Monday, December 11, 2017

How to evaluate a successful sale

The unexpected, last minute sale took place last weekend, over Friday and Saturday.  It was in a smaller rural town, and there were three more craft sales in town that weekend, which in our area is a "good thing". Multiple sales, close together, tend to attract rural people, as it means less driving.  Our sale was in a private home, that had been pretty well been of furniture, leaving enough room for 6 booths.  Additionally, a large table had been set up to facilitate demonstrations, an advertised offering, that was hoped to attract customers.  Everyone had contributed to baked goods and apple cider, as well.

Well, Friday was a bust.  There were 5 customers.  But, this meant that 6 artisans were together for the whole day, with food and mild drink, all with their goods, both completed and in progress.  We all came to the table with different experiences within our crafting life, and different interests.What a marvelous opportunity for networking, idea exchange,  and general support.  Everyone lady there had nothing but positive comments about that part of the experience, and all agreed to try to do it again. 

Thankfully, Saturday was a busier day, with some good sales--unfortunately not for me, but I did come home with a small profit.
What I did sell was mixed media bookmarks.   This was a new product for me, and they had been made for a future scheduled event.  Looks like I have to make more.

So, overall, I came away with a feeling that this had been a good sale.  But that evaluation has little to do with profit, and much more to do with the entire social milieu.

Then today I received not only a cheque from a different venue, but an order for more items.  Looks like I'll be busy for the next while.  Good thing I'm ready for Christmas.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


The orange perle cotton I ordered in mid-October arrived today!  No more complaining about how long it was taking to get here.  

But this brings up a new problem.  I got so frustrated waiting, that I started a couple of new projects, and took on a couple more commitments. Oh, oh!  Well, this just means that I get to make another time-framed "to Do" list! Yay!

Lately I've been very frustrated by the small size of my main studio, and the clutter that makes it so difficult to work efficiently. 
Since I've also been doing a lot of culling in the basement studio, there are enough empty drawers in my rolling cabinets, that I was able to free one up.  That's what I've did, installing it in the closet of the bedroom I'm now using upstairs.  I don't know if I've actually made more space, but it sure looks like it, and I feel much better about the whole thing.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Be careful what you ask for

Over the past while I've been having a bit of a "pity party", bleating about waiting for supplies, and having nothing to do.  Well, within the last 24 hours, I've been invited to participate in a home based up-scale craft show, in two weeks (Eeek!), and a small gallery exhibit next fall.  Both of these events came out of the blue.  So, all of a sudden I'm excited an energized.  Spent today alternately working on the grey hexie bag I spoke of in my last post, and a large group of mixed media bookmarks.  The bookmarks involve a lot of "hurry up and wait", while glue dries.  My stock was down to 7, not enough to do anything with.  I use them as conversation starters at sales, and they don't bring in much profit, but they are a steady seller, for me.  This time of year I market them as stocking stuffers.  As you can see, they are one of a kind, and presented in clear cellophane bags, so I feel comfortable having them at a more upscale sale.  I have also tried to sell cheaper fabric ones, without success, and ended up including one in every bag I  used for sales, just to get rid of them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Still procrastinating

I'm a little disappointed that the thread I ordered on Nov 8 wasn't shipped until Nov 18th.  No wonder it didn't arrive last week.  And still no sign of the other thread that was ordered last month.

So-o-o, a long talk with myself, acknowledging that, even when the threads do arrive, most of the work on the reliquary will be done by hand.  So why not start a new machine project, before I make myself crazy?

For awhile now I've been talking about all of the hexies that I've basted over the past year, cutting up any and all scrap fabrics that arrive on my work table.  Many of them have gone into the larger hexie quilt that I'm hoping to finish for a judged quilt show, but there have been a lot of others that didn't fit that colour scheme.  My thought had been to make those up into work bags like the ones my Mother and Grandmother used to keep their knitting in.  With so many crafters going into  knitting, and hand sewing or embroidery--so called "slow stitching",  these just might be something that could sell. There would be minimal construction cost, as most fabric would come from my stash.  So this week I started on the first of them.  I have one that I finished quite some time ago to use as a model, and now have the basic body of the grey  bag pieced and quilted, by machine.  Now it just has to be lined, and sewn onto the handles.  I have both a purple and  blue one planned, and the hexies, and wooden dowels ready.  

This should keep me busy and off the streets for the next week or so.

I plan to link this with The Needle and Thread Network.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Not much progress around here

Maybe I'm in a creative slump. The little embroidery project is still troublesome, and the work slow, as I limit my work to about an hour a day.  It's on 36 count Aida fabric, and somewhat small for my current vision ( old age is a bitch)  Otherwise, I seem to be just procrastinating like a good thing.  I'm puddling along, working on small insignificant things.  Have made a good start on some ATC's that aren't needed until Dec 3rd.  Today I'll be putting the finishing touch on the last of the 3  large Christmas stockings I have made for charity, and have to be finished by Dec 14th.  I managed to pick up the ribbon I needed for the final bow on the cuff, that turns the last stocking into an very acceptable effort instead of a "ho-hum" thing.  I had to wait until Christmass-y stuff was in the stores.

There's lots of stuff on my "to do" list.  I have a night shirt to finish for my husband, which I hope to get done tomorrow.  Some of the thread I ordered for the new reliquary should arrive early next week, so the next thing will be more preparatory work on that.  I've always found December and January good months to work on charity quilts, as that is something I can pick up and put down fairly easily, when family or social events intrude on studio time.  Then there are the two serious exhibition quilts that are ready for sandwiching and machine quilting. The basting would be a full days work.

But--I just need to get down to it, and stop reading books and drinking coffee!

Friday, November 3, 2017


I have several projects on the go, but have reached a point of waiting--for supplies, mainly, but also for enough free time, to actually get something done.  There are a couple of tv shows I like to watch, spending, at most about 2 hours in a day, one of which is dedicated to the news.  When I'm in front of the tv, I like to do a bit of hand stitching.  This is how I managed to baste the thousands of hexies that I have sewn together, and have stored in very large Zip-Loc bags in my closet. But now that I've vowed to never baste hexies again, I needed a hand stitching project.  At the same time, I allocate a few minutes every day to sort and cull the stash of quilting, embroidery and mixed media supplies that have accumulated in my life over the past 60 years. Wednesday, with my husbands help we ended up with two green garbage bags for the thrift store and one very full  bag for garbage.  In all of this I found a little beginner-type, inexpensive cross stitch embroidery kit.  Since it had been opened, and the first basic preparation steps taken, I decided to take a look at finishing it while I watched tv over the next few days.

Now, you must understand that I've been a dedicated embroiderer for many years--active in associations, and exhibiting my work all across the country. This petered out about 8 years ago when the arthritis in my hands made its presence known.  But the ability to do cross stitch remained, as that's basically a non-resistance exercise, and my pain is almost negligible when doing it.  I know embroidery, having taught most types of it, and having worked as a needlework finisher for many years.  But- you'd think I had never touched a needle before with this stupid little Christmas decoration!  I worked a bit last evening, and then this morning, then took that out, took it off the frame and started from scratch.  Then this afternoon, did more ripping out than actual sewing.  Does this mean you can't go back?  Not really, as I quickly got my two handed stitching technique back.  Thank Goodness!  But some very basic steps and routines have had to be learned over again.

But maybe life is built on challenges.  Or maybe I need to think so right now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Joining polyester batting

This is the method I use.  Others may do it differently.

I but the edges to be joined together, and start at the left end of the join.  I use a ve-e-r-y long double thread in a longer hand sewing needle.  A "darner" works well.  Using a Herring bone stitch, I take a stitch on one side of the butted together edges, and then on the other side.  I have a picture of my actual work, using a white thread with the white batting.  This is on 11oz polyester batting, but the techniques works on just about any weight.

I case the picture isn't clear, I did a little sampler using black thread.

On the reverse almost nothing can be seen.  This is the side I would put against the top of the quilt.