March 27, 2014

Chair Flair

This is the boring chair that i happen to spend a lot of time in.
Probably too much time!
It's been this boring since the day i brought it home from Ikea almost ... hmm ... 4 years ago? I've tried not to dwell on its lackluster style because honestly, i don't see it much while i'm sitting in it. But i've simply tired of its gray blahness and well, a little extra style could do my studio some good. So...until i find my dream chair (Pinterest here i come!), i thought a little facelift was in order. This is pretty much a no-brainer DIY, and would require you to have a similar chair seat/back to work the fabric around. But in case you'd like to know, here are the very few key steps:
Then measure the dimensions of the seat and cut enough fabric to wrap around the edges and with about 3" extra to tuck underneath. Do the same for the chair back. Use a flat head screwdriver to push the fabric between the cushion and the chair frame on both the seat and chair back ...
... and you're done!
I used the Wayside Garden print in Marine from my Honey Honey fabric collection
Now i might just keep it for another 4 years! Well, maybe...

March 25, 2014

The Lion Part of March

Hey, isn't March supposed to come in like a lion and go out like a lamb? With less than a week to go in this month, the "lamb days" have yet to make it to Connecticut — so for the time being i guess we'll just have to continue to dream of warmth and of lovely spring days to come. Soon, i hope! While we're waiting ... i thought i'd share a sneak peek of something colorful on the horizon. Oh, and it's called Horizon! It's my next fabric collection for Moda and will be available in September.
The colors were inspired by these bits of sea glass i've collected from many walks along many shores.
I'll let you know more about the collection soon, but i just couldn't wait any longer to share! Are there any sewing patterns or projects you think these colors would work well with? I'd love to know!
PS: The UPS guy just delivered this straggler! If you wouldn't mind, please squeeze it in (in your mind's eye) amongst the purples, ok? Thank you ;)

March 20, 2014

Happy Spring!

Sweet relief! Warmth is on the way, which makes me smile bigger every day. A couple other people might smile bigger too because we've picked two winners for the green bundles!

Quilter Kathy

Please email me your mailing addresses and i'll send your bundles off to you! kate(at)katespain(dot)com.

Thanks to everyone for listening to Pat's show. I adore Pat and it's always so much fun to catch up with her. Wow, i had no idea there were such differing thoughts about tearing vs. cutting fabric! So interesting. Thank you for sharing your different opinions and techniques.

Now to head out for a little walk to catch the last sun rays of the day!

March 19, 2014

Surprises, Part Two (and Three)

It turns out we never heard from the winner of the Daydream jelly roll from the Moda blog hop and so we've randomly selected a new winner:

APRIL SHAE, it's your lucky day! Congratulations!

...we listened! Remember when we asked you which out-of-print fabric line you'd like us to stock in our online shop? Well, you can now find a limited number of Central Park bundles listed for sale.

If you're looking for yardage of a certain out-of-print fabric from Verna, 12 Days of Christmas, Central Park, Fandango, Flurry or Terrain we might be able to help with that too. Please email us to inquire about availability.

There are only a few spots remaining in Round 2 of the Kate Spain charm swap — a long-distance quilt-fabric color-parade, made possible by the creativity, diligence, and enthusiasm of Michele Kuhns. Thanks, Michele! Hurry on over to sign up if you'd like to join in some spring-ie fun!

March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I so enjoyed chatting with Pat Sloan on her radio show today! You can hear our chat here  Then enter the giveaway for the green fabric bundle (photo below) ... by leaving a brief comment, on this post, about something Pat and I discussed. Good luck! 

** This giveaway is now closed. Please see this post for winners.
Thank you so much for joining us! **

March 14, 2014

Joyful Julie

Hello and Happy Friday! Today i'm so excited to be included as part of Fat Quarter Shop's 2014 Designer Mystery Block of the Month blog hop. Just like the name says, it's a mystery! So while i can't show you what my block design looks like, here are some teaser peeks:
The beautiful fabric is called Snowbird and was designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.

This year, the theme of the quilt is all about stars. Each designer was asked to design a star block and to name it after someone who is a "star" in our lives. Since this is also about quilting, that made it really easy for me to decide who to choose. My block is called Joyful Julie and is named for my Aunt Julie.
See that smile? It's something i am lucky to have known since i was a little girl and when i think of Julie, her smile and the sound of her laugh are the first things that come to mind. A multitude of other things come next, including how incredibly talented she is. Several years ago, she mentioned that she had started taking botanical drawing classes in New York City. She has always loved growing orchids and houseplants so it sounded like a natural fit for her. And then ... after asking "how are things going with your class?" she very casually sent along a few pictures of the drawings she had been working on ... and they totally blew me away!
Here are a few...
Merlot Grapes
Saucer Magnolia
Incredible. Something i came to learn about these drawings is that not only are they beautiful, they're also botanically accurate...meaning that the scale and proportions of the petals, leaves, buds, stems, everything(!) have been measured and drawn with absolute precision. Amazing! I don't know how she does it...or this:
Garlic in graphite
I also didn't know something else about Julie until just a few years ago, around the time i began designing fabric for Moda. She is a quilter! She has been for many years and i had no idea. Sheesh, you think you know someone well and then...surprise! Soon we were going to quilt stores, shows and museums together and sharing our love for this craft. Here are some of Julie's hand-made and hand-quilted quilts. This bow tie quilt was made using actual bow ties that belonged to Julie's father (my grandfather), Jack:
She used only the materials from the bow ties to make this, and the white background is one of Jack's old dress shirts. The corners are embellished with tie adjustors and shirt buttons and the black sashing/binding is from the tie lining:
I love how sweet and personal this quilt is.
Here's another fun one that Julie calls, The Great Pumpkin ...
How cute is that!? Here's a detail of her hand-quilting/embroidery ...
...  and a tiny monarch she embroidered and appliqu├ęd.
Of her sewing life, Julie shared this with me:
"I started sewing when I was about 10 years old, cross stitch embroidery in the summer at Granny's.  My mom had a sewing machine, and I used it to increase my skirt wardrobe in college -- we had school uniforms in high school and very few out-of-uniform clothes since they were unnecessary. Briefly taught myself quilting in the 1970's but gave up because it was so labor intensive, using cardboard templates to cut each individual piece -- hoorah for the rotary cutter and other tools of today!  Picked up quilting again in 1990's when my kids were in high school -- I needed something for distraction when they stayed out  late with their friends!  I am more a "process" person than an "end result" person, i.e. I love the challenge of original designs for my wall hangings.  I love my sewing machine and have made many full-size winter quilts for beds with it (sent each child off to college with a quilt made from their flannel pjs and other recycled stuff) but mostly I am motivated by fabulous fabrics and small scale handwork in constructing my original wall hangings.
Slow is Beautiful."

That mantra must have guided her along as she made these — all by hand — long before she learned paper-piecing techniques ...
This one was made from an old yo-yo quilt that was given to Julie. She cut the yo-yos into blocks and then sewed them onto the ground fabric/sashing ...
... then embellished the blocks with cute old buttons. 
 This kimono wall hanging was Julie's first attempt at paper-piecing after a wonderful class she took at City Quilter in NYC.

And this one is called, In the Swim. I just love these colors and composition.
And finally, Julie even made her daughter Molly's wedding gown ...
Molly and her Dad
... with the "help" of her skilled assistant (of course).
I doubt i'll be taking up botanical drawing or hand-quilting any time soon, but Julie will always remind me that so many of the joys of life can be found in the details if you slow down, tune in and focus long enough to discover them. I love her lots, and she will always shine like a star to me ... maybe most of all because she keeps creating ... and smiling.
an orchid that Julie gave me long ago that is blooming right this very moment
Also posting today are:

And don't forget to head over to the Jolly Jabber to enter to win a $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop. Good luck and thank you so much for stopping by today!
Have a beautiful weekend.

March 11, 2014


Today is actually warm enough to remind us that spring is finally on its way. Yay! Sometimes i wish it would just hurry up and get here already, but then i'd miss so many beautiful and poetic moments that happen at this time of year. Like when itty bitty green things start to push their way up through the cold earth showing us the resilience of Nature. It's amazing! Last fall, i planted over 200 bulbs (eek!) and all these months later i've pretty much forgotten what i planted and where.

bulb smorgasbord ordered from Brent & Becky's Bulbs

random mix of species tulips

Needless to say this spring will be filled with lots of surprises! This morning i went outside to poke around and i found these:

I'm actually glad i didn't take good notes or label things carefully because sometimes not knowing how things will unfold is itself a wonderful thing  (can also read this as: memory failure!). Once the bulbs start to bloom, i'll be sure to share (probably too many) photos on Instagram.

Last weekend, Pete and i went to the New York Botanical Garden with a couple friends to catch the annual orchid show. This year's sensational display of exotic tropical beauties was so inspiring that i wanted to share some of my favorites with you. I love that orchids bloom throughout the winter, in months when their color is an exuberant contrast to the bleak, snowy landscape. These rich, saturated colors
caught my eye...

... and so did these soft pastels...

... and the way the foliar colors accentuate and complement the lines of this orchid ...

... and the stark simplicity of the colors and markings on this one ... 

... and the complexities and details in the petals of this one ...

... and the dancing shape of this one ...

... so many varieties! It was a nourishing and beautiful day. Before we got back in the car to head home, we took a detour to peek in at the gift shop (who can resist, right?). Pete stopped in his tracks when he turned the corner and spotted one of the pillows i designed for Surya amidst a colorful display!

What a surprise! So as a special to welcome the longer, brighter, warmer days to come, we're offering 20% off all the pillows in our shop now through the first official day of spring, March 20th. Use code: spring20 at checkout.
Keep on the lookout for all the surprises around you!