Karen writes about life as a Quiltmaker in Austin, Texas; surviving in an empty nest, marriage, cooking, gardening and (did I say?) Quilting...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Small Business Saturday


I  don't know if you've heard of this yet... but I think it 's a GREAT idea, and today I plan to stop by one of my favorite local quilt shops to do my part...
I believe that if everyone started devoting a larger portion of their normal shop shopping budget away from the big boxes to a local shop, we'd all be soooo much better off! 
See you at The Quilt Store, Honey Bee, or Ginger's Needlework in Austin today - I'm not sure if I'll make them all, but I'll give it a good try! 

For more details:

Here's the scoop:

The day after Black Friday will now be known as Small Business Saturday, where the focus will be on Christmas shopping at small businesses all over the country. Small businesses, especially in this part of the country are very important to our local economy. In fact, small businesses are the backbone of the entire country’s economy. The mom and pop stores across the nation account for over 70 percent of merchants and retailers. Spread the idea of seeking out and supporting our favorite independent shops this weekend!
Here's What Happens When You Shop Local
You keep dollars in our economy.  (a retail study explained that if even half of the employed population spent a mere $50 a month each, at any 3 independently-owned stores - instead of at the big box/chain stores, this economy would turn around in the blink of an eye!     AND ... You can save a business from closing!  (this same study further explained that if you spend minimum $12.00 a week at each of 3 favorite independently-owned retailers, those 3 businesses would be saved from closing.)
    1. You embrace what makes us unique.
    2. You create local jobs.
    3. You help the environment.  (buying from a local business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging)
    4. You nurture community.  (studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains)
    5. You conserve your tax dollars.  (These taxes go to building our infrastructure, salaries, education and funding police and fire departments.
    6. You create more choice. (your local business picks the items we sell based on what we know you like and want.)
    7. You take advantage of our expertise. (we're passionate about what we do. Why not take advantage of it?)
    8. You invest in entrepreneurship (creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon)
    9. You make a destination. (the more interesting and unique we are as a community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests - this benefits everyone)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Quilt Festival...2010

Well, I haven't anything to say for myself as a blogger. While I've been busy with many projects (including "quilty" ones), I've definitely NOT been keeping up with my blog - so here goes...

A Baby Quilt EVERY Month...

I continue to work on charity baby quilts for the guild... my ever-favorite pattern for these quilts is still the "Super Sized Nine Patch" pattern by Anita Grossman Soloman... nothing is simpler! Two cuts (and trim) on three yards of fabric results in three lovely 42" baby quilts. Of late, I've taken to putting them together "pillowcase" style - top and backing placed right sides together with the Warm and Natural Batting on the bottom. I trim and sew almost all around the edge, leaving about 6-8 inches open and turn it inside out. The opening is sewn closed with machine stitching. The result is a neat edge that needs no binding! I use my sewing machine's (Husqvarna Viking Topaz 30) decorative stitches to sew a "faux" decorative "binding" around the edge, and quickly quilt with an  all over pattern. These little quilts can be put together in just a couple of hours, and are WONDERFUL PRACTICE for your free motion quilting!
Here's a link to download this little pattern... it deserves to be in every quiltmaker's  quick quilt projects "bag of tricks"!


Another QUILT FESTIVAL - Houston 2010
Yes, another fall means it's time to soak up the biggest quilt show in the world - or at least in the US... The International Quilt Festival occurs at the end of each October - this week for the first time AFTER Halloween, so no quilters were dressed in Halloween finery - which, in past years adds to the creative interest. As always, there is so very much creative energy, so much to look at, so many colors, one almost get's "overdosed" with it all. With over a thousand quilts to see... it results in a rewarding but tiring day. This year I was accompanied by my good friend Writer Russ Barnes, who is exploring Quilting from his perspective as an active board member of the American Creativity Association. Look for more info with links to his work on this subject in the future.

This time, just a day trip, so my pictures of the event were limited, but, I was lucky enough to see Sharon Schamber standing in front of her unprecedented THIRD "Best in Show" winning quilt. Titled "Mystique"... the stunning work, while quilted on a long arm machine, exhibited a stunning amount of hand work, with tiny bias cording tubes arranged lace like to hold the sectioned, medallioned quilt together. The applique work was soooo fine! visit the http://www.quilts.com/ web site to see the professional pictures.

Here's my favorite of Sharon turning the quilt back forward for us to take a peek - of course the back was almost as exciting as the front!

Here's Russ in front of what was a pieced and appliqued work.

And my personal favorite, a work of whimsy (and PERFECT appliqued circles) by Becky Goldsmith. It won a Judges Choice award!

Again - visit the Quilts Inc website: http://www.quilts.com/ for really great pictres of the winners!

- Until next time  - Karen Alexander, Austin, Tx