From Stuffed in a Bag to Glorious

As a quilter I ponder many design ideas on projects.  Some projects it’s the first time by.  Other projects get halted and then wind up in a plastic bag smothered in my WIP cabinet.  This quilt has gone on a five year journey to completion.  It’s sad, inspiring, and real all at the same time.

Moda Blush Quilt

My love of charm packs were at an all time high in 2012.  People may have noted it as an obsession, but that’s all hear say.  For the IMQG first overnight retreat I grabbed the Moda Blush charm pack and yardage in my stash along with Kona white to make a creation.  Seven to eight simple squares were started and another five or so improv blocks.  Improv is a loose term, they were measured and tried to keep it symmetrical.

Post retreat the blocks and yardage were stuffed into my WIP cabinet in a plastic bag.  I had so much hope for that project as I wrote the above blog post.  Five years later, it was pulled from the cabinet and given new life.  It could breathe again.

The improv blocks were stripped back down to the charm block and the solid.  Rather than continue with a design that didn’t make sense, I wanted to go back to the simple blocks.  Simple will get the project finished rather than sitting in a cabinet.

Simple can help you finish a project faster.

During the winter IMQG retreat this year I took the blocks and created the quilt top.  From the yardage I was able to piece a backing as well.

Post retreat the project went back into that plastic bag.  This time it sat near my sewing space.  Part of my first quarter goals for 2017 is taking the time to finish some projects.  Rather than have this project taunt me, I grabbed the starch and started pressing.  Lots of starch to get these seams to lay flat.

Some franken-batting was created to use up some scraps.  The challenge from my IMQG peeps was to try another FMQ at home.  This was the project that accepted the challenge.  After some spray basting it was ready to quilt.

Rather than quilt at night when I’m tired, I went in fresh on a Sunday morning.  It was invigorating to try this new to me technique so early in the morning.  Challenge myself to break out of my go to straight line quilting.  Guess what?  FMQ went faster and was fun.

FMQ was fun.

After being washed and dried, I truly admire this project.  It has new life, it’s been rejuvenated with the help of a seam ripper.  Stuffed in a plastic bag doesn’t have to mean the end of a project.  Look at it now with all the crinkled goodness.

Pieced back with enough left over for binding.

What project do you have just sitting around?  Could you break it down to something more simple?

This quilt is now available on Etsy and ready for a new home.

3 Places for Quilty Inspiration…The Last One May Surprise You

3 Places for Quilt Inspiration by quiltytherapy

Inspiration for your next quilting project can come from anywhere.  Since my phone is with me almost everywhere I can document things as they catch my attention.  I have quite the collection from the last couple of years and I want to share with you some of my favorites.  Please feel free to share yours in the comments.

Murals

Whether indoors or outdoors, a mural really brightens an area.  I have stopped in my tracks on a run to grab a photo, like the one below.  A community center in San Mateo, CA has this lovely on their wall.

This mural is at Big Lug Canteen, a newish brewery in Indianapolis.  It’s bold and fresh.  It could be a quilt design.

Watercolor murals are sprinkled around the Indianapolis Airport.  The colors melting into each is my favorite part.  Interestingly, I think this looks like a slide under a microscope.  Thoughts?

If you have traveled to iconic spots in San Francisco you may have seen this mural.  It sits on the corner of Haight and Ashbury.  Stunning, yet I wonder what other murals may be painted underneath it?

A concert backdrop is another form of a mural.  The Decemberists caused quite a stir with this album cover.  It’s an interesting read on an often talked about issue with quilters.  It’s still an inspirational piece.  

Building Architecture

The Brooklyn Bridge may not look like much inspiration to most people.  I see stunning straight line quilting and creating that small swoop with the supporting cables.

Back on the west coast visit Alcatraz to find this rusty gem.  Again, I see some quilting details to work into a project, a wonky crosshatch.

In Key West this wall could be a quilt pattern.  I had almost forgotten about this picture until I was digging into some photos from my honeymoon.

Restaurants – especially the bathroom tile

Restaurants house some of my favorite inspiration.  Nada, here in Indy, is filled with color and stunning tile work.  This is a floor and I feel bad for walking across this beauty.

I was giddy when I saw this in the bathroom over the weekend.  Stunning.  It could be a quilt back that I would put together.  Yes, I took my phone to the bathroom.  I have missed out on some interesting tile work in breweries and restaurants without my phone.  It’s an overlooked area for inspiration and someone carefully put together the look of that room.

Speaking of brewery bathrooms, this is from one in Pittsburgh.  I would love to remember the name, but we visited five to seven breweries that day.  No way could I keep them all straight.  So much color goodness.

I had to stop in traffic in Cooperstown, NY to get this picture.  It’s greasy spoon diner we have been to a few times.  Everytime I’m drawn to the stained glass window.  Last trip out, I yelled from the back seat for my husband to stop and jumped out to grab the photo.  Worth it.

Where do you find your quilt inspiration?  Anywhere unusual?  Share below in the comments.

I Want to Stay in A Castle

This post contains sponsored content, but all opinions are my own.  

Traveling to Europe has been high on the list of things my husband and I want to do.  We discussed going there for our honeymoon in 2010, but it didn’t work out.  You can see about our honeymoon here.  Maybe for our 10 year anniversary.

With Europe’s size we have narrowed down our spots to two locations:

  • Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland
  • Germany or Austria

As we started researching and planning, I decided I really wanted to stay at least one night in a castle.  There are many to choose from.

 

Lucky for me and you, HomeAway is giving away a stay at Dun’s Castle in Scotland to celebrate the release of Beauty & The Beast in theaters March 17th.

I call dibs on this room.

Take a video tour below.

 

The giveaway is for you and 20 guests.  If you win, you’ll take me right?  Just kidding.  If you don’t win the grand prize, runners up are eligible for a week vacation at any HomeAway location.

Take a minute and sign up below.

Dun’s Castle Giveaway

 

How I Price My Quilts

Discussion on quilt pricing

Pricing quilts is often talked about among quilters.  Sometimes I share and sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t price higher, so I refrain.  On a run this week I listened to two Merriweather Council’s podcast episodes. Episode 016 and 017 really hit home and got me thinking I should share how I price my quilts.

Episode 016 “OMG. Those Annoying DIY Comments,” is something that as quilters we may see.  Oh I can just make that.  You’re right, you can.  I encourage you to create one.  That’s genuine, please do not take it as snarky.  Everyone can make a quilt, it’s a wonderful skill to learn.

There are some benefits of buying a handmade quilt that you may not think of.

  • I have cultivated a fabric collection and the necessary tools to execute a lovely baby quilt in a short time frame.
  • I can shop for my supplies in an economic way and know they that my quilts will hold up.
  • You get all the accolades at the shower without the work.

If you’re new to sewing and quilting are you really going to be happy with that first quilt?  My first quilt is horrendous and lives in my parent’s closet to prevent tormenting me when I visit.  Do you really want to put the time in shopping, cutting, sewing, and quilting only to be frustrated at the end?  Probably not.

I price my baby quilts so they aren’t an impulse purchase.  Once you’ve priced DIYing one you will see that my cost is reasonable and it’s a completed finished project.  It’s ready to ship to you right now.   Yes, $75-$90 may seem low priced for a handmade baby quilt.  Maybe it truly is.

Sewing and quilting is an outlet for me to create, not have a profitable full time business.  That is way too many quilts to create annually, I have ran the numbers.  At one point to offset my full time salary I would have needed to sell 24 sets of potholders per day, everyday for a year.  Sell 24, that means I would need two to three times that in my store daily to generate that number of sales.  It was unrealistic.

I believe every baby should have a handmade baby quilt.

At my prices it is realistic.  For that special friend or family member, my target customer is going to probably spend double my price on that baby.

I also want to build a relationship that may lead to other quilts down the road.  I want to be your quilt person.

You will find more expensive quilts in my shop.  More time and costs went into the finished product.

Episode 017 touches on market saturation.  Visit Etsy and type in baby quilt.  You will see around 94,000 options.  Buyers have many options.  Look a little deeper.  Do any stand out?  Anything that made you stop and contemplate adding to your cart?

Since the quilts are handmade, no two are exactly alike if you look close enough.  Similar yes.  Some may be producing more than one of a print or options.  However, go back to comment above, they have cultivated a collection and have fabric maybe others do not.  More than likely they are purchasing fabric wholesale, giving you a more economical finished product.  New fabric lines are being released regularly.  As a shopper you should be aware that quilting cottons in a line are usually only produced in one run.  That means if the fabric is released now it will be much harder to find in 6-12 months.

There will not be an exact replica of my quilts in another shop.  I also probably can’t remake one exactly like the one you see, especially if made of scraps.  You are getting a one of a kind product at a phenomenal price point.

Each quilter is going to price their quilts where they like.  Many have thought I am underselling myself without seeing the bigger picture or my motive.  This topic will remain a topic often discussed, as it should be.

Let me be your quilt person, see my shop selection here.

March 2017 Action Items

The word goal sounds rigid.  Now I understand why people would cringe and lock up when setting goals when I was health coaching.  My goal for January wasn’t realistic.  I was still adjusting to a new job, new location and new routine.  February was about feeling the groove and making tweaks.  Now I can focus on adding more in and having action items.

Action items sound better instead of goals.  I want to turn my focus towards my health and fitness as spring begins to make it’s arrival.  Being healthy helps me be a better wife and mom.  Healthy also doesn’t have to mean weighing a certain amount.  Rather, it means being comfortable in my skin, having the ability to go run 4 miles no problem, and not feeling exhausted after a work day.  That is my definition and would love to hear yours in the comments.

It’s been roughly two months since I started my new job.  As a family we have adjusted schedules and routines to make it work.  Most mornings I’m at work by 7:30-7:45.  It’s early, but gives me time in the afternoon to exercise and still get P.  The time is there to meet my goal as well as the motivation.  Now here comes the accountability.

My goal for March is to exercise 3-4 days per week for at least 30 minutes.

Look for #healthysewist tags on Instagram to keep up with my accountability.  There should be a minimum of 15 on there this month.  March has 5 weeks and I will start from today.  Hopefully there will be some long runs to hit this bridge on the Monon Trail.

The job change has done wonders for my stress level.  Sorry old coworkers if you’re reading this, but it’s true.  I don’t feel that I have to sew everyday as a way to cope with the pressure or to get a mental break.  My evenings and weekends are spent with the family.  Sewing has become this bonus activity to enrich my life, not balance it.  It’s a shift I didn’t anticipate.

During March I want to continue to work through some older projects and ideas that have been sitting around.  Starting in April I hope to turn my focus towards some other projects. I think you guys will like that series.

 

Fabric Budget UPDATE

As we wind down February, the budget is still in place. There are been a few purchases for my stash which leave my budget pretty low on funds at the moment.

One of my friends was purging her Lotta Jansdotter Echo stash. Ummm, yes please, all of it. Got an amazing deal on one of my all time favorite fabric lines.

A quilt shop near me is restructuring. Not going out of business, just changing things up. They have been doing an inventory reduction sale. I ventured out on the first night, wading through the crowd, and finding just a few items to add. I’m tempted to go back now that the entire store is 50% off. I’m very conflicted. Honestly, there is nothing that I NEED. Is there really anything I WANT? Doubtful.

Okay, I went after writing the above. I did find some fabrics to use. They were down to $3/yard. How could I resist?

All this for $37

The $100 fabric budget did wonders for changing my whole thought process on fabric buying. Old me would have probably spent too much money at that sale and sit on the fabric for four years. Instead I truly looked for things that I will use. That blue fabric will be backings for boy baby quilts. Black and white polka dot could go with anything. The floral prints are for pillow for the living room. Need to brighten that up this spring.

IMQG hosted their February meeting at The Sewing Speakeasy.  These charm packs called out to me with their saturated colors. An idea is already in mind for what to make. I’m going old school and creating a disappearing nine patch. If you are new to my blog, it used to be my go to pattern for a baby quilt. I haven’t made one in almost three years.

I envision something fun and bright once the top is created. Grey thread in FMQ. Maybe a vintage sheet on the back too. Speaking of vintage sheets, I was able to pass some on to another quilter at the meeting. Felt good to get rid of some sheets that I have had for a while. My husband was confused at first.

“You love vintage sheets,” he stated. “Yes, hubby I do. If I really wanted to do something with these, I would have by now,” was my reply. “Fair,” he responded.