Friday, March 30, 2012

Color, Color, Color!

This stack of colorful "pies" & "crusts" shown in this previous post have now been transformed from this..., into this.
The blocks are now all up on my design wall and ready to be sewn together. The lighting here really doesn't do justice to the colors. They are so much brighter in person, but I can't really move my design wall outside just to get a good picture.
As much as I like my basement sewing studio, I still find myself dreaming about a bright sunlit space like this one. What kind of sewing space to you have? Bright & light above ground, or subterranean like mine?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday - Batter Up!

Here is the T-Shirt quilt that I mentioned last week. My customer has been saving her son's baseball shirts throughout his career, and asked me if I could make a quilt for him. I've done several of these quilts in the past, so I said "sure"! I don't think he knows about this yet, so I'll do my best to not give away his identity. If by some wierd coincidence, you recognized the shirts and figure out who he is, please don't tell him!

I finished piecing the top yesterday, and this morning got the backing fabric seamed up - now it's all pressed and ready to go to the Longarm Quilter. I used batik fabrics. They're my favorite for T-Shirt quilts because they really give the quilt an "artsy", designer look. I like to frame each of the shirt panels in fabric to give them some extra stability besides the interfacing underneath. It's also an attractive way to bring all the blocks up to the same size so the quilt goes together easier.

My customer loves the fabrics I chose for this quilt, because the framing fabric looks like leather and reminds her of a leather catcher's mit, the cornerstones have a woodgrain pattern which reminds her of a wooden ball bat, and the sashing fabric looks like a forest floor - woodsy colored berries, twigs, etc. Since her son also loves the outdoors, this seemed perfect.

The quilt is a full-size bed quilt, so this is just part of it. I'll post an overall picture after the quilting and binding are done.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What is Etsy???

Although I just opened my Etsy shop in January, I've been shopping on Etsy for several years now, and I'm continually amazed at the number of people I run into who have never heard of Etsy.
I meet someone new, and the conversation goes something like this:

She/He: "I love your bags/quilts - Do you have them for sale in a shop somewhere?"
Me: "Yes - I have a shop on called Cotton Cellar."
She/He: "What's Etsy???" (or better yet - ESTY - I think they're confused with the cosmetic giant, Estee Lauder)

If you are one of those people, or you just want to learn more about it, here is an "infographic" (that's a new word for me!) that takes the mystery out of Etsy. I received it via email today from and while it's a little lengthy, it's done in a graphical format so it's an easy-read.

Etsy is a very large marketplace, so it's really tough for us "newbies" to get started. I've been told it can take several months for a new shop to really get noticed and started selling. I can believe that, because my shop has been open for almost 3 months now and sales are pretty slim. But I'm not complaining - honest! I still believe that if I'm patient, and keep working hard, the sales will come...

So for those of us that are struggling to make our little shops successful, please spread the ETSY word to your friends and family by passing on this infographic.

etsy infographic


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday

So much going on here in the Cotton Cellar today! It's so warm outside today that I'm finding it hard to make myself stay inside and sew, but there's so much to do! First off, I finished some Easter projects for the grandkids - gotta get them mailed soon! This pattern is called "Blossoms & Bloomers" by Favorite Little Things. I just love the bell shape of the hat, and I fussy-cut all 5 panels so the bunnies are centered in each one.

Next up is two more sun hats. I love this Bucket Hat pattern by oliver + s. The pattern is in their "little things to sew" book, which I have, but just noticed recently that this pattern is also available as a free download here. I couldn't decide which fabric to use, so I made two! You can never have too many hats, right?

It's going to be a busy time for awhile now, because I've just gotten two requests for custom quilts. One is a T-Shirt quilt that I think is going to turn out awesome! More details on that later as I get further in to it.

This next one is going to be a "Crazy Curves" quilt. My customer requested that pattern, and asked for bright batik fabrics in saffron yellow, turquoise, magenta, and purple. I think this fabric selection is right on the mark - don't ya think??? Can't wait to start piecing these blocks - I just love the colors!

And just to show how little self-restraint I have, I broke down and bought the jelly roll I've been dreaming about. It's all grey & cream fabrics from Bunny Hill Designs, called "Puttin' on the Ritz". (by the way, if you're looking for a great fabric shop, check out Sanourras Fabric Love on Etsy. Megan's fabric selection is great, as are her prices and service. Stop by and tell her I sent you!) I think it will make an awesome, contemporary baby quilt. Now to come up with a design...

And speaking of Etsy, there's another new shop that you need to check out. It's called "Half Pint Knits" and she's doing a giveaway to celebrate her grand-opening. Click here for more info.

And don't forget the "free shipping spring special" at my Etsy shop thru the end of March!

Now it's Happy Hour and my wine is waiting. Have a great evening!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Free Shipping!

It was 80 degrees here in Pennsylvania today! I'm not a weather expert, but I wouldn't be surprised if that's a record for St. Patrick's Day! To celebrate this early spring we're having, I'm offering FREE SHIPPING (US only) on any purchase from my Etsy shop, Cotton Cellar, through March 31st. Just put "spring2012" in the coupon code box at purchase. Feel free to pass this on to your friends and family, and "HAPPY SPRING"!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

Last weekend, my friend Madalene nominated my blog for the Liebster Blog Award. Madalene is an accomplished art quilter who does amazing work, often using her own hand-dyed fabrics. Stop by her blog Working Wall and take a look at what she's working on - you're sure to be inspired! Thanks for nominating my blog for this award, Madalene!

The Leibster award is given by bloggers to exceptional blogs with fewer than 200 followers. For those who decide to accept the award, the Liebster Rules are:

  1. Post about your win on your blog.

  2. Link back to the blogger who presented you with the award.

  3. Copy and paste the award to your blog.

  4. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that have less than 200 followers that you think deserve to be recognized.

  5. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here are my choices of blogs that deserve recognition:

Handmade by Fiona Fiona makes beautiful bags and purses, and we often compare tips and ideas with each other about the patterns we're using. She's also an excellent crocheter (although modest, because she calls herself a beginner, but you'll see that she does gorgeous work if you check out her blog). And her photography skills are amazing as well.

Jean Creates I've just gotten to know Jean since I started blogging recently, and I'm really enjoying her company. She has recently made a long-distance move and it's very interesting to read about how she's adjusting to her new surroundings. She blogs about quilting, book reviews, and even some great recipes. Stop in and say hi to Jean!

One Minnesota Quilter I was attracted to Judy's blog when I saw her header picture - it's a gorgeous heap of fabric yo-yo's in lots of wonderful colors. Sure took my eye! Judy is a very interesting person who sees possibilities for quilt designs in things we all take for granted every day. Check out her "Window Seat" post to see what I mean!

All Decked Out Pat has a great writing style and I always enjoy reading her posts. And we're both grandmothers - what better reason than that to be blogging friends!

Magpie Quilts I just recently discovered Ann's blog and I really like what I see so far. She is currently working on a series of posts called "How To Buy A Quilt". It's very informative, and a great source of information for people that are unfamiliar with the whole quilting process.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Interview at IHAN

No Tasting Table Tuesday today. Instead, Kelly Jackson at the IHAN blog is interviewing me about my experience with Electric Quilt 7. Kelly sells all kinds of quilting/sewing notions, and she's a super nice person. I bought my EQ software from her and she was curious to see what I've been doing with it, so stop over to IHAN (I Have A Notion) and read all about it! And say hi to Kelly while you're there!

Monday, March 12, 2012

No Sewing Weekend

Warning - If you're looking for a sewing related post today, you might be disappointed. I realized that in my excitement to share all my projects with you since starting this blog, I haven't told you much about the non-sewing part of my life.
For those of you who don't know me "in person", my husband and I were blessed with two wonderful grandchildren in 2011. A girl first, then a boy four months later. As much as I love my sewing, I have to admit - these babies certainly take center stage!

So this past weekend, my hubby and I took a break from our daily routine and went to visit our grand-daughter and her parents. This little cutie is a year old now (already!) and we enjoyed her immensely. We played games, sang songs, and even had breakfast together this morning while her mommy & daddy were still sleeping. It was so hard to leave, but I'm sure we'll visit again soon. We arrived on Saturday, and on Sunday, the men babysat while my daughter and I went out for the afternoon. Can you guess where we went???

If you guessed Radio City Music Hall in NYC, you're right! We saw Celtic Woman's new show called "Believe" and it was awesome. The music, the dancing, the lighting - you name it - everything was just fantastic!

It was my first trip ever to "the city" and we had the best time! My SIL kindly arranged for a driver to take us so we wouldn't have to deal with the stress of city traffic. Our driver was a great tour guide and showed us the sights on the way in.

We saw these cabs all over the city - this one was painted up like a gigantic quilt, and others were painted like they were knitted. I guess they are advertising a new TV program, "Interior Therapy". Being a quilter, I just had to snap a picture of this one as it drove by us.

He drove us past the new Freedom Tower. It made me stop and remember where I was on that fateful Sept. 11... I, like so many others, will never forget that day. (excuse the glare - I was snapping pics through the car window.)

After our driver dropped us off, we had a couple of hours before the show, so we wandered towards Central Park. The weather was perfect - sunny and almost 60 degrees. This arch was near the entrance to the zoo, and I just liked the way it framed the view. (Might make a nice quilt design???)

Next on the agenda - a trip to Florida to visit our grandson and his parents in April, so I'll do another "personal picture post" after that trip too.

Hope you enjoyed the show! Good night all...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Opinions Needed

So much for working on the items on my list. I got a little side-tracked (again). I've had this idea for a while now, and I just had to see if it would work. So I cut up a pile of 1 1/2" strips from my collection of vintage oxford shirts and started sewing them together. I fussy-cut shirt pockets for the centers of these log cabin blocks, thinking they would make interesting "wall pockets". You know - something to hang in the hallway or mudroom where you could put letters to mail, or movie tickets, coupons, car keys, or how 'bout a special memento or lucky charm... Even a favorite seashell you picked up on a walk on the beach...
OK - I'll get back on track...
I made four blocks and each one has a "fussy-cut" word on the top - Peace, Family, Home, Love.

My problem is, how do I want to finish these off. My original plan was to quilt & bind each block individually, as four separate mini wall quilts. Each would have a hanging sleeve on the back so any number of them could be hung side by side if someone wanted more than one.

But now I'm looking at them laid out together and wondering - should I add some sashing and sew all four blocks together into a wall quilt like this?

Or all in a row like this?

Or should I follow my original plan of making four individual wall hangings and sell each one separately, or as a group? What would you do???

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tasting Table Tuesday, which way do I go?

Good morning! The sun is shining and it's a gorgeous day here in PA. What's on my Tasting Table this Tuesday? Lots of things! It's one of those days when I have so many ideas rolling around in my head that I don't know which one to start first. (I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem!)

Anyway, first on the list is to finish this new bag - a custom order - I'm in love with the fabric she chose, which really makes this project fun to work on. I love it when a fabric really "talks" to me like this one does. I'm very excited to see how it's going to finish up, and I'm sure my customer will be thrilled with it. The designs look like they were drawn with a Spirograph, and I spent hours playing with one when I was a kid. Happy memories! This bag is made with this pattern - another Two Zip Hipster. (It's afternoon now and I just finished, so here is a picture of the finished bag as well.)

Next on my list is another quilt using my own "Cube Mates" pattern. This is a repeat of the one I made using re-purposed oxford shirts, but this time I'm using this cream fabric with beige words written on it for the rectangles. I've had it in my stash for quite a while and didn't know what to use it for, but this will be perfect. It's from Moda's Simplicity collection that was out a few years ago. It goes well with the pastel shirting colors.

Another idea is to make a quilt using these fabrics. It's a jelly roll of grey & cream fabrics that would make the most awesome quilt, especially as a gender-neutral baby quilt. The soft grey & cream colors are so classic-looking, yet with a modern flair. I found it on a great Etsy shop called SanourrasFabricLove and she has a terrific fabric selection! If you are looking for a quilt like this, all I need is a little nudge (hint hint) and I would order this fabric in a heartbeat! Otherwise, I'm going to wait until I get caught up on some other projects first. But I really love the idea for this one!

Plus, I've got a plan for a quilt I'm going to make for my husband. I'm drawing up my plans on EQ and I'll share them with you soon. This year we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and I've made quilts for everyone but him. He is so supportive of this sewing obsession of mine and I think it's time to make a quilt just for him.

And my list could go on and on, but I'll stop here for now. If I spend all my time on the computer, I'll never get these projects finished! Time to go sew! Have a great day all!