Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Classes- Online vs In Person

Well hello there! It seems we can't get through one week this year without some sort of chaos or disaster! It's truly sad, exhausting and I know so many friends are feeling the same way. Everyone I know is just plain worn out with all of it. Thus the reason being able to hop down the rabbit hole is a welcome respite from the ugly and depressing world.

That being said, I had the most wonderful time last week with my new friends at the Charlotte Quilter's Guild. I truly enjoyed being around all the positive, creative and friendly energy!

I know that online classes are really big right now, and I realize they are good for lots of reasons like lack of time etc., but there is just something so special about being able to spend a day with your friends and also getting one-on-one support from a teacher. I get so excited to see what everyone designs and I love being able to inspire some unique embellishment techniques and color choices. Not to mention, everyone enjoys showing their masterpieces to each other. You just can't have that kind of experience being alone with a computer. 

Here are some photos from our "Play Date."

This is Melanie's finished "Beekeeper" pincushion. She showed me photos of a crazy quilt she made that was just breathtaking. Her crazy quilt stitching skills were evident on her pincushion.

This is Melanie

Here's another close up of her flower. I can't believe how much she got done in class! Super speedy stitcher!

This is Sandy. I love how her purple center pops on her flower. She also served as Pat's personal needle threader for class. ;)

This is Judy. She is the workshop chairperson who invited me. I love her to bits! What a great lady!

 Judy even brought treats to celebrate our adventure down the rabbit hole! Her father hand-carved that rabbit many years ago. Isn't it fantastic?

This is Vonnie. I met her when I vended a show and she asked the guild to invite me. I loved her bead selection for the center of her flower petals. Hugs Vonnie!

This is Jan. She was chatting about the methods her grandiekids use to learn math nowadays. Good gracious it sounded so HARD! I would flunk out for sure. LOL!

 Here is Jan's flower. I like the beads down the center.

This is Donna. Doesn't she have such a great smile? She gives you a hug with that smile.

I showed Donna how she could twist some yarns together to create an interesting center for her flower.

She sent me a photo of her completed pincushion. She even made the bee purple! Lovely!

This is Pat. I met her when I vended the show where I met Vonnie. Pat is such a sweet lady. She came up from South Carolina just to take my class!

Deanne chose warm, rich colors for her flower. Yummy! I also love the beads she put in her flower petals.

This is Debbie. She is an art quilter and this class was outside her normal "wheelhouse." I think she did a beautiful job with all the seed stitching and I was super happy that she decided my class was something fun and different to do. :) :) :) 

Anna's flower is so fun and festive like a celebration in the Caribbean sea!

Here's a close up of the little French knots she stitched on the rick rack. Sweet!

This is Sharon. She was my "Teacher's Pet." She helped me hand out kits and set up my supply tables. Thank you!! She also said I should apply to teach at Empty Spools. Boy would that ever be fun!!

I love how Sharon used a Lazy Daisy stitch with the beads. Very cool and very clever!

This is Marie. She is the guild President. This woman knows how to run a meeting! I told her that I was going to tell my guild they need to take pointers from her. We always drag on and on and Marie got things done lickety split!

She did a cute little cross stitch in the center of her flower petals.

This is Debra. She selected a Valdani thread color that I just got in.

Here's what it looks like on her flower. I'm loving it!!

Joyce was making a super sweet flower. She was couching a soft purple yarn around the edge. She chose some yellow buttons and a variety of purple beads. Perfect!

This is Angie. She is an Architect! (Brenda are you reading this?) Angie is the second student of mine who is an Architect. So darn cool! Girl power!!

Angie chose these really rich, warm colors for her flower. This was another Valdani thread color that I just got in. Super yummy! Makes me think of pumpkin and cinnamon.

This last flower is from Jan. She wanted me to take a photo her flower and not her. She is so darn funny! I love how she added the "fuzzy" stitching around the outside of her flower. Very cool!

Of course, no "Play Date with the Crazy Bunny Lady" is complete without bunny ear photos!

Woo hoo!!!

I love you gals bunches! Thanks so very much for inviting me to come and play. I hope you had as much fun as I did.

So, what are your thoughts about online versus in-person classes?


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Little More Happy - "Stayin' Alive"

Hi my friends,

I'm headed to Charlotte, NC to have a Play Date and Chat with the Charlotte Quilters' Guild. I'm really looking forward to having lots of fun and being surrounded by positive, creative energy!

This sure has been another week of sadness in the news. Good gracious...I want to just stay in the rabbit hole some days.

I was going to show you my back deck remodel, but I've decided to save that until next week. So until then, I'll share another happy ditty with you instead. I love this song and I think it is fitting for this week. "I'm Stayin' Alive!"

Sending you a big hug!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Visits with Critters

Thank you very much for your kind words regarding my 10 year blogging anniversary. I'm so happy that this little place in the world brings you some smiles. That being said, I wanted to share a few things that have brought me smiles lately.

First, is Sabrina. Every morning after her breakfast, she sits in the window and watches the activity in the back yard.

Here, she is having a conversation with Stewart about the "Nut Party" he had on the deck the night before.

This is Stewart. He's here every morning and sometimes in the afternoon. He and I have some delightful chats too as he likes to visit me when I'm on the back porch.

Next, Hannah is doing really well although she is shedding AGAIN! She loves to sit in the sunbeam every afternoon.

She is such a snuggle bunny. Every night I sit on the floor and pet her while I read a couple of chapters in my book. It's so peaceful and one of my favorite times of day. 

Hannah also made a friend the other week. This is Logan. He is the grandie of my friend, Jean. He's just the cutest and happiest wee pea!

I went to a cute little shop a while back and met Bonnie Lou. She stays in the yard and greets visitors. She even has her own little house.

Last weekend I was downtown and I made another new friend. Isn't he amazing? This Osprey was injured and now is part of a local rescue/rehabilitation center. There was also a Hawk with one eye. The folks from the center were there to educated the public and to get some donations to help support these amazing creatures. 

This is one critter I didn't meet in person. I'm kinda glad about that even though I'm not scared of snakes unless they are poisonous. He left his skin on the sidewalk. ;)

Jennie from my local rabbit rescue stopped by on her way home from work to show me the new cuddle puddle. Aren't they adorable. They were about the size of my big finger.

Antje, my neighbor across the street, found this little one on her back porch. Her kitty girls brought her in, but didn't harm her at all. I helped Antje put this little baby back in a safe place in her yard. The mama bunny comes once a day, normally in the early evening, and will find the baby. Wild baby bunnies rarely, if ever, survive with humans especially little ones like this. They need the mother's milk and there isn't really anything we have that is comparable. This little girl was gone later that night, so we feel the mama came and got her. We were both very happy about that!

Finally, this is Dixie Duck. I can't remember if I already told you about her. She lives down the street from me and I stop to pet her on my walks. She comes right up to me and puts her head down for  some love.

Well, there's my critter visits of late. Have a fun rest of your week! I will be heading to Charlotte, NC next Wednesday to teach a class and share my adventures down the rabbit hole with the Charlotte Quilters' Guild. I'm really looking forward to it!

Hugs to you,

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Memory Lane - 10 Years of Blogging

September 16th marked the ten year anniversary of my little blog, "Tales from the Raspberry Rabbits." Time sure has flown by and there have been so many adventures and changes along the way.

I spent some time over the weekend reminiscing about this journey and I thought you might enjoy reading a few of my favorite posts from days gone by.

Here is my very first post.

In the same spirit of my post from last week, I want to share a little "Happy." Even though I miss my Harrington bunny soooooo very much, these posts still crack me up and bring a smile to my face. I hope they do the same for you.

Here is the Bunnyville Olympics post.

Here is the Two Little Bunnies post.

This final post is still one of the most amazing moments in my life.

Here is my Quilting Arts TV post. 

In 2007 I wrote the following paragraph in my journal. It was written by Corey Amaro in the Jan/Feb 07 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.

"Many of us have seeds buried within us that are longing to be watered, hoping to be unearthed, waiting to share their fragrant scent. Creativity is born from the smallest of seeds. If we can nurture our dreams with the belief that we have something to give, we can learn to trust that our roots will spread into tomorrow. When a seedling of passion awakens, it can bloom a never-ending bouquet of happiness for us to hold."

I have been quilting since 1989. The quilting seed was planted in me then. It's been my passion ever since. I taught quilting for 10 years until our local quilt shop closed in 2005. I loved every single minute of it and loved my students. Sharing quilting and giving in general has always been one of my greatest joys in life. We all have something to give, even a simple smile or a hug.

So now, here I am, ten years since I started writing this blog. I am the owner of my own company. A company that truly cares about customers. A place where those customers are my friends and those friends are my family.

I am now a National Quilt Teacher, which brings me so much joy by inspiring the creative spirit in others. I live in my favorite town, Wilmington, in a cute little cottage, in a charming neighborhood. I am also about to head to Houston to fulfill my dream of being a teacher at the Houston International Quilt festival.

Like all journeys, or rabbit holes in my case, there has been much sorrow and hardships and heartaches. Even now, my little cottage keeps having things break and fall apart and I have much sorrow in my heart regarding family issues that may never heal. But, there are always opportunities to learn and grow and to simply move on knowing I gave it my best, stayed true to myself and followed my heart.

I know blogging has given way to Facebook and Instagram, but for now, I will continue with my weekly posts and sharing bits and glimpses into my little place in this world. My world that exists down the rabbit hole.

Light, love and friends,
Michelle, Hannah Bunny and Sabrina Kitty too!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Happy Little Post

Hi ya!

Well, I had good intentions of writing a different post today, but honestly, I just need a break from all the stress in the world. My friend, Jo James, said the other day, "I peeked my head out into the world for a minute. It was really scary. I'm going back inside my art bubble."

So today, I'm just going to share something fun. I love Bruno Mars. His music reminds me so much of the group Earth, Wind and Fire. I love how this song got combined with old movie stars.

Enjoy this brief break from reality. ;)


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Back to School and Creativity

Hi ya!

First, I want to follow up from last weeks post about the Houston Quilt Festival. I have received word that the show and the market are both a go. So, if you are headed there, I do hope to meet you! I will post more of my schedule in a few weeks. Of course, right now I'm keeping a close eye on hurricane Irma. She looks very angry....

Ok, now onto what I've been pondering this week as I've been working on "Wonderland Woods," a new adventure from me and Jules coming January 1st. This won't be a typical "Block of the Month." It is more of a textile art piece in lieu of an art quilt. We are so excited and can't wait to share more with you! Until then, here are a few sneaky peeks. ;)

All the kiddo's in my neighborhood have headed back to school this week. It got me thinking about a talk from Ken Robinson on "Do Schools Kill Creativity" that I listened to while I was drawing, designing, stitching, writing and photographing different steps in "Wonderland Woods."

Growing up and even today, I suffer from "Test Anxiety." I will know a subject 100% and can talk to you about it for hours, but make me take a test and my mind will go blank and don't even say the words "Pop Quiz!"

 Also, I'm a kinetic and visual learner. I learn by doing and seeing, not memorizing. Thus, when I write my patterns, I write step by step instructions, but also include a color photo of that step so every type of learner is covered.

Not having kids, it is hard for me to really understand this, but to me, teaching a child to memorize and learn to pass a test and compete against a million other kids for a scholarship really does kill creativity and squashes the imagination. An imagination, that if nurtured, just might create something incredible. To me, teaching to one's strengths and focusing on what kids and individuals are naturally gifted with, should be more important than rigid regurgitation of facts.

Teachers must have it really hard. I mean they have 20 + kids in a class are made to stick to a ridiculous, structured teaching methods to "pass the tests" so the school gets funded, all while getting paid next to nothing. Here in NC, a first year teacher fresh out of college with a Masters Degree (and tons of school loans), only makes $38,500. They spend a lot of there own money supplementing things for their classrooms that aren't supplied by the schools. Like tissues for goodness sake!

Anyway, here is Ken's very comical, but very poignant talk if you have time to listen. I would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are or were a teacher. It really  made me think back to the wonderful teachers I had who inspired me and nurtured my creative spirit. I'm forever grateful to them.