Category Archives: Blog

STILL HERE!

Yes, I’m here, still here! Technology didn’t agree with me for a while, as first my Canon Pixma printer started showing an error code, which turned out to be its death sentence, and then a few days later some impossibly appalling individual chose my IP address for a DoS attack. Such people should, well, I don’t wish nice things for them.

My internet got cut off until I had waded through all devices and their settings, after which I lost for a while all joy to contribute to the very place that someone had found me through, then exploited like that. So no blog updates to post yet, but I’ll get to it once my sewing deadlines have been met. Happy weekend!

REVAMPING AND STUFF

Yesterday I mentioned having been ill for a while, but another reason for a rather quiet blog is that I’m working on revamping the whole thing. I have my own domain already and want to move the whole shebang to self-hosting. There’s quite a bit to learn, however, and also I want to be sure I commit financially to the most optimal solutions.

So for instance my monthly projects turned quarterly projects, which I intended to post on 1 October, didn’t happen after all. In fact, I’m rethinking what I’m doing here in the first place, and am aiming to streamline categories, the visual aspects, you name it.

Also, my patterns are being worked on and there is a line of them waiting to be written, then published for sale. This last part is making me rather nervous, but on the other hand I’ve wanted to waltz firmly and regularly out of my comfort zone on this blog since the beginning. Being brave takes active efforts over and over, and what I have in my head and in my vector drawing app shows me that perhaps someone might actually want to pay a bit for a pattern of mine, so I just have to take a leap of faith and do my best.

Something as simple as a label causes me to shift a tad uncomfortably, and by that I’m of course talking about “designer.” Yikes, I have no problem these days saying that I design quilt patterns, but it’s a whole different story to call myself a pattern designer. See the difference?

For the longest of time I struggled with the label runner, because I had this idea that only very fit people were runners, which turned out to be a bunch of nonsense, as all it takes to be a runner is to move in running rather than walking. You know, that definition where not both feet are on the ground simultaneously? The way we all ran around when being kids still? Yes, that one.

Stepping into the identity of a pattern designer will take longer, I suspect, because I have no formal training, although I do my best to take an academic approach to learning more. Currently I’m enrolled in a graphic design course for beginners, it’s fun and turns out typography and I are a love affair that will never end.

If you glance back at the post title, see how I’ve written it in all caps for the first time? That’s part of the revamping project :) It’s slow, since I’m not outsourcing much to anyone else, but I’ll get there and I most certainly hope you’ll like the result. Since progress is of turtle speed, I don’t want to make any public announcements about deadlines, though, because we don’t know what we don’t know, right? And what we don’t know may take a lot longer than expected.

I also have a few sewing projects to wrap up before that, including the much overdue Simplicity quilt-along, so behind the seams (haha, pun intended) there’s quite a bit going on right now.

Are you an active blogger? Or an inactive one wanting to become more active, with more clarity and purpose? At the end of all this, I’ll share a little secret that I’m working on an e-book of sorts to help others in my situation find their way through moving from a free blog platform to self-hosting.

My monthly challenge posts

Nina With Freckles - Challenge musings 2015-07-24

I’ve been thinking. (Oh no, no need to expect greatness just yet, but merely some general musing.) Lately, I haven’t felt like posting the monthly lists of projects to finish or bring forward somehow, and today I realised it’s because in the world of quilting, a month isn’t a very long time at all. At least it isn’t for me, who likes to jump between projects and who sometimes finds something new to work on.

The purpose is never to make myself feel bad, if I can’t “live up to expectations”, but somehow I’ve managed to do just that anyway, when posting no challenge at all. Or perhaps I haven’t posted because I haven’t wanted to feel bad? Who knows, it’s like what came first, the egg or the hen, and in the end what matters is a solution.

It’s incredibly rewarding to announce projects finished, or moved forward as planned/hoped, so I definitely don’t want to drop that part of blogging, but maybe it’s time to move to quarterly posts instead?

A quarter will have its own rhythm, of course, but since I don’t know what next year will bring in terms of bee blocks, and I’ve signed up for two mini-quilt swaps by now (the second one not blogged about yet and with a deadline next year), these forced, real deadlines (as opposed to the ones I call synthetic) might be fewer than in 2015. Who knows? The idea of swapping mini quilts and other small finished projects seems rather appealing to me right now, in particular since I’ve been sorting the gallery pages again, added internal links for easier perusing of the blog, and have seen that quite a bit of time has been spent on non-finished projects, be they for me or someone else. But I’d love to have a longer list of actual, huge, real, finished projects to show.

In the process of updating the blog pages, I also cleaned them up a bit, including removed a couple, which didn’t make any sense to me to maintain anymore. Sometimes when “improving” stuff I have a tendency to make them more complicated than necessary… *blushes faintly*

Instead of barging ahead spontaneously, this time I’ll take a good ponder before writing a challenge post for the last quarter of the year. I’ll have enough time to observe myself for a few weeks, then compose a to-do list that is as realistic as possible.

How about it? You and quarterly project challenges, I mean. Are you in? Or do you prefer none at all? Monthly challenges?

Saturday evening ramblings

Hello everyone, I was supposed to post some helpful stuff about WordPress today. I will post it another time, but then I got this urge to write about foundation paper piecing (FPP), to which I have an introduction cooking. In fact, have had boiling for quite some time already.

There’s a pattern coming out, soon, and it will be free. I will walk you through a process that many seem to shy away from still. This may sound completely insane, coming from someone, who has actually only ever finished one FPP project, but I’m unusual in my learning process. First I like to learn the academic way about what it is that I’m trying to learn, and only then do I jump in, properly, in a glorious fashion.

So while I have only a bit of practical experience, I still know what I’m talking about. Because I also do my research. I have lost count of how many blog posts I’ve already skimmed through, written by others on the same subject, and then I haven’t even talked about a couple of great Craftsy classes yet.

Why write yet another article then? Because nobody has explained it my way. I also love to write The Ultimate Whatever kind of posts, when I finally get around blogging about something. It should be worth my time as a learner and teacher, but certainly also worth yours for being a loyal reader in a place, the blogosphere, which people seem to be leaving en masse. (I don’t get it. Nothing can replace blogs.)

Lately I’ve also been thinking about my voice as a blogger. There’s a constant balance to keep between not sharing enough, and sharing too much. There’s a reputation to maintain and care about. There’s also the part where I have to decide whether to bring in humour or not. I can be extremely sarcastic if need be, but usually it isn’t bringing out the nice parts in me, and so I choose to ignore the urge that surfaces from time to time. My humour is slightly dorky, in the scientific/medical kind of way, which isn’t always well received, and so it may be easier not to unleash it at all. It is there, though :)

From my reader stats I can tell that I’m still a tiny fish in the pond, but numbers are constant unless they show sudden surges like on Monday/Tuesday after posting the newest block of the Simplicity sampler quilt. Maybe you are making it but choose not to share your progress? That’s totally fine. I’m posting the blocks for selfish reasons; to push myself, to learn new things about my craft and myself, to send good karma out into the world. Selfish, I told you.

I made my first video tutorial some days ago. It is a short video how to make one’s own natural cleaning solution to use in a spray bottle and I made it for my family only. Craftsy classes have made me see how joyous teaching a craft can be and my family members seem like the perfect lab rats to practice video tutorials on. I loved it! The only annoying part was where I had to hold the iPhone in one hand and focus on the verbal message whilst mixing things with the other hand.

Apart from some minor hickups, I truly enjoyed it and wasn’t nervous at all, despite getting a case of bad nerves when having to perform in public. There was no script either, but I winged it from start to finish, and after having listened to myself a few times, I think teaching “strangers” could be rather fun. In that sense, I’m a typical INFJ; talk endlessly about something meaningful, but go cold after a minute of forced chit chat. Can’t stand the latter, ugh. So maybe you’ll see me post a video here sometime, because to me it isn’t ever about boosting myself (apart from the occasional tiny ego trip of course, like everyone experiences), but I simply love sharing what I have learned.

Anyway, this is a completely pictureless post and, yeah, I like words, too. Speaking of words, reading, writing, being creative and so on, I warmly recommend Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit.” Have you read it yet? Now it’s nearly bedtime for me, but I wish you a lovely weekend wherever you are in the world!

Around the World Blog Hop

900px-Earth_Eastern_Hemisphere

My bee buddy Swedish Scrapper asked me whether I’d like to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop and I said yes, because it sounds like fun! It’s taken some time to get this post up, first because of illness and then since I haven’t found anyone to pass the torch on to.

If you haven’t participated yet, but would like to, please let me know in the comments and I’ll edit this intro to include a link to your blog! In the meantime, I’d like to direct you to a friend of mine, Kristy’s blog where she posted her answers earlier this year. She writes her own lovely patterns and as a matter of fact is having a sale currently.

EDIT: New quilter found via Instragram. Meet ArtL8dY, who will participate in the blog hop with a post!

The questions are these:

  1. What are you currently working on?
  2. How does my work differ from others?
  3. Why do you write/create what you do?
  4. How does your creative process work?

Let’s begin!

What are you currently working on?

I write monthly project posts to keep them organised and as realistic as possible. I have a crazy amount of different stuff going on in all areas of life and when planning it is easy to view each part separately from the other ones, which can result in too optimistic ideas of one’s capabilities within a certain time frame.

Flickr foryoudesigns 640My December projects therefore got pared down a bit compared to the ones I hoped to either move forward or finish entirely in November. Currently I’m working on a mug rug for the Scandibee Christmas swap as well as gifts for the holidays. There are no photos to show yet :)

In the making there is also a project pdf for managing quilting bee contributions, which I intend to sell at an affordable price. I’m putting the last touch on it as we speak and it should be for sale later this week. I’m really excited about it because I don’t think there is anything similar out there currently.

How does my work differ from others?

NWF Hand Embroidery - Sampler 2 Looped stitchesMany quilters are just that, quilters, but I like other crafts, too, such as general sewing, knitting, embroidery, and working with digital stuff. I would LOVE to learn how to sew my own clothes in a minimalistic style and you can look at my Project 333 board on Pinterest if you like. Regarding Pinterest, I try very hard to pin in a clear manner so that followers can decide which boards are of interest to them. Oh, and I’m Solsken Design on there, not Nina With Freckles, as I had to pick different social media for the two (can’t keep up with double of everything in all places).

I’m also working on building a small business out of this experience, which is something I have in common with even fewer people. My style is striving to become rather clean and minimalist; what I believe is the style Modern Quilt Guild is ultimately trying to push into the world. Focus will be on negative space and quite a lot of solid colours rather than patterned fabrics, but it’s still in the making only because the current fabric stash is mostly full of patterns.

In other words, I’m buzzing of ideas for quilt patterns to make and also there’s a bunch of ideas for embroidery patterns. Everything starts from breaking down stuff into manageable chunks, though, so it will take some time before you see it all come together here.

12 Days of Design SpoonchallengeSpoonflower is hosting a fabric-design challenge as we speak and I’m participating in it in an attempt to find out whether fabric design is for me or not. So far I’m having fun and there will be a post on my progress during days 3 and 4 later today.

Lastly, I think I differ quite a bit from many others in that I get overwhelmed from the mere thought of cranking out something crafty on a daily basis. In fact, I blogged about it not too long ago.

Why do you write/create what you do?

NWF Let's talk hexagons 2014-12-01I keep this blog not for myself only but for the enjoyment of others. By this I mean that I hope I create different sorts of original content that will inspire, teach, and provoke to new thoughts. I love doing research on various technical topics such as what sewing needle one should use in which context, how to wind the thread on a sewing machine the best way, and more. Recently I created a page with clickable pictures in a gallery for the purpose, since I think there’s no use if all information is accessible through tags and categories only; there’s too much to scroll through. In other words, “enjoyment of others”.

NWF Create your collage 2014-03-07Take a look at my other blog pages, too, some of which are under construction still and others, such as the fabric palette gallery, are completely up-to-date now. The idea is that if you can’t keep up with this place on a frequent basis, you’ll have easy access later on to what might interest you. My fabric palettes are an exception in that I usually only make them for myself and within rules that I set (unless I participate in a contest).

Through blogging I’ve made some good internet friends and Instagram has opened even more doors. It is a pleasure interacting with these people around the world and the most recent addition is Scandibee, which you can find on Flickr as well as Instagram under that hashtag. All ladies are in Europe and most are in Scandinavia. Quilting isn’t huge in Finland, so this international twist to my work is very welcome.

In short, I do this to grow and learn new things, including waltz outside of my comfort zone on a frequent basis. It’s not good to become too set in one’s ways, but the brain needs a decent airing out often.

How does your creative process work?

I’m not sure. I find inspiration in nature and in various man-made structures around me. Recently I saw a photo of a tattoo on a man’s back, which was made in minimalist Japanese style in black only and there certainly is a blackwork or other embroidery pattern in the making inspired by it. My collection of inspirational pictures is quite large at this point.

NinaWithFreckles - Hawthorn Threads palette 9Colour palettes are very important to me and while I’m learning still, I think my eye has already been trained quite a bit to see what stands out the wrong way and what works as a nice colour punch to put the dot on the i. I’m not satisfied with the concept of “it will do”, but will keep on tweaking until I’m pleased. And not even then will it always be “perfect”, but that’s when I have learned not to take out the seam ripper anymore.

As should be evident from the monthly project posts I mentioned earlier, I have lots of projects going on simultaneously. I tend to get bored easily and need something else to jump to then. For the longest of time I’ve thought of this tendency as not so great, but I’m trying to let go of ideals set by others as guidelines for their work. As long as the projects get done at some point, there is no problem, at least for me.

I could keep writing, because the questions are interesting, but instead I do as always, finish with a suggestion to comment and ask questions. I love questions and other forms of interactions here! Currently I have a backlog of other blogs to visit, but I follow them all on bloglovin’ and will get up-to-date before the year is over, so follow me there if you like. Thanks for reading and Happy Thursday to you!

Updating Pages

Flickr justinroy - The sun and its flowers 640

Flickr justinroy

Hello and happy Monday to you! I’ve been cleaning up the Pages structure a bit and thought I’d let you know what’s in the making.

The About page includes a blurb about me as well as links to where I am to be found in the social media, not only as NWF but Solsken Design, too (website with shop and blog). I don’t like overlap, so you might find useful things on those accounts as well.

I’ve added a Contact section with a contact form page and a page for the media kit that I’ve just started working on.

My projects got their own section. This includes works in progress, finished projects, and projects that are in the queue right now.

You can find tips on how to organise your craft room and your calendar in the Organising section.

Once I’ve written patterns to publish, I’ll make a page for those, too. In the meantime, I’m pondering how to best present all these, including tutorials that I’ll write.

I hope you think of these changes as improvements and enjoy them!

In case you’re wondering what is up with the sunflowers, I can tell you that the length of the day is shorter than eight hours here now and we rarely see the sun, so it has to be artificially added in one way or the other :)

Refreshing the blog

I’ve been refreshing the blog a bit:

  • Moved widgets around and updated them (still have some work to do there)
  • Added a couple of new pages In the queue (since I love the Ravelry project queue, it’s super nifty) and Finished projects
  • Updated the Works in progress and About pages
  • Removed some post categories and added others

While I do have my project lists at home, when writing stuff here it’s really convenient to have those project pages, too, and as an added bonus you can take a peek at what’s going on.

Now that I’m no blogger newbie anymore, it’s easier to see that categories are nice but a very challenging way to find things, so grouping posts into collections of various kinds in the pages is another route to help the reader. It takes a bit of effort to compile them, but I think it’s worth it and hope you do, too! Happy Thursday :)

Friendly reminder – Back up your blog

With this post I hereby start a new series, the Friendly reminders with emphasis on friendly. They will arrive at random times whenever I have an exceptionally brilliant thought or something else revolutionary (well, super organised, but that might scare you off).

I’ve been meaning to find out how to back up this blog for a long time and finally remembered to go looking for where and how to do it. Turns out it is very easy, just look!

NWF Backup WordPress 1

NWF Backup WordPress 2

The xml file isn’t large, meaning there’s no image or similar content, so that you need to take care of separately.

Oops

Still breathing, but haven’t done crafting lately and so the whole thing has fallen off the radar. I’ve also had a lot of more “important” stuff to do, whatever that means, and so the social media scene has moved a bit to the back burner. I’ll have my sewing machine and other paraphernalia in a few weeks time again and then there might be some more frequent updates. For now, have a great week!

P.S. I let someone down during this process and might as well say it out loud. Don’t over-commit to things and if you haven’t over-committed but find yourself unable to do something due to unforeseen events, just say so. I feel awful right now for not having communicated better with someone, who was depending on me.