Category Archives: A Tip

It’s all in the packaging

October 7th 2014

I love a beautifully wrapped package. You know what I am talking about, the one that is too pretty to open, the one you want to put somewhere so you can look at for a few days. The one that looks like it came from the Better Homes and Gardens issue you wish your house looked like.

Today I just wanted to share with you some of the “packaging” that arrives when I order fabric from some of my favorite shops on Etsy.  I really appreciate it when they take the time to make it so pretty, it makes it an enjoyable experience for me. And if they took such good care in the wrapping, I can be sure that the fabric was cut precisely, accurately and folded just perfectly, and it is! This is probably my favorite of all. This package is from ChristmasJul  she also has a shop called Runnstitch  (Run ‘n stitch) This is a Christmas present ready to go and the gift is the wrapping. The genius behind this is Kathi Riemer.

christmasjul

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Runnstitch

This special package comes wrapped in a re-purposed pattern from Jennifer on Fabrics on Mill St. Did you see that ribbon, bow, invoice and attached card? I didn’t open it for a while, I didn’t want to break the package.

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One thing I have been careful to do is collect the business cards from Etsy shops I have purchased fabric from so I keep coming back and give them my business.  I try to look in these shops first for whatever I want or need. (You can see the card with ribbon still attached) and a heart on some of my favorite shops.

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The Fabric Shoppe has simple packaging which is just fine! I am a total repeat customer there, the yardage is cut just perfect and it looks pressed too. : ) The customer service in her shop is “superb.” Once I had bundle stay behind when the other fabrics were shipped, I contacted Jodi, and the hiccup was resolved immediately. Thank you! She is awesome, very busy and has an eye for fabric. Have you seen her fabric bundle pics on FB?  Who wouldn’t want them all?!?!  Oh and shipping is at light speed! Did you know she has a Color Stash Club too? You get a bundle of a different color every month and you can select the size bundle you prefer: FQs, half-yards or full yards. How fun is that?! Sign up here.

fabric shoppe

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This lovely little number is from the StitchinStash.  All my FQ bundles arrived neatly like this, all done by Julie.  I want you to know I asked her a hundred questions about color matching and collections and she answered them all. She was so patient with me, thank you!

stitchinstash

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And they come in these adorable pink bags to boot with a bit of washi tape, love it!

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Unfortunately, I did start this packaging documentary a little late and some of my other “go to” shops I don’t have pictures for. But the other awesome shop I love, great selections, good customer service and personal attention is over at Maggie Anne’s fabric, look up Maggieanne on Etsy. She will even create bundles for you as she has for me. Thank you!

maggieanne

This is my most recent from The Busy Bee Quilting, a new shop I just discovered.

busybee

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So if you are searching for great fabric selections, bundles, customer service and pretty packaging, check out some of these wonderful Etsy shops. And the prices are competitive, try them out and you’ll soon see why I am addicted to love shopping there.

Craft tools and gadgets

September 30th 2014

My dad has a tool shed. Well, he has three now. His favorite store is the Home Depot. He has everything ever made to do anything and he can tell you where it is, how many he’s got, who borrowed it and what projects he used it for. Heck! He probably even has the receipt, really.

Well, as I look at my craft corner and sort and reorganize, I too have accumulated many tools of the trade that I could not live without. Because as my dad says, “you never know when you are going to need it!” So this post is dedicated just to showing you some of the gadgets I have and use often. (Like father, like daughter)

If you are a hot glue gun user, this is one of the most useful investments you can make. It’s called a Hot Glue Gun Helper’s kit  it comes with these set of tools to avoid glue gun burns, you can get it on amazon on that link above. It comes with tweezers, a heat safety mat, finger protectors (like rubber thimbles) and pressing tools to save your finger ends. It’s all made from silicon and is heat resistant! For more glue gun safety tips you can  visit Pretty Handy Girl‘s blog.
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Is this little kit below familiar? This great kit is a companion to the Cricut. You Scrapbookers will know what I’m talking about. It has these great “dentist” type tools to pry and press small pieces of papers, scissors, rulers, extra blades, a folder and a smoother/scraper (?) I still haven’t quite used everything in there yet.

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I can’t live without these below. The air gun is for quick clean-ups of thread and lint in the sewing machine. The basting sprays is for smaller projects too cumbersome to pin and the lighter is for those ribbon ends that like to unravel.

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Below are my hand tools, labeled for your convenience.

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Some of my most recent acquisitions are for quilting. The binding clips help keep the binding in place while hand stitching it to the quilt and the larger clips I just started using when prepping a quilt for quilting.

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I use the binder clips to attach all layers to the craft table, then I pin or spray and I didn’t have to get on my knees. See a video of that here.

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This is one of my oldest tools. For years, I have always felt the need to keep sheet or pillow case bags they come complete with zippers, why would I throw these out?  I use these for scrappy ribbons, loose spools, batting strips, just about anything that you can imagine.

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As I was taking pictures for this post, I realized that all my glue guns have been given to me by great people who thought I would get much more use out of them than they would. Thank you!  And I have put them to good use indeed. But I think it’s time, that I should buy my own, I am thinking about a cordless variety or a designer style that’s decorated and that would mean that I could also get a cute glue gun stand. That’s the next gadget on my list. This one below has a tutorial so you can make your own.

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or maybe you prefer this style, below tutorial here.

gluegun

Or  if you are not wood handy, like me, you may prefer to buy a similar one on Ebay over here.

Decisions, decisions…

 

Pretty and Practical Storage

September 17th 2014

Look what I got yesterday!  Look again, compare to the business cards. These are “mini” storage cubes that can collapse and be totally flat. What’s the perk about that?  Let me explain. I am a VISIONARY: adj. 1. characterized by vision or foresight. 2. Having the nature of fantasies or dreams; illusory. So as I get ready and think ahead to Quilt Market in the Fall and then possibly having my own booth in the Spring (God willing) I thought these caddies are perfect and compact to set up in my booth with patterns or whatever else I want to use them for.  Since they collapse they’ll fit perfectly in my suitcase!

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I got them at Target.com and they come in various colors not to mention how absolutely cute they are because they only measure 7 x 7 inches.  I thought this color goes best with the “Summercrafter” theme.  You can see there so many ways to use them!

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Then I thought about sorting my scrap disorder

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by doing it this way…

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or

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or

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It was just the motivation I needed to “weed” through my earliest collection samples in the fabric stash and get rid of all my  non-cotton, non-designer, inventive/inexperienced quilter baby fabrics and discount store selections.

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Look how adorable these cubes look on my shelf. I can double them front and back too.

One bin can hold BOM patterns for the whole year! (See on the right below)

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And I labeled them easily with those adorable clips my friend gave me. Thanks Amy!

I even have one filled with fabric for my next quilt, so they are really practical.

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I think I can keep up with this type of organization.

About cutting mats…

July 6th 2014

It was my birthday in 2009 when I went out and spent $67.00 in quilting supplies at Joann Fabrics. I bought a mat, rulers, pins, and a rotary cutter and a “mini” iron for pressing seams (I haven’t used that yet). Of course, it never occurred to me that I could hate quilting.

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This year , however, it became apparent that I had put my mat to “very good use” because it started showing unusual and ugly “wear and tear.”

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It was especially obvious after trimming some batting, the lint from the batting was stuck in the crevices and wouldn’t come off!!! Not even with my usual tricks of erasers and a very sticky lint roller.

Well, I forgot my mat when I went on vacation so I took advantage of a sale and splurged to buy an “Olfa” mat, even though it was only 12 x 18 inches, I was excited to add this “name brand” mat to my quilting tools collection.

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Except right after the first cut, the same damage was happening to my brand new mat!!!

The problem was the blade and NOT the mat!! I hadn’t changed out the blade in my rotary cutter for quite a while. I should have known.

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So what have I learned from this experience?

button quilting tricks

Don’t be afraid to change out your dull blades they are cheaper than having to buy a new mat.

But I also learned something about mats…

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My first mat is a FISKARS. And although it feels more “plastic” I love the dots along the mat that help with measuring and aligning when cutting midway across the mat.

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The OLFA mat is “SUPER” comfy in that it has a more “rubbery” feel that I prefer, but the only measuring lines are on the perimeter of the mat. I’ll have to investigate if the larger mats have more lines.

powder puff wreath

Now look at something pretty and rest your eyes.  Which cutting mat do you have?