Gee’s Bend

Hello everyone!  It’s a lovely, sweltering morning here in Georgia, as we have hit the season where every cool moment is a tease of what is to come, and quickly becomes suppressed by the heat and humidity.  Over the summer, there was an exhibit of Gee’s Bend Quilts on display at the Central Library in Birmingham, Alabama, so the kids and I made a special day trip to the Birmingham Zoo and to visit the quilts.  I have so much love and admiration for these women, their work, and their story.  I will not attempt to educate my readers about them, other than to direct you to their website and have a look for yourself.  These women, their community, their craft, it all works together to form an amazing cultural tale, the like we don’t usually have the honor of witnessing this up close and personal.  Click this link to be directed to the website of the http://www.quiltsofgeesbend.com.  I have been meaning to share these ever since, but every time I sat down and tried to organize the trip and put it into words, I just kept getting overwhelmed by the experience and couldn’t quite get there.  I’m officially getting over that right now and sharing the pictures.  The quilts speak for themselves, so I am going to make the move and share them.  I did have my outgoing kiddo make a video of his interpretation of the work, which I will try to share on a YouTube Channel…(I don’t know, I’ve never done that, but I will try to link it to the page…)  I like exposing my kids to art of all kinds and wonder sometimes what effect it will have on their future.  Will they become artists themselves, or value it in other tangible ways?  Only time will tell.  It is not my intention to profit from the sharing of these quilts in any way!  My goal is only to share and spread my love for the Quilters of Gee’s Bend.  Let’s get started!

Here is an award winning PBS special about Gee’s Bend if you would like to see and learn more!

This was the first wall of the exhibit:

   

 

The Importance of Time Off!

Some doodles I have wanted to turn into real works for a WHILE now! Giving myself a break brought these projects back into my mind.

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 Don’t Know How to Name A Blog Post…

Hello everyone!  Kari here.  Its been one heck of a week, to say the least.  I was out-of-town for the testimony of Comey, and only heard bits and pieces of it on NPR while I was driving, so those are my hot Friday night plans…To watch the hearing on YouTube tonight and babysit my fermenting pickles…(Oooh, pickles would make a really cute fabric!…Saving that idea for later!)  We have just wrapped up our first round of summer camp for the little ones and it was awesome and exhausting and the kids are currently dug in under covers in their jammies doing what they do when they chill, aka Netflix and Minecraft.

Anyway, back to my first point here.  I would like to begin by giving a quick shout out to my sister, who is doing a great job of running The Tree House Kid and to my Mom who is running Folks Linen!  If it weren’t for those talented and loyal ladies, I would not be able to do what I do.  That is to say, that I wouldn’t be able to focus so much time and attention to what I truly love to do, which is to design, quilt, and be an entrepreneur.  With them running those shops, it gives me the time and mental space to really focus all of my attention (what is left of it anyway), to my quilts.  Please take a moment and visit their shops on Etsy, bookmark the site, and go back and share some love!!  We offer really unique gifts for kids and adults alike,      depending on who or what occasion you are shopping for.  The links can be seen above in the text, on the opening page of my blog, or by following the link at the top of our blog that says “Find Us Elsewhere”.  As I am not making those items myself anymore, it is rare that I have my hands on them to take pictures, share them on Facebook, Instagram, or blog about them, but they are still an important part of Goodwin’s Custom Crafts!!

Now, on to what I wanted to share with you!  Today, I had a change of heart about my quilts.  I know they are lovely and pretty and took a lot of time and money to make.  I know they are worth more to me than I can reasonably sell them for.  I know Etsy is not a fine art Gallery, although you can definitely find fine art there.  I know that most of my quilts are small and will be used with messy kids, on the floor, or out in the yard for picnics…As such, I can NOT charge what I might like to for my quilts because folks who are buying them know that they will end up getting spilled on, pooped on, or curled up on by the family four leggeds.  This is something that I just have to accept!  I have tried to follow the advice of folks from the “charge what you think it’s worth, then double it because your time is valuable” school of thought, I have tried to charge what I would like for my quilts to sell for in a perfect world, where everyone has more than enough money to invest in the arts and pretty stuff, and I have tried at times to charge what they might be worth if they were on the level of fine art hanging in a gallery.  The truth is that when I started this, I liked that my work was affordable and attainable to normal folks with normal cash flow.  I have always offered payment plans for items that were a little more of an investment, and that won’t change, but I want to revisit a time in my life when the art of making quilts was not so much about how much money they could bring in, but in the simple act of making the thing itself.  The process, the journey, the end result.  It is a little harder for me to keep my prices low and competitive because I ONLY use organic cotton in everything I make, so I know my quilts will always be more than the next quilter who uses regular cottons.  I mean, I wish it wasn’t true, but the simple fact is that organic cotton is more expensive than non organic choices…but the old saying of “You get what you pay for ” comes to mind here. Ok, why am I saying all of this?….  

Oh yeah!  I remember.  The good news is that I went through my shop and marked ALL of the quilts down 15%.  That is a starting point.  I only want to make enough money to support my quilting and have a little extra spending money for stuff the family and I like to do.  Nothing too extravagant, just the simple joys of an adventurous life.  So I have marked them down, permanently.  I hope to sell a few this month and clear out some space for some new up and coming projects that I have in the works.  I love to sell my work…it is so exciting each time something sells!  The Etsy app on my phone literally makes a “CA- CHING!” sound like an old cash register every time I make a sale and everyone in my house cheers and takes guesses as to what has just sold!  (Kinda nerdy, I know, but that’s us!)  I want to make it easier for you to own quilts yourself and to keep us playing our favorite guessing game!  Please stop by my store on Etsy, Kari Goodwin Quilts, bookmark the site, check in with the shop at least once a week to see newly listed items, and mostly, check out those quilts!  If you have had your eye on one lately, it might be a good time to snag it!  My quilts usually don’t last for more than a year in my shop, which is a pretty good turnover in my opinion.  If you missed the first announcement, you may also want to know that I am working on a new, stand alone website, called (surprise!) Kari Goodwin Quilts that you can check out as well.  I am still tweaking the listings and making adjustments to the website, as it is only a few days old, but I will keep you posted.  Until then, happy shopping friends!!  Please subscribe to the blog if you haven’t already, and bookmark our site to make it easy to find us again!  Enjoy your weekend!!

Memorial Day ~

To all of those who gave their lives in service to this country, its values, its grand vision of liberty and justice for all, we thank you for your ultimate sacrifdownload (5)ice.  Today through Wednesday, I would like to extend a special Thank you to the servicemen and women of our country with a special 20% off at Kari Goodwin Quilts, today through Wednesday with the coupon code REMEMBER17.  Enjoy the holiday in remembrance of the Fallen, and I hope peace is with you all today.  <3

Also, just to keep my loyal followers “in the know”, I am working on a new website where you can shop directly from Me without having to go through Etsy.  I would love it if you would go take a look at www.karigoodwinquilts.com and bookmark the site so you can keep up with my progress!  I hope to soon link this site with that one, but I am still trying to work out the particulars.  More details to come!

CYBER MONDAY SALE~

To say THANK YOU to everyone, everywhere, to all the customers from day one, who have been amazing, presented challenges for me to rise to, who have left feedback that has literally left me in tears, I say THANK YOU.  Today you can get 25% off your total purchase at Kari Goodwin Quilts with the coupon code CYBER2016.  Links to my Etsy shop, as well as The Tree House Kid and Folks Linen can be seen here.

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We are Back!

If you had come to Goodwin’s Custom Crafts in the last couple weeks, looking for some updates or galleries, looking to connect or get in touch, you would have been very disappointed to find that we were not here!!  Between Bluehost miscommunication and the kids going back to school, renewing my web hosting was the last thing on my mind.  For a few days I contemplated letting the website go, but as with most things, the decision to continue with it came down to commitment. DSC_0882  Or as is sometimes the case, a lack thereof.  This website…is it for blogging?  Sharing galleries?  Linking customers who come looking for one thing to the possibility of sharing new products with them?  Is it simply an effort to validate my “brand” (whatever that really means I am not sure I have one!!) or what?  The answer came eventually to me, in a sort of small sadness that a connection had been lost.  Whoever you are and where ever you are, I have a desire to connect with you.  Here…Instagram…real life…And this is one way that I feel comfortable doing that.  An invisible audience that can be, at least in my imagination, as kind and receptive as any loving audience could be!  And I missed you.  Whoever you are and where ever you come from, I confess I did.  I am going to offer a weekly COUPON special to all of my blog subscribers, starting with free shipping on ALL orders from Kari Goodwin Quilts (formerly the quilt and baby shop of Goodwin’s Custom Crafts…But that is a blog post for another day.)  Enter the coupon code FREESHIPPING during checkout at Kari Goodwin Quilts or Folks Linen.  No minimum or maximum purchase rules, just simple and free shipping.  Check back next week to see what the new coupon code might be and until then, happy shopping!  ALSO…IF YOU WANTED TO CHECK OUT MY BRAND SPANKING NEW WEBSITE CALLED www.karigoodwinquilts.com YOU CAN USE THE COUPON CODE THERE TOO!  (Can you tell I’m excited?!)  Thanks and love ya’ll!

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Everything Must Change…

I was a big fan of Judy Collins when I was a kid.  I liked to sing along to her music because I could mimic her voice.  My favorite of her songs (or was it really hers, I don’t know) was Everything Must Change…Nothing stays the same…everyone will change, nothing, no-one goes unchanged, or something like that.  You get the idea.  True words for sure.  We’ve had some changes here as well, as Josh has moved on from the woodworking business and is now gainfully employed again.  I have restructured by business to bring my Sister and Momma into the fold, and my Sister now runs The Tree House Kid, and my Mom runs Folks Linen, leaving me with one shop…Goodwin’s CuIMG_3565stom Crafts.
I have changed the name of my shop to Kari Goodwin Quilts after MONTHS of mentally seeking the shelter of a new shop name.  Goodwin’s Custom Crafts was, after all, Josh’s name that he picked for his business forever ago and I just wanted to evolved from that and start fresh.  I wanted a name that was cool and funky and defined my shop, but nothing came, so I just chose the simple, straightforward approach, as that pretty much defines me as a person anyway.  I am at least straightforward if not simple. So Kari Goodwin Quilts it is.  I already like how seeing that name IMG_3062on the top of my Etsy shop makes me think about my work, if it is living up to the name, if I am in fact actually quilting.  I just renewed my membership for the Modern Quilt Guild and have signed up as a Super Volunteer for the show in Savannah, so I am super excited to IMG_3349be attending my first ever QuiltCon in 2017.  My point is, I’m changing.  I am trying to shed old skin and wriggle out the kinks in this new skin.  It’s a skin I’ve wanted to wear for a while now, focusing more on my true passion of quilting.  I can say right now, at this moment,I have six quilts in some, WAIT, no SEVEN quilts in some stage of the process.  I am a little rusty and my work is still smaller than I would like for it to be, but I am moving in the right direction at least.  Here just a few pictures of my Works In Progress or #wip, just in case you are an old Judy Collins fan like I was and maybe didn’t know what #wip meant! 🙂

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