Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sew Red - Sewing and Quilting for Women's Heart Health

Last May I was in Kansas City at Quilt Market and was introduced to Laura Zander from Jimmy Beans Wool by Nancy Soriano at a lunch.  (Nancy introduces me to some of my favorite people!)  Later that evening, at a dinner thrown by Moda,  Laura and I happened to sit next to each other again and I felt like I was with a long lost friend.  At dinner, we got to talking and Laura told me about her business and mentioned a new quilting and sewing book she was working on called Sew Red in support of women's heart health.  I had a necklace on that our craft master, Jody Rice, had designed and Laura wanted to feature it in her book - so I took it off of my neck and said "Let's do it!"    
It's a funky little necklace that's made out of a bunch of 2x2 squares of fabric that are made into soft beads by sewing the outer perimeter with a simple running stitch and then filling fabric with a cotton starts with the same process as making a quilter's yoyo.  Continue to make these fabric beads over and over again until you have the length of necklace you desire!  We also featured this necklace on our Fall Moda Blog Hop!
Sew Red is filled with projects and ideas from some of my favorite designers, including: Denyse Schmidt, Aneela Hoey, Amy and David Butler, and  Kaffe Fassett.  In addition to beautiful pictures, thorough instructions and patterns, each designer offers his or her tips for healthy living and personal heart health experiences.  It's a book full of inspiration and ideas...and I am really proud to be a part of it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Friendship Winners

I loved reading what your favorite French General collection has been over the third place, Chateau Rouge, with Rural Jardin being your second favorite and Rouenneries coming in first!  Thank you all for your comments and encouragement!
Now...for the real winners...Moda has sent me some wonderful precuts of our latest collection, La Belle Fleur, which many people voted for as their favorite all time collection.  The winners of our blog hop giveaway are:

Donna W. - La Belle Fleur vote
Terri - Rouenneries vote
Missy Shay - Pom Pom de Paris vote
Janet - Fa La La vote
B. Greene - Petite Ecole vote
Barb B. - Rural Jardin vote

If you are one of the six lucky winners, please send us an email to with Friendship Winner in the subject line, include your address and comment and we will send out some lovely La Belle Fleur fabric to you right away!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Moda Friendship Quilt Along and Giveaway

Hello and Welcome to the Quilt Along!

All month you can follow Moda fabric designers and receive a pattern for a 9" quilt block which will eventually make up a beautiful friendship quilt!  Today is our day, as well as Lynn from Kansas City Troubles and Kate sure to pop over and see my friends too!
Once I start quilting, I will try to make the Moda Friendship Quilt...because I love the idea of having Sofia's friends sign the middle of the blocks and then using them to make up a keepsake quilt for her.
Lissa Alexander sent us all a selection of blocks to choose from and I chose one that reminded me of old French tiles...big surprise there!

 In fact, lately I have been dreaming of France and planning our next Chateau's something I do when I am looking for an excuse not to work...wait it is work - right!?  This summer, Amy Butler is joining us for two weeks at the chateau in the South of France, to inspire and teach us all about her sense of color!  If you would like to come along Summer 2014, please let us know - our waiting list has already begun!

Enough about France...back to the Quilt Along!

Using our new collection, La Belle Fleur, Jody helped me sew up our friendship block and then went a little crazy sewing up a few other fun ideas....  This new group of fabric is filled with the faded reds and pinks that were so often used in 19th century French prints, along with the warm blues and soft teals.

 Here's a fun project using up the scraps from your block...a Scrap Book that you can fill with all of your favorite bits and pieces from each collection.  I'm big on scraps - in fact, I am thinking of making a fabric scrapbook for each collection I have designed for Moda....just to keep history of our 15 different collections!    Sandy Gervais told me to start this years ago, and I failed to listen to now I have to do some catch up work!

And this is our new quilt pattern, La Belle Fleur...using a Carpenter Wheel pattern...reinterpreted by French General,  this pattern has two colorways - something for everyone!


We're giving away a bunch of precuts to some lucky winners, so please leave us a comment about your favorite fabric collection from French General over the past five years.  Here's a list of the collections to jog your memory:

Rouenneries (and do you know how to pronounce it!?)
Rural Jardin
Lumiere de Noel
Petite Ecole
Maison de Garance
Pom Pom de Paris
Fa La La La
Panier de Fleurs
Rouenneries Deux
Petite Odile
Chateau Rouge
Esprit de Noel
La Belle Fleur
Josephine  (coming Fall 2013)
Le Bouquet Francais (coming Spring 2014)

Thanks for playing along and be sure to join our networking site of creative friends at - we would love to see what you are up to!

You can also follow us on instagram at frenchgeneral...for a daily peek into what inspires us!

And have you heard the BIG news....French General is now open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-5pm!   Come see us next time you are in the neighborhood....

Bonne Chance!

Moda's Friendship Quilt Along Schedule

FEB 18th
Barbara Brackman 
Camille- Thimbleblossoms

Deb Strain

Eric & Julie Comstock

FEB 21st
Jan Patek

Joanna-Fig Tree

Jenn Ski

FEB 22nd
Kaari-French General

Lynne-Kansas Troubles

Kate Spain

 You have the weekend to rest or sew these blocks.
 We hope you are having fun collecting all these quilt blocks.

FEB 25th
Kathy Schmitz

Vanessa Christenson

March 1st
The Cutting Table

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Learning to Quilt

Five years ago, when Moda knocked on the door of French General and asked if I wanted to design a line of quilting fabric for them, I had no idea how immersed in the quilting world I would become!  Since then, we have designed fifteen collections of fabric for Moda - three a year - and we are still going strong!  In fact, just this week, we were nominated for Best Fabric Designer of the can vote here if you agree!  Since we design fabric, it only seems natural that over the years, I have been asked to design quilt patterns for books and articles.  Designing a quilt has been an extremely hard learning process for me - I assumed that because I could design fabric or a piece of jewelry, I could design a quilt...WRONG!  Designing a quilt is all about contrast and scale and balance - three things that must come with lot's of time and patience!   Eventually, with the help of some really talented artists and designers, we have slowly entered into the quilt pattern world - even though I have been kicking and screaming all along the way!
Then, just when I was finally getting comfortable with designing quilts, along came someone who said, "How many quilts do you make a year?"  Make?  I just figured out what I like to see in a quilt - now I have to learn to make a quilt??
Luckily for me, we have a workshop coming up at French General where I will learn to make a quilt - from beginning to end!  Grand Country Quilters are coming to French General on Saturday and Sunday, March 16th and 17th to teach a two-day class that will cover all of the basics of learning to quilt, and then some!  Everyone will leave with a finished quilt - which will be quite an accomplishment for me!  If you have always loved the idea of a beautiful quilt draped over your bed - made entirely by you - then this just might be the class for you!  All materials will be supplied - you just have to bring your own sewing machine.  Seats for  our Learning to Quilt Workshop are limited - so sign up today - and check quilting off your list of things to learn!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pam and Her Parasol...

Years ago I was smitten by a beautiful parasol I had seen at a friend's home.  The parasol was all hand-painted with beautiful details and lettering.  The piece seemed so familiar to me, but as it was hanging up high in the corner of the room, I could never actually get my hands on it to look at it!  Eventually, I met Pam Garrison and learned it was one of her beautiful creations.  Since then, so many years ago, Pam and I have become great friends and even plan a monthly dig together...when we can both steal away for a whole day!  Everytime I see one of Pam's blogposts or instagram photo's or one of her many creative journals...I wonder how she does it all...the art just keeps pouring out of her!
Pam has been a frequent teacher at French General and she is coming back...this time to teach her beautiful Painted Parasol Workshop on Saturday, March 2nd May 11th, from 1-4pm.  All materials are supplied to make a one of a kind art piece.  Pam will also be bringing her trunk full of creative kits and materials so you can get a close up look at her handiwork.  We hope you will join us for this very special day!
Please note new date of workshop! Saturday May 11th from 1-4pm.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Merci...From the Bottom of Our Hearts!

Our Valentine drive in honor of Jack has come to an end...and boy, do we ever have a lot of Valentines to deliver to City of Hope!  Over 350 Valentines were made in the shop and sent to us from friends across the country!  My good friend Joan, from Stamp Your Heart Out, got each of her lovely employees to make a beautiful card, as well as have some of her paper and sticker reps send over boxes full of goodies to use on our Valentine table.  Thank you to each and every one of you who came into the shop to create a card, or sent in a beautiful hand-made card....and to those who sent in a stack of handmade cards...we were truly touched!  To the sophmore class at Immaculate Heart and the fifth grade class at Azusa Elementary...thank you for the wonderful artwork and heart-felt notes!  Today, Molly, Sofia and her good friend, Willow, will be delivering the cards to City of Hope...just in time for Valentine's Day.  Thank you again to everyone who found the time and creative energy to slow down and make something for those that need a little extra love......Merci!