2013: The Year of the Paintbrush and The Running Shoe
January 4 of this year, I started exercising. Not a new resolution, it was just that this time? I was truly resolved. I was going to get fit once and for all. I was feeling like crap. I was overweight, and I'd injured my shoulder, both of which were keeping me feeling really unhappy. I started first with the elliptical, but quickly moved on to Zumba, Tabata, Spinning and then finally in March, I started running. Something I said I would never ever ever do. But oddly, I was finding I loved it.
By May, I was signed up for the Tinkerbell half marathon which happens January 19, 2014. My daughter and I will be running it together. I've been training all year. And, I now happily call myself a runner.
Sometime around February I started painting. With actual paint and paper and then later on canvas... as opposed to painting in Photoshop which is how I created 7 lines of fabric. So, though it totally works for me, photoshop, I needed for myself to brave the actual medium of paint. And frankly, it's as addicting as running has proved itself to be.
In 2013, I became a runner. And a painter too.
At the beginning of the year, I was asked if I would sell my watercolors. At the time, my answer was a resounding, "I'm not ready. I'm just practicing.". I practiced and practiced and practiced. Those of you who follow me on social media probably know how much.
Now, after all these months, I've finally become ready to sell some prints of my work. So, I started uploading my designs (including those from my fabrics) to Society6. If you haven't checked Society6 out already, it's a must. There's so much great art on there. You can buy everything from prints and stretched canvases to phone covers and pillows.
I hope you will go check out my shop. I'd love to hear what you think.
Thank you for being with me on this journey this year. I've appreciated all of your support, kind words and encouragement. It really keeps me going.
You had the Power All Along, My Dear.
Glinda the Good Witch said it best...
I'm going to tell you a long story about this week. It's a little "woo-woo, hippy dippy, touchy feely" of story. I learned a lot, and maybe someone reading can relate if I share.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I'm taking a class called Make Art That Sells.
In this class there is a mini-assignment and a full assignment each week. This week we were asked to draw motifs for the mini assignment. We were given parameters, Berries and Casseroles. For the assignment we turned in we had to make a full print for bolt fabric. Not a subject unfamiliar to me, as you know.
However, I've been struggling a fair bit getting to the good stuff in my designs, and realized something... I've been working backwards. I've been deciding what a print "should" be before I even start drawing, then I build/draw motifs to fit what I "think" the end result needs to be.
I was deeply engrossed drawing motifs and having a BLAST with my drawings, and had a real light bulb moment.
The exercise of drawing is not just playtime. It's what brings creativity to the front. I'd been drawing my little berry and casserole icons and really enjoying myself. And then I drew a little oven and a few more items, when this lady popped into my head. I started doodling this woman with this crazy hair and flowers framing her face, and I'm thinking, "Who are YOU and why are you on my paper?". I don't draw faces. They scare me. But then suddenly there she was. I thought, "Well, this must be her kitchen I'm drawing". And then... I remember earlier I drew Sadie (my parent's spoiled Pug), sitting on a plate... suddenly, I had a whole story. Sadie became the woman's naughty kitchen companion. And before long, I had a print. It doesn't matter that it's not my usual "thing". It appeared, and I created it and went with it.
Part two of the equation... After drawing my little lady, I texted my friend Carrie, who is a brilliant artist, with the pic what I'd drawn, and this exclamation: "I drew a PERSON!". Carrie, amused with me, texted back and before long we'd come up with a plan for me to stop at her house the next day for a gesture drawing tutorial. Basically, drawings of the human body. We did a few exercises in charcoal and then Carrie had me draw her. Carrie was wearing her yoga clothes, and I could really get the movements and lines of her body in the charcoal. I was SO excited. I've always found drawing to be work, but after a couple days of doodling like mad, and then learning this very basic technique... I was ON. I've been drawing. For years in many forms. But it wasn't until this moment that I believed I could draw. Not only that, but that really, I'm an "Artist" though I had never before labeled myself as such.
But now there it was, my inner voice finally allowed me to call myself "Artist". Do you do that to yourself? I refused for years to use anything but the term, "designer" (also accurate). And I'm thinking, "What else am I not 'allowing' myself to be?".
Later I got home and it's going through my head like a never ending ear worm...
"You had the power all along, my dear". That phrase we've all heard a zillion times and is deeply linked to childhood (at least for me), pops into my head.
Ahhhh.... there it is... (I love a good conclusion) Sweet Carrie was my Glinda this week. And so was Lilla Rogers and the Make Art that Sells class...
And so was the little lady who appeared on my paper... and thus, she was named... Glinda, the Good Cook.
The result of all of this is that after I turned in my Make Art That Sells assignment, I was able to draw a lot more for my fabric line and it's finally coming together after a really long journey. It's jusssst about there.
"I had the power all along."
It was a very very good week.
I've signed up for Lilla Roger's class, Make Art That Sells, and tomorrow is the big day... class starts.
(I mention it at the bottom of THIS post from way back in 2008.)
I want to put this out there in the Universe ...
THIS is the year that I will focus on licensing my art on more surfaces. Yes, it's on fabric and stencils, but in order to really make this career work I soundly know that I have to go beyond as well.
There will be no excuses. There will be no waiting for it to happen. This year. I will make more art that SELLS.
My space is ready. My heart is full of joy. I'm ready to create!
Round Robin Love with Valori
Valori and I had discussed this idea briefly in the past, and I'm so glad we are getting it together. We decided to trade a set of fat quarters each... I sent her my "Bijoux" and she sent me her "Wish". The idea is to start with a 12.5" center, mixing our fabrics and solids of our choice, send it back to the other person, and then she puts on a border. We each managed to get our centers done pretty quickly and here are results. Next we will each add a 6" border round. Can't wait to see!!!
Today I show you how to sew the outside and lining panels to the zipper placket/side panels. I'm so excited about how glue basting this worked. So much better than pins!!!
PPS Yes, I REALLY need a manicure. Like really.
Many moons ago, I got it in my head that the ogee shape would make an incredible quilt. I still contend that it might. However, back then, sure I knew what I was doing, I made a template, and cut right into some of my most precious fabrics (from my first three fabric lines) to make the horror shown below. I know it might look pretty (from a giant distance and through the screen), but in truth each one of those pieces is so puffed out it looks like a darned bra cup. I wouldn't joke about such a thing either. It's hideous. Every one of those seams is folded over... it's a disaster of epic proportions. And it's wrinkled because frankly I threw the thing in a box never to be looked at again... until now.
Naturally, since this quilt I have been afraid to do anything that remotely resembles a curve. Although, I did get really brave with my glue basting for quilt market and did some Jean Wells style piecing for a few backgrounds. I owe it to the glue that they lay flat. They actually lay beautifully flat.
But I was still not convinced I could do something as complicated as say, a double wedding ring. But Miss Cristy convinced me that I could with Piec-lique. I ordered the dvd from Cristy and Sharon's double wedding ring pattern and followed the directions. I can't tell you how happy with the results. Truth told, I've been seeing some double wedding rings in progress out there lately... and I gotta tell ya the double wedding ring is not easy. I'm seeing lots of pinched seams, puffing and any number of mis-matched points. I know it's not the results people are looking for. With this technique, you get none of that. I'm loving the results I'm getting on this WIP for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary (they'll get it by their 51st hopefully). Meanwhile, I'm hoping to use the piec-lique technique for an ogee quilt. It's gotta work. I'm convinced that with the right techniques, *almost* anything is possible. Live and learn.
PS... I've forgotten to mention, I have my very own hardware for this bag, and it's now back in stock!
Get the whole scoop here.
I'm merriliy on my way to a new Bijoux duffle bag. It always makes me excited. If I were to go buy a comparable bag it would cost over $100 and even with all the interfacing and hardware I don't even come close with this and I have a custom piece.
The glue basting is going great. I really loved it for the zipper placket which we are sewing today! Enjoy this video ... it's full of all my best tips!
I've been thinking a lot about design and my process. This summer I taught myself Illustrator. I'm extremely proficient in Photoshop but I had it in my head I "had to" have Illustrator under my belt as well. Which is nice, and now I know how to use it. But I learned something... The way I was working? It was working for me. I ended up spending so much time learning Illustrator that the fabric line I was trying to build in the meantime suffered. I couldn't get it to look the way I wanted it to look which was more painterly. After-all, I had scanned in paintings it should end up looking painted. In the end I learned that Photoshop was the way to go for that look, but the bottom line is now I won't have a fabric line out until Spring.
I was truly disappointed about it at first... I wondered if by Spring I'd be come irrelevant in the fabric world. If you might all just forget about me. Or make other assumptions... who knows? And then I realized a couple things. First off, everyone needs a break now and then, and I certainly do. Second, what I'm working on now (mostly in Photoshop because it's coming mostly from hand drawn and painted work) is probably going to be my best work ever. Sometimes it's the knock down that brings you further up. For me, I needed to stop and start thinking about what I love, not what other people might want from me. You see, that's the direction I was working. I thought I needed to learn Illustrator to make other people happy, I thought I needed to go a more "modern, clean" direction... but for other people. The truth is, the second I start doing what I love instead of what I think people want me to do, magic happens. So, be looking for something truly special in fabric from me this Spring.
In the meantime, I'll be here. Painting. Sewing. Designing. And remembering to just be myself.
Do what you LOVE!!!
More duffle bag fun tomorrow!
Hi there. I'm finding I have tons to say as I sew (shocking, I know), so I'm thinking there will be more videos than less in the coming weeks. Today I show you how to make the strap. Do make the handles the same way, and tomorrow I'll post on how to attach the handles.
Please also read the instructions because there is quite a bit I will just skip over. What I'm trying to do here is give you information that isn't in the pattern that will help you along, and to give a little extra visual guidance. Happy sewing!
PS Yes, I need a manicure!
PPS... you can get the pattern on my website. In case you didn't know.
If you'd like to get glue tips for your Elmer's glue (do use Elmers not an applique glue, please), they are available here.
PS ... if you are sewing along, feel free to grab a button for your blog sidebar...
As many of you know, embroidery was my first sewing love. My Bijoux fabric line, like Splendor 1920, features hand stitching. The Embroidery's Fortune prints are based on Mexican embroidery and are meant to be stitched on.
I'm thinking some tunics would be just gorgeous. For now, I've started stitching a bit with the intention of incorporating this into my Holiday in London duffle for our sew-along (starts monday!). I used applique foundation (my new favorite go to for stablizing) on the back of this because it can be easily torn off when you are finished. I've used a combination of stitches on this, and you can get quite creative if you'd like. On this piece I've used matching Aurifil floss which is very nice. The colors are super saturated and it comes on a wooden spool containing a double skein. I didn't do a matching set this time, but I did pick out the colors to make it easy for you. Happy stitching!!!
citron green, 1147
emerald green, 2870
mustard yellow, 2140
light blue, 5007
hot pink, 2479
On this Bijoux quilt, I used 3 strands and a stem stitch to finish the binding on the back. Just stitch as you normally would, but make it visible with the stem stitch instead of a blind stitch. I love how this turned out.
The other night I was sitting around watching HGTV and this T-shirt idea popped into my head for no reason at all. I love how it turned out and best of all, it took just about 30 minutes to make.
a fat quarter of Bijoux Dream Catcher in Fuschia
a fat quarter of Applique Foundation
a glue stick
sewing machine with Free Motion quilting
1. Cut the motifs from your fat quarter.
2. Lay them out on your t-shirt, and glue in place with glue stick. Heat set with a hot iron.
3. Place applique foundation under the t-shirt on the inside for stability (you can pin it in place).
4. Being careful to keep your t-shirt flat and without stretching, free motion quilt the applique in place.
5. Pull the applique foundation from the inside of the shirt. You don't need to get in out from the stitching. This particular foundation is starch/paper based and it turns to a pulp when you get it wet. Eventually with washing it will be entirely gone. In the meantime, you won't even notice it's there.
6. Repeat for each applique.
They aren't kidding around when they say it gets hot and uncomfortable in Arizona in the summer. With temps getting up to 120 we got the heck out of here for lots of it. My kids go back to school tomorrow, believe it or not, so that means we will be sticking around for the rest of it. It's "monsoon season" now, so there's a touch of relief.
We were lucky though. We spent a week in Chicago and a week in Colorado. My older daughter was super lucky. She spent 2 additional weeks in Colorado and one at band camp. I seem to have lost my Chicago photos due to a little phone mishap, but here is the rest of my summer in photos...
I did lots and lots of running. At 5:30 am. That's how we roll here. Get up early and run or suck it up and get on a treadmill because there's no running out in 105 degrees for this gal. This was just yesterday morning.
I managed to squeeze in lots of watercolor painting...
My girls and I hiked with my brother and his family in gorgeous Colorado...
And I forced my girls to get out of the car on the way back through Utah to see the likes of this amazingness. They are teenagers, so there was whining involved. I'll give them the fact that it was 110 degrees out.
Much of the rest of my time was spent designing my next fabric line which is due out in December. My goal for when the girls are back in school is to become a more consistent blogger. Let's see if I can do that, shall we?
Don't forget, the Holiday in London Sew Along starts Monday!!! I'm a touch late on the PDF, but I hope to have it up by tomorrow! Also tomorrow, a little Bijoux t-shirt project for you! Be on the lookout!
Happy crafting and sewing!
Get your sewing machines ready to sew up something big!
Join me for a sew-along featuring my post popular bag ever... The Holiday in London Duffle.
We will start on August 12 with two blog post a week until September 6, when we will finish the bag. There will be added hints and tips, videos, photos and instructions. You will need the pattern which is currently available on paper in my shop, and will be made available via PDF on August 4. I'm looking forward to sewing with you!!!
I've been thinking about this project for months, and I'm so happy I finally did it. The small Rattan Wallpaper stencil from my collection for Royal Design Stencils is totally perfect on furniture. And it's a really simple stencil to work with.
This is what the coffee table looked like before I painted it... it was brown stain.
And here it is after...
Here's how I did it:
1. I gave the table a light sanding (it wasn't a high gloss table, so it didn't need much more).
2. I used a spray primer to get the table ready for a a base coat.
3. I spray painted the table white. 2 coats. This actually took a lot of spray paint. 3 cans.
4. I sanded with a very fine grit sand paper, and wiped the table down.
5. I stenciled in the gray/blue (Silver Marlin from Benjamin Moore).
6. I used a clear coat spray to finish the table.
I plan on having a piece of glass cut for the top of the table so I don't have to yell at people about coasters, but I do think it would be fine to leave it like this too.
The best way to stencil is with a stencil brush which is flat tipped. You can get them here. I dip the brush in paint, and then wipe the brush off on paper towels until it is nearly dry. Barely any paint on it. Then, stipple the paint on top of the stencil.
Royal Design Stencils are super easy to use, they have registration marks on them to guide you.
You can see in the photo above how I use the brush by just tapping it onto the stencil. Super easy, and super fun results!
PS... this stencil matches my fabric from LillyBelle
Happy Saturday! Are you sewing? Here's a couple easy weekend ideas for you. These are again from my Bijoux fabric quilt market booth.
This big baby (above) is filled with bean bag fill (You can get it at Walmart... I'm loathe to say, but that's the only place I could find it. I hear Bed Bath and Beyond has it too but I didn't check.). I cut all the panels at 18". The seams were pin tucked to give it a little more shape. I used 5/8" seam allowances, and if I had a little more time, I may have serged them for extra secure seams. I would recommend it. If you don't have a serger, you can zig-zag stitch the edges.
Here's a little pillow I made (in the hotel room... I always sew in the hotel room, it's like a "thing" now). It was an extra block I had from my quilt. Do you ever end up with an extra block like I do? Make it into a pillow. This is a millenium block from Judy Hopkins book.
I don't know about you, but I always curve the edges of my pillows. Nothing annoys me more than those pointy corner dog ears you can get. Just put a cup on the corners and trace before you sew. I think it gives it a more polished look.
Have a great weekend, and happy stitching!
Thank you to all the wonderful women who made projects out of my Bijoux and posted for the launch party. It was so much fun to see what you did and it really fills my heart! Thank you a million times!
Sally's Angel Works (That's me on the left and Sally on the right at quilt market in my booth! I'm wearing a Bijoux skirt made by Jona from her book The Essential A-Line which I am going to order today from Amazon... that or march down to her house and steal one!)
Note: The post from Jacqueline is still forthcoming, we had a few hiccups, but it will be up soon, I'm sure!
I hope you all enjoyed the party and found lots of fun projects to make with Bijoux!
Thank you all who visited the sites and entered to win as well! I appreciate your support more than you'll ever know!
I had mentioned in my previous post that I made 6 runners to show off what Bijoux can do in quilting. There are currently no patterns for these, but I'll be working on that. Hopefully, I can pull that off this summer. (yikes)
This first quilt features turned applique using the Sharon Schamber method plus curved piecing using Jean Well's method (the same methods I used for the "Value Color" quilt). The quilting was done by Maddie Kertay.
And again, with the dress (as shown in the previous post) I focused heavily on fabric collage as Bijoux has so many elements to take advantage of. This is an edge of the train of the dress.
More tomorrow as there were several other projects I'd like you to see. Also, I want to talk about what I did to get the quilts to hang nicely as that was a whole process and I found it very cool.
Until then, happy sewing! (I'll be hunkered down here designing the next fabric line which is apparently due June 10). Yikes again.
This doesn't happen much, but this time it all turned out just like it was in my head... 6 runners to show different ways you can use Bijoux in quilts, and a centerpiece with drama.
Below, you will see that it is true... I have a bugger up my butt about the term "low volume" in reference to color value. I prefer the term "low color value" as it is artistically accurate. Not only that, "Low Volume" hurts my feelings (not really hurts my feelings... more comically hurts my feelings) ... why, I think, would anyone should call color "loud"? I get that ones eyes need a place to rest, but in my little world, color is a vibrant expression of "life" as opposed to "loudness". Yo. I ain't loud. Hrrrmmpppfff. This quilt is my small ode to anti-establishment and rebellion. I must admit, I like the irony of a "low color value" background (all curved pieced strips) with eyepopping, colorful Bijoux text.
Moving along... next to the Value Color quilt is an improved log cabin piece with my hand embroidered caravan in the center.
More closeups tomorrow(ish). And more quilts. And more about market itself.
I have so much to tell you about quilt market and so many pictures to show, but this sweet face wanted a Bijoux maxi dress for the last day of school (tomorrow), and I couldn't resist her charms. Look at that gorgeous smile... she just got her braces off! For those of you who noticed, yes, she has taken over my new purse.
I totally winged this dress... Basically, I hemmed the top using my hem foot. Then I added 1/4" elastic by zig zag stitching it on just under the hem (the elastic is just slightly shorter than her measurement). Then I added the skirt which is simply the width of the fabric gathered just a touch. I did the elastic the same way at the waist. I put one seam all the way down the back after the top and skirt were sewn together. I used half inch seam allowances which was a good thing because we found after she put it on that it needed a slit in the back. So she can actually, you know... walk. I simply opened the seam at the bottom 12", slit the seam allowance to the stitching at the top, and folded the slit in 1/4" twice, and top stitched all the way around the opening. I back stitched several times at the top of the opening so that the stitching in the seam doesn't come out. And, no, I didn't bother matching the print. Don't judge.
Prints used: Bijoux Dancing Harvest in Guava for the skirt and Bijoux Embroidery's Fortune Rose for the top.
Thank you to the first three hostesses for the Bijoux launch party, Melanie, Cristy and Melissa! I loved your projects! Today it's time to go visit Michonne at I'm doing stuff, see what she did with Bijoux and enter to win 10 fat quarters on her blog! Thank you, Michonne!
Meanwhile since you're here... I wanted to talk a little bit about something important to me. I've been thinking about this a lot as I prepare for quilt market. One thing that I've learned over the years, is that it's great to be arty and mindful of design when creating. And, it does truly define what I do. However, I've also found that technique really matters. It matters a lot to do things well. My techniques have definitely improved over the years, but one of the things that I has improved the most is my binding. I've always done good bindings, but recently I found a technique through my good friend Miss Cristy that her mom, Sharon Schamber perfected.
I've watched this video through a minimum of three times. What I've found is, if I skip just one little detail... domino effect... all downhill from there. So, watch carefully. The way she does this has improved my work by miles.
Today it's Melissa's turn to give away a 10 piece fat quarter stack of Bijoux! I'm so excited to see what she's made too!!! Go stop at her place and give her some love.
But before you head to the party, I know you want to know how I made these dimensional flying geese. I am CRAZY over flying geese to begin with, but when I found out that you can make them with just one seam and like little pieces of origami, I about flipped my lid. This quilt was made using Ricky Tim's tutorial below. It's so simple, you won't believe it.
Happy sewing! And go get yourself some Bijoux!!! Please post your creations to the Flickr Group.
Also, now that Bijoux is in stores, we have a free quilt pattern available for you...
Download the pattern here...
First, to get in the Bijoux mood... you'll need to watch this incredibly special video that Art Gallery Fabrics put together. It really expresses just how versatile this line is. And... this is totally the sexy version of my earth mama, Bijoux. Lawd (fans self), I had no idea I'd created such a damn sexy fabric line until I saw this. Thank you a million times to Pat Bravo and the incredible people at Art Gallery (I'm looking at you Kat) who put this video together!
Now, everyone head over to Melanie's house and see what she made with Bijoux... and ask for a strawberry lemonade... Bijoux would totally drink that. The Bijoux in the video I think maybe spiked it a little too. Go ahead, add something saucy. If you are wearing a little mustard or magenta (together really is best) that make a great party outfit.
Here's a few more photos to inspire your inner Bijoux.
Please note: do not enter to win here. You must enter on the blogs on the launch party list above. Thank you!!!
What does a Bijoux by Bari J. launch party look like? Well, a little like this...
So get your party skirts on...
... and go see what all of these fantastic bloggers have made with Bijoux! It's in stores starting tomorrow!
Look for the incredible video that Art Gallery Fabrics put together to show you what Bijoux is all about tomorrow as well.
And be sure to post your own Bijoux creations in the Bijoux by Bari J. group on Flickr!
Some of you may know, I'm a total office supply geek. I love paper products and I love organizing. Over the years, I've developed a system for keeping myself organized. I'm big on list making, and I always have a to-do list going. I organize my to-dos in priorities of A, B, or C which keeps me on track. I also have monthly and weekly calendars. I'm so excited to announce that now you can use my system with pretty graphics from my not yet released fabric line, Bijoux for Art Gallery Fabrics, by simply downloading the printable pack from my web store.
My Bijoux fabric has arrived, and I've started sewing. It will be in stores this May, and of course, I can't wait to see what you will make. Instead of showing you the whole line right now, I'd like to tell you a bit about it's story.
Bijoux is my vision of a woman who is very much a free spirit. She travels around in her vintage caravan collecting things that she loves and that inspire her. She's an artist. And a loner. I envision her as an unusually tall woman with long streaming blond hair. She wears turquoise bracelets, boho skirts and beat up cowboy boots. I see her in dancing barefoot in the desert at night with the stars lighting her way. She's a rocker. She's a gypsy. She loves life. Bijoux means little jewels in French, and it is also the name of my main character. This fabric collection is bits and pieces of her life... as she is bits and pieces of me.
The story of Bijoux looks a little bit like this. For sneak peeks of what I'm making, be sure to follow me on Instagram.
Caravan photo from Les Roulottes une invitation au voyage Jeanne Bayol Editions Aubanel
Ahhhhh... Days like today...
should happen more often.
Today was a rarity around here. I drove my kids to school ... in my pajamas. I didn't even bother putting a bra on (much to their chagrin). When I got back I had breakfast and coffee, painted for a bit, and then I sat on the sofa and embroidered. All. Day. And I was at *work*, people... work. Seriously. The embroidery is for a pattern that's coming out this spring... so I can definitely say I was working. On the sofa, in my pajamas. Bliss.
At 2:30 pm I picked the girls up from school (still in my pajamas), and then sat on the sofa an hour more and embroidered. At 4pm I went to the gym where I took a grueling and totally awesome spin class.
And now I'm showered and back in PJs!!!
I quickly fed the troops soup and sandwiches for dinner, and I'm off to embroider until bedtime. Or paint. It's behind me calling my name.
As far as Super Husband is concerned, however, I worked my butt off. I know you won't tell.
Two Stories I Tell Myself.
I actually wrote this last night at midnight when I had racing thoughts as I tried to go to sleep. I wrote it on the notes app in my phone. And it helped me get to sleep. My thoughts were about how recently... well over the past several years really... I've been busting down the old walls I built around myself... How I'm rewriting my truth by destroying old negative self truths. By doing what I thought wasn't possible. The pictures in this post are just a small example. I've told myself for years that while I can design on the computer, I can't design with actual paper, paint and pencil. I believed this. Until I tried.
I have two stories. I'm going to tell you both of them because I'm betting at least some of you have similar stories. One is true. The other? Sadly, that's the one that's easier to hold on to. You've told yourself this story since you were old enough to start collecting stories. And you hold on to it because it is deeply rooted in personal history... some of which you may have been too young to understand.
The other story takes far more courage to believe. But in the end, it's your true story. And only you can write it.
Maybe it's the writing that makes it so difficult. It's gotta be 'eeked out of the dark recesses of who you really are.
The first story? You didn't write it. It's things that you assumed, it's something a teacher said in elementary school, it's the way a childhood friend treated you, it's simply your place in the birth order between you and your siblings. It's all too easy to hold on to.
This is that easy story... and though it's easy to remember, it's not without hardship. I've told myself this story stretching back to my earliest memories. I've told it even when I thought I wasn't. It's the story of what I'm not good at. What I can't do. It's the story about how I'm not liked. If you do like me, it's the story about how if you only knew the truth about who I really am, you would not like me anymore. It's a dreadful, painful story. The telling of it has shattered bits and pieces of me. And yet it's my voice that tells the story.
If only I/she could be quiet. There's a louder, happier story that needs to be told. A story that doesn't get told nearly as often as it should. A story that once and for all stomps out the smoke from the first story.
The story that needs to be told is the one in which I win. It's the one that says that when I try hard enough, I succeed. It's the one in which I'm good at things I never thought I could be good at. It's the one in which I'm not ashamed of my achievements (as if they aren't my own to share), but proud of them. It's the one in which I don't care if you like me, because I like me enough for the both of us. It's the one in which what I have is enough. I'm grateful. I'm peaceful. Although I tell myself this story over and over, it's at constant war with the other, prickly story. But it's this story that's gonna win. Is winning. Because I'm writing it... I'm not relying on old truths, half memories or something someone else told me.
Bit by bit, day by day, year by year ... it grows louder. It grows more fierce. It's angry at the old irrational story. It pushes through to be the one true story.
It's my story. It's your story. It's the true story.
Curved Edge Dresden Plate How To
I made one of these as a pillow for my quilt market booth for Splendor 1920 and have just made an updated version that I'm about to turn into a pillow as well. This time, I used two Art Gallery Elements fabrics for the backgrounds to give the vintage dresden an updated look. Here's how I made my dresden and the background.
8 fabrics for the dresden petals (12" x 12" is plenty), 1 fabric (4") for the center, 2 fabrics (1/3 yard each) for the background
2/3 yard of fusible fleece (this will give you extra)
fat quarter of muslin
Washable Elmer's Glue
Needle and matching thread for applique
Thread conditioner like Thread Heaven (optional)
Download pattern: Download Dresdenplate_templates
Cut 16 Dresden petals and 1 circle center from the attached pattern. I used Splendor 1920 in the "Elegance" colorway for all of the petals and Oval Elements Licorice for the center (note: one of the most important parts of getting the dresden to lay flat will be really accurate cutting. Too much or too little fabric will cause the plate to bow and lay all loopy-ish.)
Cut one piece of fusible fleece 18 1/4" x 18 1/4"
Step by step:
1. Piece the four pieces of elements together in a square for the background. I alternated prints.
2. Lay out your dresden design. I went with a design in color order from darkest to lightest. When I'm satisfied with my layout, bring it over to the sewing machine on a small cutting mat to keep it in order. I've been known to move them around if I don't leave them just so. You can also take a quick phone photo of your layout to remember the order.
2. Place the first two petals right side together, and sew together along one edge using a 1/4" seam allowance. (Note: As I mentioned before, accurate cutting is super important. A super accurate seam allowance is also imperiative.)
3. Keep adding petals until all 16 are attached, then sew the first petal to the last petal.
4. Press all of the seams to one side.
5. Place the dresden right side down on the piece of muslin. Pin it in place.
6. Cut the muslin to the shape of the dresden.
7. With the dresden still pinned to the muslin, bring it to the sewing machine. Set your machine to a slightly shorter stitch. Mine is usually at 2.5, so I bring it to a 2.0. This helps to go around small curves. Starting at a seam, sew around one curve of a petal using a 1/4" seam allowance. When you get to the next seam, stop, pivot at sew to the next seam. Repeat until you've sewn the entire way around the dresden.
8. Press to set the stitches. Snip to but not through the seams all the way around the dresden. It will be especially important to snip at the seams between petals to avoice bulk at the points.
9. Turn the dresden right side out through the hole in the middle. Press well. I use a pin to pull each seam neatly out. It's important to really take your time doing this to avoid puckers and points.
10. Place fabric circle and the muslin circle right sides together, and sew together using a 1/4" seam allowance.
11. Snip to but not through the seams as you did for the dresden.
13. Place the dresden exactly centered on the background. Use elmers glue to hold in place. Press to set the glue. (This washes out.) Do the same for the circle on the top.
14. Fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the base.
15. Using a blind stitch, stitch the dresden to the background. This is how you applique by hand. If you are familiar with hand sewing binding, it's like that, except that I take even smaller stitches.
15a. Start at the top of the fabric and bring the needle through the background taking less than a 1/4" stitch.
15b. Exactly where the needle came up, place the needle into the dresden taking less than 1/4" stitch right in the fold (the edge of the fabric) of the applique (dresden).
15c. Exactly where the needle came out of the edge of the applique fabric, place it back down into the base fabric. Continue until the entire applique is sewn in place.
Note: My Rule of thumb here is, if you can see the needle between stitches, you'll be able to see thread.
You can see below where I've taken about five stitches along.
Once you have the entire dresden and the circle center stitched in place, you are ready to quilt as desired. I did a different design on each petal and then an all over flower for the background. Now I'm ready to make this into a pillow! The instructions for pillow making will be in a separate post.
Splendor 1920 Modern Crazy Quilt
I started this quilt in early December. I decided to make a crazy quilt because the style was extremely popular in the Victorian era. And I also wanted to show how the prints can be used in small bits. To give it a modern twist, I separated the blocks with sashing (Pure Elements in Nocturnal by Art Gallery) and set the blocks on point. It is comprised of 25 - 12 1/2" blocks which are foundation pieced on muslin. I used the stitch and flip method as I did on these string block coasters. They are set on point with 2 1/2" sashing. I then added 14" borders on the left and right and 6 1/2" borders on the top and bottom to make a king size of 110" wide by 98". The fabrics are, of course, all from Splendor 1920.
Because I can never leave well enough alone (as you know, more is more in my world), I added little bits of collage here and there. I simply cut out motifs and free motion quilted them raw edged to the top of the quilt.
Additionally, I used my Aurifil 12wt set to stitch the top of several blocks. I did this using my machine and I had 28 weight in the bobbin. The muslin base stabilized the work nicely. I decided not to do the whole thing with stitching as I didn't want to ruin the modern affect I'd created by going too overboard with details.
Thank you and Stencil News
I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments on my post yesterday. Thank you so much. I'm doing much better now, which is likely why I could write about it ... December was definitely one of those months.
Meanwhile, I did mention that I would update you on the stencils... and it turns out, they were actually posted for sale yesterday. Probably as I wrote that post. I'm really excited about these. There's something about transforming spaces that gives me great joy, and I hope that these will do the same for you. You can get all of the following stencils at royaldesignstudio.com. Click "new stencils" to find them. This is my collection. Thank you so much to Melanie Royals. This has been a long time in the making as we started thinking about this idea in 2011. My move to Arizona among other things diverted our attention, but the collection is here at long last!
I don't know about you, but I'm super glad it's a fresh new year. I needed it. If you know me, you know it's not something I at all hide, but it's not something I blog about ... in fact, I think I only wrote about it the one time, over on Cresendoh... Over the years, I have dealt with my fair share of depression. If I'm not super careful about how I take care of myself, I can really spiral out of control. In mid December, I found myself fighting hard to overcome a downward turn. After the horrific event in Connecticut, I spent the fair bit of a week on the sofa. I think I was headed there anyways, but that flattened me more than I wanted to admit at the time.
I know that from the outside looking in, it looks like I accomplish a lot. And the truth is that, that's one of my coping mechanisms. Keep on swimming. An object in motion stays in motion. I knew by a couple days before New Year's Eve that I had to *do* something to snap out of it. I started the stencil project that day, and I've been keeping myself busy since. It's really helped. If keep busy, my mood is better.
I finished the stencil wall before New Year's Eve because we were having a party, so I was sort of on a mission. (The whole stencil collection will be available very soon, an update is coming.) Finishing this really helped me to move on from my gloomy gloom. Here's how it turned out...
And here's a peek at some more stencils that are in the collection:
I've also been fast at work on my crazy quilt project which I hope to have done by the end of the week...
and like many of us, I got sucked into the scrappy trip along. I can't believe I got sucked in on this one, but there you have it. It was too tempting.
I have two more "fight depression" techniques ... one is cleaning. And I really got the room here in order thanks to that...
At any rate, now I'm rethinking pressing the "post" button here as I finish writing... But I'm going to put on my big girl panties and do it.
I hope that if any of you have the same sort of issues, this helps. I really do think that depression is something to be worked on and overcome. It's not something I feel I "suffer" from. It has probably made me a much stronger person.
Here's to a happy and healthy new year to you all! Lots of love,
Royal Design Studio + Bari J.
This is happening... A stencil collection with Royal Design Studio.
Coming in early January.
I'm about to go try this out on my dining room wall... So excited!!!
Are you looking for the Holiday in London Duffle?
Hi there, readers from In Color Order... Jeni posted her duffle bag made from my pattern, and so now I'm worrying you are looking for it but can't find it. I don't sell my newest patterns on my own site, so if you are looking for it you can find the Holiday in London Duffle Bag over on Fat Quarter Shop! Happy Sewing!
November/December Adventures in Quilting and Sewing: Part Three
My two months of non-stop sewing continues...
I also started a crazy quilt with Splendor 1920 this month. I'll need 25 of these blocks to finish, but I'm well on my way with 15. I'm really excited.
This are constructed using muslin as a base. And sewing using the "stitch and flip
method. I simply place a piece of scrap fabric, right side up on top of the muslin. Then a second piece is placed on top right side facing the first piece. I then sew a 1/4" seam allowance, and flip the second piece right side up, and press. I continue until I've filled the entire square. Then I trim to the original block size. Which, in this case is 12 1/2" unfinished.
Obviously each of the blocks end up looking completely different, depending on what scrap I happened to grab...
There are some in which I left the selvedges on... My mom asked me why I "left the tags on"...
And I've decided to decoratively top stitch random blocks with my Aurifil 12 wt Splendor 1920 box of threads. I did these all on the machine! Not by hand.
And there will also be random blocks that I've free motion quilted raw edged motifs to... for little added surprises everywhere.
I plan to make this a king size quilt as I have never actually made a quilt for my own bed, believe it or not. So in the end it will be five rows of five squares set on point with 2 1/2" sashing.
I'm using "Nocturnal" from Art Gallery Pure Elements collection for the sashing.
Still and yet... I had gifts to make this month too. All the crazy quilting and free motion quilting did lead up to that... I'm getting there... see part four for more.
November/December Adventures in Quilting and Sewing: Part Two
After I finished my sister's quilt, I moved on to that table cloth ... you know, the one that I made the mitered border video for? After we got home from our trip to Colorado for Thanksgiving I got to work quilting it. Here are some of the work in progress photos... I'll show more from the back than the front as you can see better. I ended up not using batting but just flannel on the back, because I wanted it to drape well on the table. But now that I've worked so hard quilting it, I'm not sure about that decision. Batting would make the quilting stand out more.
I did swirls all over the center and then for the peacock feather borders, I decided I wanted to do feathers. Of course, I didn't know HOW to do feathers, so I looked it up and found instructions somewhere on the internet... I'm sorry I can't find the original link, but there are a lot of tutorials out there. Here's my practice piece. Oy. Vey.
And here, I got brave and put it on the quilt... I echoed around the feathers and then put swirls next door... to the left.
And on the floral inner borders... flowers.
As of right now, I've got one more inner border left, then I have 4 outer borders. Quilting takes a long time, but it's SO worth it.
I thought I'd add, since I know some will ask... I quilt on a Juki tl2010Q ... It's a straight stitch/quilting machine and I LOVE it!
And the fabric, of course, is Splendor 1920.
November/December Adventures in Sewing and Quilting: Part One
First, I want to remember to tell you something, and I know some of you are going to be disappointed, but I promise in the end you'll be happy. You know that ruffle duvet cover that I said I'd post the pattern for? It turns out I can't. I've been asked to save it for something. It's something really good... So, my apologies. For now, I have to hold on to it. But I will be posting other items from my quilt market booth as tutorials very soon. (Should I open my eyes now? You aren't throwing tomoatoes at the screen are you?). Let's move on?
I've been doing a ton of sewing and quilting as tends to happen in November and December for me. First I really really wanted to finish that hex quilt for my sister before I saw her at Thanksgiving time. But I was handquilting it if you remember. I decided the only way I was ever going to finish that quilt was to machine quilt it.
As many of you know, I've done lots and lots of free motion quilting for fabric collage. And I've always said that fabric collage is a great way to get your free motion quilting feet (or hands as the case may be) wet. But as much FMQ I've done in collage, I've never attempted an organized quilting motif for a quilt. So I ordered both of my friend Angela's books and studied up for a bit. These books truly made things click for me, you guys. I really love them. I ended up finishing the quilt and now I'm totally addicted. You'll see in the next few posts... I can't stop quilting stuff. It it isn't nailed down, I'll quilt it. And let me tell you, it gives things such dimension and texture! I'm in love.
At any rate, for the hexie quilt, I ended up leaving in the hand quilting and machine quilting right on top of it. I was really concerned about that at first, but turns out, it's a look I really like.
Do forgive my quilting as this was my first attempt at a whole quilt like this. I got better as I went along as you'll see in the next few posts. I'm showing lots of the back here because it was easier to see from this side.
I did end up giving the quilt to my sister after binding on the plane,
in the hotel room and in my brother and sister-in-law's living room! All's well that ends well!
PS the fabric is Flower Sugar from Lecien.
After this, I moved on to a table cloth. More to come!
Once a month, I involuntarily rearrange the furniture ...
and a recipe just because.
It's when I'm feeling particularly hormonal... you know what I mean? Anyone else do this? My mom and sisters do... and so do my girls. This month I was hell-bent on rearranging the kitchen. All I did was rotate the kitchen table, and move a couple chairs around the house, and declutter ... but it was very satisfying.
It started with a sideways glace at the cover of this fabulous book...
... But it caused a whole hormonal upset ... sending me reeling toward the furniture.
I turned the table 90 degrees... and removed the homework debris left by a pair of teenagers.
Then I added the runner to the top of the buffet... and shifted the tins to an angle. Because everything looks better on an angle.
And I moved the chair from my office to the left of the buffet (let's face it, actually sitting on it was breaking my back anyways).
I covered the cookies which were going stale on my favorite milk glass cake stand with the cheese dome. I've long since broken my glass cake stand, but the cheese dome, which was also a wedding present, is still in tact.
Then I decluttered the family room because it was desperate... why do all the socks and shoes end up under the coffee table anyways?
After these photos were taken, I abruptly messed the joint up decorating for Christmas and Hannukah... we celebrate both here. More on that later.
In the meantime, I'm going to share one of my favorite recipes because I instagramed this photo yesterday and it occurs to me not everyone makes kugel or knows what it is, and if you do, you still need this recipe because it's really the best ever. We make this for almost every Jewish holiday and several not so Jewish holidays. Our non-Jewish relatives request this is what we bring to parties. Kugel is a sweet noodle casserole generally served as a side dish and there are many variations on the theme ... before you look at the list of ingredients beware your cholesterol could rise just by reading it. YUM.
Betty's (my mom) Sweet Noodle Kugel
Preheat oven to 350
1 cup of milk
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of sugar
6 heaping tablespoons of sour cream
1 large package of wide egg noodles
1 package of cream cheese
6 slices of nasty processed American cheese (woot!)
Grahm Cracker Crumbs
Cinnamon Sugar mixture
1. Boil the noodes and drain.
2. Mix the eggs, butter, sugar, milk and sour cream together with a whisk.
3. Mix the Noodles with the liquid mixture.
4. Grease a large casserole dish.
5. Pour half the noodle mixture into the casserole.
6. Rip 3 pieces of American cheese up into 1/2" - 1" bits and spread around on top of the noodles.
7. Spread 1/2" chunks of half the cream cheese brick around evenly on top of the noodles.
8. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon/sugar.
9. Evenly spread the rest of the noodle mixture on top of the first layer.
10. Repeat steps 6 to 8.
11. Bake at 350 uncovered for an hour or until lightly browned.
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