Thursday, May 26, 2011

Batiks, Quilting and Summertime...

The weather is warm, the flowers are blooming and in some parts of the country the kids are already celebrating long summer days. It is the time of year for lazy afternoons at the beach, lake or river. Gardening is in full swing and BBQ-ing on the deck on warm evenings. But how about those rainy summer days? According to the Farmers Almanac we are in for a few more than normal. Be prepared, and occupy your time, with a fun sewing project? How about some Tropical Chic?

Bali Batiks from Hoffman fabrics are the perfect weight and are filled with the colors and hot energy of summer. Why not think about piecing together an inspired quilt, a tablecloth or even a super lightweight bedspread? It just could not be easier.
The Bali Batiks are soft and yummy to work with and at 45" wide it allows for plenty of different creative applications and at only 7.49 per yard it is a steal. The 1895 Batiks are hand dyed in such rich and sometimes even vibrant colors. From a subtle seafoam to an electric orange. This series truly is the perfect companion to the texture and pattern rich Bali Batik collection. The width is 45" and the price is 6.59 per yard. Wow.
We are always checking around and the average price of these two specific collections from Hoffman fabric is upwards of $10.00 per yard.
So really the more you buy at the more you save!
By the way if you are a contesting creative quilter or creator of fine fabric masterpieces, Hoffman Fabrics has a contest. The rules are simple, you must use Hoffman Batiks and Sulky thread. The deadline is July 15th. At Mary Jo's we do not carry the Sulky line of thread, but we sure have a stockpile of the Hoffman Batik fabric collections. If you are interested in reading more about this cash prize contest go to Hoffman fabrics for the full set of rules. You can check out the past winners and plan your own strategy.
If you would like to be inspired, check out these blogs. They are filled with inspiration, good ideas and some great advice. 1. Artistic Quilting. 2.The Curious Quilter. 3. Feathered Fibers.
Do you have a great blog or a new project you would like to share with us? You could be the next article. We always love to hear from you. Email us today. One last item, did you know we are on Facebook? Be a friend and be one of the first to hear all of the latest news on your Facebook Wall.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What Shape is Your Seat In?

Upholstery. Spring is the time to look around with fresh eyes. When was the last time you thought about changing it up? A new, well made chair can cost upwards of 800.00, if you get a good deal. To re-upholster a chair can be under 100.00 for the materials. 3-4 yards of fabric, depending on the size of the chair, a staple gun and you are off to the races. Remember, upholstery fabric at can be as low as 8.98 per yard and usually no higher than 18.98. Typically the average price is about 14.98 per yard. A steal, when you consider how much the same fabric can be at a chain Home Upholstery fabric store.

Don't know the first thing about upholstery? No worries. It really can be as easy as 1, 2, 3! How? You have several options. The first, log onto Google, search "re-upholstering a chair", or couch. The first items that pop up are how to videos on YouTube. I love this way of learning. The things you can learn in a how-to video are endless.The second is the DIY online network. They are another terrific resource, for all kinds of projects. From faux finishes to garden tips. Thirdly there are countless blog entries form folks all over the world who proudly share with their readers how they re-upholstered a chair or sofa, usually with lots of how-to photographs, tips and their sources. The Internet is an easy way to get acquainted with the process, supplies and the level of skill required.
If you would rather learn in a classrooom/workshop setting there are several "Schools" that specialize in Upholstery. You may be able to take a continuing education class at a local college. In Charlotte, North Carolina,we are lucky, very near our store is a "Custom Home Furnishings" Academy! Imagine an entire school devoted to the Home Furnishings trade. Here is what they have to say about their special spot in the world of Home Decor...

Custom Home Furnishings Products"The Custom Home Furnishings Academy is the premier destination for hands-on learning. The state-of-the-art facility includes classrooms outfitted with professional workroom equipment, industrial sewing machines and a design studio. The instructors are experts in their field, dedicated to empowering students with the professional skills necessary to enter and thrive in the custom home-decor industry. Courses offered include window treatment and slipcover fabrication, upholstery, drapery installation, home staging and redesign. Whether you are a beginner at the sewing machine, or experienced in the workroom, you will find classes that fit your schedule and interests. Tuition includes fabrics, trims, workroom supplies, lunch and instruction manuals. You will leave the Custom Home Furnishings Academy with new skills, great resources and a network of supportive colleagues."

Think about the possibilities... Now let's take a minute and peruse some of the cool, modern, retro and colorful fabric selections Mary Jo's Cloth Store has, just waiting for your vision and your magic touch. On the website, click on fabric, then upholstery, then click on the different options for Patterns, Colors and Themes. Some of my stand-by favorite are, Flowers and Leaves, Stripes, Paisleys & Abstracts. Some designs are modern, others are traditional in style but all are heavy duty and designed for everyday wear and tear. Beauty matters but when you add in some practicality, perfection has been achieved. Of course there are many other categories to choose from, so block out some time and get inspired! It is always fun to dream and shop online!Enjoy the swatches we have put together for this article. They are all available online. It is fun to mix it up and use a few complimentary fabrics for different pieces of furniture, table runners and drapes. Have some fun and send us some photos of your work. We would love to feature you on a future blog.