Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Table Talk

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm featuring some of my newly-listed Fall table runners, perfect for a casual buffet or sit-down meal.

This reversible table runner is made using Earthtones fabrics by P&B Textiles, truly one of my favorite fabric collections of 2013.  The fabric resembles a Fall collage - with leaves, circles and geometric shapes in shades of mahogany, brown, tan, gold, amber and sky blue.   The reverse side is an amber and tan tone-on-tone print that would add color to a table without distracting from a centerpiece.

Next is another favorite -- tan, taupe and cream leaves on a black background, with beady little eyes peeking out from behind the leaves. (Hint:  Look in the upper right hand corner of the photo.)  I used beautiful handcrafted buttons designed by Edi Royer of memoriesforlifesb for a special Fall embellishment.

You can find these and other casual table runners in the Kitschy Kitchen Stuff section of my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations.

Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Treasury Thanks

This post is a cyber THANK YOU card, sent to all the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, over the past week.  Many of this week's treasuries had an autumn theme. But there were also some tranquil blues -- a lovely contrast to the brilliant oranges and reds of Fall.

Peggy Johnson of EveryGoodColor featured my orange and gray baby bib in her treasury, Waiting for Miss Baby.   This colorful old chair and flowers acrylic painting captures the color and tranquility that I hope will surround me after I retire - perhaps to a tiny house by a babbling brook.

Trina Prenzi of TrinasClayCreations featured one of my holiday oven mitts in her treasury, As the Seasons Change . . .  Trina's shop is a treasure trove of unique and whimsical clay creations, like this cute little Chrismas elf.  I could use an elf to help me through the holiday rush!

OnePerfectDay featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her tranquil treasury, Tenderness.  This lovely Dupioni silk pale blue ruffle cuff is a beautiful, ultra-feminine accessory.

Terry Warren, an Etsy buyer, also featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her pretty treasury, Sweetest Cream Aqua Selection.    Thank you, Terry!

Yolanta of IonAnthosPhotography featured my green chevron oven mitt in her green-themed treasury, October#39.  This beautiful garden art photo is a sample of Yolanta's wonderful photography.
(And I love purple.)

Sharla of BeadedTail featured my Halloween bunting in her treasury, If the doorbell has to ring on Halloween, let it be for these . . .  Sharla's kitty is frightened by the doorbell, so Halloween is a bit of a nightmare at her house.  These beautiful orange and yellow lampwork earrings are beautiful -- and don't make a sound!

Judy of MisterPenQuin featured my orange chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Harmony in Autumn.  This beautiful acorns and leaves gratitude journal is one of Judy's beautifully-crafted and embellished journals.

Patty Harrington of FernHollowFinds, a Baby Boomers teammate, featured my retro red linen clutch in her treasury, Thinking Ahead.  Her collection of pretty and whimsical holiday finds is worth a visit!  Patty's shop is on vacation until October 31, 2013, but you can also find her on Facebook.  Patty is a fellow sewist, who makes handmade napkins, bags, scarves, pouches and hats -- all perfect for gift giving.  These reversible napkins would be a lovely hostess gift:

Thanks, again, to the curators who created these treasuries, and to all of you who visited and Liked the treasuries.  Best wishes to all as we transition from Fall into the holidays!


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Meow & Chow . . . And Happily Ever After-ing

We had a busy weekend!  Tonight we attended the annual Meow & Chow fundraiser for The Cat House, Lincoln's only no-kill cat shelter.   The Cat House shelters 150 to 200 cats per day, and is solely supported by donations, adoption fees, and retail sales.  The owners of The Quilted Kitty, the quilt shop where I now work part-time, are loyal supporters of The Cat House.

Another beneficiary of the fundraiser was the Lincoln Animal Ambassadors group.  LAA sponsors a pet food bank to help pet owners keep their pets during trying financial times.  It gives away an average of 2300 pounds of pet food per month.  LAA also provides low-cost spay and neuter programs and feral cat TNR (trap, neuter, release) programs.  They claim that two cats and their offspring can produce 420,000 cats in 7 years.

Holy Kitten Kaboodles, Batman!

Several local restaurants donated delicious soups and bread for the "chow."  There were also raffles and Bingo. Neither hubby nor I had played Bingo in years.  We didn't win anything, but it was, as the Bingo caller said, "more fun than watching the Huskers game."  (The Huskers lost to Minnesota earlier today, so there was no joy in Lincoln.)

Friday night we attended a wedding in Omaha, Nebraska.  Jerry's nephew, Jeff Mohs, and his beautiful bride, Emily. were married at St. John's Church on the Creighton University campus.  And I must say it was the most beautiful wedding I've ever attended.  (Yes, they had a wedding planner, and my sister-in-law thought she was a tad bit overbearing.  But I must give her high marks on attention to detail.)

The show stopper was the flower girl - Jerry's great-niece, Madison.  She was cute as a button in her black and white polka dot dress.  She carried a hand-painted sign (white letters on black) that read "Here Comes the Bride!" in the processional.  And for the recessional, the sign read, "And they lived happily ever after." Too cute!

Emily & Jeff - 2013

Such a happy occasion!!

Now back to reality -- custom orders, new orders, shop models for the quilt shop, 60 Halloween finger puppets to finish, Christmas gifts to sew --and hopefully more inventory and new listings for the Etsy shops. It's going to be a very busy week!!!


Monday, October 21, 2013

BBA Challenge - Prelude to the Holidays

Each month, the Blogging Business Artisans Etsy team challenges its members to make something that fits a particular theme.  The October 2013 BBA Challenge was Prelude to the Holidays:

October! It is time to start thinking ahead to the holidays -- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year. They will be here before we know it!
This month, I challenge you to create a holiday-themed item. It could be a new listing for your Etsy shop, a holiday decoration for your home, a costume or special accessory for a holiday gathering, or a gift you intend to give to a friend or loved one.
Since "prelude" is a musical term, you could also make something music-themed if you wish.

Since I started working part-time at The Quilted Kitty quilt shop, I have been surrounded by beautiful fabrics.  I especially love the fabrics from the Holly Jolly collection designed by Elizabeth Brownd for Robert Kaufman.

Then I began to construct two festive holiday placemats.  The quilt-as-you-go method really is quick and easy:

The pattern even calls for fold-over binding-- I call it "cheater binding":

The finished corners aren't as nice as mitered "real" binding -- but I saved 30 to 45 minutes per placemat.
My hubby really likes them.  We have a cardinal who visits our bird feeder, but we haven't been quick enough to get a photo yet.

The placemats are also reversible, with a slightly subtler print on the reverse side that would not compete with my holiday dishes pattern.

And there you have it!  One more item checked off my LONG holiday To Do List!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Treasury Thanks

Today I wish to extend a huge THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who have featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, during the past two weeks.

Sarah Beth of Magnolia Surprise featured my leaves on teal fabric covered journal in her treasury, Falling for Teal.   These beach glass colored wash cloths from Sarah's shop are a tranquil shade of teal:

Kathy of KathysCuffs featured some of my patchwork pieces in her treasury, Building Blocks of Success. This cuff bracelet with brooch embellishment is definitely a statement piece -- and gorgeous!

AbigailJayne of AbigailJayneArt gave my shops a double feature in her pretty treasury, Pale Pink Stylings.  A pale pink floral oven mitt from Pasque Flower Creations was featured, along with pretty Bavarian china plates from Aunt Pheba's Vintage.

This pretty cuff in satin and purple by AbigailJayne also has a hint of pretty pale pink.

Margaret of SplendidLittleStars featured my leaves on periwinkle oven mitts in her Fall-themed treasury, October Skies and Whirling Leaves.  This sky blue silk scrunchie would be a pretty way to keep long hair under control on a windy Fall day.

Kristine of KristinesCreationsSD featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her treasury, A Little Bit of Chevron.   These cute Christmas flower cupcake toppers would brighten a holiday party.  Polka dots play well with chevrons, I think.

JuRa Photography of StudioJR featured one of my oven mitts in her BEAUTIFUL treasury in neutral tones, The Workbasket.  StudioJR offers digital downloads of her art photography.  I just love this pretty peony photo:

Rebecca of KneeDeepOriginals featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her must-see treasury, Festive Finds for Fall.     Rebecca's shop is a treasure trove of fine art, photography and wearable art.  This
modern abstract trees painting is one of those treasures -- stunning!

Janice Parrott of MountainDolls featured my green chevron oven mitt in her green-themed treasury, Gifts Under 25.  Looking for handmade gifts that won't strain the budget?  Check out the great finds in Janice's treasury!  

This rainbow fairy patchwork ornament is one of the truly unique handcrafted doll art pieces you can find at MountainDolls:

So I'll end this post on a colorful note!  Thanks, again, to the talented curators whose works are featured above.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Talkin' Turkey

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday and today I'm featuring a simple and understated holiday table runner. It would provide a beautiful backdrop for a Thanksgiving centerpiece, holiday buffet, or autumn or Fall event, and it can transition into Christmas.

The fancy and festive side features a shimmery synthetic decorator fabric with gold autumn leaves ranging in size from 1/2" to 1.5" on a cranberry or dark red background.  

The reverse side is more casual, with a 100% cotton batik in shades of cranberry, dark red, and rust. 

This piece could transition from early Fall through the holidays.

Because this was made from bargain fabrics I purchased at the Hillestad Textiles Gallery's annual garage sale fundraiser, the price for this pretty home accent is only $12.00 USD.  Such a deal!!

The table scarf measures approximately 42" (107 cm)  in length and 14" (35.5 cm) in width. The runner has no batting and is not quilted, so it provides a perfectly level surface on which to place your Thanksgiving turkey platter -- or other foods and beverages!

Our Thanksgiving plans are uncertain -- but the quilt shop will be closed Thursday and Friday.  Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving traditions?


Friday, October 11, 2013

Making A (To Do) List and Checking It Twice

There are only 74 more days until Christmas according to the Countdown to Christmas widget at the bottom of my blog.  Yikes!!

Although I'm behind on my inventory build-up plans thanks to a flood of custom orders (for which I am very grateful BTW), I have not totally spaced off holiday preparations.  Experience is the best teacher, and I've learned a lesson or two from past holiday rushes.

1)  Make a To Do List and Check It Twice

Like Santa, I'll be makin' a list and checkin' it twice, but not to find out who's naughty and nice.  I'll be revising that list as things like unexpectedly large custom orders force me to abandon Plan A and adapt to Plan B.  A long-range list sets goals for inventory increases (current best sellers) and new product launches (when I get my embroidery machine out of the box).  The daily lists break those goals into more manageable chunks (at least in theory).

I've started using a TODAY To Do List created by Valerie William of Every Day Inspired, both in my Etsy business and at my day job at The Quilted Kitty quilt shop.   I love how the list prioritizes tasks, and has separate sections for appointments, ideas, notes, and even doodles.

2)  Stock Up on Shipping and Packaging Supplies

The UPS man has become friends with my hubby after all the deliveries we had last week!

Those boxes are just a sampling of my recent stock-up efforts.  There are two large bolts of Insul-Bright heat resistant batting that I use in my oven mitts (still far and away my biggest sellers).  There is also a box of packaging bags, and another box of Tyvec mailing envelopes.  On the top of the pile is a box of 45 composition books which will be used to fulfill one of my custom orders for 48 fabric-covered journals.

Next on the stock up list will be holiday-themed tissue, ribbon, and gift tags for last minute shoppers who request gift wrapping.

3)  Stock Up on Materials Used to Create Your Items

In my primary Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations, I sell handmade fun and functional fabric items.  For my best-selling items, I need Insul-Bright batting, Warm & Natural batting, cotton flannel, which needs to be preshrunk, and lots and lots and lots of thread -- and sewing machine needles.  So--when I have coupons or I can find these items on sale, I stock up.  Starting next week I'll be having a private Cut-A-Thon, cutting out lots and lots and lots of oven mitt components, so that even if I don't hit my RTS goal, I can reduce the time it takes to crank out a made-to-order item.

4)  Consider Christmas Promotions

Frankly, I've had lousy results with Christmas in July and Black Friday promotions, but I'll renew items, increase my Facebook postings, and actively create and promote treasuries.  I may offer a coupon code for Cyber Monday, but I fear it will get lost in the flood of other sellers doing the same thing.

5)  Revise Tags and Add Some Seasonal Items

I'll try to change my tags to be Christmas shopper friendlier.  (If I were a frantic shopper, what would I type in the Search box?)   Where possible, I'll tag to capitalize on Etsy trending items -- like monograms, steampunk (I have some great key fobs in process that would definitely fit this category), and I'll be adding more stocking stuffers / teacher gift / Secret Santa items in late November, I hope.  I'll also review shipping charges in my listings.  I grossly underestimated postage costs on an order heading to Autralia this week. That was a timely wake up call.

6)  Don't Burn the Advent Candle at Both Ends

The last thing I need is to burn out by mid-December.  So I'll attempt to keep eating healthy foods, exercise, and get enough sleep (or at least reduce the number of all-nighters this year).  I always take elderberry during tax season to try to fend off colds and flu, but I'm going to take it during the holiday rush this year, too.

And in addition to my physical health, I'll try to be mindful of my emotional and spiritual health during the stressful weeks from mid-November through New Years.  I'm not just an Etsian. I'm also an employee, a contractor, a tax pro with pre-season training requirements to be met, and most importantly, a wife, mom, grandma and Sunday School team teacher.

So I need to remind myself that the reason for the season is not measured on the bottom line of a financial spreadsheet or even in Etsy Shop Stats -- it's measured in intangible units of love, hope and peace.

How are you gearing up for the holidays?


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Boo To You, Too!

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm featuring my Halloween bunting

Although I'm in a minor pre-holiday panic, I need to remember that Halloween is just around the corner, and it is one of Etsy's hottest trends -- along with steampunk and personalization.  Sadly, my new embroidery machine is still in the box, so I don't have any personalized monogrammed items made or listed yet.

Christmas is still 70-some days away (check the widget at the bottom of my blog page for a more accurate countdown to Christmas).

It's a crazy busy week.  I'm working on some big custom orders and working every day this week at the quilt shop. Just finished a legal research project.  I hope to catch at least 4 hours of sleep before the alarm goes off at 5:00 am.  I need to get some sewing done and make a post office run before work.  I'm truly grateful for the work, but I'm really, really tired!  I had to cancel all 4 Fall craft fairs due to work commitments.

I'm really trying to keep calm and carry on.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Treasury Thanks

I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to the curators who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in treasuries over the past week.  It's beginning to feel like Fall, and many of this week's treasuries have an Autumn theme.

Margaret of SplendidLittleStars featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her cool, refreshing treasury, Turquoise.  This beautiful blue silk scrunchie from Margaret's shop is a beautiful way to tame long hair on a windy Fall day.

Judy Nolan of MisterPenQuin featured my red accent pillow in her beautiful treasury, Every Leaf in Autumn Is a Flower   This graceful vines gratitude journal is one of many pretty handmade journals in Judy's shop -- perfect gifts.  Christmas is only 78 days away!

Margaret of SplendidLittleStars featured my Fall leaves oven mitts in her treasury, Dreaming of Pumpkins and Autumn Leaves,  This pink and orange scrunchie from Margaret's shop has just a hint of pretty orange:

Linda B of lindab142 featured my Fall leaves oven mitts in her pretty Fall-themed treasury, Fall Leaves Us Breathless.  This orange and yellow bracelet would be a lovely accent to a new Fall outfit.

Tammy of TheLuxeCottage featured my gray chevron oven mitt in her treasury, The Kitchen Is Clean.  (Clearly, she was not thinking of my rather messy kitchen!  My kitchen table is my fabric cutting center!)
This wonderful mod circle pillow cover has a fresh, clean modern vibe --- a beautiful home accessory! (And the print reminded me of soap bubbles - scrubbing bubbles, scrubbing bubbles, clean, clean, clean!

Kathy of tapestry316 featured my floral on zebra print baby bib and my vintage sewing needles (Aunt Pheba's Vintage) in her treasury, Black and White and Red All Over,    This wonderful Your Best Friend watercolor is one of the beautiful art pieces in Kathy's shop. Kathy loves her critters -- big and small!

Thanks, again!!  Enjoy what is left of the weekend.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday Slim Down Report

It's Day 89 of the Nature's Sunshine 90-Day Slim Down Challenge, and this week I lost another 0.6 pounds for a total weight loss to date of 31.6 pounds.

Tomorrow is the final day of the official challenge.  Yay!!  I'll calculate my weight loss total, submit my "After" photo and measurements, then breathe a sigh of relief.  

But I won't be celebrating with a hot fudge sundae, pizza, or a cheeseburger and fries!  I will continue to eat sensibly and walk most days.  And although I won't have weekly blog posts, I'll continue to weigh myself on Saturdays.

I'm hoping to reach a healthy weight before the end of tax season.   When that happens, you will definitely be able to read about it here.

Thanks for your encouragement over the past 90 days.

Enjoy your weekend!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Not Baaa-ad, She Said Sheepishly

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm featuring one of the new reversible baby bibs available in my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations.  It was made using this cute sheep fabric from SuzyBee for Hamil Fabrics -- a nice unisex bib if you are invited to a baby shower and baby's gender is unknown.

My bibs are made with high quality quilting fabric -- this was purchased at The Quilted Kitty in Lincoln, where I've been working part-time for the past two weeks.  I use a Mod Tods bib pattern.  A layer of preshrunk cotton flannel is sandwiched between the two layers for extra softness and absorbency.  I use capped metal snap closures -- no Velcro to catch in baby's fine hair.

I've always liked sheep.  I raised Cheviots for 4-H and sold the wool for spending money.  I was a proud member of the Farmington Farmerettes 4-H Club in Lake County, South Dakota.

Grandson Garrison LOVES Shaun the Sheep!  The Suffolks in this print remind me of Shaun.

And just think of all the nursery rhymes with sheep --- Mary Had a Little Lamb, Baa, Baa Black Sheep, Little Bo Peep, Little Boy Blue . . ..