Tuesday, March 26, 2013

gettin' craftsy and some discount links

wowsers! this weekend i was introduced to the world of craftsy.com and i have been sucked right in ever since, practically living there the last few days. if, like me, you've never heard of craftsy, it's this fantastic on-line diy classroom platform that offers tons of on-line classes by many industry leaders. the array of topics and line up of teachers is impressive. and i discovered a few deals on classes, including free ones, that saved me money, too. (i've highlighted my savings tips in red through out the post.)

i found the classes on friday, signed up for a couple, and spent time on and off on saturday in my courtyard enjoying the extremely pleasant spring weather and watching classes. it was awesome because i could stop and start whenever i needed to do something or give my kids attention. what a perfect way to spend a saturday.

i got to go to class in a beautiful, comfortable setting without driving anywhere or doing more than showering and throwing on some comfy clothes. since i was adding new projects to my roster, i also dug out my quilt patterns to sort through in an attempt to organize all my projects i would like to do. that list is getting out of control.

 the classes are designed for you to work along side the teacher, pausing whenever you need to. however, i like to watch everything first to get an idea of how it's going to go and also picking up any tips offered along the way to put into immediate use on my current projects since i won't be doing the new quilts just yet.

just an atmospheric shot of how wonderful my courtyard is looking right now - heavenly!

i found my way to craftsy through camille roskelly's blog announcement of her new class, pre-cut piecing made simple. i was intrigued by her description of the class and all the quilts she promised to teach us to make, so i linked over to craftsy for a closer look. her link, by the way, includes a 25% discount for the class, so definitely link through her if you are interested (or try here).

when i found out her swoon quilt pattern (above) was included, i was sold. i've admired swoon ever since she introduced it, but figured it was well beyond my skill level. however, having recently taken on the half square triangle with my garden paths quilt, and discovering that swoon was composed of HSTs, with camille leading me through each step of the quilt, i knew i could do it. so i signed on. the reviews from other class members also helped encourage me. camille really does share a lot of information as she goes.

the classes are really well put together, making watching enjoyable and informative, too. also, the platform for the classes is awesome. i've never experienced anything like it on line. here's what craftsy includes and how it works:

  • unlimited, lifetime access to classes, 24/7, so you can watch and create at your own pace, whenever, wherever, over and over again, for as long as you want. years, even.
  • ability to take notes that are recorded on a timeline allowing you to sort of bookmark spots in the video that you can refer back to  - very cool.
  • you can ask questions of the teacher, which are recorded on a timeline of the class as the notes are. she answers them back pretty quickly, not always immediately, but in my experience so far, within a few hours or at least 24. i'm sure this will vary as time goes on.
  • 30 second repeat that allows you to keep repeating a video segment until you feel you have mastered the content
  • class projects photo gallery for sharing and viewing
  • downloadable class materials lists
  • 100% money back guarantee
i've found the classes quite easy to access and use. the only problem i've had is some pausing, but another student recommended turning off the HD button and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

craftsy offers many absolutely free classes that allow you to get a feel for how it works. you just create an account and put it in your cart. i picked up some classes on trouble-shooting with your sewing maching, quiltcon lectures, and some block of the month classes. all free!

a money-saving tip here, when i signed up for a craftsy account, my introductory welcome email gave me a link to get any class for $25, a nice savings since most classes are $40 or $50. i used it to get elizabeth hartman's, of oh, frannson! blog, class inspired modern quilts.

elizabeth also offers the free course, creative quilt backs, which i watched friday night. it was truly wonderful and got me so excited for how well the classes are put together and run. the free classes do not include instructor input, but they do still allow for input from other class members in case you have questions.

the last paid class i signed on for was free-motion quilting a sampler by leah day. and, another money saver: if you link from leah's site, day style designs, she offers a 50% discount on the class, making it only $20! (if you click on my 50% discount link, it might work for you - otherwise, try linking through leah.)

there were several free motion classes, but this looked like the best over all choice for a beginner. i am still desperate to learn stippling so i can complete taite. this looks like it's going to help. i also chose it because leah offers tips on how to quilt large quilts on a domestic machine.

yesterday, my husband took all the kids to the zoo, so i had some time to myself. i took the pins out of taite since it needs to be resandwiched and watched part of leah's class for ideas on how to get a better sandwich. leah explains herself very well. she has some very unique methods for quilting! she also has many special product recommendations that are supposed to help with your FMQ. i might invest in some of them but i'm not ready to go for everything she does just yet. so far, i don't think i'll be using her sandwiching and basting ideas. i have yet to decide if the class is really going to be helpful to me or not. the good news is that if i decide it really isn't for me, i can get a full refund from craftsy.

each of the teachers i have watched have been superb at delivering their lessons. and the line up of celebrity instructors is rather dazzling. some of my other favorite designers and crafters that teach are vanessa christenson of v and co, meg mcelwee of sew liberated, and master baker peter reinhart, author of artisan breads everyday and the bread baker's apprentice cookbooks. i'm totally drooling thinking of these classes, but i'm going to pace myself.

last but not least, craftsy also sells fabric, yarn, books, etc, at a discount in their shop.
and when you sign on for a class, it usually offers you related class materials at a significant discount.

craftsy, you are awesome.
i'm looking forward to a long and happy relationship here.

now i gotta go sign back into my class.

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