Saturday, July 4, 2015

Light Up Your Life - Forgive Yourself

Happy 4th of July! Today is our Independence Day, usually celebrated with great food and fireworks. We'll be canning tomatoes today, then cooking a big meal in the evening to enjoy with family. I just wanted an excuse to take the whole day off to cook, play in the pool, chase James around the yard, and eat a lot of tomatoes!

I have a Light Up Your Life video here that's a bit in-congruent with the festivities. It's all about personal forgiveness - learning how to build compassion and empathy for YOURSELF.

Then I got to thinking about it and I think this is the best time to share this. What better day to learn about forgiveness and declare a personal cease-fire than on a night of fireworks and bright colors?

 Yep, I make a lot of mistakes, and made many on this little art journal quilt! Rather than get frustrated and angry with myself, I've just taken it in stride.

It's taken me years to learn compassion for myself. Self judgement and criticism are horrible monsters to live with in your head, and very hard to ignore.

I have a lot more to share on learning compassion, but for this post I just want to remind you that it's never too late to STOP judging yourself, criticizing yourself, and find that softer, compassionate voice in your mind.

One tool I have used over the years is pivoting off major holidays as a way to let go and release my negativity and resentment. I think 4th of July is a perfect day because the bright lights and fireworks are a bit like a Holi Festival.

A Holi Festival is a Hindu festival of light and color that signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships (Wikipedia).

I've seen photos of Holi festivals and would love to attend, literally swim in color for a day, and then as it washes off, also allow it to take all my lingering resentment with it. I believe you can find symbols and methods of release like this throughout the year, and it never hurts to lighten your load.

I've been lumbering under a lot of regrets this spring - I've been traveling too much, I missed a lot of James's school events, and our business isn't in the same shape it was last year. Tonight I'm going to release all my regrets and lingering judgement, imagining them exploding one after the other with our fireworks this evening.

So what about you? Do you find it easy to forgive your mistakes or do you keep beating yourself up for things you've done or said, even years after the fact? Do you leave mistakes in your quilts, or do you have to rip? Have you ever used a firework display, or bonfire as a way to set down your negativity and move forward with fresh outlook?

It's definitely never too late to learn how to release the negativity in your life! Start today.

Let's get moving. Try something new!

Leah Day

Friday, July 3, 2015

BIG Craftsy Sale!

This weekend Craftsy is holding a terrific sale with select classes starting at $19.99!
Help support our website and free videos by checking out all the cool classes on sale here!

Here's three awesome classes that I highly recommend:
Creative Quilting with Your Walking Foot - If you've been enjoying our walking foot videos, you'll LOVE Jacquie Gering's walking foot class! She shares awesome tips and creative ideas for machine quilting multiple quilt projects with your walking foot.

Finishing School: Edges & Bindings - Are you tired of blah edges to your quilts? Add a totally new look to the edge with piping, rick-rack, scallops, and more! Mimi Dietrich is both friendly and entertaining as she guides you step-by-step through multiple binding methods
Help! How Do I Quilt It?! - Angela Walters is back with another awesome quilting class on how to pick designs for your quilts. Learn several designs and many new ideas with Angela's calm approach to quilting.

Find all three of these classes on sale for just $19.99 this weekend only! Click Here to shop now!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Walking Foot Wednesday - Quilt Easy Rays

walking foot wednesday | machine quilting
We've just moved our walking foot posts to Wednesday so we can call it Walking Foot Wednesday! There are so many creative ways to use your walking foot, and I'm loving the challenge of coming up with new designs in our t-shirt quilt project.

Today I've shared a super easy machine quilting design called Rays at This simple design involves quilting straight lines from the center of your quilt block.

machine quilting rays | machine quilting 

 I love the emphasis this simple design adds to the center of the block! Click Here to learn how to quilt easy Rays with your Walking Foot!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mosaic Quilt Design

I've had this massive craving for mosaics ever since walking through Minneapolis and enjoying the mosaics that seemed to be around every corner:

I've debated on all the ways to use this inspiration for a quilt and finally found an easy way to plan an mosaic style design:

Yep, construction paper and glue baby! I feel like a kid in kindergarten and I'm having such a blast!

Can't wait to show you what this turns into next!

Let's go design!

Leah Day

Monday, June 29, 2015

Free Motion Quilt Egyptian Fans - #443

I've got a craving for new free motion quilting designs and I've decided to turn Monday's post into a special new design day. Don't worry, we're still going to learn beautiful walking foot designs every Wednesday! Let's check out the new free motion quilting design for today:

This is Egyptian Fans, an elegant quilting design created with simple curves and soft echoes to fill your quilts with beautiful texture. It's a Pivoting Design, but this particular combination of angles and curves has never come easily for me. I have trouble changing from an inner to outer to inner curve easily because my hands want to make all inner curves. Watch the video to see what I mean:

When a design doesn't initially feel natural for you, the best thing to do is draw it. Draw it on EVERYTHING and draw it ALL the time! It might begin to feel repetitive and boring and that is actually the point. You want to get so familiar with those shapes and angles that you can draw (and eventually quilt) that design in your sleep.

At some point you'll be able to stop concentrating so hard on the specific shapes and just be able to kick back into the flow of quilting the design. So give Egyptian Fans a try today and let me know if this design felt natural to you and where you plan to use it in your beautiful quilts!

Looking for more free motion quilting inspiration...maybe in a handy spiral-bound book form? Check out 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs, the perfect book for anyone searching for free motion quilting inspiration!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

Saturday, June 27, 2015

You Have Permission to Quit

Do you struggle to quit a project, even when it's making you miserable? Do you wish you could just set it aside, or even better, chuck it in the trash?

You're definitely not alone! Here's a little Light Up Your Life videocast on giving yourself permission to quit:

Must. Keep. Stitiching...

I've previously wasted a lot of my life stitching on projects I hate. It's miserable to work on something you're not really into, and even worse when the project really isn't working, isn't pretty, or is quite painful to work on.

I've learned over the years that it's unrealistic to expect to be absolutely in love with EVERY project I work on, but I do have a new rule - I have to actually LIKE what I'm working on and WANT to finish it. If I don't have that, why bother?

And to carry this theme beyond quilting, if a situation, job, or relationship isn't working - why keep banging your head against a wall?

I believe many people stay in painful, toxic relationships, or grind away at jobs that positively eat their soul simply out a lack of understanding that you really can quit, walk away, and start something new.

Yes, it's challenging to quit and there's a lot of inertia in our lives that keep us trekking the same path every day, day in and day out. To truly quit and begin again, you have to also release the feelings of shame, guilt, and fear that accompany your action.

But Quitting is WASTEFUL!

Yes, quitting is by its very nature wasteful, but does your time and energy count for nothing? You may throw away a few yards of fabric, but you'll be saving yourself the time and effort of finishing a project you don't like.

For some projects, quitting just isn't an option. Chucking a fully pieced and partially quilted queen sized, paper pieced, heirloom quilt in the trash is wasteful. If you can't bring yourself to work on it, put it in time-out for a few months (I did this with Duchess Reigns), or pass it on to someone else who would happily finish it.

However I know from firsthand experience that there are those unique times of catastrophic project failure that no amount of stitching, fabric, or glue will fix the project, and the idea of passing it off to someone else is just impossible. When this happened to me, I simply set the quilt on fire.

Smaller projects like my little braided cord shouldn't be such a big deal. Why was I agonizing over a $3 length of chain? Why couldn't I just take it off the loom, chuck it in the trash, and move on to the beautiful green art yarn I really wanted to braid?

I had to give myself permission to quit with no strings attached. I wasn't going to judge myself or feel guilty for the waste of money, but at the same time, I've learned a valuable lesson - I hate braiding with rough chain!

Watch Out for Chronic Quitting

There is a double edge sword of giving yourself permission to quit, however. You need to be careful not to quit too quickly or too often or else you may become a chronic quitter.

Chronic quitting is easily recognizable - you simply never finish ANYTHING! As soon as a project gets challenging it goes in a bin and you're off pulling out new materials or shopping for more fabric.

This was the cycle I became trapped in with beadwork back in 2000. Every project I began was subject to intense scrutiny and judgement. Understandably, I ended up hating everything I made and ripping it apart long before it was finished.

I never wasted the beads, but I wasted tons and tons of time, energy, and self esteem. For this reason, I don't see chronic quitting as an issue of being miserable with a specific project, but being miserable with yourself in general.

So watch out for a desire to quit every project you start, but also understand that it's okay to take a break or flat out quit any project that is making you crazy. Life is too short to hate what you make!

 What do you think? Do you have a project in the works that is really "working" for you or feeling more like a struggle? Have you ever chucked a project in the trash? Share your experience in the comments below!

Let's get moving - let's try something new!

Leah Day

Friday, June 26, 2015

Filming in the new Crafty Cottage

It's been a whirlwind the last few weeks, flying to Denver to shoot a new class for Craftsy (details coming soon!) and then flying back and immediately jumping into filming in the new Crafty Cottage.

I've been working all week on a new Video Workshop - a new term I'm using for when I package a lot of videos, instructions, and a pattern together. It's exciting to be able to film without interruption, and to finally be able to see some progress on projects that have been in limbo for months.

This first video workshop will be Quilting a King on Your Home Machine - a video series filled with tips on quilting very large quilts on a small machine. I cover basting a quilt in sections on a small table, quilting five beautiful designs, and then multiple videos about setting up your tables, shifting and dealing with the quilt bulk, and applying the designs to the quilt top.

New Filming Learning Curve

Learning how to film in this new space has also been an adventure! I've been using a lavalier microphone (pictured left) for the first time this week and it's been a challenge to remember to turn the mic on AND hit the record button.

I've ruined two great videos because I forgot one or the other and ended up with no audio. You'd think that would be a lesson I'd only have to learn once, but no, I repeated the exact same mistake a few hours later!

My video this week on Zigzag Path with a Walking Foot featured probably the worst audio in my history of making videos because somehow the recording got deleted and I didn't have time to film the whole video again. I had to use the echo-dominated audio from one of the video cameras which, judging from the negative comments on YouTube, it was pretty terrible.

Yes, it's a free video, and it was a freak combination of events that forced me to publish it, but yeah, it does sound pretty terrible...

More Filming Adventures!

The more I videos I create, the easier it gets and I'm already developing a routine that is working great as I blaze through the videos for the King video workshop.

Right now I have just a few more videos to shoot for the this new project and then it will be ready to go! I can absolutely say this is the BEST film making I've ever done!

So now that I can shoot new videos with ease I really need to know what YOU'RE interested in watching. More quilting design videos? Piecing videos? Other craft videos like knitting, crochet, weaving, or spinning?

I'd love to know what you're looking for so please share your opinion in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day
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