Wednesday, November 26, 2014

the progress of the works

The 'twins' are coming along nicely.

After calculating that I had roughly 24 hours of hand-quilting for the vertical rows,
I went ahead and machine quilted it.
I wasn't so sure about my decision at first, but once I got several rows done, I decided I liked it just fine.
Especially when I was finished in just 1 hour!

I dug through my scraps and stash to find 36 blues and greens
for the Irish chain.

I'd intended to use Missouri Quilt Co's tutorial, but there was something I wasn't crazy about 
about it.
Then I remembered that I'd bought a pattern from Rae ages ago (4 1/2 years!)
before I knew that I could probably find it online for free.
It was much more pleasing to my eye, so I went with it.
(I also really like this one  - but it's not what I was going for this time.)

 I would have saved myself a lot of headache if I would have just made it exactly according to her pattern,
but of course, I couldn't do that...
(as written, I felt the length was too long for the width. Plus, it was longer than I wanted...)
I also wanted to include more fabrics - duh ;-) but that part wasn't tricky.

I got so frustrated trying to figure out what I needed to cut/sew to make my reduced version
(I took off 2/5 of the top and bottom blocks)
that I had to walk away from it for awhile.

When I came back to it - I was able to figure it all out just fine.
Now I need to decipher and re-write my notes in case I want to make it again.
I really like my version better than Rae's, 
and wondered why on earth she didn't plan her's that way ;-)

I haven't touched my red and white quilt, 
but I got one more star turned into a hexagon.

Jeremiah thinks this looks like a pond in the fall.

I also did a fabric pull
that I'm just itching to cut into

But next on my agenda - pies.
Ya'll pray for us.

Linking up with Lee, as usual :-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

lint and stones

Earlier this morning,
when I switched laundry from the dryer to the couch, 
and the washer to the dryer,
I rolled the lint off the lint screen and set it on the dryer.


The kids are going in and out the front door today at a greater rate than normal,
and all of them are carrying a bag or basket of some sort.
Full of rocks.
Oh. sorry they are stones, not rocks.

Apparently they are playing a game.
with rocks stones. 


Lexi was finishing up her math when I moved another load of laundry
to the couch.
(and another to the dryer. I am all caught up for maybe a half hour or so)
I had some new dishcloths in the load, 
so the lint was especially voluminous .
"Lex'," I called, "There's a lot of lint. 
You want me to pull it out, or you want to get it yourself?"
(I don't know why my children are so easily distracted from their work...)

She quickly hopped up.

"Oh, I saved you some teal lint this morning," I told her.
I'd pre-washed the first of my LA fabrics 
(I have fabric from LA!! Yay!  :-)
You can't tell it yet - but this is a shirt, skirt, and sweater.

Her eyes, only slightly lighter than the lint, lit up,
"Oh, Momma, Thank-you!"

After pulling the new lint from the dryer screen, she ran off,
soft, aqua/teal lint in one hand,
and a huge wad of pinky-white lint in the other,
"Lily! Look!
Our favorite colors!
And look how fluffy my lint is!"

Then out the door and on an adventure they went.
With their stones.
And dryer lint.

The math will be finished soon enough...

I sure love you, my creative children.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

all kinds of works in progress

As mentioned, I finished my Super Secret Commissioned Project the other day
(I'd really love for you to weigh in on that post!)
and then I went on to do a small project - jus' for fun.

It was going to be a zipper pouch, but quickly morphed into a small tote bag,
because sometimes, I just don't know when to quit.

I haven't been spending much time on my EPP project,
because, as you'll see, I've got other hand-sewing projects taking up my sitting & stitching time,
but I do work a bit on it here and there.

I've got 11 hexagon's complete.

No. Make that 12.
This little baby was sewn on over the course of 3 weeks,
and even went to California with me.

the star's fabric is from Lexi's quilt, the mottled orange surrounds, from Brandon's.

Counting the 12 that have been turned into hexagons, I've got 102 stars completed,
so I only need 8 more!

Of those completed,
I've got 2 dozen paired up with their hexagon diamonds.

and a whole slew patiently waiting for their partners.

I've hit a snag with my papers - a friend has been very sweetly using her cricut to cut them for me out of cardstock.
Something happened along the way, and she gave me a huge batch that were cattywampus,
and had a little chunk out of a corner.
I was so sad to tell her that they wouldn't work!
Then she cut some more for me (but just a few this time) and they are much better,
but still not quite perfect.
I have been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance yet to test them to see if they'll work anyways.
I need to get on that!

I'm not the only one sewing these days;
the girls, especially Lil', continue to crank out creations, too.

I'm slowly quilting AnyWhich Way, in Red with a mix of machine and hand-quilting,
although my machine quilting is not what I'd originally planned.

I thought I wanted to quilt each block with the same motif, for unity,
but I ended up deciding that I'd rather highlight the 30 different block designs by outlining the white pieces.

Here's where my confession comes in.
And on the same quilt!

About that.
Guess what I spent hours doing on this quilt.

That's right, Ladies, I've been stitching in the ditch.
Around all that sashing...

(and yes, I bound it before I quilted it. Backwards, I know,
but I knew I wouldn't have any knots that'd need hiding under it,
and I was concerned about the essex linen fraying.)
(I also sewed the binding onto the back by machine. 
I much prefer the look of a hand-sewn binding,
and I enjoy hand-sewing the binding,
but this was wicked fast, comparatively.
You'll be happy to know I improved my technique quite a bit on my next one)


Also taking up my hand-sewing time (and crowding out my other projects, quite honestly)
is this.
A simple (but not quick!) whole cloth crib quilt.

I've got to make another crib quilt to go along with it,
and I'm thinking a machine pieced and quilted Irish chain would do nicely.
I'm also thinking I may go ahead and machine quilt my horizontal lines on this one...
(which also went to California with me :-)

Hopefully, somewhere in the near future,
I'll be able to sew up some of the fifty pounds of garment fabric I bought in LA, too!

Linking up with lot's of creative folks over at Lee's

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

some thoughts on pricing

I finished my Super Secret Commissioned project
(I'm very pleased with it, and will share it here next year)
and while I was writing up a receipt
(I use that word about as loosely as I use the word 'recipe' ;-)
I thought I'd take a few minutes and talk about how I price my work
('cause you know - I've been doing it soo long. eyeball roll.)

I'll be the very first to admit that when I typed in $175 for my pigeon quilt,
 I cringed.
I would never, ever pay that much for a baby quilt.
But here's the thing:
it is worth it
(if I didn't believe that, I couldn't sell it.)
and I'll tell you why.

For starters, the materials alone in that quilt cost $56.
Now, when I say the materials cost $56,
you need to know that if you, or anyone else wanted to make that exact quilt,
you would have to spend a lot more than $56,
just like I did.

See - I had to buy 1/2 yard cuts of my fabrics, even though I didn't need that much.
Yes, I still have fabrics left for another quilt,
but my up front cost was considerably higher than the $56 material fee
included in the $175 pricetag.
I also lost a few inches to trimming, and I'll just eat  those costs,
because I only charged for fabric used.
And don't forget,
I was able to purchase most of the fabrics on sale,....

I pay less for my batting than most people do, because I buy it by the roll.

I completely forgot to add in the cost of  the 1/3 of a can of basting spray that I used - so that ended up being a freebie ;-)
Again, I buy my basting spray in bulk, so I get better pricing and save on shipping,
but still, I paid $14 a can.

Okay, materials costs are covered, now let's talk about the other $119

Here's the thing,
 not everyone can sew.
And not everyone that can sew,
sews, shall we say, meticulously.

I am, I think, a reasonably skilled seamstress.
There is a lot for me to learn,
but what I do know how to do, I think I do fairly well
and with increasing precision.
(though not perfection)
I think that $10 per hour of skilled labor is quite reasonable.

I recorded 15 hr and 8 minutes of time spent on Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.
I say 'recorded', because I actually spent more time than that:
I only charged for 2 hours to make the pigeon appliques, because I felt like that was a fair price,
but in reality, I spent more than 3.
I'd spent an hour marking the quilt for quilting
when I discovered that somehow, I'd gotten off on my lines, so I started over.
Because that time didn't really go into the quilt, since I messed up,
I of course, didn't 'bill' (or record) it.

You'll notice that the price didn't include even all of the recorded labor,
because if it had, the quilt would have been priced at $207.30.

Because it is totally not necessary, but I like to add some hand-stitching,
I decided to throw that hour and 45 minutes in for free.
I hand-sewed the binding down, when I could have sewn it down by machine,
so I charged for what it would have taken me to sew it by machine.

Then I just reduced the total a little for a nice even $175.

That 'nice, even, $175' very nearly made me choke.
Could I actually sell something (and a small something at that) that I made for that much?!?
Maybe I should sell it for less, I thought; I'm an unknown nobody in the blogosphere, after all...
But you know what? My work is good.
It's even better than some of the big bloggers out there
who are selling smaller quilts for the same amount.
And more importantly, my time is worth it.
I have a kazillion things (and almost as many people ;-) clamoring for my attention.
As you well know, the choice to do 'X',
means you can't do 'Y'.
So if I'm going to be 'sewing for pay', even if I'm gifting that pay,
especially if I'm gifting that pay,
it needs to be fair wages.

I am so, so blessed to be able to stay home,
to not have to go out and get a job,
or even earn money from home to support our family.
We aren't rolling in dough, but Tyler's job provides for all of our needs
and plenty of our wants.
I have the luxury of using my earnings to help women rescued from slavery,
and they are worth it.

That's what's rolling around in my head.
I kinda feel like I have to defend my prices,
some people think quilting is just sewing a few pieces of fabric together,
but there's a heck of a lot more to it than that.

If you are a maker and seller, I would love to hear your thoughts!
(If you are not a maker and seller, but you're a buyer - I'd like to hear your thoughts, too :-)

Monday, November 17, 2014

ignore this post


Pinterest won't let me pin the above photo, 
even when I opened the image in a new tab, because it 'may lead to inappropriate content'. 
So, I'm posting it here, so I can pin it.   
because I am sneaky like that :-)
 And I really like this jacket...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

the nerdiest nerd

Tyler and I thought he was a little too cute and stud-muffinly to be nerdy, 
but his teachers* thought otherwise and picked him as the best nerd.      

Nerd or not, we sure love this one :-)

*Brandon takes 2 classes at Grace Academy twice a week.
(Except for the dress-up days, he pretty much hates it. Which makes me sad.)

to Cali and back

I'm home again,
just in time for freezing weather.

I cannot express how good it was to see my boy.
And Kacy, too, of course,
but especially Tony.

My flights were all great,
and I met such nice people in the airports.

Oh my goodness - I have to tell you about something crazy!

In a bathroom 
at the Dallas airport, 
I met a gal who reads my blog!

She recognized my 'dress'!!

What's more,
and shared it at Lee's Work in Progress Wednesday.
I'd commented on it, and she'd e-mailed me
(neither of us knowing a thing about the other. because bloggers are just nice like that :-)
I had emailed her back that very morning!
What's even more - she lived in Germany, and was in the process of moving back to the States with her soldier husband and 3 kids.

I mean, really! What are the chances?!?

Okay. Back to California.
(I went to California!!! :-)
We didn't do a ton of 'going', which was just fine by me,
but we did fit in a few important things,
like In and Out Burger,
going to the beach :-)
and fabric shopping in LA :-)
and of course, we had to have a snacky dinner on Sunday.

I tried Sushi for the first time

and we went to the movies
(saw St Vincent, which was good, but has some language, and would be just as good (or better) on a tele as opposed to the big screen)
The theater gives a huge discount on Tuesdays to Military - I always appreciate businesses who recognize and support our troops!

We skyped the family back home and celebrated Tony's birthday together.

We met up with Tyler's oldest sister and her family
and it was great to get to visit a bit.
I came home with a quilt top that her mom had made using scraps from clothing she'd made the girls.
I told Laurie I'd be honored to finish the quilt for her.
And I am.
But I'm also worried that I may not do it justice....
Fortunately, I also told her it'd probably take me a few years to complete,
so I've got time to further increase my skills.

I helped Kacy learn to sew :-)

her very first stitches :-)

Why, yes, her first project had a zipper!
This is Anna's open wide pouch. Thanks, Kathy, for the suggestion :-)
She's a natural!
(and I'm looking forward to seeing her progress. hint hint ;-)

The one thing that really surprised me
was that pretty much everyone was so friendly.
I was expecting big city / rude people,
but honestly, I didn't have a single experience with rudeness, and only once, in LA, did I run across a semi-grouchbutt.
I figure it's all that beautiful sunshine.

All in all it was a great trip,
and I am soooo grateful I got to go.
It was so good to see Tony and Kac' in person and know that they are fine.

Thanks, Love!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

another black belt!!



Video of Josiah's board breaks is here.
And Brandon's 3rd midterm board breaks video is right here
Jeremiah didn't pass his first midterm, 
but that didn't keep him from being super excited for his brothers.

Lily earned a yellow belt, and Lex' earned her orange belt.

Way to go, Gang!! Great job doing your best!!
Momma loves you all so much :-)