Thursday, March 6, 2014

Impromptu Birthday Gift

I take a deep water exercise class at the YMCA, one of the ladies was turning 65 and this was the gift I made.  Most don't know that I sew and sew A LOT, so this received lots of raves.  The theme of the gift was to do something 65-ish, so my take was to sew on 65 buttons to this jean cosmetic pouch.

I have loads of buttons, it was fun counting and re-counting the buttons to make sure I got it right, I used red and white buttons, and lined it in a red and white polka-dot.  I think start to finish, including hand sewing 65 buttons was about 2 hours.  I used hand quilting thread to secure the buttons so I could do less hand sewing with a  stronger thread.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

New Items From the Scrap Basket

I have spent some time going through my mountain of scraps and making a few pieced items.  Before Valentines day I made a bunch of these heart coin purses.  And below a few houses with raw edge applique and an assortment of embellishments.

The piles started like this, sorted by colors, I spent about two days ironing and sorting by size, it looks so ready to go when done, and kind of a relief to do some sorting and tossing. 

I started with the hearts and just sewed like colors then cut into my heart shape.  I dropped these off at Yellow Door before Valentines, but I like them so much I added a few to my etsy shop, and plan to offer them for the year. 

For the houses, I sort of played around with the size and made the zipper at the top of the roof.  A variety of windows, doors and fun shapes go into each one.  I used rick rack, buttons, ribbon flowers and some random quilting to highlight each house. 


I really like these and will continue to make house zip purses in vary shapes and sizes.  I have a few variations and shapes I will be adding through 2014.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Custom order Mini Accessory Sets

 Picture 1
 Picture 2
Picture 3
Here is what I have made up, let me know if any look good :)

New Items Dopp Kits

I have finally mastered a box pouch or a Dopp Kit.  A Dopp Kit is a boxed shaped toiletries bag traditionally used by men to hold shaving and other supplies when traveling.  Often made of leather or vinyl, of course I only use the cutest of cottons, so sadly once again the boys get gipped. 

I have two sizes, each zip closures and tabs for easy zipper pull, the larger has a handle.  The best part of these pouches is no exposed seams, when you look inside it is beautifully finished, like all my other zip products.  This was essential for me to start offering these so it took a few trial and error and a peek at a few tutorials to get it right, I hope to offer more sizes in the future for now I have two.

Small size, which is more a mini size is 5"w x 3"d x 2.5-3"t.  They vary some as beyond the intitial cutting I sort of eyeball the rest so they do vary up to a 1/2" in any direction.

The large size, which also has a handle on the top is 7"w x 5"d x 4"t, these too may vary ever so slightly.  This is a great size to tuck in a weekend bag or use in the bath for morning routine.

It is hard to pick a favorite feature, but what I do love is the inside, no seams and when pulled open you can see the items. 

I have already been selling these locally at shows as well as Yellow Door Art Market.  I began offering them this week in my etsy store, small $12.00 and the large $18.00.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Been a Way a While But Busy

So I thought I'd share this part of my life, for the last 6 months or so I have been on a quest to lose 80 pounds, and today I reached 45 pounds down.  I have done this mainly by calorie counting, portion control, less snacking and very recently eliminating diet soda.  I eat things in moderation and do not specifically follow any weight loss plan, I loosely follow the "Volumetrics" theory, and "If it Fits in Your Macros (IIFIYM).

I use daily in fact MANY times daily an online calorie counter called My Fitness Pal, which I discovered in July when I got my Ipad.  Tracking calories and nutrients has been the backbone of my progress.  I lost most of the weight so far through eating, with some exercise, this is changing since 2013.

I have joined the local YMCA and am now taking a deep water exercise class three times a week, spinning once a week, and weight training two times a week.  To this I walk on my own, roller skate one to three times a week, and do some home kettlebell, circuit training and yoga.  Sounds like a lot huh, I'd be impressed.  Actually I am impressed admittedly I don't like working out and 6 months ago a walk or a skate once in a while was the total sum of my workout routines.  I do like the results and accept this has to be part of the game now, so hopefully some day I will love this aspect of my new found healthier lifestyle.

I know everyone loves before and afters.  First picture taken mid July after set up at an art fair, second picture is today January 29th, 45 pounds down.  Then below face comparison.  I still plan to lose another 36 pounds and hope to do this by about September, I know now it is a journey not a race.

 Thanks for looking, every single day I am excited to be losing weight!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Foyer Makeover Before and After

Here it is my completed foyer makeover.  Our new focal or statement piece the large buffet that we remade this last March, from a piece we got at a consignment shop for 55.00.  We spent about 60.00 on supplies and hardware to finish the piece, purchased a few accessories and framed a piece of art made buy our daughter, it is a huge improvement of the prior space.

The color is a teal blue from Behr, we actually were able to paint the entire thing with the 3.00 sample from The Home Depot. New hardware and some color detail in the flower motifs on the drawers.

We sanded the heck out of this, and washed in thouroughly, the painting was done inside, using a dry brush technique, where we put on the paint then removed some by brushing with long strokes with a dry brush, this allowed some of wood beneath to shine through.

Below is the piece as we purchased it, dark and huge brass hardware, our piece completed and then my inspiration piece.  Admittedly I am still looking for the perfect bust for our room, it has actually been a running joke...I know one is out there that will look great.

So the before and after pics, ok, the first before picture, this area is a complete mess, honestly most days it was a bit neater, well a few days a week it was anyway.  Our foyer is large and really is a huge dumping ground for pretty much everything.

Entry into our home, much nicer and neater now, and honestly people really seem to like the piece and are quite impressed with our accomplishment.  The buffet holds a lot, in the center we each get a drawer to stash stuff, like mail, keys, phone, library books.  The left side holds a lot of my crafting books from the shelf that used to be here, and on the right my MOST favorite part a large rubber bin to hold shoes, they are no longer strewn all across the foyer, honestly THIS is the best part.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Square Up Credit Card Processing

I can check another item off my New Years Resolution list, I can now accept credit cards at shows, or anywhere with my new Square Credit Card Reader.  Above is the box you can literally find just about anywhere, it is free to get started.  I got my reader at Radio Shack but have seen them at Best Buy, Target and Wal Mart.  You sign up online and you are ready to take charges anywhere, anytime.

With this can my newest toy The New Ipad (add swooning here).  This combo has really taken my show experience to a new level, the words "why didn't I do this sooner" have passed through my head many times.  Though I do remind myself it was a building and learning process to get to this point, so while I am not disappointed I had waited, really I could have and should have done this about a year ago. 

Why I waited and what I learned.  I waited because I did not have a smartphone, and I really did not want the expense of a 50.00 monthly data plan, plain and simple this is why I do not and did not have or want a smart phone.  Oh I was all set to get one last July but the realization of cable, DH smart phone and one for me just seem like an unnecessary expense.  So I watched my husband use his smart phone for a year and realized it really was the right decision for me to not have one, but I wanted a tablet of some kind.  I also wanted to process credit cards via this method, swipe and go.

As I got ready for a large show in the summer the final decision was that I would take my husbands phone and process that way.  That was about the time Verizon (our provider) introduced the new share everything plan and I could add a tablet to the plan for 10.00 a month, the decision became easy and obvious.  My husband was worried about battery life at the show, days were 10-12 hours and he thought no way his phone would hold out.  Since I had been wanting a tablet since the begin of the year, getting and adding an Ipad to our plan was the way I went.

I opted for the 4G/wi fi model, above is the first screen you will get when you log into your square app, which you will need to download to your device.  The second pic is Ipad with card reader in the head set jack. As you see in the left picture this would be where you could key in your total, I have tax added to mine, that is something you can set up as needed.  I still hand wrote all my receipts, even when a customer used cc.  I however entered my entire inventory into the square with my "stock photos". 

Here is a "page" of my inventory,  I had about 4 pages of stock sorted alphabetically, you could sort by a category but for me this worked best.  Also I was able to add options to items, on the top you see my carabiner coin purse, I did not need to add 3 separate items, but could differentiate between size/price.  If I hit carabiner, this window with 3 options pops up, just tap the one needed.

When you have added all your items you are ready to process, on top you can see items entered and tax calculated along with a total.  Swipe your card, when the card reader is first attached you will see the black reader box, this minimizes to below the white box, you will know it is correctly connected.  After card is swiped a box will pop up for customer signature.  They can use their finger though I had a stylus which I think worked better.

After signature a completed screen will appear, you will be given the option to enter an email or phone number for email or text receipts.  This info will not be saved for you, it is kept private for the buyer.

For my show I put up signs on every wall in my booth as well as on the outside so people looking in could see I could process credit cards.  I will say about 1/3 of my sales (in dollars) were credit card.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Custom Order August 2012

Goldfish in bags over the shoulder tote bag.  Orange polka dot accent on top, pieced handle in blues and oranges.  Bags are lined in watery light blue, handle piecing will vary to each bag, though fabrics are pretty much the same.  Enjoy!

Woodland Friends coin purse, lined inside orange.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Plymouth Art in The Park Show

I have officially finished my first multi-day outdoor show.  I am sharing a few pics of my time at this show and of course a few thoughts. This is a huge show, in Michigan I think it is the second largest, second to The Ann Arbor Art Fair which is this week. 

My serious prep for this show can mid April when I learned I got into the show.  I had at that time between etsy and my stock I use for off line about 450 items made.  My first step was making a dream list of inventory, where I listed my entire line and how much I hoped to take.  This went through many changes and became my sewing list.  My final number of items I was aiming to make was around 1200 items, with a value just under 15K.  I kept an excel spreadsheet of inventory, supplies needed and random comments.  This spreadsheet was a tool I used pretty much all day everyday getting ready, and really kept me on track for sewing.  Yes, I finished my goal of 1200 items made, actually I think 1187 but we can call it 1200 I may have missed a few along the way.

For this show I also had to invest in some additional displays, I hope to do 2-4 outdoor shows a year, so these purchases were inevitable, for other displays I used things from around the house.  I bought weights for my tent and 4 additional grid walls, a metal shelf for on my table and more hardware for the grid walls.  As for display items for future shows I am pretty well set, though I am contemplating replacing 4 of my older grid walls for newer ones, the new ones were MUCH lighter.

For set up, it was the night before starting at 8:30 pm and went to midnight, you might think setting up at midnight would be my thank you.  Luckily we had some friends help and were finished with the tent, gridwalls, tables and other small display items in about an hour.  

The hard-work, or the long time consuming part of the task was putting up for display 1200 items.  When you have three months of neatly organizing and counting them it seems this would be an easy task to display them.  It took myself and my friend and her husband about 2.5 hours.  This was definitely an area where I learned something for future shows.

This shows the table that had the most on it, and this was also the table that saw the most action.  On the left is a metal shelf that I got just before the show, it gave me some much needed height and dimension and my kanzashi clutches looked great on it.  This shelf is better used for items that can sit on their own, rather then being in a basket as the shelf part had lots of gaps.  I also used the grid walls, that came back from the front "end cap", on this I had a shelf on the right and used hooks to display carabiner coin purses.  Also in this view is my picture frame kanzashi display which I showed in this prior blog post.  Baskets and trays display other items, I used a home made riser for an item which was simply a box wrapped in pretty gift wrap. I hope to add a few more pics as I still sort things out...and find one of the cameras. 

As for the show itself, I had a great time and it was a great experience...would I do this show again...not sure?  Though to be honest I am not sure I would ever do another 3 day show, especially when that show goes into a 4th day for set up.  I learned a lot about doing big shows and know for sure I could improve upon my prep, set up and tear down.  I have applied to a 2 day show in September, though a little reluctant fresh out of this show as the amount of work is still lingering, but I figure after 2 months I will be ready to go again.

Good news is I have lots of completed inventory to stock etsy, Yellow Door and a good jump start on holiday shows I already have planned.
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