To the Point

Do you use a planner? I do, and I love my planner. Like, LOVE! I know it’s superrrrr old school but I stay so much more organized when I use it.

My system is a little laborious but the end result is always better for me. I have a record of all my ins and outs in my phone because I don’t want to haul this thing with me everywhere. At the beginning of each month I write down the month at a glance (taken from my phone), and I fill in the weekly to-do’s each week. I also update the month at a glance a few times a month to keep myself on track. There’s some back and forth, for sure, but me not forgetting things makes the effort worthwhile. Sometimes I have an item of note to accomplish in the future and I’ll flip ahead and note it so I don’t forget. Also, this planner is so pretty and that makes me want to use it. I just love a pretty planner, don’t you?

Anyhow, I always write in pencil (except birthdays) but I am always, always losing my pencil. It’s annoying. So this month, I dedicated my Kraftex project to not losing said pencil. Truth be told my friend Kristi gave me the idea and sent me a photo she found online and I totally ran with it. Partly because the Kraftex coordinates nicely with my planner, partly because it’s VERY necessary. It’s the pretty things, people.

I started with the amethyst Kraftex and some elastic grosgrain ribbon. I wish the ribbon were a slightly different color, to be honest, but it works and I can always change it later.

I wrapped the elastic around the planner to give me a general idea of where I needed to cut it.

I cut the elastic and sewed it together. Once I knew where to cut and sew, I trimmed the elastic a half inch shorter so it would be a little taut when I secured it around my planner.

I measured the inside of a page in my planner and cut an arrow template to size. I made mine in Photoshop and you can download a copy below.

I cut out the image, traced it onto the Kraftex then cut that out. You’ll need two and the second arrow is cut off before the tail.

Once you have the two arrows cut out, measure a small piece of Kraftex to sew onto the back piece. It needs to be the width of the arrow by whatever height you like. You’ll use this to make a sleeve to sew around the Kraftex.

This allows you to hide the seam AND if the elastic is loose you can tighten it without disassembling the entire pencil holder since it’s not sewn onto the elastic.

Use clips to hold the pieces together while you sew. Pins will leave a mark. I used a size 90 needle and Aurifil thread. I stitched at a 2.5 stitch length on my machine.

You can make any shape to hold a pen or pencil. Be sure to tag me if you make one! I’d love to see your creations!

Happy Sewing!


Mark it!

Do you like to read for fun? I LOVE to when I have time. I need to make more time to read, to be honest, especially because I usually have several books going at one time. I’m currently reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It’s OUTSTANDING! I was enthralled from the first page! I also have The Giver of Stars , Where the Crawdads Sing, and Daisy Jones and the Six, also by Taylor Jenkins Reid, on my nightstand.

I am taking a different approach and listening to the book Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella on Audible. It’s downright hilarious! Maybe I’ll make it through a book if I listen to it in the car?? I’ll update you on that later.

At any rate, in light of January resolutions, and now that the tween isn’t occupying the basement any longer, my sew-jo (and the lights) are back up and I’ve been creating like crazy! It’s been wonderful! I’ve already finished TWO WHOLE QUILT TOPS and it’s not even the end of January! Who does that?!

Since my sew-jo has returned I wanted to see what I could do to make my reading mo-jo return (see also: resolution to READ MORE!) so I decided to make a bookmark for myself. I have to admit that red is not my favorite color (sorry, mom) but paired with this awesome Day of the Dead fabric and, well, this little book mark is knock out! I love it!

Naturally, I decided I should make 5 more for my girlfriends in book club. Because things aren’t done until they are overdone, am I right? and if the Mod Podge is gonna be out, I may as well make it worth my sticky, gluey while.

I cut each Crimson 2 1/2” x 8 1/2” but you can cut your bookmark any size you like. For example, my book mark is 2 1/2” x 8” because I can’t read the lines on my ruler without my glasses. Apparently.

I cut the fabric out two different ways. The first method had me cutting a 2 1/2” strip of fabric and fussy cutting it before gluing it down. The benefit to this is that I could trim around the design and let the Kraftex background show through. I also cut a few little accent pieces for each book mark.

For my second method, I cut a 2 1/2” strip and cut around the entire design but didn’t trim into the design all that much. I had a larger piece of fabric over the Kraftex and trimmed after the Mod Podge dried.

Both results are great, just a slightly different approach.

After I cut and trimmed, I Mod Podged the daylights out of the book marks.

Once they dried, I put on a second coat and let the book marks cure 24 hours. To make the tassel, I cut 3- 12” pieces of perle cotton and strung it through the hole at the top.

And to make sure no one takes a book mark that isn’t hers, I stamped names on the back, including a backwards E (sigh) but you know what? I’m okay with a little imperfection here and there. I’d be remiss not to note that there’s a little lazy sprinkled in there, too…..I’d also cleaned up the Mod Podge.

Read. Craft. Create. Enjoy!

Happy New Year

I love that everyone is posting their top nine photos. It makes me smile to look back on what was a wonderful year for so many. And while I would love to do the same, I feel like I’d be missing out on an opportunity to point out nine extraordinary things that happened this year. 

This is extraordinary in it’s own way, and I have to point it out first before anything else so my list will make sense. 

I had surgery last January and two weeks later I had emergency surgery when an artery ruptured. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. I was hemorrhaging internally AND externally, my blood pressure was through the roof then it tanked, and I lost just over a liter of blood. I’m grateful for a skilled surgeon that kept me alive and friends and family that pulled me through a very hard several months as I continued to hit every. single. possible. complication.

It’s been almost a year, and I’m back to healthy. Something I will NEVER take for granted again but, in the spirit of the New Year, here are the 9 things I’m grateful for this past year. 

9. Nine amazing friends from my gym that I call my tribe. They brought me meals, sat with me when I couldn’t be alone and husband had to go to work, made me laugh, offered to wash my hair when I couldn’t, talked me off ledges, and so much more. 

8. Eight amazing friends in my neighborhood that I call my village. They, too, brought me meals, took care of my kids when I couldn’t, kept me laughing, dropped by, also talked me off ledges, and so much more.

7. Friends that don’t live near here but brought flowers, meals, and sent Uber eats cards. 

8. Friendships that got closer over donuts, bananas, drawings, a whole lot of silly photos, green tea matcha lattes with coconut milk, shared projects, and sharing life.

7. Lifetime friendships that, in some cases, took a bit of a back seat because it was a tough year,  but always picked up exactly where we left off each time we too infrequently got to visit. 

6. New friends, and new adventures we have planned for 2020. I am working on some really wonderful things right now and I can’t wait to share them with you! 

5. The ability to pursue some dreams of mine. 

4. More fabric than I’ll ever need. 

3. My health. Something I will NEVER take for granted ever again. 

2. My children. Who were troopers all year and showed me that they can do more than they let on…and sometimes even offered! 

1. My husband. My rock. Who stood by my side, nursed me, cared for me, and never stopped loving me. It was a tough year. He could have, at any point, decided not to do any of those things, but he didn’t, and I’m grateful every day for him. This year certainly made me love him more. 

This year was hard. I learned a lot. I grew a lot. I am the luckiest girl in the world to not only have so many wonderful friends in my life, but to have an incredible family. I have a beautiful life, and I’m thankful for it every day. Love to all my friends and family. I hope 2020 brings you everything you want. With love, pm

Reusable Coffee Sleeve and Coaster

I try to give handmade gifts when I can. I mean, I can go out and buy a gift but handmade gifts are great; and who doesn’t like something made just for them?! With the holidays are around the corner that means teacher gifts, hostess gifts and gifts for friends and family are in my future. It can all add up and get really expensive along the way.

Anyhoo, when I was at Fall Market I had the brilliant idea to take the coffee sleeve that was around my cup of Joe and make one for myself. Wouldn’t it be great to have my very own reusable coffee sleeve? And, since I had a stack of Kraft-tex, I knew I could make something bright, and fun, and happy! THEN I decided a coaster was needed to go with the sleeve. I mean, the two items kinda go hand in hand, right?

THAT all turned into “Oh, I need to make these for teacher gifts because they are awesome!” And so I did. And this is what happens when you combine Kraft-tex, felt, a stamp, and black ink. I absolutely love it and can’t wait to make more!

Start by carefully taking a coffee sleeve apart. Place it face down on your Kraft-tex color of choice. You can get Kraft-tex in a variety of colors: black, brown, white, blue, green, pink, red, etc.

Trace around the pattern. I used a pencil.

Cut around the pattern. I used my paper scissors.

Find the center front of the sleeve by gently folding the sleeve in half. OR take binding clips to mimic where the sleeve will get glued together and fold it in half so you can mark the sides

I have this set of stamps and ink, but you can pick them up at your local craft store. I like this particular ink because it’s archival and it can get wet. Be sure to give the ink time to dry. And if you are really rubbing at the ink it will smear but it takes A LOT to make that happen.

Stamp the coffee sleeve then glue it together using hot glue or E6000 (or any other glue of choice).

To make the coaster, cut a piece of Kraft-tex to the desired size. I cut a 4 1/2” square, which is kinda big, but I really wanted to use the sugar skull so the stamp dictated the size in this case.

Place the ink pad on top of the stamp. I did this because I felt like I had more control over where the ink went on this large stamp. When I put the stamp into the ink I was getting ink everywhere. That said, for smaller stamps it’s easier to place the stamp on the ink pad to get ink onto the stamp.

Place the stamp, face down, onto the Kraft-tex, trying to center it as best you can. Alternatively, you can stamp the Kraft-tex and THEN cut out your coaster.

To finish my coaster, I cut 4 1/2” black felt and sewed it to the back using a double stitch on my machine using black Aurifil thread.

Dirty Little Secrets


A little over three years ago my book, Piecing Makeover, was published. It’s one of my greatest accomplishments and I’m extremely proud of it. 

Three years later, my book is STILL selling. THAT is a BIG DEAL in the quilt book publishing world since there is SO MUCH content online.

My book has been featured in numerous blogs, magazines and even in Library Journal –  another huge honor.

Writing a book has afforded me opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It definitely opened doors:  trunk shows, lectures, traveling to teach, and along the way I’ve been fortunate to meet some absolutely amazing people – some who have become dear, dear friends. I’ve loved every second of this journey and I’d do it all again.  

Piecing Makeover has been printed twice (TWICE!!)! Quilters I know around the world tell me they love it, use it, suggest it for ALLLL their students, customers, you name it! It’s an amazing feeling to have people you know, and don’t know, tell you how much they like your book and your work. Euphoria and pride bundled together making your heart want to burst!

The real genesis of the book came from my own struggles, coupled with recurring problems I heard and saw with new quilters. For the most part I’m self-taught, though I

had incredible mentors along the way. As I figured out X and Y and Z, it became clear to me that the struggles I had when learning to quilt were fairly universal. That was highlighted when I worked in a lovely little shop in Decatur, Georgia and heard quilters, specifically new quilters, come in with the same problems over and over again.

One thing I really saw, especially if someone was new to quilting, was excitement and complete and utter intimidation. Talk about a range of emotions! New quilters were eager to learn, terrified to make mistakes and, at the same time, trepidatious about asking for help! And in the age of the internet and access to allll the things, quilters would go online and see perfect patchwork everywhere! Talk about nerve-wrecking!

When I wrote my book it was based on one simple fact: we all make mistakes. We all start somewhere. In fact, I was in Nashville a few years ago and stopped by CraftSouth. There was a quote painted on the wall (I think this was the one….it might also be the one about every professional was once an amateur, but they are in the same vein)….and it has since made it into all my classes. It really resonated with me.

                        EVERY ARTIST WAS FIRST AN AMATEUR.

                                                Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all start at the beginning. We all make mistakes. We can all learn from those mistakes. But we have to ask for help to figure out how to overcome those mistakes. After all, knowledge is power.

What I hear most often when I’m teaching from my book is “Why isn’t X taught that way? It’s so much easier like this!” I LOVE to hear that! I love knowing that I can really make a difference in someone’s work! THAT makes it all worthwhile.

I jokingly refer to my book as quilting’s dirty little secret. Everyone has it, but no one wants to talk about it – since it’s assumed that work should always be perfect and there are no mistakes, right? 🙂

So if you own my book, have read my book, or used a tip from my book, I would love to see what you’ve made or hear how it’s helped. Post a photo or comment here, on my Instagram page (@pattymurphyhandmade) or on FaceBook (Patty Murphy Handmade). I promise I’ll reply!

Happy Piecing!

With heart,


Kraft-tex Business Card Holder

Kraft-Tex in Greenery

Have you heard of Kraft-tex? It’s a really cool substrate that looks, feels and wears like leather but it cuts, sews, and washes like fabric. I recently made an iPad case (I’ll post about that soon), and this morning I whipped out a little business card holder.

I’ve needed a business card holder for a while. I usually keep cards in a side pocket in my purse but that’s an invitation for them to get bent, warped, and misplaced. Last week, I dropped them all over my kitchen floor and decided enough was enough while I was picking them up with a 90 pound dog in the way, stepping on my hands, and licking my face.

Kraft-tex comes in a variety of colors, so if you don’t like lime green you can use black, brown, white, or any of these lovelies.

Kraft-Tex colors

I wanted a color that would stand out in the bottom of my purse, I happen to like lime green, and the pink stands out against it, too!

To start, measure your business cards. Mine are 2” square. I knew I wanted to be able to keep a decent stack of cards with me, and needed to allow for that when I cut into the Kraft-tex, especially since I usually I cut things too small.

I gave myself a 3/4” seam allowance on each the left and right sides, and a 1/2” seam allowance for each the top and bottom. I cut 2 pieces of Kraft-tex 3 1/2” x 3”. Cut two pieces so you have a front and a back for your business card holder.

In order to get the cards out a little more easily, I decided to cut the top piece using my dressmaker’s curve. You don’t have to use this tool if you don’t have it. You can cut the top piece on an angle, make a “v”, or do nothing at all. I wanted to make sure I didn’t struggle to get out a card like when you need to show your id at the store and cannot get the card from your wallet.

Trim ONE side, if desired, using a dressmaker’s curve or cut on an angle

Once the top piece had a curve cut into it, I put the two pieces together and secured them with Wonder Clips. I put a size 90 needle in my machine and used a triple stitch using 50 weight Aurifil color 4020.

Secure pieces together using Wonder Clips
Sew pieces together using a triple stitch

Once the business card holder was finished, with cards inside, I decided it needed a little something else. This was just too plain for me. Because I’d already finished (foresight would have been a good idea here), I knew I needed to print something to place on top. I wanted something subtle, so I pulled out my Lutradur and printed my logo on it. I cut out the logo, and glued it on the front.

Liquid stitch and paintbrush to glue logo to front of business card holder


Naming Quilts

Yes, Ma’am, damn!

I often get name suggestions for quilts from friends. A discussion or comment leads to a great name, and after some contemplation, I realize there is no better name for my quilt. Or a friend is inspiration for a quilt and so named. This is one of those quilts.

My friend, we’ll call her T, was the inspiration behind this quilt, but more importantly behind the name of this quilt. T is my mother’s age. She’s fantastically talented, and full of wisdom. I admire and respect her greatly. I’ve learned a lot from her about quilting, and life. All that said, T used to get angry at me for saying Yes, ma’am (she still does, in fact).

Over the years I tried to stop myself from using the dreaded 4 letter MA’AM word, but, I failed. It became a joke that I’d reply to her by saying “Yes, ma…”, catching myself mid word, then I’d mutter a REAL 4 letter word under my breath so as to not offend anyone that was around. T would always laugh at me, and joke about how my mother raised me right (this is the South, after all) but it wasn’t necessary with her. She knew ma’am was always said to her with the utmost respect, even if she hated the word, and I tried, I really, really tried, to stop saying it. I just couldn’t.

T made a quilt that inspired me to make this one, and since she was always fussing at me for using *that* dreaded 4 letter word, I could think of no better way to name this piece. She inspired the quilt, and the name…alas, Yes, Ma’am, damn! was born.

Inspired Free-Motion Quilting Blog Book Tour

I was really excited when Mandy asked if I wanted to be on the blog book tour to promote her new book, Inspired Free-Motion Quilting, and I tore into the book like a kid in a candy store when it came across my desk! Like the book cover says, there are antique designs for todays quilter. The quilt designs are from a carefully curated selection of beautiful, antique quilts from Bill’s collection were reinterpreted for free-motion quilting. It’s really all very perfect…

I’ve spent the majority of the past 26 years really honing my piecing skills and, while I’m definitely gaining confidence with my free-motion quilting, I’m not entirely there yet. Mandy asking me to participate in this book tour challenged me to go a little out of my comfort zone. Truth be told, I’ve been wanting to work on my free-motion quilting but needed a project to really motivate me. 

A year or so ago I made a Kansas Dugout quilt from scraps but never. managed. to. quilt. it….convinced that I would one day. Well, one day arrived. 

After pouring over the designs in the book again and again, I settled on the posey. I just loved it! I think part of why I prefer flowers and leaves and things organic when I do quilt is that they aren’t perfect so I’m not concerned about everything being perfect when I FMQ. I mean, I know some people (ahem, pot meet kettle) say that perfection is overrated, but I definitely have issues (see also: how I feel about perfect piecing).

Here’s the quilt from the book that inspired the posey:

And a detail:

Here’s my quilt. Basted. On my basement floor.

I marked the block before quilting it.

What I really like, is that I can take a modern quilt, incorporate an antique motif and it completely works. Plus, this design is quick, easy, and FUN!

Here’s the rest of the line up so you can win a copy of Mandy and Bill’s book:

January 8: Amanda Murphy of Amanda Murphy Design, Kim Lapacek of Persimmon Dreams

January 7: C&T Publishing, Bill Volckening

January 9: Teri Lucas, Lynn Harris, Debby Brown of Debby Brown Quilts

January 10: Robin Koehler of NESTLINGS by Robin, Patty Murphy of Patty Murphy Handmade, Mary Abreu of Confessions of a Craft Addict

January 11: Joanna Marsh of Kustom Kwilts, and Amanda Leins of Mandalei Quilts

To win your very own copy of this incredible book, be sure to follow me on Instagram and leave a comment. I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, January 11th. You will receive an e-copy of the book so the giveaway is open internationally!

New Cushions!!! finally

I was all “I’m gonna sew the day away and keep making great progress on the quilt on my design wall” last night; and this morning that changed to “Yeah, but if you go ahead and knock out the cushion covers you’ll actually FINISH something today”…
And that’s just what I did!

Now, I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I bought ALL the supplies in July. July, y’all! And I’m just getting these made. Sheesh!


But! They look ah-mazing!! Yes, I should have matched the print on the boxing BUT I didn’t think about that ahead of time (I was ALL inspired, y’all!) so I just made do with what I had. I mean, they’re finished, so it’s a win in my book. Just don’t point that out to me because I’ll cut you. But not with my fabric scissors 😂😂😂

The fabric is from @dwellstudio and I absolute lerv it!! Even husband was on board and I was certain he’d object.


We picked up these chairs 5 1/2 years ago at @kudzuandcompany, a cute antique shop near here. They are super cool, crazy comfy, and look really great by the fireplace in our kitchen. It’s the perfect spot to relax, get warm, and enjoy a warm, adult beverage in the winter.


Ada, the spider

There was a spider outside my window. She was HUGE, and beautiful, and that’s saying a lot from someone that does NOT like spiders. I watched her weave and repair her web daily and was generally fascinated by her.

Ada had 8 legs and ate a moth in her web, so her name (created by a friends daughter) is entirely appropriate.

Inspired by my 8 legged friend, I designed these. A year ago, I was going to embroider this and share her with you. I can’t seem to get that done (darn life getting in the way and all), and I think she’s SUPER cute, so I’m sharing the embroidery design with you.

It’s a PDF that you can print at home. ADA with the web (ADA), and ADA solo, (ada_solo).

I don’t like spiders. I do like her. Enjoy!