Monday, August 30, 2010


The fall 2010 issue of Quilt Sampler will soon be hitting newsstands near you—if it hasn’t already, and one of my favorite quilt shops—Ye Olde Schoolhouse—is in it! In fact, I was fortunate to get to write the article on this truly inspiring shop.

I first became acquainted with this fun quilt shop while visiting the Madison, Wisconsin, area last fall. One day my husband and I decided to take a drive to visit Ye Olde Schoolhouse in the scenic town of Cedarburg (about an hour east of Madison). I must admit we were lured by the shop's enchanting name, which is especially fitting given the fact it's located in a former schoolhouse, built in 1887. I took the following photos of the shop while there. To see more of it, you’ll have to get a copy of Quilt Sampler!

Stepping inside this charming shop is like traveling back in time. Remnants of the building's past--everything from cloakrooms to library cabinets--have been lovingly preserved. Once inside, we were warmly greeted by the shop owner, Jeanie Rudich—one of the most genuinely kind people I have come to know. You can tell she has a passion for what she does and truly appreciates her customers.

I immediately felt right at home among the historic surroundings, 1800s reproduction fabrics, and inspiring shop samples. Jeanie also carries a rich array of homespuns and 1930s reproduction fabrics.

She has a knack for creating charming displays with antique furnishings that hold special meaning. For example, she spotlights pre-cuts like charm packs and jelly rolls against enamelware plates in what was once her grandmother’s cupboard.

The schoolhouse’s original library cabinet is now home to a treasure trove of half bolts wrapped in 1800s repro fabrics.

If you can't already tell by my glowing review, I loved everything about Ye Olde Schoolhouse. So I couldn't help asking Jeanie if she’d ever been featured in Quilt Sampler and was surprised to find that she hadn’t. I asked her if I could nominate her shop by taking some photos and sharing them with the editors. Luckily, she agreed. I knew her shop would sell itself once they saw it. And the rest is history. Not only was her shop selected as one of the top 11 shops for the fall issue of Quilt Sampler, her beautiful quilt “Army Stars” even made the cover! So congrats to Jeanie and her staff!

Jeanie recently surprised me with a thank you gift certificate to stay in one of Cedarburg’s beautiful historic inns, the Washington House Inn. Her generous gift truly made me speechless. It seems that I now have the perfect reason to plan another visit to her quilt shop!

If you haven’t been to Ye Olde Schoolhouse, I hope you will plan a visit. You won't be disappointed. In the meantime, check out the Fall 2010 issue of Quilt Sampler to find out more about this one-of-a-kind quilt shop or visit its online shop by clicking here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I’ve missed blogging this past week. My computer had to go to the Apple Store for repairs even though it's less than a year old. It's home now and hopefully the problem has been fixed as I feel lost without my computer! In the meantime, I spent most of my spare time this week completing a pincushion order for a quilt shop. Made of 100 percent hand-dyed wool, these feathered friends are perched atop vintage spools. They have flown the nest and should arrive in their new home in Arizona soon.

The birds were featured in a quilt magazine last year. If you are interested in ordering a finished one or a published pattern, please contact me at the email button below my profile on the right-hand side of my blog.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Recently, I learned that one of the quilt book authors (Sheri Howard) I work with as an editor with Kansas City Star Quilts had the misfortune of spraining BOTH of her ankles! I wanted to do something to cheer her up as she recuperated, so I decided to send her one of my handmade wool hat pincushions in her favorite color combo--pink and aqua.

Sheri and I have worked on two book projects so far. With a flair for whimsical appliqué designs, she loves to create quilts in cheerful color palettes. Sheri published her first book, Ruby Red Dots, with Kansas City Star Quilts last year. To learn more about it, go to this page.

On the heels of that successful book, her second book came out this spring. Not Your Grandmother’s Quilt: An Appliqué Twist on Traditional Pieced Blocks combines classic pieced block designs with a cheerful palette of appliqué flowers and finery. You can read more about it here.

Shortly after we wrapped up production on the book, I was surprised to receive this gift from Sheri in the mail—a box of cookies decorated with the design of my favorite block in the book! 

I’m so lucky to get to work with some of the nicest authors around. What a thoughtful gift it was!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


A pleasant surprise arrived in the mail today. It was from Karen Witt and Erin Witt, the authors of the quilt book I profiled a couple days ago on my blog (See the August 17 post for more details on their book). I was their editor on the project. As a token of their appreciation for my help, they sent me this lovely spool holder! I put it to use right away with some vintage spools of thread and will keep it handy on the table next to my sofa in my parlor as I sew while watching television. Thank you so much, Karen and Erin!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


In an earlier post, I mentioned that I was an editor for Kansas City Star Quilt books. It’s a fun job working with talented quilt designers and helping them navigate the journey of book production from conception to completion. As a quilter myself, I can appreciate all the work that goes into each and every project!

My most recent published project is Like Mother, Like Daughter: Two Generations of Quilts by Karen Witt and Erin Witt, the creative duo behind Reproduction Quilts.  Many of us who love 1800s reproduction fabrics are well familiar with their exquisite quilt patterns inspired by antique quilts. They also sell 1800s reproduction fabric, quilt notions, and kits for some of their projects.

For the book, Karen and Erin each designed their own quilt based on five different themes—pieced basket quilts, quilts from one block design, quick quilts with a twist, appliqué quilts, and multi-sided designs such as hexagons and snowball blocks. The result is a celebration of the traditional quilts that Karen loves and the simple yet sophisticated contemporary designs that Erin enjoys. 

Here's a peek at some projects from the book. To see the rest of them, I hope you'll check out your local quilt shop and buy the book!

Inspired by her love of early 1800s medallion-style quilts, Karen's Barrington Medallion quilt uses eye-catching borders to frame a central block of appliqué. Don’t be intimidated by its outer stair-step border. Karen shares a simplified approach using machine appliqué to create it.

Erin’s festive Home for the Holidays quilt conveys her fresh approach to the craft. Instead of opting for a traditional basket block, she put a fresh twist on the design by omitting the basket handles.

The book also includes a fun bonus section on how to document your quilts with labels. Karen and Erin both share their creative tips using everything from historically-recreated signature stamps to digital photographs.

For more information on the book or to purchase it, go to this page. Or check out your local quilt shop. The book is currently in shops across the country.

I'll be back later this month with another book project that will soon be coming to a quilt shop near you!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I am a member of the online mercantile known as "To Dwell in Primitive Thymes", a juried group of artisans who enjoy creating wares inspired by the past. It updates the first and 15th of the month with fresh offerings. I always update on the 15th.

This month, I am offering these fanciful hat pincushions made of 100 percent hand-dyed wool that I designed. They were inspired by one of my vintage pincushions. I embellished them with pinked decorative edging, handmade wool strawberries, and a vintage button. I hope you will check them out here. If you are interested in ordering one, please check out the site or contact me at the email button on the right sidebar of my blog. I sell finished versions of my pincushions and some patterns of my original copyrighted designs. To go to my TDIPT page, click on the TDIPT icon in the left sidebar. Thanks for stopping by!

copyright 2009

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This past weekend, my husband and I went home to visit my parents. On Saturday morning we headed over to a flea market in the nearby small town of What Cheer (yes, that's the name of the town!). Visitors flock there three times a year in search of treasures. Of course there is plenty of junk to sift through, too, but I've found everything from antique quilts to a Victorian parlor table there. And I almost always find a good bargain--or more!

On this trip, I found this weathered little doll bed. I collect doll beds and I liked the fact it has the timeworn patina of a well-loved piece.

I picked up these vintage trims for next to nothing, figuring that I could use them to embellish the dresses for the papier mache dolls that I make. As a dollmaker, you can never have too much trim!

And I'm not sure why I bought this old German chocolate mold tray as I don't really make candy. I just liked the bunny design and the fact that it had that timeworn look to it. The vintage pearl and plastic buttons pictured will come in handy when making my tuffet pincushions. One of my other favorite collectibles is vintage candy tins made in England and Holland. I'm a pink and green person, so this fanciful little tin spoke to me. I'll probably use it to corral all the wayward buttons currently scattered about my sewing room!

I don't normally take pics of my flea market finds but now I have an excuse to since I have a blog! Speaking of blogs, I wanted to mention a fun new one I recently discovered. As a quilter, I'm always watching out for inspiring new quilt blogs. That's how I met Cheryl of So Many Quilts, So Little Time. We're both new to blogging and we share a love of 1800s repro fabrics and doll quilts. Cheryl creates beautiful piecework as well as appliqué. When she's not busy with her many projects, she teaches quilt classes and dabbles at designing quilt patterns. She's also a talented photographer who enjoys capturing the beauty of nature. Her blog banner is one such example. Hope you can visit her!  

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Hello and welcome to my blog! I am a magazine writer and quilt book editor by day and an avid quilter, dollmaker, and crafter by night. I decided to name this blog after the 1885 Victorian that my husband and I purchased six years ago because it inspires so many of my creations. I hope this blog will be a place where I can share some of my everyday activities--whether it’s writing an article, making a doll, renovating a room, or visiting a flea market. 

Although our old home needed a lot of TLC when we first saw it (and still does!), something about it spoke to us. Perhaps it was the porch that beckoned us with pleasant images of lazy afternoons spent sipping lemonade?

Oddly enough, our house has two front doors. Because this door is right off the driveway, it is the one we use most often. Originally, the other front door, which opens into a foyer, was the main entrance.

Inside my home you'll find many works in progress! My favorite things to make are dolls, doll quilts, and pincushions. I love working with wool and designed these wool tuffet and strawberry pincushions, which were inspired by some of my Great Aunt Tilly’s pincushions. In my spare time, I make them for quilt shops and online boutiques.

I love old dolls but they don't always fit my budget. That’s what prompted me to start making my own. Mine are not refined; they have more of a folk art feel. I hand sculpt the busts, arms, and legs from papier mache, then hand paint them, and sew their attire. Eliza (below) is a papier mache doll I recently made for a quilt shop.

I love making my own doll quilts with 1800s reproduction fabric. One of my favorite color combos is pink and brown--as seen in this little album cross doll quilt that I made. 

Nothing adds comfort to a home like an old quilt and a cat. This is my dear black cat, Poe (named after Edgar Allen Poe) napping on one of my antique quilts. Doesn't he look comfy?

Thanks for visiting and hope you'll stop by again later this week when I'll be back with a new post.