Black Friday? How about Blue Wednesday?

Blue because I like blue, and blue is like indigo, which I love even more. I’m rambling.


Speaking of rambling… here is the house. So many of you have asked me how the paint job turned out and I had been meaning to post a photo, and now I have. Everything turned out great! The house is green, the garden is green, and I am happy.

We’ve finished off our shows for the year and I’ve been unpacking our booth inventory to blend it with our Etsy inventory, which means a generous helping of items previously “sold out” on Etsy are back in stock again! Olympus sashiko kits, Hida sashiko thread, various quilt fabrics, and other assorted notions, knicknacks, and whatnot and out of the box and on the shelf, ready to head home to you.


Hida sashiko thread–more colors coming this week!

Remember to use the code NOVEMBER15 for 15% off at checkout. DO NOT leave the code in the “notes to seller” section. Make sure you put it in the right place so you get your discount! Here’s how to do it:

How to Apply a Coupon Code

1) Once you add an item to your cart, click Apply shop coupon code above Item total

2) Enter the coupon code and click Apply

3) The coupon discount will adjust your order total

Time for a sale!

I brought Thomas along with me to Quilt Market this year in the hope that he would keep my spending under control, but that wasn’t the case. We did stay on budget… until he left and I had one more day at Market on my own to do a little shopping.

So! This means I have too much stuff and not enough space. This is where I dig through a few years of hoarding and bring things to light so you can say “I want that!” and we both feel the satisfaction of a fabulous/unique/Very Special Thing finding the right creative hands to gently fall into.

I’ll be putting items aside for the End of Year Sale Event, scheduled to begin today, November 15, 2015.

What can you expect to be included from this archaeological dig through 10 years of collecting? Vintage yukata and kimono, silk and cotton fabric scraps, bundles of kimono silk pieces, Japanese ceramics, and whatever else I find hidden in boxes, bags, shelves, drawers, and dusty crevices.

I’ll be going through things gradually so expect new items to pop up from time to time, not all at once. I will be at the River City Quilt Guild show in Sacramento, CA for most of this coming week so there will be a bit of a lag while I’m away from my office, too.

Anyway, here’s a little video which includes the coupon code. And remember! You have to use the code at checkout for it to be valid. Do not put it in the “notes to seller” section. Here’s a link to the instructions: How to Apply a Coupon Code

Houston International Quilt Festival 2015

Things started off so well. I dropped off our boxes at the trucking terminal, with all the boxes neatly stacked so they fit together like a 3D cardboard Tetris.


Unfortunately, that’s not how things turned out once the shipment arrived in Texas.


Notice the missing lumber. Almost every box was smashed. Thank goodness it was only fabric and not something fragile, right?


The crew at the George R Brown Convention Center are pretty awesome and they get things done. Here is Steve, who helped set up the booth hardware and reminded me of someone… oh yeah! Shōki 鍾馗.


Joyce helped in the booth during Festival last year, and she’s back again this year, thank goodness. I’d be lost without my Houston crew!

Eventually we got all the bits and pieces where they needed to be, and the show opened for Preview Night. One of my visitors was the lovely Julia, who brought her fabulous version of the Mini Kimono Pattern.


Here’s a view of my neighborhood. I don’t get out much during the day and haven’t seen about 75% of the festival yet. 


Come by and visit us at booth #1126 now through Sunday, Nov. 1. I’ll be teaching my Silk Sashiko class on Saturday (sold out two years in a row!) and I’m always happy to meet all you adventurous and creative people.

New video: Sashiko thread vs. tangled knots

As promised, a short video on how to open a new skein of sashiko thread.

New video, upcoming shows, and classes for October

Finally got done editing part 2 of the Deconstructing Kimono videos. They were both long, I’m working on shorter videos but sometimes I have too much fun to keep things brief.

voodoo_kitty1Class space is available for the two Sashiko classes I’m offering this month: Voodoo Kitty Pincushions. These will be relaxed, all hand sewing using vintage kimono silk, and include a full kit except for scissors. Each 3 hour class offers the basics and some really fun fabrics to play with. Pick whichever date works for you, weekend or weekday. They are the same class.

Sunday, Oct. 18

Monday, Oct. 19

Originally these were scheduled to be basic sashiko classes, but I’m having so much fun with the kitties and they have been getting very happy feedback from friends who have seen and handled them. Fun for a Halloween project, but also nice for holiday gifting. The kit will include enough vintage kimono silk fabric to make two, but we’ll only be making one in class. A variety of fabric color choices will be available.

Upcoming show this weekend! I’ll be in Brentwood, CA for the Delta Quilters Guild Show Harvest on the Delta.


A Sunday Treat – Future Lace Makers of Cogne, Italy

Back from Grand Rapids, via Haiti

After returning from QuiltWeek in Grand Rapids, Michigan recently, a discussion I had on my last day there has stayed with me. It isn’t textile related, but please bear with me.

Grand Rapids isn’t a big city. At the airport you have the option of a taxi or limo sedan to get where you’re going, and to the hotel I usually stay at it’s almost the same price so I like to go with the limo. The drivers are friendly and often interesting to talk to, and almost always from someplace other than Michigan, or even the US. My grandfathers were immigrants and I was one myself 20 years ago when I moved to the UK, so I know how difficult it can be. I start the conversation with “Where are you from?” and go from there.

The driver I had that day was from Haiti. He told me about his journey, 23 years ago, when at the age of 16 his parents put him in a leaky boat with many other children and sent him away to an uncertain future that apparently was better than the one he would have had if he had stayed, despite the risk of drowning en route. Fortunately the US Coast Guard rescued him and the other children before their boat sank, and he was taken in by a Christian charitable organization that helped him get into a foster home and start the process of becoming a legal resident of the US.

From the back seat of the limo I watched this man, very close to my own age, who had risked his life at an age when I was learning to drive a car and trying to keep my grades up in high school. He was neatly dressed in a clean white shirt and black pants; the interior of his limo was immaculate.

We talked about immigration, and why people leave the countries they are from. We reflected on the violence going on in so many parts of the world today and asked ourselves how people could commit such atrocities. I think we in the US don’t understand it because so many of us have never wanted for anything. I mentioned my previous driver had been from Sudan and the man from Haiti said “Oh, Sudan, it’s really bad over there.”

Looking into the history of Haiti in the 1990s today I am reminded of what happened back then, how I had heard a bit about it on the TV news my parents watched. It didn’t mean much to me. I’d never been to Haiti, had no plans to ever go there. It was yet another armed conflict in a foreign country far away, and there were plenty of those to go around.

He told me that he knew how fortunate he was to be here, to have had the opportunities that were given to him, even with the enormous cost involved. He said a person’s success depended on his own decisions, and that some of the other children in that boat had made different decisions and their outcomes had not been so rosy. These days he can afford to travel back to Haiti and visit his mother every year. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for her to put him in that boat and say goodbye, but I’m sure she feels now it was the right decision.

When I checked out of the hotel that morning he was waiting for a fare to go to the airport, and I was it. He’d been waiting for four hours. He’s his own boss so it was his decision to wait. Being self-employed myself I understand how it feels to sacrifice hours of your day without the guarantee of payment. It sucks, but I love the freedom. I suspect he does, too.

As I exited the cab I asked if he would be going home to sleep, but he smiled said no, he’d be heading back to the hotel for another fare. Just another day in paradise.

If you’re ever in the Grand Rapids area and need a safe, clean, and timely limo driver, I highly recommend him. I’ll be calling him up next year when I’m back in town.

V’s Anytime Chauffeur Service

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