Snow flurries today at the store. They look so pretty (and they don't stick:). What great weather for staying inside and quilting! :)
I sent four of my quilts off to be hung in the Courthouse quilt show in Annapolis on Tuesday. I think the show opens on Feb 4th (more details when I get them) -- I must say I was honored to be asked to contribute. :)
I managed to get here to the store by 9:30 am this morning (my staff will tell you that is remarkable, in and of itself:) so that I could attend Mimi's Baltimore Basics class (missed the last session 'cause I was sick). I so enjoy taking Mim's classes! I am taking this one so I will actually make the blocks from her new book (I really like the clean lines and simplicity of these designs). I learned at least two new tips from Mimi today (about doing hand applique) -- always more great things to learn in this life. :)
This one (above) is one of three colorways of the February Emporer's Collection II -- the other two are royal blue and deep rosy pink/red. I particularly like this print -- anything with cranes on it gets my attention. :)
There are an entire flock of new books in stock this week:
This is just plain cute! Lots of great ideas for working with even very young children to make quick but arty quilts that they can participate with -- an all-too-rare event in young children's education these days. This book has ideas for every month and holiday for using painted handprints to generate kids art. Great gifts and truly fun for a record of your child's youth.
I took the time to scan through this book and I'm quite impressed. The author is Australian and clearly has quite a lot of experience with making landscape quilts that shimmer and capture the attention. It is chiefly a technique book (including some excellent, very detailed instructions for painting your own background skies) -- there are a few patterns included for you to try her ideas before you branch out into your own. I'm buying this one. :)
Finally it snowed yesterday! Now there is at least some excuse for the cold outside. (grin) We really did not get very much snow (an inch?) -- but it came down very prettily all afternoon. White, fluffy flakes, very powdery on the ground. It was almost all melted away by this morning (although it was rather cold last night, it got above freezing during the day today).
There is always pretty much of a panic as to whether the store will open on time, etc., whenever the weather looks even likely to snow. You can imagine how many phone calls we got yesterday and today -- as it happens, two of the three sessions of monthly Baltimore Album classes were today. :P
I worked on the sales floor yesterday afternoon. One nice show and tell I got was from Maria Perez who came in to show me a baby quilt she made for her great-niece, using fabric she bought from us. I did take a photo but it is at the store (and I'm home as I write this) so I'll have to upload it tomorrow. I helped her find a backing fabric for the quilt (flannel:), too.
We were actually rather busy on Saturday and Sunday -- people gearing up to hide out during snow weather, I expect. (smile) It was excessively quiet today -- none of us like it when it gets too quiet in the store. :P
I am working on my Hollyhock piece still -- I have finished piecing the square-in-square border blocks and sewed them to the top. Now I am thinking to add another floral stripe border as the pieced border somehow looks unfinished. (shrug) I hope to baste the sandwich up soon and start quilting it.
Tomorrow is the monthly FiberLectic meeting which I always enjoy. :)
What a chilly day today has been! The wind is roaring down from the north as if there was a race. :P Cold air and moving coldly. I'm soooo glad I could stay inside today!
I spent almost the entire day on administrative duties -- finding and charging out donations to various quilt guilds for coming shows (lots of things have to happen behind the scenes for all those great spring shows!:), working on the March schedule ... and trying to finish the design for a coupon book to sell to customers in March. I went off and did a little research to find out what various national 'holidays' there are, which didn't help me very much. (National Eye Care Month? Well, I guess that applies to quilters, too, but how do you focus a sale event on that?:).
One bright spot in our day -- Arlene was here sewing and made all the pieces for a very nice Nine Patch Pizzaz quilt using an Asian print:
Aside from the suddenly cold weather, this has been a rather pleasant week here in Catonsville/Columbia. Of course, this is just in comparison with last week when I spent three days in bed with the flu. :P I shared my progress on the Hollyhock quilt top during Lois Smith's Advanced Critique class on Tuesday afternoon -- I am actually planning to have that quilt finished by our meeting next month. (determined!)
We have oodles of new fabric in the shop that I want to share with you. I probably have missed a few bolts here and there since I've been out of 'it' for a while. :P
First (and my favorites), we have a whole set of Japanese neutral prints (think "Daiwabo" style). I don't think my photography really shows the colors very well - they are soft, appealing prints with very gentle lines ... and the quilts you can make with them are extremely elegant.
There are also some beautiful solid colored cotton brocades in six/seven luscious colors. These are true woven brocades (no tearing). I'm not sure you can really see the print in this photo:
Here are some lovely soft prints in the style of the early 19th century, called Alexandra:
Here are two colorways of a very lovely background print from Ellie Sienkevitch of Baltimore Album fame. The inked motifs could be appliqued or pieced into any quilt and the script print in the middle is lovely:
One of the special treats we get (all too rarely:) is show and tell -- Sue Vanvorhees came in today and shared with us her version of a Baltimore applique quilt. She used an oriental background print and some very bright fabrics -- took her five years but she finally finished this. Jan Carlson wrote the pattern and taught the class here at Seminole, but this is definitely Sue's quilt:
Today was an odd and interesting day. I woke up before my clock went off -- for someone who is majorly struggling to wake up before noon, waking up at 8:30 am is semi-miraculous. :) Skip and I went in to the store around 10. It was busy off and on, but I had lots of administrative chores to do, especially after being away for two-and-a-half days sick. :P
By late afternoon, I had managed to wade through the assorted chores and sat down to sew on my Hollyhock piece again. I'm still working on piecing the border -- it appears to be developing into a sort of bunches-of-flowers border. Of course, I forgot to take a photo. (sigh)
We got a lot of beautiful fabrics while I was sick in bed -- the most exciting ones to me are the fifteen or twenty bolts of Japanese neutrals -- Daiwabo style prints. I picked through the garment and handbag patterns, trying to find something suitable to make a sample with them. Still thinking it over. Tomorrow I'll try to take photos for you all, after the Hand Piecers meeting. :)
Several years ago (I'm not sure how many -- five? six?) I started a project. At the time, I think I had in mind that it would be a gift ... since I've forgotten for whom I had intended the quilt, it is now a gift for me. (sad smile) I did all the applique and pieced the body of this small wall hanging -- all that needs to be done is to piece and attach the border, quilt and bind the piece. This is one of the unusual pieces I've done that are from some one else's designs --- in this case, by Nancy Odham from a book named something like Spring Valley.
The flower shown is a hollyhock (they always remind me of my mother who loves hollyhocks and has had them growing in her garden as far back as I can remember). I think I may have chosen this design because it reminded me so of her. :)
I spent much of today piecing the little squares around the outside edges -- the design calls for a simple square-in-square design for the outside pieced border. I think there needs to be more flower color there, so I made a few blocks with little nine patches inside using the darker pink fabric. The rest of the border blocks will be made with the tiny calico print in a simple square, as the design calls for using.
It was a pleasure to work on this quilt today -- it has been calling to me from it's dark drawer ever since I put it away and stopped working on it. Maybe I'll have this one done before the real hollyhocks start blooming in early summer? :)
Addendum -- I forgot to mention that I am thinking that I will participate in the Take A Stitch Tuesday challenge (http://inaminuteago.com/blog/index.php/take-a-stitch-tuesday-challenge). The first week, last week, the stitch was Herringbone (one of my favorites) and this week the stitch is Buttonhole (another favorite:).
Maybe I'll work my samplers, if I can't decide what to do tomorrow. grin.
What a crazy day today was.
First, yesterday was Mimi Dietrich's lecture/demo at the store. THAT went very well, indeed. I was truly impressed with her method for mitering (I don't want to sound like a know-it-all, but there are not so many new ideas to me:) -- I learned a new, great idea, myself! :) Lots of folks attended and a happy time was had by all (far as I could tell:).
Later, as Skip and I were doing business chores (paying bills, cleaning up the shop, etc), we tried to use Patty's computer ... and discovered that it was not working. sigh. It's a Mac G5 and was shutting down, hard, almost as soon as it was booted. Good old power supply problem, the one that resulted in Apple sending extended warranty on many Macs. Took the poor baby home and then to the Apple store in the Columbia Mall today. Got a call this evening -- they replaced the power supply and the logic board (both still under warranty - yeah!!!) and it was ready to pick up by 8 pm (having been left off around 1 pm). Gotta love that Genius Bar!! :)
I spent most of today cricketing around the store from one "urgent" chore to another...and mostly getting things done. Hard to maintain a train of thought, though -- jumping from one task to another tends to make me lose my place in the orderly arrangment department. Insert hearty laugh after 'orderly'. I finally did manage to work my way down to the top of my desk, though.
Tomorrow, as Tuesday, is my first MY SEWING day of the New Year. Tonight as I am reading my daily blogs -- I only follow a few blogs, all of them fiber related -- I found out that Sharon, the author of inaminuteago, is teaching her Encrusted Crazy Quilting class again. There are actually three classes in the list at Joggles that I'd like to take ... must be a very early rush of spring fever. grin.
I hesitate to let myself take too big a bite -- from past experience, I get in over my head way, way too easily. I do think I will take Sharon's online class. Even though I have done CQ pieces many times, there are always new stitches, new combos, new ideas to learn (one of many things I like about Crazy Quilting). Also, I have been getting the itch to combine what I know about fiber working (embroidery included) and what I have learned about the altered arts. I'm not sure I want to specialize in 'mixed media' work, but I would like to extend my 'art' fiber working into collage and my embroidery into some of the other embellishing techniques I've learned (image transfer, surface design and stamping and painting, etc).
Anyway, I'm sitting here tonight thinking about what I will work on tomorrow. Will I be 'good' and work on finishing an old project .. or strike out and try something new? Mary Ison got my mind running on overtime after the last FiberLectic meeting with her collage mounting fabrics onto felt/some other fiber...I want to try collaging paper images onto fabric or maybe making paper/fiber sheets.
Stay tuned ... smile.