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Celebrating Imagination and the Wonderful, Wild Ride that is Life

Monday, February 26, 2018

QuiltCon 2018 and Some Inspiration

I am so exhausted, overwhelmed, and inspired by everything I saw on my trip to Pasadena for the Modern Quilt Guild’s big show and conference, QuiltCon!  I arrived home late last night and I am hanging on by barely a thread, but I couldn’t wait to share at least a little of the excitement!

My jaw actually dropped and hit the floor when I saw that  the QuiltCon volunteers had hung my guild’s Charity Quilt entry, Lake Superior Sunrise, in a beautiful location with lots of light. It was right in front of the entry! I can’t describe how exciting and fulfilling it was to see the quilt that all my friends worked so hard on get such prominent placement. If you’re on social media you might have seen a lot of it because it was serving as a backdrop for many people’s photos! I am still so touched by all of the kind comments and words of support I received from so many people. 

The next pic is of me!! I'm showing off my awesome range backpack from Noodlehead designs and createwd for me by my dear friend Susan!

Of course a great deal of the appeal of the Quilt was the gorgeous fabrics by Alison Glass that we used to create it. It is largely made with her Chroma line of fabrics, with some sprinkling of her Sunprint lines as well as Insignia. The deeply saturated colors of her fabric were just perfect for this quilt! I would be remiss if I did not thank Janet Anelli, owner of Hannah Johnson Fabrics, for her generous donation. We couldn't have done it without you, Janet!!!

I am also indebted to my guild mates who constructed the foundation pieced blocks, our guild President Ruthann Grace @dlthgrl who made a fantastic scrap pieced binding and Scott Lunt @starfireduluth for quilting it with the perfect ruler work pattern. It was a real community project and many people said they could feel the spirit when they looked at it. Isn’t that awesome?

I also am grateful to Karen McTavish at McTavish Quilting Studio for her donation of batting and thread as well as quilting and general motivational support. You truly ROCK, Karen!

In my last post I announced that I am selling the pattern as a digital download. I got to hand out a lot of buttons and business cards and talk to people when I wasn’t shopping, staring in awe, or taking a class. I am excited to say that I sold quite a few patterns!!!

I need to thank my dear friends who served as my pattern testers. Their help was invaluable and their work was amazing! Here are some screenshots of their work on Instagram. If you’re on there, follow these peeps! Their work is amazing!!!!

This first one was created by Melissa @mtweedel. She really played with the layout of the blocks! Just look at the other options she had!

How fun and inspiring are all those layouts?

The one above was made by Susan @sushi.farmer.  She made a glorious mini sunset by shrinking the pattern by 50% when she printed it.  She ended up with an 18 x 18” mini that I am totally in love with. Just look at those gorgeous colors!!!

This last one was made by Stephanie @sewbespokeandco She was a real overachiever and not only shrank the four outer blocks but the two center blocks are even tinier!!!! Her color placement and block arrangement is so unique and awesome! She managed to make a Supernova!!!! 

Honestly it is SO much fun to see what everyone else comes up with. The creativity does NOT end at my pattern. This exactly what I was trying to create. A pattern that was adaptable and allowed each creator to let loose and make what is in their heart! These three definitely did that and more!

So please, if you buy the pattern or have already purchased it, please use the hashtag #lakesuperiorsunrise so I can see what amazing thing you come up with!!! Or post on Wild Onion Studio on Facebook!!!!

Have fun sewing the sunrise!!!!


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

So what have I been up to?

Pattern making, pattern testing, learning software programs for said pattern making, pattern publishing, researching platforms for selling said pattern, making sure things are hunky-dorey with the state tax authorities (goodness I hope I got it right...don't panic, don't panic!!!!!!!), building a shiny and exciting (okay I picked the simplest template out there) Shopify site, fine tuning it, fine tuning it some more, fine tuning it until I can't tell if I'm making it better or worse, refreshing this here blog (well, okay...I made a new banner with photos...big deal), and getting ready to announce it to the WORLD!!!!!!

So here it Lake Superior Sunrise Quilt Pattern is now available as a digital download. My baby is all ready to head out into the world! You can buy it on my new Shopify storefront , OR you can click on that neato shopping button right up there on the top right! Crazy, right? I am donating $1 from the price of every pattern purchased to my local guild, the Lake Superior Modern Quilt Guild because they have been such a huge support to me this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed their creative inspiration and their friendship. Plus, many members helped create sew the Lake Superior Sunrise Quilt. I owe them so much! And I really hope I sell enough patterns to keep their programs going for a long time! If you are on Instagram, be sure and check out the hashtag #lakesuperiorsunrise to keep up with what my amazing pattern testers have done with the block. They are amazing!!!!

Other than all of that, I have been doing a bit of sewing, of course!

I finished sending off my wonky stars for the swap I participated in on Instagram. It was a blast and SUCH a fun block to let go and have fun with! I will need to do a little post about my approach to making them...I like them REALLY wonky! I still have a few more to make, so a tutorial should be very easy. Stay tuned!

These guys aren't really that wonky but I adored fussy cutting the dog fabric!

Speaking of sew-a-longs, I am also sewing houses for the #sewingavillage Sew-a-Long that is being hosted by Stitch Supply Co. All the details as well as the pattern and a really great downloadable progress tracker can be found at this link. Seriously, this is so much FUN! All you need is the pattern, some charm packs or a bunch of your favorite fabrics! I am working really hard to sew my stash right now, so I am making all of my houses with Cotton and Steel fabrics, the roofs are using Gingiber's Thicket and Catnip collections for Moda, and for the background I am using Kona Cotton in Wasabi. I just love how sunny it is!

You should definitely check out the Sew-A-Long...Stitch Supply Co. even has a little template available so you can fussy cut each one of your doors. How fun is that?

Speaking of fun, I am headed to Pasadena tomorrow to attend the Modern Quilt Guild's big show, QuiltCon! I will be taking classes, viewing all of the amazing quilts, and of course shopping! If you are going, please say "hi"! I would love to make more quilt loving friends. Plus, I have buttons to give away!

I'm sure I will have lots of stuff to post about! I may faint from all the excitement :) Stay tuned!


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Celebrating the Bitter and the Sweet

Beauty is Everywhere
Well, hello there!

Yes, it's been a while. Yes, I know I've let the cobwebs collect on this blog...again! But despite all of that, I thought I'd pop in and say that yes, I'm still here! Yes, it's been over a year since my diagnosis of Metastatic Breast Cancer. Yes, it's been months since my Spinal Fusion Surgery. But I'm back. I'm here. And I have plenty to celebrate.

Granted I have had quite a long, painful recovery from my surgery. It wasn't the quick fix I was hoping for. Instead it actually made the nerve pain far, far worse. And I have slowly crawled out of that deep hole of chronic pain. My sincerest sympathies are for those who live with unrelenting chronic pain. It is a nightmare. I have never dealt with anything worse. (And if you know me that is saying something!) Honestly, many times I begged to just be able to focus on having Stage IV cancer rather than the pain!

Now I am happy to report that although the nerve pain is not completely gone, I have been able to manage it with ibuprofen and neurontin. I have even been able to start exercising. Of course, this fires up the nerve pain a bit, but it is worth it to try to regain some strength and balance after a year of suffering. I'm still on lifting restrictions (which will probably be for the rest of my life) but I'm doing as much as I can and being careful. (Yes, you read that right...ME! Careful! It's 100% true!) I've turned a corner and I couldn't be happier!

As far as life in CancerLand goes, I am doing quite well. I have been on the same treatment for 13 cycles and everything is going great. The chemo makes me tired, especially at the end of the cycle since it's wiping out my white cells faster than you can say "whoops, there gone!" but so far I've done really well. I had a cold that took a long time to fight off, but despite my compromised immune system I have stayed healthy. I've gotten fat thanks to the treatment and my inactivity (whee....) but I'm not complaining...the treatment has very little side effects and it's working. So far the CT scans I get every 3 months have been showing either regression in the tumors in my lung or stability, meaning nothing is growing. And I get PET scans to make sure nothing is growing elsewhere too. So, YAY ME! Actually, YAY SCIENCE!!!! YAY BIG PHARMA!!! YAY RESEARCH!!!! YAY MODERN MEDICINE!!!! ( Just as an aside, here's a fun fact: my one chemo med costs $2,000 a month. Can you imagine? That means to date my bill for just one pill has been $26,000!!!) So YAY INSURANCE too!!!!!

Not only have I been recovering and fighting cancer but I've been doing some LIVING!!! Mostly, I have been doing A LOT of creating. Those of you who follow me on social media may have blocked me by now due to all of the pictures of quilts, and I am sorry. But I am so in touch with my creative side, more than I have ever been. And it is now my LIFE. I don't know what I would do without the ability to express myself, the need to express myself. And the ideas just keep coming.

QuiltCon Charity Quilt Color Palette

I am working on SO many things, but what I really love is creating my own designs. I am deep in the thicket of creating a pattern for sale. It is of a quilt I designed as our Guild's entry into the national Modern Quilt Guild's Show as part of the exhibit of Charity Quilts. We were given a color palette to stick to, a size, and the theme "Modern Traditionalism". I am so grateful that when I expressed interest, the wonderful leaders of my local guild let go of the reins. I designed the quilt Lake Superior Sunrise. I was inspired by the challenge colors which immediately evoked a sunrise in me. I chose the concept of Crazy Quilts to meet the Modern Traditional requirement, and it all blossomed. I am so proud of the work everyone in the Lake Superior Modern Quilt Guild did. From cutting all the fabrics, piecing the blocks, quilting the finished top, and creating a stunning binding. But most of all I am so proud and grateful that they trusted me and my vision. That is an incredible gift. I will write a whole post on the process of making this quilt, I promise!

I have never belonged to a guild before. I have not had any friends who like to quilt (except one or two that I taught for a short while). I started quilting when I was 15 years old. And even though there have been hiatuses, I have never really stopped. Joining this guild has been so wonderful. Meeting and getting to know others who share my interest and passion has been exhilarating.

The same goes for the Instagram quilting community. For me, it is a daily source of inspiration, support, and creative drive that I never imagined possible from a social media platform. I have made friends with people all over the world, and I can truly say they are friends...some of them now some of my closest friends. They have supported me, encouraged me, and laughed with me. What a gift!

In truth, this has been a ridiculously difficult year. It has been a shitty year. But it's also been fantastic! Life works that way, I guess, and in particular, my life. But I do make the most of it. I celebrate it all: the bitter and the sweet. Of course, I would rather have way more sweetness....we'll see what 2018 has in store.

Until next time, enjoy life. ENJOY LIFE!!!!! Love yourself, and embrace the full catastrophe :)


Lake Superior Sunrise

Evidence of a Life