Wednesday, May 25, 2011

KANSAS CITY TRIP PART 2

As promised, I wanted to share more photos from my recent Kansas City trip (see my earlier post for the first installment). Since I had never been to Lawrence, Kansas (about 40 minutes away from KC), we decided to head there for a day. On the way there, we stopped off in the small town of Eudora, where we visited a fun quilt shop called Quilting Bits and Pieces. One of the owners is the technical editor for my most recent quilt book editing project with Kansas City Star. She has the all-important job of checking our measurements and instructions!


She and her two business partners are the authors of several Kansas City Star Quilt books themselves and they are all talented appliquérs—as evident in this exquisite quilt they designed and made for their Leaving Baltimore book.


In addition to lots of lovely quilt samples, the shop was filled with delightful fabric displays. This cozy vignette hosts some Fig Tree Quilts and Bunny Hill Designs prints. Above the display is an appliquéd beauty by The Vintage Spool.


I was intrigued by this shop sample, which illustrates the needlework technique of twilling. Be sure to click the photo for a closer view of the stitches.


Pincushions always perk me up and this cherry pie pincushion pattern and cupcake sample were no exception. The colorful hot pad would made a fun gift for a friend.


I mentioned in my previous post that I've been finding a lot of bag patterns lately and this one from Bunny Hill Designs came home with me. I really liked the color palette of the sample, and luckily, the shop had just enough fabric left in the main black floral print! 


After a pleasant stop in Eudora, we headed on to Lawrence, Kansas, where we explored the historical downtown area. I had heard about Sarah's Fabrics, which sells both quilt and fashion fabrics, but wasn't prepared for the diversity of fabrics that awaited!


The historical building's original tin ceiling, wooden floor, and stone walls made a wonderful backdrop for the amazing array of fabrics. There were lots of offerings by modern fabric designers such as Amy Butler, Denyse Schmidt, Jane Sassaman, and Kaffe Fassett, but I also found some 1800s reproductions among the eclectic mix.


My favorite fabric finds were these Japanese Echino prints, a cotton and linen blend. I saw them at last year's spring Quilt Market but haven't been able to find them in my area. I was going to order them online but never got around to it, so it was the perfect excuse to finally purchase them.


Being an owl lover, I was instantly drawn to this festive holiday print with these feathered friends.


Ironically, while I was in KC, my mail order for this fabric in a different colorway came in! Here it is. 


A package of this sweet owl fabric was also awaiting me when I returned home. I think this print has been out for nearly a year, so I was lucky to find some it. 


If you're in the Lawrence or Eudora, Kansas area, be sure to stop by Sarah's Fabrics and Quilting Bits and Pieces! This was my first visit to both shops and I'd definitely stop in at both again. It's always fun to explore new quilt shops!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

KANSAS CITY TRIP PART 1

I just returned from a trip to Kansas City, where we shot photography for a magazine project I am working on. While I can't divulge the details on it just yet, I did want to share some photos from my trip. My first stop on the way to KC was The Quilt Shoppe in Stewartsville, MO. Home to the incredibly talented fabric designer Tula Pink (her mom owns the shop), it is always a fun stop. Luckily, she was there when I stopped by and I was delighted to see that she had recreated her booth from Quilt Market right in the shop! Here she is posing for my camera in her booth...


I am a big fan of Tula Pink fabrics and have purchased several of them over the years. So as soon as I got home, I ordered several from her latest line, Prince Charming. It is so new that it hadn't yet arrived in the shop at the time of my visit but by the time I returned home, I noticed that one of my favorite internet quilt shops had it in stock. Did you know that Tula Pink creates each and every design from scratch by hand sketching it? I am amazed by the intricacy of her designs. Just look at this frog—the star of the new Prince Charming line.


For her Quilt Market booth, she created this colorful vignette of book covers in the new fabric designs.


Being a pink and green fan, this colorway was one of my favorites!


Here's another angle of her booth. The quilt on the chair was made with her wonderfully soft voiles. I had to get some of those, too.


While I was there, I picked up a laminate and a regular cotton print from her earlier Parisville line.


Here are more Parisville prints and some spirited pillows fashioned with these imaginative prints.


There was plenty of other eye candy to admire while at the shop. Many of you might recognize it from Quilt Sampler magazine (it was featured in a 2008 issue). This display of Anna Griffin fabrics (one of my other favorite fabric designers) caught my eye and I found a few new pieces to add to my collection.


I loved the shop's assortment of creative purse kits. It seems like I find more and more bag patterns that I can't resist these days.


This festive tree skirt was offered as a panel (you must buy two for a complete skirt). Its assembly instructions are printed right on the fabric. 


I couldn't resist this scrumptious-looking cake-laden fabric from Lakehouse. I have no idea what I'll do with it yet but thought I'd better get it while I could.


I hope you enjoyed this little tour of The Quilt Shoppe. If you're in the Kansas City area, it's well worth a stop. It's just a little ways off Interstate 35. I'll share photos of some other quilt shops I visited later this week, so be sure to stop by again soon!

Friday, May 13, 2011

QUILT MARKET MEMORIES

The spring edition of International Quilt Market started today in Salt Lake City and while I wasn't able to go this time, it does bring back fond memories of last spring's Quilt Market in Minneapolis. The highlight for me was watching Ye Olde Schoolhouse quilt shop in Cedarburg, WI, being announced as a Quilt Sampler Fall 2010 shop. I first met owner Jeanie Rudich in the fall of 2009 when I visited her shop on a trip to Madison, WI.  The following spring, I wrote her shop profile for Quilt Sampler. I met up with her before taking this photo of her with American Patchwork and Quilting editor Jennifer Keltner. If you haven't visited her shop, you must go! Both Jeanie and her shop are gems.


Last spring was also the first time I experienced the phenomenon that is Sample Spree, where attendees rush to purchase the newest fabrics, patterns, notions, and other quilting must-haves. There was a huge line to get in and when the doors opened, it was like a stampede. Luckily, I was able to do some shopping before the crowd was allowed in. The Moda booth is always a big draw and they always throw in a fun tote with your purchases.


It comes in handy for gathering all your goodies! I stopped by many of the fabric manufacturer's tables, including Moda, Riley Blake, Robert Kaufman, and Andover to pick up these fun bundles. Many of these fabrics have already found their way into projects since I brought them home last May.


As a lover of 1800s reproduction fabrics, I couldn't resist picking us this fat quarter bundle at the Windham Fabrics table. 


Another favorite purchase from last year was this lovely collection of Aurifil wool thread. It works like a dream.


Attending Quilt Market also gave me an opportunity to meet many of the quilt book authors that I work with as editor with Kansas City Star Quilt books. I had a wonderful lunch conversation with Renee Plains of Liberty Star and I also enjoyed meeting Sheri Howard, who has published two books with us, and Karen Witt of Reproduction Quilts. This year, one of my authors, Dawn Heese of Linen Closet Quilts, has a booth there for the first time. And some of my other authors—Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched, Tara Lynn Darr of Sew Unique Creations, and Betsy Chutchian—are also there. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, MOM

I just got back from a lovely weekend spent with my mom and dad. As we celebrate Mother's Day, I am reminded of how much joy Mom (below) has brought to my life. She has been an encouraging force throughout it. When I was a shy first grader, she sent little notes of encouragement in my school lunchbox. When I wanted to learn how to play violin as a high school junior and thought it was too late to learn a new instrument, she bought me my first violin and paid for private lessons so I could play in the school orchestra. When I was accepted into law school with a scholarship, she sent me a card saying she always knew I could do it. Most of all, she taught me to always believe in myself. Thank you, Mom!


When I was in junior high school, Mom gave me a newspaper clipping with an Erma Bombeck column that included this message entitled "A Mother's Love", which I have kept all these years. On Mother's Day, I always get it out and read it:

A MOTHER'S LOVE

Some day when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I will tell them:
I loved you enough to ask about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home.
I loved you enough to insist that you buy a bike, that we could afford to give you, with your own money.
I loved you enough to make you return a Milky-Way— with a bite out of it—to the drug store and to confess "I stole this."
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes.
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust and tears in my eyes.
I loved you enough to admit I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness.
I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall and hurt.
But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MAD ABOUT MORELS

Early May is one of my favorite times here in central Iowa because it's morel mushroom hunting season. They're a homegrown delight here in the Midwest, though I know they grow in other regions of the country as well. I've been eating them since I was a kid and they're just about the most divine things I've ever tasted. I must not be the only one who likes them because I often see them selling for $20 a pound at the local farmer's market. Luckily, I've never had to buy them since my husband's father and some of our friends are avid morel hunters. Here's a small batch my father-in-law gathered for us a few years ago. To give you an idea of the bumper crop that year, this is a 15-inch wide bowl.


We soak them in salt water to get rid of any bugs. Then we dip them in egg batter, coat them in crushed crackers or breadcrumbs, and saute them in butter. We had so many that year that we literally ate morels for two straight weeks. Morel hunting grounds are carefully guarded around here, so those who find good spots are careful not to reveal them. My husband and his dad will be venturing out to their favorite spot in search of morels this weekend and I do so hope they find some!