Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Sweetest Place On Earth

Hershey, PA is named The Sweetest Place On Earth and oh boy, is it ever.  Milton Hershey founded the Hershey Chocolate Company and a town sprouted up around it.  Herhsey chocolate has certainly become an American staple and thanks to its success Milton Hershey became a great philanthropist.  Hershey and his wife couldn't have children so they used their financial success to open the Hershey Industrial School for lower income children  and then founded the Hershey Foundation that also supports  the Hershey Museum and Hershey Gardens, the Hershey Theatre and the Hershey Community Archives.

I was contacted in February and invited to teach at Quilt Odyssey.  Over the course of 18 years, it has become a summertime mecca for quilters with an amazing quilt exhibition, vendor mall, and classes by nationally known teachers.  Although I would only have 2 1/2 days at home after MAQ, it was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.  The entire show takes place at The Hershey Lodge.  Upon check-in they give you a Hershey Bar!

There is the Hershey imprint everywhere.  My room was in the 5th Avenue wing.  I passed through the York Peppermint Patty rooms to get there.  And what was on the wallpaper in the bathroom?
I had my own classroom, since I was teaching 3 classes over the course of 3 days.  AND in each classroom there was a basket of - drumroll please:

Hershey Miniatures! for the class to share.  It was refilled EVERY day.  To be honest, I had to move it.  They initially had it located on my table in front of the room and it was just too easy to grab one every time I walked by.

They have a variety of chocolate delicacies in all of the restaurants.  I heard the chocolate martinis were yummy delicious.  One day, for an afternoon snack, I had an iced chocolate bar latte.  I'm glad it was my last day, because I could have had one of those daily.  I'm glad that it was a hike between my hotel room and my classroom.

I had 3 great classes with creative and enthusiastic students.
Day #1 was Sewing with Silk and it's all about how to quilt with dupioni silk.  These were my samples.  Each student had a colorway choice and received a kit with the silk, stabilizer and instructions.  They were then allowed to swap colors with my box full of fat quarters.
Here's a student sample.  (BTW, I had 2 extra kits and they are now in my etsy shop.)

Day #2 was my Folding Fiber Book class.  At the beginning of the class, I shared my samples and then each student shared the story that they wanted as the topic of their book.  I was blown away by their stories.  They each worked on their pages.

Day #3 was a full class for my Mini Mosaic Quilts.  This was the calm before the excitement.

The students were given 6 different patterns and I always take a poll to see the most popular and the ones that are not so popular.  The Flowers and Tiny Town were the winners.  The Pear was the loser.
If you're interested in checking out the patterns, you can visit my etsy shop by clicking HERE>

Here are some of the works in progress:

I was going to leave right after class on Saturday, but my students convinced me that I had to stay for the Saturday night Show & Tell.
Mimi Dietrich and Norma Campbell were the very funny MCs.  The evening started with the teachers parading into the full ballroom throwing fat quarters into the crowd. After thank yous to the staff and the head honcho, aka Missy Molino,  students shared their projects in various states of finish.

If you haven't been, put it on your "must see" list for next summer.  I hope I am invited back and then maybe I'll see you there!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Stitchography with Cheryl Sleboda

This week my guest is Cheryl Sleboda.  Don't you love that t-shirt.  She is the designer of the sewing skull and she sells those t-shirts and other items with that imprint.  You cam find them on her website HERE.
 1.  Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise
I'm Cheryl Sleboda aka Muppin of Muppin.com.  I'm a quilt and textile artist from Plainfield IL who is now a full time quilt teacher/ artist/ cosplay maker.  I also teach artist business courses and do business consulting, and just started a new cosplay business in addition to my quilting business.   I have a line of products from sewing skull shirts and merchandise to light up "eTextile" kits to tools for teaching heirloom sewing techniques. 

 2.  What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)
I spent the last 20 years as an executive at a comic book distribution company, but my love of quilting soon started a side business.  I was constantly asked to teach my techniques on lighting up quilts or doing fabric manipulation.  I used every vacation day I had to travel for quilting, and now the side business is my main job!   I love to teach and I have even started teaching cartooning for quilters to show you that anyone can draw and turn those drawings into a quilt.

 3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
I put in anywhere from 60-80 hours a week. 

 4.  Where do you physically work?
I work out of my home studios and office.  I have both a sewing studio where I sew and a video studio where I shoot my YouTube videos.  

 5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service)
My products are mostly sold when I'm teaching in person or at my website.  I do my consultation work over the phone or Skype, and I am about to launch some online courses, which is exciting. 

 6.  What are you working on now?
I'm in the middle of doing a big cosplay costume project, an art quilt, and writing a book and an online course at the same time! 

 7.  What do you do when you are not working?
I love comic books, and I read them voraciously.  I also love hand stitching and TV, so it's like a two-for-one. I also read a lot of business books...for fun. 

8.  Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?
This is different for everyone, but for me, my income is mostly related to in person teaching.  The sales, kit fees, and other marketing I'm able to do in person far outweigh strictly online sales.  I do a blog post every year breaking down my revenue streams. You can find that here: http://muppin.com/wordpress/index.php/a-peek-behind-the-curtain-comparing-2015-to-2016/  It's a lot of spinning plates to have so many, but its important not to have all your eggs in one basket. 

 9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?
I say this in my most popular lecture... Do a lot of work.  I don't mean work 60-80 hours.  I mean put in the time for making lots of quilts or whatever it is you do.  Perfect your techniques.  If I didn't do that, I would not be in a position to be able to pull from all of that expertise. 

 10.  Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, stores
You can find my main quilting page at www.muppin.com, and my new cosplay business at www.sewmuchcosplay.com.  I'm on FB at https://www.facebook.com/muppindotcom/, on Instagram as @muppindotcom, and twitter as @muppin.  

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Give Thanks

I just finished unpacking my car after teaching at MAQ and
prepping my classes to teach at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA that start on Thursday.  I even get to stay at the Hershey Lodge overnight.  I hear they leave a piece of chocolate on your pillow! I have 2 requests for speaking engagements in my inbox.  One to visit Indiana and the other is a quilt guild in Virginia.

Who would think at 62 that this would be my best, most wonderful year ever, as a quilter.  I owe it all to everyone who reads my blog, subscriibes to my newsletter, follows me on IG and FB, comes to my classes, books me to come to theieer guild, hires me to teach and buys my quilty stuff.  You have given me this life.  Don't get me wrong, I've worked really hard to get here. but I love and appreciate every single minute.  THANK YOU!

I started riding my bicycle again, so I brought it with me to Emmitsburg, MD.  My morning ride was just beautiful and such a great way to  start the day. I saw lllamas and horses, ponies and an amazing sunrise.

Whenever I got a little nervous about getting lost, I would look up to find the "Golden Mary" on the Mt St Mary's University campus.

A cafeteria full of quilters with lots of friendly faces:

I taught 3 classes at MAQ - Fishalicious, Choose To Fuse and Mini Mosaic Quilts and had a great group of students.  Here are a bunch of the photos that I remembered to take.

Since I'm not a gadget person, I always enjoy seeing the latest gadgets that my students bring.  This was an 18mm rotary cutter that slipped over the finger.  It cut like a charm.  We all started searching for it on our phones without any luck.  So it's either super new or has been discontinued.  Have you seen it? 
Here's an undersea backgound using fish fabric.  Fun!

" Choose To Fuse" is a fusible machine applique class featuring 7 different ways to applique using fusible web, including a fusible binding and a Snippet style nest.

And on Sunday, was my Mini Mosaic class.  I am continually amazed at how much people LOVE this class.  We're all crazy using tweezers to place 3/8" squares of fabric, and loving it.  Three of my students actually finished the mosaic in class!

If you would like to received my newsletter with lots of fun quilty stuff that also shares my upcoming teaching venues, CLICK HERE.
If you'd like to purchase a Mini Mosiac Quilt Kit,

Friday, July 14, 2017

Stitchograohy With Joyce Hughes

Today, I am resuming the Stitchography interviews with Joyce Hughes.  Joyce is a very talented machine stitcher who has single handedly elevated printed panels to quilt art.

1 .1.  Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise      Hello, I am Joyce Hughes. My business name is Joyce Hughes Originals. When I first started to quilt, I would experiment and play with different colors and types of threads. Then adding new and different techniques to a quilt, which lead into what I do now-Thread Paint!!! I believe I love threads more that fabrics. I current am traveling to teach and give lectures on my technique of “Dimensional Thread Painting”.

2  2.  What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s) 
         My background and education was in Oncology Nursing. I was hurt at work, causing me to leave that profession. I came upon quilting as an accident. I never had a desire to quilt, but a friend had a great idea to make Tee-Shirt quilts. That was my first taste in quilt making. I quickly moved on to create my own Art quilts. Which I enjoyed and just wanted to create more pieces. As I was playing and designing new quilts, I was asked to teach my technique of thread painting techniques at my local quilt shop. One store has now leaded into teaching around the county.
3 3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?    
           I devote at least 40-50 hrs. a week on quilting. When I add the time of sewing, designing, social media, class proposals, answering emails and traveling … I am well over 50 hours!
   4.  Where do you physically work?    
  I physically work from home. My “Studio” is a spare bedroom that is now full of threads, fabrics and machines.
   5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it? 
What I sell- Is my services of teaching and lecturing. I am teaching at quilt stores, demonstrating at quilt shows, lectures and workshops for Quilt Guilds, and an Ambassador for Mettler Threads. I also work closely with Northcott Fabrics and Brother Sewing Machines doing Dimensional Thread Painting on Panels.
   6.  What are you working on now?    
I    I am currently working on writing a Book, “Creating Art with Panels” and planning classes to teach on a Cruise in April, 2018! I am always working on potential class projects and samples for Quilt Market.
7  7.  What do you do when you are not working?     When I am not working, I love to work in my garden. I can relax and my mind goes in every direction. Many quilting ideas come to me while weeding the garden. My other favorite activity is taking walks and visiting parks with my husband, John and dog, Ellie.

     8.  Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?     My income sources come from teaching and giving lectures.
9  9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be?    
          My one suggestion is: Get plenty of rest!!! At times, it can be very tiring and draining on your creative energy. Always thinking of something new and different can be tiring, but very rewarding when everything comes together.
     10.  Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, store     You can find me on Facebook, JoyceHughesOriginals; Instagram, joyhughes1; and my website, www.JoyceHughesOriginals.com.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Beach Therapy

Who doesn't love the sound of the waves crashing at the beach, or the smell of the salt air, or wiggling your toes in the wet sand?  This is what inspired my June quilt.  As an Island Batik Ambassador, we are given an assignment each month to complete with fabric that they sent me back in January.  This month the theme is Curvalicious! 

How perfect for me and my Curvalicious template!  

I have created lots of different Curvalicious items, so I thought it would be fun to create a different quilt for this monthly challenge. I had a stack of Island Batik fabrics that just arrived in quilt shops.  They had lots of fun designs.

 There was a wide variety of fabrics and  I pinned a few of them to my design wall and let it marinate for a few days.  With the 4th of July coming up some of the fabrics made me think of the beach, so I pulled out the lighter fabrics that reminded me of sand. 

I thought this would be a good opportunity to share a tutorial to create another variation on a Curvalicious quilt.  Usually the quilts are vertically oriented, but what  would it look like if the strips were placed horizontally? The concept behind a Curvalicious quilt is a pieced background with fusible appliques placed over the background.  The first step is to piece together 5- 1/2" strips.  I used 8  cream colored fabrics to make strips.

The next step is to cut 4" strips, the same length and iron paper backed fusible web to the wrong side.  I used pale blues.  

Remove the paper, fold it in half with the fusible side out.  

Place one edge of the Curvalicious  template on the fold and cut out the Curvalicious applique using a 28mm rotary cutter, The result is fusible curvy strips - one less than the number of pieced strips.

Start at the center and place on the of the applique strip over the center seam.  Press.

Stitch the strips down as they are fused with a machine blanket stitch.

This Superior Fantastico  thread was also given to me with the fabric.  It's a shiny polyester and I do love shiny.  It really stitches beautifully and I will definitely add it to my thread acquisition list.

Proceed to add the rest of the fusible strips, working out from the center, using Curvalicious for placement. Press.

Keep going until all of the seams are covered  with the fusible strips.

For the top and bottom borders, I used the font AR Christy, font size 500, to create fusible letters and stitched them down with the same blanket stitch that I used above with a blue/green Fantastico thread.

Then add the word borders to the top and bottom and quilt!
Wouldn't this look great in a beach house?

I grew up on Long Island and we called the ocean/sane the beach.  I live in the Philadelphia area and it's called the shore. I'm curious, what is it called where you live?

If  you are interested in seeing lots of other quilts that you can make with Cirvalicious, check out its website:
You can buy Curvalicious from my Etsy shop.  Click HERE.

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