After a market…

I’m sitting here in bed typing on the very tiny bluetooth keyboard for my iPad thinking about all the things that happened today. It’s just before midnight and even though going to a market today was physically exhausting I am WIDE awake.

So I thought I might share with you what happens after a market –

After I have packed the truck at the venue, Mum and I drive home. We unload, collapse on the lounge with a cup of tea and just relax for a bit. Later on though my mind is filled with all the things that happened during the day – who I spoke to, what it was about, things I can change on the stall, things I can do next time, what I can bring etc.

Each market gives me its own unique feedback – sometimes that feedback comes in words from customers or event organisers, sometimes its as simple as monitoring what sells best/worst/in the middle – which means that for the next market I can try a different set of products, displays, set up and even to how I pack the truck. I try to maintain a balance between the efficiency of packing and unloading the truck ย (how many trips back and forth from the truck to the location of my stall) and what the customers would like to buy. Sometimes I get it spot on, sometimes I miss a few things, but that is why markets are so important to small businesses like mine.

I’m an online business selling an item that is tactile – which makes it hard to sell based on quality because as a customer you can’t feel the texture, see the brightness of a print or stack bolts in different sequences to see if your idea will work – but as a business owner I am relying on you to trust me about that quality, which you should because I am one of you. I’ve been there, starting from my first quilt (front was good but oh my the backing!), confused by all the tools and gadgets, even more confused by the maths (what are these inch things?) and not really understanding the accuracy of what I was doing.

You need to trust me to select the fabrics and products, trust that I would only stock good quality or things that I use myself. Which is exactly what I do.

Back to the markets…

I do markets to advertise, mingle and engage with my audience in a way that I can’t as an online business. I do the markets to help make the lack of a physical shop less an inconvenience to my customers – so that quilts tops can be dropped off for quilting, picked up once they are quilted, local mail orders can be picked up and so that I get some human contact. I’m in a studio all day on my own and it can make you a little crazy, all that solitude. I do enjoy it but it can be hard sometimes.

So after today’s fun at the Destash Market (my own stuff not the shop’s) I have some really fun things coming to the next market and I hope that if you do come to a market that I’m at that you do pop in and say hi.

I’m still not tired so I guess it’s more work for me until I feel sleepy, can’t do any sewing this late as mum and dad are already asleep. So is the cat…on my feet…

Night!

Marni x

Packing and an emotional tangent…

Out of all the things in life packing and moving has to be one of the most hated. Top 5 at least – after public speaking….

I don’t like moving – it’s time consuming and I usually end up lifting everything and moving the things myself to the point of exhaustion. Packing is good though because you can sort and discard, condense your belongings and ensure that when you unpack you are starting afresh.

This move has been one of mixed feelings.

Changing the shop to online and machine quilting only was a big decision but it was one made at a time when all the pieces fell into place (space to move into, lease ending, mum needing more help with dad, 2 years at the shopfront) so it was an easy decision to make because it was simplified. The time was right, so we took the chance.

I love change so this is good for me and my outlook on the business. It gives me flexibility and time to hone my machine quilting skills more, in turn providing a better service for you, less overheads means more savings – so more stock and time to hunt down new and exciting things and best of all I’m around for dad.

Many of you know dad – he was in the shop from the start – he built all the cupboards and the kitchen area, the benches and the classroom tables. He was there every day with me, working on some of his own things, or helping me with shop things. He was there at all those shows and markets, lugging and carting things around for me. The last twelve months (from the 19th of August when it all happened) has been hard for my family. Watching the trauma that he suffered, listening to doctors tell us he wasn’t going to wake up and hearing the horror stories and fatality percentages made us close ranks and shut out the world. Being in the shop and continuing to quilt saved my sanity and held me together. I was able to be strong for my family – we had to keep going, knowing that’s exactly what dad would have expected of us.

What happened to dad few survive. Most die within the first few hours. Dad was incredibly lucky. We don’t know why or even how because according to all of the medical team who looked after him during those 3 months said he ticked all the wrong boxes. He was, in their eyes, a write off.

I personally think dad was lucky for three reasons – 1. He is a stubborn man and a survivor. This isn’t the first traumatic thing he’s lived trough. 2. He had reserves to loose. The excess weight he had been carrying kept him alive while others wasted away to nothing in the bed beside him dad still had colour and looked reasonably healthy. 3. He had us. Even though we were prepared for the worst because that’s what we were led to believe was happening we still hoped.

I won’t go into all the details but after three months in hospital we got him home. The first few weeks were tough for mum and I – especially through the nights when dad was restless – ย we were lifting him in and out of bed. But he got better. The physical stuff coming back quickly, his balance is still a little random but he’s doing well. The mental and emotional stuff – well that takes far longer to heal.

Dad and I are not the same. We’ve lost whatever bond we had. I lost my drinking buddy, my companion in mischief… but it’s weird because he’s still there.

And this is why the shop had to change.

My family comes first. The shop as much as I love it and all of my customers is second. You all know that and you all have expressed to me the same sentiment.

So from now on, we are all to live much happier streamlined lives. Mail orders are easy as pie to place. I love seeing orders come in and wonder what you are all up to.

I will be updating new stock and information as I unpack. There are some new products arriving at the end of the month. To stay in touch with all the details please sign up for our newsletter or find us on Facebook.

 

I will be around all over the place over the last few days of this move so if you need me please send through an email (frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com), ring/text 0416 023 637 or message me via Facebook. You can also leave comments on blog posts.

Have a great week!

Marni x

Surrounded by Sparklies

Okay, okay… I know I’ve been reaaaallllly quiet the past 2 weeks.

My bad. ๐Ÿ™

I’ve actually been very busy and have had very little time to sit and write a decent post for you all.

I managed to claim some time back tonight as I’ve gotten some of the work out of the way. I have tomorrow off (gasp!) and everything is ready for the Handmade Craft Market on Sunday.

So, I’ve made a cup of tea, popped my slippers on and put my lap quilt over my knees and am sitting here typing this riveting post for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Catch up of what’s been happening…

The 5th and 6th of May was the Wyong Quilt Show – Janette runs an excellent show, running around organising EVERYTHING including jam and scones for brekky for the stallholders each morning. We had a fabulous 2 days at the show. On one side Hans was demonstrating the Nolting and selling haberdashery and other goodies and on the other side was Down Under Quilts magazine. Deb was there selling back issues and sewing a very pretty quilt for a special little girl. There was a definite thrum of activity in that room at the show – we had demos and machines going, lots of chatter and excitement.

The following weekend (12th and 13th) I was at Hornsby Westfield for the Handmade Craft Market’s pop up market. I had a fun couple of days in the centre – I spent quite a bit of time doing quick demos of the Flip la K templates and madly stitching blocks for a display for Darling Harbour. Which at that stage was 4 weeks away…..

And so to this week – it has been cold and a bit quiet in the shop but you’ve all kept me busy with mail orders (no-one wants to go outside to shop hey? :))

But…

This week I have been busy with the sparkly goodness that is beading.

Next week we go into design for our August issue and I have been editing projects, counting beads, measuring and writing. I love doing a beading mag as it is completely different to my shop stuff. I get to sit down and plan the mag from cover to cover, adjusting things as needed, write articles about things that I find interesting, educational or important, learning more about my contributors and seeing what new and exciting products are available. It all works at a slower pace than the shop and is my mental time away from fabric….as much as I <3 fabric.

I’ve also been busy with a bit of freelance writing – click here to read the online article. The other article will be out in print later on.

We are now 24 days away from set-up for Darling Harbour. I can tell you I am a tad FREAKED out that I’m not ready with my display stuff and that I have 4 quilts to cut, sew, quilt and bind before then… but I’m cool, it’ll get done.

{cue hysterical laughter}

If anyone would like a custom made quilt – please come and see me after the 25th of June – I will be back to normal by then and have some time to give your quilt the attention it deserves. ๐Ÿ™‚

New classes will be listed at the end of June – these will be for the second half of the year and include night classes.

This coming week after the market this Sunday I’ll be finishing off a couple of projects for the magazines – I was asked to participate in Australian Patchwork & Quilting‘s birthday challenge. Some gorgeous fabric and I’m going out on a massive limb with my project but I hope you all love it. The other project is for APQ as well but it’s using their new range of fabrics. Not my usual cup of tea but my quilt is a bit modern using this more traditional colours… you’ll see ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m catching up with the girls next week for our most favourite of foods – YUM CHA!!

 

Then I’ll be sewing madly for a week until my sister and I go to Quarantine Station for a ghost tour… my sister bought me tickets for my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

and then…

{drum rollllllllllll}

DARLING HARBOUR!

 

So – I’m off to make some jewellery tonight.

I’ll try to post a bit more regularly but … no promises ๐Ÿ™‚

Night,

Marni

 

 

 

 

May…be…

I cannot believe how fast this year is flying by. We are past the 6 month mark for the shop, we’re into market and show season and the weather is turning particularly chilly.

Housekeeping….

The shop is no longer open on Saturdays. There is a sign on the door at the shop, I’ve changed the details, here and on Facebook and I’ve made several status updates announcing as such.

We are at the Wyong Quilt Show this weekend – come along and say hi.

In the latest copy of Patchwork & Stitching Magazine my Punk Princess quilt is published. I have 5 kits left of it for sale and will have them with me tomorrow at the show. $85 for the fabrics just to make the quilt top and the binding or $120 if you want backing as well. You’ll also need 2m of Vliesofix which is sold separately.

 

I’m also about to release the pattern for In Flight. It will be available as a pattern, will be taught as a class from the end of June and also comes as a tailored kit.

The tailored kits are where I work with you to create a kit to your liking, we liaise via email with photos and colour swatches to create a unique quilt for you. I can only do a limited number of these as they take more time to compile so if you are interested please send me an email frankensteinsfabrics@hotmail.com

There’s lots of other things happening over the next few weeks. I’ll have to keep you updated after the weekend.

 

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Marni ๐Ÿ™‚

Rain

I can hear some of you thinking that this post will be a whinge about the rain… well I hate to disappoint but it will be nothing of the sort… see I LIKE rain… ย except when I have washing to do or have to catch public transport.

I love the smell, the sound and the look of it. I love the way it makes me want to curl up with a hot chocolate and a good book under my favourite quilt. How it makes my cat snuggly. How it makes the fog and mist hang around the tree tops at the end of the street behind my house and how I always feel like I get a good nights sleep when I can hear it falling outside.

I also like BIG storms – with lots of lightning and thunder. I love the energy of a storm and I always feel like this recharges me and that my creative impulses are renewed and revitalised….

You might have realised that I am a bit weird.

No worries….

The rain today seemed to bring out a lot of customers. In fact it felt like the busiest day since we opened. That was fantastic! But was it the rain? What made you all come out today on such a miserable, soggy day? You all had to traispe inside from your cars, dashing across the sodden grass to get to the door. I was pleased to see you all regardless of the weather and I thank you for making today a good day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Onto other things…still rain related….

Rainy weather is the perfect weather to get some sewing done. And the rain today was a perfect start to my sewing to do list….

– commissioned lap quilt for customer (needs border, quilting and binding)

– lap quilt for magazine project (which will then be my winter quilt) needs quilting and binding

– finish binding on a playmat, table runner and one single bed quilt (playmat and table runner will go up for sale)

– double bed quilt top (finish piecing, then quilt and bind) then will be up for sale

– quilt top for magazine project (quilting and binding)

– girls lap quilt – fairy themed (border, quilting and binding)

– 2 x single bed UFO quilt tops (currently sitting in box in blocks and borders…. but when done will be up for sale)

– single bed made from fat quarters (finish appliquรฉs, quilt and bind)

– start on competition quilt

– 1x boys, and 1 x girls single bed quilts for Darling Harbour (possible kits)

 

If I can get a lot of these things out of the way this week I will be a happy woman and can sort out the other odd things I need to get done. I’m starting to get very, very, VERY excited for Darling Harbour. I have sooooo many ideas and things that I want to showcase but I need to sit down and nut it all out properly. I have some surprises and some interesting things planned, so you’ll need to mark it down in your diary to come and see me.

Anyways, its still raining so I’m off to get into bed with my book and a hot water bottle.

Night,

 

Marni

 

 

April Catchup…

So we’re into April and I’ve got just a bit of housekeeping.

After a chocolate overloaded long weekend we are back at the shop and there’s a new look around HQ.ย Make sure you pop in and have a look.

Custom orders are still open – I’m making quilts, jewellery and will take on any quilting jobs you may need doing before the cold weather sets in.

Upcoming events –

May 5 & 6 – Wyong Quilt Show

May 12 & 13 – HCM Pop Up Market at Hornsby Westfield

May 19 – HCM Terrigal

I’m working on a competition quilt. Not going to reveal anything just yet but it is my very first attempt at entering a competition so I’m a little nervous. ๐Ÿ™

May and June are going to be very busy with markets and shows – make sure you mark the dates down for everything thats coming up.

 

Night,

Marni

Marching on…

I cannot believe we are in MARCH already!

It feels like yesterday the shop was opened. But I guess time flies when you are having fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next week the shop will have been open for 5 months. That is very exciting. Nearly at the 6 month mark.

There has been some moments where I had my doubts, (I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t) but we’ve charged through and it’s been a ball. I’ve enjoyed meeting all my new customers (and some old faces from my other jobs) been recognised by many of you from my work on Australian Patchwork & Quilting and my stint doing the craft shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.

Some news for this week – I’ll be at the Rosehill Craft Show on Saturday helping my friend Hans from Know-How Sewing Essentials. Mum and Dad will be in the shop.

I have (finally) worked out a price list for quilting – I have created a new tab for it, go and check it out if you are looking for someone to quilt your quilts.

I had a great day with my friend Stef on Sunday – we had a crafternoon. (I can hear you asking how on earth do I not get sick of making things?) To be honest I do have moments of not wanting to make things, or have no sew-jo (thanks for that Strawberries & Ginger). But 99% of the time I looooooovvvvveeeee making things. I live it, I breathe it. My veins are full of crafty goodness pumping through my system 24/7/365(6).

So anyways Stef and I were making felties and some other random craft stuff that we do (me quilt, Stef cross-stitch). We’ve both been avid followers of the Mollie Makes magazine. Which brings me to my next piece of news…

*drum roll*

As of the end of March, Frankenstein’s Fabrics will be stocking MOLLIE MAKES. Our first issue in stock is #12. Now I am only able to order a limited supply so if you really want it please contact me ASAP and reserve your copy (50% deposit required to confirm reservation). I can tell you now it is a hard magazine to find as not all newsagent stock it and if they do it may only be a few copies and sells out REALLY fast.

I am BEYOND excited about being able to supply this magazine as it has become a firm favourite in my household.

 

Anyhoo…

I am monitoring my FB sale at the moment so goodnight and I’ll catch you later this week.

 

Marni