Thursday, July 29, 2010

Looky Here!

Exciting news (well, for me anyway!) The strike-off's for my first fabric line are here! Strike-off's are like a "trial run" from the mill- they print a small piece of each fabric (about the equivalent of a fat quarter) and we look at them and decide what changes need to be made before all of the yardage is printed for the stores. How thrilling to see my name on the selvedge of my very own fabric line:
Sewing Room Social will be in stores in October. Yay! I can't wait!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Don't Know If You're Ready for This....

A little while back the family and I watched "Whip It" on DVD- a very cute movie about a teenager (played by Juno's Ellen Page) who falls in love with roller derby. There were great names like Babe Ruthless, Smashley Simpson, Rosa Sparks, Eva Destruction, Maggie Mayhem and Iron Mayven (who are all on the derby team the Hurl Scouts). It made me want to be a Roller Derby Queen. The excitement, the glamor... I laid in bed that night, trying to think of what my roller derby name might be.... I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep until I thought of just the right one... and then it came to me. "I've got it!" I said to my husband. "What?" he said, half asleep. "My roller derby name!" "OK" he said, just wishing I'd shut up. "Do you want to hear it?" I asked.
"Are you ready?"
"Dharmageddon. It's perfect, right??"
"Yeah, go to sleep."

And then, a very funny friend of mine, who is a Photoshop wiz, made this:
Perfect, yes?? (Yes, that's my face on some roller babe's body.) I have to tell you, when I saw it, I just laughed and laughed and laughed.
My daughter Sam has decided on Samonella as her Roller Derby name.
So now, I need to know- what is your roller derby name??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fabric Design Process

I am currently working on my next fabric.You might think (as I used to!) that you can just sit down and start painting. Oh no! I put lots and lots of planning into a design before I ever start painting. It starts with some sketches and ideas regarding a theme, motifs, etc. Then I figure out how I will lay out a fabric panel that is 24" wide (or long, depending on how it's laid out). There are endless options, and it involves math, which is not my favorite thing. When I have decided upon a layout for the panel (in other words- is there a border? 2, maybe 3 borders? do they run parallel or perpendicular to the selvedge? what is the height of the border? how many and what size are the square and rectangular images in the panel? how will the consumer use these components- use the whole thing as a wall hanging or quilt without cutting it apart? cut out the individual components and piece them back together in a project?) Here is the panel I designed for the Sewing Room Social line:

So after figuring out exactly how the panel will lay out, I sketch the different components out on watercolor paper with pencil. Then I procrastinate for a while (which is what I'm doing now...), because once I add the ink, which is permanent, I can't make any changes without starting completely from scratch on a new piece of paper- and that's a pain. Adding the ink is a fun step because the drawing becomes "cleaner" and seems to come to life. But I want to make sure that the drawing is ready and doesn't need further tweaking before I proceed.

I paint out several colors and start deciding- which red? Two reds? Do these greens work well together? I write the name of the color next to each swatch that I paint, because there's no way I'd remember- especially if I mix colors. And I might have a particular paint color from 2 or maybe 3 manufacturers, so I write that down, too. So, for example, I might write Green Earth + Naples, or W&N (manufacturer Winsor & Newton) Indigo. I also have to consider how the colors will need to be broken down for the screens when the fabric is manufactured at the mill. For example, if I know that a particular fabric panel can have 18 different colors, I have to figure that out too. So that means that my blue will have to broken down into 2 or 3 shades of blue, to get the watercolor effect on the fabric.

So when I am fairly kinda somewhat sure of my palette, I start painting. There are usually several drawings, so it takes awhile to paint. Designs for the coordinating fabrics are sketched out, such as floral repeats, stripes, etc. and painted.

Then I scan the paintings, or portions of the paintings, and import them into Photoshop. I pull colors out that will be used for the coordinates. I play with the colors and coordinates on the computer, and after many many hours, everything (the paintings, the Photoshop files) gets shipped to the fabric company (in my case, Henry Glass). And then I hold my breath until they call or email to let me know that everything has arrived safely.

Then there will be about a thousand emails and phone calls between myself and the design director. There is still a lot of work to do! But at this point I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. It will be many months before I actually have the fabric in my hands....

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Bunny Named Buttons

My new project, "A Bunny Named Buttons", is featured in Australian magazine Creating Country Threads Vol.10 No.10. It is a wall hanging project with machine applique, a little hand embroidery, and grosgrain ribbon, button, and seed bead embellishment (lots of texture and interesting things going on here.)
Look for it in your favorite quilt shop!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have a new free pattern available here on my website. You can use it for a stitchery, applique, painting project... (Don't you wish sunflowers really grew this tall?? Now THAT would be a garden...)
Speaking of gardens... mine looks terrible. I'm afraid I've neglected it this year, haven't given it the care and time that I usually do. But the bumblebees still appear to be happy:
As do the caterpillars (they've eaten up almost every last leaf of dill, it's interesting to watch them just chomp away...) I believe this guy will become a black swallowtail butterfly, so I let him help himself to my garden:
Daughter has been working on her own garden- fondant roses for a cake she is making:
How does your garden grow??

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blue Plate Special

Proof that even leftovers can look spectacular if you plate them the right way.... take yesterday's leftover chicken, cappellini, and lone asparagus spear from dinner at the new Italian place, plus a little tomato and basil salad fresh from the garden... arrange on $2 turquoise sandwich plate found at flea market a couple of weeks ago..... voila! Lunch is served.
(and yes, it was delicious the second time around, too...)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Antique Heaven

When daughter and I walked into this antique store, we looked at each other with giddy amazement....
Row upon row....

Stacks upon stacks....
Bits and pieces of history everywhere...
Doors and Mantels and Windows, oh my!

The place is called Oley Valley Antiques. I'm not an antiques expert by any means, but the prices seemed a little high to me. However, that is probably where that bargaining/negotiating thing comes in (I'm terrible at that- just tell me how much the thing is!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Flea Market Fun

Next week I will post more photos of the antiques we found on our outing. We also, quite by accident, found an outdoor flea market last Saturday. We ate fried fish and ice cream (not together- eewww!)

We found a booth with these darling little painted wood cut-outs:
I bought these because they are going to look soooo cute in the beach house:
I also got this, and even though it's not quite the right red to go in my family room, I like it enough that I am willing to redecorate in order to accommodate this piece:
(I will make this confession to you- I have had stacks of old windows like this in my barn for years and I have been "meaning" to do just this- put quilt blocks from antique quilts in them. But I have yet to do it, so I thought that $45 was a very reasonable price to finally get what I want....)

Visit the etsy shop for Berries in the Meadow here and visit their blog here, email
Better yet, you can go to their "Folk Art on the Farm" show on Friday and Saturday (July 3 & 4) from 10 am till 5 pm. (928 Broad Street, East Earl, PA 17519)

Finally, happy anniversary to hubby, thanks for 21-derful years...


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