Monday, February 8, 2016

BIG Changes!



Big changes are on the horizon for 3LittleBrds! Perhaps you have noticed the lack of activity...?

Well, I decided that I either needed to stop blogging here or come up with some direction. After spending last week at the VDTA/SDTA show in Las Vegas, I opted for the later.

Since being diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome in February of 2013, I have made a lot of changes. My sewing life is no different. I have had to approach each new quilting or sewing project in a completely different way because I don't know how I will feel. On some days, I may experience brain fog or I might have swollen and painful hands. These are days where I might want to be creative, but I certainly need to steer clear of the rotary cutter.

Sewing has so many health benefits! Recent studies point to lower blood pressure, helping to cope with trauma, and even help improve memory and ward off dementia.

Since writing an article on products that help you keep sewing when you have health issues, I have found a ton of products that help people continue to sew when their bodies are putting up a fight. This may mean products that help the vision impaired see the stitching line, people with arthritis cut precisely, or sewing tables that are wheelchair accessible. In some cases it may not be products that are marketed as such, but absolutely will help you KEEP SEWING.

The new blog is called Sew Supportive and is located at www.sewsupportive.com. Eventually I will link this blog to that site and migrate the content over there. I do hope you will visit the new blog and share the content freely with your sewing friends.

Thank you for all of your support!

Tracy

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Machine

                         


 

A Big thank you to Sam Hunter for putting this blog hop together! It has been incredibly informative and fun for me personally and I hope you feel the same. 

I recently started speaking at guilds after spending the past 3+ years creating projects specifically for kids to sew in We Sew 2 for Generation Q Magazine. That's right, in every single issue there is a project just for the kids. Sometimes it is so simple, it is even good for the littlest of sewists. Sometimes it's better for kids who have made a few things. But I always try to keep all of the kids in mind when designing the projects so they can all create on some level. 

That is why, when Sam asked if I wanted to join in on this hop I was happy to join in and equally happy to talk about teaching kids to sew! They are after all the next generation to whom we need to pass the baton. 





They all want to jump right to the machine, but I have a few simple tips that will get them off on the right foot. 

First, teach them the parts of the machine and some basic safety measures. While the machine is unplugged, point out the parts of the machine and tell them the proper names. (Nothing worse than telling them to put down the foot and they put down their foot... on the foot pedal.)

Next, we start with an unthreaded machine and a piece of lined paper. 




Yup, some good ole college ruled will keep them busy for a bit. Their job is to stitch along the lines and stay on them. It usually takes about two pages before they can fill the entire sheet without going off the lines. This teaches them how to maneuver the paper under the foot, keep their hands away for the needle and gives them some practice with controlling the speed with the foot pedal. 

Oh yeah! If your machine has speed control, use it! Set it to turtle and let them work their way up to rabbit - that will take a few years! 

After they master the paper, they graduate to fabric! Panels like the one in the photograph (Firefly Designs by Andover) make great first projects. They are small and easy and they can quickly make something for their doll! 

Besides having some rules for the kiddos, I also have a few for the adults too. 

1. Show them what to do and then stand back. This should be fun and at this point, they don't need you to point out their mistakes. Only show them the seam ripper if they are unhappy with their sewing. 


2. Not all projects need to turn into something. I like to give Cyd a square of felt and my scrap basket and let her have at it. Is it a work of art? Sometimes. Other times, not so much. It doesn't matter. As long as she has fun and learns a bit more about the machine, all is well in the world! 


3. Snacks are imperative for keeping up ones strength whilst sewing. 




Finally, have fun! What is more fun than teaching someone else your fave pastime? Enjoy it! 



Thank you so much for stopping by on the Back to School Hop! If you want to keep up with me, please visit my Facebook page and give a Follow

Please check out the rest of the hop too! 


Sept 1: Peta Minerof-Bartos of PetaQuilts – So, Does that Diagonal Method for a Pieced Backing Really Work
Sept 2: Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com – The Quilter’s Knot
Sept 3: Teresa Coates of Crinkle Dreams – The Importance of Pressing
Sept 4: Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts – Color Coding for Paper-piecing
Sept 5: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio – How to Calculate and Cut Bias Binding
Sept 6: Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilt Studio – Credit where Credit is Due
Sept 7: Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts – How to Keep a Perfect 1/4” Seam Between Different Machines
Sept 8: Rose Hughes of Rose Hughes – Fast Pieced Applique
Sept 9: Megan Dougherty of The Bitchy Stitcher – The Care and Feeding of the Domestic Sewing Machine
Sept 10: Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Design Studio – Make a Mobile Art Kit
Sept 11: Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty – Log Cabin 101
Sept 12: Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness – Zipper Tips
Sept 13: Jane Victoria of Jolly and Delilah – Matching Seams
Sept 14: Jemelia Hilfiger of JemJam – Garment Making Tips and Tricks
Sept 15: Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios – Curved Piecing Without Pins
Sept 16: Misty Cole of Daily Design Wall – Types of Basting
Sept 17: Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams – Setting your Seams
Sept 18: Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps – Joining Quilted Pieces by Machine
Sept 19: Bill Volckening of WonkyWorld – The Importance of Labels
Sept 20: Jessica Darling of Jessica Darling – How to Make a Quilt Back
Sept 21: Debbie Kleve Birkebile of Mountain Trail Quilt Treasures – Perfectly Sized No-Wave Quilt Borders
Sept 22: Heather Kinion of Heather K is a Quilter – Baby Quilts for Baby Steps
Sept 23: Michelle Freedman of Design Camp PDX – TNT: Thread, Needle, Tension
Sept 24: Kathy Mathews of Chicago Now Quilting Sewing Creation – Button Holes
Sept 25: Jane Shallala Davidson of Quilt Jane – Corner Triangle Methods
Sept 27: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting – The Power of Glue Basting
Sept 28: Catherine Redford of Catherine Redford – Change the Needle!
Sept 29: Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz of Fun From A to Z – French Knots, – ooh la la!
Sept 30: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts – How to Align Your Fabrics for Dog Ears
October 1: Tracy Mooney of 3LittleBrds – Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Sewing Machine
October 2: Trish Frankland, guest posting on Persimon Dreams – The Straight Stitch Throat Plate
October 3: Flaun Cline of I Plead Quilty – Lining Strips Up

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Little Indie Magazine That Could

Did you know that pretty much all of the American quilting magazines are owned by two very large companies? 

I didn't know that before I started working professionally in the industry. It certainly is eye opening, isn't it? I guess it is kinda like shopping at a big box store. So many small companies are being bought up by larger businesses who are looking to diversify, right? 

...And then there is GenQ. We are the little guy. The magazine that I bet some industry big wigs didn't think would make it this long. We were started by you! A kickstarter campaign started it all. 

We are your independent source for quilting news and all things fiber.

Sometimes I feel really lucky. I work for two women, Melissa and Jake, who never shy from giving a pat on the back. It is a nice change from some of my previous employers who either didn't get me or just liked to profit from my work (hoping that I didn't know that they were charging 6 times my salary for my writing). They always are there to say "great job!" or "need any help?" just when you need it. It is a refreshing change!

I also work with an amazing crew of quilters that always make me laugh - like snorting laughter... I am talking, of course about the crew at Generation Q Magazine. 



These days our crew consists of Jake Finch, Melissa Thompson Maher, Teri Lucas, Scott Hansen, Bev Mabry, Jamie Mueller, Melissa Kanovsky and Debi Knight. That's it! We are a tiny crew that live across the country - in each time zone. We don't have a big corporation that pays our salaries. We all have "day jobs" that help us pay the bills or keep us in health insurance. And SOMEHOW we put together a magazine every other month.

We meet once per week via conference call to keep the copy on track, get advice when we are stuck and brainstorm new content for future issues. It is part business meeting and part bestie sleepover - and you'd better pee before the call - because we laugh our butts off!

I tell you each time it feels like birthing a baby. All 100 pages of articles, patterns, recipes, and quilting news... somehow it comes together under these amazing women who guide our ship. Somehow we get it done. 

So the next time you reach for our magazine and are thinking twice at our price tag, consider our little team. That $10 goes directly to a small business. We don't have overhead. We don't outsource overseas. It's just our small little crew plugging away each week to keep your quilting brain entertained and informed. Yes, I know, $10 is a lot these days. But it is less than going to the movies, and offers more than two hours of entertainment!


And right now, you can try us for even less! We are having a sale on our back issues. Five dollars will give you a great read - Amy & David Butler? Victoria Findlay Wolfe? Valori Wells? Pat Bravo? They are all on sale!  

So give us a chance if you haven't read us before. Just like that big box store... bigger magazines can get a better price, but paying a few bucks more helps the little mom & pop (or "mom & mom") survive. 

Thanks for listening. :) 


And if you are a small quilting or sewing business too, we totally get you! We offer really reasonably priced ads. If you're interested in advertising with us contact Jamie (jamie@generationqmagazine.com) or Melissa K (melissa.k@generationqmagazine.com). The most basic ad (business card size) is $150. Jamie and Melissa can give you all of the details. 

Quilt. Sew. Live. Breathe.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Exciting news!



I got promoted! Go read all about it on the GenQ Blog and then come back. I'll wait...

I am now senior editor. I feel honored and blessed to work for women who not only appreciate what you do, but also let you know and reward you for it!

It seems like only yesterday that I jumped on a plane headed for Quilt Market to help out in the first GenQ booth as they handed out the fit issue ever (that was funded via Kickstarter I might add!).

I almost didn't go. I had been out of work for months and I longed desperately for work that was creative, but I was counting pennies. I wasn't sure I could afford a hotel for the weekend. All right... let's be honest.  I wasn't sure I wanted to invest in myself. Spending $500+ or so for the travel and hotel and food was, in my mind, taking $500 from my family.

Luckily, my husband used a Grateful Dead reference and said something like "You have the airplane ticket. Go! And when you get there, hope for a 'Miracle'."

Well, that Miracle came as I sat down over a glass of wine with Jake and Melissa as we talked about what was happening in the quilting world. The very next morning they offered me a writing job with the magazine. It was all a blur and yet so very many moments of that weekend are forever etched in my mind. The staff took me under their wing and welcomed me into the fray as I witnessed all of these amazing firsts for them.

I was introduced to so many wonderful quilters that I now call my friends. And my world was changed for GOOD.










And if you have time, check out some of my friends during the month of September in the Back To School Bloghop...

Sept 1: Peta Minerof-Bartos of PetaQuilts – So, Does that Diagonal Method for a Pieced Backing Really Work
Sept 2: Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com – The Quilter’s Knot
Sept 3: Teresa Coates of Crinkle Dreams – The Importance of Pressing
Sept 4: Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts – Color Coding for Paper-piecing
Sept 5: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio – How to Calculate and Cut Bias Binding
Sept 6: Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilt Studio – Credit where Credit is Due
Sept 7: Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts – How to Keep a Perfect 1/4” Seam Between Different Machines
Sept 8: Rose Hughes of Rose Hughes – Fast Pieced Applique
Sept 9: Megan Dougherty of The Bitchy Stitcher – The Care and Feeding of the Domestic Sewing Machine
Sept 10: Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Design Studio – Make a Mobile Art Kit
Sept 11: Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty – Log Cabin 101
Sept 12: Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness – Zipper Tips
Sept 13: Jane Victoria of Jolly and Delilah – Matching Seams
Sept 14: Jemelia Hilfiger of JemJam – Garment Making Tips and Tricks
Sept 15: Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios – Curved Piecing Without Pins
Sept 16: Misty Cole of Daily Design Wall – Types of Basting
Sept 17: Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams – Setting your Seams
Sept 18: Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps – Joining Quilted Pieces by Machine
Sept 19: Bill Volckening of WonkyWorld – The Importance of Labels
Sept 20: Jessica Darling of Jessica Darling – How to Make a Quilt Back
Sept 21: Debbie Kleve Birkebile of Mountain Trail Quilt Treasures – Perfectly Sized No-Wave Quilt Borders
Sept 22: Heather Kinion of Heather K is a Quilter – Baby Quilts for Baby Steps
Sept 23: Michelle Freedman of Design Camp PDX – TNT: Thread, Needle, Tension
Sept 24: Kathy Mathews of Chicago Now Quilting Sewing Creation – Button Holes
Sept 25: Jane Shallala Davidson of Quilt Jane – Corner Triangle Methods
Sept 27: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting – The Power of Glue Basting
Sept 28: Catherine Redford of Catherine Redford – Change the Needle!
Sept 29: Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz of Fun From A to Z – French Knots, – ooh la la!
Sept 30: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts – How to Align Your Fabrics for Dog Ears
October 1: Tracy Mooney of 3LittleBrds – Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Sewing Machine
October 2: Trish Frankland, guest posting on Persimon Dreams – The Straight Stitch Throat Plate
October 3: Flaun Cline of I Plead Quilty – Lining Strips Up


Monday, August 31, 2015

Back To School For Quilters Bloghop

I am so very excited to be participating in the Back To School Blog Hop for Quilters and Sewists with Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio!

Here is one of Sam's awesome and nerdy patterns that I completed this past Christmas for my Dr.Who fan. I LOVED that I could purchase the printed bits on her Spoonflower for ease of construction. And talk about easy-peasy patterns! I made this one in two weeks - a record for me - REALLY




You may know Sam from her We Are $ewWorth It campaign. (If not, go check it out and then come back and let me know what you think)


Well, Sam was kind enough to invite me along with a bunch of our good friends to participate in a quilter's Back To School bloghop. And what a cool idea indeed! I know I feel a bit like I could use some ME TIME now that my kiddos are back in school, how about you?

And just take a look at all of the interesting topics that will be discussed over the next few weeks! I am sure you will want to check out everyone on this list.


Sept 1: Peta Minerof-Bartos of PetaQuilts – So, Does that Diagonal Method for a Pieced Backing Really Work
Sept 2: Cheryl Sleboda of Muppin.com – The Quilter’s Knot
Sept 3: Teresa Coates of Crinkle Dreams – The Importance of Pressing
Sept 4: Cath Hall of Wombat Quilts – Color Coding for Paper-piecing
Sept 5: Sam Hunter of Hunter’s Design Studio – How to Calculate and Cut Bias Binding
Sept 6: Melanie McNeil of Catbird Quilt Studio – Credit where Credit is Due
Sept 7: Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts – How to Keep a Perfect 1/4” Seam Between Different Machines
Sept 8: Rose Hughes of Rose Hughes – Fast Pieced Applique
Sept 9: Megan Dougherty of The Bitchy Stitcher – The Care and Feeding of the Domestic Sewing Machine
Sept 10: Lynn Krawczyk of Smudged Design Studio – Make a Mobile Art Kit
Sept 11: Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty – Log Cabin 101
Sept 12: Sarah Lawson of Sew Sweetness – Zipper Tips
Sept 13: Jane Victoria of Jolly and Delilah – Matching Seams
Sept 14: Jemelia Hilfiger of JemJam – Garment Making Tips and Tricks
Sept 15: Ebony Love of LoveBug Studios – Curved Piecing Without Pins
Sept 16: Misty Cole of Daily Design Wall – Types of Basting
Sept 17: Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams – Setting your Seams
Sept 18: Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps – Joining Quilted Pieces by Machine
Sept 19: Bill Volckening of WonkyWorld – The Importance of Labels
Sept 20: Jessica Darling of Jessica Darling – How to Make a Quilt Back
Sept 21: Debbie Kleve Birkebile of Mountain Trail Quilt Treasures – Perfectly Sized No-Wave Quilt Borders
Sept 22: Heather Kinion of Heather K is a Quilter – Baby Quilts for Baby Steps
Sept 23: Michelle Freedman of Design Camp PDX – TNT: Thread, Needle, Tension
Sept 24: Kathy Mathews of Chicago Now Quilting Sewing Creation – Button Holes
Sept 25: Jane Shallala Davidson of Quilt Jane – Corner Triangle Methods
Sept 27: Cristy Fincher of Purple Daisies Quilting – The Power of Glue Basting
Sept 28: Catherine Redford of Catherine Redford – Change the Needle!
Sept 29: Amalia Teresa Parra Morusiewicz of Fun From A to Z – French Knots, – ooh la la!
Sept 30: Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts – How to Align Your Fabrics for Dog Ears
October 1: Tracy Mooney of 3LittleBrds – Teaching Kiddos to Sew on a Sewing Machine
October 2: Trish Frankland, guest posting on Persimon Dreams – The Straight Stitch Throat Plate
October 3: Flaun Cline of I Plead Quilty – Lining Strips Up


Isn't this list just staggering?!? A huge thank you to Sam for putting this together and another thank you for including me in this amazing list of talented quilters. 

If you are visiting for the first time, WELCOME! Thank you so much for taking the time to stop in to my little blog. 

If you like what you see, please follow me on Facebook for updates. Thank you! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

When your sewing room is your office and your office, a sewing room

A while back, my husband started working from home. That meant we had to set him up with a home office. This was my office/sewing room: 


This of course was shot on a good day after it was clean. Most of the time it was crammed with too much stuff. It is a 10'X10' room and was really quite small to be a dual purpose room.

So I did what any amazing wife would do and I sacrificed that space to my husband.  

Okay, let's be honest. He needed a room with a door and I had been eyeing the upstairs living room because it was bigger. I had dreams of turning it into one of those amazing sewing spaces from Where Women Create. I clearly had ulterior motives. But hey, my room did have a door so he needed it.

Well, I never quite took the time needed to set it up so it was never quite right. While I love the tall table with shelves, it has never been comfortable to sit at whilst sewing. My back always aches after just a few minutes. And I am constantly retrieving the seam ripper-bobbins-stylus-thread-what have you's from the floor after they roll off the table. I really wanted a new sewing cabinet, but the $3000 budget for a table is kinda hard to justify with two kids in college.

About two weeks ago, I remembered that I had my moms old sewing cabinet in the garage collecting dust with some other big items we store there. I awoke one day and suddenly had the mad desire to throw all the miscellaneous objects away that were blocking the path to my cabinet. I worked really hard with my hubby, got the table out, cleaned it up... and before I knew it, I had this...!


It works just fine! The best part is that I can store my hoops and stabilizers inside and the doors have little cubbies for my thread snips, bat scooters and seam rippers! No more rolling off the table. It should work out just fine. 

Now, I want you to notice just beyond the little wall is the front door. I am often horrified to have guest show up unexpectedly to see the rest of this room. It is usually a mess. For the past few weeks, I have known that I needed to rearrange things. It just was not working.

I failed to take before pics of my room. However I dug through my computer and found a few from a day I was trying to make a friend feel better about what she felt was a messy house. This should make you feel better too. 

My sewing table and the seldom used couch

In front of my desk (view-able from the door)

Behind my desk - Pretty hideous!


It wasn't THAT bad when I started this on Friday, but it was not great either. Something had to give. I could not concentrate to write when I came in the office. I was getting stuck on sewing all the projects I need to sew for Generation Q. I couldn't focus on anything.

After taking a few measurements, I realized the couch was taking up too much space in this 11'X13' room. If I moved it near my desk, it would be a great seating area for the kids when they want to be in the room with me or want to chat after school. It also would be handy for putting on shoes. 

I am more than halfway done with the rearrange. Want a sneak peek? 


 I moved all of the furniture, freeing up space around my cutting table and I moved the couch next to my desk, creating a nice conversation area. It already feels so much better. I have a few items on the floor near my desk that need to find homes, but that will be done soon enough. I just need to clean off the cutting table/activity table and sort though a bit more stuff that needs to either find a new space to live or go away. I should be done in a day or two. :)

I promise to take some more pictures in the daylight and show you the rest of the sewing space.

How is your space working for you? Is there an area that you feel needs better organization? Let me know!


<3
Tracy




Thursday, July 23, 2015

World Sjogren's Day and Quilting

It is world Sjogren's Day and I decided to make an update to my previous posts. It is now two and a half years since my diagnosis. I still wish for a cure. I still often wonder why I am so tired... and then I remember. This is my normal.

The blessing in this diagnosis is that I am learning self-care. I am learning to say "no" when I need to. Sometimes that is when I really want to do something and just can't. Other times, it gives me permission not to do something I didn't want to do anyway.

I got to write a few articles in GenQ about products that keep you sewing when you have health issues.  Let me know if you want to hear about some of those in future posts.

If you would like to learn more about Sjogren's Syndrome, please visit www.sjogrens.org.

Anywho, enough about that! How about I share some fun stuff? Go check out my post on Generation Q's blog today. I am a guest in Ebony Love's blog hop for her new video!



Blog Hop


I love Ebony. And I love Sizzix. So this makes my heart sing!

This week I was a guest at Riverwalk Quilters Guild in Naperville IL to talk about "Inspiring Kids to Sew" - it was fun! Junior editor and daughter extraordinaire came to show off her sewing projects.






I can't believe how many people showed up for a July meeting. Kids were invited to attend and eleven young sewists came. They even brought show and tell! They were awesome. I hope to have more speaking engagements in the future!

Have a great day! I am heading out for a girls night out tonight with some friends. What are you doing?

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