farewell for today, I joined Creativebug.  If you don’t know about this yet, YOU SHOULD.  I think it is about $24.99 a month to join and you can end your membership at anytime ( I joined for 6 months and it was a little less).  You are able to  learn from as many artists as you want, by viewing their lessons on your computer as many times as you wish.

I recently completed the “one skein scarf” by Debbie Stoller (she has written many books on knitting and crocheting).  She’s a wonderful teacher.  I completed this scarf in one evening with my prior experience of only crocheting a straight stitch.  Here it is.

I am pretty happy with it.  It’s wearable anyway.  🙂

In other news…

   A verb for keeping Warm located in Oakland, California hosted a little shindig for Colette Patterns featuring The Fall Launch of their newest patterns the Anise and the Juniper.

I was able to meet one of the many “sewing celebrities” that I learn from, the very talented and lovely Sarai Mitnick from Colette Patterns.

Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns and me

I immediately recognized faces like Meg from Made By Meg , Amy from Sew Well  and Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace in the colorful shop of yarn and fabric!  What a kick to see those that I stalk follow and learn from on their blogs!  I also met some new ladies like       Miss Daiyami who can be found on twitter, Elisabeth from e- Beth Knits, and the cute Leah in her Sorbetto blouse (sorry Leah, I couldn’t find any information on your blog).

Daiyami, Laura Mae, Leah and Amy

So, I meant for this to be a short post, but there was so much I wanted to include! My husband and I are headed into San Francisco tonight for a little Creativebug Cocktail Party featuring the ladies from  Hello! Lucky.  Sounds fun, huh?  I am keeping myself busy!

  Although I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like lately, I am still around, and now it is looking like I may have a little carpal tunnel going on – oh joy, right!

Well, you all have a wonderful day!

Bye for now.

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention?

Is that what they say?  Well in this case it was just that!  Friday, my son Kenny and I biked 16 miles on the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  Last year was the first year I attempted any real biking on the Cape, in fact I was convinced that if I were to add up all the bike riding I had done up to the age of 44 I probably hadn’t even accumulated near 16 miles!  So you can imagine my feeling of accomplishment when we completed our first bike ride to Chatham and back (20 mile round trip).  Seriously though, it is not a strenuous ride (for Kenny), there are no real hills to speak of (that Kenny would call a hill) and the scenery is breathtaking to take your mind off of your burning hips and thighs!

Kenny will be turning 16 this year, so I am just tickled that he still wants to be seen out in public with me!  We do a lot of talking on these rides and I end up eating a bug or two along the way.  🙂  Extra protein.

Last year I was using a backpack that I me-made which worked great.

Here is last years bag……

The extra bulk on my back made me hot though, and since I forgot my backpack bag for this trip it was time for a change.  I sketched some drawings…..


Then I sewed those sketches into reality. Here is the actual bag:

I used Amy Butler fabric for the outer and inner portions of this bag.  I am going to eventually use velcro on the back to attach it to the handle bars and post, but for now tying it on would do.

It is just large enough to hold my cell phone, I.D., sunscreen, a baseball hat, money and a pair of cheaters.  All the “necessities”!

Here is a larger view of my bike.

It’s such a happy Amy Butler fabric.  This bag also has a magnetic closure.  I must say that these were the strongest magnets that I have ever used.  They were impossible to separate.  I was sure to construct the bag so that there was plenty of fabric between the magnets to break up their extreme magnetic pull.  Wow!

Today Kenny and I are off to ride the 20 mile round trip to Chatham and back!  Wish me luck.  Here’s hoping that you can also “Invent” “sew” those things that are needed for your “necessities”!  Or something like that.


A Sweltering Summer and The Self Drafted Maxi Dress

Last summer, while in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I bought scads of Amy Butler Daisy Chain Daisy Bouquet In Forest from an on-line vender.

Which is this.   It reads more turquoise than forest to me.

Now when I say “scads” I mean many yards. Like 12!!!  My thought was that I was going to make Roman shades or I was going to cover something.  Something really BIG.  Anyway when it arrived, it was much more vibrant in person than it was on-line, and to be honest it really scared me.  I was worried that it was going to make our very relaxing beach house very UNrelaxing.  So I put the fabric aside and went on with my other projects.  Like this one.

Well, as our summer progressed it became very humid and hot.  I decided to stay indoors with the air conditioning  and sewing machine.  I pulled the Amy Butler fabric from my stash and went ahead and just started messing with it.  I don’t have a dum dum on the east coast, so I had to use myself to drape the fabric on.  I am actually not sure how I ended up with this maxi dress.  It just sort of happened.

Here is a sketch.

And here is the finished dress.

It can get so hot and humid that all you can do is wash your face and put your hair up.  There is no reason to wear any make-up because you’re just going to sweat it off!  Ugh!

I am not really sure if this is even a very becoming shape on me, but I do know that if I were to buy a maxi dress in the store, it would be wayyyyyyyy to long for me.

Here is a close-up (sorry for the bad picture).

Here is another close-up.

This maxi dress has no closures.  The bodice is sewn with a drawstring chamber so that the dress doesn’t just look like a paper sack.  It hugs me right under the bust line and from there on it is loose and comfy!  This was an experiment, and I guess I am happy with the result.  I will probably wear it again.

I still have many yards of this fabric remaining.  Hmmm, I wonder what else I can create?

Happy Sunday Folks!

Bad Week Makes Good With a Little Sew Grateful…

Sew Grateful Week

Last week my friend Laurie had a life changing week.  She lost her job via phone on the way into San Francisco for a doctor appointment and while in that appointment she got a hefty parking ticket while waiting for a review of a previous breast mammogram.  The outcome of the mammogram luckily will not involve any surgery, but there will be a needle biopsy to remove calcification and to identify them as non-cancerous.  Another Sew Grateful moment.

I am Sew Grateful, because it was only 3 months ago when I did have surgery on one of my breasts to remove a growth that thankfully also turned out to be non-cancerous.  The doctors identified it as P.A.S.H., something that I am still trying to understand.  I do know that this for me is the ticket to visiting the “squish your boob machine” at least twice a year.  The NOT KNOWING is the worst thing.  You just want to be diagnosed with what it is… and get on with your life.

For Laurie, she has been going back and fourth trying to find the right doctor to take care of this recurring problem she has with calcifications.  The process for her has taken a little over a month and on the other day when she got the parking ticket, she had reached her limit.  Exhausted and defeated, she told me of her woes while fighting off tears.   Laurie is one of the happiest people who I know, and when you are around her, she just makes you smile.  Well this is a smile that I want to encourage so….

This morning I made this:

I am putting Laurie’s favorite York Peppermint Candy inside the Amy Butler’s “Key Keeper Coin Purse”.    I found Amy’s pattern for this little gem in her book “Style Stitches”  It is 1 of 26 bag patterns in this book. It’s a really pretty book with gorgeous pictures and delightful patterns with descriptive and easy to follow directions.

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