Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Get to know the QQQ's - Janie of Isabella's Whimsy

Hi I’m Janie of Isabella’s Whimsy, a shop of Handcrafted Quilted Items, Whimsical and Useful. 
You can find me on Etsy:
I came up with my shop name by using my Jr. High Spanish-class name of Isabel, then by taking a poll among the college students who milled around my office: Isabel’s Whimsy or Isabella’s Whimsy? It was unanimous, Isabella.  Shortly after deciding on the name I learned that my Irish great-grandmother was named Katherine Isabell – can that be called a whimsical coincidence? 
I live in San Antonio, TX, home of the Alamo, the Spurs (basketball), and my little grandson whose birth prompted my move here. San Antonio has a rich cultural history seen in architecture and many festivals celebrated throughout the year. The main cultures that impacted the city are Spanish, Mexican and German. A very popular attraction here is the Riverwalk; I like it best at Christmastime with the colorful lights. The King William district is an area of large, ornate mansion built by wealthy German immigrants in the late 1800s.
Practical sewing and crafting have been in my family for a long time. My grandmother lived a poor life and developed her amazing ingenuity in order to care for her family of 5 children. My mother inherited that practical bent and surprised / shocked her home ec teacher when she decided to use her feedsacks to make underwear for her little brothers. My older sister was a bountiful seamstress making clothes and gifts for all. I learned about sewing with and without patterns at about 7 years old. The first project I made alone on the sewing machine at 11 yrs. was a very full gathered skirt with waistband, zipper and snap fastener. The fabric was an outlandish narrow red, white, yellow and blue stripe, like a circus tent. I loved it.

The first quilt I made was for my little boy. We call it the Monkey Blanket; he still has it as he is waiting for his first baby to be born. I used a twin sheet, a printed monkey panel, and for batting a piece of old blanket. To finish it off I popped in a decorative cam (remember those?) and hemmed the edges down
Then in 2008 I started making baby quilts for the young mothers in my office at Texas A&M University. Here is the first one, the one that started Isabella’s Whimsy.
My favorite colors are yellow, white, blue, and a whole range of teals/aquas, plus a nice punch of orange. I prefer applique over piecing when I design my quilts, but I do enjoy modern pieced quilts also.
I find inspiration in Scandinavian patterns, nature, and other people’s whimsical creations.

I have two hobbies in addition to quilting, reading and my grandson. My sister and some friends and I have a Facebook group for the SugarPop 2016 Reading Challenge. I look after my 2 year old grandson most afternoons while my daughter works on her own LeSnootyFox Etsy shop ( and business ( ) designing and handmaking custom social invitations. My other loved activity is my church. I attend Ladies Bible Class, participate with the Seniors (not students…old people) in some activities, and regularly fellowship with a small group called Life Group. I think what I love the most about my church is that we try to focus on applying the loving teachings of Christ to our daily lives.

Running an Etsy shop means I wear many hats in one day. For the most part I do computer and household work in the mornings, babysit in the afternoons, and sew in the evenings, but I also hold the right to sew at any time the urge strikes! I can get away with this because I am a retired teacher.

The business tip I would like to share for Etsy shops is, find a wonderful Team, like I did with the QQQ Etsy Team. This team has shop owners of various levels of experience, is friendly and supportive, and stays current with marketing and business activities. I also encourage people to join additional teams that are geared to different aspects of their businesses. For example, a team dedicated to promoting that is made of a wide variety of shops (wider audience for you), a team that teaches about SEO, and a team that is related to one of your special interests outside of your business niche (this add an element of fun and life to your days). And then participate in your chosen teams; you will bless others and be blessed yourself.

Here is a quote from American business legend Zig Ziglar that encourages the way the Etsy Teams work,
“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”


  1. Hi Janie, I enjoyed reading your post.

  2. Great post Janie, love your philosophy on life, as well as your gorgeous quilts of course!

  3. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my life with our team.
    I have enjoyed all the other team STARS and look forward to the ones yet to come.
    Thank you, Astrid for your dedication to the team and for taking on this blog.

  4. Janie, very pleased to learn more about you! You supported me through my bout with cancer with unexpected (but greatly appreciated, and always seemed to coincide with when I was having a rough patch) "thinking of you" cards and convos. You made it easier to pick up my "positive attitude" and resume my march forward. In case I have not said it, thank you!

  5. Thanks for sharing, Janie!

    Ms P Designs USA

  6. SO neat to get to hear your story. I am so glad we are on the same QQQ team. It really is great, especially because of all the wonderful ladies like you :)