Tuesday, December 13, 2011

“Sewing up” the Next Generation

Fabric Warehouse in Lakeland, Florida and second generation owner Betty Gronow, are “sewing up” the shop’s future with the next generation of sewers, quilters and customers through some innovative programs.
The shop, managed by sisters Melody and Holly Robson, runs the aptly named“Little Sisters” taught by Holly after school and on Saturdays while Melody teaches a similar group for the home schooled called “Little Sisters at Home” that meets once a month. Summers especially are busy with week long Kid’s Sewing Camps.
Great things happen when young people are taught to sew. An example is the “Birds of Hope” started by two “Little Sisters” Emily and Allison. The girls learned to make decorative hanging birds from quilt scraps and had the idea to sell them for $5 a piece. But it’s not money to go to the mall. In just 16 months the more than $30,000 raised has been donated to villages in Zambia for new water filtration plants.
“Buy a bird, change a life,” is Emily and Allison’s slogan and there’s no doubt abundant clean water has changed the villagers’ lives. To learn more about Emily and Allison’s heart-warming story click on this link. Birds of Hope
Fabric Warehouse-Awash in color
The Robson sisters have an eye for the modern, popular fabric designers that appeal to the young and young at heart. The store’s displays are awash in color providing an exciting, upbeat atmosphere.
When not busy with young sewers, Melody and Holly spend their time researching hot new products on the market, maintaining a strong presence for the store on the Internet, teaching classes and selling Viking machines. Fabric Warehouse is among the top 10 Viking Dealers in the country.
Visit their web site at Fabric Warehouse
Eazy Peazy Gal’s Million Dollar Fudge
With Christmas just around the corner here is a drop dead delicious fudge recipe that’s perfect for holiday parties. Click here to download a printable copy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eazy Peazy Freebeez

NEW! Eazy Peazy Gals
Announcing the Eazy Peazy Gal Club
The Eazy Peazy Gal “club” for our quilt shop friends has no dues, no rules and no meetings.

The purpose is to share ideas on topics like sewing, household hints, favorite recipes and lots more. The “club” meets whenever you want on the “Eazy Peazy Freebeez” page on our web site.

You will find items and ideas are for sharing with your customers.

Take a look at the sewing hints for binding non-square corners or installing a magnetic snap. The clear, well-written instructions are accompanied by great illustrations and are perfect for a “mini-event” demonstration to bring customers in to your shop. They take the “fear” out of these sewing techniques and customers will really be appreciative. New items are being added all the time for you to download and print.

One of our favorites is “No Lumpy Bumpy Binding,” please let us know what you think.

And lastly feel free to send us your special ideas or techniques to share with all the Eazy Peazy Gals running quilt shops…our friends and business partners.

Expanded shop listings
During the exciting (but exhausting) Quilt Market this year it was thrilling to meet shop owners who often said, “We have your patterns!” So, we’ve added lots of new names to our web page listing shops carrying Eazy Peazy patterns.

Since we do not and will not sell retail, the listing of shops by state is important. If you stock our patterns and are not on shown please let us know and we will add your shop. Use the contact form on our web site to send us an email. Please include your name, your shop’s name, city, state and country.

Eazy Peazy patterns are sold in several foreign countries, but we lack listings for some states right here in the good old USA. Since we are frequently contacted by consumers wishing to purchase patterns directly, it’s great to be able to refer them to a nearby shop.

“Increasing business through add on sales…GUARANTEED”
Speaking of Houston, in case you couldn’t make it there here is a link to my presentation at Schoolhouse with some thoughts and ideas about increasing quilt shop sales. Feel free to download it and share it with your staff.

Cool News-Checker iPhone App
In case you missed it, Checker Distributors has their own iPhone App which puts the shop owner in instant touch with their best selling products and makes ordering easy. To me the most amazing thing is that each Creative Grids ruler will have a chip imbedded leading to a smartphone video demonstrating use of the ruler.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quilt Trade Association

Helping Quilt Shops – the QTA Quilt shop owners – feeling overwhelmed by it all? Want some help with your website, the Internet, marketing, computers, operating ideas?

All of these are topics part of the educational program for members of the Quilt Trade Association.

QTA Executive Director Joyce Keane says their guiding principle is, “When one quilt shop wins…all quilt shops win.” Joyce heads the Association with assistance from a board of directors comprised of quilt shop owners and prominent industry leaders who share the common goal of working together for the benefit of quilt shops.

She tells me a large part of her work is talking with owners but an increasing amount of time is spent on QTA’s free-to-members educational webinars that cover a wide range of subjects designed to help owners be more successful. Joyce, a quilter for 11 years, has merged her passion for quilting with her professional experience and background in sales, marketing and trade association management.

Her MBA in Marketing and Information Technology from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management really comes in handy especially since so many of QTA's programs are delivered via the Internet. Joyce commented, “I also know that some quilt shop owners struggle with websites, email marketing, Facebook and other Internet marketing, so I help by personally conducting free workshops for our members on these topics.”

Joyce heads an organization run by members, supported by members, with the goal of collectively solving the industry's challenges. Learn more about QTA at QuiltTradeAssoocation.org or email Joyce at Joyce@QuiltTradeAssociation.org

International Quilt Market - Houston
Again this year Eazy Peazy will exhibit at Quilt Market. Visit us in booth 1215 and attend the two Schoolhouse sessions I will be teaching:

“Inventive ways to increase add-on sales GUARANTEED!”
Friday Oct. 28thin Room 372A,11:00-11:30 am

In conjunction with Checker Distributors - “Add the Awe Factor to Tote Bags the Sweet ‘N Sassy Way” Templates aren’t just for quilts any more!
Friday Oct. 28th in Room 371B&C, 2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Awe! I’m blushing!
Brandi Frey of Clothworks recently had some very nice things to say about Eazy Peazy in the company blog. Here is the link to read the entire story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Visit with Julie Creus of LaTodera

LaToderaThis month we visit with a special friend, the talented Julie Creus of La Todera Sewing and Craft Patterns.

Julie has designed a wide range of beautiful folded flowers from orchids to dahlias, several pin cushions and a great handbag all while the being a mom to her active 10 and 12 year old children in suburban Orlando.

For nine years she lived in Buenos Aires, mastering both a new language and enjoying the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful architecture and art. She even tested her first pattern (the Kafflower) in 2009 during an Argentinean vacation.

Her life’s journey started outside of Chicago with loads of craft items and books provided by her mother. Her education continued with several helpful art teachers and a degree in graphic design. This background has served her well and she really appreciates the newer computer publishing programs. 

Julie's Kafflower BroochJulie tells me her favorite pattern is her very first, the Kafflower named for Kaffe Fassett, whose fabrics she loves (see picture). Julie tells the story, "When I nervously showed the pattern and Kafflowers to Kaffe himself at my booth at the Houston Quilt market last year, he was flattered and wore one of my flowers pinned to his shirt for the rest of the day (swoon!).  

Julie has a host of new patterns for 2011 International Quilt Market this fall in Houston including the Kanzashi Flower Badge using the Clover Kanzashi Flower Maker and the Cactus Blossom Pincushion. See all the beautiful things that can be done with fabric by visiting LaTodera’s booth #1217. 

Also visit her website and blog:
latodera.com, facebook.com/laToderatodera.blogspot.com/ 

See you in Eazy Peazy's booth #1215 in Houston at International Quilt Market. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Visit Kat of StudioKat Designs

StudioKat DesignsKathy “Kat” Southern started StudioKat Designs seven years ago but kept her day job with the city for another 18 months until eventually “retiring” with 29 years of government service and 4 patterns on the market. She now has 22 handbag patterns and 2 purse insert patterns.

Originally from Connecticut, Kat spends most days at home in Winston-Salem, N.C. designing, writing her newsletter, blogging, packing patterns, handling correspondence, etc. Because her studio is in her home, she finds it difficult to NOT work.  She relaxes by traveling with her husband. and specially loves collegiate sports and visiting her grandson in Charlotte. And as if she wasn’t doing enough, she plays the clarinet in her church orchestra.

StudioKat Designs’ detailed patterns produce functional handbags which address the basic daily needs of women like herself. Kat’s bags are designed around what she likes and what makes the components work together.  She says, “A well-designed pattern is just a fancy jigsaw puzzle and I find the process of getting the pieces to fall into place incredibly stimulating and fun.  The more difficult the design problem, the more satisfying it is when the problem is solved.”

Kat continued, “I really love it when folks send me pictures of the bags they make from our patterns. I get a real kick out of seeing how our customers express their individuality & creativity through our patterns. The only thing that would be even more fun, would be being able to hear the compliments they get from friends and family when  they carry these bags. That would be the icing on the cake!”

Presently, she’s in the process of finishing a  new pattern for fall and chronicling the process on her blog. StudioKat is venturing into the notions business with the addition of two items to their product line; a brand new invisible sew-in magnetic snap perfect for handbags and black & white striped zippers in six different sizes.  They will be ready for release in September. Kat doesn’t play favorites with her family of bags, “ My favorite bag is pretty much always the one I am working on right now.” Why not visit Kat and her bags at studiokatdesigns.com or her blog studiokatdesigns.blogspot.com.
and on Facebook - StudioKatDesigns and Twitter- StudioKat.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Meet Annie Unrein

Annie Unrein was looking for a little extra money to support her quilting habit and she found the ideal solution: creating quilt patterns and starting her own business, Patterns by Annie followed by www.ByAnnie.com.

While working as a scrap booking consultant, Annie developed her first pattern, an organizer to hang on the back of a door and today she has 98 published patterns with two more to make and even 100 coming soon.  

"Many of my quilt patterns begin in my head. Heather Purcell, Mother Superior of Superior Threads, is my friend and has partnered along the way,” says Annie.

“We will ‘play’ with designs. I'll do a rough pattern. Heather will make the quilt and have it quilted. Then I'll come back and finish the pattern. Superior Threads has a beautiful quilt for their booth, and I have a finished pattern."

Annie makes extensive use of Texture Magic and her own product, Soft and Stable. Both have been "adopted" by Eazy Peazy for our patterns because they produce such beautifully finished items. To date she has done 30 patterns for using Texture Magic and more are in the works.

Soft and Stable came about because Annie had used similar products but felt they just didn't quite do the job. So she tested and re-tested materials made to her specifications before introducing Soft and Stable at 2010 Fall Quilt Market. It was an instant hit and recently Annie introduced a version in white in addition to the original black.

You may see all of Annie Unrein’s exciting ideas and innovative products plus read more about this talented creative quilter at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Visit With Me and My Sister Designs

PHOENIX, Arizona – While attending a quilting class at a local quilt shop sisters Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson found out the shop was for sale. They purchased it and for three years found they never had worked so hard in their lives. Selling the shop but not wanting to leave the business entirely they thought creating fabric designs would be an ideal solution. Me & My Sister Designs was born.

Barb and Mary and Amelia on the rightBarb and Mary tell me they are now working on their 19th and 20th fabric collections and have branched out into designing patterns (more than 40 now) plus they have authored seven books.

One of my favorite fabric collections is named Amelia about which Barb says, “Our style has always been whimsical and we tried to add a bit of a ‘watercolor feel’ to some of the prints this time. We had just returned from teaching in Florida…on Amelia Island…and really liked the name Amelia.”

Both sisters are certainly creative but day to day Mary spends more time on the computer and handling the accounting part of the business while Barb does more of the customer contact. They meet in the middle though when its time to design fabrics with Mary being the diva of color selection. 

Barb pointed out a big part of their success is having Moda Fabrics as their fabric distributor. The duo finds the people at Moda easy to work with which leaves them time for the job they most enjoy, designing new fabric collections.

Me & My Sister’s newest collection entitled “Twirl,” will debut at the quilt show in Houston this fall. It features butterflies as one of the motifs.

The top photo shows Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson with some of their Amelia fabric and below is an Eazy Peazy Tabletop Pocketeer also made from Amelia.

Check out the website MeandMySisterDesigns.com and their blog to see more of the sister’s creative products and ideas.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shop Stop in Georgia

A Scarlet Thread
MCDONOUGH, GEORGIA – South of Atlanta and just 2.5 miles east of Interstate 75 is the largest sewing and quilt shop in Georgia, A Scarlet Thread.

Owner Karen Taylor has a warm and welcoming personality, greeting longtime customers and first timers as they enter with her soft southern voice and “Southern Lady-style.”

A popular seller for the shop are bundles of five one-yard cuts, ready for any pattern and with a bundle purchase Karen includes a free unique pattern, designed just for the shop. Patterns range in difficulty…something for everyone.

Visitors will notice shop displays are built vertically and lit by natural light coming through the many windows. There are also special spotlights which show off the inventory of more than 7,500 fabrics to best advantage. Karen knows how important displays are and employs a decorator who constantly works to keep things new and fresh. The picture illustrates these merchandising techniques - Karen just happens to be holding an Eazy Peazy Second Heaven Two Handbag, isn’t it cute?

Bringing the kiddies and hubby? A Scarlet Thread has a kids’ zone and even a man cave.

You can learn more about A Scarlet Thread at their website, AScarletThread.com. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jeans Skirt Rescue

Bias binding to the rescue.  This waaay too long jeans skirt was on its way to the charity bag, but was saved today by the "No Lumpy Bumpy Binding Technique" outlined in the previous blog and downloadable from http://www.eazypeazyquilts.com/

I cut off the excess fabric and prepared some bias binding from great fabric found in the stash.  The bias strips were cut 2 1/4" wide but wider would also work.  They were then stitched together and folded in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and pressed.

The folded binding was stitched to the right side of the skirt matching all raw edges and with a 1/4" seam.  Then a quick press to the wrong side and a quick hem and it was done.  It's cute...won't show, but I know it's there.  So Eazy Peazy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No More Lumpy Bumpy Bindings

Have you ever wondered why we quilters tend to make techniques harder than they need to be? 

Years ago, American Patchwork and Quilting magazine published a technique that produced no lumps where the ends of the binding strips finally came together. I've used it over the years, and have adapted it to my own use.

In the picture to the right, can you find where the binding joins? Of course you can't. It truly works.

You need to remember just one measurement....the width you cut your binding strips... even I can manage that!

The steps to this technique in a computer-friendly printable form on our website: http://www.eazypeazyquilts.com/

Look for and then click on "Eazy Peazy Freebeez."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shop Stop in Fairbanks, Alaska

Where is Eazy Peazy Now?
We visit Blue Ribbon Sew & Vac

FAIRBANKS, ALASKA  -  Q: Do you know one of the longest quilting seasons in the U.S.?
A: It has to be in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the snow doesn't melt until April!

The months of cold and snow give customers of Blue Ribbon Sew 'N Vac in Fairbanks lots of time to make wonderful things.

Susan Phillips and husband John purchased the business two years ago and sell four sewing machine brands plus two brands of vacuum cleaners. As you can imagine John is kept busy keeping all in running order.

Susan's forte is bringing the latest fabric and notions to the shelves. She does much of the investigating to find new fabrics online but also does purchasing through fabric distributor's representatives.

And as Susan will tell you, samples sell. She tries all the Eazy Peazy patterns and displays her creations with the patterns, making it easy for her customers to see what can be accomplished.

Learn more about Susan's shop on her web site http://www.blueribbonsewing.com/

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Another Shop Stop

Where is Eazy Peazy Now?
We visit the Canton Quilt Corner 

CANTON, S. Dakota - Free popcorn and a ‘man cave’ are only two of the reasons the Canton Quilt Corner is a popular and unique place to visit. Of course for quilters there are also the more than 1,100 bolts of fabric plus the opportunity to see the interior of their historic 1897 red granite bank building and even shopping inside the vault.

Owners Robert Wight and Lori Kern greet customers with a cup of coffee or tea and really are most helpful. The old bank has plenty of room for a 2,000 square foot classroom and boasts 245 square feet of design walls. What quilt top couldn’t be perfected on a wall of that size?

Oh, did I mention a commercial grade popcorn maker? Robert and Lori bought it to use during the quilting retreats they sponsor in their upstairs retreat center, which accommodates 15 quilters, not to mention taking care of hubby in the man cave while you shop.

Pictured is a wonderful idea they had to display and promote the Eazy Peazy Eazier Livin’ Walker Saddlebag. Lori and right hand employee Marcia VanOort (a life-long quilter with a degree in textiles) are next to a walker with the pattern kits and patterns in the Saddlebag. Simple but effective. Robert tells me they quickly sold out and had to reorder…music to my ears.

Want to learn more about Lori, Robert and their fabulous shop?
Visit them on the web at http://www.cantonquiltcorner.com/.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shop Stop

Today finds us in Winter Haven, FL. 

Heartfelt Quilting, owned by Pat Roberts, is always a happy, active place.  Pat was the very first shop to see and purchase the early Eazy Peazy patterns.  A great merchandiser, she's able to take a simple idea and build it until it becomes fabulous. 

Note in the picture the bejeweled walker which was in Houston. Pat didn't just hang the Walker Saddlebag on it...but added "Granny".  Granny has her own "back-story" complete with facelift and hip replacement!  It was taken to another step when Pat put soap products in a bucket. She's able to sell patterns plus soap in this eye-catching display right inside the front door.  This starts and ends your visit with a smile. See more of Heartfelt at http://www.heartfeltquilting.net/

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Where's Eazy Peazy Now?

Let's start this series at Red Hen Fabrics in Marietta, GA.

Hop off I75 in Marietta and travel the few extra miles to Red Hen Fabrics for a real treat.  "Mother Hen", Mary Anne Henderson runs a wonderful quilt shop filled with yummy fabric lines.

Mary Anne, an artist, fabric designer, and award winning quilter brings her creativity to her store. The merchandise displays and quilts are constantly changing.

Red Hen Fabrics was one of the first places to take a chance on a new pattern series...and during one stop, Mary Anne asked for a sample of the Bodacious Brag Bag, and ended up getting the one I was using.  I just hauled out my wallet, tissues, cell phone, keys, etc., and that bag still hangs in the store.

On the day this picture was taken, Mary Anne who did not know I was arriving, remarked that she was dressed in the "Eazy Peazy colors".   You'll find her website: http://www.redhenfabrics.com/