Friday, November 12, 2010

DAY 5: Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Greetings, friends!  This has been such a fulfilling journey, meeting new quilters during Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour, this week.  I wish you all many fabulous hours of planning and designing!  If any of you have questions, I'll gladly answer them for you, if I can.  So please feel free to ask.  If I cannot answer, I can certainly start by pointing you in a direction for more information.  You can either ask in one of my posted blogs, or feel free to e-mail me.

With a new quilt to be made with a December 1st deadline, I must run.  I will be writing about it in a future blog.  For those of you who purchase magazines and are curious about the process, planning for issues typically begins 6 to 9 months before a magazine is scheduled to be published.

Don't forget to tune back in on Monday when prizes are announced!

Before I close out for the day, I have one more give-away!  Of course, as mentioned all week long, I'm giving away a 100 Blocks magazine.  In addition, I'm excited about my 2nd give away, which will be my two newest patterns, "Across the Street", and "Gables & Eaves" + bonus pattern!, for SuzGuz Designs.

Good luck to everyone!  As we've done all week, please leave a comment and either "Friend" me on Facebook, or add my blog to your "read" list!  Thanks!

Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

DAY 4: Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

I hope you all are enjoying your week of blogs and give-aways, compliments of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks!  I know I am, and I look forward to picking winners of my giveaways this weekend!  It's always fun to participate in programs such as this, and I especially appreciate all of you and your kind words!  When you work in a one-girl-studio, it helps to know that people like what you're doing and it gives us, as designers, such great energy to plan new designs and projects for you to enjoy.  So I thank you, from the bottom of my heart! :)  For without your feedback and interest, it simply would not be as satisfying to continue to come up with new patterns and designs.

With today's blog, I plan to share some ideas you may like to use to set my block into a quilt.  I have a few basic tips that are easy and fun, and will enhance a simple quilt top design.

Because the block should be the focus, you'll want to stay away from large, oversize prints.  I would suggest that you find a tone-on-tone, or two-color mini or medium-sized print to sash your blocks with.  I will use my block and it's fabrics as an example, and we will create a few different, easy designs with a touch of panache!

My first example balances the dominance of the deep rose appliqued hearts with a rosy red print border from Verna Mosquera's Savon Bouquet for FreeSpirit.  Sash your blocks with the Lecien blue-on-brown dot I used as the small center square and mini circles.  Then bind the piece with the same blue-on-brown dot.

My second example shows a softer setting, where I use a light blue medallion print for the main border.  The blocks are sashed and the piece is bound using the same fabric as the appliqued hearts.

My 3rd and 4th examples will give you an idea of taking the same sashing and border prints and changing up the binding.  In these examples, I again used the same tone-on-tone deep rose print I used for the hearts to sash the blocks.  Next, I pulled in a pretty, French-inspired floral from the Savon Bouquet line that has touches of blue to marry back to the blue dot background fabric of the appliqued blocks.  Where these pieces differ is with the binding.  See how you can use the blue-on-brown dot for the binding (#3), or pull the tone-on-tone deep rose print out to the border for #4.  Both are attractive and can give you a different "feel", depending on where you will be using the piece.  For example, if you wish to use it as a wall hanging, you may consider using version #3.  You could also use this version in a room where there is a lot of dark wood.  The #4 version is very pretty and feminine and could be used on the wall or as a dresser scarf in a girl's bedroom.  Or, add it to the center of a rustic pine table.

With a few simple changes, you can give your quilt designs a different personality.  Give thought to the myriad of possibilities you can dream up and interview fabrics into your designs that you never would have imagined.  A few questions you can ask yourself, as you pull your fabrics for this design are:

1) Does the fabric work better as a frame to the blocks or as a border?
2) What "feeling" do I want to show with my design?  Do I want it to blend into an eclectic environment, or something more traditional?  More eclectic, use a few different fabrics, if more traditional, stick to the same fabrics with smaller borders and use a different print for larger borders.
3) What decor do I wish to place this design in?  Consider the style and color tones of fabrics in order to blend well with your decor.  Before purchasing fabrics, ask your local shop for sample pieces to bring home with you if you are not sure they will work.

In addition to the table runner/wall hanging design shown here, I'd like to share an idea with you on how to place the blocks into a quilt design.  The quilt size is approximately 67 1/2" x 67 1/2".  I will be posting a pattern to make both the quilt and the runner designs next week!

Now back to the give aways for today!  As mentioned on Tuesday, I will be giving away a Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 2 magazine today.  My second give away for today is my Patchwork Rendezvous pattern, as well as my In a Snap! pattern.  Both are very easy and fun to make for any level of quilting experience.

Thanks again for all of your kind messages left this week!  Please remember to leave a comment and either "Friend" me ("Susan Guzman") on Facebook, or add me to your blog read list.  Have a lovely Thursday!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DAY 3: Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Welcome to Day 3 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour!

And Welcome to SuzGuz Designs by Susan Guzman . . .

If you are just joining the blog tour, here is my block from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 2:

This week, Quiltmaker Magazine continues to give away lots of great items at: QuiltyPleasures (Quiltmaker's blog) during the entire week of November 8th - 12th.  Some give aways are planned and some have been spontaneous, so you'll want to check back often!  Fabulous prizes include fabric, patterns, books, notions, and of course, copies of 100 Blocks magazine.  In addition, designer blocks will be given away to very lucky recipients!  I will also be giving away something every day this week, so please be sure to check on each day's post this week, as well.  Prizes for each day will not be chosen until after Friday, November 12th.  Everyone who signs up will have a chance to win!

The topic for today is how I go through my process of designing . . .

I have several ways I use to glean inspiration for new designs.  I've always been attentive to my surroundings, so I am constatly looking at that which is around me: the shape of a vase,

 Image from 1 Design Per Day

a pattern in an area rug,

a painting,
Image from Nilsson Studio

or even the frame that surrounds it.

I also like to pay close attention to the details of fashion, with a strong emphasis on colors that are being worn.  I especially like to see what is coming out for the next few seasons, as this gives great hints on what to incorporate into the design process.

I pay attention to television programs I watch with my husband as I'm sketching, and I also like to refer to nature for color and design ideas.  Visiting popular boutique shopping areas will give you ideas for color and design, as well.  And finally, I enjoy paging through books and magazines related to the design industry.  That being said, I try not to look at current quilt magazines, as I like to try to come up with unique designs and not copy what everyone else is doing.  I have a few other secrets up my sleeve that I like to refer to, but what I've shared here is what I mostly rely upon.

For tomorrow's topic, I will be sharing some ideas you may like to use, to set my block into a quilt.  I have a few basic tips that are easy and fun, and they will show off your blocks beautifully!

In the mean time, we have yet another give-away to announce!  Because Quiltmaker is recognizing my blog on the blog tour today, I will be giving away a very special prize of fabric!  I recently received samples of new lines of fabrics coming out for Red Rooster.  When we receive samples, we typically receive a sample of each fabric in the line.  Well, I will be giving away samples of an entire line from Red Rooster.  All you have to do is comment on this post, then "Friend" me on Facebook.  It's that simple!  BONUS:  As mentioned yesterday, I will also be giving away a Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine today, so please be sure to comment and find me on Facebook! (Note added 11.10.10 at 9:30 am, EST: If you do not use Facebook--or even if you do!--I'd love it if you'd add me to your blog read list, instead!  Thanks :)

Thanks again for participating in the blog tour!  We are so happy to have you as a new quilting friend!


P.S.  Don't forget to check out my previous posts this week for a chance to win the giveaways I'm offering.  And be sure to visit Quiltmaker's blog often for a chance to win their prizes, as well!

DAY 2: Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour

Welcome to Day 2 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Blog Tour!

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Block #104
by Susan Guzman, SuzGuz Designs

When meeting new people and talking about what we do for a living, it's not a simple answer on my part.  I am often amazed at how unique my job is, when I sit and think about it.  It's not something you think about going to school for when you're young.  It seems to be a career you fall into, rather than aspire to.  I feel so fortunate to work in an industry that is so warm and friendly, and one that acknowledges talent on many different levels.

Today, I thought I would talk about what I do in the quilting industry.  I work on a few different levels.  My first responsibility is to my freelance work.  I design quilts using the latest fabric lines, manufactured by leading fabric companies.  Companies I've worked with are Quilting Treasures (see free quilt patterns I designed on their website!), Hoffman California Fabrics, RJR Fabrics, Windham Fabrics, Michael Miller, FreeSpirit, Moda, Lecien, Henry Glass, Timeless Treasures, Marcus Fabrics, and Red Rooster.  For the first time, I will be using a line of fabrics by Westminster/Rowan for an upcoming quilt, so I am always open to working with new companies.  I'm always looking for fabrics that are new and, even if they are reproductions, ones that stand out in design.

My freelance work has consisted of designing and making quilts for fabric company's booths for the International Quilt Markets, designing and making quilts for magazines, and writing and editing quilt patterns.  The second level of work I do is for my business, SuzGuz Designs.  I have a growing line of patterns that has been on hold over the past year, due to the amount of freelance work I've been doing.  However, I just came out with two new, easy quilt patterns using pre-cut fabrics, and they are available on my website beginning this week.  The first is called: "Across the Street", made using one layer cake and one jelly roll.  The second is called: "Gables and Eaves", and is also made using one layer cake and one jelly roll.  Gables and Eaves has a bonus pattern, where you can make a baby quilt from the scraps to give as a gift or donate to your local Department of Social Services.  They are always in desperate need of quilts for the children they help.

One more project that has been on hold is writing my NuzLetter, which is likened to a mini-magazine.  I write about my business, interview people in our industry, write about interior design (something I used to do for a living and thoroughly enjoyed!), share recipes and entertaining ideas, find interesting new items for gift-giving, and also have guest writers share their talents.  Our next Nuz is in the planning stages, and we hope to start it up again, soon.  You can sign up to receive a link to The Nuz by going to my website.  Simply give us your e-mail address and we'll add you to our mailing list.  In the mean time, you can go to SuzGuz Designs and read past NuzLetters we published quarterly.

Finally, I am taking classes that are helping me achieve a goal I've set for myself in bringing my business to a new and different level; still staying in the quilting industry.  I also have an idea I'm working on for a new ruler, of sorts, that I am very excited about.  It is one that will work well with a variety of different fabrics, and I hope to have more information on it, soon!

Be sure to check in every day this week for a different, related topic!  Tomorrow's topic is my design process.

Now for today's give-away...  Today, I will be giving away an issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Vol. 2!  This issue will be sent to you compliments of Quiltmaker Magazine.  As a matter of fact, I have 3 issues I will give away for the remaining days this week!  So beginning tomorrow, you'll not only have a chance to win a surprise give-away from SuzGuz Designs, you will also have a chance to win an issue of 100 Blocks!

It's so simple to have a chance to win!  Please post to this thread and "Friend" me on Facebook to qualify. (Note added 11.10.10 at 9:30 am, EST: If you do not use Facebook--or even if you do!--I'd love it if you'd add me to your blog read list, instead!  Thanks :)

Have a marvelous day, and I'll "see" you tomorrow!


P.S.  DoN't ForGeT!!  Quiltmaker is giving away wonderful things all day, every day this week, as well.  So check their blog throughout every day this week for some great quilt-related items!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

THIS WEEK: We're in Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks Blog Tour!

Have you seen Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Blocks Volume 2 Issue, on newsstands, now?!  It's full of great ideas and the latest blocks by 100 of the top quilt designers!  I feel honored to have been asked to participate, and my block is Block #104, shown on page 23.  I'm so thrilled to be a part of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks.  It is such a great way to inspire quilters of all skill levels!

Quiltmaker Magazine will be giving away lots of great items at: QuiltyPleasures (Quiltmaker's blog) during the entire week of November 8th - 12th.  Some will be planned and some will be spontaneous, so you'll want to check back often!  Fabulous prizes will include fabric, patterns, books, notions, and of course, copies of 100 Blocks magazine.

I will also be giving away something every day this week, so please be sure to check back here, as well!

The name of my block is: Hearts Bejeweled

At the time I was contacted to submit a block, I was filling an order for my Patchwork Rendezvous quilt pattern (available for purchase through my website).  The fabrics I used to make the pattern are from Verna Mosquera's line of fabrics called Savon Bouquet for FreeSpirit.

Patchwork Rendezvous Quilt Pattern
by Susan Guzman of SuzGuz Designs

Because this pattern from our growing line has been such a great seller, AND because I love, love, love the fabrics, I decided I would pull out my scraps from this quilt to start working on an idea for my block.

To construct the block, I introduced a myriad of fabrics from my stash.  The brown polka dot fabric used in the center square and the small circles was left over from my quilt called Nonpariel, shown in McCall's Quilting, May/June 2009.  The 4 yellow squares and the fabric used for the hearts is from Verna's Savon Bouquet. The spear shapes' fabric and the pretty robin's egg blue polka dot background are from a fat quarter bundle I purchased last year at the International Quilt Market (forgive me, as we just moved, and I can't recall the fabric line . . . if interested, please e-mail me!).  I believe the green I used for the stems is one of the Kona Cotton solids.  I can check on this one, as well, if anyone is interested.

The applique hearts design I came up with was actually inspired by a fleur de lis image I found in a magazine.  I wanted to use fabrics that were fun and playful, yet connected back to the French fleur de lis.

In honor of the release of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 2 magazine, I will be giving away something every day this week.  For today, Monday, November 8th, I will be giving away a set of two of my most popular quilt patterns: Candy Bar Road, and Patchwork Rendezvous (as seen in the image, above).  These quilts are very easy to make and show off fabrics beautifully!

In order to be eligible to win these patterns, please post a comment at the end of this blog AND find me on Facebook by Friday, November 12th!  Winners of all of my giveaways this week will be announced by Monday, November 15th! (Note added 11.10.10 at 9:30 am, EST: If you do not use Facebook--or even if you do!--I'd love it if you'd add me to your blog read list, instead!  Thanks :)

To all of my old friends and all of my new friends, thanks so much for stopping by!  I look forward to hearing from you and I look forward to a fun week ahead.