Storts Market

by Lesley Storts


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»Pincushions with Fabric by Patty Young«

My latest batch of pincushions was made using Patty Young‘s fabric line, Lucy’s Garden, by Riley Blake Designs. In an Instagram post, Patty talked about her inspiration for this colorful line. I realized after reading about Patty’s inspiration, that there is a definite ‘art deco’ feel to the prints in this fabric. That element is so appealing to me and probably one reason I really like this line. In addition, I have a daughter named Lucy who was named after 2 grandmothers – so I really like that name.

When creating pincushions, there is an intense study of the fabric looking for obvious cuts that will work depending on the glass or vessel, but in addition, seeking to find less obvious designs to highlight becomes a quest. Both rainbow pincushions were made from cuts of the rooster fabrics.

Another fun cut that came from the rooster print is a red floral pincushion that was made in a small leaded crystal bowl.

For me, upcycling is such an important part of my creative process. As I search for glass at thrift and antique stores, I find a lot of satisfaction in taking an item that has so much beauty but no current use. One kind of glass I find often are ashtrays. Some of the glass is stunning and in such good condition. In fact, many pieces are in mint condition like they have never been used.

Creating a beautiful rainbow of pincushions was easy with Lucy’s Garden. The tonal blender prints would be an excellent addition to fabric stashes for quilting projects.

I created a fun video on Instagram highlighting part of the batch using Lucy’s Garden – click HERE!

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Pincushions with Fabric by Robin Pickens«

Fabric designer and quilt pattern maker Robin Pickens has created several lines of fabric with Moda Fabrics. I used fabric from Painted Meadow, Dandi Annie, and Dear Mum to create this batch of pincushions.

One piece of glass that I’ve had for some time is an old log salt cellar. I’ve had many thoughts over the years regarding what fabric to put in this glass and when I saw the bug fabric from Robin’s Dear Mum line, it seemed like it would be a perfect match with the glass log.

You can see in the second picture, the salt cellar without the pincushion, the damage around the inside edge. This is so common with salt cellars. It is evidence of the salt cellar being used for its original intent. In researching this particular salt cellar, one reference book states that Portland Glass, located in Portland, Maine, was the producer of this salt cellar. However, the authors make a notation that the attribution to Portland Glass is questionable. After a research endeavor, I could not find evidence either way or any other glass company credited with producing this salt.

Reference books state that this glass was made around 1860. Portland Glass company was in business from 1863-1873. I find the history associated with salt cellars so interesting. When I learned of its age, I began to wonder what else was going on in 1860s. Here’s a short history recap (some with links):

Abraham Lincoln voted in as President of the United States (1860)
Elevator Safety Brakes Patented (1861) – Interesting Podcast about Elevators
American Civil War (1861-1865)
Typewriter Patented (1868)
Traffic Light used for first time (1868)
Tungsten Steel Patented (1868)

This list gives a peek into items and inventions that still impact almost everyone’s lives today! If only that little salt cellar could talk, it might have some interesting information to share.

One more bit of trivia. I really enjoy listening to all kinds of music and put together a Spotify playlist of songs written around the 1860’s. If you were in the right place, you may have had the opportunity to hear them:

Lesley’s 1860’s Playlist

Robin’s attention to detail made using her fabric especially fun and interesting in making pincushions.

To see all of the pincushions up close, visit my Instagram @lesleystorts and @stortsmarket.

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Pincushions with Fabric by Anna Maria Horner«

This batch of pincushions was created using beautiful fabric designed by Anna Maria Horner.

Anna recently moved her brick and mortar store, Craft South, to a new location. One of her staff members contacted me about providing a batch of pincushions showcasing Anna’s fabrics. I was so honored to be asked and excited! I was given the freedom to use any of my AMH fabric. I do not have all of Anna’s fabric, but I have lot.

Pulling glass and fabric to put together is one of my favorite parts of the process in creating pincushions. I had a hard time editing myself to the batch I made.

Uranium glass, also known as vaseline glass, is a favorite! I’m always on the hunt for that glass. Paying attention to details such as the green in the flower and the matching green in the glass is something I watch for often.

Blue glass + fabric + button + thread = a happy maker – me! To see a little video of the pincushions, head over to my Instagram @lesleystorts.

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Repurposing Glass for Pincushions«

Reclaim – to retrieve or recover

When Lucy and I first started making pincushions, we frequented many antique shops hunting for just the right salt cellars. Over time, we started noticing other small dishes and finally ventured into different pieces to test if they would work. Ashtrays are a very common find. Some of the ashtrays we have found are made in beautiful patterns with interesting glass. Reclaiming and repurposing the glass spurs our imaginations and provides inspiration for creating.

Pretty pieces of glass can be designated for various uses. Additionally, if I “contain” something, even on my bathroom counter or dresser, it just looks neater – even if it’s messy in the container. I appreciate the various options, but making pincushions is usually my preference with pieces I bring home.

This pincushion is made with Extempore Fancy fabric designed by Sharon Holland and produced by Art Gallery Fabrics.

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Pincushion Creations and Play«

My adventure into making pincushions was not planned. I entered a quilt in the National Quilting Association’s (NQA) quilt show several years ago. While there, I was browsing through the vendors and came upon salt cellar pincushions. I was smitten. I bought 3, one for me and each of my daughters. The little salt cellar dishes are unique and charming. I wanted to make them and told my daughter, Lucy, that we should try to make them together. We live in the midwest and there is an abundance of antique stores here giving us ample opportunity to look for old glass. The following summer, after collecting some glass salt cellars, Lucy set out to make the pincushions. She had recently had ankle surgery and was non-weight bearing and looking for something to do because she was bored. She did an amazing job troubleshooting the pincushions. I had a basic idea of how to make them, but she perfected it! Several years and a thousand+ pincushions later, we still love making them – it’s so much fun! I’m a quilter, but now I feel like I’m a pincushion artist too. We have expanded the pincushion containers beyond the salt cellars, but salt cellars are how we started and still my favorite base to use in making the pincushions.

The books pictured above, The Open Salt Compendium and 5,000 Open Salts, A Collector’s Guide, catalog a large variety of salts and include the manufacturer and date of production. Another reference is Salty Comments which was written from 1984-2005 by Ed and Kay Berg. Their early newsletters were written on a typewriter and pictures of salt cellars were hand drawn.

Our process of sewing on a button with matching thread and creating a custom crystal and glass beaded pin gives each pincushion their own personality and appeal. My pincushion journey includes hunting for glass and looking for just the right fabric, or cut of fabric, to make the pincushions. I have met a lot of interesting people and learned so much along the way. I am sure I will continue enjoying the whole process.

Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Suzy Ultman Salt Cellar Pincushions«

The hunt for fabric to make salt cellar pincushions is always fun! When I spotted Suzy’s fabric at my LQS, Sew to Speak, I knew it would probably be a favorite.
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Suzy Ultman’s has such a fun style with her art and creations! The prints from Suzy’s Minis 2 are perfect for salt cellar pincushions because of their petite scale.

Another enjoyable part of the process was picking out accessories including buttons and creating the custom crystal bead pins. These little popsicles needed a very small button! I call it a micro button. I’ve had these in my stash for a long time and never really thought I’d use them.
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The term “cuteness overload”  is not an exaggeration with these prints!

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If you are interested in a pincushion, visit my Etsy shop! And keep up to date with pincushion progress on my IG @lesleystorts.

Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»Pins and Needles Craft Swap«

A couple of months ago I saw a swap on Instagram for pincushions and it did not take me long – about 3 minutes – to make the decision to participate. My pincushion pal and daughter, Lucy @sew.lucy, decided to join too. What a great decision! We both made pincushions that were totally new to us and had a great time doing it.

Living with a person who loves fabric and quilting crafts as much as I do is a huge bonus! She gave me a lot of feedback about my pincushion and made the saltcellar pincushion that I gave to my recipient. I helped her make her pincushion and we both learned a lot along the way.

Lucy made the carry-all pincushion by Anna Graham of @noodlehead. Her instructions were clearly written, easy to follow and allowed us to successfully create a beautiful pincushion for Lucy’s partner.

I have been cleaning out and organizing all different parts of my house since the late winter. In combing through the quilting supplies, I stumbled upon a pattern by Carrie Nelson that I bought some time ago and decided to use it for my pincushion. I had so much fun that I now have a favorite new quilt block – the log cabin.

Both of our partners stated that they love a lot of color. Tula Pink fabric provided a great palette for making our creations. Lucy made a special pincushion from the blue Swim Team Winham fabric since her partner is a swimmer. Packages were mailed off today! Hopefully our partners love their gifts as much as we did creating them 🙂

Happy Quilting ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎


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»A Study In Focus«

IMG_8835Saltcellar Pincushion made with Carolyn Friedlander’s Dentals in Green.

It has been almost a year since I began hunting for saltcellars and making pincushions. Lucy, one of my daughters, has been instrumental in helping perfect this little pieces of art. And as we have learned and grown in making these, an interesting thing has happened- I have come to appreciate fabric and the patterns in a different way. There is a  need to focus on small areas and what they have to offer in a saltcellar. The diameter of most saltcellars we use is about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 inches. Some of the dishes are a little bigger, but generally they are small. This means that we have to maximize where we cut.

I love the color green and adore this fabric by Anna Maria Horner called Minutes in Glen. I was excited to use it in a pincushion and took special care to cut it so that I was able show an interesting part of the fabric.

Another beautiful and interesting fabric we’ve used is Tula Pink’s Bats in the Belfry in Plum. Depending on what you wanted to highlight with this fabric would depend on where you cut for the pincushion. This fabric offers many choices that would work well. Lucy made this pincushion and wanted to make sure to include blue so that it stood out.

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I love quilt making and will continue making quilts. I do appreciate though, the opportunity to look at fabric in a different way and that has come through making pincushions.

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Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎

Enjoy posts on IG at my sites @lesleystorts and @stortsmarket


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»Pincushion Factory«

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A fun, little expensive hobby has started at my house over the past couple of months. Last year at the National Quilt Association’s show, I bought a pincushion made by up-cycling an old salt cellar. I loved it! I do not know the name of the woman I bought it from, but it has spurred much enthusiasm to make these – as you can tell from my stockpile of salt cellars (most of which I acquired in one day – ahem).  Living in the midwest, there are plenty of places to hunt for salt cellars. The whole process has become a family affair and we have had a great time.

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We, meaning my kids and mother-in-law, have spent time looking at antique stores, at stores where vendors rent a booth space, and yard sales for the salt cellars or other appropriate glass bases. Some of the bases are glass candle holders or old ash trays. No, I don’t smoke. Yes, I like the glass.  Back in June, we spent the day over in Springfield, OH, at several different antique stores and it was a salt cellar B.O.N.A.N.Z.A!

fabric basket 2pincushion supplies

The “jewelry” for the pincushion is a matching pin. We have made the pins starting with various tops – pearl balls, glass beads, and shapes such as a butterfly. The beads are almost all glass minus a few exceptions for some flower bases or skulls. The other exception is when my other daughter makes custom pin tops out of clay and bakes it onto the pin. We purchased the majority of our beads at a local store – 1 Stop Bead Shop. The owner was so helpful and it was so great to be able to touch and see the beads we were selecting. The store has an incredible collection.

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The whole process is so fun because each pincushion is unique and because it is a short-term project. I’ve noticed when I’m making a quilt that takes a long time and I like to insert shorter projects just so that I can feel like I’m finishing something. Because they are so easy to make, we’ve made a lot.  My husband must be worried because he said that maybe we should try selling a few before making any more. I told him, “Umm…..ok?” Then noticed over the next few days that the pincushions seemed to multiplying on their own – so much for slowing down the process.

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single gray multi pincushion on metal tray collage pincushions x6

I can even come home after a long day at work and sit down and have the energy to complete one of the pincushions. It’s a very relaxing process. I do have to confess that my daughter has made the majority of the pincushions. (I’ve only made three… hahaha.) She has improved the technique that I first taught her and tweaked the process along the way. The pincushions we are making today are better because of her! I hope to have them for sale on Etsy soon!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @lesleystorts. Happy Crafting! ▶︎▶︎▶︎