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 16, 2012

FAF: Featured Artist Friday is Dawn from Spring Water Designs

This is going to be a great interview!  I had the opportunity to meet Dawn in the Quiltsy team discussions.  She is fair and generous, and easy to talk with.  She has a wide range of items in her shop and also boasts a blog and a website.  Yet, she still found the time to answer my questions.  How fun to share her answers with you!

What originally gave you the idea to create such an interesting Etsy shop?
When I first started Spring Water Designs, I didn’t have a website, so Etsy was a great do-it-myself kind of way for me to have a web presence and sell my items online.  It’s an added benefit that people who shop at Etsy really appreciate and respect handmade items.   

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.
I started with crib quilts on Etsy (that I also sell at a local children’s shop), and some of my original patterns.  Often I make multiple quilts from my pattern designs, so I sell them on Etsy as well.  I also enjoy taking part in challenges at my guild and online, so sometimes those challenge projects end up in my Etsy shop too.

Could you share some tips on how someone would go about growing an Etsy shop or online presence?
Once I opened my Etsy shop, I discovered their wonderful online community. Read, read, read!  There is so much great information to learn from others in the forums, and from Etsy tutorials about selling online, and how to make your shop better.  The very best thing I did was join an Etsy Team. I still learn something almost everyday about tweaking and marketing my shop from the postings of other team members. 

What is your main hurdle in running your Etsy site to date?
Trying to manage my time to work the holiday seasons better.  I also do work for magazines, and I’m still trying to get used to working so far ahead to have the projects finished for the proper season release. 

What are some of the most interesting teams you’ve seen develop on the Etsy site?
I’ve only joined the Quiltsy Team so far, and that keeps me really focused, and they’re super supportive.  I’ve been intrigued with the idea of joining a local team to connect with Etsians close to home. 

What is the structure behind the scenes—how many people do you have working on your shop at the moment?
Right now Spring Water Designs consists of me, my dog Butters, and cat Maddie (Butters and Maddie are mostly moral support).  I have two daughter’s that were helping me with developing some product lines, and my daughter Lisa has been sewing a line of Infinity Scarves that we’ve been selling in the shop, but both of them have started working full time elsewhere and starting their young families, so they’re not able to help out much for a while.  They give me great input though and I am slowing implementing their product ideas J

How do you promote your business?  Facebook, Twitter, blogging, or other?
All of the above as much as possible. You can find me at random times at any of these places:
My favorite place is my blog, I try to share a little of what I’m working on (when I’m allowed to share any more ~ some magazine projects have to be kept hush-hush until their release), and I like to share about other cool blogs and sites online.  I’m planning to do more fun stuff on my facebook page too. 

Describe the process of creating one of your handmade items.
Wow, my processes are all different because I like to work with a lot of different styles, from traditional handwork, to quick modern projects.  I think working with a lot of styles and techniques keeps it fresh for me…but it all starts with pulling the fabrics.  I really love the process of laying out and auditioning all the different fabric possibilities.  I love to upcycle old un-wearable sweaters and clothes too, so sometimes I’m cutting up sleeves…you just never know J
This beauty is featured in Fons and Porter Magazine!  Kudos!

What do you love most about making your products? 
Yep, I definitely love pulling the colors and playing with the fabrics.  But I also enjoy soothing a day of just repetitive sewing like machine blanket stitching, or curling up with hand appliqué in my recliner at night ~ it’s a fun job!

Fun Facts:

List 3 adjectives that describe you.
Caring, Dependable, with a touch of Silly

What is your favorite food?
It’s a toss up between Pizza and Chocolate Eclairs (the kind with custard inside, yummm)

If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Why?
I would have to say a cat, mostly because my cat can sleep virtually anywhere.  She also comes across as pretty wise, and only interjects herself at the most opportune times (attributes that I’m striving for). 

I must say that I'm really impressed by the fact that you do things for quilting magazines.  I'd really love to do that too.... but I have no idea how to go about it.  How exciting that you currently have a project in the Fons and Porter Magazine.  (See the pink and brown quilt above.)

I also love diversity in the things that I make... otherwise I get bored and it seems more like work than a fulfilling hobby and a wonderful passion that lets my soul soar.  So, I change things up too from quilts to baby quilts, from Schelp bags to knitting needle cases...  anything to keep my mind engaged in the creative process. 

I'm sure you're all dying to know where you can see Dawn's delightful products so that you can browse through them.  Of course, she gave us links earlier... but here's her Etsy site, her blog, and her website.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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