My new sewing/office space

Advertising works on me. I saw an ad for on Instagram and was intrigued. They’re an online design service. For $199, you get two design concepts, an initial design and a final layout for the room plus a shopping list. You pay them and they handle the rest. You can buy all or nothing.

Using photos I uploaded and my Pinterest page, my designer, Heather H., of Austin, Texas offered two concepts:


Concept One


Concept Two


I made comments about what I liked and what I didn’t. I told Heather that Concept One was “sew sweet” and Concept Two was “sew cool” and I wanted to be COOL. That resulted in this concept:


I commented again and this was the final presentation:

Initial Design

I purchased the desk and the cutting table as well as a computer keyboard system from HumanScale.

The curtains were listed at $530 for the two panels and I knew I could make them myself. I contacted my friend Ana who works at U-Fab and is a fellow Central Virginia Modern Quilt Guild member. She found me a great option, $12.99 a yard, and they made the curtains for $89 each, which is a great price, for a total of $300 for the two panels.

I painted the walls a light gray, Reflection, from Sherwin Williams.

I decided to wait to buy the rug since I had a rug I could use for now. After everything arrived I placed the furniture in different locations. The cutting table was bigger than I anticipated but I love the counter height and the extra space. I’m undecided about getting the chair — which I think is heavenly.

Now for the GRAND REVEAL. I don’t know how those magazines and design bloggers get such great wide views. You’ll see it got dark while I tried to get the perfect shot.


View from the Entrance of the Room


View of the Sewing Machine Table and Cutting Table.


Cutting Table — love these street signs I got at a salvage yard. The lamp is handmade from an Etsy shop called Lampada.


View from my desk.


Scrap bins find a home under the cutting table.


More scrap bins on an old ladder we purchased in 1990. The print, Peachy Keen, was bought through Havenly.


My new desk. I use Big Book of Quilting to raise my laptop. I use two monitors so it looks cluttered. Those design bloggers probably would have styled it by removing them, but this is real life.

The design wall came with me from the apartment, and I’ve blogged about it previously.

That’s it — somewhere between Sew Sweet and Sew Cool.


Let’s Make Pillowcases and A Difference

A PILLOWCASE can make a difference in someone’s life. This is something I learned this week after attending a presentation at my local quilt shop, Blue Crab Quilt Co. The shop accepts donations of pillowcases and donates them to the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. Before I moved, I made 3 pillowcases. The shop has collected over 1000 this year and a representative from the hospital shared with us how these pillowcases impact the lives of people we will never meet.Pink pillowcases

I was surprised to learn that they usually have the child pick the pillowcase he or she wants. I learned that sometimes “Spiderman” pillowcases help children cope with having their blood pressure taken. I’d forgotten that having your arm squeaked can be very scary. The representative told many stories of how these pillowcases make a difference. It was inspiring.

THEN I saw a post on Instagram from a fellow quilter in Louisiana. She is amisha12 on Instagram. She is taking donations for pillows and was also asking for people to send pillowcases to go with those pillows. I’m sure a new pillow and pillowcase will make a difference to the people there who have lost everything in the floods. By the way, I’m wandaslifesampler on Instagram.

That’s what I am doing today. I’m making pillowcases.

Quilting Adventures’ blog has a wonderful tutorial.

If you’re inclined to do so, please make a difference in the lives of people you will never meet by making a pillowcase or two.





We moved into our new home almost a month ago. It started out with a bang. We were moving some items in Dave’s pickup truck and as he exited the vehicle, the only tree in our yard slowly fell on the roof and hood of his truck. Dave watched, helplessly. He was not injured.

tree on truck

Luckily, across the street was a car alignment shop and one of the mechanics, Bill, knew someone who could come over right away and extract the tree from the truck. The local collision center sent a tow truck. It was not totaled. Yippey! Ti’s a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado and the current value is about $3000. It doesn’t have a lot of mileage so we were relieved we didn’t have to buy a new vehicle.

We used a rental vehicle and our insurance for that ran out last Friday. At $38 a day, it adds up fast. We picked the truck up on Friday. It cost $5800 to repair. We had $500 deductible. But, wow — a very expensive tree.

We used movers for all our furniture and that part was seamless.

Unpacking and organizing takes longer than you expect. There is disorder almost everywhere. We have sheets on the bed and clothes in the closet, plus clean towels, so we are not suffering. We have eaten out a lot, and it’s time to go on a diet.

I’m excited to design my new office sewing studio. More on that later.




The Story of SCALE

SCALE was the third chapter of the Savor Each Stitch Book Bee. Carolyn Friedlander’s book has a photo of bales of hay in front of a house and tree.

The caption reads, “Scale is relative to everything around it.”

On June 2, 2015, I wrote this in the book bee community:

I don’ t have a design in mind for Scale. I pulled some prints — large to small to inspire me. CF’s Circle Lattice is interesting and I like the idea of a large applique piece.


I had pulled some Kaffe prints and I sketched a large applique:

At the same time, my daughter was home for the summer from college and we visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibit: Van Gogh, Manet and Matisse. The Art of the Flower. The exhibit was very crowded and the art was displayed in different rooms in chronological order, beginning with the early Impressionists. The early works were so real. The ladybugs on the leaves looked like they were alive right there on the paintings. Van Gogh’s work wasn’t lifelike but the paint was three dimensional . By the end I felt I had traveled through time, and I felt dizzy and overwhelmed by FLOWERS.

That experience stayed with me and I made a large applique flower (no photo). BUT, I didn’t like it.

I liked the Kaffe prints so I made a tote bag as a Scale stitch tote close

Since I liked the idea of a large flower, I created a large improvisational “flower” using solid scraps.

Scale piece









I didn’t like how the small flowers were interacting with the large one.

On July 16, 2015, I wrote:

 My Scale study has taken another turn. I decided to make some large and small improv “flowers.” I did that and tried to assemble them. Hated it, then slashed and reassembled them, and I think I’m getting somewhere. Now to decide if I need a border and how much border. I think it needs some “breathing space” — not sure what would be best.  Blue perhaps.
Scale pieces
Susan, a fellow bee mate, suggested BLACK, and I’m so glad I took her suggestion.
Don't say Beatlejuice, Nora Paige
After I putting on the face binding, I thought it needed some more hand quilting.

That’s the story of SCALE.


Exploring Volume

Quilting makes the quilt, they say. When I began exploring the Volume chapter of Carolyn Friedlander’s Savor Each Stitch, I thought I had been thinking about volume all along. I had made five quilts, one for each of the chapters: Line, Contrast, Scale, Color and Emphasis (this one isn’t quilted yet).  I haven’t blogged about all of these — soon, I promise.

BUT, I learned I could use VOLUME to create a unique design.

Solitude! full view2


Susan, a member of our Savor Each Stitch Bee, posted photos of ideas for playing with Volume. I began to think about trapunto. When I think of trapunto, I think of traditional quilts with feathers. Tim Latimer has a good tutorial on how to trapunto the traditional way. He has an amazing Snowflake using trapunto.

I wanted easy and modern trapunto. I searched YouTube and saw this video by Lynn Witzenburg.




How do you easy trapunto?

First, you need water soluble thread.

vanish thread extra

Superior’s Vanish Extra Water Soluble Thread

Second, you use the water soluble thread on top and a matching cotton thread in the bobbin.

Third, layer two pieces of batting under one piece of fabric and stitch where you want the trapunto using your sewing machine.

Fourth, cut away the batting along the edge of the stitching with applique scissors.

Fifth, add batting and backing as you normally would.

Sixth, quilt along the water soluble stitching.

Seventh, bind it and wash it.

trapunto back of quilt top

The white sections are where the layers of batting have been cut away, leaving the two layers of batting; they stay put with the water soluble thread and cotton bobbin thread. 

I applied these skills to my Solitude quilt top. The bottom section of the quilt is trapunto. I made each batting section progressively larger to give it an horizon. I filled in with matchstick stitching.

As Lynn explains in the video, it is easy to snip the top when cutting away the batting. I used applique scissors but they were too sharp on the end, and I cut my quilt top multiple times. If I do this again, I will try a different pair of applique scissors.

Solitude! detail view

I did not trapunto the whole quilt. I experimented with matchstick quilting to get a similar effect. That is the quilting on the top left. I used my walking foot and stitched lines every half inch then filled in with the matchsticks, every other one.

After it was quilted, I realized my “black pencil” looked like an exclamation point, so I added the a trapunto “point” to it. It’s appliqued by hand to the finished quilt. I hand quilted the trapunto sections. It gives it more Volume, and I hope something different to the quilt.

This chapter made me whine the most. I thought I understood Volume and I didn’t need to make an entire quilt using this technique. I was wrong. In Solitude!, I found a design tool I will apply to future projects.

The next and last chapter is Texture. Carolyn’s project is called, “Crazy.” I do like the idea of being inspired by Crazy quilts and their decorative embroidery stitches.

Stay tuned,