Celebrating CRAFT NAPA & a Chance to Win a $500 Gift Certificate to eQuilter


We are  in the final stages of preparing for the inaugural CRAFT NAPA event in January, and I have to say…we are having an absolute blast putting this together!


Check out the CRAFT NAPA apron:

Pokey Apron web

A closer look:

Apron close-up

This apron was designed specifically for coloring. Every CRAFT NAPA participant will got a complimentary apron so we can color with fabric markers and add some stitching in the BERNINA sewing room or in the wine bar after hours.

Indigo with the help of Larissa Davis also designed a slick catalog for the workshops:


I really can’t be happier with how this inaugural event is coming together, and while we are in the final stretch until registration closes, a CRAFT NAPA teacher blog hop has commenced where one lucky person will win a $500 gift certificate to eQuilter!

Just comment on the following blogs (look for their CRAFT NAPA posts), and you could be in the running to win this $500 gift certificate. I will be announcing the winner after December 10th on this blog and also on the Crafting a Life website.

The CRAFT NAPA Blog Hop Schedule

Nov 30 – Jane LaFazio – http://janeville.blogspot.com/
Dec 1 – Lynn Krawczyk – http://smudgeddesignstudio.com/blog/
Dec 2 – Judy Coates Perez – http://www.judycoatesperez.com/
Dec 3 – Jenny K. Lyon – http://quiltskipper.com/blog/
Dec 4 – Jamie Fingal – http://JamieFingalDesigns.blogspot.com/
Dec 5 – Melanie Testa – http://melanietesta.com/blog/
Dec 6 – Elizabeth St. Hilaire – http://www.paperpaintings.com/
Dec 7 – Leslie Jenison – http://leslietuckerjenison.blogspot.com/
Dec 8 – Carrie Bloomston – http://www.carriebloomston.com/blog/
Dec 9 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com
Dec 10 – Pokey Bolton – http://pokeysponderings.com/


Thanks to our CRAFT NAPA sponsors!






Thanks to CRAFT NAPA’s Preeminent Sponsors!


I am so excited. BERNINA of America and Meissner  Sewing have come on board to help sponsor CRAFT NAPA 2016 in January!


Meissner Sewing is providing sewing machines for student use, and also generously donating a brand new sewing machine for our premiere wine blending event: Blend Your Own Vintage Night!  At this event that promises a lot of laughs, participants will be put into teams, and a sommelier will help guide the teams to create a unique blend. Judges will then select the favorite blend, which will be bottled overnight, and all participants will take home a bottle of CRAFT NAPA wine! (And one lucky participant will win a new BERNINA sewing machine!)

Wine logo


Meissner will also have sewing machines for sale at CRAFT NAPA at a very reasonable price,  so if you’ve been thinking about getting a new machine, here’s your chance! They will also have  the  BERNINA Q 24 long arm on hand to play on during the entire retreat and during open sewing times.

I am really excited with how this retreat is coming together! For more information on CRAFT NAPA, mosey over to the Craft Napa site to learn more!







Demystifying Walking Foot Quilting

Confessions of a bad Godmother: a few months ago I completed a quilt top in Red Sox colors for my 11-year-old Godson, a devout Red Sox fan, but I’ve been procrastinating on the quilting because I have been waiting for that brainstorm for the perfect quilting motifs that will give the quilt a clean, masculine look–one that a budding baseball star would be proud to have in his bedroom!


Johnny at a Red Sox game (I think) when he was about seven.

 Fortunately for me, Catherine Redford has come to my rescue with her new DVD for walking foot quilting:



I bought a walking foot last year and I can’t rave enough about it–it has made my quilting so much easier– but there was a lot I didn’t know I could do with walking foot quilting until I watched Catherine’s DVD.

In the DVD she discusses:

• Mastering the walking foot to create even, straight, and curved quilting designs
• Creating gridded quilting patterns, including straight grids and plaids
• Adding texture and interest with perfect square and round spirals 
• Finishing your quilts with professional results


Having had Catherine as a guest on Quilting Arts TV as well as being a seasoned demonstrator in Open Studios, I can vouch that Catherine has a natural, easy-going teaching style that takes the fear and stress out of quilting, (including quilting those pesky perfect spirals).

After watching the DVD, I have decided to use plaid quilting for this Red Sox quilt. The quilt wont be done by Christmas but it WILL be done by Opening Day!



Go sneak over to Catherine Redford’s blog as she is going to be giving away a copy of her Modern Machine Quilting.

Quilt Festival/Long Beach: Some Of My Favorite Memories

I’ve attended the Long Beach show since its inception in 2008, both as an exhibitor and a member of the Quilts Inc. staff, and I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite memories from over the years. Warning: this is a people-centric (not quilt-centric) post!


• Editors on a Plane


This was an especially hilarious memory. After a long day of editing in the Quilting Arts/Interweave office, we scurried home, grabbed our luggage, and took a late night transcontinental flight from Logan to Long Beach…where the editing fun didn’t cease. As soon as we took off, out came the red pens!

Barbara Delaney Helen Gregory

Helen Gregory and Barbara Delaney opting to not watch the FREE Direct TV on Jet Blue but rather edit. Again.


• Touting an Extreme Manicure



Alisa Burke sporting an extreme manicure with her lime green hands.

Alisa Burke was one of our founding artists at Make It University!, and with her workshops, successfully convinced quilters that paper and paint can be just as fun and exhilarating as fabric and thread.


• Channeling My Inner “Chariots of Fire”


Last Run Long Beach

My morning solo runs in Long Beach, coupled with a music mix of Southern CA artists, made early mornings (typically dreaded at home) my favorite time of day.


Every year, I ran the length of the beach to the pier and back before the show opened, and although I chose a Doors playlist over Vangelis, that quiet time running on the beach made me feel like I could outrun anything or handle any (possible) quilt mishap.


• Getting By with the Help of My Friends



From left to right: Jamie Fingal, Judy Coates Perez, Leslie Jenison, Pokey Bolton, Melanie Testa, and Jane LaFazio

I’ve gotten to know this crew pretty well, and the beauty of these prolific art quilters(besides their talent) is they are not cliquish, but rather inclusive–of everyone, embodying the spirit of the greater quilting community. (And they are pretty darn fun, too, as anyone who witnessed “Surviving the Runway” can attest.)

I got to marvel at and hug other quilt friends, too, like Maggie Winfield, who always dressed to the 9’s for the show:




And I got to know other artists who have a rather beautiful spirit:



Sheila Frampton-Cooper

I also hung out with women who turned their love into a business (not to mention are hilarious):

Jaybird Quilts

Julie Herman (left) of Jaybird Quilts


• Show & Tell….I Got to Play, Too



“This Thing Of Ours” by Pokey Bolton. My sister-in-law, Sally Murray posing with me in The Silver Screen exhibit.

With the Silver Screen exhibit I finally had a reason to turn my obsession for “The Sopranos” into a quilt.

Upon reflection in reading my narrative for this quilt (below)–given the passing of James Gandolfini–I wont see my silver screen wish come true, but it will always be my favorite  TV series!

My Narrative:

Fans of HBO’s “The Sopranos” know it isn’t just a TV show about wise guys. There’s a bit of Tony in all of us: impulsive and selfish; concerned friends will rat us out; living with the guilt of whacking others (so to speak); distrustful of those supposed to have our backs; and deep down, a little panicked that—in the end, and despite our best efforts—the ones we love most will fly away.

 Not only were heavy issues and the ensuing plot lines handled masterfully by David Chase and his posse of writers and actors, but the show was also hands-down funny. It’s no wonder millions of people waited patiently during the long hiatus between seasons to find out what would happen to the Don and his crew next. I can only hope that the intensely disappointing, anticlimactic last minute of the series finale was conceived for one reason, and that is…the movie’s getting made! Here’s to “The Sopranos” making it to the silver screen.


• Witnessing A College Degree Put To Good Use

2010 (or 2011?)


My niece Lindsey Murray, a recent proud Boston College graduate in this shot, blowing hot air into a plastic dolphin. I think she passed out a couple seconds after I shot this.


However it was the Long Beach show where my Lindsey bought her first quilt kit, and made her very first (of many) quilts:



•  “Somebody Pinch Me: I Won! I Really Won!”


Colleen BERNINA winner

Colleen from Redondo Beach rendered speechless when she realized she had the winning ticket for a new 550 model.


Helping to host the Iron Quilter challenge was a total hoot (for full, in-depth coverage with LOTS of photos, visit this page). However, the best moment for me was watching a very lucky attendee win a new BERNINA. She was so shocked and grateful…I teared up.


• Coming Home With Loot!


Khaleesi protest doglandia fabric

My kitty, Khaleesi disapproves of my dog-themed fabric.


What quilter doesn’t love to come home with gobs of fabric?

• Being With One of My Greatest Mentors


Pokey Bolton Yvonne Porcella

Sittingwith Yvonne Porcella, Founder of SAQA, My Mentor, Cheerleader…and Friend.

Yvonne Porcella has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and supporters. Perfect example: years ago at a BERNINA retreat before a TV taping, she saw how stressed I was with segment preparation, cleared off a pool table in the hotel bar (and made it clear no one in the bar could play), assisted me in setting up my sewing machine, and helped me finish everything, all the while being careful not to slash the green pool table felt with her rotary cutter. It was wonderful to catch up with her at the Dinner@8 supper at the Hyatt.


Working alongside some of the best people I know.


Ruth Polanco Pokey Bolton Iron Quilter

With Ruth Polanco, Show Director



And with Lindsey Murray McLelland and Sally Murray of Interweave


With love to Long Beach! I know it’s not on the roster for next year, but you never know what will happen down the line. Until we meet again…

If I were you, I’d ask Santa for this quilt loot…

What!? You don’t believe in Santa?! Shame on you! OK, let’s pretend for a minute you do believe in this guy

Mark Lipinski Santa

Besides asking Santa to come to our Quilt Festivals next year, here  are nine other things I recommend asking St. Nick for the holidays. (Just click on all the photos to take you to each product website.)

1. The Portable Gidget II Sewing Table by Arrow

The Gidget II is sturdy, has an adjustable, drop-down platform so your sewing machine is flush with the table top, stores easily, is relatively inexpensive, and requires no assembly. Here it is in action in my living room:

Pokey Gidget


2. A suitcase of Auriful thread. This really requires no explanation:


3. A Mack truck full of Marcia Derse fabric. Who could ever have enough of this stuff?

Marcia Derse fabrics

And Marcia’s fabric makes for fine home accents and upholstered furniture!

Louie Marcia Derse

One of Louie’s last photos, posing on a Marcia Derse-upholstered mini rocker.

4. A  stitch retreat with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn

What is not to adore about these two?

And they are teaching in Puglia, Italy next May! I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind stitching poolside drinking chianti…

Puglia Italy.

5. A weekend trip to Art Cloth Studios in San Antonio with Jane Dunnewold. Talk about a playground!

Art Cloth Studios.

6. A new Bernina sewing machine! I saw this 750 series machine’s debut at Fall Quilt Market and was blown away by all it can do.

Bernina 750.

7. And heck, since we are asking for premium gifts, let’s ask Santa for a sit-down, mid-arm machine, too,  like HandiQuilter’s Sweet Sixteen. I have played on this machine and if you like to free-motion quilt mid-to-large-sized quilts, this is a dream.



8. Now on to stocking stuffers: All quilters need a set of reliable, sharp scissors, and I really love the rotary cutters and scissors by Havel’s. Always sharp, always reliable, and well priced:


9. And no studio is complete without a studio pet. This little gal can fit into a stocking, too, although she would probably squirm a bit.

I am thinking of adopting her.


“My little dog. A heartbeat at my feet.”–Edith Wharton