From Jenny’s Studio: The Word of the Year

From Jenny’s Studio: The Word of the Year

I don’t know about you, but I love looking into the minds of creative people. Every creative person has their own unique thought process to bring about a finished work of art! Have you ever wondered how Jenny thinks up so many wonderful tutorials for you? Well, we hope to be able to give you a glimpse into Jenny’s creative process through this new series, “From Jenny’s Studio”. Stay tuned, and follow along with Jenny’s journey. #jennyquilts

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A new year is a new opportunity to reflect. Many people choose one or several New Year’s Resolutions, but this year for the first time, Jenny decided to pick a word of the year to use as a focus in her life. After some thought and personal reflection, she chose the word ‘BALANCE’ with the hope of spending more time outside, doing more of the things she loves to do, and making time in her schedule to focus on her own personal wellness.

So what does a quilter do with her selected word of the year? She makes a quilted wall hanging, of course! It came from a different project that Jenny had started, but she didn’t love how it turned out. Here’s what she said, “This whole thing is so symbolic to me. The fabric I used is part of an old quilt that I started and never could get it the way I wanted. So it has a new start and life in this project. The colors remind me of the earth sky and the water… these are things I love that I haven’t been taking enough time for.”

Jenny sews her word of the year!

She asked her daughter Natalie to print off the letters and then she traced them on to Heat And Bond and fused them onto quilt blocks. Then she cut them out and blanket stitched them on to the background, then straight line quilted the whole thing on her sewing machine.

Jenny created this project to hang in her studio to remind herself to strive for balance in all of the things that make her happy and healthy.

Jenny gets connected with her word of the year!

Have you chosen a word to live by this year? We would love to hear of all the things you are working on in your life in the comments!

The Story of Us on Turning Point

The Story of Us on Turning Point

It’s hard to believe that our story started back in 2008 (nearly 8 years ago). We’ve grown as people, as quilters, as a community and as a company in so many ways since then. It’s been an amazing journey and we are so lucky to have you all by our side through it all.

A few months ago we were lucky enough to have the BYU TV film crew come to the small town of Hamilton, MO to film a Turning Point feature on Missouri Star Quilt Co. and the full story of how we came to be. We hope you enjoy watching the feature below and feel a bit more like family after doing so.

* Click the expand button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to make it bigger.

A Day in the Life of a Fabric Order

A Day in the Life of a Fabric Order

Ever wondered what happens after you click “submit” on a Missouri Star Quilt Company fabric order? Here’s a behind the scenes look at the process! It’s a day in the life of a fabric order! Because we are an online AND brick and mortar shop, it’s a little different than a warehouse with everything under one roof. Ready to see the process?

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Meet Stephen. He’s shopping at missouriquiltco.com and places an order for the Daily Deal. On this day, it’s a charm pack of the Frost fabric line. A steal of a price, too! While he’s at it, he adds a yard of Kona Solids fabric in Snow. Gotta build that stash!

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His order is fulfilled from two separate places here at Missouri Star.  All precuts (and notions, books, etc) are stored in the warehouse and are picked there. The yardage, though, comes from one of our four fabric shops. In this case, his Kona Snow comes from Penney’s Quilt Shop, where our solids are sold.

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At the solids shop, bolts to be cut for orders are picked and stacked at a cutting counter. (Say, “Hi, Cindy!”) The cutting counter crew cuts these orders AND takes care of orders for people who are shopping in store. As you can imagine, it’s a busy place!

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Then the order is cut…..

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….and labeled with a sticker that has a barcode.

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It’s then scanned and placed in a numbered bin. When the tag is scanned, the system tracks the numbered bin all the way to the warehouse.

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The bins travel to the warehouse in a horse drawn carriage (with the high school marching band playing in the background, of course). Or something like that.

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At the warehouse, the shipping department takes over! The pickers pull orders in batches. Each batch fills a cart of 15 orders at a time. Pickers wear iPads that help them know where to go in the warehouse to find each item in the order.

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The screen even displays how many of each item to put in the bins. This particular cart has orders that all include the Daily Deal, so what you see here is the number of Frost charm packs to put in each bin (or order). Stephen’s charm pack is in one of these!

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The picker finds the charm pack location…

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…and tosses them into each bin for the orders on the cart.

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Then it’s off to the shipping stations where Stephen’s order is wrapped and labeled for shipping.

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The jolly postman comes for pick up and the order is whisked away, off to Stephen’s house!

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We hope this peek behind the scenes helps you to know what’s happening with your order. As you can see, some orders come from one spot (for example, if you order all precuts, they are all at the warehouse) while other orders come from multiple places (where it gets really fun). Let’s make a pretend fabric order for that:  Say you ordered a precut (from the warehouse), a yard of Christmas fabric (which is cut at Sew Seasonal), some Civil War yardage (which is cut at the Mercantile), a yard of the latest Bonnie and Camille fabric (which is cut in the main shop) and a few yards of coordinating solids (which are cut Penney’s Quilt Shop). The five pieces of your order will come from five different spots, all meeting up at the warehouse with matching barcodes. It’s pretty cool, actually!

We’re settling in at the new warehouse , getting used to our new system of picking orders and are working SO hard to get back to same day shipping. You can bet there will be a giant celebration as soon as that day gets here! We’re deeply grateful for the patience and support of our incredible customers. YOU ROCK!

Lemon Fresh Productions: the new filming studio!

Lemon Fresh Productions: the new filming studio!

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Today we’re giving a behind the scenes tour of Lemon Fresh Productions, the new filming studio where Jenny films her tutorials. The studio is on the upper level of one of the buildings we’ve renovated here in downtown Hamilton. Lemon Fresh is owned by Jenny’s son, Jake!

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Jake films Jenny’s tutorials as well as videos and tutorials for others. Because of the busy filming schedule, this space isn’t available for tours. We hope this peek is a good stand in for you!

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If you’ve ever been to Jenny’s house, you know she loves antiques, but Jake isn’t crazy about them.  We wanted a modern space that would give us room to change things up since Jenny is just one of many people that we work with. (But she’s the coolest one!)

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So Jake and Ron built Jenny some awesome shelves out of antique doors, brought in some of her fun knick knacks and worked with her to create a set that felt like home but that isn’t a permanent fixture of the overall studio. Everything in each set is on rollers so we can move things in and out easily depending on what we are filming each day. 

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The studio features a bright open office space, large film studio, hair and makeup area, kitchen, and sound recording area. We wanted to make sure that we used every inch of the space to it’s full potential and we feel like we’ve done that.
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It’s still a work in progress but we absolutely love having the room to grow!
Nostalgia and Warehouses

Nostalgia and Warehouses

Today’s post is a heartfelt one, written by Al. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
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Growing up brings about so many nostalgic moments.
This weekend was a huge one for our company.  HUGE, I tell you!  HUGE!
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Almost six years ago, we started our company in a great big 5,000 square foot building at 100 N Ardinger in Hamilton, Missouri.  It was way too big for us! We refinished the front 1,000 square feet to be our shop and went to work refinishing that space.
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We tore out the paneling and put up some fresh paint and a new floor and that room was great.
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We got our first internet orders there and we would all package the 3-4 orders a day right up and send them off right from the cutting table.
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As we continued to grow, we built a little shipping department in the back, then a machine quilting room.
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Once it became more than just Becky and Jackie answering the phones, we moved our customer service into their own room.
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Eventually, the shop moved to the main street (where it remains today) and that 100 N Ardinger building became strictly shipping and customer service.
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And then it wasn’t big enough for that, even! It was crazy, but we needed more space for our customer service team and a loading dock. Ammon (our warehouse manager) made a great forklift, but his arms were getting tired!
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About a year ago (August 8th of last year, actually) we decided it was time to build our own custom warehouse for our shipping and customer service.  We had all kinds of cool stuff that needed to be in there. We needed a way to get fabric cut in the shops and then connected back into your orders so they get shipped out in a timely manner. We wanted ways of organizing products so that we could always find them, even when we were down to that very last charm pack. But mainly, we needed space.
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So we got building! Winter came and snowed us out for a few months, but we kept going.
This last weekend, we finally moved our shipping over to the new warehouse.
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There were so many moving parts to this move. Did we think of fire extinguishers? What about chairs for the breakroom? (sorry everyone!) Carts for the pickers and bins for the carts? We got bins for the charm packs and layer cakes, but what about notions? What do those go into?
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The move got more and more complex, and was a pretty stressful time for a lot of us. And now (making sure no order was lost in the mix) we are working hard to get everything up to snuff.  Now we have the room to finally hire a few more shippers and get our feet back under us. Our goal by the end of the month is to be back to getting your orders out the day you place them. We are excited!
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With all that hubub going on, I was a little surprised at some of the feelings.  Sarah, Natalie, and myself were sweeping out the 100 N Ardinger building on Saturday night. After everything had been moved out of the front rooms and it was just a few empty shipping tables and shelves, we tidied up the floor and then all sat down and were overcome with this nostalgia.  We’re definitely not sad. This is exciting! We have needed more space for so long!
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But it’s weird, you know? It’s weird to grow up.
We were laughing about the early days there. How every package that has ever been shipped from our company had gone through that tiny room we were all cramped in. Hundreds of thousands of orders have been fulfilled from there. (!!)
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We recalled the days the A/C unit would quit and we’d just sweat and ship.  We remembered how (even before that) we had the Friday night sews, with people sitting on top of people.
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It’s also where the first tutorials were filmed with a little camcorder!
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Just to have those walls remember such wonderful times choked me up a little.
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A lot of companies have a garage that is their very, very beginning. Ours is that building on Ardinger. It’s that small room in the front where it all started, with Mom and a long arm machine and two shelves with a half dozen bolts of fabric.  And it’s great to remember that, I think.
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I asked Sarah what we should do with that building now. She’s not sure, but one thing is for certain. We’ll keep that front room just like it is. No matter what else we end up doing, we need to be able to walk back in there and remember those feelings that keep this business so exciting.
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I’m definitely not sad to be moving on from there. We are excited to be growing, but there’s a big part of me that will just miss walking in there every morning to tackle the day.
That being said, it’s nice to finally have room to park!  🙂  Thanks for the journey, everyone. Here’s to another great era in our new warehouse!  Thanks for sticking with us while we improve and learn. I promise you’ll like what we have up ahead!
-Al