Happy Days Are Here in my Sewing Studio Again!

I don’t normally shout from the roof tops. But I am now!A23794

I use an iron that I absolutely love, over any I’ve ever used, the Panasonic Cordless Iron.( A23794)


One day I saw this ugly stain on the sole of it. I had no idea what had caused it or what it was. So I pulled out my handy go-to iron cleaner, and IT DIDN’T WORK! I tried 20150603_180834_resizedanother, and another. I asked co-workers, students, and Sewing Club Members for help. I tried every suggestion, and none of them worked.

It still worked, but it was ugly and I didn’t really want to take it to classes that way. This is what it looked like. Bad, huh?

So when Joan Hawley, the Lazy Girl, talked about her new Iron Shine (A29918), I once again had hope. I like her purses and stabilizers and Press Perfect tools, so why not give this a try?

I honestly, after all this time, didn’t expect much.  I couldn’t believe my eyes as I saw my old iron sole coming back! IT WORKED! And my iron is shinier than it had been since I got it out of 20150607_104726_resizedthe box!

If you own an iron, you need this product. It isn’t just for stains like mine had. A general cleaning of the whole iron sole will remove grime and make it shine again. Renew the soul of your iron by cleaning its sole!


(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

Somebody Has to Do It!

Buying fabricTwice a year at Quilt Market, and many times between, fabric companies show us their wares. Right now “my Cathys” as I call them (my daughter Cathy and “my other daughter Cathy”) are in Minneapolis seeing hundreds of new fabrics. What they select will be in the store and on our website between this month and September. Imagine sitting down in many booths and being presented with piles of samples, and needing to choose what our customers are going to want in the next months! This is probably only half the pile, and at only one vendor.  They like to see everything and then go back through the pile to select the ones we want. This agenda is repeated over and over during the three days of Quilt Market. I’ve seen this many times, and I can’t imagine doing it . When I started buying fabrics for the store around 40 years ago, there were just a few fabric companies, and for the most part, I chose from a few fabrics, in brown, beige, off-white, and orange. Now it’s a tremendous job, and I’m glad we have good people to do it!Buying Fabric 2

Make Your Project Unique!

Embellishing can add extra detail and interest to a project. For example, our new wool table mat “Tulip Swirl” (A29033) features embellishments that add to the design.

tulip blog 1 Consider a bit of extra stitching to add depth and detail to a piece. On this mat, simple straight stitches have been added to the tulips. This creates shading and the illusion of shape. The texture of the floss also makes the piece more interesting than just a flat applique project. Variegated floss, such as that from Weeks Dye Works, will add even more interest as the color changes and shifts while you stitch. You may want to look at metallic floss too, for an added bit of shine!tulip blog 2tulip blog 3Beads are a wonderful and easy way to add something special to your project. Since they come in a variety of sizes and an incredible array of colors, they can be added almost anywhere you want a three dimensional accent. If your piece is elegant and more formal, use a shiny or metallic bead to add to the effect. If your project has a country feel, work with matte finish beads to add color without adding unwanted shine. Beads come in a variety of sizes, from tiny Petite to standard seed beads, to larger Pebble beads and even Bugle beads that come in three lengths.tulip blog 4

Our table mat uses shiny glass seed beads to highlight the butterfly’s flight. Bead have also been stitched onto the edges of the butterfly’s wings, adding even more interest to them. The butterflies, by the way, have been stitched down only in their bodies, the wings are not actually flat or attached to the background. This three dimensional effect is an other great way to add interest to a project. Flowers can be attached only at their base, butterfly wings can stand up, leaves on a tree can be held by only a stitch or two, adding movement and life to a piece.tulip blog 5tulip blog 6

If your pattern doesn’t include instructions for these embellishments, you can choose what and how you want to use to accent areas of the project. Would beads work for the outlines of objects? If there are animals in the piece, could you use beads for eyes? Could you add stitches to make the surface look more like fur? Do the flowers need stitched details Would any of the three dimensional ideas mentioned above work for your piece?

It’s YOUR project!  Make it unique and interesting by adding a bit of embellishment. Let your creativity go as you turn a basic project into something amazing!

Written by Cathy Mark

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

It’s MY logo!

swirl medium darkerAbout our logo…  I’ve gotten comments on it for years. Many people have wanted to know where it came from, so here’s the short version of the story.  It started years ago, (in fact more than 40 years ago–hard to believe,)  when I created my “fingerprint people.”  I had a family of more than 20, and I designed stationery using them with various sentiments.img589We went to craft fairs with our fingerprint family.  People would pick out the one they wanted and I would draw it on a round plastic disk that my father cut out for us.  I drew the name or word they wanted and plopped the character they chose on top of the word.   Some selected two characters and names.  Dick sprayed the finished piece to protect it, and Cathy added the leather strap and took the money.  I still run into people who remember getting one from us at a Craft Fair.  My favorite character was one I called “Fritz.”  This is what he looked like originally:img588 He has changed over the years – his nose has gotten smaller, his hair has turned purple, and the fingerprint has worn off.  He abandoned the flowers for a needle and thread.  A year ago, with our store’s 40th anniversary, we asked our granddaughter, Bri, a graphic designer, to do something with our logo.  Of course we wanted to preserve the original.  We chose two of the designs she came up with and use both of them.  We just love the new logos and feel they do Fritz justice!

A few weeks ago we got a note that ended with “and your logo seriously needs updated to this century.”  That’s what inspired this post.  To each her own, but it’s MY logo, and I’m proud we have included my favorite character, “Fritz.”  Over all these years, we wouldn’t have it any other way!Curl smaller

Come in Your Jammies!

It’s not every day that we get to come to work in our jammies! We really look forward to the Early Bird Sale every year! early bird 2It’s the one day we don’t have to do our hair and get dressed for work. We justimages come in our pj’s. I know it’s early, but you don’t have to get dressed to come either! We’ll even have coffee and pastries!  (Of course if you prefer to wear clothes, that’s allowed.) coffee



Did I mention the discounts? Oh yeah, that’s the main reason everyone wants to come! The earlier you come, the better the discount.8225606758_64a0609b70_z[1]Arrive between 6:00 – 7:00 am and receive 30% off!

Arrive between 7:01 – 8:00 am and receive 25% off!

Arrive between 8:01 – 4:00 pm and receive 20% off!

Discount taken on ALL regularly priced merchandise.

(Some exclusions apply.)

The discount is determined by the time you arrive at Erica’s, not the time you check out, so take your time and get some really great deals!

We’ll have coffee, juice and morning bakery treats until 11:00 am. Who can resist that? (The coffee is how they get us all here!)

Come early for the best discounts! Call your quilting friends and make a date to come on March 21, 2015, for Erica’s Early Bird Sale!

Help us help others! Food BankPlease bring 2 non-perishable food items or a cash (or check) donation. (The Food Bank can buy in greater quantities, so monetary donations are always appreciated.)

 We hope to see you there!

They May Be Mini, But They’re Charming!

Good things do come in small packages! min charm blog 2I admit it, I collect mini charms! I prefer little projects, so of course, little bits of fabric are going to interest me. OK, it’s a bit beyond “interest,” as I now have a great stash of mini-size charm packs waiting for me to use them.   mini charm blog 1Moda started this whole thing when they began producing pre-cuts of their wonderful fabric lines. They are still the leader in that effort, though a few other companies have decided to also produce pre-cut packages.

Two years ago, before Christmas, I had the crazy idea to try something – I had a pattern that called for 5” square fabric pieces. I thought “What would happen if I used mini charms (2-1/2” squares)?” Since I love small projects, this worked out rather perfectly! I made four of those table toppers for Christmas gifts!   min charm blog 2Now, when I see a pattern that calls for charms, I immediately think “Mini Charms!” You don’t have to do any math, other than perhaps resizing borders and backings, but that’s basic enough to not give you a headache.

There are now a variety of designers using those mini charm squares for their patterns, so you can choose something small right from the beginning.

Moda offers two books of mini charm patterns. The 1st (A17866) has 18 projects, while the 2nd book (A27096) has 13 projects. (Both are on the page linked above.)  We have models of one project from each book. Choose your favorite Mini Charm pack, and make these items all your own!     mini charm blog 3mini charm blog 4Here’s a tip from Cathy Young, who made the samples: using a fusible batting for fleece makes quilting these small projects so much easier! You save wrestling with pins and basting, while giving your project a wonderful finish.

We have Mini Charms from bright groups, country groups, traditional groups and, at certain times of the year, holiday groups. For just a little money, ($4.00 for 42 pieces,) you can have a lot of fun!mini charm blog 5Thanks to our Cathy Mark for this fun post!


Quick Tip – Pre-washing Fabric

My current purse is showing signs of wear after using it for a long time, so I followed my tip about using Liquid Stitch to prolong its life. (57949, about midway down the page.)  In the meantime, I’m starting a new one.  I prewash my fabric for clothing or purses. So here’s another tip, about avoiding birds’ nests in the dryer.

Clip all four corners of each piece of fabric on the diagonal.1 with arrowsBelow is what those corners looked like when I took them out of the dryer. (I try to take fabric out before it’s completely dry, and then spray it with Best Press to iron it.)

washedThis is what a raw edge looked like after the dryer. Sure beats fighting all those loose tangled threads to separate the fabric, like I did before I started cutting off the corners!  edgeI hope, if you haven’t tried this before, that you’ll clip those corners next time you wash fabric!  What do you think?


(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.