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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Learning to evolve in pattern design - sure is hard!

So there is no question that my industry catering to the independent quilt shop has changed drastically over the years. I can remember when I first started in 1994, I designed soft sculpture like crazy. In 2000, that stopped almost overnight. I re-invented myself and came up with other projects besides soft sculpture, like aprons and purses and knick knacks, oh my! That did great until the landscape changed once more. Time to re-invent aaagainnn -- though granted  ----  lots of room for evolution but not a lot of room to replace my sales in this type of market place because the dollars are spread out very thin over a much larger space. So I practice in all sorts of areas --- like online forums, social networking, etc. And surface pattern is now much easier to participate in. Don't know if I will ever publish and make any money from it but it is certainly fun to develop my skills. See the cute print below:

Barbara Brunson's Sweet Dreamin' Critters!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Trendy Color Palette

I like the following project for it's color palette. It is fun to take a project, put it in Illustrator, and use the eyedropper to establish it's color palette. I don't know what other software programs can display the palette but Illustrator does a great job! Love these colors. Turquoise is trending strongly right now!!

Runner on my bed in my new bedroom. The room is accented with turquoise ribbon of color. I also use black accents like the pillows, smaller sofa, some furniture, and picture frames. The basic neutral palette of the room makes changing the colors very easy to do if I want to!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sewing from point to point!

It can be challenging sewing a straight line from a particular point to another particular point without some for of reference except the ending points. The Manhattan Bag below has seams sewn on the folds of the bag and represent the technique I am addressing:

 When you have the purse panel flat, you sew from point 1 to point 2 to point 3, and to finish at point 4. There are no guide lines. I put pins at all points and simply sight from pin to pin and sew for it!!!!. 

Sometimes, I press crease marks from point to point, then sew on the crease lines.  This works pretty well.

A third method would be to use seam tape or some kind of 1/4" masking tape. The following picture shows what we mean:

I tried to put tape on all three seams but this particular tape started to fall off before I could finish the seams. Though I love this tape, a different tape might work better for this technique. I sewed right next to one side of the tape.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Simple Way of Threading Buttons for Fabric Caddies

Some of the caddy versions have buttons (maybe as many as five) on the top trim for embellishment. Looks cute, right!?! But sewing on the buttons, each one by hand, especially if making several caddies, is a nightmare. 
Well, I don't! I pre-thread them and hot glue them on -- so much easier. 
I had one suggestion to use your machine button attach option. Sew each button to a spare piece of fabric, cut the buttons off the fabric, and hot glue them then. But the little swatch of fabric on the back of the button in this process gets in the way of hot gluing the button thoroughly. 
So below are pics of my process:  
Really cute to have buttons on the top -- but it would be a nightmare sewing them all on by hand!

Make a group of threads, maybe ten strands thick and thread your first button.

Tie a knot on the back as shown. The end of the thread is only 2" long or less -- don't waste your thread here.

Cut off the thread right at the knot. You can use your ten-strand thread thing to knot several buttons. The whole process goes pretty fast. Then hot glue the buttons to the trim of each caddy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

More projects for the Sisters Quilt Show!

Two more projects made up for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show! -- showing a the Stitchin' Post! Wish I were going this year!

Here's the description of the Quilt Show from their website:

"Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show™ (SOQS) is internationally recognized as the world's largest outdoor quilt show and quilt sale displaying more than 1300 quilts representing fiber artists from around the world.
More than 10,000 visitors from all 50 states and 27 foreign countries flock to Sisters on the second Saturday in July. Master quilt makers teach classes and workshops during Quilt Week and exhibit their quilts at our annual Quilt Show. In addition, hundreds of quilts are displayed in our "show-and-tell" exhibits - first time quilters, youth, quilts made by men - throughout the town of Sisters. Quilt exhibitors range in age from 10-92."

Here's the last two projects I sent to the Stitchin' Post.Thanks to Jean Wells for letting me participate in a small way!

Manhattan Bag! P220! Love her fabric choices!

Ergo Oven Mitt! P217! The weird-shaped oven mitt!