I Have A Notion blog and store have moved to:

the store can be found at

There is a much easier to navigate store, with new items. The blog has its own page as well... new content too.

The blog is now at

Please come and visit!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

They Caught My Attention

I've seen a few things lately that have really grabbed my attention and I thought I'd share them today.  In no particular order:
Have you ever visited Jessica Jones, How About Orange blog?  It is one of my favorites and it was one of the first blogs that I fell in love with.  Her blog is clean, bright and inviting as well as lots of fun.  If you have not visited I highly suggest you click on the link above and check out her posts as well as some of her pages.

The pages Jessica has on her blog are:

DIY Tutorials- My favorite is the Stitched Fabric Notecard.
Free Downloads -One of my favorites is the Halloween Fonts.
Useful Resources - Check out Free Vector Frames and Ornaments
Time Wasters - Absolutely my favorite is the Conduct Your Own Beatbox Group...ROFL- LOVE IT!

On Jessica's FAQ page - Definitely a grabber is the following sentence:

What's your favorite adjective?
This girl definitely knows how to have fun and I have fun every time I visit her blog.

Alex Veronelli from Aurifil Threads, is in my opinion, the KING of Social Media in the Quilting Industry.  I've always enjoyed Aurifil's Facebook page and recently I saw that there is a  Hey Girl slogan campaign challenge going on and I thought everyone should take a chance at winning some Aurifil Thread and a MODA Fabric surprise pack. 

Ya'all know there is nothing that stands in the way of my wanting to WIN Aurifil Thread right?  RIGHT!!!   I didn't read about the number of entries that were allowed so I sent all 7 that  popped into my head the other night.  Here are my entries:

If you LOVE Aurifil Thread than I suggest that you CLICK HERE and read about how you can enter the challenge.

Last but definitely not least is the Ellison Lane Blog written by Jennifer Mathis.  I subscribe by e-mail to Jennifer's blog and I've been enjoying her posts.  She is a designer and generously offers several free tutorials on her blog.  When I first saw her tutorial on a Guys Survival Kit Tutorial I immediately bookmarked the page because it is so difficult to come up with hand made gifts for me. 

Look what showed up in my e-mail today:

Jennifer is hosting a Holiday Hostess Series that includes several fun tutorials as well as an opportunity to win some great prizes.  CLICK HERE to see the tutorial above and look into her Holiday Hostess Series.

Before I close I do want to remind everyone that I have MJ's Bag Tag Tutorial here on the IHAN® blog and the Bag Tags also make wonderful holiday gifts.  
These are just a few examples of the Bag Tags.
I hope I have shared something with you today that made you smile!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yes, I Am Spoiled With Anita Goodesigns

I am no expert when it comes to Machine Embroidery or for that matter Quilting.   I don't need to be when I am surrounded by wonderful women who have achieved excellence in Machine Embroidery and Quilting.  This is not to say that I'm not knowledgeable, because I am....but expert, nope, not me.

Knowing that the holidays are right around the corner, I started making gifts for my co-workers teachers....and of course the bus driver, the secretaries and I can't leave out the school counselor!  Yes, I have a lot of gifts to make.   I have a secret to share for making amazing gifts quickly....its called Machine Embroidery! 

Another secret is excellently digitized designs by Anita Goodesign.   I was introduced to Anita Goodesign by  my friends in the Machine Embroidery Guild a few years ago.  When I saw how wonderful the designs stitched out I knew these designs would be a great addition to IHAN®.

I am making these pillows for some of the teachers and I thought I'd take you along on the journey with me.

The instructions are so well written that even I can follow them.  Each and every step is supported with excellent directions and photos.  The instructions suggested that I add some fusible interfacing to the back of my fabric because of the dense stitching.  Next I used Floriani No Show Mesh Cutaway as the stabilizer and hooped all layers.  Nice and taunt so I would not have any puckering.  I'm not a fan of puckering! 

Above you can see the stippling stitches and the base of the Nutcracker being stitched.   I chose white thread on white fabric because I wanted the Nutcracker to be the focus but I could have just as easily used another color.
Anita Goodesign has been using Floriani Thread in their designs and conveniently enough, I happen to love  Floriani Embroidery Thread so this is excellent!   TIP:  You can always share your embroidery thread with another machine embroiderer.  Who says you can't split the cost of all of your ME supplies with a friend...that cuts down on your inventory of stabilizers and thread.  Just a money saving idea.
The Nutcrackers pants are being stitched in this photo.  Wouldn't you think the stitches would start out uniform?  You are seeing the under stitches being laid down.  Wait until you see how beautifully the pants turn out.
Beautiful ay?  Yes indeed.
Now the jacket is stitching....
Ta Da....and a Nutcracker is born :)
In this close up you can really see the beautiful detailing of the digitizing and the rich texture the Floriani thread brings. 

Given I can't get to my fabric stash I am not able to put the side panels on just yet.  Wheelchairs and stairs just don't go together.  However, I do have an example from Christmas Classics that I finished before my ankle was broken.

These two pillows will be given to teachers/school staff as gifts this holiday season. 
You can make pillows, quilts, wall hangings, table runners, placemats, coasters,  embellish clothing....anything goes and you know you can't go wrong with the quality digitizing by Anita Goodesign. 

Yes, I am trying to tempt you....and in my effort to do so, I've also taken $30.00 off the price of the Christmas Classics and  $15.00 on the Nutcracker designs.  All Anita Goodesigns ship for FREE at IHAN® (United States Only) so what are you waiting for? 

As far as I can calculate, that leaves you plenty of money for at least one wild fabric shopping spree and lunch or some more money to tuck back into your mattress :)


Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day and Winner Announced for SewCalGal's Fall ME Blog Hop

Honoring ALL Veterans Today
My Father, Harry L. Howlett, Army,  Military Police Served in Paris, France

I had not been born when my Father was in the military.

My Brother, Matthew L. Howlett, Army, Airborne

I'll never forget when my Brother served.  Our family rescheduled Christmas and my wedding so he could attend.  He was stationed in Colorado and had been discharged from the Army and returned home to attend college.  It was mid-semester and he was called back to service and scheduled to deploy to Desert Storm.  My entire life during that time was centered around listening to the radio for any updates and my Mother was beside herself, I'm certain all mothers are during war times.  The week he was scheduled to deploy the war ended, GRACE had set him free (in my thoughts). 

This past Thursday at my son's elementary school there was a breakfast held to honor Veterans and an assembly that followed. 
My eyes were opened in a new way that day.  Why had I not participated prior to this time?  I have no excuse except to say our family thought you had to be able to bring a Veteran to that breakfast to participate.  This year, I never asked if that was true, we just participated and I'm so glad we did. 

There came an e-mail asking for parents to make breakfast casseroles and bring them to the school by 7:45am.  I thought of my Father and Brother and wanted my boys to know that their Grandfather and Uncle have served in the Military and we need to honor their service.  I was up at 6:00am in my wheelchair making two casseroles.  Getting up at 6:00am is "military" enough for me....then having to navigate my kitchen in a wheelchair, well that was my own personal boot camp horror.  Needless to say, we made it on time and the Veterans Breakfast was a memorable event.

The Veterans Honor Ceremony was very moving.  The Fourth Grade class sang and there were several Fifth Grade children that were selected to read their essays.  Each Veteran was asked to stand and share their name, branch of the Military they had served in and the person who had invited them.  I had goosebumps throughout the entire breakfast and the Honor Ceremony.  Then, a woman with three or four children in tow stood up and announced that her husband had served and he was killed, my eyes filled with tears and they began streaming down my face.  What a brave woman, I thought.  To be able to stand in front of her children and share their families sacrifice for the well being and freedom of the rest of us.  After the ceremony I approached her and thanked her for coming and sharing her experience with us.  We exchanged phone numbers and as soon as this ankle permits, I will be offering my support in any way I can to help this widow raise her children.  Can you even begin to imagine?  I hope everyone finds a way to offer support to Veterans today and everyday.

There are a number of ways we can help Veterans.  I will mention a few here and you can feel free to post the programs you know about in the comments on this post. 

Island Batik has a program, "Quilted In Honor," and they are raising funds to support "Operation Homefront."  There are many partners and sponsors that are supporting Island Batik in their efforts to raise money for Operation Homefront.  

I Have A Notion®  has partnered with Island Batik to help raise money to support the program to provide much needed assistance to those individuals and families who have served in the Military.  Aurifil Thread is also one of the partners in the project and all of you know how I feel about Aurifil Thread right?
When you purchase Aurifil Quilted In Honor 40wt and 50 wt Mako Cotton Thread Sets from IHAN®  90% ( $54.00) of the profit made from purchasing this Aurifil Thread Collection from will be donated to Operation Homefront.  You might be wondering why not 100% ($60.00).  That is because IHAN® has to pay fees to receive your payments.  If you pay by cash or check, 100% of the profit will be donated.   

Quilts of Valor is the other organization that I'm familiar with that provides quilts to Veterans.  Their mission is: "To cover all combat service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor."  I know my local guild, Black Swamp Quilt Guild, makes and delivers quilts for Quilts of Valor.  If you would like to get involved  you can click on the words "Quilts of Valor" and that will take you to their website. 

I have to say that if it were not for SewCalGal doing a fundraiser for Operation Homefront last December I would not have known about this organization.  It was my guild that informed me about Quilts of Valor.  That is why I continue to share with others because how else will the word get around? 

Announcing the Fall Machine Embroidery Blog Hop Winner
Lucky Number 24

Congratulations Sew Quilt Embroider you have won your choice of designs from Embroider Shoppe. Please e-mail me with the design of your choice as well as the format your embroidery machine uses.

Big Thank You's go out to Karin for helping with my post, SewCalGal for hosting and arranging the Fall Theme Machine Embroidery Blog Hop and of course all of you wonderful bloggers who hopped by and left comments. 

With Gratitude,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Are You Hopping?

This is for all of you who were wondering where the music was on THIS post.

Now that I've got that straightened out....I have no idea where that video went after I embedded it.

Moving forward now:
Have you been hopping around checking out all the Machine Embroidery samples completed for the SewCalGal Fall Machine Embroidery Blog Hop?  If your answer is not a resounding YES, then I might suggest you get to hopping because there will be a winner chosen from each blog.  

Mr. McSteamy brought up my embroidery machine and I was finally able to complete my project.  Here it is:
 I made the Owl Scissor Keep using Floriani Stabilizer and Floriani Embroidery Thread.  I also used National Nonwoven Wool Felt and I think it came out pretty cute.  Next I'd like to make the Ice Cream Cone Scissor Keep. 
Look how nicely my Dovo Embroidery Scissors fit into my Owl Scissor Keep.  Doesn't that Owl look very smart?  LOL  If you are just joining the hop then you'll want to know that the designer is Zandra Shaw from Embroider Shoppe.  In order to qualify to win a design of your choice you must leave a comment on THE OTHER POST - not here. 

When I was looking for coordinating fabrics to go on the back of the Owl Scissor Keep I noticed I don't have many really fun and bright dots or stripes.....sooooo when I found the Michael Miller Happy Tones Fat Quarter Bundle I wanted to jump for joy!  But I didn't because I was not about to take any risks with my broken ankle.  In place of jumping for joy....I added them to IHAN®.  Check out these fun fabrics:

If these fabrics don't make you smile....then I suggest that you get a "rainbow enema" and call me in the morning...giggles.  You are looking at 30 reasons to smile right here in this one box. 

Since breaking my ankle I have received several flower arrangements from family and friends.  I'm not saying I'm not deeply appreciative....I truly am.  At the same time...can I still say this Happy Tones Fat Quarter Bundle would have lasted longer and continued to bring joy for years to come.  If there is someone in your life that you would like to bring some joy and happiness to....think about sending them a Happy Tones Fat Quarter Bundle and I'd be happy to write the personalized note and ship it for you :)  I even put them on sale....and the holidays are right around the corner :)

I know the Flamingo lovers are wanting their updates. 
The Flamingo Family celebrated Halloween in style this year.

They are also enjoying the Fall leaves.

Time to get to is a reminder to leave a comment on each of these gal's blogs for your chance to win your choice of designs from the Embroider Shoppe.  Best of  luck to all of you!

Monday, Nov 4th
Tuesday, November 5th
Wednesday, November 6th
Thursday, November 7th
Friday, November 8th

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SewCalGal's Fall 2013 Machine Embroidery Blog Hop

DISCLAIMER:  This post has been written by my dear friend, Karin.  Due to my injury I was not able to fulfill my commitment so Karin offered to pitch hit for me.  THANK YOU KARIN!!!  (You'll find a link to Karin's Etsy shop on the left sidebar of my blog : Sew-Write Creations

I was so honored and excited to be invited to SewCalGal's Fall Machine Embroidery Blog Hop this year....of course, none of this would have been possible without Kelly's own personal "Fall", which occurred shortly after her Machine Embroidery Guild meeting last month.  I'm just tickled that she's let me crash hijack her blog once again!  So, let's get started, shall we?

Zandra Shaw, the owner/designer behind the Embroider Shoppe, is our featured designer.  Kelly had gone shopping before her accident and had selected a set of scissor keeps as the design she wanted to sew out. 

 I wanted to honor Kelly's original plan, so I elected to sew one of the scissor pockets for her, but which one was she planning on doing?  I really didn't want to pester her with embroidery questions while she was undergoing her therapy sessions, nor did I want to disturb her meals or sleep...what to do, what to do?  I looked at the 4 options, an owl, a lady bug, an ice cream cone and a bouquet of roses.  They were all so sweet, I knew she'd love any one of 'em.

Then it hit me; Kelly just looooves this picture of Farnsworth and his keeper that I took at the zoo one day.  Farnsworth is a Great Horned Owl that came to the zoo as a week-old baby and has been hand fed for the past year.  He's really quite special to us all and since he can't hunt for himself, he won't be released into the wild.  So, of course, I decided to sew out the owl pocket for Kelly!

A couple of years ago, I got hold of some samples of a new textile, from The Kunin Group, made completely from recycled bottles and other plastics, right here in the USA.  Its properties and feel are very similar to felt, but it isn't felt.  And it came in several colors and styles, but I thought this textured brown fabric would be just perfect for our little owl.

I read the Readme text file that came with the design, and it said if you want your finished product to look like theirs, you had to be sure to use the same colors they used.  Well........I don't usually do that....and this time was no different.  I picked out a lining fabric (they had suggested a small floral print - I chose a variegated batik with some speckles and swirls) and some Fall-inspired thread colors.  Here we are, all ready to sew.
I decided I'd better take a look at the instructions and Zandra's color recommendations, just to see if I understood the directions and had enough supplies all set out. 

Blue was the very first color to stitch.  Let me just say this about that....if you insert your bobbin and then  thread your machine and it makes funny noises, well, chances are, you didn't load that bobbin correctly.  And you might as well stop sewing and fix it before you get too far along.  Here's my trusty SeamFix seam ripper, hard at work.  It did away with those uneven stitches in no time flat.

 See how pretty they look after I fixed the bobbin thread?  That's one thing I noticed about Zandra's digitizing...she put lots of underlay stitches in there so the design fills up nicely without puckering the fabric.

 Here's a close-up of the detail that sews on each wing.  See how much coverage there is?  All those stitches lay nice and flat.  Oh, you may have noticed that little gap in the upper right corner...yeah, that might be a problem later..we'll see.  That's where the fabric shifted a little when I laid it into the applique outline.
 So here's my wing piece, all sewn out.  Looks pretty good, right?  Well, thank you, but I can't take any of the credit for that - I just load the thread up and push start.  (What could be easier??)
 So, here we go, sewing the back (body) piece.  Check out more of that solid underlay stitching.
 And the coverage of her fills...pretty cool, if you ask me.
Here is our finished owl, just hanging around, keeping my embroidery scissors safe and sound.  Do ya think maybe if I keep them put up in this little guy, no one will come steal them when the dog's fur is matted?  Well, probably they really are WONDERful for cutting matted furballs out.  Ask me how I know that!
Here he is again, hanging out with Hugo's Amazing Tape, a little closer to my sewing machine (hint, hint...after all, these ARE embroidery scissors).
 Now he's down on my cutting mat, hanging out with some Wonderfil DecoBob prewound bobbins.  They make embroidery sooooo much easier and efficient!  Oh, and that little gap that was in the upper right section of the wing?  Gone.  I was able to trim the pieces to match each other and you can't even tell where I goofed up.
 I bet you were wondering where that batik fabric went, weren't you!?  It's used as a lining, inside the wing piece, and on the back, to cover up the "wrong" side and the jump stitches.  So, really, if you didn't have matching or coordinating fabric in your stash, it'd be one's going to see it anyway.

Zandra's home is South Africa, but she's currently on a USA Tour giving free trunk shows, how sweet is that?!  You may want to check her schedule to see if she's giving a show near you.  If not, you can contact your local quilt shops or sewing centers to have them contact Zandra and see if they can schedule a special presentation for you and your friends.

Be sure to join me in visiting all the other talented ladies to see what they've sewn up for SewCalGal's Fall Embroidery Blog Hop:

Monday, Nov 4th
Tuesday, November 5th
Wednesday, November 6th
Thursday, November 7th
Friday, November 8th

A big THANK YOU to Kelly,  SewCalGal and Zandra...I had a lot of fun sharing my little owls with you all!


Want to make your own scissor pocket or one of the other beautiful designs at Embroider Shoppe?
If you answered YES, then hop on over to the Embroider Shoppe and leave a comment on this post telling me which design is your favorite.  The winner will be announced on Monday, Nov. 11th.

A little birdie told me that the Embroider Shoppe has 25% off all of their Christmas designs so you won't want to miss out on the sale.


It's Kelly here, I just want to say...we get by with help from our friends!

With much gratitude,

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ya'All Ready For This?

A bit of music for the announcements :)

For those of you who are annoyed by music on blog posts, DON'T click on the you tube video. The rest of you....PAR-TAY ON!

 SewCalGal does an excellent job of lining up different designers for each of the Machine Embroidery Blog Hop and this time the Embroider Shoppe is being featured.  

If you are not into Machine Embroidery, WAIT....don't go anywhere....because I think you will still learn interesting things about stabilizing fabrics, threads, and alignment.  Many of the things I do in Machine Embroidery transfers to textile arts, quilting and other needle arts.   Did I mention there is a giveaway?  Yep, on the IHAN® blog you will have an opportunity to win a very fun item that all sewists will enjoy.
Here is the line up:

Monday, Nov 4th 
Tuesday, November 5th
Wednesday, November 6th
Thursday, November 7th
Friday, November 8th

For those of you who are philanthropists and I've never met a quilter who wasn't,  you might want to check this out:
SewCalGal is also hosting the "Quilters Bee Giving A Charity Fundraiser."   You have the opportunity to purchase virtual raffle tickets as well as bid on auction items.   Where else can you donate to well deserving charities and have the opportunity to win some amazing quilting notions and fabric?  Check out some of the auction items:

AND this is only some of the items available to bid on....then there are the raffle prizes!  Head on over and see it all for yourself...just CLICK HERE.  I've already visited and bid on some fun things and you know you don't want me having all the goodies now do ya?



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