Friday, January 13, 2012

Just in case you stopped by....

I noticed that we still get visitors on this site.  Thanks so much for coming by!  We still miss YBA terribly and all our wonderful customer/friends.  Amy has moved to Madison, WI and is working at UW Hospital in Human Resources as a software trainer for Epic.  It's one of the medical record keeping programs that's out there.  She is still making things - sewing and making jewelry -and wishing she was making her living through quilting. 

After what seemed an eternity, our country home sold, we moved to town ~ into the sweetest little 1896 house (which we were still rehabbing...) to live amid chaos and stacks of boxes for the past 4 months.  Now that the construction dust has cleared, literally, all the rest of the furniture came out of storage and we're almost living in the house like normal (well, as normal as we've ever been) - meaning that there is furniture to sit on and we can find clean underwear everyday now!

And so, the point of this is that I'm finally, finally able to turn my energy back to my studio and living as a creative person.  I've performed virtual CPR on my blog Summer Kitchen Quilts and I'd like to invite you to come on over and visit a bit.  I'm starting a monthly post (2nd Friday of every month) about women who have truly inspired me by the way they live.  It's so inspiring to get to know someone who has  faced daunting challenges and not only overcome them, but triumphed over them in a meaningful way that changes their life in an amazingly positive way.

This month I want to introduce you to Sue Spargo .  We met Sue when she came to Yellow Bird Art to teach workshops.  Over the course of four years we came to know Sue not only as a teacher, but as a friend.  Her life story is a real example of courage and creativity.  Come on over, girlfriends!

Blessings ~ 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Last day of business

Hey there all you sweet birds!  Today was our last day of business. I want you all to know that I am going to miss you! You, my dear customers and friends, have absolutely, without a doubt, been the best part of having the shop. I have been richly blessed. Many of you have asked what mom and I are going to do after closing the shop...

What's Amy going to do?
The first thing I'm going to do is take some time off! I'm going to work in my garden, visit with friends and family, and just relax. I'm going to finish up some of my WIP's (Works In Process!) and get back to some hobbies I've been neglecting. I'm excited to get back to making jewelry- I'm working on a new line of jewelry that will be available in my etsy shop: Yep, that's right, Louie & Bella is the name of my jewelry business, and the name of my new blog as well. I don't have anything posted yet, but hope to have a blog post, and some new jewelry up on etsy, next week. Come visit me and see what I'm up to at

What's Angela going to do?
Angela and George are currently trying to sell their gorgeous home in the country, outside of New Albin, IA. It's a wonderful farm (not a working farm though) in a valley with 2 spring fed ponds and it is so incredibly beautiful. I grew up there, so I may be a teensy biased, but if you look at the pictures on their website, you'll find that I'm right. :) Check it out at They've already found their new home- a little dream of a house in New Albin, IA, so they're waiting for for the right person to come along and fall in love with the farm in the valley.

And, as you read in the previous post, Angela is also very excited about her new little venture, Summer Kitchen Quilts. There is a lovely little summer kitchen at their new home in New Albin, which will be finished off once their country house sells, and will house her new little shop. However, she's going to begin teaching some classes out at the country house starting Saturday, June 5. Her first class is a small crazy quilt evening bag of her own design. The class fee is inclusive, so food, drinks and every thing needed to make the project is included. Check out Angela's blog at

I also want to put in a good word for our longarm quilter, former Yellow Bird, and dear friend... Sue Elsbernd would be happy to use her longarm quilting skills to add the perfect finishing touch to your quilts. Her quilting service is called The Nimble Needle and her phone number is 563-737-2360. Many of you had seen her gorgeous quilting on our shop samples. She is a talented and conscientious quilter and she comes highly recommended from us.

Please support your local shops- quilt shops and others. Stop in, say hello, and pick a little something up. That's how they stay around. Sure, sometimes you can find great deals on the internet, but don't forget about the positive contribution local businesses make to your community- they employ local people, pay local taxes, and allow you to go shopping just down the street from your home. It's hard to have a girl's day out shopping on the internet, right? :)

Thank you for all of your support and love. It's been an honor and a privilege to know you, sew with you, and share in your projects, creative plans, and dreams, over the last 4 years.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's a New Day!

As Amy and the Birds have been wrapping up the closing of Yellow Bird Art, Amy and I have been asked about a gazillion times, "What are you doing to be doing?"  And believe me, that question has been going through our minds almost constantly.  I know Amy has several great options and some real nice job offers, but she's just focusing on closing YBA for the time being.  I'm sure Amy will let ya'll know what's next in her life once Yellow Bird is closed.

At times I've felt that just continuing to remain upright and mobile was a good goal for myself.  But I really, really love fabric and quilting, and sewing, and yarns and knitting, and crafting, and art and creating - and, oh yes, the customers.  So after much discussion and soul searching, I'm beginning a new - very small - (emphasis on small) business.  

Summer Kitchen Quilts 
Jennie and Tammy at Old Drawing Board are busy creating a new graphic package for me and a new web site with a shopping cart.  We probably won't be ready to open until mid summer, but I'll keep you updated

I'll be selling wonderful fabrics at prices you're going to just flip over!  I will be primarily a web based business, but once we move to our new "old" house in New Albin, Iowa, I'll probably be open one day a week for those of you who must touch fabric.  Now, I want to make sure you all understand, this isn't going to be a big fancy quilt shop.  There won't be samples, or thousands of patterns or books or notions.  I'm going to focus on small collections of high quality fabrics at low prices.  I'll carry some basic threads, some sewing machine needles, my own collection of patterns (I'm going to be designing!) and some books IF I can find some great bargains for you.  

But for right now, I'm going to offer some classes at my home out in the country.  Our home is two restored log cabins (1860 & 1880), and a huge addition we built in 2000. I'll be offering a variety of creative classes in the next couple of months.  To begin with, I'll be teaching a class for my Little Bag, pictured below.
 This design is one of a collection of boutique bags I designed and made several years ago.  The Little Bag retailed at $185.00 to $250.00 depending on the fabrics customers wanted and the amount and kinds of embellishments used.  People have begged me to make the patterns public, and I've decided that now is a great time to do just that!

Now, you need to hop on over to my new blog: to get all the details on the classes I'll be offering and all the other information you need to sign up!

P.S.  I'm about 40 minutes from Decorah, 90 minutes from Rochester, 50 minutes from LaCrosse, 15 minutes from New Albin, and 30 minutes from Waukon or Lansing.

posted by Angela 


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What a deal!

Hey there all you cute birds!  Everything in the shop is now 50% off.  Get on in here!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Going Out of Business Sale Update

Yes, we're still closing, but believe it or not, we still have lots of great things for you to pick up- gorgeous high quality fabric, wools, notions, patterns, and more, are all here at 40% off.  You might even discover the perfect piece of furniture (old and new, but all with great character) or ready made quilt you've been looking for. Come on in and snap up the great deals!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We Still Have Plenty of Fabrics!

Thanks to everyone who has come to the shop in the past week!  Keep on coming! We've loads of great things for sale at 20% off the regular price.
  • Jacquard ribbons
  • Rick Rack of all Sizes
  • Velvet ribbons and ric rack
  • Rattail cords
  • Lace
  • Buttons, vintage & new
  • Beads & sequins
  • Art Girlz Charms
  • Needle Felting Tools
  • Wool Roving for Needle Felting
  • Hand dyed wool in pre-cut sizes
  • Sue Spargo Patterns and Books
  • Weeks Hand Dyed Embroidery Floss
  • Presencia Embroidery Floss
  • Punch Needle Patterns
  • Punch Needles & Hoops
  • Embroidery Patterns Books
  • Quilt Kits - samples are on the walls
  • Moda pre-cut fabrics
  • Lots & lots of Batiks!
  • A full color wall of fine quilting cottons
  • Lots of Lecien fabrics for quilts, garments, & kid's prints
  • Lots of quilting & general sewing notions
  • Retired Sample Quilts for Sale!
  • Retired Handbag Samples for Sale!
If you can't come to the shop, but would like to make a purchase, call Amy at 563-538-4350.  She has been fillings lots of orders by phone during this sale!  And we DO ship - just about anywhere.

REMINDER:  NEW HOURS  Closed Sunday & Monday!  Open Tues, Weds, Fri & Sat 10-5.  Open Thurs 10-7.  
See you soon!

posted by Angela

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Going Out of Business!

It has been a very difficult year at Yellow Bird Art.  Between the economy and the fierce competition for a limited customer base with other quilt shops in the area (there are 18 quilt shops in a 60 mile radius!), we finally decided that we just couldn't keep on.  We've heard from many customers who've owned a small business in the past, and they all said the same thing.  You just become weary after a while of trying to wait out the economy, or thinking up some new promotion or event that will bring customers in the front door - and then have them buy enough of what you're selling to keep the vendors, utilities and rent paid, the shelves stocked with inspirational goods, and the employees employed.  Please understand that we are not bitter or angry, just sad.  During challenging economic times, this is something that happens to some businesses, and we're certainly not the only quilt shop to go out of business right now.  Of course, hindsight always provides alternative endings if only you'd done this or that differently, but honestly Amy and I think we did the best we could.  There are so many people suffering in the world that we are always conscious of the multitude of blessings we've received during our four years of Yellow Bird Art.  Naturally a winning lottery ticket, or finding that danged missing trust fund might have made a huge difference!  

The thing that has been most difficult in making the decision to close is that we truly love running a quilt shop.  Being able to spend your day in such a lively collection of colors and patterns is absolutely a dream come true.  However the very best part of owning a quilt shop has been the opportunity to encourage, assist, and/or teach our patrons and then viewing the most amazing works of creativity that resulted.  Getting to know our customers personally has been the greatest gift of all.  It has been an honor to be your friends and cheering squad.  Amy and I both deeply believe that everyone of us has a beautiful gift of creativity and our mission in owning Yellow Bird Art has been to support you in your quest of finding your own gift and developing it!  When any of you came through the front door while we were occupied with normal shopkeeping tasks, you often apologized for "interrupting" our work.  I think we always told you that you were never interrupting - YOU were and still ARE the only reason we opened the store!  We know over the course of the 4 years that Yellow Bird Art has been open that we've occasionally made some incredibly dopey mistakes, but we've always aspired to make sure they were corrected to your satisfaction - at least that was our sincere intention.

SO...... as of today all our fabrics, patterns, notions, books, kits, needle felting and embroidery supplies are 20% off regular price.  Fabrics require a 1/2 yard minimum cut.  (Consignment items like the fused glass jewelry and hand dyed silk scarves are not on sale.)  All our shop samples are for sale at prices much less than what it would cost to purchase the fabrics, batting and quilting - we did not include the cost of sewing labor - so these are a huge bargain.  Our BabyLock sewing machines are 30% off MSRP.  If you purchase one of our demonstration sewing machines, we'll add an additional discount which depends on the machine you purchase.  All of our shelving, display items, and antique or vintage furniture is on sale as well.  The marked  prices on those items are firm, and the items will be available when the shop closes or when we no longer need them.  Our Accucut Studio fabric die cutter and an extensive collection of dies are for sale.  The Accucut has been lightly used over the past year, and the majority of the dies have never been used.  This would be an awesome purchase for a guild.  Did you know that you can precision cut the fabric for three quilts in less than an hour using the Accucut?  You can call Amy at 563-538-4350 if you have questions about any of the items for sale.

Now, I know this may be an unusual request, but we hope many of you think of us as friends. If we've earned a place in your heart, and your budget allows, I'd like to ask you to visit Yellow Bird Art soon and bless us with your patronage.  Our goal is simply to get out of the business being able to honorably pay off all our financial obligations.  As a mom, I'd love to know that Amy could conclude her life at Yellow Bird with a modest fund that will enable her to make this difficult transition in her life. We know there are LOTS of quilt shop options available for you - many with great collections of all the newest fabrics available.  But we still have beautiful fabrics for quilts, bags and garments in stock at great prices and we really need your help - we just can't do this without YOU!  I know we all love finding the super shopping bargain.  Who doesn't love  buying something at 70% off the retail price?  But Yellow Bird Art is just a locally owned teensy business, not a natiional corporate entity with deep pockets, and every dollar that comes into the shop goes to other small businesses owned by real people who are depending on our ability to pay their bill so they can pay their bills and so on and on it goes.  This type of honesty is surely not a normal business practice, but then we've always been more interested in making real heartfelt contact with our customers, not just being interested in how much each sale brought in!

We would be remiss if we didn't mention all the wonderful women who have worked at Yellow Bird Art.  Each woman brought her unique talents, creativity, strengths and insights that enriched our working environment and made it a joy to come to work each day.  We've had so much fun at work with our "birds"!  We've missed each one who has moved on to other life interests, and will miss those we currently work with.  Our deepest thanks to Sue, Deb M., Deb B., Marsha, Kathy, Sandy, Barb, Eileen, Kristina, Carolyn, Peggy and Joan for sharing your lives with us and being a part of Yellow Bird Art.

We have NEW HOURS!  We are now closed Sunday and Monday (although you'll find us at the shop for the next 2 Mondays).  We are open 10 - 5 on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and 10 - 7pm on Thursday.  We are always glad to be open earlier or later if you have a group that would like to come at a time outside normal operating hours. 

We will be mailing only one postcard about our "Going out of Business" Sale.  To learn about sale updates, or new shop news, check our website, blog, or sign up for our E-newsletter at our website:,
We will be putting together some super fabric bundles and other specials for those of you who can't come into the shop, so please check our blog out soon again! 

P.S.  We don't know when we will be closing the shop yet - we're just working our way through this day by day!

Posted by Angela

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas, dear friends!

We wish a wonderful holiday season to you all!

We will be closed December 24 & 25, and December 31 & January 1.

Well, of course, it makes all the sense in the world!

Yes, that's right - in the cherry linen closet in my bathroom.  Doesn't everyone stash their portable electronic devices in with their ace bandages, back braces, neck braces, wrist braces (I'm telling you, those old bumper stickers that said that getting old wasn't for the sissy in us, wasn't kidding!) and all the stuff to take long soaking whirlpool baths to ease all the body pains (the getting old part again)?  The tip for me was thinking about the last time I charged the camera - in the bathroom.  With water.  Brilliant, eh?

So lanadunk, e-mail me with your snail address and I'll get your little collection of Amy Butler fabrics out to you before Christmas!  And, because I'm a total softie, and there were only 4 of you who left comments, I'm going to send a little something special to you three from my private stash.  Ask Amy - she loves going through my fabrics at home - there's some really good stuff there!  Please e-mail me with your addresses at:

Hugs to all the birds out there!
Angela and Amy

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Dog Ate my Camera!

Well, the dogs (that's Oliver to the left and Tillie to the right) didn't eat the camera, but it has been AWOL for months.  I mean months!  As age, and I know this is very sad, has impared my ability to immediately recall where I put anthing at home, I've attempted to keep items in the same place, and to always, always put things away where they belong when I'm done with them.  Well, this plan ungloriously crashed and burned when it came to the camera.  After wandering through the house looking and looking until I thought I was going a bit bonkers, I came up with a plan. 

I cleaned my desktop off  - the camera could have been buried under a pile of papers.  I moved into the dining room and looked through the drawers of the small commode where we keep table runners and flower vases.  I searched the small cabinet where I normally store decorative seasonal items, the large cabinet where we display our teapot collection...... 

We've had a number of open houses - our house is for sale - so I was racking my poor brain trying to figure out where I might have tucked the camera away in a last minute fly through the house!

I checked out the oak cabinet in the living room, my little drop front secretary in the corner of the living room....
Keep in mind that I had already done surface searches throughout the  house.  I pulled up all the cushions on chairs and couches, looked under beds and all the furniture.  I think I crawled throughout the entire house before I conducted the cabinet searches.  When I opened up any of the cabinets, I had to pull all the contents out, go through them and reorganize everything.  Just to make sure I hadn't accidently covered up the camera with a stack of other junk.

My last two stops were the red bedside cabinet in our bedroom, and the cherry linen closet in my bathroom.

Good news .... I found the camera!  But which cabinet? 
Be the first reader of our sad little neglected blog to correctly guess which cabinet the camera was hiding in (only one guess per reader) and win a little four pack of Amy Butler fat quarters!  I'll be posting the winner on Sunday (the 20th of Dec) morning.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And the Winners Are!

The winners of our e-mail sign up contest are:
Diane K (
Sara (whimwinkle)
You both have a $25.00 gift certificate coming!
Please e-mail with your snail mail address and we'll get those gift certificates in the mail to you!
Thanks for helping enlarge our e-mail address base!

Angela, Amy and the Birds

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Laura Wasilowski Visits Yellow Bird Art

Just look at those happy faces! We took two photos outside after our workshop with Laura - one so you can see everyone who attended, and the other so you could see the art quilts. They were all marvelous..
We had such a fabulous time when Laura Wasilowski of ArtFabrik came to visit in June. Laura hand dyes the most amazing cotton fabrics and threads, as well as designing imaginative and whimsical patterns. We had a class of 13 students, one of whom was a lovely young lady who accompanied her mother. The photos below show the gals making the parts of their wallhanging quilts.

Although everyone used the same pattern, the individual art quilts ended up being very different because each person had her own vision for what her quilt should look like. Isn't that exactly what's supposed to happen in a great workshop??

Laura was a wonderful teacher, and we all had such a great time. Be sure to take classes where ever your local quilt shop is located. You'll learn new skills, meet lovely new friends, and help support your local shop! One of our goals as a shop is to bring in great national teachers. You'll find the information at our blog or check our website -
You can also sign up for our e-mail newsletter at the website. We don't hammer you with constant e-mails (we've heard complaints about some e-retailers), but only when there's important news to share! That's a birdy promise.
Birdy hearts to you all!