Sunday, December 30, 2012

i'm still here!

wow - i never intended to take such a long break.  hope everyone had a fabulous holiday and that santa brought you everything on your wish list!  i've been enjoying having my husband home on vacation, sleeping late, and not doing a lot of anything.

this is the stocking that i made for a friend.  here's the story - she had a tree skirt and stockings that her grandma made for her, but gma passed away the year her youngest son was born.  so he doesn't have a stocking of his own.  i asked some friends (thanks Nikki!)for vintage scraps of fabric and was able to come up with a version.  i'm pretty proud of how much it looks like the original!  the construction was intriguing, the strips were pieced onto the lining, and i never did figure out how to do it exactly like the original.  so mine has stitching around the top of the cuff, where the other does not.  ah well.  

ok, so now on to the new stuff!  i have a brand new niece, born on Christmas day!  she is so stinking adorable.  baby j and momma are doing fine, and i think my little brother is a pretty proud new daddy.  and i need to get cracking on her quilt.

my older brother and his family were in town this week, and it was fun hanging out with them. we spent the night at my folks and played games and laughed a lot. also ate too much, i made knorr spinach artichoke dip that was awesome.  good thing i have my daughter to work out with, she keeps me on task.

there are two fun quilt projects starting up!  the #scrappytripalong has begun on IG and you can join the flickr group here.  i've made two blocks and have my strips set out for the third.  the tutorial is at quiltville.  they are fast and fun to make.

Pile O' Fabric

and you can sign up now for the skill builder BOM.  this quilt is amazing, i can't wait to learn how to make the different blocks!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

hot buttered rum

i had a fond memory of this drink.  my mom had this mix she kept in the freezer, and she'd scoop it out of the tupperware container, add hot water, and make a yummy sweet drink.  so i asked her about it the other day, and she said she'd look for the recipe.  she emailed it to me a day later, and i was excited to try it!

then i read the ingredients.  and i thought, that can't be right.
but google says, oh yeah, you read that right.

hot buttered rum

1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
1 pt. vanilla ice cream, softened
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon

beat butter and brown sugar and spices together until blended and fluffy.  add the ice cream and mix to combine. store in freezer for up to 2 months.

to serve, scoop 2 Tb. into a cup. pour in hot water and add one shot of rum.  stir to combine, and slurp. 

hey, if i'm gonna get fat this holiday, so are you.  pinky swear?

butter, sugar, and ice cream?  i have to wonder about the people who originally created this recipe.  what, they were making chocolate chip cookies, but forgot the whole mise en place thing and got to step two.  and said oh great, no eggs.  let's dump this butter sugar mixture in a pot of boiling water, pour in some rum and put our feet up!  (i also took a moment to ponder the fact that my mom kept a tub of this in her freezer.  but i'm a mom, i get it.  we all need those calgon moments sometimes.)

so once you get over the idea of drinking butter with some sugar and ice cream in it, it's actually pretty good.  it makes a ton. i've heard it's tasty with captain morgan's spiced rum.   it would be fun at a cookie exchange or after a night of caroling, skiing, whatever other exciting activities motivated people do in the winter. 

me, i'll be sitting on my couch.  watching netflix.  slurp.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the home stretch

thanks to everybody who entered to win the riley blake fabrics!  the winner has been emailed, so be sure to check your spam folders too, people.

with all the baking, i haven't had as much time for sewing.  i did get these bee blocks for lyanna and do. good stitches completed.  these are fun to make!  5 inch charms with 3 inch corners.

and i did a block for the KC scrappy bee.  lauren had us all make 16ish" x 18ish" blocks from the khaki with just a small rectangle of pieced scraps set in.  this should be fun to see when it's done.  plus, think of the possibilities for the quilting in all that negative space!

and i got my coquette jelly roll top pieced(finally).  it has some sunkissed texts and a random gingham thrown in for fun.  think i'll add a border, to make it twin size.  the pattern (from oct '12 american patchwork and quilting) called for 6 1/2" white strips on all sides, but i don't think i want that.  so, still thinking.  ideas are forming :)  i need to finish it, i have a lady ready to quilt it.  i am so glad to have it off my design wall though.  it was taking up all the room! 

i'm working on a stocking for a friend, made from vintage fabrics.  i was halfway done with it last night before i realized i was making it all wrong, so now i'm ripping stitches and starting over.  ugh.

troy will be off for almost 2 weeks in a few days, and he's got some home improvement stuff for us to tackle.  i'll try to incorporate that into some fun DIY posts. hopefully we'll start the new year with two new bedrooms(and closets!!) and bright shiny new lighting in our kitchen and dining area.  at the same time, i'm dreading the mess and upheaval of remodeling.  anyone else have ambitious plans for the holidays?

Monday, December 17, 2012

cookies everywhere!

i've been baking and mixing and rolling and dunking.  all week.  oh, and eating.  all week. 

for guild i ended up taking the peanut butter bites and oreo cheescake truffles. those are another simple and fast treat - crush a package of oreos, mix in a brick of cream cheese, scoop into balls, dunk in chocolate or roll in powdered sugar, and serve.  sorry i forgot to take any pics.  i made them again for a family christmas party yesterday, and my sis-in-law brought them too!  hers were extra fancy, dipped in white chocolate. 

yesterday was my friend joy's annual cookie exchange.  this year, we had 1,836 cookies on the table!  whoa, that's a lot of cookies. 

lots of tasty treats!  here's some links to a few of the cookie recipes.

i made jam thumbprints - and i used "traffic jam", which is made from strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, and cherries.  we also had mexican hot chocolates, fudge crinkles, and i think my fave is stacy's chai spiced sugar cookie.  oh and joy's melted snowmen! there were others i don't have recipes for - pistachio lime balls, peanut butter honeys, PB sandwiches, grinch cookies, german chocolate thumbprints, decorated sugar cookies, two different mint cookies, the list goes on!

so with all the baking, and eating, this cartoon made me giggle.

so in an effort to balance out the extra calories, i've been trying to do the 30 day shred video every other day.  i'd love to get in the habit of doing it every morning, but some days i just can't make myself.  the kids like to do it with me, but sunday morning it was just me and sawyer. 

he was so funny!  he was trying so hard to lift those 3 pound weights above his waist!  he likes the jumping jacks and situps too.  it's nice to have something to smile about while you exercise! 

(the giveaway ends tonight, and i will announce a winner in the morning!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

you put your peanut butter in my chocolate!

we have our december guild meeting tomorrow. we'll be getting our swap pincushions, madrona road challenge fabrics, playing a mystery game, and hopefully noshing on lots of yummy treats. october and december birthdays are responsible for the snack table. i've been trying to come up with something really tasty to bring.

i was thinking ritz/peanut butter cookies.

what? you don't know what those are? have you been missing out!  my friend joy makes them every year for her cookie exchange (which is this weekend!), and they're one of troy's favorites. i make them a lot for him to take to work.  here's what you need:

peanut butter
ritz crackers
almond bark

yep that's it!

make some pb cracker sandwiches and then give them a dunk in melted almond bark.  i hear they're awesome frozen too - i've got a bag chilling right now so i'll report back.

then monday my cousin steph posted about grandma neppl's peanut butter balls on facebook.  i got the recipe and made them yesterday, and they are also super easy and delish!  it seems they are also called buckeyes?  one aunt doesn't remember there being rice krispies in them, and i suppose you could leave them out, but i like the crunch!

here's her recipe for peanut butter balls

2 c peanut butter
1/2 c margarine
4 1/2 c powdered sugar
3c rice krispies

1 12 oz package of chocolate chips
almond bark

Melt peanut butter and margarine in a large bowl. Add in sugar and rice krispies. Make mixture into small balls and chill in the fridge (we do this overnight - do as long as you can otherwise they can get crumbly!)
The next day, melt the paraffin (a few pieces) then add in the chocolate chips. Dip each ball into the mixture. Put them on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and EAT!

when i posted the above pic on facebook i got lots of requests for the recipe, so i posted it there.  someone asked about the paraffin.  you can buy food grade paraffin for candy making, it helps the chocolate set and makes it shiny.  but if i'm dipping something in chocolate, i always use almond bark.  wilton also makes candy melts that are for dipping, so you could try those.  i'm sure there are other methods, but i've got mine and it works every time!

helpful tips:  i use a small scoop for forming the balls, and my batter bowl for melting the almond bark.  then i use a fork to help coat them in the chocolate and lift them out, tap against the side, and lay it on a piece of wax paper to harden.

now, you can get all fancy pants and drizzle either recipe with melted white chocolate and sprinkles (random fact, my husband hates sprinkles.  i didn't know that was possible, but he says he does).  or you can eat the peanut butter balls without any chocolate on them, that's good too.  in fact, i can't even tell you how many the recipe actually makes because i ate them as i was scooping them.  but it's something like 70ish.

hope you enjoy these quick easy recipes!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

chowder chow down

i've been fighting a cold now for what seems like weeks.  nothing better than a big pot of soup when you've got the sniffles! 

corn & sausage chowder

1 lb. pork sausage
1 c. onion, diced
4 c. potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme (or marjoram, or oregano)
2 c. water
1 can cream corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk (you can use fat free)

Brown sausage with onion in dutch oven or kettle.  Drain grease well.  Return meat mixture to pot with potatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add in corn and milk, and heat through. 

this is one of those meals that i forget about until i make it again, and then i wonder why i don't make it more often.  easy peasy, it's ready in a half hour.

let me know if you give it a try!

Monday, December 10, 2012

traditions, old and new

whoa -i just saw that there's 170 blogs participating in the blog hop!  that's a lot of giveaways! the list is here if you're feeling lucky!  my giveaway ends on monday the 17th, so you still have time to enter to win those riley blake fat quarters.

warning - this post is soooo long.  guess i'm extra chatty today.

i realized i asked everyone their christmas eve tradition without sharing ours!  growing up, we always played cards and ate tamales & turkey tacos with my nana, papa & aunt lavada.  turkey tacos are made with thanksgiving turkey my mom would freeze, and then you roll it up in a corn tortilla and fry them.  serve with "guacamorle", as my mom says - she's got some crazy pronunciations!  but now that my brothers and i all live in different states, we have our christmas later in the week.  complete with turkey tacos.

me and my brothers :)
now our tradition is to meet up with all my in-laws at troy's mom's house.  they used to attend mass and then come back home for dinner. but with 11 young grandkids, we stopped doing that a few years back!  now we have dinner, then everyone opens their gifts.  while the kids play with their new toys, the grownups play our own game.

everyone brings a bunch of wrapped gifts, some awesome, some horrible.  and we roll dice until the timer goes off, and whoever rolled the last doubles wins.  they can either take the gift on the table, or steal a gift from someone who's already won.  it gets ugly, folks.  i spend all year looking for stuff to put in the game. i won a mossberg shotgun last year!  there's a case of milwaukee's best beer that's at least 10 years old, and we manage to sneak it in every year by disguising it inside coolers or boxes.  troy's mom gets sneaky and hides a $50 bill in some lame present.  there's usually booze and accessories and tools.  you're supposed to bring half girl gifts, half guy gifts.  it started out as 5 each person, but we have so much fun everyone has started bringing more to keep the game going longer!  so yes, i am counting the days until we play the game!

one good part about our christmas eve is that once we head for home, the kids are exhausted and go right to sleep.  which gives santa plenty of time to fill the stockings, set out the gifts, and eat some cookies. and then we have a lazy christmas day where we watch the dvds the kids got, and play their new board games.

another new tradition for us is buddy the elf.  you know, the elf on the shelf?  i've thought about it the last year or two, and kept telling myself "i could make an elf..."  and you totally could!  there's a tutorial and everything!  but i had a 30% off coupon and got ours for $21.

thanksgiving night, i planned to "see" something at the front door as we pulled in the driveway from turkey day at grandma's.  and then i planned to "find" the box from santa, containing our new elf.  but i didn't plan on the kids not wanting to leave!  they were having so much fun with their cousins!  i waited almost an hour and finally said, ok, we're going, let's load up.  (troy & i drove separate because there's always some card playing and gambling going on, so i planned to bring the kids home with me)  they wanted to stay with daddy, i insisted they go with me, there were tears, and yelling, and sobs, and the whole bit.  the entire 20 minutes home, i was feeling like the worst mother ever.

but we made it home and i did my "what was that i saw?" and came downstairs with the box.  and wow, did those frowns turn upside down!  we spent a little time playing with a christmas elf name generator online, and the kids decided they liked the name buddy.  so, after we named him and read the book, i turned on one of my favorite holiday movies, Elf.  and we watched it snuggled up with our new family member, and had a slumber party in the living room.   i know some day i'll be able to tell the kids this story and laugh about it, but i'll admit to a few tears of my own while driving home that night! 

we've had a lot of fun with him!  the first night, he played in their blocks box.  then we found him hanging from our tree, playing cards, and having a friendly game of connect four with Lion.  i hacked our elf by inserting wire into his limbs, to make him poseable.  the wire i had was too thin, so i twisted several lengths together.  i've also forgot to move him once, but covered it because the kids had gotten up in the middle of the night and we decided that was why. phew.

an unintentional new tradition is me taking (terrible) photos of buddy's adventures and posting them on instagram and facebook.  and googling inappropriate elves so i can giggle like a 12 year old.

how about you?  do you have a shelf elf?  any fun ideas you want to share?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

birthday blog hop!

welcome to the quilter's blog hop party!

Hop Party with Give-Aways

if you're a new visitor, let me tell you a little bit about what goes on around here.  i post a lot about quilting, usually blocks for different bees, and i have a vintage sheet addiction.  i share my VS fabric finds in my etsy shop. i post recipes, and write about my family and crafting with kids.  we have an 8 year old daughter, and three boys, ages 6, 5, and 2.  i'm a lucky stay at home mom, and most days you'll find me in my pjs. i'm planning some DIY/home improvement posts too, so if you're not a follower, i'd love it if you join me!

let's get on to the real reason you're here, the giveaway!  i decided to offer up 3 fat quarters of fabrics.  these are fun prints i bought before i knew if i was having a niece or nephew (and it's a niece).  the stripe is riley blake's peak hour stripe, next is riley blake alphabet soup beads in blue, and then argyle in green.  i love how well the fabrics work together!  add in some solids and you have a fun mod baby quilt.

anyways, to enter to win, just leave a comment on this post, and make sure to check the box in the rafflecopter widget! i'd love to know what your christmas eve tradition is, is you have one.  if you're a follower, you can have a 2nd entry (or third!) just follow the directions.  US shipping only, please.  ends 12/17.  *

if you aren't sure how to use rafflecopter, simply leave a comment on my blog below, then sign into the rafflecopter widget using either your email address or your Facebook information and click the button next to leave a blog post comment.  questions or trouble with it?  email me at craftytammie @yahoo . com  i use rafflecopter because it seems to be the fairest and easiest way for me to run giveaways on my blog.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

thanks to michele and the quilting gallery for hosting this fun event!  happy 5th birthday!  have a great time checking out the other blogs, and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


thanks so much to everyone who entered my giveaway!  did you check out all the other blogs? there were some really fab prizes up for grabs! 

RNG chose number 50 out of 186, and that commenter has been emailed.  if i don't hear back within a week, i will choose another winner. 

and if you're sad you didn't win my fabric bundle, don't forget to check out my etsy shop.  i have a matching set listed.  and lots of other fun patterns too!  you can even work with me to build a custom bundle

it was cool hearing about your bedroom color schemes!  it seems i'm not alone in needing to spruce up my space.  maybe we should have a challenge to encourage us to "beautify our bedrooms"?  what do you think, would you play along? i could look for some sponsors and start a flickr group!  of course, we'd need before and after photos, and some guidelines. i'm thinking we could try to finish by febuary?  leave me a comment and let me know if you're interested!

Monday, December 3, 2012

giveaway day 2012

it's time again for sewmamasew's giveaway day! i love to visit all the blogs and have won some fantastic prizes in the past! if you're new to giveaway day, be sure to head over here to read more about it.

i am giving away this fat quarter bundle of vintage sheet fabrics! you know, i have a slight addiction to vintage sheets, and i have a huge collection. i sell bundles in my etsy shop too!  they are all prewashed and super soft, ready to be made into quilts, totes, or whatever you'd like! so if you have a sheet you're searching for, drop me a note and i may be able to help you out.

i chose six of my favorite prints, and they all measure a generous fat quarter (18" x 22" or slightly larger).

to enter, just leave me a comment below.  why don't you tell me what color scheme you've got going on in your bedroom?  i'm looking to redecorate mine.  if you're a follower of mine, you can have a second entry!  leave a 2nd comment and tell me whether you follow me on facebook, twitter, etc. have fun entering all the giveaways, and good luck!

us shipping only please, and giveaway ends december 7th.  winner will be chosen by random number generator from all eligible comments received.  please make sure i have a way to contact you, as winners will have one week to respond to claim their prize!

Friday, November 30, 2012

apron strings

i made an apron for emma!  it's part of her christmas present.

i started this awhile back, and found it in my WIP pile.  it's just a small version of my favorite apron, and i added a ruffle to the bottom.  and i learned it's hard to take a good picture of an apron without a model!  i used a bunch of old fabrics for this, scraps and sheets and that cherry print.


she wants an easy bake oven for christmas - but i would rather her learn to cook for reals.  we got her a cake pop maker, and i'm going to wrap it up with a bunch of fun sprinkles and decorations and the apron!  i hope she'll like it.  i've been encouraging her to help me in the kitchen.  she piped the filling into deviled eggs and helped roll pie crust for thanksgiving.  i'm excited to have someone to bake with!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ginger 2012

so movita beaucoup  is having this gingerbread house contest called ginger 2012, and i thought i'd play along.  i've never made a gingerbread house from scratch before.  but how hard could it be?

Source: via Good on Pinterest

i have this cute 3D cookie cutter from good cook, that cuts all the shapes for a mini house, and i imagined a whole village of frosty topped buildings.

so i found a recipe.  one that didn't call for molasses, because i don't have any.  and then i realized i didn't have any ground ginger either.  i should have just hung up my apron there.

but the cookies actually came out quite tasty!  (i used pumpkin pie spice) they are nice and crisp, with just the right amount of spice.  they are probably more kid friendly than traditional ones, since the flavor's not as strong.  i should have chilled the dough in between, because my cookies spread a little too much.  we made stars, bunnies, snowmen, trees, and lots of house pieces.

next, i dusted off the parchment triangles i bought back in 2001 for that wilton class i took.  made some piping cones, whipped up some royal icing, felt very professional, and we got to work.  the kids got to decorate their bunnies and snowmen with m&ms and nerds from the halloween bucket.  sawyer spent his time licking the frosting off his cookies and eating the candy.

the three older kids tried to build houses.  no luck.  they all collapsed before long under the weight of too much icing.  i tried to tell them.  nobody ever listens to me.

and i tried my best to make a pretty snow capped village.  it's a funny thing, my piping skills haven't improved over the last few years with no practice!  (it's been awhile since i decorated anything.) i added some snowy effects using picmonkey :)  and, my buildings are still standing.  in your face, children!

then, for giggles, i tweeted a picture of this house that zach built, pretending it was going to be my entry for ginger 2012.  if you are *actually* talented at building a gingerbread house, be sure to head over to her site and enter yours by december 16th.  at least you know there's no competition from me.  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

wrap it up

so, how do you wrap your presents?  do you coordinate your wrappings, or let the kids pick out the paper?  does santa use a different paper so the kids don't get suspicious?  i've always used a mix of bags and boxes, but this year, i'm doing something different.

i'm making fabric gift bags for some of the presents! i've finished 7, they are so fast and easy to make!  a half yard will make one medium bag, using this tutorial at riley blake.  but i changed the sizes on a couple of the ones i made.

i had some christmas fabrics, so i used those, but this is a great project for using vintage sheets!  admittedly, green sheets are a little harder to find, but in my stash i had a gingham, a stripe, and a polka dot. 

i also had a red seersucker stripe that came from troy's grandma's stash. i'm happy with how they all turned out!  if your fabric is non directional, you can even use the selvage edges for the casing side, saving yourself the turn down step. i dug into my ribbon basket to find cording and grosgrain to use for ties.

i love the idea of appliqueing the kids' names on the bags, so they have their own bag to reuse every year. or, you could make the reusable gift tags at simple simon.

there are a bazillion tutorials, but i like this one for small items - you can make 2 from a fat quarter and the ribbon closure is smart.

and of course, for a fancier bag that's a present in itself, you could use jeni's tutorial for a fully lined bag.  i've made lots of those too, choosing the fabric combos is my favorite part!

i'll admit, they aren't as cute as paper covered boxes, but they do have a bonus.  i can knot the ribbons shut, so nobody can peek, and the toddler can't tear them open like a paper wrapped gift!  that's a win in my book.

Friday, November 23, 2012

know thy machine!

Hi, I'm Tammie, and I am so happy to be a part of the
know thy machine blog hop!  It's being put on by Shruti at 13 woodhouse road, so be sure to check out all the other stops!  She asked all of us a series of questions about our machines.  I thought this would be a fun time to share some peeks into where I sew!

1. What machines do you have?

I have two sewing machines. a Brother XL-3750 and a Brother LS 2125-i .  I started out with a light green Kenmore my Nana gave to me when I graduated high school, and a Singer Fashion Mate that was my mom's.  I also have Nana's old serger, but I haven't sat down and figured it all out yet.

built in stitches
2. When and where did you buy it? 
What were the reasons for selecting these particular models?
What was its approximate cost?

The first machine, the Brother LS 2125-i, was a craigslist find, and I paid $40 for the fairly new machine. A KU student was headed overseas, and said shipping it was more than buying a new one when she arrived. I wanted a shiny new machine, and thought it was a great deal!  Until I started having tension issues.  Having it serviced was more $$ than it originally cost me, so for now it sits in my closet.  It may be something I was doing wrong, I need to get the thing out and take another look.

Then Target had the Brother XL-3750 on sale for $199 at Christmas two years ago, and it came with a walking foot and FMQ foot, so I was sure it would cover all my needs.  My husband bought it for me!
3. What do you like about your machine? 

I like it, I don't LOVE it and I would gladly accept a new machine from Bernina or Janome!  But it's capable and gets the job done.

Have you named it? 
I haven't named it, we're not all that close.  Occasionally I call him "bro".  Sometimes I scold him when he's not cooperating.
Have you made a cover for it?
Nope, I don't cover my machine.  I sew any chance I get, which may mean 5 minutes in the morning once I get the kids on the bus, and so I always have it ready to go.  I keep blocks for several projects in rotation, allowing me to always have leaders and enders, which saves thread and multi tasks.  win win!

4. Does your machine give you any problems? Could you tell us a few? 

This is my second brother, and I've had tension issues with both.  mainly things like having loops on the top of the fabric, but changing the tension settings makes no difference.  I usually just clean my machine really well, and cross my fingers.  I've noticed he doesn't like it if I overfill my bobbin. And I was trying to make a hooded towel for a baby gift 2 weeks ago, and my machine wasn't enjoying sewing through such thick fabrics. 

I'm also unable to FMQ if I cover the feed dogs with the included darning plate.  It's a loopy mess underneath if I do that.  But if I leave them up, it works pretty well.  I just have to master the art of moving the fabric around without being jerky or crossing my lines.

The only other thing that has given me problems is my needle threader.  I think I bent it trying to use it with my walking foot on, and now it doesn't line up and won't work.  So I'm threading the needle manually.  Life's so hard sometimes. ;)

5. What do you sew on it mainly? 

I make tons of quilt blocks.  I belong to several bees, and always have blocks I'm working on.  I don't do a lot of actual quilting on the machine, just small things like pillows and baby quilts.  For larger quilts, I piece the tops and then send them off to be quilted.  I occasionally make clothes for my kids, and small projects like quilted notebooks, aprons, totes and the like.  Last summer I sewed my first swimsuit, for my daughter!

How much time do you spend sewing on it? 
I sew whenever I can - even if I just get a minute or two, I chain piece some blocks.  If I go a day or two without sewing anything, I start to feel twitchy.  Even if I'm just mending, it feels good to sew something.

What are the features of the machine that help you improve your work?  
I like my extended table, and the walking foot is a bonus.

6. What advice would you give others when deciding about which machine to buy? 

I believe for a beginning stitcher or quilter, or someone with little money to spare for a hobby, the Brother XL-3750 machine gives a lot of features.  It's a cheap machine, but I've used it almost daily for going on three years with no real problems, and I feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of the little guy.  It comes with specialty feet, and lots of decorative stitches.  I have never had it serviced.  I keep canned air to blow out the dust and that's the extent of maintenance for me.

There's also a great post about this subject at stitched in color.

7. Will you share with us a special memory associated with your machine? 

The only one I can think of is when I was sewing at the dining room table, and my then three year old managed to pull the machine off the table by the cord.  Luckily no kids or machines were harmed!  But it made me realize I needed a safer place to set up my sewing stuff.  For a short time I was sewing in our laundry room, standing up, with the machine on the washer!  I actually liked sewing while standing, less strain on my back.

design wall and cutting table corner
I finally settled on a space in our upstairs, a random nook with a window, that wasn't working for anything else.  It's small, and I'm messy, but it actually functions pretty well.  I'm about to share some embarrassing photos of my chaos, because although I love those tours of amazing sewing rooms, this is what mine always looks like.  Plus, this might shame me into finally getting organized.  Someday.

messy cutting table and ironing board
The cutting table, iron, and design wall are all so close together, it actually makes an efficient work area.  My machine sits next to that, and cabinets from yard sales hold my fabrics and books.  Plastic drawers hold charms and scraps.  Baskets have WIPs and UFOs and random junk.  My husband plans to run electrical outlets and lights for me, the nook has none right now and I use extension cords and outlet strips.  I'd love to put in some cabinets to replace the plastic stuff.

clutter clutter everywhere
the "before i filled it up with too much stuff" pic

8. If you had unlimited resources in the world, which machine would you choose to buy and why? 
My dream machine would probably be a Bernina 830.  You know, if I had an extra $13000 in my pocket.  Or if someone wanted to buy me one, oh, maybe for a Christmas present?!  haha!  Dream big, right?   

Thanks so much Shruti for having me on your blog hop!  now, i'm off to raid my kids legos and try to make my own lego sewing machine!  isn't it so cute!  don't forget to visit 13 woodhouse road to answer a question to enter her giveaway!


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