Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the Studio this Week....

 Sewing, Sewing, Sewing! and Pattern Writing (I think you know how I feel about that part....)
This time of year is always hectic but exciting. As I start to put together samples for my booth at Quilt Market, I start to get more and more ideas, and then wonder if I will ever get them all done. Of course the answer to that is- no. We can never do everything that's in our heads, not on this earth. anyway. So much fabric, so little time... Do you think there is quilting in heaven?

I have been making samples for my Apple Blossom Acres fabric line. Word is, I might get sample fabric for A Beautiful Day shortly before Market, too. So if that's the case, there will be no sleep here the week before I leave for Houston!
 Next week, we are set to go see a college with youngest daughter. It will be her first visit to a college. Exciting and sad at the same time.... sigh.

Saturday I will be a vendor at Quilts on High, a quilt show in Burlington NJ, hosted by Olde City Quilts. There will be vendors and hundreds of quilts on display outdoors. This show has been referred to as "Little Sisters"- isn't that cute! And it's free. So come on out if you get a chance. I will be selling patterns and fabric and autographed copies of my book, Fruitful Hands. I would LOVE to meet YOU!!!

So I yesterday turned around and realized that it was end of September, i.e. time to send out the October Newsletter, and it seems I just sent out the September Newsletter!! Yikes! So, I am working on it, but..... it may end up being an October/November issue. For those of you who have received my previous newsletters (all 2 of them)- what did you think? What was your favorite part? What would you like to see more (or less) of? If you're not a subscriber yet, you can sign up on the top right side bar of my blog.

OK back to work now. Have a Happy Weekend (yes I know it's only Thursday, but I can think about the weekend, can't I??)

Monday, September 26, 2011

De-Stash 4 Malawi (Come along with me.....)

 I want to start out by saying- I LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea. So often we see sad little faces on the news and feel that the world is so unfair and there is so much suffering, but there is nothing we can do. And then we go into self-preservation mode and put it out of our thoughts. I do it, you do it, we all do it- I think it's just human nature. We think, "If I don't think about the suffering, my heart won't hurt." Actually, we probably don't think that consciously, but subconsciously, that desire to push away the sad thoughts (and guilt) is there.

So what if I told you there is something you can do? What if I told you that something really small on your part would put a HUGE smile on a child's face, and in fact, probably change the course of their life. Yes, you really can!

I am talking about De-Stash 4 Malawi:
We are focusing on a mission in Malawi, in southeastern Africa. This work endeavors to clothe and educate the orphaned children and the adults there. Here is a quick peek at the letter from Mrs. Kropf:

I have been measuring children for school uniforms. I have measured a little over 900 of them in the last month. I enjoy this. It gives me a chance to see their little faces and connect some names with faces. I look at these precious little 6 year olds, not quite sure what this Azungu (white person) is going to do, their eyes wide with fright; the 9 year old girls give me shy little smiles; the boys put on a bravado. It was my joy to give them 5 copy books and a bar of soap each.
There are so many teenaged girls in grades 5, 6, and 7, failing many years, and partly because when they become women, they do not have the necessary sanitation means to go to school, so they miss a lot of school. The boys miss a lot of school because they go out looking for odd jobs to buy clothes, shoes, food, etc.

Here is where you and I come in. With fabric yardage, Mrs. Kropf can transform a tee-shirt into a dress for a girl, or create a pair of shorts for a boy.  She says:

I made a lot of tee shirt dresses last year, using new material for the bottom and used shirts for the top;  I made over 300 of them. That is why new material for dresses and tee shirt dresses is so much appreciated. I can buy material here, but it is not as nice as the states.

I don't want this post to be too long. Go here to get all of the details about the program. There are lots and lots of chances to win books, patterns, and fabric for every yard of fabric you donate! They are also collecting thread. And go here to read the full story about what the Kropf's are doing in Malawi. Trust me- you want to read this story- it will fill your heart with joy and hope that there are people giving so much of themselves and really making a difference. And you and I can be a part of it.....

Don't put it off. Don't intend to do it this weekend. I want you to STOP reading this post right now, go to your stash, and pull some stuff out. Go on, you heard me. Right now. It's OK. I'll wait......

OK Are you back? What did you find??? Some cute and adorable stuff just looking for a really really good home? Here is some of what I am sending, I am still putting my package together:

Please participate! You have until October 15 but I don't want you to wait that long, 'cause we all know what happens to our good intentions. Package it up and get to the post office TODAY.

Here is a little hint from me to you: Fabric is heavy and can be expensive to ship. A much more economical way to ship is to use the Flat Rate Boxes that you get from the post office. It costs the same amount to ship, no matter how much you cram in it (and you don't have to hunt around looking for a box). If you can't fill a box on your own, ask a friend to share one with you. And once you put all of your fabric in the box, if you have just a little room left, you can take it to your local quilt shop and ask them to donate a yard or 2 to "top it off."

Again, click here for the program details.

So come along with me, and from the bottom of my heart- THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Beautiful Day

Have you seen my new fabric line? It's called A Beautiful Day, and it's a Baby/Toddler themed line. This may be my favorite line to date. I really like the colors- soft but not too pastel-y. And the animals in it are really cute, I had so much fun working on them.

 Here is the panel (available in a blue AND a pink colorway):

Some of the coordinates:

You can find a free project sheet here at the Henry Glass website. You will find the fabric in stores in early 2012.

Back to the sewing machine. Lots to do!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happy Monday

OK so this is the point at which I go "underground"- the house is a disaster, meals consist of take out, and I feel just a little like a mole, not seeing much daylight.... I thought I had 7 weeks until Quilt Market in Houston, but I looked at my calendar a couple of days ago, and I have just about 5 weeks.... so...... yeah.... I'm in a little trouble. But everything will get done. I mean, it has to, right?????

So I DID get out of the house this weekend. I did a book signing at a local quilt shop for Fruitful Hands and met lots of nice people. I made a batch of my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes for everyone to try (the recipe is in my book, and I haven't made them in awhile, and oh were they good.)
When I got to the shop, I got to work putting out all of the sample projects from my book. I hastily put on the Sweet Stuff Apron. OVER my sweater. When I saw this photo of me, I realized that I looked like my body measured 6 FEET ACROSS. And I wore it ALL DAY..... how embarrassing... Oy. (I cropped the photo so I only look 4 feet across, instead of 6).

It has been cool here- in the upper 60's and lower 70's and I love it- good tea-drinking weather. Good chili weather, too..... and chicken pot pie....... and roasted chicken with mashed potatoes....... Maybe I will find some time to make some comfort food for dinner tonight.

What's on your menu for this week???

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Are You Ready for Christmas?

What? You're not??? Well, let's shake a leg, people! Here is a good way to get started on the holiday season- Join the Quilting Gallery Quilt Along! 36 designers, 36 blocks. Here are the details:

  • Start: September 13, 2011
  • End: December 1, 2011
  • Length: 12 weeks
  • 36 designers creating 12" blocks for quilters to make.
  • Designer profiles, their blocks and a Super Deal for Quilters will be featured each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Quilters will complete the blocks and upload to a Flickr group to share their creations.
  • Completed quilts and projects made with the quilt-along blocks will be featured in next January’s Weekly Quilt Contests.
Click here to see the featured designers. I am the designer for November 15. How many blocks will you make?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Busy Monday

 Did everyone have a good weekend? Mine was busy busy. But before I forget, I wanted to mention that I am doing a book signing for Fruitful Hands this coming Saturday September 17 from 1-3 pm at Needles and Pins Quilt Shop in Swedesboro, NJ. If you are in the Southern NJ/Philadelphia/Delaware area, stop by- we are going to have fun!

This weekend, I attended the Women of Faith conference in Philadelphia. As always, the music was fabulous and the speakers were great. But my favorite part was listening to Dr. Henry Cloud speak. Wow! What intelligent and useful advice. He spoke about "The Law of Happiness"- turns out, most of the secrets to happiness that have been "discovered" by modern science and research can be found in the Bible. And he spoke about "Necessary Endings"- recognizing those things, either good or bad, that have run their course and we need to leave behind to make room in our lives for new things and new seasons. As soon as I got home, I ordered a few of his books. I will review them for you when I get them and read them.
My second favorite thing about the conference was a comedian called Tim Hawkins who did a show Friday night. I have honestly NEVER laughed so hard in my life. Afterward, my cheeks were twitching because the muscles had been overused! And it is all good clean humor- I think it is much more challenging to be funny if you don't have to rely on obvious crass jokes and curse words. You can look him up on YouTube or find his DVDs on Amazon.

I spent all of last week working with stacks of my Apple Blossom Acres fabric, trying to get ready for Quilt Market. The time is just flying by and panic is setting in just a bit. You can see just a little of a project in the background that I just finished up this morning. There is a lot more I need to get done. A LOT.

I am really glad I cleaned up my studio last week. It is so nice to be able to walk through it without tripping over piles of fabric and half finished projects..... it was getting to the point that I didn't want to be in there anymore, but now that I can find things, work is actually enjoyable again. And I definitely feel better mentally when everything around me is in order- when my environment is clear, my mind is much more clear.

So what am I doing right now, you might ask? Well, at this very moment, I am writing a blog post as a way of putting off writing patterns! I will do anything to get out of the writing part!! Oh well, it must get done. Happy Monday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Newsletter is Coming....

The September newsletter will be sent out tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon. Are you a subscriber yet? If not, it's easy to sign up at the top of the right sidebar here on my blog. In the September issue, there will be an exclusive free project, stitchery pattern, and recipe. Like this....
and this...

and this....
mmmmm... Cranberry Walnut Biscuits with Honey Butter.... made them for breakfast the other day, and they were so good. And very simple (I like simple).

Sign up today and don't miss out!

Also, very importantly, today is daughter's 21st birthday. She and her fiance came by this weekend for a little celebration. We had dinner at a Malaysian restaurant (yummy noodles- my favorite!) Then we came home and for dessert we had this wonderful pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting that younger daughter made.
Then daughter opened some presents and we watched Jane Eyre (even the guys!) I prefer the lightness and humor of Jane Austen to Bronte, but I think the guys prefer the Bronte stories because they are always much more dark and mysterious.

Happy Birthday, Daughter! You are a joy and a delight, 
and we have truly been blessed to have you in our lives.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A New Look....

Oh What a strange week last week was! Thank you for all of your kind and encouraging comments. I am ready to settle back into a schedule and a little normalcy. Oldest daughter went back to college on Tuesday (which was postponed 2 days because of the hurricane.) Youngest daughter goes back to high school today (postponed 1 day.) I now have an engaged-to-be-married college senior and a soon-to-be-driving high school junior. Life moves way too fast!!

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my blog was getting a new look. What do you think? My youngest daughter thought I needed a more modern look, and she did it all by herself. Well that's it. Now she's made herself completely indispensable, I told her she can NEVER go away to college or leave me for any reason!!! Did anyone ever read the book "Like Water for Chocolate" (I think that's the title) and the youngest daughter is not allowed to married- she has to stay and take care of her parents. Yeah, that's the ticket!!

Speaking of a new look, I spent a few days cleaning out my studio when the electric was out. (You can see photos of my studio here.) Since I couldn't sew or work on the computer, I figured it was the best use of my time. I also recently got a new quilt rack that hubby hung over my cutting table for me.

Problem is, that now it looks so good that I don't want to work in it, for fear of messing it up! I just want to sit in my chair and drink tea and look at it all day!! OK, none of that- time to get to work. I am soooo behind now- didn't realize how behind I was till I made a list last night. Uh-oh, that was an eye opener. Just 8 weeks till Quilt Market. Gotta go mess up the studio now....

PS Something else I am behind on is my September Newsletter. I am working on it and hope to get it out next week. So if you haven't signed up yet, you can do so on the right side bar (at the top.) I got a lot of positive feedback from the last one, so I hope you like this one too!


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