Insta-Friday: Houston Insta-Quilters Meet Up


Welcome to another edition of Insta-Friday, where I will share a little tidbit of (hopefully) helpful information about Instagram to make using it easier and more enjoyable! Or I just ramble on about how much I love Instagram.

As fun as it is to connect with people all over the world through Instagram, I still feel that quilting is a social activity that should be shared in person (my husband would disagree with that though).  Maybe it’s because when I have a friend to sew with, I don’t have to stop sewing to take a picture and share it on IG if they are sitting right next to me!

Through my posts on IG I have come to realize that there are A LOT of quilters in Houston who use Instagram! This is so exciting to me because it helps me feel connected to them, maybe because I know they are experiencing the same hot and humid weather or I know they feel my pain when I talk about the traffic in Houston. It’s just another way to connect to them.

When I posted the question to my IG friends to ask if anyone wanted to meet up, I had a really nice response! The only problem, Houston is super spread out and a lot of us have full time jobs and/or children and driving across town for a meet up is not really something we wanted to do (see previous comment about the traffic).  So now I’m trying to work out some of the logistics but I have a temporary solution.

In August I have a meeting planned for for the Savor Each Stitch Bee on Saturday August 1st from 1-3 pm at Panera Bread in Post Oak and I’d like to invite any and all Houston Insta-Quilters to come either to the bee meeting (we’re discussing the design concept of Scale from the 3rd or 4th chapter of the book) or come at 3 pm for the Insta-Quilter portion of the afternoon.

I guess the point of this post is that even though Instagram is technically a media where you may never expect to meet people you “know” online, there are still opportunities to meet them! In fact, it was an almost surreal experience when I got to meet a few people at the International Quilt Show in Houston last fall whom I only knew online (@capitolaquilter and @cauchycomplete to name two) and again at QuiltCon I made a new friend who actually lives in Houston (@sweetfeetstitches)! Social media is helping to make our large world feel smaller and more connected and that can never be a bad thing.

Insta-Quilters in Houston Meet Up

(not sewing, just sewcializing, but you’re welcome to bring sew and tell!)

Saturday August 1st

3pm -5pm(come from 1-3pm if you want to participate in the Savor Each Stitch Bee)

Panera Bread in Post Oak

Questions? Just drop me an e-mail and I’ll try to answer them

Happy Friday,


How to Get Over a Quilt Retreat Hangover

Pass the Coffee

My son, Michael James, probably about 18 months old

Ugh, it’s Monday after an amazing quilt retreat at Honey Hill. I’ve been on several retreats and I always take Friday off to travel to the site and come home on Sunday. Then I always wish I had taken Monday off too so I could recover from the weekend! The feeling you have on Monday when you have to go back to work after a quilt retreat is what I call a Quilt Retreat Hangover. No, alcohol is not even required for this lethargic effect that hits you when you realize you have to return to reality bright and early Monday morning (or Sunday night). If your Monday morning job is doing laundry and entertaining young children or like mine, going in to work by 8:30 am, it’s always a difficult adjustment to get back to that routine. Thankfully the only real effect is tiredness, not sensitivity to light or sound or nausea (if that is the case, maybe you should have done more sewing and less actual drinking).

I mean, here is how my weekend went (note the time references):

Friday – Arrive at the retreat at 4:30 pm, stay up until 4:30 am trying to finish that last row (of course my bobbin ran out after sewing about 4 inches so I just decided that was a sign to wait until the morning)

Saturday – Woke up excited around 9:30 am despite going to sleep at 4:30 am. Who needs to SLEEP when you can SEW?? Stayed up until roughly 2:30 am working on a project which, deep down I KNEW I couldn’t really make any serious progress on because I managed to leave ALL my lime green fabrics at home (hmm, maybe I should have read my previous post about packing for a retreat).

Sunday – Due to the previous two days of staying up past my normal 11 pm bedtime I was a little tired and slept until 10 am.  I mean, when you don’t have a kid jumping on your face at 7 am, it’s amazingly easy to sleep in! Plus, the room was pleasantly dark, at home my bedroom is full of daylight by 7 am (which is why the kid wakes up). Finally hit the road around 1 pm, and made it home around 6:30 pm (because of my detour to the quilt shop and some heavy traffic on the way home). For some strange reason I stayed up until 1:30 am on Sunday night, not the best idea when I knew I needed to wake up by 6:30 am today.

Of course, when I got home, I was instantly back to being Mom and wife again. No easing back into the routine for this girl. Apparently my child missed me so much that the normally fairly independent toddler became a Klingon. While I appreciate the sentiment, it was still difficult to carry around a 40 lb child or have him following me around like a little shadow.

So, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to get to the part about how to combat this effect of being extra tired on Monday morning. Truth is, I don’t really know how to get over it. Here are a few suggestions though:

1) COFFEE, COFFEE, and more COFFEE (or just the usual dark roast from Starbucks)

2) I strongly believe that taking Monday off from work will help transition back to reality. (even if it is delaying the inevitable)

3) Maybe working from home would help (in my case that would mean being able to sleep in an extra hour) if your job allows that option.

4) Going to bed as early as possible on Sunday night (for some reason I was up until 1:30 am last night, unpacking and chatting with hubs)

5) Spend as much time with child, husband, and/or pets as possible on Sunday night. Put the phone away and “be present” for the family because you were just immersed in a quilt/IG/FB/girl time weekend and they missed you!

In the end, how you cope with the Monday Quilt Hangover may be different than how I do it. The best thing is that just getting away from mommy duty for a couple days was very relaxing and helped me recharge my battery. I have some mommy guilt but I know that if I don’t take some time to recharge and hang out with adults who have the same interests that I do and have some girl time, it makes it harder to be a loving mom and wife.

How about you, do YOU have any suggestions for a Quilty Hair of the Dog remedy for a Quilt Retreat Hangover?

I’m looking forward to hearing your response. And thanks for stopping by to read my Packing for a Quilt Retreat post!

Happy Stitches,


Packing for a Quilt Retreat in 5 Easy Steps

Pack for a Quilt Retreat

Personally, I think there isn’t really ever a BAD time for a quilt retreat. The guilds I’m in usually plan theirs in the Spring time when the wildflowers are blooming and the weather is pretty nice (not too hot and not too rainy/cold). This makes for a pleasant drive because well, let’s face it, in Texas, if you’re going on a retreat, you’re going to have to drive a little bit. I like to go on retreats in the summer because it’s so darn hot and it’s a perfect excuse to stay inside and sew! (The same applies in the winter when it’s so darn cold.)

I’ve been thinking about the best way to pack for a retreat (I hear this question a lot) so I thought I’d share my personal packing steps. You can choose to follow these or share your own in the comments (I like to believe that real people read this blog). I’ve never attended a retreat in another state. I can’t imagine the planning that would have to go into packing for an adventure like that but I hope that someday I’ll get to experience it.

How to Pack for a Quilt (or other) Retreat

1) Meticulously plan every single project you are going to work on, this would be the perfect time to tackle your UFO list. Make sure you WRITE down this list because you’re going to use it in step 2. Hold nothing back, this is YOUR weekend to get stuff done so you don’t want to leave stuff at home and then run out of things to DO!

[OK, seriously, you may want to pick a couple specific projects to work on and then one or two bonus projects]

At the SAMQG retreat of 2014 I only made quilt backs. I had at least 13 quilt tops that needed backs (so I wouldn’t have an excuse to NOT quilt them) and I spent pretty much all three days making backings. How many of those are finished quilts now? Uhm, maybe one. The ones I’ve managed to quilt actually still need binding! (But I am now one step closer to getting them finished!)

2) Spend time gathering your supplies for the projects on the list in Step 1. If this means you have to temporarily ignore the house work [who am I kidding, I ALWAYS ignore the housework] and make sure the kid is situated on the couch binge watching episodes of Daniel Tiger (gotta love auto play) then do it! Probably should consider ordering pizza and let your hubs know he may not see you for the next few hours.

Remember: It takes time to find all those supplies you’ll need, especially if you’re going to tackle some old UFOs or if you haven’t been in your sewing space in a while (which is why you NEED this retreat!) So you may want to start earlier in the week and spread this step out over a few days. Be sure to designate an area to gather all these items. I have a GIANT rolling cart that I use to “pack” my supplies (i.e. madly throw everything in it as I find them). I bought it back when I was “selling” scrapbook supplies and it works perfectly to pack up for retreats. Of course, once it’s packed it usually takes a Herculean effort to get it down the stairs but that’s what husbands are for!

3) Don’t worry if you get distracted by the pretty fabric that will be left behind when you go on this trip. Take a few moments to say “hello old friends” and then get back to packing!

4) Pack up the car. This will probably require you to remove the car seat for the weekend. Just face this fact, you won’t need the car seat (the kid is staying at home) and this will make more room for SUPPLIES! Also, you may want to wait to pack the car under cover of darkness. My child is very attune to my movements and he asks “Where we going?” when I change any article of clothing or take a shower (he assumes that means we’re going somewhere) and he doesn’t like it when Mommy leaves and he stays behind even though ALL his toys are at home. So it is just easier to pack the car after he’s gone to bed, or better yet, in the morning after I’ve dropped him off at daycare before I leave for the retreat. The other benefit of packing at night is that it’s not as hot and in my house we park cars in the garage so it gets stuffy. Just do whatever works for you.

Personally, I have a Toyota Corolla which is a great car for the price but is not very big, so I need every inch I can get of cargo room. So out goes the car seat. I can’t wait until I finally get that SUV we’ve been talking about!

If you don’t have children, the same load-the-car-at-night principle applies to pets and spouses. I had a dog once who would run and jump into the back of my Mazda 3 hatchback when I opened the hatch and said “Let’s go to Gigi’s!” They know when you’re leaving, I mean, isn’t Instagram full of pictures of pets sitting in suitcases and tote bags?

5) Now that the car is packed up with the essential supplies, look around and see if there is any extra room. Are the floorboards empty? Is there room in the trunk or glove compartment? If so, you can use that space to bring more fabric! That means there is room for just one more project! I mean, maybe you’ll only really have 1 full day out of the 3 days you’ll be gone to work but I’m sure you’re as productive as I am and can get at least 10 projects finished in that time right?

Don’t get discouraged. If all else fails, grab a bag of scraps and just do some wonky improv piecing all weekend!

And in seriousness, here’s a list of the ESSENTIAL supplies outside of your project materials which may help you pack for your retreat:

1) Sewing machine AND POWER CORD and PEDAL (very important)

2) Presser feet (I use the 1/4 inch – it has an edge to guide the fabric, flat foot – for paper piecing, walking foot – for quilting, darning foot – for free motion quilting) and I always need a little screw driver with my machine for the feet

3) Travel (or regular) iron plus pressing mat

4) Cutting supplies – I always bring a small mat, rotary cutter and small ruler because I like to paper piece and have these supplies right next to my machine

5) TV tray (great for extending the table and keeping the cutting supplies handy)

6) Pillowcase to gather scraps and “sewing trash” for a dog bed to donate at the end of the weekend

7) Seam ripper, scissors (large and small), extra machine needles, pins, basting spray, batting

8) Travel coffee mug (with a lid to help lessen spills), I like to bring my own little hazlenut creamer cups

9) Snacks to share and keep up your energy while you’re sewing, also great for long road trips

10) Camera, phone, CHARGER cord

11) PILLOW – I have a special Bamboo pillow that we purchased recently and it’s AMAZING so I’m definitely bringing it! Even though sleeping is rare when I go to a retreat, the idea of spending a night not waking up at 4 AM to get my son a cup of milk or without a kid kicking me all night is VERY appealing.

12) Cute PJs that you don’t mind other people seeing, fuzzy socks or slippers (feet may get cold and I sew barefoot anyway), sweater OR a personal fan (depending on your preference, if you are warm natured)

13) Sketchbook, always bring a sketchbook and pencils or markers

That’s about it. Is there anything that you bring that helps make your weekend more enjoyable? Also, I’d love to hear if this list was helpful.

Happy Stitching!


Do you dream in color?


I absolutely love color. I think my favorite part of the quilt design process is choosing the fabrics because it means I get to play with color. Yet I hear that so many people feel lost or stuck when it comes to choosing the colors for their next quilt.  Do you use Pinterest?  I have one main board just dedicated to color combos but I’ve also started other boards for specific projects and for those I typically start with color pinspiration (see what I did there?) This picture is from Pinterest and it’s a stretch from the colors I typically choose. Normally I lean toward aqua and coral and maybe a pop of lime green (and my wardrobe reflects that as well). But when I was pinning color combos for my Sewing Buddy project with my friend Emily, I saw this combo of green, blue and deep purple and jumped on it. Oddly enough, today I’m wearing my one outfit that doesn’t have coral and the color combo is very close to the image above and that was a complete coincidence! If you need some other color inspiration, check out the #fridayfabricmix tag on IG. The hostesses chose a theme each week and asked people to pull fabrics with that theme. It was really fun to see the different combos people chose based on their interpretation of the theme. I hope they will continue the challenge beyond May! If you get stuck when choosing colors, try this: Pick one fabric that you know you want to work with and look for colors within that fabric. The coordinates don’t have to be solid and there are a ton of amazing geometric designs out there (I believe quilters call them blenders) that would play so well with a main fabric.  I just need to warn you, if you are choosing colors based on a main fabric on a website and you have all 12 fabrics in your virtual cart, don’t wait overnight to order because the next day your feature fabric may be sold out! (ask me how I know this). If you decide you want to play with color combos, I’d love to see what you put together! Feel free to tag me in your IG post about color!

Happy Stitching,


Savor Each Stitch bee – contrast


This is a mini quilt I’m working on to explore contrast for my savor each stitch bee tomorrow. The red is actually a lot prettier in person and the other color is a dark grey. I’m planning to quilt it in circles for some really fun contrast. This was a difficult study for me and we are meeting a month early due to everyone’s schedule. So thankful hubs took the kid out last night so I could relax and sew. It’s been an incredibly stressful and frustrating week at work.

What’s Up Wednesday – The Happiness Project


Recently, my dear husband got this book for me from the library. It’s call The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (I highly recommend you see if your library has it). I am devouring this book! It’s sort of like a self-help book but she explains what she did to help improve her happiness! And it’s not because she was depressed or anything catastrophic happened, it’s because she felt that it was good to work on happiness when times were pretty good, so as to help make room for more happy! Does that make sense?

Oh and I just found out she has a podcast and that has made me completely giddy because I just started going to the gym during my lunch break and after I finish reading this book I think I’m going to enjoy listening to the podcast at the gym!

I have a hard time reading books even though I’ve always loved reading. Typically, I almost prefer to spend my free time (usually on the bus commuting to and from work 45 minutes to an hour each way) just surfing Instagram and checking in on Facebook. But lately, my IG feed has become a reminder of the millions of quilting projects that I want to do but can’t figure out where the time to do them might be (unless I learn how to survive and function on minimal sleep). So why do I want to remind myself of that? When I found this book and started to read it, I instantly related to Gretchen. Even to the point where she said she would delay going to bed because she didn’t want to take out her contacts, wash her face and brush her teeth (that’s just in the first chapter).  Each chapter is a different month and a different focus in her year long endeavor to become happier. Right now I’m up to June (about half way) and I’d say I’ve been able to relate in some way to about 99% of what she talks about. Even though at first the multiple references to other “happiness experts” reminded me of reading research articles in graduate school, I’m enjoying the fact that I know she has researched this topic which can seem rather “touchy/feely” and it’s actually based on some sort of science and repeated studies. It may be her experience, but it’s not just her personal opinion about how to make yourself feel better.

So much of this book reminds me of my own life and I can’t wait to finish it and then maybe read her next book (which is the one my husband checked out originally which sparked my interest and prompted him to get this book for me).

I don’t know if I can make a year long project out of this idea, but I’m excited to look at the rest of Gretchen’s website and see what resources I can use to help make my life a little happier, even if that means I can’t quilt non-stop in all my free time.

Happy Stitches!


Work in Progress Wednesday – Savor Each Stitch


A study in lines and some contrast for the Savor Each Stitch Book Bee


My Savor Each Stitch Book Bee group had another meeting last Saturday. I hadn’t really made much progress on my little project other than the hand stitching of the middle section of the background. Luckily, Friday was a holiday from work for me (and the boy could still go to daycare) so I was able to relax and really savor the stitches! I decided to machine stitch the sections on either side of the center (both for the contrasted look and for the sake of time). This was a fun way to explore lines which is the subject of the first chapter.

Originally I was going to use some other fabrics for the circles (or squircles, because they are cut from squares) but I decided that since I’m most likely going to hang this project somewhere in my cubicle and look at it often, I should use fabric that I love to look at, so I decided to pull some of my Amy Butler stash. Luckily the circles are quite small so I used the scraps I had on hand. The next chapter in the book is about Contrast and I originally interpreted that as the colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel, which is why I pulled blues and reds. Red is not a color that I usually use in my projects and it’s a little outside of what Amy Butler typically uses in her designs (we’re both water signs I think because we both love greens and blues, in fact her birthday is in the same month as mine!)

After my discussion with the other bee participants, I feel I need to explore contrast a little more in a different project, but this one has been fun and I think I may try to mount it on a frame instead of just doing a facing. I like the idea of making it literally 3 dimensional to enhance the texture of the hand stitching.

One thing I did learn was that if you put Steam a Seam on the back of something that you plan to hand stitch, you should leave a small area around the edge without the interfacing because it was difficult to hand stitch the pieces once they were steamed on the quilt. And yes, they are hand stitched around the edge.

Don’t forget you can quickly see more pictures of my progress for this bee if you look up the tag #savoreachstitchbee on Instagram.

So that’s my WIP for the week. What are you all up to?

Happy Stitches,


Spring Clean Fling 2015

Wow, try saying that tile 5 times fast! I decided on a hash tag for my Spring organizing posts on IG, it will be #springcleanfling2015 because if you can believe it there are already posts on the tag with the same name but no year! I’ve decided that I will do a round up of my links and posts about Spring cleaning/organizing on Fridays during April. That way if you aren’t on IG, you won’t miss out on the goodness and you’ll have the whole weekend to try out the suggestions!

Here are links to the ideas I’ve posted this week

Washi Tape Cord Labels

Magnetic Strips for Bobbins or Scissors

Mason Jar Storage Shelf

If you want to post some ideas feel free to use the hash tag above to share on IG or post your ideas in the comments here! I love more ideas!

Happy Stitches,


Spring Clean Fling


It’s a new month and Spring has sprung here in Houston (I have the sinus infection to prove it).  It is so tempting to jump on the spring cleaning band wagon.  Instead of sharing tons of pictures of beautifully organize, already perfect spaces, I thought I’d dig into my Craft Room Organizing Pinterest boards. My plan is to share some ideas that are really fast, inexpensive and easy to take action on, like right now! The picture above is an idea I found today from Domestic Adventure and it looked so easy! (You have to check out that original post, the before and after is awesome!) Just mount a magnetic strip on the wall (they are usually in the kitchen section for holding knives) and use it to hold your bobbins, scissors and even presser feet! She does make a good point about the bobbins getting magnetized and the problems it could cause for computerized sewing machines though. So use caution when implementing this idea.

I love the idea of making good use of the vertical space in your sewing room/creative area and clean off your sewing table.  I know that anything around my sewing machine is in danger of being pushed to the floor by the project I’m working on.

By the way, I’m also sharing these tips on my Instagram account and I actually haven’t come up with a cool hash tag yet! But when I do I’ll be sure to share it here!

Also if you want to feel better about the state of your space, check out #honestcraftroomcleanup for some great before and after clean up pictures!

(Note: I’m trying posting this from my phone so if the format seems strange, it is because I’m using the wordpress app!)

Happy stitches and happy spring!

Insta-Friday: Tag a Friend and the Fabric Black Market

instagram logo

Welcome back to Insta-Friday! I took last week off because my son turned 3 last week and I spent Friday planning and preparing for his party on Saturday!

I hope you’ve had a chance to jump in to Instagram a little to see how fun it is. Thanks to those who have sent me DMs to test out my instructions in the last post. I’m glad to see that my instructions were helpful.

Today I want to cover a few more features of IG that I didn’t hit last time.

Tag a Friend

Maybe you just spent the absolute best day with your BFFs shopping and having lunch and you want to make sure that they know about the pictures you post on IG. Well, if your BFFs are on IG, then you can tag them in your picture, just like you probably already do on Facebook! There is a little trick to it (of course).

When you post the picture, you will need to tap on the tiny icon that looks like a person in order to tag them on the picture. That will only show up as a little call out near the person’s face (or where ever you put it) on the picture, but people who see your post and tap on the pic will see anyone you tagged.

You can also tag your friend in the description you post about the picture. Just put the @ symbol in front of your friend’s IG name and it will notify them that they’ve been tagged. The nifty part of IG is that if you can’t remember your friend’s IG name, which is CRE8TIVEGRL52, when you put the @ symbol and start to type your friend’s name (Sandy Smith) you will probably get a pop up box with names that are similar to Sandy’s name. That makes it easy to find her name and select it. I’ve noticed that this option doesn’t always work on my Galaxy S4 for some reason, I think it has to do with the predictive text on the keyboard when I am typing.

NOTE: When you comment on a picture your buddy posts, they will automatically get a notification that you replied on their post, you don’t HAVE to tag them in your reply. I notice a lot of people will do that, but it’s a little redundant since they are posting a reply to the original person who posted. It might save you about 3 seconds but those seconds really add up!


modquiltmom_anna: My boy turned 3 today!

IGGirl1: @modquiltmom_anna Aww, how cute!

Fabric Black Market on IG

Are you ready for the best and worst secret on Instagram for Quilters? There is a black market that has more fabric than you could possibly imagine all available at the tap of a finger as quick as you can type your e-mail address! I’m not sure how long ago it happened but maybe a year or so ago, a popular IG person and a few of her friends decided they wanted to host a fabric DESTASH using Instagram as the platform for the sale. They created a hash tag #thegreatfabricdestash and started creating a buzz before the actual event occurred. It was meant to be a few days long, starting on a set day, anyone who wanted to sell some of their fabric stash (for whatever reason) would share pictures and the price of the items. The people who wanted them would post their paypal e-mail plus a zip code. Then the original seller would send the purchaser a paypal invoice and go from there. The FIRST person to comment with their e-mail is the one who “claims” the item.

Well, the buzz started to grow, as it often does in social media and when the actual even occurred it probably involved a few hundred posts from different people. As of today, maybe a year or so later, there have been more than 80,000 posts to that tag! Yes, you read that correctly eighty THOUSAND!

Granted, now some folks who have online shops have started listing their new items in the tag (personally, that bugs me) and there isn’t anyone who monitors or regulates the tag, I mean, how would that even be possible.

People who sell their items are SUPPOSED to delete the post once it’s sold to help clean up the feed, but people don’t follow that rule very much either.

I find it’s a fun tag to browse when I’m bored, or curious. Some fabrics become hard to find and then when they pop up on the feed, they go for outrageous prices, like $10 per fat quarter or something crazy like that. I’m not buying fabric at all this year, but I have used the tag to sell some of my fabric on occasion. I call it the black market of fabric because it’s not a known platform for selling items. It’s just a hash tag on Instagram. IG doesn’t get ANY revenue from these sales. The only outside source who might profit is PayPal or the postal carrier (gotta love flat rate shipping). That’s what I like about it, it’s completely organic.

There is also a tag called #thegreatfabricdestashISO for people who are searching for a specific out of print or hard to find fabric.

Some folks have tried to start a swapping tag or a trading tag, but none have been nearly as popular as #thegreatfabricdestash.

Oh, and it’s better than Etsy because even though there are thousands of listings and it’s not possible to search within the tag (I wish I could search for just Amy Butler prints in the Destash tag) it’s actually a lot smaller than Etsy and the listings are VERY specific (fabric, patterns, a few handmade items) and you KNOW the target audience is looking there for fabric.

Well, I think that’s it for now. If you have any other questions about IG or want me to explain something a little more, please leave me a comment so we can continue the conversation!

Happy Stitches,