Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank You All

Thank you all for the wealth of feedback that you gave me on pricing. I have taken your words of wisdom into account, & have adjusted my fees for purses a bit. There were things I hadn't really considered before, like the time involved on getting a "Rush order" done. Your feedback really did help.
Now for nothing but pure viewing pleasure, I am sharing 2 of several photos my friend Nancy Dobson sent to me via email. These are amazing "Fashion Dresses" from China, all made from Balloons.

Not very practical, but truly amazing!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

For What It's Worth?

Friday I got an email from a nice lady in Texas who wanted to order a purse. Friday night I emailed her my phone number so she could call me Saturday to explain exactly what she wanted. She called about noon time yesterday & we talked for about 20 minutes. She was very pleasant, & wanted a purse to use for her Rat Hat Society socials, something original, that no other member would be carrying. Could I make one & express mail it to her for her meeting next Friday? Friday? Well, uhhh, sure I'm off this weekend, why not?! So I started working on it. I'd emailed her fabric samples from my stash, & she liked 2 that I had on hand. I had luckily bought red cord that would work. I worked from about 1245 until 4 p.m. when I had to stop to make supper before my DH had to go to work. I had the body made, & the cord attached by this time, so then I quilted it. I spent about 2 hours on the quilting. The pockets & liner were next, then came the hand work. It was Midnight by the time I was as far as the picture below. I couldn't find a button or beads that would work for the closure, so I headed for bed, & would go out Sunday to get what I needed to finish & mail.
It has pockets for checkbook & Credit card on both sides.
A protective liner to keep things contained & clean.
I wish the windshield had little invisible wires running through it that could defrost the glass faster!
So off I went to Michael's Art &Craft Supplies. I found some beads that could work. I spent about $8.00 worth of supplies with the beads & wire & the tissue paper I needed for packing the purse. I took my case full of beading supplies with me so I could sit in the car & finish the purse, then take it to the Airport Post Office to Express mail it so she could have it in time for her function. I used about 1/8th a tank of gas on this trip (some of that running the engine to keep warm while I finished the purse). I spent 3 hours between driving, shopping finishing & mailing.
This is the final product, on the RED SIDE,

Now I'd already had a price set on my web page of $45.00 for a small Reversible Purse, & I'd told her she would have to pay the shipping which amounted to $22.50 including the padded envelope I got to mail it in, but this seemed to me like a poor deal for both of us.
I figure I spent at least 12 hours of my time dedicated to creating this purse. Probably about $15-$20 in material costs, plus $8.00 worth of gas, not to mention the electricity cost for the lights, iron & sewing machine in my studio.
I think I better find a better retirement plan!
How would you, or do you set your fees? What would you pay for a purse like this?
Any input would be appreciated.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I stopped at Michael's last night & bought another clock works for my Crazy Clock, since I can't find the one I bought 3 years ago when I first started working on it. I put the clock together today, then put a back cover over the whole thing, to make the backside look nice to. I covered it with a piece of Aubusson Chenille wool upholstery fabric.
I put a split sleeve at the top, so that the whole thing can be hung on a rod at the quilt show, & can be hung on a nail on my wall. It measures 12" wide by 24" long. I made a little window over the clock works to place the battery through. I guess I'll have to make a label for it before I can actually call it DONE.

I also worked on more ribbons for the Alaska Fiber Festival. The 2 wild ones on the left are for the Viewer's Choice on the Aussie Challenge quilts. They're made from the print that was required for the challenge.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Crazy Clock Weekend

I was in a handwork mood this weekend, so I hauled out the Crazy clock & finished all the bead work on it. All I have left is to put in the clock works so it can actually work as a clock, then finish the back. Next weekend I'll do that.
I put this picture my #1 GD when she was 5 over the words "Dream Time",

& this picture of GD #2when I was holding her for the 1st time. Both are under my old reading glass lenses.
4 little bone fishes to represent my 4 children.
None of the watches are working. They are old watches that belonged to me, or my family members, & I had been collecting them for years for this project. I have enough left over to make another. The Flower pot on the roses above is a stone I found on a beach somewhere.
It's been a fun project, I almost hate to be done with it. Oh well, after the back is finished I'll have to come up with a new hand project, or maybe finish another old UFO.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sewing & the 7 Deadly Sins

This first picture is a hint of the threadplay, Minister's scarf that I made for my DD Michelle's wedding. I wrote an article about how it was made, for Fiber & Stitch on line magazine's Feb. issue. It's
really been a neat magazine. Full of all kinds of great information. Sue B has been doing a fine job of it.
Yesterday I worked on the first of 13 ribbons that I'll be making for this year's Alaska Fiber Festival. This ribbon will go to the first place winner in the Trendy Tundra Coats competition.

We would like to have more people send in dolls for the doll portion of our show, so if anyone out there reading this makes dolls, & would like to send one in, let me know. The details are on the web page. There is a $250.00 prize for the Viewer's choice, plus a special ribbon made by Yours Truly. Dolls can be for sale, & if sold at the show, the AFF will get 25%, which isn't bad, considering most places get 50%.

If you want to come up to Anchorage, we're having some interesting teachers. Kennith King is who I'll be taking classes from. I don't really want to take "quilting " classes any more. I'm to the point where I'm teaching my own stuff, & I'd rather go outside of the quilting realm, to learn different techniques that I might want to adapt to my quilting.

We're also having Jennie Rayment , who is said to be a "real Hoot", she will be doing a fabric strip-tease as part of one evening entertainment.( Don't ask, I'm just reporting what the boss told me.) Our 3rd featured teacher is Marilyn Moore, who works with wire & flame. Her classes sounded like fun too, but I can't be in 2 places at once, even if I am a Gemini.

Last evening, we went to a Beer Taste with friends Ellis & Beth.

I don't even like beer, but the food was great. There were 7 courses, with 7 different beers, each named after one of the 7 Deadly Sins. I drank water, & the 3 of them split my beers, then I drove home at the end of the night.

If I were going to be a beer drinker though, I think I could acquire a taste for "Lust". It had a deep chocolate-coffee flavor to it, that I think I could like. I tried a drop of each, just to say I "tasted" them.

I finished the last few beads on my purse today. This is the full view of the Olive side, front...

&back. I didn't put any extra embellishments on the back side, because this side is worn against the body, & anything on the surface would likely snag on my clothes.

The reverse side is dark chocolate. I hand-painted the strap, & couched some yarn on the green side. I was unable to find a strap that I liked ready-made, & I've quit making my own straps out of the fabric, because the fabric straps wear out to quickly.

The Reverse-a-purses & Over The Top Embellishments & Threadplay all demonstrated on this purse, will be classes I'll be teaching at the PALS & Lighthouse Quilt Guild in Muskegon & Grand Haven, Michigan in early September. Also in early may at Coupeville Arts on Whidbey Island this coming May.

Broc says he approves of today's blog. He likes to edit as I type. So helpful, he is.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Over The Top

Maybe I've actually lost my mind, but I'm still working on the same purse. I've been working on it for 2 weeks now (when I'm not at work that is...& now that I think about it, I've even been working on it at lunch at work, so I've no idea how many hours I have invested in this piece). I thought, even though I'm not finished, I'd start showing you a bit of what I'm doing on this one. I'm intentionally going "Over the Top With Embellishments". I'm going to be teaching a class by the same name, & needed a new purse for travel, so here's a little bit of Side #1.
Yarn fringe, fabric beads, glass beads, & burned fabric leaves. The base fabric is polyester Micro fiber. It looks & feels like suede, but is sturdy & stain resistant.
I've included 3 of the fused glass cast offs that my dear friend Mindy gave me. Bless her. I held them down to the surface with 2 different methods of Threadplay. The green side is just free-motion thread, the dark brown side is a thread base the needle-woven fun fibers.
I ran out of the tiny like dark bronze beads after spilling the small amount I had left, & there is one section I was 1/2 way through embellishing with them, so I decided I had to make an emergency trip to the Alaska Bead Co. It was a gloriously sunny day outside, so I thought I'd head out. I checked the thermometer, to decide which coat to wear. It was -4.9 F.
That's frost on my car, not snow. I decided the down-filled Eddie Bauer coat would be the best choice.
Sometimes when the sun shines, it doesn't mean warmth. It was still a beautiful day though.
I love the blue of the sky against the white mountain peaks on a crispy winter day.
Here's what I came home with. Of course not one of them is an exact match for the beads I wanted. But I guess I'll just have to get creative!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Calendar Girls Meeting

This is what my car looked like at 10 a.m. today. It's been snowing soft dry fluffy snow since yesterday. We have a good foot of snow, or more now. Calendar Girls met at Jackie's house today, & only a few of us made it. 2 are in Hawaii right now, & 1 in Utah, but the rest I think, just got snowed in.
We had a lovely lunch.
& Gene (Jackie's husband) entertained us with interesting stories of his early days as a surveyor in the wilds of Alaska, around WW2, before the Alcan Hwy was built,& long before the Pipeline. It sounds like an interesting time in history.
Here's what we had for lunch. A yummy tortilla soup, & Jackie's homemade corn bread.
She also made these wicked Pralines, oh so sweet & gooey. I'm showing these for Margaret, who is in Utah right now, she always checks my blog to see what she's missing.
I've been working on a new purse. Embellishing the heck out of it. I'll show pictures when I'm done. In the mean time, I wanted to post a couple more gifts I got at Christmas.
These were both from my DD Michelle. Above is an Outhouse birdhouse, that I put a little light in through a hole in the bottom, & turned it into a nightlight for the upstairs bathroom. Below are some silk fabrics she got for me from a friend who went to India. She gave her money & asked her to bring back some fabric for me. They are luscious silks, & I will use them for something special. Isn't she a thoughtful daughter?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

You may think it odd that I should start out my New Year blog with a picture of butter on a plate, but this represents what weight I LOST over the Holiday season this year. 0.6 of a pound! I know it doesn't sound like much, but for me it's a BIG DEAL, because I normally would gain something like 6 to 10 pounds over the month of December. I feel pretty good about that .6 loss! for a total of 22.6 since October. I'm doing Weight Watchers.
On Christmas Eve day, our good friend John came over & helped Warren set up the lower half of the new kitchen cabinet. It still isn't finished, the upper 1/2 is setting in pieces in the guest room, & we're waiting for the counter top (it was twice as long as it should be) & a door (they sent 2 lefts, no rights) to come in.
My youngest son Corey & his girl Tasha came over for dinner on Christmas eve. We enjoyed the evening.
This is an album I made for my DH to put the special cards I make for him in. It was something he asked for a long time ago, & I finally got it done.
Below is a gift from my dear friend Mindy. It's fused glass, slumped in a curve shape to fit over a roll of toilet paper. It's to go in my upstairs bathroom that has several Barbara Lavalle prints,
including this one that Mindy used for inspiration.
My friend Kathy J sent this great little box of wool fabrics & yarns that she has hand-dyed from nature. She also included a beautiful but frightening spider pin that was made by the Indian woman she took a weaving class from this past fall.
Broccoli was REALLY interested in the wools.
Here's a picture of a poem I wrote several years ago about my Arachnophobia. It hangs in my studio on a little quiltlette that I free motion embroidered it on. Kathy's spider fits it well!
Below is a block I made last week for a group quilt we're working on for a friend who recently lost her husband.
This is probably my most used gift this year. My DH bought me 3 pairs of shoes, 2 of which I had him send back because they didn't fit right, but this pair I love. I've worn them constantly every moment that I'm up at home since I opened the box. They are loose & comfortable. I'm using them for my slippers, & since we still have some unfinished floors in our house, I wear slippers all the time now. & no sister, the shoes are on the correct feet, I just had my ankles crossed!
Thursday I went to quilt Guild. This gal showed a quilt her mom had sent her for Christmas. It's an Advent calendar. Each 1/2 square is a pocket
that holds a little ornament. I thought it was very clever.
Mary Lee showed her hand knitted felted hat that she bought, with the Dragonfly pin that I made for her pinned on it. Looks like it was made for it!