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Featured Podcast: Clothes Making Mavens

I love listening to podcasts while I sew or draw.  One that I’ve really been enjoying is called Clothes Making Mavens – a sewing podcast about handmade fashion.  The hosts are Helena and Lori.  They often chat with each other about sewing, and they also interview people of interest in the sewing world.  Their recent interview with Deepika from PatternReveiw.com was so fascinating. There are guest speakers who pop in to give talks about sewing-related topics, such as an Maris Olsen’s in-depth look at interfacing or Barbara Emodi’s insights about indie pattern designers.  

Lori and Helena even ask their listeners to send audio files answering a specific  list of questions !  And many listeners have actually done that, which I absolutely love!  Hearing a lot of different voices and viewpoints, all talking about sewing, is very interesting and entertaining.  I finally decided to be brave and send in a sound recording of my own!  I was too nervous to just talk, so I had to write down my responses on a piece of paper and just record myself reading them.  I’ve attached the transcript below.  I don’t know if they’ll use my recording on their podcast, but I’m pretty proud of myself for taking the jump to send it!

Another thing I love about the podcast is that it’s very well produced.  The sound quality is excellent, the segments flow together smoothly, and each episode is planned out and edited.  It’s a great pleasure to listen to the Clothes Making Mavens!

Here’s the transcript I recorded and sent to Clothes Making Mavens:

  1. What is your name and where can people find you online?

Hello Helena and Lori!  Thank you for inviting your listeners to talk about their sewing on your podcast.  I’m really enjoying listening to all the responses you’ve been getting.  I’m Michelle Goggins from Montana, and you can find me on-line at MGDoodleStudio.com

  1. What are you doing when you’re not sewing?

What do I do when I’m not sewing?  Well, I live with my husband on our family ranch, the Goggins Ranch, and there’s always something interesting going on with that, plus we also run our family owned livestock feed and supply store.  I also love to draw and have a huge fascination with designing my own fabric, which I have printed at Spoonflower.com.  So, I’m drawing on paper and drawing digitally pretty much every chance I get, when I’m not sewing.  I especially love sewing with the fabrics I design!  That’s my obsession right now.

  1. Why do you sew?

Why do I sew?  I love sewing because it gives me a great feeling of creativity.  I love working with my hands, the feel of the fabrics, and also making something that I can use or wear.  I also love that it lets me be creative away from the computer.  With digital drawing, I feel like I spend a lot of time looking at a screen, and sewing lets me get away from that. Like I said, I’m obsessed with designing my own fabrics – and when I receive them in the mail, I absolutely can’t to make something with them.

  1. What’s on your sewing table right now?

I just finished making The Blackwood Cardigan from Helen’s Closet, which I really love.  It’s a long stretchy knit cardigan that hangs about halfway between my hips and knees.  It has pockets, which are so handy.  It has a longer sleeve, meant to come down over your hand, which is really nice in this chilly Montana climate.  It was really easy to sew. I made it with a cotton/poly knit that I’ve had laying around for several years, and I was so happy to find a use for it.

  1. What are you planning to sew in future that you’re excited about?

In the future, I’m excited to sew the Suki Kimono, also from Helen’s closet.  I need to buy some inexpensive fabric to test it out, and then I plan to design my own fabric and have it printed on silk from Spoonflower.com.  I’m really looking forward to that!  I’m excited to try more patterns from Indie designers – I think these patterns are really the way to go. I listened to your guest speaker’s segment about Indie designers, and I agree with everything she said about them. The instructions are so detailed and clear. I love how the designers use photos of real people to model their designs. You can go to the designer’s websites and get thorough details about the pattern, see all kinds of pictures of people who’ve made the pattern, and even interact with the designer and other sewists in some cases.  I love that you can download the patterns as a PDF file and print out the size you need.  I really enjoy the process of taping the PDF pattern together.  It’s relaxing for me, kind of like putting a puzzle together.

Thanks Lori and Helena for your wonderful podcast and for giving me the chance to talk about my love of sewing!  Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Podcast: Love to Sew Podcast

I love listening to podcasts while I sew or draw, so I was absolutely delighted when I discovered the Love to Sew Podcast.  The hosts, Caroline and Helen, are enthusiastic, upbeat and entertaining as they visit with each other or with their guests.  Not only do they talk about the nuts and bolts of sewing (such as types of fabrics), they also talk about sewing goals, body image, and their experiences as sewists.

I’ve enjoyed every episode they’ve aired so far.  The sound quality is always excellent, and they’ve really taken the time to edit and plan out each interview.  They even offer fair warning when the subject matter gets sensitive.

One of my favorite episodes was #24: Sewing makes you love yourself.  I felt so inspired after listening to that particular episode.  Here’s a quote I loved from the show:

Caroline and Helen are super inspiring and knowledgeable – but they’re also very real and open.  Listening to the podcast is like having two of your best friends in the room, talking about sewing!  I especially love the outtakes they play at the end of the show.

If you love to sew, you should definitely check out this podcast.

Featured Podcast: The While She Naps Podcast

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I love listening to podcasts while I sew or draw.  There are plenty to chose from these days, so I thought I’d write about some of my favorites, beginning with the While She Naps podcast.

The host of While She Naps is Abby Glassenberg, a softie pattern designer, blogger, and of course, podcaster.  She interviews lots of well-known creative people with a straightforward, professional, newscaster style.  Some of my favorite episodes have been interviews with people in the sewing industry, such as Eleanor Burns, Ellen March, Pokey Bolton, and  the late Nancy Zieman.  I enjoyed her recent interviews with quilter Ricky Tims and fabric dyer Carol Soderlund.  These intervies inspired me to doodle a couple of inspirational quotes in my sketchbook.

Then I decided to take these quotes a step further and spruced them up in Photoshop.  

I always enjoy listening to the While She Naps podcast, no matter who Abby is interviewing.  Guests have included sewists, artists, writers, editors, business owners, etc.  I especially enjoy the recommendations section as each episode concludes.   I get ideas and learn new things while feeling uplifted and inspired.

The MG Doodle Studio Christmas Party

We had a great time at the MG Doodle Studio Christmas party!  Everyone wore their holiday finest, made with fabric designs from MG Doodle Studio’s Spoonflower shop.

We all gathered in the snowy back yard for some fun.

Mooris the Bull is wearing a shirt made with “pallets at the feed store” and Buck Andeerson is wearing a shirt made with “Mod Snowstorm“.

Kitty (not a terribly original name) is wearing a dress made from “Checks with big dots” (also not a terribly original name!) Coming up with good names can be challenging!  One of my goals for the new year is to come up with better names for my fabric designs.

Moochelle is wearing a dress made with “Christmas Lollipops“.

Remember to let your inner child have some time to play this Christmas, as well as throughout the coming year! Merry Christmas from the crew at MG Doodle Studio!

AudioFile Magazine’s Best Memoir Audiobooks of 2017

AudioFile Magazine has just announced their picks for best audiobooks of 2017.  I’m honored that they’ve sent me their list of best memoir audiobooks to share!  Here they are:

AL FRANKEN, GIANT OF THE SENATE  by Al Franken, read by Al Franken http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/127342/

THE BRIGHT HOUR by Nina Riggs, read by Cassandra Campbell, Kirby Heyborne  http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/128981/

CHASING SPACE by Leland Melvin, read by Ron Butler http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/125005/

DEATH NEED NOT BE FATAL  by Malachy McCourt, Brian McDonald, read by Malachy McCourt http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/127352/

HUNGER by Roxane Gay, read by Roxane Gayhttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/115868/

LET JUSTICE ROLL DOWN by John M. Perkins, Shane Claiborne [Foreword], read by Calvin Robinson, Shane Claibornehttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/123738/

LOGICAL FAMILY by Armistead Maupin, read by Armistead Maupinhttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/131536/

MY LIFE, MY LOVE, MY LEGACY by Coretta Scott King, Barbara Reynolds, read by Phylicia Rashad, January LaVoyhttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/122158/

SEVEN by Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff,  Anna Deavere Smith, Susan Yankowitz, read by Shannon Holt, Jossara Jinaro, Alex Kingston, Emily Kuroda, Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris, Annet Mahendru, Sarah Shahihttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/124736/

THEFT BY FINDING by David Sedaris, read by David Sedaris http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/125391/

VACATIONLAND by John Hodgman, read by John Hodgmanhttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/131423/

WHAT HAPPENED by Hillary Rodham Clinton, read by Hillary Rodham Clintonhttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/131755/

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME by Sherman Alexie, read by Sherman Alexiehttp://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/124863/

SoundCloud sound clips

–MY LIFE, MY LOVE, MY LEGACY by Coretta Scott King, Barbara Reynolds, read by Phylicia Rashad, January LaVoy https://soundcloud.com/audiofilemagazine/my-life-my-love-my-legacy

–THEFT BY FINDING by David Sedaris, read by David Sedaris

https://soundcloud.com/audiofilemagazine/theft-by-finding

–VACATIONLAND by John Hodgman, read by John Hodgman

https://soundcloud.com/audiofilemagazine/vacationland 

I have to admit that I haven’t listened to any of the above memoir audiobooks, but I see several that I’ll add to my personal listening list.  That’s one of the great things about AudioFile Magazine – they offer suggestions for excellent listening in categories that you might miss during your own searches.

To see all the best books of 2017 chosen by AudioFile Magazine, check out their ezine at:   http://digital.audiofilemagazine.com/t/9418-audiofile-best-audiobooks

I love to draw while I read!

Did I just say I love to draw while I read?  Yes!
How is this possible?  Audiobooks!
OK, there is some controversy – is listening to audiobooks the same thing as reading?  I don’t know.  All I know is that  I’m totally obsessed with audiobooks for many reasons.  But, the reason I’m talking about today is:  they inspire my creativity.  I love to draw while I read!

Full disclosure – I’m a reviewer for AudioFile Magazine.  I love audiobooks so much that I not only do I enjoy listening to them,  I like to offer my opinions about the listening experience.  I love to hear high quality productions.  I want audio to be a successful and enjoyable format.  I think it’s an art form unto itself. Another full disclosure – the books I’m discussing in this post are not ones that I’ve reviewed!  I review a lot of audiobooks – but I also cherish my personal listening time!  I have my list of favorite authors and narrators and never miss a new release by them.  I have my own Audible account which is full of awesome audiobooks – and sometimes I even re-listen to them!  I guess this makes me a true “Audiophile”!

In October, I listened to “Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery.  The version I chose was read by Rachel McAdams.  There are several recordings of this title read by various narrators, but I’d say I chose well with this version.  McAdams did a fantastic job and I enjoyed the story so much.  I hadn’t read the book since I was a child, so it was like a brand new story to me. (Read the review by AudioFile magazine here.) The story of Anne’s entertaining childhood inspired me to fill my sketchbook page with fall foliage and pumpkins, as well as to hand-letter one of my favorite quotes from the book, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”.  

In early November, I listened to “Girl waits with Gun” by Amy Stewart.  I really enjoyed the story about Constance Kopp, a strong woman who stands up for herself and her sisters when threatened by a bullying mobster.  I loved how Christina Moore narrated the book, giving it an authentic 1914 feel.  (Read AudioFile’s review here.)  The story inspired me to draw a revolver!  Now there’s something I’ve never drawn before!  I was also inspired by the mentions of fashion and sewing machines from the early 1900’s.  I just had to include my favorite quote from the book, “She’s not a regular lady!”  No, she certainly isn’t!

Recently, I listened to “A Distant View of Everything” by Alexander McCall Smith, which is the 11th installment of the Sunday Philosophy Club series starring Isabel Dalhouse.  I adore this whole series!  Davina Porter could pretty much read anything, and I’d listen to it.  These books are slow-paced and gentle – when I listen to them, I feel like I’m meditating!  (Read AudioFile’s review here.) This story inspired me to draw a number of interesting items – a fox, olives, sausages….a bassoon!  And I had to include a quote that’s been in every single book in this series, “Isabel thought for a moment.”  She does A LOT of thinking!

These pages from my sketchbook are certainly not perfect!  They are the rough pen drawings that came to me while listening to these wonderful stories.  I really enjoy letting the ideas flow while I listen.  Audiobooks actually cause images to pop into my head – images that wouldn’t normally come to me.  If you’re an artist feeling stuck for inspiration, try listening to an audiobook and see what kind of images pop into your head.

Printing my own fabric

I’ve had some June Tailor Computer Printer Fabric laying around for a couple of years.  I’ve always wanted to give it a try, but was a little afraid to actually do it! What if I messed it up – or what if it got jammed in my printer?  Well, I finally decided to go for it.  I doodled a bunch of different paisleys for the Pattern Weekly project, hosted by Patternopolis Design on Instagram.

I brought my funny little doodled paisleys into Photoshop and arranged them into a repeating pattern.

Then I printed my fabric.  I was really pleased with how it turned out! My main worry was how it would feed through my printer – and it worked just like paper.  I made a video showing how I printed the fabric, as well as how to sew a funny little pumpkin with it.

 

Printed fabric does have a few limitations:

  1. You’re limited to the 8.5 X 11 inch size.
  2. You can’t wash the fabric. The instructions say to dry clean only, because ink jet printer ink isn’t color fast.
  3. The colors will be different from what you see on your computer screen or even different from how they print on paper. I found the colors were much less vibrant when printed on the fabric, as you can see in this photo.  

For most things I’d really prefer having my fabric professionally printed by a company such as Spoonflower.  But, there are times when I want a small piece of fabric “right now!” and this printable fabric suits just fine. And it’s quite fun! 

 

National Sewing Month

September was National Sewing Month, one of my favorite months of the year!

I celebrated by purchasing a used ruffler foot for my sewing machine.  It didn’t come with any instructions.  I did some research, figured out how to use it, and made a little YouTube video about it.  Since I was making so many ruffles, I decided I’d better come up with a project in which to use them.  I designed a tote bag with a ruffled top, then made a YouTube video to show how to make it.  That was fun, and now I have several tote bags, made with my own fabric designs!

I drew and designed a printable PDF and put it on my Free Downloads page.  You can download and print it at 8 X 10 or 5 X 7 and frame it for your sewing room!  My most exciting news as a fabric designer happened this month! Someone purchased 20 (yes 20!) yards of my “Roadrunner and Tracks” fabric design from Spoonflower!  I was beyond delighted that someone liked my fabric well enough to buy 20 yards of it.  I wish I knew what they’re making!

I had lots of fun during National Sewing Month.  Of course, for me, every month involves lots of sewing!

Summer School

During the month of August, I attended the Make it in Design Summer School.  I signed up for the beginner and intermediate tracks, which meant that I had 4 assignments during the 4 week session.  Each assignment contained a detailed design brief filled with keywords, trend reports, color palettes, and inspiration.  There was also a private Facebook group of lovely people from all over the world, ready to offer advice and encouragement.

Week 1:  Abstract thread.  Some of the keywords were: abstract, overlapping, texture, and hand-drawn.  I used a texture given to us by Make it in Design, some scanned bits of lace and netting, as well as digital paint brushes & textures.  I drew the mock up for my design – this lady is in a hurry to go show off her stylish jacket and hat! 

Week 2:  Pure Zen.  Some of the keywords were: oriental, simple, floral, and trailing.  I created a hand-drawn vine pattern in 3 different colors.  I drew a mock up of a sweet Japanese lady in a kimono made with my designs.  

Week 3: Drawn Botanicals. Some key words were: illustrative, hand-drawn, unfinished, and foliage. I was inspired by an apple tree loaded with apples. I took a photo and used it as my reference and color palette. My pattern reminded me of a baby’s dress, so I drew a little waving model.  I decided to enter this design in the Art Licensing Show baby pattern challenge.

Week 4: Stripe Form. Some key words were: architectural, geometric, linear and layered. I created a textured plaid design, which reminded me of a cozy chair – which inspired my mock up drawing.

During the 4 weeks, I discovered something interesting: I love making the patterns, but even more, I love drawing the mock up illustrations!
Summer School was lots of fun and full of inspiration. I look forward to Make it in Design’s Winter School. But first, I’ll be participating in 10 weeks of Folio Focus by Rise Design and Shine. I can’t wait to get started!

 

Index Card a Day

I recently completed the “Index Card a Day” challenge, hosted by daisyyellowart.com.  Every year from June 1 to July 31, people from around the world join together do something creative on an index card every day.  The only rule – the creation must be on an actual, cheap & flimsy index card.  No fancy papers cut to size!  The lowly and disposable index card helps discourage perfectionist thinking, which frees up the mind for endless creative possibilities.

I was desperately feeling the need for this kind of mindset!  I had blocked my creativity with feelings of inadequacy and the desire to make perfect artwork.  I’d been taking a lot of on-line art classes, which taught me so much.  But, they also skewed my expectations. I felt like I should be making art comparable to the teachers of the classes – and, of course, I couldn’t do that!

I started my “ICAD” project with paper cut characters. I’d never really done paper cutting before, hadn’t read any books or taken any classes – which was the point.  I didn’t have any preconceived expectations – I was just having fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, when I reached day 35 of the 61 days, I was tired of cutting paper and ready to draw again – this time in a free, joyful way.

I have to admit that I was glad when the 61 days were completed.  It was an excellent project, but I was ready to be done with the constraint of index cards.  I’d highly recommend the project to anyone looking to re-boot their creativity.  It certainly helped me – and now I have 61 fun cards to inspire my future projects!