Monday, June 29, 2015

Stitch Fix #14

My Stitch Fix arrived over the weekend and I had to work the puzzle of what to keep and what to return. Everything was pretty reasonably priced and, as I fondled the fabrics, the items were of good quality, too.

One thing I thought was odd: so far I think I have purchased every pair of pants and skirts they have sent me, so why no bottom pieces in this Fix?

This was a top that I had put on Pinterest as one I wanted to try on, but I didn't notice that it had a fuller cut and a bottom band.

Verdict: Return

My very favorite of the Fix. The lining is white with tiny black polka dots that show when the sleeves are rolled up. Looks great with my White House Black Market white jeans and striped tank.

Verdict: Keep

I love this sheer floral print with the included camisole, but the blouse has a front pleat that made it way too full in the stomach area for me.

Solution one: Grab something cute out of the belt drawer (said drawer being one component of Accessory Hell).

Solution two: a messy front tuck in that my friend Linda calls a "half tuck". We have similar silhouettes and she likes this look a lot.

Verdict: Keep  

The top on the left was, again, too full for my body and too short to employ either of the prior two solutions.

Verdict: Return

I was sort of undecided about the dress on the right, so I put it on and showed my husband. He said one word -- matronly -- and I couldn't get it off fast enough!

Verdict: Return

As part of the check out process, I asked my stylist for white skinny jeans and no more flowy, full tops. And maybe another maxi skirt...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Southern California Quilters Run -- Bolts in the Bathtub, Lancaster CA

The Southern California run was on from Thursday through Sunday this weekend and then again next weekend, the last of June.  I find it unthinkable that it is almost July already -- where the heck is the time going?

Sunday afternoon I stopped into Bolts in the Bathtub, my local quilt shop, to see what was going on run-wise.  The store theme was Alice in Wonderland, so down the rabbit hole I went!

Everyone was greeted with "Happy Unbirthday!" which only makes sense!

All things cute and Alice were displayed.......

...including a Cheshire cat!

Dawna Harrison, co-owner of Bolts, brought in a chandelier from home and decorated it for the event.  I asked her if she was going to put it up in her house that way and she said "Yes! It's so much more fun this way!"

Here's a closeup -- look at all the pretty tea cups and ornaments!  Love it!

I absolutely had to come into the shop because Dawn Sammons had driven over from her home in Nevada to work in the store as extra help for the run.  Before her move out of state, Dawn had worked as my hands-on assistant for about 10 years.  She sewed backings, pressed up quilts, did all my pinning (boy, do I miss her if only for the pinning part!) and binding and all the things except the actual machine quilting.  She made my work easy and I was really spoiled when she worked with me!

A picture of us together -- I was so happy to see her!

And a picture of Dawn and Dawna -- they're both pronounced the same.  I've threatened to put Dawna's "a" in parentheses....

There are 38 stores in the run (I think -- I know it's somewhere in the 30's) from Lancaster to San Diego to Palm Springs to the coast.  It's broken into 4 areas and there are area prizes as well as prizes for completing the entire run.  Going on all next weekend from Thursday to Saturday, June 25-28, so if you're feeling like a road trip....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Quilt Market Revisited

The other cool thing about Quilt Market is that I get to connect with lots of colleagues -- some of which I am lucky enough to count as my "real" friends vs "facebook" friends.  One of these is Angie Stevenson, owner of Lunch Box Quilts.  I love Angie's style and how she combines applique and embroidery and makes these wonderful quilts using the embroidery features of her domestic machines. 

I had admired Sew Vintage when I saw it at Quilt Market last fall in Houston and Angie gave me the pattern -- yay! -- along with...

the embroidered recipe towel pattern -- there are some very yummy recipes included here!

And her brand new pattern, Wilderness Wildlife.  I love the little patchwork blocks that are also done in the embroidery hoop!  And the deer!  And the moose(s)?!  It's all so fun and makes me wish I had a cabin in the woods. 

I am currently working on one of Angie's previous patterns called Ooh La La -- it has the Eiffel Tower, a poodle, and many other Paris inspired motifs.  My local quilt shop and BERNINA dealer, Bolts in the Bathtub, had a completed Ooh La La displayed in the store made by Peggy Vachon, who works there.  Peggy's was done in completely different colors from the original pattern and was stunning, but I'm going with the pink, black and white -- of course!!

I've been traveling -- I taught my Fluff & Stuff class in Idaho Falls, ID on Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday was my transition day to get to Boise, where I taught the same class Thursday and Friday.  I flew home yesterday, get to swap suitcases (from work mode to play mode) and leave again.  I have definitely been bitten by the travel bug!

Friday, June 12, 2015

I Love My Job...

Took a walk along the Snake River next to my hotel earlier this week.  It was a gorgeous evening with a lot of people out walking, running and biking the path.  Even the Ducks were enjoying the great weather and warm temperature!

I love this unusual seating!  Look at this fish and this tree and this snake - so cool and so creative!

And back at my hotel... A diagonal grid on the carpet and stippling on the bed frame -- does somebody think a quilter is staying here?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

One Beautiful Quilt

This is Kay Stricklin Haveman!  Kay took a class from me in Denton TX and did an excellent job – what a beautiful quilt.  I’m so happy she learned techniques that she can take home in her mental “tool box” and use on her long arm!

Some fun bits about Kay...

I've been quilting about 7 years since my good friend took me to the Houston Quilt Festival and got me completely hooked. About 2 years ago I decided I really needed a long arm machine and I am in love. This was my first trapunto project. I loved the class and learned so much from Paula. I will definitely be using this in some future projects. Thanks for the fun class!

And Kay's beautiful quilt...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Quilt Market - Part 2

I kept seeing women wandering around Market in these very cool long ruffly skirts and finally one of them came close enough to my booth for me to begin to waylay (i.e., grab!) her and then realize it was Sheila McKay, who I always see at fall Market in Houston.  She and her daughter are regular patrons of the Brother drop-in sewing room, a fun room with lots of Brother sewing machines that people can come in and use.

I have a couple of maxi skirts made from this ruffle fabric that my friend Rhonda Lopez of Nuttall's Fabric Centers in Salt Lake has made for me, but the ruffles on my skirts run vertically rather than being seamed interestingly like this.  I also like the short pencil skirt version; individual patterns are available, each with a single skirt style, as well as the combo pattern with all of them.  These are available in two versions: women's and children's sizes.  So I ran over to the booth -- pretty much literally, it was way across the convention center floor -- looked at all the patterns and bought the one with all the styles.

Ran into a bunch of Generation Q Magazine folks: Jake Finch, publisher;  Melissa Maher, editor in chief; Tracey Mooney, who takes care of people who write for the magazine.  I've advertised with the magazine starting with the very first issue; Melissa reminded me that I had a deadline coming up to advertise my new DVD that will be out really, really soon!  Yikes!

YAY!  A Haunted House laser cut fabric kit from Westfield Laser Designs!  I loved this when I saw it at VDTA and they were so nice to bring me one here at Spring Market!  Thank you!!!

Shannon Fabrics makes these really cuddly soft fabrics that quilters are loving to put on the back of their quilts, particularly for babies and children.  This is a fun great big tote bag to cart around lot of things, including the Supreme Slider that you will probably want to buy for your sewing machine to help you quilt these fabrics.

I have more goodies to share from Quilt Market, so check back soon!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Guest Post by the Fabulous and Beautiful Debby Brown!!!!!!!

YAY!!! A guest post by Debby Brown!!!!!!!!!!

Here we go...

Confession:  I started out in quilting as a longarm quilter because I couldn’t quilt on my home machine.  Are you disappointed in me? 

I tried quilting on my home machine, really I did, but it just didn’t work for me.  My teacher told me to quilt as fast as I could and not to stop, but then my hands moved faster than my brain and I ended up with stitching that looked like the path of a drunken beetle.  I just knew I was never meant to stitch on my home machine so I gave up on home machines and bought a longarm quilting machine.

I bought my first longarm quilting machine before there were any local longarm machine quilting classes, regional longarm machine quilting shows, or YouTube videos.  Yes, this was back in the days of AOL dial-up.  “You’ve got mail!”  I was on my own.  I taught myself to use that machine and mastered one stitching pattern in the first year.  After that I learned a second pattern.  Six months after that I learned a third.  I was on fire!  After several years, I gained enough confidence and competence to start teaching longarm machine quilting classes.  I guarantee that I learned as much from those classes as my students did. 

I learned that everyone quilts differently.  Some students find it easier to quilt quickly and others have more control when they stitch slowly.  Some students are comfortable quilting large motifs while others have more success working with tiny designs.  Some students feather right away (I’m jealous of them!) and others struggle with that design.

What I really learned is that quilting isn’t a “there is only one right way to do this” skill.  There are as many ways to machine quilt as there are machine quilters and not one of them is wrong! 

After years and years of longarm quilting, I tried once again to quilt on a home machine and discovered that I could actually do it… but not if I quilted as fast as I could and never stopped.  I quilt more slowly than that and stop frequently, but I can quilt on a home machine!

When I filmed this Craftsy class, I wanted to pass along the tips and techniques that I learned over years of trying, failing, and eventually succeeding.  I hope this class gives you the confidence to try quilting and learn that you, too, can quilt on a home machine! 

See her AMAZING Craftsy Class HERE

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Quilt Market - Part 1

I always look forward to Quilt Market and getting to work with my friends at Mettler is one of the best parts!  Here's my badge on a Mettler lanyard (Mettler donates those every Market so everybody got one) -- my badge has a cool skull pin from Cheryl Sloboda -- have you seen her sewing skull T-shirts?  Very cool, and since one of the major distributors is carrying her things now, perhaps you'll see them at a quilt store near you!

Next to my badge is my BadAss Quilters lanyard and pin -- nice and red and sassy!  Feel so evil when I wear it!  Ummm....not really evil, maybe just a little bit more daring -- like maybe I can put that fun skull with roses fabric into a quilt!

One of the things I love about Quilt Market is seeing all kinds of new stuff -- here are the goodies I either bought or was given while I was there.....

 I was first introduced to Bosal fusible woven interfacing by Cindy Needham, one of the most amazing quilters I know.  Cindy uses it to stabilize Radiance, a beautiful 50% silk 50% cotton fabric from Robert Kaufman.  I've been to Cindy's retreats where she has had smaller pieces of this available, so I was happy to find it in larger cuts.  I bought four packages of white and one of black.

Quilter's Dream Pink batting is an 80% cotton/20% poly blend.  It has a really nice feel to it.  They were giving out fat quarters, so I'll quilt up a sample piece and see how I like it.  I have loved everything else I have ever used from Quilter's Dream, so I'm sure I'll like this, too!

This cool needle minder bat was a gift from Linda McGehee, owner of Ghee's, an online notion, pattern and sewing store.  Linda travels a lot, teaching her purses, vests and other garments -- and always finds cool bat stuff for me!  Love that -- thank you, Linda!  And if you are looking for new things to make, fancy sparkly zippers or other fun things, go to and check out all the goodies!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Stitch Fix #13

Always happy to come home from a biz trip and see all the goodies waiting for me!  Some of my very favorite colors were in this Fix, so couldn't wait to try everything on!

I've been pinning lots of maxi skirts to my Stitch Fix board on Pinterest, so it was very good to find one in my Fix. Love the print and the colors; length is perfect even with flats. And the sweater is probably my favorite shade of blue.

Here's the skirt with the other top alternative. This will work well for warmer weather; it has buttons  on the sleeves to make them shorter. Another pretty color!

Back to the maxi theme and this is the prettiest shade of navy blue! I would wear it uncovered for going out and have a few ideas about what to wear over it when I teach.  

I have had this silk jacket for years and didn't have anything I wanted to wear it with -- this combo is perfect!

Nicely detailed black silk top; it looked really good with these comfy INC pants from Macy's.

Shoulder detailing on the black top....

So I loved everything! Thank you, Elysa! 


Monday, May 18, 2015

Two Words: Quilt Market

Quilt Market is so cool!  Seeing all the new things that are going to be in quilt shops all over the country is exciting -- I've already seen things I want to make!

These are new fabric collections from EBI Fabrics -- once I felt them I wanted to take them all with me.  They are purchasable in several precuts as well as off the bolt.  Their booth is real close to the Mettler thread booth where I am working, so I can just stroll over and fondle the fabric! 

And here is the beautiful Christy.  Thanks for a wonderful weekend!!