Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quilts And Rugs Book - The Winner!

Thanks everyone for all your tips!  The winner of the new book - Quilts and Rugs is Hanske from The Netherlands.  Email me HERE Hanske, and it will go out to you very soon.

Here are a couple more projects from the book - Here is Polly's checkerboard rug.

This is my wool appliqued quilt - Hearts

Sorry for the lame pictures. I scanned them from the book. I don't have the jpegs of the pictures from the book yet.

There is lots more! I hope to post more pictures soon.  You can find the book HERE.

What else....... I put on the latest border on my Mrs. Billings quilt.

I have the corners taped down to the floor to kind of lay it out straight for this picture.  The last border is not pressed, (and it is hand pieced) so if it isn't held down, it scrunches up like an accordion.  Again, I long to press, but good sense and suggestions in the accompanying directions discourage it at this point.  WAY too many bias edges right now to start pressing, but I'm confident (after it was stretched out) that it is laying straight and true.  That last border was a big one.  Everyone says it all downhill at this point.  The Mrs. Billings pattern and templates are flying their way here right now.  If you want to take the plunge, the pattern/template kit is available HERE.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Rotary Cutting and Potato Salad

I made potato salad yesterday. Some of you might have also.  This is the recipe I have used for the last couple years and we like it a lot.

I was once told by an elderly German woman that the secret to good potato salad is that you add your vinegar to the potatoes when they are still hot. The Martha Stewart's recipe that I used suggests this also.  That is one reason why I didn't make it very often - that part is a chore.  If you have ever wondered where the phrase "hot potato" came from - I'm sure it is somehow related to making potato salad.  There were juggled and dropped potatoes in my past.  Kitchen towels were used, as were paper towels.  I don't recommend those.  Messy.

Imagine my delight when I discovered a new way to make potato salad.  AND it's a quilting tool that came to the rescue!  I used these......
Yes, rotary cutting gloves.  I bought these (I have 2) a few years ago when I was demonstrating rotary cutting to a group of people - that included children.  I wanted to be a responsible adult and use the gloves that prevented you from cutting yourself.  After that demo I tried to use the gloves in my own quilt making.  I found them cumbersome, and quite frankly, just another thing to clutter up the cutting table.  I know. Bad quilter. I just try to be careful with my cutter and so far - //knocks on wood// - no problem.  The gloves found their way to a box in the quilting room.  A few years ago when I was juggling and dropping potatoes in the sink trying to make potato salad, I remembered them.  I ran them through the washer and dryer and made a batch the next day - BRAVA!  No burnt hands and the little grippy dots on the glove hold the potato like a vise while you  CUT THE POTATOES IN YOUR HAND!  The rotary cutting gloves now get thrown in the wash after each use and now live in the kitchen drawer.  


My apologies to all you safety minded quilters.

Have you ever used a quilting tool for another use? Have you ever used an unconventional tool in making your quilts?  Can you tell us please?  Just make a comment about it here before Midnight Wednesday May 29th and you could get a copy of our new book - Quilts and Rugs....

I'll be spending the afternoon adding the next border on to my Mrs. Billings quilt.  Pictures soon.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Minimalism in Portland

So you want to see our booth?  There wasn't much there.  It was GREAT!  The new Moda Designer Booth concept was sure a hit with us.  You see, no shipping crates and cartons. No getting in a day early to build and furnish a booth. Nope. We all had 6' of space on the whitewashed walls.  Floors, shelves and tables were already there put up by the wonderful staff at Moda.
 Minimalism. Yeah.  We had everything we needed to show shop owners.  We even had a little table and chairs to catch up with our buddies.
Polly, Camille, Edyta, me, Mary, and Barb

 One of our big hits at the show was this scarf made with the ikat wovens from Midwinter Reds.  The fabric will ship in September. But......remember that the same fabric (in blue and creams) was in our Indigo Crossing collection. If you have this - or any of our wovens (the same design on the back and front of the woven fabric) than you can make this scarf.  Here are the simple directions.

We hope you are having a nice long holiday weekend with family and friends and also getting in some stitching or hooking.  This is my diamond border for Mrs. Billings piled on my little red wagon.  All four borders are finished and I am working on the corner pieces.  I should be able to post a picture in a couple of days.  To all those who asked - Mrs. Billings pattern and templates will be in stock once again - just as soon as they get here from down under.  I'll let you know when they arrive.

As always, our thanks to all who serve and those who have paid the ultimate price - honor them on this Memorial Day weekend.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Portland International Quilt Market 2013

We are back and thanks to a very, very long day yesterday - adjusted to the time change.  Flying home on the red-eye was a time saver, but a bit of an energy zapper.  No worries, as we are all back to normal.  Assuming we were ever normal.

What can we say? It was grand.  It was also pretty busy in the Minick and Simpson area.   I didn't get to venture out much, except for early mornings when booths were empty.  I'm sure you've been following along via the internet, twitter, Facebook, and Instagram haven't you.  I don't have much to add - but I will post what were some of my favorite things......

Our friend Pam Kitty Mornings great new collection - Pam Kitty Picnic by LakeHouse Fabrics

This middle beauty is by American Jane and is called The Americas. Oooh, it's a stunner

This sweet beauty is by Joanna at Fig Tree Quilts and called Cherry Pie

This is the new offering of Quilts For a Cause - the Love fabric collection by Howard Marcus and it's an antique reproduction masterpiece.

Here is a close up of the fast and easy techniques they used to re-create this quilt.  Our friend Susan Stiff at Moda is responsible for this one.

The new Carlyle Bag by Me and My Sister Designs.  Ahem,  ladies - this bag goes with my new pink shirt and orange scarf quite nicely!

This is Edyta's new quilt using her Hope Chest fabric collection!

Here is a close up of my new favorite fabric - the goldish, greenish, tobacco-y print.  Yum.

This is a sampler quilt made by Sandy Gervais and her new fabric collection SoHo Chic.

Jan Patek's new BOM is a stunner - it's called Eagles and Roses.

My friend Karen Styles of Somerset Patchwork stopped by and gave me this - a present of Australian cookies.   She also had some very good news for us!

The Mrs. Billings Coverlet book of directions, the die cut templates, and the paper hexagons are now available to you from our Etsy shop !

This is Karen Styles Masterpiece - Mrs. Billings Coverlet

This is my version - so far.  Look for me to add the next border very, very soon.

We'll have more on our collection - Midwinter Reds in the next post.  Later


Whoopsie!  Those Mrs. Billing template kits didn't take long to sell out :(  I've ordered more, so keep watching the blog to see when they will be in stock again.  

Monday, May 13, 2013


Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day.  We are crossing things off lists and making piles to pack in our suitcase (Just call me Suitcase Simpson).  The ride to the airport on Thursday will be very, very early to get to Spring International Quilt Market 2013 in Portland Oregon.  As much as we needed a little break from traveling, we can't wait to get to Portland and meet up with all of our friends and colleagues.  One of the best part of our business is hanging out with these other fabric fools.

But, back to Mother's Day...... my gift from step-daughter Lorelei and her husband Dan came on Saturday.  It was a lovely mint green Laduree box - just like the ones all of those scrumptious treats are packaged in.  (apologies to all you Francophiles. I'm not sure how to make the accent over the first "e" on my very American keyboard).

I was expecting macarons when I opened the box - but it was better.  A cookbook for all the wonderful things served there.  Alas, no recipe for the iced coffee.  I guess they figure any fool could figure that out.  Heh, want to make a wager on that?  Anyway, on our many visits to different boulangeries and pastisserie's, and especially Laduree in France with Polly - Polly asked me if I had ever made madeleines.  I never have.  She said her only attempt at baking them wasn't successful. A very interesting and easy recipe for madeleines is in the cookbook.  A madeleine pan from Williams Sonoma was purchased and these are a hit!  Polly is baking these today too!
The recipe, while simple, is very detailed.  A 390 degree oven is required.  Not 375 or 400, but 390. Check.  Buttering, then chilling the pan - and finally flouring the pan is specified.  Check.  Making the batter the night before and refrigerating is demanded.  Check.  Who am I to question Laduree?  May is a lovely time of year to have people over for tea, isn't it?


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Dust is Settling

Whew, that was one spectacular trip!  I'm sorry that I didn't get photo's of the Dear Jane exhibit.  It was on the floor above us and my only chance to go was when it was very crowded. I'm sure you saw all the beauties on other blogs.  It was grand to see so many at one show.

We've received tracking numbers on the shipment of books from France.  It looks like they will be here next week.  Unfortunately, if they arrive late in the day - (on the day before we leave for Portland) I may not have time to get them to the post office.  My best guess for shipment is on Monday, May 20th when we return from Spring Quilt Market.  All the envelopes are addressed and waiting for books. Sigh.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an early delivery on the 15th and they will be able to go out before.

What else to report?  Well, this is one of the quilts in the new book......
Christmas Flowers

I did a version of this quilt as a class in Nantes.  I scaled down the flower and turned it into a pillow....

I called this pillow Summer Zinnia's.  I do have a few kits left over.  I also am kitting up the large quilt in these summer colors.......

The fabrics are all Moda Bella Solids and it is a very happy quilt!  The kit comes with 6 spools of Aurifil thread to match.  The quilt measures 85 1/4" x 85 1/4" square.  The kit comes with 19 1/2 yards of fabric!

You will need the new book - Quilts and Rugs - for the directions.  I have enough fabric here to kit a few of these and you can go here to our Etsy shop for the kits.

There are a few other kits being offered - just as soon as the shipment from France get's here, I will post them.  Thanks!


Monday, May 6, 2013

Elephant Walk

 After the show closed on Saturday evening, we woke Sunday morning with the whole day ahead of us to explore Nantes - and the famous Elephant.
 We made our way down to the Gallery of Machines.  The Elephant wasn't scheduled to take a stroll for another hour, so we entertained ourselves by exploring the museum.  What kind of museum?  Well..... it's hard to explain.  The Elephant, the carousels, the animals are all part of a vision.  It has something to do with Jules Verne - who was born in Nantes.  The French, and particularly the people of Nantes love fantasy and wonder and in an homage to Verne - the Gallery of Machines was built.  Above is a mechanical inchworm that glides on a monorail through the gardens.
 Here is a mechanical ant - about the size of a Great Dane, that walks on a treadmill.
 Soon the Elephant emerged from his home and started to stretch.  He is made of wood and canvas and is built on a wheeled and geared machine that is driven by one man.  It is sort of like if someones erector set had been given a hallucinogenic drug.
 These people are riding the Elephant.  You could be inside and look out the door and windows, or you could be on the Elephants back and walk around a little patio.
 The walk passed by the small carousel......
 And the large carousel.  The carousel had fantastical sea creatures to ride.  Seahorses, dolphins, crabs, and pelicans.  All the animals could be "driven" by the riders.  You could pedal the fins or flap the wings.  It was all pretty wonderful.
 When I got to ride the Elephant, this was my view of Nantes and the Loire river.
 After our lovely morning strolling with the Elephant, we walked over the bridge and explored Nantes. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and many of the quaint shops were closed.  But they do have a castle right in the middle of downtown.
Chateau des ducs de Bretagne
 We were delighted that the wonderful castle even had a moat. An honest to God moat. We walked over another bridge and headed back to our hotel, which had a fantastic boulangerie about 50 yards outside our door.  Every time we walked by there was a line of people.

 That evening, our last night in France, we ate at the famous La Cigale Restaurant in Nantes. Oh my.  Of course the food was spectacular, but the restaurant itself was amazing.

The incredible decor was so inspiring.  We sure hope we get back to France one day.  Thank you to Quiltmania for asking us to participate.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nantes Enchantment

What can we say about the Pour l'Amour du Fil show?  And Nantes?  It was wonderful!  Our fellow exhibitors, vendors and the staff at Quiltmania was exceptional.  To tell you the truth, we were just flattered to be included.

Di Ford is a delight. Her quilts were as charming as she is.

 Petra Prins Booth was scrumptious too.  The first day, when I could get around to take photos, the lighting wasn't quite working yet.  This was the only photo that turned out.

Segolaine Schweitzer had lovely quilts with lots and lots of embroidery all over them.
 These were directly across from our "house" and were a constant source of inspiration. Japanese Boros.  They are multi-patched and mended textiles out of Japanese indigo fabrics.  They were lovely. Polly and I coveted them immediately. They tell a story of making-do and poverty, but the lovely textiles shown through.

 Upstairs there were vendors. Oh, what vendors.  Once the show was open - it was all you could do to make your way through the sea of attendants.  I doubt if anyone went home empty handed.  This lovely booth - the SELVEDGE Magazine - had these sewing notions from Merchant and Mills.
 The booth also had these - they were a traffic stopper.  Hand crocheted scarves from Sophie Digard. YES! Sophie Digard.  Swoon.
 Just a few steps away from our house - was the house of Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  What can I say about their work - they are masters of color.  It was truly inspiring.
This is Brandon visiting our house.  He visited a lot.  We loved his company.  Here he is learning how to hook rugs. A few minutes later, he was teaching rug hooking.  Genius.

Brandon, Kaffe, Polly and I went out to dinner.  Twice.  We can't wait to visit with them again.

More tomorrow.....


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