November 3, 2012
…here a quilt, there a quilt, everywhere a quilt quilt…Posted by Ellen Heck
We’re back from Quilt Market in Houston, which was a quiet blast! (Quiet because all the quilts muffle so much sound that we always feel like it’s an oddly peaceful trade show considering how many people are walking around.)
We had two new fabric collections coming out under the CathyLoo brand for David Textiles this season. Here are some fun product shots of “Here-a-Hug, There-a-Hug” which is a bright and playful juvenile collection loosely based on the song, “Old MacDonald had a farm.” We loved the above knapsack made from “Farmyard Friends” in green and “Counting Sheep” in red. And below are two close-ups of the quilt made from all of the fabrics in the collection.
This all-over “Counting Sheep” pattern is so much fun:
And finally, here is the pattern for the whole quilt designed by Heidi Pridemore:
It was a lot of fun to see everyone and get excited about the next season of fabrics coming out of the studio! Now back to the drawing board – with a quick sketch here, and painted flower there, here a toss, there a panel, everywhere some future flannel… (We might have stayed up a bit late last night working on those new designs…)
Have a great weekend!
October 31, 2012
Happy Halloween from the Cathy Heck Studio GhoulsPosted by Cathy Heck
Our Halloween greeting this year comes from our guest blogger, Julianna Heck, who is studying graphic design at VCU Arts … and yes, she is another Heck sister who loves to make art for the studio … and dress up for Halloween.
October 27, 2012
In Love with a Yogurt Jar Plus a DIY Foodie Gift ProjectPosted by Cathy Heck
First, I should establish that I love this jar. When I am asked where I find inspiration, I should probably answer, “An empty yogurt jar.” It’s so smooth and empty, I just want to fill it with something creative. But not just any yogurt jar …
Only a White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt jar. Not only is the yogurt creamy and good for you, but when it’s empty the label comes off like an onion skin. With just a quick rinse under the faucet, you will have a sparkling jar of a perfect shape and size for anything from soup to nuts, both of which I store in these jars. (Note: I am not being paid by this company, but if they ever need a spokesmodel, I’m the one to call. I even have a closet full of empty jars that would make an excellent backdrop.)
Above is a stop-action photo montage for you to see how easily this label can be removed. It is so satisfying … you might want to buy the yogurt just to enjoy the label-removal moment.
So enough about the jars. On to the matter at hand … a birthday present for a friend. I had heard that it is always a good idea to give someone a gift that you might like to receive yourself. Here are two things I might like to receive, as they are figure-friendly snacking items that are great to have waiting in the refrigerator at a moment’s notice: 1) fresh blueberries that have been washed by somebody else. 2) toasted almonds that have been toasted (and not burned one little bit) by somebody else. Aha. A perfect gift for my friend who likes what I like!
I began with the purchase of blueberries that looked firm, sweet, yet tart. They are out of season now, so they were a bit more expensive, but that made them all the more gift-like. I proceeded to wash the blueberries and made sure that there was not one single mushy one in the lot. This is a gift in and of iteself … a mushy blueberry can ruin an entire snacking experience. Below are the blueberries after their thorough bath and spa treatment.
While they were drying, I turned to the almonds. I toast almond slivers often, and I have to admit that I am sort of a ninja at almond toasting. You can be, too. It just takes practice and getting to really know your oven. I actually buy almonds frequently in the bulk section of our market and keep them in the freezer so that they are always on hand. So to begin, I preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then, I simply spread out the frozen almond slivers … not the flat kind, but rather the quartered kind … on a sheet pan. I don’t use any oil. Then, here is the secret: SET YOUR TIMER. To whatever. It depends on your oven. I set mine to 7 minutes. At first beep, I usually remove a few of the toastier ones that are on the edges of the pan to save for later. Then I continue to cook the rest a bit longer. SETTING THE TIMER again for about 2 minutes. (You can see by my screaming use of capitalization, that there have been some times that I did not SET THE TIMER … resulting in burned almonds every time.) I continue this process until they are perfect … usually 9 to 11 minutes total.
Now, you may say, “what’s the big fuss about toasted almonds?” First, they satisfy that afternoon snacking need: “just a little something crunchy,” and combined with blueberries, taste like a blueberry crisp, and yet, this crisp is almost “free” in Weight Watchers language! Plus, almonds are handy to have on hand for everything from salads to desserts to my favorite snacking indulgence: sprinkled right on top of a spoonful of Nutella.
In order to make this seemingly mundane gift more gifty, I decided to package the two items in … you guessed it, my favorite re-purposed yogurt jars. Then to add a a spiffier touch, I cut a circlette (using a plate for measuring) from one of our fabrics, Shady Grove, and attached it to the jar lid with an attractive matching ribbon. All it needed was a decorative label and we would have ourselves a present fit for a blueberry-and-almond-loving queen.
So I created some label art for my foodie gift and proceeded to attach it to my sparkling jars. If you are making this gift, or a similar one, for your friend, here is the moment when I must say with capital letters again, CAUTION: Be sure to look at the labels before you attach them, or else you may end up with a set of gifts like I did. See the uh-oh moment below.
Sadly, unlike the magic easy-remove yogurt label described earlier, my label papers only tore when I tried to trade them. And, of course, our birthday dinner was to take place in about 5 minutes, so off we went with our mislabeled gifts.
If you already made this mistake before reading my caution alert above, do not worry. You probably were making this for a good friend, who, like mine, will love you anyway.
And, although this label switching does play games with your taste buds, your friend will think of you with a smile every time she pulls out a spoonful of nutella and tops it with on-the-ready toasted almonds from a blueberry jar.
October 26, 2012
Bundles Ready for the Baby Bundles ElvesPosted by Cathy Heck
Sometimes, our larder is too full. We are so lucky to be in the business of making designs for fabric, and because we love it, we make a lot! Thus, an occasional over-abundance of soft yummy fabrics begins to take over the studio work room.
We had been searching for a group that might like to use some of our fabrics to make baby quilts, when all of a sudden, one dropped right into my email box! I had subscribed to The Quilt Store’s e-newsletter, and there it was … (rainbow sound effect) … in my inbox: “We are excited to have Austin Area Quilt Guild’s Baby Bundles group meeting in our store on Thursday. Baby Bundles is a program of the Austin Area Quilt Guild that provides quilts for babies and children in need.” It’s too bad it was an email, because the sender couldn’t see the jumping-for-joy expression on my face.
So, I called the number, and Judy, one of the Baby Bundles coordinators answered. I said that I had lots of baby fabric and wondered if she might have lots of stitchers for baby fabric. We were a match made in heaven.
The next thing I knew, Gracie, another coordinator, arrived at my door with her husband to pick up the fabrics. She and her team then created kits which they gave to the AAQG members, who will make one or more baby quilts each, which they donate during their birthday months. Within a couple of weeks, they even held a Baby Bundles Fun Day at the local library during which they created many beautiful quilts for lots of lucky babies.
The photo below left shows the first quilt made with our fabrics by Gracie, and the right photo shows lots of fabric spread out ready for the magic stitching by the Baby Bundles gang.
It looks like so much fun … I am planning to join them one day, even though my sewing skills are still at the seventh-grade home economics level. And, we’re hoping the Baby Bundlers will post some of their creations on our Flickr Group, (if we ever figure out how to make it possible to see a button on our blog). But, in the meantime, Ellen and I are so excited to know that children around Central Texas who are in need of some soft cuddling will be cuddled in our designs. Thank you Baby Bundles volunteers!
And the winner is…Posted by Ellen Heck
Congratulations to the winner of the 3 fat quarter bundles of nursery fabric from Tuesday’s post:
Thanks to everyone who added a comment – we love hearing from you!
October 23, 2012
Baby Quilt Ideas and a Giveaway to Get You StartedPosted by Cathy Heck
Before we head to Houston for International Quilt Market, we have to take a moment to brag about the wonderful quilts that Heidi Pridemore of the Whimsical Workshop, created with our nursery fabrics for David Textiles for the last Quilt Market. This summer, the quilts came to Austin for a little photo shoot, so that we could share them with you for a some quilt-making inspiration.
And, If you suddenly need to make a quilt for a baby you love, we have some itchin-to-stitch fat quarters that you can win to get you started. Just comment below with the themes you would love to see next on our drawing boards, and we’ll pick a winner who will receive all three bundles!
The first quilt was created using fabrics from the Little Train collection. We love the way Heidi created this wonderful big train out of our little train pieces. And the hand-stitched touch around all the wheels makes it seem like this little train might just chug right off the quilt.
Below is a close-up of the handwork on the quilt, and a matching pillow, with an edging using the coordinating Luggage Labels pattern.
The second quilt was created from our Little Carousel group. The all-over Carousel Park design can be fussy-cut into little vignettes … almost like peeking through window panes to see all the fun happening at the park.
Here’s a close-up of one of the little scenic squares. It’s as though the quilt is telling a story, and your little napper can doze off getting to know all the critters in the park. Like, “Wait, look there, a little bunny is peeking around from behind the bush. Silly bunny. Come play with us.”
And the third quilt is a very handy quickie quilt made from the Play Day Pond collection. The entire center section is a panel ready to go. But if you have a hankering to add some borders, like Heidi did, this blend of Little Carousel Stripe with Froggie Plaid and Turtle Toss works great. Then, just top it off with Ducks Day Out around the edge.
Here’s another view of the panel and a closeup of the very appropriate wavy quilting that Heidi added to the outer border. We think this quilt is perfect for a pond-themed nursery or a picnic by the pond.
Thank you again Heidi, who is probably working into the wee hours preparing for market this weekend! We love your creations.
Now you show and tell! Here are three sets of fat quarters for one lucky winner. Let us know what favorite themes you like to see for baby fabrics, and our random-number-generator will choose a winner on Thursday, October 25 at 10pm.
October 10, 2012
Spotlight on LittleburyPosted by Ellen Heck
For those of you in Australia and New Zealand heading into Spring, we’re excited to say that Littlebury in its springiest colorways is now being featured in Spotlight stores accompanied by a D.I.Y. project in their craft magazine Get Creative. The group is on promotional sale now through October 21st, so have fun with some fresh Spring cotton all you Down Under quilters!
September 29, 2012
And the winner is…Posted by Ellen Heck
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Littlebury giveaway. We loved learning about you favorite colors and animals and are so happy to say that many of your favorites are already in the works as we speak. As you can see, we have something in store for Marla already! We’re looking forward to telling you about all the new collections that are about to come out of the studio, so please stay tuned for some upcoming sneak peaks and have a great weekend!
September 21, 2012
Littlebury is here…and a giveaway!Posted by Ellen Heck
We are already in love with this cottony-fresh collection that just arrived on the studio doorstep. Here are a few sun-dappled shots of Littlebury for David Textiles under the CathyLoo brand, which will be debuting at Quilt Market in October. Right around the corner!
This group is particularly quilter-friendly with lots of small and medium-scale patterns perfect for piecing.
When creating the art, we were looking for a Pennsylvania-Dutch-meets-Americana-meets-modern quilting theme. We really hit it this time, with a collection that works for both juvenile/baby quilts and nurseries, as well as everyday projects for the home. (There are actually three more patterns that haven’t yet come off the press in royal blue and navy that add a bold streak to the group as a whole. Here’s a close-up of the one 4×4 inch square of the navy “Pennsylvania Blooms” pattern that we do have:
and the seamless “Map of Littlebury” print in robin’s egg blue.
and the drawing on paper and vellum and a few color trials from the early stages of design:
and another sketch that eventually became the loose floral “Apple Blossoms” pattern for the collection:
And now, since we are swimming in yards of Littlebury goodness over in the Austin studio, a Littlebury giveaway!
To enter to win this fat quarter bundle of Littlebury, please leave a comment sharing with us a color and/or animal you would most like to see in a fabric collection for Spring/Summer 2014. (We’re at the drawing board already and would love to hear from you!)
A winner will be randomly selected in one week at noon CST on Friday, September 28th.
See you then!
September 20, 2012
Thursday Inspiration at C.R.GibsonPosted by Cathy Heck
It’s Thursday, and we hope you can take a moment, while you are having your coffee, to stop by the fun new series that C.R. Gibson is posting on their website. Today’s featured artists are … well, gosh, okay … Cathy and Ellen Heck. We were asked to share the places we find inspiration for our work. In a nutshell, we might simply have said, “books” (Ellen) or “bacon” (Cathy), but they gave us more than a nutshell, so head on over to the all new design blog and pick up some inspiration to fuel your day … think of it as breakfast bacon for the right side of your brain.
P.S. And if you comment on their site, we will answer AND you will be entered to win a baby book and brag book. If you don’t have a new baby in your life, they make excellent shower gifts, or you might be like me, (Cathy) and STILL need to make those baby books for your grown babies (sorry Ellen, Jules and Mags). Project 156 in my empty-nest bucket list.