Monday, October 31, 2011

Little Red

Every year, I resolve to do things in a more timely manner.  It's not exactly a new year's resolution type of thing because I have to re-resolve to do it every month or so.  And, sometimes my resolve works and sometimes it doesn't.  This past month, I planned (at the beginning of the month, of course) to make Maggie a halloween costume.  When I was little, my mother always made us costumes.  I thought it was so much fun to be able to have something unique, not something that we bought out of a plastic bag at Target.  (actually, there was no Target here at the time--it would have been more like Venture, or even Zayre--am I dating myself??).  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with costumes out of a plastic bag.  I have been known to use them myself from time to time.  But sometimes I feel that if you have the skill, why not use it?

At any rate, October would be one of those months after which I have to renew my resolution to do things in a more timely manner.  Actually I might go so far as to say I need to stop doing things at the last minute!  I finally got around to starting said halloween costume on Friday afternoon, and finished it on Saturday.  The idea all started with one of our favorite fairy tales:  Little Red Riding Hood.  Maggie loves to read that book!  She also shares our love of the movie Hoodwinked, a hilarious spoof on the classic fairy tale.  I decided that before Maggie started telling me what she'll be for Halloween, I'd take this opportunity to make a costume I wanted to make.  So, I snatched up a Simplicity pattern from JoAnn fabrics and some red flannel and made a day of it.

Garment sewing is not something that is intuitive to me because I do not do it very often.  So, this little cape probably took me longer than it should have.  But the important thing is I did get it done, and even took a few short cuts to make it go a little faster.  I was pretty happy with the results, given the fact that it is a costume.

I decided not to make the dress that went with the pattern.  It seemed like a lot of work for something she would never wear again.  Instead, I pulled out a fun Westminster print and One Yard Wonders from my sewing library.  Who said Little Red Riding Hood has to wear gingham?  I decided to make a skirt that she could wear again and enlisted the help of my friend Stephanie, who by the way, also designs patterns for Blue Underground Studios.

The skirt was our Saturday night project--talk about cutting things close!  I knew that I would have no time to sew on Sunday.  Someday, I really AM going to make good on the promise to use my time more effectively!

The result was adorable.  Unfortunately, Maggie is a little reticent to pose for pictures these days.  But I did manage to get some cute back shots of her cape while we were trick or treating and my sister held her still for a 30 second skirt shot on Sunday afternoon.

I love the way the skirt turned out.  She even wore to to church on Sunday!  So, already, it's been used more than once which makes me feel good about time spent.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Signing II

On Friday evening, Janine and I returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak.  Pieceful Heart fabrics in Lisle, IL was nice enough to host a book signing for us.  Janine and I actually met at this store about 8 years ago in a sewing class that she was teaching.  To make a long story short, she mentioned that she had a longarm and I hired her to quilt a couple of my unfinished tops.  And, as soon as I saw her longarm I decided that I had to have one!  So, I quit teaching junior high and high school history, convinced my dear husband that I needed a gigantic sewing machine at the same time Janine was thinking about teaching longarm classes.  As I started my longarm business, we got to know each other pretty well and the rest, as they say, was history.  Since then, we have about 50 patterns in print, and between the two of us and Janine's sister, we have probably about 150 quilts that go out as samples and trunk shows.  We spend A LOT of time with our suitcases, carrying quilts back and forth to various places....

On Friday, we brought all of the quilts from the book as well as a few other new ones to give a trunk show and a brief talk about Colorful Quilts for Fabric Lovers.  We had a ton of fun--Deb, who works at the shop, baked some amazing brownies and made whiskey balls, there was wine, and we spent the evening in a fabric-filled environment.  Pieceful Heart has some great finds!


Westminster Prints
But we really love the fact that at Pieceful Heart, you get to stand ON the cutting table to give your trunk show.  I haven't really stood on a desk (or cutting table for that matter) since I was teaching.  Especially in my junior high classes, I used to do it once in a while just to grab the girls' attention.  Most  students do not expect to find their teacher standing on the desk when they get to the classroom!  Janine usually shows the quilts.  Here she is, post-trunk show:

Thanks to all the ladies who work at the shop and made the evening a great success.  And, thanks to everyone who came out to meet us!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rear Window with Soul

Earlier this year while I was browsing the aisles at Patched Works in Elm Grove, WI, the shop owner asked if we had ever made any of our quilts with Amy Butler prints.  I had used Amy's prints here and there in our samples, but never for the whole quilt.  However, I had been eyeing what was at the time her latest collection and was looking for an excuse to buy some and make a sample with it.  As it turned out that summer day, a quick question was all the encouragement I needed to acquire a neat little stack of Soul Blossoms in what I am calling the blue/green colorway.  I decided to narrow down the palette instead of using the entire collection because the fabrics are very eclectic in style.  This particular quilt only finishes 54" x 63"-- too small to add all of the fabrics in the collection and still get a cohesive look.  So, I narrowed it down to about ten different fabrics.  And I knew right there at the cutting table that I was going to use white kona solid as the frames.  I am happy with the way this top turned out.  It has a fresh, springy look to it--very contrary to our current weather in Chicago!

The quilt is now in line to be quilted at Patched Works.  Stay tuned for future pictures, or, go and check it out for yourself.  They will have the quilt on display in the coming months and you can get some Soul Blossoms of your own as they stock much of the line.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Because I can.....

I am always telling myself how nice it is to work at home.  You can go grocery shopping in the morning, when the store is less crowded.  You can go the the mall on the weekdays, when the mall is less crowded.     You can watch daytime TV--if you are into that sort of thing.  You can get to know the small children and retired people in your neighborhood.  Or, you can take a day to hang out with your family at places like the Chicago Botanic Garden...when they are less crowded.  I am very into the 'less crowded' thing.  

So today, because I can, I took Maggie to the Botanic Gardens.  It was a mother-daughter bonding day--the first of many I am hoping!  

Not to get all corny, but spending a day amid such beautiful surroundings helps me recharge my batteries and look forward to our lecture and trunk show tomorrow in Steger, IL.

Maggie's favorite part of the day was the Model Railroad garden.  After all, where else can you go from one coast to the other in a matter of minutes??

My favorite part of the day:  spending it with Maggie :-).

And to top off this lovely experience, these were waiting for me at my doorstep when we arrived home...Some new Amy Butler prints as well as a mix of some other Westminster prints!

Oh how I do love working at home....

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book Signing!

Last night Julie and the wonderful staff at Patched Works in Elm Grove, WI hosted a book signing party for Colorful Quilts.  If you have never been to Patched Works, it's time to get in the car and take a road trip.  Julie stocks about 8,000 bolts of fabric in a wide variety of styles!  Our favorites happen to be her batik and kona solid sections but she also carries a wide variety of Moda, halloween, novelty, childrens and Westminster fabrics.  And, if your travels make you hungry, stop in at Le Cakery (it's right next door!) and have a soup and sandwich....and something sweet for desert.

We had a great time showing the quilts from the book and talking a little bit about the process of writing it from start to finish.  I love all of the quilts in the book, but two of my favorites at the moment are the cover quilt:  Club Noir, and Union Station.  Both are pictured below:

Thanks to everyone who joined us--especially my dear mother, sisters and niece Josie!  I am hoping she gets the quilting bug soon:-).

If you weren't able to join us last night, we'll be at Pieceful Heart fabrics in Lisle, IL this coming Friday and at Quilter's Destination in Arlington Heights, IL in November.  Hope to see you there!