Making Patriotic Items

I’ve been researching patriotic items, looking for items that would be fun to make. I’ve decided to spend this week sharing insights on my findings. There are simply too many insights to share in one day. So, for now, here are a few ideas I think would be fun to make {but more to come this week, plus other patriotic ideas}.

Patriotic Pillow from Moda

Nautically Nice. McCalls quilt kit.

Patriotic Quilt Design by Marcus Brothers Fabric

Sweet Libary. Info available on Artful-offerings website.

Nautical Quilt Design, by Pat Sloan

Check back, as I have more insights on patriotic items to share this week.

International Quilt Festival Long Beach

The 2nd International Quilt Show Long Beach is soon approaching. If you haven’t yet made plans to attend this show, there is still time. You can come by plane, boat, car, bus, or train, but do attend this wonderful show. It is the largest International quilt show on the West Coast.

There will be more than 1,000 beautiful quilts, textiles and wearable art will be displayed.

Indian Starburst by Judy Morton.
From the special exhibit “In the American Tradition VII”

Date Night at the Drive In (23” x 30”) by Sherry Davis Kleinman
From the special exhibit “The Silver Screen II”.

Renewal- After the Fire by Joann Sarachman
From the special exhibit “West Coast Wonders II”.

Splendor of the grass by Melinda Bula.
From the special exhibit “Celebrate Spring! 2009.”

Family Flowers by Janice Faulk.
From the special exhibit “Country Living Classics.”
Sponsored by Country Living magazine and International Quilt Festival.

Cinda’s Circles by Karen Pharr.
From the special exhibit “In Full Bloom V: Floral Quilts
in Memory of Helen Pearce O’Bryant.”

Threshers by Inge Mardal and Steen Hougs.
From the special exhibit “The Festival Gallery of Quilt Art: Town and Country.”

A Few of My Favorite Things (36” x 48”) by Kathy York.
From the special exhibit “Pacific Coast Fiber Artists & Friends Present ‘Edges.’.”

There will be over 450 fantastic vendor booths.

There are more than 100 classes with many that still have openings for you to participate!

Within the event is Make It University! ™, a mixed-media pavilion featuring the arts of scrapbooking, rubber stamping, fiber art and paper crafts, textile arts, and more. Developed in collaboration with Cloth Paper Scissors® magazine and its editor Pokey Bolton, Make It University! ™ includes teaching showcases, workshop projects, vendors, Open Studios, and special exhibits.

Clearly, you won’t want to miss this show. No matter how you can get there, you have got to come. Personally, I’ll be coming by a boat and can’t wait to get to this exciting show!

This show will be held July 24-26, 2009, with classes beginning July 23rd. Preview Night, Thursday, July 23, 5-9 p.m. Friday & Saturday, July 25 & 26, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday, July 27, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

All event activities will be located at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center: 300 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802 (front entrance on Pine Ave.)

Fees are $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors 65+ and students, $10 Preview Night ticket (no discount) includes one free additional day. And children 10 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. There is even a full show pass for only $25.

For more information on this show:
Call – 713-781-6864
Fax – 713-781-8182
E-mail –

Or snail mail to:
International Quilt Festival/Long Beach
7660 Woodway, Suite 550
Houston, TX 77063, USA

French Braid Obsession: New Ideas for the Imaginative Quilter, by Jane Hardy Miller

Jane Hardy Miller is a quilter, designer, teacher and author who I find very talented. She was born and raised in California, where she eventually attended college and law school. Her mother, a home economics teacher, taught her to sew by hand and machine, beginning at age five. Jane made her first quilt in 1968, and for the next ten years, she made about one per year, inventing techniques as she went along. She practiced law briefly in Hawaii and California before moving to Miami in 1979, where she married, had two children, and finally took a beginning quilting class. She has been working and teaching in a local quilt shop since 1987.

Many quilters may already know the book “French Braid Quilts”, written by Jane Hardy Miller and Arlene Netten, or the book “French Braid Obsession”, by Jane Hardy Miller. But as I wasn’t aware of these books until recently, I wanted to share my perspective on these delightful books with you.

French Braid Quilts uses a spin on the original log cabin quilt design. This book encourage quilters to play with color, while providing the reader insight on the basics of the design to make French Braids, as well as creative separators and borders.

French Braid Obsession also provides basic insights on how to make a French Braid quilt, but the book provides 8 new design variations. There is also instructions to make beautiful quilted Christmas Tree skirts using the French Braid techniques. But I must say I fell in love with insights on how a French Braid design can be used as a border to make a spectacular quilt.

Personally, I can’t wait to make a quilt using the “Boston Braid” or “Flying Free” designs from the French Braid Obsession book. But I also realize I need to make basic Braid Quilt first. Fortunately I have a nice stash of fabrics and think I can pull off my first basic Braid Quilt quickly, especially with the great instructions that are provided in these books. And they have definitely helped to increas my confidence level for working with color, as French Braid Obsession does a fantastic job providing insights to help with fabric selection.

Overall, I am very pleased with the quality of writing, instructions and colorful photos in these books. The two books compliment each other very well, so it isn’t a matter that you would only want one or the other (you’ll want both in your library). If you don’t have your own copies, I’d highly recommend you buy them both before they are not just out of print, but out of stock!

For retail book orders, contact; please allow 3 weeks for personalized copies. For wholesale orders contact any major distributor. And your local quilt store may also offer these books for sale too!

For information on workshops, lectures or commissions, contact Jane Hardy Miller at

When I finish my first French Braid quilt, along with my first “French Braid Obsession” quilt, I’ll definitely share photos with you. Until then, here are some links to photos of some French Braid quilts on the web, which you may want to look at. And I’m sure you’ll agree with me, the owners of these quilts certainly did a fantastic job (with the help of these great books):

Ann Ferguson, an Australian quilt designer, who realized the beauty in Jane Hardy Miller’s designs, made this beautiful quilt. She appropriately named this quilt
“Bloomin’ Braid” and she gave it to her Mum for her 80th birthday last year, as she loves to garden.

Ann is definitely a talented designer, teacher and a fellow blogger. If you want to see more of Ann’s beautiful quilts, sign up for one of her classes, and read her delightful blog, check out her site:

Also, here is a link to picture of another beautiful quilt with the French Braid Obsession designs.

Tracey M. Brookshier – Brookshire Design Studio

Tracey M. Brookshier is a quilt artist, pattern designer, teacher, lecturer and quilt judge. While you may be familiar with her patterns, she is also well known for organizing international quilt challenges.

Her Bento Box design is one that I’ve loved to use when making charity quilts and/or wanting to use up some of my fabric scraps. As Tracey has come up with an updated and expanded version of her original pattern, I wanted to understand how the two patterns might differ.

I’ve concluded that both patterns are lovely and compliment each other. The new pattern provides 12 new quilt top designs, cutting instructions for 3”, 4.5”, 6” and 9” blocks in addition to the original 7.5” blocks, and hints on how to choose the most effective fabrics for your quilt. I also like all the ideas in the new pattern for different ways to layout your blocks, creating variations to the original Bento Box, while retaining the original simplicity to create a quilt that I fell in love with when making the original Bento Box design.

All of Tracey’s patterns are delightful and I know she provides excellent instructions and diagrams with her patterns. If you haven’t yet tried any of Tracey’s patterns, I’d highly recommend you give them a try. I bet you’ll be hooked like me. I am now trying to select which of her lovely patterns I’ll make next.

Possibly I’ll make her “BB Bag” design is so cute. It also looks like a great project for those that like to machine embroider or embellish. I can just imagine how nice a monogram, cute embroidery design, or embellishment would look on the front of this charming bag.

But her “Butterfly Town” quilt pattern would be also be great fun to make. It is such a cheerful quilt. And, while I do love butterflies I think this quilt would make a wonderful charity quilt (e.g. can’t you imagine a little kid snuggled in this quilt)!

On the other hand, I do need to start making things for Christmas gifts. Her “Christmas Stockings” looks like a fun design that I’m sure many would love to receive at Christmas. It is also another great design for those that like to do machine embroidery and/or embellish.

And then, there is her “Napa Forest” patterns suggests to me that I sit back and enjoy a nice glass of wine, while I’m trying to decide which one of Tracey’s lovely patterns I want to make next. There are so many to select from. But wouldn’t this Napa Forest quilt be great when you have people over for a glass of wine?

Or what about the other wonderful patterns she has created. Hymm…..which of Tracey’s patterns should I try next? So many wonderful patterns to choose from. Which one do you want to try?

You may want to join me with a glass of wine and determine which of Tracey’s designs you’d like to make next, or if you want to attend one of her workshops, or if you want to have her come to your guild to lecture and/or teach, be a judge at a quilt show, or………? She is a lady of many talents, so there are certainly a lot of wonderful options.

You can contact Tracey directly via email at:
Her website also provides insight on all her designs, as well as her schedule.


4th of July Quilt Show at Old Poway Park

Friendship Quilt Guild is holding a free quilt show on July 4th at the Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Road, from 10am-4pm. The quilts will be displayed in Templar Hall and visitors can vote for their favorite quilt. Four winners will receive ribbons and and various awards.

Friendship Quilters is a friendly quilt guild in Poway, CA that has been in existence for ~25 years and has ~175-200 members. This quilt guild has been holding this free quilt show for ~15 years. Typically there are 50-60 beautiful handmade quilts on display.

2nd Overall Favorite Lee Olson:

Most Humorous Janice Rudgers:

Overall Favorite Linda Card:

Most Patriotic Quilt by Peggy Martin:

Quilt about Poway (to be on display this year) by Mary Tabar:

For more information on Friendship Quilters:

In addition to this great quilt show, the Poway Parks is coordinating an “Old Fashioned Fourth of July” at the Old Poway Park. From 10am to 4pm this free event will have plenty of entertainment for all ages. And definitely going to provide fun for everyone. There will be live musical entertainment in the Gazebo throughout the day. The Poway Station Model Railroad Club will display model trains. The Poway-Midland Railroad Volunteers will give rides aboard the steam locomotive for a fee of $0.50 for children and $2.50 for adults. Historical gun fighting re-enactors will perform mock train robberies and gunfights. The Heritage Museum and Nelson House will be open with patriotic and educational décor and memorabilia. The Park’s blacksmiths will be demonstrating iron making and forging metal into useful tools. The Poway Arts and Crafts Guild will be providing demonstrations and selling their one-of-a-kind handmade crafts. Children’s activities will be offered such as face painting, arts and crafts, and old-fashioned games. There will be plenty of lunch items and treats for sale such as an old-fashioned picnic lunch, traditional ice cream social, and more.

While there are many wonderful bands that will be playing during the day, my favorite is the Pomerado Community Band. This band will be playing at 3pm.

This beautiful quilt show and fun 4th of July Activities are going to be held on July 4th, from 10am – 4pm at the Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Road, Poway, CA 92064.

For more information on the Poway Park 4th of July activities contact: Audrey Denham, Poway Recreation Supervisor , (858) 668-4576

Desert Quilting Retreats

Each Year Monica’s Quilt and Bead Creations and The Calico House partner to host several back to back quilting retreats in the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area. These retreats sell out, with the majority of the participants being those that registered after attending the class the previous year. To clarify, this can be a difficult retreat to get into, as it is so much fun that it sells out early. But, there are a few openings right now, which is one of the reasons I wanted to share this insight with you. This is a great quilting retreat and you may want to join me this year.

This event is a mystery based quilt retreat that runs on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The retreat starts out with a fun kick-off on Friday night, where there is show & tell with participants often bringing back quilts completed from the last year’s retreat. There are fabric kits in various colors and prints, all current fabrics. Participants select their fabric kit and start cutting fabric Friday night. Over the weekend they follow mystery instructions that help their quilt top come together, block by block, with the final instructions walking you thru the steps for the borders.

Monica, of Monica’s Quilt & Bead, along with Denise, of The Calico House, and their staff, does an excellent job of hosting this delightful quilt retreat. They are all very talented and provide a great deal of help, if you need it. They even try to help you reverse sew (rip) if you need to. And they host various games and Monica even teaches us how to do beading, if you want to take a break away from your quilting project to learn beading. It is also fun to meet other quilters, all of whom are very friendly.

Each year this retreat has a different theme, whereb some tables decorate, and some people will also wear outfits that fit the theme. This year’s theme is “Oh, la la!”

The price of this retreat is $350 which includes your fabric kit, mystery quilt design, meals, and a lot of fun! The retreat is based at the Hyatt Grand Champions in Indian Wells and has a special price for those attending the quilt retreat.

If you are interested in this quilt retreat, you can contact Monica’s Quilt & Bead Creations to register, or get more info.

I’ll post an update after I attend my retreat weekend mid-August.

Monica’s Quilt & Bead Creations
77-780 Country Club Drive, Suite C-D
Palm Desert, CA 92211
Tel: 760-772-2400 Fax: 760-772-2324

The Calico House
1279 East Imperial Hwy
Placentia, CA 92870
PH: (714) 993-3091 FAX: (714) 993-2316

Plenty of sewing room.

Always a nice selection of fabric kits to pick from.

And all of the finished quilts are always beautiful!

Layer’em up

“Layer’em up” is a new book written by Sharyn Craig and published by Cozy Quilt Designs. I haven’t seen a copy (would love to), but it looks so interesting I couldn’t resist sharing this insight with you.

Thanks to Sharyn Craig and Daniela Stout for releasing a video on You Tube. If you are not familiar with Daniela Stout, she is the owner and creative mind of Cozy Quilt Shop & Designs. This video is excellent that shows interesting insights on the designs featured in this new book (which I’m hoping to get a copy of soon).

If you want to purchase a copy of this book, you should be able to pick up a copy of it at Cozy Quilt Shop. And, hopefully soon, you’ll find it in your local quilt store. You can also order a copy directly from Sharyn Craig or from Cozy Quilt Shop on-line.

Click here
if you are interested in info on how to order from Sharyn Craig.

Click here if you are interested in info on how to order over the internet from Cozy Quilt Shop. Cozy Quilt Shop also has a special in June for free shipping in the US & Canada and 50% off shipping Internationally. You may want to take advantage of this and buy many more wonderful patterns, fabrics & other items from Cozy’s on-line store.

I am hoping to get a copy and make a quilt using the Layer’em up designs. When I do, I’ll definitely share my insights and photos.

Squash House Quilts

It has never been my goal of writing this blog, to write about myself, as I simply wanted to use this blogging opportunity to learn more about the world of quilting, embroidery and sewing. This includes learning new designs, meeting others, trying new products, and sharing with others what I find.

But I recently entered a give-away contest, on the basis some of the patterns in the giveaway looked like they were different from what I’ve done and I thought it would be fun to try. It just seemed fun to think about what I would do if I won. And then I found out I actually won.

While I wanted to share this experience with everyone and thank Candace formally thru this post, I realized this experience had also met with my original goals. I had been given another opportunity to meet a very generous person (Candace), plus the prize will take me down another path of learning new quilt designs!

Candace, from Squash House Quilts, sent me my prize and also included a really cute handmade card.

It is going to be difficult for me to pick which one of these lovely designs I start first. Will it be the Lighthouse quilt, Snowman Quilt, papier pieced quilt, jackets, or ? Hymm.

Thank you Candace!

I enjoy reading Candace’s blog ( ), as she is an excellent quilter and has many great ideas to share. She blends interesting stories and quilting insights, as well as hosts many fun give-aways. It is a fun site that I enjoy visiting frequently. And I hope you’ll stop by her site and enjoy it as much as I do! is a fairly new online store that I want to share with you. They have a lovely selection of fabrics, patterns and accessories. This online business was started by Darlene Sweetwood, who previously ran Quilter’s Connection in El Cajon, Ca. is a growing business. They are happy to order any fabric you may be interested in. Darlene Sweetwood teaches classes from her home, as well as at quilt stores. Personally, I know I want to take a class with her, as well as play with her patterns.

I love her “The Reef” quilt.

And I also love her “I Love My Quilt” quilt.

Her patriotic “Sweet Land of Liberty” quilt is absolutely beautiful and would be lovely to snuggle with while watching fireworks on the 4th of July.

Well, actually, I love all the quilts that Darlene designs and teaches. It truly is difficult for me to select my favorite.

Darlene Sweetwood also provides lectures and workshops for quilt groups or guilds. And, Darlene provides long arm quilting services using a Premier Gammil Longarm machine at $25/hour (it usually takes her 2-3 hours to do a lap size quilt).

Some of the newest fabrics in stock online at Quilters Fabric are:

Check out website for more products.

To contact Darlene Sweetwood, you can email her at
Or call her Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 6pm at 619-444-8800

Danemco, LLC

My perspective on “Sew-economics” is that we have world wide economic challenges, which includes economic challenges within areas we enjoy: quilting, embroidery, and sewing. Many of us may find we no longer have the funds to buy supplies or market our products, as well as many stores that we may buy are products from are also suffering from this economic slump. I can’t say I have the answers for how these problems are going to be resolved, but I have found something that I want to share and believe it can help many businesses, as well as those thinking of pursuing home based business and selling products over the internet.

I believe that not only in good times, but in bad, having good communication tools for stores to stay in touch with customers, attract new customers and sell their products, are all requirements for a business to stay in business. So, while today’s insight may focus on the business owner, it also provides insights tha may help some of us that may be considering selling our creations over the internet. And, I also being aware of this may just come in handy when you chat with your local quilt store owner, long armer, or related business {you may want to share this insight with them}.

Before I go further, I want to clarify that I have a background with a major computer manufacturer and have some experience with internet communications & sales. Thus, when I found a company that focuses on web related services for quilt stores, long arm quilters, quilt professionals, quilt guilds, and suppliers I was very excited. And, when I investigated further, I realized that I wanted to help spread the world about this company. Personally, I think they are wonderful and they also have a long-term customer base that shares my opinion.

Danemco provides many services including, but not limited to website development & support, newsletter system and many others. But one that I find to be perfect for many quilt stores and home based businesses, is Danemco’s E-commerce system that helps to increase sales and they call this software “Danemco Shop”. Danemco Shop is a slick software package that allows stores to easily sell products over the internet, as well as easily change the products offered via this method.

As mentioned, Danemco has a long list of happy customers. Some of those that you may recognize include:
Flynn Quilt
Quilt Artist Studio
Quilter Blogs
Superior Threads

And more examples of customers that they have developed sites for, you can click on this link:
Danemco is also hosting several FREE webinars to their newsletter subscribers. I highly recommend you join their free newsletter distribution list, as it really has some great insights to business owners and those considering selling products over the internet. Near term webinars are scheduled June 26th, July 14th , Aug 14th, Sept 23rd and will hopefully continue monthly on a long-term basis.

For more information on Danemco
Danemco, LLC
3002 W. Pancheri
Suite A
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Toll Free: 800.941.0645
International: (USA) 208.528.0561
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