Jul 02 2017

Have you ever been on a course of action and, all of a sudden, there are side roads you didn’t anticipate, leading off into areas unknown?

Have you ever  had overwhelming life events change your direction before you know what has happened to you? Whoa! That’s what happened to me in January, and let me tell you, I am just now getting back in the swing of things.

Things going Smoothly 550 x 427 w typeCruising along the country road of life…

Hello, Quilters! This is SunbonnetSmart, or as I’m known in real life, Robin R. Talbott. When I started my online quilting presence, I was determined to stay out of the spotlight and let my Sunbonnet Dolls tell the tales of my quilting stories, designs, patterns and glory! You see, I was a quilt store owner in the 1980s-90s and the public face I had was very demanding. I was sure when I started back into quilting professionally after raising a family, I NEVER wanted to be so exposed again. I just wanted to enjoy the good stuff.  Making my quilts, pattern and designs.

But then, having fun on the Internet, meeting quilters from all over the world became an unexpected delight, and moreover, I realized how much I miss teaching quilting, seeing all of the new projects come into being and seeing my students faces light up when learning a new wrinkle. So, I decided to start teaching quilting online, adding another web site, a strictly quilting web site, to partner with my SunbonnetSmart.com For three years, I have worked on it, because, it takes a while for these “trifocally eyes” to focus up and down to make things happen on that computer screen.

Right Turn 600 x 450 retouch w type…one can take an unexpected turn leading…

So, three years I have worked on my teaching site, I know that’s not a record for speed, but you’ll find it IS a record for love, especially when one’s love is quilting. And, this year, I decided at Christmas, I was ready to launch. I decided my favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day would be perfect. The day of love combined with my love of quilting. What could be better? What could go wrong?!?

Oh, my! Well, in January, unexpectedly, as happens most times, cancer decided to pay our family a visit, when my sweet husband of twenty five years came back from the doctor with a positive scan. I’m in the same place emotionally, six months later, still waiting to exhale, as unsure of our future as I was January 19th, when he came home from the doctor.

Many Choices 600 x 450 w type…to dizzying arrays of problems & choices…

But, as with all “new normals,” eventually the tears give way to the thought of coming days, while realizing life goes on, even with cancer. And, so where I use to want to hide from publicity, public interaction and notoriety, now, lonesome in an uncertain flight path, I am hungry for camaraderie and companionship. As I have so many times before in my life,  I am turning to quilting help through the hard times. And, what better way to enjoy quilting, than to begin to interact with quilters by teaching, once again?

Virginia's House 600 x 450 w type…where the family becomes a firm priority…

I hope you’ll be with me as I venture forth to new quilting heights and new family challenges. I am looking forward to supporting you in your quilting ventures, as well, and to working toward our mutual benefit as we strengthen the SunbonnetSmart community. Out of every hardship comes a new opportunity. I just know my new web site, soon to be announced will bring lots of good times to us all. Don’t forget! I’ve been working on it for THREE YEARS.

Winter Sky 600 x 450 w type…to anchor the soul through rough seas ahead.

Yes! I have been anticipating my new online presence and all of the new quilting friends I’ll meet for a long time. There are LOTS of surprises in store. I cannot wait to make quilty memories together.

Come back and visit with me. I’ll keep the water on for tea!

 

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

Robin R. Talbott, author of SunbonnetSmart.com, uses compensated affiliate
links to promote products she not only uses herself, but believes
will enhance her reader’s experiences.

Thank you for your support!



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Filed under: Quilting,Roof,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:10 pm Comments (0)
Dec 19 2016

Even after a lifetime of quilting, I am always amazed at how changing the colors of a quilt pattern can drastically alter the visual effect.

This morning, when curating Internet articles for my SunbonnetSmart Newsflash, I found a wonderful post by AnneMarie Chany, the genius behind the web site and blog, “Gen X Quilters.” The timing on the post couldn’t be better as, with a theme of, “chocolate,” who can complain?  This is definitely the season for visions of sweets and sugarplums, and, even better,  AnneMarie’s annual Chocolatier BOM, or Block of the Month, Quilt-A-Long beginning in January, 2017.

Chocolatier BOM Modern Milk 472 x 394 w type

The Original Chocolatier BOM Quilt

Sharing an annual Chocolatier BOM Quilt seems to have become a tradition with AnneMarie. She has several variations displayed, the original that she made, herself, and two others by friend quilters. Because all three quilts are the same pattern, it is fun to see the differences in visual effect, just because the fabrics and colors have changed. In her Original Chocolatier BOM Quilt, above, AnneMarie used solid colors.

Chocolatier Dipped Strawberry 472 x 394 w type

Dipped Strawberry Chocolatier BOM Quilt

Here is a variation, called “Dipped Strawberry,” made with the The Jinny Beyer Palette, using more traditional prints, so says Anne Marie. The interplay of the white, black and gray are striking and unusual, making for a great conversation piece. The name of Dipped Strawberry creates interest as it aptly describes the pinks, reds and browns providing an elegant, and satisfying, mental image.

Chocolatier Cherry Cordial 472 x 394 w type

Cherry Cordial Chocolatier BOM Quilt

The third variation, “Cherry Cordial,” is a favorite of mine, because the colors do remind me of my FAVORITE candy, Chocolate Covered Cherries! Malam Batiks in succulent reds, pinks and warm browns make me want to RUN to my favorite candy store. Oh! And, yes…hee-hee…I DO have one and here it is! I wish we could go together to the Candy Kitchen, in Frederick, MD. The sweet shop has been there since I was a kid and has been our “Go-To” candy store all those years. H-m-m-m, why am I going to the kitchen to raid the Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Baking Chips?

But, OOPS! Back to quilting…

AnneMarie is beginning her Block of the Month class on her Chocolatier pattern on January 1, 2017, which is coming soon. If you like this LeMoyne Star pattern base that makes up into a 72″ x 72″ square, signing up to join in might be lots of fun. AnneMarie structures her tutorials in a very user-friendly, detailed manner. Read her blog post giving lots of specs on her Chocolatier BOM course to see what I mean and see if it might be a good fit.

AnneMarie delights is sharing her methods and fabric lines, so that if you want your work to exactly mirror hers, you can. The fabric colors are listed and yardages given so you have a head start on getting things ready for class. Her teaching piece this year will be a Chocolatier in a rainbow color variation, which you can also mirror, if that’s what you’d like to make. LOTS of possibilities in this smaller project of six blocks!

Why not take on a brand new project for the New Year? This one has a nice history, and the bugs are worked out and long gone!

AnneMarie Chany is a well known quilter, author and teacher who enjoys sharing her patterns. AnneMarie’s book, Sister Sampler Quilts, encourages readers to design their own quilts using 25 interchangeable sister blocks and 3 sampler quilts that challenge traditional grid layouts with fun, innovative settings

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

Robin R. Talbott, author of SunbonnetSmart.com, uses compensated affiliate
links to promote products she not only uses herself, but believes
will enhance her reader’s experiences.

Thank you for your support!

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Filed under: Quilting,Roof — admin @ 12:54 am Comments (0)
Nov 27 2016

Looking through my list of wonderful quilting web sites I keep handy, I hit a lollapaloozer of a post.

Checking up on the latest with Rebecca at, “Cheeky Cognoscenti,” I read her post from yesterday, Saturday, November 26, 2016, and it wore me out. Look at what she has accomplished and still has enough strength to blog about it! #AMAZing

First Rebecca shares a lovely, many piece Pineapple Log Cabin block, done to perfection, then tells how her family decorated the entire house and put up two trees since Thanksgiving, meanwhile showing her magnificent hoop-skirted vintage gown, her latest Farmer’s Wife blocks and continuing to work on her Jingle BOM, or Block of the Month quilt, following a pattern by Erin Russek. Wow! *FanningFaceSwooning* I had to fix a cup of tea and take a nap, before I could gather myself to read more.

But, I couldn’t stay away, and after having a protein shake and running laps, I returned to check out the links Rebecca was sharing.

Erin Russek Jingle Blocks orig 472 x 392 type

Clicking on the link just over the photo of Erin Russek’s Jingle BOM Quilt, I found a WONDERFUL list of each months’ patterns, in downloadable PDFs, for *FREE.* As Erin says, “Here you go friends…all the Jingle BOM blocks in one place.” Woo-Hoo!

I spent quite a while downloading the patterns, after all, sometimes web sites come and go, and I just HAVE to have those Cardinal blocks!

So, why not run over to Rebecca’s corner of the Internet, click on her link for Erin Russek’s Jingle BOM and do the same! Let your housework go while you collect the patterns for another project! YAY! Quilters after my own heart.

Check on her latest post, “And Now, Happy ADVENT! Let the Madness Begin…,” by going here.

That’s the link where all the happiness happens!

“Forever Tiled” by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mug
by SunbonnetSmart

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

Robin R. Talbott, author of SunbonnetSmart.com, uses compensated affiliate links to promote products she believes will enhance her reader’s experiences.

Thank you for your support!

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Filed under: Quilting,Roof,Uncategorized — admin @ 8:13 pm Comments (0)
Nov 25 2016

With the advent of modern quick piecing methods, it’s easy to assume we time-pressed quilters invented all of our time-saving, stash-busting options. When it comes to string quilts, though, quilters long gone by, regularly used the pattern. Let’s look at some old and new variations.

FretNotYourself's Red Strings Blocks

Here’s a current example of a lovely set of blocks in progress, “Red String Blocks,” being worked by Ann of the web site and blog, “FretNotYourself.” Ann shares her design considerations as she has made a bunch of string blocks from her stash and, in her post, is deciding how they should be placed. You’ll enjoy working through her thought process when you go to her post, by clicking here.

marshastringfull Quiltville type

Bonnie Hunter is a great giver of gifts on her web site, Quiltville.com She features patterns, tutorials, quilters and their quilts while instructing us every step of the way. Marsha R’s “Scrap Boxes” quilt is a great teaching example for one method of making string quilts. Notice that the angle of the strips is set by the strip in the center of each block, which runs corner to corner. Remember the importance of the center strip in String Quilt blocks! Click here to follow along as Bonnie shares working a string quilt up from a box of scraps, to an eye catching beauty.

Sloppy String Quilts

If you have the string quilt bug, already, “Strips & Strings,” by Evelyn Sloppy is one of the best books I’ve found for increasing skills in a clear, easy format. By clicking on the photo of the book, above, you can go to Amazon and learn more, using my affiliate link.

Laura Fisher Quilts String Squares type 472 x 394

With this vintage string quilt, called, “String Squares,” by LauraFisherQuilts.com. we can see a different variation, as the center strip is not regular in width, but varies. As the blocks are aligned in straight sets, their center strips don’t have to match to form a secondary pattern. The strips can vary their width within the block and from block to block. It’s a happy, “free for all,” where everybody wins, with the ole’ stash box coming in first place. This quilt is for sale and can be seen on display in all of its glory here. Be sure to pack a lunch and set aside some time, because looking through Laura’s stock of antique quilts may distract you for a while.

TimQuilts Melon String Quilt 472 x 394 type

In this string quilt, Tim Latimer shows us how he takes older quilt blocks, trues them to their pattern and refurbishes them. His melon pieces were string pieced many years ago. Watching him rework this quilt, “Melon Piecing,” is inspiration to try string piecing with other non-conventional shapes. Strips can be sewn to a backing, then most any shape cut out. Yes! The prospect opens up a whole new world. You can follow along with Tim by going to his web site, TimQuilts.com found here.

Tim Quilts String Diamonds Pieces 472 x 394 type

Tim continues to share his vintage quilt collection showing a Spider Web quilt he’s re-doing. While the quilt, seen in its entirety, seems to be made up of large hexagons, it is actually string pieced diamonds. Notice that the center strip is of an even width, all the way across, and it is exactly the same width on each diamond. The even width of the center strip is what makes this quilt pattern a Spider web, while the one shown below, on Barbara Brackman’s web site is known as a, “Victorian Puzzle.”

Barbara Brackman String Pieced 472 x 394 type

The “Victorian Puzzle,” block  is made like the Spider Web, but the center strip varies in width from one side to the other. All of the diamond center strips, making up the hexagons, are carefully cut in the same way. The widths of the outer strips vary and are hit or miss, making for a scrappy look. The varying widths are anchored by the regularity of the repetitive, predictable center strip. Join Barbara as she discusses string quilt blocks cut in a diamond shape that form into hexagons by going here.  The subtle variations possible, with just a bit of adjustment, make for vastly different overall effects, using the same skills.

Here’s a video that shows several different string quilt methods. Maybe you’ll be trying one for your next quilt!

 

 Colleen Tauke, of Fons & Porter, demonstrates three different String Piecing patterns.

 

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

Robin R. Talbott, author of SunbonnetSmart.com, uses compensated affiliate links to promote products she believes will enhance her reader’s experiences.

Thank you for your support!

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Filed under: Quilting — admin @ 2:46 am Comments (0)
Jun 21 2015

Father’s Day comes but once a year, but thoughts of Daddy go on forever. Whenever I make his world famous Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe, I know he’s nearby, helping me get it just right.

[Tweet “Try my, “Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw,” for the Fourth of July. http://sunbonnetsmart.com/uncategorized/dads-ultimate-cole-slaw/”]

My Dad loved to entertain. The son of a well known hostess, my grandmother, Daddy had grown up on the thrill and satisfaction of planning social affairs. In his later years, he loved bringing happiness to those around him, coming up with novel party touches for our gathered fun-seekers. When a get-together was planned at our home, therefore, a flurry of activity would ensue. First and foremost was the menu, as food and beverages were the star attractions.

Menu planning, therefore, was the reason my Dad clipped recipes constantly. From the newspaper; from any magazine that crossed his path; from a dish he favored at a restaurant that, “required,” he call the Chef to the dining room for a consultation, he was obsessed with having recipe resource files handy for ready reference. He wanted to be able to produce just the right treat at just the right time, to dependably provide what any social situation demanded, at a moment’s notice. Now, we must remember this was in the 1980s and 90s, before the widespread Internet, much less Pinterest, so keeping track of favorite foods required proactive forethought and a filing system.

And, what a filing system he had! Boxes and boxes of 3″ x 5″ cards in plastic file boxes filling up the bottom of a bookcase near his reading chair. Directly next to his chair was a table with a drawer holding his “clipping” supplies: an X-acto knife to accurately cut out the recipe, fresh 3″ x 5″ cards and a roll of Scotch Magic Tape. While the family talked after dinner, Daddy would be clipping and filing, delighted with his latest conquests and acquisitions. He would excitedly interrupt conversation to read recipes, wanting to see if they, “sounded good,” as we would, “Ooh!,” and, “Ah!,” his latest find.

My Dad's Ultimate Cole Slaw, recent recreations (click to enlarge)Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw, recently recreated (click to enlarge)

And, things proceeded predictably in such a fashion for years. The quiet rattling of the Washington Post Newspaper Wednesday Food Section, along with the opening and closing of the drawer in the table next to his chair. This, comfortably blanketed by the flickering cocoon of the TV screen, made for pleasant evenings, and now, warm memories. It was an idyllic suburban scene, that is, it was…until he became even more acutely obsessed with one particular dish: Cole Slaw.

How it happened and why it happened, I cannot be sure. There is a good chance he was refused the revelation of a Cole Slaw recipe at a church supper, and became determined to recreate the elusive dish. But, all I know is he started buying cabbages. Lots of cabbages. The cabbages marched into the refrigerator with carrots and seemingly endless jars of mayonnaise, followed by a legion or  two of fresh lemons. These were his art materials, and my grandmother’s Pyrex mixing bowls were his canvas.

Cole Slaw, he had decided was the perfect pot luck supper dish. It was inexpensive to make; was healthy and, “provided roughage.” That was Daddy’s Cole Slaw strategy. And, when one stopped to think about it, Cole Slaw was indeed the perfect side dish, fitting into any church supper array of serving tabled fancies.

And, so the search began. 3″ x 5″ file boxes were no longer adequate. He moved to taping Cole Slaw recipes to 8 1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper. As he made a recipe in the kitchen, if it made the cut, it remained unsullied, but if it was rejected, it was crossed off, right through it, with a mighty, “X.” This frantic quest went on for months, but as the research continued, he began to fine tune his efforts.

He said he wanted a natural Cole Slaw, with a cold, not cooked dressing. One with a lemon, not vinegar base. He wanted the creaminess of mayonnaise, but not to have it, too “mayonnaisey,” because, “All that fat makes me sick.” He liked adding celery seeds, but not too many. And, for color, there should be one carrot, and one carrot only, grated in along with the cabbage. Salt and pepper should be added, and finally the Ultimate Cole Slaw recipe had been born.

And, I am ready to share it. Here, right now.

But, you must understand the recipe is presented with the same persnickety-ness of my Dad’s approach. In other words, he felt there was NO WAY to accurately represent the proportions like any other recipe, because, “…of COURSE that depends upon the size of your cabbage!” So, I am going to give his recipe to you and hope for the best. I am hoping you can bridge the gap, blending the simple flavors to your tastes and that, with a bit of research and development, you will come up with your own Cole Slaw recipe, sure to be an heirloom hit at friend and family gatherings.

Dad’s Ultimate Cole Slaw

1 Cabbage, cored, quartered and grated

1 Carrot, grated

Lemon juice to taste (I usually use three)

Granulated sugar to taste (Not overwhelming sweet…unless you like that)

Mayonnaise (Start with a cup and add, if needed, to make a runny dressing as you stir with a big spoon and the juices are released from the cabbage)

A sprinkle of whole Celery Seed. (Start with a TBSP, and see what you think.)

Salt and Pepper, to taste, then mix well and refrigerate.

 *     *     *      *

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)

*     *     *     *

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

Robin R. Talbott, author of SunbonnetSmart.com, uses compensated affiliate links to promote products she believes will enhance her reader’s experiences.



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Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — admin @ 10:13 am Comments (2)
Jan 30 2015

No way! Life changing events can’t be stifled, no matter where they occur. And, my time at the Type-A Parent Las Vegas Bootcamp 2015, followed by a heavy dose of Affiliate Summit West 2015, caused a profound shift. So remarkable was the impact, I wonder if earthquakes in those parts are just high powered movers and shakers making waves!

When one wakes up, one never knows what the day will hold. And, yes, I knew I was going to blogging and marketing conferences, and yes, I knew the conferences were on the Las Vegas Strip, but who could have imagined: the people I would meet; the knowledge I would gain; the fun I would have or the paradigm shift that would change my on-line persona forever! Let me set the scene for that third weekend in January.

Crossing from Maryland to Virginia over the Potomac River to Las Vegas via Wash DC Reagan National Airport.

It started out rather sublimely. Moderation, I decided was the key. I had evolved from scheduling planes leaving at 6:00am, requiring me to be up at 3:00 in the morning. This level of maturity proved significant. Rather than try to squeeze out every blessed second of a hotel stay, getting my money’s worth, I had realized that being rested to enjoy traveling, rather than just gutting it out, might be worth the trade. Smug I was as I drove leisurely through early morning Maryland, the land of my people, to Regan Washington National Airport for a Southwest Airlines plane that would saunter down the runway at 12:05pm, fashionably just after noon.

The Southwest Airlines flight went flawlessly, as I knew it would.

Soon I was planted in the hot tub among the palms at the Hilton Garden Inn, just south of the Las Vegas Strip.

Soon I was planted in the hot tub among the palms at the Hilton Garden Inn, just south of the Las Vegas Strip.

Then, quicker than a road runner hides behind a saguaro cactus, it was Saturday morning and show time! Taking the Hilton Shuttle north to the Strip, I left for the destination that would change my life forever.

Like many before me, I had come to seek my fortune in Las Vegas, but rather than trust the gambling floor, I put my money on Kelby Carr’s Type-A Las Vegas Bootcamp 2015. Not only did I win, I broke the bank! Better than winning a stack of chips, I pulled information and networked contacts to my side of the blogging world table.

At the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, the welcome sign marked the pot of gold at the end of the travel rainbow.

At the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, the Type-A welcome sign marked the pot of gold at the end of the travel rainbow.

Type-A welcomed attendees with a hot breakfast and lovely coffee service.

Type-A welcomed attendees with a hot breakfast and lovely coffee service.

First in the Paris Hotel’s Champagne Ballroom, I was excited to see the Type-A management team putting on the finishing touches to the conference room. They didn’t seem to mind me sitting at a round table in the back yelling, “Faster! Faster!,” because I was raring to get started. But, finally 9:00am came and the Las Vegas Bootcamp began with a bang. The welcoming keynote was Sarah Evans, a women not familiar to me at all, wherein lies the value of attending Type-A Conferences. How could I call myself a blogger, a social media aficionado, and NOT KNOW Sarah Evans, “The Digital Correspondent?” Especially when I’ve been blogging and attending conferences since 2010?

Type-A welcomed attendees with a hot breakfast and lovely coffee service.

Sarah Evans enlivens the morning by sharing her talk on, “Selling the Brand of You.”

But, that, right there, is my my point. I realized throughout my stay with Type-A and Affiliate Summit West, I had traveled not only to Las Vegas, but at warp drive to a higher level of Internet existence. I was networking with people, some of whom have hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. Before Las Vegas, my universe was bounded by those with tens of thousands. And, to experience it all, I really hadn’t done a thing, except roll out of bed and jump on a plane. Yay, ME for getting out of bed! And thank you, Kelby Carr for the enveloping forward motion of @TypeACon!

Type-A Parent is the precocious baby of the well known Type-A Mom, Kelby Hartson Carr. Kelby is the CEO of @Type-Aparent, which is now the world’s top conference, network and association for moms and dads who blog. Kelby has also been recently named as #10 on the list Personalities most followed by NYSE companies on Twitter.

BTW, this post is the first of three on my January experiences in Las Vegas.

Next: “This Ain’t Stayin’ in Vegas Either,” or “What to Do When Your Taxi Driver is Arrested.”

Las Vegas GuideThe Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2015

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

 

NEXT Type-A C0nference? In New York City. Be there!

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)

Type-A Parent New York City Bootcamp (Focus: Brand-Blogger Relations)

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

Robin R. Talbott, author of SunbonnetSmart.com, uses compensated affiliate links to promote products she believes will enhance her reader’s experiences.



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Filed under: Functionality,Head — admin @ 12:00 am Comments (4)
Jul 31 2014

On June 7, 2014, Laurel Regan, at AlphabetSalad.com posted, “Some Questions on Creative Self-Confidence.” Being in the creative arts myself, I found the topic of her discussion and fan Comments thought provoking. In this post, I hope to reassure anyone who creates that they are a creator, anyone who paints that they are a painter, and anyone who writes that they are a writer. It is the actions that determine the title, not the facilitator’s mental set of confidence or self-doubt, for..

“All the world’s a stage…”
William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII

And, with every stage there are players, each of whom has stage fright before they go on.

Actors know to leverage this anxiety into a creative pump, even though they may agonize with self doubt, thinking, “Last night’s performance went smoothly, but what about tonight?”

An actor’s fear dissolves, though, as they exit the wings, taking their mark to audience acclaim. The feedback is immediate and, most times positive, so their self-doubts quickly dissipate. The show goes on, while their egos are salved with triumph in minutes, at most within hours.

The creative arts demand solitary performance.

The creative arts demand solitary performance.

When you think about it, all of life’s venues, from the boardroom to the bedroom, can cause performance stage fright, the fear of not being well received. But, on most of life’s performance stages, the butterflies of questioning acceptance are fleeting, quickly reassured as the live presentation proceeds in real time.

In the creative arts, however, a project is often planned in isolation, birthed privately and set before the public at a distance. The contact between the creator and their audience is disconnected. An artist painting in oils, works for months and years to prepare a collection of work for a gallery opening. At the show’s opening reception, the creative artist chats with their public, for, maybe, two hours. Then, the progenitor goes back to the studio, while the exhibit hangs for viewing with the artist absently remote.

This disconnect is why we in the creative arts, and especially bloggers, tend to undermine ourselves with insecurity when we create. We work in isolation, without the reassurance of a live interactive audience. Until we have high traffic and an Internet following, our applause is not immediate. Our feedback is delayed. Our human contact, yay or nay, comes electronically intermittent and sometimes, not at all.

Microscopic self-analysis plagues working alone.

Microscopic self-analysis plagues working alone.

When creative people give birth to projects, it is a very personal gift to their audience, but the audience is not at hand to provide guidance while the work is being composed. All affirmations or critiques occur after the presentation. And, especially with us bloggers, who labor bereft of ongoing approval until clicking “submit,” our work is irrevocably revealed for all the world to see. For all time.

No wonder we might have misgivings about the value of what we create and our titled role. We toss and turn until the Comments start flowing in, our post is featured or picked up for syndication.

We bloggers want to express ourselves, be true to our beliefs and creative endeavors, but, at the same time, are hopeful to receive accolades for each stroke of our self-construed brilliance. We are willing to meet our audience half way, we think, in tone and authority, if only they could sit on our shoulder while we type, to temper our thoughts with their own.

Bloggers are isolated until they click "submit."

Bloggers are isolated until they click “submit.”

But, they can’t, so we remain alone, anticipating contact sometime in the future. Resigned, we beat our keyboard as our own drum, pleasing ourselves, all the time wondering, “Is this effort good enough?” Is anybody out there? Does anyone care?

We think, “Am I like that tree that falls in the forest without anybody there to hear it? Does it make a noise?”

If nobody reads what I’ve written, can I call myself a writer?”

Well, yes, I believe we can, because we all are defined by our actions, not by what we think of ourselves.

Let it be pronounced, therefore, the writer having written is a writer.

Ipso facto, we are what we do.

"Forever Tiled" by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs
“Forever Tiled” by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs by SunbonnetSmart




Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 8:47 pm Comments (0)
Jun 18 2014

Many sewers and quilters pride themselves on sewing without pins.

They somehow feel it elevates their command of the skill, demonstrating they are able to precisely feed fabric past a feed-dog at lightening speeds.

Nothing could be further from my truth. I use zillions of pins, the more the better, removing each one as it approaches the needle, having insured proper placement for the intended stitches. I need my pins. I love my pins. And, I wouldn’t work without them.

Pins Side w typeFive inch squares with side sashing pinned in place.

I feel secure with my pins, while I scoff at those who feel I’m below them in the quilting pecking order. Am I to be defined by my abundant use of pins? Are you who “do without” really, truly a better quilter? Isn’t the finished product, a rigid cross hatch of perfectly met corners and uncompromising 45º diagonals the true test of quilting merit? Are the biddy’s at the Quilt Shows with their half glasses pranced mid-nose able to qualify your work as “Sans Pins” upon inspection? Ha! I say not!

Pins Close up w typeGazillions of pins help make zillions of Quilt Squares.

So let me wallow with my pins in ignorant bliss, while feeling secure as to the outcome of my work. I stand firm in my belief that pinning prevents unexpected mix-ups, fly-aways and fall-aparts. No matter what happens to my quilting space, my in-progress work will be preserved. Not so with that reckless Latifah Saafir, the “Quilting Engineer,” who publicly sews “Glam” Clamshell Tops without pins holding the pieces together. Just take a gander at this:

Maybe you won’t break out in hives watching
this pin free video, but I did.

See? See? Did you see that? Amazing! But then, to my taste, I could pin that curved seam before the first notch pretty fast, then not have to futz with it while it’s in the machine. Everybody finds their own best way to do things, once basic skills are learned, so maybe I am talking to a legion of healthy, happy non-pinners. If so, I salute you, saying, “How would I know?”

Overview Pins w typeAh! Everything is in secure order.

But, as for me, I shall continue to revel in boxes, and boxes, of yellow headed quilting pins, loving them, tending to them, making sure they are dry and sharp, while ready for duty. I will lovingly make them pincushions, sharpen them with emory and promise never to leave them alone in the damp. For, as my pins go, so goes my sewing. And, that’s the truth!

So, ‘fess up! Are you a pinner? Non-pinner? Or fall somewhere in between? I promise not to take it personally.

Let me know by Commenting below, Tweeting to @SunbonSmart or following SunbonnetSmart on Instagram. The whole world is waiting!

 Sewing wihtout pins

Sewing Without Pins for Everyone

 

"Forever Tiled" by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs
“Forever Tiled” by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs by SunbonnetSmart

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page



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Filed under: Quilting,Roof — admin @ 11:59 pm Comments (1)
Jun 04 2014

It’s that time of year! Jump in the car for a road trip to see Barn Quilts.

Much like the Hex Signs posted on barns by the Pennsylvania Dutch in the eastern part of the United States, large plywood cutouts of quilt blocks have become popular sights in rural communities across the country. Placing quilt blocks on the side of barns and sheds, so they can be seen from the road, has brought auto traffic with income to towns otherwise lost to the Interstate Highway System.

Donna Sue Quilt Barn

Donna Sue and her Mother.

While the origin of Hex Signs has been lost, the recent advent of Barn Quilts is directly traceable to one woman, Donna Sue Groves, in Ohio, who bought a farm with her mother and wanted to spruce it up in honor of her mother’s love for quilting. Donna Sue is well known to quilters and Barn Quilt enthusiasts alike, and will be even more famous once a film about her is released. Called, “Pieced Together,” the movie is in production with an anticipated release of early 2015. Filmmaker Julianne Donofrio has been working on the film since 2009 and successfully ran a Kickstarter cloud funding campaign in the fall of 2013. Funds are still being solicited to enhance the final product, BTW, and by going to her Kickstarter post, you can still contribute.

Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 10.08.51 PM

Many states with rural area have now set up Barn Quilt trails along with accompanying brochures to guide visitors on self-directed tours. Michigan has many such trails, offering an on-line PDF to be printed out here. There are many web sites devoted to Barn Quilts now, but one of the most inclusive is Barn Quilts Info, maintained by Suzi Parron, who with Donna Sue Groves wrote the book, Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement. It can be purchased on-line at Amazon and a link is found below.

Whether you make quilts, or just love to look at and sleep under them, the American Quilt Barn movement provides an enriching hobby and a great excuse to enjoy back road America.

 

Click for a preview

 

"Forever Tiled" by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs
“Forever Tiled” by SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mugs by SunbonnetSmart

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page



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Filed under: Beauty,Outside — admin @ 9:47 pm Comments (0)
Jun 03 2014

 With a bit of color work in fabric choices, a simple quilt pattern looks complex.

This sweet quilt from the web site and blog, “PleasanTree,” demonstrates the potential, perfectly. What could be easier, construction wise, than alternating blocks of “Nine Patches” and “Half Square Triangles?” And yet, look at the sophisticated appeal of this quilt, the pattern called, “Country Charm,” from the book Country Inn by Barb Adams and Alma Allen.

Pleasant Tree Country Charm

PleasanTree makes “Country Charm”

The work is also appointed with a ruffled edge, lifting this quilt up and out of the ordinary in another delicious way. The cuddle factor is a hit “outta the park.” What a Home Run with just a bit of planning for color in fabric selection. To enjoy more photos from PleasanTree, go here.

Auditioning Fabric

Try auditioning fabric without cutting.

Audition possible fabric choices with colored pencils on graph paper, or physically try them out by folding them onto a background fabric, or by pinning them to a design wall. Some quilters also print out their pattern layout on EQ, or Electric Quilt, a computer design program, print out the required number of blocks and then cut small fabric squares to glue stick onto the paper. No matter how the color way is planned, the time spent choosing fabrics will produced a high level design, with few construction headaches.

Click for a preview

 SunbonnetSmart.com is authored by a little bird who loves to lure SunbonnetSmartsters to her BlogHer.com profile, daily newspaper,
The SunbonnetSmart.com NewsFlash, and Facebook Fan Page

SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mug
SunbonnetSmart Coffee Mug by SunbonnetSmart


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