Saturday, August 26, 2006

At Loose Ends

I'm at loose ends. I have a project for work that I need to be sewing on.....but.....the focus fabric hasn't been delivered yet. I really can't select colors or do anything on it until Monday when the fabric should be here.

I finished the applique on my Lori Smith small quilt. It needs border squares - perhaps I'll dig through the stash for that tomorrow.

After dinner tonight, I had about an hour and a half to sew until I had to pick up Audrey from a friend's house.

I had begun machine quilting this quilt a couple of weeks ago when I ran out of brown thread. Of course, it was a color that we don't carry in the store. So I special-ordered a box of thread and it was backordered! The thread finally arrived and I finished the quilting and bound it this evening.

This piece is 16" x 24" and is fused applique and machine quilted. DOMESTIC machine quilted.... and man, do I need to gain some more skill. It's a totally different process than longarm quilting. My head knows what I want my hands to do, but there's a certain disconnect in the execution. I guess it's like anything. You have to do a lot of it before things become smooth.

I'm now off to bed. My eyelids weigh 20 pounds a piece.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What's Your Favorite Quilting Website?

Wow! Two posts from me in one day. Do you think the earth will open up and swallow me whole?

What's your favorite quilt shop website? The reason I'm asking is a long and sordid story.

My current website for the shop is I paid someone to set it up for me a year or so ago and she did. It is functional, but not particularly sexy. I did teach myself how to update the information on it. I've never had an official logo and I have no graphics skills.

I was approached by a branding company in March. They wanted to create a cool logo and update my website to match. I signed on and we began our work. We met several times, and I was really excited to get this off the ground before the Quilt Sampler magazine was published. Around early May, I received notice that my designer was quitting the company, but the owner would take care of me. I went to Quilt Market, the magazine hit, and we were swamped. I didn't get a chance to raise my head until mid-July. I fired off an e-mail asking what was happening on my project. I got a really nasty e-mail back basically firing me as a client. What's up with that? Now what am I going to do?

After a couple of weeks, I finally looked up the designer in the phone book. I placed a call to see if he was willing to finish the work directly. He agreed! He's freelancing now and can work on my stuff in a couple of weeks. Yay!

So, I'm doing what I should have done a long time ago, but thought I wouldn't waste my time since my new website was on the way - I'm updating and creating pages on the current site in preparation for the conversion. Nothing like a learning curve that's straight up! The way I look at it - the more content work I do up front, the less money it will cost me in the end. But, oh, is it slow going.

And if I save money in one area, I can spend it in another, right? Work with's woman logic. SO. If I'm going to have a "perfect world" website wish list, what should be on it? I KNOW you guys probably surf more sites than I do. And I'm asking for your help. Tell me your favorite quilting websites - I would prefer those for brick-and-mortar shops, since I am one, but will certainly look at ALL retail sites recommended- and WHY you like it. Is it navigation, is it content, is it photos and cool graphics, or is it product? If I'm going to invest in this, I'd like to get it somewhat right.

I'm off now to soak my aching head....

Quilt In A Week (More or Less.....)

Isn't it funny how priorities can change in an instant, depending upon circumstance?

I bought the kit and pattern for this quilt at the Dallas Quilt Show back in March from Bonnie Blue Qulits out of Houston. Believe it or not - this is the first KIT I have ever purchased! I fondled it, petted it, and put it in its own rubbermaid container to wait for "someday".

Fast forward 5 months and we are now going have a Bonnie Blue Quilts trunk show during Shop Hop the weekend after Labor Day. This particular quilt is not in the trunk show. But wait! What if I made my kit by then? We could have another quilt for display!

I began cutting on Friday night, August 11. I finshed the binding on Sunday, August 20. That's little more than a week for a 76" x 76" quilt with a lot of little bitty pieces! My "someday" kit is now turned into a quilt!

I've been hand-appliqueing a small quilt in between work and Audrey's activities this week. What I SHOULD be doing is making the sample for September's Strip Club. But I am waiting on the setting fabric to arrive before I select my strips. Again, priorities are set by circumstance.

I remember fondly the days of when I could pick and choose what I sew.....and when I sewed it!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Another UFO Done!

I finished the Lady of the Lake quilt before we left on vacation, but I didn't get a chance to take its picture. If you remember, these blocks were started as a Thangles demonstration at the Dallas Quilt Show in 2004. I uncovered about 16 blocks and pre-cut strips for more Thangles. I finished enough blocks for this setting and laid it all out on the design wall. I just HAD to sew the blocks together so that I could take them down!

ALL the fabric for the blocks originally came from my stash - the only new fabric added was the sashing and the posts. This quilt has been donated to Project Linus. How can I keep producing quilts out of my sewing room yet it doesn't look any different? It's encouraging and depressing all at the same time. Does that make any sense?

I figured it was time for another Merle fix. Since it's so hot outside, he's been hanging with me on the sewing table. I may have to kick him out in order to cut borders for my current project. We'll just have to see if he can behave....LOL!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Vacay, Part 2

After 5 attempts, blogger is not playing nice with my pictures.

After the aquarium, we visited the USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier in Corpus Christi Bay. What a fascinating tour! We had a challenging time trying to impress upon Audrey and Tori the significance of an aircraft carrier and its role during wartime.

We left Corpus and went to Port Aransas. Monday morning we took a 4-hour fishing tour - the fish were not biting (but I caught the only 2 small ones!) and the girls got a big kick out of seeing dolphins in the bay. We spent the afternoon at Mustang State Park and the beach.

Tuesday, we travelled to Galveston. Our hotel was right on the seawall and the girls couldn't wait to get into the water. Wednesday morning we took a Galveston Bay history and dolphin watching tour. No matter how many times you see them, it is still amazing to see dolphins right there in the bay. We watched a movie on the The Great Storm (Galveston was devastated by a hurricane in 1900) and visited Quilts By the Bay. More beach combing and shell collecting was done in the afternoon.

Thursday, we left Galveston and headed into Houston. I have a friend that works at the Houston Zoo and we made arrangements for Steve to take us on a tour behind the scenes in the bird department. The girls thought that was really cool (and it really was!). It was so hot and steamy that we didn't stay for long. We headed for home.

The following week was filled with middle school registration and orientation, haircuts, orchestra board meeting, doctor appointments, orchestra jump start as well as creating and publishing the quarterly newsletter for the shop. I haven't known if I was coming or going for the past week!

I've actually been sewing the past couple of days - and if Blogger ever decides to play nice again, maybe I'll show you a picture....

So, no, I haven't run away or been in a dreadful accident. Although running away looked pretty good at one point.......

The Tale of The Deadbeat Blogger

You know it's been too long since you've written a blog post when a customer from out of town calls the shop to see if I'm okay - to verify that I haven't run away from home or been a victim of a tragic accident! Hi Ruby! All is well - my life has just been at a frantic pace for the last two weeks.

We had a successful vacation. Audrey took a friend with her and we headed out Saturday morning. Our first stop was in New Braunfels and Natural Bridge Caverns.

Even tho we purchased our tickets online, we still had to wait 2 hours for our tour. Audrey decided to "pan" for gemstones to pass the time.

This is what you get when you try to take a digital picture in the dark. Poor Audrey's head barely made it into the picture!

The second day we headed to Corpus Christi and visited the Texas State Aquarium. The entryway was really cool with the recirculating waterfall.

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a fish in an aquarium? I thought this fish was fabulous - periwinkle, magenta and orange. What do you think those colors would look like in a quilt?