Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's one of the things I love about Christmas

We all have our own Christmas traditions. They are rituals born out of repetition, from the mere fact that we do them every year. Sometimes they change over the years, variations of previous traditions. As families grow and expand to include in-laws, and babes are born, traditions merge. A very wise woman told me my in my first year of marriage, "Steve has his family traditions, and you have yours. Now it's time to make some new ones together." I remember that every year as we have grown our little family and are sharing Christmas rituals and traditions with Sydney.

One of my favorite traditions is putting out this very special little house. I love it so much that I often want to leave it out all year long, but I don't think it would hold the same meaning if it were an everyday piece. It is not at all ordinary and really quite extraordinary to me. It was given to me by my Grandmother, Esta, my dad's Mom. She held onto it until her death 12 years ago, but she told me that I would have it after she passed away and I treasure it. Every Christmas my Grandma put it out, and I never tired of looking at it. It really fascinates me. I imagine the fictional family that lives inside that cozy little house. She has been putting it out since the 70's, when it was given to her by a friend, Elizabeth Vessels.

Elizabeth was born in the 1880's and was getting up in age when she gave it my Grandma, Esta. Elizabeth lived in a log cabin in the San Bernadino mountains that was built for her grandmother. I don't know much about Elizabeth other than she and my grandma were friends and my grandma had always admired the house, so when Elizabeth grew older and needed to downsize, she gave my grandma the house.

But the story of this little house didn't start with Elizabeth. It actually started with her Grandmother, who received this house as a gift when she was a little girl. I know even less about her, but I have many years to imagine who she was, and who made this beautiful little house for her. I believe she was born in the 1830's, but I don't know for sure. I don't really know where the items that are inside of the house came from. Sometimes I think about adding things or changing items, but in the end I always decide I just kind of like it the way it is. At some point, a light was added to the inside of the top roof, so it lights up nicely!

The little gnome came with the house, he is a wooden fella. I don't know when he joined the house, but he stays out all year. He sits on my piano when it's not Christmas. That's the little door that swings back and forth. You can see the house is in need of repair. It has seen a lot of years and I'm afraid to do anything to it. I think it is due for a major cleaning though, but I need some recommendations on how to clean it without damaging it. It's hard to get a camera inside to take any pictures, because of how small the opening is in the top. I love the little sofa. It is made with a silky fabric and there is a little bible that sits there.

There is a little rooster in this window box and a little picture of an American flag. A little chest sits there on the left as well. You can't see the four fancy little chairs that are in there, or the china hutch, but I'll leave it to your imagination.

The only thing that I have added to the house is the little Merry Christmas sign that sits on the roof ledge. I think that someday I will make a teency-weency miniature little quilt to throw over the sofa and that will be my contribution for my time with this house. I tell Sydney about my special little house when she'll listen, and as she gets older, I'll have her help me put it out every year as I tell her the story of her Great Grandmother Esta that she never met, Esta's friend Elizabeth and Elizabeth's Grandmother who was the original owner. This is my part in this very long tradition, that I hope someday Sydney will have and make her own tradition.

Thanks for letting me share my little house!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who doesn't love a giveaway?

It's December and that means Christmas. And with that, comes the spirit of giving. So what's better than a holiday giveaway? Not much. Well, maybe a trip to Disneyland, but since that's not in the cards for the next couple of weeks, how about a book giveaway?

One of our favorite new finds at Quilt Market this year is the book, One Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker & Patricia Hoskins. Rebecca and Trish have carefully crafted 101 projects that can be made with just 1 yard of fabric each! The directions are clear and the spiral bound book includes an envelope inside to hold all of the pattern pieces!

To make this even more fun, these delightful authors have autographed a copy for the winner! We'll draw a winner on Jan. 1st, 2010!

To enter, click on the link below and leave a note on our Scottie Dog Quilts Facebook page that says "enter me". You can earn additional entries for each friend you refer when they add your name after "enter me".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Order Of Events

It's Thanksgiving Day. A day I typically mix with cooking, relaxing, eating and thinking about what I'm thankful for. In that order. Something seems different this year. Yesterday morning on the way to work, for no particular reason I was thinking about how blessed I am. I couldn't get it out of my head. All day long, I had a smile on my face and it's still here. Sydney and I ran a couple of errands in the afternoon and she asked me what Thanksgiving is. As I was describing how Thanksgiving came about and why we continue to celebrate this holiday, it really hit me how much I have to be thankful for. Here's my list:

1. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally and still makes my heart go pitter-pat. He does the little things that make me happy, and with a smile on his face. I am still madly in love with him!

2. We have a beautiful, healthy daughter who is joy in our lives. She is an easy kid and her smile melts our hearts. Watching her amazes me. Just a few years ago, she didn't talk and couldn't figure out what a toilet was for. Now, she can write her name and sing songs and process information.

3. I leave my house each day and make the one mile trip to my dream job. There I enjoy work that fulfills me and inspires me. Having an opportunity to dream, design and produce and then reap the rewards and learn from the failures feeds my soul.

4. I am thankful for a family that I couldn't ask for any more from. My sister is amazing, one of the strongest women I know. She is an inspiration and a confidante. There is no one in this world like my sister and I appreciate her so much. My parents are the kind of parents everyone should have. My dad has more patience for me than anyone in my life. He will listen to me endlessly and is always there for me. No matter what. My mom is about as good as it gets. Her dream has paved the way for me to create a job that I love. My entire life, she has put herself aside in favor of everyone else. She is, simply put, amazing.

5. I am so very thankful for an amazing Grandpa. There is no one in the world like my Grandpa. He is everything a Grandpa should be, loving, caring, compassionate, smart, hilariously funny! I have a million wonderful memories of my Grandpa and we continue to make more. He is incredibly special to me and I know how lucky I am to have him. He is one of a kind.

6. When you are a kid, you always have a million friends. As you grow up, some move on, sometimes we are the one who moves on. Some stay. My friend Larissa has been in my life since I was pretty small. I am so thankful for her friendship. She truly "gets" me. She knows when to poke fun, when to back off, when to support and when to just show up. I know she's got my back and I can always count on her. Watching our girls grow up together has been wonderful. It's like watching little "mini-me's" run around together. Having her by my side supporting me whether in person or in spirit is such a gift to me.

7. I am certainly thankful for a roof over my head and food to eat and heat when I'm cold. I definitely take these things for granted, and I have to really stop and remind myself to be thankful for these things.

I am often thinking about the future, and where I want to be at what age and at what point in my life. If I want to do X by the time I'm Y, then what should I be doing right now? Am I on track? Am I producing enough, working hard enough? But what about right now? I rarely stop to think about what I am doing right now and if I am happy and content with who I am and what I am doing right now.

I read a great article recently about slowing down and enjoying life. It was the same old article that has been written a million times, but maybe it takes a million times to really get the point across. Maybe I need to read someone else's version every once in awhile to remind me how rich with blessings I am. Maybe I'm writing my own version right now. Either way, we all know that we need to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Today, I am pausing to truly consider how richly blessed I am and just enjoy the day. Then I am going to cook the dinner, relax and eat a bountiful Thanksgiving feast in remembrance of those who paved the way. In that order.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's Cruising time again!

It's time to cruise again! Well, almost! We had so much fun on our last cruise to Alaska, that we have already booked the next one. Our wonderful travel agent, MJ Bryant of AK2TRVL vacations has us all set for our Quilting Retreat on board Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, sailing from Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 2011, for a 7 day quilting cruise! The Mariner is one of the most exciting ships in Royal Caribbeans fleet, with an ice skating rink, miniature golf, rock climbing wall, basketball court and much more! Don't forget the state of the art conference center which has been reserved for Scottie Dog Quilts!

Here's a picture of the room I booked for my husband, Sydney and I. We had a great family vacation on the last cruise. Steve had plenty to keep him busy on the days that I sewed away in the sewing room, and Sydney had a blast on the "big ship."

Karen Lovie made her version of the quilt project with a beautiful Bali Pop. Projects for the cruise are timed so that you will have time to go home with a completed project and still enjoy all the ship and ports have to offer.
Families are welcome, here are three generations that went on the Alsakan Quilting Cruise.

Here's Paula on her way back down the rock climbing wall. She made it look so easy, until I gave it a try and realized it's harder than it looks.

MJ has secured us fabulous pricing starting at $749 for inside cabins. This price includes all port fees, govt. taxes and quilting classes/activities. We will set sail from LA and visit Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. Come Feburary, I will definitely be ready for a warm, summery vacation! Bring a friend, or your whole family, and come quilt with Scottie Dog Quilts! And a special gift for all cabins booked by Nov. 9th, 2009, a $5o Scottie Dog Quilts gift certificate per cabin! Call MJ or the store for more info.
MJ Bryant 888/278-7875
Scottie Dog Quilts 707 444-9662

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Market Fun

Michael Miller's booth at Market was completely Gnome themed. Little hedges, a little tear drop trailer (in red polka dots!!!!!) and a roaming gnome. It was a very cute theme, and a new fabric line to support the idea. The roaming gnome fabric was adorable and had some great pieces to blend with it. Did we order it? Of course!
For their tenth anniversary, Michael Miller has brought back some old favorites and reprinted. Here are a couple of the ones we ordered. How to get a husband was one of fastest selling fabrics we have ever had in the store.

If She Sews She Knows was another record setting fabric we carried. It was the inspiration for my blog. I always thought this fabric said it all and now it's back! We should have these great fabrics in the store any day.

There's this booth at market that always has these incredible buttons. I love to look at them, they are so purty. I'll take one of each, please!
We go to quilt market to find all of the newest things, search the new trends and buy all kinds of goodies to stock the store. But right there through a wide open doorway is the biggest quilt show, already hung in preperation for the following week's Quilt Festival. The ribbon's haven't been awarded yet, that doesn't happen until the Tuesday's winner's circle. But I always try to sneak in a little time to go walk the show. This is a quilt that struck my interest. Of course the picture doesn't even begin to do it justice, but in person, it was one of the most interesting quilts. I was really drawn to the layers.

Monday, October 12, 2009

This little girlie went to market, and to Floresville to drive a tractor!

One of the great things about market is experiencing the new fabric lines the way that the designer wants you to experience it. There is a feeling evoked when you're looking at something new and seeing carded samples at a desk just doesn't give the same vibe as standing in the middle of the designer's booth. This is a corner of Heather Bailey's booth. She won first place for best individual booth. Not to shabby and not at all surprising. Amy Butler was right behind in second place. Also not a surprise. Those two girls are definitely always at the top of my must-order list. Heather's booth was filled with great samples made from the newest line, Nicey Jane. New patterns were present as well.

Here's her new turtle pattern. A fun play toy, or a super-fly pincushion. (Did I really just say super-fly?) It must be because it's 1 a.m.
Anyhoo, moving on. Moda always has a theme and decorates to no end. This years theme was Beach Blanket Bingo. Everything was beach themed and we of course played bingo at the Moda dinner.

Today we had a VERY early morning meeting and then took some time off from working to drive out to a little town outside of San Antonio. Our friends Tom & Tracy Rickstrew and their son Riley moved to Floresville last year and Tom joined the family business. Tracy delivered baby Abram six months ago and he is just the sweetest thing. He's so smiley and happy!
So, we were standing around when a woman who had come to the farm to buy was pulling away and I asked a question about what she had bought. Suddenly Big Tom was showing me a seat on the Kubota and I was off and running on the farm tour. It turns out that the very little that I knew about hay farming was totally wrong and it was actually quite interesting. Before I knew it, I was taking this tractor out for a spin. The inside of that tractor is quite fancy, mind you. They sure don't mess around when it comes to the farm equipment. That's Riley in the bucket there.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Market drunk

I'm totally buzzed from Market. I'm overdosing on creativeness! Did it really just start this morning? Has it only been one day? I love the frenzy of it all, every day here feels like several because we pack so much in!
Here's some samplings in the Alexander Henry booth. It was too busy to make an order today, but I knew we needed some new pinup gals. I found some of these classics while I was thumbing through the rack. FutureELLA!, Sexy Cowgirls, funky owls, and more. I took a picture so I would remember to order these tomorrow.

Amy Butler of course has gorgeous new prints that will be shipping later this fall. They are happy and sexy and full of love. I'm so excited about them. They feel like the new morning after a rainy night!

Jay McCaroll, season one winner of Project Runway was promoting his new line. Jay is a blast! I met Jay last year and have to admit, I had no idea who he was. All I knew was that I had to meet this guy that had me about to pee my pants from laughing so hard at the conversation that I was overhearing. He is so energetic and fun and you could never have a bad day around him. My four year old would say, "Jay's the best!" And he is. Jay's new show "Celebrity Fit Club" will be starting in Feb. It's everything a trashy reality show should be and I can't wait to watch.

This is one of Pat Durbin's projects in her new book. We were able to see the mock-up of the book which will be released in Dec. We will be hosting a book signing party for Pat so you can come and celebrate with her and get your autographed copy of the new book!

Dinner at the Moda party was fabulous as usual. The beach blanket bingo was in full swing. Here's my bingo cards. I didn't fare so well at the bingo, but excelled at having a swingin' time. It's probably a good thing I didn't win. Somehow the winners were all finagled into getting on stage and uh-oh.....doing the Macarena. Now, it pleased me to realize that I couldn't remember how it goes. It did not please me to realize that apparently doing the macarena is like riding a bike. It comes right back. I guess that one will be hiding in my subconscious ready to bust itself out after hearing a few beats of the song. Dang. Anyway, Moda always knows how to throw a party. The only thing missing was my good friend Marie, owner of Runs With Scissors Quilt Shop. She is a blur of dancing queenness on the dance floor. She really knows how to get a party started!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A totally inspiring day!

Today was awesome! Being surrounded by all of the best designers and seeing the newest collections of fabric makes for a girl giddy with excitement! I can't wait to get my hands on all the new stuff! Heather Bailey has an amazing new line called "Nicey Jane." She painted a picture of a nice girl who goes for walks with her boyfriend. He brings her roses and they are blissfully happy.......Sigh.... You can't help but smile when you are around Heather. She has an infectuous smile and it's hard to catch her without it. Anyway, new patterns from her, fabulous colors, it was heavenly.

Here are new bags from Amy Butler's new collection. I have simply fallen in love. And in Amy's words, "It's all about Love" And she means it! She has a great new free download on her website for a "Sexy Hexy Love Quilt." It's absolutely gorgeous and is a must make quilt.

Here's the Sweet Harmony Handbag

More great hand bags from Amy Butler. I can't wait to make my own!

Here's Ricky Timms and Alex Anderson showing the Accuquilt GO products. Lots of new GO dies have been added, making the GO a really usable product. We should have these in the store soon, ready for Christmas!

Anna Maria Horner had a great new fabric line and new patterns. I didn't get any pictures, I was too busy ogling her new baby! He's such a cutie!

There were a million other great new products and ideas, my head is bursting at the seams!

After a long day of vivid colors, wonderful inspirations and seeing old friends, we headed off for a quick bite at a local Chinese restaurant that boasts "off the menu" meals. They are a family business with deep roots here in Houston and they want to make your experience unforgettable.

Then it was off to Sample Spree. An hour and a half of mayhem and madness, rushing to get the sample goods for you! This is a chance to buy cut goods long before they are available in the stores. And let me tell you- it is madness. A proper event it is not....but worth it to bring home exciting goodies. And one thing we were able to get was Bali pops. We have been unable to get these into the store for weeks, but we have many new colors that we will schlep back to Eureka on the plane. And we do it all for you!

So now, I am off to bed, for tomorrow a very busy day awaits. I will tell you more about it tomorrow night.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's funny what you'll do for other people's kids

I'm Supermom today. I don't hold this title very often. I'm a bit of a workaholic and I've always got a million ideas running around in my head that I want to work on. Steve is the one who takes our daughter to the beach, the park, the ice cream parlor, etc. He gets down on the floor and makes the animals talk and the dolls cry and all the other stuff that goes along with four year olds. He's wonderful with her. But today I am not going to work and I have the privilege of spending a half day with my friends daughter while Mom takes a CPR class for work.

It's amazing what you'll do for other people's kids. I tend to be a little freaked out by the idea of making a mess, but give me someone else's kid and suddenly I loosen up about the idea of a kid cracking eggs, measuring the flour, and anything else that might cause a spill. (I know what you're thinking....that's what cleaning supplies are for, get a grip, woman!) Yeah, I know, I'm weird. And before you worry that my kid doesn't get to do these things, don't. She spends a TON of time at her Grandma's house where Grandma has all the patience in the world. I hear that there is a lot of egg cracking taking place in her kitchen. I also hear a lot of, "you know mom, Grandma always lets me crack the eggs." Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Good thing you have a fabulous Grandma.

Anyway, back to me being Supermom. Our little guest has me loosening up. We got out all of the ingredients to make pancakes and they went to town measuring, pouring and stirring. We poured the pancakes, watched them turn brown, and decorated. They were pretty smiley the whole time.

Measuring the flour. Look there's flour spilled and I didn't even freak out. Although, Sydney kept mentioning that there was flour spilled on the table and the floor. I guess she's my kid.

Now, this Supermom is off to the zoo. We are going to go look at the monkeys and the bears, and as our little one puts it, "the mangos." I think she means the flamingos. They seem to be a big favorite of the little ones. Then we're off to the park next door. The one her Mom and I used to play at when we were wee ones.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Block Swap!!!!!!!!!

Scottie Dog Quilts is hosting a 1930's block swap!
What is a block swap, you ask? Swap participants make a set of 8 identical blocks using the pattern provided. Blocks are turned in by the deadline and a few days later, you will receive 8 blocks back. They will all be the same pattern, but made with different fabrics. If you want more than 8 blocks, you can make additional sets, up to 10 sets. To make the quilt pictured, you will need to make 6 sets, that way you will receive 48 different blocks back.

The deadline to turn in blocks will be October 22. If you are mailing your blocks please mail them early enough to allow sufficient time to reach us by the 22. Make sure you provide a SASE with proper return postage. If you are a local participant, you can just drop your blocks off at the store.

Once you sign up, we need you to follow through. If you commit and then do not turn in blocks, there will not be enough blocks to swap. If for any reason you do sign up and something comes up, let me know ASAP.

If you have more questions, ask away. If you think you would like to sign up or want more info, you can email me at I will email you the pattern and instructions. Or if you are local, just stop by the store and ask for the swap packet.
I am so excited and can't wait to see all of the beautiful blocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A super great day at the Humboldt County Fair

Today we went to the fair to demo our AccuCut die cutting machine. Steve and Sydney rode rides while we did our demo. Sydney announced she was going to ride 600 rides. I'm not sure she met her goal, but she did a little bit of everything at the fair.

First on her list was a hot dog for lunch. She ate all but one bite! Then it was off to ride some of the rides with her Daddy!

Sydney LOVED the "horsies." I didn't realize my big four year old wanted to ride by herself. She did not want her mama standing next to that horse while she rode. I was relegated to outside the fence. What happened to my dependent little baby?

So after many, many rides, we headed over to the livestock barns to look at the animals. I loved visiting the animals when my parents used to take me to the fair. Sydney wanted to take home a rabbit. We said NO.

So while we are in the barns, two little girls come up to us and tell us they are giving miniature pony rides in the arena. It's only $2, she says. That sounded like fun, so we followed the girls through a maze of pens into a back area and just as we were starting to wonder where we were going, another girl shows up with two cute little ponies. One girl asks us for the $2, so I paid her and they put a helmet on Sydney and helped her on the horse. I took out the camera to take a picture and a third little girl who couldn't be more than six says, "usually pictures are an extra $2, but I'll throw it in for free." Suddenly as I look around I realize that there are no adults around and all of these girls are barefoot. The little girl started telling me how her rides were the best deal at the fair because they were really long and they weren't ponies tied to a chain. Then I noticed the sign that said "No riding in arena without written permission from office." She kept telling me how she would even let the pony trot with Sydney because Sydney was four. I could tell this little girl had been on the fair circuit for awhile and was a little sales person in training. Hopefully the horses did belong to these girls, but either way, I had to admire their entrepreneurial spirit. Sydney had a great pony ride and I have to admit, it did beat the little ponies chained to the wheel. But I did kind of wonder where those ponies came from.....

It was a hot day for Humboldt County, so we decided to get ice cream. Sydney chose chocolate. After she got her cone, we saw a little dog show and stopped to watch. They asked for volunteers from the audience and Sydney desperately wanted to be picked. She is the girl on the far end in the light pink shirt. A little terrier did tricks and jumped back and forth over the girls.