Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Interview with Mary G.

1.When did you start quilting and how did it come to happen?

I started quilting in the Spring of 2004. I live across the street from Celeste and she had invited me to join Birds of a Feather. I had been interested in learning to quilt but had never had time or knew anyone who could teach me.

2. Do you still have your first quilt?

Yes, I do! My first quilt was raw-edge appliqué that the group had already begun when I joined. The pattern was funky chickens, eggs, nests, and barns. I was the last to start but the first to finish, including the quilting! It is on the back of a sofa in my living room area and I call it my happy quilt because it makes me smile when I look at it.

3. When did you arrive in St. Tammany Parish, and what brought you here?

In 2002, my husband and I were looking for property to retire to on the Northshore. We bought in a spot and started building in 2003 as we were selling our house in Harvey and getting ready to retire. We retired in January 2004 and moved into our new home on Valentine’s Day 2004.

4. How long have you worked for Bright Hopes Quilting and what do you do there?

I started working for Pearl in May 2007. I have really enjoyed working with Pearl, the customers and co-workers and learning as much as possible. I like to encourage customers to try different techniques, tools, and the various classes that are offered.

5. You keep the lowest profile in the shop. We know that hides a swift mind and tremendous sense of humor. What did you do before you “retired” and went to work here? Did that prepare you in any way for working in this environment?

My background is in adult/pediatric/neonatal critical care nursing. I received my AD in nursing in 1975 and worked in the critical care arena all but 2 yrs of my entire career, most of which has been at Ochsner Hospital main campus. I guess that’s why I double check almost everything and can get really focused on a task or project.

6. I can’t believe how quickly you knock out a quilt, and it’s usually complicated. Do you sew every waking moment? Do you gravitate towards any specific technique?

I usually have several irons in the fire at one time in order to take a mental break in a different direction. That is why I do some of the shop samples as well as to learn a different technique. I pretty much enjoy all the steps of the quilting process from the fabric selection to the binding.

7. Is there a technique in piecing that you won’t do? Do you have on your bed right now a quilt YOU made?

I sometimes have to talk myself into trying a technique, but there is probably no piecing technique I won’t do at least once. I did my first block-of-the-month last year with the Washington Star Medallion and have that on my bed right now. It was quilted by a longarm quilter and is gorgeous! Most of the 50+ quilts I’ve done have been quilted on my Bernina 440. The attached picture is a recently finished project done entirely on my Bernina, which is being donated, to the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for a fundraiser in October.

8. If your fairy quiltmother could grant you one wish, what would it be?

I would love a bigger quilting room in order to have a long- or mid-arm machine. I still have several grandchildren awaiting quilts. There is a plan for later down the road and I can hardly wait!

Okay, Chris here.... Mary really does knock out samples. She'll come in to the shop for fabric and 3 days later, there's another quilt-top hanging!

I am having an issue with images at the moment but hope to include some shots of Mary's work shortly. In the meantime, if you pop in, we can show you around and say, "That's Mary's, that's Mary's, Oh that's Mary's, and that one....". While you're there, look at the footballs she quilted on the Saint's quilt. Freehand.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Things To Show, Things To Tell

Let's start with our 8 Anniversary Challenge: Here are three of the entries so far.

Bring in ANY 12.5" unfinished 8-Point star made entirely out of Batiks and be entered to win all. If we receive more than 12, we'll make another winner. The drawing will be held during our Anniversary Celebration at the end of September.

Friday, August 26, (that's Tomorrow!) Carolyn B is holding a class in this Color Work table runner. Look closely to see the waves..... break out of a rut of straight lines!

And Meliss made this stunning variation of Storm at Sea using those bold animal prints.
Very Nice!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Interview with Linda Kay

1.When did you start quilting and how did it come to happen?

I had been interested in Quilting for several years and finally, in 1990 when we moved to the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, I was able to have the time to take a class…and the rest is history!

2. Do you still have your first quilt? Do you have on your bed right now a quilt YOU made?

I have my first quilt on a bed in my house. In fact every bed in my house has a quilt I have made on them.

3. When did you arrive in St Tammany, and what brought you here?

We lived in Slidell from 1985 – 1990, then traveled with my DH’s job until we both retired. We are both golfers and when we found Money Hill golf course we decided to move to Money Hill and play lots of golf!

4. How long have you worked for Bright Hopes Quilting and what do you do there?

I worked in the store for several years, but now mainly teach classes and do the Newsletter Class Schedule, which are my most fun things to do.

String Quilt Sample

5. You teach many of the “beginner” quilts & classes and initiated the “Build A Block” monthly. From where do you get your ideas and inspirations?

I wake-up in the middle of the night with many Bright Ideas!! It is soooo much fun to be able to share some of them with other Quilters or Wannabe Quilters! I love it when we have a “Beginning Class”. It is so exciting to me when we can start someone on the road to Quilting and some of our ‘Beginners’ become some of our best Quilters!

6. You have a tremendous quilt room; very organized and work-friendly. Is there a trick or tip or guideline you would like to share on how one gets there and stays that way?

My room is intentionally upstairs, if I am working on 1 or 10 projects I don’t have to pick-up if I am having company, although I find that anytime I do have company they want to go upstairs and see what I am doing, and that’s OK!

As far as being organized, for many years I worked for big Company’s where your desk had to be clean every day before you left the office, so I suppose I have carried that over into my Quilting. I am also a list maker…a TO DO list is one of my favorites! It helps to keep me focused!

7. You make a point of traveling to quilt shows yearly. What is your favorite out-of-state city to go for quilting? What do you do while there?

I love to go to the Dallas Quilt Show in March. We see some of our Old Friends and the Shopping is fantastic. We also try and get to the Houston Show every couple of years!

8. If your fairy quiltmother could grant you one wish, what would it be?

More time to do everything I enjoy doing …quilting, golf, bridge, reading,…you get the picture!

Chris again.....I have the pleasure of joining Linda Kay to team-teach some of the beginner classes. (I end up learning something new each time! ) She is affectionately referred to as our "bag lady" because she makes and teaches most of the tote bags/classes. Linda Kay scopes out new gadgets and patterns constantly and pops out samples faster than humanly possible and is a big fan of "pre-cuts" like layer cakes and charms.

Here is one of her "Twister" quilts.

Shop Hop 2011 Review

Well, it's Monday morning after the weekend of Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler and I am slowly recovering..... don't know about ya'll.... but my back feels it the most when I awake.

This not to complain though! I had a blast and hope you did, too. We got to see past hoppers from far away and met new quilters. It's a great pleasure for me to see what projects are in the works and help locate a fabric or two that will be used in them.

Of course, I am the one welding the camera and scanning the crowd. I made a 4 minute recap video which you can see here.

We heard from several of the bus hoppers that they had a good time riding in comfort to the west side of the state. They'd like to make it a 2-day journey with an overnight stop next year. If anyone reading this agrees, please let us know.

The driver was a big hit apparently as well. And just to let you riders know, HE really had a good time with YOU and he wants to be the driver next year.

Thank you, all of you, who took the time to travel so far (or near, as the case may be) to visit our shop. We hope you had a good time, traveled well and got home safely.

As always, we'd love to see what you've made, so bring the show n tell on any Thursday day of the week (sorry..... I work on Thursday and really hate to miss anything!)

Next Thursday is Applique Society all morning. I look forward to hearing what they saw.

Til the next time......

Photo by Angie Crowley

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shop Hop 2011 Day One

It's Thursday, folks! The first day of Shop Hop,

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

I'll be there in the afternoon and start shooting some quick videos. The madness begins when a bus rolls up and that should be sometime Friday between 3pm and 4:30 so fair warning.... it's going to be packed and frantic at this time. Which has it's own form of excitement, I'm not going to lie! I love it when the energy levels rise and I get all caught up in the moment. I just hope I can get it caught on "film."

So, if you're there and see a small camera, smile n wave!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interview with Celeste

Celeste has been with us for years and makes so many of the fine samples you see around the shop. If it is whimsical (remember the fun animals with the fancy shoes?) or nautical (the McKenna Ryan watercolors), chances are it was Celeste that made it. She teaches many classes each month and you probably already have met, but here she is in her words.

1.When did you start quilting and how did it come to happen?

1979 I loved Better Homes and Garden magazine. It featured a quilt pattern of Trip Around The World. Our children were young, went to bed at 8-8:30pm, my husband worked offshore. I had always enjoyed sewing, embroidery, any type of hand work, I thought, "I can do that !"

So with cardboard for a template and scissors for cutting, fabric from TG&Y. Ziplock bag to organize, I had a project, did take a few years to complete, remember 3 kids- worked full-time as an R.N.

2. Do you still have your first quilt?

That trip-around the world was machine pieced, hand quilted, and just had its binding re-sewn, our son is the proud owner. I have lost count of the quilts that have been made and given as baby gifts, auction, Memories quilts, just because, and esp. loved ones!

3. When did you arrive in St. Tammany Parish, and what brought you here?

My husband and I wandered across the causeway in 1992 just to look around, very aware that Lafourche Parish La. was very vulnerable to flooding. Found just the right land by accident, spent one year clearing it by hand, every weekend. We now have lots of animals, garden, and Grass!

Also no fear of Flooding.

4. How long have you worked for Bright Hopes Quilting and what do you do there?

After Katrina, I was very fortunate to be asked by Pearl if I would like to work at Bright Hopes. I was thrilled; I had retired when my first granddaughter was born, then we moved to St Tammany. I was ready to enjoy quilting by working at Bright Hopes, being part of the Bright Hopes Family. I love our customers, show and tell, being inspired with new ideas, and trying to absorb all the fun ideas that come through the doors everyday.

Part of my job is to assist with customers, help with cutting kits, planning kits, teaching and helping with Block of the Month projects.

5. You teach many of the classes offered at Bright Hopes Do you have a favorite class or technique that you enjoy teaching most?

I like a challenge; I've completed my share of bed quilts, baby quilts. I can no longer do hand work, so my challenge was to fine a new way to create! Raw edge applique-embellishment, tons of patterns, lots of creative ways to express myself. I also discovered wool-rug hooking! I loved doing the Jungle walk, The Garden Cats, I think 18 at this time. Now McKenna Ryan. Keep a close watch on our News Letter And blog, new things all the time.

6. Is there a technique in piecing that you won’t do? Do you have on your bed right now a quilt YOU made?

An Amish quilt is on my bed. Most of my bed quilts have been given and several are waiting to be quilted on my wonderful Bernina. I like any piecing that can be done by machine.

7. You have a small farm. How do the critters and garden inspire you in your quiltmaking?

Mother nature is our inspiration, we have 2 miniature donkeys, Jethro, and Sweetpea, Frick and Frack (2 Manx cats), Jake and Dexter (dogs), everyone has heard stories of those two.

We have lots of chickens and ducks. We feed all of the above, we also have our fair share of wild critters! I love to play with landscapes, trees, country scenes, and waters capes. Lighthouses, barns, old houses, all sorts of chicken patterns, everything. Not enough hours in my days!

8. If your fairy quiltmother could grant you one wish, what would it be?

I would ask my Fairy Quilt Mother to grant me more time to love, and enjoy this great gift of quilting, and to be able to share with everyone all the fun that is your reward.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Interview with Mary Green

Continuing with our "Meet the Staff" interviews, here I introduce you to

Mary Green

1.When did you start quilting and how did it come to happen?

I became interested in quilting when I was a graduate student. I saw a quilt pattern in a magazine that I just fell in love with. I bought fabric and worked on it a little but never finished it. So later, much later, when I stopped working, I again bought fabric and a book and made my first quilt, a typical rookie mistake of a fairly complicated pattern - a pieced and appliqued Dresden Plate. However, I entered it later in a GSQA show and won first place in the First Quilt category (when they had one). That was encouraging so I decided to take a class (and learn from a person rather than a book) and it snowballed from there.

"Dresden Plate Sunflower" completed in 1995

2. Do you still have your first quilt?

My first quilt is hanging on a quilt ladder in my living room.

3. When did you arrive in St Tammany, and what brought you here?

I arrived in St. Tammany Parish in 2000. My family was living in Destrehan, LA and both of our neighbors bought motorcycles as a mid-life crisis thing. The roaring of those engines every weekend morning was so annoying my husband and I started to look for another place to live. My husband always wanted more land so we bought a home on six acres in Folsom. It is very quiet and peaceful.

4. How long have you worked for Bright Hopes Quilting and what do you do there?

I found Bright Hopes Quilting about six years ago. I was driving down Hwy. 22, saw the sign for the shop, and I turned right around. It felt right away like I had found a home away from home. Currently I teach classes including Beginning Free Motion Quilting, art quilt techniques, and integrating computers with quilting.

5. Of the various classes you teach, do you have a favorite class or technique that you enjoy teaching most?

I love teaching any classes that push students out of their comfort zone. My objective is to get students to feel free to explore new techniques and to think out-of-the-box. There are very few, if any, rules in my classes.

6. Your embellishment projects are very beautiful….how did you start moving down that path in quiltmaking?

I was always been interested in art so adding embellishments was a natural extension of my art background and I enjoy the freedom that art quilting allows. Quilting usually involves a lot of precision and, while making art quilts can be time consuming, I find it a lot of fun to be able to throw things on fabric (like fibers, or paint, or beads) to make something beautiful or interesting.

"Love the Future" a quilt in support of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei

Folded Log Cabin

7. You have gone to the Houston Market for several years with Pearl. It is exhausting! What do you do there and how do you recover from it?

I LOVE going to market! It is so wonderful to see all of the new products and fabric lines. When at market, I attend classes showcasing new patterns and techniques and assist Pearl when meeting with fabric and notion vendors. After fours days at market I need more than a week at home babbling on the couch in order to recover. But the whole experience is extremely stimulating and I get home with a head just chocked full of ideas.

8. If you had a fairy quiltmother, what wish would you want her to grant?

If I had a fairy quiltmother, I would want her to gift me with more energy so I could do complete all the quilt ideas I have rattling around in my head. That would be wonderful!

So, to conclude I'd like add this piece entitle "BP GrisGris"

Click on the shot to see the beadwork up close.

Last week, Mary held her class on the Christmas Bird wall-hanging. Anytime you take a class with Mary, you're going to drive home with your head spinning with all the possibilities to release your creative powers in fiber-art. Here are a few of her students showing the works in progress.

The Staff Has Been Busy!

I popped into the shop yesterday and was greeted by some very artistic samples.

Carolyn B has such a creative streak and moves away from traditional quilting towards the art quilts and pictures.

Here is the latest small quilt; an intimate picture using only one piece of fabric and selectively cutting. (In this case it is a batik). Carolyn is going to hold a class in October for Fun, Fast Fusies.

Carolyn has also been making all our samples of the "Calendar" tablerunners by the Little Quilt Company. Here you see September (apples for the teacher), July (R, W & B naturally!) and August (summer vegetables). Again, these are fused onto pieced backings and make fun n' fast projects.

She is also going to offer a class in machine applique using the Rose of Sharon applique designs to make this:

Now, Celeste has been working with batiks to make this sample of McKenna Ryan's "Something Fishy" pattern.

We have all the patterns in stock and an outstanding collection of batiks to make this gorgeous wall-hanging. I love the braided border! and check out those waders in the lower left corner.... a really beautiful job, Celeste!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shop Hop 2011 Up date

I have another (better) shot of the Shop Hop 2011 quilt here that shows the background fabric more clearly....... you can also click on the image to get a close-up window.... for even better viewing.

The background has all the colors in small clusters and the border fabric is the same on black.