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Geometric Pattern Quilt

Saturday, December 22, 2018


Delighted at the support that people have given me with my very first quilt pattern launch!  Wow, it's been great to see the interest out there -- particularly from the mid-century modern community!

I didn't do any lead-up promotion—despite a career spent in Analytical Marketing, self-promotion still remains a bit foreign to me!  Despite that, I have been thrilled to see the reception it has received!  This quilt pattern can be found in my shop!

I also want to call out Suzy Quilts for her "How to Make a Quilt Pattern" post.  While my self promotion may be lacking, I really gave a lot of attention to detail and creating a pattern that would be easy to understand.  Suzy's post was a real help in determine what and how to go about it and I truly value what she is willing to share.  She's rapidly become a leader in this online community, in part, because she knows it is a big world out there and is room for all of us and sharing helps us all move up a notch!

Oh ... and my "photo shoot" on Hood Canal was a hoot as well.  I took the test quilt with me on a trip to the Post Office, figuring I would find somewhere to take a few shots.  I ran across this magnificent piece of driftwood at the end of a trail in a tiny little park along the water (big treasures on hidden trails!).

It was such a dreary day, which in the end, worked to my advantage as I think the quilt really stands out in the gray.  A full sun day may have been too much!



And when I was wrapping up the shoot, a lovely woman stopped by.  A fellow quilter!  She and her sister own a vacation home they use part time, not far from where we were standing.  She invited me over for a look at what she was working on.  As sweet as her quilts in progress were, what left me speechless was the view from her quilting loft!!!  I could kinda quilt in there 7 days a week, 8 hours a day!


Here's to a Happy Holiday for all and to more random encounters with fellow quilters in the New Year!

All the best,
Lisa

PSA

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Yesterday the doctor called to tell me the spot they removed from my arm is Basal Cell Carcinoma and today I inched up another week in my running program, Couch to 10K.  I am kinda proud of both events!


And here's why. 

Cancer first.  If you're gonna get it ... this is the one to get.  I know this because my niece, Katie, was diagnosed with Melanoma 3 years ago and we have ALL brushed up on the subject of skin cancer in my family since then.  Another reason, as with ALL cancers, early detection really, Really, REALLY matters.  I know this because—not only is Katie doing awesome due to early detection—but both my husband and I are proud cancer survivors because of early detection.  He has recently achieved 5 years cancer free after Prostate Cancer and I remain cancer free, having been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer a little over 17 years ago.  


Why do I share on a quilt blog?  Because awareness and early detection matter so much that it's worth it to lose a reader if I make others aware.  

Because of Katie, I've been watching my skin more carefully, and had a small spot on my arm that looked like it was always sunburnt.  No bump, no biggie, but worth a trip to the dermatologist.  It's now gone, no follow up needed and I am now a guest on his annual reminder list to come visit him and get my skin looked at.  

With Ovarian cancer, it was a bit different.  I had been experience bloating, lower back pain and increased need to urinate over the course of a couple of months.  After 3 trips to my doc, where I was told it's part of getting older (I had just turned 40) and that stress could cause my symptoms (my stress level was constant), I finally opted to see a new doctor.  

Needless to say, my new doctor listened to my issues and sent me in for an ultrasound.  Turns out my left ovary had grown into a tumor the size of a grapefruit which was pressing on my bladder, creating the urge to pee all the time.  It wasn't a normal presentation, which was fortunate for me, as otherwise we would not have found it so early.  

I was Stage IIC.  The last state you get to before Stage III.  The difference in the survival rate between IIC and IIIA is big.  And because of a very skilled surgeon and then a very aggressive oncologist, coupled with a doctor who finally listened to me, perseverance on my behalf and excellent, employer-sponsored health insurance, I am here today to send one very important message ... loudly and often.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY

If it tells you something is different, get an answer for what is causing that.  And don't stop until you get that answer.  

Oh ... and as for the running ...

I had never been a runner, but decided I wanted to run a half-marathon to celebrate 10 years cancer free.  So at the age of 49, I bought the app Couch to 10K for my iPhone and started training.  I did actually run 3 half marathons over the next year.  But then life got busy and I stopped running.  At the beginning of 2018, I decided to start the program again.  It's basically a 13-week program.  In Week 1, you run 30 seconds and walk 4.5 minutes and repeat.  Week 2, you run 1 minute and walk 4 minutes, repeat.  By Week 5, you are running 2.5 minutes and walking 2.5 minutes, repeat.  But somehow, I got it stuck in my head that I couldn't run any longer than I could walk any more and I repeated week 5 for about 6 months.  

Last week, I summoned courage and started Week 6, run 3 minutes and walk 2, repeat.  I also finished Week 6 last week and today ... in the POURING rain, I started Week 7 ... Emma and I ran 4 minutes and walked 1, and repeated for a total of 68 minutes.   We looked like drowned rats and felt like ROCK STARS!  

WE DID IT!  

All around, it's been a great week.  

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and or a Peaceful week ... whatever you celebrate(d) ... I hope that it id/was with family and friends of your choosing and it is/was filled with laughter and love.

All the best
Lisa

Holiday Pillow Tutorial

Monday, December 17, 2018

It's that time of year!  Parties, get togethers, meeting friends for dinner.  I know we can all do the "bottle of something" present, but honestly, unless it's an exceptional vintage (and yes, we are lucky to have a few of those hidden in the cellar from dear friends who definitely know their wine),  do you really remember who gave a bottle to you?

I stopped by my former neighbors' home when I was in Seattle last week and she said, "I was just thinking the other day about how there are reminders of you—in your quilting gifts—all over our house".  Left me with that warm and fuzzy feeling ;-)

There are a couple of options for quick holiday pull togethers for hostess gifts at this time of year, including coasters, pot holders and pillows.

This post provides a tutorial for a holiday pillow.  I shared some of my original ones here when I made them the first time a number of years ago.


I had initially made them with pillows stitched inside and stored the pillows with the holiday decorations.  Over time, I have learned that making pillow covers that fit my existing pillow forms is a far better idea.  So this tutorial reflects a pillow that is made with a zipper so that you can store just the pillow cover.

This tutorial is for a cover for a 14" pillow form—which is really a great size for this to look like a "gift".

Note:  I would recommend reading the instructions all the way through first, then it will make more sense as you use them to craft your pillow.

Materials:
  • Selected holiday fabric 15" x WOF,
  • Accent fabric 15" x 4" (not needed if no zipper),
  • ~50" of 1.5" Grosgrain Ribbon to coordinate with holiday fabric,
  • 16" zipper (not needed if no zipper),
  • Batting, 2 pieces:  (1) 15"x15" and (1) 15"x16",
  • Thread for sewing and thread to match your ribbon.



These are instructions for a pillow cover with a zipper (I will point out the differences throughout if you're not interested in adding a zipper).

Step #1:

Cut the holiday fabric (no zipper, simply cut two 15" squares)
Cut 1 piece 15"x15" (front)
Cut 1 piece 15" tall x16" wide (back) -- this tall and wide dimension matters as your proceed.

Step #2:

Lay the holiday fabric right side up on top of the appropriate piece of batting (I use a little spray adhesive to hold the fabric firmly in place on the batting, but probably isn't necessary).  Mark a line 6" in from the side of the fabric to have a straight line to quilt on.  You can choose which direction you want to quilt, top to bottom or side to side.  Once you have decide and marked for your first line, quilt a straight line on top of you marking and at whatever intervals you would like.  I use even, 1" intervals on this pillow.

piece of holiday fabric with measurement for quilting lines
Marking straight line to guide quilting

piece of holiday fabric with straight line quilting on machine
Quilting to add texture

Step #3:

Attach the ribbon where you want it on the pillow front.  I have pinned and sewn it 4.5" down from the top.  Use a matching thread to attach the grosgrain ribbon and stitch as close as you can to each side of the ribbon to secure it to the fabric.  Repeat this same dimension on the piece for the back of the pillow—matching it in this way, will give the illusion of a ribbon going around the pillow.  If you are installing a zipper, you will want to make sure that you are paying attention to tall and wide here.  You will want this ribbon to be down 4.5" on the dimension that is 15" tall.

Add the grosgrain ribbon to the front
Step #4:

Trim!

I cut the pieces a little larger to allow for shifting, etc.  Normally, when I make a cover for a 14" pillow, I use a 14" piece of fabric.  Since this fabric is ALSO lined with batting, we will want to trim the front of it to 14.5" x 14.5", which allows just a little extra room for the batting.

When trimming, you want to lie the front and back side by side on your mat so that as you trim the tall dimension, you are trimming them in a manner that will allow the ribbon to line up once the pillow cover is put together.

The ribbons should match at the side like this
On the back piece, if you are not installing a zipper, go ahead and trim to 14.5" x 14.5" as well.  If you ARE installing a zipper, then you will only want to trim one dimension on this piece.  Your fabric as originally cut for the back was 15" tall x 16" wide.  At this point you only want to trim the 15" tall dimension.  You should trim it down to 14.5".  Your new back piece will now be 14.5" tall x 16" wide.

So again ... no zipper, you should have two 14.5" square pieces.
If you're installing a zipper, you should have a 14.5" square piece for the front and a 14.5" tall x16" wide piece for the back.

Step #5:

The next part is putting the zipper on the back (no zipper, skip this step).

I cover this in a cursory fashion here.  I like to give credit where credit is due—so if you are unfamiliar with putting in a zipper in this fashion, I would suggest that you visit this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew by Creative Little Daisy.

As you noted in the instructions, the back is 1" wider than the front.  This is to provide for adding the zipper.  On this pillow, I am installing the zipper from top to bottom.  At about 4" from the right side.  I cut the piece to allow for the insertion of the zipper.
 Cutting the back to insert the zipper.  
Using the tutorial referenced above, I use the smaller piece to install the zipper on first.

Fold the accent piece in half lengthwise and iron it, wrong sides together, so that you now have a 2"x15" piece.   Lay the zipper right-side up, right to left in front of you.  Then place the raw edge of the 2"x15" piece of accent fabric across the top edge of the zipper, and then lay the small piece of the pillow back, right-side down, on top of the accent piece.  Line everything up and pin.  At this stage, if done correctly, you can't see the zipper, as the other fabric is laying across it.  Using your zipper foot, sew the zipper onto this sandwiched material.

You have now installed the zipper on one side of the back ... simple huh!?!?!

Now, with right sides together, lay the small piece of the back with the zipper installed on top of the larger piece of the back—right sides together.  The unsewn side of the zipper should line up with the raw edge of the larger piece of the back.  I used red thread in the bobbin when I sewed the ribbon on so that I can easily see where the ribbon lines up across the back pieces.

Lining up the back pieces for the zipper -- that is the zipper under my finger

Pin and stitch the other side of the zipper to the remaining piece of the back.


The green accent fabric covers that zipper.  Top stitch on either side of the zipper as shown in the linked tutorial, to allow the zipper to sit flat.

Note:  you will notice that I use a zipper that is way longer than it needed to be.  This in part because it's all I had in my drawer, but it is also partly intentional.  I have broken too many needles trying to put in a zipper that is the "correct" size and then my sewing machine needle (or serger as the case may be) hits the little piece of metal on either end of the zipper and busts the needle.  So I will always use a zipper that is 2" bigger than needed for the job when I am making a pillow.  This does mean that extra care has to be taken when tacking down the ends of the zipper on either side as the traditional means to hold the zipper are no longer there.  I go back and for 6-8 times in stitching at either end of the zipper because of this and because when the pillow goes in and out, this will be the stress point on the pillow and I have learned, you want it to be extra strong here.

Step #6:

No zipper:  At this point you will simply put your pillow front and back right-sides together and pin (lining up the ribbon carefully from front to back).  Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around, leaving an 8" gap at the bottom.

Turn the pillow cover right-side out taking care to push the corners out as best you can without pushing through the fabric with anything sharp.  You will insert the pillow through the gap at the bottom and smooth it into place, making sure that the corners of the pillow really fit down nicely into the corners of the pillow cover.  Slip stitch the bottom of the pillow and then skip to Step #7,

Zipper:  There will be two ends of the back piece that you not yet trimmed.  Take the minimum off of one of those ends, just to clean it up and have a straight edge for both the fabric and batting.  Then place the back of the pillow right side up on your mat with the pillow top on top of it—right-sides together—and you will see the bit that still needs to be trimmed off of the bottom piece to make it 14.5" square as well to match the front panel.  Again, making sure that ribbon piece on the top and bottom are matching up, you should then be set to trim.

Sandwich pillow sides and trim back to match front
Again, lining up the ribbon from front to bak, pin.  Make sure that the zipper is mostly open (or else you won't be able to turn the pillow right side out after it is sewn), also make sure the zipper ends are pinned tightly for when you sew.  DO NOT trim the extra bits off the zipper ends until after you sew the pillow together.


Once you have sewn at a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around, go back and stop stitch several times at the point where the zipper crosses the seam.  Do this a lot ... this is the stress point on the cover when you put the pillow in and pull it out.


Back stitching at end of zipper multiple times
You'll see, I have used my serger on this to make nice edges.  I use the serger first to sew the pieces together and then I go around and stitch all the way around with my machine.  This is mainly because I have not mastered my serger and I don't feel the stitch is tight enough to hold the pillow together without the thread showing, but I do like the finished edge it gives the inside of the pillow.  Clearly I need to make some time to learn a bit more about my serger ;-).

Do a small trim on the corders and turn the pillow right side out.  Use a something to push the corners out, without puncturing the fabric.

Ease the pillow into the finished case.

Ease the pillow into the finished case.  Taking time to make sure the corners of the pillow are pushed down in to the corners of the pillow cover.

Back of pillow

Step #7:

Now you need to make the bow from the ribbon for the front.  Using the remaining ~20" of ribbon, you can tie a bow in the ribbon.  Need help?  I recommend trying this version to make a lovely bow.

Once you're happy with the bow you've made, you need to use a safety pin to attach it to your pillow front.  I find putting the pin on the pillow first, holds the bow closer to the pillow and allows it to be hidden more.





DONE!

Total time for this pillow for me was under 60 minutes.  If you're unfamiliar with the zipper technique, I would allow some extra time for that.  If you're gifting, you may find you don't need to put a zipper in anyway.

Want an even faster effort?  A set of 4 of these coasters can be made in less than 30 minutes (I think I actually have it down to less than 20 minutes after a few efforts).  You can find the tutorial to make them here.  This is truly a holiday scrap buster as well as all you need are 5" pieces of fabric and none of the fronts or backs need to match.  Though I do try to avoid white or light colors as coffee stains pretty quickly on white coasters.


Hope you find this tutorial useful ... and as always ... please let me know if you need any clarification or have any questions!


Happy Holidays!

All the best
Lisa

Scrap buster!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Two things I always find with scrap buster quilts:  1) they are always a bit more work as I scrounge through scrap bins looking for just the right size and color and 2) they never seem to make as a big a dent in my scrap bin as envisioned.


I suspect there's a direct correlation between those two findings—which is why my scrap bins are always overflowing.


I store my scraps from patterned fabric in a rolling plastic set of office drawers.  They never seem to be big enough, but I use that as an intentional limiting factor.  Bins overflow—time to make a scrap quilt!


Not exactly a "Friday Finish" or a substantial dent in the scrap bins ... but it's a start.  Maybe I just need a pattern that has square sizes that are bigger than 2.5"???


Oh!  I did get 6 more sets of Adirondack Neck Pillows made!  Replenishing inventory!

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

All the best,
Lisa

No quilting ... but a new blog!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

This house has been hit by the cold bug ... hard.  It arrived on Thanksgiving and has continued to hang around ... for days ...

So while there was no quilting in this house this week—in the spirit of acknowledging accomplishments—there were two decent ones this week.

First ... we finally got the Christmas decorations out of the shed, cut a tree on the property (although it could be considered a little Charlie-Brownish) and got it set up on the deck (small-house living means accomodating).

image of a decorated Christmas Tree, including lights and ornaments, on a deck in the winter

Second ... I redid my blog!

For those of you who've been here before, you will notice a BIG difference!

A bit of backstory.  I had taken a year hiatus from work in 2009, and decided to fill some of my spare time teaching myself how to quilt.  There was a great community of quilters on Flickr (you remember Flickr, right?) and I was hooked.  A lot of quilters I admired on Flickr had links to their blogs, which I followed and scoured weekly.  Eventually, deciding to start one myself.  With absolutely no web technical skills, I took the same route as many of us did back then and went with Blogger.

I used the basic template when I set it up, spent hours trying to figure out how to set up a header picture and then—I kinda left it like that for the next 9 years.  I watched many bloggers, who started their blogs around the same time, either fall to the wayside or update their blogs.  I really did neither.  Yes, I did periodic posts, always optimistic I would get back in the groove again, but it never really happened.  2018's meager 10 posts is a good example of what the past couple of years have looked like.

But something happened late in the summer.  I started quilting again.  No, not the "someone's having a baby I should pull something together for them" kind of quilting.  The "I want to get lost in the studio and really create" kind of quilting.  And when I did, I found that I wanted to start communicating with quilters again.  I want to ask questions, share success, and walk through failures.  Instagram is well ... Instagram.  It's a great place to post pictures and get quick feedback—if you consider a like feedback—but it's not about sharing the process and engaging with other quilters that I had previously enjoyed.

Knowing that there would not be an instant community waiting for me to return when I began to repost on my blog, I decided to forge ahead anyway.  It was worth a try.  So I returned to my blog—which seemed so 2009.  With my web technical skills pretty much on par with where they were 9 years ago, I was off in search of a low-cost solution to fix it.  I thought I was looking for a Blogger genius who would refresh it for a low fee.  The search led to the discovery that there are people who will do that, but the $500 price tag was out of reach for an investment in a blog that is primarily used as a hobby.

But I did stumble across another solution on Etsy.  Blogger templates.  Let me add—Blogger templates for $5 to $15!

It seemed too easy.  Could someone with zero web skills actually implement a blogger template in a way that would work and not end up in a disaster?

When I found myself under the weather and not feeling up to quilting last week, I succumbed and decided to invest in a blogger template that I liked, with a creator who had great reviews, including her willingness to assist if necessary.  That—AND I learned how to back up my blog before I started—just in case.

I am pleased to say that with a $15 investment, 3-4 hours of my time, and a 30-page PDF supplied with the template download, I did it!  And am thrilled with the new look and feel of my blog!  It was far easier than anticipated.  There are still a few things that need to be adjusted, however, I learned a few things which has increased my confidence in my ability to resolve them and keep the blog more current, and hopefully somewhere that people will want to visit.

That's my goal—a blog that people will want to visit, to learn, share, laugh, sometimes ooh and ahh and other times commiserate.  I want to fill my right navigation with other blogs, managed by people, that want to do the same thing.  And maybe, create a space where people are willing to spend a little time together, one that goes beyond the perfect picture how many likes it can garner.

For those of you who made it to the end of this very long post Thank You!  For those of you who have been visiting for a while, I look forward to getting reacquainted and for those of you who are new ... Welcome!  I look forward to 'meeting' you over the coming weeks and months.

Happy holidays to all.

All the best
Lisa

Adirondack Chair Neck Pillows

Friday, November 30, 2018

Adirondack chair neck pillows.  I first saw them at a high-end garden center in Seattle about 8 years ago—my husband, John, had just made me 2 beautiful Adirondack chairs to go with a new fire pit for my 50th birthday.  I loved them!!!  I was even able to talk him into building 2 more to use for when we had friends over! 


Adirondack chairs are surprisingly comfortable for wooden chairs.  The angle of the seat is great for your lower back, the wide arms are perfect to rest a book, snack or drink and the high backs make them a perfect place for catnaps!  


While I liked the concept of the head/neck pillows I had seen at the garden center—the design left a little to be desired as they hung over the back of the chair, weighted down with sand to keep them in place.  Fast forward to 2017.  As I began to use outdoor fabric to make window awnings for T@b™teardrop trailers, I had remnants to play with to design the perfect neck pillows.



As is typically the case, the design evolved.  I started with fabric, pillow forms and polyester strapping with a plastic buckle.  Concerned about the water-resistance of pillow forms, I substituted some poly batting I had left over from several poufs I had made a few years back.  The strapping didn't quite work either as the geometry of the seats made gravity work against me.  A test with elastic from my window awnings proved successful.

After a bit of trial and error, I made two sets for us and we used them successfully for the summer.  In late summer, I made up about 30 sets to list in my Etsy shop.  Ok ... timing is everything ... listing a summer item when most people are gearing up for winter ... oh well.

Surprisingly, I have sold more than I had expected.  It appears they are an all-season item in some of the warmer parts of the US.

I currently have them on sale in my SHOP for the holidays ... you never know.  And am contemplating a tutorial to share with everyone if there's enough interest.  And I have now created a TUTORIAL for those of you who are DIYers! 



What's been your most fun creation outside of quilts this year?

All the best,
Lisa

The Richmond Quilt

Monday, November 26, 2018

Here's my newest version of the Richmond quilt.  It's called the Richmond as the inspiration for it was an upholstery fabric I saw on a chair in a High Street shop window in Richmond, England, about half way between London and Heathrow airport.

I actually made a tutorial for my first version of this quilt (which at the time was unnamed) that I shared as a guest blogger on Sarah's Confessions of a Fabric Addict blog back in 2012!

This version is for a former colleague and her husband.  He has been diagnosed with ALS.  They are an amazing couple and I wanted them to know that I am thinking about them as they weather this storm together.  Sadly, quilts don't come with healing power, but I do believe they come with restorative powers and sometimes—just a quick cuddle under one—can help make things feel just a little bit better.


She loves purple ... like everything in her cube at work was purple.  So I wanted to make sure I included a little of her in it as well as choosing a few colors that would help it feel more masculine as it is for both of them.


I had recently received my new Kona Color Card which I had turned into a foldable poster that has the color swatches attached to it with velcro.  This allows me to pull them off and look at them together—against a white background—to get the best color combination.

I haven't been to their home, so I am unsure of their style or colors, but knowing her, I felt that a slightly more modern quilt would work well.  So I designed these two versions on Excel.

  

The left one, Option #1, had used Kona Snow as the offset color in some blocks and Kona Ash as the offset color in others.  For Option #2, on the right, I chose to use just Snow for the offset.  Ultimately, I decided to go with the Option #1.  Feeling like the Ash gave it some visual interest as well as echoing a larger patchwork feel.

straight-line quilting

As you can see, I used the Ash on the blocks that were using the darker hues and Snow on the ones where there were lighter hues.

I chose to go with straight-line quilting at a slight angle.  Again, it's a simple quilt, so I wanted to add a little visual interest and because it's a busy quilt, this highlights the pattern rather than competes with it.


For the back, I had some leftover 108" Kaufman Blueprint Basic in Fog.  But not quite enough, so I used a little more Kona Ash on the side.  The simple floral on the back is a nice reprieve from the very geometrical front.

And I finished it off with Architextures Grey Crosshatch by Carolyn Friedlander (also Kaufman).


Quilt details.

Finished Size = 67" x 56"
Fabrics (all solids are Kona):
Front:  Snow, Ash, Lavender, Princess, Limestone, Slate, Blue Bell,  Celadon, Seafoam
Back = Kaufman Blueprint Basic Fog, Ash
Binding Architextures Gray Crosshatch
Thread = white Aerofil


Sorry the pictures aren't the best.  It is bucketing rain outside and I want to get this in the mail in the morning, so no outside pictures this time.

I have made this pattern a few times now, so I am going to go ahead and update the tutorial and re-publish it on here in the next week.

Have a great week all ...

All the best
Lisa

Picture of the Week

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Hi all ... a non-quilting post here.

I lost my dad to Alzheimer's in September of 2016.  My parents lived near my sister in an Assisted Living facility which is nearly 2,000 miles away from where we live.  I would visit when I could and I would call weekly.  As my father deteriorated, he moved into the memory care unit and I began to lose touch with him outside of my visits.

About 2 years before we lost dad, I called my mom on a day that was particularly hard for her as she was still coming to grips with what it meant for my dad to continue to deteriorate.  I asked her what I could do to help her from a distance.  She thought about it for a few minutes and asked me to write my dad a letter every week that would tell him what was going on in our lives and it would be something for him to look forward to.

I committed.

But I also realized after about 2 weeks that it wasn't sustainable.  While we were busy with jobs, life, etc, there also wasn't that much exciting going on in our lives to fill a weekly letter and I worried about my ability to pull it off over the long haul.

But I came up with an alternative.  The previous Christmas, as a present for my dad, I had my siblings and their kids send me candid pictures from their phones.  I printed everyone's names on the photos and made them into a digital collage that I was able to print at the local drug store and put into a frame so that my mom could hang it on his wall—hopefully extending his knowledge of who we were for just a little bit longer.

With the knowledge that I could load pictures directly from my iPhone to the Kodak kiosk in the drug store, I came up with an alternate plan. 

Every Wednesday, I would stop by our local drug store on my way home from work and print out pictures that I had taken with my phone for the week—us, the dogs, the view, the garden, kayaking, hiking, running, etc.  On the back, I would write "Picture of the week" and then tell him what the picture was of and that I loved him.  Since my dad was in memory care, my parents were no longer living in the same apartment, so I printed out 2 pictures each week—one for dad and one for mom, which I mailed separately to their respective apartments so that they would both have something to look forward to.

While we eventually lost dad, I continued the practice with mom as a way to stay in touch with her, let her know I love her and give her something to look forward to.

About 2 years ago, my husband saw an add on TV for an App called TouchNote.  It is an app that allows you to create a post card on your phone—picture on the front, note and address on the back.  I sent one to myself to make sure I was happy with the quality and it was perfect.

Here's how it works.  You open the app and click on "postcard".  It opens your photo library and you choose the photo you want to use.  You can made it bigger or smaller, or even create a collage from your photos if you want.  You can also add an optional caption. 


Once you're happy with the image and your caption.  You click "next" and it takes you to the writing portion.  Just like a real post card, there is a limit to how much you can write/type.  You can use emoticons in your message.

Then you add an address (which it stores for future use).  And that's it!

 

You can pay per card or buy a credit pack.  I buy the 20 credit pack which equates to $1.75 per sent.  

The cool thing is you can use it from ANYWHERE.  We were in Scotland last May, mom got pics from Scotland.  France in October ... mom got pics from France.  Yellowstone in June ... mom got pics from Yellowstone.  We have also expanded it to send postcards when we travel to John's grandkids who all live in Canada.  Because the app was founded in the UK, they have made it super easy to use and send internationally as well.

I have a reminder on my phone calendar that reminds me every Wednesday that it is time for Picture of the Week.  Some pics are definitely better than others ... but mom always get sent a picture every Wednesday.

Over the past year, I have mentioned to a few friends who have elderly parents that live a distance how I use TouchNote and, without exception, I am now aware they use it with their parents in a similar capacity.  

I have absolutely no interest in or financial relationship with TouchNote.  I just have found it a great way to stay in touch with family, bring a smile to my mom once a week with a card (she saves everyone of them and they sit on the credenza with her TV, when I visit, she tells me that she looks through them often).  

I also find it a GREAT way to use some of the pictures that we capture daily on our phones and share them with others.  A few examples:


I know ... it's not a quilting post ... but I do love the idea of being able to share something that helps bring me and my family closer and may be a tool for those of you who want to stay in touch with parents, kids, grand kids, former neighbors ... a bit of bringing the community back together.  

All the best,
Lisa

Introducing a Pattern

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Well—I have taken the plunge!  After getting asked for a pattern on the last few quilts I posted on Instagram, I have created my first quilt pattern!

You can purchase my new pattern HERE !!!

I had been thinking about it for awhile, and had actually started on one.  But then a lovely woman came out of nowhere wanting to purchase the pattern for my Geometric Patchwork quilt.  Yes, you read that right, she wanted to PURCHASE it!

As I had previously shared, I design some of my quilts in Excel.  Since the quilt pattern she asked for has an angle in it, using excel to diagram it in a quilt pattern would simply not work.

So I have spent the last 2+ weeks learning Adobe InDesign and Adoble Illustrator!
It was an interesting process and I owe a great deal to all the people out there who make amazing YouTube instructional videos.

I did it!  I learned two new tools (OK—I barely scratched the surface).  And I created a new pattern for my quilt to sell in my Etsy shop.

Learnings:
  • Time:  I thought it would take a week (it took two)
  • Process:  Remaking the quilt as I made the pattern was imperative.  I had just made the quilt a couple of weeks ago, but making another one as you lay out instructions for it was critical, no matter how easy it seemed.  I am super happy that I invested in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, it was tough to learn, but really helped me pull together a polished, professional pattern.
  • Audience:  I had a client who really wanted it, when I knew I was going to be late, I let her know & told her I would send it for FREE.  She said she would wait and still wanted to pay for it!  AND I learned how to use ETSY coupons as I offered her $5 off the price of the pattern for her patience.  Ultimately, I will be targeting my patterns to relatively new quilters and providing tips and tricks to help them make the quilt.  I am a self taught quilter (started in 2009) and truly valued a lot of the tips I learned from blogs back then.
  • Pricing:  I spent time looking at other patterns to evaluate how mine should be priced.  There are people selling them for very low prices on ETSY—I am unclear as to whether that speaks to the quality or presentation of the pattern—but I decided to price this one at the low end of the price point that recognized quilters are selling them for.  The reason for this is that I only have instructions for a throw size quilt in my pattern.  Typically, people will provide alternate size information so that they user doesn't have to do the math.  I will in the future, but with a waiting customer, I didn't want to delay my introduction.
  • Promotion:  I have done no promotion of the pattern and that's exactly how it's selling ... as if I have done no promotion ;-).  I want to finish the quilt that I was making as I designed the pattern and then use that to start promoting it.  
A process photo from the creation of the pattern

I don't know if I will ever be able to "compete" with the larger, quilter-branded patterns out there, but I enjoyed the process, want to expand my Adobe learnings, found the process really expanded my creative thinking and will be getting started on bringing another one of my quilt patterns to life tomorrow.

And a nod to the people in California.  In the mid-1990's, I sold sprinklers into agriculture in the central valley of California and spent a great deal of time up in the Chico / Paradise area working with farmers with new technology that would allow them to save water while they expanded their tree operations.  It is a beautiful area and the people were wonderful ... it is just heartbreaking to see the devastation and loss that they are enduring right now.  Our hearts and wallets are open to them all right now.  If you want to help, a local charity that has committed to giving 99% of the funds to the people and community that has suffered—and has been endorsed by the mayor of Chico—look no further than North Valley Community Foundation.  They have a donate button on their home page.

All the best,
Lisa

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