Friday, December 23, 2011


What a great year we have had making so many new friends.  We have some really exciting things coming for 2012, but today, we wanted to share a story we read.  It is a little long, but so worth the read.
The story was written by Shirley Joffs who lives in Logan, Utah.  A small town near me.

 I was touched by it and asked if I could share it with ya'll today.  She gave me permission.  She also is started a new little business sewing aprons, ect.  Find her on facebook at Shirl Girl Designs.  I borrowed one of her profile pictures from facebook so we could put a face to the story.

Enjoy the season with all your heart.

Christmas Village, Ogden, Utah

 The Magic of Christmas Lies in Your Heart

by Shirley Joffs Dec. 2011

( With apologies to those who may celebrate the winter holidays with other names, the intention of my story today is universal in spirit.)

As I pondered a Christmastime story, I found it difficult to focus on just one aspect of the holidays. M y feelings were a little like the season tends to get....stressed out, too busy, trying to 'get it all done', making all of the plans to make everything just perfect. In a moment of weakness, once, I tentatively suggested that we break with all tradition and just go to a warm climate for a week or two and do something entirely different The look on the faces of my children and grandchildren was of complete horror and disbelief.. much for that idea.  But now that the tree is up and the gingerbread cookies made, I realize that I really would miss the traditions too, and I begin to focus on the important aspects of the season that I really do appreciate, particularly as a quiIter since that is our common tie here... .and this is what I want to share.

I believe that it is unique to quilters to easily blend the past and the present. We are often drawn back to old quilt patterns, vintage fabrics, traditional uses of quilts, pioneer stories of how quilts were made and used and appreciated; on the other hand, we are excited by new patterns, new ideas and methods, beautiful new fabrics. We use both hand and machine quilting, but we quickly cut reproduction fabrics with our trusty rotary cutters or even cut out whole quilts in a matter of minutes with magical cutting machines. Christmas is a little like that for me I'm drawn back to days gone by, even as I shop for the I pad and put up the artificial tree; and while I hum traditional carols, I hear "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer" in the mall.  We can't avoid some of the plastic world, but being a quilter, a maker of handmade treasures, an addict of the creative process of quilting, gives us a special opportunity to make holidays to remember for ourselves and future generations. So here is my wish for all quilters....

First, that as you "cut", remember to let C stand for Caring, and carefully creating and choosing gifts that uplift, encourage and cheer others. I saw a wonderful suggestion for gifts on an email message, In addition to your beautiful quilts and fabric items, give services like a manicure, a day of  house cleaning, a car wash, a date night for a couple that can't afford a sitter, a sewing lesson for someone who has shown an interest in learning, or a breakfast date for a grandchild. Services keep people working and show how much we care. My husband would be disappointed if he didn't get his certificate for a massage or a pedicure. It's something he would never buy for himself.
My second wish is that as you Handsew, remember to let "H " stand for Heart and Hearing and not "Hurry". So often I listen with my motor running. I'm thinking of what I'm going to say next, or I'm thinking of something else entirely. Really Hearing is an art that is a lifelong lesson for me. Hand sewing, putting on a binding, always slows my world down and helps me listen better. Better yet, being with grandchildren teaches the patience and hearing that I think I missed with my own children let hand sewing remind us.
 My third wish is that as you "re-sew"... .as we always have to do, let "R" stand for rest and relaxation. I usually have to "re-sew" when I have pushed a project, tried to sew too fast or let myself get tired. There is something so restful about just staring at the Christmas tree and its reflection in the window. One of our family traditions at Christmas is to go for a slow ride with our children and now grandchildren, and look at ail of the different lighted homes. Sometimes we try to guess who lives there and what they must be like. For me, setting aside a day for a gift exchange and lunch with friends gives me a time to look forward to relaxing, forgetting for awhile all of the "doing" and just "be".

And my fourth wish is that as you Iron, remember to let "I" stand for Icing on the cake. So often we settle when we could excel, we appreciate when we could 'relish with gusto', we hum when we could really sing. Icing on the cake is about the really 'special' things we do. I make gingerbread boys every Christmas; I've made them for 40+ years now. I found the recipe in an old Sunset magazine and, with a homemade cookie cutter I can make the little figures dance, pray, do yoga, swim.. .whatever my family is into for that year. Those special things and activities get represented on the gingerbread tree.
Two years ago we were icing the cookies and Emma, my now 8 year old was helping. The icing tube went berserk and put a huge glob of icing on the cookie and without a thought I said "Lord A Mercy". We laughed so hard and then Emma said, "Nana, we should call the cookies with lots of icing, "Lord A Mercy Cookies".... So now they pick through the batch looking for Lord A Mercy Cookies because they love the sweet icing.

Life and quilting are like that too. When we make mistakes they can become blessings.
May you have a "Lord A Mercy Life Experience Daily" Think of Icing when you iron...

My fifth wish is, that as you sew, also let S stand for "show and share". I feel sometimes that I do a lot of telling and not as much 'showing' by example. Just as we stand up in Guild meetings and show and share what we have done and therefore who we are, we do so by our lives every day. On our trips to Disney World with our grandchildren, we would often see frustrated, tired parents screaming at their crying, sad children, "I've spent a ton of money to get you here so you WILL have fun, by George, so stop crying and start having fun!!!" Our sewing and our Christmas celebrations can be like that if we aren't careful. Spending a lot of money does not a successful experience make; hence the fun of a scrap quilt where we use what we have is like a quiet night of telling Christmas stories together. Or teaching a child how to make cookies by really letting them get their hands in the dough... .1 Immmmmm. could it be that those we love want us to show and share ourselves and not our expensive gifts with them...
My sixth wish is that as you thread the bobbins and needles, let "T" stand for Trust. It is so easy to get grouchy, even judgmental of the flurry that seems so far removed from the real Spirit of Christmas, but just as those trusty sewing machines, sergers and quilting machines serve us if we oil and clean and service them, we can Trust that the Spirit that is at the heart of Christmas, whatever our faith or belief, will be there if we seek it out. It often seems that the thread breaks or the bobbin runs out at the most inopportune time, but if we focus on the thousands of times that it doesn't we can trust So, on the occasion when we think that our Faith has failed us, let's fill up the bobbin again, thread the needle once more and trust.

My seventh wish is that as you Measure your fabric, M might stand for Mastery. I've told you the story of how I didn't measure my first hand-pieced rail fence quilt. I just blithely sewed strips together in a color pattern. Not one block was the same size... .a good quilter convinced me that I should not throw them all out, and she helped me "square them up", which I had never heard of. I keep that quilt in a visible basket to remind me that we all start somewhere. I make similar mistakes every day in life, but as the saying goes, "God isn't through with me yet" so I can"t let that stop me. How many times have we failed to notice that the ruler is not straight on the cutting pad when we slice through a beautiful piece of fabric. Measure twice, cut once was my father's rule in carpentry.  Probably the most important mastery we will learn in life is the art of trying again and again.

My eighth wish is that as you Applique, you will "ask" for what you need, what you want, and what you love. Whether it is by machine or by hand, applique is that special embellishment that says you are willing to take time to do it. Asking to have our own needs met is that special way of valuing ourselves, avoiding becoming a martyr and the anger and confusion that it creates. I thought early on in my marriage that Eric should 'divine' my needs, that is, know them before I even knew them and meet them..if he LOVED me. Asking is simply fair communication.
I used to be a potter. I carved out a little tiny spot next to the water heater to put my wheel, in a dark basement, near the furnace. My friend visited and said, "Oh, no, this will never do... .you are too fine a potter to treat yourself like this, ask for more.. .a space with light, elbow room..." Wow! That was one of life's best lessons for me.. .It may be something as small as a good seam ripper, an iron dedicated only to your sewing room, a new blade for your cutter, or a quilt kit that you've admired, or it could be a "date night with a partner or friends" or even a hug when you feel down. Don't ALWAY S put yourself second or you might get what my Mom called 'sour' on life.

My ninth wish is that when you sit down to sew, you make "S; stand for "Sing from you Soul" Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I realize how happy I am when I am sewing. I look forward to it, I relish it and I miss it when I can't do it..,,. .sounds like love to me. We quilters are fortunate that we have something that we love so much. If we take it as a lesson, we can remind ourselves that everything else we do can have that same kind of love if we live in the moment. Some sage person said, "Wherever you are, be there." So when we S, stand up from sitting and sewing, let's remember to take with us that same delight in life, that same attention to detail, that same willingness to make and mend mistakes, that same love of creating something beautiful in our world and with the people we love. In all we do, let us Sing from our Souls. Eleven-year-old Jackie Evancho, the singing sensation who has been featured on PBS this month was asked what she feels when she sings. Her wisdom was amazing. She said, "Something just takes over and feel soooo happy and relaxed."
And then, oh, my, you should hear her sing.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Janice and Marcea

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Three little witches spent 14 days in Houston, Texas.  We had a great time, met lots of new quilters and saw a lot of old friends.  Janice and I invited a dear friend, Carol, to come and help.  (We worked her so hard, she may not come back).  
I have been feeling a little grey this year, as you can tell from our walls, our aprons, even our floors.  Here are some of the pictures of our booth.  Hope you enjoy.  
As you can see, right down to the floor, we wanted to make sure you knew who's booth you were in.
I grabbed out my chalk and had some fun drawing on the walls.
Probably the most  exciting new item we have is our new book, SIMPLE CHOICES.  All the quilts in this picture are in the book.  And sooooo much more. 

Janice has better handwriting than I do, so i asked her to write the name of the book across the back wall.  So according to my instructions, she wrote SIMPLE TIMES four times across the wall.  About an hour later, we realized that the book was called SIMPLE CHOICES.  Can we say brain freeze.

We displayed the pillows from our book TOUCH OF WHIMSEY on this cute baker's rack.  They were a hit.
We had this cute little lady displaying some new and old bags.  The red one with the giant numbers is brand new, we call it "The LUCILLE Bag."  Pattern coming soon.
Take a peak at two new quilt patterns, REVOLUTION and HARD DAY'S NIGHT.  Better pics will be posted soon.

Here is the final new quilt, HANKY PANKY with one of our favorite designer fabrics, BASIC GREY.  The fabric will be out next spring.  Can hardly wait.

This was our final new pattern.  An adorable bag called "The MARY JANE Bag".  First time I had done large gromets.  So easy, so fun.

We stayed for festival, the retail side, a five day show, if you have never been there you need to come some time.  We through up one new quilt, a remake from our GOOD DAY SUNSHINE pattern done for Christmas.  Check the website,  to see this pattern and the pillow book. 

So that's a quick tour.  We are busy getting the website loaded with the new book and patterns. 
Have a great week, it is nice to be back, and a special shoutout to our dear friends over at ME AND MY SISTER, this one is for you.

Janice and Marcea

Friday, August 5, 2011


First, let's start with a giveaway of one of our books, TOUCH OF WHIMSEY, offered by one of our friends, Kelly Jackson on her blog, I HAVE A NOTION.  She has a great blog full of ideas, and the ideas she had with our pillows were so fun.

We always ask you to send us pictures of your finished projects and we get so excited when you do.  Here are a couple of your finished projects using our patterns.  The best part for us is when you use our pattern as a stepping stone for your own creativity.

Here is the email we received:


At the end of the pattern you asked for pictures. Well, attached is a variation of the Clarabella bag for summer. The quilted part of the bag is the dissapearing nine patch. What do you think?

Love your patterns.

Tracy Standhart
Schoharie, NY

Thanks Tracy, I loved it so much, I asked if she would make me one.  Here is our version.

Next we got this email:

Hi, Ladies!

 We met at International Quilt Festival in Houston. I love your patterns, and attached you will find two pictures of the "Bungalow Bag." I call this one "Lilac Spring."

Anway, the beaded handle was a good color match and I bravely added a zipper. I am tickled pink (or should I say lilac) with the way it turned out !

Thank you for your inspiration!

Anny Heiberg
Galveston, TX

Thanks Anny,  and how great that she named her bag.

Joyce Dove of Granville, Illinois sent us the picture a long time ago.  She said she would be making more Bungalow Bags so hopefully we will get more pictures.

Finally, a lady came up to us at Quilt Market in Salt Lake City to show us her version of the BUNGALOW BAG.  She added gromets and a big flower and used one of my favorite all time fabric collections.  We were so busy I forgot to get her name, but I did get pictures.

This is our version.

Last, and I think my favorite.  We got this picture from QUILT SAMPLER, a shop in Tulsa.

This group of ladies belong to RUBY'S REMNANTS FAMILY GUILD and this is what they did at their retreat.  The hat pattern is in our BLOOMING POSSIBILITIES book.  I just can't stop smiling everytime I see them.

Inspiration is just the starting place.  We hope our patterns give you a little inspiration.  See them all on our website,

More sharing next time.

Janice and Marcea

Friday, June 3, 2011


So much news, so little space.  Let's start with the Winners.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to check out and comment on all the new pillows. 

The pillow with the most votes was RUFFLES AND ROSES.


The WINNERS of the TOUCH OF WHIMSEY books are:

(The numbers are from the random number drawer)

#4 - Country Color Creations

#91- Quiltma

#100 - Peaceful Piecer

So, winners, if you will email us your addresses, we will put the books in the mail. 

If you just have to have a book, and didn't win, head over to the website, and check it out.

The next exciting news, Janice has a new grandbaby.  This is number 4, all boys, poor Janice.
Born to her oldest daughter Carolee, name pending.

And the last big news, my youngest son flew in last night from Florida.  I haven't seen him in over a year.  So fun to have him in the house, and the first thing he is doing, folding Abbey Lane patterns.  It is definitely a family business.

Have a great weekend.  Janice and Marcea

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


What better way to introduce a new BOOK than with a new GIVEAWAY.  We had a crazy spring, new projects for market, the new book and a huge deadline, and in the middle of it all, I stopped and make a holiday pillow. It was fun and fast and immediately made it's way to my living room couch.  So it hit us, let's do a PILLOW BOOK.  We got our delivery from the printer the day before market.  The book was a big hit. 

A TOUCH OF WHIMSEY has 12 different decorative pillows.  From holidays to decorator, the pillows are quick and easy, and a great way to use up your stash or your favorite new fabrics.  They have fun textures and embillishments too.

We have color pictures of all the pillows throughout the book.  Here are a couple of samples.


These are two of the pillows, all 12 are pictured on our website which brings us to our little contest.

Three winners will each get a copy of the new book, A TOUCH OF WHIMSEY.

THE RULES (if you can call window shopping on the internet a rule)  Get up to five chances to win a book.

1 - Head over to the our website,, go to the shopping page and click on the Touch of Whimsey book.  It will take you to the page with all the pillows.  Pick your favorite and leave us a comment telling us which one by name.

2 - Tell your friends about our little contest on your blog.  We love going to your blogs to find out more about you.

3 - Become a follower of our blog. If you are already a follower, just let us know. 

4 - Add us as a friend on FACEBOOK.  Just look up Abbeylanequilts. 

5 - Tell your friends on facebook about our little contest.

That should do it.  We will pick the winners next week after the holiday.

Here is the back cover with a shot of all the pillows.

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Janice and Marcea

Thursday, May 19, 2011


So, do you think it is odd to make a new year's resolution in May?  So here's my list.

1 - Post more often.

2 - Share more recipes.

3 - Have more giveaways.

4 - Highlight great tips and gadgets.

That is probably enough.  Let's see how I do.

Now, as you probably already know, Spring Market in Salt Lake City just finished up.  For us, it is like a giant family reunion.  We have made wonderful friends over the past couple of years and it is so fun to catch up.  The good news and the bad news is we were so busy (that's the good news), that we didn't get to see everyone and I didn't get a single picture of anyone (that's the bad news).  I did get a few pictures of our booth so here goes SHOW AND TELL.

The most exciting news first.  We won the booth award for BEST MERCHANDISING.  All those hours painting paid off.  There were so many fabulous booths, we were thrilled and very humbled.

Starting from the top, We found these great letters to hang above our booth.  Wanted to make sure everyone knew where they were.

The awesome painted canvas floor.  It was a big hit.

Couldn't have done it without NELLIE.  This is Janice's daughter and she came to help.  By the way, that is a baby bump, she is due with her first little boy in just 4 weeks.  We were so excited to have her there.

The back wall, and A TOUCH OF WHIMSEY is our newest book.  12 decorative pillows.  We will have it ready to sell next week and yes, we will be having some fun giveaways.

One side of the booth with the FAB FIVE book which made the MODA TOP 25 BOOK LIST.  There is also a sneak peak of a new quilt with Kate Spain's new collection coming soon.

Finally, our other wall with a metal center to hang the patterns and my personal new favorite quilt featuring Basic Grey's new line, Curio.

It's good to be back in the blogging world, and I will be keeping my resolutions.  Next week we will debut the new book.  Unitl then, have a great week.

Janice and Marcea

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Woke up to this beautiful white site this morning.

5 inches and still falling.

 It's ok, though, because I am getting ready to work on Christmas projects.  Yes, Christmas in March, that way, you will have new projects for Christmas in July.   We have been checking all the new Christmas fabric collections for this year and there are some beautiful choices.

Today is a show and tell post.  We love it when we get pictures of projects you have made from our patterns.  Like a proud momma watching her babies.

THE MAGGIE MAY from Nann Reed

Here's what she had to say, "Here are some photos of Maggie May bags. I like to pander to current fashion while maintaining a whimsical feel, so I combined pink cheetah fabric with bold stripes and polka dots. The grey bag was created from cotton batik fabric and strips cut from items I found in the thrift shop, like neckties and an extremely flamboyant housecoat. Thanks again for the lovely pattern!"

And here are her pictures

Check out the beautiful decorative stitching on the handles

Next, MATCH BOX from Gerry Gray
She sent us these pictures a few months ago, and this is what she said "Finished the binding today. Yeah~ Here are some pictures. Of course my two year old has to be on the quilt. The material is "Adoring". I used a Merry Christmans script as the background fabric, since Adoring is such a subtle Christmas print. Hope you like it.

And last for tonight, our good friend Lucy Moory sent us this little note.  She was using the FAB FIVE book.  Lucy writes, "had to show you and tell you.... I LOVED how easy your Fab 5 quilt goes together! I'm making more!!!!!


She used her own fabric line, PACIFIC TRADE WINDS, head over to her blog and check it all out,

Here is the FAB FIVE book

This is the pattern we did for Lucy's fabric line.  It is called ROCK AND ROLL.
Thanks again for all the pictures.  Keep sending them.  Check out all the patterns and more on our website,

Have a great week, Janice and Marcea

Thursday, March 10, 2011


So is it tooooo late in the year to make a new year's resolution?   I just noticed the date of our last blog.  I resolve to write more often.   In our defense, though, we have a great reason.  We are doing a STASH BOOK, the really cool ones that are published by C&T publishing.  We finished the first draft yesterday.  While that may not sound like a lot, it has 32 projects which we have had to design, sew and write the patterns for.  Then we had to transfer it into a book language format.  The projects all get shipped next week.  It doesn't come out for a while though, so no more information for now.  Just needed a good excuse for not writing.

Now I have a great excuse for WRITING.  We had an email from our friend Amanda Herring, The Quilted Fish last week.  She has put together a fabulous idea for spring market which is in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is called ALL DOLLED UP IN SALT LAKE CITY, and it involves quilts and prizes and a whole lot of fun.  She invited Utah designers to take a basic paper doll template and using one of four Riley Blake fabric collections, create a 10" x 12" block.  She had such an overwhelming response, that there are enough blocks to make two quilts.  The quilts will hang in the Riley Blake booth.  All the participants will also have their block in their booth, and here where the fun starts, yes, a BOOTH HOP.  Get a stamp from all the participating designers, and you get a chance to win one of the quilts, or numerous other patterns and projects that each designer is donating.  All the details and updates are found on a special blog,  There is also a list of all the designers with links to their blogs.

So, now more justifying as my son would say.  I got the fabric for the block on Friday, but because of the book, couldn't even start until Saturday.  Amanda needed the block on Monday.  Actually, she remembered that even though we are officially a Florida company, yours truly lives in the Beehive state.  We are so glad she remembered us, even last minute.  Not sure how long everyone else had, but i assure you there are some amazing blocks.  I risked life and limb to get the block to Amanda's Monday.  There was a huge snowstorm and I was stuck on the freeway in a blizzard during rush hour.  It was worth it though, because I got a sneak peak at some of the blocks.

Let me show you a couple of pics of our block.  I used the Love Birds collection.  It has beautiful bright colors.  The doll is tall and skinny so I needed something to feel the space.  Of course, what is more us than flourishes.
 She had to have blonde hair, of course.  Now to the face.  I painted it on, yes that is paint. 

I did try numerous clothing designs, but decided on this cute little dress, great leggings, and a fabulous pair of chunky green sandals.  When it was done, I really liked her.  It felt just like our style.  I can just see myself running around in that little outfit, simple, but flashy.  Now the fun starts.  Checking out all the other designers blocks.  Most of the ones I saw looked just like their maker and they showed off their interests and talents.   It was so  fun to see so much personality and variety in a paper doll.  Just can't wait for the finished quilts.

So here she is all finished, kinda.  I embroidered Abbey Lane Quilts in blue floss after I took the picture.  I'm going to make a Great Big Block for our booth at market, and I think there are going to have to be two

I will start posting pics of some of the other dolls.  If you just can't wait, head to the blog and see what your favorite designers have created.

P.S.  Not sure when, I think after market, the patterns to make all the doll blocks will be availabe free on each designers website.