Expanding my horizons

This weekend, I’m taking an art quilt class at the Greenville QuiltFest. Mixed media has always intrigued me, so here’s my chance to play with various threads, beads and other embellishments. I had great fun sorting through my stash of specialty threads to find the colors I need for my project. The instructor requested that students bring a machine with specific capabilities, so the Elnita EC30 is going with me. She’s already packed in the new wheeled tote. I think everything else is ready, as well. We’ll give it a final once-over Thursday night. Looking forward to a fun weekend.

In late August, my sister-in-law and I are going to attend a vintage sewing machine restoration workshop hosted by Sew Purty Workshops. She will tear down a vintage treadle machine and I’ll work on a Singer 99. Of course, we’ll make time for a visit to Paducah to see the quilts and shop at Hancock’s! I had hoped to stay in an AirBnB, but it didn’t work out with the particular place we were interested in staying. I think things actually worked out for the best, though. We’re staying at a cool vintage motel recommended by our sewing machine class instructor. Neither one of us has ever stayed at a place like this (and I doubt my husband will go for it either) and we decided to give it a try.

Finally, if you’re interested in the Garden of Quilts at Thanksgiving Point (Lehi, UT) – tickets go on sale May 2nd! Got the official email notification today. Have my desired class schedule mapped out, but there are a ton of other activities as well. I’ve learned to get my event tickets first, then book my air travel. Maybe I’ll run into some folks I went to the Featherweight Shop/JK Quilts retreat with in 2019!

I will be mentoring at the July kid’s quilt camp hosted by the SQTM. I will also be hosting biweekly sewing classes and weekly crafternoon sessions in my home studio all through the summer. Then, there’s the backlog of personal sewing/quilting projects that I’m itching to get started on. Plenty of time to sew in studio or sew with friends several times a month.

I am SEW ready to get the next four weeks behind me!

Best place to de-stash?

Locally – with your sewing, quilty and crafty friends or through your quilt guild – is hands-down the best place to de-stash. One of my coworkers bought 20 yards of Liberty of London fabric that had been sitting in my fabric stash since late 2019. I think she’ll buy the remaining yardage plus some other supplies before the end of school. Wonderful! The next time a local quilt guild hosts hosts a guild yard sale, I’ll be sure to get a table to sell stuff.

The second best place would be the Facebook Group(s) specific to the item you’re trying to de-tash. You have potential buyers who have already expressed an interest in your type of product by being a part of that group and you don’t have to pay listing fees. For example, I’m in several Lori Holt, Featherweight and Sizzix/Accuquilt Buy-Sell-Trade type groups. A sell group generally allows listers to sell items at retail prices plus shipping, but you need to be mindful of the group leader’s rules, especially if you are a business. A de-stash only group generally requires that items be listed 40%-50% off retail price for new items, with deeper discounts for used items. I’ve been able to sell off the leftover Lori Holt pewter vintage trim that I didn’t need and some duplicate Sizzix dies that were still in the original packaging.

Listing the item is only part of the transaction. Shipping and PayPal fees must also be taken into account. Shipping is the actual postage + packaging + your time/gas. Pirate Ship is the platform I use to to ship my packages. Right now, I don’t ship enough packages to justify paying monthly subscription fees other shipping platforms require. Most packages go USPS first class package service. I reuse packaging whenever possible and pick up #2 poly bubble mailers when I find them on sale. My shipping label is simply the pdf print-out cut to size and fully taped to the envelope. I have some Avery 8216 labels on order from amazon.com. We’ll see how well they work with future orders. I typically drop my packages at the post office when I’m out running errands, so I don’t really charge for gas. However, if I had someone who really wanted it to go out that day, I would add an extra $5.00-$10.00 rush fee for my services. PayPal fees are 49 cents plus 3.5% of the total transaction, including shipping. I include this fee when setting my item price and the packaging cost is factored into my shipping price.

I basically stopped selling on Etsy because Etsy keeps hiking the seller fees on EVERYTHING. My current web hosting service offers a storefront option, so this might be something to consider in the future. For now, though, it’s F2F local, FB Groups or Marketplace for this seller.

Thanks for proposed raise, sir, but retirement is calling my name

Our local school superintendent announced an 8.5% minimum pay raise for the upcoming school year. My coworkers are super excited about their soon-to-be bigger paychecks. Yes, any raise is certainly appreciated, but the extra couple hundred bucks a month I’d receive isn’t going to convince me to stay – not by a long shot. The siren song of early retirement is much more compelling.

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