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May 2010

April 2010

Quilty wall art


Ok ... it doesn't look like much right now but just follow along here. I've had this idea for awhile ... I needed another design wall where I could stand back and look at a block or quilt but didn't want to 'have' a design wall ... if you know what I mean. I have a couple of them up and while they're funtional, they just aren't cute. And that's what it's all about, isn't it? So I decided that I needed something that would look great when I wasn't using it but could be changed easily when I needed a design wall. With me so far?

Last night I took the evening Sweet Pickins' group around the corner to the hideout so they could see this because I was having a hard time explaining. And a bunch wanted to know how I constructed it so here goes.

I purchased cork squares and 3M Command Strip loop-and-hook hangers. The cork was 12x12". I put them on the wall in a nine-patch configuration with two inches between them. Ok fine. I didn't put them up. Bob did. He loves to use his level. Ok fine. He wasn't thrilled about it either but the alternative wasn't pleasant ...

I went over to Archivers with the assignment of quickly picking one paper line that coordinated so I could make a block. Decided I'd start with a Churn Dash block because it's easy to figure out ... and I was in a hurry. I used the About A Girl line from Fancy Pants but was really torn because I really like Material Girl from Cosmo Cricket. But the store didn't have enough paper so the decision was made. Back at the hideout I took two sheets, cut them diagonally and pinned them to the cork with the tiniest applique pins Clover makes.

Added yellow triangles to the corners.

Fun strip for one part of the churn dash ... cuz who doesn't love stripes!

Hard to tell but that polka dot paper added next to the strip is stinkin' cute! Excuse the mess on the table ... I didn't clean up. Auditioned a number of pieces for the center but the brown floral just worked best. It's hard to put things on a pink wall ... remember that when you re-paint.

To make it into a design wall, I have a piece of flannel that I can pin up to the cork. See? Always thinking! The cool thing ... I can change to another block any time I want by just cutting up paper. How fun is that?

I love my new wall quilt!!


Twas the week before shop hop ...


Can't believe it's only a week away. Three hundred days ago when I was asked to take part in the Twin Cities Shop Hop it was a whole year away! It's been a few years since I've taken part in a local hop that wasn't Quilt Minnesota  and I had forgotten about all the details that go into giving customers a great time. I'd blocked out some of the weirdest things!

There's a ton of stuff to copy ... patterns, recipe cards, passports, and maps ... everything done anticipating at least 600 people coming by. Thankfully, Laurel from Bear Patch and the Glads at Glad Creations have been keeping us newbies straight with updated checklists. My head just about spun off my neck on Tuesday when I realized that the 500 copies of my block pattern really weren't for that and were for something totally unrelated. What was I thinking? But all's right with that now.

That poor copier of mine just keeps chugging along. We'll have maps for downtown White Bear Lake so no one gets lots between us and Bear Patch. Plus they'll come in handy for anyone who is looking for a place for breakfast, lunch or dinner while hopping around. We've got it all here!!

Boxes of new things keep arriving. Like Stitcher's Revolution from Aunt Martha's! Cool and contemporary stitching. There's fabric arriving on another truck ... trunk shows arriving ... local designers lending samples of their best things.

We're busy making new samples, too. And they have to be hung up some place. My family is hiding behind closed doors, avoiding me at dinner, staying out late at night. Oh wait ... they do that anyway! But I'll trick them, drag them to the store and make them climb up the tall ladder for me.


Had to find some great things for our gift basket. Every store is contributing one ... if you visit all of the stores, you'll be entered in to win one! And four sewing machines ... and gift certificates from all the stores ... plus there will be random door prizes in the shops. How fun is that?

Do you remember Mary Lou from Quilts By the Falls in Cannon Falls? Boy, I miss her store! She was a terrific shop owner and had a phrase that I've never forgotten. She always said you had to 'put on the apron' at your store and especially for special events. You had to be the hostess ... making everything spic and span so customers feel special. Dusting and cleaning aren't high on my list of fun things but I want everything looking nice for when the first customers comes in on Thursday ... and still looking nice when the last one leaves on Saturday afternoon.

And by all means, you have to lay in a good supply of things!

I always dream big. Think this basket of wool will turn into the project I'm imagining? We'll see ...

Our sign maker was able to install our name over the awning ... no one should be able to miss us now! You can see it almost from 4th and Washington. I need flower boxes. Wonder if the city will allow that.

The shop hop starts on April 29th at 9am and runs through May 1 at 5pm ... with breaks at night so we can sleep, of course! Visit our Facebook fan page for lots more info including a gallery of the quilts each store will be showing. Become our fans! And while you're at it, become a fan of Rosebud's Cottage, too.

My last step is finalizing the finishing pattern for my quilt. Carla from Cherrywood Fabrics is bringing  fabric and will be in the Cottage most of Friday to help you put your own kit together.

I'm looking forward to the start of the hop and can't wait to see all of you!!


Walking the aisles of the Moda warehouse


When I think of first walking into the fabric section of Moda's warehouse, my thoughts were all about how much creativity was going to be inspired by the beautiful collections on their shelves! As soon as you see the rows and rows of bolts, waiting to be shipped to the stores, your mind begins to put together combinations that will make the perfect quilt.  As a shop owner, I imagine a customer leaving with an armful of fabric ... and then bringing it back for show-and-tell at a later date.

Its almost hard to imagine the reach of all that fabric ... how many celebrations will it take part in ... who will it comfort at a dark point in life ... how many people will be wrapped in the love that a quilt holds ... which new quilter's eyes will shine as they complete their first project! 

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The process of getting the fabric from the manufacturer into the quilters hand is interesting. The fabric comes in large boxes or burlap bags from all over the world. A little tidbit ... the ones from India and Pakistan come in burlap because those countries don't have cardboard box facilities ... the openings are hand sewn before they leave the textile factory there.

Moda receives the goods in their warehouse on tubes and then send it through a roller system where it is folded and rolled on to the bolt. This portion is all done by individuals managing these machines. Each operator has a code on their bolts so that the bolts can be analyzed for calibration of the machines, insuring that the amount of yardage on the bolt is accurate.

The bolts get moved from the rolling area to the shipping section. I thought it was interesting that all the carts and shelves for this whole process were at waist level. Employees are never lifting boxes or bolts. Made me realize that Moda isn't concerned just about getting the fabric out the door quickly but also that it they are concerned about the health of their workers.

They had buckets of charm packs and jelly rolls and turnovers and fat quarters ... all of those are cut at another facility and shipped to Moda. I didn't realize that Moda rolled and bolted their own fabric, though. I just assumed that was done overseas. Imagine the amount of US workers who have jobs because of this!

I've never been in a warehouse this clean ... people were constantly dusting and straightening products. And there were a lot of products! Imagine boxes and boxes of thread and seam rippers and rulers and rotary cutters! Lots to look at. Lots to dust!

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I swear they have miles of patterns and books, too! I managed to find a few of my Minnesota friends but couldn't put up all of them. Did you know there are over 40 published designers in the state? What's in the water!

Throughout the warehouse were inspiring displays to help shop owners visualize how the fabrics could be used in their stores. Sometimes we're so busy just keeping up with the day-to-day that it's hard to come up with great ideas ... the displays plant those seeds for us.

One other thing I learned about my time at Moda's facility in Dallas is that they all care deeply about quilting ... giving quilt stores business ideas to help them thrive ... giving consumers inspiration and creativity through programs such as the Moda Bake Shop. How can you not love a company that just loves quilting!!



Quilting on the Square!


Today was a great day as I was able to spend time goofing around in Texas ... and particularly at The Old Craft Store in Carrollton. They were a Quilt Sampler shop in 2009 so we belong to the same sisterhood!

Melba, the owner, was terrific! But of course she would be ... look at their staff photos! (She made me hunt for the legs to these portraits.) She was at the shop owner event that Moda put on and I'm so glad I had a chance to meet her. Her store lives on an adorable town square. So charming.

I loved this quilt celebrating the state of Texas and it made me think of my friend Steph who longs to return home. The verse stitched in the center was sweet.

There was one fun quilt after another ... everywhere!



You can pick up a snack if you're hungry ... and they had a post office there as well. Was that real?


They even grow their own cotton and make it into fabric. Just kidding. They leave that up to Moda ... just down the road.

There was a designer in the store. She's sending me a trunk show for the Twin Cities Shop Hop and here's a sneak peek. Pretty things.



One of the services Melba offers is custom made quilts. They do them each year for the local grade school who has their students from K-4 make quilt blocks. The quilts are assembled and sold at auction to raise money for their activities. This Kindergarten one is the best one I've ever seen ... truly top notch.

There was so much to look at ... including old store screen doors on some of the doors ... inside, not out. I want that. But before we ran out the door, I found the legs ... even though Melba wouldn't tell me!


Peeking behind the magical Moda curtain.


Whooo doesn't love to look and snoop at the home of their friends ... just to get a little insight as to what's really going on? Well that's the way I feel right now because I'm in Dallas, Texas, teaching at an event for Moda. I am one lucky girl!

Seeing how they develop the fabric they design and watching the steps it takes from a designer's concept, through the packaging and shipping process until it eventually gets made into something beautiful by all of us who quilt ... well let me tell you ... I have a huge appreciation for the process after seeing all the work that's done before the fact! But the other cool thing is seeing the overload of cuteness!

They monkey around a lot! What on earth would prompt them to have this? And that attitude on the face of the monkey ... what's that about?

How many pins could this tomato pincushion hold?

And what size yo-yo maker did they use to make these??? Does Clover make them that big? I guess everything really is bigger in Texas!!

Aaaahhh ... but then some normal stuff like this from Holly Taylor. And ...

... the fabric for Quilt Minnesota! Its in the warehouse ... I know what shelf. How big is my suitcase?

A touch of craziness ... I had to look twice at this bowl of fabric strips sitting on someone's desk.

But then I looked closer at her desk and realized she wasn't crazy ... just crazy about crazy quilting!! And look ... my favorite book right on top. Gotta love that! Moda's caught the crazy quilt bug too and is introducing bundles of wool, silk, linen and cotton velvet for shop owners to buy for all their crazy customers. Ooof ... and the books she had ... stitching designs I've never seen before. Ok ... gotta stop thinking about it. 

The walls of the employees' offices hold amazing things.


Moda employees get to come to work each day to a pretty place ... beautiful windows and art work ... quiet places to sit.

Lissa Alexander ... Moda's marketing director ... probably has the best office in the quilting industry! Wouldn't you come to work happy every day if you knew you could look out a window like this?

There's been so much to see ... my head is practically spinning off ... but I have more photos so stay tuned!