Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quilts with Breakfast

How often do you walk into a restaurant and see quilts hanging on the walls? This is not the first time this has happened to me and I'm beginning to think they follow me around, just waiting to be noticed. One day last week my son and I needed to go shopping for a few things and stopped for breakfast before we set out. As we walked along looking for someplace to eat I was thinking about small quilts and what I should write about on my blog - yet another shopping trip? Seems like that's all I've been doing lately - how boring.

We picked a random restaurant near this one store he wanted to go to and when we walked in -  there were quilts hanging on the walls! How unusual is that? I never go into restaurants and see quilts and now it's happened twice. I'm thinking it's some kind of karma. I'll have a cup of coffee . . . and 2 quilts, please.

He was a little embarrassed but very patient with me as I pulled out my camera. At least I turned the flash off so as not to draw too much attention to our table . . .

I did sneak off to the bathroom because I had to get a shot of this one. On the green wall.

On our way out, I asked the young man at the cash register if he knew who had made the quilts and he said he wasn't sure -  his mom, he thought.  Sounded like no one had ever asked before because he was surprised at my question. I told him I thought they were very nice and that I really appreciated how they added to the  "ambiance" of the restaurant. I hope he told his mom. After I got home I inquired a little further and found out that they were made by Martha Beard. Thanks, Martha! What an unexpected but pleasant surprise. We need more quilts in restaurants and other public places to lift us up and inspire us.

Monday, August 29, 2011

American Schoolgirl Doll Quilt Patterns

You may remember that last year I started a 6-month club called the American Schoolgirl Club that offered monthly patterns for doll quilts with a little bit of an antique look and a touch of history. I have run the club several times since then and there are still members getting their quilt patterns every month. Recently, I ran out of complete sets of the patterns and so have discontinued the Club. Instead of spending the money to print up more of these same patterns, I decided to just offer the remaining ones that are left for sale on my website, so click here if you're interested in buying the individual patterns. They are all very cute and each pattern comes in a little booklet with some historical information about the quilt or time period.There are not many left.

Those of you who have joined the club in the past few months - don't worry, I have enough to finish your club subscriptions and you will continue to get your patterns every month until you receive all six.

I'm not sure if I will design a new club someday. This  one was very popular and I would like to try to create a new one sometime next year if I have the time and energy. I'm still now just getting back to working on things and after my daughter goes to school the next thing on the agenda is making the little quilt for my retreat in October.

So that's all I have for now until I get back in the swing of things and decide if I will actually write another book someday. Who knows what's next? The thought of it stresses me out a bit right now, LOL. So much work. My thanks to all of you who continue to love the little quilts and keep me inspired to design more!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Quilting Bug

Yay! I finished the college quilt for my daughter last night and am taking it to the quilter today. Now we just have to wait. But it's not like we still don't have a million things to do in the meantime before she goes to school.

The other day we spent several hours at a quilt shop picking out the borders and backing fabric for the quilt. Or at least it seemed like SEVERAL hours. I love a good quilt shop but  . . . Sheesh.

I was patient. Mostly I restrained myself and stood back and let her do it herself. Many of the blocks in the quilt were made with reproduction fabrics she picked out from my collection at home. I followed her around the shop and found my own favorites for the borders but she didn't like my choices at all so I just kept quiet.

The shop owner said - "She has very strong opinions." So true, but not sure that was a compliment. LOL, if she only knew . . .

I decided I would not even attempt to tell her what fabric to pick for her special quilt - those were the rules. I would make it if she would pick out the fabric. Sneaky of me?? You bet. I demanded a little involvement on her part. You should know that my daughter does not quilt. "That's YOUR thing, Mom," she always says. But when we left the shop I could see that twinkle in her eye and she said it was SO much fun! I had quietly watched her walking around the shop, lovingly touching the fabrics. Paying attention to the wonderful quilting designs on the quilts hanging on the walls. Studying the different types of fabrics. Noting designers. It was not a bad experience. So maybe there's hope, maybe someday she'll get the bug. Or perhaps she already has, who knows?

It all went together in the end. Can't wait for it to be quilted.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Old Quilts

My friend Julia felt sorry for me after reading my recent blog post about not buying any antique quilts for awhile and so the other day she came over with this vintage Apple Core quilt - for ME!

Seems she was shopping and it just whispered my name to her. It's very scrappy and pieced and quilted by hand. Although it has a few worn spots it's beautiful nonetheless. You know how I love checks and plaids . . . . and apples too! This one would be very cute in a small size and I remember seeing a pattern for a very colorful scrappy one made by Cindy Blackberg in a Jo Morton book. Cindy Blackberg sells the stamps on her website. One more for the list!

It sure looks like the quilter used up scraps from her scrap basket - maybe pieces of old shirts and worn housedresses.  I love the occasional patch of a black print next to the pastels. Very striking, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ties to the Past

Doll quilts from the past stir our hearts and engage our emotions with their simple blocks and imperfect stitches. It's fun to imagine what kinds of quilts children may have made and played with long ago and making little scrappy quilts certainly brings the past alive, doesn't it?

Here's one of my recent finds - a little Bow Tie quilt. I've always always wanted to make one and just haven't gotten around to it. Then BOOM! I found one already made. What luck!

Love those checks!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More Shopping

I can't believe how much shopping I've done this summer. Trips to IKEA are always fun and a great way to save money when both of your kids have new places to live but don't exactly have jobs yet.

What a deal!

My son just got an apartment and needed a few things to make it liveable. He's working on the job thing - meanwhile, he's going back to school.

This - or THIS?  Always best to bring the girlfriend along to make sure you get the right things.

My daughter will be going off to her school soon and you know how boring those dorm rooms can be if you don't spruce them up a bit.

What a decision! Black, silver or purple? Not sure how functional it is, but  pretty cool nonetheless and sure to be a big hit on campus. 

Everybody needs some bright-colored fake flowers when they go off to college, am I right?? (My fault - she watched way too much HGTV as a child, I'm afraid.)

He makes friends easily wherever he goes . . .

All I can say is, thank goodness we went to IKEA and not Pottery Barn. My daughter and I have a few more shopping trips to go before she's ready to go off to school, her new life. Let's see:  X-Long sheets, towels, shower caddy, mini-frig, and . . . oh yeah, a QUILT, in case I don't finish the one I'm supposed to be making for her . . . 

I'll have all the rows sewn together by tomorrow. I promise.

This empty nest thing  - it's very emotional if I take the time to sit and think about it. Better to keep busy. It occurred to me that maybe I'm dragging my feet on this quilt because subconsciously I'm thinking, if I don't make the quilt . . . perhaps she won't leave??? You know what my husband would say to that -  "Honey, I think you think too much." What does HE know. I'm missing them already . . .

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I Brake for Antique Shops

Earlier this week I drove down to southern Illinois to visit the TNT Guild in Glen Carbon, IL for a presentation. Such a fun group of ladies! And boy can they bake. Ask me how I know . . . .

It sure looks like they were laughing at my quilts, but I'm positive there was something else funny going on . . . just quilters having a good time.

Look - there's Mr Tracy, working hard behind the scenes, helping me take down my presentation while I packed up my quilts. He's usually sneaking around taking pictures of me with silly expressions on my face but I stole the camera and got him this time while he wasn't looking.

On the way back home the next day we stopped at a few antique shops -

Sometimes I'll see an antique quilt that I like but instead of feeling like I need to buy it I think - Hmmm, if I made  this one myself I'd use different fabrics, ones I really like. No uglies, LOL. I know,  I know, let's not start THAT conversation again  . . . I happen to really like my pretty fabrics.

I almost never see quilts when I visit antique shops in my area, so it was fun to see so many. There were quite a few, but none that I really craved. Most were not very affordable ( TWO kids in college soon) or too worn in places or just not my style. I always think I can probably reproduce a few easily enough in small format.

Oohh, isn't this like the one I saw in the magazine last month??

Most of the ones I liked and could afford were very worn in spots. I already have a couple of antique quilts in need of repair, do not need any more.

I do love the really simple antique quilts -  no frills here.

Thought about buying these blocks but didn't really like the colors on the others. Would I even put them together anyway?

Bought these instead, to make some small 6-pointed stars, along with some older blue-grey Jo Morton fabric I ran out of a few years ago. I am always on the lookout for more. Lucky me!

Nice to see that my old set of Pfaltzgraff dishes like these (packed away in the basement) are collectible . . . I knew if I waited long enough they'd become antiques.

Lots of Pinks and Blues . . . . Don't you love how the quilter probably ran out of fabric and said "Oh well" and then substituted the checked square in the block above? Just like me, LOL.

I've never seen this pattern before.

Although I mostly just showed you quilts, you never know what else you can get a deal on at some of these antique shops in the country -  UFO anyone?

How about a hat for the next Royal Wedding??

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Doll Quilt Retreat

Only one more week to sign up for the Small Quilt Retreat! October 7 - 9, 2011 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. With me and others who love to make small quilts. We could use a few more people to make it even funner . . . 

My classes are Super FUN! Just ask her . . .

Look at the great time she's having - Would she lie to you??

I have a few things planned for the weekend - a workshop to make a NEW little quilt.  I haven't designed it yet though (puh-leeze! My knee, remember? It hurts when I press pedal to metal  . . . ) but I will and I'm thinking Fall colors. Mine will have blue in it too, of course. Tips on how to get that old-fashioned look in your doll quilts. A Show & Tell where you can all bring the little quilts you've made and also a trunk show of some quilts from my books. A fabric or block swap. A race to make a cute little Needle Case if we have time.

I'll figure it all out as we get closer to October. I cannot WAIT for Fall after this hot hot summer we've had. Fall in Wisconsin is wonderful. Maybe I'll bring some bratwurst and we can have our own little Octoberfest! It IS Wisconsin, after all . . . Who knows, maybe S'mores too if they trust us around a bonfire . . .

If I have the nerve, I will bring the FIRST quilt I ever made to show everyone. If you promise not to laugh . . . I keep it around as a reminder of how far I've come.

So c'mon, time's a wasting people - get going and sign up. I need a few more people to fill it up. (Find my contact  e-mail at the top of the page under My Profile.)  It would really be fun to meet some of you I have "talked" with online.

Making little quilts all weekend - What could be better??


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