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Weathering Winter

Nails painted with sewing tools. Thread, scissors.

Winter is upon us here in the US. I don’t drink as much as I should; I think the cold doesn’t require a nice glass of ice water like in the heat of the summer.  Keeping hydrated is important for your health, which includes your skin.  Fabric draws moisture right out of our hands making them dryer than ever especially in the winter. Having heat in your home adds to that dryness.

Spend a few minutes daily pampering your hands. Jojoba Oil does wonders for your cuticles which helps to eliminate hangnails that can get caught in your fabric. OUCH! You can find some at Amazon or local health food stores. I apply twice daily. I use hand lotion before and after every sewing session as well.

Treat yourself to a manicure either at home or professionally. I find the time I spend on my nails relaxing; no matter where that is. For a quick at home fix, mix some Kosher or Sea Salt with bath gel. Scrub your hands, rinse well, and then apply lotion. Feels sew good.

I also need to be more aware of static electricity when I’m sewing this time of year.  My studio is carpeted, and I mostly wear just socks. That creates static electricity which can be disastrous for my computerized sewing machines. Maybe it’s time to invest in an anti-static mat; until that happens, I’ll just continue to be extra careful.

Every season presents its challenges, but there is nothing we can’t overcome. I hope you enjoy your winter sewing sessions and take the time to pamper yourself; even just a little.


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Why I love to Sew

Credit goes to Smashed Peas and Carrots Facebook Page
Credit goes to Smashed Peas and Carrots Facebook Page

Found this on my Facebook page the other day accompanied by, “This is your thought process, right?”

A few other comments followed making reference to the cost and need of expensive computerized sewing machines.

First let me admit that I don’t make doilies and probably never will, but yes, an expensive machine would more than likely be necessary. Who wants to attempt heirloom sewing without the proper tools? (Feel free to compare this to your favorite past-time or profession; drills, sanders, paintbrushes, high-end cookware, etc.Don’t even get me started on motor sports; bikes, cars, airplanes, boats…..oh my.)

So why make it, when you can buy it for less money?

First of all, the sheer joy of creating is in itself reason enough. Now imagine your family and friends admiring your work and cherishing that Halloween costume,  table runner, quilt, wall hanging, tea towels, whatever and associating that feeling with YOU; the creator. Memories made..,by you! How awesome is that? Perhaps they will fight over it when you die. (Ok, that might be stretching it, but one can dream can’t they?)

Regardless, said homemade creation is now being enjoyed by future generations. That $2 doily has long been trashed and decomposed…. or not. If it wasn’t made with 100% natural fibers it’s sitting in a landfill; who wants that guilt?

Eventually one of yours or your friend’s great great great…..great grandchildren will make a snap decision to part with above mentioned memory. All they know is that some person, generations ago made it, rendering putting it in the trash unthinkable. So after many many years of being loved by countless people, it will be donated to a charity. This act will provide job security to some, much-needed support to others and create countless volunteer hours to a few thankless individuals.

Still need a reason?

I made all my daughter’s Halloween costumes from the time she was 1 until 18. Many years, she helped. While she was in elementary school, Hippy costumes were all the rage amongst her friends. On the day of the school party, she had the most fabulous flower power print outfit, along with a headband, wire rim glasses, and crimped hair. Walking out the door, my eyes got teary eyed when she exclaimed, “Mom, I’m gonna have the best hippy costume, cause you made it.” Honestly, I’ve never looked back and will continue to make things that my family loves and cherishes.

You can’t really put a price tag on that now can you?

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Things you shouldn’t flush

A few years ago, I flushed my cell phone down my toilet. Please don’t ask, it wasn’t on purpose. A couple of days later, the plumber was summoned to remove it as my toilet was, well let’s just say it wasn’t working properly. $100 later, my phone was retrieved from the trap.

What was really amazing is that I was able to salvage the SD card by drying it out. No, I didn’t actually use it again, but I was able to copy all the pictures off my phone. That was a good day. Sure I had to replace the phone, but we all know that feeling when you lose irreplaceable pictures.

Today, I did something that makes me feel worse.

I flushed my keys down a public toilet. Not so bad, right? Sitting in a restaurant with your best friend, locked car in the parking lot. No car key. No house key; which as luck would have it is where your spare car key is.   I will admit the manager of the restaurant was great. Found a hanger and attempted to “fish” out my keys, without success. See, they have these super duper power flushing toilets that restaurants seem to like. Probably saves them a ton of money on plumbing bills. So my keys were long gone into the deep sewer abyss.

I got a ride home, got in the house, and a ride back to my car. Somewhere it hit me; I had the key to my mom’s house on that ring. It’s really not replaceable. It was one of those pretty flowered keys that I had cut for her. I kept it when she died. It made me smile to think of her, which is probably why I’ve been carrying it around for 15 years.  Sadness kicked in.

Then I remembered my key chain. Tiffany’s! Damn! But wait, that was a gift from my ex-husband and suddenly I didn’t feel so bad after all. Perhaps the world was telling me something.

Memories aren’t in the photos or the tangible items we so desperately cling to. They’re in our hearts, either popping into view when you least expect it or available when you need them.  So I bid farewell to my expensive key chain and the sentimental key. Perhaps 100+ years from now, it will be discovered by an archaeologist or some kid in their back yard. The thought of that brings a smile to my face.

The memories, well they’re still intact and won’t be going anywhere soon.

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Do the Math……PLEASE

calculatorNot all things, like patterns, are created equal. (yes, that could be a math pun, but it’s not.) This is unfortunate. What really frustrates me is when I get into a pattern and things just don’t add up. No matter how many times I do the math, unfinished blocks minus seam allowances do not equal what the pattern says it should. Can’t someone take the time to check this out before it goes to press?

I will admit that sometimes striving for perfection gets the better of me. I tell my students that their quilts don’t need to be perfect. I honestly believe this to be true. The problem is when the pattern isn’t perfect, and it should be.

Good designers have others test their patterns for them. They use the same image size for the applique layout AND the applique template. They make sure that the finished block size times the number of blocks equals the border length. They do the math.

Great designers take the average quilter’s checkbook/credit card into consideration as well. A little math goes a long way when cutting fabric. Fabric companies often given designers free fabric.  This way the consumer can see the fabric in a quilt, which not only sells the fabric, its sell the pattern as well. Think of the times you have gone into a quilt shop and bought a pattern and fabric because you have seen it hanging on the wall. Sorry, back to the math. If you don’t have to pay for your fabric, you probably don’t really care how much is wasted. I do. I don’t collect fabric and I don’t want to start.

Sew, what do you do?  Support the designers who create patterns that go together nicely. Support designers who engineer cutting methods that don’t waste fabric. If the mood strikes you, contact the ones who don’t and let them know how you feel. Maybe all they need is a calculator.


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Final Countdown

Christmas is approaching quickly. I still have some sewing to finish up for gifts. I don’t really like being in this position, but it’s better than fighting the crowds at the mall. I would tell you all what I’m up to, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises. I will tell you this; it involves cotton and both projects I’m working on are related to food in one way or another. Intrigued?

November’s project is done, but again I can’t share for reasons stated above.

I’m already looking forward to 2015. Contemplating all kinds of adventures. I’d like to teach more and am considering options in that area as well as doing some more designing. Maybe I’ll write a book filled with easy patterns and lots of sewing tips. Perhaps I’ll venture off into video and become a youtube sensation.

For now, I need to get back into the studio and finish up these gifts. The New Year will be here soon enough.

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Why I’m Here

I am participating with a group of fellow bloggers on a journey. I am not exactly sure where we are going, but I am hopeful that I will learn and grow along the way. I am also hopeful that my blogging habits will become just that; habits. So here we are on Day 1 answering the question, “Why I’m here.”

I originally started this blog as a place to document and be accountable for a goal I set in January of this year. I’m an admitted procrastinator, so having a monthly deadline would require me to let go of my over thinking (more on that later) and get something done. Getting something done today would be nice. 

My blog is primarily related to sewing, with an emphasis on quilting. I also teach and had been encouraged to blog for almost a year before I started. Long term, I hope to bring my teaching skills along with photos and videos to educate, encourage,  and support my fellow crafters. I am also a notions junkie and hope to review and demonstrate those that I love and perhaps those that I don’t.

Lastly, I am a overthinker. I’m equally left-brain/right-brain. I don’t attempt to reinvent the wheel, but I also enjoy working things out. I once took a calculator apart that wasn’t advancing paper just to see if I could fix it; I did. Fulfilling that need means I analyse patterns and techniques on a regular basis. Sometimes the light bulb flashes, sometimes it blows a circuit breaker. Whatever the outcome, I never feel the time was entirely wasted.

As Always,

Thanks for visiting,

My Sassy Notions


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SPAM! BLAM! Thank You, Ma’am.

The blogging world is if nothing else, vulnerable.  I will admit, that I jumped in without much knowledge of what I was getting in to.  I set a goal and decided to blog about it. Since the goal included a monthly challenge and the end of January was approaching, I made the decision to jump in and figure it out later. I still stand by that decision. You know that phrase: “had I known then what I know now?” …. I still would have started this blog, but it would probably be forever lingering in the conceptual stage.  I’d be all caught up in design and content.  The fear of “competing” with other bloggers would kick in and I’d be spending all my time reading other’s blogs and not doing what I love; which is sewing. Sometimes you just have to jump.

When you jump, you learn things you didn’t even know you didn’t know. The lesson I’ve learned this week centers around SPAM aka as BLAM in the blogging world. I opened my blog up to comments and then I discovered that spam comes to blogger’s in-boxes just like any other in box. I wasn’t prepared for that or the shock when I found my “spam” folder.  What!?! There’s a spam folder? That means I have to keep an eye on it.  I guess I didn’t spend much time thinking that this is a two-way street.  I blog: Readers comment.

This is my first apology. I hope there won’t be too many more, but I’m not foolish enough to think this road will not have any more bumps. I’m sorry your comments lived in my spam folder for so long. I will work on keeping up on this little chore. For those of you that are commenting in an effort to attract me as a client for your online website services; I’m pretty happy with what I got right now.

There is always room for improvement and as I learn. I’ll make the changes I feel work for me. We are all always a work in progress.

Thanks for being here,

My Sassy Notions

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Becoming An Artist

I was NOT one of those kids that loved Art Class in elementary school.  In fact, I dreaded it. I know, you’re thinking: who ddin’t love art class?  Me.  Honestly, I couldn’t draw.  Horses seemed to be a popular theme among my classmates in elementary school.  My drawings consisted of a house, on a hill, with a tree.  Sometimes I would add a fence.  It always looked like crap.  Then I would add the sun.  A boy showed me how to draw the rays of the sun: long ray, short ray, long ray, short ray.  That image is still fresh in my mind. His name was Peter.  I was very proud of my suns.  But, on a whole; still crap.

You may now be thinking; you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, it couldn’t have been that bad.  It was that bad and I’m not being hard; just honest.

I was good in math.  This led me down the left-brain road.  It also fit in well with my family.  I liked this road; it made sense to me.  It still does.  My creativity was masked in logic. I was a thinker. Besides, I couldn’t draw so I couldn’t be an artist.  I held that thought for most of my life.

Then I became a sewer and eventually a quilter.  I still thought that I wasn’t artistic.  I was just following a pattern and tweaking it here and there for whatever reason.  I was still a thinker; a creative one. And then one day it dawned on me, I am an artist. I choose the fabrics and I create dimensional art. Whether it is a skirt, a wall hanging, a purse, or a quilt… IS a piece of art.  What an eye opener.

I think as an artist.  The room I create in is “My Sewing Studio.”   I push my talent and have taken my craft to new levels. I try different  techniques and experiment on a regular basis. I am beginning to design quilts. Most importantly, I look at things differently.  I pay attention to color and shapes.

I’m still good at math, which ironically is a great talent to have in the sewing world.  I am still a logical thinker.  Again, a talent I tap into frequently.  But I am also creative and use both sides of my brain. I still can’t draw a horse, or a cat, or a flower for that matter.  That’s just fine with me.