Join me through the ups & downs of motherhood as I try to balance a husband, 4 kids, a cat, my faith, sewing, quilting, homeschooling, lots of food/environmental allergies & living frugally in Canada, all while keeping a big smile on my face!
Every year at this time, my schedule gets thrown for a loop. We just had to "spring ahead" by an hour and my body is not quite agreeing with it yet. The kids are up later chit-chatting in bed when they should be fast asleep, and i'm exhausted when I wake up in the mornings. In a week or so i'm sure i'll adjust, but as it is now, I want that hour back! ;) lol!
I have a busy day ahead today with lots on my 'to do' list that needs done!
Hs'ing with the girls
Dentist appt. with Morgan
Photo shoot this afternoon (twins!)
Tidy Living room
Vacuum living room
Dust living room
Pkg. & mail orders & baby gift (hopefully! If not i'll be making a trip to the post office tomorrow!)
Menu plan for the week
Work on my budget *this one is driving me crazy! I'm waiting for chqs to come out and a couple of invoices, so until I get those and the chqs come out, it's not going to balance.
Finish reading book & get up book review.
Pull fabric for wristlet order
Make a loaf of bread
And that's all I can think of right now, but plenty enough to keep me busy anyways... well i'm off to actually work on accomplishing that list today or i'll never get it done! Have a great day!!
I'm joining in with the lovely Sandra over at "Diary at a Stay at Home Mom" today for Happy Homemaker Monday! A little late, but all the same... ;)
As I look out my window...
I see lots and lots of snow... but the sun is shining and some of it is melting. However, it seems to be a lost cause as it's calling for at least 10cm. of snow on Wednesday. So much for Spring... ;)
Right now I am...
Working on this blog post, thinking about what I should make myself for dinner, and thinking about what else I have to get done tonight.
Thinking and pondering...
See above... ;)
On my bedside table...
Lamp, an iPod charger, some random hair elastics... lol!
On the TV tonight...
Not sure... I don't watch much Tv. Maybe a movie since it's hubbys last night off for his holidays. We shall see...
Morgan playing the guitar and freaking out about her fingernails... I told her to push the skin back under her nails as it goes to a "point" and makes it next to impossible to cut her fingernails... she is not liking my suggestion!
On the menu this week...
I've been flying by the seat of my pants lately. I was doing sooo well for a while and really need to get back on the "menu planning" wagon! It makes my life so much easier!
On my 'to do' list...
For tonight I need to clean the kitchen, wash/dry/fold a load of towels, scrub the bathroom, tidy living room, complete a custom order, call my sister who forgot to drop something off for me, pkg. up a couple items to go postal in the next day or two. I also *really* need to work on my budget but am waiting to be billed for a couple fabric orders and waiting on a couple chqs to come out as well. So it's totally throwing me off and i'm not sure where to even start... *sigh*
Happening this week...
A baby (twins!!) photo shoot tomorrow, dentist appt. for Morgan, hubby is back to work after almost 2 weeks off, working on customs etc...
What am I sewing...
Tonight I need to whip up a zippy and cross it off of my customs list! Tomorrow if I can sneak in some sewing time I need to work on a wallet.
My simple pleasure...
GOOD coffee and GOOD books. :)
Lesson I learned over the past week...
As my friend would say... "If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it". It's true in my world. lol!
Looking around the house...
Lots of clutter on my coffee table, it's getting cleared off tonight! Lots of throw pillows everywhere... I don't know why I keep them out. Mostly they're thrown on the floor. lol!
Good morning!! :) Today I have a little something different for you! As you all know, I love to sew! And as someone who loves to sew, inspiration comes from many different places, but one of my big inspirations is Cynthia Frenette! This woman is soooo unique in her style that you could easily pick her creations out from the bunch! They are fabulous and they stand out! To me, that's inspiring!! Someone who has their own style and whos creations don't look like "all the rest".
So without further ado, please welcome Cynthia and read on to find out more about her! :)
Cynthia and one of her 'fur-babies'. Sooo sweet! xo
1. First, for those who do not stalk you, er, know you, ;) please tell us a little bit about yourself!
LOL! My name is Cynthia Frenette and I am a fabric/candy/magazine/art/design junkie!
See how I put candy second in there, yup I love candy, I run on jellybeans. Kidding. Sort of.
I am a graphic designer/illustrator and I own and operate Green Couch Designs (www.greencouchdesigns.com) with my husband Norm. We design and build websites, plus create and design for print, illustration, you name it we can probably do it. I’ve been in the design business for 22 years and love it.
I’m also an artist and I love mixed media, stitching, painting, embellishing, yum! I also quilt, design patterns, and helped found a local Modern Quilt Guild with a dear friend. And I design fabric for Robert Kaufman Fabrics! Oh and I just started a passion project, a magazine all about creative peeps, their work, and what they do called MadeIn Magazine: www.madeinmag.ca.
You could say I’m really busy, self-imposed of course, but it’s a good thing.
2. How long have you been sewing for and how did you catch the "sewing bug”?
I’ve been sewing since I was very young, making Barbie clothes and various accoutrements for my dollhouse family. My mum is, and my grandmother was, both very into sewing, crafting, and needlework, so it came very naturally to me. I remember in Grade 7 my friend and I had to do a presentation about Ancient Rome and we got given “Roman Fashion” for our topic, omg! We did an elaborate fashion catwalk show with our Barbies and Kens, even a Donny Osmond doll in there, in the finest roman fashions we could sew up. We got an A. We rocked the roman togas in ancient Barbieville!
All thru highschool I took sewing with plans to go into fashion design in college. Last minute I changed my mind and chose to enter graphic design instead. But I kept at sewing, making my own clothes, etc. etc. I gave it up for a while when I didn’t have a sewing machine- my mum would generously loan me hers once in a while, but after a while I didn’t do much sewing of any kind.
Fast forward a few years and I wanted to explore my fashion designer side again and started sewing for a local store, making glittery tshirts, rockabilly cowgirl shirts, pencil skirts, pi’s, and cute undies!
It started getting busier and also my design work was getting busier so I had to make a cut and had to stop the sewing. Sadly. Another few, or more, years go by and the new modern quilting fabrics and quilters start appearing online like an explosion of awesome. All the new fabrics and designs were so fresh and inspiring, you just see some of them & want to sew with them!
My husband and I moved out of Vancouver to a very deep ‘burb, and I found a little tribe of peeps who love modern quilting. I was introduced to my now amazing friend Lysa, and we started our local MQG. From there my own sewing has gone way out, into art quilting, modern quilting, and even back into garment sewing, and whatever else I can get my hands on!
3. You design fabric as well, please tell us a little about how you got started in that, what your favourite fabric is that you've designed, and if there's anything that you find challenging in the fabric designing industry.
I’ve always been a sewist, mostly making my own clothes, and always thought how awesome it would be to design my own fabric. But having it printed, how? It wasn’t possible. Then Spoonflower came along! You can design, upload and print your own fabric and you can order in small quantities? What! I joined their site- at the time you had to request an invite and tell them what you would do with fabric you designed. I didn’t do anything though until they started having their weekly contests and I started entering them. I was so excited when somebody bought some of my design!
I kept at entering the contests every single week for a very long time, and even won a couple of them, super cool! One day I got an email from my now fabric peeps, asking if I was interested in licensing some designs to them. Um yeah!! They chose a couple of sewing theme designs from ones I had done already, and went into production with them. From there they asked me to submit new designs and they chose a whole collection, my Kona Modern Quilts collection, which they tied in with the release of 21 new Kona colours. So amazing! I’ve since done a few more and it’s ongoing, I design and submit to them and see what happens!
Challenging things in the industry would be staying ahead of trends & trying to predict what’s coming up. And also the waiting between when you submit your designs, to selection, to final production, fabric sample yardage in your hands, and then fabric out in stores for sale, it’s about a 2 year process! So if you think backwards, 2 years ago the designs you have now to sew with were designed. Taking the step from there to 2 years ahead from now, or more, which is where the design selections are up to, its a bit tricky! But it’s fun and I love it and so amazing, I still can’t believe it sometimes!
It’s hard to pick a favourite, they’re like my babies, don’t make me choose! :D
4. Who/what inspires you with your sewing? Do you ever feel like you're in a "funk" and if so, how do you "snap out of it”?
I have so many random inspirations, usually I’ll see something I want to try, or come up with some crazy idea for a quilt out of the blue, ideas come in from all over the place. A new one I just finished I was inspired by a an old motorhome I saw in a movie, and the graphics on the side of it. I have to keep a sketchbook beside me all the time to keep track!
Whenever I’m stuck i just try to do something not as involved, less thinking, more sewing (or painting or drawing) and that gets me back in the groove. Sometimes- no actually all the time, my projects evolve waaaaay out there and become a lot more complicated than I thought they would and I get stuck somewhere in the middle of it and don’t know which way to go with it. I don’t use patterns very often for my quilts, I like to just make stuff up, and sometimes it gets a bit crazy involved or needs extra thought so I put it aside and work on something simpler.
When all else fails I take the dogs outside for some fresh air and get away from it for a while. Candy is good too.
5. You are soo creative & have a very unique style. What I love best about your creations is how you incorporate a lot of different media into your creations (ink, marker, etc..), how do you know "what works" and what doesn’t?
Basically trial and error. Some things are epic fails, and some are happy accidents, and some are planned to go one way but end up going another. Basically I just try it, if it doesn’t work, then I move on. If there’s an element that I like about whatever I’m working on, I’ll try applying it to something else and see what happens. It’s all experimentation! What’s the worst that can happen, if you don’t like it, rework it or recycle/chuck it. No biggie! And you might discover something awesome while you’re at it! Happy accidents are good!
6. Can you please tell us about your all-time favourite creation & why it's your favourite?
Oh it’s hard to choose as usually the newest thing I make is my favourite of the moment.
I do really love my piece, that just came home after travelling with Janome for over a year, called “Mr. Crow’s Tea Party”. I entered it in the CreativFestival Designer Style contest in Toronto in 2012 & it won first place in the quilting category! How exciting! It was one piece where I just let loose and had fun, drawing up the characters and stitching and painting them, giving them personalities and a story. Plus adding a bunch of bling is always my favourite touch to any piece I do. Sparkle on overload is always good.
7. Do you have any hobbies outside of sewing?
Oh yes! I love creating art, using mixed media, stitching, beads, sequins, love it. I’m also a founder of our local Modern Quilt Guild so am quite involved in that group. We have two dogs so we love taking them out for walks in the park or thru the trees. I also love baking, and want to tackle french macarons someday soon. And thrifting, I love checking out the local thrifts and going treasure hunting.
8. Can you tell us 3 sewing related items that are "must haves" in your sewing stash? (besides the boring usual rotary trimmer, cutting mat, etc.. lol)
It’s not really a sewing supply but Music! How can you sew without music, and shoulder/chair dancing is required.
Good scissors. I cut more with scissors than my rotary cutter, they give a nicer free flowing feel than straight, boring, measured cuts.
Glue sticks or basting glue/spray adhesive, I don’t like wasting time with pins, clips, etc. etc. just glue and go!
9. Can you share photos of your sewing room/area with us?
10. What type of a sewing machine do you use and what is the best thing about it?
I just got myself a Juki 2010Q- best machine evarh! It sews beautifully and evenly with no tension issues.
I have a small Pfaff- small is the operative word here. It is a good workhorse machine though and does all the basic stitches. I also have a Bernina, but it is relegated to the craft closet at the moment. It does all the fancy embroidery stitches and designs, plus regular sewing, but isn’t very reliable. It’s old, in sewing machine years, and it likes to do weird random things, so I only use it now for special embroidery projects.
And a *bonus question*, cause i'm all about getting away with just a "little more"...
11. I recently bought 2 little "creations" from you, can you please tell us a bit about it, how anyone can get their hands on one, and how you learned to free-motion quilt so fabulously!!!
Absolutely! I made one of these “Little Arts” for an online postcard swap I entered, and posted it on Instagram- gah I love Instagram (I’m cynthiafrenette on IG) - and a flood of peeps asked about it and wanted one (or two) of their own. So I made a few more and sold them, including the ones to you- yay and thank you! They are all my original drawings, stitched, then coloured using markers.
TThis little beauty is mine!! :) Loooove it!
I think it’s something small that's easy to mail and easy to frame, a good way to get a little piece of original art at a good price.
As far as getting one, I am sold out at the moment, however! Check back at my Etsy shop, my blog, or on IG and I’ll be posting more as they happen.
As far as FMQ goes, practice baby! I’m self-taught. I didn’t even know what it was called or how to do it not very long ago. I saw a youtube video of someone fmq’ing and was like whoa. That is my thing, How do I do that? I googled it and watched a ton of youtube tutorials and just got started.
My little machine at the time didn’t have a foot to do it so I bought an aftermarket one- and in combination with a machine that wasn’t built to do that, ugh. It worked but not super well. Then I got my Bernina and it did do fmq a lot more nicely, more evenly and less tension issues. I clocked up many many hours of practice on her and learned lots about how to push the limits and get super fine detail plus have fun with more free flowing artwork.
Then my aunt suggested I try her Juki and as I was like ok yes this is more like it! It makes fmq’ing that much more easy, flowing, and fast. I’m sold!
It’s frustrating at first but you just have to be fearless. Make lots of practice quilt sandwiches with fugly fabric you don’t care about- we all have some in our stashes!- and stitch the heck out of them. Get the feel for what your machine can do, the speed you most prefer to work at, and moving the fabric around. I highly recommend a slippy fmq mat for your machine bed and fmq gloves, you’ll save yourself a lot of achey neck, shoulders, and back! Most importantly have fun with it and don’t be afraid to “ruin” something because you never will actually ruin it. You always learn something from every project and get better and better as you go.
Thanks SO very much for appeasing my curiousity, Cynthia!! :) As I figured, you rock and have worked very hard to get to where you're at!! To see more of Cynthias fabulous & unique sewn goodies, please take a peek at her blog for even more one of a kind creations!