Tag Archives: quilting

15 Quilting-ish Goals for 2015

It’s almost New Year Resolutions Time. I quilt for myself, for pay, and for charity. In order to get more organized I’m joining Jetgirl and a few others in making 15 quilting-related resolutions for 2015.

  1. Get organized. Keep detailed financial records for my business. Rearrange my fabric stash so I can tell quickly what I have and don’t.
  2. Market my business. Do what I know and learn what I don’t. Make it a priority to really learn some new tricks. Try them out and see what works for me. learn-all-the-marketing
  3. Work on one charity project at a time. I have at least 3 charity unfinished projects and find great causes that need quilts or blocks all the time. Thing is, if my emotions are in charge none of these things will get done. One at a time and they’ll get finished and to the people that need them. First up is the turtles quilt for Crystal Lake Camps
    turtles blocks
  4. Teach some classes! I already have one class ready to go, teaching crumb piecing. I’ll work on getting that one booked at guilds and shops as well as having more classes to offer.
  5. pink crumb placematsTry new things. You know, stuff I haven’t done before.
  6. Finish a quilt for my own bed. We have store-bought blankets on there now, along with a gorgeous hand-quilted Amish quilt. Still, it needs one of mine. My husband has been bugging me about this for a while and this year I’ll turn one of the bed-sized tops into our snuggle covers.
  7. Give myself a raise! As a skilled worker, I will charge for my services like, well, a skilled worker. This year it goes up from $16.50 to $18 an hour. sew worth it
  8. Learn how to better communicate with my customers. For example, I recently discovered that a good question to ask with custom work is if there’s a preference for the backing fabric.
  9. Make another large crumbs quilt. I love my crumbs piecing! I have a LOT of 6″ squares and they’re ready to go into a large quilt. Maybe it’ll end up being a show quilt like this other one I made a few years ago. BAQS exhibit large
  10. Go to at least three quilt shows. Meet the vendors, be inspired by the quilts, refill my creative cup.
  11. Meet some of my online friends. I have some that I know only through blogging and Facebook. I’d love to give them in-person hugs in 2015!
  12. Be silly. Laugh. Allow myself to make things just because it’s fun. Inject beauty into my artistic life. 230126_7118653765_8586_n
  13. Say no. No to writer’s block. No to continuing with a project that needs to go into the donation bin. No to going to a guild meeting that’s designed to be exclusive. Trust my intuition and highest sense of self and say no when that’s the right answer for me.
  14. Quilt with friends! I’ve joined the Stash Bee and am looking forward to meeting some new online friends through that monthly activity. I’m also going to make an effort to sew in-person with mini-groups, sew-ins, at retreats, or just when my local friends have a minute to spare. stash bee
  15. Stop quilting. Know when to put the needle down. Watch a movie on the couch with my husband without my handwork. Stop the sewing machine when on the phone with a family member who’s letting me hear their secret thoughts. “One more block,” won’t do when I could be running errands before rush hour.

 

How about you? Do you have any resolutions for 2015?

Custom? Yes Please.

I’m so glad I did the sales booth! It was on Thursday at the Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild’s meeting. Baby bibs were the biggest seller and these cute tree ornaments got some interest too. tree ornaments I didn’t make many dollars that day, which was a little disappointing. What was successful was the connections made. People asked about my crumb piecing. I’ll be pitching that class to guilds and shops for the new year! My November 7th class was postponed. I’ll let you guys know when it’s been rescheduled. pink crumb placemats

Quilters asked if I’m interested in doing projects they’d been asked to do but had no interest in. Yes! I loooove custom work. I’ll gladly make a quilt out of uniforms or grandma’s linens. Right now I’m making baby quilts for two girls. Next in line is pillow shams that match the bedding in a new family’s master bedroom.

I’m still unpacking and reorganizing things. When I figure out which pile the camera is under I’ll show you guys some photographs of my booth setup.

My etsy shop was on vacation mode but is now back up and running. I’m revamping some listings and adding new items so it’ll be filling up over the next few days. Expect to see the tree ornaments, crumbs place mats, and this cute chevron quilt in the shop soon.

chevron kids quilt

There’s still time to get a custom order in to be completed before the holidays! First come, first made. Let’s talk. mrs.megan.null @ gmail.com

Goal: Have a Sales Booth in 2014

I made some new year’s resolutions in January this year. Usually I don’t bother but mine in 2013 really helped keep me focused. It was two things: be my own advocate and focus on the good. For 2014 I had some specific things in mind for my business. One was to have a sales booth for my quilting items sometime this year. Well, it’s happening!

I’m get to have a sales table during a quilt guild meeting on Thursday night. This is for my old quilt guild where I used to live, about an hour away. Due to some kinks in the new laws about non-profits, among other factors, the guild’s a little low on funds this year. So my proposal was simple: please let me help you by running a fundraiser. I love when opportunities turn out to be win-win.

So here’s the deal. Most craft fairs run for 1-2 days at six-eight hours not including setup. Depending on the size of your spot and how popular the fair is the fees to have a table can be upwards of $100. What I worked out with the guild is that they will get 50% of the sales from my card holders. Then they’ll also get 25% of all other sales. No money up front from me. If all goes well they’ll get more than the traditional $100 booth fee. No risk on either side of a loss… and an opportunity for both the guild I love and myself to make some moneys.

Sometimes it pays to be creative! I suspect that if I just asked to have a booth flat out the answer would have been no. What’s in it for them? Now there’s plenty in it for both of us. booth card holders

As you can see, I made a LOT of card holders! 108 to be exact. There’s actually another layer underneath the ones photographed. They’ll be on sale for $6 each and have been pulled from my etsy shop. I’ll get the leftovers back up on there after my sale. booth box 2 booth box 1 I’m busy organizing my inventory and adding price tags to everything. Above are two of the boxes-in-progress.

If I have time, I have five small tree skirts, 11 baby bibs, three baby quilts, two table runners, and four pincushions in various stages of sewn-up-ness. They’ll be added to the inventory as I finish them. If they’re not completed (and they can’t ALL be) by Thursday night no biggie. They’ll go up in my etsy shop for you guys just the same.

 

The December holidays are coming! Birthdays too. Let’s collaborate on the perfect gifts for your loved ones. I specialize in custom work. mrs.megan.null @ gmail.com Let’s talk.

Red and White Challenge – Crumbs Pillow

Look what I made! This fun heart-shaped pillow is crumb-pieced from scraps of fabrics with only reds and whites. No pinks or browns, only shades of reds and whites. It was made for my friend Kim’s Project Quilting Challenge for this month. Of course, I got it finished in the nick of time.

heartonchair

When crumb quilting, I usually piece all my bits together regardless of color. Limiting it to only two was a creative stretch and I’m pleased with the final product. We’re not a pretty pillow household, so it’s in my etsy shop for someone to adopt and love.

Special pricing today only! The 25% off all made items ends with August. This pillow’s $42 but you can have it for only $31.50 if you act quickly. https://www.etsy.com/listing/201798075/pieced-heart-pillow-red-and-white-12×12?

heartback

Do you want to learn this technique? I’m teaching a class at SLO Creative Studio in San Luis Obispo, CA on November 7th. Sign up at http://www.slo-creative.com

Bad Ass Quilt – It’s Not a Fish

I’m the guest blogger today over at Bad Ass Quilter’s Society. Don’t be alarmed by the title over there. The naked quilting series is about quilts, not bodies. I wrote about my quilt, “It’s Not A Fish,” which was made after a miscarriage. Check that article out and then head back here for some bonus information.

not a fish whole

 

 

Children are often asked what they want to be when they grow up. My two answers, invariably, were an artist and a mommy. So, of course, this baby was wanted.

mom not fish

The two silhouettes in the last column were traced from family photographs. Mom is looking forward with hope and my cousin Jasmine is screaming.

jas not fish

The guild challenge was to make a row (or column) quilt. It had to use three floral fabrics and have at least five rows. Do you see the flowers? The fabric used for the fish is also floral.

fish flowers

This quilt told me that it needed to be mostly grey. (Does your art speak to you? This piece was very specific!) Since I only had one grey fabric in my stash, I reached out to friends who were generous with their scraps. Thanks guys.

I designed the paper-piece pattern for the hearts. They gradually go from mostly warm (browns) to mostly cold (greys) without completely becoming one temperature or the other.

pp hearts

 

On the day I lost my baby, I wanted absolute quiet. No activity or noise at all. Certainly no conversation. Later, talking would become important.

When I told my aunt what happened she suggested that I change my labels: a miscarriage, rather than my miscarriage. Words are important. It’s not my fault.

I started seeing a therapist a few weeks after miscarrying. It was one of the best things I could do, deciding actively focus on healing. Our sessions included dealing with the loss of my mom when I was 14.

What’s your experience with art? Creating is one of my healthiest ways to express loss. It’s also a delight to make things about connection and new beginnings.

 

 

 

25% off most items in my Etsy shop through the end of August. Enjoy!

 

Little Things Sale

It’s often the little moments that mean the most. It’s the first bite into the watermelon I grew in the backyard, laughing at my feminist husband’s intentionally sexist comment, a sweet card from an uncle I haven’t seen in over a decade, waking up (yay, it’s not real,) from a nightmare. It’s catching up with good friends, a new crock-pot, baby pictures, and successful garage sales.

Here are a few of the smaller items in my etsy shop that are on sale for 25% off. The holidays will be here before you know it, it’s good to stock up on some of these early…. especially since this sale ends when August does. Gift Cards Collage Whoops. This should say gift card holders. Holidays Collage Christmas and Hanukkah so far. I’ll be adding more holidays’ items soon. Mug Rugs Collage Pretty and sweet. Good for cookies and milk, tea and biscuits, coffee and whatever you coffee drinkers eat with that stuff. 🙂 They’re stuffed with 100% cotton batting so they can also be used as hot pads and trivets.Pillows and Shams Collage

Custom pillows are also available.Scarves CollageThese scarves will keep you pretty and warm… and pretty warm.

I’ll have photos and prices of some of the quilts that are on sale in the next post. In the meantime, you can see them all in my Etsy shop.

Also, some of my quilts will be in shows in Simi Valley, California and De Moines, Iowa ! More details on that soon.

 

Gifts of the Heart

It’s not homeless. My heart resides in a lot of different places… near the people I love most. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that treasured friend you can always be yourself around, the mentor who encouraged your journey, and books that became friends.

SALE! My etsy shop is stocked with high-quality handmade items. It’s time to make some room for new stuffs. Enjoy them yourself or give to those you love. All pre-made items are now 25% off their original price. Custom work is full-price and still a great deal.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/QUILTArtbymeganred heart pillow

Where’s your heart? Comment below for a chance to win this 12×12″ pillow sham. Drawing ends a week from today on August 6th at midnight pacific time. Good luck!

 

 

We have a winner! Congrats Janet Mease!

Attics, Shirts, and Turkeys

For over a week now, my husband and I have been spending our nights in the attic. I haven’t done much sewing since we sleep during the day, like Mo. (Remember Mo?) We’re installing the heat and air conditioning in our house. It’s much more complicated than just a change-out (replacing equipment) because this place never had air conditioning. Since it never did, we can’t use any of the old spots for duct work because they’re too small. Plus we’re moving the furnace from a closet to the attic. So it has been quite the project.

The good news is that there are four very small things left to do: two fittings, install the thermostat, and prime the compressor. Then we can turn it on! Woooo! Another piece of good news is that even though I’m quite accomplished at duct work now, I won’t have to touch another piece of that devilish fiberglass insulation for a very long time, if ever. Sweet relief. I’ve already showered so here’s the shot you get of the attic from the access hole.

AC Attic

I’ll get to focus more on my quilting now that this job will be finished today. I’m excited to begin the T-shirt quilt for a customer. The box of shirts arrived, complete with a chart of where each shirt was going…. which is super helpful. This customer decided to use both sides of some shirts and just one side of others. We’ll also alternate lights and darks in a grid pattern. Fun!Box O Shirts I’ll also be finishing up the tops for the two twin-sized quilts for the Turkey Clan room at Crystal Lake Camps. I have one done and the other needs a few borders before it’s large enough for the bed. Photos coming soon! Here’s one way I keep projects all together. I have plastic containers with drawers and can keep both blocks and fabrics together for easy access. And, you know, so I don’t use the fabrics for something else in the meantime. It’s happened. Don’t laugh. 🙂

Turkey DrawerExpect a post soon with photos of pretty quilts! Until then, a friendly reminder. Please take care of yourselves. Self-care is something that needs to be practiced and paid attention to. I have a few friends who had some health scares this past week. I’m both grateful that they got immediate help and reminded how important it is for me to pay attention to my thoughts and body.

 

Two Babies, Two Unique Quilts

Quilting-land at my house has been taken over by babies at my house. Just the way I like it. 🙂 The first baby quilt is for a little boy, newly arrived. I decided to do large disappearing nine-patch blocks. The first photo is what it looked like before the nine-patches were cut apart and rearranged.

big block 9 patches

Here it is, all together. It’s a little wrinkly, fresh from the dryer. I wash all of the baby quilts I make before mailing them out. Why? Because I spray baste, which leaves a bit of the glue residue inside the quilt until the first wash. I wouldn’t want a baby sucking on that.

Celeste front

Lastly, the fold-over shot. Isn’t this backing super cute? It’s a flannel, so it’s super-soft.

Celeste foldoverThe second quilt is for a baby who isn’t here yet. We don’t know if this baby is a he or a she, so my customer asked for a gender-neutral animal quilt. She pictured mom and baby looking at the quilt and talking about animal sounds.

I piled up the animal fabrics and started designing. I ended up going with my third or fourth idea for this quilt. See, I could piece all these animal fabrics together and come up with a big zoo for the kiddo to explore. But I kept coming back to the customer’s vision that included animal sounds. I had 34 animals which included rabbits, hedgehogs, penguins, and crocodiles. Pared down to the ones that make recognizable, kid-friendly noises, I was left with 17 blocks.

I decided to make this quilt have a lot of negative space between the blocks. A subtle fabric, lots of space to breathe, not too busy. Rather than piecing the top, I sandwiched and quilted it whole cloth. I marked the quilting lines with a Frixion pen, which comes right out in the wash along with the spray baste.

AnimalQuilt Marking

Then I added the animals to the quilt. First I framed each in black fabric, then I sewed each down to the quilt. So instead of being appliqued to the background fabric, they are actually quilted on top of everything.
AnimalQuilt AppliqueHere’s what the blocks look like all laid out and pinned in place. It’s a little bit like a photograph wall. 
AnimalQuiltPinnedI bound this one in the background fabric and sent it on its way… before getting the all-important fold-over shot. Luckily, my customer sent me this picture when the quilt arrived safely at her house. Red fabric with chicks on it for the backing!

Animals Foldover

Now for a bit of hand-applique. This will be the final border on a round-robin piece for my quilt guild next week. I’m excited to show you guys what my quilt looks like! I haven’t seen it for a few months as other quilters have been passing it around and working on it.
RR Applique

 

Mini Trunk Show for Mother’s Day

MomandMeNursery

My mom (pictured above with baby Megan) was an artist. She loved doing arts and crafts projects with my sister and I. She got into candle-making, wreaths, cross-stitch, chocolate molds, and more. But her real passion became quilting. In the few years that she was a quilter, she made dozens of quilts. Most were given away to friends and family. I have a few. So in honor of mother’s day, here are some of her works of art.

MomManger

Along with being an artist, Mom was a lifelong learner. This was great for quilting because there are so many techniques available! The Christmas wall-hanging above was made with fusible webbing and tied. Years later, I hand-sewed the shapes down that were starting to peel away from the backing fabric.

MomManger Poem

I love the message of this poem. Sometimes what seems like a bad thing is really for the best. I also love that it’s in Mom’s handwriting. She kept her lines straight using a light-box. Lit from behind, a lined sheet of paper was placed underneath the white fabric she wrote on. Smart!

MomHearthHere’s another one that’s mostly fused. Mom machine quilted between the blocks and in the borders on the machine that I now use. It’s the one I learned on and inherited. This quilt hung above the fireplace in our last house. It’s a Christmas one so I intended to take it down in January the first year we were there. My husband and our housemate liked it so much they asked me to leave it up a bit longer, and that was its home spot for all the years we were there.

Another thing to point out about this piece is the skin tones. Can you see it? Mom put in different colored skin tones not only to be realistic, but also to honor her love of people from lots of different backgrounds. Even though we lived in a mostly-white Connecticut town, she her book-club, church, and quilting friends had all different skin tones. And stories. I felt so grown up when I was allowed to join their conversations.

MomSunbonnetSueI took a Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Andy quilt class with Mom. She ended up with this beautiful quilt. I ended up quitting halfway through because my applique skills were frustrating. This was machine appliqued using a zig-zag stitch and invisible thread. I wanted mine to look like the sample, which had perfect tiny black zig-zags. Yeah, black thread isn’t such a good idea for a thirteen-year-old.

I remember helping Mom decide what each character would be doing, and helping her find the embellishments. Sue’s running from bumblebee buttons. Andy’s pulling a wagon with yo-yo wheels.

Mom quilted this one by machine too. The kids are outlined and the rest is stitched-in-the-ditch. I remember the quilt shop where this class was held had limited parking. It had a sign out front that read, “Quilter’s Parking Only. Violators Will Be Stitched In The Ditch.”

MomTulipsBy the time Mom started churning out more quilt tops than she could finish, I my interest in quilting had dimmed. I’d rather be talking on the phone with my best friend for hours, waiting for the radio to play my favorite song ever, deciding which shirt would be best to wear tomorrow, and other teenage girly things.

I do remember picking up a few pieces from the long-armer and being amazed at her huge machine. It took up the whole room! I wish I knew that woman’s name now, so I could add her to the label. This tulip quilt was one of the first to be sent her way.
Mom9POkay now we’re into the baby quilts. My parents decided not to learn the gender of the baby, so there are a few quilts with both blue and pink as my Mom wondered. They picked out two names, one for a boy and one for a girl. James Patrick won out as my brother Jimmy was born. He’s shortened it to Jim and made his way to prom last weekend. Ho boy has he grown up!

MomCatsThere’s at least one more baby sized quilt I’m holding onto until my brother’s ready to have them at his own place. You know, when he’s old enough to have his own place. It’s a grandmother’s flower garden, paper-pieced and beautiful. 
MomAutumn

The last quilt I’m showing you today was made after Mom found out that her colors are Autumn inspired. (Remember this post? I’m an autumn, too!) She didn’t have a lot of fall colors in her stash or quilt collection so she challenged herself to make this one.

When she passed, it was only a top. So her friends in the local quilting group finished it… by hand. Look at this beautiful hand quilting in-between the stars. It’s dedicated to the baby. Such a work of love it takes my breath away just to look at.

MomAutumnQuilting

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, and all the mothers out there. All of this information is recalled from memory. Just know that even when your teenage daughter is rolling her eyes at you and answering every question with “fine” that they’re probably still paying attention. I was.