Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Cold Hard Truth ... I'm too Hard on Myself!

Today, I thought about my art and the things that fly through my mind of what I would like to make. I see these vivid images in my head, but I can't always get them out into reality.

I put on my Craftster mantra, "Dreaming Bigger than my Abilities." I am beginning to feel more and more like that isn't necesarilly the case. There are so many crafty and creative people out there! I think I have been living with the idea that I should be the best in everything... and well finding that it is not necessarily true. I'm just a little too competitive and hard on myself. I do things no one in my family can do... or would want to! Ha, ha.

If I don't win a challange I feel as if what I made was crap... It wasn't that good to begin with, and why would I think it would win?! And then I do win sometimes, but I think I need to enter it in bigger competitions, and try to get more credit, and when that doesn't happen I would go back to feeling like I only make silly, not that great things. I start to believe my skills aren't that great, and I look at my crafting supplies and find myself not wanting to touch them because I stop feeling worthy of it...

Today, I am taking that away! I know we all feel like that about something, we have to right?! Maybe for some, it's not crafting at all but they feel their parenting skills in question ... my daughter just lost her finger nail for the second time... It didn't even't grow out completely from the last time! But I don't hold it against me as much as my crafts... Sometimes we just need to tell ourselves not to believe the negativity and to keep at it. Even when it's hard!

I have been telling myself that for the last week or two... Hasn't completely sunk in yet, but I keep working at it!

There's no new or completed masterpiece to show off today... Just some words of encouragement to keep at it when you feel defeated. Even when you think it's impossible, I promise it gets better. Not right away of course, but I believe it has to. With every project I make, I practice a skill and I learn how to manipulate it a little bit more.

So on the days when I make a sale or I win a prize or ribbon in a contest, I just have to carry that high over until the next one...

So for me as much as for you, keep your head up! Keep creating!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Monkey Fun Quilt Top!

I have already begun my Christmas Quilting! Which for me is something very new for this year! I only decided I wanted to start quilting at the beginning of the year and have since completed some smaller projects.

It seams every time I finish piecing a quilt top I post a picture and say, "This is the largest piece I've made yet!" And well it's always been true, but I have been doing quite a bit of piecing lately that I am sad to say I won't be saying it much longer ... unless I just keep making bigger and bigger! Ha, ha.

Most of this monkey fabric was left over from a basket cover tutorial I had written earlier in my blogging. It had been for my sister who was having her first boy.

I ended up going back to Joann's (Yes, I know it is not always the highest quality of fabric, but sometimes I'm on a budget, and sometimes they get cuter prints...) and finding they had a yard or two of a few prints I had not purchased before, so I picked them up and got home and started drawing out what would turn into a quilt for my new little nephew, J.P. for Christmas.
I worked with a 9 Patch design and just enlarged the block pattern to fit the fabric and size I wanted the completed quilt to be.

After completing the blocks I decided I would add a border just to make it a little bit bigger. Well I couldn't get anymore of the fabric because they just didn't have it anymore... so my stripes don't line up at the top... but oh well!
So this photo has the best coloring... This is more true to the actual colors, and the best picture of the wonky stripe border.
Here is where they didn't line up. But it's only on two sides at least.

Here is the finished pieced top... still have to actually quilt it, but I think I will work on that next month! Haven't decided if I want to try hand quilting it or just use my machine!

I am working on another for my niece right now too.... Tinkerbell.... I actually have enough of the fabric for that one! Ha, ha!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What do you mean no one wants Donuts?!

With the recent sale of one of my necklaces, it reignited my desire to make beaded jewelry... It's something I tend to be good at! Ha, ha.... I sold the one garden necklace and since have felt a little sad without it! Which is actually good, I think...

It has forced to to think that maybe I needed to put the cover on the sewing machine for a week or two and get back to my original craft of beading.

So last week I headed out to a local bead store and decided I would pick up a few more semi precious stone donuts. I looked around the little shop and found a few extra supplies I probably didn't really need, and then I went looking for my focal point, those stone donuts... I couldn't find them! I asked the store associate where they might be hiding. She informed me they just aren't that popular anymore?! Really?! I just sold a necklace where the focal point was a beaded quartz donut...

I left the store with my few extra supplies and came home and raided my bead box ... which happens to be the largest tackle box I have ever found and I have to keep it on the tile, otherwise it makes marks on the carpet from the weight of it...

So all weekend I sat down with every donut I had in my collection and beaded them all....

It really doesn't take too long to complete each one, but with them all finished now I can start the fun part, making the actual necklaces and bracelets!

I think that starting each one is my favorite part! As you can see above you start with this beautiful "flowery" part and then they turn into the wonderful bases for necklaces and bracelets....

I didn't get much further than these this weekend though ... poor Abigail came down with a bad cold and with her lack of sleeping and constantly running nose I didn't get much sleep or much else done...

Today, she is starting to finally feel better, still the running nose and a small fever at times, and well still the lack of sleep.... so I guess not much has changed! Ha, ha.... but I just put her down for a nap and am hoping to get working on that first art quilt today....

Just a "taste" of whats to come....

In all, I've learned I should probably just continue to order my donuts online... and now I am off to order a few more!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Come One, Come All ... Circus Quilt #2?!

Right now you are thinking, if this is #2 then where is #1? Correct?! Well there is quite the story behind this beautiful 16 X 24" Art Quilt....

It all started in early May when I began work on an Art Quilt for a Craftster partner who liked the idea of Side Show circus acts. She had specifically mentioned the Tattooed Lady and the Strong Man. Well I created or well almost completed a beautiful quilt incorporating both those characters and then thought I would bring it to show and tell at my monthly quilt guild meeting.

Once I showed it off, a wonderful quilter or 10(!) told me there was no way I could give that quilt away and I needed to enter it into the upcoming San Diego Quilt Show. I came home and thought about it, and within a few hours decided I would in fact keep it and begin work on a new quilt to send to my partner... And above is what I made!

So first I printed on special fabric paper the four images of REAL early 1900's circus side show acts and took a little colored pencil to them to create a little depth. Then I just used scrap fabric I had purchased ... yes, they even sell the scraps! With them I created just simple log cabin blocks. The center strip was a piece of linen like fabric and I created a freezer paper stencil of the word "Circus" and painted it on with a sponge to add a little something to the background. I knew it wouldn't be seen in the long run but just didn't want "empty" space.
Then I used some scrap felt ... get the theme going on here?! I really like scraps! Ha, ha. I used that felt to cut out a strong man.... now by this point the entire top had been quilted and the binding added. I then pinned the felt man in place and appliqued him to the top.
I actually stitched him all together first and then added him as one big unit. With the dumbbell added last. Soon you will see this is different than the first, once I post it! Ha ha
I couldn't just add a simple label to the back so I made a lovely label with embroidery and just some simple fabric pen writing. I applied this after I has completed everything else... I think it was the most fulfilling thing to add.... It was like knowing it was coming to an end!
I wish I could tell you what my partner thought, but unfortunately I never heard from her after shipping... I hope she is well... I think she probably will really enjoy this item! And soon in the next week I will be happy to post the completed FIRST version of this quilt.... I just received the letter that it was ACCEPTED into the San Diego Quilt Show for this September! If you find yourself in the San Diego area September 13-15th please come check it out.... Post to come shortly! I Promise!

I Swear I'm Still Here!!!

It is amazing how quickly time can get away from you, no?! I just looked and realized it had been OVER a month since my last post! I wanted badly to be able to post something new every week or at LEAST every other week... but raising a beautiful 19 month old, a 2 year old Schnoodle, a 35 year old husband (ha, ha), and taking care of our house, it just didn't happen that way.

Lately, I had been on a Craftster high, and completing as many swaps as I could. I am a firm believer in "the swap" and until recently never had a negative thought about it, until... yes, you guessed it a partner went missing after I sent my item... so it took me a week or two to really pick myself up from that one... But now I am back and fiercer than ever!

I've decided it's time to start paying for these wonderful hobbies of mine... and I decided to try something other than Etsy... I got into the addictive bidding world of TopHatter! Yesterday I sold my first piece!!! The rush of the bidding was just too exciting!
This was the necklace that I sold, "Rose Quartz Beaded Dream Necklace."

I made this necklace probably close to 4 years ago now! I've worn it many times to all sorts of things...

It was sad to see her go this morning at the post office ... but the feeling of fulfillment that I got was so much greater! So much so that today I stepped into a bead store for the first time in probably 6 months and purchased some materials to make something similar... It felt great!

I always wondered that because my sales on Etsy were so low that I wasn't a real artist, but yesterday what everyone else tells me felt real ... I am an AMAZING jewelry designer!

Thanks for hanging in while I went on hiatus... I won't let that much time separate us again!