Friday, June 29, 2018

Summertime has arrived

It's been a very long time since I added to my blog. I'm happy that summer is finally here, brining with it longer days filled with sunshine and hot weather. I spend some time recently doing a little yard work, planting some flowers and deep cleaning my house. I added a little solar powered accent lighting to the walkway and gutters and the flowers have really taken off.

I am enjoying a couple of months off from school crossing duties which enables me to sleep in a little later, stay up sewing a little longer and quilt to my heart's content. I have also added a very new and exciting line of work to my quilting repertoire, teaching "Learn to Long Arm" classes.

You know how they say, when one door closes, another one opens? This is exactly how this came to be recently. My beloved local quilt store, The Quilt Spot, in Midland Park, decided to close. Turns out that three LQS stores in a few weeks in New Jersey that have gone out of business. I won't speculate why here, but only say that it was heartbreaking to see this sweet little shop close.

However, there is a newer store in East Hanover, NJ that has been doing very well selling a wide variety of sewing machines, and I was invited to visit them to discuss teaching long arm classes to help them grow their long arm rental program. We scheduled 3 long arm sessions and within a week they were all filled. We added more sessions over the summer, on different days of the week and weekends. These are also filling up so quickly.

While some may think that teaching long arm quilting might be counter intuitive to being a successful arm quilter, I would say, it's thrilling to see so many quiltermakers wanting to try their hand at long arming and quilt their own quilts. I understand the desire to complete something on your own from start to finish. I also believe that my quilting business will not suffer because some customers may wish to quilt their own quilts. There is plenty of work out there for the talented long arm quilters in our area and I actually think this will continue even with an LQS offering rental time on their three long arm machines.

While I own two Gammill professional long arm machines, I am only able to quilt so many quilts each week and never seem to have enough time to get my backlog down. So I believe this new endeavor will help take the pressure off to quilt more hours each week, while also sharing my love of long arm and free motion uilting with other quilters. I don't think renting quilting time will be for everyone and that there will still be plenty of custom and quilting work out there.

In addition to teaching long arm classes, Sew Jersey is allowing me to offer coiled clothesline basket making, orange peel, hashtag and finishing quilt classes over the summer. There will also be a tuffet class offered in the fall.

So while I may be on summer vacation, I am staying plenty busy with teaching and quilting and visiting with friends and family. I hope to be able to sneak a beach day or two in this summer as well.

Hope to see you soon.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Recently I suffered a shoulder injury and my ability to sew and quilt or even wrap baskets was diminished while it healed. I am happy to report it’s much better this week and I have started slowly back to quilting.

During my down time, I started working on launching my website, something I had been meaning to do for at least 3 years but had never sat down and drawn up the content.

I’m please to announce that my website is up and running and I actually enjoyed the creative process to create it!

Godaddy made it very easy to make the website and get it published. Once I had the framework built, it was a matter of uploading pictures for the two galleries and the links to my other sites including Pinterest, Instagram and of course, Facebook.

While there is a lot more I can do with it, it is up and running and already getting traffic and feedback

I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think. I have to decide whether to keep my blog here or move it permanently to the new site. I haven’t been blogging much because I just don’t have a lot of spare time to sit and write.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

EXtreme Quilting launched on Etsy

Yep, I finally set up my Etsy shop and posted a few listings to see if I could sell some of my beloved quilts and handmade baskets. My house is overflowing with quilts and baskets and it's time to downsize, make some room and sell some of these things.

I'm happy to report that I made my first sale two weeks ago, a large, turquoise wavy basket. It was very exciting to actually have an inquiry, receive payment, pack ship and watch the basket travel to Montana.

My etsy shop is called Extreme Quilting and currently I have over 70 tems listed and will be positing more items for sale in the coming weeks. During the evening news, after I am done working on quilts, I have been wrapping clothesline to make bundles which will be used to create my coiled baskets. I find this wrapping very relaxing and portable. Yesterday I had to go to the DMV to renew my driver's license and registration. Sure I could have done it via mail, but I wanted a fresh picture because I really hated the old picture. Having lost a considerable amount of weight since Mike Passed away, I felt a fresh current picture was in order. So I killed two birds with one stone and I did the trip to the DMV with clothesline, fabric strips and glue sticks in a tote bag.

As it was mid week and mid month, the wait times weren't too bad. I was in and out in just over an hour. I'm sure the other patrons were wondering what the heck I was doing, but I'm used to the stRes and the occasional cell phone picture taking when I am sitting there wrapping my clothesline. then I headed off to meet with some friends nearby and spend a couple of hours catching up, wrapping clothesline, talking about life and quilting. It was a nice afternoon.

Stay cool. I'll be back with pictures of the baskets once I make the time to sit and sculpt them into finished product.
If you get the chance, be sure to check out my Etsy store and some of the items I have for sale.
Thanks for stopping by.