Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trash to Treasure Zippy Pouch

It finally happened - this weekend, after an intense February that was determined to remove every last bit of my sanity, my children got sick of me. Saturday morning around 11 am they just looked at me and said with their eyes "we need to be apart from you today," and blessedly found ways to keep themselves amused practically until Monday morning.

It was blissful.

It was also necessary for me to whip up a birthday party gift for one of their friends, which we of course collectively remembered at 6pm on Saturday evening for a Sunday at noon party and after a glass of wine (for me, not all of us. Just to be clear). But one of the joys of living in a quilting home is the ability to shop in one's stash. So down to the studio I went. I may or may not have taken the wine.

I've taken to making little zippy pouches for the preteen set. They are cute, they are quick, and they are getting to the age where they might want to carry makeup and stuff in their backpacks. My dancer daughter Paige likes to fill hers with her hair pins and bun wraps, which let me assure you is MUCH more preferable to her former storage method which involved throwing the wraps (think mini hair net) all over the floor of any room of the house so that from not much of a distance they looked like a dead mouse sprawled on the carpet. Even she freaked when she came upon one once, but did that stop her? No. Not until she had a cute pouch.

Armed with the wine and my sense of color I chose some fabric combos. Decided on the blue. Not that it matttered, in the end. Read on.
I use this tutorial from noodlehead. I have no idea where she got that name for her blog, but I do know that the tutorial is awesome and I've never made one that wasn't cute. Observe.

From a leftover block I couldn't figure out what I had done to make it in the first place.

Look! I can make my photos look just like noodlehead's!

Mouse trap, or Paige's pouch? You decide. Also made from a leftover block.

Front of bag

Back of bag. I mean come on. Cuteness aplenty.
Knowing I could make a cool zippy before my glass was empty, I grabbed the two blue polka dot fabrics I'd selected along with the teal zipper and headed for the sewing machine. But suddenly I was struck immobile right in my tracks. WHAT was that thing lying on the floor over there? Some might think it was yet another of Paige's bun wraps. It was not. It was this amazing cool leftover strip pieced border segment, and I could almost hear it crying "Use me! Use me!" 

So I did. It even went better with the zipper, so I was sold.
The only thing I really do differently than noodlehead (at this point I am wishing I knew her name because I just feel weird referring to her as what seems at least a nicer word for pasta face, but still) is to quilt the fabric I'm using for the outside before I cut the pieces or start sewing. So first I whipped out the 505 and layered it with batting, then headed for my trusty rack of variegated threads to choose the best, most yummy one.
Options one and three are actually NOT the same. The one furthest to the right has green in it. The other has more purple. One must look very closely to see any difference at all, though. Obviously it was imperative that I have both in my collection.
I went with option one, aqua/teal/purple but sans green. I was afraid the green would scream "LOOK AT ME!" but like it mattered, because let's face it:

1. You can't even see the green in the photo.
2. This was for a 12 year old girl. Is she looking at the quilting thread? No.

Once the random garbage I found on the floor strip set I so carefully chose from my vast collection was quilted, I was beside myself with glee to find this cool blue and green floral for the lining.
Perfection is overrated, but sometimes it shows up anyway.
Then came the fun of putting it all together, which honestly isn't all that interesting or any different from how noodlehead does it, so you can just refer to her blog to figure it all out. Then if you have problems you can contact her, not me. See how I passed the buck right back to her there? But I promise you won't have problems. It really is the best tutorial ever.

I didn't take any photos of the process of sewing it together except this one, because it cracked me up how as I was turning it right side out it ended up looking like a mushroom wearing a shower cap for a minute there.
Or not. It might have been the wine.
A few finishing touches like some topstitching and a zipper tag and voila! Is it not the cutest? Even if you don't think so, humor me.
Only drawback was it didn't stand out against my cutting mat, but that's what black fabric is for.

So there you go. The next time your daughters remind you they need a birthday gift in the morning (the preteen social equivalent of "I forgot to tell you I need 3 dozen cupcakes tomorrow" delivered at 9pm), remember me and my trash to treasure zippy. Remember noodlehead. And for heaven's sake, remember the wine.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Drop and Give Me Twenty, 1980s Style

It's mid month, which means Drop and Give Me Twenty 2015 is halfway over already, and this is only my second blog update. We can all gnash our teeth and wring our hands and call me lazy, but besides my 2-3 hours of sewing every day, I've also kept from throwing my children in the snow and leaving them there during the umpteen snowdays, snow storms, nor'easters (for those of you not in a coastal New England state, that's Yankee for "redheaded stepchild of a blizzard" big ass storm) and blizzards (yes, plural) as well as cancellations of all sorts of activities brought on by said weather leaving me scrambling to make our lives work in a vaguely smooth manner.  But 2-3 hours a day DESPITE ALL OF THAT, people. Which just goes to show you, there are no challenges that cannot be overcome if one has hands, the will to live, and the ability to feel no guilt as one tells one's children they will be in the studio and not to come looking unless someone is actively losing a limb. In which case, also, just call me from the kitchen so you don't bleed all over my carpet.

Much of my sewing this month has been of the variety my friend Kelli refers to as "secret sewing," a moniker I have adopted as it fits perfectly. Two of the projects I can't show in their full unfurled delight as they are patterns in progress, but I am thrilled with the progress as both tops are done and the patterns themselves are cruising along.

Pattern one, no name finalized as most of my testers hated the one I picked. I'm trying not to be insulted.

Pattern two, to be called "Harlequin Shake"
It only just occurred to me upon posting those that I'm into the hexi shape as a block right now. Next thing you know I'll be EPPing.

Oh I know. That was hilarious.

I'm also thrilled to be included in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 11, hitting shelves in May, and not only does this mean you'll get me in another blog tour singing the praises of being an "And More!" but it also means I get the opportunity to create a project out of my block and submit it for the gallery pages of the issue. So in more secret sewing, this week I made a really cute little project using my block and these super springy and cute fabrics.

As many of you may have heard, 2015 is The Year of the EPQD/Polka Dot Mash Up.
 What I love most about this secret project that you all can't even see, is that it already had an owner even at this "pile of fabric folded with great whimsy" stage. When I posted this photo on my FB page a friend of mine, who is celebrating a big birthday this summer, mentioned casually (eg hinted strongly that her birthday is to be celebrated worldwide) that this would make a great gift, and you know what? I'm at the point where I am drowning in quilts around here, quilts that I have made for reasons such as inclusion in the QM 100 Blocks gallery, that then don't really get used or fit in my lectures and they just end up languishing. I want them to have love, but I don't always know who would love them for me. This one, because Jeanne was bold enough to claim it right away, will have love. Granted she hasn't seen it yet and maybe she will hate it, but there is potential, and at least we know she likes the fabrics. She may even get to brag to anyone who will listen that it was pictured in a national magazine, but here's hoping that won't make her feel like it needs to be displayed in a glass case. Quilty things are made to be enjoyed. So I am thrilled to know this one will be. Sometimes it pays to just ask.

But all of this does not lead us to the 1980s portion of this post, with the possible exception of the tealish Oval Element fabric in that last photo that smacks of sunken living rooms circa 1985. So without further ado, anyone remember this gorgeous treasure I vowed to make more interesting as part of my DAGMT commitment?
No? I'd be hurt, but let's be honest. This is about the most forgettable item in the UFO bin of ANYONE who is participating, I am sure. I mean look at it. First of all, we have 1982's Pantone color of the year, Half Dead Seagull Blue, as the background. (Actually, I tried to find out what Pantone's color of the year actually WAS in 1982 so that they wouldn't sue me for defamation of character. You'd think there would be a chart somewhere on line. In any case, I'm sure it was something similar to this, but with a much catchier name.) Then we have ivory thread being used to candlewick the top. For those who do not have the honor of being a mother to an eight year old history prodogy, candlewicking is a fancy, 1980s name for French knots referring to the actual candlewicks colonial women used to use to make these types of projects.

A couple of important things to remember about this project:

 - Back in 1735, this might have been the height of fashion. That makes me sad.
 - Back in 1982, when I was 12 years old and sitting on my Ocean Blue comforter in my bedroom with Peony Pink carpet and Dove Grey accents, I spent actual time candlewicking this thing. That almost makes me sadder, and some of that sadness is directed at my own 12 year old girls who live in such a different world when it comes to leisure time than we did.
 - I've moved about eight times since then, and somehow never got rid of this thing. Nostalgia? Maybe. Horror over the geeky child I was? Oh, definitely. Thoughts that I would someday turn it into something? Of course.

So this was to be the year. And inspiration struck me last week, and just last night I was able to initiate Phase One of "Playing With Fire" as I am going to call this thing. Get it? Candle wicks.

So this pile of scraps, trimmings from the Harlequin Shake quilt I was putting together, inspired me to VFW myself some new made fabric.(Victoria Findlay Wolfe. I've made her into a verb. I'm sure she doesn't mind.) However I didn't want to sew them all together. That would take forever and I wanted them to look like the crazy mess my life is this month, rather than all neat and tidy.

How was I to do this? Enter Mistyfuse. Enter a bit of a fight between myself, the iron, and what my daughter called "spider web stuff"; the next step was to lay out a bunch of trimmings on a sheet of Mistyfuse, throw another layer of MF on top, and fuse it all together. Randomness was my goal for the look of this made fabric, and I think I accomplished it.

 Once the fabric was all fused together, it should be noted that due to the haphazard way I created it, it was pretty unstable. Yet I cut out a bunch of petal shapes from it anyway. There may have been some swearing, but I was determined. I knew this would be cool and I would make this work.

I started laying out the petals inside of the French knot petal shapes, and of course all of them were way too big so I had to trim down even further. But it was starting too look pretty cool, honestly. It reminds me a lot of that Pinterest project where you take all your broken crayons and stick them inside a cookie cutter and melt them all together in the oven and make really cool new crayons. You do this on Snowday #1. By Snowday #4 you don't care if the children are shaving crayon ends into their lunches.

Eventually all of the petals were filled and I was oh so impressed with myself. I mean, come on. How much more amazing is this now?

And I'm only getting started! Now I have visions of bobbin work, not that I've ever done it before, and some crystals and OMG I need to finish this post so I can get back at it.

1980s - OUT, something I can see finishing - Definitely IN! Yay DAGMT!

Monday, February 2, 2015

(sarcasm font) Yay! Another Snow Day! (/sarcasm font)

That sound you heard yesterday? The one that sounded like we were under seige by a ginormous swarm of grasshoppers a la Laura Ingalls on the prairie? No need to duck and cover; that was just all 100+ of my Drop and Give Me Twenty participants firing up their machines at the same time.

The facebook page was ablaze all day long. I just can't keep up and like and comment on every post or I would never get any of my own stuff done. I was inspired at day's end, though, to create a poll, and check out these results.
Are we awesome or what?

Granted, it was a Sunday. Most people likely didn't have to work and therefore could spend blissful hours becoming one with their machines. Now that it is Monday we enter the real test period. Here's hoping they don't fall off the wagon that quickly. Also this is a fairly small representation of the group, and it is possible all the "Did Not Sews" just didn't want to embarrass themselves. But I'm still blown away. For my part I promise not to do a poll every day, but I think it was important to get them all hopped up, and also to give me a little ego trip. I mean really. Why not.

I pledged 90 minutes a day, one because I really need at least that long to roll all over my to do list, and two because I love to make myself crazy. February may be the shortest month, but it's also consistently one of the months wherein my daughters are in school on average two and a half days a week. If we are lucky. The other such months would be November, January, and June. Do they ever go to school, one may ask? The answer is me lying in a fetal position on the kitchen floor.

AND YET sew I must. EPQD will not run itself whether I am overrun by short people or not. I'm neck deep in two very active patterns in production and another is nipping at my knees. My amazing design wall is on overtime and the new shelving I bought may have changed my life. Three weeks in, and it still looks neat, tidy, and if I do say, quite pretty. There's really something to the idea of getting your stash up out of bins and off the stupid floor.

In the "Keeping it Real" category, I didn't vacuum for you before taking this photo.
I'm so excited about both neck-deep projects right now. The group project I start each January and use to develop a new pattern is probably my most favorite I've ever done, and I really cannot wait to show it off. The layout is just my favorite thing ever and that is saying something, because the layout possibilities are practically endless. Every tester/participant who has sent blocks has made me drool with their gorgeousness. I believe there were 45 testers, so that's a whole lot of drool. I may need to mop the floor before resuming my fetal position later today, Snow Day #5 for those who are counting.

Aren't they cool? And oh so colorful! I'm just in love.
It's like a crayon box exploded on my design wall.
I asked testers to make me four blocks, at least one of which needed to be solids, as that is what I plan to use in the cover quilt. Most testers sent me four solid blocks, but a few went crazy and made me all tingly with the gorgeousness of these blocks on prints.

Nom nom
 The solids layout will be up on the design wall just as soon as I get this other project off of it, which is scheduled for as soon as this afternoon. I love this project almost as much; it's currently unnamed but I'm leaning toward Grandma Dot. It's kind of a funky take on a Grandma's Flower Garden designed for my new lecture, "Give it A Scrap Slap."

It combines several of my favorite things - a block with a little personality, putting batiks with cottons in order to blow. the. minds. of the purists, and teal and purple. Obviously fabric choices will vary with the pattern user, but I'm loving my own version thus far.
This reminds me I need to find more of that background fabric, if only to hoard it forever.
My 90 minutes for today won't sew themselves, so I must get to it. I hope you'll all join me in your studios as soon as you are done reading this!

Friday, January 16, 2015

My own DAGMT commitment statement and what's up around here

By now you probably have heard - Drop and Give Me Twenty 2015 is well into the commitment and planning stages for over 50 participants already! With two weeks to go until February, when all of the official fun starts, I'm very proud of us. If you haven't heard about it, and would like to know more, pop on over to the official page here and also check out the new for this year Facebook page, where we will be sharing our photos of finishes and progress all month long! Also, if you have a blog and want to grab the button up there at the top of this post, I would so love it. Let me know you did so, too - there's a special prize drawing for PR Angels.

As for me, if I ask you do make an official commitment statement, I feel like I have to do the same. So here is mine:

"I, ( Beth Helfter, creative disaster and easily distracted quilter) am joining Quilting Hottie Haven's fourth annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for (at least 90 minutes while the children are at school, and if they are home for vacation, snowday, or weekend because really, let's be honest, they are never in school, to quilt for 95 minutes just to prove I can) every day of the month of February, 2015. In doing so I hope to (complete 3 current UFOs, start two new projects, and turn the candlewicking project I made at age 11 into a pillow 34 years later) and I think Beth Helfter is brilliant for coming up with this concept and inspiring me to join."

Your own pledge can mirror this one, especially that last part - or if you want to go the extra mile and call me a Goddess of Creativity, I'm good with that too -  or you can make up your own entirely. Post it in a comment here, on the FB page, or on your own blog and you are ready to go!

In other news January is always a fun month for me as I leave the holidays behind and run myself slam into the wall that is the Annual Group Project, getting DAGMT up and running, and considering my overflowing bin of business receipts and getting my books together for the tax guy. This year I decided to add a test of a new pattern in there as well. Clearly I was not wearing a helmet when I threw myself at the wall.

I love this new pattern, the cover quilt for which I am currently working on myself, but I want one of my tester quilts, which are in the baby size, to be on the back cover. However, how can I choose - they are all so lovely! Plus in all honesty, my taste isn't always the same as the rest of my audience, so I need to see what you all love. Now through Sunday, January 18, please vote for your favorite (A, B, C, D, or E in order shown) on my EPQD facebook page. The post with the photos of the quilts is pinned to the top of the page for easy location. I am nothing if not trying to make this user friendly for you! The winner and the names of all the creators will be announced Sunday evening, and the winner will receive $50 toward the quilting and will have their quilt on the back cover of the pattern with full credit as the maker. Thanks to all who have voted so far.

In other random news, because what would a blog post by me be without some really random news:

  • Picked up this free crib off the side of the street one day last spring. Husband immediately had heart attack. But my purpose was not to expand our family because FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND RIGHT we are JUST FINE with the three, but I wanted to use it as a quilt display rack. Finally yesterday I gave up on the idea of hanging it on the wall, which had slowed me down for six months, and I think it looks adorable just as is. 
    Hey look! I made a baby size sample too! And also I have to remove those Shrek-ear-like things from the top of the rack.
  • My final Scrap Squad project is blogged and in the queue for next week, which will be my final appearance on Quilty Pleasures. I'm a little sad about that, because it's been a really fun year, but if I'm being totally honest, I'm ready to have that time back to pursue my own designs full time. It was a great diversion in a year where I was feeling a little burned out in the design ideas department, and has renewed me and my creativity, and for that I am immensely thankful!
    That's all I can show for now, but I love love love this quilt.
  • I've been working on a swap with several other ladies this past year, and needed to find some "large bright florals" for one of them in my stash this week. Granted, I don't buy a lot of yardage, and my scrap bins are by color, not style, so I didn't look in them, but THIS is all I could find and they aren't even bright.
    And yes, that is an open rotary cutter. No judgements, please, unless you want to mock my fabric with me.
     All of them squarely in the "old lady wallpaper" style and not one of them something I would use in a quilt in 2015. That top one there was even part of a kit I offered for my Confetti Toss pattern several years (but hardly several DECADES) ago. I guess it is just amazing to me how quickly styles change, which is another reason among many that the whole "modern" label annoys me. But that is an tangent for another day. So I headed to the store and fixed that problem.

    My world is right again.
      So that's what's up around here this week. Hope you'll join us for DAGMT 2015 and have a great weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Symphony of Solids group project 2015 - It's Go Time!

Syncopated Ribbons, group project 2010
I'm finally back and sort of normal after almost three weeks in Europe, visiting the husband and enjoying a big old family trip wherein each of my three daughters declared they will be living in Europe as adults. Clearly they have not heard about the VAT mess. Clearly I have to complain louder at home.
Update, though. I was able to keep my Craftsy store open by blocking all non-US currency at the PayPal level. I'm hoping to be able to narrow it down to just the 28 EU nations, but that is not as easy to do as it sounds, and currently our laundry piles are still threatening to eat us alive. Hopefully by mid next week I'll have been able to spend the reported 5 hours or so on the phone with Pay Pal that it takes to get this straightened out, and I will certainly keep you updated. Not that I want to block anyone, and I certainly hope no one takes this action I've been forced to take personally. Well, with the exception of the VATMESS organizers. They can feel free to feel my wrath all day long.

So Bonne Annee, Happy New Year, and Prospero Ano everyone! It's 2015, it's January, and that means a little snow, a little cold, and the opportunity to have a little frolic in your fabric to help me out with another group project.
Happy Jacks version 1, group project 2014
Happy Jacks version 2
 I'm so excited!

Each January, I like to ask the quilty world at large to join in and help me out with a new design by making some blocks for me using my directions, which are new and untested. Quilters are asked to create a certain number of blocks (this year, 4) in a certain color scheme or fabric style (this year, solids for one block, whatever you want for the other three), and let me know if the directions make sense. Then the blocks are mailed to me by a certain date (this year, mailing cutoff is 1/27/15) and I take one from everyone (this year, I'll be taking the solid block everyone makes) and create a group quilt that will be on the cover of a new pattern. The rest of the blocks are shuffled around, using a "throw them all up in the air and see where they land" method or similar, and each participant will receive three blocks back to use to start their own quilt, make a small project, or throw in their UFO bin to use later in life or to have their kids sell at a yard sale when they die. It's all up to the individual. 

I gave a lecture recently to Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild in Wellsboro PA where I talked about my group quilts, and I just love the member who raised her hand to comment at the end "This is so great! I'd love to make a group quilt, but I don't see how I could get people to give me blocks. I mean, you are YOU so you can just ask people to make stuff for you and they will, but I'm just little old me. But do people really do this just for fun and to help out? Do you give them anything in return?" (sic - I'm not sure of her exact words as I typically do not bug myself with a secret recording device during lectures, but obviously she loved it all and implied that I was famous which I basked in the glow of for days and this is the gist of it, so hopefully she won't sue me for slander.)

Kickin' Stash, group project 2012 and my bestseller of all time
I answered that I always am shocked and humbled by the willingness of quilters to help me out for fun, but also that I do always give all participants a shiny fresh copy of the new pattern at first printing, complete with their name listed as a tester, and that along with the block swapping fun that seems to do it. I love that quilting is such a social hobby and people enjoy a quick project and a swap enough to help me out!

I'm very proud to say that the patterns in my repertoire that have started as group quilts are consistently best sellers, and I couldn't do it without such amazing help! So I hope you'll consider joining the fun this year.

To review, key points about this year's project:

  • Four blocks to make. Unfinished size is 7 1/2".
  • One block MUST be solids and will be kept by me
  • Three blocks can be whatever you want and will be swapped
  • Each block takes about 15 minutes to make
  • Deadline for mailing blocks is 1/27/15
  • Participants can expect a pattern and swap blocks by the first week of March
Oh, you want to see a picture of the block I'm asking you to make? That might be nice of me.

OMG. There are points. Stop the presses
 This is a little different for me. There are points. I'm asking for solids, which is way modernesque of me, the girl who rolls her eyes at "modern" as a thing rather than what is available in the stores now. It may or may not be a block that appeals to most. But I cannot stress to you enough how much I am in love with the layout I have created for these blocks, and I cannot wait to sew it together!

So I hope you'll join me. To get started, all you have to do is send me an email to evapaigequilts@ charter.net and I'll send you the info and instructions and you will be on your way to a special place in my heart I reserve for my group quilt makers! I really could not do this without you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

VAT tax and Craftsy and Me, a Horror Show

If you don't own a business anywhere in the world with an online presence, I find myself very jealous of you this week. You did not have to spend several days attempting to make sense of the ultimately completely senseless new VAT tax regulations, and make some hard decisions as to how they affect you. That's how I've spent my week thusfar, and right now I kind of hate Europe. Which really sucks, as I am about to spend almost three weeks there and I don't want to be annoyed with them.

The long and short of it is this: as of 1/1/15, all businesses anywhere in the world who sell a downloadable good (music, e-book, and yes, craft patterns) to an EU customer will have to pay VAT (Value Added Tax, or as I like to call it Violently Acrimonious Tax) to the country in which the customer lives. If you start doing a little research and familiarize yourself with the complete mess this entire thing is, as I have been doing all week, you will soon be hitting the egg nog and your Christmas spirit will be in the toilet. Trust me.

I drafted and sent this letter to several key parties in the EU today. It explains a little more about why I unfortunately will be shutting my Craftsy store paid patterns down, effective 1/1/15.

Dear Sirs,

I am a quilt designer based in Massachusetts, USA, and I find myself this week wishing to go back 250 years to drink a tankard at the Green Lantern with Paul Revere and Sam Adams. Forgive my drama, but it is hard not to feel like this is taxation without representation and I’m all Don’t Tread on Me-ing over here across the pond.

Having just been apprised of this VAT tax this week, as it is getting no press over here at all, and having to do my own mind-boggling, tedious, and contradictory research, and having to scramble to figure out how to adjust my business to either accommodate receipt and payment of VAT or risk massive penalties for my average of two sales a year of a $9 quilt pattern to an EU quilter has quite ruined my Christmas spirit.

The digital download portion of my business, which I accomplish entirely through the Craftsy website, is not the main moneymaker for me, but it is significant enough that I do not wish to lose it. Have you heard the adage “When you buy from a small mom-and-pop business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home.
You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage, or a student pay for college”? That’s my family exactly. We own one home. We have three children, one of whom gets her dance lessons in part through the online downloads sales portion of my business. If I have a really good month on Craftsy, maybe I take everyone out to dinner too. It’s high living at its best.

In three years of having my patterns on Craftsy, I’ve sold six patterns to the EU. Six. Total sales in three years were hundreds of times higher than that, and were 98% USA customers, with my next two big markets being Australia/New Zealand and Canada. Unfortunately, because I cannot control who is buying from me as Craftsy is the middleman, I now must shut down my loyal 98% of my online download customers and 100% of my sales due to .006 of my overall sales history and the possibility of another .006 this year. USA customers are my lifeline in ALL aspects of my business, and shutting this side down will likely have adverse effects elsewhere, including marketing, production, and overall business visibility.

While I do feel all treaded on, payment of the VAT for me would not be a problem if Craftsy were being at all helpful, but they currently are not. There is no way for me to actually collect VAT on a Craftsy sale, so the tax payments would have to come out of my own pocket. I do not have the resources, as a micro-business, to set up or properly keep up with the records you’d like us to keep for ten years as to any EU sales, and “two non-conflicting pieces of data” to show where these sales came from – I can’t even wrap my head around how I would go about that. To say nothing of the cost of registering for VATMOSS, etc. There is no way I can block EU buyers even if I wanted to. Craftsy could do these things as the third party. They do not appear to be willing to do so at this time, although I keep hoping they will see the light. Therefore I see no choice but to close down my shop as of 1/1/15 until such time as the law is changed to set a reasonable threshold for micro-businesses. One sale of any amount is not remotely a reasonable threshold.

I thank you for your time, and I hope that my story is one of only thousands who are begging you to set a reasonable threshold that will allow microbusinesses to function, prosper, and continue to help grow the world economy.

Please help keep my kid in tutus.


Beth Helfter
EvaPaige Quilt Designs
Quilting Hottie Haven blog – www.evapaigequiltdesigns.blogspot.com

So yeah. That's the plan. No more downloads from me after 12/31, until and if Craftsy gets a clue and collects and files VAT when necessary for micro-businesses like me.

I didn't want to just shut down that side of things without warning, so consider yourselves warned. If you like download patterns and have been thinking of buying one, from me or from other designers, you might want to do it now and call it a gift to yourself. While paper patterns are always available and can be purchased via the Pattern Store page of this blog, several of my patterns are download only, including the popular Motley Spool mug rug, and will cease availability on 12/31. I cannot speak for all designers, but I do know many who are in the same boat and have made the same decision. My Craftsy store can be accessed via the link on the left sidebar, or CLICK HERE.

If anything changes, I'll certainly let you all know. I appreciate your business always and hope that I can reinstate the downloads or find another place to host them, but cannot guarantee anything at this time.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"And More!" Again and Loving It....QM's 100 Blocks Volume 10

Well, actually, it's here. Details.
By now you are either well aware of the fact that Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 10 is out this week, or you have been living in a cave. Granted, if said cave was in Scotland in 1745 and you were sharing it with a certain red-headed Scot, you are excused. But otherwise I am certain you landed here as part of the blog tour to celebrate, so welcome to Quilting Hottie Haven and my own little celebration of inclusion in this landmark volume of the 100 Blocks series! You'll note that as in Volume 8, I'm firmly part of the "And More!" crowd, and that is all fine with me. If you put all the And Mores from all 10 volumes together you would have a seriously awesome rave going and I'd hate to miss that.

If you've seen my video, which looks like it was shot in semi-darkness by an 11 year old because indeed it was shot in semi-darkness by an 11 year old, you've seen a little preview of my block. Maybe you also entered my "Cutting Room Floor" contest on my facebook page and threw out a guess of why I was wearing that big old button, the explanation having been left on the cutting room floor when the video was edited for length. Congratulations to Becki Morrison, who while not completely correct in her guess of "for those who need over 50 font," she was the closest to my delight in being a part of QM's 100 Blocks "because of the really delicate and subtle jewelry they send you." So size, and all things involved in it, mattered in this case.

Woo hoo!
My block, Puddle Jumper, is #975, which I love because that's a really easy number to remember forever and for always. God forbid I ever have to save the life of anyone by reciting what numbers my blocks have been in the 100 Blocks series, but I thank QM for making this one easy.

Despite my better judgement, Puddle Jumper was so named due to the fabric colors used. It's a method I really try not to employ in my quilt or block naming, but rules were made to be broken. I thought the aqua middles to these blocks looked like puddles, so there you go. Sometimes there's a good story behind a quilt name, and sometimes the story just sucks.  Unfortunately, this is one of those times. But who cares - it made the volume, so I'm happy!

A few weeks ago I wrote this blog post, which explains a little bit about why the block in the magazine looks nothing like the one I'm holding in the video. Although Kelly Eisenger at QM read and thoroughly enjoyed my post and immediately sent me a photo of my block so that I could whip up a new one, there are even more reasons I chose to go with a completely new color scheme:

  • I was out of the teal batiks
  • I make too many teal/purple quilts (see background of video for exhibit A)
  • I rarely use red, so I thought "What the heck?"
  • I believe whole-heartedly in putting a spin on any design, and this includes my own, because making something exactly the same way over and over again is boring.
Using the block in the video, I whipped this cute little baby quilt up last week, using four of the blocks and some pieced sashing.

I'm thinking of calling this "Rampant Viral Illness" as it looks a bit like measles and my youngest daughter was sick with a horrid flu the entire week I was making it. There. That's a way better quilt naming story for you.
Virus-like or not, I think the quilt is pretty cute, and shows a new variation on some setting ideas for my block. My older two daughters think it is the ugliest quilt I have ever made. I'm no longer feeding them until they take it back. PS, they are wrong, and clearly have not seen my trunk show featuring some of my early creations.

Pretty quick and simple
I played with the block in EQ7 a bit and came up with a few more design ideas for you.

Throw five blocks set on point with some setting triangles and you have a long table runner. Extra points to the first person to get one done by Thanksgiving next week.

Or eliminate the sashing or setting triangles and just play with the background fabrics a little for a cool secondary thing going on.

The block in the above mock-up was done all scrappy, and you can see the difference in movement between it and a the blocks shown previously. Both are great (if I do say), and it just depends on whether you are going for a more planned or a more scrappy look.

A little more planned

A little more scrappy
If you do use this block in any of your upcoming projects, I'd love to see!

My fabulous blog sponsor, Fat Quarter Shop, has graciously agreed to augment my giveaway prize of a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 10 with a $35 gift certificate to their online shop. Aren't they just the best?

To enter, all you have to do is comment below telling me what you are currently working on, and how long you've been working on it. Is it a table runner kit you bought yesterday and plan to complete this weekend? Or is it a Baltimore album you started before Baltimore was even a city? Let's inspire each other with our stick-to-it-iveness for the epic projects, and share ideas for quickie projects for when we just can't take one more second of the epic ones.

For a second entry, become a member of my EQPD facebook community, and comment that you did so in the pinned post at the top of that page. It's not mandatory for entry, but it's a fun little community of daily quilty snark and sharing and I'd love to have you be a part of it!

Enjoy the rest of the blog tour and good luck with my giveaway!

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