Friday, May 29, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-The Realities of Having a Day Job

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Well, this week has been a bust for doing crafting or sewing of any kind. I'm in Boston for our annual conference on international education.  I'd like to tell you about how amazing and inspiring the city of Boston is, but all I could really describe for you is the inside of the conference center. Oh and Panera down the street from my hotel where I stumble zombie-like each morning in search of coffee and a bagel.

I brought along my English paper-piecing kit, all packed up in my little Yazzi, and I've managed to baste FOUR hexagons. That's right, four. Not even enough for my favorite little Grandmother's Flower Garden block. I was also hoping to get some work done on the blog, including drafting some blog posts about Quilt Market, but it just hasn't happened with the conference schedule, receptions and networking.

I'm heading home tomorrow, and hoping to get back to sewing ASAP once I'm back in San Francisco,  but the reality is that this is my life with a day job. Or at least life in a week with a cross-country conference.

Nonetheless, I wanted to be sure to put up THIS post so that people can link-up their blog posts. Please do take a few minutes to visit the blogs of the participants and leave them a comment. Comments really do make our day, even if it's just a note to say you stopped by to read the post.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-Inspiration from The Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, Nebraska

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Today's post follows up a little bit on our post on Six Ways to Find Inspiration and Renewed Energy for Quilting, Sewing and Crafting.

While I was home in Omaha helping my family we took a morning to visit the Lauritzen Gardens. Mom and Dad have an annual membership to this 100-acre botanical garden and conservatory, so they usually get there several times a year. The weather was a little chilly for this trip, but it turned out to be perfect once we started walking around the gardens.

Linda Chaney, Bill Chaney, Laura Chaney at Lauritzen Gardens

I hadn't been to the gardens for years (more than ten, at least), so it was really fun for me to see all of the plants, flowers and gardens that they have on display. Mom and I kept finding things that would be fun inspiration for a quilt! Mom was especially fond of these large round painted stones that she imagined making into a modern quilt.

Inspiration from Lauritzen Gardens

One of the gardens that made me especially happy was the model railroad garden! They had three or four different levels of tracks running through the garden along with models of various Omaha buildings. Below is a little trolley car running in front of the model of my high school! 

Model Train Garden at Lauritzen Gardens

We came away from this local field trip with some new ideas and inspiration. Even though this wasn't a quilting/crafting/sewing specific place, we definitely used the beauty and creativity of nature and the work of the Lauritzen Gardens staff to think outside of the box a little bit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday #38: Surrounded by Half Square Triangles

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Today's the last day that the full team of Prairie Sewn Studios is together in Omaha before I fly back to San Francisco. It's been a good visit home, and I'm happy I was able to come help my family. I've finally had a few minutes to do something other than working on Quilt Market prep/follow-up, so I was super happy I brought my current Work in Progress with me.

Chip on Design Wall

I'm still working on the "Chip" pattern from Little Miss Rosie's Quilting Company. I love how it's turning out, but there have definitely been some challenging moments, too. These Half Square Triangles are definitely challenging my orientation and design skills.

Wrong Chip Block layoutRight Chip Block layout

Mom was definitely called in on several occasions to help me try to figure it out, and I became very close with her trusty seam ripper, too.

Linda Chaney of Prairie Sewn Studios

All challenges aside, I am excited to be making more progress on this. The plan is to get the top pieced together into the block sections before I hop on a plane this afternoon. Lots to do! 

Sewing on Chip Bernina 930

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and Sew Fresh Quilts. Looking for another link-up to share your crafting, sewing or quilting accomplishments? Check out our Crafty Comment Karma post that goes up each Friday for the following week!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Six Ways to Find Inspiration and Renewed Energy for Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

Mom and I are back from our very first Quilt Market, and boy do we have lots of new ideas floating around in our minds! We're going to put together a more detailed guide to Market, but in the meantime we wanted to share six ideas for finding inspiration and renewed energy for your quilting, crafting and sewing.

Sometimes you walk into your crafting space or quilt studio and you just don't feel "it." This happens to everyone from the kitchen-table crafter to the professional quilter. Maybe you're low on sleep, or you've had a bad day, but sometimes there isn't anything you can identify as "wrong," yet you've still lost that creative mojo. Those are the times that it might be good to step away and try something a little different to give your mind a break. Here are six ideas that might help you revitalize your creativity!

1. Do an entirely different craft or project. Mom first picked up needle tatting as a new craft when we were working on Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories and she was burnt out on making containers!
Prairie Sewn Studios Heartland Lace Guild

2. Take a class doing something beyond your comfort limit or stretches your imagination. The Notan Class we took from Cathy Miller (The Singing Quilter) during Paducah 2015 Quilt Week is a great example, as it made me use paper (instead of fabric) with the permission to just explore!

Prairie Sewn Studios Notan

3. Leave your house/studio and visit a new quilt, scrapbooking or sewing store. Here are a few we've visited (and written about on the blog). Do a quick search online to see if there are any new ones in your area.

Linda Chaney Hancock's of Paducah

4. Read a good book; one that isn't related to to your sewing or crafting. Reading helps me escape into another world for a little bit, and sometimes I'll come up with an idea or solution to a sewing problem midway through a good book! Here are a few we've enjoyed recently.

5. Check out a quilt or craft show. Take a friend with you and spend some time just looking at the work of others and finding some new ideas. It doesn't have to be a big show, just any place where you might feel the creative energy of others.

Prairie Sewn Studios Paducah Quilt Week

6. Go out for coffee or a drink and talk about your latest challenge with someone else, especially if you're trying to solve a problem. If you can't leave your house, invite someone in for tea or coffee. Splurge and have something a little special-this is one of my FAVORITE Keurig cups that always cheers me up: Wild Mountain Blueberry, served with milk and sugar!

This person doesn't even have to be a crafter, and in fact talking about your sewing woes with a non-crafter might help provide a different perspective and a creative solution. Computer softwares use this technique frequently and call it Rubber Duck Debugging (although we prefer a real person to a rubber duck).

How do you get your creativity back when it's gone missing? Share your ideas in the comments. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Crafty Comment Karma-The Quilt Market Edition

Written by Laura Chaney, Daughter

We made it! Yesterday we managed to get through our first day at our very first Quilt Market ever. We're going to do a much more detailed recap in later posts, but I wanted to share a few quick highlights from our first day.

We gave a 15 minute presentation at Schoolhouse (the day of short presentations for shop owners about new and exciting products) all about our book Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Accessories

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Schoolhouse

We attended a handful of other Schoolhouse presentations, learning a lot not only about upcoming products, but also a little more about what it's like on the industry side of quilting.

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Schoolhouse

We went to sample spree, which is the opportunity to purchase fabric from upcoming lines of both fabric and patterns at wholesale prices. It was chaotic and wonderful all at the same time.

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Sample Spree

Today and tomorrow we're giving two more demos at the AQS Publishing booth, plus walking the expo hall to see what kind of trouble we can get into!

Spring 2015 Quilt Market Prairie Sewn Studios

And now onto the link-up!

Crafty Comment Karma