Sunday, May 12, 2013

Schedule What You Love

What's been filling your calendar lately? When I look at mine, I see pages full of events and activities for everyone and! At the end of the day I'm usually exhausted but still have a desire to do the things I love. Sewing, gardening, cooking, and reading are all things I love to do, but I hate to do them in a rush so I wind up not doing them at all. I'll throw a quick meal together just to get us fed, pile the ironing on my sewing table, and keep Amazon in business by filling my shelves with books I want to read but never crack open. Quite honestly, this can be depressing. The sad thing is, I have an amazing family who would have no problem at all giving me the space and time to do these things. The reality is, the problem is ME! I don't give myself permission to take a few hours in the garden just for the pure enjoyment of it, or to plan and execute a beautiful meal that would take more than 20 minutes to prepare. I don't start a sewing project because I'm afraid it'll never get done. I don't go outside just to sit in the sunshine with a great book because I feel bad that there's a room to clean in the house or laundry to be put away. I think this is just life for most of us, but it needs to change. In order to give myself permission to do the things for "me," I've made a two hour block per week on my calendar to specifically do those things that will bring me a personal joy.  I'm finding myself looking forward to that time, and it's amazing how much better I feel without any guilt that I did something for myself. If you're having the same trouble, give it a try. I'd love to hear what your experiences are and how you find time for yourself.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

New England...A Rich History of Textiles

Last week the kids had off from school for Winter Break here in New England. Since having kids cooped up for a week out of their routine would make us moms all nutty, we try to find fun things to do to keep them busy. Since I've lived here for almost 10 years and have never been to Old Sturbridge Village, I thought it would be a fun adventure. The village is a working museum displaying life here in the 1830's. I took my son and my parents, and what a great time we had! 

One thing I've always taken for granted is the rich history we have here on the east coast. I love history, and that's probably one reason I love the thought and idea of quilting. It's rooted in American history, yet I had never thought much about the reality of textile history. Between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, there is no better place to experience the history of fabrics and quilting in America. While there's so much more, I thought I'd share a few shapshots of our day.

Diaper cloth weaving demonstration
I was amazed at how big this loom was! The work involved in just preparing the loom with threads would have been enough to send me over the edge. I kept thinking how much fun it would have been to get to try it out. It was interesting to find out though that the "diaper" cloth that was made was not for baby diapers, which would have been completely different. This diaper cloth would have been used for towels and bed linens.

Two beautiful quilts on display
I know the picture doesn't show it well, but the handquilting on these quilts was amazing!

Women were freed to focus on other activities
It's so easy to forget the amount of work our pioneer mamas had to do just for simple things like food and fabrics. They had to card, spin, and weave fabrics, then sew everything they needed from clothes to diapers. Can you imagine if we had to "make" our own diapers today? As we walked around the village, I got to thinking...everything there that we look at today as a hobby or "fun stuff" was hard, necessary work back then. Even things like pottery were performed out of necessity rather than enjoyment. With automation came freedom for women to explore other important endeavors.

The one most relevant facts I took away from the day was the price of fabrics back then in comparison to our prices today. In the general store, they had beautiful fabrics from the period that had been both imported and then later produced here is the USA. Imported fabrics back then cost $3-$5 per yard. Say what? Yep...I said that right. Domestic mass production brought prices down for most fabrics to 25 cents - $1 per yard, but I was shocked at the fact that the prices on our website today are the same or just a little more than what they had to pay in the 1830's for high quality fabric. We often cringe when we see $10-$11/yard, but in reality we are very fortunate. I guess at Quilt Fabric Closeouts we could technically claim "1830's pricing" on our Specials LOL.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Grammy and The Quilt That Was Never Mine

I was always a child that had to be doing something. I didn't care what it was, as long as my hands and mind were busy. That's not to say I grew up with much artistic creativity, but I'm still a girl who has to be doing something with my hands. This is probably why some of my fondest memories of childhood are from the time I got to spend with my Grammy. My great-grandmother passed away when I was ten years old, but she left me with some significant skills and memories. When I was very young she lived a couple of hours away. I don't have much memory her house, other than skipping rocks in the creek across the street, playing on her little home organ(or at least that's what I thought it was), and the room filled floor to ceiling with yarn, fabric, and crafts. I'm not exactly sure when she moved in with my grandparents, but once she did, I saw her quite often. When I was six, she started teaching me how to crochet. I wanted to learn, and she was ready to teach me, but there was no pandering to the "she's just a child" mentality. I have vivid memories of chaining, unraveling, and chaining again, over and over until my chains were perfect. She wouldn't move past those darned chains with me for months. By the time I was 9 I could crochet with perfect gauge and a perfect foundation. I now often go years between crochet projects, but I can still pick it right up without skipping a beat. Every time I see someone out in public crocheting, I am brought back to thinking of my Grammy. She was tough on me, but we bonded in a special way. I am thankful she demanded perfection, as I am better for it. She died before she was able to teach me to knit, so I am self taught. Unfortunately, my knitting greatly lacks in comparison to my crochet skills.

One other thing Grammy and I did together one afternoon was layout a double wedding ring quilt on the bed in my grandparents upstairs bedroom. She and I took great care to make sure each piece was in just the right place. She explained the entire quilting process that day to me.  I was probably only 7 or 8 years old, and when we were done laying it out, she said that the quilt would be mine someday. We only worked on it together that one day, but for whatever reason that quilt was special, maybe because we had worked on it together. When Grammy died, I was given two things that stick out in my memory ...a yarn winder and her case of crochet needles. I don't remember if I had the nerve then or a little later, but I asked my grandmother where the quilt was. When I described to her which one it was, she apologetically explained that she didn't know it was supposed to go to me and it had already been given to one of Grammy's grandsons. She gave me blocks that were made for another quilt, but they are long gone. They didn't hold any meaning, so right or wrong, they weren't anything cherished by me. To this day, I still think about the quilt that was never to be mine. I often think about asking the one grandson(there were two) who I am connected to through Facebook if he was the one who had gotten it and if he still has it, but I've never had the guts.

No matter what I do or don't have to hold in my hands from my Grammy, I have those special memories that no one can take or accidentally give away. I am thankful that she taught me perseverance and to strive for perfection. I love that I think of her often. I still have and use those same crochet needles. And for the record, double wedding ring quilts still rank in my top "love" list.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A New Site For A New Year!

In just 24 hours, at, we're launching a brand new, fully redesigned website. Some may be wondering why, so I thought I would elaborate a bit.

For several years now, those of us at QFC have known there were things about our website that had to be frustrating for customers. We knew there was a better "shopping experience" out there, but trying to deliver that was costly, time consuming, and quite honestly a daunting task. We fretted, we worried, we researched, and at the end of the day had a fear that too much change may drive some of our loyal customers away. As we grew and time passed, we started to see new innovations in website technology, as well as more savvy online shoppers. We wanted to give our customers the very best possible experience with us, and knew if we didn't take a chance and make improvements, we'd quickly become irrelevant in the land of online quilt shops. That being said, we took the plunge this past November to make a MAJOR move! We knew it was a big step, but my-oh-my we had NO idea how much work went into converting our website. There were some days we thought moving a physical store would be easier. So after two long months, we are impatiently waiting for our tomorrow's launch.

So, what's going to be different? Lots!!! First, we've redecorated! You'll notice a completely new design when you visit our store. It's modern, classy, and inviting (we hope)! Our mission and pricing has not changed, but we are expanding our selection and we'll be offering new search options. Now you'll be able to easily search by collection, manufacturer, color, or style. This was a feature many of our customers have asked for, so we're excited to provide this new feature.

The biggest changes have taken place in our shopping cart and checkout system. Previously, customers had to toggle back and forth between shopping pages and the shopping cart to see what was already in the cart. Now you'll be able to see what's in your cart the whole time you're shopping, or you can hide it if that's preferred. A new interactive design wall makes comparing fabrics next to each other a cinch too!

Shipping was another frustrating issue for us, and our customers. Our old system would only allow us to set pricing based on the total dollar amount of an order. With a wide range of pricing, even with creating several choices at checkout(which was a pain for our customers), shipping charges were often incorrect. We always manually adjusted the shipping down when needed, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that we were all embarrassed that our website was so "behind the times" when it came to things like a simple shipping charge. With our new system, we are able to set shipping charges to calculate correctly, and show the cost BEFORE checkout. We're sure this will make your shopping experience more pleasant and it will make processing on our end that much quicker.

Another exciting feature is our inventory control. We were always able to show an amount left in stock, but it was easy to miss and the system would not prevent customers from ordering more than the amount remaining. This often resulted in disappointment with shortages and out of stock items. Now customers will only be able to order up to the amount remaining in the system, which we hope will be another way to provide a better shopping experience. There still may be a small number of instances in which we have a shortage just because of the nature of fabric inventory, but this occurrence will be significant reduced.

With all of these changes, we are excited and nervous. We want everything to be perfect, but we all know that nothing in life is perfect. If you're shopping or browsing in the new site and find something that's not working properly, looks strange, or you feel should be different, please don't hesitate to shoot us a quick email with your suggestions and comments. As we come near to our 5th anniversary, we hope the changes are a pleasant surprise for our customers rather than a burden, as we have only them to thank for our continued growth and success. With each passing year we strive to continually improve the online shopping experience with us. Happy 2013!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Don't forget to stretch!

Last week I finally had some time to sit down and sew a little, and realized I had been neglecting my stretching routine and I was really feeling it. I thought back to all of the times I've had conversations with quilters who love to sew but suffer back and leg pain which only gets worse when sitting in their sewing chairs for hours on end. I was suffering now too, so I decided to get up, turn on some music, and take ten minutes to stretch out. Whew, what a difference! When I sat back down, I felt better...way better. I had more energy and really enjoyed my sewing that much more. That being said, I came into work at and said to the girls...let's stretch!! We actually grabbed some bolts and had a little fun, but found out how much we needed to take those few minutes for ourselves. It helped our productivity and we felt soooo much better. So, the lesson for all the quilt diva wannabes out there is this - take time to keep your body happy and healthy. Just a few minutes a day to stretch out will make all the difference not only at home and work, but also at hobby time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Scrappy Box Fun!

Wow, summer flew by! We're all a little relieved here that school is back in session. Not because we're tired of the wonderful days with our kids, but because there is some relief that comes in getting back to a routine. Often on days when school is out or during summer vacation, we bring our kiddos to the office with us. They usually don't complain because we keep a special box of scraps just for our little visitors. It's always fun to see what they'll come up with, so I thought I would share one "Project Runway" moment we had here. It's always fun to see the creativity and enjoy the windows we get into their imaginations. You, too, can sneak a little extra sewing time in your hobby room when little ones are around by keeping a special box of goodies just for them to play with. If they're very little, include a roll of tape - that's what was used on Big Bear to hold the pieces together. No one gets stuck with pins or hurt with needles. A child's pair of scissors will do the job, and a few special new items added to the box once in awhile will keep them coming back for more. Happy Sewing Mommies and Grandmamas!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

To Stash or Not To Stash...

To stash or not to stash...that is the question! I myself have definitely been on both sides of this dilemma. For the first couple of years after I discovered quilting, I spent more on fabric every month than on our monthly food budget. It was fun, exciting, and although I have never done drugs, I am pretty sure it was my "crack"  and if they had interventions for fabric addiction my husband would have set one up for me. Then, for two years, I couldn't sew. That mountain of fabric just sat there "glaring" at me, so after awhile, I shut the door and walked away. It was like a big green monster - I came to resent my stash because I couldn't do anything with it. Once I was able to start sewing again, times had changed and our incomes weren't the same. Hooray for the stash! I was excited but quickly overwhelmed, wondering where the heck I was going to start. So I started with small projects and those notorious "unfinished" projects. Whew...finally got some of those done!! That stash was stressful at times, but I can honestly say that I really appreciate that I . I am have it. I am excited to start working on charity quilts and projects that I might not have considered in the current economy and rising fabric prices. So the lesson I've learned, don't frown at a growing stash...think of it as an insurance policy - ensuring you can still enjoy your passion if life changes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hand made gifts...where did the time go?

Ok, so this year I had great intentions of making tons of handmade gifts for my loved ones, teachers, friends, etc. Problem is, my brain didn't tell my overtired body of the plans. Needless to say, my goals were not attained, but I can happily say I wasn't a total failure! After making two really cute portfolios and deciding they were too much work for the time I had left, I switched the project and made two plastic bag holders. I was able to whip those babies out in just 20 minutes each. Woohoo!

After talking with some other quilters, I am realizing I'm not in this boat alone. It seems many of us have the best of intentions, but life and everything in between put a wrench in the plans, with the end result being that not only do we not make what we intended, but we cringe as we run to the store for a quick gift. I often wonder if all of the disappointment we heap on ourselves is for nothing. What would really happen to that beautiful handmade gift anyway?

Run out of time? Girl, run to the store, come home, get a glass of wine, and can always make that pretty handmade gift next year!

Merry Christmas girls!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summertime Dilemma

Summer is upon us and once again the hobby heart-strings are being pulled. Almost every quilter I have ever known is also an avid gardener, so when the weather gets warm and the sun is shining, the question sew, or not to sew? Most of us leave our special sewing spot to head outdoors, dig in the dirt, and get our hands dirty. We enjoy the design, creation, and cultivation of a beautiful harvest. Much like a quilt, it's a process. Step by step we work toward completion with love, determination, and sometimes even a little frustration. We lay out our gardens with the same precision we lay out our quilts, always seeking to attain the perfect complimentary design. At the end of the day we are satisfied to soak in the tub, put our jammies on and climb under a comfy cool quilt.

So, if quilting is our first love, do we feel guilt when we "cheat" in our garden? I know I used to! I was the ultimately perfectionist, wanting to get everything done, and that included every hobby I thought I had to do to be satisfied. All I have to say to that now is what a bummer! It stunk to constantly stress myself out that I wasn't getting enough done, and the worst part was, it took away from the enjoyment of doing anything and everything. Now? Wow have things changed! Growing older, calmer, and a wee bit wiser, I can now take in the enjoyment of doing just what I'm doing, without worrying about what I'm not getting done. The dishes can wait, the fabric won't go anywhere, and the quilts will eventually get done. In the meantime, I will revel in the enjoyment of feeding my family a lovely harvest...the same feeling I get when my son wraps himself in his quilt from mama.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sew Timeless has a new Youtube channel!

Sew Timeless now has a Youtube channel check it out here.

"Timeless Treasures is a family owned business selling wholesale to retailers in the Quilting and Sewing Industry."

They have some great videos of the Salt Lake City Quilt Market, interviews with designers and a tutorial. They are also developing another Youtube channel that will feature industry tips, projects, marketing tips and tutorials. We'll be sure to update you with that once we get word the channel is up!

Here is a video from Sew Timeless' Youtube channel featuring the work of Artist and Quilter Daphne Taylor.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cotton Pickin' Prices...Part 2

Well, it took a little while, but I'm finally getting the "part 2" of my pricing post out to you all. So, I could go into more facts and details, but I think at this point most of us have seen the increases already. Quite honestly it took a little longer to hit us in the "closeout" world, but since December we have seen some pretty significant increases to our pricing as well. One company has just issued their newest wholesale pricing and on new goods wholesale cost is running $4.65-$4.95 and up. I know...ouch! This means shops have to charge upwards of $10/yard on new fabric.

Our international friends will probably tell us to stop complaining and that we're still getting a bargain, since many of them are paying well over $20 US/yd. Yuck! It's funny though, the more I thought about it, the more I could relate it to buying a car. What do we dream about having? A Cadillac, a Benz, a BMW? These are considered high-end vehicles, and if we want 'em, we have to pull out the big bucks to get 'em. So, what's this got to do with fabric? Well, good quality quilting cotton is, the the textile world, the Cadillac, the Benz, the BMW. It is a highly specialized market and a strict expectation of quality must be met. Therefore, we have to pay a Cadillac price to get the Cadillac fabric. When I started thinking of it this way, it made so much more sense. So, for all my girls out there with awesomely plump fabric may not have a Cadillac in the driveway, but you've got a Cadillac stash!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cotton Pickin' Prices...Part One

This past December I participated in a very informative webinar regarding the current cotton market conditions. I had promised to share the info, so here we are at February already and I'm finally getting it to you!

Right now, here are the stats on current cotton production:
#1 - China, #2 - India, #3 - USA, #4 - Pakistan
China is the #1 grower of cotton, #1 in weaving today, and they are the largest consumers of cotton, with the USA being second in consumption. 80% of what is grown in the USA is exported. Why? Because we no longer have the mills here. We are seeing large price increases in cotton recently due to a plethora of reasons: hail storms in Texas, India not exporting, floods in Pakistan, and demand is outpacing supply. The price of raw cotton has doubled over the past year, but fortunately the price of fabric hasn't increased that much! One fact I found really interesting was the price comparison over time. When we look at the past 25 years(1985 to 2010), we see that housing prices have increased over 100%, threads are up more than 60%, food costs are up 50-100%, but retail fabric prices have only increased by 35%! Wow! So ladies, the next time your hubby gives you a hard time about buying fabric, pat yourself on the back and tell him you got the best bargain in town (especially if you shopped at Quilt Fabric Closeouts) :).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Shipping, Will There Be Changes?

As you can guess, the USPS has increased pricing on their Priority Mail services beginning January 3, 2011. This happens almost every year, so it wasn't too much of a surprise, and the increases weren't too dramatic, but we do have some concern about one crucial issue, specific to shipping fabric.

It seems most small fabric retailers use the Priority Flat Rate packaging because it is the best value for our customers. When comparing parcel post, Fedex, and UPS, the cheapest, quickest method 9 times out of 10 has been to stick with good old USPS. The most widely used packaging within the flat rate option is the Flat Rate Envelope. Most of us try to squeeze in 7-9 yards of fabric so that our customers are only paying around $5.00 for shipping. We've seen a few get flagged on the customer's end for postage due because "someone" decides that the envelope is too full and they should charge extra, but when this happens 2 times out of 8000 shipments, its not too much cause for concern. We had heard of this issue sporadically happening throughout the country with other fabric shops, but again, not too much of a concern unless a specific postmaster became uncooperative. Unfortunately, this may be changing. When we went to the post office this past week, our very awesome postmaster informed us that USPS has sent a flyer around showing the flat rate envelopes packed with more than paper with a big "X" through them, basically telling postmasters they are not to accept packages that are "overfilled." The big problem here is subjectivity. Those of us shipping this way, and our customers, will be at the mercy of each individual post officer and their opinion as to what is acceptable or not. The other problem, our postmaster may deem it acceptable, but one on the customer's end will say it's not and either return the package or require more postage due. The hard and fast rule has always been that as long as you can close the flap to the proper position, you were good to go. Now, there seems there will be a great deal of unpredictability. Not good for us, not good for our customers. You'd think they would be happy to have the business, but with ending 2010 with an over $8 billion loss, they are probably going to try and grab every cent they can. So, what to do? We continue to research other shipping methods and carriers, but in all honesty USPS is still the cheapest way for our customers. If they do not allow any depth to their envelopes, this will most likely not continue to hold true, and it would require higher shipping charges across the industry(not just with us). So, is there any good news? There is word that USPS will be offering a flat rate legal size envelope for the same price as a letter size. If they don't get ridiculously stringent with their criteria and allow a little bit of depth to the package, we may be able to change the folding configuration to still fit a decent amount of fabric and use the larger envelope. Another good thing is that because of our volume, if we had to switch carriers, we would at least receive some decent discounts that we would be able to pass along to our customers.

What can you expect from Quilt Fabric Closeouts? For the time being, we will continue to use the flat rate envelopes but we will HIGHLY recommend keeping an order to 7 yards for a $4.95 shipping rate. Beyond that we suspect we will see a high increase in these packages being flagged, requiring customers to pay more postage to receive their package. We will also continue to send packages as inexpensively as possible. For those within our shipping region we often weigh the package to get a better rate and pass this savings along to our customers. It seems that USPS will be offering some new regional offerings as well. We will also continue to pass along information as we receive and experience it, and make changes as necessary to provide that greatest value for your shipping cost dollars.

What can you do? The best way to maximize your shipping is to fill your package to capacity. We often see orders for 5 or 6 yards, which requires the same shipping charge as an order for 7 yards (Shipping cost: 5 yds - 99 cents/yd, 7 yds - .71 cents/yd). If we receive an order for 10 yards, we often have to bump up to a medium flat rate box, which holds up to 20 yards (shipping cost: 10 yds - $1.07/yd, 20 yds - .53 cents/yd). As you can see, if you are able, order the maximum amount allowed within your preferred package/cost bracket to get more for your money. You may also consider combining orders with a friend or guild member. If you each only want 3 yards of fabric, it will be much cheaper for you to split a $4.95 charge than to each pay this individually. If it saves you money, we definitely don't mind at all!

If you would like to read up on the new rates and offerings from USPS in 2011,

We want to wish everyone a happy, healthy new year and we look forward to living the journey with you!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Help, Mama Ain't Got No Inspiration!

I hate to say it, but I'm just not feelin' "it" lately! I am surrounded by a beautiful variety of fabrics, a ga-zillion tools to make sewing life even easier, and tons of books and patterns(not to mention EQ6), but my mind goes numb and I walk away overwhelmed and throw up my hands, deciding to do nothing. Anyone else know this feeling? Does it go away, or should I let my hubby have that stash sale he's been hoping for? Well, let's not go THAT's a good thing fabric doesn't go bad, it'll just be waiting for me when I feel the need, the need for sewin' speed again! For now, I'm going to enjoy the quiet evenings next to the warm cozy fire, bake Christmas cookies for my Dad (I'm his only hope since my mom and sister don't bake), and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas for the 17th - 25th time with my son. Fun times and wonderful memories...I still treasure these things, so I guess that does make me a true quilter at heart!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's that time of year again!

Ok ladies, it's that time of year shop for some new clothes. I don't know about you, but this is usually an increasingly(as I get older) tedious task which involves about ten trips into the dressing room with piles of clothes in multiple sizes. Then after hours of this process, walking up to the checkout with about five things in my arms out of the 200 things I tried on. Ugh! So, what's this got to do with quilting and fabric? Well, I got to thinking on the way home how vastly different, and sometimes painfully the same, these experiences are from a trip to the quilt shop and quilting.

First let me say this mama is no walking quilt! I love colorful quilts, but it takes great pains to add color to my black, gray, and winter white clothing palette. I wonder how many of us express our color creativity in our quilts, but when it comes to outfitting ourselves, we stick with safe basics. Who knows, maybe I'm scarred from the fluourescent "Madonna style" of the 80's I grew up with. I did own a pair of electric blue Reebok high tops in 5th grade. I have to give props to you ladies out there that make quilted clothing and wear it out. You are brave, confident and beautiful!

Going to a quilt shop can be a wonderfully fulfillling, or frustratingly painful task. I can't count the number of times I've walked into a quilt shop, found the most beautiful fabrics within the first five minutes, and had no problem figuring out what I was going to make with them. Then there are those times that I sit, yes, literally sit down on the floor with a pattern and twenty bolts in front of me, trying to figure out which fabrics look best and in which positions in the quilt to put them, just to realize two hours later my legs are asleep and I'm more confused than when I started.

And then there's the times when we go through our wardrobe and think, "What the heck was I thinking when I bought this?!" How many of us do the same thing with our stash? We sit and wonder what retail therapy coma we were in when we picked up that awful fabric that we just couldn't live without the day we bought it. that's why they invented fabric swaps!

All that being said, I have one tip for you ladies that need to update your wardrobe...put your makeup on and do your hair! I had other errands to run so I jazzed myself up just a bit, and what a difference it made when I was trying on clothes. Even after the endless dressing room rotation, I felt pretty good about myself and the clothes I had picked. It's been several years and quite a few pounds since I've had a good dressing room experience. I may not venture into color in my clothes, but a little color on my face made all the difference in the world! So, just like even a little color in a quilt makes it beautiful, add a little color for a beautiful you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quilting...Love It? Hate It?

Have you ever experienced a love/hate relationship with quilting? Shhh...I didn't say that did I? I never thought I would be saying this, but there are certain things about quilting that clash with my "personality" that can cause so much anxiety I get stuck in a rut. Makes me think of my little boy's book that says, "Help! Please Help! My truck is stuck." My brain gets stuck in the mud, I stall out, my stash grows bigger because I can't make anything, and before I know it I'm so overwhelmed I don't know where to start.

When I walked into a quilt shop 6 years ago, I was instantly hooked and went on a quilting RAMPAGE! I bought patterns and books, fabric and notions, and whipped out about 15 quilts in 12 months. I think it clicked with me because I am great at following directions. I was a math geek, and the symmetry and order of quilts drew me like Pooh is drawn to honey. I'd pick a design I loved then cut and sew with hopeful anticipation. I would put my baby to bed and run down to my sewing "cave" to get in every minute I could of quilting in. I could show my personailty through the fabrics and designs I picked so I got to be creative, without having to be creative, if you know what I mean.

So, what changed? Lots of life happened, but one thing that changed was my desire to be a better quilter. I am a perfectionist, so when things didn't come out perfectly, I would stress out. I have even picked out entire quilts that I quilted because I wasn't happy with them...even after many people would tell me I was crazy because they looked fine. I desired to make harder patterns, original works, and obtain skills that would allow me to quilt like the best in the business...a true Quilt Diva! Here's the's easy to improve and perfect skills, but it's quite difficult to become "artistic" when God didn't make me that way. Like I said, I was a math girl. I used the brainy side of my head. I wasn't like my mother and my daughter isn't like me. They're artistic. My mother would paint murals on our walls from the beautiful pictures she saw in her head. She could create and decorate with the best of them, and I always wanted to be like her, but I'm not. I can't "see" designs in my head. I can't bring to reality the masterpieces my heart wants to make. So, I wind up sitting for hours trying to figure out a quilting design or "original" pattern. This happened so many times I just got stuck in a rut and didn't quilt, sew, or create anything for over two years. I bought a Gammill and only put 23 hours on it in 4 years. Sound crazy? Yes...I think so too!

So, I think I just need to get back to doing what I love...finding a pretty pattern, picking the fabrics(somewhat impulsively), and just "knockin' em out!" If the quilts aren't perfect I'm probably the only one that will know...and who cares, eventually they'll probably wind up in a closet or on a dog bed somewhere anyway. LOL.

So, here's my next project. After finishing the quilt top about 3 years ago, it has sat on a shelf because I 1) was afraid to quilt it and "mess it up" and 2) had creative block wanting it to look like a masterpiece without the "master" skills. I'm just going to bite the bullet and use a pantograph so I can just get it done. I'm cringing, but a finished quilt is better than an unfinished one that would sit for another 3 years.

So, what do you think? How would you quilt this baby?

Friday, March 5, 2010

They did what with that?!?!

Ok girls, what is the most frustrating thing about making things for people? Yep, I'm sure most of us have been through it....we find our beloved creations stuffed in a closet never used, on the yard sale table, or used for the dog on the backseat of the car! Whether we quilt, knit, paint, or sew I'm sure most of us have been through this disappointing phenomenon. What could be worse? Being a sucker and making something else for the same person! Now, can anyone explain why the people we care enough about to make something for are sometimes so clueless when it comes to appreciating our thoughfulness and time it took to make them something like a quilt or baby sweater? Heck, if they don't want it or don't like it, I know I for one would rather have them hand it back to me and say so, rather than throwing it in a closet. At least then I could give it to someone else or keep it for myself. So, again, why? Of course I could understand if it's something really crappy or ugly, but when we know without a doubt that we've made a beautiful, well made creation, what makes someone treat it like thrift store junk? The only thing I can think of is that they are simply just "snobs!" What can we do when we've spent 3 months making a layette set and the recipient never even takes it out of the box? We can smile, walk away, and not let it ruin our day. Or, we can grab it out of the closet and take it home....we know they won't miss it anyway!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Ahhh, the wonderful fabric purchase! How many of us crave the excitement of perusing the quilt shop, taking our newfound treasures up to the counter, having them cut and taking them home. Some of us just can't wait to wash, iron, and carefully fold our new stash, others hide it away for a rainy day. For me, fabric buys were like 'crack' and I had to have my fix. I was in the quilt shop every week, and I would dream and obsess about new fabrics until I bought them. I just couldn't get enough, and I'm pretty sure my husband was ready to contact the producers of "Intervention" to see if they dealt with fabric addicts. When my local quilt shop went out of business, it wasn't from lack of my local support. After the shop closed, I quickly found out how much fun buying fabric online could be, but there was a new element to the buying process. The waiting for the package was painful, as I wanted instant gratification. When the packages came, I couldn't get them open fast enough. How many of you gals out there go through the same thing? I thought this picture captured that feeling just perfectly. I thought about the excitement I felt when I went to the Jersey Shore as a child. Nothing was more exciting than the ocean and waiting for the water to run up the beach at my feet.  So, I guess in the end, buying fabric makes me feel like a kid again...excited at possibility and carefree. Enjoy your passion, and the anticipation of those wonderful fabric buys!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Holiday Aspirations

Well, I dont know about anyone else, but with Christmas coming near the "little" list in my head of what I want to make for who starts multiplying quickly. Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays, and when the fabrics for it come out in June I cringe and think, "Why are they selling these so early?" Now that it's November I'm kicking myself for not starting all of these projects sooner.

How many of us feel guilty if we take time away from other things to quilt, sew, or just "craft" a little? I know I do. If I am making a gift for someone I will get it done because there is a purpose to it, but when it comes to making things to keep for myself, I don't give myself permission. Why do we so often do this? Hmmm...maybe this year santa will put "sewing hours" coupons in my stocking, and I won't feel guilty when I use one!

One really cool thing that has been happening in the fabric industry over the past few years is the deviation from traditional Christmas colors in fabric collections. I for one was so excited to see navy blues, purples, mints, and an array of other colors used to create beautiful holiday collections. It makes it so much more fun to play! So, what's been your favorite collection this year? It's so hard to choose isn't it? Let's give ourselves permission to steal a few minutes of sewing enjoyment during this crazy busy season we're embarking on. Have fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Welcome to Our Blog!

A big hello to you! A warm welcome and thanks for visiting. As with many quilt projects, this blog has been a long time "idea" in the works. We're finally getting it together, but we are taking a different approach than most other "quilting" blogs. Instead of the usual "how-to's" and sometimes boring project features, we thought it would be fun to bring you the crazy days of a quilter who wishes she could quilt all day long, but life takes her in a gazllion different directions. We figured most quilters of today could relate, so what could be more fun than "chit-chatting" about the reality of being a Quilt Diva...Wannabe!

Hi, my name is Sarah and I am excited to be your host! To tell you about me..I'm a quilt diva..I wish!!! I have purchased hundreds of books and magazines, have a stash so large my husband threatens to open shop and hold a "sale" when I go away, and I'm pretty sure I have just as many "toys and tools" in my studio as the boys have in the garage. I was bitten by the quilting bug in 2003 and whipped out so many quilts the first year my family almost forgot who I was and thought I had gone into a self-induced "sewcoma!" Then, to my dismay, life, and maybe a bit of guilt, got in the way. I also became so obsessed with putting out a "perfect" quilt that everything came to a screaming halt. More about all that to come!

I am a wife,  mom,  daughter,  grand-daughter,  neice,  businessowner,  homeowner,  teacher, church-goer, taxi, and most days, wishfully, a quilter. Does that sound like you too? Can I call myself a quilter if I don't quilt for a day, a month, a year? Does it count to have all the "stuff" but not have the time or energy to use it? I will share the craziness of it all and look forward to hearing your stories too! My hope is that I give you a smile or a laugh and maybe a little inspiration, so come along and enjoy the ride.