February Store Front Meet-Up: Link up the Business Side

Store Front Meet Up at Blue Bird Sews

February is nothing like January for me. The start of the year has me pumped up raring to go!!!!!(that's how many exclamation points it needs) But funny what a few weeks can do to that motivation and changing priorities.
Do you go through these fits and starts with your shop how about with your creative juices for making products? I can't be the only one, right! Ultimately I'm only one person, and can only do so much. Prioritizing is key to bringing in cash from creativity. What is working for Blue Bird Sews shop is being there in person to sell my crayons, cards and art.

Earlier this month I had a little table at an art open house and did alright! In the meantime Baby J and I are taking care of the nephews and getting paid. So that also rearranges priorities and gives me some cash towards my goal.

On the Horizon: Coming up in a couple weeks is another Sip n' Shop at Katie O'Brien's Pub (which I need a cute little St. Pat's craft, hints please!). This time I'll have a couple more items to show off including some really cute button bobby pins & photo cards shown in the pictures above!
Now here's the thing; I could list these products in my Etsy shop but I am just reluctant to put energy into it at the moment. From hopping around to the blogs that linked up last month I learned a little thing or two about on-line shop stewardship.

  • Market yourself 25% of the time you are working
  • Cater your shop towards what sells in the Etsy community

I haven't done either of these things this month! Next month we'll see what happens and where the Blue Bird Sews label will go.
Where is your shop headed? How do you prioritize your shop with your life?

Link up your shop or your blog post - or both- about what's happening at your place this month. For the rules of the link up and to see what happened last month check out January's Meet Up.

Good Luck with your shop this month! Till then!


Hey there! Want to see what I've been up to the past couple weeks? You do! Great, come on! (I've been watching lots of Blues Clues with a certain little one! Ha!)
Sitting down to sew just one block of the warm/cool QAL at a time is so gratifying. Trim 16 HST, sew 16 HST together, done. Nice. I've also been playing with scraps I cut into HST's with the Go Baby. That's been a nice creative pulse of energy too.

This past week has been filled with a little project I'm working on for the mini quilt challenge at Ellison Lane Quilts. Definitely the hardest thing I have attempted so far all on the fly and I love it! Next week is the link up and I'll show you the rest!

For a break from diamonds I started quilting this little one for Baby J. Little is fun!

The last big news is Galaxy Quilt is DONE. Huge, beautiful, quilted, label, done. The thing is that it's so big and so rainy here I haven't been able to get a good full on picture. Once that happens there will be a full on post about it. Until then here's another peak.
Of course, I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Lee's, check it out
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. Come on back Wednesday Leap Day 2/29/2012 for Store Front Meet Up. We'll be talking shop and showing off our wares.


Rainbow Scrappy: Sunshine Pot Holder Tutorial

Hello!  A new fun sewing project to brighten up the daily house wife tasks ; ). I've sewn up a beautiful pot holder for my kitchen - it might be too nice because every time I use it I make sure to not get anything on it and hang it up right after using it!

The method for sewing this is a bit different as seams are not sewn together, and other are kept open. Open seams can be sewn down to be extra secure, or left open it's up to you. I did half and half as you'll see.

The inspiration for this came from paper piecing but gives much different results. It's easy to get the hang of it and find interesting places to fit little scraps.
I hope you enjoy the first of my Rainbow Scrappy tutorials. I hope to keep bringing them to you throughout the year. Enjoy!

Lots of scraps; little ones work well
Special heat batting, I used a double layer of 9" squares
White foundation fabric, 8" square
Backing, binding & loop fabric: 9" square, 2.5"x36" binding strip, 8"x1.5" loop strip
Usual quilting supplies: mat, rotary cutter, ruler, thread, sewing machine, basting spray, thread
(note: directions correspond with photos from top left to bottom right, 1-4)

1. Scrappy Rainbow block detail.
2. Divide up scraps: yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green
3. Cut out foundation piece and draw circles evenly around the 8" square. The center circle is about 1.5". I added the color of the circle into each ring so as not to get confused. I started with yellow in the middle, but you can choose what ever you'd like!
4. Pick out the scraps you want to use for each color and press.

5. Starting with yellow select two pieces to start. 1"x2" approximate in length.
6. Place the fist piece right side up and line up the second piece with an edge. Sew with a less than 1/4" seam, getting right next to the edge. Trim threads, finger press open.
7. Repeat steps with a third piece (and 4th or 5th if needed), filling in the empty space as you go. Over lap raw edges when you can.
8. Once a few pieces are sewn down press with an iron.
9. Orange scraps are next; a large triangle covers the edges a few scraps as it's sewn down. Angle the pieces to create a curve.
10. This next square scrap gets turned on it's corner for an interesting fit.
11. Orange scrap when turned fills in a blank spot. Continue adding pieces until the ring is complete.
12. The ring of orange scraps are trimmed to a rough circle and the loose edges are sewn down.
13. Red scraps are next. Here is a detail of each step when sewing scraps in place; place the scrap right side down on the edge of scraps beneath it. Sew close to the edge making sure to get the edges of the scraps underneath too.
14. Turn the scrap and make sure it covers up the white foundation fabric.
15. Sew the exposed edge down to the foundation
16. Continue adding in scraps in any order, making sure the white foundation fabric is covered and most seams are secured with top stitching. Press down as you go. When complete trim to make a circle.
17. Purple scraps are added, some here others there. Press as you go. Sizes are 1/2" to 2" depending on scraps and spaces. Squares, triangles and rectangle are included.
18. Continue adding, pressing, sewing, trimming until another circle is complete.
19. Blue scraps get added to the outside edge, here I am feeling comfortable with the piecing method and try sewing scraps at an angle, and in front & behind of others.
20. Scraps are sewn in a row one on top of another. This works almost.
21. A window of white shows through once the scraps are turned, that is fixed with another scrap sewn in behind the line.
22. A blue circle is complete, press well and head into the green scrap pile.
23. The green ring is the last one. Sew scraps just like before, filling in the empty spots and (if needed) covering up a little bit of the blue in order to make a complete circle.
24. Press well and sew any open edges down that need it. On the outside edge of the square zig-zag stitch to secure the green ring. Hooray, a completed scrappy rainbow block!

Now it's time to make that block into pot holder (or whatever else you'd like!) This is my first time making a pot holder; so if you know another way of finishing this off go for it. My method works but might not be the best.
25. Grab two pieces of 9"x9" pot holder batting. I use double because my hubby likes it that way.
26. Spray baste the layers together with the block on top. I did not use a back yet because I was worried about it getting bunched up in the quilting.
27. Use a small stitch about 1.5 to 2. Starting in the center secure the stitch and then turn the square to make a small spiral.
28. See the spiral forming...
29. A shot of the back with complete quilting spiral all the way to the edge.
30. A shot of the front with the complete quilting spiral all the way to the edge and the excess batting trimmed.
31. Time to put it together. Spray baste the backing fabric onto the back.
32. Make the binding strip and iron in half. If you need more instruction check out this post.
33. Make a tube out of the 8"x1.5" loop strip.
34. Turn right side out the tube for the loop and then sew it down on each side.
35. Sew the binding onto the BACK of the potholder with backing fabric down first and raw edge of binding matching raw edge of the potholder.
36. Turn the binding to the FRONT and zig zag stitch around the edges.
37. Lastly attach the loop to the backside of the potholder.
38. Easily sewn down so that it's ready to hang and use!
A finished Scrappy Rainbow Pot Holder! 

This is just such a cool pot holder; I just love the scrappy look and the texture the raw edges give. I hope you make one for your kitchen and let a little sunshine in!


p.s. I'll  be linking this up with parties all week. Find them all on the Link Parties I Love page! Including Sew Modern Monday and Crazy Mom Quilts.


I've got a full house today, my nephews are here keeping me and Baby J company. Lots of boy playing going on and I love it. Cousins are some of the first playmates we have as kids and it's just special to see them all together!
But even with the full plate I wanted to share my ongoing WIP's and a sneak peak of the Galaxy quilt which has only one more step on the machine binding and it's ready to go (and share at the guild meeting tomorrow, eeee!)
Warm/Cool quilt along: 1st block together. Might do a big sampler of different patterns. Not sure where this is going yet.....but I like the vintage fabrics and the softness they give. 
High Contrast: Scrappy play with color wheel opposites. Again not sure of the layout, granny style or boarder them in white triangles and piece them that way....
The Galaxy Quilt: Long arm quilting DONE! Machine binding almost done, entirely in love with this one. The way it lays on a bed and drapes over at just the right spots is amazing!
Been playing with this stack of 1/8's. Fabric is cheap when bought in small quantities on sale!

It has been a fun month in the craft cave, getting the Galaxy done and playing with things that have been floating around in my head. This is what quilting should be like - I think I'm done with sewing for deadlines and others for a while, just gonna play and see where it takes me. 

Okay off to pack some lunches and get these kids to OMSI! Have a great day I'll be back to see what you've linked up to WIP at Freshly Pieced! 

Friday Inspiration

1. mini quilt madness, 2. Mini quilt, 3. Mini Quilt!, 4. Mini quilt, 5. mini-quilt-swap, 6. Oh, Fransson!'s Tokyo subway mini-quilt, 7. Mini storm at sea finished, 8. Better shot - Finished MMM bookshelf mini-quilt, 9. Quilt for My Fav Little Mini Quilt Swap#2, 10. Scrappy Mini Quilt, 11. Zen Mini Quilt, 12. Crayon Box mini quilt finished hanging, 13. Mini quilts
Mini Quilts! Can't get enough right now. After finishing up the Galaxy long arm quilting this week I am in deep need of instant gratification. Been having a lot of fun with my little scrappy HST's. Here's what the design wall looks like. Lots of fun! And yep it's a terrible picture but when you sew in the basement that's what I get!
For more mini-quilt inspriation go check out Ellison Lane Quilts; huge mini quilt party with a chance to win some amazing prizes. Check it out!
Modern Mini Challenge
And if you'd like to win some fabric that is rather, well...fugly then check out Lucy's Fugly fabric Party and enter for a chance to win some really great...and really fugly fabrics - Including mine right here!

I have a special Baby J free weekend as my husband celebrates his birthday and our 13 year annivesary since we began dating. Yep, we met at his birthday party...we joke I'm the best present he's ever gotten!


More Christmas Time Quilts

So I know Christmas was over a month ago now. It feels like last year (ha!) but I made a quilt with my wonderfully quilty sister and I haven't shared it with you yet; so let's do it!

We made this quilt for Mom. It all started with a big box of scraps from years worth of sewing. Scraps from clothes that were made, baby things and home decor. Now what this left us with was a big stack of mix and match fabrics and nothing really going together. What it needed was a unifying pattern -- along came Kaleidoscopic.
Mom and Dad Holding it up
The pattern fit perfectly with the scrappy nature of the fabric and Sister chose the neutral tan background color which really helps bring it together. We had to go with the medallion version of kaleidoscopic to keep it from getting too busy and losing the pattern. I scoured the Kaleidoscopic QAL from last summer to get that idea!

The back is pieced with the left over blocks and the FMQ is seen better here. Those 'dots' are where I went over the middle of the medallions to hide where they didn't match up perfectly! We used a flannel on the back and I'm not sure if it was the fabric or the mix-n-match fabrics on top but something gave me an awful time quilting this thing! 
Here's a little better detail of the quilting. I did loops in loops for the center medallions and then filled in around the neutral with random quilting. I wrote Mom, Kelly, Sister, 2011 and other little things to make it special. The thread broke about every 30 seconds in some spots, but I kept on trucking. This quilt was not going to win. I won that quilt battle and finished up just before Christmas Eve!

When my mom opened it she said, "Now I have a quilt for watching TV too!" You see we started this quilt giving tradition a few years ago with a quilt for my Uncle, then my Dad, then Grandpa and another Uncle. You see where this went...all the men got quilts first and now we are onto the women. Mom and my Aunt got theirs this year (which I can't find the picture I took of it!, arg!). But here is a photo of the quilt I made for my dad a few years ago now...before I started 'quilting' them; this one I 'tied' with buttons. Another man quilt, I'm getting well versed in this!

Thanks for reading my wordy post about Christmas quilts...now we can get onto 2012 projects and leave 2011 in the past!

linking up to these great parties all week and Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday Inspiration

1. Cover Photo: Charlotte Sometimes, 2. Gypsy Kisses, 3. Coming up roses  - Naked Bed Challenge - Finished!!, 4. Fanciful Flowers #2, 5. DSCN1708, 6. "Charlotte Sometimes", 7. Looking Back quilt - WIP Oct 2010, 8. Finished mug rug, 9. batik spiderweb quilt, 10. do. Good Stitches Faith circle March Stashbuster, 11. Sunday, 12. Jenny's Burgoyne Surrounded Quilt, 13. Tree Quilt14. Not available15. Not available16. Not available
I picked up this book and can't stop flipping though the smooth pages planning out a next quilt. A difficult quilt just for me. No time limits or deadlines; a quilt to make for the making of it and the journey we'll go on. I am most intrested in the lone star on the bottom middle. The colors I'm thinking are inspired by the southwest with orange, teal, purple, grey, red...bright colors in just the right shades. I'll need some Kona Cotton.

Thanks for coming by the Store Front Meet Up! It was cool to pop over and visit the shops; such a diverse group! Learned a thing or two as well; like I should be spending more time on the actual selling if I want to sell, ha!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I've got a bunch of man sports to watch. UFC & Super Bowl for me in between sewing.

p.s. I got Eat, Grow, Sew back up so go join in! Features coming soon!

Eat, Grow, Sew at Blue Bird Sews
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