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Friday, May 28, 2010

Celebrity Style in Knit and Crochet

We’ve been seeing them for the past couple of years, from the streets of Los Angeles to the high-fashion runways of New York City. They’re slouchy beanies—those loose, floppy caps sported by so many of our favorite celebrities. We first started spotting them on some trend-setting actresses but their unisex appeal soon had the boys getting in on the beanie action too. Now you can see them not only on television and movie stars, but rock and pop musicians and even a few famous athletes.

We have to admit… we love them! Sure they’re great for keeping your head warm, but they also make fantastic fashion accessories. These hats are super chic and have a timeless style that’s simple, yet sophisticated. They go with just about any outfit, day or night and lend it a truly hip and urban appeal! Put one on, slip on the shades, and we feel just like one of those celebrities dodging the cameras of the paparazzi. What’s not to like?

Now, I suppose you could pick one up at a pricey boutique, but we’re all creative types, right? Why would we pass up the opportunity to make our own hip headwear? And while we’re at it, we might as well work up hats for all our loved ones! That way, the whole family can feel like they’re in the spotlight. The good news is we’ve got two new leaflets from Leisure Arts that will help us all do just that.

Are you a knitter? We’ve got you covered. Crazy about crochet? Never fear, we didn’t forget about you. Two versions of Celebrity Slouchy Beanies for the Family are available, one with knit patterns and one with crochet. How great is that? You can choose your preferred craft or dive into both. Each booklet has enough unique and inspired designs that you’ll definitely want to explore all of them!

Both leaflets feature 7 designs from the fabulous Lisa Gentry, an amazingly talented designer who we always enjoy working with. She’s definitely outdone herself this time.

Knit Celebrity Slouchy Beanies runs the style gamut, from the clean lines of the Easy-Going beanie to the vintage braids of the Cabled Classic. And what toddler wouldn’t look oh-so-precious in the Fun Stripes beanie?

Crochet Celebrity Slouchy Beanies also encompasses a diverse selection of toppers. He’ll look great in the Textured Stripes beanie and she’ll be surprised how hip a classic design can be with the Granny Square beanie. Of course, the striped Kids Stuff beanie will have any child loving their fun, textured cap.

We can’t wait to get stitching and make ourselves a slew of cool and contemporary headwear—hopefully you’ll be inspired to join the celebrity slouchy beanie revolution as well. After all, it’s always fun to feel like you’re the center of attention. Put yours on and you can almost hear the cameras clicking.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Destinations

Wow! Memorial Day is almost here. And you know what that means… a pair of new flip-flops and a fresh tube of self-tanning lotion! And, its also time to make plans for summer vacation. Of course, some of you organized people are way ahead of me and already have reservations at the beach and a new swimsuit. Buying a bathing suit is on my “top 10” list of the most painful things you can’t avoid. You know… right up there with having a root canal, if you get my drift! Anyway, back to where I was going here…

This last Friday night I was invited to speak at the “girls’ night out” dinner planned by the energetic ladies at the NLR Methodist Church. The event was titled “Summer Destinations” and there were 17 hostesses who each decorated a table for 10 in a vacation destination theme. So clever and so much fun to walk around the room looking at the tables and visiting with all these super-creative women! The table where I sat had a Washington D.C. theme in guess what colors? One of my favorite tables had an Irish theme with small collectable cottages and beautiful place settings featuring plates painted with scenes from the Irish countryside. All the tables had party favors, too. The hostess at the Irish table made crocheted dishcloths in green and white yarn and tied them to the chair backs with shamrocks and ribbon. Such a different and cute idea! Here are some cute, colorful dishcloth from Leisure Art's Kitchen Basics in Cotton, aren't they fun? Take a look at some of the fantastic tables!

The local department store (no name-dropping) had a fashion show with lots of sassy resort wear and lots of fabulous accessories. Oh, those shoes and purses!! Good thing I only brought “MILK” in my purse… you know: “Money…ID…Lipstick…Keys” HAHA! No credit cards!

So… Hopefully you are still reading this and want to know where I fit in amid all this excitement? Well somewhere between the sparkly sandals and the travel bingo, I gave a short (but REALLY exciting, trust me!) talk about “stay-cation” entertaining. You know. A party where you take a vacation without leaving the driveway?! I set up some quick and easy “tablescape” ideas (designer talk for centerpieces!) and talked about entertaining the easy way. Best idea: have a buffet and let your guests bring some of the food! One of my tablescapes was a “Vegas Buffet Baby” party.

One of the door prizes (there was a fight over this, really!) I brought was a DVD, available on the LA website called The Creative Party Guide, filled with awesome tips and ideas including (my favorite) how to transform your garage into an elegant party space. Who knew?!

I also gave a quick demo on how to create a quick and easy dessert pedestal. You can see this idea in our latest leaflet from Gooseberry Patch Fresh From the Farm (Coming Soon). There are some fantastic recipes in this book, too!

And don’t forget about having a get-together for all the families in your neighborhood. Have a “Happy Camper” party in the backyard with hiker’s lunches wrapped in a bandana and tied onto a stick, s’mores over the fire pit and paddle ball party favors from Gooseberry Patch Fresh From the Farm (Coming Soon)!

So, have fun this summer. Whether you are near or far, stay safe. Use lots of sun block and visit my blog again for more crafty and fun ideas!

Bon Voyage,

Patti Uhiren, Special Projects Deisgner

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Quick Trip to Spring Quilt Market

Last week I had the opportunity to make a quick trip to Minneapolis to see all things quilt at the Spring Quilt Market. I always look forward to the chance to meet face-to-face with our designers and it's always a lot of fun to see what new things everyone is working on. The other exciting thing about Spring market is that it moves around so that each time I go, there are a wide variety of new exhibitors. The Fall market in Houston may be too far away or too big to attempt for the first time, but the smaller Spring show is just right. Still, there's a lot to see and do even at this "smaller" show. This year I felt like there was more traffic and more buzz in the air.

That probably started with the Schoolhouse on Thursday afternoon. I flew in very, very early so that I could get over to the convention center in time to see a few of the afternoon sessions of Schoolhouse. The afternoon before the show many designers and companies sponsor a 30-minute session to tell shopowners about the new products they have coming out. It's always a lot of fun because everyone's excited to be there and to have a chance to hear from a favorite. Here you get to see new fabric lines and hear from the designers, see the quilts for new patterns and techniques, find out about new tools and you might even be lucky enough to get a great sample to take back home. Two of our designers that I managed to catch, Carrie Nelson from Miss Rosie's Pattern Company and Pat Sloan, had cram packed rooms for their sessions. Carrie was showing off her new books (as well as an upcoming fabric line with Henry Glass) and Pat was debuting a new rotary cutting system (rulers, cutters, and mats) that she designed for Sullivans.

After the excitement of Schoolhouse, I was ready to touch base with old friends and to meet new ones at the show. I started when the doors opened and nearly closed the place down. In nearly every case, edging into each booth was a challenge because of the crowds, but what a great problem to have! In between I met with Carrie and Pat as well as Barb and Mary from Me and My Sister. They were all set to do book signings in the Checker booth. I also saw Amy Hamberlin from Kati Cupcake and Amanda Herring from The Quilted Fish, two of our newest designers who'll have books out soon (and already have their own fabric lines!). Kristine Poor from Poorhouse Quilt Designs was also there, exhibiting at her first market, and it looked like things were going well! I snagged just a minute to talk to Delores Storm from Lakadaisies who had a full house. I know that means great things for her upcoming redwork books. And I bumped into Linda Lum DeBono in the aisles (we usually find each other on airport shuttles for some reason) and visited Lazy Girl Joan Hawley while she did a demo on her new zipper technique for her fabulous bags (as well as the benefits of the iPad just for me) in the Checker booth. On the way home, I realized I missed a few friends so I'll be sure to visit them first in Houston. It was a busy show and being unable to chat for long because your booth is busy, busy, busy is such a great thing! (Click on the links to visit each designer's blog to find out what she thought about Market).

I also had a chance to meet a few people that might be interested in books...always exciting, but we'll have to wait a while to see how that turns out. Oh, and of course...it IS a quilt show! You can't forget the quilts. It seems like I always save those for last at Fall Quilt Market and end up running through them on the last day at the last minute. At this show, they're up front and center, difficult to miss! This one's called "Spring Field" by Akiko Kawata.

It really was a quick trip but it's great to see how much exciting new stuff is happening in the world of quilting. You can find out more about all these designers and their beautiful quilting books at LeisureArts.com.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"The Wrapping Scarf Revolution" honored by the Connecticut Press Club

My sincere thanks to the Connecticut Press Club for honoring "The Wrapping Scarf Revolution" with a First Prize Award for Nonfiction-Instructional. Judged by members of the Delaware Press Club, the annual contest was celebrated at the 9th Annual Awards Dinner last night at Quattro Pazzi Restaurant in Norwalk.

The highlight of the evening (other than winning!) was listening to a talk by Pulitzer winning playwright Donald Margulies. His speech was fascinating and full of gems of wisdom that he normally reserves for his undergrad students at Yale. At one point, he talked about his Broadway debut which he claims was a "debacle" and when I asked him to elaborate on that, it turns out that what happened to him was what happens to so many of us when we compromise too much and lose our original vision.

Like all successful people, he picked himself up, dusted himself off and moved on to eventually win the Pulitzer prize for his drama, "Dinner with Friends".

Thanks to everyone who has helped my little green book get off the ground and and a big shout out to Leisure Arts for fully supporting my original vision for the book. Happy wrapping everyone and cheers to all our successes and dusted off failures!

xoxo Patricia

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