Friday, December 30, 2011

The Winners Have Been Notified

The winners of the Blog Hop Party Giveaway have been notified and their prizes mailed.

No sewing or crafting of any kind is happening over here. Unless you consider DIY "crafting".

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Have Not Forgotten

About the Blog Hop Party, that is.
I will announce the winners before Christmas, I promise.

I've been very distracted by my bathroom remodeling project.

If you're at all interested in my trials and tribulations, I have a Flickr Set chronicling my progress.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Quick Reminder

Entries for the Blog Hop Party giveaway close at midnight tonight. More than 300 entries so far! If you haven't entered yet, there is still time.

On a shop note, I have added a bunch of bolt-ends to the store. These are the last little bits off the bolts that are just taking up precious space around here, so I've priced them really low.

I've also added some happy fabric bundles to the Etsy shop:

Have a happy weekend!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Cost of Selling on Etsy

I, like many of you, love Etsy. This weekend I stumbled upon some lovely, neutral buttons. Many of them. Too many to keep.
So, I decided to list some of them in my Etsy store. Share the wealth, so to speak.

When I plan to list something, I always browse around to see what a reasonable price would be, based on similar items for sale.

I have noticed that some sellers may not take into account the cost of selling their items when they price them. I made the same mistake a couple of times and thought you may find it interesting to know, either as a buyer or a seller. Even if you're not looking to make money, it's nice to know that you're at least breaking even.

Example 1: 100 buttons for $2.50
Etsy Listing price: $0.20
Etsy commission: $0.09 (3.5%)
Paypal: $0.30 + $0.07 (2.9%)
Total cost to sell those buttons: $0.66 (26% of the listing price)
Money in your pocket: $1.84

Example 2: 3 yards of ribbon for $1.50
Etsy Listing price: $0.20
Etsy commission: $0.05 (3.5%)
Paypal: $0.30 + $0.04 (2.9%)
Total cost to sell the ribbon: $0.45 (30% of the listing price)
Money in your pocket: $1.05

Example 3: 1 yard of fabric for $9.25
Etsy Listing price: $0.20
Etsy commission: $0.32 (3.5%)
Paypal: $0.30 + $0.27 (2.9%)
Total cost to sell the fabric: $1.09 (12% of the listing price)
Money in your pocket: $8.16

Obviously the net effect is much larger for smaller items. Smaller items are what we most often list though...

(Edited to add:  I was just reminded that PayPal charges for the full amount, including the shipping. Accounting for the $1.75 shipping, the $2.50 buttons actually cost me $0.71 to sell! And the ribbon $0.50, which leaves me with $1 in my pocket, barely covering my cost - not to mention shipping supplies. Maybe I shouldn't have analyzed this...)

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Christmas!!!! And Blog Hop Party Time!

As many of you probably know, Michele at the Quilting Gallery is leading the way in a GIANT Blog Hop Party with tons of giveaways. At last count she had almost 250 blogs participating.  The participating blogs will be listed over there tomorrow morning.

Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

I figured "the more, the merrier..." contribution is this:

For one winner - pack of baby rick rack in EVERY COLOR!

For 2 winners - a 30's Charm Pack

For 4 winners - a twiddletails pattern of their choice.
Choose from:

or, of course,

What do you have to do to win something?
For one chance, leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite color is.
For a second chance, hop on over to my Facebook page, and "Like" me over there.  Then come back and leave another post telling me. If you already like the Facebook page, just leave a second post lettting me know.

PLEASE make sure I have a way to contact you.  Quite a few giveaway winners have lost out in the past because their comments have no links.

(This giveaway ends at midnight PST on December 17th.)
Entries for the giveaway are now closed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Focus, Focus, Focus

This seems to be my mantra lately.

Tax time is nearing, so during the day I'm doing this:

Tax Time!

At night I've returned to the hexie quilt. It really looks like I'm only picking her up about once a year.
A conservative calculation has determined that I need AT LEAST 16 more "flowers" just to get her semi-square.
Grandmother's Flower Garden

Monday, December 5, 2011

The (not so) Quick Tree Skirt

This was going to be a tutorial post for a quick little tree skirt. Two hours or so. Five hours later I was still not done.

If I hadn't decided to make my own bias binding...
Out of teenie scraps of fabric...

I could have showered, gotten dressed, driven to the store, bought some pre-made tape, had a leisurely lunch, and the project would still have been finished sooner than via the painful process I went through.

In short, what I did was:
Cut three circles - one out of focus fabric (from the 12 Days of Christmas collection), one out of batting, and one out of background fabric.
I folded the fabric in half and used a disappearing marker attached to a piece of string to draw a half circle.
Cut a little circle in the center.
Layered all three fabrics, pinned them together and stitched half an inch from the edge all around.  I also stitched two lines 1" apart from the center to the edge, so I could cut the opening without the layers shifting.
After that I made the aforementioned bias tape.  More than 100" of it!
Sewed on the tape.
Discovered that the hole in the top was too big and the skirt kept sliding down the tree trunk.  Inserted some elastic. Still too loose. Pulled the elastic tighter.  Yay!
Took probably an hour to figure out how to sew ties to the skirt. Don't ask...

Anyhow, I do like the way it turned out, so I suppose it was worth a lost Sunday.
(I made the little tree topper last year.  Instructions here.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tree Toppers Christmas Block

I'm today's designer in the Quilting Gallery's Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along!

My block is called "Tree Toppers".

(If you can't download it, please email me at twiddletails(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll send it to you.)
When I designed the block I was quite convinced that the stars were classic star blocks but I haven't been able to find a star like this or a name for it anywhere!
The tutorial is pretty comprehensive but it does assume that you know how to make half square triangles and, I thought, the basic star. Apparently not.'s a photo tutorial for making the squares that are the points of the stars.

First make a half square triangle (or two, since they come in pairs).
(You can find a more detailed tutorial for HST's here.)
Then cut two squares the color of the star, and the same size as the half square triangles.
Draw a diagonal line corner to corner on the wrong side of each square.
Place a square right sides together with a half square triangle.
Sew 1/4" away from the line on both sides.
Note how the seams are perpendicular to the seam on the half square triangle. (You can see it showing through the fabric in the photo.)
Cut along the drawn line and press open.
You will actually end up with 4 of these:

Another thing:
In this tutorial you will be cutting squares in multiple sizes.
To ensure that you don't get lost in a maze of squares, I recommend grouping them by size as you cut.
You can even label the little piles with Post-it's if you want, but I just laid them out from large to small:

The fabrics I used to make my block are:
Moda Marble Dots - Yellow
What a Hoot Dots - Green
Squiggle - Lime
Hallmark Christmas Snow Flake Circles - Blue
They are all available in the store.
I've also added the tutorial to the free patterns in the store, so you'll be able to access it at any time.

Don't forget to visit the Quilt-Along home page and have a look at all the other wonderful blocks!
Oh, and you can post photos of your blocks to the Flickr group and have a chance to win some very pretty buttons!

Monday, November 28, 2011

This is not all I'm doing

I promise.
I've spent couple of days getting my tutorial ready for the Quilting Gallery Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along. (You can see little clues in the photo below.)

But at night, I work on Baltimore Christmas.
This block has more than 70 applique pieces!

In my last post I mentioned that I was having trouble getting smooth curves.
Thanks to everyone who sent their suggestions, especially Lynette.

The bottom line is that everything was just too big: my basting stitches, my seam allowances and, most importantly, my applique stitches.



Not perfect yet, but I can live with this result. (Yes, I did have to redo 12 leaves!)
Another thing I learned was that not all fabric is created equal when it comes to applique. If the weave is too loose, there's a lot of fraying. If the weave is too tight, it gets doubly hard to get those curves smooth.

Remember to come back on Wednesday for my block tutorial.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Baltimore Progress

Working on Block 8 - "Mistletoe Wreath"

I find that I'm having trouble getting smooth curves using the backbasting technique. Any advice from the backbasters out there?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baltimore Christmas - first block done!

Minus the eye. Still figuring out how to tackle a teenie circle.

Baltimore Christmas Quilt Block 3
(Estimated time spent making this block: 25 hours)

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Appliqué Station

Complete with TV remote and M&M's.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A little obsessed

Still having fun with back basting.
The block is a little wrinkled from all the handling. Maybe I should use a hoop.

Many people have asked about back basting. I thought I'd write a tutorial when I get the hang of it, but why reinvent the wheel?
Marjorie has an amazing tutorial on her blog:
Just look in the top right corner. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Marjorie!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I really need to focus!

I used to be organized and focused but in the last year or so I've become a little scattered with a very short attention span.

Last night I played around with my new iPad (love it!) and a free sketching app.

iPad "art"
iPad "art"
I'm no artist but I don't think this is too bad for an hour or two's work.
Maybe I should just embrace the "new me".

(If you have an iPad, I used the free version of Sketchbook Pro but I may buy the full version. I love it so far.
I did all the line drawings as well as the coloring on the girl with my finger. Don't you just love how her hair and her hat become one?
I bought a stylus and colored the spools using that.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hand Appliqué

I've been on a quest to find the best and most accurate hand appliqué technique for a couple of years. Unsuccessfully.

When I started the Baltimore Christmas quilt back in March, I decided to try using plastic templates. Bad idea. The pieces are so small that the little bit of bulk the plastic adds enlarges the sections so much that they won't fit.

I was very discouraged. And gave up.

This weekend at our local quilt show, I spoke to a lady who was working on a beautiful hand appliqué project. And had actually made this quilt.
She recommended that I try backbasting.

I think I may have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I've got a couple of kinks to sort out (thread, needles, etc.) but I like it. I really like it.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Back from Houston

I'll be sharing photos soon. In the mean time, this is what I spent every spare moment in Houston working on.  Because I've become an expert procrastinator.

It's a challenge quilt for my local quilt guild's show this weekend. And it was due yesterday.
The inspiration is supposed to be the "Red Poppy" painting by Georgia o'Keeffe. Not sure how successful that was.

Please excuse the poor photo quality and the magnets. It's dreary outside and the only white surface I could find with some decent-ish light was the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hexie Happiness

Making wonderful progress on the mini hexie challenge quilt.
This is the top basically done. I'm going to remove all the white hexies. They're really distracting.
It's supposed to be a little art-quilt-y, so I think it'll work.

Challenge Quilt

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tiles or Scales?

I had to make a fish-themed block as part of a gift quilt.
Trying to find appropriate fabrics, I found these yellow "Roof Tiles".

Fish Block
Amazing how taking something out of context can sometimes change your perception.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting distracted

I have SO much to do. A quilt to finish for a quilt show. Getting ready for Houston. Finding/making a Halloween costume. Cleaning the house.  Doing the dishes. Redoing the guest bathroom.

Instead, I make hats.
I was at the store looking for blunt-nosed scissors to take on the plane, but got distracted by this lovely cotton yarn.
And had to make something.

Crochet Beanie
Crochet Flower
(It's a baby hat.  Size 12-18 months.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Little Storage Binder

I have had a couple of questions about the little binder in the photo in yesterday's post.

I love that little binder.
I received it as a gift from Brenda (the Dear Jane lady) a couple of years ago.

The little "ziplocked" pockets are 8.5" x 5" in size and perfect for little projects like my 1/2" hexies.
(The poppy is my inspiration picture for the little challenge quilt.)

So, you want to know where Brenda found this little binder?

Bass Pro Shops.  That's where!
It's a little worm/tackle binder.

I looked around on their web site and I think mine is the large bag here: $11.99!
If this was a "quilting accessory" it would probably cost $29.99 at least.
I hadn't seen the double bag until I started scouring the web site and I think I may need one.

After Brenda sent me the little binder, I did buy myself a bigger one.  This one. It has bigger zip bags (7.5" x 9") and more storage for scissors, thread and such but only has one handle which makes it kind of hard to carry.
(You want the "Finesse" bag, not the "Extreme".)

If you hop over to Bass Pro Shops, tell them I sent you. Maybe I'll get commission...
Yeah right!

Off to go order the double bag now, since I have the page open and all.

Edited: OMG! Search for "hard tackle boxes". I think I need this.