Things I’ve Learned from Carol: 9 Patches

How to Correctly Sew a 9 Patch

Sew together three sets of two squares, right sides together, using a leader piece to sew on and off. (you should end up with three sewn pieces)

Important tip:  Don’t clip the threads between patches, and don’t press them yet.


Sew on the last block for each row.  Again, don’t clip threads, and don’t press.

match edges
sew on third square of each row


Match the first two rows, right sides together.  Adjust the fabric pieces so that they match on the first seam line in the middle. They should “kiss” each other.  As you sew the rows together, flip the seam allowance up away from you for the first square. This allows the corners to “snuggle” in together nicely.  Use your stiletto and hold the fabric on that middle seam allowance. Gently pull the fabric so that the two pieces “settle” into their proper, matching spots.

Notice how the seams “kiss” each other.
Top seam allowance is flipped up, away from you, and bottom seam allowance is flipped down, towards you.

Once you’ve sewn to the middle seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again.  The second square of the row is opposite:  Flip the top seam allowance down and towards you, the bottom up and away from you.  Because this “feels” funny for the fabric pieces, they will likely slip a little.  Hold the seams firmly, or better yet, put a pin ahead of the matched seams.  Once you’ve sewn to the second seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again, this time matching and then holding the bottoms of the fabric.

Top seam allowance is flipped down and towards you, bottom seam allowance is flipped up and away from you.
Placing a pin in front of, or ahead of, the seam allows the fabric to remain in place better.

Repeat this process with the third row of the block.

You can see by this picture that I still need to work on getting those second seam allowances to snuggle better.   You don’t need to unpick the entire row, however!  Just a few stitches ahead of and behind those mis-matched seam allowances.  Re-position them, remembering to let them “kiss and snuggle.” Re-pin, and re-sew.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Pressing a 9-Patch

Similar to pressing a 4-patch, shown here, correctly pressing a 9-patch will give you flatter results.

Start by clipping a thread from the seam allowance on the raw edge side.  Then, carefully open the center seam allowance so that it lays flat, and mimics a 4-patch.
Press the seams one at a time, going around as if a clock.  The seams should lay down based on how you’ve opened up the center little 4-patches.

I finished my 9-patch off by adding a cute Around the World sort of border.  I love how it looks!


Let’s Bee Social!


Amateur Photo Shoot with FFO’s (FINALLY Finished Object)

Huzzah!  They’re finally done!

In a previous post, I showed off my piecing for my Patriotically Pink America the Beautiful quilt… I sent it off to my quilter, and she did a marvelous job quilting it with a very subtle stars and stripes.  I love it!

My teenager and I practiced styling it in a photo shoot…very amateur, but you have to start somewhere, right? At the beginning, I was the one suggesting how to set everything.  By the end, she was suggesting her own ideas.

Which America the Beautiful pic is your favorite?



The other UFO that is now an FFO is my coral and teal version of our Jamie Quilt pattern.  (See this post, here)  My quilter, Carla, suggested using a quilting pattern that was sort of Art Deco-ish, which worked beautifully.  I love how sophisticated this quilt looks!

As for the photos, I wish I had been taking pictures of the photographer, because it was fun to watch her lying on her back and aiming the camera upside down to get the photo taken in the orange tree.


(By the way, the featured image at the top of this post is one of the “practice” shots my budding photographer took)

Let’s Bee Social!

Things I’ve Learned from Carol: Four Patches

So… (pun intended)… I have pieced many a quilt.  I’ve been quilting for at least 20 years (yes, I started quilting while still in my mother’s womb!) and until last month, I didn’t realize how many bad habits I had, or even that although I had taught myself adequately, my techniques needed work.  And some things I have been doing for all these years were just plain wrong.  I could never figure out why my blocks would never come out square and the size the pattern would tell me it should be.  Instead of investigating, (remember I am the LAZY quilter of this bunch!) I just chalked it up to the weight of the thread, or the weave of the fabric, or rulers that scooted, or whatever other excuse we have all made for getting wonky squares.

And then I sewed with Carol.  And she taught me how to finally get a block to come out square and flat, and even have matching seams.

I pass along this information for two reasons.  The first is selfish:  I learn best when I have to regurgitate information and teach it to others.  The second is more altruistic:  I  simply hope that it will help someone out there in cyberspace take one more baby step on their journey to being a better quilter.

How to Correctly Sew a Four Patch

Sew together two sets of two squares, right sides together, using a leader piece to sew on and off. (you should end up with two sewn pieces)

Don’t iron the first two pieces you have sewn together!  (This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT step I never knew!)


Sew them first to the other two patches, matching the top of your two pieces.


Use a leader, sew onto the fabric and stop.


Adjust the fabric pieces so that they match on the seam line in the middle. They should “kiss” each other.


The seam allowance of the top piece should always face away from you and the bottom towards you. This will allow the fabric to “fall” or “snuggle” into it’s correct position.



Use your stiletto and hold the fabric on that middle seam allowance. Gently pull the fabric so that the two pieces “settle” into their proper, matching spots.


Once you’ve sewn to the middle seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again, this time matching and then holding the bottoms of the fabric.



Sew off onto your leader.


To iron your four patch:

Clip one of the seams from the seam allowance of the middle, bulky part of the patch. This will allow the seams to be pressed the correct direction.


 Looking from the back, seam allowances should go clock wise around the square. So, press one down towards you (just the seam, NOT the whole patch), then move to the next one going clockwise around.


Because you clipped that seam, the center seam allowances should now open up and lay flat- no more bulk!  It’s like magic! 🙂


Once the seams are pressed, press again (from the back still), gently pulling the corners into square position.

Flip the four patch over and press again on the seams, going clockwise.


Pull the pieces gently to allow the iron to make sure the seam is nice and flat with no “lips.”


Voila!  That is one good looking four-patch!

*A huge Shout-Out to my 16 year old photographer!*

Let’s Bee Social!

Things I’ve learned from Carol

I belong to a local quilt group- we are loosely organized, and in no way resemble a guild, but we get together once a month and work on quilts.  Sometimes we are all doing the same one, and sometimes we are just working on our own things.  We are lucky enough to have a woman in the group who also teaches classes at the local quilt stores.  She is amazing, and I have learned so much from her.

Recently, we started working on an awesome new pattern put out by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet called Farm Girl Vintage. (I have yards and yards of fabric from Art Gallery that is just dying to be used, and I think this quilt will look awesome in a sort of bohemian look, but I digress…)

Image 1

As we began our first blocks, and Carol showed us how and what to do, I realized that I had taught myself wrong, and that if I followed her instructions, I would be much happier with my final results.  (Now mind you, I JUST learned this, like a week ago, so I’m still in the process of learning.)  It occurred to me that if I didn’t know these things, maybe others didn’t either. I happen to learn best by regurgitating information, so, I am going to write a blog series called “Things I’ve Learned From Carol.”

  • Always start and END seams with the leader fabric. This way you don’t get bird’s nests at the beginning, and the feed dogs don’t try to eat your fabric at the end.

This is leader fabric.  I just grab some smaller, scrap pieces and use that:


  • Sew onto your fabric, then pause and match up the bottom of the pieces, holding them in your left hand. Gently pull and adjust the two pieces so they lay straight and match up.

Sewing onto the fabric:


Matching up the pieces.  You don’t need to use pins for small piecework like this:


  • With your right hand, guide the fabric as you sew using a stiletto as a mobile “pin”. Your left hand is holding the bottom of the fabric that you just matched, making sure it stays matched up.  If you gently “tug” the fabric in this way (with your left hand holding the bottom, and the top being kept still by the needle), the fabric should just fall into alignment.

Keep the stiletto on the fabric, moving it down, until it hits the needle and runs out of room at the bottom:


Sewing off the fabric:


  • Ironing: Before you set a seam, make sure the edges of both fabrics lie straight and match each other. Otherwise, the fabric tends to swoop out and make ripples once it’s opened up:


Setting a seam is an important step of quilting.  When you set a seam (simply pressing the seam after you’ve sewn it, but before you open it up), it allows the thread to sink into the fabric.  This will make your patchwork flat and lovely.  It also will smooth out many tension issues that can cause wrinkles and puckers.

Setting the seam:


  • After the seam is set and both ends of the pieces match, open the fabric and using the tip of the iron, gently run down the length of the seam opening the fabric as you go.


  • I like my seams pressed open unless I’m doing a really bulky corner. (I know, I know, this will probably cause a riot in the comments section… have at it!  What are your reasons for pressing closed or open? I’d love to hear!) I have a neat little tailors seam stick that allows me to press the seam open really nicely.



  • Finally, turn the fabric right side up, set the iron down across the whole seam and “press.” (Don’t iron- the ironing motion stretches the fabric out)


I would love to hear if any of this helps anyone but myself out!

(BTW, a big kudos and shout out to my 16 year old who is my photographer… it always amazes me how tech savvy these kids are!  She is taking photography this semester and loves it… she definitely has a knack for it, too!)

Let’s Bee Social Today!

Quilted Harmonies- America the Beautiful UFO

The first UFO I chose to finish for this year’s UFO series was a quilt that I had begun with my VBQF (Very Best Quilt Friend) almost 3 years ago. It was a 6 month Block of the Month she had found in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of McCall’s Quilting, and had been dying to do.

“6 months!” She said.

“No problem!” She promised.

“We can do it!” We told each other.


We started off strong and met every month- for the first two months. Then, we’d stretch it out to six weeks. Then it was every 3 months. We finally made a push to get it done, and she finished hers and sent it off to the quilter. I had everything done for mine except the borders. For some reason, I always stall on the borders, and this one especially as the final border was pieced. Since I was so close to finishing, this seemed like the ideal candidate to begin this blog series. (Please tell me that I am not the only one who gets back-logged on Block of the Month quilts!!)

My VBQF is very traditional in her color choices. She likes navy and tan and blacks and blues. So, she chose to piece her version of America the Beautiful using those colors.




Way back when I was beginning to think about this pattern, one of my favorite fabric designers, Verna Mosquera from Vintage Spool, had just put out her new fabric collection called October skies. I loved it. Who cared that it was pink and brown? America the Beautiful can be pink, white, and blue, right?

This was the piece that started it all:


(I ended up using it as my backing, but all of my borders and sashings come from this line. And I matched my inner fabrics to the outer, collection fabrics.



I love how it turned out!

I just sent this baby off to my quilter, so stay tuned for a final showcase!

What color way would you choose for this pattern?

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social!

Calendar Makeover 3 Ways- JANUARY

Calendar Makeover 3 Ways -JANUARY

Jan-Ohio Star

January is always a great time for fresh starts & new beginnings!
(Although I am not opposed to needing a fresh start in February or March as well! 😉
It has been a great year of revisioning and modernizing traditional patterns.  And it has been so inspirational to see the creativity blossom as we have put our own style on each of the patterns.  We also have realized more than ever that fashions and fads cycle through about every 30 years so it is really true that “old becomes new again.”

And as we complete our Calendar makeover this month, we invite you to take inspiration from us and take this year and work thru this project, in which ever form you choose.  There is no time like the present!  Without further adieu we present our final makeover:

I love snowmen!!  One of my favorite winter songs has always been “Frosty the Snowman” and a few years ago decided that since January has always been such a “blah” month for me that I would use snowmen as my decorating theme.  It has been so fun to shop for the perfect snowman to add to my collection.SnowmenA few years back, one of the quilting magazines had a snowman quilt made from flannel that I fell in love with so I purchased the kit.  I made the quilt for a daughter-in-law but the fun thing is that I had enough leftover fabric to make a second quilt for me plus this cute wall-hanging.
From the original wall-hanging I took the design elements of two columns, the block pattern for three of the blocks and the remaining 3 blocks I used the fabric squares of snowmen.  I machine quilted in the ditch around each square and then did a criss-cross for the triangles.  Super simple yet effective!
I love how it turned out and with it hanging on my wall, I smile each time I see it.
And maybe that is because the snowmen evoke a feeling of warmth and happiness despite the snow falling around them and that reminds me that I need to smile regardless of what is going on around me!!

Happy New Year!!



Quilted Harmonies


My Makeover this month stems from my Thanksgiving visit to StashMomma’s house… she is the Queen of having anything and everything you ever thought you needed, or even Everything You Never Knew You Needed!

Speaking of “Old becoming New Again,” as we were playing in her stash (and by “playing,” I mean I was pawing through it and drooling over it all), I found a cute collection from Riley Blake I fell in love with that just screamed “make snowflakes out of me!”

Now, in the interest of Full Disclosure, you should all know that I have heaped much abuse upon my mother over these many years over her choice of wedding colors.  Yes, you heard me.  Wedding colors.  Even as a child, I thought they were the ugliest choice known to man.  I mean, in my six year old mind, whoever heard of spring green and turquoise making a good color match?  (And this is coming from a girl who got angry because that same mother wouldn’t let her wear her knee high pink cable knit socks with her awesome red corduroy pants.  At the same time.  On the same day. Humpfh.)  
Well.  In front of you all and the Universe, I would like to apologize to StashMomma for completely undervaluing her awesome sense of fashion and style.  She was obviously on the forefront of fashion in 1973, and remains so today. (In that same vein, maybe I should apologize to StashPoppa for hating his much beloved 1973 Pontiac LeMans-orange with a cream roof…  hmmm….nope. nah.  Sorry, PopPop!  Not happening!)


But I digress…  Now that I am a much older and *cough, cough* wiser woman, I can admit that I was wrong as a child, and see the beauty in this colorway.  So, I borrowed StashMomma’s Accuquilt, and cut ALL of the shapes I needed for this quilt- the squares, the half-triangles, and the snowflakes.  I twisted the small quarter-triangle square blocks on their heads to give the overall impression of a crystalline shape.  In the negative spaces, I planned to appliqué blue snowflakes in the middles.  However, while auditioning the snowflakes, I was a little disappointed that the blue didn’t pop more off of the green background.  I left this lying on my family room floor for several days as I considered how to make it better.
My problem was solved when I remembered some chunky TulaPink Renaissance Ribbon I still had that matched the blues and greens.  It has a bit of pink running through it as an accent color, and that’s when I hit on it:  Use the ribbon as the border, and bring the pink into the quilt by appliquéing the edges of the snowflakes with shiny pink embroidery thread.  (luckily, I collect just as much thread as I do fabric, so I was covered in that area!)


Check back for an update when I get the snowflakes all “pink-i-fied!” And follow my progress on Instagram! @quiltedharmonies or @stashladies
I have thoroughly enjoyed “expanding” my creative juices with this calendar makeover project.  To look at a quilt piece that is largely very traditional and spin it into a new and modern direction with paper was such a fun experience.

One of my favorite things about January is the fresh clean slate that it brings.  My house looks a little bare after I take down all of the Christmas decorations. But in that bareness I can see where the dusting and vacuuming may have been neglected during the festive month.  So even though it is cold and icy outside, my house is fresh and clean.

I used this approach to my January makeover.  Using this beautiful “icy blue” paper with a little bit of glimmer and shimmer, I tried to emulate the feelings of a fresh cold January.  Mimicking the original pattern, I switched out the 6 blocks with 6 snowflakes.

I added a dark frame around both the focal point photo block and underneath the snowflakes to really make them pop.  Then I added strips of foil paper to really accent the middle of the page.

Using one of my staples, Thickers, to make the title really gives it an elegant pop.  The letters are soft yet big enough to stand out and be noticed.    

One to the tricks I used to make my snowflakes stand out was to only glue down the very center of the flake.  This give the arms movement and it really gives the look of 3 dimension without adding a ton of bulk to the page.  


We hope that you have enjoyed our year long Calendar makeover and it has inspired you to pick up a small year long project this year!

Stay tuned for our Next “3 Ways” StashLadies project!


Calendar Makeover 3 Ways – DECEMBER

Happy Holidays From All of us At StashLadies!!


Dec-Christmas Sampler

This month’s Makeover is chocked full of traditional elements.  We had many fun family traditions growing up with StashMomma & Poppa.  We made homemade movies for our families far away. (What gems those are now.  Who doesn’t LOVE family movies from the 80’s!!)  We baked goodie trays for our friends and neighbors. Homemade Christmas presents almost ALWAYS made an appearance under the tree.  And speaking of trees, how about the year that StashPoppa brought home a real charlie brown tree.  I think we tied red ribbons around the branches to disguise the lack of needles.  😉  *a note from QH- I recently re-watched one of those Christmas home movies we had written and scripted when we were young…. talk about cringe worthy!


I love scraps!!  I love to take a pile and sort them into shapes and sizes and then ponder the possibilities.  This is what I started with:

The fabric is from a kit that I purchased a number of years ago from Keepsake Quilting and yes, there was enough fabric in the kit to make 2 quilts with a pile of scraps leftover!!   The fabric was designed by Faye Burgos for Marcus Fabrics.  I love the Victorian look and old-fashioned appeal of the colors and prints.  In the pile were lots of strips, triangles, and odd shapes.
First I sewed together 8 “odd shaped” pieces that were perfect to form a hexagon and then add half-square triangles to the corners to make a square:
Next, I sewed together some small strips: 


Then I sewed together half-square triangles to make a square.  Lucky for me the half-square triangles had already been cut for the correct direction of the wording:


Now all I had to do was decide how to make this a calendar make-over.  Since the original design was squares in two columns, I decided to use the squares element and put them in three columns or a nine-patch configuration.  The finished size of the squares was dependent upon the center square as it was the smallest of them all.  So after “squaring” nine squares up, I sewed them into 3 strips of 3 squares each, then sewed the strips together.  This is the result of a very enjoyable afternoon of “creativity!”


I am absolutely in love with the finished product, especially since the only cost involved was my time!!

Have a very Merry Christmas from the “StashLadies.”


Quilted Harmonies

Our family made a last minute decision to travel up to visit StashMomma and StashPoppa for Thanksgiving this year.  Since it is a long drive, we try to break it into two days- two days up, two days down.  So, between the driving, the visiting, and the eating, quilting and sewing wasn’t going to get much time.  (BTdubs- StashPoppa is a known Foodie, (and StashMomma a baker) so when I say eat, I really mean EAT.  We didn’t just have Thanksgiving dinner.  We had THANKSGIVING DINNER.)
Thinking outside of the box, I hit upon an excellent substitution:

raid StashMomma’s Stash! I found a Christmas panel that she had bought and stored away for an unknown-yet-sure-to-be-awesome project.  Named “Holiday Cheer” and designed by Jan Shade Beach for Henry Glass, I thought it matched the original quilt’s theme and motifs.


There wasn’t a good way to cut the panel down as that would have cut off some of the postcard pictures, so I fussy cut them out, applied fusible web, and sprinkled them on a beautifully clean and simple background of the solid Snow by Art Gallery Fabrics.

I didn’t have time to hand bind anything, so I made a “faux” binding by sandwiching the back, batting, and top like you would to make a pillow, then sewing around the outside edge, making sure to leave an opening to turn everything right side out.  I used some chunky red thread from StashMomma’s stash to sew 1/4″ from the edge all the way around.  This gave a nice, simple, “binding” look.


I finished the “postcards” by sewing around each raw edge with more of the chunky red cotton thread, a bulky blue cotton, and a shining green poly thread.

There was more of the panel leftover than I needed, but now I know what my Christmas cards will be!  Stay tuned!

Lovingly Lexi



December holds a very special place in my heart.  Each year I get so excited to put lights on the house, put up the tree in the family room and adorn every square inch of space with garlands, lights, glitter and well, Christmas!  I feel like people I encounter are easier with their smiles, greetings and holiday politeness.  I also “bombard” my children with traditions.  A fresh batch of cookies every Tuesday in December is one of their favorites.  Making Homemade Christmas Cards & Delivering Homemade Christmas Goodies to our friends and neighbors is one of my favorites!

With that said, I was so excited for this month’s Calendar Makeover.  I love traditional Red & Green so I really wanted to stick to the color scheme.  I used the “grid” on the original as my jumping off point.  

I gave myself 4 places to add in my pictures and a nice spot for journaling.
I plan to add in pictures of the kids doing some of our family traditions.

I did an “over-under” pattern for my grids and stitched with the sewing machine for a bit of detail.  I love that cute red and green stocking in the center.


I used Red Foil Thickers for the word December.  It pops off the page perfectly.


Of course, I had to use a bit of stickles glitter to dress up the berries and the word Christmas.  I popped the elements off the page with pop dots just to add a little dimension to my whole page.

My paper is from the WE R Memory Keepers YuleTide page kit.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas filled with Traditions and Cheer!!



Calendar Makeover 3 Ways – OCTOBER

Calendar Makeover 3 Ways – OCTOBER

In the original wall hanging, it was full of plaids and symmetry.  While we adore plaids and symmetry as much as the next girl, it is time to flip this pattern and give it some good mix ups!!



Where has the year gone?  Is it really October already?  I guess the older I get the faster time goes, either that or I really am getting slower and not able to get as much done in a day 😉  (Not a pretty day when that realization hits!!)
Knowing that my travel schedule these past few weeks was going to be pretty hectic,  I spent some time a couple of weeks ago planning and organizing this project.  I started the day with good intentions but I got so excited with the scraps from a Halloween quilt that I derailed and made a table mat before the calendar makeover:) That was fun!!  But that aside and using the same Halloween scraps, I decided to enlarge the Churn-dash block, put it on point and add filler fabric to complete the wall
hanging.  I love the diagonal of the block and the cute little squares created by the quilting.  I contemplated hand quilting this one, but that thought lasted about a minute.  Why do something by hand when I have a sewing machine that will do the work for me!!

Quilted Harmonies

In the quilt that StashMomma gave us year’s ago, she had used purple, black, and orange fabrics, so I naturally thought that she had made us pumpkins.  It wasn’t until after I had planned for this one that I looked at the Original Calendar, and realized that it was not, in fact, pumpkins, but a Churn Dash block.  

I considered going back to the drawing board.  But this challenge, is, after all, to makeover the original pattern.  I recently bought a new pattern book by the Buggy Barn, and love their concept of cutting and piecing patterns.  I searched for a pumpkin pattern I could buy, but alas, I couldn’t find one.  So, it was up to me to figure it out.

Suffice it to say, creating this pattern wasn’t a walk in the park.  In fact, you’ll be able to tell by the final results that only ONE pumpkin looks like it made it through Halloween without being smashed on the street.

File Oct 05, 8 33 45 PM

While I love the funky, angle-y look to my little guys, my favorite part is, once again, the Fabric.  (Fabric that you absolutely love and adore should always and forever be capitalized when raving about it!)  I saw these prints at a craft fair in July, and instantly knew they were from Art Gallery Fabrics.   LovinglyLexi and I drooled all over them, but ultimately walked away from getting them.  I found them, however, at my newest favorite website, Hawthorne Threads.  And proceeded to buy a yard of each, not even knowing what to do with them- until I began designing this month’s makeover, and needing 3 different fat quarters, I realized two things:

1.  I had these three pieces that coordinated perfectly, and
2.  How AWESOME would it be to have plum, white, and grey pumpkins?

I Know, Right??

Lovingly Lexi
My calendar makeover this month just sort of happened.  One evening I was “bored” (which doesn’t happen much around my house with 3 teenagers!) and popped up the picture of the original so I could get my creative juices flowing.  As I was looking at it thinking about how to incorporate a fall theme, the churndash pumpkin popped right out at me!
AND into my scrap pile I went!

October3I was so excited about the idea that I just started creating it and even snap-chatted it!  😉

I stuck to the plaids and but added in the solid orange to give the pumpkin some weight! As I dug into my scraps I found this cool frame that was clearly a cast off from another project, and it worked magically here.  This is very much an old meets new type of project.  See the orange plaid along the sides and the in the middle of the pumpkin?  That sheet of paper is “vintage” 1998 scrapbook paper.  The other plaid and the cool pattern paper are from We R Memory Keepers “Happy Campers” collection.


Isn’t that exciting that you can mix and match old and new scrapbook paper as well as you can fabric!!

My title was cut with my Silhouette and a Miss Kate Cuttable Title and fall swirl.  I opted to do the swirl in turquoise just because and stuck to orange for October!  And true to my style, I blinged it up with stickles.


I popped up the bottom pumpkin to give it a bit more definition and make the swirl really looks like it is moving.

So, ladies and gents!  How would you remake the classing Churn-dash block?  Would you keep it classic or add a modern twist?!!

Days for Girls Africa Project

My local church has been working on a service project for the last year for an organization called Days for Girls. We have been cutting, serging, and sewing special feminine hygiene kits that will be sent to Africa. These kits will allow girls the opportunity for better and more education.  Why?

According to the Days for Girls website:


“What if not having sanitary supplies meant DAYS without school, DAYS without income, DAYS without leaving the house? Girls use leaves, mattress stuffing, newspaper, corn husks, rocks, anything they can find…but still miss up to 2 months of school every year. It turns out this issue is a surprising but instrumental key to social change for women all over the world. The poverty cycle can be broken when girls stay in school.”


I have always loved service projects like this, and using my sewing skills to help any good cause is not only fun, but fills my well. Sometimes it is easy for me to get down in the dumps and start naming off everything I stink at.  (My husband calls it “eating worms”- after the song)  If I can get myself to start doing something, anything, for someone else, it ALWAYS pulls me up and I can breathe again for another day.  

What great service ideas do you have?


Calendar Makeover 3 Ways – SEPTEMBER

September Calendar Makeover – 3 ways


When I look at the original calendar I get a bit nostalgic.  Years ago school never started until after Labor Day so the original September calendar of school houses was a very visual reminder of new beginnings, new teachers, new friends, sometimes new schools, and most important, new clothes.  Stashpoppa remembers his new school clothes consisting of one new pair of jeans, a pair of shoes, and one new shirt.  Pretty sure that mindset would have caused my teen-agers to consider a “sit-in” or two protesting the minimalist approach to school shopping.  Anyone up for turning back to minimalism?


It really is hard to improve on classic! When I made this calendar eons ago I swore I would never make schoolhouses again because of the work in cutting out the shapes (I made 3 calendars so 126 shapes total).  But thanks to an accuquilt die it took all of 5 minutes to cut.  In fact it took me longer to find the fabric I wanted to use than to do the actual cutting.  Plaid and stripes work perfectly with the school houses to create a simple yet more primitive look and in my nostalgia, going back to school equates with the fall harvesting of apples.  I guess I was indoctrinated with the idea that apples are for school teachers 🙂 So bring on the embroidery, applique, and quilting.  All done on the machine!!  Love the look!!


Quilted Harmonies

My Schoolhouse quilt this month was inspired by one of my favorite children’s illustrators, Richard Scarry.  I loved how he could make an entire modern town made up of animals wearing pants seem completely normal.

There are very many animals that I could have chosen, but I always loved Lowly Worm the best, with his professional looking shirt, collar, tie, the shoe on the end of his tail, and his cute little hat. Somehow, even though he still went to school with Huckle Cat, he was old enough to drive his car around BusyTown, which was shaped like an apple on wheels.

In an homage to Lowly Worm, and by extension, Richard Scarry, I designed the kind of school any self-respecting worm would want to attend- an apple pull toy!


I went back and forth on the fabrics I wanted, and decided, “Hey!  Why not do both color ways!  It’s not like I have a family or a job to attend to!” *snort*

This bright, child friendly block just may be the first design for a new alphabet quilt!  Couldn’t you just see this block on a cute denim backpack, though?

I sewed the more muted colors together into four squares with sashing.  When I finish the appliqué, I will definitely choose a green that will bring my worms into more focus.  I love how my little apple school turned out!


Lovingly Lexi
Even though school in these parts starts well before Labor Day, it isn’t until after Labor day that the official school photos get delivered.
(Does anyone else tell their kids to smile like they mean it & not to smile like they are pooping?
or is it just me???)

This month I wanted to show case those awesome school photo in my calendar layout.

I used my Silhouette Cameo to create a School House going back to my geometry days.(Here is a screen shot of my Silhouette Designer Screen)


 Triangles, Parallelograms, squares and rectangles make the most adorable old school house look.  I purposely spaced them apart to re-create the school house block look.  I think it made the school house more charming looking.


I popped the bell with a pop dot to give it the movement it needs.
I also used a fun I ❤ School paper instead of the word School above the door to make it more modern.


I also popped the banners off the page not only to give them movement but also to allow me to add pictures, once those darn things are delivered.  😉


The glitter title 10-4 good buddy is something that we regularly text our children as they update us on their days.  So it is very applicable to our back to school experience.  I added the glitter chair and also glittered the green September words to make the title pop.  I LOVE to do things in sets of 3. You know, 3 kids, 3 green glitter things.  It works for me!!

What is your favorite (or least favorite) memory of your back to school experience?