Better late….

Not sure if that is really true or not.  Haha.  This week has been a little tough for my family.  My husband lost his Grandma and had to leave Tuesday for Canada.  I had to stay home with the kids {cause we haven’t gotten passports for the kids, yet. }  So I have been holding down the fort, so to speak.

I sure do miss my husband when he is gone.  Out here {where we just moved} I feel especially alone, because I really haven’t made a ton of friends and haven’t been here long enough to really know anyone.  I was so spoiled living amongst my family.  I had instant friends and if I ever needed anything, they were there.  What a brat, huh.  It has been an interesting adjustment for sure.

Well, I am planning on getting more work done on my ‘quilt in progress’, if I can get those tension issues resolved.  {still working on that…See, it would have been so easy if Mom was just down the road! Haha.}  🙂

I hope that you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.  I am going to take my kids to the park for a picnic and kite flying (if we have enough wind) and just relax.  I’ll take pics and share them on Monday.  I still have a million and one things to get ready before i leave for Market….I’ll get to it.

Can’t wait to show you some of the awesome things we’ve been up to…

Sarah

 

Show and Tell…Quilts made by YOU

Over a year ago I spoke with Carolyn on the phone.  I tried to help her make her first quilt with a few suggestions and such.  I received an email from her with pictures of the quilt she made and I couldn’t be more thrilled to share it with you!

Here is the email I received from her:

Hi Sarah,

As you can see from the date of your message to me (2/5/10), you helped me by answering some questions I had about making my first quilt!  I had bought some charm packs of California Dreamin’ from your store and wanted to make a quilt for my sister’s birthday.  You were kind enough to answer some of my questions over the phone, and then you sent me two pictures as suggestions of what I could do with the charm packs.

I am proud and excited to tell you that I finally finished the quilt!!  I really wanted to show you what I did.  (I think two of the pictures are sideways but I don’t know how to rotate them on here!)  I added a white border around the charm square and then alternated a pink or green border around that.  I also had bought material for the backing before I really knew what I was doing.  When it was time to do the back, I found out it was only 42″ wide and the quilt was 54″ wide.  So I had to make a border around the backing.

I also tried to stipple the quilt.  I had taken a class on free motion quilting, but hadn’t been practicing.  So, 30 minutes of stippling one section, ended up being 3 DAYS of ripping it out!!  I then went with the grid pattern.  I used 1″ painters tape and followed the line.  After about 5 rows of that, I thought 1″ was too small so I ripped THAT out and used the 1.5″ tape.  I used variegated quilting thread that matched the colors perfectly.  My other sister noticed that right away which made me happy!   I had no idea the quilting part would be so time consuming!

I made my own binding and followed your tutorial and that went fine.  I also made a label with my embroidery machine.  (I’m also new to that so it wasn’t the best!)

I presented it to my sister this weekend and she absolutely loved it!  It was only one year, one month and a few weeks passed her birthday!

So THANK YOU so much for all your help and guidance.  Your encouragement help give me courage to finish my very first quilt!!

Sincerely,

Carolyn

I can NOT even express how much it means to us, to hear back from you all.  The stories, successes and failures {which always turn out to be  successes too}  are what keeps us going.  We appreciate all of you.  You are the reason why we are doing what we are doing.

Have  a wonderful day.

~Sarah

Part 8: Construction…yes, MORE construction!

No doubt we needed to expand!  Again. {the poor men in our family!!}  It wasn’t long and they were back to the drawing board/sheet rocking/sanding/painting/exhaustion. {started January 2010}  With this addition we knew we had to put in a new bathroom and a heating and air conditioning system.  Did I mention that this old building we were in was a car dealership?  It only had one, yucky-very old-nasty-super gross ‘Men’s only’ bathroom!!  EW!  That in itself, was so embarrassing!  We hated to let anyone use it.

So off we went, expanding again.

We didn’t have money for carpet so we painted the floor green.  What can I say, I love color…and they didn’t have PINK floor paint or I would have used that! LOL  {seriously}

The boys installed a drop ceiling, air ducts, and plumbing {for the bathroom} mudded, taped and sanded everything.  It was looking great and we were THRILLED!!!!

Is it crazy that this whole experience is still so surreal to us all?  I still can hardly believe it myself looking back, how quickly things have progressed.  Sometimes it feels like we’ve been doing this forever, some days I still feel like a total newbie!

One thing for sure, we were/ ARE  living the DREAM! Excited {and sometimes un-organized} through it all!

More to come….

~Sarah

Ps.  This is a series I am writing to take you through our experience.

Here are some links to the the other parts if you missed them.

Part 1, 2,  3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Part7: Growing some more!

A new room, we decided was a must.  We had moved around the tables-shelves-and displays enough!  We had a great group of women that sewed with us for our Friday night sew and we just needed more space!

Remember, that while all this shop stuff was going on, my Dad and husband both work regular full time jobs and have been the labor force behind 99% of the remodeling.

We were thrilled to finally be able to open the doors to our new room, NEVER imagining we would be able to fill it with fabric.  Really, I thought that there was NO way, we would ever have enough fabric to fill that space!! Ever.  { do I sound like a broken record yet? }

Well, as you can see BOOM the first night we used it, it was full!  Not with fabric but with people!  What a blessing.  I did look at Dad {that very night} and say that we were gonna have to get started on the other room.  Really, in utter disbelief.  It was still pretty empty as far as product went, but that didn’t take long to fill up either.

Friday night sews for us have always been a blast!  We get to really visit with each other and hear and share hilarious stories that frankly, bring us closer together!  We are just like one big family.  We tease each other {remind each other to boil the manicotti before filling them}, laugh together and yes, we even cry together.  Each one of our customers mean so much to me, and I realized that we wouldn’t be here without them.

Can you believe that it ONLY gets BETTER!?!?!?  This was only July-August 2009  We hadn’t even been open a whole year.

Part 6: Our ‘new’ normal…and growth.

April 2009 Poor Mom was miserable. {and grumpy and needy and miserable} Hehe

Well, we were trucking along trying to figure this adventure out with Mom still in a  lot of pain.  We decided to go ahead with our plans for classes and just see where we went.    ***If I don’t sound very sympathetic please forgive me.  It was just the way I was raised.  Mom herself will tell you that sympathy was never her strong point.  And really, I am just teasing.  I figure since I’m writing it I can say whatever I want to, right?!  Hahah!***

One of the classes we offered was called ‘Stitchin’ Chicks’ and it was for the 10-15yr old crowd.  Boy did we have a blast with those girls!  We made pillow cases, pajama shorts, notebook covers, aprons and so much more.  They were the sweetest group ever and I am so glad we did that!  We also held a class for the local 4H group and that was a blast as well.

I want you to really take notice of the pictures:  We only have ONE room open.  We only have a few shelves of fabric, and we have room for our sewing tables in the middle of our one room shop!  We were still moving everything to the edges of the room when we’d have our Friday night sews and classes and it was working fine!  We knew though, that we would have to expand…we just thought we had a bit more time!  LOL.

By June we had volunteered to do a Booth and a Quilt Show at our County (Caldwell County, MO)  Civil War Reenactment.  {the first one, ever}

We were really excited to be a part of it, and be able to help showcase some of the Counties best quilts!!  What a blast we had!  We have the BEST customers/friends ever and we couldn’t have done the Quilt Show without all of them!  It was a very exciting time for us and for our County!  {I hope we do something like that again, it was such a great event!}

Things were still very touch and go with Mom.  She would think she was feeling better, then she would be up to much on her leg and boom, she’d be back in bed.  Finally the doctor decided she needed surgery.  At least now we had a plan and hoped that plan included her being able to heal. {fingers were crossed}

In spite of everything, business was still good.  Our Machine Quilting {thank you Natalie} was picking up a lot of steam, and quite frankly, paid the bills.  {I said bills, not wages.}  But we had a plan, and it was working….and we were happy!