inspiration

Creative Connection...

I have been a bit MIA. For a few weeks. It seems like longer I think. I have been prepping for one too many events I do believe. 

Quilt Market at the end of October. Our only retail quilt show of the year, Pacific International Quilt Festival, in the middle of October. And The Creative Connection in Minneapolis this past weekend. Wow that's a lot of prepping, a lot of activity, and just so it doesn't sound like I'm whining, a lot of amazing fun. Remind me of this insanity the next time I eagerly say yes to an event scheduled in September, would you?!

First Up... The Creative Connection

Image[1]
 

The Creative Connection was a 4 day whirlwind of classes, panels, keynotes, parties and get togethers. Yes, lots and lots of get togethers! I had such a wonderful time catching up with good friends and sharing meals with Camille, Lissa, Kaari, Jennifer, Nancy, Mary & Connie, Amy and others that I am now in my "post event haze" probably blanking on! 

It was also such a great opportunity to meet many wonderful women that I had admired for a long time or only "knew" online like Jen, Serena, and Heather. My classes were chalk full of wonderful conference attendees and I had so much fun with  Melanie, HeatherPaigeShasta, Carrie & Jana and others who I know will join the blog world soon! I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Wendy, Marcia from Tinsel Trading, and to admire the beautiful work of others such as Jennifer, the ladies at Hutch Studios, April [fell in love with her owls-especially the ones she had made from our Whimsy fabrics] and others.

I got a chance to teach these little yummies to rooms filled with eager students. You gotta love folks who really want to learn a new skill or hone an old one! Thank you ladies for joining me this past weekend!

Tccclasses
 

At the HANDMADE MARKET.... I fell in love with Jen O'Connor's Earth Angels booth. See the beauties below.

Note: All the ladies mentioned below are linked in the lists above so go take a look at all of their inspiring businesses and blogs....

Earthangelsglitterart
 

Earthangelsquilt

... I am now the proud owner of that quilt. It will soon be a pattern so stay tuned. I just couldn't resist it from the moment I saw it.


Earthangelsblackbirds

... these little blackbirds had so much personality!


Earthangelsjenniferlanne

... painting by Jennifer Lanne that I fell in love with several years ago and have them hung all over my studio walls!


Countrythreads

... the charming Country Threads booth of Mary and Connie. Just makes me think of fall.

Bunniesbybay2
 ... the sweet work of the Hutch Studios. It was instant love at first sight for me.


 Bunniesbybay

And of course there were so many more that I  just didn't get a chance to take pictures of. See other posts for more info.


Of course, when I arrived back home exhausted and worn out, this is what was waiting for me.


 Ellabraidsblog


 Ellabraids2blog

And then I really did wonder why  I had ever left to begin with.


Talk to you soon.
 


Winners, winners chicken dinners!

I just finished reading the comments. Thank you all so much for sharing your daydreams with us. They were so wonderful to read and I feel like I know a lot of you so much better! And I would still really like to be canning with some of you right now!

Given the amount of comments, I decided to have a few winners.  The main winner will get the whole packet and the others will get a Le Fig pincushion kit & some pattern goodies!

2figsinbowlwhite
 

1st winner:  Jane, commented on August 25 at 8:00 am and said:

i'm rather new to your blog (2 weeks) and am hoping it's all right to enter your giveaway. the cotton pear is lovely and would be happy taking its place on my mantle. :o) as summer comes to a close, i'm still canning and dehydrating. i dream about getting busy on stitching (embroidery), a bit of knitting, a couple mini quilts, finishing a primitive Americana quilt, and sewing a couple dresses. lots to dream about. hope your day is swell. 

Extra winners:

Dawn, commented on August 23, 5:50 pm and said:

While your memories of the first day of school make me miss those days when my children were small and cute, I am now looking forward to something totally opposite - in a way. My baby (I have 4 children) is going off to college about 450 miles away. So my last few days of summer are busily buying and packing to move her away. BUT - I kind of am looking forward to that empty nest! for a few months at a time anyway! It is kind of nice knowing it is only temporary!

Lori, commented on August 25, 6:53 am and said: 

I have only been sewing for a year. I love all your great patterns. I always want ALL the new fabrics. My house cleaning days have been replaced with sewing days. Much more fun!


So send me an email with your address ladies so we can get your goodies out to you!


And after reading through all of your wonderful comments and coming across this next one, I felt like we should send her something extra special just because she might just need it a bit more than all the rest of us put together. So I added her in. I'm sure you will agree.

Donna commented on August 26, 9:32 am:

I wish so much that I had the opportunity to post anything BUT what I have been doing this summer. On March 16th of this year, I suffered the greatest tragedy known to any mother. I lost my precious, beloved son, Brian, after a 2 year struggle with cancer. He passed away just 5 days after his 19th birthday. I don't think I have to say that my life is now, and forever will be, changed. Brian knew how much I loved to quilt and he was always amazed at the things I would accomplish. I had to put aside that part of my life during those 2 years while devoting every minute of everyday to caring for my precious son and trying to keep cancer from snatching him from my arms. I know that he would want me to continue with the things that brought me joy such as working with fabrics and quilting. I have always loved your lines of fabrics and patterns. I just need a little boost and some inspiration to get going again. I'm even trying to think of a way that I could make a quilt in his memory knowing however, that he was such a tremendous young person and so loving, that it will really have to be something special. I love the idea of using your fabrics because the "happy" that they bring looking at them reflects the "happy" that Brian always gave to everyone around him. Nothing drab or dark would do. I hesitated to even write this, but I do need some inspiration to get started back trying to do things that bring me some joy, and like I said before, I know my son would want me to get back to this. It would rekindle the memories of the times he would watch me and praise me even though he was a major athlete and all boy, he still took the time to be interested in what I was doing. Just writing this makes me think back to those happy times. One other thing I would like to say after reading so many of the replies and those of you with small children is that (and I know all mothers know this but I can't help but repeat) they grow up so quickly. Cherish even the smallest of moments. Our children are gifts from God. Thank you for allowing me to post.

Thanks again everyone for playing. For all those of you who have emailed asking about desk organizing info, i will post about that in the next couple of days.

Talk to you soon.


Let the Games Begin

Inspiration board

All I can say is Oh My Goodness! That was quite a nice little group of you all who commented on the giveaway. As of this morning I am officially closing it down for comments because, you know, well, enough is enough already don't you think? I guess I will have to do these more often than I normally do!

I will post the winner... or I think winners :-) on Monday morning. Mostly I need until then to finish reading all of the comments. You guys are much faster at writing them than I am at reading them and I really do want to read each and every single one. 

Salesmensamples
... a shot from the office re org mentioned below 

I have to tell you that reading these so far has made me laugh, chuckle, cry and fall deep into thought. I am SO envious of all of you who wrote that you are canning! I want to be canning right now in the biggest way. My biggest problem... nothing to can since we didn't do much in the garden this year and perhaps more importantly, little to no skill in canning. So for all of you canners out there... if you have any that you are just dieing to get rid of, well I could definitely find a home for them right here in the Fig kitchen. Really, I could... LOL!

I have cried with those of you who have experienced such loss and sadness this year, prayed with those of you who are waiting for loved ones to return from war, jumped for joy with those of you who are expecting, have new ones or are about to get married in the coming weeks and days! I have wanted to see your remodels and re orgs this summer, wanted to visit your overflowing gardens, sew with the grandmas, tickle the toes of the new ones. Oh my goodness, I am feeling sappy now!

I just want to thank you all so much for sharing a little snippet of your lives with me, whether joyful or sad, wistful or full of activity. It helped me to process our own days around here as everyone left for school and fall routines started. 

Zackellaschoolblog
 

Zackellablog
... do you all remember these shots from last year? Look at how much older they look this time around? How did that happen exactly?

You motivated me to finish up my office clean up as the guest bed left and we made room for another desk from downstairs. 

Newdesk


 Tray


 Folders

Fulltray
 
 ... As you can see, my favorite things to organize with are pretty folders, inspiration boards and trays with cubbies. Vintage and functional at the same time. My other favorite tip: Remember to give your desk a little height with something so that you can organize more things and give the whole desk more dimension.

Organizing is one of my absolute favorite things to do, especially while I am thinking and all of your comments, if nothing else, definitely made me think. A lot.  

Thank you for sharing your lives with me just a bit. So grateful to be doing what I am doing and that it brightens some of your lives and brings a little color into all of our days!


Talk to you soon.


Paris, my friend

Now I have to tell you that Paris, although still completely intoxicating, spellbinding, breathtaking, mysterious, and a whole group of other adjectives, has become somewhat of a friend over these last couple of trips. Mon ami as they say.

I now have a "regular" place I like to stay. On "my little island". A regular place I have my morning tea and croissant. Sometimes they even recognize me there. A regular afternoon crepe with nutella to snack on, couldn't think of anything other I would rather eat when strolling around Paris. A regular corner florist where I buy the flowers for my hotel room. My own metro stop. A favorite place to walk along the Seine. My favorite market and even a cheese shop that i can't resist.

And yet the city is full of idiosyncracies that I love to observe and a million things that I don't understand... like how to use a foreign credit card on one of those cool city rent bikes that you can pick up anywhere and drop off anywhere else for pennies! Anyone?

To me, Paris is still full of contradictions and things that you dont' expect. Its one of the things I love most about it. 

Like this,

Notredame
 ...the Notre Dame.


right across the street from this...

Cafeonseine
 ... a popular cafe that stays open all night with French and tourist alike.


Or this,

Cafeandsacrecouer
 A cafe mixed right into our view of Sacre Couer.


Or like color at every turn,

Pinkroses
 

...right next to a neutral that is just as beautiful.

Greenflowers
 

Like this older French gentleman shopping at the outdoor vegetable market who couldn't feel more "french" to me, with his classic profile, his expression and of course, his cane,

Oldfrenchman
 

... just a few streets down from this little boy we met at the park that, to me, epitomizes what I think a little French boy ought to look like. Right down to his shoes. And his little red truck.

Littlefrenchboy


 Litlefrenchboy2


And the little courtyards. The old entryways and covered walkways. The quiet spots away from the bustle and the cars. The softer side of Paris. So unexpected when you are walking on a major boulevard. But suddenly there it is.

Courtyard


Interiorcourtyard


Courtyardinfence
   
 

And the menus. Don't let me forget about the menus. The little menus in every shape color and style. The little menus that have come to communicate something to me about Paris, its simplicity, its people, its love of food. These little boards have become somewhat of an obsession for me. I think I have probably photographed at least a hundred of them by now. I just can't seem to get them out of my system. I love them. How silly is that?

Menu1


Menu2


Menu3


Menu4


Menu5


Menu6

Or what about the fact that here, this is what the salt aisle at the store looks like.... yes, that's right, the salt aisle. Nothing but salts.

Saltaisle


Or the fact that almost every Brasserie you pass has its doors open and feels this inviting. Like you've been there before... but you haven't.


Ericinbrasserie

... this has absolutely nothing to do with Paris, but you gotta love a husband who is willing to carry a "merse" [man purse] with embroidery on it all around the city!  

 

Meinorangescarf

... A place that feels like my friend.


Talk to you soon.  
    



Paris: A little more

When most people go to Paris, they go see landmarks and take pictures that might look something like this.

Eiffeltower
 

Well, when we go to Paris, we get looked at a bit funny because we are seen mostly taking pictures of things like this...

Irongrate
 

in fact we seem to have a real thing for fencing...

Fence

And we seem to spend a lot of our time looking up...

Rosesinparis 

Alleyway


Hangingbasketslantern
  
 When our necks hurt from looking up, we would stop in for one or both of these...

Wineandcoke
 

So we could spend some more time looking at these...

Yelllowroses
 
 Hydrangeasinbasket

When we got our fill of the beautiful blooms that seemed to be on every street corner, we reveled some more in, well, in food... just looking though...

Winebottles

Letuces
 

Crawfish


Apricots 


Usually that would make us hungry enough to sit down and have a snack, or two. Its good that we were walking about 10 miles a day because otherwise I would have to be at the gym and not here!

 Patisserie 

 More yummies tomorrow. Making me nostalgic just looking at it all.


Talk to you soon.


Paris: just the beginning

One of my favorite things about being a blogger is that if I go MIA like I have a bit recently, you will not hesitate to come find me! Even if my hub finds it a bit funny to feel this attached to a stranger, thank you to all of you who emailed and even called our office recently to find out if everything was okay and that I was fine.

I am here to announce that I am just fine, hunky dory in fact and I have just been taking a little bloggy break mostly because I have been abroad, on vacation or on business trips. Oh and there is that whole summer thing happening around here that is making it kind of hard to get to the computer.... just saying.

I want you to know that I am back at it, back in the swing of things, back in the saddle, back on the horse, back at the reins, ready to roll, back on track.... any other good idioms to butcher?

But since it is summer and I am not quite ready to start writing much, I thought I would share the adventures of my last month with pictures and a few words, very few words. At least for today. Tomorrow, maybe a few more words or a story or two...


When we arrived in Paris, we bought these gorgeous Peonies to put in our hotel room. Every day we smelled their glorious scent each time we walked back into our room...

Firstpicpeony


I spent a lot of time with this guy....


Ericprofile


Started a little ritual each morning at the local cafe, drinking this and having the most amazing croissant and pan chocolat you could possible imagine....


Everymorning
   

Meandtea


As soon as it was appropriate we had some of this...


Icecream

[only the French could make a simple ice cream cone look this beautiful!]


 
Ericicecream

...I told him that he enjoyed his ice cream just a little too much :-)!


We walked to as many markets as we could, at least 3 different ones each day...


 
Veggies 

Radishes 

Applebasket 


Each afternoon, we would take a rest on a bench.... or two in one of these.

Gardens 


When we got too tired to walk, each afternoon we would use this instead...

Metrosign 


So that we could make our way to another one of these...

Rosofcafechairs


... or another one.


Bluecafe


...or maybe this one.

Cafe1


Sounds pretty much like most of our days. More tomorrow.


Talk to you soon.
 
  
 
 
 
 
 


Introduction: Day #3

Today's Introduction: Saltwater Taffy

It's always fascinating to me how the quilt and pattern industry goes in such clear and identifiable waves or trends. A few designers get inspired by something, then a few more and very soon there is an explosion of a colors or designs or patterns featuring said trend. Its unmistakeable and it happens like clockwork. I know that this is the way it is in most artistic or creative industries, but since I am most connected to this one, it is always so interesting for me to watch a "trend" spread into so many different venues and in so many different interpretations. I love watching it happen and I love being a part of it... especially when I am at the beginning of the inspiration LOL!


Taffyfcfullblog

...Saltwater Taffy done out of Fresh Cottons with a tone one tone seafoam print pieced border and a seafoam medallion print as the outer border.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

[warning... tangent coming]

Now as a designer I do have to add that sometimes it is indeed a trend, in fact often it is a trend, something that catches on that everyone wants to be a part of. Sometimes it is separate cases of similar inspiration, and sometimes it is just plain plagiarism or in the case of our industry, the process known as "knocking off" of someone else's idea, design or product. In textiles and product design and more recently in pattern design, it happens a lot especially with the amazing access to design that everyone has via the internet. More than you would probably care to know. More than many people are willing to admit and recently a lot more than it used to... It is the part of the "trend" process that makes me sad or disillusioned, depending on the situation. Okay, done with my tangent. Just had to get that in there and out.  

[tangent done]

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Back to introductions.... the reason I started talking about trends in the first place is that we have been having a huge resurgence of hexagon and pinwheel designs over the last year or so. HUGE! They are everywhere in every kind of size and style. There is something about them that translates so well to both traditional and contemporary designs. And they are a lot of fun to make!


Taffyfccloserblog 

... made with Fresh Cottons. Closer up to show blocks & quilting.


For me, as with most things, I have shied away from some of these in the past because I hadn't yet figured out a simple way of doing the pattern without templates. For those of you who know me, you'll know that I am always on the hunt to recreate traditional blocks and designs into methods that we can use today without a lot of tedious templates, etc. Well we have done that with hexagons here, in a pattern that we released several Markets ago. Then I did another version here in this book, with the same hexagon method. Love those hexies in any form!

And now we are moving on to these spinning pinwheels [there are many traditional names for this block but heck if I can remember any of them right now when I need to!]. LOVE them.. now that I have figured out a way to make them out of a straightforward pinwheel and a few well placed trims. I think you might love this method once you use it! 

In the words of one of my seamstresses, who hates working with any kind of bias pieces, "Wow, I like this one enough to make it again for myself even after I am done making the sample for you!" That's high praise coming from Miss Cheryl I tell ya!

Saltwatertaffyblog

... flat shot of the same Fresh Cottons quilt.



Taffyfccloseup

... a tiny close-up because these are my favorite kinds of shots to take right now. Something so alive about them. Gives you an idea of what it would feel like to cuddle up with the quilt doesn't it?


Taffyfcflat2ndversion

... same quilt, different outer border. A bit more feminine perhaps.



Taffybreakfastmain

.... made with Breakfast at Tiffany's collection with a slightly different style of border. Love the way the coral polka dots frame and set off this version!


Taffybreakfastcloseup

... my artsy fartsy close-up shot of the same Breakfast at Tiffany's quilt.


Taffybreakfastmedium

... a better close-up of the borders sections.


Taffybreakfastflat

... a flat shot of the Breakfast at Tiffany's version.


PATTERN DETAILS

Name: Saltwater Taffy

Pieced by: Cheryl Hadley and Sherri McConnell

Size: 55 1/2" x 66 or 53 1/2 x 64 for the one with the coral dot borders

Fabrics Collections: Either Fresh Cottons or Breakfast at Tiffany's depending on which quilt & version you are looking at. 

Fabrics Used: Quilt starts with nothing else but (2) charm packs and some background yardage.

To look at precise yardage requirements look here under "VIEW LARGER IMAGE".


Talk to you soon.


        
    






Fun Stuff

We have had lots of fun things going on lately and I keep forgetting to share them. I don't know, sometimes it just feels a little too much about me, me , me. Oh yeah, this is a blog about me :-).... so here goes with a warning: there's a lot about me coming up, read at your own risk!


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Where Women Create: Book of Inspiration


Several of you have already mentioned the early release of this latest wonder by the great Jo Packham [of Where Women Create magazine and book fame] and Jenny Doh [former editor of the Stampington family of magazines and bookazines]. This is a wonderful addition to any creative woman's book library [I just did a book review on it in my latest issue of Fresh Vintage #15 which will be up on our site any day now].


Bookofinspirationfv 


I would be gushing about this book whether or not I was involved in it. It just feels like icing on the cake that I got to be one of the features. Artists featured are of every type and variety from jewelry, to textile to paper to collage to photography, each offering a bit of insight about their own journey, what inspires them and various tips along the way. Available now all over I think, but for sure at Amazon.


Joanna Figueroa-1


Joanna Figueroa-2



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Interview

Eqheader
 

Did a really fun interview with the folks at EQ. I love that program and the more I learn about it, the more I enjoy using it. Many times the deadlines come so fast that being able to electronically create a quilt ahead of time is the only way to go around here. EQ makes that possible. But beware... it can get a little addicting.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

The Quiltmakers

Quiltmakers


Now there is a title for you, huh? I was happy to be asked to be a part of this compilation book by the wonderful British publishing house, David & Charles. When I saw that I was profiled alongside Lynette Jensen of Thimbleberries and Marsha McCloskey, I was even more honored. This is definitely more of a traditional quilting book with 8 chapters based around the work and style of 8 different worldwide quilting personalities. Joining the US designers are several from England, Australia and Europe. There is a little something in it for everyone I think since the styles of artists shown are so very different.


Just a few shots of our project for the book. My favorite thing about this pattern.... the secondary brown stars that are created around the outer borders of the quilt. A great way to make a standard hexagon pattern, something a bit more interesting.


DSC_0689



DSC_0687



DSC_0686
   

Okay, enough about me. Seriously.

Talk to you soon.



A beautiful Saturday

The place: Sonoma

Sonomawinery

...wandering around abandoned vineyards.
 


When: Definitely Spring. This past Saturday to be more specific.

Sonoma1

...cherry trees in bloom.


Sonoma fig

... baby figs.


What: an afternoon of relaxation & a bit of fun.

Sonomamecamera

...realized I am hardly ever in the pics of where we go.


Destination: The Girl & the Fig

Sonomagirlandfig

...can you even believe that there is a such a place an hour from my home and I have never been there??


My drink: A Fig Royale

Sonoma fig royale

... my new favorite drink.


My date: My husband

Sonoma eric


Our dinner: Flounder in a brown butter & fried caper sauce on a bed of mashed potatoes and spinach.

Sonoma food

...uummmm, do I really need to say anything else?


Skirt Steak with a wine and veal reduction with fingerling potatoes and spring greens

Sonoma food2

...eric had a hard time parting with more than one bite of this one.


The occasion: 15th wedding anniversary

Sonoma bracelet

.... Apparently 15 years is crystal. Who knew? 


We'll definitely be back... sooner than is probably expected.

Sonoma restaurant

It was a perfect afternoon.

Love you honey.
  
 
 
 
 
  
 
 


Love me some vintage....

As many of you are quite aware I'm sure, I love, love vintage images. Did I mention that I love them? The character of them, the saturated colors of the old advertising posters, the canning labels, the postcards. I just can't get enough of the fact that back then, not much was pastel or muted or dark. Most art or I guess advertising to be more precise, was bright and colorful and had a certain personality. I just love the imagination of it all! 

Well we try to bring those images into our work whenever possible so when it came time to do a little freshening up on our website, I started playing with vintage images. And I played for a long time. I must admit I get a bit lost when I go looking through those I have physically in my studio, those I have in electronic files and then don't even get me started on those that i go trolling for on the web.... talk about a world that I could get lost in!

I had to pick just a few favorites because, well I did want to feature some of my own stuff here and there LOL....

Pearlabelforweb

Just look at those colors...


Bird-nest

And those sweet little birds....


3 girls w- umbrellas

And who could resist buying whatever on earth these three little girls were selling. I mean, come on!

Well after playing for much longer than i will ever admit to, I finally came up with a few new pages that will be going up on our site in the next couple of days...


Webpageforblog
  

And

Newproductlandingpageforblog 

They're not quite linked to anything yet.. just goodies to look at.

You'll also notice a few swatches here and there [ a couple in the new blog header, what do you think?] that you might not recognize. Not saying yet, but I am sure you can guess where those are coming from...

Talk to you soon.

Oh, and look I am starting to use categories. I know, so very novel of me. does anyone know if I can/should go back and start attaching categories to old posts or just start from here?  Any help would be appreciated as we have all established that I do all of this electronic stuff totally by the seat of my pants!!