Friday, January 30, 2015

Budgeting


My first job out of college (if you don't count my awesome waitressing job) was in radio advertising sales (Hello PYX 106 in Albany!) Like most newly minted college graduates, I suddenly had more money than I ever had before. What's a gal to do? Well, this gal bought a car. Then a wardrobe. Then a new sofa set. Since it was all on payment plans, shopping was a breeze. Until I sat down and realized that my weekly paycheck (yes, back then we got paid every Friday! How quaint!) was quickly diminishing. What's a gal to do? Well, this gal returned half the clothes (yes, unworn, tags still on), cancelled the sofa and kept the car. I needed that car.

So what does this have to do with quilting? A few years back, when flickr was hot, blogs were cooking and Instragram was just a twinkle in some coder's eyes, I was a swapper. And a bee-mate. And a Quilt-A-Longer. I joined just about everything that came my way. I had just moved to a new city, where I knew no one, so I may have been a tad bit lonely. My new found (on-line) friends kept me company and gave me something to do - sew things for them! And it was great. It was only 2 blocks per month. It was only a mug rug due in 6 weeks. It was only 2 more blocks per month. It was only a mini quilt due in June. Before I knew it, I was committed to 12 blocks and a few swaps per month. When it got to the point where I needed a spread sheet to keep track of everything, I knew it was time to back off. I fulfilled my obligations and I stopped swapping. Cold turkey.

Fast forward to now. These days, I'm very aware of my quilting "budget." Not money, but time. I work full time, travel/teach/lecture and like to see my family and friends every so often. I'm still tempted by swaps (just yesterday, I had my application for the Cotton and Steel mini swap on Instagram all filled out - it's only a mini! - and then came to my senses and deleted the whole thing. I will happily cheer from the sidelines and add my likes to those images that show up in my feed.) I will do an occasional swap with my guild, but only if I know I have time to do it and do it well (no one likes to receive a crappy swap item. Believe me, I know.)

As for quilt-a-longs, I'm doing my own personal quilt-a-longs this year. I'm resurrecting my Farmer's Wife Quilt (I joined that QAL over 3 years ago.) At the time, I thought, oh, it's only 2 blocks per week. Right. I made about 12. This time around, no pressure, just sewing fun. I cut a few blocks at a time, sew when I want, and it will get finished when it get's finished. To help motivate me, I made some cute design boards, using Lori Holt's tutorial. Mine turned out a little sloppy (I really need a better glue gun) but for now they'll do the trick.





Farmer's Wife block 14 (I think)

Farmer's Wife Block 16 (I think)




My second long term project is my EPP star project. No deadline on this one. I figure I'll need about 100 stars to make a decent sized quilt. If I get half way through this year, I'll be happy. Actually, even if I don't get half way through, I'll be happy. There's something about hand sewing that I crave lately.

3" 60 degree stars

My EPP travel kit



What about you? Are you a joiner? Are you doing any swaps or quilt a longs? (Even though I don't want to join any, I still want to know about them!)

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Project for Me, Playing with Scraps and a (little) Giveaway!

Sometimes, the combination of the right time, the right fabric and the right project all happen together. Yesterday was one of those days. I was between projects that I need to do for one of my bigger projects (shhh! secret sewing) and decided I'd do a little selfish sewing.

I purchased the pattern for Anna Graham's (Noodlehead) Divided Basket at the end of last year. Finished versions of it have been popping up in my Blog Lovin' and Instagram feed for a while now, and I've been envious of the makers of these baskets. Now, I'm the one with the finish!






I've been saving this Denyse Schmidt panel for a couple of years, waiting for just the right project. Although the pattern is not really suited for fat quarters, I made it work. The pattern went together really easily, after all the cutting and fusing was finished. A lot of what I've been sewing lately has been either improv or make it up as I go, so it was kind of nice to just follow along with a pattern and not have to think too much. I really love the basket. And it's huge! Honestly, if I had had more interfacing, I think I just might have started another.



After finishing the basket, I had some nice scraps left over, and was a little sad that the basket making was finished. I really love this fabric! What else could I make? Wait a minute. A few days ago I saw a cute bookmark tutorial by Svetlana. (easy, useful, and adorable!) So easy, I made two.







Then, some (smaller) scraps and another tutorial (sorry, can't remember where) for a cute needle case. Teeny patchwork commenced and I made this. eta Found it!






Still, scraps, scraps, scraps. I cut and laid out a block for my Farmer's Wife Quilt (a project I  abandoned 2 years ago, but have vowed to finish this year.)




Ahhh, now I'm satiated. There are more scraps, but I'm ready to relinquish them to the scrap bin (where I'll pleasantly re-discover them for another project, another day!)

Did you notice I made two bookmarks? One for me, one for (one of) you! Just leave a comment and I'll do a drawing at the end of the week. Follow me on Instagram for an extra chance. Just let me know in the comments.

Hope you have a week of happy quilting!

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Thanks Moda Bake Shop!

Two of my quilts made their Top 14 in 2014! How fun is that?




Thanks for the support and, of course, the fabulous fabric!

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year and My Word of the Year

A few years ago I jumped on the word of the year bandwagon and chose the word seed.  Little did I know what my little word had in store for me. I figured, if I planted or sowed, or sewed enough seeds (see what I did there?) something had to grow. And grow, it did. Some opportunities came my way and I began to actively seek out others.  

This year, my word is cultivate.

In the words of Messrs. Merriam and Mr. Webster:

to foster the growth of

to improve by labor, care, or study

to seek the society of :  make friends with

I hope to foster the growth of my business with more teaching, lecturing and writing opportunities. I know I need to make some practical steps to make my business more businessy. And I have a ton of ideas for new projects. 

I want to improve my techniques, plus enhance how I teach others.  There are a few classes to take on my list of things to do this year and more than a few books to read. And then there's the list of half finished Craftsy classes...

I'm looking forward to meeting new people, and cultivating my circle of quilting friends and mentors. I'm challenging myself to reach out to quilters in my region, at least once a month, and invite them out to coffee or lunch . Scary right? To call on a stranger? (Although, is she really a stranger if you follow her in IG?) If I call you, please say yes, okay? Or let me down gently. 

I'm excited about my word and how it supports my wishes and dreams for the coming year. 

Are you doing a word of the year? I'd love to hear yours. 

Here's to a fabulous '15!


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by on the blog tour. I've read each comment and am eager to go back and read them all again. So much to be thankful for, this and every season.

Our winner is Cindy, who said:

I'm grateful for a brand new grandbaby that is on its way right now. :) Fun block.

Congratulations, Cindy!

I have a rare, unscheduled weekend! I think it's about time to start some present making, don't you?
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour & Giveaway!

The Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour kicks off today! And guess what??  I have a block in it!!

This is my first time submitting a block to Quiltmaker! How fun is that?

This issue (Volume 10, which means there have been 1000 blocks to date!) is chock full of inspiration and patterns so you can make the blocks as well. I already have a few that are on my must make list. I'm sure you'll recognize many of the designers names. So honored to be in their company!

If this is your first time here, Hi! I'm Heather. I've been quilting for over 25 years. I'm the founder of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild. I teach and lecture in and around Baltimore, MD/PA/DE and Virginia. I'm also a contributing author to Classic Modern Quilts. Thanks for stopping by!

http://www.quiltmaker.com/index.html

Here's the cover of the magazine, so you can recognize it easily when you're out shopping. (Or, if you're feeling lucky, see below to win a copy of your own!)




So, ready to see my block?



It's so artfully named "Pines and Spools." I started with an improv pieced pine tree, sat it on top of a tiny spool trunk, and topped it with a yo-yo star. Fun, right?

Would you like to win your own copy of? Just leave me a comment below. Since it's right before Thanksgiving, let me know what you're grateful for this season. For an extra chance to win, follow me on instagram. I'm @heatherkojan. Then come back and leave another comment letting me know you're a follower! Oh, and make sure I have a way to reach you, too!

Thanks for visiting! Enjoy all the other stops on the blog tour!


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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Housekeeping

Just before I start a big project, I do a little housekeeping in the studio. I like having a clean slate of everything. I dust, I vacuum (floor and design wall), I put away the detritus of the previous quilt. Sometimes, during the cleaning up process, I'll find a small project to finish, or maybe to even start, and knock that out as part of the cleaning process. It cleans out a little space in my brain ~ the part that has the running "to make" list.

A few weeks ago I finished up two quilts. This one. Plus another (future blog post promised!) And then I decided I needed to make my October Little Amish. And then there were the ornaments. I signed up for the Trim the Tree ornament swap on Flickr. I haven't done a swap in ages, and this one has always been one of my favorites. Fortunately for me, I also signed up for Betz White's Holdiay Stitch-Along Ornament Club. The ornaments need to be posted by today, so finished those as well. (Again, post and pictures later.)

As I was cleaning, and making, and cleaning again, my eyes kept going to the scrap bin. The overflowing scrap bin. It was bugging me. So I made a quilt. Quilt top. A string quilt top, using up all the little bits in the bin. Not really all of them, but enough so that I made a good dent in the bucket. I certainly could have made more, but after 64 8" blocks, I was getting a little bored and finally felt like moving on.

Kitty feet and Katie feet
Don't you just love back lighting on quilt tops?


So today, I'm busting out the vacuum again. Putting the scraps back into hiding. I've got a new needle in the machine, and a new blade in the rotary cutter. New project: I'm ready!



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