Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Nuts About" Blog Hop!

Marian Pena of Seams to Be Sew rocks and she hosts these fun blog hops from time to time.  I am so excited to be a part of Nuts About Blog Hop!

If this is your first visit here… WELCOME!  If you’re a follower of mine already, take time to visit each blog on the hop each day… there are creative ideas, fun stories, and fantastic giveaways at each stop (including a $25 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop and a free pattern from each and every day of the Hop!).

So... what am I "Nuts About"??  Well there are lots of things but one of the easiest is PINK!!!  And what is better displayed in PINK than hearts???

This is my completed Shoofly Hearts pattern!

I don’t know why in the world I decided to write patterns.  Maybe it was because I considered myself a math/science girl rather than an art person and the geometry of it all fascinated me, but about three years after making my first quilt I decided that I wanted to make one that was entirely my own.  I was an accurate piecer, but didn’t like anything too complicated.  Quilts were great, but wall hangings were better.  As I gave this more and more thought, I started jotting rough drawings (rough is the best I can do!) of what I thought the quilts might look like and then made a few of them.

Shoofly Hearts was my very first pattern – if it hadn’t sold so well, I probably wouldn’t have designed any more!  I was so happy with the initial reception of this easy beginner pattern that I designed and published eight more and then went to Quilt Market as a vendor for the very first time!  It was all so new and exciting and fun!  That was the time and place where I met Alex Anderson and started the lifelong friendship that means a great deal to me; no wonder I love this pattern so much!  I published a bunch of patterns in 1994, then a few sporadically since so that at one time we had 19 patterns in the line.  I’ve since cut out the ones that haven’t sold as well to come down to the present number.  But I don’t think I’ll ever take away Shoofly Hearts.

In playing with this quilt and making it your own, you could use any block where my Shoofly is.  You can also rotate the quilt and sew it together either with the bottom of the hearts pointing in or pointing out.  There’s a lot of play value with this one!

See this pattern and other fun things on my website!

Now for the line up…

February 4, 2016

February 5, 2016

February 8, 2016

February 9, 2016

February 10, 2016

Sponsored By The Fat Quarter Shop

And finally… how to enter the giveaway.  And a BIG THANK YOU to Marian Pena of Seams to Be Sew for putting this together and to Fat Quarter Shop and for sponsoring this blog hop and donating the giveaways!  

 To enter, simply click on the Rafflecopter below!

Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Habits and Getting Organized

I'm not quite sure how Ron Friedman's Peak Work Performance Summit made it into my inbox, but as someone who is always trying to get better at the details of running a business, the whole deal intrigued me. Here's a guy who has written "The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace" and who knows a lot of experts in various fields who agreed to be interviewed for his Summit. Over 10 days in January, each subscriber had access to these video interviews, generally either three or four per day. It was free to sign up for the Summit and I had free access to all of the interviews in the 24 hour period in which they were aired. If you wanted unlimited access to all of them at any time, it was $149, proceeds of which were donated to charity.

I paid for the access so that I would be able to go back to my favorites at any time and also the ones that didn't apply to me right now but may in the future. Some of the interviews applied more to people who work in an office or who are members of a team, so not as directly influential on me. But then, I thought -- aren't I part of a team every time I go to a quilt shop and teach? I may want to look at some of those again, too.

All of the speakers were authors and I did buy some books. I'll tell you about the ones I've finished and then share more with you as I go through the stack. I was very impressed by the speakers that Dr. Friedman chose and definitely wanted to learn more from some of them.

Gretchen Rubin was definitely my favorite. Her common sense attitude toward our habits of daily life and the big changes you can make by tweaking them was a great book. There are a lot of areas with pink highlighter in my copy of "Better than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits -- To Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build A Happier Life". I also signed up for her e-mails and her weekly podcast "Happier with Gretchen Rubin".

My favorite sentence of the book: "Nothing is more exhausting than the task that's never started, and strangely, starting is often far harder than continuing". When I've got guilty thoughts swirling about the new class sample I need to do (lack of confidence in my technique?) or the caramel peanut butter truffles stalking me in the kitchen or the morning I really DON'T want to roll out of bed at 5am for that three mile walk, I think about different things she said and somehow persuade myself to get 'er done, including asking my husband to hide the caramels. Couldn't quite bring myself to throw them away!

I also bought the companion book "Better Than Before: A Day-by-Day Journal" to record the habits I'm trying to make or break, thoughts about them, etc. My first habit is more frequent blogging. When I first started this blog in 2009, I blogged every single day. Once you get away from it, though, it's really hard to get back to! So blogging at least three times a week is my challenge to myself. Quit sugar? Procrastinate less? One can only wish -- maybe I'll have to read the book again!

The next one that I read was by Dr. Jason Selk, a performance coach for top level athletes as well as Fortune 500 executives, and Tom Bartow, a winning college basketball coach turned financial advisor and business coach. With a forward written by John Wooden's son, Jim, every word was gold. I read it straight through and again, highlighted with reckless abandon. The reader is introduced to 8 precepts that the authors urge you to adopt as habits -- there's that word again! The authors recommend that you choose the habit that seems to be most needed in your life, business, family, etc. and follow it for 90 days. Then, once that habit is integrated into your daily life, choose another.

The one I chose is to, well, organize tomorrow today! In other words, each afternoon, choose three things that I really want to get done the next day and designate one as the most important. They call it the '3 Most Important/1 Must' and it's the priority filter that goes over the top of whatever to-do list I've already amassed for the day in my ever-present planner.

I read a couple of others on my Kindle --- kind of hard to take a picture of -- and I did a bit of highlighting there as well, but these are the two I read in January that had the most impact and that I think I will definitely read again.

So have you read any good books lately? Have any of them helped you with your resolutions, no matter what time of year you made them? Leave a comment below -- I'm always looking for my next good read!


Monday, February 1, 2016

VDTA in Las Vegas

VDTA stands for Vacuum Dealers Trade Association; the show is held in conjunction with the SDTA which stands for, you guessed it, Sewing Dealers Trade Association. Everyone calls the show VDTA, though. It's usually in Las Vegas, although it was held in New Orleans for a couple of years -- but, boo hiss, I didn't get to go those years! I can still daydream about New Orleans food, though!!

I was in the booth of Amann-Mettler Group; you most likely know them as the people who bring you those great Mettler cotton and polyester threads that I use all the time in my piecing, applique and quilting. I'd probably use them for other sewing things, too, except that -- well, I don't know how to DO any other sewing things!

Here's Mary Newton and me in the Mettler booth; we even managed somehow without prior messaging to coordinate the colors in our clothes! The booth is so colorful on its own it probably didn't need any help, but we do try.our best.

Rhonda Pierce (I think it's so cool that she's Schmetz' main needle lady and has the last name Pierce) stopped by the booth to drop off some great luggage tags that have an explanation on them of the new color coded Schmetz needles. I love that now you can tell by the color banding on the front of the needle not only what type it is (I.e., blue for Jeans/Denim (natch), purple for Microtex Sharp) but also a second colored band below the needle style band is for size (I.e., blue for 90/14, orange for 80/12). You'll no longer have to stick a Post-It to your machine or, if you have one of the machines where you can input this info, you won't have to remember to actually DO it. Ask me how I know about this particular problem....
Over my right shoulder you can see a huge phone screen that is showing the "MettlerMe for iPhone" app, one of the most fun things to come along in a very long time. You can take a picture of your quilt and then pick a color of thread in the app and move the thread up and down your picture to see what that particular color of thread will look like on the various fabrics in your quilt. Once you've decided on the color(s) you want, the app tells you the color number so you can go to your local Mettler dealer and get it. Scott built the "phone" around a big TV screen so it was just huge in the booth. We were telling everyone it was an iPhone 7.....
You can get the MettlerMe app in the App Store for free!

After we finished for the day, Mary changed to this shirt before we went out for a glass of wine -- think I need this one! When she tells me where she got it, I'll share!

I wandered off to the Brother booth to visit friends and they pointed out this banner "Brother IS Quilting" -- there will probably be something in the works here for me to tell you pretty soon, so stay tuned!
All in all, VDTA was a way for me to promote my very favorite brand of thread, meet new people, draw a new winner of my two day "Fluff & Stuff" class (hint: It's in the mid-West this time and will be announced very soon) as well as visit with friends and dealers I've worked with already.
And HINT: If you are in Las Vegas and don't mind spending a bit on dinner, go to Envy the Steak House, in the Renaissance Hotel. Alex Anderson was staying there and was at loose ends so we folded her into our group and went to Envy for dinner. I had sea bass and it was probably the best I have ever ever eaten. It was kind of funny that we went to a steak house and we all ordered seafood, but all five of us agreed that the food was superb. And the lobster mac & cheese was to die for -- Alex and I ate it for dessert!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Craftsy & Colorado -- What a Beautiful Combination!

My assistant, Monica, and I are here in beautiful Denver -- the weather is absolutely gorgeous! We are learning a LOT about social media and how to promote my teaching and Craftsy class. We did this for the photo booth last night, so it's fun as well as educational. The presenters are extremely professional, definitely know their stuff and, as I suspected, Monica is thriving on all this information and I am lost in space....


This is the view from our hotel window -- what an inspiration!

Leaving this snowy beauty this afternoon to fly home. Actually, we really lucked out -- the storm's coming in after we leave!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Craftsy Instructor Summit Like A BOSS!

We've had a great weekend in Denver at the Craftsy Instructor Summit!  Delicious food, creative people, and lots of new things that I'm excited to share with you!!

Here's the best pic of the evening.... My assistant Monica and I taking it like a BOSS!

Hope you're having a great weekend too!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Great Day of Sewing at Home

It seems like usually when I'm at home I get stuck in an e-mail/phone/running to Fed Ex/running to USPS loop where I never get to the machine. But I made a commitment that I would continue working on the things I started at the retreat and Thursday was a sewing day.

I loved this quilt; loved the fabrics, loved the colors -- so I purchased a jelly roll of the Paper fabric from Moda and turquoise/teal (sort of) grunge fabric to make my own version.

The patten was in this magazine...

When I was teaching at Spool in Chattanooga in October, I found this great comic fabric and decided it would make a perfect border. So I made the quilt with fewer blocks (80 instead of 140) and will do a narrow turquoise border and then a wider border of the comics.

I got all of the blocks made Thursday --yay! And then laid out the blocks from the other project I worked on at the Pieceful Hearts retreat.

The quilt is actually bigger, but without standing on a ladder, I couldn't get a picture of the whole thing. Hoping to put it together next week!

Right now I'm in Denver at the Craftsy Instructor Summit hoping to learn many things about marketing, social media and better ways about promoting Batts in the Attic -- and me!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Palmdale CA

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pieceful Hearts Retreat

I just spent a really fun weekend with the Pieceful Hearts Quilt Guild at their annual retreat in Hickory Knob State Park, South Carolina.

To retrace this, Susie Donnelly lives near Augusta and was the first person in our group of six to join the guild. One of my best friends, Carol Tarras, lives in Chicago and is Susie's sister. Shelley is Carol's daughter and also lives in Chicago, Nancy is Shelly's sister in law and lives in Pennsylvania, Jill lives in Atlanta and is Susie's daughter and then there was the California girl, me.

Not only did we get to work on our projects, Carol and Shelley brought patterns and supplies to make some fun things:

One afternoon we made the little bags and I learned to put in a zipper. Don't know that I'll do that again -- it's a little futzy for me. Too many things to remember!

Another day we made these bags and I learned how to use an edge stitch foot. This was WAY fun and I can definitely see making more of these for gifts and to hold stuff around the sewing room that doesn't seem to have another home. This was a free pattern called the One Hour Basket and it truly does take about an hour!

Here are Susie and Carol with all of our zippered cases and one hour baskets. Shelley's husband David had pre quilted all of the fabric that we used using a machine on a frame and his QBot, which he invented. There is a lot of information about this on -- definitely good for a browse and remember not to drool on your keyboard!

I took pictures of some of the projects around the room...

Of course, I zeroed in on the bat fabric!

And the finished quilt! Good bat ratio, so I loved it!

I had seen this pattern in a recent issue of Better Homes & Gardens quilting magazine and liked it a lot. The three snowflakes are the only piecing in the quilt and then there are solid red strips with some chain piecing in the darker color to form the border. So the quilt is mostly background leading to some great quilting opportunities.

For the first two days I worked on a beach themed quilt in shades of blue, coral and a white on white background fabric featuring lighthouses. I bought the pattern and kit at Bolts in the Bathtub, my local quilt shop located in Lancaster CA.

I made twelve of these books from the jelly roll strip and then made about a billion flying geese and four patches that go on the sides of these blocks. I didn't have space to lay them out before piecing them so I piled them all up and put them in a big Ziploc.

I had brought a jelly roll of the newspaper print fabric assortment from Moda called Paper and some turquoise grunge fabric to make a quilt that I saw in one of my magazines. I got a lot done on that, too, and will post some pictures when I get a chance to get back to the project.

Unfortunately, time ran out on the sewing front and I had to put it all away. No matter how long a retreat is, I always need just One More Day!

Right now I'm in an Embassy Suites room in Atlanta waiting to leave for a 1:50 flight home. Will only be home for a couple of days before I go to Denver for the Craftsy instructor event. I am so excited about this!! But that means no sewing this week.....maybe next?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:McCormick SC

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Year = New Class SALE!!

There's no better way to start off the NEW YEAR than a NEW CLASS SALE!!

All new Craftsy Classes are 50% off... now through Monday. 

Learn something new and have fun doing it!!

Click HERE for the sale!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Beautiful Table Runner by Kathy from Dubuque

Back in November, Kathy E. from Dubuque, Iowa won a Drunkard's Path ruler in one of our giveaways.  She made the most BEAUTIFUL Table Runner with it!!

She sent us a sweet message along with these stunning photos...

"I want to show you the table runner I made with the Drunkard’s Path template I won in your blog contest. I had never sewn a curved block before, so this was a bit tedious at first. I loved how it turned out! Thanks again!"

Absolutely gorgeous Kathy!!  We're happy you love it!!

Watch out for the next giveaway... coming next week!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Quilty Box!

This is my fourth Quilty Box! I had decided to try it for three months; based on my results, I renewed for another three. I gave the first one away in its entirety, gave away part of the second and totally kept the third. Sorry to those of you who love to win this stuff, but I'm keeping this one, too!

I've been looking forward to this collection since I learned it was being curated by Leah Day. I've been following Leah's blog, Free Motion Quilting Project, for a few years and admire all the video work she has recorded and made available to the online quilting community. Her comfort with the whole video medium really impresses me -- she has even built a crafts "cottage" so that she can work without interruption! That's a learning curve I haven't even begun to tackle...

So, to the Quilty Box:

A DVD teaching 30 beginner level free motion designs, the premise being that you stitch out the designs, cut them into squares and then put them together into a sampler quilt using quilt-as-you-go techniques.

A 6.5" square Olfa frosted ruler -- my 6" square Omnigrid has been a favorite for years, so I'll be happy to try this one and see if it takes a place in my frequently used ruler holder! Anyone have any thoughts about why it's frosted? Does it cling better to the fabric? Easier to see?

Of course I loved the Isacord thread -- Mettler makes it! Being a Mettler spokesperson, I did a little happy dance when I saw this in the box...

...and a layer cake from Island Batiks. 42 ten inch squares of yumminess! This is the London Fog Stack, with 2 pieces each of 21 gorgeous fabrics. These are truly beautiful and it will be lots of fun dreaming about what I might make with them.

Another Quilty Box hit as far as I'm concerned!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Location:Palmdale CA