it's friday!

Aw, crummy.  No Fabric Friday today, huh?   I decided to hang out with my son instead, and I hope that's okay.  We traveled to a quilt shop and the new West Elm at Southpoint Mall in Durham, NC.  We also ate yummy LocoPops!  I love West Elm.  I love LocoPops.   I love the quilt shop I went to too.  It was a great Friday.  I took a few inspiring DIY photos at West Elm, which I'll share with you next week.

I wanted to share with you the fabrics I purchased today for my next quilt.  I have to preface by saying I do not like brown per se.  But someone I know does and she loves brown and blue together.   To be truthful, I was bummed that my second quilt of all time was going to be . . . brown.  But when I walked into Thimble Pleasures in Chapel Hill, NC, I was pleasantly surprised to find a good selection of modern prints.  But I was still bummed that I would have to search out brown among all the eye candy in the shop.  I will still need to buy a blue solid, and if I need to balance out the brown some, I will do that once I get going.

She's getting her favorite color, brown!

If I go with Kona, I will choose Jade Green or Caribbean to add a little more color to the quilt.  Caribbean comes closer to the teal in Bella, but I thought I would go a little greener.  But I am open to either.   If you own the new line Bella from Lotta Jansdotter and know a solid that would go well with it's teal color, please let me know!

Have a nice weekend, and if you live stateside, Happy Labor Day weekend!



retail therapy

I don't know what you do when you are stressed out/depressed/anxious/just need a break/or getaway but I like to shop!  I don't like to shop for clothes though, and it definitely shows.  For real.  Sign me up on What Not to Wear, and I will thank you later.  But I do like to shop for fabric!!!

I was having a downer kind of day awhile back, so I bought a little perk me up.  I hope there isn't a correlation between the amount of goods I buy with the amount of depression I feel.  Haha!

Here's what I got.


ridiculous thrift store prices

I was in my local large chain thrift shop looking for a pair of shorts, and I thought it was a good time to snap a few pictures of how craaaaazzzzy the prices are for furniture.  The manager follows a general price list, but ultimately decides the amount on the tag.  And let me just say, nothing moves in this store except people.  I have to say I get jealous, everytime  Mandi Gubler UT bloggers post about their amazing Deseret Industries thrift store finds.   Chairs for $5, dressers or tables for $30, and the list goes on.  This is why I am not the best of friends with my thrift store.  

Prices have not been altered by me, so this is me saying I am not exaggerating.  Okay, I lie.  I added one penny to the price.  Why does everything in shopping end in .99?



The other weekend the family and I hiked one of the trails on Stone Mountain in NC.  It's a really beautiful place, and I highly recommend it if you live in the area.  I didn't snap too many photos only confirming that I am the world's worst person to remember to take photos.  One of the trails leads you to a massive stone you can play on.  Hence the name Stone Mountain.  I'm a little scared of heights, so I didn't dare walk towards the edge to see how high up we were.  This rock spanned pretty far.  It would make a killer spot for a late night bon fire.  But if you go, please don't drink on that rock.  I can only picture people falling off of it, and that causes more anti-height anxiety for me.


$1 Fat Quarter

You can get a fat quarter from Spoonflower for $1 by entering the code ETSYPARTY12.   Pretty sweet!  I do not know when this deal will end.    Thanks Danny for letting me know!



bernina + possible light pendant

RIP Necchi.  I killed you long before your time was up.  I'm sorry you that you will now reside on the top shelf of a closet collecting dust.

I'm gladly welcoming my new baby into my home.   She has quite out performed her older sister, but I expected that.   She's a Bernina 550QE,  and I haven't come up with a name for her yet.  An arm and a leg  maybe?  Second mortgage?  I've been so focused the last few weeks on researching machines and sewing that I haven't done much around the home concerning projects.  Well, I have made progress on the dresser and desk, which I just finished up the last coat of finish today.

I think it is only natural to want to put aside any home projects and decorating in order to play with a new machine that performs so beautifully.  I plan on giving a full review of the machine after I have sewn on it for a few months.  The stitch quality really is great.  I did not know what I was missing until I tested out newer machines.  Don't laugh, but my old machine didn't produce consistent stitches.  I just learned how to work around it and learned that constant picking at seams was part of the process.  Matt didn't truly feel my pain until two weeks ago when he sewed his tent.  He told me he was amazed at how much I did accomplish on the Necchi.  haha.  I just got use to it, but now I feel spoiled.

Matt requested a new laptop sleeve, so I started making him one.  I've got a ways to go.

I have to return some things to HomeGoods and I'm sitting on the fence about this weird bowl/decorative object.  I really like its form, and I think it could make a killer pendant.  But it was $40!!  aack!  I'm thinking a nice coat of spray paint or even a fun dip dye.  It's a shiny gold color, which I am not opposed to gold, but I think it may be the wrong color of gold.  It also has these tiny "bubbles" that I would might sand off.

So here it is upright the way that any normal person would display this large bowl.

And if you flip it upside down, it turns into a cool opportunity to make it extraordinary.

It's also the perfect size for the kitchen, but I am on the fence about it.  I'm thinking of returning it only to extend the return date on my receipt.  I still have the two green rugs that I bought ages ago and have already returned twice and bought again.   I just can't seem to part with them, yet I have no place for them.   Do you ever do this?  What would you do with this bowl?  Use it as bowl or do something creative with it?



Olivia's Split Zippered Pouch || Tutorial

This post has been updated, and it includes photos from my previous project along with updated photos.  

* This was suppose to be named SPLIT instead of SLIT.  Haha.  I was too lazy to edit all the photos.  Slit works too, and it's a bit edge-y.   Gotta love trying to name patterns.

I have not updated you since my last post on sewing machines, but I bought my very first sewing machine last week!  A BERNINA 550 QE [Squeal!].  Thank you to those who helped me by giving their advice.  I was out of town over the weekend, so I couldn't play with my new machine.  I wanted to do an instant gratification project, and zippered pouches seem to do the trick.  

This is a nice size pouch.  It's small enough that you can't lose anything in the pouch, yet it is large enough to to carry pencils and pens, feminine items, and little knick knacks.   You could even keep your makeup in this pouch too.


energy and faith - question answered

This post contains religious content in the second part of the blog post.  You may choose to read just the energy question, which I answered first and then skip over the religious part if you like.  I do not blog about religion, but since this was asked in my question post, I promised to answer.  Have a great day, and I hope to see you another day if you are skipping this post.

This question was asked by Caroline.  She asked,

"Where do you get the energy to keep going?"


Fabric Friday {New Premier Prints Prints}

My title isn't a typo. ;)  Premier Prints has a few new prints that I am totally adoring right now.  Most of them have a few colorways.   My favorite is the Sienna Slub, and if I could work burnt orange into my living room, I would use that print for curtains.  At $8 yard, you just can't beat that kind of a price for home decor fabric!  Do you have a favorite Premier Prints print?

You can purchase all of these through Fabric.com

Ikat Domino


a few of my favorite designers - question answered

I invited readers awhile back to ask me anything they would like to know more about whether it's me, my life, or just a general question.  It wasn't a very popular post since only two questions were asked, but I guess that makes it a little easier on my part, right?  :)

This question comes from Bethany who blogs over at Pitter and Glink.  She asked,

" If you could have any designer make over a room in your house, who would it be and why would you choose that person? Or would you even want a designer to makeover a room in your house since you're so talented? ;)"

YES!!  Please send me a talented designer!!  I have a few designers that I love equally, and let me point out they are all HGTV designers.  I am sure there are fabulous designers out there that are not linked to HGTV, so please share with me some of your favorites!  I'd love to know them.

The first one is Genevieve Gorder.   I like her not because she's on Design Star or has a popular TV show on HGTV, but because she truly is down-to-earth.  I know this because I met her, and let's just say I was the awkward one.  Go figure.  She's truly a doll.  Not only is her personality great, but her design aesthetic is incredible too.  There isn't a room she has decorated that I have not liked.   She tends to decorate with a neutral palette and adds pops of color throughout, which I like.  She's also known for having an accent wall.  As some of you may know, I love accent walls!



testing the waters

Before the family and I head out today to test drive a few more sewing machines, I wanted to quickly share with you what else I am testing out.  You may have noticed a few little changes to the left side bar.  I still feeling things out, so it may change a little here and there as time goes by.

First up, I added a JUST COMPLETED tag.  I thought it might be nice to help those who are not everyday readers to stay up-to-date using one photo for a quick reference.  Also, I think it will be fun to see how quickly this photo changes!  I'll replace this photo every time I sew, craft, or home decor the snot out of something.

Second up, I added a POST GRAVEYARD tag.   Under this tag, I'll list some older posts.  It will include posts that may have been overlooked and/or popular posts, but I'll try to keep a variety in what is actually listed.  Like this month, I have two crafts, a DIY home project, a recipe, and a fabric post.  I'm thinking of changing this up every few weeks to keep things spicy.

Let me know what you think of the two new additions!

The last thing I am testing is sewing machines, but I already mentioned that first.  :)  I have a little debate going on about sewing machines, so if you own one, you should definitely stop by.  I'd love to hear your input!  Everyone that has commented has been so wonderful.  Thank you!  Your comment may be helping out someone else too! 

I'm also looking at the Bernina 830 (older one) and Bernina 1080 or 1090 (both old).  I contacted my Bernina dealer who said the 830 is a sought after machine and has been very popular among sewists.  Hence, Bernina named the new 830 after the old one.  Also Bernina fans, Bernina is coming out with a new 710 in the fall.  This will include 10" harp size, dual feed, and a bobbin that can hold 80% more thread!!  The 710 will approximately cost $4100, which is only a few hundred more dollars than the 550.  Hmm, that model definitely has me thinking!

*update: The 710 is not a QE, so you would need to purchase a walking foot and the BSR separately, which may not be worth it.  :(  If only Bernina would supply a larger harp size in the middle priced range.  Sigh.



Bernina or Janome? That is the question.

I'm struggling over here in a big way.  Over the last year, I have had tension issues with my Necchi 525FA.  My mom bought this machine in the 1980's, and I inherited the machine in 2009.  It sat in my closet for a year until Owen was born.  It was not until 2011 that I started experiencing headaches every time I sat down to sew.   A 20 minute project would turn into two hours as I dealt with threading issues, tension problems, and frequent thread breaks.  Let's not mention the countless hours unpicking ugly seams either.  As much as I dislike my Necchi, which could possibly be remedied with a tuneup (again), I cannot give it up.  It was my mother's, and I would feel like I am dishonoring her by trashing her machine.  It's all I have left of her.  She passed away when I was 15.  Okay, enough rant and sob story. 

The other day my husband did something really sweet.  He sold his road bike without me knowing and gave me a nice sum of money to put towards my sewing machine fund!  I was really excited, but I also felt bad taking the money.  I didn't earn it, but he insisted on me taking it.

All of this sparked my interest in test driving a few machines. OH MY WORD.  What have I been doing these last two years???  I feel like I have been sewing under a rock.  These new machines sew like a dream, and they do everything for you.  Did you know that some machines can CUT thread for you and do a lock stitch???  For real???  Look how giddy i am over just those two small things.  I worked on a machine that stitched out my name.  Say whaaat?  I know some of you are probably just giggling over this saying "Poor Nancy.  She really has been sewing under a rock."  I have never stepped into a sewing machine shop.  EVER. 

Well, this means a lot of money because of the amount of bells and whistles.  I understand that a sewing machine is a piece of equipment, a tool.  My husband works with expensive tools in electrical engineering, but he has to in order to perform a job well done. 

At times, I can be stingy with money.  I am the annoying girl who patiently waits for the cashier to open a new roll of pennies because I want my two cents back in change.  I am literally the girl who picks up any coins off the parking lot grounds or sidewalks.  I am the girl who will ditch out going to full priced movie theater with girlfriends because it costs $9 ticket.  I am the girl who will turn down a dinner date with my husband only because I didn't want to pay for a babysitter while my baby sleeps.  At the same time, I do like to buy nice things, and I like quality.  Who doesn't?  But this is where I am hung up.

Though I may be able to afford an expensive machine doesn't necessarily mean I want to spend money on an expensive machine.  After testing Viking, Brother, Janome, and Bernina, I have narrowed it down to these below.  There are other brands that some people have recommended that I have not tried out yet like Pfaff, Elna, and Baby Lock, and I am open to suggestions.

Bernina 550  $$$$
Janome Horizon 7700  $$$
Berina 330  $$

The Bernina 550 is as high as I am willing to go.  It's such a big investment.  All that money can stretch a long way.  Think of all the fabric I could buy!!  Or I could even buy a beloved Genevieve Gorder rug for my living room!  Or more realistically, that could pay off 5 mortgage payments or feed my family for 9 months.

I know that, ultimately, I need to choose a machine that will best fit ME and MY needs.  It will also need to accommodate my future needs.  I need to sew home decor, quilts, clothing, and crafts.  I need good quality stitches, and I need a workhorse.  There are things that I absolutely love on the Janome that I cannot get on the Bernina models I am looking at.  Lock stitch, automatic thread cutter,  top loading bobbin, and an 11" harp size.   Bernina offers the amazing Bernina Stitch Regulator (for FMQ), has a great reputation, and has metal parts.  It's just so dang expensive!  I can get more features in Janome for a lower price, but does that make the Janome cheap???  And if Anna Maria Horner sews on a Janome, does that mean it is okay? (because I love AMH and if she said smoking crack while sewing produces betters quilts, I would do it)

But in all seriousness, I don't understand why I am freaking out about this as much as I am other than it is a commitment and a large amount of cash is involved.  I am confused, anxious to sew, and want to be satisfied rather quickly.  I know I need to wait this out, and I will eventually have a new machine.  Used or new in box, but no matter what, new to me.

So ultimately it comes down to this.  Bernina or Janome?   I desperately need YOUR help.  I need input.  I need advice.  Here are some questions I am asking.
  • What machine do you sew on?  
  • How long have you own your machine?
  • What types of sewing do you do on your machine?  (Quilting, Home Decor, Clothing, Crafts?)
  • How often do you use your decorative stitches?  Are they really handy to have?
  • Is customer service or your dealer great with help when you have questions or need help resolving issues with your machine?
  • What features do you like or dislike?
  • Would you buy this machine again?
  • What are your thoughts on mechanical versus computerized machines?
  • Would you buy on Ebay or Craigslist?
  • Do you know the best time to purchase a sewing machine?
  • Do you know if sales can go lower than demo prices (used machines for testing in dealer stores)?
  • Is there anything else I should be asking or missed?

Thanks for stopping in today!

xx nancy

My quilting book released Sept. 24, 2015 and is on Amazon.  Check it out!


Fabric Friday {Spira}

I found Spira through Pinterest.   It was one of those I click on a photo that leads me to five other photo clicks.  Don't you just love the surprises and goodies you can find through Pinterest?  I do.  You'll  need to use Google's translator to navigate their site.  They also sell more than just fabric for the home.   I'll have to jot this company down to remember when Matt and I take our second Europe backpacking trip (tentatively summer of 2014!!!).  I told Matt that on this next trip I will purchase things and ship them home!  Yes, that was a threat.

*On a side note, I'm closing up the question post since there wasn't much interest in it.  If you did want to participate, you can head on over here, and ask me anything you'd like to know about me, my life, my blog, or my fabulous fashion (total joke) in the comment box.  I'll answer the questions in a separate post coming up soon.

Enjoy!  Photos come from Spira.


Custom Window Treatments Using PVC

Update: Some have asked how I hanged these.  Please see this post published on June 15, 2015.

I LOVE my custom PVC window covers!!!  A huge thank you to Tracy at soulstyle for coming up with this idea.  I thought about DIYing these, but Matt and I do not have the tools to do so.  And I figured that would be a lot of cutting and sanding!  If you have the tools and a simple design, I don't see why you couldn't achieve a similar look yourself.  I enjoyed working with Marc from Acurio Latticeworks who was really helpful and patient.  I contacted him a year ago, but I finally got around to ordering my panels just a few months ago.   They cost me a total of $130, which to some people may be cheap or expensive.  For me, it's a bit on the pricey side for window treatments, but I was willing to spend the money because I didn't like the other options I had thought about. 

  1. Blinds-  When I think of blinds, all I can picture in my head is a little boy slamming the doors and the blinds swing and sway and crash into the door.  It's already a headache to hear the door slam, so I don't want to add any more noise to that.  Blinds can break too.  My nieces and nephews have proved that to be true.  
  2. Blinds inserted into the glass so all you have is a slider to open and close them.  I vetoed this right away with no good explanation.  I just didn't like that option.
  3. Curtains.   Me: "Hey son.  You want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  Oh, and while you are at it, go ahead and wipe your nasty, sticky hands on my nice curtains.  You already do that with the table runner."
  4. Vinyl-  Are you familiar with those vinyl privacy stickers you buy at Home Depot or Lowe's?  They kind of look like etched glass.  I haven't found a design yet that I am particularly fond of. 
  5. Bed sheet.  Been there.  Done that.
  6. Nothing at all.  Um, these windows face West, and science and common sense tell me the sun sets in the West.
So it was worth it to me to fork out the money for custom window treatments, and PVC ones seem to be the most practical.  They are light in weight and won't fade in the sun either, which happened with my bed sheet.  Bonus?  I will take these panels with me when we move, so it won't be a complete waste of money.  I would like to use them as a headboard!

This is what I can see when I am sitting on my couch.  Nice art, don't ya think?

This next photo shows you what I can actually see when I am standing at my sink or near the fridge.  Basically, when I am across the room.  I can watch Owen run across the yard, so I get some privacy from the design but also some visibility, which is nice.  What looks like frost is actually a reflection of the PVC on the glass.

Here's the view on the deck.

I'm including this shot only because I have to include my chicken.  Baby is a Brown Sussex, if anyone is wondering.

And at NIGHT time . . .

Some of you may be wondering if there are any downsides to PVC window treatments.  I have not come across anything yet, but I will definitely keep you informed.  They stay in place just fine, even when Owen slams the door.  Maybe I'll make a video showing you the install.  It's fairly simple.

BEFORE . . .

And AFTER . . .

Looking good, don't ya think?

Projects left to do for the kitchen

  • Finish the back side of the island
  • Center the light above the island and fix the ceiling
  • Replace the design above the chalk wall with something else
  • Art
  • Rugs?

xx nancy

My quilting book released Sept. 24, 2015 and is on Amazon.  Check it out!


Fabric Friday {Etsy} & a few home updates

It's been quite a week for me.  I am refinishing two pieces of furniture, cleaned out three closets, and donated eight trash bags of goods.  And not to mention I trashed four garbage bags of junk.  Spring cleaning!


you wanna know? go ahead and ask me.

I'm totally stealing this idea from Sarah because I loved it so much, and you can steal it from me.  She stole it from someone else.  :)  So basically today's post is all about questions.  You can ask me anything you like.  It can pertain to anything at all.  Got two questions?  No problem.  Didn't read this post until a week or so later?  That's okay, you can still ask!  I won't be answering questions right away anyway.

So now I don't know whether to be scared or excited. 


toilet paper roll . . . art?

i thought these little rolls were pretty cool. i found the post via Pinterest.   I Waste So Much Time is where i got a few of the photos.  i do not know who the original artist of these paper rolls is because the authors of that site collect things they like on the web.  there is a lot more to see by clicking the link!  enjoy!

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