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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!  :)