5 things bringing me joy this week

March sure does have a sensation. And it’s not even technically here yet. But the days are already gloriously longer and blustery.  In addition to spring seeming like a real possibility here are a few more things that are bringing me joy right now:

1. Recreational ironing.  Which led to recreational sorting. Which led to the next item on the list.

2. Making to-go sewing projects. Way ahead of time. So far I have color coordinated hexies, tiny doll clothes, and lots of mending (one of my favorite road projects).  Pro tip: medium gray thread is super handy for travel sewing. Color-wise it works with most things and it’s way easier just to bring one color.

The most urgent mending project is the eternal shorts. They started as pants and have been on the job for 20 plus years.

Making a bunch of projects completely organized ahead of time makes me feel like an overachiever. I can just grab whichever one I like to take to the park or the beach or for the train. And I’m not done yet, I’d love to have a whole summer of projects, lined up and ready to go.

If you need project bags find a sweet bag tutorial here and a needle book is super handy too – find the pattern here (and the little flower pin cushion on the needle book above here – you can make it in about 3 minutes.).

little bird sewing pattern


3. Birds in the world – A customer sent me some amazing images this week of the library she created for the birds she made with the little bird sewing pattern.

Everything about it is detailed and delightful. So full of joy.

From the maker Jennifer : “I have become an expert maker of tiny books! Many are the same books that I have in my own bookcase, including a full set of Nancy Drew mysteries that match the ones I received for Christmas when I was eight years old. Now, I’ve been making tiny plants out of things in my recycling bin, so they may have a garden soon.”

 4. Plants and pottery. Two things I can’t get enough of. And they work well together. I’m propagating new plants from cuttings and making pots for them.

5. Working on the tiny rag doll world.  I decided to downsize her hearth. The original one was huge and ended up being overwhelming for the house – functionally, spiritually and aesthetically.  The new mini one feels right and  It’s easy to make (cardboard, egg cartons spackle and paint),  there’s a giant tutorial here.

What’s bringing  you joy right now?  What are you sewing for spring? Do you secretly love to iron?


  1. Hello Ann!
    Love receiving your emails=inspiration! I too have been ironing and sorting scraps… getting them ready for the scrap swap! I had a wonderful partner and we have exchanged our scraps. Oh what wonderful surprises!! I have started making doll clothes for a bisque baby who is only a few inches in height. She has been naked for far too long and I have you to thank for the inspiration to create a wardrobe for her! I am enjoying the sewing of these tiny things. So Thank You Ann!!!
    Friends in sewing,

    • My favourite things at the moment include, going through the fabric scraps I received in the swap, doing my daily stitching for the 100 day project and seeing all the amazing work being done by others for this year’s 100 day project.

  2. I recently (last week) made myself a sewing yo-yo kit. I don’t really go anywhere currently but it is nice just to be table to easily take it to the kitchen table to work on while I help my daughter with distance learning. I am a knitter so I always have those portable projects but sometimes I just need to sew. Your newsletter brings me joy for sure. Thank you!

  3. Catherine Wood Flavin

    I remember that red pottery piece. It is so cool! I need your expert mending tips. My favorite denim leggings need help!! Jim wants me to toss them, but I just can’t

    • So funny you remember that – leicester high school ceramics. Don’t toss the jeans! I’ll send you some ideal mending stuff for them.

  4. Carol McElroy

    I love ironing fabric. It’s fun, quiets my mind. It’s easy to store once it’s ironed too

  5. Love ‘recreational ironing.’ Tipped all my scraps on to a large white table. Loved colour sorting, ironing. Made hexagonal log cabins. Seem to have 2 quilts already and 2 bags of smaller scraps for a 17 year old textiles student!

  6. Mary Swanz

    I’m not much of a crafter but I admire all that you have in your newsletter. One thing you might look into for hexagon is the templates from England that Missouri Star Quilt Store sells. When you are finished, the hexagon is ready to be sewn into a quilt…batting included. I just made a quilt from ‘30’s fabric and others for my nephew’s 4 little girls from these hexagons and it was a breeze! Missouri Star has great fabric and great templates in all sizes. Mary

  7. Laura White

    Hi Anne!
    Love your aesthetic and tiny world fascination! I’m working from home these days, and dove straight into a scrap quilt project… perfect for spring with its soft colors. Wish I could upload it here!

    Hopefully we’ll be able to sit in the Park soon, and I’ll bring my hand stitching!


  8. Hi from Derbyshire in the UK! I love your email and projects, although I don’t always catch up with them quickly enough as I always have projects on the go myself! At the moment I am slow stitching a patch of rust picture alongside doing an art project on 1950s and 1960s households so seem to be always running to catch up!!The rust picture is really good fun though as I have a lot of embroidery threads bought in charity shops and at carboot sales (the equivalent I think of thrift shops and garage sales) and so a very wide selection on oranges, browns, beiges, and some greys and blacks. Painting with threads…

    • Hi Joan, I am from Derbyshire too, your project sounds really interesting. I am missing the boot sale and charity shops right now – love finding bits to use in projects.

  9. I finished a not so tiny needle book which I love. It’s the first thing I’ve made using one of your tutorials. I’m working up the courage to make some dolls and birds, and owls as well probably. I went back to the beginning of your blog and read them all as I’m fairly new to your world. It helped keep me balanced. I too believe that reaching can be flawed and awkward. But if we stop, the alternative is stasis and that is the enemy! I love that you are so curious you want to go through drawers; what a brave thing to admit lol. My mom’s house would give you a lot of entertainment for sure!

  10. Peggy Mayfield

    Greetings from central Texas! Just wanted to say that your posts bring me such joy. They remind me that doing things like ironing, handwork, garden puttering, are so grounding and soul-soothing. I am just beginning to make some dolls- some, I think, will be angels, for gifts. Having never made a dolly before (and I’m 61) this is an exciting new endeavor, which your posts inspired. Thank you for that!

  11. Nicky Gilkison

    My garden and the birds in it bring me immeasurable amounts of joy, as does my smallish getting older Foxy/Jack Russel cross terrier. Ironing has been one of my favourite pastimes since I was young enough to be able to do it (sounds like a confession). I also love hanging washing on the line and folding laundry. Mad!

    • Ronwen Guest

      One thing these have in common with my favorite (doing floors) is that, contrary to much of the modern world, you get to see the result immediately. I also am a laundry girl! and actually was a linen maid for years. Same thing…you know what you accomplished today…and in the time of plague that really counts.

  12. Margaret O'Brien

    Ann….love your blog. Even though I do not do everything, I appreciate everything. Have made your dolls, and the Glamourous one also, birds, fish, toadstools. I have always LOVED to iron and see any wrinkles disappear. I even do no-iron things, just to make sure. And now I’ll be doing scraps, so they’re not all bundled by colour into bags. My next of your projects is to make Hexies, and see what they turn out to be. I have 2 grandsons being being married this year and am working on Wedding Samplers for them. I’m 89 and still find my days and nights full of fun projects to keep my hands and brain active. Thank Heavens for your projects which do not take months to do and love.

  13. Kathy Gonglefski

    Ann, I love your blogs! So peaceful and calming.
    I have to credit you with the Christmas gifts I gave this year……. I made 50 Lucky Fish! I changed up the fabric though. I used my big collection of embroidered linens, mostly table scarves, some pillow cases. All linens are salvage pieces with holes or stains, and I cut out the good embroidered parts. I strung 2 together with twine and a 2 1/2” ring. I also stuffed just the head with lavendar, the rest with fiberfill. I made a label “Lucky Fish from Lake Keowee 2020”. This is the lake I live on in SC. My family and friends loved them! One fishing friend said “ thanks for the stringer”. I so appreciate your idea and pattern! Next year I may make that little owl ornament – so cute!
    Thank you, happy sorting and sewing- love, Kathy G.

  14. I love to iron. I am a quilter and I wash and iron all my fabric before I use it. I tell people that ironing is getting better acquainted with the fabric by going over it slowly inch by inch. Thank you for sharing with us.

  15. Hello Ann
    Greetings from Wales,U.K.
    I too caught the hexies bug and always have my mini hexie kit with me for those odd moments and for the longer ones when travelling.
    So far I have completed a table runner in bright colours for my daughter in Newfoundland,Christmas decorations,various bags and pouches and now have several hundred hexies in more muted shades to eventually make a quilt.
    One tip I have found helpful is to use a wonderclip to hold down what will be the last fold in order to prevent the fabric slipping and ending up with the final fold being too skinny.
    I have also made three of your tiny dolls and am now attempting to make a couple even smaller.
    Thank goodness for stitching in what has been a challenging twelve months and thank you for your musings.

  16. What brought me joy? Being part of your Scrap Swap!!! You matched me with a VERY special Artist who lives only 40 minutes from me. Once Covid allows we plan on getting together for a socially distant visit. My thoughtful box was just filled with THE most beautiful fabric, trim and other beautiful bits! Made my whole month. And now…..to create!

    • Hi Rosanne, I think I must have missed the scrap swap.. would love to be in it? Can you tell me about it. I live in Derbyshire UK.

      • Genevieve Jackman

        Me too I would have loved to have been part of the scrap swap but missed it and would love to know more about it I live in Milton Keynes UK . It sounds like such a wonderful idea!

  17. Hello from Tasmania, Australia. I really enjoy your blog thank you Ann and have made many of your patterns. You started me on a hexie adventure as well – what started as a single bed quilt has now morphed into a queen bed quilt and I wonder if I will even finish but I love sitting down to stitch when I have the chance. I love the look of your plant pot and wondered if you could tell us how you made it?
    Take care.

    • Hi Harriet – Thanks so much! I’m a novice potter and pretty much messing around with clay. I’ve been taking classes at the Guilford Art Center. That pot started on the wheel and they I added little feet and texture. Congrats on your hexie progress – that’s impressive!

  18. Laura Bankoff

    Hi from California. Could you tell us how you do some of your bird legs? Sometimes you do some that look ‘silvery’, or maybe paper mache (Sp?) with a light silver paint on the top. Just wondered what you are using; it looks fantastic.
    You’re the best,

  19. Debbie Miller

    I find your blog so inspiring and whimsical! I too have been ironing and sorting all the scraps of fabric gathered in baskets, bags and boxes for years leftover from mine and my mother’s many sewing projects. I have most of the fabrics in your picture! I am cutting a multitude of shapes for English Paper Piecing projects at the moment.


  21. Marialice Morales

    Two days ago I would have said ‘recreational ironing’ was an oxymoron. However yesterday I decided to go through my linen chest to organize and visit the textiles I had inherited some years back. I found myself longing to iron many that had been washed and folded for storage but not ironed. I would say this was an emotion I had not felt before so thanks for making me feel normal. I’m bringing out the iron today!

  22. Wendy Abel

    I so love to get your e-mails and sooo much inspiration that come with it. I also have a blue jean patch project that could use your input. I am knitting footies right now to wear with my favorite loffers and want to knit sweaters and shawls for my tiny dolls. I am a working gal who is looking forward to making hexies, tiny dolls and ships. I am so grateful for your talent and sharing. love Wendy

  23. Hazel Vanbergen

    Hallo Ann from Angus in Scotland. I too really enjoy your posts – certainly small is definitely beautiful. Lockdown has been quite beneficial as I can sit and knit without feeling guilty that I should be doing something considered more vital and useful. Hmmm! I love looking through all your makes and storing away in my mind all sorts of projects that I can one day get around to doing. Please carry on posting, you are definitely a ray of bright sunshine on the greyist of days. Best wishes from Hazel xx.

  24. I DO secretly love to iron and I’m a little obsessed with the idea of creating different ironing surfaces….I have my old stand by board which I have had forever……but now I am thinking of covering a wooden TV tray so I have a tiny ironing board that I can haul around to where I am working for a quick press as I go. Also more than a little enamored with the tiny scissors with big handles and the red and white wrapped snips in your post. What brand are they. They are lovely. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  25. I love your creativity! I just looked at all the lovely ideas for hexies on hexies for sanity. It was from your sharing your love for them that inspired me to make them and now I will try to see them in my spare moments. Thanks so much, Ann!

  26. I love to iron! I love the smell of warm fabric on a cold morning while I sip tea and listen to podcasts. Thanks for always being an inspiration.

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