Friday, July 29, 2011

In the Studio this Week....

This week has been spent mostly at my computer. I even went to the library yesterday to work, because the internet there is much faster than my connection at home, and I was getting impatient! But that's OK- I took daughter out for her first driving lesson since she got her permit the other day (she did just fine), and then we went to the Amish Farmer's Market and had a healthy lunch (what? it had mushrooms on it- that's a vegetable).

I did get my shipment from The Gentle Art of their newest thread colors. It is always an exciting day when the mailman brings the envelope from them! As usual, I love the colors and can't wait to come up with some designs for them:
I have shown this in the past but I thought I'd show it again, my father-in-law made me this beautiful thread rack for the wall- it fits in my studio perfectly, and it makes it so easy to find just the exact right color of thread when I am putting a project together:

I also spent a good chunk of time this week working on my first newsletter, which I sent out yesterday. I did some extra little bits of art for it, drew up a free little stitchery pattern, put together a note card design that can be printed out, and had to figure out how to use the template, etc. (thank goodness for my techie husband- who did the bulk of that part). All in all, it was a lot of fun to put together. I hope everyone enjoyed it. I'd like to say that the newsletter will be a monthly thing.... but you know how that goes. I would say that the schedule is TBD and subject to change!

Finally, I have been spending a lot of time this week getting ready for my book blog tour next week. The designers I have lined up for the tour are really great- I am so happy to have all of them along. I'm sure you will enjoy "meeting" all of them and I hope that if you are not already, you will become devoted followers of their blogs- you won't want to miss out... Make sure you check in here Monday for the first day of the tour and for your chance to win LOTS of giveaways, such as books, fabric, patterns.....

Monday: Brenda Riddle of Acorn Quilt and Gift Company
              Jill Finley of Jillily Studio
Tuesday: Pat Sloan of, well, everything!
Wednesday: Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches
Thursday: Michele Foster of The Quilting Gallery
Friday: Sandi Andersen of A Legacy of Stitches

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beach House Decorating

We have been working on decorating the beach house that we bought from my parents a couple of years ago, and we have done most of it on a shoestring budget. The house that began as "shabby" is slowly becoming "chic", thanks to many trips to the flea market, and innumerable cans of spray paint. Our latest project has been making some wall decor.

I made some outlines of fish on sheets of newspaper, and then had my father-in-law cut out the shapes from scrap wood. Then, the wooden shapes sat around for about a year, give or take a few months. Finally, I got my kids to paint them up.

Younger daughter set to work painting (hint- when you are impatient, like us, use a hairdryer to dry acrylic paint almost instantly):

These went on the wall above the bed in one of the bedrooms:

Back in the spring, a storm threw a bunch of debris up onto the beach, but for us, it was treasure found. A piece of painted green scrap wood became a very cute sign in the hands of oldest daughter:
 We added more painted fish to make a grouping in another of the bedrooms:

One of our next projects will be to clean up and paint these vintage metal lawn chairs- I'm thinking cherry red, what do you think?

What are some of your favorite thrifty decorating tips- I'd love to know!

Don't forget to sign up the newsletter! Lots of goodies included that are exclusive to subscribers. Sign up at the top right side bar of my blog. Click here for a preview of the first issue.

Also, don't forget the book blog tour next week, featuring these fabulous "guests" (I feel like Johnny Carson- wow, I'm dating myself... maybe I should have said Conan...)

Sandi Anderson of A Legacy of Stitches
Brenda Riddle of Acorn Quilt and Gift Company
Jill Finley of Jillily Studio
Michele Foster of The Quilting Gallery
Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches
Pat Sloan, quilting queen extraordinaire

Monday, July 25, 2011

Coming Soon...

Did you all have a good weekend? It was miserably hot here- other than going to church on Sunday morning, we stayed in the whole weekend. I got a lot of work done on Saturday, and then Sunday, despite my best intentions to do more work, I ended up on the couch watching movies and reading magazines, just enjoying some relaxation (and the air conditioning.) So, actually, a pretty good weekend despite the oppressive heat and humidity. Someone told me they heard August would be worse, but I don't see how! (For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere- I suppose you are drinking lots of tea and making soup and trying to stay warm. Isn't it odd and wonderful how the internet makes us feel so close to one another even though we are literally a world apart??)

So..... I have a few new things to announce. The first thing, I am really looking forward to and have been wanting to do for quite a while. I will be putting out a newsletter. I'd like to say it will be monthly, but we'll just see how it goes! Of course, the newsletter will have information about new designs and upcoming events such as workshops and classes, but it will also have FUN and FREE stuff, too. The first newsletter will be coming out at the end of this week, and it will feature...

a free note card design, available exclusively to newsletter subscribers. Just print out, fold, and voila! super adorable stationary, send a hand written note to someone special and make their day (don't you like getting real mail nowadays, instead of just email?) This design features artwork which was used in my Sewing Room Social fabric line....

and the newsletter will also include this recipe, perfect for using up all of the delicious and bountiful summertime fruit (again, for those of you on the other side of the world, you could use apples, pears, canned cherries...) Daughter made these for brunch on Saturday and they were delicious:

You can sign up for the newsletter at the top of the right side bar of my blog (isn't that easy??) And it is totally FREE. So, no excuses not to sign up! NOTE: if you are having trouble signing up, email me and I will add your name to the list.

Now, the next big thing is something I am really excited about.... Next week we will be having a book blog tour to celebrate the release of my first book, Fruitful Hands. I have a really great assortment of quilt-y, blog-y friends participating.

Sandi Anderson of A Legacy of Stitches
Brenda Riddle of Acorn Quilt and Gift Company
Jill Finley of Jillily Studio
Michele Foster of The Quilting Gallery
Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches
Pat Sloan of, well, everything!

So you can see why I am so excited... It's going to be lots of fun and there will be tons of giveaways (really, literally, I weighed them...)

So make sure you sign up for the newsletter and stop back next week for the tour- you won't want to miss it (hmmm, I feel like I am starting to sound like an infomercial...)

Finally... Click here or on the button on the right side bar to see my newest fabric line, Apple Blossom Acres, which will be available in quilt shops around October. I have designed some really cute quilt patterns to go with the line... now I just have to get my hands on the fabric so I can start making up some samples....

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finding a Good Home for My Stash...

My studio is getting more and more cluttered. Is there such a thing as too much fabric? I am loathe to admit it, but I think the answer might be yes...
I have more than I can ever use. But most of the fabric in my stash is just so pretty I hate to get rid of it. I think I would feel better about the purge if I know that it's going to a good home.
I received an email yesterday from the International Association of Professional Quilters* with a list of organizations that take fabric donations. What a great idea. Here are a few of their ideas:

Project Linus is dedicated to making security blankets for babies, children and teens in need. Volunteers will turn your stash into quilts.

Haiti Peace Quilts. This organization establishes and supports independent women's quilting cooperatives. In addition to helping the women build a business, Haiti Peace Quilts markets one-of-kind art quilts in the United States. The cooperatives need donations of fabric and other quilting supplies.

Prayers and Squares. This interfaith outreach organization combines the gift of prayer with the gift of a hand-tied quilt. Individual chapters around the world need fabric, batting and other supplies.

And an additional charity that is a personal favorite of mine:
Quilts for Kids. This organization's mission statement: Transforming discontinued, unwanted and other fabrics into patchwork quilts that comfort children with life-threatening illnesses and children of abuse.

Yes, I think some of my fabric could definitely find a new home, it could be put to good use rather than sitting on my shelves. Time to clean out- I guess I know what I am doing this weekend!

*Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Professional Quilters, an association to help quilters, fiber artists and other creative arts entrepreneurs build business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Am A Calendar Girl!

I am Miss August! Well..... my quilt is, that is. My Spin-Off quilt is the August Quilt in the 
American Patchwork and Quilting 2012 Calendar.
It all started about a year ago, when our family was getting ready to leave for a 12 day trip to England. About 3 hours before we were to leave for the airport, I got an email from one of the editors at APQ asking if I would like to have my quilt included in the calendar, and could I have the quilt to them in a few short weeks. Of course, I said YES, and wondered how I was going to get this quilt made and quilted and bound and shipped to them by the deadline, considering I would be an ocean away for the next week and a half.... and I had designed it with my Sewing Room Social fabric in mind, but at the time I did not have the actual fabric yet, (and it wouldn't be available from the mill for another 6 weeks or so), so I would have to find similar fabrics to make the quilt. (I'm so glad I was home to receive and reply to their email...)
So..... we went to England and had a wonderful time. We got back at about 11 pm on a Monday, and on Tuesday morning at about 8 am, I was on my way to my favorite fabric shop, about an hour and a half away. Got everything I needed, and got to work!!

The calendar comes with a booklet with instructions for all 12 quilts. If you can't find the calendar at your favorite quilt shop, you can call 800-826-4707 to order one.

Also, make sure you check back here the first week of August for my book tour. Visit lots of great blogs and get several chances to win a free copy of my book, Fruitful Hands. It's going to be fun!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lost and Found

Lost- First half of July, 2011. Inexplicably disappeared without a trace. If found, please return to 
Jacquelynne Steves. (Seriously.... where did it go???? Has anyone seen it??)

Found- One giveaway winner. Location: Lake Pulaski, Minnesota. Name: Mary. 
Hobbies: Quilting and Fabric Obsession (OK that's just an assumption- I figure Mary is probably just like the rest of us).

In the studio this week:
Daughter (who has a thing about making aprons- we have quite a collection now) made an apron with Union Jack theme- her own design. It came out very cute:

I have been working on some artwork:

I think I finally decided how I want to do the borders on my green quilt, with that great Pat Sloan fabric I showed you a couple of weeks ago:

Ahead- a blissfully unscheduled weekend- should I catch up on laundry? clean the bathrooms? take a trip to the farmer's market?? Probably should get in some work AND play (balance is so difficult for me- I am such an all-or-nothing person. Either I want to play all day and my house stays a wreck, or I work myself into the ground and my house looks great and I am a wreck!)
What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A few more hours for the Giveaway...

You have just a few more hours to enter the giveaway for my new book, Fruitful Hands! Click here to enter. I know I said I'd announce the winner today, but the contest goes till noon EDT today, so I'll announce it on Friday.

In the meantime, yesterday I took a ride to one of my favorite quilt shops, Olde City Quilts in Burlington, NJ. Such a great shop- and Judy and Eva have been so supportive! We set up a couple of dates for me teach classes and speak at a retreat, so stay tuned. If you live in the Delaware Valley Area, you will want to pop in! They have a beautiful collection of fabrics, tons of patterns to choose from, a very large upstairs classroom area (elevator available!) and they just added on the vacant shop next door to be used for the their long arm classes and services. And they are a Bernina dealer- so lots going on there. It's always buzzing when I stop in.

I took a few shots of the shop yesterday while I was there:
 A display with some samples from my Sewing Room Social fabric line- they have just a few kits left, so hurry in if you want one....

Part of their adorable Christmas display with an old fashioned sleigh. My Joy, Love, Peace, Noel fabric line can be seen on the left and in the front. It's really not too early to start thinking about those Christmas projects! Because of my work, I am usually working on Christmas and holiday projects in the summer, like I am right now!

Are you working on any holiday projects yet? Let me know- am I the only one humming Christmas carols in the middle of a July heat wave?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Christmas in July at Keepsake Quilting, Win My Book!

You can purchase this kit at Keepsake Quilting. It is my Star and Holly quilt, and it features my Joy, Love, Peace, Noel fabric line for Henry Glass Fabrics. The folks at Keepsake put the sample quilt together- didn't it come out pretty??? It's a great time to start Christmas and holiday projects- give yourself plenty of time, so you can enjoy the process! And with the hot, humid weather we've been having here on the east coast, I am already dreaming of a white Christmas....

The Joy, Love, Peace, Noel fabric is now available on my website. Also, I am releasing 2 new patterns for the line.

First- Winter Friends Quilt:

In addition to the pieced star block, this quilt features 7 different embroidered blocks- the embroidery designs match the little animals in the fabric. There is also a fabric kit available on my website- start your project right away...

The second pattern is called Joy, Love, Peace, Noel (for obvious reasons...) It includes a pattern for a square table topper and a wall hanging. I really like the scallops at the bottom of the wall hanging- very fun and whimsical!

There is a fabric kit for the Joy, Love, Peace, Noel Pattern, too, just click here.

Also available, Fat Quarter Bundles, and the coordinating fabric panel and Christmas stocking panel.


You still have a couple more days to enter the giveaway for my new book, Fruitful Hands. Click here to enter!
 Remember to stay tuned here for the winner on Wednesday.....

Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Giveaway Continues,Free Summer Beach Patterns...

I have recently added a new free pattern to my website:
Seaside Fun would be very cute embroidered on a beach tote, wouldn't it? or maybe paint it on a child's t-shirt, or applique it on a quilt block. Find this pattern and lots of others on my Free Pattern Page. My free patterns are featured in The Country Register in many different states. Make sure to grab your copy- they are available for free in gift and quilt shops all over the USA and Canada.
Some other free summer time patterns on the Free Pattern Page:

Speaking of the beach, we headed down there last weekend for the 4th of July. We went to a barbecue at our next-door-neighbor's house. There is nothing like making s'mores and watching fireworks on the beach! And a fish fry with freshly caught fish... oh my, that was good.... Didn't my hubby take some fabulous photos... I want to eat it all.... again....

Also, you still have time to enter the giveaway for my book, Fruitful Hands. Click here for details and for lots more photos from the book.
The book has 14 projects, from quilts to wool to punch needle to embroidery, plus 12 recipes, and watercolor illustrations that I painted. Make sure you check it out and enter for your chance to win your very own autographed copy!


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