January 11, 2011

Interview with a Quilter

Luan, pronounced "Lou-on" is a master quilt artist living in the gorgeous Sierra Nevada foothills. Her hand quilted quilts are admired and sought after by family and friends. And since Minelolly also features her creations in the store, and she's my sweet mother...I thought it would be fun to post a little interview with her. Enjoy.

Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Utah, but raised in Twin Falls, Idaho. Both Mother and Dad were artistic in their own fashion. Dad made doll furniture for me and my two sisters, and Mother does all manner of sewing and crafting. She is in her 80’s and is planning to decorate her sewing room with baby blessing dresses. So I inherited talents from my parents.

I enjoy reading, sewing, quilting, and going out with friends. I decorate my home with antiques, and love hanging platters on the walls. My favorite color is purple. My husband says purple isn’t a color, but rather an attitude. I definitely have a purple attitude. Sometimes I see no other color.

Family is important to me. My husband of 31 years and I have four children, all talented in their own right. As my children are adults, we don’t get together often but when we do we have a great time.

When did you pick up quilting and how did you learn?
My mother is a very talented seamstress. She can make anything and has. It was from watching her sew that I learned and she has taught me many clever ways of sewing. My first quilt was rows of 4” squares sewn together, and tied with hot pink yarn. This quilt was on my bed at college.

As our children came along, I sewed clothing for our four children. As a natural way to use up the scraps of fabric, I began quilting. My quilts have always been more of a scrap bag conglomeration.

But it’s been in just the last 10 years I have produced such a large number of quilts. I have a high pressure job in a bakery, and need a calming release. Quilting does that for me.

What is it about quilting that gives you the most joy?

I enjoy every part of the quilting process, but my favorite is the quilting part. I do not see the draw for the machine quilted quilts. Their look is so different from the hand work done with a needle.

My frames are set up behind the couch in the TV room, so I can enjoy watching chick flicks, the History Channel, and movies with my family while I quilt. And as I mentioned before, quilting gives me the relief I need from my job.

What handmade item do you most cherish?

A a cedar chest, a blanket chest, and a small cupboard made by my father using old wood from a barn. They were in my room until I moved away to college but came with me when I got married.

After years of being married my husband asked me if it was time to get rid of the three pieces. I said absolutely not. They were a part of me and come with me. Then I asked him if he still wanted to be married to me. It’s been 31 years, so I’m thinking he is now okay with the old barn wood furniture.

Apart from quilting, what else do you like to do?
I love to go out with friends. It’s wonderful to laugh and talk about things like husbands, family, children and grandchildren, hobbies, etc.

I like to shop in second hand stores, as well as antique stores.

I make hot pads and baby bibs using left over scraps from quilts. These make great hand made gifts. It makes me feel good to use up what I have on hand. When someone does something nice for me, I let them pick out a set of hot pads as a thank you gift. It’s really soul satisfying.

Housework! Yes, you heard me. I love keeping my house up. Always have. Always will. Love to hear the washer and dryer going, and the dishwasher washing. It’s great, and allows me more sewing and reading time.

I also enjoying keeping up on my photo albums and my journal. I like living in the details, and making notes of them. I am a list maker. Keeping journals, and albums is fun for me. It’s a pleasure to thumb through them and remember my past and that of my family.

What influences your creativity?
Magazines mostly. I subscribe to several different quilting magazines.
Quick Quilts
Quilt Maker
McCall’s Quilting Better Homes and Gardens American Patchwork and Quilting
Fons and Porter Love of Quilting

These magazines are a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

What advice do you have for a novice quilter?

To start, buy one or two quilting magazines at the store, and later subscribe to your favorites. They are full of beautiful color photos of quilts, and the instructions are detailed and useful. Read the articles, and helpful hints. In almost every issue there are instructions for the novice as well as the experienced quilter.

If there are some instructions that are unclear, don’t worry. Over time and with experience with cutting, sewing and quilting, more instructions will become clearer.

Describe your creative process.

I keep a stack of magazines on my sewing table, open to the page of the next quilt I would like to try. And I use the scraps I have on hand, hardly ever buying fabric to match the pictures of quilts. However, I do try to use the same colors. The color combinations and shapes are what draws me to a design in the first place.

I like to have one quilt in construction at the sewing machine, one on a hanger ready to be quilted, and one on the quilting frames.

The quilting technique I used has evolved over the years. I use outline, in the ditch, stencil patterns, and echo quilting. In 2003 I tried quilting with a new, thicker thread. I often use a pair of needle nosed pliers to pull the needle through the quilts’ three layers. At first this was awkward but after a while, it was second nature. The look of the finished quilt is well worth this extra effort, in my opinion.

At first I was purchasing the thread in a color to match the quilts, but once I tried black I loved it so much that I use it exclusively, no matter what the color scheme of the quilt.

Over time I’ve gone to making crib/lap sized quilts because they are small enough that I can assemble the layers and put them on the frames by myself. The designs are queen size, just shrunk. And I often manipulate the size by adding or subtracting borders as I see fit.

To date I have machine pieced and hand quilted 48 queens, 19 twins, and 104 baby/lap/wall sized quilts. These are all recorded in a quilting journal, along with descriptions, measurements, color, and a photo.

I really do have to mention that I have a dear and wonderful friend who feeds my quilting passion. She purchases fabric where ever she can, and gives it to me. Hence my quilts have a lot of fabric that was never used, but now has a new home in the lovely quilts I make. In return for the fabric, I give her children baby quilts as the grandchildren come along.

In the beginning it was not my plan to give away or sell any quilts. But you should see what a tall stack of baby quilts looks like. My bedroom is full of quilts. So as the stack grew, it became easier to share my love of quilting with others. Because I have photos and a journal, I can look at those quilts anytime. Sharing is a good thing to do.

December 13, 2010

Pamela and Joseph's Wedding

Pamela, (who bought a hairpiece from Minelolly), was SO wonderful to let me browse through her wedding photos and pick some to share with you. The couple sure had some fun details. Notice what they used to cut their cake? And take a look at the cuff links, totally awesome. Enjoy!

Thank you Pamela!
The photo credit goes to Miguel MarĂ­n and Jorge Aguilar, two very talented photographers in Mexico City, the dress is Vera Wang, shoes Kate Spade, jewelry is vintage from the 1920's and the beautiful headband worn at the reception reception is

November 3, 2010

Sheer Blossoms

I love weddings! I love how each one is different and how each one is so beautiful! I received these photos from Sarah who used two sheer flowers from Minelolly for her hair—don't you just love how she chose to wear them?
(Am loving that bouquet too.)
They even worked wonderfully with her long veil. Gorgeous bride! Handsome Groom!

Thank you for sending in your photos, I loved seeing them!
(First two photos taken by the bride's father. Last photo taken by wedding photographer Josh Newton.)

Real wedding, Sheer hair flowers, Sheer blossoms, Sheer flower fascinators, Minelolly hair pieces.

October 20, 2010

That's Right

Yep, Minelolly is getting a much needed facelift. The old Logotype worked when Minelolly carried only the dolls, and was meant to be temporary. Yep, two years is temporary—shame on me. So this week has been busy, busy...and it's working itself out well enough. I'll post other elements of the brand soon!

October 17, 2010

Wedding En Vintage

This is the last of my images from the Wedding last weekend. Finally, enjoy!
(If you would like to see the pro photos, please head on over to Melissa Fulmer's post on this wedding. Click here.) The Hair Piece was a special order from Minelolly and The Wedding Planner was Heidi Jeannerett from Yellow House in Kansas.

Vintage Wedding Board, Vintage Reception, Minelolly wedding, Minelolly Hair piece, Minelolly birdcage veil, yellow and brown wedding, fall wedding

October 11, 2010

Gold Laurel Leaves on a Wedding Cake

For the wedding this last weekend, I was asked to do the cake. It was my first and last wedding cake I think. A wedding is too much pressure for little me. But that being said, I still had fun.
The design is mainly derived from a Martha Stewart cake with a couple of tweaks. Normally I would have designed the cake but the family liked this one, so I went with it. I will take credit for all the work though!

There were two flavors, a pumpkin chocolate chip nut, and a really moist chocolate. I mean moist. Both from scratch. I don't believe in boxed cake...if you can even call it cake.

The frosting is butter-cream. The laurel leaves are made from gum paste sprayed with an edible gold spray and the little decorative ribbon is made of royal icing—both were made a few weeks ahead of time.
The cakes were displayed all together, in front of three vintage doors and mirrors. I knew they would come in handy!
8 hours of baking and 12 hours of decorating later...we ended up with a gorgeous cake set. I think the two accompanying cakes really help finish off the look and would recommend it again.


This announcement take its cues from 1940's movie titling. You've seen the movies, where the title is written on the slant in lovely white cursive over a dark background. The cards turned out simple, elegant, and ever so slightly dramatic—the lighting in the engagement photos adds some of that drama. It truly fits what the couple are going for and who have taste for vintage, like mystery dinners, and old black and white movies.

Sent out in gold envelopes.

Engagement photography by Sarah Stiles.
Wedding announcements, vintage inspired announcements, custom wedding announcements, invitations, minelolly announcements, fall announcements, movie inspired announcements, gold envelopes, custom design

Unofficial Bridesmaid Details

Generally I do NOT like shopping and I am beginning to think it is because I need a "theme" when I shop. (Is it the designer in me that needs a theme? Hmmm) So, that being said—I had a BLAST putting my unofficial bridesmaid outfit together. It really helped me to have a visual goal in mind.

Above is a bracelet my grandma was going to throw away (this is when I was around 8 or 9 years old) but she gave to me instead. For years I thought it was the ugliest thing—but could never get rid of it. Now I am so glad I kept it!

Then I started searching for a matching necklace...but it dawned on me that I could make a fascinator to match instead! It turned out perfect. (Below) And the earings (Above) were the last to be added.

Then I got lucky and I found these shoes two days before the wedding! I never thought I'd have a pair of gold shoes...but I LOVE them! (Guess brand.)

I tried to capture other accessory details at the wedding, those will be posted soon! (Have I used enough exclamation marks yet?)

Do you have a blast putting together you're special occasion outfits? Did you discover something sitting around the house that suddenly worked out perfectly? Send it in and we'll share it on the blog!

Gold shoes, gold wedding, vintage wedding, metallic colors, gold vintage accessories

September 24, 2010

Want of the Week

My husband's family is getting ready for a wedding which is to take place in about three weeks. We've been so busy, but I must tell you I've having quite a lot of fun as well. I'll post more details, mood boards, and photos from the wedding in the upcoming weeks but I just couldn't wait to share this little find.

The girls in the family have been asked to wear brown and to accompany the outfit with gold vintage jewelry featuring fall colored jewels. And though sadly I ended up going a different direction, I wanted to show this fabulous dress I found at Sears. (Only $39.99!)

I then went searching on Etsy for a one-of-a-kind necklace to go with it. I am totally wishing the dress had worked out so I could have a reason to buy one of these two gorgeous pieces.

This is Vintage Amber Chandelier Necklace is made by Jules B Vintage, click here to visit the shop.

This is Queen Elizabeth Vintage Amber Topaz Brooch Necklage can be found in Janet Lily's Etsy shop.

See how perfect they go with the dress? *Sigh* These surely make my want of the week.

September 13, 2010

New Staff at Minelolly

Say hello to Evelynn, she's the newest member of the Minelolly family and will be arriving here in the office in about a week. Her modeling expertise will help the work go a lot quicker so Minelolly is VERY pleased that she has accepted the job.

Evelynn is joyful and rather witty. Her personal style is somewhat punkish and eclectic. But she slips easily into and out of different personas which I think makes her perfect for modeling. Her friends tease her about her collection of patterned stockings which Evelynn keeps stashed in TWO suitcases. (I secretly hope she'll let me borrow a pair from time to time.) And her favorite past-time includes visiting with Ma and Pa at Ma and Pop shops, making You Tube videos featuring the colors black and purple, and of course trying different hair styles. (Speaking of which, I need to find some wigs for our new girl...anybody know of a good resource?)

Creative Thinking

Recently a customer who had previously purchased a hairpiece, contacted Minelolly asking if FOUR more matching flowers could be made for her wedding cake. I LOVE the idea. What a fun way to tie things together. Here's the photo she sent, taken by a guest. Thanks Stefany!

July 26, 2010

Now Available!

To visit the store and see more click here.
Minelolly, Floppy Bunny, Plush, Plushie, softie, DIY, sewing pattern, Japanese inspired, stuffed animal, pink, rabbit, PDF, animal