Category Archives: My Thoughts

Quilt Photography

I love photography and I have a fairly nice camera. But having never taken a photography class (I have pinned a lot of good advice on Pinterest that I’m sure I’ll get to someday!), I’m always sorta winging it/fumbling around in the dark. I love the magic of a beautiful photo and improving my photography is a resolution I’ve committed to for 2014, but no matter how good you are at operating the equipment, you’ve got to admit that quilt photography is it’s own special challenge.

Lighting, angles, lenses….blah, blah, blah. I won’t even go there, but I will tell you the one thing that has made my life so much easier INSTANTLY! A photography backdrop stand.

My husband is not always the best quilt photography assistant (my parents are surprisingly good and quite entertaining) and it’s hard to take photos by yourself. Add to that the challenge of a yard that is mostly shaded by a huge live oak…but now I can move the stand to the perfectly lit location (in complete shadow adjacent to complete sunshine FYI).

Photo Backdrop Stand

The stand is lightweight, but definitely not flimsy. I can lift it straight up in the air with two hands while assembled with a quilt on it. And I’m very wimpy. I don’t recommend using one when it’s windy unless you like to see your quilt and stand go flying away like a giant kite.

I obviously still have some improvements to make (like, why didn’t I center the quilt over just a brick background?), but I’m super happy with the stand and it will make pattern photography much easier. It’s also pretty inexpensive – definitely cheaper than I expected when I went searching online. I bought {this one}. Just under $65 and free shipping with Amazon Prime. You will also need a set of clamps.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Christmas Wreath

Yes, it really is December already. My door says so.

And he’s going to be here very soon. It seems like Thanksgiving stole a little bit of Christmas thunder waiting until three days before December to make an appearance. I still have pumpkins on my front porch (but there’s a wreath on the door!) I’m actually hoping the squirrels will polish off the pumpkins as they’ve been slowly eating them up since October.

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

I have been pretty consumed with projects. I’m actually a little bit panicky that 2014 is so close because I could use a bit more of 2013, please. Just two or ten more weeks.

Christmas Lights

Two very fun things are happening this week that will be a nice distraction – First, the Dallas MQG monthly meeting + ornament swap + cookie exchange. That is always such a fun meeting and um, cookies! Second, there is a Moda Holiday “Pin” Party tomorrow. There’s a party here in Dallas plus an online event for everyone else. We are all going to bring a yummy recipe from Pinterest and chat and share holiday pretty/tasty/fun ideas. I’m sure I’ll blog about it but you can definitely see what we’re doing on my Instagram feed. I need to Pinterest some hair and outfit ideas!

Around the Studio

{If you’re here for the Classic Modern Quilts blog tour, hop down to this post}

Studio Scenes

I’m sewing a little bit every day – mostly new projects and some little holiday things. It’s all very erratic and unfocused because I’ve quit using my planner and stopped making lists. Those two things are key for me to be productive.

Studio Scenes

But I’m okay with not “getting things done” right now. This time of year is made for just coasting along and enjoying the moments.

Studio Scenes

I’m sewing up pinwheel blocks and ordering fabric for an hourglass quilt top. A just-for-fun project.

Studio Scenes

I flip through these two books almost daily. And I think about buying this book just as often.

Studio Scenes

I’m leaving broken toys sitting about until I come across the right glue to fix them. It will just come to me, I know it. ;)

Bad Dogs

I’m even laughing at my naughty dogs.

Bad Dogs

What else can you do, though? I love them, good or bad. Moose’s punishment was wearing that moose costume. And Will is too tenderhearted to be punished. All I had to do was show him the basket he peed on and he hung his head in shame.

What do things look like around your studio? If anyone is sewing up holiday projects, link up in the comments. I’d love to see them!

Classic Modern Quilts is HERE!

{The giveaway is now closed and comments are turned off on this post. Thanks to everyone for participating. The winners have been announced in this post.}

blog badgeToday is the start of the blog tour for Classic Modern Quilts! I’m excited to be the one to kick off the tour since this was my first time to contribute to an actual book (no, Mom, that “A Sunset is…”  poem from the third grade doesn’t count).  Classic Modern Quilts is the first book from the My Stars imprint of Kansas City Star Quilts, a publisher known for their classic quilting books and their tradition of publishing a quilt pattern each week in the KC Star newspaper. It was actually those old newspaper patterns coming up in a conversation at QuiltCon that inspired the book.

The contributors were asked to modernize one of the KC Stars patterns. We had free reign as long as the roots of the block were still recognizable. I chose the Weathervane block.  I’ve always loved that block and I felt sort of connected to it, imagining my quilting ancestors in rural 1930s Arkansas using the KC Stars patterns to create quilts that have since become family heirlooms.

I named my quilt Spring Storms to pay homage to the original block and to the color palette – a dark and stormy afternoon sky with bright pops of spring color. The fabric I used is all from Moda – V and Co.’s Simply Style line was my color inspiration.

SpringI created three versions of the block – the first is the center and the second and third are really the same block at different sizes. My dear friend Michelle Kitto of Urban Spools quilted this for me and she shared her inspiration on her blog. Her quilting really brought the quilt to life and having her beautiful work on something that is such a meaningful project for me makes it even more special.

You can see a preview of the book here. I’m thrilled to be among such a talented group of quilt makers! I was able to meet several of them and see all of the quilts in person at Quilt Market last month. Trust me, you’re going to want to make at least one of the quilts in this book. I was amazed to see how the blocks were transformed and modernized. {limited number of signed copies available in my shop}

Today I’m giving away a copy of the book and a mini quilt that I created in the same color palette. (These are two separate giveaways.) To enter both giveaways, just leave me a comment below telling me about your quilting fantasy. Do you dream of an out-of-print fabric line or pricey sewing machine? Do you want to take a class with a certain favorite quilter or pattern designer? I’d love to hear about it! (and just in case you’re wondering, my fantasy is to go on the British Isles cruise with Sue Spargo and Jen Kingwell. Yes, that is a real thing! Doesn’t that sound like such fun? The British Isles + a cruise  + two of the most talented applique quilters EVER? Definitely my fantasy.)


The blog tour runs through November 22 so stop by each one for a chance to win a copy of the book. {The giveaway closes at midnight CST on November 22 and I’ll announce the winners on November 23.}

Nov. 11: Lisa Calle |

Nov. 12: Lynne Goldsworthy |

Nov. 13: Lauren Hunt |

Nov. 14: Heather Kojan |

Nov. 15: John Kubiniec |

Nov. 18: Adrianne Ove |

Nov. 19: Trisch Price |

Nov. 20: Tammie Schaffer | and Tia Curtis |  www,

Nov. 21: Amy Smart |

Nov. 22: Susan Strong |


OKCMQG Workshop

I’m back home in Dallas after a couple of days in Oklahoma City teaching a workshop and speaking about the Moda Bake Shop. I had an awesome time! The OKC Modern Quilt Guild is such a fun group and I’d love to hang out with them again. Hopefully we can do a Dallas/OKC retreat next year.

Oklahoma Quiltworks

I drove up super early from Dallas on Sunday to teach at a shop called Oklahoma Quiltworks,  It is a wonderful quilt shop with something for everyone no matter what your aesthetic – solids, repros, handwork + applique, traditional, modern. You can’t leave without buying something. (I mean, you really can’t. I’ll show you what I bought tomorrow.)

Oklahoma Quiltworks

OKCMQG Workshop

The workshop I taught was improv curves with layer cakes. Everyone got a lot of blocks sewn and they really rocked the technique (and chose some awesome solids to go with their Moda layer cakes. I will admit to  coveting several people’s projects.)

OKCMQG Workshop

OKCMQG Workshop

Singer Featherweights are really popular with the OKC crowd. There were four (maybe 5?) people sewing on them at the workshop.

OKCMQG Workshop

They are cute little things and they sew a beautiful stitch. Jemellia of JemJam was at the workshop with her white one that has a kind of minty case that really spoke to my vintage-loving heart.

OKCMQG Workshop

I honestly can’t say enough nice things about everyone I met in the guild. They were so welcoming and really such a joy to teach that I felt like I was on a mini retreat with them. They were equally lovely at their meeting on Monday night when I talked to them about the Moda Bake Shop and shared lots of quilts, pre-cuts, and goodies.

I stayed with Amanda of The Cozy Pumpkin who I met at QuiltCon.  My parting photo is of one of her dogs, Paisley, who perhaps gave me the warmest welcome of everyone I met in OKC. No one else wanted to sit on my lap!

Hello, Paisley

(though I have to admit in that photo it looks like she’s thinking “you’re still here?”)

Thank you, OKCMQG for having me!

8 Little Days

{Sewing for All Seasons; Moose enjoys the nap mat; Organized quilting; Ben at the Arboretum; Pattern sewing}

A few days ago it was still blistering hot September and now we are firmly into October. The first 8 days of the month have been filled to the brim with sewing, family, sickness, domestic triumphs and failures, birthday celebrations, travel, the truly mundane,  and the incredibly exciting. And pumpkins! Of course.

{Fitbit Flex data; My mom was a quilter; Moose with his Papaw; Fall palm trees in Houston; Victoria the Chihuahua; Attic treasures; American Girl dolls; Ben at brunch; Birthday makeup; Not feeling well; Moo Moo}

There has been so much activity crammed into these little 8 days of October that I can hardly believe it.  Much of it is of the mundane variety but the two big items are: 1.  I will be selling a couple of quilts from my personal collection and 2. I am writing some patterns that will be available for purchase digitally very soon and in paper form soon-ish.  More info to come about both things.

Ambassador of Fabric

Ambassador of Fabric

I’ve given myself the unofficial title of Ambassador of Fabric. I love fabric with  my whole heart. And I feel compelled to share this love with others.

Ambassador of Fabric

My friends have other, less flattering terms for it. Fabric pusher is probably the nicest. ;)

Confession: Years before I worked for Moda. I decoded their file-naming system so that I could download swatch files of upcoming lines before the links were visible on their website.

Ambassador of Fabric

I’m constantly telling someone about a new or upcoming fabric line.

Bella Solids Color Card

The perfect solid.

Ambassador of Fabric

Something that is on sale and must be added to the stash.

Ambassador of Fabric

Something that is not on sale but can’t be resisted because profound regret will surely ensue.

It’s my duty and I take it seriously. We are weeks away from what is the fabric lover’s version of Christmas/heaven – QUILT MARKET. I feel like putting up a tree and decorating it with fabric bundles and a jelly roll on top. I could celebrate by buying more fabric and wrapping it with a big (fabric)  bow and then opening it in my pajamas! Who’s with me?

American Patchwork & Quilting Radio with Pat Sloan

APQPodCastBlogButtonsGuest250What a blast! I had a short and sweet chat with Pat Sloan today. We talked about some of my favorite things – fabric, the Moda Bake Shop, fabric, how I started quilting, fabric, the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild, fabric, working for Moda, and fabric. Do you see the theme there? I could have talked to her for an hour. Next time!

If you’re visiting from APQ or Pat’s blog, welcome! One of my quilts we talked about today is Cotton Candy:

Cotton Candy Quilt

You can read the full details about that quilt and see more photos here.

The podcast is available {here}.

Too Hot for Anything Else

Dog Days of Summer

The dogs days of summer are here (104 today). You know how dogs lay  around all day? It’s so hot this time of year that we’re all feeling that way. The only thing to do is something inside, in the air conditioning. That makes it perfect quilting weather.

I spent most of yesterday with a group of friends from the Dallas MQG at Sunday Sew at Urban Spools.  I used the long-arm to baste one of my WIPs and started the binding on this fella:

Too Hot

(quilted by Michelle Kitto – I’ll show more detail once the whole thing is done)

I could sure use something interesting to watch while I hand sew those 340 inches of binding. My son is currently obsessed with Dumbo and its pretty much playing on a loop over here. What are you watching this summer? I need a new show desperately.

What Up, Chickens?

Remember how I said that hand piecing was oddly soothing or some other silly thing along those lines on my last post about Green Tea and Sweet Beans? Well, that was a liar liar pants on fire thing to say. The last few blocks I’ve made have been far more annoying than soothing because I couldn’t stop thinking how much faster they would be to make by machine.

This little set of Drunkard’s Path blocks for example:

20130718-photo (1)

You’re probably checking out that sweet pink-cheeked matryoshka or funky bird in the corner. Or you’re watching that giraffe look down at the chickens like “what up, chickens?” I’m looking at my unmatched points (*sob*) and feeling torn between ripping them out to make it right and the cold hard truth that sewing those seams by hand was a lot of work to just tear out.  Hand pieced blocks are harder to match up and I feel a whole lot more sentimental about those stitches than the ones I sew by machine.

It is quite a conundrum.