Sunday, December 1, 2013

Post Thanksgiving Fun

I realize it's been awhile since I've posted, but now that we are into the "Holiday Season" all bets are off on frequent posts.  I did manage to accomplish quite a bit after Market/Festival and right now I'm waiting for everything to come back from the quilters - 2 flannel Christmas quilts (they are actually back, bound and ready to give as a Christmas gift), 2 baby girl quilts and 1 flannel "cheater" quilt for my nephew.  I will post some pictures when I have them back.

I did mention that I came home with a re-do for our Harriet's Baskets and I've actually made a lot of progress on that.  The handles are made with the bias maker that uses the fusible web, but let me tell you that no matter what the instructions say, I still can't do it right!!!  After attempting 2 handles, I packed it all up and sent it to Paula - she apparently is the fusible web wizard!!!!  I made the bottoms - more my speed - just plain piecing - and now I'm working towards making the complete baskets.  Here's a picture of the bottoms - don't you just love the fabrics!!!  Wait until you see the sashing fabric!!!

I've also gotten on the hexagon bandwagon and have actually made a few blocks.  I've found that I like to switch from machine sewing to handwork at night.  Plus it helps to be able to hear all of my regular shows at night if I don't have the sewing machine going!!!  Wireless headphones are on the Christmas list to help with this problem!!!

We've had a houseful for Thanksgiving.  Megan and Brian arrived on Tuesday and Brett, Mere and the girls arrived on Friday night.  It's been so much fun having everyone here and tomorrow we add to the fun by heading to Walt Disney World!!!  The girls are 5 and 3, so this should be a fantastic time.  7 adults and 2 kids - great ratio!!!  I'm so excited!!!

Megan is the Social Media Content Manager for GE Appliances and today was the cookie baking shoot for an upcoming post.  She mixed up the snicker doodle batter and Sydney and Julianne were the "rollers".  Caitlin assisted by making the cookie balls and the girls rolled them in red and green sprinkles - family tradition to change from cinnamon to sprinkles for Christmas!  Brian was the cameraman and I provided the Christmas decor!!!  The official pictures focus on the cookies, but I went for the "full picture"!!!  The girls had a great time and loved that they got to help Aunt Megan!!!
Making cookies
Sydney working hard!!
The best part - eating the cookies!!!!

Next on my list will be switching over from Fall decorations to Christmas decorations.  I've got a lot coming up over the next couple of weeks, so I have a feeling it's going to be a minimal decorating year!!!  We'll have to see how it goes!!!  I love how the house looks when it is all decorated for Christmas, so I'm sure I'll get something done!! Everyone's pictures on Facebook, blogs and Instagram are making me realize how far behind I am!!!

Just a reminder, in case you haven't received an email, we are having a Monday Madness Sale. Each Monday (for the next few weeks) we will feature one kit at 25% off.  Quantities are limited, but if you shop early you should be able to pick up some great gifts!!!  This week's kit is Legacy.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Market/Festival Recap

Yes, Market and Festival 2013 are over and even better, we survived!!!!  At one point (I believe it was while I was loading 25 lb bins of kits on to a dolly) I remarked to Paula that I really enjoy sitting at my sewing machine and sewing all day and this manual labor is sooo not for me!!! It really is a shock to my system because we don't do quilt shows anymore and then boom I'm lifting bins, climbing ladders, hanging quilts and pushing a dolly around!!!  Little too much for this old body!!!

Aside from the sales, I think one of the best things about Market and Festival is the people.  I just love getting the chance to catch up with friends - customers, shop owners, vendors, etc.  It's great to see everyone and get a few minutes to share and listen!!  Plus, I always tell people if you want a self-esteem boost come stand in our booth.  It feels so great to hear customers tell us how much they love our stuff.  It reaffirms that we are doing something right!!!  Thank you everyone.

The kits and patterns for the new quilts and re-dos were hits and Paula is working to get them on the website for you to see (and of course, purchase!!!).  I left last Wednesday and family/company came to visit for the weekend, so right now she's like me - catching up on sleep, laundry, life and dvr'ed shows!!!

I had great intentions of blogging during Market and Festival, but as you may have noticed, it never happened.  We are also pretty busy during the show, so we don't get out to see too many of the other booths - well except those in the aisles on the way to the ladies room!!!!  LOL!!  Here are a couple of pictures of our booth during each show.  You can see some of the new quilts we introduced this year.

This is the booth during Market.  Our plan was to just add a few more quilts (10, I think) and merchandise for Festival.

A new feature at Market is the Sneak Peek section.  Vendors can display a new item on one of the shelves in the glass bookcases at the front of the convention center.  This year Marcus Fabrics won for Best Sneak Peek.  Here's Pati (Director of Advertising and Marketing) accepting the award.  Congratulations Marcus Fabrics!!! (We're right opposite them, so I actually saw them coming with the award!!!  Got excited thinking we had won something!!!)

Our dear friends Gloria and Vicky of Olde Green Cupboard Designs have a beautiful fabric collection with Marcus Fabrics, County Londonderry, and here's their display featuring the quilts and other projects they used with their fabric.  Patterns are available on their website.

Market ended on Monday night and by 4pm Wednesday the booth had been transformed into a Festival booth - ready for Preview Night and shoppers!!!  Thank you Cindy and Jackie for all of your help with the set up.  It takes a village!!!  Here's a view from the end of the booth:

And here's the baby bed that Paula added:

As some of you may have heard, Andover Fabrics introduced their Downton Abbey fabric collection at Market!!  It was the opening session at Schoolhouse and was quite well attended!!!  Jackie and Cindy went and shared details with us - apparently they got to see a snippet of the Season Premiere of Season 4 - sooo jealous!!!  The fabrics are all about the women of Downton Abbey.  My very last picture to share with you is my own personal fat quarter bundle (and bag) of Downtown Abbey fabric!!!  Thank you Cindy for waiting in line for Sample Spree and making the Andover booth your first stop (they only had 200 bundles and you could only buy 3!!!)
I don't know what I am going to do with it, but it's like my Kaffe Fassett fabric - I had to have some!!!!  You should start seeing it in local quilt stores and online very soon.

As I predicted (and hoped), I did come home with some "work" - a re-do of Harriet's Baskets and a new quilt - so I've been busy catching up on my TV shows, cutting and prepping and doing some personal seasonal sewing.  I'll share when I can get them up on the design wall for some photos!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thank you RCQ "Village People"

In a book, this would be the Acknowledgements section, but in my post it's the "special thank you to all our village people"!!!  I've talked about how it takes a village to make a quilt, but apparently it takes an even bigger village to get us ready for Market and Festival.  And this is my chance to acknowledge and thank all of those wonderful people. 
                      Thank you!!!!

 I'll try to do this by category and location!!!

The Katy, TX people - these are the wonderful ladies that help Paula with all of the kits we plan to sell.  They bring fabric into their homes to cut and assemble or they've been working at our "climate-controlled" warehouse for the past couple of weeks.  Thank you Cindy, Jackie, Cathy, Connie and Ronda.  Connie is also our Festival PR person.  You may have heard her last year if you were in the booth or anywhere in the aisle when she happened to walk by.  She's the one who usually says (in her outside voice) - "Oh look it's the Red Crinoline Quilts girls!!!" or something similar!!  We love her!! Paula also has some "at home" help with pattern stuffing and fat quarter folding - Shirley and Amy.  Shirley is Paula's mom and she folds a perfect fat quarter - no selvedge or threads showing!!! And our other Shirley, who graciously binds and adds rod pockets to many of our quilts.

The Jacksonville, FL people - otherwise known as The Olde Green Cupboard Design team!!  Gloria and Vicky have been binding the quilts that we sent there for quilting and they will also be the "transport" system for getting them to us!!!  They are coming for Market, so they are bringing our quilts with them!!!  The third member of that team is Gloria's daughter Heather and she is a fabulous photographer (takes all the photos for the OGC), so she did the photos on the three new mini's we are introducing.

The St.Petersburg, FL people - these are my BOM pattern people -  Caitlin, Courtney, Nikki, Nikki's mom and Phyllis and Bob.  They joke about how their work is very "seasonal" - just when I need patterns, but they've stuffed 12,300 patterns since August!!  I guess I need to thank the pattern bag people too!!!  We joke that maybe we should all invest in a plastics company - plastic bins for kits, plastic bags for patterns and kits - just a thought!!!

The Professionals - 
      Our quilters - Marcella and Margie from Crooked Creek Quilts in Greenwood, AR; Lynn and Cathy from Longarm Quilting Services in Jacksonville, FL and Sharon Dixon with Katy T-shirt Quilts in Katy, TX.  These ladies go above and beyond for us.  They are all always so willing to "fit us in" when we need a quilt quilted. I guess we need to apologize to the people we bump!!!
      Our photographers - Gregory and Elena of Gregory Case Photography in Pueblo West, CO and Heather Lynn in Jacksonville, FL.
      Our printers - Carol of Florida Printing Solutions in St.Pete (BOM patterns) and Matthew and Mark of Katy Printers in Katy, TX.  They're going to be very busy this week - brochures, order forms and patterns.  On second thought, maybe we should be investing in a paper company!!!

Ok, so with all people helping us you would think we would be done, but alas we have just a couple things left to do!!!  Paula is writing the last of the patterns and we have to proof them and I think she has one kit that she's finishing up.   I have to send out some wholesale and retail emails and then pack.  I leave Monday morning for Houston!!! I sent the last quilt to Sharon for quilting.  Paula picked fabric to do a re-do of our Sophie pattern.  I love this quilt and even better, it only took 2 days to make it - it took longer to get here from TX!!!!
Sophie re-do!!

After finishing the last quilt, I found myself with TV shows to watch, but no sewing - definitely an odd moment - so I decided to clean up the sewing room a bit.  Mainly I tackled the overflowing scrap basket on my table.  It is now empty!!!  The fabric has been sorted into appropriate scrap projects or drawers.  I'm sure I'll be filling it up pretty quickly though - Paula mentioned some new quilts she was thinking about!!! YAY!!!

Empty scrap basket!! Desperately seeking scraps!!!

Again, thank you to our village people!!  We couldn't do it without you.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Are we Market ready????

Market ready?  Hmmm, now that's a big question!!!  I'm waiting for the mail lady to come and bring a box of fabric for the last quilt I need to make.  Unfortunately we are one of the last stops on her route AND I didn't realize yesterday was a no-mail day, so I'm getting a little impatient!!!  It's not a big one, so I should be able to knock it out pretty quickly - I just want it here so I can get started!!!!

The rest of the quilts are pieced and almost all of them have been quilted and photographed, but we still have a couple that are unfinished or in their last stages before completion. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well it definitely takes a village to complete a quilt - designer/pattern writer, piecer, quilter, binder, photographer, and of course the FedEx man that carries it between all of these people!!!  Thank you to our village!!!  Without them we wouldn't have all of these wonderful quilts to share with all of you.

As I've been finishing quilts, Paula and her "village people" have been cutting and assembling kits during the day and then she's writing patterns at night!!!  The rest of the week will be spent in pattern editing.  I do have to say that is one of my least favorite things to do, but it must be done!!!  I leave for Houston on Monday to help finish up and then it's time to load the truck and trailer and head down to the George R Brown Convention Center for set up!!!  It's a good thing we have 2 days for set up because we spend at least one whole day just catching up with everyone!!

Here's a couple of photos of the quilts that are off being quilted, bound and photographed:

Lancaster re-do done!!!

One of the new mini quilts - Spools

Another mini quilt - Tablerunner

I finished these last week after my trip to NY to see my granddaughters (and their mom and dad too!!).  The trip was fantastic - rainy and cloudy, but the time with the girls was wonderful.  I felt like I had been voted Miss Popularity - "Grandma sit next to me", "Grandma can I sit in your lap", "Grandma can you read me a book", "Grandma can you put me to bed", and on and on.  I was in Grandma Heaven and I can't wait to go back!!! They will all be here after Thanksgiving and then we're heading to Disney World for a couple of days - can't wait!!!  I brought Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman and it was a hit, especially with Julianne.  I think I read it at least 20 times in 2 days!!

We didn't get to go apple picking, but we did go to the orchard farm stand and get some apples and apple cider donuts (yummy - think I ate 3 the first day, but who's counting).  The girls were nice enough to pose for Grandma in front of the pumpkins.

Sydney and Julianne and some big pumpkins!!!!

Sunday was "Fall Decorating Day".  I figured I better get it done before I leave for Market.  Usually I just pull up the photos of the previous year's decorations on my iPad, but apparently I never took pictures last year.  (Paula calls this "decorating by number"!!!)  Trust me, I took pictures this year for next year!!!  No sense reinventing the wheel!!!  I'm most proud of my wooden tool box.  I bought the tool box on one of our retreat trips to Rachel's Farmhouse and it's just been sitting under a side table.  I was cruising through other people's pins on Pinterest one day and Vicky had pinned a tool box all decorated for Fall!!! I saved that puppy and used it as my "inspiration".  I even have a picture saved for Christmas.  Sure hope someone pins something for the rest of the seasons or its going back to sitting empty under the side table!!!

I also changed the quilts on the quilt frames and couches.  My sister-in-law was asking about all of the quilts that are stored in the cabinet and that you never really get to see and she suggested I change them around - take some out of the cabinet and put them out for people to see.  I liked the idea, so I have different quilts out now.  She suggested that I feature a "Quilt of the Month".  She also suggested that she would be "willing" to display some of the ones that are still in the cabinet in her house!!!!  Like that's ever going to happen!!!!!  These are my babies and they are not ready to leave the nest yet!!!
Wall of quilts
 Well, still no mail lady, so I guess I'll go proof some patterns - yippee!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

PS - Box arrived while I was previewing the post!!!  YAY!!! Let the sewing begin.  NCIS, NCIS-LA, Person of Interest and Spinning Stars - going to be a good night!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Retreat Update!!!

Yes, it's been awhile, but the retreat is over and I've even managed to get a few things done since I got back home.  It's the last stretch to Fall Market and Festival and we are sprinting!!!  I'm checking things off the list and I love it!!!  I even made Paula a poster she could take home with her.  I always made a big poster of everything we needed to do before Market, so this time she got a mini version!!!  So we're both checking off things!!

The retreat was fantastic!!!  A special thank you to Gloria and Vicky, the retreat organizers, for another job well done.  We laughed, we giggled, we joked, we ate, we snacked, and apparently some people even sewed!!!  I have to say this was not my most successful retreat in terms of completed projects!!! LOL!!!  

Phyllis and I headed out on Thursday afternoon with a well packed car - sewing equipment and supplies for 3 people (I brought stuff for Paula because she was bringing RCQ kits and quilts and Ronda and her stuff with her), cooler with Phyllis' fabulous seafood chowder and pulled pork (yes we dined well this time), snacks and assorted items.  Thursday night was a traditional meal at Sonny's in Starke - we needed our wings and mac & cheese to start the weekend!!!  For the rest of the 5 days we dined on fabulous meals (and leftovers) that the girls in our group made - Ronda's pulled pork, Diane's pasta casserole and a white chili, Donna's empanadas and chicken pot pie!!! No lack of cooking skills with this group!!

I thought I would share the pictures I took and you can see the fun we had and what we (some people) accomplished!!

Ronda Stockton and Helen Davis and their Lincoln Watch quilts!!  Aren't they beautiful and so different!!
Linda (Gloria and Vicky's sister), Lynn, Pat and Ronda - being sad!!!  For the life of me I can't remember why!!!
Donna, Wynette, Gloria, Vicky and Diane and the "thank you" quilts that Gloria and Vicky made for them!!!
These wonderful ladies are just of few of the group that make and donate quilts for the Quilts of Valor program.  Check out the stack of quilts on the table.  All of these quilts will be donated to soldiers and their families in Florida.
RCQ's Sherman's March in browns!!!  I just love it!! It was being made as a wedding present - lucky couple!!!
Ronda and her completed "Twas the Night Before Christmas" quilt.  She machined embroidered before she came and she finished it over the weekend.  She's very lucky it made it home - lots of people were eager to make it their own - me included!!!!
Vicky and her RCQ Country Spools kit.  She bought this on Friday and it was completed by Sunday AND she worked on some other things too!!!!  We hate her - LOL!!!!
Phyllis and her RCQ mini!!!  This was Phyllis' very first retreat and she is already signed up and ready to do another one!!!
Diane and her retreat project.  Her goal was to finish this and she did!!!  It's beautiful and in her favorite color - PINK!!!!
We also did our snowball block exchange and Gloria was already sewing hers together on Sunday night.  Mine came home in a nice bag and will reside on a "To Do Someday" shelf in my sewing room!!  Rumor has it we may have even agreed to do another one!!

I think we are personally responsible for keeping Tutto and Sew-Ezi tables in business!!

My car on the way home!!  You can't see the antique ladder that is running down the center of the car!!  The big black suitcase is full of RCQ quilts that are now mine!!!!  Going to be filling up that antique ladder!!!!!

And now I'm getting ready to head out of town for the weekend - a quick trip to upstate NY to see my granddaughters, their parents, some fall colors and some apple picking!!!  It will be a nice break before I have to finish the last of the Market quilts.  The new quilt from Bordeaux and Sienna headed out to the quilters on Thursday and now I'm finishing up Lancaster (still working on those borders).  Then there's patterns to edit and all of the other little things that have to be done.  I'll share pictures of the quilts when I return from NY.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's A Guest Room Again - Well, Almost!!!

It's been a busy 2 weeks since I last posted.  I've finished a quilt and started a new one, but a good part of the time was spent on shipping the Hampton Ridge BOM patterns.  Getting ready for the first round of shipping requires that we have large numbers of patterns printed.  How many do we have printed??? - it's always a guess!!!!  So I had thousands of patterns (12 months worth) printed and that meant someone had to stuff them in the pattern bags and then I had to find a place to store all of them!!!  And that's where the title comes from.  They were all stored in my prettiest guest room and finally it's almost back to being a guest room again!!

All of these patterns a "team" of pattern stuffers and I look to my daughter Caitlin to help in that area.  She rounds up a group of friends that are interested in making a little extra $$$ while they watch their favorite TV shows!!!  We have a mom and daughter, a husband and wife and one of Caitlin's fellow kickball/soccer players.  What they each do with the money is even better - paying for granddaughter's dance classes, supporting a Coach handbag addiction, buying more quilt fabric and saving for a cruise!!!  I managed to get pictures of Caitlin and Courtney hard at work.  They were the ones that came up with their corporate titles:  "Director of Procurement"!!!!
Caitlin hard at work!!
Courtney had at work!!!  Check out the quilt on her couch - her Mom's a quilter too!!!

  As I was counting out patterns for shipping, I came across these 2 patterns!!! They were from Caitlin's batch.  I think I may have to bring in a Quality Control Supervisor!!!!!  LOL!!

 The girls are each vying for Employee of the Month!!!  Courtney moved out ahead after successfully stuffing all of her patterns without any errors or papercuts!!!

And when the girls were done, those patterns had to come back to my house.  Where do you store all of these boxes??? Why the guest room, where else!!!  Here's a couple of pictures of what this all looked like.  The table was used for counting.  I could barely move in there, but after 2 weeks I was finally able to get rid of most of the boxes and bins!!!  Check out the last picture - I have a guest room again!!!  Fortunately I don't have any guests visiting until Thanksgiving and hopefully by then the rest of the bins will be gone!!!
Caitlin figured out how to take a panoramic picture with my iPhone.

Thank heavens I didn't need anything out of the closet!!

Guests can even get in the beds now!!!!

During those 2 weeks I did manage to finish the Harpers Ferry re-do and begin the Lancaster re-do!!! 
New Harpers Ferry - love the grey in the alternate blocks

Lancaster re-do - just waiting for its 3 borders - narrow black print, pieced and wide black print

And now it's time to get ready for the September retreat at Camp Blanding!!!!  I'm so excited - what should I bring, where are we going to eat, what are we going to eat, what snacks should I bring, who's going to be there, and on and on!!!!  Definitely bringing Lancaster to finish and Paula is bringing a new quilt from her Bordeaux and Sienna collection for us to work on.  We'll also get to exchange our Snowball blocks - can't wait to see everyone else s!!!  I'm bringing some fabrics we can use for borders.  And then there's always the big question - do we want to do another exchange????

Big night tonight - Fall premieres are beginning - "Bones", and "Sleepy Hollow"
                               Season finale - "Under the Dome"
                               Netflix - last 5 episodes of "Revolution" - I need to finish this before Season 2 begins next week.
     So many choices for viewing while I finish the Spinning Stars for the pieced border for Lancaster!!!
I'll have to be sure my DVR is ready for taping before I leave for the retreat.  I don't want to miss any of my shows!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hello September!!!

Today is September 1st and tomorrow is Labor Day and now it all makes sense!!!  This morning I found myself in my closet with an urgent need to wear my white pants and white shoes!!!  If you grew up when I did, then you know you only have 1 day left to wear white pants and white shoes!!  I know Clinton and Stacy (What Not to Wear) have laughed at that rule, but man I find it hard to do AND I live in Florida where white pants are a year-long mainstay!!!!

If that wasn't enough to push September on me, I found myself wandering through the Back to School aisles at Target!  Those notebooks and coordinating binders, markers, crayons and pencils were calling my name!  Where I grew up - Long Island -school started the Wednesday after Labor Day and my best friend and across the street buddy Susan and I had a Tuesday evening before the 1st day of school ritual - we packed our pocketbooks.  We went to each others house and put our new pencils, pens, tissues, wallets, etc in the pocketbooks we had just bought at WT Grant's!!  As we grew older and that Tuesday evening found us in different cities preparing to meet our new students the next day, we would call and mentally "pack our pocketbooks" as we caught up with each other.

August may be over, but I managed to get a lot done that last week!!  My two baby quilts came back from the quilter, so I bound the Stacked Coins Baby Quilt for Sebastian and the Charm Squares on Point Quilt for Eveline and actually got them off in the mail.  Side note - Sebastian and Eveline are Susan's grandchildren!!!  

Sebastian's quilt

Eveline's quilt

I finished Harpers Ferry and can I tell you how much I love this one!!!  We have made 4 versions of this quilt, but Paula tried something new this time and used a grey fabric in the alternate blocks - YUMMY!!!!!!  It's on its way to the quilters and the kits are being cut as we speak.  I will let you know when they are on the website!!

Harpers Ferry

Next on my list is Lancaster and I've finished 6 of the blocks.  I really am enjoying this whole pre-cut and bagged option!!!  I open a bag and bam, I'm ready to sew!!  Yes, I know, I'm spoiled, but isn't half the battle recognizing you have a problem!!!  It sure gets quilts done a lot faster and shouldn't that be my priority???? The more I get done, the more samples you have to look at!!!

Lancaster - 6 blocks

I'm going to watch some more of Dexter (I'm on Season 3 and I love it!) while I work on more Lancaster blocks today, but tomorrow is devoted to Hampton Ridge BOM.  It's time to ship the customer patterns to the shops!!!!  That should be an all day process - counting patterns, finding boxes to ship them in, running charges and creating shipping labels!!!!  I know, now you're jealous you can't have this much fun!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Celebrations and Congratulations!!!


I arrived back in St. Pete on Thursday night after a great visit with Paula in Katy.  As Gloria always tells me: I need my Paula time!!! We accomplished all sorts of things: lunch at Lupe's with Jill, lunch at Red Oak Grill, dinner and ice cream to celebrate Shirley's birthday (Paula's Mom) at Freddy's!! You knew I was going for the food also, didn't you!!!  We sat up late talking Tuesday and Wednesday night - just catching up and planning Fall Market and Festival! Thursday we went to the warehouse and I packed up some kits to bring to the Camp Blanding retreat in September (thank heavens for 2 free checked bags on Southwest and a husband willing to carry on his bag so I could have 2 more free bags!!) and then it was time to head back to the airport.  Definitely a whirlwind trip, but hopefully Paula will be coming to the September retreat.

But now let's get to the title - Celebrations and Congratulations!!  August is a busy month for our family and most of it is centered around this week.
   August 23 - Congratulations to my son Brett and his beautiful wife Meredith on their 10th wedding anniversary!!!

  August 25 - Congratulations to my nephew Sam on his 10th birthday!  Yes he was born 2 days after the wedding and in Maryland - not where mommy and daddy were living at that time.  He was born on the way home from the wedding in NY and on the way to North Carolina!! Great family story!!

  August 26 - Congratulations to Peter and I on our 41st anniversary!!

Congratulations to our dear friend Phyllis Anderson (owner of Silver Thimbles). She designed "Stars of Glory", a quilt for Island Batiks featuring their Quilted in Honor fabric.  Paula and I met and traveled with Phyllis and Bob on the quilt show circuit.  Check out Island Batik's blog for more information on this great program.

"STARS OF GLORY was designed for the military men and women, past, present and future, who have dedicated their lives so that we can live free.
Many of my relatives are retired ex-military and I have seen first hand the pride and honor they have for our great land.  It is their dedication that inspired me to make this quilt. With great pride and humility I donated this quilt to Operation Homefront to raise money for the soldiers and their families in times of great need.
-- Designer PJ Anderson

 PJ and Eleanor

Help military families directly by donation. With each donation you are entered in the Quilted In Honor Free Draw for PJ Anderson's STARS OF GLORY quilt. All donations gathered by this initiative go directly to United States military families in need through the charitable organization, Operation Homefront.
(Click on the Quilted in Honor Free Draw link for the submission form).

I've been busy trying to catch up since I got home - laundry, emails, etc- but mainly trying to finish the new Harpers Ferry quilt.  As of last night I had 20 blocks done (9 more to go) and I'm hoping to get back to that tonight!!  Then it's on to the "bags" that Paula gave me when I was in Katy.  I posted a picture on Facebook, but no guesses.  It's Lancaster and I can't wait to get to it!!!  We have wanted to re-do this for soooo long, but it takes soooo much fabric.  Paula began setting aside fabrics and finally we have enough to make the kits!!!!!  YAY!!!!! Blacks, cheddar, shirtings, browns, reds - what more could you ask for in one quilt!!!  I also sensed a little jealousy with the "bagged" blocks for Harpers Ferry and Lancaster.  Yes I am spoiled, but this lets Paula "play" with the fabric and plan each block!!  Sorry, but this is not a service we are offering to anyone!!!  Just me, because I am special!!

 Photo: Look what Paula surprised me with tonight!!!! Can you guess which quilt we are remaking????  Aren't you jealous that my kit arrives all cut, bagged and ready to sew???

Oh, 1 more celebration - watch for an email tomorrow - we are having a sale on some of our kits starting Monday and lasting through Labor Day.  Shop early because some have limited quantites. After I write and schedule that email I can get back to my sewing machine!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In Between Trips

Peter and I arrived home yesterday afternoon from a great weekend in Louisville and now we are getting ready to head to Houston this afternoon!!!  I'm beginning to feel like I'm living on a Southwest airplane!!!

Oldest child, oldest daughter, favorite child (her comment, not ours), and Louisville resident, Megan shared more of her great city.  She has lived there for 9 years and with each visit we get to see something new - restaurants, bars, museums, people, etc!!!  This is a little hard because you like so many of things you've done before, but you always want to try something new and there is plenty of new to try in her section of Louisville - The Highlands - and in downtown or Nulu as they are calling it. For this trip we visited the Farmer's Market (fabulous steaks and veggies for Saturday's dinner), Come Back Inn (dinner Friday), Louisville Beer Store, Holy Grale, Sergio's World Beers, Actor's Theater Block Party, Milkwood (VIP location for Block Party), Comfy Cow (Saturday dessert), Ghyslain (brunch Sunday), Wiltshire on Market (dinner Sunday) and Work the Metal (shopping Monday).

Our Saturday afternoon "rest" before making dinner was watching the SyFy movie, "Sharknado"I have one word to describe the movie - bizarre!!!  I've seen it mentioned on Facebook and thought why not.  It actually made every other bad movie I ever watched actually seem good in comparison.  It was horrible, but we laughed - and moaned - sat through the whole thing and actually talked about it for a good part of the evening!!!  AND they are making a sequel - set in NY this time!!!  My only regret - we weren't in a movie theater, so no movie popcorn and Diet Coke!!!

In between unpacking and repacking, I did manage to make 8 of the blocks for the new Harpers Ferry.  Paula cuts the "components" for each block and bags them before she sends them to me.  This way I can just open a bag and start sewing.  Paula's cutting and bagging is a result of my moving to Florida.  When we lived in the same neighborhood I would cut everything, give it to Paula to arrange for each block and she would give it back to me.  Nice and easy then, but it would involve too much time traveling if we still did it that way. I thought you might enjoy seeing a sneak peek:

25 bags ready to be blocks, contents of 1 bag and the block made from that bag

Here's the 8 blocks I finished and the fabric for the border and alternate blocks.  I'm really loving this new Harpers Ferry!!  We've done it before in reds and browns and then in blues and browns, so it's nice to see it back again in reds and browns.  

Well, time to go get ready for the next trip - Houston bound!!  Paula and I have 2 1/2 days to talk, plan, eat (going to need some Rita's and Tex Mex on this trip) and just enjoy visiting!!!  Harpers Ferry will be my focus when I get back!!  I'm also bringing back some kits with me and I will be bringing them to our Camp Blanding retreat in September to sell - any requests???

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen