Sunday, September 3, 2023

Spilling Over with Ideas ~ Sew & Tell

Have you ever had so many ideas and creative opportunities come at you in what seems like rapid fire?  That is what this week has been... sometimes the ideas are complete and concise and easily handled, achieved or researched.  Sometimes they take a little longer.  Let's get started with my Sew & Tell...

I've not made much progress in researching and reading for future sew along events.  The book about Cathy Williams, the only female buffalo soldier has been returned.  While interesting, the writing style did not hold my attention.  It was more about details of dates and locations, repeated three to four times.  

My current read is the book/diary of Susan Magoffin, as she journeyed with her husband from Independence, MO to Mexico.  I grew up hearing her name as they had a longer than normal stay at Bent's Fort.  They took up residence in one of the rooms just off the fort's plaza as she was in need of medical care as she miscarried a baby.  I am enjoying Susan's journal entries as much as I enjoyed Marion Sloan Russell's.  I can probably safely set the book aside and purchase a personal copy so that I can mark as I desire.

I still have two more books checked out from the library about the Old Spanish trail, one with just a few days left on the loan period.  These books are not long reads and I believe that I will quickly be able to determine whether it is a topic I want to continue to research... if I can keep all of those little squirrel projects from distracting me.

Squirrel #1 - Using the cut-off scraps from the carousel quilt, I prepped some quilted hearts that need only a little bit embellishment with buttons, beads, ribbon or lace.  While at it, I pulled out a single orphan quilt block and did the same thing with it.

Sixteen hearts ready to entertain me as we travel and camp.

(hint: We are making plans for a 10-ish day trip mid-October... YAY!)

Squirrel #2 - While pulling out the orphan block for the hearts I located two improv pieces that will become a part of my mini-quilt challenge.  

Squirrel #3 - I found a free on-line course by Shannon Brinkley about fabric dyeing ~ Fabric to Flowers.  It was interesting and I would certainly enjoy an afternoon or two of doing it... much as I did with my friend a few years ago when she taught me about Eco-printing.  While fun, it is not something I would like to dive into deeply or exclusively.

Squirrel #4 - Tricia Robinson is an artist that has inspired me with several quilty projects... my church series of minis and my Peace & Love dove that I made this year as part of the mini-quilt challenge.  I saw a recent ad for a paper doll that was available as a free download.  It looked fun... and then I saw a free coloring page for my daughter and I do as we study the book of Esther in a couple weeks.

I have plans for using her paper doll and "verse dress" to make a card... stay tuned. :)  The idea has not fully jelled, but it will involve photo fabric and if I can figure out how to do it... she will have an opportunity to have multiple verse dresses.

Squirrel #5 - I recall seeing an Advent calendar with sewing notions as the "prizes".  I was surfing the net and found a few.  One was really cute, but way over priced, IMO.  There were similar items on Amazon that were less than 1/2 the cost of the pricey one. Plus, it is not like I need another seam ripper, pin cushion, or such.  It would, however, be a fun thing to get for the grand-daughters in a few years if they express interest in continuing to sew.

But... what caught my eye was this one with small sew-in tags.  I need this like a hole in my head (as my Dad would have said)... I will add to my list and consider.  It is listed as the 2022 calendar, so... if it happens to get discounted... I'll grab it then.  These tags would be fun to include on special things... like the memory bears I made for my friend.  

So... as I pondered the idea of (and cost of) custom tags, I pulled out some iron-on transfer paper I had in my stash and some twill tape that I also had in my trims and baubles stash.  In just a short time, I had some custom tags designed... I only made 6 for now.  My plan is to use them on my mini-quilts.  Maybe as decoration... or maybe as a "hanger" on the back.  By the way, the background of my tags is one of the pieces prepped for a future mini-quilt. 

The ideas were flowing at such a rate that I was unable to truly focus on just one... I was quickly jotting down my ideas and have printed all of the various things I need to move forward with some future plans... And, with the hearts ready to go and my sewing bag with lace and trims for them replenished, I have that off of my mind.  What do you do when your mind gets bogged down with ideas and you get somewhat "paralyzed"?  What helps you get focused?  Leave a comment... I'd welcome ideas that might help me. :) 

I still need to get a table cover for Dave's worktable in the shop... maybe this week!  Here's the fabric I got printed with his logo.  It is nothing fancy... it will be simple to cut the blocks apart and piece them together with some other pre-cut squares I have on hand.  To satisfy my curiosity and to utilize some of the things I learned in the on-line natural dye class, I will try a few things in a dye process so that the fabric isn't stark white. White in a shop that is filled with wood dust, metal chips, oil and more is not the best choice.  If it doesn't work out... no biggie.  It will simply get dirty anyway. LOL!

It's been a fun week, and I am looking forward to getting some actual sewing time on my machine.  Let's take a look at Alycia's Blue Batik quilt... She also had some adorable puppy pictures!  Who could resist that face?  

The Sew & Tell Party is now open for you to share your projects.  The more the merrier!

Keep Piecing!


Linking with:



  1. Oh , Melva those quilted hearts as cute as a button and how clever are you and making your custom tags. Have a wonderful Labor Day .

  2. My goodness the ideas really are flowing. You've got me interested in iron-on transfer paper now. What do I do when the ideas come? Depends, sometimes I just write them down, and sometimes I get researching on one and it leads to another and another, and then nothing gets done - lol!

  3. We will be traveling mid October too. Love seeing all the ideas flying around your head. Mine often come from blogs or out of need or a memory of something I encountered somewhere...

  4. You have some great squirrels!! and how cool to make your own tags... thats a great way to capture your handwriting!! I have some of those books too - that I like - they just don't capture my attention for long ... Good luck with finding what you want to research! thanks for the shout out!!

  5. Idea from the head flowing... usually not, and almost always in the middle of the night when I should be asleep. Or maybe I am dreaming. I generally will try to remember them the next morning and sometimes write them down. Or not.

  6. Love your idea for custom tags (yep, those things are pricey!). I have two metal chalkboards in my studio. Those are my brainstorming places and though I have to keep my studio clean to work, anything goes on those two boards and it's great having that "free space" to write ANYthing.

  7. Hi Melva, I understand about the ideas swirling around in your head. I'm usually that way when I have a project to do that I'd rather not do! I can't help but I think that it's a great idea to write them down - at least you'll be able to get back to them when the time is right. Thanks for the party!

  8. I missed making it over in time for the deadline, but will link up next week with you. Great idea to make your own custom tags! Don't you love it when all those ideas come flying into your mind?! I have to write them down as they come, otherwise, they're gone just as quickly!! LOL Thanks for sharing on Monday Musings.

  9. I joined a book club for the first time ever. It's called For The Record and is reading the 33 1/3 books on record albums. I've lost interest pretty quickly, but it's still a nice time out with other people.

    1. It is always good to spend a little time with others. :) Enjoy!

  10. Boy, oh boy, can I relate to this post!! When the squirrels start running in fast and heavy, I do pretty much the same analysis as you do: I try to determine if it is something I "need/want to" do now and do I have the resources for it. Anything that can't (because of time or resources) get tackled immediately gets printed out and I make notes on it about why I was interested in it and file it away. Sometimes if I keep thinking about a filed away idea for more than a couple of weeks, I'll pull it back out and reconsider it but most just stay firmly "out of sight, out of mind". Of course there are those times I thought I found a new idea and then went to put it in the files and realized I had made notes about the same or a very similar one a year or two prior, LOL!

    The best are those new ideas that I already have fabric for and the parts can be quickly cut (or die cut) and put in a container next to the sewing machine to use as leader/ender piecing while I continue to work on my current focus project. I believe everything you consider "primes the pump" of your creativity even if you ultimately don't actually make it!