Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kids in the Sewing (Craft) Room

We are nearing the end of the school year and if you're like me this means little ones in the sewing room at least sometimes.  It will be inevitable I will have to sew with my soon to be first grader hanging out with me, I do however have some item that help to occupy her and let her be content and creative.

I thought I might offer some ideas to help when our little helpers want  Firstly I should add I have a large table in which she can have a designated spot to sit, so that is a huge plus.  A small stool and some newspaper or craft paper is good for more messy crafts, though I try to stay away from those.
This first idea is an sort of educational one, we have actually been doing this activity for years.  It can be done a few ways, this is how I do this.  I also assume if you are a crafter you may have some of these items on hand.  This is to help with vocabulary, spelling and reading.

What you will need.
  • Alpha beads or scrabble tiles, or we have a game called "Upwords" which has large plastic letter tiles.  If you don't have these you could easily print some up.  I would include the entire alphabet and extras of common letters, this way sorting and choosing will be more of a challenge.
  • Flash cards, again, if you don't have any you can make some, I did this first with "sight words" for a good list this website has some ideas.  Flash cards are easy to find in most stores, or print some of your own.  

Choose or let your child choose a word and then from their beads/tiles spell out the word.  Have them sound it out, or use it in a sentence for them.  Pretty simple, and mine enjoyed the challenge of doing it herself.  We often ran out of beads or tiles before she was done, she liked to see them all lined up.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yellow Door Revamping My Space

It has been about 18 months since I signed onto and Yellow Door Art Market opened, I decided with the renewing of my lease in April it was time for a change.  I finally got a chance to go and  revamp my space.

As a recap, I rent a 9 foot by 9 foot space, it is a full retail shop open seven days a week, I display and stock my space as needed, it has been a great experience and a great expansion to my handmade business.

I have repainted from green to yellow, the color pallette is the same for all the spaces, we can paint any of the designated colors.  I am reducing the number of purse waterfalls from 4 to 5 to allow some other product changes.  I will also be taking in and taking back some furniture for displays.

Today I removed the wristlet wall and the purse waterfalls and painted, I did sort of get 2 coats so hopefully I won't have to fully paint again, touch up and patching holes is my next task, hopefully Tuesday.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mass Producing The Handmade Way: Why Size Matters

 Stock overflowing out of drawers and into bins

I am in SERIOUS production mode, I am getting ready for my biggest show EVER.  Mid July will be the Plymouth Art in The Park, the estimated attendance is about 300,000 - yes, I meant to type all those zeros.  In anticipation of this I am trying to have ready to go about 1000 items, I have just over 700 DONE, and about 2 months to go.

I have made a list of my current line along with my "wish list" inventory, here I record what is made and supplies needed and any notes that help in planning.  I also have outlined timing for packaging and finishing touches, like buttons, zip pulls, tagging, etc.  I have been plotting these into my calendar to keep on track.

It is very typical for me to make those items which are fast, easy and fun first and most, therefore I have many more of these items done.  I still have other outlets to stock so I can keep making these but this week I needed to focus on the more detailed oriented items this week it's kanzashi coin purses, 8 patch wristlets, pieced shoulder bags and snap clutches.

An example of how I work in common size, my coin purse, and wristlet are the same "height" this height is also the same size as the length of my mini coin purse.  Cutting items like linings and interfacings reduce the amount of waste if their size is common.

I have posted many times my stockpiling of common components and this allows me to make lots of items quickly of these components such as coin purses (all sizes) wristlets and totes, these are my best sellers so it makes sense for me to keep many dozen in progress at all times.

However it has dawned on me again the importance and gained efficiency of working in common size.  I am working on the kanzashi coin purses, and I am working with 3-5 sizes of basically the same item, it is becoming a big time suck custom cutting a few at a time, but to this I am always re-measuring what is done to properly line up linings and zippers. 

Originally I used common sized items because of shipping supplies, since I was firstly only selling online.  Using less types of envelopes and boxes ultimately makes buying and storing less sizes more cost efficient, often I have discontinued items based solely on my ability to ship.

This is also applied to supplies, for example zippers, I only buy 2 sizes, and I buy my most common colors in lots of 100, and other lesser used quantities in lots of 12-36.

For most my items common size is the way to go, for one of a kind items or special fussy cut items I try to work on those in my more leisure sewing and not full production mode.  Hmmm, I think that could be another blog subject.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bevy of Bookmarks all from Scraps

Yay!  That is my first thought at all these projects that use up scraps.  I save just about everything, and times when I don't save an odd and end I often regret it, I am going to refer to these moments as "never say never crafting supplies".

These bookmarks are made up of three elements of which I have been hanging onto for a long time.  Skinny fabric pieces, skinny interfacing pieces and small bits of ribbon.  Some fabrics are just too cute to throw away no matter how small, I already have quite a few items I offer from scraps, like mirrors, paperclip bookmarks, magnets, hair accessories, coasters...and more.  Now these bookmarks will be offered at some of my upcoming offline events.

This collection of fabric started simply by a leftover and thinking it looks just like a bookmark, the same thing happened with skinny interfacing leftovers too...hmm, fabric for cute and interfacing for body.  I have done these in another post a much more involved type of bookmark here, but I wanted fast and simple, so I cut down the steps and made about 40 of these in a few short hours.

I trimmed the fabric and interfacing to more or less the same size, thought this is not a requirement.  I did work in a common size for most about 2.5 inches wide by 9 inches tall, again it can be any size.  I did try to have the interfacing which will provide the stability to be about the same size.

My interfacing is medium or heavy weight fusible, so I first fuse to the back side of my fabric, layer with a backing fabric and trim the top with pinking blade or sheers.  Pin together to keep the pinked edge lined up.  This will be the top and where you will put the ribbon tab.  Again mainly relying on scrap ribbon using 11-12 inch piece loop and put edges inside the top of the book mark, inside about 1/2 inch.

These will be raw edged, so your layering would be right side up (interfacing should be sewn on) then your backing fabric should be right side down.

I did my start and stop stitch at the point where the ribbon is in the bookmark, and sew around the rectangle back to the start. I used about 1/4 inch seam, this can vary as needed or as you like.

Trim around all 4 edges with pinking blade or shears to cut down on raveling.

Behold this lovely pile of scraps is now a lovely pile of bookmarks, awaiting being stuck in a book.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Flint Handmade Wrap Up and A Tip

 May 5th was the Flint Handmade Spring Show, I had a great show and a great time.  Also got some pictures done by a local photographer, they turned out great, so I have a few for show and tell.

Also a picture of my own, this is a nifty trick I had not really seen or not really thought of doing.  I had done the week prior the Craft Circus in Ypsilanti and a few of the vendors did this.  It came at the perfect time as I have been wanting/needing to add height to my table and displays.  The idea is to use bed risers under your table, so a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond I got some for myself, I actually plan to get a second set.


Here is my table with the risers, this did leave my tablecloths not perfect they do cover but I had to pin to hide a gap.  This show was also the reminder that there is a huge difference in an 8 foot table vs. a 6 foot table.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pinch Pot for Mothers Day

I got this lovely gift for Mothers Day from my kindergartner, a lovely pinch pot.  I had actually been hearing about this for a while and wondered when it would be coming home.  A lovely surprise it came home wrapped and with a handmade pop up card...too sweet.

It is already at work in my sewing room, it is now where my magnetic snaps hang out, it will get used a lot!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flint Handmade Spring Show

Getting ready for a show this weekend, I will be attending the Flint Handmade Spring Craft Market.  This the first time I have applied to this show and I am really looking forward to vending there this year. 

The show is Saturday May 5th, and I will also be attending the Friday night member preview night.  I will have my usual line up of handcrafted purses, totes and accessories along with a new over the shoulder, cross body bag.

You can see the line up of artists on the Handmade Flint Blog.  Show Details:

Flint Handmade Spring Craft Market
May 5th, 2012
10 am - 4 pm
The Masonic Temple, Downtown Flint
755 S. Saginaw Street, 48502
Friday member preview night 6-9 pm

A Few Spring Treasuries

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