Saturday, November 26, 2016

Books Are Here!

Can you believe it's finally here?  After I came back from the craft sale yesterday afternoon, I found that boxes of my new book had arrived. Yay! Those of you who ordered signed books from me - I have started signing them today and will try to get them all out in the mail next week. As always, I go down my list - first come, first served. The first batch will go out on Monday and if you ordered early you should get yours very soon. 

If you ordered a book from my website and did not include anything in the inscription box, the book will arrive with my signature. If you prefer a personal inscription and did not fill that out when you ordered, I'm being nice and giving you a second chance. Send me a quick e-mail to let me know how you would like it signed and I'll do my best to accommodate. Envelopes will be sealed and mailed soon so if you really, really care to have your book personalized, e-mail me before Monday, November 28.

Thank you all so much! I gotta say -  this never gets old. The fifth one is just as exciting as the first one. (Hah, I sure hope my mom said that too, many, many years ago - I was the fifth girl she gave birth to . . . . ) 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Craft Sale

Every Friday after Thanksgiving I go to my friend Karen's Black Friday craft sale at her home.  I had a great time and, of course, did not go home empty handed. Those of you who live in the Elgin, IL area should go over and take a look - she'll be open tomorrow, Saturday. Here's a peek -

Not for sale, Darn.  Made for Karen by Jennifer M. 

Another lovely gift from Jennifer!

I bought the tray along with a few other goodies. 

This time I got a more extensive tour of the Schultz home.

Love this rug . . . 

Ran into Cheryl Barkdoll from the Small Quilt Talk group. 

On my way out, my car would not start. I figured something like this would happen soon especially since just yesterday I mentioned how grateful I was that my car was still running (it's old but not quite dead yet). I called Triple A and waited for over an hour for someone to come out and take a look or give me a jump start. Got tired of waiting so I tried it again and lo and behold it started that time. I made it home and immediately drove over to my friendly neighborhood auto service station. Yep, it just needed a new battery. They fixed me right up in an hour and despite all of that, it was still a very happy Day-After Thanksgiving. I think it's time for some leftover pie . . . 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving, Book News!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! So much to be thankful for. Thanks to all of you who have supported me so much over the years through this blog, my books and clubs and my small quilt groups so I can do what I love and hopefully pass some inspiration along to you. You are all very special to me and I'm grateful for the many friends I've made on my quilting journey. 

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Great news! I have it on good authority (UPS tracking) that boxes of my new book - Small & Scrappy - will be here very, very soon. I may even have my copies before November is over, barring any weather delays. (Look for me in the street in the next few days, flagging down all the UPS trucks that drive past the house. . . .) This means I will get books out to those of you who ordered from me as soon as possible. How exciting! It's been such a long time since I had a new book out so this one is very special to me and I am very grateful to everyone who helped make it possible. I hope you all are as excited as I am to see it up close. Thanks again for all the orders. 

After you have it in your hands, I hope you become inspired to make some of the projects. They're all simple and sweet and stitch up fairly quickly. If you see me around, however, please don't ask  - "So, what's next??" I hate that, especially coming right after a book I've worked on long and hard has just been "birthed." I've made quite a lot of quilts and designed quite a few patterns this year for the book and recent doll quilt club. It's been a very busy time for me, keeping up with everything. My family and home often get neglected when I'm this preoccupied with quilting and promoting a new book. This is what's next: I'm going to take a little break after the book is released, slow down, recharge, take it easy and enjoy the holidays (and maybe clean up a bit. Hah, we'll see about that!). 

There'll be more fun next year. I'm looking forward to having you join me in doing challenges in my small quilt groups to make a quilt from the book every other month beginning in January. (Every other month this time to allow for some other small quilt challenges in between.) We've also got plans to hold some fun events and swaps -  maybe even another signature block swap. I hope some of you participate and have fun making more small quilts with us. Also, some of you have asked and I promise I will finish that pattern for the Coffee Cups quilt and make it available. Soon. Gotta eat turkey and then more turkey and sign those books first.

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Doll Quilt Club

The doll quilt club I ran this past summer through  fall is now over. The last pattern was sent out last week. I hope you enjoyed this little adventure and had fun quilting along with me. I thought all the quilts turned out very cute if I say so myself.

I had decided to retire the patterns after the club was finished but since there was some renewed interest from those who missed it I decided to run it again. So, beginning in January 2017 I will make the patterns available for awhile longer and those of you who missed it the first time round can join in 2017.

Note: these are the same patterns from the Papa's Shirts and Mama's Dresses Doll Quilt Club that began  last July and ran through November, so if you joined my club this past year, you already have them. (Look under the piles of fabric on your sewing table.)

See more details and ordering info at my website - Country Lane Quilts.  After this second run of the club ends next May, I will retire these patterns and perhaps bring them back as individual patterns sometime in the future.

Clubs are always a lot of fun. With mine, you receive a pattern in the mail every month for several months. A nice surprise in your mailbox on a regular basis. Some of you may remember that I started my first doll quilt club - The American Schoolgirl Club - a few years ago. I would not be surprised if some of you have these patterns that still need to be made, LOL. Those of you who are "newish" fans of mine and  small quilts  - if you missed that older club you can find those individual patterns listed as booklets for sale on the Pattern page.

Recently, there was some interest in a pattern I designed for the first club called Sisters Signature Quilt after Marian showed the one she made and posted in my Facebook group -


Didn't Marian's quilt turn out sweet? You'll be happy to know I revived that pattern and it too is now available again on my website and/or Etsy shop. Marian added sashing to hers and used 6 blocks (instead of nine as in the original pattern) signed with the names of some of her friends.

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With Thanksgiving coming up this week I know I'm going to be very busy with family and cooking and cleaning. How about you? If you're entertaining, you may want to take a look at one of my previous blog posts where I listed a bunch of my favorite holiday appetizers. I'm going to make a few of them again this year (and probably more this time, especially the wrapped apple slices) because they always go over very well. 

Here's my favorite recipe for a delicious Cranberry Cream Cheese Trifle. It's a holiday standard at my house for Christmas and Thanksgiving. I use walnuts instead of pecans and don't mix them into the cheese mixture as in the recipe - I just layer them on top because there's always someone who doesn't like nuts in my family (hard to believe -  don't we all have nuts in our families??) Looking forward to cooking and eating and spending time with my favorite nutty relatives. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Prairie Style

Last weekend we took a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright House and Studio in Oak Park, Illinois. Oak Park is home to the largest collection of the architect's buildings and structures built between 1889 and 1913. This building was the home of the Wright family from 1889 to 1909 and was where Wright developed his prairie style of architecture.

Photo of Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio

I had read the book Loving Frank a few years ago - a fictionalization of the life of Mamah Cheney, best known as the woman who wrecked Frank Lloyd Wright's first marriage. While I did not have a great impression of this man after reading the book (creative genius - perhaps, but his private life was sure a mess), it was interesting to learn more about the creative process that drove him, see his designs up close and learn about the development of his prairie style of architecture. 

Wright hated too much "floating" furniture and so designed the house with clean lines and many built ins.

Window in bathroom designed to afford light but also privacy as well.

This bathroom was the only one in the house and was considered a luxury at the time.

The nursery, which doubled as Wright's wife Catherine's sewing room.

An easy chair set into a little nook so she could sit and sew while the children napped or played

EVERYTHING was superbly designed, even the floor grates

The Drafting studio

Wright's office.

200-year-old gingko tree.

Walked past some really pretty homes in the area.

We learned an awful lot about design and saw how nature influenced so much of Wright's work. I highly recommend this tour if you're ever visiting the Chicago area and like learning about and wandering through old houses. 

A good day. Capped off the tour with a nice lunch at a local restaurant.