Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Customer Interview

Today we have a treat as I am interviewing Andrea, a FabricLovers.com customer, who uses our fabrics to bind books! I just found out about her Etsy store, and I've fallen in love. lol  Stay tuned after the interview, as there is a special for our Blog readers!

Tell us a little about yourself and family
I live in northeast Ohio on a beautifully peaceful 550 acre lake 50 miles east of Cleveland with my husband and 11 year old boxer dog. Between my husband and I we have 4 kids and 6 amazingly beautiful grandkids.

Who in your life influenced your love of making things? How?   
 My mother has definitely been the inspiration in my life in so many ways. She has always created--whether it was painting, sewing, crafting, or picking up a power tool. Thanks to her I never felt there was anything I couldn't do, or at least attempt. I mean, I'm not saving lives here, what could happen if something went wrong?
How did you get interested in binding books?
I was in an international group that swapped art, and we decided to try book binding. I set out to learn about it by watching youtube videos and reading lots of books on the subject. After my first book was finished I was hooked.

What is your favorite part of the design process? 
I get excited over unusual or funky fabric, then choosing the perfect papers and binding methods. I have friends that call fabric my drug, and I suppose there is some truth in that! Sewing or the actual binding is very meditative to me. I always have music playing and really get lost in the process. I believe what gives my books soul is the fact I am a book nerd at heart--I love their feel in my hands and the places they can take me. That love is transferred to my books. 

Spine of book
What advice would you give to someone looking to sell their own items?
Don't be afraid. I have a couple of dear friends that a year ago encouraged me to quit giving my books away--that I should sell them, so I set up shop on Etsy. It was slow going at first (and still is at times!). Get business cards and postcards--I hand them out to anyone even remotely interested! Try vending at art/craft shows. Get yourself out there, set up a Facebook business page and a twitter account; both have helped me a ton. Never get discouraged, and seek out your best cheerleaders for encouragement when you get that give-it-up feeling.

Where can readers go to check out more of your art?
My Etsy shop is at http://www.etsy.com/shop/bluehighways, I do welcome custom orders which probably accounts for a third of my business. My Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/bluehighwaysbooks. Lastly my blog http://andrea-attheshores.blogspot.com/ a little bit of all my follies there.

As pretty inside as outside!
And finally, tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I've always wanted to get my pilot's license, and several years ago, I started taking lessons in Georgia but ended up moving to Ohio, so that got put on hold...one day I'll finish and soar with the birds! 

As a special for all of the blog readers, check out Andrea's Etsy shop, place an order, and use code FabricLovers during checkout to get 10% off! Thanks Andrea for this special discount, and for letting us interview you! I know I've got a Christmas present or two that will be taken care of in your Etsy shop. :-)

Another beautiful spine

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Authentic African Fabric Coming Soon!

I love the bright colors and bold designs in African fabric! They have such an earthy, honest, happy appeal to them.

Well, traveling to the shop right now are our first bolts of Authentic African fabric, and I'm really excited for a couple of reasons. These fabrics will be perfect for use in quilts, clothing, and crafts. They are 100% cotton and are made in Mali, West Africa which is known for it's fabric design--each item is guaranteed authentic! The price point is very affordable (especially considering today's cotton prices), as they will be priced at $8.49 per yard.

And I've saved the best for last--these items are Fair Trade which means you are not only getting some great prints for yourself, but you are MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the lives of these African people!  The man in the picture above is our supplier. Until recently, he used to live in Mali, and it's his village that benefits from your purchase.

So here's a sneak peak of some of the delightful designs that are headed our way:

What ideas are running through your head on projects to use these for?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pattern Review

Today I'd like to do a sewing review of one of the patterns we carry. It's not a new pattern, but it's new to our inventory. It's the Ca$h and Carry pattern by Atkinson Designs.

I had a special request from my mother-in-law to make something she could carry Splenda packets in so that when they went out to eat, they would always have a supply handy. My father-in-law has diabetes, so it's important for them. I thought the small Strip Zips from the Ca$h and Carry pattern would be just the thing.

The pattern was very easy to read and follow, and uses small fabric pieces. You could probably raid your stash and come up with enough! It does require Fusible Fleece. I used Pellon Fusible Fleece, and it turned out great!

How she has you sew the fabric together was very clever. It made it so easy to do, plus you have the advantage of "quilting as you go" so there are no extra steps to sew the layers together. I did make one mistake--I forgot to zig-zag my raw edges as I was putting in the zipper, but was able to go back and do that once I realized what I had done.

Speaking of zippers, don't let that word scare you away! The way she instructs you to finish off the edges of the zipper and how to add it to the pouch are SO EASY! and so professional looking!

Overall, this was a very enjoyable experience, and took me about an hour to complete. I'm thinking after some practice, or with assembly-style sewing, you could churn these babies out pretty quickly! Here's a picture of my final product.

THINGS I LIKED: Easy zipper technique, finishing on zipper, FAST to make, great directions, lots of great uses, several different patterns in one

THINGS I CHANGED: I didn't change anything other than adding some Fray-Check to the zipper pull ends to keep them from unraveling.

Buy the pattern HERE
Buy the fabric I used HERE
Buy the Pellon Fusible Fleece HERE

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quilt Market Meetup Winners!

We had a wonderful time at the Quilt Market Meetup! It was held at the Blue Lemon restaurant in Salt Lake City, and it was PACKED! Hubby and I got caught in a rain shower about 1 1/2 hours before the event was to begin, and were afraid of what the rain would do to the Meetup as they had planned on using outside as an overflow area. Thankfully the rain stopped, and it's a good thing. With everyone inside, there was barely any room to move around.

As a sponsor of the event, we gave away two $50 Gift Certificates. Here's a picture of the women who won:

I really enjoyed meeting these two women and finding out more about them. They both have very successful blogs and are quite accomplished in the sewing and crafting world. They have a lot of interesting information to pass on--from sewing, to crafting, to cooking, to family, so be sure to check them out at The Cottage Home and Ucreate with Kids and tell 'em I sent ya!

I didn't take as many pictures of the Meetup as I should have--I was too busy enjoying the time meeting everyone! But here are some good overview shots.

 As you can see, it was pretty packed. But it was a great night of meeting lots of interesting people!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cuties from Quilt Market!

What a great, exhausting time at Quilt Market! My legs were so sore from all the walking we did. The Convention Center is huge, and I wanted to make sure I got a chance to see everything. We've placed orders on so much good stuff and some of it should start arriving in the next few weeks--can't wait! One of the absolute cutest things I saw at Quilt Market were these tags. Take a look:

Here are some examples of how they can be used in projects:

As a quilt embellishment

Doubled-up on a binding
On an apron pocket
Aren't they so cute?! We've got them listed and ready for you here--and at only $5.49 per package of 10, they are a fun way to add some extra love to your projects. Which one is your favorite?

I'll be posting some updates on the Quilt Market Meetup shortly.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Quilt Market Meetup Sponsor

As many of you probably know, there are two major International Quilt Markets that happen throughout the year for the trade. The next one happens to be this week in Salt Lake City! My hubby and I will be attending, and the excitement is starting to build!

I love Salt Lake City, and about 8 years ago or so, hubby had tried to get transferred out there with his job, but it did not work out. I love the mountains and all of the outdoor activities the area has to offer. The lower real estate prices were very attractive as well, and because of the large Mormon population, it's very family-friendly. Alas it was not to be, but I'm looking forward to seeing the beautiful scenery again.
 Another exciting thing about going to SLC is that we are one of the sponsors of the Blogger's Quilt Market Meetup! It's going to be a great time of meeting new friends and networking, plus lots of goodies and prizes. FabricLovers.com is donating two $50 gift certificates to give away that night! The event was sold out, but since the weather is looking good for the weekend, there is a possibility of having some overflow room. So, if you're in the area and want to attend, be sure to send an email to quiltmarketmeetup@gmail.com to get on the list!  Then be sure to leave a comment here so we can make sure to meet up, too!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fun new items and a new sale!

It gets a bit hectic around here when UPS or FedEx drops off some boxes, and that's what happened Monday! Love opening those boxes with all the colors. And it is a surprise, as most times I don't remember exactly what it was that I ordered. lol  Anyway, we have some great new Michael Miller prints, some of which we have also put together in exclusive fat quarter bundles. Here's some more eye candy for you! (By the way, if you click on the pictures, they will take you straight to the listing on our site!)

And our new Fat Quarter Bundles, which are kinda funny as they are TOTALLY opposites, wouldn't you agree?!:

As I mentioned earlier, we have a new sale going on right now. All of our RJR fabrics are on sale at 15% off! Here are a few pics for you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Patterns Added

We have just added some new patterns to our inventory that are worth taking a look!

Also our Fat Quarter and Fat Quarter Bundle sale is going on RIGHT NOW! If you love fat quarters, you'll want to check it out! The sale ends Wednesday at 8 pm PT, and USA orders of $65 or more ship FREE!