Friday, January 25, 2013

Let's Talk About Shipping {USPS Rate Increases, Shop Delays, etc}

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It's become an annual occurrence, the USPS with their rate hikes and all... why not keep everyone on their toes and jack up prices?!

I guess I get it, to an extent, but I'm going to tell you right now that I am not at all happy with the major rip-off the new rates are for international shipments!  Seriously, up to 100% increases!? Gah!  I'm not going to rant about how the US outsources labor and such to save money, but heaven forbid someone from outside the US try to make a purchase from a US based business...  hypocrisy at it's finest.  Moving on...

I try my best to stay fair on shipping charges, being sure to cover only my actual cost and to use flat rate priority shipping as often as I can.  Here is a look at the new rate chart as shown in this Etsy Blog post, which also breaks down other changes from the USPS.

via Etsy Blog
 For most of December and January I have been shipping to Australia at least once a week... (lots of love to my friends Down Under, and thank you for your business! XxOo!) But, WOW... $24 freaking bucks to ship a Flat Rate Envelope?! I am promising that I am going to do everything I can to find some way to alleviate this madness, I mean, there has to be a way to make this a bit more affordable... right?!

In the meantime, I will be updating shipping profiles in the Fabric Shoppe.  These changes take effect on January 27th, 2013.

Also, I will have a Delayed shipping notice up in my shop for next week.  All fabric orders received Monday Jan 28th through Saturday Feb 2nd, will ship on Monday February 4th.  We are going hunting... for a house; I appreciate your understanding as I do everything I can to keep things running as smoothly as possible through all of the craziness!

Thanks for being awesome!
XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Goodbye Beach, Hello Mountains {Yep... We're Moving!}

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I mentioned it on Twitter, but it's more official when I put it up here on the blog...

We're Moving!

I'm happy to say that my hard-working husband has been promoted from the beach to the mountains.  I am so proud of him and how hard he works for our family, we're lucky chicks in this house, myself and the little girls that is.

What does this mean for SoChick?! Well, just that we're headed out west... to the western part of North Carolina anyway.  I expect that I'll close the shop for a week or two once the actual move happens, but for now things will pretty much stay the same.

We are all very excited for this new adventure, things are pretty crazy around here and we figure we will be on our way come March... yikes!  So much to do!

Blogging may be a little slow as I'm trying to stay sane while I coordinate and manage everything involved with the move, on top of day-to-day business.  The SoChick Quilt Along will still continue as planned, have you checked that out?

Speaking of the SoChick Quilt Along, featuring Anchors Aweigh and Salt Water by Tula Pink, I still have a few Anchors Aweigh Quilt Kits left for pre-order.  I am including one of my favorite lotion bars for FREE with the purchase of a Quilt Kit in my shop, while supplies last.  I'd love to have you join in!

I'll update here as much as I can about the move, but I'd love for you to follow me on Facebook or Twitter.  Do you have any tips for me to keep my sanity while prepping to move our lives across the state?  Please share!

XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, January 18, 2013

{Anchors Aweigh!} SoChick's 1st Annual Quilt Along

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I had been thinking about doing a Quilt Along here on the blog for a little while now; I'm fairly new to quilting, so I wanted a quilt that could teach/reinforce some skills, but not necessarily a sampler quilt or a super-basic design.  I wanted a quilt that the novice quilter may shy away from, when in actuality the quilt was fairly simple to assemble, and one that any level quilter could be awesomely proud of.

I'm about 85% sure that this idea came to me when I was reading through my copy of Tula Pink's House of Quilts.  This gal designs some killer quilts, and although I can read the instructions and break them down to see the simplicity in it, they look rather intimidating at first.  I kept the idea on the back burner waiting for the perfect quilt to come along.

Enter, Anchors Aweigh:

When I saw this quilt in a the background of one of Tula's Instragram photos from Fall Quilt Market... I was in love.  "What an awesomely complicated and completely beautiful quilt", I thought.  I already planned to add the fabric, Salt Water by Tula Pink, to my Fabric Shoppe, but when she released the free pattern for Anchors Aweigh... *happy dance*.

I had a feeling that this pixelated Anchor was not going to be as difficult as it appears at first glance, as is the way with Tula's quilts.  She has this way of making such stunning work, which looks super difficult, a piece of cake... or at least not nearly as complicated as one might imagine it to be.

Anyway, I knew this is what my First Annual Quilt Along needed to be... Anchors Aweigh!

This is my first ever Quilt Along!  My goal for this QAL is to encourage budding quilters to experience making a large quilt that they may otherwise shy away from.  Tula's pattern breaks this quilt top down into eight sections, so my posts for this quilt will also be broken down this way.  I will share tips for cutting all of your 2in squares (which is easier than it sounds, don't freak out), how to press your seams, piecing each strip, sewing your sections together and how to bind your finished quilt.  

At the end of this QAL you will have a completed Anchors Aweigh Quilt Top.  While I will share info on binding the finished quilt, I am going to leave the actual quilting up to you.  This is a large quilt which measures approx. 90 x 96 inches when finished, so you may choose to send it to a long arm quilter.  However, you can finish this quilt at home on your home sewing machine... yep, it's totally possible (keep reading).  

**My Quilt will use the Aqua colorway of Tula Pink's Salt Water collection, like the one above.  I do have a very limited number of Anchors Aweigh Quilt Kits available in my Big Cartel Shop.  My kits are for the Aqua colorway and include all of the fabric needed to complete your Anchors Aweigh quilt top, plus the binding fabric of your choice. (You will simply mention your option for binding fabric at checkout.)

  Remember, each Anchors Aweigh quilt will be unique to it's maker, choosing your binding is one way to set it apart, but also your backing fabric, purchased separately, and how you choose to quilt it, will make your quilt shine!  I encourage you to use Tula's Salt Water fabric as this quilt was designed with the collection in mind, but you don't have to make a blue anchor... choose from the Coral or Seaweed colorways to make your Anchor quilt fit with your personality!

*looking for a Quilt Kit in the Coral colorway? Email me at melissa(at)sochickhandbags(dot)com

{The Details} SoChick! Quilt Along

Start: February 18, 2013
End: March 25, 2013 

Each week we will tackle another strip set, with tips and skills needed for piecing, pressing, binding, etc.

Feel free to ask questions here on the blog, I will also set up a Flickr group for the QAL where you can upload photos of your progress and we can all discuss the quilt and ask/answer questions.

At the end of this QAL you will have a finished Anchors Aweigh Quilt Top; you will still need to have your quilt either finished by a longarm quilter, or on your home machine...


I am happy to announce that is generously offering a free online Lesson to one lucky participant of my 1st Annual Quilt Along!

Valued at $39.99, this is a great opportunity for learning a load of skills, as far as tackling large quilting projects on your home sewing machine.  I have this lesson and love how Ann breaks things down... even literally  breaking down the quilt and putting it back together!  Craftsy lessons never expire, you can learn at your own pace (even pausing, taking notes, getting back to the lesson several days later), ask questions and receive answers from your instructors!  If you haven't already, I encourage you to visit and sign up at, you can read more in my blog about how much I heart them!

How the Craftsy Giveaway will work:

The final week of the QAL I will have a linky party set up in my final QAL blog post where you can link a photo of your completed Anchors Aweigh quilt top.  At the end of the given entry time frame I will randomly select a winner for the Craftsy Lesson.

My hope is that when all is sewn and done, you will have an Epic quilt to cherish and show off proudly proclaiming "I made that!"... seriously, everyone you know is going to have their socks blown off and they'll never know how simple your "awesomely complicated and completely beautiful quilt" really was!

I hope you'll join me!

Read about Prepping for the QAL: {Get Ready! Prep & Cut}

* * *

Download your free Anchors Aweigh Quilt Pattern Here

Joining in on the QAL and have a website or blog? Proudly share the news with everyone with this button:

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a>

"See" you soon!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{Keep Calm and Sew}

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New Year, New Adventures... lots going on, so to keep from being overwhelmed, I'll just repeat this to myself:

Happy Tuesday!

XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sewing Projects {Completed, In Progress, Upcoming}

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It is a fact of life that we sewists, sewers, quilters, what have you, all have Unfinished and Ongoing projects lying around our sewing room, studio or space.  True Story.  If you are just being bitten by the sewing/crafting bug, be prepared, this will happen to you!

Sometimes it's nice to take stock of what's going down in the Ongoing projects bin, or in my case, drawer. (I keep my projects organized in the deep drawer of my Martha Stewart craft table so that I don't completely forget about them).

Here's my review of my quilting projects I've completed, am working on, and upcoming.

Last January I started in an After Christmas Sew-Along.  At the time I made great progress on piecing a lap quilt for my oldest daughter.  I quilted about two-thirds of it, then to the "in progress" drawer it went to wait, and wait, and wait, to be finished.  Well, before Christmas I got my behind in gear and finished quilting and binding the quilt in time for gifting to my chickadee.  She loves it.

 This was my first attempt at Free Motion Quilting, which I did on my home machine.  I did an all-over stipple, which I felt would hide any quilting flaws pretty well.  I was right, it does.  I love it.

Lap Quilt 48 x 60 in

{In Progress}
I'm ashamed to admit that I have yet to layer and quilt my 2012 Craftsy BOM.  Um, yeah... I actually still have some sashing that needs to be added, so... that's pretty high on my "to finish... soon" list.  I'll share the top as soon as I have it all put together, I'll update my Craftsy projects then, too.

Another "In Progress" is my Scrappy Trip Along.  The top is completed, I have the batting, now I just need to get my backing together, layer, quilt and bind.  I'm still trying to decide how I want to quilt this one, which will be my third completed quilt, and will go to my youngest chickadee.  She currently has the first quilt I made, her 35 x 35 inch "night-night", which she's outgrowing... size-wise anyway.

Right now I'm torn between quilting in a plaid-inspired pattern, or just dense straight line quilting.... hmmm, what are your thoughts?

I have started cutting Two-Inch square blocks for an upcoming Quilt Along that I am hosting here on my SoChick! Blog in February.  If you follow me anywhere (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), you know that I've been hinting at it, but I will officially announce it in the coming days.  I'm very excited about this quilt, when I first saw it I knew I had to make it as my Epic Quilt of 2013.  To me, especially as a novice quilter, it's completely Epic.  Sign up for my Newsletter (over there to the right) to be one of the first to get the official announcement and opportunity to purchase the Quilt Kit!

What have you been working on? Feel free to share links to your blog or photo sharing stream in the comments!

XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, January 4, 2013

{SoChick Fabric Shoppe} Introducing: Pick Your Bundle

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A new year means fresh starts... and new fabric for your stash! 

Stop by my shoppe today, to make your own little bundle of Fat Quarters!   Remember, a fat quarter is a quarter of a yard of fabric which is cut 18 x 22 inches. (Read more about Fat Quarters in my Guide to Fabric)

Brand new in the SoChick Fabric Shoppe you will find two Pick Your Bundle options:

Option 1:

Easy, pick five fat prints, from the available Quilting Cottons, to complete your Fat Quarter bundle.

Option 2:

Pick twelve prints, from the available Quilting cottons, to complete your FQ bundle!

I always say that buying many smaller cuts of fabric is an economical way to familiarize yourself with several designers/prints, but it's also super great for building up your stash and Fat Quarters are sew perfect for little projects that you just can't justify cutting into yardage for!

You can choose from ANY available Quilting Cottons in the Shoppe for your bundles. Want some of Tula Pink's Salt Water mixed with Jennifer Paganelli's Happy Home and a sprinkle of Joel Dewberry's Aviary2?  You've got it!  

{Shop Now}

Happy Sewing!
XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What is a "Scrappy Trip Along"? { aka #ScrappyTripAlong}

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Here's my quickie post so that all of you who are seeing my Instagram or Twitter Feed, or my posts on Facebook (because you may not necessarily be on either one of the other social sites (why!?!?)), know what the heck I'm talking about while i'm showing off these scrappy blocks I just randomly (seemingly) started stitching.

It's not really random at all... 

You see, sewers/quilters all sort of gravitate towards one another, we share a passion, and if one of 'us' starts something and is having a blast, we all want to jump on the wagon and stitch our hearts out, too! (Right?! Can someone back me up on this?)  New to sewing? Oh, you'll soon understand.

Anywho, on New Years Eve I noticed that a few of the peeps that I follow via Twitter were madly stitching these scrappy quilt blocks and sharing them (via Instagram and Twitter) with the Hash Tag (#) ScrappyTripAlong.  I did a quick search and learned that it was started by Megan (from Lucy and Norman) and Brenda (at Just A Bit Frayed)... read about it on Brenda's blog, HERE.

I jumped in on the fun and have started sewing my blocks.  What a fun, impromptu Quilt Along!

You can find the original post for the Scrappy Trips Around the World Quilt in Brenda's post above, or on

And, here is another post from Brenda explaining how many scrappy strips (2.5 x 16 inch strips) are needed to make a given size quilt.  I'm still undecided on how big I'll go.

Are you going to join in the fun?! Share your instagram/twitter info in the comments, I'd love to follow along!

XxOo~ Melissa
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