Sunday, September 2, 2018

Hello September - The Most Wonderful Month of the Year!

Hello dear friend! Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

I hope this first day of September finds you well. I absolutely, positively LOVE September! Every year, this month feels like the "kickoff" to the season of festivities! Plus, it is the month that starts my most favorite season of all, Fall! In addition, September marks my 11th year writing this blog. Thank you for following along on all my adventures.

Let's catch up shall we?

There is something about our Carolina blue skies. This is an "unedited" view of Bayfield Cottage when I returned from my morning walk. What a beautiful way to start the day!

I love walking in the morning. It gives me energy for the day and is so meditative.

David and I went to see Captain and Eric at their new home. No, the crane is not sitting on my head. hee,hee,hee. It was really great to visit with her and her home is beautiful.

My favorite part of her home is the Sunroom. It overlooks the river and is incredibly peaceful. I would live in that room. David and Eric had a nice long visit out here.

I also had a visit from Steve and Val, who purchased my home in New Bern. One of these days Val and I will get a photo together! She purchased this fella, whom I have named Clarence, and like a sneaky bunny, left him in my yard. hee,hee,hee.

I have been working on organizing my studio. I'm trying to get rid of every bit of "press-board" furniture and replace it all with real wood. That dresser on the left was a $1200 Pottery Barn dresser I picked up for $100. It's solid wood. The top was a little messed up, but David painted it for me and it's perfect for my studio. I'm going to paint the walls and ceiling Aged White by Sherwin Williams to match the rest of the house. It's a calming, warm white and I love it. The room is too dark for me now, although in this photo, it doesn't look as dark as it really is.

The piece in the center is actually a kitchen island. It too is sold wood and is heavy as all get out!  I didn't want the cream distressed look and felt like it needed to be black to anchor and center the room.

Yep, that's better! I'll show you more of my studio after I get it painted.

Speaking of painting, David put another coat on the deck. We are some painting fools around here! Every single inch of this cottage needs painting. Makes me miss a new house and a brick house with vinyl trim. No maintenance!!!

We did manage to take a break and go boating with our fun friends, Patty and Jim. I call Patty, Barbie and I'm Skipper. hee,hee,hee. We docked the boat and had a lovely dinner together. Do you like my hat? My dear friend, Lydia gave it to me. I call it my "Bad-ass Bunny Hat." hee,hee,hee.

This is the view from the restaurant. That is the intracoastal waterway. The ocean is just beyond the green grass. You can see the whitecaps on the waves. Beautiful isn't it?

Next, I'm excited to share that my darling student, Brandee Howser, completed her quilt for her new baby. In a previous post, I explained that she wanted to learn to make a quilt and brought me a sketch on paper. I designed it from her sketch and taught her everything from start to finish. I'm so proud of her and I think the quilt turned out beautifully!

Just in time too as Greyson James Howser arrived 10 days early!

My "Within and Inch of my Life" project continues to grow. It measures about 26" in diameter now. I love stitching these every day. As a designer, it's very freeing to simply stitch without thought to instructions. For those friends new to my blog, I started this project on March 27, which was my 50th birthday. Each day I am stitching a 1" hexie representing something that stood out to me from the day before. I'm adding the inchies in a clockwise rotation to represent the passage of time. I'm using various shades of green, Valdani size 12 perle cotton. Green is my favorite color and I like the simplicity as it matches my design aesthetic. The entire piece is stitched by hand.

I will be offering kits and ideas soon for those who may also want to challenge themselves. Stay tuned!

Here are a few of my favorite inchies from August.

First, this is Dixie Duck. She lives down the street from me. She is adorable and puts her head down for me to pet her. I get so excited when I see her!

Next, the dragonflies came to say hello in the Spring and now they stopped to say goodbye. Their wings looking ragged from the sun and all their Summer adventures.

As one enters Wilmington, from the North on Hwy 17, this magnificent, very old, Live Oak tree greets them. I have loved this tree from my very first visit to Wilmington 15 years ago. I named it Gandalf the Great. My fellow Lord of the Rings fans will know who that is. ;)

School has started for all the kiddos here. I was amazed that the parents in our neighborhood stood at the bus stop with the teenagers! They took photos, gave hugs and cheered when they got on the bus! Hilarious! This neighborhood loves a celebration.

This is me 45 years ago on my first day of school. I'm wearing a Raggedy Ann and Andy dress. I'm still that spunky kid on the inside and I still have bangs. hee,hee,hee.

This last inch is about a TED talk by Shonda Rhimes on "My Year of Saying Yes." In it, she talks about "The Hum." It really resonated with me as I too have been there, done that and continue to struggle with keeping "The Hum."

Here's a link to the talk if you want to listen/watch it. CLICK HERE. 

Speaking of "The Hum," here is a new Folk Art Fusion design I'm working on. This is how it looks before stitching and embellishing.

Here's how it looks after. 

I was approached, for a second time, by a large publishing company to write a book for them. You see, I'm the only one who does this technique of "reverse wool applique" and unlike most wool applique, my style isn't "Primitive."

While I am totally flattered, I turned them down once again. It would be a year and half worth of hard work, all my ideas, my designs and well, me.... my heart and soul. A piece of me goes into everything I create. That's what artists do and while someone else may decide to do something like this, it wouldn't be me and wouldn't be my look, my thoughts, my ideas, my style. It would simply be a copy, an imitation of me. I see so many designers out there making things that look so very close to someone else that you think it is them. It's one thing to be inspired by someone. It's another thing to make something your own.

If I wrote the book for them, I would do all of that work for hardly any amount of pay. We're taking pennies. Who works for pennies? Why aren't creative people paid what they are worth? Why does everyone think ideas are free? I want and deserve to be paid for what I design. Every creative person deserves that because without artists, the world would be sooooooooo boring and ugly. Think about the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, the house you live in, the decor you purchase, the car you drive, the cookware you use and yes, the textile project you make. Guess what? ARTISTS made them for you to enjoy!

Besides, I already did the book thing and I published it myself and it's still for sale HERE.

 I have been on National TV for this technique

I've been featured on Podcasts.

Featured in gallery walks.

Taught students all over the country.

 and... For the second year in a row, I'm a teacher of this technique at the largest quilt festival in the world.

Jules and I were chatting the other day and we both realized that we don't celebrate things enough. We've been the "Yeah, I did that. It was fun. Time to move on type of people." But, taking the time to look back, I realized that I have done a lot of things and have accomplished so much all by myself. I'm really proud of all that I have shared with others and inspired in others. I have enjoyed that "Hum" and at the same time, I know it's changing and another rabbit hole awaits. "It's better to burn out than to fade away." - Tom Petty

Sometimes one just needs to sit in a sunbeam and ponder the next adventure.

Have a beautiful September and celebrate something your proud of. Something that was "spot on." hee,hee,hee.

Hugs and friends always,


Shirley said...

Good Morning Shell, I still enjoy reading blogs even though I don't post one that often. It has been a rough time for me with my accident and losing my other half. I still think of you each time that I look at the rabbit that I won in your give away. I admire all of the things you do and someday maybe I will meet you in person. I love to watch your stitch by inch grow. My fingers stay busy with hand embroidery. I am so proud of your teaching and all that you have accomplished. I would live in the captain's sunroom. It looks so peaceful. Hugs and prayers from your Missouri Friend Shirley


Oh yes I am still a big follower and now also enjoy visiting with you on facebook--love seeing the hexies each day and why you make each one!!!
I have just "I have just jumped down the rabbit hole" myself this past week--and will be doing a post all about it today--hopefully--
I love your designs--whether I get to make each one or not--so just keep designing and stitching your heart out!!!
and I look forward to the next 11 years of your posts!!
enjoy, di

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

RABBIT RABBIT!!!! Oh Shell, what can I say as I hurry out the door here, but that you inspire me. Your cottage. That deck that you visited (I must get my guy on board with painting the orangy cedar WHITE), Hanna, Clarence (teehehehhe) and all your inspire. Have a super September, and off to work I go on Tuesday to start a new chapter in the third grade! YIKES!

Three Sheep Studio said...

I always love reading your insights !
(Wish you blogged just a wee bit more than once a month !)

almtsbb said...

Love your boating hat, and how you brought Sabrina and Hannah into the blog to make two excellent points.

Pieta Laker-Ratcliff said...

Oh Michelle, I wish I had found your blog 11 years ago. I love your creative spirit and have made, and am still making, some of your designs. I'm pleased that you have decided to go your own way and I for one will continue to follow your journey.
I sympathise with you regarding being paid fairly for your work. I gave up dressmaking years ago for that very reason; people wanted couture garments for chain store prices.
I would love to be able to meet you but not this year as I went to the UK instead. Maybe next year.

Sharon Cratsenburg said...

Michelle I always look forward to reading your blog. That's how we got you to come to CAMEO Quilt Guild in Michigan. I'm honored you are sharing our guild play date. Your work is fabulous and stay true to your dreams. PS. I ate vegan when we visited my daughter. Quite an experience. Thank you for teaching me a little about food too. God Bless. Sharon

Draffin Bears said...

Dear Michelle,

So lovely to come and visit and see what you are up to my dear friend.
I can see why you enjoy September as it looks gorgeous there with the blue clear skies, autumn is lovely where we live too, which is the opposite time of the year. Your house and office is lovely and neat to see where you work.
Love the little inchies, such a cute idea. Also your student must have been thrilled with the quilt you tutored to help her make for baby.
Lovely to see you sweet friend in your hat, Sabrina and Hannah.
Take care and have a fun September.

Dots said...

Hi Michelle, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. I love your creative spirit! I wanted to work with wool felt but I'm not into the primitive stuff. I like what I've seen on your blog. It is cheerful and colorful. As I was reading where they were trying to get you to do a book, I thought, "Oh, I hope you do a book!" But no, you didn't want to, and I thought, "bummer!" And then I read on and you said you 'already did a book." So I bought your book and I will be working on that come winter. I really enjoy your process. But I live in Ohio, so the book is as close as I will get to your class. But I sure was happy about your book. I just want to encourage you to keep doing what you do. You have a lot of joy. Your love of creation,and talents are many. Your neighbor duck, inchies, bunnies, and your beautiful home along with so much more. Woman, you got it going on. Blessed in all kinds of ways! Thanks for sharing.

Jill said...

Very nice post. You have been busy working, yet took time to have fun with friends. I enjoy the progress on your house and now the studio. I totally get your reasoning for not signing a book contact. I’ve noticed when other bloggers pen a book, their under pressure and basically their life is on hold. You are more of a free spirit and your creativity would be diminished. I did not realize the profit for authors is pennies. That tells me the publihers make all the money at the authors’ expense. Yes, you have done lots on your own and you should be proud. I wish I could travel to Houston. That show is on my bucket list.

Jenny Bonynge said...

Thanks for sharing your life with us! ;0)

Jules Woolford said...

I loved it! This post is a wonderful snapshot.
You know how proud I am of you, and to be your

Laura Bullinger said...

Thank you for another sweet and interesting newsletter! Always enjoyable to read! Stay well!

Linzey Joy said...

I love your blog! I'm sitting here right now and your words are making me feel so much better! I love your hexi idea!!!!!!

Outback Crafter - Debra said...

House is looking amazing.
Thank you for sharing your successes.

Jeanette said...

Lovely post Shell. I always look forward to reading about what you've been doing, your thoughts & seeing your lovely photo's. Hugs,xx

Createology said...

Well said Shell Dear. Artists and those of us who toil with our own hands to create hand crafted Works of HeArt should be compensated properly. I gave up years ago trying to get paid for my work. Creative Bliss cannot be a chore or mass produced by some unknown entity. Stand up, be proud and know you are unique and very very accomplished! I love your Creative Journey and Thank You for including us down your Rabbit Hole. September and Fall is in the Air...<3

Tina said...

This is such a lovely post! Your home is just beautiful and I love your 'nest' space. It makes me start thinking about changes/updates that we could make to our home...hmmmmm!! I love the quilt you designed for your neighbor and it turned out so beautifully! (Congratulations on her new baby!) And then your Folk Art Fusion design is amazing and I just love it! I think that Sabrina and Hannah are beyond beautiful and healthy looking and I feel like I could almost touch their soft coats in their pictures! They are certainly very happy little girls and I love that you take such wonderful care of them!!! Blessings to you and thank you for still blogging!!!

Tina said...

Oh dear! I wrote a comment and posted it, but it doesn't look like it 'took' :(( so I guess I'll just summarize that I just love your blog, Sabrina, Hannah, your designs, your home, and your wonderful creativity!! Hugs to you!!!!

Kris said...

Oh, Shell, it has been so much fun to watch you grow over these many years. I just looked back and I will have been blogging for 9 years this coming February and you were one of the very first blogs I followed and I have followed you religiously through all those years!! You know I love you like a daughter and I wish you continued success in all you do!! You have worked hard for it and I am soooooo dang proud of you!! Be safe during this big storm that is coming your way!! xoxoxoxo

Connie the Cootie Bug said...

Good morning from southern Indiana. I have a high school friend who lives now in New Bern and has had to evacuate to her son's home elsewhere for the duration of the hurricane. I have been reading your blog for a long, long time, and I've been a blogger for a number of years too but have had various blogs, for one reason or another. The one I have now was begun in April so it's relatively just getting launched. I'm a quilter / crafter and I have too many interests to accomplish much in each category but I love doing them all. For years I focused on quilting but in past couple of years I've branched out to paper crafts and other stuff. I have arthritis and some of my hobbies are too difficult due to pain in hands and finger joints so I do what doesn't hurt. :) Done blame you for turning down the book offer. I agree with your comments.

Barb said...

What a fun post, enjoyed it all, love your home and your sewing room.

DebbieM said...

Praying for NC and SC. Blessings and be safe from Florence.

Susie Q said...

Happy September Michelle and I loved your catch up. I think you have done some amazing things and although I am useless at applique I do enjoy looking at your work.

I love seeing the work on your home and can't wait to see the progress on your sewing room.

I do hope you are safe. I am not sure where exactly you are but you did say Carolina and hope that the storm has missed you and if not there is no damage.

Stay safe.

Hugs, Susie x

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your September blog post. I have been reading your blog about 4 or 5 years. Hope your okay and did not get flooded out of your home during the hurricane.


Karen said...

Wow! I love your studio and all that you are doing to it. Solid wood is so much nicer than pressed. I wish I could replace all the pressed wood furnishings in my home! Your have created and done so much in your life. Amazing and wonderful!

Sheila H. said...

I had the pleasure of meeting you a couple years ago at either the Concord or a Greensboro quilt show. You are truly as enchanting in person as on your blog. I am hoping that you and your beautiful home are ok in the terrible aftermath of Florence. Please let us concerned readers know in your next (hopefully soon) post. Take care, and God bless.