Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays To All!

It's that time of the year - when we are spending time with family and friends, and, of course, eating too much! But I just wanted to take a minute to say Happy Holidays To All!! May y0u enjoy the days and that the weather will cooperate so your travels are safe. Now I'm back to the kitchen to finish up my baking - today it is Russian Tea Cakes, Lemon Kiss Cookies and Brownie Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. (YUM) Yesterday it was Pumpkin Bread and Ginger Spice Cookies. We serve the Ginger Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip and it is incredible. You make the dip with canned pumpkin, cream cheese, powdered sugar and spices. It's my daughters favorite so it has to be made - it's a holiday tradition. Have a wonderful holiday - and look back to see what's new soon. I've just finished up 4 new pattern designs - there's something for everyone - and I'd like to share. Mary Jane

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm A Time Traveler

It's funny how time just slips away - especially when you "mature"! As a kid the days seemed so long but as we get older (I really hate that word) each day is like a blur. When I was logging in to my blog this morning I realized that it's been a month since my last post. Where has the time gone? Let's see - the last post was from California. I was there to vend at the Pacific International Quilt Festival. What a wonderful show. Each year it just gets better and better. You wouldn't know from the attendance that California has such economic troubles. (Thank you to everyone for stopping by our booth. We truly love seeing you.) Once I returned home from CA it was busy, busy, busy getting ready for A Quilters' Gathering. I was really pleased to vend at this show - it was my first time there. I have been on their waiting list for years and years and this year they had room for me. I had such a good time. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it. I usually have a 10' x 30' booth at most of the shows I attend and this was an 8' x 10' space. I fretted over it trying to decide what my layout would be and how I would display my "wares". I had this brilliant idea that since it was such a small space that I should have one color theme and stick to it. I felt it wouldn't be as disjointed that way. And of course if I have to choose one color theme - it has to be red and green. So I had some really beautiful quilts to hang that were red and green (and no, they weren't all Christmas quilts) but the theme was established. Then I set about cutting and tying 100's of yards of red, green and beige fabrics. After I talked over this "theme" with my husband, he said "You can't have only red and green, can you? What happens if someone doesn't like those colors?" Now I can't believe anyone wouldn't love red and green, but it got me thinking. So I made a token 2' section on the table of pinks right behind my cash register. I had wonderful neighbors at the show and we were like a family. Each day we shared so much that it was much more than a quilt show. Also the show promoters (they are sisters) are just the cutest and nicest. I've sent in my money for next year so if you are in the NH area in November 2010 please stop by this show. I don't think you'll be sorry. Now this week I've got to get ready for another show. I leave on Saturday for CA again. Every year I help my sister with a boutique at her house. Doesn't sound too terribly hard, right? Wish I could video tape the "experience" and wear a pedometer because it is something else. I would never do this for anyone else but her. I arrive on Sat. night and then the craziness begins. My sister has a really big house and we set up a large portion of it with displays of 20+ crafters merchandise. So here's the way it goes - there is a huge enclosed deck, the dining area and family room, the living room, a bedroom, a sitting room and a long hallway. Most of the furniture gets moved out and then the fun begins. There is the setting up of racks and tables, putting on table covers and then coordinating all of the various vendors merchandise together to make a visually pleasing display. And of course, I love every minute of it. But when I come home on the Monday of Thanksgiving week I'm pooped out. I think this is the 20th year of doing the boutique and each year we say it's going to be our last one, but we are gluttons for punishment I think and just can't give it up. Then it's on to Thanksgiving - I'm having 30 people for dinner so that will just be the frosting on my cake. I love to cook and I'm really looking forward to making some really yummy food for everyone. Well I better get working now because I have about 15 quilts that need the binding sewn on so they can be displayed at the boutique. I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful Thanksgiving .... Mary Jane

Sunday, October 11, 2009

California Here I Am

I arrived in California last night. So today it is up and at it trying to finish last minute details for the Pacific International Quilt Show. Right now it is still dark out - I'm on East Coast time, not West Coast time yet - so I'm going to hand sew on some of the bindings on the sample quilts I brought along. I finished one last night so hopefully before the sun rises I'll get one or two more done. Everyone else is still sleeping so it is nice quiet work. Enjoy your day. Mary Jane

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time Flew By Again

Hello Friends - I can't believe it's been almost 3 months since my last post! I wonder where the time has gone, but then I think back. Let's see: In the beginning of August I was vending at the New England Quilt Guild Show in Lowell, MA, then the middle of the month I was at the World Tour of Quilts Show in Manchester, NH. So in between I was cutting and bundling fabrics to get ready. Then I took a week's "vacation" to go to our camp in Northern Vermont. But vacation at the camp means mowing the grass, cleaning, trying to get a little more painting done on the outside, etc. Even though we are on one of the most beautiful lakes around there is so much work to be done to maintain another home. Sometimes we just have to be happy with looking at the lake and thinking about our retirement some day in the future. September - what went on then? Let's see: The beginning of Sept. my sister, Judy, came to visit. She hasn't been here for over 5 years (but I've been to CA 2 or 3 or 4 times a year to see her during that time) so we did a little 3 day fun time. We went to Cape Cod and stayed at my daughter, Marta's, house. We did the tourist thing and went to Provincetown for the day and just strolled around. It was incredible weather and so much fun. Then it was back home and we spent 16 hour days bundling fabrics for the show in Oaks, PA. Oaks turned out to be a really incredible show! We were so busy each day that we didn't even get a bite of our lunch until 4 pm! Now I'm not complaining - that's the sign of a really good show (and not that bad for the extra pounds either). Since returning from PA I've been even more crazy than ever. I am leaving on Sat. for the Pacific International Quilt Festival Show in Santa Clara, CA. This is one of my busiest shows of the year so I've been cutting and bundling and packing box after box and then going to UPS to ship. I'm now down to the wire so I have 5 large suitcases left to fill with merchandise (it's still cheaper to pay for the extra suitcases with 50# of merchandise then to ship). I probably won't bring many clothes so if you come to the show and see me in the same clothes each day you'll know why. The other thing that's keeping me busy of course is making samples for the booth. I have 10 quilts that need binding before Santa Clara and I'm picking up 2 more from my quilter tomorrow. So the sewing machine has been getting it's fair share of abuse too. And if that isn't enough, I also have to finish writing the patterns for my two newest quilts - "Hoppy's Spring Wagon" and "Teddy Stevens Comes To America" - before I leave and get them copied and collated. Once I return from CA then the big news happens - I finally got into A Quilter's Gathering quilt show in Nashua, NH. Even though it's a small booth, I'm really happy to have finally gotten in after years of waiting. If you are attending the show, please stop by and see me. Well, I better get back to work. I find it is easier to write patterns in the morning because at night I'm just too brain dead. I hope you all have enjoyed your summer and after reading this post you'll know why you haven't heard from me for awhile. ( I think it's time to take my Geritol since I don't drink coffee) Mary Jane

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mick Has A Confession

Mick wants me to tell you that he's been keeping me busy and that's why I've been so slow at posting on my blog. (he wanted to say that he ate my homework, but he thought you wouldn't believe it!)

He also wanted me to post some other pictures that have been in my camera for quite awhile, but I wasn't smart enough tonight to figure out how to rotate them. So maybe the next time
I'll be a little more computer literate and you'll see some of what I've done since the last post.
One thing that is really exciting is that Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Company is coming from Arizona to teach a 2-day class for us on September 12th and 13th. Mick is really excited too because he thinks Miss Rosie is coming with Carrie. I haven't had the heart to tell him the truth.
I also recently finished another new pattern - Welcome Winter. I can't seem to get the photo to download right now so I'll try and post it tomorrow if the computer gods are nicer! Hope you are enjoying your summer. Mary Jane

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Fever

Hi Friends - I haven't posted a new blog since the end of January so I thought you should know that I've been sick.....I think I have a bad case of spring fever!! No, seriously, I've just been down right busy. Since my last post, I've been to Folsom, CA to vend at the Folsom guild's show, then I was home for a couple of weeks, and then I was off to Hampton, VA. You would never know there is a problem with the economy by the attendance at these 2 quilt shows and the purchases these quilters made. WOW! In between all of this, I decided to empty out my whole shop...I wonder if you can tell that I'm really a glutton for punishment! My husband and I painted everything (a really beautiful green), shampooed the carpets, and had track lighting installed. I promised myself that when I put everything back in it all had to fit. But I think I have to break my promise, because I have over 400 bolts (maybe even more - I'm afraid to count) that don't fit. So keep looking on my website for the dates of my giant tent sale and you'll be able to find some great bargains. As if the shows, the moving of the shop, etc. wasn't enough I also designed a new pattern - Heavenly Home. I just received the photo back from the photographer and I'm really pleased. There are pieced blocks and applique blocks and I used some really "heavenly" fabrics from Lecien. I should have the pattern done tomorrow so at some point I'll get it posted my website. I also have another pattern in the works - Welcome Winter - and I think you'll like it too. That one may take a little longer to get the sample made because there are 15 applique blocks and quite a few pieced blocks too.

Today I was working on a quilt that was a pattern I purchased for the shop but their sample was done in an assortment of tans. Not that I don't love tans - especially the Japanese tans and taupes - but I am making my sample out of squares from the Durham Quilt Collection by Lecien. I am using all of the light background fabrics with the pink and reddish flowers. If you haven't seen these gorgeous fabrics - they are so subtle that they almost melt before your eyes. Then there is a variety of appliqued flowers, stems and leaves. I've done my leaves and stems from a soft grey-green from The Durham quilt Collection and then the flowers are done in assorted wools - soft pink, lavender, coral, pale yellow, etc. I made the sunflower 3 times before I was happy. First I made it as the pattern showed in a gold wool with a black center (I can follow directions sometimes!) but since I had made my sample smaller, I thought it was too big. So I just redrew it smaller - I took a little artistic license with the pattern - and made it again in the gold wool with a black center. But I didn't really like the gold since all of my other wools were softer colors it just seemed to stand out too much. My third try was the pale yellow and I tried a taupe center, but didn't like the taupe. So I finally settled on the pale yellow with the black center. (Maybe that actually makes 4 times??). So most of the flower stems are appliqued down, all the wool flowers and the leaves are cut out, but I was hoping to have this quilt done for the quilt show in Lancaster, PA. Not sure I'll make that one since I leave on March 31st, so not only would I have to get my part done on the top (which is the remaining applique plus quite a few half-square triangles for the border) but I'd have to get it to the machine quilter, and then get the binding on too. I guess you'll understand if you don't hear from me again for awhile. In the meantime, enjoy the first day of spring which is approaching really quickly. I'm off to Amherst, MA this week-end to vend at a quilt show so I'll be inside but I can still appreciate the fact that I can see the ground a few places in my yard. That white stuff is on it's way out (hopefully) ..... Mary Jane

Saturday, January 31, 2009

California Dreamin'

On Monday I leave for California to attend the Folsom Quilt and Fiber Guild Quilt Show. I am looking forward to the trip and really looking forward to the warmer weather. Even though I like winter, it is fun to get away for a little bit too. I've been packing and shipping boxes of goodies and now I'm down to the final packing. I am bringing 3 big suitcases stuffed with fabrics (just need to remember the 50 pounds per bag rule) and a carry-on filled as heavy as I can lift into the overhead compartment. I'm not bringing many clothes since I can borrow from my sister (this makes up for when we were young and she wouldn't let me wear or even touch her clothes). And by eliminating clothes I can have more merchandise for my booth.
I spent most of yesterday machine sewing binding on samples (I had 12 quilts that needed binding). But of course, I still have to do the handsewing. Guess I won't be bored in California, right? I also took my latest quilt design to the machine quilter last week and it is supposed to be done when I return home. The machine quilter, Cathie, had so many wonderful ideas for the quilting and I can't wait to see it! I am still working on a name - sometimes the quilt designs come easy, but the names are harder. I always love to see what other designer's name their quilts. Sometimes I just want to name then "Thank goodness it's done!". But I guess that wouldn't be such a great name.
Enjoy the last day of January and talk with you again in February. Mary Jane