Archive for the ‘marbling’ Category

In Retrospect – Year 2 of Retirement

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I’ve been retired now for two years. Last year on the one-year anniversary I took a look at what I accomplished for the year. I was afraid of looking back on retirement and not seeing anything to show for it. So I tracked everything this year. The last four months have been pretty fallow, as I struggled with some personal issues, but I feel like I am finally reclaiming myself. All in all, I had a pretty productive year.

SAQA quilt submitted to major show

SAQA auction quilt submission

continued blogging

Tried out Tophatter, gave it up after some really obnoxious feedback from an a-hole, who actually burned my quilt

Newsletters for 10 out of 12 months

Wrote a dozen blogs for Handmadeology

Remade hubby’s blue quilt

Participated in the free motion quilting challenge through the end of the year

Yoga instruction throughout the year, including pretty regular daily practice

Completed two more table runners for Momma BettyTableRunner4

Completed Stepping Stones table runner

Completed “Clammin’,” a small art quilt up on Etsy

Completed pattern and two samples for the table runner pattern

Sold “DesertScapes”

Machine-quilted the Forest quilt

Machine-quilted two bed-stand table-toppers and one dresser scarf

Worked at stocking and marketing the Etsy store

Took a Quilt University class with Elizabeth Barton

Finished Spring Wall Hanging

Guest post on Craft Gossip

Finished makeover of small Christmas quilt

Pictures in Martha Stewart Weddings, Spring issueMSWeddings

Quilted Ali’s green picture

Participated in three challenges for Art Quilts Around the World

Took two Craftsy classes

Joined Galleribba online gallery

Potentialgallery  representation starting fall 2013 in Tubac

Participated in StashFest again this year for the La Conner Quilt Museum

Submissions for three books, one accepted, the other as an ebook

Green and purple whole cloth quilts completed

Started commission of 7 quilted chakras, finished Root chakra

Completed two bed-stand table toppers and one long dresses scarf

Accepted into the juried Faculty/Staff art show for The Art Institute of Tucson

ArtShowAI

There are probably a couple more, but the mind has been kind of blank. It’s nice to have this list, so I know I accomplished a lot! Now I have to start the new one for year three.

Thoughts of NOLA – for Cousin Barb, Victoria, and Anne

This is my blog post for the “carnival” theme for Art Quilts Around the World.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this piece. I made the fabric the beginning of January, and so it sat until two weeks ago. I had an idea of what I wanted to do – free motion along the design. Here’s the initial fabric.

In the past when I have quilted through the design on the marbled fabric, I always have been really pleased with the results. This time not so much. I evidently have learned a huge amount about focal points and movement within a piece. I did two quilting motifs; the first one was a basic outline to enhance the flow of the marbled pattern.

I liked this, bit I realized it needed more definition. It seemed boring. So I tried increasing the quilting around the nonpareil portion of the pattern.

Once that was completed, I was even more dissatisfied, so I tried a bit of a free motion “feather” along side each part of the pattern. DID. NOT. LIKE. IT.
So it sat for a week while I pondered, talked it over with hubby, and tried to think it through. I guess that’s why it’s called a challenge, which I definitely need to push me further. So I decided I would need to cut it up…………..which I’ve never done before…………………….

It automatically started looking a lot more interesting. I finished the pattern pieces and liked the finished result.

I then had to think about how it was going to go together. I had all these separate pieces and had to think how to best connect them and make it an element of the overall design. At this point it seems kind of like a stained glass window, so I auditioned thin fabric strips for the leading. I figured I could use fusible on the back of the strips. Not a single color worked. Every strip looked like it had just been stuck there and wasn’t an integrated part of the design.

I have always liked the effect of satin stitch, so I tried a bit on a piece of left-over quilting. Dark green Superior Brites gave it just what I needed. Fitting the pieces together was a bit of a challenge, but…..all those years of watching This Old House made me realize I could scribe the pieces to get the circle measurement for the center. I outlined all the sating stitch and border with some Superior Razzle Dazzle, trying out some bobbin work for the first time. It definitely sparkles in the sun.

And – best part – the piece now had a story to it. I have always imagined that Mardi Gras was one long assault on color, looking out a hotel window at all the revelers. I thought of my Cousin Barbara Jean, who as a first responder was taking care of others during Katrina and had to start over herself. Two of my cyber friends, Victoria and Anne, have very fond memories of New Orleans, and I thought of them as I finished this off. From these three folks, I hope I have some idea of the carnival aspect of Mardi Gras. Cousin Barb, this is for you.

Thoughts of NOLA – for Cousin Barb, Victoria, and Anne

Making Vs. Marketing

Aside from being under the weather…and seriously behind on the February newsletter….I am confronted with the dilemma most artists face at one time or another: time for making and time for marketing. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time either at the machine or at the marbling tray. When I do that for any length of time, I begin to worry about other aspects of the business. But when I spend too much time on marketing, I worry about not being at the machine. Right now I have three pieces basted, two commissions to design, and about four other ideas begging to get started, and about 50 fat quarters that need to be marbled for StashFest. And…a new machine to learn, so I can expand some of my ideas, as well as finish some Craftsy classes to begin dyeing and wax resist. These are not just for me to play around; I really want to see how I can take the marbling in some totally different directions.

But then I also want to finish the two e-books and three patterns I have started in order to build up the passive income for the business. I haven’t felt the need to do a brain dump…I know exactly what needs to be done and what the deadlines are.  And I’ve had requests for an online digital marbling set of sessions, so I want to pursue that.

I compare it to taking breaks for reading. Sometimes I just need to slow down, so I engage in a lot of reading, until I am drawn to something at the machine that tells me it’s time to change gears. I’ve been reading Patricia Cornwell’s series, and it’s getting kind of grim, so it is time to move on to other book genres. Plus, I just want to feel healthy again….after a series of multiple sneeze fits today, I’m not sure I’m totally out of the woods in terms of being sick. Frustrating, but I will persevere.

I finished the instruction book and dvd on my new machine, so now I’m going to splurge and make a stitch sampler as I try out the new baby. Good way to spend a Friday night!

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Morning…….

Why can’t I stay caught up on my blog reading? Which I really enjoy, and I get so many cool ideas, but then other things get in the way, and I get behind, and then I feel bad….of well, just delete the 75 items from Rachel Maddow and the 138 from Al Jazeera and move on from there…….

Marbling in the big tray this morning – and tomorrow morning – first time in over 2 years we’ve done really large pieces. We have orders for some, and when the Martha Stewart article breaks, we will be (hopefully) doing a lot of ribbon pieces. We’ve had to totally reconfigure almost everything in the house to make this work. The studio is changed around, the sewing table was totally cleaned off and reconfigured, so we could move the machine easily and set marbling combs on the table. The ironing board holds all the paint. The set tub in the garage works nicely – hot water on demand (unlike the rest of the house…). We’ve got the drying racks in the garage until we are done, and then the fabric goes into the dryer. The Kitchen counters are cleaned to hold the small table ironing board for quick wrinkly pressing. My table I do my school work on is cleaned off for a cutting boards now…and hubby woke up realizing he needed a LOT more carrageenan for tomorrow’s session. The idea being if we’re going through all this, let’s get the most use out of the session as we can…….But everything is working really well.

I watch Project Runway, and most times I have no idea what I would do with the challenge….except last night as we were watching the unconventional challenge, I had ideas….for the hardware. A really cute metallic vest. Hmmmm…..what does that say about my design sense?

I hate commercials – they’re just so…so….commercial. We don’t need that stuff. Too much conspicuous consumption. That said, I am buying a new sewing machine tomorrow, a Brother, with 90 decorative stitches and a basic alphabet….for less than $200, because I am waiting until it is on special. I started sewing on my mom’s 1000-pound Singer, bought a sewing machine within the first week of landing on Maui for my first teaching gig, left it with the drama department when I moved to Vermont, bought a Singer with “stretch” stitches that I passed to my mother-in-law, who sold loads of doll clothes for the grandkids. I bought a “computerized” Singer machine that had a lot of bells and whistles, and on which I made my husband’s first – and only – leisure suit. Twelve years ago I bought my Bernina workhorse 1008, and a used Bernina serger, and ended up selling the last two machines in a yard sale. I LOVE my Bernina workhorse, but it has extremely limited decorative stitches. My work with the marbled fabrics is taking me in another direction, and this is about all I can afford at this point, so, in the immortal words of Tim Gunn, I will “make it work.” Phew……

I do tend to believe in conspiracy theories – you will never convince me there was not another shooter on the grassy knoll. That said, I’m wondering about the Pope. I think there’s huge amounts of back-stories on him that are just now being hinted at. Dan Brown could have another interesting “Angels and Demons” if he wants. I want to know how the Hitler Youth played into his background. Granted, the church teaches about forgiveness, but inquiring minds….and just what is the Italian government after? The Catholic church will never be able to do enough to wipe away the stain of sexual abuse…..well, maybe making a woman pope would do it…….

I told you I would be rambling. Each time I take a break from the marbling process and sit here, something else is floating through my head…….

I seem to be falling behind on lists and blogs, and yet I am getting stuff accomplished. I finished a whole cloth fmq as a commission for a friend, and it turned out wonderfully. I have three other pieces backed and ready for the machine. The website has the ordering page done for the ribbons, I am staying up with college algebra teaching, and yet I don’t feel organized. I am meeting deadlines – two books in the works with some of our work, for example. But I am bogged down mentally. Part I am sure is not being back at yoga on a regular basis, and not getting the home practice of yoga back to daily. Too much sugar is definitely affecting moods. I want to travel – and I don’t want to have to wait until July to take off. Lately I seem to be really missing Hawaii – and New England, although not the snow and cold. Evidently I just need to “go with the flow,” as I am getting things done…..but the damn Autumn pattern is still not complete……………………………………

Monday Marketing

Trying to get caught up on all the endless marketing things to do…..I took a look at the Etsy store and updated what was needed, pinned a bunch of fabrics (until Pinterest wouldn’t take them), tweeted them, and renewed a few expired listings. Most of the Etsy work has been turned over to hubby. Now we need to increase our sales!

Also got some pins and tweets up regarding ebay, so we will see the difference in hits and if there are any sales. When I do this on ebay, I usually tweet half the items so I can see the difference in traffic and if it leads directly to sales.

The crunch is on to prepare for StashFest at the La Conner Quilt Museum in April – we are marbling more, and we will soon get into gear for twice a week. We plan to set up our really large tray in mid-February for larger pieces and special orders (we have a couple in the pipeline).

Fabric of the Month of January is up on the website, as well as a special offer for subscribers in the newsletter. We’ll see if this leads to some sales.

With the end of the month on Thursday, I am curious to see just how I did on my list of goals for January. I know there are a couple I won’t get to, but maybe……I will have a lot of time on Wednesday and Thursday, so maybe……

Upcoming: 2 potential book deadlines, where our fabric creations will join others; Martha Stewart Weddings mag to hit the stands with our ribbons spotlighted; possible licensing in the works with some of our patterns…and that’s just through March.

How’s your marketing going?

8-0-1….801 Posts – Oh My!

Wow. I have written 800 blog posts since I started some years ago…..January of 2007. I figured I’d keep the blog just for posting with the Photoshop class I was taking, but I’ve come to really enjoy writing and reflecting. Like a diary, which I could never seem to do when I was younger. But now I can look back, see how my art has grown, reflect on different pieces. It is amusing to see some of the very beginning Photoshop pieces:I was pretty thrilled with that first attempt….little did I know what I still needed to learn about layers!

This next taught me a lot about luminescence, even though I didn’t know it at the time!

I really liked the examples I first posted some 6 years ago. I look at tyhem now and see that part of why I liked them was that they really showed some of the principles of design. I just didn’t know it at the time.

I’ve also been able to document a lot of our marbling through the web page, and I do need to do more of that, since we are building our audience significantly. That said, here’s a look at just one of the pieces we turned out on Tuesday this week.

Putting the layers of paint on the carrageenan size:

Starting the pattern with our personally-made “high tech” tools:

The nonpareil pattern – a very traditional pattern created after about four previous steps:

Looking at the pattern from the back side, after the fabric (on orange Kona cotton) had been laid on the size:

Here it is from the front:

It’s been a good week!

Works in Progress….or Works That are Finished….

Yes, I am finishing things, some of which I can’t show yet, but I do have an “oldie but goodie” from the far past, from at least 25 years ago…….this is an afghan I made of a teacher colleague for her first child. She sent me a picture a few weeks ago, and I can picture exactly where I was in Phoenix making this little bear. The bear has now been passed on to a grand-child, so it’s good to know Bear won’t be lonely. I didn’t have a picture of this, as it was WAY before I started documenting my work. So thanks, Ann, for sending him along to me!

Also completed and never photographed (and needs to go under “early quilts” on the website) is my purple quilt – a really original title. This quilt happened in several stages. First, I did the basic blocks as part of a different quilt I was trying to design. There were 9 blocks, 5 of one design and 4 of another. Probably five years after originally making the blocks, I sashed them and then added a very geometric print for a border. This was the first time I actually started mixing some prints with the marbled fabrics. I did some beading, but I probably need to go back and re-do because I certainly didn’t do the beading well. What I particularly like is the secondary design in the blocks, where the marbled fabric actually looks like it is swirling.

Another completed project – the dresser scarf for hubby, based on what I’m learning in the Craftsy class with Cindy Needham. I may decide to take the serged edging off and replace it with binding to eliminate the curl on the edges. But it has been a great practice piece. Now I need to finish mine…….

I love how the cathedral window quilting works with the hand-dyed fabric.

This next is a work in progress, a type of self-portrait, but my own distinct version of it. Think of “marbled end pages of a book.” More to come the end of January……

This is a snapshot of a quilt completed for a customer, where the quilter did this A.MA.ZING. quilting. I can only hope to aspire to this level of free motion quilting….from Green Fairy Quilting. You have to check out the blog and see all the close-ups……drooling…….

It’s Monday…….

So it’s Monday, and I am slowly recovering from a bad couple of weeks. It’s been busy with family stuff, none of it pleasant, and a lot of creativity and art-making has been non-existent. I have been sleeping a lot, and unfortunately my appetite is seriously out of whack. I’ve done a lot of reading, because there is no effort involved there.

But as of today I think I might be surfacing. When we were marbling last week, I had some new ideas for marketing fabric for the start of the new year, so at least I started thinking in the right direction. I also have a new commission for the spring, work for StashFest at La Conner in April, and – our big news – marbled ribbon that will be featured in Martha Stewart Weddings in the March issue. I delayed saying anything until we knew it was absolutely definite, and today we confirmed all the final details for the magazine. We marbled lots of ribbon that will evidently be used for boutineers (and a few other things) in their issue. So that is really exciting. There will be a link on the front page of the website in February  with all the details.

There are a few loose ends in finishing up the website, the patterns….so I am slowly getting back into lists and accomplishing items. At the same time I signed up for two Craftsy classes. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Cindy Needham class, and I have been trying a lot of ideas on the one dresser scarf I am working on. I also signed up for Jane Dunnewold’s dyeing class, and hopefully I will start some of that in January. It is so hard to believe that December is more than half over. Since September, the days just have seemed to fly away.

On a final note, I am glad I wasn’t teaching today and having to answer questions about the shootings at Sandy Hook. I don’t think the majority of the population realizes just how much of a “first responder” teachers are. We have to answer the questions sometimes way before the parents….and sometimes when the parents won’t. September 11 was horrible all around. January 8 in Tucson – that Monday morning was draining, and then when the Westboro Baptist folk said they were coming….well, trying to deal with teenage brains that aren’t ready to make rationale decisions, it was a week that took way too long to recover any type of normalcy of operating. We have to have this discussion about guns. I am not saying ban the guns. That’s unrealistic. But stricter regulation would go along way, much like we do with automobiles, licensing, driver’s tests. I just can’t stand seeing anyone else die needlessly, especially little children.

 

Thinking about the Shopping Surge….

CYBER MONDAY – 50% off all fabrics, 20% off all artwork in our Etsy shop.

Cyber Monday is tomorrow, and I think I am ready…Etsy is loaded with fabrics, and I have a few more art pieces to get listed this evening. In the meantime, my mind is going to the last couple of days and what I am learning about trying to take advantage of this gift-buying weekend. I did a blog post for Handmadeology about getting ready, but it never made it up in time, so here’s what I was thinking about preparing for Black Friday and ensuing Madness:

Get Ready –

1. Send a newsletter, even if you haven’t sent one at all, or it’s early for your next newsletter. Ours is going out a week early, several days before Thanksgiving with the holiday specials. We did this – haven’t checked stats yet because I’m waiting for the end of Cyber Monday. The sales pitch for all three sales was at the bottom of a pretty newsy newsletter….maybe it needs to be on the top, but I feel uncomfortable with that.

2. Decide on your specials. Internet marketing shows folks love deep discounts and/or free shipping. This latter is usually the easiest for us, but be sure to specify if it is continental US or some other limited range. Black Friday was 20% off anything on the website, plus spend $40 and receive a free pattern. Saturday was free domestic shipping off the website. Nothing Sunday, but I will change that for next year, as that’s what I saw a lot of retailers doing. Sunday will be 50% off any fabrics on Etsy, and 20% off artwork on Etsy. Have not seen a spike in visits.

3. Have products ready for shipping. Check for : care codes, package supplies, postage scale (we finally bought ours today), custom slips, tracking slips, padded envelopes – anything you can think of that you will need for shipping. Think about various combinations of items you could sell and be prepared. All of this is set. We do carry-over from other events, and we pretty much have this down.

4. Check website, blog, Etsy store, Redbubble – any place you have product to sell. Are the sites ready? Prices set? Postage listed? Pictures up? Any descriptions need to be changed? Discounts added? Interesting comment from a website visitor – why no pictures by the samplers? I added a rationale about two years ago, but now I think I need to come up with something that closes the sale.

Get Set –

1.  Make sure your Friday and Monday are available for taking online orders. Printer ink? Paper? Not a problem – ready to go for tomorrow.

2. Consider sending a brief reminder newsletter on Friday morning reminding your subscribers about the sales. Consider doing the same reminder for Monday. Been using Promotesy to send out reminders on Sunday for Monday. Need to think about “how much is too much.”

3. Have blog posts ready to go announcing your sales Run one on Thursday evening, and then run one Sunday night for Cyber Monday. Did this for Thursday and Friday, and this is the one for Sunday night. Cyber Monday is already to go.

4. Have something on your website announcing your sales. Have a link directly to your products to make shopping easier. Did this (for the first time) on the front page of the website, with links.

Go –

1. Send confirmations of orders and give customers an estimated shipping time. Done.

2. Send out a brief email when you ship to let buyers know their package is on the way. Thank them again. Done.

3. Wrap carefully. Check Paypal for confirmed addresses, and if not confirmed, email to be sure the address is correct. Done.

4. Consider giving a small percentage of your profits to a nonprofit for the holiday. eQuilter has done that successfully – over one million dollars donated. We’ll be way under that, but it’s a very good feeling. Once we know a total, the check is going to Tucson’s Ben’s Bells, a nonprofit representing kindness.

CYBER MONDAY – 50% off all fabrics, 20% off all artwork in our Etsy shop.

Black Friday Sales!

WHAT’S ON SALE TODAY

Here’s what’s on sale at Marble-T Design TODAY only. Sale ends at 11:59 PM Mountain time. Add some marbled fabrics to your stash, to your new projects, or give to a friend.

EVERYTHING on our website, including art work, on sale at 20% off. Spend $40.00 and receive our Table Runner Pattern FREE! After your order clears, we will email you the PDF of the pattern. Our website page is here. Orders placed will take two weeks to complete. If you would prefer not using our shopping cart, just send us an email with what you would like, and we will invoice you via Paypal.

Oder $40.00 and receive the table runner pattern FREE!
Email us if you have questions…….

Top Ten Tuesday

Here’s a list from Bill Moyers of Ten Documentaries of Champions of Social Justice. I can see the next couple of weeks taken up with watching these. Also read the comments, because there are additional great films mentioned there.

Some cool examples of marbling for decorations from Alisa Burke, quite the talented lady.

Here’s a really interesting idea – while the plants wouldn’t survive on their own, a vase like this would be so cool! From More Design Please:

If you’re not checking out Craft Gossip, you are missing some really cute ideas! Here’s a food one

Wise words about our planet from a 12-year-old, who is still active at age 32.

There is a wealth of tutorials on free motion quilting on line, and some of the best are by Sharon Schambler, winner of best of show at Houston International Quilt Festival. Her videos are easy to follow. In fact, one of the patterns she shows got me finally breaking away from stippling and consequently ready for the Free Motion Quilting challenge this year. Enjoy this one on trapunto.

Become part of the new survey at Generation Q magazine:

Free seminar coming from Open Kimono on The Open Kimono Webinar and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Profit videos. Looks interesting.

From Mamacita comes perfect quotes for Thanksgiving. These are great – there’s something for everyone!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. –John Fitzgerald Kennedy

And finally, from Cool Hunting comes a look at the Aston Martin used in the latest James Bond movie – 3-D modeling (thankfully…).

Have a great week!

Monday Marketing

 

 It’s been a busy month of completing a lot of loose ends, especially in getting ready for the holiday season. But I am always on the outlook for great ideas for and about marketing. Ask Harriete has had an interesting series on displays for windows and booths – lots of great ideas to enjoy – as well as think about what could work for your own purposes. Window Dressing for Booth Display – fascinating ideas for setting up displays.  Made with pencils, and there is a video to go along with the photo as to how the booth was constructed. Who knew hangars could look so cool?

A fascinating TED talk on Collaborative Consumption – lots of food for thought……Would love to open a dialogue with folks about some of these ideas.

In the meantime, getting the Etsy shop loaded with fabrics in preparation for a 50 percent off sale on Cyber Monday. Promotesy (from the folks at Handmadeology) is a great tool for scheduling and marketing posts and items. And you really can’t beat $5 a month. The biggest marketing task has been a total makeover of the website, which has kind of sat idle for a couple of years, as the blog and Facebook page moved to the forefront. Lots of major changes on the site: new pages: Testimonials, Snapshots, Patterns, Digital Marbling, Classes and Workshops. Plus, new work is finally up, and the gallery has been seriously updated. Some pages still need writing and pictures, and the order form is getting a makeover, but the site is so much more comprehensive. And….two new domain names….

The domain name has been an interesting issue. We’ve had “marbledfab” since the late 1990s, since “marbledfabrics” was already taken. Hence a play on the words, but we always have to spell it for people. When we got our domain name, e-commerce was still very much in its infancy. It would be several years before domains became the critical component they are now. So we now have two new domains that point to the website (and I actually learned how to do that…): deanandlindamoran.com and MarbleTDesign.com. It’s all about branding and making it easy for folks to find us. We’ll see how it works…and the new business cards will have the new domains on them.

I decided to also add more examples of fabrics and patterns to our fabric page. These are pieces from our “we’ll never sell anything in this folder because it’s so gorgeous” file. These are just a few…..

Ideas to share? Pas them along!

Using Marbled Fabrics in Quilts

When we started marbling, we were hooked from the very first piece. The problem was…what do we do with the fabric? Each piece was so gorgeous it was hard to cut into it. We knew we had to get over that mindset. Folks consistently asked, “What do you do with the fabric? I don’t know how to use it.” Confession time – I wasn’t quite sure either. I saw a book and thought marbled fabric would look cool. Now it was “put up or shut up.”

I was a beginning quilter with virtually no good color sense…that was hubby’s field. I figured black goes with everything, so my first quilt was an attic window pattern.

This was a nice way to show off smaller pieces of marbling, but I had to stretch further. It took a number of years before I stopped being afraid of any color except black. I started a Block of the Month, using blocks from Judy Martin. I became more daring…this time it was not black…..but other solids. I built the designs on the colors in the marbling. My January block had a definite “coolness,” so I looked for solids with some texture that would work. I started to expand design ideas and felt that traditional blocks could be the key to using these fabrics.

Now another confession…..when I first started doing quilting, I was pretty much “stitch in the ditch”….with metallic threads, no less. The quilt above is 12 years old, and I took it apart (oy) and used my newly acquired FMQ skills. I didn’t stitch the marbled blocks, as I wanted them to stand out.

The completed quilt – marbled fabrics within traditional blocks. You can read more about the actual quilting here.

I was hooked on finding some great traditional blocks that could spotlight marbling and go together harmoniousl. Summer……..I had some great neon orange cotton, a nice piece of Moda Marbles, but I needed additional fabrics so the quilt wasn’t overloaded with green. I stretched with the print fabrics I added to complement the marbled fabrics.

There’s lots of machine quilting throughout, but the marbling has been left on its own. (I also took this quilt apart…. kind of obsessive. But as quilters, we KNOW what we want. More about the quilting here).

At this point, I had a great piece of marbled fabric that said “I want to be fish.” I found a traditional block that could be used as fish. Thus the “fish quilt” was born (you can read about that quilting here). This time I quilted the marbled fabric by following the lines of the pattern and used stitches from my workhorse Bernina.

The completed quilt –

I started getting very bold – it never occurred to me to just quilt the marbled fabric itself. This was a major breakthrough. Traditional is fine, and I still work with traditional patterns, but quilting the marbled pattern gives a completely different look to a quilt. This quilt, “Nature 1: Rock Garden,” became my first quilt accepted into a juried show, “Expressions in Textiles.” It is very zen-like, and the quilting emphasizes the rock garden and sand.

Go traditional or go contemporary. Don’t be afraid of the marbled fabrics. They can be the spark that makes your quilt.

 

Monday Marketing

  A definitely busy week! I’ve been list-making for four weeks now, trying to keep track of everything that HAS to be done, NEEDS to be done, and WANTS to get done! I finally had to admit that I can’t take the Craftsy class with Cindy Needham I want until after the first of the year, because there are too many things going on that need to be finished up by the beginning of December.

Etsy has been selling well, and we need to get a LOT more fat quarters done and in the shop. The website should undergo some major revisions this week, and I’ll finish all the little cosmetic things I still need to do….pictures, descriptions, order form…..I get REALLY picky when it comes to having every possible loose end covered. EBay has also finally picked up, after a nonexistent summer. And we need more remnants for that site.

Craft Gossip ran our tutorial, and the number of newsletter subscriptions jumped. The newsletter will be going out on Sunday this month – trying a new delivery date to see if the “open ratio” is better. We have a guest post with C&T Publishing on Friday, full of pictures using marbled fabrics in quilts, both contemporary and traditional. Still have a few things to finish up on that post. We had an inquiry from a major magazine about fabric, so we worked on samples over the weekend and will get them in the mail tomorrow, along with notes about the fabrics.

Finally got a thread order done, and I should have a bunch of new threads for a couple of new projects by Friday. I need to put the binding on my bed stand runner, as the quilting is done for this month’s free motion challenge. I need to do another blog post for Handmadeology, this time on the importance of having product available whenever you do a demo. Might seem like basic knowledge, but we did a lot of years of demos without bringing anything to sell!

Monday Marketing….a Lot Accomplished!

Busy week, and lots of great things happening. All as a result of dropping a few ideas in the pond, as well as continuing to do what I’ve been doing.

The website is coming along. A lot of minor changes, new work is up, but there’s still stuff to do in descriptions. I need to get the shopping cart completed, as we just had an order this morning and the price was wrong. There was about ten hours of work so far, and now it’s about at the point where I have to turn over the rest of the work to my amazing web guru, Suzan. Interesting discussion from a friend about the confusion for branding on the site….like why the “T” in the business name. Turns out this was a play on the word “novelty” from way back, when we were thinking of primarily doing t-shirts. Now we can’t really change the name of the business, but I need to get our personal names involved more.

Inquiry from a magazine that I can’t say anything about now, but it’s really exciting! Inquiries coming in from the Etsy store for commission work, which is good. Need to do a thread order, need to start a couple of new pieces. And…have to get some work ready to go up on a new gallery site.

Today a give-away broke on Craft Gossip, our quilting marbled fabric tutorial, so we’ve had a lot of new subscribers to the newsletter. Another tutorial will break the end of the month on C&T Publishing blog. That’s the deadline I need to make this week.

We’re marbling again this week, as we have new orders coming is, and I have a couple of new patterns I want to try out. Speaking of marbling, as a result of visits to the Etsy shop, these are the pieces people have been saying they LOVE:

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