the “old bat” cave…

Since it’s pretty tidy, I thought I would share a few of my favorite things in my sewing space, or, as I like to think of it, The Bat Cave.  And no, it’s rarely this tidy!

Welcome to my blog and my sewing room! C’mon in, because who doesn’t enjoy a good snoop around someone else’s sewing space?

I knew I needed a pegboard (or something similar) above my sewing machine. I need to have things handy and out where I can see them. I got this clear plastic pegboard from Amazon, and I love it.

The pegboard comes with the bins and various pegs so you can customize it for your needs.

Next is my cutting table under a traditional pegboard storing my longarm thread supply.

My favorite item in this photo would be my wireless headphones. I find them handy when using the longarm…I can actually hear all the dialogue! There are all kinds of newer ones available as well.

The upper cabinets are from Ikea. I still need to add some under-cabinet lighting. I store my in-progress projects in the cabinets.

I used to have a traditional ironing board in this room, but space is so tight, it seemed like an enormous waste of space. I bought this dresser from Next Act in Apple Valley, MN. It’s a second-hand dresser that they revived with paint. I added a padded pressing surface to the top of the dresser. Now I have a great pressing surface and loads of storage as well.

In the dresser, there are drawers for zippers, sewing-machine thread, manuals, wool, and three drawers FULL of Paula Nadelstern fabric.

Until recently, I stored my cutting rulers in a large drawer. I would forget which ones I owned, and I got tired of digging through a jumbled pile of rulers. The rulers now hang on 3M Command Hooks, and I can easily see what I have…specialty rulers above the turquoise dresser, and traditional rulers on the side of the white unit.

Here you can see the traditional rulers on the side of this unit — also hung on 3M Command Hooks. These white shelves, shoe cubbies, and drawer units were purchased at Target some time ago. They are great for small cuts of fabric, fat quarters, and all kinds of miscellaneous things like buttons, and T pins that I don’t use very often but I need a way to organize them. Various cutting mats are slid between the wall and the closet storage unit. Not pretty, but I can see where they are and easily grab what I need.

My most recent additions are two Sterilite storage units with drawers. I have a small one and a larger one, and they fit perfectly under the Gammill table. I am using them for longarm supplies.

Longarm bobbins are stored in ice-cube trays and kept handy in one of the drawers. The drawers also store some smaller Red Snapper pieces, tape measure, longarm rulers, and my Towa gauge. The large drawers are great for pantographs.

The Bat Cave is in the lower level, so I have one window for some natural light. I was going to put something lacy on the window about the same time I was trying to figure out what to do with county & state fair ribbons. I found a solution to both problems:

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for taking the tour with me!


November/December Notes

(Header shot is of a horse-drawn carriage, curbside, in New Orleans.)

Happy New Year!

We were away the first half of December, so I decided to do a combined-month blog post.


Thanksgiving was a week of puzzles, games, movies, and food!  This is Rob (#3 Son), hard at work.  Isn’t it good to know that my sewing lights get a little extra use?  All the “kids” were home off and on all week, and it was so much fun to have them around.  I’m a lucky mom.

Rob (Son #1), above, working on a puzzle.

Fast forward to Christmas time, and we had the whole family in town again…what a blessing!  It was a blur of movies, games, and meal prep & eating, laughter and fabulous family time.  Lucky Dave was still home when we got a little snow, and he volunteered to get the shoveling done before his dad got up.


Lots of handwork was done on the cruise, but since I don’t have a decent picture, I’ll update sewing next month.


Apron:  Super-easy pattern by Perkins Drygoods, “My Favorite Apron”.  I love this style, as it is equally good for men or women.  Looks like it’s only the body cut out in this picture, but it finished up great and I used it all through the Christmas cooking.

Zippered Bags:  I really enjoyed making these bags from the “Stowaways” pattern from Atkinson Designs.  The pattern includes instructions for six variations of small bags.  They are easy and fun to make.  (The two smaller bags below are made following the pattern.)

I loved the shape of the middle-sized bag above, so I increased the size to make a makeup bag.   I added a layer of clear vinyl to cover the lining so I will be able to wipe the inside clean.  I was really pleased with the result.

If you want to make the large-sized bag, you will need the Stowaways pattern, make the “Sassy” so you understand the construction.  My modification increased the main fabric piece cut to 15″ x 19″.  I love it!


Aaah, knitting was totally ignored.  But I bought yarn.  In New Orleans.  So technically it was a souvenir.  Not STASH.  A SOUVENIR.


November was a good month to stay home, and so we did.  December, on the other hand, was a good month to go south, waaay south, to the Panama Canal!  We both really enjoyed traveling through the canal on the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas.

Panama City, before we entered the canal from the west.

Our ship will be entering the lock on the right, behind the green and white ship.  This set of locks stair-steps us up higher than ocean level, so we can travel across the lake to the set of locks that will stair-step us down to the Atlantic side.  In the photo above, you can see how much higher the green ship is than the red ship.

It’s a tight squeeze for the cruise ships, but they are made to barely clear the width of the Panama Canal.  This was an awesome trip, and I highly recommend learning about the construction of the canal, and then, if you have a chance, take a trip through it.

Most Panama Canal cruises start or end in one of the Florida ports, but this cruise started in Los Angeles and ended in New Orleans.  I read in a guide book that New Orleans is best experienced on foot, and that is just what we did and it was a wonderful experience.  Just a couple of pix:

We attended Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.  It was beautiful inside and out, and makes for a striking skyline feature.

Later in the day, we stopped by the Cafe Du Monde, as we heard their beignets were outstanding.  The line was at least two blocks long, 4 to 5 people across.  So we continued with our sightseeing and came back later.  Definitely worth a visit!  (Beignets are square pillows of dough, fried like a doughnut, and served under a very generous blanket of powdered sugar.)  Their other specialty is chickory coffee with milk, which was also delicious.


My little photo gallery for November/December photos is in the right-hand sidebar at the top of this page, and I added photos from our visit to the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans.

So many happy memories from these two months…2018 was a wonderful year

Wishing all of you a blessed, healthy, and prosperous  2019!


November 3rd Report

The featured image above is my “auditioning” my Thanksgiving table.  New napkins and placemats!  Getting me in the mood…it will be here before we know it.  On with October in review:


October was a very busy month…a trip to Alabama to sew with my auntie, progress on my Ruffled Roses, and I finished the MQ Mystery top!  The quick-and-dirty summary is:  lotsa sewing!  But you came for the details…


I did the matchstick little border and the paper-pieced lattice border.  Those borders are framed by a peach 1/4″ border.   The next big border is an appliqued swag and roses border.  I have the applique pieces prepared and ready to glue baste.


I got my top done in the month the mystery ended — a new record for me.  This was a mystery by Minnesota Quilters, the pattern is “Flight of Fancy” by Kari Schell.  I don’t believe it’s available outside the group, but it could possibly be in the future.  Here it is, blocks laid out but not yet stitched (didn’t take a final picture).


Yesterday I started the Spotlight Shawl.  Love this yarn — Madelinetosh Pashmina in a yummy cocoa/turquoise mix.  There will be a second color of the same yarn introduced, which will be turquoise.  Fun easy knit so far…


I started making little watercolor paintings a couple of years ago (and when I say “painting”, it’s not artistic…it’s more like painting the side of a barn).  After they are dry, I cut them up into smaller pieces, run them through my Cuttlebug embossing machine, and make a card.  They are fun and easy.  I did about 50 of them on Tuesday.  (They make great gifts.)  If there’s any interest, I’ll do a little tutorial.


I spent a fun and relaxing week in Huntsville, AL, with my Aunt Bert.  I was still recovering from some medical issues, and she pampered me royally!  I am truly back at 100% and it feels wonderful.  We did a lot of sewing, some card making, and she introduced me to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which I loved and devoured the first season.  Looking forward to Season 2 in December on Amazon Prime.  (language not for the easily offended…)


This was a super fun week, meeting a longtime friend for breakfast on Wednesday (Arlene and I are celebrating at least 53 years of friendship), meeting other friends for lunch on Thursday, and joining in a gathering of sewing friends for stitching on Friday!  Life is good.  Here is a shot of Arlene, taken at the Galleria at Ampersand:


The apples have been wonderful and cheap, and we’ve been eating a lot of them.  My favorite breakfast is the Dutch Apple Pancake recipe on the Williams Sonoma site.  Pictured below, ready to go into the oven.  It puffs up like a popover.  This is a double recipe in a 9×13 pan, plus I increase the apples by one or two additional because I like lots of apples!  Good cold the next day or heated up.  Yum!


I’m listening to “Bone Box” by Faye Kellerman.  Too early for a review.


I added a couple of photos taken in October in the right-hand column above.

You can stick a fork in October — it’s done!


by Sue Hecker — Maker, Traveler, Photographer, Mother & Wife, Lover of Life