I made it to Hamilton

Wide open spaces in the midwest; no, I’m not driving

When I began sewing almost a decade ago, my first two quilts were made from pre-cut charm packs. I hadn’t invested in many notions and wasn’t quite ready to cut yardage, but I still wanted to make quilts. Those little 5″ squares were the perfect beginning. Additionally, the online tutorials by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company gave me the idea that this was all not only possible, but FUN. Her personality is engaging. If she made a mistake while filming, she shared that too. She demystified this craft. In those early days, I tuned in several times a week and watched Jenny piece quilts with enthusiasm. I think my children recognized the “jingle” and knew with the quack of the duck in the video, that I was intent on learning more. I gained so much information from those tutorials, that it was years and many quilts later before I took an “in person” class at my local quilt shop.

Fast forward to January 2020 and I finally made it to Hamilton, Missouri – home of the Missouri Star Quilt Co.! My family roots are in the midwest and my husband and I were in Kansas City for the AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. We had one free day in our schedule, so off to Hamilton we went. I might add that there had been a significant ice storm and the temperature was in single digits. We were committed; we were ready to explore. Yes, my husband willingly makes these fabric field trips with me…even when it’s freezing outside. I’m blessed.

Hamilton is just about an hour from Kansas City, but what we both noticed is how wide open the roads were along this route. No east coast-like traffic jams or aggressive lane changes by fellow drivers. We were gifted a blue sky that I remembered from my childhood – I swear, I never tire of it. I say RED is my favorite color, but it could easily be THIS blue.

Missouri Star Quilt Company, Hamilton, Missouri

This may sound silly, but I was GIDDY sitting in front of this shop. I had no idea what to expect or if I might just run into Jenny, but this was the embodiment of where and how I learned to sew. Once inside, we were greeted, almost immediately, by the staff who explained the store layout, what we could find at the other shops along Davis Street and that there was actually a place called “Man’s Land” if my husband needed a cozy hangout while I shopped! Interestingly, “Man’s Land” is a place for anyone who needs a break from shopping while relaxing in leather chairs and maybe watching TV. Its original beginning was as an old-fashioned men’s clothing store, well before it had anything to do with Quilt City! If you’ve shopped until you’re ready to drop, this might be the place to go, rest and refresh before continuing on.

The stores are organized, bright and clean

I thought it was really cool that in each shop we entered, someone on the staff was sewing. Sewing, right there, by the fabric or the checkout area, not tucked away in a hidden studio. This is a company that walks the walk and they SEW and they QUILT! There’s a community vibe that everyone is working together. It never felt like I had walked into “work”. Everyone we met was helpful and friendly.

There are hundreds of patterns, templates/rulers, notions of all kinds and “gear”. Need a sewing mug, tote, t-shirt or other novelty item? They are available. I had to keep reminding myself that my suitcase was already pushing the airline weight limits, so I had to remain focused and frugal (to an extent).

So much character in these buildings; browse basics and solids here

This particular building is the location of the 500th store of J.C. Penney, which the name and location had been retained. Talk about a step back in time!

Primitives and Wool
Modern – could be one of my favorites!

I liked that each shop had a specialty or theme. This concept means not having to roam a factory sized warehouse to find the perfect fabric. I sometimes find huge stores to be overwhelming. Here, you could narrow it down and find what you need rather quickly. However, if time is not an issue, going in and out of all the stores along this quaint street would be a lovely way to spend a day or more. There are restaurants and benches if you need to refuel or rest.

A Bright Mural on a Winter Day

I don’t know if or when I’ll make it to Hamilton, Missouri again, but I’m thankful I was able to visit at least this once. It was nice to shop these beautiful stores in person. Oh, I almost forgot! You know the “quilter’s cash” you accrue with online purchases? Yes, you can apply that to in-store purchases! What? Happy day! Even better, as we went from one shop to the next, any purchase generated NEW “quilter’s cash”. I know it all adds up, but I convinced myself I was generating my own coupons – ha!

One additional “take away” for me after this vacation was that you don’t need a big city, big lights and a booming metropolis to make things happen. Start where you are, follow your heart and your dreams and work hard. You never know what might be waiting for you around the next corner if you just take that first step and start. If you find yourself in Hamilton, I hope you get to meet Jenny!

Jenny Doan, Missouri Star Quilt Co.

This is not a sponsored post; all content and photos are property of Two Terriers Studio.

2019 Handmade Holidays Buyer’s Guide

It’s the middle of November and while many of us may be consumed with thoughts of Thanksgiving and celebrating with family and friends, it seems conversation often turns to holiday shopping, wish lists, unique gifts and bargains.

Just about everyone I know is interested in making or finding the perfect gift for a loved one. As a maker, with many maker friends, I also know what the holidays mean from this perspective. Makers work all year to create special items. When someone buys this work, it means our effort, artistry and love are being shared out in the world, beyond our studio doors. It’s a cool and affirming moment! When you support local makers, you are supporting a dream of someone in your community while at the same time, giving a gift that is likely one of a kind. It’s a win-win scenario.

Recently, I was contacted by Molly Anthony (@mkranthony) of The Found Art Walk to be included in her Handmade Holiday Buyers’ Guide. What an honor; no hesitation before I said, “yes”! Molly and her friend, Jenny Maroney (@jennymaroney), have put together the attached guide to help with your 2019 Handmade Holiday Shopping and this also serves as an introduction to many artists whose creativity is beautifully captured in a variety of mediums. Click on the link below to see the guide. The Table of Contents will highlight each artist and the individual pages feature clickable links to that particular artist’s online site. I hope you’ll take a look around, meet some new people, shop handmade and enjoy the benefits of the discounts offered. Invite friends to follow these makers on social media and to subscribe to my blog for future updates. Be sure to also follow me on Instagram @twoterriersstudio to see the latest holiday offerings and details of pop-up shops. I have a special discount in the buyer’s guide, so let me help you give unique art this holiday season!

I look forward to working with you as we close out 2019, but I must also say a huge, THANK YOU, for your support of me and Two Terriers Studio this year. What a journey and a privilege to share what I make with all of you! Happy Holidays & all the best in the year ahead.

Catch and Release Blog Party

Today is the day! It’s my turn to reveal my creations for the Catch & Release Blog Party hosted by Mister Domestic (@misterdomestic) for Art Gallery Fabrics. This moment is a bit surreal for me. I’m a mostly self-taught sewing enthusiast and quilter, who has admired Matthew Boudreaux and his design work, tutorials and fabric for quite some time. I’ve learned so much from him, I’m a fan; and yet, he chose me to participate in his Catch & Release Blog Party. Me?! Yes, me. Great things happen when you show up and say yes.

In May 2019, Matthew put out a call to micro-influencers on Instagram, those with less than 5,000 followers, to participate in his fabric launch and blog party. As he told the story of his river themed collection, it reminded me of all the memories made with my family during summers at the beach. His story resonated with me and I jumped in. I submitted my proposal, crossed my fingers, and said a prayer that I’d be included. I hoped that my idea would be “enough”. Matthew sent me a reply two days later, “Love this idea and the story behind it. Yes please.” Wait, Mister Domestic messaged me? I may have re-read it several times and then there was shrieking. A happy dance ensued. Then slight panic, “oh my…this is real. I need to make it great”.

Catch & Release in the Two Terriers Studio = bags, bucket hats and babies. I wanted to highlight Matthew’s gorgeous fabric collection in as many ways possible. I needed (i.e. wanted) them all. There’s something so perfect about the feel of Art Gallery Fabrics. I wish you could reach through the screen and touch it. But you can’t, so you may need to get some for yourself.

by Two Terriers Studio, 2019

The first thing I made was the Santorini Tote. If you’re spending a day at the river, you’re likely going to need a tote bag. Maybe that’s just me. The Santorini Tote is a pattern by Natalie (@sewhungryhippie), and it’s one of my favorites. Natalie’s patterns are clear and concise and also easy to modify for size or style, if you choose. This tote is large, fully-lined, has an interior zipper pocket and a zip-top closure. I used the Fat Jelly Braid, a foundation paper piecing tool, purchased from the Fat Quarter Shop (@fatquartershop) to create the herringbone panel. I felt that it carried through with a fish theme and was one way to incorporate all the fabrics across both sides of the tote.

When I think of fishing along a riverbank, do you know what comes to mind? It’s bucket hats. It seems to be required gear for fisherman. Reversible bucket hats? Even better! Oh my word, the combinations are endless with just three pieces in this pattern.

Pattern by Betz White; made by Two Terriers Studio with Catch and Release by Mister Domestic
Reversible Bucket Hat by Two Terriers Studio; pattern by Betz White

I tried to sketch a fish for the t-shirt appliqué and it was sub-par. I tried again and still didn’t love it. Third time was not the charm. “This IS for the blog party, it has to be right”, kept playing in my head. I turned to Sizzix (@sizzix_quilting) and lo and behold, they have a fish die-cut. Done! What better combination than the die-cut fish and those beautiful blue scales?

Sizzix die-cut; fabric by Mister Domestic for Art Gallery Fabrics

My family and friends call me “the baby whisperer” and I love it. With that said, it was only natural to sew for children in this project. Wait until you see them! First up, this handsome boy with the big blue eyes. How stylish is he with his reversible bucket hat and appliquéd t-shirt? I don’t think he could be any cuter. I know, I know…I spent days sewing all these accessories, but the hat, shirt and tote are all background noise right now. It’s OK… let’s just celebrate Baby W!

Next, Miss L. She is so sweet and this denim sundress features a pieced/patchwork bodice. Matthew recommended a few AGF Pure Solids and I incorporated them into this dress along with the prints. I have to add, these photos of her are candid; no coaching or posing. Just adorable.

My sewing has mostly consisted of two-dimensional objects, but I wanted to add something more. I don’t have much experience making toys, but I thought they could easily round-out this project. Remember that comment about my fish sketch being sub-par? Yeah, still true. Thankfully, I remembered seeing a pattern for “Catnip Fish” in a book, That Handmade Touch by Svetlana Sotak (@sotakhandmade). I added a small ribbon tab so that I could string them up for the photo shoot, and later for wall decor.

Pattern by Svetlana Sotak, made by Two Terriers Studio
Patient long enough; it’s a wrap. Tote, hat, fish and appliqué by Two Terriers Studio 2019

It’s been a long while since I took care of toddlers around water and rocky terrain, but I quickly remembered that when THEY are done, it’s done. Special thanks to Liz for the extra set of hands and the zippered bag with toddler bribery treats.

And that’s it. My reveal.

If there were only some way for me to share my appreciation for the experience Matthew has given me. If you know him or have seen his tutorials, you have a glimpse of what the last four months have been for me. Matthew is joy, positivity, inspiration, laughs (my husband steps out of his office to say hi when he hears Matthew laughing on the phone!), mentor, photo coach and now, I’m going to say he’s my friend. Each week, Matthew has brought the team together in a face time chat. He asked us to rise to the occasion, not for him and this launch, but for ourselves. From 400 applicants, he chose 30, and by doing so connected makers from around the world. We are different in age, gender, geography, skills and interests. We are connected because we each took a leap of faith and submitted a proposal. And it was Matthew who said YES to US.

In my one on one mentoring call, I was embarrassingly giddy. In an instant, Matthew had a read on me and my business and sewing goals. His observation floored me. He literally looked me in the eye and verbalized what I’d been feeling for months. What I’d only quietly shared with my immediate family. He spoke about where this business of mine should and could be going. How? I still don’t know, but it was the validation I needed. If you’re not sure about showing up and saying yes, I’d encourage you to do so. I could never have imagined what I’ve gained from having a little faith in myself and taking that risk several months ago. Blog Party teammates, you INSPIRE me! Weeks of witnessing your creativity – I’m still in awe and I look forward to seeing what else you create. For Matthew, thank you so much for including me. For saying yes. It’s been fabulous. I’m grateful.

This is not a sponsored post; if I love something, I say so. All photos and content are property of Two Terriers Studio.

Welcome to the Studio

Welcome to Two Terriers Studio, a place filled with the stories of my quilting journey. In 2009, I had very limited sewing experience, but I set out to make quilts for my children. I’m a “dive right in” maker, I suppose. Interestingly, after those initial quilts, I was hooked & I’ve never looked back. I do value continuous learning. I am inspired by the fact that we may use the same patterns, but our personal perspectives and imagination lead to unique finishes. I’ve since taken some quilting classes, I’ve branched out to sewing accessories like zippered bags, totes and a few “art” pieces. I’m also a pattern tester for quilt designers (using my education & corporate experience in editing & publishing!) and in 2019, I was added to the Master Makers Team for Matthew Boudreaux of Mister Domestic fame. Not in my wildest dreams did I anticipate those two little quilts leading to this path, but I’ve learned that chasing an idea can lead to fantastic moments & opportunities. Take a look around; I hope you enjoy your visit!