and it could be a little purse…

I made a cell phone bag for my smartphone. To this point, I’d only had a dumbphone. old cell phoneI only used it a few times a year, when we went to Quilt Market and Baby Lock and Viking sewing machine conventions, so I could find my co-workers when we separated, and I dropped one in the toilet at one of those.  (Got a new one.)   It might have texted, but I never did that.

When I saw everything my daughter, Cathy, did with her phone, like take pictures without having to carry a camera, sharing photos, and easily keeping in touch with her kids, I decided to spring into this century and get one. I went to my  know-everything-tech-guy son, and told him I wanted a smartphone. He wondered why, since I only used the other one a few times a year. But, as usual, he did what his mother tells him (ha!!) and got one for me.  I thought this one would be different and, oh my gosh, is it!cropped

I’m sure, just like with the microwave, I’ll never know everything about it, but I’ll certainly use it for more than heating frozen dinners. However, let me tell you, don’t get started on Spider Solitaire! But that’s another story…

Anyway, being a sew-er, I wanted to make myself something to carry my wonderful new smartphone in.  I found the Cell Phone Bag by Quiltsmart, (39055)39055So I jumped right in to make myself one. I kept going, even though I couldn’t believe it would really make a bag, only to find out that the designer really knew what she was doing with all the twists and turns. It was amazing, and I loved it! Then I put my phone in. My phone was too tall! That’s when I started experimenting, and how this information sheet came about. The original fits cell phones about 5” tall. The next one I did fits phones 5 ½” long, and the one I ended up using fits cell phones 6” tall.togetherIf this sounds like a commercial, I guess it is!  If you don’t use a cell phone (smart or dumb,) it’s a great little purse to fit just essentials. It’s so fun and easy that I’m going to make more. I still can’t figure out how she came up with something that uses interfacing this way!. It’s ingenious. And it could be a little purse.

If you decide you want to make one and make it larger than the original, I’d be happy to have you click here to download my notes.

Happy sewing.



Pet Stockings and Cat-astrophic Cat Event

If you live in the St Joe County Indiana area, please come to our second annual Cat-astrophic Cat Event at the St Joe County Humane Society, 2506 Grape Road, in Mishawaka.  I’m just sure someone special is waiting there for you!2014-06-19 17.50.55On October 4, 12-5:30 pm, cat adoption fees will be waived to help find furever homes for sweethearts like our beautiful Cagney above.

All of the 500+ cats are spayed or neutered, tested for feline leukemia,  current on vaccinations, and microchipped.  Dick and I have adopted cats and kittens from the Humane Society several times over the years, and we know that they give us so much more than we can give them.  This is a great opportunity!  (You’ll need to bring (or purchase a cat carrier to take your new cat home in.  There is a County or City license fee, $5 or $10.)

While you’re in the cattery, you can look out the window and see the bench presented to us at our 40th Anniversary celebration.  We don’t feel we deserve this any more than anyone else, but are extremely honored to have it in the beautiful garden outside.a bench at our Humane SocietyBack to those Pet Stockings I mentioned last week.  I adapted and wrote instructions for these from a gift our daughter, Sarah, gave us many years ago.  Since our furry companions are such a big part of our lives, this is a way to include them in the holiday coming up. They would also be popular at bazaars.  If the cuff is left blank, a name can be added with a marker.   Just click on the photo below to print them out for yourself.  I hope you enjoy making and having them.

photo of patternPlease comment below to share with us the joy your pets bring you.   Erica

Coming Attractions…

Not much time this week, but I want to give you a taste of a few things I’m working on that you’ll see here in the future.

My biggest concentration these days has been our newsletter, with classes and special things here at Erica’s. You can see the help I’m getting with this.DSC00291 Since, for cat and dog lovers, these companions are a big part of our lives, I wrote instructions several years ago for Pet Stockings that I’d like to stocking bothI’m also working on a project for Creative Sewing Club. These Cell Phone Bags and printed interfacing have so many possibilities! (39055, 909842)2014-09-21 08.59.45Until next time, as Sue Hausmann says, “Happy Sewing!


(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the underlined 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.

Kim’s Second Sewing Machine Convention

20140908_165150Convention #2!! This week we were off to the 2014 Husqvarna Viking Convention in Milwaukee, WI. I have also been looking forward to this trip ever since I became manager! I was definitely not disappointed!!

Monday evening was the opening ceremonies with lots of presentations from the top level of Husqvarna Viking, and a great dinner. There was so much excitement about all the great new products that Viking is launching this year! Don’t worry, we ordered a little bit of everything!! The keynote speaker was amazing! He was funny and enlightening at the same time.

Classes started Tuesday morning and there were so many to choose from! The educators were very knowledgeable and excited about the new machines, so we were too! The new Ruby Royale has many new features, and I can’t wait to get one in the store to explore all the fun stuff we can do with it! ( I loved the Topaz 40, too.)

The food was really good, and being surrounded by all the great people and products has definitely got me excited all over again! (Those who know me, know this isn’t really new.)  I’m looking forward to bringing some of this excitement back to the store.20140908_184308I took a couple of classes using the new Felting Foot and Yarn Embellishing Foot, so look for some fun new projects and new classes using these great feet!20140909_143853I also got to see the new Inspira Studio line of organizational stuff, and let me tell you, this is very nice furniture! If you’re looking to get your sewing room organized, this is for you! They worked with ClosetMaid and came up with some great solutions for organizing not only sewing stuff, but all kinds of crafting supplies.20140908_174658Well, now I’ve been to both Husqvarna Viking and Baby Lock conventions, and I have to say, I can’t wait until next year to go back! They were so much fun! The exchanging of ideas and talking with other dealers was great. I love learning new things, and I was not disappointed in anything. But, I must say, I’m looking forward to being in the store for a little while to use some of these new things!!

My next adventure is the Fall Bus Shop Hop where I get to be the “Bus Mom” for our store again.  This time we go to 8 stores in Indiana and Ilinois.  I love traveling with the fun ladies who go on these trips with us, and of course seeing all the stores, but I’m always glad to get back to the greatest store, Erica’s!!  There are still a few spots left on the bus, so if you want to join us, sign up!

Editor’s note:  Seems like Kim was excited about the food, too, seeing that she added food photos to both her convention blog posts!

Kim’s First Sewing Machine Convention

Where do I start about Baby Lock Tech?? 20140825_143952I have been looking forward to this since I became Manager of the Sewing Department almost a year ago. The time finally came, and we headed to St. Louis, Missouri, last Monday morning. I had heard stories about all the food and couldn’t believe them. Then we got there, and oh my goodness, the food!! I have eaten so much chocolate I may never slow down!IMG_3931 IMG_8571The opening night celebration was very energizing! There was so much excitement and so many people. They did a lot of fun skits and threw T-shirts out into the audience.  (I caught one!!!) The heads of various departments at the corporate level gave some really uplifting speeches and it was all very exciting.

The classes started the next morning and they were great!  We all learned so much to bring back to the store! Of course we got to play with the new Destiny sewing and embroidery top of the line, and let me tell you, this machine is amazing!!  It should be in the store soon, but in the meantime, click here to see a video!BLDY-lrgBaby Lock is also launching new mid-line machines that I like really well, too.  They’re easy to use and have a ton of great features. They’ll come to the store later this year.

After classes we got to see all of the new and exciting products. We’ll be getting some really great new things that I’m sure you’re all going to love. Some of my favorites are the new Kimberbell mug rug embroidery designs, and some new really cute sewing machine bags! Of course we ordered some of the new machine feet to help make your projects easier.

Thursday night was the banquet, and we headed home Friday morning. My first convention has been so amazing. I have learned so much, and had a really good time. Being surrounded by all the great people and great machines makes me glad that we’re a Baby Lock dealer. These are truly great machines!!

I had such a wonderful experience at my first convention, I can’t wait for the next one! I don’t have long to wait long, because our Viking Convention is in September. I’ll tell you all about that one, too.

The extremely excited contributor of this post is Kim Wilson, our Sewing Department Manager,  Thanks, Kim, it was fun to have you with us!

Fabulous Find!

While walking around the store the other day, I found these Thermal Thimbles. (A13069) They really do come in handy! I first used them when I wanted to hold a tricky piece of fabric as I pressed it. Then I discovered that opening up a seam allowance was much easier! Now I find I’m using them a lot. 2014-07-13 14.41.232014-07-13 14.30.02I wonder what other valuable things I might have missed! I guess I’ll just have to take another walk around our store.

I’ve asked staff members to tell me their favorite tools, and I’m getting their responses in now.  I’ll be sharing those with you in weeks to come, but Thermal Thimbles are right up there on my list!

(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the underlined 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. 

Do You Know Valdani?

I like to do handwork, especially wool applique projects, and I have discovered that Valdani over-dyed floss is my favorite fiber to use for stitching.

valdani blog 1I’ve been using the “Scent of Flowers” set of nine balls of floss (A15413). I have worked on several projects since I got it, and this little box of floss ALWAYS has the perfect colors for whatever I am working on. I have since gotten a boxed set of size 12 pearl cotton and can’t wait to use it!

The Valdani products we carry are over-dyed floss and pearl cotton. We have individual colors as well as sets in both the floss and pearl size 12. All Valdani products are hand dyed and guaranteed to be colorfast. They offer solids, but it’s the over-dyed colors that really excite me.

Beautiful shades that flow from one into the next create subtle effects in your handwork. I like being able to choose one shade of green, for example, for all the colors of wool leaves that I am stitching. As the floss changes colors, the stitches appear and disappear on each fabric depending on its color. This is an easy way to add visual interest to any project.valdani blog 3

The balls of floss are three strands, rather than the six we are used to, and the ball seems to last forever! I find I have no tangles when unwinding floss from the ball (versus a skein). I most often use two strands for my work, going to a single strand when I’m stitching very small pieces. Valdani started doing three strand floss for punch needle projects, so you wouldn’t have to separate strands for your tool. The floss is great for so many handwork projects!

The Valdani pearl cotton gives another option, and is useful when your applique pieces are medium size or larger. You can’t separate strands like you can with floss, so you don’t have that versatility, but then again you don’t have to worry about the strands separating while you stitch. The pearl stands out a bit more, so if you are doing decorative stitching that you want to be seen, the pearl is great for that.valdani blog pearl

The Valdani fibers may cost a bit more, but they are SO worth it! Give them a try, I’m guessing you’ll love them as much as I do!

Thanks to Cathy Mark for this post!

(To find an item 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.)

Remember, 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 “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.