Monday, February 28, 2011

BBT Day #8

Book Blog Tour day #8 brings us to The Root Connection. This is a wonderful and enlightening blog.  I have to say that I feel smarter after reading Sujata's blog.  It's a little more cerebral than a lot of blogs.  Quilting and life. She has an uplifting and positive attitude.   And it looks like she is having so much fun.  I think I may need a play date. 

After you visit The Root Connection and leave a comment to hopefully win a copy of my book,  make sure you visit the other blogs along the tour that are still accepting comments.    Then one more blog to go. (And it's really a great one).


Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side and I are co-authors!  We are co-authors in a simultaneous sense, not in a collaborative sense.  Today is Day #7 of the Quilt Fiesta Book Blog Tour.  Amy's blog is stop #7:

Amy is also doing a book blog tour for her recently released, Modern Basics.  You can read more about it on her blog.

And we have 2 winners that Kelly of Pinksdotquilts has picked.  Why is she giving 2 books away?  Kelly has a quilt in Quilt Fiesta and as a contributoe she received a free copy.  The winners are: Alexis of Quilts of Mimi Park and Suze of GA's house.  Congrats Ladies.

Another winner will be picked today by Barbara Jones at Quilt Soup.  I hope you have been enjoying  the BBT as I like to call it.  There are 2 more blogs after Amy's and then the last day, will be home base at my blog.  There are still lots of books to be given away.       Day #8                    Day #9    Day #10

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day #6 of The Book Blog Tour

Colleen has become a friend of mine through the blog world.  Her blog, Lucky Duck Dreams, says she is a cancer survivor and lucky to be following her dreams.  You go girl!  Fun and colorful projects can be found along with these wonderful lime green t-shirts with pink lettering that you can order, by clicking HERE , with part of the proceeds going to Relay for Life.  Visit her blog for a chance to win a copy of Quilt Fiesta.  Make sure you leave your e-mail address if you want to be notified if you win.  And don't forget to visit the previous stops along the way.

 Kelly of Pinkadotquilts will be picking the first winner today.

And look what I found in The Old Country Store in Lancaster County, PA. 
What do you think of my Vanna White impersonation?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Blog Tour Day #5

Stop #5 of the Quilt Fiesta book Blog Tour is the blog of Holly Knott,  I "met" Holly when I chose her to design my website.  She did an amzing job.  If you're in the market for a webmaster, you couldn't find a more professionl person.  She is aways timely in doing updates and even though sometimes I can be  pain in the A--, she was always patient and kind. Holly is also a quilter who makes beautiful art quilts and she has an etsy shop.  Visit her blog, leave a comment and don't forget to leave an e-mail address.  You can still leave a comment at Kelly's, Quilt Soup,  Grandma Coco's, Bonnie's blog.

Today my computer died.  I had talked about getting a new one, but again I have been procrastinating. Panic set in.  There are a few things on that computer that would be impossible to replace.  All those photos and my Power Point lecture presentations.  I stopped at this little white house on the highway that I had driven by many, many times with a sign that said  they did computer repair. I found my new best friend, Chris.  He would be able to transfer all thhe data from my old computer to a new one in a matter of minutes!  Not days!  Time to buy a new computer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Have you been to Quiltville?

Stop #4 of the Quilt Fiesta Book Blog Tour:
Bonnie Hunter is one amazing quilter.  I have never seen a more hard working and generous professional.  After you check out her blog, you must check out her website:

Bonnie teaches, travels and is a designer.  Her focus is scrap quilts and you can find close to 50 free patterns on her website. (I did say she was generous.) She also supports many charitable causes as well as encourages fledgling authors!  Actually she is teaching in Germany as her blog was posted for this book tour.

And don't forget you can still go to the first 3 stops of the book blog tour to comment for a chance to win a book.  Remember to include your e-mail address.......just in case.                  2/22/11      Day#1                         2/23/11        Day #2     2/24/11       Day #3                             2/25/11        Day #4                    2/26/11        Day #5                             2/27/11         Day #6                           2/28/11         Day #7             3/1/11           Day #8                                3/2/11           Day #9           3/3/11           Day #10

Here's a fun contest - How would you like to design a fun sock and get paid to do it?  Go to:   It's their annual contest and you should see some of the designs.    Quilty socks anyone?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Blog Tour Giveaway Day #3

Day #3 finds a visit to Canada and a completely different blog,  Grandma Coco's Designs.  You'll find an assortment of topics including quilting, knitting and drawing.  Don't forget to leave your e-mail address just in case you are the lucky winner.

During the Quilt Fiesta Open House, many people commented on the beautiful tablecloths.

The fabric is called pintuck and I chose a teal, periwinkle, chartreuse color palette (even tho the chartreuse looks very washed out in the last photo.).  I borrowed the cloths from my friend, Ann Davis who owns a specialty linen rental company, called The Total Table.
She rents predominantly to caterers and her cloths have been at almost every party in the Philadelphia area.  If the name is familiar, she is also my Foto Friday photographer. A very talented woman she is.

I have to tell you her story, because it is so fascinating.  Before Ann and I met, Ann had a law degree and was involved in an event planning company with another woman.  She was the business arm and her partner was the creative arm.  She sold out her part of the business to stay home and raise her children.

Ann and I met as PTO Moms while our kids were in elementary school together (her oldest and my youngest).  We immediately clicked as friends with our love of gardening and fabric.  Actually she was a much better gardener than me and I spent more time with fabric, as a quilter, than her.  We spent many hours traipsing around the Lancaster, PA countryside buying plants, flowers and fabric.   We visited a quilt exhibit one day and she fell in love with one of the quilts.  So we struck a deal.  I made her a quilt and she landscaped my house.  I wish I had a photo of that quilt.  It was a long cabin type crazy quilt with the ice cream cone edges with a ribbon bouquet as a medallion, using silk and satin fabrics.  Very fancy.  It was foreshadowing.

A few years later, her old business partner needed some help.  Let's just say she was having some problems.  Ann returned to help her clean things up and ended up starting a small tablecloth business with her old partner as her first client.  She started the business in the basement of her home.  She convinced the woman who cleaned her home, Debbie, to help her part time.  At first they were washing the tablecloths in her home washing machine and ironing them all by hand. 

As her business grew, she could no longer work out of her basement.  She moved to a large warehouse and Debbie was working for her full time.  She had a delivery driver and I can't remember how many employees.  A few years ago she bought a warehouse and now has 22 employees, 2 delivery drivers and I don't know how many thousands of tablecloths.  I get whiplash every time I visit her, because the variety and volume of fabric is mind boggling.

Here is a little snapshot of her business:
An overview of her showroom


Specialty cloths

One of the many aisles of assorted white cloths

I love this combo of orange and pink

One aisle

Many aisles

One of 4 manglers

 Do any of you remember your mothers using a mangler?  They have pretty much disappeared for home use.  Can you imagine if instead of ironing our fabric a few inches at a time, we could just run it through a mangler? That would be heaven.

I am so proud of this friend of mine.  She is a heck of a business woman who still loves fabric and gardening.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Blog Tour Giveaway Day #2

I would like to introduce Barbara Jones of Quilt Soup.  Barbara is an amazing fabric and pattern designer.  I "met" Barbara when I was making quilts  for Quilt Fiesta.  I came across one of her fabric lines,  Bubblegum Basics , manufactured by Henry Glass & Co.  I had designed and created I don't know how many quilts by then and had spent sooooo much money on fabric. I took a chance and e-mailed Henry Glass and asked if they would be interested in giving me fabric to use in my upcoming book.  Without a beat, they asked me how much I needed and put me in touch with Barbara. If I was making a quilt for the book now, I don't know which of her fabrics I would use.

This is the quilt I made from Barbara's fabrics for the book. :

Make sure you visit her blog,,  for a chance to win a copy of Quilt Fiesta.  Don't forget to leave an e-mail address so she can contact you if you are the lucky one.
Also, don't forget you can still comment at  for a chance to win.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Blog Tour Giveaway Day #1

I would like to introduce you to Kelly of .  Kelly is a prolific  quilter who loves clear, bright colors and does beautiful applique.  Kelly's blog is the first stop on the Quilt Fiesta Book Blog Tour. (She also has an amazing quilt in the book.).  Leave a comment and maybe you will be the lucky winner of a book.  Visit here each day to see the next stop on the tour.

After asking all my friends for pix, I now have 2 photos of the most important food (desserts only) from the Open House:
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

And these very, very special cookies, made by my DIL.  
Here's a shameless plug for this fledgling entrepreneur. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quilt Fiesta-: Win A Free Copy and Meet Other Bloggers

The Open House was a huge success.  My feet still have not touched the ground.  Thank you to everyone who came.  I am embarrassed to say that with all the excitement, I forgot completely about taking photos.   I just don't know where my brain has gone. 

Now on to the next excitement.  Fortunately this next promotion can be done with my butt planted in a chair.  Have you heard of a Book Blog Tour? 

Would you like to win a free copy of Quilt Fiesta? 

How about meeting some fascinating new bloggers?  

My big announcement is that we're doing a 10 day book blog tour.  Instead of traveling from book store to book store,  you can travel from blog to blog.  No need to worry about the weather or the price of gas.  Starting tomorrow visit each blog in the tour, leave a comment and maybe you'll win a free copy of Quilt Fiesta. A book will be given away from each blog. 

 I am so proud of this book.  Quilt Fiesta is a  beautifully produced book that has 10 quilts and projects based on the designs of Mexican tiles.  The artwork is gorgeous.  In addition it has tidbits about Mexican culture and a travelogue about the trips that inspired the book.

Here's the schedule. It is a wonderful sampling of what types of blogs that are out there covering the different aspects of quilting.  Each blogger will accept comments for 5 days from their start date. Enjoy reading these great blogs and don't forget to leave a comment.  Good luck to all.                  2/22/11                         2/23/11     2/24/11                             2/25/11                    2/26/11                             2/27/11                           2/28/11             3/1/11                                           3/2/11           3/3/11

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sneak Peak

The furniture is in the garage.  The quilts are hung.  My studio has been organized (for the most part).  The floors are washed.  The food is prepped.  I am exhausted, but don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight.  Tomorrow is the Open House to celebrate the publication of my book, Quilt Fiesta.  If you're coming, here's a sneak peak.  If you won't be coming, here's what you are missing.

The Family Room sans furniture
Organizing the quilts
The Family Room turned Gallery
The welcoming committee with the Guest Book
The making of Mexican tissue paper flowers
The sun room with a bouquet of Mexican Flowers

Mini cupcakes waiting to be frosted        
 If I have time tomorrow morning, I'll try to snap a few photos of the food.  Look for the unique and amazing cookies with all the other Mexican snacks.  And on Monday, I'll be making a big announcement. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Subtitled: The continuing saga of cleaning and decluttering my studio

 When my mother died suddenly 16 years ago, I was heart broken.  My husband wanted to bring some happiness into my life.  Did I want to go on a trip?  Did I want to go shopping?  What was it that would cheer me up?  After much thought, I decided I wanted to redecorate our bedroom.  I don't know why I thought that would work.  Was it part of a nesting instinct?  It was definitely a multi-step job that kept me occupied for a while.  I always wanted a blue and white bedroom.

This denim chair was part of the redecoration. 

After all these years, it was time for the chair to go.  The fabric did not hold up well and the chair was not even decent enough to pass along to the kids.  It was sitting in a guest room waiting to be put out for bulk trash pick-up, one day. 

While cleaning my studio, I discovered this roll of upholstery fabric that I bought at least 5 years ago.  I really didn't discover it.  It was sitting in plain view all along, but now I had to figure out what to do with it.  I think I paid about $5/yard when I bought it.

Was these enough fabric to cover that denim chair?  The challenge became finding someone to do the reupholstering.  I turned to my DIL, Olivia.   She is a top notch shopper and researcher, and definitely a keeper.    She turned to one of her on-line message boards of women that live in the Philadelphia area.  Lo and behold, she discovered The Berlin Farmers Market, located in Berlin, NJ.  I knew reupholstering was not an inexpensive prospect.  It could cost as much as a new chair, but the idea of this fabric on that comfy chair was too much to resist.  I told my husband that it could be my Valentine's Day gift. 
(Who needs jewelry anyway?)
That Saturday, the chair and the fabric was loaded into the car and off we went.  We both love road trips.   About 1 hour away we found the market along with Berlin Upholstery.  The first stop was to drop off the chair and hope that I had enough fabric. 
They looked at the roll and said I did.
Then we roamed the indoor market.  It is really a very strange place, but with some very good bargains.  The shops ran the gamut from automobile tires, socks, produce, spices, fabric, furniture, food, jewelry, housewares and even a barber shop. We decided we had to come back in the nice weather when there are acres and acres of vendors outside.

In less than a week, I got a call from the Upholstery Shop. I looked at Caller ID and thought there must be a problem.  Not enough fabric?  Nope - my chair was ready!  That was really fast. What a great job they did matching the pattern. 

I love this chair!

And so does my buddy.

It was meant to go back into a guest room.  But I think I'll put it in my studio. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where In The World Is Quilt Fiesta? Give-Away

I know I am repeating myself, but I still can't believe it, so pinch me. My book is here and it is so exciting to see people's reactions.  It's real!  I'm a book author! Woohoo! 
What's even more exciting is that there have been Quilt Fiesta sightings in some of the local quilt shops!  This has inspired me to have some fun with this.  Instead of Where's Waldo, let's play:
Where's Quilt Fiesta?
Here's the deal.  Look for my book in your local quilt shop or bookstore.  Take a photo and e-mail it to me.  Comment here as to where you found it.  Let's see if we can go around the world.    In 1 week (next Weds), I will draw 2 winners.  You can live any where in the world.  The winner will get  either 1 yard of hand dyed fabric or Fig Tree Quilt's book.  If you can't do the photo thing, leave a comment.  For each comment you leave, you will be entered once.  Each photo and comment will count as 2 entries.  You can do this for as many different shops where you see the book.  

Here are the prizes:

Fig Tree Quilts' "Houses", a great book published by Martingale.   OR  One yard of hand dyed fabric, dyed by yours truly.

 If you have a preference, add it to your comment and I will try to accommodate you.
Did someone say road trip?  Let's go!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Unique Solution For Organizing Quilter's Rulers

In the continuing drive to get my studio organized and in tip top shape for my Open House, I'm getting down to the nitty gritty.  That means organizing the items that I have been wanting to do something with for a while.  This has really forced me to come up with some creative solutions.  This square bend screw hook turned out to be the perfect item to use to hang my rulers.  I usually use them to hang my quilts.

 I did not want to use one of those wooden ruler holders that sits on a table with grooves.  I have enough stuff that sits on my tables.  Combining this hook (actually 3 of them) with the door of one of my IKEA cabinets was a great solution.
Now all of my rulers are in plain sight and I don't have to fumble around for the right one.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Controversy Over An Art Museum

A few weeks ago, I rented a documentary movie about The Barnes Foundation.   I am not sure how many people are familiar with The Barnes that live outside the Philadelphia area.  It was started in 1922 by Dr. Albert Barnes, using money he had made by developing Argyrol, an anti-microbial.  It's primary purpose was art education.  Dr. Barnes had a vision of how to present art and education  and accumulated an amazing collection of paintings by such artists as Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Matisse and Modigliani. He had an amazing eye for art and started buying the paintings before the major museums recognized their greatness.  If you would like to read more about it, click here.

The Barnes is located in an affluent suburban neighborhood on a quiet street right outside of Philadelphia.  Originally, it was run as a school and access to it was quite limited.  Only those involved in taking a course of study were allowed entry.  At some point they were taken to court to allow the public entrance.  You can imagine how the neighbors felt about the traffic.  They were not very happy with the school buses and many museum visitors, especially with their tiny parking lot.  So visitation is limited to see this amazing collection of art.  You need to call and make a reservation for a specific date and time.  (And also pay $15 for parking in addition to the entrance fee.)

Dr. Barnes died in 1951.  He had set up a trust that stipulated that his collection was never to be moved or any part of it sold or  any of the paintings to tour.  So, it was big news in the Philadelphia area recently, when a group of influential people wanted to move the Barnes out of the suburbs and into the city.  Wider access was a very compelling reason.  But what about the wishes of Dr. Barnes.  This was the story behind the movie, "The Art of the Steal".  It is based on interviews of many of the players.  I found it fascinating.  As in most cases, the story is based on politics, money and power.

To relieve my winter doldrums, I went to visit the museum today before the entire collection is moved to the city in 2012.  As typical for me, either I forget to bring my camera or it's out of battery charge.  Today, no juice in the battery, not that you're allowed to bring a camera or anything else into the Barnes - and I mean ANYTHING else.  No camera, no purse, no jacket, not even a sketchpad.  They have lockers for a quarter to stow your stuff.  I would have loved to share the buildings along Latchs Lane, where The Barnes is located - Main Line Philadelphia Mansions.  You get the picture.

The paintings are just breathtaking.  Dr. Barnes' philosophy involved a form of grouping of the artwork, called ensembles.  This grouping was not by artist or date.  Many times it involved color,  It was a philosophy that he had developed.  In addition to the paintings, he also included beautiful hand forged ironwork, PA Dutch chests and various pieces of furniture.  All of it is displayed using natural colored burlap walls.  The upstairs is closed while they prepare the paintings for the move. 

I have very conflicted feelings about the move.  You have to see this movie.  I rented it through Netflix.  This man amassed these paintings, built a museum to house them and displayed them based on his philosophy.  His wishes were not followed.  They ignored his trust.  But finances became an issue and wider access and an influx of philanthropy became a solution.  What would Dr. Barnes think?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mall Inspiration

Since the weather has been so crappy here in PA, I have been walking at the mall.  It's amazing what you can find when you walk around and around and there are no people there to distract you.
The most exciting window display is this wonderfully innovative color wheel.  Have you ever seen anything like this before?  It was in the EXPRESS window.

Here are a few other notable window art inspirations:

But this is what I don't understand.  Years and years ago,  boys used to sneak a peak at the Sears catalog to view women in their underwear.  Now, there are these oversized photos in the windows at the mall?