Tag Archives: sewing


My sister needed to clear her head last week. Unsure of where to go for peace and quiet, she ended up at the fabric store where she sat down and began browsing through pattern books.

She wasn’t alone. Another woman sat next to her turning page after page in search of a design similar to a picture of a dress she had ripped from a magazine. The woman’s head bobbed side to side comparing the photo in her hand to the different patterns in the books.

At about the same time, I was several states away surfing through bolts of fabric in a store lined floor to ceiling with rolls of discount decorator fabric and accessories. I was clearing my head, too.

Surfing through uncut fabric with all of its possibilities calmed me, like watching colorful fish swim in an aquarium or viewing the vivid colors of various petals in a garden.

The possibilities of making something beautiful or clever, functional or whimsical made me feel hopeful and happy. The feel of the fabric, the texture and weight ignited ideas through my fingertips.

After more than an hour of browsing, my sister came home with a pattern and fabric. I came home with fabric, too.

And we left our head clutter at the stores.





ChatterboxBeach has found a home not only on Etsy, but also in an adorable shop called The Orange Blossom Resale in Hampstead, NC. Our handmade crafts fit right at home among the many vendor booths that feature an eclectic array of home décor, jewelry and fashion items. Located in a strip mall on Highway 17, the store is a convenient drive from Jacksonville, Wilmington and the Crystal Coast and Southern beaches. We love to browse each time we add more items to our booth.
The chef hats, scarves, pillows and dishcloths that we sell on Etsy also are featured in the store. Additional items are also available at The Orange Blossom, include paintings, aprons, pocket books, cup cozies, knitted necklaces, wine bags and mini quilts. ChatterboxBeach hopes to add new products each week.
Let the store owner know your favorite ChatterboxBeach items so we can keep them in stock. Let us know what you are looking for, too. We enjoy tackling new projects together.
Contact us anytime at chatterbox_gifts@yahoo.com and stop by The Orange Blossom Resale at 14884 Highway 17, Hampstead NC 28443, (910) 821-1544.
Store hours are:
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 4 p.m.
Monday: Closed


quilts and miranda sings 002

Last year, my quilting friend and I talked about getting together each month to sew, which rarely happened. But 2015 is a new year, and yesterday we met at her home resolved to sew.

She worked diligently with her rotary cutter to make pieces for a placemat. Her daughter, who was home from college on break, joined us needle in hand to sew a cross stitch picture. And I stared blankly at three unfinished quilt projects that I had sprawled out on their dining room table.

Each of my pieces had promise, but my creativity was stumped. I was ready to stick each project in a drawer never to be seen again, much less to be completed, when my friend rearranged some of the squares of the first project, offered her suggestions on the second and admired the third.

Seeing my work through her eyes breathed new life into the dormant quilts. I wrote down her suggestions and some of the ideas that they sparked within me. Now the projects are moving forward again.

Needle arts are more than the mechanics of stitching. They also involve the sharing and communicating of ideas.





Way back in November, my son asked me to sew a national competition badge on his favorite marching band sweatshirt. This morning, as I pulled the often-worn hoodie once again out of my clothes dryer with a load of wash that needed to be folded, I realized that two months have passed, and I still have not honored his request.

When he asked me to add the patch to his shirt, I told him to put the badge next to my sewing machine so I wouldn’t forget. The patch is still there. I haven’t forgotten. I just haven’t done the work.

Each time I sit down to sew, I see the patch and slip it underneath other sewing projects only to see it rise and reappear at the top of the to-do list. When I see it surface once again, I casually slip it back underneath another new mound of work. This could go on for years.

Why can’t I get started on that patch? All I need is a needle and thread, a pair of scissors and 10 minutes in a 24-hour day. I cringe every time I see that patch, not because the work is difficult, but because the work hasn’t been done.

This morning, the weight finally became too heavy. The irrational burden of hand sewing a tiny 3-inch patch onto a shirt had to go. I did the task, checked it off my list, and I’m all smiles.

The feeling of accomplishment is wonderful! The happiness on my son’s face when he sees that the patch finally has been sewn onto his sleeve will be even better.

Worrying two months over something that took five minutes to complete makes no sense. From now on, Monday will be my anti-procrastination day — a chance to get started or finish simple sewing projects that I have been avoiding. I’m marking the new routine on my calendar.

I’m ready to sew.




sisterchatter sewing blog 003

Similar to the arctic vortex that dipped over the nation this week, my crafty side took a deep plunge over the past six months.

Glancing around my sewing room, I see that most of my projects have remained frozen in place while my attention has been elsewhere with the duties of daily life. Sadly, half a year of prime crafting time has been wasted.

My New Year’s resolution is to remedy this imbalance in 2014.

One of the best gifts I received at Christmas was a 2-year pocket planner from my sister, who knows that organization is the key for me to stay on track with my projects.

The cover of the calendar features a bouquet of colorful flowers. They will be my inspiration.

So let the crafting thaw begin. I’m ready to sew.



    WALK AWAY FROM THE SEWING MACHINE It was one of those mornings. I spent way too much time searching for fusible interfacing in my closet. The right color thread wasn’t right at all. The ends of my fabric … Continue reading


HOMEMADE CLOTHES REVIVAL Unless I plan to sew with 100 percent cotton fabric, the nearest cloth store is at least a 30-minute drive from my home, and the material selection is puny. I’m surprised the business can call itself a … Continue reading


GARDEN STITCHES Friends and I decided to grow vegetables for the first time this year by renting a space at our local community gardens. Being a novice gardener, I expected the chores to include planting, weeding, watering and picking. But … Continue reading


Betsy Ross and Mrs. Dail

BETSY ROSS AND MRS. DAIL Many people I sew for have great dreams. One has graduated law school. Another wants to be a writer. Someone else is headed to West Point. I’m proud to say, “I made a quilt for … Continue reading


LET ME SEE My friend is taking an embroidery class. “I want to see,” I told her when she asked if I’d like to look at her portfolio. “Let me get my glasses.” I joined her in her dining room … Continue reading