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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Etsybloggers Featured Blogger -- Donna Pool

The month of February features Donna Pool as its featured Etsy Blogger. Donna is a stay at home mom who used to work as a freelance photographer. She puts that skill to good use in making her custom buttons. Aren't these kittys cute?! She also sells cards, ACEOs, photographs, and the most adorable puzzle balls and teddy bears.

You can read all about the making of a teddy bear in her latest blog post.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Looking for New Blogs?

Are you looking to kill even MORE time on the internet? Check out some of the blogs listed here in this edition of Etsybloggers Blog Carnival. You'll find interesting Valentine stories and some great tutorials (including yours truly's zipper tutorial).

You'll find the whole list posted here in Melissa's blog (Rainy Day Arts). Click on the link here. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Get to Know a Quilter... WarmnFuzzies

As you may have guessed by the name of one of my shops, Elle Quilts, that I do have a thing for quilts. There's news about that shop, but it will have to wait for another post. One of the problems that I think quilters have in selling their quilts and other quilted items is that the general public really has no idea what goes into the making of a quilt, and the talent and skills necessary to make a quilt. Really, how hard can it be? Sew some fabric pieces together, do a little stitching on the outside and, bam, you've got a quilt.

I'd like to introduce you to some quilters, and some quilt techniqes and designs in my new "Get to Know a Quilter" and "Get to Know Quilts" series.

First up, Tiffany of Warm 'n Fuzzies. By the way, she's the one to contact if you make quilts and want to join the Quiltsy Team on Etsy. Tiffany first learned her basic sewing skills in 4-H when she was 10 years old. This stay-at-home mom of two boys, has been quilting for almost 15 years now, since my oldest son was born. She is entirely self-taught, never having taken a quilting class. She watches quilting shows, buys books and searches the internet. Have you ever seen an Amish quilt? Tiffany had always admired the Amish and their quilts, but couldn't afford to purchase one. She bought a sampler quilt quilting book and taught herself.

She says, "My very first quilt was completely done by hand and I recommend that everyone learn that way because it is very accurate when pieced. I used cardboard templates and scissors. The first person I showed it to, when it was finished, was a veteran quilter and she could not believe it was my first quilt and that I had never taken a class. Now it sits at the bottom of a stack of quilts because the colors are so 80's and it doesn't go with anything else in my house."

Tiffany and I share an interest in the Cathedral Window quilts. This is a unique quilt style that does not have what you might consider traditional quilting. Tiffany describes it well when she says, "They remind me of origami with all the folding." I've made one block, and decided I didn't have the patience. However, Tiffany has made many, many blocks, and turns them into gorgeous pillows in her shop.

Not a style that many people might choose, Tiffany has modernized it for her pillow covers, removing the traditional ruffle, and using beautiful batik fabrics. Her covers are made entirely by hand, though she has begun using some machine stitching to connect the squares. I've included this close up photo of one of her pillows. All the stitching that is done around the colored squares is done by hand. She estimates that it takes about 7 to 9 hours to complete one 18" pillow cover. One great thing about the cathedral window style is that it is a great take along project because it is done by hand. Her pillow covers are supposed to be in a how to book that will come out next year.

Tiffany doesn't limit herself to just this one style, however. Visit her shop and you'll see that she also makes other traditional quilts, many for babies (like the one pictured here). You'll also find market bags, and pot holders, and she also takes custom orders.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The "Weight Loss" Wednesday Before Valentine's Day

Think of Valentine's Day and you might thing of a big heart filled with decadent chocolates! In honor of that delightful thought, here are a few no-cal goodies for you to feast your eyes on (all courtesy of my One a Day Challenge friends... do an Etsy search for "dailychallenge" to see all they have to offer).

P.S. Click on the picture and go directly to the item. Click on the shop name, and browse the whole shop!


Happy Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Fires in Australia

It is all over the news, but I wanted to do my little part, just in case one or two of you may have missed it. Perhaps you know someone from Australia, or who lives there. I have friends from my Prague days that live near Melbourne, and while I haven't yet heard from them, I hope they are safe. I also have an Etsy friend, Kylie of Early Bird Creations, who is understandably quite concerned about this disaster.

An Etsy shop has opened to raise money to help, OzBushfireAppeal. If you are an Etsy seller, consider donating an item and/or just do some shopping. If you are an Etsy buyer, head on over to do some shopping.

You can also visit the Victorian Bushfires Support site here, and find other ways that you can help.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims and firefighters, and indeed the whole country of Australia.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Zipper Tutorial

I've been meaning to post this tutorial for several months now, and what great incentive to see that one of the blog carnival topics is to post just such a tutorial. The pictures really say a thousand words, so I will try to keep the extra reading to a minimum.

This technique explains how to insert a zipper into a single piece of fabric, and is often used for pockets in handbags, diaper bags, totes, etc. I use it for a pocket in my custom vendor apron, and it is very quick and easy!

The width of your fabric should be about 1-in. wider than your zipper length. The length can really be whatever fits your project. I'm using a 7-in. zipper, and my fabric is 8-in. wide, and 8-1/2-in. long. I have also used a lightweight iron-on interfacing to give my fabric more stability. You will choose the appropriate interfacing for your fabric.

My line is 1-1/2-in. down from the top, and there is about 1/2-in. on either side.

Carefully cut on the line, and your triangles. Fold the triangles back, and the long edges about 1/4-in. and press.

From the right side of the fabric, pin your zipper to the wrong side. (That definitely needs the picture!) You want to make sure that the zipper pull is completely free, and that you will not sew over the zipper stop on the other end. Using your zipper foot, start sewing on the end, turning the corners, and keeping the zipper foot even with the edge of the fabric fold. Remove the pins as you go. I like to back up a couple times on each end to reinforce the stitching.

Once you've sewn around all four sides, you're done!

A view of the inside.

This pocket is ready! I think it took me longer to write the post, then to do a zipper installation in this manner.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to ask in the comments!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Weight Loss Wednesday

Today I want to mention something that is so important to life. Forget losing weight. It's so important just to get enough liquids into your body. It makes everything work so much better. Will it make you lose weight if you drink lots of water? Not directly, but it certainly can't hurt. And now, Weight Watchers has decided that it doesn't even have to be water that you drink... just drink something. At least 6 8-oz. glasses of something. Of course water is always your best bet for hydrating, but if you just can't swallow it, than anything. Oh, except anything with alcohol in it. Alcohol can do a lot of things for your body, but it won't help to hydrate it.

While you are conditioning your body on the inside with lots of liquids, think about conditioning it on the outside with some of Ophelia's Apoth.e.cary's wonderful Deeply Conditioning Body Butter in a lovely Tranquil Waters scent.