With the new year just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start organizing, planning and deciding on your quilting projects for 2013!

I really like to take some time to think about my quilting goals and ideas. It seems there are always more projects on the “I Want to Make This Someday” list than I might ever be able to complete in a few lifetimes; however, taking stock on a regular basis really helps to keep the most importatnt projects at the top of the list!

Here are a few ideas:

  • First, sort through your “works-in-progress.” There might be one, two, or a few that might not take too much to get them finished. Finishing up a couple works in progress always seems to help me get organized. I like to also make a list of these projects so I can refer to it throughout the year.
  • Next, think about those projects you’ve been wanting to make. I like to look through patterns and fabric and look over on-line bookmarked sites while making my list.
  • I actually have two “want to make” lists: the first one has quick and easy projects on it, and the second one has projects that will take a bit more time.

Last year my number one goal was to finish my Fig Tree Farmer’s Wife quilt. If I hadn’t decided that this was a finish I wanted at the very beginning of the year I don’t think I would have finished all 111 blocks and set them together.

  • Along with lists of specific projects, try making a list of new techniques or skills you want to work on during the new year. In years past different things like applique’ or foundation paper piecing, or English paper piecing have been on my list. This year I’m going to try and quilt more of my own projects, and I really want to sew some projects with laminate fabrics.

  • Sometimes I have favorite groups of fabric I’m just not sure what to do with. With these, I like to gather them together and leave them somewhere I can see them every day. Having a coordinated stack in a visible spot in my sewing room seems to help me figure out when the “perfect project” for that group comes along.

  • Don’t make too many goals or have unrealistic expectations. I’ve been thinking about starting a really big project and plan on having a two-year timetable for it.
  • Another reason to not have too many projects on the list is to leave yourself time for new ideas that may come along…the little Vintage Modern tumbler mat below was one of those projects for me…I just put everything aside one afternoon and made something fun!

What ever your quilting goals might be for the new year, taking a little time to think them out can have big rewards…who knows…you might just be able to figure out what to make with that favorite pre-cut you’ve been saving!  Happy deciding for the new year!

Deck the Halls with Sandy Gervais

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 If you ask Sandy Gervais about her reputation as the Queen of Holiday Decorating she’ll modestly tell you, “Really, my decorating is boring. I find something in my house that’s red and put greens around it and call it Christmas.” Dig a little deeper, however, and you learn that nearly every room in her house sports some form of red with greens…and a whole lot more.

In part, that’s because the color red can be found in Sandy’s home all year long, making it easy to find just the right object to festoon with greenery (and shiny balls and berries and lights). And it’s also because Sandy’s got a great eye for turning the everyday into something special.

Red quilts are stacked in a tree-shaped pile, while others are draped across her couch and chairs. A red-and-white polka dotted Pyrex bowl and a hat box bought on a Moda trip overflow with greens and pinecones.

Sandy’s sentimental side is in full force at the holidays. Ornaments created by adult her son and daughter (who made this snowman in third grade) when they were young hang from the branches of the tree and a collection of carolers given to her by her husband stands atop a bookshelf, where an angel quilt of Sandy’s serves as a backdrop.

Each bed gets a Christmas quilt (there are plenty of those, as Sandy’s designed 18 collections of holiday fabric for Moda, including her newest, Merry Medley) Favorite toys and collectibles are stationed under the tree, including her husband’s toy trains and a Crazy Ike figure her mom gave her that’s reminiscent of one Sandy loved as a child.

Traditions are important, too. Sandy’s grandmother had a set of green plaid dishes she used each Christmas and when Sandy found the same set at an antique store, she bought them and uses them on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, the table is set with a red and white quilt and holiday dishes she designed for Moda in 1999.

Sandy may call her decorating boring, she admits that it takes awhile to accomplish. Her tree is a good example: Sandy opts for a non-sheared, natural balsam that she wraps with 2400 lights. “To keep it dimensional I wrap the lights out to the tip of each branch, then back in, and then because the branches are so heavy I take heavy-gauge floral wire and stick it along each branch to keep them from drooping and weave the wires back in,” she says. “It takes me three or four evenings after work to do it.”

While Sandy may not think her decorating methods are anything special, she admits there is something she particularly loves about her house this time of year: “I don’t usually like to get up on winter mornings because it’s dark, but I love getting up around Christmas,” she says. “I take my coffee and sit in the living room with the lighted tree. Then the dark isn’t so bad.”

For a view of Sandy’s latest creation, a mannequin whose holiday habillement includes a skirt made from a holiday tree, visit her blog


As quilters we long to preserve sweet memories through our quilts.
We create quilts and other projects as keepsakes 
to be handed down for generations. 

StoryPatches are a great complement to our quilts, 
because they allow our future generations to 
know and remember the story behind us and our creation.
StoryPatches are QR, or quick response, codes you can link to any website or video. 
Sew or iron one on to your project and then anyone can use their smartphone to 
scan it and hear what you want them to know about it. 
StoryPatches allow you to add a photo, video or audio message to any quilt or other fabric project.

Sing a lullaby to a child or grandchild and connect it to their
baby blanket.

Use a StoryPatch as your quilt tag, and record yourself telling the story of that quilt.

Show a group of quilters how you mastered that certain technique.

Make a t-shirt quilt and add photos of yourself taken when you wore the shirts.
Watch this video to learn more about this innovative new product…

Last Minute Gift Ideas

It may be December 15th already, but there is still time to make some fun things for your holiday gift-giving. Here are a few ideas…
Table runners are a wonderful “quick to make” gift. A narrow runner is easy to quilt with straight-line quilting and can be made with holiday or with everyday fabrics. The table runner below was made with left-over jelly roll strips. The scrappy binding is even made from left-over strips! (Tutorial for table runner found here).

Pot holders and casserole mats are another quick and easy project. Moda Candy packs are the perfect precuts for this. Jelly roll strips and charm packs are easily cut into 2 1/2″ squares for quick piecing. These mats have a layer of batting and a layer of heat resistant batting inside, making them perfect for dishes hot from the oven!

Patchwork notebook covers can also me made quickly. There are a lot of tutorials available for these projects–again, Moda Candy, charm packs and jelly rolls are a real time saver in stitching these up! (Pattern for notebook cover below by Sweetwater).

Pincushions are another “go to” project for the sewists and quilters on your list. This one was made from just a few Moda candy squares and a few other bits and pieces of fabric. The pincushion below is made from a Little Bites pattern, “Morsel” by Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company.

Zipper bags are another project you still have time to make. The one below is “Abby’s Treasure Box” by This & That patterns. Some charm squares and a fat quarter are all that is required to make this bag.

Patchwork bags go together pretty quickly as well. This one uses Moda twill tape for the drawstrings! Tutorial can be found here.

Embellished dish towels can also be made in an afternoon. A matching potholder could be made to go along with the towel to make a cute set! The pattern below is by Sweetwater.

There are also quite a few fun free patterns for pouches, bags, and table runners on the United Notions Free Patterns Page found here.

Some other ideas for last minute gifts include:

  • Thread–neutrals or colors are always on every quilter’s wish list
  • Templates and tools
  • Notions
  • Moda Candy packs
  • Small pillows
  • Mug rugs
  • Key Chains
  • Luggage Tags
  • Doll quilts

Happy Sewing!