Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Get to Know Ya Time with Amanda Murphy!!

Today, we are super excited to have Amanda Murphy sharing with us a little about her new Christmas Collection for Blend Fabrics, Holiday Bouquet! We recently got these prints into the shop and I was just SO happy to see a classically styled, modern arrangement of Christmas fabrics that just seems perfect for all that handmade holiday d├ęcor! So now, without further adieu...I present to you a little get to know time with Amanda Murphy!

Cabbage Rose: Share with us a little about your design process and what makes you tick creatively!

Amanda Murphy: I think about a collection a lot before I actually draw it out.  I draw upon different imagery, mostly from the decorative arts and the natural world.  Then I do some rough pencil sketches before scanning them into the computer and refining them.  I do all coloring on the computer, although I usually have the idea for a palette when I start the collection.  I do lots of color variations to finalize placement and make sure I have a balance of dark, medium, and light tones.  I might draw up to 20 different prints for a collection, although only a portion of these get used.  Also, I usually have some quilt designs in mind as I draw, and that influences the scale and style of the prints.
CR: So how did you get started in the fabric business? Has sewing always been a part of your life?

AM: I always loved textile design, although I went to school for industrial design.  The mixture of art and math in both these disciplines appeals to me.  And yes, but I only discovered quilting as an adult.  As for how I got into the industry, I sent a portfolio to fabric companies and was fortunate enough to have some call me that.  My pattern line grew out of my first fabric lines and my books developed from there.

CR: We LOVE your new Christmas Collection, Holiday Bouquet! It's a great blend of classic and modern elements! Is designing for the holidays more fun or more challenging than a typical collection?

AM: Thanks!  It was fun to design.  I love the holidays so much that my first book, Modern Holiday, is centered upon them.  I wanted to do a collection that was both a little traditional and a little sophisticated with a modern touch.  And I wanted all the prints to be fun to quilt!

CR: I especially love the trees and ornaments in this collection! Where they inspired by anything? How do you like to decorate your Christmas tree?

AM: Can you believe that, ironically, we hardly decorated at all this year (except for the tree) because all of the Christmas quilts and projects were still at C&T Publishing!  I was the proud owner of 20+ Christmas projects with nothing to hang or decorate with.  Our tree right now is dark green with turquoise, green, white and red accents.  It looks like it stepped out of the book, which is no surprise.

CR: What's the one handmade Christmas decoration no home should be without?
AM: Stockings! Or maybe a TREE SKIRT *(oh hey! we have a CLASS FOR THAT!!)

CR: What are you listening to while sewing these days? Or are you a sew in silence type of gal?
AM: I listen to Podcasts.  I’m a big fan of This American Life.  I also love Planet Money and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, although I'm awful at word games so I hardly ever know the answers to any of the questions!  I also listen a lot of books on tape.  I love history and biographies. 


CR: You've designed fabric, quilts, written patterns and books...any new ventures for you on the horizon? 
AM: Yes, and I’m so excited but I can’t talk about that quite yet!  Ask me in a couple of months!

CR: We LOVE that you point folks to try LOCAL SHOPS first before they shop from you directly! Since this is Independent Retailer Month, can share why shopping independent/local is important to you?

AM: I do feel very strongly about supporting local shops.  I think the local shops are the backbone of this industry.  They are where a lot of people learn how to quilt - I learned to quilt at a shop and my local shop support has been really important for me as I grow my business in this industry. Shops are where we learn new techniques and they are one place we can all go to form new friendships.  (One can always find something in common with a fellow quilter, no matter their background.)  We need our shops to keep this industry as healthy and vibrant as it has been for the past couple of decades. 
And local shops provide us with an opportunity to see all those beautiful collections first hand!

THANKS SO MUCH AMANDA!! We're just loving these fabrics and can't wait to start decorating for Christmas with them! What will you create for this holiday season?
*Hint: Make drawstring bags for wrapping gifts!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kids Camp 2013!!!

My goodness what a fabulous week we just had!! Kids Camp is always one of the most fun and inspiring events that we put on annually here at the Cabbage Rose and I'm pretty sure I say this every year but this group of campers just blew us away!!

Our fabulous Cabbage Rose helpers, Pablo and Caroline sharing their tops and tricks with our campers! We always have SUCH a good time spending our mornings with these young ones!

We had a great range of ages participating this year!  We had Zhannah who is 13, Lindsey who is 13 too, Alyssa is who 12, Emily who is 10, Kelsea who is 9, Anna Caroline who is 8, and little Madeline who is only 5! And let me tell you, these kids just amazed us at what they could do!
A Kids Camp vet! She made a super fun quilt last year and decided to make a Christmas quilt this year!! We did a completely different quilt pattern last year too so even if your kiddo has participated before, there's no reason why they can't enjoy Kids Camp again next Summer!!
SEW MUCH PROGRESS!! These kids had a lot of fun planning out where their blocks would go, learning all about how color values add interest and they definitely illustrated that they learned their lessons well!
Just look how striking the fabrics they picked look together! Kids have such a genuine eye and we find it hilarious how easily they will pull prints and colors from different lines! Us adults tend to have a bit more trepidation when it comes to mixing and matching, but this just goes to show a  little childlike joie de vivre can result in a fabulous looking quilt top!
These kids were hard workers! Loved seeing the classroom so full of creativity!!
Working on one of  their bonus projects!!! What could it be???
They all got to make a simple skirt! Since we had all girls this year we thought it would be fun to include this simple fashion project that they can make for themselves again and again!
Loved these sweet matching bandana skirts! TOO CUTE!!

Check these ladies out!!! Now they are each equipped to make super cute additions to their wardrobe all year long! Look out new school year! Here come the handmade fashionistas!

Here they all are, showing off their sweet new skirts to family, friends and all the lucky ducks who happened to be in our store this afternoon! And what's that? Looks like they're about to reveal ANOTHER project they accomplished this week!!! SAY WHAT???
CUSTOM HANDMADE PILLOWCASES!!! These are SEW much fun for kiddos to learn on and even more fun to whip out for friends around Christmas time or Birthdays! These girls can now create fun handmade gifts for family and friends or just freshen up their bed whenever they feel like it! Let them create a wild and crazy one that doesn't match anything as their travel pillow, they'll never leave it behind again!! Let your kids shop through our Pillowcase Kits or choose 3 favorite fabrics for a design of their very own!

That Christmas quilt turned out too darling for words! A great combination of Michael Miller Holiday Prints and Hip Holiday!
LOVING Madeline O'neill's pretty in pink and purple princess quilt! Such a girly creation from Karen's grandbaby!! And Maddy is ONLY 5 years old! She did SEW amazing this week and we couldn't be any more proud of our tiny seamstress!!

Dying over these fabulous brights framed beautiful with that black and white print! Expert print pairing skills exhibited here!! That's what happens when you get these little ones to the Cabbage Rose!

Another bright and beautiful creation full of Garden Party prints by Pillow & Maxfield! This fun and fabulous Summer quilt that will definitely grow with her!
Pretty sherbert-y colors in this beauty! I am just oohing and ahhing over the shades of orange, tangerine, pink and fuchsia with pops of blue! Another amazing display of great fabrics!! 

Love that funky quilt made with Animal Prints in shades of black, gray and pink as well as this classically styled beauty made with 3 Sisters fabric! These girls really illustrated their personal styles with their fabric choices and it just makes us all sew happy to see!

And here's all the girls and their quilts together! SO AMAZING! We were just blown away by this year's campers! Thank you to all the families who signed these sweet kids up, we loved sharing with them and watching their skills and confidence grow this week! What a blessing it is to see creativity blossom in young people! Thank you again for sharing your children with us!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pattern Feature: The Staple Dress by April Rhodes

I don't know about you but I have been on the lookout for a very specific, very simple dress pattern for ages and I think the search was finally over once I laid eyes on The Staple Dress by April Rhodes! It reads classic and modern at the same time and I'm pretty sure there will be 5 of these in my closet by the end of the Summer.

This dress has a lot of ease to the fit through the bus and hips while the shirring at the waist creates a flattering silhouette for any figure! You can create it with a classic straight hem or with the dramatic and trendy drop hem! Pockets are also an option, but c'mon...who wants a dress without pockets?
The Staple Dress can truly be worn anywhere depending on what fabric you use! I love the look of an eyelet, but it would be an awesome every day dress made in a neutral jersey! This is a great pattern to give a beginner seamstress or just anyone wanting to begin sewing for themselves, they will get SO much mileage out of this pattern and the simplicity should make fit a breeze!
You can get the pattern and see the fabric requirements here!
Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Get to Know Ya Time with Valori Wells!

We just got in the beautiful new collection Wish from one of our favorite Free Spirit designers, Valori Wells!! If you've ever been over to her website, you might actually pass out from all the beautiful color and design just blooming from your screen! As soon as I laid eyes on her new collection Wish, I immediately thought it is one of her prettiest collections to date and I think its my new fave! So we decided to ask this seemingly infinite WELL of inspiration a few questions about designing, her new line and how to stay inspired!
Cabbage Rose: Designing fabric and quilts, writing books, photography and co-owning a store, your life seems quite full of creativity! How did you get started in the wonderful world of fabric?

Valori Wells: It seems like it was a natural transition for me….. even though I studied Photography in college I always had a love of fabric. I am a self taught fabric designer. The hard way, trial and error, I am always pushing myself to be better at what I do. When I got out of art school I found myself following a boy to North Carolina and ended up working at a Quilt Shop. Go figure since I grew up in one! My mom and I were working on our second book and I realized how much fabric was apart of my life and so I went to Quilter’s Only – it was a small division of Springs Industries – and I submitted my ideas and photography. They took me on and I worked with them for 3 years before a good friend, Donna Wilder, started Free Spirit. I knew that was where I should be. Donna really nurtured me as a designer.  Free Spirit was where I started really pushing myself to do all the drawings and repeats and paintings of my designs. And I haven’t stopped pushing my creativity for fabric since. I have been designing for 15 years…. 
CR: Tell us a little about your design process and what inspires you!

VW: I am always inspired by nature and now that I have a family they are constant inspiration for me. I always carry a sketchbook with me and draw all the time. Those drawings and my photography start the creative process of making a collection of fabric. From the drawings I create repeats by hand then take bits and pieces of the drawing in repeat and ink them in black and white and scan them into my computer. Pull them up into Illustrator and put them back together into repeat and then color them.  It is a long transition from idea to fabric and I think long and hard about my designs where they come, the story behind them, from the color to the projects I make.
CR: Was there a specific muse for the new collection, Wish?

VW: My family and friends and my love of trees….. I really wanted to create a tree print and with that idea I started thinking about my wishes.. which lead to my family and friends wishes. I sent out requests to my friends and family to write their wishes on paper I provided. I received wishes from people ranging in ages of 2 to 70. I then took the wishes and turned them into branches. From there the rest of the collection just grew. (You can read even more about the specific designs from this collection on her blog here!)

CR: I love the names that you gave the color ways, Patience, Strength and Courage...is naming your prints part of the story for a collection or a fun finishing touch?
VW: It is part of the collection…especially this collection. It represents my friends and family and their wishes. Sounds funny but the older I get the more sappy and sentimental I am….so names and stories are more important to me than they were in the beginning.

CR: What's your absolute favorite creative outlet? Any hidden talents?

VW: I love to take photos, paint, silk screen, block print and combine them, sometimes in quilts and other times on paper. I just LOVE to create not matter what it is and try new things, get better at what I already do and push myself to grow.

CR: Even though your portfolio might suggest otherwise, surely you're human and go through creative dry spells like the rest of us! Any tips for getting the wheels turning again if you've been in an un-creative rut?
VW: I do go through those times that’s when I will look at art, go to galleries, look at Pinterest, my books and just sketch. By looking at other peoples work I forget my own issues and that seems to help open my mind. When I was in art school I would worry so much when I didn’t have an idea, with age and experience I have mellowed out and found ways to help me stay inspired. I also have some go to magazines that I love, Sweet Paul, Anthology, UpperCase, Mingle, Darling, they are filled with inspiring photographs as well and great recipes and articles.  
CR: What’s your favorite go-to handmade project for gifts? We’re always looking for new ideas to add to that arsenal!

VW: My Wish Bird is my favorite handmade gift….. they are stuffed birds with a pocket in the back for wishes or little gifts. They make me smile…
CR: Besides releasing new fabric collections, is anything else exciting happening for you this year?
VW: I am working on a book that will release October of 2014. 2014 is going to be a very exciting year for me….(stay tuned) Other than that same busy life with the shop, fabric and family….and hopefully some painting in there somewhere!

I adore getting to peek into the lives of designers, its always so encouraging and inspiring to hear about how others create and get out of ruts especially! Thanks again Valori!! We LOVE WISH!
And if YOU LOVE WISH, tell us what you're going to make in the comments section! If you can't quite figure it out, you can always make this fab FREE QUILT PATTERN above that Valori designed specifically for this collection! DOWNLOAD IT HERE!
Happy Wishing!