This summer, my niece Ashley asked me if I would design a fabric for her senior Homecoming dress. She wanted a watercolor floral in pinks, purples, and blues.
I started with some quick watercolor sketches from photos I had taken last spring of my birthday peonies and some lilac photos (also from last spring) that my sisters, Blair and Jill, had sent me from their yards. Two of my favorite flowers and they don’t grow in New Orleans!
I scanned them in to my computer, vectorized and re-colored them, then turned them into this pattern:
We both liked it, but thought it needed less leaves and less white space to really pop on the dress. So I played around with a few more variations of it before we finally settled on this pattern:
She had envisioned the skirt to be made of light colored tulle, so I wanted to make sure that the pattern on top was bolder and colorful.
Then I ordered the fabric (on Spoonflower):
I sent it to her and after a drama where it got stuck in the mail for two weeks (and we thought it was lost!), she had it made into the dress and wore it last weekend for Homecoming. I think it turned out wonderfully!
It is so exciting to see my designs on fabric, but even more special to see them worn for a special event. I’m honored to have had a part in your senior year, Ashley!
P.S. Aren’t her and her boyfriend so cute? They remind me of Drew and I when we were in high school. So sweet! Ashley was in elementary school when Drew and I started dating! :)
A month or so ago, I finished piecing my Mod Hexagon Quilt that I started at the Cotton and Steel Patchwork Weekend Workshop at Anna Maria Horner’s Craft South in Nashville. I was nervous to try quilting it myself (I’ll try that on the next one!) so I sent it off to a lady I met at the workshop to have her long arm quilt it for me (Elizabeth Beck Quilts). I got it back last week and I LOVE the way it turned out!
I used all Cotton & Steel and Anna Maria Horner fabrics. I love the way the colored bits make little paper airplanes.
The weather has finally turned a little cooler in New Orleans, so I’ve been enjoying snuggling up with it on the couch! This is my first quilt and I’m so pleased with the experience of making something that can be used for a practical purpose. Most of my “making” has usually been painting, digital design, decorating, or sewing things like curtains. All those are lovely, but they can’t be “used” in the same way that a quilt can.
I love how sparkly that woven Loominous fabric is by Anna Maria Horner. It is hard to capture in photos, but it person it is so glittery! I think it really makes the quilt!
Last weekend, I attended the Cotton and Steel Patchwork Weekend Workshop hosted by Anna Maria Horner at her new (and fabulous!) shop, Craft South, in Nashville, Tennessee.
Craft South is so insanely beautiful and inspiring. You can’t walk into this space and not be inspired to create. How I wish this space existed in New Orleans (or that I lived closer to Nashville!).
I love the workshops that Craft South is putting together. So many great things happening there! (see upcoming workshops and classes here).
As you all already know, Anna Maria Horner and her fabulous fabric design skills have been an inspiration to me for quite a while (read more about that, here), so I’ve been dying to get to Craft South and take a workshop ever since she announced that it was happening (she started Craft South workshops last summer in another location and then opened Craft South the store this past May).
When I saw that she had put together a weekend workshop with all five of the founding designers of the fabulous Cotton and Steel, I jumped at the opportunity! Six amazing fabric designers all under one roof teaching me how to quilt and chatting about the industry? YES!!
My older sister lives right outside Nashville, and we love the area, so it is always nice to have an excuse to make a visit up there. It is only a few hours from my hometown, so my parents and sisters also came down to visit while we were in town for the workshop (we had a tie-dye birthday party for my niece, Evie, while I was there too!).
I loved getting to explore the 12 South neighborhood of Nashville that Craft South is in. I hadn’t spent much time in that area before, but it is a great little area! Lots of cool restaurants and shops.
I was a little nervous to take the workshop considering I’ve never actually made a quilt before. But I have a sewing background and I’d done some other quilting-type projects before (I made a quilt top and stretched it like a canvas to paint on in college and when I was younger I did some paper piecing), so I was prepared enough. If you remember from my goals for 2015, quilting was one of them!
I really love the way my quilt is starting out! LOVE those little paper airplanes! The quilt pattern we worked from for the workshop is the Mod Hexagon Quilt by Rashida Coleman-Hale (one of the designers for Cotton and Steel). The patterned fabrics I’m using are fat quarters of different prints from Cotton and Steel and Anna Maria Horner. For the background fabric, I’m using a metallic woven from Anna Maria’s Loominous fabric line (it is so pretty and sparkly – I wish you could see that better in the photos).
We also learned how to make fabric yo-yos and patchwork zip and Gamaguchi pouches, but I mostly stuck to working on my quilt. I wanted to get as much as I could done while I was there. I still have quite a bit left to do. I enjoyed getting to sew on the Janome machines while I was there. Craft South is also a Janome dealer if you are in the area and looking for a new machine. If I decide to keep quilting, I will probably have to eventually upgrade my basic Singer machine, but for now I can make it work.
Here are some other photos of the workshop posted on Instagram by the Cotton and Steel designers or other workshop attendees:
It really was such a great weekend and I’m so glad I went! All the other workshop attendees were the best and I enjoyed hanging out and sewing with them for the weekend (and learning from them!). All the designers of Cotton and Steel (Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Sarah Watts, and Kim Kight) are seriously some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. It was such a treat learning from them about sewing, quilting, and the fabric design industry. I especially chatted with Melody and Alexia at dinner both nights and loved hearing about their stories, successes, and advice they had for others wanting to explore the fabric design and manufacturing industry.
If you get the opportunity to meet these amazing ladies or take a class at Craft South, do it!!
My senior year of college, I took a hand-building ceramics class because I was required to take a 3-dimensional art class for my art major. That class made me fall in love with ceramics. Don’t get me wrong, I love painting and I love digital design, but there is something so nice and rewarding about creating a 3D object with your own two hands, whether for art or function. The fact that it can often be functional is also really nice. I only have so much wall space for paintings, but can always use cups, bowls, mugs, vases, and platters (or gift them!).
Anyway, the class I took in college was a hand-building class (not wheel-throwing), so I made several platters, but mostly art pieces instead of functional ones. I made a giant artichoke (you can see it on my living room bookshelves in our house tour, here), a miniature replica of my childhood home, and a few other pieces. Unfortunately, I took the class my senior year and didn’t have a chance to continue into ceramics more than that.
Signing up for another ceramics class has been on my list of things to do for several years and this year I finally made it happen. Well actually, a friend of mine, Christina, who has an extensive ceramics background, made it happen. She wanted to get back into ceramics again and asked if I wanted to join her.
We signed up at a local studio (Earth and Fire Studio) for two hours one night a week, for two months.
During this studio time, I decided to learn how to work on the wheel. It takes a while to get it down, but I’m so happy with the 11 pieces I made in the last couple months!
None of them are perfect (which I kind-of love), but they are all functional! The first pieces I threw are the short, fat ones (that light pink one in the back and the white speckled one in front) and then as I got better I was able to make bigger, thinner, pieces like the mugs and bowls.
Ceramics is such a process. Cutting and wedging the clay, working on the wheel, letting things set-up and get leather-hard, carving, trimming, making and attaching handles, bisque firing, glazing, final firing. I think it is really neat how ceramics relies on all the elements – earth, water, air, and fire.
I’m so glad I took the time to learn this new skill and to spend time with a friend while doing it. I wish I had more time and energy to keep doing it! I’ll be back again sometime! In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying drinking my morning tea out of a nice ceramic mug I made myself!