Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Front Page!

I was on the front page this morning! I had a tough time getting a screen shot of the whole treasury, but I got close. I think it has to do with my screen size.

Anyway, I did a whole lot of NOTHING today. Let's see... I started to try to clean out some stuff, but realized I was out of trash bags. So, I went to Target. On the way, I stopped at Borders and I was inspired by a magazine to try to organize my colored pencils and markers by color. After Target, I went to Hobby Lobby to try to find the perfect containers. No luck. Came home, sorted markers and pencils to get a better idea of the size containers I would need, and went back out to find them. Garden Ridge, Michaels... No luck. I must be insanely picky. In the end, I saved money because I replaced the containers I store my bangles, flower pins, and make-up brushes, and used those containers to put the pens an pencils in. Not quite what I wanted, but the pots are the right shade of blue (really I was looking for white or glass) to match the other storage bins on my bookshelves, so it will work. Plus, it was free :)

I tried to do some more organizing/cleaning, but it was dinner time. Then, I remembered I have my cousin's wedding to attend next weekend, and I don't really have anything to wear over my strapless dress (I'm a firm believer in layers). I wore it to a wedding last fall, but I really didn't think the sweater that I wore matched. So, off I went in search of the perfect cardigan-thingy to wear over the dress. I found something I sort of liked at Gap, but I wasn't sure it would look good with the dress. And, silly me, I didn't bring the dress with me. I went home, ate dessert, grabbed the dress, and drove to the closer Gap to see if it would work. I think it will -- I wanted to get the ivory-almost-white color, but it was too sheer in my opinion, so I got the medium brown color (I'm sure there is a better name for it, but I can't think of what it would be -- it is a medium grayish brown color).

I know none of this has anything to do with my shop, which is the point I guess. I got so distracted today, I didn't get squat done! I have high hopes for tomorrow, though... I might get up and walk in the morning, if those cicadas aren't too bad.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Random Brainstorm

While driving home this evening, I was thinking about my stash of gift wrap. As much as I adore all the lovely wrapping paper prints out there -- I know it is truly wasteful. Gift bags are better, because they can be reused... But still, I'm not a huge fan.

So, I am on a quest to create several different kinds of reusable fabric gift wrap. I'm thinking about bags with a ribbon tie to close (similar to those I am wrapping purchases in, but with a patterned fabric outside). I'm also thinking about a large sheet of fabric that you can wrap around a boxy item, and secure it somehow (ribbon, again?). It would be nice to line the inside of each, however I think that using a patterned fabric would add to the cost, and effectively to the price. Perhaps something soft, like flannel? That way if the item is somewhat fragile, it offers a bit of protection, at least from getting scratched.

Anyway, just a late (well, late for me!) night brainstorm. I'll be thinking it over more as I go to bed!

Displaying Fabric Necklaces

This summer I am trying to reorganize all my supplies and finished products. The biggest challenge is storing everything in a way that doesn't fill my apartment with plastic containers. I'm trying to mix in other storage methods, like fabric boxes or glass jars.

My mom got me one of these metal trees at Ikea, and it is perfect for hanging and displaying my fabric necklaces. I have more now, in case I decide to do any craft shows. I can't decide if I like the white tree or the black tree best, so for now I have one of each up. If I was at a show, I obviously wouldn't hang so many on each tree, but it works right now for storage and a colorful display in my family room. They are sitting on top of a book shelf that holds bins with the rest of my finished products. I am going to make a curtain to cover the bins, since they aren't exactly attractive.

Letting Go

Today I am challenging myself to let go. Let go of being so scheduled, and planning out my day. Not feeling guilty when I don't get everything finished that I planned.

Also, I need to let go of some supplies that I am simply am not using anymore -- and that I know I won't use. I'll be selling them off in large lots through my paperfarrago shop. My heart just isn't in the paper stuff anymore -- I felt like I was doing a lot of work for very little. Realistically, I can't just treat my time as a hobby anymore, I need to start treating it more like I could someday make it my real job.

So, if you are looking for large lots of paper, stamps, buttons, and ribbon, check my paper shop. The listings will be up as soon as I get to photographing the items!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A New Item - Picnic Placemats!

I love placemats -- but the idea of selling placemats in my shop seemed... Boring? Just placemats? So, I embarked on a quest to make them more interesting, and purposeful. I like to create things that are pretty, but have a specific purpose.

In brainstorming, I thought about my notebook covers, with the ribbon ties. My thoughts wandered to all the lunches I ate at my desk at work, and I thought how nice it would be if I had a clean place to eat (do you know how many germs are on that desk from little kid hands??). The roll-up placemat idea came first, but then I thought about incorporating a pocket for the utensils. I was only going to make one pocket at first (I usually only have a spoon), but I figured some people would need all three utensils, so I created a divided pocket. I used my own silverware, which is pretty standard size, to determine how large to make the pocket.

Right now, the most difficult thing is picking the thread color for top stitching. It is hard because some of the fabrics have so many different colors, I am just choosing to use white or cream/ivory. However, on a couple that I am making tomorrow, I am going to use a different colored thread. I also found that just the two layers of cotton didn't feel sturdy enough, so I used a layer of one of my favorite interfacings. I almost had a panic attack when Hancocks didn't have any of the interfacing left, but I was able to find it at Ben Franklins. I think I might end up ordering a bolt online.

I have two picnic placemats finished (one in the shop), three that are almost done, and three are cut out and waiting. I hope to finish them all by the end of the weekend!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Packaging

I'm continually trying to refine my packaging, and an article today in the Storque on Etsy inspired me to try to be a bit more creative. I want my packaging to be eco-friendly, which means I am striving for less waste. I would like to use packaging that can be reused, which is why I switched from small pieces of cork to metal tins for my pushpins. My problem now is how to wrap the other items in my shop, such as necklaces, coasters, and fabric Moleskine covers.

Since my items are made of fabric, it didn't take me long to think... Maybe I could package them in fabric! I have a lot of fabric scraps that aren't great for buttons (pattern is too big to be of much interest on a small thumbtack or magnet), so I tried to think of a way to incorporate the scraps. I also have a hug amount of unbleached muslin -- I was going to slip cover my couch and make a pattern out of the muslin first, but decided to wait until I can afford to have it reupholstered.

After a bit of pondering -- It finally came to me! I could make simple muslin bags, with a scrap fabric pocket on the front to put my business card it. I will tie the top of the bag with a bit of ribbon (I have waaaaaaaaaay too much ribbon, so now it will be put to good use!), and possibly add a tag. The edges of the pocket and the top of the bag are cut with pinking shears, to make the bag a bit more interesting. The picture above shows what I came up with! I'm going to think of a list of ways that the buyer can reuse the bag and post the list in my shop.

I am also trying to think of a "freebie" to include in orders, or at least larger orders. I had an idea, but it looks like it is going to cost a bit more than I want -- I'd like to keep the free item under 50 cents in cost. I have gotten freebies before that were great -- such as samples of soaps when I bought a couple bars. I've also gotten some that went straight in the trash (sorry) -- hard candy or small stickers (commercial, not handmade). I know that the sellers were well-intentioned, but I really think the freebie should relate to the shop and what what purchased.

Well, I should make more of the muslin bags... but my bobbin is empty, and I'm not in the mood to reload! Perhaps tomorrow :)

Start at the Beginning

I've tried, unsuccessfully, to start a blog before. Now it is summer though, and I have a bit more time to try to maintain one. So, here goes nothing!