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Gifts for mom – the generational pillow

A few weeks ago around Mother’s Day, I was contemplating what handmade gifts would be truly appreciated by mom.  As a new mom, I was excited to celebrate my first mother’s day, but didn’t really care about getting any gift (I honestly wanted some house chores done as a gift, and maybe some honey-do’s!), so I was thinking about gifts with meaning.  I was seeing lots of advertisements on social media for jewelry and diamonds and just lots of STUFF.  I’m not much of a jewelry person, but the diamonds got me thinking about birthstones and some of the jewelry I had seen a few years ago.  I remembered one of my friends receiving a ring that had her kids’ birthstones set in it, and how much she loved it.  How could you translate that representation into a quilt?  And how many people have time to whip up a “quick” quilt, by the time they are pondering mother’s day gifts?

I thought a decorative pillow for the couch or bed might be more practical and manageable on a short time frame.  So I teamed up with Janome to create a generational pillow that would be a great design for using the birthstone jewelry idea and making something for the home.  You can view the free tutorial on the Janome Projects Website

I used the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9400QCP to sew this project, and sewing the curves was a breeze.  I’m completely spoiled by this machine and will be hard pressed to sew on anything else ever again.  It even has an additional light that you can pull out for a better lit area when sewing.  It’s extremely helpful, especially if you are sewing dark fabrics and using dark thread.  Another favorite perk from this machine is that when you stop sewing, the needle remains in the down position.  Which is absolute heaven when you are sewing anything tricky that you don’t want to shift too much when the presser foot is lifted.  
In the free tutorial, there are three options for the pattern–you can select birthstone colors for 3, 4, or 5 people (or even more-but you’ll have to do the math for that on you own 😉
If you have a couple of people with the same birthstone, you can use different tones of that stone for a little variety.  Some months even have multiple birthstones (or so I was told in my reading up on different months…), so you could go that route as well.  Happy sewing, and see you next time!

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Free Christmas Stocking tutorial

It’s time for another free tutorial!  I got to team up with Janome again to bring you an awesome Christmas stocking tutorial 🙂

Be sure to check it out on the Janome website !

These stockings are super easy to whip up!  All you have to do is sew some strips of fabric together (jelly roll strips would be perfect!), then use the template to cut the stockings out.  You can add some decorative stitching to the seams where the fabric is joined for a little extra oompf!  Start and finish in an afternoon and make some awesome new stockings for the family 🙂  Merry Christmas!




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Spooky Spiderweb Trick Or Treat bag tutorial

If you’d like to make the perfect project for your special little trick-or-treater, I teamed up with Janome to bring you the perfect tutorial for a reusable treat bag!  Visit Janome’s website for the full tutorial and a quick and easy sew!  

 This is a great project with a little pop of color on the reverse side of the drawstring bag–you can use a contrasting fabric to really make it pop (or even glow in the dark fabric!)


And learn to quilt some really fun spiderwebs!  Enjoy!

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Free Jelly Roll Quilt Tutorial!

 If you’ve been looking for a way to use up those super cute jelly rolls you’ve acquired…I have a great jelly roll tutorial for you!  It’s free, and you can find it at the American Quilter’s Society Blog, sponsored by Janome.  

Free Jelly Roll Quilt tutorial by Joanna Marsh

I whipped up this quick tutorial using L’s Modern Basics (in the warm colors) Sushi Roll.  I absolutely love this fabric collection and plan on making one of these in the cool colorway too!  

Easy piecing with Janome’s 1/4″ piecing foot

If your quarter inch seams aren’t perfect, you can take your piecing skills to the next level with a 1/4″ piecing foot that will give you perfect seams every time.  This foot is everything when it comes to piecing!!!

Up close and personal of the quilting

And then finish your top off with some fun free motion quilting!  Have fun with this free tutorial, and use up that fabric you’ve been hoarding for so long 🙂  

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Back to school tutorial: Notebook / Planner cover

Everyone loves that time of year when it’s hotter than blue blazes outside, right?  That means summer is in full swing, and another favorite is right around the corner…THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!  Parents everywhere countdown the days to this landmark date like children do Christmas, and breathe a sigh of relief to have a bit of a break and shoo the kiddos out the door to start their education once again.

Many moms or dads may want to treat their kiddos to some personalized back to school handmade goodies, and I’m here to help with that!  

 Make some great customizable notebook (or day planner) covers by simply taking a few measurements of the kids’ existing school supplies.  My quick and easy step-by-step tutorial will help you create some great covers that will prolong the life of those school supplies and make the kids feel extra special on their first day back.  The tutorial can be found HERE so head over and check it out!  


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Free pattern! Water resistant pool tote

 If you’re planning a trip to the pool, river, beach this summer, you’ve got to whip up this painless pool tote lined with laminated cotton.  Throw your wet towels in and you don’t have to worry about them getting water spots on the car seats or even forgetting about them in the car (hey…don’t judge…we’ve all done it!)

Water resistant pool tote

The only thing extra you might want to pick up, as far as sewing machine accessories, is a teflon foot.  Teflon feet are absolutely amazing when it comes to sewing any sort of “sticky” fabric.  So if you run your hand over it with pressure, and it doesn’t smoothly run across the fabric, a teflon foot will easily sew it!  Some great examples are glitter vinyl, regular vinyl, oilcloth, and laminated cotton.  Any fabrics that look like they have a sheen or platic-y finish.  Personally, I love to sew with weird fabrics, so I’ve had a teflon foot for a while now.  But if you don’t stray from the beaten path very often, now is the time to stray!!!  You will love the teflon foot, and have so many more interesting sewing options.  

Teflon foot for Janome

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty–This pattern was written for Janome exclusively for the Quilt views blog.  So you can grab the FREE PATTERN HERE

Hop to it and get sewing!  Make something cool this summer 🙂

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Couching tutorial

Decorative stitches with a 3-way cording foot 

I had absolutely no idea what couching was when I first heard of it.  I saw a demonstration of couching on a longarm quilting machine, and then very quickly wrote it off (since I didn’t have a longarm at the time), thinking I would never have the means or opportunity to try couching.  You can use couching to emphasize a print on fabric, outline applique, doodle with it, and you can even quilt with it.  

Couching can add a little flair to regular fabric


Well, there are some ways that you can couch without buying a super expensive longarm quilting machine, and then also buying a super expensive couching attachment for said longarm.  You can actually couch by hand–but it takes a while.  And you can certainly try couching by using a domestic sewing machine.  You don’t even have to buy a special foot for it if you don’t want to.  As long as you have a free motion quilting foot that has some sort of round part that the needle goes through, you’re good!  I will say, that if the hole for the free motion foot is really big, you can easily modify it yourself by taking a small piece of scotch tape and covering a portion of the hole (not a portion the needle will travel through).  The smaller the hole on the free motion (or couching) foot, the easier it will be for the yarn to travel where you want it to go.

Make an art piece using couching techniques if that floats your boat!

I wrote a super easy to follow couching tutorial for Janome’s website that can be accessed HERE
So click it and check out how easy couching is!  There are seriously so many things you can do with couching to spice up existing projects.  

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Dresden Placemats tutorial

Do you need a little something special to liven up your table top decor?  How about whipping up some fabulous new place mats that easily reflect your awesome style?  I recently created a cute little tutorial with a free dresden template that can be downloaded HERE !  


There’s also a really cool-no bind technique that is explained in the tutorial that you’ll just have to try out!  I love this fabric by Sarah Jane Studios for Michael Miller fabrics, and think it’s perfect for spring and most of summer!  

I hope you’ll find some time to sew this week and play around with some cute dresdens!

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Free tutorial: Using chalk pounce and stencils to make gorgeous quilted pillow shams

Check out my newest tutorial for Janome on the AQS blog this week!  The tutoiral is for Quilted pillow shams that will really step up your bedroom decor and give an extra special touch.


Follow this LINK to see the full tutorial and add some new tools to your quilting toolbox!

I’ve always loved quilting, and was a little skeptical at the stencils.  Especially before I knew about the chalk pads.  I tried them when I first tried my hand at quilting, and used a water soluble pen to trace each stencil line.  And let me tell you…that will be a wonderful deterrent for anyone to never try stencils again.  Time consuming, inefficient, etc.  Then one of my friends had some of the chalk pounce and pads and so I thought I might just go ahead and try it again.  WAY better than tracing each line by hand.  What originally to hours literally changed to minutes.  So if you haven’t loved stencils, maybe try this and you’ll change your mind!

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Sew organized! Free sewing machine mat and mini pin cushion tutorial

The month of January brings tons of resolutions to improve, organize, etc.  Along with a new year!  I like to stay organized (or at least try to!), and so I teamed up with the awesome people at Janome to bring you a free tutorial for a sewing machine mat/organizer and a mini pin cushion that velcros to the top of it for easy removal.  It’s a fun way to try out some new products that you may not have used and keep your tools handy.  You can find the tutorial at Janome’s project page HERE

Sewing machine mat/organizer with mini pin cushion

There are some really fun features with this tutorial!  If you’ve never used Soft and Stable ByAnnie before, this project gives you the opportunity to try it out.  You can easily substitute regular batting, if you choose to do so.  


Cheater panel for easy quilting
Another fun tip is using a cheater print fabric to guide your quilting!  I picked up this Timeless Treasures fabric at my LQS and quilted around each little square/rectangle to make it look like fun patchwork.  

Mini Churn Dash Pin Cushion

And if you’re not in the market for a sewing machine mat, you’re sure to love this tiny churn dash pin cushion!  It would make such a sweet “extra” for any sewing swap.  And, Lord knows, I can never have enough pin cushions 😉


Decorative stitch binding finish
I also discuss trying out different binding techniques.  So instead of hand stitching your binding down, try a fun decorative stitch to add a little pizzazz!  

I hope you enjoy this fun project and take some time for a little selfish sewing this week 🙂