Customer Gems - Patricia Caldwell
Patricia Caldwell is back this week with another of her beautiful art quilts. Earth and Sky Meet is made with Blue Sky and Coffee and Cocoa Gradients. Follow Patricia on her Facebook page to see more of her work.
For sharing, Patricia received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
Wow, September sure went by fast! My book list starts on my trip home from vacation and the rest was done while ironing and packing fabric, making flowers and doing every other prep task for the big show next week. As of today my booth is ready! All of the fabric is done, the decorations and signs made and everything is packed. I only have one task left to get my Bleeding Quilt presentation ready and I'll do that this weekend.
Today, I'm going to continue listening to my latest book and sew something.
I only finished 6 books this month but a few of them are real gems. My favorites are The House at the Edge of Night and The Woman Who Smashed Codes.
What have you read recently? Any recommendations?
The House at the Edge of Night
By Catherine Banner, Narrated by Eduardo Ballerini
Coming home from vacation I had Laura with me for the trip from Maine to Connecticut but I had to do Connecticut to Virginia by myself. I'm not a big fan of driving in any case but with a good book I 'm good to go. But the key is finding a good book and this time I lucked out.
The story is set on the fictional island of Castellamare, off the coast of Italy. Amadeo Esposito is a foundling (orphan) from Florence who is mentored by the physician that tends to the foundlings. He becomes a physician and finds employment, and love, as the first physician on the island. The story follows 3 generations of the Esposito family as the world intrudes and families leave and return to the lovely island.
It's a lovely story about a lovely place that you want to visit when the book is over. As soon as I got home I immediately put on my headphones so I could continue listening.
The Worst Hard Times
By Timothy Egan, Narrated by Patrick Lawlor
I read another book by Timothy Egan, The Immortal Irishman, that I loved. He does meticulous research on his subjects. But I can't say that I loved this one.
This is all about the Dust Bowl of the 1930's and there's tons of detail. It reminds me of the Ken Burns documentary productions (and in fact, Ken Burns reads the Forward) but imagine if you listened to the Ken Burns documentaries without the images. That's kind of what this book is like. Maybe Ken Burns turned this into one of his documentaries. If he did, I'd recommend watching that instead.
It's really well researched and I learned so much about that era that I just didn't know but it's story after story of one family's hardship or another. The best way to describe it is that the book is a bit too dry for my tastes. The point could have been made in a much shorter book. The repetitive stories didn't add to the overall message.
The Alice Network
By Kate Quinn, Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld
In 1947, Charlie is a socialite college girl who finds herself pregnant and obsessed with finding her cousin Rose who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war. Charlie shows up in London on the doorstep of Eve Gardiner wanting help finding Rose. Eve was a spy during WWI and is barely living with the scars of her experience. When Charlie mentions a particular name, Eve is determined to find the truth.
The story flips back and forth between 1947 (Charlie) and 1915 (Eve) as both stories unfold. It's well written and holds your interest. There are some brutal scenes but it's not suspense.
The Woman Who Smashed Codes
by Jason Fagone, Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
In 1912 Elizabeth Smith and William Freidman were working together on the estate of a crazy tycoon doing research projects. He was studying genetics and she was working on code breaking, specifically the theory that Bacon wrote Shakespeare and inserted codes into the text of the plays. The fell in love and became the preeminent code breakers in the US. Many books have been written about William. This book tells the rest of the story about Elizabeth and her work tracking gangsters after WWII and Nazis during WWII.
William and Elizabeth Friedman's work created the basis of the NSA and her story is fascinating. I loved this book!
By Ann Cleeves, Narrated by Kenny Blyth
This is the 5th in the Shetland Island series featuring detective Jimmy Perez. These are "edge of your seat" stories but they are good. I like the characters and the landscape descriptions make we want to visit the Shetland Islands. They are straight up murder mysteries and this one doesn't disappoint with 2 murders in pretty quick succession. The case gets Jimmy emerging from mourning back into work after the death of his fiance in the last book.
With this book they have changed the narrator and I like this one much better.
By Jeff Hawkins, Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
This is an old book (published in 2004) and that's especially old for a science book. I picked it up because Audible offered it in a Daily Deal and I'm glad I read it.
Jeff Hawkins was the founder of Palm Computing and Handspring. After he made is his fortune he turned to his primary interest: neuroscience. He started a company that is researching how we create and store memory. This book is his theory of how the neocortex works to learn and store patterns.
His company, Numenta, does this research today and works on developing artificial intelligence systems based on how the brain works. The book is very interesting. Where it gets dated is in the end where he's postulating on the future of AI. Some of the challenges that he identifies have been overcome, others are challenged in exactly the way he predicted. But his explanation of artificial intelligence actually made the who concept less scary for me.
Big fabric flower templates
Show preps are going along great this week. Every piece of fabric is ironed, tagged and packed! I'm down to working on some computer things and one of those things was to draw up the templates for my fabric flowers.
EVERY person who has come in the house to see them has said that people will want to either buy the flowers (not for sale) or make their own and that I needed handouts.
I have the basic tutorial on the web and I really don't want to print out multi-page instructions. Instead I've updated the tutorial to include downloadable templates for all of these flowers. I'll print off some stickers with the web address and hand those out. Plus I wanted you to have the templates too! After you make a couple of them you will start designing your own unique flowers. They are a lot of fun to make and quite addictive.
Get the tutorial.
Stars on Sale!
Shipping Schedule Announcement
In case you haven't heard I'm going to be vending at the AQS Virginia Beach show next week! That means that I won't be home to ship orders. There will be no shipping October 2 - 7. All orders next week will be shipped October 8.
Stars on Sale!
All Stars are 20% off through Sunday, September 30! Use coupon code STARS20
In the past several weeks I've been slowly building up my inventory of Stars fabrics. Stars are one yard cuts of unique colors with lots of texture. Here are some of the new ones. They are all on sale this week!
Need larger cuts? Check out the Galaxies where the fabrics are all 2 - 3 yards and have incredible texture. Here are 2 new ones just added this week.
Visit me in Booth 1730 at AQS Virginia Beach
Yesterday I told you about the gifts that I'll have for my social media followers at the AQS show in Virginia Beach next week. Here's a little peek at the prizes!
Of course, it's fabric.
Just come to the booth and have a good joke to entertain my free workers, Anne and Glenda. Tell them a joke and they will give you one of these.
Hope to see you there!
This is it. This is the last ironing that I have to do to get ready for the show next week! It may look like a lot to you but it really isn't. If I get off the computer soon I should be able to get this all done today, tomorrow at the latest.
Then the rest of my preps involve various printing and computer tasks.
Are you coming to the show next week? If so, get a joke ready and come visit us in Booth 1730.
Mom (Glenda) and my friend, Anne, are going to be there to help me all week and they are working for free. So I need to keep them in good spirits and that's where you come in!
I want my social media followers to come by and visit and if you come with a good joke to make Glenda and Anne laugh you will get a small gift. Lame jokes that generate eye rolls also qualify! So please come by to say hello and give us a good laugh! Come early, the number of prizes is limited!
Customer Gems - Leslie McNeil
today I have 3 great projects from artist and pattern designer, Leslie McNeil of Marveles Art Studios.
Leslie quilts on a domestic machine and she quilts beautiful feathered motifs. She loves using Gradients for table runners. The one on the left is Nightfall and the one on the right isn't made anymore but the colors are similar to Shenandoah. You can see (or buy) more of her tablerunners on her Etsy shop.
She is also knows for her floral collage techniques that she used on this autumnal art quilt using Sugar Maple gradient as the background.
For sharing, Leslie received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
You know how it is. You go on vacation and find yourself buying all kinds of vacation-themed things like shell art, antler light fixtures or, more likely for us, regional-themed fabric. It seems like a great idea at the time and then you get it home and wonder what the heck you were thinking. This fabric doesn't belong in any decor of my house!
But they are so cute and I wanted to have something made from them.
Yesterday was the day to do something with them. I needed a break from show planning but not so much of a break that would require serious concentration or time. I just needed a diversion and this was perfect. My Potholder Tutorial was the perfect answer. Chris does almost all of the cooking and he loves these potholders.
I selected lobster red thread for all three so I wouldn't have to change thread colors.
I got all three of them done in less than 2 hours and it felt like a vacation to have my mind on something else for a short time.
Chris likes these because they have pockets for hand holds. I had fat quarters of the lobster fabrics and had to add another fabric for the lining. If I hadn't been lazy I might have had enough lobster fabric left to piece the lining but piecing scraps was a bridge too far.
I've made these for Christmas gifts several times and they are always popular. You can set up an assembly line and made a dozen in no time. Get the tutorial here of you want to make some.
Now I can enjoy my Maine memories with my tasteful lobster potholders.
The last flowers
How am I so sure that these are the last of the flowers for my booth? Because I ran out of HeatNBond and I'm not buying more!
After I finished the other flowers I spread them out in the floor with my booth sign to get a general layout and to see what else I needed. I also still wanted to make a flower with a Shades Pack. The layout told me that this flower also needed to be a little smaller.
I really didn't think that a flower with 5 shades would look good but it turned out really cute!
In fact it was so cute that I used the rest of the HeatNBond to make as many as I could. I'm glad I didn't start with these because I might have made nothing but them. They are so cute!
Now I just have to figure out the best way to transport them.
With this done I feel like I'm almost ready. The rest of the list is manageable....until I think of something that I hadn't considered before.
Fabric of the Week - Jenny Lake!
The fabric of the week this week is the Jenny Lake gradient! If you want some for your stash get it before it sells out. Through Sunday (or while supplies last) this fabric is 20% off or $7.20/half yard.
Here's a beautiful quilt made by Mirian Ahladas that uses the Jenny Lake gradient for the skyline background.
Gradients back in stock
Leslie McNeil made her Sun Blossom Pony using her collage technique on a background of Barrier Island. You can get her pattern here.
Patricia Caldwell made Copper Trails using the Sunshine and Shadows gradient. In fact, she designed this gradient specifically for her project and I loved it so much that I added it to the shop permanently.
Rene Iannarelli used Woodlands in her Fall marsh quilt.
Bright flowers for a rainy weekend
I know that we are very lucky in the Richmond area that the only impact we had from Florence is gloomy rain and gloomy rain has pretty much defined the past 3 days. I had to get some bright color in my day so I made more flowers for my AQS booth.
I'm trying to make a fabric of a sample of each kind of fabric that I'm going to be selling. This is my shibori flower. The other small flowers that I made have 10 petals but I wanted fewer, but bigger, petals to show off the fabric better. I'm showing all of them flat but when they are hung in the booth the petals will be shaped so they will look a lot better.
The next one was a challenge. I wanted to make a flower to show off the Black Shades pack but I knew that the darkest petals would disappear against the dark backdrop. I had a couple of fat quarters of a pinkish red (I know it shows true red here but it's a very pink red) and decided to line the gray petals. I really love the effect.
This is another Crystal mandala but it was a fat quarter sized one. I had folded this small one and added it to the tray in my last dyeing session. I didn't make it for any specific purpose but I'm glad I had it. It turned into a pretty flower.
Next up was to make a flower from a Gradient. Since I use the Sundance gradient as my logo background I wanted to make a flower from the same gradient. Every part of this flower is from one fabric! I think It's going to look really cool once I shape the petals. The 6 petals in the center will curl in toward the center and the will allow more of the orange at the base of the petals to show.
Next I have to decide how to show off the Shades Packs. that might be a little trickier.
I'm hoping all of this rain moves out by tomorrow because I really need to do some ice dyeing Wednesday and that needs to be a outside activity. At the moment the forecast is for 85 and sunny so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.