Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

My Texas trip finished on a high note all the way around. My last stop in the Dallas area was at The Old Craft Store  in Carrollton, where I met with the store book club. The group was very enthusiastic and the store was very charming, housing not only the quilt store but also an old style post office. 
Beth and I then headed home to College Station where my four nephews were putting on a 60th birthday party for their dad. We got home just in time for the festivities and a good time was had by all. If you have read my latest book Quilt As You Go you will have met pastor Mike Hafer. What you probably don't know, is that he is a real person, a real pastor and my brother-in-law Hank's cousin. 
Well, Mike was at the party, and Beth spilled the beans and told Mike that not only was he in my book, but that I'd made him a Methodist. That would be great except for the fact that Mike is actually the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in College Station. Fortunately Mike was a good sport and reminded us that we are all God's children no matter if we are Methodist or Lutheran. 
Monday, Grandma Bohne surprised us with a lemon meringue pie for dinner - my personal favorite - which was a perfect end for my visit. 
Tuesday I had a late flight, so I went with Beth to her stitching group followed by lunch with the group and a quick stop at the local quilt store. I finished the near 80 degree and sunny day by flying for hours to 41 degrees and raining Portland - Home Sweet Home - once again. . .

Friday, March 26, 2010

Two More Down, One to Go

Yesterday we went a new quilt shop in Arlington Texas, which is owned by our old friends Pam Pape and Kelly Millett - formerly affiliated with a different shop we had visited in the past. Magnolia Quiltworks is a light and airy shop with lots of fabric, including some frog print fabric I couldn't live without. The shop also has a book club which was great! I talked to the group and signed books and had an all around good time. They also win the prize for having the most comfortable chair at my signing table of any place I've ever been. 
If you are ever in Arlington, Texas - check them out. 
Today we signed books at Common Threads Quilt store in Waxahachie. I took a picture I will post when I get home. All you Civil War reproduction fans who don't live within driving distance should be jealous - They have the biggest and best collection of Civil War fabrics I've ever encountered. If you use the link above to go to their website, you can check out their online store. I cannot tell a lie, I did buy more than one or two treasures there. 
Something I also saw at Common Threads were samples from a class taught by a lady who brings her own patterns and samples. They are adorable quilt blocks that are like paperdoll dresses come to life. Each block is a child's dress complete with smocking, embroidery, and other embellishments. You can see pictures and patterns at the teachers website Kreations by Karon . She has a cute pattern that is a combination of redwork and red little girl dresses. You might like it!
Tomorrow it is on to The Old Craft Store in Carrollton, Texas. I hear they have a book club that is going to read my books!
 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Where is Joshua?

Today found Beth and I on the road again. We were headed for our bed and breakfast in Waxahachie which will be our home base for the next three days. We had planned a stop at Country Stitches Quilt Shop in Burleson, Texas but when we were still miles away from there,  Beth commented that there was a store with lots of batiks, so I got out my trusty iphone and said "Let's go find it." We determined that the shop was Batiks Galore and was located in Joshua, Texas. It didn't look too far off the beaten path so away we went. 
We couldn't help but notice that our highway became a two lane, which became a gravel road which became very rough. We drove (in Beth's Cadillac sedan) down a rutted lane, past a big wall in a field and then found that we were looping back into Joshua proper. Well, we decided we better try calling the shop. They assured us that we'd driven right past it and that we should have seen their sign which was right by the big wall (a sound barrier we later learned). We  back tracked, bouncing and jouncing as we went and turned by the big wall where there wasn't a sign, and finally found the shop. The owner explained that local hoodlums steal their sign on a regular basis. Once inside any difficulty finding the location was forgotten as we were confronted with over 2000 bolts of batik fabric as well as a wall of Bold Over Batiks and a lot of batiked panels. 
If you like batiks, I recommend going to the Batiks Galore website
After that delightful surprise we went on to Country Stitches Quilt Shop in Burleson, which is always a fun place to visit. This shop has lots of reproduction fabric as well as country prints and and an assortment of other quilting delights. From there we decided to find a quilt shop in Midlothian that we'd heard about. I once again got out my trusty iphone and we discovered it was  Quilts N More. I was shocked to find that they didn't carry any quilt fiction, so I left them with a review copy of my latest, Quilt As You Go and gave them some cards. Hopefully they will like it and choose to carry it in the future. 
We finally made it to our Bed and Breakfast - the Chaska House in Waxahachie where the proprietor Louis greeted us with "Welcome Home!"
More about that later . . .
 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From Giddings Texas

Today found my sister-in-law Beth and I back out on the road again, this time bound for Giddings, Texas. As near as I can tell, it is most of the way to Austin from here (College Station). We met Gerline of Gerline's Quilt Shoppe at her store and then went with her to the LaGrange Quilt Guild meeting. The speaker was informative and we also got to hear how their recent quilt show had gone. Gerline announced that I'd be signing books back at her shop, so we grabbed a quick bite at Sonic drive-in and headed there. 
Gerline was having a 25% off sale on all fabric, so loads of people came to the sale and then bought books. Beth and I enjoyed chatting with one of the quilt angels, a group of women who quilt every Monday on charity quilts that are given out to the fire department and other worthy charities.  We got to see the Angel's next charity quilt in process. It was made completely of one and a half inch squares! The corners were great and the scrappy colors vibrant. It should bring in a lot of money when they raffle it.
When the action finally slowed, Gerline's granddaughter went back to Sonic and brought us all ice cream drinks which were greatly appreciated.
Beth helped me choose fabrics that will appear in Quilt 4, if everything goes well with my plan and if Harriet is able to make the quilt. 
I also found some bird fabric to use in the nature quilt Tresa (of Quilts by Nature) and Ruth will help me make for my new laundry room in Tillamook. 
Beth and I finished the day by visiting a yarn shop one of the quilters told us about called Yarnorama. You can google them and see their pretty yarn. They have lots of local fiber. 
They also are located on a little road that turns out to be a short cut to the highway we needed, so we saved a little time going home. . . . 
After a good nights rest, tomorrow we will go on to Waxahachie.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Houston? No Problem

Today was the second of two days of the Greater Houston Shop Hop and it couldn't have been better. 
Friday my sister-in-law Beth and I as well as her friends Kay and Sally went to the Quilt 'n Sew Studio in Katy, Texas. It is a great shop with about 6000 bolts of quilting fabric and lots of cute stuffed animals as well as patterns, tools and just about everything a quilter could want. They were doing a Hawaiian theme for the event and had me set up with a large table that had a grass-hut-like swag over it. Lots of quilters stopped in to get their passports stamped and shop and more than a few bought copies of my books. The owner Teri Burton and her staff treated me well, including feeding me banana pudding and presenting me with a cute present for my one year old granddaughter. 

Today we were in Friendswood, Texas at Quakertown Quilts original location (they have a second store in the Woodlands now). Again, after an early drive from College Station, we were greeted by a lovely shop and a friendly staff. 
Quakertown Quilts has beautiful fabric and are known nationally for their quilting patterns. What I didn't know is that they carry a line of metal sculpture and ornaments called the Round Top Collection. Let me tell you - Beth went a little nuts! I bought a few modest items, but I thought we were going to have to rent a u-haul to get our combined purchases home. 
Even though it was cold and rainy all day, the intrepid quilters came to Friendswood in droves. I sold lots of books and met a lot of nice people. 
Product of the day - some sort of material that you stitch  your fabric onto, then heat shrink - which puckers the fabric in interesting ways depending on how you stitch it! People were using the resulting material to make tote bags with very textured surfaces. 


So we are off and running. . . tomorrow and Monday are rest days then it is on to the LaGrange quilt guild followed by a signing at Gerline's Quilt Shoppe in Giddings. . .
 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On The Road Again

And so my travels begin . . . 
It's tough making a six am flight out of PDX - I had to get up at 3:30 am which is pretty darn early!
For the first time ever I was awarded an exit row seat! If you don't know what that means, let me tell you - you get all the leg room you could ever want. It pretty well offset the effects of sitting in the middle seat between two giants. I'm pretty sure if our plane was going down in flames I could rip the door off as well as they could. Of course given the terrain between Oregon and Texas, I'm also pretty sure that it wouldn't matter what the giants and I did with door in any case.
In spite of the scare tactics on the news (Continental canceling food on flights of less than 6 hours), we did get our cereal as soon as we were at cruising altitude. I can see why they are canceling breakfast though. The three flakes of cereal they give you look pitiful swimming in the 1/8 cup of milk they provide. And no matter how they rationalize it - a bag of raisins is not an equal trade off for the mini-banana you used to get. It's probably less painful to just cancel the whole miniature thing.
The last time I visited Texas, Lydia pulled the hair out on her front legs. It has finally filled in after 5 months, so I'm hoping she'll refrain this trip. 
Tomorrow is a rest day and then Friday its on to my first event - Quilt N Sew Studio in Katy, Texas on the first day of the  Greater Houston Shop Hop!


Friday, March 12, 2010

Northwest Quilter's Show

It's always nice to see familiar faces at quilt shows, and today was no exception. Many nice people came by the booth at the Northwest Quilters guild show today in Portland and more than a few bought copies of Quilt As You Go.
I continue to be amazed by all the new fabrics and the creative ways quilters find to use them. 
I drove in from Tillamook this morning and Lydia (my feline employer) traveled well, as we listened to a book on tape of her choice. The cat prefers male readers, would like a British accent if possible and leans toward action stories. We found a used copy of a David Baldacci story at Rainy Day Books in Tillamook so she was happy.
And for those of you who don't know about Lydia, she has proven more than once that she is willing to yowl for 75 miles if she either doesn't have a book, or doesn't like the selection.
One last random thought - did anyone else notice that Mohammar Quadaffi declared a jihad against Switzerland!
Switzerland? Really?
I'm just saying . . . 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Psychopaths and Other Fun Stuff

I just have to report that I'm continuing to be amazed by the facts I'm learning about psychopaths in the book -The Psychopath: Emotion and the Brain by James Blair, Derek Mitchell, and Karina Blair.
One amazing thing they told me is that among criminals they identified as psychopaths, the rate of re-offense is greater among those who receive treatment! That's right - they are worse if they get therapy. . . I found that to be a scary thought. . . 
I'm also looking forward to a new book on poison I've just learned about - The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum
My fascination with poison worries my dear husband even though I try to assure him that only my characters like poison, not me. . . . 
On a different note - tomorrow is the Yarn Crawl in Portland, and  I'm looking forward to hosting a number of my Cordelia's Knitters . . . .  
That's all I know for now . . . .