Friday, February 7, 2014

Looking past the Imperfections

I tend to go in waves.  There's a wave of completing a lot of crochet projects, or sewing/quilting projects, or card making projects.  Recently though the wave has been painting.  If you head over to the Etsy store, or the Facebook page you'll see that January was definitely a wave of painting.  Sure I've done other things, but the number of paintings I did compared to the other projects is far greater.

I've gotten a lot of questions from family and friends about the paintings.  Primarily they don't remember me drawing or painting in my past.  Well this isn't a new hobby, just one I've chosen to share for the first time.  All artists are critical of their work, regardless of the type of artwork most artists never see a piece as finished, or perfect.  I'm no exception.  Even though I may "finish" a quilt, and have the customers love it, I always see it's imperfections.  That one spot where the pieces didn't line up perfectly, or where a seam didn't lay flat and there's a bulge.  You learn to look past some imperfections knowing that you are the only one who is going to notice those things, or you go back and fix it because you're a perfectionist.  The fact is I have learned to look past many imperfections in my cards, quilts, photographs, scrapbook pages, and various other crafts.  I've never been able to do this with my paintings though.  For whatever reason I am most critical of them than any other craft I do.

So even though I've been drawing, and painting since I was in high school. I'm only just now learning how to share them with others.  In the past they have been trashed, given to goodwill, or family has taken them.  (My sister still has 2 Mixed Media pieces I did ages ago hanging in her living room it pains me to look at, but she loves them.)  I may never be able to look at a painting and truly love it, but I am beginning to see the beauty in them even if I don't always see it.  So here are a few of the pieces I accomplished this past month, some are even still for sale over in the Etsy shop (click the big orange circle on the left if you're interested in seeing which ones).




In other crafting news I was finally able to complete and deliver a baby gift in the making since November.  A good friend of mine got pregnant and I wanted to make a special gift for her, so I decided a personalized baby quilt was the way to go.  The issue, well she and her husband decided to wait to share the baby's name until she was born.  So I told her that even though she was receiving all kinds of baby shower gifts before the baby's arrival, she had to wait for mine.  On December 4th Mary made her arrival and I went into quilting overdrive.  I had finished the quilt top with the exception of adding Mary's name, so I added that and then sent it off to the long arm quilter since it was too large for me to quilt in my small space.  The long arm quilter I use usually has a turn around of about a month so around the end of January I got notification that they had completed it and sent it back to me.  I could not have been more happy when it arrived, it was perfect!  I added a binding, and this past week was able to hand deliver it, something I don't get to do all that often.  Everyone seemed to love it, and I'm so happy that Mary will have this quilt for years to come.






This month has already proved to be a crafty month as well as I'm trying to move back into my other crafts and let painting be for a while.  Be sure if you haven't already to "like" the Facebook page for the most recent updates. <3 br="">

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014 Update

Yup I'm a horrible crafty blogger! If you follow my personal blog you know that it's not just a crafty blog thing either!  I tend to be able to make quick posts on the Facebook page, but typing out a blog takes a bit more time so I don't seem to do it as often.  I'm thinking if I give myself a deadline every few weeks maybe that will help, but one thing I do know is I'm going to try and do this more this year!

Speaking of, Happy New Year!!!  With a new year comes new challenges for me, for instance I have become a full time crafter again. At least for the time being. I'm also challenging myself to push Handmade Heart further.  This business is kind of like a baby to me.  I want to watch it grow and learn to stand on it's own two feet.  I know this is going to take lots of time, but hey it's a good goal to remember for every year.

Another new thing for this year is a new logo!  I loved my old logo that Lynda from LynLaBelle Designs created for me, but it had a lot of problems when I would try and transfer it to quilt labels or to stamp on the back of cards.  So I had to retire that logo, and asked a friends husband who is a graphic artist to turn a doodle I created into an actual logo.  It was quite the process since I wasn't 100% sure of what I wanted.  He even created an original design totally different than what I had thought of in case I liked that.  I ended up deciding my original doodle digitized was perfect though.

The new look for Handmade Heart!





So there has been a lot going on other than new logo's, and goal setting around here!  I have been creating a lot, and the Etsy store has been staying stocked with a lot of goodies from holiday items, to baby items, and even a few things just for fun.  Just because the blog has been a bit neglected recently, don't think that everywhere else has been too!  As a matter of fact the Facebook group stays very up to date, and even has a contest or two every once and a while. :-)

So just a taste of what has been made in the past few months...












All kinds of fun things that have been special orders, gifts for friends and family, or made just for fun.  There's a lot more planned for this year and I'm not slowing down anytime soon, like I said it's time for this baby of a business to grow this year!!  If there's something you'd like to see me tackle this year and try and make, let me know.  Remember I'm always taking special orders, and my Etsy store will always have a few things in it.  It's going to be a big year, and I can't wait to share it with you all!  Thanks so much for your support!! <3 br="">

Friday, August 9, 2013

Painting

Yes I know it has been a while...Keeping up with this blog, the Facebook page, and the Etsy site can be a bit overwhelming at times, sorry!  I have been crafting though.

Recently I finished a special order quilt.  The quilt was one of the largest I have sewn on my home machine, and to be honest I learned that I just don't have the space I need in my apartment to do anything more than a baby blanket myself.  It's just too cumbersome to do anything more than that here.  I did get this project finished though and to the client just in time for her to give it to her husband for their anniversary. I'm really happy with how it turned out though!

Serenity Quilt
Since completing this quilt back in May though I just haven't gotten a lot of quilting done...or crocheting. It's just been far to hot here.  So I began to paint, something I don't do all that often, but felt the need to so I decided why not.  Normally I don't do much with my completed paintings. They either sit in a closet for me to one day give to Goodwill, or I throw them out. Painting is more of a personal thing for me, unlike many of my other crafts I don't paint with the intention of giving it to someone, or selling it later.  When I finished the painting though I really liked the way it had turned out, so I posted a picture of it on my personal Facebook page and was amazed at the response, so I posted it on the Handmade Heart Facebook page and get a similar positive response.  So I figured if people were interested in it, why not post it for sale.  So the painting is now sitting on my Etsy site waiting for someone to come along and decide it will look lovely in their home.

Sunset Sunflower
So I have several projects waiting in the wings to be finished.  Primarily quilts that need to be sent to a longarm quilter to actually finish them for me.  This costs money though, and until I sell some more items they will have to continue to wait.  So be sure you are checking my Etsy site (click on the big orange button on the left of the screen to visit) since that is the only place I sell now to help me finish some things! And I'll try to blog here more often, lol.  <3 br="">

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Etsy

I'm on a quest this year to get some of my half finished projects that have been lying around for forever finished.  This can be easier said than done though since many of these projects are quilts and I don't have the space to quilt them myself.  That's one of the disadvantages to living in an apartment.  So in order to finish some of these projects I need to make some money so that I can send the quilts that are too big for me to finish, off to a long arm quilter who does have room to finish them for me.  This means I've been updating my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/HandmadeHeartDesigns) with some projects that I've had around for a while.  Yes some of them you have probably seen before, but there are some new things too, so don't totally think I'm not giving you anything new!

 




Why Etsy? This is a question that I've been asked quite a bit recently since I used to post more on Facebook rather than Etsy. Well there will still be things posted to Facebook that are for sale, but I've noticed that since Facebook changed their format again it's more difficult for people to find the items that are for sale, as opposed to just being showcased.  I've also had some problems with payment, and although I know this doesn't apply to everyone, Etsy protects both me as a seller, and you as a buyer much more than I can through Facebook. Not to mention I'm only able to accept PayPal for the items I post on Facebook, where Etsy gives you many more purchasing options that I can't provide otherwise.  I'll still post some things for sale on Facebook, and I'll still do special orders on a case by case basis, but especially for bigger ticket items I'll be using Etsy much more.

I'm able to provide some more time to my crafts right now, this is both a good and a bad thing, but I'm aiming to see the positive in it.  With more time devoted to it, I'm hoping that this will also mean more money from it.  I would still love to see this small business become so much more! I know it most likely won't ever become more than just a side business for fun, but it's nice to dream, lol.

Be sure to become a fan of Handmade Heart on Facebook if you aren't all ready. As I'm sure you've noticed I don't keep up with the blog as much as I used to. I am able to post to Facebook quickly, and more often though, so just click the "Like" button on the Facebook sidebar of this post. <3 br="">

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Holiday's Are Coming!!!

So I know it's been a while since I've posted anything here on the blog, if you haven't done so already be sure to "Like" the Handmade Heart Facebook page.  It's becoming easiest to post quick updates there in a few sentences, rather than taking more time to post here on the blog which often takes longer to write.  I'll still blog here, it's just not always going to have the most up to date info is all.

Anywho!  First of all I've been crazy busy with projects lately! This is great, but mostly they've been personal projects.  I'm making all my holiday gifts this year so that has been a little challenging since I seem to love to bite off more than I can chew sometimes, lol.  Because they are gifts I can't really show you a lot of the progress, but I can show you some.

For instance, remember a few months ago I talked about making a Super Mario Brothers quilt? Well I'm making progress on it.  It's been a slow process since I discovered it really works out best to use an interfacing to keep the small squares lined up correctly and easier to sew.  The problem with this was that the interfacing that I needed was expensive...like to get enough to make the quilt would be REALLY expensive.  So slowly I've been getting it when it was on sale, or when I had a coupon to help the cost stay down.  I recently got a donation from my family though of two beautiful rolls of the interfacing to help finish the project in time for when I go home to visit so I'm chugging along with that.  Only five more characters to go!!!


I also recently finished a baby gift.  My sisters former college roommate, and her close friend, is pregnant with her second child!  I consider this woman to be my second sister, when I was a preteen and would go and visit my sister in the dorms she never seemed to mind me being there...and it was always fun to have someone else to tease my sister with. ;-)  So naturally I had to make something special for her.  Because of various projects I didn't really have the time to make something totally from scratch before the baby is due in December.  So I found a cute kit that I could easily make and personalize with the baby's name.  She recieved it the other day and seems to love it!  =)


Also recently my sorority held a fundraiser for our foundation.  A painting studio that teaches everyone how to paint the same picture donated some of the studio fees for us being there to the foundation.  It was a great way for me to help a cause I care for, get creative, and socialize with new friends.  Although the painting wasn't really something that I would normally do, I decided that if it turned out too horibably I'd just give it to my parents as a gift.  As parents they have to love everything I make, I think there's a code or something they have to follow.  It's not too bad, but not my best work ever.  Since I have no use for a painting of a wine glass I think I'm still going to give it away as a gift.  It was a fun evening none the less and something I think I will be doing again in the future...maybe my birthday in January? =)


For those of you that know me, you know that I tend to have multiple projects going at once.  Well with the holiday's coming up this means super overdrive, and a LOT or projects going at once.  I'll be posting a lot of fun holiday items on Facebook in the coming weeks, but I also will be working on more gifts (sorry can't show you them yet) and some non-holiday items too.  This is the beginning of a wall hanging I started a few weeks ago.  I have it all pieced now, just have to find the time to quilt and bind it soon.  It's a super fun Dr. Suess's the Lorax piece that I think would be great for a kid of any age.  Hopefully I'll get that done before the holiday's and posted soon.


That's not all either!  I have a list of about 15 different projects I've yet to begin that I want to do!  Somehow I don't think that I'll be bored over the winter!  I finally got a steady job in Colorado, at least through January, so my crafting time is going to have to be better managed, but I'm hoping to get some great things going for the new year!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Muppets Run!!!!

Occasionally someone will "gift" me fabric.  Maybe it's something they've found that they are not going to use, or maybe they saw a patterned fabric in the store that they thought was just my style so they got some for me.  Regardless of how it is acquired, in the past 2 years since I began sewing I have gathered quite the stash of odds and ends fabric.  A short while ago my sister found a fabric in the store that reminded her of me, it was The Muppets and I'm a HUGE fan of all things Muppets!  So she picked some up for me and mailed it to me with one condition...I had to use the fabric for myself, not something to sell.  Well she mailed quite a bit of the fabric, and it's been sitting in my stash waiting for the perfect project to be made with it.  This week I found a project for some of it.

I recently had to get a new phone.  This is not something I enjoy doing since I know that I am locked into keeping that phone for the next two years because of cell phone company contracts and inevitably a newer model of the phone I just got will come out within a month of me getting a new phone.  Sometimes though you can't avoid it, and this was one of those times.  So I ended up bringing myself into the 21st century and finally getting an iPhone. (I know, I'm behind the times!)  I've had an iPod for years, and got an iPad last year, so I'm familiar with Apple's operating system and since I already had apps and music from iTunes it only seemed logical to get the phone too.  I discovered one problem with my iPhone though...the cases and armbands I had for my other Apple products didn't fit it and many retailers want well over $50 for a case and $60 for an armband to use when running!!!  I only paid $50 for the phone (deal of the century I know!) I wasn't going to shell out more than I paid for the phone for the case!  So I decided to make something.

It took some trail and error, but I knew that I wanted to make an easy to use case quilted case that would hold my iPhone, but not trap it in bulky packaging.  I also wanted to make an armband that was easy to use as well for when I was out running, but not have to take a case off in order to use the armband.  After searching online for something to purchase (found case and armband for total of $100 that fit the bill, but not the budget!), or make I didn't find much.  Some tutorials that looked promising were flimsy and made me nervous about putting my shiny new phone in.  Others just seemed so complex for no reason!  Finally I decided to wing it, and make up my own pattern.  This is what I came up with.

Simple armband with some chording material, a D-ring, and hook and loop so it's totally adjustable to any arm size.

The case fits the iPhone snugly so it's not bouncing around in it.

A simple button and piece of elastic close the top of the case so that the phone can't be jolted out.

The chording goes through two buttonholes on the back of the case so that it can be removed if I don't want to use the armband, but still have the phone protected in the quilted case.


The four best parts about this project...
1.  It cost me around $3 to make!  The fabric was free from my sister, and roughly estimated the amount of other materials I used add up to slightly more than $3!!!
2.  I have a large (read as fat!) arm, and many armbands out on the market for iPhones and iPods don't fit my arm.  By making my own armband I was able to make it large enough to fit my arm without any problem!
3.  Because this doesn't scream sports armband I can wear this on the days that I am wearing an outfit that doesn't have a pocket for me to put my phone in.  This is a big thing for me since I always like to have my phone on me, and the "put the phone in your bra" trick many women do can be a little awkward when you get a call and are reaching in your cleavage!
4.  Finally my favorite part about this armband and case...THEY'RE WASHABLE!!!!!!!!!!!  Now if the case gets dirty on a run, or if it begins to smell, I can wash it all!!!!

<3 br="br">

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tiny Squares...

So Handmade Heart is in a bit of a lull right now.  I've unfortunately had some people special order things, and then not pay for them.  Frankly as a small business owner, and relying on payment since this is still my only job right now, when someone doesn't pay it affects me a lot!  So I had to create some policies for purchasing, which makes me feel like a bad guy, but when I'm often paying for materials upfront expecting to be compensated after competition and that doesn't happen that leaves me in a bad place.  So what's done is done, please read these policies if you intend to purchase from or commission me.

Now on to the fun stuff!  Right now I only have one special order I need to complete, and it's cards.  I need to get on that, but I've been searching for some inspiration to get me going.  Since I've had some time with the special order board being empty (I don't like this!) I decided to get a head start on making my Holiday gifts for this year.  I'm going to be making a lot of handmade gifts for people this year with things I already have on hand to help keep Holiday costs for me down this year.  In the past I have allowed some costs to get out of control.

The first gift I've begun is going to be for my older sisters boyfriend.  Another blog that I frequent, Cut to Pieces, is having a quilt along I decided to join in on.  The quilt is going to be Super Mario Brothers themed, and since he's a big gamer it seemed perfect for him.  My family is going to chip in and it's going to be a gift from all of us, but I still have to make it!  Yikes!

Everything sounds cool about that right?  Well in theory it was a good idea, now that I've begun, I'm having second thoughts!  The quilt is pieced together with 1.5" x 1.5" blocks so that it looks like all the pixels of the original game.  The problem with that...I have to cut out all the 1.5" blocks, all 3,888 of them!!!!  Once I get that done things should move rather quickly in making it, it's just A LOT of prep work.  So I've been spending my time with the Olympics on in the background, cutting tiny squares.  At least it's moderately mindless.  =)






I also want to begin work on a wall hanging I want to make for a friend having a baby in November.  I found this pattern online and think it's SUPER cute, and that she will love it.  The problem is it isn't a free pattern though, and it's $29.  Personally I think that's a bit steep for a quilt pattern of the size that it is, but it is the designers choice.  I may or may not end up making this particular quilt, but I'd really love to make one with an animal theme rather than the traditional pink for girl, blue for boy, cutesie type of piece.  Mom's not really a cutesie type of woman, lol.  If anyone knows of any alternatives that may be more cost effective for me, please let me know!





So that's been my life right now, prepping gift quilts, and watching the Olympics, lol.  I lead such an exciting life, lol.  =)  <3 br="br">