Tag Archives: Quilting

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

PICTORIAL REVIEW: Quilt Market and Quilt Festival 2014

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I know this is just a picture of a badge but I feel so privileged to be considered an “industry professional.”  This year, in order to attend Quilt Market, you had to submit several items.  In my case, it was proof of publishing two patterns, a tax I.D., and proof that I’ve been published in Haute Handbags magazine.  In exchange, I received this badge to enter the International Quilt Market, an industry trade show at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.  What a surprise to meet fellow bloggers in person!!  Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness, right in front of me with her fabulous patterns!  Thank you, Sara, for featuring Purse Palooza!  And when I signed up for Mixed Media Miscellany, little did I know that Gilbert Muniz of Muniz Couture would be teaching me how to make tassels!  Thank you, Gilbert!  I’ve been practicing!  (More to come on that item in future posts…)

So this post will be a “miscellany” of pics from both International Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival.  Once again, my sister and I managed to score a room at the Hilton attached to the Convention Center.  Do you realize just how difficult  that is?  When you check out of the hotel, after attending the show, you’re handed a letter telling you the exact date and time you are allowed to call to make a reservation for next year.  At that time you will be competing with thousands of other ladies to book a room at that hotel during that time period. Whew!  The stress of it all! 🙂

Nannette and I both took classes from Jo Packham  (think creator of “Where Women Create,” and “Where Women Cook” and “Where Women Create in Business”) for great tips and secrets on organizing our sewing studios.  Our favorite part was the segment with slides depicting sewing studios–Before and After.  Don’t you just love those?  Actual examples!   I also learned a great deal about publishing patterns, self-publishing, editing, photography etc. from classes taught by Judith Montano and Meredith McManus.

Let’s take a look at the fabulous quilts!  It was the 40th anniversary of the Quilt Show and the theme was Ruby Jubilee.  As you entered the quilt arena, you were met with scenes like this:

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But it wasn’t all “seeing red.”  Take a look at these beauties and keep in mind, they’re fabric–not paintings…

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And more, pure eye candy…

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This is so cute:  Anywhere We Hang Our Hat Is Home..

 

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We loved the crazy quilts!  Here you see the whole quilt…

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And now, two close-ups of that same quilt to give you an idea of the intricate details…

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Sewn by an Austin artist, this is called “Suburbs”

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And, the ocean in fabric form…

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Here is a close-up of the lower left-hand corner.  I just wish you could see this in person, with all the texturing, layering, and dimensional qualities:

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And now a peek at classes–literally. 🙂 I peek in the doors of some classrooms that I find interesting and bring them to you…

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A Class on Dyeing

A Class on Dyeing

Gilbert Muniz Demo on Making Tasselsl

Gilbert Muniz Demo on Making Tasselsl

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At the end of the day, when the crowds wane, is a great time to enjoy the Winning Quilts!

This quilt is called “On This Winter Day” by Nancy Prince and Linda French of Orlando, Florida.  Over a seven year period, and approximately 2000 hours, this treasure was created using 75,000 yards of thread and over seven million stitches!  All the lifelike designs were done in Free Motion Quilting.  It was the $10,000 Handi Quilter Winner!

 

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My personal favorite was the Superior Threads Master Award you see here…

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The Pfaff Machine Artistry Award was earned by this quilt:

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The World of Beauty $7,500 Award was earned by:

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And another personal winner was our friend, Georgann Wrinkle’s, beautiful traditional applique quilt:

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One of my all-time favorites was the featured quilt titled, Metamorphosis.  If you could only see the texture and dimension in this quilt:

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So when you’re not feasting your eyes on these beauties, there are hundreds of booths to visit and shop.  Nannette was collecting items like velvet and satin, and buttons and trims, to start a fun crazy quilt!  AND she found a steal on a gorgeous antique quilt!  I purchased frames, patterns, trims (including some amazing buttons) and fabric, including vintage.  Here are some of our favorite booths:

Amy Butler's Booth

Amy Butler’s Booth

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Booths selling antique quilts are particularly charming:

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Here is a picture of Jennifer Patterson Designs, where we witnessed the most amazing technique of using a polymer to “quilt in clay!”  To learn more about this jewelry technique visit www.quiltedinclay.com.  Totally awesome!

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Here is a booth that really captured my eye.  Should have snapped up a card or brochure.  You’ll understand why I fell in love with it!

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And, Kaffe Fassett, well, how many superlatives can I use, right?

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The adorable Tim Holtz had this wonderfully cozy booth!

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Heather Bailey had a happy and inviting booth beckoning us:

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Trisha Jane Patterns has been picked up by McCall and will shortly become a celeb!  Isn’t this cute?

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And speaking of celebs, of course, you’re liable to run into quilting celebrities like Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims:

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I don’t know why I didn’t take a pic of Eleanor Burns as we watched her demo, but I can show you the fans that fans were carrying everywhere (and they came in handy, Eleanor–thanks!)  This is one super sweet, talented lady:

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And as we bid fond farewell to the George R. Brown for another year…

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We enter our home away from home…

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And say, “Cheers to another great year!” with a scrumptious peach margarita, right?!  See ya next year! 🙂

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S’MORES AND MORE!

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We were in LaGrange this weekend and I had a chance to experience the Texas Quilt Museum once more.  Quilt displays are changed every three months and the setting is a beautiful century old brick building.  I highly recommend it if you’re visiting the Texas Hill Country near LaGrange. They don’t allow photographs but I asked permission to snap an overall shot to entice visitors to this lovely quilt haven.

Texas Quilt Museum LaGrange, Texas

Texas Quilt Museum
LaGrange, Texas

Right next door to the museum is a fabulous quilt/yarn shop, The Quilted Skein.  Very inviting fabrics greet you (think Kaffe Fassett, etc.) and one whole side of the store is devoted to yarn and knitting.  I could spend hours there.  Since it’s finally cooler here in Texas I have the urge to knit and bought just enough yarn to make a scarf.  Check out this warm and cozy scene:

The Quilted Skein LaGrange, Texas

The Quilted Skein
LaGrange, Texas

Late that afternoon Farmer Rick wanted to show me the property he’s working on, and I must say, it is quite lovely.  Here is a photo down by the creek and another of sunset:

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That evening we met my sister and her family at Bistro 108–the place in LaGrange for delectable meals (we had brunch the next day as well.) 🙂

Fantastic Food!

Fantastic Food!

After dark my nephew built a huge fire and we all roasted marshmallows (giant size) for drippingly good s’mores.  A choice of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or Hersheys with almonds.  Oh so good!!  I had seconds. 😉

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Our visit was topped off the next morning with sitting on the porch with our coffee while my sister finished binding a quilt and I knitted.  Ah, heaven…

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One more thing.  Since it’s great soup weather, I’ll share a recipe made a few nights ago which came from another quilter friend (thanks, Beverly) that I’m sure you’ll find delicious, quick, and very easy.

Chicken Enchilada Soup Um-Um-Good!

Chicken Enchilada Soup
Um-Um-Good!

CHICKEN ENCHILADA SOUP

1 can Chicken Broth

l0 oz. can enchilada sauce with green chiles

10 oz. can medium enchilada sauce

Tortilla strips (I used “Crunchy Toppings for Salads” kind)

1 tsp. ground cumin

Frozen Fully Cooked Chicken Fajita Strips (I used about 1/2 of a 1.37 lb. bag)

1 cup half-n-half

1 medium diced tomato

1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

sour cream

Combine both sauces and chicken broth in a large pot.  Cook over medium heat until broth thickens somewhat.  Add cumin, chicken strips (still frozen) and half-n-half.  Toss in a few handfuls of tortilla strips (but save some for topping in the bowls.)  Heat through until the chicken is thawed and hot.  Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with diced tomatoes, cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and another handful of tortilla strips.  Yum!!

QUILTERS’ PARADISE

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QUILTERS’ PARADISE

It is back to reality for me.  From Wednesday to Saturday Nannette and I were in P-A-R-A-D-I-S-E!  2013 International Quilt Festival, Houston, Texas.  This gallery of pics will give you an idea of our many ventures.  Let’s start here:

OPEN! OPEN! OPEN!  Quilters flocking to the door.

OPEN! OPEN! OPEN!
Quilters flocking to the door.

An overall view from the Window Up Above (Wasn’t that a Mickey Gilley song?)

IMG_4430Let’s go shopping:

Nannette and I with Kaffe Fassett and his new book, QUILT GRANDEUR.

Nannette and I with Kaffe Fassett and his new book,
QUILT GRANDEUR.

KAFFE FASSETT and LIZA PRIOR LUCY

KAFFE FASSETT and LIZA PRIOR LUCY

If Kaffe Fassett doesn’t ring a bell with you, you are probably not a quilter and that’s okay.  Just letting you know that he is the author of numerous quilting books and known all over the world for his brilliant color combinations and designs.  I so love to use his fabric in my bags.  And, oh my, he admired my bag.  MY BAG!  I can die happy now…

My new favorite booth:  ADORNit.  www.adornit.com  These gals (mother and two daughters) have developed an amazingly strong presence in the fabric, pattern, and quilting world.  You go, Ladies!

ADORNit.

ADORNit.

Snazzy contemporary fabric and a pattern book (plus some charm squares) were scored at ADORNit.  If you sew, plan to visit soon for inspiration.

You can always catch demos at the show.  Check out this lady’s sewing machine…

Gelaskin for Sewing Machines?!

Gelaskin for Sewing Machines?!

This next mother/daughter duo is a booth Nannette and I always take time to visit.  Brilliant colors and designs are offered on a number of projects like chair covers, floor mats, travel mugs, mirrors, lamps, shades, clocks and clipboards.  Did I say quilts?  And more. Dianne Springer finds ways to artistically apply scraps on anything–even mailboxes!  Don’t stand still too long–she may find a way to Scrap-o-Late you!!

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www.quiltinacup.com

You’ve heard me mention FRAMES.  Yes, I succumbed to one of my favorite booths, Mica’s Room.  On Halloween, no less.  My friends here entice me (doesn’t take much) to buy frames, patterns, clasps and fabric.  This year I’m trying coin purses.  They do have frames.  But isn’t that a great way to practice?

My friends from Mica's Room.

My friends from Mica’s Room.

This year I purchased  antique ribbons, lace, and vintage buttons and fabric at booths featuring embellishments.  Many more booths featured bags, bag patterns and hardware this year.  Right up my alley!  You know I was crossing my fingers for colored denim and I hit the jackpot.  Thanks to designer Amy Barickman, Crossroads Denim will allow me to fashion totes, slings, and clutches from a softly laundered denim in shades of orange, navy, blues, greens, and neutrals.  I’m so excited!

Some ladies at the show try their hand at longarm quilting.

Longarm quilting booth.

Longarm quilting booth.

It seems as though Nannette ran up a huge total at Quilts By The Bay.

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Oops!  Thankfully, that was just a mistake, but maybe it’s time to turn from shopping to quilts.  Hello–it is a Quilt Show!

The Best of Show Winner is …

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Close Up

Close Up

Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist

There were contemporary, traditional, charitable, whimsical, biographical, autobiographical, military and art quilts.  A sampling:

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Sparkles covered all the flowers on this quilt.

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Yes, Jack Nicholson.  The artist said she was studying expression and emotions.

Yes, Jack Nicholson. The artist said she was studying expression and emotions. 🙂

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This year $102,800 cash awards were given (and the prizes also include airfare to and hotel accommodations for Quilt Festival.)  See all the winning quilts at www.quilts.org.

There were classes offered at Craftsy:

Craftsy University

Craftsy University

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A Craftsy Class.

Many specialties were offered in the upstairs classrooms (Nannette and I enjoyed one) and even classes offered right on the main floor amongst the booths.

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For breaks and a chance to catch a breeze in our fabulous fall weather, attendees are welcome to stroll on the balcony.  When you’re in the midst of shopping and viewing, it seems the world is removed (happily so) but it’s occasionally beneficial to let your brain experience the connection of a view of downtown.

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Often we run into old friends that we usually see at retreats.  This year we had fun meeting old friends in the crowded aisles, trying to catch up on the run, waving, and signaling to meet up later.  Fortunately, I noticed Jo Packham in the Food Court, having just had two classes with the Where Women Create panel, and she joined Nannette and I for a fun and relaxing late lunch. We solved most of the world’s problems and then it was back to shopping. 🙂

At the end of the day, we welcome this sight:

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“Come into the light, Carol Ann…”  It’s the corridor that links the George R. Brown Convention Center to the Hilton Hotel.   Oh, yes.  That walkway reminds us that Starbucks is not a food group.  Without even depositing our treasures in our room, we head for the lovely restaurant where the food is actually quite good.  After dinner, drinks, and dessert, we drag our loot up to the room and share our awesome treasures.  We always vow to get plenty of sleep, but how do you do that when there is just so much to share??  And no sleeping in the next day because, hey, we need to find that fabric we glimpsed yesterday and hope it’s still there!

This year we took a class and it was titled, “Crafting an Ideal Day.”  It basically involved time management and we learned a lot from the facilitator and the participants.  Everyone seemed to have the same problem–not enough time to sew.  We lamented this and brainstormed solutions.  The main idea that Nannette and I took away from the class was this:  Get 20 minutes in your sewing area everyday.  This will lead to more, and if it doesn’t on any given day, at least you will have been twenty minutes productive.  Naturally, we left the show this year pledging to gift ourselves those twenty minutes.  And it may not happen everyday, but, well, it’s a start.  So here I go… I’ll bet I could get a small purse cut out in the next twenty minutes. 🙂 How do you get YOUR twenty minutes in?

THE SUCCESS OF PASSION

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I  had the great privilege to take two classes at Quilt Market–The Success of Passion and How to Let People Know Who You Are. Both classes were led by Jo Packham, hosting a panel of exceptionally talented and creative ladies who shared how their passion led to successful businesses and how they stay ahead of the game in this media driven world.  Jo Packham created the fabulous magazine, Where Women Create–Inspiring Work Spaces of Extraordinary Women. www.wherewomencreate.com.  This led to Where Women Create-Business and Where Women Cook.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of perusing these publications, you are in for a treat.  Get a cup of coffee, ease into a cozy chair, and prepare to be inspired.

Speaking of inspiration, the classes were followed by the actual Quilt Market where companies like Westminster Fabrics, Moda, Anna Griffin and countless booths offer patterns, fabric, notions, books, machines, and all the latest items available for quilting, sewing, bag making, and embroidery.  Here is just a sample of booths at the Market.  Pure eye candy!

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Marcia of Abbey Lane Quilts displays a pillow that I bought the pattern and fabric for last year, and a new bag pattern that I can’t wait to sew!

ABBEY LANE QUILTS BOOTH

ABBEY LANE QUILTS BOOTH

If you quilt, I know you’ll recognize this sweet lady–Eleanor Burns!  Check out her new book, Quilts from El’s Kitchen.  www.quiltinaday.com.  Savor fresh new quilt blocks along with recipes for tasty treats.

ELEANOR BURNS

ELEANOR BURNS

I had a great time shopping as a “business owner” and chose new patterns for my bags, along with handles, and yes, FRAMES!  No, I’m not really a masochist.  I’m just determined to conquer those challenging glueing and stitching frames.  Checking out those tutorials on frames, I discovered that it’s not just me.  Usually in tutorials, the instructor seems to breeze through, finishing with “And there you have your beautiful project!  Wasn’t that easy?”  However, I noticed that the frame tutorials used words like “Now here’s the tricky part…” and, “You may have to practice and redo a few times…”  I didn’t hear any actual curse words but you know you can edit those videos. 🙂

So between classes on Friday and Sunday, friends joined Rick and I in partaking of German beer and scrumptious homemade apple, cherry, and cheese strudel at the local Octoberfest.  Perfectly gorgeous weather as well! 

Oktoberfest

OKTOBERFEST TUNES

Yes, I did manage to sew one bag this weekend.  A Victorian drawstring bag that’s appropriate for evening, or festivals like our upcoming Dickens on the Strand here in Galveston.

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And now I must go pack, for my sister and I will be checking into the Hilton tomorrow that connects to the convention center for the International Quilt Festival, the largest quilt festival in the world, and the largest convention annually for the City of Houston.  This year, as well as continual shopping and viewing the lovely quilts, we’re taking a class–something along the lines of “How to Make Time to Sew.” 🙂   So what am I looking for that I couldn’t find at Quilt Market?  Well…fabric.  The fabric companies that I mentioned above sell to shop owners who buy wholesale bolts at a time.  But Festival is for the individual quilter (at retail prices.)  So now I’ll have the opportunity to buy just enough fabric for my purses.  I’m looking for spring/summer fabrics like cotton, laminates, vintage fabrics, and hopefully, colored denim.  Each year Nannette and I treasure this time together where we shop, eat, giggle, and gab until the wee hours.  We’ll be there until Saturday, in the room that we had to reserve at this same time last year, since rooms sell out immediately.  Go Quilters!  Support the Economy, right?

Next week I’ll share our pics and bargains scored at the International Quilt Festival.  Join us!

 

FRIGHTENED OF FRAMES!

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Whew!  Having finished Artwalk, I have been concentrating on donation commitments made some time ago.  The first was a fashion show benefitting women’s scholarships, the challenge being that the donations were to be refashioned from a thrift store.  Let me just say that I now have infinite admiration for those of you who do this regularly and well, especially those ladies at Refashion Runway.  If you haven’t checked out this blog, Renegade Seamstress, it is similar to Project Runway with weekly challenges, the difference being the projects start with a thrift store or cast off item.

This was a very difficult task for me because, in dismantling the canvas bag purchased from Salvation Army, I had a hard time deciding what to keep.  With an armoire full of beautiful fabrics and trims, it is a challenge to use any of the old item.  On this particular purse I managed to reclaim the animal print fabric for use on the interior.  Knowing that the bag was to be used in a Holiday Fashion Show, I chose to take the fancy route.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

I know, I know…nothing like the original except inside.  This is not my strong suit.  Maybe it just takes practice and willpower not to use all new materials.  Of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” I guess I “reduced” more than I “reused!) 🙂

The next project was for a Breast Cancer Auction.  A CraftApple pattern was chosen to create this handy little bag:

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Anxious to try some new patterns, (the clutches are Ali Foster designs) I’ve ventured into small purses this week.  Here are a few:

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This floral bag was attached to the frame with E6000.  The fabric (both interior and exterior) was quilted from a beautiful Hoffman fabric from my stash.  It felt good to get the old walking shoe back on Betsy again!  IMG_4268 IMG_4309

This last bag “gave me fits!” as they used to say in Indiana.  I need to watch a tutorial (OH NO!) on using purse frames, both glueing and stitching.  The quilted floral bag above was glued and turned out well.  But with this last bag, I redid the stitching two or three times and it’s just okay, in my opinion.  (Notice you’re not viewing the interior.) 🙂  The reason I didn’t give up on this bag is because  the flower, fashioned from that vintage ruched ribbon, actually looked like I intended and I learned to make upholstery leaves!  Yea!  AND, they had already been sewn down (sturdily) before arriving at the last step–THE FRAME–yikes!

Yes, I am now Frightened of Frames!  (A Halloween movie?)  So, I’m off to find a Frame Tutorial! 🙂  (I’m not kidding…)  Any recommendations?

 

2012 Houston International Quilt Festival

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Oh, YEAH!  A three night stay at the Hilton connected to the George R. Brown Convention Center is JUST RIGHT for enjoying the largest quilt festival of all!  My sister, Nannette, and I had plenty of oohing and ahhing to do as we perused the twenty aisles (we’re talking over nine football fields of shopping and quilts!)  We ate at the Hilton and the Geo. R. Brown, which meant our cars never left the garage.  First night is Preview from 7:00 to 10:00 and then the next two days we spent all day (10:00 -7:00) at the show.  This is a seamstress and quilter’s dream come true.  We watched demos of new products and Nannette bought the battery operated ripper (which I now regret not buying every time I rip.)  One of our favorite demos was the foot and body massagers.  While your feet are on the foot massager, the salesperson uses the shoulder and back massager on you!  Ahh, heaven indeed!  By late afternoon each day, we were definitely ready for a mini-massage to get us through until after show and dinner time back at the hotel.  A little massage and a latte from the snack bar and we’re good to go again! 🙂

Nannette’s son’s fiance’s grandmother (did you follow that?) had a quilt and a wall hanging in the show!  Very exciting and we took a pic of her  with her lovely and entertaining quilt which you’ll see below.  The quilts seem to be more and more amazing each year and there are a number of charitable organizations affiliated with the showings.  From modern style (you could swear that some of the art quilts are photographs) to old style (the French Guild quilts were all antique repros and were pieced and quilted by hand), the assortment of techniques and designs was phenomenal and prize money this year totaled $94,250!

Speaking of antique quilts, let’s talk shopping!  I bought my very first antique quilt (top only) which is a daisy chain done in the 1930’s.  See pic below.  It is hand pieced and one could spend hours just studying the variety and placement of fabrics used.  Another first for me, I saw a demo, tried it myself, and purchased a lace painting kit.  I plan to artistically decorate small romantic antique looking bags with these new paints and lace trims.  Another purchase included several handles for my bags including some that are new to me so it will be fun experimenting.  And so as not to completely exit from the garment game, I purchased fabric and pattern for a winter vest that has an embossed paisley design on soft green fur.  I also found laminated fabric designs which work perfectly for the Anny Bag.  Of course there was a gathering of trims–ribbons, buttons, charms, feathers, lace, appliques, fringe, etc.

Nannette and I both made our first purchase the new Kaffe Fassett autobiography, Dreaming in Color.  We already own every book our guru has ever written.  When you open one of his books, you can spend hours leisurely pouring over the exquisite array of quilts he offers.  But the very best event to happen to Nannette and I occurred just before we started our Wednesday night Preview.  We exited the Hilton and were waiting at the traffic light when we turned around and noticed Kaffe, himself, behind us!!  We must have seemed like groupies as we tried to talk (stammering) to this international quilt celebrity, who, I might add, is very easy on the eyes–actually his are piercing blue.  Since we went directly to the display where he autographed our books,  we decided to concentrate on keeping our distance the rest of the night lest he deem us stalkers!  🙂

With dreams of next year’s festival, I bid you a fond farewell.

Awesome Retreat!

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Beautiful Texas Quilt Museum, LaGrange, TX

Texas Sunset View from the Porch
Well, I guess the best and truest testimonial to what a great time we had is the familiar refrain following each of our retreats–no matter what day we start, we always wish we had more time.  When you return from a quilt retreat, you will have gained five pounds, have side aches from laughing, and lost sleep.  Oh my, you say, why would anyone do that?  Because it was a barrel of fun and doesn’t happen nearly enough.  How heavenly to start a project and be able to sew uninterrupted!  We accomplished SO much!  Oh yes, there were meals–yummy stew and scrumptious lasagne to name a few, and the occasional to-die-for homemade desserts like brownies and caramel apple cookies.   Coffee plain or in flavors like Butter Toffee and Jamaica Me Crazy were our pick-me-ups, and often evenings turned to wine, champagne, or whipped cream vodka with OJ (a Dreamsicle.)  We exchanged ideas, watched “The Help” while we sewed, shared projects, relaxed and enjoyed those gorgeous Texas Hill Country sunsets on the porch and  experienced the new Texas Quilt Museum.  AND a few practical jokes were pulled.  Did you know you can buy just about any size alligator head at a truck stop?!  Drop that sucker into a very low-flow toilet and you’ve got yourself “an alligator who swam up through the sewer and got stuck in the commode I guess!!!”  🙂  🙂   SEW looking forward to next time!!

One Pic is Worth a Thousand Words

PACKING FOR QUILT RETREAT!

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Is there anything more fun for quilting friends than a quilt retreat?  Don’t pass up a chance to gather with your best sewing buds for fun, food, and projects.  We’re headed to my sister’s house in the Texas Hill Country to meet dear ladies we’ve sewn with for years.  We live in different parts of the state but try to come together at least once a year.  No matter how long we’ve been apart, it’s instantly just like old times.  Show & Tell, The Dog Pound (where UFO’s can be given up or exchanged), door prizes, fabulous food and recipes, and a trip to the nearest quilt shop are all included.  Of course, you’ll feel like you’re packing your whole house and more but it’s oh so worth it when you get there.  My personal project goal is to complete two bags that I’ve agreed to donate to the silent auctions of worthy causes.  Four whole days of following my passion and laughing my head off is calling me.  I’m beyond excited and will update you soon!