The Versatile Poppins Bag


The Poppins Bag

I’m excited to share a fun new bag I recently made… the Poppins Bag.  It is a large bag that measures approximately 18″ wide x 12″ deep x 14″ tall.  The larger size means that it is perfect for so many uses.

There are two pockets on the inside as well as two pockets on the outside of the bag.

The bag has two pockets on the outside of the bag and the inside of the bag to help keep everything organized.

This large, zipper-top bag is great for your sewing and/or knitting supplies.

Structural stays that frame the top of the bag keep it in shape and also allow it to remain standing open for ease of access.

You can customize the bag with your choice of fabrics and channel quilt the body of the bag to add body.  It is a great bag to use for a large fabric print that you just can’t bear to cut up.  I used 3 different Kaffe fabrics for the bag shown in the attached pictures.

I will be offering a class on how to make this bag at the Quilt Crossing on Wednesday, August 22 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.   Once you sign up for the class, you can print a supply list from the website here.  Two weeks prior to the class, you will receive a class preparation document in your email to help you prep for the class.  It really is a fun bag to make!

Toby was a lot of help when I took these photos.

Happy summer sewing!



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Visit to the Windy City for Bernina University

Once again it’s that time of year for Bernina University.  This year we are in Chicago and having a wonderful BU.  Standby for a further update to this post including lots of photos of quilting celebrities we have had the pleasure of meeting with this week.

It has been an awesome time and can’t wait to share all the photos and stories with you.

Hope you are having an incredible time this June!

Happy Quilting,


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What Do You Do on Friday the 13th – How About a Little Quilting With Your Walking Foot Class?

On Friday, April 13th, we spent a very fun afternoon at The Quilt Crossing stitching and solving a few of the world’s problems during my “Quilting With Your Walking Foot I” class.

The gals sharing their adorable placemats

The ladies stitched together their placemats (the pattern is included with my class) and auditioned several different quilting designs that they will use to complete their placemats.  It was a wonderful group and they were all very excited to put their walking feet to work.  I can’t wait to see some of their finished projects!

In addition several ladies signed up for my upcoming “Quilting With Your Walking Foot II” class, and I look forward to seeing them again then.

Thank you, ladies, for a very nice afternoon.

Happy Stitching!



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Amazing Visit to Jinny Beyer’s Studio


We have arrived!!!

After visiting with a friend last weekend, I realized that I had neglected to share a wonderful quilting adventure on my blog.  A couple years ago, I had the incredible opportunity to not only visit Jinny Beyer’s Studio, but to actually meet her in person.

I accompanied my husband, Marv, to Washington, D.C. and while he was at his P.A. conference, I had a full week of exploring Washington D.C. and was privileged to share some very special experiences, which I will write about separately.  In a nutshell, I visited Arlington Cemetery on Veteran’s Day, which was a real privilege; I touched a piece of the moon, visited the Smithsonian castle and several other National museums, toured the White House, waved at the Presidential Motorcade as it passed by… needless to say, it was quite a week and I gave my walking shoes a good workout!

One of Jinny’s many books

Towards the end of the week, however, I planned a visit to Jinny Beyer’s Studio.

Her website aptly describes the studio…  “Jinny Beyer Studio is located in the picturesque town green of historic Great Falls, Virginia. The shop is just 20 minutes west of Washington, D.C., but the surrounding area is anything but “big city”. In fact, Great Falls National Park is just minutes away.

The studio is a two-story, wood-framed building with big porches, exposed beams and glowing wooden floors. The first floor houses Jinny’s fabrics, quilts and books, as well as a unique selection of ever-changing gifts and accessories for the quilter and non-quilter alike. We’ve also got a terrific selection of handmade silver thimbles, chatelaines, and other sewing tools made by TJ Lane.

The top floor boasts a large, light-filled classroom, as well as the bustling work area for our kit-making and customer service staff.”

We were thrilled to walk in and meet Jinny!

The ladies who work at the studio were so helpful.







When we arrived at the studio, we found out that we were in luck because they were having an Open House that day and Jinny was in the studio.  Since Jinny is a world renowned quilter, designer and teacher, she is not always in the shop.  We were so pleased to get to meet her and she welcomed us and showed us around her studio.

Jinny was such a pleasure to meet.

Imagine having your own quilt shop that is entirely filled with beautiful fabrics that you have designed.

One of many of Jinny’s quilts

Everywhere you looked, there were beautiful quilts from Jinny’s patterns and fabric.  The studio is one of those places that you have to spend some time exploring because there is so much to see.


Another beautiful sample!





The more you looked… the more you saw.  It really was a very special shop!



All 3 of us were in quilt heaven!


The fabrics were beautifully displayed and it was easy to find coordinating colors for borders, binding, etc.



All 3 of us purchased this kit called Woven Ribbons


Of course, we could not leave without purchasing a kit or two.  We all purchased a kit for the Woven Ribbons quilt in this photo.  Jinny overheard us talking about changing the border and opened the kit and said – choose your new border and I’ll cut it for you.  We didn’t expect that and were very impressed.


One of the staff demoing some new tools upstairs


The staff were all very knowledgeable and friendly and interested in where everyone was from – it was a lot of fun to visit with them.  We were wishing that we had even more time to take a class and hang out with them.



Look closely to see the Versatile Wave reversible purse model


It was fun to see the reversible purse pattern that I teach as a class at Quilt Crossing, along with a number of kits for the outside cover from Jinny’s fabrics.



One beautiful sample after another…


The Woven Ribbons pattern kit

Everywhere you looked there were beautiful examples of Jinny’s designs and fabrics.  It was very impressive!





Virginia showing off her bag from the studio



In no time at all, we had filled our lovely red bags from the studio with a beautiful collection of kits and fabrics and other little treasures.   We were all so excited to think about where and when we would stitch them together to enjoy!

We had also worked up quite an appetite from all that intense shopping and decided to get recharged at a charming Irish Pub next door before we returned back to D.C.

The Irish Pub next door



We had a delightful lunch at The Old Brogue next door and planned our return to D.C. via Uber, which, in itself, turned out to be delightful.  Our driver was retired and loved to provide a bit of a tour of the area as we worked our way back to the Merriott.

It was a wonderful trip and I smile as I write this thinking back on such a fun day.

A very special thanks to Jinny and her staff for making our visit one we will always  remember fondly.

Thanks also to Carol for the reminder that I had not shared this very special trip to Jinny ‘s Studio.  If you are ever in D.C., it is well worth a trip to this amazing studio!

Happy Sewing!


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Panel Pets

Sometimes you can make a few simple projects from pre-printed fabric panels.  It’s a fun, fast and easy way to share the joy of sewing as you make your own stuffed panel pets.

The girls loved their completed Panel Pets

A few months ago, the girls and I found an adorable panel that contained 4 sets of Mama animals and their babies.  Belén and Eloise asked if we could please sew them up one afternoon.

The panel contained 4 different sets of animals

Belén was especially eager to help and she started to cut out the various pattern pieces for each set of animals.

Belén was a big help cutting out the pattern pieces of the panel


Next, we paired the pieces right sides together and stitched them along the outer edge (as indicated on the panel).

Preparing the pieces

Then we made small clips inside the seam allowance and turned the various pet pieces right sides out and pressed the seams.  Belén was a big help with part of the process.

B turning the sewn pieces

Belén turning one of the calves right side out














Of course, Toby wanted to get in the act too.  After I gave him a quick bath to clean him up from his trip outside, he entertained us all, as you can see. He can be quite the little dancer with Belén.

Toby was a lot of help as well









Stitch by stitch, the panel pets began to take shape and the girls were excited.

Eloise was very excited to start playing with Mama Oink and her piglets









When we finished turning each of the animals to the right side, we stuffed them and sewed the seams shut.

Soon we we had finished a dozen panel pets and the girls spent the remainder of the day creating stories around their new panel pets as you can see.


Mama Baa and her lambs

Mama Cluck and Chicks









Belén holding Mama Moo and her calves

It really was a fast, easy and fun project to make with almost instant gratification.

Next time you are in a quilting store, check out their pre-printed panels and you may find your own little treasures.

What have you been sewing this month?  I’d love to hear about it.

Happy Sewing,



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Dayna’s Stitcher’s Garden Quilt

Dayna’s Stitcher’s Garden Quilt top

One of the joys of teaching quilting is getting to see what your students create from your classes.  Yesterday, Dayna Ferrero came by the Quilt Crossing to show me her completed quilt top from the Stitcher’s Garden class at Quilt Crossing.  It was gorgeous!  All she needs to do is trim the batting and put the binding on and it will be a welcome addition to her guest room.

One of Dayna’s Pillow Shams

In addition  to the quilt, she also made a few extra blocks so she could incorporate them into two pillow shams.  Such a great idea and what a lovely way to welcome her guests.

Thanks so much for sharing your finished project, Dayna.  I’m so excited for you and your quilt is beautiful!

What projects have you been working on lately?  I would love to hear about them.

Happy Stitching!


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Derik’s Thoughtful Gift, A Cribbage Chest

A very special handmade gift from our son-in-law, Derik, that I just had to share…

For Christmas each year the adults in our family draw names.  This year was no exception and on Christmas Day we shared one another’s gifts and revealed who our “Secret Santas” were.

Cribbage Chest made by Derik

Marv’s was a particularly mysterious gift.  It was wrapped and was the largest present under our tree, or should I say next to it, because it would not fit under the tree.  We learned that our son-in-law, Derik, had drawn Marv’s name and then set about to make a very special gift indeed.

The wood burned Sparrell and sturgeon on the front side of the chest.

As Marv began to unwrap his gift, it was clear from the start, that Derik had gone to a lot of work to make this very unique gift.

Beneath the gift wrap was a wooden chest.  On the front of the chest, Derik had wood burned “Sparrell” and a sturgeon fish.

Marv and his Dad did a lot of sturgeon fishing after his parents moved and retired on the coast of Washington.  This was a great tribute to some very special times that Marv spent with his Dad.


The open chest

When Marv opened the chest, the purpose of the chest became very clear.

Marv and his Dad loved to play cribbage and would play almost non-stop when we were on vacation or together.  They enjoyed challenging one another.

Inside the chest were playing cards, pegs and three custom-made cribbage boards.  Marv was speechless.

Marv’s Cribbage Board with pics of him and his Dad with their sturgeon catch





On the top cribbage board, Derik inserted photos of Marv and his Dad with a day’s catch.  It was so much fun to see these photos again and relive their excitement of sharing their sturgeon catch.


Second cribbage board, with a map of the peninsula on Willapa Bay

On the other two cribbage boards, Derik had wood burned into the boards a map showing Willapa Bay, where Marv’s folks lived during their retirement.  He also wood burned, “Charlie’s Board” as Charlie is Marv’s nickname and he was especially called that by his Dad.

Of course, there is also a sturgeon depicted on each of these boards as well.  They really are something!

Third cribbage board that Derik made



The more we looked at the boards, the more impressed we became as there was so much detailed work on each board.

One can only imagine the amount of time and effort that Derik gave to make such a special gift.

But, that is not the end of the surprises contained in the Cribbage Chest…


The limerick that Derik burned into the underside of the cover of the chest.

In addition to the beautiful artwork that Derik had burned into the cribbage boards and the outside of the chest, he also wrote a limerick about Marv and his Dad and had burned that into the underside cover of the chest.  It reads,

“Once there were some men from the coast

Fishing and cribbage greats, the locals did boast

You’ll be over the barrel, skunked by a Sparrell

If you decided to play

It’s at your own peril.”

Looking down into the cribbage chest – along with book of rules for cribbage.


His limerick was very clever and oh so true.  There still, however, was another surprise contained within this amazing gift.  If you look into the chest (which also came with a Handbook of Cribbage rule book), you would see the cards, rule book, 3 cribbage boards, a small leather bag with pegs for each board and if you removed all those, you would discover that the chest had a false bottom.

The Treasure Map from the 1985 Goonies movie that was filmed in Astoria, OR



You could carefully lift out the false bottom, and it would reveal a Treasure Map from the 1985 Goonies movie that Derik had burned into the bottom of the inside of the chest.  We were (and still are) all blown away by all the work and detail Derik had incorporated  into this very relevant and meaningful gift for Marv.

Ready to play the next challenger…



Of course, the cribbage boards have already been played when we had our First Annual Cribbage tournament with our kids and grandkids the week after Christmas.  Now the Cribbage Chest remains in our game room and Marv is ready for the next challenger.  He’ll be pleased to play and share his special gift from Derik.

One last note, for any of those who know Derik, you will recognize his artistic talents at work.  He is truly a wonderfully, talented  artist.  However, for this project, he taught himself how to wood burn, because he had never wood burned before.  As you can see, he did an incredible job on his first and very special, wood burning project.

Thanks again, Derik, for your thoughtful gift that is already a family heirloom!  It really meant a lot to Marv and all of us and we so love and appreciate you!!!


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Gift Ideas for Most Any Occasion

I’m always looking for ways to personalize my holiday gifts each year.  One easy way to do so, is to choose a themed fabric that is meaningful for the recipient.  I want to share a few gifts I made this year for Christmas, because all of these gifts could be used for most any occasion throughout the year.  Some of them have free links to free patterns.  Here are a few gift ideas to consider:

Burrito or Roll It Up Pillowcase

Choose a themed fabric and add complementing fabric for trim and cuffs.

Pillowcases are always a great gift and with the clever roll-it-up or burrito method, you can make a pillowcase in no time at all.  A great source for a free can be found at the All People Quilt site for American Patchwork and Quilting

You will be amazed at how quickly they sew together and they really are a lot of fun to make.

Ten Minute Table Runner

Several table runners folded in half lengthwise

This popular free pattern has been around for several years and is another great gift idea.  It only requires 1/3 yard of focus fabric and 1/2 yard for your border and background.

You can get a free pattern for this fast and easy project at the Utah State University Cooperative Extension website.

You can achieve some interesting variations depending on whether you fold the fabric to the front or the back when sewing the final end points as shown in the following photo.

End points folded to the front on the top table runner and to the back on the bottom table runner.


Have a good time choosing your fabrics and customizing your table runners.  This is a great beginner pattern and can be somewhat addictive!




Hopeful Hatchlings (Stuffed Animals)

There is a darling new book called Hopeful Hatchlings by Jessica George from the Sweet Brian Sisters.  The book that has patterns and instructions for 10 adorable baby animals. Each of the animals will fit inside a Zipper Egg and a pattern for the egg is also included in the book.

Our granddaughters were very quick to point out their favorite animal in the book.  I told them their selections would be part of their Christmas gifts.

Eloise chose Paddy the Penguin in her egg

Belén’s favorite was Dalton the Dragon







Choose a fun fabric for your eggs to complement the little animal who will live within.

These really are a lot of fun to make and the girls were thrilled to get theirs as you can see.

Eloise her Paddy Penguin

Belén with her Dalton the Dragon










I think there were be other Hopeful Hatchlings hatching around our house for future occasions.  They really are quite charming and somewhat addictive!

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and will be able to try some of these gift ideas.

Happy Stitching!



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Our Most Excellent Doll Quilt Adventure With Belén and Eloise

Belén’s finished quilt top

Eloise with her finished top









This past week, the girls were out of school for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I had the pleasure of their company for two days in a row.  They are always eager to “do a project” and we decided to make a quilt for their American Girl dolls.  It was a great project to use for them to learn how to sew with a sewing machine.

We talked about different styles of quilts they could make and discussed what size was best for their 18″ dolls.  Belén decided to make a patchwork quilt from 5″ squares and Eloise liked a strip quilt design.  I printed off a layout for the designs they chose.  Next, they went through a pile of fabric from my stash and pulled out the colors they wanted in their quilt and then labeled their layout sheets accordingly.

Belén’s sketch of her quilt layout showing her fabric placement

Eloise’s sketch of the order of her strips for her quit


It was fun to watch them sort through several stacks of fabric and choose which prints they wanted for their quilts.





Eloise laying out her strip quilt pieces

For Eloise’s quilt we cut a number of 2 1/2″ strips and she laid them out in the order she had on her sketch.  Of course, she was able to move some of them around so they were just the way she wanted them.  Her fabrics were bright and colorful and included an assortment of storybook prints (Little Red Riding Hood), peace signs, bicycles, etc.  She chose a 1930’s conversation print for her outside border.


Belén gave a lot of thought to her layout


Belén also chose a variety of prints.  I was impressed how she laid her blocks across her quilt at an angle.  She balanced her colors by repeating the fabrics used in the corner blocks.  I think there is a future quilt designer in the family!  Belén had to go to gymnastics for 3 hours, so Eloise and I stitched Eloise’s quilt first.

Eloise was also eager to sew her strip quilt


Since Eloise is only 6, I set the machine up so that she could sit next to me and as I fed the fabric through the feed dogs and stitched strips together for her quilt.  Eloise was in charge of the foot pedal.  When she pressed down the foot pedal, the machine sewed until we were at a stopping point.  Then, we   repositioned the quilt for the next line of sewing and she stepped on it to sew again.

Eloise stepping on the foot pedal of the sewing machine



It was a great way to help Eloise feel a part of the construction process of her quilt top.  She also liked to help me line up each strip as we gradually sewed each section of the quilt together.  She was very attentive and listened carefully for when to start and stop and slow down.  We had a good time!


Eloise also learned to press to the dark side


As we joined the strips together, we pressed each seam to the darker side.  I explained to Eloise why we did this to keep the seam allowances from showing up on the front of the quilt.  We had a good conversation about this.

I didn’t let her use my hot iron, but she was able to use a toy iron and press the seams once again for good measure.

In no time at all, we had completed Eloise’s quilt top and it was time to pick up Belén from the gym.



Belén’s first time sewing on a sewing machine.

After lunch, we began work on Belén’s quilt.  We first sewed the blocks together in pairs and then the pairs became rows and step by step, we sewed B’s quilt top together.

She was curious to learn about the different parts of the machine and why and how it worked, how were stitches formed, etc.

We pinned her blocks together and she sat and stitched them together.  She learned how to chain stitch and why it is a great way to save thread and time.

B getting her blocks ready to press


Before we knew it, her blocks were sewn together and we were able to get the border sewn in place as well.

Once that was done, our first day of sewing was complete.  We decided to take a break and run a few errands in preparation for Thanksgiving.


Belén typing the content for her quilt label on my embroidery software.

The day after Thanksgiving, B asked if we could finish her quilt.  I told her we needed to create a label for the back of her quilt and she proceeded to type the content for her label into my embroidery software.

We worked together to decide what type of border she wanted on her label and she decided to stitch turtles around the perimeter of the border.  When the design was complete, we sent the file to my embroidery machine and stitched it out.

B loves to watch the embroidery machine do its “magic”!








We layered our backing, batting and quilt tops and pin basted them together.  I used my larger Bernina 830 machine to quilt both quilts.  This was such a time saver and we were pleased at the finished quilting.

Next, the binding was cut and pieced together and I stitched it to the back of the quilt, and folded it around to the front.  Before I stitched the binding down, I inserted a 1″ folded strip of red trim fabric under the edge of the binding.  This added a little bit of color to an otherwise very blue border and helped to “pop” some of the other colors in the quilt.

Inserting a 1″ folded strip of red trim fabric into the binding


While I was sewing her binding, Belén enjoyed reading a book called, Sewing Machine Fun for Kids.  It has not only great illustrations of the machine and the sewing process, but a number of games kids can play as well.  In fact, I had an adult tell me that she bought it for herself when she first started sewing and found it a valuable resource.

B really enjoyed reading the Sewing Machine Fun for Kids book while I quilted her quilt





Of course, the final step was to add the quilt label that Belén had designed for her quilt.  It read “Belen’s First Doll Quilt 2017 – I enjoyed making my doll quilt with the help of Nana.  She taught me a lot of new skills as we created it.  I love to sew with Nana.   Belén”.  It warms my heart so much to read her label.

The final step was to sew on B’s quilt label. It really was the icing on the cake!

Next week, Eloise and I will finish her quilt.  She has been thinking about what she wants on her label and I so look forward to spending some more time sewing with her.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and would love to hear about what projects you have been sewing.  It’s such a perfect time of year to be sewing.

Happy Stitching!


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Happy Halloween 2017


The bewitching night is right around the corner so my day was spent finishing up the girls’ costumes for this year.  Here’s a sneak preview…

Final Try-On Before the Big Night!

Eloise wanted to be a fairy again this year.  (I made the girls fairy costumes a few years ago.)  I was going to make her a costume, but when we were out shopping for something else, we came upon a darling little costume that was in the exact color she wanted, so we purchased it.  I told her that we would do something special to make it look magical – so we added lights to the skirt of the costume.

Belen had seen a photo of her Mom (Alecia) and her Auntie Anna when they were little girls with some costumes I made for them.  She asked if she could please be a “Sack of Potatoes” like her Mom was in that picture.

I agreed that she could be a “Sack of Potatoes” but didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a potato gunny sack.  Apparently, they do not use burlap bags any more to store potatoes.  However, a friend of mine had one that she so generously offered for me to use.

After hand washing the bag, I put it on a drying rack to dry.  Next, I removed the stitching out of the bottom bag (the potato sack was printed so that the design was upside down) and pressed out any creases.

I trimmed off 2 1/2″ from the length of the bag and stitched in around 6 1/2″ from each end of the new “top” of the bag, leaving an open area for Belen’s head.  I waited for Belen to try the bag on to insure her head would fit and then stitched under a rolled hem around her neck opening.  (Note:  Because burlap has such a loose weave, I stay stitched the area I was about to cut first and then cut the burlap.  This really helped to hold it in place and keep it from unravelling.)

Belen was so tickled with her finished Potato Sack costume – she just beamed!

After a second Belen try-on to properly place her arm holes, I removed stitching from one side seam to create her first arm hole.  Next, I cut a hole on the opposite side for her second arm – this one was faced with a piece of linen remnant.

Her circle of potatoes that ringed her neck were created by stuffing the leg of a pair of panty hose and then stitching here and there to create the dimpling.

I used the same technique for her matching potato barrettes.  It was fun to see her reaction when she did the final try-on.


Eloise was thrilled with her illuminated fairy costume

For Eloise’s costume, I made a small quilted bag to hold the battery pack for the lights.  I put a sleeve on it and slid it onto a small belt.  This held the battery pack for her skirt in place.

Next, I sewed a buttonhole through a couple layers of the netting of the skirt to provide an opening for the string of lights.  I gently pulled the lights through the buttonhole and pinned them in place, while Eloise was trying on her outfit.

Finally, I carefully safety pinned the string of lights in place – and once they were turned on, they were quite the spectacle.  The lights were already woven into a shear mesh, which made them a lot easier to attach.

Eloise was equally excited when put on her finished costume, as you can see.

The girls are all ready for Halloween and were very excited to show their Mom and Dad their finished costumes.

Have you been doing some Halloween sewing as well?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Wishing you an early “Happy Halloween”!

Happy Stitching!


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