40 Before Forty Update: No. 07

7. Make myself and daughter matching outfits.

I did it! I made a dress for my daughter and a shirt for me out of the same fabric! I’ve been wanting to do this since March of last year, when I added it to my 40 Before Forty list. I’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately, like the Reds shirt I made from a baby bodysuit, and Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee recently caught my eye, so I decided I was ready to jump in!

My daughter and I went to the fabric store where we picked out Simplicity pattern #2241. It’s a “Learn to Sew” pattern, so I figured it’d be easy for me since I definitely a beginner garment maker. We also picked out some fabric—that we both liked. Obviously, I’m all about wearing a shirt that matches a 4-year-old’s dress, but I wanted it to be appropriate for both of us. Later, I ordered the Scout Tee pattern.

I made the Scout Tee first since after reading both patterns it was the simpler garment. It was so easy to put together! And, the fit is fantastic. I’m already scheming to make more.

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Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee

The experience with the Scout Tee really helped me make the dress. With the tee I learned how to make gathers and use bias tape to finish the neckline. I did both of these things with the dress, which has gathers on the front and back and both the neckline and armholes are finished with bias tape. The only thing I would change is the bias tape I used for the dress. The pattern called for single-fold bias tape, which I purchased. The Scout Tee had directions for making my own. For the dress, I should have just made and used my own. I think it would have come out better.

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Simplicity Pattern #2241

 

We actually haven’t worn our new clothes yet. I’m saving them for Mother’s Day when we’ll get together with family. I’m not sure how the dress will go over with my daughter, because 4-year-olds can be fickle. But, if I can get one decent (again, fickle) picture of us together, well, I’ll be happy!

Another thing off the 40 Before Forty list! I need to add more, because I actually only have 11 things on it. Haha! At least I have 5 years before I turn 40!

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Wearing my new Grainline Studio Scout Tee

The Full 40 Before Forty List

1. Actually celebrate Valentine’s Day: DONE!

2. Finish my chicken wall hanging and get it hung in my kitchen: DONE!

3. Pitch my book idea.

4. Decorate the half bathroom.

5. Attend the Modern Quilt Guild’s Quiltcon.

6. Complete my Sarah Fielke Block of the Month 2017 quilt top…and then put it all together.

7. Make myself and daughter matching outfits. DONE!

8.

9.

10. Do the Little Miami Triathlon.

11.

12. Host a brunch.

13.

14. Hike part of the Appalachian Trail.

15. Learn to hambone.

16.

17.

18. Become a 2-pet household.

19.

20.

21.

22.

23.

24.

25.

26. Peep at some leaves on the East Coast: DONE!

27.

28. Learn the names of trees.

29.

30.

31.

32.

33.

34.

35.

36.

37.

38.

39.

40.

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: May Ohio Star

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May’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

May’s Ohio Star quilt block is a cardinal, Ohio’s state bird. I didn’t choose a cardinal because of that status, but because I love spotting these birds. I don’t recall seeing a cardinal until I moved to Ohio.

The males’ bright red color is hard to miss. Regardless of the season, seeing the vibrant flash of a male cardinal is a treat. Cardinals have distinct characteristics—head crest and bold orange-red beak—so it’s easy to identify the lady cardinals even though they are a dull brown-red color.

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Detail of cardinal-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

And that’s it! I like them. They’re not even special to Ohio. Six other states have designated the cardinal as their bird.

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Detail of cardinal-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

That’s what I’m learning while I reflect on my 10 years in Ohio. The things I like best about the area aren’t especially significant or symbolic or unique. In fact, a lot of them are commonplace. But, I think that’s important, because if I can enjoy every day, then I can enjoy every year.

 

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Detail of cardinal-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

This block gave me a bit of trouble during assembly. I had a minimal amount of the solid red fabric, so I had to be careful with my cutting. (If you look closely, you might spot a sliver of selvedge.) And, I couldn’t 100% follow the Ohio Star tutorial that I’ve been using. I started there, but quickly realized I needed to break out the seam ripper. I also cut some triangles before they were stitched. It worked out, though. This will probably be my most radical Ohio Star quilt block. I relied heavily on my creative license, but the 9-patch of 4 quarter square triangle blocks and 5 solid blocks is there. The only thing I would do differently is maybe angle the left most block in the middle row. The cardinal is looking a little blocky.

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May’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

Copywriting Tip: Turn an Idiom Upside Down

Playing with a common saying can get your message across with a satisfying zing! It may be seen as “low-hanging fruit” in the world of copywriting, but used thoughtfully and sparingly, it’s memorable.

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Bring on Summer 2018 Victoria Secret Mailer

I recently received the “Bring on Summer 2018” mailer from Victoria’s Secret. Check out what they did here:

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When “getting your panties in a bunch” is a good thing: 5 for $28!

The writer really didn’t change the idiom— “get (one’s) panties in a bunch.” But, when paired with a visual of 9 panties and a 5 for $28 offer, the implication is that, yes, getting your panties in a bunch is actually a good thing!

It’s fun, memorable, and on-brand for Victoria’s Secret. Try it!

Dazzling Pineapple Mini Quilt

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Sparkly Pineapple Mini Quilt

My first finish for 2018 is a mini pineapple block quilt. But, it’s not just any pineapple quilt, because instead of quilting it or tying it in a traditional manner, I tied it with gold sequins and Czech glass beads, using metallic thread of course. I consider this a “study” as I want to make more in snazzier colors!

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Best decision was to sew the binding on and then add the last few sequins and beads. I love the overlap.

Even though I have 2 other quilts going right now (Down the Rabbit Hole & Ohio Star Quilt), I just had to stitch up this mini. You are aware that I have a pineapple obsession, right? So, my mom sent me templates to quickly cut out the pieces for this pattern. And, I’ve had a sack of sequins burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak. I was waiting for just the right project. When I saw the Suzy Quilts tutorial on tying a quilt with a modern twist (an ‘X’), a light bulb when off for me. I skipped the “X” and went straight for the sequin and bead–a sparkly option! (By the way, I learned to tie quilts with the knot on the top–and nothing decorative, just a knot. Suzy’s tutorial blew my mind!)

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I clipped the threads so they’d be longer than necessary to keep as much shine as possible.

I know sparkle and shine may not be everyone’s jam, but I was pleased as punch with the process and the outcome–I love it!

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For the backing and binding, I used muslin from my stash. It is understated compared with the metallic thread and lustrous sequins.

Stats:
+ Measures: 10.75″ x 10.75″
+ 100% cotton fabric and batting
+ 72 sequins (60 gold/12 green)
+ 72 Czech glass beads
+ Spot clean only (Bwahaha! Can you tell that I’ve written about home décor before?)

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The finished mini pineapple block.

I can’t wait to dig in and make some more in different colors!

Copywriting Tip: Tell Me About Yourself

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My updated “about” page.

On your business website, be sure to tell your current and future customers and business partners about yourself.

This year, I’m sending low-key “cold emails” to businesses in my community to introduce myself and ask them if they have any copywriting projects I can help with. I like to make my emails as personal as possible, addressing them to a person and not the business. But, you know what? A lot of businesses do not talk about the owner/founder on their website or social media pages. These aren’t huge businesses, either.

This is a missed opportunity. Part of the appeal of shopping locally and patronizing small businesses is knowing the owner or employees—or at least knowing of them and their story. Now, a business owner can’t be friends with everyone, but telling your current and future customers about yourself will help them quickly see you and your business as an integral part of their community, and want to not only patronize your business, but to champion it, recommending it to friends, family, and neighbors. And, in my case, having a good “about” page will allow potential business partners to get to know you, your business, and reach out in the most helpful way possible.

Not sure what to write about yourself? It’s hard! How do you balance personal information with your credentials?

Here’s my quick rule: Establish your authority by explaining why you are the absolute best person to accomplish your business’s purpose.

Be sure to mention that purpose, too! Then, add a personal tidbit or two: family, pets, or hobbies will do just fine.

I’ve encountered some business owners that are afraid of appearing too small. A fear that is grounded in anecdotes of being passed up by potential clients because they were perceived to not have the capacity to complete the project. But, sometimes when the “about” page only tells about the company, it looks like a one-person business trying to appear larger than it actually is. (Which just may be what’s actually happening.) The solution? Try an owner/founder story. This is a win-win: you give your business a personal touch, but still appear professional, regardless of your size.

And, because I want to you to trust my advice, I have revisited my own “about” page here. Take a look and let me know what you think!

If you need help sorting out the details you should include in your business’s “about” page, please reach out. I’d love to help! Also, you can check out this post on writing about yourself.