Category Archives: goals

Fillers, Favorite Rulers and a Selfie

I’ve happily spent the last two days working on quilting the blue monochromatic quilt. I had to laugh at myself that I finally got the long arm machine extended by two feet and then I put a super small quilt on it! LOL! One of the reasons I made this quilt was to practice ruler work and fillers. The other two reasons were to play with color and to figure out improv piecing.

Because this piece is small, the quilting also had to be small. I had a few doubts as to whether my machine could handle going as slowly as I needed it to. That might sound weird because typically you see long arm quilters buzzing around at a decent pace. But when the mission is accuracy and you are using rulers, you have to go slow. The slower I went on the machine, the happier I was with the results and I’m thrilled to pieces that my long arm can work well in a slower speed.

Using Cindy Grisdela’s improv style and Judi Madsen’s methods of marking and quilting, I was able to tap into techniques I haven’t done before. I keep wanting to call this quilt Small Blue for some reason so that shall be its name and here she is…









Each pieced curve has a different style of filler quilting. I used several designs including wishbones, geometric squares, pebbles, meandering, half moons,  paisleys, swirls, and continuous line curved squares. The top and bottom borders have curved lines.
















In deciding whether to use the continuous line curved squares on that last bottom strip, I knew I had to go very small. I marked a half inch grid and then set about quilting in between the lines. It was exhilarating to quilt! Each row was inspiration to keep going.









My favorite rulers so far in this long arm journey have been the ones you see here in the picture. The A1 Straight Edge which is yellow and has the
handle on it and the set of Mini Curve It rulers. Both of these were ordered from Judi Madsen’s website, Green Fairy Quilts.









While I was quilting, I knew my face was holding a very serious and focused expression. I started to wonder if I might be one of those people who sticks their tongue out or something while they work lol!!! Curiosity got the better of me and I set my phone up on a timer for a selfie. No tongue is wagging so I guess I’m good!!!








The black straps on my shoulders are the straps for my back weight. I try to use it when I’m long arming or piecing for a long time at the sewing machine.

If you listened to the last podcast episode, you’ll remember I mentioned having joined the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals led by Morna McEver Golletz. One of the benefits of belonging to this organization is being in contact with like minded individuals in the craft business world. This week I started up with an accountability partner. Her name is Janice. After an initial phone call where we got to know each other and get a feel for each other’s businesses, we set up our weekly goals and plans for how to achieve them. We will talk again on Monday night to check in and share how we did on meeting those goals. I have four areas to work on this week and I’m feeling pretty good about them. One of my goals includes getting 10 hours on the long arm and I’m halfway there. Getting time on the machine gets a little bit difficult on teaching days but I will have to work around that to get to ten hours. I find myself thinking about Janice all week and wondering how she is coming along with her goals. Hopefully we’ll both hit the mark this week!

Have a super day today!


New Machine, Improv & Patterns

Yay, it’s Saturday!!! Despite the frigid temps today, I’m determined to enjoy the beautiful sunshine! Amanda is home for spring break and I’m happy to have everyone in the same place for a week. Amanda is happy to rest her sprained ankle! She rolled her ankle up at UNH this week and ended up with an air cast and crutches. Not ideal when you live on the fourth floor of a very old dorm with no elevator! Thankfully it’s feeling better now and she has a week to rest!

The mailman brought me a new machine on Wednesday! I’ve been obsessing about the new line of Ever Sewn machines that recently came out. Feeling like it was time to upgrade my travel machine, I bought the Ever Sewn Sparrow 20. It’s lightweight, super cute, full of decorative stitches and is an all around great machine! It’s not uber fancy but it’s just perfect for bringing to class or setting up in the dining room when you want the flexibility of a smaller machine. I believe these are made by Bernina for the Brewer company. They’ve been all the rage lately!








I ordered mine through Sewing Machines Plus while they were on sale and then an additional 10% off with free shipping. Yes please. I’ll review it on the next podcast!

Yesterday I allowed myself to play with improv sewing. I’m a pinner and a careful planner so improv sewing is not my jam, so to speak. However, I made the blocks for two reasons. One is they are a study in color theory. The fabrics I chose are split complimentary which is why they look nice together!









My goal is to make several of these type of blocks in different color schemes from the color wheel. The second reason is because I need some smaller pieces to practice ruler work and fillers on the long arm machine. I’m looking forward to quilting these and then using them as teaching tools for my students.

I particularly enjoyed piecing a block and then cutting it up to use as strips in the other blocks. It was a fun exercise!










The rest of my week has been teaching and quilting Seaglass on the long arm. I’m almost finished with it!

I’ve also been plugging away on knitting my loom sock when I’m not playing around with the new sewing machine!

I was at my mom’s house recently and she had this pretty set up happening on her kitchen table!









You might recognize the pattern from the Seasonal Trio series. I came home and put mine on the front door!









I’ve been enjoying the mini quilts on the front door for a few months now. I like to pull in the driveway and be greeted with a quilt! I know, I’m a nerd. Anyway, if you’re looking to decorate for St. Patty’s Day, there’s plenty of time to make this mini. There are four Seasonal Trio patterns and each one has instructions for three projects. Check them out here on my Craftsy store:

First Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW

Second Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW

Third Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW

Fourth Seasonal Trio Hi Res For QW



























Enjoy the weekend!


Projects Galore for 2017!

Happy New Year!!! Are you all ready for 2017? I feel refreshed and ready to go this week. Last week I shared with you that my word for the year is ‘focus’ and I’ve also declared this a ‘year of yes’. For me that means focusing on the parts of my business that I love and want to develop and also being open and saying ‘yes’ to new ideas and opportunities.

The first project I’m working on is for a publication and it’s due in February and will be in the autumn issue. I can’t expand too much on it because as always with magazines, designers can’t show the project before it’s published. I can show you the fabrics I’m working with though and I love the vibrant colors!









I’m also working on other projects at night that are more for pleasure. One project is the perpetual hexagon calendar where the idea is to create a hexagon block a day. Well, being into the first day and realizing how time consuming it really is, I’ve decided to shoot for one a week. There will be weeks I can’t pull it off but that’s the goal. January 1st has a beautiful blue and purple block. It has many small fiddly bit type of pieces and those are not usually what I consider fun but….I’m really trying to enjoy the process of things instead of the end result. So, over the weekend, I busted out my new lightbox which was a Christmas gift from my mom. I love it, it’s very bright. I traced all the templates I needed for the hexagon. This is the light box and though I believe my mom paid $99 through Nancy’s Notions, I found it on Amazon today for $78.53. I thought about the more expensive wafer thin one but it’s a lot of money and it’s not something I’d use every single day so I opted for this one and I’m very pleased with it. I love the large size – 12″x18″. Here is a picture of my lightbox and then a link below if you’re interested…









Last night I had a few hours free and I glue basted the fabric to the templates. Normally I’d thread baste but the instructions advise glue basting to save time. I got all the pieces basted and now in my next batch of free time, I’ll start whipstitching them together.










Over Christmas break, Amanda taught me how to loom knit and I’m hooked! Leah also has the loom knitting bug. I’m making a cream colored scarf and I’m about to start my second skein. Leah is making a pink scarf and Amanda is working on a blanket. This picture was taken the night Amanda taught me how to do it. We sat in our jammies and knitted all night!









If you’re wondering if Lindsey is annoyed with me for working more on this scarf than her mermaid tail blanket, the answer is an emphatic YES! I was hoping some Christmas miracle would take place and I’d wake up to find that mermaid tail completely finished by elves, but that didn’t happen. I’ll be back at that next week.

That’s it for me today! Enjoy the start of a new year!


Crossing The Finish Line, Finding A New Word

So do we all feel like we’re running a race about right now? The shopping, wrapping, baking, Christmas carding, and goody delivering are in full swing! I feel like I’m headed for the finish line  and in a few short days, the big day will be upon us. Hallelujah! I could use some focusing on that beautiful baby in the manger. The timing between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems super short this year, I haven’t gotten loads done in the way of quilting but I did finish this gorgeous quilt for my mother on the long arm. I used a pantograph called Pipeline which I like very much. By the time I finished it, I almost couldn’t believe that I had done that work! It was hugely satisfying and now I am hungering for more time on the machine.




















It didn’t come out perfect but I learned a lot doing the quilting. I have several pantographs here and I’ll be adding to them after the first of the year when I can really take my time looking at what’s available and what will work best on my long arm.

It’s almost time to choose a new word for the year! My 2016 word was ‘wisdom’ as in listen to it and seek it. It wasn’t an easy word choice but it made a difference in my year. My 2017 word for the year is ‘focus’. I’ve chosen this word in years passed but this coming year it will guide me through learning the long arm business and expanding my teaching and designing schedule. I’ve been home with my kids for many years and I’ve always set aside most of my time for doing the mom things and kind of waiting around to see what everyone needs me to do. This year, I have an opportunity to really expand my business and do more with it. I’m excited about that but also really have to retrain my brain to focus on the business and to give myself permission to focus on the business more. I need to recondition my thoughts so I don’t always feel guilty about it. That’s the big thing. That’s the hold up for me. That is what I need to focus on for 2017.

The second part of my word choice is to focus on health. I’ve had crazy migraines the last month and as usual, I don’t really know why. I’ll think I know what’s triggering and then I eliminate but they come back. The worst of the headaches last year were between Thanksgiving and Christmas and here it goes again. So of course stress but also not enough exercise and too much sugar rules the day. I’ll be focusing on eating less sugar and exercising more in the coming year.

Have you thought about your word for 2017? Please share what your word choice is, I’d love to hear!

I’ll close with a picture or two of my favorite girls! We are thrilled to have Amanda home from college! She is happy to be reunited with her bunnies! Here’s Amanda and Leah with Nala and Daisy who are doing just fine in their new garage location! They are in for a visit in this photo.








And here’s Lindsey in the holiday spirit awaiting her friends to arrive for their annual Christmas party!









One more thing! I just ordered this daily hexagon calendar for myself for next year. I’m thinking it will expand my English Paper Piecing skills with some pretty new patterns. Check it out on Amazon! There’s still time to get one before Christmas!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

*this post contains an Amazon affiliate link


New Projects, New Bunny

Hey there,

This is turning out to be a great week for getting things done in my own little crafty world. I often struggle with myself over my own perceived lack of productivity but in reality, we’re all just doing the best we can with the time we have in a day. Not everything is getting done but enough is getting done that I feel pleased. Next week might be a different story but this week, all is well…except for the coffee I just spilled all over the laptop.

So let’s start with honest to God cuteness…Amanda surprised us by coming home over the weekend. She wanted to help her boyfriend move in to his college dorm as he helped her. Our plan was to use Saturday morning to visit the 4H Fair which is where we got our bunny, Nala, last year. I pretty much think we all knew if we saw another Lionhead bunny, there’d be a good chance that bun would come home…and here she is!









This is Daisy and she is four months old. She’s adorable and doesn’t mind being held which is quite different than Nala who hates to be picked up. We noticed that Daisy was banging into things every so often and I took her to the vet to confirm our suspicions that she can’t see all that well. Yup, she’s partially blind. In our family that means she gets more hugs, love, attention and supervision! Nala and Daisy are experiencing a very slow introduction as Nala isn’t too sure what this little white snowball is doing in our house yet. I’m sure in time, they’ll be best buds.

Ok, for the quilty news, I finished the Seaglass quilt top! I am very happy with how it came out and now I’ll look forward to quilting it on the long arm. When it’s complete, it will be a pattern for sale on Craftsy.









Yesterday I finished up quilting Nancy’s beautiful quilt on the long arm. She was brave enough to entrust this beauty to me and I’m so glad. It came out very nice and I can’t wait for her to see it in person!







I got the great news this week that another of my blocks has been chosen for the next QuiltMaker’s 100 Blocks magazine coming out in November! That means another blog hop and give away! More details will be posted later.

I finished the Disney scrapbook from the trip that Greg, Leah and I took with the dance team that Leah is on. It felt so good to wrap that up.

And I am taking on another new crochet project or two. I am the worst, slowest crocheter in history for sure. But I can’t say no to Lindsey when she asks for this…









Really. Ummmm ok. Let me order that along with some sock yarn and book on crocheting socks while I’m at it…









Once I struggle through the first mermaid tail, I have two other requests from Amanda and Leah for one. Lord help me.

That is what’s happening this week here at Quilt Cabana. What are you working on this week?


Organizing For The Next Step

I spent last week organizing the sewing room. It had become out of control with half started projects, piles of pictures waiting to be scrapped, and a bunch of items in need of mending. I was at the point of not wanting to go in there and it definitely was not fueling any type of creativity. Essentially, my mojo was buried. This need to get things cleaned up coincided with the addition of a long arm machine. I knew it was going to be delivered and I had nowhere to put it. Panic ensued! I’ll be blogging about the long arm and the process of researching it and purchasing it in an upcoming post. I’m super excited about it and I can’t wait to share all that with you! So, Greg and I ended up going around the house with a tape measure trying to figure out where the machine would fit best. In the end, our bedroom had the only wall long enough to accommodate an 8ft frame without dismantling furniture and shelving. It was tempting to put off the sewing room cleaning once I knew the long arm wasn’t going in there but the mess needed to be tamed.

I started with the counter and put away the scrapbooking project that I was working on because it’s on hold until I have a little more time. I also cleaned out under the counter which had unused scrapbooking tools and about 45 bags with half started hand projects. I took all the hand projects and put them in a tote that slides under my bed.







I also pulled all the small dollar store bins that are holding my fabric scraps from the built in book shelves and moved them to under the counter. With all the bags gone, they fit just fine.







Next, I took down the design wall that was covering these two hutches and gave them a good cleaning out. I packed up anything related to polymer clay which was taking up one hutch and packed that up for the attic. I cleared out unused art supplies and tidied all the sewing related items. There’s still alot on these shelves including my serger and embroidery machine but at least it’s neat and I know what is there.









The next area to tackle was the built in book shelves. These were originally built to house my scrapbook albums, totes, and papers. Pretty much that is still true. I didn’t do much here other than get rid of some polymer clay items and tidy up.







Next to the hutches are this file cabinet and my thread rack. I had the file cabinet loaded with boxes of inventory for my online shop and Quilt Cabana patterns. I couldn’t reach the thread anymore it was so high. I took the boxes, condensed where I could, and placed then under the counter with the fabric scraps.









The last area to tackle was the cutting board and surrounding area. What a mess this had become. I cleaned out under the table and put away all excess fabric and projects that were piled up.







The room isn’t perfect but I have a lot of stuff and I can’t really store it elsewhere. At least now I can go in there and work happily. And…I didn’t have to lose the counter or hutches to fit this baby!







The long arm is a HandiQuilter Simply 16 on an 8ft Studio Frame that can be set up as a 10ft if needed. The next step on my quilting journey will be to learn this machine and then use it to quilt for myself and others. It’s the next step for Quilt Cabana Patterns and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to learn long arming. I’ll be blogging more on this very soon!



Sew Much Fun & Dream List

The little Singer Model 40K hand crank arrived this week and I’ve been having a ball with it! It came on Friday and I was ecstatic when I opened the box and saw how beautiful it was. It came with the original packaging, a case, instruction manual, scissors and a needle threader. The best part is that all the parts are there! When I was looking on Ebay I saw many toy Singers but a lot of them were either very overpriced or missing one part or anther. I feel like I got a great steal for $50 on Etsy from a vintage toy seller. Here is the little cutie…


Notice the price…it could be yours in 1960 for $14.95!
Right out of the box, it made a beautiful chain stitch and a perfect 1/4″ seam…



I was so excited that I set it up on the kitchen table and I made all these units…


And then it stopped working. Sigh. Cry. Curse. I was so sad. I threaded it again, changed the thread spool, oiled it, tipped it upside down to see what was up. When I looked under it, I could see that the little hook that should catch the thread when the needle passes under the plate, was not catching the thread so no chain stitch could be completed. I played around with the only needle the machine came with by taking it in and out of the clamp a few times and miraculously by 11pm that night, it was back making a beautiful chain stitch again! I went ahead and ordered some new needles on Ebay and I will change out the old one when they arrive just to be safe. So I was back in business and the next day, the machine and I went out by the pool and I stitched outside while the kids swam!


Two people have asked me what I will do with all those 2″ blocks that I am seaming together and I really have no idea. The joy is in using the machine. I have dreams of a postage stamp quilt but maybe a tote bag will do. Right now, I’m happy to use the hand crank and have a portable sewing machine that I adore. If you think you’d like one as well, be sure that the machine you purchase has all of its parts like the spool holder and the seam guide. Those seemed to be the items that were missing on a lot of them.

Ok, now on to the dream list…Gretchen of 120 Blocks has been talking about her quilting dream list. Read her post HERE.

She is making a list of the quilts she would really like to make. This inspired me to do the same. I realized while writing the list that the quilts I was talking about are all the quilts that I have the patterns for here already. I just haven’t made them yet. There are one or two that I’d like to make that I don’t have the patterns for and that would be a Modern Maples quilt and a baby puffy or biscuit quilt. Here goes:

Lighthouse quilt by Dottie Krueger. This one is a big wall hanging and I have several fabrics set aside for it.

Love Notes quilt….working on it currently

Sunshine Pineapple Quilt by Vicki Stratton and Barbara Jones

Winter table runner, don’t know the name of the pattern but it looks complicated and I do have the fabric.

Song Bird Trio by Quilt Lily

Forget Me Not by Zebra Patterns

Bird of Paradise by Zebra Patterns

Life’s a Beach and Snow Scene by Cynthia England

Farmer’s Wife quilt in 1930 repro fabrics

Grandma’s Sewing Machine water color mosaic by Mim Schlaback

Pineapple Hawaiian Quilt – I have pattern and have started but it’s needle turn and ya know…’nuf said.

I also have 2 felt applique projects on the list and two cross stitch projects on the list.

I think there are more quilts that I’d like to make that I don’t have the patterns for but I haven’t really delved into those yet. I’ll keep working on that list.

So…what’s your dream list? Care to share? I’d love to hear from you…


Sketching, Prom & Paperclips

Happy Monday Evening!

So the prom finally happened!! Feels like we’ve been talking about it forever and just like that, now it’s done. Here are my three favorite pics of Amanda and Dan from Friday night.










From the dress, to the hair, to the nails, to the flowers it was all picture perfect. I was over the moon for these two.














On Sunday I headed out to Joann’s to pick up comic show fabric and some sketching supplies.

ATT_1428969569822_2015-04-12 13.26.19

ATT_1428969569777_2015-04-12 13.28.35

I’m taking Paul Heaston’s Sketching The Everyday class on Craftsy. I’m only on the third lesson but I certainly enjoyed shopping for the supplies! Here is my homework assignment from the second lesson. It’s not great and I’m hoping to improve over time. The main idea in this class is to sketch something every, single day. Here’s my Bromelia sketch…

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I bought a small sketch pad for my purse so maybe I’ll make the goal of every day. The next homework is to use pen and practice adding texture with cross hatching. I think the class is interesting but I was hoping for a bit more instruction about actually drawing. Maybe that will come in later lessons. I’m a bit spacially challenged and drawing in 3D is very hard for me. We’ll see….













Lately, I’ve become a fan of James Clear who is a motivational speaker. He wrote this very interesting article about cultivating habits and the use of the paperclip strategy. I think it’s a great idea and could easily transfer over to quilting. Imagine having a cup full of paperclips representing projects. Take a read, let me know what you think.

On James’ website you can find two free ebooks about setting goals. I like his approach to easing into a new habit and setting reasonable goals that can be built upon. It is helping me with my Couch To 5K running and lifting some arm weights. The Couch To 5K program works on that premise. It has you run just a few minutes to begin and when you have that mastered, it has you run a bit more all the way to 5K. I’m adding in some light weights for my flabby arms and as James suggests, I’m setting goals that are easy enough to accomplish so that I don’t lose interest. It’s good stuff…worth the read.

Have a wonderful evening! It’s Disney night on Dancing With The Stars!! Yippppeeeee!


A Clean Space & A New Word

Happy New Year’s (for some and almost for others)!

I am starting 2015 off with a clean sewing room!!! Hip hip hooray!!

I spent most of yesterday cleaning out and rearranging and while there are still a lot of things in the room, I at least know what’s in there and where it is being kept.

I moved all the bigger pieces of vending equipment up to the attic (read: husband will be taking that up to the attic).

Here is the before photo…

photo 1 (11)

And here are the after photos…

photo 2 (21)

The cutting and batting storage area…

photo 3 (4)

Scrapbooking counter…the underneath has been cleaned out but I still use what was left under there.

photo 5 (3)

More scrapbooking supplies and some pattern/online store inventory, the shipping department and a new file cabinet…

photo 4 (6)

Book shelf area..again there’s a lot there but it’s much neater than it was. I got rid of some old, old magazines that were piling up and using up precious space on that shelving unit…

photo (6)

I keep walking in there because I can’t believe how tidy it is and that there is actual empty counter space!!!! I am looking forward to creating in there in 2015.

I have decided what my word for the new year will be. It will be “wisdom”…as in using the wisdom I have and having the wisdom to ask when I need guidance whether that be from God, family or friends.

Here is the definition of wisdom…

the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.

Last year my word was “engage”. I do believe I took steps toward engaging other people which enriched my life throughout the year. This year I feel the need to rely on my own sense of knowledge and knowing what is right for me. I don’t profess to know it all or even a fraction of it all. I think this is about discovery and tuning in to thoughts and ideas that I have and not dismissing them but also figuring out how to call upon the wisdom of others. This sounds very deep, right? LOL!!

What is your word for 2015?


Looking Back & Looking Forward

Everything that can be wrapped is wrapped, sick kid is back to school, fudge has all been delivered, I refuse to shop for anything else. So now in the last quiet few minutes before school is out, I want to thank you all for your wonderful support of Quilt Cabana Patterns this year. I hit some of my 2014 goals, exceeded others and achieved some things I didn’t plan on and of course, I missed the mark on others. The blog will be quiet over the next few days as I enjoy Christmas with my family and friends. I hope you all have a beautiful holiday as well!

Looking back at my 2014 goals, I see that I moved my company forward. I increased sales, had patterns in magazines, fulfilled an educational component I wanted to work on, blogged more frequently, joined Instagram and LinkedIn, restarted the podcast, vended a show, did some marketing for a lecture/trunk show, Coffee & Quilting Lessons, set up an official online store, became involved with sewing for the comic collector’s shows and I made/sold a large amount of Frozen makeup bags! I also made several charity items including a raffle quilt, angel baby buntings and Comfort Bears for the police station. I really tried to work on my business as opposed to in my business this year and I will continue to do so in 2015.

So what will I work on in 2015?

Increase pattern sales
Increase store sales
Increase finished item inventory (quilts, applique blocks, baby items, comic show items)
Design more patterns
Continue magazine submissions
Continue greet card copy submissions
Continue with podcast and blog (add more content to both)
Vend more shows
Take on commission work
Work on educational component (softees and color theory)
Get newsletter out in a consistent manner
Get workshops/Coffee & Quilting off the ground
Explore possibility of kid’s summer sewing camp
Stick to my work schedule
Organize pot holder/mug rug swap
Work on the following charity items: Comfort Bears, Angel Baby Buntings and Final Salute Quilts.

How about personal goals, you say? Hmmmm….the usual…lose weight, increase exercise, get thyself back to church, read more…sound familiar…I probably wrote all that last year too! LOL!!! Oh and get all those photos scrapped and my Project Life Up To Date.

What are your goals for 2015? Do you have a word for the year chosen yet? My word last year was “Engage”. I do think I succeeded in engaging more with other people. I also feel there’s more room for that this year as well. I’m going to think a bit more about my word for 2015 and I’ll get back to you on it.

Enjoy the holidays, folks. They go by so quickly.