Friday, February 29, 2008
Here are a few shop stats:
* I've made 16 sales
* 121 people have hearted my shop
* I've been featured in 3 treasuries
* I've been featured in one blog
* I was invited to join the C.A.K.E Promotion Team
I don't think that's too bad of a start. :)
I have a bit of advice to offer to new sellers on Etsy.
1. Craftsmanship!!! Your items must be at their best. Do what you do well, and practice what you don't. There are hundreds upon hundreds of talented sellers on Etsy, many of them making the same product as you, so you need to be at the top of your game. Use the best supplies available, high quality fabrics, findings, beads etc, will make for high quality items. Until you have mastered your craft, keep practicing.
2. PICTURES. You really have to understand how important it is to display your product professionally. There is insane competition on Etsy, and it's imperative that you take the extra step and make your shop stand out. My pictures are far from perfect, and I believe that they will always be a work in progress. Please don't take pictures on your carpet, please don't hang your purses sloppily on a door knob. If you were to imagine your work for sale in a published catalog, what would the pictures of your items look like? If you want to be considered a professional business, start by displaying your work as such. There are several tutorials for a light box, make one!
3. PROMOTE. It's tough to find an individual shop on Etsy. With so many shops listing at all times of the day, we all know how quickly your item can get lost in each category. You have to find other avenues for getting traffic to your shop. Get business cards asap, and pass them out! Carry a piece of your work with you, a purse, or wear your jewelry every where you go. Each and every time someone comments on them, give them a card! Don't be too shy, be proud of what you do. Give cards to your friends and have them give them out. Offer them free or discounted merchandise to be a walking advertisement for your shop. Start a blog, purchase ad space from blogs you like, participate in forums, put your shop url in your email signatures, join street times, post about your shop on myspace, craigslist, leave cards at businesses (many have a spot or bulletin board for this). Promoting should be something you never stop doing.
4. Customer Service. Once you have people visiting your shop and purchasing your goods, you want them to be thrilled with the experience and come back. Offer fair shipping prices, great communication, fantastic products and lovely presentation. I wrap all of my orders in tissue paper, tie with a ribbon or string, top with a cute handmade tag and always, always include a thank you note. I feel that when someone chooses an item from my shop vs. another, that they deserve the best.
This also includes having all of your policies stated in your shop or profile. Make sure you have everything covered, from domestic to international shipping, your return policy, shipping times, sales, discounts etc. A customer is more likely to purchase from your shop if they feel that you're going to be handling everything professionally.
5. Keep at it! When you get discouraged, do something that makes your happy! Read a book, take a walk, call a friend, anything to get your creative juices flowing. What works best for me is going through all of my current supply stock. When I browse through all of my fabrics, ideas just start flowing.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
1. I eat like a little kid. Really. Macaroni and cheese, fruit roll-ups, granola bars, trix yogurt cups (yum!), string cheese, cheerios, little graham cracker snacks, fruit snacks, spaghetti-os, pb &j's...... I love them all! When I crave snacks, this is usually what I want. The Mister teases me all the time that I eat like a little girl. By the way, I dip my pb&j into my spaghetti-os! mmmmmmmm. :)
2. I am a total klutz. So accident prone, it's ridiculous. If anyone is going to slip on a dryer sheet and shatter a knee cap, it's going to be me. I have so many bangs and bruises from a lifetime of tripping over my own feet. But it's not like I'm snowboarding and wiped out, or sky diving and landed wrong... it's more like I tripped over my own feet and sprung my angle, or stepped off a stair funny and fractured my knee. I do have to boast that I'm doing much better as I age. Nothing serious in a while. *knock on wood*
3. Thunderstorms make me very happy. The bigger, louder, scarier the better. As a child, I used to sit in my Mom's room during a thunderstorm, turn all the lights out and watch the lightning shoot down from the sky. I always counted the seconds until the thunder, and would always get excited as the storm drew closer. I was in Florida several years ago when all of the hurricane's hit and it was very exciting. Don't get me wrong, I'm not thrilled with the loss and suffering of others in anyway. I hate to see the effect it has on other's lives. Natural Disasters, as an act of mother nature, always amaze me.
4. I want to live in Europe. I took a trip a few years ago where I spent three weeks frolicking around France, England, Italy, Monte Carlo, and a touch of Germany, and it was fantastic. The people that I met were amazing and many of them, I will never forget. I envy the education that their children receive and how laid back society seems to be as a whole. When the Mister and I decide to have children, I'd like them to be multi-lingual and see the world, much more than I ever did. Luckily, due to The Mister's work, this is not an impossible future.
5. I'm a sensitive ninny. A few examples; The very first time that we drove through the Flaming Gorge National Park in Utah, I cried. It was so pretty and appeared so untouched, it was all so overwhelming. Also, please do not explain to me how to cook a lobster. I will cry. I'm all for people eating meat if they so choose, I do, but I do not want to hear the details. Please do not tell me a story where someone is hurt in an awful way, I will cry. Please no icky scary or torture movies, they make me cry.
My outlook on life is this (and has been dubbed the "Pretty Curtain's Practice" by the Mister and I), I understand and know about the suffering of others in this world. I do what I can to help them and do my best not to support or promote the continued abuse of others in horrible situations, but if I'm not careful, those sad thoughts and torturing images will take over my life and turn me into a sobbing ball of sadness. At that point, I'd be useless to everyone. So, once I'm informed, please don't ruffle my pretty curtains. ;)
6. The Mister and I have lived together basically since day one. We met under interesting circumstances, and had so much in common it was a little weird. He wasn't my usual "type (whatever that means), but we got along really well and he intrigued me. So, dating just kind of happened and at the same time, he moved in. We've lived in 3 different states, been on miracle and life changing trips, experienced three hurricanes, lived in our car, drank amazing and rare wine, met people we never really imagined, snuck into movies, been sick and deathly sick, lost all hope, had more hope than ever, failed and succeeded beyond our dreams, camped on a mountain, made and lost lifetime friends, and so much more. It's only 5 years later, and things are still well between the Mister and Mrs. :)
7. I love Fred Astaire.
So, there they are, my seven random things. I'm tagging The Solitary Thread, Joyful Abode, and The Cricket's Song.
In sewing news, I've been working hard on my order for Kate at the Paper Sparrow. I should have everything packed up and ready to go next week. Woot! Also, I have a really cute new "Anchors Away!" purse in the Etsy Shop.
Have a happy Wednesday!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Okay everyone, I finally have the hat pattern finished! It’s my first written out pattern, so I’m sure it’s slightly confusing, so if you have any questions, just let me know and I’ll address them right away. If you just pick up a hook and yarn and work through it, it’s much easier to understand and fairly quick hat to whip up.
I'm not actually great at reading crochet patterns, and I learned to knit before I learned to hook, so forgive me.
The Ellia Cap
Size I9/5.50mm hook
yo - yarn over
2tog - 2 together
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
tr- triple crochet
Skip one stitch, YO and insert hook into stitch, draw yarn through. YO, pull through 2 stitches, YO, pull through remaining two stitches.
YO, insert hook into same stitch, draw yarn through. YO and draw through 2 stitches, YO, pull through one stitch (2 stitches remaining on hook).
YO, insert hook into same stitch, draw yarn through, YO, pull through 2 stitches, YO, pull through one stitch (3 stitches remaining on hook) YO and draw through all 3 stitches.
Row 1: Single Crochet into 2nd ch from hook, continue to end (47 stitches) Connect to first stitch with slip stitch. Ch 1 and turn. Row 2: SC around. Ch 1 and turn.
Row 3: Repeat Row 2
Row 4: SC around; Ch 3 and turn
Row 5: Yo, insert hook into first stitch, draw yarn though, YO pull through 2 stitches, YO pull through remaining 2 stitches. YO, insert hook into same stitch, draw yarn through. YO and draw through 2 stitches, YO, pull through one stitch (2 stitches remaining on hook). YO, insert hook into same stitch, draw yarn through, YO, pull through 2 stitches, YO, pull through one stitch (3 stitches remaining on hook) YO and draw through all 3 stitches. Finish round using bobble stitch pattern. After completing last bobble stitch, connect to first with a slip stitch into 3rd ch of very first ch3. CH 3 and turn.
Row 6 & 7: Repeat row 5, stitching into the ch 1 between bobbles.
Row 8: Bobble Stitch twice, and then bobble stitch two together (YO, insert hook into stitch and draw yarn through, move over to next ch between bobbles and insert hook and draw yarn through (4 stitches on hook). YO and draw through 3 stitches, YO and draw through remaining 2 stitches and complete remaining steps. Continue in this pattern (Bobble twice, then Bobble 2tog) until end of row. Slip stich to first bobble, Ch3 and turn.
Row 9: Bobble Stitch once, then bobble 2tog, continue around until end of row. Slip stitch to first bobble, Ch3 and turn.
Row 10: YO, insert hook into first stitch next to hook and drawn yarn through, insert hook into next “ch1” and drawn yarn through, YO and pull through 3 stitches, YO and pull through remaining two stitches. Complete last bobble stitch step, and Bobble 2tog the entire row. Ch3 and turn.
Row 11: Repeat row 10 until very end. Pull slip stitch through, cutting yarn and leaving a long tail. Using a yarn needle, insert yarn into remaining stitches and pull tight to close.
Weave in all ends.
Using magic ring method, create a ring of 5 single crochets, connect with slip stitch, ch1 and turn.
*hdc, dc, tr, dc, hdc into first stitch, slip stitch into next stitch* and repeat from * to end for a total of 5 petals.
Weave in ends and connect to hat.
Copyright 2008, Sew Serious
Pattern for personal use only!
The yarn in the photos above are Frog Tree 100% Alpaca. The hat below was created with Blue Sky Alpaca, worsted weight.
I hope it’s not too hard to follow. It looks complicated on paper, but it’s easier to actually do. It's also very adaptable. Add more stitches and rows for a worsted weight yarn, make the back deeper for dreads or lots of hair. Can be worn snood style.
I'd love to see your versions!
So yes. There it is and I’m sorry for the delay.
Friday, February 22, 2008
However, I have been working on some promo cards that I'd love some opinions on. My custom stamp came from Craft Pudding and I'm definitely putting them to use.
What do you think?
Also, I should be posting the new hat pattern up sometime this weekend, so keep an eye out for it soon!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I did receive a new digital camera in the mail today. I'm still playing and getting comfortable with the settings, so I'm hoping to get all of my shop pictures up to par soon. A light box is on the to-do list for tomorrow, along with laundry, studio tidying, a run to the post office and hopefully some baking if I get the time. I've been craving strawberry muffins. :)
There's a new small group of sellers on Etsy named C.a.k.e , also known as Creative Artists, Kickass Etsians. (Word!) :)
We've formed to help spread the idea of Etsy (I handed out 10 business cards in the last 48 hours!) and to promote other independent artists. We even have our own blog, so be sure to stop by and check it out. There are some fabulous sellers in our group.
Well, my dears, a large comfy bead is calling my name, and I can no longer refuse. It's so late!
I will leave you with a few silly self portraits from my new camera. Have a giggle and enjoy.
Lulu and I taking a quick rest...
"What do I make next?"...
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
All available in my Etsy shop, of course. :)
On my way home from the post office today, I stopped into Fancy Tiger to pick up some more alpaca yarn for the crocheted hat that I'll soon be posting a pattern for. It's a delicious coral pink, but you'll have to wait a few days to see. I promise, it's quite yummy! While chatting, I was told that they run a Craft fair two times a year in the Denver area and are hoping to do one this summer. Something for me to look forward to!
I just want to say thanks for all the comments and emails about my new hair cut! I really appreciate it, as I'm still a bit nervous about how it looks. Not to mention, the Mister has yet to see it in person yet. Yikes! Wish me luck!
I'll have more mail to update you all with soon. I'm expecting a few more goodies to arrive within the next few days. I basically live for mail love.
Monday, February 18, 2008
You can see the actual treasury here.
I planned on posting my new hat design pattern today, but I still need to tweak a thing or two, so I'm going to hold off a few days. I have a foam head coming in the mail and think that a great display will suit the design very well. I'm really quite proud of this hat. I designed it over Christmas and every where I go I'm complimented. I'm excited to share.
I'm a bit sad that there is no post today. I need some mailbox love and have a batch of new fabrics coming in the mail. Cross your fingers for me that they'll be here tomorrow!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
We have a winner in the giveaway, mushroommeadows name was drawn from the hat! Have you seen her blog? She has the cutest illustrations! I'd like to thank everyone for participating, I just love giveaways and plan on doing more in the future.
It's been an exciting but easy going weekend. Several house projects and "must watch" films have kept me occupied, along with some good old fashion girl time with my rad friend Izzy. Also, I'm waiting on a fairly large fabric order to come in and I'm just so geeked. Lots of new prints to play with and I have a few new ideas.
I finally mustered up the courage to cut my hair yesterday. I've been in need of a change and confidence boost for sometime so I just decided to go for it. I took about 5 inches off, but I'm so happy with the results! Here, let me strike a pose...
I have a large bin of blackberries call my name, so I must be off. Hope your weekend was a wonderful one.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Please Note: I was self - taught.. so I'm sure there is a different way to do them, this is just how I manage.
Appliques can range from super simple to quite complex. Here are a couple of examples.
complex applique - 8 pieces
Gather your goodies:
* something to applique (I recommend something PRE sewn, it can be difficult to add to an already constructed item)
* Wonder-Under or other fusible webbing!
* Appropriate thread (lots of it!)
* Pen, Marker or Pencil
* Thin cardboard or sturdy paper
* Sewing Machine
* Applique foot (you can do this w/out one, but its MUCH easier if you have it!)
Okay. Ready? Great!
First, you will need to make your applique pattern. I suggest something simple if this is your first one. You can use hand-drawn images or purchased templates. I chose to draw mine out on cardboard.
Once you have your pattern drawn, gather your fabric you'd like to use for your applique and cut around your pattern in a square shape, so your applique design will be inside of the square. This will make it easier to cut out your Wonder-Under and you won't need to cut out your design more than twice.
Decide where you're going to place your applique on your "item to be sewn" and iron it on, again following the instructions on your wonder under.
I suggest using the same thread for the top-stitch and for your bobbin when you applique. Reason being... if your machine's tension is off, you're not going to see a different color thread peeking out of the top.
You are going to set your machine to a zig-zag stitch, with a width about 3, and of with a stitch length of just above zero.
*You may need to play with your settings a bit by using a test piece of fabric. Once you've set your machine, take a scrap and give it a go. If it doesn't seem to move at all, increase the stitch length, if there is too much space between the stitches, decrease. You want a nice fluid over-laying zig-zag stitch that looks like a thick straight line.
Once you have the right settings, you're almost ready to go!
Next, attach your applique foot. I've seen several variations of these, so check your manual. Mine is clear and has a small arrow on the front. I prefer the clear ones so I can see where I'm going, especially along curvy lines.
Now, the idea is to have your applique almost entered between your "zigs and zags".. just over half of the stitch on the applique, the rest on the fabric. The arrow on my app. foot marks the center for me, so I use that as a guideline. Make sure you have a good 3 inches or so of pulled thread from your needle and bobbin before you begin.
Pick your starting point, line your app. up, drop your needle into the fabric and begin! Slow and Steady does it!
If you are doing multiple pieces, make sure you do them in a well thought out order!! Try to make it as easy as possible for yourself by planning them out!
If you need to go around curves, you can use your hands to control the feed and to steer the fabric. Sometimes it is necessary to stop stitching, drop your needle into the fabric, lift your app. foot and re-position your design.
* If you need to curve left - make sure your needle is in the RIGHT side of the zig-zag!
* If you need to curve right - drop it on the LEFT side.
This will insure a clean fluid curve with no fabric showing in between your stitches.
When you come to a point, or corner, simple stitch to the end, drop your needle, pick up your foot and turn your fabric in the direction you need to go and re-stitch over the end of the stitches. Always end with your needle on the outside of your stitching.
Continue working your way around...Once you get to your starting point, go over it for a cm or so and stop. Don't cut your threads too short! Turn over your work and using the bottom bobbin threads, pull the tops thread through and securely tie them off. THIS IS A MUST!! You don't want all of your hard work to unravel! This sounds confusing, but if you pull up on the bottom threads, you'll see the top threads come through a bit in a loop. I use a pin to pull them up.
it looks neat on the back too! (I used a darker thread for my bobbin so you can see better)
Flip her over and check her out! If there are any mistakes, its quite easy to go back and fix them.
Once everything is A-Ok, finish your project and ooh and ahh at your new applique!
*whew!* it can be a lot of work at first, but WELL worth the effort.. don't ya think?
A few tips:
* The more you play, the better you applique. You will get better with practice, and the tips and tricks will come to you through experience.
* Once you have the simple designs done, try for something more difficult. You should see the piece thats on my to-do list... 34 pieces!!
*Be prepared with your materials and make sure you have enough of one color.
* There are tons of specialty threads out there that work great for appliques, like the multicolored thread in the ying-yang design above. Feel free to play and experiment.
If you have any questions, just let me know and I will do my best to answer them.
Leave a comment on this post through Saturday night and I'll randomly draw a name from a hat. The winner will receive the little birdie plush I made above! Cute yummy wool felt and purple cottons, stuffed to perfection and embellished with a vintage button. Sew Cute!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Last year, I really wanted to make an Easter bunny, but never got around to it, so I decided to give it a try fairly early this year. Let me introduce you to Penny. She’s a sweet little girl who loves gummy bears, green tea and honey grahm crackers. Spring is her favorite season, of course, and she loves to garden.
She’s constructed from a very light dusty green/gray wool felt and a wonderfully soft vintage-repro cotton. She’s the first “stuffy” I’ve ever made so I need to work out a few details, but I like her! She has on a cute pink dress with a strip of the same soft repro cotton print and the back (which you can’t really see) has this amazingly cute vintage sheep ribbon strip. Her bow also has this ribbon. Her lovely cream bolero is something I crocheted up last minute. I think it suits her.
In other news, I do have a wholesale order that I’m working on. The Paper Sparrow is a new Brick and Motar shop in upstate New York that is opening Mid-March. They will be carrying a huge variety of handmade goods, include local grown food items, which I think is just fantastic. I’ll be sending them a few purses, pouches, wallets and Matryoshka Doll plushes. I’m excited and it’s inspired me to work on a few new designs.
One of those designs include these cute little Birdie Zipper Pouches. I have four different colors listed in my Etsy. The wool felt I’m using is just fantastic. So soft and lucious. I stumbled upon an Adorable little Quilt Shop in Mountain View, WY during my crazy roadtrip adventure, and it’s my favorite fabric shop I’ve ever been to. I’m just sad it’s eight hours away! They had a wonderful stock of cottons and wool felt. I wish I had a link I could share.
I’m also going to be posting an Applique Tutorial tomorrow along with my blog contest, so be sure to check back.
Happy Valentines Day! I wish all of you a very lovely one. :)
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I have a new bag design. First in the line is a pretty birdy Messenger Bag in a delicious cherry/raspberry baby whale corduroy. This is The Mister's favorite creation thus far. I'm working on several more colors, shapes and sizes. Any suggestions on what you'd like to see for spring?
In other news, I'm in the works of a wholesale order for a b&m store in upstate New York. How exciting?! I feel so incredibly busy at the moment, but very accomplishing. I do need to take some time to play a few good rounds of Boggle. I need my fix! That's right, I'm a junkie. Also, a Blog Contest is coming up here on Sew Serious for this weekend. Stay tuned for details. I'm giving away something new and cute!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Well, it turned into a four day adventure!
The weather was not working for us, and day one, we had to take an alternate route due to a closed highway. Winding through the beautiful Rocky Mountains is always a sight, but not always stress free when the snow is really coming down. After about ten hours of poor driving, we stopped in Steamboat Springs for the night.
The next morning, we continued through North West Colorado and into Utah, heading for Wyoming. The drive through the Flaming Gorge is always one of my favorites. This national park is simply breathtaking. The colors remain vibrant year round, and we were lucky that the roads were perfect! Check out this view!
We finally made it into Wyoming and as we crossed the border, the weather worsened. The wind continued to pick up and soon there was no visibility. We spent 5 hours at a standstill on the highway (no fun when you have to pee!) before the highway patrol rerouted traffic off the roads and into the small town of Ft. Bridger, Wy. There were literally hundreds of people stranded. The highway remained closed for about 24 hours and we spent the night in the truck.
The next day, we scrambled to find a restaurant that didn't have a super long wait for breakfast and then we were off to test other route options. They all failed. The weather continued to stay awful, but finally the highway opened up and we moved 50 miles west up the highway and managed to find a hotel with a vacancy. Woot. A bed, a bathroom, a sink... and space to move!
After plenty of rest and relaxation, our trip continued perfectly the next day. The Uinta Mountains in Utah provided plenty of sight seeing and I even managed to crochet a few hats. (One in alpaca..yum). We made it home late the next night and the kitties were very thrilled that we had come home.
One of the neat things about this trip was that I finally got to see where the Mister works. Nestled in the western Rocky Mountains, he is so lucky to be surrounded by such beauty. And, check out what his friend Lanny made for me! This fantastic (and amazing!) hand carved wooden chain.
Well friends, I'm still in need of some rest. I'm off.
See the basket on the end? There's a ball inside of it and freely moves around. I am just in awe of this piece. It's proudly awaiting a place in the studio where I can stare at it, often. Thanks Lanny!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
In other news, I have a wisdom tooth coming in very awkwardly and it is oh so painful. Ugh. Teeth ripping through gums is no fun! I'm nursing it with orajel and it helps for a bit. Anyone have fantastic home remedies they could share? :)
Also, I have two new Owl items up in the Etsy shop. Fresh today!
Friday, February 1, 2008
A few months ago, a friend was visiting from out of state and we visited a small little gem shop here in Denver. While browsing the shop, I came across an entire cabinet full of owls! This beautiful owl egg cup was the first to catch my eye. It's a cheery turquoise and double sided. Quite the find, I feel. I'd really be interested to find out when and where it was made.
This little owl came to me all the way from Turkey. He was given to me by a friend who found him while on vacation. What a perfect surprise and addition to my collection. Lots of owl friends!
I've been sewing new Owlie bags, among other owlie goodness. Just found some new Owl fabric yesterday that I'll be working with soon. So, I'd like you to meet Baxter, Sabrina, and Ebie. My newest Owlie bags.
I have a couple of Owlie Pillows in my etsy shop, along with a cute little Mini Owlie Chubbie named Fiona.
In other news, I'm working on rearranging my sewing studio and am hoping to find a great set of shelves soon. Everyone wish me some shelf luck, if you wouldn't mind. Happy Friday!