Que Orchestra, Curtain Up!

Posted in quilt display, Uncategorized at 12:00 pm by Lauretta Crites

The notice arrived unexpectedly early… the final exhibit of the Dinner@8 Artists. A flutter of the heart as I click thru the link to the list of accepted pieces. Scrolling thru the list of now familiar names… yes it’s there Lauretta K. Crites – Que Orchestra, Curtain Up! will be part of this last chapter.

I came late to the party. Gaining entry (it’s invitation only…) in 2014 after my quilt “Winter Squash” ribboned at Houston Festival, giving me my first opportunity to “come to the table” with this amazing group of women in 2015 when my quilt “Undaunted” was accepted into the “Affinity” exhibit, meeting for the 1st time artists who’s work I had long admired. I remember now how much I tortured myself and my quilt that first year knowing how high the caliabler of the work would be and how proud I was, and am, to see my work alongside the work of these beautiful ladies. To see the list of this years artists or previous year exhibits click here.

Being a part of this group has really inspired me and pushed me to grow in my work, opened my eyes to new ideas and opportunities and made me laugh ’till I nearly cried. I am grateful for the friendships and the committed deadlines!! Many thanks to co-curators Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison for creating this exhibit and fostering this community.

Cue Orchestra, Curtain Up!

I have an affinity for live theater. I’m not certain where I “caught the bug” but I know even in elementary school I loved putting on stage shows, even puppet shows! More comfortable behind the scenes I moved naturally into the “tech” side eventually joining my sewing skills with construction and design working in costume shops in Los Angeles on all kinds of productions.

I love all kinds of theater but its the musicals I return to over and over again. They are the ones that steal my heart. Call it Opera or Musical Theater when you combine music with the human voice and the actions of the performers I’m transported, fully engaged. Even when I can’t understand the words the emotions are so clear.

In this 30″ x 50″ quilt Cio-Cio San (Madame Butterfly) and Alexander Hamilton (Hamilton) share the spotlight in my tribute to theater in it’s most magical form with other productions represented in the quilting in the background surrounding these central characters. Between my time “backstage” and “front of house” some of the most exquise moments of my life have been experienced in the theater.

2017 Dinner@8 piece “White Lace on Red Velvet”
theme: Patterns

2016 Dinner@8 piece “Undaunted” Theme: Affinity



“LOVE” Mini Quilt on a foam display board

Posted in Monthly Mini, quilt display, Uncategorized at 6:31 pm by Lauretta Crites

Now that life is cycling back toward something like normalcy I’ve been able to spend some time in the studio. My
current art quilt is under a social media black out so I am going to share a new Mini Quilt display method I’ve just tried.

Design Foam Boards for Mini Quilt Mounting

Design Foam Boards by Fairfield are rigid styrofoam with adhesive on one side so its easy to mount the quilt directly to the board. The instructions say to position sticky side up wrap your fabric to the back covering only the edges and then stick it to the wall…
Sorry… I’m not gluing these things to my wall… Here’s how I used it.

I started by measuring the width for my border. Since the center of my Mini Quilt measures 8 1/2″ square and the foam board is 12″ square I needed the border fabric to be 1/4″ (seam allowance) + 2″ (distance to edge) + 1/2″ (thickness of foam) + 1 1/2″ (wrap on back) = 4″ I cut 2 border pieces 4″ x 8 1/2″ and attached to the sides, right sides together, sewed using 1/4″ seam, pressed toward the border, added 4″ border to the top and bottom measuring for the length. You will have a finished top with very wide border, as you see in the top photo.

Next I marked on the back of the quilt 2″ out from the seam of the mini quilt center. This created a 12″ square, the same size as the foam board. I then removed the stickybase protective liner and centered the board sticky side down on top of my fabric aligning it with the marks I made.

center the foam on the back of your mini quilt

Clip into the fabric even with the edge of the board on the sides, stopping at the board. Place double sided adhesive fabric tape along the raw edge stopping where the fabric is clipped . Remove the adhesive liner and wrap the fabric around the edge of the foam onto the back (non adhesive) side of the board pulling slightly as you press the tape in place to create a tight fit.

trimming the top and bottom border

Use a touch of glue to secure the raw edge of the fabric on the 1/2″ bottom corners. Fold back the extending end of the top and bottom border fabric even with the side of the covered edge of the foam board. Trim away about half of the fold back, to eliminate bulk.

After trimming, glue remaining fold back in place on top of border.


glue extra seam allowance

Place double sided fabric tape on raw edge from end to end on remaining edges, wrap fabric around sides and onto back tugging slightly as you press tape in place to create a tight fit.

view of back of finished board


With the stickybase adhesive firmly anchoring the front of the mini quilt and nothing sticky on the back I can prop my mini up on a table, or stand it in a small easel or even press a picture hook into the back and hang it on a nail.

Mini top wrapped on design foam board


Easy Snap Bag

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:23 pm by Lauretta Crites

I love to make these little bags from the quilted fabric left over from making my “Cutting Mat Tote Bags”
you can make them any size you want. The instructions that follow make a “snap bag” approx. 5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ finished.

Snap Bag

To make your snap bag, you will need:
1) 1 piece of quilted fabric 8″ x 11″
2) 2 binding fabric pieces 3 1/2″ x 8″
3) 2 prairie point fabric pieces 3 1/2″ square
4) 2 pieces of 1″ wide metal tape measure 7 1/4″ long with the ends rounded and cut edges taped

Start by folding your binding pieces in half lengthwise and pressing.(not shown)
Take your prairie point pieces and fold them in half lengthwise. Press. With the raw edges facing up fold each edge in to the center to form a triangle.

With the “wrong” side of the 8″ x 11″ fabric facing you on the table align the raw edges of your folded binding strips up with the raw 8″ edges of your snap bag, pin in place and stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance.
Press stitching to set then press binding up.

Binding shown stitched and pressed to the “wrong side”

Turn your quilted fabric over and wrap the binding around to the front pinning in place. The binding should come down over the front edge about 1 1/8″ find the center and tuck the prairie points under the binding edge about 1/4″ and pin.(see photo at top of page) Top stitch close to the edge of the binding to stitch binding and prairie points.

snap bag "right sides together"

Fold your snap bag in 1/2 “right sides together” aligning the binding edges. On one side only Stitch 1/4″ seam. Insert each of the metal tape measure pieces under the bindings sliding them all the way into the pocket. The rounded side of the tape measure needs to be on the outside (right side) of the snap bag, so working from the the inside (wrong side) slide it in so the inside curve faces you and the outside curve faces the front. Make sure its the same for both sides of the snap bag.
Stitch the other side closed using 1/4′ seam allowance. Finish by zig zag stitching the raw edges.
Turn right side out and carefully poke out the corners to make nice and flat and square.

These little bags are great on the go and make terrific gifts. I have one I use as my binding tote with scissors needles and binding clips. They make great make up bags and travel bags. I’ve make them in the size of eyeglass cases and have one I use as a pencil case. You really can’t have too many. Enjoy!


CREATE! 7 keys to unlocking your creative power

Posted in CREATE!, LOA, Monthly Mini, Uncategorized at 4:59 pm by Lauretta Crites


For me it begins with the idea that being happy and feeling joyful improves every area of your life. That the very act of feeling good, of being happy, draws to you “magnetizes” all the good stuff you want to come into your life.

Now this really excites me, it excites me that the more I practice and the better I become at using these universal principals the more beautiful and enjoyable my life becomes and I want that for you, too!

So, I’ve developed an acronym CREATE! to explain these ideas and principals to move you to your own exquisitely joyful creations.  C- Choose, R – Request, E – Expect, A- Act, T – Thank, E – Energize, ! – the jzuzzh that brings it all together.

C – The first letter in CREATE! is “C” and “C” stands for CHOOSE. In quilting we begin by making a choice. The 1st decision or choice we have to make is what do we want? Nothing can happen until we decide. Until we choose. Will we make a wall quilt or a bed quilt a baby quilt or a tote bag? When we decide for ourselves that is called a conscious decision and with that we create the world around us. BUT – it’s very important to recognize that not all decisions are conscious ones. Many if not most of our day to day creating is done unconsciously.

We want to be conscious creators of our lives. The best way to be happy with your conscious choice is to follow you heart when deciding. Which means choosing things because they are what other people want for you doesn’t really work, your choices must come from your own heart.

If you are interested in a hands on experience of  CREATE!  I will be holding a class:

Visioning in Fabric:


Visualization is a powerful tool for focusing used to help us achieve our goals. In this workshop we will be creating a small (approx. 11” x 17”) wall hanging to help get us in the “feeling place” of our dreams. Experts agree the more you can “feel” the way achieving your dream will feel, the more likely you are to achieve it. Immerse yourself in the powerful energy created as we work together. This is your dream, there is no should. Use colors that speak to you, embellish as your heart desires. You may make your piece as literal or as abstract as you want.  As long as your quilt makes you smile and reminds you of your desire, it’s perfect. You will learn some tips and tools for taking your dreams from fabric to fruition and the cutting edge science that makes quilting the perfect tool for not only visualizing but achieving your dreams.   Redlands Sewing Center, Sept 29 6pm (909) 792-3994


Happy New Year!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:01 pm by Lauretta Crites


A ritual I love to do this time of year is to sit down with my calendar and planner and work out my goals for the coming year, and make sure I put my vacations in 1st! Last year I did the e-version of Leonie Dawson’s 2014 Create your amazing life & biz workbook and planner. But, considering my computer and I are hardly BFF’s (although we are working on our relationship…) this year I treated myself to the print version.

2015 Create your Shining year workbook

2015 Create your Shining year workbook

Leonie’s workbooks are so fun, colorful and positively supportive. Now that Christmas is over I’ve been curled up with my “2015 Create your Shining Year workbook” and a handful of colorful pens and am deep into planning.  “Planning” Leonie style includes scheduling self care and lots of time to dream along with more practical “action” steps. I have been busy writing in vendor dates for “Old Broads” as well as vacations for myself and my sweetie pie.

I love this workbook and Leonie’s vibe! In case you would like to get one of your own, she has e-versions for life or business or a combo of both. And, if you are looking for some fun positive information from a nutty Aussie who swears like a sailor and loves to make up her own words you can sign up for her mailing list, check out www.leoniedawson.com

2015 is off and running…





Happy Thanksgiving

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:40 pm by Lauretta Crites

Thanksgiving morning

Thanksgiving morning

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have kicked off the holiday season …. last Saturday we went out to the Riverside Municipal Theater to see our Nephew Austin performing with his fellow students. He attends a performing arts high school and it was so fun to see the talent these young people exhibit and the skills they display already. It made me realize how much I miss going to live theater. My husband, David and I both agreed we need to add that back into our lives. We have several theaters and colleges nearby, I’m excited to check out their schedules and order up some tickets!

On Sunday we enjoyed an early Thanksgiving Dinner at the home of our Son’s girlfriend. Her parents Juliet and Mike remained unflappable with nearly 20 sitting down to dinner. I admire them so much. My own sit down dinner on Thursday will be far more modest… 5 at last count. I’ll be doing a blend of home cooking and prepared foods. Leaning on Trader Joe’s market to create a few sides… I’m brineing a turkey. I did it last year for the 1st time and it really is worth it! I’ll make the garlic mashed potatoes from scratch but dear TJ’S is in charge of the corn casserole, pumpkin pie and cleaning and trimming the green beans.

I put the tree up yesterday and will try to complete the indoor decorations for the family room by this morning. With Thanksgiving so late this year I feel like one foot in each holiday is the best technique for managing, dining room and living room is in fall, family room and bedroom moved on to Christmas.

However you choose to tackle the holidays this year, be kind to yourself and remember it will all be over by January 2… Smile. Enjoy, repeat.

Lillian says "Hi"

Lillian says “Hi”



Oh, how sweet it is…!

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:47 pm by Lauretta Crites



Quilt Market and Festival in Houston was sooo much fun! It’s taken me more than a week to catch up and process the experience and my brain is busy calculating plans to attend again next year. Step 1 make another awesome quilt that wins a ribbon….


George Brown Convention Center

OK details… For starters the place is IMMENSE really truly immense. The good news is all that walking keeps the pounds off!

Now for the really good news… “Winter Squash” was awarded 2nd prize in the “Art Miniature” category.

"Winter Squash" at Houston with its 2nd place ribbon

“Winter Squash” at Houston with its 2nd place ribbon

Now, in my opinion, the category should be “Art, Small” since there is a separate category for “Miniature Quilts” which are quilts in reduced scale, something else altogether, but, I am over the moon about winning at Houston!!!! they can call it any thing they like. There were many really really beautiful quilts on display and I had to pick my chin up off the floor on a number of occasions!!

If you’ve never attended the award ceremony for the IQA Houston Festival then you would be as surprised as I was at how they do it.

The ballroom is set up with a small stage at the front with steps at both ends. The stage has a podium and a table with flowers on it. There is a large screen above the stage slightly  to one side. As the award sponsors present each award the winning quilter goes up onto the stage to receive their check.

The room is completely draped in black curtains and as each quilt is announced a photograph is projected onto the screen so the audience can see the quilt. They start with honorable mention for each category and work their way up. When they announce the 1st prize winner a spotlight comes up on the wall and a curtain flys away revealing the winning quilt beautifully lit eliciting a gasp and collective ahhhh…

I don’t know why but this part really surprised me, I didn’t expect the quilts to be in the room, and truth be told when I found out and knew I had seen my quilt already displayed down on the show floor, I had a sinking feeling… but as soon as I saw this stunner by Janet Fogg, which won 1st place in “Art – Whimsical”, my heart was back in hopeful excitement, since I knew for sure I had seen her quilt on the show floor.


Eloise Joins the Circus – Janet Fogg 1st place Art -Whimsical

When the Masters awards are presented, those are quilts winning $5,000 and above, a bouquet of flowers is also presented to the winning quilter. I didn’t notice at the time, but later learned that the flower colors are chosen to coordinate with the quilts, which might lend a clue to the highly knowledgeable and extremely sharp eyed among you in the future.

Speaking of the future, I’m setting my sights on another win at Houston. Next time I’d like my quilt to be “behind the curtain” and I wouldn’t complain if it came with a bouquet of flowers, either!

If you’d like to see more of the beautiful quilts in “Quilts: A World of Beauty” the IQA 2014 juried quilt show check them out here http://www.quilts.org/winners.html


I’m off to see the wizard…

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:17 pm by Lauretta Crites

Well, maybe in this case I won’t meet the wizard but I AM heading to the land of OZ or maybe Mecca for quilters.  My quilt “Winter Squash” (the little gift that keeps giving) has been awarded a ribbon at the IQA Houston Quilt Festival. The ribbon comes with a CASH PRIZE!!! The best part of all is they hold an awards ceremony and I get to go! I will be at the show for a week. IQA (International Quilt Association) holds a wholesale market 2 x’s a year and the fall one in Houston is the largest the wholesale market in the country. There are over 600 exhibitors with every imaginable thing for the quilter. After the 3 days of market there is the Winners Circle celebration and preview then the Quilt Festival opens and continues for 3 or 4 days. I get to go to the wholesale market as a pattern designer/producer and also to shop for our retail business. Then be celebrated for my  winning quilt and finish it off seeing all the other wonderful quilts in the show and shopping for myself. I am soooo excited. Gotta go pack my duds. I look forward to posting wonderful pictures when I get back.



On Newsstands Now…

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:22 pm by Lauretta Crites

Oct/Nov issue Quilters Newsletter magazine

Oct/Nov issue Quilters Newsletter magazine

The better it gets, the better it gets! September has been such a wonderful month. I was blessed with time away from our inland heat with labor day weekend at the coast, then I turned right around and headed to San Diego for an awesome time at the San Diego Quilt Show playing all day in our “A couple of Old Broads” booth.

I arrived home to find a big white envelope from Quilters Newsletter magazine. Feeling so excited, I opened to the last page where I knew Winter Squash was due to appear. I can’t describe the thrill chill that I had when I saw it in print. Even now I feel all bubbbly and wobbly and really really appreciative. I placed it in a page protector (no grease or grime on my baby….) and placed it where i can pass by regularly (or grab in a quick sec to show anyone who holds still long enough…) just for the buzz i get from seeing it. These moments are the juicy ones in life and I intend to savor.


It’s not too late….4th of July Project

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:15 pm by Lauretta Crites

Sometimes you just need a really quick way to add some seasonal color. In my last post I shared a few ways I use my quilts for seasonal decorating, today I’ll share a quick stencil design I made in honor of the 4th of July. You could use the panel as the center of a quilt, a throw pillow or a wall hanging.

I start by drawing my design out on freezer paper (shiny side down) this piece is 18″ square. I labeled each area with the color to be painted.  In this case R-red, W-white, B-blue

freezer paper stencil

freezer paper stencil

I cut the stencil apart on the lines with an x-acto knife.  Reassemble the pieces on top of your fabric ( I used washed muslin).  Use the tip of your iron to “tack” the stencil pieces for the white and blue areas to the fabric. Remove the pieces that are for the red areas then press the white and blue areas firmly to the fabric. Use painters tape to mask off the edges of your piece.

I used regular acrylic artists paint. I was going for an aged look and I don’t plan to wash it and wouldn’t mind if some paint washed off. If you want to ensure your project will be long lasting you may prefer fabric paint.  For my rustic and aged look  I muddled some red and black paint together to get the color I was looking for a paper plate makes a great disposable palette.  A makeup sponge makes a great paint applicator for this stencil.

White and Blue areas ironed down

White and Blue areas ironed down

mask off the edges

mask off the edges


red paint mix

red paint mix


Red paint applied

I liked the look of the quilt wrapped around the pillow in the previous post so that’s my design basis.  That quilt was pieced so I worked the paint evenly over the surface then went back over with a second application in a striped fashion to mimic the random width piecing. When working with stencils always start at the masked edge and work IN to the area don’t push the paint into the edges of the freezer paper masking,  that can cause the paint to run into the areas you are trying to protect.

Once the paint dried I placed a piece of clean waste fabric over the painted areas and pressed them with a warm iron to set (don’t know if it was really necessary) then I  removed the pieces for the white sections and took the freezer paper pieces for the red section and pressed them in place over the paint. I painted the white section in the same 2 coat stripe manner as the red. I painted the white stars then pressed the white areas with the press cloth and placed freezer paper stars  back onto the area to be painted blue. I masked off (replaced the freezer paper) the other areas of white where they touched the blue section. The blue paint was also mixed with black paint to give a mottled look, remember to mask off the new edges for the blue. The blue paint was applied in an all over pattern with the makeup sponge working with the various edges so it wasn’t just little rectangles.

White painted stripes

White painted stripes


Detail of stars masked on blue

Detail of stars masked on blue

Let everything dry and remove the masking. The whole thing can be done in a couple of hours with pretty basic supplies. Have fun and enjoy your 4th of July celebrations, whatever they may be!

The finished piece

The finished piece

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