Saturday, November 24, 2012

What's Wrong With Me, Anyway?

I'm cursed. It's a terrible curse, too. It's The Curse Of Always Having To Do Things The Hard Way. Woe is me.

So, I'm wandering around, minding my own business, cleaning up the house after the Thanksgiving madness. I thought about putting up the tree, but decided to wait until next weekend because, really, I'm just too tired after all of that tryptophan to do anything strenuous.

And then it occurred to me; I have the weekend free. Why not do a little piecing? Yeah, that's it! A little piecing! I've got a quick and easy table runner pattern that I've been thinking about making for several years. The first time I bought it was at a great little fabric shop in Kenai, Alaska called Robin's Place. I liked it, I bought it, I brought it home, I put it in a safe place, and I never saw it again. About 3 years after I bought it, I thought to myself "Hey! Where's that pattern?" and I turned my sewing room upside down looking for it. Nope, not here. Dang! So I called Robin's Place and bought it a second time. Naturally, two days after I ordered it, I found it sitting right there on the shelf where a blind person would have seen it. If it had been a snake it would have bit me and I'd be dead right now. So, now I've got two of this pattern and it's high time I make at least one of them.

Santa's Midnight Runner by Mount Redoubt Designs

I started digging through my stash, since 2012 was the Year of the Big Stash Reduction (fail!) and I am not allowed to buy any new fabric (fail again!). As I dug, and considered, and dug some more, and considered some more, it occurred to me that this table runner only has three tiny reindeer. Three?!? Everyone knows Santa has eight tiny reindeer. Nine, if you count Rudolph, which I do. With as many little nieces as I've got, there's no way I'm going to get away with making a Santa table runner that only has three reindeer on it. Curses. Foiled again.

And this is where the trouble started.

In the space of 14 seconds I went from working on a project that would have been done by Sunday night to working on a project that's going to take all week. Quickly realizing that if I added six more reindeer to this thing I'd have to use my table runner to line my driveway, because it would end up being about 42 feet long, I decided to change it from being a 17x52 table runner to being a 29x45 wall hanging. I will redraw the reindeer so they appear to be curving away from Santa's sleigh and heigh-hoing off into the wild blue yonder, diminishing in size as they curl away into the sky.

And speaking of sky, I decided that the background of four inch squares is too boring and the large size of the squares makes it too difficult to color shade that sky from deep purple-blue through rich cobalt into the rich turquoise that will be the background for the large silvery moon that the reindeer will be flying across and that will need to be carefully hand shaded with gleaming iridescent silver paint. So now my stupid sky is made up of 2 inch squares. About 40,000 of them. Sigh.

See what I mean about being cursed? Why didn't I just make the table runner and get it over with?

Here's where I began this morning

And here's where I ended tonight.

Tomorrow I will finish the layout and begin to sew all of those seams. Please send help.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Craftsy's Big Holiday Sale

Craftsy is having a big Black Friday/Cyber Monday all rolled into one sale. If you'd like to get my new class for half price, or treat yourself to a great food crafting or decorating class for the holidays for a killer great price, click the link below!

Craftsy Holiday Sale: All online classes are $19.99 or less. Sale ends Mon. Nov. 26th, at midnight!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Big Reveal

Once again, I find myself apologizing for the gap in posting. After a year spent mostly on the road, I'm finally at home and am starting to get caught up. I just can't tell you how wonderful it is to wake up in my own bed every morning, with my dogs breathing their horrid doggy breath in my face, knowing that it's going to be this way for a while. Hooray!

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...The Big Craftsy Reveal!

After months of prep work, which included working with Alycia Carmin at Alycia Quilts, the wonderful Bruce and Diane Magidson of Sew Batik fabrics, and the great Craftsy peeps on a beautiful Quilts of Valor Mystery Quiltalong it was finally time to start filming. Handi Quilter graciously allowed us to film at their facility in beautiful Salt Lake City (if you've never visited that city, you should. Talk about a nice place to visit!) and provided us with a top of the line new machine for use during filming, enough food to keep us going for weeks, and the friendliest staff I've ever worked with. I just love Handi Quilter. They hire the nicest people ever.

Craftsy sent out a fantastic crew, who impressed the living daylights out of me every step of the way. There was Tonya, who kept us all focused and on track, James, who kept us all smiling and never once lost his cheerful grin (and has the ability to imitate numerous Oscar winning actors at the drop of a hat) and Nicole, the quiet genius who sat behind her computer directing us flawlessly and never losing track of where we were and where we were going.

The team arrived with cases and trunks galore, and immediately started unpacking and setting up, while I stood there with my mouth hanging open. It was absolutely astonishing to see how much expensive equipment they had shoved into those trunks! There were two cameras; a stationary master camera manned by Tonya and a moveable camera on a boom which was manned by James. There were big lights, little lights, and spotlights. There were microphones that hung from booms, microphones attached to cameras, and microphones attached to me. There were cables and cords and computers and monitors. There were washtubs full of water bottles, boxes of munchies, and a whole lot of chocolate. Which, of course, we needed in order to keep us from perishing. Film crews, it turns out, need almost as much chocolate as quilters do. Who knew?

This is what the set looked like through TOnya's master camera. On her various little monitors, she could see the set, her camera's view of the set, and James' camera's view. Very cool.

I knew that the only way I'd ever stay organized enough to shoot almost a dozen different episodes over the course of just a couple of days was if I made little kits containing every single thing I needed for each episode, along with a master list of which items in each episode kit was to be moved to a different episode kit when each episode was finished. Did that make sense the way I said it? Here is a shot of some of my kits lined up in the order they were to be used. (no, we did not shoot chronologically, which complicated things even further)

After being worked on for an hour by the makeup artist and spackled, scrubbed, powdered and primped, I was ready to step in front of the camera for the first episode. Take a deep breath, calm your nerves, try to remember your lines, and let's do this!

Filming took the better part of three very long days and, though tiring, was a total blast. Everyone was super professional and there to do the job and do it right which made it a joy for me. I LOVE working with people who share my work ethic! We all worked our tails off all day long, stayed on task, and when it was done, we all had smiles from ear to ear. What a great team!

Because I was waiting for my class to launch, I have only shared glimpses of what the final QOV quilt looks like. Are you ready to see a shot of the quilting? Here you go! Reminder; the quilt still needs to have the last row of quilting finished and needs to have piping and binding added. When this is done, I will take a better photo of it and post it so you can see how it looks with a shot of bright red piping, but in the meantime, here's the quilt as it looks so far.

And here is a close up

If you want to learn how to do these designs, here's a link to my Craftsy class. Click here to go directly to the class page at Craftsy.