Sunday, October 19, 2014

Houston Bound

Yes, it is finally here - time to leave for Market and Festival.  I've talked about it so much that it feels like I should have come and gone already!!!  Market set-up starts on Thursday, but there's a few last minute things to finish up and of course we have to pack the trailer.  Peter is flying over on Monday also, but then heading to Corpus Christi for a couple of days.  He'll be back on Wednesday to help with loading and unloading on Thursday - thank heavens!!  We haven't set up for a show since last Fall Market and Festival and I can already feel my body crying out in pain!  Guess I should pre-Aleve!!

I'm all packed - probably way too many clothes, but I'll be gone for 16 days!!!  I need nice clothes for Market and Festival and then everyday/work clothes for loading, unloading and setting up! Fortunately the weather in Houston will be very similar to St. Pete, so I don't need to bring anything warm!

So, do you want to see our new Market quilts????  I've shared some "in progress" pictures, but now I can share pictures of the actual patterns. 

Soldier's Waltz is made with Paula's collection Landon Creek and I have to admit that it's probably my favorite.  The reds, blacks, cheddar and 1 shirting just make it a WOW quilt!!  My prediction - this will be the big seller.

Bonnie Blue is our 2 color quilt and it features 2 new fabrics from Paula's Companions collection.  I love it in the blue and cream, but think it would also be spectacular in red and white, black and cream or just about any 2 color combination.  I think this one is Paula's favorite, but that's just a guess!
I love when Paula "shops" in the warehouse and pulls fabric for a new scrappy quilt.  I am always amazed that she can look at all of that fabric and pull out just what she needs to make a beautiful quilt - true talent.  Well she's done it twice this time!!

New Market is an "inventory", scrappy quilt, but just in blues, browns and blacks.  Love this one and it is sooo easy!!!  It also has a nice masculine feel to it.  I think it would make a great holiday gift or graduation gift for some man in your life!!

Hanover Stars is our 2nd scrappy quilt and it features 46 "darks" in reds, browns, blacks and blues and 1 light! Can you say "yummy"?  This is probably my second favorite, but not by much.
We will have kits available for all of these quilts and should have them on the website after Festival. International Quilt Festival is in the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston and the dates are Thursday, October 30th- Sunday, November 2nd.  Preview night is Wednesday, October 29th.  We are in booth #1805, so stop by for a visit, check out all of our new patterns and kits or just say hello!!  We love to meet our blog followers!

Next thing on my list is to start my list of restaurants that I want to visit - Lupe's, Las Mananitas (can you tell I'm a little anxious for some good Tex-Mex - the body is craving some good queso), Texas Roadhouse, Rita's, Menchie's, Macaroni House, and Whataburger just to name a few!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Playing Grandma

Well, yes indeed there does seem to be life after Sew-Along!!!  We still have a few things to do for Market, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!!

Thank you again to everyone that participated in the Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along.  I have already received pictures of 3 beautiful quilt tops - are the rest of you feeling a little pressure now?  Keep sending them and I will post them after I return home from International Quilt Festival (around November 5th).

The quilts are all finished for Market and now it's time to finish up the paperwork - patterns, brochures, order forms, etc.  I head to Houston on Monday and we begin packing the trailer for Market and Festival.  First we will head to our favorite mani/pedi place and I can't wait.  Nothing beats Model Nails when it comes to a mani/pedi - it almost makes packing the trailer a pleasant experience (really - not)!

Today I am writing from Ballston Lake, NY (near Albany and Schenectady).  Peter and I are playing Grandma and Grandpa for a few days while my son and daughter-in-law are in Las Vegas  for a conference.  It is so nice to be able to help them and to spend some time with our 2 beautiful granddaughters - Sydney (6) and Julianne (4). We are having a fantastic time and the weather has been glorious!

Saturday was a birthday party and time at a nearby playground for swings and a mini-hike.  Sunday was our big day and the weather cooperated - warm and sunny all day.  Now, you will probably recall that I spent 8 days with Peter in July as he did the Erie Canal Bike Ride, but apparently I "missed" a few things and he had some things he wanted to share with the girls.  We started the day at St. John the Evangelist Church in Schenectady.  This is the church where Brett and Meredith were married and all I can say is "WOW"!!  Did you see the movie Beyond the Pines with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper?  This is the church that was in that movie.  It was built in the early 1900's and is probably about 5-6 stories high.  Best statement ever to describe the seating was made by my brother-in-law when he walked in for the wedding - "Wow, stadium seating!!".The pews are all the original wood.  The entire front of the church and altar is marble. I'll share some pictures, but trust me, my little iPhone pictures don't do it justice.

We spent the afternoon driving around and looking at sections of the Erie Canal near Albany.  Cohoes Fall illicted an "awesome" from Sydney (guess we'll have to take them to Niagara Falls next)!  We stopped in Waterford (where the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers meet) and checked out the current lock and part of the original old lock system.  Thank you New York State Canal System for the Activity Book we picked up there.  It has all the words to "The Erie Canal" song that we had started to teach them this summer.  Julianne entertained us this morning with a rendition of almost the entire song herself - won't mommy and daddy be pleased with what they learned!!!
Cohoes Fall
Waterford, NY

The girls love that Grandma has to get her glasses every time I need to read something.  Last night they decided to wear them - fortunately I travel with 2 pairs!!!  Seeing them in my glasses made me think of being a librarian - it's in their genes (grandma and great-grandma were both elementary school librarians!)  Future  Librarians of America - here come 2 new members!
And that's The Erie Canal book they are holding!
We decided to take it easy on Monday and our big event was an outing to Friendly's.  I don't know who enjoys it more - me or the girls!!! Granddaughters and a Happy Ending sundae - my life is complete!!
Today was a school day for Sydney and we decided to keep Julianne's day care schedule (and Grandpa and I each had work to do), so we got up early for a regular Tuesday. Both girls decided (on their own, no coaching from Grandma) to wear the skirts I made for them.  They were so cute in them and want me to make more - pink butterflies for Julianne and blue hearts for Sydney. I think I should be able to find some of those fabrics at Festival - like I need an excuse to shop!!

We sadly have to head home on Friday.  We'll miss the girls and the weather - still warm in St. Pete and Houston - but everyone is coming to visit for Thanksgiving. YAY!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen


Monday, October 6, 2014

Congratulations to our winners!!

Well you've dazzled us again with all of your positive comments and feedback, so without further ado (drum roll in the background), here are our randomly selected winners:
     Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along quilt:
   Mary Ann
      "The finished quilt is stunning. Although I do not participate in many mystery quilt-a-longs, I knew this would be beautiful. All of the designers are known for making beautiful quilts. Each designer put their own spin on the blocks and I'm very happy I participated. Thanks to everyone for this amazing quilt and the opportunity to win prizes each week."

    Basket of Goodies:
"No worries that I wouldn't like this mystery! From the fabric choices to seeing Pam's first block it's been great! Hope you do this again next summer! Thanks so much!"

Mary Ann and Lori, if you would please contact me at  with your address, I will arrange to have your prizes shipped to you.

Thank you again to everyone that participated and commented.  We enjoyed bringing the Sew-Along to you and it was so nice to read all of your positive and encouraging comments and we hope you will join us on our next one!  Now I will look forward to seeing your completed quilts in the photos you are going to send me!! Any pictures I receive by November 2nd will be posted in the weeks following.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming, no blogging!!  I'm sure if you asked any of the designers that participated in the Sew- Along what they were currently working on, it would be quilts for Fall Market!!  It is our current obsession.  Market is October 25-27 in Houston, TX and we are all doing that last minute push - piece, bind, photograph, and write!!  Personally, up until Thursday I went to bed every night thinking about Market and woke up ready to start another day working on Market quilts. I finished our last quilt on Thursday and now it is in the hands of the quilter and binder, but now it's time to concentrate on names and the actual patterns. Now would we have it any other way - of course not!!  We love what we are doing!!

Fall came to St. Pete yesterday - 65 degrees Saturday night!!!  Can you say "heaven"???  We had the doors and windows open all day yesterday!  Temps in the low 70's and best of all, no humidity!!  Will it last?  Probably not, but we are enjoying it for the time being.  Friday, Peter and I head to upstate NY for some much needed granddaughter time.  Also looking forward to Fall colors, temps and maybe even some apple picking!

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Marcus Fabrics Friends and Companions Sew-Along Week #10

Welcome to week 10 of our Sew-Along!  Ta da - you made it!!  Now it's time to share our finished quilt and show you how you are going to put all of those beautiful blocks into your own finished quilt top. We hope you think it is as beautiful as we do!!

Let's get started on piecing the alternate blocks (there's 16 of them) and finishing up the quilt.

Cutting Instructions: Alternate blocks
   Cream print -
       Cut (2) - 5 1/2" x WOF
       Cut (2) - 2 1/2" x WOF
       Cut (2) - 2" x WOF
       Cut (32) - 2" x 5 1/2" rectangles

   Black print -
       Cut (8) - 2" x WOF
       Cut (1) - 2 1/2" x WOF

   1. Sew (1) cream print 2 1/2" x WOF strip and (2) black print 2" x WOF strips together.
       Press to the dark.  Width of the pieced strip unit measures 5 1/2" unfinished.
       Repeat with remaining cream print 2 1/2" x WOF strip and (2) black print 2" x WOF strips.

   2. Cut pieced strip units into (32) 2" x 5 1/2" rectangles.

   3. Sew (1) black print 2 1/2" x WOF strip and (2) cream print 2" x WOF strips together.
       Press to the dark.  Width of the pieced strip unit measures 5 1/2" unfinished.

   4. Cut pieced strip unit into (16) 2 1/2" x 5 1/2" rectangles.

   5. Using the picture, piece the center 9 patch unit. Press to the outer rows.
       Repeat to complete (16) center 9 patch units. Each unit measures 5 1/2" unfinished.

   6. Sew (1) cream print 5 1/2" x WOF strip and (2) black print 2" x WOF strips together.
       Press to the dark. Width of the pieced strip unit measures 8 1/2" unfinished.
       Repeat with remaining cream print 5 1/2" x WOF strip and (2) black print 2" x WOF strips.

   7. Cut pieced strip units into (32) 2" x 8 1/2" rectangles.

   8. Using the picture, piece the alternate blocks. Press away from the center 9 patch unit.
       Repeat to complete (16) alternate blocks.  Each alternate block measures 8 1/2" unfinished.

Assembling the quilt top

Cutting instructions: Finishing kit
   Green print - set-in side triangles and corner triangles
       Cut (3) - 12 5/8" squares - cut in quarters diagonally
       Cut (2) - 6 5/8" squares - cut in half diagonally

   Black print - inner border and binding
        Cut (5) - 2" x WOF - sew end to end
            Cut (2) - 2" x 45 1/2" - side inner borders
            Cut (2) - 2" x 48 1/2" - top and bottom inner border
        Cut (6) - 2" x WOF - sew end to end for binding (You have enough fabric if you prefer to cut a 2 1/2" wide binding)

   Red print - outer border and binding
        Cut (2) - 6 1/2" x 48 1/2" - lengthwise - side outer borders
        Cut (2) - 6 1/2" x 60 1/2" - lengthwise - top and bottom outer borders

    1. Arrange the pieced blocks, alternate blocks and set -in side triangles according to the numbered diagram.  Each number represents the week the block was presented.
       Add 4 corner triangles last.The quilt top should measure 45 1/2"x45 1/2" square.

    2. Add the black print strips for the inner border.

    3. Add the red print strips for the outer border.
        The quilt top should measure 60 1/2" x 60 1/2" square.

    4. Quilt as desired.  Add binding. ENJOY!!!

Click here for a downloadable/printable version.

And there it is!! Hopefully you've been sewing right along with us, and now it's just a matter of putting it altogether. And now here's your chance to win one of our 2 final prizes - the completed quilt or this great basket of goodies from the designers. 

Leave a comment on this blog only to be eligible and on Monday, 2 winners will be randomly selected. (Remember, your comment must be on this blog only.) This was a mystery quilt - tell us what you think about mystery quilts or our Sew-Along.  Did you enjoy this, would you rather have known what the quilt looked like right from the beginning, or did you just trust that we would provide you with a beautiful quilt?

Many of you selected your own fabric or perhaps you used your own arrangement for our blocks - please send us a photo when you have completed your quilt top (  I will give you some time to complete your top, so any pictures sent to me by November 2nd will be shared on this blog after that. 

Thank you for joining us on our 1st ever Sew-Along. I would like to thank the Marcus Fabrics designers for their beautiful blocks, Lynn Graham and Cathy Peters for the fantastic quilting job and Gloria Parsons for binding the quilt. 

Until next time, happy quilting,
Mary Ellen