It would have been silly to buy it, right? Given all the fabric I have piled up at home, I could very well go home and whip one up. So that’s just what I did!
I changed it up a little, choosing a few different colors of felt, for waves.
I quilted it too! I used a teal thread mimicking a wavy stitch on both the front and backside of the pillow.
AND- I included a zipper, so I can use the pillow insert for something different when the season changes! We will have to see what Crate and Barrel has in their windows when Fall comes around! (wink, wink)
You can do this too!
It’s a pretty cute addition to the foyer of our home!
Have a great day!
No, I am not shutting down my blog. Even though I find myself not blogging as much as I would like, I am not saying goodbye.
The hellos and goodbyes I am referring to our those from, Quiltcon, My oldest son and insecurities.
The last couple of months have been a real whirlwind of emotions full of adventures along the way. Both good and bad. I am going to start in chronological order. Makes sense, right?
In early February, I had an opportunity to not only sit in on the filming of a creativelive class, but to also participate in the quilting activities of the class, taught by the one and only Cheryl Arkison. She’s pretty amazing! The classes she taught were; “Quilting With Low Volume Fabrics”, “Improv Quilting Basics”, “Translating Inspiration in Quilting” and “Playing With Pinwheels in Quilting”
I am not a quilting expert, so when I look back at these classes, I was really trying to just keep up with both Cheryl and the other 3 students ….. It is shot live, (obviously) what I mean is that it is all unedited, every word spoken is picked up by the mics we are wearing. So I really had to watch my potty mouth! Creativelive sent us the classes for free for participating. I watched some of it, but to be honest, I can barely watch myself (half the time my head is cocked to one side like my neck is broken) , and hearing my voice, with my severe Michigan accent is like fingernails on a chalkboard! I find it humorous, really!! It was an experience!
I got to hang out with some very, very cool younger people… that made me look and feel very old and uncool!! They probably don’t even use the word cool! They fed us well, and the whole place is just so hip!
Moving on… This poor pup almost died, during the same week that the Creativelive Classes were filmed. At first we thought that Peek-A-Boo had pneumonia, but when she wasn’t getting any better we took her back to the veterinarian and found out she had a lung lobe torsion! Basically this means that one of her lobes (apparently dogs have like 6-8 lobes) was twisted and was dying off. It caused poison in her system, started to make her sick and eventually she would die. We had that lobe surgically removed, which was super scary because we were told she might not even make it through the surgery. Luckily she did well, recovered nicely and is getting into her normal mischief. Thank God!!
I mentioned earlier in January that I was getting my portfolio together to showcase my fabric and surface designs. I did in fact complete this task. It was an ongoing process until the day before I left for Quiltcon. Whew! Blood, sweat and tears went into crafting that book. It is the first of many to come.
Quiltcon was AH-MAZING! All those that volunteered! Thank you! I was able to steam some quilts, and it was great fun! If you haven’t been… GO! Now that it is going to take place every year, on different sides of the U.S. there isn’t any excuse to not go!
I took my portfolio everywhere I went. I was like Linus with his blanket! I showed it to as many people as I could and I found it to get easier each time I did. I took all advice and insight from those who were willing to offer.
At this time, I have made some pretty nice connections with some top people at top fabric manufacturers. I am not going to name any names, but they are some very good ones! I am always working on new designs, some I’m very excited about, and these will go into my next portfolio!
Here are some designs that were included in my first portfolio. ThIs collection is inspired by my upbringing in Michigan.
This collection is called Rural Respite and is in the colorway Rapture.
This main design is called “In The Weeds”.
These next designs from left to right are: “Posies”, “Barbed Wire”, “Boxelder Bugs” and “BarK”
Now for colorway “Earth”
“In The Weeds”
From left to right” “Posies”, “Barbed Wire”, “Boxelder Bugs” and “Bark”
Unfortunately for me, it became more about my portfolio at Quiltcon, and not about the classes. I did take some great ones, two were with Anna Maria Horner. She is a delight and super knowledgeable. I took the Mod Corsage class she taught.
It was very fun, and I saw some of my Sew South sisters in that class. I also shared a room with my very good friend Margaret. I met her at the very first workshop I did with Heather Ross!
Thanks to Heather, I made a really great friend that lives only about 2 hours away from me!
Another hello and goodbye was to our oldest son Kenny. He came home from Michigan State University for Spring Break. I am SO grateful he decided to come home and spend time with us, instead of gallivanting off to some crazy unchaperoned teenage bender. So Kenny came home spent some quality time and then off he went again- back to school.
That’s me, with Kenny and Will! Saying goodbye at the airport. Again!
And now for my last goodbye.. to you!
Have a great week!
Wow! I have finally made it to that moment when I feel like I actually have finished a few of my fabric design collections. Finished! Done! I think you come to a point when you feel like you just can’t play with them any longer. You could still finesse this or change the color of that, you could manipulate everything until…
The Cows Come Home!
At some point though, you just need to stop. As you have probably heard from writers, they feel like their book is never done. I feel a little like this as well, but I also don’t want to become victim to an “overworked collection”.
So my next step is putting these “lovelies” into some kind of a portfolio. I have uploaded my designs to an online portfolio website called Carbonmade. All of which at this point only I can see. It is a nice place to put those designs, to peruse them and get an idea of how they “play” together. It’s pretty cool to see them uploaded, looking all professional, but it lacks personality, my personality.
So now I am in the throes of figuring out what I want to do for a paper portfolio. The Creativelive class with Bonnie Christine “Design surface patterns from Scratch” not only takes you through the whole process of surface pattern design, but Bonnie also takes you through her process of how she put her portfolio together. This really is so helpful.
My intention is to take a portfolio with me to Quiltcon. I am trying to line up a few very casual appointments with art directors from various Fabric Manufacturer/suppliers. I have one such appointment set up. Yay! I have been making some cold calls. Oh, those chilly calls! Not an easy thing to do, and I haven’t gotten very far with them either, but I am not giving up!
So this now brings me to the Binding of my portfolio. How? My brain is a jumbled up keeper of all things binding. Bonnie Christine did her portfolio in a drum binding. She took a class dedicated to just that, drum binding. No time for this. So I am going to do a spiral binding. I know it’s not terribly impressive, but I only have 19 days until Quiltcon (YAY), and I need to get this process going.
I have purchased book board, special matte epson paper,
a new color printer, The Epson 1430 wide format printer (when this animal arrived, I realized that he is probably going to need his own room)
The Cinch, for the spiral book binding.
I have a lot of tools to learn to use, and this makes me very anxious. Mr. Swellsewing tells me to not worry about the packaging- but to be more focused on my designs. I don’t want to be worried or focused about any of it. I am though, I am worried about it all- and that’s not going to stop!!
Oh, HEY!! Look at that!
The “Cows Came Home!”
This is a picture of me and my sister on the farm in Michigan where we grew-up!
Have A Great Weekend! You all know what I will be doing!
Do you remember what it was like when you knew you found that special one? Were you drawn to the handsome good looks, the ruggedness or was it perhaps the size and shape of the object of your desire? Well for me, it was the tree in the front yard…..
No! I am not talking about a man, but about the home that my man and I chose to buy and live in (from 1995 until present time).
We chose a house at the end of a street, after browsing many others and even placing a bid on one (that I secretly didn’t want so I convinced my husband to bid way too low). The house we ultimately chose was in the neighborhood we already lived in, and had beautiful mature trees. It felt like a real neighborhood, unlike those subdivisions that somehow seem to be erected overnight with absolutely no trees in sight.
This is a very old picture, so please excuse the quality.
Maybe I have become a true “Marin Tree Hugger”, but I don’t care. A tree is always a true friend. It’s a sturdy friend to lean on when you need one. It can protect you from harsh elements and it can guide friends to your house, by being a marker- “We are the house at the end of the street with that huge tree in the front yard”.
As time went on, it was time for a remodel. Our family was growing and so must our house. Our tree was the perfect shade tree. It protected us from the harsh California afternoon sun. It kept our house cooler and created privacy.
Time wasn’t our tree’s friend, though. The years wreaked havoc on him and he started to show wear, losing his bark. Summers didn’t seem to be his best time of year as it had been in the past. The foliage was less and what leaves did come about seemed to be dry and unhealthy.
We tried cutting him back, hoping that we could salvage half of our dear friend, but it was no use.
So, it was time to say good-bye.
I don’t handle good-byes well. I just like to pull that band-aid off fast. Losing him wasn’t a fast process though….I must admit, I did shed a few tears over our tree, (I cried when our old washer and dryer left too). I am very sentimental to say the least.
When we realized that we had to cut our tree down, we initially thought about selling our house and moving somewhere new, with a big healthy tree. Sanity sunk in though and we realized it would be silly to” throw the baby out with the bath water”, so a day did arrive when we finally decided to put in a new tree. There will never be a replacement for our original friend- but we felt as though our house wasn’t going to be a home again until there was a tree, a substantial tree, in the front yard.
On a cold morning our new tree arrived. She was all snuggled up under a blanket.
Before being planted an enormously deep hole was dug for the tree’s roots. This hole took many hours to dig!
finally she was placed into her new home.
The landscaping was replaced, so she had a few friends to hang with.
Here she is world!
Welcome to your new home little one!
No pressure, but Grow, Grow Big and Grow Wide!
big shoes a big hole to fill.
I wonder, what do you get sentimental about?
My intention for todays post is to give you a peek into some of my designs. These are my earlier ones. I have since then taken advice given to me by both Heather Ross and Anne Sullivan on tweaking these so that I use more of my drawing skills.
I certainly don’t think that any of you would ever copy my designs, (I don’t even want to assume that they are copy worthy) but I still have to ask you-
Please do not replicate or copy any of my original designs…
Now that I got that out of the way, let me show you what I have here. :)
I did these designs before doing the Creativelive online class “Design Surface Patterns From Scratch” with Bonnie Christine. One thing that Bonnie teaches is to create a collection from a story.
There isn’t a story here. I was just messing around with color and designs I felt went together to create a collection.
Are these cohesive? At the time I felt as though these designs did work together. Do they bring the best out in each other? I am not sure. That’s why this is a process.
Now, after taking some time away from these designs, and also learning some new techniques, from both Bonnie Christine and Rachael Taylor (The Art and Business of Surface and Pattern Design) I can totally see areas for improvements.
I did hop on over to Spoonflower and print these designs so I could construct something out of them.
I wanted to see if my designs would play well together. I could see some issues, but I was relatively happy for my very first try.
I created a mini-quilt using the economy patch block. The quilt measures 36″ x 36″ in size. Not enough for any normal sized human to cuddle under, but big enough for a pug!
I highly recommend this, because it really does give you an idea of what your collection will look like in real life. I used Kona Snow White to break-up the color.
Thanks for taking a look at what I have been up to. It is really hard for me to put myself out there. I am determined to make my dream a reality. What is it that you are dreaming about that you would like to be a reality? Need a little push?
Ya feel that? That’s me pushing you!!
My first finish of the new year! Yay! To top it off it is also a UFO (unfinished object). This UFO has been hanging around my sewing room since May of 2013!!! Wow, I didn’t realize that it had been THAT LONG! I did a Natalie Chanin Workshop, where I purchased a swing skirt kit. I can now say I am the owner of a pretty unique skirt-a completed skirt, that can actually be worn. No longer is that UFO taking up space in my sewing room, staring at me from its plastic bag- mocking me, making me feel as though I haven’t any follow-through. POW! I suddenly feel like a super hero. I am the “FINISHER”… YEAH, YEAH….That’s it! THE FINISHER!
I do finish projects. Most of the projects that I finish are those that are for other people. What does that say about me? Do I not value myself enough? I wonder how many of us out there do the exact same thing? Are most of the UFO’s you have in your sewing room projects that are to be finished for yourself? Or are these projects for others?
Something for me to ponder anyway. Maybe you should ponder this as well?
So as you look through these pictures of my new skirt with its many stitches and threads, maybe you too can think about what you could finish for yourself.
This is the year I intend to start tackle some of these personal projects.
I think this is a pretty good start.
Take care of yourselves.
Take some time for yourselves..
Think about what you could do if you weren’t afraid of failing! I am. I am diving in head first and I may fail, but I will never know what could be if I don’t!
I am trying to start the New Year off right. I am not one to make New Years Resolutions, because I usually end up disappointing myself. I am much better at setting a daily goal for myself. Like for example… “Eat Breakfast”- now there is a goal I can achieve! I am really not that bad :)
I had a couple of goals to achieve before Christmas. One was to finish the baby quilt, that Will’s former tutor wanted for her new baby boy, Jasper. I got that done about a week before Christmas. Missy was thrilled and I was as well, it was a challenge. The challenge presented to me started with these pieces of stenciled fabric that made up this bunting that was used at Missy’s Baby Shower.
Each attendee at Missy’s Baby Shower stenciled a square for the bunting as a keepsake. Missy had the idea that these special pieces of artwork could be incorporated into Jaspers quilt for them to enjoy for many years to come. Wow, where to start?
While in the Catskills for Heather Ross’ Weekend Workshop- I was admiring the quilt that was on my bed.
Apparently this quilt was from a series of quilts that Denyse Schmidt’s company produced for a short while. This quilt inspired the design for Jasper’s quilt. I wanted Jasper’s quilt to look like an heirloom, created from what scraps would be around the house and at hand. I think I did in fact achieve this look.
And now the back of Jasper’s quilt. I paper pieced his name and did a few cutouts with some of Heather Ross’ fine designs.
Then the quilt was all tied up in a ribbon, ready for its new home.
The second goal I had to complete was a gift for my sister-in-law. I drew my sister-in-law Jane’s name for Christmas, and of course I decided to make her a quilt. How could I not after making one for my sister-in-law Heather last year?
I decided on a pattern from Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting’s book “Modern One -Block Quilt”
This is The Wacky Flowers Pattern from the book.
I went with charcoal gray, mustard yellow and white fabric. These are all from Hawthorne threads, their solids collection. I threw in a little black to give it a little twist. I wanted this to look good in Jane’s house. She is an interior designer, so the pressure was on!
The piecing did go fast. The most time-consuming part of the entire quilt was all the cutting. Templates are included in the book, but they are paper- so I had to trace them and cut several at a time.
This picture makes the quilt look like it isn’t squared off, but it is…. My quilt model (Mr. Swellsewing) wasn’t having a good day :)
A close-up of the back of the quilt. I did circles and a leaf pattern over the gray sections of the quilt. This was all done free-motion. I am starting to loosen up a little with every quilt I do.
Jane was thrilled with her quilt! I was happy with my results and I was happy that she was happy!
The last gift I made for Christmas was a doll for my niece Emily, from the Retro-Mama Greta Doll pattern.
I purchased this pattern while attending the Sewing Summit in Utah, 2 years ago and was missing a pattern piece. I contacted Kim through her etsy shop and she sent me the entire pattern! I highly recommend her patterns, they are easy to follow, and how can you not support folks like her? I had so much fun picking out the fabrics from my huge selection of scraps! This is an easy, fun project that seemed to thrill Emily! Kim, from Retro-Mama also has a new book out this year! I haven’t checked it out in person, but it does look very intriguing!
So today I say good-bye to a most wonderful 2014 and hello to 2015. My goals for this year are to get my fabric designs out there and to blog at least once a week.
Believe it or not, it’s the blogging goal that I am worried about :)
Happy New Year everyone!
Wowee, the last few months have flown by, but they also seemed to drag on. I know, this doesn’t make sense, but this is how time has felt for me lately. Time drags, when you are uninterested in anything, feel depressed and just not motivated. Am I speaking anybody’s language here? Time flies by when you head into a department store all decked out in holiday decorations in the middle of September. I forget what season I am in sometimes- (California weather can do that to a person) especially when retail messes with your head and you have to question if you slept months away in a Rip Van Winkle kind of way. Today I was in a bookstore and they were playing holiday music it was disguised in a jazzy elevator tune, but it was definitely Christmas music! Ugh! Can we please do Halloween first?
I have been working on my fabric designs, and they are actually coming along. It is exciting for me to be doing this, I wish I could share with you, but for now I need to keep these under wraps. I can share with you however, a class I discovered on Creativelive. Taught by Bonnie Christine, a successful fabric designer. The class is called Design Surface Patterns From Scratch. It was/is so helpful. I bought the class, and now I own it…So I can review it at anytime. I highly recommend both Creativelive and this course. Creativelive offers many other courses for artists…of all kinds. Check it out!
So this is where I have been. Working on designs, sketching a lot and taking some on-line courses. I have been battling my depression along the way and trying to stay inspired even when I have pretty much given up on myself. It’s hard to look at the future, when you aren’t feeling like you want one. So..
A few weeks ago I went to the Catskills for a weekend workshop with my friend Heather Ross. Also in attendance was the very talented Denyse Schmidt. The dynamic duo welcomed 11 of us to a 1850’s Victorian Farmhouse, situated on 20 acres!
Most of us brought projects to work on, I was to work on my design work with Heather. She has been sort of mentoring me along the way. I have to say though, there were two highlights to this weekend. First was having the opportunity to spend more time with Anne Sullivan from Play-Crafts… I have met her before, but never really got to know her.
Now I can say she is my friend. We flew together both ways.. It made the whole traveling process for me so much easier! The second highlight of the weekend, was searching for a dead animal in the basement with both Anne and Denyse Schmidt.
When I say basement, what I really mean is dungeon it was dark, smelly and scary. There was a dead animal stench emanating from the bowels of the house.
Some of the gals that were sewing in the dining room could get whiffs of it every now and then. So Denyse, Anne and I decided to take the matter into our own hands, and take care of the little bugger. We found nothing.
I am sure there aren’t too many people who can say they went dead vermin hunting with Denyse Schmidt. :) I can now take that off my bucket list!
Now to give you some inspiration for those of you that still have little ones and would like to do something special for them. I painted two toy boxes that my mother in-law gifted the boys for their 1 year old birthdays.
Here is Kenny’s toy box.
Included on Kenny’s toy box were our pets at the time, Chloe, our yellow lab and Wooley and Poly-ester our cats. Now, sadly they are all gone. They did get boxes of their own, with ashes in them. Sad face.
Now here is William’s… His has more detail, since I thing I was a little more confident about painting on a toy box at this point.
That’s all for now folks. Have a lovely inspirational weekend!
I have been absent from blogging for about 2 months now. Seems to be an epidemic with me lately. I have been distracted from many things lately. Mostly life. I might be there in body, but the soul? Well…. it’s thinking about other things, and wondering where all the time went.
Kenny after his bath 1996
You see, my oldest of 2 children is headed off to college. This is truly something to be celebrated, as there were other paths he could have taken and this by far was the one that all parents hope for. Not only is Kenny going to college, but he is headed to the college that both Jim and I graduated from. A really nice nod for a kid to give his parents. It does make you proud. The one thing that is hard to swallow is that he is 2300 miles away from home. Far away from Marin County, really really far away. Three time zones and a whole other climate away. It’s good though, it’s all good (I say this over and over again while rocking back and forth). Only kidding, I’m not that bad…… yet. I have been known to spontaneously burst out into tears, though. I know there are other moms out there just like me, feeling the same way I do. Right?!
I guess you could say I am somewhat in mourning. I call it “mourning” because it is a type of loss. Please, stay with me here and let me explain. I do tend to over-exaggerate. I think anytime your child hits a benchmark, you are both proud and sad. Think of the first day your child goes to Kindergarten, you are so proud, but you are crying, right? Life is changing, he is on his way to his grade school years…. your family dynamic is changing. Right?! It’s exciting- but that little baby that needed you for everything doesn’t need you as much.
Well, with Kenny leaving for this new chapter of his life, our family that was once a family of 4 is now 3. I know Kenny is still our child, but the next time he comes home (Christmas Vacation) he will be his own person (he will think he can do whatever he wants under our roof, which is not how it will work), and it will be very different for us to parent him.
On our way to the airport to take Kenny to MSU
Fast forward to a few weeks later. Kenny was dropped off to Michigan State University. We (Jim, Will and I) took him there on Sunday the 24th of August. We spent the day moving him into his 12′ x 12′ room, unloading all of his belongings and searching for a futon at any shop nearby that happened to have one left, for any price. The difference between boys and girls, is more pronounced and evident with this experience. In my opinion anyway….. The girls decorate their rooms and make their beds, adding throw pillows that in the end are pretty and inspiring, while the boys (especially my son) throw their beds together and call it a day. I went to great lengths, to make sure that his bedding and hamper matched the huge brown carpet that I spent hours searching for on the internet. Choosing just the right one, that wasn’t feminine at all.
Kenny “making” his bed with his roommate Matt
I spent weeks, crafting a quilt, a one of a kind quilt, that in the end was tossed up on his bunk like a bunch of dirty laundry. And, although these things came together, and made me feel sad, the hardest moment was that last hug….. the last embrace. My son, now a young man doesn’t need me in the way he used to and was ready to let me go. We spent the last 17 years preparing for this very moment. It’s not like we didn’t see it coming or even that it wasn’t something we fully supported. That’s what good parenting is, I guess. If your kid is able to leave the nest and feel confident, safe and equipped to handle what life throws his way…. then you have done pretty well. He has his “tools” now it’s time for him to “build” something.
I free motioned part of the MSU fight song around the border.
Here is Kenny’s one of a kind quilt. The quilt pattern (referred to as the water waves quilt) was a pattern that I got from Must Love Quilts. It’s a fast and easy quilt. And for Kenny, it was more on the masculine side. Green and white fabrics were a great choice for Kenny since these are MSU colors.
Here, Kenny is telling me to “hurry up and take the picture”.
I did a stippling free-motion for the quilting on this quilt. Super fun to do!
There is camo binding around the entire quilt.
My favorite part. The back with a Spartan, surrounded by MSU fabrics.
These are wonky cut 1/2 square triangles. I was going to do the whole quilt out of these, so glad that I didn’t. I had a very hard time finding the licensed MSU fabric on-line. I stocked up when I visited Michigan! I am all set for the next Michigan State University project.
So, as for now it has been a week since Kenny started his new adventure, and us, ours. Today has been hard, but like so many mother’s before me, I will get through it and it will all be okay. Perhaps a cupcake would make me feel better. It couldn’t hurt, right?
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, keep creating!