Sunday, December 30, 2012

a new project, thanks to instagram

I really love Instagram. As a visual person, it's so fun for me to see the world through other people's eyes and I love to browse the photos that are shared there. But, sometimes it can get you in trouble. Or at least cause one to start a new project when that's the last thing one needs to do.

Case in point. I saw the gorgeous scrappy trip around the world quilt blocks by Katy, BrendaMegan, and Rita, and I was drawn in. And I began to make some blocks today. We are all following the great tutorial found on Quiltville, although I am pressing my seams open, as opposed to towards the side, as is suggested.

I tried pressing to the side, but I couldn't get my strips to line up correctly. I'm so used to pressing everything open, and I actually prefer this method, because I really love how all of the seams lay flat.

My first two blocks took longer thank I had expected they would. But after I had made a couple, they came together much faster.

I'm planning on making this quilt as scrappy as I can. I think. Although I'm not actually using scraps, but rather cutting into fabrics that have been sitting on my shelves for way too long. It's fun to actually use them in something!

So, I blame Instagram, and Katy, Brenda, Megan, and Rita for their stunning blocks, for leading me down the scrappy trip around the world path. But, honestly, I'm really excited to make a quilt just for fun. It's been way too long since I did that...

And Instagram can get you in trouble in other ways too. Like sharing old photos of yourself late at night with you friends there. That's my senior class photo, complete with 90s era oversized sweater.

And another classic, of me and Carl, who were voted "most artistic" during our senior year. Thanks for the inspiration, and the trip down memory lane, Instagram!

If you'd like to join in on the fun, there is also a flickr group as well as the hashtag #scrappytripalong on IG and twitter. But I warn you, these blocks are kind of addicting once you get started. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

quilt camp 2012

I can't believe it's been three weeks since I was at Quilt Camp! This month has been incredibly crazy, which you'll soon learn more about, and I'm finally getting a chance to tell you about my time as a teacher at Brenda's of Pink Castle Fabrics inaugural retreat. 

Quilt Camp was held at the Hankerd Inn Bed and Breakfast in Pleasant Lake, Michigan, which is about an hour drive from Ann Arbor. Brenda had told me about the inn, but it was even more charming than I thought it would be. And Jan, the innkeeper,  really reminded me of staying with my grandmother, because she took care of us like we were her family. She cooked us brunch and dinner every day and made sure we had everything we needed so we could sew as much as we wanted to. It was so great, and it really allowed everyone to get a lot of work done.

My room was in the Inn, which is a great old farmhouse. We also ate all of our meals there in a large, family style dining room.

We worked in the Barn, which is such a great space. Most of the campers stayed there too, as there are bedrooms and living space on the second and third floors and large work rooms on the lower level of the building. 

As you can see, we had plenty of space to work and there were cutting and pressing stations adjacent to the work rooms.

Not only was I a camp counselor at Quilt Camp, but I also brought projects of my own to work on. I really didn't have a choice, since I had to finish (and start!) two quilts for my Creativebug shoot the following week. Things were a bit hectic, to say the least, since I didn't receive the fabric for these projects until Wednesday, the day before I had to leave for Quilt Camp. And I had to leave for San Francisco the day after I arrived home from camp. So I was a busy girl!

Here's my Mod Stripes quilt basted and ready to quilt. I was able to construct and quilt the entire thing while I was at Quilt Camp. I'm telling you, it was such a great environment to work in. And I had so many great women supporting me and encouraging me as I worked.

Once that quilt was done it was on to my last project for Creativebug, which is my Diamonds in the Sky quilt. I was able to cut all of my fabrics late Wednesday night before I drove to Michigan, so that was one thing I didn't have to worry about while I was there.

And I got it done! Here it is, ready to baste. I love taking these photos of the final sketch with the quilt in progress.

Besides Jan the innkeeper, and the encouragement of my friends at camp cheering me on, I think my sweet little friend Bella played a major role in my success, too. She was so adorable!

As I mentioned, I was a camp counselor at Quilt Camp 2012, and I taught a workshop on improv  quilting. I shared multiple ways to construct improvisational blocks and then encouraged my students to get started. I was really surprised at the number of people who had never tried this type of quilting before. And I was so excited about the work that everyone produced. Seriously, each of my campers did a phenomenal job and her own personal aesthetic really showed through in the work she produced.

Seriously amazing, right? I could not be more proud of the work they did.

I hung up the blocks as the campers finished them on one of the walls in our workroom. It made such a huge impact and it was really incredible to see them all together.  

As you can see, we easily filled up the entire wall. My students brought scraps from home to make their improvisational blocks with, but Brenda sells great scrap packs of modern quilting fabric that would be perfect for a project like this too. You can find them here in her shop

My fellow counselors taught great classes, too. Faith Jones of Fresh Lemons Quilts taught her Poinsettia Mini Quilt pattern, which is such an amazing block. 

photo by Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics

Jeni Baker of In Color Order taught a class on her popular drawstring bags, which are so adorable. 

And our host, Brenda, taught a class on English Paper Pieced Hexagons. I saw many campers who quickly became obsessed with making hexis. 

The Hankard Inn is located in a really remote setting. If the weather had been warmer, I would loved to have taken a walk around the grounds. But, it was December in Michigan, after all, so I didn't spend much time outside, other than waking from building to building.

Every day at camp we were greeted with the sound of Canadian Geese, which would often land in the field across the street from the inn. I caught this photo of them flying overhead, too.

And as I was packing my car on the last day of camp, I spotted these Sandhill Cranes. They were really amazing creatures, and they reminded me a bit of something you'd find in a Dr. Seuss book.

As I said above, I was really productive at Quilt Camp, but so was everybody else. The way our time was structured, with just a few classes combined with lots of open sewing time, really allowed everybody to get a lot of work done. It was amazing to see what everyone produced in just three days. This photo shows the kitchen space that is upstairs from the workrooms where everyone hung their finished quilts over the third floor balcony.

Quilt Camp was really an amazing experience for me. I met some virtual friends in person, and I also met some other really great new friends. If this sounds like a good time to you, you're in luck, because Brenda has just announced her next sewing retreat, Camp Stitchalot.

Camp Stitchalot will take place May 3-5, 2013, again at the Hankard Inn, and the lineup of counselors is really amazing: Katy Jones will be teaching how to make a clasp pouch bag; Melody Miller and Rashida Coleman-Hale are teaching a circle skirt class together; and Rae Hoekstra is teaching a class on her Lickety Split bag. Sounds amazing, right?? I so wish I could join them! You can sign up for Camp Stitchalot on Brenda's shop here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From our family to yours

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

Friday, December 21, 2012

ABCs of Love :: K is for kiss your family members an extra time

It's hard to believe it's been a week since the horrific tragedy of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. I heard about it while I was in San Francisco, wrapping up my filming at the Creativebug studios, and I saw an odd update from my husband on Facebook. He mentioned that he was almost in tears as he went to pick up our children from preschool and kindergarten. I noticed more heartbreaking postings from other friends on the site, and then checked the national news.

My heart sank. I could not, and still can't, believe that we live in a world where something like that can happen. The rest of the day, I was glued to any news information that I could find. I flew home that day and watched hours of CNN in flight. And even though my final flight didn't arrive in Dayton until almost midnight, my husband and I agreed that he would bring Aidan and Olivia to the airport to meet me.

And since that day, I've been kissing them an extra time, any chance I get.

I learned about the ABCS of Love from my friend Rachel of ImagineGnats. It's a project that is meant to encourage us all to find simple ways to share our love within our own communities and families. I choose to write about "k is for kiss your family members an extra time" because I think it is so important to show our loved ones just how much we care for them, every day. It's easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of every day life and there is so much in this world that we can not control, but we can add love to the world by simply taking the time to kiss our children just a little more each day.

Here's the complete list of the ABCs of Love which is full of ideas to help you bring good to the world by carrying out simple acts of kindness.

We haven't talked about the events of Newtown with our children. They are only four and six, and we don't watch the news with of them, so my husband and I agree that it's best that they don't know. Unless they bring it up, after hearing about it at school, I think it's best to not plant that seed of fear in their minds. And selfishly, I want to shield them from such evil for as long as I can.

Lastly, this is one of the most moving tributes I've seen for the victims of the shootings. Seeing the names and ages of each one of them really hits close to home for me.

So I will continue to kiss them more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good morning from San Francisco!

Hello, and good morning from San Francisco! I apologize for the fact that it's been so quiet around here lately. I've been super busy! Last weekend I traveled to Michigan to teach at Quilt Camp and it was so much fun. It was great to spend time with new friends and meet older ones in person. And everyone was so productive, including me! I finished two quilts from start to finish, which was a little insane, but I had to get them done.

Why the short deadline? I'm in San Francisco this week to shoot some modern quilting workshops for Creativebug! I've been working with the amazing folks there for the past few months and we start filming today. I'm a little nervous, but also so incredibly excited about this opportunity. I absolutely love what they are doing at Creativebug; from the courses that they offer to the cinematography, everything is top notch, and I'm honored to be part of the Creativebug family. And how sweet is my home away from home? I'm staying at a quaint bed and breakfast and it's the perfect place to take everything in.

I'm really excited about the projects I'll be teaching through Creativebug. I've come up with three new modern quilt designs and I'll be showing you how to create them from start to finish. I'm finishing up my final notes now and will head to the studio soon. I'll be sharing photos from my adventure on Instagram and Twitter, so feel free to follow along with me if you'd like! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

sneak peek of my next block tutorial

Tomorrow I'll be sharing a new tutorial for a 12 1/2" quilt block that I designed as part of the Quilting Gallery's Glorious Autumn Quilter's Block Party. I didn't use the most typical autumn colored fabrics, but I actually love the combination of pale blue and lime green.

And I used those, along with some other colors, in my block. Come back here tomorrow for the whole block and complete tutorial, and to find out where my inspiration for this one came from. I can't wait to share it with you!
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