Monday, September 30, 2013

... a little psa (public service announcement)

Although I'm in the midst of (trying to) getting distributor orders out the door, some design deadlines, & getting ready for some stitching friends to come over. . .
my UPS man just brought these. . . & I had to let you know!

'These'. . . are the latest line from Primitive Gatherings - called Floral Gatherings (the top bundle), & Floral Gatherings Shirtings (the bottom bundle), & I have been smitten with them ever since I saw them a few months ago. (!) The colors are classic, the prints are classic shirtings prints & they are altogether lovely.

I'm posting this because I did get some extra bundles so that I could make some available for you! I got fat-eighth bundles - so that they are affordable & are such a great size for some stash 'enhancing'. (Although, I'll be honest - mine won't last long in my stash, my head is swimming with ideas!)
The yardage won't be out in shops for about a month - but I have a feeling these won't last that long! (oh yea!. . . you can find them by clicking here!

Hope you're having a great start to your week. . .
. . . now, I've got some orders to finish!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

... instant vintage

Okay... there really are some photos. . . but first this story of how it all came about. . .

About a week ago, while my Dad was out of town, I decided to do a thorough clean-out of the guest room. (Which, had in all honesty become a bit of a 'dumping' room for quilts, patterns, books, kits... etc.) Once or twice a year I usually get a 'spring cleaning' bug, & I weed through things to do a good cleaning & sorting, but late this summer I have felt the need to go much deeper. Even though I've done the weeding through for the past few years. . . I still found that I had items (craft items, books, fabrics, clothes, etc...) that after a year or so I still wasn't using... & honestly didn't know if I really ever would. It struck me that keeping all of it was really weighing me down. Then the thought came to me that if ever something would happen to me, that someone would have to deal with all that 'stuff' (yikes!!!).

So, my first step was to empty everything out of the room (into the breakfast area & the end of the studio). . . every shelf, every drawer, every box, & everything in the closet. As I pulled everything out, I sorted through things & put a lot in boxes to donate. But there was still soooo much stacked up. As I was wondering how much more I could 'delete'... I took a break for a day. (This is why I waited until my Dad was out of town.) I would walk by the clean & empty room, & I soooo loved how it looked! (It's across from my bedroom... so I look into this room numerous times during the day.) What happened next, I wasn't expecting... Where just 24 hours before, I was wondering how I could whittle down the piles of things that came out of the room, perfectly good things..., I found that when it came to putting things back into the room, I was able to make what were such tough decisions just the day before, so much easier. I was able to discern what was something that I would need & actually use, & not just keep something (that I hadn't used for years ... or was something I had but had never used) just because it was nice or cute or pretty. Even if it were (nice, cute, pretty...), but would just be stored away & never enjoyed suddenly made it so easy for me to only put back what I knew I would use. 

What I now have is a three drawer dresser that had two of it's drawers emptied... five+ shelves emptied, not one pile on the floor, & a bunch of room in the closet. (Insert happy dance here!)

One of the things that I had to really think about was the amount of quilts that I (still) had. I had to make some tough choices & put a couple more sample quilts for sale on the website. (I will try to get some better photos of a couple of them...) Then, while sorting through the quilts, I found one that really has never been used, except for display in my booth at quilt market three years ago. I loved making the quilt (the smaller version of Opie's Home), but I knew that the colors were just a little bright for me to use in my home. I had thought it might become a gift, but I really do love this design, & I thought that if maybe it was a little more 'vintage' looking, it would work for my own home.

I remembered a process that I had read about in a book (Home Sweet Home) by Barb & Alma of Blackbird Designs, where they used a two step process to age fabrics. First, you wash the fabrics with a package of Rit Color Remover.... (I know, a little scary sounding!), & then put them through a dye bath (in the washer) using Rit tan dye.  I had played around with the process a few years ago (lightening a quilt - that was way to bright), but then couldn't find the Rit Color Remover until a couple of weeks a go. Now please know, that in the book, Barb & Alma use this process on fabrics before they are used to make a quilt, as you don't always know how a color might react in the color removal process, ... but I took the chance & tried it on my finished quilt. (... & to be honest it was a little scary & fun all at the same time!)

Here is the quilt before I started. Cute fabric, 1930's style, but a little too bright for me to use...

...then came the wash cycle with one package of the color remover...

I forgot to get a photo of the quilt when it came out of the first wash. (oops.) I liked it, but a couple of the colors were still a little too bright. And, when I saw the progress, I could tell that adding the tan dye bath would make this a great autumn colored quilt... (Which I have very few of.)  

When I took it out of the washer, after the tan dye bath (& then a full wash), I couldn't wait to  put it in the dryer... I could see that all of the colors were more subtle, & I knew that when dry, they would be even lighter... I loved the results!

All the blues, & greens turned to shades of aqua... The lavender/purple turned a wonderful pebble-y grey... The reds turned to browns, & the yellows kept their yellow hue, but it was a more buttery version. (I was a little fearful that the yellow might disappear.) ... & the pinks softened up I am smitten with them! (So much so, I'm thinking of making a quilt using pink & white fabrics, and then using this process...!)

I know it might not be everyone's favorite, but I love it. It looks like it's been around for years & years & I can hardly wait to decorate with it now that autumn is here. My plan is to use it on the dining room table & group together some of my vintage aqua Bell canning jars filled with some mums & daisies ... & a couple of white/creamy pumpkins too!
(Time to go to Trader Joe's!)

Until then, I've got some patterns to finish writing... 
Hope you have a great weekend!

xo, Bren

Thursday, September 19, 2013

… my first Needlework Market

First, I'm just going to post a bunch of my (long overdue) photo from Needlework Market. . .

(the TNNA Needlework Market neighborhood)

I had visited a couple of  TNNA (The National NeedleArts Assoc.) Needlework Markets,  but I took my time before 'dipping my toes' into the needlework industry. . .
. . . & I'm so happy that I (finally) did!

What a fun time. . . & what a great way to have a trade show market!
For this Market - instead of setting up a booth, the Market is held at an Embassy Suites, & as exhibitors, we simply set up our displays in the living room area of our suite! It makes for such a home-y & comfy setting, with comfy furniture (if needed) & a coffee maker, sink, microwave, & bathroom right there! It's like hanging out in your little house & the shop owners come to visit. . .!

I made up some samples of Betsy's Closet - In Stitches, & Benji's Pockets - In Stitches, for the needlework shop owners to get for their own shop displays, & then I also made some bunting for my window. . . (had to have a little quilt-y pretties in there somewhere!)

The photo's pretty much take you around my suite from when you walk in the door.  You may see a little peek of the fact that I 'slipcovered' the sofa & then covered it with one of my quilts (Opie's Home).(It was a pretty sofa. . . just with a pretty busy print that would have been a bit of a distraction.)

I'm really looking forward to the Nashville Needlework Market (in February), & am already starting on new designs(!)

The (cross stitch) designs I presented at this Market are on the website. . . & they are:

The other (embroidery) designs I took were:

(you can click on the pattern name & see it closer on the website.)

Whew! Long post. . . lots of photos. . . (!) If you hung in there for all of this. . . thanks. :o)

(p.s. . . . the sale is still going on - on the website (including the new designs), but will be ending this week. So, if there's anything you've been thinking about. . .  

Hope you have a great week!  (. . . the last few days of summer!)


Saturday, September 7, 2013

... late summer days . . .

Once again, 
days seem to be passing so quickly! (Hi September.)
. . . I even lose track of what day of the week it is sometimes! (seriously, all day Thursday, I thought it was Wednesday. . .)

Except for working on shipping orders, I've not even at my computer hardly at all, so I decided to try a new app for blogging so that I could blog from my iPad. A while back, I had tried a different blogging app, & wasn't too crazy about it, so we'll see how it goes with this new app with this post.

Okay... so, to catch up... 
The Needlework Market was wonderful! It was so fun meeting needlework shop owners, other designers, & there were even several quilt shop owners who attended (my dream shop! . . . stitchery & quilts!)
I did take some photos & I will post them in my next post.

Upon my return from Needlework Market, my days have been filled with filling orders, & believe it or not, I've been back to quilting!

I've been quilting & binding the smaller version of a new 'farmhouse collection' quilt. It's called 'meriwether', & it's based on a courthouse step block with embroidery (or appliqué in a larger version) around the borders. I'm hoping to have the patterns ready by the end of next week, & good news (!) . . . there will be kits available for the smaller quilt (seen above). I'll let you know as soon as they are ready.

I've been loving getting to sit & bind a quilt... it is one of my favorite things to do. I actually get a little melancholy when I'm almost at the end of finishing the binding! For me, put on a good movie, & I'm a happy camper getting to sit & bind while I 'listen' to the movie.

One little bump in our daily routine has been that little Mr. Bailey has reverted to licking on his front left leg again . Even though he's been such a brave little boy with all the thunderstorms we've had this summer, & I think with my going away for Market, he succumbed to being a little anxious, & reverted back to licking on his leg. So... you guessed it... yesterday the cone had to go back on...

He's being such a good sport about it... He was even wagging his tail when I pulled it off the shelf & was putting it on his collar. It was as if he was saying, "Well hi there buddy!" So, with the addition of  a couple of drops of 'Rescue Remedy (a natural stress relief formula by Bach - Original Flower Remedies) to his water dish, we're taking it day by day with the cone wearing.

So, even thoug it feels like its flying by... life goes on here at home & in the studio... & I'm plugging away & will hopefully have new patterns posted.! Until then, take care, & thank you for caring.

xo, Bren