Thursday, December 3, 2015

Much Overdue Blog Post

Hello friends...

Where shall I begin? My last blog post was exactly three years ago, today: December 3, 2013. It baffles me how things work out, as I did not plan this. I certainly was stunned, realizing how long it has been! I'll describe the past three years as an adventure full of change, many fruitful opportunities and, at times, an intense whirlwind.

Little Red Bird, McCall's Quick Quilts, Dec/Jan 2014, image compliments of McCall's Quilting. Photographer: Mellisa Mahoney, Stylist: Ashley Slupe

In 2012, I submitted a proposal for my first book and it was accepted. By this time, I was already designing and making quilts monthly for McCall's Quilting with a few extra, here and there. I had  established regular work with other magazines and fabric companies as a pattern writer, editor, illustrator, and designer (both quilts and graphic layout), among other things. My schedule was overflowing.

Project commissioned Spring 2013 by PFAFF. Click on image for pattern link. This quilt comes in 3 sizes.
Modern Diamonds ©SuzGuz Designs 2013 for PFAFF

Project commissioned Spring 2013 by Husqvarna Viking. Click on image for pattern link. This quilt comes in 3 sizes.
The Garden Patch ©SuzGuz Designs 2013 for Husqvarna Viking

Since that time, my best-selling book, All About Strips: Colorful Quilts from Strips of Many Sizes (see reviews on Amazon and Martingale), was published by Martingale, January 2015. In addition, I had the distinct honor of taking over McCall's Quilting as Content Director upon the retirement of Beth Hayes, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus. F+W Media purchased McCall's Quilting at the beginning of 2014, and I came on board to attend Spring Market, beginning to work in the office the 1st of July. At that time, I was in the throes of making quilts and writing patterns for a fabric and graphic designer whose book is slated to come out in 2016. While working at McCall's full time, I would come home and work several more hours into the night and all weekend on the book, wrapping up the last handful of projects. It was grueling, for sure, but I would not have had it any other way. And, wow, did I learn a lot!

Image compliments of Martingale 2015

At the end of August, 2015, I made the difficult decision to resign from my position of running the magazine; one I treasured and valued more than you can imagine. I would miss my highly talented staff and coworkers, working with the best quilt designers in the industry, the ability to work hard to meet our deadlines, the richly creative environment, and most especially, working on creating and molding content worthy of our readership. We all loved what we did and were passionate about maintaining the McCall's style.

We worked hard. I remember last December, as a blizzard was blowing through and the entire building was empty of people except myself, our art director, and graphic designer; how we had our nose-to-the-grindstone so that we could meet a deadline (we were short staffed at the time, and all had to pull together to get the work done). The entire staff worked straight that day and the three of us worked into the night. I remember getting punchy that evening and insisting how we all needed a break and to get a bite to eat. We piled into my SUV and, although the roads were dangerous to drive, we made it out and back safely. Looking back on my entire experience, I cannot tell you how proud I was of our entire staff. Their dedication and hard work at times brought tears to my eyes.

My first issue as Content Director for McCall's. Image compliments of McCall's Quilting. Photographer: Mellisa Mahoney, Stylist: Ashley Slupe

I'm glad I was able to accomplish these milestones: Work on the tail-end of McCall's last special issue (Heritage Quilts Made Modern, Fall 2014), and Beth Hayes' last issue (McCall's Quilting, Nov/Dec 2014). F+W Media changed the Editor-in-Chief title to a new title that encompassed video and digital media: Content Director. My first issue as Content Director was Quick Quilts, Dec/Jan 2015. I was able to work on the last perfect bound, larger-size magazine McCall's published; the Mar/Apr 2015 issue. I was so proud of that cover because it showcased a more casual elegance and playful feel, besides the fact that my dear friend, Amy Gibson/Stitchery Dickory Dock, made a mini quilt, Apple Blossom, for that issue and it topped off the stack of other lovely quilts that made the cover beautiful: Lilli's Pond, by sweet Bev Getschel, Shimmer by long-time contributor and prolific designer, Gerri Robinson, American Wildflowers by dear Audrey Hiers, Cross & Crown, by another sweet lady, Sandra Clemons, Keepsake Violets by the talented long-time contributor team of Sarah Maxwell and Dolores Smith. I believe Amy, Bev, and Audrey used fabrics from their stash, Gerri used her current collection at the time, Summer Cottage for Red Rooster, Sandra used Hadley by Denyse Schmidt for FreeSpirit, and Sarah and Dolores used Victoria's Violets by Molly B's Studio for Marcus Fabrics.

New HOME page for SuzGuz Designs

After leaving F+W/McCall's, my plan has been to revive my business: SuzGuz Designs. In October, my husband tore his labrum (shoulder) and had two tears in his bicep, all at once. And it all happened on his dominant, right side. He's been in a sling since then, and had surgery two weeks ago. This sort of injury is extremely painful and the surgery results in post-op pain for weeks. We look back on this experience and realize how it is all part of God's plan. If I were still working outside of the home, I would have had to take a leave of absence to care for him. As much as I get queasy around anything medical-related, I'm sure glad I've been able to help him; he's been my rock and biggest supporter since I started in the quilting industry.