The Green Apricot Getaway- Fall 2017

When: October 1-5, 2017

Where: Crossville, TN

What:  BYOP Retreat

How Much:  $375 per person (Limit 12)

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Crossville, TN is located on the Cumberland Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains. We’ll be there at the beginning of October, and the temps should be mild and the leaves beginning to change color.  This retreat is literally about getting away- away from the noise and busyness of everyday life and slowing down for a bit of selfish sewing.  We will be staying at a 12,700 acre resort that boasts of golf courses, riding stables, indoor and outdoor pools, multiple lakes and other activities including massage services (swoon).  There are restaurants on site, and several more to choose from just a couple of miles away. But who cares about all that?!?  We are here for the sewing…

BYOP– This is a Bring Your Own Project style of retreat.  Plan on starting something new and dedicating a solid several days to working on it.  I will be working on the Stag Nation quilt by Sewn Into the Fabric, and I will gladly teach it to whomever wants to join me.  Or, bring a project from home that you want to finish up.  We’ll have access to one large common sewing area for three days, and there is also plenty of room for cutting, sewing and relaxing in the units where we will be staying.  There will be enough room in the common area for all attendes to have their own sewing space. Please do not bring personal irons or cutting mats to the common sewing area, although you are welcome to have them in your unit.  

                     

Shown above: Stag Nation by Sewn Into the Fabric

Accomodations– Mulitiple 2-bedroom units with full kitchens, washers and dryers, dining and living room space.  Units are located close to one another.  No housekeeping will be provided during the retreat.  

Food– The Green Apricot will provide lunch and dinner while in the common sewing area Monday through Wednesday.  Some staples will be provided in each unit, but all other meals will be the responsibility of the attendees.  Grocery stores and restaurants are all just a couple miles away.

Travel– Travel is not included.  The closest international airport to Crossville is 110 miles away in Nashville.  Please keep this in mind while planning.  

Check In/Check Out– Check-in begins at 5pm on Sunday, Oct 1, and check-out is at 10am on Thursday, Oct 5.

Fees, Deposits and Canellation Policies– 

  • Fees include accomodations for 4 nights, sewing space, lunch and dinner for three days for each person.  Payment in full without incurring a $100 fee is due August 15, 2017.  Final payment is due September 15, 2017.  If the reservation is not paid in full on September 15, the reservation and all fees are forfeited.
  • Registration requires a $200 deposit per person that is nonrefundable, but is transferable with approval by The Green Apricot. 
  • Cancellations before September 15, 2017 are fully refundable, less the deposit. Cancellations after September 15, 2017 are not refundable.  Remember, you can transfer your reservation to someone else.

 

Click Register Now to reserve your choice with the appropriate deposit.  (Please note that you are not registered if the deposit is not paid.)  Because of system limitations, it is possible to overbook.  If that happens, and I am not able to honor your request, I will refund your deposit promptly.  Reservations are limited to a total of 12 people (including myself).  After the reservations have been confirmed, I will send a link for the remaining balance due.

Please let me know if you have any questions before you register.  You can email me at thegreenapricot@gmail.com, or text or call 770-584-3498.

Love All Around- The Block

Last week my sweet friend, Lee Monroe- aka May Chappell, sent me a note asking if I could do a little something for her. I would have likely said of course no matter what she asked, but I was especially grateful to be asked to be a part of making her Love All Around block.

One thing I’ve learned from my faith is to make the most of all that is good, and to minimize the power of all that is negative. And let’s face it, there is a lot of negative out there. 

Don’t misunderstand me. In no way am I implying that sticking one’s head in the sand is the way to go.  Pretending all is well when it isn’t simply allows the thing to stick around, or worse, become more powerful. It takes purposeful action to make a difference. Everything we say and do begs the question, “Is this making the situation better, or worse?”

I have to be honest. I am excessively sensitive. I get overwhelmed by all of the negativity that hits me in the face everyday. It makes my chest feel heavy, and I have to take a minute to remind myself of all that is truly good and beautiful in the world. 

But that’s the thing that’s so amazing. It turns out that there are way more beautiful and wonderful and happy and positive and loving things and people in the world than there are hateful, sad and negative. Really.  There are. And the great part is that the more you fill the world with genuine kindness and love, the less room there is for the other stuff. 

I know that sometimes we hurt. Deeply. And sometimes we are afraid. Often with good cause. Both hurt and fear are powerful reactions, and both can lead to anger and hate. 

We can’t help being hurt. We can’t help being afraid. That’s just part of being human.  But we can stop from being angry, and especially from hating. 

There’s a moment when we decide. When we choose between peace and anger, between love and hate. That moment is where the power lies. That moment is when we begin to change the world.  For good or for bad. 

So, maybe take a minute or two to slow down.  Maybe make this block, and allow yourself to think of ways you can be the one. And maybe you can also be reminded of what you already know.   

Hack that Tote! By Mary Abreu

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It’s no oops, but she did do it again… Mary Abreu has released her third book, Hack that Tote, with Stash Books, a division of C&T Publishing.  Mary is an accomplished seamstress, working on and with projects ranging from a boutique movie production company to a wide range of sewing classes at Intown Quilters, a quilt shop in Atlanta, Georgia.  She has done multiple presentations on everything from pattern hacking to costuming at several pop culture conventions.  Her list of talents is long, and she actually is on her second career.  Her first was as an award-winning print journalist for almost two decades, so it is pretty natural for her to blend her sewing and writing talents.  Actually kind of a “duh” thing, if you think about it!

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Hack that Tote! feels like an extension of one of Mary’s classes.  She does a brilliant job of breaking down the basics of making a simple tote bag, and how knowledge of the parts makes it possible to create your own style of the whole.

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Think of your favorite bags, and maybe even your not-so-favorite bags.  Why do you feel that way about them?  What makes them good?  What makes them not?  Mary explores how to start with a basic shape and then, well, hack it to create the bag your heart truly desires.

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With a particularly helpful discussion on shape, interfacings and hardware, Hack that Tote! can help any maker to up their sewing game.  While the basic tote pattern along with ten tote hacks alone make this book worth having, the descriptions of how to work with the elements of bag making make it worth keeping for a long-term reference guide.

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My favorite of the Hack that Tote! patterns is the Tubular Frame Purse, which Mary will be coming to teach at The Green Apricot Studio on Saturday, January 14, 2017.  I’ve seen this bag in person, and I love the length of the handles, the zipper pocket, and the use of an enclosed tubular purse frame.  After reading through the book, I can easily see how the pattern is based on a simple tote, and it gives me ideas for future projects.  Having said that, I am still excited to have Mary come to teach in the studio.  It always amazes me how much I can learn simply by being with other makers, and I don’t believe we can ever stop learning from each other!

Interested in Mary’s other publications?  Here they are, along with a fabulous photo of Mary herself in one of her amazing costumes…

#mommade

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I remember my mom making this years ago when I was much younger. Being a maker is definitely something gained from both my mother and grandmother. Grandma had a little closet off of the dining area that she had packed to the ceiling with note cards and paper and glue and a sundry assortment of crafting accoutrements. To me, it was like Grandma’s secret stash. I never saw anyone open that brown slatted folding door except Grandma. It was like her version of Mary Poppins’ bag. Of course, I was a kid and didn’t live close by, so I’m probably totally wrong and her stash was more likely spread all over the house, carefully tucked away. For instance, I recently inherited her sewing machine, and until my mom gave it to me, I never knew it existed. Which is crazy because she sewed stuff all the time, especially things like adult bibs and comfort pillows that her ladies group worked on together. But I digress. 

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Mom did needlepoint, cross stitch, crochet, garment sewing and crafting, and looking back I can see how she understood how things went together. I have a tendency to attack stuff because I like it and want to make it and I’ll figure out how to do it as I go. She seemed to have been a bit more methodical about it. She also had a stash of fabric and crafting supplies that I was obsessed with when I was growing up. The button tin was a favorite, as I’m sure it was for most kids of a sewist. 

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I think it was hard for her to teach me. I wasn’t very patient, and I didn’t want to start with basic stuff.  I remember her making clothes for me- shirt and shorts sets when I was younger, and my mermaidish prom dress with enormous sleeves when I was older. She was very good at garment sewing, and she taught me that if you don’t cut it out correctly, you may as well throw it away. 

Grandma doesn’t craft much anymore because she says it frustrates her that she can’t make her hands do what she wants. My mom doesn’t sew anymore either, but I wish she did. I keep asking her, and I will keep asking her. Who knows, one of these days she may get the bug again. I’m grateful to have a few things that she has made, but I’m even more grateful to have the memories of the things she’s made. I’m grateful for memories of Grandma sitting at her spot at the kitchen table by the sliding glass doors gluing together little Christmas broaches made of foam and pipe cleaners for her group of friends.  It matters to me. 

So, this makers gonna make.  Because they matter to me. 

Piecing with Patty

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Here’s the thing.  There really are rules to follow.  And there really are rules to be broken.

To me, one of the wonderful aspects of any art or craft is taking the wildness of creativity and mixing it with the rules of skill.  Notice I did not say taming it with the rules of skill.

Understanding the medium, the tools used, and the variety of desired outcomes means knowing how to bend all of those to the will of creativity.  One may begin by bending inspiration to skill in the process of learning, but eventually, the goal can be the other way around.

Enter Patty Murphy, author of recently released Piecing Makeover: Simple Tricks to Fine-Tune Your Patchwork from C&T Publishing.  This book is an excellent source for everyone from less experienced quilters to those who have been around the block a few times.  It addresses basic construction as well as how to deal with precision issues.  In other words, it gives all the rules, which in the end, gives all the freedom.

Speaking of freedom, how about a bit of improvisational quilting with Patty?  No, I am not confused.  Yes, I did just talk all about rules and block construction and avoiding issues, and yes, it does lead to improv.

I am really excited to host Patty at The Green Apricot Studio on December 3, 2016 for a workshop on her quilt, “Yes Ma’am!”  We’ll be exploring both improv and precision piecing, and talking about how to have quilt tops that extend into boarders.  We’ll discuss some of the pitfalls and how to avoid them.  And best of all, we’ll bust some of our stash while we are at it.

And we’ll find out the story behind the name of this quilt.  Because I really want to know.

Click here to register for “Yes Ma’am” with Patty Murphy, 12/3/16, 9am- 4pm.

From Piecing Makeover:  “Patty Murphy has been sewing since she was six years old.  The first thing she recalls making is a pink-and-white seersucker pillow with the word Dad crudely embroidered on it as a gift for her father on Father’s Day.  Fortunately for everyone, her sewing and quilting have greatly improved since then, and so has her gift giving.

Patty loves to share her craft with anyone that will listen, and she teaches regularly at Intown Quilters in Decatur, Georgia, so she can share her knowledge and support her fabric obsession.  Her work has been featured in several books, on the websites of major fabric manufacturers, on blogs, and in magazines, including an original quilt design for Intown Quilters that was featured on the cover of the Spring 2007 Quilt Sampler magazine.”

Quilt Market, Fall 2016, Houston, TX

I’m not 20 anymore.
If you know me personally, you know that most of my life I’ve had this strange obsession with acting older than I am.  However, how I feel after this past weekend at Quilt Market in Houston is no act!  Candy, soda, and very little sleep for days catches up to you hard when you are no longer 20.  Or 30.  Or, let’s be honest, 40.  I tried Persian food for the first time (amazing), had some of the best tacos of my life (Cuban style), and the kolaches and donuts were on point, but I should have considered more water.  I’d say I needed more sleep, but late-night time with sweet friends was totally worth feeling like I got hit by a truck.  And I’d do it all again.
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Market was really fabulous.  I’ve been several times before, but I’d have to say that I felt especially productive on this trip.  While yes, it is fun and exciting to see all the new everything, it is also a lot of investment, and takes a lot of focus to make the trip truly useful not only to the business you represent, but also to your clients and customers.  I hear a lot of people say they wish they could go, and I think they would think it is fun in a lot of ways, but reality is that it probably isn’t exactly what 0ne would expect it to be.
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For most business owners and representatives, Market begins with Schoolhouse.  It sounds like you go there and learn how to make stuff, but really, you go there to learn about new product lines and how to market them to customers.  Yes, you get to see a lot of the designers  and their work up close and personal, but honestly, the presentations have a tendency to be rushed, and are kind of just a series of sales pitches all day long.  There are some giveaways, piles of papers, and you go through a lot of business cards.
There isn’t a lot of actual shopping at Market, with the exception of Sample Spree. Sample Spree is in a lot of ways is like Black Friday at Wal-Mart in Smalltown, USA where every resident of the town is there because they have nowhere else to shop.  The purpose of Sample Spree is for businesses to get materials they need to introduce products to their customers before they actually get a shipment of goods.  It takes time and money for shops to make samples for lines of fabric, and the precuts available at Sample Spree make it so that they have what they need to make a sample before the fabric line comes to the shop.  As you may know, The Green Apricot doesn’t sell fabric lines, but what does happen here are workshops.  Workshops that I want people to be excited about.  So, most of the fabric I buy there is to drum up a bit of excitement about what is happening in the studio.  Having said that, I also buy some just because I like it, just like most everyone else there.  I also look for the new products I want to review for guild presentations and the like.  I can buy one or two of these at Sample Spree, but have to buy multiples on the Market floor.
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The Market floor is all about merchandising.  It’s all about getting businesses to buy quantities of all that is new.  Shopping at Market is not like shopping at Quilt Festival, or other shows.  Quantity is the name of the game, and taking a chance that from the thousands of offerings, you’ll be able to choose what your customers want and need and thereby keep your business profitable.  What will you do if you buy 15 yards of a fabric, and only 2 yards sell?  How about if you buy the whole line, which is more like 300 yards?  It’s a risky business, and it’s a lot of money.  Vendors know this, and they work hard to display the merchandise in a way that helps retailers to say, “Oh, I see how I could show that to my customer.  I see how I can demonstrate how to use that.”  Every stop at every booth involves questions like, “What’s your show special?  What are your minimums?  Shipping rates?  Are you with a distributor?”  And that’s after you’ve already talked with them about what exactly it is they are selling.
 In other words, yes, Quilt Market is a lot of fun.  And it’s inspiring.  And it’s overwhelming.  And it’s an opportunity.  And it’s an investment.  And it’s a lot of work.

Churning Green

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I love quilting books and patterns to the point that it’s almost sick.  Like seriously, the obsession with everything about this industry is real.  I just can never have enough quilts or pictures of quilts or plans of quilts or thoughts of quilts or ideas of quilts.  It’s a bit concerning, really.

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And people like these two like to feed my obsession.  Meet Liz Evans and Elizabeth Evans, and if you are double taking over their names, you should be.  They are sisters-in-law, and cohorts in quilting.  Together they have written The Simple Simon Guide to Patchwork Quilting, and it’s a good thing they did.

I never get tired of a beginning quilting book, even after all these years.  Sure, I’m pretty familiar with most of the basic techniques, but I still love them for a few reasons.  This book is a good example of what I mean.

First, the fabrics and photos are updated.  Doesn’t seem like that’s a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I love that it helps to invite new quilters into “our world.”  Crisp, clear and modern constantly mean something different, and it helps to keep our creative blood flowing.

Second, the techniques do get updated.  A book written 50 years ago wouldn’t have included any information about rotary cutters because, hello, they weren’t invented for quilting yet.

Third, the projects themselves get updated.  I love that in this book they have a great mix of quilts and other projects- everything from a bunting to a bib, from a pouch to a pillow.  Love it!

So, here’s what I made.  It didn’t take me long to make the top, but it did take a while to quilt it.  I love the simplicity of this project as a background for some massive quilting, so that’s what I did.

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Churning Green

I had copious amounts of this fabric in my stash, and it was exactly what I wanted.  If you come to the studio/my husband’s shop, you will see it hanging in the bathroom.  This color combination appeals to me, as it reminds me of a lot that we’ve been seeing from prominent fabric designers over the last few years.  The main print is an older piece by Laura Gunn, and I’ve been hoarding it for a while.

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I started quilting it the day our youngest went off to college.  I wasn’t in the mood for a lot of chatter, and I for sure needed chocolate.  Juan and I worked quietly and diligently, and for the most part, all went well.  However, I did run into some technical issues that eliminates this quilt from being shown anywhere but the bathroom.  Let’s just say I learned a lot, and am grateful for it, but am really sad because this started out as a great quilt and could have done well.  I may have to try again.

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I artfully staged this pic so that the biggest offense is not that visible, but I will tell you that a bit of it is peaking out at the top right corner.  Maybe I will write a post sometime about using a Statler, and some of the things I’ve learned since bringing Juan home a year ago.  It’s been an amazing process.

The irony?  This book was written as a beginning quilting book, and while I may be all “I know how to do that already,” I still ended up getting a lesson in the end.

Pride goeth before a fall.  (Prov 16:18)