Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mystery Quilting Retreat!

Today we wrapped up our Scottie Dog Quilts Mystery Quilting Retreat. The retreat brings people together from all over the country and all over the county. We have been doing them for longer than we've had the shop and we love them! They are a blast and there is just something about the weekend that makes me super happy and excited. It might be all the people, it might be all the sewing, or it might be all the amazing food. It might even be all of them put together.

We do a lot of retreats. Lots of different kinds and styles. This weekend was one of the Mystery retreats we do. We design an original pattern, make a sample and then give the quilters a list of what to bring fabric wise. They pre-cut the pieces and come prepared to sew! We dole out the instructions one step at a time and after lunch on Saturday when they are halfway through the process, the quilt is revealed. This retreats quilt was called Duck Duck Goose. I bet you can't guess why. We used Eleanor Burns small Flying Geese Ruler which made the geese a snap. Because in case you didn't count, the queen size has 144 flying geese.

This was Sandi Williamson's version. I loved her dark background. It looks so completely different. Sandi travels from out of state to come to the retreats and she is a bundle of fun! She always comes with a group of ladies that she quilts with at home. There are so many people that I consider great friends that we have met through our retreats.

Paula is a marathon quilter. Someday when we build our big huge store, we'll have to draw up a space in the plans for a bed in the back for Paula. She practically lives at the store and we LURVE her! She is one of the most special people I have ever met. And as my friend Amanda says, "Paula gives the BEST hugs." (Okay, no more capitalizing words for emphasis. I promise.) Anyway, Paula is super encouraging and sweet and always in your corner being your cheerleader. She always comes to the retreats and she's like a big giant sunshine in the room.

Crystal's daughter Sammy came by the retreat on her way to prom so we could all see how pretty she looked in her prom dress. I hope I don't have to stop calling her Sammy now that she's almost 18! Sammy has been a quilter for a long time too and she's always around to help. Sydney thought that one of the Disney princess had come. She looked so beautiful in her dress. I can't get over how grown up she is and we just found out that congratulations are in order as Sammy has been named Valedictorian of her high school class. She is graduating from the Academy of the Redwoods with her high school diploma, as well as an AA degree from the college. We seriously could not be more proud of her!
Sue Johnson-Thissell's daughter also came by to show off her custom made prom dress that Sue crafted for her, but I didn't get a picture of her in her dress. My friend Larissa turned to me and said, "our girls are going to be doing this someday." The waterworks were on. I practically started sobbing.
So, it turned out to be a fantastical weekend! My husband got his new motorcycle pants in the mail that he had he ordered, my daughter got to watch the Rhododendron parade with her Grandpa and my Mom and I had a retreat. Everyone in my family is superbly happy today!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Car crashes, Easter Sunday and a four year old who says she knows how to use the remote.

So, here's a blog completely un-sewing related. If you're still in, read on. It's been an interesting couple of days. I left for work nice and early yesterday. There was a full class happening and I knew students would be arriving early. I almost made it there.
A silver SUV was changing lanes and didn't see me. Soon we were pushed off the road and Sydney wanted to know, "why is that car stuck to ours?" She was a trooper. The other driver was extremely apologetic. She was from out of town and a bit disoriented. We were both a little shaken up and she asked me if she could have a hug. (I've never been in an accident where the other driver asked for a hug, but I thought it was sweet. I kind of needed one too.)
She was so worried about Sydney who had taken most of the impact. I pointed to Sydney to assure her Sydney was fine. At that point, Sydney had unbuckled herself and climbed up into the back of the car and stretched herself out between the window and the trunk. As I pointed at her from outside, she waved to us, face pressed up against the window as only a four year does. The driver got out her license and insurance and I noticed her last name and asked if she was related to a quilter I know. She said, "Yes, that's my husband's sister!" It's such a small town. Then a police officer arrived and when he walked up I said, "Is your mom a quilter?" "Yes?" he said. I told him how I knew his mom. It really is such a small town. By that time I saw my dad driving by as he was going to unlock the store for me. He gave me an encouraging smile and wave as he went on. Aren't Dad's the best?
So after we got everything straightened out, I tried the key in the ignition and it turned on. I was really hoping I wouldn't have to wait for a tow truck. Oooh, I thought? Is it drivable? Ummmmm, that would be a no. I hopped it along the few blocks to the store thinking it would fall apart any second. It did make it, but I'm sure not very safely. My dad checked it out and determined, no, it's not drivable. Bummer. I liked that car. One of the people in the class had an accident on the way to class too. It was a weird morning. The good news is, no one was hurt, she has insurance and the class went on! So I'm in the market for a new car and taking suggestions.

So that brought us to Easter Sunday! Sydney found her Easter basket, loved everything in it and wanted to eat candy for breakfast. Yikes! I'm sure this happens in every house on Easter morning, but as a Mom all I can think of is, are you kidding? You want peeps for breakfast? But in the end, we did have peeps for breakfast. I'm sure we'll live.
We had brunch at my parents house with my parents, Steve, Sydney and I, and Lewis, my friend Larissa's husband. Larissa was in Orange County with her extended family for Easter and since Lewis just started a fabulous new job, he stayed home.
So Steve, my Dad and Lewis filled plastic eggs and hid them in the yard for Sydney. We discovered something today. An only child is a lazy child. Without any other kids running around looking for eggs, Sydney just sort of strolled around the yard. So we put Grandma to work chasing her and
that sped Sydney up. Grandma is such a great sport!
Of course Grandma and Grandpa had a basket for Sydney and in it were some sparkly pink shoes. Sydney had to wear them home.

After a Sunday nap, Sydney wanted to watch Olivia. Olivia is her new favorite show. There's only a few different shows she watches and most of them don't have commercials, which means after I start a show for her I have about 25 minutes to do whatever I like. But, Olivia is different. She comes with a big long commercial in the middle of the show. Sydney thinks that Oliva is over at this point and abandons post on the couch. And I think to myself, "boy that 25 minutes went fast."
Well, I finally realized what was going on and so I took it upon myself to teach Sydney how to fast forward with the remote. That was a hideous mistake. I warn all of you, do not teach a child how to use TIVO until they can read. We don't watch anything when it actually airs, we just record the shows we like and watch them later. But now that Sydney knows how to hit the yellow button (the skip ahead 30 second button) she thinks she knows it all. Now I have to fix something every couple of minutes. She accidentally mutes, changes shows, fast forwards through the whole show, turns off timers, (I accused my husband of changing my Millionaire Matchmaker timer) and a whole lot of other crazy things with the remote. I'm going to have to hide the remote. Quickly.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making The Quilts We Didn't Inherit

One of our favorite sales reps, Jan Cossette came to see us today. She works for EE Schenck, which is a distributor for many of the fabric companies that we love. Maywood, Marcus Bros., Studio E, South Seas, Henry Glass, Blank Quilting, In The Beginning, just to name a very few.

I swear, fabric designers are just getting better and better by the day! We ordered the most fabulous line from Jason Yenter. It's to die for! It's called Floragraphix IV. The pictures don't even begin to do them justice. He has written a great book with patterns that will showcase these fabrics. The first time I met Jason, I wasn't very familiar with his fabrics. They were a little out there for me. But lately, every time a new line of his comes out I just have to have it! And it doesn't hurt that he's just about the nicest guy in the business.

Anyway, you're probably starting to wonder what Jason Yenter has to do with the title of this blog. Nothing. I was just so excited about Jason's new line that I couldn't tell you about anything else until I covered that. So..........the other thing I was so excited about today, is a new book called Link To The 30's, Making The Quilts We Didn't Inherit by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine.

Finally, a book dedicated to the reasons behind why I make the quilts I make. I should have written this book. The title says it all. I make quilts for friends. I make quilts for charity auctions. I make lots of quilts for samples at the store. But the quilts that I make for me and for no other reason almost always fall into the category of "quilts I didn't inherit." I told you about Steve's Grandma's quilt. That is the only old quilt I ever stand a chance to inherit, so that leaves me with a laundry list of 1930's quilts I need to make. Whew.

I never get tired of making reproduction quilts. The history behind these quilts inspires me. The happy colors make me giddy. I know I'm obsessed, but I can't help it. I dream of someday having so many reproduction quilts that the walls just break down from the stacks and stacks of beautiful quilts! So the good news is, I'm not alone in my 1930's obsession. Kay and Karen are right there with me. And chances are, we're not the only ones. I'm pretty sure my good friend Crystal might be even more crazada about these repro quilts than I am. I ordered several copies of the book. I don't want any fights to break out in the quilt store over a book.

This is the first repro quilt I ever made. I love the bow tie block. You just can't go wrong. Before I had crossed over into the land of maniacal stash builder, my Mom gave me a little bundle of these fabrics from a retreat she had gone too. I've never been a pastel person in any aspect of my life, but within the fabric world, this is my home. I made this quilt and never looked back.

This is my Candy Land quilt.....I bought some repro blocks at auction and this top was thrown in for free. It had the most ghastly border that someone had added some time after the 50's and was sort of awkward looking. I removed that border and gave it new borders and now it's one of my favorite quilts. Sydney was sleeping under it until I pulled it off her a few minutes ago to snap a picture of it. I can't believe someone didn't want this quilt!

This sampler is probably one of my most favorite repro quilts. I made this from a block of the month that we did at the store in 2006. Lots of 1¾" half-square triangles.......I lurve this quilt!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day off project

The little girl is off to school, the dishes are done, and it's my day off. That means I can spend some time on a ME project!
When I first met my husband's Grandma the conversation turned to quilting. (Doesn't every conversation naturally turn to quilting?) She told me she tried to quilt once when she was 16 and wasn't very good at it. I did the math and realized that she was talking about the year 1935. Hmmmm........ A 1930's quilt. Chances were good that I would love this quilt, being that I'm just a tad bit obsessed with reproduction fabrics. So I hinted a bit here and there that I would love to see her quilt and perhaps finish it. This past Christmas Grandma gave me the most wonderful gift! A beautiful old box filled with her quilt pieces. I was ecstatic!
My husband said, "Grandma, this is her favorite kind of quilt!" Just when I'm thinking motorcycles are the only thing on his mind, I realize he does pay attention. So, box in tow, we made the trip home and all I could think of was, I can't wait to put this quilt together.
Well, it sat for a couple of months while trying to decide the best plan of attack. This was Grandma's first and only quilt, and there is always a learning curve. Needless to say, this would be a little slower going since the blocks were all very different sizes. But I am always up for a challenge, and the idea of Sydney using a quilt that her Great Grandmother made was enough to make me want to roll up my sleeves and get to work!
So a couple of weeks ago, I got out this box and started sewing. I am totally in love with this quilt! So in love with it in fact, that I ordered the english paper pieces this morning for the store! Grandma would be shocked at how easy it is to make this quilt if she had learned this method. As it is, I think she will be shocked when she sees the finished quilt. I think she gave up on this quilt about 75 years ago. I can't wait to see her face when it's all done!
Here is one of the original templates. You can barely make out her signature, Juanita S. For awhile I couldn't figure out why It didn't say B, since her last name is Buell. But alas, this is from 1935, when her last name was Squire! This quilt makes me smile!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome to my blog!

The best things come to those who wait...and in this spirit, along comes my blog! She sews, she knows....what exactly does she know? You'll have to keep up with my posts to find out!