Monday, November 24, 2014

Have you seen the new Jolly Bar precut at Fat Quarter Shop?

You guys! Have you seen the new precut offered exclusively by Fat Quarter Shop?  Jolly Bars are precut from Moda Fabric collections and contain 5"x10" cuts of fabric from an entire line.  And, each Jolly Bar comes with an exclusive Fat Quarter Shop coordinating pattern.  

I've been a Fat Quarter Shop fan for years . . .  that's why I've always included a clickable link to their shop right in the side bar of my blog.  And when they asked if I'd like to play around with a Lakeside Gatherings Jolly Bar I obviously said yes.

Precuts by their very nature offer ease and convenience to a modern quilter because a portion (or all) of a fabric needed to make a quilt is already cut to size.  When I opened my Jolly Bar I started thinking of ideas and sketching plans.  My design called for a background fabric and I opted for the pale gray.  Once I did some math to figure out dimensions, I started cutting, sewing, pressing and sewing some more.  I only had enough of the gray for these few blocks so now my quilt is on hold until I purchase more gray.

With less than a yard of background fabric and one Jolly Bar, I can make about 20 of these blocks and once complete my quilt will measure  about 40"x50".  Though I might decide to make quilted pillows instead and have them on hand for gift giving over the holidays.  Don't you think these colors would work in most people's homes?   Hmmm . . . we'll see.

What's even more fun is that Fat Quarter Shop wants to give one of you a Jolly Bar of your choice. To enter visit the Jolly Bar pages at Fat Quarter Shop and then come back here and leave a comment telling me which one you'd pick.  I'll leave the contest entry open through Sunday, November 30, 2014.  A winner will be selected by random draw on Monday, December 1, 2014.  International entries welcome.

Good luck!


Saturday, November 22, 2014


Look at you there sitting on the train tracks with our dogs at your side.    

It seems like just yesterday you were born.

You've filled our home with laughter, light and love ever since.  That laughter part is especially true between you and I. Sometimes we finish each other's jokes and giggle and snort so much that we forget the cause.  

You grow and stretch and change and gently cause our family to do the same.  And you keep me on my toes.  Like the time this summer when we were driving to pick your sister up from Driver's Ed class and you were telling me a story.  You kept talking.  I kept nodding.  And then you were laughing.  And I was questioning, what? What? What's so funny?  Apparently your story took a preposterous turn of finding a giant hamster wheel in the cellar and I proceeded to nod and agree.  I clearly wasn't listening and you knew it.

Your determination, competitive spirit, and natural athletic ability make you a force to be reckoned with whether on a playing field, classroom or everyday life.  Not in a watch-out-I'm-going-to-take-you-out kind of way.  Rather a come-on-join-along-and-be-awed-at-the-grace-by-which-I-achieve-every-single-thing-I-set-my-mind-to.  All while encouraging your comrades and making them feel like there isn't anyone else you'd rather be with.

I look into your brown eyes and my soul smiles.

Happy birthday sweet girl of mine.

I love you.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Annual Sale at Old Red Barn Co.

Offering discounts on your order, special promotional pricing and/or free shipping is my way of thanking you for your loyalty to my little soap company. I work hard to make a great product and I appreciate when you choose to spend your dollars with me at Old Red Barn Co. 

Use coupon code XMAS to get free shipping on orders over $150.00.

Use coupon code SALE15 to get 15% off your total order.

Buy 4 sugar scrubs and get the 5th one free.  This one is automatic and no coupon code is necessary.

I thank you every day of the year.


Monday, November 17, 2014

It's kind of our thing

About this time last year Razor ran his first marathon.  And he did it again this year.  He trained for six months for this one and improved his time.  I'm so proud of him.  Like so proud I have trouble finding the right words to express it.  He sets goals and achieves them.  He pushes past naysayers and injury.  He endures.  And he sets an amazing example for our daughters.

Razor and I have this thing.  We were standing along the route near the finish line but not right at it. If you watch the video until the end, you can see that as he runs past us he is running towards the finish line but it's not quite fully in site.  Once he passed us, we began walking towards the finish to try and find him.  Over 19,000 runners ran this race (it was a half marathon and a full marathon combined event) so you can imagine the crush of people along the route and especially at the finish line.  We pushed our way along the crowded sidewalk and made our way into Forsyth Park.  We debated the best way to find him and decided to go to the lettered section that started with our last name because the girls thought that he would probably head there looking for us.  As we walked for just a second or two I kept my eyes peeled for him.  And then there he was.  That's kind of our thing.  We can just find each other.

Razor ate a banana and drank some chocolate milk as we walked to the stage where Phil Phillips was set to play.  Our girls were anxious to get as close to the stage as they could because  Licious planned to get a selfie with Mr. Phillips.  The sun was out.  We set out a quilt to sit on . . . and for Razor to lay on.  But he had promised to get them as close to the stage as possible, so that is what he did.  And they stayed there for more than half of his set.  I tried to wiggle my way up there so that Razor could, in fact, go lay on that quilt but I couldn't push my way through.  As I stood at our spot, I could see the back of Razor's head.  I decided I'd just watch him and when he turned around I'd catch his attention and tell him to come on back and leave the girls there.  That they'd be fine.  He turned around seconds later.  And caught my eye.  Just like that.  See?  It's kind of our thing.

And running and adventure racing and pushing his body to the limits is kind of his thing.  That and being a super cool dad.  Formidable competitor.  And unbelievable partner in this life.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sharing the kitchen

They each gain more confidence in the kitchen everyday. Lo mein or chicken pot pie.  It doesn't really matter what we/they are making. It just matters that we are making it together.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I still haven't showered today.  But I have taken my girls to school, worked out, made two batches of soap, walked the dogs, talked with the neighbor and found out he was a blue dinosaur for Halloween, and started a big pot of beef stew for dinner.

Even if I didn't do another single thing today, I've still accomplished much. However, I'd like to sew today.  I keep putting that on my daily to-do list and it hasn't been checked off in weeks.

And blogging. I write to remember. To document. For my children to have when they are older. But the writing down and looking at my thoughts and reasoning them out into sentences regularly is really for me.   Looking at the golden light through grassy seed pods. Spotting my goofy dogs wiggling through the tall grass. Being grateful for the ray of sun peaking through the often bruised sky of fall.

It's all good.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quilt Market - Houston 2014

International Quilt Market was in Houston, Texas this past weekend and I thought I'd take a moment to talk about it.  Quilt Market is an industry trade show that happens twice a year and is not open to the public.  It is where fabric, thread, notions, machine, batting and publishing companies come to exhibit their new products and sell to shop owners and other buyers. It's all business and very big business indeed.

Of course, everything that I'm about to tell you is from my perspective but what I hope to do is give you a feel of what it's like.  For years and years I have sat at home during Quilt Market and trolled Flickr (oh man! remember the good ole days of Flickr?) and Instagram scouring the photos for details of new fabric lines, new notions and books and wishing that I could be there in person to meet the industry people.  I met up with these girls (L-R @csduhon -- Carlie(top) @pukanunu -- Melissa(bottom) and @instaamy --Amy.  Find them on Instagram as they have some things brewing behind the scenes and you'll want to know all about it.) and it was the first time at Quilt Market for all of us so we got to experience it for the first time together.

I was there as a guest of my publisher Martingale to give a presentation (called a Schoolhouse) about my book Imagine Quilts.  Schoolhouses occur all day Friday and generally are in 30 minute increments.  I brought eight quilts from my book with me and Martingale brought the additional three from the book with them to my schoolhouse.  After a brief introduction by Jennifer Keltner, I got to talk about my book and show the quilts from it.

And apparently sing opera.  To a room of smiling, friendly faces which made the 30 minutes pass in a flash.

Schoolhouses go on all day Friday and I was lucky to attend many of them.  It was a great opportunity to hear about products, see them first hand and form a bit of a relationship with those behind the products. Walking from schoolhouse to schoolhouse also allows for conversation, introductions and networking.  Lots of business cards, buttons and promotional materials are swapped on Friday for sure.

Saturday is the beginning of the "market" portion wherein all the booths are open for attendees to look at, touch and feel and meet with sales representatives for buying.  The enormity of the trade floor cannot be understated.  It's actually hard to describe just how big it is.  If you've been on Instagram and searched the hashtag #quiltmarket then you've seen bird's eye views of the trade floor. None of those pictures captures the whole view because it's just too big to be seen through a camera lens.  I spent several hours wandering the floor on Saturday and in no way shape or form saw everything there was to see.

I didn't get to see it all because I spent my time connecting IN PERSON with people I've been working with or come to know online for years.  Like Chen (@mushyhed) and Jacey (@jaceynotjc) who were totally on board with silly faces instead of smiles.

Or Caroline Hulse (@sewcaroline) , Pat Bravo (@patbravo), Maureen Cracknell (@maureencracknell) and Carlie.  Here we are pictured at Sample Spree which takes place Friday night from 8-10pm.  Sample Spree is where vendors sell to the public fabric and notions that either have been recently released or soon to be released.  This allows shop owners to get their hands on fabric, patterns and notions in order to make shop samples to be ready for display by the time the fabric is shipped and available in their shops.  The line to get into Sample Spree starts forming several hours in advance and the energy of those waiting is electric.  When the doors open at 8pm, the crowd lets out a celebratory hoot and the people flood into the ballroom.  It was crazy up in there!

I arrived in Houston on Thursday and flew home late Saturday night.  It was jam packed and has left me with a feeling of inspiration and renewed excitement to do this thing that I so very much love to do.  I want to quilt all the things.  And I want to teach everyone how to quilt all the things.  And I want to use an endless supply of beautiful fabrics in beautiful colors, designs and substrates.

But, before I do all that, I've got to go grocery shopping, clean the house and do the laundry.  My glamours everyday life awaits.