Sunday, December 20, 2009

Making a List - Checking it Twice

I feel like Santa, except my list does not include gifts or names of good little boys and girls.

 My list is the next step in helping contain the UFOs in my sewing studio.  This is not a task I look forward to, making a list only confirms how much of a porcrastinator I am and maybe I do suffer from ADD (attention deficit disorder). 

I have numerous bags that contain completed blocks or quilt tops that have been accquired through participation in swaps, exchanges and round robins with other quilters all over the world.  Along with these there are many projects that I am guilty of starting all on my very own and I think it only makes sense that those closest to completion will take the top of the list.  Chosing these UFOs will get many projects out of the way quickly and hopefully give me some items to list in my shop as well as some lovely items to decorate my home.

The List: January 2010

1.   Flower Basket Wall Hanging
This is a completed wall hanging that requires only quilting and binding and is the result of a round robin challenge.  The center block, basket with flowers minus the jumbo rick rack handle, was the block I submitted for the challenge.  The two outer borders and the rick rack basket handle were added by the three other participants in my group. This item will grace the walls of my sewing studio when finished.

2.  Rose Garden Rag Quilt
The second item on the list for January is a set of 20 blocks made in flannel.  Each block will be layered and quilted individually and then pieced together with alternating blocks of a contrasting color in a rag quilt fashion.  This will be listed in my shop for sale as soon as it is done.

With Purple as the color theme for the month, I plan to kick off my sewing on Monday, January 4th and I only hope that  I don't sidetracked by other projects that need to get done or new projects that strike my fancy mid-stream.  Let's hope that this year will bring renewed focus and commitment to contain the beast that lives within.

Let me know how you are doing as the month progresses and I will do likewise.  I know that there are others like me out there and I could really use the company and the support of knowing somone else is working along with me.  Maybe we could share photos of your progress also, or if you blog too please share your link so we can check on your progress.

Friday, December 18, 2009

UFO Sightings

UFO sightings are a common thing in a quilter's world.  Many quilters will say that they believe in UFOs and they seem to multiply, and will take over the world if not tamed and imprisoned in  plastic bins, boxes and bags kept in the closet, sometimes kept under the bed and yes sometimes cleverly disguised as furniture.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the kind of UFO I speak of, well in a quilter's world these are known as "unfinished objects", a   plaque that seems to have no known cure.  Every quilter that accumulates UFOs knows that along with the New Year comes the recurring resolution to finish these creations and not start any new ones. 

Of course, as an experienced quilter and long time resolution breaker, I know that these promises are only futile attempts to contain ones obsession.  The reason is that with every new season fabric designers come out with a new line of fabrics in lucious colors and designs that even the most hardened quilter can not resist.  The cycle is never ending, because it seems that with each completed UFO a new one takes it's place, so for some of us the fight continues.  There are a select few quilters that are not afflicted by this uncontrolable desire to start new projects one on top of the other and to them I say..... Where do I get the vaccine to cure myself?

Quilters Unite!

This year let us make a serious effort to, if not tame the beast within, at least keep it at bay.  If you are one of the many plagued by this affliction, join me and take the pledge to see if we can finish at least one UFO per month, now that is not too much to ask.  Is it?

Let us come together and hope that at least one of us out there can contain this Uncontrolable Fabric Obsession

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making Memories

A couple of months ago I was at a craft show answering the usual questions that customers have when they see a quilter.  "Do you make all of these?" blah, blah, blah.  It was a slow day and sales didn't seem to be adding up to much, if any profit for the day.  I was getting discouraged especially since the day was almost over, when three people approached my booth and commented on how much they liked all they saw, and as they walked away I thought, "Well there goes another sale". 

As the group settled at another booth one lady walked back and asked, "Do you make memory quilts"?  Oddly enough I was in the process of making a photo memory quilt so I said, "yes".  She continued, saying, "I have 2 bags of shirts and I would like to have 4 quilts made for my family in memory of my Dad".  I had never made a memory quilt using clothing but in an instant my quilter's creativity began to whirl and ideas popped into my head one after the other.  I explained that this would be a first for me but if she was game so was I, she took my card with promises to call.  I have had numerous customers give me the same line so I took it all in with a grain of salt.

The weekend passed and on Monday morning I received a call from the craft show customer.  She had been anxious to call but had thought that calling on Sunday would not be appreciated so she had waited until Monday.  All weekend I had been tossing ideas around in my head and felt downhearted thinking that this was another opportunity that would fall through the cracks, so to receive her call was very uplifting.  We met and discussed design ideas and shopped for all the necessities to make these ideas a reality.  I took everything home knowing that these were to be Christmas gifts so I needed to work quickly but carefully because there was only so much fabric available.

Last week I delivered 3 of the quilts, the fourth will be done after the holidays, and my customer was overjoyed with the results.  She has given me permission to use images of her quilt in my Etsy shop as a custom order, knowing that any other quilt will never be the same as hers because of the memories associated with type and style of shirts that would be used.  If you are looking to make your own memories check out my shop,

All three quilts were designed, pieced and quilted by Quilting Frenzy in my studio.  I found it an emotional journey and learning experience as I took these items of clothing and created a memory of love for my customer and her family.  Two of the quilts were made entirely of flannel and the third was made of dress shirts.

In these quilts are memories of a lifetime that will be recalled everytime these quilts are viewed and when they are used they will bring someone home again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hung By the Chimeny wih care

As I continue my decorating frenzy, I don't just quilt like that, I have to move from one section of the room and keep it somewhat organized.  An organized frenzy, imagine that.LOL

I set up my mantel decorations with the focus being a sketch of the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany that I purchased at an estate sale about 5 years ago. 

Having spent many years in Germany while DH was in the army, this sketch immediately caught our eye and we just had to have it.  The frame was an inexpensive buy and the mat was a $$$ saving diy project, maybe that will be my next tutorial.

 I love to decorate, but keeping it on a budget is very important to me.  DH and I shop the after Christmas sales for the best bargins and have found some great items.  My tin soldiers, stocking hangers and garland, were all purchased that way over several years but have come together very nicely, at least that is what I think.

The next stop will be my entry way and dinning room as I finish up downstairs.  With Christmas being my favorite holiday and after so many years of collecting Christmas decorations and receiving some as gifts I am able to make my home a holiday extravaganza.  I wonder what I can add to my collection this year?   I still have four weeks to enjoy all this and then I will see what those after Christmas sales have to offer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ornament - Gift Tag Tutorial

With all the decorating going on I thought I would put together a fun and easy tutorial for a homemade Christmas ornament/gift tag.  I made a dozen ornaments for a quilters exchange that I participated in this year and I had all of them done in 2 days, so this is a good last minute handmade project.  This is also a good project for using up scraps of craft items you may already have on hand.

You will need the following materials (amounts will depend on how many ornaments you wish to make):

Holiday/Christmas or any fabric of your choice for the front of the tag/ornament
bleached or unbleached muslin for the backing
Peltex, felt or fusible felt (I used Peltex a very stiff interfacing also used for fabric postcards)
Fusible web such as wonder under
Sewing Machine (optional)
contrasting/coordinating thread or thread to match fabrics
cording, ribbon or twine
fine tip permanent ink marker ( I used a sharpie fine tip marker)
hole punch

First start with deciding the shape of your tag/ornament.  For this project I decided to use a rectangular shape but I have also made these using a circle.  I selected a border print fabric with a variety of Holiday items to choose from.

1. You can create a template, cut free-hand or use a clear acrylic ruler to cut out the shape, just make sure you cut out fabrics and peltex slightly larger than you want the finished tag to be.(1/4 of an inch is plenty)  I cut my shapes out freehand.

2. Following directions on fusible, iron the fusible web/wonder under onto the back side of each of your fabrics (holiday fabric and muslin).  Do this step before you cut out your shape or design.  Do not remove paper backing from the fabric yet.

3. On the paper side of the fusible web that has been fused to the fabrics use your template to trace the ornament shape on both the front fabric and the muslin or cut out your shape freehand.

4.  Cut out a piece of peltex slightly larger than the front fabric shape.


5. Following manufacturers directions iron the fabric ornament shape onto the peltex shape.

5.  Place ornament on the paper side of the muslin background fabric (step2) and trace around ornament.  Cut out muslin background just inside of tracing line.

6.  Score and remove paper backing from muslin and fuse to the back of ornament shape.

7.  Trim off excess peltex and backing fabric from the ornament.

8.  Using your sewing machine you can finish off the ornament with a straight stitch around the border or do a satin stitch(zigzag) around the edge using contrasting thread or thread that matches your fabric.

9.  Punch a hole to pass your string, ribbon or twine through. 

10.  Using your sharpie marker write a holiday greeting or the name of the person receiving the gift.

11.  Knot the tie and hang on the tree or add to a gift.

These are great tags that can be made with any fabric design for any occassion so you can use fabrics that represent the person that is to receive them.  I hope you enjoy making these cute little ornament/tags to add to your holiday gifts and decor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Cheer

Usually we procrastinate on decorating our Christmas tree but this year is different.  The day after Thanksgiving we pulled out the numerous boxes of ornaments and garland and began the week long event of decorating for the biggest holiday of the year, Christmas.  I thought I would share our progress as everything takes shape.
The family room contains the tree with the most familiar and the oldest ornaments we have, many dating back 30 yrs or more.  Every year we purchased a new ornament for each of our girls adding to their collections as they grew until they moved out of our home to live on their own.  With only one daughter left at home we have her ornaments on this tree, all 20 of them, soon to be a collection of 21 and along with those we have the ones that dear hubby and I have collected for ourselves since we were married.  Ornaments range from the ornate to the silly but each one is loved and cherished every year and each year one more finds its home in one of our trees.

Some may say that we over indulge having a tree in almost every room of the house, of course some of the trees are small and not really the focal point of the room so you really have to look around to find them.  This is my kitchen tree with ornaments that are food or cooking related, such as the cookie and spatula ornaments.  My baking Santa keeps the tree company and watches over my kitchen as we prepare to celebrate our Christmas holidays.

So this is just a peak at the ever growing decorations and everything should be up by the weekend and that means lots of work over the next few days.  With the weather growing colder we will light the fireplace and sip hot chocolate as we sit and enjoy the atmosphere.

Of course some little helpers just have to be the first to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere before everything is finished.

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Finds

Well last night I did a bit of searching out the Etsy holiday sales and found some lovely items to purchase.

This cute art doll fairy pin was featured on my blog once before and I just love the look and colors of this little cutie.  I have been watching this particular item for some time, so I finally decided she had to have a home.  She is on her way to me from the Etsy shop of DebiDesigns.

Along with the fairy pin I found some really cute pet ornaments.  The perfect holiday addition to your homes decor if you are a dog lover or know one.  I plan to use these as gift tags for some dog lovers I know.  These two are on their way to me from Dunk Designs another wonderful Etsy shop.

I have also added a quirky little pincushon to my collection from Tracy Designs, but mine will be a custom order similar to the one pictured below.  I can hardly wait to see what my little one will look like.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sale

Turkey is in the oven, sides are prepped and waiting to be heated or baked, pies are on the breakfast counter tempting everyone that walks past. Early dinner late lunch, that is our plan for the day along with planning our Christmas shopping for the best deals we can find.

I am not one to brave the 3:00 a.m. or all night waiting lines for the best "deals" in town. No, I would rather let my fingers do the walking and shop on-line for those special OOAK (one of a kind) items that will delight family and friends. Come with me on my search through Etsy and see what I have found.

First stop is my own shop where we will find free shipping, discounted prices and free gifts with purchase on several items.

This OOAK quilt has a very French Country feel in beautiful colors of soft yellow and multiple shades of blue. A quilt suitable for a twin bed or a full size bed that will come to you with free shipping.

This lovely little tote can be used as a purse, a craft tote for your sewing, crochet or knitting projects or as a gift bag filled with your ladies favorite scents or toiletries. If you purchase this little retro print tote I will throw in a matching zippered change purse for free.

These are just a couple of the sale items in my shop, but now it is time to take a break and check on eating some of that turkey and socialize with my guests. Don't worry there are more shops to check out for Black Friday Sales.

I'm back to stop in on a couple of other shops I found today.

How about these Mini EcoNotes, a great little stocking stuffer or use to add a personal note to your gifts. These lovely little note cards and envelops can be found at Nature's Cubbyhole. To find out about their discounted prices drop in to their shop and take a look around.

How about some jewelry?

This beautiful silver necklace is very modern, chic and eco friendly made from re-purposed items. A beautiful gift for someone or for yourself at a very reasonable price. Check out Iraisbloom at

Well, I hope you like my selections so far, there is still more to come as I search for the perfect gift, but for tonight I think my overeating coma is about to hit and I see a nap in my very near future.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quiltsy Team Sale Event Nov 13 - 20th

The Quiltsy Team is having a pre-holiday sales event this week and there are tons of items on sale for 10% off or more in many of the team member's shops. All you need to do is search Etsy for "quiltsysale" and you will be directed to the pages of items you can find at numerous shops. I have listed some of my favorite items in my "Sale" section at 10 to 20% off regular prices and some items are listed with free shipping. Prices have already been reduced on the listing so you don't need to wait for a revised invoice which makes checkout fast and easy.

Some of the items on sale in my shop are these lap quilts.

This first one called, "Gone Surfing", would make a great great gift for the vintage care enthusiast or a surfer, snuggle up and dream of summer days to come.

This girly girl quilt called "Her Majesty", would make a great lap quilt or crib quilt for the princess in your life, regardless of her age.

There are lots of items in my shop on sale, so if you have a favorite already marked check in and see if it has been reduced in price during this week long sale.

Friday, November 6, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons......

No, I didn't get lost in Houston. We made it there and home with a nice stash of items along with lots of inspirations to work on this next year .

I have heard the saying, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade", numerous times. What if life hands you a bushel of lemons, do you just keep making pitcher after pitcher of lemonade or is there something else you can do? Life seems to be a bushel of lemons right now and I am doing my best to make lemonade but there is only so much lemonade you can take. Maybe I will try for lemon meringue pie instead, more sweet than tart.

Business had slowed down after Houston, we had a craft show and although I thought my display wall and baskets were a great asset to my booth, the sales were not so great. I handed out the usual business cards and answered numerous questions about custom work, which always happens without much follow up.

Well, just as I was beginning to think that business was taking a slumping down turn, I had a call from a friend inquiring for a friend (a likely story one would think in other circumstances) about doing a custom quilt. This time I had the option of following up or just letting it slide. What to do? Well of course I did what any good business person would do, I slept on it and called the next day. I ended up with an order for 2 custom quilts and a possible third after the holidays. I have since finished one quilt and with the owners permission I am proud to display the first Photo Memory Quilt made by Quilting Frenzy.

Then came the kicker, I got a call from one of my inquiring customers at the show and I ended up with 4 more orders for custom quilts. Now I am up to my eyeballs in custom orders and already have 2 more to look forward to after the holidays.

Maybe lemon meringue pie was a better way to go.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


As a quilter, I feel, that everyone should attend at least one quilt show and if you can make it to one of the larger Quilt Festivals then take advantage of it. The quilts are no longer just quilts, with new techniques, styles and fabric designs it is amazing what these quilters create. There are also some great classes that you can attend to give a boost to what you already know or teach you something new. If you would like to share the experience of Quilt Festival in the comfort of your own home click on this link and see some of the excitement going on in Houston this weekend.

Our reservations for accomodations and classes to be taken were made months ago and work schedules have been adjusted so that nothing interferes with our yearly ritual. Cell phones, cameras and good shoes are at the top of our prep list because we know that we will be on our feet from the time the show opens till it closes. We have our shopping strategy planned and our class schedules worked out so that we can make the best of our time there.

We arrived in Houston just shortly after the doors at the George R. Brown Convention center opened up on Friday morning. Even though this is the 4th time I have attended I am still overwhelmed when I first enter the vendor's section. The aisles are numbered and start with 100 and run in increments of one hundred up to 1900 making it 9 aisles of booth after booth of fabulous displays. Our shopping started out with the purchase of a few fat quarters, and no this has nothing to do with body shapes. For non-quilters, a fat quarter is a half yard of fabric that is cut in half along the center lengthwise giving you a piece that measures approximately 18 inches by 22 inches. We walked along the aisles taking notes of booths we might want to return to for purchases and also picked up some good bargains on sample packs of batting at the Hobbs booth. A quick stop at the Handiquilter booth gave us some extra free shopping totes to fill up with goodies.

After a semi good nights sleep we will head out for the convention center today to finih up our shopping experience and then tonight head out to dinner with some friends from the Houston area. Tomorrow we will have cameras in hand with extra memory cards and batteries to take pictures of the quilts on display. This is an experience that is sure to take our breath away and we are definitely looking forward to it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's Featured Shops

Every day I click and comment on Etsy treasuries and I find beautiful one of a kind items I would love to have for my very own. Of course if I hit the purchase button everytime I would definitely have the shopping police at my front door and would end up living in the poor house. I don't think that would be any fun so I can only "love from afar" and hope that someday I can afford to live in the lap of luxury and be able to afford anything my heart desires.

The first shop in this weeks selection is a repeat offender.

I love items with a Victorian flair and this pincushion found at DebiDesigns is definitely a beauty. Sitting atop a candlestick this pincushion would make a beautiful Christmas gift for the quilter, crafter, seamstress or pincushion collector in your life. Embellished in ribbon embroidery and beads this items is a true heirloom item.

Our second culprit is "Artsy Clay" with this beautiful blue bracelet called "Spectrum of Blue". With blue beads in every shade this lovely bracelet reminds me of the ocean, this would make a great accent piece to wear anywhere. You can find this lovely bracelet and other great items at

Rounding our lineup we have "Grace Pottery", with this beautiful pitcher called "S-Pouty Pitcher", and the best thing is that it is food safe. I can see putting this on my table any day of the week because it is both functional and beautiful. You can find some lovely pieces of pottery that would make great items for your home or for gifts at
If you have any "most wanteds" in your favorites list please share, I am always interested in finding more wonderful items on Etsy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Show Preparations

I have been so busy this last couple of weeks making last minute preparations for my shows. I participate in a local Trade and Market Days show once a month and it seems that every month I am scrambling to get everything ready to go. If it isn't inventory, it is displays that need to get revamped for each show, and this month is no different. This Saturday I will be kicking off the holiday season of craft shows with the Randolph Air Force Base Officers' Spouses' Club Holiday Bazaar, "Deep in the Art of Texas". This show is held every year and is their major fund raiser for their scholarship fund and other charity organizations that they help sponsor.

I first started doing shows last year, and not having any experience at it, I think I did okay, I was lucky. This time around I just want to give my booth space a little face lift with some new racks and table top containers. Where to begin?

Garage sales!

Last month our community had its annual fall garage sale and my hubby and I set off early just to take a look see. I am not really a garage sale junky but DH can browse all day if given the chance. We made several stops and found that other peoples trash was our trash also, so we passed on any purchases. We made our way through the maze of streets, the layout always confuses people that don't live here, and methodically worked our way from one garage to another.

Finally, paydirt, we stopped at what seemed a multi-family sale with racks of clothing and tables piled with anything and everything you could think of. Hubby made his way around looking at some tools, which he doesn't need and probably won't use, and picked up a couple of things. I on the other hand headed to a table full of sewing items, being a quilter I am always on the look out for fabric finds. Well, I didn't find fabric but I found what would normally be a $40.00 pair of scissors marked for $2.00, the first bargain of the day. At that point I had to remind myself what I was looking for and force myself to stay on track, "look for display items", I told myself.

Next stop was a table piled high with wicker baskets where I found this great basket perfect for displaying my baby blankets, I was on cloud nine. There was also several other baskets that would work for a variety of items so I payed for them and headed out. I bought four lovely baskets for all of $10.00, a great find at a great price.

I feel that you should never purchase anything new if you don't have to. Some items need special types of display setups but if you can make it or use items from a garage sale, or thrift store then go for it. This is a great way to keep your profits from flying out the door.

My next stop was the local hardware store, you know the one where everyone wears an orange apron. I picked up four 8ft lengths of 1X2 and some hinges, wire mesh and other assorted items of hardware and headed home to my garage. I had decided to make a hinged display wall where I could show off some of my smaller items. I had worked it out all in my head and on paper and so I set up my work space and proceeded to cut, screw and staple things together.

Each section of the display stand measures 4 ft tall by 2 ft wide and folds flat making it easy to move and store, very portable and it fits in my small car nicely. It is made to clamp to the edge of a table so that you add height to your display without taking up table space. If you wanted to, you could stand it on the floor but it is not very tall. The next step is to spray paint it white so that it will not be a distraction to customers. I want them to focus on what is on the display wall and not "the display wall".

Tomorrow is setup day for this weekends show at the civic center and I will be taking pictures of how it all comes together. I think I will also have a suggestion box at my booth and see what customers have to say about my merchandise and my setup.

What do you think of this display wall idea? If you have any cost cutting display ideas please share and comment.