Monday, March 31, 2008
So, while I'm finding the fabric I came for, I keep getting distracted by Amy Butler fabric--everywhere! :) It's soooo pretty--I kept thinking of making a floaty, spring skirt! It's been a long time since I've made myself a skirt--about 8 years now. The problem is--WHICH fabric to use! They are all so gorgeous, and look amazing mixed together!
Funny--I spend all kinds of time sewing and making things for the craft fair. I sit/stand/talk for hours, two days in a row. Then today, boom, three orders. :) From people I know. Not people from the show. It's too much! (And thank You, GOD!)
Ok, I'm pooped already. I need another weekend to rest and enjoy my family!!!
We ended up moving things around as the first day went on. We noticed that few people came inside--but most looked around on the outside. So on Saturday, we turned the items to face outward, and placed several sack packs around on the ground by the low desk. On Sunday, we re-arranged some more! The right side was a major traffic area, as people parked up the hill and walked down to see us--so we moved the baby blanket display to the front, right corner, facing out--and hung several sack packs from it. We also utilized both sides of the low desk--putting baskets of Personal Pouches back-to-back, so they were available to people who came in AND people who chose not to. We hung one of Very Verdant's aprons across the back of the big crate, too.
The people we met were wonderful! I loved all the women who oohed and aahed over the sock monkey fabrics I used! :) SO many of them reminisced about THEIR sock monkeys they played with as kids, or the ones they sewed for family. :) It was sweet! I met a neat lady on Saturday, who found my blog and came to see me!--well, and the show. HI in Bonifay! I met a fellow Etsian! YAH! Joyful Abode sells gorgeous aprons, baby blankets, notecards, and pretty, pretty bias tape! She was so nice, and I was so excited to meet someone from Etsy in person--especially one who's shop I admire! The people across the way were WAY cool! I found out they are ones I've seen over the years at the grocery store--with two dogs sitting/lying on the front dashboard of their RV! They have a Rottweiler that I loved on tons--and another dog who wasn't as bold as the Rotty, and didn't come out to see me.
The neat thing about selling at the Piney Woods Arts Festival was seeing people interacting with the things I make. I was able to make TONS of observations, and that is very helpful for me! It's the first time I've seen people other than family and friends look over what I've sewn--everything else has been online, and I didn't know what people thought/couldn't gauge their reactions. Also, I saw that what is a draw for people online isn't always what draws people in person.
Some observations/things I learned: *assess traffic flow and re-adjust your booth accordingly. Move stuff around! See which side/area gets the most traffic--and figure out how to use that to your advantage. *Being one of the very first booths people come to is a curse! :) LOTS of traffic, LOTS of oohs and aahs--but people aren't ready to buy YET--there MAY be more they want to see/buy--then they are spent out by the time they pass by to go home. *Listen to people as they ask questions about your things--I had several people wonder if my blankets were two layers, then get disappointed when they were not. This is a way to figure out WHAT the public may want. I surprisingly had several people mis-judge my Burp Cloths to be dish towels, then they were disappointed to see they weren't. A possible new item to make? Also, watch for what people EXPECT things to be: Very Verdant's Personal Pouches look like wallets (to mask that they carry personal products--so teens aren't embarrassed about their "items" falling out of their bags!)--EVERYONE thought they were wallets, and were drawn to the beautiful fabrics! An idea for the future! *Having a funny/silly/catchy name is good marketing. I REALLY got tired of being asked, "What's a MonsterBug Blanket?" BUT, rarely did someone go by and not mouth or say "MonsterBug Blankets" under their breath. It caught people's eye and caught their attention!!! (And I'm ever so thankful to Husband for purchasing that sign for me--I originally saw very little need for a banner--but this weekend was proof that it is a GREAT investment!!!!) *Be aware of WHO you are marketing to--whether at an individual craft fair, or online, or other. There was a forum post on Etsy last week that made me re-think who ACTUALLY bought the baby items I make. I sew for moms, and expected new moms to buy from me. But the VAST majority of my sales are to people buying baby shower gifts. So, I put together some gift baskets and sets for this weekend, and when people were looking through and commenting on the baby items I had--I made sure to mention that they make GREAT baby shower gifts! And many people took my card to (hopefully) use in the future! :) Also, Very Verdant's items were created with the intent of selling to those in the tween/teen years and as gifts for them. But grown women were the ones attracted to her colors and fabrics (the teens were too busy flirting with boys)! They wanted to buy for THEMSELVES!!! And the women weren't very interested in waiting for a custom order to be made. They wanted to take things home with them that day! (GREAT info, huh!) *Moms with bitty babies don't buy--they've already received a million and one things for the baby. Good to know. *Moms with children older than five--and especially those with children that are all grown and gone--LOVE looking through baby items! :) *Sock Monkeys make people of all ages ooh and aah! *A GREAT tip from Horton Honey: don't say "thank you" when someone compliments your work--tell them more about the item(s)! Keep the conversation going. It was actually easier to do than I thought! *One last thing: if doing an outside craft show in the spring--take an allegra before leaving the house, and bring eye drops for the itchy eyes! :)
That's all I have in me for now! I'm tired and weary, but the weekend was gorgeous! And the people were nice. And I wouldn't mind doing another show!
PS--Looking at doing a craft fair???? Here's a GREAT blog post with lots of VERY informative links compiled by kathijane from etsy: http://sewetsy.blogspot.com/2008/03/gearing-up-for-craft-show-season.html
Friday, March 28, 2008
I'm not sure I'm going to like the size of the purse--15" x 15.5"--though I usually need to carry a lunchbox with me, too--so it MAY be just perfect! If not, I'm already thinking of contacting Sweet Sophia to see if she can make me a smaller version, but with one pocket on the brown side, and two on the inside. (I need two pockets for those sippy cups I always have with me!) And I'll probably add some pockets or elastic straps on the inside of my new bag in order to hold said sippy cups! I'm also thinking of adding an applique of some sort to the outside of one of those pockets--though what of??? I still need to think on that! Maybe I'll do a brooch that resembles an applique, then I can remove it or change it when I want. Or not. We'll see! :)
Husband and I set up our craft fair tent/canopy today. I may need to use it all summer--in our yard. The shade is lovely! And the kids HAD to eat their breakfast out under it! After they ate, I sat under it, in my outdoor rocker, finishing the hand stitching on a cool dinosaur baby blanket. It was so relaxing!
Gotta get back to the grindstone--and see if I can fit EVERYTHING for tomorrow in the back of my station wagon! :) :) Wish me lots of sales!!!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
My perfect bag (and I've not found one since having kids--though I've bought MANY a diaper bag/bookbag) has a special pocket JUST for my keys, preferably on the outside, and preferably with a way to close it. A pocket for my cell phone. Two pockets I can put sippy cups in. Room for a bottle of water--but NOT a pocket for it on the outside--ick! And space for my mini purse--where I carry my wallet, mini-leatherman (you just gotta have one!), receipts, and chapstick (and currently my phone and keys). Oh, room for diapers and wipes and a snack for the kids. And the straps--I just want them to fit over my forearm--cause that's where I carry all my bags. They fall off my shoulder if the straps are long, and I don't need a messenger bag to add to my hips--plus I'd end up knocking out one of my kids with it on the side! I want funky colors--greens, browns, oranges, greys. And I'm LOVING the appliques so many Etsians have added to their bags--but I'm undecided WHAT I want as an applique! I'm not girly--so no flowers. At least not girly-girl ones. I've been in love with appliqued circles for awhile. Who knows--I'll know it when I see what I want! I want it big enough, but not too big. Can you see why this is soooo hard??? I want everything and I want it affordable and I want it to be extremely well made--cause I'm a seamstress, and can tell! This is why I think I'll have to make my own! :)
I got a call from Sewing Guru today. She has the flu. :( If her oldest is well on Saturday, I'll be taking her along to help me with selling at Piney Woods. And if she's sick by then, too, well, God will provide what I need! I do have another friend selling--and she's sharing a space with her friend--so if I need to run to the restroom, I'm sure I can call her to sit at my booth for 5 minutes!
Sewing Guru and her kids came by yesterday to work out how we want our booth to look. We were rather pleased with the results--though forgot to take pics! :) We debated about whether to put everything on the outside edges, so people will walk around the outside, or to have people come inside to look at everything. We've both been in tents that made us feel claustrophobic, so we were a bit afraid to set up with people coming into our tent. We decided to set up both, but once we set it up for people to come inside, we LOVED it, and that's what I'll be setting up Saturday morning!
Sewing Guru mentioned that Fred's is having a sale on 10'x10' canopies--for $48! (Fred's is like a Roses or Dollar General or Big Lots.) She also said that Sams has them on sale for $109 up to $178--with the latter being one with zip in and out bug screens (rather handy where we live!). I was out and about anyway, and stopped into Fred's, and bought one of their canopies for us to use Saturday and Sunday! Figured that was a good deal! We'll have to see how "easy" it is to set up, though! :) But it's off-white and waterproof, and I'm happy to have one to block all that HOT Alabama sun! I have some sheer curtains I bought from Ikea years ago that I have to IRON--UGH--but will then hang them in the back of the canopy/tent to help people's eyes to stay on our merchandise. I MAY even find some fabric I like to hang in the front, but we'll see--I have quite a few things to get done between now and Saturday morning!
Husband brought home the vinyl banners for Very Verdant and MonsterBug Blankets last night. I need to paint my circles on it--and see how I like it. It was terribly sweet for my Honey to think of me, and to want me to have a special sign for my business!!!! :)
I closed my Etsy store until next Tuesday (1 April). I figured I won't have much time to think about it tomorrow--we have alot planned, and I won't feel up to reactivating it on Monday--too tired to care! So Tuesday sounded ok. I'll probably list some new things to get my store back up in the search engines there! I haven't listed or re-listed one thing the whole month of March. Still got my requisite two purchases from strangers, though! :)
I received two neato things in the mail today. One is a huge box of beautiful, handmade greeting cards from sis #1 and her best friend--to sell at Piney Woods! (I usually get a bunch for Christmas--and LOVE my cards--though I'm HORRIBLY stingy with them!) AND, I received some BEAUTIFUL fabric from my dear friend, A.! I'm making a baby quilt for her third little one--a baby girl! And she picked out a gorgeous Moda fabric--green with HUGE, colorful dots on it. I NEED some of that fabric myself! (I can't WAIT for the next sale at the Front Porch Quilt Shoppe!!!!) I've seen whole cloth quilts made with that--WOW!
Ugh, need to take a nap, then get BUSY with all the little things that need to happen between now and Saturday morning! :)
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I decided to make my own burp cloths a bit ago, because I was irritated at the Gerber cloth diaper ends being so crooked. I looked at purchasing the premium cloth diapers, but those ends were crooked, too! Plus, when I worked out the costs for the premium diapers, making my own is actually cheaper, takes a little less time, and the result is prettier!
These burp cloths were made to match several of my Tag Blankets. On Saturday, at the Piney Woods Arts Festival, I plan on selling the Tag Blankets and Burp Cloths together, as a set. And I had a few Tag Blankets without matching Burp Cloths--so last night I got busy cutting these out, then I sewed away today.
As far as sewing, I am done for the week. :( I was soooo busy yesterday, sewing Fish Play Blankets, and then today, making these Burps. And my kids are starting to wear down on Mommy sewing so much! I have a few tags to sew on, I need to price everything, and tomorrow Sewing Guru and I plan on setting everything up in the yard--figuring out how we want things to look on Saturday and Sunday. I'm pretty much ready for this craft fair to be done and over with at this point. I feel the stress wearing on me, making me so tired.
That's it! Enjoy your day!
PS--I'll be inactivating my Etsy Shop sometime later this week--just until after the craft fair. So check back on Tuesday next week, and I should have everything up again!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I was talking with Husband about ALL the things I need to do this week--and kinda complaining that I have to paint 260 some business cards with green and white dots. He wondered aloud whether I NEEDED to do that. Said they look fine without the dots, and he'd rather see me get to sew things to sell than worry about painting 260+ business cards. Huh. I kind of tilted my head, blinked, and realized--yep, they DO look fine without the dots and that IS time I could put to better use! It's so weird when you've looked at something one way for awhile, then all of a sudden, someone helps you look at it differently.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
271 business cards needed cutting out. Well, 271 minus how ever many Bug got ahold of with her scissors before I caught her! :) They really didn't take long to do--but it was BORING. Next I get to paint them ALL! Yah, what fun! But I love how they turn out, so I can't complain too much.
Husband had a surprise for me yesterday! He's buying a banner for MonsterBug Blankets--to hang for my craft fairs! YAH! I should get it next week--so I will have to post pictures. It's very simple--white, 2'x4', MonsterBug Blankets written on it and the website. And I'm going to paint dots on it--like my business cards--using two shades of green for the dots. I can't wait to see it done!
Been busy this week sewing labels onto half of my blankets and cooking up some chunky crayons. Bug likes helping with the crayons. She breaks them in half for me, and she chose which colors we'd work on yesterday--pink and purple--are you surprised??
I REALLY want to get two projects finished before next week Saturday. I want to finish the Turtle Applique Blanket Set--right now I have a turtle sewn onto white flannel for a burp cloth--that's it. I need to finish the burp cloth, sew another turtle onto the blanket fabric, and complete the blanket. And I want to get the remaining six Fish Play Blankets sewn. They need ribbons and fish sewn on, and then the squares have to be sewn together, turned out, and top stitched. If I can JUST get enough TIME!!!!
I need to run--places to go, people to see!
Monday, March 17, 2008
We're outside now--breeze is blowing, sun shining, and my wind chimes are singing along with the wind and the birds. It's absolutely gorgeous! I was working on hand stitching one of my baby blankets--it's almost finished, but the wind keeps running away with my embroidery floss--and I'm tired of chasing it down! :)
I didn't get any more work done past Thursday on the business. It WAS nice to have a few days to just spend enjoying my family. I decided on Friday afternoon that the grocery lists weren't going to happen in time for the Piney Woods Arts Festival. I was bummed, but it's either being filled with stress over too much to do--or being sane knowing I can get done what I can get done. I want sanity, please! And time to hug and kiss on my husband and kiddos!!!
It's a little weird, realizing that in the past 17 days, I've had only one sale. It's scary waiting till the very end of the month to have all my sales. I've not listed or renewed anything on etsy--too little time to worry about that! Plus, I need all I can have for the craft fair! It feels strange and scary, but I believe it will be for the best.
I'll probably be slow in the month of April. I'll be traveling for two weeks, sewing for my mom, and sewing a quilt for a dear friend's third baby. I'm sure that my family will come up with other things for me to work on when I visit, once they realize I'm bringing my sewing machine up! :) It'll be fun to sew other things for a bit!
Sewing Guru and I will need to decide if we're going to do any craft fairs in May--after we do Piney Woods. We'll need to look at our sales, our schedules, and how long it'll take to get enough items made up to sell! There are a ton of things in May we can sign up for--but after that, it's fairly calm in Alabama till around October, when it finally cools down back in the 80's. Yes--June-October are HOT, HOT, HOT!!! (That's the down side of starting Spring in Feb!)
Enjoy your day--I'm loving mine!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Yesterday I finished up the last of ten Flower Play Blankets and started cutting out fishies. Today I started on the first three Fish Play Blankets, getting all the ribbons and fish bodies sewn on. Some of the Play Blankets have eyes, and some don't. I like them both equally--as does husband, who's advice I sought cause I couldn't figure out whether to do eyes or not! I hope to get all the squares sewn together this afternoon. I'm still behind a day on this project, and tomorrow morning the kids and I have places to be, things to do--so then I'll be two days behind.
I can't be behind! I have 250 business cards to print and paint, all the product tags to make and connect to my blankets and gifts, tons of Chunky Crayons to make, Grocery Lists to laminate and assemble, 32 photos to mat and put in bags and label/price. Sewing Guru and I also have to get together with the tent and all our display pieces, and try to figure out how we want everything to look. We have plans for both weekends before the show, and a birthday to celebrate in the middle of this, too! And my desire is to NOT BE CRAZY in the middle of all this! :) Think that's possible???? HAHAHAHAHA!
Husband was in a small shop yesterday, and the lady who ran it has a small gift shop in a corner. And he told her all about my work! Gave her my website, and said he hopes I'll get sales from it and/or the chance to display some of my baby things! YAH! The lady sent some fabric scraps with him for me--she's a good egg in my book! :)
Lunch is over--kids are getting restless. Means I need to get! :)
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
In February, my sales to people who stumbled upon my shop on Etsy? $19. I paid six dollars and change for my etsy fees, and twelve dollars to join etsyBABY. And I spent countless hours putzing around. My sales to people I know: $138. And they contacted me. So I've been holding back from etsy since coming home. It doesn't seem worth all the time and aggravation. (Though there is a TON of great business info and advice in the forums--that I count as priceless!!!)
Too, since coming home, I've realized that I have three weeks to get my butt in gear for the Piney Woods Arts Festival!!!! I cannot sew fast enough!!!! I've been busy sewing and stressing, and bemoaning the month of sickness in this household that kept me from working and working and working!!! I have soooo much to do, and really DO NOT want to become a psycho mess of a woman while trying to do too much! Husband is going to help all he can--giving me 2-3 hours to sew in the mornings while he attends to the monsters before work. :) SOOOOOO nice!
Sooooo, this is what I was up to this morning:
More Flower Play Blankets!
Oh, while I'm thinking of the Play Blankets--I got into my very first Etsy treasury this week!!! One of my Play Blankets was listed on an etsyBABY Spring Treasury! YAH! :) I was so excited! (I have no idea how to do a screenshot of the treasury, and it'll expire in minutes, so you'll just have to believe me!)
We had sooooo much fun on our vacation to Tennessee! We went to the Chattanooga area, and stayed in the best little cabin! The other cabins at Welcome Valley Village were much larger--and gorgeous as well! The property is beautiful--a creek runs through, where the kids threw TONS of rocks, and then the Ocoee River is at the edge of the property! It's a wonderful place to stay and relax!
We visited the Tennessee Aquarium--I loved the Ocean side of it--very interactive for a 3 and 1 yr old! There were sharks and sting rays to pet, a butterfly garden, penguins, a cool jellyfish room, and a HUGE tank of fish and sharks and turtles--that you can even walk underneath! And the outside area was definitely designed for children--stepping stones across a "creek", bridges to climb--some ending, as though they broke apart--very cool.
We spent a day on Lookout Mountain--road the Incline Railway up to the top, then down again (the highlight of Bug's entire trip! Monster's highlight--all the "Cruck-Cruck's" he saw--Trucks). We went into the cavern and saw Ruby Falls, and of course, we saw Rock City--wow! It was MY favorite! Also, we spent an hour or so driving around Lookout Mountain (while the kids slept), and I loved that--gorgeous! I miss my mountains!!!
I have so much more I'd love to write about, but lunch is calling--so's my nap! :)
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Note to self: DO NOT attempt to sew, cut, prep, etc while sick with the flu! It DOES NOT save time, it DOES NOT help in any way! Last night I folded up one of my baby blankets, and found the edges were not square. Oh how that annoys me! I thought if I folded it different, it might help. Nope. The sides were all cockeyed. So I TRIED to figure out which side is crazy, and I ripped out the seam and trimmed it. Folded it again--all cockeyed still. UGH! So, instead of hand stitching the blanket last night, I ended up spending my time ripping out all the seams. I attempted to figure out the crookedness last night--but realized that as tired as I was, I would probably just ruin it. So I waited till today to pick it up again. I guess whenever I cut it out, I just never made sure it was all square. How annoying! So I trimmed it up and re-sewed it, and now it's not 2 inches off on one corner! :) I HATE crooked baby blankets, and am glad to get that one just right--even if I did have to rip everything out and then re-sew it! Now I can get busy hand stitching it!!!
That's it for now!