Category Archives: Artist’s Studio

When the Playground’s Crowded

I went to the park today to photograph some baby quilts. I talked about using appropriate props in this post and aimed to do that. Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. The playground was crowded and I wasn’t going to ask all the kids having fun to get out of my frame. So I took the quilts back home and looked around my yard for other options.

blackwhite crumbs backMy fence is actually a pretty good backdrop. I pinned a string of fabric on the back of each quilt for hanging. The strings loop around two nails on top of the fence where we hung Christmas lights last year. I like the natural look of the wood and the contrast it adds.

blackwhite crumbs frontHere’s the front side of the above quilt. How cool is it that this crumb-pieced baby quilt is double sided?! The front has crumb blocks pieced into black, white, and red fabrics. The back has crumb blocks appliqued onto a green, red, and white floral.

raggedy ann frontHere’s a Raggedy Ann and Overall Andy quilt. I paired this sweet fabric with a solid red to merge modern and traditional. The chevron zig-zag looks a bit like a crown too.

floral baby front This one is a simple floral patchworkcharm challenge first cut
I’m working on two more baby quilts. (And I have several more in mind that haven’t yet been started!) One is for this week’s  Project Quilting challenge. It uses only 5″ charm squares of fabric. I’ll be cutting them up and piecing ’em back together. Here’s the first cut. I have one week to finish and enter it.
three more

Quilts and more are for sale in my etsy shop! Here’s a sampling of other baby-sized ones that are ready today. Want something specific you don’t see here? I specialize in custom orders. Let’s talk.

 

Linking up to Oh Scrap!

 

Tiny Roller to the Rescue

Paint’s drying in my new studio as I speak. I used a brush and the tiny roller in this photo on the door jam. The ceiling, walls, trim and closet doors (on the floor) were all sprayed. The room’s so shiny and white now!
tiny roller painting

Next up is removing the tiles and installing the ceiling fan. We’ll also put the covers back on the outlets and replace the doorknob. Hardwood flooring and a window are on order and should be here in the next week or two. It’ll be move-in day before you know it!

Our other big project this week was making and canning soup. Two large pots of turkey, vegetables, spices and pasta made for fifteen quarts of soup. All of the lids popped so they’re sealed for the pantry. I loooove my husband’s soup recipe. Now it’s easy to open a jar and have some anytime I want.turkey noodle soups 15

Canning soup is cheap too. The lids and ingredients for this amount comes out to around $28. I’m not including the cost of the jars and bands because they’re an initial expense but will last forever. We get about 3 servings out of each quart. Price per serving is $0.62…. and this tastes much better than any canned soup at the store. Win!

What projects are you working on?

 

 

Linking up to Thankful Thursday and Let’s Bee Social and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop.

Fine Art Doesn’t Belong in the Nursery

My for-sale quilts (mostly) are for two kinds of customers: lovers of heirlooms and fine art; and those shopping for baby. I also have arm warmers and table runners but I’m mostly in those two categories. I’m working hard on learning marketing and merchandising and came across this great article.

craft-fair-display

 

This article includes photographs of booths whose displays enhance their products. Landscape paintings are on easels made of tree limbs and natural soap is in an antique washing machine.

big megan with photo

 

This got me thinking my photographs in this blog and the etsy shop. A future craft booth would look different depending on the audience I’m looking to reach. How much better would it be if the products were displayed more relevantly? Art quilts like the portrait quilt above should be in a minimalist, gallery-like setting. Maybe they’re hung on a black curtain with spot-lighting. Balloons and brightly colored backdrops would not be appropriate. They could be photographed above a beautiful fireplace or fancy bed.

pink d9p finished

Baby quilts, on the other hand wouldn’t make sense in that setting. Maybe they’re draped over a crib or spilling out the drawers of a changing table. A kids’ picnic table and stuffed animals would be awesome. As for photographs, why not have a baby playing on the quilts?

duckie bibs double sided

I don’t have these props yet but some of them can be found cheaply at thrift stores and yard sales. We have no other use for a crib but I’ll be on the lookout for a rocking chair… and a local friend with a baby. 🙂

 

Linking up to Show Off Saturday.

Artist. Not just a quilt artist.

I remember my purple bedroom with the hollowed-out-closet turned art studio. It was AWESOME! At five, this was waaaay better than a trip to Disney. I sat in there for hours at my little desk coloring, drawing, stamping, creating. I had to get permission for messy stuff like glue, paint, and clay but my parents made sure that I got to use them sometimes too.

My husband and I are getting an art studio ready for me in this house. It’s a bedroom that was a storage room. The things that were in there have sorted, organized, and put in their proper places so now it’s empty and ready for sprucing up. Yes, the row of shelving stays. I get to fill it up with fabric!

studio before 1We got rid of the smelly carpet, threadbare curtains, and popcorn ceiling treatment. The weird shape on the window is from the brown packaging tape holding it together. It’ll need to be replaced. We got rid of the 7The first things accomplished getting rid of the carpet, tossing the curtains, and scraping the popcorn treatment off the ceiling.

my studio minus carpet curtains and popcorn ceilingI had a circus party in the closet studio house. The invitations were tickets I made. I painted our windows (half dish soap, and half paint) with balloons, clowns, and animals. We made a train down to the basement playroom. Hands on the shoulders of the kid in front of you. No pushing! There was a face-painting station and a cake with a train on it. Such fun!

At 31, I can still taste being five years old. So I’ve decided to play! I’m joining a meet-up for art journalling in my area. My first meeting is this Friday morning. I’m hoping to make friends and to play. Not to make anything specific or become a world-famous collage maker or painter, but to play with other artists.

cupcakes and lollipops journal pageHere’s the first page of my art journal. I stamped the background with bubble wrap, painted with cherry syrup, glued ribbon, brushed glitter nail polish on, and added the lettering. Who says you can’t create without art supplies? I knew what I wanted to say and made do with what I had. 🙂 I will be picking up a tray of kids’ watercolors from the dollar store before my meeting though. 🙂

 

Linking up to Val’s sewing room link party. Check it out if you want some ideas for your studio.

 

Chopping Up the Table-Runner

I cut up an incomplete table runner this week. I gave myself permission to wreck a project that wasn’t working and turn it into something new! Here’s what it used to look like.

ufo challenge beginning runner

What inspired such a bold move? It was last week’s Project Quilting Challenge on unfinished works. Several people took meh pieces and turned them into something amazing like this and this. Click on those links. You’ll be glad you did.

So here’s my work in progress. I started by cutting the four-patches out of the table-runner. I only seam-rip when it’s absolutely necessary. The blocks were framed in green fabric I was going to trim off anyway.

cut out four-patches

They’re all beautiful Asian prints. Why are fabrics like these called that? Asia’s a continent with a wide variety of cultures, styles, and looks. It’s a little weird that this category is so broad. There are Japanese prints out there, which is a little better, but these aren’t them.

ufo challenge four patches

Anyway, I cut each four-patch block in diagonal twice and sewed ’em back together.

ufo challenge disappearing four patch

Now they’re much cuter pinwheels.

ufo challenge block

 

I joined the pinwheel blocks for the center and added some borders.

asian fabrics quilt thus far

I like the skinny grey border near the edge and think there needs to be something similar between the pinwheels and first border. I’m not willing to rip three borders off to make it look right. Instead I’ll applique a skinny blue there. I’ll be sure to show you guys how it turns out in the end.

Project Quilting’s Voting is open through February 13th. My tiny heart is #44. Check out all of the awesome entries and choose your favorite six! The next challenge begins on Sunday the 15th.

 

 

I Tiny Heart You Too Paula

My friend Paula, who likes working in tiny pieces like me, made me this paper-pieced heart before she moved. The heart measures one inch square and has 12 pieces. So cool, right?!


Paula's pp heart

I made it into an ornament for this week’s Project Quilting Challenge which had the theme of finishing an incomplete project. So I made this cutie into a little ornament that will go on my idea board once my new studio (formerly a storage room/bedroom) is complete. That way I can look at it every day!

heart ornament

Like the many fabrics in this heart, my friend has encouraged me to reveal all the parts of myself not just to her but in my art as well. We weathered joint events and separate ones and always found something to smile about. She made me feel important and seen… and let me see her as well.

out of my head

Do you have a friend like that? It’s such a special relationship that I’m not mourning her moving across country like I thought I might. Instead I’m delighting in hearing about her adventures in snowy Boston and looking forward to seeing her again. Nope, I don’t know when that’ll happen. But with a bond like this I’ll be making it a priority.

Plus, I can’t find a single photograph of the two of us. How crazy is that?!?! Something to be remedied for sure. 🙂

 

 

 

I’m linking this post up to Show Off Saturday, Slow Sunday Stitching and Tuesday Archives.

Sometimes I Need a Bit of Quiet

Sometimes I need a bit of quiet. Do you ever get that way? Life’s just so go-go-go noisy and it’s good to take a break to breathe. So that’s what I’m doing today on my 31st birthday. Hubby and I went grocery shopping and that’s really the only thing I’ve checked off my to-do list…. which is totally okay. We’ll cook together tonight and watch a RedBox movie. I’ll quilt a bit and fold a load of laundry. Maybe have a nice long soak in the tub. I’ll return those phone calls and emails later.

have to put clothes on

I’m getting real quiet and listening and learning about myself and my business. I’ve noticed that I don’t have a real clear direction and want to remedy that. One thing I have planned is to participate in a group read and discussion of The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano, a business book that many people have recommended to me.

This week’s Project Quilting Challenge is to finish a UFO (unfinished object) so I’ve been working on the Turtles Quilt for my childhood summer camp. I’m up to the final border on the top. I’ll post some updated photos of that in a few days. It almost definitely won’t be finished by Sunday so I may work on a smaller project to submit. There are some great prizes that are randomly drawn this year and it always feels good to have a finish. If I don’t this week, well, I’m not going to stress about it.

turtle sees who can get home first

We’ve been doing some gardening this past week. Living in Southern California does have benefits! We loved the potatoes so much last year that we’re planting three times as many. So far we’ve weeded, pulled up some stumps, laid a brick path, transplanted the bird of paradise plants, painted some pots, and planted seeds that’ll be flowers.

tatobucket

I’ve linked an older post up to the Tuesday Archives link party. This week’s theme is nine-patch quilts. The last nine-patch that I made is in my etsy shop. It’s a disappearing nine-patch baby quilt with kids’ prints on a pink and orange background. pink d9p finished

Sisters are Warm

It’s cold and snowy in Boston, where my sister lives, today. I could say neener-neener from my warm Southern California climate but I wish I could be there to give her a big hug instead. See, it’s her birthday today. So this post is for you, little sister! I love you.

beach estey

I don’t feel too badly that she’s stuck in the snow because she, always the adventurer, just got back from a family vacation to Mexico.

mary in the snow

Plus her daughter Mary sees the snow as a grand adventure! Look at that cutie’s smile!

estey trying to escapeSis has always been eager to explore. This photo with my Dad is actually one of the most flattering ones. I have a LOT of pictures where she’s trying to escape and making scrunchy grumpy faces. It’s not that she didn’t want the loves, she just had things to do!

preggo estey

This mama, pictured when she was pregnant with Mary, is always up for some silliness. Princess preggo! Professional photo by Jasmine Holzworth.estey witch costumeDressing up has always been appealing. Look at her as a witchy toddler!estey and kate sharing fries

Super-social, she prefers company over solitude. Above she and our cousin share french fries. A few years back she was shocked that I was going to get a facial alone. What’s the fun in that?! I’m a firm introvert and loved it. We’ve learned to appreciate our differences and see more and more similarities as the years pass. Happy birthday chickie.

If you’re needing to warm up your cold fingers, or need an awesome winter gift check these out. I’m up-cycling wool clothing into arm-warmers. The socks, scarves, vests and sweaters I use have stains and holes in them so these are truly giving them new life. They’re pre-felted so they won’t shrink on you and are stretchy to fit most adults. I have one child-sized one for sale in the shop as well. That one has smaller thumb holes. Only $15-$20 each! These two pairs and more are up for sale and I’ll be adding more as I sew them.

warmers lblue tan outside
arm warmers long dark inside

 

Linking up to Handmade Tuesdays and Thankful Thursdays.

You Are Not a Yellow Starburst

dont let them treat you like a yellow starburstThis week has given me a lot of practice in standing up for myself. Hopefully some of that will pay off soon. I am not a yellow Starburst! You don’t get to put me on the bottom of the list or stash me away for later in the junk drawer. Oy.

new wee purseAnyhoo… I did finish this bag for myself a few days ago. I’d been meaning to make a replacement for the one I made while testing the pattern for Sam Hunter over three years ago. Here’s the new one! Isn’t it cute? I used a fabric I bought just because I liked it for the flap and a warm brown for the rest of it. There’s a button and loop closure because I couldn’t find my velcro…. until after the purse was done.

audreys january bee blockI also completed the January block for the 2015 Stash Bee I’m a part of. This month’s blocks are navys and white and will go to Audrey of Hot Pink Quilts. Click on the block above to go to her tutorial. 
dealing with wood rotHubby and I are still working on the house. Here’s a before pic of the wood above the garage door. It was soft and squishy from rot; not so great structurally. We replaced the wood and flashing (the metal stuff on the top corner) and the silicone sealant is drying.

Painting is another large project we’re in the middle of. We’re repainting all of the trim its original brown and painting the house a little yellow-er of an off-white. So far the front off-white and the trim around the front windows and doors is completed. There’s lots more to do. project quilting

 

This week’s Project Quilting challenge is sunrise and sunset. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to make. There’s 6 days left. Ready, set, go!

 

I’m linking this post to Show off Saturday and Handmade Tuesdays.

Not Goodbye, See You Later Tama.

Cancer won over my friend Tama a few days ago. She was sick for a while before the doctors discovered it was stage four cancer… and then was gone so very quickly. She was a quilter, an artist, a writer and someone I never got to meet in person but knew through Facebook. It’s hard to say goodbye. But it’s not goodbye. See you later Tama.
Tama

I’m also saying, “See You Later,” to hosting a link-up party. I’ve discovered that I’m not quite ready to host one yet. I have more to learn first. So I’ll be participating in others’ parties for now and retiring Favorites Fridays.
no fav fridaysHere’s my completed table runner for the Project Quilting trees challenge. This piece started out happy and fun: Easter, Springtime, new growth. It still is those things but with another layer. It’s also something I worked on while thinking of Tama. I believe life doesn’t end here. I don’t what that might look like but it gives me some peace. Maybe Tama’s in the springtime of her life somewhere else. Maybe she’s a sprout growing and learning with many years ahead of her to continue her journey. green runner finishedMaybe she’ll have some things to show me when I get there. Maybe.green trees runner close

I’m linking this post up to Show and Tell Tuesday and Scraptastic Tuesday and Needle and Thread.