Friday, May 28, 2010


I know that many of you have been (not so patiently) waiting for an update from Quilt Market. Unfortunately, updating the blog has been on the bottom of the to-do list since returning home from Minneapolis. I also had to finish our version of the Western Pennsylvania Shop Hop quilt, write the summer newsletter, produce the final instructions for both our block-of-the-month projects and our First Friday/Saturday program. Some of you are probably thinking that I should have done some of that before I left for Market. I would like to point out the ridiculousness of that theory, before Market I am busy getting ready for Market. Now that Market is over, I am busy playing catch-up before I leave on vacation. Never a dull moment
around here.
Quilt Market was wonderful! I couldn't identify any "one big thing" that everyone was excited about. In my book, that is a good thing. I like it better that way. When something "big" hits and all of the shop owners are chasing the same item, I think it makes for a much less creative atmosphere. The next Market all of the manufacturers and pattern designers try their version of the "big thing". When there isn't a clearly defined "hot" item they are forced to be more original and creative. A much better industry for everyone involved!

At this Market we bought heavy on beautiful batiks. Timeless Treasures introduced their own line of Tonga Treat pre-cuts in 2 1/2 inch strips and 10" squares. We bought them all - and lots of them. Hoffman also introduced a new assortment of Bali Pops which we won't see until fall, but they are well worth the wait. The photo at left is a project that was made from one package of the Hoffman Bali Pops with the border and applique added.

Our favorite vendors didn't disappoint! Here is Debby showing off one of Terry Atkinson's newest patterns. These cute little zip bags are perfect for everything from jewelry and make-up to sewing supplies and even lunch! Although we already have the absolute best assortment and price on 22" zippers, Terry was also offering a gorgeous assortment of 14" zipper in stunning colors, so we have that coming too. The bags are oh-sew-adorable with the added trims, so naturally we hit our favorite trim supplier.

Can you imagine how much fun it is to sort through the offerings in this booth? Lace, rick rack, ball fringe, beaded fringe, snap tape, ribbon, cording, you name it, they have it - and in tons of colors! Just browsing this booth has inspired several of my own designs, like the ball fringe on our MacGreggor's Garden pillow. We purchased yards and yards of new trims for you to use to decorate your projects.

As you may know, before we hit the Market floor there are several events that take place. Schoolhouse is one of them. This ALL day program is based on 15 or 30 minute classes that run continuously from about 11 am until 5 pm. There are over a dozen classes to chose from in each time period. I presented thirty minute sessions for Timeless Treasures and so does Karen Snyder. We both design for Timeless, but live on opposite ends of the country and only get to see each other at Market. This photo is of the two of us the day we presented our Schoolhouses. Proving that great minds not only think alike, they dress alike too!
Another delightful event that happens before Market is the FabShop Dinner that is attended by shop owners from around the world. Normally I am filthy dirty and busy setting up a booth on the Market floor when this dinner takes place. In Minneapolis I was a special guest at this dinner and was presented the Star Communicator Award for our industry. It was a special thrill to be chosen by my peers for this award and to be included in the company of the other recipients, Marti Michelle, Star Designer, Carole Britt of Batiks Etc, Star Shop, Oliver+S, Rising Star, Checker Distributors, Star Supplier.
All in all it was a wonderful Quilt Market, lots of fun new items, lots of wonderful new fabrics and patterns and lots of laughter. Once again, Debby and I were not "cool" enough for our hotel - We stayed at the ultra hip "W" and we are more the Holiday Inn Express type. When I get some time I will have to tell you about the orange water - too funny! But right now I have to clear my to-do list and get ready for vacation!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In the Kitchen

I am convinced that, late at night, my kitchen appliances are talking to one another, and not in a good way. We have been in our house for 14, almost 15 years. That means that most of my appliances are also 15 years old - some are older. They have recently mounted a rebellion. I'm seriously considering dragging my 27 year old washer into the kitchen to set a good example for them and insist that they behave. When did 15 get to be "old"?
I think the trouble actually started a few years ago when the white refrigerator that didn't match anything else when we moved in finally passed into appliance heaven. It was replaced by a mammoth black frig with french doors and freezer on the bottom. Why not stainless? I don't care what kitchen decorators say, I hate cleaning fingerprints off of stainless. I'm 100% "easy clean" when it comes to kitchen equipment. I have a stainless toaster that I would gladly replace in a heartbeat.
Last week our dishwasher went kaput. We shuffled off to the local home improvement store and purchased a new sleek, black model with hidden controls. Cary installed it last weekend. Now the frig, cook top and dishwasher "match", but the cook top is the only "old" item in the group, and it isn't happy.
I originally selected a black cook top because I have a dark counter top on my island and it was easier to clean than stainless. Shortly after we moved in one of the 5 burners on the cook top developed a problem. I am not what you would call a 5 burner cook, so the warranty had actually expired before I noticed that one burner didn't really work. Cary fixed that issue, but in the process created another. For the last dozen years I have had to use the smallest burner in tandem with any of the others if I want them to work properly. Believe it or not, it hasn't been that big of an issue. If I am cooking with burners, I usually use more than one. Now that the new dishwasher is installed, the cook top has decided to throw a tantrum every now and then. It refuses to light, clicks incessantly and practically begs to be replaced. It will have to get in line.
The microwave is the oldest kitchen appliance we own. It is huge, and it too is jealous of the new dishwasher. From time-to-time the digital touch pad gets confused. It is like having a micro with dementia. When you have clearly pressed 2:00 cook time, it registers 3:00. Lately it likes to make that one minute mistake into 30:00. Using it is like keeping an eye on a misbehaving child, turn you head for just a minute and you will live to regret it.
At this point the only two things not giving me problems are the oven and the garbage disposal. I'm pretty sure the garbage disposal is deaf, so it hasn't heard the other appliances whining an complaining. I have to assume that the oven is working properly. I won't really be able to say for sure until next fall. At the first sign of good weather I give up using my oven and head straight for the outdoor grill.
The problem is, I am lusting after a new microwave "drawer". Clearly 4 to 5 time pricier than a normal microwave, but it would look great installed just under the only working appliance, the oven, which would have to be moved up to accommodate the micro drawer. Just a "minor" adjustment of resizing the cabinet opening, removing a drawer and rewiring everything...... my husband seems to think a counter top model will work just fine.
I think eating out is our best option.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Nine Patch Challenge

I spent Saturday evening with a few quilting friends. We weren't quilting, Pam hosted a "Girls Movie Night". It was a great opportunity to relax and laugh with friends. It was also my first chance to see Pam's wonderfully creative new home. The movies were fun, the food and wine were both enjoyable and the conversation delightful. There is nothing like getting together with "girls", no matter what your age.

Part of the conversation revolved around the summer quilting project that they are all involved in. This is the second year for the project and Jeannie, the ring leader for this event, has just announced this years details. I didn't participate lst year, but I wish that I had. I was totally captivated watching the process unfold over the summer. It was amazingly simple, yet viral at the same time.

Here are the details in a nutshell:

Browsing the Internet, Jeannie had read a blog where the blog owner had decided to ask her friends to join her in making one nine patch block each day for a specific period of time. (I'm pretty sure it was Crazy Quilting Mom's blog that started this whole thing). Just one block. The idea was that one block a day is do-able, not stressful and a simple nine patch is super easy. After about a month and a half they would have enough blocks for an entire quilt making just one block per day.

Jeannie suggested to her small circle of quilting friends that they make this their summer project. One nine patch per day, in any size, for the summer. She would then host a picnic at her home in August for show-and-tell to see what they had accomplished. Her quilting buddies thought it was a great idea. In fact they thought it was so good that they each told a few friends. Those friends agreed and told a few more friends. The nine patch project had gone viral.

As the local shop owner, very early in the summer I saw customers in the shop meeting each other before classes and clubs to show and share nine patch blocks. A few participants decided to use 1930's fabrics and make several identical blocks and then swap with friends. I was constantly overhearing conversations about how many blocks were finished, who was playing catch up and who was forging ahead. More than once customers heard each other discussing the project and were surprised to find out that others were participating. Nobody but Jeannie really had any idea how many people were at home making blocks!

Everyone involved was having great fun, using up their stash and enjoying being part of the secret club. A few people even stuck to the one-per-day mandate. Most played catch-up and made the entire weeks blocks in one evening or on the weekends. Some procrastinated and performed marathon sewing sessions so that they were not embarrassed at the end of the season picnic. Naturally there was one over achiever in the group. Bonnie actually produced EIGHT beautiful nine patch quilts made from fabrics in her stash.

The project was so popular and had grown in size so that the picnic had to be moved from Jeannie's house to a pavilion at the local community park! From what I heard and the photos I saw the project was a rousing success.

Now I am considering recreating the project right here on this blog. Do any of my virtual friends want to come out and play?

If you are interested - no more lurking! You have to post a comment letting me know that you want to participate. No pressure, I just want to know how many of you are playing along. I will post the details so that we can get started on June 1st.

I will happily provide simple setting instructions for those of you that need them. Then in August I will host a virtual quilt show so that you can show off your blocks or quilt or quilts that you have accomplished!

The quilt photos that accompany this post are quilts that were completed during the original 9 patch project online. Feeling inspired?

One simple nine patch per day - easy!

Post a comment by clicking on the "comment" button below this post. You can be anonymous if you like, but let me know what appeals to you about this project. Is it the one block per day? Is it the group event? Is it the idea of using up your stash or because it is easy? I'm fascinated by the appeal of this project. Of course if nobody agrees to participate online then I will know that the real appeal is the end of summer picnic!