Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Boo! It's Almost Halloween

It's shameless commerce Tuesday, and I'm just catching my breath (and catching up on my sleep) after a crazy busy weekend stitching up custom orders, participating in an Alzheimer's Walk, and visiting grandsons to make my annual purchase of Boy Scout popcorn.  

One of my really fun weekend projects was making 22 Halloween treat bags!  The bright polka dots on white fabric has friendly little spiders dangling from their not too scary webs.  I used darker trim fabric that has the look of rick rack (or colorful tire treads, if you're a little boy).  The handles are grosgrain ribbon. These cute bags will be party favors for kindergarten class Halloween party.  Another order was for a little treat bag for Baby's First Halloween.  

I'll be making dozens more of these treat bags in a variety of fabrics for a craft fair in October.  I also plan to add ready to ship listings as well as my current made to order listing to my Etsy shop.   The 4x4x2 fully-lined cotton mini-totes are fun, functional and eco-friendly.  They could also double as a doll trick-or-treat bag or tote, or a miniature car take-along bag.


Soon the frost will be on the pumpkins, and before we know it, Halloween will be here.  If you'd like to add some fall color or Halloween whimsy to your table or buffet, check out my Fall and Halloween table runners.  They are in the Kitschy Kitchen Stuff section of my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pasqueflower?section_id=10144150.


You can "window shop" using my Etsy shop slide show in the left-hand column of this blog, or visit Pasque Flower Creations on Etsy.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Celebrate Color Deep Teal Clutch

My Celebrate Color entry is a 1930s style deep teal clutch bag with front pleat detail and bow trim.  


The deep teal is a "mystery fabric."  There was no identifying manufacturer or designer mark on the selvage –and none on the bolt-- which was buried in a stack of $3.00 per yard fabrics at Fabric Expressions—a fabulous fabric shop in Concordia, Kansas.  My best guess is that it is a wool and rayon blend.  I bought it because I loved the color even though it didn't have a proper fabric "pedigree".  The Deep Teal which is one of the Pantone Fall 2011 trendy colors.

The 100% cotton lining fabric has tiny triangles in purple, deep teal, black,and tan.  It was a fat quarter from my stash that I'd been hoarding, waiting for the right project.   Sadly, the selvage had been removed, and I do not know the designer or manufacturer.  The small-scale geometric print is a contrast to the softer, feminine lines of the outer bag, but the deep teal color allows the two fabrics to play well together.


The flap has a magnetic snap closure.  Lightweight fusible interfacing was used inside the flap and bow.  I used fusible fleece between the bag and lining to add body and subtle shaping.  I left the pleated area "unfused" so the pleats would drape more naturally.


The vintage inspired clutch bag was made using the "High Tea" Clutch pattern designed by Emma Brennan for Charlie's Aunt:  www.charliesaunt.com. 


To see other Celebrate Color entries in four categories (Home Decor, Wearables, Yarn, and Needlepoint), use the link at the lower right hand column of this blog.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Friday, September 23, 2011

Bloggers' Dinner Party September 2011

Here is my entry in the September Blogger's Dinner Party.  These oven mitts feature 100% cotton screen print fabric from the Metro Café line by Monaluna for Robert Kaufman.  I made a similar pair for my daughter last Christmas using a bright color way in the same Metro Cafe fabric line.   And her two brothers also received oven mitts in other fun fabrics -- pie fabric for Tim and Michael Miller's great Flatware in Vintage, also from Metro Cafe, for Jeff.  


I love how this fabric has a retro vibe ( I haven't used an egg beater in awhile), but uses modern colors.  You'll find Deep Teal, Cedar, and Nougat – all Pantone Fall 2011 trendy colors – in this print.  The lining and binding fabric is Samsara by Benartex in willow green.  I love that these mitts are fully lined – no scratchy seams.   Heat resistant InsulBrite with fleece was used for the batting.  I used simple straight line machine quilting.  I love my walking foot for projects like this!


These mitts bring out my inner Betty Crocker.  Yes, it's true, I was South Dakota's Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow in 1971.   I got kidded about that a lot (I'm not the world's greatest cook)—but I was very grateful for the generous scholarship provided by General Mills which covered all my tuition and living expenses during my first two years of college back when I was a mini-skirted Home Ec major at South Dakota State University.  I later veered WAY off that course and went to law school.


To find out more about the Bloggers' Dinner Party, and to view other entries, click on the widget in the lower right hand column of this blog.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Won the Cutest Fabric!

This post will be short and sweet.  I am doing a happy dance here in Nebraska!


I was the lucky one of 893 entrants to win a fabric giveaway sponsored by Maureen Cracknell Handmade and The Intrepid Thread. 


A HUGE thank you to the talented and generous Maureen, author of one of my FAVORITE blogs: http://maureencracknellhandmade.blogspot.com.  There are more Friday giveaways in the works, I hear!


And another HUGE thank you to Julie at The Intrepid Thread, one of my new favorite online quilt shops http://www.intrepidthread.com and blogs:  http://intrepidthread.blogspot.com. 


Don't you just LOVE this Little Apples fabric designed by Aneela Hoey for Moda!  I won a fat quarter bundle of this darling fabric.  Too cute!  Love the aqua and red color combination. This fabric makes me Sparkle!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cool Cats

It's shameless commerce Tuesday, and I'm happy to say that I've been busily working on MORE custom orders!  So today I'm featuring CUSTOM walker bags.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/73698420/walker-bag-custom-made-choose-your-theme?ref=pr_shop.   These bags are pretty and practical, and would be a perfect gift for someone who needs to use a walker for mobility.


I just had to share these fun cat fabrics, purchased at one of my local quilt shops, The Quilted Kitty: www.thequiltedkitty.com.    These fabrics will be used to create a custom walker bag for an 86-year-old cat lover.  Her daughter shopped online for the fabric, and I ran to the store after work to pick it up "in person."   The cool cats are from Timeless Treasures Fabrics, Inc.  The tone-on-tone Meow fabric is from the "Where's the Cat?" line designed for Exclusively Quilters.  I chose the gold tone-on-tone for an accent strip, and the fun striped buttons from Doodlebug Design Inc.   I can't wait to get started on this fun project!


I also have a ladybug walker bag in the planning / collaborating stages.  I hit the mother lode searching for ladybug fabrics at http://www.bugfabric.com/ladybugs.htm.  Who knew???!!!???  It's a bit overwhelming!  (I still like Wendy Slotboom's Breeze fabric collection which has a smattering of ladybugs hiding among colorful flowers and leaves.) http://www.etsy.com/listing/74896862/destash-fabrics-wendy-slotboom-breeze


I've also been busy making more baby blankets and baby quilts.  I went on a major shopping spree this weekend to stock up on minky and plush fabrics for an ultra soft and cuddly backing for the blankets.  These fabrics are irresistibly soft, but a bit tricky to sew.  The walking foot is my friend!! 


I plan to list at least one new baby blanket each week until the end of November.  I have four cut out and pin-basted.  The day job just cuts into my sewing time!   So check out that section of my store if you or someone you know has a baby on the way (or coming to visit).  You're bound to find something new: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pasqueflower?section_id=8079641. 



LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cute as a Button Friendship Necklaces

I'm preparing for a local craft fair on October 30, 2011.  Last year was my first venture into the craft fair world, and I actually made a small profit, so I decided to "re-up" this year.


One lesson I took away from my 2010 experience was:  Low cost items for kids WILL sell.  Last year the only low cost children's items I had were miniature Halloween bags.  I almost sold out!!  I had only two left at the end of the day, so I'm taking twice as many this year.


This weekend, I also played around with another low cost "impulse buy" item ---little girl necklaces made from polymer clay and ceramic buttons on colorful cording with metal ball clasp and ring closures.   I'm calling them Cute as a Button Friendship Necklaces.  We'll see how that goes. I'm still fumbling a bit with my tiny pliers and the ball clasps.  I'm much more comfortable with a needle and thread!


The polymer clay buttons are from Ayarina: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ayarina. I purchased the handmade ceramic buttons from Buttonalia: http://www.etsy.com/shop/buttonalia.  I also have some beautiful polymer clay buttons from Polymer Claybox, but the holes are too small for my 2mm cording, so I may need to use heavy pearl cotton?  I'm still pondering what to do with those.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Purse Week 2011 Entry Red Linen Clutch

My Purse Week entry is finished!            


This red linen clutch features a pleated front, a magnetic snap closure, and a jaunty bow trim on the flap.  The 1930s style bag was made using the "High Tea" Clutch pattern designed by Emma Breannan for Charlie's Aunt, www.charliesaunt.com. 


I used fusible fleece as interfacing to add body to the bag, and lighter-weight fusible interfacings for the flap and bow trim. I used a magnetic snap closure.The lining is a 100% cotton print featuring oversized butterflies in shades of red, magenta, pink, gold and black.  There is one inner pocket, reinforced at all corners for durability.


I've uploaded my photos to the Purse Week Flickr 2011 Group.  You can see some of the other amazing entries here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1716482@N25/pool.   Ten finalists will be chosen with voting during Purse Week, September 26-30, 2011. 


Entries are accepted until 11:59 MST on Friday, September 30, 2011.  For more information, click on the Purse Week button---scroll WAY down to the bottom right hand corner of my blog. 


I'm pleased with the way this turned out.  It will be a present for my very "with it" Aunt Jan, who is seventy-something and still going strong (touring Europe with her new hubby as I type). 



LeAnn aka pasqueflower




Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Colors

I'm planning to do a little stitchery for the Celebrate Color promotion (check the widget in the bottom right column of my blog), so today I ventured out with my 40% off coupon and picked out some Fall floss colors.  (I prefer Cosmo floss, which I use for redwork, but I can't get it locally, so I order from a little quilt shop in Hettinger, ND -- Dakota Cabin Quilts.  I won't have time to order it from ND and still meet my deadline.  DMC will be just fine for my little project.  Note to Self:  I'll have to stop procrastinating one of these days.)


I hope to be able to show you the finished Celebrate Color project in a few days.  I'm almost finished with my first Purse Week entry (another widget -- scroll WAY down -- it's on your right).  Stay tuned for photos in a day or two.


In the meantime, enjoy the cooler weather as we transition into Fall, cheer on your favorite football team, and have a great weekend!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Friday, September 16, 2011

Baltimore on the Prairie

Three years ago I had the great good fortune of participating in the first Baltimore on the Prairie appliqué conference, coordinated by Tresa Jones.  http://baltimoreontheprairie.tresajones.com.  God willing, I will attend a one-day session in 2012.   (If I win the lottery so I can quit my day job, I'll attend all four days!)  The conference is held at Mahoney State Park, only 32 miles from my home. 


Baltimore Album quilts are intricately hand appliquéd quilts, usually consisting of 25 or more large blocks, often surrounded by beautiful appliquéd borders.  Most of the original quilts were made between 1846 and 1853. 


One of the teachers at Baltimore on the Prairie is Nancy Kerns.  Nancy's Mary Simon Rediscovered quilt was the winner of the Founder's Award prize at the prestigious International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, in November of 2010.  The quilt also won the Best Hand Workmanship Award at the American Quilter's Society show in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The "original" Mary Simon quilt which was the inspiration for Nancy's quilt is located at The DAR Museum in Washington, DC.  http://www.baltimoreapplique.com/marysimon.html


If you or someone you know would like to make your own Mary Simon reproduction Baltimore Album Quilt, patterns are available from the NSDAR Museum Store for $25.00, plus shipping.  Visit the NSDAR Museum Store at 1776 D St. NW, Washington, DC 20006-5303, or call the NSDAR Museum Store (202)879-3208, 9:30-4:00 weekdays and 9:00-5:00 Saturdays.  But keep in mind that Nancy Kerns is a pro, and it took her over six years to complete her prize winning quilt!!


I was able to see Nancy's awesome quilt up close and personal at a recent lecture at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum (IQSC) here in Lincoln, Nebraska.  http://www.quiltstudy.org.   Nancy also displayed smaller quilts and works in process, photographed by Sheila Green, past president of the Lincoln Quilters Guild and a volunteer at IQSC, and posted on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.214238118636324.53206.100001504133185.  The IQSC has ten Baltimore Album quilts in its permanent collection.  To view images online visit: http://www.quiltstudy.org/collections/search.html.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let Your Sparkle Out!

I am one of over 300 members of the Lincoln Quilters Guild.  Our guild hosts a BIG quilt show every two years, and 2012 is an "on" year.  The 2012 quilt show theme is "Let Your Sparkle Out!"

That theme was inspired by cancer survivor, lawyer/quilter, and quilt show chair, Elizabeth Sterns.  Her daughter always used to say, "Sparkle gives you courage!" as she added a touch of sparkly lip gloss before heading off to take a final exam.  Together Elizabeth and her daughter discovered a wonderful children's book by Julie Andrews, The Very Fairy Princess.  (Yes, the  Julie Andrews of Mary Poppins and Sound of Music fame.) I ordered a copy for my  7-year-old granddaughter for Christmas, because I love the incredibly cute illustrations and it's positive message : Look for that special something in everyone that makes them "sparkle."   And, besides, Madeline is still in her "princess" phase.   Her Barbie will get some sparkly princess dresses one of these days.  I've been accumulating fancy schmancy remnants. It's on my endless TO DO list.  (Speaking of TO DO lists – I LOVE these note pads by finchandhawk on Etsy!  http://www.etsy.com/listing/38781625/3-pack-freakin-to-do-list-notepad. )

The delightful back jacket illustration of The Very Fairy Princess tells girls, "You just have to let your SPARKLE out!"  Well, I think we big girls need to let our sparkle out, too!   (Not literally, although if you'd like to do that check out this INCREDIBLE necklace and wristband sparkly creation by 1964sem on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/56838881/ivory-color-necklace-romantic-beads-and

So – today I challenge you to do something that makes you "sparkle."  And tell at least one other person what you see in them that makes them "sparkle," too! 

Book available at:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/very-fairy-princess-julie-andrews/1101352659?ean=9780316040501&itm=1&usri=the%2bvery%2bfairy%2bprincess  and http://www.amazon.com/Very-Fairy-Princess-Julie-Andrews/dp/0316040509/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316001357&sr=8-1 or your local independent book store.


LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cuddly Baby Boy Blankets

It's shameless commerce Tuesday.  Today I'm featuring two of my new listings---baby boy blankets.  I especially like the Argyle blankie with an ultra soft brown minky backing.  Both are sized to be bigger than a receiving blanket but smaller than a crib quilt.  They would be much appreciated baby shower gifts -- a perfect take-along blankie for car seats, strollers or diaper bags.  

These are technically not quilts, because there is no middle layer.  One layer of high quality 100% cotton fabric is stitched to a soft polyester backing fabric, either fleece or super cuddly minky fabric.  They are machine washable.   Cute and practical.

For more baby quilts and blankies, see my Etsy widget on the left margin of this blog, or visit: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pasqueflower?section_id=8079641.  I hope to add at least one new blanket or baby quilt each week from now through November.

For a chance to win a blanket or baby quilt from my Etsy shop, visit  http://magicalmemories3.blogspot.com/2011/09/pasque-flower-creations-review-giveaway.html.  

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blow Out

Last night, under a full moon,  I was driving my three in-town grandsons (ages 5, 7, and 9) home from an outing at Chuckee Cheese.  We heard a sudden popping noise. The youngest, Oliver, thought it was fireworks.  But Alex, the clever second grader, knew right away it was a flat tire.  I had driven over a sharp metal object in the middle of a six-lane road ironically named Normal Boulevard, and it punctured a rear tire.  I hadn't seen the object in the dark.  We were able to safely limp the car back to their house.

I am grateful no one was hurt.
I am grateful it happened during a Huskers home game, so there was almost NO traffic.
I am grateful it wasn't one of the two brand new expensive tires I bought only two months ago.
I am grateful I have front wheel drive (it was a rear tire).
I am grateful that it happened on a weekend, and not on my way to or from work in rush hour traffic.

I'll be driving (very little) on a "donut" tire until Tuesday.

On this 10th anniversary of 9/11, my tiny disaster is placed in proper perspective.  As I recall  9/11, it was a huge collective gasp or sob.
Something had punctured the Soul of America, and deflated our hopes and prosperity and sense of security as 3,000 innocent victims and first responders were killed in senseless acts of terrorism.  What began as a beautiful sunny day was shrouded in clouds of smoke and ash.
And a cloud of fear still hovers menacingly over us, even on beautiful sunny days.  

LeAnn aka pasqueflower

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Snappy Little Coin Purse

Every day I get a happy little email from Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. http://www.happiness-project.com.  On Labor Day, the happiness quote was from Bertrand Russell, "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."  (CAUTION:  This theory does probably does NOT apply at your day job.  Bosses tend to frown on wasting time when you're "on the clock," especially if you are enjoying  yourself.) 

So, after staining the deck on Labor Day, I treated myself to some fabric play time.  It was definitely time I enjoyed wasting.  On a tip from Janeese Olsson, owner of The Calico House, a local quilt shop (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Calico-House/111958605551117), I found a link to The Snappy Coin Purse Tutorial by Rashida Coleman-Hale which was posted on the Timeless Treasures blog, SEW Timeless, on July 13, 2011.  http://sewtimeless.net/?p=502.  Be sure to visit Rashida's blog, I Heart Linen, for even more inspiring projects.  http://www.iheartlinen.typepad.com.  And watch for her latest fabric line, coming soon.

I was able to order a fat eighths (9" x 22") assortment of linen from Unique Shiny on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/transaction/56281785.  After my bundle of linen arrived in the mail,  I spent a couple of happy hours rummaging through my stash to find fabrics that might coordinate with the linens.

My first finished project is pictured above.  I used Michael Miller fabrics designed by Laura Gunn, a scrap of hand-dyed cotton for the middle contrasting strip, and my beautiful new Quarry colored linen.  My experience with snaps was limited, so that was probably the trickiest part for me.  The side seams are hand-sewn, but I've had plenty of recent practice with hand sewing thanks to my continuing work on The Ugliest Quilt in the World.  http://pasqueflowerponderings.blogspot.com/2011/06/ugliest-quilt-in-world.html   I think I would have been happier with the snap ring hidden between the top flap layers.  I might try that next time.  Magnetic snaps may be a bit bulky for such a small purse, but I might experiment with those as well.

I plan to make some more as Christmas stocking stuffers.  They are so cute, and quite simple to make.  Although Rashida calls this a snappy little coin purse,  the  4.5" x 3" x 1.25" pouch could also double as a business card holder, mini sewing kit, a jewelry-keeper when traveling, a key keeper, a  library card and student ID holder, a bus pass and work ID holder, or…..

What would YOU put in this snappy little coin purse?


LeAnn aka pasqueflower




Friday, September 9, 2011

Pantone Spring 2012 Color Report

It's just beginning to feel like Fall in the Midwest, but Pantone is looking ahead to Spring 2012 fashion color trends.


I like the bright, cheerful colors!


My top three of the new color palette are Bellflower, Cockatoo and Tangerine Tango.

Which ones are your favorites?


And—if you haven't already done so, please pop over and visit another LeAnn at Magical Memories.  She's hosting a giveaway that includes the winner's choice of baby quilts or baby blankets (including custom orders) from my Etsy shop:  http://magicalmemories3.blogspot.com/2011/09/pasque-flower-creations-review-giveaway.html.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower




Thursday, September 8, 2011

Orphan Train Museum

Over the Labor Day weekend, my hubby and I took a road trip to Concordia, Kansas, where we visited the Orphan Train Museum.


I was drawn to the museum because the book Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (1908) was one of my daughter Allison's favorite books.  We read it aloud at bedtime, alternating chapters, when she was in third or fourth grade.  To this day, I sometimes find myself saying, like Anne, "Tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it yet." 


The fictional Anne Shirley was also an orphan sent to live with a farm couple who almost sent her back because they had requested a boy orphan, not a girl.  As the story unfolds, Anne gradually develops a strong bond with her new foster family.  Her placement, despite some early trials and a less-than-affectionate foster mother, had a happy ending.


Anne Shirley could have been any of thousands of orphans similarly situated. Between 1854 and 1929, over 250,000 orphaned and abandoned children were sent from orphanages or foundling homes to new foster homes , many to farm families in the Midwest.


Charles Loring Brace who founded the Children's Aid Society in 1853 to help homeless children in New York City was one of the founders of the Orphan Trail movement, which is sometimes considered the beginning of foster care in America.  Anna Laura Hill and Clara Comstock were the adult supervisors or "agents" who rode the trains from New York to the Midwest with the orphans.  Another major contributor to Orphan Train numbers was the New York Foundling Hospital, a Catholic hospital which took abandoned and orphaned infants and prearranged placements with families throughout the country. 


Many of the young riders had been placed in orphanages by their fathers after their mothers died in childbirth.  Many were the orphaned or abandoned children of immigrant parents with no extended family in America.  


The Children's Aid Society visited the foster homes only once a year.  Some of the placements were happy ones and led to adoptions or long-term foster placements.  A few of the orphans were able to maintain contact with siblings placed in the same communities. Others were able to track down siblings in later life. 


But some of the orphans were treated like unpaid and overworked farm hands, and ran away from their foster homes.   Other children were sent back to the orphanage by their foster parents.  Not all placements had happily ever after endings.


The Orphan Train Complex includes a sculpture garden, museum, and a research center.  www.orphantraindepot.com.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower




Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Rhyming Blog (with Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Staining the Deck Lament (with Apologies to Dr. Seuss)

I do not like to stain the deck!

To stain the deck

Is a pain in the neck.


I do not like

This mundane chore.

I'm telling you

It is a BORE.


I do not like my brush that drips.

I do not like the rung that dips.

I do not like the nasty smell.
I do not like the globs that gel.

I do not like my wobbly ladder.

I spilled the stain

And got madder and MADDER!


The paint can said

This stain was CLEAR

But now my hands are


Oh, Dear!!!


I'll tell you this

(And please take note),


A second coat!


My neighbors picnic.

They play in the sun.

But as for me

I'll have no fun.

I'll have no fun

'Til this job is DONE!


Forgive the whining.  I love the deck.  Really.  Sort of.


The Dr. Seuss flannel fabric by Robert Kaufman pictured above is available at www.thequiltedkitty.com.

The Quilted Kitty is one of my local quilt shops that also has a significant online presence.  The Quilted Kitty is part of the Fab Shop Hop – an online quilt shop hop with great prizes.  www.fabshophop.com. 

Robert Kaufman also has two quilter's cotton Dr. Seuss fabric collections:  Celebrate Seuss and The Cat in the Hat.  Those fun fabrics are available at www.thefatquartershop.com and other fine fabric shops.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bold Floral Pillow Covers and A Magical Memories Feature

It's shameless commerce Tuesday.  Today I'm featuring two recently-listed 16"x16" envelope back pillow covers made with high quality 100% cotton Alexander Henry Jobim fabric.  These larger than life flowers feature two of the Pantone Fall 2011 colors – honeysuckle (bright pink with a hint of coral), and coffee liqueur (very dark brown).  The hints of red, spring green and white add a little extra zing to these bold and vibrant pillow covers.

Wouldn't these pillows brighten up a dorm room, apartment, or a chair or couch in any room?

You can find these items listed on my Craft Cult widget on the left hand column of this blog, or you can find them in my Etsy shop.  Here are the links:




AND---If you hop on over to the Magical Memories blog this week, you can enter to win a giveaway featuring an item from my Etsy shop: http://www.magicalmemories3.blogspot.com.    Thanks to LeAnn for featuring my shop on her blog.  Her adorable little daughter will be modeling one of my pillowcase dresses, which double nicely as jumpers in cooler weather. 

Signing off to sew more baby quilts and blankies.



LeAnn aka pasqueflower



Monday, September 5, 2011

And Kansas, She Said, Is the Name of the Star

My last road trip to Kansas was a few years ago, when I accompanied my son Tim, his wife, Carrie, and my youngest granddaughter Madeline to Wameca, KS to visit the Wizard of Oz Museum. http://www.ozmuseum.com   Madeline, then a preschooler, became a Wizard of Oz fan at a very young age.  As we crossed the Nebraska-Kansas border she began singing the lyrics, in a Munchkin-like voice, "She fell from the sky, she fell very far.  And Kansas she said is the name of the star.  Kansas, she said, is the name of the star." 


This Saturday, my hubby and I ventured back across the Kansas border.  We took a two-mile detour en route to visit a small but delightful quilt shop in the small town of Hebron, Nebraska, then headed south on Highway 81 to Concordia, KS. There's a reason why Kansas is called the sunflower state!  The sunflowers were in full bloom this time of year – beautiful vibrant yellow against a pale blue sky – breathtaking!


We visited the Orphan Train Museum (stay tuned for more on that in a later post), ate at a home-style restaurant, and visited Fabric Essentials, a quilt shop with over 5000 bolts of fabric. www.fabricessentials.com.


Now Fabric Essentials is not your garden variety quilt shop.  It also carries gifts, books, puzzles, religious medals, figurines, candy, vitamins, and natural health elixers.  Perhaps it's fair to say it is a quilt shop with an identity crisis --- but in a good way.  There's another shop like that in Pawnee City, Nebraska – Heavenly Treasures.  It's the only quilt shop I've seen that also carries badminton cocks.  But I digress.  Back to Concordia, KS---


The fabric spans three store fronts.  There's also a lower level that houses an extensive inventory for the online quilt shop.  There are high end quilting fabrics from a host of manufacturers, thousands (I do not exaggerate!) of 18"x22" fat quarters, tubs full of rolls and rolls of cotton toweling, an impressive redwork and embroidery section, beautiful silks, rayons, linens and wools for garment sewists, an extensive pattern collection, the largest selection of laminates I have ever seen, flannel, chenille, minky, faux suede, denim, high end upholstery fabrics, and an economy corner (more like an economy room) with bolts and bolts of $3.00 per yard fabric and tubs and tubs of fold your own $0.99 fat quarters.  I definitely got my fabric fix.


And we had beautiful scenery, light traffic, balmy weather, and NPR reception.  All in all, an enjoyable road trip.  Hope you also enjoyed your Labor Day weekend!



LeAnn aka pasqueflower




Friday, September 2, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours

When it rains, it pours!  Those who were in the path of Hurricane / Tropical Storm Irene know this all too well.  And my prayers go out to those who have experienced flooding and power outages, and to those who lost loved ones to the storm.

Metaphorically speaking, I've recently been deluged by requests for custom orders -- 7 in one 24-hour period!  That is not a complaint!! Quite to the contrary, I am DELIGHTED to work on custom projects, and I hope to do more as the holidays approach.  They get my creative juices (and adrenaline) flowing.  And I feel more of a connection to the buyer when we are co-creating something "just right" for a special person or (in one case) a big new couch in need of lots of soft, comfy pillows.   But the urgency of special projects, and the need to hunt down the right colors, fabrics, etc., can derail a lot of other plans -- like regular blog posts -- and sleep.

I'm still waiting for special order fabrics from four different suppliers for the pillow projects, but I did finish a special order walker caddy for a very special grandmother.   The buyer and I exchanged Convos on Etsy, then emails with photos of possible fabric combinations, then sketches of a preliminary design and photos of the work in progress.  Consistent with the Etsy trend toward monograms and personalized items, this buyer requested her grandmother's name be embroidered on the front of the walker bag.  http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/from-etsy%E2%80%99s-merchandising-desk-september-2011/

My Janome QE sewing machine has a lettering mode.  Although the size and font options are fairly limited, it's a fun feature.  After several experiments with fonts and threads, I finally chose a script font with metallic dark red thread.  I wish the letters could have been a tad larger, and the spacing a tad closer, but overall, I think it will add a nice personalized touch.  

I also experimented with piping as an accent for the walker bag pocket.  I learned that my serger does NOT like to chew through 6 layers of home dec weight fabric and two layers of piping -- which was what I had at the pocket junction for both side seams.  I broke a needle, which fell into the lower part of the machine, unthreading my upper and lower loopers.  Thankfully, it did not require a trip to Husker Sew n Vac for repair.   If I use piping again on a walker bag, I will stagger the height of the pockets and trim the cording in the seam allowance before serging.

My final learning experience was applique. Note to self:  Do not use home dec weight fabric for smallish applique pieces.  

Since my fabric shipments for the next wave of custom orders won't arrive until after Labor Day, I have a little window of calm (like the eye of the hurricane) to celebrate my hubby's birthday and play with linen.  

Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend!  

LeAnn aka pasqueflower