Less Waste Is A Bright Idea

Mermaid Dreams by pen&thimble

Is your kiddo resolved to be a mermaid this year? Then I’ve got you covered — literally! This NEW reversible mermaid apron is *very nearly* perfect! It’s just missing your littles one’s name on it! Make your child’s mermaid wishes come true for 2020! Click here to purchase from my Etsy shop!

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Truth: There is No Balance in Growing a Business and A Family

My youngest is turning 2 years old in Thursday. 2 you guys! So I’ve been feeling nostalgic and flipping through photos and realizing how wonderful and challenging it’s been to grow my handmade business and my family together at home.

My studio has moved and grown with my family. My family has grown in the studio. The days I feel like I balanced mom-life and work-life well are rare. Some days I feel like I haven’t gotten any work done. Sometimes a week goes by and I can’t remember the last time I had some good quality family time. But that’s the “work-life balance.” It’s a pile in one direction or the other with the hope it all balances out in the end.

And one thing I know… No matter where my studio is, my pajamaed kids in my sewing chair makes my heart so happy! 🙂

PS. To see the handmade bibs, placemats, and kids decor I make  alongside my little shop assistants CLICK HERE!

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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!

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Fall Back To Work

After a hectic move and a good deal of poison ivy — hello there country life! — pen&thimble is back open with ready to ship crowns, bibs, teething toys, and placemats. (All CPSC compliant because handmade should be made with love, quality, and safety in mind.)

Want to see our new digs? Still a work in progress, but the new studio has a great view, a hanging plant, toys for the girls!

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Want to see more? Check out the video from the live studio tour on our Facebook page. Or pics and daily behind the scenes on the My Story feature of Instagram.

And if you are looking for a stylish drool-stopper for your baby or toddler, shop our new fall organic cotton prints on Etsy: www.penandthimble.com

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So excited the shop is back open! So excited to show you the new ideas I’ve been working on! Stay tuned!