Friday, June 26, 2015

Sew Virginia Beach Retreat is Coming THIS FALL!

Plans changed and the dates opened up for the first annual Sew Virginia Beach retreat to be held October 29 - November 1, 2015.  That's right.  This Fall and we couldn't be more excited to bring a retreat weekend to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.  

(from the Ramada Virginia Beach Oceanfront website)

For more details on the retreat accommodations, location, ticket sales, and more, please visit the Sew Virginia Beach website.

I hope to see familiar faces, meet new friends, and make some great memories that weekend.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

East Coast Retreat Coming Fall 2016

Several years ago I started tossing around the idea of a sewing retreat here in Virginia Beach.  It seemed that all of the retreats and conventions were taking place on the west coast, and I knew that there were a lot of sewists/quilters like me that couldn’t make those west coast trips yearly.  The idea of sewing AND enjoying all that the oceanfront had to offer was very appealing.

I spent the last couple of years bouncing ideas off of my husband (aka The Enabler), friends, and writing every idea I had down in a special notebook.  The idea popped back in to the front of my mind while we were planning a guild retreat for this Fall, but I pushed it back.  Year after year my introverted anxiety riddled personality kept me from acting on my ideas.  Anxiety actually keeps me from doing a lot, but that’s another story, and everyone has their own issues to deal with. J

As many of you know I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Sew South this past weekend.  It was my first full weekend, get out of town, sewing retreat.   I have to be honest and tell you that there were several times that the anxiety over packing, meeting new people, and even choosing fabric for projects almost had me staying home.  I am so glad that I didn’t give in to the panic.   I had the most amazing time sewing, talking, learning new things (like my Juki came with a ¼” sewing foot-lol), and meeting new people.  By Sunday morning I was exhausted, but the joy that I felt from being a part of this group of awesome creators was so much greater.  It was sad to say goodbye on Sunday morning.

I was so tired on the drive home, but still pumped up from the excitement of the retreat.  I was telling The Enabler about everything that I had learned, and who sat where and made what, and how great the whole experience was.  He was laughing at me because I’m not normally a chatterbox, but if I am passionately excited about something I can talk until my voice gives out.  He jumped in and asked me about doing the retreat at home again.  I did my normal excuses and then he said “You know we have to do this.”  I thought about what he said for a minute.  I could feel the familiar tingling in my face that comes with anxiety, and then what he said hit me.  “You know WE have to do this.”   He started spouting off ideas that he had come up with and I almost cried.  I’m almost crying now thinking of how amazingly supportive and understanding this man that I married is.  I  still had my hesitations about not wanting anyone to feel like I was competing with their retreat, and no one wanting to come, and so many other things.  EDIT: He knew we "have" to do this because I would regret it forever if I didn't.  I have so many more regrets over things that I never did, than anything that I have had the courage to do.

After discussing it on the 5-1/2 hour trip home we came to the conclusion that there are so many people who want to attend retreats, and there is room and opportunity for so many different retreats to take place.  I am happy to say that we are moving forward with the retreat, and we are planning it in the Fall so if I am lucky (and fast) enough I will be able to attend Sew South again next year.
So without further ado (and rambling on) I am thrilled to announce:

Coming to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront Fall 2016.

A traditional, modern, be creative, be yourself sewing retreat.

The retreat will be held in an oceanfront hotel in Virginia Beach, VA.  You will be right on the boardwalk with easy access to the beach, restaurants, and gift shops.

Tickets will go on sale January 2016.  Payment plans will be available.  The exact number of tickets being sold has not been finalized, but it will be somewhere between 50 and 60.

We are working on an exciting mix of make and take, workshops, and lots of free sewing time.  We will make an announcement with more details on the accommodations, workshops, and tickets this Fall 2015.   For the latest news on Sew Virginia Beach go to and choose follow by e-mail.

We want to keep everything as affordable and stress free as possible.  We are looking forward to having an amazing retreat and making new friends right here at the beach.

Have an amazing creative day!
Angie (and The Enabler)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Making Labels Tutorial

I have been making my own labels for several years.  I use them in my pouches, bags, and on my quilts, etc.  Well, that is when I remember to actually put a label on before it's on its way to the post office.  I've tried different methods of putting a label on my quilts like this not so fancy one from the Ghastlies Blog Hop in October 2011.
I pieced the white into the quilt backing and then wrote the information with a black fine tip Sharpie. Almost three and half years, and several washings, later and all of the information is still there.  It isn't pretty though, so I found a better way.

This is what you will need:

- Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II (one package has five 9" x 12" sheets)
- 10" x 13" white Kona fabric (or any other color that the printing can be seen on)
- Ink Jet printer that uses pigment ink (no dye ink or water soluble ink)
- Permanent fine tip pen/marker

You will need to wash your fabric before using to remove any finishes from the manufacturing, and anything else that might be on there from all of the hands that have touched it.  I wash in warm water without any detergent so that there isn't any detergent residue left behind.  Tumble dry on cotton setting.  Iron out all of the wrinkles.

-After washing and ironing, cut your fabric to 8-1/2" x 11" so that it will fit through your printer.

-Following the directions on the Lite EZ-Steam II package you will remove one side of the paper backing.

-Using your hands (no ironing) press your fabric onto the pressure sensitive fusible web. Get all of the bubbles and creases out.  You can lift the fabric up and reposition if needed.

-The Lite EZ-Steam II is a 9" x 12" sheet so you will need to trim down to the 8-1/2" x 11" size of your fabric.  I do this after the fabric is placed so I can reposition if needed and all edges of the fabric are stuck to the fusible web.

- It is now ready to go through your printer.

You can use any program that you are comfortable with to make your labels, but I've found that I can fit the most onto my label sheet using Word.  I can do a whole sheet at once and include smaller labels for pouches and bags, as well as labels for quilts.

Choose a font that is large enough to read, but that isn't overpowering for the item you are putting the label on.  My quilt labels are a 16-22 font size, and the pouch labels are 14-16.  Your text should be bold.  Bold prints more ink.  More ink is good.

It is very important that you use an ink jet printer that uses pigment ink.  This is my middle of the road HP Photosmart All-in-One that I make my labels on.

I've had it for years and this is pretty much the only thing that I use it for now because I have a fancy schmancy Epson Artisan printer that is amazing.  It won't, however, print a quilt label that will stand up to washing.  It prints with beautiful hi-definition dye ink that washes right out when your put it in the washing machine.  Ask me how I know?  Unfortunately I found out after I had sent a few gifts with labels printed on the Artisan.  If your cute label from me washed away, I am terribly sorry.  If you would like another printed on the correct printer then please let me know.

-Now we are going to print.  Click print on the program you are using to create your label.  Click the properties button, or the button in your printer program that allows you to make changes to the way your document is printed.  You will need to click on the "print in grayscale" option.

You can print in color.  I have printed in color before but some colors wash out after time.  The black doesn't.  If you are putting the label in/on an item that won't be washed then go color all the way.

-Place the fabric label sheet in your printer so that the fabric is facing the side that gets printed on.

-Hit the print button.

The labels on the top will be cut into strips for pouches.  I removed the table borders on the bottom two labels so I can cut them a little wider without the lines being there.

I use a Millennium pen to fill out most of my labels.  It is acid-free, archival quality, lightfast, waterproof, fade proof, and non-bleeding.  I have used fine tip Sharpies.  They work, but do bleed if you don't write fast and let the tip sit on the fabric for very long.

 Either way, the best way to fill out the label is to remove the paper backing before writing.  It's okay if the label is temporary stuck to your desk.  It isn't a permanent bond until you iron it.  Just place it on your finished project and iron in place following the package instructions.

This label is on a mini quilt that hangs on the wall in my craft room.  It has been washed twice.

These are mug rugs that the VBMQG leadership team made for all of the members during our birthday celebration last year.  We didn't sew these down.  I have washed this poor thing at least nine times in the last 11 months.  This is the only label that I have seen a problem with.  The little aqua stripe washed out after the third wash, and although the black has faded you can still read it.  I think the main problem with this label is that it is so small at 1-1/2" x 1-3/4".  The larger labels haven't shown this type of fading.

I print my labels out, cut them apart, and they sit in a container for a while before I use them.  I would wait at least two or three days before washing a label.  This gives the ink time to dry thoroughly.

If you are putting the label on something that is going to get a lot of use and washing you may want to sew around the edges of the label.  For most of my labels (especially on the things that are staying with me) I've just ironed them down and wash after wash they are still stuck right where I put them.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that you will find it useful if you choose to make your own labels.

Have a wonderfully creative day!

For those of you wondering, this is not a sponsored post.  This is what I purchase to make my labels, and I am not being reimbursed or provided with free products for this tutorial.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Open Wide Pouch Swap Round 1 CLOSED

I have been making a lot of Noodlehead's Open Wide Pouches for swap partners and Secret Pals lately, and I am just smitten with them.  The pattern is well written (as are all of Anna's patterns), the pouch comes together easily, and the end result is a great zippered pouch that can be used for just about anything.

So, I've decided to have a swap and here are the details:

     a.  The first requirement for this swap is that you have an active Flickr or Instagram account.  This means that you post on one of those accounts regularly (at least once a week).  No accounts set up just to join this swap.  I'm looking for some crafting history.
     b.  The second is that you either join the Flickr group after you have received confirmation that you are in the swap and post an inspiration mosaic for your partner, or post the mosaic on Instagram.  The Flickr group can be found here.  .

     a.  This is not a secret swap.  You will know who your partner is so you can communicate with each other.
     b.  I will try to match everyone up according to skill level.  I will be using the sign up form and stalking Flickr and IG accounts to help with assignments.
     c.  Stick to the pattern and the extras listed below.  Nothing more.

3.  PATTERN:  We will be using the tutorial for the large pouch on Noodlehead's site.  You can make modifications such as adding a strap, a zipper pull, making the panel scrappy or fussy cut, adding a pocket to the interior.  Otherwise it should be this pouch following the tutorial.

4.  COLOR:  Use fabrics/colors that your partner would like. If your partner says they don't like brown or earth tones then don't send them a pouch that could be camouflaged in the woods.  Seriously I had this happen.

5.  FABRIC:  Do not use cheap fabric.  By cheap I don't mean nice fabric that you got a killer clearance deal on.  I mean don't use fabric that you can read the newspaper through or that you could use to loofah yourself in the bath.  Don't send fabric that is stained, smells like an ashtray, or that has been used for pet bedding.  Be kind and thoughtful and use good quality fabric.

6.  EXTRAS:  I know everyone likes to send extras.  I usually send way too much and so there is a limit on the extras here.  This is what should be sent with your pouch:
     a.  Two fat quarters, or if your partner prefers scraps then scraps that add up to approximately two fat quarters. This is also not the place to dump that fabric you found in Aunt Myrtle's attic last year.
     b.  One to two notions such as a small spool of thread, seam ripper, measuring tape, small scissors, or flower pins.  New, unused items.  Again this sounds silly to some of you but I once got thread that at one point was one of those big Coats and Clark spools.  When it was sent to me it had no labels and about 1/3 of the thread left.  The ribbon tied around it did not help.
     c.  Candy or snack item that your partner likes.  If your partner doesn't like candy or snacks then feel free to discuss a replacement.  Some great add ins for swaps are the EOS lip balms, pens, small note pads, etc.

That is it.  No more than this in the package.  This keeps it affordable for everyone and no one feels that they got less, or cheated, or whatever feelings that take over people when they see what other people get in swaps.

7.  SENDING: International packages will be mailed by April 15th.  U.S. packages will be mailed between April 22 and April 25th.

8.  TRACKING:  All packages should be mailed with tracking.  I can't force you to do this, but if the package goes AWOL and you don't have tracking to prove you sent it then I'm going to assume you didn't.  I know that sounds terrible, but there are way too many people taking advantage of these swaps by getting their great packages and never sending anything to their partners.  For a small amount you can add tracking (or use Paypal to print your label and it's added automatically) to ensure that your package is making its way to your partner.

9.  NON-SENDERS:  I am not going to say that I have never been late with a swap package, and I'm not going to go on a rant here.  This is what I am going to say:
     a.  If you never get anything done on time and you think that it is charming to be known as the person who is always late then don't join this swap.  I'm not going to have anyone waiting weeks or months to get their package.
     b.  I keep a sent/received list in all of my swap groups on Flickr.  If you do not send to your partner, your name will never come off of that list.  You will be there on Flickr, for anyone and everyone to see that you flaked out, until Flickr no longer exists.
     c.  If you need to drop out of the swap then please let me know.  Don't wait until you've gotten your package, or the deadline is tomorrow.  At that point you've had more than enough time to either make something for your partner, or figure out that you aren't going to be able to participate.
     d.  The main thing I can't stress enough here is COMMUNICATE.  You need to communicate with me.  Let me know that cows have invaded your sewing room and eaten all of your fabric so you can't get your package out on the 15th, but you will be mailing the 17th.  Seriously, if your package is together but you can't get to the mailbox because of a sick child, or weather, or a stolen car then tell me.
     e.  If your partner's package has not been sent within a week after the deadline, an angel will be assigned to send your partner a package.  At this point you will be marked as a non-sender unless you can provide tracking information for the package.

Partner assignments will be sent out, by e-mail, between March 4th and March 7th.  I will also post them on the Flickr group page.

Have a wonderful creative week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Alison Glass Fabric Swap (5" x 10") CLOSED - WE ARE FULL

     I have been obsessed with the new Alison Glass Sun Prints since they started showing up on IG (and everywhere), and then Alison brought them to the November guild meeting and I couldn't wait for January to come so I could get my hands on them.  Trust me when I say that the pictures don't do them justice.  Well, now they are hitting the stores and I thought it would be a great time to have an Alison Glass fabric swap.
This is a picture of some of Alison's past prints.  To see all of the beautiful new Sun Prints please visit Alison's page.  You can also find Alison Glass fabrics at online fabric shops.  The Intrepid Thread has a selection of Handcrafted and Sun Prints available.  There is no sponsorship or connection to either of these websites to this swap. 

     The swap is open to 28 swappers who will each buy one yard of one of Alison's prints (any of her past or present prints - not just Sun Prints), and then cut that yard into twenty-eight 5" x 10" pieces.  The twenty-eight pieces will be mailed to me so I can sort them and mail them back out to each of the swappers. It is a great way to build up your Alison Glass, or in general your fabric, stash.

     -Post a picture of your chosen fabric in the flickr group pool to avoid duplicates.
     -Buy 1 yard of any Alison Glass print and cut into twenty-eight 5" X 10" pieces.  Cut the selvages
      before cutting.  Selvages do not count in the measurement.
     -Mail the twenty-eight pieces, and a self addressed stamped envelope to me by February 28th.
     -International swappers welcome.  I can invoice you through Paypal for return shipping.  If you
      are international and would like to order your fabric and have it mailed to me to save on shipping,       let me know.  I don't mind cutting the fabric for you.

    CLOSED.  WE ARE FULL.  If you would like to join the swap, please fill out the form here.  I will contact everyone who signs up tomorrow and let them know if they are in the swap or not.  Please join the Flickr group and post your fabric choice so we can avoid duplicate prints in our swap.

     I'm looking forward to swapping with everyone.  Angie


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Perfect Christmas Stocking For Your Furbaby

I must start by saying "I LOVE CHRISTMAS".  When my three boys were little we decorated every corner of our house, including their bedrooms and the bathroom.  The boys had knit stockings, that I bought at Dollar General back in the early 90s, and I carefully used gold glitter paint to write their names on the cuffs.  Through the years we have also hung a stocking for every hamster, bird, dog, and cat that lived in the house. 

This is where my discontent started every year.  We would pull the stockings out to hang them and there were the pet stockings looking just like the people stockings, only smaller.  Our dogs and cats didn't wear people socks, so why should their stockings look that way?  I saw cute little stockings shaped like bones for dogs, but that didn't work for our cats, and it still didn't represent the human stocking in dog and cat form.

Last year I sat down and drew out a stocking that I thought fit in with the people stockings, but reflected my puppies, and grandkitties.  Of course, it took another year to sit down and fine tune it in Illustrator, write the pattern, and publish it, but I am thrilled to finally introduce the Santa Paws Stocking:

Finished Size: approximately 9-3/4" long x 5-3/4" wide

In this ten page pattern you will find step by step instructions for making one Santa Paws Stocking, color pictures, and full size print at home pattern pieces for the stocking template and paw pads.

The last two pages are the pattern pieces for the stocking and paw pads.

I used quilting cotton for all parts of the stockings shown, and have used quilting cotton and twill tape for the hanging loops.

My patterns include the license to sell section so that there is no question about what rights the original purchaser of my pattern has to sell their finished product.

LICENSE TO SELL: The original purchaser of this pattern is given the right to sell stockings made using this pattern. License to sell includes home-based production scale only. No commercial production is allowed.
The instructions and pictures in this pattern, in part or whole, are mine. Please do not copy, or distribute, any portion of this document without my written permission.


I hope you like the Santa Paws Stocking as much as I do, and I would love to see what you make.

You can find the instant download PDF in my Craftsy pattern store, or my Etsy shop for $3.00 USD.