Friday, May 13, 2016

Pin Bowl Chronicles


This is me. Taken last summer. This has been my office attire for the last 15 months or so. 

And although I've had mostly a blast with this crazy pin bowl business of mine...
I'm a little giddy that I don't have to sweat to death in this suit and face mask anymore! 
The office attire is a changin for me. 

I have an announcement to make today and seriously it's the best news! A little secret I've had to keep for a while and can't wait to share!


In 2009 I painted my first pin bowl. These are some of my first bowls listed in my etsy shop in 2009. {PS I don't claim to have invented the polka dot. But I do claim to be the first maker of polka dot magnetic pin bowls} 

Every so often I'd paint a few and list them in my shop. 

Then in the fall of 2014 one of my bowls appeared on IG - that was the catalyst for pin bowls going viral 

In December 2014 I took my first group of pre orders and had to stop at 300. That was one crazy busy Holiday season for me


Soon after those first pre-orders I decided to take a leap and I listed over 200 bowls in my Etsy shop. They sold out in less than 3 minutes! That's pretty much when I realized that other people liked my pin bowls as much as I did. 

So I set up shop in our garage and started painting my little heart out. 

It was fun and not so fun. I was ruining everything in our garage. Even with plastic and tarps everywhere. Overspray is Evil. 

Bowls in my etsy shop were "jumping out of carts" and buyers were not so happy with me. That was really hard. I was painting as much and as fast as I could. And although it was such a blessing to be selling bowls. It was also very disheartening. 

So I had son #3 build a website for pin bowls. Cart jumping problem solved! 


Cart jumping problem solved. 

But I really needed to step up my game. In order to do that, I needed more space and a better painting situation. 

I spent most of the summer in the thick of wedding preparations painting under a canopy on the back porch. But with fall weather coming, I knew I couldn't do that much longer. 

So in August I started renting a glorified storage unit. 

I also enlisted the help of my friends and family with a packaging/shipping crew & "Dotters" {did you know each dot is hand painted and the Dotters actually had to pass a dotting test } 

the space worked out perfectly! And the help of friends and family allowed me to paint bowls all day and production increased


Last summer and fall I worked 6 days a week often from 4:30 am-11:00 pm and still couldn't keep up.

In October it appeared that my source for bowls had changed the manufacturer/vendor of the bowls. Finding good supply became a huge issue. {I have purchased 95% of the bowls from our local Harbor Freight. The guys and gals are great at our local store and have been so supportive! They know my husband and I by our first names and have my husbands cell number memorized} 

But, just when things were going really well...
{at this point we had sold over 3,000 bowls!}...

the roof at our space started leaking and leaking and order to find good bowls I was driving to as many Harbor Freights as I could....on the phone way too many hours with their corporate offices... eye problems from the over-spray....and getting behind in production at my busiest time of year. 

I was completely stressed out.... I had to do something....


I had to do something... 

I knew I didn't have what was necessary to grow this business into its full potential. {money, knowledge, time} and if I didn't do something - someone else would. 

There were Ruler Pals too. They take an enormous amount of time to make. 

Cut. Sand. Prime. Sand. Paint. Sand. Paint. 

They were gaining in popularity, and somehow I needed to up my production on those too. 

I did a lot of research and googling trying to figure out what I could and wanted to do, where my business was concerned. 

I was extremely grateful for the business. It helped us financially and in so many other ways. But I was missing other things I loved working on. 

I knew I didn't have what it took to run a full time 14 hour a day 7 days a week business of my own like this. It was too much. 

So after much Research. Praying. Reading. Praying. And talking to my family.  I decided to contact someone that had a lot more experience than I. A meeting was set up and.......


This happened! 

I'm thrilled to announce that I've partnered up with Riley Blake Designs! 

AND you won't have to worry about pin bowls and ruler pals jumping out of carts anymore! Or wondering if you'll finally snag a bowl from one of my sales. Or wishing it didn't cost so much to ship to Australia! 

I get to do what I love most - putting my ideas into designs. And Riley Blake will be taking care of the manufacturing and distributing of bowls and pals. 

Retailers will be able to pre-order bowls and pals next week at International Quilt Market! Shipping in August. 

Did I mention that I'm just thrilled!? I have always been a fan of Riley Blake Designs and feel like this is a perfect fit for me. They've been a pleasure to work with, and I'm grateful for their experience and all that I'm learning from them. 

And can't wait to show you the newest pin bowl design that we'll introduce at market! You're going to love it!

And I couldn't end the condensed version of this chapter of my pin bowl story without thanking a few people. 

My husband for cutting wood, Harbor Freight runs, Home Depot runs, building, moving, dinner-less nights and more. Especially encouraging me when I wanted to quit. 

My oldest for introducing me to that 1st magnetic parts bowl 7 years ago! 

My other two boys for computer help, design advice and more. 

My sister and niece and their mad dotting skills. 

My little brother for bugging me to go on Shark Tank which gave me the idea to partner up. 

My other brother for listening to me on the phone, while I sat on the garage floor sobbing, the day paint went bad on 60+ bowls - just before they were finished. 

My friends for helping on a moments notice. 

And for all of YOU! Thank you for the sales and supporting a handmade business. Thank you for your kind words yesterday and always. For all of your encouragement and support of my crazy pin bowl business! 

It's been a wild but fun ride and I can't wait for this newest chapter!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How I Save My Scraps....the method that saved my quilting life

For those who just happen upon this post... I started a series on Instagram this week. Left Overs - not just for dinner.... 

You can find me on Instagram @Pleasant.Home

I'll be sharing how I save, store, organize and use the Left Overs from my quilting projects! {and fabric scraps in general} mostly on IG with a few posts here, for a couple of weeks. 

First up! 
My scrap saving and organizing endeavors have evolved over the years.  I started by sorting into bins by color. {I even tried two different types of bins}. 

Work Station

The fabric scraps were a jumbled, wrinkly, crinkly mess. I had to dump the bins each time I wanted to use my scraps. Then I preceded to dig through them, trying to find the right color/shade and size.  

Blue Bin

I would finally give up and every few months I would list scrap bags in my Etsy Shop, or give to family and friends.  Some even ended up in the trash. {It felt so wasteful} It was time consuming too. {taking away precious sewing time} 

And then a few years ago a friend introduced me to a different scrap saving method that kinda changed my life. Not even joking. :) 

I'll show you how it works for me and then I would totally recommend you pop over to

my friend Lori Holt's blog and check out her post about this fabulous method for saving, storing, organizing and using your scraps and left overs. Lori's method seriously was a game changer for me.  I LOVE this method.... {link to Lori's post, at the bottom of this post} 

You saw in my post on IG yesterday this little yellow pail.  It sits at the back of my work table on the cutting section. When I am cutting fabric for a quilt. I throw the left over pieces into this pail. Mostly anything that is less than a fat 1/8". The larger pieces get folded back up and set aside to be put away later. 

Anything smaller than 1 1/2" gets tossed in the trash. {or you can save them for various uses like stuffing for sending packages, or dog beds, or leave them out for the birdies to use in their nests} 

When my little pail is full and overflowing, I grab my ipad, pick something to watch or listen to, and get to work. 

In the photo above you can see the left over pieces that were in the pail.  They've been dumped onto my ironing board, which is also part of my work table, and pressed. Not sorted or anything.  Just quickly pressed. 

And then I get to cutting. I cut these left overs into usable pieces. 

Lori has found that cutting her left overs into the following sizes, works really well for her.  I adopted the same sizes and give it a thumbs up! 

1 1/2" strips and squares
2 1/2" strips and squares
3 1/2" strips and squares

I DO NOT spend a lot of time measuring and deciding what size to cut my left overs.  I grab a piece, lay my ruler over it and pretty much eye ball what size it can be cut to, with the least amount of waste.  I figure - even if I cut in error and have a little too much going into the trash pail, it's better than how I was saving and using my scraps before! 

Here are some of the trimmings from a 'cutting into usable pieces' session! 

And here are the fruits of my labors. Strips and squares {and some smaller strips waiting to be cut into squares}.  And some triangles that need to be used as leaders and enders ending with a life as a Half Square Triangle. 

It does my heart good to see all this fabric that will actually be used in some form or another! So little waste! And no more time wasted digging thru scrap bins.  Win. Win. 

I USE these left overs ALL the time.... In the next couple of weeks I'll be posting on Instagram and here at Pleasant Home; how I organize these usable pieces, and also, projects with really good tips and tricks.  Seriously the possibilities are endless! 

Tomorrow I'll be sharing on Instagram, how I organize and store these usable pieces. Good stuff. :) 

You can find Lori's post here: 
 Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet


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