Tag Archives: quilt

Prep Work

I painted my toenails just to stuff my feet into sneakers. I put lipstick on to sew in my pajamas. I do my hair up nicely to watch TV with my husband. I put a dirty fork on the counter so the sink can be empty. Aaand I cut up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together.

These things may be a little nutty but they make me feel good. What are little things that make you feel good? I challenge you to do one of those things today.

Speaking of cut up fabric that’s sewn back together, I showed a sample of my letter pillows in this post. Well, the time has come to reveal the etsy listing. Get ’em while the getting’s hot!

J Pillow

Here are the options on the pillow covers. I’ll be adding more sizes and colors as we go. They’re envelope-backed. And yes, as part of my prep work for launching these pillows, I made sure they actually fit into the pillow form. Who’da thunk?!

  • Four background colors to choose from: Black, Beige, Grey, and Teal.
  • Buy just the 12×12 inch pillow case, or add-on a pillow form to save you a trip to the store.
  • I can do any letter, uppercase or lowercase. For now, it’s one letter per pillow.

I used Sam Hunter’s time-tracking method to help determine pricing. These pillow covers are only $35 plus shipping! What a deal.

Prices increase on custom orders beginning tomorrow, February 1st. Everything that’s already listed as a completed item in my shop will stay the same price. New items and custom orders increase by 10% tomorrow.

Challenging Myself – For The Children

I’ve been putting a lot of time and effort into improving my own head-space…. you know being very on-purpose about noticing my thoughts and behaviors. I want to become a better version of myself. Maybe even become more of myself than I’ve ever been. Clearly, this is a very personal journey…. though I’ve had lots of help along the way.

I had a bad day. I did. It didn’t undo all the progress I’ve made. I just had a bad day. By keeping things in perspective I’m able to continue moving forward. Thing is, this isn’t just for me. My mom once told me that with each generation we get better. I remember hoping that would be true but it doesn’t happen effortlessly. My reaching for higher health for myself may trickle down to future generations, especially if/when my husband and I decide to have children.

The Project Quilting Challenge for this week is up-cycling. Much of my art is very personal. You now know what I’ve been thinking about, so it’s probably no surprise that I knew the title of this piece before anything else. It’s called, “For The Children.” First, I tore photographs of children out of these Reader’s Digest Almanacs from the 70’s.

Reader's Digest

The tear-ings (not clippings) were raw-edge appliqued and bound with masking tape. In this case, raw-edge applique is code for sewn down. ‘Cause I used my sewing machine on paper. Yup.

For the Children Front

The backing for this piece is a sheet of cling-on snowflakes found as Christmas decorations. They add meaning because I made and donated snowflakes when the Sandy Hook Elementary School reopened after the shooting. Plus we’re each a unique and beautiful snowflake but collectively (and individually) we can change for the better.

For the Children Back

 

One more thing. I made the following quilt for a dear friend. It almost said, “You are loved.” This is much better. Now she can read it to herself as an affirmation… as a tool to help shift head-space from negative to positive. An opening up.

I am loved quilt

 

 

Sneaky Peeks

Here are a few of the treasures I’ve been working on. The first is a wedding quilt for a dear friend. Spoiler alert! It’s green.

Green Bag

I wasn’t able to go out and get this tracing for a portrait quilt of a dog enlarged today. So I pulled some fabrics for it instead! Here’s my method of keeping everything straight once I’ve made the decisions. FYI: I’ve put 90 minutes into this quilt already and haven’t yet started putting it together. That’s why I charge $25 per subject as a design fee!

prep for dog quilt I finished this quilt. Woo! It feel so good to have a project done done done. This is a signature quilt and is for sale in my etsy shop. You can sign this quilt in the beige fabric spots… which, as you can see, make up most of the quilt. It’s great for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebrations. Super-durable, it’ll hold up to washings. Just make sure to follow the directions on whatever fabric marker you buy. Some of them need to be set with a hot iron.

signature quilt 1I’ve also been working on this week’s Project Quilting Challenge, which is up-cycling.

I pulled some fabric for my new guild’s round robin. I’ll be adding a border and some embroidery. Unfortunately, this is all supposed to be secret until the big reveal in a few months so I cannot share photos of it until then.

What are you working on?

Make, make, make, win!

My sewing machine and iron are getting a mini-break so I can write this post. I’ve been sewing at all hours of the day… on all kinds of projects. I’m in one of those moods where I don’t want to work on one thing for very long. So I end up doing a little bit on a dozen different projects.

One of those projects last week was for an online quilting challenge. It’s called Project Quilting and here’s how it works. A challenge is posted and you have one week to make a finished quilt fitting the challenge. Here’s what I made for the string quilt challenge:

pinked dolls

I’m not in love with it. It’s a completed project (yay) that was done in time to enter into this contest (yay) but it isn’t anything special. I played with pinked edges and batik scraps but kind of shrugged and wondered where to put this thing when I finished. I think it’ll be donated as a doll quilt.

There are lots of prizes with this contest. First, there’s a vote. Whichever project is the favorite wins first prize. After that, there are random drawings. Guess what?!?!?! I won one of those prizes! I’m that upside-down name under number 5. What did I win? Money towards long-arm quilting. Ho boy am I excited!

It’s lucky to win, but impossible to win if you don’t enter in the first place. Not everything you do has to be spectacular but it’s good practice to just keep making stuff. Make, make, make!

2014 will be a great year for QUILTArtbymegan

Here’s a bit of a preview of what’s coming this year. First of all, I’ll be doing a bunch of portrait quilts. You know, those are the ones inspired by a photograph and then rendered into fabric. Coming up are twins, a dog, a snowy landscape, and more. Here’s a tracing of one I’m working on now which has holding hands and wedding rings showing. It’s in pencil so it doesn’t photograph beautifully just yet.

hands tracing

Also, one of my sample quilts this year has to feature my niece Mary. ‘Cause I love her and she’s flipping adorable. So here’s a photo from Halloween that I’ll be using as inspiration.

Panda Mary

Alright, on to the second category of quilts you can expect from me in 2014. I’ll be making more things with crumbs! Here are two quilts-in-progress that use crumb blocks in their design. (One is a super-close up because the whole quilt hasn’t yet been revealed to the receiver.) Crumbs heart crumbs with black

I’m also working on making my crumbs customize-able. I think they’re in the top two cool things I do with my quilting and hadn’t figured out a way to make them in a cost-effective way. Worth my time to make the stuff and worth your money to buy them. Enter the letter pillows! Soon these will be available to order in my etsy store. You can buy them individually or as a group to spell out names, holidays, important dates (numbers will be available, too), and more. I’m also working on a way to stretch these across canvas for an on-the-wall look rather than the pillows’ on-the-shelf thing.

letter pillow sample

Another thing I’ll be playing around with (and hopefully making beautiful wear-ables out of) is old wool, cashmere, and silk items. I’m experimenting with up-cycling in the style of the artist Katwise.

What else? Tons, I’m sure! I’m learning new things all of the time. I think as an artist it’s important to explore new things and learn from other artists. Plus just play around and see what happens. That’s what I did with this doll quilt piece that was entered into the Project Quilting Challenge this week. It’s made of strings, which are skinny long strips. I’m not in love with the final quilt but it was fun to experiment and stretch myself. There are bunch of quilts finished in this challenge that are gorgeous! See and vote for your favorites here. 

pinked dolls

I took the “Twisted Sisters” class from Ami Simms on Saturday. It was so much fun! I initially wasn’t thrilled with the quilt design but learned how I can make it my own and am sure I’ll love the thing once it’s all put together. I also learned a bunch of tiny tips and tricks that make all the difference when you’re sewing. For example, if your selvage strips have been cut off the way you find the straight of grain (which is parallel to the selvage) is to stretch a tiny section of the fabric with your fingers. The direction that has the least stretch is the straight of grain. Twisted sister

I predict this’ll be a great year for me personally and QUILTArtbymegan as well. Stay tuned! You won’t want to miss any of it.

Sample Sale! 50% off and free shipping!

Welcome to 2014! It’s time for a sample sale. These quilts have been all over the place (even if just all over the internet) and it’s time for some fresh art to show for the new year. So here’s what I’m offering: 50% off the value on each sample piece plus free shipping. Each piece will be up on my etsy page so it’ll be first come, first served. Here’s what I have to offer!. Also, my prices on custom quilts are increasing on February 1st so now’s a great time to get new orders in.

First up is, “Big Megan.” Not because I’m big, but because the next one is little Megan. I like these words better than child and young adult. This piece is quilted and measures 13″ x 15.5″ and is valued at $85.45. Which means it’s now on sale for $42.73. Buy it here.

13x15.5  $85.45 value

Next is, “Little Megan.” This one is quilted and measures 10.5″ x 13.5″ which brings the value to $67.53. It’s on sale for $33.76. Buy it here.

Little Megan

I’m going to break some hearts now. “Denver on the Beach” has already been sold. Here it is to admire anyway. It has a happy home now and has by far gotten the most Oooo’s and Wow’s.

Denver, age 2

“Uncle Time” features my baby sister. You know, before she had a baby of her own. This one’s a 10″ x 8″ top with two subjects in a frame. I’m adding $3 for the frame, so that brings the value to $65. Sale price is $32.50. Buy it here.

Uncle Time

“Baby Food” is another 10″ x 8″ top in a frame. This frame is sparkly and heavy. Since I’m paying for shipping, let’s add $8 for the pretty frame. Total value $45. Sale price is $22.50. Buy it here.

Baby Food

“Superhero” is 11.5″ x 11.5″ square. It’s a quilted piece and is valued at $64.66. Sale price is $32.33. Buy it here.

Superhero

Last on the list of sample quilts is one that I’m keeping. I call it “Four Faces” and has sentimental value to me. Plus it’s quite a bit larger than the ones I’m selling so it could make a nice impression hanging in a craft booth in the near future. Here’s what this one looks like:

FourFaces Completed

Expect previews of this year’s sample pieces in my next post. I’m hard at work making beautiful and unique treasures. Thank you in advance to the photographers and subjects that are letting me use their photographs as inspiration.

Customer Service 101: Active Listening

 

It is so very important to listen to customers and really hear what they’re saying. I made a portrait quilt top (not quilted, so it could be hung in a frame) for a customer who wanted to give it to her husband for Christmas. She described it as he’s in the military and she wanted something beautiful and unique featuring this photograph of his squadron.

Julianna 1I heard her… until I saw the picture. Dude! That’s the mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind! The one the kids were drawing and the guy made sculptures of because the aliens would land there. How cool that this is an actual real-life landmark! I’m such a sci-fi geek. And my first pattern draft focused on how awesome the mountain is… until I realized that I wasn’t focusing on what’s really important to the customer.

It doesn’t matter what I think is important (or cool!) in a photograph. It matters what the customer wants to feature. So I scrapped my drawing of the mountain in all its glory, which hides the planes quite well… and swapped that for a plain stripped fabric which brings the focus back to her husband’s squadron. I think it’s well done.

Juliana 2

My Holiday Loot!

I usually don’t post “yay I got this” kinds of posts, but you might actually be interested this year. Especially since a lot of the gifts I got, I picked out myself. Those came from etsy sellers.

First, my Dad’s side of the family has a secret Santa gift exchange every year. I got a very thoughtful gift this year, a mason jar for pins with a pincushion on top. Oh, and these gifts have to be handmade. It even has a little saying on it with kitty paws.

pin cushion jar

 

My hubby got me my own printer, which is awesome. Now I don’t have to bug him in his garage workshop to print something out every time I need that. It even has scan and copy features. Woot. I won’t bore you with a photo of that.

I bought this beautiful photography 2014 calendar from an etsy shop. It didn’t come with those blobs of grey, I added them because I started filling in appointments before photographing it.

calendar

I also got patterns from two etsy shops. The first pattern is of a messenger bag. Here’s that shop.  The second pattern is for up-cycled sweaters and finger-less arm warmers. You can find that kooky shop here. 

I’m on the hunt things made from wool and cashmere to start making my own up-cycled items. A dear friend has offered me several wool scarves that are moth-eaten. Perfect! I’m looking for items that are stained, stretched, shrunken, ripped, or otherwise unusable to you. Please please contact me if you have anything like that you’d like to donate to my cause. I can help with shipping costs if need be.

My next blog post (on Monday) will feature a custom photo quilt that I made for a client who gave it to her husband for Christmas. I’m so excited to finally be able to show it to you! (Didn’t want to ruin the surprise.)

Happy Holidays!

Where’d You Get That Skirt?

In January my Aunt Laurie asked me to make her a custom tree skirt for this Christmas. You can read about that process here. This year another dear customer wanted one for next Christmas. Here’s the story on her tree skirt. But first, my aunt’s skirt under her tree in all its glory.

treeskirt in use

This next customer wanted a tree skirt to fit her artificial tree. So, while I was in St. Louis on vacation, we measured the base of her tree (about 1″) and calculated how large the skirt should be so it looks proportional. She was using a tablecloth wrapped around the base, but would much rather return it to the table and I was certainly the gal to help her out with that.

The second step in the process (the first being measurements) was choosing the fabric. I recommended fabric.com because I’d used them before and was impressed with their selection and customer service. She browsed through fabrics while my brother and I watched a scary movie and put her favorite Christmas prints in the shopping cart before calling me over for advice. I recommended that she choose her very favorite print and then we’ll find a coordinating one. So that’s exactly what she did! She loved the flowery fabric and the red with white polka-dots goes so nicely with it. See?

Sheri's tree skirt

Turns out, she ordered enough fabric (on my request, I usually get more than needed in case of slip-ups) that I didn’t charge her for shipping the tree skirt back to her. I made a second tree skirt out of the extra fabric. It’s up for sale in my etsy shop for $70. Here’s a photo of that one. It’s similar, just the fabrics are reversed. The red pizza slices are larger than the flowered ones.

Tree skirt for sale 70

I’d love to do a custom order for you! It can be a tree skirt, bag, quit, or whatever you can think of.

Also, I’m completely honest about my skill set. If I’ve never done something before but am confident that I can figure it out, or it’s a new patter that I haven’t tested yet, I’ll make a sample before using your chosen fabrics to make sure there are no kinks that need to be adjusted out. If I’m not confident that I can figure it out, I’ll tell you exactly that. Usually I’ll have someone in mind to refer you to as well who can probably do it. I can do almost anything. I rarely say no, but I feel it’s important to be honest.

P.S. To whichever of my quilting friends who suggested I buy a bias tape maker tool, thank you! It has saved me soooo much time when making the binding for these tree skirts. Customers, time saved means less cost since I do charge for my time. We are sew worth it!

Color Me Beautiful

As promised, here’s my experience of getting my colors done while on vacation in St. Louis.

My now-friend Celeste did a wonderful job. (Isn’t it great when you have moments like that? She wasn’t my friend before I met her, but really meeting her is all that it took.) We set up a mirror, chair, and spotlight. She had a big ‘ole box of fabrics. She looked at my skin color, into my eyes, at the roots of my hair and even asked me to stick out my tongue. Then Celeste began draping me with shades of fabrics.

Whites As she moved through the whites, greens, blues, reds… I began to see that different shades of the colors made my face look sad, sickly, and tired. Others brought out my eyes and made my cheeks rosy. My face didn’t change, but putting new colors next to it made a huge difference.

GreensThis green is wonderful on me. I can see that in the mirror. It makes me look happy, well-rested, and trustworthy. When I know that I look this way, I feel more confident. It’s a great-big chain reaction. The happier the color makes me look naturally, the prettier I look, the better I feel about myself.

RedsGuess what?! Nothing’s completely off-limits. I knew before going into this that black against my face is a big no-no because it deepens the shadows. I discovered that I can do dark brown or navy instead. However, I knew for sure, for sure, for sure that I cannot ever wear red. Well… tomato red doesn’t do the blotchy thing to my face or make me look like I’m trying way too hard. Look at that! I can wear red!

my colorsCeleste uses the Color Me Beautiful system which categorizes people by seasons. I’m an autumn who looks best in the deep colors, not the lights. Here are the colors that are best on me. I’m so grateful for this experience. As I embrace my role as not only an artist but a businesswoman, I’ve been gifted such a wonderful tool.

Here’s something silly. I was on my way to Dad’s church after my appointment with Celeste, so I had dressed for that before we began. When we finished the coloring, I changed into an over-sized sweatshirt. I walked back into the room and Celeste sighed, “Oh that’s much better.” Moral of the story: I look better in slouchy clothes that are in my colors than fancy ones that aren’t.

Later that day my aunt took me shopping to get shirts and sweaters in my colors. It was the most fun shopping I’ve had in a long time. Going only to things in autumn hues cut waaaay back on the overwhelm-factor I usually feel in stores. Not to mention it made it possible for us to whip through 5 or 6 places in 90 minutes. Turn me loose in a fabric store and I can be there all day. Clothing shopping in the past has just made me feel ugly. So I hated doing it. No longer. Now I just need to look for fit and style. I already know the color looks great. Now I’m going to go rock my mustard sweater and coral lipstick on my grocery store trip.

 

 

If you’d like to know more or would like a color consultation yourself, just ask Celeste. celesteoakland@gmail.com She learned from her mother, who was hand-picked by Carole Jackson of Color Me Beautiful.