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Archive for July 23rd, 2008

I threw a baby shower for good friends at the beginning of June.

Of course, baby tie dye is always fun!

Of course, baby tie dye is always fun!

I had a lot of fun making presents for them, but as they were surprises, it was quite stressful. I always get worried that they recipient won’t like what I’m making, but have to say they like it because I made it…does this happen to you too? I wanted to do a quilt for the baby, and a friend of both Brad & Nicholle and myself commissioned me to make some quArt for the baby. He chose the large piece from my stock, then we talked about how he liked unsymmetrical things, & we decided that since the baby’s room was painted light green, we needed to avoid that background color. This is what I came up with!

A friend of both Brad & Nicholle and myself commissioned me to make some quArt for the baby. He chose the large piece from my stock, then we talked about how he liked unsymmetrical things, & we decided that since the baby's room was painted light green, we needed to avoid that background color. This is what I cam up with!

Construction for Brad & Nicholle's baby

And the quilt has a simliar feel to the square bits of the quArt:

Front

Back

And here are the happy parents-to-be:

Nicholle

Brad

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So, the upside of my little business is that I have made enough money to completely cover all my material expenses, plus I’ve been able to purchase a new camera (a Nikon D40) and a new Sewing Machine – a Juki TL-98Q. Yay! But now I needed a table that could fit both machines at once, or one at a time. For 2 reasons, 1) money and 2) function, my DH has made me the perfect sewing machine table!

Tah Dah! As always – click any picture to embiggen!

It is 2' x 6', with an extension hinged across the back to make it a full 4' deep when I want (the extensions that hold that up aren't built yet, but Rome wasn't built in a day either...) It is 28" high with leveling feet that allow up to another 1" in height if needed. There is also a 12" deep shelf running across the back to hold either the machine covers or the machines themselves.

2x4's braced with plywood pieces at the junctions. There is a 12" deep shelf running across the back.

Table frame: 2x4's braced with plywood pieces at the junctions. There is a 12" deep shelf running across the back.

Measuring

Measuring

Holes Cut

Holes Cut

Shelf

Shelf

Lots of drywall screws, counter sunk, then later filled with spackle.

Lots of drywall screws, counter sunk, then later filled with spackle.

The Juki with the brass plate set into the worktop and held in place with some rare earth magnets. I can fit my finger into the fingerhole of the plate on the machine, flip the brass plate over, then access the bobbin area.

The Juki with the brass plate set into the worktop and held in place with some rare earth magnets. I can fit my finger into the fingerhole of the plate on the machine, flip the brass plate over, then access the bobbin area.

Here the brass plate is flipped over - you can see the magnets coutner sunk and plenty of room to access the bobbin.

Here the brass plate is flipped over - you can see the magnets counter sunk and plenty of room to access the bobbin.

Bernina

Bernina sits just proud of the table and the table that came with it covers up the hole. This system worked really well with my old table and saves the $$ for the plexiglass insert. See my July 6 post.

We stapled some velcro ties underneath to control the cords.

We stapled some velcro ties underneath to control the cords.

My DH created a "mini-table" insert for the Bernina hole.
My DH created a “mini-table” insert for the Bernina hole.
A crefully fit plywood top with 2x4 bits underneath. Those are adjustable chair legs crewed into the bottom, so we could get the  top totally flush.

A carefully fit plywood top with 2x4 bits underneath. Those are adjustable chair legs screwed into the bottom, so we could get the top totally flush.

With the "mini-table" in place, I can use the surface for cutting, or it will support a large quilt when I'm quilting.

With the "mini-table" in place, I can use the surface for cutting, or it will support a large quilt when I'm quilting.

Even more pictures of this whole process are here…if you need to show the handy person in the house “Just how Candy’s husband did it” so they too can build you the perfect sewing table!
With the addition of one more set of drawers for my fused fabric little bits my studio works very well!

With the addition of one more set of drawers for my fused fabric little bits my studio works very well!

This new table is a bit narrower, so when I open up the cutting table all the way, there's room to walk all the way around.

This new table is a bit narrower, so when I open up the cutting table all the way, there's room to walk all the way around.

These drawers were repurposed to hold all my thread.

These drawers were repurposed to hold all my thread.

I can also create an ironing surface by placing my large board across a small set of rolling shelves (balance carefully) Then I can cut & press side by side.

I can also create an ironing surface by placing my large board across a small set of rolling shelves (balance carefully) Then I can cut & press side by side.

I always enjoy seeing where people work, so I’m glad that 1) I’ve got such a great place to work and 2) that I can show it off to you! This is not a large room, but with most things on wheels, I can reconfigure it depending on how I need the space! This is working really well for me.

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I live in a city of ~70,000 in Southern California – Redlands. One of the neat things about it is that it feels like a small town, but it’s not! There are several “Art Fairs” each year where one can very inexpensively set up a table for a day or two, and hopefully sell some! A year and a half ago I had just finished my “Once in a Blue Moon” piece and a friend of mine said: “Those are fabulous! Make some more and sell them at Red Dirt (a local art fair) and I’ll buy some!” Louise makes jewelry and is very successful at several of these shows in our town. What was neat about what she said was that she actually wanted to buy them! Usually folks who see my quilts say things like: “These are fabulous – you should sell them!” This type of comment says many things to me:

  1. People have to place a monetary value on worthwhile things here in this country.
  2. People appreciate my work.
  3. But, I would have to find that mythical “rich” person to buy that work.

And, indeed, most of the quilts I was making back then were very labor intensive and would have been very expensive. 2 years ago, my goal as a quilter was to develop a unique style and win one of the big quilt shows…and then what? I don’t know! But, with this new way of working, I was beginning to develop my style, and I wanted to keep going. But I was going to quickly run out of room and start spending too much of our family budget. Thus, having a booth at a local art fair called “Red Dirt” was born.

Getting ready for Red Dirt gave me 1st hand knowledge of the tenet I’ve heard and seen in the the art world: “You’ve got to DO the work”. Instead of plotting and planning and sketching, I just started doing. I began be assembling a simple color pallette: many shades of brown, with a light blue & green and accents of a red/orange. Then I started by repeating my successful pieces from the “Blue Moon” construction, and then I got stuck! But I could stay stuck for long – I had a show to get ready for! I had a photograph of a curtain of little circles that looked like they were made from shells, but it was the lines of little circles that got me, so I made this piece:

"Baubles #7" 8" x 8"

Then a couple more:

Baubles #4, 18" x 18"

Baubles # 11, 12" x 12"

Baubles #3, 12" x 12"

Baubles # 20, 15" x 30"

Baubles # 20, 15" x 30"

So, I was out of my slump, and had a new motif I called “Baubles”.

“Just do the work!”

What to call my little business? That was easy! Several years ago, back in Ohio, I sold hand dyed fabric  to quilters. I had come up with “Candied Fabrics” for this business and loved it, so go with that! Some cheap business cards from Vista Print, some very heavy displays made by DH and I was in business!

Red Dirt Spring 2007

Red Dirt Spring 2007

So, my first show went well, but not that well. Many people loved my art, but didn’t buy it… SO, I decided to come with with some more ideas of things I could make and sell. I had dyed some pretty silk & velvet scarves for Christmas presents before, so why not those?

Silk/Rayon Velvet Scarf

Silk/Rayon Velvet Scarf

(click here to see more)

I also had tested a pattern for the awesome Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Studio. I loved it so much that I asked if I could make some of those to sell, she graciously agreed. As an illustration of 2 great minds at work 😉 I developed a smaller version of it just as she was adding the small version  to her pattern. I came up with a small pen loop that she liked better than her original idea, so she incorporated that into the “Notelet” pattern.

Notetakers and Notelets

Notetakers and Notelets

Click here to see more.

Then, less than a month before the big Fall Show, “Art for Heaven’s Sake” I made a bag to carry all my stuff I would use for the show. When I brought it to work with me, everyone loved it and said I should make some for the show…so I did!

Small, Medium & Large

Totes: Small, Medium & Large

Click here to see more.

So, I was set for the 2nd show! “Art for Heaven’s Sake” is held in mid October each year, so last October I set up my booth and had an extremely successful show…all the scarves were sold by the middle of Saturday, and I also sold most of the totes and lots of Notetakers! Yay!

Art For Heaven's Sake, Fall 007

Art For Heaven's Sake, Fall 007

I then did 2 more shows that Fall, then one in the Spring. Click here to see photos of all of those shows.

Now we’re up to the present day-ish! I contemplated branching out further afield and doing shows NOT in my hometown. But, setting up for a show is a lot of work, and hard to juggle with the myriad of other things we have to do, so I decided not to go this direction. However, I have had several contacts from people who have seen my things (either at a show, or because someone else has something I made), and thus I’ve decided to open my Etsy shop and see if those people would be interested in purchasing from there!

And, that, as we say is that!

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