Thursday, July 19, 2018

Facing Facts

Well,this post has been a long time coming, and the truth is I have avoided it as long as possible. But it's time to come clean. I'm closing Queenie Quilts. It has been great fun. I've loved doing shows and having a shop online but the reality is I just don't have enough hours in the day to do everything, and something has to give, so it is with sadness (and also a wee bit of excitement) that I announce that the shop is closing.

A lot of you will want to know why, and the truth is there just isn't enough time to do it the way that I want to. I want to have constant engagement and host weekly challenges and QAL, and all kinds of fun stuff. I want to have free patterns and for sale patterns and get all of the design ideas out of my head. But the truth is working full time plus teaching 16-24 hours a week, and trying to maintain a relatively normal(ish) life, is just too much. And the truth is with the competition online if you don't have a full time instagram/pinterest/digital manager it's nearly impossible. And let's be honest, social media is not my strong point, no matter how much I want it to be. Hell, I struggle to post on the blog with any real regularity, no matter what I intend. So, as of August 15th Queenie Quilts will be no more. I'm keeping the domain and you will still be able to reach me at my email address, but the store will go away. And to celebrate (and get rid of all of the inventory in my garage), I'll be hosting a series of giveaways and massive sales over the next few weeks. All yardage will be $5.00 per yard plus shipping, and most patterns will be 50-70% off. Yes, that's below cost, and someone will be angry about that, but the truth is, I just want it all out of my house, and to reclaim some space and sanity. So, pay attention to instagram and facebook as I post lots of sales and discounts, and if there is something that you are looking for, please let me know and I can set it aside for you.

So wish me luck over the next few hours as I get all of the pictures taken and the items posted for the sale, and get this all started, and know that this decision was not taken lightly, or quickly. I've been talking about it for almost 6 months, and I've been slowly getting rid of my shop equipment over the last few months (racks for shows, etc). And if anyone needs a cash register, let me know, I can get you a screaming deal!

My intention with closing the shop is to give myself some more time to concentrate on writing and publishing patterns and projects (both free and paid), and really having time to do the parts that I love, but haven't had time to work on because of all of the other responsibilities. So, don't be sad, it's not a goodbye, it's more of a see you soon, and more often!


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Work in Process Wednesday

Well it's Wednesday and time to get moving on getting some projects done. Or ready for the quilter, or further along than the currently are.

This week's list includes :

  • Backing for Amazon Star
  • Binding on Sunflower Wallhanging
  • Piecing on new TOM
That's a pretty big order for this week, especially considering how much work I need to do in stash management and UFO management, so I better get off to get to work..... 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

UFO Management 101

How many UFOs do you have? I have WAY TOO MANY. I haven't counted, and the reality is I probably haven't even found them all, it seems that every time I open a box I find another one that I had put away for safe keeping. I've kept really good records on all of my Judy's that I have going and what they cost, as part of my business plan and management, but when it comes to ones for me and for fun, I haven't kept a real list.

I know the count of finished ones is well over 300, but I am certain there are more. And that number doesn't include little projects, like wallhangings and pillow cases, pillow shams and pot holders. Nor does it include the half finished or blocks but no borders or other various statuses of finished items.

So, step 1 -- as part of stash management 101, find all of the open projects and decide if I am going to actually finish them, or hand them over to someone in the guild who will. Once that is done, it's getting the official spreadsheet treatment, and getting treated just like my Judy quilts. No, I don't need to know the costs on those or the exact timings when things were completed, but it's nice information to have if possible if for no other reason that to know their "number", and it's time to start numbering my quilts officially. I'll be starting with 301, since I know there are at least 300 out in the wild.

Once I have them all documented I really need to get them prioritized and then get them worked on.

SO, wish me luck!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Stash Management 101

So, the stash has been getting a little out of hand lately. Not consciously or deliberately, more a matter of circumstance and lack of paying attention. A couple of fat quarters here, a cute border print there, and suddenly the fabric is busting at the seams again. Just like all of the UFOs that I need to finish up, the stash needs to be managed proactively.....starting immediately.

I have no idea how much fabric I actually have, I can only tell you that it is a LOT. As in multiple 60 gallon rubbermaid tubs full of fabric. There are at least a dozen, Some full of fat quarters, some yardage, some sorted by color, and some just a jumbled mess. So, my first goal is to figure out what I have and how I am going to manage it. 5 years ago before I had the store, all of my fabric was sorted by color in bins. About a year ago, I bought those comic book boards and planned to put all of my fabric on boards, but I have never gotten around to it, there were too many other things to do, but it's time to get serious and get this stash under control. So, this week, it's develop a plan and a time line. I'm going to see how long it takes to wind the fabrics onto the boards, and create a plan. Once I have a crate done it will be time to figure out exactly how much space I am going to need to store it. And that is a potentially huge issue -- depending upon what the stats say.

In the meantime, it's time to make sure that I pull from stash whenever possible and the only way to do that well is to get it organized and accounted for, so it's time to get on it.

Next up --- UFOs.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What's Happening Around Here

Well, it has been busy around here, as a million things are all happening at once lately. It's amazing how you think things are busy and can't imagine that they could get busier, only to have that happen a few minutes later. But all will prevail, as we continue to move forward with million household and work projects, not to mention my always present self improvement projects.

So, what have I been doing exactly?

Watching - Blue Bloods, Anne with a E, and Madam Secretary all have new episodes on Netflix, so it has been quite a challenge to decide which one to watch in the limited time available. 

Craving - Hush Puppies - real southern ones. I haven't had them in forever, and for some reason I've just been craving them the last few days. 

Doing - lots of chores -- laundry, decluttering, cleaning, etc, etc, etc -- all really boring stuff

Obsessing - over minimalism and getting organized -- 

Loving - my new workout regemine -- I started doing yoga a few weeks ago, and while I am absolutely horrible at it, it is proving challenging, which is what I need lately.

Reading - High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard and The Millionaire from Nazareth -- both are interesting. I am really looking for some fabulous fiction -- something fun and entertaining, but I'm a bit bored on that front lately.

Wanting - to spend a ton of money on the new Erin Condren planners -- but I am being a good girl, and not.

Pinning - lots of houses and minimalism blogs and tips.

Dreaming - about eventually being organized -- specifically the Container Store Catalog

Writing - about all of my goals and dreams

Crafting - ideas for signs and pictures for the house

Sewing - lots of samples, currently working on Harbored Lighthouse and Tula PInk's City Sampler -- I'm participating in the #100days100blocks2018 challenge. So far, I am doing well, but then, it is only Day 4, there is plenty of time to get behind.

Knitting - I haven't done much lately, I've been too preoccupied with other things.

Listening - to podcasts on stitching, freezer meals and budgeting

Wearing - my typical uniform -- jeans, t-shirts, and the ever present Merrel sandals that I love.

Needing - a little inspiration in the design life. I just haven't been inspired on the designing front lately.

Planning - a massive clean out of the fridge and freezer -- I really need to inventory the fridge and freezers before I plan th next round of menus.

Trying - new Indian food....i was out with a friend last week for dinner and we tried a place in Moorpark CA -- it was lovely, though I still haven't found anything that compares to the Orange Tiger in Chester, but it was good, and the company was wonderful, and that's the more important part anyway. 

So -- what have you been doing???? Anything fun???

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Tips on Tuesday Week 2 - The Binding Box

So, about 15 years ago I got a watch for Christmas from my Uncle Tom -- the watch has since been retired (about 18 months ago), but the box lives on, repurposed as my binding box. It's pretty small and almost square, and 3.5x3.5x3. It's the perfect size for all of the important things that I need to be able to bind on the go. It's small enough to throw in my purse or in the cup holder of the car, yet big enough to find in the travel crate. It's really just the perfect box. It's been loved on a lot. As you will see, it has been sat on, bent and reanimated, but shows the wear and tear of 10 years of love. I swear those flaws make me love it even more.

Here she binding box....

Just a simple squarish fossil watch gift box. My replacement watch came in a cheapo plastic box, which makes this one all that more special. Not to mention that this one has had some adventures. It has been to Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and about 35 states. It has traveled on planes as carryons, and in checked luggage, and even made a very short trip on a New York subway.

Inside, it has just the simple tools that are needed for binding, and as you can see they get jumbled around quite a bit. And yes, the box is bent see story above.

The inside tends to be a collection area for all kinds of little stuff. You can tell that I don't clean it out as often as I should as it has 3 colors of thread, which means the last time I cleaned it was 3 quilts ago. As you may know I do quite a bit of hand work, and I have all 187 colors of DMC 50wt thread for my hand work. About 5 years ago, my Mom gave me the best Christmas present when she used my side winder to spin off a bobbin full of each of the 187 colors, so I have a mini of every color available, so I can just grab the bobbin, throw it in the box and be on my merry way. This is super convenient if I'm not sure exactly what color I want to do the hand stitching in and I don't have time. I can literally take all the colors with me in a little bobbin box (I have two of the little art bin bobbin boxes that house the 187 bobbins). She even put little stickers on the bobbins so I can refill the color  easily. 

So, the box itself has a pair of the best scissors on the planet -- Karen Kay Buckley small precision scissors with a serrated edge. These are great for cutting out the corners and trimming off batting pieces. A box of thread heaven which has long since lost its top (let's not discuss the fact that this amazing stuff has been discontinued). It's my very last box of Thread Heaven and I'm freaking out about it a bit. A miniature jar of pins, and a miniature jar of needles. They are glass jars on the inside, with polymer clay flowers on the outside. They are made by a woman in Hawaii, and were available at Amidon Quiltworks before they closed. Black is size 10 straw needles, Green is 1.25 in long .04mm clover glass head pins. A TJ Thimble sterling silver Thimble in size 6.25 that fits me perfectly. And in today's case, 3 colors of thread -- rust/orange, navy and dark green. Which means that the last time I cleaned out this box was 5 or 6 months ago when I bound the Kansas Troubles quilt with the rust/orange/red binding. 

So, am I the only person with a binding box, or do you have one as well????

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tips on Tuesday

So, what do you think is the most often asked question that I get online and at classes? How to do Y seams (carefully)? The size of the Fire Island Hosta pattern (74x74)? How many days a month do you teach (7-8, unless I am teaching a retreat, then its 11 or 12)? Nope, none of those. The most often asked question is what is in my travel bag, and what essential tools do I use everyday. And how do you use those tools. So effectively immediately, I'm letting you into my creative tools and how to use them, with Tips on Tuesday. Each Tuesday, I'll share some tip or tool (or ruler, or resource) that I use to help me with my craft. Today, we are starting with the Travel Bag.....

My travel bag is a small (6x9 3/8 x 3 3/4) box that I got over a decade ago from a shop that is now closed. In fact, I loved this box so much that I have 2 -- one for my main tools and one for all of my appliqué specific tools. Not that some of my tools don't migrate, because let's face it they do (see blue handled Karen K Buckley scissors below as an example). I do take inventory every Sunday night as part of my weekly prep routine to refill and restock everything that might be low, or might be in the wrong place, and do my best to keep these updated correctly. But sometimes, they remigrate on Monday (just ask the scissors).

So, here you go, my travel bag (box) in all her glory. That's her on the top of my mat -- it's hard to see in this pic, but it is a dual sided box (both top and bottom open using a clip system). It's pictured here with my other most popular at home tools -- my trash bucket, two magnetic pin bowls (one for paperclips, one for pins), tape, Olfa precision tip scissors (which have now been discontinued), my purple Splash cutter, a pencil, and a pair of ancient Gingher scissors that I have had since grade school. These things fit easily into the top drawer of my kitchen island that serves as my cutting island. If I'm home, the travel box simply sits in the drawer, and I take it out and throw it into a basket or my travel crate if I'm going to teach or off to retreat.

Here's the top portion of the box. It is not very deep, and is divided, but this works great for corralling all of the little stuff that likes to go on adventures. This is also where 90% of the restocking occurs. It has new rotary blades, binder clips, a rubber thimble, a folding seam ripper, my sewline marking pen and multiple colored refills, a mechanical pencil, a sharpie marker, needles, and a magnetic needle minder, glue pen refills (pink newline in today's case), and my purple thing. That spool of thread is not usually there, as it is a 12wt, but I was doing some embroidery over the weekend and it didn't make it back to the regular storage location. 

The other side is about 2 1/2" deep and holds most of the tools per say. It's a little hard to see everything that is in there, so see the next pic to see what all is in there.

5 pairs of scissors -- yes, 5. I find the correct scissors for the job to be important, and 4 of these 5 are different. The Karen Kay Buckley's (2 pairs, blue handles) have a serrated edge which makes them great for cutting out appliqué shapes. I use the yellow handled Omni's for precision cutting, the gold storks are use to snip at the machine, and the black and white ones are usually at the ironing board to snip units apart from one another. You will also see 3 types of glue, Roxanne's Glue Baste It, Elmer's Glue Stick and a Sewline Glue Pen. The Roxanne's I use for appliqué and for gluing down binding before I sew it, the Sewline I use for holding seam allowances or curves together before sewing, and the Elmer's is for starting paper piecing projects. Each has their place, and their function, so I carry all 3 all the time. I also have emergency thread -- a good neutral, not too light and not too dark. In this case it's Aurifil 50 wt in color 2900, sort of a green grey tan. It's the perfect midline neutral. Other than that it's admin tools -- sharpie's, mechanical pencils, screwdrivers, and a wooden appliqué turning tool, which I never use for appliqué (there is another one in the appliqué box), but instead mainly use as a wooden iron when needed. And a few name tags -- in the event I have something that isn't tagged, that ensures that I can put my name on a new tool or ruler super quick without any fuss (and that it will be legible 3 days from now). The plastic fold templates and Add-A-Quarter rulers don't fit in my green box, so I keep a set already packed in my travel crate, and another set that stays in the island all the time. That way I am never far away from them.

What do you have in your travel bag??? 

Next week, I'll show you what's in binding box.......