Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quilt Show Photos Part 2

Here is the second batch of photos I took at the AQS show in Lancaster, PA.
"Garden Wedding" by Janet Sutton of Export, Pennsylvania. I like the design that the applique makes, and I like the vibrancy of the colors of the flowers on the white background.

"History Revisited" by Linda Postlethwait of Anchorage, Alaska. This reminds me of the antique quilts at my favorite museum. It's like stepping back in time.

"My Beautiful Memory" by Masako Kumagawa of Japan. Won a Third Place Ribbon. I like how realistic the lilly appliques are.

"Summer at the Lake" by Rahna Walker Summerlin of Port Orange, Florida. No applique, but the color choice and pattern totally won me over! One of my very favorites!!! I studied the quilt and didn't see any fabrics repeated from one block to another, so I don't know how many different fabrics she used....

That's it for quilt photos. Which is your favorite?

Don't you want to go and make a hundred quilts right now? I know I do! Better get to work. Have a Happy Wednesday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fond Memories.....

I was a vendor at the Spring Quilt Blossom Show in Lancaster, PA every year for 4 or 5 years. It was a big deal for me- it was the first quilt show that I did as I ventured into the world of quilt pattern design. It was a 5 day show (now a 4 day show). My kids would get to take turns coming with me to help out at the show, then we'd hang out in the hotel room afterward, exhausted, eating Chinese take out. I stopped doing the show 2 years ago, when I began going to Quilt Market- it was just too much for me to do 2 shows that were each several days long, so close together, and I wanted to concentrate on the wholesale side of the business.

Being a vendor at one of these shows is exhausting- 10 or 11 hours a day on your feet, sometimes being so busy you feel like you can't possibly keep up. Other times, when it's slow, you feel like you are just sitting for hours, getting bored and restless. It is always good to have a "booth neighbor" that you like and get along with to help pass the time, to give each other bits of information and advice and opinions. Dottie was my booth neighbor at the Lancaster show. She had been doing the show circuit for years, and knew a lot of people. She was always generous with her encouragement and advice. She was known to pray with some of her customers in her booth. A real firecracker, she was full of energy and enthusiasm and kindness.

When I went to visit the show last week, I looked for Dottie. She wasn't in her usual space- I figured she'd just moved. I walked the show a little, and as I turned a corner, I noticed a familiar quilt hanging, with a sign that said, "In Loving Memory of Dottie Kreuger." Turns out she had died of an aneurysm last fall while swimming, of all things. Typical Dottie- going until the very end. I spoke with her daughter, who has taken over her mom's business. There was no warning, and everyone was grateful that the end came quickly for Dottie, with no pain or suffering.

It is weird that she is no longer around- she was so full of life and energy. She is one of the people in my life that I want to be like as I get older. I am sad that I will no longer see Dottie, but I am grateful that I know where she is now. Leaving the show that day was surreal- it was like closing a chapter in my life. That part is over, and I am embarking on a new one: designing fabric, writing a book. I wish Dottie could have seen that- but I have a feeling that she knows......
Goodbye Dottie, you are forever in my heart. I will miss you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quilt Show Photos Part 1

Here are photos of some of my favorite quilts at the AQS Quilt Show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. All of the quilts that I liked the best had bright cheery colors, and all but 2 featured applique (really, no surprise there.) The cheery colors are certainly needed here- I haven't seen the sun for days- so much for first week of Spring!

"Emily" Quilt by Kathi Carter of Lanett, Alabama. Won award for Best Longarm Workmanship. I love the spring colors.

 "Birds in the Forest" by Jenny Bacon of Australia. Just love the border. Won a Third Place ribbon (not sure of the category).
 "Daisy Dance" by Kathy Munkelwitz of Isle, MN. I am such a sucker for the flower applique.

 "Double Wedding Ring" by Beverly J. Willis of Mansfield, Ohio. No applique in this one- but the colors! They just cheer me up! The quilting is great too.

Do you have a favorite? What draws you to a quilt- the color, the pattern, the quilting, the presence/absence of an applique design??

I'll have more photos next week. That ought to give your creativity a jump start- now go make something!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Today is the Day!

Today is the day. After months of concentrated effort, on a project that originally I began about 3 or 4 years ago, today I will be sending the last of my materials to my book editor. Phew! Yay! Yippee! WooHoo! (And every other exclamation I can think of.) I sent the bulk of it in about 2 weeks ago, including a lot of artwork originals. It was scheduled for arrival on a Saturday and didn’t arrive until Thursday (note to U.S. Postal Service: Thanks for all of the added stress.) But it did eventually arrive safely. I had a few things to finish up, and they will be mailed out today, and then I am, for the most part, done.

Usually after I finish up a big project, I like to take the rest of the day to straighten up the studio, think about what I will work on next. But I already have a few projects waiting for me. I need to paint some stuff for my next fabric line (already sketched out, palette chosen), and a few days ago I drew out a few new punch needle patterns. I started working on a sample last night. I have really been wanting to do more punch needle patterns, but I just haven’t had time to make up the samples. This will be my first new punch needle pattern in a few years (except for the one that I included in my book.) I asked my husband if I could show him how to do it so he could make some samples for me- but he was not keen on the idea! And I told him- people pay me good money to take my class and learn how to do it- and I am offering to show you for free! But he’s still not buying it. Sigh.

Friday was a beautiful day, sunny and 75 degrees. I decided, kind of last minute, to go to the AQS Quilt Show in Lancaster Pennsylvania. Oh, that gets the creativity going! I always go to those things thinking “I won’t buy anything, because really, the studio is bursting at the seams and what more could I need”. Ha! I spent my fair share- I got a cool new ruler and some wool and a few fat quarters and a book, and a few more assorted goodies. I also took some photos of some fabulous quilts, which I will share with you next time.

I’m off to the Post Office! Have a creative day!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy Friday!

So... I was shopping the other day and found something on sale that I really liked...... and it was on sale.... and I just thought it was so cute..... and it was on sale.... and I could use it in my studio and I could take it to Quilt Market to use as a prop in my booth.... and it was on sale.... so I bought it. (It really didn't take much convincing for me to get it).
I think I will name her "Penelope" (for some reason, there is a tendency in our family to name our favorite objects.) I am envisioning putting flower pins or fabric swatches on her or maybe making her a little skirt or apron.

I enjoyed reading your comments regarding your favorite movies. I am going to add one more to my list that I previously missed: #11 would have to be Ferris Bueller's Day Off (My favorite 80's movie. Who wouldn't want Ferris as a best friend? Thanks for reminding me about that one, Jeffrey and Stampmouse.) I will NOT be staying in to watch movies today- the forecast is for a sunny 75 degrees! WooHoo! If you are looking for me, I will be out in the garden.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Faces of Love

Daughter was home for Spring Break last week and spent her time on a school project- for one of her classes, she has to write and illustrate a children's book. She was hesitant to work on the illustrations, she didn't think she could do it- but I think it came out really cute. The name of the book is "Faces of Love."
I think her illustrations are clever- I wouldn't have thought of this concept. Creative girl!

We sit around and make up stories all the time. When I am working on a fabric line, we think of stories to go with the characters and what they are doing- and those concepts really come through in the final product. Right now, we have several ideas for illustrated children's books and young adult novels. Maybe a mother daughter project could be in our future- I would LOVE that.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My 10 Favorite Movies

In no particular order, 10 of my favorite movies…
1. Babe- Who doesn’t love a talking singing pig? Makes me feel guilty about eating and enjoying bacon.

2. Moonstruck- The story of Loretta Castorini, her boyfriend Johnny Cammarari, her boyfriend’s brother Ronny Cammarari, her father Cosmo Castorini’s affair with Mona, and her Aunt Rita and Uncle Raymond Cappomaggi. Sadly, I did not have to look those names up- I know them by heart.

3. Indiana Jones- Harrison Ford with scruffy beard, leather jacket and fedora. Need I say more.

4. The Empire Strikes Back- Harrison Ford slinging space age pistol. Ditto.

5. Pride and Prejudice (2005- Kiera Knightly)- The costumes… Mr. Darcy... The soundtrack… Mr. Darcy... The scenery… Mr. Darcy.

6. The Princess Bride- Mawage. You’ve been mostly dead all day. As you wish….

7. Napoleon Dynamite- First time I saw it I totally didn’t get it. Glad I gave it a second, and third, and fourth, and fifth chance.

8. The Village- Some scenes filmed right here in my home county. Haunting soundtrack. Blind Ivy waits amidst impending doom as she trusts that Lucius will come to save her…. And he does. Most romantic scene ever. EVER.

9. Penelope- The story of a sweet, sheltered, cursed pig-girl with a fabulous wardrobe. And a fairy tale ending. Sigh. (Also makes me feel guilty about eating bacon, see #1.)

10. While You Were Sleeping- My favorite, favorite romantic comedy ever. Sandra Bullock is her usual funny adorable self. Perfect Christmas-time viewing.

OK- does anyone want to chime in here? Do you agree with me? Violently disagree??????
I feel like turning on the DVD player and settling in for an entire day of movie watching. Anyone with me? I’ll go make the popcorn…..

PS thanks a million to Charlie Sheen for stopping by and taking the time to comment on my last post. I know what a busy guy you are nowadays.....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Free Quilt Pattern for "Quilts for Kids"

 First, let me say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of your kind words and support in response to my last post. I think it just goes to show, that everyone feels insecure sometimes, and it's just nice to know that others feel the same way.......
On that note, I did not know that my friend and fellow designer Brenda Riddle had also been feeling reflective lately... Visit her recent post for some of her feelings about success...

I promised to keep you up to date on my progress on my Quilts for Kids project. Well, actually... I got it done. Wow! that was fast! I used the free pattern called For Ella's Sister which is on my website. Here is the original quilt:

For this version, I used- you guessed it- Sewing Room Social fabric. I finished the blocks the other day, and yesterday I sewed them into rows:
Then I sewed on the brown sashing  (to be honest, next time, I would go with a solid, this is a little busy. But it's for a kid, so I think it's OK- it's "vivacious"- yeah, that's the word!):
 And finally, I sewed on the wide blue sashing and it was done:

This is a great pattern when you need a really quick project. The sashing makes the project go super fast. And you can use any block you want- you could even use a solid square in place of the pieced blocks if you are in a big hurry. I think I will do the same pattern in boy colors- it won't take much time at all. Please visit the Quilts for Kids website- maybe you could make a quilt or two- or what a great project for your sewing circle or guild. Put that stash to good use!!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Last week I mentioned that I wanted to try to become more “transparent” and let people see more of the “real” me. I am generally a pretty private person, and it is with great difficulty that I reveal my true and honest feelings. But in this case, I really want to give hope to others who might be struggling.
Today I wanted to write about bumps in the road of life. We all know that everyone encounters them. But I am afraid that sometimes, especially when our blogs are used not just to stay connected, but also in part as a marketing tool for business, we are less than honest.
We try to put out best face forward, we don’t talk about the rejections. We all post when we have a new design published, or are featured here or there, or have a new line out…. But how many times do you read something about a designer getting her submission sent back?? It happens to everyone- we just don’t (publicly) talk about it- I guess we don’t want to look less than successful. I have found that for every success I have had, there have been multiple rejections and failures. I still get rejected- quite a bit. A magazine doesn’t pick up a design, an editor refuses to answer my emails, someone who seemed to be my new best friend at one Quilt Market walks right by me without a second glance at the next Market. It is easy for me to let these things bring me down, make me feel less than, and feel like I will never achieve my goals. But generally, in business as in life, success is built with small steps, not leaps and bounds. Sure, there are occasionally those huge, heady moments- you sign a contract with a company you have been wanting to work with for a long time, you finally get a project in a magazine, your first book proposal gets accepted by a publisher. But 99.9% of the time those achievements are preceded by lots of hard work and failed attempts.
I have hit many bumps. At a Quilt Market a couple of years ago, I was approached by the vice president of a fabric company. We discussed the possibility of my designing for the company- and I was so excited! I sent her artwork as she requested, and then she strung me along for a good 6 months. My emails went unanswered, so I assumed she was no longer interested. To make a long story short, at the next Market, when I said I wasn’t sure if her company would be a good fit for me, she walked away and over her shoulder, as a parting blow, she said to me, “That’s OK- It doesn’t matter.” I was stunned. My heart was in my throat, and I wanted to crawl under the table. After treating me very shabbily, what she was saying was that I didn’t matter, she didn’t need me. Clearly, a low point. I went back to my hotel room that night and cried and cried. I told a fabric designer friend what had happened and she was furious that I had been treated that way. I was pretty sure that that would be my last Market. It was just too darned painful.
The next day, a design director from Henry Glass Fabrics came to my booth and asked me if I was interested in designing fabric. I said yes (although, I was quite tentative, as you can imagine). To sum it up- things worked out- I have had a great working relationship with them, and I am very happy to be finally doing something that I have dreamed of doing for about 10 years.
Now, I was approached by Henry Glass at my second ever Quilt Market, and many people would say that was really fast. But, I had been working on other areas of art and design and licensing for about 10 years- so I really wouldn’t call myself and overnight success.
And while I am being completely honest- I am tired of the “overnight” success stories! They are either less than true because the person laid groundwork for a long, long time, or their story is extremely unusual and they were just really, really lucky. I just don’t want budding designers and artists to think that because they get rejected they aren’t good enough. Sometimes skills need to be further honed, but often times, the timing is just not right, and sometimes it’s just really, really, really hard to get your foot in the door- trust me, I know! One story that really made me want to throw my magazine across the room was one in which the person being interviewed said she just decided one day to be an artist and the “universe obliged” and one year later she was featured in magazines and teaching workshops. Stories like this made me feel horrible about myself, because I assumed that because it was taking me so long to succeed, and others seemed to be doing it with so little time and effort, that there was something wrong with me. Now I see that maybe those success stories have left out a lot of details. I am NOT belittling anyone else’s success- I’m just saying that most have worked really hard and faced their share of rejection and failure before they succeeded.
Please, let me repeat, I want to be honest because I don’t want aspiring artists and designers out there to be frustrated. It takes a long time to establish relationships, to develop a style, to learn how to be a professional. I hope I don’t sound bitter- I’m so grateful for what I get to do and for any achievements I have made.
I don’t know if I will ever feel like I have “arrived”. There will always be someone more famous, more successful, and more talented than me. But what I do know is that I have tried NOT being in the creative field- and I was miserable. It has taken me years of stops and starts to be absolutely sure to my core that this is what I was meant to do. And if the day ever comes when this is not what I am supposed to be doing anymore, God will let me know.
My advice to those of you out there who are discouraged and wondering if you will ever “make it” or if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing: sorry it’s so cliché, but- listen to your heart. Do you feel in your bones that this is what you were meant to do? Can you not imagine doing anything else? You may not get an answer immediately- it took me many years to realize that I could not escape it. But keep taking steps, don’t be afraid to ask for advice, and keep learning. You never know where your dreams, patience and perseverance will take you.
And how is this for irony: when I was almost finished writing this post today, I was rejected. I got an email from an editor who said she was sending my submission back because they weren’t using it. Ouch! But perfect timing as I wrote this! There was a time when that would have brought me down for days or weeks- but now it just hurts for a little while, then I get over it and move on.
I have been really honest here. I hope no one gets offended. I am just trying to be real, and I hope it doesn’t backfire on me! I am kind of terrified as I go to hit the “publish” button……

Friday, March 4, 2011

An Embarrassment of Riches

 The other day I woke up in a bad mood. Just grumpy, and with a headache. I just really wanted to crawl back under the covers. This happens occasionally but usually once I get up and get going, I feel better. No such luck the other day. "The Mood" just kept lingering. As the morning went on, I remembered an inspiring lady named Linda Arye I met back at Quilt Market in late October. She started a wonderful organization called Quilts for Kids and she is such a go-getter (and, it turns out, she lives not that far from me- but I had to go to Houston to meet her). I also remembered a promise that I made to myself way back in October, which I had somehow forgotten. I bet you can guess what it was. I got to work on this and felt a little better.

It was still not a stellar day, but I really did feel better. I will work on completing this in the next week or so, and I will show you photos along the way.

Sometimes when you work in a creative field, the thing you LOVE to do becomes the thing you HAVE to do- and sometimes the pressure makes it a little less fun. It is good to do projects "just because"- just because they are fun, just because they fill up your soul, just because they make someone else's day a little brighter.

I have some more "real" work to do today and then I am going to start on a spring project for a special little someone. Just because.

Oh- I have to show you this. Remember last week I showed you the Vera Bradley purse I splurged on? Last Sunday at church they were having a raffle for anyone who put down a deposit on a ticket for a Women's Conference. I had intended on putting the deposit down weeks before but kept forgetting my checkbook. I honestly didn't know that there was a raffle until I walked up to the table- I just wanted to make sure I secured my ticket before they were sold out. Of course I had forgotten my checkbook again but I did have enough cash in my wallet to cover it (a miracle! ha ha). I was the last one whose name went into the drawing. And then I left. We got out to the car and then my husband realized he'd forgotten something inside and went back in. When he came back out, he was carrying this! I actually won!

The cool thing about a Miche bag is that the outside is magnetic- so when you want to switch purses you just whip off the outside cover and slap on a different one- no need to dump the whole purse! And this bag is so beautiful- I can't wait to use it.

Vera & Miche: it's an embarrassment of riches.
Have a blessed and wonderful and safe weekend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Free Pattern for Spring!

I can't believe it's already March. Here is "Happy Spring Chick"- I think he is pretty cute!  Click here for the free pattern. You can use it for embroidery, punch needle, etc.
I love to see the projects that you make with my patterns! If you decide to post a photo of your finished project on a blog or website, please give design credit to Jacquelynne Steves (a link back to my free pattern page would be extra nice!) Thank you very much!!!!

I am in between projects right now- yesterday I finished drawing & painting the diagrams for my book. I am close to the finish line! Also, time to start doing sketches for next fabric line... hmmm... I have a couple of ideas....

And it looks like you will be seeing this project in a magazine come October (a little teeny tiny sneak peek... more details to follow)....


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