My Big News

I have been incredibly fortunate the last two (plus) years to work alongside some amazing individuals who have been nothing but family to me:

 

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I have loved being Chief Creative Officer at Quilts Inc., but I have been giving it a lot of thought lately, and have decided to be the Chief Creative Officer…of me.

Last week, I submitted my resignation, and after teary hugs with coworkers, and a wonderful meeting with Karey Bresenhan who has always been so supportive of me,  I departed, and am officially now my own CCO.

I resigned for no other reason than I am ready for a break after a lot of change in my life the past few years.

My bucket list over the next few months:

• See if I can train Tyrion, my new puppy to be a service dog, and go to hospitals to bring smiles to children’s faces.

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• Finish the baby quilt for my great nephew who was born last October. (I hope to finish it before he turns five in 2018.)

• TRAVEL! To date, the roster for the next couple of months looks like this:

Hawaii next week, with a trip to San Francisco, Napa, Marin County, and Monterey the following week. Later in May, I’m heading to Costa Rica, and in June, I’m going to Zurich, Amsterdam, and London…where I will sit court side at Wimbledon (and eat strawberries and cream).

While I replenish my creative tank and embark on my Eat Pray Love adventure, I will always remain a friend of Quilts Inc. Although I am sitting Spring Market out, I will attend the Festivals…but as a civilian. ;) And of course I am going to champion Festival’s Pet Project at the 40th anniversary of Quilt Festival this fall!

As I make this transition in my life, a picture from my childhood came to mind:

Captain of my own journey

Above, I am at the helm of Freedom, the 12-metre racing yacht, which a few months later, won the America’s Cup in 1980. (Skipper Dennis Connor, my dad’s friend, is cheering me on behind me.)

I am ready to be the skipper of my own adventure.

Thanks to all of my quilting friends who have been so supportive of me over the last 14 years. I hope you’ll continue to read my blog and stay friends as I craft a new life.

With love,

Pokey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What does it look like to pursue a dream (or follow a hunch)?

I got to do something pretty sweet this past weekend: hang out with Leslie Jenison and meet Tim Jenison of “Tim’s Vermeer” fame:

Leslie Tim Pokey

For those who don’t know,  art quilter Leslie Jenison is married to Tim Jenison, an incredibly gifted and talented inventor who took a sabbatical from his company, NewTek, to take it easy and relax (::::cough::::):  and attempt to paint Vermeer’s “The Music Lesson.”

Musiclesson

The original Vermeer painting resides in Buckingham Palace. After some cajoling, Tim was able to go inside the palace and have a 30-minute audience with the painting (no camera equipment allowed).

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Never having painted before, Tim had a theory about how the 17th century Dutch Master was able to paint such photorealistic paintings, and surmised that Vermeer used optical lenses and mirrors–technical aids–to help create his masterpieces.

The documentary chronicles Tim’s journey to recreate a Vermeer in the exact conditions Vermeer painted: everything from constructing the actual room in “The Music Lesson” (from scratch) in a warehouse in San Antonio; mixing pigments (only pigments that were available to Vermeer); creating lenses using 17th century technology and tools; carving furniture (which Tim had never done before); making the windows (never did that either)…everything.

In the documentary, Tim’s first attempt to test his theory was by painting a picture of his father-in-law, and angling a mirror in such a way on the canvas, that he could essentially match the tone of the paint to the photograph, and recreate an image.  When the edge of the mirror seamlessly blended with the color of the paint on the canvas, then he knew he had a perfect tone, and that’s how he painted. (Go see the documentary…he explains it much better than I am trying to!)

Leslie's Dad

It took Tim seven months to finish his Vermeer masterpiece, but in total–including building the actual room–Tim’s Vermeer took five years.

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Bitsy

Above: Bizzi the schnauzer guards Tim’s Vermeer.

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And the painting now resides in his bedroom.

TimsVermeer

It was incredible having the chance to see the painting in person!

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Bed

And of course I loved the quilt on the bed. Leslie shared with me that she purchased an antique quilt top (a grandmother’s flower garden pattern), then had a friend free-motion quilt it with black thread in whimsical designs.

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quilt

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It was a memorable experience, too, seeing the documentary in San Antonio not only with the Jenisons, but with one of my very favorite artists, Jane Dunnewold.

Leslie Jane

All in all, an incredibly inspiring weekend, and one of those experiences that makes you do a life inventory. Any quilter or creative person reading this post, I highly recommend seeing this documentary.

Trust me, you will come away changed.

What does a case of Aurifil thread have to do with Superbowl Sunday? Why, a giveaway of course!

Denver-Broncos-vs.-Seattle-Seahawks

BLOG UPDATE: February 3, 2014

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and to Kathy Aho in Minnesota. Please email me your address at pokeybATquilts.com so I can ship you the case of Aurifil thread! Congratulations!

With Superbowl Sunday fast approaching, I’m gathering all of my materials for a day filled with quilting whilst munching on fattening football fare. I had hoped it would be a San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots matchup, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be, but there’s always next year! In the meantime, I am rooting for the Seahawks, simply because of this guy:

Unknown

Fellow San Francisco native, Pete Carroll, former coach of the New England Patriots and an all-around good guy.

I thought it would be fun to do a little giveaway before the Big Game, with swag that Aurifil generously gave me over the holidays:

Case

Check out what’s inside!

Inside

Here is how this giveaway will work:

1. In the comments area tell me which team you think will win on Sunday.

2. Then I will take those who accurately predicted the winning team, and randomly select a winner on Monday.

So…who do you think will win the Superbowl?

In honor of TGIF, I’m giving away free skeins!

It’s been a long week, but I am thankful three fantastic things happened in the last few days:

1. Bruce Springsteen released his latest album, “High Hopes!”

2. Virginia Spiegel demonstrated her fundraising prowess yet again, and with the help of fiber artists, exceeded her goal for Fiberart for a Cause and raised more than $5500!

3. And the best news all week? LIBBY LEHMAN GOT TO GO HOME! Read all about it here!

In celebration of the above events, I thought to do a little Friday giveaway, this time a sampling of Painter’s Palette yarn from Koigu that they generously gave me at TNNA this past weekend. Yarn lovers know these skeins offered in sumptuous colors are fantastic for garments, but they work well for hand stitching, too.

Koigu Yarn

 

Answer the following in the comments area, and I’ll choose a winner on Tuesday. My question is one you’d expect on a Friday afternoon:  What kind of stitching or surface design trouble do you plan to engage in over the weekend?

Me? I’m leaving on a jet plane in the morning so I am packing a small plastic bag with my English paper-piecing project.

TGIF!

 

 

Starting 2014 Strong: Fiberart For a Cause and Shining Lights

I was watching The Today Show yesterday morning where they were launching their “Shine a Light” program, a year-long initiative focused on service and giving back to communities in need. Each co-anchor is choosing a worthy cause to support throughout the year, and this week they’ve been unveiling those causes. Al Roker is joining a U.S.O. tour to entertain our troops overseas, Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie are building playgrounds, and Natalie Morales is running the Boston Marathon to raise money for last year’s bombing victims.

Well! Fiber artists and quilters are not to be left out of the running, so to speak. Virginia Spiegel, fundraiser extraordinaire, is yet again launching a campaign, this time a virtual race to to the finish line, a 5K-race to raise $5000 January 15th for Fiber Art For a Cause to benefit the American Cancer Society.

FFAC2014logo300

As this is a virtual race, you can give your knees and achy joints a break! All you need to do is mark your calendars for the 15th to be in the running for some pretty fabulous fiber and quilting prizes and donate money to the American Cancer Society.

Fiber5Kroute400-1

And if you leave a comment below (by this Sunday, January 12th at midnight EST)  letting me know what other good deed(s) you are doing this year to help someone, volunteer, raise money, etc., I’ll match each comment (one per person) with a $1 donation for the American Cancer Society. So mark your calendars for January 15th, and let the comments and good deeds commence!

In Honor of 2014, My New Year’s “Word of the Year”

Some people have New Year’s Resolutions, some have anti-resolutions (i.e. “I refuse to diet this year!”)…and some simply find one word they hope will guide them through the next 365 days.

While on my last 2013 run yesterday morning–and realizing as I get older I’m not as spritely a runner as I used to be–my word came to me.  I thought about how I could best illustrate this word in a blog entry, and one of my very favorite children’s book came to mind. Remember Charlotte, the little arachnid, who, through her love of linguistics and weaving webs, saved a pig’s life?

9780064400558

Channeling my inner Charlotte, here’s my word:

Acceptance

Acceptance is understanding where you are in your life…and you Accept. To me, Acceptance is celebrating your achievements, taking stock of your life, and accepting your disappointments and mistakes along the way. With Acceptance, you don’t capitulate, you Accept, and if necessary, you recalibrate. And you learn to take one step in front of the other with grace and humor.

My New Year’s wish to all is to Accept where you are in your life, to recalibrate if needed, do what you love–and to make sure above all else–to surround yourselves with the people you love. Accept nothing less!

Wishing all a fulfilling, accepting, (and of course a stitch-filled) 2014!

Pokey

Wishing you Happy Holidays!

It’s Christmas Eve, and from one quilter to another, I thought now is as good a time as any to share my five favorite decorating and stress-relieving holiday tricks and tips this holiday season.

5. Embrace quirky.

Fruitcakes welcome

When I decorated my home this season, I wanted to make sure friends and family would know they’d find like-minded company inside.

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4. Be inclusive! Make certain the pets participate in the holiday festivities too.

NellieBad Christmas sweater

This costume was on sale–I’m pretty sure because it was too reminiscent of Thanksgiving with that Pilgrim belt.

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3. Make sure your pets are faced with edible temptation over the holidays–just like you–every single day.

dog wreath

Spray paint and hot glue some dog bones onto a wreath. Then hang the wreath in the dog kennel just out of reach from the dogs so that they look at it longingly all day long. (Wreath credit goes to Marilyn Barrow.)

2. Remember that the holidays can be for the birds, too!

holiday owls

With the owl craze over the last few years, don’t we all have some fabric owls lying around? I strung holiday lights in my wishing owl bird cage and installed a tiny Christmas tree, too. (Owls are by Lynn Krawczyk that appeared in Quilt Scene a few years ago.)

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1. If you are feeling a little blue at times over of the holidays, then my greatest advice to you is…GET THYSELF INTO THY STUDIO and surround yourself with all of your favorite (quilt-y) toys!

Studiox

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Wherever you find yourself over the holiday break, I wish you a peaceful and festive time with friends and family. And, of course, I also hope you can find some time to stitch.

Hugs to all this holiday season,

Pokey

Giving Thanks

It’s late afternoon on Tuesday, the eve of the eve of Thanksgiving, my absolute favorite holiday all year.

I am yearning to take a few days off, gorge on turkey and all the fixings (or as they say here in Houston, the fixins’) and vedge out for a few days. I have no plans except spend some quiet time at home, continue moving my studio upstairs, and haul out the holiday decorations. (And hey, if I can swing a ticket to the New England Patriots-Texans game on Sunday…all the sweeter!)

Emily

Thankfully today I had a little visitor come to my office for a short while. Her name is Emily, and she is my coworker Rose Reyes’ six-year-old granddaughter. Emily wanted to join me for “arts and crafts” and although I had stored all of my Open Studios supplies for the year, I was able to quickly find some Great Art Finds in the form of googly eyes, neon pompoms, and a glue stick. She pulled my blue velvet chair up to my desk, grasped a handful of Sharpies from my pen mug, and put her industrious self to work pretty quickly. Admiring my chalkboard and colorful chalk sticks, she then proclaimed that she first needed to create a “Thanksgiving mural” before she could add a “pompom googly-eyed turkey.”

google-eyed turkey

It was a great visit, and one that reminded me how fantastic this time of year is.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I hope yours is lovely,

Pokey

With Gratitude: Book Giveaway for Pet Postcards Donated!

Update:

Winners for these books are:

Pauline Salzman

Debbie Williams

Laurie Russman

Please email me your address and you will each get one of these books!

 

Quilt Market and Quilt Festival are now over, and yes, I had every intention of blogging during the shows, but I was constantly on the go, running all over that massive George R. Brown convention center the entire time, and when not on my feet…I simply crashed.

We will have the final numbers for the Pet Postcard Project early next week, but in the mean time, I want to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to everyone who sent them in! At the last tally, we received more than 1200 postcards, but that was before so many people dropped off postcards at the show, too.  I can’t thank everyone enough for taking the time to create them and everyone who made a monetary donation!

In thanks, I thought to host a book giveaway, and give away three books to three different recipients.

100 Modern

PatchworkPlease

Inspired

I am giving away these books to three people who either created and sent in a postcard, made a donation, or purchased one (or more). If you did one or more of the above (and yes, this is on the honor system), then answer the following question and I will pick three winners on Monday.

Question:  We are now officially entering the holiday season, and Thanksgiving (my very favorite holiday) is just three weeks away! So what are you thankful for?

Me: I am thankful for my family, including my quilting family. That includes my coworkers (past and present), as well as all of the quilters who have been a part of my life over the years.

You?

In Honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a Pink Fabric Giveaway!

UPDATE! Congratulations to Julia Hyll! Please email me at pokeybATquilts.com to send you the pink fabrics! Thanks for answering, everybody!

 

When October came around, I noticed in my health club’s women’s locker room they hung laminated fliers from the shower heads with diagrams for conducting a breast self exam. I thought to myself that was a good reminder ‘cuz I sure hadn’t done one in a while. However, I am good about getting my yearly mammograms, and I hope all of you are too!

In honor of all of you who have had to battle breast cancer, and in honor of our loved ones who have lost theirs, I thought I would do a small something and conduct a pink fabric giveaway. All you have to do is answer the following question and I’ll randomly select a winner later in the week.

Pink Fabrics2

Question: In addition to conducting your monthly exams and getting your yearly mammograms (if you are of the age), what is a healthy habit you have recently adopted?

Mine is pretty basic: I’ve cut down my caffeine intake to (at most) two cups of coffee each morning, and I drink a lot more water during the day.  You?

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