Making Progress!

I have a moment to do something different right now – Saturday is our house-work-is-priority day – so I thought I would give you an update about the 3o Items In My Shop Before August goal!

It’s going ok! Not as well as I was hoping for – as in, I haven’t finished anything yet. But besides that, pretty much every day I’ve been working on something. That hat that I started in Finding Dory, which I blogged about here – well I had to undo it almost all the way. But that’s the way it goes – I make the pattern up for all of my hats, so a little bit of tweaking is to be expected. 🙂

But what I wanted to mention was something that I didn’t expect! I made a sale!

I post to my Facebook timeline every once in a while with my newest hats, and this time one of my friends talked about buying one! We met up yesterday and had the most enjoyable talk over a wonderful Panera lunch and then I sold her one of my hats and she commissioned another one! I was so happy and excited! I’m all excited to go find some dark thread and get going right away!

I sold her this hat.

But the problem is, now it’s not technically on my shop any more. I can make a new one – it’s a fairly common color to replace – but now it’s going to be less things in my shop!

And through another thing that happened today, I gave one of my hats to a friend of mine, so now I have even less in my shop!

For the first hat, I have left it up and said I will make it to order. But that still leaves me with 20 items in my shop! Hahaha! It’s kind of funny! I was hoping to put all of my 30 up on my shop, and then after that I can start making more sales. But we’ll have to see! I’ll just have to keep on being active! 😀

I do have few other items that I’m thinking of debuting on my shop… but I’ll leave them till another time! 😉 For now, I’ll just sign off and get to my housework stuff! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

~Hannah~

Fireworks and Paisleys!

It’s amazing what you can do with coupons and sales! Truly wonderful!

I was given a gift card for my birthday from some absolutely wonderful friends, and last week I decided to use it. I won’t go into the details of how much I saved, because that would be boring, but I managed to get a half a yard of a couple ‘test projects’ (which would normally be a little pricier), something for myself (I couldn’t resist, but it was 60% off!) and some proper Patriotic fabric (50% off, if I remember correctly) to make ASAP for Etsy.

IMG_1084 I’ve been looking forward to making patriotic stuff for Etsy. I’ve just always felt patriotic, and I especially appreciate the fascinating origins of our Country. In many ways, Independence Day might be my favorite holiday after Christmas or Easter.

Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to making red, white and blue stuff. I have billows of ideas of red, white and blue stuff! Bags, decorations, banners, dresses and numerous other things I can’t think of right now.

When I got to the store to use my wonderful gift card, and stared at the Patriotic fabric…

I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Nothing grabbed me for those afore mentioned projects. Plus – I really should have gotten going on it sooner!

So, I stared at the fabric collection for a long time. A very long time. Then my Mum came and stared at it with me for a long time. Then she went away after a while, and I continued to stare.

IMG_1087Finally, I gave in. I’d seen a lot of adorable patriotic girls dresses around, and I’d briefly think to myself: “I should make one for my Etsy shop.” Followed quickly by: “Why bother?”

When I saw that fabric, though, I just decided: “Why not? None of the store-bought dresses are my dresses!

 

 

IMG_1107I decided to use the same design I did for my other girls dress, the Darling Pink Girls Dress, but with some variation. Firstly, there’s only one of these Patriotic Dress. I also shortened the skirt, added a ruffle, there are no pockets – gasp – and changed the options for the shoulder straps.

I love the way it turned out possibly even more than the pink dresses. It looks amazingly like a dolls dress too, which gives me ideas for some of the left over fabric.

So, Here’s a link to the Girls Patriotic Dress. I invite you to take a look at my latest creation. It will certainly not be the last of my red, white and blue items!

Next up for seasons/holidays: Autumn!!! Aaahh!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sarah

Cogs & Gears: Heatwave

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Happy first full day of Summer! It’s nice to see you all made it! For us, it’s been Summer since (around) early May, with lots of sun and warmth, butterflies and flowers, sun dresses and frozen yogurt.

But currently, it isn’t just summery – it’s HOT! The sun beats down through the longest days of the year from an unrelentingly cloudless sky, and temperatures soar to 100 F and above and drift along there until after sunset. “Ah!” says some poor soul who lives in a humid area, “but it’s a dry heat!” But, after a while, 100 degrees isn’t dry – all the fans, iced tea, and cotton dresses don’t make you feel any less sticky! However, the cooler is working, ice is in the freezer, and it’s time to think about business.

I don’t do very well in extreme heat; it makes me feel lethargic, slightly nauseated, and not at all creative. So, with an Etsy shop that still needs attention and plenty of projects to work on, I must implement a few survival techniques so that I won’t be totally unproductive over the next week or two:

How to Survive the Heatwave Apocalypse

  • Stay Hydrated! This is a basic necessity in the hot desert, so that you don’t die of heatstroke. But I also know that drinking plenty of water will help my body to naturally be cooler and my brain to continue functioning close to normal. So bring on the extra water (with added fruit or herbs to mix things up) and iced tea!
  • Keep Outdoors Activities to Early Mornings and Late Evenings! Especially walking the (very black) dog – who still insists on going out midafternoon to hunt lizards. Sigh! Avoiding extreme heat keeps me cooler through the day.
  • Wear Sunscreen! and Hats! Because sunburns just make you hotter.
  • Wear Less! I have a wonderful collection of cottony sundresses (Sarah and I even call them our “100 degree weather dresses”) which will take me through this time!
  • Eat Less! Heat lowers my appetite, so I might as well take advantage of the situation. Also – take advantage of the season and eat a lot of fruit and vegetables!
  • Do Small Bursts of Creative Activity! Sewing or crafting for too long, especially in a hot west-facing room, is miserable. But I can devote half an hour to earring-making now and then, and maybe get a little done over the day!
  • Sit Under a Vent! My desk is wonderful this way; the cooler blows on me, and I can get writing or whatever done in comfort! So through this heatwave I will definitely be focusing on putting listings up on my Etsy shop.
  • Don’t Try to Do Too Much! As you know, I tend to set myself too many goals. But if I keep them to a minimum – and especially avoid coming up with new ideas – I should be productive and maybe even enjoy this time a little!

There you go! I might not be able to get to everything I need to until this heatwave ebbs – but that’s ok. Patriotic items may need to wait! (By the way, check out Sarah’s new cup holdersvery cute!)

-Abigail-

Ready for Summer!

So, I had some blue polka-dot fabric left over from a dress I made. Now days, I make sure I always have left over fabric, of that kind, because it’s completely cotton, very fun and easy to work with, and I almost always have something to use it for!

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But what do I make with it?

The options were surprisingly limited, except that I knew I wanted to do something Patriotic with it.

Small bags? More like one, strangely shaped bag! Headbands? Hmm – still thinking about that idea, so no. Something completely decorative, like a key chain flower? No-o… the polka-dots are a little awkwardly placed for something that small. Unless it was big.

Well, OK, it’s obvious by the picture above. I decided to do cup sleeves.

IMG_1039The reasons why I made my lovely, classy polka-dot fabric into cup sleeves:

  • It was a convenient size. I really didn’t have enough to make a good bag, plus I’m trying other things than bags.
  • They’re a nice design and look. I like that I can use this with just about any outfit, and I won’t be obsessed about how it doesn’t match (which does happen a little). It’s just quiet enough to compliment without being too different.
  • I want to do the same, but with some change. I’ve already made some mug cozies – the Valentine’s Day Puppy Mug Warmers. One of the important things for an Etsy shop is to have several versions of something you have, which I feel this does. It’s the Summer version.
  • The polka-dots would look cute on a mason jar. No need to explain.

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I did take a couple of these for a test drive (more or less accidentally) and I was quite pleased with the results!

They actually did keep my water and coffee cold pretty much the whole time. In fact, it seemed like as soon as I took off the cup sleeve, and I still had water in the jar, it lost all it’s chill and, as my Mum puts it, was only good to wet my whistle!

Also, I made another cup sleeve as a test, and Hannah said it had trouble staying on when the jar was sweaty (I hope you know what I mean. We put in lots of ice cubes). However, these cup sleeves fit quite well and I didn’t have any trouble when my jar was sweaty. So, success all around!

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On the left is a photo I felt obliged to include. It’s the cup sleeve without the quart size jar inside, in case you were curious to see what it looks like.

I put elastic in to fit even better. Possibly one of the only disappointments is that I was trying to make it fit on a smaller jar than a quart size, as well as a quart size. But it really only works for a quart size jar.

I was really pleased with how it worked for a drinking jar. I think I even found it easier to carry than without it! However, I think they would be really fun for purely decoration, with patriotic flowers, or whatever works for you. Maybe a mason jar of patriotic M&Ms!

This is only the first of my Patriotic items! I have lots of ideas, some of them too big, many of them not clear enough for me to explore. However, I will be putting something even cuter online soon, so you’ll have to come back to check it out.

In the meantime, here’s a link to my Patriotic Cup Sleeves on Etsy. I invite you to take a look!

Sarah

 

First (New) Project Towards 30 Items

I’m already in the middle of a couple of new projects, but I felt rebellious today – just didn’t want to keep on working on my last one. So I started a new one today.

When to see movies, I usually come early so that I’m actually before the previews. I went with my family and good friend to Finding Dory! I liked it – it was really good! It made me laugh, it made me cry – yeah, I really liked it. I always loved Dory, and Pixar is almost always great, and is consistently good, so that was a no brainer to go this weekend.

Also, another reason to start a new project – it was blue. It matched so beautifully with the movie! 😉

Here’s a picture of the beginning of my new hat. It’s the same pattern as my Blue Star Burst Hat, which is kind of fun, because I totally forgot how fun it was to crochet. (Sorry about the dimness of the picture – it’s to give the general feel of how dark it can get in a theater. But actually, once it got really dark, I didn’t bother to continue crocheting!)

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Well, it’s getting late. Must go! Hope you all have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend.

~Hannah

 

I reached my goal – now for the next goal!

A little while ago I realized that I was just a little short of a convenient and beautiful even (I have a thing for even numbers) number – 20 items in my shop! 20 items!

It’s not the biggest amount of things in my shop – especially when you think of how much Abigail has in her shop – but it’s a goal. I’m trying to push the limits, and I certainly will not make the goals if they are set too high.

But I got there! 20 items in my shop now. Actually, I looked at my expired listings, and it turns out that I had just missed one item – so, make that 21 items. 😀

So that’s nice. And I’m all excited about it, so I’ve already set a new one! 30 items by the end of July. So that leaves me a little under a month and a half.

And I made a cute little widget thing to count down! So you can keep track of how many days I have left. And I will (try really hard) to post my progress, each new idea popping into my head, each project in the early stages, and each completed item! So keep on coming back – it’ll encourage me to reach my goal!

The Items that Helped Me Reach 20

Rustic Embossed Antiqued Blank Card

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Happy Anniversary Greeting Card

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Love Birds Card

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Elegant and Simple Thank You Card

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And my two hats!

Cherry Red Sand Dollar Slouchy Hat

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Coral Color Spiral Slouchy Hat

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Tell me about your goals for the summer? Fun goals, silly goals, scary goals – anything you have planned!

 

Cogs & Gears: Storing Earrings

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that creativity is one of my strong points; I can come up with all kinds of fun and interesting ideas (in fact, stopping the ideas is a problem sometimes)! A lesser strength is figuring out design and how to implement these ideas – the engineering details of what works and what doesn’t and how to build on what works. But then once I’ve made whatever, along come practical questions that I never stop to consider, and I’m left in a quandary!

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Some Fairy Tale Ephemeral Earrings, on burlap – which makes a surprisingly good backdrop

The Ephemeral Earrings are an example of this particular weakness of mine: I love making them, coming up with new designs, putting them together in unexpected ways, and how they turn out. But now I have quite a few (popping up on my Etsy store all the time), and I don’t know quite what to do with them while they await their perfect home.

At first, I kept them in a small plastic box so I could easily take them to Craft Fairs. But here’s the problem; they tangle really easily! A little castle might get mixed up with a humming bird, or the beaded part of a Christmasy ornament earring could lose itself among the hearts.

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My beautiful spinning earring holder! I love this thing
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A clever homemade earring-hanger (from Pinterest, of course!) which I’ll probably be making from the next promising cardboard box

The best way to store the earrings is to hang them – except that they get dusty (this is New Mexico!), space is limited, and I still have to find a way to transport them.

 

So we came up with two potential storage methods, and I’ve tested them. (Other alternatives include: Skewering cards with earrings on them, little plastic bags, little envelopes, and sticking-them-on-a-saucer-and-forgetting-about-them.) These are the Portfolio method, forming (I hoped) a way of storing, transporting, and displaying all at once.

Here are the results from my experiments:

The Notebook

Attractive, since the earrings are displayed against pretty paper. Grouping can be shown together. But, even tucked under their holders, the earrings tend to get tangled and messy. This could be remedied by low-tack rubber cement dots – although that might damage the earrings. Conclusion: problematic.

The Photobook

This was Hannah’s idea, and works pretty well: I have several mini-photo albums with plastic pages and (like many people) not many photos to put in them. So why not earrings? They’re cheap, display the earrings without tangling, and show well. However, even paper earrings have depth, so my album filled quickly and tends to splay. Conclusion: Not best for earrings with a 3-D element, but possibly useful for a limited series of earrings.

 

So, as you see, I’m not entirely satisfied and will continue looking for new ideas and experimenting. Do you have any clever storage suggestions?

-Abigail-

Friday Featured Favorites: Silver

I run out of ways to start these blog posts very quickly, and I usually seem to start along the lines of: “Well, here’s an interesting Etsy shop.” But I promise you, I have discovered a fun and beautiful shop, and I look forward to sharing it with you!

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This shop, run by Sharon, is known as SharonGrayDesigns. Below the title, which explains the shop perfectly – something that’s essential for an Etsy shop – is written:

Vintage Silver Plated Flatware & Hand Crafted Designs

Basically, she specializes in vintage silver plate for weddings, formal tables, special events and everyday use. (I learned that from the shop announcement!)

il_570xn-992072477_gm7jSharon makes customized Christmas ornaments, pictured on the left. She also makes them for Christening, Baptisms and baby dedications.

I was curious to know how she got started with vintage and silver. Apparently, many of the items were things she used to own and many smaller items. She stores lots of silver plate and stamping supplies.

On a side note, I decided to check out metal stamping supplies, since I wasn’t exactly sure what those supplies were. It’s very interesting to see what there is out there.

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You can find an interesting variety on this shop. On the left is a Wall Organizer I find very nice looking.

You can also find Spoon Necklaces, a Wedding Brooch, and Pastry Forks. (you have to follow the links to see these beautiful items) I’ve highlighted her beautiful silver, but she has a wonderful selection of jewelry, including Vintage Wedding Necklaces. (again, you have to take a look!!)

Before opening her shop, and this is only one of two shops she runs, she was an x-ray tech, air hostess and Early Childhood Educator. The last profession was what inspired some of her most original work with the Christmas ornaments, which are customized to have the child’s name on it for them to see. As Sharon points out, the ornaments won’t break, so it’s perfectly safe for kids to touch.

I found this shop very fun to check out, and I found lots of interesting, vintage items while working on this blog post. Sharon mentioned she had a few spots in a local Antique Mall. Considering how beautiful her shop is, I wish I could see her sections in the antique mall!

I should also add that I appreciate the look and design of this shop, as a fellow Etsy user, because everything is used exactly as it should be. For me, the shop announcement and About section can be a little tricky (mostly because I’m unimaginative) but Sharon manages it with clarity and interest. Definitely a shop I’m going to go to for inspiration and an example of how my shop should look.

Here again is a link to Sharon’s shop, SharonGrayDesigns

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

Sarah

It’s been a while…

I have to confess… I procrastinate.

*sigh* Got that over with!

Actually, it’s perfectly obvious – I just put things off. Like this blog! I put it off until it’s a nice big pile of  demandingness (is that a word?) and then put it off again! Very silly!

Anyway, I wanted to give you an update for a few things that I’m doing. First off, I was planning on this week being the Big Etsy Making Craziness and Creativity Time, because I was doing a boutique/summer craft fair thing this Saturday. But then, after a few bumps in the road, it suddenly came to a stop.

But I don’t want it to completely bring me to a stop. So I’m going off after this to create. And do this study thing for something I’ve been putting off (procrastination again!). But I’m squeezing in more creativity, as much as I can, because I’m really in a creative mood. And an Etsy mood – which is nice, because, honestly, it can be a little exhausting trying to promote things.

And I want to get back to blogging, my dear readers! I like blogging, I really do. So I will try to keep blogging. They might not be very long posts, or very pithy, but I’m going to give it my best try anyway!

I just posted a picture (the one bellow) to my Instagram account, and wanted to show it to you. I’m going to try making compilation images like this one more in the future.

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Recently I’ve been taking this bag of my crochet stuff, one or two projects at a time, to random places. I can work on it in the car, or when I’m sitting, sipping my Starbucks iced coffee, or waiting for the movie to begin. I may not get very far, but I’ve been surprised that I have been getting through a few of my projects this way! 🙂 Oh, and Artiste, from Hobby Lobby, is totally my new favorite thread!

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And recently, I’ve had to get prescription glasses. Not so happy with that at the beginning. But now I’m not only getting used to them, but kind of enjoying using them!

WP_20160429_15_57_24_Pro.jpg Abigail made this beautiful pen for me, same style as her beautiful earrings, as a clip to put onto one of my headcoverings. I like how it looked on my pink scarf! 😉

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And one last picture. I love our hikes in the mountains – and one of my favorite hikes too! And here I am with my two beautiful sisters!

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And that’s all. For now – I promise I will be back. Maybe I’ll do a whole post about my twice-over shipment. But for now, I’ll sign off!

~Hannah

Cogs & Gears: Whatnot

Ever have one of those times when you get busy doing this and that, manage to accomplish a lot, get distracted a bit by new tech or a holiday – and then look up to discover that you’ve totally neglected something that was kind of important? That’s what my last couple of weeks has been like! (Has it really been two weeks since I posted anything?!)

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Anyway, here’s a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to the last 10 days:

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One of our favorite place in the mountains. It’s called Capulin, and what it lacks in trails it makes up for in beauty

 

 

  • We went hiking Memorial Day! Hence all my beautiful pictures. Yes, recreation is relevant to crafting and running a business; it helps to get a little perspective and a bit of a challenge.
  • Sarah shipped one of her adorable mug cozies, to a happy customer!!! Hannah ran into a couple of problems with her shipment, but tackled them with strength and determination (and perplexity and outrage). Success all around!
  • Our wonderful smartphones got new operating systems, thereby generally causing trouble and upheaval to carefully arranged apps and stuff. Ah! technology!

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    A black dog learns quickly that shade is her friend!
  • I finished off some cards and earrings for my Etsy shop, and photographed them all! It took a while. I may have gotten carried away in the “Fairy Tale”-earring making…
  • And, the “Shopping Boutique (and Summer Fun)” that we were planning on participating in fell through. It’s a pity, because it seemed like just the opportunity that we needed to show off our shops and products and hopefully gain some more clients. But we’re praying that something else will open up instead.

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    Hannah! (I always forget to take pictures of people…)
  • Making an opportunity out of that disappointment, the next few weeks we will be focusing on polishing up our shops, making new items, and probably giving this blog a bit of an overhaul! It should be exciting. Sarah is making some patriotic cup-holders, Hannah is whipping out summery hats (like this one), and I am conjuring up some summery and playful earring designs (probably patriotic, too!).

And in the meantime, I’ve decided that I’ve

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New growth

reached frustration-point with Etsy shops and listings and products and promoting and…! One ought to forestall this by well-timed breaks: So, this week will be my Ladybug Week (so dubbed by Sarah – it’s a brilliant idea), and I will deliberately plan another down time seven weeks from now and start up a regular system of it.

I have two extremes in using down time: Either I meander and do nothing (unsatisfactory), or I fill the time with all the other things I could be

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Angle experimentation!

 

doing and end up busier than ever (exhausting). So for this Ladybug Week, I’ve decided to focus my time into one or two things only: Writing – I’m typing up my finished novel, and it needs some hardcore work! And, when I need a break from sitting around and fixing grammar, there’s some personal sewing to do. Let’s see… I need new walking shorts, a maxi-dress, that purse that I cut out, maybe a jeans skirt – No! Stop, Abigail! Limitations are good!

So – off to ignore crafting and business, and instead introduce the Shardovans and how they got into their recent dire straits!

-Abigail-