My EPP Skull Ring Quilt

I wanted to make a skull charm/scrap quilt in 1930’s fabrics when my Skull EPP shapes came out. Basically, I wanted to make a “ring” style quilt that was like a double wedding ring style quilt, but with these skulls.

Essentially they needed to be a set of squares, since the skulls don’t curve very well. This actually made it easier to make.

I took the background I chose and folded and pressed lines to follow/line up the skulls on, and then got to making a giant bowl of skull pieces to choose from. I did not have hardly any 30’s fabrics, so I grabbed a charm pack or two, and some friends filled in when I ran out. I had to throw in some solids to break up the monotony.

Once the top was finished, it was time to quilt it! I recently quilted it over a two day period.

Now just the binding needs to be finished. I’ll be sure to post a pic when it’s all done!

Do you want this as a pattern? Or do you think you could tackle it without one?

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Fun with Tufting – an heirloom craft revived

Earlier in 2022, I came across a sewing tool I didn’t know anything about. They were metal, small, and even carried a patent. In looking into them, I came across a true craft that seems to have mostly died out.

Let’s start with what they are. These looked to me like foldable ninja stars, and while the shapes are neat, I didn’t know what you were supposed to do with them. I came across a digital copy of the instruction manual, which led me down the rabbit hole.

Known as Amish Stumpwork or German Tuftwork, this technique is a little like “chenille” in embroidery, where stitches are taken over a tool and cut open. People often ask me if this is like punchneedle, and the answer to that is no. Stitches are taken over the tool, and cut open, to remove the tool and create the effect.

We were able to investigate the patent, which has long expired, and also checked on if anyone was creating anything like this currently. Sadly, no one was teaching this technique anymore. That’s when I decided to create a new set of templates that are based off of the original metal versions.

I’m working on some thing really cool for these coming soon. Stay tuned!

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Our Thanksgiving Pop Up Shop!

When we bought this building, I wondered how quickly I would be able to open it to the public, and have a little boutique of my own.

When I heard about the festivities that Downtown Paducah had planned, I felt like I had to be part of it. So with only three days to plan and get the shop into a “presentable” shape, I started moving all the junk from my shop area to get it retail ready.

Here’s what it looked like before. We were just storing stuff here because we didn’t want to put it anywhere else in the building.

Now that we moved the boxes out and the furniture around, it looks much better. I thought we would use the gridwall we use at our vendor booths, but we didn’t have to!

    It needed a few more things, like some shelving we have in the upstairs, that Charlie suggested we bring down and use. The building was last used as an attorney’s office, so we have lots of built in shelves. You can see them behind me here. We didn’t even have to paint them (though we will eventually!) They are super tall! We have another set upstairs to use if we want to, as well!

    I loved how our window turned out. I didn’t want to spend money on a sign that wouldn’t be used for a while, so we improvised with this and I think it turned out sew cute.

    Once Black Friday rolled around, we were ready to open the doors and I couldn’t be happier!

    We still have to take out that counter, and paint, and get a few more furniture pieces, but I have to say, it felt so good to stretch my retail legs this way. It’s been YEARS since I ran my own store (which was Gamer’s Paradise in Villa Park IL back in the mid 90’s). I loved meeting everyone, talking about what the shop will be like, and being part of my retail neighborhood.

    THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by, and I hope to reopen soon with more goodies!

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    We relocated to Paducah KY!

    I’m sure you’re confused. Let me back up a bit.

    Back during the pandemic, I started looking at (and dreaming about) a building in a historic district. It was super cute, with apartments on top you could live in, and the shop area down below. It was in an area with two other quilt and sewing shops on the same street, making our location an easy add-on when shopping.

    This is the building in Illinois I wanted so badly.

    We’d grab coffee and sit out in front of it in our car, like a couple of creepy folks. And I investigated it pretty hard, including the other businesses on the block, and the building’s current leases. And then… It was gone. Just like that.

    I really mourned the loss of a building I didn’t have. I hadn’t made an offer, but I had dreamed about it pretty hard. It was gone. Sold to someone else. I really felt it.

    Time went by and in April 2022 my friend Amy and I went to Paducah KY for the AQS Quilt Week. We were excited to get to the show, see people we knew, and scope it out to see if we should vend there next year. While in town, we drove past a building known locally as “The Quilt In A Day Building”, well…. because it has a giant QUILT IN A DAY sign painted on the side. And it was for sale.

    I yelled to Amy “Stop the car!” and we both get out and peer into the windows. I look up online how much it was going for… $100K more than my dream building in Illinois. Just as I’m getting down in the dumps about it Amy says “HEY! The one next door is for sale too!”

    So we look inside… It’s really neat too! I look it up online. It’s going for $100K LESS than the dream building! WAIT. WHAT?

    The rest of the day my mind keeps going back to that building. The 6 hour drive home with Amy, it’s all I can talk about. At dinner we talk about the pros and cons list…. and that cons list is mighty mighty small. When we get home, Amy and I burst in on Charlie’s quiet night with excited giddiness over the find. I tell Charlie he has to see it for himself. And with that, we book a return trip to Paducah two days later.

    We visit the building with our realtor, and by the end of the tour my mind had been made up. Charlie needed more convincing, but by the end of our six hour ride home to Chicago, we had made an offer.

    Needless to say, it all worked out, as here I sit writing this in our building in Paducah.

    It’s been a little bumpy on the way here, with moving companies and selling our home in Chicago, and all that. We made it, we have our little slice of historic downtown Paducah, and we are working on transforming it.

    Stay tuned for more of the adventure as it happens!

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    The Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop – Year 8!

    I always say “It’s hard to believe I’ve been hosting this blog hop this long”, but the truth is that I can believe it! My blog turned 16 years this February and I still love to write and share on my blog. This is the 8th year of the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop, and I’m pretty excited because I needed so badly to clean my studio.

    Here’s the before picture…

    I had been away on retreat, so my machine is in that rolling bag. I have just switched to a new scrap fabric “system” instead of that overflowing box under my table. It feels super chaotic, because it is.

    Here’s that AFTER!

    What a difference, mainly from two things. One, I folded down the leaf in the sewing table because my current projects don’t need it, which makes for lots more room. Second, that black trash bin is the new fabric scrap bin. I found myself constantly second guessing the scrap in the bin if I could SEE the scrap. Now they go in, and I do not care any longer what happens to them (meaning I’m not fishing them back out.) Every time the bin is full, it’s time to make easy pet beds for the shelter. (I’ll post my tutorial for that next week!)

    One more thing. There’s a closet back there… And it’s a walk in, and I do find myself just throwing things in there to make them disappear from the main room. So I did some cleaning there too.

    Left is before, right is after

    I mean, at least I can see the floor now…. ha ha!

    I know you want to see other designer’s studios, and it’s my favorite part of the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog hop! Here’s the list and dates for the other hoppers. PLEASE go visit them and check these out!

    4/15/2022 Muppin Inc
    4/16/2022 Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
    4/17/2022 Quiltblox
    4/18/2022 by Hilary Jordan
    4/19/2022 Sarah Ruiz Quilts
    4/20/2022 Sugar Sand Quilt Co.
    4/21/2022 Katie Mae Quilts Http://
    4/22/2022 The Geeky Bobbin
    4/23/2022 PhoebeMoon Designs
    4/24/2022 Sunflower Stitcheries and Quilting
    4/25/2022 KISSed Quilts
    4/26/2022 Tamarinis

    Thanks to all of our hoppers! Please go check them out!

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