Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Creative People

Happy Wednesday!

Thank you for all your kind notes and messages about me teaching in Houston. I'm really excited that I will get to meet so many of you in person. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!

My mind has been busy working on samples for a new class I will be offering in 2018. I'm almost done and will share more about that next Wednesday.

Today, I wanted to share some creative people. I love to listen to podcasts and things on YouTube while I'm stitching. It's a fun adventure to learn about fascinating people all over the world.

The first is textile designer and artist Karen Nicole. She specializes in embroidery and has worked hand in hand with many fashion designers to create incredible embellishments for garments.



The second is Elizabeth Eakins. She raises sheep and is a weaver. Her work (rugs and fabric) is found in the interior design world. Everything is simple, clean, serene and gorgeous!

I would LURVE to have sheep, but I don't think my neighborhood home owner association would go for it. hee,hee,hee. Elizabeth's farm is wonderful.



Enjoy these and I'll see you back here next week!

Hugs and friends,
Michelle

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Remembering the Dream - The Houston Quilt Festival

Well hello there!

Another Wednesday has arrived. Time is hop, hop, hopping by. I've been doing a lot of "remembering" lately. I remember how nervous and scared I was to embark on this journey of making The Raspberry Rabbits my full-time job. Can you believe it has been five years now? It went by so quickly.

There has been much this little bunny has had to learn about running a creative business. Much of it learned the hard way. Nobody handed me a manual with a ten step system to success. Nobody explained to this extrovert, people loving, soak er upper of creative energy, how hard it would be to work alone day after day.  Nobody told me how much I would have to struggle with my inner artist and my own creative voice against what the "industry" expects and considers the right path. Also, to be totally honest, nobody told me how much of a huge financial struggle it would be and how it would, at times, drain the creative energy right out of me.



There were many times I thought about throwing in the towel and just plain giving up. I mean if one can't make a simple living at something, isn't it just better to keep it as a hobby? Why would anyone want to work so hard and not get paid, when doing a hobby is fun and enjoyable? But then, the little voice deep down the rabbit hole in my mind whispered and reminded me of why I decided, at the fork in the road five years ago, to take this path.  I remembered  that the gift I was given to share with the world is the gift of teaching and inspiring others. I remembered my dream to, one day, be a teacher at the biggest quilt festival in the world.


I remembered that if I believe in myself and believe hard enough, my dreams would always come true. Well, this year they did. It is with extreme joy and honor in my heart to announce that...

                          


My "Beekeeper" class is being offered on Tuesday, October 31st. Yes, I will be wearing my bunny ears to celebrate Halloween!

I will also be teaching at the Sampler on Friday, November 3rd in which you will receive a demonstration and pattern to create my Dove Postcard.


In addition, if you are in town on Monday, October 30th, my friend, Catherine Redford, has invited me to be on her Iron Quilter Challenge team. Oh what fun that will be!

HOP OVER HERE to the Festival Class enrollment page.

Even if you are unable to take classes, but are still attending the show, I would love to meet you! I will be at "Meet the Teachers" on Thursday, November 2nd, from 5:30 - 6:00. Of course you may also see this little bunny and her ears hopping about this wonderful show. What a privilege it is to be among so many talented teachers who inspire the creativity in all of us.

Remembering the dream that came true.

Hugs and see ya next week!
Michelle

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

"In a Fix" - Guest Bathroom

Well hi ya! How was your 4th of July? I can't believe it is July. I can't believe Briarside Lane is done. What a fun journey it was. Jules and I are already working on Wonderland Woods. We have something very special in store for you, but you'll have to wait until January 1st, which will be here before we know it.

This week I wanted to bring you another installment of "In a Fix." The guest bathroom was in dire need of a fix. Since we have been having more guests at Bayfield Cottage, we decided this would be a good place to start the inside updates.

This is how the bathroom looked when we moved in. It had a tiny, black-framed mirror above the vanity.

There were giant knobs on the vanity, along with child safety locks. Not to mention, the super nasty, dirty grout between the tiles on the floor. Eeeewwwwwww!


The worst thing though was the glass shower doors on the tub/shower. This was something people did quite often back in 2001 when our cottage was built. I never liked it. One, it makes it incredibly hard to get in and out of the darn tub. I'm a tiny person and it felt like crawling through a hole just to get in there. Two, the tracks that the doors slide back and forth on get sooooooooo icky! Three, it just looks cold and boring.



The floor of our cottage have actually dropped about an inch over the years. This caused the vanity to drop as well, which in turn, caused the caulking to pull loose.



Not to mention how much caulk was used in there! Good gracious it's about 1/2"!



Here's another view.



The first thing we did was take down the shower doors. David and I both scraped and scraped and scraped the adhesive off the fiberglass. Check out David's feet. Those are his house flip flops that he always wears with his socks. He's such a dork. hee,hee,hee.



The next thing was to patch holes, sand walls and figure out how to hang the new light fixture. Back when the house was "roughed in" the plumber put the vent pipe directly in line with the sink. The electrician put the junction box way over to the left! That would have never happened on my job site back when I was a Project Manager. Needless to say, David had to do some fancy fixing in order to get the light fixture to hang over the vanity properly.



Next, he cut out all that old caulking around the vanity. Once he did, he discovered that the vanity top was not seated on the vanity cabinet all the way. He pushed it back against the wall and viola, no need for all that massive caulking! Again, would have never happened on my job site. Geesh...


We had a fiberglass repair man come and fix the holes that were left when we took the shower doors down. He did a nice job, but he didn't use a respirator and kept the door shut. NUTS!!! The fumes were so awful! I told him to open the door because I didn't want him to die in my bathroom. Dumb!


After the tub was repaired, David painted over the grey walls with  Aged White and the trim with Whitetail by Sherwin Williams. Now I know all the rage and the "in" thing is grey, greige and the like, but I just can't do it. I despise gray! It makes me feel sad, depressed, tired and like I'm constantly in the rain. Can you tell I don't like gray? hee,hee,hee. Plus, I enjoy being a rule breaker and going against the norm. This color is a soft, creamy white. It makes me feel like I can breathe. It's clean, but warm and is a perfect neutral backdrop for my "Calm, Clean and Serene" style.



I bought a fun, beveled edge mirror that I think brings something unexpected. I also purchased a new shower curtain that has a nice texture, but doesn't take over the space.


Here's how it looks with the light on.


Next, I removed the child safety locks, (boy was that hard!) and replaced the giant knobs with low profile, brushed-chrome knobs. Now we don't have to worry about taking out a hip when we walk past them. Giggle, snort.... ;)


There really wasn't a good place to put a towel ring for a hand towel. I'm never a fan of putting towel rings above light switches. So, I decided to purchase a towel bar that sits on the vanity. These cute fingertip towels match the shower curtain. I kinda did the happy bunny dance in the middle of Bed, Bath and Beyond when I found them. Just say'in.


Instead of a towel bar that would hold one towel for guests, I decided to use three towel hooks.


I also scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed that nasty grout with Grease Lightning and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It took me almost two hours, but what a difference!


David's caulking job is wonderful and the vanity top is straight and where it is suppose to be.


Eventually, I will replace the pictures that are hanging with some sort of original art, but for now, these will work.

David and I are really happy with how it all turned out. Now on to the next project, which he tells me is sanding and staining our back deck. Somehow I think that needs to wait until the fall when it isn't 100 degrees outside.

Hugs and see ya next week!
Michelle


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Briarside Lane - Finale Challenge

Hello dear friends,

Well, we have made it to the grand finale of Briarside Lane. Here's what the finished quilt looks like. It measures 44 x 56. I have it pinned to my design board if you are wondering what those little pearl dots are. hee,hee,hee.



I decided I wanted each piece simply framed with sashing fabric and one large border. When I tried to add patchwork around the blocks, it took away from the blocks. Also, it was in competition with the embroidery. The blocks just didn't feel as special to me and I wanted them to be a reminder of how much I loved this journey so the patchwork was out for me.



Each month was just as exciting and just as much a mystery to me as I didn't know what Jules' paintings would look like. I got them one at a time just like you. As a designer I found this to be a most wonderful challenge. Textile artist Karen Nicole said, "Collaboration takes you out of your comfort zone." I couldn't agree more. This process allowed me to stretch myself and really hone in on my Folk Art Fusion style.



Jules enjoyed the journey too as she was free to simply paint and write from her imagination. Two things she is truly gifted with. Didn't you love reading about each stop?



During this journey I realized lots of things I really LOVE to do and lots of things I no longer want to do. That is what a creative journey is all about isn't it?


Hand work, wool and embroidery bring me so much joy. I can sit and stitch for hours and never be bored.



Hand work is portable so I always have something to work on with my Stitch and Chat group on Thursdays.



Jules said it best in a recent email to me.

 "It’s that physical connection that you just do not get with electric sewing machines/computers. To me they are very useful implements for carrying out a task, but  with a needle and thread in your hand you are really engaged and connected with the fabric on a purely personal level.It’s where the ‘art’ part comes for me, your stitches are your own, not created by a machine." 

It's exactly how I feel and I'm drawn more to textile art, more so than quilting. Remember, you don't have to make this into a quilt. This is your journey to create as you like. If you make the blocks into something else, please do share!


Going forward Jules and I have already started working on 2018's adventure. It's called Wonderland Woods. We'll keep you posted as the details unfold. We are truly looking forward to sharing another creative journey with you.

The finale pattern is FREE, so HOP on over to the SHOP to get it. 



Thank you so very much for being a part of The Raspberry Rabbits family. We love you bunches!
Michelle, Jules and the Bunnies