Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Home Again

Would those of you that believe in global warming please explain to me why anywhere I travel in the winter months instantly experiences unseasonably cold temperatures?

Our trip to Arizona was a wonderful. It was was a perfect visit with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousins and their spouses and we enjoyed every minute of it - but it was COLD. Unseasonably warm here in Pittsburgh and unseasonably cold in Arizona, the story of my life. You don't really need the "dry heat" to sit and talk, and talk and talk.... (my husband thinks that if they make "talking" an Olympic event, Aunt Jean and I are a shoe-in for the endurance event), but temps above 50 degrees would have been nice!

We did manage to leave the kitchen table long enough to go shopping one whole day. Naturally that trip had to include at least ONE quilt shop. First, you have to understand that I love my Aunt Jean more than anything. As a quilter herself, she is incredibly proud of me and has always been one of my biggest supporters. Aunt Jean tells everyone that will listen that her niece owns a quilt shop (including everyone at International Quilt Market, where there are almost nothing BUT quilt shop owners!).

Aunt Jean was very excited when we pulled up in front of A Quilters Oasis and asked me if I thought they might have any of my "things" inside. Maybe? I sort of hoped that they would have something of mine, so as to not disappoint Aunt Jean.

Jean was not disappointed!

Just inside the front door was this beautiful sample of the Structure project with The Quilt Company pattern pinned right to it! I pointed it out and immediately Aunt Jean started to gush.

Nobody gushes quite as well as my Aunt Jean.

I continued walking with Lindsay toward the back of the store and turned around just as owner Kathy Reynolds looked up from the register and recognized me from my talks at Quilt Market. With an entire line of customers in front of her she said "You're Karen Montgomery - oh shoot!" I think poor Kathy thought I was about to pull a surprise inspection! I don't care who you are, having another shop owner in your store makes you nervous! Sorry Kathy - honest, I was just another customer!

Kathy had absolutely nothing to worry about. She has a wonderful assortment of fabrics that are beautifully displayed and great assortment of books, threads and patterns... and enough "Karen Montgomery" around the store to make my Aunt Jean happy! The store was exceptionally neat and clean, especially since they were having a sale! Something that can't always be said about The Quilt Company!

Lindsay kept herself busy doing her own version of sight seeing, including snapping this photo of the "Lindsay" fabric line that was named after her.

If you are ever in Mesa Arizona I recommend that you stop by A Quilters Oasis and do a little shopping. You are going to love the place! ....... tell Kathy that I sent you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Little Different Christmas

We don’t have a Christmas tree at our house.

I have to confess that it doesn’t bother me one bit. It isn’t because we can’t afford one or that we are in some state of holiday denial. I’m not married to Mr. Scrooge and we are not Jewish. If I felt like schlepping all of that stuff out of the attic my family would certainly be willing to allow me to put it all up. (Isn’t that how it works in most homes?). For the first time in 31 years we aren’t putting up (or taking down) a traditional Christmas tree.

This year we are doing things a little different. This is the “every-other-year” that our oldest and newly married daughter is spending with her in-laws. The kids let us know back when they started dating that this would be an every-other-year agreement, one year our house and the next year with Jon’s family. I am in complete agreement with this little game (Until grandchildren arrive. Once that happens, I plan to renegotiate). Our son lives and works in Baltimore and he is single so he volunteers for holiday duty. Instead of Christmas he plans a trip home mid-January for his baby sister’s birthday. This year "family" amounts to just my husband, our youngest daughter Lindsay and I, and we have decided to fly to Phoenix to visit my favorite Aunt and Uncle.

Arranging a trip for all three of us with busy schedules is almost impossible so the holiday seemed like the perfect time. I’m sure we will have a wonderful, memorable holiday, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit guilty about not having a traditional holiday for Lindsay’s senior year. To make it a bit more fun, I decided to give her one of her gifts each day for the twelve days before Christmas. (I realize that the traditional 12 days of Christmas happen AFTER Christmas, but this is more of a gift giving excuse rather than a biblical celebration of Epiphany).

Lindsay’s first gift was waiting outside her bedroom door last Sunday. Monday she drove to school and my husband stopped by mid-day and left one on the front seat of the car. Tuesday it was waiting at her place at the dinner table. Then we got creative. Wednesday her best friend presented it. Thursday her favorite teacher got involved. Friday my brother-in-law who was in town on business dropped by the restaurant where she works to make the delivery and Saturday the Chef and his wife at work did the honors.

I can’t tell you about the rest of the plans, because she sometimes takes a look this blog. What I can tell you is that it isn’t the gift that counts, it’s the giving. Lindsay hasn’t really cared about what is actually IN the package but she has LOVED the delivery. Having special people in her life enjoy the fun and be excited about the plan has “made” this Christmas for her. It has been fun to watch! Being a devious mom, I did consider having my husband make arrangements with our local police department (he has connections) to have her “pulled over” when driving to school and and have the officer, instead of giving her a ticket, hand her a gift. One of my customers pointed out that might not be a good idea; there is a good chance she will be in charge of selecting my nursing home some day. Good point.

Here’s wishing you and yours a safe, joyous and wonderful holiday!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Now That Christmas is Over...

OK, technically we still have that whole church, gift giving, tree thing to go through, but as a quilt shop owner, this holiday season is officially over. Our very last "Handmade for the Holiday" demo was at 10:00 am today and I'm officially calling this year a success! What great fun! We hosted several sessions of three different programs and really enjoyed every minute of it. It is nice to hear our customers saying "Oh, that is perfect for so-and-so" or "Won't whomever love this". We know you get as much enjoyment out of making those gifts as you do giving them.

Our button pillow projects were a big hit! You can see the patterns on our website at Look for them on their own special page (not the regular pattern page). Our quick and easy apron is another favorite. One customer remarked that I can do more with a tea towel than she thought was humanly possible! If you are interested in the pattern for the tea towel apron, email me at and I will send you a copy (using my newly acquired PDF skills!).

Speaking of the website, we are in the middle of a total overhaul of our site. Amy, our web guru is rebuilding the site from the ground up! Hopefully it will be up and running and ready to go January 1st when we are taking part in the Internet shop hop. If you have never done an Internet hop, I encourage you to give it a try. It's addicting - but it is FREE. You also have the opportunity to win gift certificates, the more shops you visit, the more chances you have to win. Click on to the link to our website above, then click on the bunny on the home page to register.

Now I have to get busy writing the winter newsletter, finish up my Valentine and St Patrick's samples and yes, do a little Christmas shopping. Our daughter Lindsay already received one gift this year. Debby bought her a sewing basket - a LINDSAY sewing basket! Timeless Treasures sold some of the Lindsay fabric line that I designed to a manufacturer who used it to make sewing baskets. Now THE Lindsay (who the fabric was named for) has a Lindsay basket to keep Lindsay goodies in! Naturally I had to run right out and buy one for myself too! They're being sold in stores all over the country, but I picked mine up at that store with the "J" name and used my 40% off coupon! They come in blue too! I might just buy one of each!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

one more thing....

Check out the new link to the Cotton Spice blog. (Another) Karen is featuring quick projects by an assortment of people on her blog. You will find a free download for my Presents Placemat on Dec. 3rd with a link to this blog and if you scroll back to Thanksgiving day there is a download for our Boutique Tissue Cover with a link to the blog. Oh, and I've fixed the link to Brenda Lou, from Scotty Dog Quilts too!

We have a WINNER!

Congratulations to Gert Camp, the winner of our $15 gift certificate! Gert posted comment #9 and was randomly selected to receive the prize. YEA GERT!
"Congratulations on 15 Years of business at The Quilt Company!! Yours is the most inspiring shop and I hope you are around for many more wonderful years (because I have lots more quilting to do and your fabric is the Greatest)!!!!Best Wishes from Gert Camp"
I have long believed that I have the very best customers in the world. Our birthday celebration yesterday was the absolute best. It was great fun, lots of laughs and we really enjoyed being able to offer some wonderful savings to the real people behind The Quilt Company, because we wouldn't be here if it were not for you!
Reading your comments was a humbling experience. It is nice to hear from everyone far and near. We have customers that are "regulars" and more like family. We have some that have moved away that we truly miss and others that have never lived in our area but shop online often enough to become "regulars". We treasure each and every one of you.
Recently I read an article and the author described owning your own business as equal to "Having a 2 year old special needs child attached to your hip 24 hours a day". I can relate to that. When it is yours, it is yours. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. There is no off switch. I like my brother-in-laws perspective better. 15 years ago he was doing some exterior finish work on the building when we had our very first open house. We were packed. One husband had decided to wait for his wife in the parking lot and struck up a conversation with Bill.
The husband was amazed at the turnout for our Open House. Bill, who's family owned a bar and restaurant for years explained that he saw us as a "fabric bar". Women come in, complain about their husbands and kids, share their joys and sorrows, buy a fat quarter and leave. When the mans wife joined them and remarked about the crowd, the husband said "Yea, every woman in a 100 mile radius without a drinking problem is in that building".
Here's to keeping you off the streets!