Good-Bye 13, Hello 14!

It’s been a good year.  Our youngest, Will, successfully started a new school and is happy,  and our oldest Kenny applied and was accepted to his first college choice – Michigan State University!  It just so happens to be both mine and Mr. Swellsewing’s Alma Mater!  Yay – we are both as proud as peacocks!

I had many makes this year. Well, many for me anyway.  If I were to compare my makes with other people, I would pale in comparison.  I would say that I chose what I was going to make quite carefully though.  Some of these makes were made for other people, and some of these were made in multiples.  How about you?  Was there one in particular that you are proudest of?  Do you feel that with each “make” you learn a little bit more?  What about Works In Progress or WIP’s?  I do have many of those and these are first to be finished for the beginning of the new year.

 I have been slowly progressing with my quilt making, challenging myself and learning along the way.  The more quilts I sew, the more skills I acquire, thus learn and create my own style of quilting.  I find myself honing new organization skills and shortcuts.

At this point I feel like I am in a chrysalis stage, there’s a lot of developing happening here behind my sewing room door.  It’s like magic. To me it’s like magic anyway.

With the quilt I made for Heather, I learned a lot.  There were many components to her quilt.  Organization and preparation are the keys.  It is a slow process (for me) and in order to stay efficient, I cannot rush.

Here are my “makes” for 2013, I am sure I have left 1 or 2 out.  For the most part though, they are all here.


Just to highlight a few of my makes…

#1.  Is a quilt that I still have in my procession.  It is my quilt.  I am willing to share with other housemates though, if needed!

#10.  Is from a Heather Bailey tutorial, for a trinket tray.  I made about 8 of these for a wedding.  The bride put together little care packages for those that came into town from far away and stayed at a hotel.  These nautical trays were filled with little goodies waiting for the arrival of their guests.

#21.  This cosmetic bag was sewn from a pattern and tutorial from Creativebug.  The genius behind this bag is Betz White.  I loved this clever bag so much that I made 3 of them.  The other 2 were given to my Sewing Summit roommates and were crafted with just the right fabrics to meet their personalities.

Everything I have sewn really has meant something to me.  I think probably though, The Ellen Quilt has had the biggest impact on me.  It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions when it comes to that darn quilt.  

Long story short, I have heard from some of Ellen’s people.  I got tickets to her show, and I am going to Burbank to see an Ellen show taping on January 16th.  I cannot confirm if Ellen has actually seen or held the quilt, or (and this is really hard for me to admit) if she even knows about it.  

That’s okay though.  I keep chanting this over and over again while rocking back and forth.  Ha, just kidding.   It is just fine.  I appreciate Ellen, I crafted her a quilt, I sent it to her- and my ultimate goal was met- I got 3 tickets to her show and will be sitting in her audience, hanging with my gal pals, Carol and Patty.  The girls and I will get to spend some much-needed time together, and it will be great!  I will keep you posted on that trip- I am sure I will have something to blog about.  


In other news though, before I close up this post and take a nice big fat nap –  Jim, Kenny and I headed down to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California!  We watched our Michigan State Spartans beat the Stanford Cardinal (which I learned is a tree) for the championship of the 100th Rose Bowl!  It was sooooo awesome!  So glad we went, and Kenny?  Well he is over the moon.  He will start at MSU in August of this year- what a way to start his College career.  I know College isn’t a career, but I wasn’t sure how else to state this!


Happy New Year everyone and stay crafty my friends!

The “Summit” a meeting of the “Very Crafty”

The Sewing Summit took place a couple of weekends ago, and it was good.  This annual gathering of the very crafty has always been a wonderful place to share and socialize.  Just like many other things in life, the sparkle has waned a little (in my opinion) with the Sewing Summit.  More about this later.

There are many things that bring me back to the Sewing Summit and the people are what certainly brings me back again and again.  Last year I met Leigh and Jessie at the Summit and they are why I returned!  I was lucky enough to call them both roommates and friends this year.  Here’s a photo of them,  Leigh from and Jessie from  Thanks to Leigh for the fabulous photo!

ss13 11

They put up with my crazy sleep screaming. Both were warned about my sleep “disorder” before the Summit, I even gave them huge boxes of earplugs!  They thought I was kidding!   Yes, it’s true, if you are to spend the night with me (like I do most nights with Mr. Swellsewing) you are very likely to witness my extremely strange sleep disorder.  This nearly nightly “routine” may consist of anything from me swearing like a truck driver to ear-piercing screaming.  Any of which is not a very pleasant way to be awoken.  All of my previous roommates, cousin Carol, Patty and now my sewing summit roomies have been exposed to this awful experience.  Sorry roomies…….. 😦

Another integral part for me, is to challenge myself and create a mini wardrobe of handsewn garments for the Summit.   I wore all of these items, except for the Grainline pajamas.  Other garments that I sewed were Colette Clover Trousers, Grainline Pocket T, Marlo Bloom reversible handbag, Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress and The Staple Dress.

sewinsummitmotagesewingsummitmontage2The classes offered by the Sewing Summit this year were top-notch.   I think that the third year for the SS has brought the best teachers and speakers ever! Our guest speaker for the last evening was Heather Bailey, a woman of many talents, but best known for her fabric designs and her charming patterns.ss137

When I found out that she was going to be our guest speaker, I was floored- she is a sewing celebrity that I have always wanted to meet.  I must confess, that I quickly got shy when I found myself around her- there were so many things I wanted to ask her and tell her.  I just couldn’t.  I did I snag a very quick selfie of her when she was checking out of the hotel.  I knew at that moment that it was now or never. Sorry Heather……


Heather looks great, me, not so much!   🙂 I didn’t care how bad I looked, it was all about her….

Here is the list of classes and brief descriptions of their contents.

I had  “fabric design” with Pat Bravo, she is such a delight and also the owner of Art Gallery Fabrics.  Personal branding with Olivia Omega where she told us on our blogs we should “attract and repel” folks,  a two part “sewing with leather” class taught by Lindsay Rhodes of lrstitches and an HTML class with the very cute Jenib from “In Color Order” both Lindsay and jenib are crazy knowledgable and talented!  There was also a sloper skirt class I took, I begged cute mom Jodi to hold baby Vinny so that she could draft her skirt.  A much better option for me, since it has been ages since I have held and rocked a little one to sleep.  That was truly awesome!

Here’s a picture of me holding baby Vinny.  I am so lucky!


The last 2 classes I took were the “embroidered hoop with pocket” class and “appliqueing a tea towel” class.   The embroidered hoop class was taught by the very cute, Amanda from A Crafty Fox and the etsy shop Westwood Acres.  Here is the UFO from this class.

embroirderedpockethoop I did finish the appliqued tea towel the equally as cute, Amy from vintage fern taught.  Both of these teachers were really great. Sometimes an hour and a half just isn’t long enough.

So now for the other part of the Sewing Summit that I felt like lacked a little luster.   I don’t like to be negative, really I don’t but the creativity just wasn’t there with the Summit this year, as it has been in previous years.

My first impression, and before even arriving in Utah (I was not alone in feeling this), was that information for the Sewing Summit seemed to be spread all over the place.  Before attending the Summit, attendees sometimes need to purchase and bring some supplies for specific classes.  Some teachers e-mailed us, and others from what I gathered, listed supplies on a supply list on the Sewing Summit webpage.   Common sense tells me, that if I am getting e-mails from some teachers introducing themselves and telling me what I need for class, then I should be getting e-mails from all of my teachers with what to bring.  It should be one or the other.

The other thing about the supply list is that I didn’t realize it existed until the Summit was over.  I even Instagrammed one teacher asking “what should I bring?”  never getting a response, I came  to class unprepared.

A lot of information was posted on the Sewing Summit Facebook Page.  This is good, but I joined it late, not knowing that I would be missing out on private swaps because I had to join the page. If only an official e-mail would have went out informing us to JOIN the facebook page to recieve all the up to date information reagarding the summit.   I thought that just visiting the page was enough to get the information I needed.  I missed out on fabric and bag swaps, which is always a fun way to meet all the other sewing gals. Honestly though, after joining the facebook page there were so many “facebook e-mails” coming into my e-mail that it became even more confussing.   For me, being a forty-something, it just isn’t the way I communicate. I guess I am just old school.

Another part of the Sewing Summit is registering and getting your name badge.  This has in the past always been fun!  This was my third year, so I was very excited to see the familiar faces of the Summit staff for check-in.  unfortunately the welcome counter was very disappointing,the desk was slightly decorated with bunting but there was barely any eye contact or even a cheerful “welcome back”.  The staff this year seemed disjointed and unwlecoming with a low morale.  There didn’t seem to be any celebrating happening, I can’t put my finger on it, but something has changed.


As you can see, in the first year of the Sewing Summit, someone took the time to handcraft lanyards!  They did an amazing job, whoever these people were, it made a great impression.  Also it made for a hard act to follow.  Right?

Year two followed with a lovely Coats and Clark lanyard, which we were pleased to don during the festivities at the Summit!  Finally year 3, a sad little lanyard, you had a choice between 4 or 5 colors but no mention of the Sewing Summit anywhere to be found on the lanyard or on our name tags.  We were given washi tape and markers during the opening mixer on Thursday night  to decorate our name tags and write our blog names.  It really felt like someone dropped the ball on this part.  On a positive note though, with all three years, my first and last name has been spelled correctly, which for even some of my friends and acquaintances proves to be difficult, as they spell my first name T-R-A-C-Y.

There was a definite feeling of stress throughout the entire event.

The large rooms from last year that housed our dinner events became much smaller(1/2 the size) and very cozy.  Maybe this was purposely done to help the Summit attendees to socialize more? The room  felt cramped and waiters were constantly bumping into our chairs and struggling to get around us.  There was a lot of construction happening at the hotel, so maybe they needed to squeeze us in to accomodate us?

The Summit staff had many technical and supply problems.  Some hands on classes went without important notions because those items weren’t delivered on time to the Summit.  Technical  problems took over many of the lecture classes that used a screen/computer connection to assist the teachers.   Sometimes those technical problems would delay the class starting 20 minutes or so and other times, there wasn’t anyway to get the screen/computer to actually connect and work.

If it were your first time at the Summit, you probably left happy as a clam.  Many made new friends, (I did too) and had a whole new crafty rejuvenation!  This is why we want to go to something such as the Sewing Summit. to get and give great ideas and friends, that speak your “language”.

Referring to what Olivia Omega said in her Branding class, you want to “attract and repel” folks to or from your blog.  You should always be true to who you are.  I don’t want to be phony, and I didn’t want to sugar coat this, but I also don’t want to be mean.  My intent is not to be mean.  This was a very hard post for me to write, I must have saved this draft 50 times, and rewritten most of it 20 times.  So please know that I didn’t approach this lightly.

I just don’t want the Sewing Summit to lose that quality it began with.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin