Flip Flops

Quilting Possibilities

Quilting Possibilities
one of NJ's finest quilt shops

Friday, December 19, 2008

Calling Lisa LaPorta!

Why is that when you get the Christmas decorations out, you end up redecorating most of the house? Suddenly curtains that have worked for longer than you want to think about - don't, chairs don't fit where they're supposed to and things that HAVE to be displayed to make it really Christmas, need more room than you have???? How can that be?

Jim & I enjoy watching Designed to Sell on HGTV & like Lisa LaPorta & "Clivey's" shows the best. And would someone tell me WHY ANYONE would let their homes be shown on TV in the state some of those are???? My mother would die of embarassment! And I'd never want anyone to see the state of my sewing room - Lisa would spend her $2,000 budget without ever leaving that space!

I was wishing Lisa & Clive would show up at my house for the past few months and tell me just how to get a TV, love seat, couch, end tables & a treadmill into my family room. The problem with the room is the fireplace - one whole wall is bricked, it's gorgeous, we love it but it makes getting everything into the space not an easy task. Double windows take up a huge hunk of the second wall, the third "wall" is a huge opening into the kitchen - leaving one full wall to put furniture on. Of course that wall is directly across from the double windows meaning the light reflects off the TV . . . .

Of course Lisa would just take out the TV, arrange the furniture with the fireplace being the focal point and spent $400 on accessories - but Jim would have a meltdown over the no TV. So for two years we've been looking for a corner TV unit. Have we found one that would fit into the 46" we have? NO!!!!

This all came to a head this year as my Santa collection sat in boxes waiting for the mess we've ignored in the family room to be resolved & an "inherited" (meaning a piece of furniture one of the kids no longer had room for but didn't want to get rid of) ended up in our family room while I was in TX. This entertainment unit is huge and DID NOT fit in the 46". I lived with it for a month, then said it's got to go. We moved it down to Sara's bedroom where it is still HUGE but thankfull out of my sight for the moment!

Back to the stores looking for a corner TV unit. No luck. We tried bureaus, tables - nothing worked. Finally last night Jim took the old TV unit that was too big down to his workshop, cut some of it off, put the side back on & it fits perfectly.

The Nativty & my Santas are displayed, Christmas can come now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Shopping for Myself

I grew up in Massachusetts. My Dad watched baseball , which meant the Sox and Yaz, and football when the Pats still played in Boston. Soccer hadn't take the US by storm back them, the Celtics I don't remember much and we didn't start watching hockey until Bobby Orr arrived at the Boston Garden - how's THAT for dating yourself!

Yesterday was the first day you could buy Red Sox tickets. I've been saying for years now that I wanted to go back to Boston to watch a Red Sox game. Yup, I am a life long Red Sox fan living in Yankee country. It makes for some interesting conversations during baseball season! I can't quote you statistics, but I know if they've won or lost and let me tell you, until the last six or seven years, they lost more than they won. I can name most of the players, but not all and I can't tell you who is pitching when.

BUT I love to go to Fenway. I've been to other stadiums and there very nice but the seats I can afford are so far away from the field, watching on TV is better. Fenway Park is the oldest baseball park in the US. It's small, crowded and yes, there are poles in the way of a bunch of seats. But it has something not many other ball parks have anymore - character and history. Here's some Fenway trivia for you - the first official game played in Fenway Park was April 20, 1912 - the Sox beat the Yankees (back then called the Highlanders!)

We did make it to a game this September. Our boys bought us tickets and we talked my older brother & sister-in-law into going with us. (Didn't take much talking, Laurel said yes and Sooky had no choice!) This is Laurel with Tim Wakefield in Yawkey Way before the game. We had a great time and I decided then & there, no more excuses, at least one game every year from now on.

So that's how one computer at the store was tied up yesterday trying to get chosen randomly to buy tickets to see the Twins (Jim is from Minnesota) play in April. Jim kept on long after our boys had given up and was rewarded! Four tickets are ours! I am sure Sooky complained about how cold it will be in Fenway in April - but we skipped over him and went straight to Laurel - who said "We're In!" He'll grump, but he'll go and give us a running commentary on stats and players & we'll eat ice cream even though it's freezing - cuz we're from New England & ice cream is a way of life. We'll just drink cocoa with it!

So that was all the Christmas shopping I did yesterday. Cards aren't written, all the gifts aren't made but I have Red Sox tickets, the kids are all coming home for Christmas - it will be a good one!
Till next time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gifts & There's Still Time

I am convinced there is still time to make things for gifts. Now some people call this a state of denial but I prefer to think of it as optimism!

I have the kids' significant others to think about this year. Sara's Brian is easy and done, can't say what we're giving him since Sara just may read this and she'll blab. The two others, Stephanie and Stefanie, will take a little more thought but I will be making them each a Teeny Tiny Tote and probably putting in a gift certificate to somewhere for them. These are the perfect size to hold a cell phone, license, a credit card or two and a bit of cash. My friend Sandy made mine & I use it when shopping, going to baseball games (I didn't take my phone into Fenway!) and any time I want my hands free.

I made my Mom some kitchen towels with fabric cuffs - every kitchen can always use new dish towels! Her wish was no clothes this year - so what the heck do you get then???? I'm probably also going to make her a Teeny Tiny Tote and stick a Barnes & Noble gift certificate in it since she loves to read.

The nephews always get new pillowcases of the weirdest, whackiest fabrics I can find. I fill the slot of crazy aunt very well there! Pillowcases are a great gift for teenagers who seem to want things you've never heard of . . . Pillowcases also make great wrapping for larger, bulkier packages. We have some great kits on the website.

I'm going to make some Potato Chip Bags for friends. It's another pattern from my friend Sandy Brawner. It's not too big, not too small & has two pockets inside so you can actually find things when you want them.

My boys are the quandry. Self supporting & no longer in need of Mom and Dad to fill in gaps of things they need & can't afford - ok there are some things they want & can't afford but neither can their parents! - it's hard to find things they haven't gone out & bought for themselves. And since they live in PA, it's easier for them to "forget" my rule of no buying personal stuff in December! When they left after family pictures yesterday, it was with the sound of their mother's voice ringing in their ears that she'd better have a Christmas list in the next couple of days or they were getting coal. We'll see how effective that threat was.

There is plenty of time to still make gifts. The making of the gifts is the easy part - the carving out of the time to do it is harder!

Till next time.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Date with 8

No, that isn't the same thing as my friend Kris at Cozy Cottage wrote about in her blog last week! Jim & I went to Hartford CT for a Bernina training on the new 830 sewing machine - Kris had a little more excitement with her date with 8, but I think that's excitement I can do without! You can find a link to Kris' blog on the left.

Hartford is about 4 hours from us & we could have gone there or to Baltimore - BUT by going to CT, I got a chance to spend the day with my friend from grade school, Betsey. In Baltimore I would have been in the hotel room working on samples - absolutely no thinking time needed for that destination decision! (I bought shoes and Betsey & I had our make-up done - what a hoot!)

This is the room full of anxious Bernina dealers waiting for Jill, the Bernina trainer, to tell us we could touch the machines. We were lucky, when we earned the incentive trip to Switzerland, we were given an 830 early, so we've had the machine in the shop for a month or so & have been able to play. Some in the room were seeing the machine for the first time.

(I like to sit up the back at these things, but I think when Jill saw our name tages, she assigned us seats up front where she could keep an eye on Jim, who loves to tease her.)

The training team & education departments have been hard at work making samples & had displays across the front of the room.

The tempation to take that birth announcement home with me, was almost too much to resist! It was really cute & I have all good intentions of making one for the shop . . . .

This is a piece of the tote bag we were supposed to be making at training. As usual, I came home with pieces of something & not a finished project. I have good intentions of actually finishing the tote bag but it will probably be pieces of it displayed for awhile!

We also started a computer cozy - yes, started. Another project that will be pieces . . . .

The whole purpose of the trainings - besides getting to see friends that you usually don't see! - is to get familiar with the machine, have a district meeting & go over new promotions, new marketing, etc, etc, etc. We are really supposed to go home & actually make the sample pieces into the project . . . .

The 830 is an AWESOME machine. It's big, with tons of room between the needle & the side of the machine, it's FAST & really easy to use. I was very sad when Roger, our district manager, said that our Swiss trip machines would have to go back to be updated and they would replace it with a new one. I don't want a new one!

Jim spent Thurs in sales training with me, then on Friday and Saturday, went to tech training where he was FINALLY able to take the machine apart and see what made it tick. The tech room is a frightening place to a non techie - lots of naked machines with people hooked to them by tiny wires attached to their wrists. Quite frankly, I don't want to know how or why it works, I just want it work!

That's Ernie hiding behind a machine on the left.

And this is Jim with Tom from Patchworks Plus in NY. Tom bragged while we were in Switzerland about flour from a local mill & how wonderful it was. He brought 5 pounds to training for me so I could try it. I'll let you know on Monday how it compares to my favorite King Arthur flour.

Till next time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pictorial Quilts at Market

Isn't this GORGEOUS? Pictorial quilts are my favorite types of quilts and there were some absolutely gorgeous ones at this quilt market.

I really like the pictorials that are all fabric without painting on fabric. Somehow when it's painted, it's not really a quilt anymore to me, it's a painting . . . I'm sure I will incite all kinds of reactions with that statement!

This is a close up of the rock to the left. The piecing is amazing!

The wave on this quilt was AMAZING! Look at the piecing/applique in the close up.

Look at the thread painting detail here.

Someday when I have nothing else that absolutely has to be done right then, I'm going to pull out all the pictures I've taken & saved for pictorial quilts and I'm actually going to START one!

Until next time.

Friday, October 31, 2008


My whirlwind trip of Houston & Quilt Market is over & I'm glad to be home - even if it is a heck of alot colder here than it was in TX! A "light" frost is predicited tonight - yikes!

Market was wonderful as usual. It was also a brain drain as usual! New fabrics, new patterns, new pattern companies, new fabric companies, new techniques and just an almost overwhelming canophy of sights, sounds & colors - that's quilt market.

This is the front of the George Brown Convention Center where market is held every fall. At the moment, it is hosting Quilt Festival, a huge quilt show open to the public.

And this is the view from one of the portholes looking onto the convention floor. What you are seeing is about 1/5th of the show. My plan of action at market is to walk the entire show the first day and just look - ok, I only got to the fourth booth before I was ordering something, but it's good to have a plan! I started walking the show floor at 9:30 Friday morning, I did stop for lunch , and finished at row 2300 at almost 6 o'clock. And yes, my grand plan of just looking the first day fell completely apart by the end of the first row!

So what were my impressions of market?

Redwork & embroidery is still strong & I found lots of new patterns that will arrive soon, some already have. I found a new designer who had the cutest wallhangings & pillows. I'm stitching this one now and have pumpkin buttons & leaves coming to compliment it. Click here to see the pattern.
The same designer also had this wallhanging/pillow called Flowers Tall - Flowers Small. It will be perfect for spring. Click here for a close up.

Isn't this the cutest dress? It's made from a T-shirt! The pattern has toddler sizes & it's really easy. Sweet Tea Dress pattern - click here. There were quite a few patterns for babies & toddlers clothing, look for some new ones from Jackie Clark to arrive soon.
Purses were also EVERYWHERE at market. New pattern companies had some great new ones that will be arriving soon and I bought more than a few of Penny Sturgis's newest creations. They'll also be arriving soon.
Fabrics ran the gamut - colorful jewel tones, reproductions, calm blues & tans, batiks in every shade & color. And yes, I ordered Christmas 09 fabrics already! Yikes! Two new lines are coming from two friends of mine - both named Karen and both designing for Timeless Treasures. Karen Snyder, my fall market roomie has a new 30's line coming in Dec and also a new line of redwork fabrics. Karen Montgomery has a really calm, cool blue & tan line coming that I'm going to cheat and do whatever she does out of it.

One of the nicest parts of quilt market for me is to see friends in person that I chat with online and on the phone with during the rest of the year. It's nice to see expressions & laugh in real time rather than just read notes or chat on the phone. This group I've surrounded myself with are a bunch of amazing women, who I am blessed to call my friends & colleagues. Some of my best ideas have either come from them or been polished by them & I came home with some beauties this time too! Look for some exciting new things to happen in the new year at QP!
Until next time.

Friday, September 26, 2008

HandiQuilter Craziness!

Last weekend we hosted the first ever HQ hands-on seminar outside of Utah. It was a test of sorts to see how it would go over - and it went over big! We had a great time & everyone learned quite a bit. Gina, our territory manager, was the educator for this test.

This is the Saturday group, all but one owned an HQ15 and the 12th student had claimed one of the machines for sale.

This is the Sunday group - 5 had machines already and 7 were seeing what all this HQ craze was about. Two went home as HQ owners/devotees!
Gina lectured/demoed on threads, needles, tensions, pantographs, free hand style, maintenance & more! Attendees had time for hands on experience too.
We want to thank Gina for coming & giving such wonderful seminars and we're so thrilled, we're going to do it next spring too! Stay tuned!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Traveling is not for sissies!

I don't know who said hitting the road and sleeping in strange beds made for a "restful" vacation. Now my idea of a vacation is to stay home and have a masseuse and manicurist come to the house! I like to travel but boy do I like to come home and sleep in my own bed!

We started off August at home but headed to St. Louis on the 16th for Baby Lock Tech - to see the new machines. This is the Ellissimo - the new top of the line machine. We had training on it & a review of Masterworks software the first day, the second day was training on the new 18" mid arm quilting machine - the Jewel and then a class on merchandising and another on embroidery seminars.

Then a race to the airport to catch a 7:30 flight home - it was late. Ugh! Never try to fly into Newark at night, they start backing up about 1pm. The TSA guy in St. Louis cheerfully told me the previous night's 7:30 flight didn't leave till midnight! We made it home in time to fall into bed and then up early to start the washing machine to get ready to take off for Switzerland at 6pm! I was looking forward to the 7 hour plane ride!

Switzerland was breath taking! Flowers everywhere! We trained on the new 830 machine and ate chocolate everywhere we went. This is Jim & I at the Bernina factory in Steckborn.

We took a train ride - the highest cog wheel train in Europe - to the top of the mountain and went out on the glacier. It was COLD! We were at 11,000 feet above sea level.

This was taken inside the glacier. We mailed Ann & Bob a postcard from the highest post office in Europe. I hope they get it!

Pam Hayes from Hayes Sewing Center in DE, was shopping for chocolate cows in the chocolate factory and found some. The merchandising in this store was great - it enticed me to buy but the aroma of chocolate would have been enough! I ordered some 830 chocolates as bribes for buying an 830 - of course if we don't sell as many as I bought, someone is just going to have to eat them . . . .

And just around the corner from the chocolate shop was THE most gorgeous house & gardens. If you look closely into that Eden, there is a tiny little pond and ONE chair. The village only has 300 or so people in it so the street isn't that busy - our tour bus was a sensation I think! - it was the perfect garden to relax in.

The details made the trip. This was our dessert one night on the way home from Steckborn. Bernina thought of everything.

Including the men who welcomed us to the closing dinner - each one represented one of the Cantons in Switzerland.

I'm glad to be home but next weekend we head back to Gloucester and then into Boston to Fenway. The Sox are playing the Devil Rays and we have tickets courtesy of our boys. I'll post pictures if we don't get rained out.

Until next time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where does time go?

Where does time go? I spent the afternoon in my garden clipping off all the spent daylily stems & wondering how it could be that my orange daylilies - tiger lilies my Dad called them - have almost gone by as have my Shasta Daisies. It seems like I was just drooling over Burpees seed catalog looking at perennials and the garden was tucked in tight for the winter.

And time is flying by too - my niece Carla is being married a week from tomorrow. How the heck did she get old enough to be married???

I made her ring bearer's pillow which my great nephew Zack will carry down the aisle and hopefully not lose the rings on the way there. When I offered to make it, I envisioned stitching silk embroidery flowers and a heart with Carla and Danny's initials in soft, romantic colors. I should have known better. Carla's colors are black and white. How the heck was I supposed to make something soft and romantic from black and white????

So I hemmed and hawed and tried to get her to let me add one color - "No colors Aunt Debbie" and finally came up with this last week. (Plenty of time - the wedding isn't until the 18th!") I wrapped it and Jim mailed it on Tues. She should get it tomorrow or Sat. I hope they like it. The black bow is actually a bridal fabric with crystals on it to give it a little pizzaz.
I made a band on the back for Zack to slip his hands through so that he wouldn't be tempted to carry it like a football. I also put a white ribbon through the knot of the black bow to tie the rings to in case they lose their minds and actually let Zack carry the rings down the aisle on the pillow. Zack is 7, his two cousins, Jordan is 8 and Faith is 6 & they are flower girls. He'll do fine, Jordan will be very serious and Faith will float down the aisle. Zack is my nephew Arthur's son and Jordan and Faith are my niece Jennifer's daughters.
Oh did I mention Carla and Dan's dogs will be part of the wedding party??? This should be a hoot!
The day after the wedding will be a slave labor day at my Mom's. Children of all ages are being drafted to help haul, weed and paint. There will be some grumbling but there will be food involved so grumbling will be kept to a minimum. The family will be together and it will be nice to laugh and tease and talk. I'm looking forward to it.
If the dogs are actually in the wedding - I'll post a picture.
Until next time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Just one little thing . . .

A local chain store closed all it's location by us. The Rag Shop was where you went to get sewing notions like zippers, bra extenders, etc. You didn't really go there to get fabric anymore, they had less and less and more and more seasonal "junk". Which is why they went under in my opinon. Anyway, we had so many people coming in and asking for zippers, I decided to put in a small zipper display. Simple right?

Wrong. Who would have thought that a 26" deep by 30" wide display wouldn't just slip right into a 4800 square foot display floor????

The display came the day before we closed for the NJ state quilt show. The Wednesday after, I decided to move stuff around in the notions section to slip the zipper display right in. It couldn't take more than an hour or so right?

Wrong - two hours while the shop was opened only convinced me that the whole notions department needed to be rearranged, which meant moving thre reds and pinks, which meant moving the blues & purples, then the browns and blacks, then the yellows and greens and at that point why not the nauticals and baby sections too?????

I should have had the camera because at 10 pm I would say the store was littered with 3,000 bolts of fabric that had no homes. By midnight most of it was back in it's new home on freshly washed fabric racks (why does fabric create so much dust???) and only the baby section and the nautical sections were trashed. Back at 8am Thurs morning and we were actually almost done by the time we opened at 10am. We finished up at noon and hauled our tired bodies home to lay in the shade on what was supposed to be our day off. HA!

Once the major stuff was moved - fabric units, notions displays and fabrics - that meant the store still had to be "fluffed" which means news displays. That's the fun part. Here are some pictures of the store redo - come visit us & see the rest!

Till next time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Goofing Off

Everyonce in awhile, you just have to goof off - ditch everything you are supposed to be doing and do something else. My friend Sandy Brawner, who owns Quilt Country in TX, gave me a pattern to try when we were at Quilt Market. It's called Four Simple Squares. It looked really neat and Sandy said it was really easy . . . .

So today, instead of doing paperwork - the bane of my existance! - I took some fabric out of the sale room and started the pattern.

Now I have at LEAST three redwork projects going, a pretty quilt with a scalloped border that just needs the bias binding stitched together & put on and who knows how many other projects going already . . . Did I want to do any of them? Nope! So what's a girl to do? Start another project!

The piece on the right is the fabric that all the blocks on the left came from! Aren't they cool? I actually read and followed the directions - great pictures by the way - and stitched all of these blocks and a few more in just about an hour.

I can tell you they are addicting. You sit and turn the pieces and get all kinds of neat patterns!

Here's a closeup of some of the blocks. I love simple things that look really hard! These are actually four patches!

I do have the pattern up on the website
http://www.quiltingpossibilities.net/ and if you are in the area of the shop - look for a class in July or August.

Till next time.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Home Again

Everyone says you can't go home again - well you can, but everything and everyone looks different! I went home this past weekend to attend my niece Carla's, bridal shower. It was held in a pretty venue overlooking Gloucester Harbor and also overlooking Rocky Neck where I grew up and my Mom still lives. Like I said, you can go home again - it's just different.
I spent most of the bridal shower trying to figure out who was who - names were familiar but faces weren't! I saw one of my best high school buddies - Ann Marie - who I spent many, many, MANY hours with but didn't realize who she was until I talked with her for a few minutes while frantically flipping through mental files! She took off her huge sunglasses and there she was! Ann Marie still lives in Gloucester so she filled in names and faces of people I knew in high school. It was frustrating to have someone smile at you and then you spend the next few minutes trying to put a name to the face!
I left Gloucester for New Jersey 25 years ago and although I go back a couple of times a year, those trips are mostly hurried affairs and filled with family. Then you go home for an event like a shower and you see people you haven't seen in 25 years - it's sort of freaky.

Gloucester is America's oldest seaport. Usually when people think of Gloucester, they think of fishing and beaches. Me too - but I think of other things too. Walking to school across the causeway from what I now realize was island in the middle of the harbor - but who thought about that when you weren't allowed to wear pants to elementary school and the wind/snow/rain was whipping down the outer harbor across the causeway and you thought you'd freeze to death before you reached the other side? I took the ocean for granted - it was just always there, supplied food for the table and money for everything else. You don't realize how huge a part of your life it was until you go to college in the middle of Maine and it takes you a few months to figure out that the sounds and smells you are missing are the ocean. First thing when we all got home from college - take someone's mother's car and ride around the backshore!
The hall where Carla's shower was held is just down from where my Great Aunt Josephine lived - she made the best Italian cookies! Something was always cooking on her stove and her house was always full of people. There was a man there mowing her lawn on Sunday and it was strange to think that she's been gone for years and someone else owned the house now. Gloucester very much lives on in my mind - just as it was 25 years ago. You can take the girl out of New England, but you can't take New England out of the girl.
It was SO NICE to hear people talk in a NORMAL accent! The letter "R" has mostly been banned from New Englander's mouths. Most of my accent is gone but when I am tired or around my family for more than a day - it's back. We do pak our cas is the yad. And the instant someone say "I'm from Gloucester" and not "I'm from Glosestah" you know they weren't born there.

My sister-in-law Laurel is a great cook and she fed us constantly for two days. Won't let anyone help, she's the ultimate "I have it undah control" girl. So you sit on her deck gossip and eat the whole time you are home. I think my mom and I ate cheerios for breakfast at home and then stuffed ourselves the rest of the time at Laurel and Sooky's.

And speaking of Sooky - real name Arthur - Atha in New Englandese - here's a picture I found while looking on the web for Gloucester pictures (since my camera was sitting on my mother's couch during the shower instead of in my purse where it should have been!). This is my big brother who is actually some kind of big deal in the New England fisheries industry - which makes me absolutely hysterical everytime I think about it! He's fished and lobstered all his life. Everytime I find a quote of his on the internet or in the GDT (Gloucester Daily Times) I laugh myself silly. I am proud of him though - just don't tell him.
I've volunteered to make the ring bearer's pillow for Carla and Dan's wedding - colors in black and white. Any suggestions on how to liven it up alittle without adding any color would be greatly appreciated!
Until next time.