Sunday, January 25, 2009

MonsterBug Blankets and the CPSIA

Lots and lots of worries, fears, etc are going on with the new CPSIA law starting 10 February. Until the law is amended, I will only have items for sale online that were sewn/made on 9 February 2009 or prior. I cannot afford to test anything made on or after 10 February 2009, though I'm pretty darn sure the items in my inventory have not been injected with lead nor do they have a lead blanket sewn in the middle as batting. No lead-based paint has accidentally spilled on them, nor crumbled from my walls (thankfully, we live in a house built in the mid-80's). Just to let you know. In case you were worried.

I'll still sew baby items--supposedly I can still sell in-state at craft fairs without getting the lead testing done, and I have a little niece coming who NEEDS some MonsterBug Blankets to wrap in! So she will get some untested, but definitely lead-free, baby blankets, bibs, burp cloths, etc. If anyone else is interested in some black-market, after 10 February, untested--but lead-free--baby items, hmmmmm.....Maybe I know someone who can hook you up.......

But do know--my stock is marvelous, and full of goodies I've never even listed--so I'll keep on listing my pre-CPSIA items for awhile. Hopefully, by the time I have them all online, this silly-written law will be amended. If not, plan B is to get busy on some adult items--many of which have already been featured on this blog over the past 2 years. Or, I'll start playing more with my photography....

:) MonsterBug Blankets
www.monsterbugblankets.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Best Laid Plans...

Soooo, after a nice, long, relaxing weekend, and catching up on some much needed rest, there's ALOT of things needing attention in the MonsterBug Blankets household! So my PLANS for today were to tackle EVERYTHING that needs done upstairs. everything. Ha! I worked some in Bug's room before breakfast--getting clothes put away (from her 35 changes a day!), and some storage put back into her attic. Then we ate breakfast, and the kids started playing so nicely, and I needed to catch up with a friend.....

And THIS is what I made while chatting--see I wasn't 100% ineffective!

I'm always seeing such CUTE, CUTE, CUTE little moleskin cahier notebooks on etsy. And on a wonderful, childless visit to Barnes and Noble yesterday, I picked up some of these journals--knowing I wanted to do something fun with them. So I trimmed some fabric scraps, put a heavy-duty needle on the sewing machine, and quickly stitched this fun notebook! Now I need to decide what to use it for--do I pop it in my purse for thoughts/ideas I have on the run? Do I keep it next to my chair, and use it instead of the 4,000 sticky notes I keep on the table? Do I use it for my prayers? I don't know. Maybe I should make up the other two--then I could have one for each! I'm having thoughts of using some sheets of music I have.....
Maybe the upstairs will get done this afternoon?
:) MonsterBug Blankets
PS--Lest anyone think I did nothing today BUT sew this cute little notebook and laze around--a reminder--I DO have two preschoolers underfoot--they need feeding--constantly--and dressed and loved on and played with.... Also, I did manage to fold a load of laundry, re-organize the linen closet, wipe down two walls with mysterious milk splashes on them, clean up crumbs and LOTS of playdoh, vacuum the floors, frame a picture and hang it--finally!, and play beauty salon with Bug--on top of the cleaning of Bug's room before breakfast. I just didn't finish the plans I made before the day got started. :) That's normal!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday and Saturday

Some bibs I worked on yesterday and today.
I have burp cloths to match the first three.
Well, except the orange one--it's off to a Vols baby--a custom order.
I can make more, I promise! In fact, I have plans to use blue denim on the back of this same Amy Butler fabric--great for any Auburn fans. Or WaHoos!!!! Or bears fans...
Anyone who loves orange and blue!
MonsterBug Blankets

Friday, January 16, 2009

To Do List

So this is my TO DO list for the next three months:

And it is sad, cause it's still missing these fabrics:
And these, plus 4 more yards like it (2 in red, 2 in yellow):And I can think of at least 12 more yards I DON'T have pictured, too!
Here are the bibs I have cut out so far--at least half of them were cut yesterday while waiting at the doctor's office for Bug's yearly check-up:
It's gonna be a busy 3 months! :)
OH--did I forget to tell you about the 19 yards of oil cloth on its way, too? How silly of me!
:) MonsterBug Blankets


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Organizing--since I couldn't sleep

I was sooooo excited last week--within minutes, yes, MINUTES, of my 1000 markets shop going live, I was contacted about making a baby blanket. The daddy is a fisherman, and grandma wanted to buy a baby blanket that reflected that. I've had the above fabric for almost two years now, cut into the right size, but I just never ended up finishing the blanket. It turned out so sweet! I love the blues and greens--and of course, the chenille backing!

I couldn't sleep last night--been up since 230ish. We shut the bedroom window 2 nights ago cause it was too cold--then last night I was too hot! Gotta keep the window at least cracked! Sooooo, since I could not sleep, and somehow have tons of energy (do you feel the crash coming on?), I got busy. First, I made sure to look over the lesson plans for today. Then I decided it was high time I went through the books and workbooks and games and magazines (homeschooling) that sat next to my chair in a basket and piled high on the table. While doing this, I ended up doing the lesson plans for Thursday, too, since there were sooooo many neat ideas I was coming across while trying to decide which books needed to be in the LR, and which ones needed to go back on the homeschooling shelves. Once that was all done, I took the huge pile of things not needed now back into my sewing room/library to put away. Well, to put on the floor, since I have not gotten to clear off a new shelf for homeschooling--on the list of to do's--just not there yet!

OK, soooooo, once in the sewing room, I see the three bags of onesies/tshirts I bought from Target yesterday. This year I want to start appliqueing baby and children's onesies/tshirts, and so when they were marked 75% off yesterday, I went crazy! And there all 31 of them sat, in bags, needing to be organized. WHERE to put them????? The closet is completely overrun with fabric, so that was out. I had to figure out how to store them in plain site in the sewing room, without overtaking everything (like my fabric scraps do!). But, if I am going to store them, I needed to sort them by size and color, so I know what I have. That done, I remembered all the infant onesies I have stored, and wondered what sizes I had of those--so they got organized and recorded as well! Whew. Then, on to receipts......

I am happy to FEEL like organizing! But man, there is sooooo much to organize. When hubby was active duty army, he was in the field for 3-4 weeks every spring and every fall. And that is when I would tackle big organizing projects. Files got sorted and tossed, clothing, boxes of stuff (we moved constantly--there were ALWAYS boxes of stuff!), books, papers, drawers, etc. Hubby has been out of the army for three years now--and so I have not had my normal times for sorting. I can tell! :P I usually get a bug to organize my fabric closet every 5-6 months, and that is good (and needs to be done again--ugh!), but there's so much more that I need to work on. I just hope the ambition lasts for quite awhile!

Ok, now I'm off to get the onesie purchase recorded in my new excel spreadsheets. My impulse buy in December, as it was May when I last recorded any business expenses! :P Yikes! Another thing to get organized--especially since tax time is right around the corner! After that, I'll probably crash a bit--get some rest before the kids wake up!

:) MonsterBug Blankets
www.monsterbugblankets.com

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Ok, I'm HUNGRY! Hubby turned the travel channel on--or maybe the cooking channel--anyway, there are shows on that go to places and find THE BEST hot dogs or BBQ--I'm sure pizza will be on next! Then he fell asleep. And I'm too lazy in my chair, reading online, to get up and make myself something to eat! But my tummy is growling--I SWEAR this channel has somehow figured out how to scent the air with the places they are visiting! Or maybe I'm so hungry I'm hallucinating???

Anyway, today I have off and tomorrow I start sewing again! :) YAH! I've had 17 days off from sewing, and now the fabrics are gently calling me back. I have this CUTE Olivia the Pig fabric draped across my sewing chair, and she calls to me--"sew me into a sweet baby blanket and some bibs!" This pig WANTS me to sew her! (OK, maybe the hunger hallucinating has spread to my fabric as well.)

I'm starting on a custom blanket order tomorrow, then a bib and burp cloth set for Very Verdant, and then Christmas presents for her kiddos. Yikes. THEN, I get to start on all the goodies for Troy Fest! Almost two weeks before I thought I'd want to start. I originally planned on taking off this whole month, but now I can't wait to start up! Hopefully, by starting my plans for this craft fair 3 whole months in advance, I'll not feel as panicked at the end, and I'll be able to get done most everything I have planned!

I feel WAY better prepared starting out this year than I have the past two years as MonsterBug Blankets. I feel more on top of things, more ready for what is ahead, better at planning, better at getting done what I want to do. It's a great feeling. The first year was all about beginnings--getting fabrics and figuring out what I wanted to sew. The second year I learned more about business--LOTS about business! LOTS AND LOTS! I still felt behind the curve, though. I was way better prepared for Christmas shopping than the first year, but still not quite there. Then this year began, and I got my 1000 markets shop up, and I felt like I knew what I was doing. And it excites me. And here I am 3 months from a show, ready to start--not 6-8 weeks prior scrambling. YAH!

I'm already planning for next Christmas--can you believe that!??! I have some money set aside for specific things I want to be able to buy for next year's Holidays in the South Bazaar. I've even contacted two crafters for some wholesale items I want to sell there. Some of my ideas are for hoodies and onesies, and more! YAH!

Ok, I suppose I SHOULD maybe eat now--before I start plucking computer keys off this keyboard..... :)

MonsterBug Blankets
www.monsterbugblankets.com

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Obsession

So, apparently I haven't learned with my year plus of experience on etsy. I now have to check my 1000 markets shop four thousand and one times every time I'm online to see if someone has bought from me. And now I'm making excuses to get online. Maybe someone wrote me. Maybe someone bought something and I NEED to get it in the mail NOW. :) It's funny and ridiculous, I swear! I hope it wears off, cause it's rather exhausting--and disappointing to see that no, someone did NOT buy from me in the past 4.2 seconds. Rejection over and over! :)

Last night I woke up to a screaming child--just 30 minutes after falling asleep. After soothing and getting her back to bed, and crawling back into my wonderful bed--I started thinking. Oh so dangerous. How much would it cost to do __________. What about with these fabrics? Do I have anything I can use here to go with _____________. If I added ________ to my products, how much would each piece cost? How much would I charge? How much do I have in my account and what should be priority in the line of spending? On and on it went. I even started dozing a few times, and instead of succumbing, as would be wise, I re-woke myself up to think more. I was on a roll! A roll that lasted till just after 330 this morning! Man, I'm tired now. Wish all this thinking had come when I was driving for 13 hours last week--what a boring time it is to drive and not have anything to think about! :)

The gist of my thoughts? The craft fair I want to do in April, Troy Fest, is attended by local people. Not military. So all the military and aviation ideas I'm dying to work on need to be put on hold for a bit--cause I doubt they will sell as well at Troy Fest. Yet, with locals attending, University of Alabama and Auburn fans are a guarantee. I'm sure a few of these crazy fans have babies or know of babies who just HAVE to have a new bib or burp cloth in their school's colors. Soooo, I needed to figure out what to do with this epiphany. And that is what I worked on for almost four hours in the middle of the night. :) Good ideas.

I spent an hour ironing fabrics last night while hubby and I watched tv. Lots of new pretties I've bought since December! :) Lots of gorgeous new items I'm wanting to add! I think the ironing got my brain to running last night. I was very excited about what I could make--and hope this excitement continues! I have not sewn since 25 December--when I finished up my Christmas sewing and could take a break. And until now, I've not even wanted to sew! So I'm kinda glad the juices are flowing again!

Still have to work hard on getting prepared for tax time. I stopped recording everything in May--I know, I'm very bad! Soooo, lots of inventory to take note of, lots of purchases to record, etc--you get the idea. A mountain of paperwork. :)

Gotta go--the natives are getting cold in their bath water!

MonsterBug Blankets

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My New Website!!!!

Check it out: http://monsterbugblankets.com

I was accepted on 1000 markets this evening, and I am soooo excited! :) The layout is great, and I can't wait to use this site as my new website! :)

Sorry, I'm just so giddy!

MonsterBug Blankets
www.monsterbugblankets.com

Good Morning!

It's been a busy few days, that's for sure! Just trying to get all the Christmas lovelies put away, and then the incessant NEED to organize. the WHOLE house! Like I'm not exhausted enough from 8 days of traveling. So I've been trying to follow hubby's advice to just pick one thing, work on that one thing till it is finished, and don't think about any of the other things. :) He knows how ADD I get while cleaning--A leads to B, C, D-W, then two hours later, no one thing is complete and I'm tired and wondering why I bother. So I made a list of 15-20 things I want to accomplish, and I am slowly making my way through them all!

One thing I wanted to do was to update the photos of my products. Above is a view I was playing with (my new camera makes all of this oh so much fun!). I realized while digging through all the baby bibs, burp cloths, and blankets, that I only have maybe 1/4th of my items listed for sale. BAD MonsterBug Blankets!!!! How can anyone buy from me if the item is not pictured or listed??? So the past two days, I've snuck outside for about 35 minutes to take pictures of my baby items, then spent some of the afternoon/evening listing them on 1000 markets. It's a new-ish website. I was searching for a place to put all of my items--where I could list them ALL and not have to worry about the craziness that is etsy (ie--what's the best time to list to be on top of the searches, should I relist to get people to see me, how much should I spend to list items this month....). I also wanted a site where I could re-route my domain to--and have it be my "website", I wanted to be able to play around with the location of my listings, and I wanted STATS. 1000 Markets seems to be a good fit for all of this. Plus, their listings are all on one page--not the five pages on etsy. I think it takes about 8-10 minutes to do a listing--and that's me as a newbie! Anyway, once I get some more items listed--hopefully by the end of this week--I plan on clicking the button that says I'm ready, please accept my shop into 1000 markets! Man, I hope they accept me!

I had a day to myself yesterday afternoon, and I just did NOT know what to do! I did a bit of fabric shopping, of course, but then I was kind of lost. I managed to find my way to Dothan (the BIG city--hahaha!) and wandered into Target. Their Christmas items were 90% off! And while they didn't have alot that excited me, I managed to pick up a 6 foot Christmas Tree for $2.49! Now, I am NOT a fan of artificial trees, so do not think that this fake tree is going to be set up in my living room next Christmas! BUT, I do plan on making and selling more Christmas Ornaments next year--and a large Christmas tree would be perfect to showcase them at the craft fairs! :) So I am excited about my fake tree and what is to come next year! I also plan on heading to Target again later this week to see if the hoodies on sale for 50% off end up going to 75% off--I want a ton of them to applique on for next winter. We'll see!

I wandered through the baby aisles at Target, too, and found crib skirts on sale for just over $7. I bought three white ones--one to play with for my new niece to come, and the other two to play with for MonsterBug Blankets. We'll see how all this turns out. I wanted to buy all of the skirts they had, but restrained myself. I still have 10-20 yards of chenille to purchase!

Wow, it's now time to get the monsters out of their beds! I hear one squealing with delight in his room, and the other one keeps whispering down the stairs--"Can I come down now?" :)

MonsterBug Blankets
www.monsterbugblankets.com

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks! With Christmas, all the sewing, and traveling--we're finally home and it's quiet. Though there are TONS of things to put away now! :)

Above is a picture of a tie I made for my dad and my father in law. I used a pretty navy wool fabric, and hand embroidered the kiddos' hand prints on them. I was REALLY nervous about how they would turn out--as I made them from scratch--but they ended up exactly as I pictured in my mind! :)

I thought I took pictures of all the presents I made, but alas, I didn't. Hmmmm, must have been too busy! I still have hubby's present, and I'll have to get pics of that later. He's a UNC fan--so I traced the kids' feet onto some Carolina fabric, added a navy blue "tar heel" and sewed them onto a blue shirt. He was happy to get it!

I received a wonderful new digital SLR for Christmas this year, and I've been having super-fun playing with it! :) A trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains provided much to photograph the past week! :) Hubby said he'll have to take me out on the Mill Pond he dives in, so I can take pics of the water, the spanish moss, and all things southern. :) Maybe I'll get a gator pic, too! Though I'm not really hoping for that!

That's it for tonight. I'm pooped from traveling all day yesterday and organizing/putting things away today!

MonsterBug Blankets
www.monsterbugblankets.com