Category Archives: Etsy

Working with Wonder Woman

I just finished up a really fun project. I haven’t made a custom Chemex Cozy for a while and received this note from a customer about a week ago. She asked….”do you have one that is more Wonder WOMAN and less super Man?”  Clearly she wanted some female superheroes to grace her kitchen. After a very quick search, I found this fabric.

My customer thought it was perfect so I placed an order and waited for it to arrive from an Etsy shop in Texas.  As soon as I got it, I cut into it.  I must have been terribly excited because I cut these girls out upside down. Not once, but twice. Considering I only had one yard of fabric (it takes about 1/2 yard to make a set) I was seriously frustrated. It didn’t take me long to decide to try some improv work to save the fabric.

I started cutting out Wonder Woman (she was the key player for my customer) and laying out pieces with black fabric framing off the individual pieces.  I was really liking the way she looked and felt like the black fabric calmed the craziness of the fabric down a bit.

 

Once I got one cozy put together, I sent off a progress picture to my customer. I was honest and told her what had happened. Asking for her honest opinion, I explained I would be happy to purchase more fabric. She immediately responded that she missed all of the action and  wasn’t too wild about the black in between the clips of Wonder Woman. She suggested I take the fabric scraps and just sew them back together ‘like a patchwork’. Ok then, on to round two. (I was not at all disappointed that she was unhappy with my first rendition as I knew I could list it for sale in the shop.)

Drawing on my practice with making fabric Victoria Findlay Wolfe style, I played with the scraps I had. Luckily, I still had a lot of scraps.

I only needed to have enough for the outside as I planned to line it with a solid fabric. Again, I tried to keep Wonder Woman as the main super hero and began laying pieces next to each other. I needed to end up with a wide strip of pieced fabric, enough for the large curve I cut for these cozies.

It came together so fast!  I showed Judy another progress picture and she was thrilled.  Having both a bright yellow solid and a deep purple solid, I let my customer choose her lining. She went with purple and I finished everything up soon thereafter.

I think it was a great lesson for me. Where I wanted to calm everything down and add the drama of the black frames, she wanted the chaos that DC Comic shows on most of their licensed fabric.

I suppose what I am trying to say is, it is such a trick to stock my shop with items (both handmade and fabrics) for my shoppers. I buy and make with my personal tastes reflected in my choices. I need to keep perspective on what the customer is going to like as well. At any rate, I loved creating both of these pieces and have no doubt the other one will sell swiftly.

If you make for others or for customers, how do you get that perspective? It is only natural to have a bias toward the styles, colors and themes you as the maker prefers, but we need to be able to figure out what the customer wants. Any input??

 

Linking up to a few places this week. Please take a look at the choices I have listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

Getting Ready

I spent quite a bit of time over the weekend preparing for a quilt show coming up this weekend. I decided to attend the show as a vendor and several months ago, I bought a booth for the vendor area. I got the smallest size booth they have and will give it a go.  My wonderful sister is coming to help me – this way if it is busy I will have help and if it is slow, she will commiserate with me.  Win-win for me!  She has great ideas and is very talented as a decorator so she has been a huge help as I collect what I need for the booth.

I used some green Ta Dot fabric (Michael Miller) and a piece of Crescent Bloom by Anna Maria Horner to make two work aprons for Patti and I to wear.   (Both of these fabrics are still available in my shop, though there is very little left.) The aprons were really a quick project and I just sort of made them up as I went. Check out the measuring tape twill that I used for the waist and the apron strings.  So cute! (Have to say the apron looks a whole lot cuter on my model than on me!!  🙂  )

Using the same fabrics, I made a bunting to hang across the front of one of the tables. Love these colors and they coordinate well with my logo.

Because this is my first time, I am trying not to spend tons of money. I did have to get a few things though. I am going for a bright, colorful look which will hopefully invite those shoppers to come and browse. You probably remember the banner I posted a few weeks ago.  My husband made me a frame with PVC pipe yesterday to hang it from.   People will definitely see that banner!

Pricing, oh my gosh — all the pricing that needed to be done. I have a small assortment of stitchery kits and a few projects for kids to make. Summer is coming and I thought it might be fun for some of the women to work on simpler projects with their grandchildren or children, as the case may be.  I made up a sample of this little pincushion kit. Isn’t it sweet? The kit includes everything needed so I think a young person could be quite successful making this. I have also marked a large assortment of fat quarter bundles and had to put pricing on the bolts (something I don’t normally do since it is just me down here in my little shop.)

Fat quarters! I have cut all sorts of fat quarters. This is a gamble because I have no idea how many will sell. I hesitate to cut too many because than my fabric is chopped up. But I have a good size collection. I think I would rather run out than bring home a billion fat quarters. If you are a local reader, I hope you will come by and say hi on Saturday or Sunday at the quilt show.  Members of the Pine Tree Quilt Guild will enjoy a 15% discount this weekend. Hurray for being in the guild!

Finally, let’s all congratulate Sally! Her name was pulled as the winner of the giveaway of a copy of No Scrap Left Behind. Sally, I have sent you an email.  Please respond in the next day or two. If I don’t hear from you, I will pull another name on Wednesday. Thanks so much for all of the comments and ideas on scrap storage. So many of us do keep scraps but there were a handful of honest quilters out there who don’t choose to keep them. It’s all good!  Those that don’t want them seem to give them to their guild members or other quilty friends. Sounds like a good idea to me! There are still more bloggers sharing their projects on the blog hop this week. Keep checking them out and maybe you will still add a copy of the book to your library!

I doubt I will post again this week. I still have quite a bit to do in preparation for the show. Hopefully, I will be back to tell you of a successful experience after the show!

Linking these finishes up to my favorite linky parties. Check out the tab Link Ups at the top of the page.

 

Springtime Blog Hop Celebration

Happy Monday Everyone!  Back in December when I first started working on the expansion of my Etsy shop, I wrote to a few blogger friends and asked for their support of my project. As one would expect of this quilting community, they immediately said they would be happy to help.

My original plan was to host this blog hop at the end of January. When I placed my fabric orders in early December I was foolish enough to believe the ship dates that I was given by the manufacturers! Silly me. There were all sorts of delivery issues. It really wasn’t until the beginning of February that product began to steadily arrive.  But then February always means QuiltCon and several of the bloggers in the hop were heavily involved with that event. Anyway, time marches on and here we are in the third week of March!  Today is the first day of Spring which is a time of new beginnings; thus the perfect day to celebrate my new shop.

 

Each of the six quilters were given their choice of fabrics to work with.  You will see lovely projects made with Allison Glass’ 76 fabric, Kim Diehl’s Modern Tykes fabric, as well as Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer. One quilter requested an assortment of prints because she had a few projects in the works so you will see a medley of fabrics in use there.

Monday through Friday this week, there will be a post celebrating the fabrics offered at Needle & Foot and with each post there will be a giveaway (of course!).  On Wednesday there is a bonus, with two bloggers posting that day. There are lots of opportunities to win this week.

I don’t know how the various bloggers are setting up the giveaway but I can tell you that each one will award one prize. The winners will have the option to choose six fat quarters or three 1/2 yard cuts from my shop. I welcome international quilter’s to join in. However, I ask that if an international person wins, they will split the cost of the shipping with me. It gets a little bit pricey!

OK – TIme to start visiting blogs! Here is the list of bloggers to visit this week!

I have only had small sneak peeks of their projects so I am really excited to visit each one and see what they have made. I hope you will enjoy it as well. Additionally, I want to offer a discount for each of you. I am truly grateful for all of the good wishes, support, as well as purchases, that many of you have provided over these last several months. It has been a blast to get this set up and I look forward to continuing to build my inventory with the fabrics you love.  For this week only, please use the code NANDFREADERS15 to receive a 15% discount on purchases made through Sunday, March 26th. Thank you so much and enjoy the hop!!

 Gift and a T-Shirt

It has been a busy week and I am happy to see Friday roll around. I really enjoyed working with Maureen and writing the posts about her work. It was a lovely bonus to see the sale on her Garden Dreamer fabric created a good number of sales which kept me busy cutting and shipping (it will be on sale through Sunday, March 19th if you are interested.) By the way, I truly appreciate all of the readers who are supporting my shop – thank you!

Thanks also to Mari of Academic Quilter. Mari and I became friends a couple of years ago (which is hard to believe actually) via our new blogs. We have struck up a great friendship and even got to have lunch and do a little fabric shopping together last summer when I was in Maine. That was so much fun. Yesterday I found a package in the mail. Usually getting the mail is so boring unless I have recently ordered fabric. Nothing much comes in the mail anymore with the exception of a few catalogues and the occasional advertisement addressed to ‘Occupant’. Sigh.

Not yesterday however! Look at this adorable lovie she made for my sweet grand baby! She even used the colors of the nursery (gray, lavender and pink). The backing is a soft gray and white flannel. Being the generous quilter Mari is, she even enclosed the leftover fabric for me to use. Thank you Mari. <3
These tiny blankets are so cool – the tags around the perimeter are made with ribbons and twill tape, and other trims which provide sensory stimulation when baby fidgets with them.


I have also seen mom’s hook toys to the loops and lay baby near it to grab the toys. It can be used in the car seat with toys attached or not. It was so kind of Mari to think of me and this little girl. I will hand deliver this when I go to Vermont – which is in only THREE weeks!! I can’t wait!

Moving on now (because I talk and think about this little girl too often and don’t want to become annoying!) I did get a fair amount of sewing done last week. I made this cute t-shirt with Butterick pattern, number B5954. Remember I posted about not having enough fabric? I decided to make the sleeveless version which took every bit of the fabric.


This version takes about 1/2 hour to sew because it is just the front and back pieces, sewn together at the shoulder and side seams. I finished the seams with a bright blue bias tape because I like that little surprise of color. I am only 5′ 4″ so I did have to alter the length and when I make it again, I would make it even a bit shorter. It is so comfortable and I am pleased with the result! Looking at these photos, I realize I should have pressed it before my modeling stint. Sorry about that!!

Cute Top But in Need of an Iron!

 

For the month of March, my challenge from Island Batik is to make something that is paper pieced. You already know how frustrated I become with paper piecing. I called my friend, Sophia, and invited her for a sew day. I knew I would need her help to get started! Sophia has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has that logical sort of brain that I so envy. She spent the afternoon with me and it was so helpful.  Plus I got to spend the afternoon sewing with her which we don’t often do. It was a very nice to spend the time together.

Choosing Colors for the Sashing

 

Before she arrived, I picked a few easy paper piecing patterns and printed the sheets. She and I looked and decided this star pattern would be a good one to learn on. (I took a class last fall to learn to paper piece but you know what happens if you don’t practice….  I couldn’t remember how to get started on the blocks!) This pattern is a free download on Craftsy.com. It is slated as a beginner pattern, which is mostly true.  The problem is there are no real instructions – reminding the quilter to cut strips a certain width or to trim each section, adding in that crucial 1/4″.  But never fear, I had Sophia coaching me! While my precision isn’t as close as I would like, overall I think it looks nice.

Perfectly Imperfect Points!

I finished the top and have begun quilting it a bit. I love the colors and it will be nice to hang this mini in my sewing room. I need a new one on the wall.

The Top is Finished!

OK – that is my week in a nutshell. Gifts, Etsy orders, and a fair amount of creative time in the sewing room. This girl doesn’t need more than that!  Happy Weekend everyone!
Linking to my favorites. I am including the end of quarter FAL link up at She Can Quilt because I had listed garment sewing on my goals for this quarter! Please check out the tab at the top of the page titled Link Ups.

A Fresh New Totebag

I am loving having all of these gorgeous bolts of fabric downstairs. I like to look at them, rearrange them, sell pieces to my wonderful customers and best of all, make stuff with them. I know, it probably isn’t the path to becoming rich – using up my own inventory – but it’s all just sitting there, taunting me, calling out to me. My willpower only goes so far. I am human after all.

When I was in the process of selecting this first round of fabric purchases, I tried very hard to make sure that the lines I bought were able to intermingle. I like offering choices and having pieces that work well together. This pink paisley print is actually from the Modern Tykes line (from Henry Glass). The line is a set of adorable juvenile prints. But this paisley holds its own. It is a deep pink with gray and taupe accents. Pink isn’t usually my color but I like this one. I also carry a selection of Color Weaves – a textured solid made by PB Textiles.  The gray piece works perfectly with this paisley print.

I love both of these fabrics together and thought they were a good choice for a springtime tote bag.  I used (for the second time) the tutorial,  Summer Madras Tote by Anna Graham (Noodlehead.com). (Here is the first one I made, in case you want to check it out.) It is a very simple bag that takes maybe an hour to put together. The tutorial is very easy to follow. I like the outer pockets finished with a bit of trim.

 

This bag is roomy and will be perfect for shopping or filling with fresh produce at the farmer’s market. I have a feeling I will get plenty of use out of it!

I have a second bag in the making as well. This one is based on a tutorial by Beth at Cooking Up Quilts. For this, I will use a piece of fabric from Maker Maker, by Sarah Golden.  I have been wanting to try a recessed zipper and her tutorial makes it look simple. That remains to be seen!

I also finished the baby’s quilt this week. I sent it off to my kids and will share a post on that next week. The baby is due any day now.  We are all so excited to meet her.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. I am experiencing QuiltCon vicariously through all of the posts on Instagram. So many amazing quilts!!

Today is the last day for the sale on Maker Maker fabrics. I have each piece marked down by 15% – no coupon code needed.

Linking to my usuals – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Giveaway Winner and Survey Results

Thank you to all who took a few minutes to give me some feedback on your experiences with on-line shopping. Having my own shop is like a dream come true. I am hoping to tailor it to the needs of my customers. With your input, it will be a bit easier to do so.

Above you will note an extremely accurate graph, based on my findings.

Other than the scientifically precise data graphed in my chart, here are a few key things I found out:

  • There are only a very few of us who do not shop on-line at some time or other.
  • Of the on-line shoppers, some of us don’t feel comfortable, or didn’t know it was ok to, engage the shop owner in conversation. Let’s take a quick minute here. Chatting with my customers is one of my favorite parts of having an Etsy shop. I encourage shoppers to send questions to the shop owner. There is ALWAYS a contact me link on any Etsy shop. If that shop owner doesn’t respond soon (within a day at maximum) it is a red flag. You might choose to shop elsewhere. With smart phones and tablets, it is very easy for me to respond within minutes. Even if I tell them I cannot help them at the moment and will get back in touch in a few hours. That is what we would do if there was a long line in a brick and mortar shop, right? Ask for the customer’s patience and try to serve them at the next available opportunity.
  • Designers:  Oh my gosh. There are so many and we makers are definitely fond of certain artists. Thank you for listing those that you really love. Many are designers I am familiar with (and have stocked their fabric in my shop) and others are new to me. It will be fun to look them up and see what else is out there!
  • As for types of fabrics, you are a very eclectic group. Nearly half are loving modern fabrics, no surprise there. Nearly half are enjoying traditional and/or repro fabrics. That is more than I would have guessed. Batiks are clearly a fabric someone loves or doesn’t like. Not a whole lot in between. I like them quite a bit. One of my favorite quilts I have made so far was with batiks. (It is shown at the top of this post.) I also think they are great in art quilts. Simulating nature with batiks works quite well.
  • Novelty prints have their place. Those of us making baby quilts and children’s clothing seem to like them. Holiday fabrics are fun for some makers. But of my readers, there are only a few who seem to really get a kick out of them.
  • Precuts? Again, this depends on the situation. My take on it was people enjoy winning them or using them for projects where they really want to incorporate the entire line.  I had some definite ‘No, I don’t use them’ answers. I get that. Precuts can be limiting as the fabric is already cut to smaller pieces and there is no going back from there. As for me, I do like them. At this point, I don’t plan to carry them.  I have cut some fat quarter bundles of the fabrics I have and listed those but with a limited start-up budget, I will not be stocking a lot of precuts, Down the road, maybe so. Not just yet though.  I did hear from many readers that it would be fun to be able to curate a custom bundle or to buy curated fat quarter bundles. This is something I have in the works. You will hear more on that soon.
  • Many readers left suggestions or hints as to what they might like to see when on-line shopping. Ideas such as the following were presented:
  1. Work on the cost of shipping. Shipping gets expensive and makes on-line shopping less appealing. I have taken a lot of time to weigh fabric and adjust my shipping schedule on Etsy to be economical. I find I can ship 1/2 yard of fabric for about $3.00. If shipping large pieces of yardage, it makes sense to use a flat rate envelope for about $6.75. Quite a bit of fabric fits in a flat rate envelope. Either way, I do try to make the shipping as economical as I can. Also, shipping overages of $1.00 or more are automatically refunded to you. This rarely happens.
  2. Novelty flannels for making quilts and pajamas was a request. I love making my kids pj’s. Even though they are adults, it is a fun thing to do. I hope to have some choices for you this summer so you might be able to work on them before the holidays.
  3. Describe the scale of the print. I am doing this!  Currently, if there is a larger item in the print, I have included the measurements of it in the description on the listing. I am hoping this will give the shopper an idea of how the scale works. I know many shops include a ruler in the photo or put a quarter on the fabric to indicate the scale. I will continue to include this information for you.
  4. Another reader mentioned she would like to have a description of the drape or the feel of the fabric. This is very subjective. I will try to include it in the description though. Certain manufacturers, Art Gallery Fabric comes to mind, are known for producing fabric with a lovely hand (or feel) to it. Their fabric has a wonderful silky feeling which makes it great for both quilting and garment sewing, I do have a number of bolts from Art Gallery.
  5. A number of readers mentioned that they don’t really like fabrics with large scale prints. Or, they do like the fabric, purchase it and then don’t know what to do with it. Here are my thoughts. There are many stunning lines that have a few large scale prints (designers such as Maureen Cracknell, Bari J, Alison Glass and Katarina Roccella come to mind). I find these fabrics are wonderful for garments, tote bags, purses, pouches, and pillows. Think gorgeous throw pillows to add a pop of color to your living space. For quilting, I think a design which allows you to fussy cut the larger focal point works well. I get they are a challenge sometimes but don’t automatically write them off. The manufacturer often (almost always) has several items made from a line of fabric for the shopper to see the fabric in use. If you can’t find it, email me and I will send you the link. Art Gallery and Andover Fabric are great about providing this.

OK – if you are still with me, thank you! Let’s get to the winner. Patricia, your name was pulled by my very talented name-pulling daughter. I will contact you via email with a code to use for $25.00 off your purchase at my shop.  Again, thank you for all of your comments, ideas and support. It means everything to me. Remember, if you are wanting to shop, my readers will receive 15% off their order of $5.00 or more using code NANDFREADERS15. The code doesn’t expire until February 12, 2017. Hop on over and take a look!

 

New Adventures at Needle & Foot

Most of you have read that I have an Etsy shop. I opened it just over two years ago, about the same time I began blogging. I love having a shop and enjoy my customers, several of whom are repeat customers. However, until recently, my shop mainly sold items I had made, which means I am usually selling to customers who are not makers.

About a year ago, I began listing a collection of both vintage and current sewing patterns for garment makers. Also, I listed some cuts of my collection of vintage sheets, including fat quarters, fat quarter bundles, and charm squares. As these items began to sell, I realized that I was very much enjoying the interaction with the makers who were coming to shop my store. These are my people, know what I mean? It has been really satisfying to answer questions, chat back and forth about their projects, and help them find the pattern they are looking for, etc.

After much talking and brainstorming with my husband, I have decided to greatly expand my shop!  To say I am excited about this new adventure doesn’t come close to describing how I feel. My husband, Ray, is very supportive and has many good ideas about the business end of it. I am not sure if you remember but my father owned a couple of fabric stores when I was growing up. This is a business I am very familiar with. I worked in his shop on many Saturdays as well as during the summer as a teenager. My father was almost always self-employed which means I am well aware of what this entails. However, in this time of on-line shops, I have the wonderful opportunity to open a business without having a brick and mortar shop.

I have been working very hard to choose a selection of fabrics that will have something appealing to each of you. Of course, the seed money to get this adventure off the ground isn’t limitless (oh how I wish…) With my start up budget in mind, I made list after list of the manufacturers I wanted to work with and the lines that I wanted to carry. Then I went through an arduous process of culling that list and narrowing it down to what I can afford at this, the very beginning of my adventure!  I have selected some gems. Over the past several weeks, I have received bolts of beauty from designers such as Alison Glass, Maureen Cracknell and Kim Diehl to name a few.  I have fabric from Henry Glass, Andover, Art Gallery Fabric, and PB Textiles to offer you. Over the next two weeks there are some amazing bolts coming from Red Rooster and Windham as well as a few more from Andover.

A sampling of what is available now!

Fabrics began arriving during the first half of January. When I got home from Toronto, things really kicked in. I am slowly but surely listing inventory as it arrives. There is still more to come but I wanted to share with you what I have so far. It is so exciting to see this take shape after weeks and weeks of preparation. I am fortunate to have a large basement level family room. There is one wall with built in shelving. This is where the current fabric lives. As it grows, we will need to add more shelving but for now, this is working well.

Alison Glass’ 76, Fiesta Fun and Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer!

 

 

I plan to hold a Grand Opening of sorts in the beginning of March. I have a blog hop and several giveaways planned- it will be a blast. Waiting until the first of March also allows the craziness that is QuiltCon to subside. But for now, let’s celebrate here! I am really proud of the shop and very excited to show it off to you. I am offering a giveaway of a $25.00 gift certificate to my shop. In an effort to get to know you better and to decide how to best serve you, will you take a look at the questions below?

  1. I shop on-line for fabric – All the time, Sometimes, Rarely, Never?
  2. True or False-When shopping on-line, I am comfortable interacting with the seller (eg asking questions about product, asking for a custom bundle or a specific cut of yardage etc)
  3. Two or three of my favorite designers are: (eg Maureen Cracknell, Tula Pink, Kate Spain, Bari J, Pat Sloan, Joel Dewberry, Bonnie & Camille, Zen Chic, Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Ross, Kaffe Fassett –  to name a few out of the zillions available!!  Who knows? Maybe your favorite is someone I am not familiar with. Teach me.)
  4. True or False-Modern fabrics are my fave.
  5. True or False-Repro fabrics are the best.
  6. Batiks? Use them all the time or not so much?
  7. Novelty Prints? Yes/No/Sometimes
  8. Precuts?  Love them? Or only when I win them in a Giveaway? Or not so much?
  9. If you do love precuts – tell me your preference?  (eg Charms, Fat Quarters, Fat Eighths, Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls?)
  10. What type of sewing (if any) are you interested in other than quilting? ( eg Garments, bags, totes, zip pouches)

You absolutely DO NOT have to answer all of the questions. But if any of them speak to you and you don’t mind taking a minute to give me some input, I will be forever grateful!  Leaving a comment with your thoughts, on one or more of the questions above, is your entry to the giveaway! If you prefer, you can also send me a quick email, using the “contact me” form. That counts as an entry too. As always, if you are a follower, just tell me how and that is an additional entry. I will leave the giveaway open until the end of the month. A name will be drawn on January 31st with the winner announced in a post on February 1st.

NOTE:  Giveaway is now closed!

Additionally, in appreciation for your loyal following of my blog over the past couple of years, I would love to offer all of you a discount code. To receive 15% off any order of $5.00 or more enter NANDFREADERS15 at checkout. This code will be active for just over two weeks,  through February 12, 2017. Use it now or in a week or two. Use it once, twice, as many times as you like! I love the fabrics that are in stock now and look forward to the pieces that are due next week and the week following. Oh how I love the sound of the UPS truck coming down our drive!

Finally, I will be posting updates on incoming fabric and promotions on Instagram. If you don’t yet follow me, now is a good time to start. There will be a fun promotion over there the first week of February. Don’t miss it!

2017 is definitely going to be an adventurous one – with my son’s wedding,  our first grand baby, and my own fabric shop! I hope you will come along for the ride. Please know how much I appreciate your support of this journey of mine. Blogging wouldn’t be a whole lot of fun without readers – you are what makes this worth doing!

The Busiest Time of the Year

Tis the season  to be busy, right? This week has been packed with a variety of things. Much of my time has been centered around my Etsy shop. I have had a nice number of sales so that means packaging and shipping items. I greatly enjoy this, so it’s all good.  I decided to start including a little freebie with my orders this year. I made a bundle of little book marks with cute buttons, large paperclips and a bit of hot glue. What do you think?

I get a kick out of getting the shipments ready. For one thing, check out the cute dispenser for the twine that I use to wrap orders. 🙂 I love it – I received it as a birthday gift from my father-in-law a couple of years ago. Secondly, I love helping my customers.  This week I did a custom Chemex cozy for a customer who wanted rooster fabric. Love the colors in this piece of material.

Besides Etsy work, I have done about 75% of our Christmas shopping.  I am feeling pretty good about my progress up to this point.  I have a strong hatred for shopping malls and have thus far avoided stepping foot in one. It remains to be seen if I can finish without hitting the mall but so far, it’s looking good! I also found a dress to wear to my son’s wedding in January. The wedding is in Toronto, Ontario so we will be trekking to Toronto in a few weeks.  As always, when they announced their engagement a year ago, it seemed like it would be such a long wait for the wedding. Then, suddenly, we are a few weeks out. Crazy the way time buzzes by.

Truly, I have spent very little time in the sewing room this week. I did make a little fabric bucket for a gift.  I think I have mentioned that Julia joined 4-H this year. She wanted to learn about raising market hogs to show and sell at the county fair. It has been quite a project for her. She is committed though and has made time for the meetings and is learning all a girl needs to know about market swine!  Ray is reinforcing an existing pen on our property and Julia is helping. They have been setting posts and running wire fence.

I have been very impressed by her 4-H leader for the swine group.  Tracy puts in a lot of time with these kids and it will be even more once their piglets are born. (Julia should bring her piglets home in late March or very early April.) I wanted to give her a little gift for the holidays. I searched for Christmasy pig fabric and wouldn’t you know… there is such a thing! I wasn’t terribly surprised. I think there is fabric out there for everyone and every possible theme!

Aren’t these guys the silliest thing ever?  It cracks me up. I lined it with a vintage holiday print I had in my stash.

I made the bucket with two 11″ squares of fabric for both lining and outer fabric. I fused a thick fusible interfacing to the outer fabric before sewing this up.  Once I fused the interfacing, I sewed the perimeter of the two outer fabric squares, leaving one long side open.  Next I boxed the corners. Then I repeated the process with the lining. However with the lining, I left an opening of three inches on the bottom seam so I could turn it right side out when I sewed it together.  Nest the outer box inside the lining box, with fabric right sides together and stitch around the top. Turn right sides out and press. Hand or machine sew the opening in the lining.  Fold the top over to the outside and you’re done!  If you want pictures or more detail, this tutorial from Dear Handmade Life is quite good.  The size of the bucket in the tutorial is much bigger though.  Mine finished at 5 1/2″ square – so basically at 5 1/2″ wide, tall and deep. Perfect size to fill with a few treats. Perfect gift for any pig lover.  🙂

I have also been making blocks for the Sew Fresh Quilt Bee, hosted by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts. I have two finished but haven’t taken any photos yet. I’ll show them to you soon. They are very cute, improv log cabin blocks.

Ok, that is it for now.  I have to pick up Julia soon. She is in the midst of finals and has been studying like crazy.  She has a few more next week so she will likely have her nose in her Chemistry book all weekend.  Ray and I will drag her away to pick out a Christmas tree but other than that, I doubt very much that she will be doing much besides studying.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone.  Remember that my giveaway for Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway day is open through Sunday evening, December 12th.  Pop over and enter.  Be sure and head over to Sew Mama Sew as well. There are so many fun bloggers participating in this and tons of great giveaways!

Finally, C&T Publishing is having another $5.00 blowout sale this weekend. Of note, they are offering adult coloring books for $5.00 – buy one get one free.  So, two gifts for $5.00 plus shipping???

My favorite of the books is one by Valori Wells. She designed the amazing elephant fabric that I made a whole cloth quilt from recently.  If you were as smitten with that fabric as I was, this might be fun for you! There are several nice books listed on sale this weekend.

(Note:  I am an affilliate of C&T publishing and will receive a stipend if you click through my site and order from them.)

Fleet & Flourish- A finish

Fleet and Flourish is a gorgeous line of Art Gallery Fabrics designed by Maureen Cracknell. I was lucky enough to receive a set of fat eighths of this line from my kids for my 2015 birthday. It was one of the monthly shipments of the fat eighth club at Pink Castle Fabrics. (Pink Castle never disappoints!!) I love this set and really had a tough time cutting into it. But that is so silly. What good does gorgeous fabric do for me if it is sitting up on a shelf in the closet?

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I decided to use it to create a mid-size quilt; either to be used as a baby quilt or a wall quilt. It has been a long while that I have looked at the large star quilts that float around Pinterest. I have several pinned and decided to pick one and make it. (If ever you are in need of ideas, you are welcome to check out the bazillion pins I have collected over time.) This was not the first star quilt I have made. Back in the early 1980’s I made a large star quilt for a queen size bed for my parents. unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of it but I remember it was navy, maroon, and cream colors. (It also faded terribly because of the large windows they had in their bedroom at the time.) I decided it was time for another one – though on the smaller side.

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I used the tutorial at Diary of a Quilter to look at dimensions. Her blocks were a bit bigger than mine. Having the bundle of fat eighths (which measure 9″x18″ each) set a limit to what size I could use. I cut 9 inch blocks and then sub-cut them into triangles. The four corner blocks were made with 8 1/2″ squares. After playing with the colors, I stitched the triangles together and squared them into 8 1/2″ squares.

This very simple project is a perfect use of this fabric as many of the prints have a bold scale such that leaving the pieces rather large shows it off well. Aren’t the colors just gorgeous? I am a huge fan of Maureen Cracknell and there isn’t a line of hers that I don’t love! As an added bonus, I still have a number of pieces left from the bundle. More Fleet and Flourish to play with!

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Once the star was built, I put a simple 2 1/2 inch border around it to make it just a bit bigger. I used my walking foot to quilt the star with soft, wavy lines. Then I stitched a couple of straight lines through the border. I think I may add one more line on the inside of the border.

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The border worked to enclose the star and to show off this scrappy binding.

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Doesn’t the binding just tie everything together?  For the backing, I used the same neutral fabric as the border. It is actually a batik fabric but doesn’t really look like one to me.

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At 36″ x 36″, this is a lovely baby quilt or would be pretty hanging on a wall. I have listed it in my Etsy shop and hope someone will snap it up soon.

 

Linking to my favorite places, all of which are listed at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

Stocking the Shop

It is all about Christmas prep this week. I feel like an elf in Santa’s workshop except rather than making toys, I have been creating items for my shop. This is the biggest shopping time of the year and I try to take full advantage of it with regard to my Etsy shop.

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A friend asked me to make a set of burp cloths to gift to a friend at her work. It gave me a push to add some new baby items to my shop. Sewing with these soft flannels is a blast. Putting on a little music and creating little cuties for babies makes for a lovely afternoon. If I had to pick a favorite, it might just be the duck and dots print. I love yellow and gray together.

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Here are a few of the Chemex Cozies I have recently listed. It is a challenge to be sure that I have lots of colors and choices available. The upcycled burlap pieces sell very quickly but they are a beast to create. There is always so much mess from cutting and stitching burlap; it just flies around the sewing room and fills my sewing machine with debris. As for colors, it feels like deep colors and basic patterns sell best. Also batiks – those are usually snapped up quite often.

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French press cozies are another strong seller in my shop. (Remember I wrote up a tutorial if you would like to make some for Christmas gifts – they are a fast project for the coffee lover in your family.)

I am also working on a baby quilt — I cut into a bundle of Maureen Cracknell’s Fleet & Flourish line. It is going to be adorable. I think I may soon share this as a finish. We will see. Our house has been passing this winter germ fest to anyone who enters. Julia had it and then I caught it and it turned into pneumonia. Now Ray has it. Ick.  Don’t come near Grass Valley or we might infect you! Hoping you all are staying healthy this season and enjoying whatever time you can find in your sewing room!

Remember, I am hosting a giveaway where one lucky person will win a copy of the 2017 Quilter’s Planner. Be sure you have entered as this is one very cool prize! The giveaway will remain open through Wednesday Evening (tomorrow). Good luck! I will post the winner on Thursday morning.