Getting your Sew-Jo Back!

Thanks for joining me during Sam Hunter’s Design Studio Back-To-School blog hop! Because you are here that tells me you could use a little boost to your summer sewing routine. I know for me with small kids at home for the summer sewing can go to the back burner when you have play dates, library trips and the general mayhem of kids.all.the.time! And even if you are not in the season of kids summer is a reason to be outside, go on vacation, change up our spring and winter routines of being in side and in the sewing room.

Well don’t fret because I am here with a few tips to help you take back your creative time and get back into the sewing groove I know you so desperately need to keep your sanity! Because that’s why I sew, for me time and to recharge my creative energies that help to fuel the rest of my life.

I also love to inspire others to create, it’s my happy place. That is why when Sam asked me to join in the idea of sharing ways to get those creative juices flowing jumped into my mind. So next time you feel that slump in your sewjo coming on get in front of that feeling with these tips to keep your creative juices flowing. Enjoy!

  1. Take a class. Online classes at a site like or make it easy to learn a new skill from the comfort of your computer screen. Super easy to join with an email address and search the internet for an introductory offer to get started. Another great way to learn is in person at your LQS (local quilt shop). Not only is your LQS a treasure trove of supplies & fabric but it holds deep knowledge from the people who run the store. Added bonus of taking a class in person is you get to meet other quilters and quilt friends are the best friends.
  2. Service your machine. If you can’t remember the last time you took your sewing machine in for service or when you opened up the bobbin holder and did it yourself then it’s probably time. If you haven’t done it yourself I encourage you to try; it’s pretty easy! Start with a YouTube search for your machine model and how to clean, there are a bunch of lovely people waiting to show you how. And while you are at it it’s always a good idea to change your needle. Like right now, go change it.
  3. Try something new. Find a new technique for making flying geese or half-square triangles. Try out that quilt pattern that has always intimated you by starting out with with just one block. That new thing doesn’t have to be complex or time consuming but scratching that ‘what-if’ itch always feels fresh and inspiring. Stretching your creative wings always leads to good places!
  4. Take a slice of inspiration from your favorite designer or Instagram account. Full on copy cat action is allowed for your own fun! Let the derivatives fly! Choose a color palate based on your favorite designer fabric line. Loved that project your IG crush just started, start one too! Nothing is off limits when it’s your time to create – follow that inspiration and see where it takes you.
  5. Just start with 15 minutes. Set a timer (I do this on my Iphone all the time, Siri, set a timer for 15 minutes) and just play around. Maybe tackle that WIP first and then see how you feel, or just create a fun fabric combination for no reason at all. Simply be in your creative space and make the time for yourself. I bet after 15 minutes you will want to keep going and if not no big deal either. Create for the fun of it and like I tell my 7-year old; “If it’s not fun then stop playing the game”.
  6. Get your friends involved. Friends may mean your kids, your neighbor, guild friends, maybe even your partner is willing to get in on the fabric fun. Grab another human and play in your space! Show them your favorite quilting book, ask them what their favorite colors are, tell them about your dream project. Talking about your passion with someone you care about is sure to get those wheels turning – just make sure it isn’t that debby downer of a friend who poo-poos all your best and craziest ideas!
  7. Buy the fabric. Don’t even go on a guilt trip about it, just buy it. I know there is a least one thing you can think of that you have been wanting! Maybe it’s not even fabric – perhaps a new pattern or quilt book. I say if you can afford it then go for it.
  8. Give it away. On the opposite side of buy is sell. Are you ready for a destash? Is there a fabric pile that does not inspire you anymore? What about the WIP that is giving you the sideways look? Let it go! Give away or sell your unwanted fabrics. (on IG #thegreatfabricdestash is a good place to sell modern fabrics and there is always EBAY) At my local guild we have a free table where quilters bring in their unwanted fabrics, books and notions, does your guild have one? Donating to a charity, local school art class or a friend who wants to learn are great ways to spread around the fabric love and make room for what’s next.
  9. Clean it up. Is your creative space in chaos? I love to take a break from the creating and hit the reset button for the next project by cleaning up my sewing room. Organizing fabric, dusting off the shelves and putting away all the rulers, books and notions that tumbled out during a whirlwind of sewing always gets me back in a mood to start something new.
  10. Be easy with yourself. Did you get through this whole list and still say ‘blarg’. If that is you then make a cup of tea, coffee or a stiff drink and say ‘no problem’. Don’t worry about it! Close the door and go for a walk. Take the kids to the park. Call a friend and have a long chit-chat. Sewing & quilting time is our time for relaxation, meditation and creative expression it is not another reason to beat ourselves up. If you are not feeling it then get as far away from it as is comfortable until the mood strikes. And when it does watch out and remember no running with sharp scissors.

My last tip is more of a frame of mind; create for you without apology. Be as uniquely you as you can be. Leave all the inner and outer critics out of it and go with what you like. Stop comparing yourself to anyone or anything else (hello, Pinterest I’m talking to you!). Make something and enjoy it for you; not for IG – not for likes, not for comments but solely for you! In the incredible age of social media and all the information right at your fingertips sometimes it is fun to be your own cheer leader. Make it for you and then write a love letter to yourself about your project! Now how’s that for SewJo!



What kind of 2nd-hand shopper are you?

Hello! I have been  having a great time this week sharing and talking about thrift shop re-purposing with you this week! I hope you have found the videos and posts informative and inspirational to get the confidence to sew with thrift shop fabrics.

It is fun to see the variety of things we bring home and what we love to search for. It got me thinking about what kind of thrift store shopper I am. Where I like to shop, what I like to look for and what gets me going when I hit the thrift shops. I thought a little quiz would be a hilarious way to zone in on what kind of 2nd-hand shopper you are.

So grab a pen, piece of paper and something to sip on and see where you land on the treasure hunt spectrum.

  1. On Saturday morning I am the first one in line at the garage sale…….T / F
  2. How do I feel about prices?
    1. It must have a price tag.
    2. I have to be able to haggle
    3. Never pay retail.
  3.  I love going to the Goodwill Bins, I could stay there for hours!……. T / F
  4. It’s 11pm on Friday night and you are searching craigslist for:
    1. Saturday morning garage sales
    2. A vitamix, preferable new in the box
    3. What’s free?
  5. I love to chat it up with the other shoppers, we exchange life stories among the picture frames….. T / F
  6. What is the best part of a new thrift score?
    1. I got a $200 microwave for $15!
    2. Searching through 3 garage sales, 2 thrift shops and finally finding the perfect pair of shoes for the kids.
    3. My car is full of camping gear for next summer!
  7. Who’s coming with you?
    1. My best friend and I shop together find items for one another.
    2. Kids always get dragged along.
    3. Lone wolf, I am not good at sharing my treasures.
  8. I always set a budget and bring cash in my pocket…. T / F
  9. When I set out to the shops I choose my purchases by:
    1. I bring a list and stick to it.
    2. Just looking at the household items, in-season clothes & DVD’s.
    3. What ever catches my eye that day comes home with me.


Score your quiz. Add up your points for each answer and tally your score.

1 – T: 0 , F: 2

2 – 1: 1, 2: 0, 3: 2

3 – T: 0, F: 2

4 – 1: 0, 2: 2, 3: 0

5 – T: 0, F: 1

6 – 1: 2, 2: 0, 3: 1

7 – 1: 2, 2: 1, 3: 0

8 – T: 2, F: 0

9 – 1: 2, 2: 1, 3: 0

What kind of 2nd hand shopper are you?

If you scored a 0 – 10 you might be a PICKER
Pickers love to haggle, dig and treasure hunt. You will go to great lengths to score for your collection of unopened model trains or that very special vintage pyrex dish. Off the beaten path charity shops, swap meets, garage sales and any place you can meet other pickers is a plus when you are on the hunt. You can see the hidden potential in the slightly dirty dresser that just needs a fresh coat of paint and new drawer pulls. Bringing cool new stuff home for your newest hobby or adventure or just because it was looking at you the right way is what keeps you going back out there for another search.

If you scored a 10 – 14 you might be a THRIFTER
Thrifters love to hit the chain thrift stores for those everyday items we all need. You like to see the price in a well lit area with a cashier who is gonna ring you up and get you onto the next stop. You may take a list with you like going to the grocery store and stick to it. You don’t mind searching for what you need as long it is in an appropriately marked aisle and in proper working order.

If you scored a 14 – 17 you might be 2ND-HAND BUYER
2nd hand shoppers look for the deals on craigslist and consignment shops. Your tastes are rather upscale but your common sense just won’t let you pay full price. You’d rather know who used it before you than take your chances at the swap meet. Estate sales and up-scale neighborhood garage sales may tickle your fancy every so often but buying something when the need arises is more likely to get your bargain juices going.



This is for fun only, not to be used to treat or prevent any past or present purchase or hoarding tendencies. Your thrift score secrets are safe with me. 🙂