Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Quilt Labels from Digital Media: A Tutorial

There have been a couple of requests for a tutorial on how I make my quilt labels.  I've contemplated doing that.  The dilemma has been what would the tutorial include?  I use a commercially available digital scrap booking program to create my labels, but I don't think you want to see how the program works.  So I'm going to take the approach of showing you my thought process in putting together my quilt labels.  Along the way, I'll try to explain the digital elements available, where you can get them, and how to use them in your own programs.  

I use My Memory Suite software to create my labels.  (This is not an affiliate link, I'm just sharing the link as this is the software I use).  

But you can use other programs.  I published a tutorial last year about creating printable panels and labels using Microsoft Word.  When I first started making labels, I used Microsoft Publisher as it has more tools for working with photographs than Word had at the time.  Photoshop Elements is another place you can create labels, but I'm not very well versed on that part of the program. For this tutorial, I'm going to stick with My Memories Suite and Microsoft Publisher. 

I've created a My Memory Suites file that I use as a template for my labels, mainly as it is already set up to the right size (4" X 5").  So I open the program, then open that file. Here's the starting screen:

So now I have a blank canvas.  Where to next?

Step 1:  Concept/Color

Since I haven't started on a label for this month's UFO, the Red, White and Blue Stars, that's going to be my example.  This is definitely a patriotic quilt, so I'm sticking with red, white and blue as my color palette.  Now that I have a rough theme and color scheme, what next? 

Step 2:  Select a background

I search the program library for the backgrounds I've purchased. Lighter colors usually work best, so I searched my digital paper files to find something white and came up this:

You can check Pinterest or Google for places that offer free downloadable digital papers used for digital scrap booking. Or you can find sites that sell digital scrap booking kits, that have background papers and digital elements to play with. My Memory Suite has a large number of these kits.  Prices can range from less than a dollar for a set of backgrounds to $20 for a kit by a well known digital element artist.  You do not have to have the program to use these items, you can download them as .jpg or .png files, then use them like photos in any program that supports graphics.  Or you can create your own backgrounds and elements by scanning/photographing wrapping papers, magazine papers, etc.  If I download the background papers from the My Memory Suite kit used above, this is what it looks like in File Explorer. The file was downloaded as "General".  

Step 3:  Add the text  

Once I've  decided on a background, I add the text boxes, decide on a font, and add the text.

I'll come back later and play with the font, text size and color once I've selected the other digital elements.   

Step 4.  Add the digital elements.

This is the fun part of the process.  I add and subtract elements until I like what I've got.  Very often, I'll search my element library and add all the elements I can find.  Then I'll duplicate the page then start removing and rearranging the elements.  

All the different pages created are shown along the bottom of the screen.  The first page has all the digital elements, the following pages were duplicates where I got rid of all but the elements I wanted to play with.  Here's what some of those elements look like in my File Explorer after being downloaded from My Memory Suite using the "General" file format. 

So with the backgrounds from above and these elements, I can create a label in Microsoft Publisher that looks like one from the program.  

Here's the My Memory Suite version.

The difference between the two is the red and blue stars "overlay". It wasn't an element in the kit I downloaded.  Had it been, I could have created the exact same label in Publisher.  If you don't have Publisher, Microsoft Power Point has decent graphic tools as well.  I'm not sure how well this would work in Word.  You could definitely add the background and the text.  Adding in additional elements probably wouldn't work very well.  Though I've not tried that.  If you give Word a go, please share your experience in the comments.  

That's how I create my quilt labels.  I like My Memory Suite, it has some very nice functions that speed up the creation process.  But Publisher was my go to program for many years. Over the years, I've acquired a number of photo scrap booking kits, so I have lots of purchased backgrounds and elements to play with.  I've also created labels using elements created from my own photographs. That takes more time, but it can be worthwhile if I'm after something very specific. Creating your own elements is definitely another tutorial.  

Monday, June 18, 2018

Weekend Stitching: Lots of Little Stuff

The weekend went way to fast.  I didn't spend as much time in the sewing room as I had hoped.  The Scientist in Training needed to do some shopping for her dorm room Saturday, then on Sunday we took My Guy out for ice cream for Father's Day and ended up wandering through a local nursery as he wanted new plants to replace the ones done in by the Oklahoma sun.  Oh, but My Guy did resolve my electrical outlet power problem.  He reset the breaker, so I'm back in business there.  Apparently, I didn't push it completely to the off position. 

There's no big leaps and bounds to show off from the sewing room.  Christmas Angels is still up on the big design wall, not much change there. I'm still assembling the pieced borders.

Christmas Angels Pattern by Kate

Two of the three pink blocks for Squared Away are up on the small design wall. 

  Squared Away Sampler
designed by Mari (The Academic Quilter) and Angela (Soscrappy)
The 2018 Rainbow Scrap Challenge Project

 I changed the orientation of the inner HSTs, I didn't like the original block lay out.  There is one more pink block that needs to be started.  The fabric has been chosen, it's just not cut out yet. 

Everything else is lined up in front of the sewing machine waiting for the next round of chain piecing. 

There's two of the red, white and blue star blocks under construction, segments of the pieced border for Christmas Angels, and then the sawtooth stars for Inverted Star's pieced border.  So there's been progress, just nothing that's really photo worthy.  

Linking up with:
Monday Making
Main Crush Monday
Design Wall Monday

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Week 24 of Stitching and De-Stashing

My Guy is headed out the door for a bike ride, his version of a Happy Father's Day.  The Scientist in Training is still asleep.  She'll head back to school later today.  It's been nice to have her home this weekend.  She and I ended up on an impromptu shopping expedition yesterday afternoon, which was a lot of fun.  Between that and the late afternoon headache, not as much got done in the sewing room as I had planned, but that's OK.  It still was a good week overall in terms of finding at least 15 minutes to stitch each day. 

15 minutes stitching days/week = 7/7 days
15 minutes stitching days/month = 16/16 days
15 minutes stitching days/year = 157/167 days
Success rate = 94.01%

One night wasn't actually spent stitching, but figuring out how to move things around in the sewing room after a storm took out all the power receptacles in it. I'm using electrical outlets from the adjacent bathroom and the hallway. A trip to Lowe's for longer extension cords may be in the cards, depending upon how long it takes us to get an electrician out to the house.  Last time we needed one to redo the wiring the squirrels chewed through, it took us about 4 weeks to get someone here.  

In terms of stash busting, not much of that happened this week.  

Fabric used this week:  0.35 y
Fabric used in 2018:  23.58 y
Fabric added in 2018:  18.91 y
Net fabric out for 2018:  4.67 y

At least there wasn't any incoming stash this week.  Linking up with Quiltpaintcreate for the weekly stash report. 

Hope you had a great week of stitching and stash busting. Here's Mr. Linky so you can share how things went. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Stitching Scrappy Stars

Happy Saturday!  This week really seemed to drag, I'm glad to have finally made it to the weekend. I'm definitely ready for some sewing room therapy. So it's good that I found a few workarounds to cope with the power problem.  Tuesday morning we had a very severe thunderstorm roll through our area.  It took out a lot of trees and damaged some roofs.  According to co-workers the lightening took out a few TVs and computer routers.  It also took out one of our cable boxes and the power to all the electrical outlets in my  sewing room.  The storm tripped the breaker and apparently caused enough damage that it can't be reset.  I've been waiting on My Guy to get home from a business trip to take a look, but I'm guessing we are going to need an electrician.  Thankfully the lights are on a separate breaker that was unaffected.  There is a power plug just inside the door in the adjacent bathroom, so for now a long extension cord is providing power to the sewing machine and I've set up the old ironing board closer to another outlet in the hall to have power for the iron. Not an optimum set up, but it's at least workable.  

I've been trying to get caught up on my Rainbow Scrap stitching.  It's been slow going this week, but I did finally finish off all my yellow sawtooth star blocks from April. 

These blocks will become a pieced border for my Inverted Star project. I've gotten a start on the pink Squared Away sampler blocks from last month, but don't really have anything to show there yet.  No progress on this month's teal blocks at all yet.  

The SIT is home and had friends sleep over last night. Since that rules out getting any housework done, I think I'll go sew.  But first, I'll link up with Soscrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge report. On Sunday, there is Oh Scrap to out check too.  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Weekend Stitching: Empty Nests

It's amazing how quiet the house was after the Scientist in Training left for college.  I know that's the new norm and we'll only see less and less of her from here on out.  Even though we knew it was coming, it's still going to take a while to get used to it.  Thankfully I had plenty to do in the sewing room to keep me busy the rest of the weekend.  

June will be half over by the end of this week, which means the year will soon be half over.  It's been pretty productive year, there has been progress on all the projects on my list.  But there's only been one finish so far this year, the SIT's Geek Chic quilt. I was hoping for at least 8 finishes for 2018.  Obviously a change in strategy is needed if I want more finishes. So this week the focus has been on doing what's needed move a few more quilts closer to finished.  The binding for En Provence is pieced, pressed and ready to be sewn on.  

The label is finished, but needs the framing strips before it's ready to go onto the back.  That should happen this week.  En Provence should be a finish before the end of the month. 

The Magnolia Mystery quilt has been finished since February, but needed to be prepped for quilting.  That's my least favorite step in the whole quilt making process, so no surprise that it's the one easiest to put off.  But I bit the bullet, cleared off cutting table and spread out the flimsy for it's final pressing and de-threading. 

  Magnolia Mystery by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs

Three hours with the iron, lint brush and the small scissors yielded a back that was clear of any dark green and purple threads that might show through after quilting. 

Now both the flimsy and backing are ready to be boxed for mailing to Trudy for quilting. 

Not the most exciting design wall subjects, but necessary steps in order to move projects along.  I should get at least En Provence finished this month.  The Magnolia Mystery quilt probably won't get finished till July.  That's OK, the goal was for the end of the year.  

Next up?  I'm not sure. Both Vintage Dresses and Christmas Angels need the final borders added and backs pieced.  Since Christmas Angels is still up on the design wall and has pieced borders that are already laid out, it will probably be next on my "get it finished" list. 

You can find more exciting design walls below. 
Monday Making
Design Wall Monday
Main Crush Monday