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Quilt Review Review

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I recently had the privilege of meeting Lauren, a client of mine via my Etsy shop, How Dear. In my shop I sell quilts, some of them of my own creation, lots of them baby quilts, most of them custom baby shower quilts that are used in lieu of a guestbook that people can sign and give to the mother-to-be as a keepsake to commemorate the day. Lauren was throwing a shower for a friend (Tim Burton themed) and asked if I could help her out in exchange for a review for my quilt on her lovely blog, Shooting Stars Mag:  where ” We are a group of people who write about the things we love, and the lifestyle that goes with it. “

She wrote a very sweet and flattering article about this quilt I made for her:

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Lauren was so sweet and kind to work with, I wanted to return the favor! When she contacted me, she asked if I could make her a quilt in return for a review. She was so lovely to work with and very gracious, I would recommend checking her out and seeing other items she has reviewed and if she can help support your business. Please check out her blog and the very generous article she wrote about the quilt.

If you are interested in having a quilt made, you can contact me via my Etsy shop. Here are some other samples of ones I have made in the past for clients or that are available now in my shop. 

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There’s No Place Like Home (A Home Tour)

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I just saw this quote on Pinterest today by Jane Austen; “There’s nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” Being a homebody myself and a desperate Jane Austen fan, I fell in love and decided to make a print of it myself.

Today, as Spring days often are, is dreary, rainy, and romantically cozy. I find that my house is sprinkled with comfort and all things romantic as I walk through it. I wanted you to take a walk through it with me. DSCF1880

As I walked up the steps toward my attic office, I caught a glimpse of our cat, Picky-Picky sprawled out lazily upon our guestroom bed. I picked up this bedspread at an antique shop tucked away in a quaint little town while on vacation. The curtains draped haphazardly over this antique bed (found for a steal for $75 at a local flea market just down the street) were made from sheets found at Salvation Army.

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Next door is our girls’ room, papered with scrapbook sheets with paper stars dangling above the bed. Sometimes, when I tuck the girls away into bed at night, we pretend they are real stars and the ceiling is a night sky full of wonder and shooting stars.

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Then there is my room, painted a delicious, buttery yellow, complete with three windows that stream the sun through it. Even on a dreary day like today, it is bathed in luxurious light. The four post bed was crafted by my grandfather a quarter of a century ago and makes me feel ridiculously spoiled. It is high and soft and romantic. It is accented with bird pillows and a throw quilt, both crafted by yours truly, and is piled high with quilts acquired from different places, but my favorite being the one on top that was tucked away in my grandmother’s antique chest made by a relative long ago. As you can see, we, too, have stars above our bed. I am quite obsessed with paper stars.

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This vintage tray is one of my proudest finds, picked up at an estate sale for a few cents that sits on a shelf in our bathroom, topped with lotions and potions.

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When we first took a tour of our house when we were looking to buy, I nearly melted on the floor when I caught sight out this fireplace. It’s flanked by fluted pillars and has a built-in mirror that gives the room depth.  Do you see them? I told you I was obsessed with paper stars!

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This is our little breakfast nook, tucked into a corner of our kitchen. Can you tell I like vintage style? We got this table (that has two sides that pop out) and chairs all for $30 at an estate sale. Estate sales are my absolute favorites for the best finds!

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Seriously? Is there anything more romantic on a cold or dreary day than a hot cup of tea in a pretty tea cup? Most of these were my great grandmother’s. Aren’t they lovely?

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Along with paper stars, I am obsessed with birds (did you notice them on the pillows on my bed?). My dear, sweet mother knows this. This is Vivian, as I have fondly named her, given to me by my mom.

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….as was this one, which dangles nicely from the china cabinet in our dining room.

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Our reading nook, tucked between our stairs and living room, is papered with wallpaper I found for a dollar a roll at Micheal’s. I am quite fond of it.

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Aren’t they handsome? Perhaps one of the coziest of coziness on a dreary day are my two pals, Burton and Henry, that keep my company while the girls and Sam are away. Look at those faces!

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Lastly, this is the hope of things to come! This was taken in our backyard at the end of summer last year. This picture doesn’t do anything in it justice. Those zinnias and forget-me-nots brought me such joy! They were absolutely breath-taking. And that cute little girl in rubber boots watering flowers? Words cannot describe how cozy she is to cuddle!

So that is a glimpse into my cozy home! More to come later…….

xo

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Valentine’s Day L-O-V-E

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(you can order this print for your special Valentine)

Don’t you just love Valentine’s Day? Being a huge romantic at heart, I love to find the romance in every day. I admit I do have this pretty incredible husband (and incredible is kind of a huge understatement), but even if I didn’t, romance is painted all around us, we just have to look. I found it in my cup of coconut, mango oolong tea this morning that warmed me from top to bottom on a snot-freezing morning. I found a bit of romance in the warm slippers and cozy sweater I put on this morning. I found it in the sloppy kisses and bear hugs I got from two squirmy little girls this morning. I found it in the stillness of my home once everyone left and I had two faithful dogs laying at my feet and one orange cat sprawled on the bed beside me. And, if you are anything like me, I found it in the ideas just bursting out of my head for little projects I can do this week; quilts to be made, valentine’s day boxes to be fashioned, treats to be baked, and love to be spread through creative process! Here are a few projects I am thinking of working on this week:

1.Doggie in Tutu Valentine’s Day box

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2. Heart Tarts

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3.Heart quilt

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What projects do you plan to do for Valentine’s day? Do tell!! 

 

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Easy Mitten Quilt and Tea Staining Fabric

ImageQuilting as you go is a really popular way to quilt it seems these days, which absolutely thrills my soul! With two businesses to try to keep afloat, two girls to keep after, errands to run, a house to keep in order, murals to finish painting, custom orders to keep up with, youth group activities, church functions, upcoming showers and parties, Christmas presents to be made…..(you get the idea) I am so happy when I see something that helps me to shave off some time on my projects. I have sold my quilts in shops in the past (real storefront stores, not online) so I have to have an inventory of quilts on hand ready to be shipped out. Fall is just around the corner, and Christmas and snow shortly to follow, so lots of stores are already carrying winter items (which is terribly depressing to me, but that is for another day).  Anyway, I came up with this mitten quilt that is an applique quilt-as-you-go quilt that literally took me just a little over three hours to make, start to finish (minus tea staining the fabric). 

Here are the supplies you will need:

* 2 pieces of fabric measuring 48″x36″

*Batting measuring 48″x36″

*Fabric scraps of your choice for the mittens and binding (I found this adorable cotton fabric that looks like it’s knit, but I think using real salvaged sweaters would be cute, too)

*Rickrack

*Fusible webbing

*Thread

*Tea bags (if you intend to tea stain the fabric first)

Pretty simple list, right? 

First, I tea stained the fabric by boiling some water on the stove with a few tea bags, then I turned the stove off and let the fabric soak in it for a good hour, then rinsed and rung it out and hung it out to dry.  Don’t toss the water or bags yet because they will come in handy later.

102_2205After it had dried, I dipped it in the water a few times, then rinsed it out and rung it out really well, the put it in my dryer to really set the stain. DO NOT PUT IT IN WITH OTHER ITEMS!! It will stain other clothes, so I don’t recommend it and you might want to run a rag over the barrel once you are all done with this process. It has never left residue on future cycles for me before, but it probably doesn’t hurt to use this precaution.  You can always hang it up to dry again if you want to.  After it was dry again, I took just the tea bags and would put them in the fabric and squeeze for a very highly concentrated staining.  I have found that it’s always better to make sure the fabric is completely dry when you do this. 

102_2206Then I toss it in the dryer once more for good measure, pull it out and it’s good to go!

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I love anything vintage or antique, so I love this method because it makes your fabrics look “aged” quickly.

Once the fabric was tea-stained, I went to work cutting out mittens. I traced around my own hand for a pattern (very scientific 🙂 ) and then cut out two pairs of mittens out of each of the fabrics and webbing I had, totaling six pairs of mittens. Then, I sandwiched my three layers together (backing, batting and front fabric) and pinned it all together nicely as you would any other quilt.  Then I went about pinning and ironing the mittens in place. This part was fun to me, because I liked putting them around a little haphazardly like mittens strewn about after a morning sled riding and building snowman, discarded in the haste of warming hands on a mug of hot chocolate.  

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After I had the mittens where I wanted them, I pinned on some matching red and green rickrack to connect four out of my six pairs of mittens. I love rickrack! It adds a vintage touch to any project.

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*Note: I know one if dark brown and not red, but I was going to use the brown until I found I had some red after I took this picture. 

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Starting from the middle of the quilt outward, I went about quilting the three layers using a free-motion stitch, and sewing around each of the mittens and across the rickrack. 

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Once it was completely quilted (which took only about an hour total time) I cut out 1/2″ strips for the binding from different fabrics, just to keep things interesting. 

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Last but not least I attached the binding by machine. I know, I know…..that’s the lazy method. But, doing it this way is the difference between 30 minutes and three hours. So, I will take the easy method, please.

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Aaaaaaand (drum roll please) there you have it! A cozy quilt for the upcoming winter chill.

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Now all that is missing is a hot cup of cocoa, a crackling fire, Dean Martin singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside”, and snow sticking to the window outside. 

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Quilted Pet Portraits

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I get restless very easily. My creative brain is always working overtime to help keep the rest of me sane during the mundane day-by-day of everyday living.  I specialize in custom party/signature/wedding/shower quilts, and to be honest with you, I get a little bored sometimes and like to try new things. So, hence, here we are. I am a HUGE dog lover. My dog, Henry, is a very big part of our family and well….I am very attached. I have seen some very cute pet portrait quilts, and since I know there are many other dog/pet/animal lovers out there, I thought I would try my hand at it! This is my first attempt and I am sort of learning/teaching myself as I go by trial and error and I thought some of you might enjoy fumbling through this process with me. First of all, I picked out a picture of Henry that I thought might work best for this-one that had a nice frontal view of his darling face. As you can see, I had quite a few to choose from:

ImageIn the end, I chose this one:

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To start this project here is what I used:

*Tracing paper

*Image on computer

*Fabric scraps, different colors/patterns for shades/variations

*Interfacing

*Scissors

After choosing my image, I zoomed it in on the computer to make it the size I wanted (I ended up putting “Henry” on a 14″x14″ block, so I made it to fit that well). Then I traced over it with tracing paper, tracing over anything that I felt would be significant in the final product (i.e. shading on the ears/face, the different parts of his eyes) being careful to label what everything was and what color/pattern I wanted to use for each piece so that it would stand out (i.e. for the shading on the ears I chose dark gray fabric, for his eyes light blue, etc.). The pattern looked like this.

100_2146I chose black and white polka dot for the main fabric, so I traced around the pattern and cut it out of the fabric. For the other pieces, I traced them on top of this pattern to make separated pieces, then cut those out of the fabrics I had chosen for them as well. This was very helpful to keep the original pattern intact, because I could then place it on top of the black background I had used and then used it to make sure all of the other pieces were in their proper place.  I will say all of this was exceptionally tedious, but fairly simple.

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100_2139I pinned everything in place and was ready to go!

100_2136Once I had his whole face together, I pinned it to interfacing and cut out around it so the fabric wouldn’t bunch when I appliqued it all together. I then picked out another background-background fabric, this time white with black polka dots and cut it out into a 14″x14″ square and pinned Henry to this. Then I set about appliqueing him on with my trusty machine, being careful to start in the center, just like when you are quilting anything (i.e. the nose on out).

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100_2140I just did raw-edge machine applique because for 1) it’s much quicker and easier and 2) the little fringe makes your portrait look a little “furrier” which I thought was fitting. 🙂 And, here is the finished product:

100_2145 Isn’t he cute? I think I’m going to add a border to this and either do a wall-hanging or a throw quilt. The girls suggested I use it to make Henry (the real Henry) a bed. Hmmm….that would look a little something like this:

100_1588Probably not….but look for it soon on my Etsy shop!

xo

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Time to reevaluate…

I have had my Etsy shop on “vacation mode” for about a month now trying to catch up on orders I have in. I specialize in custom quilts, and though ten orders might not really sound like a lot, when they take about three months to make, it takes up a lot of time….and time is money. I am really no business woman. It’s all very overwhelming and confusing to me sometimes. So, I have been pondering whether I should cut back on taking customs orders in general, or just offer simpler patterns and quilts of a much smaller size, like baby quilts or throw size quilts, or if I should do away with quilts in general! I do a lot of custom guest book quilts for baby showers or weddings, and have done family tree quilts as well. So, here are some pictures of what I have made and some things I have currently for sale. I could use some serious feedback or any advice anyone might have in making a more profitable business, and if any of my items stands out to them! Thanks!

Superman Baby Tag Blanket1. Superman sensory blanket.2.Guest book tree quilt 3.Patriotic quilt4. Baby pinwheel quilt 5.Custom baby shower quest book quilt 6.Charlotte’s Web book purse 7. Custom team quilt