Have you ever…?

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I am a habitual collector 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

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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

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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. 🙂

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Scrap Solutions #2 – Sorting

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During the month of October I will be talking a lot about scrap quilts and UFOs.

I’m a person who likes to get things done BUT because my brain likes to bounce around from idea to idea I do have a box of UFOs that are in various stages of completion and there is more than a few tubs of scraps that I have trouble dealing with.

My aim is to help us all solve some of the scrap fabric problem and to motivate some UFO sewing along the way.

So if you saw my post from a few days ago (read it here) you’ll know where I’m at for one of my stash busting options… That post talks about future scraps…

This post and this coming will be mainly about past scraps – all those scraps currently hiding in tubs and cupboards all around your craft room.

So to get you started here are a few of my suggestions to get you started. I’ll be doing the same so we’ll all be playing along together.

1. Pull out ALL the scraps:

This will help you see everything that you have and give you an idea about just exactly you need to do. Call a friend if you need help, put the kettle on and get sorting. This whole process can be overwhelming so you need to pick your time to sort (or have a friend who won’t take no for an answer) otherwise you will end up with a job half done and getting nowhere fast.

Take your time and plan it. If you think that sorting the whole pile in one hit is too much, try attacking smaller piles to begin with but jump ahead to steps 2 and 3 to make sure as you sort that everything stays sorted.

2. Decide how you want to sort the scraps:

I tend to sort by colour, but I also sort into collections of things (especially if I have an idea when I’m sorting), sort by what suits you. Other options could be theme (novelty, floral etc) or try styles, like country, christmas, pastels, brights etc. Or if you are feeling a tad more adventurous and want to sort them down to the underlying tones in the fabrics try sorting by tonal value or by colour family. You could also sort by size – squares bigger than 4in, smaller than, strips, fat quarters etc.

3. Make sure you have ziplock bags or tubs to pop your newly assorted selections into.

4. Label if you want to – I don’t but I know others who do (check out Dawn’s Colour Labels here) – and stack your tubs or bags in their new home.

Now that you have them sorted you need to find the scrap quilt that you are going to make!

Next we’ll talk about how to select patterns for scraps and UFOs.

Marni x

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Scrap busting solutions!

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If you are anything like me you have scraps tucked into every storage box, bag and tub in your craft room (or tucked away from hubby in secret cupboards) and you dread the thought of dealing with the sheer quantity of it all BUT you cannot bear the thought of throwing it away either.

Short of just bagging the whole lot up without looking at it and dropping it off to your nearest charity (Salvos, Vinnies or if you would like to help Angel Gowns) there’s not much you can do unless you want to spend forever ironing, cutting and piecing scrap quilts, which as much as I love scrap quilts I would prefer to be making things I purposely designed.

I was lying in bed the other night at about 1am, still working online, looking for inspiration, researching and tweaking website when I had an idea. It’s probably not the first time this idea has been had but it will work for my plans and so I’m sharing it with you so that you can find out if it works for you.

I have decided that every time I piece a project from now on I will cut up what’s left into these 2in Drunkard’s Path shapes. I have always loved DP blocks from the moment I first saw one.

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So by the end of 2015 I should have a terrific assortment of tiny blocks ready for my next scrap quilt. I will piece as I go so that the task is not overwhelming and so that I can keep track of how many blocks I have.

If you would like to join in with me on the mini DP block progress you can order your 2in templates from me here.

Of course if you aren’t a fan of the DP blocks you could do something else such as hexagons or clamshells if you love hand sewing. You could even cut small squares!

Stay tuned for more stash busting solutions!!

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October!

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October is by far my favourite month of the year.

It not only has my favourite holiday Halloween but is also the birthday of the shop and this year for the shop’s third birthday I’ll be doing all sorts of wonderful things to celebrate.

Firstly there will be the ongoing competition.

To enter all you need to do is place a mail order (or orders) during the month of October. For every $5 you spend you will receive a numbered ticket. At the end of the month everyone’s numbers will go in my lucky witches hat and I will draw out a winner.

The prize: a $50 gift voucher to spend on fabrics (or it could go towards quilting costs if you prefer), a blue size 16 singlet top that has a screen printed black bat on it that I made in my screen printing class in September and some of my quilt patterns.

I will also be doing an overhaul on the store section of the website – this is more from an inventory standpoint so that all future sales are easier to track. There will be a heap of quilts listed on my hand-made store, all ready to be posted and perfect for Christmas gifts.

We’ve also passed 1000 likes of FB and 100 followers on IG so I’l be doing a little something to celebrate those.

Also if you would like to join in my fabric swap please drop me an email – frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com. The cut off date for sign ups was today but life go out of hand so I’m extending it for October.

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There will be more details on the competition as well as a picture or two of the singlet top and the patterns etc so stay tuned!

 

Marni x

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A bit of info…

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Hey all!

I’ve been busy the past few months catching up on life and things in order to make sure that as we hurtle towards the end of the year and Christmas everything runs nice and smoothly. 😀

So…

Custom quilt orders will be cut off as of midnight the 5th of October. There are 2 spaces available between now and Christmas.

Custom orders for other items (cushions, runners, placemats, hair accessories, aprons etc) will be cut off mid-November to ensure Christmas delivery.

Machine quilting will be cut off on the 8th of December with the last day for quilt returns being the 19th of December. There are spaces available just contact me to find out more.

I am in the process of looking for a suitable venue with dates and times for some basics classes (understanding your machine, patchwork basics, patchwork patterns and binding). If you would like to be popped on a mailing list for class information please email me: frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

As always – any questions just ask. 🙂

 

 

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Quilts for sale!

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Since moving the shop I’ve found myself rather low on space. It’s always been at a premium but now it’s top priority.

SO

I’m having a massive quilt sale on all the pre-made quilts that I have ready to post.

The quilts are all listed here in a Facebook album and to purchase all you need to do is comment SOLD and message me your email and postal details and choice of payment method (Paypal invoice, credit card over the phone or direct deposit).

There is an assortment of quilts from cot size, to double bed along with a few wallhangings and table runners AND they are all 50% OFF!!

I want these quilts to go to good homes that will use them, throw them on the floor, on the lounge, use them as a picnic rug or even buy one for your favourite furry friend. I put a lot of work into them and I want people to enjoy them as much as I enjoy making them. 🙂

These quilts (with a few exceptions) are ready to post now – you purchase it and I’ll pop it in the mail. These quilts have been made over the past few years, some as recently as a month or so ago.

A few pictures below of some of what’s available.

As I unpack I will load more quilt pictures of what I have available.

And as always if you see something you like but it’s not in your colours or theme I can make a custom order quilt for you. Just get in touch with your ideas. 😀

 

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Yippee!!

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I finally finished my Classic Horror Monster cross-stitch!!

I’m really bad at finishing cross-stitches so this is a personal best for me…all in the one year!

Top Row: The Mummy, Wolfman, Dracula

Bottom Row: Frankenstein’s Monster, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man.

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I’ve also been working on some English Paper Piecing. I’m doing some clamshells at the moment and also working on a video for hexagons.

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This quilt – that this first clamshell block will go into – will take me a while, as I am determined to do it by hand as you are meant to and I’m a very slow hand sewer. If you’d like to follow along just bookmark this post, but I’m warning you now that it will be ages in between updates, I’m that slow a hand sewer.

I’ll be using up all of my halloween scraps as I love the vibrant colours and I hate waste. And a girl can never have too many halloween quilts. 🙂

As of tomorrow the shop move goes into full swing so there might not be a post for a little while. Excited to have this all over with as I hate packing.

I have several sales happening as well at the moment – you’ll need to check out my Facebook page and Hand-made store for all the goodies.

As always if you have any questions… please ask.

Marni x

 

 

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After a market…

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I’m sitting here in bed typing on the very tiny bluetooth keyboard for my iPad thinking about all the things that happened today. It’s just before midnight and even though going to a market today was physically exhausting I am WIDE awake.

So I thought I might share with you what happens after a market –

After I have packed the truck at the venue, Mum and I drive home. We unload, collapse on the lounge with a cup of tea and just relax for a bit. Later on though my mind is filled with all the things that happened during the day – who I spoke to, what it was about, things I can change on the stall, things I can do next time, what I can bring etc.

Each market gives me its own unique feedback – sometimes that feedback comes in words from customers or event organisers, sometimes its as simple as monitoring what sells best/worst/in the middle – which means that for the next market I can try a different set of products, displays, set up and even to how I pack the truck. I try to maintain a balance between the efficiency of packing and unloading the truck  (how many trips back and forth from the truck to the location of my stall) and what the customers would like to buy. Sometimes I get it spot on, sometimes I miss a few things, but that is why markets are so important to small businesses like mine.

I’m an online business selling an item that is tactile – which makes it hard to sell based on quality because as a customer you can’t feel the texture, see the brightness of a print or stack bolts in different sequences to see if your idea will work – but as a business owner I am relying on you to trust me about that quality, which you should because I am one of you. I’ve been there, starting from my first quilt (front was good but oh my the backing!), confused by all the tools and gadgets, even more confused by the maths (what are these inch things?) and not really understanding the accuracy of what I was doing.

You need to trust me to select the fabrics and products, trust that I would only stock good quality or things that I use myself. Which is exactly what I do.

Back to the markets…

I do markets to advertise, mingle and engage with my audience in a way that I can’t as an online business. I do the markets to help make the lack of a physical shop less an inconvenience to my customers – so that quilts tops can be dropped off for quilting, picked up once they are quilted, local mail orders can be picked up and so that I get some human contact. I’m in a studio all day on my own and it can make you a little crazy, all that solitude. I do enjoy it but it can be hard sometimes.

So after today’s fun at the Destash Market (my own stuff not the shop’s) I have some really fun things coming to the next market and I hope that if you do come to a market that I’m at that you do pop in and say hi.

I’m still not tired so I guess it’s more work for me until I feel sleepy, can’t do any sewing this late as mum and dad are already asleep. So is the cat…on my feet…

Night!

Marni x

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