Category Archives: Etsy

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.

 

 

 

Fall Mini Quilt Finish

Remember this little orphan block that I scored at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago?

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I spent a fun afternoon quilting it up. I used a rust colored thread for the main leaf portion and quilted it with a tiny stipple. These little stitches look so darn cute.

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For the white background, I pebbled away for about one-half hour and filled it up. Sometimes it is so satisfying to work on a quick project. When I first started to pebble the white portion, I quickly remembered that I don’t really like to FMQ pebble patterns and thought  I would regret it. But with such a tiny project it didn’t really matter. I was done before I could even get annoyed with the tedium.

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For the border I quilted little leaves and berries but it is nearly impossible to see because the thread matches too well. It was good practice but really, I have to look very closely to see it. Kind of funny.

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The dusty green binding wraps it all up into a sweet little mini. Perfect for fall.

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Now that we are approaching fall, I need to start getting my Etsy shop stocked for the holidays. The Chemex cozies that I make are definitely my best seller around Christmas which means I need to get busy. Yesterday I cut fabric for five covers.

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Selecting the fabrics is fun but also a bit of a challenge. Looking back at what has sold well over the past two years, the favorites are definitely gray, blue, black, and red tones. Also, the two fabrics with the coffee theme text prints (in cream or black) are usually good sellers. These are the last two I could cut from that fabric so I need to purchase more of it.

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I love to make a few with novelty fabric. I have done some with bicycles for coffee drinking cyclists and another one with Marvel comics on it which made someone very happy. Last Christmas I had a custom order for a cozy made with Star Wars fabric. I am debating making a few fun ones like this but choosing a theme is hard, kind of a guess as to what will sell –  if you have any suggestions, please feel free. I truly love your input. For now, these will get me off to a good start.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Remember, I am hosting Handmade Halloween on October 4th!! Link up any blog posts, new or old, that are related to Halloween – costumes, decorations, quilts, even fun recipes. Let’s make it a fun round up of all things Halloween! I will tell you that I have had some really nice prizes offered in support of this party. Go write a post and come back and link it up. This will throw your name in the draw – maybe for a win!  See you then.

Linking up today with the best of the best. See the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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This is a good weekend to shop Craftsy! They have some great discounts on kits and supplies for their End of Summer Clearance. Take a look. This sale runs through Sunday night, 9/18/16.

(I am a Craftsy affiliate.)

Finished My Pennsylvania Blocks

It seems like it’s been a while since I posted a finish. But I have one this week! Getting back into the sewing room has been so nice though it took me a while to really get going. I decided to make the October blocks for my Classic Stitches row quilt. Being so close to the end of this project, I didn’t want to get too far behind.

The color for October was brown for RSC15. The block that Mari chose for October was the Pennsylvania block. I think this was in honor of her recent move from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. It worked perfectly for me too.  I have a strong fondness for the state of Pennsylvania.  When my boys were little guys, we lived there for two years. We were in State College and I loved everything about that town. So making a set of Pennsylvania blocks was perfect for me.

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Unfortunately, I got off to a rocky start with these guys. Mari always posts the cutting plan for various size blocks when she writes her tutorials. I thought it would be fun to make a row of 3″ blocks. Turns out it wasn’t fun at all. 😉  The block is very simple to make but when you are going for a 3″ block, it means using little pesky pieces and honestly, we just didn’t get along.  I struggled along and got two blocks made, throwing away all sorts of attempts along the way. After a fair amount of ripping, cutting, and grumbling, I gave up and made six inch blocks. They went together with almost no effort (or at least it felt that way after my tiny block debacle.)

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Isn’t that a cute row? So traditional. Much like I thought State College was. I remember thinking it seemed like everything was more grounded, more down to earth in State College, as compared to living in California.

The row fits right in with the other rows of classic blocks that I have made this year.

IMG_20151105_4079At this point, I have ten rows completed. (For some reason, I didn’t grab the purple or the yellow rows when I went outside to take pictures. So, they aren’t shown here.) My next decision is whether or not to make the November row. With these ten rows, I have 62 inches in length (two of the rows are 7″ blocks and the rest are 6 inches.) I am going to sash the rows because my not-so-precise sewing style means the blocks won’t line up perfectly and that can be disguised with some sashing. This will add a bit more length. How long do I want this to be?  (It will be 60″ wide.) Any ideas???

The week buzzed by and I am happy to have this checked off the list.  My Etsy shop is getting busier and I need to make a few more things for holiday shopping so that jumps to the top of the list now. Along with that is the Michael Miller fabric challenge that I am doing with the Modern Quilt Guild. That project is due on November 30th so I need to get cracking on that. It is well underway and I am sure I will have a post for you with pictures sometime next week.

Enjoy the weekend!

Linking to Amanda Jean over at Finish It Up Friday.

Family Weekend

Last weekend was fantastic. My sisters and I try to get together annually to spend a few days catching up. Usually we rent a place or go to my sister’s in Saratoga. However this weekend we mixed it up and they came up to my house. I live about 15 miles from my parents. With everyone here, we could have a weekend that included the whole family, or as we called it the Great Eight weekend.

If you consider it, I would bet it isn’t often that a person gets to spend time with their nuclear family. Getting back to the original family, without spouses and grandkids and great-grandkids was really fun. Not that we don’t all love our current families and kids, but it was so nice to have a time to reminisce and celebrate our “first” family. (This picture was taken in 1964 so it was before the youngest was born.  Sorry Alicia.)

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We had a lot to celebrate. Both of my parents had their 80th birthdays in the last nine months. We toasted to their health and happiness. (Check out their t-shirts. My maiden name is Delgado. There is a college in Louisiana called Delgado College. We all have their shirts!)

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Next we celebrated my sister Patti. She spent the last ten months being treated for breast cancer. She endured surgeries, a horrid four months of chemo and then several months of daily radiation. It was awful and she was amazing throughout. There are no words that describe our relief that treatments are finished and she doesn’t have to see her oncologist except for routine check-ups now. She is working hard on getting her strength back, building some muscle mass, and above all trying to be patient as her hair grows back (soooo slowly!)

We had time on Saturday with just the sisters. We took a walk but mostly that looked like this:

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We had breakfast out and then came home and tried to focus on some yoga. No pictures there but it wasn’t terribly different from the walk.

Finally we got a group shot with Patti’s new license plate. She grabbed it for California and Juanita grabbed it for Colorado (hers hasn’t come in yet.) I love it!!

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My best friends!

For a token report on action in the sewing room – I am putting sleeves on two of my three quilts that will hang next weekend in the quilt show up in Downieville.This show isn’t judged. I am easing into this whole show process. Maybe a juried show is in the future but certainly not yet!

Also working on so many items for my Etsy shop. Here is a small sampling:

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Lots of Chemex covers, a few mats for pet water bowls, lots of clothespin bags.  Business is really picking up. I also shipped a custom order yesterday and have two more in line. This shop definitely takes a large portion of my sewing time, but in return, it pays for (most of) my fabric addiction. I think that between now and December, I will not accomplish a lot of personal quilting. I hope to get the Kaffe Fassett quilt backing today. That project will be worked in between the others. Beyond that, things will have to wait.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

 

The Kindness of Others

This week I had one of those moments that reminds you that there are so many nice people in the world. Here you go.

You might remember that last December I did a custom order for a woman from New York. (Story posted here.) This was my first custom order and it was really fun to work with this particular customer. She was so friendly within the confines of our email conversations about her order.  For the first time, I used a wax print, Ankara fabric to make her Chemex cozy. We chatted a bit and I told her how much I liked this gorgeous fabric. She told me she buys wax prints at an open market in New York.

Time passed. (Lots of time, seven months!) Last month, she emailed me and said she would be going to the marketplace soon and would I like her to pick up some fabric for me. It is really a good price there. I had looked on-line to buy some and wasn’t thrilled with the pricing. I have to be fairly careful with what I spend on fabric for my Etsy shop or my already meager profits become even less.  All about the profit margin, right.  😉  I jumped at her offer.

When she got to the shop, she texted me pictures of about seven or eight pieces she thought I might like. Jamie explained I would have to buy them in three yard pieces as they are pre-cut to this length. It was a tough choice but I settled on two. It was amazingly easy to be texting with this virtual friend and picking fabrics out based on a few quick iPhone photos.

As I wrote her a check and popped it in the mail it came to me that some might consider this a bit of a risk. I didn’t have any hesitation about sending the money. I knew the fabric would show up. It appeared that she didn’t have any hesitation purchasing the fabric for me and she even mailed it prior to receiving any sort of payment from me.

I received the fabric a few days ago. It is so gorgeous. Made by Vlisco, these wax prints are manufactured both in Holland and in Ghana. The company was founded in 1846 and has served a vast African market over the years. Their process reportedly consists of twenty-seven steps to achieve these prints and is a highly guarded secret. Because many textile companies attempt to create counterfeit Vlisco fabric, they are quite bold with printing their name along the selvedge and putting these (nearly impossible to remove) adhesive labels on the fabric.

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If you look closely at the label, you might notice that this piece was actually six yards, not three.  Both pieces are huge, six yards each. Jamie was mistaken when she told me she was sending three yards of each. At $20 per piece, this was a steal.

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This blue and purple piece has more of an African look to the pattern. It is really bold. I chose it because I want to utilize the curve of those spirals when I cut the curve of the Chemex covers. But now that I have six yards of it, I need to think of another project to use some of it!  The fabric is 48″ wide. Lots of fabric here.

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This red piece is my favorite. I love the birds. Do they look like a peacock? I think so but I’m not sure. It has a green border running the length of the piece. It is just gorgeous. I have several ideas for projects to use this piece for so I need to make some decisions.

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What most impressed me was that this was just an act of kindness. She had no compelling reason to do this, other than to be a nice person.  Yep, there are so many really kind people out there and she is certainly one of them.

Linking to this week’s Sunday Stash.

 

Stocking the Shelves

My Etsy stock was looking meager so this week I focused on making product to list. My biggest sellers are the Chemex cozies. I have also recently sold a couple of French Press cozies. I took a look through my fabric, pulled a few pieces, and began cutting. It is amazing how quickly things go if I have a stack of pieces all cut and organized. One night of prep time pays off well.

In all, I completed four Chemex cozies and three French Press cozies. Not too shabby. This is my favorite of the Chemex cozies.

imageI received this piece of fabric from my boys as part of a birthday gift. (Read about this amazing present here.) I have a 1/2 yard cut of it and thought this would be a fun way to use some of it. Kind of makes that first pot of coffee in the morning a bit more powerful, right?

Here are the others that I finished up.

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The French Press cozies are super easy to make. I cut out fabric for five of them but at this point, only three are finished.

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The blue one in the middle is gorgeous – the fabric reminds me of beach glass. All of these items are listed in my shop. Check them out here if you’d like.

Being the beginning of July, it is time to make a plan for the month. My main goal (and the one I will link to ALYOF with) is to complete my vintage double nine-patch quilt top. This is the one that I started working on last week. I haven’t made a whole lot of progress but I am hoping to get the quilt top done this month and then next month I can sandwich, quilt and bind it. I want to show it in a little quilt show in Downieville the first weekend of October and then it will be donated at an event two weeks later. This sounds doable to me but I better get going and finish up more of those baby nine-patch blocks. Hopefully I will also have time to finish the July row for my RSC15 project. I have been following Mari’s Classic Stitches BOM but I think for the month of July, I will veer off and use a different block. Hers looks fairly labor intensive and I don’t think I will get it done with the other project. If I choose a simpler block it will be more likely to get finished. Gotta know our limitations, right?

Hope all of you in the US have a fun, safe holiday on the 4th of July and a happy weekend to everyone else!

Linking to Sew Bittersweet Designs, Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF. Links are located at the top of the page under Link Ups.