Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Art of Shopping at Joann

So, I recently read this post and it got me thinking about how easy it is to shop at Joann and save a ton on the things we'd buy anyway.

I thought I'd share how I'm able to get a bunch at Joann and not spend a lot of money.

I get a few coupons mailed to me; you can sign up here. I'm signed up, Jason's signed up, and other people get coupons for me, too. I usually am equipped with 4 fliers that always have at least one coupon.

Next step, check the Sunday paper. There is almost always a Joann coupon in the paper just begging to be used. These are usually only good for a week.

Another bonus... Joann takes competitor coupons. Michael's almost always has a coupon in the Sunday paper. It's usually only good for a week and they won't let you use it on fabric (since Michael's doesn't sell that). Sometimes you can even find a Hobby Lobby coupon in there, too.

Sign up for coupons from Hancock. I don't see a mailing list sign-up online. You may have to go into the store and sign up for their preferred customer program. It's just a frequent shopper card.

So, before I even think about going to Joann, I have 3-4 fliers, 2-3 coupons from the Sunday paper, and 1 coupon from Hancock. That's 6-8 coupons!

Next, I plan my trips. For the past few years, I've been planning my projects ahead of time. Lately, I've been planning for my Chicago trip next month and trying to finish up a baby quilt (see this post on March 30, 2010 to see the finished product). I want to make a jewelry roll, a new purse, and a name tag necklace before we leave on April 14th. I needed to have the baby quilt done for the baby shower on March 27th. I've been watching the sales and using my coupons to get all the things I didn't already have. So, how did I do it?
For the quilt:I found the focus fabric for a good price at Walmart in early March. I picked up the rest of the fabric at good sale prices at Joann & Hancock over the next few days. I got the top of the quilt completed before I shopped for the backing, batting, and binding. Turns out I had the binding I ended up with already, so I just needed the batting, and flannel backing. I got both of these items at Joann for 50% off.

For the Chicago projects: After I went through all my supplies, I was able to find the fabric I wanted to use for all the projects and just needed a few zippers and some ribbon. I knew zippers were going to be 50% off at Hancock within the next 2 weeks and I needed to finish the quilt first, so I waited until they were cheaper. So, now that the quilt is done and delivered, I can start on the project for Chicago and have all the supplies I need to complete them.

While I'm working on these projects, I'll start thinking about what I want to make after I'm done with them. I'll then start collecting the appropriate supplies for my next projects while watching sales and using my coupons.

There's two things (that I can think of right now) I try not to use my coupons for.
1. Unless I really need it and I planned poorly, I don't buy thread unless it's 50% off. This happens regularly, so I buy a few spools of the Coats & Clark thread in natural and black because those are the two shades I can use for almost any project. I try to keep a few spools of brown on hand, too since the natural doesn't always work for brown projects.

2. Patterns. I don't buy patterns until they are around $.99 a piece. They go on sale regularly and I always scratch my head when I see people shopping for them at full price.

Note: By patterns I mean only the patterns at Joann. I'm willing to pay a lot more for a pattern at my local shops. I understand the amount of time it takes to put a pattern together. The patterns at my local shops are usually indie crafter patterns and that's something I'd like to support.

I always try to keep a few bags of batting and fiberfill on hand. I like to get those when they're on sale for at least 50% off. I can maximize my items per stop this way. If I can get an item I'll use at a better discount than if I use a coupon for, I do.

So, while the cashiers always look annoyed when I use a coupon on something very small, it's almost always something I need to buy for a project I want to work on, so I'd rather wait and buy my some other notion or tool or whatever with next week's coupon. I'm all for saving that $.75 on a zipper if that's what I'm shopping for and I didn't need anything bigger that week.

I live about 4 minutes from my Joann location and drive by the store nearly every day. It doesn't take much effort for me to stop in for a small item when I know it's on sale and I can get a good deal. I'm aware this system wouldn't work for everyone, but this is how I do it.

Let's recap:
1. Plan your projects.
2. Check your stash first.
3. Make a list of the items you need for each project.
4. Gather your coupons (be sure to use the ones that expire the soonest first).
5. Check the sales flier. Make notes on when to buy certain items and from where to save the most money.
6. Start the shopping.
7. Smile at the fact that you may have to stop into your store a couple times to accomplish it, but with a little bit of planning, you got the best deal possible.

I hope I may have pointed out a few ways to save you money.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bastille's Baby Quilt

So, the quilt has been revealed. I think they liked it. :D That means I can now show it off to all of you!

Here are a few shots for your viewing pleasure.

The front:
Front - Full

A close-up of the lion block on the front:
Front - Detail

The back:
Back - Full

The flamingo block on the back:
Back - Detail

I tried a few new things on this baby quilt.

1. I kind of figured out how to use the quilting foot on my machine. I was able to do a free-motion quilting pattern Jason and I created on the computer.

2. I thought I should try to push myself to do something really cool with the quilting on this one. It was screaming to be something other than a geometric quilting design. I didn't want to do stitch-in-the-ditch because it never comes out perfectly. Jason and I brainstormed and came up with something we thought was perfect for this quilt. We scanned in the fabric I used for sashing. Then we traced the outlines of a few leaves in Photoshop. We ended up with an image that looked like this:
Leaf template
We printed it onto some cardstock. Cut it out and traced it with chalk onto the quilt top. I then traced the chalk lines with my needle and thread. I think it turned out pretty neat.

3. Since I was working on the quilting on International Quilting Day, The Quilt Show opened up their shows for free. (Thanks to Jamie for sharing that big of info with the KCMQG.) One of the episodes I watched was this one with Philippa Naylor. She gave this brilliant tip. Use some of the non-skid pads for in your kitchen cabinets as a gripper for quilting. (I had been considering some gloves, but couldn't find any, didn't want to spend the time hunting, and have decided I like this better!) I immediately went into the kitchen and cut off a piece of the gripper I have under a rug. Brilliant! It works beautifully for maneuvering the quilt easily. Love it!

4. I designed my own pattern. It was fairly simple to make and I like the way it turned out.

I had a thought after finishing this quilt. I was thinking it could be a fun and easy quilt to do a quilt-along here on the blog. What are your thoughts? Would anyone be interested in participating?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sewbot's Favorites - March 29, 2010

sewbot's favorites
Yesterday was a fairly nice day so Jason and I headed out and about. I've been wanting to go to Anthropologie for a while now. I've never bought anything there, but I love to look at their stuff. There's so many things there that I could make myself. I just love that place. Anyway... that's not the point of my story.

So, on the way home we stopped my Urban Arts + Crafts. They had a display for this class. It's for the same class Jason and I took a while ago. Do you see the orange bag on the right side?
Screenprinting Display

This bag:

That was one I made in the class! I didn't like it enough to take home, so I tossed it there. Isn't it crazy that they snatched it to display it? I think that's pretty cool. It's always fun to see that somebody else likes what you made.

That's definitely my favorite thing for this week; finding something I made unexpectedly.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sneak Peek!

I'm heading to a baby shower today for my sister-in-law, Elle who is pregnant with little Bastille. Here's a sneak peek of what I made for her.

Baby Flamingos

I'll post the rest soon. I don't want to ruin any of the surprise, so this is all I'm sharing for now.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Quilting Day!

So, I've heard rumors that today is International Quilting Day. I'm spending mine working on a quilt for the newest addition to the family, Bastille! Well, I really hope his name won't be Bastille. Jason and I are just calling him that because he's due on July 14th, Bastille Day. I'd stop and take time to photograph what I'm working on, but I'm kind of on a time crunch (the shower is next weekend). Anyway... off I go to start working on it for the day.

How are you spending your International Quilting Day?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blog Roll

You may have noticed that my blog roll has disappeared for the last few days. Well, it's back. I was trying to manage a few things on it and it seemed easier to remove it for a few days and get all the changes made and then repost it. Hope it wasn't too much trouble for you (Mom) to surf all of your favorite blogs without my roll.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Papa's 80th Birthday

I mentioned that my family got together over the weekend to celebrate my Papa's 80th birthday. I made him a mini quilt similar to my gramma's (see the post from Monday) for his birthday.

This is the photograph I started with. It's him in 1933 (see the license plate?).
Little Papa

I love old photographs. They have such a gestalt that just doesn't seem be captured in today's photographs. This one is one of my favorites.

I used pretty much the same process I described in the post about my gramma's mini quilt, but used fusible web instead of fabric glue. That seemed to be a little easier than tracing on freezer paper (I just traced onto the fusible web, ironed that on and cut it out) and lay a little more smoothly.

Papa - Face

Papa - Feet & Headlights

Here it is all framed up. I used an identical frame and the same fabric selections as my gramma's. I thought they would look nice as a pair.
Papa - Full

I think Papa really liked it. He set it up on the table next to him at lunch and I could see him glancing at it occassionally. He said something like "I was a cute little devil. I had hair then, (pause) but I didn't have any shoes!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gramma's 79th Birthday

I know how to spell Grandma. When I was little, I misspelled it Gramma and it has just stuck. Don't make too much fun of me.

My Gramma turned 79 last month. Since my grandparents really don't need anything, I decided to make something for them to brighten their day.

I started this photo of my gramma & three of her sisters.

I put it into Photoshop to crop and alter it. I used the cutout filter to blur it a little bit and determine how many colors (6) it should have.

I printed that out and traced it onto tracing paper. Using colored pencils, I colored each fabric a different color.

Then I cut a chunk of freezer paper for each of the colors. I translated the colors into a pattern and traced the pattern (backwards) for each onto the freezer paper.

After that I ironed the freezer paper to the back of the fabric and cut out each piece.

Once all the pieces were cut out, I layered them and used fabric glue to build my image.

Once that dried I machine quilted the mini quilt top on top of a layer of felt.
Gramma - Face

Gramma - Lap

Then I put it in a frame.
Little Gramma

It was a fun project to do. I think my gramma liked it. I love the thank-you cards she sends... the card for this one conveyed a little awe about the project and that I had come across this photo. Whenever I make her something, there's a story about the subject in the card. This one was about the dress she was wearing (her favorite) that she got to close to the pot-belly stove and burned the front off of.

I got the idea for this from an article titled Creating Figures in Fabric written by Leni Levenson Wiener and published in Quilting Arts Magazine's February/March 2010 issue.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sewbot's Favorites - March 14, 2010

sewbot's favorites

Gramma, Mom & Papa
Editted to add this (since I realized after posting that I had not explained this photo.)
My Papa turns 80 on Wednesday. Jason and I got to join a lot of my family yesterday to celebrate. My uncle Pat kept it a secret that my parents & sister were driving in from Omaha and Jason & I were coming from Kansas City. He was so surprised! We met in Des Moines for lunch and had a lot of fun. This photo is of my Gramma, Mom, and Papa.

My favorite thing this week is getting to be a part of the fun.

One other favorite.... Happy Pi Day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wish me luck!

I'll be at Benson High School in Omaha today doing a craft show. If you're in the Omaha area and wish to stop by, check out the details below.