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.



If you're just meeting me, or haven't purchased a pattern from me before, you may want to try before you buy. You can sign up here for a free download of the Jack o' Heart pattern to try it out and see if you like my pattern writing style.



Subscribe to recieve the Jack o' Heart Sample Pattern.

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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!





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 not an effective leader. 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.

Friday, 22 September 2017

#EtsyEdmonton Etsy Made in Canada Show

Happy Friday! For those of you in the Edmonton area I want to ensure you know that Daydreams of Quilts will be at the #EtsyEdmonton show at the Shaw Conference Centre on Saturday and Sunday this weekend September 23rd and 24th.

There is an interesting article about the show and about Maker Culture in Vue Weekly.

The entry fee is $5.00 and on Saturday half of that fee is being donated to the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.


We are taking our entire inventory so we will have quilts, tree skirts, table runners, Christmas stockings, fabric bundles, t-shirts, enamel pins and more!

We hope to see you there!

Friday, 15 September 2017

"A Year of Pixel Heart Quilts" ebook launch!

Today is the day! "A Year of Pixel Heart Quilts" is now available to purchase. 

This is the first ebook of quilt patterns from Daydreams of Quilts.



This ebook contains 10 pixel heart quilt patterns for less than the price of three patterns at $24.95 C.


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!

Purchase A Year of Pixel Heart Quilts



Also Available on Etsy. EU buyers please use the Etsy link as they handle the VAT tax for us. :)


What customers have to say:


 Five Star review on Etsy from Jodie Lane on May 11, 2017 about the "Pixel Heart in a Pixel Heart" quilt pattern: "Such a beautiful pattern with clear instructions, thank you!! Have purchased it for my daughter who is learning to quilt, I'm sure she will love making it up."


Five Star review on Etsy from notredame131 on May 10, 2017 about the "Pixel Shamrock in a Pixel Heart" quilt pattern: "Easy, quick and understandable directions."


Five Star review on Etsy from celeste249 on February 14, 2017 about the "Pixel Heart in a Pixel Heart" quilt pattern: "The instructions were clear and simple. I love this versatile pattern. Easy enough even for a beginner to make a statement quilt."


Five Star review on Etsy from Patricial Lessell on February 2, 2017 about the "Pixel Heart in a Pixel Heart" quilt pattern: "Just perfect. What a lovely seller. I will be back."

Here is one of the fall patterns from the ebook, the "Turkey in a Pixel Heart Quilt." This wall hanging/table topper quilt is perfect for Thanksgiving.


Visit here: A Year of Pixel Heart Quilts for more photos of quilts in the book.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

I Saw Three Ships: My Row in the Christmas Caroling Row Along - free pattern and giveaways!

Hello! Welcome to Daydreams of Quilts if you're new to my blog!

Today is my day to post my row and free PDF Row Pattern in the Seams To Be Sew Christmas Caroling Row Along hosted by Marian Pena! 


Thank you so much Marian for all your hard work on this fun event! Make sure to visit all the bloggers on the schedule (see bottom of this post) as each one will have a free row pattern for you and a giveaway!


Daydreams of Quilts is very pleased to be a sponsor of this event along with the many other amazing sponsors that Marian has lined up!

Northcott Fabrics is the main sponsor of this event and I would like to send them a huge thank you for sending me the beautiful fabrics to sew my row sample. They are sponsoring a weekly giveaway all throughout the Row Along as is Calibre Art. Click here for more information on these giveaways.

I am happy to show you my row for the Christmas Carol "I Saw Three Ships."

You can download this row pattern for free here until the end of day September 14th 2017 after which time it will be $5.00 C.

As soon as I saw that song in the list of carols we could choose from I knew that was it. First of all, the idea of these ship blocks came to mind right away because I had been working on some sail boat blocks this past summer. 

Secondly, when I lived in Vancouver, BC as a child I loved that Christmas carol and would sing it every time I got a glimpse of the ships in the harbour. I remember some of them would put Christmas lights on their masts and sails at Christmas time.

You can download this row pattern for free here until end of day September 14th 2017 after which time it will be $5.00 C. Thank you again to Northcott for the fabrics to make my row. I love the snowflakes in the background!

Note: The pattern download system seems to be getting overwhelmed this morning. You will receive a download link via email and if it doesn't download right away please try again in a little bit. If you still cannot download please send me an email or a Facebook message and I will send you the file.

Please consider donating to your favourite charities as a way to say thank you for these free row patterns. Some ideas would be the Red Cross for relief to forest fire victims in British Columbia or a charity helping victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

As a sponsor of the Row Along I am very pleased to present my giveaway prize which is a copy of my new ebook "A Year of Pixel Heart Quilts" which officially launches on September 15th but you are getting a sneak peek at it here and are certainly welcome to purchase ahead of the launch date. There are 10 quilt patterns in the ebook.

This ebook of quilt patterns is a $24.95 C value but is being offered at the special introductory price of $14.95 until September 30th! And one of you will win a copy for free! Please enter on the Rafflecopter below!


A peek at the patterns in the ebook. There are quilts for the whole year through.






a Rafflecopter giveaway

Daily Giveaways: Click here for more information on these giveaways. Enter here or on Marian's blog.


a Rafflecopter giveaway






a Rafflecopter giveaway
Bloggers on today's schedule:

The schedule for the whole row along:

Tuesday, September 14, 2017
Barbara Dieges
Cynthia’s Creating Ark
The Quilted Snail
Ms. P. Designs USA
                                                        (sponsored by Just Let Me Quilt)
Tuesday, September 21, 2017
Martina Latimer
                                                     (site will open late next week)
Quilt Fabrication
Patchwork Breeze
Patti’s Patchwork
Miss Loreen’s Schoolhouse
Tuesday, September 23, 2017
Cheryl LaPlante
                                            (sponsored by Quilt In Piece)
Morning Glory
Pampered Pettit
Fun Threads

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Seam Ripper t-shirt now available for pre-order

Guess what!?

I designed my own t-shirt. 


Hopefully the first of many. I am modelling it myself to show you what it looks like on a quilter. ;)



The first round of pre-orders is open on my website and on Etsy. This round will close September 20th. I will bring in a few extra with that order to have on hand. These are unisex (men's cut) t-shirts in white premium cotton. The seam ripper is coral red and grey with black outline and the text is black.

Pre-Order at Daydreams of Quilts