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


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Heading out of town

Peter and I are heading to Louisville tomorrow to see Megan, the oldest child or as she loves to say: "the favorite child".  Oh yes, she is quite comfortable with her birth order and status in the family!!!  Fortunately the other two just ignore her - as well they should.  I thought I would write a quick post before we leave tomorrow and catch you up on what's happening here at RCQ.

First, let's start with the fact that I finished all 96 sets (6 each) of the Snowball blocks!!!!! (insert Hallelujiah chorus here)!!!  That's a set of 48 for Paula and a set of 48 for me.  They have been sorted into 6 piles and bagged and tagged for distribution at the September retreat.  That means 4 of us are done and ready to go.  Guess those twins are going to have to get busy on theirs - no pressure!!!  I've even decided on some fabrics to bring that we can use as borders!!! They are officially crossed off my to do list and now I can move on to something else!!!

Second, I also finished the re-do of Savannah in Paula's Summit Rose collection.  I just love this with the dark set-in side triangles and strip border.  It's a little different than our usual version of Savannah and we also changed the set.  It shortened it by a row and added a row down the side, so now it measures 94"x94" - see we do listen to your requests!!!!  It is on its way to Lynn and Cathy so they can work their quilting magic on it.

Third, I dug a top out of the quilt closet and decided to send it off to be quilted.  This was a Saturday Sensation designed and taught by Paula, Cynthia Regone and Susan Thomson back in 2002 - yes, a golden oldie!!!  I think it was called "Four Seasons".  I have always loved it, but never got around to getting it quilted.  It will need some button embellishments after it's quilted, but I'm just excited to get it done!!!  I even managed to find a fabric (from about the same time) that I can use as a backing!!!  I love "shopping" in the "stash"!!  Guess I'll have to go hunting in the closet again and see what else is hiding in there!!!

And last but not least, I received my next project in the mail yesterday - a re-do of Harpers Ferry in reds and browns.  I'm going to try and make a block or two before we leave, but we'll see how that goes.  I'll share them on Facebook if I get anything done!!!  I still have to pack, too!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Friday, August 9, 2013

Snowballs in August in Florida????

Don't panic, we're not experiencing a strange weather phenomenon here in hot, humid St. Pete!!!!  Snowballs are what I was "creating" this past Sunday in my sewing room!!!!  At the January retreat, six of us (Gloria, Vicky, Wynette, Diane, Paula and myself) decided we needed to do an exchange. I have never expressed how I really feel about exchanges in any of my posts, so here's my chance.  I'm always polite and agree to participate and even express how much fun it will be and then I start to think about having to get 3244 3" blocks done in just 6 weeks and I start to get a little panicky - stress does that to you - and I then I start to question my sanity!!!

Gloria explained this exchange and of course I agreed; it all sounded reasonable while I was sitting in that room with all those lovely ladies.  Snowball blocks - how hard could it be!!  5" blocks with 2" corners - no problem!!  Not due until the September retreat -  piece of cake!!!  And then I forgot about them until I got a text message from Wynette (months ago) that she was finished!!!  And then Diane finished!!!  What's going on here?  Obviously they must be new to this exchange thing!!!  Who gets their blocks done months in advance, not me, that's for sure!!!  So now I'm entering panic mode and I contact Gloria and ask her for the information again.  288 blocks,144 in blues and browns and 144 in tans.  Six participants, so 6 sets - easy!!!  So I begin pulling fabric for the darks and when I have 50 I stop and think wow, I still need 238 more darks and I still haven't even thought about pulling the lights.  Are you beginning to see the problem here????  I was pulling enough fabric to make 6 sets of 288 dark and light blocks and if I got that many blocks from each person (calculator moment here) I would end up with1728 blocks!!!! Now my mind is racing - what size quilt are we making, are we covering one of the tanks at Camp Blanding with it's own quilt?

And that's another reason why I'm not so sure about exchanges - it's the math thing!!  Well it turns it, if I had read the instructions correctly, that we will each end up with a total of 288 Snowball blocks - 144 darks and 144 lights.  We will receive 24 darks and 24 lights from each person!!!  It all started making sense to me and my stress level was lowering - slightly.  Now I realize that I have pulled 50 darks (blues and browns) and that's really 2 more than I need for 2 people.  A quick phone call to Paula to determine she hasn't started her's yet either and I assure her that I have both of us covered on this exchange.  I've cut all of the fabric for my 24 sets of lights and darks and Paula's 24 sets AND I only used scraps AND I didn't make a dent in the fabric stash!!!!! I packaged them up and set them aside and even brought them to the July retreat and then proceeded to bring them right back home. 

The September retreat is just around the bend, so Sunday was Snowball day in Florida.  I did manage to finish 24 sets of lights.  So either Paula or I are halfway done!!!

Here's a couple of pictures to show my progress:
This first one is my pretty packaging and I'm all ready to start sewing:  stack of blues, stack of browns, 2 stacks of lights and little stacks of the corners in lights and darks.  I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with my packaging.  Made transport very easy!!  Now if I could just figure out how to rotate the picture!!!  I edit and save them the way they are supposed to look and when I bring them over to the post they rotate - very frustrating!!!

Here's my first set of 24 lights all done!!!

At this rate I only need 3 more Sundays before I leave for the September retreat to finish them!!!  Today it's back to the Savannah I've been working on.  I should finish today - mitered border and that's all folks!!

Now, will I do another exchange - of course!!! What's a little stress in my life!!!! And I never even mentioned the stress that comes from knowing that other quilters are seeing my piecing!!!  Way too much stress for one blog post!!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

You made it!!!!!!

Congratulations, if you are reading this then the link worked and you have found our new site!!!!!!  Now go over to the right side and add your email address so you will receive email notification when I write a new blog post!!  You can also "share" the post you are reading on Facebook and Twitter - that would help us spread the word about Red Crinoline Quilts!!  Check out the list of blogs we like to read!  Also, any of the writing that appears in brown is an active link and when you click on the words it should take you directly to a website of some sort - Paula's collection on Marcus Fabrics, Red Crinoline Quilts or the website I was writing about.

So what do you think about our new site - isn't it pretty!!!!!  Thank you Heather Lynn (she is Gloria Parsons very talented daughter and also part of the design team of Olde Green Cupboard Designs) - we love it !!!  It's beautiful!!!!  Now that you're here, let's get busy.  I have so much to share with you today!!!  Where to start, where to start??? Ah, the retreat!!

The retreat was fantastic - good friends, good food, great times and I actually accomplished some things!!!  I finished the new quilt from Paula's new collection - Bordeaux and Sienna from Marcus Fabrics.  The quilting is already finished (thank you Cathy Peters of Longarm Quilting by Lynn Graham) and it's on its way for its"glamour" shot!!! Now it needs a name and a story and then it will be introduced at Fall Market - we will have kits on our website. I finished The Stacked Coins baby quilt (I forgot to take a picture, but I will when it comes back from the quilters) and completed a couple of other projects.  Check out these cool wristlets I made with some of the Hampton Ridge fabric and the wonderful teaching skills of my dear friend Lynn Rogers.  Thank you Lynn for your patience and your great sense of humor!!!!  The pattern is Lollipop Bags from Atkinson Designs.  

While I was gone Paula sent me fabric for a "re-do" of Arlington using some fabric from her Summit Rose collection from Marcus Fabrics.  I love piecing Arlington - 5 big pieced blocks, some big set-in side triangles, inner border, wide outer border and you're done!!!!  3" finished Spinning Stars for the blocks too!!!  We used the light grey and the border stripe from Summit Rose and the 2 black fabrics are from Paula Barnes Companions.  This one is heading off today to Crooked Creek Quilts for some gorgeous custom quilting!!!

Biggest news - we just added the new Sarah Emma kit to the website.  Click on the link and it will take you directly to our website where you can order your kit.  For this re-do, we used Paula's Townhouse Gardens collection from Marcus Fabrics.  This one in blues is so different from the original in browns and pinks.  I also love the story of Sarah Emma Edmonds, who enlisted in the Union Army as a man, Franklin Thompson.  In the Army, Emma, as Private Thompson served as a male nurse with the hospital unit of the 2nd Michigan Volunteers.  "Frank Thompson" later volunteered and served as spy for General McClellan.  Her book, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army, is a colorful account of her experiences. 

Now I'm working on a "re-do" of Savannah in Summit Rose and waiting for the fabric for a "re-do" of Harpers Ferry.  We're gearing up for Fall Market and Festival, so it's going to get really busy around here, but I wouldn't have it any other way!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen