Look What I Got!

As I sit here drinking my hot Holiday Tea and eating Moravian Spice Cookies I thought I would share some of my holiday happenings with you.  Christmas hasn’t even gotten here yet, and I have already received some wonderful gifts.  They’re made even more special because I wasn’t expecting them at all.  You know what I mean…there are some gifts that you expect to get, like those from family and very close friends.  The ones that you get from people you know but aren’t related to by anything other than a great love for fabric or craft are wonderful surprises indeed.  Couple the surprise with the fact that the item is handmade and the gift becomes even more special and makes you feel even more special for having been thought of as one to receive  such a special and unique gift.  Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.

My 1st Fabric Postcard!

This is my very first ever fabric postcard!  The photo doesn’t do it justice at all.  The background is all gold and glittery and there is red and gold glittery braid around the edges.  The back is like a tea dyed muslin so it looks old.  There’s even a red stamp at the top that says “Postcard!”  Diane made and sent this to me.  She put it in a plastic envelope so it arrived in perfect shape.  She’s a very prolific postcard maker and has swapped postcards with folks all over the country and even in other countries if memory serves me correctly.  She taught a class for our guild on making fabric postcards but I wasn’t able to go.  Yes, there is a down side to owning a quilt shop.   Anyhow, we were talking a few weeks back and I mentioned that I had never gotten a fabric postcard.  Miss Martha got one for her birthday when she turned 70 so I was feeling a little left out.  Ok, ok…I was jealous.  Hopefully, I didn’t sound too whiny, but Miss Martha has rubbed off on me just a bit over the past five years I’m afraid.  Diane even wrote on the back of the card that now I have a postcard.  It’s hanging on the door frame in the front room for everyone to see.  Be sure to look at it when you visit next time.

Handmade Wooden Pen

Saturday, I received this beautiful wooden pen from Dana.  She is one of my Thimbleberries ladies and she makes these pens.  I’ve wanted one for at least a year now, but I was taught that you don’t beg or ask for things no matter how badly you want them.  Miss Martha missed that lesson somewhere along the way because she’s always asking folks for stuff that they bring or wear in.  That’s a whole other story for another time though.  The bottom of this pen is wood and the top is acrylic.  It has a CROSS ink cartridge and writes beautifully.  It will stay upstairs with me because I would hate for it to grow legs and walk off like pens sometimes do. 
Yesterday morning I received a lovely candle from one of the ladies in my Sunday School class.  That was totally unexpected.  It is a Nouvelle candle which are poured by hand in Southern Louisiana.  This one is from their Holiday Collection and is called “Rosemary Wreath.”  I put it out on the table last night and it smelled sooooo good.  It is said to burn for 60 hours which should just get us through our 12 days of Christmas.  The candle came from Beautiful Me which is on the square here in Fayetteville.  Stop in the next time you’re in town.  They’re supposed to have some trendy young adult clothes, baby clothes, and some other goodies like this candle. 
We have a tractor pulling a mobile home stuck in the curve at the foot of the driveway.  It’s going on two hours now that the road has been blocked.  The distraction took me away from sharing my gifts with you so now I am drinking a different hot tea called “Paris” that was given to me by Ellen.  She said it was one of her favorites and I now know why.  It was another of those pleasant surprises of a gift.  This is a loose leaf tea so she also gave me the tea bags in which to put the leaves.  These are so nice because I don’t have to strain the leaves out of the tea now.  I am going to enjoy this tea leisurely and for as long as I can make it last.

Too Cute!

There are several other nice little things that I have gotten like the cute yellow and purple quilt square ornament that Doris found somewhere.  I’d love to have a bunch of these to put all over a tree.   They’re just over an inch square.  I’m thinking they had to be paper-pieced because they’re so tiny.  They came in several different colors but I was fortunate enough to get one of my favorite color combinations quite by accident.  It was just meant to be I guesss.
I love everything I’ve gotten thusfar and am sure I will love everything to come just as much.  While it’s more blessed to give than to receive, I can’t help but enjoy being on the receiving end, especially when the gifts are handmade and come from the heart.
The Martingale books that I mentioned in the last post have arrived.  Drop in and look them over being sure to bring your Super Stitcher card with you when you come.
I received an e-mail from The Quilt Show saying that they had opened the site as their gift to the quilting community for the month of December.  If you are not already a member of this super online treasure trove of knowledge you need to give yourself a membership this year.  In addition to being able to watch and learn from some of the greatest names in the quilting industry, you receive FREE project patterns as well as a BOM for 2011 that will knock your socks off.  That BOM alone would cost you $60 if you were to buy the monthly patterns from a shop.  Go to www.thequiltshow.com and give it a try.  You won’t regret doing it for a minute.  Tell them Dixxie sent you.
Don’t forget that we will close this coming Friday at noon.  There’s a good chance that the shop will be closed Thursday afternoon around 4:00 as well.  Miss Martha gets a bit nervous being here after it gets dark so be sure to call if you think you’re going to need to come later than 4:00 on a Thursday afternoon until the days start getting longer again. 
Also keep in mind that we are having a sale this week on our ’30s prints in honor and recognition of Darlene Zimmerman’s birthday which is on December 23.  I e-mailed her last year to get permission to use her birthday for one of our celebrations of quilting celebrities.  It just so happened that I e-mailed her exactly on her birthday.  We’ve waited a whole year for this particular sale so don’t miss it.
What the new year will hold is anyone’s guess.  I was asked the other day whether or not I had heard about an increase in fabric prices due to the increase in the cost of cotton.  The answer to that question is a definite, “YES!”  Prices will be going up next year without a doubt.  I was told by one rep that most of what he had to show would come in next year at $10 a yard and up.  How far “up” will go I’m not sure.  We’ll do everything we can to keep the costs down and as reasonable for you as possible. 
Then there’s the issue of the vendor’s being able to meet the demands for specific fabric.  From what I’ve been told by sales reps, the vendors are projecting their needs for first-quality greige goods farther out than normal in hopes of being able to acquire enough to print the fabric required to meet the demands of their customers.  It looks like it’s going to be first-come-first-served and if shops do not purchase enough fabric when it is presented there may not be any extra to be had later on.  The vendor’s do not want to have a lot of extra fabric sitting in the warehouse tying up their money.  I can understand their concern, but it’s not going to make my job any easier I’m afraid.  Knowing when to be bold and take a chance vs. hold back and play it safe is going to get trickier.
Another concern is that more and more shops will end up closing because as Marilyn, Dana, and I discussed Saturday, quilting fabric is not a must have.  Other bills rank higher on the scale than does fabric.  Since most seasoned quilters have a good stash from which to pull bringing in new quilters will be more important than ever.  Make a resolution to share your love of quilting with just one new person every month.  Your effort will go a long way towards promoting the art and keeping the independent quilt shops in your area open.  If being able to go to your favorite quilt shop whenever the mood strikes is important to you then it’s up to you to help that shop keep their doors open.  It’s not enough to just think about them and hope they’re doing well.  Just as you sometimes have to put feet to your prayers, we need you to spread the word about the benefits of quilting and of buying from independent quilt shops.  That is, of course, if you want to have us around next year to serve your quilting needs.  Now you’ve become a partner instead of just a patron. 
Happy holidays to you and yours from all of us here at Hooked on Quilting.  Be safe in your travels, don’t eat too much, and be sure to do more than just think about us in the year to come.  We want you to bring both your smiling face and show-n-tell when you come to visit.  If you bring a new quilting friend along that will be a bonus for which we will be ever so grateful. 

Yes, I’m Still Here…

I know, I know…you thought I’d run off to Upper Slobovia or other parts unknown.  No, I’ve just been very busy for some reason.  I can’t always put my finger on just why I’ve been so busy, but there’s never a lack of things to do or deadlines to meet.  The most recent deadline, Farmer’s Wife #7, has been met so I am now free to catch up on what I should have told you two weeks ago.

18 Great Quilts!

Let’s start with the November releases from Martingale.  First we have “S is for Scraps” by Gayle Bong.  This new publication will give you 18 great quilts to help you use up that over abundance of excess fabric known to quilters as “stash” so you can come by the shop and buy more.  In addition to these great designs, many of which are stars of one sort or another, you will learn about organizing your fabrics in order to make the job of making a scrap quilt easier, quicker, and most importantly, more interesting.

Wool Applique

Next, we have “Pennies from Heaven” by Gretchen Gibbons.  There are ten blocks used in the cover quilt and you can make every single one of them using felted wool and the blanket stitch.  In addition to the cover quilt there are eight other projects for you to make from wallhangings to table runners.  If you have never worked with felted wool before you will be thrilled with how easy it is to work with.  There’s no needle turning needed with this type of applique and it’s very forgiving.   OK…are you singing the song in your head now too?

Something for Everyone!

Last, but definitely not least, is the project packed book “Heartfelt Giving” by Marie Osmond.  Teresa bought this book when it first came in and told me on her next visit that it was a great book.  She said she wasn’t sure what she’d expected it to be, but I told her probably what I had expected.  You see, Teresa and I are about the same age as Marie.  We grew up knowing her as Donnie’s little sister, a singer, an entertainer, but not a sewer.  To have to wrap our brains around the fact that she’s also a quilter and seemingly loves fabric as much as we do is pushing our pre-conceived notions of this icon of our generation just a tad.  Teresa’s right though, this is a great book and it has something for everyone.  The projects range from quilts to a shower curtain and everything you can and can’t imagine in between.  With 112 pages there’s almost no one on your gift list that you can’t make something for from Marie’s book.   Now, switch the song in your head to “Paper Roses”.

Authentic '30s Designs!

Knowing that the month of December is going to be even busier than the month of November was, I am going to go ahead and give you a sneak preview of the new releases that will be delivered in the next week or two.  I’m most excited by “Fancy to Frugal” by Kay Conners and Karen Earlywine.  If you know me very well you know that I adore the ’30s reproduction fabrics.  What’s just as good as reproduction fabrics is reproduced authentic quilt patterns from that era.  There are ten such patterns in this book and I’m sure I will want to do every one of them.  Deciding which to do first though won’t be easy.

In MyOwn Words!

Also, coming later this month is Tonya Ricucci’s “Word Play Quilts” which was inspired by Gwen Marston.  The technique used in these quilts is very forgiving and will lend itself to many applications.  I couldn’t help but laugh at the quilt that reads, “Don’t make me break out the flying monkeys,” or something close to that.  This is more of a technique book and is intended to  teach you how to make these quilts so there are only three practice projects given.  What you get in addition to these projects are loads of samples that will inspire you as you make your own quilt in your own words.  Slick!


If you are new to quilting you want to be sure and get a copy of this next book.  “Stack the Deck Revisited” by Karla Alexander is a revised reprint of her first book.   Her original book is no longer in print.  The revision has been updated using new fabrics and several of the designs have been modified ever so slightly to give them a fresh and new look.  This technique is not your normal cut the fabric and sew it back together style.  This technique has you stacking your fabric, slicing it, shuffling it like a deck of cards, hence the title, and then sewing it all back together in an amazing design.  You’re going to enjoy this one!

As I’ve suggested before, visit www.martingale-pub.com and look through the gallery on any book in which you think you might be interested.  Keep in mind that not all of the projects in the book may be included in the gallery so to get the complete picture you still need to come in and look through the book up close and personal.  Be sure to bring you Super Stitcher card with you so we can stamp it for each book you buy.  Before you know it you’ll be mailing your completed card to Martingale for a FREE book of your choice.  You can’t beat that deal with a stick!

Now for other bits of information you need to know.  This past Saturday and Monday we offered a 40% off coupon as our way of saying thank you for all your support this year.  We collected the coupons and drew a name from those who shopped with us those two days.  The winner of our goodie bag is Maggie Hood.  She’s been notified and I trust she will enjoy all her goodies as much as I enjoyed putting them together for her.  Congratulations Maggie!

I sent out an e-mail about signing up for Stitchin’ Camp to be held in January.  Camp is full so no more campers will be registered, however, we are taking a waiting list in case someone has an emergency and cannot make it.  If you would like to be placed on the waiting list just give us a call.

For those who live in the Huntsville area I would like to encourage you to make plans to attend the “Carols of Christmas” at Trinity United Methodist Church at 607 Airport Road on Sunday, December 12.  The time of this FREE concert is 6:30.  Tickets can be picked up at the church.   Trinity’s Sanctuary Choir will be joined by the Huntsville Chamber Chorale and Huntsville Youth Symphony.  We went to this last year and I was absolutely blown away.  It was so much more than I expected it to be, and I’m not an easy one to impress when it comes to music (yes, I am a music snob).  You will be so in the mood for Christmas to be here after you enjoy this concert that you’ll think you’re a kid again waiting for the big day that will never come.

That’s it for now.  I hope to be posting information on Thimbleberries Club, Miss Martha’s “Count on It” monthly project, and some other items of interest soon.  I promise not to take so long this time.

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