Thursday, November 13, 2008

Teaching overseas, first workshop in Germany

Bluhming Background Designs workshop is my debut in teaching internationally. The workshop was conducted in German and English. The workshop took place at Quiltissimo located in Nordrhein Wesfalen, Witten, Germany. This business with 3 Gammill longarm quilting machines, owned and operated by Marie-Christine Chamas is a perfect place for teaching longarm quilting workshops.

Marie-Christine is an awesome host and we've had a very talented group of students.

We had 2 students from Germany, 2 students from Netherlands and 1 student from Switzerland. Teaching this workshop is so much easier with my extensive guide book on background designs available.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bluhming Bugs-My next book project!

Next book in progress!-Bluhming Bugs. This book is going to be a pattern book with a collection of 30 Bluhming Bugs. Most of them will look unreal, whimsical, funky, unique, charming and cute! Not only will you have so many Bugs to choose from, but there will be many ideas about how to use them in quilt design.
Only a couple of friends have seen this collection, as I tried to keep my Bluhming Bugs close to the vest! Now, I am ready to share them with the quilting world! The collection is being digitized as we speak. The entire, digitized collection of 30 Bluhming Bugs will be available as soon, as my book is published.
I love my other books, but this one is going to be a very special one! My most favorite one!
Like most of my self published books, this book may grow to over 100 pages!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I won't be able to process orders placed between October 6th and November 2nd 2008!

Hello everyone,
I won't be able to process orders placed through my website between October 6th 2008 and November 2nd 2008.
I will be leaving for Des Moines, IA on October 7th. Two days after my return from Des Moines, IA I will be leaving for trip to Europe.

Thank you and I appreciate your patience and understanding.


Bluhming Background Designs 2-is shipping now!

Bluhming Background Designs 2 is a 152 page, soft cover, printed and offered in color or in black white using high quality 32 lb laser printer paper. Twin wire binding, 90 lb card stock for covers and 7 mil clear plastic sheet protectors make it a very slick looking book with a lot of content!

This book is packed with over 200 of photographs and many diagrams. It has a section with step by step stitching. This extensive guide to background filler designs will open your eyes to many design possibilities.

With this book on hand and with 50 background filler design ideas, hints and suggestions, you will be able to create your own stamp!

All 30 designs from Blooming Background Designs are incorporated. Now there are 50 background filler designs in this new book!

Most of them can be used for an overall meandering technique and all of them can be used for dense quilting!

Try to keep on the cutting edge when it comes to free motion quilting and say goodbye to the outdated stippling technique!

It's time to move on!

Take a look at this book cover at:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Whimsical and Funky Feathers-This book is shipping now!

Whimsical and Funky Feathers, Collection of 80; will be another self published book. I have the release date set for October 1st 2008, just few days before the AQS show in Des Moines, IA.

This book is packed with many images, diagrams, step-by-step stitching section, quilting patterns collection and many stitched samples of this unusual and unique looking feathers.

The best about these feathers is: almost all of them are easier to stitch than the "over the top" formal feathers!

Whimsical and Funky Feathers is a soft cover, 124 pages, printed in color on a high quality 32 lb laser printer paper, topped off with an elegant looking finish. Twin wire binding, card stock 90 lb covers with protective 7 mil clear plastic covers makes it a very slick looking book, packed with a lot of content! This book is available now!

After I return from Iowa, I have one day to repack my suitcases and leave for a trip to Europe for 3 weeks [visit with family and 4 days of workshops in Germany].

I will be back on November 2nd and will start processing orders placed any time between October 6th 2008 and November 2nd 2008, as soon as I possibly can.

You can view the front and and the back cover of this book at:

Irena Bluhm

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My quilt "Serenity" has been delivered on Monday!

Having no internet since Sunday [after a severe thunderstorm] kept me from posting about the good news earlier.

My ordeal with a lost/strayed quilt is over! It has been delivered by USPS with no signature required on Monday, August 11th.
This quilt came into Oklahoma City on July 31st. It took 11 days to get where I am, just 3 hour drive South from OKC!

This quilt was supposed to be return shipped through DHL but they stopped deliveries to where I am and I didn't know! DHL turned the package over to USPS and it has been shipped Parcel Select, the cheapest way possible, but at least I had tracking numbers and I have received it! There was insurance and that may have saved me some headaches!

I will never again leave it up to anyone but myself to make a decision on my return shipping!

Now, my Serenity is on the way to Nashville! It will be in goods hands, I am not concerned! It will be return shipped by Fedex with insurance and signature upon delivery.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Take the return shipping of your quilt in your own hands!

That is exactly what is going to happen with my next quilt entry! I will include prepaid shipping labels with my quilt! How else can I protect myself from others [who don't give a damn, or have no clue] making those decisions for my quilt's safe return?!..
I have two options using the USPS system: shipping my quilts Priority Mail with delivery signature [I have successfully used that option for over 3 years to ship my quilts way over 100 times to shows all over the country... Never lost lost a quilt] plus insurance, or shipping it registered mail plus insurance. UPS service with their tracking numbers, is not as reliable, as you would think, either... What is left, is using the Fedex. It is more expensive [you get what you pay for...], but I have not much experience with using that establishment either.. is almost 2 am in the mornig and I need to rest for the night.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

There we go again!

Not enough stress with one missing/lost show quilt? Need another nightmare?
Well..Irena, there you go again!

For almost one week I am looking out for DHL truck delivery of my newest quilt coming back from another quilt show. This time I did all I could do. I did purchase shipping insurance! After waiting a reasonable amount of time for my quilt to be delivered and after no show of my quilt, I made a call to express my concern. My quilt needs to be delivered to another show right away, as soon as it shows up! This time I have a DHL tracking number! Hurray! I made it! At least I have something in my hands! When I entered the tracking numbers into the DHL system, my package info ended in Oklahoma City on August 31st 2008 as "out to be delivered on August 1st 2008". No show on August 1 st, August 2nd, August 3rd is a Sunday.

I call DHL on Monday, August 4th to only find out that they don't deliver to the place where I am! I was not aware of the fact, as I have quilts delivered by DHL to my house at least twice within the past 3 years since I have mailed quilts back and forth to so many shows.. This very polite lady told me that the package has been handed over to the USPS. Great! There we go again, I thought! Sending my quilt via the Black Hole again? Oh no! However, she provided an USPS tracking number for my package! Irena! Hold on, think you are in good hands!..

Today was, I must say August 5th, [it is just few minutes past midnight where I am] and no show of my quilt... I went to the local post office this afternoon and gave them my USPS tracking number. They checked through the intranet system.
My package estimated delivery date is August 5th [today] after checking the delivery status and according to the tracking records, my quilt has been handed over to the USPS in Oklahoma City on August 2nd 2008 and mailed Parcel Select! How lucky I am! The cheapest way possible! Hey, at least I have a tracking number! No show today...maybe tomorrow. No delivery signature confirmation for the whole $1.18, just a delivery confirmation for $0.18! It's good enough for a blanket, or textiles insured for $2.500!..

Please forgive me for being so cynical! What does it take to learn my lessons?... How many quilts do I need to loose in order to learn that the only way to retrieve my quilts from shows safely, is to claim them in person as soon, as the show closes?.....

I hope that my quilt will be delivered this week. It needs to be shipped to AQS show in Nashville Express Mail with insurance, latest on Monday August 11th!

For now, I need to rest for the night. Tomorrow will be a better day. My quilt will be delivered!
The day after tomorrow on Thursday the August 7th, I need to leave for Dallas for 3 days. My husband is going to take over the lookout for my quilt delivery for me! He is retired and spends the most part of a day at his computer desk which is located at a window, where he can monitor the mail box and the USPS delivery man!

Wish me good luck! However, I am getting fed up with the emotional rollercoaster lately!
I hope, I can make a happy post about my quilt's safe return tomorrow or by the weekend!
If I could, I would stop sending my quilts to the shows, but I can't! I can't keep them in the closet! That is not why I made them in the first place. I want to show them and I need to.
My whole business is based on making them and sending them to shows.

Wednesday, August 6th
Update on my strayed/missing quilt
No delivery today! I just checked with USPS by entering the tracking numbers.

My quilt was already in Oklahoma City on July 31st! It has been transfered to USPS on Agust 2 , 2008 with scheduled delivery date for August 5th. What in the world is my package doing in Swedesboro, NJ 08085 facility on August 6, 2008!!!!

Status: Processed
Your item was processed and left our SWEDESBORO, NJ 08085 facility on August 6, 2008. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.

I will check the status tonight again!

Thursday, August 7th 2008

Checked the status last night. Nada, no change.

Checked it this morning and in the afternoon. Nada, no change. No delivery either!

Thanks to the AQS in Nashville show managment, my deadline for the quilt delivery is running out on Wednesday next week.

Friday, August 8th 2008

Your item was misrouted. The error has been corrected and every effort is being made to deliver it as soon as possible. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later. Just need to patiently wait until the quilt is delivered.

Saturday, August 9th 2008

Your item was misrouted. The error has been corrected and every effort is being made to deliver it as soon as possible. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.

I only hope that my quilt will make it out of the "Black Hole". I can't help but be that cynical, as I have lost an order of books of over $600 in May of 2008 as well before my first missing/lost quilt ordeal. The books were mailed USPS media mail with no insurance. The books just have evaporated...Each book has my name and address in the back. Each book was placed in a ziplock clear plastic bag. All 25 of them. The books apparently did fall out of the box. An empty box has been delivered to the recipient. I had a shipping record but no insurance. I have filed a claim with the USPS Mail recovery center to no avail. The books are gone, evaporated, no tracking number with media mail. You get what you pay for, or not....

By nature, I am not a whiner at all. However, what has happened within the last 3 months; makes me feeling helpless and cynical. I have no clue about whether it's just bad luck or something darker than that.... Bad luck, I understand and accept.

My last chance to ship my quilt to AQS in Nashville is on Monday, August 11th. I am back from Dallas and back on guard duty for the USPS delivery man on Monday...

At this point, I will be pleasantly surprised if my "Serenity" quilt is delivered...

I can still manage to be just cynical about the whole situation but inside of me, I don't want to make more quilts for any crooks' enjoyment anymore!...


Robotic system or not, that is a question.

Since I have joined the quilting world over 3 yars ago, I have been living in a whirlwind of excitement. There are so many projects that can be done, but having only two hands and a tight budget is slowing me down! However, I am not the only one who struggles! It is very hard to find a healthy balance between having to make a living and creating al lot of new stuff! I am working on few books simultaniously while trying to create show pieces and taking care of all aspects of running my growing business.

I have few upcoming titles in progress. Some are pattern and design ideas books, some will be step-by-step tutorials. One of the next step-by-step tutorials will be my whole cloth design book, showing all steps necessary to create an elaborate design starting with a blank slate. This book will show and prove my point that anyone can design a quilt applying this simple to understand concept.

From very simple and easy to execute designs to elaborate and complex design, all in one book! I love to create books that cover the topic in depth, no matter what the subject is. I strongly believe in producing of a high quality product with a lot of content. My whole cloth design book should be very helpful to all computerized systems users as well, as all hand and machine quilters, showing them how to create a work of art using whatever tools are available to them.

The industry grew through periods of rejection of machine quilting, longarm machine quilting and stitch regulators. Now computerized system is next for being recognized, appreciated instead of being ignored and dismissed as an art form. That attitude will be changing when more and more users will use the computerized system as "a tool only" to express their creativity.

Computerized system is just a robot, which needs to be programed and guided by a human brain, right? It knows zip, nada without a human brain input! The originality of each design element, the overall design, the composition plus the color application can be used in creating a piece that has a great visual impact. All aspects of the quilt making just mentioned above, will transform the whole piece into work of art that can not be ignored or dismissed!

It won't happen within few months. It will take some time. Many shows are already having computerized systems categories. Other shows will follow. Adding the computerized categories is inevitable, as more and more quilters are purchasing the computerized systems. It takes a lot of imagination to create all original design motifs and producing of a whole original quilt design!

What is a difference between using a simple stapler or a simple hand sewing needle to execute the design, or using a computerized system as "a tool only" to execute the same design! The only difference is the quality of stitching and a visual appeal. Both devices or a simple hand sewing needle can be considered as tools, right? The only difference is the simplicity versus the complexity. It takes a lot of thought and skill to operate a computerized system, as it takes a lot of thought and skill to operate the hand sewing needle!

One can use a tooth brush to sweep the streets! My attitude is: why using a simple sewing needle to stitch the whole quilt? It may be very relaxing, theraputic and rewarding [I am not trying to downgrade it], but I don't have too much time on my hands! I will go for a computerized system as soon as I can, and sooner or later I will! And I will will use it as a tool to create art quilts, you bet! With all that being said, I do some hand stitching and everytime I do, I end up with busted fingers! Just too clumsy for that activity!

Hang in there, there will be better times!

New books in progress!

Whimsical and Funky Feathers Collection sample

New books in progress!

Book titles in progress:

1. Whimsical and Funky Feathers-Collection of 80 -pattern and design ideas book
2. Charming Bugs Collection 1-pattern and design ideas book
3. Start with a Blank Slate-Whole cloth design, step-by-step


Students who have taken any classes from me and have produced any work using my techniques, are strongly encouraged to share photographs with me via e-mail: I need anything that will be presentable in any of my new books. It is very hard for me to create all book samples just by myself.
I have plans for 3 more titles, so don't worry if you have something that is not pertinent to the titles mentioned above!


Whimsical and Funky Feather Designs 1

This book is going to be a pattern book with many design ideas! Are you getting bored with regular feathers and wish to try something REALLY OUT OF THE BOX ? Wait when you see this book! No limits as to how many different shapes of feathers you would be able to create on your own. I am having fun working on this book juggling between working on my new show quilt and working on a couple of other books as well.

I can't stop, I feel like I have to get out, what I have in store ASAP, so I can relax! Need more feathers? You will get more than you will ever need! I am very excited about that book, because it will show how many designs can be created. The best is: they are easy! Many of them are actually easier to stitch than the over the top feathers! Some of them would require a little practice remembering the order.

It will be impossible to remember them all without having the book for a reference. There will be a feather for any occasion. There will be some feminine feathers, some masculine looking feathers and anything in between!


Charming Bugs Collection 1

I kept this collection of 30 close to the vest for too long because of my budget! The book needs to be published ASAP!
Just be patient. I won't put out anything less or anything that does not meet my own quality standards!
The book is not just the Bugs, but also what to do with them!

Hang in there and try to stay on the cutting edge!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Welcome to my Blogspot

This blog is under construction. It may take me few weeks to add more content. Please be patient. There will be a lot of information that you may be interested in.

Irena Bluhm