Redd Homestead

On The Farm and Under My Needle

Over the past few years there have been some pretty amazing gifts show up around our home. We all have that dream Christmas present we hope to one day see under the Christmas tree, or maybe in our driveway. Those dream presents may be something small or quite big, we all have our desired wish.

Thirteen years ago, we were waiting the arrival of our first child…due in March 2007. Little did we expect that only a week after Christmas I’d be hospitalized with pre-eclampsia, and our son would arrive 2 months early. What a post-Christmas surprise that one was! Talk about a very small present too, he was such a tiny baby. We were blessed with a very early, yet very healthy first child. A couple years later we would celebrate another Christmas with a newborn, but this one arrived full time in October.

Four years ago I actually got my dream Christmas present. I would think it is on every kid’s Christmas list at some point to get that puppy for Christmas, goodness knows it was always on mine. On Christmas Eve of 2015, I was up at 4am, on a flight by 7am to El Paso, Texas, then drove for 9 hours back to San Antonio to delivery a new Afghan Hound puppy to our house. We adopted him from a rescue in El Paso and were determined to have him home for Christmas. I finally had my #1 Christmas Bucket List item, a puppy under the tree. These four years later, we laugh almost daily at what a character Maximus (lovingly known as Moose) has been as he truly runs this house, when he has time to get off the sofa to let us know what he wants to do.

Last year was the ultimate sewing machine for Christmas when my husband bought me the Pfaff Creative Icon for my present. I love that machine. Since I work part time I don’t get to put her to work as much as I’d like but oh my does it does a fabulous job! Who knew that the one Creative Icon would soon lead to needing to get her “sister” the Performance Icon and so many other fabulous machines afterwards. Goodness knows the studio has filled up with some great finds.

This year, the boys got me a present that means more to me that what they ever imagine. They got me a new KitchenAid mixer. It’s the 100th Anniversary Queen of Hearts edition. Know why this one means so much? Because as soon as it came out of the box, the youngest and I made our favorite gingerbread cookies. That one new mixer will be used all the time, to make everyday meals, birthday cakes, holiday dinners, and tons of cookies. I will make all these moments with my family, around one super sweet red mixer!

We often laugh that we have reached an age that we get excited about appliances and cleaning supplies. I have found that for Christmas I am more excited about seeing the looks on the kids faces than for opening up a present for myself. I love the joy they show when they hand me the ones they picked out for me. While it’s exciting to see what they have come up with, it means more just to see all the smiles and how proud they are for whatever they have chosen. The laughs, the food exhaustion from all the candy and sugar, and the moments just spent together are the best. Those things alone are what make the Christmas spirit come alive in our house.

May you all have a very Merry Christmas with lots of joy and spirit filling your homes too. Merry Christmas from the Redds.

Ok, ok so that wasn’t exactly what Jerry McGuire was yelling in the movie, but hey, it’s probably been said by more than a few of us quilters. I’ve been missing out on the #31dayblogchallenge2019 lately as work, work, and more work has taken over, but some is better than none, right??? So on Day #14 the challenge is “Show Us Your Fabric”. I find it interesting that it’s only the word “fabric”, was the “s” forgotten? I couldn’t even tell you when the last time I only had 1 piece of fabric in my house, or studio, or anywhere.

I once saw the cute meme that said something to the fact of “I’m not a fabric hoarder, I’m a fabric curator”. I happen to like that idea the best. I’m very busy curating many fabulous pieces of fabric in my studio, obviously. Since there are obviously insane amount of yardage in my house, how about instead I will just show you some of my most recent works and favorites?

A mix of my husband’s uniforms with Canvas by Northcott
Holiday fabric…who doesn’t love shiplap on fabric? Especially when it is red!

Ok so there are 4 of the last few projects I’ve worked on. There are more, but those aren’t ready for a sneak peek yet. Of all those above my favorite is without a doubt the quilt with my husband’s Air Force uniform incorporated into it. How could it not be?

Tonight I will keep it short and sweet. Tomorrow is an earliest sewing memory. That should be a fun one to write about. Good night and come back soon to continue to see what is under my needle.

We all know the holiday song “My Favorite Things”, and today’s writing is all about my favorite tools in my studios. I am going to focus on the small tools or notions that stay close by my desk that I just can’t do without. These are the ones that get stuffed into my bag to head to classes. These are a few of my favorite quilting things…

  1. Tula Pink Hardware

I absolutely love all my Tula Pink Hardware. They are gorgeous, functional, and are super sharp. The rotary cutter quickly became my favorite rotary cutter ever. It is very comfortable to hold, great weight, and very easy to manage. All the scissors are spot on with sharpness, fine-tipped, and cut perfectly every time. The smaller set on the left side is a must have with the serrated blades. Ahh, I can’t go on enough about how much I absolutely love my Tula Pink Hardware. The case at the top is not by Tula Pink, it’s actually a glitter encrusted makeup brush case that came otu during the 2018 holiday season by It! Cosmetics, but it holds my tools beautifully inside and matches the iridescent beauty of the hardware collection. Tula Pink Hardware can be purchased at your favorite quilt stores.

2. Custom-made wood and resin pin cushion container, seam ripper and stiletto tools by Dustin Buzbee Designs

Dustin Buzbee Designs does a beautiful job making custom sewing tools (and many other items) to your specifications. For my set I chose a light burl wood with a turquoise resin to compliment my sewing room. For the tool, one end pulls out and is a seam ripper, the other provides a stiletto for moving those small pieces along. The pin cushion top comes off the base to a small storage bowl area for those notions such as thimbles and needles. It is just a beautiful piece that I get to admire every time I am at my sewing desk . Dustin Buzbee Designs can be found on Facebook and will work with you to find just the right materials to make your custom piece perfect for you!

3. Quilting Rulers

This photo obviously doesn’t show how many sets of quilting rulers I have. I have only been involved with ruler work since this past spring, but I am so hooked. I love being able to use these templates in order to finish my work, whether it’s on the longarm or one of my domestic machines. There are many brands out there, but my preference is with the Westalee by Sew Steady templates. The collection to chose from is huge! It can take a little practice to get the technique down, but once you do, it is so much fun to watch your quilts come to the finishing stages with such beautiful designs on them! Also in the photo is the Free Motion Glider by Sew Steady…this is an absolute must to achieve your best in ruler work and free motion quilting! You can find these templates at all of your favorite quilting stores, and online at http://www.sewsteady.com. Be sure to purchase in the correct thickness that fit your machine.

4. Swan Amity Studio Gloves

I didn’t even know these gloves existed until I was at International Quilt Market in Houston. The company was gracious enough to send a pair home with me to try out, and I have been hooked ever since! The fabric of the gloves have a nice stretch to it to find your own comfortable size (there are multiple sizes available). Your thumb and first 2 fingers are covered, the ring and pinkie fingers exposed, padding on the bottoms, and an adjustable velcro around the wrist. The finger tips are also responsive with our machine and phone touch screens. These gloves are so comfortable to wear, help to keep your hands flattened during free motion, and are an absolute favorite of mine for free motion quilting. I actually need to order another set or two to keep at additional stations so I’m not always moving them from one area to another. These are a definite must-have! They can be purchased online at http://www.swanamity.com

5. Cutting Rulers

I cannot go on enough about the need to not only have a quality cutting ruler, but I also highly recommend to stay within the same brand of rulers. I personally am a huge fan of Omnigrid and Omnigrip rulers. This is the collection I keep here in “The Janome Room”. I have many more located in my full studio. I have found these rulers to always be consistent, they hold up greatly (don’t ask how many I have dropped them!). I also love the bright color on the Omnigrips. For someone who has to wear contacts or quite the thick glasses, being able to see the lines easily is a must have for me! They can be purchased at your favorite quilting stores in many, many sizes!

So there are my top 5 tools/notions. I would love to hear and see what your favorites are. If you have any questions on these tools, please feel free to ask me or look for them at your favorite local quilt store.


Oh wow, where do I even start in the world of a machine. Honestly, I don’t even know if I can say the world machine, in my world it’s machines. So let me go down the list of machines, from the oldest to the newest:

  • Singer Treadle
  • Pfaff 30 Treadle
  • Singer 66
  • Singer Featherweight
  • Singer Centennial Featherweight
  • Singer 301A
  • Pfaff 130
  • Pfaff 130 with embroidery unit
  • Pfaff Expression 3.2
  • Brother PQ-1500
  • Brother PE-770
  • Pfaff Passport
  • Pfaff Coverlock 4.0
  • Pfaff Creative 3.0
  • Pfaff Creative Sensation Pro 2
  • Juki DDL-9000 Industrial Machine
  • Pfaff Creative Icon
  • Pfaff Performance Icon
  • Viking Platinum MN1000
  • Juki HZL-NX7 Kirei
  • Juki MO-2000 Serger
  • Juki J-350 Miyabi Longarm on a 12 ft frame.
  • Janome Continental M7 Professional

Know what’s frightening? I didn’t even realize how many that made until I just now listed them all in order. OH MY…23 machines! Um, even I didn’t realize I had that many. I mean, yes I knew there was a lot, that’s pretty obvious, but the number was actually more than I though. Geez! I must be honest though, all of the vintage ones are not sewn on, though all but the treadles are in shape in order to be used. As you can also see there are some specialty machines listed as well, so yes there is obviously no way I am sewing on all them at once. There are multiple embroidery machines, and thankfully I can have them running while I am sewing on another. When I bought my 2nd embroidery machine my dear husband commented that “how will you run 3 machines at once”. I took that as a challenge. These days it’s not too uncommon to have me running 3 embroidery machines at one, while I’m piecing on a quilt, waiting for it to go on the longarm. Yes I may have a few “extra” machines, but as the husband also likes to say…I’m a little “extra” too! Plus there is always a space in the home for another lonely machine that needs a home. I was actually testing one out today…sssshhhh don’t the husband.

So if I have to narrow this down to one machine, I would have to brag about my Janome Continental M7 Professional. This machine is a beast…and weighs a ton (somewhere around 35+ lbs I believe). I will say though, that even when this machine is stitching on high speed it is very solid. Of all those listed above, this one quickly because a favorite! So quickly actually that I ended up changing my formal living room into “The Janome Room” just so I had a special place for this machine.

The former formal living room, now lovingly known as “The Janome Room”

So let me share with you why I fell in love with this machine. Before I brought one home and officially made it part of the family, I was testing out its capabilities at my local shop, Sew ‘N Sweep. One day while it was a little slow I started piecing on it using my favorite cotton thread, and piecing a quick quilt for a store sample. I was in love with the way the feed dogs drop so that I can keep feeding in new fabrics without it nesting in the feed dogs. It took each new piece perfectly. Because I was that impressed, next up was to stitch on a piece of leather. I used a piece of about 2oz leather with 2 layers of cotton duck cloth fabric to back it. I did not change the thread, needle or any settings. Guess what…it stitched through beautifully! I tried decorative stitches, blanket stitch, all of it was perfect. All of it was smooth! That’s when I knew this machine was a must have!

So needless to say, I purchased one of the M7s in our store almost immediately and she got her own room! I seriously can’t brag on this machine enough. Gorgeous stitches, feeds anything through it, and keeps working hard. I haven’t even mentioned yet that the needle plate lifts up on its own to change it…no more tiny screws. There is so much I can’t even count them all that make this machine a must have!

So with all that, is there room for another machine? Absolutely. What will it be next?? Hmmm….I don’t know for sure but I was running a design on the Janome 550E embroidery machine before I left work today. Don’t tell the husband but I’ve got my eye on it!

December 3, 2019

For Day 2 of the #31dayblogchallenge2019 I get to focus on my sewing space…or maybe I should say spaces. When we purchased our home in 2018, one of the main requirements would be that I would have a studio space in the house so that I could begin the expansion of my business. The first time I saw our now home I wasn’t completely sold, it had everything on our list, but also needed a lot of work and was overpriced as well. Thankfully, their realtor contacted mine and told us to just make them an offer. We made an offer that we felt was fair, and after a short negotiation we were on our way to a closing, and move across the US.

Soon after we closed on the house, I was able to refocus from getting us moved, moved-in, and settled, to setting up the studio. I am fortunate that this home comes with a full basement for me to expand into. Funny story, when we first moved in the husband says, “You’ll never be able to fill up this whole basement.”. Eighteen months later not only have I filled it, I’ve expanded to the main floor as well!

So let me show you a little bit of the rooms that give me my inspiration. Overall my basement space is near 1200 sq feet total that includes a large living area, 1 bedroom, a bathroom, a storage room, and an unfinished mechanical room. The living area now houses my longarm, multiple embroidery machines, sewing machines, sergers, a cutting table and a lots of fabric. Let me show a few photos so you can see how I’ve filled it all up!

Most of my things were all able to stay within the studio until October. After spending a week in New Jersey at the Janome America headquarters, I fell madly in love with their new Continental M7 Professional model. The M7 is my first Janome and I am so madly in love with it that I knew it needed it’s own space. After a little convincing of the husband, we made the decision to give up our formal living room and make it “The Janome Room”. This room has quickly become my favorite as it is on the main floor so I’m not so far away from everyone else while I am working. It allows the kids and husband to still be socializing with me, and I can still be active in our normal evening activities while getting work done. During the daytime it’s perfect because I get great daytime lighting, and able to keep a watch over our critters and property while I work. This room will also provide the best space and backdrop for the photos and videos that will be produced to promote my business and provide education.

So there are my spaces…messy and full of inspiration. The good news is that they make me happy. They make me want to work, they make me want to make beautiful items for other and share my passion. As my long term goal is to just inspire others to love sewing and quilting as much as I do, I love to find my newest project ideas from the people and things around me. Stay tuned to tomorrow, when the Day 3 topic is: Machine! Guess which one it will be focused on.

While attending Threads of Success during International Quilt Market in Houston, I had the opportunity to meet and sit through a few sessions with Cheryl Sleboda. I was very impressed with her work ethic in making this whole event a huge success, and began following more of her afterwards for inspiration. When I saw notice of the #31dayblogchallenge2019, I knew I had to join up and take part. Blogging is something I enjoy doing, but also struggle from since it’s always tough to find time, and remember, to write for the day. So my goal for the month of December is to knock out this challenge and improve on my writing skills.

For Day #1 of the challenge, it’s an introduction. So here we go! A little about Redd Homestead first. Redd Homestead has been a dream of mine for quite a long time. I joke that I want to be a homesteader, but still enjoy the comforts of electricity, high-speed internet, and all the conveniences of today! When we made the move to Maryland in 2018, we decided to work this dream into making it a reality. We purchased a home on almost 12 acres that still allowed us to have plenty of space (and conveniences) to stretch out and raise our kids and farm animals. Besides having the 2 kids that keep us extremely busy, we also enjoy spending time around the property fishing in our pond, growing a garden, raising dairy goats and spending time with our horses.

The other side of Redd Homestead is my business side of things. For a few years now I have dabbled in custom items for friends and family members. But in 2018 I decided to start working towards making this dream a reality after the move. Since then I have been blessed with the opportunity to make custom items and actually be compensated for it! While I have kept the business small over the past year, my hope is to see it really take off and grow as I narrow my focus to pattern designing with the custom work, and have the opportunity to educate others. After attending the Threads of Success program, I realized it’s time for me to grow into my dream, make it happen, and take the leap! Thankfully I also have the incredible support of my husband and children who are beyond excited for me and always helping to push me when I let doubt start setting in.

So what are my goals for Redd Homestead? My plan is to start building my pattern design business while having the ability to provide custom work to those who want to put those handmade items in their homes as well. For the education aspect of the business, I want to inspire those beginner quilters to have faith in themselves, learn the skill and techniques and let their desires and passions take over as they make something beautiful. My patterns will keep a focus on beginner and advanced beginner friendly as to allow more sewist the option of making the designs they love. As a fan of ruler work, I also look forward to teaching more quilters the skills needed to help them in the ability to finish their products. I live by a standard that if someone is going to pay me for my work, it will all be done by me and in-house. I do not send out my work to a longarm quilter or anyone else to complete. If I ever did, it would be under full understanding with my customer that the work would not be fully completed by myself.

So, with all that being said, the overall thing to know about Redd Homestead is we are a real and loving home, made of a family who loves and cares for each other, our livestock, and the comforts of home. Any purchases made from Redd Homestead go to support a real family who invest in their own small town community. If you have a request for a custom sewing project related to quilting or home decor, please reach out and I would be glad to see if we can make your dream a reality.

The first day of winter may be on December 21, 2019, but today felt like it hit. What a surprise to wake up this morning and find it was actually cooler in San Antonio, Texas, than here in Maryland. I’m a pretty easy going girl for the most part, but let me be cold and I’m like a toddler who you gave a green instead of a pink sippy cup with their goldfish! I don’t like being cold at all. I love the outdoors, on a perfectly beautiful 76 degree day. Ok, I’m not that picky but I like warmth. Today is not that day and I couldn’t ingest enough coffee to keep the heat running through my veins.

After a brief time at the shop this morning I decided to head out to pick up one more water heated bucket and some feed for the horses. Upon the return home the temperatures continued to drop, so off to the barn I traveled to attire everyone in their blankets. Zach, Major, Lacey, Sarge, Squirt were all perfectly behaved and ready for warmth. Then there was Cider, in her usual tart self deciding to stand in the pasture than be forced to come in for some big monster that would wrap around her and cause warmth. It’s amazing what a little coaxing with a bucket of alfalfa pellets can do for a food-driven horse. Before long she was clothed for the cold night ahead. Once the boys and husband arrived home, the barn was all tightened up. By the end of the evening, all were tucked away in their stalls or barns, including Buddy, Sampson, and Napoleon.

Since I am miserable in the cold, you can regularly find me in front of my sewing machine creating away. The heater will be on, the TV replaying my favorite shows as I listen to them, and the colors of the fabric being stitched together under a speedy needle. I’ve been trying to steal any chance I can as of lately, and last weekend I decided to go with a Top Secret mission to knock out a Quilts of Valor styled quilt for my Veteran husband. Of all the quilts I have made over the years, I had never made one for him, until now. On Thursday I took the shirt from one of his prior uniforms, picked out fabrics at the store, and went to work. On Friday, I co-hosted the Sip ‘N Sew which gave me almost 4 hours of straight quilting time to get as much done as possible. Finally on Saturday, between customers I was able to finish the top. An estimated seven hours from cut to finished top, and a Quilt of Valor for the husband was done. For anyone who thinks they can’t knock out at top over a weekend, YES YOU CAN! The pattern I used is from the Quilts of Valor book, and titled Red, White, and Blue Forever. I incorporated his uniform into what would have been the solid white squares.

Other than knocking out the Quilts of Valor in a super secret mission, I’ve had a few other projects under my needle as well. As I am preparing for an upcoming Beginner Quilting class I will be teaching, I took care of making my samples so they are ready for the students to see the end project. This pattern is called Fraternal Twins Table Runners by Cut Loose Patterns. I am very much looking forward to teaching others my love of Half Square Triangles and finishing options. As you can see I finished these two off with Westalee Rulers. I am very much looking forward to this class with hopes that I will be able to inspire someone to love quilting as much as I have.

The final project I tackled was one of my most recent favorite projects, a pattern called Hot House from Bluprint, using Tula Pink fabric. I pieced and quilted this one here at home, but had been pushing it aside thought it only needed the binding applied. So I decided to put it under my Janome Continental M7, changed out to the HP plate and foot, and went right to work applying the binding. The feeding system was once again impressive as it easily fed the quilt and binding easily through the machine to complete a beautifully finished edge. Every time I sew with this machine I fall in love with it more and more and more.

So what is next under the needle? A couple of projects. First up will be to complete the next lesson for the Westalee Quilt As You Go that I will be teaching 3 separate classes on this weekend. After that I will be taking on a quilt I have designed in Electric Quilt 8 to showcase the beautiful fabrics from Windham Fabrics. The line is Pottery by the Quilting Cowboy. I cannot wait to start cutting away on it this weekend. Stay tuned for the sneak peeks. Until then, stay warm in the cold weather, find some fabric to fall in love with, and put it under your needle next. Enjoy the photos from the Pottery collection too!