Sep 23, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Fest - Hand Quilted category

Its fall and that means its time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. 

I've entered this online festival for the past several years and its always fun to be a part of it, and to see all the great quilts that people make and blog about.

I am entering the HAND QUILTED CATEGORY.

Take time to visit and vote for your favorites.

This quilt was created from antique Japanese cotton. Some of these pieces are a century old, some older, some newer.

I stitched these pieces in layers with white cotton sashiko thread. Here is my original post about making this quilt.

Sep 19, 2016

this is what obsession looks like

This is what obsession looks like.

A dozen + handbags!!! I've done nothing but design and construct purses. And along the way I have neglected my blog! :(

Its all been purses and more purses... for weeks! I've built them, and then redesigned them and rebuilt them... so its hard to actually count them. On some designes, I built them and then took them apart and started over and built them again, till they're perfect. 

This is obsession for sure! I've been obsessed before... over quilts... or work... or kids... or whatever. But I don't think I've spent this much time with such a single focus, ever! I have truly lived like a hermit... or maybe just an artist obsessing over the work.

Its all been so interesting because working with leather is so different and its been good for my mind to have a totally new challenge. 

In addition to the mental challenge. leather is also very physical... there are hole punches, screwdrivers, mini drills... hammers and knives ... and strong-arming leather into forms and shapes that work. 

Leather is unforgiving! Mess up and you gotta start over.

Why the obsession? Well, I'm starting a new business making and selling leather and cotton handbags --- something I've wanted to do for quite some time!

Back in 1969, my dad started a business making wooden purses and I used to help out working in his shop after school and on weekends. Back in those days, child labor was not looked down upon! haha. Everyone was expected to work and help out, so we did. To honor those early days, I've named my new company mariejay- a combination of mine and my dad's middle names.

I plan to focus mostly on leather handbags, lined with beautiful quilting cottons.  

Each one is unique and I start each project with an open mind and let the leather and fabric speak to me.

But I also plan to use unusual materials such as canvas, vintage feed sacks or upcycled coffee bean sacks (we don't say "used" anymore... haha). The feed sacks and coffee bean sack bags have leather interiors!

I plan to sell online for now. I'm in the process of building a new e-commerce site. And I've opened a new Etsy store for my new brand (

Setting up websites, taking professional photos, keeping up with social media stuff... all takes time and patience. But at this point, I think it is a better option for me than selling through retail boutiques. Although, later down the road that may change. 

Of course I will keep quilting! I love quilting and will always be a quilter. In fact, its the very skills I've learned with 20 years of quiltmaking that are helping me in my new business. And hopefully, I will turn this new passion into a real day job... and keep quilting for fun.

Thanks for reading... and for coming back to my blog after the summer absence.