Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kris' Tale of Good Cheer

Kris wrote in to tell us about her mother, Mary, who is good will exemplified. Hearing about women (and men) like Mary is incredibly inspirational. Mary, if you are reading this, thank you for your legacy of humbleness and generosity! And HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!!


My mom is the perfect example of someone with good will and good cheer. My mom, Mary Barr, has been a first grade teacher for 34 years. She loves all of her students and always goes above and beyond the call of duty of teacher, if needed. For example, if a student needed a backpack or a coat and my mom knew their family was in need, she'd provide one for that student. There have been countless years that she has played secret Santa to families of students in her room, that she knew otherwise would have no or very little presents. Likewise, she coordinates needy families from school with a ladies' organization she belongs to and organizes present drives for the families.

Two weeks ago, the local Toys for Tots organization contacted her school about dropping off a drop-off box because they only had 4 toys so far in the entire county donated. I was personally with my mom as she went shopping, and her trunk had several large bags of toys to contribute. She always does acts of kindness like these, not to get any credit, but to enhance others' welfare and well-being.

My mom also gives goodwill and service to her church. She provided 2 large dishes at Thanksgiving for families in need in our community that the church was hosting. She is often called up to provide food for fund raising dinners and funeral dinners. She always does it eagerly and with a smile. She is truly one of the happiest people I know, and I contribute that mostly to her duty and goodwill towards others.

This has been a very busy year for my mom. Not only is she still teaching and helping children everyday (including organizing and running an after-school tutoring program), but she sees to the daily needs of my grandmother who suffers from dementia, heart disease, and diabetes. She takes her to weekly doctor's appointments, to get her hair done, as well as doing all of her laundry and meal preparations. She is so giving of herself, and I know she is very deserving of your good cheer giveaway, and that it would truly bless her.

Thank you,
Kris Paquette

Monday, December 29, 2008

Edna's Tale of Good Cheer

On Tuesday, we got to share in the warmth of Sheri's little grandbabies. Today, it's a story of the companionship of lifelong friends from Edna. Anyone got a tissue handy?


The angels in my life have been part of my life for nearly 30 years. My angels don't have sisters, and so we are like a little pack of sisters. As angels we looked out for each other when our kids were born, attended the first day of school, went through teen troubles, got married and are now having babies of their own, making three of us grandmothers! We are fortunate to all live in the same city -- Victoria, British Columbia, and in recent years we have developed a pattern of going to the same tea house in Victoria to celebrate each of our birthdays. It is a time together that we cherish.

We also plan a Christmas Tea party at one of our homes and exchange gifts with each other -- something small and often homemade. Here is a picture of my angels wearing the tea cozies I made each of them for Christmas this year.

We have all experienced major health issues this past year and are most thankful for the support of our angels. We all agreed that we could count on each other to be there in prayer and presence during our hospital stays.

We are all sewers and two of us love to quilt and make quilts for the grandchildren arriving rapidly amongst our friends these days.

I am thankful these three angels are in my life, and I have counted on them so many times this year. What a year it has been for all of us, but to know that each angel was only a few blocks away; a call away; a late night e-mail listener, has made each angel a treasure.

Merry Christmas to all angels.

Edna Vaines
Victoria, B.C.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We would like to take this time to wish all of our customers very happy holidays. We look forward to serving you in 2009 and wish for each of you hope, health and happiness!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sheri's Tale of Good Cheer

Last week, we concluded our Good Cheer Giveaway with 5 winners. Now, we get to share their stories with you. Happy holidays, and keep spreading the Good Cheer!


I have to say thank you to Fat Quarter Shop. I have enjoyed my two Quilt Clubs more than you will ever know. Also, I hope this isn't too long, I just couldn’t write it any less. I have two special people, which might be out of the norm.

First and Foremost, I have to thank God for granting me this time on earth to see my children grow and to have what I am most thankful for, my very precious grandchildren!

Several years back I was hurt on the job. They fired me and I had three surgeries and no income after 38 years of working. I lost the ability to ever work again.

My grandson was born in 2003. What a precious gift he was and still is. My daughters are and always will be my babies, however having grandchildren is an unexplainable feeling. He will never know how he helped Nana forever. My grandson is just beautiful, caring, and polite, and at that time in my life when I would see him he would do whatever it took to get to Nana, which made me feel like I could just melt.

As an infant he’d fill me with such joy, it's indescribable. Even when I was unable to get out of bed, my daughter would bring him to me to take a nap. Oh my, what that was like to have him lay next to me, watching him sleep. For the next several years, every time I was able to see him (they lived in Los Angeles & I lived in Northern California) he lit up my soul. It broke my heart when the doctor told me that I would have to stop traveling so much, that I was doing more damage than good to my neck, and yet being stubborn, I did go to LA several times more times and paid for it the hard way.

Well to my surprise, my son-in-law requested a transfer home and I cried like a big 53 year-old baby. They moved home near me, and with that they had my first granddaughter. Oh, what that felt like was the same as with my grandson, but different since I had a little girl to play with and hopefully sew for.

Now they both spend a lot of time with me at my home, and we play games, work on the computer, etc. Long story short is that I thought there was nothing left for me to do. Those kids changed all that, and I am very thankful that they are in my life. Within the last 5 years, when I thought I couldn't get out of bed, I have done that and played with my grandkids! The chronic pain is there to stay, but it’s funny what a smiling child can do for someone. Even when that child is crying, your heart is still helped by that child.

My granddaughter is a Nana’s girl. She sits next to Nana when I sew, and I mean, this little girl rearranges my thread, but not once does she tear stuff up. I now make them blankets, quilts, and I made a little girl's outfit -- the first in 30 years. And boy, does she look cute!

Now to top this story off of giving thanks to two beautiful, caring, wonderful humans, my daughter is having a third child in January, and I have just gotten a business license to make and sell baby items on the internet! If someone would have told me I’d be playing with grandchildren and going to baseball games 5 years ago, I would have never believed it, nor would my doctor. Now my goal is to get off my meds and be able to take a trip to the Grand Canyon with all three of my grandchildren one day.

Thank you for allowing me to send this. It makes me all the more thankful when I read this and remember all the good things these babies have done for me, and they don’t even know it. I am so blessed with my children and grandchildren and so thankful. I see my grandkids almost every day and my life has been so much more full.

Sheri Whiteley
Murphys, CA

Monday, December 22, 2008

Debbie's Recipe Box: Chocolate Candy Mice

This is a recipe that we begged off of Angela, who helps us out here at the Fat Quarter Shop. It's a cinch to throw together, and the results are so cute and creative! But do be aware that they disappear rather quickly...

And then there was one...

Click on the recipe for a printable version!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Good Cheer Giveaway WINNERS!

Thank you for all the wonderful articles we received about friends, family, and even some perfect "strangers"! We were filled up with all the good cheer, and it's so good to know that even in a difficult world and hard times there still remains good will and hope that leaves a permanent legacy. (There were a lot of "goods" in that sentence!)

It was so difficult to choose "winners", because every single one was so touching. We're grateful for every Good Cheer e-mail and wish we could award all entrants. But, alas, there could only be five. Here is the list of the five we chose:

Edna Vaines from British Columbia

Kris Paquette from Michigan

Sally Caldwell from Conneticut

Sheri Whiteley from California

Vicky McGee from California

Thanks once again! We will be posting these five entries over the course of the next week. If you are a winner, please e-mail Jocelyn so we can get your information and send you your prizes! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tanya Whelan on Darla

The sweet Tanya Whelan returns to talk about her third collection for Free Spirit Fabrics, Darla. Darla has a bright and happy personality, which we are reveling in this cold winter season. The fabric is lovely and saturated with light, fresh colors, reminiscent (at least for me!) of The Wizard of Oz in a "now in Technicolor!" kind of way. The large, swirling florals and damasks are romantic, and her sweet dots and gingham checks are youthful. But Tanya describes it better than I can, so read on and be captivated by Darla! We have it as a Jolly Pack and in four mini bundles for you. Also, last call for The Good Cheer Giveaway entries -- it ends tonight!

I'm so happy to be blogging about my new fabric collection, Darla, for the Jolly Jabber. First, I'll just tell you how I described the collection when I first blogged about it.

This is what was going through my mind as I designed Darla: picnics,1930s/40s, shiny red convertibles, freshly laundered sheets hung on a clothes line, begonias on a kitchen window sill, tree swings, green grass, sweet iced tea, apple crisp with real whipped cream, clear blue skies, the kind you get just a few times a year where the air is so crystal clear and the sky that shade of blue that kind of makes your heart ache (in a happy way).

I wrote that description a few months ago and with winter upon us I do think Darla represents a little bit of sunshine. I've also been thinking lately that Darla is really sort of a celebration of home and domesticity. It just brings to my mind a sunny kitchen, an apron that I'd want to wear while baking a pie, a bright happy tablecloth... I probably over think these things, but fabric for me always tells me a story or brings me to certain place in time. And that's what I try to do with my collections. This time it brought me home to a place of domestic comforts and warmth. I hope you like it...

Tanya Whelan
Grand Revival Design
Grand Revival Design Blog

Monday, December 15, 2008

Angel Houses by Bunny Hill Designs

Our dear Anne Sutton returns to the Jolly Jabber with a new collection Angel Houses for Henry Glass Fabrics. Pretty and bright in pinks, yellows, sky blues and spring greens, it'll make you 'ooh', 'ahh', AND sigh! Rosy-cheeked angels turn about the cheery prints, speckled with rose bouquets, kittens, birdies, and handbags. So much to delight the little angels in your life! Anne talks about her own angelic inspirations and a neat little project you can easily finish by Christmas! Speaking of which, there are 2 more days til the Good Cheer Giveaway is over!

Do you have a little angel in your life? I do! Actually I have two angels and my Angel Houses fabric was inspired by them! It’s easy to be inspired when you have sweet grand-daughters to spark the imagination.

Alyssa and Michaela are always bubbling with excitement, questions, and ideas for things we can do together. We were cuddled under the covers on a sleepover and Michaela asked “Grandma? What are stars?” My answer was a story I made up about angels. Now I can share it with you! You’ll find it on the 4 little panels that co-ordinate with this new line. These little panels are cute framed as pictures, made into a window valance, crib or bed ruffle, a little cloth book, or even pillows.

I’m so excited about this fabric line! I designed it for little girls and then thought, why not use it for little boys too? And so I have my pattern called Dinosaur Treats! Dotty dinosaurs and stars just for the boys! Of course for the girls I have Postcard Cuties for Angels.

I’ve been having so much fun making little projects with this fabric. I “fussy cut” one of the angels and made a little heart for Emma. She can hang it from her Christmas tree and then after Christmas she can hang it in her bedroom. It’s also the perfect valentine for a sweet little girl like her! You can find the free pattern for this ornament here!

Tis the season for angels and the timing couldn’t be better for Angel Houses! I hope you enjoy working with my fabric!

Happy Holidays everyone! May a little angel bring you hugs and kisses!

Anne Sutton
Bunny Hill Designs
Bunny Tales Blog

Friday, December 12, 2008

Abbey Lane Quilts

Pretty, funky, colorful, and cool -- all describe what you see in patterns by Abbey Lane Quilts, created by Janice Liljenquist and Marcea Owens. They love to blend the old with the new to make something entirely original! Read on to see how these good friends took their hobby to a new level!
In the meantime, keep on sending in your entries for The Good Cheer Giveaway! Just a few days left!

We are so excited to be writing for the Jolly Jabber! We have been longtime readers of it and have been ordering fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop since long before we started designing patterns. Our new company, Abbey Lane Quilts, was started last December, and it has been an exciting and surprising adventure so far!

The beginnings of our company started almost 20 years ago, when we first became friends. We met at church and then discovered our kids were participating in many of the same sports and activities. As our friendship grew, we discovered lots of things we had in common -- we both love to cook, sew, and decorate. As quilters often do, we started making projects together. On almost every quilt we made, we ended up changing the pattern somehow. One thing led to another, and now that our children are mostly grown and out of the house, we decided it was time to focus more on the hobby we love so much and try and take it to the next level, thus Abbey Lane Quilts was born.

As partners, we have different styles and tastes. Janice likes an old-fashioned look and Marcea loves a modern feel. When you combine these together, it give our patterns a unique combination of traditional quilting with "a twist", as Janice says. Lots of things inspire us, but out biggest inspiration comes from the fabric itself. Every piece of fabric has a feel to it, and discovering that "feel" and then turning it into a quilt is the best part. As far as our teamwork goes, Marcea likes the design and colors, and Janice likes the sewing, quilting, and pattern writing. We both throw in our two bits into each other's jobs, so it takes both of us to come up with a pattern.

One of our favorite patterns is The Abbey Bag. It is a pincushion and scrap bag all packaged into an adorable little flower. They are fun and easy to make. We have them by our sewing machines, cutting boards, ironing boards and just about anywhere else we can stick them. One is never enough.

We had our first quilts displayed at quilt market in Portland this past May with Joel Dewberry and Donna Dewberry. This Fall, we had our very own booth at Market in Houston and introduced 21 patterns.

We really were the new kids on the block, but we have had great support from everyone. We were thrilled and honored to receive the 2nd place award for booth decoration. As for our future projects, we already have three quilts almost done for this Spring. We are very fortunate to be able to work with some great fabric designers, and we have some exciting new patterns in the works with those collections. We hope you can stop by our site and check out our latest ideas.

Janice and Marcea
Abbey Lane Quilts
Abbey Lane Quilts: The Blog

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This & That Patterns

This & That Patterns have become an indispensable staple at Fat Quarter Shop. Out of Sherri Fall's intensely creative mind have come a huge harvest of neat quilt patterns using all sorts of pre-cut fabrics, and a whole lot of these have been the pattern of choice for many of our coolest kits, like the Bonny Little Bag. Here, Sherri talks about how she got her start with This & That, her newest batch of pattern goodness, and you won't believe the crazy amount of projects she's now at work on! Talk about creating and creativity! P.S., don't forget to enter the the Good Cheer Giveaway!

I started sewing at a very young age and have always loved to create things. I love to do just about anything creative. I have been quilting since 1990. When I started quilting, I felt like I really found my niche.

I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Paul, for 17 years. We have 2 girls and 1 boy, ages 8, 11, and 15, and 2 bulldogs. Paul is very supportive of my designing and does all the order entry and shipping for me. He takes care of things around the house when I am getting ready to go to Market, and he even goes to Market and works in the booth so I can walk around and shop. (He really gets a kick out of Market, especially Sample Spree!)

I started This & That patterns in 2004 when I met Eileen Taylor, who designs the Holly Taylor fabric line for Moda, at my mom's quilt shop when we were ordering fabric. Eileen asked me to design a quilt for her using her new fabric. I fell in love with the process of designing and really enjoy designing with Holly Taylor fabric. Holly Taylor fabric was one of the first fabric lines I used when I started to quilt, and I have loved it ever since!

I also love to work with Moda's Charm Packs. I have lots of patterns that use that use them. Some of my new favorites are Around the Bend Table Runner (very easy to do; just sew nine-patches, then applique the orange peel over the seams) and Town Square, which is a neat table topper that looks great with a big candle placed in the middle of it. The charm patterns are small projects that can be done in a day. They may look difficult, but I have lots of diagrams in the patterns, and they go together fairly quickly, even for beginners.

I also do a lot of bags with the charm packs. I love the new bag patterns Clutter Bug, Sweet Stuff, and Every Day Fancy! I think you can never have enough bags. There are zippers in some of them, which I know a lot of people are scared of, but the lady who tested these had never done zippers before either and said that she was able to do it, no problem, because of the diagrams!

I get inspiration from hunting for antiques (I love anything vintage!), looking at new fabric to see what it looks like it should be made into, or sometimes just being out and about and seeing something I think is a great idea. It's kind of hard to say where all of the inspiration comes from, sometimes I don't even know!

I am working on a new book for the newest Holly Taylor spring line called Northern Solitude. It will have lots of fun projects in it -- quilts, wallhanging, table runners, and many more. Even a pincushion! Then I'll start on the Frosted Memories book for the 2009 Christmas line, also by Holly Taylor. This fabric is awesome! It has little panel squares that remind me of a good winter day spent at Grandma's house -- I just love it!

I am also working on a Block-of-the-Month for Spring Market along with a new club with lots of fast, fun projects, as well as some embroidery patterns and new charm patterns. And whatever else I get an itch to do!

Be sure to check out my new blog! I'll be posting lots of fun stuff that I'm working on, so you can keep up with me!

Sherri Falls
This & That Patterns
This & That Blog

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Good Cheer Giveaway

Thanksgiving has just passed, and we here at Fat Quarter Shop are still counting the many people in our lives for whom we're thankful, including all of you faithful readers of the Jolly Jabber. Yes, you!

So who are you thankful for?

In the spirit of these winter holidays, we're going to host a giveaway on this theme.

We'd like to hear about those Special People who have especially and profoundly touched the lives of you and your family this year. Maybe an old friend, maybe someone new to you. Why are you thankful for them, or how have they spread Good Cheer and Good Will to you?

How to Enter The Good Cheer Giveaway:

Write a few paragraphs about how a Special Person (or Persons) has brought Good Cheer and Good Will to your life this year.

Send your paragraphs by e-mail to Jocelyn @ with the subject line "The Good Cheer Giveaway" by Wednesday, December 17, along with photos of you and your Special Person if you have any.

Feel free to use our contest icon to share this contest with your friends! After all, the prizes aren't too shabby!

The Prize:

We will read all of the entries and select 5 winners. (It doesn't mean an entry is better than any other; unfortunately we just can't post them all!) The 5 winning essays will be posted throughout the week of Christmas. Each winner will receive a Jelly Roll of their choice for themselves and a $50 Gift Certificate for their Special Person!

Thanks for staying with us at Fat Quarter Shop! You keep us going on Good Cheer and Good Will, and we hope to keep passing it on!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fat Quarter Shop in eInsider


A while ago, we were approached by Rhianna White from eInsider who was writing a story about the lovely pre-cut fabrics that we all love so much.

We were only too happy to talk a bit about them, and the story, The Popular Pre-Cut Fabric Kits… It’s All in the Packaging, came out today!

Rhianna writes about Moda's Bake Shop (Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and the new Honey Buns and Turnovers) as well as RJR's Twice the Charms, Hoffman's Bali Pops, Lecien's Sushi Rolls, and Maywood Studio's Sweet Sixteenths.

Proud to say we've got 'em all, and Charm Packs, Jolly Packs, Jelly Cakes and Charming Jelly Cakes besides! The article also mentions our Clubs for all of these cuts.

They can really help make your projects a piece of...Layer Cake :P

Thanks to Rhianna including us in the story -- it's an honor!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Liesl Gibson and Oliver + S

I believe it was about two Markets ago that Fat Quarter Shop stumbled across the cutest booth of the year, adorned with life-sized retro paper (cardboard) dolls. It turned out to be Oliver + S, and we immediately fell head over heels. Kimberly got sparkly-eyed, no doubt with little Emma in mind. If you haven't seen the Oliver + S children's apparel patterns yet, get ready to start squealing with delight! Liesl Gibson, the mastermind behind these gosh-darn-cutesies joins us today on the Jolly Jabber to talk about her wonderful pattern company. And with a nod to Brooke Shields and VW, we humbly beseech you not to have babies just so you can dress them in her adorable outfits.

I trained as a clothing designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) here in New York and worked as a designer for several large companies before my daughter was born.

Once she arrived, I wanted to spend time with her, so I left my job for a while. At the same time I wanted to stay professionally active, so I started designing and sewing clothing for her. I couldn’t find any sewing patterns I liked [for her], so I started making my own. My friends teased me, telling me I should publish the patterns, so I thought I’d look into it a bit. Little did I know what I was getting myself into with that little simple idea!

It’s been a whirlwind since we launched the company one year ago this past October. The first patterns were released in March, and we now have nine patterns available in sizes from birth through children’s 8. We hear wonderful things from our customers; people love the quality of the papers we use, the little dressmaking details that are unique to our patterns, and the detailed instructions that accompany the patterns. I teach beginning sewing, so I write the instructions with those students in mind, leading them through each step of the process and really breaking it down so they can easily achieve those details that make our patterns unique. Sometimes our customers tell me they feel like they took a sewing class after making one of our patterns.

I find inspiration for the designs all over the place. Often it’s my daughter or her friends who inspire my designs, but recently I’ve also been inspired by Godard’s film, “Une Femme est Une Femme”, tearsheets from fashion and other glossy magazines (I’m constantly collecting images and objects that give me ideas in one way or another), and even a book about Jackie O’s wardrobe designed by Oleg Cassini. All these elements came together to inspire two new patterns that will be available next March. You can see a preview of the patterns on the Oliver + S blog.

Our fall collection, which is available now, was inspired by the film “Chocolat” and by a Japanese fabric collection. Finding that inspiration and interpreting my ideas into sew-able designs is one of the best parts of my job.

But the thing I love most about what I do it the chance to see the finished garments that other people make using our patterns. To that end, we set up a Flickr group so that you can share your creations. Fabric and color choices can completely change the look of a pattern, and it’s so exciting to see other people’s choices. I often hear from other people who were inspired by something they saw on the Flickr group as well.

If you’re looking for a quick holiday gift for a little girl, try our free pattern, the Lazy Days Skirt, and while you’re visiting the website you can sign up for our monthly newsletter as well.

Cheers and happy holidays!
Liesl Gibson
Oliver + S
Oliver + S blog