Last weekend, a dream of mine came true. I was able to attend Quilt Market!

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For those of you that don’t know, Quilt Market is an international trade show for the fabric industry. Manufacturers, Fabric Designers, Pattern Makers, etc. are all there with their booths decked out displaying their newest collections for shop owners to see and order fabrics for their stores. This market was in Houston, TX.

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If you’ve followed my blog or known me for a while, you might know the obsession I have with fabric, the fabric designers that I adore and have mentioned on here before, and more importantly, my dream of becoming a fabric designer one day (or more broadly, a surface pattern designer). I work full-time as a graphic designer now, and between that and my art background, it has been a long-time dream of mine to gradually move in the direction of surface pattern design. I’ve been so busy working since I finished college that I haven’t had a lot of time to put towards that dream, but lately that dream has been invigorated as I’ve taken Bonnie Christine‘s Design Surface Patterns from Scratch Course on CreativeLive. (I highly recommend her course and her Roost Tribe!)

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Bonnie Christine (above) is one of the sweetest people that I’ve ever met and I was so happy to be able to chat with her in person this weekend! She immediately felt like an old friend that I’d known forever! (Although I guess I have followed her blog for almost 5 years!) Her story is so inspirational to me as her background and goals are very similar to mine. I also just love her work (and her passion for sharing with others to help make their dreams come true too!).

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The entire market was full of inspiration everywhere. I love Leah Duncan‘s patterns and style (above). I also loved seeing Katarina Roccella‘s patterns in person as well (I didn’t get a good shot of her booth, but you can see part of it in the second picture, above). I also saw Elizabeth Olwen‘s fabrics in person for the first time here as well (I thought I got a picture of her booth, but can’t find it, so it must not have taken!). All three of those designers are pretty new to me, but I loved seeing and being inspired by their work!

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One of the highlights of my visit was getting to meet and chat with Amy Butler (probably one of the most well-known fabric designers!) and her husband. They were both so incredibly sweet and were more than happy to answer my questions about the industry and what inspires them. Amy Butler was so encouraging of my dream, she told me to work towards my passion and great things will happen!

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Anna Maria Horner (along with Heather Bailey and Sandi Henderson) was one of the first fabric designers that really caught my eye. I started following their blogs years ago and they are a good part of the reason that I also want to design fabric. It was awesome to meet Anna Maria Horner in person after all these years of being inspired by her work!

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I saw Heather Bailey‘s booth, but didn’t see her. Next time!

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Many of my favorite designers have also come out with ribbon collections. These are seriously so beautiful and I was so glad to see them in person since I don’t think they are sold in any stores around where I live.

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Aside from meeting and chatting with designers, I walked around, checking out booths of designers I’d never heard of before and just admiring all the beautiful colors and patterns. The quilts were so gorgeous, as were all the other cool things designers had made with their fabrics.

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I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity. It gave me great insight into the fabric design industry, into how quilt market works, and the chats I had with the designers were so helpful and encouraging (and also had a good dose of reality too). It really has started to make something that always seemed like a long lost dream a truly achievable reality!

Thank you Bonnie for making it happen!

 

The last week or so I’ve been in Southern Illinois visiting my family. Every time I’m back home, I try to squeeze in a trip to my favorite fabric store in the area — Hancock’s of Paducah (in Paducah, KY). I absolutely love fabric and could spend all day in a fabric store. I love all the prints, patterns and possibilities of things to make out of all the prettiness! I had several house projects in mind that I needed fabric for, so I was definitely in need of a trip to the fabric store while I was home! (New Orleans doesn’t have any great fabric stores.)

Hancock’s of Paducah is a completely different store than the Hancock’s chain of fabric stores that are found around the country. This one is so much bigger and better! They have a wonderful selection of cotton and home decor fabrics (I believe their main market is for quilters in the area). This isn’t your place to go for silk or apparel fabrics.

I love that they carry higher quality cotton fabrics, especially many by well-known fabric designers.

Here are some of Sandi Henderson‘s newest “Secret Garden” fabrics:

And by Amy Butler:

So many pretty fabrics to choose from!

I’m especially loving large-scale floral prints right now. I love this blue one below. I actually ended up buying some of the pink version of this fabric! Stay tuned to see where it ends up in my house! I’ve actually already been working with my mom on several fabric projects while I’m here!

Here is what my cart looked like once I had made several trips through the store:

Isn’t that champagne metallic dot fabric neat? I ended up buying some of several of these fabrics in my cart. I can’t wait to get back to New Orleans and get them incorporated into my home!

Speaking of the home, they have a great selection of heavier weight home decor fabrics as well. I would love to buy some of these for my home! It is so hard to choose between them though! I kept envisioning beautiful curtains made out of many of these:

Love this green quatrefoil pattern:

I am really, really in love with the combination of this warm grey floral and this rasperry ikat dot fabric. I think they would be lovely to make into layered curtain panels like in this picture here.

So many great options! I just made new curtains for my office (I still need to share pictures), but seeing all these gorgeous fabrics is making me regret choosing the fabric I did!

They also have a few great bargain bin areas where they have fabric remnants for discounted prices. I found a great white and cream check fabric in that pile, enough to make a throw pillow out of for $2.50. Can’t beat a pretty couch pillow for $2.50!

Of all the wonderful options, this is what I left the store with:

Can’t wait to show you what I end up doing with these!

If you live in the Southern Illinois (IN-KY-MO) area, you should definitely check out Hancock’s of Paducah! I’m always a little sad if I make a trip home and don’t get a chance to go! They even sell a lot of fabrics and quilt kits online as well.

Today is an exciting day! It is reveal day of the Summer Pinterest Challenge! If you aren’t in the loop about it — it is a challenge dreamed up by two pretty amazing bloggers, Sherry of Young House Love, and Katie of Bower Power (two of my favorite blogs!) to get people to start creating amazing things based on all the million things we are always pinning on Pinterest. It isn’t sponsored by Pinterest or anything, but it is a pretty cool idea to make yourself get to working on some actual projects from all the inspiration you can find on Pinterest.

Each season, Sherry and Katie host a Pinterest Challenge and team up with a couple other big bloggers to do so. If you want to check out what each of the challenge team created this time around, you can check out Sherry’s project here, Katie’s project here, Michelle from Ten June’s project here, and Kate from Centsational Girl’s project here.

Now on to mine! I decided to play along with the challenge as well! I had the perfect project already in mind. I originally saw this idea on one of the blogs I read, pinned it from there, and it has been sitting open in a tab on my computer waiting for the day when I would actually complete a project like it. Here was my inspiration — a tutorial on fabric covered photo mats from the blog, A Bit of Sunshine.

I had the perfect frame mat in need of a little help:

Please excuse the awkwardness of the current state of this frame gallery. I told you it needed some help! This is in the hallway that runs down almost the entire side of our apartment and we are trying to brighten it up with some of our art in bright white frames. (the rectangle painting on the left side is a painting I did in one of my painting classes in school, the streetcar art is a framed cross-stitch my mother-in-law made, the small square painting on top is a country barn scene painting that was done by my 8th grade math teacher, who is also one of my mother-in-law’s best friends, and the last two frames on the right hold prints by Katie Daisy of The Wheatfield on Etsy.) We still have a few spots that we haven’t filled in yet and a couple of the frames fell down when we were hammering into the other side of this wall to hang things and we haven’t quite gotten them back up yet. Sorry that the lighting is also bad here — this hallway doesn’t receive much natural light!

Anyway, this is the art that I really wanted to address. This print is the only piece of artwork that Drew has shown his own interest in. He bought it online and the day it came in, he was so excited to have picked out something for our house. I like the subject matter of the print, but I wish they had used a brighter color ink for the outline of Louisiana. It is too light, in my opinion. We placed it in this frame (leftover from the frame gallery in the living room) because it was the right size, but I didn’t like how the mat was more of a cream color that didn’t look great with the crisp whites of the frame and the print. It also didn’t help the print to pop any more either. I had tried looking at Michael’s for a pre-cut mat in this size in a brighter color, but I had no luck finding any that I liked or that were this size (it is a 10×13 frame matted to an 8×10).

Then came in this fabric to save the day. I have a huge collection of fabric, so making anything with fabric is a project that I love. This particular fabric I had leftover from an apron I made years ago and it seemed to have the right colors in it to go along with other art in the hallway and it had some greens in it to hopefully pull the green outline out of the Louisiana print a little more. This fabric is by Amy Butler and you can still buy it here.

This project is really easy! These are all the supplies you need — frame mat, fabric, fabric cutting scissors, spray glue adhesive, an iron and ironing board.

I started by laying out my fabric, ironing it, and setting my mat on there to make sure that the fabric scrap would be big enough. You only need an overhang of an inch or so outside the mat.

Once I had made sure that the pattern on my fabric was lined up straight, I trimmed the fabric to about an inch all the way around the outside of the mat.

Then make sure to turn your fabric over, so that the wrong side is facing up. (I forgot this step and totally did it backwards at first! Luckily the spray adhesive wasn’t set yet and it peeled off!) You will spray the spray adhesive on the right side of the mat and place in face down on the wrong side of the fabric and smooth it down. Once you’ve smoothed the mat to the fabric, cut out the center part of the fabric inside the mat like shown above. make a cut into the corners of the mat. Also trim off the outside corners of the fabric like shown above.

Then spray the adhesive on the back side of the mat and neatly fold over and press down the fabric overhang. Be careful when you are working with the spray adhesive, it is super sticky and will get all over your hands and on whatever else is around where you are spraying it. You might want to spray it outside and even use rubber gloves to keep your hands from getting sticky.

Cutting the outside corner of your fabric off and making the cut towards the mat inside the fabric should make your fabric fold over and lay really neatly.

Then you are left with a finished fabric covered mat! Make sure to let the rest of the exposed mat with spray adhesive on the back dry completely before you reassemble it back into your frame.

It makes the print look so much better! Fabric covered mats can really add a lot of interest to a frame. It also helps to showcase some of your favorite fabrics.

All framed back up!

Here it is back in the hallway. Although this frame gallery is far from finished, I think this does really add a lot of interest to the collection of art here.

I love the pretty pop of color this adds! I think it would be great paired with a black and white photo or another colorful print. This would also be great in a kids room. I will definitely be doing this again to show off more of my fabric stash!

To save you from having to scroll up again to see the before and then the after, here is the before again:

And the after:

So that was my first Pinterest Challenge Project! (although I’ve made quite a few recipes and other things inspired from Pinterest pins before). Be sure to check out the original inspiration post this was inspired from, here. You should also make sure to check out the other Pinterest projects going on! It is a big link party so there are lots of projects to check out. See Sherry’s project here, Katie’s project here, Michelle from Ten June’s project here, and Kate from Centsational Girl’s project here. :)

Do you ever have one of those days where you see one little thing and all of a sudden you want to paint/draw/sew/knit/crochet/bake/redecorate, etc? Yeah, well that is totally me on a daily basis. I love being inspired by things and surrounded by pretty things that encourage me to be creative. Today, my inspiration comes from this picture I stumbled upon on Pinterest:

Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous! I love pretty much everything about the room in this picture, but I especially LOVE those curtains! Why did it never occur to me to layer lovely fabrics together to create stunning window treatments!? (especially amazing colors and patterns such as those seen here!) If you know me well, you know I love fabric! I love the texture, the patterns, the colors, the softness it adds to a room. So why should you limit yourself by only choosing one fabric to add loveliness to the windows in a room?

I can’t wait to add multiple layers of beautiful fabric patterns to the windows in my house! :)

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Since I pulled a muscle in my lower back when I was home the other week, I’ve been trying my best to sit up straight and to take breaks from working on the computer (Since I tend to slouch over when I’ve been working on the computer for a while). I’m on the computer a lot– reading blogs, blogging, working on design work or websites for our business, checking e-mails and when school starts I will be on it even more for papers and school work. As much as I love being on the computer, it definitely is nice to take breaks to do other things. Since I only have two more weeks before fall semester starts, I decided to try my best to spend the next two weeks doing something that I enjoy and that I never have time for during the school year.

It was perfect timing when I ran across this August stitch-along on an embroidery blog. (see week 1 & week 2 & the flickr group) I really like hand sewing and I think it is a mindless and relaxing thing to do. (Plus it is easy to sit and sew while watching television, chatting with a friend, etc…) I really like the freestyle type project that they have going on this month, so I decided to jump in and stitch along.

This project is basically to just grab a piece of fabric that you want to embellish and some coordinating thread colors and follow the pattern of the fabric with your embroidery. Pretty simple and mindless.

I chose this green fabric with a basic cream floral pattern. It is some leftover fabric that I had in my fabric stash that I had used for a project and didn’t have any plans to use for anything else. I think it is pretty, but I thought some colored embroidery might spruce it up a little.

Here are my thread colors. I think they will be pretty accents to the petals on the flowers on the fabric.

If you’ve never hand sewn before or don’t know how, no worries! It is never too late to learn! You should join me on my August stitch along. Just grab a small piece of fabric, some embroidery thread in coordinating colors, a needle, scissors, and an embroidery hoop. That’s all you need!

I’m using a 5 inch embroidery hoop, but any will work. Just stretch your fabric in there and you are ready to roll.

Start with a simple back stitch around the outlines of your fabric design and then use other stitches from there for more embellishment.

If you don’t know any stitches or even where to start, here are some embroidery tips/tutorials from the blog, Wild Olivestrands, sewing, stabbing and starting, running and back stitch, stem and split stitches, chain and detached chain stitch, fill stitches part 1, fill stitches part 2.

I only worked on mine for a little bit last night while Drew was watching the first Saints pre-season football game and I got more done than I expected to. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I like projects like this that you can make up as you go. :)

Join me on the August stitch-along! I’d love to see what pretty things you create!

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