I’m so excited to show you these amazing Embroidery Folded Cards I’m releasing with MiniLou this week! Links will be added to this post once the cards are up on Silhouette (You can find the Carina Gardner Store here and the MiniLou store here).
I have a great video showing you how I straight stitch, knot my thread, end the floss, and make a french knot! Check it out below!
I hope you have a chance to check out all of these designs! There are so many cool ways to work with these designs and they are AMAZING for kid projects!
I’m still decompressing a bit from market. In fact, when we finished and pulled the entire double booth down, I looked through my photos on my phone and realized that I had been so busy, I hardly took ANY pictures. WHHHAAAT? Whoops.
In the end, you’ll have to visit the hastag #carinaglamps on instagram to see all the going ons that happened in my booth over the course of the three glorious days at Quilt Market 2016 in Salt Lake City.
First off, a story. My glamper was suppose to go in before all the pipe and drape went up in the convention center.
Ya. They forgot about me. When I called the Tuesday before set up, they realized their mistake. So I pulled it in at 8am Wednesday before everyone else came to set up (important since we didn’t want to drive over anyone else and their booths). One of the dock workers pulled it into the Salt Palace for me since exhibitors were technically not allowed in yet. All good.
A bit later, a DIFFERENT dock worker came and asked me if I wanted the door facing out. I’m not sure what the expression on my face was, but I can tell you I was extremely puzzled and confused. I think I mumbled a, “Um, yes? I mean, I want people to actually go INTO it.” Apparently, they had pulled the glamper in BACKWARDS with the door facing the inside of the booth (as in, no one would be able to actually get into it). I believe I heard the dock worker mumble something along the lines of, “I told those idiots that.” as he ran in to the scene of the crime.
Needless to say, they fixed it. I’m not sure how well my booth would have gone over if no one was able to actually go into it to see all the pretty Posy Garden fabric (heehee!).
Because I didn’t leave my booth much, I only have highlights for you. Maybe the biggest highlight (for me) was that the booth won the Creativity Award. I was SO honored! I hadn’t thought about booth awards and I felt grateful to get one. (Photos below: Left—Creativity Booth Award; Right: Baby Coco visits the glamper)
(Photo below: Left—I spent a lot of time on the chalkboards for this booth; Right—First day of the show.)
Most of my double booth was taken up by the glamper (which is about 10′ Wide and 17′ in Length), but we also had a fun section of MiniLou at the front and a section in the back for patterns and block of the month. And that darling sign above (the white one with my logo on it) was made by my sister who has a darling etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SKWoodDesigns. She also made the MiniLou one below. (Photos below: Left—this was taken by @emmalinebags; Right—MiniLou).
I wish I could take credit for all the wonderful sewing in the glamper, but I can’t. I had some fabulous sewers put together many of the projects in the booth. A big thank you to @stitchingrevival Christine Cook, @quiltstorymeg Megan, @mystitchstory Angie Tackett, @amylouwhosews Amy Webb, @farmwifejournal Cherilyn Dunn, @diaryofaquilter Amy Smart 20.2, @jedicraftgirl Amanda Neiderhauser and @happylittlecottage1 Debbie Homick. They made wonderful minis for the glamper.
(Photos below: Left—Amy Smart shows off her mini; Right—Flying Geese Pillow and Garden Patch Quilt I made using my Posy Garden fabric).
(Photos below: Amanda Niederhauser and her mini; Christine Cook and her mini).
Last but not least, my mom came into town and helped with my kids, sewing, and cleaning to get me ready for market. She sewed all the curtains, cushions, and gulp, the piping for all the pillows. Did I mention I HATE doing the piping. Ya, she saved me!
(Photos below: Left—Minilou was all the rage at market!; Right—My mom and me at the Chinese bash we threw after market.—That’s my I-am-happy-it-is-all-over-with smile-wink, wink.).
It was so fun to catch up with new and old friends. The photos below include Heather Spurlock who works at Elaine’s Quilt Shop (BTW the glamper will be there with classes in August! Stay tuned!) and Deanna Hartvigsen who used to be with Mormon Handicraft but has since retired. Deanna is a dear friend and recently has gone through several rounds of chemotherapy. I couldn’t have been more glad to see her!
The photo to the left is of MOST of the Riley Blake designers. A few of the designers were missing in this shot.
The other photo is of Josh and I dressed up for the Riley Blake 80’s party. Anybody want to guess at Josh’s movie reference?
Any that’s the wrap up! It’s always such a treat to be part of the Riley Blake team and I can’t wait for Posy Garden to hit a store near you! Hopefully, I’ll have the swatch book up for it soon!
I’m still recovering from Quilt Market and I’m hoping to have photos up by Thursday! We had a great show and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. For now, I’ve added my shadow box to the Mini Episodes! We have been making so many gorgeous little videos of the new Carina Gardner and MiniLou products coming out in our Bundle Shop and in the Silhouette shops. You’ll see them premier on instagram so check it all out there!
So after weeks of my production assistant and designer telling me it was TIME, I finally gave in and we are hosting bundles of SVG files on our site! This is a bit of a leap of faith on my part. I’m so hopeful that you will like what we have done and those of you with different types of machines (other than a Silhouette) have access to my designs!
So here is the deal: Each of our file sets include an svg file that works with most softwares & the Silhouette Designer Software AND it includes a studio file for the free Silhouette Software. In our descriptions, we have linked instructions, our private facebook groups, and added video tutorials so you can watch instructions DIRECTLY in the instructions. How cool is that?
I’ve been thinking about taking photos of my offices and warehouse for some time now, and am excited to (finally!) give you a walk around the Carina Gardner, Inc. and MiniLou offices!
Here’s some of the backstory: We’ve been in this warehouse/office for a little over a year at this point. Before this, I had two small office spaces near my house, but when I started MiniLou in September 2014, I outgrew the space. Suddenly, I was storing inventory…more than my house or the other little office could handle.
So I moved myself into this 1000 square foot warehouse. When I moved in last February, there was a reception area that I painted and re-floored. Then we built out two more offices in June. Because the space is small (but open!), every bit had to have purpose. Our staff meetings are held in the open warehouse. Videos are made on the back wall while simultaneously storing several of the fabric collections. The sewing table sits next to boxes of coloring books. You get the picture! Every bit of the space is used.
Photo to the left: My office. All the furniture was pulled from my home office to make space in my house for my Charlie-boy. Photo below: Our reception is filled with fabric and diecutting projects. Production Assistant and Fulfillment Manager Holly Christensen mans this area. Flowers on the back wall commissioned from The Lovely Ave.
Photo below: More pictures of our reception. It’s a pretty happy place to walk into everyday!
Our reception area has a play area while storing about half of the fabrics we have in the office (the other half is in our video area and the newest lines are all in my office at my house). The opposite wall (not shown) includes a showcase of some of MiniLou’s coloring book covers.
The first office (below) houses most of the team including our sales director, graphic designer, illustrator, and pattern production assistant.
Photos below: Sales Director Dori Kesler sometimes brings baby Ellie to work. Ellie’s pretty use to the drill since she’s been coming since she was born. Graphic Designer Tom Sturzenegger works on our svgs to prep them for release.
Photo below: Illustrator Jill Johnson works on new artwork for MiniLou. More pictures of baby Ellie! It can’t be helped!
Photos below: The sewing area and conference table are in the warehouse. Here Pattern Production Assistant Arianna Phillips and I develop ideas of patterns and sew up samples. The table is spacious so that we can roll out bolts of fabric and quilts. The conference table sometimes also gets overrun with projects.
Photos below: These are the flowers from one of the CGInc Silhouette releases. It brightens up some of the stuff you have to have in an office (but maybe are not that pretty) including our fridge, microwave, and printer. The calendars were custom printed with my most recent fabric collections.
Photo below: The back of the warehouse includes Holly’s second desk, the video taping area, and my office.
Photo below: Production Assistant and Fulfillment Manager Holly Christensen pulls orders to our MiniLou retailers.
Because we are such a small team, everyone works with everyone else in one way or another. I love the synergy that creates as well as the creativity! It’s a great team and I feel lucky to have them all working for ML and CGInc!
Photo below: We video tape for a class or CGTV episode 2-5 times a month. And all of our photography for our SVG files happens in this area as well! Because what we do is so visual, we spend a lot of time with the cameras.
Photos below: My office is really Charlie’s office. I often get kicked out to the conference table because Charlie is in the office most afternoons with me and all day with me twice a week. He’s my buddy and has his own chair, tv, and consistently eats all the candy out of the candy jars in the front (you know, when Tom hasn’t gotten to them first).
Hope you had fun taking a peek at where we work! I loved showing you our space and how my little companies have grown. Hope you are having a wonderful day!
I just got back from a quick vacay with the kids before school begins next week (You can see me taking a leap from a rope swing on my facebook page here). When I opened my email, I found this gem (the image to the left). So the time has come to make a big announcement…
For all of you out there with digital diecutting machines (but not a Silhouette), you can now get my SVG files for YOUR machine at DigiPlayground.com! I have been working on this for the last couple of months and there are files up there ready to go!
Every week, we are working on getting new files up so be sure to check back often. I have a 900 + back log of silhouette files that we are reshaping for your digital diecutting machines and all of them will be available at DigiPlayground. So you will see a mix of new and old going up every week.
Annnddd…to top it off there is a 40% off sale going on NOW through the end of the week (ends August 23, 2015). Take advantage and stock up on some goodies!
The video below has been my life the last week! Seriously. Armed with my amateur video software and a style vision, I video taped, animated, and coaxed children into speaking into my hilariously big microphone. Totally worth it! Check out this 1 minute of cuteness!
Somehow it seems fitting that this campaign goes live on Mother’s Day since MiniLou was inspired by my children. Feel free to read my story on the Kickstarter page here.
So what is this all about? Ever since starting MiniLou seven months ago, I knew that we were going to need additional funding to bring in more products. So far, MiniLou is 100% funded by me. Kickstarter is a platform where you can become a member of my campaign and receive certain benefits for being a part of the MiniLou community.
The money funded by the project will go towards making three new pocket paper pals (Hansel and Gretel by Carla Chaves, Zombie Apocalypse by Emily Taylor, and Family Farm by Katie Jarman) and one new coloring book (Preston the Pirate by Deena Rutter).
In return, we have some amazing rewards for our backers. In addition to rewards where we send you MiniLou products, most of the levels have an awesome printable (or multiple printables) so that those out of our mailing range will get something as well. The downloads will be exclusive for Kickstarter members only. Check out the rewards on the sidebar here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1022554917/miniloucreative-play-for-kids.
I really can’t thank you enough for your help on this! Starting a new business (and maintaining your current one) is draining, time-consuming, and stressful. But it has been soooo worth it. Bringing a little more beauty, a sweet new memory, or a new avenue for imagination makes what I do rewarding. I am grateful for your support for CGInc and MiniLou!!!!!
Thank you again for being a part of my two little companies!
I always love September. With fall on the way and the kids in school, it feels like a time of renewal. This year has been no different especially with the official launch of my new company MiniLou. I just got back from our very first tradeshow. It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m excited for everything that we are trying to accomplish.
Of course, my two little companies are experiencing growing pains, but that’s part of it, right? I’m always trying to learn how to better prioritize, get organized, and balance family with work. It’s such a struggle. One of the things I struggle with is updating this blog. That means that my priority is to update you with new releases and designs—which means I hardly get a chance to tell you about my joys and struggles. Maybe some of you love that. Maybe some of you wished I would share more.
Either way, I hope you know how much I appreciate all the support you have given me. Whether it is through the emails sent to me, classroom forums, or the little tidbits I hear at a meeting (my assistant Susan just told me this morning that through our fabric sale someone was able to buy fabrics for a project for cancer patients…my heart was so filled with joy!), I feel so blessed to be able to do this for a living.
Hoping you are having a wonderful September too and that your life is filled with joy and love!
After a month and a half of travel, I’m finally back home in Salt Lake. I’m glad to be back home although there hasn’t been much time for a break. Lots of things have happened over the last month. Other than finishing press checks in China, going to a wedding in Tennessee, heading to St. George to enjoy the Tuacahn, and accompanying Siri at harp camp in Logan, some of my new paper and fabric lines have been released.
Over at Carta Bella, check out my newest collections Boy Oh Boy and Spooky as well as Alisha Gordon’s Moment’s & Memories. If you are going to the Summer show, be sure and check them out!
I’m also thrilled to announce my newest fabric line is on pre-sale to quilt shops! For a sneak peek at Primrose Garden, click on this link over at Riley Blake. Scroll down to the bottom to catch a glimpse of my first 18 inch doll panel! I’m so excited for this addition to this fabric line! More pretties on this line coming soon.
At my silhouette shop, I’ve been stocking with a lot of great basics that I have been interested in using for myself. Tons of swirls, overlays, gift bags, and cards to name a few.
And of course, I’ve been working on MiniLou. I’ve been planning out our tradeshows and trying to get everything “just so” for our upcoming fall release and the introduction of our spring release. It’s been a work-in-progress and I’m so proud of what we have accomplished so far. So many more exciting things to come!
As far as getting back on track, I’ve been working on some new home decor items for Deseret Book which should be out this fall/winter. I’ve also been working hard on our end of year releases for Carta Bella. Oh, and I’m hoping to have available two new design classes in the shop later this week.
Thankfully, this summer has not been all work-work, and I’ve been able to enjoy time alone with both of my girls on their respective trips as well as getting in a couple of vacas as a family. But summer is slipping by so very fast…I’m going to squeeze in as much fun as I possibly can!
(PS. Photo is from my Little Bitties Bookmarks for MiniLou).
If you go on a trip to Asia, when you come home your children will look like this <<<<<.
I could end the post there. But I suppose I will elaborate. If you have been following my instagram feed then you’ve followed me on my two week excursion to Hong Kong. Here’s a quick synopsis, and a few photos to boot.
+ Vancouver—It was suppose to be a quick day trip but it was met with tragedy. Our party of three was whittled down to two due to a death in my friend’s family. I missed her so much on the trip but was glad we were not all the way in Beijing yet. It made getting home for her a lot easier.
+ Tried to conquer my fear of heights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge (Photo below)
+ Got stuck in Beijing due to bad weather.
+ Got touristy and visited the Big Buddha, Victoria’s Peak, and the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. + Never got used to the humidity
+ Or the heat.
+ Shopped. A.L.O.T.
+ Did press checks for MiniLou on mainland. The main purpose of the entire trip. Incredibly happy with everything we are doing in the new company. Can’t wait for you to see product!
+ Danced in the street with my travel partner Tausha in Lan Kwai Fong in honor of World Cup.
+ Ate a few noodles.
+ Shopped again.
+ Hiked the Dragon’s Back
+ And thought the heat unbearable.
+ Ate more noodles (Seriously, where was the rice?)
+ Discovered I love Taiwanese food
+ And remembered how much I hate Duran fruit.
+ Was ruthless video taped while taking a bite of it.
+ I am sparing you the video.
+ Don’t ask for it because I’m not showing it to you.
+ Visited Macau but failed to give myself enough time to really enjoy it.
+ Bought a Mahjong set which put my luggage over the weight limit.
+ Am determined to remember/learn how to play again.
+ Am happy to be back in my home with my sweet little ones.
+ Got back to my baby boy who called me “mama” before the trip and for some reason now calls me “mommy.” Not sure what happen there but not complaining.
So there it is in a nutshell. It was a wonderful business/pleasure trip and it especially made me excited for MiniLou! For more photos, I recommend checking my instagram feed. Will be back with some good stuff soon!
After several months of secrets, I’m finally able to reveal what I have been up to! MiniLou is my new children’s company. Creative, sweet, and soooo fun, the products are inspired by my own children and the sweetness of childhood.
The story behind MiniLou is a simple one. Last summer, I started drawing these kitty paper dolls for Siri and Felicity. I loved paper dolls as a girl. I remember dressing them up and playing house with them. I saw Siri and Felicity loving everything I was illustrating for them. I invented a story for the kitties that I would tell them at bedtime. Siri and Felicity started hand drawing their own little paper dolls mimicking the ones I made for them. We were all sitting around a table together. Drawing. Playing with paper dolls. I loved their creativity, and MY creativity when we were doing this together.
And that was it. I loved the idea of a line of products that promoted creativity for kids. I knew the little kitties needed to become something.
So MiniLou was born. Creative products for kids. Small, easy-to-handle products. Products that were easy for moms to deal with. Basically, anything that I would love for my own children to play with.
Slowly and surely, I gathered a wonderful team of illustrators. The little kitties turned into MiniLou’s first product category: Pocket Paper Pals—a small, reusable package of paper dolls and landscapes. Perfect for storing and playing with. Printed on textured paper. Bright, happy, sweet.
I added mini coloring books—5 in x 7 in that fit perfectly in my purse and in the hands of my little ones. Then came the sketchpads and the bookmarks. Objects that would inspire and uplift. My kids were excited for every sample to come home to them.
MiniLou’s Fall 2014 Catalog is a compilation of the very first of what the new company has to offer. I hope you enjoy it! A lot of heart went into this first catalog. It has been a new adventure. Scary—it’s always scary to start a new company. Humbling—there are so many people who have backed me and encouraged me. And wonderful. There is no better word. Wonder-ful sums it all up.
And with that has come a wonderful whirlwind of exciting new things. MiniLou’s fall collections hit shops in September. I leave in 3 days to do press checks in China. I’ve never been to China before although I am half Chinese (My mother is ethnically Chinese but from Malaysia). My instagram feed will be a fun montage of work and play. I hope you have a chance to watch for it!
The glamper tour has ended. The extra weekends off has given me time to finish up a few projects. Today I managed to push out one of my 2015 fabric lines and tape a new mini class. I can hear my inner voice pushing me right now. I suspect because of the upcoming trip to China to do press checks for my new company.
That’s right. You heard me. I’ve been letting out little hints about it on instagram and the facebook page with no official announcement. You’ll have to wait for June 1st for that.
Two of my girlfriends were very spontaneous and decided to tag along. We’ll be in Vancouver, Hong Kong, Dongguan City, and Beijing. All planned out in the little travel books (left) that I made for us. I’ve been filling mine out with packing lists, places I want to see, and more. Books were made from my Travel Stories collection.
For the best possible front seat on all the action, follow my instagram feed @carinagardner. I’ll be posting all my doings from the trip and @miniloukids will be posting all the giveaways and peeks at all our new creative kids products.
For now, I’m kicked into high gear to finish out the last few remaining items that need to be taken care of. You’ll notice my extra emphasis on instax photos in my silhouette store these last couple of weeks. That’s because I’m planning on using my instax alot on this upcoming trip, and I’m going to need all those accessories I have been making.
Other things that I should make note of: 1. My Boy Oh Boy Paper Collection for Carta Bella ships June 1st! 2.Little Ark is now available in stores. 3. Full reveal of my October fabric line Primrose Garden should be available this summer. It comes with (*gasp*) an 18 inch doll panel!!!! 4. The 30% Fabric Sale will be ending on May 31st. So will the mega discounted price on my newly released Digital Design class.
PS The photo to the left is of my three children with Josh up in Bell’s Canyon. I couldn’t resist posting.