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Friday, 30 August 2013

Applique Pet Portrait


Back in July I did a McCalls' free ebook review for Fons & Porter, making a great QAYG quilt for my son's girlfriend, Katie - 'Roses For A Drama Queen' (click this link to find out how to get your own copy of the pattern).  There's was a great response to the quilt from all of you which was really amazing, thank you everyone :D


Well Eric, Online Media Co-ordinator from Fons & Porter, has been in touch with me again and this time he asked me to review an online video class of my choice at Fons & Porter's website Daily Craft TV.

I've never done a video class before so I jumped at the opportunity and what's really great is that he's also given me a free class to share with one of you in my first ever giveaway.  More about the giveaway later (the giveaway is now over) but I want to start by sharing with you my thoughts on the video class and taking a look at what I've made.

 
To be perfectly honest until Eric approached me to do this I knew little about Daily Craft or Daily Craft TV - it's a recent venture for Fons & Porter collaborating with other craft instructors/niches.  The site has various course type options: Quilt (37 classes)/Sew (18)/Knit (3)/Crochet (4)/Scrapbooking (52)/Papercraft (37). Classes are priced at $4.99 and $9.99 and range in length from 20 minutes to just over 2 hours and the list of tutors includes Pat Sloan, Liz Porter and Marianne Fons.

You can watch a 30 second to 2 minute clip from each lesson for free to give you an idea if you like what they’re covering, the level it’s aimed at – you can also pick up some handy hints just from these clips alone – I learnt how to ruffle a piece of fabric using a piece of string and a zig-zag stitch!  I like that you can see and hear the tutor before signing up for the course - I think it's really important to like their manner and voice or you're just not going to enjoy listening while they're teaching you.


I'll just concentrate on quilting classes here - there were plenty to chose from including:
and, for beginners, there's


Buying it was easy - click 'Add to Cart' which prompts you to set up an account - name, address, account username and password, it only took approximately two minutes.  Your account is open immediately and listed within it is the course you’ve just bought which you simply click to access.  Your purchase is valid for as long as the website exists and you can watch it as often as you want.

 The class was fun to watch, the tutors Jodie & Ashley had a good rapport and work nicely together even though they admit to only having met for the first time the day before filming!  It was great that Ashley tries her hand at thread painting for the first time guided by Jodie because it makes you feel that it’s something really easy to just have a go at – no fear necessary. Throughout they share instruction and options along with hints, tips and suggestions, these include how to make your own lightbox, photo and fabric suggestions and final three stitch options.  They did suggest the 'non essential' use of an non-stick Teflon applique pressing sheet which I really liked, so I purchased a Nifty Notions pressing sheet and used it for my own piece. The girls start out with an easy smooth haired cat portrait and once you've got the hang of that they then show you how to develop the technique for a more complex fluffy/hairy dog.

After I watched the video I set about making my own applique pet portrait of my ever willing assistant Tatty.  I'm not going to do any sort of tute here - I'm thinking Fons & Porter will be hoping you'll drop by and watch the video too, so here's just a handful of photos of my own piece as I worked on it.

 The original photo of Tatty.

 My fabric choices.

 Breaking down the image - of course Tatty comes into the more complex fluffy/hairy dog category!

 All the pieces drawn out on Seam-A-Seam 2.

 Image reversed and all sections cut out.

Choosing what to cut from which fabrics?!

 The pieces laid out on the Teflon Pressing Sheet.

 
Transferred to the backing fabric.

 Free motion straight stitched in place and ready to become the front panel of my next cushion project.

I really enjoyed the class and I'm thrilled with my own Tatty portrait and here's a pic of my completed cushion which you can read more about here. 

 
It would have been nice if Jodie and Ashley had shown us a finished piece –  a quilt or cushion/pillow that incorporated one of the designs they worked on – there was a quilt shown in the background that included farm animals but we weren’t shown it in any detail.  I’d have like to have seen a close up of Mirabel the cat in a finished version at the beginning and end of the video so I knew what I was working towards – you do see it but she’s always got a photo or other items in the shot too – there’s no clear and close up shot of the stitching or finished piece.

The girls were friendly, the instructions were clear and simple and the piece is incredibly ‘doable’.  It’s not a ‘high level’ course - though I will admit this isn't my first time working on applique portraits, I've done a portrait of my daughter, Flicky in the past, making up my own technique and winging it along the way and this was remarkably similar.  I don't feel though that this previous experience was necessary as the course covered everything you could need to know.


At the time of writing there is no skill level given to this course – it isn’t listed in the ‘easy’ or ‘intermediate’ course lists, nor is it listed in the ‘technique – applique’ course list in fact you can only find the class by clicking on the Quilt tab at the top of the screen, not within the ‘Browse’ section or even under the ‘Instructor – Jodie Davis’ Browse link and Ashley Briggs isn’t listed within the Instructor section at all.  However, if you type Ashley or Jodie’s names or even ‘Pet’ or ‘Portrait’ into the ‘Search here’ box it can find everything immediately.  I found the interface really easy and imagine it would be the same even for someone with little computer experience.

In conclusion I'd be very happy to do another Daily Craft TV course again in the future if there was something I wanted to learn and it was on offer as a course.  It's still very early days for the site so I guess the site will continue to expand and develop offering more and more for us insatiable crafters and putting some competition out there for other online video course providers, which can only be a good thing.

(The giveaway is now over)

 I've never done a Giveaway before so we're breaking new ground here - I've wrestled with my conscience having had lots of thoughts previously around only wanting true followers who like my writing and I've decided to play it like this - 


Fons & Porter are offering the winner of my giveaway one free video lesson of your choice from the selection available at Daily Craft TV and I'm creating a giveaway that anyone can enter, all that's required is your email so I can let you know if you are the lucky winner.  That's it, you don't need to do anything else ... however, should you want to you can also have additional entries in the giveaway, just work your way through this Rafflecopter thing below (crikey I'm hoping it works and I won't know if it has until it's all too late and the giveaway's up and running!!!).  

The closing time is 12:00 AM EST as Monday becomes Tuesday on 3rd September 2013 and I'll notify the winner by email later on Tuesday.  If you're a no-reply blogger or using WordPress or Google+ please leave your email in the comment section or any entries you make will be nullified.  All other terms and conditions are listed within the Rafflecopter.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE



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27 comments:

  1. What a beautiful puppy portrait! I'd love to make something like this.

    To answer your question, yes, I'm taking 2 Craftsy online courses right now, "Quilting Quickly" which has several very useful and classic quilt blocks and a very cute quilted tote that I want to make. The second class is "Big Techniques from Small Scraps" which has very cool ways to applique etc. I'm really loving both classes.

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    1. I'm totally new to this online class thing but it really is useful and fun, especially if you don't have access to classes and groups close to where you live isn't it? :)

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  2. I love this quilt! I don't have a pet but my first thought was that you could do this for a face - I would love to try this. Also my next door neighbour is potty over her 2 puppies and has been such a good neighbour to us, I would love to make her something special. More ideas and not enough time to do them!!!

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    1. It would work brilliantly for a human portrait just as much as a pet one - it's funny though, Flicky can't bear the one I did of her face, I wanted to make it into a cushion cover for her - I chose all the fabrics with her bedroom in mind - but she just wouldn't have it. I wonder if any of us want to look at ourselves in that caricature style - now maybe a portrait of a child given to a parent or grandparent would be more fitting? :)

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  3. Would love to win. I need a class in curved piecing. Your puppy is so cute!

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  4. i've done a few of the Craftsy classes, the bom and quilting a sampler, loved them all, it's fun to learn that way

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  5. I have enrolled to a few craftsy classes, and i like how the class is yours for life, to watch any time you like..great giveaway!

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    1. I like that too Marelize, I hadn't appreciated it was 'for life' until I did this class and I was surprised to discover there wasn't an 'expiry date' attached, maybe others don't realise this too? :)

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  6. Thanks for linking up, I've got quite a few crafsty classes on the go, I love them.

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  7. Great job with the puppy portrait. Good to hear your thoughts about the class!

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  8. Your puppy portrait looks so realistic! And I really like the one of your daughter too. I've done some Craftsy classes and watched a lot of QNN - I enjoy online classes.

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    1. Thanks so much Colleen and especially for mentioning QNN. I hadn't come across this site before so I've been over and checked it out. I guess I'm really lucky because I've got all the quilting help I could ever need on my doorstep at The City Quilter in Manhattan and I wanted the human interaction so I took myself to the store frequently and so I've never needed to use the internet as a resource for my learning. I'm fast realising that there's some amazing resources out there though for those who can't get to a class/group/guild. :)

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  9. This looks like so much fun! I would love to do a portrait of my cat, but she's black, and therefore difficult to photograph - it would be a challenge! (I follow you on Instagram.)

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    1. I can see how she would be or maybe she'd be quite simple, but would it look like her?! :)

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  10. Cool! I love the way it came out. What a cute puppy. :)

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  11. I have never done an online craft class. Just didnt really know they were available

    knickgirl_3 at yahoo dot com

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  12. Good review, Chris! I wonder how it would work for "one colored" pets? Maria G

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    1. Someone else mentioned that too Maria, From doing the class I think they'd suggest that there's still colour variation in a single coloured pet - just from the angle you take the photo at, one leg slightly in front of the other, etc, will all create shadow and therefore slightly darker and lighter areas of the one colour. Tatty is just black and white but I used different batiks in shades of white/grey and then grey/black to create the layers of her fur and I was really pleased with how well it worked. :)

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  13. Great job. Your dog looks so much like my Havanese, Daisy, and I'm wondering if that is what she is. I wish I could attach a photo, because they could be twins!

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    1. Lol Suzy, aren't Havenese just the best? Tatty is a Havapoo (Havenese and miniature poodle) but she is mostly Havanese to look at, just a little smaller and there's a very slight curl to her fur, so it's not as silky as a Havenese. Her temperament and behaviours are Havanese through and through - the 'run like hell' and she tosses things into the air for us to catch. She loves people, animals and life - and she's most definitely the best dog we've ever owned. :D

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  14. Great portrait quilt! I have never taken a class thru Craft TV, but have taken online classes and really enjoyed them. Good to know theirs are worth taking a look at!

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  15. Great review, Chrissie! I loved how your cushion came out, Tatty looks too cute! Your Flicky portrait looks amazing and She's totally recognizable!

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    1. I'm delighted with the cushion Kati - Tatty's fur is much longer and they look like two twins now when she sits next to the cushion - just that the cushion is a slightly cleaner version! I love my portrait of Flicky but she doesn't like it which always makes me a little unsure about a piece - she's def my best/worst critic!!! :D

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  16. You should be thrilled with your Tatty portrait, Chrissy. It's totally AWESEOME!!!

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Chris Dodsley