Monday, September 29, 2014

i am supposed

to be writing a blog post about one that I was tagged on. But I literally only slept 2 hours last night and I am still working. I started at 4 pm yesterday and its now 6 pm. Not many breaks.

i just cannot write a blog post but will Wednesday for the one that was to be today.

i dont even have time to fix caps!

i'll be back.. sorry!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Getting busy!

I cannot believe the changes that have come into my life in one week. I am a bit tired just thinking about it.

The HOW it came about is written over on my personal blog. You can find the specific post here.
But what is the how do you ask? What is the what even? Would I just speak in plain English already?

Ok Ok..I am opening a new shop! I real live store front where you can come visit a real live Hillbilly Tonya! Or... you can visit the outhouse. Yep..the outhouse. I was keeping this under wraps but I do believe I will just tell you all here first. The outhouse is the main attraction! Here, lemme walk you through the shop. You will have to put on your imagination caps. Are you ready? Lets go to Hillbilly Quilt shop!

As you drive into Cameron, you notice Sonic on the main road going through town. Just across the street you really can't miss seeing Sweet Al's Donut shop. Al collects all kinds of train memorabilia so lined up outside his shop are passing gates and signal lights.

Nestled beside his shop is a cute little shop with the door propped open..a small red wheelbarrow decorated with seasonal decor beckons you to "Come on in ya'all!"

You rush in, hoping to grab a yard of two of Yenter or Kona Bay..but stop sudden, shocked at what you see. Just as you enter the shop, pallets line the walls at floor level. Attached to the pallets are buckets and mason jars. Hooks and nails. The jars are filled with notions and patterns. Have you ever run your hand through buckets of wonder clips? You just can't resist...

As you take a quick glance around, amazed at seeing pallets and buckets in a quilt shop, you notice little animals tucked in here and there. Little felt raccoons and deer. A gnome or two peeking out from behind a pallet slat.

But then your eyes fix upon a sign. It hangs high on the wall above seemingly endless rows of clothespins hanging above the pallets. Each clothespin holds a small piece of 18"x22" fabric. The sign reads: " Slabs o' fat: $1.95 each" Your face goes from amazement to grin. You have truly stepped away from whatever pre notion you had of what Hillbilly Quilt Shop should look like and you laugh at what you see. You can't resist grabbing a slab o' fat as you glance at the clothes line running around the top of the store, miniature quilts hanging from it.

As you, grinning, head to the back of the store you get distracted by a large, rickety wooden slat box. Attached to the box is a yard stick. Attached to the yard stick is another handpainted sign " Bolt Kill, sold by the inch" . Bolt kill? Oh yes, then you remember that Hillbilly Tonya runs a fabric warehouse out of her basement at home. She must get lots of bolt kill. You can't resist grabbing some bolt kill to go with your slab of fat..noting that you just HAVE to tell you guild buddies about this place.

Now..with blinders on you head to the main event, the star attraction, the pride and joy of any hillbilly..the outhouse. It stands there at the back of the store, with its cute little garden beside it and the peep hole daring you to look. Above it..another sign says "Ahhhh". Do you look? do you dare? You glance around to make sure no one sees you but you cannot resist. Opening the door just a tiny bit..you peek inside. Still grasping the door, you grab it and yank it open wide, amazed at what you see! Inside lining the walls are hexagons. Divided hexagons. Hexagons like you have never seen before. They line the walls and dare you look.."the hole". What is in that hole anyway? You look, and you smile and you keep that secret to yourself.

Stepping out, you close the outhouse door and you look around at all the English paper piecing designs. You ask some questions, you sit down and you try one. You realize this is pretty fun. You grab a brochure and your favorite ahhhh..so that you too can add a hexagon to the outhouse.

You leave, and wonder just what project you will use for your slab of fat? And know you had a good day because you stopped in at the Hillbilly Quilt Shop.

Hillbilly Quilt Shop officially opens for business October 1st. Not only a quilt shop, it will have gift items as well. There will be ladies bags and key fobs. Scrap rugs and soap. Fantasmadoolies (what? come see! ) and quilts.

You won't want to miss it if you are in the area. I hear that there are others coming in from out of town the weekend before for a quilt retreat so I'll have a sneak pre opening weekend just for the retreat folk!

I have a lot to do.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Enter in

Do you see that door? The one between the two cars.
 (PS..my cute car is on the right. The door and the car on the left belong to my neighbor I've yet to meet. They just moved in. Now I would say they have just entered the Hillbilly World by moving here but the actual case is they moved here from Branson. Now WHY would anyone MOVE AWAY from the very place that draws me to it.. well the same reason we moved here. The prison. You go where the jobs are. Prisons are a good stable job...)
Anyway, back to the door.
If you enter in then you will see where the magic happens.
The magic that takes itty bitty pieces of paper and makes really cool designs from them.
The magic that looks at a piece of fabric and sees the potential that others do not often see.
The magic that bolts upon bolts of fabric move in and out that door.
The magic that, in spite of my husband being horribly ill and he cannot go work, the bills are paid and food is on the table. No government aide. (as yet. .. might have to get there someday.)
The magic that we have been Blessed beyond imagination because NONE of this was due to anything I did. All came from Above.



Now, step inside and see how I can fit all that magic into one room that many might call a basement but I call my studio/warehouse.. Hillbilly Land!

 This is the view just as you are standing at the door. Those two tables, can you see them? One in the bottom of the picture and one in the middle. Lets talk about them first, as they are pretty special to me. 


My camera (phone) was very uncooperative today. It tends to not like the false lighting very much. I do have nice lights that I turn on when filming but I didn't fire them up. So I apologize right now for the quality of the photos.

This table is my brand new cutting table. Its 36 x 60 and stands 36" high.
My 17 year old son and his father (my ex husband) made it for me really fast this past Friday when my cutting table bit the dust. I needed it IMMEDIATELY and they got it taken care of. Its sturdy and does the trick and I am so thankful they got it done so quickly for me. I showed a photo of the edge just so you could see..nothing pretty but very functional.

Now this table I hated but will now love. It's a Sullivan's hobby table and I strongly recommend that you do NOT purchase one. It has always been super unstable and would fall over at the slightest touch. It finally fell over one too many times. My poor sweet husband is so sick but over several days time he worked on getting it functioning again. It was such an effort for him..he has no energy with his liver damage. Anyway, he finished it and I know you can't see it (stupid camera) but it has a 36 x 60 ironing cover on it.
So now I have TWO 36x 60 tables: one for cutting and one for pressing.
Jealous?


When I look at my tables I can't help but think how loved I am that people in my life would give up their time and (with Jerry give up every ounce of little energy that he had) to get these done for me. When I was little there was a jewelry store that had these buttons I loved to collect and give away. I wish I had some now to stick to my tables.

Ok moving on the tour. Past the tables is the video equipment.
That curtain can be stretched out for filming time, we move the hobby table and we set up the lights.



Behind the curtain is perhaps the most inspiring part of the basement. At least for me. Ever wondered what it looked like to store little packages of over 300 quilt patterns..so that I can keep them packaged and ready to fill orders? Not that I have them all packaged but I do try to keep up. Well here is the
"Wall of Ahhhh"



Stupid camera. It is a bunch of little drawers. Also in the paper piecing zone I have my little counting table, and the other paper pieces that I often work with. The shot is kind of sideways but I was trying to show you all my drawers FULL of paper pieces!

Coming back from behind the curtain I do have a design wall but I had to cover it up for the photo session. I have a book project up there currently. 


And while she doesn't get used often, I do keep Lydia..my Janome Horizon... neatly covered and ready for quilting.

Now on the above desk beside Lydia you will see the reality of my "other job". Isn't it nice when your "job" is also something you are passionate about? Anyway, those two priority boxes are receipts. One for fabric, etc and the other devoted entirely to shipping receipts. I get so many receipts here I fill several boxes a year. They are all shipped to my friend Helen who does my accounting for me. (There goes another I am loved button).

Now my work desk is always strewn with spreadsheets but only current ones that I am working on. I keep the pre orders tucked neatly away in notebook until the fabric comes in and then I pull the spreadsheet and start cutting.



As for those spreadsheets: I get bolts of fabric in each week that are already sold. They are stored on shelves until I am able to cut them. (My usual Late at night fun!)

After they are cut then they go into boxes stored for the buyers. I do not ship upon order but rather I hold packages until they are full. This allows the buyer to save a LOT of money on shipping, especially my friends around the world. While I have a lot of US shoppers, much of what leaves my house goes to Canada, Australia and Norway. Speaking of those packages.. lets have a look at them..
This is the large and medium box section. The mediums that are sitting on top "out of place" are envelope customers that had to temporarily move up to a box due to a larger purchase.




Then I have these areas devoted to envelopes. I turned my phone sideways for the photos so it looks like they are horizontal but they actually stand vertical.  Envelopes have to be my least favorite part of my job. They are a pain to pack, store and even ship as I cannot ship them via paypal like I do the rest of the purchases. I am usually ecstatic when a buyer 'moves up' to a medium.



I didn't photo my shipping areas this time but just under the design wall is my holding area. That is for the boxes that I have filled that day and ready for me to invoice shipping. Then after I invoice them, they get moved over in a small space by the door. This is the area for packages awaiting buyers to pay their shipping invoices. Finally, next to Lydia in a tiny space is my outgoing area. Any packages that I printed labels and I am just waiting on pick ups from the post office go there. The holding, staging, and outgoing areas are very small since rearranging for the video equipment. So I try to shuffle shipping through as quickly as I can.

And now you know where I spend almost every spare moment I have. When I catch a moment I head down to work on something! Many have asked why Stephen doesn't just play beside me while I work? Well he does..sometimes. But he tends to try to ride bikes or skateboards through or shoot arrows (we lost one in the large boxes one day and had to go digging for it. I think it was in Terry's box..she knows who she is...), or the worst, he will BEG for fabric. He loves fabric and gets quite agitated when I sell of bolts of ones that he likes. I am always hiding fabric from him!

I forgot to photo my stash but it's in a room next to The Wall of Ahhhh. I keep my fabric in plastic tubs sorted by collections. When I have made the project that I set the fabric aside for then I sell the rest off and usually have folks waiting to grab it up.

I hope you've enjoyed your Hillbilly tour.
stupid camera.