Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Day's Labor

Here is my little bag all finished. It was very easy to do. Although I have made hundreds of quilts, I am no seamstress. Most of my quilts were made before I owned a sewing machine. There were some directions packaged with the handles but they were in Japanese. Thankfully, the Japanese pattern writers are fantastic with their graphics and I could basically figure it out by that. It is very impractical because it is white and because, well, I am NOT an eight year old girl. I just couldn't resist the cherries though. Very sweet. It will become one of my little bags to carry sewing tools and/or projects. Have a relaxing Labor Day weekend everyone.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happy!! Mail!!

I found a neat little website last week and I indulged. I couldn't resist. I am powerless over Japanese needlework and the gadgets that go with them. The booty arrived in today's mail and I am now putting off work and have started on a little project for myself. It involves the cherry handles. Who can resist those? I will post when it is done. And the Apron Book....!! Aprons far too stylish to do housework in. If I can figure out how to adapt the petite, adorable little things into something usable for this large Midwestern torso I will post that also. It will involve lots of math and some luck. The website is Have Fun! Oh, and if anyone can recommend a purse pattern that will take advantage of those round and half-round plastic handles..... I'm all ears.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Everything in it's Place

I got a lovely surprise yesterday. This "Professional Tote" is made with our "Winter" fabric line. The Professional Tote is a Creative Thimble pattern. It's wonderful! I can't wait to put it to use as a carry-on for my next flight. This is a gift from my friend Leigh Ann. Lake St. Mercantile - Quilting
Meet the Staff:(standing, from left) Laurie Simpson, Kari Smith-Ruedisale, Judy King, Candy Stephens, Ann Carey, and Cindy Jones (owner); (sitting, from left)Leigh Ann Prange, Joyce Cushing, Dianne Klamik, Diane Otto, and Jill Muha. This is the staff of Lake Street Mercantile in South Lyon, Michigan - a Top 10 Quilt shop in the 2008 Summer issue of Quilt Sampler.

Leigh Ann is a sewing GENIUS. She has helped Polly and I out many times with her skill and speed getting things ready for photo shoots and Quilt Market. Who else can you hand over a stack of fabric to, a shaky sketch on graph paper, and the message "I need it in 3 days" and magically it is done - and done to perfection! By the way - this tote makes a wonderful diaper bag (for all of you expectant mom's or grandma's out there) . I am feeling very "well taken care of" today. I hope you are too.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Winners and other Stuff

It has been a wonderful weekend here in Ann Arbor. Bill and I, with no pressing plans, went to a matinee on Saturday. We went to the magical Michigan Theater and saw Man On Wire. I loved it, as did Bill and if it plays anywhere near you, make plans to see it. It is a documentary about the French artist Phillipe Petit who walked on a tight rope strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. It sounds rather dry doesn't it? It isn't. It plays more like a "caper" movie or a spy thriller than a subtitled documentary. That, and a study about an obsessed genius. We were lucky enough to watch it from the first row of the balcony - our favorite place at the Michigan. Too bad the organist did not play yesterday; it seems he must have had the afternoon off. Treat yourself if you are ever in the area to see a movie or a live show at the Michigan.

This morning we extended our revelry in all things "Ann Arbor" and had breakfast at Zingerman's Deli. If you have never been to, or heard of Zingerman's - well let's just say it is the best of the best. Bill took his book of Sudoku puzzles and I took the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living and we had a leisurely meal of a breakfast BLT (which we split), a sweet roll (which we also split) and a fantastic concoction called "The Dirty Sheed." Oh, it was good - 2 shots of espresso, a splash of pure vanilla extract, a shot of half and half, all poured over a large glass of ice. Heaven on an August morning. If you are ever within a few hours drive of Zingerman's - make the attempt to go. You will not be sorry. Both Bill and I are grateful that these treasures are so convenient for us. I'm sure you have treasures close to you that you love. Tell us about them!

After that, it was off to hockey practice for Bill and back to quilting for me. It's been wonderful.

OH!!..... Yes, the winner - it is Carrie P. Carrie - email me from the contact page at (here) You are the winner of a spool of Prairie Paisley twill tape!


Friday, August 22, 2008

All is well in Naples! Thanks!

Hi All-

Thought I would answer all the kind inquiries thru our blog. So many of you have been so kind to write to see if all is well in our beautiful Naples! Yes we were threatened with a major storm and it always gets your attention. This time Tom and I thought we would escape it again - don't know why we felt that way or if it was even wise - but we felt certain we would escape. And escape we did - gusty winds and morning rain, heavy for a short time and soon the sun was out and all was back to normal here. Our hurricane shutters are remote controlled, so it is simple to push a button to lower them, and I never considered it - so that tells you how minor the storm was in our area. I was soon back in the studio working on my latest creation - have many new designs down on linen, or still in my head waiting to be drawn out - so I needed to get busy and finish off some of my work.

Annie is my constant companion in my studio and she is also my critic - and I wanted to show you how she weathered the latest storm. But, a reminder to me not to be so casual about weather - our cousin lives on the east coast of Florida and she called to get an idea of what was in store for her. I calmly told her - "nothing to worry about". Compared to some summer storms we had in Michigan - I told her this was a "nothing event." Well two days later, and amazingly she is still speaking to me. She called to report in - she lives in Port St. Lucie and they got clobbered beyond belief - bet she won't call me again for weather advice. All is well here and we are back to work - well Annie is taking a little nap as I hook.

Best! Polly

Comment and say "Hi" to Annie before midnight Sunday and be eligible for a special gift!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Name Game

We know, as lots of you pointed out, it was difficult to come up with a name not knowing what the fabric looks like. Well, we can tell you it's Christmasy, it's Americana, and that's all I can really tell you right now. Some of you were right on the nose regarding the theme. Those names will go on a list and we will narrow them down some more. Sometimes we don't have a clue when we send in the collection and the genuises at Moda come up with a name. Sometimes we have a couple of names we like and send them along, and sometimes we have a name right from the beginning. I think we will probably send along a short list this time. Thanks again! OH, and Mamabug.... email me here to give me your address and I will send you your American Primer jelly roll. You guys are the best!


Thursday, August 14, 2008


How goes your summer? Have you been taking it easy? Relaxing? Good for you. It has been beautiful here in Michigan the last week or so. Kind of unusual in that it is in the seventies and not too humid. I know I have been enjoying it. Work does go on though...... in between getting pattern designs ready to go to the printer and hand quilting a quilt, We are working on future fabric designs. Polly is hooking like mad in Florida and we are scanning, emailing, and calling many times a day. All of this for a future Christmas fabric line. Maybe you can help! We are painfully lame in naming things. Our rugs, quilts, fabrics all are either woefully named, or we get the names from someone else. Just take a gander up at the name of this blog. Sad, isn't it? We came up with that name all by ourselves. So, just post a comment and suggest a name for the new collection. We can't promise it will make the final cut - but hey, it's got to be better than what we come up with. Oh, and if you comment by Saturday at Midnight we will draw names out of a hat and the winner will get a jelly roll of our next fabric collection - "American Primer."

Polly and Laurie

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Haven't the Olympics been fabulous to watch? That spectacular opening ceremony and the sporting contests so far have been mesmerizing. Politics aside, it has been awesome and awe inspiring. One of our local claim to fame - Michael Phelps has had a few good days! Did you see that clip showing him out and about in Ann Arbor restaurants? I can vouch for the Chinese Restaurant - Middle Kingdom - it is one of our favorites. We are a family of sports nuts and we are in heaven. But, one of the great things about a spectacle like this is the opportunity to get some handwork done. Bill helped me baste a quilt Sunday morning and the last 2 evenings have been spent sitting, watching, and quilting. Hey, I'm getting a lot done too. Boy, do I need to - this needs to be done in time for Quilt Market in October. So far, on schedule. "Let the Games Continue"


We are also glued to our TV to watch our great American athletes perform - for all the world to enjoy. We had a good friend win a gold medal a few years back and my husband traveled to see him when he won, and that was special. We also are proud to watch Michael Phelps as he stuns the world with his talent. We feel like he is our local hero as he became a Michigan Wolverine and did all his practices at Ann Arbor this past year. We enjoyed seeing our restaurants featured last night on his bio - and really loved seeing his bulldog - gosh would be nice if he could have take his pup to Beijing!! Maybe he did. Our granddaughter was lucky enough to swim with Katie Hoff at the US Naval Academy this past year - and Katie was gracious enough to autograph Emily's swimsuit - and you can bet that will hang in her room for a good, long time. And that Emily was cheering on her friend in her outstanding swim!

Also friends of ours here in Naples are the proud, beaming parents of Jim Bell - the NBC Producer of the Olympics - so we are thrilled to know just how proud they are of Jim and all his accomplishments. But we all have special and personal reasons to stop all you are doing to watch the Olympics from start to finish. Laurie and I are so lucky that we can actually work as we watch - now don't you all wish you could do that. I am trying to get some rugs hooked for market - and to think you have to be in the studio for at least hours each day to work, and watch the USA teams at work - is pretty nice!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday?! Really?

Today is the anniversary of my birth. I have never been one to celebrate it much. Every year Bill asks me what I want and my answer is the same. I want a birthday cake and I don't want to bake it myself. I love cake. Calories be damned. Surprise, huh. When I was a kid I was always the baker in the family and it was up to me to bake the cakes and that included my own. So, when my turn rolls around now - what I want is one not fussed over by me. Bill has always obliged. Some years have been better than others. He has relied on local bakeries to help him out. This year, he found the best! My stepdaughter Lori was in town and she did the honors. She shopped, fussed, and baked. It was everything a birthday cake should be; homemade, yellow layer, chocolate frosting, delicious, and not baked by me! Thanks Lori! Laurie

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thanks for Helping

Laurie and I would like to update you on our third successful Semper Fi kit that was introduced in Country Home magazine in July. We are honored to have Moda Fabrics and Country Home help us with our goal to raise funds for the troops injured in combat. The idea for these kits came about with my son Col. James J. Minick USMC was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq three years ago. He was again deployed to Ramadi shortly thereafter and his commitment to injured Marines does not waver. It was something he asked me and his aunt Laurie to do to help - and he knew once I put my mind to it - we could make a difference. In the initial project Moda Fabrics/United Notions donated all the patriotic totes to hold the kits. After selling out of this, Moda donated 300+ kits to the cause and you quickly made these a sellout. Our current project, Patriotic Checkers, sold out in within one day. This has prompted us to introduce kit #4 this fall. You can sign up for kit #4 now on our website During this endeavor we have had some pretty impressive and heartfelt emails from families helped by Semper Fi Injured Marines Fund and from folks who were just thankful for our efforts. All of the correspondence has moved us and keeps us committed. We thought you would like to read a pretty impressive email that we received from the field. Thanks to all of you who continue to support this effort.


I have 28 years of military service (Air Force/Reserve/Guard) and have been to Iraq twice. I'd LOVE to be on the list to get a kit. I'm an anesthesiologist ( and flight surgeon) and took care of many of our proud men and women. The picture is of Heroes Highway. When our brave wounded arrive at the Hospital at Balad Air Base, the trip from the helipad to the ER/hosp travels under the canopy, which is this huge American flag. They again have reassurance that they are in SAFE hands are on the way to recovery.
Bless you for what you are doing
Marsa L Mitchell COL, MC, ILANG
State Air Surgeon
(Anesthesiologist living in Rockford Illinois/Chicago)

Blog Archive