Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Happy Day!

Birthday cake 2016
It's my birthday today. 40. Huh?! Where did the time go? Happy birthday to me. :-D As this post goes live, Tony and I will be tucking into the leftovers of that cake he made for me on Sunday. Early birthday fun with Tony's family. And tomorrow I'm off to Denmark for a few days to visit my family, so that means I'll have another birthday with family and friends in Denmark. Not too shabby. ;-)

I have something else to celebrate. I've written about all the EU VAT fun before. It has had a big impact on my bizniz, and not in a positive way. But I've figured out a way to offer my patterns and ebooks via my own site again - I haven't been able to do that since January 1, 2015! I'm super happy about this!!

If you like, you can read more below about why I've not been able to do this and how it will work from now on.

Confetti and balloons for Polka & Bloom!

To celebrate my birthday and the happy news for my shop, you can go stock up on patterns and ebooks with 40% off until Sunday, May 1. Use this code: BALLOONS. Only valid for patterns and ebooks. EU/UK customers - Rest of the world customers.

You can also use this code in my Etsy and Payhip shops, but only until Friday, April 29. But bear in mind that you will be charged VAT in the Etsy/Payhip shops if you are in the EU/UK.

AND there's more! The Polka & Bloom shop has moved to polkaandbloom.com (it was shop.polkaandbloom.com before). I've also moved the shop to be run on a Wordpress site because I got fed up with hand coding all the pages. So I'm still tinkering with the design as I learn how to use Wordpress properly. But there's a working shop and that is very satisfying. It looks ok, and it works on mobile and tablet. :-)

A photo of Blake for no particular reason. I swear he gets cuter every day. ;-)

The EU VAT funtimes

If you've followed Polka & Bloom for a while, you may remember that I've talked about the incredibly frustrating EU VAT law that came into force on January 1st, 2015.

In a nutshell, since the start of 2015, I've not been able to offer ebooks and digital patterns on my own site because it would mean a LOT of confusing dealing with VAT. Seriously, the different countries interpret things differently and some countries don't even know what to do about small businesses like Polka &Bloom.

So much frustration and confusion over the past year and a bit. Tears. Swear words.

The dumb law hasn't gone away, sadly. BUT. I have finally figured out a way to use the shop on my own site to offer patterns and ebooks. YAY!

I have basically had to manually copy all the pattern and ebook items to a separate section for EU/UK customers. Not a glamorous job at all!

EU/UK customers will now be able to buy patterns and ebooks without paying the current VAT rate in their country for digital products. However, these items will be delivered by email and not a direct download. Because that dumb EU law says that some human intervention has to take place for the purchase to be exempt from VAT.

Super annoying, I know. But by doing it this way, EU/UK save money (almost 30% VAT in some countries!) and I save a lot of hazzle.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Finished Objects :: Texas Mini Quilts

Texas Quilt
I can finally share these mini quilts which I made for my niece and nephew because they have arrived at their destination.

For such small quilts, about 20" square, they took quite a while to make. Just look at 'em, all those little 1" squares and hsts. They took ages to cut and even longer to make the hsts. Amazingly, I didn't really make any mistakes. There was a little bit of unpicking hsts, but that's because I hadn't cut enough squares, go figure.

And it was quite the puzzle to keep track of which hsts pairs went where, but I got there in the end.

Texas Quilt
Yeah, whenever I try to take pictures of quilts, you can be sure Blake wants to get in on the action. Always the centre of attention:-)

Oh, maybe I should explain why I made mini quilts with the map of Texas. My sister lives in the US, in California. But for a few years she and my brother-in-law lived in Texas. And that's where the twins were born. The centre of the pattern in the quilts is roughly the location of where they lived, just north of San Antonio.

Texas Quilt
I didn't want the quilts to be all pink for my niece and blue for my nephew. It didn't quite go to plan, there's more pink/blue in the quilts than I had planned on, but I wanted to work with what I had in my stash.

Texas Quilt
I used mostly yellow and orange with a light pink for the 'body' of the map and brighter pinks too. The background is a bit of vintage fabric in white with pale pink flowers.

Texas Quilt
Yes, Blake, we get it. You're cute. Whatever. ;-)

Texas Quilt
Here it's a bit easier to see the base fabric. Isn't it pretty? It came from my dad's aunt, so my great-aunt. The binding fabric I've had in my stash for about ten years. It finally found its perfect purpose I think.

Texas Quilt
I added corners on the back for hanging the quilts.

Texas Quilt
On the back I used a bit of the same fabric with a pretty pillow case I chopped down to size. I love how the back shows a 'ghost' version of the map in the quilting. I love texture like this. :-)

Texas Quilt
This is a bit more blue than I wanted. But I like it. It's funny, I made this one first and as I worked on the other one, I thought, 'the blue one is my favourite'. And later the orange one was my favourite. Turns out, they're different but I like them equally.

Texas Quilt

Texas Quilt
The back of the blue quilt is vintage bedding. That too has been waiting for it's perfect use. The binding fabric is a bit of cloud fabric I had leftover from the Cloud quilt.

Texas Quilt

Texas Quilt

Texas Quilts

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Friday, April 8, 2016

WIP :: Seal Pup

Seal pup
This little guy, and his two friends, are part of a project I am working on. A big project. A collection of embroidery patterns, quilt patterns and other things. The working title for the project is 'In Polar Bear Country'.

The going is a bit slower than I had hoped for this project, but you know, life...

Just like the owl I posted about a little while ago, with these guys I am sticking pretty much to the sketchy, crosshatch-y feel of my original drawings of the animals. Instead of polishing them and making them more like..caricatures of the animals.

I have to say it's a little bit nerve wracking to put a lot of time and work into a project that feels quite different from what I normally make. Maybe it will be a complete bust and no one will buy it. But I also feel like...I need to make this. And just hope that there are others who love polar bears (and friends) as much as I do.

Am I the only one who loves polar bears? :-)

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New Pattern :: Sakura Blossom

Sakura Blossom embroidery and appliqué pattern

Happy Tuesday!

I'm very excited because my new pattern, Sakura Blossom, is ready! It is actually two patterns in one, so plenty of stitching to keep you busy. The pattern includes both an embroidery pattern and an appliqué pattern.

The pattern is called Sakura Blossom because it is inspired by the Japanese festivities around this time of year, celebrating the blossoming of the cherry (sakura) blossom. I would so love to go see that one day. Clouds of beautiful pink blossoms above your head. Doesn't that sound amazing?

For now I'll make do with the stitched kind. And the one in our front garden! I think I did mention that it definitely didn't detract from the house when we saw it for the first time and the tree was all a-blossom. :-)

I wish I could say that I had planned on making this pattern for this very time of year. But the truth is that the pattern was originally made for the &Stitches zine a few years ago and I came across my original embroidery a little while ago and I just felt like it needed to be an appliqué pattern too.

And then I realised that it would be perfect for Mother's Day, so I've included some text that can be used with the pattern too. World's Best Mom, for example!

You can get your hands on the Sakura Blossom 2-for-1 pattern in my Etsy shop and in my Payhip shop.

Happy spring time stitching!

Sakura Blossom embroidery and appliqué pattern

Sakura Blossom embroidery and appliqué pattern

Sakura Blossom embroidery and appliqué pattern

Sakura Blossom embroidery and appliqué pattern

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

WIP :: Cloud Embroidery

Clouds WIP
I love clouds. If you've followed this blog for a whole, you may have noticed that: Cloud quilt, cloud fabric, cloud bag, paper clouds. I am even a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. Yes, that's a thing.

But I've never combined my love of clouds with my love of embroidery. Until now, that is. It started with a couple of small ones in mini embroidery hoops, but now I have started on a slightly larger cloud embroidery. Cloudbroidery?

I guess you could call it needle painting. I'm mostly using long and short stitch. And padding the clouds by stitch on top of felt. It's very relaxing. :-)

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