Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome to the Fab Attic!

Have you all seen the mounds I call my fabric stash?  Of course you haven't unless you are my mother. or mother in law. or bff.  There's good reason. It's not normal for one person to have so. much. fabric.

With that said, I have made a big decision. This is coming from the girl who cried every time we had a yard sale. I'm going to sell some of my stash.  gasp! Yes, it's official. I have a shop to prove how serious I am about this.

Introducing the Fab Attic.  (full story here) I have been thinking about this for a while, and decided it's finally time to do something with all of those "someday" projects whose someday has already come and gone. You have those too, right?  I'm constantly moving from one project to the next, and unfortunately some get left behind.

I have to admit that I'm somewhat impressed with myself for doing this. I've been thinking about it and saying I would do it for a long time. That time has finally come. I have some great fat quarters (including some beautiful vintage linens) along with some half yard and full yard cuts and a brand new (and cheap!) copy of Amy Butler's Little Stitches.

The fabric and patterns in the shop are in great condition. Most have been prewashed  but haven't been cut into. A few have been cut into, and those are noted as such. I'm still getting a few items listed, but I've already made a sale so I figured it's time to let you all know!

Welcome to my attic!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

We all need a little help from our friends

Do you all remember when I told you about Della's quilt for the first time? Probably not. That's because I had a completely different blog address back then. That was almost a year ago, and it was supposed to be a gift for her first birthday.

Where is it now? The top is completed and sitting--folded nicely--on a piece of our old coffee table in my sewing room.  It's been there since August--her birthday month.

I don't really feel like I failed on this one; it's more like I just lost the will to make it. The main reason is because the quilt is GINORMOUS. I mean Della is a year old. She doesn't need a twin-bed-sized comforter! Unfortunately I didn't stop to think that a finished quilt that measures 60"x70" would be exactly too big for the next 4 years.

I'm not really sure what to do on this. I already have all the fabric to finish this one, and I do like it. But I don't really want to finish it.  yes, there was a slightly whiny tone and some foot stomping there. I do want her to have a quilt I made her; I just always envision a toddler sized quilt when I think of giving this to her, not one for a baby troll.

So I'm thinking of scrapping this project for now, maybe finishing it with something or someone else in mind. I haven't really decided this, but I'm leaning in that direction. What do you all think? Is it terrible if I don't finish my first quilt before starting another? I mean, am I putting some kind of evil quilting jinx on myself for doing that?!  I may need a little hand-holding on this one!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Sew and Tell: The Diaper Clutch

I think I'm coming to terms with something I thought I would never have to.  I like purses.

I don't know why this is so difficult for me. I always thought of them as a necessary evil. I like to carry a lot of stuff with me, therefore I have to have a purse to avoid overflowing pockets. Only now I really like to have my purse. And I care about what it looks like. And I want options.  And I don't want to be one of those crazy purse-obsessed people who has a new one every week.

OK, maybe I do, but I can't be. 

So I have developed a taste for smaller bags as well.  I like little bags that make it easy for me to switch purses without spending 20 minutes transferring all the contents from one to another.  I already showed you the zippered pouches in my last post. Now for those of you who need a bigger small bag for things like diapers and wipes I want to show you my new favorite little bag.

I like to call it the
I suppose you could also just call it The {Diaper} Clutch.

So. A few specs to get you acquainted.
  • This little baby can hold one of those nice plastic travel wipes cases plus two diapers. I think with cloth diapers it could probably hold only 1. 
  • The flap is held down with a little Flap Strap yes. I made that up myself.. I did this because I have found that on most regular cottons, the velcro tends to come off and magnetic snaps rip holes in the fabric--even if you use interfacing and stitch around your holes. Maybe someone else knows of a magic way to keep this from happening, but my best and extensive efforts have failed on the items that I actually use more than once a month. Plus it looks cute like this.
  • There is a detachable wristlet on there which makes The {Diaper} Clutch really easy to carry around on its own. Of course if you're just using it to transfer diapers from one bag to another, you can always take it off. Della likes to drag her bag around by the strap.
  • I have interfaced the entire thing to give it a little extra stability while still being very flexible and lightweight. 
  • The inside has the same sweet coordinating fabric that I have used on the wristlet strap and Flap Strap.

That one up there is for all the boys. I neglect the boys sometimes because I don't have one, but they need cute fabrics just as much as girls do.

This is the one I have. The bright colors match my bright colored diaper bag. It's also easy to find my bag when all the parents are lined up getting their kids from the nursery after church on Sundays. Do you know how crazy that time is?!

This project was especially gratifying in that I didn't have to follow a pattern. I actually made it up myself, and of course I ran downstairs to show my hubby the moment he got home the night I finished the first one. He's so good to humor me!

I'm linking up today to join several other crafters in showing off their goods at AmyLouWho's Sew and Tell.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Shop update and some {nearly} shameless shop promotion

{This is my 100th post!}

There are many days I feel like a one-woman-factory after I finish sewing, but I actually really love that feeling.  It is one of completion and satisfaction as well as an eagerness to do it all over again.  I've been doing this whole sewing thing for over two years now, and rather than getting tired of it, I'm loving it even more!  Want to see what I have been working on?! it's OK to just smile and nod here.

I love the Japanese fabric in the first pouch. All those cute little faces! I'm also a big fan of the warm colors in the third one. The other pouches are OK....just kidding! If I didn't love those fabrics, I never would have used them. That's just how I roll.
I have one of these pouches, and I use it when I take Della for cream money fits in there really well! I also use it to keep my gigantor purse from swallowing my chapstick and pens when I am traveling.

The original plan with these was to make two sets: one for Etsy and one for Revelry. However, Hubby and I both liked them so much that we kept one of the sets. The other is on Etsy for two weeks and then if no one claims it, I'm taking it to Revelry with my next set of merch.  Moral of the story: go get these before they are gone like the leaves on a tree in October.

I can't tell you how many times a week a lose my keys. I usually find them under a pile of paper, buried in my purse, or hanging from the door I know; that's really cool of me.  The key chain makes it so much easier for me to spot my keys seriously, set Hubby and I on a race to find our hidden keys, and 9 times out of 10, I will find mine first...usually in the door.  The wristlet function is great for when my arms are of full of grocery bags, a 20+ pound baby toddler, and who knows what else!  I also like to tie these on the outside of gifts for baby showers and they are the perfect size for stocking stuffers I'm just sayin'....

So that is some of what I've been busy with lately.  I am also working on a new line of baby + kids clothing and accessories to debut at the end of month. Stay tuned for more info on that and a sneak peek at some items coming soon!


Friday, October 15, 2010


I enter a lot of giveaways.

Let me rephrase that. I enter a whole lot of giveaways. Not just any giveways either. I'm picky. I like ones that give handmade items, gift certificates for Etsy shops, fabric, and books. I don't usually do the 1 in 200 million gazillion chance of winning a lifetime supply of junk food type giveaways. unless it's good junk food.

My theory is that someone has to win, and it will not be me if I don't try.

Most of the time, I don't win. But then sometimes I open my email to find something to the effect of, "Hey Kelly. Congrats on winning my giveaway!" and I do a little squeal of joy and jump up and down and tell my hubby who acts amused. I don't really do the jumping thing.

Here's what I have won recently:

Fat Quarter set of Kate Spain's Fandango fabrics sponsored by Above All Fabric on the Everything Etsy blog.
These are gorgeous! The colors are all so rich, I love that even the smaller prints are fairly intricate and make me think of Sante Fe. I spent one day there. It was a long time ago. I would like to make some napkins with those.

I also won the book, Simple Sewn Gifts, from the Indie Handmade blog.

I'm pretty sure I'll be combining the fat quarters with these projects to make some of my Christmas gifts this year!

And while this wasn't really a giveaway, I found out that my Bella skirt was featured on the front page of Etsy a couple days ago! I'm pretty sure that's a first for me, and I was super excited about that! I think I told my hubby about 10 times over the course of the next 30 minutes what a big deal that is. You can see the whole treasury here.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rainy Day Treasury

We have had a really dry summer here in Kentucky.  For most of us it isn't that big of a deal, but we have friends with a farm who have not been able to plant Fall crops because the ground has been so hard. We've been praying for rain, and last night we finally got some!  I made a little treasury today reminding me of some of the things I love about rainy days, but the one I love most is God's provision for the earth!

As of making this treasury, there are over 8,000 others!  Help a girl out, and head over to Etsy treasuries to see the whole thing. Click on a few of the shops to give them some love. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tips for preparing for a craft show or fair

as promised yesterday For those of you (a few have already asked me about this!) who are getting ready to do your own show, here are a few tips for ya:

Be Flexible.  Your best laid plans will change. I had been planning for over two months for a 4-day festival. It turned out to be 2.  While that may not be it for you, it may be weather, booth location, you get stuck next to someone who sells the exact same thing (that was my fear!), or who knows what else.  This is just part of the experience!

Bring plenty of water, snacks, pictures of your kids, or whatever you need to pass the day. I didn't bring my own food because we were at a brewhouse with the most amazing green chili ever, so I knew I would be buying myself dinner both nights.  I did bring snacks though, and I might have purchased an extra large bag of kettle corn as well. I also didn't bring an "activity" because I didn't want to be distracted from talking to customers and the artisans I sold with.  

Have business cards on hand. There were quite a few people who were interested in custom orders or who wanted to check out  my work closer to Christmas time, and I was able to hand them a business card with multiple ways to find me when they are ready.

Get to know the other artists. Our event was a bit different in that it was very communal rather than a competition for sales, but even if it had not been that way, I still think it's a great opportunity to get to know other artisans.  One of the guys selling with us makes beautiful origami earrings.  I bought some. I also traded another lady for some body products that smell super nice. I loved getting to know everyone else I was selling with as well and getting to learn about their lives and their craft.

Have lots of cash, know how much you have, and keep it separate. So, I had the cash, but both days I forgot to write down the exact amount I started with.  I had a very good idea of the numbers, but my profit margin may be off one way or another by $5.00 because I forgot to write it down! I also used the same cash source for sales as I did for buying green chili.  I don't think that's a good idea though.  Have separate spending money.

Make a list and check it twice. Or thrice. I am big on lists. I keep a white board in the studio where I write all my to-do's, and I kept a list there of all the things I wanted to bring.  (Inventory, displays, tape, scissors, ribbon, hole punch, notebook, pens, safety pins, clothes pins, apron, money pouch, ... ) When Thursday night rolled around, rather than wasting my time trying to figure out if I had everything or not, I was able to consult my list and just get it all together without losing my mind.

Bring your own packaging. Nothing says professional like a re-used plastic grocery bag.  Right? If that's what your plan is, but you're not selling exclusively upcycled items, you may want to reconsider.  I bought small paper sacks with handles at Big Lots so they were not expensive (and the customer can re-use them). I stamped the front with my store's logo and web address, and used 1 piece of tissue paper to wrap the goods in. I think this completes the experience for a buyer and they are going to leave with an impression of a better shopping experience.  This same principle applies when you sell online, and there is good reason for it. 

Get creative with your displays. I wrapped cardboard boxes in fabric to have various levels on my table. I found some magnetic displays at a thrift store and used my bulletin board from Indie Biz 2.0. I hung ribbon from the tent for my keychains, and made liberal use of clothespins all over.

Be rested. Don't plan on making inventory between show days for a multi-day event. You need to be rested before heading out there because it really is a long day to be outside constantly talking, selling, interacting, enjoying the weather, and so much more!

Have fun! The show was in many ways not what I expected (and I don't mean that simply in a negative way), but I really went into it with fun in mind. While I may not have met some of the goals I had set, I still enjoyed the experience.  If money is the main reason you're doing a craft show, just know that there is risk involved in any venue of selling. Be sure to place your source of enjoyment away from the money.

And finally, here is another blog post I referred to multiple times while preparing full of Craft Fair Essentials.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Fringe Fest: The Low Down

Wow. I am pretty sure I was right to think of the Fringe Fest as my craft marathon.  I pretty much crashed on Saturday night/Sunday morning when everything was all over.  I absolutely loved doing a show, but it was draining--probably more mentally than physically since I wasn't really running 26 miles. Or .26 miles. Or at all.

I spent two months preparing--planning what I want to sell, what my goal inventory would be, making all of that, creating the packaging, figuring out pricing and displays, and finally the big day(s) of setting up my table and selling at the fair.

Selling online has definite advantages, but I really loved being able to meet my customers. I enjoyed watching people mull over the items on the table, talk about what they do (or do not!) like with their friends, helping them pick a fabric combination they will be really happy with, and knowing that these items are just as much fun for them to look at as they are for me to make.

I also got to know my customers a little.  I met a lady who sells Montessori educational books online, another who owns a Bed and Breakfast, and another who had just spent a year teaching English in S. Korea. One mom stocked up on Christmas gifts and another lady wasn't planning on buying anything but "had" to have the thumbtacks.  As an artisan, those conversations are the best, and seeing your work through to the actual customer--and their response to it--is golden.

The other wonderful part was meeting the artisans (see their lovely work in the image above).  This was a great time to meet other local artists who also sell at the Dandy Lion in New Albany and learn more about them.

I have some tips based on my experience at this show for preparing for a craft fair or show, but those will be in a separate post tomorrow.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Let's start October off right!

Happy Friday and Happy October, friends!  For most of you, I think this mean a reprieve from the insanely crazy summer heat, crunchy leaves, pumpkins galore, and more long sleeves and sweaters all around.  I know that for a few of you readers it means spring flowers are finally coming up and new life is blooming beckoning the warmth of summer! Either way, it's a new month and change is in the air!


I woke up this morning to my 100th sale on Etsy! That's quite a turn since I last told you about my big plans to go professional! Not only have I hit that milestone, but I've also started (successfully!) selling in two local shops and am going to be participating in my first craft fair next weekend!  If that's not enough, I'm going to be releasing a new line of baby and toddler girl clothes at the end of this month (wow, can't wait to show you all these new sweeties)!  My "out-there" goal is to include little boy clothes, but I'm trying to remain realistic here!

This isn't to just brag on myself. I have had some incredible help from my hubby who gives me the time I need in the studio and some amazing friends who have come to help with some of the non-sewing stuff for the craft fair (Beth, Alicia & all rock!)

And it hasn't all been dandy either.  Two nights ago I had a {minor} meltdown over all of this and some of the challenges that come with it.  Thankfully my hubby is patient and just lets me be slightly crazy knowing the sanity may or may not return. 

I also was really encouraged last night while reading through the book of Matthew.  I was reminded very powerfully from Jesus's words reminding me that my Heavenly Father knows of all my needs (and wants) and culminating with this charge to rest in my Father's provisions:
Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


And so I enter October seeking to rest even in the midst of this craziness.  I love the reprieve of Fall and the reminder that each season has it's time.  

I'm also entering October with another SALE! Yep, to celebrate that 100th sale on Etsy, I'm offering 10% off your total order (before shipping) this weekend only!  All orders placed between now and October 3 with the code "Celebrate100" in the Message to Seller will receive a 10% refund.  

What are your October plans, Friends?