Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You and Congratulations

Happy Memorial Day everyone. Today I honor all those who have given their lives in the service of our country.
Thank you.

Is it Monday already? The last few days have been a whirlwind of activities here at the Cactus home.
First, some quilting news. Have you seen the latest release of American Patchwork and Quilting?

I'm not sure what is going on, but I have two (yes two!) friends here in Utah who have had their names published in the August 2010 edition.

A big shout out and congratulations to my girlfriend Rae Ann (Cutie Pinwheel & Stash Manicure), who's idea was published under the "Tips From Readers" section.
Rae Ann always has the best ideas. I have actually followed her around with a paper and pencil and written down the things she says.

And then I looked down the page and saw another published idea from my girlfriend Gayle Burton! Whoohoo!
Gayle and I go way back. We were part of the same rug hooking group for years, have vacationed together, and our families like to go 4-wheeling when we can find the time to coordinate schedules.
Thanks for representing Utah ladies!

On a personal note, a big CONGRATULATIONS to our son Paul who just graduated from high school.
This has been the second graduation in our family this month.

We are so proud of Paul who has taken his education very seriously from a very young age.
He has maintained honor roll status throughout his high school years while taking some very difficult classes.
For the last two years Paul worked every day after school (Monday - Friday), putting in a 25 hour work week at Dixie State College.
He would often come home at 9:00 at night, grab something to eat, and then sit down and do his homework until midnight.
During his senior year Paul did concurrent enrollment with the college and has already passed several general ed requirements.
Way to go Pablo Diablo!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pip's Crocheted Potholder

Lately I have been noticing an abundance of very cute things that have been crocheted.
So tempting!
Considering I've rarely picked up a crochet hook since high school, and having very limited skills at best, I've tried to resist.
And then a wonderful tutorial comes along that makes the project look so easy, maybe even I could do it!
Look at this cute round potholder by Pip at Meet Me At Mikes. Love the fun colors! I am going to be dusting off my old crochet hooks today because there are several crochet projects now in the lineup.
Pip offers an excellent free tutorial. * note: Pip is Australian. Her "treble" translates into "double crochet" in the USA.
Meet Me At Mikes is a very creative blog. You might want to spend some time perusing.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stash Manicure Giveaway

Have you heard about Stash Manicure?
My friend Rae Ann has started the most wonderful blog. She has brought a lot of pretty famous quilt bloggers on board, and every day a special someone shares their personal secrets on how to tame that stash of ours.

And Stash Manicure is having a GIVEAWAY!!
Rae Ann gives the best prizes, so you will want to run over and see what all the fuss is about.
*Deadline is June 1st.

Become a follower, or better yet, contact Rae Ann and become a contributor.
How do you Manicure that Stash of yours?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

School of Threadology

As you know, I love my part time job working for Superior Threads. One of the benefits I receive is that I hear the latest updates of the events going on at the School of Threadology.
Some have e-mailed me asking what is the School of Threadology?
Superior Thread owners Bob and Heather Purcell have built the most beautiful, new 7,5oo sq. foot building here in St. George, Utah where they offer 3-day sessions of classes, seminars and lectures.
Trust me. This this is state of the art, and one of the most outstanding facilities in the world.
My boss Bob teaches the class "Thread Therapy with Dr. Bob".
Bob helps us understand how to work with the many specialty threads, proper machine tension, needles, etc.
Not only that, he has a great sense of humor and will make you laugh.
I have heard this lecture several times, and every time I come away learning something new.

Heather is the creative genius behind the color selection and development of threads offered through their company.
She offers a wonderful lecture/ trunk show where she presents the most amazing quilts made with Superior Threads.
Heather also offers a Color Therapy Class where we learn how to select the right thread for our projects.

Some session offer guest teachers, like the most recent one I attended with Pam Holland.

There is the Bernina Room where Bernina has generously donated machines for our use. You can bring your own sewing machine if you want, but I really liked not having to lug my own machine to class.
There are hands on classes, shopping in the warehouse, meals provided...
There is so much more than I could ever explain in one post. You can read about the School and follow the updates on the calendar by visiting Superior Threads web site.
I'd really like to encourage you to come and attend a session at the School of Threadology. Cost is very affordable. Most 3-day sessions are around $295.
My friend Ricci is over the School and does a fabulous job helping Bob and Heather with the planning of each session.
Every detail for our comfort is taken care of. I've never felt so spoiled.
If you have any questions you can always e-mail Ricci at

And you graduate with a Doctor of Threadology. I proudly display my diploma in my sewing room.
Bob handed me another certificate after I attended Pam Holland's class.
When I told him I already had one, he said "Just tell people you now have two PHD's!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Green Fairy Quilts

Have you seen the latest edition of Quilts and More (summer 2010) ?

Great magazine with a lot of fun projects inside.

I was especially happy to see on page 67 that the featured quilt was Seaside Cottage by Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts.

Whoohooo!!! Congratulations Judi!!

Judi is a young mom, and a fabulous long arm quilter. I remember when she moved to St. George just a few years ago to promote her business. Her husband Clint had quit his job to run the business end of GFQ, and to help Judi reach her dreams.
I knew the first time I saw her quilting, she would be a success. Judi has 3 children, with #4 on the way, and works out of her home. All of her longarm work is done free hand and each piece is original and stunning.
Recently she won 1st place at HMQS in the Novelty Custom category. Yea Judi!
This is just the beginning.

Judi just lives a few blocks from my house, so it's easy to run over and take my quilts to her.
The latest two she has done for me have been "All Dressed Up" (designed by my friend Nanette of Freda's Hive)

And my Kaffe Baskets Quilt.
I have been so pleased with everything I have taken to Judi.
Make sure to visit Judi's web site where you can order her original patterns, fabrics, and precuts. You can also see samples of her custom long arm work on the blog.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Button Necklaces

Elizabeth of verypurpleperson just did the most wonderful tutorial on these covered button necklaces.
Make sure to run over and see!

You know I'm in LOVE with covered buttons.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mixing of Mediums

An artist, quilter, photographer. These are words that describe Pam Holland. But the things that draw me in the most when I look at her quilts is her use in the mixing of mediums.
This small wall hanging tells a complete story. What began as a photograph, moves to a drawing, applique, shading with pens and thread play.
I love the contrast in colors. The blue of the shawl against the bright orange and gold walls.
When Pam was here, she told me of her love of Mexico, where she travels often as a teacher. She loves the colors, the people, the food, and the beauties of the culture.
Someday, Pam and her husband would like to build a vacation home in Mexico where they can go to relax once the retirement years set in.
I'm not sure the title of this piece. I missed taking a picture of the back, and I'm not seeing it listed in her Weekly Challenge category.

The intricate free form stitching makes the perfect final touch that is so Pam Holland.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gems of The Desert

I belong to the Dixie Quilt Guild here in St. George, Utah. Our Opportunity Quilt Gems of The Desert is finished, and raffle tickets are currently being sold.
This quilt was made for our 3rd Biannual Quilt and Fiber Arts Show that will be held at The Dixie Center here in St. George on April 22-23, 2011.
Mark you calendars now, because this is going to be a great event!

Our guild members were asked to make a 12 1/2" (unfinished) block in a Southwest theme. Pat Peters was in charge of gathering the blocks and piecing the quilt. Cory Allender did the beautiful long arm quilting. We have a lot of National award winners and extremely talented people who participated in making Gems of The Desert.
As you can see, this is an outstanding quilt.
If you are interested in purchasing raffle tickets ($1 each/ or 6 for $5), contact me at The drawing will be at the end of the show on April 23rd.
*St. George is located in the Southwest corner of Utah and is 120 miles north of Las Vegas. We are just 40 miles from Zion National Park.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts

Have you seen Kaffe Fassett's latest book Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts?
You know I love anything Kaffe, and I was so happy to get his latest release.

I was especially happy to get a hardback copy.

Even if I didn't make a quilt out of this book, and even if I didn't collect Kaffe's beautiful fabrics, I would want this book on my shelf.
Just to look at.
The photography captured my attention from the first page.

Geometric shapes are all around us. I am discovering in Kaffe some of the same similarities that I learned from Pam Holland. An artist sees the world in shapes and color. Squares, triangles, rectangles, circles. Through camera lens they are able to capture the simple designs around us and turn them into quilts.

Target Log Cabin

Earthy Mitered Boxes

I am going to challenge myself to take a day and photograph the shapes around me, and to look through new eyes.

These could have remained simple pieces of sliced watermelon.

Instead they translated into Tumbling Fans, my favorite quilt in the book.

Do you have a copy of SSSQ?
If so, what is your favorite design?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mexican Mural

You will find themes from Mexico in many of Pam Holland's work.

On a recent trip, she walked the streets of San Miguel Allende, and took pictures of the magnificent murals.
Challenge Block #8 Mexican Mural was taken from a photo transferred on fabric, and then painted with thread.

You can read more about Pam's techniques and vision on her blog post 1/16/2010.

As a first step, Pam printed her photo on an inkjet printable fabric.
Look at the intricate stitching in her thread painting!

The background is zig zagged and the rest is straight stitched.
Remember I mentioned how she likes the back of her quilts to look as nice as the front?

By viewing the backs, you can see her stitching techniques in a little more detail.
She wrote "I'm governing the length by the speed as I move the fabric and the pressure on the pedal. The feed dogs are up."
One morning in class, Pam demonstrated how to do the free form zig zag stitch on a home machine.
When she is at home in her studio in Australia, would you believe that Pam does all of her work on a domestic machine?