Happy Monday, everyone! I am indeed happy for the most part…except last night’s New England Patriots’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens was hard to take. But no matter, my home team, the San Francisco 49ers, are going to the show, and that is something to be elated about!
In non-football-related news, we are gearing up for our first two International Quilt Festivals this year, the first in Cincinnati (April 11-13) and later in Chicago (June 21-13), and I am helping with getting instructors who would like to teach one-hour workshops on the show floor at Create On The Spot (formerly known as Make It University). This is a lively, interactive portion of the show floor, and we are looking for quilters and artists who would like to teach a short, one-hour workshop on anything from stitch and surface design techniques to quick projects like ATCs, small purses, etc.
Do you have a process, project, or technique you’d like to teach for an hour at one of these shows? We would love to hear more about it!
Here’s what you need to do…
Email me (pokeybATquilts.com), with the following:
1. Proposed title of your workshop
2. Two-three sentences explaining what you would like to teach
3. A low-resolution (72 DPI) picture of your proposed project or technique
4. In the subject line please (in CAPS) write: WORKSHOP PROPOSAL/CITY (either Cincinnati or Chicago). This is pretty important so I don’t miss your email!
Deadline: The sooner the better!
Once I get your proposal, I will give you more details and particulars. Please share this blog post with your friends who you think may be interested in teaching a workshop!
Anyone who has had their quilts exhibited at our shows over the past several years has dealt with one of our very special people in Special Exhibits, Carmen Valls.
Well, I am happy to report that she is now happily married to one very nice (and dapper) gentleman, Mr. Jon Beck!
Meet the new Mr. and Mrs. Beck!
Don’t they look beautiful? We are all so happy for them, and her wedding was such great fun, as proven by the many smiles…
There were a number of pictures on display at the reception, but this one of Carmen and her chihuahua, Fernando, was my very favorite!
Most of us at Quilts Inc., are rabid Downton Abbey fans, including Carmen, and last week, the first episode of season three premiered in the U.S., featuring the wedding of Matthew Crawley and Lady Mary. (I don’t think I am spoiling anything for anyone, because even before season three launched, the actors were on a cross-country promotional tour and confirmed that there indeed would be a wedding!)
I love Matthew and Mary’s story line, and in this episode there is a very touching exchange between them on the eve of their wedding. They quarreled earlier in the afternoon, and Mary had sizable concerns about marrying him before she went to bed. In this scene Matthew reassures her, and says something that is so very sweet…it just sums matters up. (Make sure to turn the volume way up on your computer and watch it to the very end!)
So I want to dedicate this brief yet poignant exchange to Carmen and Jon, and hope all of you will join me in wishing them both years and years of happiness…
UPDATE! Mary’s segment aired this past Friday on The TODAY Show, and you can view it below!
News flash! I learned today that fiber artist and activist Mary Fisher will be featured on The TODAY Show tomorrow (Tuesday) morning! I believe it is the 9:30 segment so if you are unable to watch, make sure to set your DVR! The news I got was that just before the holidays, Jenna Bush Hager went to visit Mary in Sedona and they spent a fun day together. I can’t wait to watch her interview tomorrow!
Blog update!I loved reading all of the resolutions and I hope we all attain them! I would love to see pictures of works-in-progress or works completed so feel free to email them to me, and I can post on the blog. The winner of the fabric is Brigitte Baierl. Congratulations! I will email you for your address.
I think y’all know how this works by now: I ask a question, you answer, and I randomly select a winner. The first free loot in 2013? How about a stack of fat quarters from Riley Blake Designs!
Aren’t these colors yummy?
They kinda’ remind me of my breakfast this morning (before I turned all this stuff into juice):
Since it’s only the second day in 2013, I’m going to ask the queen of cliché questions, but ask it with a twist:
What is your quilt-related New Year’s resolution that you will ATTAIN by year’s end? This mean that what you write in the comments area–whatever goal you type down–you WILL accomplish by the end of the year. And at year’s end, I am going to check back in to see if you actually attained your goal.
My attainable goal: I will start and complete two art quilts by the end of the year, one of which I would like to enter into a juried exhibition. Maybe making two art quilts doesn’t sound like much, but I have two ideas in mind, and I would really like to see them through…not just keep the ideas in my head.
Now it’s your turn. Leave your attainable goal in the comments area and on Friday I will post the winner in this same post. Think hard and think lofty (but attainable)…
I hope everyone enjoyed some rest and relaxation with loved ones this past holiday season! I had a very mellow, quiet, and restorative break; the highlight was visiting my mother for a few days just outside of Las Vegas where she lives.
Above is a view of “The Strip” in the distance, just beyond her rose bushes in her backyard. This is as about as close as I ever get to The Strip, because the only gambling I can handle is hedging my bets on how well I will free-motion stitch a quilt I have to make for someone!
My mother picked up quilting again exactly one year ago, and she has been prolific ever since. I think she showed me about 10 quilts she has made in the past year alone, and the one above is one she made for her rescue pooch, Bogie.
Just after I landed, my mom told me she wanted me to meet her quilting friends, so off to the “Sewing Club” we went, which is a room in her local community center. It’s a pretty slick quilt/sewing facility outfitted with massive cutting tables and ironing stations, a long arm machine, and at least a dozen Janomes and Berninas. I was very impressed!
On the first full day of my visit, my mom and I enjoyed a pumpkin facial (which smelled lovely!) and a deep tissue massage (which hurt like hell!) at a local day spa. Afterwards, we visited my mom’s favorite independent quilt store, Quiltique, where I loaded up on fabrics, and we spent the rest of the time quilting in pajamas while the dogs supervised. (I even caught the remake of “King Kong” with Jack Black, but I couldn’t watch the last 10 minutes and chose to go to bed because there was no way I could watch King Kong die.)
By the time I left Las Vegas, I had finished this tote that will be a part of a fundraising effort. (More on that soon.)
Today is January 1, 2013. A new day, a new year, a new chance. Here’s to cramming in as many positive, healthful, creative, friend-filled, and quilt-filled moments as we can.
Happy New Year,
What!? You don’t believe in Santa?! Shame on you! OK, let’s pretend for a minute you do believe in this guy…
Besides asking Santa to come to our Quilt Festivals next year, here are nine other things I recommend asking St. Nick for the holidays. (Just click on all the photos to take you to each product website.)
The Gidget II is sturdy, has an adjustable, drop-down platform so your sewing machine is flush with the table top, stores easily, is relatively inexpensive, and requires no assembly. Here it is in action in my living room:
2. A suitcase of Auriful thread. This really requires no explanation:
3. A Mack truck full of Marcia Derse fabric. Who could ever have enough of this stuff?
And Marcia’s fabric makes for fine home accents and upholstered furniture!
What is not to adore about these two?
And they are teaching in Puglia, Italy next May! I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind stitching poolside drinking chianti…
5. A weekend trip to Art Cloth Studios in San Antonio with Jane Dunnewold. Talk about a playground!
6. A new Bernina sewing machine! I saw this 750 series machine’s debut at Fall Quilt Market and was blown away by all it can do.
7. And heck, since we are asking for premium gifts, let’s ask Santa for a sit-down, mid-arm machine, too, like HandiQuilter’s Sweet Sixteen. I have played on this machine and if you like to free-motion quilt mid-to-large-sized quilts, this is a dream.
8. Now on to stocking stuffers: All quilters need a set of reliable, sharp scissors, and I really love the rotary cutters and scissors by Havel’s. Always sharp, always reliable, and well priced:
9. And no studio is complete without a studio pet. This little gal can fit into a stocking, too, although she would probably squirm a bit.
I am thinking of adopting her.
UPDATE: Fabric winner…Congratulations to Amanda Kattner! I will email you for your address and ship these Ty Pennington fabrics to you!
It’s an exciting time of year here at Quilts Inc. headquarters, as the last of the quilts on loan for Fall Festival are being shipped back to their makers, many of us are busy stitching holiday gifts for loved ones, and we are pleased knowing that Friends For Life is putting the money raised for Festival’s Pet Project (more than $20,000) to good use saving animals!
It’s also (past) time for me to announce the three book winners from my previous book post:
Congratulations to: Patricia S., Tetonmountaingirl, and Hueisei! I will email you all individually to obtain your shipping information.
Monday’s Fabric Giveaway
I have an assortment of fabrics designed by Ty Pennington to give away. (Sorry, Ty doesn’t come with the fabric.)
Answer the following question and I will randomly select a winner tomorrow (Tuesday).
Question: What quilt-y gadgets are on your holiday wish list?
As I write this blog post on this lovely Cyber Monday afternoon, so far I have gotten a heap of discount offers in my in-box–everything from lip balms and soy candles to ear plugs and temporary mustache tattoos–but I haven’t gotten anything for free. Maybe I can start a new trend…
I have three fantastic books on hand courtesy of Stash Books that I would love to give away to three people. If these books are not on your wish list, they should be! In my little Santa’s sack I have:
My Giveaway Question:
Are you taking the handmade pledge this holiday season by stitching holiday decorations or quilting some gifts? Write in the comments field what you plan to accomplish this holiday season (and if you have posted a picture to your blog of anything you’ve made, share the link) and I will randomly select three winners–each to win one of these books–on Wednesday.
Yesterday morning the local news was all aflutter about the spaceship Endeavour flying over the city of Houston as it made its way to retirement in California. The 747 jet plane that carried Endeavour took off at sunrise, at exactly 7:02 A.M., heading west and hovering a mere 1500 feet above sea level so Houstonians could pay a final tribute as it flew by.
Living a bit north of downtown, I didn’t think I would be able to catch it in the early morning skies, but then I heard a loud rumbling, and rushed out my front door in my nightgown…only to discover the noise was from a lawn mower.
But then when I went back upstairs, my house began to tremble, coupled with a deafening noise from the skies. I opened my bedroom window, and after noticing a looming shadow traverse across my pool, I looked up, and there was the most awe-inspiring site: The shuttle Endeavour flying piggyback on that 747 right over my house. To see it so close and see it in person…well, there are no words.
Years ago, my good friend Cait Florschutz, who was reading a lot of Carl Sagan at the time, encouraged me to read his book Pale Blue Dot. There is a passage in it that is one of the most powerful bits of writing I have ever read.
“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam…
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena….Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
To read the full passage click here, or better yet read the book, but this bit of writing inspired me in 1998 to make my very first quilt block. It was a crazy quilted piece featuring a number of hand-embroidered constellations: Cassiopeia and Gemini, Orion and Ursa Major, and in the center of the block, depicted in a tiny cluster of French knots with thread in robin’s egg blue, was Earth.
I would share a photo of this very first block I ever stitched, but I’d only embarrass myself because the stitching is so bad.
But needless to say, I was inspired by Mr. Sagan’s words to quilt this, and the other morning while watching Endeavour sail across my bedroom window, I thought about how I will always remember that very brief moment in my life–where I was, where I have been, and where I have yet to go. It is a moment that I wouldn’t be surprised inspires a quilt someday soon.
I hope everyone has a lovely, inspired, and stitch-filled weekend,
Welcome. I’m Pokey Bolton, founder of Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors magazines, and Founding Host of Quilting Arts TV on PBS. With my experience in publishing, media, events, and craft adventures (by land and sea), I fairly recently founded Crafting a Life, LLC...