Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chrismas eve

It's Christmas Eve, but it sure doesn't feel like it. Did I mention that Monday, the temperature is didn't get over 39--pretty cold for all of the running around we did. Tuesday it got close to 50--much different. Today we woke up to sunshine, and it got to 75 by mid afternoon--we had to open windows to cool it down.

We haven't had internet for 2 days, so today we are on hold for the cable guy. They call an hour before they show up, so we went out exploring this morning before Leann had to go to work. We checked out drive times, neighborhoods, and model homes--narrowed down a model that might work really well for Leann. It was a fun exercise.

We had lunch at Chipotle--again right near Leann's work. We dropped her off, and then ran up to Georgetown--a historic town in the Northeast. I got to show Wil how cool the toll roads are. My favorite gift shop is in Georgetown, so we were able to score a few last minute goodies.

Halfway home, we got the call from the cable guy, so we were home in plenty of time. It was a quick fix, and we're back in business. Don't realize how much you miss the internet connection.

We grabbed groceries and a movie after picking up Leann (the mall she is working in is very close to home--the only advantage). Our evening was spent catching up on the computers, home cooked meal (pasta), and the movie--21--good movie, by the way.

More shopping Tues 12/23

We had a lazy morning at home. Leann had to work from 1:30-6. We did lunch first together at Olive Garden, since I had a gift certificate and there was one right by the mall where she is working. We dropped her off, and then ventured out in all of the traffic--last full day of work and shopping for people, so it was madness.

Okay, so we have covered bookstores, computer, and toystores--what's left? Why, Cabela's, of course. It's located south of town, so we had plenty of time to do the trip. Wil just loves watching people walk out with full gun cases--something you don't see in California. Lots and lots of families shopping at Cabela's--the Texas attitude does a hunter's heart good. We actually only bought clothes there this day. I live in my comfy slide shoes from them, and they had my favorite tote purse in pink--must haves. Wil picked up his favorite shirt and a hideous orange hunting hat for the Fryerland jaunts.

From the south area, we tried to navigate back on the east side, to explore more of what the area and distances actually look like. We checked out another tract by the same builder we had seen before--closer in maybe, but dicier area. We were able to see a couple more models to compare and prices were lower in this neighborhood.

On our way back to pick up Leann, we stopped at Ginger's to drop a couple quilts off, and to say hello to Ginger, with whom I have done business for years.

Just before 6, traffic had lightened up, so we got to Leann just in time. What to do next--dinner or a movie? Wait, it's Austin--we can do both!!!--at the Alamo Drafthouse, just across the way. So we check the trusty iPhone, and movie times are perfect. We saw Australia, with a great grill dinner and draft beer. Doesn't get any better than this.

Christmas shopping Monday 12/22

We finally get to start Christmas shopping today. Conveniently, Leann has the day off. So where do you start shopping when you are the nerdy Fryer family?? Why the Apple store and Borders books, naturally. We scored for Leann and Austin at Apple, and everyone at the bookstore.

Austin, the city, being an independent thinking sort of place, has a wonderful independent toy store, so the grandkids are taken care of. In the same center, is also a cool hardware/gift store--no problem finding nifty things there.

After that much hard work shopping, we stopped for our late lunch at Fuddruckers--great casual hamburger restaurant. And since a quilt shop is in the very same center, well, a quick stop while Wil and Leann finished up lunch.

We had some time in the afternoon and wanted to stay in the central part of Austin where we already were. After dark we wanted to go downtown to see the downtown Christmas lights and lit Capitol.

So we drove out east to an area Leann is considering for her next move. She is currently way out in a Northwest suburb--lovely, affordable, but she is putting miles on her car, and it's too far to have friends over. We drove around a couple housing tracts, and ended up looking at a new housing development--most interesting. Prices are dropping, and they are making deals. We looked at as much as we could before dark at 6pm.

We headed downtown, to test the drive from the tract, and to check out Christmas lights in the downtown streets. It was lovely and fun. The Capitol is a very impressive building driving up Congress Street.

Since we were downtown, anyway, we finished up by going to Book People. It is an awesome independent bookstore, not to be missed.

A full day behind us, we headed home for a couple quick groceries, and light dinner. For me, I had Tex-Mex leftovers--doesn't get any better than this.

Texas bound 12/21

On the road to our Texas flight today. Grabbed a quick Subway sandwich for the trip. A little bit of rain on the way to the Oakland Airport, but not bad, and only one traffic hangup with road construction at Manteca/I-5. I love the Park'nFly at Oakland--the shuttle picks you up at your car. A quick jaunt to the airport, express check-in with our preprinted boarding pass, and we're off on time.

We had a surprising light flight for the holidays. It caught up with us in the San Diego, though. Loads of people, delayed flights--ours included. Planes late coming in, and then they hold us up to wait for 70 more people from another incoming flight. Southwest, in all fairness, did an admirable job of juggling and keeping too many folks from missing connections. We were delayed an hour, but not a big deal. We weren't waiting for hours getting in and out of Chicago, and we had warm sunshine in San Diego to watch.

We arrived just about 9pm Texas time. Our Jetta Shuttle Service was waiting for us right after we got our quick bags. The driver used her iPhone to locate a restaurant open late enough for dinner on this Sunday night. So we started our Texas stay with Chuy's Tex-Mex--doesn't get better than this.

Our lovely hostess has Christmas lights on her counter, and a pretty little silver tree, with purple ornaments, of all things, tied with silver bows. Finally, tis the season.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I'm Free!!--Retired!!--well, almost....

I have actually called it quits on machine quilting for hire. As of Saturday the 20th, I am nearly out of the shop. Cloth and Quilts, our great next door neighbor has taken over the location and 2 computer machines. They are already doing quilting jobs and starting to move in furniture and family--one of the partners has 5 kids, so they are quite literally moving in.

With the business so very big, I actually sold it in parts. One of my staff, Dea Oskerson, bought one machine. She has set up her own business, Dvine Quilters--doing fabulous freehand and computer quilting.

The rest of the staff has retired, or gone on to bigger and better things. Never easy, the transition has still been great, and I think everyone is doing what suits them best.

We had our traditional Christmas Chinese dinner with Grandma Pam tonight. Panda South did not disappoint--it was delicious. Just have to start the season and the retirement off right.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I guess it's over.

Well, it's been a long road, long hours, and a long time coming. California Quiltmakers no longer exists at 621 East Main Street.

But the good news is now that we have no storefront, we have soooo much more time to manage the website. That means that you will have way more fabric, kits, and now even gifts to choose from! YAY!!!!

Thanks to our amazing extended family of quilters. I had no idea the impact that we've had on this industry. Thank you to our awesome friends, old and new. Can I just tell you that California Quiltmakers has changed my life forever? Before CQ I couldn't even turn on a sewing machine. Pat has been teaching me how to quilt since as long as I've been working for her, six years.

Even though this chapter is over, we are feeling new beginnings all around us. Expect greatness coming soon!

If I don't hear from you sooner, I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas!! We love you!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Asian Invasion Continues!

We are overwhelmed by our gorgeous new fabric by Kona Bay. December is going to be Asian Invasion, with new kits and fabric going up on the website. That being said, here are some pics of some of our newest creations:

What Four and Big Spins

Big Spins Kit, available now!

the newest addition to the Asian family, a new PamCakes Kit available now!

Also, a good customer of ours came in the other day named Martha Howden. She made this quilt using one of our favorite patterns, Simply Delightful. Just had to show off the great work!

This is another quilt we received (sorry! I forgot to check who made it-if this is you, email me at and i'll give you credit!) using our PamCakes pattern! This was a Sheet Cake bundle that she bought at our booth at the Long Beach Quilt Show in July. Rock on mystery gal! Love the borders!

Ladies!! Show us what you have been making out of our patterns, kits and fabric! Email your pics to Make sure your photo is a .jpeg file please!

One last thing before I work on more quilts. Quilts don't have to be patchwork, sometimes it's fun to be a little more artistic and think outside the seams. I (Jessica) made this quilt with the intention of telling a story with fabric. It's a love story, can you tell?

Have fun! Keep checking the site for new stuff, we will be updating frequently!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Fog is Lifting. (we think!)

As soon as Thanksgiving hits at Quilting Headquarters, two things occur:

*we panic, because we know Christmas is almost here!
*we can't see past our faces because it gets so foggy out here.

But despite the unpleasant weather we are warming our hearts. My personal favorite artist came in to the shop today to quilt and I was delighted. Lora Wheeler is an altered artist from Merced. She has inspired many of my creations and I'm always excited to bounce ideas off of her. So today's post is dedicated to Lora, her amazing quilts, and her altered attitude.

I'm not exactly sure when she started stitching and altering but as long as I've known her (six years) she has been making works of art. Here's one of her latest creations, a mini dressmaker's bust:

in fact, she surprised me with a bust of my own to alter!

She really impressed me with the cd case. This was done on her home sewing machine. She quilted it and added embellishments like ribbon and buttons. Check out the vintage brooch!

and the back:

It says "be in the moment". Great sentiment.

She also shared some of her latest altered books, which are in the process of being finished. Her half-done is still better than my finished product! To me, it's really important to have people that inspire you. Whenever I see Lora she just sets me on a path of creativity!

The latest altered book:

It's all in the details for me.

Look at the tiny dancer!

Inspiration can come from anywhere. When she was little, Lora had cupcake toppers like this.

Like us, she was also getting her Christmas quilting finished. Her Christmas quilts were astounding- I loved that she mixed non-Christmas-style green and red fabrics in with the traditional Ho-Ho-Ho jolly stuff.

Leopard and poinsettia?! Are you kidding me? Delicious!

She made this quilt using the pattern Simple Day at the Lake (available on our website!) but she altered it (of course!) and did twenty blocks instead of twelve. Ladies you can do this too. One block is equivalent to a fat quarter, so twenty fats instead of twelve.

And she made a label for the back out of a Christmas panel she bought but never used.

Today was a great day. I encourage you, reader, to seek inspiration, step outside the box, meet new friends, eat dessert, and most of all....


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Whew! Time to catch up!

Hi Quilters!
Things have been crazy at CQ! Between customers rushing to rent our machines before the shop changes hands and the 300 quilts that we still have to finish before December 15, you could say we're pretty busy!

But NEVER TOO BUSY for opening up new fabric lines that have come in the store!! We have debuted a couple new kits on the website too- you should be checking us out! click here to see our newest kits and our specials!

Yes MoMo, this is me using YOUR SCISSORS to cut open our fabric box! A haha....I love to break the rules.

our newest kit has this-Anna Griffin's Sierra Collection. We love the earthy tones and soothing prints. For the earth mother in all of us.

Tina Givens' line came in last week too. We are still in the process of designing kits but keep your eyes peeled!

and of course I jumped for joy when Amy Butler's new collection, Daisy Chain, hit the store! We can't wait to show you what we've come up with for this one.

Last and certainly not least....

New Asians From Kona Bay!!

Those are Pat's picks- her favorites from the new bolts.

From Valori Wells' Sole Line

Anna Griffin's Maime Collection has these great large prints. Pat shared with me that when she was a girl, her mom had rattan furniture and Grandma Pam's house was green. Everything in the house was green. (Grandma Pam's favorite color, obviously, is green : ) )This piece provided a little bit of nostalgia for Mama P and I loved the visualization of Grandma's green house.

And another print from Amy Butler. We love her so much! Amy, we just want you to know that we love you, Midwest Modern rocks and Daisy Chain is off the chain!

Before I head off to bed tonite I had one more thing I wanted to share with you. This is a purse that my good friend Fran Barret made. She took a pair of jeans and instead of cutting out the whole front and back panel, she focused on one leg and made an awesome one-front-pocket jean purse. Fran, keep on making such wonderful things.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We've Got Everybody Going Crazy.

The rumors are true. We have sold the business. Part of it is going to the gals next door at Cloth and Quilts, the other part is going to Dea from our store. She's going to be doing some beautiful freehand quilting and the gals from Cloth and Quilts will be doing computerized quilting. But don't fret, both are great places to get your quilting done and we highly recommend them both. And if you're really trippin out about this, just call us. We'll be happy to answer any questions for ya.

Alas, we will still have kits, fabric and patterns! We are moving on to a new chapter in our lives. Keep checking both the blog and the website for more details on the upcoming changes we'll be making.

So my mom got me this mustard colored hoodie shirt and I've been dying to wear it. But it just seemed really plain. So look at what Baby Girl cooked up two days ago....I posed in front of my favorite "backdrop"- our Amy Butler Triple Treat Quilt (available in a kit!!)

Here's a closeup on the shirt itself:

just a little fusible webbing, some imagination, and a kangaroo pocket!!

Remember how I was talking about people following the creative energy to my house? Two nites ago Danielle showed up and hung out. It had been FOREVER since we have hung out, probably since before Market. So I let her pick out her Christmas present. : ) I originally had started this quilt for one of my sisters. She was getting married. Well, to be perfectly honest we're not the closest of sisters and I think I got mad at her and stopped making it. Well, I hated the quilt because of the negative connotations so I never finished it. Danielle saw the blocks, fell in love with them, and suddenly my selfish heart was transformed. So I started cutting the blocks down and sewing them and came up with the center of the quilt:

Then I'm going to piece more squares around the zebra border, border it up again, and just play with it. What I love about my friends is that no matter what the rhyme or reason they will rock whatever I make. They don't see mistakes, only character. They see the love that I fused to the quilt with my hands.

I was supposed to keep going on her quilt last nite but I was just too dang tired. I did finish piecing together the blocks last nite, but didn't cut them down or anything. I DID clean up my stash though- that was a relief! The parentals are coming to visit and I rent my home from them. If it's not spick and span I feel like a bum, and they won't hesitate to point out my messy house anyway! : ) So last nite was dedicated to cleaning and a desperate longing to quilt.

But lucky me, my desires will be fulfilled when I go to work today. I am so blessed to be able to be surrounded by these beautiful quilts that you send in everyday. That's what I will miss the most.

Oh yeah, how could I forget to tell you???? I FINISHED ALEX'S QUILT!! I'm going to quilt it and bind it tonite....I think...

spin spin, spin around like she does in my heart.

I hope your day is full of love and threads hanging from your shirt everywhere. Be creative.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I love finishing up old projects.

This week I have been going thru a creative renaissance. I can hardly wait to get home from work to sew some quilts!! My house is insane, there is fabric everywhere. I am lucky enough to live alone. I don't mind being surrounded by scraps of goodness.

Whenever I start sewing I am blessed enough to have people come calling at my door. Friends must sense that there are creative juices flowing and they just gotta get in on that action. So I took a break from quilting to make a dress for my best friend Kara.

Kara doesn't care if it's got raw edges, or even if it's pinned together. She will rock it with pride! So she insisted upon sewing her own dress, with a little help from me.
please excuse my messy house!

We gathered the dress at the bottom. Kara's more simple than me, I would have put two huge jeweled pins on the sides of the dress where the gathering stitch is.

I thought it was primitive. She thought it was high fashion.

Sometimes it's great to be inspired by someone that doesn't normally sew or quilt- it gives me a whole new design prospective. Non-sewers know no boundaries with designs or limitations of the fabric. Their ignorance is creative bliss! I try to channel her when I'm creating- I mean this dress was so simple to make it was delicious. Great job Kar, i love it.

Tomorrow I will be posting a montage of my greatest un(finished!!) projects from the past couple years. It is funny to see how much I've changed! One's style is sure to change. I can't wait to see the evolution of Jessica.

TODAY!! Vote. Then stop talking about it. : )

Monday, October 27, 2008


I kept seeing the awesome Houston cityscape everytime we drove to the convention center. Finally I remembered to snap some pics when we were driving this morning. Isn't Houston awesome?

This was taken on a side street. I think Houston has so much character.

Another great cityscape shot

So today wrapped up Market and although we're really pleased with the turnout, we're exhausted and we can't wait to get home! We've learned a lot and we had so much fun with our new friends! It's really overwhelming how far we have come.

I started working for California Quiltmakers at 16 years old. Actually I didn't even get paid- I relentlessly volunteered until I broke Pat down and she put me on the payroll! I was the afterschool help. Then when I graduated high school I was put to work full time. I pressed and pinned quilts to our machines and watched them stitch the computerized patterns. I'm the baby of the group, and they made sure that I knew it! At 19 I decided to pursue a career in the jewelry industry and left the quilt shop for three years. In March of this year I decided that after a long hiatus, quilting was still in my heart and I couldn't escape it.

So I came back! The experiences that I've had away from the quilting industry helped me get polished, and gave me a great style and design perspective. So six years later, I am now our Style Executive.

There is a reason why I am sharing this. You cannot escape who you are. I tried to be something I was not. Quilting is in my heart. My entire life has been changed my quilts and I'm pretty sure if you're reading this they have changed your life too.

That being said, I am dedicating the rest of my blog to my quilting heroes. Meeting all of you this week has breathed new life into me. I feel a creative renaissance happening in my body. So here's a shout out to my QUILT ROCK STARS:

Amy Butler, my soul sister and the reason why I am even here. Without her influence on my art, personal style, and quilting

Kaffe Fasset and Sandi Henderson holding sheetcakes in their own fabric. Our sheet cakes are SMOKIN'!

Anna Maria, Amy, Jane, and Tina (and of course me in the middle!)

Heather Bailey and Brandon Mably striking some epic poses

a little group I like to call Jessi's Angels

And I saved the best for last. This is Jacqueline from Soak. She created a knitwear wash that you can use for your vintage quilts, prewashing your fat quarters, or for laundering your lingerie and sweaters. Here we are, always the bridesmaids and never the brides!

Thank you so much everybody for making this the best experience for me. I can't wait to see you all again in Pittsburgh!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And They Call This Work!!

Now that I've got a chance to rest, let me tell you what we did today! Yesterday we were surprised at how many goodies we sold. It seems like shop owners wanted some treats of their own! So we restocked our booth and watched as people steadily took bites out of it.

I also did Part Two of my Celebrity Sightings!

Tina Givens!

Sandi Henderson!

Nancy Zieman! I cried like a baby again!! I can't help it, Nancy is so inspiring to me and I just had to tell her how special she is. I was at Pat Sloane's booth, telling her how much I love Nancy Zieman, and she was behind me the entire time!

Speaking of booths.......

Tina Givens

Sandi Henderson

these ladies were selling ribbon and decor stuff, i can't remember their names for the life of me though : (

Paula Prass

Patty Young

We covered quite a bit of ground today! You have to keep checking the website, we'll have soooo many new lines of fabric kits coming soon!!!

I'm exhausted! Time for bed. Tomorrow will be great!