Friday, December 4, 2015

How To Release Your Inner Happy . . .

Like so many other people, I have been bitten by the Adult Coloring Book phenomenon  (For those of you who may be new to this, the name does NOT indicate that the coloring books contain adult content . . .).  There are hundreds of books now on the market with pages of beautiful designs for adults to color, and pictured above are my three current favorites.

Tangled Treasures by Jane Monk contains 52 whimsical designs, featuring flowers, animals, houses, leaves, mandalas, and wallpaper motifs.  Jane's information on basic color principles, techniques, and coloring utensils is invaluable, and the designs are printed on heavy-duty card stock pages that are perforated for easy removal.

Balance by Angie Grace (Volume 1) is filled with amazing mandalas, which I personally find to be very calming and centering to color because of their symmetry and, well, balance.  I found that I was able to use more water-based mediums on these designs if I first copied them to card stock; below is my work-in-progress on one of her drawings.

Color Me Stress Free by Angela Porter is divided into chapters based on some of life's biggest stressors, each with an introduction by the author explaining why these aspects of daily living can add to our stress and how the designs in that chapter were chosen to specifically address those situations.  

All three publications are available from Amazon, and you'll find the link by clicking on each title above.  Also worth noting: The drawings in all three books are printed on one side of the page only, so there's no bleed-through of your color.

And, if you need more coloring inspiration, visit the blog of my dear cyber-friend Jill Buckley -- she has been offering free downloads of pages to color.  Here's the beginning of my version of one of her designs:

Click here for Coloring Page #1, and visit her entire blog here -- you will be amazed and inspired.

And, once you start adding color to these designs, don't be surprised if you find yourself melting into the child you once were.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Put Your Suspenders On!

It's been a long time since I last posted, I know -- so many things going on all at once, just like everyone else, I'm sure.  We did a renovation on the house over the past 9 months, and I think we can call it "done."  We added on a larger garage and converted the existing garage into a new studio -- I couldn't be happier.  But, as many of you can attest to, it was a l-o-o-o-n-g process (did you know that there are real estate agents who offer the services of a professional marriage counselor to couples who are buying or renovating a house because of the stress it can cause?  I swear I'm not making this up.).  Happily, Hubby Fran and I still love each other.

Meanwhile, back to the joy of quilting -- and it's SUCH a joy to be quilting, isn't it?  I've recently found some neat accessories that are changing my quilting life, and I wanted to share.

These are quilt suspenders, and they can save your arms, your shoulders, and your back from the pain that comes from struggling with the weight of the quilt as you're stitching.  I first learned about them from Patsy Thompson (you simply must visit her blog HERE -- she's an amazing quilt artist), who constructed her own system.  I chose to purchase mine from Jenoop Quilt Suspenders, and they have not only saved my aching body; they've helped me improve my quilting by preventing drag on the quilt.
The system consists of furniture-grade PVC piping, which can be configured several ways to accommodate your quilt table, and two adjustable suspenders attached to large, adjustable clamps to hold the quilt above the table.  Visit their web site HERE to see the many different arrangements that can be created -- this is truly an incredible "support system" in every way.
And thank you, dear readers, for still being out there -- I love connecting with you.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Do You Long To Be A Long-Arm-er?

Are you like me in that you love your domestic sewing machine for free motion quilting, but you lack the space to own a long-arm machine and you wish you could do so many of the cool things that long-arm quilters can do?  Then help has arrived in the form of Westalee Design of Australia.  I recently had the extreme pleasure of speaking with Bill and Leonie West, the owners and creators of this company, and they are one of the most engaging and dedicated couples I've had the pleasure to know.

I had ordered one of their brand new quilting feet (pictured above) that can be fitted to a domestic machine and which will enable you to use straight-edge and curved rulers for quilting; I then went through their on-line catalogue to order some specialty rulers.  I had a question about one of the rulers, so I emailed the company.  Within a few hours, Bill phoned me (!) to answer my question and help me place the order -- how's THAT for service?  I also spoke to Leonie, who gave me invaluable advice on using the foot and the rulers with my machine -- I own a Bernina 1530, a really old work-horse of a machine, and Bill and Leonie told me that this new foot would open up a whole world of possibilities.

Do check out their website, Westalee Design, by clicking here, to learn more about these great new feet; the Wests have a beautifully designed catalogue for all their products, plus some wonderful videos showing you how to use the templates on both domestic and long-arm machines.  Regardless of your type of quilting machine, you'll find something wonderful to help you enhance and improve your machine quilting experience.



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