Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Giveaway!

Hey everybody! I'm doing my first giveaway. I've passed 200 posts and a full year of blogging, so I've got a lot to celebrate. I love Christmas time, so what better time of year to do it than now? Here's what's up for grabs...

The Christmas Five Patch. I wrote about how the mini quilt came to be a while ago. Click here to read about it if you're interested.

If I won this little cutie, I'd probably put it in the middle of a table with a candle or centerpiece of some sort on top. Interested? You have three ways to enter.

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what you're making for this holiday season.

2. Leave a second comment on this post telling me you've either:

  • become a follower or subscriber to my RSS feed

  • were already a follower or subscriber

3. Leave a third comment if you write a post about my giveaway on
your own blog. Be sure to leave a link when you comment so everyone
can come check you out.

That's it! Pretty simple, eh?! Just make sure you leave a separate comment for each of your three entries.

I'm going to let this contest run for 12 days (like the 12 days of Christmas, get it?). Enter before 11:59 pm (CST) on Tuesday, December 8, 2009. I'll choose the winner by drawing a number using the random number generator and will announce the who was drawn on Wednesday, December 9, 2009.

Good luck and have a great holiday season!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More yummies....

It sure seems like there's giveaways going on all over the blog world right now.

You must check this one out... it's at Pink Pincushion.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Commisioned Projects #2 & 3

The second and third projects I was commissioned for were some little tea wallets. I got to chatting with a pair of ladies who were vendors at the craft fair recently and they each asked me to make some for Christmas presents.

Jason was bringing me lunch that day, so I asked him to bring me some "fun" fabrics out of my stash. Luckily, the fun stuff he brought suited those ladies just fine. So, here's how they turned out:

1. 2-00010_front, 2. 2-00010_inside, 3. 2-00010_back, 4. 2-00011_front, 5. 2-00011_inside, 6. 2-00011_back, 7. 2-00012_front, 8. 2-00012_inside, 9. 2-00012_back, 10. 2-00013_front, 11. 2-00013_inside, 12. 2-00013_back, 13. 2-00014_front, 14. 2-00014_inside, 15. 2-00014_back, 16. 2-00015_front, 17. 2-00015_inside, 18. 2-00015_back, 19. 2-00016_front, 20. 2-00016_inside, 21. 2-00016_back

1. 2-00017_front, 2. 2-00017_inside, 3. 2-00017_back, 4. 2-00018_front, 5. 2-00018_inside, 6. 2-00018_back, 7. 2-00019_front, 8. 2-00019_inside, 9. 2-00019_back, 10. 2-00020_front, 11. 2-00020_inside, 12. 2-00020_back, 13. 2-00021_front, 14. 2-00021_inside, 15. 2-00021_back

Fun aren't they?

Monday, November 23, 2009


Retromummy is having a giveaway of some oh-so-yummy fabrics. Check it out. I'm sure you'll be as much in love as I am.

Hurry, you can only enter through Sunday!

Me, My Scarf, and I

CRAFT: Singer Contest - Me, My Scarf, and I
Here it is, my entry into the Me, My Scarf and I contest.

My entry into the Me, My Scarf, and I contest is a depiction of myself. I have always loved the water, creatures that live in it and lots of color. I love to have fun and create things. When I make something I really enjoy, I think my real personality shows through. My underwater scarf is all of these things rolled into one cute little scarf.

The blue base of the scarf was constructed on my sewing machine. I fused the sea creatures onto the base and hand appliquéd the edges and details. The beads or sea weed were sewn on by hand. This little scarf was a lot of fun to make and I love how it turned out.

Good luck to everybody else who entered. There are some pretty neat entries. You can see them here.

Commissioned Project #1

One of the other vendors at the craft show I did recently asked me to make her an adult bib for a friend. I think it is for a gag gift, but I'm not positive.

Here's the bib I made. The fabric I found had dogs (which was requested) and they're wearing bibs!

I met up to deliver the bib to her on Friday. She seemed pretty excited about it. I hope the final recipient loves it, too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Help! Where do I start?

I'm considering getting a serger. Well, more than considering; I've pretty much decided I need to add a serger to my collection of machines. I think it's time.

I'd like to be able to make clean, quick seams on things. I don't know that I'd use the decorative stitches on a serger (I'm not even sure what a serger's decorative stitches would look like.) because both my Babylock and Singer machines have a nice variety I can choose from. I don't sew a lot of garments currently, but I would like to get into that in the future.

I started doing some research on what to look for so I can decide what I actually need. Does anybody have any suggestions? What type of serger do you have? What do you like about it and what features could you not live without?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Creative Community Fest

I promised some photos and a post about my first craft fair last Saturday. This week ran away from me a little bit, so they're later than I anticipated. Well.... better late than never.

Anyway, here's the skinny on my first show.

This is an overall shot of my booth and I. Don't you love my apron?

$1.50 for my angel! Isn't she cute?! These little guys got a lot of giggles. Almost everybody who walked by stopped to peek at them. Dana, the lady with a table next to me, kept making up stories about why they looked frightened, or shocked, or cheerful. They did make for a fun day.

Aren't the little price signs cute? I did a lot of research on how to run a craft fair booth successfully and one of the main tips was to have your prices very visible. I had a round price tag attached to each individual item and a little tabletop sign for each type of item. Thanks to Jason for designing both the little table signs and price tags for me.

I think the next time I do one of these, I need another quilt holder of some sort. I brought this little rocking chair that I draped one quilt over and a quilt rack I draped two over. I had a few more than that, so unfortunately, they had to be folded on the table.

My mom and I made these tote bags. She made the peachy ones. I paper-pieced the black, orange, and brown bags.

This is one of the peachy bags my mom made. Please note the tie rack lent to me by Jason. (It seems like he claims all the cool stuff I need to display my wares.)

The little basket with my tissue covers was left over from our wedding. I can't remember what we used it for there, but it worked perfect for this.

Jason found this little gadget for me at Urban Arts + Crafts. We thought I just had to have it to use for my business card holder. It also had those little alligator clip things on it that worked beautifully to hold a sign with really important information, my name. The spring made a great pen holder.

I aligned the magnifying glass with one of the price tags on a casserole dish cover.

The quilt on the left is a baby string quilt I had made. It was a fun quilt to do and I love the fabrics in it. There's a couple of conversation prints in it, but they all work together. :D

The quilt on the right is a Chinese coin baby quilt my mom made. Pretty, isn't it?

I love this suitcase! I paid $3 for it at the thrift store. I thought it was a cute color to use for baby items.

So, this is my booth. I had a blast setting it up. I learned a lot at this little fair.

Some of the things I learned:

  • Do some research about the fair before you sign up. This fair turned out to be really small. There were only 14 booths and it wasn't really well advertised. I kept a tally of how many people walked by my booth throughout the day. There were only 75 visitors over 10 hours. I get that it was in it's first year, but this was really small. Next time I do one of these, I'll be sure that it is well organized and not the event's first year.
  • Make sure you know what you are getting for your booth fee. I paid $30 for a booth, but then got an email a few days later than a table is another $5. And then I was required to donate an item for a raffle (which wasn't even given away at the event). What did my original $30 go for?
  • Don't be afraid to go all out. I ironed the muslin I covered my table with. Some of the other vendors used sheets that didn't match and looked like they had been tied in knots in a closet for years before they pulled them out for this event. They made fun of me for bringing an iron and getting the wrinkles out of my table covering. I think my booth looked inviting.
  • Use what you have. I only spent $11 on props for my display. Everything else I had around the house. I bought the wooden box for $1.50 at the Goodwill. I got the blue suitcase for $3 at the thrift store. The angel on the tree (who I love!) was $1.50 at the Goodwill. I got a $5, 5-foot tall Christmas tree at the Goodwill. I used only the top half and put it in a cookie jar I had already.
  • Do a practice run of your booth. A few nights before setting up at the show, I did a practice run on my desk at home. Take photos, print them, and take them with you to set up your real booth. Here's the photos I took:

  • Those are some of my top tips for doing a show. I don't know that it was necessarily a success for me. I sold several bib and burp cloth sets, and several owls. I got a few commission projects (check back Monday for a little post on one of them). I'll post the others as I finish them. People seemed to really like some of the stuff I had, they just didn't seem to be buying.

    The fair was supposed to go until 6 pm. At about 5:30 I had a woman stop by who started chatting with me about all of my items. She seemed really interested in purchasing some of my casserole carriers and was probably the most interested person in hearing about my things all day. Unfortunately, that was the time the coordinator of the event chose to do her break down speech. I got scolded for chatting with my customer and the woman scurried out of the room quickly. That was very irritating to me because I was the only one in the room with a customer and she seemed really interested in chatting and I got scolded and lost probably my biggest sale of the day.

    So, it was a really good learning experience for me. It was also really good for me to see that people like what I'm doing (that's always a shock!). I'll definitely try it again.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jargon of the Week - Grain

Last week we defined selvage. This week, I'll explain what the grain of a fabric is. defines grain as:
grain [greyn]
1. a small, hard seed, esp. the seed of a food plant such as wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice, or millet.
2. the gathered seed of food plants, esp. of cereal plants.
3. such plants collectively.
4. any small, hard particle, as of sand, gold, pepper, or gunpowder.
5. the smallest unit of weight in most systems, originally determined by the weight of a plump grain of wheat. In the U.S. and British systems, as in avoirdupois, troy, and apothecaries' weights, the grain is identical. In an avoirdupois ounce there are 437.5 grains; in the troy and apothecaries' ounces there are 480 grains (one grain equals 0.0648 gram).
6. the smallest possible amount of anything: a grain of truth.
7. the arrangement or direction of fibers in wood, or the pattern resulting from this.
8. the direction in which the fibers of a piece of dressed wood, as a board, rise to the surface: You should work with or across the grain, but never against.
9. the side of leather from which the hair has been removed.
10. a stamped pattern that imitates the natural grain of leather: used either on leather to simulate a different type of natural leather, or on coated cloth.
11. Textiles.
a. the fibers or yarn in a piece of fabric as differentiated from the fabric itself.
b. the direction of threads in a woven fabric in relation to the selvage.
12. the lamination or cleavage of stone, coal, etc.
13. Metallurgy. any of the individual crystalline particles forming a metal.
14. Jewelry. a unit of weight equal to 50 milligrams or 1/4 carat, used for pearls and sometimes for diamonds.
15. the size of constituent particles of any substance; texture: sugar of fine grain.
16. a granular texture or appearance: a stone of coarse grain.
17. a state of crystallization: boiled to the grain.
18. temper or natural character: two brothers of similar grain.
19. Rocketry. a unit of solid propellant.
20. Obsolete. color or hue.

–verb (used with object)
21. to form into grains; granulate.
22. to give a granular appearance to.
23. to paint in imitation of the grain of wood, stone, etc.: metal doors grained to resemble oak.
24. to feed grain to (an animal).
25. Tanning.
a. to remove the hair from (skins).
b. to soften and raise the grain of (leather).

26. against the or one's grain, in opposition to one's temper, inclination, or character: Haggling always went against her grain.
27. with a grain of salt. salt 1 (def. 23).

1250–1300; ME grain, grein < OF grain < L grānum seed, grain; see corn 1

Definition #11 is fairly close to the fabric definition of a grain. Let's go a little more in depth, though.
There are two types of grains: crosswise & lengthwise (shown in above diagram).

The crosswise grain runs perpendicular to the selvage. The crosswise grain is sometimes referred to as the cross grain. Most of the time the crosswise grain is looser and stretches more than the lengthwise grain.

The lengthwise grain runs parallel to the selvage. If you pull on the fabric, it is usually less stretchy than the crosswise grain.

What does it mean when a fabric is said to be grain perfect or on grain?
Grain perfect or on grain means that when the fabric was woven, it was woven at a perfect right angle. This means that the threads in the fabric are all aligned properly and the crosswise grain and lengthwise grain are at a perfect 90 degree angle to one another.

Can I use a fabric that is not grain perfect?
Yes! If it is only off a slight bit, it won't hurt anything. A fabric that is off significantly from grain perfect, however, requires extra special attention to make sure it works nicely in your project.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Favorite Things - November 15, 2009

Today my favorite thing is pushing myself to do something a little uncomfortable. Yesterday I participated in my first craft fair. That was a hard thing to do since I kind of like to showcase my things from a distance (like on my blog). Maybe this will grow on me; it was kind of fun to do. I really liked setting up my booth and preparing for it.

So, my favorite thing today is participating in something I've never done before.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wish me luck!

I'm participating in my first craft fair today. I've already learned so much about how these things work and what to look for next time around. I'm so excited that I've been up since a quarter 'til 5 this morning.

Here's a sneak peek at my booth (Well, technically probably my mom's, too since she made some things I'm selling in it.). I'll try to post some more details early next week.

If you're in or near Kansas City, come by and see me. I'll be at the One Community Spirtual Center from 8-6.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jargon of the Week - Selvage defines selvage as:
sel⋅vage [sel-vij]

1. the edge of woven fabric finished so as to prevent raveling, often in a narrow tape effect, different from the body of the fabric.
2. any similar strip or part of surplus material, as at the side of wallpaper.
3. Also called margin. Philately. the surplus paper or margin around a sheet of stamps: The number of the plate block appears in the selvage.
4. a plate or surface through which a bolt of a lock passes.

Also, selvedge.

1425–75; late ME, resp. of self + edge, modeled on MD selfegghe (D zelfegge

The easiest way to find the selvage on a piece of fabric, is to look for the writing. Commercial fabric has the fabric line, artist, color information, fabric name, year, etc. printed along one of the edges. That's the selvage.

When I prewash my fabric, it shrinks at different rates. Why?
Well, the selvage is a tightly woven strip along the side of a fabric. It's made this way to prevent fraying. Because it is so tightly woven, it shrinks at a faster rate than the rest of the fabric.

Now that you have a rough idea of how to find a selvage and what it is, come back next week to learn about what the grain of a fabric is and how to find it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A few fall photos...

I don't often post photos of myself. Unfortunately, I seem to be more of the photographer than the photographee, so there is a definite lack of photographs of myself.

Well... why did we take these photos? Patricia who runs the website for the Quilters Guild of Greater Kansas City contacted me after she found my blog. She asked me if she could link to my blog so that everyone in their guild could find the pictures I took at their quilt show a few weeks ago easily. I said sure.

She then asked if I could write a little bit about myself and my experience at the show. After that, she asked for a picture of me to include with the blurb and the link. So after searching through all of our thousands of pictures Wednesday night, I decided none of them would do. Jason and I headed to the park over our lunch break for a small photo shoot. The top one is the one I sent to the guild and the bottom one was the runner up.

So, I thought I'd just pop in to say hello and share these with you.

It's pretty cool that somebody found my blog from my post about their guild's quilt show don't you think? I certainly do.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jargon of the Week - Mainstream

This week I'll look at indie v. mainstream from the mainstream side.

According to, mainstream is:
main⋅stream [meyn-streem]
1. the principal or dominant course, tendency, or trend: the mainstream of American culture.
2. a river having tributaries.

3. belonging to or characteristic of a principal, dominant, or widely accepted group, movement, style, etc.: mainstream Republicans; a mainstream artist.
4. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of jazz falling historically between Dixieland and modern jazz; specifically, swing music. Compare traditional (def. 4).

–verb (used with object)
5. to send into the mainstream; cause to join the main force, group, etc.: to mainstream young people into the labor force.
6. to place (handicapped students) in regular school classes.

–verb (used without object)
7. to join or be placed in the mainstream.

1660–70; main 1 + stream

Specifically in the creative world, mainstream is the contrast to indie. (Indie was last week's Jargon of the Week. Check there for an indepth analysis of indie.) It is using something where another person has made all the design decisions. The creator of the specific item makes an almost identical copy of whatever the initial project was.

Example: Mainstream in the quilting world is buying a kit put together by someone else to make a quilt identical to the one they have already created.

Exception: In my opinion, using a pattern to create a project doesn't make you a mainstream crafter. If you substitue different fabric for a dress or create a different arrangement on an appliqued quilt, you've put yourself into the indie crafter category.

My interpretation of mainstream is that a mainstream crafter is someone who relies on another person to create a project. They surrender all design aspects of the project to the initial creator and rely solely on themselves for the construction.

Note: There isn't anything wrong with being a mainstream crafter. Mainstream projects can be just as enjoyable as creating something solely from one's imagination. Mainstream crafting is a great way to learn new techniques or methods. I do it all the time.

Want a better understanding on the term indie? Check the blog post from October 29, 2009.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Des Moines Quilt Expo

My mom and I headed to Des Moines this weekend to check out the AQS Quilt Expo - Des Moines. Unfortunately, I can't share the photos I took there with you because something happened when I copied them to the computer. They show up as "Image Invalid". What a bummer. There were some nice quilts there that I would have liked to share with you. I'm irritated, but trying not to let it get to me.

So, instead... I can share the photos I took at Fons and Porter's Quilt Supply in Winterset, Iowa. Somehow those photos came out fine. I'm not sure what happened to the quilt show photos.

We saw two celebrities on this little trip. We saw Marianne Fons of Fons and Porter at her quilt shop in Winterset, Iowa. We also saw Eleanor Burns at the Quilt Show in Des Moines. How exciting!