With this year’s Row by Row well underway, I have been asked by several people, “Where did you get your inspiration?”  When I learned the theme for this year’s Row by Row was “On The Go” I wanted to tell a story that was unique to where we are in our mountain area.  So I thought about things that are unique to us and of course, the first thing that comes to mind is our mountains.  We have a lot on the go up here, we have water sports, hiking, camping, skiing, snowmobiling, and “RVing.”  Another thing that defines us is our agricultural roots.  We have horses and cattle that historically have moved from winter feeding to summer pastures.  The highway that runs in front of my store is extra wide because cattle were driven down main street to the railroad a very long time ago.  I wanted to tell a story about our beautiful landscape and the legacy of the American cowgirl.

That’s right, cowgirl!  I thought about the wonderful cowgirls I have known and decided to tell a story of her driving her cattle “on to greener pastures.”  Friends gave me photographs of cattle from roadside herds to help with my drawing.  I grew up on a horse ranch so I drew from that background as well.  More than that, I wanted to show a strong cowgirl that quilts.  On the back of my cowgirl’s jacket is a quilt square.  That pattern is the Colorado beauty quilt square.  I have adopted that pattern into my store’s logo so that made it even more personal for me.

I chose Hoffman batiks for all of my fabric choices.  The beautiful variations in the batik lend a natural feel.  After choosing all of my fabric I learned that most of them were not going to be available for me to use until it was too late for me to have them cut.  So after a brief panic, some high pitched squeaking, and a couple of chocolate bars, I sighed and sat down with the color chart and chose some new colors.  I love my new choices even more.  I had it on the design wall so all of us at the store could work on color placement.  That was so helpful!

Because I chose cows and I wanted them to look like they were going further and further away, they got smaller and smaller.  So I did something new.  I had my detail pieces laser cut.  Oh my gosh, that was the smartest thing ever!  It made it so much easier for everyone to complete the row.  Desert Spirit Studios did our cutting and did a great job.  Best decision ever!

Any of you who bought last year’s Row by Row know that we packaged it in a cool fabric tote, so of course, I wanted to package this year’s row in a fun way.  I had heard about a product called Craft-Tex paper fabric.  I watched a how-to video on the product and decided to use it to make our packaging.  The product comes on a bolt or in a  sheet looking like really heavy craft paper, but when it’s washed and dried it softens and gives a leather-like look and feel.  Oh boy, I was on to something!  My friend Terry cut it into strips and put it through the washer and dried it.  We folded and sewed it to look like pony express envelopes.  Her husband Bert Schilling made a tiny branding iron with an FN for Fabric Nook and branded the back of each one.  I got a stamp made with the title and the store name, and stamped the fronts and tied them up with baker string.

Our fabric license plate says cowgirls’ club. Here is a picture of a little zippered bag I made with the license plate. I blinged it out with hot fix crystals.

We’re having a lot of fun with our western themed Row by Row!