Store Front Meet Up: Questions & Books

Store Front Meet Up at Blue Bird Sews

Hello there! I've been stewing about Etsy, about selling and making but mostly about the selling part. I love making, making is so easy and fun and I know all about that. I can sew, design, quilt and keep focused enough to finish a pile of wonderful creations. But then what. What to do with the boxes of lovely items I have made for some one, some where....but how do I let them know I've made them something?
Hey there! I made something totally awesome, snugly, colorful just for you! Please pick it out and pay at the register!
Well short of yelling that out my door step....which don't think I haven't thought of! What is a seller to do? Educate yourself. Read all about and then get on the computer and start clicking away.

I jumped in head first, eyes closed and with gusto when I set up this blog and etsy shop. I have a fire under me to create and sell....I am just not so savvy when it comes to the whole internet marketing thing. Where do I Google ad when I should twitter all about it? Or what's up with a Facebook fan page and how is that different than my personal Facebook or my blog. What is the Esty shop supposed to look like? What do my listing need to contain to entice a buyer? See what I mean...stewing.

But this week I made a few steps toward Etsy Shop perfection. I went to the library and checked out a stack of books. Here's what I got and a brief description:
Mom, Inc.: The Essential Guide to Running a Successful Business Close to Home
Mom, Inc: The essential guide to running a successful busniess close to home
  - I haven't gotten to far into this but the whole business in the basement thing is hard to juggle when the laundry is down there and my family right up the stairs.
Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion
Crush It! When now is the time to cash in on your passion
  - super great motivational stuff with practical internet based marketing/networking info. I think it's convinced me to make a video about Blue Bird Sews
How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond
How to sell your crafts online
  - this book has step by step instruction on what your Etsy shop should look like, sound like, and be connected too. I'm only a few chapters in and have already started taking this advice.
How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products
How to make money using Etsy
  - have only cracked this one but looks like it has more in depth Etsy info and technical, what buttons to push info.

So that's what I've been doing - thinking, tweaking, thinking some more...all that in between sewing, crafting and being an awesome mom and wife.
Oh and now I'm also twittering...something I never thought I'd do...but I did. Find me @bluebirdsews

Any tips or tricks you have about selling on line or a great read about it? Share it in the comments along with your Etsy Shop or any other online store front you've got.

I'm gonna get back to stewing!

This Week: Vintage Reworked

The sewing machine is having her half yearly tune up this week so I am able to take my focus away from sewing and onto the other things lurking in the sewing room.
Lurking around are more than a handful of vintage quilt tops in different ages and stages and all in need of repair or construction.
I am taking this chance to put some new life into these colorful, beautiful and unique vintage quilts.

A Summersville Throw

It's hot in Portland. That's not something I say a whole lot. Oregon is a wet and moderate place, our beaches are misty and the spring is soggy but about or twice during summer the temperatures spike and we blast the sprinkler.

Summer weather requires a summer quilt. A summer weight quilt.

This one started with little-little left over half square triangles. I could not resist sewing them together and making chaos blocks from them. My term for random HST goodness.

I made this for my son and he loves to wrap up in the flannel and denim blue linen.

The new-ish Moda line Summersville by Lu Summers makes up most of the HST's. The solids are the cotton couture by Michael Miller; PMQG had a challenge with the lovely fabrics and I used the remainder.

I did a small amount of echo quilting around the framed chaos blocks and it gives the quilt a nice drape. Very nice to wrap around the shoulders or bundle up a little one.

As the hot days give way to brown leaves this quilt will stay for winter.


Friday Inspiration: Japanese X & +

1. + & X blocks Quilt, 2. x and + block..., 3. X & + Quilt, 4. they aren't going to make themselves, 5. Japanese x block 1, 6. Japanese + and X Quilt, 7. Jessica's   & x quilt top, 8. Japanese + and x block, 9. Danielle's + and x blocks, 10. March Do Good Stitches Block 2, 11. Japanese X blocks - 1st 4 blocks, 12. Japanese + and X Quilt Along, 13. Scrappy x and +
all images taken from

These Japanese x and + blocks have been all over quilty blog land and I wanted to give them a try since I first saw them. I tracked down the cutting and sewing instructions on Amy of Bad Skirt's flickr account. Super easy and super fun for scraps. Enjoy these and stay tuned for random multiplication.


This Week: WIP

I am making major progress on all WIP fronts. The bigger long term projects have kept moving along. Sewing strips together, joining blocks & quilting tops. Each project hanging around out there is going to get done. ;- )

To keep my interest I have been doing small blocks in-between the long hauls. I've made four NY beauty block's and two x, + blocks (which I can see getting really addictive and fun!) I am using scrap fabric from a grab bag I bought at one of my favorite thrift shops. There were some amazing scraps in there! Just wait! I plan on making as many blocks I can for 4-top pillow covers. 

The warm/cool vintage needs more HST's to make more blocks. I sewed a bunch of strip together during the PMQG all day sew, it was a lot of fun!

I'm going to hand quilt my color experiment wall hanging but I can't seem to stay in one place long enough to begin. Perhaps this winter.

I've got a bunch of other things in the works too; but that don't have photos of! I think the WIP pile has gone from 15 to 6. Still work to do but it's seriously gonna happen.

I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced WIP this week and I'll be popping by to see what the other 100+ quilters are up to.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

5 Minute T-Shirt Tote Bag Tutorial

Hello and Welcome! Today I'm sharing a quick tutorial on how to transform a t-shirt into a tote bag. Bringing your own bags to the farmer's market, grocery store or any where else will be a snap with these t-shirt totes! And with this super quick method you'll turn out a strong bag you can use over and over again!
So let's get started!

T-Shirt, any size from child's to XL - long sleeve or short, collar or no collar, v-neck....anything goes
rotary cutter and mat or scissors
straight edge ruler (optional)
pins (optional)
sewing machine/thread

A basket full of shirts destined to be totes
given away at the West Moreland Farmer's Market on 8/8/2012!
Did you get one????
Some simple tools needed.
Start by lining up your ruler on the far side of the arm seam, you want to leave the seam intact to provide extra strength for all those farmer's market peaches, onions & meat!
Trim close to the seam following a straight line. (The straight edge helped at first, but after I'd made a few totes I just eyeballed it)
Cut out the neck. Since t-shirts come in all sizes I will give you a measurement guidelines: cut the 'handles' about 3" wide and cut down into the neck of the shirt about 2/3 of the way down the arm hole. When using a rotary cutter one long cut from side to side works well. If you are using scissors to cut it out instead of a rotary cutter then use a marker and draw a line first then follow your line with scissors.
If you have a really big t-shirt like XL you'll want to fold the bottoms into the shirt to create a pocket bottom, which will still hold a lot of stuff, but won't be so bulky. Start by turning the shirt inside out and folding the bottom into itself.
Again since every shirt is a different sized just make a guess at how much you should fold over. For this shirt the bottom was huge and I folded about 4 inches on each side of the seam for 8" total. Anyway your fold it works -- a simple turn in on either side will also do the trick.
Then pin across and sew the bottom seam on the hem and back stitch at the beginning and end of the shirt. 
For the small to large shirts no pocket was needed I simply turned inside out and stitched across on the hem. 

Ta-Da! A Reusable recycled t-shirt tote ready for your goodies. I've made a few already in all sizes from child's small to adult XL. They all turn out great and soooo quick - oh and best of all they are machine washable!!

I hope you make one for yourself or come on down the Moreland Farmer's Market on Wednesday August 8th and I'll be handing out a limited number of bags for FREE! 

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