In addition, I toyed with the idea of taking early retirement from teaching and starting a quilting business. I started building up a fairly good client list; but, the Texas Retirement System changed their formula for early retirement and I missed the cut off by 6 months. I could have bought a year and still retired early; however, I found that quilting for other people had become a burden. I was so busy that I never had time to do anything for myself. So, I decided to stick with teaching for another 10 years and give up the quilting business. For the past 12 years, I've been quilting Mom's quilts, one for friends from time to time, and making my own quilts.
Now that I'm retired and have time on my hands, I thought about starting the quilting business up again. Luckily, I remembered the main reason I didn't like it in the first place wouldn't change; I would probably never have time or the interest to work on things I wanted to make for myself or my family. So, I think I have come up with a pretty good alternative.
After talking to my youngest daughter, Leslie, we decided to start an online Etsy shop together. It will mostly have table runners, lap quilts or baby quilts, and other craft items we decided to try out. That will give me the chance to try specific blocks, fabrics, pantographs, threads, and freehand techniques that I've always wanted to try. I will NOT take special orders and only make what I know I can give away if it doesn't sell. Hopefully, that will keep it fun and enjoyable.
I talked Leslie into taking care of all the digital/administrative side of the business while I crank out inventory. So far, we are still in the learning how to navigate online sales and creating inventory stage. I hope we will have the shop established around August. Unfortunately, we are learning that there is a lot involved in making sure your product is eye catching and draws in customers on a site that is filled with options.
Part of the learning curve has been trying to take pictures that will draw customers and show off the features of the table runner or quilt. Neither of us have ever taken a single photography lesson and are operating with her smart phone, my digital camera, and my iPad. Some of our attempts are pretty good; others... not so much.
I thought I would record our first attempts here on the blog just so we can watch our growth in our journey to become online business owners. Whether or not we succeed won't be based on our lack of trying new things! These are candid shots I took with either my camera or iPad. Some are of things I'm working on for friends or family; not all of this is inventory.
|This is a quilt Mom had started for my niece, Kaylin. Sadly, Mom passed away before if was finished.|
|I quilted it with King Tut multi-colored thread using a pantograph called Japonica|
by Karyn Emerson.
|The block is one of my favorites; Card Tricks. I'm not too crazy|
about Mom's color choice; but, it isn't my quilt!
|These are two table runners I made using a Homespun Christmas charms pack.|
I double loaded the quilting frame to save time and get both quilted more
quickly It worked well so I'll do this again.
|This is a quilt I've been working on as a gift for a friend.|
|It was a block of the month class I took at a quilt shop in our area. There were|
several applique blocks in the pattern that I chose to replace
with pieced blocks. I don't really enjoy applique.
|Most baby quilts are made using 100% cotton fabric and a cotton batting. Once they are washed, they are so soft and perfect for cuddling a baby on your lap.|
|I love the simplicity of the pattern and the surprise of seeing how different the 3 quilts actually turn out. I usually just use a cute thread and quilt these freehand with loops and swirls.|
|This is the same pattern using fabrics that are perfect for a little boy! This fabric combo|
was one of my favorites.
|We also had to battle the crazy Texas sun. Luckily, Leslie has a nice sized covered patio in her back yard. We did a pretty good job of using patio furniture and blankets to block stray rays of sunlight.|
|And another unfinished project is now complete! I bought this panel about 14 years ago; intending to make a wall hanging for my 1st grade classroom. I never got around to it so now it is a baby quilt that will go into our inventory.|
|This table runner is made from scraps of fabric left over from a pillow case that Mom had made I love the music notes on it and Leslie came up with the idea of staging it with the flute.|
|Anyway, the 2 that were smaller got set on point and I used the coordinating fabric on the corners. It ended up just as long as the runner with the other 3 blocks in it.|
|This is the staged shot of the snowman runner.|
|This runner is another fabric set that the grandkids put together. Once again, the focus fabric was barely big enough to cut squares out of.|
|One of our attempts to take a close up shot of the quilting on the table runner.|
|Another staged shot. I don't know if I like the runner or the baking dish best!|
|And yet ANOTHER unfinished project that was intended for my classroom wall. I am wondering how many more of these unfinished projects I'll find as I continue to dig through my stash.|
|Our staged shot of the wall hanging.|
|This runner was a scrap stash buster. I had an assortment of gray and white fabrics that were donated to me by a friend that made clothing. She knew I quilted so she gave me an odd assortment of scraps. Luckily, I had enough to make this.|