Being a Designer



Goals, and Becoming.

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I’ve been missing around here, enjoying the quiet and magic of the holidays, and the potential of a new year. I’ve really been thinking about my goals, and what I want to do, and where I want to go this year. It’s been a lot of thinking and a lot of decision making. I think it must be something us artist-types have to do on a regular basis (probably everyone else, too)–evaluating where our plans are taking us, and trying to evaluate and course correct before we get too far from where our hearts really want us to go.

11-Crocus Over the break, I jumped in and made a Scrappy Tripalong quilt (it’s all the rage on Instagram, just check out hashtag #scrappytripalong, and follow me: amrosenthal–or I’m posting my pictures on my Facebook Page, too)–and as I’ve been working on it, I realized it’s the first quilt I’ve made just for fun, because I want to. Every other quilt I’ve made over the last 10 years has been as a gift, for a deadline, to show a pattern, etc. It was a strange realization. Pair that with the fact that I’m having so much fun making it, and I think I’m on to something. Creativity flourishes when it’s set free. If you’d like to make one, the tutorial is here.

This year, I’m excited to learn more, slow down, develop my personal style, and really marinate and become the person I want to be–do the things I’ve always wanted to do. If not now, when? Each month, I’m setting 5 goals (a la Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project), each month building on the previous. It sounds like a tall order, but when each goal is truly a delight to work on, I think it will be blissful and restorative.

10-Blooming-Pearl I’ve also joined in on a few other things that will help me Become (my One Little Word) who I want to be. I joined in on Fifth and Hazel and Ollibird’s 365 Pattern challenge. I’m creating a repeating pattern every day this year to move me toward one of my goals: cultivating the skills necessary to design fabric. I’m making a schedule and committing to blogging more regularly. (I hope you don’t mind). I’m using Project Life to document these fleeting days, weeks, and months. I’m picking up my Farmer’s Wife blocks again (Posts about these blocks: 1, 2, 3, 4.) I’m decorating my newly remodeled studio–my shelving gets put in Tuesday, and then pictures! I’m eating better, exercising early, and taking my vitamins and supplements (if you’re curious, I’m in love with my doTerra supplements). I’m keeping my family healthy, and enjoying these last few months before my kids start kindergarten. I’m trying to get up the guts to start up the IVF process again. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a year of nurturing and growth, for sure.

9-Tumblers And in case you think I’m forgetting you, my sweet friends, I’m most definitely not. Many of my goals revolve around sharing tutorials, creating a community, and learning more about my friends. That absolutely means we’re going to have lots of fun this year. Together.

What do you think, friends? Have you done any reevaluating yourself lately? Any creative (or other) goals for the new year? I’d love to hear them. Maybe we can help each other along.

xoxo
April

PS First up? That Block of the Month I hinted about in September. I can’t wait to show you. Who’s in?
PPS My Home for Harvest pattern is being featured on the Fat Quarter Shop’s Jolly Jabber blog today–go suggest a fabric line you’d like to make it in, and you are entered to win a $50 gift card. Score!



Parcheesi: Quilting Pattern #116

Hey friends! I wanted to post today and spotlight Parcheesi, and tell you a little more about it. Plus, I wanted to post a little treat for you guys, as a YAY for being featured on Moda’s Cutting Table blog today. (Stick around till the end of the post for the code, wink, wink.)

So here’s the thing. I’m basically obsessed with little tiny squares. Nearly every time I design a pattern, I end up scaling the individual blocks larger so you guys don’t really really hate me.

But Parcheesi came around, and I just couldn’t bring myself to omit the 1″ squares in the center of each block. (They’re not that tiny, right?) They just remind me of neat and tiny little garden. No idea why.

Then, of course, there’s the scrappy sashing. I just adore it.

I quilted it with these giant, overlapping chrysanthemums. Seriously. Took. Forever. But I think the quilting plays nicely with all the little tiny squares. (<–they’re not that tiny.)

Originally, I was going to call it Tile Garden, but it just didn’t stick. My Mom suggested Parcheesi, and I had to look it up, because I’ve never actually played.

She insisted it reminded her of an ornate Parcheesi board, and well, I really like cheese, so there you go. :)

The fabric I used in this quilt is Flora by Lauren + Jessi Jung for Moda. Not sure it’s out there much anymore, but this quilt would be GORGEOUS in their new line, Birds and Berries. SERIOUSLY, have you seen that purple? (You can find it here, here, here, here, and here.)

So, even though there are just a few (cough, cough) squares in this quilt, you should make it. Because the individual elements are each rather simple: straight lines, except for some flying geese.

And heck, it packs quite a punch when all is said and done.  You might even end up obsessed with little tiny squares like me. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Through Friday night, Parcheesi is on sale for $6 in my shop! Plus, get 15% off your entire order with code CHEESI. Be sure to get your orders in quick–I’ll be out of town next week–so if I don’t see your order by Saturday morning, it’s not going to ship until NEXT Saturday the 15th. Or, just get the PDF version. :)

Have a great Wednesday!

xoxo

PS I talk a bit about my current patterns, spill a few secrets about upcoming patterns and stuff on the blog, and answer some fun questions over at Moda’s Cutting Table today, go check it out!



still waking up

Printable poster from Sarah Jane

 

It was a long night. With two little sickies and a thunderstorm, I think they were up at least every hour. You all know that kind of night, for whatever reason: kids, insomnia, stress, weather, illness. You also know I bet, what the morning feels like after one of those nights.

Scratchy eyes, oversensitive ears, a temperament that’s less than pleasant, everything is overwhelming. Kind of Exactly like you’re walking around trying to be conscious while your body is still asleep. It takes a while to wake up on these mornings.

I’ve been thinking about this concept though, in the creative arena. How it takes a while to “wake up,” so to speak.

As a business owner, I’m fairly new to the scene. My first patterns were just released last fall. I’ve been to market once. I’m still in that “just waking up” phase in regards to meeting people, blogging, and marketing. Taxes make my eyes hurt, and my temperament less-than-pleasant. My ears can get oversensitive to other people’s opinions, and yes, things can get overwhelming sometimes.

In other arenas, though, I feel like I’m fully awake (finally!). I’ve been designing things for others for years, but am finally hitting my stride and solidifying my own style. I’m in a place where I like what I design, and know what I don’t like, even if it’s popular. My ears aren’t as worried about criticism these days, and my eyes can pick out what’s not working pretty quickly. Designing makes me happy, especially when I can really take the time to do it just right. I do still get overwhelmed on occasion, but it’s not a constant state anymore, and it’s not a despairing overwhelmed, it’s a life-is-so-full overwhelmed. (My darling friend Sarah just talked about this, here). When I feel like that, my sweetheart Jacob will always remind me to just do one thing at a time, intentionally, and with focus. Whatever the most important thing is.

Turns out, that’s usually playing Candyland with the sweeties, eating something healthy, pulling out my pencils once they’re in bed, then hitting the stacks of fabric.

Oh, and assigning all the Quickbooks work to Jacob.

Maybe that’s the solution in both the “I haven’t had enough sleep” mornings, and the early mornings of a new endeavor. Take it one thing at a time, on purpose. Step-by-step, waking up a little more with each action.

You know what I mean?

 

 



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