Monday, November 18, 2013


As I get things unpacked in my new space, and get my shelves and sewing stations set up, the age-old problem of storage comes up.  I have a few rules that take awhile to set up, but have made my daily projects so much faster and easier!!

I use boxes for everything!  Pretty hat boxes stack on top of bookshelves and file cabinets, and look fantastic in my bright and busy room, but they MUST have labels so you can put your hands on what you need later on.   They're the best for odd shaped items, and things you don't need very often.

I use a Brother Tape Labeler for almost everything, since it's fast and durable and uniform.

For the rest of the supplies that I use more often, I use clear boxes, also labelled but stackable so I can see what I need especially colors or types.

My fabric goes in large clear tubs I buy at Costco, and I sort and group the fabrics by color range (neutrals, pastels) or type (Batiks, Vintage/Flour Sack).  They stack perfectly on the shelf of my 10 foot quilt frame with room for a row on the floor as well.  Fabrics I use less often (velvets, upholstery weights) I keep in labeled large plastic tubs in the garage.  They are in a couple of stacks where I can get to them easily and where the detailed label puts my hand on what I need fast.

I label even what I can see, so I can find the right item at a glance.

More ideas for setting up your studio space coming in the next weeks.  Next subject:  lighting and ventilation!!  See you back here soon!

hugs, Beth

Thursday, November 7, 2013

We have the technology, we can rebuild her...

Getting back to work!  
Well, the move is over, the dust has settled and the unpacking has begun.  On Saturday morning, my intrepid friend Lindsay came over and the two of us, armed with strong coffee, cleared the floor in my new studio space, put down the area rug, and opened the back of the equipment trailer.  A little like Indiana Jones opening an ancient tomb, Lindsay and I ceremonially opened the back door/ramp.  A creak, some rays of light filled with swirling dust mites, and there they were.  My treasures had been gathering dust for a few weeks, calling my name.  I have to admit, my heart beat a little faster.

That trailer had been holding my Husqvarna Viking 10 foot quilting table and mega quilter, my trusty Babylock six needle embroidery machine, my Pfaff construction machine, my Babylock serger, a twenty year old embellishing machine, and an old singer treadle.  Also stored inside were twenty clear storage bins of fabrics, countless boxes of books, supplies, notions, tools, and momentos that inspire and entertain me...fairy dolls, a ceramic dragon, a resin unicorn, antique china teacups to hold bobbins, thimbles, snips and clips.  The tools of my trade were waiting for me.

We started with the big stuff, (that's what I would recommend to others starting a new space) and configured the practical work area.   Bookshelves must be easy to reach, work tables organized against walls, my corner desk laid out.  Then moving from table to machine,  I walked the space to make sure it was laid out conveniently and productively.  Leaving room for storage and supplies, dusting off all the clear bins of fabric and smaller bins of threads, glues, ribbons, buttons, notions, etc. we started placing my supplies. 

Lindsay gave up after several hours, but I was at it till the wee hours, unpacking books and instructionals (even a four language translation dictionary) and touching and placing my 'things'.  It is hard work physically and emotionally to organize a new workshop, but I love the useful and beautiful things I use every day to create.   I've missed having them at my fingertips and knowing I can spend a free hour and put my hands on what I need.  My studio is as important as setting up my bedroom or bathroom, and I am glad it has begun.

It will take me several more weeks (I still have to work most days, and this is a big job), but I got the quilter reattached to its cabling, and computerized Qbot.  I found the parts and the power plugs and I'm almost ready to turn on a machine.  Maybe this weekend...

Meantime, my pre-order promotion winds down as I wait for the box of new books to arrive.  Thank you all for purchasing your copy.   And let's get sewing!!  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


For those about to start's my thought for the day:

LOVE QUILTING!!  Don't be intimidated.  Start small.  Just begin your first seam, sew your first block, set your sights on a simple goal, and YOU CAN DO IT!!!  In the tea chapter, I show you how to make little tea mats (or hot pads).  Great first project!!  One thing sends you confidently to the next!

love, Beth

Monday, October 14, 2013

QUILTING BOOK PROMOTION!! Autographed copies for Pre-Order

Well, it's been a work in progress (like all of us and everything I touch!) but October brings the actual physical copies of my first quilting book to life!!

In just over two weeks, they can start to ship, and I'm running a promotion!

FIRST 100 COPIES PRE-ORDERED AT MY ETSY STORE WILL BE AUTOGRAPHED by me on a special page at the end of the book!

I'll have the promotion ready for pre-orders by the end of the week!  Meantime, I am so grateful to my friends and fans for the cyber cheering and enthusiasm.  I posted this today on Facebook.  And I mean it!!

THANK YOU DEVIN AND SOAP OPERA DIGEST for all the attention lately!! My quilting book has GONE TO PRESS!!!! and will have physical copies in hand in just over two weeks. RUNNING A PROMOTION: first 100 copies sold through my etsy store will be AUTOGRAPHED!! Will begin taking pre-orders later this week!
After the roll-out, they will be available online through all major retailers, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, etc. Will get you more details as they unfold, but thank you all for your support and encouragement.
Lesson: Never to late to see a dream through!!

eBook available now
Check back to pre-order by the end of the week!!
Cheers!  Beth

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The Santa Ana winds are starting to blow, and the leaves from the Sycamores across the street are piling along the fence.  The grape vines are losing the last of their leaves and the pumpkins are on the porch...waiting.

It is the season of change.  For me personally as well.  The studio move is finished, but the job of unpacking has not yet begun, and I can't really picture how or when it will all be ready to start production.  It's a whole new space, and I haven't even had time to lay out what work station goes where!  Usually by this time of year, I'm in full Holiday Manufacture Mode, and there are projects everywhere.  Bits and pieces of quilts, edges of fabrics in hoops waiting for embroidery, and already my gift wrapping central is traditionally stocked and ready for my wrap-as-I-finish method of preparing for a handmade holiday.

This year, things are going to be different.  And I'm learning to be flexible and roll with what happens.  I haven't begun to prepare for Christmas.  I won't be unpacked by then anyway, but I do intend to have my studio working again by the end of October.  That means a different approach to gift making and giving as well.  No long production days, so projects will have to be instant!  Simple, quick, fabulous.  That will have to be the name of the game.

While I brood on it, I will start picking quick projects that can be finished by assembly line, or made with co-ordinating materials.  Moving has also revealed a lot of personal things I'd like to get rid of, so I will be making theme gifts that include treasures I want to pass on, mixed with handmade accessories in theme baskets.  Maybe antique china cups and saucers with table linens that match, or silver cheese spreaders with a new cheese board and personalized napkins and a table topper.  I also want to include some gifts for my family that use Christmas colored fabrics without Christmas motifs so they can use these gifts all year if they wish.  And I want to shoot tutorials on these quick projects for the Dramaqueenbee YouTube Channel also, so we can all share fast and lovely project ideas for the season.

Lots on my plate, but lots to look forward to also.  Please join me in multitasking this fall and we'll make this holiday season memorable and special.  Yes we can!!

The only place I can think of to the first box.  Shall we?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moving Studio

This month, September, I'll be moving my home, pets and sewing studio 125 miles back near Los Angeles and in closer proximity to work.  I've been blessed with more work than I can do, and the commute from my beautiful Central Coast home has become too much.  In addition, my daughter will leave this month as well for her first year in college, an amazing new phase in her life, and a lump-in-my-throat send off for my only child.  A lot of change for one poor quilter to take.

The move was quickly conceived because of time deadlines, and I've found that the sewing studio is the biggest challenge for packing, moving, and divesting.  Out with the old...quick, before I have to pack and lift it.  This has been a real purging, and almost as emotional for me as having my daughter out of reach for the first time in 18 years.  I'm struggling with donating that tube weaving machine I've never used, or that rhinestone setter that I've had in a drawer for years, preferring a hot set method now that leaves stones in place longer.  All these things are long ago retired, but I'm troubled by 'what if I need it one day?'  But they've got to go!!  Anybody else out there reorganizing?  Is it this hard for you to let go?

I can't even FACE the fabric.  I have dozens of clear boxes with organized quilting fabrics by style and color, labelled and in reach.  But then there are the larger colored trunks full of velvets and upholstery fabrics for my purses...and the cardboard boxes I didn't quite get to unpack from the last move.  Oh my gosh.  Where did all the thread come from?  Three packing boxes of rayon embroidery thread cones alone.  Then construction thread, specialty thread, quilting thread, surger thread and wooly nylon...

Anybody else out there with this compulsive hoarding?  It started when I was a starving actor and didn't have enough money to buy supplies.  I'd grab things on sale and stock up for gift projects and the like.
Now it's just addiction.  And it's obviously out of control.

The best I can do is vow to go through it all at the other end and downsize there.  Donate, reuse, use up.  It's a lovely dream.  We'll see if it happens.  I'll let you know.

Meantime, goodbye lovely studio, hello new space.  See you in October!

Friday, August 30, 2013


Available at Amazon and Apple iBookstore 9/3/13
B&N two weeks later Domestic and International.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Scrappy Strippy Garland!!!

By accident, I was innocently working on another project and the fabric (Hanky Panky for Robert Kaufman Fabrics) was so cute and so cheerful I couldn't throw away the scraps and cuttings.  There was a little pile from squaring up quilt blocks on my cutting mat.

I thought...what can I do with these?

If I add them to some twine, mix up the scraps, add other little strips from other projects and jumble them all up...

This could be so cute I'll need insulin shots!!!  
LOVE MY SCRAPPY GARLAND!!  Now it's time to hang it up over a tea party using the table top quilt and tea mats I made with the rest of the fabric...
Stay tuned for the eBook coming in TWO WEEKS!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Instant Gratification Summer Projects

Crafty Fun - Summer Projects!

Hey crafters/sewers/quilters...I've had a lighter schedule for the first few weeks of summer, and I've been spending most of it outside with animals, kids and friends, and enjoying the sunshine.  It's been hard to focus on the work stacking up inside, and on keeping up with my studio projects, but spare time is rare, and summer is delicious!!  Hope you all are finding time to relax and enjoy as well.

But as the days get warmer, I like to plan for studio work inside during the heat of the day, and I have a quick list of projects that can be completed in a day or two.  I'll outline them below, like a to-do list and we'll revisit with pics and complete project tutorials in the days to come.

- Summer Babies - quick sew personalized receiving blankets for summer baby showers with matching bibs.  
          (gather a couple of complimentary cotton fabrics, flannel works well even for summer, a yard of each, and a few matching trims and threads and you're ready!)

- Easy Quilted Beach Tote - Carry your stuff to the sea in style with just a few seams and as much or as little quilting work as you have time for!  
          (great stash buster project, or an even better excuse to buy some fun beach themed specialty prints.)

- Super Quick Picnic Table Runner or throw - Color and fabric are the stars of this easy to construct project for yourself or as a gift.  You can make it in time for July Fourth or to have standing by for cook outs and picnics all summer long.

Stay tuned for the details!!!  Let's get sewing!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gratitude and Jeannie Cooper

On Health, Friendship, And Gratitude.

For those of you who are Young and Restless fans, and who check in to my blog because of that, and not so much the textile art, you may have heard that this week, our Grand Dame of Genoa City, Jeanne Cooper was struck seriously ill, and has been in hospital touch and go for many days.  

The outpouring of support from her fans, through social media and the press, is jaw dropping, and although not always appropriate, (things got a little gossipy and competitive) it has confirmed for me the power of Internet tools to touch each other in a way that until recently was impossible.

Thousands of strangers have mobilized their prayers, good wishes, thoughts for healing and recovery, and have posted support, love, cards, pictures collages, greetings, song bytes, and outreach that is utterly amazing to me.  

In the midst of this illness and Jeannie's very slow progress out of Intensive Care, her family surrounded her, tweeting, posting through press contacts and social media sites, keeping us all informed and somehow comforted that the strength of will of one amazing woman, and the love and focus of thousands of those who love her could be experienced moment by moment in real time through the Internet.

I am grateful today for Jeannie's continuing improvements, for my own health, for the nearness of my family and for the contact I too have with all of you through technology and the strange and wonderful world of Daytime.

I am also grateful for you.  Life is short, unpredictable, challenging.  So I'm feeling compelled to tell you thanks.  I'm hoping you'll tell others the things you want them to know.

Hug your children, kiss your dog, ride your horse, splurge a little on a treat for yourself today.  Celebrate the now.  Find the good.  Live like Jeannie Cooper does, putting it out there every day with strength and dignity and all her heart.  Be grateful for every moment.

I am.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Rose Is A Rose

Tutorial:  A Velvet Rose For Mother's Day

With Mother's Day just around the corner, here's a perfect little project to make into a pin, sew on a purse or a hat, or pin to the lapel of a jacket.  They can also be added to home accessories like pillows and drapery tie backs.  These are beautiful silk/rayon velvet roses in an assortment of hand-dyed colors, but you can just buy the yardage in the color you want your rose to be and save a step.

You will need:

One scrap in your choice of color, rayon/silk blend velvet (cotton velvet, and panne poly velvet will too but are not as lush, lightweight, or easy to work with) 5” by 20” sewn into a tube lengthwise
One scrap of velvet in any complementary green for leaves, 6” by 10 makes two leaves
One square of buckram as a foundation for rose, 5” by 5” 


First make the leaves by cutting two 6” by 5” pieces of green velvet. Fold in half to make a tube, 3” by 5”.  Sew right sides together along the 5” side, one end shut at a point, and leave the other end open for turning. This will be the base of the leaf, and will be hidden in the petals of the rose, so does not need to be finished. Turn right side out, seam down the center back of the leaf.  Start just above the point, and gather the excess fabric sewing it down with topstitching in a matching or darker green thread.


Take the long velvet strip and make into a tube, right sides together (which should be just over two inches tall by twenty long) that will be the rose.  Turn right side out with both short ends open.  Tie a knot in the tube at one end.  At the sewing machine, take the buckram square and tack down the end of the tube with matching thread on either side of the knot, attaching it to the buckram base in the center of the square.

Fold the tube up and around the knot covering it slightly as the knot is the center of the flower.  This first turn should be about two inches.  Pinch the tube together and tack down with a few sewing machine stitches.  Twist over again, and move around the knot and expand around the flower, each time manipulating the velvet tube to a pleasing, expanding petal affect.  Each time pinching the tube and sewing down to the buckram, hiding stitches with the twist of the tube and the next layer of petals.


As you reach the last round, but before you sew them down, attach the leaves artistically according to how your flower has “bloomed”.  Bury the open end under the petals.  Tack down with machine stitches.
Cover the stitches with the last round of rose velvet and tuck in and finish by hand stitching.  Trim away the extra buckram.

Optional:  Sew the buckram backing directly onto a purse, hat or pillow, or make into a pin/brooche by sewing a pin back to a matching piece of felt, and sewing or hot gluing the felt to cover the buckram.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

going to the fabric store...

Recently, on a break between appointments in town, I found myself with two hours to spare, and without hesitating, went straight to the nearest chain fabric store to leaf through  project books and pattern books and walk the aisles actually touching the rows and rows of beautiful material.

I was reminded how convenient and fantastic the Internet is for buying the latest jelly roll or charm pack of fun new fabric lines.  I also spend lots of time clicking around several websites that offer free tutorials, free quilt patterns, blogs and advice about almost any kind of sewing project from the new 'green' baby accessories (water resistant diaper covers, changing pad patterns, bibs, etc.) to home dec lampshades.  I am spoiled by instant access to learning, quick delivery of goods, and community through chat rooms, board rooms, and blog spots, social media and networking, and the great companionship the whole world of sewers and quilters extend.  I have lots of friends online.  But don't really know any of their faces beyond a profile snapshot or an icon of their pet that represents their online persona. I don't often return products, and love the predictable crispness of a box of quilters cotton I order from a manufacturer.

But I don't get to feel the fabric (till it arrives).  I don't get to smell the dye and test the loft of the batting.  I don't get to pick up and test the weight of the scissors.

Also, I don't get to chat with the cutting table lady, or hold the door open for the white haired lady who has too many bags to manage.  Or thank the cashier for reminding me about my coupon or membership card discount.

Back at the fabric store...

As I checked my watch and prepared to pay for a couple of things I couldn't live without, I rounded a stack of flat folds and bumped into a Costume Designer friend of mine I haven't seen in who lives as far away from that particular fabric store as I do.  She too was between meetings, and gravitates to textiles like I do.  She had a yard of fabric she had brought back from Paris ten years before and was matching colors to make it into a throw for her bedroom...

As we talked and touched the choices and compared ideas, a lady rounded on us with a full cart, and it was a Set Hair Dresser I know from a sitcom I worked on a couple of years ago.  Introductions around, and we helped her find corduroy for a project she was working on, pillows for her home.  We laughed and chatted for a few more minutes with suggestions for her about the fabric district downtown LA and where to find other great fabric finds.  

I really had to get on to my next appointment, but I joked to them that we could meet here next week same time with our coffee and do it all again.

On the way home, I realized how much we creative spirits need real contact as well as virtual...really feeling things, touching, weighing, laughing, chatting, connecting.

My reminder for the day then is to use all of our fabulous Internet tools, but don't get isolated in a craft that is solitary in itself.  Join a quilt group.  Take a class.  Go to your local quilt shop whenever possible and sign up for their free sewing Tuesday to share and learn from quilting friends.  And stop by my Facebook page and post a picture of what you're working on...don't forget your friends online!  Connection.  It's what keeps us all moving forward, trying things, being inspired.   Looking forward to hearing from you...
;)  Beth

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Yes, I too have a huge pile of unfinished projects, quilt tops ready to be quilted, nearly finished costumes, and even projects I started that went wrong, and that I promised to put back on course when I had more time.

Well, I’m pretty convinced that time won’t come unless I insist.  And my recent move already ruthlessly cut back the pile of UFO’s.

So I’ve made the hard I want to spend lots of extra time on each project making it perfect, making every seam match just so, restitching that little overlap in the binding?  Putting myself further and further behind from the projects calling out to me on my worktable...

No.  I want it done.  I want to be free to move on to all the zillions of other projects I have waiting, the new fabrics I bought to propel me into the next baby quilt, tutorial, girlfriend gift, family memento.  I want it all and I want it now.  Haha.

So, within reason, I have spent the last two years giving up and giving in to the not so perfect corner on my binding, the faster method of piecing, and the pre-cut revolution of time-saving cutting.  (jelly rolls, charm packs, fat quarters and the like)  And I LOVE IT!!!  I’m getting lots more done by concentrating on smaller, more manageable projects (baby quilts, table toppers, lap rugs, table runners) and using these faster methods has increased my “finished” pile by a landslide!!

So I’d like to encourage you to give this some thought and save your perfect methods for heirlooms and very special quilts...and get the job done by relaxing with your quilting and doing good work in a shorter amount of time.  That doesn’t mean being sloppy.  It means being practical with the time you have to quilt, and the kind of technique that will you there, and the gratification of completing your alphabet quilt before the baby is in college.  Save the hand quilting for the family heirloom you can make on summer vacation.  Embrace the machine.  Use this as an excuse to take a “finish in a day” class at your local quilt shop, or use a YouTube/Internet tutorial to coach you through “make it in a weekend”.  Pick smaller projects and bigger blocks.  Learn about panels and fussy cuts that can be big impact centers for quilts and blocks.  I use machine embroidery to create focus and then panel quilt around them with complimentary colors and prints.  Learn chain piecing techniques that save loads of time, and pick projects that use cutting to reduce construction time like the disappearing nine patch.

I am adding some stash buster and pre-cuts projects on my YouTube Channel over the next few weeks, but there are already loads of great tutorials on the Internet to inspire you, and with winter winding down...there’s still plenty of time to quilt, and actually finish those projects for you and your family and friends to enjoy and admire.

Now let’s get cracking!!  We've got quilts to finish!

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Year Resolution:  Be Creative!!  Get it Done!!

As January speeds past, I find myself still lingering in the Holiday Season, tucking away the last of the decorations, and trying to catch up on all the things I thought I’d have time to tackle during the break.  Instead of finishing the last of my homemade gifts, I got sick, and farther behind, and the temptation now is to put off my quilting and sewing projects and to find every excuse to wait until spring.  Or worse, add them to my pile of UFO’s that may or may not ever be finished.  Am I alone?!  I sure hope not!!!

The weather has been cold but beautiful, so I have no help rainy days to keep me indoors.  Demands of work, family, home, and pets (I got a new kitten just after Christmas), have left me with three Christmas projects unfinished and a mad rush to purchase something to replace them as the gifts I intended.

I’ve decided not to be disappointed and I will not feel guilty either.  I’m turning it around to this new spin:  finish all three projects and be that far ahead for next year’s Christmas List!!

So I’ve put aside an hour three times a week to work on the projects, more time if I can spare it.  First I’ll bind the two small quilts that are trimmed and waiting, and then do the detailed negative space quilting I’ve got left on the third table top square quilt.  

I’m making it a game.  Finish the two closest to done, so I feel like I’m making good progress.  Like paying off credit cards, or dieting, any positive accomplishment urges you on to keep up the good work!  We’re goal oriented beings for the most part.  Might as well use it.  Then I’ll do the more challenging job, and use the negative space quilting as a learning project to try a few new designs and expand my skill set.  I wouldn’t have had time for the extras if I had finished this quilt for Christmas.  I’m making the situation into a good thing.

Besides, January is the best month of the year to learn new things.  Your mind is fresh, resolutions are made, and with a new calendar in place, we feel up to the task.  Also, in most parts of the country, winter is still keeping us house-bound, and it’s good to have something new to learn to keep us sharp.

I would also like to suggest that if you don’t have any UFO’s lying around to finish, or any new learning project you’ve been dying to try, that instead you do a few simple and fast projects with immediate gratification.  I’ll have a few quick and easy project tutorials on my YouTube Channel over the next couple of weeks to give you some ideas.  But there’s nothing better than starting AND FINISHING a few small lovelies to get the year moving in the right direction.

Now...let’s get crafting!