December 24, 2009

Best Wishes to you all!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read along here and to tweet with me now and again. I never thought this would be so much fun! I'm so grateful for your kind, thoughtful, supportive, encouraging (and entertaining!) messages and emails. May all your days be filled with abundant love, joy, peace (and too many Christmas cookies!).

A little poem for you that I thought captures the sweet, beautiful spirit
of the season. Enjoy!

Best Wishes,

Looking For a Sunset Bird in Winter
by Robert Frost

The west was getting out of gold,
The breath of air had died of cold,
When shoeing home across the white,
I thought I saw a bird alight.

In summer when I passed the place
I had to stop and lift my face;
A bird with an angelic gift
Was singing in it sweet and swift.

No bird was singing in it now.
A single leaf was on a bough,

And that was all there was to see
In going twice around the tree.

From my advantage on a hill
I judged that such a crystal chill
Was only adding frost to snow
As gilt to gold that wouldn't show.

A brush had left a crooked stroke
Of what was either cloud or smoke
From north to south across the blue;
A piercing little star was through.

December 23, 2009

63 lb Box

The other day, my UPS guy dropped off a 63 lb box on my doorstep. I was in my studio and heard the truck pull up and stop (a sound that I've learned to distinguish from all others). Then the knock on the door. Now, I don't know about your UPS delivery people, but mine knocks and then zips back to the truck lickety-split — kind of like that kids' game "Ring and Run" where you ring your neighbor's doorbell and then run as fast as you can and hope not to be caught! Anyone else play that game? So anyway, by the time I got to the door, he was already pulling away...leaving me with this giant box. GIANT.

Once I spotted the Moda tape,
I knew immediately what it was, got a serious fabric adrenaline rush and wrestled the box in and tore it open. Yippee! Here's what was inside, and just in time for Christmas — well, not this one, but since it won't be released until May, I thought I might as well show you while it's still cold outside and the holiday spirits are in the air:

(In case you're interested, 5 yards each of 36 prints--plus the box--weighs 63 lbs.)
And then, just yesterday, a smaller box arrived with these in it. Yum!

Skating elves, ornaments, poinsettias, berries and a fun panel with the 12 Days of Christmas (plus some cute embellishments) will be available to help deck your halls next year! There will even be 9 flannels of selected prints, too. How fun is that!?

December 20, 2009


At last, we woke this morning to find a beautiful blanket of fluffy snow out there! And what perfect timing with tomorrow being the first "official" day of winter and Christmas just around the corner. Though tomorrow is also the shortest day of the year (ugh, dark at 4:15pm around here), it's also the turning point toward a gradual lengthening of the light in the day. Yippee! As long as it's going to be so dark, why not turn on the tree lights a little earlier and light a few extra candles to snuggle in and enjoy it.

Speaking of "enjoying it", I love snow. Maybe you do, too. If you live someplace where is snows, you know about all the different kinds there are. Like the giant flakes that are heavy and wet that usually fall when it's barely cold enough to snow (or toward the end of a storm). There are also the teenie weenie dust-like flakes that sting for a second when they hit your cheeks in a good wind. Or the air-popped popcorn snow that swirls around in all directions that it's a wonder it ever lands on the ground at all. I've lived in the Northeast my whole life and have even come to know whether the feeling of the snow under my boots would make a better igloo than a snowball, or which kind of sled to bring to the nearest hill — flexible flyer, flying saucer, or the ol' reliable (lightening speed, out of control and totally un-steerable) rolled-up-plastic-sheet-with-no-fancy-name. Come to think of it, I don't think they make these anymore. Probably for the same reasons listed above.

No matter what kind of snow it is, I love it all. Which is why it was such a joy to wake up this morning to a good foot of it. Here are some pictures (yes, that's o
ur house with dorky ornaments put on tree by yours truly):

This morning, my husband and I took a quiet walk on the beach, we were the only ones there! (This can also read: we were the only two koo-koos willing to subject ourselves to the 10 degree air, 20 mph wind, and 2 foot snow drifts).

Unfortunately, we had to resist the temptation to go for a swim because there was no lifeguard on duty. Oh well. But there's Pete, snowbathing. heehee

Wherever you live, I'm sure there's something about this time of year that is unique to your area and that connects you to the place in a familiar way that makes it your home.
Notice it. Delight in it. Love it.

December 10, 2009

My First Quilt

Like any beginner cook in the kitchen, there's nothing quite like a trustworthy recipe to follow carefully in order to learn the basics. Someone has already tested and refined the ingredients/proportions and has selflessly offered a path to you on how to get to the same yummy results they did. We're lucky to benefit from these kitchen pioneers (thank you, Julia).

Where am I going with this? Well, I wanted to make a quilt. I'm a beginner. So I was in search of a good recipe to follow. I found a great book called Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott, and I also happened to have a jelly roll! After flipping through the book, I found a design I liked then took the advice of many of you wise quilt pioneers and read through the instructions several times before starting to cut. I put so many of your suggestions to good use.

It was so rewarding and exciting to make my very first quilt out of my very first fabric line — kinda hard to explain actually. The patterns and colors worked together in ways that really surprised me. Totally fun and unexpected. Ok, so here it is:

Is it perfect? NO WAY.
Was it a little ambitious for a beginner? YES.
Did I learn a lot by diving in to the deep end? YES.
Did I have a blast? YES!
Do I love my seam ripper? You better believe it.

December 4, 2009

And the Winner is...

Thank you all soooo much for participating in the giveaway by leaving all sorts of wonderful tidbits of helpful pointers and tips for me! I will set off on my first quilting adventure ready to have some fun and watch those 1/4" seam allowances (and will keep chocolate close-by)! So...without further are all your names before headed into the grab bag:

And the winner of the Verna designer bundle is:

CONGRATULATIONS, CJ!! Please email me your mailing address and I will send out your prize! And ya know, I was really overwhelmed by such a great response and all of your willingness to share some excellent info that I decided to pick a second name (bet you didn't expect that, huh?). This person will win a Verna charm pack. Fun! And the winner of this prize is:

CONGRATS to you Julia! Please email me your mailing address and I'll send out your prize.
Keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway soon! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Thanks again!

December 1, 2009

Correction & Sneak Peek

A correction to the post I made y'day...the WINTERSALE discount code for free shipping and 10% off all orders ends tonight (midnight PST)! eek! So if you wanna make use of it, ya better hurry! Otherwise, the MERRY15 code will still work.

While we're on the merry topic of Christmas, thought I'd share a sneak peek of my holiday 2010 fabric line for Moda called "12 Days of Christmas". And guess what? There's a panel in this one. Funnn!

November 30, 2009

Monday Miscellany

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I don't know about you, but I can't possibly eat one. more. bite. of. turkey. So let's move along to...Christmas stuff and other miscellaneous morsels!

First off, has created a new product. It's a stylish boxed stationery set with 12 custom notecards. You can choose from over 50 designs, then personalize them using a font/color of your choice. They're reasonably priced and make nice gifts for family, friends, co-workers, or you! And...three of my cards that are included in the mix use one of the patterns from Verna (top row first three cards)! Cardstore is also offering free shipping and 10% off every order. Enter discount code: WINTERSALE at checkout (you can still enter code: MERRY15 to receive 15% off your order, but for this one, you'll have to pick up the tab for shipping).

Nextly, Vickie of Spun Sugar Quilts posted a picture on her blog of a cute fabric wreath she made using Verna. I love it! She followed this Moda Bake Shop tutorial that Rachel of p.s. i quilt put together. Thanks for the post, Vickie!

Nextly nextly, umm...anyone notice anything familiar in this photo? One hint: It's red and has a scalloped edge.
Definitely an upgrade for my pincushion. And what could all those pins be doing in there? I wonder...

Lastly (for now) I've been so interested to read all of your helpful tips/pointers for the giveaway! I'll surely put them to good use and thank you so much for helping me start off on the right foot (couldn't resist a little sewing humor). What's been really great is to see that there are a bunch of other new quilters who have also been able to benefit from the many helpful tips. Nice to know we're in the same boat! So, if you haven't already left a comment here to enter the giveaway, please do. The drawing will be this Thursday and the winner will be posted on Friday. Can't wait!

November 26, 2009

ThanksGIVE-ing Giveaway!

It seems it's always at this time of year when my thoughts start to sift through the many happenings of the year with quiet reflection on all that I've moved through, successes and challenges alike. The perspective I get from this helps me to see how much I've grown but with a deeper understanding of what is possible (with lots of hard work, determination..oh, and pizza). Though I try to keep gratitude in the forefront of each day (sometimes easier than others), it's often around Thanksgiving that I really stop to focus on the many things I have to be thankful for — too many to list!

So, in the spirit of thanks and giving, I thought I'd giveaway a Verna designer bundle (a layer cake that's been rolled and tied).

Since I'm a beginner quilter, I'm hoping to learn from all you experts out there! So please leave me a comment with a helpful pointer/tip that you might pass on to someone who is new to quilting. Please make sure not to repeat tips (yes, I need as many as I can get!). Your name will be entered in a random drawing to be held on Thursday December 3rd. The winner will be announced on Friday the 4th. Good luck!

November 18, 2009

Cake & Other Sweets

As you may know, I'm admittedly not (yet) a quilter, but something strange is happening. Early this summer I was walking through Borders bookstore and spotted a cute little cake slice pincushion on the front of Quilts and More, so I bought the magazine.

Then, I went to a local fabric store and found myself looking for fusible interfacing...something I've definitely never done before. I left the store not only with the interfacing, but also with fabric, thread and ribbon. What's crazier is that the pincushion needed to be filled with crushed walnut shells so I went on a wild goose chase trying to find them and somehow ended up in the reptile aisle at Petco. Who knew reptiles liked crushed walnut shells (I happen to like walnuts, not reptiles). On top of all this, I actually made this pincushion!

(Please don't cringe too much at the construction, ok, all you expert crafter people out there? I was so happy that it was a triangle and will hold pins no matter what.) So now all I can think about is that red, scalloped cake plate PamKitty, Camille and Debra have been talking about on Twitter. Ya, I know, what is happening to me?! It all starts with a pincushion...what's next? Actual pins?

Speaking of other sweet things, the Fat Quarter Shop was so nice to interview me recently and I'm thrilled to be featured on their blog, the Jolly Jabber.

November 10, 2009

Holiday Card Coupon

In case you're looking for a holiday card that will coordinate with those fantastic "Poinsettia Party" paper plates you just bought at Target (heehee)...look no further! Many of my new holiday cards have recently been released on If you're not familiar with them, they're an online store where you can personalize greeting cards by adding your own text and photos. You can pick your own font, change the text color and size, and even make a color photo into sepia or black and white. Here are a few examples (click on cards to find them on Cardstore):

I order from Cardstore all the time — not just because I'm one of their artists, but because the printing quality is really nice and they use 100% post-consumer waste (PCW) paper by Mohawk. And, as if it couldn't get any better, there are no minimums on your order so you can buy just one card (or 100) and have them mailed directly to you or your recipients at the regular postage price. You can even pick your own stamp! I also like that everything is printed in the U.S. in FSC certified facilities. So if you do decide to order your holiday cards or invitations from Cardstore, please use the coupon code MERRY15 when you checkout to receive a 15% discount on your order!

November 5, 2009

Hot From the Oven!

Yummm! These scrumptious Moda Bake Shop Limited Edition Samplers are ready to buy! (Kimberly, I hope it's ok that I borrowed this photo from your site...couldn't resist!) The Samplers feature 12 packs of forty 2 1/2" charm squares from twelve of the new spring Moda 2010 collections (including Verna, yay!). This is a great way to preview the collections before they're in stores, and a fun giftable item for your quilt-crazy friends (and you, too). Also included in the box are charm pack projects and a history of charm quilts. The Samplers are available at the Fat Quarter Shop, but supplies are limited so be sure to grab yours today! (Why am I suddenly having flashbacks to Sample Spree?)

November 2, 2009

Poinsettia Party at Target!

I've been tap tapping my fingers, pacing, and calling our local Target store for about a month trying to find out when the trucks would be pulling in to unload all the holiday products. Of course no one could tell me anything except that I'd have to wait until after Halloween. WAIT. Yes, for times like this, patience is hugely overrated. Nevertheless, I waited.

And then...this morning...I got an email from a friend who told me she saw my paper tableware designs at her local Target over the weekend. I barely finished reading her note, then bolted out of my chair, hopped in the car and peeled down the driveway. Here they are! They can be found in the "Cards and Party" section near all the birthday stuff...where I must have spent about an hour staring at them and taking pictures. I never thought I'd be so excited by a paper plate before.
Don't you need some for your Holiday party?? Answer: YES!

Poinsettia Party

In the display (but don't look at any of the others)

October 27, 2009

(Almost) That Time of Year

I know, I know, we haven't even turned the clocks back, or had a frost, or carved the pumpkins and I'm already posting about Christmas stuff. I just couldn't wait any longer to share these cute note cards, memo pads, gift tags and thank yous from Gina B. Designs that feature some of the art from my "Let it Snow" collection! Keep your eyes out for them at local gift shops and bookstores, and if you can't find them there, you can always get them here.
(Did the subliminal message to go make some hot cocoa make it through?)

October 26, 2009

Verna Quilt

Remember how i may have mentioned that i didn't take any photos of the quilt made with my very own fabric line at Market? Well, thanks to the delightful Julie of jaybird quilts, i now have a picture! She sent this to me over the weekend. Thank you Julie! This 42"x42"quilt will be available as a kit on the Fat Quarter Shop's website soon.

October 18, 2009

Moda-fied at Market!

I'm a bit behind on blogging, and can hardly believe it's almost been a whole week since the Market Madness in Houston! As a newcomer, I really had no idea what to expect nor did I realize exactly how crazy quilters can be. I'm referring, of course, to Sample Spree (which I'm happy to have survived). For those of you who have been there, you know what I'm talking about. If you've never been, it's almost hard to explain! More on that in a minute, but first, a confession: as a newbie, I was so overwhelmed by the whole experience that I hardly took any pictures! I'll share what few I did take and will try to do a better job next time.

Prior to heading to Houston, the inimitable Cheryl Freydberg invited me to visit the sprawling Moda headquarters in Dallas. Wow, what an amazing place it is! I was so happy to meet Mr. Mark Dunn (founder and owner of Moda), Moda Lissa (marketing visionary), Alison (one of the talented designers of Urban Chiks, who gave me a great tour of the facilities) and the whole wonderful sales team. They all made me feel right at home, but since this was the first time I'd met them, I felt a little awkward about taking pictures. So, alas, the only picture I did take there was of one of the aisles in the warehouse! But what a lovely warehouse it is:

On our way to Houston, Amy, Tom, and Stephanie (three of the fabulous Moda sales reps) told me about the "Sample Spree" and how out of control it gets with people running around to grab the newly released pre-cuts. Naturally, I didn't want to miss this! The line of people waiting to get in looped around so many times it looked like someone had just announced that Bono of U2 was personally giving out free concert tickets! One woman told me she had been on line since 3 pm. — the doors didn't open until 8pm! Here's a picture of the Moda booth just before the doors opened:

and here's one less than 30 seconds after the doors opened:

Did I take any pictures of all the clever and creative Moda displays? No!
Did I take any pictures of the incredibly talented Moda designers? Only two!
Did I even take a picture of the quilt kit featuring Verna? No!
(i know, i can't believe it either)

But, here are a few from the Moda Bingo party:

Mr. Mark Dunn, Sandy Gervais and Ms. Fig Tree herself, Joanna Figueroa
...and a closer look at their shoes:

Mr. Dunn just needs to tap his heels together three times and say "There's no place like Moda Home" hee hee! Come to think of it, maybe he wore them in honor of Sanae's new line, "OZ"? Hmm...

Here's one with two super sales reps, Jane & Gene, me, and John (the I.T. guru). At least Jane and Gene remembered to take off their name tags.

Here's me, Joanna, and Angela (aka: Moda Home Mom). It was so nice to get to hang out with them! Unlike me, Angela took lots of pictures of all the fantastic Moda booths. Check out her blog to see all the colorful sites!

I also had the chance to meet with the wonderful people from Moda's mill in Korea who work so hard to make all the beautiful fabric! Nice to be able to goof around with them in the Moda photo booth, too. Who can resist a hot pink feather boa?! (Not Jeong, that's for sure!)

and another one of Park and me...(i like these glasses because they make my nose look so small):

Other highlights include meeting the great people from Hancock's of Paducah, The Fat Quarter Shop (here's a link to their blog the Jolly Jabber), some of the Moda Bake Shop contributors, the international sales reps, and so many quilt shop owners, pattern makers and people who share a passion for making beautiful things.

It was an honor for me to meet all the Moda designers and to see their wares so beautifully and creatively displayed. So much to aspire to!

What a memorable trip. I'm so impressed by all the hard work that went into putting so many details together — right down to the Moda "playbook"! I'm very grateful to be a part of such a delightful group of people, and thankful to be able to contribute my designs to their colorful portfolio. Like I said before, "Pinch Me!"

October 7, 2009

International Quilt Market

Here we go! I'm heading off to Houston, TX for the International Quilt Market where Verna will be in full bloom! Can't wait to meet everyone from Moda and to be awed by the amazing talents of so many artists, craftspeople, quilters. If you'll be there, too, please stop by the Moda booths to say hello. I hope to meet you there, too!

September 26, 2009


Mrs. Chomondelay clematis, May

Mrs. Chomondelay clematis, September

Butterfly Weed, June

Butterfly Weed, late September

Black Lace Elderberry, June

Black Lace Elderberry, September

Though the petals are barely hanging on to many of our perennials, and colors have faded to paler shades of their vibrant summer hues, a different beauty is emerging in our garden now. Seed pods, dried flowers, and berries adorn our plants where flowers once were. To me, this stage of seasonal shift is a magnificent peek at the inner structures of plants and at the efficiency of nature.

These photos show the flowers in May/June, and again in late September. The 3rd and 4th photos are of a "Butterfly Weed" — not to be confused with "Butterfly Bush", and too beautiful to be confused with a weed. This is the first year we've had it, and it's been amazing to watch those intricate little pink flowers transform into quite unexpected seed pods! Just look at how neatly those seeds are stacked into the pillowy spires and how well-equipped they are for air travel on the slightest breeze. My husband, Pete, took a bunch of the seeds and tossed them in the air to see how far they'd go. We had no idea that they'd spiral upward and disappear against the white clouds of the sky, vanishing over roof tops and wherever they finally landed.

We couldn't help but to think ahead to next summer's blooms when our neighbors would wonder where their new, mysterious and beautiful plant came from.

September 22, 2009

Viva Verna!

At last, Verna has arrived! Here's a glimpse of my very first finished fabric collection (pinch me!) for Moda that will debut at the Quilt Market in Houston in October. After months of fine-tuning, I can't believe the fabrics are finally folded, rolled, and bundled! This collection is a celebration of spring with earthy browns, april shower blues, vibrant sprigs of green and blooms of pink, yellow and tangerine. I'm determined to make something with these...eventually...once I can get myself to cut them up. Oh, and once I actually learn to quilt.

Yes, I am truly a beginner in this area, but have been practicing with a rotary cutter and have gotten better at sewing straight seam allowances. Woohoo! Luckily, I also have a great teacher/consultant/mentor. My aunt Julie has been quilting for many years using everything from her father's bow ties to her son's boxer shorts for piecing materials and inspiration. She recently told me that when she and her family would go on road trips, she'd often scout out local fabric shops for pit stops, but that her family would sit in the car while she went in to browse! I actually never knew she had such a passion for this craft so it's been joyful for both of us to connect through this mutual interest. We've had some of our own "road trips" to quilt shows and shops and I think she's happy to have some company walking the aisles...I know I am!

Julie is well into her third year of being (pancreatic) cancer free. Each time we get together, I'm so deeply grateful for her presence, her generous spirit and her perspective. In some small way, I hope the fabric I designed holds some inspiration for her because she is truly an inspiration to me.

September 7, 2009

Labor (free) Day

This weekend, I actually managed not to turn my computer on! Instead, I spent some much needed time in our garden taking note of all the subtle (and not-so-subtle) shifts from late summer to early autumn. Flames of color glow vibrantly in every corner...not by accident. It's right around this time of year that the hummingbirds begin their migration. A few years ago, we planted a native species of honeysuckle and have several potted begonias and zinnias that have become an annual pit stop for the amazing little birds at the onset of their long journey. If you sit really still and keep your eyes peeled, you may spot one too!