What better way to start of 2017 than with a blog Hop? There is nothing, if you’re one of the Island Batik Ambassadors. We have a new year, a new theme, and new designs with which to entice you.
We’re ringing in the New Year with New Beginnings – our ways to use what we received in our Ambassador boxes last fall…these fabrics are available in your quilt shops now!
This is the last organized event for the class of 2016 Island Batik Ambassadors – and we’re a large group. We’ve got several posts planned on most days – we’re grouped by collection. I can’t wait to show you what I have planned (literally, show you…stay tuned!), but my post isn’t scheduled to go live until Wednesday, January 25th, when I get to talk about working with the Surf and San collection.
Island Batik wants our readers to share in the fun of the blog hop – they’re sponsoring a giveaway as part of the blog hop. Just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter box below, and you’ll be entered to win one of two fabric bundles that are being given away as part of the blog hop.
Happy First Monday of January! My wish for you is that this year brings you health, happiness and peace. I don’t know that we really can ask more from life than that anyway.
I am not in the habit of looking backwards (I’m not going that way), but I thought I’d start the year off by sharing with you an exercise I go through at the end of each year as part of my goal setting exercises…I empty my jar.
My I did It Jar – a gift from an old friend.
This jar was given to me by a good friend, and when you have a notable success in the year, you write it down and deposit it into the jar. At the end of the year, you take out the notes and review your accomplishments.
I have a bulletin board here in my space which I use to keep track of projects, prospects, generally anything I need to keep track of. When something is completed, I put it – the good and the bad into the jar – so this keeps me on track with both the highs and the lows of the year. It’s also a good tool to have when you’re looking ahead to next year’s business plans.
I will look back at 2016 at a year of innovation – some things worked quite well, and some things did not pan out. I don’t feel that I was spending the year standing still – and certainly not in the last half year. I’ve already put some changes into place for next year that I’m quite excited about – and I’ll be happy to talk about that next week.
Stars over snow covered fields
Just when I thought that I had all the information I needed from 2016…I received a very nice email from the folks at the Vermont Quilt Festival, indicating that my quilt entry into the show was featured in the newest issue of Simply Moderne magazine from Quiltmania…I do believe that I hit the eggnog early when that email came in. A very nice unexpected high note to end the year on.
The pages from 2016 will be put into a time capsule so that I can empty the jar out and pave the way for 2017 successes. I would love to know how you keep track of things?
Follow up to the last giveaway – congratulations to Lori Morton, Susan Stanton and Beth Burnett for winning the prizes. Lori’s prize is already in the mail to her, and I am hoping that Susan and Beth will contact me soon…I’d love to get their gifts over to them.
This month’s theme from Island Batik is to celebrate the season of giving in our own way. The blogs that have been posted throughout the month have shown me innovative ways to interpret the theme.
We are celebrating the holidays this year with a new family member, Weezy. Weezy is a 6 year old rescue cat that came to live with us through the local humane society, and she’s settling in here nicely. It is nice to have an assistant – now if she would just leave my printer alone!
In the process of adopting Weezy (and having met Nan Baker, another Ambassador this year at Market), I became much more familiar with the work of our shelters, and for this project, I wanted to give back to our local shelter. Last Friday night, I headed to open sew at our local quilt shop with strips in tow.
You can make a pet bed for a cat carrier with little fabric and less time…they really whip up quite easily, and I knew that they cats will need all the help that they can get in the cold weather.
In each of our Ambassador boxes, there are usually extra odds and bits of strips of fabric…which coordinate nicely when you put them together.
I took this set, which wound up measuring about 12 ” x 18″, and paired it with some batting scraps and some flannel for the back. It literally took very little time to make this – so I made some more…
OK…there is one that’s a little off kilter in that photo – please don’t tell the cat. Tomorrow morning, these are heading to my local shelter (which always posts a need for old sheets and blankets) to keep some kitties warm on the way to their new home.
Thank you, Island Batik for sponsoring this monthly theme. Merry Christmas!
The dictionary defines a connection as a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else. I believe that there are far more things that unite quilters than that separate them. I’m sounding a bit like Carrie Bradshaw here (ok, in my own head!), but why do quilters need labels of any kind? Why is there a competition – which is as old as the revival itself – instead of a lifting up of all things quilting? The celebration of all things quilting (without labels) was what we attempted to do last month at the Connections Quilt Festival in Nashua.
Apologies for the bluurry photo
We had antique quilts, hand quilts, modern quilts, art quilts, newbie quilts as well as quilts which have won awards – and at least one that was a magazine Cover Girl. We truly had something for everyone, and we had a lot of people come through the doors.
The quilting base in southern New Hampshire is very used to having a show at this time of year, and we were hoping that by reaching out (far and wide), they would come and find us. Our show was an open call for quilts of all kind – we didn’t set out to incorporate either a juried or judged process this year.
The response was fantastic,and several of the quilts illustrate links – whether they were across the miles, across the net or across the generations. There were a few antiques, and several handquilted as well…I always love to see that!
The show found many friends along the way, some in our own backyard, and others from across the quilting industry. One of our earliest friends was Mary Wilson Kerr – who I met first through Facebook, and then I had the opportunity to meet at the Maine show in person last summer. Through that connection, we were able to bring in the Dare to Dance Exhibit, a group of 30 art quilts made around a central theme. Marianne (the show’s founder) and I had the chance to travel to Market, just before Connections – and she and I had the chance to meet Mary there and congratulate her on her newest exhibit, Twisted.
In fact, keep reading…I have a giveaway opportunity for you this week! Mary donated an autographed copy of the book which accompanies Twisted to this blog. Twisted is an exhibit which showcases modern quilters paired with vintage quilts…and the book is eyecandy for quilters everyone. The information for how to win is listed at the bottom of this post.
We had wonderful support from the teaching community about our concept, and we are grateful for that feedback, even when tight timeframes made logistics difficult. Pat Delaney of Crabtree Lane Studio was our teacher this year, and she certainly set the standard for years to come.
Another set of friends of the show included the talented group of designers who work as Brand Ambassadors for Island Batik, along with me. Even with the crazy busy schedule we all have at this time of year, we were able to pull together an exhibit showcasing the indivual talents of the group. I have to say, I’ve met some of them personally, but most of them through the net only. Their quilts in person were absolutely amazing. If you didn’t get the chance to see the show in person, here’s a slide show of their quilts!
But what made this show so special to me was the support of the quilters from all avenues! They came, they shopped, they offered encouragement (and suggestions, we have a list!)…and they connected with each other. They were kind, respectful, generous (oh, my stars…thank you to each and every one who volunteered your time to help make this first show a success. It literally does take a village to pull something like this off! )
Our first show date fell over Veterans Day, and we reached out early to the Quilts of Valor organization to see if it was at all possible to have them with us. As it turns out, even though Veterans Day is their single biggest day for presentations in their calendar, they believed in us so much that they moved things around so that they could say yes.
This is the Mass Coordinator (and big ball of love) Darlene Coit making a presentation to John, the partner of one of our vendors. He had been around quilters a lot, but this came completely as a surprise to him. Very moving to witness.
There were many tales of connections that weekend – and I’m sure some I missed as I tended to the needs of the show. My name tag said Jane of All Trades (and trust me, it fits!). I can tell you that as I was witnessing one of the wrappings, I went over to offer a shoulder to his wife – it turns out she gave me a big hug – It’s me, Marian – from Facebook. One of my most active fans who I had never run into in real life. And yes, I have tons of those memories!
So wrapping this up, and putting the giveaway out there into the Universe. To win the autographed copy of Twisted, please leave a comment below answering the following: what is your favorite handmade holiday keepsake (it doesn’t have to be a quilt). I’ll select the winner and post it in a special blog post on Wednesday, December 21st.
In the meantime…there’s 13 days left – are you done yet?
Post edited on 12/18…I’ve added more swag to the giveaway
I’ve added two more items to this; winners will be picked from the comments below. The first item is a Threadcutterz, one of the hottest items when I went to Houston. This is the product that was pitched on Shark Tank; – it started life as a tacklebox item for fishermen, and was adapted to out industry. It’s great for travel, or for working with children – you can’t cut yourself with it, but you can sure cut your thread. One size, and one color fits all. I’ve been using mine since I got home.
And if you’re looking for some help designing your quilts – I have something for you as well – a set of QuilTiles, courtesy of Kits by Carla out of Monckton, VT. This is a great way to play with different shapes and colors, while sitting at a table instead of playing online…and like the thread cutter ring, it’s a great tool for working with children. It’s a great tool for expanding your designing techniques. I know you’ll enjoy working with this.
Sometimes, its the simplest things in life that get you going on your journey again. My apologies to those of you who are struggling to read the latest sticky note in my planner – this is going to be my easy to remember, fall back position as far as working the plan goes.
This came out of my participation in the ICAP program’s challenge last week, titled Creative Passion to Profits. It was a great experience to participate it – it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these – and it was as hard as I remembered. But it feels good to have done it.
The challenge was a week long exercise in looking at your business, and your art. To be sure, there were some common themes – and balance is one of them. Fear of putting yourself out there – which apparently is something many of us worked on – is something that comes and goes with me throughout the creative process. Right now, I’m struggling with it – because I have 2 new projects hitting all at the same time (and guess what- it’s terrifying to bring a new pattern to market!).
That leads me back to the sticky note. In my case, the fear of sharing my art manifests itself in chaos and clutter. Time to instill a little discipline and get on with it. This will become a series of blog posts as I struggle to see what I need to work on to keep those demons at bay.
Which brings me to an interesting question for you (and even though there’s no giveaways involved, I’d love to know the answer to this one.
What challenges are you facing creatively…and how can I help you?
This is a 5 day challenge that sponsored by the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals – designed to get our art out there. #CreativePassiontoProfit #Day1
The Day 1 Challenge – Why do I create?
There’s a portion of my being that craves the outlet that playing gives me. It’s the playtime aspect that appeals to me – the chance to retreat to my oh-sew-beautiful sewing room and create something just for me. Can I figure out the technique? Can I make something that I think is pretty?
I’ve joked a lot about Fabric Therapy in my travels – but it’s a real, concrete thing, and there are no calories involved. The creative force in my life as a child were my aunt and my paternal grandmother. Neither were quilters, but my grandmother did crochet and knitting, my aunt did cakes and I remember putting small glass pins into soaps in her living room on a lot of Friday nights.
True confession time – I struggle (as in I really don’t like) the paint and sip trend that is so popular. My sister loves it and is a really beautiful painter and artist. I find it extremely frustrating that I don’t like it, but it is what it is.
As an adult, I looked to counted cross stitch and embroidery before finding my first quilt shop. About 5 years ago, I cleaned (under the guise of reorganizing) and purged my room so that only the quilting related toys remain.
I tend to run to the bright colors and uncluttered designs that are so clean now.
Here is a picture of the quilt that I like the best from this year – new pattern being released this week…
The description above could apply to either my next project, or how I worked the Island Batik September theme – which is bountiful Table toppers into my workplan this month.
Bountiful Table Toppers
Table toppers are a quick way to update seasonal decorating, and they also work up quickly as a finished project. This month, my husband will be celebrating his 50th class reunion, and I had indicated that I would donate a small item to their auction table. When I received the notice that month was going to be Tablerunner month – I immediately informed him that the West High class of 66 had just won the lottery.
There are times that Island gives us very specific fabric instructions to work with, and there are times it’s much more open ended. Given that this was sort of an Ambassador’s choice, I elected to dip into my stash of blues to come up with something that was made in their school colors…blue and white. It’s a good thing that I had plenty of colors to work with…
I wanted to work with their color scheme, but I wanted something that would also work fit in with a number of decorating styles. It was a simple design made by using my wedge ruler, and the straight line quilting worked well with it. The reunion committee was pleased, and I’m anxious to see how popular it is later this month.
The well worn yearbook behind the runner is the color inspiration for this one, but I can easily see it in a red and white for Valentines day, or fall colors would also work.
Welcome to the first day of September…or as I like to think of it, my day to play in the Seaside Summer Blog Hop from Island Batik. I am working with the same colorway that Kissed Quilts is using today on her blog…it’s time to Splash! This colorway makes me smile… I can’t wait to hang this one in my studio.
Keep reading this, because there are two giveaway opportunities here for you.
The fabrics of Splash!
I had a very hectic schedule this month – more so than I usually do; I worked two events (18 consecutive days!), and even with some advance planning, this quilt wasn’t finished until about 9:30 last night. I had been able to piece the top of the quilt in July, and I even got the binding made…so while I was dashing in and out, this happy quilt was on my design wall. Waiting…
My inspiration for this piece came from a Nancy Zieman video on you tube, found through surfing on Pinterest. I was drawn to the clean lines of the design, and I see this as colorful pennants hanging at a beach house. Or swimsuits. I have shown sketches of this to a shop owner who carries many of my patterns, and she loved the idea of the quilt…but she wanted the construction done through precuts. This quilt can be done using a layer cake precut- with yardage serving as the background fabric. The pattern is being written now.
This quilt is about the size of a large wall hanging, although the pattern design can easily be scaled up to a full size quilt. The amount of negative space in this quilt scared me – I did more sketching and doodling on this pattern than on almost any other quilt I’ve done. Not to mention the new machine that needed a good hard run.
At one time, this quilt was going to be called Car Doodles, but I want the name of the pattern to relate to quilt. So here’s the first giveaway…a charm pack (Island Batik calls them stamp packs) of the Splash colorway to the quilter who gives me the best name suggestion for the pattern. Please leave your comment below…winner will be drawn on Tuesday, Sept 6th and the winner notified by email.
The second giveaway is via the Rafflecopter widget below…there is a giveaway being hosted by Island Batik – enter below for a chance to win some of the fabrics that you’ve seen on the hop.
The last ingredient that we were asked to put into this blog post was a special summer recipe. Going last has its’ advantages…I’ve been reading recipes all morning long. In the summer, I love a good Caprese salad, and this crowd sized version comes from AnnsEntitledLife.com on Pinterest.
Cucumber Caprese Salad Recipe
A beautiful and delicious take on a traditional Caprese Salad, this Cucumber Caprese Salad Recipe is a perfect side dish with steak, burgers, turkey legs, barbecue chicken and more! Easy to make, this Cucumber Caprese Salad recipe is loaded with sweet, fresh vegetables. Try it today!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
• 2 TBSP Olive Oil
• 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
• 1 TBSP Dried Oregano
• 1 TBSP Dried Basil
• Dash Salt
• Dash Pepper
• 1 Cucumber Peeled, Skin Scraped w/Fork and Sliced Thin and Diced
• 1½ cups Cherry Tomatoes quartered
• 8oz Fresh Mozzarella
• ½ Large Red Onion Diced
• In a small bowl mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, dried basil and a dash of salt and pepper; set aside.
• Peel washed cucumber, scrap the skin with a fork up and down a few times. Slice thin and dice. Add to a medium sized bowl.
• Quarter washed cherry tomatoes. Add to the bowl with the cucumbers.
• Thinly slice and dice your red onion (of you do not like onion, feel free to omit from the recipe). Add to bowl with cucumbers and tomatoes.
• Slice mozzarella into bite sized pieces (or use pearl sized mozzarella balls). Add to bowl with cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion.
• Pour marinade over vegetables and cheese; mix well.
• Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Hi. It’s Monday, and it’s the debut of the newest blog hop from the Island Batik Gang! This time, we have a common theme of the beach, and we’ve been given carte blanche to use the theme as we see fit. You’ll also see other aspects to the hop – including some of our favorite summertime recipes.
We were grouped together by fabric collection, so on any given day, you may find two blogs hopping, each using the collection in their own creative projects. If you’re a shop owner, and you carry Island Batik in your shop, these blog hops offer you the opportunity to link to our blogs of your site, highlight something that you like – and create instant content for your customers! (If you’re not currently carrying the line in your shop, there’s a sales link off the sight to correct that!).
I’ve been working on something very special for you for my portion of the hop, and I’m loving what’s on my design wall right now. I can’t wait to share it with you.
The blog hop kicked off today with Marlene Oddie’s table runner (and new pattern) over at Kissed Quilts…This looks like a quick and easy project for you, and something that would make a great gift. You can start the blog hop there, and then come back often for the latest ideas on the theme.
Believe it or not, there’s been a flurry of activity over in Ambassadorland within the last week or so. The last several projects that we’ve done have been group roundup projects – we have a common theme (or technique) and then we work our individual projects around that. Last month – besides books, babies and bundles from the home office…we celebrated Christmas in July, Island Batik style.
I have to say…we are a creative tribe. If you’re looking for techniques, or ideas for gifts….this could be the best blog post you’ve read this morning.