How to Make Cross Stitch Patterns from Pixel Sprites

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A couple days before spring break during my freshman year of college (back in 2010), I was lucky enough to be diagnosed with Mononucleosis (AKA "mono"). I say lucky because while it seemed crappy at the time, I found a fun hobby to help me pass a week in couch-locked purgatory: cross stitching!

I had been collecting cute animated pixel sprites from the Korean social media site Cyworld, and they seemed like the perfect designs to use for some cross stitch patterns. In honor of the #DisneyQuiltSwap2015 on IG, here are a few Disney-themed sprites I used. As you can see, they're animated, so I used Photoshop to select the specific frame I wanted to stitch, then saved a copy without any animation, shown below.

I use KG-Chart LE to make all my cross stitch patterns. It's available to download for free and is incredibly easy to use. The PDF user guide can be downloaded here (although I've never needed it). Click File > Import and select your sprite. Note: If you have an animated sprite, KG-Chart LE will just use the first frame by default. For this example, I'll use the cute Winnie the Pooh eating his pot of honey.

When converting a sprite to a pattern, the key is to make sure that 1 pixel = 1 stitch. Select "Aida" or "Linen" for which cloth you plan to use. I use Aida. "Th. Count" is where you should enter your how many stitches per inch or cm you plan on using. Now, check the dimensions of your sprite. If you use Windows, you can find this info by selecting the sprite file. The dimensions will be listed in the info panel, illustrated below. In KG-Chart LE, input these dimensions as your under "Chart Size" for Width (ct) and Height (ct). That tells the program to treat each pixel like a single stitch. 

If you select DMC for "Palette," KG-Chart LE will tell you exactly what colors of DMC floss you will need. In the "Color" field, enter approximately how many colors you will want to limit your pattern to. Hit OK!

Now you'll see something like this. The program uses a symbol key to help tell your colors apart from one another. You can turn on or off by clicking the "Show Mark" button at the top. The "Selected" panel on the right will show you the colors your pattern uses, including the DMC code and number of stitches you will be making with that color. Sometimes I'll further reduce the number of colors I need by repainting them with the "Set Pixel" tool (highlighted in the image below). 

You could also use these patterns for a pixel quilt pattern! 

Instagram Sewing Swaps: Are privacy and participation mutually exclusive?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When I signed up for my first sewing swap earlier this summer, I had no idea how quickly I would get hooked on swaps.While I've had to be careful and not over-commit myself with sign-ups, I indulge my swap love daily by following their hashtags on Instagram. (Shout to to all my #KittyMiniQuiltSwap participants!) It's always inspiring to see all the hard work and creativity everyone puts into their projects. It can only be topped by the lovely pictures people post of their happy packages and their sweet thank yous. I love how positive our Instagram sewing community is, right down to the generosity and graciousness of swappers.

But, like anything else, there are some elements of swaps that spark disagreements, like privacy vs. participation. I've seen the question discussed many times: should you sign up for a IG-based swap if you have a private account?

I have read through many lengthy comment threads on IG of participants lamenting their ghosty partners and it seems to be a polarizing argument. Private swappers appreciate their privacy and don't want to give it up for a swap, simple enough.

But why would private accounts be a bad thing for swaps?

For starters, if you are participating in a secret swap, you won't be able to view your partner's photos if they have a private account. That throws "stalking" out the window, making it harder to get a clear idea of your partner's style. If you want to view their photos, you must send a Follow Request that they will have to manually approve. Consequently, there is a greater chance your partner will deduce your identity, ruining the "secret" element of surprise.

Second, any swap-related photos a private user tags with the swap hashtag (like #KittyMiniQuiltSwap), will NOT appear under the hashtag feed unless you already have been approved to follow that user. That means if your partner snaps a photo of the lovely package you made for them and tags it with the swap hashtag, only their followers will be able to see it. Anyone who wants to browse the hashtag will never see your pretty swap items or their thankful comments. This may sound a little silly, but I would feel a bit sad that all the hard work I put into a swap package would only be seen by a small group of approved followers beyond my control. I want the joy to be spread far and wide!

I'm not going to pretend to be impartial on this subject, because I do feel that IG-based swaps are social by nature. It's called social media for a reason! Keeping your account private during a swap seems like going to a cocktail party with a bag on your head. However, I'm not saying people who want privacy should be excluded from swaps. I do think we both need to meet in the middle to make swaps enjoyable for everyone.

The easiest solution I think would be for private swappers to create a second, public account to use for swaps. Using a separate account would enable private swappers to maintain their personal privacy while selectively sharing swap-related photos. I think this would be the most simple, inclusive solution.

But what if private users do not adopt the second account approach? Well, if it is an important issue to the swap hosts, they could choose to designate their swap as a "social swap" or a "non-social swap." Social swaps would indicate that participants are expected to be public and active IG users in order to maximize the sense of community. Non-social swaps would release participants from these expectations, meaning you can share as much or as little as you like.

I personally would only want to host social swaps in the future, because I know how "meh" it can feel to be sewing a project for a virtual stranger. It's just not as fun for me, and I don't want other's to go through that if they want a more active, friendly environment.

I want to hear your opinions and thoughts on this subject! If you have a private account, how would you feel about making a public swap account? Have you ever been paired with a private partner? Do you have any other solutions to the issue? I want to know!

EPP Glue Basting: Fons & Porter Glue Pen vs Elmer's Washable School Glue Stick

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My last few posts have all mentioned my newfound love for English Paper Piecing. EPP is a fun way to use up oddly shaped fabric scraps while taking a break from sitting at my sewing machine. The downside is that it's so time-consuming! I'm a naturally impatient person, and I will look for any shortcuts I can find. I know some people enjoy the slow, steady pace of EPP, but the "meditative" appeal is totally lost on me. 

When I learned about glue basting in lieu of thread basting my EPP pieces, I jumped on the bandwagon without a thought. Thread basting just takes too long for my goldfish brain.

The tutorial I read (linked above) uses a Sewline fabric glue pen, but I also saw posts advocating the classic Elmer's disappearing purple washable school glue sticks. Over the years, I've bought pricey specialized craft tools and materials as well as their cheaper alternatives. Sometimes the cheap products work just as good (like my Niagara starch spray vs the more expensive Best Press), but sometimes you get what you pay for (like my recent switch from Coats & Clark thread to Aurifil). I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to do a glue stick showdown!

The Fons & Porter Glue Pen

Although most posts I saw used the Sewline glue pen, I purchased the virtually identical Fons & Porter glue pen for $1 less (and free Prime shipping) on Amazon. I'm 90% certain this is a case of a single manufacturer supplying both brands. The pen structure looks the same with the exception of the color and branding of the pen shaft. According to this post, the F&P glue pen refills even fit the Sewline pen. The F&P pen cost me $7 with one glue cartridge. Refills are sold as a 2 pack for about $5. I picked up a 3 pack of the Elmer's sticks for $2 at my local grocery store. They're generally priced at $1 per stick or less. 

I tested both sticks while basting my diamond jewel star quilt. The F&P pen and the Elmer's stick have a few common features. Both are water-soluble, so they'll wash off your fabric (as well as hands and work surfaces) easily. Both are pigmented upon application (Elmer's is purple and F&P is blue), but dry clear within a minute or so.

Right of the bat, you'll notice that the F&P pen has a smaller diameter than the Elmer's stick. This allowed for neater glue application when basting down my side seams. With the Elmer's stick you have a few options: 1) Over-apply the glue which can get a little messy. 2) Use the edge of your stick, which will destroy the clean flat glue stick surface. 3) Apply the glue with half the stick on the paper and half on the fabric seam allowance which effectively "doubles up" your glue when you fold the seam over. On the flipside, I like the fatness of the stick to initially to adhere the paper piece to the back of my fabric. TL;DR: Elmer's fat purple face makes it a bit trickier to apply glue neatly. If I had to pick a pen based on neatness of application, I would go for the F&P, but only by a hair.

The F&P pen has a narrower tip
The texture of the glue differs between the two pens as well. The Elmer's stick has a lot more moisture to it, which gives it more "glide" during application. The F&P pen feels more tacky in comparison. The result is that it takes a few swipes to get enough glue on my paper, but the fabric sticks to the paper slightly better. The Elmer's stick is sufficiently sticky, but may require a firmer finger press.  TL;DR: F&P pen takes longer to apply, but is slightly stickier. Due to extra time it takes to apply glue with the F&P, I would give the point to the Elmer's stick here.

In the end, the real deciding factor for me was the price value, and to a lesser extent, product availability. My F&P pen cartridge ran dry less than halfway through my diamond jewel star, which is not exactly a big project. I was pretty shocked by how quickly it was used up. While the pen is approximately 4.5 inches tall, the cartridge is only like 2 inches tall! It felt kind of like buying a big bag of potato chips and realizing that the bag is like 50% air with 10 chips in there. It was hard not to feel like I'd been cheated out of my money.

The three Elmer's sticks I purchased for $2 lasted me the rest of the diamond jewel star, my Honeycomb mini and about 4 cogs of my current project, the Passacaglia quilt before I had to buy more glue sticks. Buying 3 more Elmer's sticks would be cheaper (and last longer) than buying the F&P pen refills. Additionally, I would have to make a special trip to Jo-Ann's or order the refills online. When I ran out of my Elmer's sticks, I just picked more up at the grocery store. Convenient!

The Verdict: The cheap Elmer's stick wins my seal of approval!

Book Review: Little Quilts by Sarah Fielke & Amy Lobsiger

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My honeycomb quilt was a joy to make!

Little Quilts: 15 Step-by-Step Projects for Adorably Small Quilts made it onto my Amazon wishlist prior to its release in July, but I finally got the excuse I needed to order when Sarah Fielke started up the #LittleQuiltsSwap on Instagram. With all the swaps I've been joining, the book looked promising for some project inspiration, and I'm happy to say it delivers! I started on the Honeycomb quilt right away, and I can't get over how sweet it is.

This book has so many details I enjoy in a tidy little package! For starters, the table of contents has photos. I'm super thankful for that alone. More sewing books need to do this.

The book contains seven quilts by Sarah, seven by Amy, and one they designed together. I expected the quilts to be easily identifiable as either Sarah's or Amy's, but they really blend well together. In fact, I didn't even realize there were two authors when I first flipped through the book.

The variety of quilt styles, techniques, and overall look makes for a really fun collection of projects. There are traditionally pieced quilts, as well as ones that use applique, EPP, FPP, and embroidery. All the projects use modern fabrics, but have a vintage feel which makes them super versatile.

I love quilty sketches!

The photos are so dreamy! Every projects includes a straight-on shot of the full quilt, a few detail shots, and a simply styled lifestyle shot. They didn't blow the bank on elaborate in-scene shots, but for mini quilts, I don't think it matters. It's a perfect example of how budget photography can look great in a book.

Little Quilts doesn't skimp on diagrams and illustrations, which is a major selling point for me. I'm a visual learner, and I couldn't have asked for better visual instructions. I really appreciated the pencil texture they used to render the lines too. You can't beat the precise detail from digital illustrations, but they always look so sterile. Bring back the more natural feel adds so much warmth and style to the book! I'm pretty sure my eyes sparkled when I first saw them.

Embroidering the cutest little bumblebee

The project instructions are crystal clear and very well organized. I never felt lost while reading through them. The type is on the small side, which may be a tad difficult for some to read, although I had no trouble. All measurements are given in both inches and centimeters, probably because Sarah is Australian while Amy is American.

Material requirements are super specific, which will please fastidious quilters. At first, I thought it was off-putting that it was so specific, (like listing 50 wt black and yellow Aurifil thread for the embroidered bee on the Honeycomb quilt when I would have just said embroidery floss), but I realized it might be nice to know exactly what Sarah and Amy used. That way, you can get a feel for their materials and anticipate what substitutions may look like. Knowing that Sarah suggested using Aurifil thread helped me to decide to use two strands of DMC floss as opposed to my usual three.

This guy is too stinking cute!

All project templates are at the end of the book. They are clearly labeled and are already at 100% scale, ready to copy. Three cheers for no scaling! The only thing I would have preferred would have been a pull-out pattern page. As a book lover, I hate having to crack books' spines to get decent photocopies.

Overall, this book is a great buy, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for some quilty inspiration.

My mini wall's newest addition!

Free Quilt Pattern: Diamond Jewel Star Quilt

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In my previous post, I mentioned my recent EPP craze. Well, it's finally time for me to share what I was working on! I was looking for away to use up some miscellaneous scraps while having some chill time to watch TV with the hubs. EPP rocks both those criteria thankfully.  I started off aimlessly making simple jewel stars with fussy cut hexie centers, and the project evolved into this cool diamond-shaped quilt!

Because I was aiming to use up scraps, I used the entire rainbow for my palette. For each star, I would pick two prints in a single color for the star points. I think it adds some extra interest. 

My individual jewel stars aren't very big. The hexies' sides are only .75" long. If you use the same size shapes provided in the templates at the end of the post, the finished quilt measures approximately 55" long and 32" wide.

For the outer border, I arranged my pieces in rainbow order to tie everything together.

As for finishing, I'll admit my impatience got the best of me. Instead of making a quilt sandwich and machine quilting, I bagged out the whole thing. I didn't baste the layers very well, so machine quilting it afterwards would have just turned it into a wrinkled mess. My solution was to stitch around the border to imitate the look of machine binding, then hand die the rest where the stars points met. 

To make one diamond, you will need:
  • (36) Fussy cut hexies
  • (180) Jewels (six for each star)
  • (131) Low volume diamonds
  • (28) Low volume triangles
  • (40) Border triangles
  • (40) Border trapazoids

**Click here to download the templates.** Print at 100% if you want your quilt to be the same size as mine, or scale as desired. Follow your EPP tutorial of choice (I like the one from Sometimes Crafter) to baste your shapes with thread or glue, and assemble following the diagram below.

Follow the diagram to piece together your quilt!

I plan on using mine as a table runner, but it's such a versatile piece. If I wasn't so afraid of applique, I might have applique it onto a low-volume background. My friend Becca of Bryan House Quilts also suggested making six of these diamonds and turning them into one giant star! 

Make six diamonds for an epic star!

My 3 Bag System for Portable Projects

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I've been more scatterbrained than usual the past couple weeks. I've been all over the place with my art, writing, working towards some big goals, etc. So while I've been tied up with other things, I've been trying out some smaller projects scrappy EPP projects to keep my sewing gears going. 

I had been keeping my EPP bits in plastic bags, but one of my cats has an obsession with munching on them, so I needed an alternative. I came up with a nice three-bag system!

First up is a project I completed back in April but never blogged about: my Sew Together Bag! I don't know how I lived without this bag to hold all my sewing crap! It's nice not have to hunt down every little notion anymore. 

My scrappy Sew Together bag
I made did a patchwork exterior using aqua and blue scraps because I just get bored with things are plain. Plus, SCRAPS. Sewing the accordion pocket parts was really challenging for me, and as the pattern states, you really do have to smash those layers down. There's no delicate way of doing it. I will never understand how some people can crank these bags out like it's no big deal!

Look at all that space!

The next bag in my system is Jeni Baker's lined drawstring bag. I use it to stash all my paper pieces in until they get big enough to graduate to the final bag. This cute bag was easy as pie, taking me only an hour or two. I started with some Dreamin' Vintage scraps I had in one of my many scrap baskets, and pulled more scraps based on the colors of Jeni's lovely fabric.

A cute little patchwork drawstring bag

I had planned on using ribbon for the the drawstrings, but I ended up switching to fabric ones. I'm glad I did because they help the bag stay closed tightly thanks to their thickness. 

I'm going to have to make a few more of these to keep projects separated!

Keeping all those paper pieces contained

The last bag in the system is Noodlehead's Divided Basket pattern, which was shockingly easy! I may make another with longer handles to carry with me to quilt guild meetings. My drawstring bag fits perfectly in one side, while I can stash growing EPP quilt in the other side with the Sew Together bag. I divided the front pocket into two pockets with a line of stitching. I use one pocket to store fresh paper pieces and the other one is great for tossing in used pieces that I'll reuse. 

The divided basket can hold all my project pieces

I guess you can call me a bag lady now! Do you have any special bags you use to stay organized?

How to Design a Quilt in Adobe Illustrator - Building Basic Quilt Blocks

Monday, September 8, 2014

Welcome to lesson two of "How to Design a Quilt in Adobe Illustrator" series. In our first lesson, we covered the basic settings and preferences for designing quilts in Illustrator. In this lesson, we'll be learning how to build quilt blocks with some handy construction techniques.

1. Workspace

First, let's go over your workspace. If you navigate to the "Window" menu, you can check windows you want in your workspace. At the bare minimum, you'll want Color, Stroke, Swatches, Layers, Pathfinder, and Transform. The Align panel will show up at the top of your screen when you have the Selection Tool (V) active, so having the Align window open is just a way to keep it on screen at all times. 

As a general note, I design all of my quilts in grayscale so I can worry about color later.

2. Build A Square

Now, it's time to start clickin' stuff! Let's begin with building the patchwork star. Click M to select the Rectangle Tool. Either drag your cursor while holding SHIFT to draw a square or double click anywhere on the artboard and input your desired dimensions. I'll make a 4 inch square for the center of my patchwork star.

3. Meet Your Control Panel

With your square still selected (click V and click on your square to reselect it if you need), take a look at the top of your screen. You will see the Align panel as I previously mentioned with a square symbol to the left. Click the square to see the drop down menu. This determines how your object is aligned using the align buttons. I usually keep my set to "Align to Artboard." Try out each of the align buttons, they're pretty self-explanatory.

To the right of the align panel is your Reference Point. Your Reference Point influences the values shown in your X and Y fields. By default, your Reference Point will is set to the center of your object, which is indicated by the center square being filled in on the Reference Point icon. You can click any of the unfilled squares on the icon to change your reference point. Keeping your reference point to the center is the simplest thing to do until you are more familiar with AI.

The X and Y fields correspond to your object's position (specifically it's reference point) on the X and Y axis of your artboard. Your W and H fields are your object's width and height. There will be a little chain icon between the two. When you see a short line on either side of the chain, that means your object's proportions are locked. Clicking on the chain will unlock them, allowing you to change its width and height independently of one another. You can type in any of these fields to change your object's size and location. You can even do simple math (add, subtract, divide, and multiply) within the field to save yourself time. Here's a more detailed (but still simple) tutorial on that from Tuts+.

I'm going to move my square to the center of the artboard by clicking the "Horizontal Align Center" button followed by the "Vertical Align Center" button. I actually made an action with a keyboard shortcut for this, which is a nice time-saver. If you want to learn how to make custom actions, click here for a tutorial from Vectips.

4. Making HSTs

I'm going to make some HSTs for a patchwork star. Draw a 2 inch square to start. With the square selected, click CMD/CTRL + C to copy the square followed by CMD/CTRL + F to paste it directly on top of your previous square. Only the top square will be selected at this point. Change your fill color to a contrasting color. I'll use white. With the top square still selected, click the (-) key on your keyboard. Click on one of the anchor points to delete it, revealing the gray square below. Lastly, click V and select both squares, then CMD/CTRL + G to group them. Now you can move, transform, etc. multiple objects together as one.

5. Moving and Rotating Your Blocks

If your Smart guides aren't already turned on, do so now by clicking CMD/CTRL + U or checking off "Smart Guides" Under the "View" menu. The Smart Guides will help you keep objects lined up. If you find that you're still having trouble lining up objects, try zooming in on your objects, as this will help you get a more precise placement. Move your HST in place. To copy and move the HST in one step, hold ALT while dragging a selected object to make a duplicate. To duplicate multiple objects, simply select more than one object before ALT + dragging with your cursor. If you hold down SHIFT at the same time, you will only be able to move the object(s) on one axis, meaning you can keep them lined up.

My left HST needs to be a mirror image of it's current appearance. I can change this with a few different approaches:

1) Reflect it. With the object selected, right click your mouse anywhere and select Transform > Reflect. The Reflect dialog box will pop up, prompting you to select a reflection axis. (Check the "Preview" box to see what this will look like.) Click OK when it looks good.

2) Flip horizontal / vertical. Select your object. On your Transform window, click the drop down menu and select either "Flip Horizontal" or "Flip Vertical." The results are the same as reflecting, but there is no preview option. Click CMD/CTRL + Z to undo if necessary. 

3) Rotate it. There are two basic ways to do this one. One is to select your object and move your cursor near a corner until you see the cursor change to an L-shape with an arrow on each end. Drag to rotate while holding down the SHIFT key. This will allow you to rotate your block in 45° increments. Alternatively, click the drop down menu field in the bottom left corner of the Transform window. You can select specific angles to rotate this way or type in your own. Note: Make sure your reference point is set to the center of your object before rotating.

"Piece" Your Blocks Together

You can create lots of basic quilt blocks using the simple steps you've just learned. Remember, you are drawing your finished quilt, which does not include seam allowances. That means if you draw a 4 inch square, you will be cutting a 4.5 inch square when you make your quilt to allow for a .25 inch seam allowance. For basic shapes, just add .5" to the shape you've drawn in AI to get your cutting measurements.

In the future, I'd like to do a better, more detailed version of this tutorial in video format. Until then, I encourage you to play around in Illustrator. Check out my post about my favorite free resources for learning AI for helpful tutorial sites and tips. Also, I made a simple file with some basic quilt blocks (pictured below) to help get you started. You can download the AI file by clicking HERE.

Why I Started (and Stopped) Avoiding Photography

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Up until a couple months ago, I was sticking my head in the sand. I wanted to be a blogger. I wanted to have a successful blog. I wanted to inspire others with my work. What I didn't want to do, was take my camera out of my camera bag.

My Pullip Doll, MJ (2009)

You would never know from my earlier posts (crappy iPad pics), that I used to be really into photography. Like SERIOUSLY into it. When I was in high school, my dad gave me his old Canon EOS Digital Rebel (300D) after he noticed me spending hours trying to take photos with my brother's point-and-shoot. I was collecting Japanese and Korean toys at the time, and it was so fun to use them to tell cute, simple stories. When my beloved dog, Lyric, was diagnosed with terminal lymphoma during my senior year of high school, I spent my last afternoon with her taking pictures. I lived my life with my camera.

This is what I looked like for most of 2009

Lyric's last photos (2009)

 I went off to college in fall 2009, and a (hand-me-down) Canon Rebel XT (350D) came with me. The sub-mirror in my 300D gave out, and my father decided to upgrade to a newer model and give me his old model once again. During my freshman year, I made my then-boyfriend's (now-husband) apartment into my makeshift photo studio where I could snap pictures of my toys for hours. I even got two photos published in my university's annual art and literary magazine.

Some of my favorite toys, Napoleon and the Re-ment desk (2010)

My sophomore year, I took my first formal photography class and learned how to shoot in manual mode better, which was tricky at first, but I've never looked back. However, I didn't like my classroom environment which saw my toy photos as meaningless twaddle. But that gets filed under my beef with the whole fine art thing. Regardless, I was forced to relegate the photos I wanted to shoot to my free time, while most of my class assignments were pictures I wasn't very excited about.

A college selfie (2011)

By my junior year, I was free from photography class, and went back to shooting what I wanted. But somehow, the magic dried up while I was away from my toys. I started sewing clothes for my dolls in an effort to rekindle my passion, but it never really ignited. Strangely, my photographer side and my crafter side didn't gel as well as I'd like. The more I sewed, the less I photographed. I didn't have an audience who I thought would appreciate my work. All my friends thought my toys were either creepy or childish. Eventually, the fun just fizzled out and I stopped taking pictures for fun.

A dress for Bonaparte (2011)

My senior year, I landed a job with campus publications as the lead photographer / photo editor / photography manager. I was in charge of four photographers, and for the first time in my life, I was the boss...and it sucked. I had to be the bad guy, tell people their photos were poorly shot, make them re-shoot, etc. I also had to take lots of photos, usually of subjects I didn't care to shoot. More importantly, I felt like I was documenting my final year of college rather than actually living it. I didn't get to experience things like my peers because I was watching through a viewfinder. Before I knew it, I dreaded pulling out my camera. Even after I upgraded to a Rebel XSi (450D), I was only taking pictures for work. When your hobby becomes your job, sometimes it takes all the fun away.

So after I graduated college, my camera mostly sat in my camera bag doing nothing. I guess I had subconsciously started to regard photography more like a chore or a burden than a hobby. Even though I stopped working as a photographer, I had not regained my appetite for it. 

When I started quilting, I took all my pictures on my iPad. When I started blogging, I told myself it was okay to use those low-quality pictures because I was a new blogger. I knew I could do better, but I avoided the truth.

Self-portrait (2011)

A couple months ago, I was feeling pretty blue. I was unhappy with myself because I felt like I wasn't measuring up to my own expectations. Not in a perfectionist kind of way though. I just felt I wasn't realizing my potential. I have a lot of goals related to my craftiness, like writing a book, designing fabric...being someone who touches and inspires others. I realized that while I was setting all these goals for myself, I was not going to meet them while I was so obviously slacking as a blogger and an artist. I knew I had to start taking more initiative. 

Writing my Heather Ross post was like my come-to-Jesus to moment. I sat down, and told myself, "This post will be different. This is the start of the new me." I wrote it honestly, putting down my words exactly as they were in my head. Then, I finally did it: I took my camera out of my bag.

I shot tons of lovely photos for Patty's blog tour! So cute!

Since then, I've set two major blogging goals for myself: write two posts per week and shoot photos I can be proud of. So far, I haven't let myself down. I even did a photoshoot with my friend Patty Sloniger for her blog tour for her new fabric collection since she did have a camera at the time. Everything turned out amazingly beautiful, and I'm so proud of myself.

In the end, it's more bittersweet though. I still haven't regained my former passion for photography. I don't know that I will ever love it like I used to. Truthfully, it saddens me deeply to see such a dramatic shift in myself. I'm hoping the fun will slowly sprout again after what feels like a winter of pretty photos. Maybe then I can find a happy balance. 

If you want to see some of my photography work, check out my portfolio website, A larger (pre-college graduation) collection can also be seen in my Flickr albums.