Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Overwhelmed by Tornadoes

Today wasn't a work day (at my day job) so I intended to share with you some of the goodies I brought home from Quilt Market last week. Instead, I sat transfixed in front of the TV. The Weather Channel gave a moment-by-moment description of tornadoes tearing through Missouri again today, threatening to hit Joplin a second time and narrowly missing Kansas City.

I've never been in a tornado and until a month ago never been anywhere near one. But in April, Quilt Queen Patricia and I spent two weeks in Missouri and Kansas to attend the Round Robbin quilt show in Springfield, MO. One night we overhead the desk clerks at our hotel talking to each other about 'the tornado' and I thought I better find out what was going on. Turns out we were in the distant sites of the killer tornado that tore through Arkansas.

That night I discovered the Weather Channel. Reassured by the clerks downstairs that we would be alerted in time to scramble downstairs and huddle in the laundry room if needbe, I pulled up the covers around me and watched the TV experts, for the first time, describe the path of a killer tornado. We were never in any real danger, but just in case I slept in my clothes for a fast get-away.

We shrugged off the storm and continued our tour of the midwest; we stayed in Joplin one night; went to church in Springfield; we visited friends who live in Kansas' infamous tornado alley and until this week, no one I met had been in a tornado.

Now it's different. An entire town is blown away and so many lives shredded.

I need to tell someone that I fell in love with the people there, and the beauty of the countryside. My heart aches for everyone hurt by this immense tragedy. My prayers are for comfort, for safety, for feeling the tangible proof that God cares for you, and for the warmth of knowing the arms of an entire nation surrounds you.

Especially mine.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Look! An X-Blocks Bedroom Suite. Sweet.

X-cersize Your Creative License

Sandy Kent, 'Quilter X-traordinaire' of Magnolia Springs, Texas, sent us more pictures showing how she uses her X-Blocks leftovers (the X-tras that are left when you trim your blocks) with creativity and flair.

She created her Country Liv'n quilt (on the left) from a Quilt Queen Designs Dancing Stars pattern, then used her pieced leftovers to create an entire bedroom suite out of them: matching table runner, table topper and throw.

Sandy deserves a high-five (Texas style) for X-Blockin' outside the box. Stop by Magnolia Springs Quilts and see her other lovely work.
Bye for awhile,
X-Blocks Princess

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another year...another post

I can't wait to share the good news: Quilt Queen Patricia Pepe is coming out with a new X-Blocks Adventure book very soon. It's top secret; in fact I must be careful because if I reveal too much I could lose my crown (chuckle). What I CAN tell you is it retains the whimsical, fun and refreshing style of her first book, Adventures in X-Blocks Land, but from a different direction. How's that for creating confusion?? I promise you'll be the first to know when it comes out. In fact, when it comes out...I'm going to give a way a signed copy. Because I'm the Princess.

Look at what I found on the web. It's a cozy Texas style table topper made by my new friend Sandy at Magnolia Springs Quilts. She used the X-Blocks rotary cutting tool and Dancing Star pattern from Quilt Queen Designs. Isn't the border gorgeous? It was easily made with the pieces that were leftover when constructing her stars.

Now look at Sandy's Country Liv'n quilt. It's the main quilt from the Dancing Star pattern. All those beautiful stars...when you make them, you end up with the border pieces she used in the table topper.

You can see the original Dancing Star pattern on the Quilt Queen Designs website (scroll down the pattern page). Notice many of her patterns include more than one quilt on the cover. That's because the X-Blocks leftovers make the second quilt. It's like getting two patterns for the price of one.

Great job, Sandy. I love your color choices and the splash of plaid.

If you have an X-Blocks project to share, send me a pic.

Andrea, Princess of X-Blocks Land

Thursday, September 3, 2009

X-Blocking in Asilomar

Just imagine spending one entire week at the Pacific seashore, X-ploring the X-Blocks tool with great friends. Pinch me! No, I wasn't dreaming. Patricia Pepe invited me and six other groupies to Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA, a fantastic conference center nestled among scrub pines, hugged by the sensational coastline and inhabited by deer and raccoon.

We stayed in the Director's Cottage and supped in the dining hall - gourmet style. Every meal was prepared with fresh ingredients by an excellent chef and staff; waitpersons hovered in the wings bearing lovely desserts, coffee and tea. We were so stuffed by mid-week we could hardly waddle to our sewing machines, which were set up in a large conference room.
Again, I beg you to imagine - your very own sewing studio (for the week, anyway) where the only ringing in your ear was the dining bell; the only requirement was to have fun, make a mess - and no clean-up allowed.
The adventure included frequent (as in: daily) visits to Back Porch Fabrics in downtown Pacific Grove. Sure, we brought lots of stash with us, but you know what it's like - fabric fabric everywhere, but not that 'just right' piece. So Gail Abeloe, proprietor, provided us with the missing sparkle. Her fabrics, samples and patterns are scrumptious.

The most fun of all was watching Patricia create. She was so generous with her time, frequently stopping to show us new ideas, better ways to combine our fabrics and tweak for contrast. We played with scads of new X-Blocks designs that I can't yet reveal as they're in the planning stage, but confidentially, they are really exciting.

As for X-Blocking in Asilomar: sign me up for next year!!!

Yours truly, Princess of X-Blocks Land

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The lateness of my posting

Dear X-Blocks fans and friends, forgive the "lateness" of my posting. I've been on a whirwind month - hosting grandkids and exploring X-Blocks. Specifically I went to the LA/San Diego/Orange County shop hop last week to demo the X-Blocks tools and quilts at The Quilt Cupboard in Garden Grove. What a fabulous success - I ran out of anything to sell on Saturday!

Sheri, the shop owner, just moved into her new location on Valley View in Garden Grove. It's a fresh and fun store with room to move around, a very helpful staff and of course - Annie, the resident cat. She is the perfect shop pet. Greets everyone with a 'walk-by' and 'look-over' then leaves you to your shopping. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

And now, about the grandkids' visit. Were they ever fun! Ages 7 and 9, suddenly they are into cooking. They invented yummy brownie-ice cream-sprinkle pies and oreo-pudding-cool whip surprises. We prepared a gourmet ginger pork roast and sweet rolls and apple pie, oh my! Everytime I was near the kitchen they wanted to invent something new. And --- they cleaned their plates! And said OK Gramma when I had to say the occasional no - or please don't.

PLUS! I've had some time to create a new-to-me way to make an interesting, striped/squared/half-square triangle kind of quilt block. I'm still fiddling - it's going to be a class soon.

I'll keep you posted,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Afraid to make your first X-Blocks quilt?

If using your X-Blocks quilt tool baffles you, maybe I can help.

I'm a great fan of the X-Blocks acrylic square and my students love working with it. But sometimes they are intimidated. "Your quilts look so complicated - how could this be an easy way to make quilt blocks?"

First, this tool is DESIGNED to make things easy. There is nothing more complicated for you to sew than nine patch blocks. Beginners start with the easiest quilt by piecing three strips of fabric together.

Second, the trick is in using the tool's registration marks. Lay your 3-stripped piece of fabric or nine-patches on your cutting mat. Place the X-Blocks tool on the fabric, matching the lines on the tool with the seam lines on your blocks.

Next, cut around the tool with a sharp rotary. Because the X-Blocks sits on your fabric off-grain, the result is what I like to call a 'wonky block.' As you sew all these wonky blocks together, an intricate design begins to emerge. Stars, pinwheels, name it.

Save the edges you trim off because they make the intricate (in appearance only) borders.

And one more tip: I like to use a small cutting mat or revolving mat so that it's easy to swivel the mat around when cutting all four sides.

I hope this information helps. For more X-Block ideas go to Patricia Pepe's website and click on her gallery or products page.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Okay, now what?

Being a second-time-ever blogger, my next question to all you bloggers and/or quilters out there what?
  • I can't figure out how to make my site beautiful. How do you customize your bloggy-place to make it feel like home? Or X-Blocks land as it were.
  • Where do I find people to come visit me? It can be lonely, all by myself.
  • How do I entice you to leave me a message?

Oh dear, I'm all alone in X-Blocks Land.

Signed, the Princess.