Friday, July 31, 2015

Oh, What a NIGHT! Part 1

Wow!   It's not often that I get the chance to spend time with THREE quilting powerhouses and I have to tell you...Oh what a night!

I met Jo Hansen and Kelli Hanken  of Jo's Country Junction and had the opportunity to hear them tell their story and what a great story it is. This down-to-earth, mother-daughter team is such great fun and their story is a testament to their abilities to turn lemons into lemonade and their teamwork and tenacity.

Yesterday, their class was the first of four that are a part of this great retreat and I was rarin' and willing to go! This is their quilt, Thanks to You and it has a great story.   Jo asked readers to send in a bit of their neutral fabric to use for the background of these Maverick Stars and her readers certainly rose to the task!  

Here are my first four blocks of Thanks to You.  Maverick stars are fun because you aren't worrying about matching points or floating intersections ...that's what makes them MAVERICK stars... Hurray!   I am a little worried about contrast. Right now, with just these four blocks done I'm not sure that the stars shine enough.  I really don't have a whole lot of bright fabrics and I'm sticking to stash for all of the quilts I'm starting this week so I may have to rethink but for now they're fine.  

After class, we headed to dinner and then it was time for the trunk show to beat all trunk shows.

The authors of Country Girl Modern, Jo and Kelli shared the quilts that are in their book and a few that didn't make it in.  It was fun to hear how Jo designs the quilts and Kelli does all the pattern work...calculating sizes and yardage and the such as well as working on the samples.  

Here are just a few of the quilts you'll find in Country Girl Modern

Thanks to You


 Rainbow Connection

And all of that was just YESTERDAY!!!  Today, Kelli and Jo spent the day with us teaching May Flowers which is also in their book.  This is really a fabulous quilt because, again, it has no points to worry about matching. 

Here are a few of my May Flowers and Jo and Kelli's book

 After Jo and Kelli, Bonnie Hunter presented her trunk show.  It was really amazing to see her quilts from several of her books, but I think I'll save that for my next post so stay tuned! 

I have to tell you, I'm having such a great time and I love May Flowers so much I wanna share the love so, let's have a give-away! Enter a comment below to enter and if you are the lucky winner, I'll send you this copy of Country Modern Girl that has been autographed by Jo and Kelli! The drawing will happen on August 4th. 

Now, don't forget to come back because I haven't told you about Bonnie Hunter's half of the trunk show yet.  Who knows, we might just have another give away ....

In the meantime,

Piece and Joy



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On my way to Country Jo's Junction

I'm so excited! I made it to IOWA home of Jo's Country Junction Retreat! It will be four days of quilting and friends and I CAN'T WAIT!!  
I left the Dallas area at 5:30 AM, which for those of you who know me well, know that an early rise is NOT part of my daily routine.  In any case, 10 hours later I was welcomed to the Fields of Opportunities; opportunities to meet Jo and Kelli of Jo's Country Junction, hang out with friend and mentor Bonnie Hunter and see fellow Bonniacs that I have met over the last few years. 

I had to drive the last 2 hours in torrential downpours with thunder so loud and lightning so close I could have opened my window and touched it...if I had a death wish.  Fortunately, I made it safe and sound and since  I'm here a day early, I'll have lots of time to explore the area of Cedar Rapids before heading down the road to Olewien, IA.  

Maybe I'll find an antique store or two.  Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted!

Piece and Joy!

Sunday, July 19, 2015


I am like a poorly trained dog and not just ANY poorly trained dog... I am a poorly trained beagle. Beagles are hunting dogs and when PROPERLY trained are great to use when hunting rabbits or hares.  They are high-energy friendly little guys with a bit of a stubborn streak.  That's me.  High-Energy and friendly with a bit of a stubborn streak.  The problem with being a poorly trained beagle is that all that energy gets us into trouble if it's not properly harnessed and expelled. A poorly trained beagle will sniff out and find a rabbit... not a problem- unless he sees a squirrel. Then he's off chasing squirrels and there's no stopping him.

I have the same problem only instead of rabbits and squirrels its UFOs and new projects.  I was talking to Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame about this and she gave me some wonderful insight.  I was lamenting about how I quilt pretty much everyday and because I quilt almost everyday I should have piles of quilts every where.  But, the truth is, I have very little to show for all the time I spend in my quilt loft.  My question to her was, "How do you get so many quilts done with everything else you do?"  When told me how she managed I was flabbergasted because its not a fancy trick or hired help that gets the quilting done.  So, how does she do it you ask?  Well, it turns out that Bonnie doesn't have a wall of UFOs waiting for attention because she never has more than a few quilts going at a time.

Bonnie has one quilt that is her "Busy Bag" quilt.  It's the one she is sewing by hand (currently an English Paper Piecing quilt) while she travels. It gets worked on when a sewing machine is not at hand like at the gate of an airport or on a plane.  Number two is cut up and kitted into ziplock bags that tuck nicely into her suitcase.  This quilt gets pieced together in her hotel room using a borrowed sewing machines.  She probably has a Leader/Ender quilt going because Bonnie doesn't waste anything; not thread, fabric or time!  And then, she might have one on the longarm and one or two that are awaiting binding which get tackled when she's at home, and that's it.  So, when Bonnie sews, quilts don't just get started, they get done.

I, on the other hand, have so many quilts started that it is almost overwhelming.  Today, I have Celtic Solstice up on the design wall.  I have been working on Celtic Solstice between other projects for two years now but I'm busily cutting up fabric for FOUR other quilts.  Now, to be fair I am taking classes at a retreat in the next week or so, so I have to have the fabrics for the classes ready, but still, I don't NEED to start four more projects (squirrels) when I have so many already started (rabbits).  So, now that I recognize the problem, I am turning over a new leaf.  I will tackle my UFOs, one at a time, do my best to not get distracted.  And when I am driving across the three or four states I need to cross to get to my quilt retreat, I will not buy any new projects...well except the Row by Rows....SQUIRREL!

Piece and Joy!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'm Baaaaaa-ack!

It's hard to tell but this blog is actually important to me.  I think about it all the time and I am constantly writing posts in my head but I never seem to get to a point where the ideas go from my head to paper; or in this case, computer.  Why is that?  I have all the usual excuses at hand... I lead a very busy life; hubby, kids, grand babies, pets, longarm buisness, real estate business, graduate school... Really, the list goes on and on.  But I think, really, it's all about HABIT.  It's not my habit to blog, or for that matter, to write, on a regular basis.  In fact, I have never had a great desire to be a writer.  I've always considered myself a 'math person' not an 'english person'.  It's the math and the precision that draws me to quilting...  all those lovely fractions!  And the geometry!  I love geometry; but I digress.

New habits are hard to come by and rarely stick except when they are bad habits, they're hard to get rid of.  Have you noticed that?  All the 'bad habits' are so hard to get away from.  Biting your nails, smacking your gum, using the word 'like' like every 10 seconds ;-) all bad habits and so hard to break away from.  I'm 50 years old and I still find myself biting my nails unless I've paid to have them done.  What's up with that?  So why is it that when you want to develop a 'good habit' it's almost impossible to make it stick?

Let's take exercising as an example.  Many MANY people are in the habit of exercising on a regular, dare I say DAILY, basis. I admire this.  I would love to just WALK on a regular basis and yet I just can't seem to manage it.  I always get off to a good start.  New Years, right?  Resolution:  Walk everyday!  I'm good for about 3 weeks and then, it happens.  For some reason, and it's probably a reasonable reason like it's raining, I don't walk.  And that one missed day turns into two, two turns into a week and so on and so forth until it's the new year and I'm making another resolution.  UGH. So, I pose these questions to all those in blogdom... What NEW good habit have you acquired and how did you make it stick?

In any case, I am back; like the proverbial cat. And I am, once again, committing myself to writing my blog no less than 3 times a week...  Let's hope I can make this good habit stick!