Well I got back home to Maryland this weekend, and right away I got to go on another Creative Excursion! Even on a rainy day, walking around Washington DC is one of my favorite things to do. My morning started yesterday at a Starbucks at 1700 Pennsylvania Ave :), then I took a stroll down the street past the White House...
...Blair House, the guest house for visiting Heads of State...
...And I ended up Here! The DAR is one of my very favorite museums. I met friends from the Baltimore Applique Society, (and a visiting friend I hadn't seen in a while!) and we were treated to a wonderful presentation upstairs of some quilts that aren't displayed (We got to wear white gloves and really explore the quilts!), and then we were treated to a museum tour :)
I left with some great photos that I was allowed to snap (but not publish), and this pattern to add to my collection! I saw this quilt displayed in the museum, so I couldn't resist the pattern :)
...Now today I have to buckle down and get some work done for a change!
Still walking all over Shelbyville KY and finding inspiration where ever I go. I love this beautiful fountain for it's classic lines and carvings.
I'm always attracted to old ornate buildings, and right near where my mom lives is the Historic Court House building.
I'm seeing applique shapes here :)
I've enjoyed wandering Main Street all week, full of cute shops and classic old buildings (This is a view from the cute little Park)...
...And I may have just explored the inside of some of the Antique Shops while on a Creative Excursion without Barkley. It was a lot of fun this visit because I drove and have a whole car I can fill, and not just a suitcase...I've behaved pretty well though ;)
What do two quilters do when they get together on a visit? Well go find a local quilt shop of course! Even though my mom has been sick, she told me there was this fairly new quilt shop in her neighborhood, and asked if I'd like to take her to check it out.
...Well, she didn't have to ask me twice! We went to Cotton Blossom Quilting Shop in Historic Shelbyville KY, and it was an adorable little shop. (I'm loving this entire town by the way, and this shop is only a couple of blocks from my mom's home). They carry some lovely fabrics, in a nice mix of classic and modern.
There were beautiful samples, and tons of product around every corner. The owners, Naomi & Kieth Cable have a great eye for display and setting up cute little vignettes to please the eye...
...And of course inspire. ~ And I may just have left with a few fat quarters too.
If you are ever in the area, Historic Shelbyville Kentucky is a lovely place to visit (Beautiful Buildings, Antique Shops, and easy to access right off of I64), and Cotton Blossom Quilting Shop is like the cherry on top of an already sweet dessert :)
This is another of the projects that I was working on last week. It was a surprise though, so I couldn't show it to you until now.
I've traveled out this week to Kentucky to visit with my mom, and to take take her to her next chemo treatment (she's battling off Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma ~ very gallantly I might add!). Well a few weeks ago I realized that I've never made a quilt for my mom ~ she's a quilter herself and doesn't really need a quilt from me, but since she's a quilter I knew she would appreciate it :)
So I gathered some really bright and happy fabrics, (some you might recognize from the Flamingo quilt), and I made up my Chutes & Ladders pattern in a throw size quilt. I even used a vintage sheet that I had as the light yellow inner border.
...And the vintage sheet worked great for a soft and cuddly backing too. And just as I thought, Mom did really appreciate it :)
Enjoy the day!
**PS ~ If you haven't cast your vote yet for the AccuQuilt Barn Quilt Contest, I'd really appreciate a vote cast for my little design - #26 :) You can use this link and cast one vote per email address through tomorrow, (April 18th):
Today, in the middle of frantically trying to get all of the work done for my day job, Spring Water Designs deadlines, pick up some groceries and get my household squared away before taking off on a week visit to spend some quality girl time with my Mom, I received an email with some good news that really perked me up ~ My entry for AccuQuilt's Barn Quilt Contest has made it to the Finals! Now I need the help of my friends to go and vote for my design. If you don't mind taking the time, here is the link to go vote (My design is #26):
In between all that, I did finally get my Flamingo Challenge quilt quilted today, so I do have a Friday Finish too! It's the first larger quilt that I've quilted on my HQ Sweet Sixteen :)
...Well I do still have to finish the binding, but it's pretty much finished!
I was running out of week quickly, so I didn't do anything fancy for the quilting, just my regular all over meander, but I think that will make for a nice comfy donation quilt. I wanted to get it finished before leaving on my trip, because right after I get back I have to have it turned in for our Guild's quilt show display of all of the Flamingo Challenge quilts.
I used every last bit of the Flamingo fabric, with the last piece used in the backing :)
...And since it'll be a donation quilt, the guild gave out special stamped labels that I signed and pieced into the backing too. It was a fun quilt to make, I hope someone gets lots of love from it :)
I'm a little late for WIP Wednesday, but you can still check out the Quiltsy Team blog to see what others are working on.
This is my little mini quilt call "Dew on the Sweet Peas". (Here I am again with the Spring Garden theme.) This one is so me, even besides the garden theme ~ a little stitchery, a little applique, and a little wool :)
And the little Sweet Pea flowers are 3D (and super easy to make) ~ I think they make a fun little addition. It makes for a cute welcome banner in the foyer for Spring.
...Or the potting shed :) You can get the pattern right now in the May/June issue of Create & Decorate Magazine, and this is the magazine photo shot by Sean O'Brien.
I know you can usually find this magazine at JoAnn's, but you can order it online too. It's chocked full of projects in many different craft venues. I love their style :)
If you know me, you know I do delight in my time spent in the Spring Garden. This little quilt is inspired by my early Spring time garden. It's called "Spring Garden Delight" (of course).
It's made with the beautiful floral fabrics of the "Spring Spectacular" fabric collection from Fabri-Quilt Fabrics. It started it's journey here in my humble little garden (these previous photos were snapped in my back yard)...
...Then it was shipped away, made appearances in quilt shows in Seattle and then in Las Vegas with Fabri-Quilt, and then traveled on to be photographed in this beautiful setting for it's appearance in the current issue of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting Magazine(This beautiful photo is the magazine shot by Kathryn Gamble & Dean Tanner ~ this is a scan of the magazine page and is a lot softer compared to my harsher colored photos)...
...And rumor has it, it will be making an appearance in the upcoming season of the Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting TV show! (The 2000 series of shows are taping now and will be available to PBS stations some time in June.) It's kind of like the Roaming Gnome, I'll keep you posted on it's journey's and let you know when it returns home to me :)
One of the greatest things I've enjoyed about blogging and joining online forums, besides the wonderful wealth of knowledge I've gained from taking part, are the special friends that I've met from virtually all over the world! One of those people is Colleen from Sew in the Snow blog. Colleen has a great Etsy Shop, and creates her wonderful items in Fairbanks Alaska (The photos in this post are all items crafted by Colleen). I was recently privileged to interview Colleen, and thought you might enjoy hearing how another quilter goes about sewing and quilting in her little corner of the world...
When did you first start sewing/quilting, and do you remember (or still have) your first quilt? Colleen: I first started quilting when I was in college around 1995. One of my best friends came from a long line of quilters. She taught me how to do traditional quilting… using a template to cut out squares-- with a pair of scissors -- for a 9-patch quilt. It took forever! I didn’t think I’d ever make a second quilt. However, I worked with some helpful ladies that introduced me to strip quilting. I haven’t stopped quilting since!
Yes, I still have that first quilt. When I look at it, I can see how far I’ve come. Now nearly all of my points match, my binding is tighter, and I now I use a rotary blade so I’m starting out with truly “square” squares.
What originally gave you the idea to open your Etsy shop? Colleen: I was talking with some girlfriends during a knitting meeting about bazaars. One lady suggested Etsy as an online way to sell to reach more people.
Could you share some tips on how someone would go about growing an Etsy shop or online presence? Colleen: I am still working on this aspect. I’ve found that working in teams has been very beneficial for me. From what I’ve read, you need to really “get in the face” of your potential buyers. This isn’t my style, so it’s been difficult for me to do that. I’ve read a book on Etsy success, and it suggests Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. I am attempting to do that now. I post all new items to both Facebook and Twitter.
Do you face any special challenges creating and working your business in Alaska? Colleen: Well, everything costs more up here. So, fabric is more expensive, shipping is more expensive, and it takes longer to send and receive things.
The second thing I find challenging is the lack of sunlight in winter. I live in Fairbanks Alaska. In December there is only 3 hours when the sun is over the horizon. It is usually a weak sunlight, so getting pictures with natural light (which is so important with quilts to show the “real” colors of the quilt) is extremely difficult.
Where do you most find inspiration for your creations? Colleen: I love nature. I enjoy looking at all the wondrous color combinations found in nature. There are no rules when you see wild flowers: pinks may be next to oranges or a whole cacophony of color may be seen together. It simply makes it more festive! I also love the peaceful greens and browns from nature.
When starting a new project, do you have any special rituals, or what are your most favorite parts of the process? Colleen: I tend to think of someone specific to guide my color and pattern choice. Then I think about the “feeling” the combinations will invoke: fun, elegant, bright and happy, masculine power, etc. I ask myself if that feeling is what the person I’m quilting for would love not simply like. For example, I have a friend that loves extremely bright geometric patterns (too loud for me) so I look for a main fabric that conveys a fun feeling to begin with. Then I work to match the colors in that fabric to build a pleasing color palette.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of working at home, and how do you separate your work time from your personal time? Colleen: The most challenging thing for me is finding a balance between family and work. I don’t separate work from my family time since that’s not possible for me right now. Instead, I embrace our time together. I have my sewing machine set up on a long conference table and my computer is next to it. I let my older daughter play computer while I sew and the youngest naps. I do my computer work on an ipad while sitting with the girls in the living room in the morning. I quilt for a couple of hours on the weekends while my husband plays with the girls. I wish that I could quilt for longer periods of time, but I have other obligations that take precedent currently.
What do you find to be the most effective ways to promote & market your online business? Colleen: I have found that renewing things people are looking at really helps. For example if my shop stats indicate a lot of views on quilts, I’ll renew quilts. If there are views on crayon rolls, I’ll renew some of those. Renewing things has helped increase my views, but it’s tricky because I have such a diverse inventory.
Fun Facts: List 3 adjectives that best describe you. Colleen: Quirky, passionate, joyful
What’s your favorite go to snack? Colleen: An apple with a mozzarella cheese stick
If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Why? Colleen: I see my self as a wolf. I am fiercely protective of my family -- like a pack. I have a strong personality, like an alpha female; I usually end up in leadership positions. I love the wilderness and the backcountry like a wolf running free over the mountains. I mate for life; I have been married almost 20 years to my high school sweetheart. I am blunt, without the sneakiness of a fox, what you see is what you get. I need a close pack of friends and family to make me feel fulfilled in life. And they are beautiful in a wild manner.
Colleen has a beautifully diverse collection of items, from large quilts, small items for children, and embroidered items ~ I particularly like her Knitting Needle Cases! Check out her Etsy Shop, she has some wonderful Mother's Day gift items :)
So this is what's on my table right now. I'm auditioning threads to quilt this little Jo Morton Basket quilt. I think I'm leaning to the darker brown right now, but I'll let them sit for a while so that I can take a look whenever I walk by before I decide (Do you ever do that?).
I don't know if I'll get to any more quilting this week or not, with the annual Easter Egg Hunt at my house on Sunday afternoon, I definitely have some yard work that's calling my name!
I love these cute Teddies :) I'm enjoying playing with my HQ Sweet 16 ~ I'm practicing at different stitch lengths and working on getting the stitches even. Heaven knows I have a good supply of un-quilted tops to practice on!