Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Diving Board and Quilter's Planner Giveaway from Clinton Modern Creative

Welcome! Clinton Modern Creative and I are very pleased to bring you two giveaways from their shop: A fat quarter bundle of Alison Glass' newest line "Diving Board." But that's not all! Clinton Modern Creative is also generously giving away a 2018 Quilter's Planner, of which Alison Glass is the featured designer! There will be two winners!

Clinton Modern Creative is a Canadian online fabric shop based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for Modern Makers. They focus on basics, blenders and low volume fabric. They also sell notions, patterns and bag making supplies. They add new fabrics, patterns and notions to their stock regularly so there's always something awesome to find there.

Diving Board by Alison Glass.

The 2018 Quilter's Planner featuring Alison Glass.

Thank you so much to Clinton Modern Creative for sponsoring this amazing giveaway!

To enter to win this beautiful bundle of Diving Board and to win a 2018 Quilter's Planner please use the Rafflecopters Below. The Rafflecoper ensures that we can contact the winners and also makes it easier to run the giveaways. Best of luck!

Due to shipping costs this giveaway is open to Canada and USA and closes November 6th, 2017 at midnight Mountain Time. The "Diving Board" bundle will ship from Daydreams of Quilts and the Quilter's Planner will ship from Clinton Modern Creative when it arrives in their stock, most likely November. Winners will be notified via email.

If you cannot wait for please click the links in the first paragraph or the paragraph above to purchase the bundle and/or the planner. This giveaway is sponsored by Clinton Modern Creative.

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 16 October 2017

Jack o' Heart Halloween Quilt

Welcome to Daydreams of Quilts! If you are coming to me from the "Sew Much Fun" blog hop thank you for being here.

If you follow me you know that I just released my first ebook last month! The book is called "A Year of Pixel Heart Quilts" and it includes 10 patterns. I designed the Jack o' Heart pattern in the book specifically with this blog hop in mind.

This was a really fun quilt to make and I loved going through my orange scaps and fussy cutting some of them for the Jack o' Lantern face. I made this quilt as a wall hanging in about a day but it can also be made as a lap quilt.

This quilt is a pattern in my ebook that you can easily make in time for Halloween.

A Year of Pixel Heart Quilts is an ebook with ten quilt patterns to make beginner friendly pixel heart quilts for every season, and several holidays, throughout the year. The download includes a 62 page ebook with ten patterns.

These quilts are quick to make so they make great gifts for friends, family or charity projects.

Each pattern in the book includes photographs of sample quilts, a digital quilt layout diagram page and digital block construction diagrams. A second file included in the download contains colouring pages for some of the quilts and templates. Detailed instructions are written for each pattern.

All quilts in the ebook are designed, pieced and quilted by myself and all patterns are written by myself as well.

This book encourages you to shop your stash first as all of these quilts are scrap friendly. The scrappier the better!

Other bloggers on the Blog Hop today:
Jen Frost (hostess) from Faith and Fabric
Bernie Kringel from Needle & Foot
Audrey Mann from The Cloth Parcel
Anita LaHay from Daydreams of Quilts (you're here!)
Laura Piland from Slice of Pi Quilts
Miranda Blakely from I Have Purple Hair
Jen Shaffer from Patterns By Jen
Suzy Webster from Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Eleri from Sew and Tell Project

Friday, 6 October 2017

Christmas Stockings

The Etsy Edmonton show went very well. In fact, it was the best show I've been to so far for both income and experience. I would definitely do it again!

I made 29 Christmas stockings for the show. If you were to ever wonder... how long does it take to make 29 quilted Christmas stockings? I can tell you it takes three 8 hour days. I sold 8 stockings and while I would have liked to have sold all 29 I am happy I sold 8. I have the remaining stockings divided up. Some are listed on Etsy and Daydreams of Quilts.com and some are in a local shop on consignment.

I used this free tutorial to make my stockings. Here is a look at the one's I have listed on Etsy and on my own website. I am doing one more Christmas show in November and I expect that Black Friday will be very busy online so I plan to have another marathon round of stocking making soon.

Quilted Stocking made with Tula Pink "Holiday Homies"

Stocking made with Tula Pink "Holiday Homies"

I think the is Riley Blake fabric in this stocking.

Above and below stockings made with Valorie Wells fabric and Kona solids.

Quilted stocking made with Winterkist fabric and mini pom-pom trim.

This week I have taken the week off from sewing to do a major fall cleaning of my house. Tomorrow I tackle the sewing room which will be quite a job. Wish me luck on that!

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

How Military Life Has Impacted Me and My Business

I committed to writing a blog post on how military life has impacted my business for a Military Spouses Business Support Group I am part of on Facebook so I thought it would only make sense to share it here on my blog too. I am kind of giving you my life story here but here goes...

I know there are a lot of military wives who are quilters so hopefully some of you can relate to my story.

How Military Life Has Impacted Me and My Business

I have been a military wife for 17 years and a common-law spouse for years before that. Military life did not impact me much, other than the heart ache factor of having my spouse deployed, until I started experiencing postings and had children. For the first eight years of our relationship my husband and I lived in a house that we owned and there were two overseas deployments but no postings. I worked full time throughout this time. Having my own business was always an inkling in my mind but I had no idea how to make it happen.

That all changed in 2004 when we were posted across the country, over 5000 km from my friends and family and on the way there I became pregnant with our first child.
Photo of Lake Louise in Banff, AB Canada from our recent family vacation.
We had bought a house in New Brunswick thinking that I would be able to find a job and that we would enjoy the dual incomes we had all along. Little did we know.

For most of my life I have been a big city dweller apart from five years as a teenager where we lived in small towns. I have always been able to find full time work. When we arrived in Oromocto, NB full time work became something like the Holy Grail. An impossible dream. I couldn’t even get hired on at McDonald’s. This was partly due to the economic situation in the province and partly due to the fact that I was a military wife and “from away”. So for four years I did not have full time work and spent quite a bit of time volunteering for the MFRC (Military Family Resource Centre) where I made friends and built relationships with people. I took in babies to babysit and my own child had playmates his own age. I also delivered newspapers very early in the morning in desperation. This was in order to buy groceries because after my husband’s parental leave he had to pay back pension payments that were missed on his leave and we could not afford to eat and keep our house. Still I did not know how to start my own business up.

In 2008 we moved back to Edmonton but I was pregnant with our second child and knew I would be staying home with my kids. My husband deployed overseas again. I tried to work part time but I was having to rely heavily on my parents, specifically my Dad, to help me with childcare because my husband was away so much that even trying to arrange my work schedule around his military schedule did not work out well. Working was very difficult.

My family at Lake Louise. (There was forest fire smoke on this day so it is hazy.)

In 2010 I discovered the world of quilting blogs online. Etsy was in full swing. Suddenly I had a whole new community to talk to. If they could have blogs and Etsy shops so could I! The internet opened up major opportunities for me. I started my Etsy shop and blog in 2011. Even then I was floundering around not sure how to build my audience and any sales I made on Etsy were by chance. It was very difficult to work on both the blog and the shop with two small children and a husband who was away more than he was home.

It wasn’t until 2013 when we were posted to Wainwright and my husband no longer deploys anywhere that I was finally able to start building momentum with both the shop and the blog. I finally felt like I knew what I was doing. With the posting though came a very large pay cut to the tune of about $1,200.00 per month! We had debt based on our Edmonton income. In Edmonton we had LDL (land duty allowance - for all those deployments to the field) and we had PLD (Post Living Differential). For whatever bizarre reason moving two hours away in the same province meant we lost the PLD and we lost the LDA because he no longer deploys. We couldn’t afford our bank loan payments and still put food on the table. I had to find a part time job.

As with so many of my part time jobs I had a “boss” and not a “leader”. A boss is someone who feels that they wield control over others. A leader leads a team of people and inspires them to work together and to do better. I do not work well under bosses. I left the first job to go to a second where I had more of a leader but when the leader was away the “supervisors” started thinking of themselves as “bosses” and made life difficult at work. Meanwhile, I became pregnant with my third child.

We managed to pay off the oppressive bank loan before the third baby came and I could stay home again. Once I came out of the haze of becoming a new mother again I was able to focus more on my blog and business.

I tried another part time job to raise money to put into my business but all that did was expose me to one of the most unstable “bosses” I have ever had to work for. It was a distraction from my business and the money, what little there was on minimum wage, never seemed to stay around long enough to be invested in anything. After leaving that job a year ago (almost to the day of me writing this) I threw myself into my business whole heartedly.

This year I bought courses online from an Etsy expert which has made a big difference to my sales. I also started my own Shopify site and am in the top 11% of shops who opened at the same time for traffic volume. I am currently taking a Pinterestcourse to learn more about the amazing traffic driver that Pinterest is. I ordered wholesale stock to sell alongside my handmade items. I wrote many quilt patterns and compiled ten of them into an eBook which has sold a few dozen copies already in the two weeks since it was released.

Support from the military community has come mainly from online as I have posted some of my work in military spouses group and my Canadian flag quilts and pillows have been very well received thus bringing me a few sales from the military community. A couple who are ex-military members have also invited me to consign handmade items in their new shop that is opening this week so that is another wonderful support. Opportunities are around every corner.

My Canadian Flag pillows were a hit this year. I am definitely keeping them in my inventory.

I am happy to report that this year is the most revenue I have ever made as a self employed person and September was my highest earning month so far. Hard work, focus and dedication is paying off. I can see that things are working and momentum is building. Now my goal is to keep that momentum going into the holiday season and take everything I’ve learned this year and apply it to an even more amazing year next year.

One of life's struggles: Sometimes in life your tire blows out. A flat tire happened on the way home from a craft show this summer. We were over two hours from home (with kids and dog) and had to abandon our utility trailer on the side of the highway while we raced to a tire shop to get a replacement before they closed. We felt like we were on an episode of "The Amazing Race." We have learned to always have a spare!

While I have great resentment towards the military for the hardship and strife it has caused in my life I must also be thankful. The military has provided my husband with a steady income which allows me to work from home and without the hardships and struggles I would not be as driven as I am today to succeed in my own business. I have always been strong and independent but I am even more so now because of life as a military wife. My children are also learning to take the good times with the bad and to be resilient and resourceful. I will be encouraging them to start their own online businesses in the future using their unique talents. It is a great thing to have to fall back on when times get tough and the sooner you start the more success you will have in the future.