Quilting and Custom Quilting

The time is getting close for International Quilt Market and Festival, which is being held in Houston at the end of the month.  Quilt Market is for the trade only – shops and suppliers of quilt and sewing supplies.  Quilt Festival is for consumers and is a huge event for buying all types of sewing supplies, fabrics, and embellishments.  Both shows introduce the newest trends, tools and supplies.  Both shows are beautiful and a feast for the eyes with all the beautiful colors of quilts and fabrics.

Last year at Spring Quilt Market, I met a very talented lady who provides a wonderful service,  Billie Dickinsonbillie-dickinson.jpgShe is a quilter and does custom quilting for your quilt tops, whether its one that you have created or an antique quilt top.  She can also create the whole quilt. I saw some samples of her quilting and she is fabulous.  She does long arm quilting as well as hand quilting.  Her website, Billie’s Stitching Post, also has a store for her favorite embroidery kits, floss, buttons and embellishments plus new items that you might not find in your local quilt shop.  So if you have some quilt tops you’ve put aside to have quilted, she’s your lady!

I am busy working away on my next fabric collection for Quilting Treasures.  I am also working on quilt and sewing projects that will be displayed in some booths at Quilt Market.  Check back and I will give you a peek at what I have created. 

The Beautiful Sights of Prague

Prague is incredibility beautiful and picturesque with a mix of architecture, a beautiful river running through the city with several medieval bridges, flowers everywhere, narrow meandering streets and a display of art all over.  Not only is it a feast for your eyes, its literally music for your ears. Numerous concerts are held each night and you can hear the music as you wonder through the city.wenceslas-square.jpgThis is Wenceslas Square, which is actually a wide boulevard, is lined with picturesque buildings.

Charles Bridge is a beautiful 500 yard walk across the river.charles-bridge.jpg The bridge is pedestrian only and a treat as you stroll across it. There are numerous artists and craftspeople set up on the bridge, so you can have your portrait painted or buy an interesting hand crafted item. Since I love unusual jewelry, I bought a few pieces on my strolls across the river and they were very reasonably priced at a few dollars, better by far than the prices in the stores. 

Crossing the Charles Bridge during the day, we saw wonderful views of the other bridges across the river and all the buildings with their red tiled roofs, as well as the Prague Castle, sitting on a hill above the bridge. These photos castle-from-charles-bridge.jpg the-old-mill.jpgare veiws from the bridge – Prague Castle and the cathedral, the old mill, Little Quarter at the other side of the bridge, and crossing the bridge. little-quarter.jpg crossing-charles-bridge.jpg

We walked back one night to see the city with its lights. We could also hear the music from a concert on the banks of the river.

The Prague Castle looks down on the city. Inside the castle walls is a medieval cathedral, St. Vitus Cathedral which is very gothic looking. After going inside the cathedral, I immediately dropped my jaw in awe at the size and beauty. I joined a line, not knowing what it was for, but assumed it was for something interesting. It was a line to go to the top of the cathedral tower – all 287 steps, round and round and round to the top. This is not for the faint of heart, and I was on the verge of turning back a few times, but being determined not to give up, I made it to the top. And it was worth every step to see a full 360 degree breathtaking view of the city.view-from-tower-2.jpg

If you love shoes (and I do), then you would love this giant shoe. shoe-sculpture.jpgIt is by Jean-Jacques Ory and is part of the Festival of Scultpures that was going on. Inside the shoe is a painted replica of Venus from “The Birth of Venus”. I guess she liked shoes also.

One of the most popular gathering spots for tourists is at the Astronomical Clock, which does an elaborated show on the hour. The clock, which is the top circle, is very complex and gives several versions of time with revolving disks and sweeping hands.astronomical-clock.jpg 

Prague has so many restaurants and pubs.  And if you like beer, this is the place to go. Czech beer is very good, and even better, is at very good prices – between $1.25 and $2.00, depending on where you go.The food is very good also, especially away from high tourist areas.

Of course, we had to find the Lennon Wall. It was close to the Charles Bridge, but difficult to find. We had to ask directions numerous times, almost every 50 feet (these are all winding little cobblestone streets). It was really a perk in communicating that everyone spoke English. This picture is a small section of the large wall, which was painted with memorial graffiti when John Lennon was killed. It symbolized hope and freedom when they were under communist rule.

lennon-wall.jpg

With all the flowers throughout the city and in window boxes, there had to be flower shops.  We saw many of them, of which this is one.flower-store.jpg

As I said in my post yesterday, you had to look – up, down, front and sideways so as not to miss anything, like this view of a restaurant down an alley.restaurant-down-alley.jpg

This is just one of the many beautiul buildings througout Prague.  building-on-town-square.jpg

I hope you enjoyed my photo’s of Prague. If you ever get a chance to visit this city, go for it!

Beautiful Prague and Art Nouveau

I have always loved Art Nouveau and to see its influence on a city was awsome and inspiring. Art Nouveau is everywhere in Prague – doors and doorways, decorative trim on buildings, the structure of the buildings, windows, stained glass, light fixtures and art. The city is really “eye candy”.sunflower-door.jpg

This door is in the shape of a sunflower with sunflower decorative motifs. Its a huge entrance as the door is area below the round design.

This was another fabulous entrance that we saw. art-nouveau-entrance.jpgThe doors were open so I took a separate picture of one of the them. stained-glass-door.jpg This entire building was fabulous. We just happened to stumble on it as we were wandering down a side street and found an entire block of Art Nouveau buildings. This was decorative trim on one the buildings on this block.decorative-trim.jpg The buildings had beautiful paintings and more elaborate scrollwork.

You really had to look everywhere as you walked as well as look up toward the top of the buildings to find the most amazing decorations.  Most were hard to photograph so I had to store them in my memory.

The most fabulous Art Nouveau building in Prague is the Municipal House. minicipal-building.jpgThis building is the home of Prague’s largest concert hall and a few restaurants.  We were so fascinated with the building that we went back that night for a classical concert.  The windows were all stained glass.stained-glass-municipal.jpgMy pictures do not even begin to do justice to this building with its beautiful windows, light fixtures and other trim or all the Art Nouveau found in Prague.

This building is in Josefov, the old Jewish Quarter, which had many beautiful Art Nouveau buildings.art-nouveau-house.jpg

In addition to Art Nouveau, Prague’s architecture spans thousands of years.  There are fabulous buildings intermingled throughout the city in Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance styles and are in various colors. They are so picturesque especially since so many had window boxes filled with colorful flowers.

Please revisit my blog so see more of the sights of Prague.

My trip to Prague – Antique block prints for printing fabric and wallpaper

I just returned from a vacation to a fabulous city – Prague in the Czech Republic.  It is one of the most beautiuful cities that I’ve visited. You can walk just about everywhere, it is very clean, the buildings are beautiful and colorful and the Czech people are very friendly. Everyone I met spoke excellent English. As an added bonus, the weather was perfect during our visit.

Prague is romantic and colorful Bohemia. It is a city filled with Art Nouveau everywhere from the design of the buildings, doors, decorative trim to the Alphonse Mucha Museum.  I will show pictures from my trip in several blog sessions. Prague is so beautiful – I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

Our hotel was in the old town part of Prague, close to everything. After arriving around mid-day, we strolled around the area of the hotel to get our bearings. traditional-store.jpgA store window close to the hotel caught my attention and I had to go in. Since I have a love of fabrics and design, I was fascinated with this store, Traditional.  The walls were filled with hand carved wood blocks for hand printing fabric and wallpaper. These blocks were from the mid-19th century and were part of a rare horde of wooden printing blocks recently uncovered in an old factory.print-blocks.jpg The blocks, called Modro Tisk, are ornately carved with motifs. My photo’s don’t do justice to them. Samples of some of the prints from a few of the blocks were framed and were really gorgeous.printed-designs.jpg In addition to the printing blocks, they had fabrics that were printed in the blue print style that is traditional Czech designs.traditonal-czech-prints.jpg They also were really beautiful. Before I left, I took a picture of Bozhena, the manager of Traditional, who was very friendly and knowledgable in giving me the information about the blocks and textiles. It is a wonderful store and easy to find if you visit Prague.bozhena-in-traditional.jpg

Please revisit my blog for pictures of the very beautiful Prague.

Daily life in my studio

Recently, an email group that I’m a member of has been having a lot of discussion on our studios.  The members of this email group are all professional designers and artists, so our studios represent were we work. In other words, a major portion of our lives – almost all of our waking hours, is spend in this one room, our studio. As most of us work in multiple mediums, its very important that our supplies and materials are all organized which, of course, helps us be more organized in our work. 

However, in these discussions, I have found that most of us “right” brainers are not always organized with neat studios. As a result, we’ve had a lot of email discussions on organizational techniques.  And one artist is even hosting a “messy studio” contest. 

The state of my studio varies depending on what I am working on and my time limitations. Things can get piled up and disorganized (although I know where everything is in the disorganization).  Then between jobs, I “try” to get things back in order for it to get all messed up again with the next job. 

Phyllis Dobbs artist studioSince I spend most of my waking hours in my studio, I thought I would give you a peep, especially while its currently in an organized mode. I spend the majority of my time at my computer work station. All of my work seems to start and end here, with side trips to my drawing tables or sewing area.studio-drawing-tables.jpg I don’t have a picture of my sewing area as I just rearranged it to make it more effecient. Actually, I love to rearrange and do this frequently.  I call it making making my studio more efficient, or maybe its just to confuse my cat. My favorite part of my studio is the windows.studio-view.jpg Since my studio is upstairs, I have a great view of the trees behind my house. Sometimes I wish I could be like Tarzan, or maybe Jane, and swing through them.

Heat Wave and Keeping Flowers Alive

I love flowers.  But I am also in a part of the country that is having a prolonged heat wave – with temps over 100 daily for almost 2 weeks and counting.  To add to that, we are in a severe drought area.  We’ve had very little rain this summer and none in the past 3 weeks. As a result, we are in a tight restricted use of water.

Cock’s Comb.jpgCock’s Comb plants grow in front of my house each year from seeds from the prior year. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately because of the water shortage, most of the small plants were accidentally killed with week killer this spring.  I love the Cock’s Comb plants because of their gorgeous colors and the size of the blooms.  The blooms last all summer and just keep growing, getting bigger and bigger.  Last year, I had one that was 12″ wide.  They also dry extremely well and keep their color  Close up of Cock’s Comb bloom 

With the water shortage, keeping my flowers alive and blooming takes being creative. I conserve water inside the house and use for watering the plants. We have bowls in sinks to catch the water that is running.  Its amazing how much water is used just to wash hands or while waiting for it to heat up.

Another favorite flower of mine is the Hibiscus.  They are just so pretty with so many large colorful blooms. Hibiscus Bloom I just wish the blooms lasted more than a day. Unfortunately, it gets too cold in the winter here for Hibuscus, so they have to be planted in pots brought in when it gets cold.

Recently while plant shopping, I found some “vintage” Hibiscus. The blooms reach up to 8 or 9 inches across.  I have plenty of buds, but didn’t have any blooms today while I was taking pictures.  They are amazing in their size and beauty.

I didn’t plant many flowers this spring due to lengthy cold spring. Even though I miss them, I guess its a good thing due to the watering restrictions. I don’t wash my hands enough to keep several flower beds watered!

Classes with Elvis Fabrics at Graceland during Elvis Week

I had such an awesome time on my trip to Memphis. Elvis Week started Saturday. August 11 and continues all week to honor the 30th anniversary of his passing.  People were there from all over the US and the world for events planned throughout the city each day.

I taught 2 classes on Saturday, but started the day with a tour of Graceland.  It is currently extremely hot throughout the south and more so in Memphis. The temperatures were in excess of 100 F with no clouds to block the sun. We waited in line for the tour, but the line wasn’t as long as I expected. They are very organized with the tours, picking everyone up in buses across the street then driving up the driveway to the entrance to Graceland.  People lined up to enter GracelandWe did get to wait a few minutes in the air conditioned bus before we had to get off and wait in line (in the sun).  Most of the wait time was waiting to get on the bus initially but fortunately, it was in the shade.Us girls waiting to tour Graceland This is Donna (left) and Jodi (right) from Cranston with me waiting out front.

This was my first tour of Graceland and it was very impressive, to say the least.  Just being in the Mansion after years of hearing about it and seeing where Elvis lived was remarkable.  Throughout the Mansion were TV sets showing Elvis in various concerts as well as home movies taken at Graceland. Its also a reminder of how fast time flies.Horses at Graceland

The mansion sits on 14 acres.  This shot is the grounds behind Graceland. If you look close,  there are 2 horses grazing.

Walkway to Serenity Gardens at GracelandThe last stop on the Graceland Mansion tour was the Serenity Gardens.  This is the walkway to the Gardens.

This photo shows just a small sampling of floral arrangements that were sent from all over the world. Floral displays sent during Elvis Week at GracelandÂ

Later that afternoon, we toured Elvis’ jet, the Lisa Marie, as well as “Elvis After Dark” and the auto museum featuring his cars and motorcycles.  My favorite car was the Pink Cadillac, which I was thrilled to see.

After the Mansion tour, it was time for the first class to begin.  The Elvis fabrics are really gorgeous and unique.  New fabrics have also been added this week, although I don’t know when these will be available online for viewing.  You can see the Elvis fabrics as well as buy some online at Shop Elvis.

The class was a “Make and Take” class creating an Elvis fabric frame.  Elvis fabric frame and pocketsThe finished frame is hanging on the right.  The panel with 3 pockets is from the “Jailhouse” blocks.

These other models were shown to illustrate the a few of the many items that can be created with Elvis fabrics, Sundress made with Elvis Fabricsuch as a sundress, vest and pillowcase. Elvis fabric vest and pillowcase

Althought I am back home, I can still hear the Elvis songs that were played everywhere throughout the day. And with all the songs he recorded, there’s no way to pick just one favorite…they all are.

Class at Graceland with Elvis Fabrics

I have taken a blog break.  Not long after starting my blog, I had several design deadlines and had to work on getting these finished.  Its great that I love my “job”.

Over the years, my career as a designer for needlework, quilting and textiles has offered some fantastic work opportunities that I call “perks”. They are jobs, but fun and unusual jobs that just don’t occur every day.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Memphis, TN, and more specifically, to Graceland to teach a class. This month is the 30th anniversary of Elvis’ passing. How time flies – I still remember where I was and the time of day when I heard the news about Elvis. August 11 starts Elvis Week in Memphis. They have a full week of activities planned. Check this website for the activities.

The class I’m teaching is a “Make and Take” workshop by Cranston Fabrics. I will be teaching a no-sew project, a photo frame, using some wonderful new Elvis fabrics. elvis-photo-frame.jpg You can use it to frame your favorite photo of your trip. If you are in Memphis Saturday, I hope you sign up for the class. I would love to meet you.

Cranston has some fabulous Elvis fabrics. So all of you sewers and quilters who are Elvis fans, you can make a wonderful quilt or other sewing item.

As I said, some of my jobs are “perks” and I consider this one of them – I’m very excited.  I will take photos and post them next week after I return.  And…..I hope to meet some of you.

Visit to New York during the Surtex show and a visit to The City Quilter

I love to visit NYC.  There is so much to see and do. I also enjoyed seeing friends and meeting “online” friends face to face, while I was exhibiting at the SURTEX Show (Surface and Textile Design) held in NY in connection with the National Stationery Show

As soon as I tossed my suitcase in my room, I headed to Chinatown and Little Italy.  I love to go to Pearl Paint, a great art supply store on Canal Street, just off the subway in Chinatown.  My next stop was Little Italy, a couple of blocks walk, to eat Italian. Mulberry Street in Little Italy This is a view looking down Mulberry Street in Little Italy. The Empire State Building is in the background, which I didn’t notice when I took the picture. It looks close but is over 35 blocks away. 

I love to visit quilt shops, and NY is no exception.  I visited with Cathy Izzo at The City Quilter.   Phyllis with Cathy

The City Quilter is a fabulous quilt shop that is well established after being in business over 10 years.  Its located at 133 West 25th Street in the Chelsea area and is very easy to locate (its not far from Macy’s.)  Fabrics in the City Quilter quilt shop.Cathy keeps the store stocked and up to date with the latest fabrics. City Quiilter Store

This charming shop is also filled with all the quilting supplies you might need. I was also impressed with the number of classes that they offer – 100 different classes. Just look down the street for the red awning that marks the spot for The City Quilter.City Quilter

Thanks for visiting with me.  I will add more of my NY adventures soon.

Pink Sweetheart Ballerina fabrics

Today I’m sitting in my studio working on my next fabric collection for Quilting Treasures.  I can’t say much about the next collection yet, but it will be really fabulous and in wonderful colors and will be out at the end of the year. 

I wanted to show you my newly released Sweetheart Ballerinas fabrics  in the pink color range since my previous postings had shown a lot of the aqua colors.  The fabrics come in a lot more colors for the coordinating fabrics.  Sweetheart Ballerinas fabric from Quilting Treasures by Phyllis Dobbs I made a rollup-naptime for children to use for their naps from this fabric.  In the filming last week for Martha Pullen’s TV show Martha’s Sewing Room, I showed how to make it. I’m showing the top half.  The bottom is made the same but is reversed in sewing the borders.Sweetheart Ballerinas fabric from Quilting Treasures by Phyllis Dobbs 

My time for writing is short today as I’m also getting ready to leave for New York.  I am exhibiting in a surface and textile design show (SURTEX), where manufacturers come to find art images to use for their product design. Wish me luck!

I love New York and will post some photos from there.  Its a fabulous place for spotting trends and sparking unique ideas.  I have my favorite places that I go each trip for that….stay tuned!!!  Of course, I have to throw in a little shopping! What fun would it be if I couldn’t do that?? My husband Danny would think something was wrong with me if I didn’t come back with my suitcase stuffed to the max with my finds.

Thanks for visiting.

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