Monday, August 25, 2014

First and Last

There are many "firsts" and "lasts" in this life, some more pleasant than others.  And, often times, it is all in how you look at it as to whether they are pleasant experiences or not. 

Today we had a first and a last all rolled into one.  Today, Autumn, our oldest, had her LAST first day of school and Brooke, our youngest, had her FIRST day of high school.  And just like I have done for 12 years, I had them pose for a picture to document their first day of a new school year.  All pretty and pressed with new outfits on, brand new notebooks not worn and tattered from being thrown in the back of the car or on the floor in their bedrooms. 

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I knew the day would come when Autumn would be all grown up.  But, somehow, you are never prepared for it.  Now matter how hard you try, you just can't keep them little.  I can only take comfort in the fact that I still have Brooke for four more years and they sure have come up nicely!  Beautiful, bright young ladies. 

A very pleasant experience, indeed.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fun with Georgia Stull

Since the last post we did have the long arm (Statler Stitcher) retreat.  Georgia Stull and her husband Ivan made their way through the mountains for their first trip to North Carolina to teach.

This was our first retreat so it was a time of trial and error.  I think things went pretty well.  We had about 12 people over the course of 3 days.  They were all very different.  Some were husband and wife teams like Russ and I and some were just casual quilters that quilt just for fun.  I think the greatest thing about it, with the exception of Georgia's excellent instruction, was the intimacy of setting.  We held the retreat at Bless My Stitches quilt shop and it was just the perfect size for our event.  Karen was a very hospitable host and we appreciate her so much for that.

Georgia gave some really fun and informative classes.  I think everyone walked away refreshed and ready to try some new tricks on their quilting machines.  It's good to learn something new or just to be reminded and refresh some things that you might already know.  And that is what this retreat was all about.
Here is a picture of our group.  This is the purple bug that represents the Row by Row Experience at Bless My Stitches.  It was a fun photo opportunity.

So glad we were able to do this retreat.  Next we will be having a retreat for hand guided quilters, like myself.  Looking forward to having another retreat sometime really soon.


Monday, April 28, 2014

NC Longarm Retreat with Georgia Stull

Rhonda and I are happy to announce our first Statler retreat in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, aka...Murphy, NC!  Georgia Stull will be the featured instructor for the retreat. The dates for the retreat are July 24-26, 2014.  Classes will include instruction on how to run your longarm business more efficiently and professionally and also how to boost your business!  You will receive a wonderfully detailed handout.  You will leave with a wealth of information, refreshed and ready to hit the ground running when you return to your quilting studio.  Individual classes range in price from $40-$75 or get the total package (every class) for $379.
If you think this is a retreat you would be interested in, please contact Rhonda and I at  We look forward to a great retreat! 

Georgia Stull, Professional Longarm Quilter and Teacher

Georgia is a professional longarm quilter from Missouri. In April 2008, she became one of the very first Gammill Certified Creative Studio Trainers and is certified in CS 5. She is also a beta tester for the software and that means she can teach the very latest version of Creative Studio from the first day of release!   Georgia teaches her students practical, yet creative ways, to maximize the functionality of Creative Studio.  Visit or to learn more about Georgia.
Thursday Classes for all Longarmers

It’s The Little Things (2-hour class - For all quilters)
I love to share tips, tricks, and techniques to make your life easier as a quilter. Two hours packed with information…and I promise we will have lots of fun along the way and you will go home with a wonderfully detailed handout.  This is a lecture/video presentation.
Can We Talk?  It’s Time to Run Your Business
Class price:  $40

Can We Talk?  It’s Time to Run Your Business Purposefully and Professionally   (2-hour class – for all quilters)
I get it! Sometimes the quilting is the easy part. Running the business can be what challenges you the most. It’s time to take charge and run your business…don’t let it run you! Join me for a two-hour, fully-packed presentation of practical information that will help you begin/run your business. If you have ever taken a class of mine, you know that we will have a good time while we are learning and you will have a detailed handout to take home with you.  This is a lecture/video presentation….Class price:  $40

101 Ways To Boost Your Quilting Business (2-hour class – for all quilters)
Are you looking for some practical ideas to boost your quilting business? This is the class for you! Sometimes it's just tough to figure out how to bring the customers in and make your business profitable. I promise to give you 101 Ways (you can count 'em!) to do just that. If you have been in any of my classes, you know that we always have a good time and I will have a very thorough handout for you. This is a lecture/video presentation.  Class price:  $40

Friday Classes –Creative Studio

Edge-to-Edge, Let Me Count the Ways! (2-hour class, Creative Studio)

All Statler users need to know some basics! I will cover Creative Studio basics, teach how to set Controller Definitions, teach shortcuts and Hot Keys, and share different methods of quilting Edge to Edge.  I can concatenate!  Can you concatenate? You will be able to after this class!  Also included, recovery methods for those times that problems arise. I am not shy about passing along lots of practical tips and tidbits to help you have a great quilting experience with your Statler.
 Class price:  $50

Easy Peasy Borders (2-hour class, Creative Studio)

Once you have mastered edge-to-edge quilting, the next step is adding borders and sashes. I teach an easy, almost foolproof method of placing borders with amazing accuracy. My method never involves turning your quilt! Bonus: You can do almost all of the preparation sitting down!!  This method also works perfectly on those “not-so-perfect” quilts.  Give my method a try…you won’t be disappointed!
Class price:  $50

Your Statler is Not Just For Quilts!!  (2-hour class, Creative Studio)
We know that we can finish a quilt with our computerized machines…but did you know that you can create many other quilted items? Honestly, I don’t always have time to piece and quilt…but I do have time to create unique quilted projects. I will give you ideas that are great for gift giving and creating quilted items that will “advertise” your quilting business. Let’s spend some time together and discover ways to pump up your creativity with your quilting machines. All your friends and family will want to receive a gift from you. I am ready to hit a Grand Slam and knock quilting creativity right out of the ballpark! I hope you will join me. The handout will be loaded onto a 256mg Flash Drive for your convenience. BONUS: The flash drive will also have patterns for you to create a new quilted project.  Free patterns include a spa set, tote bag, “See-It” bag, and pocket tissue pack.
Class price:  $50
Saturday Classes – Creative Studio

Creative Custom (3-hour class, Creative Studio)
This class covers the powerful custom tools available to you in Creative Studio. We will learn all about custom quilting tools such as point to point, circle array, echo quilting, fills, and trims. That’s right! We are going to become BEST friends with the “right click menu!” I will also cover how to choose a pattern and how to decide what technique is most appropriate in specific circumstances.  I don’t do “freehand,” and that drives me to look for efficient and effective ways to do custom quilting that won’t compromise quality. Class price:  $75

Getting To Know SAM!  That’s Stand Alone Mode!—Creative Studio On Your Laptop   (3-hour class, Creative Studio)

 Statler users, it is time to learn how to access the power of Stand Alone Mode! You can work in SAM on another computer while your Statler is “working” on a quilt. Bonus” working in SAM will greatly improve your skills as a Creative Studio user. You will also learn how to “build” a quilt in SAM in order to audition quilt designs.
Class price:  $75

Savings:  If you take all classes it will be discounted to $379

Class Handouts

Please note:  I provide very detailed handouts for my classes.  This year I have been loading the handouts onto USB Flash Drives because they are just too big to print out. My students have loved this!  I charge $5 for each handout, payable at the time of class.
For anyone that takes all three business classes, I can put all three handouts on one drive for a total cost of $5. 
Digital patterns are also included with the handout for the class, “Your Statler Is Not Just For Quilts.” That handout and patterns will be loaded onto a USB drive.  Cost is $5.
For anyone that takes all four Creative Studio classes (10 Hours), I will load all four handouts onto a USB Bracelet for $10.

RUSS 828-557-2685
RHONDA 828-557-8059
BUSINESS 828-837-4872
No Refund on Class but they are transferable.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Atlanta Expo

 Russ and I had the privilege of attending the Atlanta Quilt and Sewing Expo last week.  Five fun filled days of nothing but beautiful quilts.  If you could see this quilt up close, it looks like pixels!  These are all 1" squares!  Mind......BLOWN!
 The photo doesn't do this quilt justice.  It is truly magnificent.  It was Best in Show this year.  If you could see the detail you would understand why it has won Best in Show at more than one quilt show.
It is exquisite.   And below, is a photo of the area I spent most of my time in.  This is the classroom sponsored by Gammill Quilting Machines.  Fellow long arm quilters had an opportunity to sit under the instruction of some very esteemed quilters such as Pam Clarke, Dusty Farrell,  Lisa Sipes and Regina Carter to learn new techniques and let the creative juices flow!
 This is Richard and Pat Walker.  Richard and Pat are the owners of  Pat's Calico Cottage in Snellville, GA.  They are the Gammill dealers for Georgia.  Alongside them is Regina Carter.  Regina is one of the best quilters I know and I am proud to call her my very good friend.  Pat and Richard have been dealers for Gammill for about 15 years and have put countless machines into the homes of some very happy quilters. 
Great people, indeed.  Russ and I consider these people a second family to us. 
Russ is pictured with Ardis Young.   He calls her "Mom" and rightly so.  She treats him just like a son. She watches after him closely and keeps him in line!  Mike Caldwell has been with the Gammill company for 28 years.  He is truly one of the nicest people I have ever met.  Mike...if you're listening...I can't thank you enough for all the help you gave me.  Best wishes to Donna and tell her to just "keep quiltin'"!  We had such as great time and met so many nice people.  Proof that quilters are just the greatest people in the world!!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

We're Back!

Don't you just love this pattern? Russ recently ordered this from one of the pattern companies we use.  We thought it was a great way to preserve at least some of our girls' youth.  They are growing up so fast.  He had Autumn's name done as well.  We are currently working on a project for her.

We have been out of the blogging loop for a while but decided we should jump back in and let you see what we have been up to lately at The Back Porch Quilters.  By the way, you can have your loved one's name made into a pantograph just like we did for Autumn and Brooke.  What a special thing to do.  It gives you something unique to treasure for years to come.  Just let us know if this is something you would be interested in. 
This quilt is a project that Russ actually pieced last year and is just getting it quilted. He used Brooke's name pattern to stitch this one.  Won't this look great on her bed?  By the way, Brooke helped out in the piecing.  I hope one day they will have the same passion for this craft that we do. 

We do have some exciting things planned for the following year at The Back Porch Quilters.  We now have an Etsy store and are currently making plans to fill it with inventory.  Please give us a visit at The Back Porch Quilters on Etsy.  So glad to be back and promise to give you exciting projects to look at and enjoy. 

Oh!  I almost forgot to mention that January 1-February 28  we are offering 20% off on all edge to edge quilting.  Projects of any size.  This is a great opportunity to save some money on some projects that you have been planning to finish and have just been putting off.

As this year closes out, we are looking forward to a great year coming up!

Russ and Rhonda