Welcome to Sew in the Snow Blog

This blog is about my passions in life: family, quilting, and new adventures. Quilting is my main passion! I also love my family tirelessly and devote most of my energy to my young preschool girls and my husband. This blog will be about my creative process in quilting and some about being a Mom in this busy world. Being of Irish descent, I love a good story. So buckle in, here we go!

Friday, March 30, 2012

FAF: Alaskan Colleen

Today is my birthday. Which means today I focus on myself!  All of the pictures for this blog post are from my personal collection or things I shared with my family.  Since I hadn't intended to show them publicly, they are not of the best picture quality.  But, it shows the range of quilts I've made and that I really like!

I decided to answer the interview questions that I've given to other Etsy artists. I realize that I haven't filled out my own interview. Is that fair, to expect others to do something that I haven't done? No, not really. So, here goes nothing.
my first applique project

What originally gave you the idea to create such an interesting Etsy shop?
I was talking with some girlfriends during a knitting meeting about bazaars.  One lady suggested Etsy as an online way to sell crafts and to reach more people.  After looking into it, I found that it was a good fit for me.

Ideas are often so hard to implement—tell us a bit about how you started and what were your first steps in creating your niche in the Etsy and handmade community.
Hmmmm…I’m not sure I actually have a niche yet.  However, I began by taking bunches of pictures and reading the “seller’s handbook” for advice on Etsy.  It turns out that I haven’t kept many of my original pictures because they weren’t very good.  I am blessed to have a girlfriend that likes to take pictures and she’s helped out with some of them!

Could you share some tips on how someone would go about growing an Etsy shop or online presence?
From what I’ve read, you need to really “get in the face” of your potential buyers. This isn’t my style, so it’s been difficult for me to do that. I’ve read a book on Etsy success, and it suggests Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. I am attempting to do that now.  I post all new items to both Facebook and Twitter.

I love pinwheels and blue and yellow together

What is your main hurdle in running your Etsy site to date?
Marketing.  I am a creative soul.  I love to make things.  My self-time is limited because I’m a Mom of toddlers, so my free time is precious. Thus, I would much rather spend my few hours a day sewing and creating than devoted to marketing.

Tell us about the most interesting item you’ve ever made. 
To date the most interesting quilt I’ve made has been a Lone Star quilt.  It was strip quilted, but I had to pin each point because they don’t line up.  I usually don’t pin, instead I use the seam-lock method to get things to stay put.  Anyway, I had to mark with a 1/4 inch dot then pin exactly on it.  It is also sew on the bias so it tended to stretch some.  So, this quilt was a real challenge.  I spent a long time on it!  But, I love it so much it was definitely worth it! 
100% silk fabric

What is the structure behind the scenes—how many people do you have working on your shop at the moment?
Just me.  My girls are always around and so is my cat and dog.  But, I do all the work.

For My Dad who sails

How do you promote your business?  Facebook, Twitter, blogging, or other?
I use all of these, but not very faithfully.  I like to use the search ads on Etsy and to renew things people are looking at.  For example if my shop stats indicate a lot of views on quilts, I’ll renew quilts.  If there are views on crayon rolls, I’ll renew some of those.  Renewing things has helped increase my views, but it’s tricky because I have such a diverse inventory.

Describe the process of creating one of your handmade items.
It all begins with a pattern choice and a main color.  I tend to think of someone specific to guide my color and pattern choice.  Then I think about the “feeling” the combinations will invoke: fun, elegant, bright and happy, masculine power, etc.  This guides my color choices.  I love how a pattern can feel so different by using different colors! 
For the Amanda Quilts project

What do you love most about making your products? 
My favorite thing is choosing color combinations and the process of beginning a new project.  I love shopping for fabric! 

Fun Facts:
List 3 adjectives that describe you.
Quirky, passionate, joyful

What is your favorite food?
Dessert!  A warm boysenberry pie with vanilla ice cream, hot cinnamon rolls, cookies

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I see my self as a wolf.  I am fiercely protective of my family -- like a pack. I have a strong personality, like an alpha female; I usually end up in leadership positions. I love the wilderness and the backcountry like a wolf running free over the mountains.  I mate for life; I have been married almost 20 years to my high school sweetheart.  I am blunt, without the sneakiness of a fox, what you see is what you get.  I need a close pack of friends and family to make me feel fulfilled in life.

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