It’s a Totally Different Skill Set

The last months of this year I tried my hand at selling my crafts.  One thing I learned is that it takes a completely different set of skills to create an inviting environment and display your crafts in a way that makes people want to buy them, and to actually sell and be your own advocate when it comes to selling the things that you worked so hard to create.

I did two shows.  One was an epic fail.  Lots of time and barely enough sales to cover my table rent.  The other, also a fail, but I learned a thing or two and met some phenomenally creative people.

One of the lessons I learned, a little late though was that 8′ tables are less useful than 6′ tables. You can not use 8′ tables in a 7′ booth. It was a rookie mistake and I should have done my homework beforehand. Table covers really should go to the floor. This I learned at the first show when I stepped back from my table and could see all of the packaging and boxes under the table.

Under table area for storage should be invisible.

There really is such a thing as too much stuff on the table.

With so much on the table it is difficult for people to focus on any one thing in the booth, so they focus on nothing.

It is important to catch people’s attention in a good way.

Hanging the quilts in a way that would peak people’s interest was a challenge.

One of the things that worked well at the second show was the use of a ladder. At least people knew I had quilts there.

Of course you need a wall for the ladder, but I loved that I could display the quilts without using up all of my table space.


This little ornament tree was a great find. I showcased my fabric pine cones and they were the hit of the table.

During this second show I learned several more lessons.

No one knows what is going to sell from show to show.

Some people will come in just to be inspired.

It’s a precarious dance between being overly attentive and not attentive enough.

These gals all nailed it. Not all of them made huge sales, but they all had a professional look to their booths and had quality product.

It pays to have something that no one else has, like the gals that sold Jerky! And the people that owned the farm and sold painted gourds. Everyone seemed to stop at their tables. Dawn Marie, of Dawn Marie’s Lace made the tatted jewelry as well as the beautiful white and glistening ornaments, she also encouraged children to help her while she was tatting away. Her booth was especially inviting. She shared that she has been at this for years and had curated a following. This was echoed by Mark Weaver of Natural Wood Pens who was a wealth of information, inspiration and advice. His wood turned pens kaleidoscopes and cutting boards were very handsome. Amanda Maney of So Many Crafts had some very trendy crocheted octopi! Cheryl Paulson of The Lupanare, had traditional hand tied pearls and her table glistened with sparkly jewels that looked so lovely and could adorn those your love. What Dolls Dream Of had a professional booth with handmade clothing for American Girl dolls, but did not take cards. A very special thank you to Debra and Tera from dandtshows for their kind words and keeping everyone fed and the music festive.

Will I try again? Yes. Maybe a couple more times during “the season” next year. I’ll do a little more research too. Did I enjoy the experience? Well, yes, I did meet some great people. But I must admit, my strengths are more in line with the creative process than the sales process. I have a lot to learn about merchandising and staging. That being said, I didn’t get where I am in the creative process overnight, and suspect it may take more practice and experience to be a top vendor.


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Festive Finds

So I’m getting ready for the holidays and I’m getting ready for a Holiday Bazaar.  The holidays are a piece of cake, I do it annually.  I’ve got it down.  The Bazaar however…

Getting ready means opening boxes, finding pieces, finishing pieces.  It means there is a mess being made before things become beautiful.  Isn’t that always the way?

In pulling pieces for the Bazaar I found this beauty.


A piece I did decades ago.

It is one of my favorites.  I may not let it go, but if I do, I just happened to find the instructions to create another one while I was looking for something else.


Why I haven’t made any other pieces from this little book is beyond me.  But I can assure you that there will be more this year.  These are nicely detailed runners that are not difficult to make.

And I found this book at a second-hand book store.  Talk about a score!  There are four patterns in this tiny treasure, so that makes each pattern a bargain at 50 cents each.  I am going to have to revisit this one.  There are at least two more patterns that have peaked my interest.  Don’t you love when that happens?



Then I found this!IMG_2063

Seriously cute and merry and bright.  I remember enjoying putting this together many years ago.  And lo and behold what do I find but this!

IMG_2072I already have one started!  It was tucked away with other gems that  you will see after the New Year.

I love the way this one was quilted!








Terry Burris puts a lot of thought and creativity in all of her quilting no matter what the size.  Her job is to make your piece shine.




So I’m excited and distracted and really wanted to share.

Happy Holidays!

Posted in Accomplishments, Holiday Quilting, table runners, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments

It’s a Two fer!

Last winter I made two quilt tops from a pattern called Trip for “2” To Boston, put out by Prairie Pieces.  The pattern makes both quilts at the same time and contains two copies so each quilter can make it together.  I have checked on the web and see that it is offered by another company as this pattern was put out in 2001.

I pieced both of the quilts and although it was incredibly fun, know it would have been better with a buddy.  Once your strips are cut, things become a bit compulsive.  I could see where it could get a bit competitive with two people working on the quilts.  This would be a good quilt for retreat.  It could be fun for getting a few charity quilts together in a weekend.

My biggest pet peeve though is the sizes.  The pattern indicates that a full/queen measures 85″ x 97″.  Personally I like my bed quilts, at the very least, to hang as long as the top sheet.  Flat sheets for a full size bed are 81″ x 96″ and for a queen 90″ x 102″ so I was a little disappointed in the coverage on a queen bed.  This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed that a pattern will group the full and queen size as one size.

Perhaps the best fix for this is to use 17 fabrics instead of 15 or to make the strips that make the strata 1/4 to 1/2 inch larger.  I’ll try it again after I’ve got a few more projects completed.



I did pull these about so they would not show the sheets.  Terry Burris and I dug deep into our stashes so no fabric had to be purchased.  I was pretty happy with the results.


I was especially pleased the way the mitered corners turned out on the borders.

There were enough bits and pieces left over to make some pillows to go along with the quilts.


Terry Burris Quilting did the quilting prior to gifting, but alas, I didn’t have an opportunity to get a photo of fabulous job she did.

Posted in Accomplishments, Fabric exchange, Quilting, simple, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Storm at Sea Variation

Earlier this year I was busy putting together a very special quilt for a very special couple.  I didn’t want to just make any quilt, I wanted to put together something that would hold meaning specifically to them.  Their wedding was a beach wedding followed by a cruise.

The Storm at Sea Pattern seemed like a perfect match, but still, I wanted something a little more.  Scrolling through Craftsy I found the perfect pattern: Our Hearts Will Go On.  This was going to not only be manageable, but fun.  Because I NEED to work out of my stash, and I didn’t want the quilt to look like every other quilt out in the world using this pattern, I pulled most of the fabrics from my stash instead of buying the kit.  I will say that I got to go to one of my favorite local quilt shops for the backing and borders.  The staff at Chadwicks here in Richmond had me in and out in less than 20 minutes.

Did I say the pattern was fun?  I can’t emphasize that enough.  Each night I sat down and did a set of units that went together beautifully.

After pressing and trimming I would be anxious to begin the next set.  Before I knew it I was putting the pieces together on the design wall.


Once the top was fully constructed I added the borders and backing.  Initially I was not going to prewash those fabrics, but I did not want to short change this quilt so wash I did.IMG_8962

These are the Color Catchers from the wash load that had only the backing and borders.  Soooo glad I prewashed!

After construction I sent the quilt off to my sister Terry of Terry Burris Quilting to choose the perfect quilting design to make this piece complete.

Once all that was done, it was time to go to a wedding.  Well, I didn’t want to bring the quilt as I realized the bride and groom would have more than their fair share of luggage to deal with.  Then again, I didn’t want to go empty-handed.  IMG_8988

There was enough fabric left over for me to make these charming pillow cases.   Much easier on the luggage!

The day came and it was beautiful, “I do’s” were said, and their adventure begins!


Fast forward to last week.

The quilt was delivered by Terry.  She quilted a really pretty watermark design into the quilt that was the perfect choice.  We checked it out.IMG_9575

Special thanks to Terry Burris (top), and our sister and mother of the bride Jill Abbott for hanging the quilt so we could get a good picture.

I think she likes it.  The quilt looks fabulous in her home.

Posted in gifts, Quilting, simple, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized, Wedding | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Fabric Collection Quilt

Although I can not find the pattern for this quilt, I can tell you it was in a magazine approximately 15 years ago.  The pattern is simple enough and what pulled me in was the potential to show off collections.  The first time I used the pattern I dug through my wax indigo prints and came up with this.  IMG_9500The indigos were fun to work with and the quilt has a clean, simple, modernist look to it.  Collecting these beautiful blue beauties was just the quest I needed when attending quilt shows and shops.  I will admit most were from shows as these are very special.  The koi is not a wax print, but I thought it added character!IMG_9501The featured image is a quilt my sister, Terry Burris and I made for our stepmother Sylvia several years ago for her birthday.  She loves butterflies and flowers.  The background fabric has sweet little butterflies all over it.IMG_9498

It took me a week to cull through my floral stash to choose just the right fabrics to play nicely with this particular green.  Every single floral came from my stash.  And every little bit of this background fabric was used.  There was not an inch to spare.


I even liked the fabric I found to use on the back.  Sweet yes!?  This pattern would lend itself nicely with juvenile fabrics for a very simple “eye spy”, color blocking, plaids…and the list goes on!


Terry Burris Quilting did a lovely floral panto on this quilt.  It just sort of fell together.

We lost our stepmother this spring, and in cleaning out her things I ran across this,


I had made this vest for her over 15 years ago.  If my memory serves me, I used a pattern called The Collectors Vest.  The yellow is from a fabric gradation that was offered at the time.  The color wash has always appealed to me and she really loved the impressionist feel to the piece.

If you look carefully you can find a pretty pink butterfly button, and a rainbow embroidered applique.  Other than the receiver, the vest was also inspired by the lining fabric.

As I look through my sewing room I see many other pieces I purchased to make with her in mind.  Hold fast to your loved ones.  You never know how long they will be here.

Sew on, and piece.



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In Honor of Earth Day

A few years ago Fauquier County Quilters had a Q^ Retreat (Quilt Up – elevating the ordinary).  The creative team made several projects and gathered ideas about how to reuse fabrics.  There were also challenges with prizes and the retreat brought out some of the best work I’ve seen in decades.

I have continued using some of those ideas.  I love working with shirts, denim, ties, and linens.

For a long time I’ve had the plans for this quilt on my “To Do” list, and I finally finished it and donated this special piece forward.

The quilt itself is a mock Cathedral Window pattern made with recycled jeans and juvenile prints.  When using denim jeans check your labels as 100% cotton works best and for several years now most of the jeans are made with 1% spandex.  Truly, that 1% makes a BIG difference.

The idea is not my original thought…there are simple to follow directions at  Sometimes the site doesn’t come up immediately, but if you put “Circle Blue Jeans Quilt” in your search it pops up right away.  If that doesn’t float your boat there is a print pattern available.


Seriously though, you can do this.  I used a coffee can lid as a template and cut my denim and then trimmed my juvenile prints to 4 1/2″ squares.

I did draw a 4 1/2″ square on the wrong side of my denim using a regular ball point pen (no one is going to see this).  The lines are for stitching the circles together.


Make sure you use a needle in your machine made to go through denim.  And remember it is not a race, enjoy the process.

I loved putting this together and used up a lot of my spools of thread that didn’t have a lot left to them.


Personally I think it is kind of cute from both sides.

This is the perfect project for a play quilt to throw on the floor or grass for baby to play on.



Posted in Accomplishments, Denim, Family, Quilting, recycling, simple, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Classwork and project completed

Last summer I took a class with my guild from a very talented woman, Christine Van Buskirk.  She had done a program for Hospitality, (a part of the Richmond Quilt Guild) and the class looked like something that I could accomplish within a reasonable amount of time.  Christine teaches classes in Richmond and in Northern Virginia for guilds and quilt shops.  She also works with Creative Grids rulers.  Her talents are many and she is truly a delight!

Another reason to take the class was to meet work with some quilters.  Being relatively new to the area, I was and am still looking for some quilt buddies.  If I immerse myself in the environment I’m bound to find some like-minded people.

The class was easy enough as Christine was clear in her directions, and by the time the class period had ended I had enough information and enthusiasm to go home and finish the project.  Did I really need another ruler or a class for this simple project – probably not, but I did learn some tips and tricks about how to use this ruler that I would not have gotten with on my own.  And I would not have had the opportunity to meet this talented teacher and the students.

With blocks in hand I went home.IMG_7897

I assembled more and pressed accordingly.



They started adding up and a quilt was taking shape.  Auditioning for borders, and I went with my initial instinct with the Kaffe birds.


Yes, that is rather sweet!  Off to the quilter it went.


The swirls are perfect for this quilt!  Special thanks to Terry Burris Quilting!


And I love the little orange dot that I used for the binding!

I can see a lot of potential for this pattern.  I’m thinking about umbrellas and beach balls.  In the meantime, I’ve got this one finished.

Sew on!


Posted in Classes, Creative Grids Rulers, Richmond Quilt Guild, Terry Burris Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments