Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

If you follow me on Facebook, then you know that HBQ will be setting up a booth at Nantahala Outdoor Center's Guest Appreciation Festival next weekend. It is free for artisans...all I had to do was fill out an application!!! I couldn't be more excited for my first festival!

So we're just 9 days away from GAF and I've been busy as a bee (no pun intended) working on new inventory. In the past week or so I have made three baby quilts, finished a full-size quilt top, and prepared some of the decorations for the booth. I've still got some tote bags and a couple other things on my list.

On our trip to Florida, I picked up lots of awesome fabric from a quilt store in Orlando. One of my favorite finds was this panel of animals and the coordinating acorn fabric. The colors are beautiful and it is SO soft! I just had to have it.

You'll have to excuse the copious amounts of pictures. I started and just couldn't stop and the editing process didn't eliminate many :) It just looked so good in front of this tree!

Here you can see the background fabric, which wasn't from this line but turned out perfectly!

Thanks for stopping by :)
Happy Wednesday and have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Negative, Ghost Rider.

As most of you know, JT and I drove to West Palm Beach this past weekend to look at a bus. We had spoken with the owners through email, and felt very strongly that it could be "the bus". However, the pictures of the bus made it look a lot nicer than it was, whether damage had occurred since the pictures, or the pictures simply excluded some of the damaged spots.


We found the bus in poor condition - mechanically, cosmetically - just not worth the price we had offered to pay. We are very disappointed that the couple wasn't more honest about the shape that it was in, but we are moving forward with our plans.

We have decided that it might be better for us to start with a non-converted bus and do the work ourselves. We learned from this experience that when it comes to converted buses you really can't know the quality of the work that's been done. It's not like a house, which must be built to code. You're trusting a total stranger's ability to do electrical, plumbing, and general building. However, when you do the work yourself, you know the quality of the materials and the work.

Although we spent most of the weekend in the car, and slightly disappointed, we did get to spend some time with JT's grandparents and extended family. We also ate...A LOT. This girl finally got some delicious shrimp and grits!!!


As a bonus, I managed to finish Nana's matching travel bags...which she used on our trip :) When she first saw mine she fell in love with the fabric and asked me to buy some for when she decided what she wanted. She ended up choosing a tote bag and a duffle.

This was only my second attempt at a duffle, so they aren't available in my Etsy shop yet. My first one was made using a pattern that I found one sale at Joann's. Let's just say I DO NOT like cutting out all those pesky shapes (I don't sew clothing for a reason...well that and I like straight lines and 2 dimensional objects). 

So for Nana's bag, I decided just to cut squares and rectangles using the measurements in the pattern, but replacing the "round" ends with square ones. This worked much easier and all the measurements came out perfect! The other issue I had with the first pattern was encased seams. I solved the issue on the exterior and interior pockets by using the backing of the pocket to "bind itself". By that I just mean that I leave extra backing along the top edge of the pocket, fold it over, and sew. PRESTO! A self-encased seam. However, this would not work for the seams inside the bag. So for now I'm lazy and just zig-zag stitch the inside seams to prevent bad fraying when the bag is washed. If you have suggestions for an EASY way to encase seams...please share!

If you've been wanting to try out a duffle pattern but have been scared...never fear! If I can do it so can you. We will work out the kinks together ;)

And finally I have made some sincere and somewhat successful attempts at padded handles. Because who likes handles that wrinkle and cut into your shoulder? NO ONE! I have made three sets recently and they turned out alright. Again...if you have suggestions or a good tutorial for this please let me know! For now I'm just using my ruler/rotary cutter to cut batting strips, and then a good 'ole fold, press, and sew method. Oh and Pellon...Pellon everywhere.

Anywho...thanks for reading (or skimming) my long-winded post. Just trying to cover the major points from the past week. Happy Hump Day!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yard Sale-ing and a New Tote Bag!

With my sister Katya's help, I finally had my yard sale today! We found a great spot that only charged $2 for us to set up. I didn't sell any HBQ items, but we did manage to get rid of some "junk" and make some money to put towards the bus trip next weekend.

I got this cute little frame for $1 at Michael's to display my "Square" sticker. I haven't used the card reader yet but I have it ready for my first craft show, which I have applied for! If you haven't heard of Square or don't know much about it, you should head on over to the website and check it out! All you do is make an account and you get everything for free! I signed up last week and within a few days they sent me the card reader and I was able to download the app for no charge!

Here's the HBQ rack! Like I said, none of these items sold but I really think it was because the customers came looking for nicknacks with just a few bucks in their pockets ;)

The pretty little bag you see above is fresh off the press! I whipped it up yesterday in an effort to get one more piece for the sale. But since it didn't's still available for purchase! Email me at if you're interested!

I found this fabric at Joann's...I walked through the door and it practically jumped in my cart! I just love the colors and the beautiful florals. If I can find some more of it I am dying to make a duffle!!!

First tote bag to receive an HBQ tag!!! It feels so good to see my logo on one of my products :) If you need labels for clothes, quilts, etc...check out Ananemone Labels on Etsy. She did a fabulous job!!!!!

As always, thanks for the views! Stay tuned for a quilt finish coming soon!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sewing Desk Chair Makeover

When John-Todd and I got married we "inherited" tons of stuff! But like I've said before, not everything was shiny and new. For my sewing desk, I had semi-permanently borrowed a metal folding chair from my parents and used a thick blanket as a cushion. Needless to say I wasn't living in comfort.

It's been on my list to get a new desk chair for a while but it just never happened. I finally decided to just find a cheap one at a thrift store and re-cover it. Well apparently all you have to do is ask...JT's Nana had an extra one out in the shop that she gave me for FREE!!! YAY FREE!!!!!

It was looking a little rough but I knew I could give it a second chance ;) Here it is before the makeover...

And here it is AFTER!!! The entire project cost me $1

I cut the patchwork squares out of upholstery fabric straps that I got for $1 at a thrift store. The back was a quick solution and I might end up replacing it with something more permanent. I failed an attempt at making a tote bag for the Original Quilt Expo two years I cut it up, sewed it back together, and tied it on! The fabric was an upholstery sample given to me by a friend that worked for a custom baby bedding boutique. So once again...FREE!!!


I also removed the rubber sleeves (not sure if that's what they're called) from the metal posts to make it look cleaner and simpler. The seat wasn't as "cushy" as I preferred, so I cut out a piece of egg crate foam to add to it. I used a plain scrap of fabric and hot glue to secure the foam to the seat. Then I carefully and neatly attached the cover with hot glue, then finished it off with a staple gun.

Since the back is made of plastic, and not a wood frame, I knew I couldn't attach anything to it. This cover works for now, but I may make something with elastic that will be more secure. 

AND here's a view of my little work can see the strips for the wedding quilt I'm working on to the left, as well as a tote bag WIP (the bright floral print in the top left corner). So much to do and so little time!!!

I hope you have all had a good start to the week...finish well!!!!! :)

Bye for now,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Here's a preview...

I've gone back and forth about whether or not I should do this. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up or jump the gun. For your sake and mine. But I think that it's a good that you can see exactly what we're working towards. Go ahead and live vicariously through our future - I know I am.

So here's a little taste of what we'll be driving 11+ hours for.

It's a real beauty...

I know you can't wait to see it...

I'm making you wait on purpose ;)

Just keep scrolling.

TADA!!!!! THE BUS!!!

I'm sure you want many more pictures and I have them. But I'm going to make you wait until things are more certain. Once we take the trip and come up with an agreement to buy the bus (and hopefully seal the deal!!!) I will share many pictures of the interior, and some of our ideas for "making it ours".

Thank you all for joining us on this journey!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

My New Favorite Toy, A Product Review, and Accessory Trouble.


A couple of weeks ago I purchased a Kindle Fire from a friend. My thinking was: why take up precious bus space with books when I can have them all in one place? Don't get me wrong, I love having tons and tons of books. But for our new lifestyle it just isn't practical.

Of course, we aren't living in the bus yet, but I'm already seeing the benefits of having my Kindle. I was a little skeptical at first. Would I like reading from a screen? Would I prefer holding a book and turning pages? And so many people I know rarely use theirs.

Yet again, technology proved to be more useful. I know I'm behind the times - mine is not the latest version. But it works so well! JT and I have one laptop, which is fine for us to share. It does get tricky though when we both want to use it. The Kindle has a web browser, which basically makes it an extra computer. It's perfect for my quilting - I can get on Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest, etc. It's so much easier that lugging around the laptop.

Not to mention the fact that I can read any book I want at any time. It's super easy to switch back and forth from personal reading to small business research. I'm currently reading Grow Your Handmade Business by Kari Chapin. She has some great insights into owning your own business, and selling your created goods. If you are interested in beginning the journey to small business ownership, or just want to make a little extra cash with your creations, this is a great resource. You can also read it for free with kindle unlimited.

On a different note, I had some trouble trying to make a protective sleeve for my new Kindle. I started with some leftover fabric from my last tote bag and a piece of giant roc arc that I bought at the quilt show. It was SO CUTE but it turns out that the internet lied about the size of a Kindle Fire. Of course, I should have waited until I actually had my new toy before making an accessory for it. That's what I get for being too excited.

Too big!!! :(

So I bought some different fabric and made another attempt - this time actually measuring the Kindle itself. Well I forgot to factor in seam allowances. DUH!!! 

Too small!!! :(

So, after a third attempt, and multiple seams to make it smaller, I finally ended up with an appropriately sized case!!! Yay!!!

Just right!!! :)

I'm so excited about my toy and I can't wait to see how it helps HBQ grow!!! Thank you all for your comments - keep them coming!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rough Patches

Well this week has been crazy. Started out the week with a flooded laundry room and mom falling on a barbed wire fence. Ended it with a rained out yard sale and a quick trip to Georgia. It has been one thing after another, and work has been beyond stressful. I feel like I haven't slept all week and emotions have been pretty high. I'm just ready to get back in the sewing studio.

I'm in the middle of two queen sized quilts, with another one to shop for, all to be finished by the end of September. I'm also hoping to have time for a few projects...quilts and tote bags that aren't already spoken for. But with my full-time job and our school bus plans, those projects might go to the back burner.

To be honest, I'm so discouraged. I feel like I have no time to quilt. When I do have a day off, I'm too exhausted to be of much use. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for my job. It provides for JT and I in ways that we never would have guessed. I have made friendships with wonderful people who invest in my life and encourage all of my crazy endeavors. However, it leaves me with no time or energy to do what I really love.

I can rest in knowing that JT and I are working so hard for the specific purpose of getting out of this rut and doing what we love. The closer we get, the more hope I have that this too will pass.

We have been in contact with a couple who is trying to sell a converted bus. They've had a lot of interest but say that they feel the best about us taking it. We can't afford it right now but they seem to be very willing to work something out. It really is a beautiful bus. Because it already has the basics (wood floors, sink, toilet, shower, heat, air, stove, oven, fridge, etc), we will save a lot of time and frustration. Not to mention the exterior is already painted my favorite color...something which would not have even a priority for us to do ourselves. We both really love this bus and are so excited to make the long trek to Lake Park, Florida to look at it. 

Even though this week was exhausting and stressful, we feel exponentially closer to accomplishing our goals. If this deal works out, then we could potentially have our bus ready for move-in by March. Our goals are becoming more and more tangible each day and I couldn't be more excited. 

But in the meantime, it's hard not to be discouraged. I'm just trying to focus on the goal and enjoy every part of the process. I'm counting on my quilting to be a relief from the stress of it all. Hopefully the product of that will be good.

Thanks for listening.