Friday, February 28, 2014

Festive for Friday-Finding the Good.

For this week's Festive for Friday I'm doing something a little different and focusing on one thing that had a positive impact on my week, instead of a list of fabulous and festive items that caught my eye over the past week. Today's blog has nothing to do quilting.

I like to joke that I get all of my news from Facebook. Except it's not a joke; I don't read the news. Or watch it on TV or listen to it on NPR. I actually haven't read the news for several years because I found that for the most part it was so negative so much of the time that it just made me sad.

I also didn't like the constant repetition of the same stories, over and over again. I might have 30 friends who post the same thing on Facebook but the beauty of the medium is that I can just scroll on past everything I don't want to take my energy.

It's been a rough couple of weeks in both households that comprise Prairie Sewn Studios. So today, when I was tired of staring at Facebook I did a search for "good news" and discovered that there is an entire world of journalism that focuses on the positive that exists in the world. It started with Huffpost Good News, and then I found the links at the bottom of the their front page. Here are a few of them:

The Chronicle Of Philanthropy
CNN Heroes
The Daily Good
Daily Inspire News
Good News Network
Good News Stories
Great News Network
Greater Good Magazine
NBC Making A Difference
Only Positive News
Optimist World

Sure, some of the stories are a little cheesy or are the same ones I've already clicked through on through social media. But that's ok. Good news DOES exist. Happy news DOES exist. Clearly I'm not the only one on the internet looking for good things that have happened to counter the bad. And this week, finding at least one place in the universe that embraces the good and happy in the world certainly made me a bit more festive.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday-#14.

This week's Work in Progress is a a Ribbon Weave Stack-n-Whack from a class that Mom and I took at the AQS Paducah Quilt show several years ago. This quilt measures approximately 73" x 84".

Stack-n-Whack is a technique developed by Bethany Reynolds that makes beautiful patterns that look MUCH harder to make than they really are. Basically you take a print with a non-directional repeat, stack the layers together so the repeat is directly lined up on each layer, and then cut the fabric. The result is amazing designs that each look unique but are cut from the same fabric! 

To help make the border pop, Mom used a false piping in yellow between the edge of the blocks and the border. 

I dug back through my photos and actually found a picture of me with Bethany Reynolds, as we were lucky enough to have her teach this class! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Momcat Monday-Storing Thread

Finding a way to easily store a variety of threads can be a challenge.  I like the Art Bin system for storing the Isacord thread, which I use for machine quilting.  

 The thread snaps into a base, can be double stacked, and is protected from dust with the snap closure.  It's also easy to transport with my machine to different locations.

The spools of  threads not only stay in place should the box be dropped (not that I have ever dropped a boxful of thread, LOL) but are easily visible to select the color I want.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday-#13.

So as you can tell, Mom has quite a collection of these fun lap/crib sized quilts that will be great for machine quilting practice. This one features whimsical zoo animals, including some pretty adorable neon pink monkeys! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Momcat Monday-Super Sized Ironing Board!

This week I'm sharing another one of my little "Do-It-Yourself" projects, this time for my ironing board! As usual, this is one that is super easy to do and doesn't take very much work to put together. 

1. Cover any type board that is flat and about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick with batting and cotton duck or ticking. 
2. Wrap board with batting (I use two layers) and fabric and hold in place on back with staples. 
3. Tada! Use your new ironing board! 

 I LOVE this ironing surface because it just gives me so much more room to maneuver. When I'm working on containers for the book I can spread out multiple pieces at once to be more efficient. But it's also super handy for when I need to iron a large piece of fabric, such as in preparation for cutting or to make backing for a quilt. Mine is set up right behind the couch so I can watch TV while I work, and I even made one for Laura a few years ago as a birthday present!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Welcome to Caturday. Where we bring you ridiculous pictures of cats "helping" their humans quilt, sew, and craft. 

Friday says, "Don't worry, Grandma! I'm happy to help supervise the quilty Christmas presents you purchased for my mommy! Oh, what's that? I'm not supposed to sit on the kitchen table? But I'm helping!"

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday-#12.

This week's Work in Progress is another flimsy that will be a perfect project to practice quilting on. It's a baby/lap size so there will be room to try some different things, but it won't take too horribly long to finish. 

The center panels are made up of four different fat quarters that came together in a bundle. We toned the bright colors down a bit with a solid sashing. 

We chose this borer print not just for the colors, but also to help tie back into the little circles in the print with the orange background. 

 What have you been working on lately? 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Momcat Monday-DIY Flat Sewing Surface.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a pretty big proponent of "Do It Yourself" for projects around our home, and shouldn't be surprised that this tendency has spread into my sewing room! For this project, I set out to find an inexpensive way to make a large flat sewing surface for use with my serger. 

Having a larger flat sewing surface really does make it easier to sew by giving you more space to maneuver while still keeping your fabric fully supported. 

You can see in the picture below the serger with just the sewing surface that came with the machine. It's great if you're working on a small project, but it really doesn't provide much room at all for anything larger. 

To make my sewing surface I used covered MDF shelving (the kind that comes in either woodtones or white), 1-1/2" PVC pipe, plastic closet pole holders and 2" circular non-skid pads. Everything was easily found at my local hardware store.

I cut out a section of the shelving for this one, but you could easily do it with multiple pieces of shelving instead. You'll also need to take some measurements before getting the PVC pipe cut to ensure you have the right height when you add in the thickness of the shelf. Below are the steps I followed to make it. 

1. Screw the plastic closet pole holder into the bottom of the MDF shelf, spreading them out for stability. 

2. Slide the PVC pipe piece over the closet pole holder. It should be a tight fit. 

3. Add a second closet pole holder on the open end of the PVC pipe. 

4. Attach the 2" non-skid pads to the bottom of the second closet pole holder. These will prevent the unit from sliding when the machine is in use. 


Saturday, February 1, 2014


Welcome to Caturday. Where we bring you ridiculous pictures of cats "helping" their humans quilt, sew, and craft. 

Don't worry, Grandma!  I'll keep you company while you finish this container! Catcat is now at home with Laura in San Francisco.  I do miss the cats; however, I don't miss some of the "help!"