Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Love Texas!

"As a child my families menu consisted of two choices:  take it, or leave it."
Buddy Hackett

A favorite at last years craft shows were my recycled/upcycled denim jean aprons. With denim in so many different colors I have a variety of jeans to work with and I can coordinate the cotton fabrics I use with them, but this week I was able to put together a couple of aprons with standard blue denim jeans that show my love of the great state of Texas.  I consider myself a true Texan having been born and raised here, even though I spent most of my adult life living in other parts of the world because of my husbands duty stations in the military.

As a tribute to all my fellow Texas cooks out there I have created these two aprons.


I have a variety of designs and I use different colored denim jeans to create with, but these two are a couple of my favorites.  They make great gifts especially for a Texan that is living far away from home to help them show off their true Texas pride.  I have also created a couple of custom order aprons using Texas themed fabrics for a customer that wanted to send her daughter that lived out of state a special gift from home.  Whatever your special interest is, if there is a fabric, I can create an apron from it. 

I hope that this inspires some but if you find you don't have the time or inclination to work on this sort of project just click on the link and head to my shop and browse what is available.  If you don't see what you want then just contact me for a custom order.

I need to get back to making my Christmas gift list, I have my own someone special in mind for a Texas apron.      

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Holidays on a Budget

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting"
Princess Elizabeth Bibesco

I recently started gearing up for the holiday season craft shows and found that I had 6 invites to answer which means my inventory has to be ready to go by October 1st.  I find that once the craft show season gets going there is little time to replenish the inventory so most of it has to be done ahead of time.

This season I am focusing on smaller items such as my postcards and gift tags.  These gift tags were a big seller last year at a couple of the shows with customers that didn't want to spend large amounts of cash but wanted something special to add to a larger gift or to give as a small token.  They make great gift tags and can also be used as a tree ornament that you can personalize and date on the back for years of memories.  Slip one into a Christmas card and add an extra special surprise to your holiday greetings.  Easy to write on with an ultra fine tipped sharpie marker or a fabric marker and since these will not be washed you don't have to worry about your personal message fading.

Hope everyone is gearing up for a great holiday season and even though times are hard sometimes the smallest gestures are the most appreciated.  So with that thought I am off to create some more small inexpensive items that go a long way to show how much someone is loved and appreciated.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Language Barriers and the Double Wedding Ring Quilt

"To have another language is to possess a second soul."

Last month I tried doing a new project every day but got totally sidetracked when a custom order for a Double Wedding Ring Quilt came in from Australia.  When the first inquiry was made there was a bit of a language barrier issue as my customer requested a "throw rug" be made as a custom order.

As I read her request I was totally taken aback at the thought of someone using one of my quilts as a rug to walk on, because to me a throw rug is something that you place on the floor.  I could not imagine having someone put their dirty shoes on a quilt that I had worked on so painstakingly, it broke my heart just to think about it much less imagine what that would look like.  I explained, in the most diplomatic way I could, that I did not believe the fabrics would hold up over time if someone were walking on them and that it would be slippery creating a safety hazard so I would not be able, in all good conscious, to work on this requested project.  I was bummed because I really enjoy working with customers to create their vision and a custom order would mean a nice sale after a very slow year and it would have been nice to get back on the right track.

My customer contacted me and explained that there was an obvious misunderstanding of terminology, because in Australia a lap quilt and a throw rug were the same thing.  We both had a good chuckle and the order process began, this really raised my spirits to have a new custom order to work on.  She wanted an extra large lap quilt and asked for a particular color scheme to coordinate with her furniture upholstery.  After doing a bit of shopping at a local quilt shop I found the perfect combination of colors and work began.  I used an Eleanor Burns pattern from her book "Egg Money Quilts"  for this double wedding ring design and got it finished and ready for mailing.

I am happy to say that it has been mailed to the owner and I am anxiously waiting to hear if it has arrived safely and that my customer is happy with her purchase.

Language can bring us together or keep us apart, sometimes the differences can be amusing and have totally different meanings even when we believe we are speaking the same language.  Being Hispanic I have known this all my life but it never occurred to me to request clarification from my customer, who I believed was also speaking English, and this has taught me a good lesson for future inquiries.

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you react and how did you clarify your needs or those of a customer?    If you stop by please leave a comment, I would love to know about your language barriers and hear what others have been through and what lessons there are to learn.