Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On The Move (Wills Point, TX)

We are doing a lot of miles for the next couple of weeks.  Destination:  Spokane, WA.
Since leaving Key West, we have spent almost three weeks in Central Florida getting some shopping done before moving onto the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park on the Suwanee River.  We visited this park last year, but we did not stay in the park.  The campground is one of the best for clean sites, extra large, and private.  We linked up with one of our friends and her family from our short-lived Amazon days. 

There are 97 tubular bells in this tower.  It chimes every 15 minutes and serenades visitors with music by Stephen Foster.  The sound of the chimes were very soothing and added to the overall peaceful feeling.
Our next stop was in Pensacola, FL to visit with two more traveling friends and our cats favorites (ours too).  We try to meet up with this couple whenever we are nearby.  We are not sure who enjoys the visit more - us, them, or the cats (who at this moment are spoiled beyond repair!).
Ready for 2 days of travel - Pensacola, FL
We spent one night in a Walmart parking lot in Ruston, LA.  Wow, this place was busy.  I felt like we were sitting on the side of the highway because cars were flying through the parking lot. Needless to say, we were both feeling a little sleep deprived when we woke at 5 am.  The good news is that we got a very early start on the road and made it to Wills Point, TX in time for lunch.  Traffic wasn't too bad, but we ran into heavy rains and wind.  We are east of Dallas and very lucky that we were on the edge of the damaging storm that hit the city yesterday with baseball sized hail.  The hail here was about the size of a nickel.  It certainly sounded threatening when it was hitting the roof of the motorhome.

Next stop:  Lawton, OK

On The Cutting Board
Recently, I have started a lot of new projects because my shop is almost empty....again. 
My Happy Campers have grown their own set of wings!  They are flying out of the shop as fast as I make them!  I never dreamed they would become so popular.
My cutting board is full of new Happy Campers.  The most popular has been for more aqua/red vintage trailers.  I have several of them in my WIP pile.
I have received several different requests and inquires about different mug rugs.  These requests and inquires give me new ideas for more mug rugs.  

A long time ago, my sister had asked if I could make a mug rug with a black bear.  I did not forget her request.  It is hard to come up with a design of a black bear that doesn't look like a black blob.  I'm still looking for the perfect way to represent a black bear with fabric.  In the meantime, I came across this bear profile in a tattoo website that allows people to use their designs for free, but you have to change the design.  I did this design in three different ways.  Here is a peek at the first one.
Another customer asked about mug rugs with an apple or a cat design.  The apple was easy to come up, but I'm still looking at cat designs in books and online.  I'm sure I can come up with something.
All has been put aside to work on a new Happy Camper custom order for a Southwest theme with a road runner for our Pensacola friends.  I'm so excited about this new challenge that I have already sketched out four designs!  I can't wait to get started on this one.  I have a feeling that no matter which one they pick, I will be making more of the others as well. 
As if I don't have enough projects to keep me busy, I have added more new projects to my pile below.  My time will be filled for quite awhile getting all these mug rugs ready for the shop.  What's really bad it that this is just one of my piles of new mug rugs.  I also need to get to work on some new quilts and finish my wall hangings.
I am hoping to be available for another craft show in the future.  It was rather nice to be able to talk to customers while they browsed, but it isn't going to work if I do not get moving on my projects!
 But Wait!  There's more!.....I am also trying to finish my Southwest pillow covers.
My plans were to finish four pillow covers during the winter in Key West which I am happy to say did not happen because I was too busy fulfilling customers' orders and for the two craft sales.
I did get one done.  Yep.  One down and three to go!
I should have plenty of time to finish many of my new projects on the road since we will be trying to cover a lot of miles in the next month or two.  Less distractions when I have to sit during our travel time.  I certainly cannot go for a walk during that time.  Lots of sewing time instead!
Happy Quilting!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Time To Go (Key West, FL)

Well, it's that time again.
But, I don't want to leave!
Time to get back on the road and to move north.  Or to be a little more specific move towards the northwest to visit family and to see the Pacific coast again.  
We are packing up and leaving tomorrow for central Florida.  I'm going to miss Key West.  This winter wasn't as nice as the last time we were here.  We had more cold fronts come through bringing with it heavy winds, rain, and cooler weather. 
BUT, it was definitely a lot better than the weather up north.  The bad weather just made us appreciate the gorgeous sunny days all the more.
Plus the views were always fabulous.  I spent way too much time staring out at the sea and taking long walks.  I loved being able to spend this winter seating outside, breathing in salty fresh air, and watching the pelicans or the jet skis fly by.  I really have no room to complain.  I had a great time here.

On The Cutting Board
In between walks, watching cats, birds, sea....um...yea..anyway, I did start working on some UFOs.  I finished one wall hanging for Halloween.
This time I decided not to add a hanger and left the wall hanging a little more on the simple side instead by not quilting the whole background.  I wanted to add a few pets for the Witch.
I quilted a scared cat by her feet...
and a hanging bat from 'Witch'.  Just to fill it in a little.  Of course, I spent a lot of time second guessing myself.  Should I add more or leave it as is.  I do like the way it came out with just the two pets.  I might add more in the next one.  Yes, there is a second Witch sitting in my pile of UFOs.  I hope to get to it soon.
I also finished a tea towel with a design by Nancy Halovorsen.
I hope to get the Witch and Santa listed soon into Etsy since I just sold almost all of my Happy Campers this week.  I need to start a whole new batch of mug rugs soon.  Summer tends to be a busy time for the vintage campers.
In the meantime, I need to finish this Welcome wall hanging.  The checkered fabric is not as easy to sew through.  A little on the stiff side.  I found it harder to get the needle through this fabric than through fusible webbing.  My fingers are a little sore from fighting with the fabric and needle.
The hat's ribbon is loose right now.  I will attach it after I have finished the quilting.  I had a lot of fun embroidering the flowers around her feet...
and on her bonnet.  I added the birds as an after thought.  The area above her head looked a little bare.  I think the birds were the right choice.   I plan to quilt clouds into the background and I'll finish it with a blue binding.
The last project is this lap quilt.  I was stumped for quite awhile as to what I was going to do with this fabric.  I did not have a lot of it so I added in several soft color batik fat-quarters.  Now, I have enough to make two lap quilts.   I went a little crazy adding ginko leaves to the top.  I find applique work very relaxing. 
I guess I better get back to securing our stuff and packing up things I don't need out while we travel.
Happy Quilting!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sale! Sale! Sale! (Key West, FL)

Oh My Gosh!  I can't believe it is February and the last time I posted was back in December!  I have been so obsessed with getting old projects done and new projects started that time just got away from me.  Remember last time that I said I probably would not try selling from a table again anytime soon?  Famous last words.  Yep, I signed up again for January's Arts/Crafts Yard Sale except this time the sale did not go as planned.
U.S. Flag Garland
We had several cold fronts spread out over a three to four week time frame.  One right after the other bringing heavy gusts of winds that shook the motorhome and hours of downpours leaving roads looking like ponds throughout the base.  So, after spending every free moment finishing projects, it was announced the Sale Day had to be cancelled.  

A little disappointing, but a major relief since I could not figure out how I was going to keep my items from blowing away in the 25+ mph gusts or to protect them from getting wet during the downpours.
A few days after the cancellation, we received another notice for a new sale day.  Come Saturday morning, we could not have asked for better weather.  A little on the cool side in the morning, but by the afternoon the sun was warming up the ol' bones.
I'm happy to report that I sold four of my quilts between the two sale days.   I finally sold my Sweet Dreams quilt.  I have not had much luck selling them online.  I have tried different prices and I am beginning to think people do not want to buy them because they are afraid to use them.  Being able to touch and see how well they are made along with me explaining they have been pre-washed and were made to be USED helped sale the quilts including my teddy quilt showing below.
A second visit from a young lady (all of eight years of age, but acted more like adult than most adults) asked me how much for this quilt.  I quoted a price expected her to balk and walk away, but she pulled out her money and said she wanted it.  Her mom was watching from a nearby table.  I had a feeling they had already discussed her daughter's purchase.  I asked her if she wanted a bag to store it in..."oh no!".  She walked away with a big smile  and the quilt being hugged in her arms.  I am so happy they all found a new home and someone to love them.

So, here are some of the items I made in the last couple of months from mini wall hangings to more Happy Campers.
mini wall hanging or ornament
mini wall hanging or ornament

The Happy Camper dogs sold quickly.  I need to make more for my shop.  I still have the cat one.  I made so many Happy Campers that I will finish this up with collages.

I guess Hitch was feeling a little ignored one day when he jumped over my light box's wall and glared at me through the camera.
HEY!  Enough with the picture of mug rugs!
Pay attention to me!  Now Lady!
This is what I think of your mug rugs
Great!  Now she is taking my picture.  Boring!
I did take some breaks for walks, chores, and to sign-up for a chance to win a book.  Imagine how shocked I was when I recieved a Facebook PM from Anne Canadeo!  I won!  Yea!  
I received my signed copy in the mail in December.  I did not a lot of time to sit down to read it until this last week.  So far, I am enjoying the story.  Then again, I have always enjoyed this cozy mystery series.  Thank you Anne!  Keep on writing!
All right, back to reality.  My 'To Do' list is growing by the minute.  Until next time...
Happy Quilting!

Monday, December 21, 2015

'Tis The Season (Key West, FL)

....for rotation!  Since my last post, we have moved twice.  Once into dry camping with a great view on the water front and a week later back into full hook-ups.   We are allowed two weeks with full hook-ups and then back to dry camping until our next turn.  I don't mind the rotation into dry camping.  It gives us a change of view and the grass covered sites are large.  The cats love the larger sites with trees/bushes to explore and soft grass to lie in.  Or as one lady put it "we are out in the country".
Could see kite surfers zipping by our rig
While in our dry camping site, we were able to watch kite surfers zip by our motorhome.  I managed to get a few shots before they disappeared around the bend.
The campground is becoming very busy with 5 to 12 newcomers showing up daily.  Every day during our walks, we stop to view the waiting list that seems to be growing steadily.  There are over 300+ dry camping sites to the 84 full hook-ups.  Right now, there are 95 people on the waiting list for full hook-ups.  We talked to one woman about her experience here last year.  There were so many campers here that they had to wait six weeks in dry camping.  Well, if that is the price to pay to enjoy this great weather and location, I am all for it.
windy enough to be airborne
We move again on Saturday.  We are hoping for our next site to be away from the water since the winds have been picking up causing a salt spray to cover both of our vehicles.   Our next stay in dry camping will probably be for over a two weeks.  Fingers are crossed that the weather will stay cool so we can sleep at night.
who are you looking at, lady?
We have been watching the Osprey and his mate rebuild their nest on the tower.  At first, I was not sure what one Osprey was doing when it started to land on a dead branch that did not look like it could hold its weight.  It looked like the bird finally realized its mistake and took off again causing the branch to whiplash.  
A couple of days later the Osprey did it again.  This time, the Osprey grabbed the branch in flight making a sharp upward movement snapping the branch off.  A new branch for the nest was on its way!  We could hear the happy mate calling all the way back to the nest, "Honey! Wait until you see what I brought home!"

It should not be too much longer before the eggs hatch if they have not yet.  Soon, we will be hearing the little ones crying for food.

We visited the Casa Marina Resort again.  This time to see the SandArt.  Here a few photos of them. It was a small competition, but the art work was great.
I just can't imagine spending so much time on such a beautiful project only to have it disappear after a couple of days.  I know I often don't see my work again, but it is comforting to think someone out there is enjoying them.
On The Cutting Board
Okay, this is the main reason why I have not been posting on my blog.  I have been very busy since Shaun left in November.  I have never been so busy with requests!  What a wonderful feeling to be so busy making items for others and loving every minute of it.  Of course, I don't mind it slowing down again since I had to put aside my books.  I did manage to listen to a couple of books with my iPod while sewing at the same time.  Oh!  I found a great deal through Audible.  If you are a member, for just 1 credit, you can have 50+ hours of "The Mists of Avalon".  I have not read the book or watched the movie so this will be quite an adventure for me.  I did not realize just how much I would end up missing my reading time.  I can't wait to get back to my ever growing list of books......Okay!  I'm really off my subject.

And back to my sewing.....as soon as I finished the three Santa garlands, I had another large order for six Happy Campers.  Looking at the photo below, it doesn't look like that big of an order, but it is time consuming to hand embroider and quilt.  Plus, I like to be in a good frame of mind so the stitches look good and not hurried (extra big stitches).
Before I had finished the six Happy Campers, Dan showed me an announcement for an Arts and Crafts/Yard Sale to be held on 19 December.  I took the plunge and signed up for my very first showing.  I had one small problem.  My inventory was very low!  I had sold so many items that my shop was looking like the day after Black Friday.  That was a great feeling to see so many sold in one year, but at the same time, I wasn't going to have much to show for Arts and Crafts.  
I managed to make six more Happy Campers, two Uncle Sam mug rugs, and a few new items that I have not tried selling before in my shop.  I was so busy sewing early in the morning until late at night that I forgot to take photos!  I took a couple with my phone just so I could remember what I had made.  

The morning did not start out well due to winds with gusts up to 22 mph and scattered showers.  Even the chairs were sliding across the sidewalk!  My neighbor at the next table was a big sweet heart by offering to park her jeep behind me to block the wind after I tried to block the wind with our Honda Fit.  Yea, that did not work very well.
Thanks to Kim's jeep, my items no long flew across the parking lot.  I finally had a table filled with colorful mug rugs.  I just wish I would have come up with a better way to display my quilts but the only way to keep them from flying away was to clip them to the chairs.  I had to tie string across the table and used more clips to keep the mug rugs on the table.  Not the best display, but I wasn't losing them either.

Check out the cute 'Believe' Santa and Singing Cats' mini wall hangings. They are so adorable and fun to make! 
Well, this show was fun and I did make quite a few sales despite the overcast windy day and the lack of customers.  I'm just not sure it is something that I want to do very often.  I became quite stressed during the last week trying to build up my inventory.  In the end, I had to decide on which ones were more important for me to focus on finishing and put the others aside to be added to the shop.  I was smart enough to close the shop for a few weeks so I could concentrate on this show and keep what was left of my inventory for the show.  I plan to open up the shop after Christmas.  For now, I need to work on finishing some more items to restock my shop.  So, it is back to the cutting board!
Merry Christmas Everyone!

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