Thursday, May 31, 2012

Young Soldier - a tribute

My latest art piece, recently on exhibit at the Canadian Quilt Association Show in Halifax, is a tribute to the families of Canadian Soldiers who have lost a loved one and the soldiers still suffering from post traumatic stress.

As a former firefighter, dealing with post traumatic stress over the years has been a challenge. I have learned to become absorbed in my studio to follow my passion in quilting as a form of healing. Every fire death, car accident and traumatic scene left a huge impact. The image of the canadian flag at half mast sends a message of sadness for the loss, guilt that it wasn't me or I couldn't do more, relief to know that the suffering is over, and the deepest respect for a firefighter willing to lay his life on the line.  

In 2007 my cousin, Steven was on location when an explosion killed his close friend in Afghanistan. I made this quilt for him. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Take Some Time For You!

As an emerging designer, teacher and speaker in the quilting industry I have not yet been heavily involved in the big markets and trade shows down in the United States. So I've been very interested in watching the blogs, tweets and excitement from the experts in the industry as the Kansas City quilt market unfolded. (That might be a pun considering the mass amounts of fabric involved.) Now that it is over, the vendors are overwhelmingly tweeting and blogging about the recovery phase.

This post was inspired by a question Pat Sloan of APQ Radio posted on her blog: If you don't follow it you should! She dishes out loads of inspiration and features fabric galore. In her most recent post, she asks her followers what they do when they have worked so hard for so long that their brain seems to go to mush.

Although I am not involved in quilt markets yet, this "brain mush" phenomenon has happened to me on several occasions. I have found myself quilting and designing into the wee hours of the night to the point where it is a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. My projects were becoming intertwined and the small important things were slipping by the wayside. I needed to figure out a way to a) clear my mind so I could tackle my tasks in a clear and conscious way, and b) take care of myself first. What I needed was a strategic plan. After pondering this question with friends and mentors, here's what I did:

1) I decided to take care of myself first. Hour 1 - walk the dog or exercise 8 - 9 a.m. every day.

2) I made creative time a priority because that is why I do this for a living. It is my passion. Hour 2 - play in my studio (anything my heart desires) 9 - 10 a.m. every day.

3) I organized my projects. I laid out a huge piece of 4' x 6' paper on my dining room table and wrote every project, pattern or exhibit, however big or small, across the top. (add the dream ones too!) Then I listed all of the tasks required to make it happen below each heading.

4) Next, I prioritized the projects and their subsequent tasks by importance taking deadlines into consideration. (There is no point in launching a wonderful holiday pattern in January!)

5) Finally I actually put everything on my calendar. Workout, play, and then work for the rest of the day. Simple as that. (Oh, also, I do eat lunch!)

So there you have it! And to prove that I am no expert or life coach on the matter, I'll tell you now that today was the first day of my new plan. It's true! I woke up this morning ready and excited to get started. I suited up and enjoyed my walk so much that I walked 10K! (That was not part of the plan and I'm sure I will quickly calm that down from 2 hrs to 1 again.)  I then created some adorable baby burp cloths (for my creative time) to donate to the upcoming Penticton Quilt Show boutique (which I have been meaning to do for ages.) By the time I finished that it was lunch time, but I was off to a good start. I spent an hour making all the calls and answering all the emails that had gone by the wayside. Then I focussed on some finishing details my very first pattern (priority # 1) as I would like to launch it in July here during the height of tourist season. By the time my family got home, I was feeling like the day was a huge success!

I hope these tips were helpful to those of you stuck in after-market coma. For now I will enjoy the weekend and then get back to the plan on Monday.

Brandy Lynn

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pattern Launch

I'm so excited to be launching very first pattern this spring! Of course it has to remain top secret until it is packaged and for sale in quilt shops next month, but here is a sneak peek of the gorgeous fabrics I've chosen for my first 2 samples. As you can see I love rich gorgeous batiks!

Whether you are a quilt shop owner or a quilter extraordinaire - stay tuned in June for photos of the full samples and the final packaged product and find out how you can order this pattern. Thank you to all of my quilting friends and mentors who have helped me along the way. We're almost there!

Brandy Lynn

Happy Mother's Day - This is my Mom!

This Mother's Day morning has been such a wonderful surprise. This will be a quick blog because my boys have left me the morning to be free and create in my studio. I woke up to a wonderful breakfast, tea and a hand made card from my son...

Since this card was purchased at a local craft sale, we proceeded to figure out how the 3D flowers in the pop up card were made and then made one for Nana - my mom. That was a fun adventure, and although we made it from craft paper I was ruminating on how this could become a fibre art project.

Now that the boys are out rock climbing while I have time to play I just want to take a moment to thank my own mom who lives with us in the in-law suite of our house. (She hates it when I grab her any time of day for an impromptu photo shoot like on the day I insisted she have a profile photo on Facebook.) Anyways, this is us first thing this morning, dutifully out of pyjamas and clean, but nevertheless, no make-up. Our natural selves, loving this Mother's Day.

Thanks mom, for being a wonderful woman and inspiration! This last year has been a whirlwind of moving across Canada, starting new careers, and having so much fun in the Okanagan Valley. We love it that we live together in the same home with you and our lives have never been better. I love you so much! Happy Mother's Day

Fibre Art Necklace

I hosted such a fun workshop yesterday called Fibre Art Necklace at the Summerland Art Gallery. It is such a fun technique of wrapping a thin long slice of fabric on a skewer to make a bead and then embellishing with wool, wire and beads. Here's a quick shot of the supplies needed for this class:

This is a great workshop or demo to fit into that one hour time slot between retreat events or as an ice breaker and there is no stress because mistakes are often serendipitous cool new bits of jewellery. Check out the Brandy Lynn Designs website to book a workshop or lecture in your area. This necklace is not listed, but just query "Fibre Art Necklace" on the submission form and we can make it happen! Here's a shot of one student's necklace. She added some butterflies of her own and a funky little tassle.

Here's a group shot of the ladies adorned in their finished pieces.

They were so warm with their compliments and feedback. Great reviews! What a nice way to start off a lovely Mother's Day weekend. (Yes, I've officially changed it from one day into a weekend event at my house!)

Brandy Lynn

Friday, May 11, 2012

Quilting for boys? A Sweet Accolade

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to write. I blog, I write poetry, youth lit and I have several children's picture books on the go. As I polish my stories and search out a publisher, I find it invaluable to test them out on children - in particular, my son, but also family, friends, and at local literacy events in my community.

Getting to the point of having this on my fibre art blog - I recently tested out my children's picture book about quilting on a wide-eyed group of cub scout boys. They were blurting out questions and heckling but as I taught them the ins and outs of quilting through my story they became rather interested - especially with my antics of tossing a quilt over top of them all. At the end I asked the boys what was their favourite part of the story. I got a few helpful answers and then one boy said, "I liked the vikings best!"

I said, "There were no vikings in my story! That was the reader before me!"

He said, " I know, but the vikings would have been happy people and nice to each other if they had quilts!"

It was so fun I laughed all the way home. And more recently, I received the warmest letter from the two female cub scout leaders. This is what they wrote...

Dear Brandy,

Thank you for participating in the library's 2012 Literacy day event, "Read Around the Clock." If someone had told me they planned to entertain 15 - 10 year old cub scouts with a girls quilting story... I would've said, "You're crazy!" I have re-learned 2 things - Never make assumptionsdon't pay attention to stereotyped ideas! You did such a great job - the cubs loved it! Thank you for expanding our literary journey.

Adele & Sue

As I wrote this blog I realized this was the first testimonial in my yet to be published writing career. It feel's great to have my first accolade!