Saturday, March 17, 2007

After Cleaning

I'm sorry it took s few days to get this up - the clean room inspired me to do some sewing instead of spending all my time on the computer! Here is my sewing area after -

The one pile is all my current projects that I'm trying to finish up. I have actually finished quilting one top today, and have another that I want to work on tomorrow. I was actually glad to get all that random paperwork filed and put away. I found several receipts that I thought I had lost, so put those away along with some other odds and ends. The doll is now sitting on the bed, a much better place for her.

I switched my storage cabinets to the spot under the window. It makes it a lot easier to open the curtains, and just feels less crowded this way.

I cleaned off the bed as much as I could, and piled the things I need to have out as neatly as posssible. When I get rid of the bed I would like to add some shelving in that area, or perhaps leave it open and create a design wall there.

I moved the cutting area by the closet. It does block some access to my closet, but it's on wheels so it easy to move when I need to get in there. I like it because it is right where all my rulers are hung, so it makes it easier to use them, I'm not always haveing to go back and forth across the room. It's also easier to use for basting because I can just pull it out into the center of the room and still be able to walk all around it.
I am so pleased that I took the time to clean up a bit. It really is easier to work in an organized area that is attractive. My next clean up project will be the inside of my fabric storage are. It's past time that I take care of that!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Messy Studio

I suppose if clutter is an indicator of a creative mind, I must be off of the charts for creativity! In my case I think the mess just indicates that I would rather sew than clean. I have been rather busy lately, but I think the mess has gotten very much out of hand. Maybe that is what I need to work on this afternoon, and I can show the after pictures tomorrow!

The first picture is my sewing area. I have a dining table with a sewing desk backed up to it. In theory this gives me a better area for machine quilting large quilts. In actuality it gives me a larger surface to leave more stuff on. I see several current projects in various stages of completion, a decorative doll given to me years ago, some paperwork that needs to be filed, a neat purse handle I bought intending to make a new purse out of and various sewing notions and assorted junk!
This is my cutting table. As you can see if I really want to do any cutting I have to move stuff around. I generally just make barely enough room for what I need to do and leave the mess. Lets see, on this table I see the tote I use to store my Etsy paperwork, a clear plastic organizer with some of my supplies for the quilt block of the month I am helping teach, the loose supplies for the class, there is a rotary ruler on there somewhere, but I do hang up the cutter so I won't lose it. (That's a good thing!)
This is the bed that is still in my studio. It doesn't ever get slept in, but it is a great place to pile more stuff! On the bed there is a quilt that is too big to baste on my table, so I have to take it to a friends house to lay out. There is fabric to make curtains out of. There is a quilt that is ready to quilt, a stack of t-shirts that will become a quilt, a pair of jeans that I repaired a zipper in. There are a half dozen pillows waiting for beautiful covers on them so they can make this bed into a couch. Under the sheet that you can't see under all the stuff there are most of my personal quilts, all being stored nice and flat so that they won't get creased! There is also a nice chest that is full of stuff, and the top of it is full of stuff also - almost empty thread spools, a sewing basket (with nothing in it!) and various odds and ends.
This is my storage/ironing area. Behind the curtain is a closet full of finished quilts for sale, bags, supplies, shipping supplies, and a couple of projects that need to be worked on when I have some spare time! (yeah, right!) On the floor are 4 rolls of fabric that are going to become curtains and valances in the next couple of weeks. You can see all the fabric, patterns and books in the closet with the open bi-fold doors! You can see a shirt I need to mend hanging on the bedpost. On the floor are papers that fell there the other day and I haven't picked them up yet. Notice the primitive wall-hanging that is wonderfully skewed. Seriously, I don't know how in the world I accomplish anything in this mess!

My goal is to work on cleaning this up tonight, and tomorrow tune in for the up-date! It should look a lot better, and maybe I'll be able to get something done this weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ruby Tulips for Sale

I have officially finished Ruby Tulips and listed it for sale in my Etsy shop today. I am excited to see how people react to it because it was so popular in the quilt shop. We sold a lot of fabric and a lot of kits with this sample, so I am hoping someone will be glad to purchase the quilt itself!

Speaking of Etsy, I wanted to plug the current treasury page featuring items from the Old World Shoppes street team. We are a group of crafters who make traditional style crafts, things that we think are heritage quality and something special for your home. So take a peek at the lovely items on that list -one of them being a quilted post card I made!

I made my purse yesterday, but made a mistake on one side of the handles, so it's a bit lop-sided! I suppose I'll have to do some frog stitching and fix it, even though I don't want to. It would look a little funny to leave them as they are. That's why you need to actually measure and not just "eyeball" the placement! I should know better, but sometimes I just want to get finished and not take the care I should in the details. Lesson learned!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Still Fusing...

Actually I think I am finished with most of the fusing. The really crazy thing is that I have not been able to figure out how I am supposed to add the dresden plate sections. I have read the instructions over and over, but cannot find any mention of how I am supposed to do this. (That doesn't mean they are not there, but if they are I cannot find them!) So, I decided to put fusible on the back of the entire pieced section and fuse it down with everything else. It seems to fit, so I really think that this is how it is supposed to work! Hopefully it will be all right, and I will make a note to include with the kits because if I feel stupid about it I figure other people will also.

I added some quilting to Ruby Tulips and hope to list it on Etsy tomorrow, after I get the Easy Share issue resolved. I have found my pictures (yeah!), just need to figure out how to make my laptop put them in the correct spot when it reads my memory card. I am making progress with the new computer, and hope to be using it as easily as the desktop soon! I guess all this mental activity is good for my brain.

Today is fun day and I am making myself a cute new purse tote out of the new Laurel Burch collection - Ocean Song. My purse will have mermaids on the outside and hot pink on the inside! While I am making the purse I am writing down my instructions for a possible pattern. I am really getting inspired on the pattern front, seems like ideas are raining down faster than I can catch them. Which is good! I will never complain about an abundance of inspiration!

I will complain about the loss of an hour of sleep (at least for a few days!) I am so confused, I don't know if it's early or late - should I be sleepy or hungry? Oh, well, by the end of the week we'll all be back to normal and I'll be happy for the extra light after dinner.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fighting with Fusible Web

This week I've been working on that shop sample, and I am not having fun with the fusible web. I haven't even started sewing yet! I had to re cut and fuse my apple blossoms 3 times because for some reason the fusible actually soaked into the fabric and showed through on the surface of it. I finally found a brand that worked, but I am pretty sick of the process by now. I will be happy to get to the actual sewing part of this project. I have decided to use silk thread to sew down the appliques by machine. I'll use a 70 jeans needle, as recommended by the local sewing machine shop. If I ever get all the bajillion little parts fused that is!

I purchased a 1/4 inch round quilting foot for my Juki and I love it for quilting! I have quited 4 covers for baby changing pads this week, and they all came out great! I think I may try the 1/8" foot - the visibility should be absolutely awesome. I think I will add some quilting to Ruby Tulips this weekend. I definitely need to finish the quiting on Titanic because I am supposed to get my pictures done next week. The application is due on the 21st, so I don't want to miss the deadline.

Miss Cat, my feline quit inspector!

Off to bed for me, need my beauty rest so I can get up and do some serious sewing tomorrow!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Celebrating One Year on Etsy!

Mar 3 is my etsy-versary, and I want to share some of the ways Etsy has changed my life. Because of Etsy I have more confidence in myself as an artist. People have bought my creations, and they love them. I think of the items I make almost as my babies, and it is so wonderful to send them out to the world and know that they are appreciated and loved! I love the fact that I know where they are going, I know the person’s name, often I have some contact with that person afterward and hear that they are happy with their purchase. I live in a small town, and though my work is well thought of here, there is simply not much of a market for it.

Because of Etsy, I have been able to reach out to a much broader spectrum of people than I would otherwise be able to do. When I started I wasn’t very educated in computers, and definitely was not able to make my own website. I didn’t know much about taking good pictures, or presenting my work to the public. I have learned so much! There is so much good advice out there on Etsy to make your store better - I found that just watching what other people do, and checking out the forums brought a wealth of information to help me to sell better, and to present myself in a more professional way.

Through Etsy I have gotten to know (virtually, anyway!) a large group of people who are as obsessive about their craft as I am! Even though they don’t always get along with each other, they are always there, striving away to make their mark in the world. Each artist is unique in their own way; some live in big cities, some out in the middle of no-where; some are educated, some are self-taught; some are very serious and some are seriously silly! But the one thing we all have in common is that we love to create. And we want to share those creations with the world! And Etsy allows us to do that! I’ve seen some truly wonderful pieces of art, and have been able to buy some really great things from people who care about what they do. From soap to candles, to jewelry - there is something really special about buying an item from someone who actually put some love into it!

And last, but definitely not least (because that’s my primary motive!), is the fact that I have done quite well financially. Quilts do sell on Etsy, and not just $50.00 or less! I was able to buy the new laptop I am working from because of my Etsy earnings. My family values what I do more because they see that there is real monetary value in my creations. And as my dear friend Candy commented, it keeps me in money to buy more fabric.

Thank You, Etsy, for a wonderful first year!

Friday, March 02, 2007

In Like a Lion

Here on the coast March has definitely come in like a lion. It is cold, wet and simply miserable. My youngest daughter is sick with the stomach "flu", and I am still hanging on to some lingering cold symptoms. What will it be like to be warm again? I'm thoroughly sick of wearing my snuggly sweaters and cozy socks. Layering is tiresome, and really accentuates that wonderful extra 20 lbs I would love to get rid of, but the weather is too bad for walking, and I am ready for some sunshine!!!!

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

On the quilting front, all is wonderfully well. I finished Red Sky at Night, and am waiting for payment before I ship it off. Then today I sold her sister quilt, Red Sky at Morning! Which is going to be not too far from the other one, amazingly enough! I have a couple of pads for bassinet covers to quilt, and am in the midst of a shop sample. A beautiful Mount Redoubt design in oriental fabrics. Lots of fusing on this one - good practice for me! The only thing is since I've been selling so well on Etsy I need to get some more UFO's finished up. Well, I like to be busy! I did get my Ruby Tulips Quilt back from the shop. It needs a little quilting added, then it will be ready to add to my Etsy shop. It's such a striking quilt, I wouldn't be surprised if it sold right away.

I am officially typing on the new laptop I bought with my quilt money! I an super excited - spent most of the day trying to figure out how to transfer files over, getting my internet going, and most importantly getting EQ5 going! I couldn't find my saved projects for a while and that was really scary because I sure wouldn't want to loose all of those! I've got a few future patterns all laid out in there! Speaking of which I have finished writing up Floral Irish Chain, and just have to print it up. So, I need to get going on my pattern for March. March is a basket quilt. I have it sewn and basted, but need to quilt it. I wrote out the directions as I was making it, so it should be pretty easy to write up as a pattern. I wonder if I really can do 12 patterns this year? It's a big goal, but I know I'm good for a few more. After that I may have to stretch myself!

I spent part of yesterday afternoon (while restlessly awaiting the arrival of UPS with my package!) working on Memories of the Titanic. I had to clip some seams and trim out the triangles I was too lazy to trim when I was making the top. They were totally noticable and I knew they would count me down on the judging for that! So I will spent the next week putting the quilting back in that I had to remove, then it will be ready for pictures. I am planning to enter it in Mancuso's Denver National Show. If it is accepted I plan to go to the show - hopefully with my Mom and Sis! I just have to keep myself positive. It's so easy to slide into the negative - oh, it won't be good enough, I don't have time.... I am really trying to nip that tendancy in the bud and to believe in my efforts. I don't want to belittle the gifts God has given me and I want to use them to their fullest potential to honor Him.

Stay warm, all!