Author Archives: Jo

So SewMichelle

     Joanna - Michelle -- July 2014

Meet Michelle Dorsey, of SewMichelle (…you know, pattern designer extraordinaire.) (What, you already know her? Me, too! I just didn’t want to rub it in.)

I’ve never met anyone as driven as Michelle. To be in her presence is to find yourself immersed– in creativity, gumption, and an awe-inspiring fearlessness. 

Working her booth at the Applique Getaway in Frisco this last July (image taken there) was pure, blissful pandemonium. But at this point I’ve sewn so many of her bags/purses/patterns that I can speak pretty fluently about each. (My sister still happily carries the “Why Knot”  tote bag I made her last year for her birthday.) Our shop carries her patterns and numerous samples, always visible from the front window, no less, and I do love to introduce the newbie sewist to them. Patterns with that quantity of pictures and basic level of instruction? Gold. Not to mention the embroidery files that she includes that should cost a mint of their own. Did I mention I bought an embroidery machine because I wanted to be able to make her pieces on my own time in my own space? Ya. Some call it crazy dedication. Others call it friendship. You be the judge.

In case you see this, “Hello, Michelle!” (Told you I know her…)

With much fondness,


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Love a Challenge

I can’t believe the time has come– the great reveal.

A reminder: six of us met at the International Quilt Market in Houston this past year, lollygagging about Vanessa Christenson’s booth. Vanessa, of V. & Co., a designer for Moda, gave us each a candy pack of her newest line, Color Me Happy. Here we are, happy:

Challenge Girls 2013

[Becca TammyJulieBrooke, Vanessa, Joanna and Sally.]

We determined to develop our own challenge, using Vanessa’s fabrics and solid Kona cottons of our choosing. (I used a charm pack for variety.) Today is the chosen share-day. Valentine’s, you know– sappy love paramount. With that mushiness in mind, I chose to represent our group’s first meeting. Seven of us, including our token fabric designer, of course. This is, almost precisely, a fabric version of the pencil sketch I designed in my hotel room (around midnight) the night we all met.

Selfie Love


It’s called “Selfie Love,” and is destined to wing its way to Sally. It was her laughter, after all, that invited me into the group. It was also her self-proclaimed ‘selfie photo tour’ that inspired the image above– the heart originally also a camera, one member’s arm extended to take the group pic. [The background is from a jelly roll of Vanessa’s previous line, Simply Color, I believe. ]

Selfie Love: close-up

So, on this 14th of 2014, we share greetings from our new fabric sisterhood. Let’s do this again sometime, shall we ladies? And, random readers? GO BUY VANESSA’S FABRIC!!! “Color Me Happy”– it works magic.

Much love, ~jo

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Oh, ya!

That’s right, I started a blog…apparently I’m prone to forgetting, as the month-ish sabbatical demonstrates. I’m now writing from the ipad mini you see before you– perhaps it’s crazy-easy portability will help me stay better in touch? We’ll have to see…
Jo's ipad mini case
I made it a cool case over Christmas- I believe it was the Boho fabric line Moda put out this last year sometime. Jane, the shop’s Moda rep., gave me a charm pack before the line was even officially out… which I liked so much I was reticent to put it to use. Odd how we do that to ourselves sometimes–cherish some things so much that they become burdens rather than joys. No more! This little pack was just the thing for this project, with Annie’s Soft & Stable and a bit of terry cloth lining for good measure. The diagonal closure flap I particularly like, as well as the fabric on the back:
These blues and greens are more in line with my favorite palette, you see.  I put in a wee zipper to hold the power chords– felt pretty clever, you know. All in all a successful improv case. I’d write a tutorial for it if the task didn’t feel so daunting, and my timeline on other projects were not approaching nearly so quickly. Onward and upward.

Happy Saturday!

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The Challenge Continues!

Challenge Girls 2013
The six of us ( BeccaTammyJulie, BrookeVanessa, me and Sally) are still in the midst of our blog hop and fabric challenge. Vanessa (of V. & Company for Moda) has supplied us each with a 2 1/2″ pack of her soon-to-be-released line, Color Me Happy. Following is a brief reflection, in rhyme…which has somehow become my default of late.


Forty-two squares, oh me, oh my!
Where to begin? What to dare try?

So many options, no limit, no end.
Hoping to captivate, to please these new friends.

Two and a half months– the countdown proceeds!
Catch inspiration, search for new leads.

Collecting materials, my fabric, my stuff,
Measure, cut, sew– hope for enough.

February is coming– a Valentine’s due date.
Relishing the journey– it’s sure to be great!

Enjoying the creativity, and the unexpected cold weather. Happy weekend, friends!
Love, Jo

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Faithful Friends- Ode to Martha

Faithful Friends- Ode to Martha

This pic was taken at Houston Market (2013) and features my friend, Martha, and I with Edyta Sitar ( Working at a quilt shop as we do, it was fun to put a face to the designer’s name that produces so many of our customer favorites. The reason I chose to share this moment with you, this particular night? It’s Wednesday–and on Wednesdays I often get to sew with Martha! (I’d love to hear about your own favorite time with friends– be sure to leave a comment!)

Have you ever gotten to have a friend like that? Who you get to consistently spend time with, enjoying camaraderie even in the silences? I so enjoy this time with her. Long live Martha!

Other fun news: my face made it onto V. & Company’s blog today. She’s a designer for Moda, and one of my favorite people met at Market this year. You can see her post here: .

Also, earlier this week new-friend-Sally posted about our group challenge. You can see her post here:

Wednesday is drawing to a close, so I best be off to sleep.

Fare thee well!

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Meeting Kindreds

I met a group of kindreds at the International Quilt Market in Houston a few weeks back. There are six in our small tribe, and you will continue to hear bits and baubles about each as this blog moves forward. They, you see, are my goal setters. Tomorrow, in fact, Brooke hopes to write a bit about the group. Have you found me through her words? If so, “Welcome!” Feel free to ‘follow’ me now and watch this eclectic ship of a blog sail onward. You can be one of the first! An illustrious feat for an otherwise ordinary Wednesday.

(I could tell you of my plans, but then what fun would it be to adventure alongside me? Jump aboard– the wind is kicking up!)

The group:

Brooke @

Becca @

Tammy @

Julie @

Sally @

We’ll be doing a challenge using Moda fabric by V. and Company [Vanessa @]

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All Things Created New

A bit of snow-dyed fabric, a late night sketch, and a handshake with technology resulted in the blog-scheme you see before you. A genius graphic design feat? No. Representative of its creator? Yes. Which is, after all, the goal. Welcome to Passion Kiwi!

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