Hello Friends! I have had myself a very nice break from Etsy. I have a few takeaways from this much-needed breather that I would like to share here…If for nothing else, my own reference. If this encourages any of you out there who may also be Entrepreneurs or work from home Moms or even if you are in the workforce and have ever felt guilty for taking a break, then this might be for you too. Sometimes it is easy to convince myself that I haven’t quite worked hard enough to take that break yet. My problem was that I was forever moving the carrot a little further and further out from myself in an effort to trick myself into getting more and more done, but never could seem to actually take the break that I was striving so hard to “earn”…I am here to tell you TAKE THE BREAK! In the last 3-4 weeks that my Etsy shop has been on vacation, nothing has fallen apart. None of my Etsy followers contacted me to yell at me for my ill-timed vacation or to vow never to shop with me again because I failed to be there when they needed me. No one called me out for being lazy, no one blamed me for needing a break. My Etsy shop did not disappear into a nameless void and I didn’t lose all of my momentum and enthusiasm for work. QUITE THE OPPOSITE. If anything, I am actually enjoying this surge of creativity and passion for my work so much that I don’t really want to go back to my online business just yet. I have taken a step back in order to ask myself some hard questions, such as where am I now compared to where I want to be with my business? Do I enjoy making the things I offer to my customers? Is my aesthetic still current and modern in the face of all the copy cats out there in the retail world? How hard to I want to work and what do I hope to gain in the end with all of those late nights and swallowed tears? Let’s face it…Momming is hard! Working from home is hard! Entrepreneuring is HARD! Balancing it all while still staying connected and in love with what you do is not just hard, but like the Cat in the Hat juggling all of those things whilst atop a circus ball. If any one part gets out of balance, you can bet you are going down. There is even a Ted Talk called The Power of Time Off that I really love. It comes back to me out of the blue every now and then when I am really needing that break to center myself and my work. You can see that Ted Talk by clicking the link above. I have actually opened my Etsy shop Kari Goodwin Quilts with all of my quilts, pillows, and a few other random things, but am trying out the shop without the baby items in it at this time…Maybe I will write a short blog post about that decision soon as well. Folks Linen, The Tree House Kid, and Joshua Treeworks are also live and open for business. Together the four of us make up Goodwin’s Custom Crafts. We all thank you for reading and for all of your support!! Until Next Time!
You get two for the price of one this week! Today’s message will share the Featured Item of the Day as well as the special deal of the week. As predicted, I slipped from my goal to do two posts a week. Anyone who knows me even a little bit would not be surprised at all by this, especially since I always bring up what a challenge it is for me to be consistent in almost every post. Just consider it a growing pain of a very awkward blogger and we will all get along just fine! Back to the Featured Item of the Day! This quilt. Just take a long look at this quilt. This is the organic cotton equivalent of cloud gazing. You could look at this and see all sorts of fun illusions. For instance, I see the reflection of a dragon flying over a lake, insects, and a bony pelvis…Ok, you get the idea. There is a lot to see! These are hand dyed from organic cotton, including the coordinating backing material. I have a goal to do more of these soon, in larger sizes up to a twin sized quilt, so keep an eye out for those. The rusty-red color was made from spontaneously combining two different dyes, so it is unique and one of a kind.
NOW, for the coupon code you’ve ALL been waiting for! This week’s deal is extended through NEXT Friday, September 9th. It is a free organic cotton bunting (also known as the triangle flag banners…) with any $100 purchase. Pretty sweet, right?! They make any room feel like the occupants might just break out into dance, or singing, or other party-related behaviors. All you have to do to take full advantage of this offer is choose the triangle bunting you want from the Clearance Section (<— Live link) of my shop and add it to your cart with the rest of your purchase. As long as your total before shipping is $100 or more, you can get a $19 discount during checkout absolutely free. This is the cost of the bunting, so it will discount your entire order for that amount. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! The coupon code to enter during checkout is FREEBUNTING19 . See you next time!
It’s Monday, so that means it’s time for sharing a new product for the week! This makes two weeks in a row that I have actually nailed this little goal of mine, which actually makes this THE most “pulled together” time of my entire life. No kidding. I thrive off order and chaos in equal measure, and see the balancing of entropies as the ultimate “LEVELING UP” of life. To have a little chaos, a little order, and a constant flowing dance between the two. Anyway, I distract myself. The featured item of the day is a simple product, but a brand new one for Kari Goodwin Quilts. These organic cotton knit blankets are great for a lot of reasons. Here are a few:
- Four different sizes available! From newborn baby to kid off to college with their first dorm room, there is a size for everyone. The material is fairly stretchy and lightweight, and would make a good swaddling blanket. In the larger sizes, the material is heavyweight enough to make a good throw style blanket.
- Made from the only material I use, GOTS certified organic cotton.
- These are printed in the USA with my own exclusive designs, made by me and my kids, which my favorite activity with my kids, so the purchase of this item actually encourages and supports art in my household! (not kidding.)
- With this product I strived to bring the best materials for the LEAST about of cost to you. As such, these blankets are simply serged around the edges, which is great for the stretchy material, and they go together very quickly. This allows me to pass on the savings to you, while still offering a great product, full of creativity and uniqueness.
That is all, back to work for me! Happy Monday Ya’ll! Here are links to my Etsy shop karigoodwinquilts.etsy.com and my website karigoodwinquilts.com . Be on the lookout for these new items to hit the shops soon!
We made it to Thursday! Celebrate with some free shipping from Kari Goodwin Quilts, either on Etsy or the new Pattern stand alone website. This platform is something new I am trying, which is offered from Etsy as a solution to folks like me who are testing the waters of having an independent website from which to sell. I like the website, but I would love to know what you think! Connect with me and let me know how you like to look, the listings, and don’t forget to enter FREESHIPPING for free shipping on any and all orders! Here is the link to the new website karigoodwinquilts.com or on Etsy karigoodwinquilts.etsy.com
Hey howdy hey! Look who’s back! Today I will share with you a fresh and brand new quilt that I JUST finished sewing this morning. Actually, I finished it yesterday, but I just finished sewing on the little flowers today. I have to give the credit for that sweet little embellishment, which in my opinion just MAKES this quilt, to Josh! He mentioned it in passing when I was designing this quilt a few days ago and trying to find a good match for the cactus top. I wanted to pair it with this rich sunshine golden-colored cotton for the backing, and it just wasn’t working. He said that it would have worked great if I had drawn some little flowers on the cactus tips, which gave me the idea of adding them as embellishments to the quilt itself. That got me to thinking about a whole range of fabrics that I could design that would be intended for little embellishments like that. That is still a very new idea I am hatching, but an exciting one! So here she is, the Lush Cozy Cactus and Red Desert Bird quilt. I am the WORST when it comes to getting creative with names and such. Unless it’s totally random, like this quilt *would* be named The Darla if I were so inclined to give it a name just for the sake of it. Have a GREAT Friday and a wonderful weekend to all from me and Darla!! 🙂
This lightweight summer-time blanket features happy, slanted rainbows that were originally a watercolor painting. I don’t know why I wanted to share this today, except maybe that my heart is full of rainbows? HAHA that would be because all of the canning is finished (for now at least), all the laundry is done (for now at least), and I have nothing to do today but work and take the kids climbing this afternoon. That is a good day in my book! I dyed nearly 20 yards of fabric yesterday as well, so that task (for now at least) is also caught up. That leaves me, my iron, my sewing machine, and a stack of projects to tackle for today. I am about to turn the music up and get started! So back to this sweet little flat sheet, or summertime blanket. Use them to keep the sun off babies in their carriers, or to cover them up as you go in and out of stores in the summer, because lets face it…It can be 105 degrees outside, stores still keep it a cool 68 degrees, even in summer. This is large enough to transition into the toddler years too, as a flat sheet for a toddler bed, measuring 33″ x 55″. They are made out of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and printed with low impact dyes. I always picture using the sheet for something else when the kids graduate to a big kid bed, like a pillow case, or using it as a wall for a fort. THAT is really the end game for these…Fort walls. All you need is a couple of clothes pins and BAM! You have a sunny, rainbow filled fort! Hahaha…Ok, I’m off to get sewing. I hope your Monday is as bright and sunny as the day after a rain, and your heart is full of rainbows!!
Sometimes, cutting into that fresh yardage of fabric is so rewarding, but at the same time, almost wistfully sad because you know that before long, that print will be gone forever, especially if it is a one of a kind vintage piece. Exciting because of all the possibilities of what it could become, sad because who knows when you will be able to find something so spectacular again? For fabric cuts that aren’t vintage, it simply means that you must now buy more to make more, and so on and so forth. Sometimes it isn’t the fresh cuts of fabric that pull your attention, but the smallest off cuts, the rejects, the leftovers. Sometimes, I relish in the leftover projects. How many things can I make without cutting ANY new fabric?! Answering that question has been my focus this week. This stash busting session has been a little different because this time, the scraps are my own designs and that adds its own special flavor to the projects. So what do you do when you only have small randomly shaped bits, fabric test swatches, off cuts from bedding, and other various leftovers? Flag buntings are such a cute way to dress up a blank wall, and are an affordable gift for a person who may already have everything and need nothing. Not to mention, they are hot photo props, party decorations, and can be reused over and over unlike their paper counterparts. I make a flag roughly 5-6 inches across the top, and 6-8 inches down, depending on the size scraps I have. The best fabric to use for banners like this are fabrics that do not have a direction, because you can use both the triangles, verses a directional print (that is meant to be seen from one way or another), which will have half of your cuts being upside down. In the case of my rhino prints, I saved the upside down flag shaped triangles as scraps for a different project, such as a scrappy mountain quilt that will need lots of triangles of different shapes and sizes. I was able to get roughly 15 banners from a stack of off cut fabrics, each banner having 11 pennants. Instead of investing a lot of time into a project that was meant to be a quick use of scraps, and making my own binding to hang the flags from, I bought binding from the store for about $2 each. They come in dozens of colors, and measure about 3 yards long, which is a perfect length for a good banner. I got the “Extra Wide Double Fold” bias tape, which is not really all that wide. Only about 1/2 inch actually, but none-the-less, that is the name. It can be found in most fabric or craft stores. I serged my banner flags to a solid backing of organic cotton sateen fabric because it was what I had available and on hand, but you could use anything for the backing fabric (the cheaper the better! You won’t really see it anyway!). Having two layers for the banner will give them a nice weight so they will hanging nicely. If you don’t have a serger, which most folks probably don’t, no worries! You can simply stitch around the outside of the two layers (the front and
back) and then cut the edges with pinking shears so that they don’t fray excessively. If you want to be really fancy, you can stitch the two layers with right sides together, and then turn them inside out for a very finished and durable style. My goal was to make as many as I could, in the shortest amount of time possible, so I chose the serging technique. Plus, I just really love the way serged stitches look. It gives a sort of raw yet refined look to any project. So there you go. Not really a tutorial, just a reminder that scraps can be fun too, and to get creative when you see that discarded pile, and see what you can create with them! Tomorrow, I will share some quilt tops I made from scraps too.
It started as a simple craft done at the kitchen table. The kids had been given this gingerbread man cutout that was laminated so they could bring it home and trace it, play with it, make more gingerbread men…You get the idea. But this made them want to make other shapes that they then traced and colored, like the gingerbread man. There came from this simple day of play, a collection of rhinos. Large and small, bright and bold, with fierce horns, and bowed heads. Some even had two heads…one on each side! (Just to represent the monstrous side of things!!) They were so precious. The kids cut them out, colored them, and turned them into puppets with popsicle sticks. Like many things born in this way, they were all too soon forgotten, having fallen under the table, or stuck behind a chair, and they were no longer interested in playing with them. That is when my inspiration struck!
You see, I had been experimenting with fabric design, and playing around with my own doodles for a couple of weeks, trying to get the hang of the graphic nature of online fabric design. In a moment of brilliance, I saw these sweet, disregarded rhinos for what they were…Complete and total inspiration! My kids might have been finished with them, but I was only getting started. I deconstructed the popsicle stick version, and layed them out on a white surface to photograph, and the rest is history. I now have a collection of ten or so fabric designs, all featuring the rhino stick puppet cut outs. I love them. When I look at them, I am instantly happy, rejuvenated, and transported back to that magical day. I know it was a magical day because I have tried over and over to recreate the experience with no luck whatsoever. They can tell I am onto them now, and like the tap-dancing, singing frog, they just sit there and ribbit at me when I suggest in my most cheerful voice, “Who wants to make some stick puppets with a new animal today!?” I know it will come back around one day, but for now, I am utterly smitten and happy with our little rhino collection.
Each time an item sells with the fabric they helped design, I tell them about it, and give them a little cash for their piggy banks. It has become a source of pride and joy for them to see their drawings made into something lasting and tangible.
Then one day a few months ago, I receive this letter through Etsy:
I am a Zookeeper with the Toronto Zoo and I am organizing a fundraiser through our AAZK committee to help raise money for Rhino Conservation! Last year we were able to raise over $17,000!
We are currently looking for any Rhino related items that companies/ organizations would be willing to donate as auction items for our event! All funds go directly towards the facilities that support Rhino Conservation!
If you would consider donating a Rhino blanket I also have an official letter I could send you along with more information need be!
We REALLY appreciate every little donation and will definitely advertise what companies donated items for our auction in hopes that it would also help you get more business!
I hope to hear from you soon and am happy to answer any questions you may have!
I thought that was so awesome. Awesome in so many ways…the conservation of rhinos? CHECK! The pleasure of meaningful donations? CHECK! Getting our family business all the way out to Toronto? CHECK! And my favorite one of all…Talking to my daughter about the significance of this project? Check. I let her read the letter and asked her what she thought. She does have a sense of ownership over these blankets and quilts with her drawings on them, and if I was to give one away, I wanted to know how she felt about that. It meant I wouldn’t get paid for it, which would mean she wouldn’t get any dollars for her piggy bank either. Did she even hesitate for one, single second?! Of course she didn’t. She thought it was amazing and awesome too. We looked into the organization together and did some rhino research, and we became even more aware of the issue than we already were. When I shipped the blanket off to Toronto, I made sure she knew it was on the way, and we celebrated the moment together.
I guess the moral of the story here is this…You never know where an idea will take you. You never know what small thing will one day become a very big and important thing. You never know when a laminated gingerbread man made from blue construction paper and sent home in your child’s school folder will change the way you do business. You just never know, and isn’t that amazing! Now I see rhinos everywhere. Mostly they are sad stories about poaching, or declining populations, but I hear them. I am aware of them, and I donate to the cause as I am able because it feels like the right thing to do…and the kids think so too!
Today’s featured item is a fun and different way to expose your little ones to music. Featuring notes from only the treble clef of the song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the notes are all correctly rendered and positioned to reflect the tune. It is a whole cloth quilt, meaning that the top of the quilt is not pieced, but consists of one entire cut of fabric. The back is straight black, and it has black binding as well. I wanted the quilt to reflect the simplicity of sheet music, so I chose to only use the white and black colors on this one, although I did an Amazing Grace quilt and added colorful binding, which I preferred once I saw it as a finished project. It is 100% GOTS organic cotton, with organic cotton and bamboo batting inside. I really enjoyed making this quilt, and can see it going in so many cool directions…For example, with someone who writes their own music and wanted to give a personalized quilt as a gift…So funky and unique!! To see the Etsy listing, click here.
This quilt is one of my new creations of 2015. It features hand dyed organic cotton muslin and wonky, perfectly imperfect circles. What I love about this quilt is that I had never used circles before…Never actually sewn circles, to tell the truth. When I imagined this quilt and drew it out in my notebook, I never thought I would have so much fun with the circles. First, I cut out my large squares and large circles. I cut them all into quarters, and layered the quarter circle on top of the quarter square, and then traced the circle shape onto the square and cut it out. I actually wanted the circles to be wonky and improvisational looking, and was surprised at how uniformly it all turned out, even though I didn’t use a template or anything to trace out my circles! Raspberry Pie, make your big debut!