It’s MY logo!

swirl medium darkerAbout our logo…  I’ve gotten comments on it for years. Many people have wanted to know where it came from, so here’s the short version of the story.  It started years ago, (in fact more than 40 years ago–hard to believe,)  when I created my “fingerprint people.”  I had a family of more than 20, and I designed stationery using them with various sentiments.img589We went to craft fairs with our fingerprint family.  People would pick out the one they wanted and I would draw it on a round plastic disk that my father cut out for us.  I drew the name or word they wanted and plopped the character they chose on top of the word.   Some selected two characters and names.  Dick sprayed the finished piece to protect it, and Cathy added the leather strap and took the money.  I still run into people who remember getting one from us at a Craft Fair.  My favorite character was one I called “Fritz.”  This is what he looked like originally:img588 He has changed over the years – his nose has gotten smaller, his hair has turned purple, and the fingerprint has worn off.  He abandoned the flowers for a needle and thread.  A year ago, with our store’s 40th anniversary, we asked our granddaughter, Bri, a graphic designer, to do something with our logo.  Of course we wanted to preserve the original.  We chose two of the designs she came up with and use both of them.  We just love the new logos and feel they do Fritz justice!

A few weeks ago we got a note that ended with “and your logo seriously needs updated to this century.”  That’s what inspired this post.  To each her own, but it’s MY logo, and I’m proud we have included my favorite character, “Fritz.”  Over all these years, we wouldn’t have it any other way!Curl smaller

Come in Your Jammies!

It’s not every day that we get to come to work in our jammies! We really look forward to the Early Bird Sale every year! early bird 2It’s the one day we don’t have to do our hair and get dressed for work. We justimages come in our pj’s. I know it’s early, but you don’t have to get dressed to come either! We’ll even have coffee and pastries!  (Of course if you prefer to wear clothes, that’s allowed.) coffee



Did I mention the discounts? Oh yeah, that’s the main reason everyone wants to come! The earlier you come, the better the discount.8225606758_64a0609b70_z[1]Arrive between 6:00 – 7:00 am and receive 30% off!

Arrive between 7:01 – 8:00 am and receive 25% off!

Arrive between 8:01 – 4:00 pm and receive 20% off!

Discount taken on ALL regularly priced merchandise.

(Some exclusions apply.)

The discount is determined by the time you arrive at Erica’s, not the time you check out, so take your time and get some really great deals!

We’ll have coffee, juice and morning bakery treats until 11:00 am. Who can resist that? (The coffee is how they get us all here!)

Come early for the best discounts! Call your quilting friends and make a date to come on March 21, 2015, for Erica’s Early Bird Sale!

Help us help others! Food BankPlease bring 2 non-perishable food items or a cash (or check) donation. (The Food Bank can buy in greater quantities, so monetary donations are always appreciated.)

 We hope to see you there!

They May Be Mini, But They’re Charming!

Good things do come in small packages! min charm blog 2I admit it, I collect mini charms! I prefer little projects, so of course, little bits of fabric are going to interest me. OK, it’s a bit beyond “interest,” as I now have a great stash of mini-size charm packs waiting for me to use them.   mini charm blog 1Moda started this whole thing when they began producing pre-cuts of their wonderful fabric lines. They are still the leader in that effort, though a few other companies have decided to also produce pre-cut packages.

Two years ago, before Christmas, I had the crazy idea to try something – I had a pattern that called for 5” square fabric pieces. I thought “What would happen if I used mini charms (2-1/2” squares)?” Since I love small projects, this worked out rather perfectly! I made four of those table toppers for Christmas gifts!   min charm blog 2Now, when I see a pattern that calls for charms, I immediately think “Mini Charms!” You don’t have to do any math, other than perhaps resizing borders and backings, but that’s basic enough to not give you a headache.

There are now a variety of designers using those mini charm squares for their patterns, so you can choose something small right from the beginning.

Moda offers two books of mini charm patterns. The 1st (A17866) has 18 projects, while the 2nd book (A27096) has 13 projects. (Both are on the page linked above.)  We have models of one project from each book. Choose your favorite Mini Charm pack, and make these items all your own!     mini charm blog 3mini charm blog 4Here’s a tip from Cathy Young, who made the samples: using a fusible batting for fleece makes quilting these small projects so much easier! You save wrestling with pins and basting, while giving your project a wonderful finish.

We have Mini Charms from bright groups, country groups, traditional groups and, at certain times of the year, holiday groups. For just a little money, ($4.00 for 42 pieces,) you can have a lot of fun!mini charm blog 5Thanks to our Cathy Mark for this fun post!


Quick Tip – Pre-washing Fabric

My current purse is showing signs of wear after using it for a long time, so I followed my tip about using Liquid Stitch to prolong its life. (57949, about midway down the page.)  In the meantime, I’m starting a new one.  I prewash my fabric for clothing or purses. So here’s another tip, about avoiding birds’ nests in the dryer.

Clip all four corners of each piece of fabric on the diagonal.1 with arrowsBelow is what those corners looked like when I took them out of the dryer. (I try to take fabric out before it’s completely dry, and then spray it with Best Press to iron it.)

washedThis is what a raw edge looked like after the dryer. Sure beats fighting all those loose tangled threads to separate the fabric, like I did before I started cutting off the corners!  edgeI hope, if you haven’t tried this before, that you’ll clip those corners next time you wash fabric!  What do you think?


(To find an item or event on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day!  Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

Two Quilters, Two Rulers!

Karen and Lynne work in the same office.karenwolfe

Karen is our Website Coordinator. Among other things, she puts up all the new items on our website. That means she gets to see them first, too! That’s a really fun part of the job. But the tool she chose as her favorite isn’t a new one. It’s an old standard.CGR24

My favorite tool is the Creative Grids 6 ½” x 24 ½” ruler. I have learned that one of the most important things in making a quilt is the correct size of your fabric pieces, and this non-slip ruler makes it easier to get it right.”

lynneforrestLynne deals with shipping problems and is our technical writer.  She formats the procedures and manuals for our store.

She was really excited when I first demonstrated this to the staff! A26607b“The Quilter’s Slidelock 24″ ‘Lighted’ Edge is my favorite tool of all time.  Despite my limited arm strength, this ruler holds my fabric securely while cutting.  For years, I always ,veered off, at the end of a long cut (like a golf ball heading into the woods).  That’s history now.    Plus, the ‘lighted’ edge helps me position the ruler accurately.  It’s so much easier now to piece a beautiful block – no more nudging and re-dos.”

If you’d like to read how I (Erica) cut with two rulers, you can download it by clicking here.

You can see what’s new at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “What’s New” in purple, and click to find out.

Let’s Color!

As a child, almost nothing made me happier than a new box of crayons and a coloring book or blank paper. The ladies at Crabapple Hill Designs must have felt the same way because many of their recent patterns include coloring. And yes, they use crayons!  I also enjoy handwork, so these patterns are a “win-win” project for me. Never mind how charming Crabapple Hill patterns are in general. Here are some tips for enjoying coloring once again, while creating and embroidered project.

Use Crayola Crayons. They may cost a bit more, but they’re worth it because they have more pigment, (the stuff that gives the crayon its color,) and give smoother results. This especially matters when you’re coloring fabric rather than paper. You want a crayon that puts the color down smoothly, providing better coverage.

Trace your pattern onto your background fabric first. You can use a light box and which ever type of fabric pencil, pen or marker you like.crayon blog 1

Be sure your fabric is smooth and sitting on a hard surface, like a table top.

Begin by coloring white all the areas that will have color. Using the white “preps” the fabric, filling in the fibers, making the surface more even and smoother.crayon blog 2crayon blog 3Then add whatever color you need to the appropriate areas. The amount of pressure you use helps determine how strong the color appears, but you can also work in layers until the color is as dark as you want it.crayon blog 6Heat set your colors by ironing. Place a piece of clean paper or a plain paper towel on top of your colored fabric, and gently press. The heat bonds the color to the fabric and melts the wax. The paper towel absorbs the excess wax, leaving the color behind, fused into the fabric. The crayon can add a stiff feel to the fabric once you’ve colored it, so melting the wax away will also make the fabric softer.

crayon blog 5After white and one layer of color, then ironing:crayon blog 6After one more layer of color, and one more ironing:crayon blog 7Now you can add the stitching to your project and finish it! The crayon color adds a wonderful richness to your project, adding another dimension to your piece.

Coloring is still fun! Who knew as adults we’d once again enjoy coloring with crayons? Enjoy!

Credit for some of the above information goes to the Crabapple Hill Designs.

Thanks to Cathy Mark for this post.


Happy 2015 and More Staff Favorites

melodyedrakeMelodye is one of the smiling faces you see behind our counter and helping people throughout the store. She’s also one of the most enthusiastic students I’ve ever had in my classes. Melodye just loves the TrueGrips!  She uses them on all her rulers, even ones that already have non-slip features.60954bkarengoodnoughKaren is another of our smiley faces. She had a hard time deciding which tool she’d call her favorite. However, after careful consideration, she had to say that the 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″  Erica’s Ruler.’ is “the one that makes me smile. It is so handy in so many ways (I think I own at least 4 of them) & I have them in various places in the house.”

45153bBut she couldn’t stop there.
“I would have to say the ‘Purple Thang‘ is right up at the top of my list, also.”

89838bThat Purple Thang has been a favorite of many people over the years. In fact, it’s been around since before I became “the purple lady,” and I can’t even remember when that was any more!

Note: comments in purple are my editorializing.  (Erica)

We wish you a happy and healthy 2015, and thank you for reading our blog posts!