Tuesday, January 16, 2018

10 Year Block of the Month Celebration

The Morning Glory Designs company began modestly one afternoon in 2006 when I was sitting in my office at school, tired of grading papers, and wishing I was home quilting instead.  I had designed my first commercial pattern for my local quilt shop, Quilting Bits and Pieces in Eudora, KS, and needed to come up with a name to put on the pattern cover.

I was in the process of designing a table runner for every month of the year featuring a one-patch pieced background and an applique of the flower of the month.  I started with July Waterlilies.  This is the little quilt that started it all.


 I came up with a name for the series of runner patterns first:  Charming Botanicals.   Charm, as in charm patches, or one-patch quilts.  And Botanicals for the flower motifs I was adding to the runners.  I thought it was a great name and proceeded to design the first 10 months, one after another.  One each month for 10 months.  I was nuts.  Or I went nuts, or perhaps I just found the gold at the end of my rainbow.

I realized that I needed a company name and spent several hours on the computer at work, -- I am only now admitting this because I am retired --  looking at images of flowers and thinking I ought to have a name with a flower in it.  When I spotted a morning glory photo, I knew that was it.


I remembered my mother's garden at the old farm house in Avon, Ohio, where I grew up.  Mom had morning glories growing up a trellis on the side of the house. In the spring the huge yard around the house was circled with trees and flowers:  lilacs, cherries, rose of sharon, buckeyes, apple, and a huge weeping willow.  And flowers.  Tulips daffodils, iris, gladiolas.  Annuals and lots of perennials.  It was my own private little paradise where I played out all my childhood dreams and wishes apart from all my other siblings.  It was my happy place.

So Morning Glory Designs it became, and that same afternoon on the computer at work, I found a picture of a little morning glory and adopted it as my logo.  Later that year, in September, I designed the runner of the month which featured morning glories and asters.


 I used one of the morning glories from that quilt as my logo for the next 8 years.


I did notice that there was another company in the quilt industry with a similar name.  They were Mornin Glory Desigsn (no g on the end of morning) and they designed quilted jackets and vests.  I noticed they had the domain name for their website so I had to spell mine with 2 g's next to each other.  I bought my first domain,  morningglorydesigns.net for $15.  I was thrilled and wasted no time setting up a website to announce to the world I was in business.  Well, actually it took some time to get that done and I had to hire a person to do it for me since I was pretty clueless about that sort of thing.

And that is how Morning Glory Designs came to be.

It was 3 years later, 2009 when I started this blog and kicked off my online presence with a free block of the month pattern I had designed as a teaching pattern.  Many students made the quilt in the beginning quilt class I offered at Quilting Bits and Pieces for several years.  When I moved on to other teaching patterns for that class I dusted off the first quilt and used it as my first BOM:  Midnight Posies.


It started out with a simple 9 patch daisy.  Each block was a flower and I designed it in EQ 5, and added a new technique with each block.  By the time you completed block 12 you had most of the piecing techniques you needed to move onto most any pieced quilt.  I put an applique vine border on it with flowers plucked from the EQ5 block library to add one last technique to the new quilter's repertoire of skills.

I was pretty much a novice at applique when I designed this quilt.  I realized that the pattern might look better (and sell better) with a pieced border, so I revised it and gave the border diamonds.


The readership on my blog grew to almost 100 people!!!!  Whoo Hoooo!  But it was the beginning of a tradition that has "blossomed" into a "growing" business.

10 years later I am offering a new Block of the Month programs with a few similarities:  a diamond border, 12 flower blocks, and a whole lotta free stuff.

May I present the 2018 Block of the Month: Starburst Blossoms


The votes were cast on my Facebook BOM page "name the quilt" poll and Starburst Blossoms was the runaway winner!  Thanks to all who cast a vote!

Peggy from ConnectTheBlocks.com is going to offer kits each month for this quilt.  Watch for an announcement here on my blog and on my Facebook page when they are ready.

The pattern for Block 1 is posted!


only a bit later than I planned to have it ready.  It literally takes hours and hours to design the final version of the quilt and then write the pattern, calculate yardage, and so many other tasks that have to happen before I feel confident to post the pattern.

In addition.  a good friend (with a very successful design business) once told me:

 "FREE is not a good business model."

Of course, she is right.  However, I built my business on offering a free block every month for 10 years, and it has been pretty darn successful for me.

So Block # 1  is the Roses Around Block I posted as a teaser.  It is not the first block in the quilt, but it is the first block I designed and could be my favorite.

The block is 16" square and the applique center is snugged into an 8-1/2" block within the pieced star background.  The pattern will have 2 parts:  1. the pieced background, and 2. the applique templates and placement guide.  Check out my 2018 BOM Page (tab on the right at the top of the blog)  for the instructions, fabric, tutorials, and links.

Finally, I have a challenge for each of you to win something each month in two ways.

Win patterns and charm packs in my January Giveaway:


1.  Complete this month's block by the end of January, send me a picture, or post it on my Facebook BOM Group page, and be entered to win a free fabric pack from Northcott featuring their Beautiful Basics line of Toscana.

2.  Send me a picture of your completed Midnight Posies quilt (yes the one from 10 years ago!), or post a pictureof it to my Facebook BOM Group page.

There is so much more to tell you, but that's it for now.  Thanks for hanging out with me again this year.


18 comments:

  1. Reese I love it and will be making this one.

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    1. Thanks Kathleen, I hope you enjoy the process. I know I am having a blast with this design.

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  2. Congratulations on the anniversary and I for on am so thankful for your generosity! I have always loved your design style and look forward to another great year with you. This one is going to be so special.

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  3. Happy Anniversary! Your 2018 BOM is very pretty and colorful! Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Happy Anniversary and also Happy Birthday. I have only been following a couple of years, so it was nice to learn the history

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  5. Happy Anniversary!!!!! Ten years and still growing. Congrats!!!!!

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  6. Happy Anniversary and Happy Birthday. Congratulations. I look forward to doing all the blocks. It will surely make a beautiful quilt.

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  7. Toutes mes Félicitations pour votre anniversaire, sa fait des années que je vous suis et je suis toujours aussi ravie de vous retrouvez et vous suivre avec vos nouveaux modèles. Longue vie à vous et votre site.Amicalement.

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  8. Happy 10 years. This is a beautiful block. hugs, lj

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  9. Happy Anniversary. As a former teacher, I loved hearing how you have transitioned to a new career in retirement!!

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  10. Looks like being a beautiful sewing experience again this year.
    Thank you Reeze :-)

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  11. I love this design and really do hope I can squeeze it in - thank you so much - and Happy Anniversary!

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  12. Congratulations on your Anniversary!!! Wow...10 years and still going strong! I can't wait to get started on this years BOM. It is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your talents with us!

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  13. Thank you for the free block of the month patterns. I think they are beautiful. Wishes for many more years of designing quilts.

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  14. Oh Reeze, what a wonderful story. Congratulations on being and doing your own thing. This is another beautiful quilt and though I don't have time to join in on the fun, I will be saving the blocks each month and perhaps one of these days I'll get a chance to put it together. Thanks, dear designer.

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  15. Beautiful! I really love this one.

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  16. Thank you for all your beautiful designs throughout the years.

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  17. Congratulations on 10 years of business and many more beautiful quilts. As the saying goes you've come a long way...

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I'd love to know what you think! Thanks for sharing your ideas.