Friday, August 29, 2014

Aspen Glow Quilt Along - Meet the Quilters!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aspen Glow Quilt Along - Meet the Sponsors: Kate & Birdie Paper Co

I am so excited to add Kate & Birdie Paper Co to our Sponsor Roll for our Aspen Glow Quilt Along!

Kate & Birdie Paper Co. is an award-winning Canadian boutique paper company founded by Gloria Wall and her husband Steve. Specializing in sustainable, illustrated paper goods, their products feature illustrations and patterns drawn by hand in Kate & Birdie’s signature style and sophisticated color palette. Our notebooks, wrapping paper, boxed note sets and greeting cards are locally made with care using fine, recycled papers and vegetable-based inks.  Our textile collection for home and baby is available exclusively through Moda Fabrics, the premier manufacturer of top quality sewing and home decor textiles. Kate & Birdie paper goods can be found in more than 1000 boutiques, bookstores, and specialty shops worldwide.

Winter's Lane, their gorgeous debut line for Moda, was a huge inspiration for the original Aspen Glow quilt - you can read more about the story behind the quilt here.

K&B released two more lines, Bluebird Park ...

... and Storybook ...

... before releasing my {current} favorite line, Autumn Woods - which inspired Aspen Glow v2.0 and the subsequent quilt along that's right around the corner!

Gloria, the mastermind behind K&B has generously agreed to send some of her fabulous paper goods to one lucky Aspen Glow-er!  

Cora's Quilts will also be contributing a lovely little goody-bundle full of K&B fabricy goodness. :)

To be entered in the drawing for our fabulous quilt along prizes, share fabric selection and progress photos each week of your Aspen Glow Quilt each week in our FLICKR group.  Our drawing will be held on 11/23/14 and winners (US or Canadian residents only, please) will be notified by email, so if you're sewing along with us, make sure you're on our mailing list!

Be sure to send me your information and blog post links in you'd like to participate in Friday's "Meet the Quilters" parade!

*** While this is a sponsored post, it contains no affiliate links and all opinions expressed are my own. ***

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Happy Wednesday!

Hi Quilty Friends - remember my Around The World Blog Hop post from last week? Well, the quilting friends I tagged have posted their answers today!  Be sure to stop by and visit Rene, Heidi, and Shauna!

Not much sewing has been going on at Casa de CQ - I've been consumed with getting ready for our Quilt Along, and have been writing patterns like crazy.  Hopefully in a week or two, I'll some actual crafty photos to share.  Because every blog post needs a photo, though, I hope you don't mind my sharing this super sweet photo of my boys!

A few weeks ago, we had a super fun family photo shoot with the ever talented Leann of Leann Marie Photography to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.  Leann and I had cooked up the super hero clothes-line scene the week before, inspired by a couple of things we saw on Pinterest, but when we got to the shoot, she surprised us with this totally amazing sign!

I think this just might be my favorite photo of the boys, EVER!  I still get a little misty-eyed every time I look at it!  If you're in the Sacramento area, I can't recommend Leann highly enough!  Follow her on facebook and be sure to visit her website to check out her other fabulous photos!!  Thanks Leann!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Aspen Glow Quilt Along - Meet the Sponsors: June Tailor

I can't tell you how excited I am to announce June Tailor, Inc as our first Aspen Glow Quilt Along Sponsor.

June Tailor was originally established in 1961 as a manufacturer of pressing boards and notions for home tailoring needs.  Their company has grown substantially over the years with the introduction of premium home d├ęcor products, quilting rulers and templates, ink jet heat transfer products, and other sewing notions.  They continue to design, create, and manufacture innovative products in Richfield, WI.  The June Tailor line consists of over 210 unique products and maintains several trademarks and patents.  Most products have been developed with the intent to make quilting, sewing, and decorating easier for the busy consumer and offer unique features to differentiate them from competition.

Now, way before the birth of Cora's Quilts and any of our patterns, the June Tailor Shape Cut™ ruler was among the first quilting notions I ever purchased as a new quilter.  If I remember correctly, it was the first notion I purchased after my rotary cutter, mat, and my 6" x 24" and 6.5" x 6.5" rulers.

At the time, I was practicing my "craft" if you will, by making and re-making the same baby-size quilt based on 2.5" squares set on point.  Cutting fabric was my least favorite part of the process and in my impatience, my pieces never came out quite square using just the straight-edge ruler.  The Shape Cut™ ruler allowed for quick, easy, and most importantly, accurate cutting that let me get down to sewing ASAP! 

Seven or eight years later, the Shape Cut™ ruler is still one of my favorite tools.  You may even remember me just recently raving about how easy it made cutting and counting the thousands and thousands of squares needed for my Super Mario Quilt Along project!

My only complaint with the ruler ever was that the markings were only in 1/2" increments.  So, imagine my delight when I received my new Shape Cut™ Plus ruler and discovered that it now includes a mark that can be used to sub-cut in 1/4" and 3/4" increments AND it includes the greatest chart that does all the sub-cutting math FOR YOU!

Needless to say, I was able to cut the fabric for my QUEEN SIZE Aspen Glow quilt in a fraction of the amount of time it would have taken with a traditional ruler!

In addition to sending me a box full of their fabulous notions to test-drive (which I'll be sharing more of as we quilt along together), June Tailor will also be providing a Shape Cut™ ruler and a Shape Cut™ Plus ruler for me to share with you Aspen Glow Quilters!  And just so you can get a feel for how AWESOME these rulers are, check out their great demo video!

Check out the other demo videos on their website to see more of their fun products and be sure to follow them on facebook to keep up with their latest news!

To be entered in the drawing for the Shape Cut™ ruler or the Shape Cut™ Plus ruler and our other fabulous quilt along prizes, share fabric selection and progress photos each week of your Aspen Glow Quilt each week in our FLICKR group.  Our drawing will be held on 11/23/14 and winners (US or Canadian residents only, please) will be notified by email, so if you're sewing along with us, make sure you're on our mailing list!

Check back later this week for more sponsor news, and be sure to send me your information and blog post links for our participant parade on Friday, 8/29.

*** While this is a sponsored post, it contains no affiliate links and all opinions expressed are my own. ***

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pattern Update: Aspen Glow

Hi Quilting Friends:

Despite our very best efforts, the occasional error can slip into our published patterns.  If you've purchased our Aspen Glow Pattern and are making the Autumn Setting, there is an error on page 10 of the cutting instructions:
From the 4+1/2" strips, you should be cutting the specified number of 4+1/2" squares {not 2+1/2" squares}.
If you've purchased the pattern from our craftsy shop, an updated version of the pattern is now available for download.  If you've purchased the pattern from our etsy shop, and would like an updated copy of the pattern, please email me at: Info{at}CorasQuilts{dot}com for an updated copy.  Thank you!

Around the World Blog Hop

What is the Around the World Blog Hop?

There's a super fun linky party, of sorts, going around blog land called the Around the World Blog Hop!  I was invited to join by Cheryl, the Texas Quilting Gal - a new blogging pal I've really enjoyed getting to know over the past few months.  In turn, I'm inviting some friends to join in sharing their responses.  Next Wednesday, Shauna at Shauna's World, Heidi at DIY and Live to Tell, and Rene (Hi Mom!) at Quilting Nona will be answering the same questions about their creative processes.  If you'd like to share your answers to the questions below (or already have), leave a comment below with the link to your blog - I'm having such a great time reading all the answers so far!

A Little Bit About Me

If this is your first time stopping by, welcome!  My name is Shelley, owner and pattern designer here at Cora's Quilts.  My hubby and I have two beautiful, hysterical, rambunctious boys (ages 1 and 2.75), so in between dirt, flying dragons, walking the plank, legos, and endless piles of laundry, I manage to sneak in a little bit of sewing and pattern writing.

We make our home near Sacramento, California, in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevadas.  Aside from adventuring with the boys, I'm an avid reader, lover of good wine and dark beer, collector of fabric, and ... dare I say it ... a budding knitter!  My love of crafting was definitely inherited from my mom and my granny, and I'm happy to have this little corner to share my thoughts and projects.

Question #1: What Are You Working On?

Well, I have several brands in the fire at the moment.  Most them have to be kept under wraps for the time being.  I did manage two finishes this summer, though.  In June, I finished Diana, a quilt for my best friend ...

Diana ~ Pattern Available Here
... and just last week I just finished the binding on my Spring Sampler project!  Getting a decent finished photo is proving to be quite a challenge, but I have a morning to myself later this week and am hoping to finally get a finished shot!

Spring Sampler Quilt Along
Over the next few weeks, I'll be gearing up to start our Aspen Glow Quilt Along.  

I'm so very excited about this project!  It's a great way to start ushering in the change of seasons and we've broken the quilt construction down into some very manageable chunks.  

We have some really, really fabulous sponsors and a great group of gals signed up to sew along.  Our schedule and more information about the pattern and quilt along is available here.  Email me at Info{at}CorasQuilts{dot}com to join our mailing list or follow us on Facebook to receive all the latest updates.  I hope you'll consider joining us!

Question #2: How Does Your Work Differ From Others In Its Genre?

I hope it's ok to go off on a bit of a tangent here.  The following has been simmering in the back of my mind for awhile now, and I feel like now is a great opportunity to share my thoughts ... interspersed with some random fabric eye candy. :)

The other night, after a hair-raising day with the boys, my hubby gently kicked me out of the house, telling me to go spend sometime doing something for myself.  I headed to one our local watering-holes/restaurants ... by myself (a very liberating experience, if you've never tried it) ... and sat with a pint of my favorite beer and my ipad, just reading and planning.

Flurry ~ Pattern Available Here
I spent some time on Elizabeth Gilbert's website.  She's one of my favorite {modern} authors and Eat, Pray, Love is my "crisis book" - reading about her journey always brings a sense of peace, 
breath, zen when I feel like my life is spiraling out of control.  Her words always help to remind me that no matter the journey or path we've chosen to take, it's important to indulge in good food, wine, and friends, to take time for ourselves to center and breathe, and that recognizing and reveling in the love in our lives can do wonders for the soul.

I kept coming back to an article on her blog titled "CRAFT" and while I consider myself to be a quilter before a writer, the article really spoke to me.  Elizabeth begins, 
I was speaking to an artist friend the other day, who said she was having a crisis of creativity because she felt she was losing her edge. She feared that her work was not experimental, bold, and innovative enough. She quoted Ezra Pound ("Make it new") and said she had stopped working because, simply put, she could not figure out any ways to make it new anymore.  - Elizabeth Gilbert, "CRAFT"
 Now, it's probably safe to say that her artist friend wasn't a quilter, but I think that the sentiment here is universal.  Don't get me wrong - there are a number of very talented fabric and pattern designers out there and their unflagging well of creativity is so amazing and inspiring to me ... but to be completely honest with you ... sometimes it can feel like our industry can seem a bit like a big game of keeping up with the Jones.  Trends blow up on Pinterest or Instagram but are over before half of us even realize they exist, let alone have the time to hop on the bandwagon.  Super popular fabric lines are sold out before we even realize they were available in the first place!  Trying to keep a pulse on what's popular can be exhausting!  And, there's nothing more frustrating or disappointing than sharing an "original" project to find several identical ones already out there in blog land.

Drift Away ~ Pattern Available Here
Elizabeth, however, has some amazingly beautiful alternative to the "creativity rat race."  She calls it "CRAFT" - the idea that, the traditional craftsperson isn't concerned with "make it new," but rather with the idea of making it again (and again and again and again) in an effort to constantly improve.
What an amazing idea, huh?  Just picking something that we like and working at it again and again to get better at it!  I love classic blocks.  I love playing around with them and discovering new (or at least new-to-me) groupings, orientations, or ways to put them together!  I feel a sense of achievement as points and seams come together more crisply and precisely the more that I work with them.  So what if I'm using the same blocks again and again - I love them and they speak to me.  So what if some of my projects are similar to others out there.  We're all drawing from the same traditions and inspirations, right?  Elizabeth says it much more eloquently than I ever could:
"I'm not trying to ignite a revolution every time I sit down at my desk; I just want to pursue excellence. ... Do it every day. Do it as well as {I} can. Repeat, repeat, repeat. That's craft." Elizabeth Gilbert, "CRAFT"
So, to come back to the question at hand, I don't know if this is really something that sets me apart from other quilters and designers, but I'm just doing what I love best, to the best of my ability, and working to get better at it, day by day.

Question #3: Why Do You Write/Create What You Do?

Simply put, because I have to.  I'm driven to it.  Crafting, especially quilting, and writing is my creative outlet.  Motherhood and family life, while infinitely rewarding, can also be exhausting and a bit draining.  My "craft" gives me a bit of escape and time to myself, and meets this deep-rooted need to make something and never have idle hands!  When I spend too long away from it, I start to go a little insane.

I get the biggest kick out of staring at a stack of fabric and seeing the possibilities come to life in my mind - didn't a famous sculptor say the same about a hunk of marble?  I love the rush and excitement of planning a new project and pulling together *the perfect* grouping of prints.  And, I love the deep-rooted satisfaction of creating something, start to finish.  I just don't get those kind of kicks from the laundry or the dishes!!

Question #4: How Does Your Writing/Creative Process Work?

This was a bit of a hard question for me to answer, mainly because it doesn't always work the same.  I have always been a visual person, so a fair number of my designs always start on graph paper before I even try building them in EQ6, my quilting software.

My design inspiration comes from all over the place.  Sometimes I see quilt blocks when I look at geometrical shapes, like my kitchen rug or mosaic tiles.  Sometimes I just sit and play with classic blocks until I have a design that speaks to me.

When I first started designing quilts, I often built quilt patterns around specific fabric lines that I loved.  More and more frequently, however, I'm finding that I build the quilt pattern first and then spend hours (days, weeks) looking for the perfect prints to fit my designs.

I'm also a big Excel geek, so all of my block and cutting calculations are built into a spreadsheet before I sit down to write my pattern and put together my sample.  Next, comes so mish-mash of sewing, writing, re-sewing, and re-writing until I have a pattern that works.

I use Microsoft Publisher to write my patterns, along with EQ6 and PicMonkey ... and occasionally good 'ole Paint to generate and edit my images.  {Incidentally, I'm considering the move to Adobe Creative Suite ... but just can't bring myself to commit to the monthly cloud usage fee.  I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've already made the move ...}

Throw in a couple of hours of typing and "nudging" text boxes and images around until my symmetry-loving-self is satisfied, and a pattern is born!

Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me share a bit of my creative thought process with you.  Be sure to stop by next week and get to know our Aspen Glow Sponsors!  Until then, happy sewing!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Aspen Glow Quilt Along - Gearing up!

Hi Quilting Friends - Can you believe that September is right around the corner?  Here at Casa de CQ, we're gearing up to start sewing on our Aspen Glow Quilt Along and I hope you're planning on sewing along with us!

Here is some important information regarding our quilt along:

  • Get a copy of our pattern via Etsy or Craftsy if you haven't already, and start cutting!  Be sure to starch your fabric before cutting. :)
  • Join our FLICKR group and start sharing photos of your fabric choices and cutting progress!
  • Follow us on Facebook and make sure that I have your email address so that you can stay up-to-date
  • Use #CQAspenGlow as your hashtag to share on social media like Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Share our quilt along button on your blogs - grab the code below!
Aspen Glow Quilt Along @ Cora's Quilts

For those that are interested, I'd also like to put together a little parade of participants, just so that we can all follow along, oogle at each others' fabric choices, and cheer each other on!  The parade will be here on my blog on Friday, 8/29.

If you'd like to be featured, please write a little blog post introducing yourself and your fabric choices any time between now and 8/29.  Send me the link and a photo, and I'll add you to the parade!  Our email is: Info{at}CorasQuilts{dot}com.

I can't wait to see all your fabulous photos and start this awesome journey together!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Friday!

It's 8:45PM at Casa de CQ and ...

  • It's still 103 degrees outside
  • All three of my boys are running 100+ fevers thanks to incoming teeth and some freakish summer flu bug
  • Every living soul in this house is asleep for the time being ... except for me
So, even though I have a Mario Block due, I'm sitting down in a quiet house to play with these lovelies by Amanda Murphy ...

... while drinking iced wine (because it is THAT hot) and listening An Echo In The Bone.  Can you tell that I'm counting down the days until Starz premiers its Outlander Series?  Yummy!!

BTW - our BOGO pattern sale is going on thru midnight, tonight.  Chances are that if you place your order in the next few hours, I'll still be up to email you your freebie!  Drop me a line to say hi if you're fortunate enough to be spending your Friday night with needle and thread too!  Happy sewing!!