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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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