Monday, December 26, 2016

A Pinterest Christmas

Well, Christmas is over, and tomorrow is the big return to work. I can't believe how quickly it came, and then it was over. It was really a great couple of weeks. I went home to Tennessee for a couple of days and made Christmas dinner a couple of times. And I found a couple of new recipes to add to the Christmas rotation....the first, was an easier recipe for Christmas Crack, my Mom used to make a version of this when I was a kid that took forever to make. This Pinterest version is simple quick and easy. I did make a couple of changes to the recipe. 

4 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar

Melt these together over medium heat. Cook until it gets frothy/foamy/bubbly and turns a dark amber in color. Turn on your oven at 350 degrees.

While it is cooking, line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and crackers, yes crackers. I made a couple of batches trying different crackers, and I really like the Club crackers the best, but really, any will do. 

Once your caramel is ready, pour it over the crackers. 

Now, throw it back in the oven until it is bubbly. About 5 minutes.


After it comes out of the oven, sprinkle 2 cups of chocolate chips. I used bittersweet Ghiradelli, because it was what I had in the pantry, but semi-sweet or milk will work just as well. I threw the pan back into the oven for a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate, and then spread it around.


Now, throw on whatever you want.....walnuts, pecans, almonds, even butterfinger pieces. And throw it in the freezer for a couple of hours to harden. 

Now break it up into pieces and enjoy!

And now, I need to go find some leftovers so I don't inhale the rest of the pan. See you later this week.

Cat



Friday, December 9, 2016

What's the Technique of the Month (TOM)?

This is probably the most often asked question that I get when teaching....what is it and how does it work???

Basically, the TOM is designed to be a monthly "installment" program to learn all of the Judy techniques. Each of the TOMs have a couple of new techniques and over time you learn them all.
The patterns are only available to Certified Shops and Certified Instructors, so you are guaranteed to have a certified person teaching, and to be certified on the quilt they have to have made it, ensuring competence and knowledge of the pattern.

Currently, there are 4 TOM quilts : Glacier Star (2010), Mariner's Compass (2012), Paradise in Blooms(2014), and Vintage Rose(2016).  Each offers different techniques to build upon.

Glacier Star is basic paper piecing, with geese, and an intro to curved piecing. Glacier Star is based upon a Lone Star and has a few Y seams, but don't worry, they aren't too hard.


Mariner's Compass introduces smaller piecing (in the ropes) and becomes a basic octagonal shape, with 8 "pie pieces". It has an interesting assembly technique which makes it fun, and there several different components that have alternate assembly sets, to completely customize your quilt.


Paradise in Blooms is part of the leaf series, with 8 sections and creates a master "circle" before adding borders to make it into a queen sized square. The quilt introduces Judy's appliqué techniques, including in seam appliqué.


Vintage Rose is the newest TOM, and will be available in January. It combines the best of prismatic star, curved feathers, and curved fans. I am still working on my sample of this one, but will be done in time for classes starting in February. For now, this one is in process, so you'll have to settle for an in process photo....

Friday, December 2, 2016

Pattern Focus : Feathered Goose

Feathered Goose is one of my favorite patterns, even though it was definitely not my best work. You see it all started about 10 years ago, and it is the reason that I am a Quiltworx Instructor today. You see, Feathered Goose was almost the end of my quilting career.  My Mom picked the Feathered Goose as her "retirement gift". I had never done paper piecing before, but I was sure that I could figure it out. I was also confident that the 6 week window before her retirement party was more than sufficient to finish it. That was 2007. And I was completely wrong. I didn't finish it until August 2010. I spent three years trying to figure it out and working on it off and on, so when Judy came to Camp Watch A Patcher in LA in late July 2010, I signed up for class, and in a mere 3 days I was hooked. I went to Montana a month later, and by the following August (2011), I had made 10 Judy quilts and applied to be an instructor. Needless to say, Feathered Goose was the beginning of my Quiltworx obsession. It was also the first QW pattern that I ever taught. Only later did I realize that was probably not the best intro, since it didn't have all of the short cut techniques that we have now.

Just to add insult to injury, this pattern is no longer available. That's right, it was discontinued about 3 year ago. Up until last year, I had a few copies available, and still taught it rather regularly. But I haven't taught it in 2 years. I know it will come back eventually, with some redesigns to take advantage of the new techniques that have been developed over the last 6 or 7 years. Eventually it will have floating points, and smart corners and all of those things that Quiltworx has developed in the last few years to make paper piecing easier. In the meantime, I just have to take a look back at some of the ones that have been done by students and remember how much I love this pattern.

My original, made with 24 batik Fat Quarters and 3 yards of a 1895-Honey by Hoffman. 

Vicki made her's very similar to my original color scheme.

Lorna made her's, but instead of using a dark navy/black ringer, she chose orange, and it is really striking.

This one was made as a gift for a favorite sister who has a love affair with purple. She used every shade of purple, from lilac to plum, and all types of fabric. Batiks, small prints, large prints, even solids. To ensure that the ropes would show she made sure to only use that fabric in the ropes themselves ensuring that they would not blend into the triangles. Love It!!! 


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dec 1 Flylady update

So, It's Day 4 of Flylady, and the first day of December, so we are heading off to The Entrance, Front Door and Dining Room. According to the schedule I am supposed to find my FlySpot and hope it is something good. My FLyspot (the first thing you notice when you walk in the room) is a pile of unfiled papers. So, I spent 15 minutes filing, and didn't make a perceivable dent. So, I'll do another 15 minutes on that one tomorrow.

My ace of this month's Flylady is that the Monthly Challenge, which is meal planning, and I already do that, since I cook for 5, and I HATE SHOPPING. yes, I hate all types of shopping, unless there is fibre (re: fabric, yarn, etc) involved. And with 5 people and crazy schedules, planning is key. I usually do a couple of crock pot meals a week (for nights when I will get home late or not be home at all), and we always have at least one leftover night. Other than that it's really about ensuring that everyone gets one of their favorites each week, and that we don't copy too many things too often. For example, this week we had the following :

Monday : Spaghetti with Sausage - favorite
Tuesday: Mandarin Chicken - new recipe
Wednesday: Taco Salad - favorite, tweaked recipe
Thursday: Potato Soup and Grilled Cheese - new recipe
Friday : Leftovers Night - obvious
Saturday : Crockpot Beef and Broccoli - favorite
Sunday: Crockpot Chili - new recipe

I have about a dozen regular dishes that are favorites that I try to have once a month, plus a left over night each week, leaves 14ish days of trying something new each month. Sometimes those are good (or even great), and sometimes, we all agree that they are destined to never be repeated. Thank goodness we don't have a lot of things that only 1 or 2 people like (or love) so I am not stuck appeasing or cooking multiple dinners. If we like the dish, I'll put it in a special folder in my Pinterest , so that we can repeat it (like the pork and pears we had last week) to verify results, and then if we like it twice we will rate it and add it to a remakes list. I have about 50 items that are in the remakes, but not in favorites. Remakes are constantly under revamping. I am constantly tweaking/changing/adjusting until it ends up in favorites. I Pin recipes all the time, and we generally try something new two or three times a week, for example, the chili recipe this week is a white chili that I've never made before, and the taco salad was made with homemade taco seasoning mix, so even things on the favorites list occasionally get revamped, even if all we do is prove that our existing menus are still our favorites. Of course, I also have some seasonal recipes, like carrot and cardamon soup or mandarin chicken salad. I don't make much soup in the summer, and I don't eat many salads in winter.  Next week's menu is going to be full of new stuff, as we tend to try more new stuff in the winter than the summer. I think that is mainly because I am home earlier. With it getting dark so early, there is no evening dog park visit or long walks after dark. We do them early am, or immediately upon getting home, so I am literally in the house more, and my favorite room is the kitchen. So, next week is full of new stuff...as we are testing some recipes with some friends...

Monday - Baked Salmon with lemon and dill (new recipe, generally a new food, not big on fish)
Tuesday - Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Wednesday - Chicken and Orchetti soup (fancy chicken minestrone)
Thursday - Crescent Ham Slice
Friday - Mississippi CrockPot Roast
Saturday - Make your own pizza night (friends with kids over)
Sunday - Meatloaf

I will finish planning out the rest of the month tomorrow, as it's clean out the freezer night. when I literally go through the freezer and inventory all the weird things we collect. Like waffles. Seriously, I don't know who buys all the frozen waffles, but they seem to multiple in the freezer.

Tomorrow's daily challenge is to repeat the FlySpot challenge, and I will have a couple of extra minutes, so I might do a 27 Fling Boogie in the dining room. I will have to take some time to pack for the weekend, and get everything ready to be away for the weekend (sort out the dog, pay the bills, etc, etc, etc).

I have found the last couple of days of working on FLyLady to be really productive. There is something about coming home and working on things while you watch TV, or while you wait for something that makes it more exciting. As a result, I felt inspired to get into the sewing room. I  managed to get some sewing done today, not a lot, but enough that I feel like I am making progress on my placemats. I'm ready for final assembly, but I wanted to test the layout in good lighting, so I will finish that in the morning and then sew them tomorrow evening, right after I do my Flylady chores.

Flylady Day 1

Well, Flylady Day 1 was yesterday, and I managed to get my first baby steps done. The sink was spotless when I went to bed. And half full when I got up this morning.

Before...

After



Today is day 2, and I couldn't figure out exactly what I was supposed to do as my baby step, since this is the 5th week of the month, and the plan only has 4 weeks, so I scrubbed the shower in my 15 minute daily block. Not sure what tomorrow should be either, so I am going to do the 27 fling boogie. Basically, I am going to declutter 27 items. I have 24 hours to figure out where to start. 

Thursday, I'll be on the "regular" schedule, since it's week 1 of December. Let's not talk about that fact just yet....


Monday, November 28, 2016

Getting It All Together

So, I've been dealing with this topic for a while now, and just wasn't yet ready to admit to myself (much less anyone else) that I really need to get my stuff together. With the craziness of a full time job, and a full time teaching business, I've let things slide at home. I hosted a group of Thanksgiving, and we had a great time, and they are all friends, and know about everything that has been happening in my life, so they didn't have any great expectations that my house would be spotless. But I did. I want my house to be organized and easy to clean. And I don't want to spend every waking our of the 1 day I get off every month cleaning it. That's just not a good plan. Yet, that is exactly what I have done for the last 6 months or so, spent my one day off doing a mountain of laundry and vacuuming and dusting every surface, and still feeling like it wasn't as clean as I would like it to be. I've realized that this has been my life not just the last 6 months, but the last 25 years. I'm a crisis cleaner. I clean when I am either - incredibly bored (and let's face it, it takes a LOT to be that bored), or when having people over. It's just that I used to have more of a life. I used to have people over every week, so it never got too bad. But with my current schedule, which doesn't look like it is going to change in the near future, I need to get control of it.

So I reached out to a couple of friends who have immaculate houses that are immaculate all the time, to see how they do it. Of the four of them, three sent me to the Flylady system. I've heard of it before, in fact I am pretty certain I started her program a couple of years ago, but never really got committed. I never got tired enough or frustrated enough to finally really make it happen. But now, I am. I am ready to get all of this stuff organized in a way that makes sense, and makes it easy to follow. So, I spent a couple of hours reading through her attack plan this weekend, and preparing myself. I got my control journal started. I got my dry erase markers ready. I made my lists for home blessing hour, and I decided on my decluttering attack plan. So, now its just a matter of putting in the time every day (15 minutes is all I am supposed to need, per the FlyLady). And getting stuff done. Flylady says it's baby steps, which makes sense to me. It's how I got my finances in order with Dave Ramsey. So, Baby Steps it is.

First Step - Shine the Sink

So, I am off to shine my sink (which is going to be interesting since it is black enameled cast iron, and not at all shiny)!!!! Wish me luck!!! I'll see you tomorrow to see what tomorrow's challenge is.

I am going to try to update here every day,so you can see how it's going. I'll even try to do pictures, hopefully I will remember to take them.

Do you want to join me??? DO you have any advice for the perpetually cleaning???

See you soon!

Catherine

Sunday, November 27, 2016

What I've Been Up To....

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, but life appears to be getting back to normal, I'm starting to get back to my normal life and schedules, which means it is time to look at what's happening around here...


Watching - Hart of Dixie -- I finished binge watching the entire series earlier this week. I must admit I was a little disappointed with the last season, but you know how it goes it gets once you know what is going to happen, it gets too predictable....


Craving - Post Thanksgiving feast food. It's my favorite. Thank goodness it's that time of year.


Doing - lots of cleaning! With all the things going on and all of the events of the season it's fall cleaning season! 


Obsessing - over yarn, there are SO MANY new amazing ones being released it's been really hard to resist putting them all in my ETSY cart.


Loving - the long dark evenings....I always initially hate the changeover, and struggle to find my mojo, but once I find it again, there are so many hours of sewing available!!!


Reading - Rachel Cruz's new book  - Love Your Life - Not Theirs


Wanting - a new freezer - with all of the meal planning and cooking that I have been doing I need a big chest freezer, so I put that on my Christmas list....I wonder if Santa has connections at Sears?


Pinning - lots of food. lots and lots of food.


Dreaming - about beautiful linens and decorating. Not sure what that is about, but I have been dreaming about completely redecorating.... 


Writing - not much. I really need to get back to writing.

Crafting - not much....


Sewing - not much either, though I have my mojo back, so you will likely see more of that in the near future.


Knitting - Christmas knitting, which as you know is super secret knitting, so no further discussion is allowed.


Listening - to Brian Tracy, what can I say self help and productivity is my jam.


Wearing - pajamas, lots of pajamas. That's the joy of a 4 day weekend!


Needing - to wash the windows....as I write this post, I am sitting on the couch watching Practical Magic and seeing all of the dog nose prints, handprints, rain paths, and general dust on the windows. Funny that this is completely distracting at the moment.


Planning - meals. I'm doing a new bi-weekly meal plan, rather than a weekly meal plan, and it is proving to be interesting. Definitely good for the budgeting and saving money, but it is proving interesting in the planning department, especially with schedules changing over the two week period. For example, I made tacos expecting to have 6 people over, but it was just me and Josh, so we had lots of tacos. The following day, I thought we just had 4, so I just made enough for 4, and but we had 8 people for dinner, so I had to "make up" some extra sides. Thank goodness I had plenty of stuff, but it meant I had no sides for the following day, and had to make a stop at the store. 

   
Trying new recipes, specifically Turkey and Dumplings and homemade scalloped potatoes. Both were excellent, and I am super happy with them.



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Deadlines, Deadlines, and work to do

Life seems to revolve around deadlines. Work deadlines, design deadlines, writing deadlines, sometimes it seems crazy how many pieces and parts are all spinning around all at the same time. Yet, I managed to spend this rainy San Diego weekend working on new projects and watching Gilmore Girls rather than working on the things I needed to work on....so this week, I have to get back to it!!! And hard.

Task 1 : Finish reorganizing the sewing room

Task 2 : Finish African Violets placemats

Task 3 : Vintage Compass finish border units

Work is destined to be busy all week, as we get ready for year end activities and all of the craziness that ensues. The weekend will be busy, as I am teaching at Cotton and Chocolate in Thousand Oaks.

And somewhere, I need to do some final Christmas shopping, since I am going home for a few days, I will actually have to wrap presents and the like which I haven't done in forever.

In the meantime, I am going to use that last day of this glorious 4 day weekend to get a head start on a few of those items!!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Pattern Focus : Prismatic Star

Prismatic Star is perhaps my favorite large beginner project. It uses strip techniques and simple construction (no Y-seams, yippee!). The best part....they look amazing!!!! The original was designed for the Judy Niemeyer Bali Pops by Hoffman -- with 48 varying strips, like my original....



This one is my original using the Generation 2 Bali Pops from Hoffman, in the #1 color way, which is really bright. I used Cabana for the background, and Midnight (a super dark Navy) for the leading and I love it.

This one is Judy's, and I took this picture at the retreat center last summer. She used the same Bali Pops, but a mottled purple background, and Raven (dark Blue/Black) leading.



Here's that same Bali Pop using the Celery background. This one is a student's work from Cotton and Chocolate.


Here's another view of mine, with a rotated center....where the center's are not grouped in pairs. I just liked it better.
You don't need to stick to solid background, prints work just as well.

And you need not stick with Judy Bali Pops, you can use regular ones just as well.....just kick out the 4 colors that just don't go, and add 6 strips each of the lightest and darkest fabrics (in this case light blue and navy). This on is Lauren Bauman's sample from Cotton and Chocolate. 

If you want, you can even use only 8 fabrics, like I did in this sample for Craftsy. This one was made out of their new boundless batiks line using 8 fabrics for the strips, plus a black with gold dots for the leading.

Or you could use 4 sets of 6, instead of 6 sets of 4, and you will get this version. 

Regardless of which version you make, it turns out AMAZING!!!!



Friday, November 4, 2016

Quilt Focus : Celtic Wave


This quilt is one that is near and dear to me for a couple of different reasons. It was made for a friend's son, who is an Army Ranger. It's one of those that came out exactly as I envisioned it, except for 1 little issue....I cut the border units an inch too small, so I had to replace the border pieces with a slightly different fabric. The weird thing is, I actually like the change better....

So, without further ado.....Celtic Wave!!!!





The quilting on this one is by Tammy Doane, and it is fantastic!








Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What have I been up to???

Watching - Netflix -- I found a new obsession, called The 100, a post apocalyptic series. 

Craving - Sour Cream and Onion chips....it's been forever since I had some.

Doing - lots of planning

Obsessing - about Halloween decorations. There are so many ideas out there, that I just don't know where to start.

Loving - the cooler weather. It's been overcast and even misty/rainy over the last week, and we have been enjoying it.

Reading - Fantastic Beasts -- it's just a few weeks now until the opening, and I can't wait.

Wanting - more time to sew....it's been deadline only sewing lately, and I am ready for some fun sewing

Pinning - recipes, I've been on a cooking kick lately, and I've been investigating new recipes every night.

Dreaming - about a new sewing hutch...there are new Horn Cabinets out and they are gorgeous. 

Writing - not much.  

Crafting - even less.

Sewing - just deadline sewing, but I am looking forward to getting back to fun sewing this week.

Knitting - just a few tv rows, not any real knitting

Listening - to Florida Georgia Line on constant repeat. Though I am excited about Kenny Chesney's new album, but I haven't gotten to the store to get it yet. 

Wearing - nothing but my work work uniform of jeans and t-shirts

Needing - to see less election related craziness. I just want it over already.

Planning - menus,  and blog content, and sewing that needs to be done.

Trying - new recipes, this past week it was Asparagus Pasta, and Chicken Tortilla Soup. This week : Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken and Mississippi Pot Roast (thank you slow cooker).

So, that's all the things going on around here. I hope everyone has a great week and managed to achieve all of their plans!!!


Catherine


Monday, October 31, 2016

Make a List Monday

It's been a while since I've really posted consistantly, there have a been a bunch of things going on both at work, and at home, plus a bunch of travel that always impacted my blogging schedule. But I am ready to get back on schedule, and back to sewing with regularity. The reality is, I've only really done deadline sewing for a while. It's been so crazy busy that i only finished these two projects, both of which were deadline sewing for Market.

Unfortunately, both projects got finished at the deadline (and by that I mean at 2am the night before they had be in a box on the way to their relevant new homes). Nothing like a hard deadline to help you get things done. And to prevent you from getting a decent picture.....

Hoffman Medallion....the new color way is called Medallion Prism, and it was really quick and fun. It comes completely pre-cut, so once you get used to the format, it's a quick and easy project. The project uses the new Bali Handpaints, and they were lovely to work with.


Prismatic Star - this time out of Craftsy's new batik line. This one created quite a stir around her....I sent a pic to my Mom and my niece decided that it was for her. It is her favorite color......So I see a similar one in my future.....



And now that you know what I have been working on lately, let's talk about what's up next....This week is really about getting back to daily sewing, and getting things done. But first, I need to clean the sewing room. Like seriously clean the sewing room. It is destined to be a day long adventure, if not an entire weekend...but here's what's coming next....

1. Cotton and Chocolate Mystery Quilt - Month 1 blocks
2. Vintage Compass - sew border units and add borders.
3. Celtic Wave - make and attach binding
4. Sophie's Quilt - make and attach binding
5. Vintage Rose - make border units

It's going to be a busy week, so I'm not sure how much I will get done during the week, but I have an all girls sewing weekend scheduled next weekend, so hopefully, I will make some good progress. There is nothing quite like a full weekend to get major sewing components completed! I'll try to keep you up to date as I go....

So, until next Monday, happy sewing!!!

Catherine

Friday, October 28, 2016

To Market To Market

It's that big week, twice a year, the professional side of the quilting community comes together and shows all of their goods. Their creativity, their piecing prowess, their quilting essence, we gather this week in Houston to show off to one another, and all of the attending quilt shops and fabric manufacturers. We show our current favorite colors, patterns, and techniques, and we generally have a great time. We eat great food, and go to the Moda party for music and dancing and stop in at the Robert Kaufman party for the chocolate fountain. We go shopping at Cavender's Boot City for new yearly cowboy boots, which we will wear every day for 3 months. We'll meet friends from afar that we only see at Market...we'll go out for drinks, and dessert, and pay crazy prices for diet coke in bottles. We'll stop in at the Four Seasons for Chocolate Martinis, and walk back to our hotels, where we will stay up until all hours talking and laughing and planning next year's quilt dominance.

This year, I'm staying home. It's been about 5 year since I missed a fall market, and it seems weird to not be going, but it just wasn't in the cards this year, for a bunch of different reasons. Needless to say, I'm a bit sad to not be there and sad to miss seeing friends that I won't have a chance to see until this time next year, but really glad to be home for a weekend with no plans. Literally no plans. No teaching engagements, no cleaning backed up, no laundry in need for doing, no home improvement projects, and no deadlines. Just me and 48 hours of free time to do whatever I want.....so here's my "plan"...


(crickets.)


That's right. I'm just going to do nothing except something that makes me happy at that moment. Maybe I will go out for breakfast, or get lost in Costco for a few hours. Maybe I will go test drive cars, or visit the quilt shop. Maybe I will sleep in or take a nap. Perhaps I will clean the sewing room, or spend a few hours on Pinterest doing absolutely nothing. Whatever I do, I'm going to enjoy the weekend free of responsibilities, and stalk all my friends on Instagram and Facebook to get all of the Market insights.

What are you up to this weekend?


Happy Quilting!
Catherine

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Life and Lemons

Well, I can't believe that the last time that I posted was September 12th. That's crazy. It's been a crazy month in what is definitely a crazy year. Life has definitely thrown some curve balls this year, and the last few weeks just seem like more of the same. Life sometimes seems like it conspires against all you wanted to accomplish, and completely rocks your world. And so, we are forced to make Lemonade. So Lemonade making we will do.  Needless to say, it has been a few weeks worth of not sewing, and lots of traveling. So aside from need to do sewing (which I had plenty of for Market), I haven't sewn all month. Hopefully, life is going to quiet down and get back to normal. Maybe not to daily sewing, but at least to sewing for a significant number of hours per week.

In the meantime, I have done quite a bit of playing in Quiltster. I must say, it never gets old. I can recolor the same designs over and over in new combinations. Needless to say, it has become a bit of a time suck, to add to my Pinterest and Instagram addiction....I am sure I will be sharing some designs soon.

Until next time, happy sewing!!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Make a List Monday

Yep, it's Monday and time to get back to work.....there's always a million things to get done, and this week  and the next few will be focused on getting ready for market. I have 3 quilts to make and quilt, as well as about a dozen bags to finish. I also have several upcoming classes that need samples finished  - including Vintage Compass, Vintage Rose, and African Violets are all in design or process. I won't get much sewing time on these three this week, but I should get back to them as soon as my market work is done.

For this week my plan is :

Monday - finish sewing blocks for Prismatic Star
Tuesday - add leading to blocks for Prismatic Star
Wednesday - Sewing Star Sections for Prismatic Star
Thursday - Make Backing for Prismatic Star

The rest of the week will be devoted to teaching and retreat activities.

What are you working on this week???

Happy Quilting!
Catherine

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Life Happens

It's been a little crazy around here...trying to get ready for market, and my teaching schedule and lots of regular work, so I've been a negligent blogger....so here's the summary....

Watching - Hawaii Five-O on Netflix

Craving - Ice Cream, this eating healthy thing is really no fun this time of year. 

Doing - lots of sewing, especially the super secret kind

Obsessing - over Quiltster...I've been doing two or three designs almost every day.

Loving - some of the new fabric lines from EESchenck, so looking forward to having them show up in my local stores.

Reading - Great Teams by Don Yaeger

Wanting - a Leuchtern Journal

Pinning - tons of items about bullet journals. I've really been inspired lately by some of the ones online.

Dreaming - about a new car. Agnes the Accord has 328,000 miles and I know she will need replacing soon. So I want to be ready. 

Writing - not much of anything. Obviously not blog posts, or patterns.....

Crafting - some bags and some buntings, but not much else.

Sewing - super secret market sewing is in full swing, there is only 7 weeks left, which seems like a life time and a second, all rolled into one. And a little binding.....while watching Five-O on Netflix.

Knitting - not much....I got a couple of rows on a cowl and I got a new hitchhiker cast on, but that's all I've really had time for.

Listening - to Florida Georgia Line's new album - Dig Your Roots. Great songwriting and harmonies. 

Wearing - my standard uniform -- jeans, t-shirts and tennis.

Needing - to do laundry and go to the store, but I'm too lazy tonight.

Planning - a new gym regimen

Trying - some new recipes, some of which were horrible, and some okay. NO really good ones this month....but I'll keep trying. 


What have you been doing.....

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

On the state of the quilt nation.....

There is much happening lately in the quilt world. Changes of all sorts are coming or already here. It seems that every time we turn around we hear about shops closing, or magazines folding, or shows getting cancelled. I wish I could say that San Diego was the exception, but in the last decade we have seen the closing of half a dozen shops, and major changes in the guilds and their structures. When I moved to San Diego in 2005 there were 19 shops within 90 minutes of my front door, there are now 8. We lost CWAP (Camp WatchAPatcher) a few years ago, and we have seen a decline in attendance and participation in guild shows.

Many talk about the aging of the industry, and the lack of sewing in school, or the cost to make a quilt, and others talk about the e-commerce aspects, and realistically, those are all factors, but there are many others. There's the modern "era" and its need for cheap and cheerful (myself often included), and lack of understanding of the art component. Or the lack of connection to the "old-fashioned"....there's a million aspects to the issue, and a million different "solutions", but just as the problem is multi-faceted, so must be the solution. The Modern Quilt movement can't fix it, the combining of guilds can't fix it, the reality is fixing it isn't really possible, the industry is changing just as the world is changing.

I want to be confident that the industry is just in a lull, and will rebound as it did after the Centennial. I want to be excited about the future, but these "sudden" changes haven't really been sudden.....they seem to be compounding over time, we lost a shop to retirement, and one to a move, another to a business partnership that went sour. So many different reasons and so many different circumstances that ultimately have the same outcome.

So, what now??? What should we do, and can we save the art of quilting??? individually, maybe not, and maybe so. Saving the industry can not be done individually, yet it must be done by individuals. If we want to save the industry, we have to get involved. We have to be official and unofficial spokesmen and spokeswomen. We have to be advocates for our craft, we have to be teachers, and educators, and participants. We have to get involved, we have to attend, we have to participate. We have to share our craft and our art. We have to introduce new people to our craft and find crossovers that inspire us. We have to be advocates for our craft. We can't depend upon designers, or fabric companies to do it for us, we have to make it happen. So, that is the challenge for the next 12 months....to be a better advocate....a better participant, a better educator, a better celebrator of my craft, or my sometime obsession. That's my challenge to each of you.....be involved and have fun!!!! And then whatever happens in the industry, we have done our best.

Are you up for it???


Monday, August 1, 2016

Weekly Update August 1- August 7

Can it really be August already?? It seems insane that the summer is almost over......This week, I have some big things to finish up.....

1. Vintage Compass - just needs some final curved piecing on the border, and it is ready to go.

2. Dogwood placemats - are all done, I just need to make backs so that I can drop them off to the quilter on Monday night.

3. Teaching -- this week will see my at Annie's Star guild in Chico CA, followed by a weekend at Cotton and Chocolate in Thousand Oaks.

and that is my busy week.....

You can find daily information regarding these projects by following me on instagram @queeniequilts.

Happy sewing and see you next week.....

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer Fun

It's been crazy around here this past couple of weeks. My Mom and brother were just here for a week. They had a great time going to the beach and LegoLand, and checking out a few of San Diego's best attractions. We played cards every night, to hours that are just too late for a girl who has to go to work the next day. It was so much fun to have them here, and I was sad to see them go. But school starts on Monday, and the kids needed a little re-entry time after vacation, so they left last Saturday for their return to Memphis. I'll see them again later this year, since I am going home for Christmas. It'll be my first time home for Christmas since college, which seems ridiculous. In fact, I was convinced it was wrong, but I was corrected by everyone in the family!!!

There are still a few weeks of summer left here in CA before the kids go back to school, so Disneyland, Sea World, and Universal are packed full of people. I'm still waiting for things to slow down, so that I can make my visit to Universal. Summer goals, you know! So, in the meantime, I'm just working on a bunch of projects, both knitting, quilting, and organizing.

This week's fun was all about teaching : I'm in San Mateo this weekend teaching Fire Island Hosta. Next week, it's at Annie Star Quilt Guild in Chico on Thursday and Friday, followed by Cotton and Chocolate in Thousand Oaks on Saturday and Sunday. So, crazy schedule this week and next.

And there is always the summer fun of sewing. I've managed to get a bunch of little things done....bindings on a bunch of things, some new placemats, and almost finished with Vintage Compass, I'm excited to get out of summer and back to cooler temperatures, where sewing is much more enjoyable (and much less hot).

Well, that's it for summer fun around here....it's back to the grind on Monday, as we start getting ready for fall market....

Monday, June 27, 2016

Make a List Monday - June 27 - July 3

Well, it's been a crazy couple of weeks, with super hot weather and crazy deadlines and getting ready for my family's impending visit. Yep, the whole family. I haven't seen my brother in 3+ years, and he hasn't been to CA since July of 2006, so essentially 10 years. Burt is coming out with Angie and Jackson and I am super excited to see them!!! We've been working on planning for the trip, and I was informed by Jackson that he doesn't really care about Disneyland, he just wants to go to the beach. Which is SACRILEGE. complete sacrilege.

I have a million things to do and zero time to do them. Seems to be the story of life lately. Patterns to write, pictures to take, class samples to make, blog posts to write, offices to clean, stashes to sort, bindings to make and sew on, and Gilmore Girls episodes to binge watch. But for this week, I can't get all of it done, so I am just going to focus on a few....

1. Vintage Compass -- I got some of the new fabrics from Hoffman, and I have "a plan". Which means I need to get to the sewing machine.

2. Get back to #anhouradaykeepsthecrazyaway. I'm really a much better person when I have sewn every week. And with a crazy schedule, it's even more essential to spend some time on mental health, so sewing I will be doing.

3. Teaching -- I am spending the holiday weekend teaching in Thousand Oaks at Cotton and Chocolate

So, that is the extent of the plan for the week. What are you working on???

Sunday, June 26, 2016

What's Happening Folks?

Watching - Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix. Still. Seriously, I have spent most of this weekend in front of the TV catching up on old episodes. I'm finally almost on the final season. I didn't remember that there were SO many episodes, or how crazy some of them were, but I am feeling almost ready for the Gilmore re-entry on Netflix sometime this fall. Right this minute they are deciding on a new town troubadour. And Loralei has accepted that the June 3rd wedding will not be happening. And the girl from 24 is interviewing as troubadour. Weird to see stars that are now bonafide, in their initial rolls. (P.S. Luke and Loralei just broke up!!! WTF!!! how did I miss this part????

Craving - ice cream. It has been very warm here lately and ice cream is the reason we have hot weather!

Doing - lots of nothing this weekend. Seriously my goal for the weekend was to stay in my PJs all weekend (okay, 3 pairs of clean PJs, but PJs none the less.

Obsessing - over Brexit, and what it might mean. I think I'm just so shocked about it. And I know it will be a while before anything really happens, but it's a bit scary with all of the unknowns. 

Loving - Judy's new patterns -- I've got at least a dozen versions in my head for the Vintage Rose. The pattern won't be available until early next year, and I can't wait!!!

Reading - Harry Potter -- always Harry Potter lately. I'm in book 4, getting ready to enter the maze.

Wanting - to go shopping for yarn, and attempting to control myself.

Pinning - lots and lots of organization ideas...and then a few extra organization pins.

Dreaming - about traveling. I haven't been on a trip for fun in such a long time, I'm dreaming about Italy and Switzerland lately.

Writing - proposals, lots of proposals

Crafting - nothing. the sewice (sewing+office) is a disaster, so very little crafting has been done.

Sewing - I've been working on a couple of projects lately -- Vintage Compass and Prickly Pear specifically. More on that later this week.

Knitting - I don't know that I have done any knitting since I last wrote....much to much going on.

Listening - to Ted Talks. Obsessed with them lately.

Wearing - pajamas. 

Needing - to get off the couch and get to work, but I can't get motivated to do it.

Planning - a dozen projects --- Vintage Rose (x12), Prismatic Star #4, Vintage Compass #3, 4, 5, and 6, Fractured Paint Box, 22 Clouds in Countess Ablaze, a hammock, etc, etc, etc.

Trying - nothing. I have tried nothing lately. sad.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Make a List Monday - June 20-24

Well, it's Father's Day here in America, and it's blazing hot in San Diego. Seriously, it was over 100* today, and that is just insane!!! It was a little too hot to do the things I had on my plan for the weekend. So instead, I went on a little shop hop with a friend on Saturday, and parked myself on the couch under the ceiling fan, knitting and relaxing. It was just too hot for having lights or irons on, or doing laundry, or anything else that required moving. I seriously think Penny had the best plan, laying on the tile doing nothing but nap!!!

This week is a busy week at work, with new people joining the team, and a day off for teaching it is bound to be crazy. But I have found myself super inspired lately, and have done quite a few projects in the last few weeks, so I plan to keep that going, getting tons of things done and off the list. I finished my Spurs/Log Cabin Cutouts, and dropped it off at the quilter.....


I got several backs made, and dropped a stack of quilts off at the quilter.


And I managed to get a really strong start on my Prickly Pear Center units.....so yah me!!!

We also got to see Judy's new Technique of the Month....and it is AMAZING!!! I don't get to go to retreat until September to work on it, so I have MONTHS to color and recolor and recolor and recolor again....We only got a sneak peak at a couple of color ways, and they are all equally fantastic, and incredibly different.....









So, if you don't see or hear from me for a while, know that I am just drooling, and planning. And if you are really worried, just stop by...but bring colored pencils and diet coke, just in case it is catching!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Make A List Monday - Back on Track

So, I'm starting to feel a little less overwhelmed. Not totally out of the pre-market madness, but recovered a bit. I actually managed to sew quite a bit this past week....

1. I got the binding sewn onto my Fire Island Hosta...


I also got the binding on a gift project, but the recipient hasn't received it yet, so I'll forgo a pic here, since I know she reads to blog, and it's a surprise.

2. I finished the piecing on my Pepperdish this evening, which means the picture is atrocious, but it's the only pic before she heads to the longarmer tomorrow, so beggars can't be choosers.


This week's plan is short and sweet...Alaina and Dan make the final move to Seattle on Thursday morning, so most of my non working hours will be spent at various dinners, goodbye parties, and late nights talking on the couch....it's bound to be one of those happy-sad weeks...excited and happy for new adventures, but sad to see them go. As a result, I'm not making any big sewing plans...if I end up with time to spare, great! If not, I don't want to feel guilty or behind! 

Do you have sewing plans this week?


Monday, May 16, 2016

And then Market happened...

Yep, this week is Market. For those of you that don't know, Market is the trade show that quilt shop owners go to to preview new releases. It's basically a big meeting of pattern designers, fabric manufacturers, and gadget makers to show off all of the new stuff that will be shipping in the near future. Manufacturers have booths where you can stop by and see their wares, and place orders for delivery in the future. It's also a great place to meet with fabric manufacturers and view upcoming lines and special projects. Market is held twice a year, once in May at a rotating place (Pittsburgh, Portland, Minneapolis, or Kansas City) and once at the end of October in Houston TX, the week before Quilt Festival. Quilt Market is a trade show, meaning that it is not open to the general public, but to businesses that sell quilty goodness. Consumers will see some of the same items at Quilt Festival, which is open to the general public. Of course, for me, the work for market has to be done well before the actual event. We finally shipped out the rest of our goods last week, off to the hands of our customers, who will showcase their products at Market later this week. So, as we come down off of the working like a mad woman to get ready for Market period, I get to take a step back and do some planning for the next few months, before we start the whole cycle again....

You may remember I only set a small number of goals for 2016...here they are and here's their status....


1. Finish the Bear Claw Tablerunner that is currently in process - complete
2. Reorganize the quoffice -- that's the quilt room/office....I haven't properly organized it since I moved in last July, and it is well over due. - complete
3. Create new binders for all of my classes -- and get all of the supply lists posted on the internet for guilds/shops to download - complete
4. Document all of my in process/WIP projects, for both quilting (almost done) and knitting - done - and depressing. 42 projects for quilting, 6 knitting
5. Update my yarn stash into Ravelry - complete, with the exception of what I bought last weekend
6. Sew 8 hours a week and knit 4 hours a week - failed miserably at this one, but I am going to get it right for the latter part of the year.
7. Post 8 Block of the week blocks - failed at this one too....but I have a plan -- see Learning to Quilt below...
8. Design and make 1 quilt for Spring Market - I actually got 4 done, so, hooray me!!!


Planning for the Remainder of 2016 -

For Fall 2016 Market, I want to publish a new set of patterns...just 5 this time. which leaves me a month per pattern to design, sew and publish. And I'm not going to wait until Market to actually release them, it's just too much pressure to release them all at the same time. So, look out for more new patterns coming soon.

I'm also changing the way that I do class signups. Which means I need to update all of my class descriptions and supply lists. Hopefully that won't take too long. -- this is a result of #3 above!!!!

I'm also going to be introducing a new series about learning how to quilt...sort of a beginners guide. One of my friends is moving far away, and has wanted to learn how to quilt for the last year, and we have failed to "fit it in" with our crazy schedules....so once a week, we are going to get together for some sewing time. More on the details of that later...but suffice it to say, it's a couple of friends, a glass or two of wine (or diet coke), and some fun. I'll also show you what I am working on for the week, so stay tuned for that starting mid-June.

SO, translated into summer plans.....it looks something like this for goals...

June
1. 1 new pattern published
2. Bind 3 quilts from UFO pile (Pepperdish/Log Cabin Cutouts/Charlotte)
3. Kickoff Learning to Quilt

July
1. 1 new pattern published
2. Bind 2 quilts from UFO pile
3. Make 1 quilt for my niece Maddie
4. Make 1 quilt for my nephew Jackson

August
1. 1 new pattern published
2. Bind 1 quilt from UFO pile
3. Make new Judy quilt

I'm trying to get back into my hour a day habit...it really is amazing what you can do when you spend an hour every day sewing....

SO, wish me luck, and let me know what you are working on...


Cat

Friday, April 29, 2016

Quilt Focus : Prismatic Star

Perhaps the easiest paper piecing pattern I have ever done was the Prismatic Star. It's 48 - 2 1/2" strips, 1 1/8 yards of leading, and 2 1/2 yards of background...and absolutely amazing. It's fast and fun, and a great beginner project if you are new to paper piecing. Plus it has smart corners, so the final line up is easy peasy. I've been lucky enough to teach this one a bunch of times, and am always amazed that no matter whether you use a Judy Bali Pop (with 48 pieces) or a regular one, or whatever you have from your stash, it comes out amazing. I've has students do this one in Christmas, Halloween, Batiks, Kona Solids, and even hand dyed fabrics.

Here are just a few samples....
My original made with a Judy Bali Pop, and Sapphire leading and Cabana background.




The same bali pop, but with a Grape leading, and a turquoise and purple butterfly print.

A Terra regular bali pop, with Breeze as the lightest value, and Moonstruck as the darkest.

That same Judy Bali pop, with Raven leading, and Celery background.

That same Judy pop, with black leading, and Orchid background.

And a couple in process shots....on the long arm....

just before trimming....

A closeup of the diamonds....


Made with a Lorikeet Bali Pop, and a couple of replacement sections.



I'm just waiting for someone to do one in reproductions!!!!