Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Headed off to Quilt Market

Goodness!  I don't intend for my blog to get away from me for more than a week but that seems to be happening lately.  I think about my blog all the time, so I must think that I'm actually writing things. lol  But if you follow me on IG, where I literally am all the time, you will know that I've been quite busy lately.

I've been doing some fun halloween sewing that I'm excited to share with you on Friday as part of a fabulous blog hop for a lovely Japanese book, 318 Patchwork Projects.  I've been having fun working on tiny paper pieced blocks and using Riley Blake's latest Halloween line, Witch Hazel.  Here's a little tease of what's to come on Friday...

318 Patchwork Halloween Cat


Oh and did I mention that I will be having some great giveaways with that post?! There will be chances to win fabulous fabrics and the book...so definitely be on the lookout.  Giveaways are super fun and we are going to have 5 winners of different things!  So lots of opportunity.


So, I'm spending my time trying to finish up that project before I head to market on Friday, which is in Houston.  My husband had knee surgery this week and my daughter is being her typical 4 year old self...which essentially means that I've been a bit worn out trying to keep up with it all.  Hopefully I can relax at market because it won't be too long after that when I will have my own surgery again in November.  We are all fun and games around here.  lol  Hmm...maybe I do need a "Quilting keeps me sane" tshirt.


Market should hopefully be fairly relaxing for me (if it can be!) because I'm not officially presenting anything this time.  But never fear...more is on the way. ;) You can't keep an overachiever down.  So I'm headed there on  Friday and looking forward to seeing everyone who is there.  Are any of you going to market this time? I've only been once, so please don't feel like you are missing out if you are not!!  I just ask so I can look for some friendly faces. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sewing for Charity...thinking...

So while I'm in the midst of the never ending deadlines and projects that I can't show you all, I've been thinking.  I really love sewing.  It can be fun (and crazy) to sew with deadlines for different publications and such.  And that certainly has its own reward of seeing your work published etc.  But I have a desire to sew for something more.


But time is limited and my plate is full.  So I started thinking about what I could do that would be using my gifts to help others but wouldn't cause another huge stress in my life.  Quilts quickly went off the table.  While they are lovely and great to make, sewing quilts for charity is not a constant thing I can do on my own.  I know that there are plenty of people who do sewing bees with others to make quilts more manageable, and I've tried those.  But I knew that I needed freedom to work within the deadlines of my own schedule and not add stress by trying to get blocks to people at a certain time.


And then I remembered that a lot of people make pillow cases for charity.  So I thought about that for a while.  And while it's a lovely thing to do, it just didn't get me excited.  Charity shouldn't be a chore.  It should be a joy.  And I wanted to create joyfully and meaningfully.  And researching pillow cases quickly led me to pillow case dresses...


And THEN I got excited.  With a little girl around, I'm already into the groove of making little dresses.  And I've been wanted to make some simple dresses like this for her.  But she really doesn't need anything right now, especially as we head to towards winter.  But I can't resist a cute little dress.



So I found my way towards a charity many of you have probably been supplying dresses to for years, Little Dresses For Africa. It just spoke to me.  I'm not one for international charity work normally.  I've always done things more close to home.  But I'm going with my gut on this one and just joining up with a well established group that has already donated over 2.5 MILLION dresses to girls around the world.  


I always joke that I have more fabric than I can use in a life time.  But I really think that by using my fabric for this that I will USE it.  I will get that high of sewing with the fabrics I chose and bought, but in my excess have not used.  You can use yard + cuts of fabric (or smaller if you piece them) and hopefully use up some lovely fabric quickly.  I have darling fabrics that just don't have a home right now.  And I think I've found their home.  I always trust when the fabric speaks to me.  And right now, a whole bunch are shouting to me from my stash telling me that they want to be on a girl giving her hope and brightening her day if just for a moment.  



And I really want to make CUTE dresses.  Simple is great, but I love details.  I want to add sweet pieces of trim, or little buttons, a bit of lace.  Whatever makes these truly special.  Charity to me does not mean ugly or throw away.  Yes, I will probably start with fabrics that I have outgrown in my taste, but that does not mean the fabric has anything wrong with it or that I still cannot make it cute.
My goal is to start probably with the new year, but perhaps in December (commitments are keeping me from jump starting this in the middle of other projects) and certainly by the new  year.  I'm thinking perhaps I can make 5 dresses a month.  That sounds reasonable to me right now (I'll see how much time I really take on these...that number could go up or down) and work my way through the year of 2015 making dresses from my stash.  





There are bunches of variations on a pillow case pattern as you can see from the quick pictures I have snatched from pinterest.  I would like to try a different pattern each month...to keep it interesting for myself and make a nice variety of styles.  I'm excited about this new venture and about using my skills and fabric to create something beautiful for others all over the world.  Our family motto is to make the world a more beautiful place.  And this fits right in with that.  It just feels right.


So, any suggestions for your favorite patterns? Do you feel like joining me and starting your own challenge for dresses?  Do you have advice for those of us just starting because you've been doing this already?  Do you have another favorite charity?  I'd love to hear your words of wisdom about how to go about doing this well.  And I really can't wait to get started!



Friday, October 3, 2014

Epic Quilting Week - Part 2: Craft South

Craft South 2014

On the second part of my epic quilting week, I continued my journey through Ohio, stopping to see my dear friend AnnMarie of GenXQuilters at her house for a couple of hours that passed far too quickly.  Then I drove to Cincinnati where I spent the night with Kara Sanders and got to hang out with some fun ladies from their MQG.  It was a busy day catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

But my ultimate destination was Nashville, TN where I was attending a workshop, Craft South, hosted by Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross.  Yes. That's right.  Freaking Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross!  Does it sound amazing? Because it was.  It was epic.

Craft South 2014

A little group of my close friends had agreed to attend the weekend together and we came in from all over, California, Indiana, Canada and Nashville.  It made the weekend so fun to share the time with Michelle, Kristie, Sam, and Kelly.  And can I say I was the loser friend?  I didn't bring gifts to share because I had been swamped due to the first half of my week filming.  But Kelly hosted us in her home, Sam and Kristie did the Canadians proud with their extreme generosity with personal gifts for us including hand knit cowls and personalized stamps. And Michelle made us all the fabulous bags you see below.  Me?  I just showed up and took all the gifts.  lol


Craft South 2014
Kristie, Kelly, Me, Sam, Michelle


The weekend was on Needleworks, but we all joked that they could have been showing us how to clean toilets and it still would have been amazing and we would have learned things.  Anna and Heather were down to earth, personable, and exactly what you would want your favorite designers to be.  They were genuinely interested in conversation with each of us (there were about 25 women in attendance I believe) and joked around with all of us.  I kept thinking of how surreal the whole experience was even at the time.

Craft South 2014


I'll admit that I had an unexpectedly emotional reaction to seeing them for the first time.  At this point, through market and other ventures, I have met a number of my favorite designers in person.  I've been delighted to do so every time, and while I may have been a bit nervous at first, I never had the reaction that I did when I saw these two women.  I literally burst into tears.  Or just started leaking from my eyes...whatever you want to call it.  lol  For me, meeting them was a moment in my life that brought back so many others.  At this point I had been through a VERY full week already and perhaps that emotion could be blamed on being tired, overwhelmed, and excited.  But it was more than that.  I later realized how their fabrics had really started me on this journey I am on and have been there with me when I needed healing.  Heather's fabrics were the inspiration for this doll quilt I made years ago now that was a therapeutic way for me to work through the emotions I had over years of infertility.  Check it out if you haven't...that's a favorite piece of mine.


Craft South 2014

These are the only two designers I believe that I made a point of including their fabrics in my book in a way to showcase their fabrics.  (Yes, I love LOTS of designers and plenty were used...I didn't intentionally play favorites).  But the quilts I made with their fabrics are some of my favorites from the book...and of course their fabrics have a great deal to do with that.  And I got to give them my book and show them each the quilt that I had designed specifically with them in mind.  Above is Anna and I with the Arabian Nights quilt from my book.  It uses 144 different fabrics of hers.  Not a single one is repeated! And below is Heather and I with the quilt. nine patch curves, that all started with a design to feature Heather's fabrics of novelty prints that stay in my precious fabrics collection.

Craft South 2014


These lovely women were so fun to watch as they interacted together.  They are great friends and it's always nice to see friends enjoying one another's company and sharing that with the rest of us.  They were pretty hysterical at times.  I think there is a rule though that what is said at Craft South stays at Craft South. ;)  Otherwise names would need to be changed to protect the innocent.

Craft South 2014

The weekend was full of eye candy everywhere!  Their fabric collections and books and supplies were all around us.  Everyone was working on beautiful pieces of handwork, finding their favorite type of needlework.  Receiving custom drawings from both Heather and Anna to embroider at home later.  Dinner at Anna's house surrounded by her lovely family and seeing her studio!  Plus entertainment by her children.  

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014


Are you starting to get a feel for it?  A pictures says a 1,000 words, so that many pictures should be a well written book! lol  In some ways it was deeply intimate experience for me and in others just the amazing fun that comes with getting together with fellow crafters.  I share all of this with you both to chronicle the experience for myself, but also to encourage to you to take the opportunity to meet your favorite inspirational person face to face if at all possible.  I am so happy I was able to do this.  Yes, it cost money and wasn't inexpensive.  It's not something I can afford to do all of the time and it means that I can't do other things as a result.  But spending a weekend surrounded by those who have inspired you in any genre is uplifting for your whole soul I think.  And I hope that all of you are lucky enough to get that experience some day.

Untitled

Craft South 2014

Craft South 2014


And  yes.  It's even okay if you cry.  ;)


Monday, September 29, 2014

Epic Quilting Week - Part 1 : Filming with Quilting Arts

Filming with Quilting Arts

So if you caught my last post, you know that I recently had an epic quilting week that I keep describing in my head as the "what the what?!" week.  Because it was hard to take it all in and just roll with everything. Today I want to share with you my experience filming with Quilting Arts for their show on PBS as well as filming my own DVD (both of which will be available in January).

See what I mean?  What the what?!  I'm FILMING?  Surreal.  Bizarre.  And actually pretty fun...but definitely exhausting.

Filming with Quilting Arts


I got in the studio the day before so I could see what the environment was like and set out of all my projects and step outs.  I had a lot to organize.  Plus the show uses Bernina machines and I have only sewn with them a couple of times...so I needed to get familiar with the machine so I didn't look like an idiot who doesn't know how to use a sewing machine. lol

Filming with Quilting Arts

I had to come with three outfits plus an extra in case something happened to one or they didn't like how it looked on camera.  There were all kinds of restrictions about color etc on what I could wear based on how the camera picks up the colors.  It was definitely an interesting thing to work around...some shopping was necessary.  Too bad there wasn't a sponsor for the clothing like they have on news shows. ;)

Filming with Quilting Arts

The TV show is hosted by the lovely Susan Brubaker Knapp and she made it super easy to go through the two segments that I did with her.  I filmed with her first thing in the morning.  And I'm just thankful that she had an earlier makeup time than I did so I could get a little more sleep.  But it was quite fun getting my makeup done professionally.  I've never had anyone else do my makeup actually...not even for my wedding.  And they use special makeup for Hi Def TV.  People!  Why do you need to see me in Hi Def?  I have sudden shared sympathy for all the people who work on camera.  

Filming with Quilting Arts


And then I had to wait through two other lovely fabric artists while they filmed their segments with Susan before the crew and staff were all ready for me.  Just me.  And three camera men in a dark silent room.  Talking and talking and talking for 3 hours or so off the top of my head (no teleprompter for me) about my topics.  It was definitely interesting to stay energetic and composed, try not to stumble over my words too much, and manage to look into the right camera at the right time.  I hope it all turned out.  I have NO idea.  really.  


Filming with Quilting Arts


We would break down between chapters of filming and bring out the supplies for the next segment and clean up from the previous one.  And I would go over everything with the producer and staff.  And then try to remember what the heck I was planning on saying when everyone left the room and again it was just me. and the camera crew. in the dark.  

Filming with Quilting Arts


I did have some pretty funny moments with the sound guy.  I hadn't thought to much about it before I got there, but you need to wear a microphone during all of your taping.  And with each outfit, you get it replaced because obviously you have a different outfit on.  So I got pretty familiar with the sound guy.  Or let's say he got pretty familiar with me. ;)  Everything was very professional of course, but I needed a number of adjustments during the 3 hour filming in the afternoon.  Eventually I would see him coming and just wink and say "oh YOU again".  I told him at the end that he owed me a cocktail!

Filming with Quilting Arts

Filming with Quilting Arts


What a whirlwind of a day!  It tested out new and old skills for me.  I've never been filmed like this before and I was certainly jumping in the deep end.  One of the crew told me that I could check this off my bucket list.  And I laughed because honestly I never had even THOUGHT of doing this.  It's amazing and wonderful, but not even my world of possibilities.  But yeah...I guess it's check off my bucket list now. ;)

Filming with Quilting Arts


Friday, September 26, 2014

I'm not missing! I'm just busy!

Me on the set of Quilting Arts getting ready to film


Hey all!  If you have been following me on Instagram, then you know that I am not lost, but I have been crazy busy lately.  The blog seems to get the short end of the stick even though I'm constantly taking pictures of everything I do just for you all.  Today I finally started going over the last month's work on the camera and the editing of photos...that in itself is quite a feat.

I will be back to share everything in detail...because trust me...there is a lot to share.  As you can see above I was doing this mind blowing thing of filming for Quilting Arts. What the what?!

And I continued a crazy journey of a week with visits with tons of lovely quilting friends and attending Craft South, hosted by the utterly amazing and enchanting Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross. Talk about a surreal week.  I took tons of photos and even remembered my good camera!

 Heather Ross, myself, and Anna Maria Horner

I was getting my picture taken with the two of them and they decided to be silly and pick me up for a photo.  What the what?! Was I really picked up by my two favorite designers for a crazy picture?  This sort of sums up what the whole week was like.  Amazing and Funny and Unpredictable.


So just a taste of what I've been up to.  I promise I'll be back soon to share more details about this week.  Honestly I'll have to split it up I think because there was so much going on.  I'm home now and deeply set back in reality with a four year old daughter who now has the stomach flu.  School has been in session less than a month and she's already had two bad colds and now the stomach flu.  Yay for preschool germs. :p

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Quilter's Mixology Sew Along!



Hey All!  

I meant to post this yesterday but crazy deadlines have me hiding for cover in my sewing room for the next week.  But I'm really excited to share that Sara, SewSweetness, is currently hosting a sew along on her blog for my book.  Each day, a different blogger will share there a version of one of the patterns from my book.  You'll see each of them made and how others have interpreted the patterns.

But the fun doesn't stop there!  After that there will be a chance to enter your own creations from my patterns and win lots of fun prizes!!  Fun prizes people!  We love those.

Today is just day two on the stop and already I'm in love with what the quilters are creating.  Today Kaye, Miss Print, has shared a mini version of my butterfly pattern and it was her first time sewing curves!!  Yay Kaye!




And yesterday, Heidi, Fabric Mutt, created a beautiful pillow version of my medallion quilt that I just want to steal.  She used all those darling Heather Ross prints that are so yummy and precious!



I love how she chose to make the same design at a smaller scale and created a beautiful pillow rather than the baby quilt I designed.  Just goes to show how versatile these patterns are.  And Heidi too shares her thoughts on the book as a whole.

It's going to be so fun for me to see these projects being made and hearing everyone's opinions about the book and the designs.  I hope that you all check out the fun as well.  You can see all the projects on Sara's blog over the next couple of weeks.  And I'll try to keep you all updated every few days with the projects.  But in the meantime, feel free to start your own to enter later or finish up a project you have started.  As you can see, there are lots of ways to make a quilt a more accessible small project by doing a mini version of it.

I can't wait to see what is next!!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Beyond Neutral - A book review and giveaway!

*the giveaway is now closed*


Today I'm excited to share with you all the beautiful book Beyond Neutral by the talented John Q. Adams aka Quilt Dad.  This is not John's first book nor his last I expect...he is a man of many talents and one of the forces behind the Ezine Fat Quarterly.  (And they have a couple of books too!  Check those out!  I really want their latest one on color!)


Half Moon Bay 
Pieced By Kristen Danis; Quilted by Angela Walters



I like, like many women, find John's take on the quilting world fascinating.  Let's be honest.  Men are in the minority when it comes to the demographic of quilters.  So his choices of patterns and fabrics are always interesting to me.  There is some overlap, but I love to see a masculine perspective on quilting.  And this book gives you that.  John is not afraid of "natural neutrals" as he describes the colors of nature that balance out life.




The main premise of John's book is about using nature as an inspiration color palette for the backgrounds of his quilts.  John rather aptly describes the "fear" that so many quilters have in using a background other than cream or white when piecing a quilt.  And he boldly embraces the use of other colors that he sees commonly in nature, knowing that these colors will work in quilts because they work in nature.  Our eyes are accustomed to seeing these "natural neutrals" all the time already.  So why not use them in quilt backgrounds?


Katmai
Pieced by Cathy Reitan; Quilted by Angela Walters


I love that when I look at John's designs, I see quilts designed by a man.  Because his quilts will be appealing to men.  And we all know how hard it can be to find quilts that men will love...err...tolerate. ;) His color palettes may well appeal more to men too.  I would suggest showing John's book the boys and men in your life that you are dying to make a quilt for.  I bet they will find a pattern that they like!!


Pacific Crest
Pieced by Melinda Mathis; Quilted by Angela Walters

The quilt pictured above, Pacific Crest, the cover quilt, is easily my personal favorite from the book.  I keep telling John that I'm going to make this.  And I swear that in this lifetime I will.  I just adore it.  The dark blue background and the selection of colors is right on.  But for me, it is the movement that this quilt has that makes it so special. I feel like these are shooting stars or arrows raining down on troops.  It brings out my fanciful side and I like that. 


Cape Lookout
Pieced by John Q Adams; quilted by Angela Walters


And the Cape Lookout quilt is a inspired by a sunrise or sunset.  But I see a rainbow that will actually appeal to people who don't care for "Rainbow quilts".  You know what I mean. The navy background is grounding this quilt in a way that white can not.  It pulls you in rather than popping off the quilt.  Both techniques are valuable to have in your pocket of color selection.  And I'm inspired to continue using any color I want as the background for a quilt.  I personally adore a robin's egg blue for a background color and can make that work with any color scheme...just challenge me! lol

..................................................................................................

I hope that you all enjoy my peek in John's book.  And if you are as intrigued by it as I am,  you are in luck.  I am able to offer one e book version of this book to a lucky winner!  

To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite color to use as a background for a quilt. (And it is okay if it is white or cream! lol  We all do it!)  

*congratulations to the luck winner, Anita #39 "My favorite background for a quilt is probably white but the quilt I am currently working on has a grey background that I am"

Good luck!!


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