2015 Use It Or Lose It

I’ve decided that in 2015 I need to get tough with all my craft gadgets, machines, books etc… They are all take up valuable space when I’m limited for space so I’m going to adapt the use it or lose them principle.  I’ve mentioned that I’m slowly using the features of my MC 11000 I’m gaining confidence with that and its getting used. Its my main sewing machine. At first it scared me but now I’m concurring it. This year I’m going to learn how to use it to its full potential.

Sewing Machine Large

I need to pull out my Scan N Cut machine and figure out how to use it. When I used it last year to cut fabric I couldn’t get it to work for me. In the end I packed it in the box and only took out to draw a stitchery design. I watched youtube and things at the time but I couldn’t get it to work just like they did. Its a great machine and I’m sure once I get the hang of it I’ll use if not I’m going to lose it and pass it on to someone else so they  can get the hang of it.

ScanNCut Failure

Recently I just brought a couple of items including an electric bias binding maker and electronic strip cutter. I’m going to play around with these just as I did with my sewing machine cause I know once I get the hang of them they are going to be useful. I have a couple of gifts that I want to complete or at least start this year which are going to need a lot of bias binding and strips so I need to get these machines to work.

Craft Gadgets

I have a slight habit buying craft books. I’m going to limit myself as to what I buy. No more buying books on a whim. If its not a super discounted price which I’m unlikely to see again then I’m not going to buy them. A book for of knowledge is never wasteful but at some point you do have to say no. I need to do a cull of what I have too as some I won’t ever use so they may as well be passed on to someone who can use them.

Needlecraft Book

I generally don’t buy a lot of fabric as I have so much of it already but this year I’m going to refrain even more from getting it on a whim. Unless its for a specific purpose I’m not getting it. I’m not about to give away my fabric any time soon I just won’t add to it as much. The same applies to the rest of the stashes I have.

I’m hoping by the end of 2015 I can look back and say I was successful with following the Use It Or Lose It rule this year.




Winter Secrets – Hearts Entwined

Flicking through the latest issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine (Vol 23 No 8) a project really jumped out at me. Winter Secrets by Cinzia White. Its a table centrepiece / runner that is a giant hexagon. It is made up of 7 blocks. Each block is hexagon stitchery containing 7 hexagon designs. Its all just straight shapes and lines. It looks amazing. I’m a very geometric person and I love hexagons so that’s why I think I was drawn to it immediately. I’ve decided to make it but in true style I’m adding my own twist to it.

Winter Secrets

This first block is called Hearts Entwinded. I’m only tracing one block out at a time.

Drawing Original

In Cinzia’s design on each block the 7 mini hexagon designs are each a different colour. I’ve decided to do the entire stitchery in one colour. I brought a heap of embroidery threads a few weeks ago and I hope I have enough for the entire project or I’ll be hunting down that colour towards the end. It looks great multi-coloured but in my mind I can picture it in one colour. Also I’m not tracing out all the blocks by hand I’m going to use the drawing feature on my ScanNCut machine.

Drawing Attempt 2

This is going to be a looong term project for me. I’m going to work on it when I can but I’m not pushing myself to finish it. I will finish it no matter how long it takes. All other projects will take precedent but when I just want to pick up something and do a couple of minutes of back stitching I’ve got something already to go. Every stitch counts. Every stitch is relaxing. I don’t do a lot of projects for me but this, this is mine.

The Frustrated Crafter

This afternoon I’m a very frustrated crafter. I can’t get my ScanNCut machine to cut like I want it to do.

ScanNCut Failure

I’m trying to cut out some letters so I can applique them for baby blocks. My fabric is all prepped with the Vilesofix stuck to it. When I load my cutting mat into the machine it moves around and therefore isn’t cutting properly. I’ve tried reloading it several times still no luck. My fabric appears to be sticking to the mat but as soon as it comes to cutting my fabric shifts around. You can’t tell by the photo but the letters are only half cut then the fabric has shifted. The fabric is a fairly thickish cotton and plus with the added Vilesofix it is very sturdy and therefore shouldn’t move about. I’ve adjusted my cutting pressure as per a Tip Sheet I got from Brother but still having trouble. I need to cut fabric in 5 different colours. So far I’ve wasted this piece of yellow so will now have to cut another piece and prep it again. Normally I have trouble working with Vilesofix but today it is being my friend but my cutting machine isn’t. I really wanted to get these letters done today so I can start hand appliqueing them over the coming weeks. I’m very tempted to get out my Sizzix Cutting machine and do them through that but I can’t have alternate colours with that like I can with my ScanNCut.

I’m actually thinking last resort might be get out my lightbox and trace them the old fashion way. I have 3 sets of letters to do this could take a while…

2nd Attempt Drawing With Brother ScanNCut

Drawing Attempt 2


Take 2 on the drawing with Brother ScanNCut. After my 1st attempt at drawing I did things a little differently second time around. This time I cut my fabric and stabilizer down so they easily fitted within the grid on the scanning mat. I scanned my background fabric in first so I could see the placement of the design on the actual fabric. It fed through the machine with ease this time. The pen drew easily and I just sat back and watched it do its magic. I was at first thinking that it had missed some of outside of the design until I looked at the paper design once it was finished and realised that the outside lines it had drawn were actually the sides of the cut paper pattern I’d scanned into the machine. Also there is a few odd marks in the middle which I realised was where there the paper pattern had staple marks or fold lines. As the ink will wash out it doesn’t matter they are there however next time I might delete them like I did a label that was on the original paper pattern.

So important things to remember when drawing onto fabric

  • Ensure your fabric is within the gridlines so that it feeds easy
  • Use the blue marking pen if you want the drawn picture to stay on your fabric for any length of time as the purple pen only lasts a couple of days
  • If possible delete any sections and lines you don’t want the machine to draw in
  • Relax its not a scary process and with the water soluble and air soluble pens any mistakes will disappear


Washing Out ScanNCut Blue Marking Pen



After my 1st attempt at drawing with my ScanNCut machine I backstitched around one shape to use as a test piece to see how easily the blue marking pen would wash out. I’ve never used an erasable marker so I contacted Brother to ask how to do it as in the box there is no instructions and I couldn’t find anywhere on the net that said it. The staff were really helpful and told me that I could either wash it out in warm or cold water and use detergent.



I decided to rinse it under cold water and was amazed at how the ink just disappeared in front of my very eyes. I was like a kid watching a magic trick as it was that instant. People who are used to using water soluble markers would probably think nothing of this but as mentioned I’ve never done it before and was worried at what and how to do. I’m really happy now cause I can go ahead with the project I have in mind now.

1st Attempt At Drawing With Brother ScanNCut

I thought I’d have a go at drawing a stitchery design onto fabric with my ScanNCut machine. It wasn’t a full success but it wasn’t a total failure.

Drawing Attempt 1

Unfortunately my fabric was outside the cutting mat gridlines slightly which meant it caught on the rollers as it went through the machine and the fabric moved. That’s ok lesson learnt is that I need to cut my fabric smaller so it is within the gridlines. As I could see the design wasn’t going to be drawn out in full I cancelled it to save on pen ink. I’m going to still use this piece as a test piece to stitch and then see if how well the pen washes out. I used the blue pen as it lasts until washing. The purple pen only lasts 2-14 days which isn’t long enough for me.

On the upside I did discover how to delete a portion of the pattern that I didn’t want. I’ve written myself instructions so I know what to do next time.

Purple Pillow

A friend of mine asked me to make her a pillow after she got a new lounge. She sent me a picture of the fabric but didn’t give any real specifications as to what she wanted but she wanted it to be hers. I was given full creative licence and accepted the challenge.


My mind started ticking the moment she asked me. I sent her a heap of texts asking questions about things. She couldn’t believe how fast my creative brain works but I really did have ideas flying through. She’s a purple person so I knew the pillow needed to be in shades of purple. Seeing the fabric with the yellow letters I instantly thought to put the yellow lettering on the cushion. I decided to have her name on the pillow without it being obvious that her name is on it. This is what I came up with.

Purple Pillow

Its just a simple patchwork pillow with the letters appliqued randomly on. In my fabric stash I found a stack of purple offcuts so I went through them choosing pieces that were more greyish purple rather then pinkish purple. I didn’t want anything too girly (not her style) I was trying to get a good balance of prints that would also mix together.

This pillow was really a new challenge to me. I’d never sewn in a zipper before making this pillow so I found this tutorial and found it really easy to follow (modern day sewing is made easy with tablet pc’s sitting on the ironing board and next to the sewing machine) To cut the letters out I used my new ScanNCut machine I got for Christmas. To be honest I did have to have a little play on this machine before I attempted the letters. I didn’t let it overwhelm me I just gave it all ago.

I’m so excited with this pillow. Its the exact way I designed it in my mind. Its actually given me the confidence to do a few pillows as birthday gifts later in the year.