Meet Courtenay, a Missouri Star Academy Instructor!

Courtenay Hughes is one of our talented instructors here at Missouri Star. As part of our education team, Courtenay teaches quilting, embroidery, and appliqué classes through Missouri Star Academy. This includes our online courses, in-town classes, and some of our free tutorials!

Beginning Machine Applique

“I want to say I LOVE her teaching style! She is so funny, and I felt like I was spending an afternoon with a good friend. I really enjoyed this video.”

– Customer Review

Courtenay’s Creations

This quilting diva has been a wonderful component to our education team and you can see why! Her gorgeous projects continue to inspire all of us makers!


Now, let’s talk about appliqué, Courtenay’s area of expertise! If you’ve always wanted to try it out, but imagined it might be intimidating, we’ve got the tools, techniques, and tips to change your mind. Appliqué is a lot easier than it looks – and it looks pretty spectacular personalizing and decorating your quilt!

Beginning Machine Applique

We talked to Courtenay about machine appliqué designs and tips…

Q: Courtenay, how long have you been sewing machine appliqué? 
A: I have been quilting for over 25 years. I’ve had about 20 odd years of practice at machine appliqué. And I am really looking forward to sharing some of that with you

Q: What’s your favorite part of teaching appliqué for beginners?
A: My favorite part of teaching is when students who aren’t sure they can complete their projects get to the point where they realize that, yes, they can make them—and they will be beautiful! Whether that’s how to machine appliqué small pieces, how to hand appliqué in the car on road trips, or how to let loose and try something completely new, like a free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch that looks complicated but is actually very freeing, I love seeing students succeed!

Beginning Machine Applique

Q: What shapes can you make with machine appliqué?
A: Anything you can imagine – and any pattern in your library, really. I like to show you tips for leaves, stems, circles, stars, hearts, petals, and working in layers. While a lot of my patterns are flowers or animals – ask me about placing bunny ears – the sky is the limit. You can decorate any quilt with appliqué, in blocks, borders, even your quilt label.

Q: What are some tools you recommend for appliqué?
A: This depends a little bit on which method you’re using, but some of the applique essentials are:

For Machine Appliqué:

  • Fusible Web  – Use this to temporarily glue fabric pieces in place while machine stitching.
  • Appliqué Pressing SheetPlace over the project diagram to use as a guide while layering fabric shapes.
  • Marking PenUse a fine sharpie or marking pen to trace designs onto projects.
  • Scissors A good pair of scissors come in handy for cutting fusible and fabric pieces.
  • Machine Needles – A sharp needle that is great for stitching through layers of applique pieces. 
  • 50wt Thread – A strong thread that blends with fabric shapes. Or black thread for a “folk art” look. 
  • Self-Threading Needles An easy way to bury threads after stitching pieces to background.
  • Iron and Iron Cleaner – An iron for fusing paper shapes to fabric, and iron cleaner.
  • Embroidery Hoop – (optional) These come in handy when stitching pieces in place on background, especially when using the free-motion zig-zag “heartbeat” stitch.

For Hand Appliqué:

  • Appli-Glue or Lapel StickUse this to hold fabric pieces in place while hand stitching.
  • Freezer Paper Draw a design on the dull side, cut it out and lay the shiny side down on the project to use as a guide.
  • Bias Tape MakerUse this to make stems and more, especially when doing floral applique!
  • Marking PenUse this a pen to trace designs onto projects.
  • Precision Appliqué ScissorsA smaller pair of scissors come in handy for cutting smaller pieces.
  • Hand Needles A smaller point for hand stitching, but also a bit enough needle to prevent hand cramping.
  • Mini Iron – A tiny iron will give more control over tiny fabric pieces.
  • Appliqué PinsThese come in handy when fitting several pieces into place.
  • Fusible Web (optional) – Melts to adhere the fabric pieces together.
Applique Tools

We think it’s time to give appliqué a try!

We currently have two classes for beginners at Missouri Star Academy. You’ll learn multiple methods, troubleshooting tricks, how to machine appliqué a quilt or how to hand appliqué a quilt. Each class also comes with a FREE quilt pattern so you can show off your newly mastered skills! Try appliqué today!

Don’t forget to check in on our Education Center’s class schedule to see what class Courtenay will be teaching next!

If you’ve taken a class by Courtenay Hughes, show her what you made in the comments below ⬇️

It’s Jenny’s Birthday! And She Wants to Share Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Summer Birthday Too! Let’s Party!

Happy Birthday Jenny!

Happy Birthday Jenny and to all of you who share in the summer birthday season! Start planning your next party as Jenny shares her favorite birthday foods along with some fun, summer recipes from our Missouri Star employees! Find quick and easy sewing projects to decorate your party, and don’t forget to download some of our printable photo booth props to make your summer celebration a blast! Grab your friends and let’s party!


Jenny’s Favorite Summer Recipes!

Jenny’s absolute favorite is a Strawberry Pie that she makes on her birthday year after year to treat herself to something yummy!

Here’s how she makes it:

  • 1 9″ frozen pie crust, baked
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 lb of sliced strawberries
  • 1 (3oz) package of strawberry jello
  1. Bake pie crust according to package directions, remove and then let cool.
  2. While the crust is in the oven, add sugar and water to a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk the cornstarch in slowly and make sure there are no leftover lumps. Stir continuously for about 4-5 minutes until the mixture is thickened and turns a little clear.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in the strawberry jello mix until completely dissolved. Let this mixture cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cooled, toss in the strawberries and make sure they are evenly distributed. Pour into pie crust.
  5. Place in the refrigerator to set for about 2-3 hours and then serve! (Add whipped cream if desired!)

Jenny loves a good summer barbecue and for her, the must-have at any BBQ is the beans! Cowboy Beans is her go-to and here’s how it’s done:

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 5-6 cans of beans, drained (red, black, and pinto) mix em’ up!
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Brown the hamburger and cook the onions, then mix it all together in a crock-pot and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours!

Captain Dwayne’s Jambalaya

  • 3 pounds peeled shrimp
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 1 dozen oysters
  • 1 pound smoked sausage, sliced
  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 2/3 cup chopped shallots (cross between onion and garlic)
  • 2/3 cup bell pepper chopped
  • 2/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder salt, black pepper and red pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 4oz. Tabasco

Set the rice to cook and set aside. Sauté the onion over medium low heat in oil until almost brown. Add shallots and bell pepper, garlic powder and sauté for 10 minutes. Add smoked sausage and tomato sauce cooking for another 10 minutes. Add 3 cups water and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat. Add parsley, shrimp, oysters and crab meat and cook for 15 minutes. Mixture should have a creamy texture and not to watery. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Add rice a little at a time, stirring until all the rice is mixed in. Heat over medium heat for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
-Dwayne Stice

Pink Lemonade Pie

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (16 oz.) can pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip, thawed
  • 2 (6 oz.) prepared graham cracker crusts

In a large mixing bowl, mix together pink lemonade concentrate and sweetened condensed milk. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour mixture into graham cracker crusts. Put in the freezer for 6 hours or until stiff.
– Lauren Dalton


Birthday Party Sewing Projects!

Make a Pennant Banner or Quilt!
Pennants are crazy fun! Now, you can make some that can be used year after year! Personalize them in any way! To add some birthday charm, apply wooly cupcake buttons or these “happy birthday” appliqué pieces!

Make a 3D Pinwheel Table Runner!
A three dimensional table piece helps to create the a fun/creative environment that all birthday parties deserve!

Fabriflair Centerpiece
These joyful centerpieces really bring the party to life! Make several colors or mix and match to go with any theme!

Micro-safe Hot Holders
2 (8 ounce) packages of softened cream cheese,
2 jars of pineapple cheese and 2 jars of old English cheese all mixed together makes the perfect dip for any gathering!
*Recipe by Tammy Baker
Make this yummy dip using stylish hot holders!


Printable Photo Booth Props!

Download the props, print them, cut them out, and then come back here to post all your fun pictures so we can see!

Do you have a June or summer birthday? What is your favorite way to celebrate?

Behind the Scenes: BLOCK Magazine

Behind the Scenes: BLOCK Magazine

BLOCK Magazine is an “idea book” designed, produced, and published by Missouri Star Quilt Co. When you flip through these fresh, glossy pages you’ll find gorgeous photography, fun patterns, brilliant ideas, and one-of-a-kind stories! You’ll be left to wonder, “Who are these people surrounded by beautiful quilts and pretty props?” or “Who wrote that inspiring story?” and “Who in the world pieces together all these quilts!?”

We want to introduce you to the team of around 40 people who bring BLOCK Magazine to life! Take a peek into all the hard work, creativity and just pure love that is poured into each issue!


Executive & Managing Editors

Natalie and Jenny

The design of a quilt is decided by Jenny Doan and her daughter, Natalie Earnheart. They choose patterns and themes and then request the fabric they want to use. Once the fabric arrives, they team up with sewists, Carol and Janice, to complete the quilt tops.





Executive Editors include Mike Mifsud, Alan Doan, Sarah Galbraith, David Mifsud, and Jenny Doan. Natalie Earnheart is Managing Editor.


Sewists, Quilters, and Binders

“I’m a sewist so I help piece the quilt tops… I love that I get to be a small part of inspiring people who read BLOCK magazine. I have visions of people sharing their love of others through the gift of quilting… I have been a model a few times for the magazine and that has been really fun. Something I never thought I would get to do.” – Carol Henderson

Jenny Doan, Natalie Earnheart, Carol Henderson, and Janice Richardson make up the sewist team for BLOCK.

Piecing, Quilting, Binding

After the sewists piece together the quilt tops, they are sent over to our Machine Quilting department of over 20 skilled longarmers. Here, the quilt tops receive batting and backing and are then carefully quilted. After, the sewists stitch on the binding and then voilà, a finished quilt ready to become the star of the latest BLOCK issue!


Pattern Team

Before the quilt tops are quilted, they are sent to our pattern team to examine. The pattern writers will then write step-by-step instructions on how to create the quilt. They figure out yardage requirements, tools needed, and outline every little action needed to be taken in order to complete a quilt and send them off to the editors. Once approved by the editors, the pattern is sent back to Carol and Janice for testing. When the sewists give the okay, it is ready the talented designer, Tyler, to whip up some illustrations for our readers to have a visual representation for each step in the pattern. After one last review by all, the pattern is ready to featured in the next BLOCK Magazine!

Pattern Team and Editors
Here the Pattern Team: Jessica Toye, Denise Lane, Tyler MacBeth, Edie McGinnis go over final drafts with Creative Director: Christine Ricks, Managing Editor: Natalie Earnheart, and Executive Editor: Jenny Doan.

My favorite part of my job is working with such a talented group of people.  And how we all work together to put together something that we can all be proud of.” – Denise Lane

I love seeing BLOCK come together. It is so much fun to see a quilt in its earliest form and work on the transition to what our readers see in the magazine.” – Jessica Toye


Copywriters

Nichole, our lead copywriter, collects the memoirs of Missouri Star family members as well as inspiring stories from quilters from all around the world to plan story prompts for BLOCK. Then, Nichole, Camille, Julie, and David will craft beautifully written stories that go along with each quilt. Our copywriters truly have a way with words. You’ll fall in love with the stories they create!

Nichole Spravzoff (top left) and Camille Maddox (top right) both work remotely and are still able to wonderfully capture the voice of Missouri Star! Julie Barber and David Litherland (bottom) work together in the creative studio on copy ideas for the next issue!

When I write stories, I often get to reach out to people, Jenny included, and ask them about their own stories. It’s so much fun to hear their stories and bring them to life in BLOCK. I love writing, so it’s all fun to me.” – Nichole Spravzoff

My favorite part about writing for BLOCK is when I get to use personal memories and experiences as inspiration for the story prompts. It’s a lot of fun for me to figure out how to build a story off of a special moment!” – Julie Barber


Photography Team

Mike Brunner is our talented lead photographer. In charge of completing a successful photoshoot for the team, Mike enjoys working with and appreciates the ideas and collaboration of everyone involved. From unwelcoming weather to making the models feel comfortable to making sure the colors and settings are accurate, Mike has an intuitive eye for creating beautiful photography for BLOCK Magazine.
Prop Making with Lauren
Lauren Dorton is not only a talented photographer and photo-stylist, but she is an brilliant maker. Above, we see her strolling old country roads to gather pretty plant life in which she pieces together to create a winter bouquet for a scene in BLOCK Magazine. The entire team is very resourceful when it comes to finding props and Lauren is amazing at crafting everyday items into amazing props.
Jennifer designs and models
Jennifer Dowling is responsible for locating places that are indicative to our hometown, casting the right models, and gathering props. When food is involved, Jennifer turns into a caterer and prepares food such as a Thanksgiving turkey for a fall scene or baking cookies for celebratory backgrounds. Jennifer styles the scene in a way that brings the story to life for each quilt.
Dustin re-touches the photos

Once the photos are all shot, they are sent off to Dustin Weant, our amazing photo retoucher. Dustin really helps to bring the quilts into focus and allows for the models and scenery to really shine in the background!


Creative Director/Printing Coordinator

Creative Director, Christine Ricks is behind the scenes the entire 4-6 months it takes to create and finish an issue. Christine designs mood boards and creates style guides with the help of Tyler from the pattern team in which the rest of the team can refer to during the making. They use the changing seasons and coming holidays for inspiration. Flying in from her home in Utah every few months, Christine works closely with all of the teams involved to ensure the entire creation of BLOCK is done smoothly and timely.


Lastly, all the last minute details and printing services are organized and set into motion by BLOCK’s printing coordinator, Rob Stoebener. Then they are ready to be sent out by our speedy shipping department from the warehouse and into your mailbox!


Each issue is only $7.99 for a total of $47.94 a year for six issues when you subscribe.
[Canada rates are $9.99 per issue, for a total of $59.94 a year for six issues.]

The best part about this magazine is there are absolutely NO ads! It is a 100% pure, original, authentic Missouri Star creation!

“Your subscriptions matter. You help us keep it ad-free! It’s Missouri Star’s choice to keep it a high quality magazine and get value out of it. From the quality of paper to the photography, and the writing, it’s all from the heart.”

-Christine Ricks, Creative Director

SUBSCRIBE TO BLOCK MAGAZINE!



Meet Missouri Star

Here at Missouri Star, we employ approximately four hundred people and to celebrate National Employee Appreciation Day, we would like to give a shout out to everyone who allows us the opportunity to make use of their talents, skills, and hard work ethic! Each employee is an important piece to our company’s success and we are blessed to have them as a part of our Missouri Star family. Today, we would like to give credit to a few of those who mostly work “behind-the-scenes” and deserve some front-page attention!

                                                                                                               MEET JESSICA

Jessica started with us in August of 2018 as a skilled pattern writer, even writing up some of our very own Missouri Star Quilt Co. patterns!
I love digging in and figuring out the math to make the yardage and cutting calculations… I love bouncing between writing and illustrating the pattern to figure out how to best explain to our customers how a quilt is made.” Jessica happily informs us of her love for pattern writing.
Jessica is a huge quilt making fanatic. At the top of her list of favorite fabrics are modern prints! Her current favorite designers include Alison Glass, Tula Pink, and Anna Maria Horner.

Thank you Jessica for providing us the tools we need to finish our treasured projects!

MEET ALEX

Alex is one of our super talented graphic designers and has been with us for almost a year. When asked what her favorite part about working here is, she replied, “the creative culture.” (Aww, we just love that! Thanks, Alex!)

Currently, Alex doesn’t quilt, but she is looking forward to getting started after being inspired by the bold, bright colors and unique patterns that come from the process of making batik fabrics.

Thank you Alex for bringing your talented designs to Missouri Star!

 

                                                                                                    MEET TJ

When you come stay for a retreat with us, TJ (Trisa) is one of the reasons you’ll want to come back again and again! Not only does she have a great sense of humor, but she keeps the retreat center nice, tidy and clean so all of our visitors have a wonderful, stress-free environment to stay in. On top of caring for our retreaters, she keeps up with all the shops’ cleaning needs as well.

TJ is our head of housekeeping here at Missouri Star and has been with us for almost five years! We enjoy having her crafty skills present for all of us to enjoy. She loves to quilt using 1800’s reproductions and more traditional styles of fabric for her projects, but that’s not all she can do! 

TJ is well-known for her baking skills,
including this awesome p
rincess castle cake
she made for her granddaughter!
We could not do what we do without you, TJ!

 

 

MEET KARYN

Karyn has been with us for a little over a year as a shop associate. Moving from store to store and gaining insight on the variety of fabrics here has turned Karyn into one knowledgeable and resourceful shop team member!

Moda’s batik collections are Karyn’s favorite fabrics! She describes them as “simple and easy to sew with!” Karyn is now stationed in Primitive & Wool and looks forward to introducing you to your new favorite fabric!

Thank you Karyn for bringing your bright smile to Quilt Town, USA.

 

MEET TIM & JOE

Joe has been a right hand man around here for two and a half years and Tim joined the team a little over a year ago.

This dynamic duo is a very important piece of our functioning processes here at Missouri Star. These two are our “Warehouse Runners.” Each day, they make several runs from the warehouse to our shops and in-town workplaces to make sure we have product in stock and the supplies we need to provide the best experience possible for our visitors.


Tim and Joe do not quilt, but are both excellent craftsmen. Joe enjoys carpentry and welding while Tim is skilled in drawing cartoons and wood carving. This “Sasquatch” mask is one of Tim’s favorite pieces he has done so far. Isn’t that neat?!

Thank you Joe and Tim for all your hard work, we are thrilled to have you in our workplace of makers!

 

Our work family has grown tremendously over the last few years and we couldn’t be happier to employ such wonderful people! A BIG thank you to all Missouri Star employees for all your hard work and to our customers for making our jobs so much fun!

Disaster Relief Quilts

Late last summer, Hurricane Harvey slammed into the coast of Texas, bringing with it once-in-a-century rainfall, leading to unfathomable devastation. Before we could catch our breath, Hurricane Irma pummeled Florida, followed by Maria ravaging Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. With homes underwater, vehicles washed away, and countless people losing all of their worldly possessions, we knew, as a community of quilters, we had to do something to help. So we called on you, our amazing Missouri Star family, and you sent boxes and envelopes and dropped off packages, all filled with handmade quilts, blankets and pillowcases. Each created with love to be shared with someone in need. Packages were mailed from all across the globe, and when all the quilts were counted, there were more than 9,000 sent to us to be given away. And given away they were. Watch below to see the impact your generosity and kindness has had on Missouri Star, the Hamilton community, and those who were the recipients of your acts of love.