Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Seeing the World with a Quilter's Eyes

Heard a rumor that you finished all of your quilting projects. True? Or just a belated April Fool's joke? Whether you really are at the finish line, or you're still struggling to finish that same-old-same-old, why not take a break and enjoy this week's photos.

No matter where you go, you're bound to run into an idea or two that remind you of quilting. Saturday morning was the First Presbyterian Church's Spring Fling and where I discovered a good new/old idea. See what I mean?


Adults helped students reuse and recycle much-loved quilts into artful creations to be sold at the spring event. It was a great idea for resurrecting old quilts and helped raise over $5,000 for local missions. Wahoo!

Maybe you have a tattered quilt or two sitting around. Use your pinking shears to cut out a simple shape, mount the shape on a fabric background, then place in a colorful frame. Presto! New/old art to grace your home, and a perpetual reminder of a quilt that was loved to pieces.

For those of you who love to piece, where do you get your best ideas? The next time you're struggling for inspiration you might try looking high...




and low...


during a visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.

The Basilica contains a multitude of mosaics (created using over 41 million pieces of glass) throughout the domes and archways. Pair those designs with the amazing floor patterns and soon you'll be thinking . . .

. . . about vines and circles . .


. . . merging border designs . . .


. . . intricate piecing to complement a large motif . . .



. . . and before you know it, you'll be drafting a pattern for a six-pointed star with a tumbling block center.




Once your imagination takes wing, who knows what will happen?


Exchange feathers for something more musical? Or a continuing celebration of looking at the world through a quilter's eyes as you piece your way to simpler times.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Raise your right hand if you've been thinking about starting your spring cleaning. Raise your left hand if you're working on your spring cleaning. Raise both hands if you've finished your spring cleaning. Congratulations! Way to go!

Now, before you lower those hands and pat yourself on the back, let's do a quick check to see if you're telling the truth. Spring cleaning is finished for 2012 if you've done the following:
  • Windows cleaned
  • Snow boots put away
  • Cobwebs removed from the ceiling
  • Fabric scrap jungle tamed

What? You forgot about your scrap piles? Maybe your spring cleaning isn't as finished as you thought.

After all of your winter sewing, you're bound to have created a mountain (or molehill) of scraps. All of those special pieces were too pretty, too large, or too precious to throw away. But now that you have saved them, what are you going to do with them? Rather than shove them in a box, might we make a few suggestions?

Why not start a Spring Cleaning Quilt? This Scrappy Hourglass quilt makes a good choice if you have bunches and bunches of scraps you need to use.

Create your own version by ordering the magazine here:

http://www.homesteadhearth.com/scrappy-hourglass-monthly-program.htm

Not sure you'll have enough scraps to finish a project? No worries! Try our Grab Bags. Each one contains a pound of 100% cotton fabric (equivalent to 2.5-3 yards total) for only $6.00.

No two bags are alike, so don't hesitate to order multiples:

http://www.homesteadhearth.com/shop/An-Online-Blowout/Remnant-Bags/p/Grab-Bag-of-fabric.htm

Not sure you'll have time to start something new because you are headed out on spring break? Scraps can still lend a hand--or at least catch your eye. Just tie a strip of your favorite color around the handle, and you'll have no worries finding your luggage.


Wherever spring takes you, comment on this post and share your Scraps of Wisdom for using up scraps. We'd love to give your ideas a try as we stitch our way to simpler times.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

Whatever the weather is like where you are, here in mid-Missouri we're getting a taste of spring. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, breezes are blowing, and quilters are hitting the road.

A few days ago a trio of quilters visited our shop as part of their yearly jaunt. As they browsed the fabric and patterns, they had a few minutes to chat.

"We go somewhere different every year, but we've had to make rules," one of them told us. "We can buy as much as we want on each trip, but we have to finish one of the projects we buy before the next year's trip."

One project? That sounded doable.

"And, since some of us are forgetful," explained her friend, "we've had to appoint a secretary."

Ah...now the truth comes out!

If you had to choose one project to finish before next March, what would it be? If you love scrappy quilts--Kansas Trouble style especially--you may want to sign up for our Collection of Scraps BOM.

Starting in April, this easy piecing beauty finishes 114" square. Find more details at http://www.homesteadhearth.com/a-collection-of-scraps.htm


Not comfortable with letting someone else choose your fabrics? Then why not pick a project of your own?




If you like variety--plus recipes to keep your crew fed while you stitch--A Year of Cozy Comforts may be just the book for you. Like to piece? Prefer to applique? Like to mix it up with cotton one time and wool the next? Check out Dawn's projects for every season.

You'll find our newest books listed here:
http://www.homesteadhearth.com/shop/Amazing-New-Arrivals/Books.htm

As you welcome spring, we hope you'll make us a part of your celebration. Come see us in person or visit online. It's always a joy to find others who appreciate simpler times.

P.S. You can always make a commitment to a "Finish by Next Year at This Time" project by commenting on this blog. If you don't finish on time, we won't tell. And if you do? We'll be happy dancing right along with you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Anti-Procrastination Month or Sit-N-Snooze? You Choose!

Someone told me March is anti-procrastination month. Whether or not their information is true, anti-procrastination sounded like a good excuse to start blogging again. And today seemed as good a day as any--much better than Saturday evening when we all lose an hour of sleep. Well, maybe all of us except Ollie.


If you happen to have trouble sleeping, you may want to ask Ollie for advice. As you can see, he's perfected the skill of sleeping sitting up. Maybe if you could find a shelf about chin height with a comfy curtain stretched across it you'd also be ready for a Sit-n-Snooze. Just watch the snoring so you don't get caught!

Nancy Gault of St. Louis, Missouri, hasn't been doing much snoozing. By the looks of her Show-and-Tell she's been spending many hours sewing. The result? Nancy has cleaned out some of her favorite stash fabrics to complete her version of McCall's 2011 series quilt, America the Beautiful.


Don't you love the way she turned the church windows into stained glass?

We had fun "oohing" and "ahhing" over Nancy's beautiful work and can hardly wait to see her again.

If you're having trouble keeping your eyes open to finish your quilt projects, you may need a jolt of caffeine--and we have just the thing! Our Chavin Coffees are now available online! Order whole bean or ground,decaf or fully caffeinated in your choice of flavors.



http://www.homesteadhearth.com/shop/CoffeesTeasCocoa/Chauvin-Coffees.htm

Whether you plan to use March to Sit-N-Snooze like Ollie, or seriously stitch like Nancy, we wish you a happy Anti-Procrastination month. Take time to come see us. Don't put it off! We'd love to have you join us for simpler times.




Monday, August 29, 2011

Wish we all could be California girls...

We never tire of hearing the stories behind your visits to Homestead Hearth, and we are constantly surprised by the reasons you come to town.


Last week these two California gals (ignore the incorrect date stamp on the photo!) motored into Mexico on their way from St. Louis to home. Ginger (left) agreed to navigate while Bev (right) drove her newly purchased travel rig. The best part of their story? These two wanderers know one of our California BOM buddies, Jan, and were positive Jan would be jealous of their visit.


"Really?" we said. "Let's see."


While Ginger and Bev were shopping we snapped a photo, attached it to a cryptic email, and seven minutes later the phone rang.


"You guys will let anyone through the front doors, won't you?" our friend Jan laughed.


We passed the phone to Bev and Ginger, and the trio had a good chat before the California girls hit the road again.

It must have been the week for transporting vehicles. Later that day another customer told us she and her husband were driving a Jeep back in the opposite direction. They'd started in Oregon and were closing in on their home territory of Indiana. Thankfully they were able to squeeze in a bit of time to head our way.


"This is my first visit," our customer said, "but my husband has been here before. He was on the motorcycle that time, and he brought me back a collection of fat quarters."


She and her friends divvied up the loot (a fat 1/16th for each of them) and created a personal challenge. Her resulting Dresden Plate quilt is now on her bed--and the wallpaper on her phone!

Whether you are traveling via one of our BOM's like Gone to Texas...

http://www.homesteadhearth.com/gone-to-texas.htm


are preserving historical travels like Grant's March...
http://www.homesteadhearth.com/grants-march.htm

or are physically on the road, don't be surprised when we ask you about your travels. The tales you tell brighten our day as we share glimpses of simpler times.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Procrastination

I thought I'd do more quilting when I retired from teaching. I thought I'd do more quilting when I started working for Dolores and Sarah at Homestead Hearth. Apparently I've spent WAAAYYYY too much time thinking and not enough time stitching. How do I know? Well, the third Civil War quilt, Civil War Journals, will be starting in just a few months and I haven't finished this year's offering yet.

http://www.homesteadhearth.com/civil-war-journals.htm

In fact, here's the progress I've made on this year's quilt, Civil War Chronicles.

At least I know where all the blocks are--safely stowed in the very same bags they were packaged in!

When I signed up for the BOM I had the best of intentions. But when January disappeared and February arrived, I told myself ,"That's not so bad. Two months? You can easily catch up." When Valentine's Day slipped into St. Pat's and then Easter was quickly followed by Memorial Day I told myself, "You'll have plenty of time this summer." Now that summer is closing in on Labor Day, I took myself by the ear and said, "If you don't kick it into gear, Sister, you're never going to get this beauty done!"

The final straw came this past weekend when our Sunday School class issued a challenge to quit procrastinating. Each member wrote out a sticky note detailing one item she'd been putting off. As an added incentive the notes were hidden in our lesson book with the expectation we'd have made some progress by the time our lesson arrived on our chosen hiding place.

"I want the LAST page!" one of the members announced. "Now I'll HAVE to do this," another muttered as she placed her reminder after a chapter heading. "ACKK!!" I thought. "Now everyone will find out what a dawdler I've been!"

Peer pressure can be very motivating, so Monday morning I began...

As I expected, the hardest part was getting started. Once I had my tools assembled cutting everything out was a dream! The drawings were large enough that I didn't even need to hunt down my reading glasses, and the simplified sketches were just what this professional-grade Procrastinator needed.

Now that everything is out where I can see--and sew--it, Month #1 is well on its way. My goal is to keep chugging along on what I've begun, and start Month #2 next Monday, Month #3 the Monday after that, and so on. If I miss a Monday, no worries. I'll just push it back a week--and hope my sticky note is still a few chapters out.

Are you a procrastinator? Have you missed out on some of our programs because you delayed? We have had multiple phone calls from Stars and Sprigs fans who were thrilled to see a second offering of that popular BOM.

http://www.homesteadhearth.com/stars--sprigs.htm

So, are you procrastinating? Need a kick start? Leave a comment detailing one of your long-avoided projects and let us help you get started enjoying your stitching and simpler times.



Monday, August 8, 2011

Road trip anyone?

The other day I overheard a customer asking Dolores how many bolts of fabric we had in the store.

Her reply?

Over 10,000.

Far too many for us to get every one on line--and here's Ollie guarding recently delivered boxes holding even MORE bolts.

If you haven't been to our store in Mexico, Missouri, lately be sure to allow extra hours when you come for a visit.

For example, you'll want plenty of time to enjoy the Civil War section. We have numerous bolts sorted by color, several of our newest arrivals grouped by designer, and we even have one entire platform dedicated to the prolific Jo Morton. At the farthest end of this section you'll find a rainbow of blenders as well as the first two quilts in our Civil War series: Civil War Tribute and Civil War Chronicles.

In the center section you'll find colorful batiks, sale items, and plenty of Wind & Willow mixes to tempt your tummy. There's a shopping cart filled with bargain fats ($1.50 each), remnant bundles, discounted patterns and trims, as well as a variety of flavored coffees we'll be glad to grind on site.

When you stroll on over to the left side of the main floor you'll be dazzled by Japanese fabrics, cheerful 1930's reproductions, and eye-popping brights. This is also our area for modern prints, seasonal offerings, and child-centered lines. And scattered throughout the store you'll see books, candles, kits, and fat quarters galore.

Looking for Whimsicals? We have a large selection nestled in the hallway downstairs. Can't live without Kansas Troubles? Sneak a peek at our varied collection as you head upstairs.

Not a fan of stairs? No worries! Our elevator may not be the fastest, but it will get you to the second floor with no worries. Once you reach the heights you can browse through our plaids, homespuns, hand-dyed wools, and stitchery items.

So, what are you waiting for? You know you want to come. Clear your calendar, gather your friends, and head down the highway straight to our door. We can't wait to see you! Come enjoy a visit to simpler times.