Monday, December 29, 2008

" snow, snow, snow, snow, SNOWWWWWW!"

Yes, I admit it.... I've watched "Winter Wonderland" one too many times this month! We had our first white Christmas in far too many years! It was gorgeous! I LOVE snow! I loved having it for Christmas!! I love the way it looks & smells & even the way it tastes! I love icicles & hoarfrost & the way it sparkles at night. I love the crunch it makes when you walk on it & the way it almost "squeaks" under the car's tires. I love the way it makes the whole world quiet & almost otherworldly! We had it for almost 2 weeks leading up to Christmas day & then the warm Chinook winds managed to melt almost every bit of it over the weekend.........sigh............... Oh well! Time to think about spring anyway! All it takes is the scent of wet earth to set off that urge to plant! I've been making lists and drawing up garden plans even before the Christmas decorations are down! We have several bushes to move as soon as the ground thaws & I'll be transplanting over 50 lavender plants. Let's hope they have a sense of humor about the move & agree to thrive in their new homes. I received my first seed catalog in the mail a couple days ago. I can't WAIT to get started! I'm going to order about 6 different kinds of sunflowers, old fashioned cosmos, delphiniums, sweet william, foxglove, & every single variety of pumpkins they carry. Several of the farmers near us grow pumpkins-I know they'll do well. We'll be able to go HOG WILD in October..... I LOVE going hog wild with pumpkins!!!! But, I have to keep reminding myself that there's a whole lot more winter left & not to jump the gun!! Probably couldn't even get a shovel into the dirt outside right now anyway! HA! So, I'll just have to stitch!

Sheila & I have just finished stitching the panels for our new "Friendship Grows Over Garden Fences" quilt. We're just waiting for the fabric from MODA to put the quilt together. The fabric line we're using is supposed to hit the stores in March so we'd better get busy! I stitched another project over the weekend (It's a gardener's angel!) that I'm going to put together with Lecien florals. I haven't decided whether to have her as a single pattern or draw up three more & make them into a small quilt. Decisions, decisions....... I was drawing furiously right before Christmas trying to get a new Christmas quilt down on paper and out of my head so that I could calm down & enjoy the holiday. I CAN'T WAIT to start stitching it up!!!!! It's more snowmen.... an alphabet ......... Christmassy........ I LOVE snowmen!!!! WOW! There's just too much to be excited about right now! Calm down girl!
Our angel.... sorry about the basting threads!
I'm not sure about the pink blouse yet... may have to take it out & re-do it!
We've received a photo to share!
This is "Heart of the Home" made by our friend Shellee Jensen from Belding, MI. She stitched it in perle cotton & it's quilted using some McTavishing....... I had to go online & find out what that was. It's a very pretty quilting technique!............. I really need to get out more! Anyway, we met Shellee in our hotel at International Quilt Market in Portland, OR last spring..... is it OK to tell this story Shellee???.... We met her (she had NO choice!) when she walked through the lobby with a big case of the hiccups. Of course, we couldn't just ignore THAT now could we???? We made lots of fun of her & she & her friends are really nice & have good senses of humor (meaning they didn't get mad at us just because we were pointing & laughing!) SO...... now she's "HiccupGirl !" & we just love her! She obviously does beautiful work too! Bonus!!!!
Well, have to go for now. The guy has arrived to clean the chimneys for the studio's fireplaces... can't have any stinky smoke in here! Bye!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Yahoo!!!! Time to get ready for Christmas!! We've put up our Christmas tree in the studio & decorated the front porch with tons of twinkle lights. A couple of weekends ago I found TONS (really... they were everywhere!) of vintage ornaments in a couple antique shops in Yakima. We put the small, gently worn, pink balls on the tree & all of the other pink & aqua balls & bells are piled among the village houses. I also found a hand embroidered tablecloth that looks like it's NEVER been used! Such a lucky find!!

Last weekend I got to visit with a lovely group of ladies at Pendleton Quiltworks in Pendleton, OR. They're all so nice & fun, & down to earth! What a nice way to get to end my teaching year! Thank you to everybody who takes my classes. Girls who stitch are just SO much fun! It seems to just go with the territory!! Everyone looks like they're working so hard in the pictures. I didn't get everybody in the shots.... was somebody out in the shop BUYING FABRIC?????

This sweet, little girl's top was embellished by Cindy King for her new grandaughter. She does such lovely work! I love that she used this pattern like this!!! The snowman bodies are appliqued and the words are stitched in a sparkly floss. This is so soft & cute!! Thank you for bringing it to class Cindy!

This photo was sent in by Sherrie Hockett. Her Indian Summer pillow is just beautiful!! Hmmmmm........... there's a Morning Glory pillow in the background that looks awfully familiar! You've been a busy girl!!

This weekend I made candy canes (No, not real ones!) I'll show you how to make them if you'd like a handful of your own! I'm going to make 30 of them. Enough for myself & a handful for each of the "Girls" Christmas gift bags......Shhhhhh!.... don't tell them!

You start with wood dowels - we used 5/8" ones. We (Phil that is.... I didn't actually touch them until they were cut & sanded.........I know! He's a pretty good guy!) cut them into 12" lengths & sanded the cut edges.

Paint with ivory acrylic paint - I like to use a sponge brush & paint one half of the candy cane with a thin coat of paint (so it dries quickly & I can hold on to the clean, unpainted side while I paint. Later, the painted end will be dry enough to hold while painting the other end without getting.... well..........paint-y!)

Now paint the other end & let it dry. I give all of them a second coat of paint so that the color is even.

NOW! Choose a pretty red acrylic paint (or whatever color you'd like - I made black & orange ones for halloween this year. They turned out SO CUTE !) Use a 1/2" or so, flat paintbrush to add the stripes. Just start at an angle at one end & slowly twirl the dowel as you paint the stripe.

If you're working in a warm room & you don't glop on the paint, it should dry enough to lay flat to dry as soon as you're through painting. I like to use parchment paper or waxed paper for this as it won't stick to the painted surfaces.

Once the paint is completely dry you can add a tiny stripe with a paint pen , liner brush or even a sharpie! Look closely & you'll notice that the lines are imperfect & kind of wobbly. Once the glitter is added you won't even notice the imperfections.

Use a clean sponge brush to coat the candy canes with Mod Podge & roll in clear glitter or mica flakes to give it a sugary sparkle. You can do this very quickly because they seem to look better if they're not evenly coated.
Sparkly, wintry, Christmassy......... inexpensive & easy! Perfect!!!! I hope you make some of these! Have Fun!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We have more member's show & tell & another sneak peek at the "Vintage Trick or Treat" pattern............... (at least, that's it's name this week!) I love the stitched blocks in this pattern SO MUCH! I'm waiting for just the right fabrics & then I'll put it together!
One of the great things about being in this business is that you get fabric samples & info about up-coming fabric lines from the major fabric companies. Really..... it's the greatest thing!!! It's like Christmas morning! A box will arrive & when you open it up, it's filled with jelly rolls, sample rolls or even 1/2 yd cuts of new fabrics. I'm in HEAVEN! Even if they're something I think we'd never use they still get opened up & "caressed"!! LOL!! Yesterday we got a box from Lecien..........OH MY GOSH!!!!! Such gorgeous, soft florals & dots! Makes my heart palpitate..........may even be un-healthy to get that excited!! We'll definitely have to keep them in mind for some of the new designs! We got a box from MODA a week or so ago too.......... all of the samples are sitting here & there......................... calling to me!!! I've been asked by a few companies to do fabric lines. I've put it off & put it off. I finally realized that I love the surprise of finding beautiful fabrics. When you design a line, you feel that you HAVE to use it for everything you do that time around. I'd much rather feel that rush of inspiration from someone else's fabric!!! Sound silly?? Probably. I may still do another line but right now I'd just like to pick & choose from all of the beautiful stuff that's out there!

We have some show & tell to share. First is "Heirloom Romance" made by Cheri Testa from Maple Falls, WA. I met Cheri at a class I taught at Cotton Pickin's in Stanwood, WA. She's done a beautiful job hasn't she? I love the colors she's chosen.... really a rich look! Looks like she's got some redwork down there to the left.............. what's that Cheri???
This "Heart of the Home" was made by Susan Ache from Florida. She's going to frame it but says that she'd thought about making it into a baby quilt too. Great idea! but I think I wouldn't use the wool on it........... did you use wool or applique fabric scallops??? Let us know!............ she will let us know............... she's kind of a Crabapple Hill stalker.....................YIKES!!!! Just kidding, Susan's alot of fun & we get a huge kick out of her emails!!

Nireko Ohira from Kensington, CA. made fruit from our "Home Grown" pincushion pattern using Lecien fabrics. Nireko works for Lecien & made them for their Quilt Market booth's display. They look beautiful!! Nireko is such a sweetheart, she sent us Karisma fabric pencils to try for tracing patterns. I'm going to try them out tonight (I'm tracing off a pattern we're sending to Better Homes & Gardens) They have 4 colors of leads & an eraser so that you can remove the lines if you need to. I'm really hoping that this will turn out be the best thing since sliced bread!!! Keep your fingers crossed! Has anyone used them?? Are they great? Or OK?
It's so much fun to hear from everyone... to see what you're working on & all the different ways you're finishing things! Write us a note, send us a photo! We want to meet you!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Well, today I put away my Halloween decorations & re-arranged the "Autumn" deco that was left. That should see us through another couple of weeks until I absolutely HAVE to decorate for Christmas. I have to admit that I'm kind of a holiday decorating nut! Any excuse to decorate & hopefully put up lights!! LOL!! I think we need to come up with another holiday for that "dry" period between the 4th of July & Halloween. Something in early September............. it should have a color scheme, certain foods & possibly a song or two..................... by the way, Halloween desperately needs a couple of songs, don't you think? The only one I know of is "10 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Fence" & it's really hard to hum..............................I've tried!
Anyway, time to move on toward Christmas. I'm MORE than ready to put up a tree or two! I've convinced Phil that we're going to NEED to get two or three potted pine trees this month, put lights on them & arrange them on the front porch of the shop. (I call it "the shop" but it's not a "Shop" shop. It's the building that was originally intended to be Phil's dream shop complete with an air compressor, big tool boxes etc... & another street rod to tear apart & rebuild.... but I kind of took it over, stole it from him, girly-ed it up, added on, frou-frou'd it & now it's Crabapple Hill................. I feel SO bad about doing that............NOT!!!!LOL!!) Anyway, back to the trees... my excuse was that we needed them so that we could plant them when we're through building our new house (OH, by the way, we're building a new house, I'm a little bit excited, I may SHRIEK occasionally, they should break ground this month, WOOHOO!!!) There, I got it out of my system. I'm all better now. Well! Back to the trees............ We need them desperately, you understand don't you? They need to be smothered in sparkly white twinkle lights & we may NEED them by next weekend. Sorry, I'm a little giddy!
We've been stitching away on new designs. I finished the stitched blocks for the quilt that I gave you a sneak peek at in the last post. Sheila has a 2nd copy of it stitched (the blackwork part) and is starting on the color fill stitches. Cyndy has stitched two copies of another one of the new patterns called "Midnight's Crow". They'll need some wool touches added & I'll be ready to sew them up. I think I'm going to frame them. After all, how many pillows does one person need??
The closer we get to the holidays, the more quiet it gets around here (just the opposite of your local quilt shop I'm sure!) I think it's because everyone has already purchased all the patterns & supplies to make gifts & as the weather gets more "if-y" everyone wants to cuddle up at home & stitch, sew & just appreciate their families. It gives the Girls & I time to relax a little bit, take a deep breath & most importantly.... stitch (& for me, DRAW!) We've had Christmas music playing in the studio for a week or so know, to get in the mood! So that I can design Christmas stuff! NOW you see why I desparately NEED those trees!!!! I'll let you in on another little secret..... when we get into drawing & stitching mode......... we watch/listen to alot of TV here! I have a large collection of old movies & British comedies (have you seen "The Vicar of Dibley"??? It's SO funny!) We also have Tivo so we can pause whatever's on when someone calls or things get busy. We record things to watch when we're all together.... you know, the shows that need a serious group discussion..... like.... The Bachelor, Ghost Hunters, Wife Swap & our favorite..... that Redneck Wedding show on CMT. Our favorite episode by far is the one where the bride can't find her teeth on the morning of the wedding & her mom offers to lend her daughter hers!......... Brings a tear to my eye every time! LOL!!!:)
We got a lot of emails about wanting more recipes so.......... the recipe below is for a favorite bar cookie. I find when I start to copy my recipes, they're missing vital information. They say things like.... beat till it looks right..... bake till done .... or they're just a list of ingredients with no measurements or instructions.... YIKES!! When I made these bars this morning I had to hover over the oven because it didn't say how long to bake them. I usually go by..... Can I smell them? Do they smell done? & the old stand-by, Do they look done? It was really wierd taking a photo of them too! Normally they'd go directly into a rubbermaid container or ziplock bag. There's no way they'd ever actually touch a pretty plate or anything. They had to get "gussied up" for the photo though!

Thanks to all of you who've commented & emailed notes & photos. We'll get the photos of your projects up to share with everyone ASAP!! It's still astounding & really humbling to see how many of you stitch up my "doodles". It may sound dopey, but sometimes it's truly shocking to me that anyone wants my patterns. Thank you... I really appreciate it!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

OK............ I have a confession to make... you'll find out sooner or later anyway.......... I, Meg Hawkey, am a big old blabbermouth. I can't keep a secret to save my own life, I've never been able to buy gifts ahead of time & hold on to them until the "event".... I get excited & give the whole thing away ahead of time. I'm terribly ashamed, but.... that's just the way it is!

NOW!! That explains why I just HAVE to show you the center block of a quilt I'm working on for release next May!!! Just plain blackwork looked too.... well,... plain, and I didn't really want to do crayon work on it, SO! I've been doing fill stitches in Halloween-y brights. I'm really happy with it so far. I finished another block last night & I'm getting REALLY EXCITED about it!!! WOO HOO!!
I've been trying to get this "blog" set up so that you will be able to make comments on things but it's not working correctly. I can't get it to "enable" that feature & just TRY to get a human being on the end of a phone line or email to help figure out what the problem is!! I'm still trying to resolve the problem so you'll be able to "talk" to all of us soon!................................ I hope.
We have some more show & tell photos to share!
Ginger, Nancy, Susan, Jennie, and Teresa (owner & staff at Ginger's Needlearts, Quilts & Framing) all chipped in to make the "Witches Stitches" block from "Hocuspocusville" for a display at the shop. They used buttons from Just Another Button Company to embellish it. I see they added a spiderweb & a button spider too! This is really cute girls!!!! OOOhh!..... I think I'm going to choose one of the blocks from it & do it up like this! ............. I never get to use the quilts & samples for myself.................... boo hoo! I'm whining, do you feel sorry enough for me to make another one of these & send it to me????? .... did it work??? They probably won't fall for it!

Sandy Miller sent us "Arlyn's Embroidery Envelope". Such soft, sweet wool! Very pretty Sandy! She'd sent another photo of the inside, but for some reason I couldn't get it to upload. Darn!

The next photos were sent by Shellee Jensen from Belding, MI. She's been a very busy girl!! Lots of Christmas projects. Beautifully done Shellee!!

Now! Our friend in Florida, Susan Ache, has sent in some photos of her project "Merry Little Christmas". She says it's her favorite so far... maybe because of the coloring. I have to agree Susan, it's my favorite too! I love the applique you did for the center medallion!! The buttons are going to just "make" it once it's quilted! Susan also has sent several photos of her home..............OMG!!!! Beautiful! Tons of quilts & stitcheries and pretty this & that! I could move right in & be SO HAPPY! Maybe she'll let us share a couple with everybody!?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Show & Tell!

For show & tell today......... let me introduce a few of our fellow stitchery "addicts"!

First, is April! She made the Garden Journal Baskets quilt & won FIRST PLACE at the Morgan Hill Quilt Show!!!! Yahoo April!! You did a beautiful job! And you look very pretty too!

Next is "Halloween Journey" made by Kirsten Scranton. Is that piecing in the corners, or a fun fabric? I wish we could see it better! One of the drawbacks to emailing photos is that some of our computers or email providers want the images to be really small. But, darn it!, it makes the photos blurry!!! And we want to be able to see every beautiful stitch! When you send your photos in to us, just leave them as big as you can for your programs & let us re-size them. High DPI is GOOD! ..... you know,..... if you squint it gets clearer!.......... I know, I'm goofy! Kirsten wrote us that she's going to start on "Over the River" next. That reminds me that I need to get the binding on our 2nd copy of that!

This is a quilt top made by Susan Ache. Susan works at the Old Green Cupboard in Jacksonville, FL. (They have a very fun website!) She's put together the borders of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and put "Heart of Christmas" increased by 200% in the center. WOW! I love it when I see people using the patterns in different ways!! This one is really effective isn't it? Great job! She told Cyndy that she's working on "Merry Little Christmas" & is putting it together a little bit differently too. CAN'T WAIT to see it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is "Chamomile & Thyme" made by Kathy Savage from Royersford, PA. She writes that she won first prize in the "Embroidered Pillow" category in their county fair! WOW! Very pretty!! How did you do the edging on your ruffle??? SHARE!!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

We're getting so close to getting the new website up & "on the air!" The new samples are complete, patterns are done & the new flyers that we send out to all of "our" shops are ready to print! Whew!! It's time to start working on NEW, new designs!! I CAN'T WAIT!!! There are so many images floating around in my head it's kind of hard to sleep at night. It will get better after I'm able to at least get them down on paper. Tomorrow! .... Tomorrow is going to be a drawing day! YIPPEE!!!!!
This weekend Phil (my long suffering husband) & I are heading for the mountains. The leaves in the Cascades are in FULL color, so we'll leave early, spend the day soaking in the beauty, stop at Apple Annie's in Cashmere for a marathon search for old tablecloths & green glassware, hit Smallwoods fruit stand & get pumpkins, gourds & some great Wenatchee Valley apples (they really don't taste the same anywhere else!) , and have dinner at Rusty's..... the best hamburgers on the face of the earth! .... before we head home. I can't wait, can't WAIT, CAN'T WAIT!!!!!
Oh, here's one of the new patterns "Farm Fresh Produce". It looks so much like the fruit stands that are along the roadsides in the orchard filled valley where we're going on Saturday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hi Everybody!
This is officially my first entry in the Knot-y Girl's Stitchery Club! The name.... the name was actually my husband's idea, though I think he meant it with the correct spelling! Whenever all of us (we?? so much for proper English!) girls all get together, we talk WAY too much, laugh until we're all sore the next day, and come up with way too many ideas that in one way or another are going to eventually get us into trouble!! I'm sure if all of us were here, in the same room together, that's exactly what would happen..... so.........Knot-y Girls we are!!
We're going to use this "blog" as our stitchery club where we can share what's going on here in the studio, where you can share ideas & tips & photos of your projects etc.... We're going to have free patterns & contests & games & show & tell & anything else we can think up ("we" being me, the girls & YOU!) Anyway, you get the idea!
I thought I'd show you the first photo of the first new pattern to be completed for release in October. It's called "Home Grown". It's cotton velveteen pincushions & seed packet needlecases. There are radishes, beets (my fav.) apples & carrots (my fav.#2).

I went nuts a few weeks ago putting together things to decorate our booth for quilt market in Houston. I LOVE decorating!! Looks like we won't be able to use any of it right now tho. You all know that Houston got hit by hurricane what's her name & when we found out that we'd lost our reservations because our hotel was badly damaged, we decided that it may not be wise to travel all that way concidering the uncertainty.... "Would we be able to find another hotel? Would the convention center still be housing evacuees? Would any shop owners show up???" So, we're going to stay home & enjoy Autumn instead! One thing I really regret is that I won't be teaching in McKinney, TX at Happiness is Quilting after market. We had to cancel that also. I was really looking forward to it. I got a call from them today though, & we're on for next fall for sure!

Here's another new design... this time a quilt called "Berry Picking Party". I was asked by Lecien Fabrics if I would use fabrics of theirs for an up-coming design. Their florals are

absolutely GORGEOUS so I said "Yes, Please!!". They also sent us their embroidery floss to use. It's called COSMO, comes in beautiful colors & has such a nice sheen. It was a joy to work with! We're putting both the COSMO & DMC floss numbers on the pattern. Here are a couple close-ups of blocks.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm..................... putting photos on here is going to take a little bit of experimentation to get them where I want them!

The other blocks are a berry pie, a pitcher of lemonade, a bowl of berries with cream & a bluebird, tea stuff, a table set for the party with cakes & petit fours and a gift basket with berries, flowers and jars of berry jelly!

I've always wanted to have a jam making party! Get together with a few friends & make four or five kinds of jam & then split them up between us. It's just such a good feeling when you look at those jars all lined up on the kitchen counter!! Maybe next summer............. We made two of these quilts. Sheila & I stitched the first one & Gracie, Judy, Cyndy & Jan divvied up the blocks on the 2nd one & got it done SO Quickly!! We have to make at least two of everything so that we have enough to send out in trunk shows & to catalogs to photograph.... YIKES!!! By the time you make the 2nd one, you don't really ever want to look at it again! Well, that's not quite true. It's sort of like giving birth - it takes a little while to forget the "pain" & then you're willing to do it again! I'll post more photos as we get them ready for their pattern covers.