Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is April 22nd and it’s a holiday I can really get behind. I love any opportunity to celebrate our Mother Earth! My kids are really growing up fast and I am so proud to share with you how my daughter Ruby and her friend Cooper are trying to make a real difference in the world by supporting a threatened species.

Small Rob n Ruby

Every year, National Geographic hosts a Geography Bee. This competition is designed to inspire and reward the curiosity of students across the globe for a chance to win college scholarships and the glory of being the National Geographic Bee Champion!


This year, they extended their Geography Bee into a Geography Challenge too, so middle schoolers were also allowed to compete to find a solution to problems facing a species and their migratory patterns. Ruby and Cooper chose the Monarch butterfly because we are in their direct migratory route between Mexico and Canada.

Small Ruby project

For their project, they created an ingenious clay morsel loaded with milkweed seed, the only food source for the Monarch larvae to eat. Unfortunately, people have been removing milkweed from their yards for years and now much of the food for this butterfly migration has disappeared.

Small group ruby

The team led by their teacher, Mr. Wilcox, took 2nd overall and we were able to celebrate all their hard work with a fun day spent in the company of explorers from National Geographic! It was a fantastic moment.


As quilters, I know that you all do so much to reduce, reuse, and recycle! After all, quilters can’t help but use every last scrap. I want to know what you’re up to this Earth Day. What will you do in your neighborhood to help keep the balance on our planet?


A 5 Year Reflection

Rob with Coin

Wow, how quickly this past year has gone by. As I hit this next mile stone, five years without a drink, I look back and really need both hands to count all of the blessings.

In the past few months I have been reunited with my quilt “and the Flag was still there” – a quilt that I have donated to Operation Home Front and now am on the final fund raising drive to finish the Mission. You can read more about that HERE.

Then my dream of inventing the coolest, smallest rotary cutter for appliqué finally came true. I have worked for the past four years to develop The Shark Applicutter and it launched into the market with a huge success. I am very proud to have created a tool that works so well for my style of appliqué cutting. The Man Sewing brand is growing by leaps and bounds and most importantly we are having a blast creating the free tutorials and all of the other fantastic content for all of our fans!

But, you know you can trust me to give it to you straight. So as I approach this anniversary I have also been troubled greatly with an overwhelming rawness to my emotions. It has been explained to me that after years of drowning my emotions, they are growing back and they, like the rest of my body, are becoming stronger. I cannot say that I have been over the top happy this past several months. I found myself feeling on the top of the world during my third and fourth years. First due to the physical and mental improvements in my life, then for the ability to convert my dreams into action due to the newly found strength. Now as I reflect back I find myself plagued by thoughts of lost time and bad decisions from my past.

5 year coin

I am a man of faith, and truly believe that this is all part of God’s big plan. I know that my eyes should stay focused on the future. Looking back just leads to more unanswered questions and fear of what I was really running from when I ended up at the bottom of the bottle.  Each day offers new challenges and what I wish to remind myself of is the simple decision that I needed to make. That for me, recovery is a lifetime choice that I must live out one day at a time. If you are on a similar journey I wish you all the strength in the world, keep pushing on I know it is worth it.

Rob & Co in Hamilton

Rob and kids

Rob’s kiddos, Brayden and Ruby, joined him for his most recent trip to Hamilton, MO to film a new set of tutorials and fun was a blast! Check out the Facebook Live Video they did on set HERE.

Behind the Scenes

Ruby worked hard for weeks leading up to the trip getting a couple of projects ready to film tutorials with her dad. She’s a natural on camera! Brayden loves making videos himself, so he had a blast checking out all of the equipment and helping to run one of the cameras. Keep an eye out for the new tutorials on Man Sewing soon (You can subscribe to the Man Sewing YouTube Channel HERE to make sure you don’t miss them)!

Brayden even made his own video recapping the Appell Family Trip to Hamilton. How cool is that? He’s got some serious video making skills (We just might have ourselves a new tutorial making team)!

We hope to make this trip as a family again sometime, it was so much fun!

Family Time: Bass Lake, CA July 2016

Rob Family

Last month we took some much needed family time and traveled to Bass Lake, California. This is a special spot for the Appell Family. My parents started taking me and a few buddies to Bass Lake every summer for a few weeks as teenagers. Most of us have kept the tradition alive by bringing our own families to Bass Lake. My kids started at 6 weeks old. We use it as a time for relaxing, camping, boating, swimming and enjoying the lake.


This year we had some big accomplishments. Here’s my daughter Ruby, who likes to go really fast on the tube, all by herself.


My son Brayden has learned to pop up and ride a wake board.


I can even still get a bit of air!


My wife was on the mend from surgery, so luckily I don’t have to post the usual photos of her showing us up… just her being cute and eating watermelon this time.

It was such a fun family trip and it brought back so many memories of my younger days. I’m glad I’m able to give my kids memories at Bass Lake as well! What vacation spots are nostalgic for you? Let me know what they are in the comments!

P.S. – So I made it all the way to the lake for the family camp without my propane line for my stove. I am in charge of all the meals, so I quickly converted my BBQ into a range. I can now say I’ve BBQ’d eggs, pancakes, and refried beans (and they weren’t too bad)!


4 Year Anniversary!

February 20th is my 4 year anniversary. For the past few years I have been celebrating my recovery from alcohol addiction by hiking deep into the wilderness and enjoying nature with my newest coin. This year was the 4 year marker without a drink, so my 12 year old son and I did a three day backpack trip in Bug Sur, CA. The destination was Sykes Hot Springs and it was an enjoyable 21 mile hike! My son was a fantastic hiking partner and one of the major reasons I quit drinking. What a blessing to have this time together, a time both of us will always remember. I’m so thankful for the wonderful life I now have and the opportunities I have to improve myself to be a better me every single day. Life is good, friends! Thanks for supporting me in this journey!

Here are some photos I took from our trip!

To thine own self be true. Unity, Service and Recovery. Happy 4 years to me!


The necessities! Our packs with food and water for 3 days and all of the tools we would need to be safe!


My son is such a great role model for his little sister. I sure am proud of this boy and all of his goals!
4 Years!!!
Me and my coin after a soak in the Hot Springs!


I’ve loved being able to share this special time with him!

Last year’s token was also a special one for me. I’m proud of who I am today because of the changes I’ve made in my life.

Celebrate with me today, 3 years without a drink. Amazing how my life and art have improved!!

A photo posted by Man Sewing with Rob Appell (@mansewing) on

Turkey Centerpiece Tutorial

Today’s new tutorial is so fun and easy! This project would be great for the kids and is perfect for the Thanksgiving table!! Click HERE to watch the tutorial on how to make this Turkey Centerpiece!


Independence Day Traditions

patrioticnewsletter-01 I can’t believe that it’s almost Independence Day!! I love this time of year! Red, white and blue paving the streets, BBQs, fireworks,  picnics, carnivals, family time, the list goes on forever! In my family,  we have two Independence Day traditions. The first is to participate in the Morro Bay Family Fun Day.  We love to kick it off with the bicycle parade. We all decorate our bikes and  helmets and then cruise along the waterfront in a pack of several hundred people of all ages. The kids have always loved it and I love every chance they get to be creative! We then spend the day having fun and participating in whatever else is going on in Morro Bay! We drink lots of lemonade and usually eat lots of super yummy food! Later that night, the family helps me get packed for my traditional road trip the next day! 4th of July The tradition for the 5th of July is to get up at 4am and start out on a 750 mile road trip to Sisters, Oregon.  I get to see good friends such as Valori Wells and spend the week teaching! This year I’m teaching a few classes on the “Color Strata” quilt and also some “Endangered Species” quilts. It’s going to be a fun time!  It really is a cool gig, I enjoy being involved in the happenings of the Quilter’s Affair classes and the Annual Outdoor Quilt Show. If you get a chance to come, you definitely should!  This quilt was featured a few years back at the show. It’s called “And the Flag Was Still There” IMG_20140712_083130_432 Below is one of the quilts headed to the show with me! I’ve been wanting to make a Man Sewing Missouri Star quilt for awhile and finally got around to it!  What do you think? Man Sewing Missouri Star Mini Quilt I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures of our Independence Day festivities and also of the Outdoor Quilt Show! Have a fun and safe weekend everyone!

International Fairy Day!

We love to get crafty with the kids, it keeps their imaginations going and allows them to express themselves! (We also want them to love art as much as we do!)

Building Fairy Gardens

Well a few days ago it was International Fairy Day. My daughter loved it!!! My family has been working on Fairy Gardens as a summer project and having an International holiday to celebrate fairies was the cherry on top! I just got around to taking pictures, but aren’t they turning out pretty sweet? We can’t wait to get them finished and painted! We hear that if we build them, the fairies will swarm in! 🙂

Fairy Garden

I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures when we get them painted and put out! 🙂

Fairy Garden

On a side note, here’s a Chenille Quilt Tutorial I did using Fairy fabrics by Michael Miller! Happy International Fairy Day! (Even if I’m a little late) http://land.mansewing.com/chenille-quilting/?utm_source=mscom&utm_medium=lp&utm_campaign=tms04