Sewing for Keeps

Deception Pass, Whidbey Island, WA

I don’t like resolutions.
They feel like shouting into the wind because they often are, at least for me. I do love goals, however. I love lists and I definitely love plotting out future actions. I’m the type of person who actually likes filling out forms, I almost can’t resist them… much like a crossword puzzle! And what better time to set new goals with delicious action plans than at the beginning of a new calendar year?

My husband and I kicked off our new year in quiet coziness up on Whidbey Island in a ridiculously charming little Airbnb house.




I’m sure the cats didn’t mind some time alone– I certainly know my older cat didn’t mind a break from our schnauzer, Riley!




 Aside from the mental break away from most responsibilities, the clarity allowed for some mental space to assess what was desired from 2015 and get them out of my head. There are countless ways to make these lists, but I like the classic pen and paper. Aside from the visceral component, it does actually connect with the brain more deeply to actually write things out in longhand. Plus, you can’t use color-coded pens or nice crisp grid paper on a computer or tablet!


I like to break my life up into a handful of chunks, one being my projects. I have a lot to do this year and I am SO excited about it. It’s going to be hard with redoing bits and pieces of our house, ramping up my garden, keeping up with my reading, and full time work; but it’s going to be so fun and SO rewarding.

I’ve since broken these projects down by month and week-by-week to-dos in my planner in order to ensure I’m always set in motion with something good. I personally love having many things going on at once, it feeds my enjoyment of fresh & new; while also feeding my multitasking brain. Don’t feel like this right now? Do this one instead! Rinse, repeat.

Get serious!

This year, my creative mantra is cheesy and simple:


“Make often, make beautifully.”


So here’s what is on my sewing-centric plate for 2015, a lot of which I will likely end up sharing here on our blog.

  • Improve my embroidery skills
  • Improve my crochet skills (time to get further than dish rags and cuffs!)
  • Improve sewing skills (there’s ALWAYS room for that!)
  • Practice appliquéing
  • Finish redoing my vintage dress form. She’s fixed and the metal is repainted, but she needs to be re-covered in fabric and then sized back to my proportions
  • Set up my new-to-me vintage sewing machine
  • Get through my mending and alteration pile!
  • Design more embroidery
  • Fix this giant quilt (finally!!)
  • Fix another vintage quilt I inherited
  • Fix my baby blanket my cat shredded part of, oh, TEN years ago
  • Sandwich, quilt, and bind my first quilt (I will share this project sooner than later, it’s flannel!)
  • Source some good-priced jersey knit fabric
  • Sew some undergarments using this free tutorial
  • Sew at least one pair of leggings using this pattern from IndieSew
  • Sew a couple pencil skirts using the pattern from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual
  • Sew one dress using a pattern from either IndieSew or Gertie Sews Vintage Casual
  • Curtains! I need new curtains all over my house and I even have most of the fabric
  • Sandwich, quilt, and bind a table runner top that was sewn up as a test by one of CT’s sewists in Hampton Hues fabrics.
  • Figure out and slowly begin progress on a super-secret giant hand-quilting project. I can’t go into detail for a while (a loooong while) because it’s going to be a gift and that person reads our blog!
  • Sew a birthday gift for my brother after he decides what it shall be
  • Throw pillows for the living room
  • Make two pillows with appliqué for my workroom using this free tutorial
  • Sew a rag quilt 
  • Sew a bunch of catnip toys for my cats and friends’ cats using this free tutorial for inspiration
  • Sew two very tiny quilts
  • Miscellaneous small hand sewing projects


Whew! That’s it. That’s my list! To some, this probably seems like a LOT. To others it might seem like a typical month. It feels like the baby bear’s porridge to me: juuuuust right. Even if things happen and I don’t finish everything, it’s okay; I’ve had my first few weeks of the year outlined and mostly devoted to decluttering and organizing (but NOT rigid) and look forward to just making!


What are you making this year? I genuinely want to know. Let’s get excited!




  1. Lu - January 16, 2015

    Wow Dawn you are so organized and disciplined. I wish I had a little of both.
    I guess I would be called an aloof crafter. I have to be in that “certain” mood, which doesn’t happen too often. Ha!
    I hope you accomplish all that you want to this year.
    I want to make a queen sized quilt.

    • Dawn - January 19, 2015

      Thanks, Lu! Being organized is a work in progress for me; but as a very forgetful person– it’s the only way! You can totally get though a queen quilt! Just break it into bite-sized pieces and just set aside even 20 minutes at a time.

  2. Stephanie Dunphy - January 16, 2015

    I absolutely LOVE the new look of The Notions Blog!!! Clear, bright, cheerful, easy to read and see the photos well. Awesomeness. I used to be a list maker, never any resolutions. But this year I would love to learn to make a purse with the metal frame, kiss closure. So many ways to learn on line for free. I love that. I’m also delving more into my vintage stash and creating new/old quilts. It’s my favorite way to play. And mini quilts of my own designs. :o)

    • Dawn - January 19, 2015

      Stephanie, agreed! The team did a beautiful job revamping our blog, it really is cheery! I’m personally quite happy to see larger photos now too.

      Very much looking forward to seeing what [mini] quilts you come up with this year!

  3. Ann - January 19, 2015

    Love your lists! I am determined to deal head-on with my Quilt Project ADD this year by making a list of my unfinished projects from last year (and beyond). I want to set goals for finishing them month-by-month. The challenge of course is to accomplish this while wanting to start all the new projects I am inspired to make. Busy hands – happy heart my Grandma Willie Ann used to say!

    • Dawn - January 19, 2015

      Thanks Ann! I love my lists too, haha. Agreed, that is definitely a challenge to get old things finished while new ideas are coming in… maybe leaving space for types of projects but not defining them so you trick your brain into thinking you’re avoiding your plans? 🙂

  4. Robin - January 21, 2015

    Dawn, I envy your organization and gusto for the upcoming year! I will let you be my inspiration! The first thing I want to do is finish a double wedding ring quilt that I’ve been working on for my daughter and new son-in-law. They were married in April, and I hope to have it finished by their first anniversary. It’s totally cut, pieced and quilted by hand. It’s been an awesome project but very time consuming. I will try and post pics when I’m finished!

    • Dawn - January 21, 2015

      Thank you! I got in a bit of a making rut while planning my wedding and getting married in late 2013, so it’s been SUPER important to me to get back strong!

      You can totally finish the quilt, that will be the perfect anniversary gift. Please do post photos, perhaps on our facebook page to share? Looking forward to them. 🙂

  5. Samantha G - January 24, 2015

    Wow, what an inspiration. I am usually a list person, but never thought to use it this way. I must have more than 20 UFOs (maybe more after quilting for more than 30 years) but never thought to make lists of them, and in a nice journal or notebook instead of stray scraps of paper. I decided a month or more ago that this was the year to finish up those projects that have been hanging about, taking up space, so thanks for the organizational inspiration!

  6. Samantha G - January 24, 2015

    By the way, what does ADD mean? Is that like UFOs?

    • Dawn - February 25, 2015

      Hi Samantha, I think Ann was referring to ADD as in “attention deficit disorder”. Like many of us, she starts lots of projects and then comes back to others later. It’s a quilter’s prerogative, right? 🙂