Monday, January 16, 2017

An Eclectic Life and a FREE Pattern

Being a quilter and a designer is pretty much a solitary life. Don't get me wrong, I have friends, but most of the time I'm in my studio. I'm either at my sewing machine or on my computer. I love to go out and visit quilt guilds to share what I know with other quilters and I try to make lunch/coffee dates with friends to get out of the house. My daily walk is so important to me.

This all changes when I head to Key West. We live in a small place around a plant filled courtyard with a eleven other units. I create and sew while I'm here, but there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not socializing. Just taking Bailey out to do her business, results in multiple conversations. My weekly painting class immerses me in the art community. The quilt shop, The Seam Shoppe, is a 20 minute walk. I'm there at least 3 times a week. We eat out a bunch and my favorite places to eat are located on the water. Here we are at Geiger Key Marina, with my favorite company and a food I only eat down here, blackened fish tacos.

How about Bingo at The Green Parrot, the southernmost bar, to benefit The Studios of Key West?

And instead of walking, Bailey and I head out on a bicycle ride, where we often circumnavigate the island. That sounds far, but it's about 10 miles! This is one of my favorite sights on our ride.

The bicycle becomes my means of transportation. Riding my bike to buy drawing supplies, or groceries or miscellaneous items at the dollar store makes it a very healthy lifestyle.

I'm still sewing and designing and staying active on social media. I'll be vending at QuiltCon in February and need to add some new items to my booth. I found this cute little toddler sundress DIY on a blog called Blooms and Bugs. I added a cute scalloped border using fabric from The Seam Shoppe. Isn't it adorable?

I'm hoping to include a video of how I add scalloped hems with Curvalicious, which will work for skirts, dresses and even pillowcases in my next monthly newsletter. If you haven't received one yet, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE, so you don't miss it.

I was asked to review a Craftsy class presented by Christa Watson on machine quilting. It's called The Quilter's Path: Plan It, Stitch It, Quilt It. It's a basic class packed with a lot of information. Christa talks about thread, walking foot and free motion quilting. I like her attitude that her "quilting is perfectly imperfect!"

While watching the video, I thought about this little paper pieced mini quilt I had just designed and made called "Philly Love".

It was inspired by a Philadelphia iconic sculpture.

I'm in a pink mini swap on Instagram (@CherylLynchQuilts) and this will go to my swapmate. I had some ideas about how I was going to quilt it. It's only 12" square. In the Craftsy class, Christa shared how she quilted a spiral circle with her walking foot. I decided to try her technique. It was easy peasy and I just loved the result.

Here's the good news. Two pieces of good news! If you'd like the pattern for "Philly Love" you can get it for FREE in my upcoming newsletter. You can sign up to get it HERE.

And you can get Christa Watson's machine quilting Craftsy class for half price by clicking on this link, CRAFTSY.

It's certainly nice to be living outside of my comfort zone, and the beautiful weather sure does help. When you spend a morning videoing roosters walking about town, to send to your grandson, you know it's not Pennsylvania.

 

 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Intercession

Do you remember January break during college? Either you could take a mini course or spend 4 weeks at home doing nothing, hanging with your friends, or getting on your parents' nerves. As an adult, I now view January as Intersession and an opportunity. Being away from home frees me from all the routine and mundane chores of regular life, leaving extra time for enrichment.

I always try to do something new and different. Sometimes I stick it out, sometimes I don't. This "intercession" I've signed up for three classes! I'm hoping I find the discipline to follow through, because I'm also trying to launch a new quilty product (Woo Hoo!).

I'm taking Painting Bootcamp at The Studios of Key West with Rick Worth. The first class was yesterday. You walk in empty handed and leave with a painting. This was my blank canvas and my paint ( in the upper right corner).

Rick is a self taught painter and has quite a unique technique, not the least of which is using high gloss latex house paint in only 5 colors - red, blue, yellow, black and white!

He uses his clothes as a rag, during his demo, which I of course found endearing.

And I can't believe this is what I left with after 2 1/2 hours.

And, of course, I had to wear my work!

I'm also taking an on line class at Sketchbook Skool called How To Draw Without Talent with Danny Gregory. It is broken down into 26 very short videos. The mini promo video was sketching a dog. How could I resist. My goal is to be able to use a sketch as a jumping off point for a quilt. I really want to be able to do collage type dog quilts. (Bailey and Abby, are you listening?)

The third class I am taking is also an on line class with Abbey Glassenberg, of While She Naps. The topic is email marketing. Growing my newsletter subscribers is my goal. (If you haven't yet signed up, it would be a good thing for me if you did, by clicking HERE, or sharebthis with a friend.) I'm sure to some of you that sounds very boring, but it is fascinating to me. There are so many facets and parameters to this topic. It is so essential to my business of sharing my quilts, techniques and products. The behinds the scenes goings on of the quilting business is certainly fascinating to me. It's a small industry with lots of intertwined relationships. Some segments are shrinking while others are growing.

I'll try to share my "Intersession" experiences as the month progresses. Do you take classes other than quilting?

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Gratitude

Lots of you are probably busy getting ready for the big day. I am busy getting ready for the annual sojourn to Key West. It's a drive that I dread, but oh so worth it. I am vending at 3 big national quilt shows on the way home, teaching 3 classes at one of the shows and visiting a guild. I plan on launching a new pattern and a new product at these shows. I think most of my time will be spent prepping for the launch. However, I always make time to rejeuvanate and feed my creative spirit.

The Studios of Key West is a wonderful place that offers all kinds of classes, concerts and art exhibits. I plan on signing up for Painting Bootcamp with Rick Worth. I've wanted to take a class with this iconic Key West painter for years. I'm finally planning ahead and there's still room. I will also work there as a volunteer doing everything from bar tending to decorating for special event dinners to working at the front desk. I could be an usher at concerts, if I could only stay awake until 11:00PM!

There's nothing better than gifting with quilting friends. I had so much fun making these Kismet Trinket Boxes. The pattern is available HERE. It's from Sew Sweetness. I have never made anything like this, but the directions were pretty clear and I was so happy how they turned out.

I spent a bunch of time in my basement spray painting these magnetic pin holders.

This was one of my favorite gifts to give.

If you're on Instagram, these sweater quilts are all the rage from Kid Giddy. Most of them are Christmas themed. I love this one made for me by Pinkadotquilts. It will look perfect in my place in Key West. (If you want to make one you can buy the pattern from the Craftsy website Here.)

And so will this pin cushion, made by my friend Stephanie. It's a mini tuffet! So cute, with Allison Glass fabric.

It's nice to give and get gifts, but this year, the gift of friendship has meant the most to me. It has been both a wonderful year and a crappy year. With friends by my side I have been able to weather it all. From friends who helped me with my sweet Curvalicious business to those who leant an ear and sometimes a shoulder.

And family! Having my husband and best friend taking over the shipping, and accounting, and other bureaucratic' stuff has freed me up to focus on the creative side. And I love that my family is so proud of what I have accomplished.

And to all my fellow quilters, old customers and new customers, your support has kept me going through it all. Visiting guilds and quilt shows, sharing my stuff, brings me such joy. You've let me know that you like what I'm creating and offering and that means so much to me. Even when I am exhausted at the end of the day, my heart is singing!

So thank you to everyone. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for friendship. If I haven't met you yet, I hope to meet you one day. You all mean so much to me.

Don't forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter to get quilting inspiration, road trips, free DIY videos and great recipes. You'll like it. Click HERE.

 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gift Bag Recycling

 

I accumulate gift bags. They are either bags that I buy, bags that I receive or bags from purchases at stores. I just hate to throw them away. I have even come p with a way to store them so they aren't overflowing out of my cabinets.

It's a rack made for baking sheets. It works great to store the multi sized bags and tissue paper.

I had 2 gifts that I needed to package and I just happened to have 2 kraft paper bags in my bag stash.

After cutting up a bunch of strips from green fabric

And ironed fusible web to the back side, to the count of 10.

 

I cut them and played with the strips to make a tree. Then ironed them to the bag.

I added some bling in the form of sequins and seed bees .

Added my gift and some tissue for a great presentation.

Sometimes it's as much fun to make the wrapping as it is to make the gift.

 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Field Trip!

Who would have thought there would be such an amazing exhibit of Chihuly glass in Reading, PA? I should not have been surprised. Reading is the fifth largest city in PA and also home to GoggleWorks, a factory building turned into artists' studios.

The Reading Public Museum is host to the Chihuly: Venetians Exhibit until January 8, 2017. The glass works came from the George Stroemple collection in Oswego, Oregon. There are 60 pieces of blown glass which were done in collaboration with Murano Italian glass artists Lino Tagliapietra and Pino Signoretto that were created in the late '90s. There was a wonderful video showing these Masters turning glass into liquid taffy at the entrance to the exhibit. Here's a snippet of a video:

Many of them were large amazing pieces of art. My favorite ones, however, in this exhibit were his piccolo, smaller series.

 

 

 

It's just amazing how they coil the glass. You have to watcmake h the video.

Here's one of the flatter pieces that I liked. The color is so rich and deep.

There were other galleries in the museum. I am a big fan of religious art. It's usually about the shape of the frame.

 

This one is Russian and is a combo of a metal repousse and a painting.

I also loved the gift shop. I found lots of beautiful items made by local artists that were very reasonably priced as well as other items. I did some damage and got a great tip from the gift shop manager for a restaurant for lunch - Say Cheese. It was in West Reading with lots of cute shops.

It was indeed yummy. I love topping off a cultural visit with food.

And this was my favorite window eye candy. Wouldn't that be a great view outside your window?

 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Recharge, Reorganize and Rejeuvanate

My last commitment of the year was last week. It's been a wonderful year for Curvalicious and 2017 is going to be even more amazing. I just received my first order from the distributor that I signed with, plus I am vending at 5 major shows next year. They include Quiltcon and 2 other shows in Feb/March and I just found out I will also be vending at Paducah! This is along with my visits to quilt guilds and conferences.

So this is the time of year where I recharge, reorganize and rejeuvanate. I always look forward to working on new projects, exploring new ideas and just doing some fun sewing.

I made a bunch of these gift card holders for the December meeting of my quilt guild, Calico Cutters. We're having a fun December meeting, playing Quilto with gift cards as the prizes. The gift cards are for local quilt shops and some on line shops as well. We will be giving away 10! As Program Chair, I appointed myself as "The Caller". I am so excited.

For the gift card holders, I used a coordinating fabric for the linings. These make a gift card super special. I'm going to include a video tutorial in my next newsletter, that I'll be sending out right after Thanksgiving. (First, I need to get my hair done before I shoot the video!) If you're not on my mailing list, you can sign up by clicking HERE.

I've been experimenting more with a new fabric line by Tula Pink called Tabby Road,that's shipping in March. I was lucky enough to pick some up from Market. I'm not a big fan of cats, but I am smitten with this fabric that I showed in my last post. The colors really speak to me too. I came across a photo of Tula with me and Stephanie.

 

This is a work in progress. It's a jump off from my Moder Quilt Guild swap quilt.

 

Here's a block that is fused and ready for blanket stitching. I have 16 blocks. It will be a great project to bring up to the lake house for Thanksgiving. (I'm not involved with the cooking. Yay!)

My friend Hattie starting making pillowcases for her first granddaughter when she went away to college. She made pillowcases to celebrate the seasons and various holidays like Halloween, Valentines Day, Easter and Christmas. She is continuing the tradition with her youngest granddaughter. She also makes the. For the girls' friends! The newest pillowcases have a Curvalicious scalloped hem. So adorable!

I'll have links for these in my next newsletter too.

While I'm in my happy place, sewing, I hope you are in your happy place too.

Wishing you and your family a most wonderful Thanksgiving.