Have you ever…?

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I am a habitual collect of random images from the internet… usually cat memes and things that tickle my dark sense of humour but I also collect images that inspire and make me feel something. Especially if they ignite that flicker of an idea, slightly intangible at the time but one that moves more and more into a solid idea for a quilt.

I have an external hard drive that is fit to bursting with images, notes for quilts, drafts for book chapters, all my phone and laptop backups and pretty much every picture I’ve ever taken with a digital device. This poor hard drive holds some of that idea intangibility but even though I rarely look at whats actually stored on there I know what’s there. It’s the promise of a design, the pattern potential and the seed of creativity that makes what I do worth getting up in the morning.

BUT…

Occasionally an idea will stall. It will sit there and be a bit stubborn and doesn’t want to play.

I’ve had an idea for a quilt (more a wall hanging originally but it’s scale isn’t really important in this tale) that incorporates something that I’ve long believed in, practice and aim to improve within myself. It’s not religious although there is spirituality involved and the symbols I’d like to replicate in some way, are meaningful to the belief system. I’ve been looking at these images for months and nothing has jumped out at me to give me the clarification I need.

I have the colours and the fabrics in mind already, I have the designs and the pattern – what eludes me is what technique to use to create them.

Which might sound a little odd considering everything else is ready to go but I assure you that’s usually the stumbling block that most people find they come up against. This is me every now and then – usually when something is important or is laden with some kind of obligation (usually a gift).

So as I imagine my finished piece in all sorts of ways I ask you  –

Have you ever been stuck like this before? How did you get unstuck?

Pop your comments below. :)

Marni x

Charity Quilting

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It’s well known that when disaster strikes many of us who craft are amongst the first to put our hands up to help. Natural disasters, sick children, soldiers, injured and rescue animals are just some of the worthwhile causes that quilters shave helped.

Something about crafting an item and donating it to a recipient who needs it in a time of great turmoil seems to work well and bring people together.

Many of you know that I am a permanent long-arm quilter for BlanketLovez. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and enjoy every minute of it. I love seeing what quilts people are making, the huge variety of fabrics that I haven’t seen (secret stash fabrics) and I love experimenting with the pantographs and free-motion.

Charity quilting gives something to my quilting adventure that my own personal quilting can’t give me – there’s an overwhelming feeling of doing good with the skills I have but there’s more to it than that. It’s hard to define but if anyone ever asked me about what I do I would encourage them to give it a try and see for themselves.

In this series of blogs I’ll be interviewing other quilter’s who do the same – we all quilt for charity – whatever charity that may be.

I hope you’ll join me and the fabulous quilter’s who’ll join in along the way.

Marni x

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Current quilting for RMD House OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Quilts

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Making quilts is something of an obsession with me – not only is it my job but it is the one thing that keeps me going emotionally and mentally when everything else gets a bit mad.

Quilting is my therapy.

But one unfortunate side effect of making so many quilts is the fact that there is no where to keep them all unless I sell them.

So to clear the decks a little, some of my current quilt listings are 40% off, click here to see them.

All quilts are ready to post and are perfect for these cooler, rainy days. Snuggle up on the lounge underneath a handmade quilt.

If you don’t find what you are looking for I also make quilts to order. See here for more info.

The smallest piece… v3.0

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So I’ve been trying to write this blog post for over a week now. It’s one of those posts that drives me nuts because I have the idea and I can see where it’s going but I just can’t get the words onto the screen in a way that doesn’t make me sound like a whiny, self-centred lunatic.

Life shouldn’t be easy. But sometimes things happen that make it seem like you are copping every bad thing that’s ever happened to everyone in the history of the world (slight exaggeration there but you get what I mean) and you start to wallow… deeply… because it’s easier than trying to fight it.

If life was easy it wouldn’t be life. It wouldn’t be interesting, it wouldn’t be challenging and sure as eggs it wouldn’t be fun.

Lately I’ve felt like the aforementioned ^^^ wallower in self-pity, procrastinating and quite simply over it and anything that was coming my way. I was tired after a month of being ill and then trying to catch up with everything that I’d signed up for (can’t say no….) and I was just not happy within myself.

I am the first to admit that I’m not the perkiest of people. If you know me or have met me you will know that I take things very seriously. I like control and I like things to be just so but even though I’m not perky (or any of the things that go with that) I am happy. I have my family, my cat, my health and my work. Things aren’t always peachy but I have it a damn sight better than lots of people out there and I am immensely grateful for that.

I am not depressed.

I go through stages of what I like to think of as distance. I remove myself from my life in an emotional sense because I either cannot deal with something or I am just tired of feeling things.

My quilting helps me with that distancing because there is nothing quite like setting up the machine and just working on a quilt, no distractions, no thoughts or feelings other than what I am putting into that quilt. All I do is stitch. I listen to the hum of the machine, and watch by the glow of the light as the stitches appear from under the needle, working their way across the fabric.

And this is why I do what I do.

The past few months have been difficult for me. I know there’s nothing wrong but I had serious trouble mustering much enthusiasm for anything I was doing except work related things. I think that’s why I ended up sick with bronchitis for a month… I was just exhausted.

But something strange happened the other day that turned months of misery around.

It was as I was rummaging around in my craft room (cleaning actually because it was a dump) and I found two things – a packet of beads that I’d forgotten I had and a small scrap of fabric.

The colour of the beads captured my eye and made me feel something I hadn’t felt in a while. Itchy fingers wanting to pick up my jewellery tools again but it was the fabric that really got me…

Now as I held this scrap of fabric in my hand it reached out and grabbed me, threw me back into myself and inspired me again. I basically got slapped upside the head by a scrap of fabric no bigger than my palm.

Now I’m not going to show you these beads or fabric because there’s no point. These two things were meant for my eyes only. I was meant to re-discover them at that time, just for me to receive the inspiration from. If I show you they lose that kick that they had because you won’t see the same thing I did and then that makes this story the ravings of a nutter.

But that’s not the point either.

When you feel your worst, look around you because it literally is the smallest piece that can change your life.

Marni x

 

 

 

Focus shift…

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Some things in my life have changed recently and will continue to change in the coming months and in order to cope with these new avenues of opportunity I need to adjust what I’m doing here at Frankenstein’s Fabrics.

So I’m shifting my focus to be more on the machine quilting side of things and less of stocking fabrics and supplies. I will still stock some things and will be happy to order in things for you but there will be less stock.

I’m having a stock clearance with pretty much everything* go at 50% off starting tomorrow (Sunday 12th April) and running until there is nothing left.

I will pop up the code you need for the checkout and then you can start shopping. Payments will be made through Paypal or credit card.

*There will be a list of items included in the 50% off – pending.

Some days…

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I made this quilt (currently named ‘Matchsticks’) about 6 months ago. It was an experiment in staggering my measurements, the piecing was all vertical and it was fairly straightforward to graph it out.

10347792_593859640711822_5879110520642892352_n copy

The thing that’s driving me batty with this quilt is what design to quilt it with…

Do I go full custom? Geometric? Swirls? Find a pantograph that has elephants on it?

The backing is a chocolate brown with baby pink spot and the binding is a multi-coloured stripe (pink, blue, brown and white).

If you have any thoughts on what I might quilt on it please pop them in the comments below.

Do you want to win?

If you would like the chance to win a $20 gift voucher to use in the web-store please comment below with your suggestion for a name for this quilt. I will choose the winner at 5pm AEDST on the 22nd of February 2015.

Rules:

Gift voucher will be valid from 6 months from the date of winner announcement. This prize is a one off and the voucher cannot be redeemed for cash. This voucher cannot be used towards machine quilting costs (if you need a machine quilting voucher they are available for purchase). Your information, submitted for this competition will not be used for any other purpose except this competition and will not be passed onto any third parties.

To ensure that you are able to be contacted in the case of you winning please make sure you comment with a profile/avatar that has an email address.

If in case of the winner not responding within 24hours of the announcement a second winner shall be chosen.

 

I’ve been a bad blogger….

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*waves*

So I’ve been a little lost over in the world of Instagram since before Christmas, I haven’t been blogging, I kind of hid from the world over New Year and then I hit the big 3-0 and I’m way behind where I should be. Schedule schmedule.

So MerryChristmasHappyNewYearHappyAustraliaDay etc….

Frankenstein’s Fabrics HQ has been a tad adrift since early December when I lost my sew-jo. I wasn’t feeling up to anything much, and I was pretty much giving myself permission to wallow in some self pity. I was exhausted and not feeling much of anything emotionally. Partly because that time of year is my kryptonite and gets me down anyway but the ramped up social expectation drives me crazy and I just want to hibernate with my laptop, sewing machine and my wi-fi.

BUT

Now that craziness is past and the rest of the world has chuffed the kids back to school, normal viewing can commence.

So to get things back on track and the new year bringing new things and exciting adventures in the world of me (not being narcissistic just really into my plans for this year) here’s a quick round-up of the important things you’ll need to know for this first quarter of the year.

1. I started a Facebook group, which will have one free quilting patten released each month for the whole year. This is in order to get people motivated and inspired. The group is 40+ strong at the moment and we’d love for you to join us. We are also using the group to help each other whittle down that sneaky tub of UFOs, ask questions, get help with troublesome projects/techniques and anything in between.

2. Mum is stitching away nicely at her quilt (which was meant for winter last year but life got in the way). It’s about to have the last border popped on and then it will be ready for quilting. There will be proper detailed blog posts about this as she proceeds and you’ll be able to get the instructions if you would like to make this quilt as well.

3. I am loving Instagram! It is so much more rewarding and friendly than Facebook,  I think because it’s more instantaneous and visual which is a must for all of us creative types. Please feel free to follow me if you have an account. The most amazing thing about it is the swaps that I have signed up for – hoops, bags and mini quilts everywhere! I’m met lovely people who are like-minded as well as starting my own mini quilt swap. I dived right in and #kittenmqs2015 was the result – inspired by Vladimir.

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4. Charity quilting – Quilting for charity is a unique and humbling experience. At the moment I have 8 quilts pending for BlanketLovez, I’m also quilting two very special quilts for the families of the Lindt Cafe victims. This has been organised by Molli Sparkles and the team of Glitterati who have donated hashtag blocks from all around the world.

5. In an effort to get things back on track for my poor body and my health, mum and I took up Tai Chi last year and have managed to stick with it into 2015. If you are on the central coast and would like to come to classes head to Central Coast Yang Tai Chi for more info. Steve is an excellent teacher.

6. Lastly, things haven’t quite panned out the way I wanted them too with classes in the new year. I was waiting on some information to come my way but it wasn’t to be and now the schedule is up in the air again. I will be sending out a newsletter with class info mid-February so if you would like to know what’s happening sign up here.

Anyways, I think that catches everything up for now.

I’m off to bed and will be back later with more happenings at FF HQ.

Happy quilting!

Marni x

Not quite myself

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Lately I just haven’t felt like myself.

I lost a bit of my sew-jo, things have been a bit weird at home and I’m tired. I haven’t been sleeping properly for a long time now and its starting to take its toll. Not only that the weather we’ve been copping lately is killer on my body. I suffer from weather headaches (barometric pressure) and I can predict storms better than the local weather person.

Now before you jump to conclusions about my mental state and claim I’m depressed and need to seek help – I’m not. And I’m not in denial about it either.

Just every now and then I like to live remotely in my own mind. I leave my autopilot on and go camping in the deep recesses of my psyche and take a break from real life.

Why?

Because my brain does not switch off the creative flow and sometimes that hurts. I literally rolled out of bed at 3am the other morning and scribbled something down on the notepad beside my bed because I’d had some genius idea that I knew if I didn’t write it down I would forget in the wispy grey fog of the following morning.

Can I read the gibberish I wrote down? Not quite, but its enough to help me remember my idea. Which is still awesome in the harsh light of day…just sayin’.

Part of my all consuming feelings of ‘meh’ at the moment is this time of year. I’m not a big fan of Christmas (if you’ve been following me for a while you will know that), mainly because everyone goes a bit bananas.

I’ve had a lot of highs this year, good things that have happened but there’s a lot that wasn’t great and I’ve struggled with. I won’t go into massive detail but a girl can only take so much rejection without explanation. Even though I like to think of myself as able to shake off these rejections my ego has taken a hit and the reason I’m struggling is because it doesn’t make sense and I can’t get a straight answer from anyone involved. It’s beyond frustrating and I’d like to be able to put it all aside but I need to keep trying – not only because I’m stubborn like that but because I need to for my own peace of mind.

So my aim is for 2015, to make it better, make it bigger, achieve more and get healthier. Find that happy place so I can get some sleep and make sense of my life again.

 

 

 

 

Christmas

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So the man in the red and white suit will be headed our way shortly (38 days!!) so it’s time for everyone to run around like headless chicken and get gifts, festivities and food sorted out.

I’m here to help :)

I have pre-made quilts and quilted items ready to post NOW if you head over to my hand-made store. All you need to do is purchase and it will be winging its way to you in no time at all.

However if you have a person to buy for who is crafty I have a few more options –

1. You could purchase a gift voucher which allows them to purchase the goodies they want/need.

2. You could buy them a selection of fabrics/haberdashery and make up a lovely craft pack.

3. If they quilt but never seem to finish any quilts – get them a machine quilting voucher.

Vouchers are here.

Fabrics are here on the website under the store tab.

Custom orders for the year are CLOSED but I am taking bookings for them for 2015.

Also if you are interested in classes in the new year please head over  and sign up for the newsletter.

I will be updating the webstore shortly so if there is something you are after but can’t see – let me know and I’ll sort it out for you. :)