My Little Trip... Part IV

No trip to the British countryside would be complete without some country garden photos... here are a few of my favorites.

I love to think about how the plants all go and look together, why the gardener made certain choices, how one plant plays off the other. The general feel of " slightly overgrown but manicured" is what I love most about the "English Country Garden" look. There is something so magical about it.

Along with my hollyhocks this year, I am going to try to recreate this feel in a small area of my front garden. I already have the overgrown climbing roses and various types of hydrangeas in my front porch area so I think we will start there :-).






... this jasmine reminds so much of growing up that I can literally smell being a kid again!








 ...believe it or not, this is a maple. Full size leaves and a huge tree. It was unbelievable to look at!



 ... felt like The Secret Garden here.



... hollyhocks.



 ... I seriously need a mailbox hidden in a hedge like that!


















A Little Trip... Part II



So as much as I love the doors... I love all the rest of it too. The gates. The views. The gorgeous  golden Cotswalds stone that makes all of the villages glow.... literally. The hollyhocks. Those hollyhocks are absolutely everywhere and I have promised myself to plant them in my garden next year. They just define English cottage garden to me!

Here are just a few photos of the villages that we explored... okay maybe more than a few. But a few of my favorites anyway.




Towns2-2 Towns2-1

With names likes Bourton-on-the-Water, Chipping Norton, Moreton-on-the-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Lower and Upper Slaughter, Winchcombe, Broadway, Blockley, you kind of want to visit and explore each and every one. Which we kind of did. Again. Since I have done this several times before. It never gets old. Seriously.


Up tomorrow: the thatched roof cottages themselves. To die for.

Just Around

Today I am working like crazy to get these last patterns finished but thought I would share a tiny bit of what was around me as I worked....

I love fall. Just. Love. It.


... my favorite color combo right now.



... Love this wreath courtesy of TARGET.



... my favorite tree outside the studio window.



... a little deco on the dining room table.



... because I do, after all, still live in California LOL!



... the carpet that is my backyard right now.

Okay, back to work.



Orange Soda

Had some wonderful old-fashioned orange soda & lollipops this weekend... well, the kids had them. I took pictures of them instead.

The colors were irresistable. Don't you think?










Hope you had a good weekend.

Happy Spring









Sometimes all I want to do is take pictures of pretty flowers and share them with you.


Hope you had a wonderful Easter and possibly a little Spring Break. More on our version of that later. Its good to be home.


For those of you who have followed me for a while, you might remember these beauties that bloom outside my studio windows every late winter. The color and feel and shape of them is just unbelievable.

Usually I try to photo them alongside my daughter as a way of seeing her change and the blooms stay the same every year. I still hope to do that this year but so far life has gotten a bit in the way.




Look at those petals?!




I don't know if you remember but last week I promised everyone another great reveal. I still plan on getting that reveal to you soon! Unfortunately I had to go out of town quite suddenly due to some urgent family health issues. Wish it wasn't happening. Wish I could make it all go away. Wish that instead I was working on another great reveal. But it is not to be so today. Maybe tomorrow. One day at a time they say.

I might write more later. Once we all wrap our heads around what "it" is. 


For today, however, I am hoping that Magnolias might make you happy. They are certainly bringing a ray of sunshine to our world. Even if I am not at home to see them right this very moment.

Summer's End

I can't even believe that our summer is not so slowly coming to a close. I know its kind of an artificial end and that we could all stay in summer mode for a bit longer but I guess we have to listen to the calendar! And so our SCHEDULED summer is almost over and I don't think I am quite ready.

My tomatoes aren't quite ready yet, either!


In the Kitchen...


This morning our FARM FRESH TO YOU box of goodies arrived as it does every week. Its a wonderful thing and even though we are growing some of our own veggies this summer, the weekly box keeps us stocked with everything we might need. This week the box came at 11:00 and by noon I had sauteed up a few things for a quick staff snack. We all took a break from designing, shipping and cutting to eat some sauteed pattypan squash with onions, garlic and herbs. Yum!




On vacation...

Last weekend we were also able to squeeze in one more long weekend vaca to Monterey. What a beautiful and restful place!

Vacationing with 3 munchkins ages 6 to 13 in one car and one room is not always what its cracked up to be but with some good "divide and conquer parenting" all the interested parties were able to: go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, go window shopping in Carmel, return to the laser and mirror maze place 4 times, eat ALOT of shrimp at Bubba Gump's, do a little back to school shopping for kids and mommy too, eat some yummy French food which included some amazing Sonoma coast wine and a giant bowl of mussels and clams in a garlic and herb wine sauce, watching a couple of in room movies, having French Crepes with strawberries and Nutella, kicking my son's butt at pool, eating Lasagna for the first time in 10 years because we were trying to be like Garfield the cat [that last one will only make sense to you if you read the Garfield comics like my boys do], stopping at the best roadside veggie stand in Castroville, CA [home of the artichoke] I had seen in ages and buying 20 baby artichokes and 10 baby avocados that we are still eating, walking through the Strawberry Festival in Watsonville, CA.... okay I think I will stop for fear of boring you with more food stories. It does sound like we did nothing but eat all day long, doesn't it?




I guess its time for back to school haircuts too, huh? I'm keeping that lazy summer look going as long as I can on them. Unfortunately Ben's school has a haircut code. Bummer.


In the office...

For those of you who have fallen in love with some of our newest bundles, you might want to go take a look here for some new fun ones.



And just because we thought they were irresistible, we added some of these to the site. Isn't that just the cutest twine you have ever seen? 




More soon.

xoxoxo Joanna

Monday, monday....

Happy Monday everyone! Although I realize that for all those of you who subscribe, you might not be reading this till Tuesday but just know that I had Monday on the brain when I posted this. 

Its one of those Monday mornings where I have so much swirling around in my tired little brain that I'm having a hard time focusing on anything. I guess that is what Mondays are supposed to be like anyway. Since I wasn't accomplishing anything work related this morning I actually sat outside on my porch, got the munchkins off to school....


... in case you were wondering what on earth, its CRAZY HAIR day at school today!


And just sat there afterwards. Just sat. Waited for the hub to bring home the most wonderful chocolate croissants west of Paris, looked at what was blooming in my front yard




and watched a daredevil squirrel jump from the wire to the branch of a birch tree- I swear I don't know how those things survive all of those jumps!

Can I just share with you how sad it is that I can't remember the last time I did this? I love my porch and deciding right now to spend more time on it. You keep me to it!

One of the things that is making me a little crazy this morning is that my dad is in surgery- as we speak. Hopefully all will be well and since he is a private person, I won't share more than that. But you can certainly keep him in your thoughts or your prayers if you are a praying person. We had a little fam prayer time before everyone went to school this morning. It helped my soul feel lighter. 

Speaking of lighter, on a lighter note.....

Did you see my tutorial on Sew Mama Sew? For those of you scared of that big "A" word..... give it a try! I can almost promise you good results!

Also, pattern debuts are long overdue!! I have already shared about the Daisy Girl backpack but what about the others. Here goes the first one:

My Log Cabin

As I was working on patterns for this season I realized that although I am mostly a traditional quilter at heart, I had never made the most traditional of all quilts- the Log Cabin. Well, to be completely truthful, my very first quilt was a Log Cabin but since that quilt will never see the light of day LOL, this one will have to count as the first!


... tucked on my favorite quilt ladder.



... closeup to see Diana's wonderful quilting. Love that woman!



... obviously didn't finish the binding before taking the shots!





... I think this just might be my favorite shot of the quilt.



... I love that although this is one of the oldest quilt patterns out there, it has such a graphic almost modern feel to it. I find that that is often true of the classic quilts.

I would love to see this in fresh modern colors too... anyone up for the challenge?

.... Thank you to Cheryl for testing out this block, to the amazing Sherri for piecing this lovely in lickety split time and to Diana for quilting it! You ladies rock!



Name: My Log Cabin

Fabric Collection: Made with a charm pack and a honeybun of BUTTERSCOTCH & ROSE [fabric due out in October 2011]. Of course, just as easily doable from your stash. In fact, it would make a fabulous stash quilt. All those 1 1/2" strips that many of us have as a part of our scrap bucket would be perfect for this.

Size: 71" x 71" with 3 different setting options

Click here for pattern.

Spring & some "Chintz"

I had a chance to go visit my parents in Southern California for a day last week and I was again reminded about the difference in seasons between Northern and Southern California. Its like a different world down there!

They have an amazing home and garden and their vegetable beds were already overflowing! I had serious garden envy. Thinking of flying my dad up here just so he can help me garden for the weekend! I might just do it too! Although the kids would probably steel him go play miniature golf and take them to movies and I would be gardening by myself. Oh, well, so much for that plan.... Maybe I'll fly him up anyway!

... I guess these self seeded from last year!


... he seemed to have every kind of little green imaginable.


... we clipped and clipped and clipped.


... and I brought home at least 8 different bunches of yummies that completely filled up my carryon! I felt a little silly since I felt like everyone on the plane could smell the fresh greens in my carryon. But I doubt they could. It was all in imagination.

When I came home, I wondered what was blooming in our own Northern California garden and was quickly reminded again of the unbelievable magnolias which bloom every year and mark spring around here.

... so I guess that means that I can't complain.... about much of anything, really.



Even though this fabric won't be in stores for a bit yet, the accompanying patterns for our Strawberry Fields collection have been shipping for a few weeks now and the last 2 are set to return from the printer literally any minute! So I will definitely be showing them off in the next few days to come.

For now, I thought I would share some pictures of the Chintz quilt that was a part of a recent photo shoot so I finally have some pretty pics so you can see it up close.

... I love that this is a Layer Cake project and can also be done with goodies from your stash.

Yes, it has a heart. Can you believe it? If you know me, you'll remember that I am not much of a heart kind of gal. Just not my thing, personally, but this quilt was directly inspired by one of my favorite greeting cards that had a heart in it. So I thought I would give it a try and see what happened. I think it works in the quilt pretty well and it is easily left out if you, like me, are not much of a heart person LOL!

Chintzcloseup usual, Diana did a fabulous job quilting.


... I am loving how the colors all "play well together". Especially with the grey mixed in. Making me happy.

NAME: Chintz

SIZE: 62 1/2" x 72"

FABRIC: Made from a Layer Cake and a little bit of additional yardage, some grey additions for the posts and inner border and the large red floral for the outer border. Of course you could add almost anything to that border and it would work with this scrappy inside.

Click here to view.


Talk to you soon.