Another Christmas!

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It is hard to believe that another Christmas has come and gone and it is even harder to believe that 2016 is coming to an end!  Our boys are becoming young men and the hubs and I are noticing our own signs of aging.  It sneaks up on you.  It really does.  Those things that you thought that “SOMEDAY” you would be or do…. those things that haven’t  happened yet?  Well, the time is now.

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I am realizing that “someday” is now and there is no sense in waiting for the future.  At the risk of sounding morbid, none of us knows what tomorrow holds.  So whatever it is that you want or feel as though you have wanted to do… DO IT NOW!  I’m not waiting anymore, if any of us have any doubts about this, look at the string of celebrity deaths that have occurred lately!  It’s shocking!  Some of these people in their 50’s, which, when you are in your 20’s seems old, I know, but it isn’t in all reality!

So you have a special dress you are waiting to wear?  I say get it out and wear it now, create an event!  Celebrate Monday, if nothing else comes to mind to celebrate. For me, I am pushing full steam ahead with my designs.  Any rejection is just going to make me push harder.  So all those textile companies out there, better watch for me, because I am coming.. whether you are ready or not!!!

The end of the year has been very busy for me.  It has been full of awesome surprises as well as some very big disappointments.  I am choosing to focus on the great things that have happened, and allow those icky disappointments to encourage me to try harder, create more and to also remind me that “nothing worthwhile comes easy.”

I participated in an Instagram Challenge in December.  It was an advent calendar instagram challenge.  The challenge was created by Four Corners Art Collective.  This group of talented designers created prompts for December 1st- December 21st.  It was loads of fun, and I am so grateful to all of them!

You can see all my renderings by clicking on my photo below, it will take you to my portfolio website.

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Doing this challenge was a great exercise!  You have to put your work out quickly and it needs to go out every day for 3 weeks.

On to another topic.  I made a quilt for my sister-in-law Sheri.  The last of the sister-in-laws to get the gift of a quilt for Christmas.  She’s been waiting.  Finally, her day came!

I went WAY off script with this one.  I let all the fabric do the work for me.  I chose bright solids and all the Cotton and Steel prints I had in my sewing room.  I used them all!

I used my Accuquilt Go Cutter to cut lots and lots of triangles! It really does make cutting go faster.

In the picture below, I was trying to figure out how to put these half square triangles together.  You can really see how the fabric is doing the work for me.

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In this picture below you can see the quilt assembled and nearly ready for quilting.

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I didn’t even start to think about what I was going to do for Sheri’s quilt until after Thanksgiving.  When I finally had some kind of idea, I was overtaken by a dark cloud of depression.  It usually comes on this time of year, when our days are shorter and there are a million things that need to be done before the holidays hit.   I pushed through though.  I would sew a little bit each day and luckily I finished up the binding on Christmas morning.  Just in time!

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Sheri’s finished quilt was created with many half square triangles and some solid 6.5″ x 6.5″ squares  as well.

Sheri has had a hard year, in 2016.  She had a huge family loss herself.  I hope she knows that this quilt, as with all quilts I have made are more than just a quilt,  it’s a hug as well!

Happy New Year to you all!

xxoo

I’m Official!

I am official at many things in life.  Many that know me, know that I officially love Pie.  Not all Pie, if it’s apple pie, it is only my moms pie, and other pies should be tart, with just a little sweetness, and it must have REALLY good crust.  Some that know me, know that I am the official Gold Medal Holder for the best napper- in both length of time and style.  If you don’t know, there really is an art to napping.  Still there are others that probably think  I am officially crazy, and yes, I am certain at times, I am.  All that do know me, know that I officially identify myself as a Doris Day fan.  I may not be her number 1 fan, but I am a FAN nonetheless!

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This OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT is about the Agency that has made me into an official artist with official representation.  See?  I am official.  Sue from Vivid Art Agency says so. Sue is my most valuable agent, ( Let’s call her Agent 99) hahaha, but all kidding aside, there really isn’t any secret covert operation happening here, but I do feel like there is a whole lot of magic.  I cannot even tell you how great it is to have someone in your corner, helping you with the ins and outs of art licensing.  Sue (who is also the owner of Vivid Art Agency) supports me and looks at the bright side of things, even when I may be looking at the half-empty glass.

Having an agent, frees me up to do more of my artwork and less researching for art director contacts.  In the past I would spend days researching for valuable contacts, googling and using LinkedIn. I must say though, it does makes you feel a little like a detective, which is a kind-of enjoyable, but very time-consuming.   All that time should be used to generate new art, because let’s face it, without new work there wouldn’t be anything to submit to art directors, right?

It would be wonderful if all of you who read this would hop on over to instagram and follow Vivid Art Agency.  I think it would be fun for you to ride along on this adventure with me!

Have a Great Weekend!

AND

STAY CRAFTY!

SURTEX, before and after…

It’s all I had been talking about.  “I’m getting ready for SURTEX”, “I’ll do that after SURTEX”, “When I go to SURTEX, this could happen”.  SURTEX, SURTEX, SURTEX!  MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA! This 6 letter word had consumed my life, by dictating sewing projects, both at home and at out of town workshops, and by creating a stress that until now I had avoided most of my life.  Yep that’s right, I am an AVOIDER!  If you ignore it, it will go away, right?  NOPE!  Don’t even try.

So as this blog’s title states, this is about before and after SURTEX, so let’s talk about before, shall we?  Many, many errands and projects (not sewing or design related) were put on hold until after this event.  You know, like house cleaning, laundry, folding and putting laundry away- let’s just say that my house was in desperate need of some TLC and so was my entire family.  Almost every waking moment was spent on preparation for this event.  Luckily SURTEX had some great webinars. These were key for us first timers that opted for the “telephone booth sized” booth.

They talked about banners, lighting, trash cans, backdrops (heights and widths), podium sizes (which was impossible to actually get the correct measurements) and last, and my favorite, PRESS KITS! These weren’t really my favorite, especially since we came home with over 100 press kits that nobody wanted.  I say my “favorite” because Jim, Will and I put 200 of those little devils together, which we were told to do in one of those informative webinars. I even asked if we were new to the industry and haven’t any clients yet, will we also will need 200 press kits? Yes- we were told.

Well, I am here to tell you now- DON’T DO IT!! 75 would have been a very nice number. WE were told to make and bring way too many.  WE spent countless hours assembling these kits, not too mention, Aaack I hate to even think of it, but the money that was spent on these- I haven’t done the math- and I don’t think I am going to.

This was how the kits were assembled

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200 Kraft paper folders were purchased.   Dum Dum lollipops were used as a closure for each folder. I think this is a genius idea, clever, and if you would like to borrow this idea I would be flattered.  All folders needed to be punched twice (through both front and back of the folder) for the lollipop insertion.

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I created a special coloring booklet just for SURTEX 

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I printed 300 Coloring Booklets and each was packaged in a vellum envelope with a box of 12 colored pencils, (not 8 as it stated in the photo above this photo).  The extra 100 booklets and pencils were to give out at my booth.

It’s The Little Things That Make a Difference

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In the photos above you see a bunch of embroidery hoops and a custom stamp I had made in my logo from Tailormadestamps on etsy.  I highly recommend them, the quality is awesome and they are quick! I used the stamp to put my logo on the embroidery hoop backside and the backside of the swatches.

On to the “Phone Booth Sized” booth.  The Floor space, was a mere 5 feet x 5 feet.  I couldn’t get exact measurements of the shelving that was offered through GES at the Javits Center, so I opted for these shelves…. Actually- they are shoe racks, but they were light weight and they fit the space nicely!

IMG_9575These were purchased from The Container Store, they were cheap, they came flat in a box and they didn’t need any special tools to set up! This photo was taken in the container store- this was not them set up in my booth.

The Booth

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This is my by booth before!  I know! RIGHT?!  It is SO roomy and spaceous!  I wish I would have opted for the next size up- It would have cost more, but this space was so small that I couldn’t even change my mind in it!!! Also, there was no privacy, those on either side of you could get in on your conversations, and dare I say it??? I’m going to- steal your potential client!  Yep- it happens, and did!

That tiny space to the left of my booth is where I put those stackable shoe shelves. They fit perfectly!! You can see them in the photo below.

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Here is the booth during set-up.  My banners were AWESOME.  They were done by Production Resources of Boston.  I put mostly characters on my banners and with the black background they popped!  People came around the corner and saw my pig on a vespa and couldn’t help but laugh!  That made my day!

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A shot of my amazing and handsome husband (my BUMBLE) Jim, hanging my banners with care, he also helped many others hang theirs!

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Setting up in progress! I am holding a spring-loaded curtain rod- this was put on the backside of my podium and was where I would hide my handbag and other things that I didn’t want to be seen.

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I had these items I sewed with my fabric printed from Spoonflower represented in my shelving unit. You can see them in the photo above in the shoe rack    shelving unit.

The Sewn Items

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This wallet, pattern is by LR Stitched-THE PERFECT WALLET, fabric by me, Granny’s Rock Garden Collection.  It is the perfect wallet! I love this wallet, and I have made scads of them!

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This little clutch made from Noodleheads Rainbow Clutch-(pattern from her book), The fabric is from my Lily Pond Collection.IMG_9784

This skirt I also sewed from my Lily Pond Collection, the pattern is from Colette Patterns The Ginger Skirt.  It is super easy to sew, but I feel like it never feels right when it is on- like it rides up or something- I wore it to SURTEX anyway.

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This is also a pattern from Noodlehead.  The divided basket, sewn from my Lily Pond Collection

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The blouse above is the Biscayne Pattern from Hey June Patterns – the fabric is from  my Splendor In The Grass Collection and the large pouch and small change purse  were sewing projects from Sew South. The fabric is from my Granny’s Rock Garden Collection.

You all know that I really want a fabric gig, so I really put that medium to the test to show what my collections can do for a plethera of patterns!  I really think they work well with clothing and bags- and quilts of course.

Since my characters were mostly represented on my banners, I put my design repeats into a portfolio I had printed through Shutterfly.  It measures 11″ x 14″.

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Over 100 of my design repeats were represented in this lovely tidy book.  It made for a great display on my podium.  I purchased a book holder to keep it upright to catch peoples eyes.

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Here I am on my second day.  Wow, look at that, I am having a good hair day!

What I learned and what I would/would not do again

  1. If it is your first time doing SURTEX- don’t do the smaller booth. This was only a one time deal for new exhibitors to get their foot in the door, at a lower price which was great, but you give up privacy, space, room for others to help you and I think status.  Attendees just weren’t educated enough on what the Designer District was all about. If you can afford to spend more for your first time- do it.
  2. Advertise in some of the special directories.  There is a SURTEX directory and there are a couple others, and apparently the cost is minimal.
  3. Make sure you have some holiday designs.  People came to my booth asking for Christmas designs.  This was a big “I dropped the ball moment” for me.  I should have had a whole portfolio book dedicated to Holidays! All holidays should be represented.
  4. 75 Press Kits- Tops.  Make them a special representation of you, but downsize and economize.
  5. Listen to the SURTEX webinars but don’t be afraid to reach out to some of your exhibitor friends before the convention.  If you are inexperienced at exhibiting (like me), don’t be shy about asking those who have been before advice on certain things you may be questioning.
  6. Be friendly and chat with everyone you can, you never know where it may lead. DON’T be glued to your phone.  It doesn’t look professional and you are missing so much!
  7. Have FUN

I may do SURTEX again.  Now that I got that all out of my system, I feel like I am ready to start planning for next year.  I did make many contacts, I learned from others and I got some really great feedback from folks.  I am also working on a contract with a company, and this happened because of SURTEX.  Things are moving ahead- I’m pushing forward and it feels great.

Thanks for reading and visiting.

Stay Well and Stay Crafty

Hellos and Goodbyes

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?

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A picture of the room where the creativelive class was filmed.

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” 

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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!

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Here’s my tweet. Shooting the 4 classes took 2 days.

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!

photo 4-65Moving 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.

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You know you have fantasized about riding a giant sewing machine! Thank you Stitch Lab!

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!

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This is my portfolio cover. I used bookboard and an original design for 9″ x 12″ cover.

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.

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I sent 3 Thank You notes out to some folks that took the time to browse my portfolio.

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.porfolio for quiltcon-29-02

This main design is called “In The Weeds”.

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These next designs from left to right are: “Posies”,  “Barbed Wire”, “Boxelder Bugs” and “BarK”

Now for colorway “Earth”

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“In The Weeds”

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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.

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The “Mod Corsage” class which is similar to needle turned applique w/ Anna Maria Horner.

 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!

Margaret and I at the Moda Party!

Margaret and I at the Moda Party!

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.

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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!

I got my Fabric Designs, Now What?

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”.

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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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 8.25.52 AM  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,

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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)

and

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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!

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 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!

My Real Journey For 2015

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…

Thank you-

Now that I got that out of the way, let me show you what I have here.  🙂

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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.

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There isn’t a story here.  I was just messing around with color and designs I felt went together to create a collection.

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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.

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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.

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I did hop on over to Spoonflower and print these designs so I could construct something out of them.

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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!

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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.

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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!!