2013 Faculty Interview Series – Natalie Barnes

Natalie Barnes

Long Beach, CA
www.beyondthereefpatterns.com

Natalie Barnes is the owner of Beyond the Reef. She has been a Vendor at Road to California for quite a while. She is teaching a lecture this year – 8505 “What’s In Your Toolbox?” Make sure to go check it out at www.road2ca.com

Matt: Where were you born and what is your birth order?
Natalie: I was born in Pasadena – home of the Rose Parade – born and raised a sunny southern california girl! I was born “an only child”, so I was lucky to have a great mother to pal around with! We used to drive around in her yellow LTD singing, “We all live in a yellow LTD!” (Beatles – Yellow Submarine)

Matt: Where did you grow up?
Natalie: Most of my growing up occurred in Orange County – building forts below the trees in the orange groves, climbing oak trees in Temecula, and riding horses through fields of mustards as high as my horse’s belly. And trying to sew prom dresses out of very very funky stretchy fabrics….

Matt: What motivated you to begin quilting?
Natalie: I started cutting up squares of Woolworth fabrics after my high school boyfriend made me a bright yellow and green quilt for my birthday. Not to be out done, I made quilts for E-VVERYYYY-ONE.

Matt: Describe your โ€œquilting studioโ€ — is there something in it that you just canโ€™t live without?
Natalie: I live in a small 1940’s beach cottage, so there is not a lot of space to be had, unless you’re out on the bay or the beach. In my studio. I have a day bed, a small round table/desk, my Bernina Industrial table mounted sewing machine that can sew fast enough to scare people, and a whole wall full of bookcases and enclosed storage holding tools, books, papers, favorite pics, a ukulele and mason jars full of every color thread imaginable. Is there something that I just can’t live without? For my quilting, the view through the house into the garden. For me, I just can’t live without the friends that come to stay, and accept the space as their own….

Matt: Does anyone else in your family quilt?
Natalie: I have very little family left…sadly. My grandmother, who passed away when I was in 2nd grade, was the closest I ever had to having a quilter in the family – she knit, crocheted, did some embroidery, and always made sure my Barbie dolls were very well dressed!

Matt: Do you have any other hobbies besides quilting?
Natalie: I love my yoga practice. And paddle boarding around the bay. I can swing a golf club here and there (let’s not officially call it Golf…) and I knit. Sew. Embroider. Make jewelry. Have a great raised bed veggie garden. Bike. Swim…

Matt: Do you have children, grandchildren etc?
Natalie: …only my good girlfriends’ kids….they’re the best!!

Matt: Do you have any pets?
Natalie: I do have a great (great!) dog named Buddy. He was dumped in the hills on the Central Coast. I gotta say, he was born and bred a cattle cutting dog – as a McNab – and has ended up with a quilter as an owner. I certainly appreciate his adaptability. And the fact that we have to walk long distances as a compromise to the work that he normally would be doing, is no compromise at all.

Matt: Do you have a favorite food, what is it?
Natalie: Honestly, I love a fresh from the garden arugula and blueberry salad. Warm tomatoes grown right at my door. Hand made hamburgers on the 4th of July eaten standing on the bay with the neighbors…and “made in my own kitchen” thai food with a table full of good friends. I guess you could say my favorite food is the company it keeps!

Matt: What is your favorite recepe for entertaining?
Natalie: Salad, salad, salad. Wedges with blue cheese and walnuts.
Arugula with berries and a great aged balsamic.
Romaine, white rice, frozen white corn, black beans, cheese, chicken, black olives, guacamole (from my haas avo tree) and a splash of sour cream.
For winter, homemade chili and crusty artisan bread.
Hot thai coconut chicken soup with fresh basil.
Or the conversation around the bbq while cooking something for dinner.

Matt: What would be on your “Bucket List” if you could do anything and money was not an object?
Natalie: I heard a great answer to this question – credit to the writers of The Mentalist – “Well, I WOULD like to have my own personal magic dragon…”
For me, I think I would like to take Buddy and “fly private” to New Zealand, and live for a year in a great big sprawling modern beach house on a big piece of land with some kind of herd and agriculture. And of course, invite all of my friends over, all expenses paid, any time they could get away to come visit.
I would have a big giant barn like structure classroom and create a ‘room and board’ place for people to come and learn and quilt and create.
Of course, world peace is still very high on the list – I would even settle for clean drinking water for all…

Matt: What is the best class you have taken?
Natalie: Every class is the best class I have ever taken. Marsha McClosky for perfect accurate piecing. Roxanne McElroy for applique. Sitting next to an expert hand quilter and just watching her quilt for quilting. I would love to be in a class with Gwen Marston – Denyse Schmidt – or learn how to McTavish!!

Matt: What is the funniest or most embarassing moment you have had happen while you were teaching?
Natalie: Honestly, it’s hard to pick just one embarrassing teaching moment – I have so many. On any given day, i will be on a roll, talking a blue streak and come to a screeching halt, looking for the word “rotary cutter” or “ruler” or “blue”. Inevitably, tho, whatever I am doing, ironing with an iron that’s not plugged in, cutting something the wrong size and having to toss the piece, forgetting the word “blue” – – it’s a way to engage the people in my class. A way to get human and connect.

Matt: Where have you traveled in your quilting career? Any favorite locations?
Natalie: In November, my favorite location will be Long Beach. I will be teaching there. In January, it will be Ontario, California. Wherever I go, wherever there are quilters, that is my favorite location. I enjoyed Florida. If I am ever asked to the show in Japan, I will love Japan. But no more or no less than Ontario California, or Denver, or Portland.

Matt: What is the last book you have read, and who is your favorite author?
Natalie: Oh oh…..this one might be a hard one… The very last book I read was some ‘guy book’ fiction about an ex military guy living on his boat. I am a pretty eclectic reader… It’s Easier Than You Think, Sylvia Boorstein. Lime Creek, Joe Henry (good friend of one of my good friends). Anything Jill Marie Landis (good girlfriend of mine). What the Dog Saw, Malcolm Gladwell. Fifty Acres and a Poodle, Jeanne Marie Laskas

Matt: What’s the best thing about teaching?
Natalie: The best thing about teaching? The people, of course!! Spreading enthusiasm and joy and wonder is just the best. Encouragement. I wake up every day so very thankful that I am chosen to do these kinds of things.

43 thoughts on “2013 Faculty Interview Series – Natalie Barnes

  1. Anonymous

    fun, fun, fun to read about all your antics Natalie. I look forward to hearing about your favorite ‘must have’ tools!!!!!

  2. Jodi

    What a great insight into Natalie – such a lovely creative lady – to think all that beautiful creativity started with stretchy fabric prom dresses and a quilt her boyfriend made her – I hope she thanked him : )

  3. Jodi

    I always love it when a post from you pops up in my Google Reader, Natalie! I know I am about to be surprised, challenged, and entertained!

  4. quiltzyx

    It’s wonderful to learn new tidbits about Natalie! Love Beyond the Reef – and how cool is that – that your boyfriend made you the quilt that started you on your way?!?

  5. quiltzyx

    How cool is that – that the quilt that started Natalie quilting was made by her boyfriend?!?
    I love all the creativity she shows on her blog – from quilts to awesome salads too. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. mascanlon

    A life very well lived Natalie, full of friends, food, creativity and fabric. I love reading your blog, it’s always full of the unexpected and you make me think. Where are you teaching in Nov? I want to come!

  7. Barbara

    What an interesting beginning into the quilt world you had Natalie. I thought I knew you so well already. Watch out world Natalie is ready for her big entrance now!

  8. Bennett and Graves

    I am a long time blog stalker of Natalie and was inspired by her fabrics at the very beginning of my own quilting journey. The very first Fat Quarter quilt I made was with fabric I bought at the Beyond the Reef booth my very first visit to Road, I’m thinking 2006 most likely. I also bought yardage for the backing and totally botched cutting it to piece it to the right size. Although Natalie didn’t really sell online at that time I emailed her in a panic. I mailed her a check and she gladly shipped me the additional fabric I needed. That quilt, a very simple “Cheaper by the Dozen” pattern, lives with my son and his family in Sofia Bulgaria. I am fortunate to live in Ontario and have registered for Natalie’s class, which will be the first I take at Road.

  9. Bennett and Graves

    I am a long time blog stalker of Natalie and was inspired by her fabrics at the very beginning of my own quilting journey. The very first Fat Quarter quilt I made was with fabric I bought at the Beyond the Reef booth my very first visit to Road, I’m thinking 2006 most likely. I also bought yardage for the backing and totally botched cutting it to piece it to the right size. Although Natalie didn’t really sell online at that time I emailed her in a panic. I mailed her a check and she gladly shipped me the additional fabric I needed. That quilt, a very simple “Cheaper by the Dozen” pattern, lives with my son and his family in Sofia Bulgaria. I am fortunate to live in Ontario and have registered for Natalie’s class, which will be the first I take at Road.

  10. Denny1600

    I loved this interview! I love Beyond the Reef and her blog. The fresh, refreshing fabrics and fun patterns are so fun!

    Denny1600 at gmail.com

  11. Aleisha

    Great interview! Still trying to get over that you had a boyfriend who quilted. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like reading each Beyond the Reef post…great ideas.

  12. Lauren H

    Loved learning more about Natalie, especially that her quilting career began with a boyfriend who made her a quilt. I thoroughly enjoy Natalie’s blog!

  13. Judy R.

    Love following Beyond the Reef…I really appreciate Natalie sharing her knowledge, both in her blogging and through personal emails. She has quite a talent for creating beautiful quilts and in passing along what she loves. Very good interview!

  14. TheMugglePuggle

    I got my degree in education, and I definitely agree with you that the best part of it is the people. I love getting to work with young people all day. They are such an inspiration! I enjoyed reading about you ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. scottylover

    Wish I was close enough to go! Would be a long commute from Missouri! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love reading Natalie’s blog because she is so cheerful and fun! And she shares some great ideas for things other than quilting!

    Sandy A

  16. Cheryl

    What a great interview! I first met Natalie at her booth at the SEVEN SISTERS QUILT SHOW in San Luis Obispo! It’s always such a bright spot with fun people, fabrics, and projects,and right across from our Opportunity Quilt space, too! We get to sit and drool over her booth while selling tickets. Well after meeting Natalie and seeing all the fun things she is up to, I just had to follow her on facebook and on her blog. It’s great seeing what new creative works she is up to, and I’m sure her lecture will be full of all her wonderful tips and tricks, can’t wait! Thanks!

  17. Cheryl

    What a great interview! I first met Natalie at her booth at the SEVEN SISTERS QUILT SHOW in San Luis Obispo! Beyond the Reef is always such a bright spot with fun people, fabrics, and projects,and right across from our Opportunity Quilt space, too! We get to sit and drool over her booth while selling tickets. Well after meeting Natalie and seeing all the fun things she is up to, I just had to follow her on facebook and on her blog. It’s great seeing what new creative works she is up to, and I’m sure her lecture will be full of all her wonderful tips and tricks, can’t wait! Thanks!

  18. Marcia W.

    Thanks for the lovely interview. Natalie is a generous person. She sent my 81 year old mother a sweet birthday gift which delighted my mom…. and Natalie doesn’t know us. We live clear across the USA in Florida. You have a good person for your lecture series.

  19. Nancy

    I started following Natalie’s blog after meeting her at a quilt show a few years ago. I bought some fabric from her and we struck up a conversation. It was just like talking to an old friend! Thanks for your great blog, Natalie!

  20. Heather A

    I’ve been following Natalie for a couple of years at least now. She’s an excellent source of inspiration and great fabrics for this quilting newbie.

  21. jackiero

    Hello Natalie ๐Ÿ˜€ Wonderful interview to read, to learn about different foods I can look forward to discover, to her Buddy. I read this inspiring interview twice and now am looking for a pen to jot down authors Natalie recommends. I am so looking forward to all quilty-things of Natalie B. ๐Ÿ™‚

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