It’s Starting

It’s been an exhausting yet exhilarating few weeks. We are getting settled, unpacking boxes, acclimating to a new time zone, a winter that consists of green mountains, and watching cherry red trucks haul dirt up the hill for the art barn foundation.

Moving Dirt

I thought (a bit belatedly) to host a Valentine’s Day Groundbreaking party, and planned for a local affair but I was really thrilled that some out-of-towners came too, and made a weekend of it!



Friend I have known forever came over, too…



As did their parents who I have known most of my life.



We ate a lot of cake!


Quilters hung out with non-quilters (in efforts to lure them to the dark side).


And the strongest woman I know, Yvonne Porcella, made the trek, too. Founder of SAQA and one of my greatest mentors, I was so honored that she came.

Her humor nearly surpasses her strength…



She also wanted to made it very clear to me that she got dirt under her (freshly manicured) nails during the groundbreaking.







Alex Anderson came too! (Below, far right)


And more old friends from high school…



There was the ceremonial dig. (The pink silk scarf on the shovel was hand-dyed by Yvonne.)



Others got into the spirit of it, too.



And we laughed. A lot!







And took advantage of a surprisingly warm day.




Some of the guys…



It is really starting! I can’t wait to post progress pictures.

Time to Make Pet Postcards If You Haven’t Already!

The 2014 edition of Quilt Festival marks the final year of Festival’s Pet Project, and wouldn’t it be great if it went out with a bang?!  Friends For Life, Houston’s fastest growing no-kill animal adoption and rescue organization, will again be the beneficiary shelter.


Frieds for Life LogoMy three little guys I adopted from Friends For Life.

photo 10

Nellie, Tyrion (a.k.a. “Tyrion the Terror”), and Clarence keeping me company in my home office.

 Over the past two years, Festival’s Pet Project has raised more than $60,000 for Friends For Life t

More than $60,000 total has been raised over the last two years at Quilt Festival for Friends For Life by selling thousands of donated fabric postcards for $20 each. We are inviting YOU to help by making postcards for the final edition.

The details and how you can help:

1. Make as many 4″ x 6″ fabric postcards (that are no more than 1/8″ in thickness) as you would like to be featured and sold at International Quilt Festival this upcoming fall.

2. Get pet-ty! Animal-themed fabric postcards are encouraged but other themes are appreciated as well, such as abstracts, landscapes, floral pieces, etc. The point is to raise as much funds as possible! On the back side of the fabric postcard, please sign your name and title your postcard. (Contact information is optional.)

3. Postcards will be sold for $20 each at Festival, and all of the proceeds will go to Friends For Life.

4. These postcards can be mailed to the Quilts, Inc. office no later than Friday, October 17, 2014. Please note: this is a receive-by date! Quilts Inc. will be accepting postcards during Quilt Festival but wants to have a large starting bank of postcards so please mail as many as  you can in advance.

5. You can mail as many fabric postcards as you would like, but please place them in a padded envelope. This way they will stay in pristine condition to be displayed at Festival.

Please mail them to:
Festival Pet Project
7660 Woodway
Suite 550
Houston, TX 77063

6. Please help spread the word, and share your petty creations on your blog, website, and in social media (using the hashtag #festivalpetproject).

7. Come to Quilt Festival and buy as many postcards as you are able!

If you would like to see some examples of fabric postcards received in years past, click here. If you would like some directions for making pet postcards, here is a tutorial.

Below is one of my pet postcards I made last week in honor of Robin Williams and his affection for a beloved gorilla named Koko.



I hope you will take the pet postcard pledge!

What do fabric flowers have to do with selfies?

Yesterday afternoon, a few of us in the office got together to try Alisa Burke’s tutorial for making dimensional fabric flowers for wreaths for our Community Garden at Quilt! Knit! Stitch!  Here’s just a small sampling of what we made:

fabric flowers staff



Seeing my colleagues having a good time together around the crafting table, I was reminded of a picture that I thought would be fun to replicate:

Oscars selfie

Photo Credit: Ellen Degeneres (…but you knew that already)


So we each posed with a fabric flower:better selfie


The above picture is lovely, but one of our very hip, social-media savvy co-workers Carmen Beck pointed out that in order to be an authentic selfie, we needed to take it ourselves. So we tried. First shot didn’t work out so well…

bad selfie


But we got it on take two!

Quilts Selfie

(And if you are wondering why Kim is wearing Blues Brothers glasses, he is recovering from cataract surgery.)

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wanted! Open Studios & Make It University!(TM) Artists for Chicago Quilt Festival!

Catherine Redford

Above: Catherine Redford demonstrating how she makes colorful fabric bowls and table runners using scraps of brightly hued batik fabrics.


We’ve begin the application process seeking artists wanting to demonstrate in Open Studios and or wanting to teach an hour-long workshop at Make It University!(TM) at our Chicago Quilt Festival, June 19-21, 2014!  If you are interested in either of these opportunities, you can learn more by clicking each of the links in the sidebar to the right. (For those reading this post on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom and you will see the two links.)

Simply click the links, print the PDF files, enter your Open Studios or Make It University!(TM)  ideas, and send them back to me per the instructions. Deadline for both applications is April 7, 2014.


Cheryl Sleboda

Above! Cheryl Sleboda delighting attendees with her LED-lit art quilts.

Happy Monday, everyone!

My Bright (Studio) Idea This Past Weekend

Since I am still recovering and regaining my strength from the fall shows, I was a totally home body this past weekend and I loved it.

I unpacked my goods and adorned my bar with some of the pet postcards I bought:

Postcards on Wine bar

I unpacked a vintage quilt top I bought at Festival and mulled over what I plan to do with it. (Have any ideas?)

quilt top

And I found a warehouse furniture sale in my neighborhood and bought a vintage hutch from Belgium to put upstairs in my house. Khaleesi gives me the “paws” up on this purchase…

HutchGetting this hutch got me thinking. I have not shared my studio space yet on my blog, because frankly, over the past two years since I moved to Houston,  my studio space just has never gotten to the point where it has worked for me. So I am going to gut the room it’s in currently (and turn said room into a super swank TV den/library), and put  my studio upstairs in a larger area that has more promising lighting. This means I have a PROJECT, and I am very excited to create a new space that will work! It’s not going to be easy, I am going to have to tear down (rather carefully) an enormous custom-built shelving unit for my quilt fabric to then re-mount on a wall upstairs. I will have to move several tables plus a fragile vintage pantry unit upstairs  (but hopefully I can find some brawn to assist). I will have to do a lot of painting, possibly re-wire some lighting to get the lighting where I need it to be for working, and gut a closet/ redo the shelving to turn it into a storage room for equipment and dye supplies.

As soon as this idea came to mind, I knew that my studio space was going to be so, so much better, and I cannot wait to embark on this project.

So that was my weekend. I can’t wait to get cracking on this…

Hold Your Horses! Look What the Cat Dragged In!

Quilters and crafters, the receive-by deadline for pet postcards is just two weeks away and you would make me happy as a clam if you would engage in some (quilting) monkey business, let your (crafty) cat out of the bag, and stitch up some postcards!  And if you tell me you don’t have time, you are barking up the wrong tree!  Frankly, that’s hog wash! So don’t be the black sheep, be the cat’s meow and make some!

Ok, ok, enough with the cliches, but sometimes I can’t help but…unleash my love for them.

For all of the details for how to submit pet postcards to raise $40,000 at Quilt Festival for Friends For Life, Houston’s only no-kill shelter, just click this link. And if you are coming to the show, you can bring your postcards with you and drop them off at the Pet Postcard Wall in the Special Exhibits area. We welcome as many postcards as we can get, but we also want to make sure we have enough for our starting bank, so we really appreciate them coming in advance to our offices.

Now it’s time for a little pet-ty eye candy:

Diane Herbort

Cat high on catnip by Diane Herbort


Shannon Conley

Sweet set of postcards by Shannon Conley


Kind Kitty

Hand-embroidered kitty with mesmerizing eyes (made by anonymous)


Kathy York

Love how this pup is looking up (wistfully) at a home. Postcard by Kathy York


Friends Kathy York

Kathy York also shares her machine satin-stitching talents with these kitties.



Earlier this week I visited the Friends For Life shelter for an afternoon to stitch postcards with their volunteers. It was a fun few hours of convincing people who were nervous to stitch that they could stitch, and it was even more fun doing so in a rescue facility! I loved the sign they put out front:

FFL craft day sign


I encouraged everyone to use the Friends For Life logo as a template for the postcards. (And you are of course welcome to use it too.)



And when all was said and done, we made about 15 postcards! 

Pokey Bolton Meredith Wierick Melissa Taylor

From left to right: Meredith Wierick (Communications Manager), Me, and Melissa Chan Taylor (with baby), resident trainer who trained my Clarence. I had to laugh at the juxtaposition of cat traps and machine threads in this shot.


I also got to visit with Marie for a bit. She has had a very hard life, and has been in the Friends For Life program longer than any other animal. She is the sweetest dog, always so grateful for a little human touch; I hope she finds her forever family soon.


So on behalf of all of Houston’s animals in need, I hope you won’t let your (creative block) get your goat, and you’ll send some postcards in. :)

How to Make Pet Postcards

Take our Pet Postcard Pledge!

Fabric Postcard

Want to make a pet postcard for a worthy cause to save animals’ lives at the upcoming Quilt Festival to benefit Friends For Life? Pet postcards are a snap to make and as varied as art quilts in terms of styles, techniques, and materials;  the only guidelines are they are 4″ x 6″ in size, and  typically have a piece of card stock glued onto the back in case someone wants to send it through the mail (although you certainly don’t have to have card stock).

So flex some creative muscle, and create and donate your pet postcard to a worthy charity! I have shared directions for how I made mine, but other examples of other styles are featured below my instructions to give you a little more inspiration!


• Picture of pooch or another beloved pet

• Image editing software or a smart phone app that is able to convert pictures to a black and white photocopy

• 4″ x 6″ piece of cardstock for the backing

• 4″ x 6″ piece of stiff interfacing such as Peltex or Timtex

• Fabric scraps for your postcard composition

• Fusible web

• Light box or a window with strong outdoor lighting

• Water-soluble transfer pen or pencil (or a black felt-tip marker if you want the traced lines of your pet to be visible)

• Iron and ironing pad

• Sewing machine with free-motion capabilities


  1. Find or take a digital image of your pet(s) that will make a good composition for your fabric postcard. I chose this picture I took on my iPhone of Clarence and Nellie, my two adopted dogs I got from Friends For Life, and thought it would make a good vertical composition (without the muddy paw prints). Photo of Clarence and Nellie
  2. Convert your photo to a black and white photocopy using image editing software such as Photoshop® or one of the many apps available on smart phones.
  3. Apply fusible webbing to the backs of the fabric scraps that you would like to use for your postcard.
  4. Print the photocopy of your picture and tape it to a light box or window.
  5. Tape your fabric with the fusible webbing on top of the photocopy and trace your pet image onto your fabric. Be sure to include all of the defining body parts, and not just the animal’s silhouette.
  6. Cut out your pet image. Cut out 
  7.   Decide if you want to do anything to the background fabric before you fuse your pet image on top, and fuse the background fabric to the interfacing. Note: I chose to mimic the wooden slats on my porch by simply thread sketching lines, then added a polka-dot doormat in the back.
  8. Place the cut-out pet images on top and fuse.
  9. Free-motion stitch over the traced lines of the pet.
  10.  Place the card stock on the back of the postcard composition and satin-stitch along all four sides.
  11.  On the back, sign your name and title your postcard.

Here are some other examples of pet postcards I have received recently:

Lisa Chin

Guide dog cutie by Lisa Chin


Jamie Fingal

Coffee-loving pooch by Jamie Fingal


Marsha Leith

“Marti Says Hello” by Marsha Leith


Jen Eskridge

” Buddies” by Mod Quilter, Jen Eskridge

For our upcoming Festival Pet Project event, here’s how you can help:


1. Make as many 4″ x 6″ fabric postcards (that are no more than 1/8″ in thickness) as you would like to be featured and sold at International Quilt Festival this upcoming fall.

2. We want you to get pet-ty! We encourage animal-themed fabric postcards but we certainly welcome and would appreciate other themes as well, such as abstracts, landscapes, floral pieces, etc. The point is to raise as much funds as we can! On the back side of the fabric postcard, please sign your name and title your postcard. (Contact information is optional.)

3. We will sell the postcards for $20 each at Festival, and all of the proceeds will go to Friends For Life.

4. These postcards can be mailed to the Quilts, Inc. office no later than Tuesday, October 22, 2013. Please note: this is a receive-by date! We will of course accept postcards during Quilt Festival but want to have a large starting bank of postcards so would love it if you mailed them in advance!

5. You can mail as many fabric postcards as you would like, but please place them in a padded envelope. This way they will stay in pristine condition to be displayed at Festival.

Please mail them to:
Pet Postcards
Attn: Pokey Bolton
7660 Woodway
Suite 550
Houston, TX 77063

6. Come to Quilt Festival and buy as many postcards as you are able!

Bethanny, a shelter doggie I met this weekend at Friends For Life will be very grateful for your quilted donation and help!


Attention Quilt Festival/Chicago Attendees! It’s the Foodie Fabric Postcard/Recipe Challenge!

For all of those going to our Chicago show (June 21-23)  in just a couple of months, we have a lot of fun things planned!

Since Chicago is a foodie town, we thought it would be fun to adapt our Festival Pet Project for our Houston show, and turn it into 4″x6″ fabric postcard recipe challenge where the proceeds could be donated to a local Chicago food back. So think fabric postcards, but instead of a postcard backing where you would put an address and a stamp, you would share a favorite recipe.

Are you game? Let me show you what I mean with a little example:

1. Take some raw materials and make a mini-quilt sandwich, cutting top fabric, batting, and card stock backing to 4″ x 6″.


2. For the card stock backing, print a recipe:

Recipe Backing3. Do not adhere the backing to the top fabric and batting yet, because you will want to stitch your design first! I chose lemons and started to very loosely free-motion stitch lemon shapes in yellow fabric on my top fabric that I had ironed to the 4″ x 6″ batting piece.

stitching4. And I kept stitching…

keep stitching

5. And then I thought, why not add some hand stitching?

hand stitching6. Then added a little saying for my lemonade recipe in card stock and stitched it down:


And stitched on that backing to make lemonade!

I think this could be a very fun challenge that could also raise funds for a local Chicago food bank. It’s hard to think that in today’s age people go hungry at night, but they do. So will you join me in this challenge? More details forthcoming but I am inviting you to please share this challenge with your quilting friends, your guilds, your Facebook friends, etc. We would like to receive as many fabric recipe cards as possible in advance,  although we will of course accept them at the show.

The Details:

If you are interested in making a foodie fabric postcard (or two or three or more), here are the requirements:

• Each fabric postcard must be 4″ x 6″ and can have either a horizontal or vertical orientation. They should be stitched (hand or machine) and consist of a front, batting (or interfacing), and a back with a recipe. As these postcards will not be going through the mail, it is OK if they are in excess of 1/8″ in thickness. So if you want to heavily embellish your postcard(s), go for it!

• You are not limited to making just one foodie fabric postcard. Create as many fabric postcards as you like.

• On the back side of the fabric postcard, please sign your name somewhere. (Contact information is optional.)

• If mailing in advance (preferred!) these postcards are due at the Quilts, Inc. office no later than Thursday, June 13. Please note: this is a received-by date.

• You can mail as many fabric postcards as you would like, but please place them in a padded envelope. This way they will stay in pristine condition to be displayed at Quilt Festival/Chicago. Please mail them to:

Festival Foodie Project
Attn: Pokey Bolton
7660 Woodway
Suite 550
Houston, TX 7706

Spread the word!

Quilt Market Fall 2012–Fabric 2.0 Pictures!

Fall 2012 Quilt Market has commenced, and last night we had a ton of fun at our kick-off Meet & Greet, Fabric 2.0!

From left to right: Lisa Anne Logan, Pokey Bolton, Karey Bresenhan, and Helen Gregory

Thank you to our Gold Sponsor Craftsy and to our Silver Sponsor Quilting Arts for helping make this event possible!

Above: Caroline Devoy (second from the right) and friends. Many thanks and kudos to Caroline for launching and hosting Fabric 2.0 in years past!


Emma Harrington & Carrie Bloomston


Patty Young & Carla Crim


Gina Pantastico, Michelle Engel-Benckso, Susanne Woods, and Betz White.


Bob Ruggiero & Barbara Staszak


Heather Grant & Helen Gregory


Kathy Mack & Pat Sloan


Patricia Zapata, Rashida Coleman-Hale, & Alissa Haight Carlton


Victoria Findley Wolfe & Jake Finch


Tina Battock, Bill Gardner, Alex Holderness, & Mike Daecher


Today is the first day of Quilt Market and I am off to the show floor to take plenty of pictures and notes!


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