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!
I really do appreciate that folks regularly check in with the website to see the new specials and deals! Each visit to the website confirms my mission, which is to grow my business and gain the trust and support of a loyal following of customers, who come back to shop with us at all of our various shops, including The Tree House Kid, Folks Linen, and Kari Goodwin Quilts, depending on what special person you are shopping for! Together, we all form the family business of Goodwin’s Custom Crafts. This week, I would like to offer a special deal to get free Domestic Shipping with ANY purchase from Kari Goodwin Quilts. The coupon code is GREENTEA and will be good through Friday, May 26th. To get future deals and coupon codes, make sure you are subscribed to the site and get email notifications so that we can stay in touch!! Please feel free to contact me here for questions or just to say hello! Now, if you are wondering why this was called Green tea or coffee, I will tell you…As summer rolls around, and the Georgia heat is already threatening its suppressive power, I turn from the comfort of hot drinks to iced. I guess you can figure out which way I am leaning today!
Yesterday, instead of doing a “Featured Item of the Week” post, I had this big idea about putting together a blog post that was a compilation of all of my favorite purchases from Etsy. It is a great idea, a fun story to tell, and a lot of love to share for fellow Etsy sellers!…So why, instead am I sharing my own newest quilt addition? Because I am not organized enough to put something like that together on the fly. Apparently, there is this big wide world called the “blogosphere” that I have yet to break into where people do things like that all the time, but for this old gal, it is still a new trick. The key word(s) being “on the fly”, meaning I will work on putting this post of mine together, but until then, I am going to have to stick to what I know. SO, on that note, take a look at my pretty new quilt! I have been working on this one for a while, meaning I spent time on it, got it ready to quilt, then let it sit there while I was distracted with what felt like an infinite number of other things while it sat patiently, calling my name ever so softly. Then one day, it got impatient with me and I could no longer put off the inevitable or ignore its beakoning call. I am glad it came together in its own time, though, and wasn’t one of those projects I was inclined to rush through. It feels like one of those special pieces that I will never really forget, and will always (to a small extent) regret selling. It is an improvisational plus sign design, made from old blue jeans that
were too ripped up to pass on, and some red vintage linen that I inherited from my Grandmother’s fabric stash. Other than the vintage and recycled fabric, it is 100% organic. The back is my Navy Constellation Map print on GOTS organic cotton sateen, which is also the binding. It is quilted in a free motion herringbone design with unbleached cotton thread. I had fun with this one. See the full listing on Etsy by clicking this link.
Today’s featured item of the day is this lovely stained glass quilt. It is a generous crib sized quilt, measuring 34 x 54 and is made from organic cotton materials. The top is a print from our latest series of fabrics. Picture this. My oldest son was on a campout, the youngest son was spending the night with his Grandparents, and the girl and I had the house to ourselves. We hosted a takeover of the living room, put two large yard sale tables together and brought out every dormant paint brush, colored pencil, marker, and turned on the cheesiest movie from my 80’s childhood, Sixteen Candles. Then we started playing. Taking chances with color and designs, because amongst the movie and snacks and hanging out together, the last thing either of us was concerned with was creating overly careful designs. We just wanted to enjoy the process and we did. It’s like the unicorn of parenting, a night like that. This was one of my daughter’s designs. We named it Stained Glass Window, because obviously…it resembles a stained glass window. Aren’t we so clever. It is made from 100% organic cotton on the top, and 100% organic cotton on the back which has been hand dyed a pretty sky blue, which also serves as the binding. It was wrapped around from the back of the quilt to the front and machine stitched to the quilt. I have a feeling this will continue to be one of my favorite prints for a long 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!
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
This picture of my Chattahoochee Reflections quilt (sold in 2014) popped up in my “Facebook memories” today. I really did enjoy making this quilt…it’s the kind of thing I get a little sentimental about because it was a break through project for me and the first time in years that I tried “freestyle” or improv quilting. Funny how we circle back around…I started as an improv quilter a decade ago, and went through many phases in discovering my creative style, which is definitely still a work in progress, but hadn’t done anything freestyle like this for years at the time when I made it. It is the sort of quilt that I would like to think defines me as a quilter, but is that true if you only do it once or twice and the majority of your work pales in comparison? I have this plan for my future which includes a lot more time for quilting, as that is what I really love doing, and what has fallen to the wayside the most as I have helped to support our family financially as much as I possibly could. This has involved several big rearrangements of my life, including passing the torch for The Tree House Kid to my sister, Kaysen! She now runs the shop from Las Vegas and has inherited all my patterns and has done a great job running the shop since February. Also passing the torch for my other shop Folks Linen to my Mom who now helps make all the napkins and aprons, leaving me with just the one shop, Goodwin’s Custom Crafts. Some small changes have been made as well, including attaching my design wall TO the wall in my house and give it a permanent home, instead of pushing it from one empty space to another, and to rearrange my work space to help put the focus on my own fabric designs to be used for quilts, in a way that sort of “showcases” what I have available to use at any give time, and setting up my cutting mats and sewing machines in a very user-friendly and inviting sort of way. I have Folks Linen and Goodwin’s Custom Crafts (both on Etsy) on “vacation” and closed to new online orders for a while so we can get through these last couple weeks of school and I can focus on some cool local stuff going on. We will be at the Farm to Table dinner at Jenny Jack Farms next Saturday, May 14th, (excited!!!!) and after that, I plan on having a sort of Renaissance period for my business, which may include a name change and a refocusing on my talents and what I would like most to spend my time doing. I’m pretty excited about it, and my biggest goal is to make more time for quilting.
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!! 🙂
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.