Cruise Update

Sadly the cruise is over and it’s back to the real world!!!  A good time was had by all.

The cruise was sponsored by Stitchin’ Heaven Quilt Shop in Mineola, TX.  Deb Luttrell is the owner and quilt cruise expert.    Anyone that can keep 76 quilters and their assorted “extras” (total of 105 people) happy really knows what she’s doing.  Deb’s son Clay organizes the various cruises and bus trips that Stitchin’ Heaven Travel sponsors.  Check out the website for some of their future cruises.  Paula is already signed up to teach on the Legacy Cruise in March 2014.

I thought I would share some pictures from Paula’s classes:

This picture is actually from the last night of the cruise.  From left to right:  Clay, Deb, and the 3 teachers: Jerry Stuebe (Quilters Quarter in Leavenworth, KS), Paula, and Denice Lipscomb (Common Threads Quilting in Waxahachie, TX).


Paula taught Gettysburg, a variation of Charlotte.


There are 3 days at sea and the teachers each taught a different group on each day.  The sewing rooms are in the Conference Center and are open 24/7 and believe me there were people sewing just about all the time.  On the 3 port days (Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica), many of the quilters took advantage of the great excursions Royal Caribbean has to offer – snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and stingrays, sightseeing tours and shopping – and many worked on their 3 projects.  One of the quilters even managed to complete 2 of her quilt tops.  Here she is with Paula and her completed Gettysburg quilt!!!  Way to go!!!


One of the ladies decided to celebrate her little granddaughter with her own version of Gettysburg in Aunt Gracie fabrics.  Love this!!!!


The Conference Center was divided into 3 classrooms and 1 room that was the “store” and ironing center or “ironing trough” as I called it.  9 irons in a line and often 9 “ironers”.  This is what you would often see when you walked into that room!!!


Just some random pictures:  Our dear friend,Gloria working on her Spinning Stars for Gettysburg and Paula demo-ing sewing Spinning Stars.



Don’t you just love our t-shirts!!!  We wore them for our group picture.  10 of us were in an elevator on our way to the photo shoot and the elevator door opened up for a young man.  He saw all of us in our pink shirts and basically panicked!!!!  Poor thing couldn’t even step into the elevator.  We offered encouragement, as you know only we can, but he just backed away!!!!

And now it’s time to get ready for Spring Market.  It’s just around the corner!!!  I’ve been working hard since I got back home and I’ll share some pictures and updates next time.

Until next time, happy quilting,

Mary Ellen


Busy Day Today

Why, you ask???  Well, today I am trying to get through all of the things on my “To Do” list because tomorrow I fly to Houston BECAUSE Sunday Paula and I leave on a quilt cruise!!!!!  YAY!!!  Can you feel the excitement over here??  Paula is teaching on Stitchin’ Heaven’s 2013 Civil War Quilt Cruise and I get to go along and play teaching assistant/teacher’s aide/companion/along-for-the-ride person/roommate/you-name-it person!!!!!  I don’t really care, I’m going on a cruise!!!!

Deb, owner of Stitchin’ Heaven and quilt cruise expert, does a wonderful job at this quilt cruise thing.  75 quilters (and assorted spouses/companions/friends), 75 sewing machines, 3 teachers, 3 great quilts,  pre-cut kits, 3 classrooms, great itinerary (Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica), great ship (Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas), and great port (Galveston).  This is Paula’s 2nd time with Deb and she’s going again next spring – oh yeah, me too!!!  Check Stitchin’ Heaven’s website for details.  Plus our good friends, Gloria and Merry Anne, are joining us.  I promise to take some great pictures (well, maybe just some pictures – not so sure about the “great” thing) and share when I get back.

It’s a busy day, but it’s also been a busy week.  I finished cutting the 773 lbs of fabric for the Hampton Ridge BOM shop kits and now it’s in piles and bins in one of the guest rooms.  Shop kit assembly will be post cruise.  I had a good friend concerned that with all that cutting maybe I should get some physical therapy before the cruise.  Her concern was that my arm might be too sore to lift up my “Drink of the Day” glass.  I assured her that they all came with straws and I would be just fine!!!!!

I’ve also been finishing up the blocks for the 2nd Hampton Ridge BOM quilt.  Month 9 is almost done and month 10 is cut and ready to be pieced (on the “To Do” list).  Month 9 and 10 and the Finishing kits are all part of the 3rd shipment of fabric, so here’s a picture so you can see  the last of the fabrics in the collection.  AND yes, here’s the cheddar!!!

HR month 9 blocks

We are also using the Hampton Ridge collection in another quilt for Spring Market – a re-do of Kennesaw Mountain.  Here’s a picture of 8 of the blocks.  I am so in love with this collection!!!

Kennesaw Mtn blocks

I think the “To Do” list is calling me – there are borders to be cut to take on the cruise, kits to be packed up, some pre-cruise errands (bank for shopping cash – hello, we’re going to Cozumel – I see silver jewelry in my future!!), and of course the actual cruise packing!!  I’ve finished the wash and the little bit of ironing I had to do and pretty much all of my clothes have been selected and placed in a designated area of my closet, so packing shouldn’t take too long!!!  Haven’t selected shoes yet though, they are always a problem – I always want to take more than I really should!!!

So until next time, happy quilting!!

Mary Ellen

PS – On a non-quilting note – how many of you are playing Candy Crush Saga?  Are you as addicted as I am?  Are you as frustrated as I am on some of these levels?  Will you allow me a moment to vent about level 70?  Seriously, how am I ever going to clear the jelly on the right side, if I can’t get any striped candy or larger on the left side!!!!!!  Ok, I’m better now.  I just had to get that out!!! Thank you for listening!!! LOL.

Random Thoughts from Paula

MEN! This time of year always has me thinking of MEN.  Why?  Because it’s only a month away from my husband’s birthday and I need to start thinking of what to get him for his big day. What kind of cool manly item can I purchase for him?

Do you have a man to think of at this time of year? Do you know of someone who may be graduating in May? Is it too early to start thinking of Father’s Day?  Father’s Day? What about Mother’s Day? Ok get hold of yourself! One thing at a time.

These thoughts of MEN…..lead me to think of which of our quilts would be a good gift for a man.

Here are my picks.
Lincoln's Watch

My 1st pick is Lincoln’s Watch. Our kit is made of gorgeous blues, browns, blacks, golds and tans. This quilt was my father’s favorite quilt. He was a high school trigonometry, algebra and geometry teacher for 31 years and he loved how the circles interconnected. I always think of him when I look at this quilt.



Second Hand Clothes - blues, browns

My 2nd pick is Second Hand Clothes. In the same colors as Lincoln’s Watch, this quilt is easier to piece and larger than Lincoln’s Watch if you have a tall fellow.




River Road Baskets cover

My 3rd pick is River Road Baskets. Yes, a basket quilt for MEN. This was a sell out at Festival last year and we have restocked this quilt kit. By far the favorite of all the MEN who walked into our booth.  One gentleman even tried to buy the actual quilt  from us on the spot.




Vicksburg Tavern Red

My 4th pick and is our new Vicksburg. We have always loved this quilt and have revised the pattern to make a larger version. Now tell me what man does not love a great paisley? Made from Tavern Collection Red by Marcus Brothers, this quilt features the red paisley print as an alternate block and is finished off with a great border.




Old Abe

My 5th and last pick is Old Abe. We had several ladies purchase this quilt at our last quilt show for a young man in their lives who was about to join the armed services. What a great quilt this is for just that purpose. Old Abe is made from Freedom Rings by Marcus Brothers and includes a border print of eagles that are the vertical sashing separating
our “faux” Lemoyne star blocks (no set in seams).


Enjoy your week!

Haberdashery June 2013

Paula’s thoughts on quilts for men got me to thinking and I would add Haberdashery to her list.  This quilt is in the June 2013 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting and is made from Freedom Rings also.  I’ve taken a number of phone orders for this quilt kit and many of the ladies mentioned they were making this for a son or grandson.



All of the kits are available on our website.  Just click on the link and it will take you right there.  Even better, if you start now, I’ll bet you could have one of these done in time for a special graduation or Father’s Day!!!

Until next time, happy quilting,

Mary Ellen

Final note:  I have no clue how this post is going to look when it finished and posted.   In “Preview”, it looks good – all of the pictures are lined up with their description – but when I save it, everything bunches together.  Here’s hoping that when I hit “Publish” it looks right!!!!


Please join me in welcoming Paula’s new grandson to the world!!!

John Mitchell (named for his grandpas) was born at 10:42PM on Thursday, March 28th and weighing in at 7 lbs, 15 oz!!!!

Congratulations Alison, David and Sophie (mommy, daddy, and big sister), Paula and JR (proud grandma and grandpa) and Ashley and Amy (proud aunts)!!!

John took his time getting here, but look at this cutie!!!

John MitchellUntil next time, happy quilting,

Mary Ellen

Exciting News

Today I have 4 exciting/interesting/new things to share with you. Let’s start with the  most exciting:

We have a quilt in the June 2013 American Patchwork and Quilting magazine!!!!!!!! (Insert cheering and shouting here).  Our quilt, Haberdashery, featuring Paula’s Freedom Rings fabric is on page 108. I received my copy yesterday, so they should be out on newsstands and in stores soon. So now I get to grab my daughter or my sister-in-law and take them to the fabric section of JoAnn’s and nonchalantly find the magazine and open to page 108 and in a not-so-quiet whisper, say” “here’s our new quilt”.  Hopefully there will be people around and someone will hear, but we’ll have to see.  If I’m by myself, I just smile quietly, but on the inside I’m screaming:  “hey, hey, I made this quilt and it’s in a magazine!!!!”

Here’s a picture of Haberdashery.  Meanwhile, I would love to meet the person that picks the names for the quilts.  They are so good.  Paula and I agonize every time we need a new quilt name or she needs a name for a fabric collection.  Kits will be available for Haberdashery.  They will be on the website soon, but for now you can just call us.  Shipping will be slightly delayed as our shipper – Paula – is out of town, anxiously awaiting the birth of grandchild #2.  1 week and counting overdue!!!

Haberdashery June 2013

Congratulations to Sarah and Dolores of Homestead Hearth for “Red, White and Stars” which is on the cover.  Now, if I was in JoAnn’s with my daughter or sister-in-law I would point out that I know these people.  Yeah, it’s one of those “I know famous people” moments!!!  Hey, you gotta get your thrills somewhere!!!

APQ June 2013 cover

“Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2013 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.”

Exciting thing #2 – all of the fabric for the finishing kits for the Hampton Ridge shop kits are cut and folded and resting on one of my guest beds.  They need to be labeled and then stacked and tied for the actual kits.  My sister-in-law is also flying through the monthly cut fabric.  She really wants that quilt I’m making because she folds shop kit fabric.  I better get busy cutting the remaining months – they’re heading back up north at the end of the month!!!

HR Finishing kit fabric

Exciting thing #3 – month 5 blocks are almost done – so here’s a sample.  These are different fabrics from the ones I shared the other day from month 1.

HR month 5 blocks

Exciting thing #4 – this has nothing to do with quilting, but I just need to share.  I only wear my glasses for reading, so Tina (the girl that does my hair and makes me gorgeous once month) has never seen me wear glasses.  Now because I’m getting color on my hair and I don’t want the dye on my glasses, I don’t wear them while I struggle to read People magazine as the color is setting. This usually means I have to hold the magazine at a certain distance away from and really work hard to make out just what it says.  Thankfully People is not big on long articles!!!!  Now, here’s the exciting part:  another lady, who came in wearing her glasses, asked Tina for the “eyeglass sleeves”.  It seems they make plastic sleeves that go over the temples (I had to Google this because I didn’t know what they were called) and they protect your glasses from the dye!!!  Who knew!!!!  See you learn something new everyday.

Until next time, happy quilting!!

Mary Ellen

Big Day

Yup, big doin’s going on here today.  The fabric arrived for the Hampton Ridge Block of the Month shop kits.  A FedEx Freight truck delivered 773 lbs – that’s 2015 yds !!!  I’ve been anxiously awaiting it’s arrival.  I’ve finished the first quilt and I’m working on the second quilt (yes, we make 2 of these so Paula and I each get one!!!), so I’ve been waiting to start cutting, folding and stacking.  Here’s the pallet that held all of the fabric – and I got to keep the pallet too!!!


The first quilt is done – pieced, quilted, bound and photographed.  The brochures have been sent to all of the Marcus Fabrics sales reps, so shop owners are starting to see it and deciding if they want to participate.  The shop kits will ship in June and you will start seeing posters and quilts anytime after that.  And because the information is out there and the quilt is on Marcus’ website, I thought I would share a little sample of some of the blocks.  I’m testing the pattern by remaking all of the blocks, so here’s a little sample of some of these cuties – yup, 5″ finished blocks again.


Now it’s time to gather my troops and start the cutting and folding.  Tonight we’ll start on the big pieces – borders, etc for the finishing kits. Eventually it all fills up one of my guest rooms!!!

The cruise was great, but I ended up with a cold and then a sinus infection.  Needless to say I’ve been kind of out of it for the past week.  I haven’t even changed the voice mail message – my voice sounded so bad, I didn’t want to re-do our message sounding like that!!!!  But now it’s back to work!!!

Until next time, happy quilting.

Mary Ellen

To Do Lists

Do you like to  make “to do” lists?  I do.  Actually I love a good “to do” list.  Sometimes mine are very specific and detailed, sometimes they are for a long period of time and other times they are just a list of things I have to do on a particular day – errands, jobs, whatever.

While I enjoy writing the list and detailing just what I have to do, I think part of the enjoyment comes from crossing out an item when it is completed.  And I’ll be honest here, sometimes I have even added an item to a list when I have already completed it just so I can cross it out.  I completed the task, so shouldn’t I get credit for it????  It’s not like I share these lists with anybody.  They are just for me and me alone, but should anyone just happen to ask what I did today, I would be proud to share my list of crossed off/completed tasks!!!

Currently I have about 5 “to do” lists in progress:

1. Spring Market List – this is a list of the new quilts and re-do quilts that we need to have ready for Spring Market.  I can proudly say that I crossed off one of these items.  On Thursday I shipped the quilt featuring Paula’s new Tavern Blues II collection to Lynn and Cathy in Jacksonville for quilting.  I have to say it is beautiful.  This list is a long range planning list and it takes a while for something to actually be crossed off!!  Here’s a sample of one of the blocks.


2. Packing List – I have 3 cruises and Spring Market in the next 3 1/2 months, so I started a clothes list.  I picked the longest cruise (Eastern Mediterranean – 12 nights at sea and 4 nights in Rome) and figured out what I would need in terms of evening wear (formal and smart casual) and day wear (excursions/sightseeing), checked out my closet and decided what I still needed.  My thoughts – if I have enough clothing for this cruise, everything else would be easy!  I also had to think about what would fit in my luggage and how much Peter hates when I bring too much!!  I keep telling him I need options, but he doesn’t seem to understand that.  Mister “all I need is 1 suit and 3 ties for the 3 formal nights” just doesn’t get it!!!!  This list is still a work in progress.

3. Blog Topics – I learned that this can be called an “Editorial Calendar”.  This may not really be a true “to do” list, but I can plot out ideas for future posts.  I really like this.  Not every blog post will go on the calendar and I know you will find this hard to believe, but sometimes I don’t have something to write about, so this will give me a list of topics to work from – filler, maybe.

4. Daily/Weekly ListYou are going to be really impressed with this one – I have an actual “Things To Do TODAY” pad.  The current pad is green, but I also have blue.  I found them at our printers (Katy Printers) and I just love them.  I usually pick up about 6 of them when I go back to Texas.  I may have to increase my purchase – Caitlin has discovered them!!! I use paper and pen for my lists.  I don’t like using a computer – I don’t get the same enjoyment when I cross something out on a computer as I do on paper.  Yeah, weird, I know!!!

To Do List

5. Individual Quilt List – Now this is where we get really detailed.  This has every quilt that is being made and all the places it has to go before it is officially finished: top pieced, quilting, binding, photo shoot and pattern printed.  There are a lot of “works in progress” on this list.  The re-do of Kennesaw Mountain is still in the top piecing phase, but here’s some of the flying geese that are finished.  Paula’s new collection, Hampton Ridge, that is being used for our new BOM  is also being used for Kennesaw Mountain.  I love these colors and the small prints.

Sarah Emma flying geese

Sorry the photo is a so blurry, but it’s after midnight and I’m getting a little blurry too!!

6. Tomorrow’s List – Megan arrives tomorrow afternoon, so we are having family over for a pre-birthday bash for Caitlin’s 26th birthday, which is next week.  We will have an “adult” celebration when we return from the cruise.  Tomorrow I have to clean up the house a little.  We “dog-sat” today for Copper and another little dog, so needless to say my floors are a mess – there’s dog hair in every corner!!!  I’ve also got to think about feeding all of these people – trust me, it won’t be anything fancy – it’s more about just getting together with everyone and having a good time.  Then at some point I need to think about packing for the cruise.  We leave Monday afternoon and it’s only 5 days, so that shouldn’t be too hard.  I know I’ll bring more than I need, but again, it’s all about options!!

I’ll post again when I get back, so until next time, happy quilting.

Mary Ellen