On Saturday, I visited White Rabbit Cottage in Marietta to buy a birthday gift for my Mom. Quite by accident, the owner, her mother and I found ourselves involved in an interesting discussion on pricing, inventory and running a small business. They gave me some wonderful advice and I “sort-of” planted the seed of the services my fledgling business offers. Guess that would be called networking?
This afternoon while driving home from the quilt show @ Intown Quilters, I received a harried call from a number I didn’t recognize. It was a sewing referral from a friend and unfortunately, I couldn’t talk to her as I was navigating heavy downtown Atlanta traffic. I told her I’d call back after while. Yes, it turns out I’ll make a few extra dollars sewing a decorative border to a tablecloth my friend is going to embroider for someone. Definitely a rush job and pricing was adjusted accordingly.
Last week I found out that I’m receiving a stipend for an article I volunteered to write for a quilt related organization.
I’ve asked the big man upstairs for a signal that it’s time to formally establish my sewing business. Hmmm. Think I got three of them this week.
If stuff starts to sell in the Etsy store, I really will need to get that business license and the tax-id number so I can be legit and purchase my materials wholesale.
This afternoon I dug through the pile of treasures I’d set aside as possible items to sell on Etsy. A couple of feet, workbooks, Kwik Sew Book, notions and a pile of chalkboard iron on transfers made the cut. Setting an appropriate price point was a little trickier than I thought. Most of my items are unused and still in their original packaging. They came to me via a neighbor who used to own a custom sewing business. I think she bought out the existing inventory of a shop that was closing a few years ago.
A little time spent researching similar items on the web yielded the information I needed to set my prices and establish appropriate shipping fees. I dutifully took my pictures, but realized when I went to list the items that I’d left the camera cord and card reader at work. Oh well, I’ll have to wait until tomorrow. No big deal.
Stash (noun) – an assortment of fabric collected with every intention of using it in a project *someday*.
With that bit of background knowledge shared, may I proceed?
De-stashing (verb) – (1) the fine art of culling one’s personal fabric collection; (noun) (2) the stage of fabric acquisition where one refuses to make additional purchases until existing inventory stores are depleted.
BTW – Can you tell I’ve been reviewing dictionary skills and parts of speech with the fifth graders?
I am officially on a fabric diet. My stash runneth over and the projects I bought to do “someday” are taking up too much valuable real estate in my stash closet. So except for the balance on my Joann’s card and the $40 Groupon to Intown Quilters, I have no more funds allotted to fabric until the UGA throw quilt, Christmas throw quilt and one of the baby quilt kits are completed. Completed means quilted, bound and ready to use.
My Etsy store is set up. I need to get five items photographed and listed. Like Nike says – just do it! These items were all gifted to me by a former neighbor. I helped her clean out 30 years worth of sewing stuff. The bulk of it was donated, but I kept the notions, vintage patterns and cool fabric I thought I could sell to raise funds for our reading dog work. While I gladly volunteer my time to do my therapy dog work, it does require some cash to buy the books, prizes, treats, supplies, uniforms and liability insurance required by the program. Guess I will do a little comparative shopping to see what to list my items for and then guesstimate the shipping costs. Hope to have the items listed by week’s end.
While on vacation, I picked up a pretty, throw-size quilt kit @ Quilter’s Way for about $30.00. The shop had marked down various unsold kits and offered an extra discount on sale items that day. Staff had modified the “Just Can’t Cut It” pattern that I already had at home for a 9″ block. The price was certainly right as I was looking for inexpensive, easy tops to make so I could practice free motion quilting. My thinking was I could either donate the finished quilt or give it away as a gift.
Well, I’m to the point where I can start assembling the quilt top. Tonight, I went on a mission to get all of the parts to the project together and put it in one of my ArtBin containers. I couldn’t find all of the pattern instructions. I turned my sewing room inside out looking for that instruction sheet.
To make a long story short, yes I eventually found the missing page. However, my sewing room looked like a war zone by the time I’d finished.
It took three hours to clean up the mess.
But it’s clean, everything is in its place and I am READY to sew tomorrow.
This one had me way outside my comfort zone. Provided with two packs of solid fat quarters and told the winning criteria would be the best use of the fabric provided. The finished project is my original design with a vintage meets modern twist. My inspiration was an English cottage garden with its winding pathways and riots of colorful flowers in no particular order. Appliqued art deco style trumpet tulips make up the corner blocks on the borders. I had this fabulous idea for machine quilting, but when time came to execute the idea, there was a failure to launch. It looked awful. Much reverse sewing took place, including many a decorative stitch. In the end (and up against a deadline) I wound up simply ditch quilting on the body (very busy riot of color) and free form vines in the borders. Know what? It works. That’s one reason I was attracted to the modern quilt movement…simple quilting is fine. The simple quilt design mantra is also one Kaffe Fassett preaches in his classes.
After a brief trip out to run a couple of pressing errands, it’s back to binding. We have to keep our challenge entries under wraps until the end of next week, but here’s a closeup of one of the tulip blocks:
So I received my potholder swap partner’s info. Hmmm. Perhaps that red coffeepot I stitched during my l-o-n-g journey home from New Hampshire would go well with the red, aqua and white color scheme requested. Think I have a FQ of Moda in the stash that I picked up during Shop Hop this spring. That would look good on the back with a red/aqua/white stripe around the embroidery. Will set it in a square within a square design. Swap partner also said she likes orangey-red. Hmmm. Will have to consult the paint chips @ HD to find an orangey-red I can use as a guide.
Yesterday, I dropped off Boomer, changed out of my R.E.A.D. gear, loaded up the SUV and headed north about an hour to our designated retreat location. One of our members lives in a large planned community with a sprawling clubhouse complex. We rented one of the meeting rooms for the day. For $30/person, it was a huge room with plenty of space for the two dozen or so attendees.
I came in half-way through the day, so I missed the first round of the Left-Center-Right game and apparently a fabulous bag-making class. I arrived around 3 p.m. and immediately got to work on the chili pepper table runner kit I’d brought with me. I chuckled as I saw the mounds of things my fellow quilters had brought with them. We have some serious overachievers in our midsts. I managed to get all of the pieces cut and the 60 half-square triangles made for my table runner, plus assemble almost an entire block. I sewed something in backwards that necessitates removing about half of the stitching. I’ll correct it and set the table runner aside to work on at our sew-in on Thursday night @ Tiny Stitches.
I daresay everyone enjoyed the chance to work on projects uninterrupted and be surrounded by like-minded fabric enthusiasts. I returned home very tired, but with my creative batteries recharged. I broke through the creative block I’d been suffering from for the past two weeks. You see, my Kona challenge quilt top is complete except for the four trumpet tulip applique blocks I’d planned to use in the corners. Foundation paper piecing didn’t look right, but I knew those blocks would really add some oomph to my overall quilt design. I simplified the design and proceeded to satin stitch those flower parts down. Fortunately, I had coordinating shades of Sulky thread in the stash. Tomorrow, I will attach the borders and pin baste the top.
It’s obvious from the pictures taken at the Library Island event and our quilt retreat that yours truly needs to seriously lose some weight. I’m not real happy with the latest reading on the scale or my BMI either. So, it’s work in the sewing room for an hour a day during my peak craving time (4:30-5:30 p.m.) to keep me out of the kitchen. A win-win. I don’t munch mindlessly and my sewing projects get finished.