The Steel Quilt Company- An Artist Interview

Hello again! Remember alllllll the way back to yesterday when I told you about The Steel Quilt Company?? Well, today, there’s even more great chatting about them!

As I mentioned yesterday, I found The Steel Quilt Company pieces in the Big Mill Co- Antiques & Artisans and fell in love! I totally almost missed the fact that their studio was in the same building as the Antique shop because I had my nose stuck to my phone trying to find out more information about them! So as my husband was taking pictures I sneaked in and met Will, one of the two guys that make up The Steel Quilt Company. He was very nice to the odd quilt girl who just randomly showed up in his shop, but he didn’t have too much to say about the quilt pieces, since he isn’t the one who makes them. When we went back the next day, I was hoping to meet Nathan, the other guy of The Steel Quilt Company who does make the quilt pieces. But…. He wasn’t there then either…. Sad…But happy too, since I was leaving with my very own Steel Quilt!

I got my piece and I am totally stoked about that. But throughout the rest of the trip, I kept thinking about Nathan and his art. When I got home, I emailed him and we started a little email conversation and he agreed to an interview and GIVEAWAY! Yea!

Welcome Nathan!!

When did you start creating art?

I did my first pattern, Crossed Canoes, in August 2011.  I went on a trip with my mom to Iowa in Feb 2011 and that is where I got inspired to do the barn quilts…

What inspired you to add the metal quilts to your furniture company?

I actually added the furniture side after I started the quilts.  I wanted to integrate some quilt patterns to the furniture.

The pieces are all made with reclaimed barn materials, how do you get the materials?

I tear down old structures in my spare time, so I actually harvest the materials myself, including the barn tin I use to hand cut the patterns out of.

Did your mother, grandmother, aunt, father, grandfather, uncle, etc, quilt?

Its unbelievable… no one in my family quilts or crochets.  My mom can sew but my aunt does it regularly.

Tell us about your creative process. Does the barn metal inspire the quilt or does the quilt design inspire the barn metal selection?

A little of both.  When I first started doing the quilts, I painted then because that is the way it was done. 

I longed to find another way to do them because to me, the painting demanded too much precision.  I didn’t think it reflected my personality…. Then one day, I was at my sister and brother ‘n laws and there was some barn tin I had given them for a project and it hit me!!! I took the pieces home and have been doing them this way since.  When I started cutting the barn tin I stopped painting the patterns, just the background, I started using the varying shades of rust for “color” therefore, sometimes the pattern inspires what metal I use and sometimes the metal inspires the pattern I do.  The Jacobs Ladder with the green background is a perfect example of that.

What inspires the designs?

Really my mood…. I look for different patterns online and I really like doing collections like the Underground Railroad and Civil War era patterns..My 7 year son is a big inspiration as well…he does quilts when he is in the shop with me.  He is very talented also.  Last year I was entering a barn quilt in the fair and my son wanted to enter one also.  He did and I did.  End result, he got first place AND best in show, I got nothing.. It was great!


Where does the magic happen?

Everywhere…but the work is done at the Big Mill. The space is so awesome and inspiring.. I am grateful to be able to work in such a great place.

Even though I was SUPER excited about finding the steel quilts, when I saw this painted one hiding out in the back by thier back door, I have to say even then I got a little giddy! hehehe…

A favorite quote to share?

I have several actually…one that I really like is “if your mind can perceive it, you can achieve it”  but the one that I have written on my project board and live by is “SIMPLE, STUPID!”

Thanks Nathan!

When I purchased my piece, the saleslady told me that the patterns Nathan uses are from the Underground Railroad. Of course, I know what the Underground Railroad is, but I wasn’t sure what she meant… What do quilt patterns have to do with the Underground Railroad??? So back to the internet for me! And wow, I keep learning sooo many great things about quilting. The people using the Underground Railroad used quilt patterns to send messages to others that were also using the Underground Railroad.

The Bear’s Paw pattern was used to tell others to ‘Take a mountain trail, out of view. Follow the path made by bear tracks; they can lead you to water and food.’

The Drunkard’s Path pattern was used to as ‘A warning signal to take a zigzag route to elude pursuing slave hunters and their hounds that are in the area. A slave spotted travelling south, for instance, would not be suspected of escaping.’

Back in the day, the barn quilts were used to distinguish the different barns from one another, which in turn made them a sort of way finding method. And this is also what was happening in the Underground Railroad. A method of way finding. And to think, I once thought quilts were just for keeping warm and cuddly!

So not only did I find a really cool artist with an most creative take on Barn Quilts, but I learned something else about the history of quilting!

And I’m happy to say I’m the proud owner of this amazing piece!

Do you want one too???  Come back later and sign up for the GIVEAWAY!!!

Or you can contact The Steel Quilt Company via:


phone, 1 (256) 418-2599

email Nathan at sales.nlw (at) gmail (dot) com

or go right to thier shop at the

Big Mill Antiques & Artisans

151 8th St NE

Fort Payne, AL 35967-2601

Shared with these Link Parties!

A Guest Interview with Celebrations at Home

I follow a lot of blogs. And I follow a lot of party blogs. One of my most favorite party blogs is Celebrations at Home. The variety is just amazing! All sorts of parties! Styled parties, DIY parties inspirational parties and more!! Just last week she showcased a really cool monster party!!! Loved it!
Today we’re lucky to have Chris, the style and creative juice behind Celebrations at Home, here to answer some questions for us! So enough from me, let’s see what she has to say!
When a client comes to you to plan their event, but has no clue of a theme, where in the world do you start?
This is when you need to begin asking questions – lots of them – to get to know their personality, their interests, a back story, and anything else that will help to determine a theme, even if it‘s just a color scheme to work with. I will also suggest some ideas that we can customize to their needs. It’s all about the customization.

Let’s chat about food! And I’m going straight to the dessert table! I’ve seen some fantastic dessert tables on your blog. Do you have any tips on setting up a dessert table?

Dessert tables have become such a focal point and in my mind there are 2 different routes you can take. On the one hand you could follow the styling of Amy Atlas who is very modern, sleek, minimalist, and for the most part symmetrical. On the other hand, we have Marie of Sweets Indeed who is very eclectic and creates small vignettes which display the food in interesting ways. I love both styles, and they are easy to re-create when you follow a few basic design principles. The main thing is to go for balance, and an easy flow for the eyes – much like interior decorating. I usually begin with the center or the 2 ends and create height. From there you can add varying levels and rows to fill in the blank table space. One thing I hate to see is too much of the table showing because people spread all the dishes out to take up the area available. Instead, bring it all closer together so it looks more deliberate, and it actually looks more abundant. If you don’t have enough food, add a vase of flowers or sculptural piece to the presentation.

Any tips on setting up a food table that people will be getting finger foods from, yet there will also be people sitting at the table? Or would you just find another table!?

I would certainly suggest finding another table. There is always a desk, dresser, coffee table, or even book shelf you could use to display the food so people aren’t reaching over one another at a seated table.

Do you have a favorite tip that you learned and you wouldn’t do a party without? One that you’re willing to share?

Of course – Real Flowers. I realized years ago that they really do elevate the presentation of a party from one that is pretty good to one that is fabulous. Again, this is an old interior design principle to add “life” to a space. You don’t have to go overboard or break the bank either. A row of bud vases filled with a single flower each has great impact.

What was your favorite event that you’ve done recently?

How could I not say working on the Operation Shower event at Camp LeJeune in April?! I got to work/socialize with my friend Amy again (Chief Event Organizer), I met Jenn (HWTM) who was a real doll, was in the presence of Michelle Obama, and Martha Stewart, and helped set up a gorgeous shower for military moms-to-be, all at the same time. What a couple of days it was!

I love favors, and try to always make them something that will be used again and again. What are your thoughts on party favors? All parties? Just particular parties?

Truth be told, I was never a big favor person until I got into the biz. Now, I hate to do a party without them. It’s like the punctuation mark at the end of the event. Personally I prefer edible treats or things that can be used up. However there are some good options that people will use over and over – attractive tote bags you can find for about 99 cents, filled with goodies; an activity at kids parties which becomes the take home favor; something monogrammed or personalized to each guest, etc.

When you aren’t planning a party, how do you like to spend your time?

Is there such a time?? Lol I spend time with my husband and 2 kids of course; I love ladies night with the girls; I love shopping, trying new recipes, and sipping wine. I need to get back on the workout wagon too!

What is the next project on your to do list?

Now that my website has been updated and re-launched I finally have time to focus on my “real” work again. Happily, I have several styling projects in the works – things for the web; I’m planning to volunteer at the next Operation Shower event in Norfolk in the fall; a possible client party; and a few personal goals I’m working toward regarding my business. I’ve had a few other opportunities come up as well, but we’ll see if they work out…
Thanks so much for joining us Chris!!!
Be sure to check Chris out at her website, on facebook and on twitter!

An Artist Interview with Katie Moon, AKA

Thanks to everyone with all your wonderful comments on the giveaway! Everyone keeps telling us their favorites and I keep wanting to respond, ‘Me, too!!’ I know it’s hard to pick a favorite!!

And I will have the tutorial done for the blocks tomorrow!

I asked Katie a few questions that I’ve been curious about and she graciously answered them ALL! I still don’t understand how she does it all. And without further ado… More about the wonderful artist behind, Katie Moon! (with some of my favorite pieces!)

When did you start creating art and how did your creative journey inspire your oohmoon blog? 

 I have always loved to create. I think that’s probably the nature of most artists. As a kid I LOVED “craft hour” at school and girl scouts and camp and Sunday School. I was always the one going around the room helping the other kids with their craft projects. I would take my mom’s garbage (literally) and make something out of it. I remember making an empty Mrs. Butterworth’s jar into a Mrs. Claus that my mom still shamelessly puts out at Christmas time. For my 11th birthday, one of my friends gave me an art notepad and chalk pastels. I drew on every page of that notepad and brought it to school and showed everyone. And not too long after that I asked for a Bob Ross paint set/canvas/video for Christmas. That’s how I started to learn to paint. I never took an art class until college actually! All of my formal training took place after high school. I was very involved back then and never had room in my schedule for an art class. For 2 weeks I was an instrumental education major. I quickly realized I didn’t have the passion for it that I needed, so on a whim, I thought I’d try graphic design for a semester. And let me tell you, I LOVED it!! Absolutely loved it! I remember absolutely beaming with a huge dorky grin across my face on my way back to my dorm room after one of my first critiques. I was SO glad I switched majors. And still am. While getting my BFA in Graphic Design I also minored in Art… which was more of the traditional art classes. Other than my design classes, I loved my painting classes next best. I still LOVE to paint to this day. And then, of course, I loved my art history courses that I know I have often mentioned.

Anyways, long story short, I started illustrating about a year after college graduation. I wasn’t sure it would take, but wanted to give it a try. It was pretty phenomenal how it all came to be…  nothing I could have planned. Wish I had the space to share the whole story in detail. Simply put, God reconfirmed it over and over again that I was supposed to be an illustrator. In such cools ways too. So I went with it, and couldn’t be more thrilled about it today. It is one of my greatest loves!
How did it inspire oohmoon? Well, I guess I was looking for ways to expand my work and meet a bigger audience. As I wrote on my blog, was really my husband’s idea. And I agreed that it really went well with what I was looking to do with my illustration. Also, if you’ve heard the term “love language”, gift giving is one of mine. I LOVE to give gifts. I spend so much time thinking about and searching for the perfect gifts for people and I get so excited for them to receive them. And for those I love most, I create. So giving art away is really an expression of me and my love for art, I suppose. I love that I’ve been able to use oohmoon to not only give to a vast amount of people, but also to individuals and their families.
What other hobbies do you enjoy besides making art?
I am not a person who is ever going to get bored in life. My parents really encouraged me to be involved in all sorts of activities in order to help me find what I loved most. In that, I really came to enjoy many different activities. Bar none, my favorite would be snow skiing. I anticipate our ski trips to the mountains all year round. (Thank God above that my husband is passionate about it too!!) Maybe someday we’ll live in the mountains… I also love to play basketball and jog. I love to rollerblade too. Though I don’t get a lot of time for it anymore. I bladed a lot in college on the boardwalk on Lake Superior. Just breath-taking. I love to paint. Really big paintings. There are a few on our walls. 🙂 (Actually, you might be interested to know that not one oohmoon illustration has found its way to a wall in my house yet… oh I have plans, just haven’t gotten there yet.) And there’s always at least one painting in my mind just waiting to find itself on canvas. Right now there are 2 up there. I like to take pictures of my kids. I like to read. I like to knit… and crochet, but knitting’s better if you ask me. I’m not very good at it, but I like it. I really enjoy cooking and baking! I love experimenting, finding new recipes, and making my own too. Food. I love food. I enjoy music so much. Especially instrumental. I used to play trumpet. Jazz was my favorite. I had the privilege of playing with a great jazz band in college for a couple of years… playing with people who love it and are so talented is such a treat! I love to be outdoors too. There are a few things I’ve enjoyed over the years and would love to do more of some day… rock climbing and backpacking especially. High adventure stuff is the best! I think I could go on and on here. I’ll end with one more. I’m not sure if this is a hobby… but hanging out with friends. We’ve been so lucky to have really great friends to do life with. Whether it’s just hanging out at each other’s homes, having meals together and letting the kids play, or going out together, having people to laugh with and do life with is one of the greatest joys this side of heaven!
oohmoon weekly themes are mostly child oriented, fairy tales, numbers, monsters… In what other ways have your experiences as a mother and artist impacted each other?
Hmmm…. My kids definitely inspire my art. And they definitely interrupt it too! But even more so, I think my art inspires my parenting. I hope to really encourage artistic development in them. They surely don’t need to choose it as their professions, or even like it, but I really believe that everyone can create. And should if at all possible. Unfortunately, so often others and other factors stifle that creative bug in us and tell us to stop or that we’re not any good. When it comes to art, what is “good” really is relative to each person. In college I almost didn’t get a class counted for credit toward my major because there’s an idea out there that water-color painting is not true art. Too many “civilians” so to speak dabble in it! That’s preposterous to me! It doesn’t matter the medium. The mind behind it is what creates the art. Anyways, I believe there’s an artist in at least most of us, and I hope to bring it out in our children too… if they do enjoy it anyway. 
How do you balance between blogging, your artistry, and spending time with your family?
Honestly, this is the hardest part of my day right now. Finding and maintaining balance. You know, we’re all busy, so I’m not going to say I’m an exception. But I can share how I try to maintain that balanced life. The way I am finding the most balance right now is by making sure my priorities are in order each day. I try to tend to the most important things first, and I try to give my full attention to each thing I do (Note, I said try. Easier said than done!). For example, I try to give my first moments of the day to God. I start my morning in prayer and some Bible reading/studying. Whether or not this gets done literally makes or breaks the rest of my day. Then my husband and children come next. Then I tend to work, our family, friends, neighbors, and then to household things (that sure doesn’t make our house sound very tidy!). Of course all of these don’t happen in this order every day or most days, but I really try to divvy up my time and energies to these capacities. But as I said, this is the greatest area of challenge… keeping it all in the right place and time. Days so easily get “out of whack” and stay that way until we’re up from the pillow the next day to try again.
Tell us about your typical day!
What I’ll do is tell you about an ideal day for Katie! I say ideal because when I wake up each day, my goals for the day usually look something like this. But depending on how the night before went, if the kids are sick, any appointments are scheduled, and you get the picture, my day may look totally different. So this is how I try to make it work each day:
5:30am to 6:30am, wake up, head straight downstairs. Spend time with God… Reading/studying my Bible and praying
6:30 to 9am, Go to my husband’s office (I’ll explain a little later) and create a new daily illustration for oohmoon while my husband does the morning routine with the boys.
9am to 10am, Sesame Street is on in the background while I get my breakfast, finish feeding the boys theirs, clear the table and finally change out of my PJs
10am to 11:30am, Finnley (9 months) goes down for his first nap, I take Judah for a jog in the stroller and stop and let him play at a park 1/2 way through (my husband is working at home for the moment, so he stays on Finnley-duty while we’re gone). This is such a great time of day! I get exercise. Judah gets to play at the park, and I get one-on-one time with my firstborn.
11:30-12:30, lunch for everyone.
1ish to 4ish, NAPTIME! Judah goes down for 2 to 3 hours (yay!), and Finn for about 1 1/2 hours. This is the time of day that I have the hardest time deciding what to do. I always whisper a little prayer, “What is the best use of this time today, God?” Usually, I’m either wrapping up the illustration I didn’t get finished, working on another various illustration/design project, or getting to that never-ending laundry pile. Always something. Occasionally (since my husband is at home), I’ll even run to the grocery store at this time. Excitingly, my husband and his business partner are moving into downtown office space in a month! But this means I won’t have all the same luxuries any more. I’ve been prepared for this though.
4 to 5, Decide and start preparing what is for supper, Judah gets an afternoon snack at this time too (I probably do too!), Finn takes his last nap of the day.
5 to 6, Eating/doing dishes
6 to 7, This is usually our family time. We like to go for walks in the summer. Or we all play together in the living room… Dad and Judah wrestle (and sometimes Mom too), Mom and Finn snuggle or have tickle fights…. a couple nights a week at this time, we also have people over to our home for a group Bible study. Our kids all play together with a sitter, and us adults have snacks, visit, laugh, study, and pray together. It’s great!
7 to 7:30, kid bath time
7:30 to 8, read stories, kids to bed
8-10, Breath. Then count the ways this time could be used best. Usually, finishing up work, catching up on emails, folding laundry, writing blog posts, getting Bible study homework done, and fighting sleep
10-11, It is always my goal to be in bed by 10, but that almost never happens. It’s usually closer to 11 or 12. My husband and I are pretty committed to getting “us” time even if just for 30 minutes at the end of each day. And it usually happens much too late. But at least it happens. We like to just sit side by side and watch part of a movie, critique each other’s work (he’s a graphic designer too), or even just hash out life. Occasionally this is when he gets his haircuts from me too!
And that’s not to mention changing diapers, dealing with tantrums, yard work, smooching my husband, wiping noses (and other unmentionable places), play dates, planning parties, using the bathroom, cleaning house, making/taking phone calls….
Did you notice that no where on this itinerary is mentioned a shower!? Ok, so I really do shower! I promise I do! But as so many of you moms know, it doesn’t always get to happen every single day… and it most definitely doesn’t happen at the same time every day… nor in complete privacy!!
Isn’t my life glamorous? Ha! It’s definitely not that. A lot of hard work, maybe. But I have to say, I love every minute of it!
I can’t imagine how you can do one of your illustrations each day?  How do you come up with the design, illustrate it and then publish each and every day??
Hmmm… This question could be answered so many ways. It’s different every day. You know, working in series really helps this process. Not only do I not have to waste valuable time deciding what I’m going to illustrate, but the series lend themselves to similarities visually, conceptually, and color-wise as well. So, in many ways, Mondays are the hardest illustrations to create. I’m setting the tone for the next 6 days. But it’s almost always the most exciting day! I’m usually ready for something fresh! Part of my process each morning is spending a few moments with my eyes closed! Seriously! That’s where my sketching takes place. I have always been a huge sketcher for my design and illustration work. But this speedy of a process does not allow time for that…. but I really do take a few moments to close my eyes, and make a mental picture of what I’ll do. When you’re a visual person, it’s not hard to picture your work like this. It’s interesting how process changes it so much. What I picture in my mind before I begin the work is usually only relatively similar to what results. Most the time I’m good with this. Sometimes I’m frustrated that it’s not quite as I pictured. You know… when there’s a deadline, you just meet it. I can’t explain it beyond that. There have been a handful of times that the new illustration hasn’t been live until the morning… but that is only because “publish” accidentally didn’t get pushed at midnight. I promise, the work is always done by then. The best days are when both the illustration and the writing are done by the time I take over as mom for the day. This happens most days. However, for the past month and a half I’ve had sick children keeping me up in the wee hours of the night, pushing back my wake time (as I’m so tired), and so my work hasn’t been getting done on time. And I dabble on it all day as there are moments to work. It’s just all part of it. When you take on a daily commitment like this for a year, it just becomes part of everyone’s life! My husband is so supportive and helpful to make sure I get my work done (him helping in the mornings is HUGE!!) and my kids are so patient as mom disappears for a minute to go make another change to the file. In the beginning, I was pretty stressed with the work load. But it’s just part of my day now, and I’m afraid I’ll miss it when it’s all said and done! Really, it all happens and gets done by the grace of God. We all work together under this roof, but there are definitely nights I lay down on my pillow and go, “how in the WORLD did I get it all done today?” It’s usually the same answer, “The grace of God helping me.”
A favorite quote to share?
Favorite? I don’t know if I can just choose one. How about 2? I have a notecard flip book that I write down my favorite quotes from the Bible on and try to commit them to memory. I guess its my main source of reading and why I’ve chosen two from it. Here they are:
Psalm 34:8 (NKJV Bible) “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good;  Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”
Psalm 27:4 (HCSB Bible) “I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD and seeking [Him] in His temple.”
Where does the magic happen?
Ok, the magic happens one of three places.
A, in my husband’s office in the basement on his macpro. This is where I work in the morning. Everyone else is asleep, and so it keeps the house most quiet for me to be down there. Plus, he has a GINORMOUS screen, and I can have the speakers playing while working too!
B, it happens in my bedroom! Right now we are in transition of remodeling our basement. Our basement is where my office is meant to be. My office used to be my son’s room, but when baby 2 came along, guess who got kicked out! So now I’m squeezed into our bedroom on a tiny desk, my imac with a dual monitor, and just enough space for my keyboard and mouse!
Or, C, I work at the kitchen table on the macbook! If I need to work when the kids are awake, I’ll open the laptop and work where I can keep my eye on them. It’s also where I work when away from home. I can work any of the three places because the computers are all connect to the same server where all my work is stored. 
What are your plans for oohmoon in the future? This daily project is coming up on 6 months here soon, so we’re almost halfway through. I know I’m a bit addicted to checking in every day and seeing what you have come up with. And I think there are others! I’ve already started worrying about what’s going ot happen when the year is up!
The first thing I’m going to do when the year is up is take a week to sleep in!! Maybe I’ll ship the kids to grandmas for that week too! Or go somewhere with the just the hubs! Other than catch up on sleep, at this point, your guess is as good as mine! I seriously just don’t know. I have a couple ideas turning in the back of my mind, but I don’t think I’ve figured out yet exactly what I’ll do. I will reassure you and all our readers that I don’t think it’s all going to end! Don’t take my word on that for sure (who knows what life will bring), but I have a feeling it won’t be the last of me you see/read. My guess is the daily format might change somewhat. I have to say that I’m glad I have another 6+ months to think about it. If you (or anyone else) have any good ideas, do send them my way!! Maybe the answer is not known to me because we haven’t put our heads together yet! I do know that after doing this whole year together, I will not be ready to just up and say goodbye to everyone! Time will tell.
Awesome! Thank you so much Katie for letting us learn more about you!