Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Slipping in a bit of holiday baking

So much happening, so many quilts to sneak a peek at and amazing longarm quilters to meet. Phew, it turned out that today I was able to get a bit of holiday baking done. I chose something fun & easy, so I just had to share. This basic sugar cookie recipe is delicious -- thicker, melt in your mouth yumm. And, then it lends itself to a lot of different uses. I love making them into small cookie buttons so I can play with the color and decorating. Below is the recipe in case you want to give it a try:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add baking powder and flour. Dough will be very stiff. To create buttons use small scoop. Scoop dough and press it firmly into the scoop. Release on ungreased cookie sheet 1” apart.

Once all in place take a glass with a flat bottom, dip into cold water and press each cookie.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.

Let cookies cool completely before decorating, and have fun!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Perfect BadAss

Are you ready to get to know the
best'ist BadAss Quilter around anywhere?!!

Hope you are, for today I'm featuring Maddie Kertay -- founder and amazing CREATOR of the BadAss Quilter's Society. In moments of shear exhaustion at Quilt Market (2013) we both took advantage of chairs in the GenerationQ Magazine booth -- this is where we met, and I got pinned!
What a treat it is to meet Maddie, hear her talk and call her friend. She is a force of nature when it comes to keeping it real for all quilters through her BadAss Quilter's Society efforts. And, Maddie does this all while running a successful, wonderful shop (SPOOL) in Chattanooga, TN.
Did I mention she is an accomplished sewist, too? She is, and below you'll find out a little bit about Maddie in her own words.

How did you find quilting? Or, did it find you?
I have sewn since I was quite young  but my leap to quilting was just about 4 years ago when I accidently fell into the blog Tall Grass Prairie and it made my head spin.

Where you always drawn to quilting stitch? Or, was there another part of the process that pulled you in?
For me it was the fabrics and the colors.  I realized how limited I had been in what I had seen of fabrics given that where I lived there was not much to see! And while I will always be a huge advocate for local shopping it is true that the internet really opened up my eyes to what I could do and work with as a quilt artist.

What is your favorite thing about where you are today on your quilting adventure?
My adventure has always been about empowering people to be their very best creative selves no matter what that means to them. Simple sewing or complex , I am cool with all of it. 

Has this changed from when you first set off?
I started off doing what came from inside of me. Everything I know has been self-taught and I just keep growing from there, willing to make outrageous mistakes along the way and talk about it. I think that is really important. SO many show there amazing work but so few show all the pain it takes to get there.  You have to make a lot of crap to make something amazing.

Do you see yourself at a fork in the road? If you do, can you share about what direction you may be thinking about going?
I quilt on a very limited basis these days ( but still Love it), and only projects that REALLY engaged me like the one I did for your book. My fork has taken me to being a social media cheerleader and professional Rabble-Rouser for the membership of the quilt industry. I feel it is my call to further the conversations about what it means to be a quilter. BadAss Quilters Society gives me the forum to be as loud as I want and bring attention to the parts of the industry that are amazing as well as those that need a facelift!
Below is a sneak peek at the quilting Maddie stitched into my Poppy Pod quilt to bring it into it's own.
Fun & Amazing, just like Maddie herself!
I am delighted to have had a chance to work with her and to get to know her better.

Thank You Maddie.... love you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Feel Good Sneak Peek

Hi All-
Today I am still in a bit of recovery from some minor surgery yesterday. Nothing serious... just things that need to be done, but boy they leave you needing a pick-me-up.

I chose a special quilt from the new book to share with you, and also give me a sunny lift, too! Have you caught on through all these quilt peeks, that the quilts here are all about 3 panels? Panels instead of blocks, and in almost every case two panels are the same only flipped? That's all I'm going to say on this for now....... it's time for a REVEAL!
The long lankly stems of these poppy pods remind me of spring... but if you get in for a closer look the quilting by Maddie Kertay -- BadAss Quilter Society creator -- really makes the story complete.

That is, complete with flowers and a wonderful dragonfly and amazing, amazing quilting.

This is Maddie,

and in case you don't know yet she is have a grand (8 grand) give-away once her FaceBook Page reaches 8,000. You won't want to miss out!  So click over and help make it happen.
Maddie is the next of the longarm quilters that will be featured here soon, so don't miss out!

Attitude is everything!

Thanks Maddie.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rain Leaves & Seed Pod Peek

It is raining leaves here today.
The wind blows-
The chimes clang-
And all the leaves of the grand oaks,

that clung so tightly
finally decided it is time
to let go.
It is raining leaves.

As the leaves fall it seems the time
to share another sneak peek.

The quilt I am sharing today was inspired by seed pods picked up on another fall day. Though that day was not as blustering as it is today.
I love watching for and collecting seed pods in the fall. They are all so different than their springtime cousins. Deep brown colors, dried yet having fuzzy seeds just waiting to be set free to fly on a breeze.

My SeedPod Polka quilt is a simplified celebration of the promise these funny looking natural seed pods bring.
The quilting on this one was done by ME!
It was fun coming up with a background fill that carried that feeling of seedpods. 
Can you see it? What do you think?
Wishing you a fine day-
no matter the weather!

I'm stitching away on some very special quilts-
one's that will be making their appearance soon as it gets closer
to the launch date for the book.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014


On Monday I came home from running some errands to find a crate and a BIG box sitting on my doorstep. It seems like a lifetime ago that I was packing those same boxes up and shipping them off to my publisher. Seeing them once again kind of made my heart skip a beat.
Their return is one of the steps that mark off soooo many in the journey of getting a book into a reader's hands.

This step-by-step process people talk about is one of the things I love about quilting. Each quilt is created one step at a time.
Some steps are harder than others, some take more or less time....

but, step-by-step...
they come together

and I love it when a plan comes together!
 Here's a peak into the unpacking of those crates.
 Everything wrapped carefully....
 Feels a bit like Christmas....
and, all those quilts coming home,
wonder where they'll go to next?

At this time of the year our lists are filled with extra tasks and activities.
Sometimes they can seem a bit overwhelming, but
just remember --

Enjoy the journey!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

You've Got to Meet Mandy Leins!

Last Friday, after the craziness and fun of Thanksgiving with friends and family I gave a sneak peek at the Bulls-Eye Rose quilt. I also mention Mandy Leins. She was the longarm quilter who used her magic to stitch wonder into the quilt.

I met Mandy on-line when she contacted me about Fast-Piece Applique. She had tried it out and found that it worked well for her and she wanted to share about it on her own blog. Of course I said yes, and our friendship grew from there, and I now I am grateful to be able to share with you a bit of Mandy's own quilting adventure.
In her own words:
How did you find quilting?
I first started quilting while I was with my grandparents for a week, and there wasn't much else to do.  My grandmother had a '47 in-cabinet Singer that everyone in the family had made something on (work clothes, outdoor gear, etc.), and I wanted to be part of that legacy.  My grandfathers were the ones who loved quilts, though, and they're the ones who I think of most.
Where you always drawn to the quilting?

In the biz, so to speak, everyone always says you need to pick what you love and focus on it.  My problem is I love every bit of it, from writing patterns to quilting something, to piecing, to... well, actually, binding is my least favorite part.  I guess I don't like it all.  As for longarm quilting for others, I love finding out the right "thing” that works on a quilt, that enhances the hard work put in by its owner.
What is my favorite thing, has it changed and am I at a fork in the road?

My favorite thing about this quilting adventure right now is figuring out how to get myself out there.  I think I have a lot to say; I think my work is very good; I think I can help people achieve what they want.  I'm not quite sure how to get that out there, but that's exciting for me.  My other favorite thing is that I have met some of the greatest people in this field, and I have made some of the greatest friends.  It's really humbling and wonderful, and I would be incredibly destitute without all of you.

I don't know if it's a fork in the road, but now that the longarm business is really starting to take off, I find myself more drawn to handwork for myself.  I need a hobby now that my hobby is a business, you know? I never thought that would be the case! 

Below are a few examples of Mandy's quilting work for others:
this is a Bee quilt quilted for a friend

this is detail from a quilt is by Scott Hansen of Blue Nickel Studios
 this is one of Mandy's quilts and available soon as a pattern

this is a quilt by Jane Armstrong
this is the detail once again from the Bulls-Eye Rose quilt
and you can actually go to Mandy's site for an incredible
tutorial on the background design she created!
Isn't she amazing!