Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Santa's Workshop

My little Santa's Workshop has been busy for the last several weeks.  That's why there hasn't been a post on this site in quite some time.  Before Christmas is over I felt I should show a little of what I've been doing locked in my Workshop (Studio/Sewing Room) at night.

I had a few orders for neckwarmers.  This is one that a friend had asked for to give as a gift to her sister.

It's knit from a dark purple brushed Baby Alpaca.

This one was ordered by my beautician for herself.  I ended up just giving it to her as a Christmas gift.

I didn't get a picture of it finished before I gave it to her, but it's a black ruffled neckwarmer with silver buttons.  Just like the dark purple above.

My mother had requested an apron for Christmas about a month ago, and actually picked out the fabric that she wanted it made from.

She picked out the black floral.  I then found these other fabrics that coordinated and I had this good lace that I knew I could incorporate in some way.

The apron is almost done.  I will get it finished tonight. I'll be sure to get a picture of the finished product.
I always worry a little in making something that someone has specifically ordered in fear that it won't turn out as they imagined.  If someone is paying me I feel an obligation to  get it exactly right and then always let them know that they are not obligated to buy it if it's not what they wanted.  So far no one has refused anything.  I really prefer to make what I like and if someone wants to buy it, great.

I also made a chunky neckwarmer for my Mother-in-law to match the hat I gave to her.

Here's the hat.  Still need to take a picture of the matching neckwarmer.  I gave her the hat already and now will need to mail the neckwarmer to her.

And I'm still working on the black hooded sweater requested by my son.  It's not going to be finished for Christmas.  Maybe for his birthday in April.  It's something I work on in between other projects.

Can't tell much from this picture.  Black is very hard to work with, too, because it's hard to see.

I wish I could get a lot more done.  Maybe if I had elf helpers!  Oh well!!
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Quilt Tour

Less than two weeks now until Christmas and I love to have all the decorating and preparations almost complete by now so I can sit back and enjoy it all.  On my other site you can see the decorations inside and out and all the trees I put up.  I also have several quilts and pillows that I have made over the years for Christmas.  They come out of the closet for about one month a year, so here they are.

This is a very small quilt that sits on a table at the top landing of my staircase.  The quilted poinsettias are 3D.  They are only attached to the quilt at the center of each flower.

The "Joy" wallhanging is made to look like stained glass.  It hangs in my shoe and purse loft guest room

Here's a pillow that goes with it.

This is a flannel rag pillow.  The seams are all on the outside and then are frayed.

This is made from a darling red toile winter scene.  I also made the pillow behind it that is a hand quilted design.

A bargello design that hangs on a quilt hanger in the upstairs hallway.

Trying to get a full view of same quilt from first floor

A reversible table runner on my living room coffee table that my ceramic manger scene sits on.  It reverses to autumn colors.

Hope you enjoyed my little Christmas quilt tour.  I hope to have at least one new one next year.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Art Shows are Fun!

This is such a busy time of year and I love it.  As long as people leave me alone so I can do what I need to do!
Last Sunday, two of my very talented friends and I had an art show at the new local coffee shop.  We had a steady flow of people show up and a very good response.  This was just a show, no selling.

l-r - Anju, Alma and me

Anju does beautiful mosaics.  She designs them from start to finish.

Alma is a very talented painter.  She has been painting for about 20 years.

I displayed my miniature quilts.  Most of them are framed, a few aren't.

This one on the right is a piano counted cross stitch and then borders added and quilted.

This upcoming Sunday some other local artists, including myself, are having an Open House where we'll be selling our creations.  I'll include my smaller framed quilts, pincushions, and knits.  My mother is also going to be including the dog tag pendants that she's working on.  I think we're going to have a very large turnout for this event.  I'm looking forward to it and a little nervous.  This is my first show for selling.  Will people buy?  Do I have enough to show?  And if I do sell, my Etsy shop will look empty!  O.K., let it go and whatever happens, happens.

I have just finished knitting two neck warmers and listed them on Etsy.  I can make these fairly quick so they're good items to sell.  They are really warm and fashionable, too.  Isn't my model cute?  She's very cooperative!

This one is made from 100% Sherpa Wool.

This one is brushed Baby Alpaca with a ruffle on the end.

I just started a pink one that I'm making very similar to this blue one with a ruffle. 
I would like to get a few more pincushions done by Sunday, too.
I'm also in the middle of putting up Christmas trees.  I put up about six of them in various sizes.  All with a different theme.  I'll be posting them on my other blog eventually.  I want to get them all done by this weekend because we're leaving the day after Thanksgiving for Spokane to visit my son, DIL and granddaughter.  Very excited!  Check my other blog for more details on this later, too.

I'll keep you posted on the Open House.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Teacups, quilts and headbands.

I am so loving my little teacup pincushions.  I love buying the antique tea cups and little shoes and little vases.  I love picking out the materials and colors to transform them.  I love putting all the pieces together.  Here's the one I finished last night.

I call it "Sand and Sea".  This turquoise color is so pretty and the cup itself is very delicate.

I also have another little quilt I need to get framed.  Maybe I'll get that done tonight.  I'd like to start on another quilt, too.  They are a little more time consuming, so I need to really be in the sewing/quilting mood.

I finally finished knitting my pastel rainbow headband last night.  What a pain this had become.  I thought I had it finished according to size a few nights ago.  I bound it off, sewed up the ends and it was too small.  Must be that my head is larger than I thought!  So I took it partially apart and made it longer.  I have to say that it turned out pretty good after all the frustration with it.

It goes with this scarf that I finished a while back.

I'm not putting these up for sale.  I'm keeping for myself.  I actually should give as a Christmas gift, but no - I'm keeping and wearing myself.  Way too much time involved to sell at a decent price.  And besides, I love the colors for me.

Now, I also have to mention my blog and Etsy friend, Cathy Strate of Tolentreasures .  She had an Open House at her home on Saturday and since I realized we live fairly close and I was going to be down her way on Saturday, I looked her up and visited her at her open house.   She felt like an old friend, even though we met face to face for the first time.  We both have grandsons named Logan and granddaughters that were born on the same day.  She has a wonderful Etsy shop and is very creative and talented.  I think this world of blogging is so amazing.  You meet people that you have so much in common with and it is such a thrill if and when you get a chance to meet in person. 
So pay Cathy a visit.  She's  a very sweet, warm person with a great blog and shop.  I hope we get to see each other again soon.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My First Sale!!

Woo Hoo!!  Finally!  I'm so excited.  Last night I had the e-mail from Etsy saying I made a sale.  So now I have to get it wrapped, packaged and mailed.  I'll be doing that this morning.  Good customer service is just as important as the marketing and promoting. 
I sold the little yellow pincushion, Buttercup. (See it it my previous post)  It is darling.  I better get busy getting more things made.  I've had more e-mails from people possibly interested in Christmas presents.  And two of my very talented girl friends and I are having an art show next Sunday, in which I will be showcasing my mini quilts.  The following Saturday, another girlfriend is hosting a arts and crafts bazaar at her home and I'll be selling  all my things there.  I was given advice that I should put my Etsy shop on "vacation" mode that particular day so that I don't end up selling the same items to two different people at the same time.  That could get a little sticky. 
This is fun.  It's a lot of work, though.  At least now I feel it's a step in the direction of being worth it. 
My mother is now going to get on board.  She has been wanting to turn some of her creative ideas into the real tangible deal.  She saw this done by the daughter of a friend.  You take just plain, silver, dog tags and decorate in various ways, then cover with resin to make it shiny.  That's a very simplified description.  They turn out very unique and different.  Each of them One Of a Kind that invites many Oohs and Aahs and compliments. That's the goal, anyway.   I'm helping her with these to get started.  I also had the idea of making tiny little quilts to apply to the tag first as a base or background.  This is all still a work in progress and I'll show pictures once we get some finished pieces that we're happy with and ready to "take to market". 
Believe it or not, there is even research that we had to do on these tags.  We have found out that you don't want to go with nickel plated, but instead want to use silver plated.  Nickel can cause allergies and other problems with many people and is actually not allowed to be sold to or used in Europe.  Who knew?
I sure wish I had more time to spend on these fun hobbies of mine.  My family can be very time consuming and needy.  They are my priority, though, so I just wish I didn't have to sleep.  The middle of the night is the only time I have to myself. 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Old and New

I want to start this beautiful Sunday by saying that I wish I had the time to write on both of my blogs every day, and that is my goal, but right now I just don't seem to have the time.  I have to admit, though, that I just realized that between my two sites, this is now my 102nd post.  It adds up in six months.

Yesterday, Mom and I took the day to go furniture shopping, new and antique.  She's looking for new furniture for her family room and an antique night stand for her guest room.  I'm looking for an antique small coffee table for my tea room.  We struck out on all counts.
But---I was very excited about the teacups and vases that I found to either make into pincushions or just to add to my collections.

Antique tea cups (I think the little one in front is fairly new, but it's so cute)

I believe the one on the left is a small vase, as is the Imperial Glass
on the right.  The cup in the middle is a chocolate cup.

Here are the other teacups I've made into pincushions.

And miniature shoe

This little one is only about 1-1/2" high and 2" tall)

There's also the one from my previous post of October 10 (I can't believe it's been that long since I last wrote).  I'm having so much fun making these.  Picking out the fabric that best goes with the cup and choosing the different laces, ribbons, buttons and charms that seem to belong.

I  just finished another framed mini quilt.

This little quilt size is a little over 3" square, then mounted on linen, with the title "Reach for the Stars" cross stitched, bordered with lace on the top and bottom and framed in a 5x7 silver frame.  There is a star charm in the middle.

And I  finally finished my pastel rainbow scarf.

I made it 72" long and 3" wide so that there are many different ways of wrapping it or even making it into a bow.  This is a washable wool, very lightweight, so it lays so nice.  The knit stitch is a mock cable on one side.  I originally planned on putting this in my Etsy shop, but I think I might have to keep it for myself now.  I loved this yarn so much that I got some more and just started a "Kisses and Hugs" cable pattern headband to go with it.

It's a good thing this is only a headband and won't be very long because I really have to pay attention to the pattern.  I've torn out many times already.  TIP - don't knit complicated patterns late at night when tired!

Each night I decide what it is I want to work on for the evening.  I have to have several different projects going at once because I tend to get bored easily.  I think I'm going to sit and knit tonight.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

I was barely awake this morning, my eyes still closed, and I layed there thinking about my Etsy shop and how I needed to re-do my pictures.  I read a tip from someone on an Etsy forum yesterday that said she uses the same background and lighting for all her pictures so that her shop looks more uniform with a similar theme.  After looking at her shop, I could see what she meant.  That was my goal today, and that is what I've been doing all day.
My style is very feminine and lacy, so I needed to make this more of a theme.  I'm using a lace background now for all my pictures.  Now I need to re-take the pictures of all the items on there.  It's going to take a while.  Today I re-did my banner from this

to this

I re-did my avatar from this

to this

And I'm now using the lace background, for example:  this

to this

When I started this Etsy thing, I thought I would just take a picture of what I made, put it on the computer, and people would be flocking to my site to buy.  What made me think that?  Not happening!  The more I get into it, the more I learn and realize it is much more complicated than that.  The pictures have to be of excellent quality, so I now edit all my photos through Picnik, which is a great tool, by the way.  Very user friendly, fun, and it does an excellent job.  This is time consuming, though.  Then you have to have good descriptions, and tag the items with the right words so people can search it, and then promote and market yourself.  This really could be a full time job.  That's not considering the time making the stuff you make.  Why did I think this would be easy? 
But you know what?  I'm having fun.  I've made no money.  I'm spending an awful lot of time with it.  But it's fun.  Right now, though, it's still a hobby.  And I know I can't be spending eight hours a day on a hobby.  So little by little I'll just keep playing with it, and if I start to sell things I'll up the time investment.
A little bit of encouragement came my way today by way of a fellow Etsian and Blogger, Julie, at  She posted one of my pincushions on her blog as one of her favorites Etsy finds.

 I was very  touched and excited by this.  Thank you Julie.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making Progress

I've put myself on a semi-time schedule and it has helped me stay a little more organized and not feel so overwhelmed.  I actually wrote down a weekly schedule so I have particular things I need to get done each day.  Such as:  Monday is laundry and ironing day.  Tuesday is the day I send out mailers for my husband's business, etc.  Then I have a daily schedule where I give myself so many hours on the computer, so many hours updating my Etsy site, so much blogging time, etc., and I don't allow myself on the computer after 8 pm.  From 8 pm until I get tired I work in my sewing room on my projects while I watch TV.  Of course, this can all vary slightly when grandkids are here, or the phone rings, or someone shows up at the door.  Anyway, it's still helped me a lot. 
I got Riley's pink sweater done Monday night.  It turned out pretty good.

 I haven't seen it on her yet, but I think it will fit now.  Riley and Dee got here Tuesday and it is so nice to see them and to hold that beautiful little granddaughter again.

I listed my first pincushion on Etsy today.  I finished another one that I made out of a little antique china shoe.  It's so cute.  I know it's hard to tell from a picture, but this is only about 2" x 4".

I did make it to the flea market on Saturday and found several tea cups for more pincushions.  I got this little shoe there, too. 
I'm not sure if I'm going to knit tonight or make a tea cup pincushion.  Maybe a little of both.  First I have to look up the TV Guide and then get myself settled in.  My favorite time of the day.  Watch TV, get a snack, and do my thing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Computer Catch Up Day

Our lives are so computerized now, aren't they?  It's a rainy, cool day in Pennsylvania, My Bob is on the road today, and no grandkids today.  I've been sitting at my desk all day, getting papers organized, and caught up on all my web sites, e-mails, etc. 
I also finally got the quilted Guardian Angel change purse listed on Etsy.  (see previous post) I thought I'd get that done a week ago, but -----.
I finally finished the other green baby booty.  Dee, DIL, and Baby Riley, granddaughter, will be here on Tuesday.  I'm making progress on the pink baby sweater.  I HAVE to have it done by Tuesday, too. 
You would think that was enough to do, but Oh No, I have to always start something new!  I saw this yarn at my yarn store and had to have it.

For all you knitters out there, I'm sure you can relate.  Once I got the yarn home it kept staring at me as I was knitting that booty, so I had to pick it up and start the scarf I wanted to make with it.  This yarn is called Mini Mochi.  It's a thin, washable, wool.  I'm using two strands to mix up the rainbow colors and make it thicker.  It is so soft.  The pattern is a mock cable.  I love this yarn and colors.
You'd think that was enough going on, but Oh No.  I saw this insipiration for pincushions and I just had to make it last night. 

Isn't this adorable.  I'm hooked.  I'm looking through my teacup collection for my next future pincushion.  This particular cup is an antique shaving mug.  You can tell by the base.  It was made in Germany.  I'm going to get pink pearl head pins for in it. 
The last local Flea Market for the year is this weekend and I'm hoping to go tomorrow in search for perfect tea cups/soon to be pincushions.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Can't Stay Caught Up

I know this is becoming a constant theme with me and I'm sorry to keep on about it, but I can't seem to get organized with my blogging and my Etsy shop.  I can't find a good routine and time schedule to get it all done.  I still have my two grandsons 3 days a week, so that isn't helping.  Next week I will only have them for 2 days and then their mother will be done working.  I think then I'll miss having them and will still ask to have them visit a few times a week.  Then week after next my DIL and 4 month old granddaughter, Riley, will be home from Spokane for 2 weeks.  I can't wait to see them.  Anyway, it's all for good reasons that I don't have more time and I won't give any of it up.  The only answer is to not sleep.

I did manage to get some knitted  fingerless gloves finished and listed on Etsy.  I have a matching scarf that I think I'll be listing today.

I also just made a mini quilted change purse.  I call this one "Guardian Angel".  It's about 4" square with a velcro closure on top, and it's lined.  I loved making these little mini squares and then making them into something.

I'll probably get this listed on Etsy tomorrow. 

I am also trying to finish up a pink baby sweater for Riley to have ready when they get here.  And Dee (DIL) asked me if I had the second green booty finished to match the sweater set I made before she was born.  The answer was, "No".  I have to finish this within the next week and a half, too, because Dee wants to get Riley's picture taken in this outfit I made while she's here.  I'm so flattered by that so that needs to get done.
See what I mean, one booty.  O.K. so I'm overwhelming myself by writing this all down. 
If I could just hole up for the next several days with no one bothering me, no cooking, cleaning, etc. I think I could do it.  Realistically that's not going to ever happen. 
Gotta get busy with all this.  Right now, though, I have to go blow the leaves off the driveway. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tired of Pillows

I'm watching Design Star finale. I'm not sure who I want to win. I guess I'm leaning toward Dan. So I'm going to get off this computer and knit while I watch the show.
Since this was the first weekend in a month that we've been home the entire weekend, I used the time to sew. I seem to be on a little pillow kick right now. I finished this 10" square little one today for Fall. I love the rich colors on it. The pumpkin is pieced like a small crazy quilt and I embellished with embroidery by hand. The quilting was done by machine.

Here is the back of the pillow.

I just listed it on my Etsy shop.

I'm tired of sewing for a little while, so back to the knitting needles. I may even actually have to go to bed earlier than usual tonight. I'm just plain tired.

Friday, September 11, 2009

To Be a Business, Or Not To Be

Time, time, time! I wish I had more of it. I just have so many projects I'm working on and then so many more in my head. I overwhelm myself. I really need to get myself better organized. I started this Etsy shop, but I don't feel like I'm being serious enough about it. I haven't sold anything yet, and now it's becoming a "why, what's wrong" type of thing. You know, just the principle of it. I don't need to support a family or even myself, for that matter, but I need to feel like it's worth my time. I just read a good blog by and she gave some very good organizing tips. I did just have these cards made up. I designed it and had a local printer friend print them for me. I was happy with how they turned out. So I'll just keep sewing and knitting because I love to do it, but I am going to also become a little more business minded about the whole thing.
I still need to fit in the grandson babysitting for two weeks starting this Sunday evening, helping My Bob with his business, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and decorating the house here and there (which is also another hobby I enjoy), and the travelling we enjoy doing when possible. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining one little bit. I have a great life and very much appreciate that I can do all these things that I love to do. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Trying to be a perfectionist in all that I do takes extra time, but it's the only way I know how to do things.
I just finished this little pumpkin pillow for Halloween. I posted it on Etsy yesterday. I don't personally do much decorating for Halloween and I don't do orange, but I know a lot of people do. I prefer to decorate more in a Fall/Harvest type theme in golds, greens, and burgundys. Anyway, this little pumpkin was fun to make. The pillow is about 9" square and the pumpkin itself is about 4" square with approx. 37 pieces of fabric in that 4" square. I trimmed in black lace.

Here is the back of the pillow. I have a velcro closure on it and stuffed with Poly Fil.

I have Fall/Autumn pillow ideas in my head right now so that is probably my next project.

I'm also working on a knitted black sweater for oldest son, Austin. This was a special request from him and I'm just thrilled that he would wear something made by his mother. He's 28 years old. I guess I shouldn't get too excited yet. It's not done and there's no guarantee he'll like it or wear it. Oh well, at least he made the request.