Sew Fire Learn to Sew Printables


FB Live Camera Set Up

Good hello my friends! I am excited for my Live FB segment today!

That’s 10:00am CST on Mondays and Wednesdays. Be sure to check it out!  Fridays I am posting a video tutorial for a simple project you can make with your newly learned sewing skills. If you aren’t sure why you should learn to sew, read this post.

Actually, this week Friday, I will have a no sew project to give you a few more days to practice if you are new to sewing! You are going to love it, so be sure to stop by!

I thought you might appreciate an insight into what goes on behind the camera. I know I love to see how other people do things. I am new to video, I have done a few of them in the past (see my YouTube channel) but I have so much to learn. I recently attended a class on video production, so I feel I have new skills to help me along!

For now, this is my Facebook Live recording process. It’s rather funny actually, and if you see me smiling smugly at the camera it’s because I am cracking up inside over this pathetic set up! Hopefully, it won’t come crashing down when I am on camera! The lighting isn’t great but with a few lamps I can improve things a bit.

In this photo you will see my cell phone attached to a selfie stick. Yup, that’s what it is. The selfie stick is connected to an old tennis ball holder with bull dog clips to hold it in place. It is sitting on one of our old kitchen chairs. Someday I will update to an actual tripod attachment gismo, but for now this ridiculous contraption seems to work rather well. It also makes me laugh on camera and helps to relieve my camera shyness.

Crazy right?

I am posting to give you the links to the promised So Fire FREE PRINTABLE WORKSHEETS.

I will be adding more to this page as time goes on, here are a few to get you started!

Lesson 1 Sewing a Straight Stitch

Lesson 2 Learning to Pivot

Lesson 3 Sewing Curves

Lesson 4 Thread Do’s and Don’ts (also coming next week!)

See you soon!

Why Vacation Makes Me Loose My Mind

I have been avoiding the computer lately. This is unlike me, and I am not quite sure of the root of the problem. It seems that since we got back from our recent Florida east coast vacation, writing has been difficult. It seems like the longer we are away, the harder it is to get back to reality.


While we were at the beach, our daily routine was simple. Early morning walks on the beach were followed by leisurely breakfast and excursions to see the local sights. Shopping was a splendid past time, and I don’t normally do a lot of it, so it was a welcome way to spend the mornings.

Many of our lunches were eaten on the road, another welcome break from my everyday routine. We love exploring little Mom And Pop type family restraunts along the coast line. Our favorite place was closed the day we were there, I missed eating along the water with the lovely view of the yachts.

We stayed with our son who is in college. He and his roommates have rented a sweet little house by the beach. I am envious. I could get used to a place like this. I love the hot orange shade in his bathroom. Not really beachy, but it made me feel warm and sunny the entire time we were visiting.
The kitchen was just as nice. Even though we didn’t cook a lot, it was nice to use good quality appliances and beautiful granite counter tops for a little while.
I am envious.
After lunch we would head out to the beach for more walks or playing in the waves.
It was in the 80’s the entire time we were there. We spent Christmas Day surfing among the waves, strolling on the beach and picking up sea shells.
I have never spent a December in such a warm climate. It seemed odd at first, but I am quick to adjust.
I am envious of those who live in warm places. I can’t help myself.
Even getting stung by a Man Of War jelly fish didn’t detour us from the water. This little guy washed up on the beach after high tide one day.
He is beautiful in blue with just a touch of pink to accessorize.
Perfect in his creation.

I enjoy watching the creatures along the sea. I don’t know that I would ever get tired of it. This flock of Sand Pipers made me laugh. The run in between the waves to find food, then all turn around at the same time and run away when the waves get too close.


Most afternoons I would read on the beach until dusk. I found a thrift store nearby that had some of our favorite Stephanie Plum detective novels. They are so light hearted and entertaining. And only a little bit trashy. I read several of them while we were away.

By the time the sun went down each day, we were exhausted in a good way. We like to turn in early so we can get a good view of the sunrise the next day.

I am envious. Our subzero weather here in Wisconsin has me dreaming of the beach again. I miss being outside. I miss long walks on the beach, and warm sunshine. I miss how far away all the cares of everyday life seemed, for now that we are back home, they weigh heavily on my mind.

Vacation makes me loose my mind. I guess that’s the reason why we need it so badly. We have to learn to unplug, relax and focus on the things that really matter. We need to cast our cares onto the shoulders of the One who should be carrying them to begin with, our God and Savior.


The rainbow is a promise of Gods provision. We just need to step aside and let Him take over. Loose our mind, so to speak. I struggle in this way. It is something I work on every day, somehow it doesn’t come naturally. But, I will continue to try.

I can’t wait to completely loose my mind again, and go to the beach. And read some more trashy detective novels.

Do you have travel plans this season? Where are you going? I am envious!


Photography: Learning Through the Lens

It’s time for another 31 Day Series. I have done this series more than 5 times over the last six years. I was ready to forget it this year since I have some other commitments, but I find that I just can’t give it up. I plan to post in a little different format though, adding posts to this 31 Day page as I have time to write them, not necessarily 31 days in a row but in a “31 posts when I can” sort of way.

Two years ago I did a 31 Days of Photography Series based on a challenge that I found on Pintrest. That challenge has been pinned and re-pinned hundreds of times, and is one of my post popular pins. During the series I learned lots about photography but not a lot of it really applied to blogging or how to take better blog photos.

This new 31 Day challenge is targeted at bloggers who want to learn how to take better pictures of small objects, interiors with bad lighting, close ups, less than perfect gardens, projects that don’t turn out exactly perfectly, and maybe even how to make your mouth water food photography. I will even throw in some basic editing, storage and collage tips.

Disclaimer: I am not a photography professional, I have never taken a photo class in my life. However, My photography is much improved since I started 6 years ago. I have taken more than 20k photos since I started blogging. I know a lot more now than I did then. Six years down the road I will have even more wisdom to share on the subject.

I am starting a Facebook Page and a Pintrest page for this series, a place where you can post your pictures for comment and discussion among the group for the benefit of Learning Through the Lens. You can get a Smug Mug account for professional quality photo sharing right from Adobe Lightroom. Sign up here with my affiliate link.

Here’s the line up:

Day 1: Your favorite outdoor space

Day 2: something blue

Day 3: your pet, or some one else’s pet

Day 4: your favorite food in macro

Day 6: your favorite food from above

Day 7: your food photography set up

Day 8: take a selfie with a selfie stick

Day 9: the same object 10 times with different angles or backdrops

Day 10: sunset

Day 12: fall colors

Day 13: photo a plant in macro

Day 14: something shinny and reflective

Day 15: sunrise

Day 16: water

Day 17: white anything

Day 18: your living room

Day 19: your kitchen

Day 20: panorama

Day 21: handmade item

Day 22: before and after

Day 23: your favorite thing

Day 24: the room in your home with the least amount of natural light

Day 25: happy place

Day 26: photo collage

Day 27: someone you love

Day 28: a handful of ……..

Day 29: pattern

Day 30: your office or workspace

Day 31: edit a poor photo


The Randolph Street Market Roundup

Randolph market

We are back home after a wonderful weekend in Chicago at the Randolph Street Market. It’s been years since we visited Chicago during the summer months, lots of things have changed since the last time we were there in warm weather.

painted windows

The Randolph Street Market is one of those things. I am absolutely certain it would have become one of my favorite haunts no matter what the time of year. It was amazing!

I was completely inspired by so many things! These painted windows were stunning!

letters for sale

The vintage market is full of unique items, repurposed, or artistically created. So many wonderful things could have come home with me! It was such fun to see more urban style things, we don’t have much of that here in Wisconsin.

You know, we are very country.

Randolph Market decor

The blogger event was a two day affair. We had a tent full of bloggers who came to network and shop the market. It was a tremendous success.

Blogger conference

We had great food, fun and conversation. We heard inspiring words from some of the event Sponsors. This is Paula from the Randolph Street Market, along with the girls from Blitsy.

Gina and Jess

Our main presenter was Gina from Shabby Creek Cottage. I really enjoyed meeting her and hearing her blog story. She is an amazing woman, I can’t wait to meet her again some day.

Randolph Market decor2

The decorations were so adorable! My friend Karen from Dragon Fly and Lilly Pads made them.



During the market, there were six of us bloggers who presented a project to the group. This is Leanne from Diva of DIY, she made the most adorable backpack station!


I presented my DIY Lap Desk, it was fun! Everyone was so sweet and encouraging.

It’s hard to be the presenter, you never know what to expect when you are on stage. We had a smallish group, so we were very informal and it made everyone feel very comfortable.

I learned so much from these ladies! We decided we would use the hashtag buildup to remember to encourage each other in our blogs.

Boutique double beds

While we were there, we stayed at the beautiful Chicago Athletic Association Hotel on Michigan Avenue. The hotel was also one of the event sponsors.

My life will never be the same.

The hotel was simply GORGEOUS.

It also had the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.

seating in the billiards room

The “boutique” hotel is full of beautiful period details, I loved all the woodwork in the Billiards Room. I can just see a group of friends meeting for cocktails and a few games of pool here!

billiards room


They even have a broom ball court! How interesting!


Boutique hotel bath

The stunning hotel renovation has only been open for a few months. The Chicago Athletic Association hotel was built in 1890, and was originally an all men’s athletic club. Many famous Chicago athletes were trained here. The design team that renovated the hotel was careful to preserve much of it’s original character, in a very delicious, masculine,  Ralph Lauren sort of way.

Boutique hotel bath2

The bath that made me SWOON.

I love black and white tile, just love it!

Bike and flowers


One of the things we love to do while we visit the city is take long walks. There never seems to be a lack of things that inspire me.

We had warm humid days with a misty rain. All the plantings were simply glorious!

I don’t ever remember Chicago being so full of plants. Perhaps I just never noticed? Or perhaps they are doing more to make the city an inviting place?

Either way, they sure were beautiful!



Simply, stunning colors and folliage!

outdoor cafe

There were also outdoor cafe’s everywhere we went. They had the most creative uses for plants to create a desirable outdoor space. Love this look!

landscape at night

As night fell, the city lights were captivating. I love how the look against the misty sky.

skyline on the river


chicago skyline


skyview from the ground

During the early morning, we explored more of the streets of down town on our way to the Randolph Street Market.

kayaks on the river

I didn’t know you could kayak on the river, did you?

Opera house portico

The Lyric Opera house was stunning, we happened to come across it when we were on our way to the Market one day.

Did you know that I am an opera nerd? Yup, true story.






This event was one of the best I have ever attended. The Randolph Street Market and all the sponsors were so hospitable! Everything was beautifully done, the food, decorations, the presentations and all the wonderful sponsor gifts and goodies, it truly was an experience to remember!

A big thanks to Randolph Street Market, Hometalk, Chicago Athletic Association and Blitsy for making it all possible, along with the following sponsors:

Mariano’s West Loop

MillerCoors for Blue Moon

Plaid, makers of Mod Podge, FolkArt, Gallery Glass and One Stroke



Show them some love and visit their websites!

I look forward to doing it all again next year!


Ye Old Car Show

54 Ford Truck


It’s a hot day in the summer, and there is nothing better than a visit to the local antique Car Show. My teenagers had no interest in going, I can’t understand it.

They would rather tinker with their own cars, than see the old ones. They don’t know what they are missing.

There is nothing like the look of chrome on an old car. There just isn’t. These cars tell a story, that’s what makes them so fascinating.

My Daddy had an old Ford truck like this. His was old, rusty and without an engine. He had me help him haul it to the storage facility one time, when I was 12 years old. I did not appreciate being dragged away from my sewing to help haul some junky old truck.

Ford Grill

Dad didn’t have a legal towing bar, so he towed it with an old chain and a very unwilling teen sitting behind the wheel. My job was to steer and hit the brakes to keep the old truck from slamming into the back of the car as he pulled us along. I practically pushed that pedal through the floor, I was hitting it so hard.

I cried in terror the entire time. I have never forgotten it.

Trucks still scare me for some reason. Don’t ask me why.



My Granny had an old Plymouth Fury in the 1960’s. She had it for 20 years. It had red leather interior with white leather seats, and a gorgeous chrome dashboard. Her car had the coolest push buttons inside, I used to love to play with them. Then I would polish them to remove my finger prints. It was such fun.

Grandma would drive swiftly down the road with the windows rolled down, her white hair flowing in the breeze, wearing her cats eyes style leopard sunglasses. She was quite a looker, even in her older years.

Watching that red car sail down the road, was a sight to see, let me tell you!

Chevy Truck

My cousins like to name their vehicles, I remember they had a big old blue truck, aptly named BIG BLUE.

This truck looks like a BIG BLUE, doesn’t it?

Chevy Grill


Then there’s the  “Gansta style” cars, reminiscent of old movies, Durby hats and women with silk stocking wearing red lipstick and mink shawls.


I adore the headlights with their own hood. Did they really think this would help keep them dry when driving down the road?

Mustang BlueBy far, my favorite had to be this blue Mustang convertible. Love everything about it.

Mustang Blue trunk

What stories it could tell!

side of blue car

Have a beautiful day!