Lost Mail and Choosing Happy

In the nearly three years I’ve been selling on Etsy, I’ve had a first today. I found out that USPS lost a package…while it was out for delivery. (Oh it was so close!) Tracking confirms that it likely didn’t reach its destination. What is a very small business owner to do?

First, I looked at my policies.

Do I say, “I’m so sorry this happened, but I can’t control what USPS does once the package is shipped.” I could. It says so right there in my shop policies. The policy is a bit harsh, but it does make sense. Plus, I offer a shipping option that covers lost packages. But saying “sorry I can’t help you,” to a customer who is already bummed out about a lost package isn’t very pen&thimble-y. And quite frankly, the world could use some extra kindness and compassion these days.

Next, I looked at my business Mission Statement. It is my business beacon. I should have looked here first!

Mission Statement:

pen&thimble offers designs and quality handmade gifts for children and babies that are both functional and fun. Each item I create is comprised of designer fabric, quality materials, sewn and tested for safety and longevity, and is compliant with CPSC standards for Children’s Products. Happy customers, both the little ones and their caregivers, are of upmost importance to us, so we pride ourselves in building positive customer relationships.

– pen&thimble by Gillian Freeman

So there you have it. A big part of my mission is to try to make happy customers and to build positive customer relationships. I’ve got this! (Or at least I’ll try!)

package taped up and ready to ship

In the business of sending happy vibes and tons of washi tape!

The Cost of A Quilt

Quilts are kind of my favorite thing right now. They are the cozy marriage of beauty and function. They are a comfy place for baby to enjoy tummy time, they keep us warm when we are reading a good book in the winter, they comfort your sick kid when you’re warming soup on the stove, they make spaces beautiful.

So during vacation I decided to treat myself and my family, by making us a Christmas quilt. I chose a free quilt block pattern of Christmas trees to save costs (find the pattern and tutorial here). I can’t wait to tell you just how much money I saved making my own quilt!

I made the festively colorful quilt pictured below with the dimensions 38 x 45 inches (96.5 x 114 centimeters). Take a guess the cost of the materials for the entire quilt… fabric, binding, batting, thread, tools. Jot it down even! In fact, write down your guess now before you see the cost of materials below.

Oh! Before I reveal the cost of materials, I want to mention that the price of the materials is not counting the time (hours/days) it took me to:

  • pair prints and colors for the tree blocks,
  • make the quilt blocks (each of those 8 Christmas trees),
  • arrange the trees and sashing to my liking,
  • trim the blocks to uniform size
  • sew all of the blocks and sashing together to make the quilt top,
  • quilt the top, batting, and back together,
  • hand sew the binding (that red fabric tape around the quilt that hides the inside layer from view.

All told the cost of materials was: $80.11. Is that more or less than you expected? Let me know in the comments below!

Compare the materials cost to the 50 x 60 inch finished quilts I saw on Amazon for $13.85 and $20.99. Those prices include shipping too if you are a Prime member. You can see for yourself by searching “throw quilts” on Amazon. So money saved… um, none. But I knew that going in, of course!

Breakdown of Cost of Materials (Retail Prices):

  • $33.55: Beautiful Christmas-y Fabric for Top
  • $9.49: Batting
  • $17.98: Backing Fabric
  • $11.60: Binding: (I spent more $ by not making my own, but saved $ in time)
  • $7.49: Spool of Thread, Machine Wear, New Needles, Use of Quilters Rulers, Rotary Blades, Shears, Thread Snips, Seam Ripper, Cutting Mat.

The real reason I made my own quilt was not to save money. In fact, I tend to choose handmade expecting it to cost more. It should! It is special. It is unique. It tends to be a higher quality.

I made this quilt because I’ve caught the quilting bug. I can’t wait to share some of my more recent projects with you. (Squeee!) You won’t see any of these creations in my shop just yet, but I wanted to share this bit of my handmade journey with you. And in case you hadn’t considered it before, I wanted to share the exact cost of materials of a little handmade quilt. 🙂

Hope you are all having a happy New Year so far! I’ll be posting again next week!