The Fabric Maverick: October 2009 Archives
The time has finally arrived for one of the most fun times of the year- Halloween. The air is starting to turn crisp and cold. The leaves are beginning to fall to make a crunchy noise under the feet. I must tell you that I grew up in a very small town in a household full of children. We ruled the neighborhood. When Halloween came around, we trooped the street in a group collecting our treats in costumes made up from anything and everything at home. No store bought costumes for us! It was a night of adventures. I might add that we never caused any harm to any property or person. Everyone in the neighborhood knew us and would report us to Mom if we did do somthing wrong. Next door there lived the two sisters, Ms. Spain. These two maiden ladies were as excited as we were on Halloween. They outdid themselves creating homemade delights such as caramel apples, popcorn balls, brownies and cookies! Oh, my! Never did we have to worry that someone would poison us or slip harmful things into the treats. Unfortunately, no longer can we trust that people will not do harm to our children on this holdiay.
Here are some tips to make your children's Halloween more enjoyable:
1. If it is possible, try to make sure the costume fabric is flame retardant.
2. Make sure the costume is not so long that the child will trip over it.
3. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure that they can see properly. You may need to enlarge the eye holes for proper vision.
4. Your child should never "trick or treat" alone. They should go with several friends; There should be a definite time to be home.
5. Young children should be accompanied by parents.
6. Only go to houses that you can trust. Do not go to homes that do not welcome children at this time of the year..
7. Many neighborhoods have Halloween parties. You might want to skip going door-to-door in favor of the neighborhood party.
8. Homeowners should keep their house well lit. Any loose steps should be repaired. If you have jack-o-lanterns, use the new LED lighting instead of candles. A child's costume might accidentally be set on fire if it is blown across a candle.
9. Make sure that children carry flashlights to light their way
10. After the children have returned from their adventure, look the candy over carefully to see if it looks tampered with. Discard any dubious treats. Only accept homemade treats from wonderful grandmothers like me!
I don't know about you but I suddenly feel the urge for a homemade popcorn ball. Happy Halloween! Be Safe!
Not only does Ro Gregg design fabrics, she is also a great cook. She has shared one of her favorite recipes with us.
Rigatoni Pasta w/ Bolognese Sauce
1 medium Vidallia onion finely chopped Salt and Pepper to taste
1 medium carrot finely chopped Tubular pasta - follow instructions on box.
6 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 Tri-pack of veal, pork and hamburger
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Italian seasonings : Your choice to taste
Optional : A tad of cognac
1. Saute onion, carrot and galic in extra virgin olive oil until onion is translucent.
2. Stir in meat and brown meat. Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil or your choice of Italian seasoning to release flavor of spices.
3, When meat is finished browning, stir in one can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 cup of red wine and a sprinkle of cognac. Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 hour or until the desired consistency is reached. Garnish pasta with fresh chopped parsley and basil.
4. Sit back and enjoy the compliments.
If you still feel like sewing after this delicious treat, here is a link to a free pattern download from Northcott Fabrics: Cambridge Square.
I recently caught up with Ro Gregg. This was no easy task! This grande dame of quilting designers is always on the go! Let's see what goes on in the world of Ro Gregg.
Fabric Maverick; "Ro, you have been in the fabric design business for a long time. How do you keep reinventing yourself? In fact, how long have you been designing fabric?
Ro Gregg: "I have been designing fabrics for more than two decades and have designed thousands of patterns. I am a romantic at heart and have collected antique china, vintage fabric and heirloom quilts. These are a true source of design inspiration. I am inspired by the world around me. I have had the great fortune of travel at an early age. My parents took us across country to just about all of our national parks. I have traveled to Europe and as a designer it developed my talents and my love of color. I, also, come from a long generation of gardeners and love Mother Nature's most precious gifts of flowers especially roses- all colors and shapes. This is evident in my rose designs and my flower of the month collections. The last two years my family has been blessed with the addition of five new babies so I am busy designing children's patterns and crib quilts. I am never at a loss for ideas. On the contrary, I seem to run well on overload. I also am inspired by what is happening in the world globally. I love the mix of traditional and Asian. I call it Asian Fusion and the bright pop of color blocking in the modern mixing of patterns."
Fabric Maverick: "What did you do before designing fabric?"
Ro Gregg: "I actually went to college to become a teacher. I studied English, Spanish and Art. When I graduated I moved to NYC. I moved into an apartment with my college roommates. I was one of the few offered a job teaching High School Spanish. The commute from the city was two hours and I decided to decline the job. My first job was a merchandising trainee for a textile company where I received on the job training and became the liaison between the production department and the studio. Everything fast forwarded to designing which was just second nature to me. I have received over 15 design awards and over 50 nominations for excellence in design of quilting, home decor and crafts!"
Fabric Maverick: "Do you ever wish you had become that teacher?"
Ro Gregg: "I wanted to be a teacher but once I became involved in textiles designing it came natural to me. I especially enjoyed working with color and trend forecasting."
Fabric Maverick: "Do you feel that you have a signature style? I have seen you design everything from florals to oriental to tweens.
Ro Gregg: "My signature style and first love is a romantic cottage chic look mostly roses and other nostalgic florals and china tea cups, but I enjoy inspiring the quilters with new themes as well."
Fabric Maverick: "Northcott Fabrics has been a strong supporter of the Quest for a Cure. Are you the guiding factor behind this commitment? I love your "Passionately Pink" collection."
Ro Gregg: "Northcott was a front runner in the Quest for the Cure project long before I joined them. However for me personally, one of the nicest and rewarding parts of my designing is designing fabrics that can make a contribution to breast cancer research. It's sort of two-for-one as quilters can buy beautiful fabric from Northcott and as a result of their purchase a donation is made for cancer research. In my new collection, Passionately Pink, the panel showcases Northcott and my quest to find a cure. I used a decorative mix so that the quilter can make a quilt easily with the panel and its coordinating patterns for their home or gift giving."
Fabric Maverick: "I know this collection will be a huge hit with quilters everywhere. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?"
Ro Gregg: "My mother has been the biggest influence in my life. She was truly a Renaissance woman! She was one of the first women buyers for Bloomingdales. She was a mentor, a wonderful role model and a fabulous business woman. She also loved to cook and travel!"
Fabric Maverick; "No wonder you have achieved so much. Is there anything you would like to change in your life?"
Ro Gregg: "This is a difficult question as I have been blessed by God in many aspects of my life and have a wonderful husband, family and two Shih Tzu dogs -Marco and Polo and friends. I love what I do as it truly is a God-given talent.
Fabric Maverick: "What do you do when you are not designing?"
Ro Gregg: "I like to give back to my community and I am active in my church and the Ladies' Auxilliary. I love the outdoors, gardening, swimming, boating and taking long walks with my dogs. Summer is my favorite time of the year. My husband and I have two dogs and that takes up a lot of tiime. We entertain a lot with friends as well. My favorite hobbies are antiquing, swimming, boating. I love to just hang out at the New Jersey shore relaxing with friends-no make up, no fuss.
Fabric Maverick: "After everthing you do , I do not know where you find the time to relax."
Ro Gregg: " My days are extremely hectic as I work from home and it is hard to run it off. Usuallly I start early and walk both dogs a mile or two. Check my emails as I usually alsways have early morning emails from Korea about the differen fabric samples.Once 9:00 A.M. rools around, it's non-stop.... the phone about 30-40 calls easily a day. Designers come in and out, needing direction. 5:00 P.M. rolls around and the dogs are walked and if I do not have late day appointments I try to go swimming or take in a yoga or water aerobics."
Fabric Maverick: "I feel like a slacker compared to your schedule. We will be looking forward to your new collections. I would not be surprised to see some juvenile themes dominating your interest! Thank you again, Ro."
As a special treat to our readers Ro is sharing one of her favorite recipes and a project. Look for these tomorrow.
Komfort Kids designed by PatricK Lose for Avlyn Fabrics was created to support the activities of the Project Linus. Project Linus is a non-profit organization with a two-fold mission. First, to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer "blanketeers". Second, to a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in locat communities, for the benefit of children.
Animal Party Quilt For Kids designed by Amy Schimler for Robert Kaufman Fabrics was created to support the activities of Quilts For Kids. This organization has taken discontinued fabric that was going to be thrown away and used it to make quilts , wheelchair bags, totes and more for people in need. This has turned into a international effort. Every type of fabric is used and recycled into something usable for children, homeless people and the elderly.
I have recently become aware "The Ugly Quilt Project" or the "Sleeping Bag Project". This was begun by My Brother's Keeper Quilt Group. The mission is create simple emergency sleeping bags from recycled fabrics and distribute them to the homeless. United Way will acceot these sleeping bags to distribute as needed. Please check with your local chapter for more information. I read an article recently that stated that 30% of the homeless are now families that have fallen on hardtimes in our current economic downturn. To me, it is very sad statement that there are any homeless people in America.
WHY THE NAME 'UGLY QUILT'
a. The Sleeping Bag is a utility quilt made from clean used or no-cost fabrics.
b. This simple sleeping bag should not have a market value to assure the homeless are beneficiaries.
c. The name indicates the skill level needed for this tied quilt.
d. The Ugly Quilt can be made in less than a day.
e. A group can make one in an hour.
THE OUTER SHELL OF THE SLEEPING BAG IS MADE BY CUTTING SCRAP MATERIAL, BEDSPREADS, DRAPES OR RUMMAGE INTO THE LARGEST SQUARE OR RECTANGLE THE PIECE WILL ALLOW.
1. Sew enough pieces together to form a seven foot by seven foot (7' x 7') square.
2. Sew two, 7' by 7' squares together to form the sleeping bag cover. 7' by 14' finished length.
3. Stitch two sets of three foot straps to a 7' edge, approximately 15 and 30 inches in. Straps are made of neckties, dress belts, etc.
4. On three eight foot (8') church tables, fill one half of the 14' x 7' piece with clean old blankets, mattress pads, fiberfill or light-weight rummage. Leave a three inch (3") seam allowance on the three open edges.
5. Cover with remaining 7' length. 6. Tie knots through all three layers with a double crochet cotton every eight inches (8"), to secure the covers to the fill layer.
7. Lay the 3' straps up onto the tied quilt.
8. Fold the tied 7' x 7' in half, R to L forming a 7' x 3 1/2' sleeping bag shape. * Triple knot with crochet cotton the remaining side and bottom edges every three inches catching only the four cover layers. Raw edges will insulate the seams when turned * The top edge and folded side are finished.
9. Turn right side out.
10. Roll up and tie straps tightly to secure. Feel free to implement your ideas but keep it simple, quick and cost free.
Though we do not advertise it, Fabric.com provides fabric to Extreme Home Makeovers as needed.
Please take time to give something back to your community. Some of these ideas are easy to implement. I have heard from many of our customers about their contributions to their communities from Jasmine who teaches teenagers to sew to Leila who buys denim to teach prisoners new skills. Give with your heart and work with your hands! In that spirit, we will have a very interesting interview with Ro Gregg next week. Ro designs for Northcott Fabrics who strongly support the quest for the cure!