Monday, June 13, 2016

In Between Projects....and a Little Marketing

Well I'm off to a good start on the Marketing front.  I decided to start by contacting the wonderful companies who gave me fabric/batting/tools/etc. to use for the book.

Riley Blake Designs
Moda (United Notions)
Robert Kaufman
Cotton + Steel
Mary Ellen Products
Fairfield World

Hmm.  I think that was all of them.  I've heard back from several already AND I have even talked to a couple on the phone to brainstorm ideas.  I'm still waiting to hear from several of them, so I'll probably contact those ones again in case they didn't receive the email or whatever.

I've started talking to a couple magazines too, but I've barely scratched the surface on this avenue and need to get back to it.

I am definitely going to host a blog hop with C&T.  I've already received the guildelines and info.  F-U-N!  I had such a fun time participating in the Quiltmaker Magazine 100 Quilt Block Volume 13 tour that I wanted to do it again, but this time the focus will be my book, of course.


While I was waiting for my box of fabric for 3 magazine projects, I decided to do a little cleaning in my studio.  What an interesting experience, to say the least.  I did a little re-arranging along the one wall and then started sorting and organizing a bit.  OH MY!  What a lot of stuff I had scattered around my space.  I found notes from my first book, Orphan Block Quilts, which released in 2010.  Not to mention all of the scraps of paper from magazine pieces and just little notes that don't mean anything now.  Ugh!  Apparently I have a paper problem.

One of my favorite things to do with 8 1/2'' x 11'' sheets of paper that only have printing or writing on one side is to cut the paper into quarters and use the clean side for notes.  I even do this at the library where I work.  Too bad we can't wash paper, huh?

Anyway, here are a few photos from my "dungeon" studio.  My studio is located in the back corner of the basement.  I keep trying to steal a little bit more space as everything seems to multiply when I'm not looking....LOL!

What a mess!  See the stack of papers?  Those are from my first book!

 One of my favorite pieces in my studio -- my moveable giant ironing station with storage.  I worked on actually putting things in the bins.  Hidden clutter, YAY!

This is where I store my usual basic yardage.  Folded with an 8" ruler so everything is uniform.  Divided by color.  I also have some collections housed by themselves -- fat quarters (also organized by color), 1930's reproductions, 1800's reproductions, Christmas, Fall/Halloween, Patriotic, and PRECUTS (of course!).

Here's another view of my storage wall.  AND there's my amazing sewing machine and BFF -- my Janome 8900.  Too bad about the exposed concrete floor though, huh?

As I was cleaning up and re-organizing, I also found a lot of items that I didn't want anymore so I got those ready for an upcoming garage sale.  You know.....I must help to fuel the underground quilting movement.

Of course I was just getting into the cleaning groove when my box from Moda came today.  Here's a peak inside my box.  Ho hum.  It figures, doesn't it?  Hopefully I'll get back to it before another 6 years passes.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ugh.....Time to Start Marketing......

Well, it's now a little lest than 6 months until my new quilt book comes out sew -- you guessed it -- time to start marketing.

It's funny, you know, because the real work of writing a book doesn't even begin until after you're done with edits and revisions and projects.


It's like a bad word, isn't it?  But, in order to get your product (in my case, book) out there in front of people, there's a lot to be done.

I thought I'd write this blog about some basic marketing ideas -- some I've used for previous books and others are new ones that I'm going to try out.

Traditional Marketing Techniques
  • book signings
  • trunk shows 
  • teaching classes
  • visiting quilt shops
  • sending out mailings to quilt shops
  • talking, talking, talking
  • book reviews in magazines
  • submitting projects/articles to magazines 
  • connecting with guilds, groups, and other organizations
  • Quilt Market/Schoolhouse Lecture

Social Media/Internet Marketing Technique
  • website
  • blog
  •  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • blog hops
  • guest blogger
  • host giveaways
  • contact bloggers and ask for book reviews
  • internet quilting radio shows
Well, this is a good start, but I bet I forgot some so I ma add more ideas at a later date.

Do you have any ideas to share?

Monday, May 23, 2016

YAY! It's Official -- My NEW BOOK is Out in November 2016

Just found out for sure this past week that my new book, I LOVE PRECUT QUILTS! will officially be out in November this year -- six months from now!  WHOAH!

I received the Fall 2016 C&T catalog and my book is in it!  Yippee!

I also found my book on Amazon for pre-order.  WOW!

Hopefully, I'll be headed to Fall Market in Houston this October.......

Monday, May 16, 2016

UFOs, WIPs, Leftovers.......and a Little Snow

For the last couple of weeks, I've felt sew free to create in my studio.  Wow!  For the last six-eight months, all of my work in my studio has been professionally driven, sew this is such a nice change of pace for me.

The first thing I created was a new messenger bag/purse for ME, which I already blogged about a couple weeks ago.  After that, I got down to the business of trying to clean up my studio a little bit.

I finally sorted through all of the leftover fabric from my new book.  Wow!  What a big pile of bits and pieces and odds and ends.  I sorted them out by project and happily found several piles that could become a quilt of some kind. 

As an aside here, my dear friend Melanie, challenges herself to use the leftovers from one project to create another project.  A Two-for-one, if you will.  Sew, thanks to Melanie's process, I'm inspired to do the same.

I started with a stack of almost 5'' squares leftover from one of the quilts in my new book.  I added more squares from my stash and a white solid.  And came up with a really cute little throw quilt.  Sweet and fun.

I've also been playing around with a stack of blue and cream batiks from a recent magazine project.  In keeping with Melanie's philosophy, I used the left overs to make a cool skinny table runner.  And I STILL have more of this collection leftover.  Hmm.  We'll see what else I can create.

Next I found three UFO's and WIP's that needed layered with batting and backing and machine quilted, including a split ninepatch throw I made a couple years ago, I think.

Here's what I accomplished in the last week or two:

Five quilts -- REALLY, FIVE QUILTS.  Yes, I know that they're on the small side, but that's FIVE quilts out of my to-do pile in my studio.  HURRAY!

And as a happy thought, several of these projects were original designs.  I'm thinking of submitting them to Cut Loose Press.  Yay!  I'll let you know how that goes.....


Okay, SNOW. 

Can I even say that word legally in the middle of May?

I live in northwestern Pennsylvania, okay, NOT the mountains in Colorado.  But yesterday, nature was laughing at us.  The trees are opening their leaves, flowers are blooms, people are beginning to plant their gardens and their fields.  You know, a pretty normal spring in NW PA.

Then yesterday happened.  May 15th.  The day of SNOW.  Sew weird.  Sew strange.  Seamingly impossible, but it happened.  Yesterday.  Here's the proof:

Happy April Fool's Day....on May 15th.  Hah!  Hah!  Mother Nature.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

And the Winners Are......

WOW!  What a super fun Blog Hop, wouldn't you agree?  I had such a great time!

Thanks to everyone who participated AND stopped by my blog.  I hope that you'll stop back from time to time to see what quilt mischief I've gotten myself into (wink, wink).

I'm sew excited, too, because I gathered lots and lots of new ideas for future blog posts.  THANK YOU BUNCHES!

Okay, here are our Lucky Blog Hop Giveaway Winners:

Summer in Texas wins a copy of 100 Blocks vol. 13

Cecelia in Florida winds a copy of Orphan Block Quilts

AND I decided since sew many quilters visited and left messages that I'd give away a second copy of my book, Orphan Block Quilts.

So, our third winner is Jamie in New York.

Yay!  WAHOO!  Cool Beans!  Cue the confetti!  Let loose the balloons!  Let's blow our party horns!  Congratulations, winners!  Your prizes will be there soon!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

100 Quilt Block Blog Hop

Greetings and welcome to my blog!  I'm sew glad that you're here.

If you stopped by early this morning and my Blog Tour post wasn't up yet, I am sew sorry.  Somehow it didn't launch when it was supposed to.  Probably human error.......Thanks for checking back in.

Did you know that there's a BLOG TOUR going on right now from May 2nd until May 6th?  Did you know you can win fun quilty prizes?  Visit Quiltmaker magazine's blog, Quilty Pleasures to learn more, register for prizes, or to see the featured designers.

What fun!  It's my turn to host a block party as part of the Volume 13 Blog Tour on my blog!  WAHOO!  1....2...3.....Let's all blow our party horns!    Whoosh.....I'll throw the confetti.  Hey! Turn up the music -- loud!   Okay.......that's more like it!  Let's get the party started!  Yeah!

I am sew sew excited to be part of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 13.  This is my first time in the magazine, although my designs have been featured in many other magazines and publications and I've authored 2 books.  I have a new book -- my third book -- coming out in November.
 Read on to find out more about it.  :)

But first......on to my block.

This is my quilt block, Cotillion, featured in Quiltmaker's 100 Quilt Blocks Volume 13.  It's block #1284 on page 51.  Additionally, it's on the front cover of the magazine.  

Can you find my block, below?

Aha!  There it is!  Second row down, fourth block from the left.

  Let me show you how I came up with the design for my Cotillion block.

When I first decided to challenge myself to create a block, I decided to start with my favorite 
quilt block, Shoofly.  I sat down with my computer and Electric Quilt 7 software to play and 
had a little fun with my Shoofly block, but one big Shoofly block wasn't very interesting. 
 Hmm.  Now what?

Then I decided to put four Shoofly blocks together to see what would happen.  Since the block would finish at 12", I made my little Shoofly blocks 6".

I knew I was on the right track, but it definitely needed a little tweaking.

What if I featured a different fabric in the center instead of the background fabric?

Better....What if I made the white squares into rectangles and the center triangles into a solid square?  This would make it easier to cut.

I was really getting excited at this point because the block was starting to come together, but it wasn't quite there yet.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should take away the triangle squares in the four corners?

Now that's what I'm talking about!  Here is my original design.  But wait -- I need to add some fabric, don't I?   I decided to use fabric from the Samantha line by Carrie Quinn for Penny Rose Fabrics.
I had recently made a quilt using this lovely pink and brown collection and was happy to use the
leftovers for Cotillion.

Aha!  There it is!  Done!

Now that I've shown you my step-by-step process for creating my Cotillion block,
 look what happens when you put them into a quilt:

Here's a very traditional setting with sashing.

This is what happens when I put the blocks on-point with no sashing.  Interesting....


Okay, since you're kind of a captive audience, I just wanted to take a moment and tell you about my new quilt book with C&T!  My new book is all about PRECUTS and will be out in November 2016.  There are 16+ projects ranging from table runners and place mats all the way up to big bed quilts. Shhh!  Don't tell, but you're the first to officially hear about my upcoming book -- it's called I LOVE PRECUT QUILTS!.  Great title, huh?  So ask for it at your local quilt shop in November.



Leave a comment on my blog anytime from May 5th until May 9th and tell me what your favorite quilt block is.  You might just win a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Quilt Blocks Vol. 13!  Woot!  Woot! 

Now if you want a chance to win a copy of my first book, Orphan Block Quilts, become a follower and leave me a another comment letting me know that you're a follower.  

Winners will be drawn randomly on Monday, May 9th.  Please don't forget to include your email address so I can let you know that you're a winner!  YAY!  GO YOU!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.........................................

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Finally......Something Fun for ME!

For a long time now, I've been in professional mode when it's come to making quilts.  It seems like it's been a long long time since I had a little time to explore the concept of F-U-N in my studio.  So, this past week, I finally felt caught up enough to play a little bit.

First up on my play-cation was to make myself a new purse.  I got most of it completed last Sunday, but was lacking the plastic clasp so I didn't get it completely done until Thursday morning.

I used some leftovers from a Church Ladies Aprons FQ collection by Riley Blake.  I added a base of denim......and PRESTO!  One new bag ready for  -- can it possibly be?   ME!

Well, what do you think?  Isn't it fun?  AND as you can see there are pockets galore, inside and out, to keep my stuff organized.  Of course, my bag isn't really a traditional purse -- it's more like a smaller messenger bag -- there's even enough room for my iPad inside.  This is probably the fourth or fifth one I've made for myself.

Below is the one I made for my sister for Christmas this past year.  The strap was shorter for her, though, because she's not into cross-body bags and she's not very tall, only about 4'11''.

I fell in love with this design, called the Birdwatcher Bag in Cassie Barden's wonderful book, The New Handmade.

 I had the opportunity to meet Cassie Barden at Quilt Market in Houston a couple years ago.  She was so very nice and I was thrilled to show her my first bag.

Do you make you own bags and purses?  Ever since I made my first bags years and years ago, I discovered that I could make something better than anything I could find in a store.  Whether it was a design that I created or from a favorite pattern, my bag was just better.  I love how I can take a basic design and change it up with different fabrics, buttons, pockets, etc. 

Now that I've got the new bag out of the way, I'm taking on some scrappy projects using leftovers from some of the projects for my upcoming book.

Please stop by my blog on Thursday, May 5th, for my 100 Quilt Blocks From Quiltmaker Magazine Blog Hop Entry!  I'm going to give away a couple goodies, so come by for the fun!