Open Season for Travel

Hi Quilters –

I just got back from Southern California and the Orange Grove Quilters Guild. What a great guild! If I lived in So. Cal., I would join their guild.

That trip is just the beginning of my Teach and Travel season. Here is some of my upcoming travel:

I’m going to be a featured guest here:

Fisher, Louisiana

and here:

While I was in So. Cal., I attended the Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds “Meet the Teachers” event. Each teacher set up a booth of quilts and projects for the Guild Programs Chairs to see, then we gave a three minute introduction of our lectures and workshops. The fabulous quilter who was in the booth next to me was the lovely Tammie Bowser.

Click on Tammie’s name above to visit her website. She has online videos and online classes. She may be teaching in your area.

What a great surprise it was! I love Tammie’s art and have followed her ever since I first saw her quilts (pre-Simply Quilts). She’s someone that I’ve wanted to interview for my podcast for many years, but we haven’t been in the same place at the same time. Being booth-mates gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better — what a treat!

 Now, back to packing…. I’m heading for the Quilt Capital of the Universe –none other than Paducah, KY — for the first time in my life! I’m SO excited.

Would you like to meet-up with me at Paducah? Just send me an email at annie@simplearts.com and let me know. I’ll be there Wednesday – Friday evening and already have a couple of friends to meet. I’d love to meet you too! Just let me know ; )

Happy Quilting –

Annie

A UFO is callin’ my name

I’ve been working on multiple quilts, trying to get ready for my busy teaching schedule coming up. Back in December, I talked about working on quilts that have been on the back-burner for a while.

Since January 1st, I’ve started and/or completed 9 quilts. (Photos in next blog post)

I had  just finished a baby quilt top for you-know-who and ran downstairs to my studio to get the backing fabric. It’s in there somewhere, I just couldn’t find it… I ended up standing face to face with my stack of UFO boxes.

I decided several years ago to keep the UFO’s in their own box with all of the fabric, the book or pattern, threads, anything related to the project — so when the time came to work on it, I had everything bundled together. It’s a good plan, as it turns out. This one box, this one Log Cabin quilt that I began before I started the Quilting Stash podcast (in 2005), jumped off the shelf and into my arms. Why — I have no idea, and I couldn’t even remember how far along it had gotten before I stored it away.

Here’s a closeup of the block.The fabrics will look familiar to you — I think they’re pretty much all Modas. Three Sisters collection, I think.

 I have to say, I love this quilt. I can’t wait to finish it!

I’m in the process of creating a new sewing room in the house, since all the kiddoes and Piper, the Wonder Dog are gone. I have this glorious little room, that was the Boy Wonder’s room, that has the best sunshine of any room in the house. I’ve picked out paint, installed shelving in the closet and am in the process of re-doing the room. I’ve set up a temporary “camp” in the living room and hung a Clover Design Sheet on the quilt that hangs on the wall there to use as my design wall while I work like crazy.

If you’re not using a design wall when you make a quilt, you are doing a disservice to yourself. You won’t be able to get the whole picture of the quilt you’re working on. To illustrate that, here is a picture of the quilt before the final section was pinned together for sewing.

Can you see the little white line, which is the space between the sections? When I stood back to look at the quilt, I got an idea. What if I made that wider and added sashing? (which I would repeat for the section on the right side).

It’s an interesting idea, but the fabric is too light, and it would mis-align the log cabin blocks by one strip. Better planning at the beginning would need to happen — hmmm, an idea for the future – but not this quilt.

So, here it is — as far as I had blocks constructed:

This is as far as I can go, but I have lots left:

…enough to probably make another quilt, the same size or larger.

I need to make this quilt fit the top of a King size bed, so I will add another 2-block section on the right — making the log cabin design symmetrical. While I was standing back, viewing it on the design wall again, the idea came to me –

rather than add two more rows of blocks to make the quilt longer, I will add an applique border to the top of the quilt! I thought about adding one of the applique borders from my book;

hmmm, maybe it’s time for a new border for this quilt… yes, it is.

…As soon as I finish this applique project — one of these:

This is my original border for a memory quilt for my Gran. I’m making the sample out of Kona Solids on a black background. You know what black backgrounds do to the colors on top, right? ; )

I’ll actually be teaching this in April at the BERNINA Creative Center in Aurora, IL on April 16-17th. This is the first time I have ever offered this design as a class at any location.

If you’re interested, you can find more information here about the class at BERNINA.

After the class, I will go to the quilt show in Paducah — the quilting capitol of the Universe — for the very first time! If you’d like to meet-up let me know. I’d love to meet you.

From Paducah, I’m going to Louisiana to help my #1 Daughter with her first baby, a little boy. It means that I’ll now be teaching in Louisiana like I do when I go to North Carolina — where, I’ll be teaching again this Summer.

I’ll update my teaching schedule so you can know where to find me. Here’s the short list:

April

Orange Grove Quilter’s Guild, Westminster, CA

BERNINA Creative Center, Aurora, IL

June

Celebrate Quilts! Quilt Camp, Flagstaff, AZ (4 days)

July

Thimble Pleasures, Chapel Hill, NC — The Quilter’s Palette quilt for 6 weeks and a Machine Doodling class

Aardvark & C. Quilt Shop, Morris Plains, NJ — Machine Applique and Color and Fabric Theory

Other locations and classes TBA soon in North Carolina and South Carolina for July and August

Hope to see you soon!!

©2014  Annie Smith   All Rights Reserved

I’m a Bernina Girl, through and through

I’m a BERNINA Ambassador Artisan.

I love my BERNINA sewing machines. Yes, machineS — that’s not a typo. I own 7 machines, 3 of which have BERNINA logos on them. They are my go-to machines, with at least one of them always plugged in and ready to go.

Today, on BERNINA’s blog, WeAllSew, there is a project for a Fabric Book that I made for this sweet girl:

(ok, so is there anything sweeter than her daddy painting her toenails for her?!)

Here’s a little sneak peek of what you’ll see on WeAllSew:

 

The best part about the blog post is the complete instructions on how to make this cute little book!

Enjoy!

©2014  Annie Smith    All Rights Reserved

Thoughtful — Movie version

For periods of time, there is a vast wasteland of good and thoughtful movies. That has been the case for the majority of 2013. Then, all of a sudden, Hollywood decides to group as series of wonderfully redeeming movies — as they have for about the last 6 weeks of the year. WebGuy and I have taken advantage of being empty nesters to go and see the movies we wanted.

There is so much less-than-praiseworthy movie-making. So much that Hollywood passes off as  ”entertainment” nowadays is sometimes just mentally unhealthy voyeurism. So, I thought I’d share my favorite movies with you, and why, all seen within the last six weeks. I’m also going to list them as a Top Ten.

10. Christmas in Connecticut — why would a “grey movie” (as Robin used to call black and whites) from 1945 be on my new movie list? In the last couple of years, theaters began showing classic Christmas movies several weeks before and after Christmas. Last year, it was Meet Me in St. Louis — longtime family favorite. This year, we choose Christmas in Connecticut because it is WebGuy’s favorite Christmas movie. Even though they use a DVD to project it, it’s great fun to see a classic movie in the theater on the big screen with popcorn. Yes, you could see it in the privacy of your own home, on your comfy couch – but sometimes it’s fun to see it on a great big screen in the dark.

9. Gravity — I opted to see this one on the small screen, and non-3D, because I get incredibly motion sick. WebGuy saw it first, in 3D, and loved it, but knew I couldn’t watch it on a big screen. So we waited for it go to the dinky dollar movie. Sandra Bullock is pretty incredible.

8. The Hobbit, Desolation of Smaug — i *love* the Tolkien classics and Martin Freeman, not necessarily in that order. The #2 movies of a series are usually disjointed fillers that everyone complains about because the first movie is so great and the third wraps up the story, leaving the #2 to hang on the line by itself.  I thought Desolation of Smaug was just as amazing as Lord of the Rings, Two Towers. Peter Jackson is a master at movie making. And did I mention that I love Martin Freeman?

7. Hunger Games, Catching Fire — Catching Fire is another example of the #2 movie being just as amazing as the first. Actually, it could almost be a stand alone movie. I love The Hunger Games books and the movies have been stellar — Catching Fire included.

6. Now You See Me — This one surprised me. I was riveted by the story and didn’t see “it” coming until the end. The visuals were fantastic and I felt as if I had been taken along for the ride. And the ride was fantastic. I’m looking forward to the sequel — yes, there will be one.

5. The Saratov Approach — This movie wrenched my heart right out of my chest. I saw it twice — once with two friends who had sons on missions, and once with Robin, who served for months in the #2 most dangerous city in the world, Acapulco — twice. The true story events of this movie are every missionary moms’ nightmare while their son (or daughter) is serving. I’m glad it had a happy ending, for real.

4. Frozen — My granddaughters, Cambria and Lucy, highly recommend this movie ; ). The Disney-telling of The Ice Queen, is, fabulous. Especially if you are a quilter who is easily inspired by wonderful flourishy graphics and color. Cambria wants me to make her an Elsa  dress and her dad wants me to make him an appliqued quilt of the art designs. Another Disney instant classic.

3. Saving Mr. Banks — the first time I saw the trailer, I knew I would LOVE this movie. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney was brilliant! Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers made the real character look much more endearing than she was in real life. I want to see it again, in the theater, before it goes to DVD. The story of the Sherman Brothers part in Mary Poppins is inspirational — what geniuses.

2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty — I just saw this movie today, and was blown away by artistry of this movie — visual and musical. It makes the original version with Danny Kaye look silly in comparison — but then, there is much of a social/generational difference going on when you compare the two. They’re hardly the same movie. The story had meat and surprises that were delightful. I loved seeing the LIFE covers and never knew about LIFE’s mission statement. I read many issues of LIFE magazine in the past and have saved copies of issues that are special to me. Ben Stiller is pretty dang talented. I loved the theme of the movie, which brought me to the place where I was inspired to write this blogpost. It’s more than just a movie — it’s an art piece.

1. The Book Thief– my #1 truly favorite movie of 2013, and almost ever. I loved the book and think that the movie is the best adaptation of a book that I have seen since The Princess Bride. I’ve seen it twice and I’d like to see it again. Perhaps it will be nominated for some Academy Award that will bring it back to the theater for a while. The casting, the acting, the scenes, all of it, all of it — is magnificent storytelling and movie-making. Geoffrey Rush as Hans was brilliant, as was Sophie Nelisse as Liesl. Their on-screen chemistry was so touching, as was Leisl’s interactions with Max. Just magnificent.

I have one Runner-Up that I didn’t see at the theater, but deserves a mention: The Way Way Back. I have to say that I loved Steve Carrell in Dan In Real Life (one of my all-time favorite movies), and I hated him in this movie — the sign of a good actor ; ) I wanted him to stop being the douche-bag he was in this movie. It was actually uncomfortable for me to watch him behaving like he did — so I wasn’t liking the movie until Sam Rockwell rescued the storyline. His character is the hero of the movie, and turned it from a trainwreck to something that you had to laugh at. Redemption is a good thing.

One movie I haven’t seen that I want to: Philomena. Dame Judi Dench as a woman looking for her child that she had put up for adoption. Luckily, it’s still at the theater.

well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my movie reviews. It’s okay if you don’t agree with me ; ) Sometimes it helps to see what people think of a movie before seeing it yourself and I have enjoyed reading other reviews — especially the ones I’ve read on blogs about Walter Mitty. The reviews made me want to go see it today.

if you haven’t seen Frozen yet, you need to go see it — if only for all of the Quilty inspiration! ; )

Happy 2014!

2013 was the year of the unfortunate computer for me — iPads specifically. I traveled so much this year, depending on my iPad to keep me connected… But alas, it was not my constant friend. Posting pictures is a major trial, so while I’m traveling, I’ve got to figure out a better solution. I also “hid” my iPad under the backseat, which I then lowered to load up some new shelves from Ikea — and munched the iPad so it now has an S curve and needs to be replaced (pictures to come).

2103 was a red-letter year for our family:
Our Boy Wonder returned home, Kirsten got married, then the Boy Wonder got married in September, and Kirsten announced that she was expecting! On the sad side, we lost an unborn grandchild. Everyone is healthy and doing well — and we’re all looking forward to May when AufderBaby makes his entrance into the world and our family.

I have so much to share this year — I’m doing more traveling and teaching, and since I have (not) lost a son, but gained a bedroom, I’m doing mini-version of a home studio that I will share on the blog. I’ll also be refreshing the podcast, my website and teaching brochure.

In tne meantime, here’s a try at posting the Pantone Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid:

What do you think?

i’m painting my new room, but not with the color of the year ; ) i like the new Pantone color but I was partial to 2011′s Tangerine Orange. I love using orange as an accent in my quilts, like this:

I’ve decided that I’m going to spend the first quarter of 2014 making the quilts that I have put on the back-burner.

This new year I’ll be teaching at the BERNINA Creative Center  in Illinois, along with several other favorite and new venues. Updates to my teaching schedule will happen soon.

Happy, happy New Year — and Happy Quilting!!!

 

2014. Annie Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Sewing for the Girlies

I’ve been  teaching and traveling away from home for so long — that between the middle of May and the end of October, I spent exactly 37 days at home. Ouch. There are comforts of home that I really miss while I travel: like my own bed and shower, doing the dishes and laundry (for real — when I do it, I truly know that I’m home, and it is comforting), and being able to sew on various and sundry projects.

So… this time, as I soon as I arrived home, I worked on a special project for my sweet granddaughters. Their birthdays are in November so I had little time to waste when I got home.

When I travel, I do find some very cool fabrics and potential projects that I don’t necessarily find at home. I like finding fun things to make for my little girlies, as we call them. Miss Cambria has gotten into baking — big time. In fact, she calls herself “Baker Cambria” and her favorite tv show is Pioneer Woman on the Food Network. That little girl takes herself seriously ; )

Not long ago, their doorbell rang and a friend dropped off the most beautiful play kitchen I have ever seen — complete will all of the dishes, utensils, and play food that two little girls could want. The family no longer needed it, so it was gifted to the Girlies.

Trying to figure out what to get them, or to create for them, for their birthdays and Christmas is always a challenge. Their other Grandmother makes them Disney Princess dresses (beautiful!) for their birthdays, so I knew I couldn’t do that.

When I went to Quilt Market in Houston, Simplicity Creative Group send me home with an armload of trim. It looks like this:

Yummy, isn’t it?

So…

when I put all of these things together:

I made this one for Cambria, who is a Big Pink Bow kind-of girl:

and this one for Lucy, who like to play Baker too:

and don’t you know, they look so cute when they play!

Those puffy little Baker hats are so cute!

I think the aprons and hats were a hit ; )

I simply love the Gingham Ball fringe!

Doesn’t it put a cute little edge on things?

I can’t wait to find more uses for more trim — which is really the “icing on the cake” for just about any project. The SKU’s for the trim are at the bottom of this post, if you need to find it.

The fabrics are ones that I found in my travels while roaming the globe. I’ve already cut them all so I have printed selvedges left — sorry, I’ll think about that the next time.

I was so glad to get home to my bed and shower and my trusty BERNINA, which never fails me, nor travels with me. Luckily, when I travel and teach, the shops where I teach are BERNINA dealers, so I’ve never very far away from my favorite sewing machines.

I am a BERNINA girl, through and through.

In fact, I’m going to teach at the BERNINA Creative Center in April 2014. The post and registration for classes isn’t quite up yet, but I’ll let you know when it is. I’m going to teach my very favorite creative piece… can you guess what it might be? If you want a hint, all you have to do is look up.

I’ll post more information and a link to the registration when it’s available. I’m also in the process of firming up my teaching schedule for 2014, and will have an update soon on my SCHEDULE link. Here’s a Preview: Southern California, Flagstaff AZ, Centennial CO, Aurora IL, Chapel Hill – Greensboro – Cary NC, Lexington SC, Redding and Winters CA, MEXICO!, and Layton UT — just to name a few. I’m booking for 2015 too, so it’s going to be another couple of busy years — and that’s a good thing ; )

Simplicity trims: Purple #1594910300613  Pink #1592380400413 (Each spool has 8 yards of trim on it)

©2013  Annie Smith   All Rights Reserved

How Not to Paper Piece a block

I’m working on a small sampler quilt for the Retreat at Family Threads in August. It’s a sampler of my favorite quilting techniques — the ones that I use every day, the ones I love the most.

I’m doing it in three different colorways, so retreaters can have a choice for their kits. Did I mention that there’s going to be a kit? There is! Each of the kits will have essential notions packaged in with it — as the notions are as important as the technique, as you can’t have one without the other.

Here’s peek at the first three blocks:

 

L-R and vertical: Bright palette, Batik palette and Romantic Palette.

The blocks are (top to bottom): Nine Patch, Swirling Geese, T-block.

And a little peek at some more:

Blocks are square-on-square Dresden Plate, hexies for a Grandmother’s Flower Garden Posey, Heart.

And– here’s a picture of what not to do:

ARGGH!!!
I hate it when I do this!

I was trying to conserve on fabric — the fatal mistake that we make when cutting strips for paper-piecing…

Now, I have wasted fabric, and will need to cut more. I actually added the last three strips so I can use this mistake as a sample of what not to do. It will be a perfect example for my classes in the future.

You’d think I know better… And of course, I do. I just need to be reminded now and then.

As if the above wasn’t enough, here’s what happens

When I finished, I thought, “Great — all done!” Then I measured the block… Houston, we have a problem…  the above block was made on the wrong pattern. It came out as 8 1/4″ instead of 6 1/2″, which is the scale I’m working in.

You’ve got to make sure when you print, that you are printing to the right scale, or have Scaling turned OFF. The pattern at the right was printed at 128% — too large, while I went back and printed the pattern at 100%, it was the perfect 6 1/2″.

Here’s the difference!

So, now, all quilts are finished so retreaters can chose which kits they will use for the retreat.

Did I mention that there are a few precious spaces left for the retreat? There are! If you’re interested, go here.

This the Bright.

 This is the Batik.

 

 

This is the Romantic.

What do you think?

©2013   Annie Smith    All Rights Reserved

Podcast #222 — Jodie Rackley and Happy Stitch

(Right-Click or Ctrl-Click on the icon below and select “save link as…” to download the podcast to your computer)

podcast

Running time: 00:27:25 Size: 25.3 MB
Podcast #222 — Jodie Rackley and Happy Stitch

I must apologize at the outset of this podcast and blog — I did the interview with Jodie around Christmastime, one week before Kirsten’s wedding. And then promptly got swept up in the Boy Wonder’s arrival and everything having to do with the wedding. I discovered this error at 5:00 a.m. yesterday morning when I woke up in a cold sweat, remembering the podcast.

I loved speaking with Jodie and getting to know her. She’s so warm and friendly and uber-creative! I love her book and her folk art projects in the book. I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know Jodie and learning more about her and Happy Stitch.

There will be a drawing for a copy of Happy Stitch — leave a comment on my blog here, and on Jodie’s blog and the winner will be drawn when I return from Quilt Market, Portland and my visit in Oregon – late, late May.

 

©2013 Annie Smith  All Rights Reserved

Podcast #221 — Chattin’ with Marie Bostwick!

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podcast

Running time: 00:48:57 Size: 47 MB
Podcast #221 — Chattin’ with Marie Bostwick!

Ok, so I have to (officially) say… this woman is my favorite Quilt Fiction author.

It happened with this book:

I. Love. This. Book.

Marie had me so sucked in to the story that I carried it around the mall and read while shopping with the Boy Wonder.

Truth.

I love the story of Mary Dell Templeton and look forward to learning how she and Evelyn became friends. I love everything about this book and didn’t want it to end. Listen in to the podcast to hear Marie’s inspiration for Mary Dell, and the real Mary Dell.

This the baby quilt from the book, half Dresden Plate, half Grandmother’s Fan.

And the Lone Star. Wow.

Both by Deb Tucker of studio180design. Patterns will be available soon.

Read the book.

Listen to the Podcast.

©2013  Annie Smith   All Rights Reserved

Quilt Journal Online Class

In Podcast #221, I announced that I was going to offer a LIVE online class on how to make my handmade Quilt Journals.

Here are the details:

Thursday, May 9th

from 9 a.m. (Pacific) to 10:30 a.m.

on Google+ Hangout

Class enrollment limited to 8 students

$20

I have talked about these Journals since I began the Podcast and have been creating them since 2002. I’ve sold them at Farmer’s Markets, Craft shows, Quilt shows and I usually have a selection for sale when I teach.

I use them for various reasons.

To see how my chosen fabrics will work together for a project:

To design a quilt top, that I may or may not use right away:

Or do a themed one, just for fun — or for a special friend:

(They’re great as special hand-made gifts for loved ones!)

I designed my Studio work space in one of my Journals:

Or I make them special for me to use. I’ve been a Journal-writer since I was in High School and love these special journals. the format and size are perfect for me.

If you’re interested in taking the class, please email me at annie@simplearts.com to register. At this time, I’m doing person-to-person registration rather than on the internet – which I will do in the future.

When you’re registered, I’ll email you the materials list. It’s pretty simple.

And then, we’ll make some pretty Journals together — it’s just that easy.

I’ll offer the Journal class again, so if you want to take it but can’t this time, just let me know. Also, if you’re in another time zone than Pacific – like Europe, Australia, South Africa or Asia, just let me know and I will schedule a special class just for you on your time zone.

I’ll close registration for this first class on May 6th, so everyone who wants to register can collect their materials for the class.

I hope to hear from YOU!

© 2013  Annie Smith   All Rights Reserved