Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creative Mojo With Mark Lipinski

I must have OD'ed on Thanksgiving dinner.  That was 4 days ago and I think I have finally recovered.  It was an especially great meal because I didn't make it.  I didn't have to clean my house for company, I didn't have to cook a whole meal nor did I have to clean up after company.  My new DIL was the hostess with the mostest.  Watch out Martha Stewart. 

But the day before Thanksgiving was a day I will never forget.  I was invited to be the co-host on Mark Lipinski's show called Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski  that is broadcast on the internet.  I had met Mark previously while filming an episode of his Quilt Out Loud show.  So I was thrilled to be asked to participate in another of his wonderful happenings.

My husband and I drove 2 hours north to Mark's place - 13 Pickle Road Studios, his house.  He met us at the door and invited us into his living room where there was a delicious tray of cookies and cupcakes.  He went over the agenda for the 2 hour show. 

Don't be fooled by his fun, easy going demeanor.  He handed me paperwork that went over each segment in great detail, complete with extensive questions.  This man is no slouch.  It was obvious that he had put in a lot of time and did a lot of homework, researching each guest. 

About 15 minutes before the broadcast was to start - it is a live show - we went upstairs to his office where there were microphones, headphones and a sound board.  During the 1-2-3 testing thing, I thought I was going to get whiplash. 

His office is filled with hundreds of books and lots of other cool stuff. ( A complete selection of Aurifil thread in a see through container really made me drool.)

I loved the carved wooden sign that is Mark's logo.  The farmer with a needle! Mark's partner designed it.

At 3PM it was time to start.  I really hoped that I could keep up with his wit and humor.  He really threw me for a loop when he asked me if I had ever smoked pot. Whoa!  Where did that come from? After chatting for a while, we  moved on to the guests who were interviewed via telephone.  The most fascinating was Franck de Las Mercedes, an artist who initiated a project sending out painted cardboard boxes filled with peace and hope to anyone. Mark had one of his boxes and it was really a work of art.  So far Franck has sent out over 9000 boxes.

One of the other guests were Kevin Hansen, who has a website where you can post your regrets:     So far over 10,000 people have posted their regrets.  It's not something I dwell on, but I was intrigued enough to check it out as soon as I got home.  Another guest, Josh Fraught, talked about the Sloppy Crafts movement.   His final guest was a good friend of his, Annie Smith, a quilter, who just published a book on applique and is the original  quilting podcaster.

The 2 hours just flew by.  I would do this weekly!  I could be my Robin to his Howard, my Kelly to his Regis, my Hoda to his Kathie Lee.  I'm in!

After the broadcast was over,  we  chatted for a while in his living room. He has many wonderful collections.  My favorite are his ceramic houses - all are quilt shops. 

He is really the nicest guy.  My husband and he reminisced about growing up in Pittsburgh.  I kept thinking to myself that I AM IN MARK LIPINSKI'S LIVINGROOM, just chatting away.  Pinch, pinch, pinch. I didn't care at all that we had to drive home in the Thanksgiving traffic. 

You can listen to the broadcast anytime.  Just go to

Thursday, November 25, 2010

And The Winner Is:

I am so happy to share these calendars.  The winners are:
Nancy H and Woolen Sails

I have so much to be thankful for this year.  Other than having a wonderful family, I have met so many wonderful people all over the world thanks to Quilt Fiesta and my blog, and have made lots of  new friends while traveling to speak to many quilt guilds.  Tomorrow I'll tell you about my visit to Mark Lipinski's house for my stint as a co-host on Creative Mojo.  If you haven't heard it, click on the logo on my sidebar.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and to anyone else that would like to take a couple of minutes and give thanks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bridal Shower

I have a love/hate affair with the embroidery component of my sewing machine.  I love my Bernina as a sewing machine, but not so much for doing embroidery.  Actually I practically have to relearn how to use it all over every time I want to embroider.  I have to hook it up to my computer and right now the only computer with which it can communicate is my ancient desktop which is located a floor away upstairs in our guest room.  So I have to schlep everything upstairs.  This is probably why I only use it about every 3-4 months which also explains why I have to reteach myself each time  I use it. 

But I do love to give personalized gifts.  People love stuff with their names on it and it makes quite a special gift.  Saturday was my son's girlfriend's sister's bridal shower.  I love being included in their family events because I have very little family.  I ordered robes from the internet from Cotton Age and kept my fingers crossed.  I ordered spa robes since the bride to be lives in Florida.

The robes turned out to be gorgeous and I embroidered one for the bride and one for the groom.   It was a great present. 

I also found a great bag for the gift.  The groom's family is part French and the soon to be bride is a francophile.  I have been trying to use reusable bags for gifts instead of disposable wrapping paper, so I was thrilled when I saw this bag.  Can't beat 99 cents.  Thank you TJ Maxx.

Here's to a happy and long marriage Katie and Jean Baptiste!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Give Thanks - Calendar Giveaway

Let's share.
That Patchwork Place sends me books to review and then I get to give them away.  I could keep them, but my shelves are running out of space and I just enjoy sharing.  These two 2011 quilt calendars are just beautiful.  One features award winning quilts from the International Quilt Association.  The other features 12 traditional style quilts with instructions.
There will be 2 winners, chosen on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25th, at 7AM EST.
To enter:
  • *Leave a comment
  • *Become a Follower (or let me know that you are already a follower)
  • *Put my giveaway on your blog
Receive one entry for each action.  Make sure your e-mail address is available somewhere either in your comment or on your profile.

Good luck everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Foto Friday

I thought there were a lot of farms and barns in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Then we did a road trip to see the hex signs in Berks County.   Wow!  Check them out.  They are truly Pennsylvania Dutch folk art.

 Quilt anyone?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thread Dyeing Made Easy

Whenever I have my dyes made up for fabric dyeng, I like to dye some thread.  It doesn't require much dye and it gives me an opportunity to experiment.  I usually wrap my thread around an elongated object like the lid to a plastic shoebox, but then it gets all tangled as I go through the process. 

So I had a brainstorm and scrounged around for some cardboard toilet paper rolls.
I wrapped a bunch of DMC floss around the tube.  I have a cone of it.  Believe it or not, I found it on for a really good price.
 I secured the end with a staple.

The next step was to soak it in the soda ash solution. 
I dissolve 1/2 cup of soda ash in 1 quart of warm water.  Soda ash is essential in making sure that the dye is permanent.

 To get a variegated thread, first I dipped one end in a blue dye and then the other end in a red dye.  In the middle where the dyes overlapped, I got purple.

I repeated this with  two other colors of dye.

 And then the whole thing gets wrapped and put aside to set overnight. 
After washout, look at those beautiful colors. 

And just in case you wonder what I use them for, I do hand stitched fusible applique.  The variegated colors add another layer of interest and texture.
Have you heard that they are going to eliminate that cardboard roll inside of toilet paper to save a few cents? Actually it does make sense in terms of saving trees - lots of trees.  But we better start saving them for future thread dyeing!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Great Day

Look what came today!
I am a lucky girl!
Not only did Martingale do a wonderful, fabulous job publishing my book, they sent me flowers too along with my advance copy!  And how did they know how much I love rick-rack?  You will have to check out the inside pages to see what I mean.
Coming in January.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Home For Hanukah Quilt

Hanukah is almost here.  It's early this year.  The first of the eight nights is December 1st.  My favorite part of the holiday is the potato latkes that my husband makes.  We eat them with applesauce.
I am writing this post to participate in SewCalGal's Christmas Quilt Show.  You can see lots of quilts by visiting:

But, they need a Hanukah Quilt!

I have designed quite a few Hanukah quilts, but Home For Hanukah is one of my favorites.  If you would like to see more of my designs, check out:   

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dyeing Black & White Fabric

Sometimes you just need a certain fabric for a project that you either can't find or doesn't exist.  I have an idea for a quilt using a black background.  I don't want to use solid black or a tone on tone.  I want something with a bit of color.  But most black fabrics with a bit of color are just too traditional for my design. 

Why can't I just dye a black and white fabric with a color?  I have quite a collection.  The black should stay black and the white will pick up the color.
The critical step is to make sure the fabric is scoured first - washing with the hottest water possible with synthropol and soda ash.

Using my regular method for dyeing, and letting it sit overnight before the washout, I was so pleased with the results.

I used the same dyes to do some thread dyeing.  I'll post about that tomorrow with my unique method for obtaining variegated thread.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Foto Friday

One last look at some beautiful flowers.....

 with some raindrops....
 and spidery foliage...
  before the ice crystals of a frost...

Thank you my friend Ann Davis, for shaing your amazing photographic skills.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quilting Funk

I am quilted out.  Sometimes this happens after I have been working on quilts that require a lot of brain power.  It makes me nervous that I may never want to quilt again.  What would I do with all of that fabric that I have accumulated?

So I decided to work on a fun and quick project.  Pillowcases.  I started making pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer back in 2003.  Cindy Kerr lives locally and one of the members from her church belongs to our guild.  I was the Chairperson of our quilt guild's Community Outreach program and chose to support this project.  The goal was, and still is, to make pillowcases for children at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia  undergoing cancer treatment. It started when her son was diagnosed with cancer.

I scheduled a visit by Cindy and her son Ryan, to kick off the project.  Ryan, who was suffering from cancer and had already lost his leg, was engaging and so charming.   He sat on the stage and chatted with 100 women with grace and ease.  We were so lucky to meet him.  And in case you were wondering about the red canvas sneakers in the logo, Ryan wore those to his prom.

You don't need a lot of fabric to make a pillowcase - 3/4yd for the body and 1/3yd for the cuff, and they are so easy.  Click on the purple underlined directions below for great instructions.  I love the "hot dog" method.  It encases the cuff seams.
So to try and get out of my funk, I made 3 pillowcases.  One for my 4 year old skateboarding fool of a grand nephew, one for his brother that loves airplanes and one for ConKerr Cancer. It won't be until tomorrow til I know if I want to do some quilting, but it felt good to do something for someone else.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bitty Kinnas

My friend,Nancy, was spending a day with her husband in Lancaster, PA, back in May.  She stopped in a newly opened quilt shop, met the warm and welcoming owner and was brave enough to mention that her friend (that would be me) was coming out with a new book.  The owner thought that maybe we could do a book signing during the Lancaster quilt show.

Finally, Nancy and I did a road trip to Lancaster to visit Bitty Kinna's, right in the heart of the town of Intercourse on Philadelphia Pike.  It is an exciting location with many fabric stores and finished quilts for sale also.  It is right in the heart of Amish country and you can often see the Amish clip clopping down the street in a buggy.

The shop is bright and packed full of a variety of fabric.


Gina, the owner had some pretty cool tools too.  
I had 2 favorites.  There was the Bohin marking pencil.  

It comes with white lead, which is great for marking your quilting lines on a dark fabric. 
There is also a gray lead that is available that looks just like pencil.  That's for marking dark fabric.   The darker markings can be removed with the eraser.  The lighter one is more like chalk.  Gina was actually marking a customer's quilt with this tool using her templates for an Amish woman to quilt.

The other cool gadget she had was a magnetic pin holder.  I had never seen one like this before.
The bottom is weighted and the pins like to hang around the rim.

Bitty Kinna has its own parking lot behind the store, which makes it very convenient, because this town can get very busy.  In the back of her parking lot there is a cozy looking building.
Gina plans on holding classes in this building.  It has its own powder room and will be outfitted with cutting tables and sewing tables.  The most exciting news is that anyone will be able to rent it for sew-ins for $5/day per person.  So that means if you have a group of friends that would like to spend the day quilting , here's a place for you to go.  One day, heck, you could go for 5 days at that price.  And I'm sure Gina would be happy to let you know where you could stay and eat.  I bet she wouldn't mind if you frequented the shop for anything you may have forgotten.  (wink, wink).

So the good news for me is that we are going to do a book signing during the Lancaster Quilt Show and a Fiesta Quilt workshop is in the works.  Thank you Nancy.  And when you make it to the shop, ask Gina how she came up with the shop's name.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everybody's Quilt Guild

Last week , I was the guest speaker at a quilt guild located in Westminster,MD called Everybody's Quilt Guild.  There's got to be a story behind that name, but I forgot to ask.   I presented a trunk show called "One Quilter's Journey".  It's really like a retrospective starting with the first quilt that I ever made. 

These lovely ladies were a great audience.  I did go on a bit long, but nobody left the building.  What a relief.

The night I spoke they were choosing the winner of their raffle quilt.  The quilt was a stunner and it had won a couple of ribbons.  The winner was not in the room, so they decided to call her using the phone number on her winning raffle ticket.  She must have lived nearby, because she was there in a matter of minutes, still with her slippers on!  What a lucky gal.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Foto Friday

Thank you Ann Davis for the photos.