Category: Did You Know ?

Creativity with Fonts – Managing your Font Collection with WordMarkIt

I’m a Fontaholic, as I love finding the perfect font for my project.  It might be applique for quilting or machine embroidery, creating clipart, a greeting card, a design for an electronic cutter, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  But the challenge for Fontaholics is to be able to quickly find an installed font, that is the font you want to create with.  This process can be quite time consuming, if you don’t use a font management tool.

There are a variety of tools to help manage your fonts.  Today I want to share insights on a free web based tool that allows you to view all the fonts on your computer, using any text string you may wish to preview.

WordMarkIt allows to type in any text and use fonts installed on your computer to help you decide which font you might want to use.  To clarify, this isn’t a tool that may allow you to create, but it is a handy free tool that will help you expedite the process of deciding which fon you may want to use to be creativity.

word mark it font

WordMarkIt also allows you to view your font in positive or negative mode, as well as smaller or larger font size.word mark it font negative

WordMarkIt is an easy to use free web based tool, that is a handy tool for those that enjoy creating using various fonts.

You can find WordMarkIt at:

Clover Wonder Clips – Excellent Tool, But Beware of Counterfeits

Clover makes many wonderful notions and continually comes out with innovative new products.  I have become quite fond of Clover Wonder Clips and find them very versatile.  They are excellent for use while binding a quilt, pinning large projects out of the way while stitching machine embroidery in a hoop, organizing blocks, and so many other uses.

Fall ME Blog hop


Did you know Clover has come out with Wonder Clips in fun new colors?



I’m so hoping the Easter Bunny will bring me some of these yummy clips.  Perfect for Spring.  Definitely make #CreativeGoodness fun!


Here is a short video that Clover created to share insights on these new Wonder Clips:

If you are on a MAC, or have problem viewing this embedded video, here is a link where you can watch it directly in Youtube:


There are also Jumbo Wonder Clips which are super strong and durable.


But, I suspect the original size is the most popular.



Unfortunately, like with many great products, there are those that find ways to sell counterfeit products.  I hope you’ll help increase awareness on this counterfeit issue.  Be sure to purchase your Wonder Clips from a reputable business.


The PDF for more info can be found at:

If by chance you do purchase a counterfeit Wonder Clips from a reliable source, you should quickly return them for a refund.   QuiltShopGal is putting a hex on the counterfeiter.  May they be forced to sleep on a bed of pins and needles!

BTW, I have checked all of my Wonder Clips and they are originals.  The odds are any Wonder Clip you have already purchased is an original too!  My intent of sharing this information on counterfeit Wonder Clips is certainly not intended to prohibit anyone from purchasing these great products, but to make sure you check your purchase to verify you too purchase an original and if, by small chance you have a counterfeit to return it ASAP!


Clover Wonder Clips can be found at quilt shops, craft stores, as well as on

You can find Clover USA at:

And don’t forget, if you have used Wonder Clips, I’m curious how you have used them.  They are such a versatile tool, that I am confident others have thought of more uses than I have.

Downloading YouTube Videos for Quilters on the Go!

Have you found good Youtube videos that you’d like to easily watch again and/or watch when you are offline?

There are times when I want to watch Youtube videos without having to go thru Youtube.  To clarify, I like having them saved on my tablet to watch at my liesure, as well as when I’m traveling.  Free-Motion Quilting videos, as well as other tutorials are a great example of Youtube videos that I like to download and watch again and again, to embed it in my muscle memory, as well as to simply have creative fun when traveling.

There are a variety of tools that can be used to download Youtube videos.  I originally thought I’d share insights on my top FAVS, but I have concluded that the easiest to use free version is what I’d like to share with you today:

ClipGrab is a free downloader for Youtube, Vimeo and many other online video sites.

You simply visit their website and download their free software:

In this example, I’m showing how I downloaded Youtube videos by Patsy Thompson.  She has a variety of videos for beginners interested in Free-Motion quilting, to various levels of free-motion quilting, machine embroidery and more.  But as I don’t always have time to watch them while connected to the internet, I like to download them to my tablet and watch while offline.

To download a copy of a Youtube video, run your installed ClipGrab software. The menu main menu will appear:

how to copy a youtube video

Steps are really quite easy:

1) Open your browser in Youtube to view a video you want to download.  Copy the url for that video.

2) In the ClipGrap menu paste that url into the first box, which is above “Format”.

3) Click the “Grab It” button to engage the software to copy the Youtube video.

4) Respond to prompts to save your copy in a location that you want. For me, I copy to my dropbox account to make it easier to move a copy to my tablet.

clipgrab video


You can add a number of videos to a que for copying and the ClipGrab software menu will let you know when they have been completely copied.  You can then leave these copies on your computer, or move them to your tablet, smartphone, or another device.



You can find ClipGrab at:

ClipGrab also has a good FAQ and Support:

Wishing You A Happy New Year, New Goals and Time For Me to Come Out!

I wish for you a very Happy and Healthy New Year, with time to enjoy and create!



Every year I set goals for what I want to do as a blogger, as well as for my creative self!  I also periodically reflect upon my goals to see how I’m doing.  I’m ok if I need to drop a goal, but I try to look at it as what will I trade off (will I have more time to focus on another goal, do I want to add another, etc).  I also reflect at the end of the year to see how I did.

goals for 2014


For the most part, I think I did pretty well with my goals in 2014.  I definitely need to work more on organization, as there were several times I dropped some balls.  I actually have a few that I’ve dropped recently and hoping that I can get them taken care of shortly.

While I forgot to list it as a goal in 2014, I have had the goal of getting off of Google/Blogger for a few years.  But there was a learning curve and time to make it happen.  I’m happy that I’m now officially on a WordPress platform.  Still more to learn, cleanup and I am much slower at getting blogging tasks completed.  But, I’ll continue to work on it in 2015.  For those eager for details on why and how, I’ll share more after I’ve settled into my new wordpress home.

goals for 2015 copy


As a blogger, I’d really like to hear from you as to what my goals should be.  Seriously, what would you like to have me host, research, share on this new blog?  Do my goals interest you?  There is a good chance I can make changes, if you let me know what you are interested in.  No guarantees, but I’ll try.  Your recommendation may even influence my 2016 goals!
Did I Mention I was “Coming Out”?

When I started SewCalGal, I very much wanted to be focused on those in the business (designers, teachers, products, etc.).  When my personal name appeared in blogs, comments, Facebook or twitter, followers started asking why I didn’t share personal info.  Sadly, some were more interested in finding out who I was vs what I was blogging about.  But thank you to those that understand my objectives and tried hard to only show “SewCalGal” on the internet.

In moving to QuiltShopGal, my blogging voice will continue to be very much an advocate for those in the business, the same as SewCalGal.  But like any good employee that works in a Quilt Shop, they work hard to expand their skills, to know what is new and hot, popular and emerging designers and teachers.  While I’m not an employee, I’m not a paid blogger. I’m just someone who is passionate about those in the business.  And, I’ve decided to “come out”.

Meet “Darlene of QuiltShopGal”.  I have been a quilter for over 40 years. I also enjoy machine embroidery, sewing, gardening, hiking, scuba diving reading and so many different crafts that I can’t list them all. Plus, I’m always on the looking for #CreativeGoodness and #DIY projects, but I will admit my heart is with fabric, thread, batting and ultimately quilting.

So, going forward, please know it is ok to use “Darlene” in any Social Media tool, although I would appreciate if it is done so with “QuiltShopGal”.  Personally, I don’t like public visibility. But would love QuiltShopGal to be a place where you come to find creativity and inspiration, as well as share to help inspire others too!


I’m looking forward to 2015 and hoping that you’ll follow me on this new blog, as well as those that use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram will also follow me on those tools too!  I hope to be able to share a blog badge, as well as links for these social media tools soon, but my move from SewCalGal to QuiltShopGal is happening before I have time to do everything I had wanted to do.  So, if you want to know me better personally, you will know I never want to come across as someone that has all the ducks walking in order, nor do I have all the answers.  But I do enjoy researching, sharing and helping to recognize creative individuals who make our world of creativity so much fun.


And, for those interested in learning/improving their free-motion quilting skills, tomorrow I’ll kick off hosting the 2015 FMQ Challenge.  I want to encourage everyone to participate as we’ll be making pillows.  And this will be a great way to have fun and create items to decorate your home, as well as give as gifts.

Lastly, a big virtual hug to all of you.  You inspire me to be a better quilter, a better person, to be more creative, to have more fun, and so much more.  I wouldn’t be doing any of this if it were not for you.


Quilt Math – Do You Have Fears Of Basic Quilt Math ? – Check Out This New Quilt Planning Tool by Amy Ellis

QuiltShopGal is always looking for ways to learn and improve our Quilt Math Skills. While SewCalGal  recommends Electric Quilt Software, for creating quilt designs, tweaking purchased designs, selecting fabrics and colors, calculating fabric requirements and more, I do realize not every quilter is comfortable with computers nor software and there are many that need help to calculate yardage when they tweak an existing design, or draw out their own unique design idea.   But there are just not many good tools available to help quilters with quilt math, until now……
Quilt Math is a broad area, but the basics of calculating fabric requirements to make a quilt can still challenge many quilters.  And, even those that can easily calculate how much fabric we need for a project, can feel it is a daunting task
Even the common quilt math question of “How much fabric do I need for my binding” can be challenging for many.

Needless to say, I am extremely excited about a tool that has been created by Amy Ellis (Amy’s Creative Side).  First, I want to share a little bit about Amy:

Amy is a talented quilter, quilt designer, fabric designer, author, teacher and blogger.   On her blog, she has hosted the Blogger’s Quilt Festival where quilters around the world show their beautiful quilts, and she also shares tips, tutorials and inspiration on her delightful blog.

As an Author, Amy has published several books with Martingale:

Modern Basics

Modern Basics II

Modern Neutrals

Think Big, which officially releases December ’14

And she has designed a beautiful line of fabric called Modern Neutrals, with Moda.

But today, I’m delighted to share insights about a Quilt Planner tool, which Amy has just released.  This is an excellent tool to help quilters determine how much fabric you need for a quilt and/or binding of a quilt.  Check out this Youtube video she created that provides a good overview of this helpful tool:

If you have problems viewing this embedded video you can use this link to view it directly in Youtube:

The Quilt Planner is a 5-page pdf document that you can print for each and every quilt you make!  Amy walks you through a progression of questions that help you plan your quilt. Each detail in the block is covered.
With each question, you will do a little math to determine the yardage required to make your quilt, and make a separate list to take to the cutting mat when you are ready to cut. There’s also notes on negative space in your quilt, and how to calculate the yardage, a list of suggested quilt sizes, and binding calculation. Finally, there’s a blank page for you to doodle and dream up your next quilt!

Through November 22nd, Amy has an introductory price of $12 for the new Quilt Planner tool, which is priced at $15.  She is also planning more Quilt Planner tools in the future. You can order a downloadable copy of this tool at:

SewCalGal highly recommends the Quilt Planner to any quilter that feels challenged when it comes to calculating yardage for your quilt design and/or binding.  This planning tool will make it much easier for quilters to calculate yardage requirements for their projects.

 You can find Amy at:
Moda Fabrics

Sneak Peek or Blooper?

For those of you that receive blog post updates via email, as well as followers that actively follow, my apologies for the recent update about an upcoming post on electronic die cutters.  Somehow while working in draft mode, something got published.  Those darn computer mouse.

But as I’m writing this I want to share with you another area I’ve been researching – why are so many people having problems leaving comments on blogs and bloggers having problems not getting email updates on the comments from blogger?  I’ve spent time researching the internet to find this sporadic problem has been going on for sometime.  Symptoms:
– those leaving comments on certain blogs will receive an odd kickback message
– those blogs with the issue may not realize they have a comment, as the blogger tool didn’t send them an email notification and the comment shows up later in the Que for approval.

One recommendation is for all of us to remember to frequently clear our cookies/cache on our computers.  But I’m not convinced that is the solution for all of the problems we are seeing.  Click here if you want to follow the current online chat about this topic in the google/blogger help forum. And, feel free to add comments to the thread on this forum.  From my experience, the more people that complain about a problem on this forum the more likely a solution will be provided by Google/Blogger.

Stay tuned and you’ll get the real details on e:cutters soon vs the sneak peak that was released earlier.


Constellation Quilt, by Haptic Lab

SewCalGal was inspired by a Vimeo video of Emily Fisher and her newest design project, the Constellation quilt, and wanted to share it with you today.

Constellation Quilt from Public Record on Vimeo.
If you have problems watching this embedded video, or are on a MAC click this link to watch it directly in Vimeo:

Check out her online store that has amazing sailing ship kites, quilts that are maps of cities, kits, baby quilts and more.  Absolutely amazing.
You can find Emily Fisher at:

How To Determine Sales Price For A Handmade Item ?

SewCalGal frequently hears from quilters, as we as sewing and embroidery enthusiasts how much to charge when they make a handmade item, or perform a service (e.g. longarm, machine embroidery, etc.).  There are a variety of methods.  But what ever formula or tool you use, don’t undersell your skills and service!  Your time is worth every penny you get paid.

To start, be sure to keep a log of ALL of your hours and expenses.

Some apply a formula to the material such as 2, 2.25, 2.50, or 3 times the cost of supplies for final payment.

Some apply an hourly rate for their time, which they set as what they feel they are worth.  Hourly rates can vary based on your skillset, service and how much you are in demand.  I know of several designers, as well as quilters right now who are totally swamped and are in hot demand that really should consider increasing their rates.  Several are at the point where they have so much to do, the increased rates could allow them to move to the next level where they could hire an assistant for cutting, piecing, paperwork, etc.. So where every you are in your home based craft business, there are things to consider when you get overloaded with work!

There is also a free Crafts Calculator that you can use online, or download the free APP.  It is very simple to use.

You simply enter the cost of your supplies, the hours you worked on the project and set the level of your skill (e.g. Novice, Competent, or Expert).  You can also easily adjust the scale of profit that you want to achieve from 10% on up to 100% profit.

When you press the Calculate Sale Price it comes back with a suggested price to sell your creation (or service).
This tool is very easy to use.  What I also like about it is when a crafter is asked “how much” and struggles with telling the person the final price, this tool could be a good tool to have your customer use.  You could give them a ball park on cost of supplies, how many hours you “estimate” the project to take, your skill level,  and the % you want to set your markup to be.  Maybe having them play with this tool initially, will help some customers better respect what the final cost would be for creative souls that need to earn a living.
Check out this tool at:
If you make and sell handmade items, or a service, SewCalGal is also interested in hearing how you price your services.  I hope you’ll leave a comment to share such insights, or email me if you do not want your details published.
UPDATE:  Katie shared that she found an APP in the Apple Store for this type of calculator.


Color Challenged? Try Palette Builder 2.1



As a color challenged person, SewCalGal has fallen in love with a new interactive tool created by the talented Anne Sullivan of Play Crafts.

Palette Builder 2.1 is so easy to use and it is FREE!  Simply take any photo from your computer, upload it and choose from the menu to match Aurifil  and Robert Kaufman Fabrics Kona or Hex Values to get an amazing color palette! 

Play Crafts Palette Builder

What if you are inspired by nature and want to capture the colors in a quilt or other crafty project?  Simply upload a picture and Palette Builder will suggest fabric and thread colors.  You can also move Palette Builder’ dots on your uploaded pictures to try out different complimentary colors.

Fat Quarter Shop and are pondering what fabrics to use with it. Once again, you can simply upload an image of the fabric you are interested in and Palette Builder will suggest complimentary fabrics and threads.

Palette Builder is an excellent resource for those like me that are color challenged, as well as those that would simply like a helpful tool to see a variety of color choices.

If you haven’t yet used Palette Builder, I hope you’ll check it out.  SewCalGal thinks you’ll love this tool too!


Tutorial for Participants in Linky Events – for Bloggers and Non-bloggers

My apologies as this is a fairly lengthy tutorial, but one that I hope will help newbies that want to join shows and challenges on SewCalGal that use a “linky”.  Steps are provided in this tutorial for bloggers and non-bloggers, so please skim thru to read the sections that apply to you.

QuiltShopGal periodically hosts events that allow bloggers and non-bloggers to “link up” via a linky tool.  Bloggers are encouraged to post on their blogs, which allows much more flexibility and detail when it comes to sharing information thru a linky supported event.

  For non-bloggers, there are a variety of photo hosting sites that allow you to upload photos and add text, where you can get a URL to your photo entry to add to a linky party. But, SewCalGal has come to appreciate the benefits of non-bloggers using FLICKR for uploading and sharing photos in linky parties hosted by SewCalGal.  Thus, going forward a requirement for non-bloggers to enter virtual shows and various challenges hosted by SewCalGal will be to have a Flickr account, be able to upload your photos to Flickr, share in a common group for the challenge and be able to add a direct link to one of your photo entries into the linky for the specific challenge.

To clarify, bloggers have the ability to share an number of photos in a single post that they can easily add to a linky.  Non-bloggers can upload as many photos to the Flickr groups, to share as they wish, but only one link can be added to the linky. Thus, non-bloggers may want to consider adding all the photos they wish but either picking one single photo that represents their favorite, or taking a consolidating all their photos to a collage or taking a picture of all of their projects together and uploading one more photo to ultimate share the link in the linky.

A Year of Red and White Quilt Challenges 


A Make It Handmade Christmas Challenge.

Insights are shared in this post on how you can use a LINKY tool, as well as how non-bloggers can use a FLICKR account to upload a picture to a free account to enter events where linky tools are used on SewCalGal and such events are open to non-bloggers.

I could use help with feedback on these instructions, to help make them easier to use. So, if you are willing to provide feedback on anything that you think can be changed to make it such, please email me at Darlene AT Quilt Shop Gal DOT com


First, I want to recognize Dana (Stormy Days) for writing a tutorial for the 2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge and approving me to use it on my blog, in a generic format currently modified for use for the Year of Red/White Quilt Challenges and/or the Make It A Handmade Christmas Challenge.  Click here to read Dana’s original tutorial.

There are several types of LINKY tools. This tutorial is written for the type of linky that allows you to add a URL to your specific blog post (not a generic link to your blog), as well as to upload a single photo to the LINKY.

Step One for Bloggers

After you’ve written your blog post you will need to get the web address for that specific post.  To do this, first get out of your blog editing software and view your blog as if you were a user.  Not the browser menu will show a URL that is generic for your blog address. 

 Click once on your blog post header and the URL will change, showing a detail url to that specific blog post.  It is this URL that you will want to add to a linky.

These instructions are written to help a blogger identify how to capture a URL to a direct post vs a blog.  Sadly, some bloggers will add generic links to linkys that take people to their blog, but not their specific blog post. Over time as more posts are added, it is too much work to scroll down to find their specific post that they intended to share in the respective challenge.  To avoid this problem it is critical for bloggers to know how to capture a url for a specific post vs just their blog URL.

Steps are provided here to help bloggers understand how to capture a url/link to a specific post on their blog.

Be sure you are not in the editing mode for your blog, but as a reader.   Typically the browser menu will show your generic website URL.  Click on the title of your blog post and your URL should change to show a more specific url.  It is this URL that you want to copy/paste into the linky for any given linky party you want to enter.  



Right click anywhere ON THE WORDS. 

Left click on COPY.

Now you need to go to the linky on the blog post for the event you are entering.  You can always find these by visiting the main page on this blog for your respective challenge as they have labels, underneath my blog header, labeled:

When you click on the respective page for the challenge you are entering, you’ll always find links to the challenges that have been released.  And, you are now ready for Step Two.

Step Two for Bloggers and non-bloggers

On the challenge page for the specific challenge you wish to enter, there will be a linky.

Click on the “Add your link” button, as shown in this image.  After you click this button a form will appear.

2.  Right click in the box labeled URL.   

3.  Left click and your previously copied URL will be pasted in this box.  


4.  Click in the box labeled Name and type in your name or blog name, how you would like to be identified in this challenge.  This name will be visible in the linky tool to others.


5.  Click in the Email address and type in your email address.  Your email address will not be visible to anyone, nor will it be shared with others.  It is provided so that SewCalGal can contact you if you win a prize during these challenges.


6.  Click Save.

Step One for Non-Blogger

As SewCalGal is currently hosting two different challenges this year, this tutorial assumes you know which challenge you are wanting to enter and can adapt these instructions accordingly.

A unique group has been setup for each of these challenges and you need to be sure you upload your photos to the appropriate group for the challenge you are entering:



1.  Log in to your flickr account, or register for a free flickr account at

2.  Click on the Communities button > Search  groups and type in the name for the appropriate challenge group (see above) and press return.

3.  Click the Join Group button > join this group (you only need to do this step one time during the year.  After you have joined a group you need not repeat this step when you upload photos for additional challenges throughout the year.

4.  Click the Upload button to upload your photos.  

5.  Click Add to groups and then click on the appropriate group you wish to share your pictures.

6.  Click on the Add Description under each photo and type in your description for your photo.  Please read the rules first, to be sure you capture appropriate details for each challenge that you upload photos to enter.  For example, for each challenge you’ll want to clarify what challenge or show you are entering, your name, if it is your own design or who the designer is, and any other insights you feel appropriate to share.

7.  Click upload >Upload photos

8.  go back to the main page of flicker at and in the upper right hand column 

9.  Click on the group for which you loaded your images, for the respective challenge


10.  Click on the photo which you want to link and use to enter in the challenge. And you will see the url change as it now represents the url for this specific image.

11. Copy the url for the specific photo you want to enter in the challenge.

12.  Go to the post on SewCalGal that has the linky for the challenge you wish to enter.  Follow instructions from earlier in this post for “STEP ONE FOR BLOGGERS”

Step Two for Bloggers and Non Bloggers

Follow the directions for blogs from above and you should be fine.


After your link has been added to the linky you should be able to click on it and see what others see.  The goals are different for bloggers vs non-bloggers:

Bloggers should link to a specific post, not a generic link to your blog. If all you see in the URL is the web address for your blog, as you add more blog posts your entry will get lost via the linky tool.  Thus, your link could be removed without notification so you should go back to the steps above to verify you are copy/pasting a url that is more detailed, allowing it to go to your specific entry days, weeks or months down the road.

Non-bloggers should link to a specific image, not a generic link to the group.  this will help others to click on your link in the linky and go directly to your image/entry even though other images may have been added to the group.  If your link is not a link to your specific entry, you are at risk of having your entry removed from the linky.  Thus, SewCalGal recommends you go back up to your step 1 and re-read and repeat steps that get you a more detailed url that will take people directly to your entry in days, weeks, months down the road.

If you have questions, please email me at Darlene AT Quilt Shop Gal DOT com and I will try to help where I can.  But unfortunately I do may not have the time to respond in a timely manner.  If I get someone that wants to volunteer to help coordinate this, I will update this post here with an appropriate contact for such assistance.

  Full Disclosure - Affiliates with QuiltShopGal