Facemask: A picture tutorial.

My allergies have been incredible this year, and by that I mean that they have been worse than they have ever been.  (Please, please, please do not suggest medical advice here.  Much appreciated.)  I see an allergy specialist who gives me 2 shots, 2-3 times a week to help with my symptoms.  They have helped a lot; however, Juniper Ash (Cedar Fever!) here in Austin is 6 times worse than average this year, and boy oh boy, do I feel it. She suggested that I wear a face mask when I go outside to help reduce the amount of pollen that is going into my lungs and sinuses.  After going to a few different stores to purchase some, I found that many other Austinites had already bought them out. No worries, right?  I know how to sew.  I will just make one.  When I finished, I had many requests for a tutorial, so here you go:

Materials needed:

  1. 1 piece of fabric measuring 8” x 14”.  Until you get familiar with this tutorial, I would suggest a non-directional print.  One that has a scattered image printed on the surface such as the one shown.
  2. 2 strips of fabric measuring 1.75” (1 3/4”) x 6”.  This will be the accent edge piece.  It can be the same fabric as the main piece or a small-scale print or solid.
  3. Two pieces of 1/4” width elastic.  These will be about 6 1/2” long.
  4. Ruler
  5. Fabric marking tool.
  6. Pins
  7. Scissors
  8. Sewing machine, threaded.

Fold the main piece of fabric in half, right sides together.  Sew along the 8 inch width edge, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.


Turn this tube shape inside out, so that the right side of the fabric is now on the outside.  Press this flat, keeping the seam to one end of the flattened tube.

Place the tube of fabric so that the raw edges are on each side and the seam edge is at the bottom. Using a ruler, measure and mark a line 1 1/2 inches from the bottom edge. Make another line 1 inch above this line, or 2 1/2 inches from the seam edge.  Don’t use a pencil as you see in the picture, use a fabric pen, or fabric chalk.  I used a pencil for illustration purposes.

Fold the seam edge up (or down in this picture, as I turned it upside down…sorry) making the crease on the first line that you just marked.  You should have 1 1/2 inch edge here.

Flip the tube piece over.  Match the crease edge to the second line that you made earlier.  Press.  The pleat that you just created will be 1/2 inch deep. Pin the pleat down on each raw edge end.

Now you will mark the lines for the second pleat. Mark a line measuring 1/2” from the top crease of the last pleat, (or 2″ from the bottom seam edge).  It was difficult to see the top of the crease in this picture, so look at the finger indicator above.

Now mark another line one inch above the last line that you made (or 3 inches above the seam edge).  Using these lines as your guide, repeat the steps that you followed to make the first pleat.

You should now have two pleats, each one being 1/2 inch deep.  Repeat the steps you used to make the second pleat, so that you end up with three pleats total. Press.

This is what your main piece should look like at this point.

Using a 1/8” seam allowance, baste stitch the raw edges.

Repeat this step so that both raw edges are basted as shown in the picture above.

Pin one elastic piece to the raw edge, making sure not to twist it before baste stitching it to the edge at both ends. I placed mine 1/8” from the top and bottom edge of the main pleated piece. Baste elastic in place 1/8” inch from raw edge.  Repeat, to attach remaining elastic piece to the other raw edge.

Your pleated piece should now resemble the picture above.

Fold each accent strip of fabric lengthwise in half, matching raw edges, as shown in the picture above.  Press.

Place the strip on top of the elastic.  Make sure the raw edge is facing outward, and the creased edge is facing the main body of the pleated piece.  It will be a little longer on the top and bottom and that is okay, as we are going to fold some of that to the back.

Tuck about 1/2” of the top edge to the back as shown in the picture above.


Pin all layers in place.

Trim the other end of the accent strip, so that it is about 1/2” longer than the bottom edge of the main pleated piece.

Fold the bottom edge of the accent fabric strip to the back, just as you did with the top edge.

Pin both ends in place.

Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch the length of the entire edge, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.

Flip the accent fabric strip outward away from the main pleated piece, then press.

This is what the mask should look like if you flip it over.

fold the entire accent piece down toward the main pleated piece, encasing the raw seam. Press. Pin edge down.

If you are a good sewist, you will change out your presser foot to a straight stitch foot.  If you are lazy, like me, you will keep that 1/4″ presser foot on your machine and struggle your way through this next step. 😀 Stitch this accent strip down to the main body of the mask, sewing along the edge, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end.

This step isn’t necessary.  It just gives it a nice finished look, and helps to give that elastic a little extra stability. Stitch down the edge of the mask close to the elastic side.

The front of your mask should now resemble the above picture.

The back of your mask should look like this.  Following the previous steps, attach the remaining accent fabric piece to the other end of the mask.


You should now have a reusable, washable mask.

It took a few hours to put this free tutorial together for you.  For this reason, I am greatly appreciative for any mentions that you can give me if you should use this tutorial. If you post a picture on social media, you can use the hashtag: #buttoncountermask. Feel free to share this page, and please tag me in your pictures so that I can see your beautiful creations.  Last, I appreciate constructive criticism, so if you notice something that doesn’t look right, or does not make sense, bring it to my attention.  I am happy to clarify any steps where you may have questions.


P.S. Obviously, the elastic length can be adjusted to your facial measurements.

P.P.S. This is an adult size mask.  My 8 year old daughter has requested a mask as well, so I will be providing measurements soon for kiddo size masks.  Stay tuned.  Thank you!



3 inch block pincushion


Hey.  You miss me right?  I know.  I never come around anymore, and when I do, I am just trying to get you to make stuff.  But, don’t you want to make things that you can get done in just one day?  No, I mean for real.  In one day.  I tell you what.  If you don’t trust me, I understand.  I have been there with the ‘(insert project here) in a day!!!’ books, pamphlets, and classes.  I am telling you, it’s lies, all lies.  I always end up with little bits cut out of yardage, and a half-baked tea cozy…or whatever.  But this here is legit, y’all.  You can bank this one on me.

Still reading?  Whoa.  I usually lose people by this point. Quick!  Before you come to your senses, I want you to grab or make a block that measures 3 1/2 inches square. (This block will finish at 3 inches, which explains how I came up with the genius title.)  This could be a churn dash, a log cabin, a split rail, improv, or even a paper-pieced pterodactyl.

And so it begins.

Supplies needed:

  • 1- 3 1/2 inch block of spectacular beauty
  • fabric scraps for the border cut into four rectangles. A ten inch square scrap would be plenty. 2 rectangles will be 1 3/4″ x 3 1/2″, and two rectangles will be 1 3/4″ x 6″. *note: if you are using a directional, read or follow pattern to the end before cutting, so you don’t get mad at me for ruining your day. (Seriously! Only one day!)
  • batting scrap measuring 6 1/2″ square
  • a 6″ scrap of fabric for the back or bottom of the pincushion
  • a 6″ piece of light weight, or woven interfacing, such as Pellon Shape Flex 101 (SF101)
  • Stuffing/filling:  Buy the ten pound bag, then only use a hand full…it’s the law.
  • a small plastic grid ruler, pencil, thread, needle, and if you sew like me…a seam ripper is always good to have around.  Don’t ask me why.


These are the fabrics that I chose for the job.  I have already cut pieces to start.

Okay, so this next picture shows the grey border rectangles already sewn to the 3 1/2 inch block, because I thought that I got a picture of the process, but like a dufus, I didn’t; however, you can easily imagine that you take the two smaller rectangles, and using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew one to each side of the 3 1/2 inch center block.  Then take the two remaining larger rectangles and sew one to the other two sides so that it looks like this:


Place the block on top of your piece of batting making sure to center it.  You do not need the backing piece yet.  (by the way, I have also used flannel or thermal fleece for batting on these.) At this point, you can put a decorative hand quilt stitch around the edge of the block using pearl cotton, DMC floss, or similar.  It isn’t necessary, it’s just to make it look pretty, y’all.


Whether you decide to do that decorative quilt stitch or not, be sure to put a baste stitch around the perimeter of the pincushion top, 1/8″ from the edge, so that it looks like this:


Trim the excess batting from the edge of the block so that it measures 6″ square.  Set aside.


Now we are going to prepare the back, or bottom, of the pincushion by stabilizing it with the lightweight or woven interfacing.  Both the backing piece of fabric and the interfacing should be cut to 6″ square.


You will attach it, following the product instructions, to the wrong side of the fabric.  Make sure that the rough side of the interfacing is facing the fabric.  If you get this wrong, it will adhere right to your iron. I have never made this mistake, but a distant cousin on my mom’s side of the family has a friend who said that it was the dumbest thing she has ever done.

Now we get to sew the two pieces together like a miniature pillow.  Placing the two pieces, right sides together, you will stitch around the perimeter of the square, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 2″ area unstitched, so that you can turn it right side out later.  In this picture, I marked the sewing lines on mine, purely for you to see your sewing lines easier, but you don’t need to mark yours.


Okay, don’t turn it inside out yet.  I know you want to, but we are going to gusset the corners first.  Super easy. Pinch one corner like this:



Then make it lay flat, so that the seams line up, and the corner is flat.  Make sure the other three corners are tucked out of the way when you mark your sewing line, 1/2 inch from where the corner stitches meet. (not the tip of the outer seam allowance). To help you see where I am measuring from, I made the line in this photo black, so that you can see the 1/2 inch.  Take a pencil to draw your sewing line, following the edge of the ruler.


Sew the corner, sewing right on the line that you drew, using a shorter stitch length.  Make sure you back stitch at the beginning and end.  Repeat this procedure for the other three corners.  Trim the corner tips off, about 1/4″ on the outside of the stitches that you just made:


Your pincushion should now look like a styrofoam clamshell for fast food hamburgers. 😀


Turn this right side out.


stuff it full of fiber fill, wool, or your pincushion filler of choice.

Stitch the opening closed. By. Hand. Duct tape is only okay if you are over deadline, or if you know you will never, ever, do this again anyway.

Please tag me (‘buttoncounter’ on social media) in your pictures if you make one (Instagram, blog, Flickr, etc.)  I would LOVE to see your version. Please remember that it is a lot of work to make a tutorial, with taking photos, uploading, typing up explainations, editing, then putting your soul out there on social media for people to critique, especially if that tutorial is free.  So, please be an awesome human, and do me a solid by mentioning me and this post if you happen to use it.  I thank you tons and tons.  Have a great and wonderful day!






We didn’t celebrate Christmas at our house, which means, there wasn’t a whole lot of baking going on here.  For this reason, I don’t feel one bit guilty for making a pan of my Banana Cake.  Looks like I might need another piece.  If you want to come up with some reason for making a pan of your own, I hear that it’s national hand-washing awareness week.  Let’s celebrate!  Here is my recipe:

Button Counter’s Banana Cake

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

mix all ingredients. Make sure to dig out the egg shells that you accidentally dropped in the bowl.  Pour into a greased, 9×13 inch pan.  Bake at 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • half a bag of powdered sugar (2 cups?)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I sometimes use imitation banana)

cream all ingredients together, then frost the top of the cake while in pan.  I like to sprinkle more walnuts on top of the frosting.

*sometimes, during more well known celebrations, such as National Potato Week, I will add chocolate chips to my cake batter. I know!

I hope you love it so much that you share only half the pan.

Five Spot

One more block to post here.  The Chuck Nohara Quilt Along started posting two blocks for a two week period, so that you can choose from one or the other to do.  I am going to try my darnedest to do both each time.  For one, it will help me to complete more blocks in a shorter time span, because we all know how fast life flies.  Another reason, is so that you are able to see how I tackled them both, instead of one or the other.  The next two blocks have already been posted, so I really need to tell you about this one, so that I can take on the next two. Let’s get started, ya?


Here it is.  It is block number 1029. I call it “Five Spot”.  It wasn’t too tough to do.  Even if you are new to applique, there are so many methods that you could use to make this; even raw-edge applique.  I did needle-turn applique, because that is my favorite thing, but there are so many different ways to make these blocks.  I started by finding some similar greens from my scrap bin, and background print for my circle squares.  The pink fabric was also a few little fussy cut scraps from a friend, that I was happy to use here.


Here, you can see that I simply cut my squares to make my 5” block.  If you are making 6 inch blocks, this measurement is much easier. I cut my squares 2 1/8 inches.


Using a scant quarter inch on my sewing machine, I sewed together the nine-patch background piece.  On the back side of the piece, I traced my applique lines, using a template that I traced and cut from freezer paper.


I used the same back-basting method that i have used on prior blocks. I used a contrasting thread to stitch my pink scraps of fabric to the front of the block, but I stitched it from the back side, following the circle lines that I had already drawn.  I trimmed the circles seam allowance on the front to approximately 1/8th inch around each circle. In this picture, you can see where I started the applique process on the center circle, by stitching a little at a time, clipping out basting stitches as I went along.

So, you see, this block is pretty easy.  You can do this one, I promise.  I really am excited to get started on the next few blocks, because I think I am going to paper piece them.  Instagram hashtag being used is #ChuckNoharaQAL.  Come join us!  There will be cake.

This House is For the Birds


Wouldn’t you like to see the next block for the Chuck Nohara Quilt Along (#chucknoharaQAL on Instagram)?  Sure you would, and you might even want to make one yourself if you haven’t already.  I would love to see your version of this if you would like to show it off in our group.  Please come join us!  This one is Block number 969. I am calling it ‘House For the Birds’.


I started, the same way that I start all blocks. By selecting my fabrics. These blocks are excellent for using up little bits of scraps that you might have in you scrap bin, or maybe already in your trash bin (shame on you if they are in file 13…I will take your scraps!)  While making this block I had a fail in one of my fabric choices, so I replaced it with another piece.  It happens to the best of us…and me too.


After making my copy of the square to reflect my size (I am making 5 inch blocks, finished) I traced all of the applique pieces onto freezer paper.  Note that I made marks on the pieces, showing where other pieces match up, and the center lines of the block.  I do this so that I don’t accidentally sew my pieces down to the wrong spot…well, that is the idea anyway.  I manage to muck up things on a regular basis, all with good intentions, of course.


I chose my background fabric and made it an inch bigger than it needed to be in both width and length, so that when the block is done I can trim it down.


I folded the background in half both ways to find the center.  I lightly pressed the crease so that I could center the applique design appropriately. Then I got a cup of coffee, extra strong…with cream and sugar.  Don’t judge.


I cut out the main bird house piece from the freezer paper, and used it as sort of a template to cut out the fabric piece, leaving about 1/4 inch seam allowance all around.  Then, making sure that the fabric was wrong side facing up, I placed the freezer paper piece shiny side up, centered on the fabric piece.  I pressed the side edges of the fabric to the edges of the back of the paper.  If you decide to do this, make sure that you only iron the 1/4 inch parts of the fabric, not the paper.


I appliqued the main bird house piece to the background, being sure to center the design using the crease lines that I made as indicators.  I only appliqued the sides of the house, and basted the bottom.  I pulled the freezer paper out of the top, then basted the top down as well.  I trimmed the seam allowance on the top and bottom to about 1/8th of an inch.


Then I cut out the freezer paper template and pressed it to the front of the fabric that I wanted to use for the pole that the house sits on.  I traced around the template to make my stitch lines for applique.  I cut my fabric piece, making sure to add about 1/8th of an inch seam allowance around the perimeter of the freezer paper template.  I pulled the paper off before centering the pole on the background,in the correct spot. I stitched it down on both sides, again basting only along the top and bottom of the pole piece.


Then I did the same steps regarding the freezer paper, for the green base of the bird house, as I did for the pole. I centered the applique piece to cover the raw edges of both the bottom of the house piece and the top of the pole piece.  I appliqued it on all four sides.  Took another few sips of coffee.


For the next step, I cut the freezer paper template for the roof top piece.  With this piece being narrow to work with, I pressed it to the back of the block, shiny side down, and traced a line around the perimeter.  Using a contrasting colored thread, I baste stitched the roof top fabric to the front of the block, but following the lines on the back. I stitched the rooftop down on the front, covering the raw edge on the top of the block.  Last, I centered the bird house door and appliqued that last, using the same back basting method that I used for the roof top.


This is Gayle’s version, which I find absolutely adorable because of the fussy-cut bird that she used for the door.  That plaid is one of my favorites as well.


Wow! look at Margaret’s block.  The background is fabulous.  I love polka dot fabric, like, crazy. Her color scheme is so pretty.

Screenshot_2015-03-29-22-05-58_1 1

This one was made by Kate.  She also used a spectacular background print and again with the fussy cut door!  This is just too cute. I like how her background print has a dark area that makes it appear that her bird house has a chimney. Love it!

Again, come follow us on Instagram. I am ‘Buttoncounter’ there as well.  The hashtag for the quilt along is #chucknoharaQAL. We would love to have you join in the fun.

Charley Horse! Sweet Jesus, Charley Horse!


Just a quick post to let you know that if I am found dead on my front lawn, it is because I didn’t make it back home from jogging.  No foul play, no underlying drama. I am simply in terrible shape. In the last five days, I have put in just under 14 miles, all of them about 15 minutes per mile.  I have been walking them at a very fast pace instead of jogging, so that I don’t hurt myself any more that I already am.  My goal is to put in at least 50 miles this month.

On the days that I cannot walk, I will ride stationary bike (hard) for 30 minutes per day.

Let’s see how this month plays out…

This Crazy Journey Begins…Chuck Nohara Quilt

Block 1778 Floating Inner Tube

Block 1778, Floating Inner Tube

Guess what? It only took a few hours to complete my first Chuck Nohara block for this #ChuckNoharaQAL group that I am following on Instagram. We decided to bust the trail with block #1778 from the book, 2001 New Patchwork Blocks.  Now, Chuck doesn’t name the blocks, so I am going to give them my own names, just to keep them straight.  This one, in the book has an off-center circle that ‘floats’ to one corner, so I aptly named it ”Floating Inner Tube”.  After a little bit of therapy, and zen-like meditation, this severely Libra minded gal, decided to free herself into to crazy world of ‘off-center’.  I was really going to do it.  Then, my plaid yellow and orange fabric, bitch slapped me back into reality, and said ‘Are you tilted? I don’t play well with that silly red and white background that you just had to have!” So, I caved to my safe place, and went center.

Do you want to know how I made the block? Good. First I had to enlarge to block pictured in the book, from 2.25 inches to 5 inches (finished).  If you are not math savvy, that would be a 123% increase, or you would make it 223% the size of itself.  (put 223 in the copy machine and see what happens).  Everybody has a different machine, but the math doesn’t lie, so adjust your settings if you need to.  I am not going to provide pictures of the patterns in my blog, because that would be a copyright infringement, and I don’t look good in orange.

Obviously, to make this block, I had to begin with a four-patch background.  Super easy.

Using the circle as a template.Next, I cut the ‘Inner Tube’ circle out of the pattern to use as a template.  Following the outer circle, I traced and made marks on the yellow plaid fabric, so that I would know where to place the yellow tone-on-tone fabric for applique.


Then, I cut one of the swirl pieces from the pattern paper to use as a template for the yellow tone-on-tone.  I traced around the piece four times, on the yellow fabric. If any of these pictures are difficult to see, try clicking on them for enlargement.

IMAG4937 (2)Leaving about an 1/8th inch seam allowance around the outside of my drawn line, I cut each yellow swirl piece from the yellow fabric scrap. I aligned the yellow pieces on top of the orange plaid circle, being sure to match up the notches and lines. I pinned them down, to begin applique.

IMAG4939I appliqued the two side edges of each yellow piece to the orange plaid circle.  I did not applique the outer or inner edge of the pieces of the circle…yet.  I left the outer edge, and the center of the circle raw edge for this step.

IMAG4941Then, leaving a 1/8th inch seam allowance on the outside of the outer circle, I trimmed it. I also trimmed the yellow plaid fabric away from behind the yellow print, so that I could eliminate bulk. I appliqued the circle to the background four-patch square. I centered it, because of the bossy plaid, but the pattern shows it off to one corner.  I forgot to take a picture of that step, but you can see the finished picture for a visual reference. Here, you can see where the center circle goes.  These are the lines that I followed to applique the center (red polka dot fabric).

IMAG4940In this picture, you can see how I again used the pattern piece to cut out the center circle to use as a template. I cut out the piece leaving a 1/8th inch seam allowance, and appliqued it to the center of the ‘Inner Tube’ unit shown in the above picture.

Here are some of the other versions of this block, made by members of the quilt along.  They are each fabulous, and serve as great inspiration.  I have permission from these amazingly talented gals to share their pictures:

Screenshot (26)Kate, (modernbasics on Instagram) made this one.  She chose to off-center hers (beautifully, I might add), using vintage looking fabrics. You know how much I love vintage fabrics!

Screenshot (25)This one is made by Margaret (mj_inparadise on Instagram).  For real! look at that fussy-cut center!  and the bright colors. Wow!

Screenshot (24)Last, but not least, is Gayle’s block.  (gaylebrindley on Instagram). Red and yellow are my favorite colors, so this one is pretty dang sweet.

There you have the first block.  It was a lot of fun.  It did take time to pick out fabric (the hardest part, we swear), but was pretty easy after that.  I cannot wait to find out what the next one will be.  Come check out the Instagram quilt along.  We would love to have you join in!

How to Start a New Project…Again.

Well, I know for a fact that you don’t need instruction on making a decision to start a new project.  You may have started three just today, for example.  I have an extremely easy time coming up with new project ideas.  In fact, I think that I should start another one right now.  What do you think?  Oh, look!  Here’s one…and I already have the book.  It is by an amazing Japanese quilter by the name of Chuck Nohara.  She (yes, she!) is one of Japan’s first quilt instructors.  She has a few other publications as well; but this one, called 2001 Nouveaux Blocs de Patchwork, is chock full of beautiful quilt blocks that will truly keep you stitching for years.  It is printed in French, but has an English translation; regardless, words are not needed, as all of the blocks are there for your drafting pleasure. It is not unlike the Dear Jane book by Brenda Papadakis.  To order your very own, you can go to Quilt Mania.

Now that I have decided to take the plunge and do this, let me begin by telling you how I came to find this project.  Lorena Uriarte is a beautiful, smart, talented, and sassy quilter that I have been following on Flickr, Instagram, blog, and real life. She has made more than one of Chuck’s quilts, and has ribbons to prove it.  She also teaches a class on making these blocks, at Material Obsession in Australia. A few months back, Lorena was posting pictures to her Instagram feed, of blocks that she was making.  I got uber jealous, and being a little antsy as well, began to draft what she was making, without having had the book (at the time).  They were so addicting to make…and fun!  I made three of them in a matter of days before my schedule consumed me.

Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting Lorena in person, so I gave her the few blocks that I was able to finish.  Isn’t she lovely?  I am the weirdo on the right holding a fabulous basket that she made for me. (I am still freaking about it!)


Alright, so I ordered the book. A few months go by, then a few friends (that I will soon introduce) started posting that they were going to start a Chuck Nohara Quilt Along via Instagram, so naturally, I was in. I didn’t even have to think about it. The plan is, that every two weeks or so, there will be a new block assigned.  We have the full two weeks to get it done, and we can do more if we like, or we can do alternates, but the point is that we will have a small (?) group of people working on these at one time, together.  If we need help, or inspiration, or cheer-leading, it can be found at the hash-tag #ChuckNoharaQAL on Instagram (and possibly Flickr soon!).  So, if you want to learn a little more about it come find us there, we would love to have you and your friends join us.

Tomorrow, I will do a blog post here, showing the first block, along with a few versions already made up.  I will also include step by step visuals and explanations of how I tackled it.  Don’t forget to come check it out.

Finally, I would like to share what my color theme will be for the blocks.  I started by throwing a few of my favorite fabrics and colors together.  Then I pulled colors from what was pictured in my inspiration group.  It is going to be a little bit of a challenge to work within these color parameters, but obviously, I love a good challenge.

Let’s Do This.

This is the inside of my brain.

Do you know what happens when an organized person loses control of their domain?  Well, I can tell you, because I have experience in that field.  I am just the person to tell you exactly what happens.

First, chocolate is consumed by the bushel, as a coping mechanism.  I pop a Dove every time I misplace my scissors.  ‘Tis easier to pop a chocolate, than to succumb to the realization that I have lost the damn things five times today already.  Maybe I am losing them on purpose now…something to think about.  Pavlov, let me know what you think on the matter, will you old chap?  Anyway…yes. Chocolate.  A bag or three should do it.  Hang it from your doorway. Anything that will hit you in the head on the way out of the room, is never truly lost.  Do not do the same with scissors.

That pattern that you have been looking all over for?  You looked in every book you ever owned because you thought you used it as a bookmark.  You looked on top of each one of your piles of fabric, twice.  You looked in the Fridge, because, well, that is where you found your scissors.  I am willing to bet that you looked under your sewing machine, or your cat.   Maybe it is hanging on your design wall.  Nope. The last pattern that I lost, I lost my mind search of it. I spent a week searching.  When you spend a week searching, you may want to consider that the stupid thing only cost ten bucks in the first place.  You have now spent 25.5 hours looking for it.  March your butt over to your laptop and just buy another one!  PDF pattern!? What the heck…it was IN my computer!!!  Lol. Facepalm.

When my sewing space kicks me out of it, it is time to take back control. If I don’t, I eventually find my kids playing ‘king of the hill’ there…or ‘Hide and Seek’. Clearing off my TV stand today, I found a not-so-horrible mug, my fishing licence (which I had to replace!) a pile of triangles that I cannot remember what I was going to do with, a third tissue box, and weirdly, a remote, and much, much, more.  My cutting table is somewhat usable right now.  I have a fat-quarter sized spot to cut on, which means that my yardage staying in the laundry basket in the corner for a little while. My couch only has space for one butt now, due to the clutter, and if I keep losing my scissors, I may as well kiss that goodbye.  I am sure I saw my sewing machine here somewhere…and a mushroom. (a fake mushroom, but still.)

I always have a good excuse when it comes to this level of unclean.  The excuse always makes me feel better.  It makes me feel like I really am in control of this walk-in box of quilt debris. My excuse is that I was sick for the entire month of November, and never caught up with the aftermath.  I was well enough to buy fabric, apparently though.  It is like Moda, FreeSpirit, and the Container Store blew up in the littlest bedroom of our house.  I don’t have a problem.  I have a mess.  I have a terrible, terrible mess.

I solemnly swear to clear off one area tonight, and post a picture.  I will give myself until January 31st (of this year, sigh) to clean the whole sewing room.  Operation #cleanthesewingspace has officially begun.  Come play work with me!  I am going to do it with or without you though.  Seriously, this time.  Other challenge areas to follow.

Every sewing space has a table, or place of cutting.  Do me a favor.  Go clear off your cutting space.  Don’t swipe it on the floor either, because I am watching you.  Hang your rulers back on the wall, or side of your shelves, or on the side of your cutting table.  Put your cutters in a cute bucket, and hang that bucket high on the wall, so the kiddos (and husbands) don’t get them.  Take a picture and Instagram or Flickr that thing, so I can see.  Tag Buttoncounter. Seeing what you all do, will not only help me, but I imagine that others seeing your clean spot, will learn tips, tricks, or simply be encouraged to dig in as well.

Have fun y’all!

Vase Full of Dandelions

Blog 07022014

I have this project.  It is a quilt.  It needs binding.  Still!

I have these kids.  They prevent me from binding this project.  Sometimes, it is so uncool that they do this.  They take away my precious quilting time, causing me to do terribly unfun things like laundry, dishes, and wiping up glitter.  I try to sneak into my sewing room, but as soon as they hear my iron turn on, or my machine start to hum, they go into action.  They tip a plant over.  They spill syrup all over everything and under.  They build a fort with my clean laundry, using toothpaste to draw the ”windows”.  They poop.  They poop.

But you know what?  Sometimes, it is so cool when they take me away.  When they run in to bring me “flowers” (weeds, complete with roots…but hey!  They are pulled weeds!).  When they color a picture for me.  When we go swimming.  When we play at the park. When we go to the movies.  When we read a book.  When we dance and shake our booty.

I have this project.  It is my son.  He needs to learn to ride his bike.  Still!

He is 8 years old, and cannot ride bike yet.  Do you know why?  Because I have been so distracted with  my quilting, binding, sewing (unsewing, then sewing again), that I get lost in time and space.  I lose touch with those things that are most important.  Those pooping weed-pickers.  I love them.  I don’t want all of my years to pass by and only have a bunch of quilts to show for it.  I want a whole vase of dandelions.  I want to read “Walter, the Farting Dog” for the thousandth time.  I want to watch “Wreck it Ralph” in the dollar theater with popcorn for three (even though we own the DVD).  I want to see Ender Dragon get defeated yet again in Minecraft.  I want to see an 8 year old boy ride his bike.

If I am half the planner that I think I am, or half the mom I wish I were, I should be able to accomplish both, with a little bit of effort, planning, and tenacity.   These two things I will do!

1.  I will bind that quilt.

2.  That boy will ride his bike.

What does all of this mean to you?  Hopefully a lot.  If anything, it should help you on your own little projects.  Here are my challenge for you this week:

1.  I want you to spend quality time with somebody you care about, doing something new and unexpected, fun, and different.  Post, Instagram, Flickr, or Blog about it.  Your family and friends love it when you brag on them anyway. Tag me!

2.  Get working on that one thing in your sewing room that you are stalling.  Tell me what it is.  How did you do? Go, have fun!…while I clean up this glue and toilet paper.