Thursday, February 28, 2013

Following Trends Are Important In Business

As promised in my previous post, Easy Success Tips In Starting A Craft Business, I want to share with you where the best places on trends can be found...both on the Internet and in person. It is crucial to have an intimate knowledge of fashion and where to look for knowledgeable resources in this area no matter what craft you are making for your business. I can't reiterate this enough!

  1. Fashion Fame: This is a site encompassing the who's who of clothing fashion. If you love celebrities, you'll love this site. I find the site a bit overstimulating on the wealth of information, IMO. But perhaps that's just me.
  2. Fashion Trendsetter: I found this site much more "user friendly" and cohesive. It was more organized and easier to navigate too. No surprise, the trending color for 2013 is emerald green. My little sister will love that!
  3. E-fashion trends:  I didn't gain a whole lot of information from this site....that interested me anyway. But, if you wish to know what hairstyle or wedding dress is in style, this may be the site for you! Don't count on me cutting off all of my hair though!
  4. House Beautiful: If you make handmade home decor like I sometimes do, this site may help some. While not completely informative, I found the information spot on with accuracy. I have seen many local and online shops featuring these posted trends.
  5. MSN Living: MSN has 10 designer picks for 2013....and brass seems to be one of them. While I may be "stuck" in the 80's with my fashion, I'm not sure I want to incorporate brass in my home! It seems so.....70's?
  6. Houzz: I liked this site so much that I highlighted it! It was very informative and easy to navigate through the site. It had great pictures to illustrate what they were talking about. After all, without the pictures, I would never ever know what the heck "Suzani prints" and "Hollywood 40s Noir style" were!
  7. Top 5 Home Decorating Trends:   According to this list, rustic, wood furnishings will be very popular in 2013. I'm glad because this is how I like to decorate my house! As a "tree hugger", I enjoy rummaging through antique stores in search of a great find and then bringing it home for some TLC and sprucing up.
  8. Good Housekeeping:This well trusted site shares with us 11 savory trends for 2013. Not surprisingly, emerald green again takes the #1 spot!
  9. Marie Claire: If you don't follow fashion trends in Europe, you're shooting yourself and the success of your business. Europe is where all great fashion (home, clothing,etc) starts! This slideshow is very informative of what is predicted to be the best, most fresh 2013 trends.
  10. Vogue: I couldn't leave this heavy hitter out of the list. I saw many of these designs at the Oscar Awards recently. A definite site to check out!
I've also seen a lot of cut out sleeves that seem to be so popular that it's even meandering around to my hillbilly neck of the woods! I plan to "upfashion" some of old, tired, too big blouses into creative cut outs as soon as I get my new sewing machine.
Happy creating!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Easy Success Tips To Starting A Craft Business

There are soooo many articles out there on how to make crafts, what is trending, and the enticing lures to make easy cash on your handmade wares. But, if you are like me, you are likely overwhelmed and overloaded by this wealth of information.

I have owned an online business for almost 2 years and have done many craft shows. I have also rubbed elbows with those who have been in this line of business for a lot longer than I have. Here are some of the things I have done and those more experienced than me suggest to do to have a successful craft business.

  • Join Craft and Hobby Association. It has a sliding scale of fees in relation to how much income your business brings in. It has a wealth of resources and inside trade secrets not accessible to anyone else on the web. You can access insurance, discounts on rental cars, craft supplies, and shipping discounts. Check them out!
  • Give to charity. As they say, you can't get what you don't give. By being a part of your community, you learn a lot about your community and those who live in it, but you learn about it's economy. You see what is needed, what others have, and be more appreciative to what you have been blessed with.Maybe a business in town or other business owners will take notice of your work and business opportunities open up!
  • Take a detailed inventory of everything you have in starting your business. Do you have office machinery? (I do!) Do you have a lot of fabric (I have too much)? What about a business degree (wish I had gotten one)? Assess exactly how much money and inventory and value of your supplies that you have. This will help you know what you can make now and need to save money for later when profit allows you to spend more on your business.
  • Go to craft shows and make a detailed list of who will be making contact with...get to know all about that craft fair and who exactly will be there. Plan how you will execute your public relations, marketing, and walk that floor at least twice!
  • Never, ever, ever miss a deadline. Build trust with your customers. Without trust in any relationship, there can't be success.
  • This leads to asking for help. If you are suddenly having a lot of business (congrats!), ask for help to fill those orders and rebuild inventory. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness. Not meeting deadlines is a sign of imminent failure and loss of future business.
  • Always be professional and treat your craft business like any other job, even if it is from your home and you wear pajamas behind that computer screen (you know who you are). If you don't see this is a serious business, your customers won't see you as a serious business owner either.
  • Constantly read up on trends, color, fabric, fashion, etc. Watch the Oscars. Watch fashion shows. Read everything you can about your craft. Glean info from like businesses and see what they are doing. Don't copy others work.Be original! But, inspiration can come from anywhere. I get a lot of inspiration from my very preppy, yuppie sister-in-law who has a lot of class and fashionable style. Would I wear the stuff she wears? No. But I can see myself making a lot of her outfits and home decor and making good money from it!

I will be sharing more information on following trendsand knowing where to find them before it's too late to capitalize on them in my next blog post.

Happy creating! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

I Live In A Squirrel Morgue...Literally

Since moving to our rental house, we have been infested by squirrels. I mean INFESTED. They are in the walls, under the house, and in the attic. My brilliant (?) husband built a Hitler moat of rocks, rat poison, anti-freeze, and pyramid size boulders around the back of the house where he thought they were coming in. As ludicrous as this was, the landlord's almighty pest control guy was a complete joke. He simply didn't care, didn't want to come to our house, and offered NO freaking assistance in eradicating the varmints. He came twice....scratched his ass, mumbled something, and left a few minutes later. Seriously. The landlord probably paid him like $65 to come out and scratch his ass and leave 10 minutes later!

Fast forward to present day and the Hitler moat. The squirrels (no surprise) didn't eat the poison. (fortunately  nothing else did either!). They were trapped, however, in the house because the boulders sealed off their exit.

Yes, you guessed it. We now have dead squirrels in our house....walls, attic, etc.

My husband works at a farm and ranch store as a warehouse hand. He got another brilliant idea to bring home odor remover for corpses (just what in the hell does his store target?! Serial killers??!) So, he brought a skinny coworker home tonight, a bag of corpse odor remover (shown below), and a humongous industrial pest sprayer full of corpse odor remover. One is hung wherever you suspect the odor to be originating (in my house, this could be anywhere....squirrels or not!) and the spray gets into the crevices of the offending area.

Speaking of tight crevices, my husband (who is really short) is a chunky fellow and can't get up in the attic well. He was able to shine the flashlight towards the back of the attic where the squirrels had set up shop. The skinny coworker was able to shimmy down the wall spaces and spray the crap of the crevices there.

In the husband/man world, this now means NO smell exists. This means women/wives have no earthly or possible reason to complain about smell. They couldn't be more wrong. It still smells like a squirrel morgue up in here. However, it's slightly better. I still would rather be in purgatory or something!

Here's some delightful (?) pictures of the guys in the attic. Remember, my husband couldn't fit past the big area that the attic starts off you get some very nice ass shots of him :D At least I enjoyed those shots..... The skinny coworker is buried under beams, carcasses, and insulation. You won't see him in the pictures, but you do see my husband (or at least his butt) shining a light towards him. I have never been in an attic before today. I was surprised I didn't vomit.

The purple arrow is pointing to a "epic fail to get rid of squirrels" aka my husband's
rat poison. The orange arrow is pointing to the skinny coworker climbing into
a squirrel nest.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Adult Chemo Cap For Lady At Church Pattern/Tutorial

I have just joined a small ladies class that meets on Wednesday nights at my church. I haven't gone to my husband's church for very long. However, I've quickly come to the conclusion that the regular adult class my husband goes to is taught by a dead guy who is resurrected just on Wednesday nights. :( Yes, it's that lame and boring! I am NOT a Texan hillbilly but i don't understand his auctioneer pace of speaking either. In order to "survive" Wednesday nights, I boycotted his class and went to the ladies only one.

"My" class is invigorating and involved. The teacher reminds me a lot of my little sister who is also a church teacher. They have the same style of lessons.Apparently one of the members has advanced cancer and is on chemo; obviously laid up in a hospital somewhere. I don't know her but I deduced she is a very beloved lady as there wasn't a dry eye in the class as they prayed for her the other night.

They are having a small, private "hat drive" for her. Cancer is a disease that has personally and intimately affected me throughout my life. Not only have I cared for many cancer patients throughout my 17 years of medical professional experience, but I have had MANY family members with cancer.It seems my family does three things very, very well....get cancer, get pregnant, and collect ex-husbands. :D (I am right on track with two of the three!). It wasn't all too long ago we were having funerals back to back, one after another after another. I was extremely close to all my recent lost loved ones.

I can't afford to buy this stranger a hat, but I have a bedroom full of fabric! (much to my husbands chagrin) As soon as I heard of the hat drive, my face lit up and hat patterns immediately began to dance wildly in my head like tap dancers on crack. Oh the embellishments! The colors! The fabric!

Just one thing as reality hit me (after I blurted out I would be making her a hat)..... I don't have a sewing machine anymore.

Worse, i have NEVER hand-sewn before. I would probably jack the outfit/hat up so badly that it looked like a kangaroo had sewn it! :(

I immediately went home after church and began going through all of my filing cabinets and large plastic totes (I call them coffins because of their color and size) of fabric. I grabbed several hat patterns....but given I didn't have time to alter them up to an adult size ( I have primarily sewn for children), I threw out the patterns. A brilliant idea popped up in my head....that nice hat my ex-husband got me one year (I also got an  unplanned baby that year....but I digress). It took me "forevah" to find the dumb thing that I rarely wear (mostly because it reminds me of him). I decided to use it as a pattern template.

Here is what I came up with....

However, I decided not to use fleece at the last minute because the fleece I had on hand was a bit juvenile (again, because I usually make clothes for children). Given I don't know this lady,have never met her, and don't know her ethnicity or age (makes a HUGE difference when choosing fabric colors and hat styles), I went with fabrics that were as conservative (and the least juvenile!) as's my "collection" along with the aforementioned hat I used as a template.

I don't know why my pictures were so blurry today!

The only difference with the rogue drawing I made (above) was that I decided to use a circle piece for the top so it would look more like a bucket hat than a beanie. (why does chemo have to be unfashionable??!) See? My hat has a circle top too....

Too bad I don't have this lamb's skin fabric and suede for her hat!

Here's me trying on the lining (white, boring flannel that will feel good against delicate, bruised skin) of the hat before I sew it together.... I wanted to make sure it would actually fit an adult head. :(

And now the outside piece of the hat.......

Aren't I so gorgeous at 8 in the morning?! Grab your trash can in the event you feel nauseous! (My husband thought I looked like a sexy college girl but I think he's just saying that so I will wash his jeans....) I realized at this point that I am aging faster than my fact, I now look older than her! UGH. No more pictures of me from now on!

Then I put the lining inside the outside layer. I did a gathering stitch around the circle part so it will have a pretty ruffled look at the top (way more feminine than a harsh straight edge). No seams will come in contact with her fragile skin this way.....

Pretty embellishments cover up the hideous hand sewing that I obviously can't do well......

You think she would like metallic confetti on her hat???? :D kidding!

I'll stick with the white jersey knit I gathered into a ruffle and attached to the middle of the hat all the way's soft and pretty....the goal of this project.

Maybe I'll get this done sometime today.....(bring on the Spongebob Squarepants for my 4 year old!)....

(he seriously was having way too much fun entertaining himself on this day. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him playing with the empty laundry baskets and making pirate faces at me. I grabbed the camera. I'm convinced he will be a wealthy actor someday!

Maybe I will even make it to my lunch date with my friend today......

Maybe not....(spoiler alert: I didn't. It took me two days to make a silly hat by hand!)

Oh well, lets cram more embellishments onto this hideous thing..... (at least it's not a turban! How hideous are they??! No offense it you actually like beloved great aunt was buried with one....she looked like a Middle Eastern genie.... :/ )

I mean, the only thing worse than having cancer is wearing a hat like this.....

....or I right?!

I have this super yummy, luxurious black lace that's very soft, silky, and stretchy. At 4 inches wide, it comes at $8 a yard. :O So, it comes as no surprise that I only get it on the rare chance it is in the remnant section of the store. I had a little bit of it left and sacrificed it to put on her pretty hat. It made the most sexiest bow! I know her hubby will adore it on her!

yes, that's a head between my legs :P

.....and there you go! So easy (?) even a kangaroo can make it!

UPDATE: I learned after making the hat that the lady is my age with two young girls. I muttered and complained throughout the project just how unfair it was that I didn't have a sewing machine to make this thing in just 1 hour. (and imagine how much better it would have looked!) So, imagine how bad and guilty I felt when i learned from my friend (whom I had had lunch with) that the lady got bad news about her liver cancer test results. She was immediately flight lifted to a big city cancer hospital a few hours from here. It doesn't look good for her. :( I immediately dropped my funky hat and cried and prayed and thanked God I still have my hair, my health, my life, dead squirrels in the walls (another blog in of itself!), and the best husband/kids ever.

I told my friend that giving the lady this hat made me feel like i was showing up to a starving tribe in Ethiopia riddled with AIDS with a teaspoon of salt. My friend assured me that the hat was awesome. She had made a prayer shawl for a lady not long ago. My friend saw all of the mistakes and faults of her "ugly, too small, crooked shawl". However, as she related, that lady was not the type to compliment anyone....and yet she cried with happiness to have the shawl. Honestly, as long as the lady with cancer doesn't throw my hat in the trash, I will be thrilled. I also hope God knows how thankful I am for what He has blessed me with.

Happy creating!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Murphys Law Of Sewing That I Learned While The Baby Played With "Stupid Doo"

My 4 year old is playing with his "Stupid Doo" (Scooby Doo) blanket and doll, so maybe I will have time to blog post today. :)

Until I get my new sewing machine, I have been reading everything in sight on the Internet about sewing. I also have learned a lot from the old sewing machine I had. Here are some, um, funny (?) things I have learned about sewing just in the 2 years that I have been doing it.

Murphy's Law of Sewing

  • Fusible interfacing ALWAYS fuses itself to the iron, particularly when you least expect it.
  • There are NEVER enough of the same/identical buttons that you need for a project.
  • You can generally count on seam ripping the wrong seam...especially if you are being distracted by young children making "Stupid Doo" tents in your sewing room (or wherever you sew).
  • Like socks in the dryer, the pattern you want to use has a missing piece (and if you have young children, you can count on one of them making the missing pattern piece into a paper airplane....perhaps days/weeks before!).
  • Only pins and needles fall on the floor.
  • Only barefoot people step on the MIA pins and needles.
  • Rogue gnomes and angry leprechauns eat your sewing pins in the middle of the night and you can never find sewing matter how organized you are.
  • Count on the material you are working on that you forgot to preshrunk first to shrink the most.
  • Why is it that when all is going so very well that the bobbin suddenly runs of thread or worse, the bobbin makes a thread nest?!
  • Pinking shears have a contract with aforementioned leprechauns and gnomes and dull just by looking at them.
  •  The magnitude of the mistakes made on the project are directly related to the expense of the project/fabric.
  • Even perfectly cut fabric pieces with flawlessly trimmed seams will be asymmetrical (think lopsided collars and sleeves).
  • The iron has a contract with the aforementioned leprechauns and gnomes too. It only scorches your project when it's complete and you're making the final press.
  • The same evil iron NEVER burps gross water on fabric until you are ironing light colored silk, chiffon, etc.
  • Something small like the light on your sewing machine always implodes on Sunday.
  • Count on the gathering thread to break in the middle.
  • You suspect that a naughty family member has "borrowed" your sewing scissors when you begin to cut your fabric. Unusual criminal trace evidence like Elmer's Glue smears, dog hair, paint, and gel from shoe insoles lightly fleck the blades.
It looks like "Stupid Doo" toys have lost their retention for entertaining 4 year I must dash off into distance to figure out why smoke is coming from the dryer......

Happy sewing!

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Grandbaby Is Coming Must Make A Romper!

It's a little known fact outside privileged family members (until now of course) that I am about to be one of the youngest grandmothers in the world. My husband just turned 32; this is what late night talk shows joke about!

In case you notice, yes, she is maybe 105 pounds soaking wet and only 4 foot 8 inches. The baby is already over 4 pounds. She is expecting a boy. 

I searched all over the internet for a boy romper pattern. I didn't really want to buy one. I don't like paper ones anyway. They are so complicated! there are A LOT of girl rompers patterns out there (free and sold)...but I wasn't able to find a boy romper I liked. Young babies don't like straps and buttons and zippers. Straps equal nightmare for parents because they don't stay put either! (straps are better for toddlers post potty-trained).

Finally, I decided to make my own. I don't suggest doing this if you are a novice sewer like me. However, money is tight and I need a romper pattern NOW. I wanted one that had a high neckline but was easy to get in and out of. I thought about raglan sleeves, but that required knit. I have that material laying around, but I didn't want to use it. I have my heart set on black corduroy that I plan to embroider the logo of my daughter's favorite band on the front. You can't embroider on knit! (unless, of course, you iron/sew a TON of interfacing on the back....again, uncomfortable for a young baby!).

I'm going to show you my first go round of making the top part of the's called a bodice if you are wondering. Feel free to laugh. I'm okay with it. I know it's ridiculously too large and would fit maybe a 4 year old!

Sizing it down from the original size 2 only made it worse and freakish! I guess I'm a moron when it comes to computers.....

Here was the "final" compilation of different patterns I liked, chopping them up and using what I want my romper to eventually look like.....

For some reason the pants part makes me giggle because they look deformed and weird. However, when cut and sewn together, it won't be so weird....I hope. I have sewn baby pants before ;P .

I barely had enough of the black corduroy to make the outfit. I actually wasn't able to make the 2nd pants piece on the fold. I had to cut it in two pieces. I think I know how to make it work. I am just going to sew it and pretend it's a solid piece. That piece can have a decorative edging or trim...who knows what I will feel like at that point.

Until I get my sewing machine I have been promised with an undefined time frame :( I am going to hit my embroidery hoop again and embroider the Black Veil Brides band logo on the romper. I have a low regard to her favorite band....I hope my romper, computer, and future sewing machine don't self imploded or self combust into flames! Ugh. However, I am sure my mom felt the same one year when she bought me a Guns N' Roses CD. This is a woman who listens to Ray Stevens. Boy was she wanting to gag!

With what is left over of that corduroy, I plan to make a 16 inch by 16 inch pillow. One side will have the corduroy, the other this colorful print from cotton duck. I have already completed the embroidery for the front (corduroy side). See below. When I get my sewing machine, I will put it together and put handmade pretty black organza flowers all around the edges of the embroidery piece. I am too excited!

The wonky purple arrow is showing where my printer printed the  embroidery pattern I made on m y computer.
I left it unfinished in that spot because I wanted to show the progress and what one can do
with their printer and a bit of creativity and imagination.

There are so many details and texture with this particular design I made!
And yes, when ironed (after this picture was taken) the design laid completely flat with no wrinkles or puckers!

Forgive the blur in this photo. :( Think about the organza flowers that will trim this design!
Have a fabulous and creative day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be Amazed: Aerial Shots Of Colorful Fields In Netherlands

I have a gajillion pounds of fabric in all colors filed/folded in various bins, boxes, and file cabinets....just waiting for the day I can resume sewing. It's not at all an exaggeration  I've LITERALLY turned into my mother! (She has a tailoring business for the past 30 or so years). I am a fabric hoarder....I guess this is the week of confessions for me...haha.

If I had a bus full of old ladies that make quilts descend on my house, even they wouldn't be able to use up all of the fabric in a week or so!

I came across an unrelated site full of brightly colored landscapes the other day....which reminded me of all of my heaps of fabric. See what I mean below.....

Believe it or not, those are Dutch tulips in the Netherlands! My middle sister would salivate over such beauty (she loves to garden....which I apparently did NOT inherit the gift of doing well). I wonder if that's where tulips for Valentines Day are imported from....hmmmmm......

Even the water in the Netherlands seems to be of surreal color!

I want fabric like this!

If you haven't "had enough" of these gorgeous, colorful pictures, you can see more by clicking here: Aerial Shots Of Tulips in the Netherlands.

Now you know that the Netherlands has more to offer than just legal brothels....they have amazing tulips and flowers! Gotta love a country that can boast both. :P