Monday, April 28, 2014

Some beautiful finishes!!!


Its a record! Who would have thought that the very month I tried to shut down my shop basically...keep it slow..have sew alongs... I would get the record amount of cutting and boxes going out to keep me busy?? Not really record sales, just record work. 

Seriously, look at this mound of packages going out tomorrow. 82 in fact. Do you know how much fabric fits in those large boxes?? 40 yards. Ya, I am one busy Hillbilly. And I think only ONE of those boxes have Ahhhhs in it. How sad is that?


So do you think I got my sew along finished? ha! Who you kidding? But I have some friends that did and they are beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Jessica is a purple fan..and saving purples sure did pay off, isn't this wonderful??!!




Then there is May's. Here is one individual ahhhh.



And I love that she shared just one so you could see what a difference it makes when you put them all together. That one above is number 34 "Its just Ducky". 

Add a couple more and you get "Duck, Duck, Duck".




As you can see from these two beauties, I really am trying to get you all to think about these ahhhs individually and see their potential!!
Tuesday (tomorrow) BeaQuilter is having a giveaway on her blog for the pattern pack. Why don't you go try to win one?

And I'll get mine finished. Soon. I do hope. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ducky day three


Finally, the fun part!!! I LOVE the basting part of the EPP process. You should see me...I get into a design mode, I clear my large cutting table of everything and I pull fabric from here, toss it there, use some glue here and scissors there..lol its like a tornado is in the works! I also like to be alone in my design zone so usually I design in the middle of the night when no one is going to bug me. 
I normally fussy glue every single piece, or almost all of them but this time I refrained and decided to prove that I can quilt without all the fussy work. (I had to sit on my hands I tell you!!)

So here are all my pieces all ready to be whipstitched. I am using Blossom by Kona Bay. The photo isnt very good, huh? but I am telling you...its beautiful fabric!!



Here are some videos to show you how to baste:

Go HERE to learn how to baste using the traditional sewing method

Sue Daley has a series of EPP videos, number one RIGHT HERE shows how to glue and I like some of her handy hints.

And then, of course, I am all about fussy gluing and HERE IS MY POPULAR fussy gluing video.

Tomorrow I am stuck at a hospital with Jerry getting tests and this hospital kindly took my sewing supplies away from me before so I am not sure if I will get to sew or not but I NEVER ever leave home without sewing supplies!!

Tomorrow night we'll be whipstitching. :)


Duck day two!

If you are joining me in our small little sew-a-long, I trust by now you have watched the videos and know how to make your own triangle graph paper.

I have a bonus for you if you use EQ. Bea has a tutorial on her blog about how to draw using triangle graph paper within the EQ program and you can view that tutorial RIGHT HERE.

 She did some quick drawings in EQ and here are some she came up with:



The above designs dont exactly match the sew along so here is the photo of that so you can compare (she took the design and expanded it to a larger quilt...I will just be illustrating how to make the design below) :



So either grab your triangle graph paper or draw it up in EQ and here is the list of pieces you need to cut out:

2" hexagon  x 3
1 " hexagon x 6
1" half hexagon x 6
1" triangle x 12
1" diamond x 12
3" diamond x 3

Now something to remember, your pieces are measured by the SIDE. Here is an illustration from Paper Pieces:



Monday, April 21, 2014

A few tutorials

This week in my fabric shop its my turn to be in charge of the sew along. And since my life is pretty much either cutting fabric and sewing some EPP when I get a minute here or there, Of course I am teaching EPP!

Now the problem is, these ladies are all over the world and I can't get any papers into their hands fast enough for the sew along...so I will do the next best thing and teach them how to make their own!!

Here is the little pattern we are going to make this week. It is using Ahhhh 34 "It's just Ducky".So I am calling it "Duck, Duck, Duck" (of course you wont even see the "duck' design anymore when placed in the pattern! All of a sudden it makes a pretty hexagon flower pattern!

(you'll have to excuse the drawing..I am still learning this Corel stuff!! but they really do line up in the end !)



It is just a simple little design, beginner level.
(dont be scared, it really is!)

The papers are available in my webstore here :

  DUCK DUCK DUCK Pattern pack

OR, if you want to just draw them yourself so you dont have to wait on the mail man, 
I will explain how to draw your own using my videos. 

HERE IS THE VIDEO that explains how to make triangle graph paper. This is completely necessary to make your own divided hexagons. You can print them on thin card stock which is perfect for your EPP work.

After printing your graph paper, you will need to watch

And finally, just to get started, here are the supplies I use for my EPP:

EPP Essentials

This is a lot to take in, good luck! And if you aren't in my fabric group, follow along...you might learn some things :)



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Do it! Do it! I did.

A few months ago, my husband Jerry and I came to a realization that things cannot continue as they are. I work so many long hours. And our living space has become more and more cramped due to the warehouse. (My living room has a large fabric delivery in it right now, as it often does.) 

So we thought we had this great solution...we would move to Texas. We could move in with Jerry's mother and help her with life a little and make things easier for all of us. But over the last couple of months things have evolved and we just don't see that as our solution. 

About a month ago I was so excited because a local opportunity looked like was going to spring up. It was a GREAT opportunity and super exciting for me. It would have built my business fast. It looked almost a sure thing..but now, I don't believe it is going to happen. The people responsible for offering the opportunity in the first place have not given any responses to my request for a meeting. Since its been over a month, while I will keep this open in the back of my mind for a bit longer, it is time to move on and think about just what we are going to do! 
Jerry and I sat down and had a talk. Then we pushed some numbers. Then we did our taxes. (nightmare.) 
And we looked at both of my businesses. Ozark fabric is my time eater. It devours time actually. On the other hand, Ozark fabric pays the bills. Hillbilly quilt shop is where I NEED to spend my time. I have people requesting videos all of the time. I need to share samples and sew!! And kits ..I need to do up some kits!

We actually tried an experiment of slowing Ozark down. That did not work. It WILL grow, no matter how hard I try to hold it back. That left us with this conclusion: either we allow Ozark to grow how it wants to grow or we shut the thing down because it is just too much for me. If we allow it to grow...what will that do to me?? I have tried hiring employees and that did not work well. 

Our conclusion: We grow Ozark to the point it can run itself (as it pays the bills), then I focus on growing Hillbilly Quilt Shop and my Ahhhhs. 

I am going to show you some photos, but you wont know a thing what they mean until you read 
this: http://www.gofundme.com/Hillbilly-Quilt-Shop

Have you read it? Well here is the place that we are crossing our fingers about. It has plenty of space for Ozark Fabric and Hillbilly Quilt Shop both. And our family. No more family tripping over customer boxes or bolts of fabric! 


'

This is the 'house' side view.


The front of the house.
Remember that little garage door for another photo in a minute.

This photo shows both the home on the left and the warehouse space on the right. I am loving the little porch, can't you see a barn type quilt in that blank wall spot, with my rockin' EPP chair below it???

The kitchen is small. But it's not much smaller than what we are in now. Only problem is there really isn't table space for a family!

Here is that little garage I told you not to forget. It is right off the kitchen and hasn't been used for a car. I would actually expand the kitchen out to here.
The rest of the house photos did not turn out. It was hard to get angles. It is small, and some of you would be surprised we are willing to move to such a small place but we are used to small homes. The eventual dream would be to make this location all shop and buy a small home with a yard for our family. Since my husband isn't able to do yard work, a small yard is all we need!


Here is the warehouse. It is wonderfully large and I couldnt get all of it in my photo. It extends some to my right and behind me. UPS and USPS will be so happy too. 


This little room is in the back of the warehouse. I would need to revamp the bathroom area before the shop opens to public!!
( I will explain in a later post my dreams for the shop itself).

So there you have it. I will place a GoFundMe widget on the side bar.
I feel so weird asking for money, but after so many people said, "Do it! Do it!"--- I did it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mystahhhryously perfect timing!

I was just getting ready to write a blog post concerning the Mystahhhry, when what do you know?  A comment came through that someone had seen it on Bea's blog. I've actually been sending lots of folks over to Bea in the last couple of days. She has a bunch of EQ tutorials in her archives and they are a great place to look if you are considering getting EQ...to see what you can do with it. Or if you have it and don't know what to do with it. (raising hand!).

Anyway, she did a Mystahhhry quilt and you can view it by going to her blog RIGHT HERE.

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Speaking of the Mystahhhry, I have been pondering about it...like my failure to complete it. But then I got to thinking...there is NO reason to beat myself up over it. I was thinking how many designers release things like this with computer imaged design and no sewing at all. I at least attempted. I have pieces glued up. And then I got that stupid pneumonia and felt like doing nothing. ( I was kind of excited to be sick at first because I shut my shop down. I thought I would get to sew. I am here to tell you...I did NOT feel up to sewing. )

Then I also have been pondering youtube videos. Kind of wishing I had a way to make them better. Something besides a teen son filming them and a background of my ugly rental home panel walls. But, you know what? I am going to quit worrying about it.

That first ponderination and that second ponderination kind of collided one day. ( I couldn't sew when sick but I could do lots of ponderinationisms.) And I thought... you know what? I am going to do another Mystahhhry. and soon. And I am going to get all the parts done BEFORE I release it. And I am going to reveal it here AND on youtube at the same time. All the steps.

Since I never showed quite how to finish the first one, I will make it finish the same. And I will not push myself but truthfully? The mystahhhry lit a fire under me and got me motivated again.

So I'd really like to do one. What do you think? Still with me even though I am still on a learning curve concerning releasing and such?

-----------------------------

New ahhhhs are up on the website!! I will post the photos on the pages here tomorrow. I am forcing myself to cut off work at 10 so that I can sew.
Or draw. so many ideas running through my head!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A little error here or there...

This is a landmark week for me! Do you know why??

I FINALLY was able to get ALL the ahhhhs ordered from Paper Pieces in their packaging! Often with the lower numbered/older ones I still counted them to order (which totally cuts into sewing time!!). By the first of next week I will have all the new ones PLUS all the old ones.

 **happy dance!!**

-----------------

I had found an error on one of the Ahhhhs that they had packaged so they thought they better spend some time going back over them. In doing so they found a few errors. So if you have purchased the following ahhhhs in THIER packaging (their packaging is a ziplock style bag with a hole at the top. mine is heat sealed), then please be aware that I might need to send you pieces. Drop me an email and I will do so!!

Here are the ones with the errors and any orders from this point on has been fixed:

#19 has an extra 3" hexagon.
#45 is missing a 2" hexagon.
#81 had 1 1/2 diamonds instead of 1 1/2 triangles
#108 had 1 1/2 diamonds instead of 1 1/2 triangles.

---------------------------------------------

Look for the new ones to be released this weekend!

Friday, April 4, 2014

A lady after my own heart!

There is a group of wonderful ladies in Australia that happened across me somewhere or other and added me to their paper piecing group on facebook. They are such a fun group and I love chatting with them!

As you ALL should know I love paper piecing. As some of you might know, I have a couple of videos posted how to take my patterns and draw them up yourself.

Well one of the ladies, Mrs. Del (first name...leaving last name omitted) had this to say:

"Although it's not using your Ahhhhs, it is a copy of one of yours after watching your tutorial. I printed off sheets of 1.5 inch equilateral triangles and used them to draw up the diamond and hexies. I printed and cut my own paper shapes to get started.
I made up one to see how I liked it and have gone on from there. I managed to get 16 stars out of some totally hideous fish themed fabric I had had for a long time, a very very very very long time. I cut up fishes until I couldn't find six the same any more. Then raided my extensive FQs, HYs ( half yards) and 1Ys (one-yards) to find the fabrics for the hexies . Now I'm pondering what to use for the equilateral triangles which I don't think will be fussy cut and will be the same throughout. The project has not got a name yet, although I did think of it as that 'BLEEP-awful fish fabric' as I took great delight in chopping bloody great holes in it. There's a good chance that may end up being the name."



Check out that fussy cutting! Does that look like something I would do or what??



Above are all the ones she has made so far. 



This dancing fish was her first one, and the only one she made a full fish.



And here is her fabric.

Now don't tell me you don't want to learn to fussy glue.
Here are my videos again in case you didn't see the fussy gluing one. 


I have my boy charging the camera. I am excited!! High time we filmed another. Probably not tonight as it is too dark but we will soon!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

All in a days work

(even if you dont read the following post you HAVE to scroll to the bottom and see my cute little man dressed up in his recent purchases. He loves to dress up and would own a wardrobe of matching shirts/ties/hats if I let him.)

A few weeks ago we had a huge mega sale in my facebook group right before I came down with Pneumonia. So then, of course, I got behind on the busiest week the group has ever had. Which was followed by attempting to catch up.




Would you look at that pile? Today my task is printing shipping labels and taping them on so they can go out tomorrow. There are 59 boxes/envelopes in that pile.

Facebook groups are run totally differently than any time of shop that I have ever managed.
In case you ever wondered why I basically disappeared from blogland the day Ozark fabric (facebook group) opened, I thought I would quickly run through the process:

My group currently has over 1700 members. They put in requests for different types of fabric, patterns or notions. Over half of the members are not from the states. The reason the group works so well for everyone is that I hold boxes for all members until they are full. Some members take months to fill their boxes while others fill one per week. Large flat boxes hold approx 40 yards of fabric but are much less expensive on International buyers to use for shipping than shipping an order at a time. This alone is the basic reason the group is highly successful. (too successful, I have to keep putting the breaks on as I dont want it to grow too big for my britches).

I have 4 admin helpers. These are volunteers that understand I cannot do this alone. In exchange for their help I give them a discount on their purchases. Here is a basic rundown of a week:

I list lines of fabric/notions on Monday-Wednesday... which includes photos, price, qty available.
The buyers start shopping it. While they are shopping an admin is working behind the scenes setting up a spreadsheet.

On Thursday we close the open albums and stop the shopping. While one admin is recording purchases, another admin is keeping the group busy by posting Thursday's Tips and Tutorials. After the recording admin is done, it moves to the checking admin..who's job is to just double check the work. Then it moves a couple of places...one admin takes the spreadsheet file and turns it into a pdf for me to print, while a different admin takes the file and spends Friday invoicing all the buyers for their purchases.

On Friday, I list new fabric, notions or patterns for purchase all over again...only this time it is a prebuy that someone has spoken a wish for. The process starts all over again, ending Monday when the new process starts.

Once I have the pdf in hand, I start the cutting process. I cut an entire bolt at a time, slipping orders into the appropriate boxes. Of course, I have to cut prebuys as they show up and I am always listing new fabric, etc, so I am ALWAYS busy.

Shipping I only do after each session, so basically twice a week. Normal is about 20 ish boxes get full and ready to go out each session but 40 is not unheard of.

There is one more dynamic that makes the facebook group totally different than any retail experience I have had...and that is messaging and the fact I can never 'close the doors'.  I get messages 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If I am using my mobile device...there is no hiding. I have tried to combat the fact that if I allow it my time can be yanked totally away from me by giving them other options for messaging me. But with each new member (average of 10 a day) then we have to train them to the process all over again...including "DONT MESSAGE THE HILLBILLY".

There is so much more to the process than described above, such as the admins trying to get members to agree to the rules, box size situations, getting their info for invoicing, etc. It keeps all of us very busy!! While I am quite busy trying to design quilts, do ahhhhs, sew, teach school to two boys, deal with a sick hubby, run a website AND a facebook group, all the admins have busy lives and I am so thankful that they are willing to help me.

So now, when I am silent for long periods of time...you know why. I TRY to scale back Ozark fabric, but then there is Jerry. He missed 5 days at the end of last month and 2 so far (and counting) of this month so far. You know what this means...I have to step up my game plan, sell more fabric, to cover his lack of pay. This is why we are praying for a life change for Jerry. The state is good to him as he misses a LOT of work, but I wish he could just come home for good. I wish there was some way we didnt have to rely on his working. Right now he needs the insurance though, so we plug along.

I guess I had better start my days work! First up, breakfast for a very handsome young man.