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

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…

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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!!

Inspiration

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!

The other course I am taking is The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design, which I found on the website Do What You Love for Life.

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!

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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.

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Heather Ross and Anne Sullivan talk fabric design

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.

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photo 1-58 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.

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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.

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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.

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That’s all for now folks.  Have a lovely inspirational weekend!