Paying Homage & Saying Goodbye to Two Beloved Quilting Arts Mascots

I know I have been off the radar this past week, and well…I have been, simply put, a bit heartbroken. Louie, my Min Pin, and my pal in All Things Mischievous, who graced many pages in Quilting Arts Magazine with ads and articles, appeared in online videos, Quilting Arts TV, e-newsletters, and countless pix posted on Facebook, passed away this past week. And two days later, our cat Dickens, the most amazing creature, who my friend and former colleague Larissa Davis lovingly adopted this past year so Dickens could be spared the Houston humidity, passed as well.

Louie model

Dickens and PokeyLouie and Dickens used to be best buds, and Dickens, who was three times the size of Louie, used to spoon Louie at night, cradling him protectively. I like to think that Dickens sensed Louie had passed, and Dickens, ever the gentle guardian, thought maybe it was time for him, too, to cross the rainbow bridge, and take care of Louie once again.

Dickens Larissa

Dickens with Larissa.

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Louie Houston.

They inspired me to make a lot of artwork over the years. A small sampling…

pet portraitsDickensLouie Dog Jacket


lou postcards

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It’s been hard for me to put this blog post together. I admit I can’t quite find the words, but I think a fitting thing to do is write a brief letter to them, letting them know–not just on behalf of me–but for John, the extended Quilting Arts family, Larissa and her family, and all the friends and fans these two had…how grateful we all were to them.

So here goes…

Dear my beloved Dickens and Louie,

I want to thank you for all of the love, compassion, joy, humor, and affection you gave to so many people, and also:

For being my little editing buddy…

Editing Lou

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And being the Task Master during “National Take-Your-Dog-To-Work Day!”

Louie John.

For reminding me not so subtly to maintain my workout regimen…

Dickens Exercise

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For supervising all photo shoots…

Louie photo shoot quilt scene

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For forgiving me after I accidentally ran you over in the driveway. (That was the most harrowing day, but you forgave me right away!)

Dickens run over

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For attempting to keep the chipmunk population under control…

Louie squirrels

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For letting me know how much you will miss me.

Dickens says dont go again

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For guarding art in progress…

Dickens watching fabrics dry

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And for guarding art nearly finished.

Louie supervising

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For showing me how yawning is done!

Dickens yawn

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For being my copilot on long trips…

Louie copilot

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And my pilot on the shorter ones.

Biker Lou

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For gazing at me like I was the most special person ever.

Louie head tilt

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For showing affection to those who just entered our world…

Louie Keller

And for showing affection to those who had been in your world a long time.

Animal love

For all of these reasons, you will be dearly missed.

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

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About three years ago I was painting fabrics outside with the animals nearby. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon with a little Dave Matthews on the iPod docking station, and I grabbed my flip video to capture the moment. Nothing really happens here; it was just an inconsequential but exquisite moment on a happy day.

Love to you guys…Louie helping

Maudlin-Free Monday Fabric Giveaway!

It’s a soggy, dreary Monday here in Houston, but we don’t mind the grey skies and puddle-ridden roads…the rain is finally cooling things off.  I hope everyone had a nice weekend; I had a quiet one–my favorite kind–spending hours stitching. I began working on about 20 fabric postcards for our Pet Project, our upcoming fundraiser for stray animals in dire need here in the city of Houston. I like to make fabric postcards in batches, and this first batch features Louie, my 13-year-old Min Pin whose image I screened on fabric, then fused to some pieced backgrounds.

I have a lot of embellishing as well as hand and machine stitching yet to do on these, but I had fun working with such graphic prints for the backgrounds.

Speaking of which, I have a stash of Malka Dubrawsky fabrics that she designed for Moda that I would love to give away to someone who might use them to create fabric postcards for our Pet Project.  Are you interested?

If so, answer the following question and I’ll randomly choose a winner tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon.

Question: Fall is coming, and with it cooler temps and more reasons to stay indoors and quilt. What are your bigger quilt projects on the front burner right now?

Sweetie the Dog Update, Doggie Bandanas, and Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am happy to report that Sweetie has been adopted! Here I have spent all this time trying to get her hooked up with so many agencies and exhausted my social media efforts, when all I really needed to do was simply walk the dog through my neighborhood.

The other night I realized I had no food in the house and wanted to walk to get take-out for dinner, so I took Sweetie with me. A woman entering a restaurant saw Sweetie and just fell in love with her. Her name is Kimber and she called me yesterday morning and told me that she very much wanted to adopt Sweetie. We had a long conversation, and last night, armed with a tote of treats, a bag of dog food, six months of heart worm preventative, Sweetie’s medical records and tags, and a Ziploc baggie with a Kong filled with frozen peanut butter, Sweetie and I walked to the same location to meet her new mom. I handed her leash over to Kimber, knelt down and gave Sweetie a hug goodbye. I admit I got really choked up, and on the walk back home alone I felt very wistful yet so happy Sweetie will have a happy life ahead of her.

Sweetie’s last morning at my house, napping with Clarence.

Thank you for sharing your rescue stories and your ideas for quilters to reach out and support strays. I have printed out all of the responses and have some ideas that I will share with my team. One thing I thought about doing in the meantime is stitching some doggie bandanas that fostered dogs could wear on walks to let passers-by know they are adoptable. Something like this drawing I whipped up this morning…

When I get back from the Quilting Arts TV taping next week, I want to issue an online drive on my blog to make some so we can all drop off at our local shelters. Are you game?
Speaking of QATV, I leave this weekend for Cleveland, and beginning to pack up my segment prep:

Some very talented guests are coming next week, and I will post pictures and behind-the scenes stories when I get to Cleveland. In the meantime,  I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! And congratulations to Becky Bowles–you won the doggie fabric! Please email me at pokeyb@quilts.com with your shipping address and I will get the fabrics to you when I return home.

Meet My New Quilt Studio Pet!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was certainly eventful.

We have had so, so much rain over the last week and on Friday night I got a phone call from Amanda Schlatre, a coworker of mine who went home from work that night to find a little kitten huddled on her front porch. Amanda is highly allergic to cats, and she knew I had gotten my dog Clarence from Friends for Life, a no-kill animal shelter in Houston, and wanted to know how to get the kitty into their program. I told her to drop off the kitty on Saturday morning to my house and I would foster it, then take it to the shelter.

Problem was…kitty and I started to bond.

I knew this bonding business could be trouble, so after I fully bathed and fed her, I went to the shelter to see if they were taking kittens, and found out they are not for at least another month. So I went back home and well…more bonding happened––this time in my quilt studio where she was very curious about my equipment.

She was fascinated by my Bernina!

And after trying to figure out what my Thermofax machine did exactly, she thought my ironing pad was a great place to perch and tease Clarence.

We auditioned my fabric locker bins with various colored fabrics to act as a temporary kitty bed. She looked great in blue, her complementary color!

She blended in a little too much with all of that orange.

But she seemed to really like the green bin, which just so happens to be my favorite color.

So for the rest of the weekend I carted her around in her green fabric locker basket, where she could observe weekend chores like juicing.

I knew I needed to give her a name, and I reflected on how fierce she is, and how she stands her ground with Clarence. She is a little she-dragon, and so I have named her…

The Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons from HBO’s “Game of Thrones”

Khaleesi!

Khaleesi is separated from the other pets in my house, but tonight I have a vet appointment and will get her fully checked out and all of her shots in order. If she doesn’t pose any health problems that would be problematic to my other pets, then she will be my newest quilt studio pet—a nice way to start my week.

Do you have a studio pet on your blog? If so, please leave a link to your blog in the comments area so we can see!

Quick Quilt Project: How to make an easy quilted bike basket pad for your bike-lovin’ pet

Last week one of my co-workers, Vicki Mangum was all aflutter when she came into the office. She stopped at my door, slightly out of breath, and said, “I couldn’t sleep last night! All I could think about was your dog Louie in the bike basket and he needed a quilted little pad to ride around on.”

I guess she thought my wadded up terrycloth towel could be improved upon:

Then she whipped this out of her tote:

“Since you are new to Texas, I thought it should have a Texan flair,” she added.

I was very grateful for this unexpected gift. And now while I admire the fabric with hunky men in cowboy hats, Louie can now cruise through Houston in style!

I know Louie looks a little glum in this shot but it’s because he knew this was just a photo op–I wasn’t actually going to take him riding, as I had to go to work!


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How to Make a Quick & Easy Bike Pad for Your Pooch

Materials

• Fabric for top and back

• Batting

• Sewing machine, thread, scissors, and general quilt supplies

Directions

1. Measure the bottom of your bike basket and add 1″ all around. Cut top and backing fabric and two pieces of batting to these dimensions.

2. Pin the two layers of batting to the top fabric. (Extra batting/cushioning makes for more comfortable cruising!)

3. With your sewing machine, free-motion stitch through these three layers.

4. Place your backing fabric on top of your top fabric, right sides together. Pin in Place.

5. Sew all the way around, leaving a 1.5″ opening.

6. Pull everything through the 1.5″ opening so it is right sides out.

7. Slip stitch the opening closed.

This is a very simple project that any pooch would appreciate.

Thanks, Vicki!

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