Back from Sew South!

FRIENDS!  Oh how I’ve missed you!  A couple of you sweeties have emailed me this week to make sure all is ok because it’s so, well, exciting, here on the blog (ah! crickets, crickets).  I’m still here!  April is insane.  I’m getting ready for book launch (yesssss), prepping for quilt market, filming some fun new classes, wrapping up the school year with the kiddos, and trying to squeeze in a bit of sleep here and there…you know, priorities. :)

And what a treat this past weekend- 3 fabulous days in North Carolina with 60 of the most amazing women at the Sew South Retreat– an utter delight!!!  EXACTLY what this Mamma needed (except for sleep!  no sleep when open sew involves wine, music, and goes til midnight!).

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Friends, friends, friends!  Can you ever have too many sewing buddies?  Most definitely not!  These ladies were the real deal…sweet, smart, talented, oh so genuine and fun.  I could have stayed and chatted all month!

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Every time I leave Sew South (this was my 3rd year attending), I always come home feeling the same way- completely inspired by an amazing community of women, old friends and new.  I wish I could have packed them all in my bag and taken them home with me, so they’re close at hand for impromptu sewing parties.  Can we make that happen?

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I had a blast sharing a bit about my quilting journey, and then teaching a fun curves a la applique technique as part of my Apple Blossom mini quilt workshop.  So many yummy versions!!!!  I was so impressed with how many folks finished their minis (or turned them into pillows).  Ooh, I almost forgot- and a mini sneak peek trunk show with a few of my favorite projects from For Keeps (ships May 12…eeeeek!).

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Ok, and can we talk about charity quilts for a sec?  What a BRILLIANT little project we did.  FreeSpirit Fabrics donated a slew of fabulous jelly rolls and the 60 of us ladies had a serious speed sewing competition to see which table could complete a strip quilt first.  15 minutes later and we had 15 gorgeous, colorful quilt tops ready to finish and send over to Quilt Lemonade- a project benefiting the community of La Limonada in Guatemala City, which is considered to be the largest urban slum area in Central America.  In less time than it would have taken us to go grab a Starbucks, we stitched a special quilt for nearly every child in one of the community’s safe houses.

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And the community building didn’t stop there!  Oh no!  Mr. James…our adorable bellhop.  What a charmer.  The first night, he was sweet enough to drive me to pick up meds for what felt like a developing sinus infection (my nemesis), and on the way we chatted.  He wanted to know what we were all up to back in that noisy ballroom and I told him, why, sewing of course!!!  His eyes lit up….he explained that he’s interested in fashion and would love to be able to create garments when the mood strikes him, as well as sew things for his kiddos.  Well, his time had come- by the second night, our own Miss Heather Valentine of The Sewing Loft invited him on in, and sat him right down at her machine.  Minutes later, amidst cheering and clapping, he’d sewn his very first pocket- proud to go show his wife.  What a fun moment to witness!

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So many great moments!  Dear Miss Nancy finished her 2014 Sugar Block sampler right there at open sew!  I was absolutely honored that she’d brought it to work on, and think she did an incredible job!  Love ya Nanc!

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Oh my goodness- the bags!  Everyone had such amazing BAGS!  And I was so pumped to come home with several.  The ridiculously awesome organizer zip bag is the Sew Together Bag by Michelle of Sew Demented (best bag ever!)- made for me by my dear sweet friend Valerie.  I adore it!

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The little coin purse was a darling gift from sweet Jennifer for my bday…AHHHH!  The bee knitting!  My daughters are SO jealous.  And lastly….that wallet- THE PERFECT WALLET- a fantastic design by Lindsey Rhodes.  We all made these wallets and I never could quite pick a favorite- all so stinking cute!  I was super pleased with how mine turned out (especially since I picked out my fabrics at 11pm, in the dark, the night before my flight!  Yeah, I roll like that).

Well, thanks for stopping by to check out my Sew South highlights!  Definitely a weekend to remember.  But it’s good to be home.  Ahhh, Legos, dog hair, and a carpools.  Yup, it’s a good life.

XO

Treasured Maps

What do you get when you pair quilting with fun educational materials?  Why, map quilts of course!

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Isn’t it the best when God seems to drop a little extra manna on your plate?  A totally unexpected treat?  That’s what these fabulous map quilts were for us.  A dear and longtime follower of my blog, Karen, is a talented quilter with an impressive Etsy shop.  Karen emailed me to let me know she had a couple of map quilts she was wanting to put to good use and thought they’d find a good home with our family.  What an incredibly thoughtful gift!

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What family wouldn’t love these fabulous quilts?!?  They are wonderful!  Perfect for a bedroom, playroom, schoolroom…I’d have big colorful maps on every wall if I could!  And the fact that these are quilted, so we can totally spread them out on the floor and crawl around on them while we look up where Grandma & Grandpa live…is just so stinking fun.  Karen, you have made our month (as you can tell from my exuberant preschooler’s face during our photo session)!

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Ahh!  And a world map!  Isn’t this just so perfect for a homeschooling family, or really any family with kiddos?

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Karen quilted these whole-top map panels with a gorgeous meandering stitch, and bound them with pretty piped bindings.

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And handy sleeves for hanging!  Ah!  I’m just so thrilled to have received these fabulous quilts, and I know we’ll get so much use from them through our schooling adventures.  Want a map quilt of your own?  Looks like Karen has more of them in her darling Etsy shop, pearl25, along with loads of other stunning quilts.  Definitely pop over to give her shop a browse, and snag one of these fun quilts for your own little learners!

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Now, the quilts were enough, truly, to blow my mind.  So generous and thoughtful of this sweet friend to have thought of our family, but she didn’t stop there.  No, another box arrived…a heavy box…that absolutely took this wonderful gift to the next level of awesome.  If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you might have noticed that I really have a deep-rooted love for all things vintage- quilts, decor, toys, and yes, BOOKS!  Well, as it turns out, Karen had a whole load of vintage children’s books that she wanted to pass to a loving home….sweet manna from heaven!

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There are no words to describe how much these stacks of old books bring joy to my soul.  I was such a bookworm as a child…nose always in a book.  And these were the types of books that filled the shelves of the big old bookcase in the hallway outside our rooms as children.  We’d lay on our stomachs in the hallway on hot summer nights to cool off under the big attic fan, and pour over stacks and stacks of books for hours…always falling asleep amidst the pages of a National Geographic animal encyclopedia or beloved Richard Scarry picture book.  These were the books of my childhood, so to receive a gift like this, that I know my children will enjoy for years and years to come, is just, well, delightful.

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Karen, I’m so incredibly grateful!  Thank you for blessing our family with your generosity.  We will most definitely put these precious goodies to good use!

That’s all for now!  I’ll be back later this week to share more about how our first year of homeschooling has been going, and I also have a big fat giveaway to share!  Until next time…

XO

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