Friday, August 31, 2012

Better and better

If I was happy when I wrote my last post, right now, I am over the moon! 

Yesterday, I received an email from a gentleman who had been in my booth on Saturday.  He praised my work and said he'd taken my card and visited my ETSY shop.  There was a quilt on there that he wanted to buy for his wife, but he didn't have a PayPal account so could he pay by check?

Woo hoo!  My first bed-sized quilt sale!  Do you know how much FABRIC I can buy with $600???  And since he is paying by check, I have some more time to spend with Pick and Choose before she is gone for good.  I love that quilt, but I'm a quilter - I can make another if I want to.

So that was what made my day great, but the icing on the cake was when a co-worker texted me to let me know that my picture was in the paper.  Of course I ran out and bought 4 copies right away!

Me, setting up my booth for the Community Festival.  I'm hanging my Scrabble Tile earrings, which were a hit.  You can see part of Pick and Choose draped over the rack.
I hope your day brings as many happy surprises as mine did!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's all good!

I have nothing to complain about today!  My beautiful first-born son is celebrating his 10th birthday today:

My zig zag quilt is on its way back from Marcia, from whom I won free quilting in a giveaway on her blog.  (by the way, you might want to go visit her - she's having another giveaway...)

C'mon, somebody have a baby - I'm READY with a fun quilt to give!  I love how she added all the circles to my dots!

I had a FANTASTIC time at my booth at the Community Festival on Saturday.  The sun didn't shine, but it didn't pour down rain, either.  Instead, there were intermittent light showers that didn't really scare away the crowds.  Remember this quilt from my quilting bee at my house years ago? 
Funny thing - the woman in the striped shirt holding her hands up was in my booth this Saturday!
It still isn't done, so I set it up in my Ulmer frame in my booth and taught anybody who wanted to learn how to put in a few stitches.  About a dozen people sat down and learned how to prick their own fingers.  :)

As quilts are wont to do, the ones I had hanging from the sides of my booth drew people in and they stayed and shared stories of quilts and quilters from their past, both men and women alike.  I wasn't alone once the entire day.  What a wonderful way to spend the day, stitching and chatting with old friends and making new ones.  PLUS, some kind souls even BOUGHT stuff from me!  I had 14 paying customers total, and made back my reservation fee, lunch for me and the boys, and took home a tidy profit to boot!  All in all, a great day!  Unfortunately, I don't have photos, but many people took photos of my booth or items in my booth, so maybe I'll see some here and there that I can share.

And, as if that weren't enough wonderfulness in my life, a good friend is coming to stay with me over the Labor Day weekend!  Ain't life GRAND!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's probably better this way

Sometimes I dream about having a little girl.  Someone who likes unicorns and rainbows and fairies instead of dinosaurs and superheros and weapons.  Someone I can dress in pretty colors and flouncy skirts.  Someone I can make things for and with.  Now don't get me wrong - I make things for and with my boys, but somehow, I just feel it would be different.  In fact, I'd probably end up making and wearing things with her like this Mommy and Me apron set that I made yesterday.

There'd be lots of photos of us wearing our coordinated outfits, smiling into the camera as she snuggles into my side.  It would be cute...for a while.  And then she'd turn into a teenager and resent me for squashing her toddler independence by making her dress like me and wouldn't speak to me outside of a growl or a shriek for 5 years.  Perhaps it is better this way...

Oh well.  They were still fun to make.  The pockets are roomy and sturdy, reinforced by leftover denim.

The apron body is, of course, made from upcycled jeans and the pockets and trim are all from an upcycled pillowcase. I love the pillowcases with the accents on the cuff; they make for neat pockets.

We'll see if someone at the festival this weekend thinks the aprons are as cute as I do.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prep, prep, prep

This weekend, there will be a Community Festival in our town - three city blocks worth of crafts, music and food.  I always enjoy going, and this year, I am going to stay all day because this year, I am going to have a booth.  I am going to demonstrate hand quilting, and have some of my creations there for sale.


It is one thing to put things I make online - I can't see the people who look so it isn't scary.

It is another thing to put the things I make at the Farm Store - again, I'm not there to see who looks and how they react to my stuff.

My two booths at the Old Middlebrook Village Days these past two years were a bit scarier, but I only saw about 3 people I knew both years, so it was strangers who looked and asked questions and bought or didn't buy.

But this time, I'm going to know the majority of the people who stroll by.  In a way, that is good because people around here tend to be friendly and supportive.  But in another way, it scares the crap out of me.  If they think poorly of what I make, I really don't want to hear about it or see it on their faces.

I need to dig around in my drawers at home to find my Big Girl Panties.

My Pick and Choose Quilt will be there.

So will my Pink and Green Scrap baby quilt, which now has a complete binding.  I need a name for this quilt.  Any ideas?

I put this fabric on the back even though I think it is hideous because I wanted it OUT of my stash.  Wouldn't you know, as I was sewing on the binding at lunch one day, a woman commented on how pretty the backing fabric is!  It just goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

I've made 20 Travel Tissue Covers to sell there, since they were a hit with my family and since I've sold some on ETSY.  Here are the 12 additional ones that I am taking to leave at the Farm Store, plus one for a friend who is going through a rough time.  They are all empty of tissues currently, except the pink one up top, but I'll fill them up first.  These are ridiculously addictive to make.  I have used up so many fabric scraps this way!  I keep saying, "I wonder how THESE TWO fabrics will look together..."

I have about 10 Crayon Rolls to sell since they have sold well at the Old Middlebrook Village Days.

I have about 10 upcycled aprons, since that's what I've sold most of on ETSY so far.

I hope to have 5 or so travel neck pillows ready.  I've sold one on ETSY, but they were also a hit when we flew to Bermuda.  These aren't made yet, but they are pretty quick and easy to assemble.

I'll have some of my corner bookmarks and my upcycled denim bookmarks.

And, of course, I'll have a bunch of Scrabble Tile earrings; I have nearly every letter in a pair, plus some singletons to mix and match.

The woman at the Farm Store thinks I should sell some of my upcycled pillowcase shopping bags because she is always coveting mine when I come in.  So far, I've only made one for sale because I regularly use (and love) the other 6 or 7 that I've made and my husband requested some (manly ones - I chose pillowcases with big maroon, hunter green and white stripes) for him to keep in his car and use.  Maybe I'll get around to making more this week, but I don't really want to turn my sewing room into a sweatshop this week in preparation.  What I have done, I have done.

Because really, what I want to do is hand quilt.  The days have been lovely and the nights cool, and it is perfect weather for quilting.  Since I took the Orange Creamsicle quilt with me to Bermuda, I started quilting it without a hoop, and it turns out, I really like not using a hoop now that I'm used to it.  It certainly means that the project becomes even more portable!  Right now, I am just doing triple lines around seams - one in the ditch and one on either side - but I think I am going to quilt some butterflies in some of the larger areas.  We'll see.

Now the fun part, deciding which tops to hang as the "walls" of my booth.  It is so hard to decide!  Do I use the same ones I used at my last booth, or do I give some new quilts some time in the sun? (Please, please, let there be SUN on Saturday!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WOW! (and free books)

I've been amazed by a lot of things lately.  Bermuda was amazing - I don't remember ever being in water so clear and warm; I spent HOURS floating on my back in the ocean.

That's me in the black cover-up.  This was day 1, the first beach we hit.  We went to at least one beach a day, every day.
I'm not usually much of a fan of the beach, mainly because I don't like sand or sharks (!), but since the water was so nice, I didn't spend any time in the sand, and since the island is surrounded by coral reefs, they don't have sharks there (at least, that's what they told me, and I chose to believe them).

The kids enjoyed the waves,

the sand,

dressing up in costumes at the world heritage center in St. George,
jetskiing, riding the bus all around the island, taking ferries from port to port, and riding in the limo that my MIL hired to take everyone back to her house from the airport.  It was definitely a memorable vacation.

But I was also amazed by the prices - why didn't anyone tell me how EXPENSIVE everything is there!?!  All I could think was, "Thank goodness I just got paid!"  :)

I was also amazed to learn when I stopped by the farm store today that I had my first sale (YAY!) and that the proprietor had gotten lots of positive comments about my items for sale, and she specifically asked that I make some of my pillowcase shopping bags to bring in to sell because she's interested in buying some and thinks others will be, too.  Validation makes me so happy!

And surprisingly, yesterday I got bitten by the PURGING bug.  I am a nester and a collector by nature, so when I am moved to get rid of something, I do it fast before the feeling passes.  I took a load to the dump, 4 boxes to Goodwill, and I cleaned out my sewing/quilting books because my bookcase was overflowing.  I was so proud of myself for pulling about 30 books out to get rid of, but my quilting books STILL don't fit.  Gonna have to get another bookcase, I guess.

Anyway, I wanted to offer those books free to anyone who wants them.  I was going to list them here and on  I listed them on first, and by the time I had finished listing all of them, 3 had already been requested.  I went to cub scouts with the boys, and by the time we were done, 9 more had been requested and 7 were placed on hold.  Holy cow!  I had no idea they would move that fast! 

I'll list what is left, and if you see a book you want, list it in a comment.  If it hasn't been snapped up through yet when I receive your comment by email, I'll put it in the mail to you.  I'm just going to list titles and ISBN numbers - you'll have to look them up to see what they are actually all about.  They are mostly older books, but all in very good condition.

Quilts for Chocolate Lovers - Janet Jones Worley - 1574327607
Quilts from Simple Shapes: Squares - Mary Coyne Penders - 0913327336
PS I Love You Two: A Sequel - Nancy J Smith & Lynda S Milligan - 1880972263
Osage County Quilt Factory - Virginia Robertson - 1564770133
Singer Sewing Reference Library Quilting by Machine - 086573254x
The New Sampler Quilt - Diana Leone - 0942786416
Scrap Happy: Quick Pieced Scrap Quilts - Sally Schneider - 0943574730
In The Beginning - Sharon Evans Yenter - 1564770052
Better Homes and Gardens Patchwork & Quilting - 0696001756
American Patchwork Quilt Designs - 0870407449
The Shade Book - Judy Lindahl - 0960303227

I'm happy to be back, and looking forward to catching up on what y'all were doing while I was lounging about in paradise!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Did someone say BERMUDA??

I should be up front with everyone here in my office today - I am not going to be able to focus!  This is my last day in the office before a week's vacation in BERMUDA with the family!  I've never been - does anyone who has been to Bermuda have advice or "can't miss" recommendations for us?

In addition to exploring (by bicycle?  Is it one of those places where we can all rent bikes and get along just fine for the week?  I hope so!), I will be relaxing with some new quilt fiction that I ordered just in time for this trip,

and with some hand quilting.  I was hoping to have my String Star Bee quilt completely assembled and ready to quilt for this trip, but so far, I only have 2 rows together.  Last night I sandwiched my Orange Creamsicle quilt
Remember this one, made from vintage linens?
with a vintage sheet backing.  It is relatively small, lap sized, so will be a good one to work on while traveling.

Last night, I also finished the quilting on my little pink and green doll/baby quilt.  I'll definitely do the big stitch with embroidery floss quilting again - it was fun and quick.  The binding is sewn onto the front, and now I just need to hand stitch it down on the back and it'll be completely done.  I'll post a full picture when that is done, but here is what I did with the big white spaces on all four sides of the quilt
No flash so that there wouldn't be a glare and you could actually see the quilting.

and for the little white triangles in the borders, lots and lots of french knots.
OK, taking decent photos of quilts is HARD!
Even though I haven't washed it yet, it already has that crinkly look that I love!
I wish this were bigger to I could use it myself!
So, I'm not sure what my internet connectivity will be while I'm abroad - you may not hear from me a while.  But rest assured, I'll be doing JUST FINE!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Last week, a little Farm Store opened up between Lexington (where I work) and Buena Vista (the next town over).

The Farm Store, Rte 60 and Bares Wood Road between Lexington and Buena Vista, VA

It is a cute little place!
I stopped by to check it out because I love eating local foods when possible, and the Farmer's Markets here on Wednesday and Saturday mornings just aren't convenient for me.  I was delighted to see when I arrived that they also sell local CRAFTS! 

The wheels in my little ole brain started turning and I thought, "hey, maybe I can put some of MY stuff here..."  I'm pretty shy about this kind of thing, but as I was checking out with my fresh veggies, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and asked how one becomes a vendor.  I'm so glad I asked!  She gave me an application, I completed it over the weekend and printed out some pages from my ETSY store so she could see my stuff, and took it by to her yesterday.  She approved me on the spot (YAY!) so I went by at lunch today to set up my spot.
My little spot, right under the window! (and beside the potatoes - hee, hee, hee!)

Crayon rolls (making these is like eating potato chips for me - can't make just one!), Scrabble tile earrings, upcycled denim bookmarks and business cards

Half aprons made from upcycled pillowcases and table scarves. I need to go back and take a photo of the orange apron with embroidery - it is one of my all-time favorites!

I didn't take much, just the stuff I've made lately that isn't in my ETSY shop - 3 aprons, 7 crayon rolls, 7 pairs of Scrabble tile earrings, a mini quilt and some bookmarks.  And business cards, of course.  I am so excited, and hope that someone who wanders in there likes my stuff, but even if I never make a sale, I am so proud of myself for getting over my fear of putting my creations out there (and possibly being critiqued or poorly received).  As the old adage goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained!