Sunday, October 31, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Wishing you a Happy Halloween! I thought this photo of my black cat Teddy would be fitting for this post. He loves to watch over all the household activity from the upper stairs. He and his brother Poe (named after Edgar Allen Poe) enjoy greeting trick-or-treaters at the door with us and were very intrigued by the many goblins who stopped by tonight.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

QUILT SHOP BLISS

Do you have a favorite quilt shop that seems as though it was made especially for you? For me, Eagle Creek Quilt Shop in Shakopee, Minnesota, is one of those. I’ve been going there since shortly after they opened their doors in 2001. It’s 2400 square feet of sheer bliss. As many of you regular blog readers know, I love reproduction fabrics, and Eagle Creek carries a wonderful array of them as well as more contemporary cottons and batiks. Their staff is exceptionally friendly and helpful and I always feel at home from the moment I enter the shop. These gals were busy cutting fabrics when I walked in.


As a history buff, one of the things I love about the shop is that it's located in a historical 1909 railroad depot.


The shop extends a warm welcome from the moment you approach its front door. A cheerful display of blooms greeted us when we recently stopped by on our biannual trip to the Twin Cities.


Owners Lori Gillick (below) and Becky Kelso have done a fantastic job of outfitting the shop with plenty of inspiration for quilters. Their beautiful shop samples never cease to captivate me.



This wall features 1930s reproduction prints and several fun Moda collections. The shop also had a great assortment of oilcloth and vinyl-coated cottons—perfect for crafting totes and other accessories.


Off the front room is an inviting area filled with fabric, patterns, and more enchanting shop samples. I love the sheep quilt on the left. Lori and Becky have a knack for decorating. The result is a homey ambience that makes you want to linger there all day!


Even the window ledges display enchanting vignettes. A scrappy thimble quilt warmed a bare patch of wall.


Fun holiday projects brightened this corner. Wouldn't this festive poinsettia table rug make a charming table display? The fanciful stocking dressed in dots would make a fun gift.


This cozy brick-lined room is located off the room in the previous pics. As you can see, the shop carries an alluring array of batiks.


This display of hand-dyed wool is enough to make me giddy. I always find something here to go home with! 


A diverse library of quilt books provides inspiration for all sorts of projects. Underneath are baskets filled with wool scraps.


Talk about creativity—Isn't this a clever way to display a wool appliqué design? I loved how they paired it with the antique mirror frame.


For fellow cat lovers—if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Martha, the shop cat. Click on the name "Martha" to read more about her. She even has her own little bed and a fan club! Unfortunately, she wasn't there when we stopped by this time but I've been pleased to meet her acquaintance before!

And what shop project will I be working next? Here's a glimpse of the shop's sample. Now isn't that the perfect project for the owner of two black catboys?


I hope these photos have tempted you to stop by this one-of-a-kind quilt shop if you're ever in the Twin Cities area. It is located at 333 2nd Ave. West in Shakopee, MN. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

IMPROMPTU ANTIQUING

My husband and I recently spent a long weekend in the Twin Cities. This is the first of two posts on our stay. One day while exploring the city, we literally happened upon a small antiques fair—and what a pleasant surprise it was! There were several old quilts sprinkled among the mix of fun finds. I love searching for antiques and when antique quilts are involved, it's even more enjoyable. This is the first booth we came upon. The quilt in the background had seen better days but it still made a striking statement in greens, pinks, and browns—one of my favorite color combinations.


In the same booth, I spotted this beautiful 19th-century green patchwork quilt. I loved the combination of the green with the pinks, browns, and creams. After revisiting it a second time, I decided to purchase it. Although the quilt is quite humble in its design, it really inspired me and I'm already at work reproducing it and making a doll quilt-sized version, too. I plan to eventually offer some of my vintage-inspired quilt patterns (including this one) for sale on my blog.


This old quilt (it was actually tied rather than quilted) lent an inviting backdrop for an enchanting vignette of antique furnishings and accessories. All the booths were so well staged, which made exploring them even more enjoyable.


I was taken with this little quilt's yellow and brown color scheme. I haven't seen many quilts in this color palette but I think I will have to try making one!


This red and white Drunkard's Path quilt made a cheerful table centerpiece in this cool booth. I love those old metal picnic baskets, and isn't the multi-drawer cabinet in the background the neatest piece? If we'd brought our truck, I might have been tempted to take it home with me.


Besides quilts, there were lots of other interesting items to see. This handcrafted doll swing caught my eye. I thought the little doll in it was cute, too!


Does anyone else just love these wonderful old springerle cookie molds? I've had a love affair with these since childhood when my grandma would make fragrant anise cookies with these beautiful molds. I pick them up here and there and display them in a mustard-colored basket in my buttercream-hued kitchen. 


I purchased this primitive button-sorting box because I thought it would make a great organizer for some of my vintage pearl buttons. I've been collecting them for about 10 years now and enjoy presenting a program on the history of pearl buttons to interested local groups.


I seem to have a fascination for multi-compartment pieces. Maybe it's the collector in me who would love to fill every single one of those drawers with my trinkets and treasures!


This miniature primitive-style dresser came home with me. It's not old but I loved its fanciful silhouette. I have several doll beds on which I display the doll quilts I've made and thought it might make a nice companion piece for one of them.


I liked the crisp contrasts of the white and black pieces in this booth. I collect white ironstone pitchers but felt I'd already purchased too much by the time I saw them, so I resisted the temptation to buy anything else!


While I didn't get this next find at the antiques fair, I thought it was worth a quick mention for all you fellow stitchers and quilters. I found these cute owl embroidery scissors during our visit to the Twin Cities. Being an owl lover, I couldn't resist them. If you read my previous post, you probably detected my enthusiasm for owls! Read that post for details about an owl pincushion that I recently designed for Fons and Porters' Love of Quilting magazine and a related upcoming giveaway. 


I hope you've enjoyed this recap of our impromptu antiquing adventure. Be sure to come back next week for the second post about our weekend in the Twin Cities.

Monday, October 11, 2010

INTRODUCING OLIVER THE OWL

As a child growing up just outside an Iowa state park, I would often hear the nocturnal symphony of owls while nestled in my bed. Ever since then, I've been intrigued by their hooting voices and inquisitive expressions. Being a night owl myself, I share an affinity for these captivating creatures. One of my newest pincushion designs—Oliver the Owl—was inspired by my love of owls. It is featured in the current issue of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine (November/December 2010).



Oliver's pocket of “wool pennies” is designed to hold a pair of embroidery scissors or other sewing accoutrements. If you're looking for a fun gift idea for the holidays or anytime of year, I hope you'll check out my owl in the latest issue of the magazine. To celebrate Oliver’s debut, I will be offering a giveaway for a smaller owl pincushion on my blog starting November 15. So please check back for more details later.


SIDENOTE: If Lisa C happens to be reading this post, please email me with your phone number. I tried to reply to your email regarding my owl pincushion but my message pops back with a note saying that your mailbox is unavailable.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A VISIT TO THE AMERICAN QUILTER'S SOCIETY QUILT SHOW IN DES MOINES

Yesterday the hubby took the day off to take me to the big AQS (American Quilter’s Society) Quilt Show here in Des Moines. We arrived just as the doors were opening. As usual, there were some wonderful quilts on display. I tend to gravitate toward the ones that evoke the spirit of yesteryear, although I appreciate other styles of quilting, too. I actually have the kit for this beautiful quilt (the pattern is called "Waste Not, Want Not"). I've been working on it in between other projects for the past few years.


My friend Marge Pearson made this lovely medallion quilt. When I asked her about what inspired it, she said she was just in a "medallion mode" last year. 


I have a weakness for pink 1800s reproduction fabric, so this quilt definitely struck a chord. I loved the scrappy stars.


This striking lone star quilt was entitled "Critters in the Stars". The green, red, and yellow are such a classic color combination.


Being a Jo Morton fan, I immediately recognized this quilt's pattern—"Peppermint Twist". 


This showy quilt with an eye-catching decorative ribbon edge captured third place: 


The show also featured several miniature quilts, including these tiny treasures. Keep in mind they are teeny tiny! The workmanship was exquisite.



This contemporary quilt caught my eye as I walked the aisles of quilts. How creative of the quiltmaker to fashion the flowers from multi-colored pieced strips! 


There was plenty of activity over in the vendor area, where I saw some of my favorite designers. Tara Darr of Sew Unique Creations always has a beautifully assembled booth. Her timeless designs speak to my love of antique quilts and doll quilts. I'm working with Tara on a fun project that I will share more about early next year.



I have several of designer Lori Smith's patterns (From My Heart to Your Hands). I'm always amazed by how many patterns she is able to design each year. Her booth was literally brimming with inspiration.



Halloween was in the air at the Buttermilk Basin booth. Designer Stacy West is amazingly creative and her booth definitely got me in the holiday spirit with lots of fanciful projects. 


Among my favorite patterns in her booth were these little Halloween ornaments hanging from a spooky black tree. 


Throughout the vendor area, there was an abundance of beautifully packaged 1800s reproduction fabrics to tempt the pocketbook! Wish these could have all gone home with me!


And of course, there were entrancing quilt samples like this little "Shiloh" quilt, which finishes 34" x 44". It looked so festive made up in red and green reproduction prints that I just had to buy the pattern. I actually already had those very same fabrics in my stash, so now I will know what to do with them!


The Primitive Gatherings booth is always a treat to walk through. I was spellbound by this endearing quilt with wool appliqué designed by Lisa Bongean and inspired by a Florence Peto quilt. She even had it kitted up with all the wool and cotton fabric. As you might imagine, a kit went home with me!


The Piece Keepers booth was another favorite of mine. They had gorgeous fabrics and displayed them so beautifully. The owner has a love of blended quilts and you'll find lots of fabrics geared for those type of quilts in their shop in Yukon, Oklahoma. If you can't get there in person, check out their website.


There were a few booths with some antique quilted treasures—most out of my budget—but what a treat to see them.


As you can see from these photos, it was a perfect day. What more could a quilter ask for than a day filled with fun, fabric, and inspiration?!