Craft Fair 2018

I completed my first craft fair of 2018 last Saturday. Beautiful, but hot, weather for the show. Nice location. I sold enough to make back my booth fee, plus a little extra. I am still working through pricing and what will sell at craft fairs. If you look online, you see multiple formulas: 1. cost of materials x 3, 2. cost of materials + your hourly time, 3. Formula 1 + Formula 2 divided by 2. See this Craftsy article for more information.

All of that said, I will be doing this again. Honing my craft fair skills just to see where this goes. I enjoy talking to the people who walk by – makes the day go by quickly.

Below are some of the items that I was selling on Saturday. I am also learning how to take better photos.

Baby quilt, reusable lunch bags, snap pouches, and coasters.
Cat/Dog pads and a laptop case
Flannel Baby Quilt

First Craft Fair

I participated in my first craft fair on Saturday, Feb. 3rd in Murfreesboro at the Handmade Market. Had a great time meeting all the attendees! I hope to be doing this again in May after I build up my inventory again.


Booth set up – longer tablecloths needed


Cute little snap pouches – love the hedgehogs!


Charley Harper Infinity Scarf – Liked it so much, I kept one for myself!




Placemats from Sweetwater’s new line

Fresh Starts


Willow, my quilting buddy, says blog and quilt. You can do both. So, I am going to start 2018 with the GOAL of posting twice a week. That means I have to get sewing and learning now to use my new machine – a Bernina 770QE – the most expensive sewing machine I have ever bought. It was between this and a long arm and since I have no space for a long arm unless I buy a new house :-), the Bernina won the battle.

In retrospect, 2017 was an oddly mixed year, with anxious moments, aka politics and family illnesses, and true fun, aka vacations and quilting. Let’s see what 2018 brings us. Or as I say practically daily – “It is what it is.” We just keep moving on – that’s all we can do.

I am making time for quilting and less vegging in front of the TV or reading news until I am an anxious mess. I will keep up with the news, but my goal is to not OBSESS about it. I’ll let you know how that goes.

So, quilting posts from now on, so I have to get busy or I will have nothing to post!


I am quickly losing my mind. My final day at work for two months is tomorrow.

So why am I insane? Let me count the ways:

  1. I have no speeds but full throttle and bored senseless.
  2. Bored senseless = nothing gets done but tv watching or reading. I was bored senseless for awhile this semester because the new course management system (Brightspace) wasn’t ready to build courses on. That also means limited quilting. See “nothing gets done.”
  3. I have four courses to set-up by 5 p.m. tomorrow. The Brightspace designers were clearly on crack when they designed it.
  4. I don’t do crack, so I have trouble understanding how the system is designed.
  5. My final day of work for two months is tomorrow and I STILL have student reports to write! See #4 above.
  6. I don’t get paid when I am on leave. I have one hell of a lot to do in less than 24 hours or I’m working free!
  7. I want to buy fabric! See #6.
  8. I want to retire in 2 years. See #7. Numbers 7 and 8 don’t quite mesh!
  9. I have seven cats–two with special needs. Crazy cat lady…I know, I know. It embarrasses me too, but they show up on our porch looking for a home.
  10. Exception to #9. We (my husband and I) brought a mother and a kitten back from Greece. Crazy cat lady x 2.
  11. My house needs cleaning. It is driving me crazy. I am trying to pretend I don’t have floors, so I don’t see the cat fur and dust bunnies. Waiting until May 1 to clean. Probably a mistake.
  12. Thank the gods, Latifah Saafir is coming to our guild May 12th and 13th–I am looking forward to that joyous occasion!
  13. I am president of our quilting guild. There is more organization to setting up speakers than I thought. We still need 3 more people to sign up! Please join us!
  14. I want to go to Paducah to Quilt Week this Saturday. See #6 and 7.
  15. I am thinking about getting a tax number and setting up an Etsy shop. See # 1 & 2.
  16. I am looking for a new house on the west side of Nashville. Need more quilting room. 🙂

and finally, not even worth a number – I dyed part of my hair blue and now my fingernails are blue too from when I push my hair out of my eyes. Fuschia was MUCH better!

April 28th addition:

Two cats with conjunctivitis. Off to the vet tomorrow. Oh joy! No Paducah for me.

2017 Planning Linky Party

2017 Planning Party

I have decided to try to get full use of my Quilter’s Planner this year. I am following @thequiltersplanner on Instagram and have joined the January 2017 Best Year Ever photo challenge – #qpbestyearever2017. I need a photo challenge. I am still using my iPhone to make quilt photos. Will “borrow” my husband’s better camera for the challenge. He will be so enthused.

So what are my quiltings goals for the year. Either finish my multitudinous WIPs/deserted projects or give them away. I have a couple that I just really cannot get into anymore. It is amazing how in 3 years your taste in quilts and quilt fabrics can change so much.

Here is a partial list:

  1. Finish a Kaffe Fassett nine-patch.
  2. Quilt a Christmas quilt.
  3. Quilt a teal/gray plus quilt.
  4. Make a set of placemats for my sister-in-law.
  5. Quilt a baby quilt.
  6. Make a Home Sweet Home wall-hanging
  7. Do the Starbucks and Pink swaps and NO MORE swaps for the year.
  8. Do the BadAss Quilter’s Hogwarts wall hanging.
  9. Finish curvy placemats I started two years ago.
  10. Make two tablet sleeves.
  11. Make a laptop sleeve for my work computer.
  12. Blog more.
  13. Do NOT take on extra work this year. Quilt instead.
  14. Quilt instead of eat. Sip water/tea instead while quilting. This is a big one and If I can make it work, I will be SOOOO happy. I am getting fatter by the day!
  15. Do some fabric destashing on Instagram (@manduquilts). I am a fabric hoarder, so this will be difficult for me.

I think that is enough. I am already overwhelmed by what I just added here, but I will soldier on. Of course, I will had new projects along the way and end up with more WIPs, but I am going to complete one WIP along with each new project.


Expeditions and Vertigo

Things have been a little wild around the house lately. Since December 2015, I have been fighting vertigo. Some days are good; others not so good. I finally worked up the courage to get the Epley Maneuver and three days out, I am definitely feeling better. Plan to sew some this weekend.

My husband, Dolph,–Fred on the team roster– has headed out on a Dxpedition to Heard Island, a remote sub-Antarctic island in the Southern Ocean. He is on the scientific team, but most of the funding for the expedition came from the Ham Radio clubs around the world. My husband has a ham license, but will also be collecting rock samples for a doctoral student in Australia and other such things. The team left Cape Town yesterday on the Braveheart (ship)–the expedition ship. In about 10 days, I should hear about Heard Island from Dolph. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about the voyage and the island.

I’ve also been on a quilting retreat with my guild, the Music City Modern Quilt Guild, to Paris Landing State Park. We had a blast. I feel that way even though everyone finished a whole lot more than I did. My completions = 0. It was great fun seeing everyone’s projects come together. I learned a lot about what I should do before the next guild retreat. I’ll post on that later too.

That’s it for today. Have to get to work now. If my vertigo is really “cured,” then I am going to work on posting regularly!

Quilting the Circle of Geese

Oh how I have struggled trying to decide how to quilt the Circle of Geese quilt. I even revisited free motion quilting (FMQ), but decided that even though I am better, I cannot FMQ well enough to gift a quilt I have quilted that way yet. However, I am pleased that my stitch length is getting better. Maybe it is the Juki TL2010Q–a fantastic machine.

I have decided to do triangles, which you begin by quilting straight lines. I got the idea from Jacquie Gehring’s Next Steps with your Walking Foot class on Craftsy. I highly recommend the class and Craftsy in general. I have learned a LOT from my Craftsy classes. Craftsy doesn’t know I exist as a blog, so I get nothing from them for saying this. If you have never taken one of their classes, start with a free one. They offer free Block of the Month classes each year and the classes remain on line.

Anyway, below are photos of my progress. It is dark and dreary out, so my photos are not good, but I think you can get the idea.

geese   Diagonal lines prepping for triangles

triangles Triangles in every other row

FMQ my FMQ practice

All my practice FMQ pieces become catpads. This is Kassi, the kitten we brought back from Greece on her new catpad.


Ottlites and Toikka Birds

I bit the bullet and ordered TWO,not one, but 2! Ottlites today from a big box retailer who had them 50% off. I got the 36W floor lamp and the Cone LED desk lamp. That should give me some light!

Ottlite36W OttLiteLEDConeDeskLamp

Truthfully, I would not have done that even though I need more light over my ironing board in the evenings and at the sewing machine, but I am trying to spend money we have left for “replacement” items after a house fire two years ago. I only have a month to spend the money.

I try to support my local quilt shops, but some items I just have to go to the box store to get. Fifty percent off lights, 40% off batting, and 30-50% off Gingher scissors (and I love my Ginghers). I want my local shops to stay in business though, so they get my fabric (and sewing machine) purchases.

Back to the replacement items for the house. We have a number of “decor” items to replace, and you have to replace “like for like”, which is harder than it sounds because the insurance companies don’t really tell you what works until you file your claim.  However, I think I am safe with this item as decor – an iittila Toikka bird from Finland. I have wanted an iittila Toikka bird for years, but have refused to buy one because I think they are ridiculously expensive. Now, we have to spend money within one month, so why not buy something you have always wanted.

To explain why a Toikka bird: I taught English in Finland for a year back in the early 90s. Because I was just starting out in teaching, I wasn’t making a lot of money at the time, and Finland is pricey. I kept looking at the iittila Toikka birds–drooling over is more like it–but could never justify the expense. This evening I bought a Toikka bird! I am so excited! Handblown glass from Finnish designers–this one the 2015 Lakla bird. It’s “story” is below the image.

iittala-toikka-lakla-2015-annual-bird-2 iittala-toikka-lakla-2015-annual-bird-35

“Inspired by a 19th century Finnish folk collection of poetry called the Kanteletar, Lakla (Bean Goose) is an imaginative character who acts as a lawyer for a willow warbler accused of stealing grain from a field. Lakla’s emerald color is an ode to the forests, which hold mysticism and meaning not only in Finnish literature but living, too.”

Love the color and the story! I’ll post actual photos once the bird arrives.

Happy Tuesday everyone! I’ll get back to sewing tomorrow evening. I am currently letting quilting pattern ideas percolate through my brain. Quilting is not my best skill, but to improve, I both piece and quilt.

Word for 2016: Experiment

I am joining the line-up of people posting their words for 2106. Mine is experiment. Through experimentation, I will have failures, successes, and mediocre results, as well as frustration and joy. Despite this, experimenting is how we learn–through failure, through repetition, through perseverance. So I am going to experiment!

This blog is an experiment. Can I consistently post 3 times a week for 52 weeks? That is my experiment. Can I find enough of interest to say that people will bother to read my blog or even follow it?

I will experiment with new blocks, like the circle of geese block below from Piece by Number. Paper piecing does not come easy to me, but this was actually fun. I made some mistakes, but got better.


I NEED to experiment with photography. My photos need improvement. I am going to try each month to improve and begin using a better camera, though I have to admit that my husband is not enthused about sharing his camera. Eventually I will buy one of my own. For now, I will share and spend the money on fabric. 🙂

I know there will be other experiments throughout the year, so I am going to relax and enjoy the journey. Here’s to a great 2016!

Renewing my Design Wall – Product Decisions

Okay, so I read Sew Katie Did’s post on her design wall and decided to update mine. Mine is a sad, but very, very useable (and cheap) tacked on wall. I think I paid $10 for the plastic tablecloth at Walmart, then tacked it with the plastic to the wall and flannel outward. Done!

It has served me well, but is now full of threads and I want something I can stick pins into when I want to test other fabric. The only thing I have really missed is the ability to put fabric on top of fabric to test ideas. Otherwise a plastic tablecloth really, really works.


So…I headed to our local home improvement store to look at the insulation board. It is HUGE! 4′ x 8 ‘. That is NOT going to fit in my car, and I don’t own a truck! Hmmm…decided to come home and measure my wall first. If need be, I can cut the board before I load it in the car.

So, now I am online searching for insulation board. Turns out that it burns quickly and the fumes will kill you. Do I really want to use foam board? Back to Google.

Well, after reading some SAQA design board comments and contractor forums, I have decided that Armstrong Fireguard Acoustic Tile might be the way to go. We had a bad fire two years ago at my parents’ house, so I am more careful than I used to be about flammable products.

Next installment…selection and creation of my design wall.