Wednesday, November 30, 2011

{Sewing} Class, Part 1

I was asked several weeks ago by someone if I would teach her and her daughter to sew. I’ve been asked this question many times, but no one has been really serious about it. They have just never pulled the trigger on actually doing it. Until NOW! Boy, was I excited! I will blog about each session, so you can follow their/our progress. I have teaching experience, just not in sewing! I’m blessed to have a pair of students who understand this and are willing to give it a shot!

I decided to do a project-based series of classes, using Deborah Moebe’s book, Stitch by Stitch. We’re not working on every project in the book, but it gave me a jumping off point to make sure I teach most of the basic sewing skills. My students having the book will also give them a wonderful reference to look back on when they are not in my classroom dining room. 

During the first session, we reviewed the project/supply list, winding a bobbin, threading the machine, sewing a straight line and backstitching. I almost left out the project/supply list overview, but I am very very glad I didn’t. Why? Because this mom & daughter were not familiar with any sewing items. I’m not sure why I think everyone knows what I seam ripper/seam gauge/etc. is! They found it very helpful that I brought out my supplies and tools to show them exactly what I was talking about. I suppose it worked because they bought all the right things...and came back for session two. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Shopping Small { I'm Featured! }

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday already under our belts, there are only 26 days left to finish your Christmas shopping! Yikes! Personally, for me, this year has flown by. I’ve been looking forward to the Christmas season because I love giving unique, one of a kind items that my friends and loved ones treasure.

I also love to help {YOU} give unique items! It fills my heart up to hear that the items I have created found such wonderful homes. It makes what I do worthwhile.

Today, my new friend Stef has featured me on her blog! It’s Shop Small Tuesday over there and she is featuring my shop!

Stef and I just “met” through Twitter about two weeks ago,and we have a lot in common! She homeschools just like I do! So head on over and check out her blog!

Also, over at Overcoming Busy, is a good list of why Shopping Small is a great idea!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pinterest Wish List for Kids

My husband had the greatest idea ever. He set up a Pinterest page for Kendall (our 10 year old boy) and allowed him to start pinning things that he wants for Christmas and his birthday. His list consists of Nerf & other toy guns and video games. It's not only helpful, it's entertaining! Check out these captions. They were too funny to keep to myself.

Screen shot 2011-11-26 at 3.50.31 PM
Poor Ryan & Eric. They don't know what they're in for. They deserve it. (They are my little brothers!) ***Evil laugh***
Screen shot 2011-11-26 at 3.50.35 PM

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Napkins for My Mom

I've been in quite the festive mood lately. Our trees are already up, stockings are hung (even though I have plans to make new ones) and I've sewn some napkins for my mom with some Christmas fabric she bought last year. She never decided what she wanted me to make out of it, so I made the executive decision for her! I hope she appreciates my assertiveness.

2011 11 26 Christmas Napkins-1
Just look at those sweet snowmen. They say "wipe your mouth on me!"
2011 11 26 Christmas Napkins-2
Yep, these are fancy napkins will fully mitered corners!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Marti Bag for My Mom

Last week I made my mom her third Marti Bag of this type. Her Marti Bags have a boxy bottom, which I altered the pattern to fit this need. I like the boxy bottom better than the regular bags that are in my shop.

The fabric is that of local fabric designer Melody Miller. Her line Ruby Star Spring is made of light linen (from Kokka) and comes on a 62” wide bolt! Whoo hoo! I really enjoyed sewing with this fabric.

I never would have known about Melody had the chance meeting of her friend Allison! I would be missing out! Apparently Allison’s kids and my kid get their haircuts at the same place (Pigtails & Crewcuts, if you’re interested) and we were all there at the same time. Allison complimented my bag I was carrying and I told her I made it, that I have a sewing business, etc. She then told me about how she and her friend Melody were working on a new fabric line and I went home to check it out! Turns out, also, that Allison homeschools her kids, so we are two peas in a pod...homeschooling, fabric-loving moms who take their kids to the best haircut place for kids. Ok, it’s the only kid-specific haircut place here locally.

Anyway, here’s the bag:
2011 11 10 Marti Bag for Mom

It has two rows of pockets on the inside (6 total), a magnetic snap, and a key fob! The strap is adjustable from about 24” to 50”. Whoo hoo! She loved it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pricing: What goes into an item?

Oodles of blog posts, written by other people, exhaust the topic of pricing in the handmade industry, so I don’t plan on making this a long post. My goal in this post is to show you what goes into making an apron, my best-selling item.

Step 1: Cut out the fabric. 5 minutes
  • An apron is 6 pieces: Two neck straps, two waist ties, a pocket and the apron body.
Step 2: Prepare neck straps & waist ties. 10 minutes
  • Fold under one short end of each strap & tie, press
  • Then fold each piece in half twice, press both times
  • Attach velcro to neck straps
  • Sew neck straps & waist ties
  • Add tag to one waist tie
Step 3: 5 minutes
  • Finish all raw edges of apron and pocket with the serger, adding the straps in their appropriate places.
Step 4: 15 minutes
  • Prepare apron & pocket for hemming. This means I stand behind my hot iron, turning up each finished edge to form a straight hem. I also miter the corners that can be mitered. 
Step 5: 10 minutes
  • Topstitch along the top edge of the pocket.
  • Place & pin the pocket in the appropriate location on apron.
  • Sew pocket down.
  • Hem apron along all the edges I pressed down.
  • Fold nicely and put finished apron in my stockpile.
So the time it takes me to make one apron after a few years of practice is 45 minutes. I wish I knew a way to make it faster, but I don't think it's possible!

Other things that I include in my pricing are:
  • Cost of machines & equipment (computer, camera, serger, embroidery machine, sewing machine, printer)
  • Materials (fabric, velcro, magnetic snaps, etc.)
  • Advertising cost (Etsy fees, business cards, any craft fair fees)
  • Taxes (ugh)
  • PayPal Fees
  • Time for non-production things: Photographing items, answering emails, listing items, planning, ordering fabric, etc.
So if you do the math, you can see that a lot goes in to making an item. I hope this sheds better light on the handmade process and why prices are sometimes higher than you'd expect. We (crafters/artists) are not people who have production lines in China, able to spit out 50 items in one hour that cost $1. We are people who work in our homes, doing what we do because we love it and want to share it with others! Nothing makes us happier than sharing our talents with you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Festive Christmas Aprons!

This year I’ve chosen a wonderfully festive print for my Christmas Aprons! Pink, red and green trees are popped all over a bright white background and are sure to bring some Christmas cheer to your holiday baking and entertaining! Available in both adult and child sizes, the aprons can be purchased individually (adult or child) or as a matching set. You can even add embroidery for a personalized touch!


I also have three adult aprons left in the red fabric below. Get them while they last!

Bright Christmas Trees Adult Apron

Monday, November 7, 2011

$3 Monogramming & Christmas Ordering Deadlines

This week I am offering $3 monogramming through Friday at 9pm EST! You can add a monogram to any apron, bag, coupon clutch, zippered pouch, camera strap cover or laptop sleeve! At a regular price of $9, this is great discount.
Names & Monograms
I also need to let you all know about my ordering deadlines for this Christmas season.

Ready To Ship Items:
(I have about 130 of these and am still making more!)
United States:
Order by December 18--Mailed on or Before December 19
Canada First Class Mail:
Order by December 7--Mailed on or Before December 8
Canada Priority Mail**:
Order by December 10--Mailed on or Before December 11
Everywhere Else:
Order by November 29--Mailed on or Before December 1

Made To Order and Custom Items:
United States:
Order by December 12--Mailed on or Before December 19
Canada First Class Mail:
Order by December 1--Mailed on or Before December 8
Canada Priority Mail**:
Order by December 4--Mailed on or Before December 11
Everywhere Else:
Order by November 24--Mailed on or Before December 1

**Upgrade to Canada Priority Mail can be purchased for an additional $8

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Microwaved! Easy! Chicken in 30 Minutes!

I absolutely adore all things Pampered Chef. In my next life, I will be a Pampered Chef consultant. I have a ton of their products and am completely happy with all of them. They are awesome! I am not a consultant and no one is paying me to tell you about this stuff, I just love it!

Today, I wanted to spotlight a piece in their stoneware line, the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. Y'all, I cooked a whole chicken in 30 minutes IN THE MICROWAVE in this thing and it was delicious! I've also cooked pork tenderloin (15 minutes) and chicken breasts (10 minutes for 3) in the microwave. The meat turns out juicier than cooking it in the oven. I cannot sing the praises of this product enough. The only drawback is that it only comes in two colors. My consultant told me why and it's a good reason. The product process is long and drawn out and very few pass their quality inspection. I can't imagine the nightmare that would come with more color options.

Ok, so here is what I did: Clean the chicken by taking out the giblets (ick) and rinsing the chicken. Tie the legs together with some baker's twine or dental floss. Then, find some spices you think would be good on chicken:

and rub them on the chicken and put the chicken in the baker:
Put the lid on the baker. Put it in the microwave for 30 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Here's what you get:
It was microwaved!

Winner of Sewing with Oilcloth

We have a winner! #8
Screen shot 2011-11-01 at 6.46.35 PM
#8 is Liz who said. "How cool! That book looks fantastic :)."

Congratulations, Liz! I'll be emailing you shortly to get your address!