Badlands Quilt Talks!

We have all known that quilts tell stories, but did you know they are able to talk too? Some even SHOUT! My Badlands quilt is a screamer!

Way back in the early 90’s when my children were very young, I thought it would be adventurous and educational to drive cross country in our brand new minivan, following my sister-in-law and her two kids back to their home in San Diego from our home in New Jersey; just two adults and five kids, visiting the National Parks and camping along the way. It was a trip of a lifetime with many wonderful stories to recount 30 years later.

What I remember most about that trip was how awed I was with the Badlands. Visions of wagon trains pioneering through that beautiful yet treacherous terrain made my head spin. Set with perseverance and determination quite a few of them made it through to the other side. Many others were not as lucky.

Speed ahead thirty or so odd years to the summer of 2017, and I find myself back at that very same spot, and just as awed as the first time. Except this time I am alone, with only the ghosts of the trails to keep me company.

I began this cross country trip for two reasons, one to spend some of my retirement years enjoying all our country has to offer, and two, more importantly to arrive in Seattle for the birth of my grand daughter. Driving, listening to books on tape, pulling over for any interesting attraction that caught my eye, and marveling in our vast lands were the only things on my agenda… until I heard a voice while staring off into the Badlands.

It was quiet at first. It was female, she was humming contentedly, rhythmically as if keeping in time with a hand quilting project as the wagon swayed with the pull of the horses. Immediately I felt the urge to make a quilt.

The odd thing about this decision was that I was already collecting fabric on my travels. I had no intention of doing so, but the moment my car crossed the New Jersey state line into Pennsylvania I made the conscious decision to stop each day at a locally owned quilt shop in whatever area I was in, not to purchase fabric necessarily but more to soak in the talent and creativity of others. OK… so who am I kidding, what quilter can walk into a quilt shop and not buy at LEAST a FQ (that stands for a Fat Quarter to you non-quilters)?

Normally I gravitate to bold clear colors and lots of graphic design elements like polka dots and stripes, with bright white backgrounds as I am considered a ‘modern’ quilter. However, at this particular moment I chose to purchase some creams and tans with small tone-on-tone florals. Recently while flipping through a quilt book at a friend’s house, I had seen a quilt with those colors and took a quick photo for future inspiration. That vision stuck in my head as I paid for the fabric.

Now, a few days into my trip and another fabric purchase of tans and creams tucked into my trunk here I am standing in the Badlands with this woman’s humming in my ears and the urge to make a quilt. So guess what I did? Yup… I made a quilt.

It wasn’t easy. I felt like a pioneer woman with no pattern, no idea other than a photo from a book in my phone, no rulers, rotary cutter, self-healing mat or sewing machine. All I had was a pair of small scissors that I keep in the car for emergencies, a pencil, and a few pamphlets of where I’ve been. That night in the hotel I pulled out my fabric and meager supplies, and began forming a plan. Folding and cutting the pamphlets I made a rough pattern, drew around it with my pencil, and began cutting the fabric, little tiny snips at a time. It was laborious!

By the time I got to Seattle the quilt had been cut out and was ready to be sewn. Thankfully I gifted a sewing machine to my daughter-in-law for Christmas a few years back. Working around the joyful delivery of my grand daughter, tiling the floors of the condo, and dog sitting 2 big black dogs, I was able to sew the main top of the quilt together, in addition to the half square triangles needed for the border.

Each time I made a mistake, noticed a wobbly seam, or ACK sewed a fabric backwards, the calm female voice told me to leave it alone. “This quilt is not supposed to be perfect. It’s meant to have all the lumps and bumps and mistakes. Keep on sewing, don’t stop to fix it, just enjoy it”. Let me tell you how stressful that was! Really? To see a mistake and NOT fix it goes against every fiber of my being!!! Doesn’t the voice know that we current day quilters are JUDGED by other quilters and THEIR standards??? I sighed and continued calmly on.

Packing the quilt away in the back of my car, I headed straight home without another thought. Five days later I tossed it over the back of my sewing chair where it has happily stayed, until I got the flu four months later.

Feverish, achy, coughing, and fading in and out of consciousness, the quilt began to speak to me.

“Hey, wake up, I want to be finished”.

“No”, I said to myself.

“Yes. Now”.

“No. Go away”.

“NOW! NOW! NOW! I want to be finished NOW”!

“Ugh”.

It took three days, but I hauled myself up off the couch long enough each day to sew a little bit at a time finishing the border. Laying it down on the floor and placing the border around the edges I stepped back to take a look at my work. Something was wrong. The quilt looked sad. It wasn’t speaking. Maybe it was just this stupid flu playing tricks on me. I went back to bed.

The next morning the quilt was still on the floor, looking sad. I kicked the border around a bit and I swear I heard the quilt giggle. I moved the border around a little more creating an off center kind of thing, and again I heard giggles, then laughter. YES! The border was the problem; it was too predictable, too traditional, too planned. With a few more snips of the scissors, a couple of new seams, and turning some upside down, I recreated the border and sewed it on. I now have a happy quilt.

Happy Badlands Quilt

All that’s left is the actual quilting and binding. I’ve got the binding under control… it’s the quilting part that’s speaking to me now. My original plans were to hand quilt the entire piece, just like the women on the wagon trains did many years ago as they passed through the Badlands… but this quilt is insisting on being a bit more current day and wants a hint of machine quilting along with the hand quilting. Ah…. She wants it all! Typical female!

Check back while the story continues as the quilt gets ready for the ball (Quilt Fest) in April 2018.

Happy Quilting!

Deb

O!M!G!

Helllloooooooo…..

It’s been so long since I posted a blog that I totally forgot my password… AND how to even WRITE a post!!! LOL!!!!

I’ve been using Instagram (#uniqueandnovel) for the past year, and automatically linking to my FaceBook page (Facebook.com/deb.hunter). It’s fast, easy, and INSTANT.

Well… I’ve been doing so many new things lately that you might be interested in seeing, and require more explanation than just a photo and caption. So it’s time to dust off this blog, update it a bit, and get back to writing!

Some of the things I want to share with you is, my adventures in learning how to marble fabric, taking a year long art journal class by Joanne Sharp, my travel quilts, cooking disasters, mixed media with my new Cricut Explorer, and sooooo much more!

Thanks for checking in while I’ve been gone, and I hope you continue to follow my escapades.

First up… I’ll be writing about my ‘Standing at the Shore’ quilt… and working with a local long arm artist. Check back in a few days for the full story!

Here’s a sneak peek…

What’s my next BIG project? A Star Storm Quilt!

It’s time to kick my quilting UP a notch… and make a quilt for myself!

My usual way to design and sew a quilt is to look at a pretty picture and say, “I can make that.” After a few hours of sketching, calculating, scrabbling through my stash, and making a run to my local quilt shop… I’m ready to sew. Scissors snip, fabric flies, the sewing machine hums. It’s a beautiful thing.

That’s when I’m in my happy place, barely coming up for air. My insulated TERVIS glass is filled with Lipton’s Berry Tea and ice, and placed AWAY from the machine and fabric! The thought of food is secondary, as I only stop sewing when I feel faint with just enough energy left to pop something in the microwave.

Now that I seem to have more time to sew these days, I don’t feel I have to do everything all in one sitting. Soooooo… I”ve decided to make my very first quilt just for ME, and to plot, plan, and take my time making it.

My next quilt project! Victoria Findlay Wolfe http://www.vfwquilts.com

I fell in love with Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s quilt STAR STORM. I actually GASPED when I first saw it. I just KNEW I had to make that quilt to hang over my bed, but in different colors. So while in NYC yesterday I stopped by her shop and purchased the pattern… and some fabric 🙂

Although I am considered an Intermediate to Advanced quilter, I am a total beginner at using patterns. I’ll admit, a bit of panic set in as I read through the 5 pages of instructions. Then I unfolded the oversized paper templates… all four of them. EEK! There is even a sheet of paper ‘tags’ to label each strip of fabric so as not to get confused. Here I was, staring down into a design that came from someone else… not me. What an eye-opening revelation!!

“OK… I can do this,” I say to myself. The first thing to do is to change the color palette. Although I LOVE the bright colors of Victoria’s quilt, and her fabric line… my home is more ‘beachy’. I have decided to replace the bold black and white stripe in the design with the same fabric, but in tan and white. I kind of wish her pattern came with a black and while line drawing so I could audition specific colors of my own. I guess that’s where I’ll begin my project… drawing and sketching, just like I do with my own design.

I plan on posting my progress as it moves along at it’s own pace. If you care to follow how it’s going, feel free to check back here about every other week or so. You can also follow me on Instagram… @uniqueandnovel. Use hashtag… #debsstarstorm to see my posts.

How’s the BOOK coming??

“Soooo… Deb, how’s the book coming?”

I’m beginning to hear that question more and more… and more and more… and more and more.

My socially accepted answer is, “Well… it’s coming along.” However the real answer is… It’s difficult to write about such gut wrenching things at times so I have to put it away for a while just to re-group. AND… I don’t have an ending.

My Story

Every story has a beginning, middle and end. The reader needs a little background, then a conflict (or train wreck), the ‘ah ha’ moment, a solution and a happy ending. Well… I certainly can fill everyone in on the background. The train wreck writes itself. Struggling through a life I didn’t think I could handle is really tough… and sorting out my thoughts at that trying time and the way I handled some situations is the difficult part of my writing. Although through writing about it I am STUNNED at my strength.

That’s the time I put the writing aside, and sooth my soul with a creative project. I’ll begin a quilt, a painting, read a book, or grab my camera and take some photos… and get totally sidetracked, forgetting there’s a book partly written waiting for my return.

Then there’s also the problem of not having an ending. My book is a memoir. I’m still here. I can’t honestly say I have a happy ending. I’m still plodding through life the best I can… just like you. What kind of ending is THAT? ZZZZZzzzzz.

Talking with a friend in ‘the biz’ the other day convinced me where to end my story, and why. It makes sense. I now have a target. My story arc is complete. I now have the vision I need to continue the story.

So… if you see me in the real world, feel free to ask how’s it going. If I give you a vague answer, I give you permission to stare me in the eye and tell me to get back to my desk!

*If you are new to this blog, or don’t know what book I’m trying to write… click on the tab marked ‘sneak peek’ for a sample.

 

On my nightstand: The Book of James by Ellen J. Green

On my sewing machine: Finishing my grandson’s room decorations… and FINALLY got around to sewing my Christmas Quilt top (there’s always next year). Christmas Quilt In Progress

On my drawing board: Designing 25 Cheap Dates ‘Life Calendar’ for my Etsy Shop

Are You Ready for Some Football???

Philadelphia-Eagles-logoAre your ready for some football??? Uh… no, not really. However, one of the most extraordinary trips of my life revolves around football.

It’s 1998. Although my husband is exhibiting signs of some kind of illness, he hasn’t been diagnosed with ALS as yet. All we know is that ‘something’ isn’t right… but symptoms aren’t bad enough to consult a doctor. He is weak in his arms and although he walks miles a day for exercise he seems to be tripping often.

This whole fun vacation began with an excited phone call from my brother-in-law. Apparently he was friends with some guy named Tommy McDonald who has just been nominated into the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Not only that… but this guy Tommy had extra ‘family’ tickets to the event and offered them to my brother-in-law. He asked us to go with him.

Well… my husband went CRAZY!!! Tommy McDonald??? Woo! Hoo! Does life get any better than this??? He was sooooo excited!!! Tommy McDonald was one of his most loved and revered players of the Philadelphia Eagles football team from ‘way back when’. Me? Not so much. I had no clue who this guy was or what he meant to not only my husband, but so many other football fanatics.

So it was decreed that our summer vacation was going to be a trip to, of all places, Canton, Ohio to participate in the Football Hall of Fame ceremonies. Oh joy (not). Our son was only 12 years old and therefore was not given a choice… he HAD to come along. Our girls however were old enough to make their own decision… and even though I tried my very best to bribe them with a shopping trip for an entire new wardrobe at a local mall in Canton, they would decide to NOT join us. Sigh. I would be the only female on this totally testosterone filled trip. I was less than thrilled to be spending my only summer vacation driving to, of all places… Canton, Ohio.

Early morning of July 30, 1998 the three of us took off for Ohio with me at the wheel of our Subaru. We arrived late afternoon with me still less than enthused about this trip. I guess this is what marriage is all about. Clearly my husband wanted to go to this event… it meant a lot to him. My son and I could have cared ‘two figs’ about it. As a matter of fact I packed a knitting project and bathing suit assuming I would have two whole days to sit by a hotel pool and work on a project. Oh… how wrong I was!!!

As soon as we arrived we were given a packet of information, which included an itinerary of events and a special badge. It was a ‘family’ badge allowing us into private parties meant only for families of the nominees. Whoa!!!

My brother-in-law met us in our hotel room. Once the ‘hellos’ were over we decided we were hungry and needed to find some place to dine. While those two chatted… I read the packet of information. “Uh, guys??? I think our badges get us into a private party for the inductees, their families, fellow players and coaches. Going on RIGHT NOW!”

“No!” my brother-in-law shouted.

“Yes, I think so”. I replied.

Excitedly we all read the information again… then immediately took off for the party.

Totally prepared to be turned away at the door… we surged on any way. Sure enough, we timidly flashed our badges and security guards magically allowed us entry into the most AWESOME football party of all time!! We felt like celebrities in our own right as we walked past football fans lined three deep along the sidewalk hoping to catch a glimpse of football giants, in hopes of getting an autograph… into the inner sanctum of football nirvana.

Once inside my husband and brother-in-law’s jaws dropped as they hobnobbed with players and coaches up until this moment they have only seen on television. It was all lost on me. Instead I located Tommy McDonald’s family to thank them for allowing us to ‘horn in’ on this most momentous family occasion. They were all so sweet and accommodating.

We were treated as royalty as the festivities continued with special bus transportation to the annual parade down Main Street, seats in the VIP Grandstand, Private seating in the VIP tent with lunch (where I engaged in one-on-one conversations with soap opera stars… whom I didn’t know, but my friends SWOONED over when they found out), and a dinner in a convention center where some football star whose name I can’t remember sat at the head of the table and the night’s festivities was hosted by the one and only Chris “Boomer” Berman.

Our special badges also gave us priority seating at the actual Induction ceremony… second row in fact. I sat in awe as I looked around at the THOUSANDS of fans corralled behind the fence on the hill behind me. Any one of them would have cheerfully paid me thousands of dollars to have my seat at this event. *Side note… I also attended a World Series Game in 1969… Mets vs Orioles…private box seats… where I would have gladly given my seat away to any of the THOUSANDS of fans more deserving than I. Any way…

The sun was beating down on us that searing summer day in Ohio. It was HOT and becoming most uncomfortable. Tommy McDonald’s family was near by as well as the families of the other inductees… Paul Krause, Anthony Munoz, Mike Singletary, and Dwight Stephenson. Oh, and WHO sat directly in front of me blocking my view because of his height and presence??? None other than a football player I actually HEARD of… Harold Carmichael!!!! I only knew his name because he was a fellow Eagle’s player. Since our family ‘bleeds green’, I was excited.

Once the weekend was over, I looked back on it and realized that although football wasn’t my ‘thing’… I had a wonderful time. Mostly because the McDonald Family was so nice and friendly, in addition to making us feel welcomed… but also because I felt like royalty being included into the ‘inner circle’. Also… it was a trip I wasn’t thrilled to take… only doing it for my husband… yet finding I had a fabulous time after all. It was such a surprise!!!

Soooooo… am I ready for some football? Nope. The Eagle’s games aren’t broadcast here at the Jersey Shore… unless they are pit against the Giants… or are Monday Night’s game. I’m not interested in any other team.

My husband passed away 8 years ago from ALS, but that summer weekend in Canton, Ohio as a pseudo family member of Tommy McDonald was a bright highlight in his life… and therefore in mine also.

Fresh New Look!!

I know it seems I haven’t been posting much lately… OK, I HAVEN’T been posting ANYTHING lately… but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working hard.

First off… I’ve been diligently working on updating the look and feel of this site. It was too ‘stiff’ for my taste… and ‘corporate’, so I’ve switched it up with a fresh new watercolor background and header, making the site more ‘me’. This change is in keeping with my NEW GREETING CARD LINE!!! I have my very first design at the printer’s RIGHT NOW! I should be able to proof it in a few days… and showcase it shortly. Until then I’m keeping the design ‘under wraps’… and leaving you guessing.

October 11th is fast approaching… and that means BELMAR BOOKCON is right around the corner!!! I have been reading, and reading, and reading, and vetting self published authors like crazy to bring the very BEST new and original books to Pyanoe Plaza in Belmar, NJ for the day. If you missed it last year… shame on you… and hope you can make it this year. Stephanie Evanovich ( I KNOW!!!) is our keynote speaker!!! We are soooooo excited!!! More information can be found at www.belmarbookcon.com.

My brain needed some creative release… and so I took up crocheting super cute OWL HATS!!! It all started with my daughter asking me to crochet one for my grandson’s Halloween costume this year. Well… I’m totally hooked (pun intended) and can’t stop making them! Owl Hat

Aren’t they the CUTEST??? Currently I am taking orders. They come in ALL SIZES… even ADULTS!!! Send me an email if you would like me to make one just for YOU and I’ll send you the size and price sheet.

In my spare time… (yeah right) you can catch me procuring and selling books for RECYCLE YOUR BOOK HEREexperimenting with IMPROV QUILTING so I can teach a tutorial for my local quilt guild JERSEY SHORE MODERN QUILTERSdesigning greeting cards and ADVENT CALENDARS, traveling, babysitting for my adorable grandson, and trying to sleep. YAWN!!

I hope you all had an enjoyable summer and are loping forward to a breath of fresh air this fall season!

Deb

 

 

 

 

Quilt of Valor Under Way

Last month I announced my commitment to produce 4 quilts for donation to Quilts of Valor… an organization presenting returning warriors with a hand-made quilt as a small token of thanks for their service. You can find that post HERE… along with the links to Quilt of Valor and Houses for Patriots.

My plea of help was graciously answered by two high school classmates!! We have chosen a design, I am drafting the pattern, and a shopping trip for fabric is planned.

Quilt of Valor design

Quilt of Valor design

This all could not have been possible without the generous monetary donations received by an ANONYMOUS DONOR (Really! I honestly have no clue as to who dropped cash into my mailbox marked for the quilt) and TREATS BY EILEEN (read about my meeting her at Barnes & Nobel HERE).

Bonus points to Treats By Eileen! Her donation arrived via Priority Mail in a box filled with treats!!! Oh so yummy!!! I loved her newest creation… Pink Salt Chocolate-Cashew-Craisn Granola… O!M!G! Delicious! One thing I forgot to mention in my blog post about meeting her was… her comment that her being successful and loving what she does… allows her the freedom to donate to causes near and dear to her heart. I am THRILLED beyond all joy she chose my commitment to Quilts of Valor as a worthy cause. Thank you Eileen!!!

Treats by Eileen

Treats by Eileen… Donation for Quilts of Valor AND treats!!! Oh my!

Thanks also to my anonymous donator. I hope you are reading this post because I want you to know I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were the first to donate and got this project off the ground. Thank you for believing in me and supporting my dream.

I will never forget the generosity of strangers… and the helpful hands of my classmates from many years ago. Together we will do some good and spread love and warmth to those who served our country and fought for our freedom.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!!

Book Expo America Here I Come!

I just signed up to attend the Book Expo America in NYC this month. Why is this so exciting? Head on over to my Unique and Novel site to find out why!!!

Book Expo America

Book Expo America

*Yes, I run another website, which to be honest has not received much attention lately. However… that is about to change. I have finally decided on a direction and will post to it weekly. It’s all about BOOKS! I will tell stories about the authors, publishers, readers, book clubs and so much more. Book reviews, unique gifts, affiliate links, and other recommended bloggers and sites will be showcased. Join the fun!!! Head on over to www.uniqueandnovel.com and sign up to follow… or check out our Facebook page!

Woo! Hoo!

 

Donation Quilting. I Need HELP!

A few years ago a friend insisted my quilting ability was a marketable skill. I have since realized very few people are willing to pay the going price for a quality quilt. Each lap sized quilt takes on average 50 hours to complete and costs about $85.00 in materials and supplies. If I charged a fair hourly rate of $20 an hour… I would have to charge just over $1,000!! It makes my stomach ache just thinking about it. Yes, my quilts are worth it… after all they are true family heirlooms, but I found I gain more pleasure in quilting for charity.

My Grandson's Forever Quilt!

My Grandson’s Forever Quilt!

 

Over the past two years I have mailed out over a dozen quilts anonymously to families hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Using fabric from my personal ‘stash’ kept the costs down. However, at my own expense I purchased the batting and backing fabric. Just because I was donating these quilts, I didn’t skimp on quality. I still insisted on using the best of everything.

My goal this year is to complete 4 quilts for the QUILTS OF VALOR program. All donated quilts are given to a wounded warrior to be wrapped in love and warmth. In addition, I would also like to contribute 4 quilted wall art pieces to THE HOUSE QUILT PROJECT presented to returning wounded warriors. Both causes are calling my name!

I anticipate the QUILTS OF VALOR donations to cost approximately $100 each in materials and shipping and the HOUSE QUILT PROJECT donations to cost about $30 each. Is there any chance you (or someone you know) might be willing to help defray these costs?? I would be forever grateful!!! Please contact me for further details. Anyone donating $100 or more will get their name added to the quilt label and journal that goes along with the quilt.

Donations can be made through PayPal (use the email address of deb(at)uniqueandnovel(dot)com), or by sending a check or money order to my home. Please contact me for information. Oh, and YES… you can donate ANONYMOUSLY in cash (believe it or not I’ve had this happen once).

If for some extraordinary reason I receive donations above what is needed to complete these 4 quilts and 4 wall hangings… I promise to use the funds to continue on and make more quilts for donation.

All donations and progress will be notated on my blog in a monthly post. I intend to make these items no matter what! With help, without help… no matter.

If you would like to help design, cut, sew or do any ‘hands on’ work, please contact me via email: deb(at)debhathaway(dot)com. I will send you my timetable for you to tell me when you are available. *This is a perfect opportunity for those of you wanting private quilting lessons… For FREE!! If you don’t live near me, it is still possible to help by sending items via snail mail, however YOU will be responsible for all postage to and from me.

If you would like to donate batting or backing… please contact me FIRST. I am very particular about the brands and quality I use. FYI… I am frugal in my purchases and LOVE using coupons, however I have PLENTY!

I can not accept donations of fabric at this time. I only use top quality quilter’s cotton from reputable independently owned quilt shops. Besides, until I design a pattern, I have no idea how much of which fabrics I will need. But thanks for thinking of me!

If you really want to help, but don’t have the time… feel free to buy me a cup of coffee to keep me going!!! My favorite ROOK coffee costs $2.35… I drink a regular size Honduras with cream and sugar… oh and a chocolate croissant or a bagel is a nice touch 🙂

Please check out the sites for QUILTS OF VALOR and THE HOUSE QUILT PROJECT and see why I’m obsessed!!

If you have any questions, please comment below or send me an email!

Thanks in advance for your support!

Deb

 

 

Adventure with Creativebug

“I won!!! I won!!” read my Facebook post last August. As a devoted reader and follower of Meg Cox and her Quilt Journalist Tells All newsletter and blog, I entered her contest with the fabulous prize of a 6 month FREE subscription to an instructional craft site… Creativebug, and…. I WON!!! Without further rambling… here’s my review and thoughts on my Adventure with Creativebug.

I never win any thing, so imagine my surprise when I got the email from Meg Cox with the good news! For you folks who are as crazy about quilting as I am, go check her out. She reports all the happenings in the quilt world, not to mention in addition she’s the author of two great books, The Quilter’s Catalog AND Family Traditions. You need to have both of them on your bookshelves.

Any way… I won the honor of running around the Creativebug website for 6 whole months… for FREE!!! Be still my beating heart. This site is a crafter’s dream come true. Taking classes at your own convenience, in your jammies, with all of your own supplies at your finger tips. I also like that you can sit and view the class, then think about your project, gather your supplies, then watch the class again and actually make the item this time.

We had a harsh winter here in the Northeast, and I was delighted to be snowed in to spend as much time as I wanted to try my hand at a new craft, brush up on one I was rusty in, or just view one I wanted to learn ‘how they do that’.

I was bowled over with the quality of their videos and the knowledge of the instructors. Some I had never heard of, but trust me when I tell you Creativebug sought out instructors that are tops in their field. Come on! Kaffe Fassett teaching me quilting in my own home???? SWOON!!! Beyond my wildest dreams!!!

While stalking the site I was amazed at the wide selection of techniques offered. No craft is off-limits, and there is something for every one at every level. As a beginner jewelry maker, I viewed the class on making wire links. I dabble in journaling, so my pens and markers got a good work out following one of Creativebug’s journaling Work-A-Longs. My mother was a sewing instructor so I learned that skill as soon as I could reach the throat plate and the foot pedal at the same time, yet I watched the classes any way… and still learned a new tip or two.

My favorite classes on the site were the ‘Work-A-Long’ classes. They are more intensive classes taught over a four-week or so period. Not only did I learn more from this style of teaching, but it creates a ‘habit’ and makes me continue with this craft once the class is finished… oh, and it gave me something exciting to look forward to, AND (I am sure this is what the marketing gurus at Creativebug were hoping for) this style of class had me click on their site more regularly.

I found the classes to always be fresh, well produced and top-notch. New classes are added on a regular basis, so I was never bored. There was always something that interested me.

Now that I’ve told you how much I LOVED the site, let me take a moment to tell you what I didn’t love. There were a few hiccups when viewing a course, like not buffering, or freezing right in the middle of something, or the PDF of materials not downloading. Although those issues were annoying, I found them to be few and far between… plus easily rectified.

My major complaint was when my FREE 6 months was finished, but my Top Down Raglan Sweater was not. That’s when it dawned on me I didn’t actually OWN the class and therefore could no longer access it… without becoming a paying member.

I contacted Customer Service via email to ask if that is how the process works… and instead of getting a direct answer to my question, I was instructed (in a very upbeat and friendly tone) to upgrade to the premium subscription where I would have access to ALL classes. I hadn’t decided to continue the subscription as yet, so to me it kind of felt like it was a hostage situation… “Pay up, or you will never be able to finish that sweater”.

I replied, “So I’m guessing the answer is no? You can’t re-visit a class you have already taken once your subscription is up?” It took Customer Service 11 days (almost two weeks!!!) to reply… and I quote…

“Unfortunately, in order to watch the premium classes you will need to pay for the premium subscription. So you are correct. You cannot revisit classes once your subscription has expired. I do apologize for the inconvenience.

However, you do not need an account to access the free content we have available. If you wish to become a Premium subscriber, you will be granted unlimited access to our over 200+ workshops, for a small monthly fee.”

Now all of this might not seem so bothersome. After all, I have plenty of projects that aren’t finished, and I can find another way to use the left over yarn… HOWEVER… I was a bit taken aback when I went on to the Creativebug site this morning to gather information for this blog post to find THIS…

“We are very excited to announce that Keep Classes Forever has gone live on Creativebug.com!” 

Arrrggghhh! And guess when this was posted??? One day BEFORE Customer Service replied to me. Not that this new feature would be able to help me with my situation, but if they really wanted me to continue my subscription, that information would have most likely turned my indecision into a resounding YES.

Oh… and one more little bit of info that would have been the icing on the cake would have been to inform me about the lower monthly fee!!! Originally they were charging $9.95 a month… which has now dropped to $4.95. Don’t ya think THAT should have been mentioned in my email??? Instead I found out about it on my own. If I weren’t posting this blog today, I never would have visited their site again… never would have known… and most likely would never subscribe. Now I have food for thought.

Here’s the BOTTOM LINE…

Did I learn a lot?    Yes. Great videos with talented instructors.

Would I recommend Creativebug to others?    Yes. I am so thrilled with their classes that I am joining their Affiliate Program. Please check back in a few days to use my link to join them.

Do I think it’s a good deal?    Yes, now that the price has dropped. Plus there are a lot of FREE classes you can take without subscribing.

Am I going to subscribe?    Hmmmmmm…. Still undecided… but most likely yes. They just added a calligraphy Work-A-Long that looks enticing… PLUS I’ll be able to finish that damn sweater.

TIP: I would suggest you schedule a specific day and time for viewing and mark it on your calendar. You would be amazed at how quickly a week (or two) can zoom by without allowing time for crafting. At the new low price of $4.95 a month, if you schedule a class once a week, the cost per class works out to $1.24 each. You get a WHOLE LOT of quality instruction for less than a cup of coffee!!!

To start your Adventure with Creativebug please click on their logo on the right sidebar. They also offer a 2 week FREE Trial!!!! Click on the words 2 Weeks FREE in the side bar.

Have fun!!! And remember to ALWAYS create something special!