Real Quilting

How to Organize Information in Your Quilt Studio

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “Out of sight, out of mind”. If you don’t have something right out in front of you, you forget that you have it or where it is. This is certainly the case in my quilt studio: if a project is packed away in a cardboard box, I can completely forget that I have even started it. Okay, this may be because I have so many WIP”s that I have trouble keeping track of them, but it’s definitely because they are not easily visible.

It’s the same way with information that I want to have in my studio. Maybe it’s notations about changes I want to make to a pattern or an idea for an upcoming YouTube video. While I eventually will enter video ideas into a Word document on my laptop, this isn’t the case for information about projects I’m working on. I often write out this information on little pieces of paper which are then scattered about my office or studio, which makes them very difficult to find again, and very easy to lose. I need a better system.

 These notes could be managed much more efficiently.

These notes could be managed much more efficiently.


Enter my favourite place to get quilting furniture: Ikea! I love how Ikea designs a product for a specific purpose, but then we quilters dive in and use it for something totally different! Product in point: cork trivets. These come in packages of 3 and are quite inexpensive, not to mention handy. I like to use these for mini cork boards. I find that they fit on the back of the doors to my cabinets – I just stick them up with double-sided tape – and I can then pin up little bits of information or reminders about projects. They are hidden inside the door, but every time I open up the cabinet, there is the information I need. I could also put them up on the wall, so they are more visible, and I have done that too, but they are less distracting when hidden inside a cupboard or cabinet.

 This is what I'm talking about!

This is what I'm talking about!


While these cork hot pads are fantastic for pinning small pieces of paper to them, I also like using a Peel & Stick whiteboard product that I found. These are repositionable sheets that you can write on with a dry erase marker. Once you’ve no longer need this information, you just wipe it off. I really like these to keep track of daily tasks and they can be put up on the wall or – yes, you guessed it – inside cupboard doors. If you want to put them inside doors, be sure that they aren’t touching fabric as the dry erase marker can rub off on it.

 4 sheets to a box and easy to stick on and peel off!

4 sheets to a box and easy to stick on and peel off!


Both of these methods work well for me, because they are “out of sight, but NOT out of mind”.

For more information on how you can use both these items, click on the image below to watch a video on my YouTube channel.

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Let me know your best tips for organizing information in your quilt studio. Write your helpful hints in the comments below this post. I’d love to hear your ideas.


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Telecast Thursday - Real Quilting: Reflection

This week's Telecast Thursday is all about reflection.

I'm always looking ahead to my next project, my upcoming deadline or things I want to accomplish in the house - and that's a good thing, but sometimes it's good to look back. Reflecting on what you've previously accomplished in your life or in your quilting shows you how far you've come and can inspire you to accomplish more in the future.

Watch the video below or on my YouTube channel to learn more about why reflecting on your quilting journey to date is a good thing.


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Telecast Thursday - Real Quilting: Quilt Shows

In this Telecast Thursday, I'm getting a bit serious.

If you know me, you know that I love going to quilt shows - who doesn't? I sometimes even get to look at the quilts on display, after blazing a trail through the vendors' booths, that is :)

I enjoy the social aspect of quilt shows as well as the shopping opportunities, but in this video I wanted to address my feelings about the quilts on display. You can watch the video below or on my YouTube channel.

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Real Quilting - Don't Compete, Create!

 Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


I want to talk about a trap I sometimes fall into – comparing myself or my accomplishments to someone else. There are times when I am feeling down or frustrated that if I step back I can see that I am upset because I don’t feel adequate in comparison to someone else. It may seem silly for your happiness to be determined by how you perceive yourself compared to another person but it happens all the time. The theory is called the Social Comparison Theory and it states that that we determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others. As a result, we are constantly making self and other evaluations across a variety of domains (for example, attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success). Most of us have the social skills and impulse control to keep our envy and social comparisons quiet but our true feelings may come out in subtle ways. There are many reasons that using social comparisons to determine your self worth are wrong but here are three that I think are most important:

  1. Others’ so-called "perfection" is an illusion. The glorious vacations, the enviable professional accomplishments, the perfect children and spouses we see are just one sliver of people’s real lives. It’s the truth, but not the “whole truth”. A quilter may win the best prize at a quilt show but you may never know about the 12 other quilts that had previously been rejected. If we knew others’ whole truths, we might not feel so inadequate when comparing ourselves to their carefully crafted public images of "perfection.
  2. Life isn’t fair. Some people are born with more advantages than others: wealthy parents, artistic talents or an eye for colour. Yet when we compare ourselves (unfavourably) to others, we often beat ourselves up for not trying hard enough as if working yourself to death will guarantee the same results as the person to whom you're comparing yourself. It’s much more likely that the differences we see reflect an uneven playing field. Sometimes hard work just isn’t enough.
  3. Comparisons turn friends and allies into rivals. In a perfect world, we would celebrate and genuinely enjoy the joys and accomplishments of others. Yet if we use others as a benchmark to evaluate ourselves, that creeping twinge of jealousy may undermine our ability to truly cherish the good things that come to others.

The thing about comparison is that there is never a win. How often do we compare ourselves with someone less fortunate than us and consider ourselves blessed? More often, we compare ourselves with someone who we perceive as being, having, or doing more.

Although I sometimes struggle with social comparison in my everyday life I make a conscious effort to avoid it in my quilting because of its effect on my enthusiasm and creativity for quilting. Here are few of the things I think about if I feel the slightest twinge of comparison creeping up on me (often when I am at a quilt show):

  1.  Quilting is a process that you should enjoy, not a competition.
  2. Celebrate what you create without comparing it to others.
  3. Celebrate other’s success without denigrating your efforts.
  4. Use the work of more proficient quilters as an inspiration or, even better, a source of ideas and techniques.
  5. Watch out for art quilts. They can be especially discouraging – some people are just naturally more creative than you might be. That doesn't mean that the rest of us can't still enjoy the craft and (if we work hard) produce quilts that WE can be proud of, while still admiring other's work.

So, if you find yourself feeling upset of frustrated just remember: you don’t have to be a quilting rock star to enjoy the craft of quilting.

Chatterquote: “Quilts are not sports cars; yours doesn’t have to be ‘bigger’”.




Telecast Thursday - Real Quilting: The Learning Curve

It's Telecast Thursday and I'm addressing another "Real Quilting" topic.

I've been enjoying playing and learning on my Handi Quilter Infinity, but there is definitely a learning curve with this machine. As with most new sewing or quilting machines there are many different functions and it does take time to become completely familiar with all - or even some - of them. While it can seem overwhelming to use a new machine, it is essential that you spend the time to learn about it so you will use it. It's just this issue that I am addressing in the video below.

You can watch the video on my Youtube channel.

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to receive automatic notifications when new videos are posted. You can also click on the Chatterbox Quilts logo in the lower right corner on the video itself to subscribe. Remember to like and share my videos with your fellow creatives.

I hope I've inspired you to overcome your fears about learning to use a new machine or tool. Let me know how you handle this situation by leaving a comment below.