Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Quilt Full Of Kisses

July is baby month for us Island Batik Ambassadors. Somehow I procrastinate and end up finishing the challenge towards the end of the month.  I have good intentions  as soon as I finish the last month's challenge.  But again, I am teetering against the deadline.  This month I am 3 days early!  I'm hoping next month I'll be more punctual.

I chose to use a layer cake that has 10" squares from the Sweet Nectar line.

 The colors were bright and cheery, just right for a modern baby quilt. 

 I paired them with the lightest Island Batik background fabric that I could find, cut into 10" squares.

From the Island Batik layer cake fabrics, I cut 2 Curvalicious strips, backed with fusible web.

  I played with the layout a bit and I think I came up with ideas for future quilts.

But the quilt I had in mind from the beginning was Curvalicious Kisses.  What a great baby quilt it makes.  It's so sweet and filled with kisses!

After stitching down the fusible strips with a polyester variegated thread called Fantastico, I sewed together the 9 blocks

and added my favorite border using Curvalicious.  Here's a link to a video that shows how to do this.

I still need to quilt this quilt.  I have a longarm that has been sitting in my living room for almost 1 year.  I've quilted 2 quilts when it first arrived and since then, it has become  the most expensive horizontal storage shelf I have ever had!  I finally have a few unscheduled weeks and my plan is to clean it off, refresh my memory and quilt this baby quilt and a few more.

My new box filled with Island Batik fabrics arrived today.  I view it as my reward for finishing my July assignment.  I'm going to shoot a short video when I open it and share all the goodies.  I'll share it on FB, IG and my August newsletter.  

Think about it.  What would you do if you received a box filled with free fabric???

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  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:  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, and my new cosplay business at  I'm on FB at, 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,