Sew Room Project: Paint!

I wasn’t going to do a post on what to paint your walls. Personally, as a quilter, I have to resist the urge to be very creative with my walls — and my husband has whispered “resale value” in my ears every time I have had the hankering to paint a wall. It’s kept me restrained so far. For my sewing room, I expect lots and lots of light. I love light because I love to see what’s in front of me. As I result of my love for light, I chose to stick with a basic white paint.

Do you have to do white? Nope. It’s just what I chose knowing that my walls will be lined with shelves and storage compartments suitable for my sewing. However, I would stick to light neutral colors – colors that would not color your view of a quilt on a design wall – a design wall what would butt up right next to the painted walls. Light colors so that the room appears brighter and airier.

For the ceiling we chose a drop ceiling, mostly because we want to be able to access the plumbing for the master bathroom that is right above this room.

Here are the before and after pictures of the room.
Before (Taken mid-day during prime sun and the light is on.):
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After (Taken in the morning and the light is on.):

I will soon have an official retreat, ehm, I mean sew room!


Here’s the skinny for my plans for my sew room lighting (hobby/craft room) – really this would cover any room in which you want to be able to actually see. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want “mood lighting” in my sewing room. I want to be able to see my work, most importantly to be able to see my color choices. I’ve been to quilt shops where I had to take a bolt of fabric outside or close to a window in order to best assess the colors. (Mood lighting in quilt shops…really? I guess, I’m too focused on my projects… Haha!) It all just gets worse as I get older and the better the lighting I need. (Age happens. 😂)

Types of bulbs:

Incandescent are obsolete with the newer lighting technologies that emerged over the years. They have served their purpose since Edison introduced us to them in 1879.

CFLs are a more energy efficient choice than incandescents; however, as LEDs grow in their technology, these are best left on the shelf. They last a long time, but when they burn out, they require special disposal because of the mercury – however minute!

LEDs are the best! I love that this technology has progressed past indicator lights on computers. I am all about LEDs, but they are good ones and not so good ones (as my husband has recently discovered in his tinkering.) When choosing new bulbs, I always go for LEDs . They last even longer than CFLs and contain no mercury!!!!! I’m sure someone will eventually find a massive downside to these lights (science changes as new discoveries are made) but right now I love them.

(Picture credit to

There are different types of lighting:

Soft/Warm white runs at 2700-3000K and often emits a yellowish glow. (Not a good choice for craft rooms but a great choice for living rooms or areas for mood lighting. NOT a good choice for quilt shops. (If you are a quilt shop owner, please, please give us older ladies a break and do not use these!)

Bright/cool white runs about 3500-4100K has no yellowish glow, and in fact emits a whiter color. I find these lights sort of meh for craft rooms. Not the greatest and not the worst. However, if you are taking the time for new lights let’s go for the best possible.

Daylight!!! I love daylight in my craftroom ( in case it was not obvious by my overzealous use of exclamation marks). It runs about 5000-6500K and emits the best light possible for those of us that need all the help we can get! We changed the lights in my old sew room from bright white to daylight and my first thought was “Hey, I can see!” 😂

(Photo credit

Now I do have to admit not all LEDs are equal (as I mentioned before.) My husband was tinkering with using the LED strip lighting as a potential for my sew room and I don’t think it emits enough light. It’s great for his work shop, but not so great for my sew room. We would need a lot of them for there to be enough light. (Keep in mind I am a bit older and will need bifocles in about 5-10 years…).

So, in conclusion: daylight LEDs …seriously awesome stuff!

Happy quilting!!! (I am hoping to get an area setup soon between training a new LGD for my goats and homeschooling my son it’s a bit slow going but I picked flooring – next post!)


Next big project: Sew Room Remodel

Since we are in a new house and my old sewing room is about 40 miles away with the perfect lighting and the just right storage, I need to refinish a room in the basement for my new sew room. This is one of those times I wish I could snap my fingers and have my sew room just perfect, because I currently have no space to set up my sewing machine. Ack!! (Yes, I am experiencing serious withdrawal. Everywhere I turn I think “I need to sew something for that” and then realize it’s not going to happen until I can set up my sewing machine. All flat surfaces are currently used as staging areas from filing to homeschooling, etc. Literally, no space for a sewing machine!!!!)

However, as I go through this adventure of setting up my sewing room, I will bring you right a long with me. Starting with lighting, then flooring, and storage and layout. I am very picky about my lighting – more so the older I get and my eyes begin to experience that agey-thing – which is why a whole post will be dedicated to lighting!

This is my starting point. Pictures taken from opposite corners of the room. The room is 11′ 5″ x 23′ 1″.

Whew! I have my work cut out for me!

Happy Quilting!!


Quilting Border Design

Lately, I’ve been pondering the science behind border design — in quilting. The border is what frames your quilt – just like a picture frame for a painting. A beautiful picture in an ugly frame can make the picture ugly. A beautiful picture in an extraordinary frame can make the picture extraordinary. Even the mat selection (that strip of color that you can put between the picture and the frame) adds or takes away from the over all picture. The border you choose should bring out what you have designated as the centerpiece and make it pop adding to the overall visual impact of your quilt. (Note: The center piece does not have to be center of your quilt.)

This pondering has not come about by coincidence. Every time I use a pattern I make an attempt at following the pattern, but then I change something. My current dilemma (a.k.a., project) has a block-pieced border and I have been staring at this quilt on my design wall thinking, “It doesn’t fit.” (By “fit” I mean it doesn’t look pretty to me – beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.)

Contrast, texture, complexity, and unity play their role in artistic composition. Quilts are your work of art. What you like is what you should choose, because, ultimately, it is your creation. It is also why most quilters cringe at doing commissioned pieces. When you look at art pieces, ask yourself: “What did you see first?” and “What did you see last?”. Do you think what you noticed and when you noticed it was what the artist intended? When did you notice the frame? All elements of composition should aid in enhancing your quilt.

Color (Contrast): Light and bright colors pop. You’ll notice these first before the intricacies of darker elements. So, when you look at your quilt what do you see first and what color is it? It what you want people to see first?

Texture (Another form of Contrast): Movement or items representing movement will always catch the eye first. Use texture to take the eye where you would like it to go. Texture can be with the fabric you use of with the lines you sew.

Complexity: The complexity of a border should be less than the quilt itself – unless the border is your focal point. A really busy border (whether from pattern or fabric selection or even quilting lines) will draw the eyes to the border of the quilt and keep them away from the center. Just imagine a bouncy, wiggly child in a sea of stoic adults. 😁

You can sew an amazingly, detailed pieced border but if you select high contrasting fabrics then it might be too contrasting (a.k.a, “busy”) for your goal or it might not. Too much quilting and too little quilting will, also, change your quilt’s complexity.

Unity: This is your “big picture” view of your quilt. Step back, does everything belong? Or is there something you see that just doesn’t fit? (This is how I determined that it was time to veer away from the pattern.) I could have changed the highly contrasting colors in the pieced border, but the block chosen for the border, though it fit in theme, would have required introducing a few new colors to the quilt. I do not like introducing new colors in the border. I prefer to select a handful of colors already inside the quilt and bring those out into the border, which, seems to bring about a sense of completion to me.

So, after all this pondering, I have decided to not follow the pattern for my current project and apply a simpler border. Sometimes simplicity is the answer to complexity and in this instance simplicity matched my tastes the best. 😉

Happy quilting!


Wow! What an adventure!

Several years ago, my husband and I decided we would like to homestead. These last few months has brought about several changes in our lives, between moving my dad in with us and trying to find a house that would be able to accommodate his needs (i.e., no stairs). Our current house has been an amazing house for over a decade with trails and easy walks to stores and parks and we have loved every minute of living here. We’ve spent time to build the small garden area with fruit trees and berry bushes and lots of space for vegetables. It met our needs for a time, but we still desired a bit more space and the ability to have chickens and a goat or two with more space for a large dog to be able to stretch out and run.

With my dad needing less stairs, we decided it was time to find that much dreamed of acreage. After a few months of searching we finally found that acreage with a ranch house – a small 5 acres lot that had a barn, corrals, pasture, garden, coop, and a green house. It needs a bit of work, but my husband and I love a bit of physical labor added to our days. There’s just something that feels good about getting a good sweat going.  (I know some people might think me crazy for saying that…but really sweat is cleansing.)

Needless to say my sewing stuff is all packed and ready to be move. (Something that is driving me a bit batty!)

Happy quilting! (Because someone else must since I cannot.)


Why make time to create?

There are many reasons to make the time to create. Usually, creating anything can be an outlet, or a break from other life-y things. When you sit down at a design table or in front of your sketchpad or behind a computer, that is your time to express whatever is in your heart. Sometimes things need to come out and it come out in an healthy manner or in a non-healthy manner. (I, personally, prefer the healthy option – much better for everyone around me. 😉 )

I have been doing an in-depth study of Proverbs 31, which describes this most amazing and blessed woman. Did you know she panted vineyards, made clothing and bedding, and spun her own thread/yarn? Seems crazy, right? In this age where we have every convenience imaginable (and some not so imaginable), we still struggle with time. We have machines to wash our clothes and our dishes. We have vehicles that can take us farther faster. We have grocery stores and restaurants to provide us with food so we don’t have to make it, or grow it, or butcher it (if you eat meat). Yet, we can’t seem to find time. As you sit and read this post, take the time and ask yourself what do you do with your time? Where does your time go? Really think about it. I’ve sat down and asked myself this question and found that I am mostly wasteful with my time – which is sad because time, once spent, cannot be unspent. (Eeek! Seeing that in writing is very convicting!)

So, if you struggle with finding the time to create like I do, just remember this quote: “[We] have been ‘created…in His own image’ (Genesis 1:27). This means we possess some of God’s attributes, and one of those attributes is creativity. Do you realize that each time you create something, you are saying to everyone, ‘I am creative because my God is creative, and I am made in His image’?” – Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman by Elizabeth George.

Creativity is an outward expression of that which is inside. Don’t keep it inside — share it!


A Shelf for Toys DIY

I found a fairly solid shelf sitting in a thrift store. The thing was ugly. Someone had tried (and failed) to paint it black. You see, you cannot simply paint furniture a new color. You have to strip it. Paint doesn’t stick to finish – I wish it did. This poor shelf had paint streaks all over it.

Time to take it home and show it some love. 🙂

First step is to always strip or sand it down to create a surface to which paint will stick. If you’re going for a natural wood finish then it needs to be done, then you have to get into all the little grooves, etc. (Always wear the appropriate safety gear: safety glasses and a mask!)  I’ll wipe the surface down remove any spider webs, etc. Then I get out my husband’s hand sander and use large grit sand paper for the first pass, gradually working my way to finer grit paper with each pass.

Once stripped I use some gesso as the first coat and outline the characters that I want to paint on the shelf — in this case my son’s favorite cartoon characters: Blaze and Paw Patrols.

Since I was not going to do a wood finish, I did not worry about sanding every spot to bare wood. My goal was to create a surface to which paint would adhere, so, I just scraped the black paint off with a scraper and sanded the finish a bit

For the Blaze side I used some paint markers that claimed to be for all surfaces. I really didn’t like them. The tips would shred really easily making it difficult to get good detail work done. I had to make a trip to Michael’s where I found some sturdier tip markers that I used on the Paw Patrol side.

I painted the cartoon characters first to avoid multiple coats since my plan was a black shelf. Once the main shelf was complete, I painted the shelf back blue. Finally, both parts of the shelf got a polyurethane finish. When everything dried, I screwed the back onto the front and my son had a new shelf. I did let my son paint a portion of the shelf – he had a blast!

This was definitely a fun project.

Have a fabulous day!


Spring-time in Colorado

All the birds are chirping. The grass is green and lush. The trees are blossoming. You begin to see the reappearance of migratory animals and hibernating animals. You begin to think about what to grow in your garden. Out of the blue the temperature tanks 40 degrees and snow returns blanketing everything in it’s gorgeous white fluffyness. Yes, that is the Colorado front range, but don’t worry wait a bit and it will be warm again. 🙂

My backyard as of yesterday morning.

When this happens, it’s a great excuse to head into the sew room and attempt to finish many projects. (I always have high hopes. Hahahaha!) Although, I spent all day hibernating in my little hobby room – I didn’t finish a single project: planned several, started one.

I love that my passions in life accommodate the unexpected weather changes of my locale. I have a treadmill to run indoors and access to beautiful trails outdoors. I have my gardening in the warmer months and sewing/painting in the many more colder months. On days like today, I feel enormously blessed. Blessed to have a wonderful husband that enjoys having father-son time on the weekends. (Little G treasures his time with his dad – no question!) Blessed to have the flexibility I’m allowed to have in life. So, I enjoy the colder temps and the white frosting today, because tomorrow it will be gone – a memory of the past. (Weather claims to reach the 60s!)

Here’s to you all having a beautifully blessed day!


Ever struggle with how to bind a quilt?

I want to take some time to talk about binding. There are several different ways to bind a quilt. Some methods are designed to save time, others not so much. The most popular is the double fold binding method. It’s the way I was taught and has become my method of choice for most of the quilts I’ve made.

The only exceptions are my art quilts and the method used depends on the purpose of the quilt. For art quilts/wall hangings, be creative. That’s my best advice. Art is meant to be, well, artistic. Think about the overall impact you want the quilt to have for the viewer and then think how to “frame” it. The binding is the final “frame” for any quilt – it is your final chance to stop someone’s eye from leaving your quilt. Look at my one of my art quilts below. Notice how the borders and the binding work together. The black border on one side and the black binding on the other side stops your eye; thus, framing the piece.

For utility quilts, I *highly* recommend the double fold method because it is a method designed for durability.  By utility quilts I mean quilts used as bedding, baby quilts, lap quilts, or any other type of quilt that you make with the knowledge it will be used. The reason why is best illustrated by the below picture.

This is one of the first quilts I made (approximately 10+ years ago). Sadly, my at the time young puppy got a hold of the quilt and ate a very small hole into the quilt. (I can see a lot of quilters just cringing.) I was upset with her but not for long, because I will have only 10-15 (if I am lucky 15) with my puppy. I will have this quilt for much longer (hole and all) and it will always remind me of my fur baby. I did use this quilt for a time (yes, back on topic!) and, as you can see, the binding wore down. However, the quilt edge is still protected because of that second layer of fabric from the double binding method.

I will provide binding training videos, if people comment a desire for it. There are lots of binding training videos out in cyberspace, as a result, I don’t feel the need to redo what others have already done quite well. However, if my style of writing is something that you find helps you to assimilate data then comment or e-mail me and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

Until next time and have a fabulous day!