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Monday, December 31, 2012

Secret Santa Goodies

I participated in a quilting Secret Santa exchange this year.  Here (gaurded by my Chistmas Beanie Babies) is what I received in the mail.  One toasty warm black and white winter scarf that I've been wearing since the day it came.  A second earth tone scarf, hand knit fingerless gloves, a gorgeous quilting calendar and a gift card to Joann's.  There WAS some Dove Chocolate, but that seems to have dissappeared! 

I went to Joann's today, intending to use the gift card.  When I got there they announced that they were closing in 20 minutes.  The entire store had been rearranged, so it took time to find what I needed.  By then they were making multiple closing announcements.  Arrrg!  I grabbed a few fat quarters, but never got to look at fabric at all.  This proved to be a distraction because I paid for my merchandise, got out to the car and realized I didn't used my gift card! 

Dang!  Now I'll HAVE to go back to the fabric store again.  :)

What's Wrong With This Picture? A Give Away

A few days back, I posted pictures of my Christmas decorations.  One of them was my full Nativity.  Today, Jan 31st, I discovered that my 23 y/o son had some fun with the Nativity on Christmas Eve.  Can you see what's wrong with this picture?  I cropped out my shepards to make it a little easier. 

The first person to identify BOTH things that are wrong with this picture will win the paisley origami bag below.  It'd make a great gift bag for Valentine's Day!
There might even be a little surprise inside.  You never know! :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

On My Design Wall Now

Got my machine back from the shop before Christmas.  Finally broke it out today.  Was all set to sew and found one critical piece - the foot holder - was missing!  I was forced to use the dual feed quarter inch foot for piecing.  At first I hated it, but quickly came to like it.  Not ONE of my seams shifted.  Ha!  Wish I'd tried it sooner!

Here are the results.  Isn't it amazing how one little nine patch can be dressed up with a few half square triangles?  I need more experience with HSTs, so this should be a good opportunity to practice.  I know this square has a name, but I sure don't know what it is.  I just know I like it!  :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays and Happy 2013

December has been a busy month!  Amidst the Christmas preparations, along came the Blizzard of 2012.  19 inches of snow!  And a several inches since then.  Ten days later, I'm still shoveling the side lane and widening the end of my drive.  The deciduous trees fared alright but many of the evergreens suffered from the heavy, wet snow. 
I considered having these pines taken down last summer, wondering if they'd make it through the I know!  LOL  Despite missing work and spending many, many hours shoveling, it DID make for a picturesque white Christmas.  Speaking of which, I've been busy decorating the tree...
...the mantle...
...putting up the Nativity...
...and all manner of decorations!
I never consciously decided to collect Christmas Beanie Babies, but at some point I realized I had quite a few - and my little collection to keeps growing.  Probably cuz they're so darn cute!  The red Teeny Beanie is this year's addition.

Between the blizzard and Christmas, there's been NO sewing and very little blogging.  After New Year's Day, I hope to settle in for the winter and sew to my heart's content.  :)

Happy Holidays & Happy 2013!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Etsy - Here I Come!

One week ago, I launched a business on Etsy - the shopping website that allows you to,
"Buy unique handmade and vintage items directly from independent sellers around the world." 

The items pictured in this post are items I've sold so far.

To see my own little shop, go to:

Original name, I know - but that's what people know me as.

Its a little crazy to launch a business just 3 weeks before Christmas,
but I wanted to keep my 2012 New Year's resolution before the year was out. 
Besides, I broke all the others!  LOL

As I launch this business, I'm working full time; trying not to use vacation; preparing to sell my house; trying to decorate, bake, wrap, etc. and of course, keeping up with the usual chores and errands.   

Funny thing is - it all seems to be working.  I'll have a lot of homework to do in 2013 - fun stuff like international shipping, and sales taxes.  But so far I'm truly enjoying my contact with customers.  Some have shared who they'll be giving my item to, and asking if I'll put a card in the package for their loved one.  That feels good!

I've you've dabbled with Etsy, please share your story.  How did it work out for you?  What did you learn along the way?  I'd love to hear from you. 

Thanks and Happy Holidays!   

Chris :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Look Who's Here!

Elmer and Ellie Elephant arrived!
Sure hope it doesn't take me another 28 years to find the two remaining pairs.  :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

APB for Lynn's Kin 1983 Ornaments

In 1984 I bought these 1983 ornaments for half price.  The shopkeeper told me Midwest Imports no longer made them.  Thus began a 28-year quest to find the three missing pairs:
I found this pair on E-Bay, marketed as Babar the Elephant Ornaments.  So rewarding after 28 years of searching!  They should arrive any time now.
I'm still looking or Percy and Pearl Pig, and...
...Mayor Melvin and Millie Mouse.

I've Googled them several times a year for many years, looked at flea markets and garage sales, and searched through thousands of ornaments on both E-bay and Etsy. 

If you've seen any of the missing ornaments, puh-leeeease let me know?  Thanks!  :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Scrap Quilts - Three Done, More to Come!

Did a little quilting over the 4-day weekend.  I had just enough teddy bear fabric to cut the four large and three small squares.  I'd been dying to use this fabric for the longest I just had to design a quilt around it.  This is a scrap quilt.  I get tremendous satisfaction from taking what looks like a whole lot of nothing, and turning it into something that's not only useful, but pleasing to the eye. 
This pink and purple jeans quilt is sister to the pink and white one pictured below.  Can you tell I had a lot of squares sitting around?  They were just waiting to be turned into a cuddly quilt for some little person to cuddle up in.  The fun in making a jeans quilt is that you can include pockets.  As I sew, I enjoy picturing what sort of treasures I might tuck into those pockets. 
These two quilts will be going to baby cousins.  They sure have a nice grandma to buy the pink and white quilt at a craft fair, and to pre-order a second one for the other grand-baby! 

If you can't tell, I'm on a mission to use up scraps!  I don't want to move or store them when I sell my house next year. 

And speaking of scraps, have you seen THIS?

Wow, huh?  These blocks were made by Candace at Double Nickel Quilts.  Such wonderful use of color!  The blocks were made for the Hurricane Sandy Quilt Block Drive.  See here for everything you need to know to participate:

I can't wait to get started! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving My Dear Quilty Friends! 

You've given me great joy throughout the year;
sharing projects, how-tos and life stories. 
I'm thankful to know you!    

Chris :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cardinals and Crafts

I've been whipping up small projects from scraps and stash, in the hopes of using them as gifts and/or selling them.  I'd been saving this cardinal scrap fabric for years - I loved it too much to cut it.  But I DID finally fussy cut some birds and came up with this.  Here's the backing fabric:
I pieced it so the barns are right side up, no matter which end of the runner you look at it from.  Doesn't this fabric make you want to pick apples and take a hay ride in the warm autumn sun?
I worked another craft fair yesterday.  I sold the large cardinal quilt pictured, along with a few smaller items.  Enough to make the effort, but not as much as I'd have liked.  But there was more to gain than money.  With each of the three fairs I've done, I've learned things.

I can now say with certainty that doing a LOT of craft fairs is not my "thing."  The people who really make money are those who have a limited line of products, buy all their material in bulk on sale, then mass produce so that they can crank out maximum number of product in minimum time.   The vendor next to me turns out 70 cat beds in 4 hours - and she has over 1,000 beds in inventory!

I, on the other hand, use the fairs to cover the cost of a one time project - usually made to learn a new technique or to just for fun.  I'm neither cost effective in my purchasing methods, nor efficient with my time.   And I'm not sure I want to be.  Currently, I sell just enough to help support my quilting habit.  And maybe that's OK!

One vendor suggested that I might do better at an art fair, versus a craft fair.  It's something to think about.  I HAD intended try Etsy in 2012.  But after attending an Etsy lecture at the quilt expo, I discovered that there too, the secret to success seemed to be mass production - which to me sucks all the relaxation and creativity right out of it!  So for 2012, I dabbled with the craft fairs instead.

Heck, maybe Etsy or Craig's List would be a better fit for me.  I'll continue to experiment until I find the right outlet for my goods.  I craft and sew for the pure joy of being creative - and I don't intend to stop any time soon!  :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hen House Hot Pads - In Red

Gosh, I love chain piecing! 

Been using up some barnwood reds I've picked up here and there.  When I purchased the chickens, I didn't notice that I have more roosters than hens.  That's good, cuz the roosters sell better. 

But I bet if you asked a rooster, he wouldn't like those odds!

Here's a close up of each fabrics:
Had just enough to make one like this.
Made 5 like this.  I like the black in it.

This just might be my favorite - its the brightest, with the most visual impact.  :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hen House Hot Pads

In 2011 I made 15 chicken/rooster hotpads to sell at a holiday craft fair.  I blogged about the chicken and rooster stories I was told, while selling my wares.  What fun it was.

Following the fair, I promptly sold the remainder to friends.  I had requests to make more, but couldn't find the fabric again.  But guess what I found this fall at the Quilt Expo?  And I still had a number of barn-themed reds, so I get to make a few more after all! :)

Sewing up a Storm

Getting ready for another craft fair in a week.  Here's today's accomplishment.  Eleven fleece scarves.  These are fun and fast.  Which is a good thing cuz I have a lot to do between now and next Saturday. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Moving and Liquidation Sales

One two-day, two-household garage sale, and one 5-hour, poorly advertised craft fair later, I've put money into savings for home repairs and improvements and have even been paid in full to make a second rag-edge recycled jeans baby quilt for a woman with two baby grand-daughters.  I had most of the supplies on hand, so I came home, took a power nap, and started cutting and stitching right away.  Here's what I accomplished last night - even in my rather burned out state.
Here's the down side!  27 bags and boxes in the middle of my living room.  Most are garage sale items, some are quilts and crafts.  Some of this will be sold on Craig's List.  Some will be donated to assorted charities.  But it needs to be sorted.  Someone dear to me took sick as we were tearing down the garage sale, so others chipped in to pack things up so I could take him to the ER.  All turned out well, thankfully!  But as a result, the sorting and sifting I intended to do before bringing anything inside didn't happen as planned.  At least I can now do it in my warm, dry living room at my leisure.  HA - who am I kidding?  I don't remember what leisure is - LOL!

So all of this has been going on as I prepare to sell my home.  Had an inspection done, painters are prepping to paint the outside - though the job goes slower when they can only work in the warmer part of the day.  And I have three other weather dependent jobs to complete in short order.  I continue to have respiratory troubles, so I commisssioned my sons to do my garden tear out and final yard clean up.

So call me crazy, but I'm considering doing another one-day craft fair in a couple weeks.  Being a Holiday Craft Fair, I'm debating if I can still sell non-fall/winter items?  This fair runs 7 hours instead of 5, and is VERY well advertized. I'm told the fee is only $60.00.  I've e-mailed the man in charge, to determine if there's still room for another vendor and what one gets for $60.00.  Though I'm tired, I could use the greenbacks for home repairs and improvements, and I SURE would like to make some boxes dissappear!  :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Craft Fair Report

Here's my booth at the church craft fair.  This is only my second craft fair ever.  Had fun both times.  Here's a close up of the Fall/Christmas side of the table.
And here's the Sping/Summer side of the table.
The bag containing a Beanie Baby panda was purchased by a little boy who loves pandas.  He was going keep the panda for himself, and give the bag to his girlfriend.  Couldn't have been more than 8 years old.  Too cute!

Halfway thru the show I realized that people were more interested in the fall/winter items, so I switched the two sides of the table - placing those items closest to the entrance.  Immediately my fall/winter stuff began selling in earnest.  Hooray for product placement - or as they say in the real estate business - location, location, location!

Business was slower this year than last year.  I was taken aback, because my prices were at or below cost.  I really wanted to move my inventory.  I'm preparing to sell my house and won't be able to do much sewing and crafting until I'm settled elsewhere - and I don't want to pay money to store all my stuff. 

The church has a children's shopping room where kids can buy items ranging from $0.25 to $2.00 for presents for family and friends - all without mom and dad!  Gift wrap is free so family won't see the gifts.  When I visited that room near the end of the sale, I was saddened to see how much stuff was left.  None of it will go to waste - it'll be boxed up and stored until next year - but still, more traffic would have been nice.

The concensus amongst the vendors I talked to was crafting business is down due to the economy.  I also learned our sale was not in the newspaper this year.  So to be proactive, I took LOTS of pictures of booths.  Next year we can advertise for free, with up to 8 pictures on Craig's List.  And if the church won't advertise in the paper, maybe I'll do it myself.  I'm hoping that will help the church, the kiddies and the vendors!  :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dino Costume, Then and Now

17 years ago I made two little dinosaur costumes for my boys, then ages 5 and 6.  I made them big - to fit over their snow suits, and the boys got a lot of wear out of them.  Eventually, my boys outgrew the costumes and the dinos took up residence at my sister's place.  Her kids enjoyed them too.  But time marched on.  Laura's kids have outgrown them as well. 

Just as we were discussing what to do with the costumes, my niece - a high school freshman - announced she wants to be a dinosaur this year! 

Here she is in the modified costume.  Laura inserted a panel about 6" wide below the zipper and tail, but above the crotch. The blue leggings are a great touch.  Sonya is over 5 feet tall, so for once that dino tail isn't dragging on the ground.  LOL

It does this Auntie's heart good to see her handicrafts living on and bringing still more Halloween happiness to her family! :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Retreat Results

Here is one of several projects I worked on at retreat.  I won the top two stars in a block raffle a year ago, and just got them out  recently.  Added the bottom two and the border.  I'll be calling this one Autumn Nights.
I completed this mini quilt for my sweetie to hang in his cubicle.  So often quilt patterns and fabrics are feminine - it was fun to work on something with a more masculine look and feel.
This is the reinvention of a project gone wrong.  Had previously made these 8 flag blocks and combined them in fours - only to realize they looked like swastikas!  Ugh!  So I cut them apart and played with them until I happened across this (much preferable) secondary pattern.  Will need to finish joining them and bind.
This is a new project, made from this summer's Moda Wisconsin fabrics, with some other scrappy fabrics thrown in for fun.  I think I'm going to change the border in the upper left corner to blue and work in the tan elsewhere.  I want it to have a log cabin look, but may work in some flying geese or pine trees for fun.
I had some old jeans squares left from other projects, so I put together this little rag quilt with pockets.  Half the fun of including pockets is deciding what to put in them!  Here I have a sock monkey and a soft rattle.  The back is fleece, so its a very soft cuddly blankie for some little girl.

I hope to do more quilting this fall.  Other duties called this summer, and I've missed quilting dearly!  Now I'm preparing to put my home up for sale, so that will also take time, but I hope to sneak some sewing time in as well.  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Please Prove You're Not a Robot

Does anyone else find this annoying? 

I may be a bit slow, but sometimes it takes me four tries to leave a simple comment.  I can't imagine how anyone with vision problems could read the "codes" we are to type to prove we are real, live people. 

Seems like its getting harder all the time, and eventually it'll be such a hassle that people won't comment any more.  That will be a sad day indeed. :(

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gold Leaf Flimsy

One autumn-y quilt top complete, one more to go!
I made the center leaf square at a class.  We used a bleach paste painted onto various objects and then stamped onto black fabric - to remove the dye.  My leaf has been waiting patiently for my attention for more than a year, but now it's the focal point of this 20' x 20' wall quilt.
Once it's quilted and bound, it'll hang in my Sweetie's cubicle at work.  :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Amateur Photography

My sons work for a sporting goods store, and needed pictures of themselves doing their favorite sports.  I took the top picture of DS1.  You wouldn't believe how long it took to get picture to snap at the exact moment his leg extended!

DS2 had his dad take this picture, but then we downloaded it into my software to tweak.  Darned if that red eye correction wouldn't work on the right eye.  Considering they had just a few days notice, I think the pics turned out alright!  :)