An Interview with Ft. Worth Fabric Studios and a Give-a-Way

I am a big proponent of small business. And Ft. Worth Fabric Studio, owned by Jodie Heinold. It is a fabulous online store that offers great deals all year around, as well as special sales. They are actually celebrating with a Black Friday Sale, A Small Business Saturday Sale, and a Cyber Monday Sale.




I am happy to introduce, Jodie Heinold.

1. Tell us when you became interested in sewing, and how that happened? Did someone influence and teach you?     I have been interested in sewing since I was a young child.    As long as I can remember, I loved color, and all kinds of arts and crafts –  it’s always been a part of who I am.   My interest in sewing was further sparked by my Grandma Teegarden, and although I only saw her once or twice a year, she instilled within me a love of sewing!   She was seamstress, a quilter, and worked in custom drapery as a trade.    A high school home economics class got me started on making my own clothing – something I did through high school and part of college.

2. How did this lead to Ft. Worth Fabric Studio and how did it begin?   I earned a BS in Business Administration in college, but never forgot my passion for creating.   For a number of years I designed and sewed custom children’s boutique clothing – to be honest, it was the color and the coordinating of fabric that I enjoyed the most in this process. In 2009, I decided to combine my passion and my business degree and I opened Fort Worth Fabric Studio.

3. How did you decide to become an online only fabric store?  My children’s boutique clothing  business was an online business, so I was very comfortable with that venue and I loved the idea of FWFS having the ability to service clientele all over the world.

4. How big is your staff? And what do the other staffers do at Ft. Worth Fabric Studio?   We have a staff of 6 in addition to myself.    It truly is a family business!   

-Lindsey Weight is our blogger, sample maker, tutorial writer,  and head pattern designer.   

-Holly Humbert is our customer service gal, order shipper, and social media expert.

-Kurt Heinold (my husband) is our main cutter.

-Nick Heinold (my 20 year old son) takes care of loading most of the product on the website; he also cuts, packages, and ships orders.

 -Clayton Heinold (my 18 year old son) is our main FQ Bundle maker, and is also heavily involved with marketing.

 -Mitchell Heinold (my 16 year old son) is our all-around help – he helps cut orders, label packages, and keeps our supplies stocked.

5. What makes your online store different than other stores? Please Include details about including fabric lines you carry, sales, Friday Bundle Batch and anything that makes you unique and special.    Our FridayBundle Batch and our custom bundles are a unique niche for FWFS.  I thoroughly enjoy putting together the weekly bundles as well as our custom bundles – it is a fun challenge to match colors and prints across manufacturer lines to create something truly unique. Since I currently don’t have much time to sew, the bundles are my creative outlet.

6. Your site has a great feature; the color picker. And a buyer can pick secondary colors through that tool. Tell us about it and how it works. (I love it)!!  This tool was added to our web site a couple of months ago, and it is a great asset if you are searching for a particular color. You will find a wide rainbow of options – just click on the color you are searching for and the system will compile thumbnail images of all the fabrics it deems as matching.   This is a great time saver if you are searching for a particular color and don’t want to sort through an entire online catalog of images!

7. The “Coming Soon” and”What’s New” features on the menu bar are great tools for any shopper. I know this isn’t an exact science, but approximately what is the time difference between the two?  What’s New are the items that just arrived – this category showcases all the new goods added in the last 90 days. They are sorted by showing the newest items first.

Coming Soon is our section of pre-order fabrics – these items are not yet in stock, but will arrive as indicated.  We accept pre-orders on all of these items – you can order these fabrics just like any other in-stock items, but we will not charge you until the fabric arrives & we are ready to ship your order.   It’s a great way to reserve your favorites!  We always cut the pre-orders off the bolts first!

8. You always offer great ongoing sales. Are there any special ones shoppers should be aware of?   We have fantastic weekly sales on one or two fabric lines – all sales are advertised in our newsletter, along with the coupon codes needed!   Our sale section is also kept fully stocked, so you can always find a bargain!

9. Are you offering any special discounts or sales for Small Business Saturday and Cyber MondayWe have 30% off all Holiday House (Christmas/Winter themed) fabrics, bundles, kits, etc. And 20% off all (non-holiday) Bundles, Pre-cuts, and Kits!  These discounts will be automatically reflected in the shopping cart and are good through Monday, December 1!

10. What fabric trends do you foresee in the next six months?   I believe the trend for low volume prints will continue: low volume in color such as the great text background pieces you see in gray & white/cream, as well as tiny prints with color that can be used as background for quilt blocks. There are also a growing number of vintage-style prints being shown by the fabric reps and I believe these are also going to have a presence.

Jodie, thank you so much for sharing some pre-Thanksgiving time with us. It was a pleasure getting to know you better, and Ft. Worth Fabric Studio.

Jodie has generously offered a holiday fabric bundle, as a give-a-way.

To enter, please leave a comment in my comment box. Tell us the name of your is favorite bundle in the Bundle Section.
Or click on this link http://www.fortworthfabricstudio.com/shop/category/bundles.

I will announce the winner on this blog on Monday, December1st, at 9:00 PM, EST. Please make sure to leave your e-mail address.

 Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy this big sale weekend!!

Happy Quilting!! And safe travels.

"The Little Spark," by Carrie Bloomston – A Book Review – A Great Holiday Gift

Sometimes a book comes into my hands, just when I need it most. November is my least favorite month of the year, (except for Thanksgiving). It seems like the sky is always gray. We all know the sun sets earlier. It feels like the rainiest month of the year. And, of course the temperature drops….a lot.

Along came Carrie Bloomston’s debut book, The Little Spark; 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. The last 10 days of November have become brighter!!

While reading this book I discovered quite a few creative sparks. (Note all the stickies on the pages, with notes and ideas on them). I read through this book quickly, because I wanted to review it before the holidays. It makes an awesome gift. It’s exactly the kind of book I like to own, because I know I will revisit different chapters throughout my creative life. (I borrowed this copy from the library, and am glad there are many copies in our system).
But for me it will get another thorough reading. I didn’t get a really get an opportunity to do the exercises, mindfully. (There is one I did a few years ago). When I read through them, I could see they were thought provoking and are apt to provide a creative spark.

Two years ago, I did make a soul box, which Carrie suggests and describes how to do in Chapter 25.  
Top
 
Side

Side
 
 Side
 Side
Inside
Yup, I collaged the whole shebang!!
 
I was using it to hold some charm squares I had been collecting from my fabric stash. But now I think I’m going to put a copy of this book in the box, along with my goals, dreams and special memories.
Creativity is a difficult subject to write about because it is esoteric, and means different things to different people. Carrie tackled this subject with grace and authenticity. I applaud the organization of the chapters and how the information is presented. The flow works quite well. All of the chapters are short, crisp and are accompanied by photos that support the text beautifully and creatively.  

For example, Chapter 20, “Create a Mission Statement,”  Chapter 21, “Fear,” Chapter 22, “Find Your Voice,” Chapter 23, “Repetition,” and Chapter 25, “Make a Soul Box,” are applicable to me right now, because I have been a bit stuck in my creative process, and procrastinating. But, this book also provides permission to do that when needed. For example, sometimes everyone just needs a day off or a break from their creative endeavors. In my case, it is almost the year anniversary of the passing of my mom, and the gloominess of November seems to make me sluggish.
However, the most awesome piece of wisdom hit me while reading the Chapter on fear. Carrie states that, “The creative act is the opposite of fear.” (pp. 90). I have been a bit immobilized lately, and if I would let myself push on all the sides of my creative boundaries, I know I would climb out of my fink funk. I’ve experienced this before, and I know Carrie hit the nail on the head with how she wrote this chapter. THANK YOU, CARRIE!!
Chapter 20, discusses how to make a personal mission statement. Just the term “mission statement” reminds me of business school and makes me quiver. However, Carrie cleverly coaxes the reader into considering this in a less intimidating way. 
First she has the reader think about their first inspiration, and who it might have come from; A relative, friend, teacher? Then she challenges the reader to describe in one word, “what your unique creative path looks like?” Then she challenges you to “describe how it feels.”
She kicks it up a notch, and asks for a “description in two words?”The next step is to try and make it into a sentence. That’s what I would call taking on a tough challenge in small manageable bites.
The book’s end notes are useful. There is a list of amazingly creative contributors and their web sites. In the “About The Author” section, Carrie shares her favorite books and movies, which have inspired her. Additionally, throughout the book she recommends other creative resources; a George Winston CD, quotes, etc.

The first time I sort of met Carrie Bloomston was through the media. She gave an incredible webinar – Awaken Your Your Inner Color Genius, which was sponsored by The Modern Quilt Guild.

I was so impressed with her passion for the subject, that I wrote down the names of the artists that influenced her, and checked out books about them from the library. Carrie received her degree from The Rhode Island School of Design and is an artist in many genres, including quilt and fabric design. Her blog and company is called Such Designs.

I participated in her classes through The Sewing Party; 
“Understanding Color From The Inside Out,” and “The Little Spark – Get to Know Your Creative Process and Rev-Up Your Creativity.”  

After participating in these webinars/classes, I had to read this book, and thus this blog post is born. This is a book to savor, and possibly read a chapter every few days or a week, at a time. There is so much inspiration on every page.

Happy Reading and Happy Quilting!!

Fall Quilt Market in Houston – 2014

This was my first quilt market, and I’ve been struggling with this post.  Why, you might ask? I learned a lot which I want to share.


1. There is so much to absorb.
 
2. The facility is huge, and so much to see in 4 days.

3. My feet hurt for a few days after I came home. Tip: I wore comfortable, professional looking shoes. Eventually, I had to change into sneakers. 
Bring Both.

4. When I arrived home – I had a lot of stuff.  No, a really, really lot of stuff. Catalogs, brochures and information. (Only purchases – Two pairs of scissors, a book, which I can’t wait to review, and a pattern).
 
5. And I had to catch up on mail, e-mail, unanswered phone messages, do the laundry, take care of a pet issues, get a least one really good night’s sleep, and then….
 
6. Process the experience.
 
 
 
I took tons of photos and collected lots of literature and business cards from so many people. Fortunately, I was organized.  Every night when I got back to the hotel room, I sorted out all the papers and cards, and coordinated them with the map of all the  booths. 

I have no idea how large the space was where market was.  But it felt as large as a football field. The area of the center where The International Quilt Festival was seemed even larger.

Market itself was certainly a feast for the eyes. Every fabric booth looked beautiful and colorful. You could say some of the booths looked like little presents, each with their own themed wrapping paper. Each one was different and reflected the personality of that company. I was mesmerized at times.

 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Publishing houses set up little mini bookstores. When it came time for Angela Walters to sign her books, the line wrapped all the way around a few booths.  My calculation was that the end of the line was at least in for an hour wait. 

Sewing machine companies, including longarmers were busy all the time, and there was a noticeable hum from them in the air. I noticed booths from Spain, Australia and Brazil. I’m sure there were others from more foreign countries

I visited the Kona booth more than any other booth. They had a match game going, and I tried to beat my score everyday.  Each player had 2 1/2 minutes to try and match the name with a Kona solid.  There were four different boards, and I tried each one, which became progressively harder.
Then the player spun a prize wheel. There were fat quarters, canvas bags, color cards and charm packs. ( i may be missing something). For me it was less about the wheel, and more about seeing how many colors I could get right. 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 One of the most intriguing things for me was before and after the “official market.” I wrote a bit about that and posted a lot of photos on facebook about that. The day before market begins, everyone is in jeans or shorts and sneakers, working hard to put up their booths. Small truck lifters are driving carefully through the aisles with huge crates. Thick yellow electrical cords are being snaked through curtains and hidden from view.

The next morning when market opens, every booth is finished and looks like it just had a perfect makeover from a fashion stylist. Nothing seemed out of place.  Then on Monday at 4:00 PM an announcement comes through a PA system saying that market is officially closed. It reminded me of when the clock struck 12:00 AM and Cinderella’s beautiful gown disappeared. But at market, everyone quickly changes back into work clothes and the booths come down and are packed up again. Some of them stay open through Quilt Festival.




Speaking of Quilt Festival we did get to see it before it was open.  It is enormous with amazing work done by quilters all over the world. I can’t post any of them here, except the red quilt display that has been travelling in many festivals.  If I post any quilts, I must write who made it, and I forgot to take note of that. I will not forget next time.





All in all it was an incredible experience I will never forget.


Happy Quilting!!

The Sewing Party and a 3 Give-a-Ways

I just received my ticket for The Sewing Party, on November 8th, and I am looking over the list of classes and teachers such as; Amy Gibson from Stitcherydickorydock, Jennifer Mathis from Ellison Lane, Carrie Bloomston from Such-DesignsRob Appell to name a few.

I have earmarked quite a few classes that I’m looking forward to.

Pretty Pouch: Don’t Fear The Zipper with Jennifer Mathias.

The Little Spark – Get to Know Your Creative Process and Rev-up Your Creativity with Carrie Bloomston.

Strips and Bricks Quilts with Malka Dubrawsky.

Machine Embroidery Basics – Mechanics Behind the Art with Lisa Shaw.

Designing Textile Basics; Fabric Baptism with Melissa Watson.

Understanding Color from the Inside Out with Carrie Bloomston.

Building your Skills: 6 Essential Sewing Skills with Devon Lott.

Rob and the Zen of Machine Quilting  with Rob Appell.

These are interactive classes, and although some are happening in the same time slots, I’ll have 90 days to check out the classes I missed. This is a great deal for only $40. There will be prizes and give-a-ways throughout the day. Now that’s a great sewing party!!

To Register, Click here!!

I have three tickets for the this event to give-a-way, each with a tee-shirt.
In order to win, please leave a comment in my comment box, and tell me who is your favorite teacher, and which is the class you are most looking forward to taking. I will announce the winners on this blog in the morning on Thursday, November 6th.

I can’t wait to see you in class. 

The Sewing Party – A New, One-of-Kind DIY Event

At this fall’s quilt market in Houston, I came across a one-of-a-kind product that caught my attention, and I am excited to share it with you. 

This is the first time in history that 30+ DIY classes will be offered in “real time,” virtually by The Sewing Party, on Saturday, November 8, 2014, beginning at 10:00 AM EST, through 7:30 PM EST. 

The beauty of this event, (see video) is the viewer will be able to take part in all of these classes, and interact, live with teachers/designers/educators and
classmates. For the next 90 days participants with have access to class recordings, handouts and project instructions. This a great deal for $40. 

This is a great opportunity to learn many new techniques, network, and build a bigger community of sewing friends. And of course a party wouldn’t be a party without surprises, right? I interviewed Ann Bragg from The Sewing Party at quilt market, and she had to keep that part a secret.

The class choices are broad, and include; sewing, quilting, crafting, fashion, crafting business and creativity. This is a great opportunity and deal!!

The teachers/educators/bloggers are well-known and respected through their web sites, Etsy and HGTV. If you can’t log on with computer your computer or electronic device, on November 8, or you can only participate for just part of the day, the participant will have access to all of the conversations, instruction sheets, tips, Q & A from the transcripts of all of the classes for 90 days. To register, click here.  

OR go to http://www.thesewingparty.com.
 
After the 90 days, there will be more “good stuff” to come, via their
newsletter. The incredible people I met at The Sewing Party are offering a very nice give-a-way. Three lucky winners will be chosen on Thursday, November 6th at 9:00 AM, EST, and announced on this blog. Please make sure to leave your e-mail address, and tell us;

1. What is your favorite class?
2. Who is your favorite teacher/educator/designer

The winners will receive a free ticket to The Sewing Party and a cool tee-shirt Good luck.