Monday, July 25, 2016

some finishing and thoughts on pricing

I shared before how I was in a creativity funk and I attributed it to several different things. I think I partly wore myself out from a frenzy of making in the spring, and I was also trying to sort through my feelings on putting quilts in my shop and processing my feelings when certain quilts just sit there for a while. I think the factor that weighed heavy on me was my huge pile of "in process" quilts.

I knew I had a few quilt tops done and ready for quilting and backing but I had no idea I had SO many. When I went to sort through them all I counted 14 finished tops. FOURTEEN. That is not even including the piles of blocks that I have that are all meant to be a quilt top. So to say I have a problem finishing what I start would be an understatement, to put it mildly.

But putting it out there that I had so many unfinished quilts really motivated me to tackle that huge pile of quilt tops and turn them into finished quilts. And in one Saturday, I was able to get 3 finished! Yay me!


This one was intended to be a crib quilt or baby girl quilt for my shop. I was making a pattern from Camille Roskelley's book Simply Retro.  But I was WAY overzealous when trimming my HSTs for the churn dash blocks and cut several too small. Which means that when I pieced the blocks together, several of the pointed ends of the blocks got chopped off and didn't align well with their neighbor blocks. That is why I tossed it to the side about a year ago-- I was bummed I messed up my last pieces of this Heather Bailey fabric. Heather Bailey is probably at the very top of my list of fabric designers. So then I decided I would keep it for our house and decided to just add a border of this bright aqua around it to make it bigger. I quilted it and then bound it in a sweet little pink polka dot fabric. Then I had a few people comment that they wanted it and I realized my list of essential oils that I want to buy is LONG so I decided to list it in my shop, at a lower price than I would have charged had I made the blocks perfectly (more about pricing in a minute). It is listed for sale in my shop here


This is my Doe quilt. I don't normally like to make a quilt exclusively with one line of fabric (although that's difficult to argue when both this and the quilt above are solely from one line of fabric) but this one I felt really stood well alone. This quilt top was backed and quilted-- all it needed was a binding when I tossed it aside. I didn't like how there was a couple puckers in the quilting -- then I had a breathe and reevaluate moment and realized the little puckers I was talking about did nothing to diminish the overall look or feel of the quilt. That said- I did seam rip one of the bigger puckers and left a couple smaller ones. After I washed and dried it, I couldn't even find the spots that initially drove me crazy - that's a deeper lesson, I'm sure. This one is also listed in my shop. p.s.  you might be able to tell that I am STILL in love with incorporating essex linen whenever I can in a quilt. In this case, it's the binding. 


And then this one. I honestly had just forgotten about this one. Which is funny because it's pretty big and occupied a rather large space in my castoff pile. I made this with a fat quarter bundle of Tanya Whelan's Lulu fabric, but I mixed in a couple low volumes because I have a thing about having ample white space (in my quilts and in my life), I made it quilt as you go style, so all it needed was a pieced backing and a binding. I finished it and went to take pictures to add it to my shop when I saw it! I splotchy mark that splattered across 3 different clocks of fabric. I literally had to keep my tears from falling. I totally wanted to blame my kids, too, but I remembered exactly what it was. I had started this quilt top when we were packing up to move to our house in the winter of 2015. I remember loading stuff into a box and tripping, spilling my coffee everywhere and in the box that held my works in progress. I thought I had cleaned it all up. Apparently NOT. Ugh. I have worked to get the spot out and it is certainly faded but still there. My lovely friends on Instagram are telling me to list it with the spot and maybe discount it some. I feel really bad about selling a quilt with a spot on it though. A little puckering  or not perfectly pointed points is one thing, but a spot.....I am still trying to figure out what I will do with this. 

Okay....now about something that I have been asked about and I guess just feel the need to share out loud. Pricing. How do you price a quilt. I have read ALL kinds of articles and thoughts on this topic and it definitely seems to be a relatively heated issue with quilters. You can read about pricing quilts here , if you are interested, and HERE is another great article. 

To give you an idea-- the fat quarter bundle I used to make the Lulu Roses quilt top above was $56. The backing consisted of 3 yards of fabric and almost another full yard for the binding, and 4added low volume fat quarters-- at $9/yard, that is an additional $40ish with me rounding down. The batting was about $11, and I got it with a coupon. So we are at $107 just on materials. Then there is my time, which took me about 12 -14 hours to make. So if I am just recouping my materials and paying myself a minimal hourly wage, we are at around $200, and that is only paying myself the bare minimum and making no profit. Based on a lot of the pricing methods I have read about, I would need to charge about $400 for the quilt top above using their methods. 

So here are my thoughts on the topic. I love to quilt. I really, really love it. But there really isn't a need for my children to each have 7 quilts, so I decided that I would create a little shop to sell my items, if anything, to help recoup the cost of fabric and continue to fuel this passion of mine, and maybe just maybe, make a tiny but of money. I would LOVE to make 
$400 on a quilt....but I remember a key phrase I read about when getting my MBA and that was "what the market can bear". I don't think the average etsy buyer would be willing to pay $400 for a quilt. And though it is a one-of-a-kind, original, handmade item, I am still competing against Target and TJ Maxx because for people who are purchasing from a utility perspective, they can get a quilt the same size for around $50. ugh. So I am somewhere in the middle of this pricing equation. I want to recoup my costs and pay myself, but I also want to make something that people can afford and would be inclined to buy.

So that quilt top above-- I would have listed maybe a little under $200, had I not seen the spot. Some quilters would scoff at that and say I might be belittling the art of quilting by charging that, and some customers might think it is crazy to spend $200 on a quilt when they could buy a (poorer quality, mass produced - haha) quilt at a super-store for $40.  I am just doing what I think is right for me.

So there you have it.  My perspective on pricing. And if you still think that handmade quilts on etsy are expensive, click on over here and check this out.


Friday, July 22, 2016

in a rut and LOTS of works in progress

I am coming on to write today in hopes that in typing it all out, maybe I can figure out what's going on.

Quilting, for me, brings about the same feelings that walking on the beach does. Obviously, when I make a quilt there is more brain power and decision involved, but when I actually sit down to sew and piece things together, my body feels like it lets out one deep sigh, and I feel settled.

But I also have a tendency to overdo things. My mom used to point this out to me, in hopes that I would see a frenzy building and try to find a place of calm. But I am stubborn. So I go go go go and basically deplete my inspiration well and creativity until I am flat empty. And then I sit here and wonder what happened. Every. Single. Time.

That is where I have been this last month. In an inspiration/creation dry spell. I don't like it. I have nine thousand ideas floating around in my head, but when I go to sit down to make something, I just can't.

Another part of the equation is the whole etsy shop thing. A lot of quilts that I have just loved have been sitting in my little shop for quite some time. On the flip side, quilts I made that I felt so so about sold rather quickly. I am still new to this "selling what I create" thing and there is definitely a lot of learning and soul-checking going on. I think somewhere in my frenzy of MAKE ALL THE QUILTS I started making things that i thought people might like, as opposed to making quilts that I just want to make because it sounds fun. As soon as I did that, I think I started chipping away at the joy that quilting brings me. So I am back to this place, of reevaluating, of deep thought, of forcing myself to throw thoughts out of my head, and just make. I have to say, though... it's tough when you attach a bit of your heart, your imagination, to something. It feels a little deeper. Anyhow, that is something I need to work through and figure out my happy middle place.

I realize it's very likely that y'all (and by y'all I am not even sure that there is a single person who will ever read this) have checked out by now......

Mostly just sharing this in the hopes that maybe another maker might read this and share their experiences with this sort of inspirational drought. Because I would LOOOOOVVVEEE to get my quilty mojo back.

.....on the flip side of this, I am thinking maybe I just need to go to my unfinished projects bin (because I literally have over two dozen started quilts--- some are whole quilt tops that need to be backed, quilted, and bound....) Maybe finishing one of those would help me reset! Here is a look of what I have got on my list to finish. Y'all.....this is evidence that I have a problem finishing.


The one above was made from an issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting and was meant to be the first quilt I made just for myself. I really love it. But as soon as I assigned it the label of "just for me" it went to the bottom of the pile of things to complete. I need to fix that. Pretty sure I am going to still keep this one for myself because the way the center looks like it is glowing makes me really really happy. And blues are my jam.


My husband bought me a bundle of these Tanya Whelan fabrics for Valentine's Day 2 or 3 years ago!!! I love them. They make me super happy. And this one was a "quilt as you go" so all I need to do is press, back, and bind. 


I made the above quilt top back in the summer of 2014 as we were waiting for my husband to return from his deployment to the desert. I totally remember all of the anxiousness and giddiness as I was piecing this together--- I was trying to give myself something to focus on so I wouldn't just explode with excitement. But I realized my squares didn't match up....because that was back before I did patchwork squares THIS WAY So I set the top aside because I was bummed about the lack if alignment and I forgot about it. But the colors are beautiful and it is good sized, so I just need to finish it!!


This was one of the very first quilt tops I ever made. Just strips of some of my very favorite fabric. I keep debating cutting it into squares or rectangles and framing it in white and then piecing it together block style.....but this is a must finish because I love the colors.


This was supposed to be Declan's car seat quilt but I stopped because I can't even remember why.


This one I just made this past winter and I really do love it and love the colors. I have a binding all sewn together for it, too, so I need to find the right backing for it and get it finished.


I made this with Elea Lutz's fabric and it makes me super happy. Only, I made it as we were in the process of moving and somehow when we got to the new house and I laid the blocks back out, I messed up my original design of colors and it drove me nuts that the oranges and minty teals were adjacent from each other. Probably a lame reason to give up on it. 


Triangles. I LOVE the way they look but can never get them right. Like ever. But I have decided that I am going to finish this one because I love the springy colors. It will either be a couch quilt or maybe a quilt for the camper.


This quilt I made with Doe fabric and I loved the masculine look to it. It is backed and minimally quilted. I quit because there was a pucker in the white and I was so bummed. Which is dumb because all I need to do is seam rip and fix it, or leave it as is.....This one is so close to being finished! 

Okay.....so there you have it. I have 3 other quilts tops done, but they are meant to be gifts so I am going to keep those hidden. 

Do you have a stack of ALMOST finished things that you are neglecting? Or any tips for helping rejuvenate the love of making? I'd love to hear them!!!



Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Nelson's joined the Young Living family!

Hi friends! If you follow me on social media, then you likely already know that I just recently signed up with Young Living so I could incorporate oils into our everyday life. I am SOOOOO EXCITED!!! 




My first experience with oils was this past fall. Some yucky stuff was being passed around my kids school and we tried medication and it just didn't seem to be really helping us out. I researched quite a bit and came across a post another mom of 5 had written, about how she had used essential oils to help support her kids health. I decided to give a couple oils a try, because even if it wasn't effective, I felt good knowing that what I was trying was natural and not loaded with chemicals. And what do you know, we saw an immediate and obvious change after just using one oil!! I was blown away. And it got me thinking.....if this one oil could help us, what could all of the other oils do?

But that's where it got sort of overwhelming. There are so many oils, so many oil companies-- I didn't know where to begin. So I reached out to friends and asked for help. We tried several different oils from different companies, and I quickly learned that Young Living oils seemed to really improve our overall wellbeing. 

* I have friends and family that I just love who use different oils from different companies and I am super grateful for all the help and direction I have gotten from them, we just ended up going with YL because that is what I saw to be the most result producing for us!

After talking to my friend Trisha, she was super helpful in answering all of my {many many many} questions, and she set me up to get a Premium Oil Starter Kit. It arrived yesterday and I am already so in love and so excited to begin our oily journey. For real, y'all, I can't even stand it!!




don't tell my husband about this picture. he has this weird "no baby chicks on the table we eat on" rule. but the chicks were all "heard you got some oils....." these chicks know whats up.



Are you curious about oils? Are you wanting to have a supply of pure and natural things to help support your body and overall wellbeing? Or maybe you are wanting to just give one oil a try to see what it can do for you? Well here I am- ask away!! I am so excited to share about my experiences and am all about talking oils with you! It sort of feels like I have come across a pot of gold! Because with oils, I have found a natural way to really have a positive impact on my families health! That's a pretty amazing thing!!!I joined Young Living because I truly believe in the oils and can't help but talk about them because I feel like everyone could benefit from them. 

If you are wanting to dive in and get started on making some positive changes for you and your family, I suggest the Premium Starter Kit! It comes with a great selection of the most popular oils, some educational material, and my favorite part- an amazing diffuser!!! How awesome that you get your oil kit, and can start diffusing an oil in your home immediately?!?! With the Premium Starter Kit, you will have ALL you need to get started on your journey to improved wellness!!

The cool thing about signing up as a distributor (that is what I did!) is that you get the oils at WHOLESALE prices, but you don't HAVE TO SELL anything, nor do you have to commit to a monthly order......the only real commitment when you sign up to get a kit as a distributor is that you are agreeing to purchase $50 of oils over the course of a year. And I am telling you, once you get your starter kit, the bigger challenge will be NOT buying every oil in the catalog. Seriously. (you should see my oil wish list.....I had to narrow it down to my top 33!!! haha!!)

Would you like to sign up for an account with me?  Follow these simple steps:
  • Go to:  Member Sign-up
  • Please select Wholesale Member or Retail Customer (not sure which option is best for you?  Please visit our "Join" page to find out!)
  • Shannon's number should already be entered.  If it isn't, please enter 3981807 in both the Sponsor and Enroller sections.
  • Check your country and language preference
  • On the next page, fill out your info
  • Agree to the terms and conditions
  • Select your kit, we recommend the Premium Starter Kit ($160)
  • Select your diffuser 
  • At this point you can add more to your order if you'd like, or you can check out with your starter kit.
  • All finished, welcome to the family!  You should receive an email from me soon!


When you purchase the Premium Starter Kit + Home Diffuser with an Essential Families member, you become a wholesale member and will receive the following:
  • Home Diffuser
  • Premium Essential Oils Collection: Lavender, Peppermint Vitality, Lemon Vitality, Copaiba Vitality, Frankincense, Thieves Vitality, Purification, R.C., DiGize Vitality and PanAway
  • Bonus oil: Stress Away 5-ml
  • AromaGlide Roller Fitment
  • 10 Sample Packets
  • 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Business Cards
  • 10 Love It? Share It! Sample Oil Bottles
  • 2 NingXia Red 2-oz. samples
  • Product Guide and Product Price List
  • Member Resources
  • Private FB group for product education
  • Private FB group for business questions
  • Private website full of resources, graphics, scripts, etc.
Have questions?? Email me!!!! I'd love to chat about this!! 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Quilt Sale

Hey friends! Just a quick post to share that all my quilts are on sale now through Monday night (may 30) at midnight!




Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Nine Patch Cross Quilt Tutorial ISH. A tutorialish.

Hey friends. I took a couple pictures while making my latest Summer Bouquet quilt because I have had a couple friends who have asked me about a good, somewhat easy quilt to start with, and I was thinking maybe this is the design that would be fun!




I usually say a log cabin quilt is a good start because you can just keep piecing until you get to the size that you need, but if you are wanting something involving a block design, a nine patch is pretty easy, too.

First, the basics of a nine patch. Basically just 9 squares all the same size, arranged in 3 rows of 3 squares each.


For this quilt, I cut squares to 4 1/2 inches each, 4 low volume background squares, and 5 squares in the patterned fabric you are wanting to showcase. You can see the layout above, but top row is background square, main print, background square, middle row is 3 of the patterned fabric squares, bottom row is background square , main print, background square.

How you sew each square together is preference but I am a chain piecing fool when it comes to patchwork squares. So I feed the top row square 1 and 2, right sides together, and as soon as I leave the end of the square I am feeding row 2's squares 4 and 5 through, and then the same thing with row 3's squares 7 and 8. I pull them out, snd threads, and then do the end square on each row. Only after all rows have been stitched together do I press the seams.....but see my rule #2 on how I press each row. :)

(p.s. -- the nine patch block offer SOOOOO many variations, and if you're looking to make a fun block style quilt, it is so easy and fun and offers so much variation. not to mention, you can make them as big or as small as you like, just as long as each of the 9 squares are the same size, you are good to go. some examples of nine patch block options are here!)


The only real trick to a nine patch is getting the squares to line up as much as possible. And after making lots and lots of blocks, I have found 3 things to be especially important in making this happen.

1- using a quarter inch seam foot!!! seriously, I use this for all piecing and it is SOOO good. It maintains a consistent seam allowance, which is so important for accurate piecing!!



Just find out which foot fits your machine and you are good to go!

2- This is something I just learned a couple years ago-- when pressing rows, press each rows seams in alternating directions. For example, for rows 1 and 3 of your 9 patch, press the seams to the left, and for row 2, press seams to the right. This is a good tutorial on that.  Doing this allows you to sort of LOCK the seams into place, because they abut one another, when you sew the rows together. It's hard to describe until you do it and then you'll be like AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! 



See, there? The seam allowances are going in opposite directions, allowing me to butt them against one another when I stitch them together, making them line up perfectly. As you can see, sometimes when I use this method, I do not pin, I just go slow and hold with my fingers. I know this is a preference thing and some people are probably thinking I have lost my mind, but this is what works for me. Stopping to pull out pins or sewing over pins isn't really my jam when I am piecing a bunch of squares together. 

Anyway, I simply stitch each row together and then press each rows seams to one side. 


3- Finally, this is something I just discovered this past fall-- STARCH!!! Some people are ehhh about starch, but not this girl!! I love it. It really makes my patchwork lie flat, which is even more important when you are stitching a seam-allowance heavy block together, like one using HSTs for example. I spray a mist of starch and then I PRESS (not iron), I just press my iron down firmly to set the seams flat and lay the blocks open.


I'm telling you-- game changer! Once I press the seams in the back to set them, I flip the block over right side up, spray, and press. It makes everything better. And then, for this quilt, I repeated that process 11 more times :)


So, that, in a nut shell is it! A quarter inch seam foot, pressing seams to side in alternating directions, and starch and press! 

All that said, though, there are still times when I don't get things to line up perfectly. Thankfully, there is grace and forgiveness in the quilting, and I need much of both grace and forgiveness, and not just in regards to quilting. 

So, that is how I make one block. My squares were each 4.5 inches, making the finished block 12 inches. I used strips in between each block, and above and below....you can make the blocks line up directly against, or make strips in between, and adjusting the strip size allows you to make the quilt as big or small as you want!

I did 3 blocks per row, 4 rows, and did a wider border on the top, bottom, and outer sides, which created a quilt that measures 43.5 inches by 62 inches. 



I used pieces of the fabric I made the quilt top with to piece a back together. I added in solids to make it big enough. I really like the way the back turned out, probably just because I love these fabrics and I love seeing them all blown up :)



If you did 4.5 inch squares with 4 blocks per row, and 5 rows, you would roughly have a quilt measuring 48 x 60.

Maybe a super easy, fun way to start would be to make a huge block, with just one cross being the focal point. If each square measures 10.5 inches, it would result in a finished 30 square inch block that you could border with white, making a super cute, super easy baby quilt!! I bet that would be lovely!!! Great. Now I want to go make that. Ugh....quilter ADD probs. It's a legit thing.

Y'all-- I just shared a sort of, not really, kind of tutorial. ISH. A tutorialish. I think I am growing up!!!!

Linking up here:
Fort Worth Fabric Studio

And HERE!!!




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