Category: Crafting

Passion

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Most people I know are passionate about something.

Those things vary from person to person – even in intensity between those who share a passion for a specific thing.

As you might know, I love reading, film, TV, food, crafting among other things. I’m a long time Star Trek fan – 50 years worth. And, yes, that astounds me more than one might think it would.

Some folks love gardening, others are into sports. Some find politics a competitive sport, not me. Much too serious repercussions involved for me to think that way.

Food can be an interesting passion. Eating is a simple joy. I actually know a few folks who eat because they have to — and one or two of them have to be reminded (!!) to do so. For me, food is a way of expressing love, a communal process, an adventure of exploration.

Books and reading or audiobooks and listening take storytelling to a new level of art.

Film or television can be an amazing experience or a monumental waste of time, depending upon what is being watched. This relatively new ability to binge watch TV shows has brought about a new way of experiencing and exploring television. I admit I like it…usually. 🙂

Passion for anything is an amazing gift. It provides focus, food for thought, ability to grow and learn. If not for Science Fiction, I would have a much different understanding of what we take for granted today – computers, for example.

There is a sort of zen-like component to passions. Crafting, for example, requires a certain type of focus that lends itself to meditation and contemplation. Odd as it might seem, there is a reason so many people engage in certain activities – and it might surprise you to find that it isn’t the activity itself that draws them in.

Justin Scarred recently when to a convention that focused on comic books, characters, anime and the like. I remember my first convention many, many years ago. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but when I stepped out of the elevator and the first thing I saw was a storm trooper coming at me down the hallway, it changed my life.

There is something special about being among other people who share your passion. Not only does it offer the opportunity to share something you enjoy, but it opens up the world a bit and adds more to the experience.

Ever been to a quilters convention? Same thing, just different subject. 🙂

There will always be folks who don’t get it. No matter how hard you try to explain or expound on the topic. But for those of us who do, it can be a life changing experience that will provide a lifetime of opportunity, interest, excitement and pleasure.

Don’t be afraid to explore and find your passion – or several if you like. You’ll be glad you did!

Mental Health Days and Why I Craft

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I recently came across a link to an article that got me to thinking about why I craft.  The article:  When A Woman Needed A Mental Health Day Off Work, Her Boss’ Response Shocked Everyone.

There is an old saying that if you do what you love, it isn’t work.  To a point, I would agree.  I’m like several of my friends and acquaintances, I enjoy the day to day processes of running an office.  That doesn’t mean that any of those projects, or jobs, is not work.

I have a passion for food and I love to cook.  Sometimes the act of cooking is more job than hobby, but not always.

I love reading, listening to music and watching film and television.  While I have a better than average knowledge of the behind the scenes functions of most of those activities, I have never had the pleasure of being employed in those industries.

Quilting is a new-ish addition to my life that encompasses my fondness for color, pattern and (believe it or not) geometry.  🙂

I do these things in varying degrees because it relieves stress, allows me to create something out of my own imagination and gives me an outlet to not think about the 9 to 5 day to day grind.

I think it can be looked at as mini-mental health days.

I know people who look at hobbies as stress replacements.  They are not so much into a hobby as a way to relax as a way to do something until they can do something else.  I don’t understand that, either.  🙂

I also know people who have no real understanding of, or use for, hobbies.  There’s work to be done, why waste your time?

I had a parent who worked hard most of his life.  He also spent a good amount of that time doing things he actually liked doing (hence the reminder of doing things you love not being work…)  But there came a time when he was no longer physically able to do the projects he loved.

As he had no hobbies, he was left with nothing to fill his time with.  And he ended up having a lot of time to fill.

My suggestion to you is the lesson I learned watching this parent deal with life.  It is all well and good to have things you love to do, but diversify a bit.  You never know when it will be in your best interest to spend time doing things you never thought you would.

If you are a hiker, what would you do if you broke a leg and couldn’t do that for a while?  If you had issues with your sight, how would you deal with not being able to read printed text?

You get the idea.  Work is a wonderful and productive way to spend time and earn a living.  It provides a great sense of self worth.  But work is not the end all or be all of a life.  It should be a part of the whole.  Find something that you are interested in and give it a try.  Doesn’t matter what.  Once you find a passion for something, you will notice that the world is a bit lighter, perspective a bit brighter and work is less, well, work.

AccuQuilt 2017 Block Contest Grand Prize Winner!

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Another Dose of Inspiration, Please

AccuQuilt has had a yearly contest for the best block for several years.  I enjoy seeing what people come up with – mainly because my creative mojo isn’t always that exciting.  🙂

This year’s winning block is pretty WOW.  Check it out by reading the article:

What Everybody Ought to Know

I love the use of color and shape to make something so unusual and beautiful.  I also love the fact that all the shapes used are in my Mix and Match set.  Talk about Inspiration!

Categories: Crafting Quilting

Welcome To Blueprint

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Turn your inspiration into action. We’ll show you how.

FREE 7 Day Bluprint Trial at Craftsy.com

I’ve been a Craftsy subscriber/member for many years. At the time, the idea of learning anything from home was a bit unique.

Craftsy was pretty straightforward: you purchased your class for a fee, received access to the class and all accompanying materials and kept the class in your archive for as long as you wished.  Class prices varied as did the length of the class.

I began my Craftsy adventure learning how to make chocolates and then ventured to learn more about quilting, sewing, paper crafting and a few choice cooking and baking techniques.

Overall, I liked the way I could learn at my own pace, stop and start over if I needed to, send comments and questions to my instructors – and get responses, all on my time frame.

The process of at home learning has evolved over the years and Craftsy has been either at the forefront or learning from others to incorporate ideas that makes their platform better and more user friendly.

Recently Craftsy debuted Craftsy Unlimited – their unlimited streaming service.  For a low monthly price, you could have 24/7 access to all the classes.  All the classes: cooking, sewing, quilting, fabric arts, art, you name it – the list goes on and on.

Today Craftsy Unlimited is Becoming Blueprint

Blueprint offers expanded categories like dance, fitness, yoga, art, and home decorating (plus all the original arts and crafts categories you love).

FREE 7 Day Bluprint Trial + 33% Off First 3 Months – Or – $20 Off Annual Subscription (through 8/1)

Why not take advantage of this great opportunity to see what Blueprint has to offer?  You might find just the right inspiration and instructor to get you started on a brand new adventure.  Or, you could rekindle an old passion that you’ve not explored in a long time.

I can’t wait to discover what Blueprint has in store!


FOOTNOTE:  I reached out to Craftsy and asked about the status of the original service.  I was advised that it is still available; individual classes are available to purchase along with kits and supplies.

Categories: Crafting

Quilting Thoughts

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My journey into quilting has been, at least as far as I can tell, pretty normal.  I’m not a seamstress; my claim to sewing fame is the ability to hem pants and sew buttons.  I’ve been around some really amazing seamstresses (my mom for one) and learned that garment making is not my cup of tea.

But I am fascinated by the process.  I know, it really makes little sense.  I’ve spent years watching Sewing with Nancy or Love of Quilting with Fons and Porter among other fabric oriented shows.  I’ve watched Quilt in A Day even though the amazing Eleanor drives me batty after a while.  It’s me, really. 🙂

It wasn’t until I found myself watching an episode of Sewing with Nancy that it occurred to me that (a) I could drive a straight line and (b) this quilting thing might be doable.

The drive a straight line bit may sound a bit odd, but the statement was made that if you were concerned about sewing a straight line, if you could drive a car in a straight line, you could sew a straight line.  As it turns out, I can.  Usually.

Quirks

I’m fascinated by the tools of the trade.  The rotary cutters, rulers, guides, templates (well maybe not so much templates), threads and fabric make the quilting process interesting.

I enjoy the process of taking pieces of fabric and making them into other pieces of fabric.  It is an odd variation of high school geometry class in cotton.  While the sewing is enjoyable, however, the cutting is not.

I hate cutting fabric.

I have a bad back, which makes cutting large pieces of fabric into smaller pieces using ruler and cutting mat a bit of a trial.  And considering the cost of fabric, the idea of ruining a cut just adds stress.

I prefer to use pre-cuts; fabric lines cut into set sizes: 5 inch squares, 10 inch squares, 2 1/2 inch wide strips, to name but a few.  Pre-cuts make part of the cutting process easier because they reduce the amount of cutting needed.  In some patterns, you simply use the pre-cuts as they are.

While some folks love the idea of using old school methods, templates and I are not on the best of terms.  Using paper or plastic pieces to cut fabric is not my idea of fun.  Especially if I have to cut the paper or plastic to make the templates myself.  Now, this may confuse those who look at some of the cutting tools and think ‘template?’  You can purchase specialty shape rulers to make blocks; I have one to make a Dresden block that is a particular favorite.

Add to this the time it takes to actually cut fabric before you can sit down to create a block – not to mention a quilt – and you may start to feel like you are done before you start.

Solution!

I was lucky enough to discover a wonderful tool as I was beginning my quilting journey.  It is a cutting system that saves time, creates accurate cuts and provides easy to follow guides to create blocks. AccuQuilt provides a variety of dies and mats to cut your fabric stash into the pieces needed to create blocks to create that quilt you have been dreaming of making.  Even if you weren’t aware you were having such a dream.

I spent a lot of time researching this new system and I liked what I saw.  A variety of basic shapes along with some innovative and interesting new shapes to create pretty much any project I could imagine.  Over the years, they have continued to refine and enlarge the collection making it possible to make even more projects. And if I run out of ideas, they have over 700 Patterns – many free.

The machine I chose was the Go! machine and I picked up the 12 inch block Mix N Match collection dies even though there are other Mix N Match block sizes available.  These dies will create a 12 inch final sized block for my quilting project.  I’ve added a few specialty dies in addition to a smaller bow tie block and the log cabin block on board (BOB) die.

If you are looking to upgrade your quilting experience, or if you have been unable to quilt due to arthritis or back issues, why not check out the latest Accuquilt deals and current offers!

Accurate cuts, more time to quilt, less fabric loss.  Add a quarter inch sewing machine foot, some beautiful fabric and thread and you are on your way to a beautiful quilt or other project.

Check out the offerings at Accuquilt and let me know what you think.

Categories: Quilting Sewing

Quilted Tote Bag Challenge!

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If you haven’t already heard, the Crafty Gemini and Angela from the Midnight Quilt Show have partnered to create two easy to make tote bag projects.  Both projects are on YouTube ready for viewing – and downloading free patterns.

Each project is a different take on a useful item that is also a great learning opportunity for beginning sewers and potential gift items for your stash.  How’s that for checking off a few boxes on your To Do List?

The Crafty Gemini link is HERE

The Midnight Quilt Show link is HERE

Categories: Gifting Sewing

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