Sunday, June 29, 2014

More Rewarding Than Sales...

Artsy people are an interesting bunch.  They don't evaluate like 'normal' people, and I suppose it's a left brain/right brain thing.  But that people are different is what makes life so interesting.

I'm in that artsy group, and did a show this weekend.  I spent 36 hours in the park just in Thursday/Friday/Saturday.  The 'normal' people would be settling their books, recording expenses and sales, figuring profit margins and such.  Of course, I do that too.  But the 'normal' people would be would be calculating the success of the event in dollars and cents and then they would be done.  Again, I do that, too, and this particular show was forgettable in that regard, but at this point I am not done.  Since I fall into that artsy group, I must tell you that this was one of the most wonderful shows I have ever done...  ever!

If you are familiar with my work, you know I make a lot of things where my target market (so to speak) would be children...  not because I want their money, but because a child with my bear will be able to pass it down to their child years and years from now after they've loved it to death all through their growing up years.  

I am just completely delighted when a tiny customer shows an interest in the care that went into the finished product; they don't look at it as another "thing" that they just want for no reason other than to have more things.  They look at it as a special creation.

Just such a special little person visited with me during this show.  He was an adorable young man who stood a bit less than waist-high to me. He had deep brown hair and wore a hat that seemed Bavarian to me; so grown up in such a small package.  He was just fascinated with my dolls.  I suppose it could be considered evil of me to display these types of things at eye level for children.  He spent quite a bit of time in my booth, and left with my card in his hand, after I explained that the card would tell him how to get in touch with me in the future if he ever needed to do so.

A bit later, this youngster's father came back to my booth, and handed me my card.  I looked at him quizzically, and then he turned the card over in my hand.  "Caleb drew you this picture," he explained; "he wanted you to have it. I'm going to take another of your cards if you don't mind," he grinned.  He picked up a card and walked away.  I am really glad that he did, too, because I needed a moment, since I was all teary-eyed and emotional.

I didn't see Caleb or his parents again through the rest of the show.  But Caleb's very special drawing is pinned right in the center of my bulletin board and will always stay in that special spot...  not just on my bulletin board, but in my heart.  Thanks so very much, Caleb, for reminding that what I do is important.  I will never forget you. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Missing in Action!

I haven't written in days and I apologize.  But there is probably going to be more of the same for a bit here.  GROOVEFEST Music & Art Festival begins tomorrow, which means I start in earnest today.  Artists and food vendors will begin arriving to set up today at 4, which means I will be there today at 2.  The entire layout must be clearly marked in those two hours so that we can check in and place those arriving to set up.  That goes on until 8 (probably more like 9) tonight.  Then I will be back at the park tomorrow morning at 7 AM to check in everyone else.  We're live at 10 AM.  Saturday is not quite so early, but we'll be there until 10 or 11 PM to make sure that everyone gets torn down successfully.  Sunday, I will just be brain dead!

See you all next week!

Friday, June 20, 2014

And Now, There are Twelve!

Did you miss me yesterday?  It was a crazy day.  I answered a boatload of art festival emails, worked on the layout, worked on miniature dolls, and then went to a two hour meeting - the final one before GROOVEFEST begins!  Whew!  But I did get 4 more miniature rag dolls completed. They are the ones in the front.

Today was a frustration.  If my instincts are correct, the hard drive died in our two-month-old computer!  Now I'm trying to get service on it.  I called the help number, and the recording told me I was sixth in line - please hold.  About 3 minutes later, still sixth.  After ten minutes, and still sixth, they gave me an option to leave a voicemail so that they would call me back....  so I did.  Will it happen?  Only time will tell.  

The rest of the day, I cleaned house and did some laundry after I swapped out the new/dead computer for the older computer it replaced.  Tomorrow, we're having a barbecue!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And Now There Are Eight!

With Groovefest Music and Art Festival just two weeks away now, I have been very busy answering questions and getting the final touches put on everything.  (In my spare time, I'm the coordinator of this large event.)  If your going to be in the neighborhood of Cedar City, Utah, on June 27-28, you should check it out!  It's so much fun.  The website is GroovefestUtah.com for more information.

I now have eight tiny dolls - today's batch is in the front and they are not yet in cellophane bags.  Four a day, with everything else that's going on is okay.  It means I'll be working on the angel within a week, and that works!

Have a great evening everyone!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Seven Step Approach...

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are 7!

Step 1: Gather everything I'm going to need into one place (make a mess).  This includes all the dolls, embroidery floss, Pink and White fabrics (customer wants them all in pink or white), yarn and doll hair, a freshly sharpened pencil, scissors, thread nippers, an assortment of needles, hemostats, and polyester fiberfill.

Step 2:  I decided to try a batch of three dolls.  So step 2 is to sew the two cutouts together, leaving an opening at the top of the head for stuffing.  Once they are sewn together, they all got signed and dated adjacent to my label.  This is all on the backs of the dolls.







Step 3:  With my freshly sharpened pencil, draw faces on the three dolls to embroider.  I took this picture before they got rosy cheeks (also in this step).  Rosy cheeks are simply powder blush applied with a cotton swab.





Step 4:  Embroider their smiling little faces.  Those are my fingers holding these little dolls still for the photo.  This gives you a really good idea on the size of these dolls; they are just over 3 inches tall.


Step 5: Give them all some hair!  Just like my full size dolls, my miniatures also have wild, big hair.  Their hair will get styled a bit later.


Step 6:  Make their little dresses.  Each dress is gathered at the neck to make the ruffle with embroidery floss.  The floss is securely knotted so that the tiny bows will not come untied.  These dolls never get undressed.  Also in this step, their hair got styled and the embroidery floss hangar was added.  A couple of them also got additional rosy cheeks.  I like rosy cheeks!

Step 7: Put each one in its own little cellophane bag.  This keeps them clean and keeps their dresses from getting wrinkled.



I suppose Step 8 is "Repeat until you have 25 of these!"  I learned making the batch of three that it is far more efficient for me to make one at a time.  I did only get four done today, but I was interrupted about a million times.  I am glad that I have lots of time to finish these!

Have a great evening everyone!

Monday, June 16, 2014

And So It Begins...

I thought about these 25 miniature rag doll Christmas Tree Ornaments while I was doing laundry and dishes and bed-making, and other things all day.  Do I do one thing to all of them, then the next and the next?  Or do I do them in smaller batches?  Knowing me, I might tend to burn out if I was embroidering 25 pairs of eyes, then 25 noses then 25 mouths, then 25 heads of hair, etc.  So I decided on 5 at a time.

I didn't get to it until about 2 this afternoon.  The first thing I had to do was make labels.  You see, the US Government has made us small producers of things label absolutely everything.  When this went into effect, it put a lot of small fiber artists completely out of business - they had no desire to deal with it.  But I am stubborn..........

My labels are on iron-on transfer paper.  To make five labels seemed silly; better to make a whole sheet, so I did.  Then I started cutting out doll bodies and ironing on the labels.  When I had 5 done, I realized that putting everything away and moving to the next step was silly at this juncture...  May as well do the rest.


As you can see, I have 27 miniature rag doll bodies (the labels print out in columns of 9 labels...  why save two?) all cut and labeled.  My customer wanted dolls with different skin tones - after all, we are all not white muslin!  



At this point, I'm still thinking batches are a good idea, but we will see what tomorrow brings.  Have a great evening everyone!

Friday, June 13, 2014

And We Have a Sheet!

It was so tempting to give this post a snappy title....  Oh, Sheet!, or Sheets That Pass in the Night, or One Sheet to the Wind, but I restrained myself.  Not that much, though!

We have one fitted sheet to fit a 10 foot by 7 foot mattress that is 12 inches deep!  Whether it actually fits or not is yet to be seen.  You see, I had the exact dimensions of the mattress, but I've got absolutely nothing to try it on even close to that size.  So I have my fingers crossed that my customer will be thrilled.

It wasn't that difficult in the long run, if you disregard the fact that I measured for more than two hours....  no lie!  Cut the Egyptian cotton sheets wrong, and I'd be shopping for replacements.  And if you Googled the price on such sheets, you KNOW that I didn't want to go there.

I tried a number of different ideas on laying it out to cut, none of which worked.  So the whole cutting thing was done on the floor....  which explains why the sheet is in the washer as I type this.  The bonus is that I had two pieces of sheeting left, each big enough to make a king size pillow case.  So the sheet and two pillow cases will ship Monday.  And then, I start 25 miniature rag doll Christmas Tree ornaments and an angel.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Dog Ate My Homework...

Today was so incredibly busy!  The quilt is signed and tagged and put away.  This does take a while, since I actually sign the quilt and then embroider over my signature.  I just don't like the look of writing on a quilt, even if it is small.  Anyway - it's done.  Then I spent a couple of hours on Groovefest Music and Art Festival (the layout is nearly complete).  I had to go into town to pick up the t-shirts we ordered for the event, drop off some paperwork at the City, and drop off a check at Groovacious.  It's lovely living "in the country," but going into town is an hour's travel time plus errands.  It took a chunk out of my day.

I finally got to my sheet project .  When I took them out of the package, I noticed how nice and silky they felt.  So I made the mistake of looking up the price of a Hotel Collection, extra deep, queen size flat sheet...  if you want a real thrill, Google that phrase...  Holy mackerel!!!!  And I have two of them to make into one giant fitted sheet.  Now I am really paranoid about cutting wrong...  The good news is that the center seam is in and so far, I don't need to replace one of the sheets.  HOORAY!!!

When I got home from town, I had a box of shirts to carry into the house, my purse, a couple of papers, and I had stopped and picked up the mail.  I like to do this in a single trip, so I piled everything on top of the box, and with my house key in one hand, wrestled it out of the car, across the driveway, up the stairs, across the porch, unlocked the front door, and got everything (I thought) safely plopped down on the dining room table.  

I picked the mail up and walked it into my room and dropped it on my desk.  Then I fussed about a bit, getting myself a nice glass of ice water, and headed back to my room to open the mail.  Bill from the gas company, bill from electricity....  wait a minute...  where is that other envelope?  I retraced my steps, knowing that there had been a small white envelope that I knew contained a check.  But it wasn't with the other mail on my desk.  Crud...  where is it?

In the process of retracing my steps, I was so upset to find a shard of an envelope containing a return address.  Then I found the bottom of that envelope with the bottom of the check still in it.  I found the top right corner of the check.  I found bits and scraps of who knows what.  Then I found our puppy happily chewing on what was left at that point, which wasn't much!  Grrrr..............

So now I get to call the sender and ask if I can stop by some time tomorrow and get another check.  At least I'm in a position to present the evidence showing that my dog really DID eat it!  So embarrassed though......

Have a great evening everyone!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finished and Listed for Sale!

It's done!  And I got great pictures for the listing on HandmadeArtists.com. Whew!  I'm happy with the way it turned out.  All that's left to do is to make a hang tag for it and actually sign it.  Funny...  I don't know why I leave the "sign it" part to the very last thing, but I always do.  I guess it's just one of those things that we all do the same way every time and can't possibly explain.

So, for the rest of the day, I'll be finishing up the above and then working on art festival (Groovefest is soon now - just over two weeks away!).  Tomorrow...  One fitted sheet measuring 120" x 90"...  should be a real adventure...  How far can you cut a straight line? 

Have a great evening everyone!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It Wasn't Broken, So I fixed It...........

How many times have we all decided that something perfectly fine and functional needed improvement, only to sincerely regret that decision down the road?  Welcome to my world!!!!  I know better than to mess with something that is just fine the way it is, but I haven't yet learned....

Yesterday, I was nearly to the bottom of my quilt.  "hmmmm," I mused.  "I could take the bottom off the back of the quilt and move it up just a bit and then it would be just the same as the other sides.  Otherwise, I will need to trim it, and it will be .5 inch narrower than the other sides."  There really wasn't anything wrong with it that anyone other than me would ever have noticed.  But take it off I did.

What a mess!  Taking it off wasn't a huge problem, until I realized that it would have to come off not only the bottom, but the sides, as well.  And the sides were impeded by areas I had already quilted.  So some of the quilting came out, too.

But wait - there's more!  When I put it back together, even though I measured about half a bizillion times, the back ended up .5 inch shorter than the face.  At that point, I was so frustrated, that I was about ready to throw the whole thing out the window.  So instead, I decided to do something else.  So for the rest of the afternoon, I worked on art festival a bit, ran some errands, and then made a batch of raspricot (raspberry and apricot) jam.  Is there anyone out there that does NOT have a similar story to this one????

Today was a different story!   It is done!!!  The photo here is taken at a slight angle so that you can readily see the dimension given to the quilt by the quilting itself.  Tomorrow, all that's left is to trim it and bind it and list it for sale.  Hooray!

The quilt measures 41 inches wide by 35 inches tall.  The angled photo here makes it appear to be square, while it really is a rectangle.  It will be a nice wall hanging in back of a couch, don't you think?

Have a great evening everyone!

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's Friday... Again!

Well, not only did I get to the wall, the top of the wall is now quilted as well.  All that is left are the bushes in front of the wall, the lawn and the rest of the perimeter.  Who's idea was it to put so many bushes in this quilt anyway! I had some just perfect lighting for a bit today and got really great pictures of bushes quilted and bushes  not quilted.  Here they are, right next to each other.  It makes such a difference...
Bushes NOT quilted






Bushes Quilted







































I would like to thank the person that designed this amazing material...  Don't know who or where you are, but THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I Spoke Too Soon!

That wasn't so hard after all!  The light is just beginning to peek over the hill at the top right, and the water is just beginning to glisten.  It looks a bit ripply, too.  It sure seems easy to tell which bushes are quilted and which are not in this photo.

I'm really done for today this time...  I promise!

Thursday...

I suppose thinking I would get all the way to the wall today was a tad ambitious.  But I would rather be ambitious than under-estimate.  It's always seemed to me that when you shoot too low, you're just simply not giving yourself enough credit.  Plus, being ambitious gives me drive.  So much for the philosophy discussion...

I did get the ripples in the lake, the light on the water and the bushes on the peninsula done.  Tomorrow, it's realistic to think that I'll be to the wall!  The embroidered light on the water is really hard to photograph...  not a good thing.  I'll just have to keep experimenting until I can get the camera to see it.

Until tomorrow - happy evening everyone!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's Wednesday!

Our new range should be on its way home right about now.  I had all kinds of other stuff to take care of today, most of it art festival related, so I didn't get as far as I wanted to.  But I did get all of the bushes above the lake quilted.  They just pop right out of the quilt now!  The bushes in the top of the photo to the left are quilted, compared to the ones on the bottom that are not.  Although the fabric is truly amazing, the top bushes seem to just leap out at you!  First thing tomorrow, I'll get some light in the lake, and then more bushes on my way down to the wall.  Fingers are crossed that I get all the way to the wall by tomorrow's photo.

Have a terrific evening!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sometimes Life Gets In The Way...

We had a wonderful time camping over the weekend.  We left Friday evening and didn't come back until mid-afternoon Sunday.  We went to a place called Yankee Meadows, which sits up in the mountains at just above 8800 feet elevation.  The Quakies are leafed out now and the meadows are lush and green and full of dandelions!  Why is it that something that you poison in your lawn looks so incredibly lovely in its natural state?!  We fished Saturday and Sunday and fresh trout for dinner was so yummy on Sunday night.

But yesterday just disappeared!  Since we were gone all weekend, the marketing hadn't been done, and neither had the laundry.  Sunday was the first, and I'm nearly OCD about balancing accounts.  PLUS...  our range died.  Sunday night when I pushed the buttons to light the oven to bake bread to go with dinner, nothing happened.  We went through the reset sequence and still, nothing.  Although we're not too upset, since we bought this range used over 4 years ago for a small amount of money, I had to shop for a new one yesterday on top of everything else.  
Good grief!  Ranges can be expensive!  But I'm not a baker or a gourmet chef...  I just want to cook dinner!!!  We bought a range at Sears appliance center and the cost was reasonable.  We pick it up tomorrow at 4:30.

All of these life things kept me from my quilt for much of the day.  I did get the back made for it, but that's about it.  Today was a different story......

I did work on art festivals for a bit, but most of the day I spent quilting and starting the embroidery on the quilt.  I got the top perimeter and all of the mountains quilted.  I'm just tickled with the depth in the mountains and am looking forward to starting on the bushes and getting some light on the water.

Have a terrific evening!