Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway: Want a Free Book?

I hope everyone had a fabulous and creative weekend! I had every intention of quilting outside, but alas, I pulled a neck muscle last week, so I just tried very hard to be still and take it easy. I read a lot outside on a lounge chair where it was just an absolutely gorgeous sunny and 85 degrees here in Houston. (It is going to be very hard for me to get used to this warm weather…in March!) I can’t wait to get a few more plants for my backyard, and hand stitch or paint fabric outside on the weekends.

I just have to train Clarence, my newly adopted pooch, that while I am relaxing outside, it is not ok to dig up and chew through the wires for the lighting in the garden. I got him out of there, but then he ran upstairs and flopped onto my pillows as if to say, “Yeah, yeah, Woman. I’m way too cute for you to get really mad at me…”

Time For My Maudlin-Free Monday Giveaway!

While continuing to clean and set up my studio last night, I realized I own two editions of Lyric Kinard’s book, Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises. This is really a fabulous book if you want to create art quilts and hone your design skills.

All you have to do is answer the following question and I’ll randomly choose a winner this Friday.

My Giveaway Question…

One of the things I read this weekend was the latest SAQA Journal, and there was an article by Cindy Grisdela who interviewed a handful of art quilters about how they appropriate their studio time. One person she interviewed was one of my favorite art quilters, Charlotte Ziebarth of Boulder, CO, an artist who abstracts her own photographic images and incorporates them into her quilts. Charlotte said that when she wakes up and knows she is going to work in her studio that day, she doesn’t check her email right away—instead she gets a cup of coffee, and spends the first hour of her day knitting in front of her computer, which is set to a slideshow of her own photographs.

Now, I thought that was a pretty smart way to warm up and stimulate her brain for a creative session in her studio.

My Question: What creative exercise or warm-up do you do to get yourself in the creative zone for some studio play? Or do you just dive in and get to work?

83 responses

  1. Dang! I asked for this book for Christmas and the gift giver chose a different book. I am mostly a dive-in kind of girl. I do need music to get started. I typically set a timer so that I take a break, check email, cook, etc.

  2. Getting the morning writing time is my best way to have a successful, in the studio day. Writing opens me, puts to paper all those thoughts floating around and then appears a bit of a poem, a sketch for a design…the words describing something to sketch and make in fabric. The writing moves my creative self…and then the studio opens its doors to the magic of putting fabric to sketch, thread to fabric, paint to fabric, print from my photos..never without a well overflowing with ideas. A break to watch the birds, take a walk, in spring, summer and fall to be in my gardens….more awakening of the spirit. Retirement has given me the opportunity to explore so much more.

  3. If I’m working on a project, that is usually enough to keep me motivated, but if I’m in between projects, what gets me “warmed up” is to go to my blog and begin checking out some of the other blogs I follow. That usually is enough to get me started in a new direction. I love reading and seeing what everyone is doing!

  4. I like to look through books or magazines to give me some inspiration, since I’m new to art quilting. I’m still trying to get the creative spirit working inside to give inspiration, but if I see some other great works of art, I can use them to get started & then build from there. It also helps to have something to be procrastinating about doing (ie. taxes, housework, etc) This seems to give me a better focus :o) Music or an old movie is good to have going on in the background too!

  5. I find inspiration outdoors and this translates into my projects….gardening, first signs of spring, shades of green, florals, walking my dog and taking time to notice the every day simple beauty of nature…

  6. I tour my studio. Just standing in front of the stash wall or the design wall is enough to get me going. I have also been known to grab a random book off the shelf for inspiration. Even embroidery books are great inspiration for quilting.

  7. I hardy have time to quilt, much less do any warm up exercises! But I do enjoy looking through Pinterest, flickr and Quilting Arts magagazines for inspiration.

  8. I usually start the day looking at my quilting email, the modern quilt guild blog and their current inspirations. I belong to a couple Yahoo quilting groups that I read once a day. Then after a quick look at my calendar to make sure I have no pressing appointments, I head off to my studio. I have found that being relaxed is better for me than to go straight to quilt from laundry, dishes or housework.

  9. I look through my fabrics and patterns and decide what is really speaking to me! Sometimes it take buying a new piece of fabric and then it all comes together🙂

  10. Most of the time I wake up ready to go to the sewing room. Everything is set up out there for me, including coffee or hot tea. That is also where my computer is as I use it for my embroidery machine.
    Fun time! I love my sewing room!

  11. I start early in the morning – like about 5 a.m. Before my head is cluttered up with other stuff…Starting fresh is inspiration!

  12. I draw….every morning in the Studio….just thoughts and any designs that come to my mind. I am a long arm machine quilter, so I’m always thinking about new ideas for that as well. I never just “jump right in”…smile. This book looks amazing!

  13. I’m both! I tend to think and research a project to death! And then dive in !!! I’m not an impulse quilter.


  14. As my mind wakes up while still in bed, I think ahead to the things I want to do in my studio that day. As I eat breakfast, I leaf through magazines, books or the computer and leave my mind open for ideas. I sketch in my sketchbook when an idea pops up. I also like to clean up my worktable, so it is clear of clutter/tools/cups/etc. – that seems to clear the cobwebs in my mind as well! Then I dive.

  15. I do mundane things so that my mind can wander. Go for a ride, pick up dog poops, file dog toenails, knit … anything that will allow my mind to wander.

  16. I try to just jump in..but have to admit that sometimes I have a really hard time getting started ! It might be a smart idea to develop some kind of warm up routine for myself. That might help a lot ! Thanks for the opportunity to win that fabulous book.

  17. Had to check out Charlotte’s site. Wow! What an inspiration.
    I tend to just dive in. I’m usually trying to talk myself out of going into the sewing room first thing in the morning, but that doesn’t work. I’m always looking through magazines and blogs or just some random thing I’ve seen.
    Too many projects going at once.
    Thanks for the chance to experience to win. More inspiration!!
    Hope you feel better soon.

  18. I generally pull as many in-progress quilts as I can find out of the clutter that is my studio and arrange them on the dining room table (they’re small, so I can usually fit ten to twelve quilts at a time). Then I look at them both closely and from a distance until I figure out which one is ready to move forward. I select that one, put the others back in a pile amid the clutter, and then haul out drawing materials, paints, fabric scraps or whatever other medium whose time has come, and then just move forward in whatever way seems most natural.

  19. I have to have something to eat…whether I need it or not! Also a cup of tea. Seems like a silly ritual. and yet it’s important to me. I have to look at the news before I start, a real “news junkie.” Latest ad-on is Pinterest! Love the energy of the designers.

  20. I also need to let my mind wander a bit…I may putter in/out of the house for a bit, have at least one cup of coffee, a probably leaf through an art book or magazine, just to get salivating at others’ use of color, texture, materials. Then
    i’ll put on music to drown out the rest of the world (jazz, Laura Nyro, medivial chants, etc) and jump in!

  21. Pokey, I already own this wonderful book so do not include me in the drawing for it. I like to work on postcard collages as my studio warm-up routine. I have a table of mixed-media “stuff” set up for this in the studio. It seems to be a nice way for me to flex my creative muscles prior to doing my other work. I tend to wait on email-related activity until later in the day, much to the frustration of many.
    I find that I spend too much time at the computer, and if I start the day doing it I waste a lot of time.

  22. Don’t know where I read this, but someone suggested filling your creative cup when you first wake up before the logical side of your brain gets into gear (it takes longer…and the older I get, the longer it takes)! The reminder is something like “feeding righty while lefty is still asleep,” referring to the sides of your brain. So I take my breakfast and tea and cozy up on the couch with craft or art books or magazines. I start with looking at pictures, not reading text until later.
    I take my crafting time when I can. March Madness affords me several opportunities for longer sessions!🙂 Since I’ve fed my mind and jotted notes after rising, I usually just jump into whatever I’m doing. I also have a tendency to gather supplies as I go about doing other things, trying to collect what I need in one space so I can just GO when I get the chance. That’s the plan, anyway.

  23. In the mornings after I’m showered and dressed for the day with I head to the kitchen to get all of my kids fed. (I have 16 total. 6 dogs, 4 cats, and 6 parrots). When that’s done I have a cup of coffee and watch out my kitchen window til my blue and gold macaw is done with her breakfast. Then she and I go to my sewing room. She usually sits on her perch and talks to me and there’s been times where I’ve let her pick the fabrics for a project. That’s how I start my day and can’t think of any better way. to get my creative ideas flowing. Tekia (my bird) can always brighten up work. She however doesn’t like the color black so when I am cutting or sew black fabric all you hear is baaaaad! Baaaaad! Baaaaad!
    Thanks for letting me share that and for a chance to win a great book.

  24. In Namibia, winter only starts now. I get into the crafty mood, by receiving a cup of coffee in bed – what a spoil! – by my near -to -be husband. Then I see and watch the sun rise over Africa – sometimes over the sea, sometimes on the farm. I want to conquer the African colours into a quilt. That is why I need a book, because we have no quilting groups, or guilds here!! I really enjoy your website!

    I love also the quilt on your bed – I am glad you have nice comforting company on the white pillowcase!

    Enjoy both the quilting – and the company of your dog!

    Carien – Outjo – Namibia.

    • Carien
      My brother and his wife live just outside Windhoek and I gave them a quilt for their wedding last year that i made at block of the month class in New Jersey. I hope you can find some ladies to quilt with you. Africa itself with its beauty is for sure a inspiration. Do you know that Da Gama fabrics in South Africa has beautiful quilting fabrics now…called shwe swe fabric. I live in the USA. ….moved here from South Africa years ago.
      Lekker kwilt!

  25. Usually I drive a long way from my office to my home. The road is always the same, so I switch on my “autopilot” and began to think to my other “work”. When I arrive home I ‘m warm enough to begin!
    The problem is if I have some grocery shopping to do for the evening…usually I find myself at home without milk, or butter, or ham or anything else I needed!

  26. Since I always have several projects in the works, I ponder about what types of techniques I feel like working on. If that doesn’t get me started, I’ll pull out one or two and fondle the fabric, review the project or brainstorm about what could be the next step. That will usually get me going on at least one thing. Sometimes I take a break and start on another – love the variety of multi-tasking.

  27. I’m a diver-inner – but often, I’ve spent hours designing in my head at work and through the night before I begin so I’ve got a plan before I even walk in.

  28. Definitely a dive right in and creativity will follow kind of girl (it’s usually already there waiting for me)!

  29. I spend time cleaning up my sewing area – moving the fabrics and thread around, familiarizing my self with the colors I’m playing with, and what part of the project did I stop in the middle of last time I was able to play around. Then when I start sewing, I get to sew to the very last minute.

  30. I keep my craft area organized, so I get my supplies out, put a favorite DVD in the player or random CDs for music depending on my mood, and then begin working, sometimes way into the night. Once my supplies are purchased/together I am ready to get started ASAP

  31. Sometimes I just dive right in and get started, other times I look through photos or turn on music. A lot of the time I turn to nature and go for a walk outside and bring in some inspiration, like flowers, leaves, a feather, a weed a stone or tree branch. Nature never disappoints, I always find something interesting to draw, paint, or explore! Then I can use what I found in various unique ways! ~gin~
    I love Lyrics work and would love, love,love to have one of her books to call my own. Thanks for the chance to win! ~G~

  32. I am not a morning person……….my best thoughts are at night…….so in late afternoon, when it’s quiet, I try to work my thoughts out and work on my projects.
    thanks for the giveaway!

  33. When I’m going to do something I just do it – I’ve already spent a ton of time thinking about it. For a while I was trying to listen to or watch TV but tune that out and just concentrate now. I just think about how nice it will be to do and finish what ever I’m working on…..

    I saw this book when I was in Colorado last year – didn’t have my credit card with me so wasn’t able to get it…

  34. I work two jobs, so my creative time is somewhat limited. With this being the case, I schedule my project in time and make sure I have what I will need in advance. I wake up that morning, turn on the tv to the music station, turn it up and start working. My husband knows to stay away, but my cat makes sure to curl up somewhere close so that he can make helpful suggestions when needed.

  35. i am embarrassed to admit that i must declutter and clean up from the LAST session in order to get down to an actual working surface on which to create new things. since my work area is my kitchen peninsula, the horizontal counter becomes a newspaper-and-junk-mail magnet that must be unearthed before any meaninful artwork takes place.

  36. When I have to work on a project – I make sure I get some decent sleep and then jump in early in the day, skipping the PC, with plenty of coffee!

  37. I usually have a limited amount of studio time so i have to dive right in. If i am stuck, i clean a little, and usually bumble upon something unfinished that sparks a new idea.

  38. I start my day by letting the cats out, then the ducks and getting them fresh food. I head back inside, fill the cats’ bowls with food and head into the kitchen to make a fresh brew. Then, and only then, do I go to my small sewing area and start checking on what I was doing the night before to get my head back into it. And I need noise, so I also put on a radio for company – something that doesn’t distract, but to which I can sing along if I know the songs!

  39. I keep a stack of postcard sized watercolor paper on my studio desk and this is what I grab for a warm up with my first cup of tea. I paint, draw, doodle, stamp, collage, glue, distort…whatever strikes my muse!

  40. Oh clarence you are so sweet (looking). I get up and head for the computer to check emails. Most of the time somewhere someone has sent me something fun to read to get me started for the day.

  41. Look at items/articles that inspire me. For example, the Quilting Arts magazine. Then I ponder for a while (can be days) and then I dive in and play!!

  42. I get out the supplies that I think I will need and put them onto the table on which I work. I set up my machine and clear the cutting board. This is assuming that I’ve already thought out how I want to start. I usually change my mind as I work so I always need to get out more supplies as the day goes on.

  43. I drink a POT of coffee and then play with my fabrics. Sometimes I’ll draw out what I have in mind, but it always changes while I’m working.

  44. I write, to tube in & think about what I might want to do, or look at my folder of inspiration photos. Then turn on the radio & get going!

  45. I like to plan that I will be in my studio the day before and when I wake up I try to get into my studio without anyother distractions, except for coffee and walking the dog. I also go over what I want to get done when I wake up and also work out the design etc. Although, usually it has been working it’s way around in my mind for some time before it becomes a reality.

  46. I create a “morning collage” first thing every morning. I don’t spend a lot of time on it, and my goal is not to create a masterpiece, but to simply warm up and get the creative juices flowing. I’ve been doing this for quite a while now, and it works for me!

  47. my studio is upstairs next to my bedroom on the way downstairs to make coffee i stop, turn the lights on and have a look at the work that is on the design wall. this is usually enough to get me back and working. i often look at that work before i head into my bedroom

  48. I usually get ideas in my mind and then chew on them for a while before I head to the studio. Then I pull fabric and/or generate patterns and mull the idea somemore. Usually when I get to the actual fabric, my ideas change quite a bit.

  49. I spend time either picking out music or a movie. Lately I’m into watching series from HBO – currently working my way through the fourth season of the sopranos. (Totally loving it.) I always try to leave my computer downstairs, too much of a distraction for me.

  50. To get myu creative juices flowing I like to do some pilates stretches while listening to Kitaro of new age music.

  51. I live in an RV for of the year and I cannot leave my equipment and projects out because of the living space. So for me, it is the process of getting ready to start my project — taking out the sewing machine, laying out tools, looking at my fabric and any completed or partially-completed blocks, and reviewing pattern. This process always re-inspires me to my project, and once I am set-up, the creativity is at flow.

  52. I have a coffee too, go through things I llike on Pinterest, check out online postings and then take my dogs around the farm for a walk. I come back, with my thoughts and inspriration full of fresh air, and start something, either a painting or patchwork. That book would be wonderful.

  53. I also look through books and magazines or articles and pictures I’ve clipped. I started electronically clipping my ideas into my computer. Right noe I use Evernote to keep my inspirations organized. I’ll also go through my magazines and tear them up for the ideas. Gives me more space for more books and mags. There are a few magazines that I couldn’t bear to tear up,though.

  54. My mind just needs a rest so I go to a craft store and wander around. All those wonderful yarns, beads and scrapbook stuff … I grab something and start a new hobby for a couple of months. Oh yes, you’ll end up with lots of interesting UFO’s to use in quilting later on.

  55. I usually find myself doodling on post-its at work first, it starts subconciously really and then I end up getting a really good idea in my head and transfer things to my sketchbook.

  56. I am just learning to channel my artistic side, so I usually do and I am Planned that day, babysit a grandchild, chores, or whatever calls me first, but I want to change that, I am building an outside/garage area now, my son is a real artist and he is gonna paint me some large murals for color. and then I want my coffee, but skipping the internet sounds like a good idea but right now its inspiring to me to see everyones choice of color and ideas, for example I didnt even know a book like this existed, and I envy folks who can quilt like that. Thank you for the chance on the giveaway

  57. I usually just jump right in, but if I do have an “inspiration” notebook I can thumb through when needed. Thanks for the giveaway!

  58. I usually have quilt ideas running round my head, far more than there is time to make, so when it is quilting time, thenI can go for it.

  59. Sometimes I just dive in and grab whatever is in front of me and start creating which is my preferred way of doing it.

  60. In the middle of night working in my office/studio on the 2nd floor of our house, is when I get a notion or idea. It is quiet except for the TV or the music on my iPod going. Most time I paid no attention to either. This is when it all hits me and my body says (sleep) (sleep) and I start to pull out all the materials, patterns and tools. Lay everything out on my table until I see what I like. Hang my focus material on my Project wall (usually UFO’s hang here) and most time it is early in the morning and ask my sweet husband when he is good and up for his thoughts. Most time two thoughts are better than one early in the morning. I have many of those.

  61. I mostly do the opposite! I start my morning getting things done – errands, chores around the house, etc, so when I get into my ‘zone’ I don’t have to stop until I feel like it! I’ve been known to be at it until the wee hours of the morning when I really get on a role! Lol! To wake my right brain up after a morning of left brain calisthenics I look at pics I’ve saved online of quilts and non-quilt inspiration photos. Rarely, if I’ve left an unfinished project I only stopped because I was falling asleep at the sewing machine, I’ get up first thing and go right in there to get started again as though I never left! (who needs to grocery shop? I can call for pizza or Chinese delivery.,,)

  62. A great stress reducer, (which would get me ready to have some fun quilting) is playing a few games of Angry Birds! It gets the brain going.
    Read the emails…do the dishes—do a load of laundry and work on the next art quilt. Having a deadline sure gets me going too….LOL.

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