Fabric Scraps Obsession, Studio, tierneycreates

Can We Talk About Table Runners?

I might ramble a bit in this post, bear with me. I am trying to figure out standard lengths for table runners. I know, I know, this is a shocking and controversial topic to take on in a blog post. If you can stay awake while reading this post, I will try not to bring up too many sensitive issues about table runners, ha!

Table Runners Running Around in My Mind

Why am I thinking about table runner lengths – have I simply run out of things to think about?

Let’s back up a moment…

Recently I sold the last of my tierneycreates table runners from when I had my tierneycreates Etsy shop, to a work colleague. She remembered the table runners I had offered in my shop and wanted one. I explained I only had one left and I had laundered it as I had used it on my table. She still wanted it.

So we worked out a deal, I mailed it to her, and here is a photo of it on her table:

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The photo made me smile. I love the idea of something I made being useful in someone else’s home and making them smile. This is aligned with the tierneycreates tagline of “a fusion of textiles and smiles”.

Here is the original style of table runner (quilted) I made for my Etsy shop that I could not keep in stock:

Here is one in green ombre that is not quilted that sold out in my shop also:

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The one in the photo above is does not look very exciting, so you will have to just trust me that it looks better in person (and the women who bought it gave it a 5-star review on Etsy).

So this leads us back to why I am thinking about table runners lengths – because I am thinking about making up a new batch of quilted table runners (and maybe selling them on Etsy); and I am not sure what length to make them!

Do I just make up a couple in different standard lengths?!?!?

What Length, Oh What Length?

I did a lot of “googling” to try and find a guide to standard table runner lengths. I found several pages which listed info on standard table runner sizes.

Then I came across this webpage – Table Runner Dimensions

What I liked about this webpage was this statement:

“A table runner should be long enough to overhang the end of your table by approximately 6 to 10 inches on each end.”

Why did this statement appeal to me? Because it means there is no way to anticipate all the different table sizes potential customers will have and that I just need to decide one standard length I will offer as well as offer a custom table size option. I am going to aim around 42″ as my standard length.

Table Runner-ing

I have spent the last couple of days working on creating the strata for my scrappy table runners from a bag of Kaffe Fassett-type of fabric scraps from my collection of Challenge Bags (see post Basket of Challenges ):

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I welcome your thoughts on this oh so controversial topic – table runner lengths>

If you were going to make up table runners for unknown tables, what length would you make? 


Postscript

One of my miniature schnauzers, Mike, was trying to take a nap with the book I was reading and I thought it was a very sweet photo:

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Studio, tierneycreates

Embracing Orange

MORE KIMONOS (Loaded with Orange!)

I have accepted the color Orange is part of my creative life, as I discussed in my July 3rd post, Orange. As a matter of fact, I have done more than accepted Orange, I am embracing Orange!

This weekend I worked on restocking my tierneycreates Etsy shop. It is still far from the days when I had 90 items in my shop. My miniature kimonos continue to be popular and I recently sold 4 to a lovely person in Canada as well as 4 to various friends (I continue to fleece my friends in person, making them purchase my handmade items, ha! See the end of the post Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects)

Many of the miniature kimonos in the new batch I made feature the color Orange:

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I have been building a nice button collection and I enjoyed selecting a button for each kimono.

My friend Dana gave me some wonderful buttons in May at our annual Jelly Rollers Quilting Retreat (she was my Secret Quilting Sister), I still have wonderful buttons from my friend Betty Anne’s mother’s antique button collection she shared. Additionally I used a couple of the buttons from my recent antique button acquisition during the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (see post 2016 Sisters Outdoor Show Part I).

Now it is time to get each miniature kimono with its hanging chopstick and coordinating embroidery floss for hanging (though some people have put them in shadowboxes instead of hanging). Then it is time for their individual “photo shoots” for their Etsy shop listings.

Figuring in the cost of materials, time to make them, and Etsy seller fees, I figure I make like $3 – $4 per kimono. But my Etsy shop is a fun hobby and I enjoy knowing that my handmade creations are in peoples’ homes around the country (and Canada!).

If I tried to live off my Etsy shop I really would be foraging for free neighborhood fruit (like in prior post) for sustenance – ha!


MORE ORANGE (Orange Labels!)

Recently I decided I wanted my Etsy shop items to look a little more polished by adding a professional label to some items. I will not add the label to the miniature kimonos but I will to future art pillow and table runner creations.

I purchased the labels from another Etsy shop (Wunderlabel) and guess what color they are in?  ORANGE!

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POSTSCRIPT

Speaking of color, I have been following a wonderful blog by a painter, Laura’s Create art every day. A couple years ago while taking a Jean Wells class on art quilting, she suggested that we also seek inspiration from the work of other artists outside of fiber/textile arts – like painters. I have started following the blogs of several painters and I am so inspired by their use of color and their creatively (oh no I see a future “Creative Inspiration” series blog post coming…)

Here is a post from createarteveryday.com with some seriously inspirational use of my new color best friend, Orange:

MY FIRST 8 X 10″ ! (FOR D)

A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts, tierneycreates

Getting Gritty (Coasting with the Coasters)

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog on her SchnauzerSnips page for her latest musings…


Showing Some “Grit”

After posting on Saturday about having “Grit” (powerful motivation to achieve an objective) I figured I better get “Gritty” and work on getting my tierneycreates Etsy shop restocked.

So I had a “power crafting holiday weekend” and made 17 sets of vintage beer coasters.

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I was “coasting” with making coasters!
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Tied up with a beer ribbon and ready to gift to the craft beer enthusiast

They are now listed on my tierneycreates Etsy shop and I am very pleased and relieved.  Now onto the stack of other projects for the shop. Perhaps someday I can return to having 90+ items listed on my shop instead of my recent low of 25 items.

I have been working on better photography on my Etsy shop items. Below is an example from my “photo shoot” for the vintage beer coaster listing:

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Coasters in action!

Once I get some additional smaller items onto the shop, I would like to focus on building my collection of modern quilt table runner offerings.

I have decided to no longer try to sell quilts on my Etsy shop and instead focus on offering reasonably priced smaller items. I removed all the listings for quilts made by me or by “Terry the Quilting Husband” on the tierneycreates Etsy shop. We plan to show and offer those quilts at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Show.

It is challenging to sell quilts online. If you are a quilter you know how much work goes into making a quilt – time, effort and financial investment. It is difficult (at least for me with my questionable photography skills) to show online how lovely a quilt is in person. A great example is I sold a quilt at the 2015 Sisters Outdoor Show that I struggled for a year to sell on my Etsy shop – which was listed for quite a lower price on the Etsy shop. In person the quilt was spectacular (based on feedback I received) but you cannot always capture the specialness of a quilt with an online photo.

Interestingly potentially customers have contacted me on an Etsy quilt listings to ask me if I am willing to negotiate on the price of a quilt. It appeared they were looking for mass produced department store prices on my quilts. 

Additionally, and this might be a topic for a future blog post, I am temporarily burned out on making lap and bed size quilts. I am interested in focusing on making table runners or small wall hanging size quilts instead.

Naturally I have more ideas in my mind that hours I have available to work on projects (don’t we all?) and I still have that pesky pay-the-bills full-time job in the healthcare industry (and they don’t let me quilt while working – ha!)

I continue to enjoy the audiobook Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (2016) and I am finding lots of inspiration to keep moving forward on my goals!


POSTSCRIPT: VARIOUS RAMBLINGS 

When I ride my bike or go on a walk a million ideas seem to pop into my head of things I want to share on my blog. I thought I would do a mini “brain dump” in the “Postscript” section of this post:

  • In a previous post, Good Listens, I shared my favorite podcasts. Recently I have added several new favorites to my list:
    • While She Naps with Abby Glassensberg – a crafter and craft business focused podcast by blogger Abby Glassenberg who has a wonderful blog by the same name. I am currently listening to podcast episode #53 which features an excellent interview with Sherri Lynn Wood (author of my beloved The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously).  
    • Let’s Know Things – an engaging podcast by Colin Wright exploring and discussing different topics. He has a very relaxing voice and his topics are well researched and presented.
    • Chris Hogan’s Retire Inspired – I occasionally listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcasts on managing your finances and Chris Hogan is a protege of Dave Ramsey. Chris Hogan’s style is more appealing – he is warm and hysterically funny financial coach.

All of these podcasts are available for free on iTunes. I might discuss them in more depth in a future post.

  • You may wonder what become of my “Pilot Butte Walks” that I posted about in several posts in April and May. Well they are still on hold for now (first due to my knees, then due to hot days) but I am going bike riding several days a week now in the am before work. I bike ride in the back of an adjoining neighborhood where I discovered an empty block (new house construction that was halted) in which I can safely ride around and around the block listening to podcasts. I try to ride for at least the length of a 30 or 40 minutes podcast before heading home.
  • The Here and Now Habit by Hugh Byrne – I discussed this audiobook in several previous posts (see Listening and Reading and The Guest House). Well I felt that I got all I could get out of it and did not finish it. That of course is the beauty of free public library audiobook downloads. It grew repetitive after a while and I felt like it was time to move on.

I think that is enough “brain dump” for now. Thanks for reading my ramblings. It is time to go to bed and hope I continue to be infused with “Grit” to attack all the awaiting fiber projects!

tierneycreates

Why Etsy?

Why do I have the tierneycreates Etsy shop? In this post I share what motivated me to originally open the tierneycreates: a fusion of textiles and smiles Etsy shop; and what motivates me now.

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Original Motivations

I originally opened the shop as a part-time business in December 2013 to:

  • Justify all the money I had spent over the years on fabric and sewing/quilting supplies.
  • Motivate myself to spend more consistent time creating and sewing with the fabric and supplies I  own (to decrease my fabric stash).
  • Provide support (and justification) for future fabric and supplies purchases.

As you will see later in this post, my current motivations for having an Etsy shop now expand beyond those original reasons.

I selected Etsy over selling on eBay as a selling venue, as Etsy appeared to be a friendly venue and forum for connecting those who have handmade items to sell with individuals who are seeking handmade items!

Etsy Shop Challenges

One of the challenges I faced when opening the shop, was that I work full-time.

I read in one or two of the Etsy Seller Forums, that you need to have an adequate selection of items in your shop to attract and interest customers. For example – if you only have like 10 items in your shop, potential customers will look briefly at your shop and move on.

So I decided that until I could find the time to make more handmade items, I would supplement my handmade items with selling a small selection of fabric yardage and pre-cut fabrics (like “jelly rolls” and “fat quarters”). Then plan was to “bulk up” my Etsy shop with additional offerings, so potential customers would not just pass me by (as a sad empty looking shop, ha!)

Well, If you want to see why I would never open a quilt shop (much respect to those who do) see my post from June 2015 –  Adventures in Retail. I could not believe how cumbersome and stressful it is to try and cut fabric yardage for a customer; or to create sets of fat quarters.

I always panic that I will “short” a customer on yardage, so I have been very generous in my cutting. I would likely have very low profit margins as a quilt shop owner – ha!

Additionally, I never fully appreciated those sweet little sets of fat quarters I see in quilt shops, until I tried to make them myself. I now bow in respect to those who work in quilt shops!

Learning to properly package and ship items when they sold was another learning curve I had as a new Etsy shop owner. I can now package and ship items in my sleep (I did develop a process and have a section of my laundry room set up for packaging). Eventually I taught “Terry the Quilting Husband” how to handle packaging and shipping and he helps with the least fun part about an Etsy sale.

Current Motivations & Inspirations

It is now 2016, and my motivations for having  the tierneycreates Etsy shop are different from my original motivations.

One of my primary reasons I continue to manage my shop on Etsy (as it is still not a “quit your day job” kind of business) are the CONNECTIONS I have with customers. I have enjoyed many Etsy conversations with fellow quilters who have purchased fabric and with customers who have purchased my handmade items.

It is very exciting to me that fabric I sold someone gets to go into their project, or that something I made is going into someone’s home or as a gift to someone they care about. As a bonus,  a positive review on Etsy from a customer is such a huge treat! I feel like I am living my tierneycreates tagline, “fusing textiles and smiles”.

I have considered from time to time – “why continue with the Etsy shop, it is extra work and you already work many hours in your full-time health care job?” Then I remind myself it is a fun hobby and the non-monetary rewards I receive from having the shop.

Speaking of customers – I met this wonderful woman through an Etsy transaction and I now follow her blog and consider her a new long distance friend – Martha’s Blog.

Here is the fabric she purchased from my shop (the entire remaining bolt, it is now sold out):

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AND – here is what she did with it (which blows my mind and makes me so glad I had the fabric available to sell her!):

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Here is a link to the post about this amazing quilt which was part of a her quilting guild challenge – Shapely Challenge Revealed.

I would have never imagined using that fabric in such a creative way. I am very inspired!

The Future

I am debating if in the future, once my current selection of fabrics are sold from my shop, whether to keep selling special fabrics.

On one hand, I really enjoy seeing what people make with the fabric they purchase from my shop and connecting with other crafters. On the other hand I am too small an operation to purchase fabric at the wholesale rates that a quilt shop would and there is a very small profit margin on the fabric I sell (it covers the gas to get it to the post office to ship, ha!).

However buying fabric to resell, does help finance any fabric I keep for myself from a beautiful bolt of fabric. If I do continue to sell fabric, I will only sell fabrics I want to use in my own projects.

Another option would be to sell fabric already in my personal fabric stash, but I have worked hard over the past couple of years to donate to charity thrift shops any fabric I do not absolutely love or do not have planned for any future project (see my post The Fabric Purge).

Also, I would not want to sell on my Etsy shop any fabric that I would now pause and think: “what the heck was I planning when I bought that?!!?!”  I bet all quilters have fabrics in their stash that look like they were on hallucinogens (or other mind altering substances) when making their original purchase.

So that is the current story on this Etsy shop journey, thanks for reading.  So far being an Etsy shop owner has been a fun, challenging and wonderful experience!

tierneycreates

A New Way to Offer my Handmade Items?

Offering Handmade Items on Etsy 

I have been with Etsy for 2 years and I have been blessed to have had 73 sales. Not all my sales were for handmade items, this total includes my vintage Barbies of the World collection that I cleared out as well as well as fabric by the yard, fat quarter sets and a couple “jelly rolls” (rolls of 40 pre-cut 2.5 inch coordinated fabric strips).

Recently I removed all vintage items from my Etsy shop and I am only focusing on handmade items, and some carefully curated fabric offerings. Eventually I would like to only offer handmade items. I do not want to be a reseller, I want to only offer things that either I have made or “Terry the Quilting Husband” has made.

Exploring New Option for Offering Handmade Items

I heard that Amazon was going to start a handmade marketplace. I am mulling over the idea of selling instead (or additionally) on Amazon at their new “Handmade at Amazon” (still under development).

Today I applied for an invitation to be a vendor on Amazon’s Handmade at Amazon. I await the outcome of their evaluation as to whether they want tierneycreates (and its handmade products) as Handmade at Amazon vendor.

An appealing feature of Handmade at Amazon is that unlike Etsy, you do not have to renew your listing (paying a renewal fee each time, which becomes tedious). The listings are permanent until the item sells.

It never hurts to explore new opportunities; and I will update you all on what happens.

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