Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mugging for the Camera

Did I hear you say you are sick of hearing about Two for Teal 2014? No? Good. This may well be because you are too polite to tell me, which I appreciate.

I am so very proud of my Two for Tealers (Two-fers? Teal Heads? We really do need a catchy name.) this year. Not only did they help raise $880 for Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, but the group is so cool that they gave me some pretty cool stats to share here, too:

  •  15% of the 88 participants are survivors of some form of cancer. While this is on the one hand a little sobering when you think about how prevalent that means cancer is, it's on the other hand inspiring, so we are going to focus on the other hand.
  • 4 of those survivors are ovarian cancer survivors, ranging from just a year or two to 21 years. I can't love that more. 
  • Over 30 states are represented, from small (Delaware) to big (Texas); from north (Montana) to south (Georgia) and east (Virginia) to west (California). Next year I am shaming the rest into it, starting with Rhode Island and Vermont, the only two New England states not to ante up a participant.
  • 20% of the participants have the name Donna, Diane, Diana, Debra, Charlotte, or Barbara. Which was a big old nightmare when organizing the actual swap, but I made it through and I love every one of them.
But much more exciting than all this is just the insane enthusiasm this group is showing on the Two for Teal FB page, from sharing the joys of already spending their Cherrywood gift codes to a spirited discussion of best mailing procedures for the completed mug rugs. One even decided to show us how cool she is to have painted her toes to match her focus fabric.

I covet Lisa's lack of bunions. Just saying.
 The favorite posts, though, are those photos depicting fabric pulls and completed mug rugs which have been showing up with reckless abandon over the last few days, spinning everyone up into a fervor of joyous sewing merriment.

Time to play Can You Spot the Focus Fabrics? We've got cool modern hexi mug rugs:
Made by Amy Marohn, daughter of Cherrywood founder and our resident famous participant because of it.
  We've got mug rugs with a little extra surprise:
Made by Christine Orlando; pocket a happy afterthought that was loved by all who saw it.
 We've got the cutest sand castle ever:
Made by Camille Vlasak for her beach-loving partner.
 And then there are the inspiring fabric pulls that have us all salivating. Forget the dogs, Pavlov should have used quilters and fabric, don't you think?
Michelle Banton's fabric pull. Yum.

Ruth Wasmuth's delicious choices.

Neva Ansinari-Post's delightful choices make me wish I'd given her the honor of being my partner.
 Didn't get a chance to be part of the fun this year? I'm already working on ways to make next year bigger and better. Be sure to join my EvaPaige Quilt Designs facebook page or newsletter signup so you can stay on top of the latest; I don't want you to miss out!





Friday, September 5, 2014

I'm back, hotties! I'm talking to you especially, Anne, for whom I am about to make the commute home oh so much more enjoyable.

We may have eaten them all in one sitting.
The summer of 2014 was survived by myself, my husband, and all three children, which is always a minor miracle. It was the summer of lost shoes, two cases of never ending poison ivy (one of them mine and I will never ever again weed. Ever.), introducing The Wonder Years to the girls via Netflix, lazy days at the lake, desperately trying to find the leak in the water trampoline, berries galore, Outlander on my audible books AND MY TV BE STILL MY JAMIE LOVING HEART, and the quilt project that sapped three years off my life. It will also be remembered as the summer I only beeyotched about the heat maybe three times because it rarely broke 90. In all, it was actually not a horror show. I'm still kind of shocked.
Sorry it took me so long, AH.
However as per ushe, there wasn't a whole lot of time to blog, so here I am, back with a vengeance! Or at least a new post!

It being September, allow me to  remind you that before we turn the world pink in October, this is the month of teal - Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. As I am blessed to be in a position of being able to do something, anything to bring awareness to the quilting world about this crazy awful disease, for the second year in a row I am hosting the Two for Teal Mug Rug swap and OCRF fundraiser. With my mailing of the envelopes to all 88 participants earlier this week, the swap is now well underway and I can't wait to start seeing some actual mug rugs on the Two for Teal facebook page! The group is open to anyone, whether you are participating or not, and can be seen by all, so check it out from time to time; I'm sure we are going to get some really cool projects shown on there.

Fall is always a busy season for me, and this year is shaping up to be just as nutty as usual with a bunch o' lectures in New England and beyond. For the first time I will actually be shared by two guilds in Pennsylvania the third week of November, which means I am going on a Serious Business Trip. (Minus the serious business attire. That would just be out of character.) You all understand that Serious Business Trip translates to A Week Off at Home and Sweet Jesus I Can't Even Wait To Spend A Week Straight With Adults, right? In any case, I am really looking forward to all the opportunities I get this fall to meet some quilters and dazzle them with my awesomeness. Or something like that.
 
No serious business attire, but I can promise a fab necklace and maybe some air quotes.
Fall also means fresh air and a fresh start, but best of all for me it means six hours in a row on a fairly regular basis without having to stop and search for tap shoes, a bikini top, swim goggles, or a hairbrush. It's pretty much a revelation in free time. So I get to lock myself in the studio and go to town on all the projects that are rudely yelling for me to get back to sewing. How am I doing on my master summer list, now renumbered for your convenience and shortened to only those items still pending or which I wish to chat about? Let's check it out.
 
1. Smack these HST blocks into quilt/new pattern for my new lecture, debuting in May 2015, about my Scrap Squad experiences and consequent inspirations.  - I'm pleased to say I've gotten a little further on this one. I'm not pleased that it is still all over my sewing room floor, but at least the chunks of quilt are now bigger and it WILL BE DONE BEFORE I DIE.

Before: mid-June

After: 10 minutes ago. I'm in love with the dots.
 2. Finish quilting this sucker. - Let's all laugh together.

In all honesty, I have no idea where this one even is right now.
3. Keep up with Modern Instabee blocks. - June was sent before I even made this an entry (you know you get it - who doesn't love writing something on a list so you can immediately cross it off?), July was a few days late but I did send it, and August snuck itself in there with minutes to spare. But I kept up and made some cute blocks, putting this one in the win column. The bee is pushing my "modern" buttons, but it is all good.
 
June - I'm not adding "lint roll design wall" to the list. We all know I won't do it anyway.
July - I have no idea why it is practically life-sized here.

August - Hey! Those dots are back!
 4. Scrap Squad project #4 will be due in September or maybe late August. - And it is AWESOME, hotties, if I do say so myself, which I totally do right now. If you haven't checked out the blog post on Quilty Pleasures yet, please do. I'm all about showing it off properly and fishing for compliments. Apropos, as I named it "Koi Pond Kaleidoscope."

Here's hoping the three years of my life I gave up was worth it.
  The design I have in mind as "inspired by" Koi Pond Kaleidoscope is next in line, as soon as I get this damn grey dot thing off the floor. So back to the dungeon I go! Thanks for checking in and I'll see you back here early next week - count on it!

Friday, August 29, 2014

139 Pieces Per Block - NAILED IT!

I woke up this morning to this sweet message in my inbox, from my pal and groupie Jeneta in Australia:


"I LOVE your Scrap Squad quilt #4. LOVE it I tell you! There is no way that I would ever make a quilt with 139 pieces in each block, but I am glad that you did!!" What a way to start the day!

I'm SO excited to finally be able to reveal to you the quilt of the summer, the quilt I've used to tease you mercifully with little snippet photos of close ups, the quilt that at once saved my summer sanity as it allowed me time in the sewing room and almost drove me to the crazy house with matching points.....Scrap Squad #4, "Koi Pond Kaleidoscope."

You can see the whole post of bloggy wonderment describing my thought processes, which we all know can be scary, over at Quilty Pleasures, Quiltmaker's blog, but here's the reveal you've earned for putting up with me.




Koi Pond Kaleidoscope contains more fabrics than any quilt I’ve ever made and has a mix of solids, batiks, and prints all working together. You know those purists who tell you that batiks and other fabrics can’t be put in the same quilt? Show them this and watch ‘em weep.

Here's what I had to scrap up.
magicstars450opt How to Make a Scrap Quilt: Scrappy, Scrappier, Scrappiest

I think I nailed it. At the risk of fishing (hee hee) for compliments, do you agree?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Two for Teal Registration Open!

It's HERE!

Signups started at 12:00am 8/15/14. If you are on the west coast, you can even sign up after 9:00pm tonight. And I'm writing this post the morning of 8/14, and scheduling it to post in the future, and the whole thing is just making me feel very much in tune with my inner time-traveling Sassenach.

You know I never miss an opportunity for an Outlander shout out.

So time to register and start planning your mug rugs! Please read all the info and fine print on the registration form, and refer to the previous post for even more specifics. I have a ridiculous goal in mind for our OCRF donation, but if I reach it it will be worth the administrative nightmare it causes for sure!

If you plan to participate, make sure you check out and join the Two for Teal Mug Rug Swap 2014 open group on Facebook as well. Any member can post photos of the mug rugs as you receive them or ovarian cancer awareness or questions or anything appropriate. You'll definitely want to get in on the action!

If you didn't hit one of those links to register already, you also can do so right from the left hand sidebar over there <------. Just be careful to sign up for Two for Teal and not the Round Robin in a  Day - unless you want to do both! I'd be thrilled! But with two events going at once I just want to make sure you sign up for the right thing!

Can't wait to get started with all of you!









Sunday, August 3, 2014

Two for Teal Almost Here!

And now there's even a cute blog button!
 It's almost here....Two For Teal Mug Rug Swap 2014! Because the Teal Toes people have graciously offered to highlight the swap and new FB open group tomorrow on their own facebook page, I figured now might be a good time to send out a little info via blog post, in frequently asked questions format. After answering about seventy-five thousand questions a day from my three daughters since June 20, this format seems only appropriate.

What is Two for Teal?

Two for Teal Mug Rug Swap and OCRF fundraiser is a way for EvaPaige Quilt Designs to help raise awareness of this ridiculous disease during the month of September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The basic premise is formulated around the What We Know of All Quilters Trifecta:

  • They love to sew
  • They like fun gifts in the mail
  • They are mostly women and/or have women in their lives and would like to prevent women from dying from ovarian cancer if at all possible.
Participants are asked to pay a nominal fee when registering. They are then sent the name of their swap partner along with a small piece of the focus fabric, to be used somewhere in the mug rug the are to make for their partner, which they are responsible for making and sending by 9/30/14.

What is the focus fabric? What if I hate the focus fabric?
This year's focus fabric, a 6" x 9" piece of which will be sent to each participant, will be one of four hand-dyed teals from Cherrywood Fabrics, who have agreed to be our sponsor. They are extraordinarily soft and yummy and I will be shocked if you hate the piece I will send you. However, if you do hate it, you can always use it on the back. That is totally legal.

Why OCRF?
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund is amazing. They've funded over 200 new clinical research grants since 1998. Directly from their website, OCRF researchers are conducting all types of research, including:
  • Developing innovative strategies for early detection
  • Discovering genetic polymorphisms that increase risk for ovarian cancer
  • Understanding the underlying genetics and molecular biology of ovarian cancer
  • Identifying new, better targets for treatment
  • Determining how to super-charge a woman’s immune response to better fight ovarian cancer
  • Deciphering how and why ovarian cancer spreads, and how to stop it
If you've dealt in any way in your life with OC, you know all of these areas are incredibly important in finding ways to kill this thing dead. I receive and read their quarterly newsletters and I am inspired by the accomplishments they are helping to create in this fight. That is why I choose to make them the recipients of the fundraiser.

Why not wait til October and pink it up?
Breast cancer sucks. I hate it as much as anyone else does, and even more than I ever did at this point as I have a dear friend fighting the bastard right now. However, teal is important to me as my mother died of a rogue and awful form of ovarian cancer (as if there could ever be a good and sweet form) in August of 2002, so I've chosen to raise awareness and funds for this cause instead of jumping in the pink piles of fabric in October. I know many other designers and fabric companies will have ample opportunities for us then, and I will be finding something to join in to raise funds for breast cancer in October. If you hear of a good quilty fundraiser, let me know!






How much will the fundraiser cost me?
I've been hinting that the registration fee will be higher this year. I've also come flat out and said that everyone participating will receive a $10 gift certificate from Cherrywood Fabrics, so you know you'll at least get that part back. So now is the reveal of the real price: The fee this year will be $15.

Whoa! That's a 300% increase over last year? ARE YOU CRAZY? How much do you plan to profit from this?
No, and nothing. Here's the breakdown:

  • $10 from every participant will go directly to OCRF, and will be "refunded" to participants in the form of the coupon for Cherrywood
  • Approximately $3 per participant will go toward postage
  • Approximately $2 per participant will cover miscellaneous expenses such as envelopes, extra fabric, and paypal fees.
As much as I wish I could absorb all of those extra costs, EPQD is not rich. At. All. I've learned the hard way that I can't give stuff away or expect to work at a loss most of the time with my events. So I have no choice but to pass those costs on and hope the Cherrywood carrot is enough to attract participants!

They have a blog button too!
 Okay. I'm convinced you aren't trying to get rich off a cause. When can I sign up?
Sign ups will be open via a PayPal link, available on the sidebar of this blog, starting August 15 and will stay open until August 29.

Great. Then what?
The timeline will be as follows:
August 15-29, signups
August 30-31, I prep the packets for mailing on September 2
September 2, I mail packets and make donation to OCRF
September 3 - 5, race to your mailbox to get your packets
September 5- 30, create your mug rug for your partner and mail it off
September 5-30, watch your own mail for your own mug rug!
Whenever you receive your mug rug, post a photo of it to the Facebook Open Group. 
That way we can all admire it!

This all sounds fantastic. But how am I supposed to remember to sign up?
 Put an alert on your phone. Or you could go all old school and write it on your calendar, your hand, or put a note on the fridge. Better yet, check out the Facebook Open Group now as all the details and announcements will be available there the second I think of them.

Here's how you know you landed in the right place.

I hope that answers some of the more frequently asked questions. Please contact me and let me know if you have any further ones. The only question I refuse to answer at this point is "Mom, where are my shoes?" I swear I've answered that a million times this summer already.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stuff, Nonsense, Class Signups, and More

 I have decided to shock you all by saying I really cannot express enough how much more enjoyable summer is when a. one's children can all read chapter books, are old enough to feed themselves on a regular basis, and can be told "Mom is going to work for two hours. Deal with it wisely and don't kill each other. See ya on the flip side." and b. it is not one billion degrees with 600% humidity for days/weeks on end. Summer Sewing 2014 - winning!

Happy participant in a recent RRD class!
The biggest news I have today is that based on the shocking number of positive responses I got when I asked "Would any of you join me if I ran my Round Robin in a Day workshop in Pepperell MA this fall?" on the EPQD facebook page, I have procured my local community center for Saturday, October 25 from 10-4. I'm planning to run the class "mini-retreat-style" and will provide lunch and am asking all participants to bring a show and tell for the lunch break. This class is first and foremost about camaraderie and collaboration and a little bit about me keeping a nervous eye on the clock and cracking the whip as necessary. It's absolutely my favorite workshop to run and I don't think it any surprise that it is the most popular; I really hope you'll consider joining us! Don't let distance stop you - one participant is coming from Virginia! How crazy is that?  More information and signups are available in two locations: On the "Pattern Shop" page of this blog as the very first item to purchase, or via EventSpot at Constant Contact. Both locations feature easy payment via PayPal, and once signed up you will receive a welcome letter from me with a supply list. I mean what more could you want? I really hope you'll consider joining us for what I am sure will be a day of fabric frolic to remember!

Supercloseup is all I can show you.

Much of the last few weeks has been spent working on Scrap Squad quilt #4; I'm currently considering naming it either "An Imperfectionist's Worst Nightmare" or "My Own Personal Waterloo." This is the quilt that is making me sort of understand the "Slow Stitching" movement, although to be honest I don't know why we have to name everything cutesy things - just call it a long term project quilt. /modern quilt lingo rant over. But here's the thing. I loooooooove it. Love love love love love. This may well be one of the prettiest quilts I have ever made, pat my own back, and even though it features 139 pieces PER BLOCK and has about 1000 matching points total I have not yet thrown it out the window, and not only because I saw a snake close to where my studio window is yesterday while weeding. It might be the colors, which are so me, and the fact that I am actively proving that batiks and prints and solids and moderns and traditionals all mix if you tell them they do.

yummers

Did you see the July "Sizzling Hot Hottie" Hottie Hotseat post last week? If not, make sure you check it out! Carrie Hanson of Gotcha Covered Quilting was just delightful to have hang out in the hotseat, and really, I'd love to hang out with her in real life as well. Too bad she lives literally as far away from me as humanly possible on the North American continent.

She was so excited to be in the hotseat that she sent me some fat quarters from her shop! Free stuff! Presents! Woo Hoo! She's clearly been listing to my constant praise-singing of Art Gallery Fabrics. Thank you, Carrie!

I'll be taking August off from featuring a hotseater, mainly because Carrie and I almost forgot to run hers in all the summer crazy, but we'll be firing up the chair again in September with Gina Reddin!

It's back to the millions of pieces all over my sewing table for me.






Thursday, July 17, 2014

Super Sizzling July Hottie - Carrie Hanson has Gotcha Covered



 Name:  Carrie Hanson           
Business Name/Title:  Gotcha Covered Quilting/ Owner

Location:  Online  I can be found at www.gotchacoveredquilting.com on Instagram @gotchacoveredquilting, Otherwise you can find me in San Diego.
# Years in Business:  Coming up on 1 year in November

 
I want to be her swap partner - BH
Calling Judy D! - BH
Current Quilt project: I have a lot I’m working on both personally and professionally, but I’m most excited about a EPP hexie quilt using 1-inch Liberty of London hexes and a Star Mini and pouch that I’m making for the SchnitzelAndBoo Mini Swap.


 



What is the furthest shop you have ever visited from your home? Would you go back?

Answer:  Does a quilt museum count? (Always someone who wants to break the rules. Yes, we will allow it. - BH)
About 6 years ago I made a very last-minute decision to drive across country from North Carolina to CA rather than fly home with my family after vacation (There’s a long story attached to that, don’t judge). So I took off from North Carolina without a map and figured if I headed west I’d eventually get home. On my travels I saw a sign to Paducah, KY, and almost wet my pants. I immediately veered off the westward path and spent the day wandering around the riverfront town’s many shops and the Quilt Museum. It was amazing!! That was in the days me knowing nothing about modern quilting, but when it comes to looking at others’ quilts…modern, traditional, it makes absolutely no difference. A great quilt is a great quilt is a great quilt.

 

If I came to your house unannounced, could you give me a tour of your studio, or would it be such a disaster you would make up an excuse as to why we couldn’t go in?

 

She calls this a mess? I can see the floor just fine. - BH

Answer: It would definitely be a disaster but I’d give you a tour anyway, apologizing all the way.  In fact, I’d most likely be apologizing for the state of affairs in my house as well. 
Very snuggly. - BH

My “studio” is itty bitty but I love it just the same. Because it’s so small my quilting mess kind of extends to other parts of the house as well, particularly the dining room where you can find my ironing board and fabric stash and other odds and ends. And, the business side of GCQ has completely taken over my garage, with bolts upon bolts of fabrics, a cutting station, shipping supplies, etc. It’s a bit of craziness all around but somehow I manage to get stuff done. Please, oh please, do not attempt to clean my mess though. You’ll completely throw me off. I know exactly where to find my stuff, so don’t rearrange the piles. 





 How many completed quilts are there in your home?


Answer:  Believe it or not, I only have 4 completed quilts that I’ve made in my house, although one of them will be moving out soon with the daughter I made it for.  Another quilt is the one I made my son about 12 years ago, which is used for sleep overs.  I made it a goofy size to fit his bunk bed and now it doesn’t work on his big boy bed (he’s 19..hehe).  The final two are on my bed…one is the quilt I made for my grandma years ago and one I made for my great aunt years ago.  They have both long since passed away and the quilts came back to me.  I love having their quilts on my bed.  They were in mind with every stitch I put into the quilts and now their memories are with me always.   Otherwise, every quilt I’ve ever made I’ve given away (or more recently created as a commission).  Nothing pleases me more than making a quilt for someone else, whether a close friend or relative or as a donation quilt.  I just love the feeling of knowing that something I’ve created is bringing someone else joy and comfort.  To me, that’s what quilting is about.
 

What is your favorite meal to feed your family when you are desperately trying to meet a deadline?  
 
Answer:  Here’s the truth…I HATE to cook, so whether meeting a deadline or not,  my “go to” meal is likely the same as my every day meal…chicken, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli.  Nothing fancy.  Oh, sometimes I substitute in salmon, which is everyone’s favorite.  Perhaps pasta rather than potatoes.  Did I mention that I hate to cook?  Ok…that wasn’t completely honest up there.  Actually Chipotle is my first go-to meal.  I’m ashamed…kind of!  My 23-year-old just told me that when I’m old and have dementia and she is caring for me, she’s going to tell me that I used to be a world class chef in hopes that I’ll finally cook her a good meal. ha! Hey, I’m a great mom in other ways.



Three things on your quilting bucket list
 
1.  To spend time with Tula Pink. I’m in awe of how her brain works and would love to know more about her behind the scenes. She’s definitely my quilty crush. 
 
2.  I would love to have a long-arm frame. I’m blessed as it is to have a HandiQuilter Sweet 16 (Sit-down model) but I would be beyond the moon to have a long arm frame. I just don’t have the space, but someday I plan to figure out how to get the space. I love FMQ…love, love, love it. For now though, I’m doing my FMQ on the HandiQuilter which is way easier than the way I used to FMQ (on my domestic machine).

3.  Going to Quilt Market is on my bucket list and will be coming to fruition this fall. I have my hotel reserved already…. woohooo!!! From a business perspective, going to market is a no brainer. If I want to know what’s what in the industry, Market is where I need to be. From a personal perspective though, there are so many quilters whom I really admire and I can’t wait to meet them and see their work in person. An extension of Market, of course, is the quilt show, which I imagine will be endless in inspiration. 


Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your hottie side with us! 

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