October 31, 2013
Empty Nester Confession: I Dressed Up Our Dog … AgainPosted by Cathy Heck
It’s Halloween and all of our girls are now in college or beyond, and I have no one to dress up. There was a day when I feverishly created clever–yet fast costumes … all, without sewing skills. But, now, I can actually sew. Just think of the masterpieces I could have created for my girls if I had learned to sew earlier. I am almost certain that my costumes would have made it into this video, Halloween Tribute From Awkward Family Photos.
But, alas, this year, the only ‘person’ in the house who needs a quick and clever Halloween ensemble is … Neville, our dog.
Above is a mock-up of the costume that Neville requested. Of course, he chose the most popular costume of the year: What Does the Fox Say? from this viral video by Ylvis, and I knew we would never find one in his size. Plus, all of my sewing time last week was dedicated to Quilt Market samples. So, poor Neville was out of luck, and had to choose a repurposed headpiece from our “hats and headresses” box.
Which is your favorite look for our fella? 1) N’awlins Neville, 2) Heavy Metal Fella, 3) Peter Panville, 4) Spider-Nevs, 5) The Cat In the Hat Dog, 6) Professor Neville McMutt.
I think I will have to vote for the professor look … it seems to bring out his inherent intellectual giftedness.
Happy Halloween everybody and enjoy dressing your little ones, because before you can say, “boo,” they will be dressing themselves for a college Halloween party (now that really is scary!)
Have a fun and safe night of trick-or-treating! From Cathy and Neville, reporting to you from the Heck family emergency costume closet.
October 30, 2013
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety JogPosted by Cathy Heck
We’re home from Quilt Market, and although we loved every minute, the term, jiggety, is probably a good one to describe our sojourn. We were stuck on the Katy Freeway, just outside of Houston, for 4 hours! Thank goodness we all like each other!
But once we finally arrived, it was so much fun to see our wonderful clients and friends. And thankfully, we made it just in the nick of time to give a little tutorial about Cuteville County Fair, our new collection for quilt stores, and about the way Ellen and I work together from our studios in Austin and Berkeley.
We loved meeting all of the quilt store owners … here’s a little video snippet of the fun.
When we arrived at the Henry Glass booth, we were delighted to see another beautiful Cuteville quilt made by Jean Anne Sharrai. It felt like a shoemaker’s elf had been stitching through the night! If you are needing a fun and easy-to-make play or picnic quilt, here is a free download with the instructions for this pattern. (We were able to bring it back to the studio so we could take pictures for you.)
We were intrigued by the way Jean Anne backed the quilt, too–using bits and pieces from the panel. It gave it a vintage feel of days gone by when a quilt really was made from scraps of this and that.
And if you look very closely, you can see that the actual quilting part has its own story: paisley swirls for the background reflecting the bandana border, and cloud stitches mimicking the clouds behind the ferris wheel. Thank you Jean Anne for stitching up some surprises for us.
We will be back with a few more Cuteville DIY projects that you can make. I know you can do it, because I did it during my learn-to-sew-right-now month. Cheerio from Cuteville.
October 26, 2013
To Market, To Market, Jiggity JigPosted by Cathy Heck
We are wondering how many sewing machines were making the same whrrrrrrr ours were making this week before International Quilt Market . And how many floors looked like this?
We will have so much to share when we return from Houston. Most importantly, I (Cathy) will be able to demonstrate that you, too, can learn to sew in one month! It’s true. I even learned to make my own piping, so I am feeling like a sewing stud. If I can do it, you can do it!
When we received our beautiful samples of the new Cuteville County Fair fabric, which we created for Henry Glass Fabrics, we pulled out our sewing machines, and I pulled out my sewing machine manual. I made a little quilt, and Ellen made a big quilt. Thankfully, Ellen taught herself to sew in the 5th grade when it was clear to her that sewing was not in her mother’s skill set. We will show the quilts at market and the big quilt even has a free downloadable pattern on the Henry Glass site.
Here is Julianna pretending to be a quilt model in the back yard on Ellen’s big quilt.
Come see us at the Henry Glass booth at 2pm today (Saturday), where we will be sharing a bit about the way we work together from our studios in Austin and Berkeley. Even though I have been designing for fabric companies for ten years, it’s more fun than ever now, because Ellen and I create the collections together. Also, we are bringing a gift for the first 30 visitors–a DIY kit which includes everything you need to make a fun personalized embroidered pillow using the Cuteville fabrics … I bet you know a Best-In-Show baby that needs one!
Photos below are of Julianna making excellent kits. Thank you Jules, you are definitely the Blue Ribbon studio elf of Cuteville County.
See you in Houston. And, for those who will be following the show through the blogosphere, we’ll be sure to report back next week. Off to Cuteville.
October 11, 2013
A Must-Read for Aspiring Artists by Ronnie WalterPosted by Cathy Heck
If you ever dreamed of walking into a shop and seeing your artwork on a card, cap or candle, but didn’t know where to begin, this is the book for you! My friend, Ronnie Walter, has written an excellent “how-to” or sometimes “how-not-to” book that will inspire you to just do it. Ronnie is an artist and writer and has been successfully licensing her work for 20+ years.
Ronnie gives you plenty of textbook-worthy licensing tips, but, happily, they are all wrapped up with her funny life story. She reveals the tips and tricks she has learned through the years, and since I was learning through the same years, I just nodded my head, “yes, yes, and yes,” as I pored over the pages. (That’s my official endorsement.)
And, did I mention that I show up on page 37? Well, it’s just for an instant at the 1996 Licensing Show. But, I feel certain it was a pivotal moment in Ronnie’s journey to licensing success … even though we were both a little confused at the time as we tried to understand the licensability of the new property, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I mean, really, will people buy into that? (Lesson learned: yes they will.)
So, get yourself over to your Amazon screen-store and buy the paperback or download the kindle version of Ronnie’s book, curl up with your beverage of choice … and your chocolate of choice … and prepare to be inspired. (P.S. You might keep a pencil nearby for sudden bursts of creativity.)
October 9, 2013
A Garden Flower Faux Pas CorrectedPosted by Cathy Heck
Another segment from a fledgling gardener, who grew up in West Texas, land of high skies and little foliage.
Our apologies. After bragging so much about our amazing Pride of Barbados in the last blog post, our beautiful Plumbago’s feelings were a little bit hurt. What were we thinking? She bloomed every bit as proudly as our Pride, but her flowers were soft and blue and delicate. I guess she just didn’t yell as loudly as Mr. Showoff. So, today, we officially honor our dear Plumbago with the title, Miss Congeniality 2013. She greeted every day with a smile during the hot summer drought, with nary a drop of perspiration. And, she reminded us of Sandra Bullock’s Miss Congeniality, because she occasionally displayed her strong side and was a little rude to flower-eating deer, which is the reason she was able to wear such a beautiful frock this summer.
Plumbagos remind me a little bit of hydrangeas, which are so difficult to grow on our limestone hill. So I like to think of our plumbago as a tough (yet pretty) Texas cowgirl version of a hydrangea. If she could talk, she might say, “It’s hotter than a two-dollar pistol out here, and the poor little tulips are just coyote ugly today, bless their hearts.”
Dearest Plumbago, we hope you will continue to bloom and know that we are so proud of you! (Photos below: Neville, showing his Plumbago pride, and a close-up of our summer superstar.)
September 23, 2013
Goodbye Summer 2013 and a Tribute to the Star of the GardenPosted by Cathy Heck
Another segment from a fledgling gardener, who grew up in West Texas, land of high skies and little foliage.
After a very hot, dry summer here in Austin, it finally rained … real rain. There were only a couple of short summer showers, but even those seemed to stop about two blocks away from our yard. We could smell it. We could see it. But it did not fall on our flora. However, Friday, the last day of summer, it was wet and gray and delicious for our thirsty plants. They were content.
But before we leave the wonderful, yet dry summertime, for what has already started as a clear crisp autumn, I would like to honor a plant that has been faithful, loyal and true, through thick and thin, hot and hotter. Behold the bold and beautiful Pride of Barbados.
Our hearty Prides were proud. No matter how hot … 102 … 103 … 105, they stood taller and brighter. They were tough. They were not sissies. In fact, you might even say they were show-offs. Even while the native perennials were lackluster and pitiful, the Pride of Barbadoses were summertime studs. They were like the popular lifeguards of the garden, and, in fact, drew lots of butterfly beauties to their stand.
So we would like to raise our last glasses of summer punch to honor the Best In Show of Summer 2013. Here’s to the dazzling Pride of Barbados. We are so proud.
September 16, 2013
When Artists Are Sketching For FunPosted by Cathy Heck
If you are like we are, you love to see the sketches that artists make just for fun.
The folks at C.R. Gibson enjoy seeing their artists’ week-end work, too, and have posted many wonderful examples on their Instagram pages and blog. AND, they just happen to make some excellent journals under their Markings brand for all that mark-making. The pages are smooth and heavy and ready for anything from drawings to poetry to grocery lists. (Well, maybe not a grocery list–the back of an envelope is probably a thriftier choice for that.)
Since Ellen and I work on projects together under tight deadlines, we decided to make some drawings together without a deadline. Here is a link to our mother-artist-daughter-artist sketching-from-afar journal pages.
P.S. We know that sometimes a beautiful, clean, empty journal can be a bit intimidating. But here‘s a little trick: Don’t start on the first page. Go straight to the middle somewhere. Oddly, it works!
Hope this inspires you to start sketching … or, maybe to eat your veggies.
September 12, 2013
A Chartreuse Color Swatch Is On My RoofPosted by Cathy Heck
I was zipping up the stairway to the studio, when I spied with my little eye this tiny, fluffy, feathered package of chartreuse. Of course, I had to turn on my heel, and run outside to try to capture him/her on film. Fortunately, I can walk directly onto my roof. (The fact that I can do that is, in fact, an issue for parents with a mid-century modern house and small children. But, happily, none of our girls fell off of the roof during their formative years.)
Once I stealthily made my way to the little feathered color swatch, I asked him if I could take his photo for a blog post. (I’m reasonably sure he is a he, as I believe in the bird world, the fellas are the ones who wear the show-off colors.) He happily obliged and I am able to share this example of the purest, most original specimen of chartreuse I have ever seen.
And, I really know chartreuse, because I own a lot of it. In fact, when shopping with my personal-shopper daughter, she has suggested that I try to take a fashion holiday from the color that seems to accidentally fill my closet.
Before I leave my fine-feathered-friend, can any one out there tell me the name of this little bird? Not his name like Chipper or Chirpy, but rather his species name, like Yellow-crowned Champ or Chartreuse-winged Warbler … just in case I need to describe the color the next time I go shopping. “Why, yes, I am looking for a jacket in something along the lines of a Yellow-Bellied Gnatcatcher.”
For identification purposes, below are some other views of Bob. (I learned his name from his photo release form.) And, speaking of warblers, here is a link to my favorite mini-Dalton-Academy Warbler to put you in a chipper mood.
August 29, 2013
Summer 2013: Bacon ReportPosted by Cathy Heck
Summer = Bacon. And, actually, for me, Fall, Winter and Spring = Bacon, too. But, for now, I am reporting on summertime bacon happenings. For my anniversary, my sweet husband, who knows me too well, took me to the Salty Sow, (love that name on so many levels) where, I indulged in their very excellent Pork Belly. Marriage vows still strong: “in sickness and in health, in dinner and dessert…” You included that in your vows, right?
Another summer stop for us has been to drop by 24 Diner after our evening bike rides for a slightly lighter dish: Pork Belly Salad. (It’s not exactly a Weight Watchers’ approved power food, but at least we blended it with some exercise.)
But the summertime bacon event we would like to feature today actually comes to us from our guest blogger, Julianna Heck. (The apple-bacon does not fall far from the apple-bacon tree.) Julianna attended the First Annual Bacon Festival in Richmond, Virginia this summer and shares her eyewitness report below. Thank you Julianna for your first-rate bacon journalism.
Sizzling in Richmond by Guest Blogger, Julianna Heck
We have all had one of those experiences that cartoons so easily portray. You’re in bed and a friendly animated smell cloud reaches your nose and pulls you across the room. Bacon. Mmmm bacon. The porky greasy goodness of bacon sizzling can bring even the most steadfast vegetarian out from under her sheets directly to the breakfast table.
Now, imagine that same smell-cloud and multiply it by 100. This is the scent you would have discovered above the Farmer’s Market in downtown Richmond, Virginia one Sunday this summer. The 1st Annual Bacon Festival delivered all sorts of bacon goodies from the extravagant to the classic.
Local restaurants and eateries from around Richmond prepared porky dishes for $3 dollars a plate. The festival was packed and only the most loyal bacon fans stayed…so everyone.
The lines were long, but well worth it when you reached the bacon-covered feeding tables. I indulged in pork belly sliders, fried oysters with bacon remoulade, and my favorite, the mocha maple bacon popsicle. Yes, it looks gross and it sounds gross, but it was quite a delight. It was cold, it was chocolatey, and it was bacony.
After a rather heavy lunch, I needed a light, crisp something to fight the grease that coated my digestive system, so I found a lovely rhubarb lemonade. It was a refreshing exclamation point to the end of a decadent meal. All in all, the bacon event was a success and I eagerly await next year’s festivities.
Thank you again Julianna for the excellent pork report. Note: Cathy Heck Studio artists are inspired by everything from soup to nuts to bacon. Below, Julianna’s bacon repeat pattern. Just think of the delicious dreams you could have wearing some flannel jammies made from this design!
August 23, 2013
Our ABCs of Summer 2013: Animals, Bracelets and CampPosted by Cathy Heck
Well, phooey. We just had to let our youngest gal go back to college. Even though it’s her third year, the first few days of the re-empty-nesting are always a little melancholy. But then I just have to remember what a fun summer it was and get back to work.
Fortunately, I was eased into an empty nest, because Margaret was away serving as a camp counselor for the second half of the summer. Margaret loves camp. If you have not had a chance to hear this fun episode on This American Life about the fascinating and wonderful connection some folks have with camp, have a listen. It is spot on!
The minute Margaret finished her summer school session, she began packing her trunk. And although you might think her lifeguard certification is her best counseloring asset, she has mastered a skill which is even more significant … she is an accomplished friendship-bracelet maker, which is very high on the list of counselor cred.
Earlier in the summer, Margaret had become an expert at wrapping floss around plastic bobbins for a studio project. So, before she left for camp, she decided to make her own box of floss, but with more of a camper-friendly neon color palette. We decided that even a homesick little camper would squeal with delight when presented with this box of possibilities!
The cool thing about these boxes (which you can buy at Jo-Ann stores, by the way) is that you can also use them as the holding board for making your bracelets. Just tape the floss onto the top and go. Oh, if you don’t have a bracelet-making expert in your house, don’t worry. There are lots of books and tutorials online. In fact, here is a great link to 15 different tutorials.
My favorite style is this twisty one below (Lots of Knots), because it’s so easy, but your friends will be very impressed with your bracelet-making prowess. I thought I was just sort of braiding the strands in the order Margaret taught me, and the next thing I knew, I had created this twisted wonder.
And, of course, the very best thing about a friendship bracelet is that you can give it to a friend and you will be loved. Unless the friend to whom you give it is your dog. See below, Margaret’s beloved Neville posing with the friendship bracelet/collar Margaret brought to him from camp. We hope your dog is a little more appreciative than ours was.
We hope you are enjoying these last few weeks of summer. From all of us at Cathy Heck Studio … even Neville, who has already forgotten to look pitiful.
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