Creative 2017 is Now in Session! Won’t you Join Me?

It looks like 2017 is going to be an extremely creative year for me. I’m only 3 days in and so far I have been working on a quilt, drawn a neighborhood home, started Joanne Sharpe’s 2017 Artful Life Class, and have a knitting project on my needles! All this… and so much more either in the design stage, or further!

The Quilt – I fell in love with Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s Star Storm pattern and have been busy choosing fabrics for mine. I am blogging about the process… so you can read all about it HERE and HERE. Deviating from the original color scheme is certainly exercising my creative brain!

Star Storm creative Fabric Selection

House Drawing – My neighborhood is an eclectic mix of homes at the Jersey Shore. From sprawling mansions to tiny bungalows and everything in between, we have it all. As I walk around I am humbled by some of the amazing homes. I want to draw and paint so many of them!! One of my favorites is one that has so much character and texture it SCREAMS for me to look at it as I pass. The stained glass window on the front door is a spider web!!! So AWESOME! Taking a break from the quilt and some computer work, I spent this rainy day finally drawing this house. I still have to pull out my water colors to finish… but that might have to wait for another day. Working from a quick snapshot taken this summer, I had to take creative license on some areas I couldn’t see well.

creative Ink drawing

2017 Artful Life Class – I signed up for this online class the moment I heard about it… grabbing the ‘early bird’ pricing. I have been following Joanne Sharpe for a few years now, purchased her books, read her articles in magazines, and have even taken an older class or two. I love her easy style of teaching… and the positive atmosphere she creates in her classes. This particular class runs the ENTIRE YEAR!!! One of the main reasons I signed up for her class was to document my life in a fun and creative way, while learning new techniques on a regular basis. I highly recommend this class to ALL of you… even if you don’t think you can draw! Seriously! Joanne makes it sooooo easy to follow her!! More information can be found HERE!

Creative Lettering - 2017 Artful Life

Knitting – In reality I have TWO projects on needles. The first is a hat for my grandson in Florida. Obviously it will be lightweight as the temperature doesn’t drop that low. It won’t take long to complete… maybe a day or two. The second project KILLS ME!!! The scarf that took me THREE YEARS of off and on again knitting… and had to be ripped out and re-started FOUR times (post of progress HERE)… was LOST!!! I only got to wear it TWICE!! I was wearing it when I hopped on the PATCO High Speed Line, and by the time I walked the many blocks to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia… it was GONE! AAACCCCKKK!!! I can only hope that it is keeping some homeless person a little bit warmer this winter, and they needed it more than me. I quickly purchased new yarn (on sale… SCORE!)… and am ready to start all over again! To satisfy my creative side, and not feel I’m knitting the same thing over again, I purchased a different color.

Other Projects – First up, I have another card table play tent to sew for my daughter’s business… Posted Fete (formally Bash Box). Last time was a Luau theme… this time it’s camping. Fun! It will debut next month. The creative design stage is complete… it’s now time to get this thing on the sewing machine. Secondly… I’m working on a super secret project due soon. As soon as I am able to share it with you, I’ll post.

Working on the computer, checking in on high school classmate’s parents, staying in  touch with family and friends, and finally eating and sleeping round out my day. The big question I have now is… WHEN did I ever have the time to work full-time job????

Here’s wishing you a happy and creative 2017!!!

 

 

Star Storm Quilt Making and Helpful Hints Continues

The Holidays have finally wound down and I’m ready to dig in to this Star Storm Quilt!!! What am I talking about?? Catch up by reading my previous Star Storm post HERE. The adventure into using a quilting pattern continues.

I have read, and re-read the Star Storm pattern directions. My head is swimming, but I think I understand the process. It’s time to choose fabrics!!! Fun!!

Oops… not so fast. To fully understand this pattern I decided I had better cut and tape the pattern together. Unfolding the large paper patterns freaked me out with all the lines… veering off in all directions! Some were solid, others were dashed, and some were BOTH! Circled numbers were all over the place!! I took a deep breath in and slowly let it out, grabbed my scissors and quickly came to the conclusion that this wouldn’t be so bad. After all it was only paper… if I made a mistake I could always tape it back together.

Star Storm Pattern

It wasn’t bad at all. The Star Storm pattern was clearly marked with where to cut and where to tape. Keeping ‘even’ with ‘even’ and ‘odd’ with ‘odd’… and ‘A’ with ‘A’ and ‘B’ with ‘B’ is all I had to do. The crazy numbers and lines running all over the paper don’t come in to play until later.

Back to choosing the fabric!! Yea!!!

Rummaging through my stash I pulled all the fabrics that screamed BEACH to me. Oh, and I pulled all the neutrals, purples, greens, and yellows for Bonnie Hunter’s mystery Quilt Along while I was at it. Hey, that’s great time management… right? Back to the beach fabric! Concentrate!!! Once gathered, I pulled out any fabrics that were glaringly out of place, and assessed what is missing. The vision in my head wasn’t jiving with my fabrics. If I had my way I would simply go out and purchase all new beautiful fabric. Alas, my wallet doesn’t agree with that logic… so I re-thought the vision in my head to align with the fabrics in front of me.

Unless you want to drive yourself absolutely crazy… stick with ‘all over’ patterns on your fabric!!! I disregarded many of my chosen fabrics because they were too linear, heading in the wrong direction, or worse… on a diagonal!! I already had one wide stripe fabric, adding another would have competed.

I came to the conclusion I needed one or two accent fabrics to really make this Star Storm quilt POP! This is where the line divides a designer from a hobby quilter. If I were a designer I would have bolts of my own fabric line to choose from, cut a strip and audition it. Not good? Choose another strip from another bolt. As a hobby quilter I needed to stop the design process and hop in the car to drive to my local quilt shop… in my case it’s an hour drive! Even with swatches in my hand I found it difficult to choose the two accents. At $10 and $12 a yard I really wanted to be certain I chose correctly!

How much yardage to purchase?? Great question!!! I’d love to say, “Just purchase 2 yards of everything you like,” but that isn’t practical. Before leaving for the store I did a little calculating. Laying out my fabrics in the order I THOUGHT I would use them, I scrutinized the photo on the front of the Star Storm pattern and guessed at the placement I needed the accents to be… then followed the recommended yardage provided. Needless to say, once I got home and really laid things out, I was a little off the mark. Sigh.

I don’t have a design wall. More accurately… I don’t have a blank wall to PUT a design wall. My small bungalow was built in 1918 and between an open floor plan, the free-standing fireplace, windows, windows, and more windows… I only have ONE blank wall, and that’s where the TV was placed. So I use my floor to design. It’s not perfect, but all the bending over keeps me active.

Star Storm Fabric Selection

I cut 2 pieces of each fabric measuring 4 ½” by WOF (width of fabric) and began to lay out the strips for color placement. I urge you to really LOOK at the star pattern on the front cover and understand WHY the design WORKS! Pay close attention to where the bold fabrics versus lighter fabrics are placed. Trying to capture a real beach feeling, I chose fabrics to represent sand, water, shells, and sunset. My breath is always taken away with a stunning sunset, so I decided the fullest star shape would be of that fabric… then worked around from there. Sadly, the fabric I purchased to represent mussels didn’t make the cut. Oh well… I’ll have to use that fabric in something else. I also realized I didn’t have enough fabric of another one I purchased… but was able to pull a co-ordinate from my stash.

Also take note of the use of coordinating fabrics in this design. If each ‘round’ were the same fabric, the quilt wouldn’t be as interesting. I encourage you to ‘mix it up’ a bit!!

At this point I feel my Star Storm quilt is headed in the right direction, but am not 100% satisfied with my color placement. It’s time to walk away, and wait ’til tomorrow for a different perspective. I’ll keep you posted as I continue my Star Storm adventure.

Want to check in more frequently with my progress??? Follow me on Instagram @uniqueandnovel… using #debsstarstorm.

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.