Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Toying Around

I love the thought of handmade toys for children.  What better way to tell a little one how much they are loved than to make them a special friend or play item.  I think Heather Bailey got me started on this.  I absolutely love her Happy Stacker pattern.  We have this in our booth at shows and it always gets so much attention.  We've had our current toy samples for a while so the Chief thought it was time to find some new patterns to freshen up our kids corner!  Yes, I'm giving him credit where credit is due.  He did the research and was immediately smitten with Freddie's Friends!  Perhaps our booth was just a little TOO girly for him and he felt the need to offer some cool friends for the boys!  He decided on Lee Lee the Lion and Ronny the Robot.  (I added Olive because what booth is complete without an Owl?)




These patterns are very straight forward and detailed!  I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed at first.  I started with Lee Lee and if you'll notice, there are a LOT of little pieces there.  All through the instructions, you need to temporarily affix your pieces with pins and then sew.  I'm not used to working with such small pieces and you all know, pins and I do not get along.  I solved this by using the fabric glue stick by Sewline.  Worked like a charm!  I even affixed pieces with the glue stick and returned the next day and they were all still in place!  These cuties are put together with all raw edges exposed.  Remember Raggedy Ann?  This is the new version of the "rag doll".  The more use and washing it gets, the more those edges are going to rag up.  I imagine you might need to trim some threads after a few washings but no big deal!  I can't wait to wash ours a few times to see how cute they'll look with a bit of ragged edges!  I love the personality these toys take on.  There are several individually stuffed pieces that create a beautiful 3-Dimensional texture.  This project would be a great way to involve your little one as well.  Why not let them pick the fabrics?  It will be their own creation!  These patterns were very quick to complete.  In the pattern she suggests changing threads to match each fabric.  I didn't for Lee Lee.  I thought he turned out great.  I did change threads on Olive (only three colors) and I like it too!  It's really your choice.  If you want to spend a little extra effort to match fabrics, go for it!  I'm a "gitterdone" kinda girl!  Another tip, navigating those curves was much easier when I shortened the length of my stitch.  To see more of Freddie's Friends, check out their blog:




Here are our samples!  If you're in Dallas, Texas next weekend, come by and check them out in person at the Dallas Quilt Celebration 2012, March 9-11!  We're in Booth 68-69!



Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome, Lindsey!

I have SUCH exciting news today!  Recently, I have been smacked in the face by Ms. Reality.  She isn't very gentle either.  The realization that, while I try my best, I cannot be everywhere, do everything and do any of it half way decent, has hit me like a ton of bricks.  Yes, I do have some help in the form of one US Navy Chief but let's be honest, the Navy owns him right now so I am lucky to have an hour on weeknights and a few over the weekend.  I knew that if I wanted to accomplish my goals with A Joyful Soul Fabrics, I was going to have to find someone, and quick!  But, being in a new city (okay it's been 18 months but it's still new to me) and not really knowing a whole lot of people, I was fighting an uphill battle. 

Then one day, I get this email from a friend!  My very first thought was, "She's PERFECT!"  Thing's just sometimes work out that way, don't they?  When in need, the very thing you wish for presents itself!  Divine intervention?  Probably!

Meet our new Marketing Manager, Lindsey!

"I am a Texas native currently living in a small West Texas town. My husband and I lived in Chicago for a couple of years while he was going to school and that is where my love for sewing got started. I did not handle the winters there very well and decided to take sewing classes so I could have an indoor hobby when I was cooped up inside because of the weather. The first thing I ever sewed was a skirt made with Amy Butler fabric. I became obsessed with her fabric and ordered some on Ebay one day. Little did I know the seller was A Joyful Soul Fabrics, and just minutes from where I grew up in Texas! After my husband graduated we moved back to our hometown for a little while and I contacted Joy to come and see some fabric in person. I started sewing about 5 years ago and still have a lot to learn, but mostly enjoy making things for my home such as curtains, pillows and bedding as well as having the ability to do easy alterations.I still love Amy Butler and have some new favorites such as Heather Bailey and Anna Maria Horner. Lucky for me Joy sells those designers in her shop so I have never had to venture off too far when buying fabric. We kept in touch over the last few years and just recently reconnected which led me to a position to help her market her business! I am very excited to be a part of her team and look forward to contributing to the success of A Joyful Soul Fabrics!" ~Lindsey

A little more info about Lindsey that she left out, she has an adorable ETSY shop called Showered in Chic!  She makes custom shower curtains!  Check out her shop:  Showered in Chic  In addition to Custom Shower Curtains, you'll find other really cute items in her shop!

Lindsey has graciously accepted this position to help us network with various blogs offering fun giveaways!  If you have a blog or know of one that we should contact, please email us at shop@ajoyfulsoulfabrics.com.

WELCOME, LINDSEY!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Creative Genes

I try and keep this blog light and fun with projects and gorgeous fabric but forgive me for using this outlet for some personal therapy.  Writing always makes me feel better.  We've had some things happen in our family recently.  Difficult things but not abnormal circumstances for most families. Dealing with aging family members is tough.  When they become almost child-like, the parent/child relationship shifts unnaturally.  My grandmother, who is in her early 90's and is suffering from dementia, recently suffered a fall.  Since retiring, my Dad, the most awesome man you could ever know, has taken care of her.  After the fall, he was advised by doctors to move her out of her home and into hospice care.  Since her move, I've been quite emotional, stressed and sentimental.  I've poured through old photos, sifted through my craft supply, a lot of which was donated by her, and sometimes I find myself in the linen closet touching her afghans that she made so many years ago.  It got me thinking, it's no wonder why I'm so enamored with creating.  Look at my genes!  

This is Catherine Marie.
I think this is just about the most adorable picture!  It was taken the first week of April in 1947.  My Grandma was a very practical woman. She grew up during the Great Depression.  She married my Grandpa in Norfolk, VA at the Naval Base.  Her difficult childhood prepared her well for life as a Navy spouse.  My Grandpa was either deployed or spent shore duty in remote places where he couldn't bring his family.  We complain today about the Navy not being family-friendly, good grief!  Try serving in the 50's!  Money was tight but she made it all work raising two boys by herself most of the time.  She was so strong and put me in my place several times when I would call her as a young Navy wife myself moaning and groaning about all I had to put up with.  After speaking with her, I always felt that I just didn't have it so bad.  Even today, when I start sitting on that pity pot of mine, I think about what she would say to me.  

She sewed, knitted and cross-stitched for as long as her eye-sight would allow her.  She let me borrow her old Singer sewing machine when I was newly married so I could play around with garment sewing, making all of my scrub tops to wear to work.  She had an old tin full of buttons that was given to her from her mother.  Yes, it's mine now and I can't tell you how much I love sifting through those buttons and I think of her the whole time.  My Christmas tree is adorned every year with the daintiest lace snowflakes that her mother crocheted.

We visited her this past Christmas.  Every year around Christmas we feel that time is passing so quickly and it might be our last chance.  I had things I needed to say to her.  For me, really.  I knew that just as quickly as my words were heard they would disappear along with my name.  I just needed her to hear that I cherish what she's helped pass down to me.  The love of creating and creating things for others.  The strength she has taught me.  How the sweaters she knitted for me when I was a child were worn by my daughter.  When her mind was clear, I don't think I told her enough.  How much I appreciated everything.  Perhaps some of my words are still there for her to latch onto....make her smile, maybe even give her a feeling of pride.

My creative genes are strong on both sides of the family too!  My other grandmother, who is 94, was an amazing artist!  Every holiday, I pull out her ceramic creations to decorate my house.  My mother, although she says she has nothing to do with my creative accomplishments, was always sewing Barbie clothes for us and making our Halloween or performance costumes.  My Aunt is an outstanding quilter and we have a blast talking fabric and patterns and she'll even tag along with me on occasion to my quilt shows!  I am so blessed to have been given such a creative legacy and I look forward to passing on this creative passion to my daughter.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Come Join Our Club!

So last year, we did something kinda fun.  We started a couple fabric clubs, a Fat Quarter Club and a Strip Club (I heard all the gasps!  Not that kind of Strip Club!).  For a small fee, you could purchase a spot in this club and every month for six months you would have an automatic shipment of 12 fat quarters or a jelly roll delivered to your door for a monthly fee plus shipping costs.  We provided everyone with a free pattern book of quilt tops utilizing fat quarters or jelly rolls depending on what club you joined.  Now, this is going to sound so ridiculous but I was so excited about this that I joined my own club.  Strips for me!!  

I had so much fun.  Not only was it fun to receive fabric for myself (the only sewing or buying I do these days is for the shop) but I can't describe the feeling of packing up a ton of packages at the beginning of the month to be sent all over the world knowing that so many people were anticipating our monthly selection of fabric!  While it was a lot of hard work, it was so worth it.  Our customers enjoyed it so much.  Now, because of our show schedule this year and a few other factors, I was contemplating not doing the clubs this year.  It takes a lot of time.  We cut all the fat quarters ourselves and most of the jelly rolls.  But come January, our 2011 Club Members were contacting me asking about when the 2012 club was starting!  I love my customers!  I figured, if I had to stay in the studio til midnight to get these shipments ready to go, it would be so worth it!  So, we're doing it again!  And we are starting early because, Holy Smokes, the fabric lines that are due to come out this Spring are to DIE for!!  We're doing things just a bit differently this year.  You can read our Monthly Club Information Page for the changes.

First, if you're a scrapbooker, you've heard of Basic Grey.  Take a look in my "Scrap Closet" and it's loaded with Basic Grey!  They are designing fabric for Moda now.  Perfection!  They have a new line coming out this month called Hello Luscious.  It's Vintage Victorian meets Modern!  I am in LOVE with it! 





Isn't it the perfect Valentine fabric?!  I should join again, shouldn't I?! I'm thinking Fat Quarters this time!  In addition to this beautiful fabric, which will be our first shipment in March, Heather Bailey and Amy Butler BOTH are re-releasing fabric lines from several years ago.  If you are new to the textile scene, you may have seen some of these prints but you haven't been able to purchase it because it ran out a long time ago!  I am ashamed to say that I have spent upwards of $35 per yard for some of Amy's Gypsy Caravan fabric because I HAD to have it and it was OOP (eBay lingo for Out Of Print)!  You guessed it!  She's re-releasing Gypsy Caravan in its original glory!  It will be shipping in April and will be our club selection for May.  

Fresh Cut by Heather Bailey will be shipping this month and will be our April selection.  Fresh Cut was my first experience with Heather Bailey.  I actually have a bin full of it that I've been too frightened to do anything with since it was no longer available.  I am looking forward to cutting into it now!


Just a few of my fave Fresh Cut Prints!

If you're interested in joining or learning more about one of our clubs, we still have a few spots available!  Click on the links below!