Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Art Techniques for Quilt Design clip!

Here is the first bit. I was kinda nervous for a few seconds but then by some miracle...I wasn't! So this clip captures those first few nervous seconds and I seem to blink a lot  and...ummm...I say, "umm" a few times. I do so like that little non-thinking word of exhale. Umm let's us regroup. Umm is the tiny stop-gap we put in our sentences to buy some time for the brain to catch up with the mouth. But after all the blinking and umms in the first minute subside, then for the next hour I teach a lot of really fun material that I have learned over my life as an artist to help you make cool things in a direct and fun way–like drawing essentials including blind contour and gesture drawing, composition and fast, fun collage techniques. I truly believe that if you can draw you can do anything. Undoubtedly, the simple drawing techniques I offer will help you see the world better and more clearly and therefor your creations will be that much better. Even if you aren't an artist and don't really want to be one, drawing helps all of your creative products from sewing to quilting to graphic design.

Confidence comes from knowing that you are absolutely good enough right now in this moment and trusting that whatever you make (even if it isn't fit for the Louvre or MoMa) is an expression of your heart and soul here and now. In fact, the more we make mistakes, the more we can learn from them and get better and better. We all want to make great things and with practice, we certainly will–but we also can have a total blast on the journey and enjoy the ride knowing that there is no such thing as perfect...and that right now you can express the magic in your heart the best way you know how and with whatever skills you have.

Go get get your copy today! The download is available right now and the DVD will be in stock on August 8, 2014. Click here to buy. Here's the Quilting Daily newsletter:

Enable your inner artist with Carrie Bloomston’s expert guidance

Art Techniques for Quilt Design

Your Price: $24.99

Quilting Arts Workshop: Art Techniques for Quilt Design
with Carrie Bloomston
DVD - 68 minutes

Confidently create contemporary quilt designs! Join Carrie Bloomston for this workshop video that will teach you how to capture the essence of an idea in cloth by using warm up techniques, drawing exercises, and basic design principles. Then, put these techniques to the test as you learn how to craft a freeform nest pattern, create collages from fabric, and design a whimsical quilt based on children's artwork.

Pre-order Art Techniques for Quilt Design today to:

Put composition to work and create quilting designs out of cloth that have movement and balance.
Learn to speak the language of your materials — be in the moment and trust your intuition.
Uncover Carrie's expert tips to bring out the most from your contemporary quilts.
Have fun and let your materials inspire unique and personalized projects.
And much, much more!

Pre-order your copy of Art Techniques for Quilt Designand receive the download FREE to enjoy instantly!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quilting Arts Season 1400 DVD blog party

Remember how I told you about being asked by lovely Vivika De Negre at Interweave to fly to Ohio because they wanted to film a DVD and three episodes of Quilting Arts TV with me? It was such an honor for me to be included and so much fun. I wrote about the whole adventure here and my very old fear of flying, but guess what? The whole season of Quilting Arts 1400 DVD is now out and ready for you to buy or download here (or you can watch the episodes one by one on your local PBS station as they air). 

Also, I'm SOOOO excited to tell you that my DVD, Art Techniques for Quilt Designs, is now available for Pre-order or instant download now! I have watched it (ummm....like four times!!!) and I am happy to say that it doesn't suck! (I was rather relieved to watch it because I haven't been filmed very much and didn't know what to expect. Phew!) In fact, I like it so much and I think you will, too. In it, I teach simple art school techniques like drawing basics (learning how to see so that you can draw), design process and composition, how to create artful sewn goods like my Nest Quilt and how to interpret children's artwork with fast fabric collage to create keepsake treasures. Mainly, I help you trust your own innate abilities and talent so you can get busy designing original creations and have the confidence to do so. I help you Celebrate Your Inner Artist!™  Go download it or pre-order it right here right now! 

It was wonderful to work with the new host of Quilting Arts, Susan Brubaker Knapp. In honor of the blog hop that we are doing to promote the new season of Quilting Arts and the DVD, we were asked to to share a little bit about our creative process and inspiration. For me it isn't a matter of what inspires me because the list is so long and it goes like this:

my children, love, my husband, chocolate, stars, sun, the beach, being outside, yoga, the moon, art history, Japanese package design, good graphic design, movies...so many movies, books, tea, my kitchen, product design, people, so many people and teachers, artists, writers, modern dance, tea bags, old stuff, new stuff, dried things, plants, smells, tastes, food, wabi sabi, textiles, India, Japan, paper, stationery, eucalyptus pods, fireworks, weather, rain, stories, fables, poetry, screened-in porches, looking at the rain....see? I could go on and on and on...

The problem is not what inspires me but what to do with it. Inspiration is such an ephemeral and fleeting thing. I feel surrounded by beauty and inspiration every day, but that doesn't mean I capture it every day. Capturing inspiration is like catching butterflies. You gotta have a net. For me, that net looks like this: dictating notes to Siri on my phone while driving my kids to school...or like I did today, writing notes about my next fabric collection for Windham on the bookmark in the book I'm reading (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which I highly recommend!) while flying in a plane...or hiking down a mountain and rushing to the car to jot down notes and most especially after yoga. I commonly find space for new ideas after clearing my head by getting my thoughts to quiet down so that I can listen to the truer source of inspiration...my heart, my soul. 

So, what inspires you? Leave a comment over on the Quilting Daily blog right here and a lucky someone will win a DVD of the QATV season! Each day one of the participants below will be writing about their experience so follow along:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence of the Spirit

I had a pause today–a moment of quiet reflection–staring out the window...and I had some thoughts. On this day of Independence here in the US, I'm thinking a lot about freedom. Actually, I'm thinking about whether or not money buys us freedom. And I am feeling that it does. Certainly, it does. I know. But, at what price? What do we lose in the pursuit? Of course we must work and work hard...but at what? 

I have said and I maintain that I have never bought into the "struggling artist" paradigm. (In fact, I feel that if I am struggling at anything then I am probably doing it wrong.) Yet when I compare myself to others, I very much feel the loser. On paper that is. In the realm of stuff. But not in the realm of the spirit and the soul. There I feel very rich indeed, and not even by comparison. I dare say, I feel free. There are many routes to that freedom. For me, this moment right here with the keyboard under my fingers is my goldmine. Or being with my kids as they turn cardboard boxes into homemade foosball games and other contraptions, or lost in making magic in studio, whether painting, or sewing, or just gathering sticks on a walk to turn into something later, as we did today.

My life is not leisurely, per se. There is no, or very little, sitting still. Not much leisure, rest, respite, travel, or even reading. Not much time for reveries by the open window. But my life is the reverie. I am usually making something, cleaning something, emailing someone back (usually too late) or trying desperately to teach my children to eat healthy snacks and not clobber each other. Yet, it is all the dream. I feel terribly, terribly lucky to occupy this exact very life. I love it, despite the toiling, the constantness. Because my life is a creative expression of the love that lives in my heart. 

What we toil at matters. Where we put our love, energy and time matters, and it should feel good, although that isn't always possible. Where I put my love, is where my life will go. So, I choose to go in the direction of my dreams. Don't get me wrong...I so hope there is a pot of gold involved at some point of this rainbow, but there ain't no use fretting over that too much. So I just keep showing up at work and play. I witness the beauty around me everyday and bathe in gratitude for the treasures I find in my family and in the world. Happy Independence day. I hope you have some freedom inside of you to follow your bliss, your passion, your Little Spark of creativity. If you don't, go find it. It is there. Watch this video narrated by Alan Watts for some inspiration:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Little Spark

My book! Preorder signed copies here.
I could go on and on about my super-secret little project that is no longer secret (and wasn't really so little after all). I wrote a book last fall. I did that largely in my tree fort, on a laptop. And I think, I mean I truly believe, that it rocks. It isn't quite done. I mean–I'm done. But it is now in the loving hands of a very talented graphic designer over at Stash Books/C&T Publishing named Kristy. Kristy is the graphic designer of my soul. She is making sheer magic out of my words and the inspiring images I collected from my talented friends around the globe.
And THIS BOOK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I mean, I should say, it may change your life, if you let it. Actually, the book will have, in the end, very little to do with you altering the course of your life and stepping into a passionate, creative life–no matter if you want to quilt, sew, belly dance, bake cakes or paint watercolor still-life paintings by the seashore, listening to the tinkling sound of wind chimes made from seashells dipped in resin. All the tools you need are inside the book, but you'll do the digging, the playing and the exercises. You'll be inspired to dive in and make a mess. You'll start your own bonfire. You see, my book, The Little Spark–30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, will be your road map. It is an interactive workbook filled with questions that only YOU can answer. And when you do, you will come alive to the part of yourself that may have been sleeping for a few decades...you will remember the tiny creative spark you were born with and what you want to do with it. But, The Spark is already lit within you, like a pilot light. It never goes out. It is sitting there, at the center of who you are, waiting for you to turn on the stove.
So anyway, my publisher is almost done producing my book. And then they'll print it in a distant land on printing presses run by gnomes and fairies–each letter hand-carved from bamboo. (Nkay, not really.) And then the books will fly on the backs of winged horses to a store near you in November. (I mean, I think they may actually be crated and shipped on huge faceless ships in big sad, steel boxes, but where's the magic in that?) In fact, if you are a store owner, ah hem, so glad you've read this email because now's your chance to order the book on page 30 in the C&T Publishing Fall 2014 catalog right HERE.
I want this book to be found, to be bought, used, read, dog-earerd, lost, found again, colored-in, cried over, shared and spread from mountaintop to mountaintop, in great waves of love. Because I think it will help people..and that is the spirit I held in my heart as I wrote each chapter. My North star was LOVE. My goal, as I wrote, was to help people see their own beautiful creativity–the creativity they were born with and are still in complete possession of–even if they have forgotten.
In the meantime, you can go and preorder your very own signed copy (and save the date for my book launch party/reading/signing on December 2) at my favorite local indie bookstore, Changing Hands Books, right here. They will ship everywhere! You can also go find your local indie bookstore at indiebound.org and go tell them to stock my book :) or you can preorder it on Amazon.
Please forward this post to your favorite local shops so they can go order itThis book is perfect for ANY kind of shop: quilting, sewing, craft, art, yoga studio, museum store, Market Bistro, gift shops, foodie food huts, boutiques, bead stores, lovely gardening shops, pottery studios and stationery stores. Also, I have a weird fantasy of this book selling in airport bookstores.
Lots of love and gratitude, 
Carrie Bloomston 
This is me seeing my book in their catalog for the first time at Quilt Market. I cried! I wasn't expecting to see it. Good surprise.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pat Sloan Radio Show

I am honored to be on the Pat Sloan Radio Show podcast on Monday, June 23, 2014! The show airs at 4 pm Eastern Standard Time. You can listen on your computer, subscribe by iTunes (search American Patchwork & Quilting), or download to a player.

Click here to listen. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Have you heard of Kraft-tex?

Have you heard of Kraft-tex? No? Well, let me introduce you. You are going to fall.in.love. I did. You know that little tag on the back of your favorite old pair of Levi's Jeans? You thought it was printed leather, didn't you? It used to be. But now manufacturers use products like Kraft-tex–a tough paper that performs like fabric. It is durable, flexible, washable, paint-able, dye-able, stamp-able, sew-able, emboss-able, fold-able…getting the idea? You can make almost anything with this stuff. And that’s what you get to see in kraft•tex Style–a new book I'm in by Roxane Cerda (coming out in September from Stash Books) which shows so many very cool Kraft-tex projects. 

My Indestructible Yoga Mat Sling in Krafttex Style by Roxane Cerda.
The great thing about Kraft-tex is that you can use the raw edge (without turning it under or hemming it) because it won't fray or rip. So I made my Indestructible Yoga Mat Sling in less than an hour using a simple rectangle of Kraft-tex and some webbing for handles. I added a pocket for a cell phone and a carabiner for keys. Let me say that I hated sending my yoga sling to the editor for this book because I didn't want to let it go. I used it once to test it out and I fell in love with it.  Most yoga mat bags are fussy and annoying. There is nothing worse than trying to cram your sweaty yoga mat and wet towel into a cotton yoga mat tube after class when you are all blissed-out. But with this sling... aaaahhhhh... the bliss continues as you roll up your mat, place it on the sling (no matter how sweaty or bulky with your towel) and hop on your bike and head home. Blissicus Non-interruptus. 

This book is filled with so many cool projects. You'll be so inspired to make, paint, sew and create with Kraft-tex. I am in love with Jen Carlton Bailey's Tech Stand below. You can buy Kraft-tex here. It is offered in white, black and natural. Order the book here.

 Watch the video below to learn more about this amazing product and then have fun.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Art of Whimsical Lettering :: Book Giveaway

I do believe you guys like words and text and letters just as much as I do, and boy do I have a fun book for you. Every once in a while I have a cool opportunity from a publisher to review a book and/or do a giveaway. You know–feed the buzzmill.  Sometimes the books are absolutely awesome like this one: The Art of Whimsical Lettering by Joanne Sharpe. I liked it so much when I saw it that I asked for an additional copy to give away to my readers.

"The Art of Whimsical Lettering is an artful instruction book on creating stylized fonts and expressive artwork with personal handwriting skills. Author Joanne Sharpe shows you how to create exuberant and personalized writing styles for your artwork–whether it be a journal, canvas art, or other projects that use text."

You don't have to be an artist to play and learn from this super-fun book. Joanne has created amazing fonts and compositions to inspire your inner-artist. She makes artistic alphabets with ink, marker, and watercolor that will inspire you to dig right in and start creating. She also teaches basic collage and bookmaking techniques. Her imagery is very friendly even for a beginner. Listen, everyone can doodle!!!!

So leave a comment below and make sure you leave your email address if you aren't a blogger member. I'll pick a winner by June 10th. You can buy your own copy HERE.

THE WINNER IS ELNM! Comments are now closed. Thank you, guys!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Stitch 'N Swap Giveaway!

My cool friend,  Jake Finch of Generation Q Magazine, called and asked me to be a part of her book about swaps. To be honest, I had never been part of a swap (that's when a sewing guild hosts an event for people to exchange sewn gifts). So I just made what I was into in that moment: EYE PILLOWS! I embroidered "i am enough" right onto one and voila! Instant awesomeness–a calming and grounding lavender eye pillow that also reminds us of the truth: that we are enough just as we are.

THREE Lucky winners will receive a copy of this fun book! US winners will receive a print copy of the book. International winners will receive a digital download.)

My page in the book...
How does this giveaway work? Comment on the original Generation Q Stitch 'N Swap here post  letting us know if you've ever participated in a swap and the coolest thing you've ever gotten in a swap. That's it! (All winners will be chosen from the Generation Q Magazine post Wednesday May 7th and posted Thursday May 8th.) Check out the other cool designers participating:

Stitch 'n Swap - $17.95; 112 pages; color images; 25 projects from amazing designers
links to purchase the book, available at  C&T 
I made a lot of these for my yoga homies! Great gift for your yoga friends.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Announcing The Happy Flag Project

Oh, dear friends!
I am tremendously excited to share with you a most special project in honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's upcoming visit to Birmingham, Alabama in October. Actually, I am rather stunned that we got the green light from the Birmingham Mayor's office on Monday...but we did. To be honest, this project is so much bigger than me that I have no idea what it actually even is and I am curious to see how it will unfold. 

The basic idea of The Happy Flag Project is to celebrate His Holiness and this amazing event by blanketing the city of Birmingham and its many civil rights sites in handmade prayer flags which you will send in from all over the world. I grew up in Alabama and have had a long running interest in Tibet and Buddhism. I am so grateful and deeply honored to have the opportunity to be a part of such a holy and sacred creativity project and to work on it with my mom.

Please visit the website and also follow along on the Facebook page The Happy Flag Project. I can't wait to see the magical prayer flag creations you will make. Also, please consider hosting a prayer flag making workshop in your city and we will post it on the site. Share this with your friends. We welcome your feedback, thoughts, ideas and interaction on this very special adventure. It will be better if we do it together! Be a part of the love! And thank you.

See more here

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayer flag project giveaway!

Sometimes the world is just so strangely tiny. In February, Vivika De Negre, editor at Interweave/Quilting Arts, and I were working on the details of filming my DVD for them and concurrently, I was asking a bunch of strangers via social media to sew some prayer flags for me with my new fabric collection, PAINT, for Windham Fabrics. These two events are seemingly completely unrelated. I googled prayer flags so that I could send people a link to see examples of handmade prayer flags. And what popped up was Vivika's Prayer Flag Project blog! We had more in common than we even knew. Both of us love prayer flags. Vivika has been blogging about artful, handmade prayer flags since 2011 here. I am happy to be a part of her blog hop today and so excited to share the prayer flags made by my tribe:

I have a thing for Tibet. (You can read about my long lost Free Tibet t-shirt here.) And I love the spiritual significance of Tibetan prayer flags. We hang them around our house. We make them in my family and I have made prayer flags with the kiddos in my son's school. I even lead prayer flag workshops. The idea of traditional Tibetan prayer flags is that the prayers (and mantras) imbued into the cloth are spread far and wide by the wind.

For my prayer flag request, I explained it this way in the letter to the 20 strangers: "honor the sacred creativity within you. As you work, be filled with love, let your work be like a prayer…for whatever you want…love, joy, peace, anything. Let the creativity move you. Your flag doesn’t have to look like your prayer. It can look like patchwork, art, or a design. But fill it with love from your heart as you work." We'll donate this creation to a special organization afterwards.

I believe in people's inherent, limitless creativity. My brand is built on inspiring people and enabling creativity in many forms. Yet I wasn't prepared for the works of art that started rolling in to my house. When you ask for something from your heart, filled with love, it is astonishing how people show up. I'm not sure what I expected, but what I got was sacred cloth–filled with an unexpected depth, and each one is so unique to its creator. Each one is a work of art all its own. People stepped up. They stepped in. They dug deep. I received a sacred stained glass cathedral window, an African symbol, a Hebrew Chai symbol, etc. I made a Tibetan Eternal Knot symbol. This string of prayer flags is a beautiful reflection of all of these women, all over the country. I am blown away. Thank you to the beautiful women who dug deep and revealed the face of human kindness: Carolyn Miller, Jenny Rekeweg, Rhonda Greenberg, Stacie Barrett, Brooke Sellmann, Cristy Fincher, Melissa Everett, Brittany Burton, Daria J. Sislow, Seema Saraf-Kini, Jayme Christensen, Laurie Christensen, Sharon Margiotta, Christen Barber


If you'd like to make some prayer flags but need some inspiration and ideas, here's a great resource: Quilting Arts has a new 47-page e-book that is a collection of articles called Prayer flags: Make Banners of Hope & Peace from Fabric Scraps and Fibers ($6.99 on the Quilting Daily Shop). For a limited time, you can get a Moda Banner Set with the Prayer Flag e-book from the Quilting Daily Shop for $24.99). The banners are triangular pre-made prayer flags you can decorate as you please, with no sewing necessary!

April 11:   Quiltingdaily.com 
April 14:   Jane LaFazio  
April 15:   Meg Cox  
April 16:   Deborah O’Hare  
April 17:   Jamie Fingal 
April 17:   Susan Brubaker Knapp 
April 18:   Carrie Bloomston  
Quilting Arts is offering one lucky winner a copy of this cool DVD called Design & Print Your Own Fabric! Leave a comment below by April 21st to be entered to win the giveaway.