Home Improvement – The Kitchen Planning Begins!

DSCF5733I just LOVE this above photo.  Complete chaos!  Ha!  Actually, we are moving everything out of the cabinets in this photo so it literally is a complete mess.  But I took a photo none-the-less and our cavern of blegck is here for you all to devour!

Can you believe, after almost 20 years we are finally getting to the LAST remodeling project for our house?  Just to catch you all up on the most recent major renovation progression, we started our downstairs overhaul 2 years ago with the living room.  Gosh!  Has it been 2 YEARS already?  Wow.  Time has gone by so fast.

Last year we completed the family room and now, the last room in the downstairs is the Kitchen/back hall and bathroom area!  We just love saving the most complicated for last right?

Well, it’s also the most expensive too.  At this point of the project I was ready to just have someone come in, design it and let them do it.  We spent the last month working with a remodeling business here in town and we have their proposal in our hand.  Friends, let’s just say my emotions were all over the place.

My first reaction was excitement!  Yay!  The plan is here!  I can see the light!  Our home will be finished!  Whoot!

Then getting more into the plan I realized I was going to be compromising SOOOoooo many things that my heart sank, I actually shed a small little sniffle of a tear, let out a really BIG sigh and stood in my kitchen almost in a daze.  I’ve waited sooooo long to have this space made over that I just DON’T want to compromise on the quality of cabinets I WANT, the tiles I WANT, the amount of cabinets I WANT, the counter tops I WANT and so much more that literally our proposal was so compromised full of reduced cost items that I couldn’t bear the thought of parting with twice my budget for what I’d be getting.  The Value to Cost ratio was so off that I knew I’d have to find another way.  So my Veruca Salt (from Willy Wonka) melt-down ensued.

After a few days I went back to square 1 and now I’m working and designing the plan with the help of some virtual planning software.   I stumbled on Lowe’s version so far that is easy to use.  Wow…this was only after a couple hours playing with the program!…Kitchen with 2 tone rev1

Then I re-visited our friends at Barker Cabinets in Portland, Oregon (we visited them last year!) and WOW!  They have so many options now!  Their website has expanded and options, options, options galore (I was getting really excited!).

These are photos I took last year…DSCF6885 DSCF6884 DSCF6883 DSCF6882 DSCF6881 DSCF6880 DSCF6879 DSCF6878 DSCF6888 DSCF6887 DSCF6886

After lots of hours on the computer I think I have the confidence to go forward and make our kitchen happen now.  We’ll be hiring some professional craftsmen and tradesmen for the things we can’t do ourselves but I’ll tell you.  I am so relieved now.  I think we actually CAN get what we WANT within our budget now.

Another big sigh!   And full of renewed excitement!

Happy Happy!


More Scrappy Arrowhead Blocks

I’ve been working all week busting my scraps into these Arrowhead Blocks….DSCF1271 DSCF1273 DSCF1275

I’m up to 15 so far!  I’m gonna keep going until I get to the bottom of my 2″ strip pile!  This is really making a dent!

Stay tuned!



I decided to take a photo every day this week to record the progress of our melting snow!




Tuesday…           DSCF1111

Wednesday…  DSCF1115


Friday…  DSCF1259

Saturday…  DSCF1262March…in like a lion and out like a lamb.

Though here in Chicagoland the wolf can show up any time!

Happy Spring everyone!


A Straight Grain Arrowhead Block


Today I was writing over on my shop’s blog! Check out my new pattern for the ON-GRAIN Arrowhead block! Those experienced won’t need instructions but look for a tutorial on using the new pattern in a few days!

Originally posted on Stash Traders:

Hi Everyone!


Sometimes when I’m working on sewing down my scrap pile I come across an idea.  Today I wanted to see if I could make Anita Grossman’s Arrowhead block using some of my scrap strips.  If you have never tried her version of the Arrowhead block I highly recommend it.  It is fun to do and will open your eyes to a whole new way of piecing.


The block is featured in her book Rotary Cutting REVOLUTION, seen below…


It is also featured on Anita’s blog here and here!

I made this block a couple of years ago at quilt retreat and the one thing I remember was the outside edges of the block are all on the bias.  For some people this isn’t an issue but for me, as I’m known for OVER pressing, I know I’d run into trouble.

So off I am at the drawing table…

View original 199 more words

Re-Useable Grocery Bag Pattern Release!

Hi Friends!DSCF0609 I’ve completed my grocery bag pattern drafting and would you believe I actually figured out how to print it on multiple pages?

I’m going to do something different with this pattern.  I am going to give it away for all of you to enjoy but if you do decide to sew this I’d like you to give me some feedback okay?

Those of you that give me feedback will be entered into a drawing for some really cute fabrics from my shop…oh I don’t know…let’s say one of those 5 yard collections I currently have available in my Etsy store!

All you have to do is sew this pattern, tell me what you think either here on Sewingforlife.wordpress.com or on my shop website at http://www.stashtraders.com.  Then I’ll enter you into the drawing and I’ll pull the name on St. Patrick’s day for Good Luck!!!

That should give you all a month to sew lots and lots of these!

So here is the pattern!

Grocery Bag Pattern

To Print:

Use Adobe Reader software.
Click on File then Print.
In the printing pop up menu select Poster and Scale at 100%.
Overlap set to .02
Click in the box that says Cut Marks

The print.  You should get 6 pages.

To Sew:

Cut bias binding from a Half Yard piece of fabric.  If sewing binding without a binding attachment foot cut binding 2″ wide.  If sewing binding using a binding attachment foot cut binding 1″ wide (this is what I did on test versions 3-8).

Attach binding to the Opening edges.

Sew the Handles together right sides together.

Sew the side seams together right sides together.

Finish seams with either a zig zag or serger if you’d like.  (You could also sew these seams using a French Seam).

Tuck in each side at the bottom edge 3″ from the side seam.  This is marked on the pattern sheet as the fold line, you are folding the fabric to the inside.DSCF0610

Fold the handles back onto themselves wrong sides together and stitch these down along the seam.DSCF0614

Holding the fold at the bottom edge and the handles iron in this creased fold.

Stitch the bottom 1/4″ from the edge to lock in the fold.

Clip loose threads and enjoy!

(as you can tell I haven’t quite finished the complete detailed instructions yet)

Happy Sewing!


Re-Usable Grocery Bag Pattern Testing Part 2! – Small adjustments

Hi Friends!

I made a few adjustments in the paper pattern.  First, I cut it down to just half the size since it was a mirror image.  Then I lowered both the sides and the front curves…DSCF0515

…and added a side seam.  I thought this would work better for Fat Quarters and Half Yard Cuts.  I’m still on the fence about the handle curve.  Now that I’m writing this after making my 7th prototype I’m more likely going to change it to a straighter edition.  It was slightly more challenging to put the piping on with it being curved like this…DSCF0519

I chose a collection of fabrics to play with the idea of a coordinated set and to figure out how much bias binding I’ll get out of a half yard.  The fabric collection I chose was this blue and yellow group.DSCF0491

The yellow would serve as my binding…

DSCF0521 DSCF0523 DSCF0525


I was impressed with how much binding I could get out of a half yard!


I also cut out the bag body…in all the coordinates PLUS 1 more…



I experimented with a binding foot (with mixed results…but more about that in another post) and seam finishes too.

DSCF0557 DSCF0565

I think with the 7th one I was finding a rhythm.  The binding foot did make quick work of finishing the edges (when I was using it correctly…once again a story for another day) and each of these went together very quickly!


Now all I need to do is make my adjustments in the drafting software and I think this will be good to go for a trial run.


Happy Sewing!


One Yard Projects – The Reusable Grocery Bag! – Part 1 Pattern Testing

Hi Friends,

I don’t know why I get these wild hairs to go off and do these little projects, I just do.  Today I’d like to share with you my latest small endeavor for a new pattern…the grocery bag!

I have sooooo many cute fabrics to play with so I wanted to come up with a pattern that would be 1 Yard, 1/2 Yard and Fat Quarter friendly, without a lot of waste and yet be something that is completely functional and useful.




This is my second prototype for the grocery bag pattern shown in the following photos…DSCF0513

Currently, my design needs to improve on the opening at the handles.  I just don’t have enough room.  (You can sorta see my first effort to the right of the bag below).


The handle opening is too small (see the photo below and the opening at the left).


This little grocery bag was put to the test yesterday at Ultra Foods, they actually gave me .05c just for using it!  Fringe benefits for using re-usable grocery bags!  Heck, with all my testing and shopping these little bags will practically PAY for themselves!

I still have work to do before I’ll release this pattern as a fun sew-along.  So what are YOUR thoughts on these re-usable grocery bags?  I’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned on this one!



Brain Scan.. Not as pretty as my artwork…


I’m re-posting this for Ray. I have been following Ray for over a year now and was stunned when he shared this news. Let’s all go over to Etsy and buy a print….

Originally posted on Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas:

Dearest friends, fans, FAMILY!
Please reblog, share, tweet, FB, you name it!

Over the years it has been my freehand spray paint artwork that many of you are accustomed to seeing.  There will be more but for now, there is this.  My wife and I are working hard on keeping you up to date.  We are blown away by the more than 60K followers who show there support to us daily on the blog and other social media platforms!

So, here is a scan of my brain and the Tumor is circled. Its bigger than first thought.  On the 9th I have one more MRI w/ spectroscopy to determine the rate of growth and cell types.  Then it gets really hairy.

Ray Brain

I am doing the best I can to be in good spirits and will continue to strive! It really helps knowing I have touched so many people with my artwork…

View original 139 more words

Refresh an Old Ironing Board with a New Cover!

Here is a new post I wrote for Stashtraders.  I think you’ll enjoy it!DSCF0363

Refresh an Old Ironing Board with a New Cover!.

Getting the Shop In Order!

Hi Friends!

Well this new venture has really been a learning curve for me.  I just finished my year end bookkeeping and I’m happy to say I’m ready to take on this new year!DSCF0122-001

I’ve decided to focus my efforts on an Etsy shop.  I had originally opened a stand alone e-commerce website but after several months trying to get that e-commerce website running I made the executive decision to shut it down and transfer everything over to a different venue (Etsy!).   I needed to be part of where people go to shop and I’d wasted sooooo much time!  Ha!

So pretty much everything has been moved over to the Etsy store now (though I’m still loading fabrics into the shop) and Stashtraders.com will be the shops home on the web for blogging, tutorials, links, contact and so forth.

Sewingforlife  is my personal blog and I hope not to bore you too much with the business.  Eventually I suspect my business life and my personal life will come together as one and you all won’t even know the difference!

January has been a busy time with all the trappings that running a new business entails and I can’t even believe I haven’t yet posted anything yet!

Those beautiful Anna Griffin fabrics above have been hanging around for a couple of months and are now in the shop.  I love them so much I made a new bag for myself: DSCF0155

And put together some bundles for anyone interested in purchasing.  I hope I won’t completely sound like a sales pitch but seriously love this fabric!  I know it will be gone way too soon!

I’ll be back soon, I promise….I really do have much to blog about….

Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting, Crafting and Sewing!