Friday, February 27, 2009

My Latest Quilt

I have spent most of the week working on this quilt. It is called Emma's Quilt and it is is made with 2.5" strips. I was able to use some of my scraps from jelly rolls and charm packs, but I had to add some pinks and greens. Stash Busters would be somewhat happy. I did use backing and batting from my stash. Yay! This quilt was made for a friend at church who is having a baby shower tomorrow. I am done just in the nick of time. I just finsished the binding and sewing on the label. I really enjoyed making this quilt. I think I will make another one to sell.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More Free Embroidery Designs

I know I have mentioned this site before. But I love ! I am working on some baby shower gifts and I only need one design for it...not an entire pack. I was also looking for some Easter embroideries. I was thrilled to find one Easter embroidery for .17 cents!!! And a cute little bunny for free. There designs are adorable. Now I need to quit scouring their site and get to sewing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teaching Children to Sew

I love teaching people of all ages to sew. I mean I love it. I want to do it as long as I am able. But, there is something very special about seeing children finish a project. I currently teaching my Sewing Academy in three local cities. It is a beginning class that builds to higher skills at each class. We make really cool projects in the meantime. Yesterday, I taught at Heart To Heart in Winter Haven, Florida. Above is a picture of two of my students, Hannah and Victoria's Zippered wristlets. The did a great job and they are already working on another wristlet. Way to go Girls!

Friday, February 20, 2009

At Home Quilting Retreat

I came home from teaching my Sewing Academy, at Fabric Warehouse in Lakeland, and I started reading emails from the Stash Buster Group. Some of them are having an At Home Retreat. I decided to join in this weekend. I have a lot to finish. Normally, I would plan ahead for this. They suggest you plan meals ahead or use the crock pot. Well, I did go grocery shopping and the kids are older and can do alot for themselves. I wont be able to sew all weekend, but I am going to try and lock myself in my sewing room for atleast part of the weekend. I think I will rent a few movies to play in the background or maybe I will play some sewing shows from QNN on my laptop. I'd better stock up on diet coke and maybe some chocalate. Sewing and Chocolate...sounds like heaven! If you havent had an at home sewing retreat lately...maybe you should try it. I will let you know what I accomplish. Happy Quilting!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stash Busters

I am letting you see some of my secret stash. One picture is of the top two shelves of my fabric armoir...the other is of one of the cabinets over my cutting table. I love to unfold and caress my stash and dream of what each piece of fabric will one day be. Well, like a lot of us, times are getting harder financially and I am trying to be more thrifty. So, to help in my endeavors, I just joined Stash Busters, an online yahoo group. Their goal is to use their stash...and as you can see. I can use "a little of that". They have smaller groups, like the "no buy" group. I gasped when I read the rules for this group. They pledge to buy NO fabric for one year. I cannot take part in this, since for me, quilting is a business as well as a hobby. As a teacher and pattern designer, I have to use some of the latest fabrics in my samples to appease the quilt stores where I teach. So....thank goodness...I am off the hook there. I can tell you that I have cut way back, and now only buy fabric for which I have a use. Then there is the UFO group. This an awesome idea. Each person wages some fat quarters to join and you report when you complete you UFOs. IF you dont keep up, then you could lose your fat quarters....if you get them completed your name gets entered in a quarterly drawing, where you can win lots of fat quarters. They also have 'at home retreats' and Blocks the month. If you have serious "stash issues" as I do, you may want to give the group a try.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Superior Threads Give Away

There is a give away of some wonderful Superior Thread. Stop by Mother Superior's Blog for details. Good luck to everyone.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Free Embroidery Designs

Happy Valentines Day to all of my friends and readers. I am getting my girls ready for a fashion show sponsored by the Lady of the Lakes Quilt guild . They are going to make summer outfits with matching beach totes. I was looking for embroidery designs for them at one of my favorite sites. I love their designs. They are beautiful and reasonably priced. They always have freebies too. Who doesnt love Free? This Valentine Design is part of a free birthday pack (they are celebrating their 11th birthday). This pack is free with a $10.00 purchase. The site is

I wish you all the best Valentines Day and a super weekend. I am pretty sure there will be some kind of sewing going on at our house over the weekend. I am going to load my new Grace hand quilting frame with baby quilt top that I found. I am so ready to try my hand at hand quilting.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day Two: Organizing My Sewing Stuff

I am still organizing. The trick is to find it all first. In the past I have started putting stuff in organized drawers and containers, only to find I had too much or too little for that space. This time I want to be sure I find all of my notions first.

I probably could have finished yesterday if "life" didnt get in the way. I am hoping that this afternoon will prove to be very productive.

Tomorrow, I have one of my favorite sewing related tips for you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Forced Productivity: Organize Your Sewing Stuff Day

I have always been blessed to have my own car to come and go as I please. As a mom of six children, it is a wonderful thing. I really feel for those moms who have been in a "one car" family. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always been on the go. Even when I had three babies in diapers, we were still on the go a lot. Well, today, we have a car in the shop and my son had to be at work at 8:00 this morning. I have had a very busy week and I was looking forward to having a day that I dont have to be anywhere at a certain time. We do have church and choir practice this evening, but my day is appointment free. I let my son take my car for the day, so I guess you could say I am "stuck" at home. In the past, this would have stressed me out. Even if I didnt have anywhere I had to go, I would be panicked in case I decided I wanted to go somewhere. Well...I am taking full advatantage today. I have three quilts that need to be finished as soon as possible. I also need to get my quilting and sewing supplies organized. I have been working so hard, teaching my sewing classes, that my notions and supplies are spread out into three rooms and many class totes. So, even though, I should be quilting, I am going to take today and sort my supplies and get them organized so I can find them quickly. There is nothing worse than knowing you have a certain tool and not being able to find it. I have purchased so many duplicates, simply because I cant find something. Well...the chaos has got to end. So, I am proclaiming today......Organize Your Sewing Stuff Day. I know I will feel better and be able to work more effeciently.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Day For Multitasking

Rachel and Bobbin at Lake Morton

Abby's Biology began at 8:00 and it is in Plant City, about 40 minutes from where we live. I had to take the little girls with me and we killed time at McDonalds, having breakfast and at Walmart. On the way home we did what I call 'car school' and practice telling time with the wipe off board with a little clock on it. We spend so much time running around that I try to do drills or spelling words in the car.

When we got back to Lakeland, Abby said she needed to go to the Library. She is a voracious reader and is now trying to read all of the classics, in hopes it will help her prepare for SATs. I think she can count it as weight lifting too, as big as her stack of books was, We picked up Bobbin, our little Stitz, who is our website mascott at . He loves to go "bye bye" and he hardly ever gets too. There is a lake right in front of the library that has a lot of ducks. So, we brought our old bread and took Bobbin on his first adventure to feed the ducks. He loved it! He didnt chase the ducks or even pay too much attention to them. He was hissed at by a huge Swan but he took it in stride and just sat by me watcing the girls feed the ducks. He was such a good boy.

As soon as we got home from the lake , I had to pick up #1 son at work, we are short one car this week. Now I am preparing to teach quilting tonight at Fabric Warehouse. I will be teaching two separate quilts at one time. the rest of my day...more Multitasking!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sewing With Nancy Day Three

This was the final day of the Sewing With Nancy Three Day Event at Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

Today my group was making sweatshirts into jackets with the Evolve Jet Air Serger. I have worked with these sergers before and they are great. I didn't finish mine in class, as I have made a lot of these, in fact, I am teaching this to my Sewing Academy Class in Lakeland, Fl.. So, I spent the time shopping and basically 'chilling'. As a mom of 6, I don't get much time to just do nothing. I love to get away to refresh and recharge. It is good for me and the kids in the long run. After lunch, Eileen Roche was the surprise speaker.

The entire event was very well run and I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow I teach Sewing Academy in Winter Haven, Florida. I need to do some work to prepare for that class, then, off to bed early.

Free Candy Hearts Quilt Instructions

This Valentine Quilt was very fast to make and very easy. I wanted a wall quilt to decorate for the holiday. I got to thinking about Conversation Hearts that say, "Be Mine" etc.. I decided to copy the looks of the candy and embroider my kid's names in the hearts. That works well for me, since I wanted six hearts and I happen to have six children. I actually bought a box of the candy and used that to choose the fabric for the hearts. I was looking for heart fabric for the borders, that had the same colors but I couldnt find it. Luckily I found this pink paisley that has almost all the colors in it.

The instuctions are very simple...I threw all of the traditional quilting steps out the window, to get this done quickly. Here are the instructions....feel free to use them for personal use, but please do not copy them or the use the design to sell. Feel free to send your friends here to get the directions for themselves. Enjoy and contact me if you have any questions

Candy Hearts Quilt Abby-Sue Designs 2009

1. Trace a heart on a 9" piece of paper. Fold paper in half, draw half of heart on one side. This is your pattern to trace your colored heart. Find the center of the colored hearts and write your message. You can do this with your embroidery machine, a sharpie marker or by hand embroidery.

2. Applique hearts on to 10.5" squares of light fabric. I used a white on white. Applique the way you prefer. I used a small blanket stitch with my machine, using invisble thread.

THIS is the Cheating Part.....

I turned the edges of the squares down 1/4 inch and pressed very well. Then I laid the squares on my background fabric, centered them the way I like them and stitched them on (again with the blanket stitch and invisible thread). I then cut away the background fabric underneath the white squares. This kept me for having to cut strips and add stashing, however it looks as if I did.

3. Trim the borders, sandwich with batting and back and quilt as desired. I used the border fabric for my binding as well.

I hope you enjoy this pattern.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sewing With Nancy Day Two

Numbered List Today began with a lecture from Nancy, herself. She was very nice, informative and even funny. She had some cute jokes, including a Blonde joke. I guess I won't take offense to it, since she is also a blonde. After lunch, We began making a madiera appliqued lingere bag. The madeira applique was made in the embroidery hoop of the Babylock Ellisimo. I fell madly in love with this machine. It has amazing features.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sewing With Nancy Day One

The first day of the Sewing With Nancy began with breakfast at 8:00 am. The facilites at Lakewood Ranch are really nice. I had a embroidery software lecture by Brian Bailie, the creator of Designer's Gallery embroidery software. Afterwards, we had an awesome lunch. After lunch, we had a class with Pam Mashie, using the Embellisher and the embroidery on the Elegante. We made evening bags. I didnt think I would care for mine very much, cause I just dont care for that look...but I have to confess I think it is kind of cute. I am posting a picture so that you can see it. Everyone's was different as we just started with scraps of fabric.

I have a headache tonight, but I hope to post the Candy Hearts quilt and directions tomorrow night. As well as fill you in on Day two of sewing with Nancy. By the way, I havent seen Nancy yet. They had reception for her tonight, but I didnt attend. I will being seeing her at 9:00 am to her greatest sewing tips.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Quilter's Club of America

Tonight, I treated myself to a membership in the Quilter's club of America. It looks like a great value. Especially the price will be going up soon. As a matter of fact...the price changed during the first five minutes that I was on the site to sign up. I was talking on the phone to my friend, Connie, about the club and it actually changed while we were talking. So...see don't delay. I will talking more about the club later. I am very interested in the membership to QNN....they have lots of educational quilting shows and videos. They even have an EQ channel...which is great for me, because I am trying to tackle EQ6, to get my patterns from pad and paper and onto the computer.

Art...At It's Finest

We had a very productive day in our Homeschool. The three middle girls got several subjects finished...and with very little fussing. I finished binding my Candy Hearts Quilt, while we did our spelling and handwriting lessons. Since, I can't be everywhere at once, the littlest girl had to do some things on her own. Today, she decided to draw some little figurines that she collected. She brought them to show me after each drawing. I could'nt resist taking a picture of her artwork. She is 6 years old and my last child. I cherish every moment like this.....I know the time will soon come when I have no more little ones. And Lord help me, five teenage girls.....

Finished the Candy Hearts Quilt!

I just finished the binding on my Candy Hearts Quilt, while we were doing our spelling lesson. I am going to be posting pics and a little tutorial, so that I can share this pattern with you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Soon I'll Be Sewing With Nancy

This week is going to be hectic, however, it will have a nice ending. I will be attending a three day Sewing With Nancy Event, in Sarasota, sponsored by Sew Worth It and Babylock. I have gone to Martha Pullen's School of Art Fashion for the past four years,but I dont think I will be able to go this year, so I am attending this three day event instead. I love retreats like's like summer camps for moms. I am a firm believer in learning all you can and I always learn something new everytime I take a class. Contact for more info.

So, today and tomorrow, I will be quilting and packing. Thursday after noon I teach my Sewing Academy Class at the Bernina Pfaff Store in Brandon. start sewing with Nancy at 8:00 am on Friday. I can't wait, this mom really needs a break.

I Really Miss Sleeping

It has been so long since I was able to sleep like a baby. I hear that women in their forties have to deal with occasional insomnia, and then there is the "mom hears everything" syndrome too. Well, I have to deal with both of those issues. I was up until 5am this morning. I finally took a melatonin at 4am. So, I was able to sleep from 5am to 9am. As a homeschooling mom, though, there is no catch up time. The kids are still here, needing to have school and of course want to eat, and go through the regular motions. The worse part is that they are re-energized because they did sleep like babies. It could be worse, however, there have been nights when I didnt sleep at all.

So, on with the day. I hope to get to work on my Valentine Quilt today. I was given a Grace Quilt frame, by a wonderful women who had never used it and she wanted it to have a good home. Now that the frame is put together, it is screaming for a quilt to adorn it. Although, I dont have time to hand quilt all of my quilts, I am looking forward to having a framed quilt that I can work on a little at at time. It just seems like it would be so relaxing. I will post photos when I get a quilt top on there.

I am off to have some "shower therapy" and some good strong coffee....hopefully I can wake up and get productive.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sickie is Still Sick

My sick little girl is still sick today. She slept til noon and still has a fever. It is a pitiful feeling when one of your children is sick.

I taught my Sewing Academy Class at Fabric Warehouse, today, in Lakeland. I love teaching sewing. They all did great. I am going to be posting a tutorial of the project we did today. So, keep stopping by to see it.

I am working on my Valentine Quilt, and hopefully will have it done by tomorrow night. I cant wait to share it with you, so you can make one too. I took LOTS of shortcuts... it would make the "traditional only" quilters cringe. just need to do things quickly. I will hopefully be showing you what I mean tomorrow.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

One of My Favorite Tips

One of my favorite tools in my sewing box is my glue stick. I use it A LOT. One of my favorite ways to use it is to hold my zipper in place, instead of pins. Pins shift alot. If you use just a little glue, it stays in place, dries quickly and washes completely away.

Penny Haren's Pieced Applique Class

I recently spent two days with Penny Haren at Sew Worth It in Sarasota. I had honestly never heard of her before. But the owner of Sew Worth It told me she used techniques using freezer paper and since I am the Freezer Paper Queen. (seriously, I use freezer paper and glue sticks in almost every class that I teach). Well, since she used freezer paper AND glue sticks, she had to be a smart cookie. The class was fantastic! She has come up with a way to make blocks look perfectly pieced.....but they are appliqued in some very easy ways. She even had a ruler made just for her technique. I left her class asking, "Why didnt I think of that?". I hope to be able to teach some classes using her book and techniques, next quarter. She and I have the same philosophy. I am always telling my students that I have to find away to make it "fast", "easy" and "fun". And she has a similar philosophy, probably because we both have raised a lot of children. She has five and I have six. You can find out more about Penny and how to get her book at

Two Of My Current Projects

I can't show the quilts I am working on...but I can give you a preview of the fabrics from two of my current quilts. One of them will be the cover for my new pattern. I love both color schemes...but I wont decide on a cover quilt til they are both completed.

Large Families Share It All....

Yes, large families share it all...all the fun....all the work....and when one gets sick...well...usually everyone gets sick. We have been passing around some kind of flu or cold all week. It hasnt lasted too long. Each person has had a high fever and felt terrible but thankfully the kids have recovered in a day or two. Well, this morning Becca woke up as the final victim. She has a high fever and a bad headache and some tears to go along. So, today, my main job is to take care of her. I hope to get a little sewing in too. I hope she will be able to sleep some and feel better soon.

Yesterday, I had a great idea for a small Valentine quilt. I hope to share it with you all very soon, so that you can make one too.

This is the kids sharing good times: a Birthday Luau.