Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Sunday

Today brought back so many memories.  When I taught school in New York, this was always the "last hurrah of the summer" day.  Labor Day was the day to make sure you had everything ready for school because Tuesday was Teacher workshop day and Wednesday was the first day of school.  I found myself eager to do something different, maybe even be outside and then I remembered I live in Florida and we are currently experiencing sauna-type weather.  Being outside isn't really on anyone's list at this point - unless you plan to sit in the pool all day!!  So I decided to have a personal sewing day instead.

I turned the TV on to NCIS and spent the afternoon making baby quilts with Gibbs, Tony, McGee, Ziva, Ducky and Abby - a perfectly wonderful day.  I'm in need of 2 baby boy quilts, so I dug out my charm packs of "Oink-A-Doodle-Moo" from Moda and with the Stacked Coins pattern in hand (Moda Bake Shop), I completed two baby quilt tops!!!! Hurray for me!!  They need a good pressing, but here they are with the pretty turquoise fabric that will the backing and the binding.  Cross 2 baby quilts off my "Long Term" To Do list.

I also promised you a picture of the blue/brown quilt.  I pressed it up on Saturday, so now I can share.  It is on its way to the quilter - thank you FedEx!

I also wanted to tell you about our upcoming sale - "Seven Days of Sales".  Starting on Monday, September 1st, we will have 1 quilt kit on sale per day.  That's 7 different kits over the next 7 days.  Each kit will be 30% off.  Tomorrow's kit is Old Abe, but you will have to check the website each day to see which one will be on sale next!!  Hopefully it will be one you've been eying!!

My other plan for today was to be able to share a sunset picture with you.  It was a beautiful, sunny day, so Peter and I planned on dinner out at the beach with a side of sunset to go with it.  About an hour before we planned to head out, the thunder rolled in and then the rain.  Needless to say, no sunset picture to share! Bummer!!  Another one of the joys of Florida summer weather - late afternoon storms!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Friday, August 29, 2014

Retreat Update

Another fabulous Camp Blanding quilt retreat is over!  Thank you Gloria (Olde Green Cupboard Designs) for planning such a fantastic weekend.  It's a 3 hour drive from St. Pete to Starke, FL, so I leave on Thursday and help Gloria and the gang set up for the ladies that arrive at 8 AM on Friday.  Tradition requires our Thursday dinner is at Sonny's BBQ in Starke and I certainly didn't miss out on my chance to have wings, mac & cheese, Diet Coke and some Lance crackers (love those things!)

My yummy meal!
 Gloria's daughter Heather was preparing a jewelry sale as a fundraiser for MyHaloProject -
"a Christian volunteer organization dedicated to supporting and giving a voice to the orphans of Christ's Children's Home in Liberia, West Africa through financial sponsorship, relationship building, supervision, training, and oversight." 
 It was a pre and post dinner activity and at some point "the ladies" decided to "bling it out" and wear some of the jewelry.  The fundraiser was a huge success as the quilters shopped for  family and friends, and of course themselves.  If you are interested in making a donation to this very worthwhile cause or in purchasing some jewelry, Heather has begun to post the jewelry on the website.  Check it out here: Jewelry Fundraiser.  They are also collecting items and funds for the orphanage as they prepare to contain themselves during the ebola virus outbreak.  Information is on their website.

Heather, Vicky, Pat and Gloria - blinging it out!!

The days (and nights) were spent sewing, chatting, eating (there's a lot of that) and basically just having a great time.  I finished the blue/brown quilt - pictures to come later - and started on the new 2-color quilt.  Oh, I forgot, we shopped too!  Karen, owner of Cinnamon's Quilt Shop in Jacksonville, sets up a mini-store and I bought a couple of things in there!  Heaven forbid I should go home empty-handed!

One of the ladies shared her completed Cotton Club quilt.  Congratulations Sandra Sontag on a job well-done. Check out the quilting by Sharon Robinson.  What a team!!
Sandra and her finished Cotton Club
Sharon's exquisite quilting!

Camp Blanding sits on Kingsley Lake and we stayed in one of the houses that is right on the lake.  Beautiful morning views and great sunsets.  It's really everything you ever wanted in a retreat!! Oh yeah and men in uniform - Camp Blanding is an Air National Guard Joint Training Center!

We also had a special friend join us at this retreat - Joyce Weeks of Geoff's Mom Pattern Company. Joyce was with us on Gloria's quilt cruise in June and had such a great time that she decided to join us at one of Gloria's retreats. Joyce is from Utah, so being in Florida during the summer was quite a different experience.  We may talk about our heat and humidity, but you have to experience it to really understand it!!! I don't think we scared her away!! I saw her writing down the dates of future retreats in her calendar!!

Just a reminder that today is week 5/block 5 of the Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along! We're half way done!! Today you will meet Gloria Parsons of Olde Green Cupboard Designs. Gloria will probably tell you that she is 1/3 of Olde Green Cupboard Designs and that Vicky and Heather complete the team.  She probably won't tell you that it took forever for Paula and I to realize that she and Vicky are twins!!  At the first Festival we both vended at, Paula and I thought Gloria and Vicky were the same person and we couldn't figure out why her clothes and hairstyle changed every time we saw her!! Yeah, pretty embarrassing (and dumb)!!  We have all enjoyed your comments and are very glad you are joining us on this adventure.  We hope you are having fun too, because that's what it is all about!!  

I checked our kit inventory and we only have 6 kits left for the Sew-Along.  You can still order the kits on our website.  We will not be reordering the fabric, so order now if you still want a kit.

Time to get to the sewing machine.  The 2 color quilt and a backing for the blue/brown quilt are calling my name!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Retreat Time

First, just a reminder that tomorrow (Friday, August 22nd) is week 4/block 4 on the Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along.  This week's block was designed by Pati Violick of Marcus Fabrics.  Pati is Director of Advertising & Marketing.  I think you will enjoy meeting her and hearing about her exciting job - hello, she gets to play with fabric too!!!  She probably won't tell you that she is also the person that plans all of the fabulous designer dinners we have when we are at Market, so I'm sharing that.  She manages to find the best restaurants for these dinners and we have a fantastic time!!!  Hmm, making me hungry just thinking about it!!  Wonder where we'll be going for Fall Market in Houston???

Also, we have just a couple of kits left and we will not be reordering fabric for any additional ones.  If you are interested, check out our website.  Get one before they are gone!!  Marcus Fabrics Sew-Along kitsYou can still join us on this Sew-Along adventure.  Here's the schedule for the designer blog posts.  This is week 4, but all of the designers are including a downloadable/printable version of their block, so just go to their post for their block and print.  You can still catch up. Be sure to sign up on the other blogs to receive emails for the remaining blocks.

8/1                        Pam Buda ~ Heartspun Quilts                        
8/8                        Paula Barnes ~ Red Crinoline Quilts           
8/15                      Sarah Maxwell ~ Homestead Hearth                          
8/22                      Pati Violick ~ Marcus Fabrics                       
8/29                      Gloria Parsons ~ Olde Green Cupboard       
9/5                        Nancy Rink ~ Nancy Rink Designs                 
9/12                      Mary Ellen Robison~Red Crinoline Quilts
9/19                      Dolores Smith ~ Homestead Hearth             
9/26                      Lisa Shepard ~ Marcus Fabrics                     
10/3                      Red Crinoline Quilts ~ Quilt Revealed!      

And now to the retreat: YES, today I am leaving for another retreat at Camp Blanding - friends (about 100+ of my closest), food, fun and fabric!  There can't be a better way to spend a weekend!!!  The car is packed: sewing projects, sewing machine, chair, SewEzi table, assorted other tables, sewing supplies and some snacks.  I even baked this morning!  I guess I should have given you a warning about that!  I hope you were sitting down!  Now don't get too excited, they were just that frozen cookie dough you buy from your grandchildren, nieces, nephews and random neighborhood children!  They are back in school and will soon be  pushing a new fundraiser, so I figured I had better bake up the ones I had in the freezer.  Tasted 2 and they are good to go!! Don't they look yummy!

I'll be working on Market quilts at the retreat:  blue and brown combo and a 2 color combo.  If there's time, I'll probably work on the Churn Dash exchange that is due at the September retreat!  Rumor has it, Paula is working on a plan for our next one!!  They never end and I never say no!!
I actually have the blocks done on this one, so it just needs to be pieced together!

The fabric is all cut and ready to go! Let the piecing begin!!

Time to get on the road. A group of us have meals planned for Friday thru Sunday, but tonight is our visit to Sonny's!!  I see wings and mac and cheese in my future and maybe Diane will order those corn nugget things - they are pretty yummy too!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tomorrow - block #3

The Sew-Along continues tomorrow with block #3 from Sarah Maxwell from Homestead Hearth. Thank you so much for your great comments.  It sounds like you are really enjoying the Sew-Along and we love to hear that. In case you didn't see Pam's post from the other day, we now have a Yahoo Group for the Friends & Companions sew-along!!  Our thanks to Erica H. from Alaska for taking the time to set all of this up and be the group moderator.  Click here to see the Yahoo Group site.

Now it seems like I had a bit of a Senior Moment the other day.  The picture of the finished block in the downloadable/printable version of the directions was actually a mirror image of the block, so I corrected it and posted it in the next blog post and then discovered that the link didn't go to the directions - ugh!!  So, I reposted with the corrected directions again, but realized that you might not have even noticed because the post looked exactly the same as the one with the incorrect link.  Soooo, I figured I would just put the corrected link here - corrected downloadable/printable version of block #2.  Thank you for bearing with me through my Senior Moment!!

Paula did a kit inventory the other day and discovered that we have a couple of kits with very low inventory - 1,2,or 3 kits only.  I thought I would share them here. All of these kits contain the fabrics that are in the samples.  Most of these fabrics are no longer available and once the kits are gone, we will no longer be kitting these quilts.  Each kit listed here links to it on our website, so check them out. Baskets of Plenty, Harper's Ferry, A House Divided, and Legacy.

Summer is drawing to an end and many of us are starting to think about possible vacations for next year.  Paula and I love quilt cruises and she's been invited to teach on another one - YAY!! Rose Ann Cook of Quilter's Emporium in Stafford, TX has planned a quilt cruise on the Carnival Magic from February 1-8, 2015.  The cruise leaves from Galveston, TX.  Three days at sea for classes and stops in Key West, and Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas. For more information, check our website: Carnival Magic cruise.

I've been working on Soldiers' Waltz, our new quilt with Landon Creek.  You've seen some of the fabrics, so I thought I would share some of the quilt itself. All I can say is WOW!! I'm almost to the border stage - oh yeah, 3 of those borders to be exact.  Fabric for quilt #2 has arrived and is waiting in the wings.  #3 is designed also and fabric should arrive any day now.  Looks like I'm going to be busy for a while - YAY!!!

Remember to visit Homestead Hearth tomorrow for block #3!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Monday, August 11, 2014

Congratulations to our winners!!

Week #2 of the Marcus Friends and Companions Sew-Along has come to a close and we would like to thank all of you for your wonderful comments.  You certainly boosted our self-esteem!!  We also had a couple of sharp-eyed readers who noticed an error in the downloadable version of the instructions.  Somehow the picture of the finished block flipped and became a mirror image of the actual finished block.  I don't know how that happened and probably never will, but we've gone in and corrected it.  Click here for the corrected printable/downloadable version of the instructions. (corrected 8/11 AM)

And now to our lucky winners!!  All of the comments were great and thank you again, but the random generator selected 3 comments that will each receive one of our newest patterns, Parker's Crossing, and 5 fat quarters from R & B Taverns, the collection that was featured in the quilt. 

Jeannette: I love sew alongs! Thanks for this one. Any civil war Repro fabrics that Marcus Brothers does always become my favorites. I especially like red and tan fabrics. They always look so good together especially if blues and blacks are added. I don't do plaids or stripes. They intimidate me! I think you have a golden retriever

Rosa: Love your block and love your fabric choice.
My favorite color is green but I`m doing Dear Jane in blue fabrics and so this summers I`m playing with blues.
There are many favorites collection and hard to choose only one.. Prairie stitches,OldeTownhouse,Victoria par,home for holidays...
I love stripes and plaids.
You have a Shepherd?
Have a great weekend!

Angiebaby: I love all the reproduction prints any thing primitive. Maybe your dog is an English springer spaniel like mine. What ever she is I'm sure she special. Love the blocks I'm excited about doing this quilt. My first sew along quilt.

Winners, please send an email with address information to: .

We loved all the comments and Paula particularly enjoyed your "ID Paula's dog" answers. All great answers and good dog breeds, but sorry no one got it right.  Claire is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.  She is a sweetie and as is evidenced by the picture with granddaughter Sophie, also a princess! She is the fourth Cavalier that has been part of Paula's family over the past decade!!

This week's blog post also sparked a reader to send in a photo of her own Lizzie's Scrap Bag.  Louise, from Washington, just finished hers at a quilt retreat.  Congratulations Louise on a job well done.  Your quilt is beautiful!!

Are you ready for your next block? Block #3 from Sarah Maxwell of Homestead Hearth will be available on Friday, August 15. If you are just joining us, here's the schedule of the blocks and their designers:

8/1                        Pam Buda ~ Heartspun Quilts                        
8/8                        Paula Barnes ~ Red Crinoline Quilts           
8/15                      Sarah Maxwell ~ Homestead Hearth                          
8/22                      Pati Violick ~ Marcus Fabrics                       
8/29                      Gloria Parsons ~ Olde Green Cupboard       
9/5                        Nancy Rink ~ Nancy Rink Designs                 
9/12                      Mary Ellen Robison~Red Crinoline Quilts
9/19                      Dolores Smith ~ Homestead Hearth             
9/26                      Lisa Shepard ~ Marcus Fabrics                     
10/3                      Red Crinoline Quilts ~ Quilt Revealed!      
We have just a few kits left.  If you place an order, we will ship within a day and you will be able to get your first 2 blocks done before it's time to start block 3!!  Click here for the kits on our website. 

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Friday, August 8, 2014

Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along Week #2

Welcome to stop #2 on our first ever Marcus Fabrics Designer Sew-Along!

I'm so glad to introduce myself... I'm Paula Barnes and I'm so happy you have decided to join us for our Sew-Along.  Let me tell you a little something about myself.  I'm a mother of 3 grown daughters and grandmother or MIMI to 1 granddaughter and 1 grandson.  I live in the Houston area and have a dog named Claire.  I taught in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for over 25 years and over the last 7 years I have had the opportunity to travel and teach at various shops and quilt guilds throughout the US.

In 2005, Bonnie Blue Quilts was launched as an online store that sold fabric, kits and patterns and in 2011 we changed our name to Red Crinoline Quilts and changed the scope of the business. We no longer carry fabric by the yard on our website and we don't travel and vend at quilt shows anymore.  Mary Ellen Robison and I are the co-owners.  It's a partnership that works for us.  You see, I get to design fabric with Marcus Brothers and design the quilt patterns for Red Crinoline Quilts and Mary Ellen gets to piece all of these beautiful quilts and work with our devoted customers.  We each wear many hats!

At Red Crinoline Quilts we love vintage and reproduction quilts. I am an avid collector of antique quilts and antique textiles which I use in my design process.  Check out the Red Crinoline Quilts website for all of our patternsMy newest fabric collection with Marcus Fabrics is Landon Creek and it will be featured in my newest quilt design, Soldier's Waltz.

Many of our design collaborations have been featured in American Patchwork and Quilting, McCalls Quilting, Primitive Quilts and Other Projects, 100 Quilt Blocks and Quilt Mania.  Our Lizzie's Scrap Bag is featured in the recent issue of Quilt Mania #101 and kits are available on our website.   A new Gettyburg quilt will be featured in the upcoming Primitive Quilts and Other Projects.

And now here is my block, block #2.  Happy piecing!!

Marcus Fabrics - Friends and Companions Sew-Along
Paula Barnes' Block

Cutting Instructions:
     Light print  -
          Cut (2) 3" squares
          Cut (2) 2" squares

     Green print -
           Cut (6) 3" squares

     Black print -
           Cut (4) 3" squares
           Cut (2) 2" squares
           Cut (4) 1 1/2" squares

     Cheddar print -
           Cut (4) 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles

     1. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the (2) light 2" squares.
         Pair each with a 2" black print square.

     2. Sew 1/4" on each side of the pencil line.
         Cut along the pencil line.

     3. Press to the dark and trim all 4 squares to 1 1/2" square.

     4. Sew 1 1/2" black print squares to 1 1/2" half square triangles.
         Press to the dark.  Make 4 units.  Each unit measures 1 1/2"x 2 1/2".

     5. Sew cheddar rectangles to previous units. Press to the cheddar.
         Make 4 units.  Each unit measures 2 1/2" square.

     6. Sew the 4 units into a 4 patch unit. Press seams open.
         Make 1 unit measuring 4 1/2" square.

     7. Repeat steps 1 & 2 using the (2) 3" light squares and (2) 3" green print squares.
         Trim each of the 4 half square triangles to 2 1/2" square.

     8. Repeat steps 1 & 2 using the (4) 3" black print squares and (4) 3" green print squares.
         Trim each of the 8 half square triangles to 2 1/2" square.

     9. Sew 2 black/green half square triangles together. 
         Press seams open.
         Make 4 units each measuring 2 1/2" x 4 1/2".

   10. Arrange the block units as shown.  Sew together in rows.
         Press for opposing seams.

   11. Sew rows together. Press seams away from center row.
         Your block should measure 8 1/2" unfinished.

Click here for a downloadable/printable version of the block 2 instructions.

Well, I hope you enjoyed making my block and that you are looking forward to making the rest of the quilt.  Don't forget we're also giving away prizes!!  Three winners will be selected from your comments.  I mentioned I designed for Marcus Fabrics.  Do you have a favorite collection - doesn't have to be mine?  What colors are your favorites?  Do you like to work with stripes and plaids? And just for fun, what kind of dog do you think I have?  Winners will be announced on the blog on Monday, August 11th.  Looking forward to hearing from you!

If this is the first you've heard about our Marcus Designer Sew-Along and would like to participate, you can click here for all of the details.  It's not too late to join us and we even have a few kits left.  Click here to see our kits.
Here's the list of designers, their blog post date and links to their blogs.

8/1                        Pam Buda ~ Heartspun Quilts                        
8/8                        Paula Barnes ~ Red Crinoline Quilts           
8/15                      Sarah Maxwell ~ Homestead Hearth                          
8/22                      Pati Violick ~ Marcus Fabrics                       
8/29                      Gloria Parsons ~ Olde Green Cupboard       
9/5                        Nancy Rink ~ Nancy Rink Designs                 
9/12                      Mary Ellen Robison~Red Crinoline Quilts
9/19                      Dolores Smith ~ Homestead Hearth             
9/26                      Lisa Shepard ~ Marcus Fabrics                     
10/3                      Red Crinoline Quilts ~ Quilt Revealed!      

Thank you for joining me today!

ME here - Paula was guest blogger today!!  I'll be back Monday!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

One of those days

I was talking to Paula this morning and telling her I wasn't feeling very motivated today and that I thought I would go to the movies - Diet Coke and movie popcorn are 2 of my favorite things!!  I did a few little things and then headed out to see the new Michael Douglas/Diane Keaton movie - "And So It Goes" - I thoroughly enjoyed it, but then I have always wanted to be Diane Keaton.  I love how she wears all white or black and white and just looks so good in it. I would say that's who I want to be when I grow up, but I think we're the same age!!

I think my lack of motivation was coming from my strange week.  Peter is traveling this week - 1st of 3 in a row - but that doesn't usually bother me.  It could be the fact that there is no one around here!!  My sister-in-law and her family (they live next door) are away for the week and Caitlin is on her first business trip (new job).  My only companion is Copper - Caitlin's dog!!  Now he is a beautiful dog and is very well-behaved, but I am definitely missing some adult conversation!!  I took Copper to the dog park this morning and I found myself talking to the other dog owners and wishing I could spend more time there.  I can't imagine what would have happened if I had gone to the grocery store!!!  Good news - Caitlin gets home Thursday, so she'll come and get Copper, but Peter arrives home Thursday night. Adult conversation is in my future!!
He loves going out in the car and this time we're going to the dog park - happy dog!

Copper loves the sun and will sit out here and sunbathe!

I've been keeping myself busy with a new quilt that Paula designed.  The fabric arrived last week and I really got into the piecing by Saturday.  The quilt is Soldier's Waltz and features Paula's newest collection with Marcus Fabrics,  Landon Creek - fabulous reds, golds and blacks. The quilt has lots of flying geese and half-square triangles. As a result of the flying geese, I was left with a pile of triangles (from the trimming).  I stitched them all up and now I have a pile of potential 1 1/2" unfinished half-square triangles.  I passed on the responsibility of designing something for these little beauties to Paula - after all she is the designer!!
Landon Creek
Just a couple of the flying geese I made this weekend.
My pile of half-square triangles - just need pressing and trimming!!

I've also been working on the SAL blog posts.  I want to be sure we have everything ready for you.  I've been stalking Pam's blog and reading your comments on her post.  Thank you for all of the nice things you've said about Paula and I and Red Crinoline Quilts.  We truly appreciate that.  Paula's post is Friday and it will be Block #2.  Have you signed up for receiving all of the posts by email?  I believe you can do that on all of the designer blogs.  We will also all have a downloadable version of each block available on the designer's blog post.  Remember we are each giving away prizes to 3 lucky winners; you just have to leave a comment on the blog.  Now isn't that easy!!  We have a few kits left, but they are going fast, so if you are interested click here:  Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along kits.

Pre-Market frenzy has hit us and Paula has designed 2 new quilts in the past 2 days!!  Guess I'm going to be busy for awhile!!  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I'm taking a little break this weekend and heading to Gloria's for an old-fashioned sew-in.  She's invited a bunch of friends and we're heading out to the newly renovated bunkhouse at Tucker's Farmhouse for a day of hand sewing.  Can't wait!!!  Friends and I'm sure some good food - how can you go wrongg??

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen