Friday, September 30, 2011

Summer of 2011

Someday I’ll look back and the summer of 2011 will be a blur. Although not seemingly at the time, it’s amazing how quickly it blew by, leaving me breathless most of the hours that collected into days. The various upheavals appear to be settling now. I hope and pray everyone continues to get better. Through all the trials and tribulations, I have an unending gratefulness for all the blessings God has given me.

Today marks the end of 2011’s National Sewing Month.

During the month of September, I created a smidgen of items compared to last year and I didn’t write as often, but I’ve enjoyed reading other’s articles, learning new sewing techniques, and – thanks to my sister – vicariously experiencing the First Annual Texas Statewide Quilt Shop Hop!  Mid summer we had talked about visiting some of the shops together during the Quilt Across Texas event, but it didn’t work out for me. She gave me the next best thing!

If you haven’t heard about this First Annual event, let me share a little bit… The state was divided into 8 regions and included over 90 shops. Depending on how many shops you visited (and received the appropriate stamp) within all regions, or some of the regions, you had different opportunities to win some great prizes! Not to mention, of course, to purchase beautiful fabrics and supplies! Which my sister did, often!!!

I loved hearing her almost daily report of which shops were FABULOUS, and would make the trip back, or probably not see again (until next year). Sometimes she’d call and I was able to give her better directions (thank you Google maps!) than what the shop owner provided, or the GPS showed. I loved helping her and her friends get to where they needed to go!

Next year I hope to participate! Note to self: Start saving $$$ now!

The way I plan to spend this last day of National Sewing Month: Attend OPENING DAY of our State Fair of Texas! I can hardly wait to see my 1st and two 2nd place ribbons! What will you do?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Word for the Dictionary

Here is a word that should be in the dictionary: sewist! According to the word SEWIST does not exist. It shows: “No results”. Maybe it’s time to update the dictionary! It’s perfect to refer to myself – and anyone else who sews – as a sewist! Why did I even bring this up? What started this questioning? How did I come up with the word? I didn’t! It’s from a fabulous packed-full-of-information email newsletter I receive through the All Free Sewing website. Their newsletter begins: “Hello Sewists”. Love it!

Don’t hesitate to register on the All Free Sewing website. Their by-line reads: “Free Patterns To Keep You In Stitches”! And, it’s so true! It contains so much information, a huge selection of free patterns, basic sewing techniques (refreshers we can use from time to time) and tutorials. I highly recommend (and I don't receive any money from them!). Check the site out when you have time, a question, or you’re searching for a quick gift project you need!

I’m a sewist! Are you?

This is the last Sunday in the 2011 National Sewing Month celebration! What will you sew, you Sewist, you?!?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pre-Planning Lists

What do you do to ready yourself, and your products, for an art and craft show? I’ve done several outdoor shows, but I’m no expert and it’s exactly why I’m asking you! In the meantime, I’m searching the Internet for virtual feedback already provided – I just have to find it!

Life experiences have taught me to do several things to help myself organize. I’ll share with you, please share with me…

A couple of weeks out, I start making a list of (non-sale) items I want to have available in my booth, not just for me personally, but some items for visitors, too. At the top of this list are a trash bag (hopefully to remain bee-free, unlike what you’ll find around the town square!), box of tissues (little boys love tissues!), hand sanitizer, and an extra, quickly available chair.

I remember vividly my last show…
It was in the spring. My sister came from Dallas to help/share the booth. It got extremely warm that afternoon – not an unexpected occurrence in Texas. I now realize it was a precursor to our miserably hot summer! Anyway, I’ve always arranged my tables/items where a few folks at a time can “enter” and get underneath the shade of the canopy. I’m so glad I had shade to offer a particular seasoned citizen that walked in, leaning precariously on her cane. Her pasty skin and dazed expression greatly concerned us that she was on the verge of blacking out. My sister immediately offered her a chair. I ran and got water from another vendor. (My mother would have told this lady she should be wearing a hat!) After a while, she recovered nicely and left the booth with a wide smile and a pink complexion! I’m so glad we were there for her.
Another list I create is simply a category of items/products I plan to offer. This is just a general list of things I’ll have within the booth such as aprons, card holders, tissue holders, books, doll clothes, bags, bookmarks, prayer beads, and anything else I may have by then. (I have several new products to add, if I have the time to get them done!) Having this category list helps me in coming up with the various displays I will need.

A running to-do list also begins a couple of weeks out. Putting a price tag on each apron, etc. is on the top of this list. I’m really bad about not attaching tags as I go. If I did, it would make the last weeks before a little easier! But, I just want to create!

Making name/price “signs” for categories is second on the to-do. Like the tissue holders (for those small plastic wrapped individual size tissue packages that get torn to shreds down inside a purse or a backpack or a diaper bag)... I don’t put a price tag on each one. Instead, the display holder itself will have some sort of sign with the price.

Next I create an inventory list. This list shows each item and its price, and any notes of a free item that may go with the purchase. It’s a good thing to have this inventory list within a notebook in case a price tag gets lost or if on a bathroom break a helper needs price verification!

And, finally, a priority list of things I would love to get done for the show! If I don’t, that’s okay. I've got to draw the line somewhere, and simply wait until the next show!

Speaking of which, I have several shows coming up! Check out the Events page and try to come by! I love meeting new people, and always enjoy the warm familiar friends who stop by my booth to say hello!

Anyway... the main reason for all my lists … so I can better focus. Especially when life gets in the way, I can go back and check my lists and not fret over the little things because I wrote them down in between the clouds.

Now, to figure out how to make the booth attractive & showy with all my pretty ;) handmade items!

Don’t forget … please share how you prep, organize, and ready for your arts/craft shows!

P.S. For addition information, check out Tips For a Successful Art Show written by Pepi's Musings!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Recent Discoveries

Clever ideas are all over the Internet! I know it takes a while to read through the different blogs and sites, but it’s so worth the time! For me, I spend my early morning quiet time in this exploration, in pursuit of new discoveries. I love always learning, dreaming to do it all. Although I need to be sewing or crafting, creating and applying techniques I’ve already discovered, it takes a while for my eyes and hands to fully wake. During this body waking process, my mind is racing at full speed! Okay, so I “feed” my mind!

When writing an article such as this, listing my discoveries, it serves a two-fold purpose. First, and foremost, I’m sharing the inspiration with others of what I’ve found interesting and what I believe is worth trying. And, secondly, it’s the perfect place to house my “favorites” so I know where the links are when I want to come back & review how to do something!

  1. I’ve never heard of “Felted Soap” before today’s discovery! Jenny, at The Southern Institute, has a great tutorial full of nice pictures! As I’m always looking for projects to do (besides spinning) with my stash of roving, I will be trying this!

  1. I’ve been searching for a machine that will cut fabric shapes, especially circles. I stumbled upon the Sizzix Big Shot Machine and it might just be the perfect, versatile machine I need! It also cuts cardstock! Oh, my goodness! My mind is racing with possibilities! Wonder if anyone reading this has ever used this machine?

  1. See Kate Sew has a fabulous tutorial on Make Better Ruffles. I never heard of sewing 3 rows of basting, or cutting out the ruffle on the bias! It does make a difference! She also shares a ruffle ratio guide!

With losing Internet for several hours this morning, then an unexpected medical emergency (that’s a misnomer - are medical “emergencies” ever expected?), I didn’t reach my full ten new discoveries for the day. While waiting for hubby & our 2+ yr old Dobie, to return with news with what's wrong now, I focused on finishing some projects, started others, and had a photo shoot! Things are settling down around here now (dare I say) and at least I can get the three discoveries posted! The plan tomorrow morning - list the new items in my ArtFire shop!

I hope "life" distractions don't prevent you from creating something!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

State Fair of Texas

It had been many years since I’d visited the State Fair of Texas, just to visit and not work on a special event (a past life) then run quickly to the special places I hold close to my heart. Last year, my husband & I decided to go, just because. I’m so glad we did on several levels! We rode the DART rail, transferred once, then got off right at an entry into the fairgrounds. It was fabulous and the ONLY way we’ll go to the fair ever again!

While at the fair, my favorite place to visit is the Creative Arts building. It’s there one can view all the fabulous handmade creations people submitted for competition. You only see the best of the best – First, Second, Third, and Honorable Mention – ribbon winners.

Several decades ago, the items were housed in what was called the Woman Building. During that era, my mother competed and won several ribbons over the years. Back then, entrants modeled their designs during the judging segment, and winners also modeled their wares during the fair! One design she created stands out vividly in my memory bank. During the fair, I remember sitting with my daddy as we watched her model a mauve colored satin “petal” dress. At the last questioning, I learned she still has the "after five" dress safely tucked away in their cedar chest.

Between the wonderful memories my mother gave me and seeing all the lovely items on display last year, I became inspired to enter the competition for this year’s fair.

I learned 2011 would mark the fair’s 125th birthday! I knew their “theme” would focus on the celebration in some form or fashion. For this reason, the red, white, & blue apron I created and entered had 124 x’s cross-stitched and 1 large 5-pointed star on the bodice and waistband to represent the past and present years that people have enjoyed the State Fair of Texas!

I also wanted to create a bag using a pair of repurposed Dickies jeans. Big Tex wears Dickies! I couldn’t believe the specific bandana fabric I’d pictured in my mind would be difficult to find, but I finally did at Hobby Lobby! Of course, I had to add some rhinestones and Texas Star shaped brads I found at Michaels!

The doll dress – I really didn’t make a “Texas” or “Fair” specific theme – is a print with the saying “winter quilts and warm friends” scrolled around different common quilt blocks. Because people usually attend the fair with friends and so many beautiful quilts are on display, I guess the primary fabric used is “fairish” after all!!!

Well, on Tuesday, I FINALLY received notification in the mail as to the decision! And, I won! All three entries placed! Their website now has the results posted. I'm on page 7 & 8 !!!

The apron won 1st place!
The bag won 2nd place!
The doll dress won 2nd place!

When I shared the fabulous news on my Facebook page, a friend asked me, “What did you win besides bragging rights forever?”
My response: “RIBBONS!!! The honor of being displayed during the Fair! And, the quality of my work was recognized by the judges!!!”

Thanks again to Mother for the inspiration to try and follow in her footsteps.
Thanks again to Sister, who encouraged me to continue when “life” got in the way.
Thanks again to Daddy, who instilled in me the excitement and appreciation for the fair.
Thanks again to Bud, for the never-failing support for me to do the things I love to do!

The State Fair of Texas is from September 30, 2011 through October 23, 2011!

I hope everyone will attend this year!

I'll leave you with a great quote to remember, that applies to anything and everything...
"Goals. There's no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There's no telling what will happen when you act upon them." - Jim Rohn

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Give Credit Where Credit's Due

Lovely high quality cotton fabrics of whimsical, retro, and reminiscence prints are a delight to work with! Using such fun fabric, I’ve recently added three new handmade aprons to my studio. The Busy Worker and Oven Mitts aprons are for that special little woman in someone’s life. I handmade the Retro Kitchen bib apron with the ample woman in mind.

I’ve never been one to focus on the “label” of a garment. That is, I’m not, and never have been, designer conscious. And, I’m ashamed to admit, I rarely pay attention to who created or designed the fabric I purchase. I can’t even drop a name now. It’s the quality and color of whatever is made that gets my attention.

Oops, just thought of a few… Debbie Mumm, I love her artistic style! Michael Miller and Amy Butler’s designs are also delicious!

I’m bad. I’m certain artists of every kind, whether famous like Debbie, Amy, or Michael, or not, love the recognition they’re due! I know it must be hard work designing, and I appreciate their efforts to make my creations look fabulous! I promise I’ll start taking better notes as I begin cutting out new aprons and doll clothes and bags, and whatever else I make!

I’m going to get organized beginning with my next project! I promise!!! It was suggested to me a while back to keep a notebook with swatches, and all the info I could gather at the time of purchasing fabric, then all the way through the process of creating my items. At the time, I was so far underneath my stash I couldn’t see a way out! I’m still buried, but at least the fabric’s selvage has a lot of information printed on it for me to do a Google. Why didn’t I listen then? It’s like a light bulb has gone off in my head! Of course I need to give credit where credit’s due and share names/companies of everyone who played a role in any of my creations! Will do!

It’s never too late, Lanetta!

P. S. I found some info on the "Busy Worker" child's apron! The coordinating fabrics are Robert Kaufman's, designed by Darlene Zimmerman!!!

Home Sweet Home

Saturday, September 3, 2011

1 Million

I need to sew something today ~ from start to finish ~ my stress-buster, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to have total control over something. I can’t think of a better project than a pillowcase! If you haven’t heard, there is a 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge going on! Creating a simple, yet special pillowcase for someone is an easy, satisfying project.

The site offers free patterns to get the juices flowing. Watch the "roll it up how-to" video (a great way to attach the binding!), then download the step-by-step instructions! So cool!

It also provides a list of suggested charities where to donate the pillowcase! They recommend to call first, to see if the charity is accepting/participating in the challenge. In town, we have a 90-day Emergency Children’s Shelter. They will be my first contact.

Hope you’ll make one, too! And when you do, don't forget to update their counter! As of right now, they only have 304,174. Let me know if you do!

I’m off to make my first… will post a picture when done!

I did it and it's ready to deliver/mail!

I found the perfect fabric in my stash:

I cut out a "standard" size pillowcase, according to the directions, & pinned as shown in the video:

I did the "French" seaming along the side and bottom (don't worry, they explain how in the directions).

I think it turned out nicely! It's a lovely pillowcase for someone special...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Senior Moment

What did you do, this first day of National Sewing Month? The only thing I managed to do sewing related, was pack up my sewing machine! Yes! I’m heading back to the ranch tomorrow! Once home, I’ll hit the ground running and sew ~ sew ~ sew !!! I can hardly wait!

Oh, by the way, have you ever wondered how to do a sewing technique? Or, have forgotten because you may not have sewn in years? I love the Internet! Give YouTube a chance! Do a simple search, then wait for all the video links folks have graciously created & produced on just about any thing you’ll ever need to help you with your project! Not too long ago I had a “senior moment” and needed a refresher on doing corners with seam binding. Simple. Once I watched the video!

Please, share! What projects are you working on this month?

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