Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring Cleaning the Studio

This week my new Bernina 750 QE arrived. Something happens to you when you receive a new sewing machine. 
I couldn't put this beautiful new sewing machine in my messy studio and you can't put a brand-new Mercedes in a messy garage. 

So I cleaned her table, scrubbed the floor, organized my threads and my sewing tools so I could welcome her to her new home properly.

I am pretty sure if she saw her new home in the state it was looking, she would have called Mr. BERNINA to come take her back. 

So now her home is clean and beautiful and I'm ready to be creative with her.

The 1st thing I needed to organize was my threads. They were in chaos after my last sewing project which is still not finished. 

I have an organized system for my thread but I haven't been home enough to keep things organized or even unpack my suitcase.

When I can see what I have more clearly I can always be more creative. Chaos does not equal creativity. Chaos equals frustration.

On the right side of my sewing machine I have a tin box that I keep my threads in while I'm working on a project. This way they don't roll all over the floor and I can keep them contained while I'm working.

But when the thread tin started to look more like Mount Fuji it was time to clean things up and get organized.

The funny thing is what I found in this messy little tin box.
There was some odd pairs of scissors, knitting needles, a bent crochet hook that I used to pry something and the cap to my glue stick that had rolled away.
I found a chip; yes, a potato chip, a big purple curler, fingernail file, toothpick, screwdriver for my sewing machine I'd been looking for, an ear plug, only one of course, and a Sierra Nevada beer bottle cap which I know belongs to my son who is lives in San Diego. How long has that been there?
But best of all I found 4 pairs of glasses I've been looking for since January.

Finally, I got around to organizing my threads and thought you would like to see how I keep my threads in order (sort of).

I like to organize things by color, of course.  So I have a bin for every color group. These are bins I got at Michael's in the scrap booking department.
I took the wheels off the cart that came with the bins and the whole unit slides right under the drawer of my sewing machine table. I've labeled all the bins with a Sharpie marker because I can't find my label maker which is in another mess I have to clean up. 
When I need a thread color I just pull out the appropriate bin.  When the little tin box on the side of my brand-new sewing machine piles up with colorful thread I know it's time to stop and organize for the next project.

Now I just NEED time for the next project.

Friday, March 14, 2014

International Quilting Day

“Celebrate International Quilting Day with me and beginning Friday, March 14 through Sunday, March 16. Everyone who signs on to will have FREE access to over 160 WebTV shows featuring some of the top quilting instructors in the world. You can also enter the TQS prize drawing with a grand prize of a BERNINA 550QE and wonderful fabric prizes. So check in at on Friday, March 14, and enjoy the shows and exploring The Quilt Show website. You can start with my show, Episode #501.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mr. Toucan

Mr.Toucan is the name of this quilt. It really could be Mrs.Toucan but I don't know how to tell the difference. Oh well, whatever it is he's getting stitch today.
This is a new pattern I designed for my upcoming Panama Canal Cruise.
In this blog I am showing the process of creating him from the beginning layers of fabric to the finished quilt top.
 Started with a pale lavender background fabric. The lavender gives depth and perspective it could be a rainy tropical jungle on a foggy day.
I made the leaves using an ice dying technique on the fabric. Which gives them so much color on one leaf. I think it gives the fabric the look of a watercolor painting. I can't wait to see the stitching.
When I get done quilting Mr. Toucan I will show you the detail of that also.
 My drawing is underneath my lavender background fabric. Because it's sheer I can see the lines of my drawing through it. But if you can't see through your background fabric. You could place a Teflon pressing sheet like, Fat Goddess by Misty Fuse size 21 x 27. This is my new favorite pressing sheet plus I like the name also.  Lay this pressing sheet over your drawing or pattern then build your flower or bird right on the pressing sheet. 
 When finished, press all the pieces together. Then peel up your bird and lay it on your background fabric.
I think this quilt will make a great class and will soon be a pattern on my web site.
For all of you that are dealing with snow and ice storms this blog is for you. Hopefully it'll take you away for a few minutes to tropical paradise.
Stay warm!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Addicted To Stitching

I think it's obvious by now that I have been addicted to stitching. 
Yes, I'm finally coming out of the closet to let you all know I have this serious problem. I can't seem to sit anywhere for any period of time without something in my hands that involves a needle and thread. Whether I'm in the airport, at a ballgame, watching TV, sitting in a doctor's office, I have to have a project in my hands at all times.

Maybe it has something to do with this longing to create.
I've been like this since I was a small girl whether it was designing Barbie clothes or teaching myself how to knit. I just loved always having a project in my lap.

So I've been working on turning one of my quilts "Bluebonnet and Indian Paintbrush"into a cross stitch project.  I'm using these beautiful DMC stranded cotton floss. I love the color combination. Its bright and cheery.
 Two flowers done, four more to go, plus the dragon fly.
This year in Houston I bought a very nice wooden scroll  frame that you can sit in your lap or you can sit on the table. I like using the table method with my work light over my canvas. 
Which makes the sitching go really fast.  
 I have about seven needles threaded with different color ready to go. I then put something really delicious like Downton Abby on the TV and start stitching like a mad woman.

Once I work out all the bugs in the design.  And there are a few. I will put this up on my website.  I know there's other mad stitchers out there following my blog. So stay tuned.
 I'm also working on turning my Three Zinnia quilt into a cross-stitch design also. 
This is so much fun.

Monday, December 2, 2013

On News Stand Now

 My January 2014 AQS American Quilter magazine just arrived.  I am so excited to have my Poppy quilt on the cover of the magazine.  She looks good as a cover girl.  
I also wrote a story about the Secret and Power of Color which I will be lecturing about in January at the AQS Phoenix Quilt Festival. Jan 5-7 2014. Can’t wait.

It’s fun to have your words and ideas printed in the pages of a magazine.  
American Quilter also did a very nice feature story about me and how I got started 
in this business called "It’s Never too Late “ by Marjorie L. Russell. 
Thank you Marjorie for the very nice story. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pansy Thread Play Video!

My pansy video is ready to view.
This is a 28 minute free thread play lesson
This is also a follow up and a refresher course to my Renegade Thread Play classes.
I designed a new pattern called “Fresh Picked Pansy”.  
Easy to put together and a great piece to practice on.
When I teach my Renegade Thread Play class I notice that what everyone is short of, is practice time.  So here is the perfect pattern to practice on. 
This is to help you build your confident doing free motion quilting.  It’s all about logging in the hours behind the sewing machine that makes you more skilled.
So here is a project to practice on.  Pansy can be made in any colors.  
This is beginner friendly. 
Watch the video.
 Are you brave enough to try? I think you will be!

The pattern is available NOW on my web site shop for $10. Click in the link about to access the shop.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It All Started With a Prayer

Well this is the Big Week I have been looking forward to, planning for and a little worried  about for months.  In 3 days I will be standing on stage in Pasco, Washington alongside Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson doing my first Super Seminar.   How did this all happen?

Well, it started with a prayer.

And yes, I was lost, sad, depressed, and without direction. I had just lost my wallpaper/fabric design business that I had loved doing for the last 10 years.  Now what?  Is my life over?
Monterrey at Dusk
Someone had given me a book called The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I like the title, I am driven. So one day after being very depressed I finally picked up the book. I don’t think I read more than 4 chapters when I knew this ride was not over.  God is not done with me and there is more ahead of me than I could ever know. I cried!  But, then again, I am always crying.  

I reached for a piece of paper and wrote down 10 things that I wanted to accomplish in my life with the gifts God had given me. Now, mind you, he has not given me the gift of math or the gift of spelling but he has given me creativity. Now what can you do with that?  He has given all of us gifts and he has a plan for those gifts.  Then I felt guilty about the gifts. I need to get over this.

I started to write down things I would never tell anyone about: my dreams, ambitions, even a few things that I thought where fantasies at the time.  I said a prayer asking God's guidance over the list and put it back in the book and left the room.  I probably went and did the laundry.  Back in those days someone was always running out of underwear or socks.

I found that list recently and everything on that list I have accomplished and now I am about to join 2 of my favorite quilt artists on stage. I am so ready to teach, inspire, and encourage you in your creative path. 
Monet in Pasadena
But mostly I am grateful to God for not letting me go.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

You Can't Ever Start TOO Young

I love this next generation of quilter and her mom's not bad, either. I started sewing sitting on my mother's lap when I was about 5 and she has told me that I was trying to climb up to the machine even before that. Mom has been telling a lot of funny stories lately and loves to repeat the one about how I threw my shoes in the fireplace because I didn't want to go to school.  Which is true but she tells it to everyone, over and over.

Eventually, the hum of the sewing machine just rocked this precious babe to sleep.  She never made a peep in 6 hours because she was with mommy and sewing.  Makes me happy, too.  This is why I love quilters.  I used to put Matthew on the dryer or in the car to rock him to sleep after he cried nonstop for 3 hours.  Who new?

This is my Renegade Thread Play class last week in Long Beach.  The class was full with many different skill levels.  They gave me the Bernina class room which is a teacher's dream.

I am proud to say that I am now a Bernina Ambassador.  Pretty fancy if I do say so myself.  I am not yet sure what this all entails but I am very excited to be associated with Bernina.

So, if I am an Ambassador, do they assign me to an embassy?   Will the president be closing the embassy soon?  Can I bring my buff Marine?   I have trained him and so has the government to protect my Bernina at any cost.  And he has a gun (and the awards to prove his excellent aim).

There is just something about the power of a Bernina motor that lets me make the art I produce.  It just flows through the fusible web.  Some in this class had never free-motioned before.  I am so happy they had the Bernina because with that machine there were no problems.  Having the right tool for the job is a must. 

I have a few new ideas for this class in Houston.  More sewing and less cutting.  
And for those of you that don’t like funny stories, you may want to take a different class.  
I can’t help myself so be prepared to laugh and sew at the same time.  It's a requirement.

Monterey at Dusk and Monet in Pasadena 
After 3 days of teaching classes I finally got to the show floor to see the quilts. couldn't believe my eyes as I walked in the doors and saw both of my quilts in the West Coast Wonders exhibit greeting the guests as they walked in. Wow!  This is a traveling exhibit so these girls will be visiting  major cities near you over the next year. I already miss them. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

More Quilters Affair in Sisters...

 There is nothing like the Stitchin' Post in Sisters, Oregon.

 Beautiful displays throughout the shop.

 Sue Spargo's quilt and her new book on display.

 On Monday night, teachers and staff were wined and dined at Jean and Bob's house.
 This is Jean's studio, which was thrilling to stand in. She has been hand-dyeing some fabulous fabrics. I can see something wonderful coming from this.
 Dining in the backyard with the view of a green field with mommy cows and the new babes. The Sisters mountain range in the background and 2 of my favorite artists hamming it up.  
Lynn Koolish and Laura Wasilowski

 It was a catered affair for the Quilters Affair staff.
What a great time we all had.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where's your "Hidden Beach?"

Home from a creative week in Sisters, Oregon at the oldest (30+ years) and the biggest outdoor quilt festival in the world. 

The week started with Quilters Affair and 5 days full of classes from 30 teachers from all over the world. Every quilting technique imaginable was represented from the Modern Quilt movement to tradition hand quilting.  Truly something for everyone.

 Below are pictures from my classes.

I taught Hibiscus as a 2 day class,  Bird of Paradise (1 day) and my new pattern, Hidden Beach (2 days), which was a hit.
Look at the beautiful hand-dyed fabrics this student made before she came to class.
This is Tim with his beautiful flower.
 When the class is making a big mess you know they are in the zone.
In the Hidden Beach class I tried something new.   No paint by numbers this time.  It was all improvisational free cutting to make this beachscape. I was a little concerned about changing my teaching style without the students knowing what they were getting into but the students loved it.

This technique gave them more creative freedom and they embraced it. We used a lot of  free cutting with the rotary cutter which is the technique I used for the water in my Monterey and beach quilts.
We started with the beach, water, and sky for the first layer. Then we made the rolling hill and path. Then they did the tree layer.  About half of the class did there own interpretation of there Hidden Beach or lake or river. It was so exciting.
Candi finishing her beach.
This is one of the  hazards of the job: fabric sticking in places you don't want.
Isn't this wonderful?  She brought a picture for inspiration.
 She is now adding her trees.

This student is making cypress trees at her beach.

Here they are. Wonderful interpretation of cypress trees. 

Best part is that the NEW Steam A Seam 2 arrived in time for me to bring to Sisters for these classes. It is new and improved and I think you are going to like it. I haven't sewn through it yet but I will blog about that in a few weeks.
Here she added more rocks and dirt showing on the rolling hill.  Love it!

Now layer 3, the limbs of the trees.

I told them to add a punch of color as you make your trees. All right!
Her Hidden Beach is a beautiful lake in Oregon.
 This was so much fun and I can't wait to teach Hidden Beach again!

This is my class sample.