Island Batik Quilt – Strips Cut!

Today I used 2 of my Christmas presents to show you the first step on my project.  Remember that tripod that I couldn’t figure out why in the world my husband gave me for Christmas – well it turns out that he was obviously a lot more clever than I thought (as usual!)  I set it up to take a picture of the strips and it worked beautifully.  I almost felt like a professional photographer!  (Now all I need are the umbrella lights…. just kidding!)  I guess I’ll be using that tripod a lot more than I thought!

The other Christmas present that I used was the book “Digital Essentials”  by Gloria Hansen to properly size the image you are seeing today.  Gloria is a fantastic contemporary quilter who knows a ton about digital imaging and everything computer/internet related.  She is truly my idol.  Gloria also has her own website hosting/creation company.  I had contacted her last year regarding setting this whole thing up for me.  Alas, expertise comes at a price.  I probably would have had everything up a running beautifully by now, but I also would not have learned so much.  It’s a trade-off!  One day I hope to have become successful enough (read: have made some money) so that she can redo my site professionally.  Anyway, I highly recommend her book for novices like me.

So here are the strips I am just waiting to start sewing with.  Aren’t the colors yummy! I’m still trying to come up with a name for the quilt.  Given that the primary line I’m working with is called Sangria and all of the motifs are from the garden (butterflies, dandelions, leaves, etc.),  I’m thinking about something like Garden Party, Cocktails at Sunset, Sangria Sunset.  Any other suggestions?  I know I haven’t revealed the actual quilt yet – but I like the idea of a mystery quilt!

Island Batik Quilt - Cut Strips

Ok, now that I’ve show you the strips – I can start sewing!


Exciting New project

I’ve been waiting to tell you about a new project that I was going to start.  Now that it has started, I want to share.  Back in October, when I attended the Houston Quilt Market (trade show), a friend urged me to talk to the wonderful owners of Island Batik fabric company about designing a quilt for them.  I spoke with owners Adam and Moira, who were both very receptive to giving a new quilt designer an opportunity.  I showed Moira my portfolio and she invited me to look through the samples of the new fabric lines that were coming out.  All of the fabrics were beautiful, but I was particularly inspired by the “Sangria” line.  (You can see all of their fabrics by clicking on the link in the blogroll.)  In addition, I also liked the fabrics in the “Burgundy Forest” and “Olive Latte” lines.   She said that she would send me the sample headers and give me some time to come up with a design.  Once I had finalized a design and determined fabric requirements, she would send me the fabric so that I could create a quilt for their booth at the Pittsburgh Spring Market in May. 

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was!  It was like a dream come true!  I’m always so afraid that that something that good, isn’t really true – so I didn’t want to tell anyone until it was real!  Now it’s real!  I received the fabric last week and began to cut yesterday.    I have to tell you I was nervous to cut into that beautiful stuff!

I need to finish the quilt by the beginning of May in order to send it to them in California.  Once it is finished, the pattern will be available.  This time I’m going to write the pattern as I go along – so that both quilt and pattern are finished at the same time.  Won’t that be great! 

As I go along, I’m hoping to post photos to give you a glimpse of what it will look like when finished.  In the meantime – do be sure to check out their website and the fabric lines I am using.  You’ll find them under the tab – “Now Showing” New Cottons.

I’ve finally worked out all my software issues and I think I have begun to lay the foundation for future patterns.  I hope that once I have that part in place, pattern publishing will become easier.  The hardest part for me has been figuring out a format so that I can include all of the information, it is easy to follow,  and it doesn’t take up more space than is economically feasible to print.  I’m sure that I will keep revising as I go along and learn new stuff – but that’s part of the journey.  Hope you’re along for the ride!

And yes, I’m still trying to finish up the pattern for the Christmas Candy series!  I have to get that one done!

So, I better get to work – based on this week’s school calendar (aren’t those kids ever in school a full week?!?) and the predicted snow storm, it may be the only full day I get to work!!!!



The Internet is an amazing thing

Well, I’m happy to report that the stomach bug has finally packed his bags!  Fortunately my husband and my mother were spared.  Unfortunately, I am now awaiting the arrival of a new bug after the news that Andrew’s Monday play-date came down with a terrible sore throat on Wednesday!  I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Now to the more interesting stuff.  In the last few weeks, I have heard from 2 friends from the very distant past due to these posts and my website.  With my call for comments to the blog, I got a shout out from an old high school friend.  Hi, Marc!  As a result of a quilt design search, I heard from a friend of my husband’s, whose wedding we attended 15 years ago! Hi Kris!  As a relative newbie to the world of Internet communication, it’s still amazing to me how the Internet makes this world so much smaller and connected. 

I don’t think I’ve shared this before, but all of my relatives except my mother live in Estonia.  (Estonia was under Soviet occupation until 1991.  For those of you geography challenged – look for it just south of Finland.)  In addition to having various family members visit us in the U.S., I have had the opportunity to travel there 3 times.  We are planning another family trip this June.  I know that in addition to occasional phone calls and letters, they are also now keeping track of me via this blog.  Tere! Like I said, this Internet thing is cool!

Is there anybody else out there that I know?!  Let me know – I’d love to hear from you!


The bug returns!

That stomach bug just won’t give up!  It made the rounds again this week – this time to my other son.  It’s very sneaky – you get sick for just a short time and then think you’re better – then it comes back! He was home 2 separate days.  After my bout last week, I couldn’t stand the thought of food for a week – lost 5 pounds!  

Needless to say not a lot got done this week.  Since I became a stay at home mom, I’ve had new respect for those mothers who must balance work and children.  Trying to start a home-based business with the kids getting sick and staying home from school nearly every couple of weeks makes me think even more about how working moms must struggle.  I don’t know if this has been a particularly bad school year for illness or if now that I have another objective for my time that it seems that much worse.    Their health and comfort obviously takes precedent over my ambitions, especially since I don’t expect to feed the family from them!  But it’s only the 17th – I might still make my goal to have something by the end of the month.

There’s something going around…

Glad that week is over! Andrew caught some kind of stomach bug and was home sick for 2 days and then shared with Mommy. (No one realizes how much stuff Mom manages until she can’t get herself out of bed and suddenly no one knows what to do! I know all those Moms out there are nodding in agreement.) While this was going on, I was trying to get my stuff finished for an opportunity to market my Christmas Candy pattern at my local quilt guild tonight. I was able to just barely finish the tablerunner and wallhanging variations of the pattern. (Pictures soon!)

The good news was that I finally resolved my technical/software issues with the printer. The bad news was that the “bug” kept me from finishing the instructions for the tablerunner and wallhanging. 3 steps forward, 2 steps back! I’m getting closer, though! I’m determined to have something for sale in the store by the end of the month!!!!! Can you sense the frustration?!

Other good news – I did manage to sell my first 2 copies of patterns tonight! (With an IOU for the remainder of the directions.) It’s a start! Baby steps…


Still learning…

I was lamenting to a friend that other than her 1 comment I have received no comments on my blog.  I’m sure that’s not so unusual except that I can see via an admin screen what pages readers have gone to.  It looks like some of you may have gotten as far as the comment posting point, but then were confused by a few standard Plug-ins on Word-Press blogs.  They are supposed to protect the site from spam by requiring the commenter to perform some basic math.  It confused me too at first about what I was supposed to do (and I like math!) – who knows how many quilters it may have spooked (I’ve heard a lot of quilters don’t like math!)  Anyway, I’ve removed them – so please feel free to drop me a comment now and again!  No math problems – promise!  Let’s just hope those sneaky spammers don’t find us!


Great Gadget

I’ve been meaning to tell you about a great gift I received from my husband this year for Christmas.  (Of course there was a little hint-dropping involved!)  I’d seen it advertised and one of the gals had it at our guild retreat last spring.  Essentially it’s a little LED light on a flexible arm that you can attach to your sewing machine for light just where you need it.  It’s basicallythe same as one of those mini book lights, except that you plug this in.  I can’t tell you how much difference there is when you have this light on and aimed at the needle versus just the machine light.  It’s literally like night and day!  It sounds pricey at $50, but when you consider that the bulb will last you the rest of your life (100,000 hours) it seems like a bargain! 

This was a no-brainer for the husband who spent $400 on new outdoor LED Christmas lights to outline the house.  We should never have to buy new ones again! He was able to connect 25 sets together and plug it into just one outlet.  The LED lights use a lot less electricity than regular lights – so I am looking forward to seeing what our electric bill looks like.

Back to sewing – Many quilt shops are carrying the Bendable Bright Light – so please support your local shop and check there first.  If you have no success – then check out the website in the blogroll. 

My husband also gave me a tripod for Christmas – which I will admit – my first thought was what a strange gift (especially since we have one)!  However, being my best supporter – he immediately answered my bewildered look by saying that it was to make photographing my quilts easier!  Our old tripod was a bit short for the larger quilts and I usually reverted to setting the camera on a ladder!  What a husband!

Happy Sewing!


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all! 

Let us all hope that this economy takes a positive turn in the new year so that our financial worries may be minimized.  Remember – to a great extent, the economy is a self fulfilling prophecy – if we all think positive and confidently, it will go a long way to reviving the markets.

My number one resolution:  to get Helle-May Designs up and running successfully!  2008 was a year of exploration and learning.  2009 will be a year of doing and learning that much more!

Peace and happiness is in our control – let’s have more of it this year!