A Creative Life

A Creative Life

 September Bouquet by Sharon Holland

September Bouquet by Sharon Holland

Believe me, I'm fully aware of how lucky I am! My sister always said I'm charmed and I think she is right.

My husband is a wonderful, kind, and giving man who not only makes me laugh everyday but has worked hard to provide for the family which allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom when our kids where growing up. He's always accommodated me in my pursuit of arts and crafts and supported all my dreams along with putting up with crazy photoshoots, sourcing excursions, and taking over the house as my workspace. 

 Yellow Rose study by Sharon Holland

Yellow Rose study by Sharon Holland

My recent time spent reconnecting with painting has me first, wanting to thank everyone for the out pouring of wonderful comments and support and second wanting to encourage you to pursue your dreams and goals as well.

You have to know by now that I'm a natural-born enabler, right? Well, I like to think of it more like a cheerleader for the arts whether it's for sewing/quilting, photography, crafting, or fine arts. 

 Fox by Sharon Holland

Fox by Sharon Holland

With kids back to school and summer drawing to a close, it's time to start thinking about following some of your dreams.

Even though I have a background in art from my college days long ago, I still wasn't up to date with modern technology. If I hadn't of taken the plunge and gone back to school at age 45 I may not being doing all the wonderfully amazing creative things I'm able to do today.

Luckily, there's now an easier way to learn at your own pace and right from home. It's called Skillshare. I'm a such a big fan of Skillshare that I'm now a Skillshare ambassador!

 Monarch on Coneflower by Sharon Holland

Monarch on Coneflower by Sharon Holland

Skillshare is an amazing platform that lets you watch unlimited videos at your own pace the on every subject imaginable. Maybe you're interested in starting watercolors or learning how to draw? There's hundreds of phenomenal teachers from all over the globe are on Skillshare and ready to teach you what you want to learn. 

Want to be a better photographer? Yup, they have all sorts of levels from beginning photography to advanced. The courses are not just art related either, you can learn about how to improve your Instagram feed, be a better business owner, gardener, start calligraphy, learn the newest technology (like Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for example), and improve your lifestyle, health, and fitness. 

 Summer Lace by Sharon Holland

Summer Lace by Sharon Holland

Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. When I wanted to start painting again I felt incredibly rusty but Skillshare helped me gain the confidence I needed to put pigment to paper again. 

So, if you're intrigued or still on the fence about what Skillshare could do for you, here's a sweet incentive for you to give it a try for 2 free months! Use coupon code: igamb1169.

Yes, no obligations other than signup for your free 2 months and start learning something new--today!

Here's just a few of my favorite teachers on Skillshare:

 Leah Goren - Skillshare

Leah Goren - Skillshare


 Bonnie Christine - Skillshare

Bonnie Christine - Skillshare


 Katya Rozz - Skillshare

Katya Rozz - Skillshare


 Robert Joyner - Skillshare

Robert Joyner - Skillshare

There's no end to what you can accomplish and each Skillshare class is broken down into bite-size segments and class projects you can share with the class and get feedback from the teacher. You work at your own pace, access the classes at anytime, and rewatch as needed. 

So, what do you say? You have nothing to loose and everything to gain!!!!

Happy learning from your creative cheerleader,

Sharon

My Signature Sampler Week #11

My Signature Sampler Week #11

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The weeks are moving along quite fast on this sew along and we're already to block 11 out of 16!

Today's block comes from the Quilter's Planner 2018 magazine (Block 7 in the magazine) and I'm calling it Flying Geese block for this sew along. 

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If you're just joining in on the fun, take a look at my first post for this sew along and pick up the quilt layout and color book page to start planning your sampler! The My Signature Sampler is based off block instructions from the Sewcial Bee Sampler (SBS), Community Sampler (CS), AGF Quilt Block Collection (AGF), and the blocks from the Quilter's Planner 2018 magazine (QP). If you have different favorite blocks and would rather include them in your quilt, please feel free to make this sampler with your own signature-style. 

If you need extra help with your patchwork or would like to learn how to control the direction of your prints in half-square triangle units and other piecing techniques, visit my Tutorials page for lots of great tutorials all in one place. Also, when making any Sewcial Bee or Community Sampler blocks you can access the original blog posts for each block and find additional tips and tutorials for piecing. If needed, just use the search bar at the top of the this page on the right and simply type in the block name.

Don't forget our blocks will be set on-point so if you have a fussy cut center, cut it on-point for best results. Note: I don't recommend cutting any other pieces of the blocks (other than a center square on-point for fussy cutting) because it will create bias edges along the outside of the block and increase chances of distortion. Keep any bias edges in the center of the block.

MSS Flying Geese.jpg

I love this block from the Quilter's Planner magazine but admit that it's a tricky one to piece. This block is my third attempt at it! But, The Quilter's Planner has you covered on this with additional Hints and Tips for this, July 2018 Block of the Month. Plus, if you're wanting to try your hand at foundation paper-piecing (FPP), they also have the instructions and template for constructing this block by FPP.

I used traditional patchwork construction for my block. My first attempt, I made the classic mistake of not reading the directions and making assumptions about the construction. For this block you must follow the cutting and piecing instructions to the minute details (accept for one part I'll discuss in a bit). Cut and make the Flying Geese units as directed in the magazine as these are set on point into the block and don't comply to standard dimensions. DON'T trim down to a standard size like I did the first time around!

My suggestion for deviating from the instructions comes with the 3-7/8" squares that will be cut in half diagonally and used as the corners of the Flying Geese sections. 

Quilter's Planner 2018.jpg

I suggest that instead of cutting the squares 3-7/8" you cut them 4" square. That way, after you attach the three triangles to make a quarter section of the block you have a tiny bit of wiggle room for squaring it to 6-1/2" square. 

 2019 Quilter's Planner

2019 Quilter's Planner

Orders are now being taken for next year's planner and you have a choice of two cover designs for the planner plus they come with the Quilter's Planner 2019 magazine loaded with projects from the calendar plus and new sampler quilt project. 

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My blocks are made using Art Gallery Fabric Pure Elements for the solids together with prints from the Signature fabric collection that I designed for Art Gallery Fabrics. For stock lists of online shops that carry my Signature and other collections I've designed for AGF, visit my Fabrics page or the Where to Buy page on the Art Gallery Fabrics site.

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I've been adding my setting triangles to my finished blocks as I make them and have been sticking to original layout in the first week handouts. I'm using a combination of my Perennial print from Printemps Fusions and Untamed Beauty Daybreak from Signature as the background setting of my quilt but because this block will be in the middle of the quilt it only uses the Untamed Beauty print in the setting triangles. 

The setting triangles are made by cutting a 9-1/2'' square on the diagonal to make two setting triangles. Be mindful of print direction, if applicable. See Community Sampler Week #13 for block setting instructions. 

If you're interested in adding a chevron border to your sampler quilt, take a look at the week #6 blog post and pick up the border supplement PDF. I'll review the border option closer to the end of this sew along but just in case you wanted to sew or plan ahead, you have the information now.

GIVEAWAY

Every Friday when I reveal a new block to My Signature Sampler, I'll also be posting the weekly giveaway. This sew along is being sponsored by the most amazing companies and have generously donated incredible prizes to share with you. 

OUR SPONSORS

THIS WEEK'S GIVEAWAY SPONSOR IS: ART GALLERY FABRICS

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Art Gallery Fabrics was started in 2004 by Pat and Walter Bravo. Since then creativity, beauty, and design have been their passions, and to this day, they have not changed--bringing a chic and modern perspective to the quilting industry.

When it comes to designing a fabric collection, AGF always keeps originality and uniqueness on the top of their list. Find your favorite fabric designers who create enticing color palettes and artful, intricate prints that make AGF collections one of a kind. Art Gallery Fabrics designs modern fabrics that keep up with ongoing trends and at the same time it encourages customers to use new colors and patterns so they venture out of their usual comfort zone.

Art Gallery Fabrics believes strongly in the quality of the fabric which is transcended in their superior thread count and fine weave making premium cotton as soft and smooth you can get. You really feel the difference with just one touch!

Blog  *  Facebook *  Instagram  * Pinterest

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AGF has created a collector’s box of fabrics like no other! Hand-picked for makers to use in a multitude of creative projects. An explosion of color and design made of unique groups of AGF’s signature quality cotton paired up with an original and collectible box made exclusively for them! Color Master boxes include a selection of 10 prints in two choices: FAT QUARTERS or HALF YARDS. CHECK YOUR LOCAL STORE FOR AVAILABILITY OR BUY IT ONLINE.

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This week's My Signature Sampler giveaway will put this beautiful Quite Peachy box of 10 fat quarters into one lucky winners stash! 

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Giveaway now closed. Congratulations to Michele!

Note: This giveaway is open to EVERYONE! If you're a "no reply" or anonymous commenter, please remember to include your email address in your comment--you can't win if I can't get a hold of you!

1. Simply leave a comment here under this post! (First comment entry).

2. Follow Art Gallery Fabrics on any of their social media platforms (see links above). Just let me know that you did by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment-second entry). 

3. My followers get a third entry! If you follow me via subscribing to my posts, on Pinterest, and/or Instagram, just let me know by making a separate comment here to record that entry. (Separate comment-third entry).

4. Help spread the word!! I know that many of you already do, so I thought it would be nice to add that as another way to enter! Spread the word about the My Signature Sampler sew along on YOUR instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest by pinning any of my pretty images in this post, etc... (separate comment-fourth entry). 

That’s FOUR possible entries! Enter now through Monday, September 3rd! The winner will be picked at random around 4pm Eastern. I will post the name of the winner on this post once they've been notified and responded to my email.

Don't forget to enter into this same giveaway on Instagram by posting images of your sampler inspiration, sampler fabric pull, or blocks. Use the official #mysignaturesampler hashtag every time you post your My Signature Sampler makes (to a public account) and you're automatically entered into the weekly IG drawings as well! See my Instagram giveaway posts @sharonhollanddesigns for full details. 

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Sharon

Table Scraps

Table Scraps

Stacked Strips Runner 1.jpg

Okay, that blog post title was funny, wasn't it!!?? What did you think I was going to blog about, composting? No, silly, this post is about using up those left over fabric strips to make something beautiful for your table!

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I definitely have a thing for quilted table runners--they're just fun and fast to make, plus quick for changing up the look of your table for the different seasons. 

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This is my second time making my Stacked Strips Table Runner. See the original tutorial with instructions, HERE. I stitched this one exactly the same as the first, with 2"-wide strips but the finished size of this second runner is larger and finishes out at 18" x 84". The beauty of this pattern is you can easily customize the size to fit your table. 

Stacked Strips Sewing.jpg

The fabrics used in this runner are all Art Gallery Fabrics and include prints from all six of my fabric lines. Here's the list: Pure Elements solids, AGF linen, Gossamer, Sketchbook, Coastline, Tapestry, Bountiful, Signature, and Ink Outburst from Woodland Fusions.

Stacked Strips Runner 5.jpg

The other variation I made from my original pattern was to utilize Quilt As You Go (QAYG) when sewing the strips together. By doing this, not only was I assembling the runner top, but I was quilting the runner as I sewed the strips!

Stacked Strips Runner QAYG.jpg

Using QAYG for a table runner is a great way to try this method on a small project. I used my favorite Tuscany Silk Blend batting and AGF linen for the backing to give the runner a nice weight and feel. To learn how to sew the QAYG method for quilts and other projects check out my dear friend and sister AGF designer Maureen Cracknell's QAYG Craftsy class

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This was really fun to make and since I had some strips left at the end, I decided to make some matching coasters!

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My coasters finish at 4-1/2" round and I trimmed the strips to 1-1/2" wide to start with so the scale would be better proportioned. You could even start with 1" wide strips if you wanted even more fabrics in the coaster.

I used the same strip assembly method of sewing strips short ends together before trimming to the desired size and sewing together QAYG-style to a batting and backing foundation.

Stacked Strips Coasters Assembly 1.jpg

After I had the strips sewn into a large enough piece to cut out 5" circles from, I placed another piece of linen, right sides together with the QAYG piece and marked out circles with the bottom of a tin that was the right size. 

I sewed a 1/4" inside the drawn line, back stitching at beginning and end, and leaving and opening for turning. 

Stacked Strips Coasters Assembly 2.jpg

Cut out on the drawn line. Clip curves and turn right side out through the opening. Turn opening under 1/4" and press. Blind stitch opening closed by hand. 

Stacked Strips Coasters 1.jpg

I did not do any additional quilting or stitching to my coasters once turned. This method has four layers: patchwork top, batting, and two layers of linen. 

Stacked Strips Coasters 4.jpg

I think next time I try this I will make some placemats. It's really very addictive and I'm sure we all have a bunch of left over fabric scraps begging to be turned into something useful and beautiful!

Signature Bedroom

Signature Bedroom

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Today I'll be taking a closer look at the Signature fabrics Soho bedroom I put together for a photo shoot to show off my new Signature fabric collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. This room was another mock-room setting I put together in my studio and I had so much fun sewing and decorating for this scene. See the Signature Baby Room posts Part 1 and Part 2.

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For this mock-room to make sense, it had to tell a story. I wanted something fun and flirty, just like the fabric collection so I came up with the idea to create a Soho loft bedroom from a 20-something girl who loves sewing, flowers, vintage finds, and a little bit of bling. 

Signature Fabrics Bedroom 1.jpg

I didn't want a fussy bed frame so I put the mattress and box spring directly onto the rug-layered floor and stood two same-size, narrow boxes on end. You can't see the boxes because they're covered with a wood boards that made a temporary bench of sorts that I could use as my headboard/shelf. This created the perfect look for my bed and kept everything low and modern. 

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The quilt on the bed is called Tracery Rose and is an adaptation of the Tracery quilt pattern from my Utility-Style Quilts for Everyday Living book (Landauer 2017). I wanted layers of fabrics with texture and vintage charm as well as doable DIY projects that my creative girl would want to make for her room. 

Find a tutorial for the fun Fabric Fringe Wallhanging on one of my earlier posts as well as instructions for the Improv Boho Pillow tutorial. These are both great projects to get the kids involved in sewing something for their room.

Signature Pillow 1.jpg

Crafty touches include vintage pompoms, my grandmother's Singer sewing machine on the desk, knitting yarn in the Bucket Bag tote (another free pattern on this site), Art Roll Up caddy for knitting needles or other art supplies (see Free Patterns page), thrifting treasures of vintage jewelry and furniture, and of course florals to bring the garden inside.

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Pile on the layers and let the photo tell a story! I can just image my younger self busy working on crafts in my room and rearranging and decorating my space with pretty things.

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This photo of the basket with yarn and fabric is one of my favorite shots because of all the yummy textures, layers, and colors. I had the last minute idea to throw a piece of faux fur on the chair seat and that added a bit of glam to the look plus more texture and interest!

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This petite desk's was something I picked up at a garage sale almost 20 years ago! I painted it gold after I bought it and it's normal spot is as a nightstand by my bed. Because I wanted to bring in different metal elements into my Soho bedroom like gold, copper, and silver I thought it would make the cutest sewing table for this scene. The sewing machine was my grandmother's and it still works like a dream. I have it as a backup machine and don't sew with it much but it's comforting to know it's here with me when I need it. 

The chair is another garage sale find and it has a big hole in the caned seat. I've hidden the hole with a piece of faux fur to repeat the look on the other side of the room. 

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Although I am obsessed with so many of my sewing makes for the two mock-up rooms, the project that's gotten the most wear is my Signature Extempore Rayon kimono. This garment was an easy make for a non-garment sewer like me and AGF rayon is the perfect fabric for a flowie cover up like this. I used Simplicity pattern 1108 and chose the cropped cut because I'm only 5'2'' and it's a good proportion for my frame. 

AGF Signature Rayon Kimono.jpg

I hope you enjoyed this look into some of the photos that went into the Signature Look Book and my styled photo shoot. Are you getting lots of inspiration? What would you sew with these prints--quilts, clothes, or something else?