Monday, September 10, 2012

Bumble Bees and Orange Crush...

Turning a hobby into an income stream or business always has it's own challenges. I'm no exception, and I blogged about those challenges some time ago in this post.  While it's certainly worth revisiting, in my experience the biggest challenge in turning a hobby into a business is giving people what they want. This is especially true if you have a strong vision. I am, by nature, a "bright girl". Left to my own devices, rarely would many traditional fabrics or patterns enter my house. While my offerings at craft markets, Etsy and shows still tend to lean that way, I've expanded in other directions. As a matter of fact, my brother is getting a traditional, Kansas City Star type of quilt for Christmas. On the other hand, my Christmas quilt for this year will probably be a version of the one below in Christmas prints.

Although I have not had a chance to blog about my quilting or share many photos, this is my very busiest time.  Much of what I do for Christmas is special order, or large bulk orders and they have to be done by Thanksgiving. I have some folks who only order from me at Christmas or special holidays.  I already have two orders for 25sets (of 6 each) of quilted coasters. These are people who want hostess gifts, employee gifts, stocking stuffers and incentives. Generally these bulk orders are done in a fabric line, with each set unique (all the same but all different if you will). There is a lot off mass production, but I don't mind because they are Christmas fabrics and I love Christmas. Coasters, sachet sets, hot pads and towels, and quilted gift bags, totes and gift card holders are flowing off the machine. If you know anyone looking for such gifts, you know where to send em!

My biggest source of income during the year is the result of a happy accident and in an area of sewing I would not have picked. A few Christmases ago, I made this quilt for my daughter. We spent twenty some years in Washington DC (and yes, it sure is nice to have  a real quarterback again). 

This quilt has spawned (slowly but surely) it's own cottage industry-and not all online. I've learned that for those of us football "expats" getting good football fan gear can be difficult.  It requires either returning to the old homestead, or shopping online and paying a steep price. What started as making some quilts for family friends has slowly expanded into a business of it's own.  I'm not just talking quilts, I'm talking banners, coasters, car flags, garden flags-you name it. At the behest of said daughter, I will be trolling some bars in future Sundays (so much for quiet Sunday for a few weeks). We have quite a few sports bars in town and I'll be visiting with samples and fliers and my credit card enabled cell phone.  Hopefully this will be a big push in the right direction.

Meanwhile, my most recent quilts may require sunglasses. Some one remind me when I make the next Pittsburgh quilt to add a little white, please. As for the Broncos, what can I say. I love them. Payton looks good in orange. But blue and orange and orange.


  1. These are wonderful Barb. What a skilled quilter you are! Good luck with the sport line - I can certainly see how broad the appeal potential of these is.

  2. Your quilts are all so lovely. The first one with all the bright happy fabrics is wonderful. I too am working my machine to death trying to get ready for the holiday's, so much fabric so little time!! Nothing better than sewing while a great game is playing in the background!!!

  3. Good idea on taking samples to the sports bars!
    (Though personally, I miss seeing Peyton in blue :(

  4. pasopamela@charter.netSeptember 12, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    I love your blog! I have been reading for awhile but just lurking, not commenting; however I grew up in Denver, am a die-hard Bronco fan & love your quilts! Funny (but intentional I think) that you picked Pittsburgh & Denver to model.....& I am way back from the Elway era, but totally enjoyed him! I had an attitude adjustment, was not fond of Payton until he grew up from a Colt into a Bronco.....I'll drop in more chats as I get time. Ironically, I am newly retired & MUCH busier than when I worked!

  5. DW my son misses him in blue as well.....but he follows the guy not the team so hes ha happy camper with the purple.

  6. Pamela, unfortunately its no rocket science. The only fabrics I coudld find in my local hancocks wer broncos, steelers and cowboys. Everything else I have to order on line so I worked with what there was first.

    Are you still in Denver? Im considering selling and relocating but with the cost of housing could end up renting for qyuite awhile there


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