This blog has moved to
This blog content will remain, but if you'd like to see new content, please visit

Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions and Goals for 2013

I can't really  believe 2012 is over. What an exciting year that was. We managed to take the kids to Disney World for an entire week, which I have to say is our highlight of the year. It was a lot of fun.

In our lives we don't know much of what 2013 will bring but we do know my husband will be going to school... back to AIT because he has changed his MOS. And most likely the Army will be moving us after that.

Later in the year my baby will be starting kindergarten and my oldest will be an 8th grader. Time zips right by when you're watching kids grow up, doesn't it?

Every year for many years my New Year's Resolution has always been to quit smoking. This year I am happy to say that I have to come up with a new one because I quit smoking 37 weeks ago :) If I figure out what my resolution is this year, I will let you know!

For the blog and my creative life I have several goals for the year!!!

First, and one that will actually take the entire year, is Craftsy's new FREE Block of the Month class for 2013. Here is my lap quilt from the 2012 class, currently for sale on Etsy.

I also want to finish every quilt in the Big Techniques from Small Scraps class I joined, taught by Sarah Fielke. {I am going to take a moment and say she is one of my two quilting idols}. I have already completed one of the mini quilts, if you recall... My Funny Valentine.

Online Quilting TechniquesI really really want to first make the coneflower mini quilt in the class and then take one of my own photographs and make a quilt from that following the instructions and techniques from the Pictoral Quilting Techniques class. When I joined... no the class is not for beginners, but I have watched it and I believe a beginner can do it. And the quilts are so beautiful I really want to do at least one this year. And who knows? Maybe that will come out so great I'll make another. I really want to eventually do one using a photo of my three kids.

Also this year I hope to design a quilt pattern. At least mini size but hopefully lap quilt size or larger. Maybe with some hand applique. Not sure yet. But that is something I really want to do.

I want to complete a large size quilt by Elizabeth Hartman. The wonky cross one from her class, Inspired Modern Quilts. {note that she is my second quilting idol}

I am thinking I won't be scrapbooking much anymore, so maybe it's time, since I haven't touched any of it in a year, for me to sell off my scrapbooking supplies so I can use that space for my sewing supplies. Maybe just finish up the books I have going and call it done. I've already printed massive amounts of photos and have them organized for the kids when they get older and want them, I don't suppose I need to scrapbook all of them. Maybe I'll just scrapbook a few big things, but I highly doubt it...

Mostly I just want to finish more quilts this year. And maybe actually sell one or two. I guess we'll see.

What are your quilty/sewing resolutions or goals for the next year?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top Posts for 2012.

Here it is, my very last post of 2012. I wasn't able to post all my projects this year, but that's alright, I can always share them next year when I have a day with nothing to post.

Anyway, since it's the end of the year I thought I'd share the TOP posts for the entire year of 2012.

Posts that didn't get the top ten most views but they were my personal favorites for the year....

And last but not least, of course, we have a few of these posts that got some attention but not as much as I expected they would, so I figured I would mention them here in case you might have missed them.
a little series of posts, mostly tutorials, where I show what {or just how much} you can make with a single jelly roll

a post describing ways to stay updated with your favorite pages on Facebook

posted close to Christmas so they were probably missed
My Funny Valentine -  a mini quilt, Christmas gifts revealed, Last minute gifts

I want to say thank you for joining me and staying with me in 2012 and I hope you all stick around for 2013. I am not really sure what the new year will bring but I hope it brings health and happiness for you and your family. See you in 2013!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Traveling Stash Box - are you next?

I won this "traveling stash box" from Quilting, Losing and Tea, so now it's my turn to play.

What happens is this: you win then receive the box. You open the box full of sewing goodies. You take what you want out and add other stuff in. Add something equal to what you removed (take out a pattern, add a pattern.... take out fabric, add fabric). Then you post about it on your own BLOG and send it off to the next person.
So here is what was in the box when I opened it {it arrived at 8:30pm on Christmas Eve if you can believe that!}
There is actually QUITE A BIT of fabric there. Woah. I am not yet sure what I'm going to take and keep, but I am thinking some of the fabrics that resemble older fabrics from the 70's and 80's. I don't know why but I just love fabrics like that:
I have a bit of my own fabric to add to it as well as several patterns that I had purchased and never used... as well as, according to the directions we can also add stray finished blocks... so I've thrown some of mine in there.
A fabric panel for the cat lover who receives the box, some lace, some other random sewing items I've had and never used, more fabric...
Would you like to be the next recipient of the traveling stash box!!!?? {You know you would} Enter below using Rafflecopter and I will choose a winner on January 4th.

Before entering, please read the rules and make sure you can abide by the rules. Thanks!
The rules for the traveling stash box are as follows:

  • You must be an active blogger and able to post about receiving the box and the giveaway on your blog in a timely manner.

  • There is a note in the box that logs where the box has been. Please add your info and place the note back into the box.

  • There is a list of Rules and Guidelines in the box. Please read and follow these and return the list to the box.

  • You may take anything you like from the box. Just replace every item with comparable quilt shop quality items equal to the amount taken.

  • Ship the box to the next person in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Due to the amount of postage {About $15 to ship the large flat rate box} shipping is only within the USA.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Funny Valentine - a mini quilt

I'm trying to share all I made in 2012 IN 2012! I can't believe it's almost 2013 already!! I wonder what it holds for our family ?

Anyway, I recently made this mini quilt, wall hanging, called "My Funny Valentine" from the Craftsy class "Big Techniques from Small Scraps".

First I want to say that I love the class instructor, Sarah Fielke. She really made me believe that I could do needleturn applique, and you're about to see that I did do it.

I love the way this quilt came out, I loved the process {except that I could not find applique glue anywhere so I used pins and did prick myself a few times} and I can't wait to design my own and make another one {the design below is from the class... almost... I tweaked it a little bit by taking a flower out of the pot and putting it in front of the pot}.
You'll notice I used blue binding. If you follow on Facebook you'll know at first I could not decide between blue or orange binding although I was always leaning toward the blue. I did want some opinions on that. Most people, I found, were also preferring the blue.
Anyway, I really love it. I'm glad I enrolled in the class.

Actually when Craftsy was having their holiday sale I also enrolled in three more classes {I'm so addicted!!!}... Quilting Quickly 2, Machine Quilting: Free Motion & More, and Art Quilting: Pictorial Quilting Techniques. I think the classes ought to hold me over for a while. Did you join any classes while Craftsy was having their sale?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

{this post was written on December 9th and scheduled for today}

Merry Christmas Everyone! Now that Christmas is here and it's ten a.m. so by now Melissa has opened the gifts I made her, I can share the things I made for her that I wasn't able to post on the blog.

First is the Autumn Table Runner {that's what I call it}. She knew she was getting a table runner and end table toppers, and she knew the fabric I had chosen {she asked for Autumn colors} but she did not know the design. It's very modern {I think} and should work in her living room. I hope it's long enough for her table. I made it a few inches longer than what she asked for knowing that it would shrink. She likes her table runners with overhang.
The back {which was fabric she had not seen yet}. I just pieced it with some leftover fabric from the front.
I made two matching table toppers. The design is a little bit different.
And here is a label, which I just wrote a little note on a piece of fabric with a sharpie and then hot ironed it to set it and stitched it on the back. It is the only quilt label I have ever made. The table toppers say "For Melissa Christmas 2012". The table runner says "For Melissa Christmas 2012 <3 Penny".
She also got a set of four fat quarter grocery bags photo here {unwrapped so she received them before Christmas}, the pink zip pouch keychain I used in my tutorial, the pink mini clutch, and this sewing kit {she does embroidery on stockings and stuff}.
I really hope she loved it all this morning!

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Craftsy is running a Christmas Sale and all classes are priced between $9.99 and $24.99. That's up to 75% off original prices!

Sale ends Dec 24 at midnight.

Sale classes include quilting, knitting, sewing, cake decorating, jewelry making, and other food craft.

We're talking... $20 and $30 classes on sale for $9.99 {I will  be enrolling in the pictoral quilting classes}.

So what are you waiting for!!?? If ever there a time to sign up for a class, NOW is that time!.

Sign up Here.

Online Quilting Class

Last minute Christmas Gifts

I know you all know how much I really love Craftsy. A little elf told me that Santa is bring my youngest daughter, Hannah, her very first set of LEGOS {and that she'll be getting some for her birthday too because doesn't list items as backordered when they are backordered, so you go ahead and order an 'available' item just to find it's actually back ordered, but whatever}.

Anyway... all the LEGOS won't fit in the bucket some of them come in so I wanted to make her little bags. I made her two drawstring bags using this FREE class on Craftsy. I know what you're probably thinking "Well I already know how to make drawstring bags, I don't need to take this class for that."

Online Sewing Class Let me tell you what, I also thought the same thing. But I decided to watch the class anyway. I learned a few new techniques {or tips} that I didn't previously know, finding myself thinking "Why didn't I think of that?!?" {Seriously, why didn't I?} I will just say I will never turn skinny tubes the same way again.

Anyway, on to the gifts I made.

For Hannah I made two different bags after buying a bundle of five fat quarters {each bag uses two fat quarters}.
I boxed the corners 1" in from the point on both bags.
The second bag uses coordinating fat quarters, so the bags match but they aren't the same.
I made four of these bags in one day. I stopped  few times to make dinner, clean the kitchen, make lunch, etc. Here are the two that I made for my son, but I'm not sure what he'll use them for, I just know I don't often find fabric I like for him and so when I saw this fabric I bought it and made him a couple bags too.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Librarian Gift.

Our school librarian told me once that she is a breast cancer survivor, more than once. Beating cancer once is amazing, beating it again is quite an accomplishment. She made sure to tell me never to miss a mammogram.

Anyway, so for Christmas I made the librarian this mug rug.
Actually I added hanging tabs to the back and made sure to make this just wide enough to use a pencil to hang it.
Close up:
I got the paper piecing pattern here. Scroll down the page and you'll find a link for the ribbon in a heart. There are a lot of different patterns to choose from on that page.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Teacher Gifts. Mug Rugs

I recently enrolled in a Craftsy class called "Big Techniques from Small Scraps" and one of the techniques Sarah teaches is called "Needle turn applique". Before making the gorgeous quilt that the class teaches and has a pattern for, I decided to go ahead and practice some needle turn applique on some mug rugs.

{the apple shape is from a book I have, the name escapes me right now}
By the time I got to the fourth  mug rug my stitches were barely noticeable and I finished each mug rug a bit quicker than the last. I think I'm almost ready to make the mini quilt in the class.

These mug rugs are not quilted, they are what is called the stitch and flip {I think} except I used binding instead of stitching and flipping. Basically it means there is no batting.

Here they are all wrapped up! They were delivered on Monday and Tuesday was the last day of school and now we're on winter break.
I included some little um... what are they called? Post-It Notes, festive ones, with the mug rugs and of course the little note explaining what a mug rug is. I hope the teachers like them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zip Pouch, Wristlet. For me!

I told you I made one for myself! Again this was made using the same techniques as the Double Zip Wristlet {pattern here}, omitting the front zip (instead replacing it with an inside zip) and changing my dimensions to 10" x 6 1/4" (includes seam allowance).
I don't know... something about that green leafy fabric, I just love it. And scraps for the hexagons {which for this project, the hexagons are on BOTH sides}.

Here is the inside with the zippered pocket. I used the tutorial found here except I kept my pocket piece very long so that I could fold it up and stitch the top and sides instead of attaching a separate piece. Either way works.
Another angle.
Again... just something about that green leafy fabric with the brighter colors... I don't know... I love it. Is that weird?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pattern Giveaway Winner!

Well that was a fun little giveaway. I broke 100 likes on Facebook and I hope you'll all stick around even though the giveaway is over :) Even if you didn't win all the free patterns I do share tutorials here on the blog and helpful links on Facebook.

When I started the giveaway it was supposed to be that one winner would receive all five of my patterns. After randomly choosing a winner {okay so Rafflecopter did all the random work} I decided that I would choose a second winner who could pick ONE of the patterns and I'd send that off too.

So our first winner, who has won ALL FIVE of my patterns is:

And the second winner who can chose one of my patterns is:

Congratulations ladies and I hope that you enjoy the patterns.

Nicole, I will email you the patterns and Doris if you could send me an email sewsimplelife AT gmail DOT com and let me know which pattern you would like.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Zip Pouch. Pencil case?

My Girl Scout troop was going to be having a holiday party and we had the girls choose names from a bag. Secret Santa. I already knew I was going to make something for whichever girl my daughter (Gillian) chose. I had a hard time deciding what to make but finally decided on a little zippered pouch.
Okay... not quite so little. I made this using the same method as my Double Zip Wristlet {pattern here}, except that I omitted the strap and the front zip. I also changed the dimensions to 10" x 6 1/4" {includes seam allowance}.

I english paper pieced some hexagons for the front. I really love the way this came out. I love the green leafy fabric with the random colored/patterned hexagons. I love everything about it.
A little shot of the inside, which is just white.
When I say I was really happy with how this came out, I wasn't kidding. I went and made a second one for myself! {You'll have to wait for another post to see that!}

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Selling Patterns: Craftsy vs. Etsy

I have had an Etsy shop since July 2012.

I have had a Craftsy shop since September 2012, 2 months less than Etsy.

On Etsy I have had a whopping total of THREE pattern sales in 5 months. And I've had to pay 20 cents for every time I list a pattern, plus the Etsy fee, plus the Paypal fee.

On Craftsy I have sold TEN patterns in 3 months. {I know that is a  very small number, but for me it's still very exciting!} The only fees I've paid on those sold patterns are the Paypal fees because Craftsy doesn't charge you to list or sell anything.


I don't know about you but I feel like that is quite a difference in pattern sales when comparing the two shops and quite a difference in expense!

And I'm going to be honest... I have put A LOT more work into promoting my Etsy listings than I have put into promoting my Craftsy listings. I mean... I'm mostly lazy when it comes to my listings on Craftsy. I don't pin them, I don't tweet them, nothing.

With my Etsy listings... I tweet, I pin, I post to facebook.

Now, I am just one person and I can't speak for everyone else, but my personal opinion based on the last five months is that Craftsy is more friendly for those of us who write and sell patterns.

Then consider this, with Etsy, when a person purchases your pattern, you then have to email them the PDF... in some cases hours later. With Craftsy, you upload your PDF so that when a person purchases your pattern they get it INSTANTLY, and it's always on Craftsy for them to download when they want. I don't know about you but when I purchase a pattern I do prefer sites that offer it instantly.

I think once my current Etsy pattern listings expire, I will leave them expired. I'll continue to list my finished items for now though, (at least until fixes the bugs in their system).

What about you? What have your experiences been? With Etsy, Craftsy or any other online pattern sales?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I have two projects currently in progress at the moment.

First up is a scrappy plus table topper. Remember those squares I had cut because I was feeling ambitious and wanted to make a quilt? Well... yeah... I couldn't wait on that so I used the squares to make a table runner instead. It's actually all sewn together right now waiting for batting, backing, quilting and binding, this just happens to be the last photo I took.
I also have a mini quilt... which might turn into a table topper... or I might decide to cut it in half and use it in the bathrooms for the tops of the toilets? I don't know, not sure yet. This is a step down piecing top which I learned from a Craftsy class that I enrolled in the other day called "Big Techniques from Small Scraps". Actually I enrolled in the class, watched the entire thing, cut my scraps and pieced the top all in one day.
What are you working on?

I am linking up with Freshly Pieced - WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pattern Shop Update.

I have added a new pattern to my shops, you may have already noticed, or saw that I briefly mentioned it in Sunday's giveaway post {if you haven't already entered... go enter!}

I am calling this the "Double Zip Wristlet". Admittedly I am no good at naming things... except for my kids, they have great names!
I made more than one... I did like that one but I felt like my scrap piecing was way too busy!! So I made another pieced one using Riley Blake fabric...
Both pockets are big enough to hold an iPhone 4 {not sure about the iPhone 5 since I don't have that and I'm too lazy to check the dimensions online... ha}
The pattern includes instructions for installing BOTH zippers. I have tried to make it easily understandable and easy to follow. Your top zipper will look so pretty.
And one more just because I love this fabric.
Yes! You can absolutely make these and sell them!
NO! You cannot sell this pattern!
NO! You cannot reproduce this pattern!
I'd love a link back to one of my stores, or mention that a Sew Simple Life pattern was used.

Pattern is available as an instant download in my Craftsy Pattern Shop
or on Bonanza