Saturday, February 13, 2016

Craftsy Sweetens Up My Life--Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Craftsy Sweetens Up My Life Blog Hop.  Hopefully, you have been hopping around with us over the past few days, learning about all of the awesomeness that is Craftsy.  When Sandra at mmm! Quilts contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I would be interested in participating in the hop, there was 0% hesitation on my part to join in.  The hop is organized by Sandra and Julie at Pink Doxies to spread the word about how life changing Craftsy can be for you.  And of course, there are give aways and some pretty cool sales as well!  I know I love a good discount on a great product.

If you have been to my blog before, it's pretty easy to figure out I mostly blog about quilts.  I discovered Craftsy long before I started blogging.  Craftsy did change my life, so much so, I signed up to be an affiliate.  I work full time and am the mother of a teenager.  This leaves little time for traveling to classes or even time for taking a class.  Plus, we live in an area where finding the types of classes I longed for was nearly impossible.  I longed to learn free motion quilting skills.  Craftsy provided me with a platform that 100% worked with my schedule and showed me what I needed to take my quilting to the next level.  If my slot for watching a class was 3 AM insomnia, guess what?  My instructor was right inside my phone waiting to pick up where we left off.

Craftsy allowed me to enroll in the classes of quilting rock stars that I would have never heard teach otherwise.  The best part is you can ask questions and...they reply!  The first time I asked a question in a class, I got a prompt response from Cindy Needham.  I nearly fell over.  Cindy Needham answered my question, swoon.  (I'm one of those people, that if I ever make it to say QuiltCon I will probably get kicked out because I will be the star struck crazy person yelling, "Do you know who you are??? You are Alex from Aurifil!!!")

Today I want to talk about three different classes that have helped me tremendously on my journey.  Dot-to-Dot Quilting with Angela Walters, Shoot It! by Caro Sharidan, and Product Photography at Home by Jessica Marquez.  Craftsy graciously wanted to extend the offer of purchasing these classes at a discount for the next five days as a way to say thank you for stopping by our hop to check things out.  So without further ado, lets talk about these classes.

The idea of Angela's Dot-to-To quilting technique is to create stunning quilting motifs using points on the quilt.

These points can be marked with a dot, imaginary or be drawn lines.  She shows you how to integrate curved lines and well as straight lines and how to use them in different areas of your quilt.

The huge advantage to this type of quilting is that it is quick and easy and gives your quilts wonderful textures that everyone will awe over.

In the class materials, Angela gives instructions for for a beautiful and easy to piece 42.5" quilt that you can quilt along with as she quilts the class sample.  After I purchased this class I was ecstatic to find out that the award winning long arm quilter demonstrated her techniques for the class on a domestic machine.  These versatile motifs are meant for everyone.

I chose to make the class quilt and follow along with Angela.  Here are a few pictures from my Dot-to-Dot experience.

Even the quilting on the back creates its own unique look.

If you look through out my blog and in my quilt gallery, you will see that time and time again my quilting has been influenced by these extremely simple techniques.  If I haven't been able to convince you how great this class is, maybe Angela herself can.

Craftsy seems to have a class for just about everything, not just quilting.  After I started blogging and reading other blogs, one thing I noticed was all of the wonderful photos.  I wanted to provide my readers with the best eye candy I could produce.  If you spend hours creating a beautiful piece of art you want your pictures to reflect their beauty.  I knew absolutely nothing about photography or using our camera.  So I turned to Craftsy for guidance and of course they came through with flying colors.  As of now, two classes are offered regarding product photography.  

The first is Shoot It!

Caro Sheridan is a knitter, photographer and co author of Knitting it Old School.  In this class she helps guide you in setting up a photo shoot that is sure to obtain that perfect product shot, even if you do not have a high-end camera.  She talks about color theory and how to use it to help you find your style.  You will learn how to use negative space to make your product stand out.  Caro also gives pointers on preparing for your photo shoot and gives suggestions on things to take with you.  She talks about creating a shot list, so that you capture the shots you would like to create.  She also talks about obtaining model releases and permits you may need for shooting at different locations.  As an added bonus she even throws in tips for taking the perfect self portrait to use in your pattern bio or on social media.

Now, instead of half focused shots of my quilts draped over the back of my couch, I pack them up and take them on scenic field trips.  I add props to make the shots more interesting and always make use of natural lighting.  Here are some examples of pictures I have taken, using Caro's tips.

Watermelon Taffy a block I created for the Fabri-Quilt Blog Hop


The next class is Product Photography at Home by Jessica Marquez.

Jessica is a professional photographer.  One of the things I loved about this class is she does a wonderful job explaining the more technical side of your camera.  

She explains how to use ISO speed, white balance and shutter speed to capture the most crisp and in focus pictures possible.

 She creates table top backdrops and demonstrates how changing the different settings will change the focus, and clarity of pictures.  She talks about different types of lighting, the best way to use them and how you can create DIY bounce cards and diffusers.  

She talks about using props to show size and scale of your products and the best ways to coach models to acquire the pictures you desire.

Here are a few of my photos I've taken after trying some of Jessica's advice and tips.

I am 100% a quilter at heart, but these classes have convinced me that I want my photography skills to go to the next level, so that I can share with my readers the true beauty of the fabric that surrounds me.  So if you are like me and can't afford to hire a professional, Craftsy will allow you to learn from professionals.

So for the next seven days, Craftsy would like to extend the sweet offer of these three classes at a discounted price.  What are you waiting for?  All you have to do is click on the pictures below and the knowledge of  Angela, Caro and Jessica will be at your finger tips 24/7.  Ask questions, get answers and unlock the potential that just waiting to surface within you. (offer ends Feb 20th at 11:59 PM MT)

And of course let's talk about the give aways!

Craftsy has went above and beyond to make this the sweetest hop ever.  Not only are the classes listed on my page being sold at a discount, but all the classes discussed in the blog hop (see the schedule below) are being offered on sale as well.  And if that wasn't enough?? They have also offered up 3 fabulous prizes.

Two lucking winners will each win one FREE Craftsy class of their choosing.  Hey, maybe you want to try cake decorating 101...go for it.  And a grand prize of...cue drum roll...

Hopefully you will have the time to hop over and check out my fellow bloggers and their reviews of Craftsy.  Craftsy isn't just great classes, but fabric, supplies and a whole bunch of great patterns.  Don't believe me?  Check them out.  Today is also my good friend Anja's day over at Anja Quilts.  She will be reviewing the patterns; Postcard from Sweden, 1hr Basket, Star Bright and Reusable Handwarmers.

Below is a schedule for the entire hop

Wednesday Feb 10th
Judy--Quilt Paradigm--Cindy Needham Design It Quilt It and Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts
Helen--Midget Gem Quilts--Jacquie Gering Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot

Thursday Feb 11th
Cindy--Stitching At Home--Amy Johnson Quilting With Rulers on a Home Machine
Vicki--Vicki's Crafts--fabric purchases, deals

Friday Feb 12th
Zenia--A Quilted Passion--Elizabeth Dackson Start FMQ, Christina Cameli Secrets of FMQ, and Angela Walters Help! How Do I Quilt It?
Jayne--Twiggy and Opal--Supplies: Pressing/cutting mat and Mini iron

Saturday Feb 13th
Tish--Tish's Adventures in Wonderland (Me)--Angela Walters Dot-To-Dot Quilting, Caro Sheridan Shoot It!, and Jessica Marquez Product Photography At Home
Anja--Anja Quilts--Patterns; Postcard from Sweeden, 1 hr Basket, Star Bright, and Reusable Handwarmers

Sunday Feb 14th
Beth--Cooking Up Quilts--Amanda Murphy 20 Fresh Applique Techniques
Preeti--Sew Preeti Quilts--fabric purchase, Kaffe Fassett Classics Design Strips

Monday Feb 15th
Julie--Pink Doxies--Joan Wolfrom Color Play for Quilters
Sandra--Musings of a Menopausal Melon-mmm! quilts--Angela Walters Machine Quilting:Small Changes, Big Variety and Free Motion Quilting With Feathers, and review fabric purchases and patterns Sea Glass and Snowflake

If you get a chance, stop by and show all these lovely ladies some love and take advantage of the great deals and maybe win a give away.

Today I'm linking up with Main Crush Monday, and Whoop There It Is!


Sandra Walker said...

Wow you knocked it outta the park on this one, Tish. I remember your new block photo, and how professional-looking it was!! All your photos clearly have that professional touch--there's a definite mood or feeling to them. As for the fabric, I can "feel" it through my screen. So much better than my iPhone shots... LOVE LOVE your Dot to Dot class sample! I have to do that baby, but I used my own certain quilt. I like that you included that trailer video (will talk to you on how to do that-on my goals for 2016). Thank you so much for being part of our hop and for writing such an informative post...that is going to cost me some $$$ at Craftsy!
PS I burst out loud laughing at the "Do you know who you are?" line; totally relate; my eyes welled up when I met Angela.

Preeti said...

Tish, thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that I need to take better pictures. And help is only a click away. I am so signing up for Jessica's class.

Stitchin At Home said...

Tish the photographer and FMQer extraordinaire!! More classes I need, oh my poor wallet.

Lara B. said...

Tish you did an amazing job reviewing the classes, because now i want to take all of them, LOL. Your photographs and your samples of work are incredible!
Your whole post was vastly interesting, but the part I loved best was your description of how you would react to being at QuiltCon. I swear, if you and Sandra ever can work it out, the two of you Have to go to a huge show together! You would be riot!

Lara B. said...

I did it! Thanks to you Tish, I am now signed up to take Product Photography at Home. I wish I had taken a course like this before I submitted my book manuscript!

Julie said...

You bring out some really good points in this post. No matter how lovely your quilt, bag, fabric, or dog is, good photography skills enhance it. I've seen how good your pictures have become both in clarity and composition, so I back you up is saying the classes are beneficial for even someone whose main interest is quilt blogging.

My list grows.

Thank you for being a part of the hop, Tish!

Lisa J. said...

These are great reveiws.....I'm gonna go right there and sign up for a photography workshop.

Jayne said...

Thank you for the review! Your photos are amazing, it's such a great idea to take quilts on a field trip! I'm excited to try the dot to dot class! I've tried something similar on my own, but knowing there is a class for added help is going to be fantastic!

DeeDee said...

I would also be the person yelling something like, "Holy cow! You are Jacquie Gerring! DO YOU KNOW THAT?????" I get all fan girl myself.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Great class suggestions, and ones I am definitely interested in! Thanks so much for sharing.

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

A great blog post Tish. After reading your review today I found myself driving through the countryside looking at farm gates as possible quilt hangers ! I also don't have local suitable classes and really must make more of craftsy . I have learnt this through this blog hop

Unknown said...

Love this informative post. Great tips and suggestions. And your quilt is stunning too. I'm glad I found you through MCM.

Judy@Quilt Paradigm said...

OK, you convinced me, I have to take one of the photography classes - your photos are amazing!!

I really, really, really hope that one day you might get to take an in person class with Cindy - you would love, love, love it!!

Mara said...

Would love to take one of the photography classes, I desperately need to do better in that area!

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

Jessica's class sounds exactly like one I NEED to take. Guess I'll be skipping over to Craftsy and adding that one to my course of study! Thanks for 3 really great reviews Tish. Wonderful information!

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