Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Will Be Back Soon, I Promise!

I've found it necessary to take a short hiatus from adding to my shops these days, but I do promise I will be back to regular additions very soon.

What have I been up to? Some of you know that I work with a charity stitching group, creating quilts for premature infants. The group I worked with has undergone some pretty serious changes lately, and we had a division of our members and a change of focus. I went with a new group that is forming - Canada Stitches. We will still be doing quilts for preemies, but that is not the only thing. We will be doing cushions for kids undergoing treatment in the hospitals, making cat toys for the no-kill shelters, and making all kinds of other projects that can be given to hospitalized patients, or donated to different foundations that can use them for fundraisers. We feel that we can sometimes do more good for a community by helping to raise the money to purchase needed hospital equipment than we can by making a quilt for a premature infant. Instead of putting our energies into this one project, we are now able to see how we can use our pooled talents to best help the community as a whole.

One other thing we wanted to do was showcase the shops and designers of Canada. Most stitchers don't even know they have so many wonderful designers in Canada, or that they can get almost everything they need to create their projects right there without shopping in the US. We do cover new releases, do shop reviews, and profile the designers on our blog as well as on our Facebook Page. It's  promises to be a really fun ride, so be sure to visit the new site or follow us on Facebook to watch the progress.

Also just in... if you were thinking of starting an Etsy shop, *this* is the time to do it. Right now... they will give you 40 free listings if you use THIS LINK. Opening your shop is free, and each listing normally costs you 20 cents each for 4 months. It is a fair amount of work, but it can also be so rewarding. Check out my shop, or look around, then come back to this link and set yourself up. Handmade does rule, but you can also sell your used craft supplies and charts. Hope to see you there....

And I will see you all again very soon. I promise!

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Shout-Out

It isn't often that I can give this kind of recommendation, so treasure this. Many many people are leery of dealing with online purchases, especially downloadable charts. I have three sites in particular that I am going to boast about.

The first one, and biggest one is PatternsOnline.Com. Sure, by now everyone has heard of them, haven't they? This is the place you can buy so many charts from so many designers. You get them loaded onto your account where you can retrieve them as you wish. I started dealing with them in 2003. Since then, I think I am on my 4th computer. Everything has worked for me.. usually. This last computer upgrade was probably the hardest for me. I moved to a different country and my carefully packed hard drives didn't let me have access to all of my stored information. I did a fresh install and hoped everything would work right.

Well, it didn't. There was a string of about 12 charts that I had purchased that would no longer open for me with PC Stitch. The program is used to open, view, and print these charts. I also use it when I design my charts. The program told me I didn't have access to these. They were on my computer, and I know I paid for them. I sent in a trouble ticket just a few days ago. I got an answer just a few hours ago. Everything is fixed and I once again have access to all of these charts purchased in 2003 and 2004! Thank you Jennifer for your kind help. And seriously how many companies go that far for their customers these days?

This is their online shop stocked full of everything you need to stitch the charts you just purchased. They are owned by the same company, and I know their attention to detail is just as good. You may well wish to check them out for your stitching needs.

The other two shops are on Etsy. I know you keep hearing about it, but you may not know what it is. I like to think of it as a virtual craft show. Yes, you find vintage and supplies on there, but for the most part, it is handmade. I've had so many bad experiences purchasing charts on eBay that I swore off of them. Many were computer generated charts that were just poorly done - a fast way to make a buck. The designs never look like what the cover image suggests. I gave up on any charts not generated by one of the big designers until I ran into Jody and Rinna on Facebook. 

Jody is Austitch, an Australian designer with a growing shop. She's an avid stitcher and designer who is bright and bubbly. Yes, she's a real person and she is very responsive to her customers. Her designs can be a bit on the cheeky side, but they are far from rude. I have purchased a chart from her and when I get a chance to stitch I will be posting updates. Her charts are large, well thought out, clear to read, and with excellent instructions. I can tell this will be a project I will truly enjoy. Please do drop by Austitch and see what new unconventional creations she has. I think you will enjoy!

The second Etsy shop that I love dearly is Cross Stitch by Rinna. Rinna is based in the Philippines and brings a solid Oriental touch to her work. Her work is bright, colorful, and fun not to mention gorgeous. I love the faces on her children and cherubs. You can almost guarantee that at least one of her designs is going to end up on a piece for Canada Stitches. Rinna is another lady that is very responsive to her customers, and a pure delight to talk to. 

Do check these shops out when you are in the need for new charts. I know you can find just about everything at PatternsOnline and their prices are very reasonable. What you don't find there, you may find at Austitch or Cross Stitch Rinna!

Until next time, Happy Stitching!