Find a new trail and get outside! Explore and enjoy spending time together!
Fold some origami paper. We made these origami spans. So cool.
Have some plain ol' silly time. Time flies so fast. Soon my boys won't want to just sit around and be silly. Put on some temporary tattoos or face paint.
Cinderella is my very favorite fairy tale. I even dressed up as Cinderella one Halloween. When I saw this tape I had to have it.
A while back I had posted this guide to make a case for my scissors. (Click here for the guide.) Of course the boys and I had to have an afternoon of making Duct Tape cases.
Oh yes. Hot, hot, hot. Mac and cheese is every kids' favorite. I let the kids prep the food while I am sitting there working. They love it because they feel like they are in control even though I am at arm's length looking on. Yum.
School's out and I balance my work with spending time with the boys. I can work both independently or work together with them. Planning is everything. We have some fun things on our summer bucket list and we are going to share them with you. We hope that our simple ideas will inspire you to try something fun for yourselves this summer.
One of the first things that we did was download a music composition app. There are many different ones but we used Symphony Pro. Little A worked on composing a new song this afternoon. It will be fun to hear the end result.
Last month I flew to Denver to tape an episode of Sew It All TV with Ellen March. What a wonderful host she is. She looked beautiful especially since she is pregnant with twins! #quilt
I have had a post sitting and waiting to be edited for a long time. It hasn't been published because it is too long to be edited on my iPhone. Boo!
I've been to Denver to tape "Sew It All" tv, Quilt Market for Pittsburgh, and NYC for Surtex. Will catch you up soon!
I am making it #tbt today. It has been that kind of week and I wanted to post this yesterday. As you know, life happens all at the same time. Deadlines, crises, and just everyday running around always come at the same time. All's good though. I thrive on it even if it makes me tired. Then I look at this sweet face and all the crankiness just melts away.
This week I will be flying to Golden, Colorado to film an episode of "Sew It All" tv with Ellen March. It''ll be fun. The sample is finished and it is darling. Too bad I can't give you a sneak peek. Boo!
I have a big editing job to do this week too. See? It rains, it pours.
Have a great weekend and Happy Easter.
Those who live with me or know me know that I pretty much have every writing tool known to mankind. Having a good grip on a great writing pencil is the equivalent to playing with a beautiful violin or piano. Sure, you can write with anything but if this is going to be my companion for the day you can bet that it better feel awesome in my hands.
I write and edit the old fashioned way. That is, I actually write it all out! I do it in layers. The first draft is written in one color and then I use a different color for the next layer or edit. It keeps my thoughts on track.
Do you ever have those days where inspiration hits you and come together in the most unexpected ways? I do. I have them all of the time. It's my creative process. I can be in the middle of something like cooking and suddenly an entire book idea just hits me like a brick wall.
This time though my source of inspiration came in the form of some amazing musical talent at a fundraiser event in NYC. Adam's former violin teacher, the virtuoso violinist Bela Horvath invited us to a fundraiser event at the Baryshnikov Arts Center/The DiMenna Center on Friday. Violinist David Lisker, a protege of Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, celebrated pianist Philip Fisher and the beautiful and talented soprano Jeanne Gerard were also performing. It was a glorious night.
I came home and "wrote" two books in my head. Adam got up and practiced his violin and Alex practiced on his piano with a few added flourishes to his playing as inspired by one Philip Edward Fisher!
This story though is not just about inspiration but also about giving. Bela Horvath taught Adam for several years and then he relocated to NYC to concentrate on his performing. During the time that he spent with Adam, Bela would give my son math problems to keep him engaged and focused on the class if there was a moment of distraction. A gifted teacher is one who knows how to reach the potential of all of his students.
Fast forward to Friday night. This fundraiser event benefited a new summer festival, the 2014 Saint Andrew Music Festival, in his home country of Hungary. This has been Bela's dream for a long time. These world-renowned musicians will be performing and there will be performances, joint performances and masterclasses at the event. Bela's dream is to give back and to inspire many young musicians. As Bela said that night, "it has come full circle and my dream is finally coming true.'
To me this is the most authentic way to fuel your creative soul. Thank you to the performers for the wonderful night but most of all, thank you Bela, for sharing your dream.
Someone recently asked me why I thought quilt shops were closing everywhere. I don't purport to be some retail expert but as a designer for my own company, it is something that crosses my mind.
I've thought about this recently because several incidents have brought the thought together for me. I should start off with saying that I love Aveda products. I don't normally wear make up so I wanted to look at the options. I need to get some because I will be taping an episode of Sew It All tv in a few weeks. Yikes!
It was a Saturday morning when I went into the Aveda store to get some makeup. There were two sales people and no customers at first. Then the female sales person walked across the hall to the cupcake shop and another customer came in. Another as in ONE. I sat down and the male sales person chirped on, "ok, just sit in the chair and I will be with you in a minute." He went to the entrance to look for his counterpart. She was no where to be found. He came back with a look of hesitation. "Um, can you come back another day? I can't find her and it is really busy being a Saturday and all." (He is not new. I have talked to him before and he is very comfortable with make up.)
Uh, what? I left.
Then last week I went to a favorite quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works, and my experience was wonderful. They were all helpful and the ladies knew their quilt business.
Fast forward to yesterday when I visited a local shop, Heart Strings. Owner Carol Beder, always has a great attitude about the good days and bad days of being in retail business and she put some things in perspective between my good and poor retail experience.
Taking aside the many different things going on in our industry (that is part of another conversation - digital vs. printed, modern vs. traditional, etc.) and the economy, I think the simple things are sometimes forgotten. I know, easy for me to say because I am not at the retail level.
Carol is realistic in knowing that times will be tough but I think that she survives for different reasons:
1. Customer service. She chats and gets to know you. As cliche as it sounds, those first impressions make a difference. I think that it can help put people in a good mood and it leaves a lasting impression for future visits. She makes the customer feel welcome.
2. Passion. Customers can see the love that she has for her shop.
3. Inspiration. Try to give your customers an inspiring experience. Keep it fresh. Keep it unique. Give them something that they will want. I feel as though I am discovering a new treasure every time I visit.
4. Personality. Carol's unique displays are carefully curated.
I am not trying to be simplistic in saying that these things will cure all. Rather, I hope that these thoughts help you fly through the good and the bad times.
It always amazes me to see people's expressions when they see me create and they see how little I use in my process. There's nothing wrong with a great big set up or a high end sewing machine. It's just never been a big focus in my creative process.
You could describe me like someone who needs to capture the moment now before it's gone. Certain ideas brew in my head for a long time before it can escape but when it comes to the actual doing part, it's like an explosion.
Case in point. I've been photographing things this week and thought I'd share my little photo studio with you. Very simple isn't it?
What is your creative process like?
I feel freer. I had put off my business stuff for a while. There were lots of reasons but I let go one of the biggest reasons recently and it felt good. It cleared me of a huge block. I could focus a bit more. Phew.
Meanwhile, I'll be editing a book this month (details to come). I am still working with Henry Glass too. Life is good.
Do you buy digital or print patterns? I am trying to figure out these little bits for my patterns.
It has been a crazy week. I have been working like a dog and there's still a lot to be done. It's all good [except for the fact that I just wiped out my previous website]. Oops.
As I was headed out for the evening, Little A was bringing the mail in. There was a large piece of mail that wasn't consistent with the typical bills and junk mail that you get. Of course my little darling wouldn't give it to me because we were headed out to the kids' play, "Bye Bye Birdie" and we were going to be late. After wringing it out of his hands, I tore the mail open and there was this book, Sew Practical. It was a great surprise and it is LOVELY.
Thanks for the wonderful surprise, Martingale & Co.! Enjoy the weekend!
I think that a lot of crafty people are wondering "what next?" in terms of what will be the next big thing in crafting.
I drew this many years ago for a fabric line. It was rejected because big flowers weren't popular. I found it recently and had to chuckle at the thought that it was rejected as a fabric idea. Interesting, now I see it as an embroidery design. It fascinates me how things are recycled into something new.
As crafters we've gone through cross stitching, scrap booking, knitting, quilting, paper arts, etc. What excites you now?
Last week my buddy Mark Lipinski hosted a lunch for the winner, Michelle Bean Welsh, of his Quilter's Alliance quilt. She had in fact won the privilege of hanging out with him for a few days.
Liza Lucy, Meg Cox, and Liz Hawkins were also present. It was a fun business/buddy lunch. I have to say that I love talking business. It inspires you and sets you on a tangent that can open your mind to broaden your thoughts on a project or business issue.
That's my story and I am sticking to it! Trying to motivate myself by looking at beautiful things. What do you like to do to get yourself out of a funk?
On my desk today.
Although I haven't seen this issue yet, the cover projects make it look so amazing. Did you make many holiday projects this year? I have made a couple but I still have a weekend to go right? I have felt so rushed this year. Perhaps it was because Thanksgiving practically fell on top of Christmas. Or perhaps I am always inspired at the last possible second. Perhaps I am in denial. Yes, that is it. Christmas can't be here next week.
The magazine featured the "Noel" pillow. I love this pillow so much. It was such an easy project to make because the half-square triangles worked up in no time. As many of you know, my applique letters are super easy because of the gentle curves.
Handmade also directed readers to the Martingale freebies page. Have you been there yet? My table topper is there.
I designed the Table Topper [at far left] so that I could showcase some of the wonderful prints that Michael Miller Fabrics sent to me. Sometimes I just hate to cut into a print that is too fun to slice apart.
Enjoy! Happy crafting. You have a little less than a week!