Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Letters to Santa Quilt, the inside story of creating, designing, executing and delivering!!

When I design and create, whether it be a quilt, an art quilt or a painting, I want it to be special, to say something, hold a special meaning or message. I love to create pieces that are both unique and special and I am so excited about my new Christmas Quilt "Letters to Santa".

I thought I would share a bit about the design process and how this slowly unfolded over the past year. It started in October of 2016. I was creating some fun paintings for a painting party for the holidays when I was asked to host a Christmas paint party. It was so much fun to watch this family with their friends have such a great time! At the end everyone took home a mini masterpiece for their own home!

As I looked across all the tables of Santa heads I thought about how unique and special each one was and I thought "What a cute Quilt that would be!"

I started designing that next week, figuring out how I would translate the painting into fabric. Once I had the Santa head designed and put up onto my design wall it felt like it needed something else. So I started to design a body, then boots. It was a process of making, putting them up, taking them down etc. At the beginning I had tons of Santa heads and decided that it was too much. I wanted some white areas to keep the quilt feeling light and fun so I added white blocks.  


Oh I forgot to mention that I had Randy busy digitizing right behind me so we could make these in the hoop on the embroidery machine also! It was lots of stitching and perfecting. As you can see in the photo, I decided to add the element of faux fur. This is really unconventional and although I love it I didn't know how it would go over at the quilt stores etc. Plus there is the added issue of washing  the quilt. Who knows if the faux fur will stand up to washing. I may dry clean. But it is about the look for me and I also suggest chenille or just regular fabric. There are other things that could work. I will say that everyone who comes by the quilt has to touch it and pet Santa's mustache. 

After Christmas the progress slowed.  I had other commitments, fabric, shows, embroidery, patterns and so Santa just sat. I decided that maybe I could have him ready for Spring Market in May. The time came and went and I wasn't able to make it happen.  There was also the problem I was having making the quilt make sense. Did he need a body, boots? Should I do less or more and why would anyone want a Santa quilt?? 

The time kept ticking away and my mind just continued to ponder the quilt, to figure out how I could get it could come together. As Fall market approached I felt pressure to finish this quilt and get the pattern written or give it up for good.  I decided to add the white blocks together with the Santa heads and bodies to see it would help. As I sat there looking at it I thought to myself, those look like pieces of paper!


Lightbulb moment!!!! LETTERS TO SANTA!!  I got on the phone and asked my kids to have my grandkids write their letters to Santa for this year. It was early and they weren't really thinking about Santa yet but they did it!
I digitized their letters and stitched 3 of them into the quilt. I now had a family heirloom! A quilt with my grandkids letters to Santa 2017. It captured their misspelled words, their handwriting, their hopes and dreams for Christmas. It was perfect! We added some snowflakes for quilting and it was ready to be written. 
Unquilted but together

I used the snowflakes randomly throughout the quilt as the quilting and decided to do wonky lines to represent paper around the kids letters

Megan's even has a cupcake. She drew it to show Santa what she would cook in her new cook set.

Rachel's was the most organized and ready for digitizing. Each letter had its own clean up issues.

Designing, testing, writing and making sure every detail is perfect is a tough job, its complex and so now we settled into the testing and writing phase. Taking photos for step by step directions etc. We ended up making both an appliqué pattern and embroidery Cd for all of our customers, those with and without embroidery machine. We also added suggestions for different ways everyone with and without an embroidery machine can add their own family letters or recipes!! 

I was so excited, it had finally come together and was now making sense! We worked like crazy to have it finished for Fall Market. I wrote, stitched, quilted and sewed on the binding as we drove to Houston.  

It was a huge hit and we not only sold out but it took us weeks to fill all the orders. Due to a lot of begging Randy reworked the embroidery files so that people with some of the smaller 8"x12" hoops can also make the quilt. More work, more rewriting and it was now going out to the distributors and clients. 

I am pleased to introduce "Letters to Santa", our newest pattern for both the embroider and the applique and piecer. There are some bonus patterns in both the CD and pattern along with the SVG files to make everyones life easier. 

We hope everyone enjoys our newest quilt, that allows you can make your own time capsule quilt that with freeze this Christmas for many years to come! 
At the end of the day its all about setting up the house for family to come and visit! Somewhere special and inviting!
Grandma's room is all ready!

To get more info on the quilt visit our website!!

Merry Quiltmas!
From all of us at 
Desiree's Designs

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Create your own Improv Quilts- Modern Quilting with No Rules and No Rulers by Rayna Gillman Book Review


Create Your Own Improv Quilts: Modern Quilts with No Rules & No Rulers
96 pages, softcover
Print version, $27.95; e-book: $22.99
Rayna Gillman just released her newest book called "Create your Own Improv Quilts: Modern Quilts with No Rules & No Rulers by C&T Publishing. I had the wonderful opportunity to be able to catch up with her at The International Quilt Market in Houston this year and get a hold of one of the books! I have been drooling over it ever since.    

If you don't know Rayna yet she is the queen of Improvisational Quilting or quilting by the seat of your pants. I love how she states in her new book that "you wont find patterns here, you will find possibilities!"

I have long been an admirer of Rayna's free style approach to quilting and her encouraging and confident teaching style. It wasn't until 2015 that I was fortunate enough to get the chance to work with her on my online project, The Fiber Art Connection. Rayna jumped in to teach her first online class to a bunch of excited students.  I was drawn to Rayna immediately and we became fast friends. Being a part of that online class was so much fun! I couldn't help but play along with Rayna as she helped everyone overcome their own self doubts and jump into creating blocks with her no ruler, no rules method. 

In her newest book, Create your own Improv Quilts, Rayna steps the reader through the fear of not following a pattern but learning to trust their own intuition and creativity. She does a wonderful job of walking us through the mystery of both Modern Quilting and Improv Quilting.  Rayna encourages each quilter to start by taking small steps and then helps us step into more complicated and complex designs by asking them to push the limits. She encourages us to cut, turn, move and be willing to look at our designs with a new and fresh eye. 
Tilting at Windmills by Rayna Gillman
Going through the book makes you feel like you are creating with a friend, being able to ask questions, use your stash and explore new direction for your quilt design. She continually provides us little nuggets of knowledge  throughout the book in the form of Tips! I love reading the tips throughout the book! 

Rayna is always encouraging us to dig into our stash and use what we have available! With her guidance and wonderful examples of fabric, shapes, color, value, alternative assembly techniques etc your efforts will be rewarded. It takes a good teacher to make us feel comfortable in the design process. Allowing us to fail and redo until we get it right. She shares her successes as well as some less successful pieces to teach us as she helps us grow and stretch our designer eye. Learning how to evaluate your designs just moves you to becoming a better quilter. 

With Rayna's skills as a teacher and her guidance you will be able to create endless quilts using her techniques in this book. Its a must have for every quilters library.  

Win a copy for your Quilting Library!
You have a chance to win a e-copy of Rayna’s book (e-book). Simply share in comments on this post about your favorite quilt style, do you prefer traditional quilts, modern quilts, art quilts, paper piecing, foundation piecing etc, and how might this method book help you improve your quilts? We’ll choose a winner on Sunday, Nov. 26 so make sure you leave a good way to get a hold of you!
Be sure to visit our friends on the tour:
Nov. 10—C&T Publishing
Nov. 13—Cindy Grisdela
Nov. 22 – Angie Wilson

Be Happy, Design, Create, Quilt
Desiree Habicht (fine art and fiber art site) (quilt pattern, fabric, embroidery site)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Houston International Quilt Market and Festival

We are back from the International Quilt Market and Festival, it was a long trip, but the energy in Houston was almost palatable. It was so good to actually be there and to see how well the whole area is doing as they continue to recover from Harvey. We were unsure of what to expect as we drove into the city. As vendors at the show we had heard that many had decided not to come, that people were worried about services etc. We didn't know how the show might turn out but for us, and most of the other vendors and teachers, we were in for the long haul. Management did their best to reassure us things would be fine and they were right. It was an amazing show and the people who did show up were supportive and excited to be there. Add to all of that the thousands of people who came in for the World Series happening a stones throw from us and it culminated into a fun party every night after we left the center. People out on the streets celebrating, sitting in the restaurants and bars watching the game. Visiting with old friends and new ones helped to make this trip a great experience. For those of you who could not attend I wanted to share some of the highlights I experienced. I didn't get to see them all since I worked the show but the ones I did see were breathtaking. I hope you enjoy and can join us next year!!

First I will start with our booth and newest pattern release! Letters to Santa stole the show for us. It is available as both a regular applique pattern as well as an embroidery CD where it will sew it in the hoop for you. To read more about it check out my website. This is available as a downloadable file also.
I actually digitized my grandkids letters to Santa and added them to the quilt. If you don't have this capability I offer you alternative ways to personalize your quilt with letters, recipes etc.

During Market which is the wholesale side of this show and is held before Quilt Festival a lot is going on as vendors are there for the shops.

 This is Sample Spree, I am sure you have all heard the stories of hundreds of women waiting in line to get a sneak peek of new fabrics and products for their shops. It also allows them to buy things before anyone else so they can make samples etc. It was a great Sample Spree!

My booth Candy

Some of my favorite people came by to say HI!

Chloe was dressed up for Halloween
This was a hanging light fixture/art piece hanging in the convention center, it was fabulous!! One night as we were leaving the show and very tired I noticed women looking up from the second floor and wondered what they were look at. This was it, the amazing shadows and colors that were playing on the ceiling at night was so beautiful!! The picture doesn't do it justice.

 I was able to have dinner with MJ, my coaching client who was able to attend Market this year and really took Houston by surprise, she is a definite rising star, and Rayna Gillman, an amazing teacher and fiber artist!! Rayna was there supporting her new book release!! I will be doing a blog hop in the next week where you can win her free ebook! Look for that on November 21st.

Below are a few of the beautiful art pieces at the show, these are just a small sampling of what was there. The Cherrywood Fabrics Van Gogh show was wonderful and here is the video, sorry its so jumpy, it was so hard to walk and film, I need a stabilizer for my phone.

White Knight by Patt Blair

Jake by Carol Morrissey
Hippolyte Hunting by Marilyn Belford and Jamie Wallen

Abyss by Danny Amazonas

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I would love to live in a world where........

The challenge was to list ways you would finish this sentence. I would love to live in a world where......,    my list is ongoing. I started this last year and never posted it, but I still think it is still true. Now how can I make my world that place?!

I would love to live in a world where people felt safe enough to share their gifts without judgements.

I would love to live in a world where our gifts didn't make others feel inadequate since they are secure in their own gifts

I would love to live in a world where being an artists didn't come with a preconceive idea of what you look like.

I would love to live in a world where painting teddy bears was as important as painting landscapes.

I would love to live in a world where you and I could just love each other's differences and quirks.

I would love to live in a world that wasn't so busy they forgot why they were here in the first place.

I would love to live in a world  where people first thought about who needed a hug before they hugged themselves.

I would love to live in a world where the day started with giving thanks 

I would love to live in a world where being a friend was more than a Facebook term

I would love to live in a world full of flowers 

I would love to live in a world where church was what God intended.

I would love to live in a world where art wasn't about the medium as much as it was about the message

I would love to live in a world where people didn't get sick and there was no such thing as cancer.

I would love to live in a world where women felt free to share their thoughts and be heard

I would love to live in a world where adults didn't hurt children

I would love to live in a world where we could all be free to create like a child

I would love to live in a world where there were cleaning fairies

I would love to live in a world where people were not hungry

I would love to live in a world where families got along all year and not just on the holidays

I would love to live in a world where people thought through a thought, edited and then opened their mouths.

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Giveaway!!! I am so excited, I hope you win!

I am so excited about my newest fabric line that I decided it warranted a giveaway. Patchwork Farms is on it way to your favorite quilt shop this month and to celebrate I will be giving away a bundle of fabric and a matching coffee cup!! There are a few ways to enter so check out the rules below. Sorry but this is just for the USA, I will think of something else for international.
Here is the whole line! So many fun coordinates

A little video showing the mug!

Lots of fun Farm Animals

Who doesn't love hexies?

Lots of new projects for this new fabric line

We have also created Patchwork Farms Embroidery CD! It is perfect for so many projects

Fabric Bundle

Enter through my blog by;
*Following me, leave a comment and tag at least 3 quilter friends.
*Share my post on your blog and link it back to me

Enter through Instagram:
*Follow DesireeHabicht
*Repost and tag a min of 3 quilting friends
*Like this post-No private accts

Enter through FaceBook:
*Like and follow my page, Desiree's Designs Studios or Desiree Habicht
*Share and tag at least 3 quilting friends
* #desireesdesignsgiveaway

The giveaway will end on Sept 23 at midnight and the winner will be announced on IG and FB on Sept 24. Leave a way for me to contact you, if no one responds to the posts I will redraw on Sept 28th.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Painting Akitas to raise money!

There are some very special people in my life, those who are there for us through thick and thin. The employees and our friends at Small Animal Hospital are those people. They have been there for us and Jennifer for years. They are always more than happy to help us with Jennifers dogs and anything she needs. Jennifer once worked there and formed lifetime friendships as they all worked together at saving animals daily.  I was giving the wonderful opportunity to pay it back when they needed a painting to auction off to raise money for the Akita Foundation.

Here are a few in process pictures. This is a pastel on suede mat board. I love the freedom and looseness I feel when using this substrate! I acheive a totally different feel. Layers of color, it does not blend with your finger so the color stays as applied. You end up with wonderful colors and textures. Enjoy

I am hoping that this will bring a nice price at auction to save more beautiful Akitas.

To see more of my fine art and fiber art visit my website at
to inquire about a pet portrait feel free to email me at

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I might be a bit early but who cares!! Our Apothecary Shop!!

I am excited to be already working on things for the holidays. Going into Fall is inspiring! I just love it, the holidays are right around the corner. This year we have decided to decorate for Halloween. We don't usually do that but this year Jen and I decided to set up an Apothecary Shop on a big antique we have. So we have been collecting jars, labels, bugs etc. The creepy part is that some of these were already in Jenns room! We have an interesting design esthetic.  So yesterday we began setting up our shop. We added plastic bugs to oil in jars along with plastic bones and pictures. We have had fun a the dollar store along with digging through cupboards and Jenn's room! We are also finding free Halloween labels and ideas on Pinterest!!

A side view of the display

We still need to add some spiders in liquid and details to our set up but its coming along!

This jar of caterpillars (plastic) really look real, ick! LOL loving it, oh it does have a few cockroaches thrown it also. I used old vegetable oil, not water, to float the critters.
Dollar store purchases except for my Boo-licious chalkboard painting in back!
One of my favorite pictures, you can see the oil in with these small black snakes that look like worms. I used my collection of old coffee and tea pots which added to the look. Under the things you can see some netting, it was called creepy cloth at the dollar store! The white ball under glass is actually a kidney stone that Jenn's horse passed many years ago. It was so amazing, and she worked for a vet, so we kept it. It adds the crazy collection. 
Still in progress but will post more later!! Having fun sharing ideas!
What are you planning for Halloween this year? You might consider setting up a shop of your own! Share you photos!
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