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!!

Holiday Shipping Updates~

Hi, Hello, and Greetings from the Goodwin’s Custom Crafts team!  The elves are busy working, I assure you!  The Tree House Kid has had another amazing season full of wonderful return customers, as well of plenty of new ones.  Items are currently in production and will be shipping out in time for Christmas!  Folks Linen is happily plugging through all of
the holiday napkin orders, so thank you to everyone who gave the gift of eco-friendly re-usable linen napkins this year, as well as the various other gifts from Folks Linen!  We couldn’t have made it without you all!  To my Kari Goodwin Quilts customers, thank you as well for making this THE most productive year to date for Kari Goodwin Quilts.  Ya’ll are ALL so loved, I promise you that!  The Tree House Kid is closed for orders, but Folks Linen and Kari Goodwin Quilts are still open for holiday gifts with a nice selection of Ready to Ship items.  In fact, nearly HALF of my KGQ shop is Ready to Ship, and I am offering same day shipping for all orders now through December 20th.  There are a variety of shipping options to choose from during checkout, so the closer we get to the 20th, the more I would recommend choosing the “Priority” shipping options.  It is a couple of dollars more in some cases, but it will be well worth it to have your packages in hand sooner.  I have made a new shop section and moved it to the very top of the list for visibility with all of my Ready to Ship items in Kari Goodwin Quilts.  Among them are quilts, baby gift sets, pillows, and wall hangings.  You can see them by clicking this link.  Thanks so much and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Goodwin’s Custom Crafts!

Featured Item of the DAY!

DSC_0119

 

The featured item of the day is the gruesome, terrifying, no-just-kidding, he’s really sweet, Tiger mask!  Handmade, hand cut, machine stitched and embellished using only high quality, durable, and machine washable eco felt.  I love eco felt because it is made from post consumer plastic bottles, right there in the USA!  Score and score.  I am getting back into my groove this year, post Halloween, post-Christmas, post New Year, post getting back into a routine, so I thought I would cut myself a little slack and share a simple, fun product just to make you smile this beautiful Friday afternoon.  IMG_3004These are also available in pure merino wool felt if you have a little more $$ to spend.  The wool felt version is not machine washable, but is so super nice and naturally flame retardant.  It’s great play either way.  Find them, the tails, and the handmade tiger fleece vests to round off the adventure in my shop, The Tree House Kid!  Have fun and be safe this weekend!  Cheers from all of us at Goodwin’s Custom Crafts!

HOLIDAY SHOPPING NEWS ~

I am getting excited about my tour about town tomorrow, seeking out all of my favorite local businesses to support on Small Business Saturday!  I support small year round, but I do understand how exciting it can be for a small business to have a banging start to the holiday season, so I am going to do my best to hit up all of my favorites.  Speaking of hitting up your favorites (wink-wink!) I would like to share our own small business specials and events coming up.  Josh and I both are offering a sale in our Etsy shops through Cyber Monday for 10% off $100 purchase, 15% off $200 purchase, and 20% off $300 purchase!  That’s a pretty big sale for us, so if you wanted to do any holiday shopping with us, it will not get better than this!  UNLESS you are within driving distance and would like to come shop with us in person this upcoming weekend, December 5th and 6th.  We will be at our annual Big Oaks Winter Sale out on the lovely 300+ acre farm of our friend Carey and Brant Slay from 10am-5pm both days, and you can get directions if you plug this address into Google Maps:  10747 UNION PLEASANT GROVE OMAHA, GA 31821  In addition to all of our work, Carey will be selling all of her wonderful wood fired pottery.  We will have a friendly, open buffet of snacks and tea to eat while you browse, chat, and take a break from the holiday chaos under the mighty boughs of the Big Oak trees.  We offer great in-person discounts and will have a variety of items from all four of the Etsy shops on display.  I love to “clean house” at the end of the year to make room for new products, so a lot of things will be greatly discounted.  This is a great opportunity to shop small and get lots of beautifully made gifts for your friends and family.  These pictures from last year’s show speak for themselves and we hope to see you there!  If you would like to see links to all of our Etsy shops in one place and start shopping early, click here.

DSC_0299 DSC_0271 DSC_0212DSC_0223 DSC_0216




The Harrowing Halloween Truth…

 

Let me start by saying that it’s been a GREAT Halloween season.  This year was a little different because my Mom was coming over a couple of times a week to help me snip threads, cut out designs, and wrangle the little ones while I pushed through the workload, not to mention this is the first season that Josh has also been working from home and available to be my back-up.  All in all, I am coming out on top of the game this year.  That is not always the case, trust me.  IMG_4462The harrowing Halloween truth is that this time of year, the volume of business which I am simultaneously SO grateful for and slightly terrified of, nearly ruins me.  No matter how prepared I am, no matter how many extra capes, crowns, and masks I have put back throughout the year, it always has a way of sneaking up on me.  I go from having fewer and fewer little moments to relax to all of a sudden, I realize I haven’t signed a kid’s school folder for weeks, haven’t been in the kitchen for days, (I have only cooked about one homemade meal a week for the last couple months, which is horrible for me because I LOVE to cook and it is so cathartic to me!), and have nearly given up running and biking altogether…All the little things that make me feel grounded and centered and pulled together, in other words, get forsaken during this season.  And while I have gotten so much better about taking care of myself and maintaining good familial relationships during this phase, there have been years (this is my fifth Halloween on Etsy as a costume designer) that I have felt like a vessel for all the work that passed through my hands and nothing more when it was over.  IMG_4110Literally nothing left inside me.  Hollow, empty, sad, tired, and so in need of a break and some down time that I didn’t even realize it anymore.  You all know the feeling.  One day of needing a break goes unfulfilled on top of another and another and before long you are wondering why did I want to work from home again?…If you don’t know the feeling, I will only say that it is soul wrenching and quite hard to recover from.  Add to that stress the fact that I LOVE this time of year for what it affords my family, and am usually eager to reopen the shop after Halloween because I am able to save money, fund Christmas, birthdays, and extracurricular sport activities, and get on top of things going into the new year with the revenue earned this time of year, (No time to crawl under a rock and nurse your wounds, I can tell you that!!) and one busy season easily flows right into the other.  And speaking of wounds, there have been plenty.  There was the one year I dropped my spring-loaded thread trimming scissors and in trying to catch them, I stabbed myself (deeply!) in the leg, the countless callouses on my not-so-dainty hands which I have given up ever getting rid of, the aches in my hips and back from sitting in a chair at the sewing machine for hours and hours every day, the broken needles popping off and ricochetting off my face….The concept of pouring your blood, sweat, and tears doesn’t just remain some distant cliché, but a promise here during Halloween and then again for Christmas business.  All is not dark in this tale though!  Of course I wouldn’t be in my fifth year if that was all there was to the story.  That is but a small part that I usually keep to myself and those closest around me.  This year, I am coming out on top, though!  With Mom and Josh’s help, it has felt like a different year.  Not to mention, unsurprisingly, the longer I do this, the easier it seems to get!

Now that I have revealed the ugly truth about this time of year, I will reveal something else too. IMG_4323 The counter story to this one.  The uplifting, gratifying, happy version.  The version where I get a picture from a customer, whose child has just tried on their costumes for the first time and they are glowing!  Or the review from a Mom who said her kid doesn’t want to take their costume off, or wanted to sleep in it every night!  The endless inspiration I get from customers is such a source of renewal and rejuvenation.  They come to me asking for what they think will be the craziest idea, but to me is a challenge that is like a bright light bursting through the clouds.  In my house we talk about “The Bucket”…That internal source of joy and happiness that can be filled or emptied by certain experiences.  My Dad always called it “The Internal Well” and it became a metaphor for self-care and guide for who to let into your life.  Does someone help fill your bucket, or drain it?  And the same goes for experiences.  I will make the distinction here that all my customers, all my orders, all my success fills my well.  Fills it so high!  The only draining part is the longevity of the process…The 16 hour days and aches and pains that go along with it.  I love ALL my customers so much and am so grateful to them all.  Having said that, I now say that there is a special place in my life for these custom order requests.  They fill the well in double measure and fuel so much of the creativity I draw on throughout the year.  It really is a blessing to have people come to me, to entrust their kids’ visions, dreams, and fantasies with me to make them a reality.  I changed The Tree House Kid slogan this year after having this thought to:  “THE TREE HOUSE KID, Turning Fantasies into Realities Since 2011!”  I know it’s a fitting one because I’ve looked at it for months and haven’t gotten tired of it yet, and I think it helps define TTHK pretty perfectly.  As a tribute to the end of Halloween Season 2015, coming out on top and in better and better shape every year, and to all my customers, big and small, old and young, custom and not custom alike, I share these with you now.  Enjoy your Haunting and Long Live ALL The Tree House Kids~~~

IMG_4424 IMG_4422 IMG_4407
IMG_4324
IMG_4262 IMG_4182 IMG_4110 IMG_4098 IMG_4035 IMG_4009 IMG_3998 IMG_3968
IMG_3645 IMG_3354 IMG_3261 IMG_3248 IMG_2979IMG_4577icm_fullxfull.70075047_1nwijwcr955wws8wgk04icm_fullxfull.70075049_mjk0ex5g95ww8gsok4s4

Today’s Featured Item – Albino Alligator Mask and Tail Set

Today’s fIMG_1570eatured item came from a custom order request from a repeat customer who had already ordered a green crocodile mask and tail set.  This time the little boy wanted an albino alligator!  Apparently there is a famous one at the zoo near their home, and it had endeared itself to this little boy very much.  I love getting custom order requests because so often folks can come up with awesome ideas or color combinations that I might not think of myself.  It always provides fresh inspiration and leads to new creative outlets.  So I set to work thinking of this costume and how it would turn out…At first I was a little discouraged from the project because, well, how fun could it be to make an ALBINO alligator.  It’s all white, right?  Most of my costumes are full of over-reaching color and this one had me a little stumped at first.  But once I started pulling out my various shades of white, I started to see something very peaceful and unique emerging.  She wanted it made out of pure wool felt.  I LOVE working with wool felt and started offering it as an option in The Tree House Kid late last year after I had several customers request it.  I can make it out of Ecofelt as well, but this one in particular was built from pure wool felt.  I like for my animal costumes to carry some realistic features, so the first thing I do when I design an animal costume is look the animal up on Wikipedia or in my animal field guides.  I use a compilation of pictures to draw a sketch of the face, then a more refined version that can be reduced down to simple mask features.  I start with the eyes and build the mask around the eyes, which is ironic because it is the eyes that are empty in a mask, but also what MAKES it a mask.  I was really happy with the way this set turned out.  They liked it enough to get one for their son and a friend as well!  So out there somewhere, there are two little albino alligator buddies probably visiting this rare and precious animal in its habitat, hopefully learning more about the animal through the experience and of course, through their play.  Peace to each and every one of you on this evening.  IMG_1538

Today’s Featured Item – Dragon Knight Adventure Gear by The Tree House Kid

IMG_4859Today’s featured item is a mighty costume, not for the faint hearted!  Made for one who braves life and limb in pursuit of the mighty beasts of this world who wreak havoc on innocent villagers and peasants, defenseless stuffed animals and little brothers everywhere!  Forged in the depths of my tiny sewing room…I mean, the magical cave at the end of Goodwin’s Glen, these fantastic Ecofelt body armor pieces will surely give your little ones the strength to do the most epic battling of their wee little lives!  Their great big lives!  Their magnificent, beast defying lives!  Kids are at the heart of nearly everything I do.  They have inspired me since I was a kid…sounds weird, I know, but what I mean is that I was the 13-year-old who LOVED playing dress up with my 5-year-old little sister.  The one who volunteered to be the helper at the church nursery where my Dad was a choir director when I was a kid, just to be able to play with them all and be sure everybody had a friend.  IMG_4891The one who dreamed of having my own children when I was barely a freshman in college.  I always loved the little kids, the picked on kids, the friendless kids.  Actually, take that sentence and apply it to all people.  The little people, the picked on people, the friendless people.  I like them because they are usually the kindest and bravest people you’ll meet.  There is a quote that I read once that reminds me of these people, ” A shallow river makes noise.  A deep river says nothing.”  But every now and then we the littles rise up and feel brave and proud and make some noise!  Mythical and monstrous in our own right!  Mightier than we ever dreamed, and braver than we ever knew possible.  IMG_4792Seriously, though.  I love my costume business and as things are starting to shift into high gear for The Tree House Kid, I just wanted to share some of the inspiration with you.  Inside us all is a tiny person in need of a great big voice!  Give kids a voice early enough, teach them to always use it justly, and what marvelous things could happen!  I have heard from so many customers of mine who have told me their kids want to sleep in their costumes, or never take them off, or love them dearly.  Hearing things like this from customers all over this world are a gift I could never have imagined getting back in return for what I do.  I don’t know why I followed my thoughts down the path I did tonight with the whole “I love kids and always have” thing.  I am not even entirely sure it has anything to do with The Tree House Kid and ALL the adventure gear I make there, but I just couldn’t erase the sentence once it was out.  It’s all too true.  Too raw.  (Not to mention I am 100% sure that it is in fact very related…I mean, hello?!)  And a good friend who knows blogging told me that you really can’t be honest enough.  So there you have it.  Goodnight and now back to my magical sewing cave room.

Today’s Featured Item – Hand Dyed Play Silks

IMG_0760

Today’s featured item is the Hand Dyed Play Silk from The Tree House Kid, in honor of my re-opening of TTHK Etsy shop today!  These are great for imaginative play, and encouraged many different creative scenarios even in the short time that the kids played with them and I took pictures.  It was a great joy to watch!  Everything from capes to scarves to blindfolds to pirate flags, the possibilities seemed endless.  Made from super lightweight 100% silk, they billow and blow in the wind with very little effort, as if they enjoy being caught in the slightest breeze.  They are serged around the edges to prevent fraying and to enhance durability.  These are all hand dyed by us in a variety of colors.  Some are tie dyed while others are simply dyed a solid color, and perhaps my favorites are the ones that are dyed in a gradient from rich to subtle color.  The colors are soft and pastel at first glance, because the silk is so sheer, but they are actually quite vibrant.  These measure approximately 28″ x 34″ and are hand-made from start to finish.  To see them on Etsy, click this link.  Have a great day!!!IMG_0637IMG_0662

 

I am One Lucky Girl!

Let me start by saying that I am most certainly, One Lucky Girl!!  This whole, “Put yourself out there on a website” business is a little disarming to me.  I used to be this crazy, out-there girl, who spoke before she thought.  Writing and being expressive was EASY!  But as I have gotten older, I have become more introspective, and choose more carefully what comes out of my mouth.  While that definitely has its advantages, it can also be a little boring and safe.  So here we go.  My mission?  To let it all out again, and share with you all the way my customers share with me!  Since I don’t really know where to start (because while this website is new, my crafting is NOT and I have years and years worth of pictures to add to my galleries) I will begin with a simple cape project I did for a good friend.  She gave this to a pair of new big sisters!  How sweet she  was to do this.  I have the best customers in the world!  From a friend who wants to buy a cape for her (adult) friend who is battling cancer, to crazy rocker chicks who want to buy capes for their boyfriend, to Moms to be who are organizing a super hero family photo shoot for their birth announcements, I get ALL SORTS of folks, and each story intruigues me.  Each story is unique and special, and I am one lucky girl that people share those stories with me!
IMG_5606