Monday, August 12, 2019

Reasons to Celebrate

It's a boy! It's a boy! Please join me in welcoming Paula's new grandson, Walker Alexander Green. Walker was born on July 15th and is Paula's 3rd grandchild (2nd boy). Mama, Daddy and Walker are all doing well. 
Amy, Alex and baby Walker

Mimi (Paula) and Walker

Walker, sleepy like the beautiful baby he is - 3 weeks old

It's a book! It's a book! We are so pleased to be able to share the cover for Martingale's new book, Blue and White Quilts.  We are so excited to be included and can't wait until we have pictures of our quilt, Tree of Life, to share with you. Blue and White Quilts will be released December 2nd.

Paula spent time with Walker and his family after he was born and then she headed to Florida for our July retreat at Camp Blanding. This retreat arrived at a perfect time. We spent a lot of time planning quilts for Fall Market and Festival. Paula has a number of new collections that are just starting to arrive in shops and we planned some new and re-do quilts. Needless to say, my hands have been itching to get sewing on them!
Full van! Probably could be an ad for Thirty-One bags and Tutto!

From the side and looking back. Water and snacks are also important!

No room in the back for my suitcase. Luckily Paula didn't drive over with me.

So, until then, I've been working on our Hill Country Heritage BOM quilt. We always make 3! The first one we make while Paula designs it; number 2 and number 3 are made from the actual pattern and it is how we edit the pattern. I make one quilt and our good friend, Phyllis Anderson, makes a 2nd quilt, then we compare notes on the editing. If you haven't seen the quilt yet, here it is. Shop kits will be shipping to the shops that are participating in the program in September, so you should start seeing posters and maybe even some of the blocks very soon. You hope you will sign up with your local shop or an online store and join us in this program - starting date, January 2020. Hill Country Heritage is made from the collection of the same name - Hill Country Heritage. The fabric will also be available in your local shop in November. Click here to see all the fabrics in the collection: 
   Hill Country Heritage
Hill Country Heritage

It's Florida weather time - thunderstorm in the late afternoon. I'll finish up so I don't lose this if the power goes it!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen


Monday, July 8, 2019

NY State of Mind

After 2 1/2 days of driving, Peter and I arrived in upstate NY on Tuesday afternoon. I thought I would fill the days with binding, but the roads were just a little too bumpy and I couldn't psych myself up to work on them. They are a Christmas quilt and a St. Patrick's Day tabletop, so I've got plenty of time! Totally not looking forward to the return trip!

We're staying in a great house that is just up the road from Oneida Lake. As I'm writing I can look out the window and actually see the lake. It was 65 with no humidity this morning, so I even enjoyed a nice walk. It's a perfect spot for sunsets too. By Wednesday morning I had my sewing "area" all set up and ready for some sewing. Only downside, no cable! Knowing I need TV while I sew, my brother-in-law graciously set up a TV, indoor antenna and blu-ray player for me! I am good to go for some intense sewing time. And by Wednesday afternoon I had already made my first mistake! I bought along seasons 2,3, and 4 of Outlander and apparently I was concentrating just a little too hard on Jamie Frasier and pieced 4 blocks incorrectly!
My cute little home away from home for the next 2 weeks.

The duck family that visited the other night during sunset.

Oneida Lake - very calm this morning.

As good as home!

Yes, that is Outlander on the TV! You can even see the blocks set out incorrectly!

Oops - guess I should have looked a little more closely at the pattern.

Peter has been safely delivered to Buffalo for the Erie Canal Bike Ride. I dropped him off on Saturday and he's already finished the first 2 days! I spent yesterday on our re-do of Jubilee Celebration using Paula's new Chatham Row collection with Marcus Fabrics. I fixed those wayward blocks and pieced half the quilt!! I should be able to finish this up tomorrow. It will need a border, but I'll add that when I get home. This is the 2nd quilt that we are making with the Chatham Row collection. Ancient Stars is a new quilt and both the pattern and quilt kit will be available on our website soon. If you've looked carefully at the fabric, you may recognize the prints and especially the border print. Chatham Row is a recolored version of Paula's Baltimore House collection and I think you are going to love it!

Ready to ride!

One half of the new Jubilee Celebration

Ancient Stars - check out that beautiful quilting in the alternate blocks!

Jubilee Celebration has a lot of 9-patch blocks (cornerstones) and I was doing some intense chain piecing, but I did get up at some point and when I came back I saw this neat ring on the floor. Isn't it amazing how that happens and you don't even plan it!

Well, the sewing machine is calling - and the rest of season 2 of Outlander!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Monday, July 1, 2019

We're Back!

Ok, so I didn't realize that it's been 6 months since our last blog post! I imagine that many of you thought we had just disappeared, but rest assured we've been here the whole time! I could give you lots of excuses, but basically I've been busy with travel, business, family, etc and that means the blog gets left off the list. I am seriously going to try to be better, but you know how that goes. I decided this morning that today would be a great day to restart. Peter and I are driving from Florida to NY to see family and for the Erie Canal Bike Ride. I planned the blog while he drove. Tomorrow I will work on binding a couple of quilts.

So without further ado, let's get busy. I won't try to fill in the past 6 months, but instead start with the most recent activity. Paula and I spent a fabulous retreat week at the end of June with bunch of our good friends at Ronda Stockton's retreat house, And Sew It Began in LaPorte, TX. Some of us came from Florida and some were almost locals. Most of us arrived on Tuesday and were gone by Sunday, but during that time we created so many beautiful things. This is an incredible group of talented ladies. I have lots of pictures to share and I still didn't get something from everyone.

If you've never been to And Sew It Began, you need to check it out. Ronda has beautifully remodeled a Sears Craftsman house - yes, the one that you ordered out of the Sears Catalog and it was delivered to you to be assembled - into a great retreat center. It sleeps 14-16 people and if you are lucky enough, you can even stay in the RCQ room - it is decorated with some of our quilts! She built a great classroom behind the house and then recently tore down an old garage and built a store. Yes, we spent a lot of time (and money) in there. Check this place out. I believe her husband David is responsible for a lot of the gorgeous landscaping.
And Sew It Began



Let me share some of the projects we worked on: 
 Pat Meeks probably wins the award for the most completed projects - flag table topper (kit from JJ Stitches), flag table runner (kit from Country Sampler- Spring Green), baby quilt and the piece de resistance Laura Heine's Sea Turtle. I believe Ronda was making kits for the table topper and table runner.
Table topper

Table runner - I made one of these too! Pat took it back home with her. It is quilted, bound and on my table!

Moda Bake Shop Stacked Coins Baby quilt - uses 2 charm packs

Laura Heine's Sea Turtle

 Cynthia Regone was quite prolific too. She began some new projects and shared some new quilts that she will be using in upcoming lectures. These sparked many of us to step out of our comfort zones and plan to try some new things. I know I decided on 2 new quilts I want to make in the near future! Look for some future posts sharing quilts in Kaffe Fassett! She pieced a top using star blocks from an exchange with her stitch group. We exchanged 4-patch blocks at this retreat and Cynthia was able to put them together with Shoo-Fly blocks from another exchange. How's that for luck!
Star block exchange. The stripe sashing set this off perfectly!

Mini floating stars for a quilt from American Jane

Our 4-patch exchange blocks and her Shoo-Fly blocks from a previous exchange!

 Jackie Smith was busy finishing up blocks that she and Cynthia had been working on. They were inspired by fabrics they purchased at Festival last year and then set them with a solid in a fabulous new color - curry! That's on the list for purchasing! Cynthia shared her completed quilt, but unfortunately I didn't get a picture.
Chic Picnic by Sew Kind of Wonderful - great prints and yummy curry fabric

 Ronda was working on sample quilts for the shop. Paula spent a day at the shop earlier in June and they planned quilts that Ronda is kitting. She completed a new Pinwheel Triangle (sorry no picture) and a new Bordeaux. Jamie, who works at the shop, finished our Market Square in Kaffe fabrics. Another quilt added to my personal to do list when I saw this one.
Bordeaux in gorgeous grays - kits are available from Ronda

Market Square in Kaffe fabrics. Love it!

 I don't have pictures from everyone, but trust me, they all worked hard. Wynette was putting the final borders on her Wild Goose Chase from Kim Diehl, Michele was working on a new Halloween quilt, Gloria was working on wool projects for her new program and Vicky was whipping through some quilt tops! Paula was working on patterns and a baby quilt and helping Pat with her turtle. Paula is our Laura Heine kit expert - she's made 3 of them now! I made the flag table runner after Ronda made kits and worked on a re-do of Jubilee Celebration in Paula's new Chatham Row collection. I will share that sometime this week, when I have more put together. It's the project I will be working on while Peter does the bike ride.
This was a really long post, but I hope you enjoyed seeing all these beautiful quilts. I got to hang out with some really talented ladies AND I got to enjoy some queso - always a win for me.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellem

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It's Here! It's Here!

We are so excited to announce that our new book is out and available for purchase! Step Back in Time is our second book with Martingale Publishing and we are so pleased with the way it came out. Thank you so much to all the wonderful people at Martingale and the effort they made for our book. They truly work miracles!! And without further ado, here it is!

There are 13 projects in the book and 12 new patterns. The projects range in size from Itty Bitty Leftovers at 26 1/2"x 26 1/2" to Kentucky Baskets at 87 1/2" x 96". There's something here for everyone! Our focus was on scrappy quilts. We hear everyone talking about decreasing their stash and using up some of their scraps and hopefully the quilts in this book will help you with that. Click on this link to order your signed copy!

If you want to hear more about the book, our thoughts behind it and how we got started in this business, check out "Stitch This! The Martingale Blog" and see our videos - yes, we're trying that video thing again! I think you'll find we're a lot more relaxed in these. There's also a great story about the cover quilt - Potato Chip Stars. Here's the link:

Paula and I got to spend some time together this past week. 7 boxes of fabric arrived at the warehouse, so I flew to Houston and we cut fabric and our dear friend Jackie folded and assembled the kits.(Thank you Jackie!) We've been anxiously waiting for this fabric - it's fabric for the Baltimore Baskets and Anna Ella kits! We ran out of these kits at Festival and still had a number of people interested in ordering them, so they are back on the website. Don't forget to look at the other great kits we added after Festival: Basket of Stars, Remembering Sue, Hopkins Way, Fav's 6 (these all feature Paula's Baltimore House collection), Mini Lincoln's Watch, Bonnie Blue and Lydia.

Baltimore Baskets features the panel - applique without actually having to do applique!

Anna Ella uses the beautiful border stripe, but in a unique way - as the setting and corner triangles!

To order any of these kits, click on this link to take you to the Kits section of our website.

My suitcase was quite a bit heavier on the return trip - Paula planned at least 3 new quilts while we worked in the warehouse.

It's a short blog today, just sharing great things and now I have to go pack for my upcoming cruise - South America and Antarctica! Yes, winter clothes and summer clothes! A true challenge!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

It's Time!

My bags are all packed and sitting at the front door.  My ride to the airport will be here in about 30 mins - yes, quick post. The quilts are finished, the photographs are done and the last pattern has to be edited. What does this mean?  It's time to head to Houston for International Quilt Market and Festival! I'm heading to Paula's a week early so we can work on kit assembly.  Lots of cutting and folding in my future!

Here are the dates and links to the Quilts Inc website for each of these events:

Saturday, November 2 - Monday, November 5
Booth 1802

Wednesday, November 7 - Preview Night
Thursday, November 8- Sunday, November 11 
Booth 1802

When Festival is over, we will be heading to Menasha, Wisconsin for our retreat! We are so excited and we just found out that we had a couple of cancellations, so there are some openings. If you were thinking about it and thought you couldn't get in, don't worry, we have a spot for you!  You can't guarantee much in life anymore, but I am confident in promising that you will have a great time - quilting, old friends, new friends, shopping, eating, and of course laughing. What more could you ask for!! The retreat house is a fantastic location for teaching, plus you will have the opportunity to shop at some of the finest quilt shops around - Primitive Gatherings, JJ Stitches and Country Sampler. We will also be setting up a shop at the retreat house and will have kits available for all of the new quilts that will be featured at Market and Festival. Watch for a future post with photos of our new quilts and re-do's. For details, cost and registration form, go to:
Here's the dates again: Tuesday, November 13 - Monday, November 19, 2019

Paula will be teaching 2 quilts that feature her new collection, Baltimore House, from Marcus Fabrics. Kits for each of the quilts include backing and are included in your fee.

We hope you can join us at our retreat or stop by and see us at Market and Festival.  You're going to love all of the new things we have to share.

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Friday, September 14, 2018

Richmond BOW Video 6

Thank you for your patience as we struggle through the technical issues involved in producing a video! Steven Spielberg we're not! Just when you think you have it right, it goes and does something crazy, like running in slow motion for no apparent reason!! But without further ado, here it is, Video 6! This is the last video for the Richmond BOW program and it focuses on the steps for finishing your quilt top. Here's the link and you know the drill!

We will leave these videos on our website for awhile, so if you haven't had a chance to watch them or started and don't have time to catch up, they will be there for your convenience. If you are just getting started and would like to purchase a pattern, complete kit or starter kit, we still have some available.  Click here to place your order:

         BOW Kits and Patterns

Did you notice the change in the backdrop in the last video? Some segments were filmed in Paula's studio. You got to see a little bit of where the design magic happens.  Maybe someday we'll do videos of each of our sewing rooms. First, we would have to make sure they were clean!!
I'm finishing up my 3 weeks of travel with a visit to Louisville, KY. My son-in-law is in Belgium with my husband and two of my brothers-in-law as they tour WWI battlefields where their grandfather fought.  One sister-in-law calls it the "War Tour", but my son-in-law calls it the "Beer, Battlefields and Bikes" tour. Whatever you want to call it, they are having a great time and I'm enjoying my time with Megan and my grandson Adam. Little Man is just adorable and keeps me laughing. He still goes to daycare during the day because I've needed the time to work on a quilt for Fall Market! In addition to my regular suitcase, I hauled a sewing machine and sewing projects with me. Let me just share a couple of pics of this little cutie!

Yes, that is a strainer he is holding! He loves his kitchen utensils, but strainer is his favorite. Great for a quick game of Peek-A-Boo, too

Paula designed a number of quilts using her Baltimore House collection and I'm working my way through them. Baltimore Baskets and Baskets of Stars focused on using all of the fabrics in the collection, but the next two quilts feature 3-4 fabrics each. I brought the Blue and Brown quilt with me and I'm proud to say that the top is done, except for the borders! I'll be home Monday afternoon and should be able to add the borders pretty quickly and then it is off to the quilters! Up next will be the Pink and Green quilt.
Four patch blocks - I made a lot of these for this quilt
All those great four patch blocks in some big blocks

A couple of weeks ago I shared the picture of the Little Debbie's Fall food, but today I have the real Fall food - Pumpkin Spice bread! Now this is what Fall is all about - anything pumpkin.  I know there are many of you that look forward every year to the arrival of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte, but coffee is not my thing.  I need a good carb and Pumpkin Spice bread does it for me! I suggest cream cheese as your topping!

Many of you may have received an email today about our November 2018 retreat at Primitive Gatherings Retreat House in Menasha, WI.  There are only a couple of spaces left and we would love to have you join us - the more the merrier! You can't guarantee much in life anymore, but I am confident in promising that you will have a great time - quilting, old friends, new friends, shopping, eating, and of course laughing. What more could you ask for!! The retreat house is a fantastic location for teaching, plus you will have the opportunity to shop at some of the finest quilt shops around - Primitive Gatherings, JJ Stitches and Country Sampler. For details, cost and registration form, go to:

For all of you in Florence's path, please stay safe! Heed the warnings and follow the evacuation mandates and suggestions. 

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Thursday, September 6, 2018

BOW Video 5

Ok, so it's Thursday and we're just getting around to putting the next video up and sending out a blog, but trust me, we have good excuses!! Labor Day totally threw us off and we thought Wednesday was actually Tuesday, I was traveling home from NY and Paula was in The Woodlands for a lecture and workshop! I have to say, it's been one busy summer, but here you go, Richmond BOW Video 5 is on the website! You know how this works - click on the link that takes you to our Homepage, find the Intro video, find the link that says "Click Here to See More Videos, and find video 5!

We hope you are enjoying our BOW video series and that you are following along with us.  There are still some kits available if you are interested.

Today I have a rather eclectic blog - vacation photos, upcoming quilts, bees, and food. First up, bees. A couple of weeks ago I promised that I would share a picture of the quilt that Paula worked on during our last retreat.  It was a birthday gift for her oldest daughter Alison (who's nickname is Ali B) and I finally have a picture to share! Honey Bee is the second quilt (first one was Abilene Cow) that Paula has done by designer Laura Heine. You can buy complete kits for these collage quilts. I've been looking at the Sea Turtle one myself, but I'm just a little too busy right now. I would really love to make the fox one, but the kits are gone and there's no way I could do this without a kit!!! Beautiful job, Paula!! And to think it was all made and quilted in just 2 days!
Paula and her daughter Alison - Ali B!
 I'll combine vacation and food because we ate one of my favorite foods on our vacation - salt potatoes! These are a Syracuse clambake/summer staple - 4 pounds of small potatoes boiled in 1 pound of salt and eaten with lots of butter! Yes, heart attack on a plate, but OMG they are so good!!! Here's a little history from Wikipedia:
  The Syracuse, New York, area has a long history of salt production. Salt springs located around Onondaga Lake were used to create consumable salt that was distributed throughout the northeast via the Erie Canal. Salinated brine was laid out to dry on large trays. The salt residue was then scraped up, ground, and packaged.
Salt potatoes originated in Syracuse and once comprised the bulk of a salt worker's daily diet. During the 1800s, Irish salt miners would bring a bag of small, unpeeled, substandard potatoes to work each day. Come lunch time, they boiled the potatoes in the "free-flowing" salt brine.
I did manage to bring a bag home with me!!!

Our last day of Grandma/Grandpa Camp was a trip to the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown. In addition to the Living History farm and village, they also have the Empire State Carousel a unique, handcrafted merry-go-round based on the history and culture of NY State that was created over 2 decades by over 1000 volunteer carvers, quilters, painters and woodworkers. The girls loved riding on it and I enjoyed the small quilts that were hanging in the building.
I think this was actually rug hooked.

I loved this one - Rip Van Winkle for the Catskills Region quilters

We're making progress on our journey through Paula's Baltimore House fabrics.  Two quilts are done and fabric for the next 3 has been selected. I started working on the Pink/green quilt, but I'm waiting on more light fabric, so I've switched to the next one - Blue/brown. It's going with me to Louisville tomorrow. There's still a Blue/cream one to go too!
Pink and green with a touch of red    
Brown and blue

September 12th will be our final video - #6 - and it will be all about finishing your quilt - Piecing the Top, Trimming the Sides and Adding the Border. It's to believe that our BOW is almost over! Hopefully we can actually have everything ready on Wednesday!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen