Fabric Design


It’s not nice to mess with Captain Mike.

Micheal 7

Attention Blogees (or whatever you call yourselves), this Blog is hereby commandeered by Capt. Mike, retired detective LAPD. I’m a naturally suspicious guy; suspicion goes with the territory and I’ve been full of it for the past several weeks as I’ve investigated this Lella Boutique and its proprietor, Vanessa Goertzen, a seemingly sweet young thing who I came to suspect of actually running a nefarious network that trafficked in illegal contraband.


To digress a little, Vanessa is the daughter of my new wife, Miriam. Because Miriam had recently passed the Bureau of Criminal Information background check, I figured that I could give her daughter some leeway before putting her to the test. By the way, I earned my moniker with 30 years’ experience working the hard streets of L.A. so I wear it proudly. Miriam is the only one I have given permission who does not have to address me as “Captain”–at least when we’re at home and company is not present.


Anyway, Vanessa brought her two children: Olive, age 4, and Lorenzo (“Bubba”), age 2, to our home a month and a half ago. The kids are cute but annoying. Apparently, Vanessa needs Miriam’s help as she prepares for an event called: “Quilt Market” that is scheduled for the middle of May in Minneapolis. It seems that this market with the innocuous title is in actuality a twice annual convention that attracts a mass network of companies and thousands of attendees each year. Vanessa is a designer for Moda (no, not that guy, he’s still in the joint); it turns out that Moda is a quilting fabric company based in Dallas—or so it claims.

My view this morning. #showmethemoda #quiltmarket

I learned through my investigation that Moda employs home-based designers like Vanessa, but I fear that something more sinister is at work here. Vanessa has turned our garage into her own work place that she always keeps locked. She works 18 hour days accompanied by a constant humming of some unknown machine. One day, when she came out for a quick lunch break, I got a glimpse of some sketched designs of butterflies and pinwheels in a notebook that never left her side. I paged through suspicious short hand and detailed instructions regarding “a project” that she wanted done. One note was particularly concerning: “the long arm is close-thank goodness, I’m nearly done.” Had Vanessa found out about my investigation and was she alerting her higher ups?

social butterfly3

It seems as the Quilt Market day approaches, Vanessa’s work has become more frantic. When she’s not in her work room, she is typing on her laptop or IPhone. And this is not the usual casual communication that is typically associated with Facebook or other social media—Vanessa is typing at a furious pace. And this past week, more big UPS and FedEx boxes began arriving on our front porch. My mind began to race with more questions. Is Moda really a fabric quilting company? Is Lella Boutique really a home shop for a fabric designer? And then one day, Vanessa slept in. At first, I believed that confirmed my suspicions. After all, the people caught up in the schemes that I investigated usually work late, with spurts of frantic activity, followed by days of sleeping late. Could Vanessa be in this “Breaking Bad” cycle? Maybe not.  I confided in Miriam some of what I have written in this blog. She looked at me with some puzzlement. I replied: “How do you explain Vanessa’s remark about the ‘long arm of the law getting close?’ Miriam said something about a long arm quilting machine that had just completed a quilting project and the results were magnificent. Hmmmmm. Perhaps, I should cancel the polygraph and background check I had scheduled for tomorrow. Captain Mike returns control of this blog over to the perpetrator, I mean the proprietor.

Ok–this is Vanessa here. (My stepdad cracks me up, I hope you enjoyed his little storytime.) And just so you know–he’s a former news reporter-turned-attorney who has a knack for spinning yarns. Lest you believe I work 18-hour days, here’s the skinny on what actually goes on. (I get a lot of questions from people wondering how I’m able to get so much done while wrangling two little ones so I’ll tell you.) The truth is, I hardly get anything done during the day as far as “work” goes. Even during market prep. Most of the day is entertaining kids, catching up on laundry, and the like.


The trick for me has been making the most out of every single day–especially during a hectic time like quilt market prep. So here’s what I do:

1. I plot. Before I go to bed every night, I think about what I need to get done the next day and schedule it. During market prep, I may attempt to cut some binding strips while the kids eat breakfast. Or trim half-square triangles. Or press a few blocks. But if I don’t get them done, well I just don’t get them done and it’s fine.

2. I make the most of nap-time. When Lorenzo goes down for his snooze, Olive and I head to our workroom. I’ve got a workstation set up for her next to mine; she makes bead necklaces, draws pictures, plays with Barbies, etc. She loves it and it allows me to get a couple hours of sewing in. Sometimes she’ll even show interest in helping me and I certainly let her. (I hope to make an addict out of her as well.)


When Olive wants to help bind a quilt, I just stick the needle
 where it needs to go and let her pull it through the rest of the way.

I’ve also learned that Lorenzo’s nap-time is a good time to arrange blocks, baste a quilt, or take photos–a good time for anything I’d prefer to do without Lorenzo’s “help.”


3. I rely on late night hours. The vast majority of work gets done after everyone goes to bed. Most nights I don’t get to bed until 1 AM. (I’m always looking forward to my Sunday nap.)


And chocolate. Lots of chocolate.


  1. Christine S

    April 30, 2015 at 8:08 am

    That butterfly quilt is just beautiful!

  2. Kristin

    April 30, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Such a great post! I look forward to seeing you again at Spring Market, it was so awesome meeting you last spring in Pittsburgh. Beautiful new collection and patterns!

  3. MahQuilter

    April 30, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Great posting. Hope to see you at Spring Market

  4. Patricia

    April 30, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Love your little sewing helper. The butterfly quilt is beautiful

  5. Sandi

    April 30, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Thoroughly enjoyed this post! A great read!

  6. Hildy

    April 30, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Are you kidding? I love all the information you've shared with us it's really interessing to read about your work and the life behind the scene. And your new quilts are great, love the butterflies (specially the mini:-)

  7. Heidi

    April 30, 2015 at 10:38 am

    So funny! That pretty much describes my days, too; sewing only when everyone else is sleeping!

  8. Missy

    April 30, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    You never cease to amaze me with your energy and creativity! Love you girl! I can't wait to meet up soon! It's been far too long! XO

  9. Rosa

    May 1, 2015 at 6:25 am

    Such a great post and fun .Your new fabric line is fabulous,love them all.Thanks for sharing and nice to meet you!

  10. mascanlon

    May 1, 2015 at 7:08 am

    Lovely new line! And such cute kiddos.

  11. Brandy

    May 1, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I actually truly appreciate the openness of this blog hop. 🙂 And I like hearing how you organize your crime, I mean time. Your step-dad cracks me up too! I'm also really into your butterfly quilt and mini, looking forward to that pattern coming out!

  12. Elizabeth

    May 2, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    The butterfly quilt looks amazing! And your stepdad is a total crackup! Thanks for sharing glimpses of pre-Market craziness.

  13. gibbygoo56

    May 4, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Gorgeous butterfly! Gorgeous fabrics! Have fun at Market!

  14. Lisa E

    May 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Please tell Captain Mike that he had me laughing out loud! I hope you get some good sleep after Market.

  15. rosi

    May 15, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Thanks to you, I have learned many interesting things. I hope to learn more. I congratulate you for these wonderful sharing. Continue this!

    voyance gratuite ; voyance par mail

  16. Lace Faerie

    May 26, 2015 at 5:25 am

    Cute post! Lots of giggles!
    Love you butterfly! I've bought the pattern for the mini!

  17. Jess @ Bloomerie Fabrics

    June 2, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    What a fun post, Vanessa! As a mother of 3, I appreciate your honesty about juggling kids and a creative career.

    Keep on taking those gorgeous photos — and keep on making pretty patterns and fabric! I'm inspired!

  18. rosi

    July 24, 2015 at 3:32 am

    This blog has a lot of friendliness and a warm welcome
    thank you very much
    voyance par mail gratuite

  19. Unknown

    September 1, 2015 at 5:41 am

    I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye
    voyance gratuite par mail

  20. Marge

    September 2, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Love the pattern! Thanks for creating the butterfly pattern. I am making it for my Grandaughter who is getting confirmed March '16. I am going to have Natalia Bonner do the quilting because she did a beautiful job on your Butterfly Quilt. Thanks again for your dedication to fabric and quilting. Marge

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