Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bluebirds Are Here

A little Bluebird told me these shipped to me last week and an email from UPS confirms that they will land on my porch tomorrow.  The complete Austin Bluebird Sampler Kits are here!  I just added them to our Etsy store in 2 forms - the kit as you see here - which makes this quilt...

Or the SUPER KIT, as I call it - which has the above boxed kit AND the 12 spools of Aurifil Thread   to go with it.

Pretty exciting.  Thanks Lissa for shooting me the picture, and thanks Susan for designing that super cool kit box.

In other news, we are getting along fine here.  We've become accustomed to winter and are spending our evenings bundled up drinking tea, watching British tv, and working on quilts of course.

This project has consumed me in the last couple weeks, but it now has to go back on the shelf as I work on more pressing projects.
I happily stitch in each square as British murder mysteries flash by on the tv.

This is what the back looks like.  It must look like chaos to you machine piecers.  To hand piecers.... not so much.

It looks a bit better after it's pressed.

This eventually will be the start of another quilt, but it will be awhile before I can work on it again.

I hope to have more pictures soon of other works in progress.



Friday, January 16, 2015

New Starts

I hope your year is starting out better than ours.  We have been under the weather.  It felt like it would never get better - but it has.  The 6 week bug has now been vanquished.

I had a great time with the Capital City Quilt Guild in Lansing Michigan yesterday.  Thanks to all who attended and put up with me.

We are now hard at work designing quilt patterns for our upcoming fabric line.  We just got a sneak peak at it today. Whee!  That means in approximately 6 weeks I will have lots and lots of pictures to show you as I cut, press, sew, and unsew our new creations.

I'm attempting a new scrap quilt - but I'm not sure how it's going. I'm winging it.  I have nothing drawn on graph paper and it's a new, exciting, scary place to be.  At first I thought I might try some of these....

These are small - 1 1/2" from side to side. I tried to baste the traditional way and was not happy.
I posted my dismay on Instagram and instantly got lots of good advice.  First, glue basting seems to be the best way for these tiny, irregular shapes and it always helps to watch videos of people who know what they are doing.  Also, you are not supposed to baste the bottom edges.  Whoops.

I decided against the clamshells for now and went down this path.....

More will be revealed.  As soon as I know what I'm doing. Hah.

I have heard from a little birdy (possibly an Austin Bluebirdy) that the Austin Bluebird Sampler kits will be shipping soon.  In the meantime, we do have the complete pattern in our Etsy store.

Have a great weekend everyone.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year Update

Happy New Year to you all.  I hope you are all hale and hearty.  We are still enjoying ourselves here in Ann Arbaugh (heh)

This was in the window of Van Boven's Men store when I went in today.  Let's just say it's been a fun week.

While waiting for our next group of strike-offs, we are kind of in a holding pattern as to our next batch of patterns.  That gives me time to work on a new scrap quilt.  You might remember my last scrap quilt.  It was the Mrs. Billings Coverlet.  The new one is of my design.  It uses English Paper Piecing too.  It will also have lots of borders.  I have been forever hooked on this style.  You can thank my Northern European and Australian colleagues for that.  You will get more sneak peaks on this - and it will be another long term project.

This cookbook was a present from Polly.  It is delightful.  More than recipes - believe it when it says Recipes and Stories.  Bill and I are feeling a bit under the weather and I am making French Onion soup today.  It seemed just the thing for this frigid day.  I made the beef stock yesterday and we should have soup in a half an hour.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Because we are a little under the weather my appearance at the Bed Turning at Happiness is Quilting in McKinney Texas on Friday is cancelled.  The Bed Turning IS NOT CANCELLED though - I will magically narrate the quilts via the miracle of iPhone Face Time. 

Our dear friend Carrie has a new adventure.  You probably already know.  She is now one of the creative geniuses working in Dallas for Moda Fabrics and United Notions.  Today was her first blog post in that capacity.  She reported on a little corner of the warehouse.  How exciting.  It should be shipping to quilt shops all over the world any minute now.  Look for some kits and patterns in our Etsy store when that happens.  Thanks for the update, Carrie!

Later this month I'll give a small tutorial on the first month.  Keep watching here...

That reminds me - there will be a few changes here.  Our website - will no longer be updated.  Everything will be right here on this blog.  It has been for awhile, we just haven't made it official.  All of our news is here and all of our products are in our Etsy store - and the Etsy store link is on the upper left of the blog.  You can also follow me on Instagram - and you will have all your Minick and Simpson bases covered.

I think that's about everything......... I'll keep working on the quilt and hopefully will have more photos soon.



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Excuse Us, We're Feeling a Bit Giddy

Those of you in or around Michigan know about this.  Some of you sports fans have possibly heard about it.  The rest of you.....please excuse us for just a minute.

We're a bit giddy with the excitement.  Those of you who have followed us awhile know that we have posted about Jim Harbaugh in the past.  He is a lifelong friend of Polly, her husband and her sons.  I even babysat for the guy.  All I can tell you is that he is exactly as he has always has been, dedicated, charming, and driven.  And today we can add Michigan Head coach to that list.
Jim and his youngest son Jack

You wouldn't know it by some of the faces he makes on the sidelines - but he is funny.
Have I mentioned the fact that people have been excited about this announcement?
Oh, and that guy over on the right - that's Jim Minick who is now Head of Football Operations.    We're pretty excited about his new job too.

Okay, we're done now......

And now for a little quilt business.  Those of you who have been getting our Austin Bluebird Sampler Block of the Month packages - you probably got Month 7 today (or maybe tomorrow).  You will see a note inside that one of the fabrics was on order and will be shipped shortly.  Well, it's here and I'll be mailing it out tomorrow.
So, there is only a couple days delay.  So sorry.  

Happy New Year everyone!



Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End News

We hope your holidays are going splendidly.

They are for us.  I am finishing up some projects and starting some new ones....

I sewed on the binding to this oldie, but goodie - the Blue Nantucket
It's now in Polly's studio.  The loveseat expands into guest bed - and it needed an appropriate blue quilt.

Now it is all ready for visiting grandchildren.

I am planning on a new scrap quilt and have made piles of fabric to audition.  I'm pretty happy with these - all Minick and Simpson scraps except for one which is a Cabbages and Roses floral from Moda Fabrics.

My mind is running wild with possibilities.

And now for a little GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS to end the year.  First the bad news.  We will have to stop all of the download sales in our Etsy store.  So today, tomorrow and early on New Years Eve - that will be the end of downloads.   All of our patterns will be available in paper patterns mailed to you the old fashioned way after January 1st, 2015.  On New Year's Eve I will take the downloads off the site.  Until then - it's a SALE!!! If you want to purchase any download -Just use the coupon code - ETSYFAIL.  All downloads are 30% off.

Yeah, its ETSYFAIL.  

That's because of a convoluted problem facing small business owners, VAT, The European Union, taxes, virtual goods, and places like Etsy - the solution to this problem is NO SOLUTION.

I have no problem paying the taxes I owe.  Just tell me how, where and how much.  No one is helping, particularly venues like Etsy (which I LOVE, otherwise).  C'mon Etsy - try to help us and not hinder us.  

Ok, I got that off my chest.

Now for the good news.  I have no idea what it is - it's just a feeling that is going around Ann Arbor.  A buzz. Some good energy, indeed.   



Monday, December 22, 2014

Thank you all for sharing your lovely Holiday memories.  Polly and I loved them all and were pleasantly surprised to hear so many that recalled downtown Hudson's in Detroit.

The winner of the Christmas bundle of fabric.....

is Hiyacinth

Hiyacinth has already been emailed.  Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Just a little reminder...... For all of you in Texas, I will be at Happiness Is Quilting in McKinney Texas on January 9th at 10am for a Bed Turning/Trunk Show of some of my quilts.  I can't wait!!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Remember coin purses? Remember when most of your financial liquidity was in coins and all your worldly cash was carried in a coin purse? Remember when your daily purchases consisted of candy bars, bubble gum, or comic books? Me too! I had a little nostalgia this week when I made these....

They were fun to make and easy too.  I looked at the diagrams in my Japanese book and figured it out.  Hmmm, I wouldn't be surprised if we might offer little coin purse kits in the future. 

 I promise to have directions in English (they may or may not be easier to follow than the Japanese directions - Hah!)

Polly found something to be nostalgic about too.  When cleaning out a closet, she came upon some fat quarters of some long gone fabric collections.  Most of these are from Winter - one of our Christmas fabric collections.  I also spy some pieces from Coming Home and Prairie Paisley.

Would you like these to come live at your house? Just comment here about something you remember about the holidays from days gone by - and comment before midnight Sunday December 21st and these will be yours.



Blog Archive