TAG Treasury Team

Monday, December 12, 2011

Featured Shop of the Week: MKH Quilts

Mary, owner of MKH Quilts has fond memories growing up in the smaller towns in the Pacific Northwest. Originally from Challis, Idaho, a town of about 850 people, Mary enjoyed the close friendships formed at the local Community Church which was the smallest congregation in town. Her father made his living as a manager for the rural electric company while her mother stayed home raising Mary, her 2 brothers and a sister. “ I think having grown up in small towns was a good thing, as I was always close to my family, and the community,” Mary says.

In 1973, Mary's family relocated to yet another small town, Davenport, Washington. Her family joined the Presbyterian church, but Mary was having a tough time adjusting to a new town and accepted the Lord as her Savior while visiting a friend's church. She was 16 at the time and felt that event was an important change in her life. Later that same year, Mary and her sister lived in Spokane, Washington for the summer . During her time there, Mary found some wonderful new Christian friends at The Local Church. She later moved in with some of the girls and relates that “it was a wonderful experience as we really studied the Bible, and had church meetings almost every day. I think I would have followed a much different path without the church.”

During her high school years, Mary sewed many of her own clothes and made her first quilt. She recalls, “I enjoyed making that first quilt, even though it was hideous! “ It's difficult to believe that could ever be true when you look through Mary's Etsy shop. Here's a look at one of her favorites.

"This quilt is so unique and fun! I was playing around with a new technique-free piecing-last year, and made severl quilts using this technique. I did sell two of the quilts that I made last year using free piecing."
Quilting is a far cry from where Mary started out in school. After graduating from Davenport High School, she enrolled at Eastern Washington University, but realized she wasn't ready for a four year college and opted to attend Spokane Community College the following year and entered the Commercial Baking program. Being mostly a male dominated course, Mary was one of only two or three women enrolled. She graduated and acquired a job at Safeway where she worked for two years and was able to join the apprenticeship baker program. She traveled throughout the city as a “floater”, which was hard especially when she came up against some of the older bakers who “were not so nice”. Most of the bakers she worked with were receptive to her being female as long as she could hold her own with her skills. She later achieved journeyman status and decided floating was no longer desireable and got a job at Albertson's as a cake decorator when Safeway couldn't find a permanent position for her. She worked for several years with Albertson's, then worked 6 more at Fred Meyer until a mutual decision between Mary and her spouse landed her back in college to try something different.

In 1997, Mary was back in college, but this time looking towards a degree as a Registered Dietician. She changed her major and since 2001 has been enjoying her career as a Registered Nurse and says, “I am very happy I made the choice to go to school for nursing.”

Mary and her spouse have been married going on 32 years. They have 2 grown sons, 2 dogs and 3 cats. She enjoys spending time with her family watching movies, sewing, quilting, knitting and crocheting, as well as attending a jazzercize class 3-4 times per week. She also loves her pets.

After acquiring an actual sewing room to work in, quilting became Mary's passion. A friend, who is also Mary's massage therapist introduced her to Etsy. “I went online to see what it was about, and thought it would be fun! I love that someone buys my quilts and has them to enjoy in their home, and the money I make from selling quilts goes back into buying MORE FABRIC!!! I am a confirmed fabricaholic, so I had to do something to support it," Mary easily admits.

I'd say her addiction is well founded. Just take a look at some more of Mary's shop favorites.
"I love this one because of the positive message for the holidays."

"I love the colors and design in this one! Those blocks were challenging to make!"

"This one is another favorite, due to the challenging nature of the patchwork and the colors of fabric I used. My work almost always has a large number of fabrics included. I decided on a color scheme and then work a great many fabrics into it. My favorite way of designing is to choose a “focus fabric”, usually one with many colors in it and choose fabrics based on the colors found in the focus fabric. Then, I often branch out from there and include some unexpected choices."

When asked what she is passionate about, Mary had this to say, “my passions are again quilting, and knitting, but also caring for my family is really a passion. Being a nurse is a passion. And world peace and our troops coming home for good is a big passion! I pray for their safe return!”

This article was submitted by Leanna of Seams Victorian, Bits and Purses, and Teez Loueez.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Featured Shop of the Week: Antler Pantry

This week, I have the pleasure of sharing a very special shop and person with all of you. Linda, the owner of Antler Pantry, is also my big sister. I'm so thankful to have her in my life and so proud to have her serving on the TAGT Team as a leader. I hope you enjoy a little look into her life and I know you will enjoy her personality as it really shines through in this interview. She gave me 3 photos to use, and I chose this one. She made sure to tell me that she is the one on the right!

Linda begins her story, "I come from a family of 4 girls, of which Leanna is one. I grew up in Spokane, WA and lived there pretty much until about a year ago. (except for a 6 month stint living in Seattle, WA in my early 20's)

We were Middle class with a working Dad and stay at home mom but nowhere near a Leave-It-To Beaver type family. :) Are there really any of those?"

I know Linda as a very intelligent and versatile woman, which shows in her past work experience. She says it best, "I always felt I should go on to be Something Important - like a Neurosurgeon, discover a cure for something, somehow leave my mark...but I was too interested in Everything to focus and have the dedication to complete just 1 area of study. Consequently, I never figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up." I just have to interject that I am convinced Linda has crafting A.D.D. I've seen her studio and it is clear she is indeed interested in "everything".

She goes on to say, "I started working for the phone company (then Pacific Northwest Bell) just before getting married and moving to Seattle. I worked in various positions and finally landed in Large Business Marketing working on the equipment side of the house, and learned programming telephone switches and voicemail systems. I worked there for 17 yrs and one day my older sister was diagnosed with MS. At that moment, I decided that life really is too short and we should be happy for as much of it as we can be. I left the phone company shortly thereafter and began a job with a start-up phone company.

I worked with start-up phone companies for the next 10 years, helping them get up and running on the technical and network side. That was never a career path I had in mind as a young adult but don't regret the time and all the training I received.

Talking about unexpected career paths- I now saw up antlers for dog chews." :)

Not only does Linda have a great business mind, but she is a loving and devoted mom as well. "My daughter is my only child. She is the light of my life (except for the usual 15-16 yr old timeframe when she was possessed). It is amazing to me to see the blend of her dad's traits and mine. The good ones are from me, of course. :)

I was married for 10+ years and then divorced with a new baby, single for 20 years, and now married again going on 2 yrs.

My daughter is 23 and living in Arizona. That is the one place I always wanted to live, but with her dad being in Spokane, that didn't feel like an option. Funny that she is there now and I am still -NOT. :) Her dad is moving there at the end of this year. :) I am still working my hubby to convince him to go there too at least for 6 months out of the year," she says.

Life comes with it's challenges. Linda's outlook is always geared towards what we can learn from each event. She shares, "I had another perspective altering moment when my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 10 yrs old. She had just come back from a 10 day vacation in Disneyworld with her dad, and when I saw her I was sure she had some incurable disease and was about to start the grieving process (only a slight exaggeration I assure you) when the doctor came back to say she was going directly to the hospital because she was diabetic. I could have done a happy dance in the parking lot - which would have been an inexcusable reaction normally - but she was not dying! That initial over reaction of mine has been a blessing - since I am always grateful it was not cancer or anything terminal, the rest is workable."

How did she get started selling on Etsy? Linda replied, " Starting a shop on Etsy was Leanna's idea. Not that she is the boss of me...that is mostly for her...but it was one of her better ideas. :)

My Sewcial Graces shop was the first - opened in 2007. The going was so slow it came to a standstill, I have just recently re-opened it. Here is a look at some of her recent work in this shop.

My main job is making antler dog chews for Antler Pantry. I have a website along with my Etsy shop : http://www.antlerpantry.com/ and during most of the year I do Farmer's Markets and craft shows."

Here's a look at a few of Linda's shop favorites.

Linda says this when asked about her hobbies, "My hobbies all show up in my shops, eventually. I love crafting and remodeling houses. With the new husband - I need to stick to crafting. The older I get- and the harder it is to get up from squatting, I tend to agree with him on the no remodeling. But there is still always a plan going on in my head." :)

I asked Linda to share her favorite piece of advice. She indeed has a profound answer, "I believe I have always led a charmed life. I choose to believe that anything that comes along is only for my betterment, or the betterment of those around me. I have had to learn that I can't control all - and that even if I could, my vision would be so limited, that I would possibly cause more harm than good trying to orchestrate things to my liking. Life is an adventure and just like remodeling or crafting, it is always a challenge to figure out how to work with what you've been given."

I have so enjoyed the camaraderie and support from the people on this team. People enter our lives for a reason, even via cyberspace. ;)

This article was submitted by Leanna of Seams Victorian, Bits and Purses, and Teez Loueez.