Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Two for Two at the TriCounty Quilt Guild Show!

Even though I've pulled back a bit on the quilting for customers thing last year with all the hubbub surrounding the sale of the retreat and log cabin, and moving to Georgetown/Austin, I found some time to work in a couple of customers' entries into the TriCounty Quilt Guild's biannual show in Cypress, TX. (Thank you to these ladies for being so patient with me while I got my new studio in order enough to start working on their quilts!)

Although I didn't make it to the show personally, I did find out that the two quilts I quilted both won first place in their categories.

Nancy Y. pieced this gorgeous log cabin quilt - I think the logs were 1/2" finished. I was still in Tomball when I saw her working on them at Quilters Crossing Quilt Shop one Friday night/Free Sew, and fell in lust with them. Tried to take a couple of them off her hands, but she wasn't havin' it.

Aside from Nancy's exquisite piecing, was her very innovative binding technique, which I'm sure is what put her quilt over the top, judging-wise. She pieced it in the same size as the logs, alternating light/dark strips, and lined them up with the edge blocks, so it looks like the block is part of the binding. Unbelievable workmanship!

Theda F's quilt was the other quilt that won a blue ribbon. Very different from Nancy's! Wild color combinations and stunning fabrics - it's a very happy, exuberant quilt. And such a joy to see every morning when I walked into my studio.

And d'ya know what the best part of quilting for customers is? I'll tell you: when they say, "Do whatever you want!" So I do...and they love it - and we win ribbons! Can't wait to add these two to my collection! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year!

These past few years have made me take a left turn in my life, and it seems I'm heading in a new direction. So many endings - the loss of my husband of 40 years, the sale of my retreat business, adult children moving away, the sale of my log cabin in the woods of Tomball, much to process. But now I'm looking forward to new beginnings!

I bought a beautiful house of Texas limestone in Georgetown, just north of Austin. Still in Texas, cuz you'd have to blast me out of here! 

I went from living in a log cabin on 8.5 acres, down a dirt road in the woods (for the last 33 years): a one story limestone ranch. Pro: It's on an acre of thickly tree'd land. Con: In a neighborhood. With neighbors. And people. And cars. And lawnmowers. And people. 

I renovated the 2 car side of the garage for my new studio, and now, for the first time since 1986, I have an actual garage. With a real floor. Not like my dirt-floored barn at the cabin. The studio isn't quite finished yet, but with a few more tweaks it should be finished by the end of January. I'm working in it now, though, and I'm finally back to what I really enjoy doing! Can't wait for the SewHos to come for our annual retreat in July. 

The house is on a wedge-shaped acre that's shaped like the Flatiron Building in NYC. The front of the house faces the top point of the triangle, which means the left side and the right side of the house are on two streets, and the front isn't on any street! It also means I don't have any side-neighbors, which is a consolation for having to live in an actual neighborhood. Don't know if I'm going to get used to this or not, and I'm leaving my options open. We'll see.

OAN: I took my business name, CabinQuilter, from having my studio in my former log cabin. Now that I'm in a limestone house, it doesn't seem to fit. Maybe StonedQuilter...I am in Austin, after all. And that alone is culture shock. Aside from all the man-buns and stoners, there's more dogs here than kids! Go to any restaurant and you'll see more hippies with their dog-babies, than parents with their children.

I'm pretty sure I don't want that guy to be my server. For real. I'm also pretty sure they'd change their minds about dogs if I brought my 400 lbs of puppies:

Torque and Diesel making themselves at home the first night in our new house. That's a queen-size bed they're dwarfing. So, yeah...I bet I could change the dog-friendly restaurant policy overnight.

Hey. How about a couple of customer quilt finishes for 2019?

Dream Big panel for Darleena's Sew By The Bay Quilt Shop

and Darla's Hurricane Harvey quilt - not the best photo, but you get what you pay for!

That's as productive as I was in the midst of the chaos that was 2019. I'm looking forward to a much more settled and self-indulgent 2020, and hope that yours is the same. If that's what you want. If you don't, then I hope you get yours. So to speak.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!

It's apparently that time of year when we, once again, reflect on the year just passed, and ponder what the new year might hold. I don't know about your year, but mine held the same 57 UFO's that I started 2018 with. I know that's the exact number, cuz I have them on a spreadsheet. For real. But, since I'm an over-achiever, I actually increased my UFO's to an even 61! (That doesn't make sense, but I'll blame it on the bourbon-spiked egg nog.) And I bought a few kits, patterns, books, and jelly rolls - which means the new year holds a minimum of 67 UFO's. I might not quite understand the concept of how that list works. 

I've started quilting for customers again, and my calendar is filling up. If you've got a quilt top in the works, you might want to get on my waiting list. 

Hang on. I lied. My sister finally became a grandmother in 2018, and I actually did finish 2 projects for my new great-nephew. Debbie embroidered and cross-stitched a cute little crib quilt, and gave it to me to quilt for her. They decorated the nursery in a space/universe-type theme, so I made a glow in the dark quilt for the crib. But I'm not sure they count as UFO's as they were never on the list in the first place.

2018 also saw me put the Quilter's Cabin Retreat up for sale. My older daughter and her family moved back to Tomball from Greenville, SC, and moved less than a mile from me. Then, as luck would have it, my son-in-law was offered a terrific job in Austin, and just like that, they were gone. And they even took the 3 grandkids! Now come on!! After 18 months of babysitting, school pick-ups, sleepovers, could I let all that get away? So, I'm going to retire from the retreat business and move to the Hill Country. Most likely, the Liberty Hill area. (Love the name!) 

After the retreat sells, I'll be selling my log cabin next door. And if you're in the market, my daughter's 2 other houses are also for sale. 
You can see them all on Zillow here:

If you think you might like to have as much fun owning a retreat as I have these past 11 years, give me a holler! I have a wonderful business broker who's handling all the details for me, and I can put you in touch with her. 

We'll see what the new year holds, but I'm looking forward to the new chapter I'll be starting. And I hope yours is exciting and fulfilling for you, too! 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Retreat Winds of Change

Things are winding down here after a very busy summer, and I hope the Texas
temperatures start winding down, too!

Speaking of winding down, I’m ready to do that too. After thinking about it long and hard
for the past two years, I’ve decided to retire and take it easy and head for the Hill Country. I'll still be quilting for customers and since many of my current customers are long-distance anyway, it shouldn't be too much of a change.

So, I’m putting the retreat up for sale - as a retreat business. It will not be closing, and
there will be no downtime between my handing over the keys and the new retreat owner
taking it over. As part of the sale, I am providing plenty of training on the website,
reservation & bookkeeping program, etc., to allow for a seamless transition. All the
furnishings and supplies will be sold with the retreat, so, even under new ownership, it'll
still be the familiar home-away-from-home that you're accustomed to.

Again - the retreat is not closing! It will just be under new management. All tentative and
confirmed dates will be honored, for as far into the future as has been booked (which is
several years!) Those on my Ad Infinitum List will remain on the new owner’s list.

As an aside, I’ll be selling my home (the log cabin next door) after I sell the business, as
my daughter’s family has already moved to Austin, and is busily looking for property for
me. She has a home across from my log cabin that’s for sale, as well as another one
about a mile away. Any potential retreat owner might be interested in looking at one (or all
three!) of these, as their proximity makes running the retreat a breeze.

I have thoroughly enjoyed these past 10+ years being host to so many wonderful groups
of quilters, scrapbookers, beaders, needleworkers, church groups, and so many more. I’ve made some tremendous friends through the retreat and will miss seeing you all on a regular basis. I do, however, reserve the right to come crash your group when I'm in town, so, be

If you’re interested in being a retreat owner, now’s your chance! Let me know, and I’ll put
you in touch with my business broker - she’s a sweetheart. If you know of anyone who might be interested, by all means, spread the word! It’s a fun enterprise, and I’d do it again in a

And, one more time: Have no fear - the retreat is not closing!


Monday, January 1, 2018

January 2018

It's been exactly two years since I last had a new post, and a lot has happened in my life. If you recall from my previous posts, I had to shut everything down to care for my gravely ill husband. Five months after my last post (January 2016), Andy passed away, leaving me and our five kids and six grandchildren heartbroken and devastated. I feel like I've been "lost" for all this time, and I'm still struggling to figure out who I am without him.

Andy truly was/is the love of my life - I couldn't have asked for a more loving, funny, caring, man to walk with me through life. We met in 1973, when I was 21 and he was 29. We started here, in Carmel, California

and ended here, at his "After Party" 

Not all of the kids and grandkids are in this photo, but they were all there. Andy's brothers and their wives (and some of their kids) made it out from California for the service, and it was a bittersweet reunion. I have that large wood sign in my studio. It quotes one of Andy's favorite songs, and I can remember it with reassurance every time I see it - even if some days I'm not totally convinced.

I know some of you won't want to read this...but I'm still not ready to commit to the monthly desktop calendars. Yet. I'm sorry. So much change, so many demands on me and my time, responsibilities, and a need for simplification and prioritizing, leaves me trying to come to terms with the difference between 'needs' and 'wants.'

My first priority has to be me - and figuring out who I am as mother, grandmother, quilter, musician, retreat owner... is at the top of my 'need' list. 

Speaking of the retreat. Last May, on the first anniversary, I sold my house, and closed the Cabin Too to retreaters, and moved back into it. You know how people say, "Don't make any big changes during that first year?" Well, don't schedule anything important on that first anniversary. I speak from experience. The movers, my kids, my son-in-law, the neighbors, and the dogs, were treated to a noisy, embarrassing meltdown in my front yard. Don't do that.
Don't think you're different. You're not. 

Back to the retreat: So now I'm back to just the one retreat and it's almost completely booked for 2018. 2019 is filling up, too! If you've got a group, even a small one, check out the website calendar for open dates, and nab one quick.

Now. It's the New Year, and with that comes at least one resolution, right? I don't usually go for those, cuz really, what's the point? I won't remember it by Jan 3rd, so why add to my frustration? But this year, I'm making one (1). Prelude: a few months ago, I was given a mug rug by my good friend Reeze Hanson (of Morning Glory Designs ), and I've decided to hang it in my studio where I can see it and follow it every single day.

And speaking of happy - here's to a Happy New Year for us all, complete with cookies - from my favorite bakery in Chicago - and they ship!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016!

To all of you who who've followed my blog for years, downloading almost 200 desktop calendars, thank you so much! 
The last five years have been very trying for our family, with my husband's numerous strokes and declining health. He's home under hospice care and I'm afraid the emotional and physical strain is taking its toll on me. I've decided I need to simplify and deal with all this the best I can - and that means that some things will have to go by the wayside. Deadlines come and go, and I'm finding it more and more difficult to function, so my monthly desktop calendars are going to bite the dust. At least temporarily. When things settle down, I'll pick up where I left off. In the meantime, I want to thank you again - and I hope 2016 is overflowing with blessings for you all!

Colorful Champaign image

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December Desktop Calendar

Can you believe it's December already and almost Christmas? Black Friday was skillfully avoided by me, since I prefer to do my shopping in my jammies and scuffies with a cuppa coffee and my laptop. So today, Cyber-Monday, was my day to shop. Mostly for me.
Don't tell anyone. I spent a few bucks at Jamberry where I bought a couple of bottles of 
Beauty Boost - which is a multi-vitamin formulated for nail strength, etc. I started using it a couple of months ago and my nails have stopped splitting and peeling! I give them quite a workout and I highly recommend this stuff!
I also bought a new hoodie, for no particular reason other than it was cute and colorful. I might give it to Gillian for Christmas. No photo, in case she stops by my blog...

Oh! One more thing before I go. I ran down to the retreat a little while ago to see what one of my favorite groups was up to. Some artsy quilt stuff, some charity zippered bags, a jelly roll race, some actual quilting, the cutest panel ever... and when I walked into the living room I saw this: Father Christmas doing heaven knows what with Santa's Helper! She's apparently one of the quieter members of the Out of Bounds quilters, and didn't look too thrilled to have him checking out her ensemble. See, Shirley - I'm taking good care of Father Christmas! 

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and enjoy the last one-patch calendar of the year.

Click to expand the image to full size, right-click and choose Set as Wallpaper or Background.
To really make the calendar "pop" right-click on your background and choose black. Your family and co-workers will be jealous of your awesome wallpaper! Be sure to tell them where you found it!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Desktop Calendar

It's 5 minutes to midnight on October 31st, so I've got plenty of time to show you a picture of the South Carolina grandkiddos in their Halloween costumes: The Ghostbusters and the StayPuft Marshmallow Man! Aren't they adorable??

And Sofie was wearing her Halloween glow in the dark nail wraps by Jamberry! 

Now that all the little zombies are in bed, it's time for two things: an adult beverage and the November calendar - enjoy!

Click to expand the image to full size, right-click and choose Set as Wallpaper or Background.
To really make the calendar "pop" right-click on your background and choose black. Your family and co-workers will be jealous of your awesome wallpaper! Be sure to tell them where you found it!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Desktop Calendar

The other day, after I gave myself my Kaffe-esque Jamicure - not to be confused with Kafkaesque, as in: "pertaining to the literary work of Franz Kafka, i.e. marked by a senseless, disorienting, and menacing-like quality" which would be more like this:

Wouldn't these be awesome for the Zombie Apocalypse?? Just in time for Hallowe'en. 
You're welcome.

(comma... pause to think where I was going...)
Oh. So after I gave myself a Kaffe-icure, I got all hung up on that calendar from back in May and started to play with it again in EQ7. I used the Swap Tool to quickly change each of the original fabrics to a new palette of fabrics looking more fall-ish. That took all of 37 seconds. I've seen lots of  hexie quilts that have recognizable images in them, so I thought I'd try something simple like a pumpkin. With a vine. That took almost an hour. Good God. I'm beginning to hate one-patch quilts. I've never actually made one, but I have made about 3 dozen 1/4" hexies, mostly while traveling by air, accompanied by a Tanqueray & Tonic. 

See that bobbin and needle? I'm not lying! 1/4" hexies. Don't. Just don't.

Anyway - here's the quilt I came up with. If you squint real hard, you'll see the pumpkin. If you're lucky. Or if you've had enough to drink. Wait. Maybe that was my problem. Oh well.

Click to expand the image to full size, right-click and choose Set as Wallpaper or Background.
To really make the calendar "pop" right-click on your background and choose black. Your family and co-workers will be jealous of your awesome wallpaper! Be sure to tell them where you found it!