More on the Heart Bag

Heart Bag with Applique'
Heart Bag with Applique’

Right before we had to leave for the NDGW Grand Parlor, I decided the front of the Heart Bag needed something more. I didn’t have a suitable button which I have put on other versions of this bag. Finally, I decided (perhaps SIL suggested?) to applique’ a heart on to the front. I cut out one of the hearts from the scrap of fabric I had left. I used raw edge applique to sew it on and an Aurifil thread that matched pretty well.

Heart Bag with Applique' detail
Heart Bag with Applique’ detail

I don’t think the placement will be in the way too much and I sewed it very close to the edge to minimize fraying, though there will be some.

I am pleased with how it turned out. I think it breaks up the expanse of red just a bit.

The recipient really liked the bag, which was gratifying.

Progress on the Food Quilt #3

I have had very little time to work on the Food Quilt in the last weeks. I made some progress, as I reported mid month. I have made a little progress.

Food Quilt, top border
Food Quilt, top border

The other week I spent time putting 3 sides of the border on. I sewed the piano key border together while work on the donation blocks.

I was concerned that the black and white fabric I chose for the small internal border would interfere with the other blacks and whites, but I think it looks fine. Yes, that border touches the original blacks and whites, but since I didn’t use it in the original blocks, there isn’t much of a design problem.

Food Quilt Border fabric detail
Food Quilt Border fabric detail

The border fabric makes my eyes cross a little bit and looks out of focus in the photos. It has the distinct good quality of showing the seams where I sewed strips together to make them long enough to reach across the whole quilt. I didn’t have to sew the strips on the diagonal to hide the join.

So, yes, progress.

Dot Journal

I was working on another project that required a different foot than the quarter inch foot. This made my ability to sew donation patches together with any precision limited. I turned to an idea I had since I made my last journal cover. I had hoped that the CVZ/Paris Journal cover would be more of an exploration of low volume prints with just one bright spot. It didn’t quite work out as I intended. I kept thinking on how to do it differently.

Dot Journal Cover
Dot Journal Cover

With these two constraints, I started sewing dot fabrics together. I was very strict with myself on the background and the fabric. I stuck to dots on bright white. I think I avoided any creams or ivory backgrounds.

Dot Journal Cover and Back
Dot Journal Cover and Back

I was also very strict with myself on getting to the right size (top to bottom)- remember I use the Miquelrius journal #4— and then not being sentimental about cutting off nice bits of piecing. There is always more fabric, right?

Dot Journal inside
Dot Journal inside

Finally, I used a fun print, that I probably won’t use for anything else, for the inside.

I am pleased to have finished something after so much work on the Food Quilt. This project is also very cheerful and I will need a new journal soon, so I am looking forward to using it.


IRR - June 2016
IRR – June 2016

My Improv Round Robin has returned. Ruth had it for a couple of months because I wasn’t at the meeting last month and she wasn’t sure whether to pass it along.
She added the bottom part with the curves. It is an interesting addition.
I am trying to decide whether to try and get more people to work on it or whether I should just do some work of my own and finish it. I have some thoughts:

  • It needs some space around the edges. The outside top and right side might need some of the turquoise solid to provide some breathing room.
  • It is definitely not square and I need to figure out what to do about that, if anything.
  • I want to add more Flying Geese, which I will do myself. Perhaps I will add them on the right.
  • I am surprised that more people did continue the Flying Geese motif. The time constraints were daunting, however, so I understand.

I do need to look at it for awhile.

Feeling Better About the Heart Bag

Heart Bag back
Heart Bag back

I finished the Heart Bag over Memorial Day weekend, but since I am friends with people who know the recipient, I decided not to post about it until it had been given. Also, I found out that DH reads my posts. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I was. He read the last post on this Heart Bag and questioned me (not in a bad way) about my whining. I had to explain that I was tired and things went much better after I recovered more from the NSGW Grand Parlor. There is a fine line between wanting desperately to sew and being too tired to sew.

Heart Bag: Finished
Heart Bag: Finished

So, the bag is finished and I am pleased with the way it came out. The ShapeFlex interfacing gives the bag some structure, which I like, though it can still be folded for easier storage. I love that stuff!

I think I felt especially bad about that twisted strap, because I made an effort to ensure it wasn’t twisted when I first sewed it on. I felt like a gremlin had snuck into my workroom and twisted it while I was looking away just to be mean and frustrate me.

Heart Bag decorative stitch
Heart Bag decorative stitch

I thought about leaving it, but didn’t feel right so I ripped it out (good time to focus on podcasts!) and now it is not twisted.

The pattern calls for the edging to be topstitched, so I used a heart decorative stitch. I like the heart stitch on my Janome 9000, but you know that story. The stitch on the DC5100 is much more substantial. The machine goes over the stitches a few times each. Not all of them came out perfectly, especially around the straps, but matters of the heart are never perfect.

I really like that heart batik. It has a good hand, doesn’t fray and the heart motif is not kitschy. I have a bit more left and am said to use it up, but it has been hanging around for awhile so it is good to use it.

Heart Bag inside
Heart Bag inside

I have to do something better about the pockets on this bag. I always do them wrong, though wrong is relative since they still work. I just don’t do them according to the pattern and I think I need to add more of them. There is always next time.

Saturday Inspiration

After the YM went off to college we got out of the habit of seeing each other, because she was relieved not to have to drive and I was crazy busy. After Christmas, we decided that this would never do so Mom and I have been trying to go out at least once a month.

The other week went to an antique store. It was great! It didn’t smell like old things, the products looked well curated and there were unique items.

Tea Set
Tea Set

I saw this tea set and thought that it was like no other I had ever seen. I loved the color, again unique. Also the shape was great. No, I didn’t buy it, but I have the photo.

Be inspired!

Creativity: Chapter 1

As I said after the Creative Prompt Project ended, I still want to encourage creativity and creative pursuits in YOU via a regular blog post, but I didn’t want to create any more creative prompts. As I also said, that may change, but for now I am trying different things. I have done a couple of color inspirations as you have seen, but I haven’t found a niche yet. This is probably good as then I won’t get bored. Today, I am going in a different direction, still a creativity challenge, but different than the Creative Prompt Project and the color palettes I have been posting.

Some time ago I wrote a review of the book, The Little Spark by Carrie Bloomston. I just read over the review and the things I wrote at the time were things I still thought were relevant as I reread the book’s introduction and Spark 1 for this creativity post.

I feel it is important to nurture creative endeavors in myself and in others. It is so easy to get sidetracked by work, the housework, kids’ activities and take no time for yourself. It is so easy to think that creativity is not important. Creative endeavors nurture your soul. If your soul is healthy all the other things you have to do in your life are easier and come out better.

Like in the Creative Prompt Project, any kind of art is appropriate. If you are a potter or a cartoonist or a weaver, these reviews and exercises will work for you just as well as for someone who sews, makes quilts, draws or paints.

Housekeeping: I am not going to tell you all of the details of all of the exercises in the book. It isn’t right for me to give away Carrie Bloomston’s content. You will need to buy the book for that. ( <—  It’s easy, just click the ‘buy the book’ link; yes it is an affiliate link**)  😉 That isn’t to say that you will get nothing out of the creativity posts that I am writing. You will, if you read through them and think about what I have written. I am using her material as a jumping off point. Her material is valuable and I am adding my own spin to it.

While we may have more time for creative pursuits in our modern times and we have more time to contemplate creativity, decorating and making things beautiful is in our DNA. Bloomston says “The Spark is your creativity and you were born with it. We all were. Humans have always felt its pull. We see it in our oldest art representations — paintings on the walls in the caves in Lascaux in France from 17,000 years ago.” There are early quilts that are beautifully stitched even though rougher stitching would have been just as warm. We can easily buy soft, warm blankets from the local department store and beautifully knitted throws from catalogs yet we still make quilts and knit throws ourselves.

“…your desire to make things is bigger than you.” I flagged this quote when I initially wrote the review and it is still one that sticks in my mind and makes me think. Bigger than me. I wonder about what that means. Is there a creativity hive mind to which I am contributing? How does what I make fit into the larger continuum of creativity? This is something to which I have no answers and am still contemplating. It is a thought that is almost too big for my mind. What do you think?

These are the kinds of topics that Bloomston’s book makes me think about. What is important is that “it comes from our human desire to make things beautiful and meaningful — not for the sake of beauty, but because each decorative mark on that cake or that pot celebrates our existence.” (pg. 7). What you make doesn’t have to be beautiful. You just have to make it. Making things is the point. Having your project come out beautiful is a fabulous bonus.

Whatever your art is, “it will enrich and connect you. It will give your life depth. It will fill you with purpose and sparkle. It will allow you to shine your light.” (pg.7)

If I haven’t convinced you, with the help of Carrie Bloomston, that you are a creative being and you must exercise your creativity in whatever way speaks to you, all I can say is Just Start. Make a mark on a piece of scrap paper with the pen you have to hand. Twist some string into a fancy knot. Just Start.

You won’t be surprised if I tell you that Bloomston’s first spark is on getting started. I think we can all agree that getting started is the hardest part. It is hard to get started being creative. It can be hard to start the next step and it can be especially difficult to start your perfect project, the image in your mind being so perfect that you feel you can never achieve such greatness. You can.

I have engaged in creative pursuits my whole life,s tarting with dime store coloring books and pieces of paper. Now, my creative muscles are usually warm and flexible. I feel like I never stop. I try to plan my project steps in such a way that I know exactly what to do when I step into my workroom. Of course, I have times where I can’t move forward as planned. If I don’t have an image in my mind of the next step, then I can’t make the next step. The image of my mind has to consist of exactly how to put the next pieces together. That doesn’t always happen. Or I can work on my creative pursuits if I am upset or tired or don’t want to work on the planned project or I have to do a step that is challenging in some way.

All of these things make me pivot and I have to make a new ‘start’. Often, I will do some mind sorbet type sewing. Hunting and Gathering is also a great way to make a new start or work on something in between. I often make pieces and parts or cut patches and then stack them up until I have enough to make the quilt I want to make. Making 4patches and 9patches are great examples of hunting and gathering as well as a project that is great when you don’t know what else to do or you need to make a start.

I am very fond of mosaic piecing (this is called ‘made’ fabric by some teacher whose name I can’t remember right now). I use my scraps, generally monochromatically, to make new pieces of fabric, which I, then, cut up and make something else. Often those projects are journal covers.

You can cut the mosaic piecing into squares and then make some great 4patches. You can do something crazy quilted. The point is that you have to start. What you start sewing (or drawing or painting or molding) and if starting means just pushing fabrics through the machine and worrying about what it will be later, then so be it.

The Little Spark is a great book to energize or start your creativity. Please tell me how you light the spark of your creativity.











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More Thanksgiving Decor

I am on the fence about putting this down as a project, so I’ll have to call it a sort-of project. I have to do some work, but a lot of the actual sewing is done.

The family splits up the holidays because there are a lot of us and it is hard work to feed 24+ people. Thanksgiving is our holiday. I have been wanting Thanksgiving napkins for awhile, but the thought of making napkins is daunting and it has been daunting. Of course, I could have hemmed some fabric quickly and been done with it, but if I was going to make napkins I wanted to make them nice. Such a project would also involve buying a lot of autumn colored fabric. Not my favorite colors.

World Market napkins
World Market napkins

When I saw napkins at Cost Plus World Market in the right colors and sizes for a great price, I was thrilled. I texted SIL with an idea and went back later and bought them. SIL has a 6 needle embroidery machine and is willing to do some embroidery on the napkins to make them festive. She has several embroidery designs and I will buy a few for her as well.

After we gather the designs and the supplies (I’ll have to buy some stabilizer, though I have a bit from my old embroidery days), then we’ll have to plan the project out. We have several months before Thanksgiving, so the sort of project is doable.

Now back to the tablerunners!

FOTY 2016 – More mid-June Squares

FOTY 2016- mid-June #2
FOTY 2016- mid-June #2

These are a combination of project fabrics and new fabrics. I just keep cutting!

My Mom said that my fabrics look darker this year. I think tht may be the case because I have washed a few loads of blues and the fabrics are in the approximate order in which they were washed.

I have a lot of blues, but also a few whites and lighter colors.

Donation Blocks

Donation Blocks June 2016
Donation Blocks June 2016

I now have 12 red blocks, which I thought was the end of what I needed to make a top. I actually need at least 16, so I still have some sewing to do before I can make a top. That means I also have to cut more red squares as I am getting bored of the ones I have.

I have a few blue blocks, which I really like. They are cheerful. I have been tossing them into my BAM bag, but I may keep them and make a top from them as well. We’ll see.

Bay Area Modern June Meeting

I was pretty excited to get back to BAM to see my pals. I only missed the May meeting, but it felt like an eternity. I finally had some things to show. You, of course, have seen them all, but I showed:

My SIL came along. She hasn’t been a member of a guild in awhile, if ever, but I dragged her along. She said she had a good time, which made me happy.

June Charity Sew Day quilt
June Charity Sew Day quilt

More details about the meeting can be found on the BAM blog.

I missed the Charity Sew Day due to Political Wifery, but some of the quilts they made were shown. Michelle B. designed the pattern and they sewed the quilts together using the quilt-as-you-go technique. This was a brilliant idea as it made the quilting after the piecing unnecessary.

Claire's innovative quilt
Claire’s innovative quilt

Show and Tell was fabulous as well. Joy-Lily has finished her 100 quilts project. Not all are quilted, but she has a nice variety of pieces. Zoe brought her tiny baby and the black and white playmat she is making. I loved them both! Claire set a bunch of blocks together in a really unique and innovative fashion.

I know it isn’t true, but I feel like I haven’t sewed at all after seeing all the great stuff people brought.

Jaime will be leading a workshop on making the Noodlehead Cargo Duffle. She has made a few and has made some changes to the pattern including more pockets. I signed up because I admire Jaime’s bag making skills.

We both helped work on the Hearts for Orlando blocks, which I wrote a bit about yesterday. You can see the full details at the BAM blog.

I dropped Cityscape off with my SIL who is the new owner after the meeting. I think she liked it.

Heart Blocks

All of my Heart Blocks
All of my Heart Blocks

Thursday and Friday, in between everything else, I worked on Heart Blocks. They are being made en mass to help the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild make quilts for the victims and families of those massacred in Orlando last week.

Orlando Heart Blocks - first batch
Orlando Heart Blocks – first batch

I am trying to use my best fabrics and make them as cheerful as possible. I also started out with the orange and went to the purple, thinking that blocks in these colors might be in short supply. I could make the whole rainbow range, as I saw someone else do on IG, but I don’t know that I want to do that. I hope to make some more orange ones, regardless. We’ll see what happens.

Second set of heart blocks
Second set of heart blocks

I found it easier to cut a bunch of backgrounds and foregrounds and sew them all at once, though I didn’t do that every time. The four blocks above are the first 4 I made and the 3 in the second photo are the ones I made Friday and finished on Saturday morning before the meeting.

I was pretty excited about the purple soft serve fabric. I really hope that fabric will make someone smile and will bring back good memories of the Boardwalk or the Fair. It made me smile.

BAM Hearts for Orlando blocks
BAM Hearts for Orlando blocks

On Saturday I attended the BAM meeting. After the meeting, which was GREAT, BTW, a number of us stayed and made blocks for Hearts for Orlando quilts. We made 41 blocks, which is enough for 1 1/4 quilts. You can see that there are some differences in the blocks. There were some differences in cutting so I looked up the pattern and found that I was cutting the small background squares, used for the top, wrong. 🙁 Those small background squares are supposed to be 2″ not 2.5″. We kept all of the different types of hearts. It will add interest to the quilt. I wasn’t the only one who made a mistake and everyone was really generous.

Valerie, a Twitter pal, made enough heart blocks for a whole quilt.

Contribute and Make Your Own

All I can think about is that this could have happened to one of my family or friends or work colleagues. None of us are immune. In true quiltmaker fashion the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild has started a block and quilt drive to create quilts for the victims and families of the slain. They are collecting quilts and blocks.

Pattern: Cluck Cluck Sew Hearts
Size: 10?x 10?
Colors: varying rainbow of prints with low volume background
Send quilt to Orlando MQG (check blog for address)
Send money, blocks and quilts to: Alissa Lapinsky c/o A List Hair Salon, 106 South Woodland Blvd, Suite B, DeLand, FL 32720
Timeframe: Quilts by August 15; blocks by July 15
Send this form with your submission.

The idea is to make heart blocks in bright, rainbow colors to represent everyone affected (including YOU), and obviously represent the love we are sending them. Use the tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew to make 10? blocks in rainbow of bright colors, with a low volume background. The quilts should be no smaller than 5 blocks wide and 6 blocks long (30 blocks). You’re more than welcome to make them larger, they’d like to keep them at the very least lap sized.

A lot of questions were brought up in the comments on the original Orlando MQG post. This is a big project and they are working through the details as those details come up. Be patient. Most of the answers have been posted a few days ago, including what you can send (quilts, blocks, batting, money, binding strips, etc). Also keep an eye on that blog for more information. I am sure your patience will be appreciated.

Contact Julie at the Intrepid Thread for more options. If you have any other questions, please email alissalapinsky [at] gmail [dot] com. She is the president of the Orlando MQG and coordinating this effort.

Do something! Help in some small way- whatever works for you. Even $1 will help buy batting and pay for postage.

Food Quilt #3: Making Progress

Food Quilt #3: Center
Food Quilt #3: Center

I made a little progress on Food Quilt #3 over last weekend. The center is now done. My next step is to put a thin (not sure how thin) black border around the center and then attach the piano key border to the black border. I have to decide if I want to use a solid back or a white on black. If I use the latter, I want it to have a subtle white design on it.

You may have also noticed that I have broken the bounds of the design wall and the quilt is laying on the floor. Crazy, I know!

Creativity Color Inspiration

I don’t know when I took this photo or where I was, but it is an interesting view.

Red Cup
Red Cup

The palette I built has many more cool colors than I expected. I can see the reasoning when I look very closely.

Red Cup palette
Red Cup palette

If you generate a palette put a link in the comments of this post, so I can see it. Post the direct URL (link) where your drawing, doodle, artwork is posted (e.g. your blog, Flickr) in the comments area of this post. I would really like to keep all the work together and provide a way for others to see your work and get familiar with your blog or website.

The Creative Prompt Project, which we will continue to use for other creative activities, has a Flickr group. You can join to  post your creative endeavors. I created this spot so those of you without blogs and websites would have a place to post your responses. Thanks for reading.

Janome 9k Returns from the Dead

Yes, I thought the Janome 9000, my first machine and one of Janome’s first electronic machines, was dead. All the evidence pointed to it being dead. After talking to the Sewing Machine Place lady when she serviced my DC5100, as I may have mentioned, I decided to take the 9k in again and see if there was any way I could sew with it again.

Janome 9K back from the shop - June 2016
Janome 9K back from the shop – June 2016

Well, the Janome 9k is back and back in action. I sewed on it all day Saturday from the moment I started to sew until I went to watch Ghostbusters with the family. I know that movie is old, but there are some funny lines in it and we wanted to see it again before we go to see the new one. Also, the YM had never seen it, so it is a good excuse to get him to hang out with us.

Ghostbusters was hilarious. There is good and bad with the machine.


  • I don’t have a machine sitting around that doesn’t work
  • It sews pretty well. It has a good stitch.
  • I have a knee lift to use again!
  • It is quieter than the DC5100
  • Embroidery should work fine. It was calibrated, etc, but I haven’t tried it yet.


  • $$$
  • It is still an older machine and some of the operations are a little smoother on the newer DC5100
  • The decorative stitches are a little squished
  • It doesn’t feed quite evenly, especially when I start out, but I think it did that before
  • I have to get used to it again
  • There is a strange whooshing sound when I sew. Not loud or annoying, just different.

She couldn’t repair the wear and tear on the machine and I didn’t expect her to. Having this machine back will keep me for awhile. I still want a new machine, though.