Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Exciting New Machine from Brother!

This is one for the wish list for sure! I haven't seen one of these amazing looking new machines in person yet, but from what I hear, they're great!

Brother launches first-to-market ScanNCut machine
Unparallel precision cutting and high-resolution scanning technology take
design projects to the next level

Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC, November 25, 2013 – Brother International Corporation (Canada) Ltd., a leader in small business technology, today announced the launch of its innovative ScanNCut machine.  The first of its kind in the crafting market, the revolutionary ScanNCut features a built-in 300 DPI scanner that effortlessly scans and cuts the most intricate designs onto almost any material such as paper, vinyl, fabric, tissue paper, wood veneer, leather, canvas, plastic or cellophane. The ScanNCut, which features 600 built-in designs and a 1MB memory capacity, can store custom-created designs, unleashing creativity by giving crafters the technology to create intricate quilts, embroidery appliqués, scrapbooks or cards limited only by their imagination. 

“Brother is thrilled to put ScanNCut’s cutting-edge technology in the hands of quilters and embroiderers alike, so they can take their creativity to the next level,” says Dwayne Filipchuk, Director of Product Planning at Brother Canada.  “The easy-to-use on-screen guide combined with rich functionality allows the crafter to scan and cut the most complex shapes quickly and accurately, giving them the freedom to create truly personalized designs.”

The lightweight and portable ScanNCut, with an 11.75” x 11.75”work area, scans any design from a photograph to a child’s drawing.  All designs, scanned in full colour from 100 to 300 DPI, can be saved to the ScanNCut or onto a USB flash drive as a JPEG file, for editing or use on future projects. No need for expensive cartridges, software or computers to get elaborate designs.

Expert embroiderers, quilters and scrapbookers who have previewed the ScanNCut machine have praised its precision, speed and flexibility. Katharina Doyle, co-founder of Canadian Scrapbooker Magazine, says: “The ScanNCut is a revolutionary tool that will be perfect for the scrapbooking and paper crafting community because it’s user-friendly and extremely versatile.”

Brother’s ScanNCut is available now at authorized Brother dealers nationwide for a MSPR of $549.

Brother Canada Scan N Cut
Click to Download
40 Page inspirational Idea Book!

About Brother International Corporation (Canada)

Brother Canada was established in Montreal in 1960 and is part of a network of companies belonging to Brother Industries Ltd., a six billion dollar (USD) company headquartered in Nagoya, Japan that employs more than 29,000 people in 44 countries and regions. Brother markets a wide range of reliable and affordable equipment for small and medium sized businesses, home offices and the home, and is known for employing great people who deliver a superior customer experience.  Recent awards include PC Mag Reader’s Choice Award for five consecutive years and the internationally recognized iF Product Design Award 2011 that recognized seven products for innovation and quality of design. Visit us at

Friday, November 15, 2013

Christmas 2013 Blog Hop

My niece, Anne, over at Unique Gifter is hosting a Christmas blog hop linky, so I thought I'd share it here as well! I've added a bunch of my favourite Christmas posts from my blog. Please add yours as well! It's about that time of year to start thinking about making/buying gifts, baking and decorating. Lots of fun!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Technique Tuesday :: 5/10 Brother DreamWeaver Sewing Tutorials

Have you ever spotted something in a store and thought, “Hey, I could make that!”? I’m going to show you how to make knock-off Anthropologie ruffle curtains out of flat sheets using my Brother DreamWeaver sewing machine!  This is a huge money saver if you happen to find the sheets on clearance. It doesn’t really matter if the sheets are 100% cotton or high thread count since you won’t be sleeping on them! Although, these curtains could just as easily be a bed spread, a throw or even a shower curtain.

This tutorial is number five in a series of 10 that I am working on for Brother Canada. They have so generously provided me with an amazing Brother DreamWeaver sewing/embroidery machine combo. You can find the rest of the tutorials here:

  1. Perfect Half Square Triangles
  2. Pretty Perfect Pinwheels
  3. Quilting Chevrons
  4. Flawless Machine Binding
Also, check out some other awesome tutorials at Home Stories A to Z , Bombshell Bling, Shabby Art Boutique, Twigg Studios, I Heart Naptime, The Pin Junkie.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Designing a Dream Sewing Room

Written by guest blogger, Aimee Claire. Aimee is an enthusiastic, well-educated freelance writer with a passion for Interior Design. She is fascinated at how different patterns, textures and lighting can completely change the look and atmosphere of a room.

Many women, to quote Virginia Woolf, need a room of their own, in which to be creative. In her case it was so she could write, but it is just as relevant to women, or indeed men, who express their creativity through sewing.

Creating the mood
Where a hobby is carried out, and how that room is decorated, can have a direct, positive effect on the pieces of work created. It is well known that color can induce a particular mood, and there are some colors that help to inspire creativity.

A sewing room is usually a feminine space, so the best colors to use are whites and creams, pinks, blues and greens. White or creams give a room a feeling of airiness and purity, and act as the perfect blank canvas to populate with furniture and personal artwork. Green looks fresh and has a calming effect, while blue encourages relaxation while stimulating creativity. A mixture of either blue or green with white or cream is the best combination for a craft room. Perhaps the prettiest décor would involve a white or cream background, with a pastel color, such as pale pinks or blues, furniture.

A sewing hobby brings with it a lot of supplies and tools, all of which need to be organized and stored. A good way to store fabrics is in cupboards or chests of drawers. Buttons and hooks can be stored in glass jars or transparent boxes, making it easy to see what they contain. These can be placed on a shelf or bookcase, or fixed permanently to the wall as a design feature. Pens and pencils could be placed in pots or upcycled tin cans. Cotton reels can have their own display unit on the wall or on the back of a door, while swatches can be clipped together and hung from a rod. These supplies are pretty in their own right, so make a feature of their storage by using attractive pots and boxes and leaving them on show. Some plain wood storage boxes would look immeasurably better by being covered in vintage-style wallpaper.

Apart from the storage pieces, a sewing room will need a large waist-high table for cutting fabric, a comfortable chair and stool, an ironing board, as well as a moveable storage trolley or unit. Find old haberdashery store furniture to give it an individual feel, and upcycle existing items with a fresh coat of paint. An essential is, of course, a table for a sewing machine, set at the right height and preferably near the source of natural light so as not to strain the eyes too much.

Talking of natural light, consider what will work best as a dressing for the window. Regulated light is best for a craft room, so the best way to dress the window is to install custom made shutters, which can be closed or opened, and the slats will angle the light. These can be framed with pretty floral curtains to soften the look. For night time, it is important to have a good directional light on the desk for close work.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Technique Tuesday :: 4/10 Brother DreamWeaver Sewing Tutorials

There will be times when you need to get a quilt done to meet a deadline and you don’t want to spend an extra couple of hours hand stitching the binding. This tutorial shows how to bind a quilt from start to finish with the Brother DreamWeaver Machine without sacrificing neatness – at all! Once you give this a try, you may never want to hand stitch again.

Here's the finished binding (front of the quilt),
done completely by machine!
Looks pretty awesome, wouldn't you say?

This is the fourth tutorial in a series of 10 that I am working on. I've been so enjoying this wonderful sewing machine!

Here are the tutorials so far:

1. Perfect Half Square Triangles
Brother Canada has very generously provided me with a V-Series DreamWeaver™ XE Innov-is VM6200D (yes, I'm very excited and so grateful!!), but all ideas and opinions on this blog and in my tutorials are my own.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Technique Tuesday :: 3/10 Brother DreamWeaver Sewing Tutorials

In case you haven’t noticed by now, I have a thing for chevrons!! So, you can imagine by delight when I discovered my new sewing machine has a built-in extra wide chevron quilting stitch! How awesome and fun! In this tutorial I’ll demonstrate how to use the character/decorative stitches and there’s even a video of the DreamWeaver in action stitching out the chevron design!

This is the third tutorial in a series of 10 that I am working on. I've been having so much fun learning all the wonderful things this sewing machine can do!

Here are the tutorials so far:

1. Perfect Half Square Triangles

2. Pretty Perfect Pinwheels

3. Quilting Chevrons

4. Flawless Machine Binding

Brother Canada has very generously provided me with a V-Series DreamWeaver™ XE Innov-is VM6200D (yes, I'm very excited and so grateful!!), but all ideas and opinions on this blog and in my tutorials are my own.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Technique Tuesday :: 2/10 Brother DreamWeaver Sewing Tutorials

If you missed the tutorial I posted 2 weeks ago, you can find it here: Perfect Half Square Triangles. One of the cutest and most popular things to do with Half Square Triangle blocks is to put 4 of them together into a pretty pinwheel! To really stand out, pinwheels should be made with a light and a dark color. I really like white fabric with a colorful print for pinwheels.  The white provides so much contrast and is just so clean and bright.  For tons of inspiration you can browse my Pretty Pinwheel Quilts pinterest board!

Let me show you how the Brother Sew Straight™ Laser Vision Guide makes it easier than ever to sew straight lines with this Pretty Perfect Pinwheels tutorial!

Brother Canada has very generously provided me with a V-Series DreamWeaver™ XE Innov-is VM6200D (yes, I'm very excited and so grateful!!), but all ideas and opinions on this blog and in my tutorials are my own.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Technique Tuesday :: 1/10 Brother DreamWeaver Sewing Tutorials

The Half Square Triangle is the basis for countless quilt designs including my best selling pattern, the Chevron Accent Throw. When designing that quilt last year I used the half square triangle method where you draw a line with a pencil across the center of the fabric square from corner to corner and then stitch ¼” away from the line on both sides. Now that I have the Brother V-Series DreamWeaver™ XE Innov-is VM6200D machine I can throw that tedious method out the window, thanks to its Sew Straight™ Laser Vision Guide.  You can truly perfect the Half Square Triangle with this wonderful machine. Let me show you how in this thorough step-by-step tutorial! Please click the banner above to open the PDF tutorial.

Please come back every second Tuesday for another sewing, quilting or embroidery tutorial. I've got lots of fun stuff in store and can't wait to share all the amazing things my new sewing machine can do. I'm learning tricks and techniques every day and will be happy to pass them along to you. If you already own one of these beautiful machines or are thinking about investing in one, I'd love to keep in touch. Please email me or leave a comment below. Let's sew together!

Brother Canada has very generously provided me with a V-Series DreamWeaver™ XE Innov-is VM6200D (yes, I'm very excited and so grateful!!), but all ideas and opinions on this blog and in my tutorials are my own.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Quilting, Sewing and Machine Embroidery Tips + Tutorials!


I hope you're enjoying your summer so far. We've had the most beautiful weather and have been able to enjoy a cruise to Alaska and lots of time with the kids at the lake. Lots more fun to come, too.

Yesterday I received the best news ever! You may recall that in the spring I was asked by Brother Canada to use and review the Dreamweaver XE sewing machine. (You can read my review posts by scrolling down.) Around the end of May I packed up the machine to get it ready for UPS to take it away, but with the encouragement of a friend I also sent off a letter to Brother with a bit of a proposal! Well, much to my delight they've agreed to let me keep the machine for good and in exchange I will write up some fun, informative sewing, quilting and machine embroidery tips + tutorials and share them with you all here!

Starting in August I will do a series of 10 posts featuring the Brother Dreamweaver XE. If you own this machine or are thinking about purchasing it, you will want to bookmark my blog now so you don't miss out on a single tip or tutorial! :)

If you're lucky enough to also own this machine please leave a comment here! I'd love to connect with you.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Buying a New Sewing Machine?


Are you in the market for a new sewing machine or have you recently purchased one? What types of things are important to you in a sewing machine? There are many features I wished my old clunker (Pfaff Varimatic - old school) had. After working with the Brother Dreamweaver XE for a month my sewing machine feature wish list became a reality. If you're shopping around for a new machine I would really recommend Brother, no matter what your budget. The Dreamweaver XE is definitely the top of the line machine and is the perfect choice for the hobby or professional quilter, clothing designer or Mom who wants to make clothes for her kids. It's also great for someone starting up a custom embroidery Etsy shop. Not only is the embroidery function of this machine A LOT of fun to play with, it's also very easy to learn and produces such high quality results.

I don't know if I told you, but for machine embroidering you can connect the Dreamweaver sewing machine directly to your laptop so your design possibilities are endless! There are so many free or inexpensive embroidery designs that you can download, including monograms (fun!!). You can also get a free trial of software to create your very own designs. Or, if you're not into that, the machine comes fully loaded with many different fonts and art designs, including all of the Disney characters.

So many Disney characters to choose from!

Mickey and Minnie
Even though the machine is a little on the heavy side (it's solid, man!), it's not too heavy to take to classes. It's definitely worth the effort of hauling it.

One of my very favorite uses of this fabulous Brother sewing machine was free motion quilting a quilt on it! With very little effort it produces beautiful even stitches, and since the workspace area is so large ( 5.0'' x 11.25'') you don't have to struggle with a bunched up mess of a quilt. It's a breeze and so enjoyable to quilt.

You've got to see the beautiful free motion quilting!

Here's more info from the Brother Canada website, in case you're interested!!

DreamWeaver™ XE is the exciting new mid-priced combination quilting, sewing and embroidery machine, which is downright dreamy – revolutionary technology, reliability, and ease of operation make this the perfect addition to create projects you've always dreamed of, all while adding a touch of sophistication to your sewing room. This exciting combination machine is packed with Brother-exclusive and industry-first features. A new chassis gives 5.0'' x 11.25'' of workspace – our biggest work area ever. Featuring 10'' LED lighting for brilliant, full spectrum lighting. With 1,050 stitches per minute, you will be creating more works of art in less time. Become a master by watching onscreen tutorials with the large LCD touch screen display which offers vivid, crystal-clear lucidity. If all the industry-first features weren't enough to make your dreams come true, this machinealso has many exciting features that customers have come to love like the Automatic Height Adjuster™ AHA® feature and automatic needle threading. Tackle bigger, bolder projects than you may have ever dreamed of with DreamWeaver™ XE!

  • 561 sewing stitches (531 built-in, 30 on CD), 318 built-in embroidery designs including 91 designs featuring Disney characters, 14 embroidery fonts, 3 Japanese embroidery fonts, 14 styles of 1-step auto-size buttonholes and 140 frame pattern combinations
  • V-Sonic™ Pen for sewing and embroidery
  • MuVit™ Digital Dual Feed
  • Droplight™ Embroidery Positioning Marker
  • Sew Straight™ Laser Vision Guide
  • Our largest workspace ever - 5'' x 11.25''
  • Large 3.6" x 6.0" LCD touch screen display
  • 10-inch LED lighting
  • Built-in dual USB ports
Please let me know if you have any questions about the Brother Dreamweaver XE and I'll do my best to answer or will pass your question along to someone who can. :) Have a great day!

Brother Canada has provided me with the Dreamweaver XE Quilting and Embroidery machine, but the opinions are definitely all my own. Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cheater Ruffles with the Brother Dreamweaver XE and a 1/4" Foot!

To make ruffles/gathers without the pesky pulling (and possibly breaking) of threads, simply set your machine's stitch length to the longest possible (5 mm on the Brother Dreamweaver XE) and set the tension to the tightest possible (9). Use a normal foot. Brother also sells a Ruffler Foot for this sewing machine, but I do not have it so I found this method to work quite well.

In this video I am sewing ruffles onto sheets that I've cut up to make anthropologie style ruffled curtains! I'm using 2 twin size sheets for the actual curtains. I've sewn a rod pocket across the top of these. Then I cut up 2 queen size sheets into 12" strips. Before I ruffled them I made sure 3 sides were hemmed. I left on the original hems to save time.

To sew the ruffles to the twin sheets I will lay out the sheets side by side on the floor and line up the ruffles evenly, pinning them into place and being sure to overlap them just enough to hide the ruffle stitching.

Thanks for watching my little video.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

And, the sewing machine goes to...

Tonight after rushing home from setting up the church for the ladies tea, my bff and I face-timed (first time for everything!) while my daughter looked over my shoulder, I clicked "Add a Winner" on the RaffleCopter! I'm excited to announce that Amelia O'Reilly will be the proud new owner of a beautiful NX-450Q Sewing and Quilting Machine compliments of Brother Canada.

Thank you everyone for entering!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Quilting Along with my Brother


In case you hadn't noticed, I've been having quite a bit of fun with the Brother sewing machine I've been reviewing. Last week I packed it up and took it to quilting class. I don't think it's meant as a portable machine, but it worked! It was just a little heavy.

There's a neat feature that I wish I'd known right away. There's a needle plate that is made for straight stitching only and another needle plate that works for everything. When the straight stitch needle plate is installed, your machine automatically knows that it can only do straight stitches with the needle in the middle position. Before I realized this, I busted two needles and one of them flew into my upper lip and stayed there until I pulled it out. Ouchies. This wouldn't have happened if I'd had the straight stitch needle plate installed or if I'd double checked to make sure I had selected a stitch that was compatible with the foot I had on the machine. Live and learn... and there's so much to learn about this machine because of all the amazing features it has. To really discover its full potential I'm going to need to keep it for a lot longer ever!

The quilt class I'm participating in is taught by Marla Pinchin using her book The Beginning Sampler. I'll be making mine a queen size with each block being different. At the next class we were supposed to have all of our blocks completed and she will teach how to do sashing properly. My blocks are far from being done... too distracted with my new machine! lol

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Enter to Win a Brother Sewing Machine!

You could win this!

Here's the give away you've all been eagerly waiting for! To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter widget below. Comments made on this post are nice, but do not qualify as entries. I've been having such a great time with the V-Series DreamWeaver™ XE Innov-is VM6200D and am dreading the day UPS will come to pick it up! One of you lucky ducks will have just as much fun with this amazing sewing and quilting machine! The retail value is $1,379.99!

Here's some great info about this machine from the Brother Canada website.

Have you been looking for a machine to take to Quilt Club meetings? The NX-450Q features not only a variety of quilting stitches and sewing accessories, it also includes a quilting table for added support as well as a knee lifter for easy fabric control as you piece and sew your quilts. The large extension table expands your sewing work area, has convenient built-in rules, and has adjustable, rubber-tipped legs for stability. All of these features make sewing and quilting more enjoyable.

Built-in stitches, buttonholes and fonts
• 129 built-in sewing stitches, including 10 styles of one-step
buttonholes and 3 sewing fonts.
Easy stitch selection via 10 stitch keys
• Ability to quickly select the stitch pattern desired with a
simple touch on the stitch keys. Easy to attach and view
stitch reference chart also included.
Advanced needle threading system
• With the press of a lever, the thread is pushed through the
eye of the needle.
Built-in scissors
• Cut the thread with just the touch of a button. Programmable
thread cutting.
My Custom Stitch™ feature
• Create personalized stitch patterns for any style of sewing.
10 Memory pockets
• Save your favorite pattern combinations in one of the
memorypockets for future use.
Easy to read LCD display screen
• The LCD display screen makes it easy to manage all sewing
functions including stitch selection, stitch length and width
and recommended presser feet.
Hard cover included
• Provides travel and storage protection for your machine.
Quilting accessories included
• Wide table, walking foot and quilting foot

Good luck!! The winner will be announced on May 8, 2013

Please note: you must have a Canadian mailing address to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yes, machine embroidery is fun!


After a little trial and error last night, I got the machine embroidery function figured out on the Brother Dreamweaver XE that has taken over my dining room! The "trial and error" was totally a blond moment on my part (I blame the highlights). I just had to press "go" (the red arrow shown in the pic) and, voila! It started. My first project was a custom pillow case; a little hostess giftie for my niece. My daughter will be going on a band trip next week and will be billeted with some of her friends at my sister's house, which is really neat! Now to make one for my nephew... just need to get some non-pink thread for him.

An awesome feature of this machine that I'm very excited about is you can plug your laptop into it and drag & drop any machine embroidery pattern! I searched Pinterest and found many adorable (and FREE!) patterns, including this cute Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It only took a second to drag & drop it from the laptop to the sewing machine. Excellent. 
Here's the embroidered Kitchen Aid up close! I'm going to make this into a patchwork tea towel to hang on my stove.  I've never found one in the store that is big enough or cute enough for that, so this will be nice!

Custom pillow case for Clare.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Giveaway coming soon! {Brother NX-450Q A Quilter's Staple}

Good morning!

I'm in such a habit of scrolling through the emails on my phone as soon as I wake up in the morning. My phone alarm wakes me up so it seems natural to instantly check my emails; not that there is usually anything exciting. Normally there are 3 Gussy Sews newsletter (not sure how I signed up 3 times), an ad from Old Navy and a couple of Fave Quilts newsletters. This morning, however, there was a lovely email from Emily at Brother Canada offering a super amazingly wonderful sewing machine to give away to one of my readers!! I am so excited for whoever wins this. You'll be out-sewing and out-quilting my 20+ year old Pfaff in no time!
Here's a peek at one of my latest quilts.
This one is actually for sale on Etsy.
I know you're all dying to know how to enter and what machine will be the prize! Details on how to enter will be posted soon. I just need to confirm logistics with Brother. One lucky winner will receive this:


A Quilter's Staple

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sampler Class

I'm really glad I signed up for this sampler quilt class with my Aunt. It's been a lot of fun! Here's the 12" block I made last night. Each block in the queen size quilt will be different. I'm making it for my daughter, so I let her pick out the fabrics. Most of the fabrics are reproduction 1930's that we picked up in Portland, OR at the Fabric Depot. I could've easily spent all week there! What an amazing store. Too bad it's a day's drive to get there.

Each week at the class we learn a few very useful tips and techniques. I've made this block before, but have always done it with half square triangles. This one is done with flying geese. I've done flying geese before, but  this new way that she taught us is so much more accurate and way faster. It involves putting painter's tape on your sewing machine.

Another handy tip she shared was to use a pizza box to keep your blocks in. Very handy!

I decided to put my Hexi Trivet pattern on sale for only $3 until Mother's Day! Why not whip up a few for your Mom, mother-in-law, Grandma, daughter? It's a fun way to learn simple paper piecing. All of the instructions are there and easy to follow even if you've never done paper piecing before. It's written more like a tutorial with lots of photos and step-by-steps.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Subway Tiles Baby Quilt

The first day with "my" fabulous new sewing machine (the V-Series Dreamweaver XE on loan from Brother Canada) has been a lot of fun! I thought I'd test it out on something normal (to me) first, so I pieced this lovely Subway Tiles baby quilt top this morning. Next I'll try some straight line quilting to finish off this quilt. (The pattern for it will be available soon! It's a super quick and super fun project; one you could finish in a day).

One thing I don't particularly enjoy is reading product manuals. Thankfully, the manuals that come with this machine are very well written and easy to read! What a relief. Anyway, you don't even need to read the manuals if you don't fee like it, because on the gorgeous touch screen you can find out pretty much anything you need to know about threading the bobbin, threading the needle (it's self-threading - HELLO!) and basic machine operation. 

I did, however, bust a needle right off the bat because I didn't realize the needle was in the wrong position for the foot. Ooops.

See you tomorrow with more updates on this beautiful machine and progress pics of my latest quilt!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The new Brother Dreamweaver XE is here!


I thought this day would never come! A couple months ago I got an email from Brother asking if I'd like to review their latest super fancy sewing machine, the V-Series DreamWeaver™ XE Innov-is VM6200D
 and today UPS delivered it! I am so excited to experiment with this.

Since it arrived right before kid pick up, I've only had a chance to unpack it and drool all over it. This machine is heavy, but oh so pretty. It's got a huge arm, which means I'll be able to quilt fairly large quilts on it. It's also an embroidery machine. It's branded by Disney, so there are all sorts of cute Disney characters that you can embroider.

Isn't he pretty?

11" arm!! I am impressed.

I'll be back to show you some of the projects I'll make with this baby. I can't wait.