Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blog Tips with Keren from FPTFY!

Hi lovely Sewn with Grace Readers!
It's Keren from Free Pretty Things, and I am SO thrilled Renee asked me to be here today!

Today, I'll be giving you a few tips on how to make your blog a little more appealing and a few other tidbits that I hope you might find useful.  Here we go!

Blog Tips/DOs and DON'Ts:

1. Use the New Blogger Designer Templates. The Simple Template is my favorite. Be sure to choose the LAST option. Example shown below.
This option has a clean white background with NO SHADOWS around the blog border. No Shadows are a good thing :) Without them, everything looks nice and clean.

2. If you choose to have a Background on your blog, try to have the LEAST amount of clutter on your sidebars. You don't want your readers to feel overwhelmed when they come to your blog. BUT sometimes, you HAVE to have lots of buttons and information on your sidebars. If that is the case, do try to leave your blog without a background or at least a very LIGHT colored background.

3. Try to fight the urge of having music on your blog. Why you ask? Well, I can't speak for all bloggers out there but as for me, I do my Blog surfing Late at night or during my little girl's nap time. SOMETIMES, I forget to turn my speakers off and while I'm clicking way to view your latest fabulous post, I and my sound asleep toddler (that took 2 hrs to finally put down, BTY) are frightfully startled and awaken by your most favorite rocking tunes. Not cool. Did you know some readers will actually hear your music start, and as quickly as possible click off your page and NEVER return Just because your blog is "one of those blogs". Sad, but true :(

4. If you have a 3 column blog, try to keep your 2 sidebars only on ONE side of your blog. This is just because its easier on the eyes and readers only have to look to one side to view all of your information ... This is especially true if you are using your Blog as a way to bring revenue to your home. Your Sponsors will get Lots more click this way, because everything is nice and neat and Easy to view.

5. Take advantage of the New Blogger Templates Footer Layouts. Example shown below.
As you can see, these new Footer Layouts give you a lot more room to add important information without cluttering up those sidebars.

6. Let your Readers be able to find things easily on your blog. (A) Always have LABELS on ALL your post. NOT a MILLION of them but, essential ones. (B) Have a Search Bar!

7. Have a good ABOUT(ME) section.. Most readers will actually go to that section FIRST before reading any of your posts. If they don't like what they "see" they will just click off and forget all about you.

8. When you visit a new Blog and become a new follower or theirs, DO NOT Demand them to follow you back in a comment. It's just not nice.

9. Take good pictures! You dont have to have a fancy Camera to do so... Use LOTS of indirect Natural light and Never Use a Flash.

10. My Tips are just a few to get you started.. Here are 3 of my Favorite Blog Posts Regarding this Subject. Total Must Reads: 15 Basic Blogging Dos and Don'ts, Blogging 101: “Dos” and “Don’ts”, Top 10 Blogging Dos and Don’ts

Tips on How to use MY Freebies: The Printables are pretty self explanatory. Save to you computer, print and enjoy! :) Whenever I post an image as a PNG file, you could use THIS tutorial on how to add them to your pictures. You don't have to have a fancy program like Photoshop to use any of my images. Programs like pixlr.com and sumopaint.com are a wonderful way to start playing around and learning new techniques. You could also visit MAKING CUTE BLOGS to find LOTS and LOTS of blog tutorials!! Awesome site. And last but certainly not least, Shabby Blogs has wonderful Blog Tutorials and will be adding lots more in the near future! :)

Really hope all of this info helps you grow grow GROW!! :)
Happy Blogging!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Leftover Blocks

Do you remember this quilt?  Some friends of ours just became foster parents to a beautiful little girl. I wanted to make a quilt quickly to honor this special time in their lives.  While I was searching for patterns and fabric I came across 17 blocks that I didn't need for the first quilt.  16 of them made a perfect baby quilt size - 36" square.  The pattern is "Easy Bake" by Cluck Cluck Sew.  It's hand quilted with size 8 pink perle cotton.

For the backing I used a pretty retro kitty fabric that I had in my stash.  Isn't it sweet?  I encourage you to keep leftover blocks.  You never know when you will need something in a jiffy.  Three large blocks can be a table runner and one large block and be made into a pillow.  Your time is cut in half and you have a homemade gift in hardly any time.  Sew fun!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Scripture

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God."

Psalm 90:1&2

With joy,

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pincushion Pretties

I have been blessed by many friends during this birthday celebration month.  I want to share with you over the next few days some of the thoughtful and beautiful gifts I received.  My friend, Joyce, gave me this pretty pincushion.  The picture doesn't show the detail.  The felting of the flowers is exquisite. The little leaf pin is adorable too!

My friend, Char, gave me this vintage pincushion.  Holland, MI is not too far from us.  It could have been made as a souvenir back in the day.  Do you see the little thimble in it's holder?  Such a charming shoe.  It measures about 4 1/2 inches from heel to point.   What a treasure!

I hope this finds you enjoying your Saturday.  Yesterday it was 41 degrees, all the snow melted and the sun was shining brightly.  We woke this morning to a blanket of snow and cold temps, but the sun is still shining!  Beautiful!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I said "yes" to the dress!

Stopped at one of my favorite antique stores yesterday with my daughter.  I about flipped when I saw this dress.  At $40 I knew it was coming home with me.  It will look great at wedding shows as part of the display.

It was a definite yes to the dress!


Monday, January 23, 2012

Make Do

Today I want to share some of my goals for 2012 with you.  I'm telling you this in the hope that you would help keep me accountable and that I might have some companions on the journey this year.  Journeys are much more fun with friends along!

I had many comments last week asking me why I was giving my stash away, and did I have any fabric left?  Let me show you my current fabric stash ~

As you can see, I'm not hurting in the fabric department.  The amount of things I've accumulated has been weighing heavily on my heart for some time.  I'll spare you the knitting cabinet and the book/pattern cabinet so I'll still have some readers when this is post is finished.  I admit it, I fell into the marketing trap.  New fabrics come out and they aren't available forever, so I would purchase lines I like while I could get them.  Then I justified the fabric purchases by buying more books and patterns.  Of course, new fabric lines are constantly coming out so the cycle continued.  At Christmas I walked in my sewing room and decided it was time to take control.

So this is my plan of action for 2012:

1.  No fabric purchasing, none.  If I need to buy backing fabric, it will be a solid white or cream so that the yardage left over can be used in piecing.

2.  Only items to be purchased are batting, thread and backing fabric.

3.  No books or pattern purchasing.  If I used every book and every pattern I have, I would not finish these projects in my lifetime.  A startling reality.

4.  For every quilt I take to the quilter, I must hand/machine quilt two quilts myself.  This will help cut down on quilting costs.

5.  I will have a giveaway on the first Monday of the month to reduce the amount of sewing, craft and knitting supplies I have.  There may also be items I have made or items made by other bloggers.

6.  I will donate items to charity.  I have already given large cuts of fabric to my church as the college girls are making dresses for African girls.  I also have a box of fabric going to a friend who makes quilts for babies of servicemen.

7.  I have taken on 3 sewing students who will be able to use my fabric and patterns for class.

I do want to clarify some things.  I feel very blessed to have a husband who supports my interests.  I, of course, support my designer friends.  I absolutely love their work, as you can tell.  This will be very difficult for me, but necessary.  To help control the urge to shop, I have signed up for a block of the month through Shabby Fabrics.  Not only will a small bit of fabric come each month, but I will be perfecting some skills as well.  The blocks include piecing, embroidery and applique.  I am also doing two quilt alongs, so that with each block I make, I see progress.

What will happen at the end of the year when the fabric and yarn cabinets are empty?  I don't know, but I can hardly wait to find out.  So here's to a year of being productive, saving money and giving to others.  If anyone would like the button, the code is on my sidebar.  I welcome your thoughts on this post and well as any ideas to help me in this endeavor.  Blessings, dear friends!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Scripture

"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker,
for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care."

Psalm 95: 1-7

With Thanksgiving,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Agree Miss Mouse

Such a charming illustration and such a wise group of ladies.  Hope you are having a good Saturday.  The sun is shining brightly on a couple feet of snow.  A Cardinal sits at the bird feeder, such bright red against all the white.  My husband is fifty today as well.  I'm making eggplant lasagna and Italian vegetable soup by Giada.  The perfect end to the birthday week.  Blessings today!

With joy,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Birthday Giveaway Winners

Congratulations Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered!
Come back the first Monday of every month for a giveaway!
That's right - a year of giveaways at Sewn With Grace!!

Day 1 Christmas Giveaway winner~
Tammy at Urban Cottage

Day 2 Modern Giveaway winner~
Sallie at Sallie's Sampler

Day 3 Vintage Sheet winner~
Missy Shay

Day 4 Denyse Schmidt winner~
Dora at Dora Quilts

Ladie's please email your name and address to

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Birthday Giveaway Week~Day 4

I glanced at the clock this morning at 12:02 and said to  myself ~ you are 50!  How did that happen?  I can' think of a better way to spend this day than giving to you.  Today we end our week of giveaways with a whopper!

I am giving away two wonderful books, the first one is "Another Bite of Schnibbles" by Carrie Nelson.  The second is "A Baker's Dozen" by the staff at That Patchwork Place.  With it, I am giving you my collection of Denyse Schmidt fabric.  These are large cuts, so there will be plenty to sew with!  Enjoy, dear friends!
To enter:
Be a follower of "Sewn With Grace"
Please leave me a comment giving me
some advice on turning fifty!

I will be back tomorrow with the winners,
they will be chosen using the random generator~

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birthday Giveaway Week~Day 3

I'm having such a fun time reading all of your comments and learning a little more about you.  Yesterday's number one response was the desire to learn applique.  Today's book will help you with that.  This giveaway includes the book, "Not Your Grandmother's Quilt" by Sheri Howard.   Beautiful quilts with an applique twist on traditional pieced blocks.  The applique is not involved which makes it a good book for beginners to intermediate.  With it I am including my entire vintage sheet stash.  That is over 200 5" blocks, 15 10.5" blocks, a large vintage white sheet for piecing and sashing and a large floral sheet for backing.  For additional ideas on how to use vintage sheets, visit the Vintage Sheet Blog found here.
To Enter:
Be a follower of "Sewn With Grace"
Leave me a comment telling me
something you inherited and why it's meaningful to you~
For me, it is my Grandmother's cameo necklace
which reminds me of her laughter when I wear it.

See you tomorrow for the final giveaway!
With Joy,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Birthday Giveaway Week~Day 2

I sure am having fun spoiling you guys.  One of my "love languages" is giving gifts, can you tell?  I just wish I was on the other end of the package so I could see your face and sew with you!  I do hope the winners will send me pictures of something they have made using the fabric.

Today's giveaway is the wonderful book, "Inspired to Sew" by Bari J.  If you are not familiar with her work and talent, make dash to her.  Her use of color is amazing.  With the book I am offering my entire stash of modern, colorful fabric.  What is she doing? You may be asking.  I will save that for a later post.  
To enter:
Be a follower of Sewn With Grace
Leave me a comment answering this question:
If you were able to go on a retreat to learn something new,
what would it be?

See you tomorrow!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Birthday Giveaway Week!

Thank you for all the wonderful comments about my new blog look!  You ladies are the best!  I've had some questions as to where the blog roll is?  I have put that list at the top under "blogs I love".  So if you click on that button, it will take you to all the blogs I had listed on my sidebar.  You're still there!  If you weren't, I wouldn't be able to reach all your lovely blog homes!

Oh my goodness, it's a big week for me.  As I celebrate my last few days of being in the forties, I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than to give back to all of you.  You have inspired me, challenged me, comforted me, and made me laugh.  I feel so blessed to have you here, every day.

For today, I'm giving away my entire stash of Christmas fabric.  Yes, you read that right.  Most of it is the fabric I used to create this quilt.  In addition, I'm including a fun book by Piece O'Cake Designs, "Quilt a New Christmas".  Though we aren't doing our monthly "Sewing Christmas" anymore, I wanted to give you the opportunity to get started for next year.

There will be a giveaway each day, Monday through Thursday.  I'm stopping on Thursday since that's my birthday (and hopefully my family will be keeping me busy that day!).  Friday I will announce all the winners.  You have until midnight on Thursday to enter.  For today:

To enter~
Be a follower of "Sewn With Grace"
Leave me a comment telling me
your favorite Christmas gift you received this year!

Love you all,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Scripture

"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Psalm 16:5-8

photo found here


Friday, January 13, 2012


Last night I asked my friends on Face Book
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
I''m having so much fun reading their answers.
I am asking you, dear blog friends, the same question.

My answer ~

Learn to play the Electric Violin

Your turn!


Thursday, January 12, 2012


Pinning and hand stitching a quilt today while I wait for the big storm that is suppose to hit later this afternoon.  I love all the happy colors in this Henry Glass fabric. It will make the perfect gift for a new baby girl.  I'm trying to decide if I should run to the grocery to stock up.  I always chuckle a little on the eve of a snowstorm because the grocery will be out of milk and bread by mid afternoon.  If I'm stuck in the house during a blizzard, I'll need more than milk and bread!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lego Love

Some silliness has set in at our house.  My daughter and I have discovered the new Legos for girls. They are darling and fun.  I caved and bought the cafe and the design room.

The details are amazing!  I get a big kick out of the fact that the ruler is as tall as little Miss Lego's body, and clearly the size of that sandwich (next to the laptop) measures larger than her head.  My 17 yr. old wants the whole set, and here I thought we were done with toys!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sunday Scripture

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, 
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your 
good Spirit lead me on level ground."

Psalm 143:8&10

With joy,

Vintagey Goodness~

My daughter and I took a two day whirl wind trip to see my friend, Amy, and do some power shopping.  We were on a quest for a dress for an upcoming event.  We also wanted to go to Ikea and Anthropologie.  We made a stop on the way home at one of my favorite stores "The Potting Shed" and found this vintage necklace and purse to go with her new dress.

I keep meaning to ask the owner why she named the store what she did.  It really is a vintage and reproduction wonderland.  It has everything you could ever think of and all in aqua, pink, red and yellow.  I told her that if I could only go to one store for the rest of my life, this would be it!  The reproduction vintage valentine book has 48 valentines in it and was only $5.99.

This beautiful garland is also reproduction.  At only $12.99, it will be beautiful on my Easter tree.  It was a fun trip.  What have you been up to?


Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I came across this on pinterest yesterday.  It struck a chord deep in me.  I find that the desire to create is so strong that I can feel out-of-sorts until I take the time to do so.  I know that you know exactly what I'm talking about.  There are times when I have to step back and tell myself to stop stressing, I'm in control of what I make and there's no need to get all worked up about my self-imposed creative deadlines.  Who am I doing this for anyway?

I'm starting out this year by reevaluating why I create, when and how much time I should devote to it and who I am making things for.  I am reminding myself that God gave me this ability and I need to let Him direct my creative endeavors - all to His glory!  Do I know yet what this will look like? No.  But it is a start in the right direction.

This is a big month for me, I have a big birthday and some fun things planned for you, dear friends.  This blog is going to have a makeover, which I am very excited about.  I have some fun things to share with you.  I look forward to the New Year and all it will bring and feel so blessed to have all of you on this journey.

With joy,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Good Winter Day

This is the view from my porch today.  The grey skies
have lifted to reveal a sparkling blanket of snow under
 a sun filled sky.  The very best kind of winter day.

Feeling the need to snuggle and rest, my daughter plans
on opening this fun gift she received for Christmas.

I plan on devouring this wonderful magazine while I help her with her stitches.

My husband will be finishing up his current read.

A good winter's day!