Monday, October 31, 2011

Scrappy Fabric Tree

Holley, a dear friend and awesome quilter/sewer/knitter/crafter, stopped by the shop with her latest creation. It is from a current magazine issue, but I can't remember which one. I took the picture to use as a reference for making my own, but I just couldn't resist sharing this cutie with you.

It is five fabric circles held together by a button sewn in the center. Toss them in the wash to get the frazzled edge effect. Pin them to a styrofoam base with dressmakers pins. Cute, cute, cute! Of course we started talking about all the other colors and shapes that these fabric circles could be applied to. Use a standard wreath shape, use a sphere to make an ornament, or use a heart for Valentine's Day. Go formal with silver or gold buttons, or make a winter version with blues and whites.

What a great use of scraps! This project is definitely going on my list of gifts to make this year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scrappy Bow Tie

One of my favorite things to do with down time in my sewing room is to cut scraps. It's like a walk down memory lane. How did I come to have this fabric? What project was it originally used for? It is very satisfying to take odd size fabric and make useful units for future projects. Very therapeutic.

With the recent sewing room clean out, I had discovered several small "special" bins of scraps. I really don't know why they were special, but they had garnered their very own bin. So I dumped one out and commenced with cutting. Quickly, I noticed they were very well color coordinated. I think I used this set to teach cutting techniques a few years back. After cutting a good stack of fabric, I started playing with them. Hey, this looks good as a block. Pretty soon, I had a rough layout for a quilt.

It was time to call in the family. What do you think? What should I change? Once the invitation is issued, anything goes with the arrangement. More random? Less random? What about these smaller squares? After a few iterations, it was time to get to sewing. All the while, I'm trying to figure out how I wrangled myself into making a quilt when all I planned to do was cut a few scraps.

Here's the finished top. Most of the half square triangles were already sewn in the bin. Sometimes it is fun to just work with what you have and make it happen.

This was NOT going to end up in the unfinished project pile. I stuck with simple quilting. It is all straight lines about a half inch inside the bigger blocks and in the ditch around the border rows. A dark brown binding finishes it off. I was all set to do scrappy brown binding, but found a piece big enough to do the job.

Whew! I didn't know I needed to get a quilt out of my system. Now, maybe, I can get back to scrap cutting for a while.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Post Show Thoughts

With a full day of vending under my belt, it was time to revamp the booth. While I didn't officially have a prime corner booth, it just so happened that there was a pass through on one side of me. All it took was a little push of the curtains, the addition of a few signs and, voila!, a corner booth.

This really helped with traffic flow and seemed to increase sales a bit. The show ended on Saturday evening. The end of the show was the one time I was happy to have one of the smaller booths and less stuff. We had it taken down and packed in an hour. While I enjoyed the entire experience, my body needed a break. I slept twelve hours Saturday night.

What I like most about vending is the short time frame of setup, show, and take down. It's intense while it's happening, but then there's a nice break once it is over.

What I didn't like about it is the lack of relationship building. I love all my customers. I love helping people decide on and put together a project. I love being able to call you by name when you walk through the door. And I love that there's time to get to know your quilting vibe. I mentioned this to one of the veteran vendors and she told me that instead of a relationship with customers, the relationship centers on other vendors. A lot of the folks I met had toured the country together vending at this show or that throughout the year. I'm not sure if that is an adequate substitute, but certainly better than no relationships at all.

Will I do it again? Probably. I'll at least be pondering the possibilities.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Show Set Up and Day 1

Today was the first day of the Georgia Quilt Show. Yesterday was set up day, which I left in the hands of two wonderful fellows. They took the booth from this:

to this in a matter of a few hours.

They did an awesome job. There are a couple of things to note about this booth. First, I thought I was getting a 6x10 booth. About two weeks ago, I learned I was getting a 10x10 booth which is a great thing, just difficult to fill on short notice. Also, I thought the side walls were going to be three feet tall rather than the full eight feet tall so I didn't have anything to hang on them. We added one more quilt and some signs right before the show started to help them look less blank, and I'll know to have extras and backups next time around. Here's another picture of the booth that makes it look quite full.

And here's what I spent most of the day doing:

I am demonstrating our no sew fusible coasters to show how all of our no sew fusible products are made (fast and easy!). As you can see, there were lots of interested passers by.

I've had a few minutes to meet my neighbors who are all very encouraging. My next door neighbor is Pam from NH Quilter's Emporium. She's been doing shows like this for a long time. Her cash register is just on the other side of the curtain from my demo station. She gets to listen to my demonstrations all day long. A few times, she's leaned over and offered tidbits to polish up my presentation. They've been good tips, too.

The show continues on Friday from 10am-6pm and Saturday from 10am-5:30pm. If you're able to attend, stop by booth 129 and say hello.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Playing With Food

Some time during the summer, I decided that I wasn't doing enough fun stuff with the kids. I started looking for recipes and crafts that we would all enjoy. Last night was an adventure in food. My youngest insisted that we document the results.

Large pasta shells, sloppy joe mix, carrot slices, American cheese, some pickles, and a little creativity turned our meal into a parade of monsters.

Even with food this fun, one kid ate the sloppy joe mix and not the shells and another ate the pasta shells and not the sloppy joe mix. At least it all got eaten one way or another.

This is one meal where it was perfectly okay to play with your food.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Apron Style

Once I finished sewing all of the samples for the show next week, I still had a couple of things I wanted to make for me. One is an apron and the other is a name tag holder. I designed and finished the apron this week. It's meant to hold change so that I can get to it fast and easy during the show. I'm always losing and looking for things here at the shop so I knew the more things I could attach to my body at the show, the better.

The bottom pockets are loose and intended to hold coins, while the top pockets are smooth and flat for paper and a pen. This is the first apron I've made without a pattern and I'm pleased with the way it turned out. I made the ties extra long so that I could wrap it all the way around and tie it in the front. I'm not sure I like the big bow in the front so I tried just wrapping it back around to the back.

The last way I tried it was to just tie it in the back without wrapping it around.

My daughter likes the big bow in front the best. It's almost a bit too much fluff for me. I'm leaning toward the simple tie it in the back version. The logo stands out better and the whole thing looks cleaner and simpler. I'll have to shorten the ties if I go with this option. What do you think?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getting Ready for the Show

I am preparing to vend at the Georgia Quilt Show next week. It's my first big adventure into vending so of course it's been a whirlwind of activity. I'm going as FourKidZooDesigns which is the part of my business that designs patterns and makes no sew fusible kits.

We've been making lots of kits. Here's the very unglamorous kit making central at home. Teenagers are very good at kit assembly. I am so thankful for one who helps without complaint.

There weren't any classes scheduled at the shop until Thursday this week so I took over our classroom to mock up the booth. The interesting thing is that I won't be going to the show on setup day. Handy husband Duane and dear friend John have the honor of booth set up. I'll be staying behind to keep the shop open. It's great that they are able to take care of it for me. They will be able to work out all those little tweaks that happen during set up which will ease my stress level tremendously. I drew a map of where everything should go.

The booth is 10 feet by 10 feet. This seems like a huge amount of space to me and it took a bit to get it just right. This is what I hope the back wall will look like. I'm not exactly sure how the quilts will be hung and I'm leaving it to the guys to figure that one out. They'll take sticks, clamps, chains, and string. Some combination of those items should do the trick.

This is at the front of the booth. On top of this set up, I'll be doing fusible coaster demonstrations. Seeing is believing when it comes to fast and easy projects. Demos are also a good way for me to meet and chat with folks. You can see where I turned tables on their sides to mark the booth boundary.

In the mousepad department, I'll have kits to make your own as well as finished products.

In the center of it all will be this spinny rack, full of fat quarters. There will be a few project kits too, which you can sort of see in the cubes behind the spinny rack.

It will be fun to see how these pictures compare to the real booth. If you're going to the Georgia Quilt Show (at the Gwinnett Civic Center October 20-22), stop by and say hello. I'll be in booth 129.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ribbon Organizer

The sewing room continues to improve. The second set of cubes went in last weekend.

The third set is scheduled to be built this weekend. It's come together way faster than I thought. It's so nice to have all my books and patterns in one place. Before, they were scattered all over the house on whatever shelf space was available.

Here's the first set of cubes from the initial set up. Check out the stacks of ribbon in the top center cube.

They look pretty good in the picture, but they are just a mess waiting to happen. You can already see how some of the ends are starting to unwrap. I snagged a great idea from pinterest for organizing ribbon. Look at it now.

I used a crochet hook to pull each ribbon through the hole. It took a while to get it set up but it works great. No more unwinding, tangled ribbon mess. The bins are a fairly common size and style and can be found at most big box stores. I'm such an organization nerd.
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