Business is Booming!

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Business is Booming!

How happy I am to announce that Business is Booming!  A HUGE shout-out to the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas, who will now be displaying and selling my bags!  I am supremely honored to be a part of their fabulous organization.  Julie, the Museum Director, shares my love of lush fabric and we had a marvelous time deciding which of my bags would complement upcoming museum exhibits.  The museum is comprised of several galleries showcasing masterpiece quilts.  Leaders in the international quilt community display and lecture in the historic buildings from 1890.  Exhibits from all over the world change every three months.  For gardeners and garden lovers, Grandmother’s Flower Garden is adjacent to the museum which is a period garden that would be typical of Central Texas flower gardens around 1890.  A 13 x 85 foot mural, depicting 15 traditional 19th century quilts, adorns the outdoor garden wall of the museum.  Not to mention, there is a wonderful quilt shop right next door to the museum.  What more could you want?  If you need more information, just visit texasquiltmuseum.org.

And now let me show you the latest bags from It’s Sew Anny Designs.  Sapphire & Diamonds

You just can’t beat a lovely clutch.  Based on an Ali Foster design, I paired a royal blue crushed velvet with a lime green suede to create “Sapphire and Diamonds.”  The interior is Dupioni silk from SoHo Fabrics.  Adorned with a faux mother of pearl and rhinestone broach, she’s ready to party!  Yes, she was difficult to part with, but she’s already been adopted.🙂

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Velvet Gold was fashioned from an olive/golden velvety fabric I discovered at the Round Top Antique Festival.  Complementing the floral paisley is a velvet green bow formed from Mood Fabric that I purchased in L.A.  (More about that trip later…)  The handles had been in my stash for a time, waiting for just the right bag.  The pattern was from Charlie’s Aunt called “The Brief Encounter” bag.  It was the first time I’d used this pattern and I know it won’t be the last.  Love it!

You see two views of the bag called “Inside Out” which is completely reversible.  I even added a pocket on each side.  One handle simply loops through the other for easy access, and you have a lightweight functional bag that offers two colors and designs for a versatile accessory. Fabrics from Cowgirls and Lace, Dripping Springs.

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Welcome Fall with Autumn Gold!  She’s a marriage of golden hues from Michael Levine (Los Angeles) and Cowgirls and Lace.  The Chemisette Handbag is a pattern from Craftapple Designs and is a delight to sew!  I had the perfect flower to enhance autumn tones so I simply added a broach pin to the back and the bag was complete.  The perfect size for those daytime jaunts.

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“Chocolate Luxe” is a plush bag made from a watercolor chocolate velvet from Mood Fabrics.  Dripping beads, a jeweled emblem, and a lush faux fur collar all combine to make this one of my all-time favorites.  This is my personal design, “The Jenny Bag.”

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An Amy Barickman pattern, the Rachel Bag, is one that uniquely opens from a zipper in the back.

I chose to call her “Lucy Goes to Town” and a close-up of the zipper pull reveals a little lady with her purse and heels on just ready to Go To Town.🙂

I created another version called “Chasing Sunny” with a red suede handle and a zipper pull that adds a bit of bling with a rhinestone key.  The red faux crocodile fabric was discovered at Fabric Decor in Houston.  I used a golden faux leather to design the flower with a center button from Tender Buttons on New York’s Upper East Side.  This is why you must purchase items you fall in love with when you travel.  #l) You’ll eventually use them and/or fondly recall the happy memory of said travels, and,  #2) If you don’t bring them home, you may be longingly recalling the “one that got away.”  Some things just bring you joy.🙂

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Oh, my, oh my…  I should have kept this bag.  The fabric is another version of that silky velvet, only this time it is a teal blue from High Fashion Fabrics in Houston.  The band is a velvet suede-like fabric from Michael Levine, L.A.  The leather flower was also purchased at Michael Levine.  I happened to have the perfect shade of blue beads in my stash.  Happy Day!

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A while back I discovered this magnificent fabric just rolled up on a table at High Fashion like someone forgot it.  No one claimed it and I happily  snapped it up.  I have enjoyed making two purses from the textured medallion embroidery.  This one is named “Tribal Fibers” and I enhanced it with a fringed leather key fob.  The handles looked appropriately rustic to me so I fashioned loops to accommodate them.  The faux ostrich is another Michael Levine purchase from our L.A. trip.

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This time the medallion fabric was paired with a faux embossed leather from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs.  The leather handles were from Shirley in Switzerland purchased on the internet.  Adorning the bag with a little lady swinging from repurposed jewelry gave it a whole different vibe.  I named it “Maddie Medallion.”  Both bags were created from a pattern by ithinksew.com.img_4744

“Vintage Autumn” is such a sweet bag.  I feel like the handles have a vintage vibe, as well as the jeweled flower.  I believe the beautifully textured fabric was from Britex in San Francisco.  Beadwork is from Interior Fabrics in Houston.  And the pattern is another Ali Foster, called the Lucy Tote.

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I chose to name this bag “Royal Velvet.”  It is a mini Jenny bag, fashioned from a rich velvety fabric from Mood in L.A.  The Greek coin button was found at International Quilt Festival, as well as the handles from Studio Mio.  The tassel trim is from Interior Fabrics.  An ensemble from many “in search of fabric” trips.🙂

So, as you see, I’ve been mega busy.  But, another very happy aspect to my growing business is Cheryl.  Cheryl is a friend who has joined in my venture and is not new to the sewing world.  She is a former entrepreneur in the custom dress shop field.  You should have seen us last week as she cut and pressed and I designed and sewed.  We are an awesome team!

Cheryl is a lady of many talents.  She will live here and pet sit for us while we are in China.  China? you say.  Yes, I need silk.  Just joking–it was on our bucket list to stand on the Great Wall.  But will I cast glances in hope of fabric for sale?  You betcha!

Until the next adventure tales,

Love, Anny

 

 

 

 

 

Mediterranean Memories

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Two weeks before the senseless tragedy in Nice, France, we were enjoying the Promenade for three days before our ship set sail for a Mediterranean cruise.  You may recognize these locations from our hotel window as the same ones you viewed on your TV news:

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I still think about all the wonderful people we met there, some whose names I do not know, and pray that they are all survivors.  Nannette, Bill, Rick, and I purchased paintings from an artist in Old Town, met lovely souls in restaurants, wineries, and our hotel.  I also took time to search out Toto, a fabric store near our hotel, at 14-16 Rue Malaussena.  Brightly colored fabric I can use next season.  Large store and lovely people.

Since we were on a wine cruise, our group enjoyed an excursion to the Chateau de Cremat, about 30 minutes from Nice.  Coco Chanel visited the estate many times in the 1920’s, a guest of a prominent  American socialite hosting lavish parties for the jet set.  As a result of their friendship, he gifted the logo of the two interlocking C’s which is seen throughout the estate, and now belongs exclusively to Chanel.  

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After our three days in Nice, we were transported to Monte Carlo.  Yes, we visited the lavish Casino, and all I could think of was, “Daniel Craig stood on this very balcony.”🙂  Eye candy everywhere, luxurious yachts, stunning surroundings, and home of the Grand Prix.

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We boarded our Oceania ship, the Riviera, and woke the next morning docked in France.  A private guide (who was absolutely amazing) met us and we drove to Arles.  Arles is in Provence, where Van Gogh stayed for a few years prolifically painting.  Gauguin joined him, and the two got along famously at first, painting by day and frequenting the bars and brothels at night.  Until an evening a few months later, when the two were having drinks at the cafe, and Van Gogh threw his glass of absinthe (a 68% alcohol liqueur banned in most countries now) at Gauguin.  As Gauguin walked away, Vincent chased him brandishing a razor and Gauguin left town.  You guessed it–this was the night Van Gogh later cut off his own ear and delivered it to Rachel at the brothel, saying, “Treasure this precious object.”

Van Gogh's "Cafe la Nuit"

Van Gogh’s “Cafe la Nuit”

The Cafe, in the Forum Square, is one of many stops on the Van Gogh trail, where they’ve placed reproductions of his canvases at the very sights where he painted.  A highlight of my trip, standing on that spot and feeling those artistic vibrations.🙂

Arles is also home to Roman ruins (which we also saw in Spain.)  Seen here, a Roman classical theatre, which is still used for productions today.

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The Roman Arena, or Amphitheatre, held gladiators fighting wild animals, and today they still hold “bullgames” here.  I was happy to know that only twice a year is the bull allowed to be killed, but that’s twice too many for me…

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We enjoyed lunch at a typical French cafe, then proceeded to Aix-en-Provence to visit Paul Cezanne’s studio.

Exterior Cezanne's Studio

Entrance to Cezanne’s Studio

Much the way he left it, preserved as it was when he died.

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What an honor to be strolling around in his actual studio.  I wish I had a better photograph of his Wall of Windows.

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And the letter he wrote to Monet, apologizing for leaving Paris so quickly, and thanking him for his support.

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The following day, our ship arrived in Corsica, France, birthplace of Napoleon.  IMG_3657

A very beautiful island, apparently a filming location for The Longest Day.

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In the afternoon we attended a wine seminar aboard the ship.  This was a Schramsberg Wine sponsored tour.🙂  Mmm, yes, sparkling wine is their specialty…  My favorite!  The ship sailed at night and every day we awoke in a different location.  So it was on to Sardinia…

We experienced a segway tour the following day in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.  Segwaying is a great way to sightsee.  Smoothly sailing along, while your tour guide offers history through a headset.

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Then it was back to the ship for another wine seminar.  Oh, yeah!

More wine the following day, as we docked in the port of Palma de Mallorca.

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And traveled to two wineries.  The first was Bodegas Ribas, established in 1711, where we met the owner, who led our tour and tastings.  Later we indulged in a special alfresco wine-paired lunch in the beautiful hacienda courtyard.

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Traveling on to the Mesquida Mora Winery, we met Barbara Mesquida, a fourth generation winemaker.  After eight years of partnering with her brother, she struck out on her own to establish this winery where she is 100% committed to “natural” wine without added sulfites.  You know, in addition to being organic, this process greatly helps to eliminate headaches and hangovers. Just sayin’…

Presenting Barbara with a Schramsberg wine.

Presenting Barbara with a Schramsberg wine.

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Our next excursion was a tour of Ibiza, Spain, beginning with the salt flats in Las Salinas, and then on to the enchanting town of San Jose.

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14th Century Parish Church

14th Century Parish Church

San Antonio was next, which featured a yacht-laden harbor, many boutiques, and a beautiful palm-lined promenade.

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Arriving in San Miguel, we savored a delightful lunch of paella at Jardin del Mar.

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We strolled through Santa Eulalia, a picturesque cultural center and resort area.

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You wouldn’t believe the Las Boas Building, apartments by Architect Jean Nouvel.  They have arranged rainbow-inspired colored balconies of flowers.

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And finally, leaving Ibiza was almost as scenic as arriving.

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Our last full day in Spain was spent in Valencia where we explored the restored Central Market.  The market is bathed in natural light from glass domes and colorful window panels.

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Constructed in 1238, St. Mary’s Cathedral or Valenica Cathedral, is awe inspiring.  One of those “you have to see it to believe it.”

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But the piece de resistance:

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Most Christian historians the world over declare that all evidence points to this Valencian chalice as the most likely candidate for being the authentic cup used at the Last Supper–it has been defended as the true Holy Grail!

What a way to complete our journey!  And back to the ship, it was a wine-paired farewell dinner.  You’re probably wondering how I even remember these details with so much wine.  I take notes.🙂  My all-time favorite trip, and we are looking forward to the next Schramsberg Cruise!

Safe Summer Travels to All!

Anny

 

Purses Have Feelings Too…

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When my sister and I were little girls on a road trip vacation from Indiana to Texas, we would bring toys in the car, of course.  One of our favorites was the game Cootie.  With Cootie, the object was to be the first to build a bug-like object using a variety of plastic body parts.  Unfortunately, while traveling through Arkansas, one of the body parts landed out the car window.  Now it only made sense to us that if a body part was laying out on the ground in a far away state, we would have to deliberately throw out another body part to keep that one company.  Everything has feelings…

All that being said is to introduce you to a few bags that were created last year and didn’t make it into the blog.  We wouldn’t want a bag to have its feelings hurt, would we?  So before I go off to a therapy session, here are the omitted bags.🙂

I actually made two bags from a Charlie’s Aunt pattern called the High Tea Clutch Bag.  The first one I call “She Wore Blue Velvet.”  The velvet, inside and out, is from Mood Fabrics.  Then I added a beaded ribbon.

She Wore Blue Velvet

She Wore Blue Velvet

The other is titled “Hidden Butterfly.”  That’s because I randomly sewed two little metal butterflies to the front, along with an upcycled jewelry piece.  I believe the fabric was from Britex Fabrics in San Francisco and has lovely textured suede flowers on ivory linen.

Hidden Butterfly

Hidden Butterfly

Next is a bag that was sold before it was even placed on the shelf–“Confetti Candy.”  I’m showing both front and back to display a variety of fabrics and trims.  On the front side I used a suede-like tangerine fabric from Mood.  Added to the front was a pocket of Kaffe Fassett floral with colorful popcorn fringe and a sparkling pink broach from Trims on Wheels.   The reverse side featured a magenta upholstery weight fabric from High Fashion, with a ribbon embellishment from Renaissance Ribbons.  Surrounding the bag is multicolor confetti loop fringe from Cowgirls and Lace.  The pattern is one of my favorites from Cindy Taylor Oates.

Confetti Candy

Confetti Candy

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“Venetian Dream” is created from my original pattern, The Jenny Bag.  The fabric, from Michael Levine in L.A., is embellished with a heavily beaded trim and an elegant tassel.

Venetian Dream

Venetian Dream

I wanted to try my hand at using new purse hardware, which is what attracted me to a purse kit and pattern by Penny Sturges and Darci Wright found at Quilt Festival last fall.  It turned out well, and I learned to install a twist lock closure.  The pattern is Mini Messenger, and I named the bag “Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Last year, after viewing gypsy bags on Pinterest, I was inspired to design a romantic creation.  “Gypsy Rose” is fashioned from the magenta fabric used on Confetti Candy, a coordinating pink faux ostrich, and a leather flower from Michael Levine.  It features a multicolor loop fringe from Cowgirls and Lace, a pocket of antique cut velvet, and a strap of vintage moss green velvet and leopard.  I still have not parted with this purse.

Gypsy Rose

Gypsy Rose

One of the most popular patterns I use is the Rachel Bag from Bag Boutique by Amy Barickman.   I wish I could remember where I purchased the zebra–perhaps Interior Fabrics in Houston.  The purse is accessed through a zipper down the backside and carried by a simple black bamboo handle.  The back features an organdy ribbon attaching a rhinestone heart-shaped key, hence the name “Wild at Heart.”  To create the front embellishment, I layered two buttons and looped over a silky black tassel.

Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart

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By the Sea is a fun bag I created from scraps of thick tropical themed fabric from a local Galveston upholsterer, distressed denim from Indygo Junction, faux ostrich from Michael Levine, and a plush vintage velvet ribbon from Los Angeles Antiques.  I sewed small beads on the eyes of the seahorses, and the crab and fish on the back.  The pattern is from Kati Cupcake Pattern Company and has twelve pockets. Such a challenge it was, using grommets with heavy thick fabric.  The problem is, the grommets are added at the very end, so you’re basically cutting large holes in your finished bag, and hoping that the grommets install properly.  And it’s actually hard to cut with your fingers crossed!🙂

By The Sea

By The Sea

Cowgirl Chic was fashioned from faux cowhide and leather from Cowgirls and Lace.  The lush fringe was from Interior Fabrics in Houston.  Not sure I can part with this bag, either.

Cowgirl Chic

Cowgirl Chic

The last two bags really are for me.  They will accompany me on a Mediterranean Cruise this summer.  I needed a hands-free, cross-body bag for shore excursions.  Not large–just large enough for essentials.  The perfect pattern for this is the Chattisham Clutch Bag from Charlie’s Aunt.  Bright red faux crocodile is from Fabric Decor in Houston.  I did not embellish it, as the fabric speaks for itself.  The zebra bag’s flap is sewn from a vintage crushed velvet found on Etsy, and the ruby bauble is upcycled jewelry.

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Tomorrow my granddaughter, Madison, arrives.  She just earned her driver’s license, so when we’re not beaching, shopping, or creating, I’m sure she will be happy to chauffeur us anywhere we travel. And until next time, happy summer travels to you!

Love, Anny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SNEAK PREVIEW

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Next Saturday, June 4, is Galveston’s Artwalk.  Needless to say, I’ve been feverishly sewing to build an inventory for the show at Tina’s which I have titled “Color Burst.”   Here is a sneak peek at my spring/summer collection using colorful laminates and vegan leathers.

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JAZZED!

MONET'S PALLETTE

MONET’S PALLETTE

FLOWER POWER

FLOWER POWER

ROSE CLIFF MANOR

ROSE CLIFF MANOR

TICKLE ME PINK!

TICKLE ME PINK!

COLOR BURST

COLOR BURST!

SKETCHBOOK SPRING

SKETCHBOOK SPRING

GALLERY IN RED

GALLERY IN RED

VINTAGE KEY WEST

VINTAGE KEY WEST

SEA GODDESS

SEA GODDESS

WHAT A CROC!

WHAT A CROC!

And there you have it!  Please come visit me at Tina’s on the Strand.  This is the same day that our loft is on the Loft Tour across the street.  Very convenient!  Rick will handle the tour while I’m doing the show.  Then on Sunday we’re both going to collapse and relax!

Love,

Anny

 

 

Crocodelic!

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Crocodelic!

A few months ago I discovered a slick new fabric–faux crocodile!  While perusing a fabric store on the west side of Houston, I stopped in my tracks.  The fabric was beautiful–bright, shiny, textured and in three colors!  I asked if I could purchase a small amount of each, but no such luck.  It was expensive and a one yard minimum.  I sadly declined.  But…the fabric haunted me.  I knew I had to have it, and not only did I pay the price, but shipping too!  It cut my sewing budget, but ideas for summer bags were dancing in my head and I was thrilled the day the three long rolls arrived!  Red, blue and green!

Perfect for summer bags.  It’s not exactly easy to work with (well I guess easier than a real crocodile) but the results are definitely worthwhile.  Not being flexible, it is a fabric that I prefer to use on straight, flat pieces like the band of a bag.  I started by making a couple of Jenny Bags (my personal design) and here they are:

 

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Balmy Breeze

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Gracie’s Garden

I paired it with heavy linens from Mood  and High Fashion Fabrics, which resulted in lightweight but very durable bags.  Happy with the outcome, I ventured trying it on a small bag, and here is the bag my friend named “Crocodelic!”

 

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Crocodelic!

The blue faux croc coordinated with a watercolor stripe fabric from Mood to make a “Charlie’s Aunt” pattern.  Her designs always go together so well.

Next I used the green crocodile for a purse designed by Ali Foster which I named Wild Child!

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Wild Child

I used a lushly textured, magenta cut velvet to coordinate with the green crocodile.

Getting braver, I decided to try another small bag, (again by Charlie’s Aunt) but with a large bow that was supposed to be sewn then turned right side out.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  Way too stiff.  So my only recourse was to cut the pieces, and while gathering and sewing together, I had to turn all the edges inward and make an edged seam.

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Don’t think I’ll be doing that again, but it turned out so cute!  As a matter of fact, a sweet lady tourist bought Wild Child and the small one, so they now reside in Chicago!  I love knowing where my bags live.

June 4th is another show at Tina’s on the Strand as the Featured Artist.  Soon I’ll be able to offer you a sneak peak at the fruits of my labor…  But for now, back to work!

Anny

PURSES, PURSES, PURSES!

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PURSES, PURSES, PURSES!

As you may know, we moved twice last year and that put a dent in my sewing (and blogging.)  Drat!  But Tina’s on the Strand invited me to be the Featured Artist for Artwalk last fall and I was determined to keep my commitment so I managed to sew a dozen fall purses which never made it into the blog.  I dearly love the plushness of fall fabric, velvets, vegan leather, faux fur, and tapestry combined with fringe, full tassels, and dazzling embellishments like lush flowers and beautiful beading.  So for those of you who follow this blog for sewing inspiration, I now present to you:

A Gallery of My Fall Collection:

 

BEADS OF A FEATHER

Beads of a Feather

Beads of a Feather

A pattern I love from Ali Foster, this tapestry bag was embellished with dripping beads and feathers.  The handle is from Studio Mio and SO easy to apply.

FRINGE BENEFITS

Fringe Benefits

Fringe Benefits

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Fringe Benefits is a Cindy Taylor Oates design, created from tapestry fabric,  accented with faux fur adjustable straps, trimmed with tassels from Interior Fabrics and 12 inch chainette fringe from Mood.

MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN

Midnight in the Garden

Midnight in the Garden

Honestly, I don’t remember where I purchased this gorgeous textured, embroidered fabric but I’d like to find it again.  The pattern was a modified version of an Abbey Lane pattern called Lucille.  I added the gold braided piping, then attached a plush flower and dotted leather handles.  Almost all my handles are from Studio Mio.

AUTUMN GARDEN

Autumn Garden

Autumn Garden

This sweet bag was a combination of patterns from books and YouTube.  I experimented with the round dotted brown handles which paired so well with the autumn floral linen fabric called Ballad Bouquet.

CASABLANCA

Casablanca

Casablanca

Linen floral and a zebra print fashioned into a Cindy Taylor Oates bag, embellished with golden loop fringe and ruby red beading.

KEYS TO PARIS

Keys to Paris

Keys to Paris

This is one of my all time favorite bags and sold very quickly.  The pattern is actually from the quilting world, called Pasadena, from “A Quilter’s Dream.”  Normally sewn with cotton fabrics, I instead substituted a vintage crushed flock velvet from Etsy with alternating copper and silver fabric that had a soft texture.  I added a purchased bamboo handle, plus a large flower and sparkly keys from Miss Rose Sister Violet.

COWGIRL CHIC

Cowgirl Chic

Cowgirl Chic

A fun messenger style bag, Cowgirl Chic sports faux leather fabrics from Cowgirls and Lace in Dripping Springs, Texas.  The lady who purchased this bag said it reminded her of her mother’s real cowhide purse many years ago.

TINSELTOWN

Tinseltown

Tinseltown

I named this bag Tinseltown because it is glamorous!  It shimmers with a velvet textured silver fabric, complemented by black velvet (my fall favorite) and an amazing tassel trim from Cowgirls and Lace.

GIDDY-UP!

Giddy-Up!

Giddy-Up!

Giddy-Up! is similar to Fringe Benefits but fashioned from faux leather, fringe and tassels.  The exterior features a faux leather boot which I designed and appliqued to the pocket.

SAFARI SPLENDOR

Safari Splendor

Safari Splendor

This is a huge purse with twelve, yes twelve pockets–six exterior, six interior.  The exterior is created from an embroidered faux leather, paired with a sturdy textured leopard print.  The tie is a dark chocolate velvet with a fine gold etched thread throughout.  The pattern is, again, from the quilting world, and is called My Favorite Bag from Kati Cupcake Pattern Company.  Not an easy bag to make because instead of making it from soft cotton fabrics, I chose to use sturdier fall fabrics.  And that’s a pain when grommets are involved…

MOROCCAN DREAM

Moroccan Dream

Moroccan Dream

Such a joy to construct.  This is another pattern from Abbey Lane.  I modified it by using a vintage French ribbon down the middle instead of gathered fabric.  I happened to have the perfect size ribbon from an antique shop in Los Angeles so I was able to apply it here, along with a sturdy, yet softly textured black velour, fancy tassels, and a braided handle made from a drapery tie-back.🙂

LOTUS BLOSSOM

Lotus Blossom

Lotus Blossom

Lotus blossom is an Amy Barickman pattern called the Rachel Bag.  The back side is a heavily textured black fabric with a zipper down the middle for accessing the purse.  A unique silhouette makes for a very charming bag.🙂

Knowing I would be featured in the fall Artwalk show was the impetus for creating twelve purses beginning mid-summer.  This was actually a wonderful opportunity to sew up a storm in that newly styled loft sewing room.  I’m still enjoying my brightly lit sewing room with the brilliant colors, brick walls, and fabulous views!

 

MANHATTAN HOLIDAY

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MANHATTAN HOLIDAY

If I had won the lottery, I would have purchased a penthouse apartment in New York City, but alas, it seems I’ll only be visiting.🙂  So between Christmas and New Years, Rick and I traveled to NYC with Jennifer, Madison and Grayson.  We usually stay at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, but since we didn’t want to get involved in the ball drop hoopla, we chose the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South.  We will definitely be staying there on future trips.

 

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Park Lane Dining Room overlooking Central Park

Park Lane Dining Room overlooking Central Park

Our first evening included the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.  Spectacular is a great description!  Not only was the show fabulous beyond our expectations, but we serendipitously met a few Rockettes at the side door afterward who graciously posed for pictures with Grayson.

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Speaking of Serendipity, after the show we were craving the Frozen Hot Chocolate offered in giant sizes at the popular restaurant.  Since the wait was seriously long, we put our name on the list and ventured out to Dylan’s Candy Bar, where Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, has established the most luscious two story candy shop right in the heart of the Upper East Side.

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Laden with candy bags, we checked our wait list at Serendipity to find we still had time to ride the Roosevelt Tram (a few blocks away) over the East River and back.

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The view from the tram is amazing!

Finally, our table was ready at Serendipity and we indulged in the Frozen Hot Chocolates!

Serendipity

Serendipity!

Frozen Hot Chocolates

Frozen Hot Chocolates

Since the following day was Jennifer’s birthday, she and I enjoyed a morning of shopping.  LaDuree was our first stop where we chose a variety of macaroons to share with everyone later.

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Nearby we visited the Ralph Lauren Flagship store.

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And more fashion at Tiffany…

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Of course their tree would be adorned with little blue boxes!

While we shopped, Grayson and Grandpa climbed the rocks in Central Park.

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We all met up again in the afternoon for the Holiday Lights & Movie Sites tour.  We met our guide in the lobby of the The Shops at Columbus Circle.

Lobby of the Shops at Columbus Circle.

Lobby of the The Shops at Columbus Circle.

After a quick run to Starbucks, we boarded a very plush comfortable bus that had two screens where the guide played movie clips for the movie sights.  After the clips, we passed by the sights and the guide would provide interesting tidbits about the filming.  Some of the scenes were connected to the holidays, like Home Alone, Elf, and Miracle on 34th Street.  Others, just to name a few, were An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle as we passed the Empire State Building, and Ghostbusters as we passed the New York Public Library.  For the Holiday Lights part of the tour, the bus stopped at least four times, allowing us to depart and see the fabulous window displays at the Department Stores up close and personal. This year Bloomingdale’s theme was Holidays through the Senses.  As you viewed the windows, the scent of peppermint and cinnamon filled the air (scent),  Christmas carols were playing (hearing), greenery edged the frames you could feel (touch), peppermint was available to taste, and of course, the sight of the displays was pure eye candy!

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On the other side of Bloomie’s, there were Star Wars themed displays.

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Now Barneys had a fascinating window featuring an ice carver sculpting penguins and polar bears!  The poor guy carving was wearing an insulated suit as the temperature was four degrees Fahrenheit.  The sculptors worked six hour shifts for forty-five days straight!

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Lord & Taylor featured “A Few of Our Favorite Things.”  Here is a Sweet Shop display:

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Of course, no Holiday Lights tour would be complete without the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Angels.  Seventy-eight feet tall and weighing in at ten tons, this year’s beauty comes from Gardiner, New York.  The tree had been in the Asendorf family for four generations but was beginning to outgrow the property, taking over the whole yard.  So the family submitted it online, Rockefeller Center’s head gardener showed up, and voilà, the tree was chosen!

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The tour concluded near the Empire State Building which was dressed in appropriate holiday colors.

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You know, one of my favorite things about New York City is the way I’m constantly surprised, in a good way.  (Not in the way that we accidentally ended up in a “special” graffiti-ridden part of Queens by subway.)  But after our tour, we entered the subway to return to our hotel and were met with an awesome five piece jazz band!

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That evening we strolled along Central Park West on our way to Jen’s birthday dinner at Tavern on the Green.

IMG_1720And here is the magical, twinkle-lit, Tavern on the Green:

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The following day, we  toured again, and this time it was the Nolita/NoHo Food & Culture Tour.  What a culinary extravaganza!  Our guide led us to at least seven or eight establishments where we were served just enough to make us look forward to the next stop.  Everything from appetizers to dessert and then some (wine.)  Anny (yes, Anny with a “y”) such a personable and knowledgeable guide, imparted history of the neighborhoods along the way.  If you’re in Manhattan, I highly recommend this three hour walking tour.

Tacombi, one of my favorites on the tour.

Tacombi, one of my favorites on the tour.

Anny had emphasized how special and transitory the graffiti art is in New York.  She recommended capturing by photo, since it’s often here today, gone tomorrow.

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After touring, we stopped at Rizzoli, a well-known Manhattan bookstore, to browse…

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After Rizzoli, we headed back uptown and spotted preparations for the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square.  Throughout our stay in NYC, we felt totally safe and secure.  The police were very, very visible, everywhere, everyday.

Just a few of New York's finest!

Just a few of New York’s finest!

Since we weren’t planning on attending the festivities in Times Square, we toasted champagne in our room at midnight as we watched the ball drop on TV, then rushed out the front door of the hotel to watch the magnificent midnight fireworks display over Central Park.  Wish I had a picture of that!  What was I thinking?  Hmm, champagne…

The following morning we started the New Year off right by subwaying downtown to catch the Statue Cruises boat to the Statue of Liberty!  She’s so beautiful!  Such an awesome, inspiring sight!

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Here is what it looks like inside, from the pedestal upward…

Structure inside the Statue of Liberty.

Structure inside the Statue of Liberty.

Throughout the museum, there were body parts casts to give a sense of her massive size that you could use as photo ops.

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Then it was on to fascinating Ellis Island.

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The Great Hall

The Great Hall

After watching the short movie about the history of Ellis Island, we were invited to join a tour led by a park ranger (Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are a National Park.)  This man missed his calling–should have been on Broadway.  He brought the immigration experience to life by dramatically asking  questions of each person in our group as though each one of us were immigrants trying to make it through the difficult inspection process.  We learned so much!  Each immigrant was subjected to a rapid fire series of twenty-nine questions by the inspectors.  And that buttonhook that was used to flip the eyelid to check for disease–it was not cleaned from person to person!  If a family member was rejected because of disease, who would return home with them?  Our experience with the park ranger was seriously thought provoking and interesting.  Never enough time at Ellis Island!

But as we departed, the skyline beckoned us back to the mainland.

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The next item on our agenda was to visit the massive 9/11 Museum.  On a previous trip, we saw the fountains, memorial wall, and the small starter museum.  This time we were able to enter the new museum and all its many sobering exhibits.  Here is a picture to give an idea of the size of the museum.

A beam from the World Trade Center.

A beam from the World Trade Center.

The museum is, of course, a sad experience.  Although it is not a place of solitude, it is a place of respect.  Visitors speaking in hushed tones are met with display after display of personal stories, both visually and auditorily, as recordings are played of loved ones’ calls from the Towers, and 911 calls.  Screens replay the news reports of the surrounding days.  As I write this, I heave a heavy sigh, not being able to impart the gravity of this collection of tragic memories.  The hopeful elements concern the survivors and their stories.  Now that we have seen the Memorial, and the Museum, our next visit to New York should include the new One World Observatory.  The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere gives a Top of the World type experience with 360 degree views.  The elevators reach the 102nd floor in less than 60 seconds and the building offers many dining rooms and cafes.

We ended the evening with a scrumptious dinner at the ever-pleasing Balthazar restaurant.  It has been described as a “blended atmosphere of NYC, Paris, and a local diner.”  After our meal, we stopped next door to gather some of the luscious pastries at the Balthazar Bakery for dessert later.🙂

The following day, we didn’t waste time, as it was the last day of our trip.  Of course, our final hours consisted of a little more shopping.  Our favorite was the MacKenzie-Childs store on 57th Street, within walking distance from our hotel.  Trust me, this store is a real life walk through her catalog!  Oh, the vignettes throughout the store!  Here are just a few:

Linens

Linens

Lighting

A Place for Gathering

A Place for Gathering

What?  More shopping?  Just a quick dash into the Shops at the Plaza, and meeting Grandpa for lunch in the Plaza Food Court below.

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After good-bye hugs, Jennifer and the girls were off to the airport since they were departing a few hours before us.  As for me, I said, “Grandpa, grab your Kindle.  We have one more stop to make, and it’s a short subway ride away.”

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Oh, yeah!  You didn’t think I’d miss it, did you?  As the elevator operator swung the lever on that ancient elevator door and allowed us to step into fabric Mecca, I suggested Grandpa sit up front in the “husband waiting” section, while I frantically explored all four floors and the new Mood Home next door.

A sampling pic: just one row, and there are many where that came from!

A sampling pic:  just one row of the many, many rows on every floor.

I offer a “Thank you, Mood!” and a wave good-bye!  Hauling my bulging Mood Fabric bag onto the subway, then onto the plane, I bid a fond farewell to my favorite city in the world.🙂

 

 

 

Hill Country Thanksgiving

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Our Hill Country Thanksgiving started with cooking and feasting on a scrumptious meal at our daughter’s home in Austin.  That is where we met George,  our newest sweet grand-dog!  He’s called a Goldendoodle.

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Black Friday did involve a bit of shopping in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Even though the weather was miserable, shoppers didn’t seem to care while they explored this historical quaint town.  Our first stop was Carol Hicks Bolton, a huge, fabulous store featuring Bella Notte linens and French antiques.  I scored a few French pharmacy items and financial documents from Paris, 1891.  Greeting you were scenes like these:

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Having worked up an appetite, we visited Vaudeville:

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Where you can dine downstairs…

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Then shop upstairs.🙂

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We returned to Austin by way of Johnson City to view the amazing Christmas lights!  Behold!

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The following day, I took time to visit one of my favorite fabric store, Cowgirls and Lace, in Dripping Springs.  On the way, I spotted a quilt shop I’d never noticed before, and I’m so glad I stopped!

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Colorful fabrics including many Kaffe Fassett, gifts, books, patterns, classes, and even refreshments!

But, alas, it was time to say good-bye to Austin and family.  Aww, sad to go, Georgie:

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One more stop for Granny and Gramps in beautiful San Antonio.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Contessa on the Riverwalk.  And capped off our trip with a riverboat tour of the holiday lights before returning to Galveston.

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Never a dull moment.  Time to pull out the costumes we wear to Galveston’s Dickens on the Strand.  More about that later… Happy Holidays!

 

PICTORAL REVIEW: INTERNATIONAL QUILT FESTIVAL 2015

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PICTORAL REVIEW:  INTERNATIONAL QUILT FESTIVAL 2015

My favorite time of year–International Quilt Festival!  Come along with me as I give you the whirlwind tour.  It is an annual tradition that my sister and I spend four days and three nights at the Hilton that is literally attached to the Quilt Festival by a walkway to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.  Here are views from our room:

View from our Room

View from our Room

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Nannette, and I love to fuel our excitement by viewing the entire show first from the fishbowl window on the second floor.  Several quilters taking selfies inspired us.🙂

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Okay, now for the show…

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As you enter Preview Night, Winners Row is front and foremost.

$10,000 Best of Show

$10,000 Best of Show

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The winner of the Founders Award gets $7,500, and airfare to, and accommodations for, the International Quilt Festival!

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Peter Hayward from Spain wanted to take op art to a new level with graduated color and concentric lines.  I wish you could see this quilt in person.  Your eyes play tricks on you as the fabric appears to be in motion!

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Ben's Midnight Garden

Ben’s Midnight Garden

Ben’s Midnight Garden is traditional applique inspired by a mid-nineteenth century wool rug.

In the Valley of Xingu

In the Valley of Xingu

Reborn

Reborn

One of my personal favorites among the winners was an original design by Joanne Baeth inspired by old fishing boats in a boatyard in Oregon where she was salmon fishing.

The End of the Line

The End of the Line

This amazing quilt, “Tagged,” was dedicated to the nearly 30,000 Japanese internees who were children during the internment camps on the Pacific Coast after Pearl Harbor.

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Tagged

Of course, equally fun as viewing the quilts is shopping in the row upon rows of booths selling fabric, trims, patterns and quilts, sometimes antique.  Here are some of our favorites:

Gypsy South from Atlanta, Georgia.

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Cat, owner of Gypsy South. Very talented lady! I bought gifts for myself and others.🙂

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There were booths playing games for prizes like thread and fabric!

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At Pineapple Fabrics you could “spin to win” fabric. My sister and I each won a miniature charm pack!

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Miss Rose Sister Violet always has exquisite items such as trims, patterns and clothing.

Miss Rose Sister Violet

Miss Rose Sister Violet

I always visit, and stock up, at Trims on Wheels presented by a lovely couple, Edie and Luc Roelens, from Hillsdale, Wyoming.

Trims on Wheels

Trims on Wheels

Quilts by the Bay had a beautiful booth as usual.

Quilts by the Bay, Friendswood, Texas

Quilts by the Bay, Friendswood, Texas

The Sampler (the-sampler.com) always has tons of luscious Kaffe Fassett fabric.

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the-Sampler.com

the-Sampler.com

I don’t know if you’ve been introduced to Adult Coloring yet (very soothing activity) but the craze is cheerfully spreading, with me on board!  Appearing in various booths, including this one:

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Here is a booth featuring authors who were autographing their books for customers:

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And now for some rapid fire eye candy quilt pictures that I just snapped every time I saw a quilt that dazzled me:

The Floral Arrangement

The Floral Arrangement

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas

Close up of the tridimensional petals...

Close-up of the tridimensional petals…

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Tutti Frutti City Street

Tutti Frutti City Street

Rama Lama Ding Dong

Rama Lama Ding Dong

Sprocket to Me

Sprocket to Me

Triptych The City: Past, Present, Utopia?

Triptych
The City: Past, Present, Utopia?

Close up of the triptych. Hand embroidered, hand embellished.

Close-up of the triptych.
Hand embroidered, hand embellished.

Persian Excursion

Persian Excursion

New York Lights

New York Lights

Harvest Celebration

Harvest Celebration

Harvest Celebration close-up

Harvest Celebration close-up

Hip Hip Hooray

Hip Hip Hooray

Yes, those are tiny little pieces.  Here is the story from Bernadette Houghton, Columbia, South Carolina:

“I was going to try making a miniature quilt at a quilt camp, but ten days before I was to attend, I fell and broke my hip.  After I got out of rehab, I decided to make a full-size quilt for my bed instead of the miniature, beginning with the half-square triangles I prepared for the camp.  The quilt was completed one month after my hip was pronounced fully healed.”

And here is a close-up just to give you perspective:

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Pennsylvanian Star of Bethlehem

Pennsylvanian Star of Bethlehem

Tropical Punch

Tropical Punch

Crazy Elegance

Crazy Elegance

Parrotise

Parrotise

I didn’t get the name of the next quilt, but in the close-up you’ll notice hidden kitties…there were several.

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At the Window

At the Window

A Coastal Town

A Coastal Town

The Orange (near Rome)

The Orange (near Rome)

Savanna by Yoshiko Miyamoto

Savanna by Yoshiko Miyamoto

If They Were in P.E.I. Original Precision Applique

If They Were in P.E.I.
Original Precision Applique

Judy Technique: Photograph printed on fabric, thread-painted, free-motion quilted.

Judy
Technique: Photograph printed on fabric, thread-painted, free-motion quilted.

Laughing Now

Who’s Laughing Now

Polka Dodo

Polka Dodo

Sunflower Serenade

Sunflower Serenade

Flowers and Stars

Flowers and Stars

In addition to quilts, some displays featured costumes:

Celebration in the Night Garden

Celebration in the Night Garden

Three more fashions:

Fashion Flashback

Fashion Flashback

And some displays featured dolls:

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This is a display of food made of fabric:

High Tea at Rosings Estate

Sunday Night Means Breakfast for Dinner

High Tea at Rosings Estate

High Tea at Rosings Estate

And then there were dioramas:

Feed the Birds

Feed the Birds

Dioramas from a display called “In the Yarn Barn.” Animal lovers across the country knitted or stitched creatures to “live” within this fun exhibit.  Each animal is quilted, knitted, crocheted, or stitched.

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Of course, there are a variety of classes offered at Quilt Festival, some lasting a whole day and some hour-long lectures.  This year, my sister and I chose a lecture by Kaffe Fassett featuring a color theme with comments and slides of his glorious quilts.  His latest book depicts quilts presented at the show this year called Ancestral Gifts.  The collection displayed the actual antique quilts that inspired him, side by side with his interpretation–a modern colorful quilt!  P.S. He’s also back to creating knitting designs!

Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe Fassett

I also attended a lecture by Cheryl Kuczek, titled “Master Designer Handbag Making Techniques.”  One of the featured bags was Xine Basket Bag for which I purchased the pattern.  IMG_0765

Cheryl Kuczek

Cheryl Kuczek

As usual, I peeked into other classrooms to snap a few pics for an idea of what else was cookin’.  So inspiring!

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The Craftsy Studio was there:

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Stitch Studio

Did I mention that Quilt Festival usually falls during Halloween?  I captured a few characters that showed up:

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Now look closely at the next picture and you’ll notice that the gentleman on the left has a plunger through his head, and the lady to the right is sporting scissors through the head!🙂  Yep–a howling good time at Quilt Festival on Oct. 31!

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And what, may you ask, will become of the educational four days of fun?  Behold the patterns and kits I purchased and plan to execute!

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I loved the real life sample of this five layers of petals pillow offered in the Material Girl booth.  Can’t wait to make it in my own colors and fabrics!

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I chose this Mini Messenger pattern (with kit) to learn to make a bag with a twist lock.🙂

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Two other bag patterns I now own are made from wool, a clutch and a larger bag.  Purchased from Heart to Hand.  Awesome booth with excellent samples of their patterns.

Clutch with built in coin purse pocket. Appliqued boiled wool detailing.

Clutch with built in coin purse pocket. Appliqued boiled wool detailing.  Title:  Nest Egg

Larger bag featuring a cheesecloth white rose!

Larger bag featuring a cheesecloth white rose!

Not only is the Miss Rose Sister Violet booth  beautiful, they now offer patterns of the following bags that are right up my alley!

Sunday Rose Shoulder Bag and The Weekender Travel Bag

Sunday Rose Shoulder Bag and The Weekender Travel Bag

One more bag pattern caught my eye at one of my favorite booths, Abbey Lane.  Here is the Maxwell Bag:

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For some reason, I have the urge to sew an item of clothing and bought three yards of batik to make a jacket.  And now I also own the kits to make the following:

Faux Fur Infinity Scarves

Faux Fur Infinity Scarves

And…

Faux Fur Cape

Faux Fur Wrap

So…tremendously inspired by blogging this review, I am ready to work on my projects!  Until next time…Love, Anny

SEWING ROOM TOUR, i.e., My Little Slice of Heaven

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While I love all the rooms in our new loft, of course I gravitate to the sewing room.  To give you an idea of my work space, I’ve included five pictures or views.  As you walk into this room, you face the large arched window on the brick wall.  The main portion here is occupied by the cutting area where I have plenty of natural light by day and a swing arm lamp mounted to the wall above for cutting at night.  The cutting boards rest upon several wire basket drawers of fabric.

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Moving to the right, you’ll see the actual sewing area.  Rick gets the credit for hanging the fan quilt from my quilting days, while he balanced fifteen feet or more on a huge ladder.  Didn’t he do a wonderful job?  The Hoosier Cabinet is a family heirloom that houses my notions and scrapbook supplies.  The two Bernina’s allow me to stitch with two different color threads when necessary.  I just roll my chair back and forth.  Also, this setup comes in very handy to sew side by side with my granddaughters.  AND, I measured carefully before the furniture arrival so that my sewing chair would be placed where I can see the ships coming down the harbor as I sew!

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Moving again to the right you see the entrance wall with a six foot bookcase Rick built for me.  He also built the cabinet drawer space under the map chest.  The map chest houses buttons, trims, fringe, beads, and patterns.  The Tibetan prayer flag was a gift from my niece who visited Tibet with her National Geographic photography group.  And anyone who sews knows that you need prayers every time you have to rip stitches or seek inspiration, right?🙂

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Now we come to the amazing closet.  This used to be a normal sized, mirrored, sliding door type closet.  Since I knew this would be my sewing room, I asked for a huge archway and no doors.  This allowed space for my fabric armoire whose arch shape echoes the arch above.  Hidden behind the armoire is a large filing cabinet.  AND, I get to have two chandeliers to add a little romance to the space.  On one end of this closet Rick built shelves and rods to hang and organize even more fabric.

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By the way, the black wall color was a happy mistake.🙂  The armoire front is loaded with purses right now that will be in my fall/winter line.  Since we have now settled into the loft and I don’t have to worry about moving and decorating anymore, I’ve been sewing and sewing!  (You’ll see those purses in detail in future posts.)  On the other end of this closet is my tiny, cozy, brick walled nook that serves as my office.  My desk is a library table that I bought in the sixties from a courthouse auction in Kokomo, Indiana, and it just fits!

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So this is my happy place, where I sew, design, research, blog, make tags, email, catch up on Days of Our Lives, CNN, Bravo housewives, and The Bachelorette.  Hmm, that Kaitlyn’s interesting, isn’t she?  Okay, not going there.  Any…way…until next time, Happy Sewing!