Tuesday, February 6, 2018

So who is Elan and why haven't you heard of them before?

Wow, have I disappeared for a season. I have been there - just behind the scenes composing some new patterns. I did LOTS of raw edge applique and researched both fusible web and scissors for cutting applique. AND found the Elan's Sharp Point 5" Embroidery Scissors win in the scissors category. Yes, Elan wins again!
So who is Elan and why haven't you heard about them before?
Who -- Elan is a house brand of United Notions/Moda Fabrics.  
Why haven't you heard of them before? -- I can only guess. First of all, they don't sell direct - they are a house brand. And perhaps the competition is so strong in the scissors industry and perhaps United Notions concentrates on their other great products that 'pass through' easier than the scissors market. I am sure they have their loyal customers - like me - I buy them at my local retailer if possible or online.  I have bought four different Elan scissors, the 8" Dressmakers - I love, and the 5" Embroidery - I love.
They cut right to the point! 
 I have also bought the 4" Embroidery and the Hobby Scissors with Florine, both are worth their great price point. The final pair I really want is the 5" Applique Curve Blade. I am going to put them on my 'Wish List' after writing this post.
Elan 5" Embroidery Scissors

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Happy 4th of July!!!

This is how we celebrated the 4th of July! Hope everyone has a good and safe holiday!


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Get your sewing Artsy on with this project!

You would love making the Artsy Purse. The construction process is intriguing being you embellish the panels with strip piecing, beautiful threads, or prairie points. I suppose there could be loads of things you could embellish the panels with before you construct the purse, making it a very artistic and customized purse that represents your style perfectly! Also, the binding also lines the pockets - clever!
I love seeing how a project makes up in different fabrics - each having a unique flavor!

Just embellishment stitching with metallic threads.

Strip piecing in greys!

Strip piecing with metallic threads and beading in browns! Put money into a single spendy button!

Added prairie points!

Basic pattern, Asian flair fabric!

Strip piecing with batik fabrics and metallic threads - cover photo!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Check list for what's trending!

So I created a check list that will quickly get my lungs filled with inspiration energy!

So this week, complete most of the list, and I am sure will I feel much better about where I am heading in my next design cycle.

Go check out home decor companies like -
ie. Wayfair
ie. Pottery Barn
ie. Crate and Barrel
even Target.
Especially go to the Mall (look deep into the displays - at the colors, the themes, the mood!).
Don't forget to go to Hallmark 
And any stationery store!
Check out TV show - look into the backgrounds of the sets.
What colors are they using ?
What themes?
What motifs?
Material used?
What popular words are being used?
Look at:
Fashion mags,
the gift industry,
and even jewelry.
What are the characters in movies and why?
Where do people vacation?
What do they name their children?
Check out all magazines, especially targeted at your demographic!
What are people talking about?
Check out Etsy,
And Pinterest.
Look at trend websites like
ie. www.colormarketing.org
ie. trendreports.com
Ask yourself questions everywhere you go!
Remember, you are not looking for you want to see, but what everyone else is seeing!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Discovering Trends!

After being deep in the throws of designing, writing, and publishing in the last (and very lengthy) design cycle -- I really need to get a breath of 'fresh' again. So as I start a new design cycle, I like to look around at what is trending.  Today I found some interesting links to freshen things up. 
I first found a color trend setter at colormarketing.org. I really like their June color of Capim Santo. Got to use that color -- and yes, I think it very trendy! I joined their blog and it should be fun to follow along for awhile!
I also found another site on trends though not sure they apply to me but nevertheless, it is important to look at EVERYTHING when studying trends. The site is trendreports.com.
Go look around the site and find the video of the top 20 trends for 2017! These are big overall trends for planet earth! Also look for more specific product releases -- some are very interesting -- though I'm really not sure about the men's lace boxers #2 trending today's IDEAS!!
Learn how to look inside pictures - look for the colors they are using, the style, the fonts, the names, the themes, etc. Learn to pick up on every nuance in a photo to find a trend!

Update! Apparently, the men's lace boxers trend didn't last more than yesterday! Sorry I don't have a link for them after all.  I 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Modern Quilt Wall Art - it's about time!

I have been supplying patterns to quilt shops for 24 years now -- not quilt patterns but the 'other stuff' patterns that quilt shops sell to add variety to their inventory. I have tried a few quilts, the purist kind, and always thought I should leave that up to the real quilters!
But I have for a time now liked the modern art quilt projects and have felt quite tempted to engage in making some! I still don't want to engage in large quilts, but the wall art size is really tugging at my heart. I mean tugging for a few years now. So maybe it is about time to start my dabbles in modern quilt wall art. 
Here's my first project I started a few months ago -- I actually love how it turned out! I added some texture by adding some wool yarns and another trim along some of the seams, something you would not do on a traditional quilt. I also had to figure out a system for cutting strips with irregular edges that matched the edge of the next strip that it is being sewn onto. I will write up a tutorial on how that is to be done and post it soon.
Though this project is on the wall in my front entry, it does match a bed runner and covered bench in my bedroom.
Quilted Wall Art by Barbara Brunson

Matching Bed Runner.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The most desirable beauties around!

No, not a race horse, not a super model, not even a diamond ring:
But a Feather Weight sewing machine!!! 
This is a 1940 Singer 221 in great condition (a Forsdyke grading of 8.0). Beautiful scroll plate. Graphics still lovely! Yummm! 
She was kept in a controlled vault for most her life by this guy who collected about 40 Featherweights for years until one day, he had to let them go. I hear he cried the day he signed off on the sale. I bought it from the guy he sold them all to. This second guy didn't have them long; they went fast; I actually bought two. I will show the other one as soon as I get a photo done. Anyway, this second guy refurbished the electrical cord and made sure the machine hums perfectly. All sorts of goodies in the original case. 
She is for sale! Track me down at my phone number at Vanilla House designs website! So why am I selling? Well, quilters love them, and though I have started quilting some pretty great projects, I am not sure I am at that level where I will use a Featherweight. These are for the pros!

1940 Featherweight 221

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Critter Placemats!

The Critter Placemats -- a closer look! I love the technique for making the pockets!

Ben Bear

Riley Raccoon

Friendly Fox

Oliver Owl

Friday, April 14, 2017

Love my Easy Slider!

So I use my Easy Slider satchel every single week! The shorter below is perfect for carrying a notebook. Or the longer version, great for my laptop! The shoulder straps are threaded through some loops which makes the satchel cinch up when carrying it or when it is on your back. I really like the option of being able to throw my bag on my back if my shoulders get tired. It's great ergonomically!

Vanilla House pattern P194

Macie's back, btw!!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Yet another type of applique........!

This final spring release pattern has yet another type of applique. And I love this concept -- it has so much potential. I originally came up with this concept when making my 'Fabric Bling' series of fabric jewelry. [Btw, I will admit the fabric jewelry line didn't go so well   -- too much competition in the jewelry world for SURE! ..... sad, because some of the jewelry pieces are amazing!]. 
Anyway, this applique concept is used to make pockets on place mats ...... using our spring theme of 'critters'. So cute! You make the critter face by making the 'whole applique' so to speak, complete with finished edges, independent of the place mat. Then attach it to the place mat just like you would any other independent embroidered applique, except attaching it only around the bottom edge so it makes a pocket for a napkin or silverware. Cool! 
Critter Placemats - P224 or vhE224 for the download version.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Onset/offset Applique! Foxy Pocket Purse is a good example!

What in the world is onset/offset applique? I made up the term -- and if anyone has a better name, please! But I am loving this technique where part of the applique is stitched onto or into other fabric areas and the other part of the applique creates a finished edge. So Fish Fry from my previous post and shown again below has most of the 'fish head' sewn into the bias trim. And the 'fin edge' creates a finished edge. Foxy Pocket Purse has the nose of the fox sewn/appliqued onto the front purse panel, but the 'ears edge' creates the finished edge with the sides of the fox face sewn into the seams. All these appliques are lined or you might say 'has a finished reverse side', so it can create a pocket or opening. Each version has its own custom instruction because they are made in different ways. More of this technique to come!
Foxy Pocket Purse -- P223 or vhE223 for the epattern download.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

You are invited to a Fish Fry!

It's been while. Every time I am working on new patterns, I seem to take a leave of absence from posting. I just don't know how to perfect the patterns and do anything else that distracts me. But I will have some posts all together here for the next while, revealing the latest three releases. They are ready and no other pattern projects in the feed dogs!
So here's Fish Fry.....oven mitt! The wrap-around oven mitt is great for retrieving hot casserole dishes from the oven! There is thermal fleece on the side that touches the heat source and heavy-weight interfacing on the back-of-hand side. The back-of-hand side convexes a bit, making it real easy to slip the oven mitts on in a hurry!
Versions include the double-handed mitt and a single-hand mitt! One size fits all!

And as always in Vanilla House patterns, the instructions are very thorough, with an illustration per every step.
This pattern is available in your local independent craft store (soon), or you can buy direct from our website, either a paper pattern by post or download an epattern (vhE222).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Watercolor Floral

Still working on learning repeat patterns. Infact, I have been taking Bonnie Christine's class on Skillshare titled "Water Color for Surface Pattern Design: Working with Adobe Illustrator".  Not only do you create a repeat pattern, you learn how to develop a pattern with watercolors, then learn to swap out the paint colors for any color story you want in Illustrator, and then turn it into a repeat print. Still playing with other color stories for the same print. Now the print itself is not that great, but the point is that I learned so much and Love the process!

Different colors, different backgrounds, different scales -- all with Illustrator! Again, not the greatest print -- but look at all the possibilities!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Oh, the Hue-Manatee!

My daughter Rachel Jaggers, Spotted Pepper Designs, is a great textile and surface pattern designer. She recently had one of her prints published on Bucketfeet shoes. I believe she is ending up being one of Bucketfeet's best sellers. I finally received my shoes the other day. LOVE THEM! and proud of the budding artist that she is becoming!!

Oh! the Hue-Manatee! by Bucketfeet!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Merry Moosemas!

So here's another one of my surface prints. This was actually my first design and  I was particularly interested in making sure the colors popped! I think that happened!

By Designer Barbara Brunson