The Five Best of Clever Chameleon 2017

 

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Clever Chameleon Quilting: The Best of 2017

For me, 2017 was the Year of the Steep Learning Curve. This year I had the privilege of adding a HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen to my sewing room and starting a quilt blog – this blog. Both events have had their moments, but overall the journey this year has been marvellous! I would like to sincerely thank my dear hubby for his support in freeing up the time and finances to do both. 

The Birth of Clever Chameleon Quilting

Clever Chameleon has just celebrated its 8 month blogiversary. Like a new baby, or an intense new romantic relationship, the passage of time on my blog is still being counted in months. Actually, come to think of it, a new blog is a lot like a new baby, or that intense relationship. All consuming, all hoping, no guarantees. Ecstatic joy, hard work, late nights, and those days where you just have no idea what you’ve done wrong! I hope that means with the passage of time this blog will also grow, mature, and become easier to care for!

In many ways I feel like I am still finding my voice, and my place in the quilt blogosphere. But I have discovered that I love blogging and sharing my quilting ideas. The planning and accountability that comes with blogging helps me  focus in my sewing room. I have definitely become more productive. And I have also found connecting with other bloggers to be extraordinarily rewarding, even more so than I’d anticipated. Thank you to all who have reached out over the past 8 months and I eagerly anticipate some new and deepened connections in 2018. And thank you to all you amazing readers who have chosen to follow the Clever Chameleon in these early days….. The fact that there is over 150 of you now (WordPress + email + Bloglovin’) is so exciting!

My Five Best Posts of 2017

Meadow Mist Designs

Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a party for everyone to nominate their best 5 posts for 2017. I think this is a brilliant idea.  It is extremely interesting to see what other quilt bloggers personally liked from their own blogging journeys of 2017. And as a reader, it’s a really efficient way to discover new blogs and like-minded people!

I have chosen my Five Best Posts on a variety of merits….. so let’s start with the easiest to measure…..

The Most Read Blog Post on Clever Chameleon in 2017

This is indeed an easy pick. The stand out winner – by an enormous margin – is my tutorial on using greaseproof baking paper as an aid for accurate free motion quilting. This tutorial has been doing the rounds of Pinterest, hence the extra traffic.

Free-motion quilting with Baking Paper tutorial

The Blog Post that I Enjoyed the Most

My pick for the blog post that brought me the most joy has to be my contribution to the 2017 Ornament Exchange hosted by Erlene of My Pinterventures.  In the end, everything pretty much boils down to a sense of community and connection, doesn’t it? The reason why this post stands out so much for me (while it may possibly not excite you so much!), is that I was very blessed with my allocated blog hop partner. Evija of From Evija with Love was a very kind and enthusiastic swap partner who sent me two lovely ornaments. I very much enjoyed designing this drum ornament especially for her.

Drum ornament tutorial

The Blog Post that Taught me the Most

For this category I cannot name just one post, but I will nominate the first post of a very intense series of posts: 31 Days of Everyday Inspiration for Quilts. I decided at the very last minute to participate in an event I had never previously heard of, called “Write 31 Days”. It is an annual challenge to write a blog post everyday for the entirety of October. Since Paul and I were working away from home in Vanuatu for 2 weeks of October I thought this might be a good replacement for the lack of sewing. I learnt a lot about my capacity/limit for blogging in these 31 days. Near the end of this series I remember truly beginning to feel comfortable with my “own blogging voice”.

31 Days of Quilt Inspiration

The “Defining Moment” Blog Post

I started the Clever Chameleon blog because I wanted to share my love for designing and colour and quilting more broadly than I can in real life. Only a very few of my in-the-flesh friends quilt.

Once I got started with the blog, I quickly decided to try a weekly colour inspiration slot to share my delight in playing with colours….. The very first of these was Butterfly Loves Red., way back on 23rd May (about a month after Clever Chameleon went live). Since then we have had almost 60  Colour Inspiration colour boards, many of which have been associated with quilt design ideas. Some of these ideas will eventually get made. Others have had their day and Colour Inspiration Tuesday got them out of my system. Either way, I enjoy my colour Inspiration explorations, and I hope you do too. But it all started with Butterfly loves Red.

Butterfly Loves Red color scheme from Clever Chameleon

And finally……

The Post(s) with the Most Persistent Reader Engagement

Two posts from 2017 have consistently and persistently drawn reader visits ever since they were published. They have performed equally well, and cover very similar topics, so I have lumped them here together. They are Bugs and Gardens and Strawberry Vines. Both are tutorials for casual, free-motion quilting designs that I designed for use on children’s and charity quilts. I like these designs because they add interest to the quilt, they can be stitched quickly without requiring any marking, and they leave plenty of empty space to keep the quilts soft and usable for everyday.

Bugs and Gardens FMQ motif

Strawberry Vines FMQ motif

So, that is my view of Clever Chameleon since I published my first blog post on the 26th April. Overall, 2017 concludes for me with a sense of accomplishment and healthy pride in a once-very-daunting task done to the best of my ability. And I have lots of optimism for 2018. Which leads me to my bonus pick…..

The Post that is currently generating the Most Excitement

In two days the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen kicks off. Which means I will release the first pattern for the Beary Colourful Quilt BOM as well.  The lead up to this event has been very exciting, with lots of new followers coming onboard and my facebook page finally being launched. I have been putting out some sneak peeks on facebook for this event, which I will continue to do throughout the year, so if you like sneak peeks and haven’t liked Clever Chameleon on FB yet, you may wish to do so.

Beary Colourful Quilt BOM

And speaking of two days time…… 2018, here we come!  So, to wrap up this post I will quickly reflect on what I would like to achieve for 2018. I am not really a planning-in-detail sort of person, but I do have some things I would like to move ahead with next year. And it is always helpful to write them down and solidify them.

Quilting Goals

  1. This is probably the thing I want to achieve most of all in my sewing room. I want to finish 2018 with less UFOs than I started with. Simple. I have actually been chicken to confront this issue, as my UFOs have been weighing on my mind in a sort of shadowy, ominous way . I seriously hate wastage. But like most fears, it has turned out less bad than I expected. I actually did a count the other day and I have 13 significant UFOs – I tell you the weight of these on my conscience, it felt more like 130. I also have materials or part materials for 6 mythical quilts and I’d like to move some of these into production also.
  2. So, specifically pertaining to the UFO situation – I would like to finish one new quilt for my daughter. And one quilt for our bed. I have started two of the latter and never finished any! Yup, I don’t own a quilt for my own bed. Ummm.
  3. I will continue charity quilting this year. One every two months should be doable – I actually managed 5 quilts in 6 months this year. I only do the quilting on these charity quilts, other members of the charity group piece and pin the quilts before I get them.
  4. Design and run two BOM quilt along projects. One is well and truly happening – the Beary Colourful BOM starting Monday. The second, a joint project with Joy of Days Filled with Joy, is in the works. We are working towards a house BOM called Homes Full of Fun, and it should be a blast. Stay tuned for more about that one.

Becoming More Professional Goals

  1. In 2018 I want to develop my blog further. This year I have not made any attempt to get my blog paying for itself. Fun, yes! But sadly not a sustainable situation. Now that I am more comfortable with blogging, I will be more actively looking for financially rewarding relationships that also add value to my blog for my readers. Part of this will mean jumping into the world of affiliate links, of course I will let you know when I do that. And it is important to me that Clever Chameleon stays true to itself, so rest assured, there will be no sudden barrage of tacky advertising.
  2. My website will always be a living changing thing, but I need to specifically find time in the new year to make older content on my website more accessible – in 2018 I will be adding new menu lists for important posts, such as tutorials and BOMs.
  3. I need to stop procrastinating and write up some of my patterns for publication and/or sale on Etsy/Craftsy. I know that the first one is the hardest, and that once I start the dam will likely break. So, 2018 is the year to get started and formally publish something! Hold me accountable, please!
  4. In 2018 I will also take back my sewing room! It is time I treated this space more like a professional work space, which means some serious tidying up. I let it get bad when some deadlines got too tight, and of course, now it takes too long to find stuff. 

And I want to Continue what I’ve Started Goals

  1. Maintain at least 2 blog posts most weeks, including Colour Inspiration Tuesdays.
  2. Continue writing regular free tutorials on small projects and quilting motifs. 

So that is that for Clever Chameleon for 2017. I hope you have had a good year, but if not, that 2018 will be a big improvement for you. And I hope to see you all at the Monthly Color Challenge launch on Monday!

P.S. I’ll be linking this post up with the 2018 Planning Party at Quilting JETgirl as well as with the Best of 2017 at Meadow Mist Design.


2018 Planning Party


Would you like to keep in touch with Clever Chameleon and the fun quilty ideas I design as well as find all over the internet? You can follow directly for email updates, or through Bloglovin’, Pinterest or FB. All your follow options can be found here. Thanks for your support!

December 2017 Roundup

December 2017 at Clever Chameleon

One Monthly Goal Check-in and December 2017 Roundup

At the beginning of December I nominated my ongoing Vanuatu Turtle Quilt for my specific One Monthly Goal at Elm Street Quilts. The finished quilt is not due to be linked up at Busy Hands Quilts’ Splash of Color quilt along until January 16. But I know that quilt construction has a habit of expanding to take up all available time. And I want the Vanuatu Turtle quilt done so that I can get on with some other really interesting projects in January. So I decided to bring the “deadline” forward to the 31st December.

So, I am glad to report that the Vanuatu Turtle is finished! 🙂 It measures 60″ square.

Vanuatu Turtle Quilt by Clever Chameleon

Thank you to my dearest husband who eventually managed to help me get this photo under natural light.

I think I may have an opening for a new quilt holder-upperer ….. at first DH was holding this quilt not only upside down but also back-to-front. I honestly thought he was just being facetious……. But, apparently, no. And he swears he reads the blog….. 

Back of Vanuatu Turtle Quilt
I took the opportunity to get a photo of the back of the Vanuatu Turtle quilt (upside down, but who’s to know?!)

Vanuatu Turtle Quilt

Vanuatu Turtle Quilt

So there we have it. A finished memento from our family’s work trip to Vanuatu.  I’m thankful to Myra of Busy Hands Quilts for running the Splash of Color quit along this year, as without it, the Vanuatu Turtle Quilt would likely never have happened. It would still be like the throw quilt I mean to make from some fabrics I bought in Thailand 3 years ago….

The Vanuatu Quilt – blow by blow

If you’d like to go back and read about the conception, design and construction of the Vanuatu Turtle quilt, here are the relevant posts in order:

Where the Vanuatu Quilt concept started
More about the fabrics and the turtle appliqué pieces cut
Designing the black and white background on the fly
Finishing the black and white quilt top
Adding the first layer of the turtle appliqué
Adding the second layer of the turtle appliqué
Quilting design for the Vanuatu Turtle quilt

I said I was going to find out what being finished early feels like. So. What does it feel like to be done before the last minute? Weird. And slightly sad – I have liked working on this quilt and now it’s over. Perhaps the gasping sense of relief of going down to the wire has its upsides after all! hahahaha. Don’t worry, the melancholy hasn’t lasted – I have so many other projects to turn to. I have already done some therapy fabric cutting today. And not on the project I should be working on either. See, that’s better!

What else happened at Clever Chameleon in December 2017?

Well, we had another 4 Colour Inspiration Tuesdays.

Week 1

We explored the colours of a fake-looking Australian plant called the Wax Flower Plant or Hoya. And we used it as a launch point for a Christmas decoration made of couched thread and beads. Not strictly quilting, but it is a method I use for embellishing quilts, and these ornaments are a good way to get your hand in with this technique. 

Christmas Stars color scheme from Clever Chameleon
Christmas Star colour scheme
Christmas Star Ornament
Christmas Star couched thread ornament

This post was a full tutorial, and showed how to make Christmas Trees and Christmas Bells as well.

Week 2

In the second week of December, Kathy of Tamarack Shack Longarm Quilting shared a tip about chalk being visible under blacklight. So I got all excited and the testing of this tip resulted in a blue colour scheme.

Blacklight Blue colour scheme from Clever Chameleon
Blacklight Blue colour scheme

And I received my own blacklight for Christmas.  So now I can play with this technique some more. Sweet husbands who can’t tell the front of a quilt from the back still have their uses. hahahahaha. Thanks dearest!

Week 3

I was reading the newsletter from our local state Botanic Garden when I discovered the strangest flower I have possibly ever seen. This flower quacks me up, so I had to feature it on Colour Inspiration Tuesday!

Flying Duck Orchid color scheme from Clever Chameleon
Flying Duck Orchid colour scheme

Flying Duck Orchid colour scheme from Clever Chameleon

I would like to have the time to turn this flower into an appliqué at some point. Just for fun. The flying duck shape of this Australian native orchid is just the start of the strangeness – you can read more about this flower here.

Week 4

This was only yesterday – and we celebrated the colour red in all its glory. This is because we are leading up to the 2018 Monthly Color Challenge. And the first colour off the rank will be red.

Red colour scheme from Clever Chameleon
January is Red colour scheme 

Beyond Colour Inspiration Tuesdays

hibiscus FMQ design

What else happened at Clever Chameleon in December 2017? Well, lots of Vanuatu Turtle quilt construction, but we’ve already covered that. Probably the only thing of note we haven’t covered is that the Vanuatu Turtle quilting post includes a mini tutorial on how to freemotion quilt hibiscus flowers.

I also extended the couched thread Christmas Ornament tutorial to include a fourth variation – a glittery bauble. This was a guest post on Days Filled with Joy blog.

And we have been getting organised to start 2018 at full speed with the Beary Colourful BOM – part of the Monthly Color Challenge at Patterns by Jen.

Beary Colourful BOM at Clever Chameleon

I hope you will be joining us for this one!

 

100 Posts!

So, that was December 2017. And this is my 100th post since I started blogging back on the 26th April. It seems very fitting to be able to report a complete quilt finish for my 100th post!

Oh boy, the things I have learned since I launched this blog! And all the amazing people I have “met”! Thank you to all of you for reading my blog and a special thank you to all the people who have connected in some way. I hope that 2018 is going to be a year of great things!

I’m now off to share my December OMG success on Elm Street Quilts.

P.S. In the next few days I also hope to also be participating in several end of year linkys. In particular, Cheryl of Meadow in the Mist is holding a Best of 2017 Linky Party. You might like to head over there now. A collection of the year’s best quilt blog posts ought to be really good reading! And there are several other goal-setting linkys for 2018 which I’d like to sit down and muse over if I can find the time.

P.P.S Also sharing on Freemotion by the River, Quilt Fabrication, Sew Fresh Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Inquiring Quilter, Crazy Mom Quilts,  Busy Hands Quilts. and a new linky: Powered by Quilting

Wednesday Wait Loss Featured

P.P.P.S. This post has now been linked up with the Last Splash of Color linky.


Would you like to keep in touch with Clever Chameleon and the fun quilty ideas I design as well as find all over the internet? You can follow directly for email updates, or through Bloglovin’, Pinterest or FB. All your follow options can be found here. Thanks for your support!