Barefoot Lake Handmade - part two

From a buyers perspective:: Yesterday, Laurie from Barefoot Lake Handmade shared her experience in getting started on etsy.  I found her via our Etsy Team Columbus group who had featured her shop.  That promotion caught my attention and I then purchased this.  I mean THIS!!!

I love it!  I mean, first, I seriously LOVE this fabric from Anna Maria Horner but also, it makes me so happy to iron because my ironing board is sporting such a pretty little dress now!

I wanted to share with you from the "buyer's perspective" what I loved about Laurie and why I thought it would be great to share for others who are just getting started at selling their crafts.  She did everything right when it comes to a sale.

{communication}

I had a question for her about rushing my order.  She responded very quickly and I found out that the item I wanted was in stock and ready to ship.  She said she would get it out the next day (as the mail had already gone out that day) and send it priority.  I really appreciated the quick response.

{presentation}

When I opened my package, it was like somebody had just sent me a gift!  I got so excited!  I know I paid for it and all but wow, she took the time to wrap it so beautifully!  Check out the big fancy bow!   It really excited me about the purchase and immediately gave me this euphoric happy feeling about what I was about to open up.  (for you as a seller, for a consumer to get that feeling - that's a great thing!)

{the extras}

Laurie included a nice printed postcard with her contact info on it and the name of her shop.  See that cute little thing up there?  That big fabric dot also wrapped so pretty?  That's "the extras"...she included a little bonus of an adorable magnet from the fabric of the ironing board cover I had purchased.  Now I was even more excited because I got a little something extra and I just loved it.

{the hook}

On the back of the postcard, she left another note that invited me to come back to her shop to check out her magnet sale - and the little extra she sent me was a sample of that item.  Guess what I did the other day?  I went back to her shop to peek because I was excited to see what the magnet sale was and what she had new in the shop.

Laurie did everything right and went above and beyond when it comes to customer satisfaction.  She is a great example of how to build a brand loyalty to a seller.  I'll definately be back as a shopper!

What kinds of things do you do to entice your shoppers to become loyal fans of your products?

xoxo,

Trish

Barefoot Lake Handmade - Setting up Shop

{Welcome my guest Laurie from Barefoot Lake - to share her story about setting up a crafty business.  Do you have a story to share?  Email me! twopeasinapoddesigns at gmail dot com}

Where to begin???  That is a question I struggled with for a long time.  In the beginning of '09, I opened an etsy account with my shop name.  In December of '09, I made it a store account.  In November of '10, I FINALLY started listing items!

I was stalled on two fronts.  One, I felt like I needed to know everything about managing an on-line business - photography, blogs, etc, just to start one!  I was stagnated by the thought of not knowing something and making a mistake.  And two, I didn't know what I wanted to make!  Like many crafters, I have lots of interests!   I started keeping an idea notebook with all my creative thoughts and plans.  After almost a year, I decided a cool notebook wasn't doing me any good when I still had an empty shop.
I decided to focus on a few products.  How to choose?  It comes down to you just got to  pick something and go with it!!!  If it doesn't work, you can always change - after giving it an appropriate try.
I went with ironing board covers to start.  I had experience at them after making a few for myself and several for gifts.  It was a good, well thought out product since I had tweaked the pattern and found just the right materials to use (cording, stops,etc).  I enjoyed making them - who wouldn't love to use all those cool fabrics?  And it was a product that I thought would have a reasonable demand.  After all, just about every household owned at least one.
And I checked how many other ironing board covers were listed on etsy.  I also checked my costs and time vs. going sales price and felt it was a reasonable profit.  I hoped I would be able to sell them consistently and that would allow me to build a nice inventory of fabric choices without a big initial outlay of $$$.  I was a sales rep for 10 years before kids came along and it was all about the numbers:  commissions, profit margins, man hours. etc.  Some of that stuck with me, I guess!  If I was going to sew and not make any profit, I would sew for myself and friends and not sew to sell.  Personally, I think you need to approach it that way.
Then, I jumped in.  I didn't know everything but I'm learning as I go and I finally realized that's okay.  In just two months, I see improvements in my photography.  I have a blog address and I want to work on that soon.  Slow and steady is good!  The ironing board covers seem to be a good product choice. It takes time to build any shop. I always leave feedback for my customers and let them know that I did.  I'll also ask that they leave feedback for me.
It's slow at first.  Some buyers are more wary of shops with few sales and limited feedback.  Understandably so.  I have been burned once on etsy with non-delivery so I know how that feels.  As far as product selection, key fobs haven't been a good choice.  I thought it would be a great way to use up my extra fabric.  Currently, there are over 10,000 key fobs listed on etsy.  I guess I should have done the math on that one!  No problem - no permanent damage.  I haven't totally abandoned my cool, one of a kind, original ideas.  Hopefully, I'll settle in and be able to sprinkle those into my regular offerings to keep it interesting for myself and my shop visitors!   When you have steady sales and profits in one area, you can spend a little more time being creative on some other things.
I think it's also important to establish the pace that is appropriate for where you are in life right now and be okay with it.  I would love to try a show or two, but I'm really busy being cheerleader and chauffeur for the kids.  And lastly, just enjoy it!  It was really fun to know that on Christmas morning, someone in Hawaii got one of my ironing boards under their tree!

Thanks Laurie for sharing your story and shop advice.  To each of you, do you have any sage advice for new crafters wanting to set up shop?  Share them here in the comments!

Stop by tomorrow for part two...

xoxo,

Trish

IT'S FRIIIIDDDAAYYYYYY! SALE STARTS NOW!

Pretend it's already Friday. Have you survived the crowds? Got your deals? And now resting peacefully in your slippers and jammies by the fire with a cup of cocoa? Me TOO! Well, except I didn't go shopping or anything - I'm just laying around in my jammies today. The entire weekend. Yep.

Here's my holiday offer to you for Black Friday...

Sale option #1 - Buy any two patterns, get the 3rd one free.

Sale option #2 - Take 20% off any finished goods item in stock (excluding patterns) in my etsy store.

No codes needed. Discount offered via paypal refund. Purchase 3 patterns, receive refund on third. Limit of 1 free pattern per person please. Sale starts at midnight on November 24th and runs through midnight November 26th.

Don't forget to go here and here and here to enter current giveaways from Two Peas and Lola Pink Fabrics and the Crafty Girls Workshop!

Happy Shopping!

xoxo,

trish

Say hello to a few amazing crafters...

Continuing on with "holla" out to my girls who helped test patterns for me.  Geniune, lovely, creative and talented describes these ladies.  I love to see what they are coming up with next and watch their adorable kids grow.

Paige Hill is the talented lady who works in marketing for Where Women Create, the magazine.  We "met" online almost a year ago now.  Paige has been a really great supporter of my art - offering me features on both the WWC blog as well as inviting me to guest blog on the Creative Connection Event site. This fabulous event that is being put on by WWC is full of the most awesome stuff ever.  Session after session with fabulous artists who get to craft along with.  I'm still crossing my fingers I can go (it's in September - I'm also hoping to hit up Houston in October for Quilt Market so not sure I can leave the gardener at home that much.  Men don't multi task for long very well.  A day, maybe.  More than one...I worry about his sanity).

Paige is a fantastic artist herself and a published author.  Her version of the Patsy Ann Apron top included ric rac, a posie and more.  See her blog for all the details!

KIMBERLY VOJACEK is another wonderfully talented pattern tester.  Kimberly doesn't blog or have a shop - she just sews for her own children and was so kind to help me out.  Kimberly shares a little about herself with us..."I am a mother of two beautiful girls, 8 and 10 years old.  I work part-time for St. Stephen's Community House as a Volunteer Coordinator.  Most of my time is spent with the girls and their many activities.  I do enjoy crafting - scrapbook, cardmaking, cross-stitching, sewing, and my new craft, crochet!!  I am very passionate about raising my two girls to be compassionate, independent and responsible women.  I believe that being their mother is the most important job I have!"

Nikki Rainey is also known as "Madame Crafty"... a name her husband has bestowed upon her and for good reason.  She is all kinds of crafty and shares a bit about herself here...

Nikki Rainey has been a military wife for almost 14 years and takes her home business with her wherever she goes with her Army husband.  Family is most important to her. Her business includes everyone in the family and makes it possible for them to spend most of their time together.  She has been teaching various craft and quilting classes for over 10 years. She has her own quilting business, NikKitty Quilting & Design , as well as a beading party business. Nikki and her husband just updated their long-arm quilting machine to one of the uber-cool Gammill Statler models. Nikki likes to blog about her quilting and blogs about it here on her blog.  She enjoys pattern designing as well as customizing other patterns.

Two Peas in a Pod was her first experience pattern testing for someone else. Always in the past someone has been pattern testing for her.  She says this experience was a lot of fun!

Her husband likes to make quilting tools out of wood. He makes seam rippers, stilettos, crochet hooks, and also nice writing pens on his lathe. You can see his work in their etsy shop. http://www.etsy.com/shop/nrnoodle

Nikki tested the Madison bag for me...and hers is so cute.  You'll have to pop in over here and tell her so yourself!

I still have a few more wonderful friends I'll be featuring over the next couple of weeks.  Can't thank you all enough for testing for me - I'm very blessed to have your input!

xoxo,

Trish

B U S Y

I know I said THIS would be the week for 2 Sew It Up Sunday posts but I SO don't get much done with baby anymore.  Miss Sprout...at almost 2 years old really keeps me on the move.  Very hard to get much done with so much cuddling and exploring... And did I mention she climbs furniture?  Choked on a carrot last week?  Climbed out of her crib?  She's growing for sure and my time to "craft" or blog has just disappeared.

So late at night, I've been working on getting a few orders out and some things out for product review and giveaways.  Just a couple of sales a week is such a blessing for our family.  Our jobs are wonderful - satisfying and I believe, both the gardener and I help people in one way or another.  But my Two Peas business really helps our growing grocery bill and so thank you if one of these orders is yours...

Oh, there's even more.  But thanks for being patient with me...I love to design and make but selling helps pay the bills so in order to keep doing what I love it's necessary for me to keep the etsy shop filled and interesting.

I am so grateful for your support of my craft and my dream.  And as I type...I hear the baby flipping her crib music thingy over the rail and hitting the wall.  Eegads!

To wrap up...THANKS for your sales, THANKS for reading here, THANKS for sharing what you do with me so I can learn from you (have you shared any of your projects from my Sew Hip Pocket Full of Posies series over on my Flickr page?  Find my projects in Issues 14, 15, 16 and 17).

I'll keep trying if you'll keep hangin' with me!  Gotta go investigate the banging!

xoxo,

Trish

The date night that never was...

I'm feeling rather sorry for myself.  Stand by...because I'm about to whine in 3...2...1...

I am never alone.  Except on my way to or from work.  I have a child attached to my hip at most times of every day.  And usually it's more than one, it's usually all 3.  Now, don't take that the wrong way.  I ADORE my children.

I work really, really hard.  I work part time outside of the home which requires me to actually do a wee bit of work everyday from home in terms of just checking and responding to emails, etc.  I run my own business.  That requires me to sew, list, sell, create tutorials, submit articles, and lately, pick up and work on my portfolio again (yes, yes...I'm one of "those" - like a million others - wanna be textile designer).  To enhance what I can do in communications at both my day job and also in my dream job, I've started taking classes at our local art college.  On my wish list of classes for the summer is a basic figure drawing course.  I haven't done that since high school...

And art, is something my mother always told me to do.  I was too stubborn to listen...but I digress, that's a whole other subject.  I was still whining.  So, let me finish my pathetic little whine session.

I think I was saying I work really, really hard.  I serve my community in an "official" capacity (we'll leave it at that) - belong to our twins club, the local art guild, active in our church, oh, did I mention I have 3 kids?

I know.  Big whoop.  Like, who doesn't do all these things?  I'm just sayin', I'm never alone.  I can't even tell you the last time I was alone in my house.  I can't remember.  It's been since before the baby was born and she's 21 months now.

And the gardener and I ('cuz that's what I call my husband) - the last date we went on included the baby.  Not much of a date.

On occassion, I'll stop somewhere on my way home from work for an hour or less maybe to run an errand.  But what I need is some me time.  ME!  Or ME and the HUBS.  He doesn't get any time either because while I'm at work during the week, he's at home with baby.  And while he's at work, I'm at home with the baby.  And when one of us gets home, the other may run out for an errand.

It's just the "moment" we are in in our lives.  I don't want to complain...ok, yes I do.

I love my life.  I'm just pooped.  If I had one day a month - a full 8 hours - to do whatever I wanted and I didn't have to fix dinner for anyone or do laundry or work or sew for a whole day - LUXURY!  Man, what I would give to have that one day a month.  Heck, I'd settle for every other month at this point.

So, our date night that never was...our 12th Wedding Anniversary, Valentines Day.  Spent, me with the kids, the husband at work.  One of his Rangers called off sick all weekend and he had to cover his shifts.

To make myself think that we would really be actually going on a real date sometime, I made this fabulous necklace inspired by this...

...and here is a great tutorial that got me started on this whole fabric roses thing awhile ago...I've made little pins and hair barrettes but I just hadn't made the necklace I wanted yet.

So my date night that never was...well, here's what I would have worn on my neck.

A few things I did differently than the tutorial.  I used a polyester type of fabric.  I used a hot glue gun and dabbed a dot of glue on every turn.  I twisted and folded my fabric constantly as I went around.  Then, I cut with pinking shears, a felt circle the size of the rose.  I mounded it with glue and pressed the rose into it when I was done.  I pressed it really hard to try and flatten it out a little too.  Then, I sewed each flower and bead to each other to make it one big piece.

I love it.  And like usual in my quest to afford to only work part time so I can be home more with kids - I have one for sale over in my etsy shop.  (you saw that one coming a mile away, right?).  I can do it any color or combination of colors and fancy do-dads and lace and bling so if you'd like one for your date night (good luck with that!) I'd be happy to make one for you!

If you want to make one with me - well, join me for our next sewing class.  We'll be making some accessory bags and learning how to make these into pins to adorn our little bags - and I promise, we always have fun!

Now, if I could just arrange some time away...

{ps A THANK YOU to Bernina Sewing Machines and their fab blog for featuring me in their favorite blogs links this week - check them out!  They have super fun things over there!}

xoxo,

Trish

sew it up sunday {love on a limb}

Sew it up Sunday (formerly known as Make It Monday - a little name change to make the google searching easier for my projects) kits are available HERE. Each month, I feature a different tutorial and invite you to sew along with me and make something new.  Our February feature - a bit early - is inspired by Valentines Day.

For February, I made a table topper for our dining room table.  You can adapt this to make a doll quilt or a table runner by adjusting the size.  You can also do this in all kinds of bright colors for a spring /Easter table top.

Materials besides the usual sewing machine and other doo-dads:

Doll blanket : 6 qty of 6.5" squares of varying fabric, 1/4 yard of flannel, 1/4 yard of backing fabric, scraps for applique.  (assemble square to lay 2 x 3).  You can increase the size as needed.

Table Runner: 15 qty of 6.5" squares of varying fabric, 1/2 of yard of flannel, 1/2 yard of backing fabric, scraps for applique. (assemble squares to lay 3 x 5)  You can increase the size as needed.

Table Topper: 36 qty of 6.5" squares of varying fabric, 1 yard of flannel, 1 yard of backing fabric, scraps for applique  (assemble squares to lay 6 x 6)  You can increase the size as needed.

If you are quilter, forgive me for what you are about to read.  I fudge all the way through this project.  I'm a mother of 3, a baby who is on the go and my sewing time is limited.  I make no promises with this tutorial...give it your best shot.  I'm just sharing how I do it to get the look without all the work.  Sew at your own risk.

The directions are the same essentially for each item - the doll blanket, table runner or table topper.  You can expect the table topper to take roughly two nap times to complete.  What?  You need that in real time you say?  Sorry...about 4 hours or less.  You can expect the other two to take substantially less time than that.

  1. Cut your squares.  {my sample shown here has used mostly Moda's french general fabrics with a few others thrown in - I think they are perfect for this "season of love" we are in}
  2. Lay out all your squares until you get them in the design order you like.  If you've never "quilted" before...we are going to sew these in rows.
  3. With right sides together sew the square from your top row, far left to the neighboring square with 1/4" seams.  Press your seams open.

  4. With right sides together using 1/4" seams, sew the next square on and continue until your entire top row has been sewn together with all of your seams pressed open.
  5. Repeat for the rest of your rows.

6.  Take your top row of squares and with right sides together, pin your second row to the top row.  You                 see where we are going with this?

7.  Sew each row to the next and so on until your top is completely assembled.

{applying your applique}

Once your top is complete, you are going to sew on your applique picture of the birds with their heart on a limb.  Click here to download a pdf of the applique pattern pieces  Love on a Limb

For the doll blanket, you will cut out 2 birds, 2 beaks, 2 wings, one limb, and 3 hearts of varying sizes.  You can place the scene in the center of your blanket.

For the table runner, cut out 4 birds, 4 beaks, 4 wings, 2 limbs, and 6 hearts - 2 large, 2 medium, 2 small.  You can place them at either end of the runner.

For the table topper, cut out 8 birds, 8 beaks, 4 limbs, and 12 hearts - 4 large, 4 medium, 4 small.

I didn't really give you the heart pattern - remember from elementary school how you fold your paper (fabric) in half, draw your half a heart and cut?  You can figure out that part, right?

You will also need to cut some ribbon.  One that will loop over your limb and one to tie into a bow.

I use a little stitch witchery to "glue" my applique pieces all down so they don't move while I'm stitching.  Place your bird beaks a little under your bird to hold them on better.  Place your wing on your bird, birds on their limb and your hearts all together.

Take your one piece of ribbon and BEFORE you "glue" or stitch your limb down, run your ribbon behind the limb.  Stitch all your applique pieces on.  I used both a straight stitch and a zig zag stitch and leave all my edges raw for that vintage look.  I looped my ribbon over the limb, sewed it down and then put a few stitches through the center of the ribbon bow to hold it together.

That's it.  Be patient.  I found that applying all of these appliques to the table topper took as much time as piecing the top.  If you have any questions - zip me a note!  But, be creative.  This is just the basic idea.

8.  Next, lay your completed top on top of your flannel.  Typically, in quilting, you use quilt batting.  Since I was using this on my table I didn't actually want all the loft that quilting creates.  I wanted to have some heft to it and lay flat on my table and so I choose to use flannel.  

9.  You want to make sure you have both layers pulled taut and everything smooth.  Pin your layers together and cut your flannel the same size as your top.

10.  Quilters - close your eyes.  You won't like this a bit.  I didn't quilt the top at all.  Instead, being lazy and needing to finish quickly, I simply did some decorative random stitching around the top to hold the layers of flannel and the top together.  You will see my random stitches in some of the photos.

11.  Next, the backing.  Being cheap and thrifty - I had a new bed sheet that I bought on clearance for pennies.  I used that for my backing.  This isn't a blanket (well, for the table top / runner at least) where          you will see both sides because it's flat on your table so if you can use some inexpensive plain fabric -               that works great for your budget!)  Lay your top onto your backing fabric and cut to size.

12.  Pin all 3 layers right sides together and sew around all sides using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Leave an opening about 8" long for turning.  I know, I know...this is not how to quilt.  We are cheating -                         remember?!   Who has time for a binding?  The baby is waking up soon!

13.  Turn your table top right side out.  Press and make your edges all nice and crisp.

14.  Now, our "binding" is really just a top stitched border.  I go around twice.  It'll do.  Be sure you have your opening securely closed.

Well, there you have it.  A doll blanket, table runner or table topper with some sweet little applique.  Pretty and nobody will know you totally fudged the whole quilting process - well, except for quilters who are cursing my name I imagine after reading this (tee! hee!)

Next month's {sew it up sunday} project will be some softies.  They are so much fun - I've been collecting some great beaded necklaces to adorn mine....you'll love this little project!

Hope you enjoyed this one - please share and link back to me.  Leave me a comment and let me know so I can come visit you too!  Don't forget, I do have a few kits available in my etsy shop for this project.

AND when you've finished your project - go click over there =>>> in the sidebar on my Flickr page.  I have a group for Sew It Up Sunday projects.  I'd love to see what you come up with!

And check out all the other goodies at Get Your Craft on on Today's Creative Blog

xoxo,

Trish

Flax seeds, fatty fish and Friday

That just does not sound good together, does it?  Maybe it does to you. Flax seeds, fatty fish and Friday.

And really, it has absolutely nothing to do with today's post.  But I did capture your interest, huh?

I'm excited to share with you today several items of goodness.  That don't include flax seeds and fatty fish.  Honeyrun Farm has a winner to announce of this awesome gift basket.

Thanks so much for participating and the random number generator choose...#7 and that was Melissa.  Melissa is a US Army wife and has a great little shop on etsy that you should check out!  Melissa - send me your address and we will have your gift basket on its way to you!  Congrats!

Don't despair.  If you didn't win...as promised, I have something special for you.  I was going to tell you that I have an owl clutch like this one

for sale over at Craft Hope for Haiti on etsy but I think it was only there for an hour and it sold.  But there are lots of other great deals over there - go shop for a good cause.

My special deal for YOU, my bloggy friends - includes  a little of this...

Starting today through Monday, January 25th - when you buy any gloves from my etsy store - take $5 off!  That's up to 50% off!  Serious - what a great deal!  And they look so cute for running around town in...you'll love them.

And this lonely little St. Mary Hipster...well, she's the only one over in my etsy shop and I just loaded her up today.  Through Monday, January 25th, take $12 off!

All you have to do is enter the code - BLOG - in the comments section of your purchase and you'll get the appropriate amount refunded to you (wish there was a better way to do it but there isn't on etsy).

And a sneak peek for the Valentine tutorial coming up on Monday...

And I'll leave you with some flax seeds and fatty fish - more "nothing to do with anything"...

And speaking of little sprout...something seriously stinks in here.  Better go investigate!

xoxo,

Trish

The Evolution of a bag

First, one last reminder, TODAY JANUARY 20th - is the last day to enter the wonderful giveaway from Honeyrun Farms. So, don't forget to go HERE to enter!

I have to tell ya - I'm really, really tired.  I've had sick kids.  Not sick all at once.  Just nice and evenly spaced so that somebody seems to be sick every week for going on 6 weeks or so now.  And I just am not getting things done.

And no where near enough sleep.

If you've emailed me and I haven't responded yet, I'm sorry.  I will.

If you called me, (my sister - mostly) and I haven't called you back, I love ya and I will, soon.  I'm either running around or...too tired to talk.  Sorry.

If you left a comment here on the blog and I didn't respond, I'm sorry.  I will try to go back and visit everyone.

If you've asked me to do something and you are waiting, ask me again (Julia - I haven't forgotten you, I swear!  I just reordered some fabric for your bag - I have an idea!).  It may still be on "my schedule" but delayed because everyday, it seems like my entire days' plan gets tossed out the window for one reason or another.  Mostly one tiny one - who I decided I would now refer to as "Sprout".  (The "two peas" = twins, "sprout" - the baby).

Seems like my free time to "work" on the blog and sewing and all has become non-existent or only after 9pm.  Bummer.

I don't like being behind or keeping people waiting or letting things fall.  As I told my husband the other night - "I'm just trying to keep all the plates spinning" and I don't always make that happen.  A few eventually fall.  My apologies if your plate was one I've let drop.

Enough of that.  Let's talk bags.

Let me re-introduce you to an old friend.

This...is "Madison"

Madison has been around for quite awhile.  All of my bags are "original" patterns.  I use that term loosely because "original" and purses - is there really anything "new" you can do in bags anymore?  It's all been done.  But you get inspired, you twist and turn and create it into something unique to you.  And it keeps evolving.  Like Madison.

Up above, all decked out in Heather Bailey prints - she sports a little a pleat in the middle.

From there, a customer asked if I could add some front pockets just like a bag she saw from a famous maker whose initials are "VB" and whose bags adorn the shoulder of every college girl in america.

Well, here's Madison with that pocket request...minus her center pleat.  (And I free hand draw all of my patterns - mostly on gift wrap.  The kind with the grids on the back - helps me get things straight)

Love these Joel Dewberry prints...I still have some stashed away. They have since retired this design

Well, from there, I decided I would make my Mom this bag.  Only, I liked the little dart that my neighbor Barb found on a bag pattern which gives some depth to the bag.  So, I tried it on Madison.  And made my Mom this for Christmas.

Madison with no pleat, added dart and an applique bird and flower pin

Well, I was thinking.  I'd like to try that bag but I like to have a flap or a zipper on mine.  I've done lots of flaps - on my "Olivia" bags.

I've been making split face flap bags for - years. 4 years actually - since 2006. I just like the subtle patchwork feel of it.

So I thought - Madison plus Olivia - a Madison bag with a flap.  And I found a bunch of pins on sale after Christmas.  I made little clutches for my family for the holidays and had used these pins.  I have more left over and added one to this bag.  Here's where the evolution of the Madison has landed at the moment...

Here she is...Madison with darts and a flap...

I think I like her.  The first "new" bag of 2010.  I'm going to carry her around for a few days and see how she does before I offer her for sale at my trunk shows.

Before I bore you with all of this and leave YOU falling asleep...have you visited  Craft Hope for Haiti yet over on etsy?  They have been collecting all kinds of crafty donations and selling them with the proceeds to benefit Doctors without Borders.

I have one of these over there...soon.

Hope you'll take a moment to stop over there and shop.  And if you must...come over to my shop and grab an owl clutch for yourself.  (I'm loading a few this evening - morning now I guess.  Sheezzz!  This is why I'm tired. It's 2am!).

See you Friday for the Honeyrun Farms giveaway winner announcement AND a little something special for YOU!

xoxo,

Trish

So in Sew withdrawl...

I'm experiencing a little bit of "sewing withdrawl". See, I'm used to working under intense pressure, too many orders, deadlines and have heaping amounts of anxiety to get it all done.

But in my New Year's resolutions - I'm "scheduling" my work better.  Being more careful about the work I take on.  Trying NOT to drive my family crazy with my um, craziness.

SO, without all of that pressure - I'm kind of sewing at a slow steady pace.  Churning a little bit out at a time.  This.  That.  The other.  I'm even making myself...a jacket.  It might not be done until it snows again next year but at least I'm doing a few "me" projects that don't involve marketing, advertising and sales.  Ahhh...that feels nice.

Wanna see what I have been casually stitching on?

See?  That's like nothing.  I've got a few more things in the works...

Just gonna enjoy the slow ride while I can...oh yeah.  You got anything interesting going on in your sewing room?

xoxo,

Trish

make it monday {patchwork wristlet}

Make it Monday - Trish Preston - Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs

The Patchwork Wristlet - January 2010

Are you ready?  Here we go...

New for 2010, I will be hosting "make it monday" "sew it up sunday" (I'll explain the change later!) at the top of every month. Make it Monday Sew it Up Sunday is your opportunity to make something with me.  I'll have the complete instructions for you here on my blog.

In addition, if you're feeling pressed for time and want to sew along with us but don't have the time to put it all together, I'll have a limited number of kits prepared for you.  HERE in my etsy shop, you will find a handful of these projects all cut and ready to be sewn for you under the make it monday sew it sunday category.  Neatly packaged and ready to ship but only available for a very limited time.

Let's sew!

To start off the new year, a patchwork wristlet. You can adorn the front with a brooch, a buckle, a button, a yo-yo - be creative!   Read through all of the instructions first before beginning.

Here's what you'll need fabric wise besides all the typical sewing do-dads:

  • 5 strips of fabric cut 2" x 6.5"
  • a piece of fabric cut roughly 8.25" x 6.5" for the rear exterior.  I usually wait to cut this - using my top panel as my pattern.
  • 2 pieces of heavy fusible fleece interfacing cut 7.5" x 5.25" give or take.  You just want this to be about 1/2" smaller than the piece you are fusing it to.
  • a strap cut 2" x 14" in length
  • a piece of ribbon for the front of the wristlet
  • prequilted cotton, corduroy or heavy home dec fabric for the interior OR you can choose a quilting cotton.  Cut 2 approximately 8.25" x 6.5" (I usually do not cut my interior until I get my top pieced - then I use that top as my pattern to cut the exterior back and the interior pieces.  If you use a heavy fabric, you don't need to interface it.  If you choose to use a quilting cotton, you will want to interface it.
  • your embellishment for the front
  • 7" or 9" zipper

  1. Using 1/4" seams, sew your 5 strips of fabric together to construct the front.

3.  Use the top you have just assembled as your pattern.  Lay it on the fabric you chose for the rear exterior and cut out the rear panel.  Then cut out your interior pieces as well.

4.  Fuse the interfacing to the front and rear exterior panels following manufacturers instructions.

5.  Press your strap.  Press the fabric in half.  Open up.  Then press each half in half to the center.  Press in half again.  Stitch down both side of strap.

6.  Topstitch the front panel 1/8" from the edge of each seam / patch.  You can skip this if you want but it looks nice to topstitch.

7.  Stitch on your ribbon to the front panel.

8.  Make a loop with your strip and lay your wrist strap about an inch or so down from the top along the side - matching up raw edges and stitch.

9.  Sewing on your zipper.  I used a 7" zipper however, it is exactly the same size and can be a bit tricky to work with.  If you want a little wiggle room, use a 9" zipper.

10.  With right side up, lay your front panel down on your table.  Take your zipper and lay it right side down.  Take one of your lining pieces and line it up with the front panel and zipper and pin all 3 layers together - making sure everything is even.  Refer to the photo here for this step.

11.  Now flip these out so that your wrong sides are facing together and give it a little press.  Topstitch.

12.  Repeat for the rear panel.  If you're not sure if you have it correct - pin in place and then flip around while pinned so you can check before you sew.  Oh, you knew that!

13.  Don't forget to topstitch again!  When you are all done attaching your zipper it will look like...

14.  NOW...put your right sides together for the exterior panels, pin, and sew all 3 sides using a 1/2" seam allowance.  You'll need to fidget with it a bit, line up your seams along the zipper, push the zipper up a bit...you'll get it.  You want it to come together all nice and neat.

15.  Once you've sewn around those 3 edges, open up your zipper almost all the way.  Now pin the lining panels together, right sides together.  Stitch around all 3 sides and leave an opening in the bottom.  Clip the corners.

16.  Turn your bag.  You'll be pulling it all through the lining opening.  Sew the lining closed and tuck it inside the bag.

You're done.  How's it look?  I added a little ribbon to my zipper for a pull.

Everytime I do something new - it never turns out that great the first go 'round so practice and in a time or two of making these - you'll be a pro!

Do you have any suggestions?  Did you like it?  Did I screw anything up?  (I wouldn't be surprised :>) ) I'd love to hear from you so please - leave me a comment and let me hear from you.

Of course, post your make it monday projects on my Flickr page so we can all take a look at the gems you are creating.

Next months Make it Monday Sew it up Sunday project is full of Valentine sweetness - a doll blanket OR table topper.  I'll be posting the kits for this project in about a week give or take a few days so you can have them shipped in time for the project post when it comes up (I'm actually posting the Make it Monday Sew it up Sunday February project on January 25th) and you can whip it out straight away for the holiday.

{and just an extra note...I hope you enjoy the ideas and photos on my blog but please note that the content here including photos and text are the property of Trish Preston and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Trish Preston.  For any inquiries, please email me at twopeasinapoddesigns@gmail.com.  Thanks!}

xoxo,

Trish

When I feel afraid or think I've lost my way...

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path"  Psalm 119: 105

You may remember me mentioning a little boy nearby that is the same age as my twins who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  His Mom is friends with a friend of mine from church and I follow their updates on their CaringBridge site.

His Mom posted this today on their site:

Part of me wishes I can get a glimpse into 2010....that I could see the future and what God has planned for Sam this year. I was reading in a devotional today called Everyday Blessings by Max Lucado. This was the devotional for today- December 31st "God isn't going to let you see  the distant scene. So you might as well quit looking for it. He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We do not need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know He leads us and we will find grace to help us when we need it." Psalm 119:105- Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

What resonated with me and in particular, on this New Year's Eve is that 2010 is a year full of possibilities.  I have no idea where it will take me but I do know that this Psalm is something that I frequently say as I prepare for communion.  I always ask for God to light my path and lead me to where He needs me to be.  For all of us - that we have eyes wide open to see what is before us and follow the path.

And as I think about this for 2010 - I have no idea where on earth that path will lead.  I wish I did.  As she mentioned, I wish I too had a crystal ball.

We have had a particularly rough year financially - as have many people.  I don't want to go into personal finance details but the decision for me to work part time so I can be home with our kids all those years ago - well, we felt it more this year than we ever have before.  And it's a real bummer at times.  That decision simply means that we can't do a whole lot of extra things and trying to explain that to our kids can be heartbreaking.  And there are times I feel afraid or think I'm totally lost at where I'm supposed to be going.  Did we make the right decisions?  Faith shines and I know that we have...

This Christmas, I paid for all of it out of my craft money.  Every single gift, which wasn't a lot but it was special to them, paid cash from my craft shows and local sales.  And sales - were dismal.  Everyone is hurting right now.  And all those days I told them to quit bugging me for just a few hours in the afternoon after spending all morning with them so I could sew because I was prepping for holiday shows...well, they finally got it.  They understood how hard I worked and why.  Christmas day, they were almost in tears when they realized that the gifts they were so excited about came from us  - from all that hard work.  It clicked.

But being broke sometimes can be a blessing.  And really, we aren't "broke".  We just don't have the "extras" and what is that anyway?

I think we all learn valuable lessons about what we value.  And stuff isn't it.  It just isn't.  We craft more.  Garden more.  Window shop.  Splurge on dollar shakes at Arbys.  Go to kids eat free nights at Skyline.  We go to the park where they Dad is a Ranger.  We visit with friends.  We bake.  We go to the thrift store to look for treasures.  I'm a major bargain shopper when it comes to clothing and shoes.  We find ways to spoil them but in meaningful ways and ways to do it that make it special - and we love them a whole bunch and they know it, feel it and return it to us and everyone around them.  They make me a better person every day.  Them.  Not because of me as a parent to them.  Because they are amazing little people with a faith of their own and they inspire me to love and live better each day.

I guess, my point is - this Psalm, asking God to guide us, to trust that we will be provided for and to trust the journey we are on is not one that we know where it's going but one that we are meant to be on and will be exactly what we need.  I shouldn't need to know what will happen tomorrow but live for today.

It makes me feel very hopeful for 2010.

I hope you feel that hope and excitement that  a New Year brings and may you be blessed more than you ever could imagine.

Happy New Year!

xoxo, Trish

Etsy schmetsy!

Spent the better part of um, all day, loading new stuff in to the etsy shop.  Wanna sneak peek?

Hmmm...and did I happen to mention that if you find something you can't live without over in my etsy shop and you just happen to be a blog subscriber (it's easy to do - just look over in the sidebar =>) that you'll get a little something extra in your package?  What is it you say?  That's a "new year's surprise" but I promise - you'll love it!  ok...I'll give you a little hint...Gotta get back to making dinner - the hubs has already started without me and the baby is crying because she wants more "cawk-late" - chocolate milk.  I gave her Ovaltine yesterday - wow!  I've created a monster!  She comes in, pointing at the cabinets - "cawk-late! cawk-late!".  What have I done!?

Next post - a zip top wristlet tutorial!

xoxo,

Trish

On the fifth day of doing nothing...

...ok, let's face it.  I'm not really doing nothing.  Ah heck, I've been crafting away.  You know how you can get on little kicks of things that are just enjoyable and you can't stop?  I believe it's referred to as an "addiction" - maybe an obsession, a persistent little nagging itch in my fingers that I can't seem to control.  If I'm not stitching - I'm thinking about what to stitch next.  When will I get my next "hit" - for serious, I think I may have a problem. On my fifth day of doing nothing...

  • I loaded a few more things in my store including these beauties that I made last night.  I have some set aside for Christmas gifts.  I took roughly 18 of them...I know, I know...that means I've made a few more than 20 of these things in the last couple of days...I took them up to the little shop in town where our art guild displays for sale items.
  • I shopped etsy for some great little doll clothes for the two peas.  I bought several things here.  Prices were fantastic.  And being tight on money this season - this little matching girl / doll set fit the bill perfectly.
  • I also bought this for only $5!   Elvis!  Are you kidding me?!  How original!  I love it!
  • And then the littlest pea and I made a run into town to get gloves.

  • After the glove run, littlest pea took a nap and I finished making up these gloves and stitching flowers.
  • My big peas returned from school and we promptly jumped in the car and headed in to town to meet Suann because we were taking a few more things into the shop.
  • We set up.  Peas got a sandwich and a cup of the best hot chocolate on the planet.  Little pea and I shared a bagel and then went home.

And then...after everyone went to bed...I got a hankering to play around some more with those upcycled sweater cuffs.  I've sold  more than a dozen of these up in town this week already, very popular.  Anyway...I created some, well, can we call them "creatures"?

And here it is, well after midnight and I'm blogging.

That's my day 5 of nothingness.  Not really so nothing - other than the fact I'm not doing housework.  My kitchen - which is the size of a shoebox - looks like it hasn't been cleaned it in a month.  It's only been a day - but with next to no countertops - boy, it looks bad fast.

Some fun plans this weekend to celebrate my fathers birthday.  So very thankful to be doing that - my Dad had a heart attack back in July and had to have a stint put in.  The doctor said he was in great shape as my Dad, at 77 years old, still works out at the gym and is amazing.  You'd think he was more like 57.  But, your body just starts to wear out - whether you work out, eat right or not.  Bummer.  But he's doing really well and I am so thankful, thankful, thankful that he's my Dad and that I have this day to spend with him.  He's a super guy, my Dad.  A retired Irish mechanical engineer who loves boats, the Buckeyes and anything old (My Mom :>) and antiques).  He is kind, and generous, and soft spoken, and attentive and loving, and thoughtful.

And because I can not WAIT to give my sister and sister in law their Christmas gifts - chances are, I may give them their gifts tomorrow!  I made them clutches and few other baubles.  I just can't wait!!  I have no patience!

Where Women Create have extended their giveaways - yea!  Amazing stuff over there - find me on Day 4!  Go comment and maybe you'll win something.  And Sunday - we will be giving away this cute little hat. Real good odds at the moment!  Go see for yourself!

Ahh...on to day 6 and 7 of my "doing nothing before Christmas".

wink!

xoxo,

Trish

Day two of the 14 Days of Doing Nothing Before Christmas...

Day Two...

  • Took kids to school
  • Stopped at coffeehouse to pick up owl pin for teachers who placed orders.  Did I happen to mention my kids are selling these and giving a dollar from each one sold to our Childrens Hospital.  Would you like one?  Leave us a comment if so...they are handpainted by the "two peas" themselves.

  • Blogged.  Loaded items to etsy store.
  • Watched TV...see that's "nothing"!
  • Washed all the bedding from all 5 beds and changed all the bedding.
  • Cleaned house and watched more TV.
  • Stitched more wrist cuffs / coffee cup cozies after kids went to bed.  I'm mostly just enjoying stitching.  What is it about the blanket stitch that makes you want to go on and on and on and on...it's fun isn't it?

And just a reminder of our giveaways here and here.  A wonderful little girls hat from Bows and Blossoms and an entire package of goodies from me including a bag and other fun things!

How's your day going?  What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?  What are you giving as teacher gifts?  I could use some more ideas for the end of year...

I think I'll go watch birds in the backyard for awhile and thank God for days I can stop and just be quiet in the moment.

xoxo,

Trish

Day one of my 14 Days of Doing Nothing Before Christmas...

On the 1st day of my 14 Days of Doing Nothing Before Christmas...my true love gave to me...a plate of chicken and stuffing. Ok, not what you were expecting.  But my hubby did make dinner last night and it was pretty good.  And if you recall, he asked me to try and not do "anything" for 14 days.  He wanted me to just relax with no deadlines or rushing around or delivering orders or whatever...I thought I'd blog about my 14 days to see how good I do.

On day 1:

  • Took the kids to school
  • Stopped at the coffeehouse where our art guild displays for sale items and set up my display.
  • Stopped at Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte - Venti size.  Had to do it.  It fills my tummy with happiness.
  • Stopped at McD's for a yogurt parfait and fed it to the baby.
  • Took care of business for our rental property.  Of which I wish would be struck by lightening and burn to the ground.  Long story - someday I'll share that "brilliant" business idea of mine of buying this place so I wouldn't have to work full time.  Brilliant...not so much.
  • Stopped at thrift store.  Bought 4 sweaters to make this

  • Went home.  Ate lunch. Made 12 of these upcycled wrist cuffs / coffeecup cozies.
  • Went to work at my "office on campus" for 4 hours.
  • Home.  Baby in bath and to bed.
  • Made 16 more wrist cuffs / coffeecup cozies.

I think I may have a problem.  That was only day 1.  I mean, there weren't any BIG projects in there.

And I did find this at the thrift store.

This is a Pendleton Vintage wool coat with a real rabbit fur collar.  In the thrift store.  It's in like new condition.  Crazy.  Just beautiful.

I wore it this morning but someone told me they thought it was worth a lot of money.  Is it?  It's really cute.  But I could sure use some Christmas money so I'm going to list it on ebay and see what happens.  I'll keep you posted.

I'll be back with "Day Two" tomorrow.  So far today - I'm doing much better at doing "nothing".  (wink! yeah, right!)

And these little wrist cuffs / coffeecup cozies - these along with a gift card to your local coffeehouse would make a super teacher gift or for a friend, etc.

And I'm going to list some over in my etsy store shortly for $2 plus $1 shipping.  A few more complicated ones will be $3.

DON'T FORGET!!  Go here to the previous post and leave a comment to win this adorable bucket hat from Bows and Blossoms.  AND you can still enter to win a purse, ipod accessory bag, owl pin and pattern from me over at Where Women Create until December 14th.

How's your day going so far?  Hope it's a good one!

xoxo,

Trish

...and the winner is...wait, more free stuff? Oh yeah baby!

How can I ever thank you all enough for joining in with us for all the fun at the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway.

What a blast to meet all of you - and I NOW don't feel like a total geek.  You all are just as crazy and weird as me based on what you are carrying around in your purses.  I feel right at home with you guys!  Ok, most of you.  A kidney stone?  underwear?  a hammer?  There are a few of you - I'm just sayin, you might want to clean out your bags a bit more frequently.

Wonderful Mr. Random Number Generator came up with #288.  Ms. "M" - on December 2nd at 10:43am - an email has been sent to you requesting your mailing address.  You my dear, are the lucky winner.

But wait...we're on a roll here.

Remember I shared that this weekend was C.R.A.Z.Y because my friend Suann and I were doing the marathon of craft shows for the holidays?  We are totally pooped.  And...we are celebrating that our busy season is done with more fun things just for you.

FIRST - Suann, from Bows and Blossoms is introducing a new line of the most adorable bucket hats that are fleece lined.  Perfect to wear on a cold day AND stylish to the hilt!  Love them!  Suann has agreed to give this one away to all of you just for being, well, YOU!  It's made out of sweet little brown cordoroy with pink dots and this wonderful pink blossom adorns it.  Here's what you have to do to win this cute little thing.

Visit Suann at Bows and Blossoms.  Come back here and leave us a comment and tell us your favorite item you found over there and why you like it.  Suann would love to know what you think about her products as she works on trying her hand at some new things - like these hats. (and for serious - you will not find this kind of quality at this price anywhere - and she's offering FREE SHIPPING right now if you happen to find some other goodies you can't live without!)

We will leave the Bows and Blossoms giveaway open until Sunday, December 13th at 8pm EST and then use the random number generator to pick a winner for this adorable hat.

SECOND - to also celebrate the end of year and all our crazy crafting we've done this year - I'm having a sale over on my etsy site.  Keep checking because I will be adding more and more and more stuff at great sale prices - perfect for Christmas giving.  Or just for yourself because gosh darn it - you deserve it, don't ya?!

I'll be posting my schedule for my sewing classes for January and February here soon.

And my husband, the gardener, has requested that for two whole weeks, I schedule nothing.  No deadlines, no projects, no orders - no nothing.  He said he wants me to actually relax for two whole weeks.  I'm not sure how I'll do it.  I'll probably sneak downstairs during babys naptime and while he's at work and start plotting my next projects...I find it almost impossible to do "nothing" for more than a few days.  But, I'll try :>)

I wanted to again, tell you how blessed I feel to have "met" so many new "friends" in this crafty online community - and I'm so very thankful you visit with us here.  I learn from you, am inspired by you, encouraged by you and appreciate you more than I can express.  Thank you.

Don't forget, you have until December 14th to enter the Where Women Create Giveaway (I'm the Day 4 feature!) and there are so many fantastic prizes you can win over there.  You must stop by!

I think I will go take a hot bath and ponder my "nothing" schedule for the week...wish me luck on actually doing "nothing" :>)  Yeah, right!?!

xoxo,

Trish

...and the crowd goes wild!

Relaxing after our family festivities over the weekend - I was blog hopping and stopped over to visit Patty Young in her MODKID Boutique. ...and my kids went wild!

Patty apparently has a new licensed designer working for her and she will be putting out these to die for outfits for American Girl dolls.  My girls instantly said, "Mom - I want one but I want YOU to make it - I don't want to buy it".  Well, hello?  Beyond making little pillowcase dresses for dolls - I've not ventured into this so we'll have to see about that...those tiny little arm holes and all, looks a little challenging to me.

After drooling all over these new things to come from Patty Young...I hopped over to visit with Etsy Team Columbus. You know, all the talented folks from the local area.  I found lots of things to drool over and add to my Christmas list - here are just a few - there is SO much more to browse over there!

Many of these etsy sellers are having sales - so you'll have to browse their shops if you are looking for that special something this holiday.  Each photo is hyperlinked to their shop so go take a peek!

I'm excited about this coming week - because there will be loads of giveaways......over at Sew, Mama, Sew.  Get ready because this is such a fun event!  You'll want to stop by and visit their blog to get the full list of who is participating and by all means, hop back here because I'll have a little something wonderful to giveaway myself.

Well, I'm still so full of turkey, turkey sandwiches, potato soup that I can barely fit my lap top on my lap...so I think I'll go take a nap.  That should help!  :>)

See you all back here on December 2nd for the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway!

xoxo,

Trish

Craft Addict Rehab...

Ok...so here it is.  I wrote an article for a magazine and submitted it.  It was rejected.  And.  After rereading this later - I can see why it was rejected.  Let's just say, I had been spending a lot of time out in the sun.  BUT.  I hope you might find something useful in it if you currently or are planning on selling your crafts...here it is.

You hoard fabric.  Your drawers are overflowing with notions.  You keep buying more fabric when you have no inkling what on earth you will do with it.  It’s so pretty, how could you possibly say no?!   Come on, just one more yard.  What could it hurt?

You start to make excuses for why you must have yet another yard to add to your mountainous stash and then, it starts.  The dreams.  Colorful, crazy dreams of you being surrounded by fabric and buttons and cute little spools of ribbon and the house – an eerie silence falls upon it and your find yourself, free of distractions.

You dream about sewing the most delicious little quilts and skirts and handbags, gulp, dare I say, uninterrupted.  You wake up only to find the imprint of your seam ripper on your face where you fell asleep with your head on your cutting table because you were sewing late into the evening after everyone had gone to bed.  It was just a dream.

Unusual?  Strange?  Not for a craft addict.  And the first step is to admit you have a problem.  Admit, you can’t let a week go by without stopping into your favorite quilt shop.  You can’t let a week go by without sewing a few stitches.  If you go more than a few days, the shakes and ticks start and you find yourself sneaking back over to sit at your sewing machine.  Just a few stitches…I just need…to…sew…a few…more stitches…and then I’ll be…ok.  Really.  Just let me sew…a few more stitches!!

The next step is to believe that there is a higher power that you can turn over your addiction to, restore your sanity.  Yeah, right!?  Who are we kidding?  Once a craft addict, always a craft addict and there is no shame in that!  Higher power?  I’m thinking, like Etsy, Ebay or a local craft show!   There comes a time when you might want to undo a little of that guilty fabric hoarding habit.  There are lots of ways to make your habit into a guilt free obsession thriving business.

Seriously now, you love to craft and love to create for friends and family but there really are some very simple ways to get your addiction hobby to pay for itself.

Local shops

When I first started creating handbags and accessories, I found that our local coffeehouse would allow me to set up a little space inside to display my wares.  For a nominal cut of the proceeds, I was able to make a fair amount of spending money for the month.  I was able to go out with my girlfriends for lunch, maybe buy a new outfit, guilt free, using the money I made from selling my crafts.

Here are a few things to consider when considering selling at a local shop:  Will they purchase your crafts from you at a wholesale price or carry it on consignment?  A wholesale price is generally 50% of the retail price.  For instance, if you make a handbag that would retail at $50.00 then typically, you would sell it to the shopkeeper for $25.00.  Does that allow you as the crafter, enough payment for your materials and labor that went into creating the item?

Some shopkeepers may be wary of new products or simply don’t have enough funds to carry a large amount of inventory.  One way to offer your product to them, almost risk free, is through consignment.  A contract is agreed upon between you and the shopkeeper that states the inventory being offered, a start and end date if necessary of displaying your wares, and a statement of responsibility about what should happen if your products are damaged while in their possession.  The shopkeeper gets to offer your product for sale without purchasing it.  You decide on your consignment price while the shopkeeper is welcome to mark up your item to whatever retail price they wish.  Since they do not own the inventory, often they are willing to mark up only 25% or so and this allows you to get a few more dollars for your product over offering them at wholesale.

Etsy and eBay

Etsy.com and eBay.com are a few of the better-known websites that allow you to set up an online store.  Etsy is a wonderful option because it offers only handmade items.  Their fees for listing are very affordable and the site is very easy to use.  This is a storefront site meaning that customers can visit your site and make a direct purchase, no bidding involved.

Ebay.com conversely is an auction site where you can list an item and people may place bids on it.  The drawback is that the fees are a bit higher.  However, I don’t think there is anyone who has not heard of eBay.  Your chances of getting a higher volume of visitors viewing your wares may be slightly higher on eBay but there is an increased cost to you for that as well.  Ebay also has the option of setting up a storefront and you can offer items at a “Buy it Now” price where no bidding is necessary.

A little hint to drive traffic to your online store; list your items frequently.  For instance, say you have a potholder you’ve made and you have 12 of them to sell.  List them separately, on different days.  Here’s why.  One of the ways both etsy and ebay are searchable for customers is by “recently listed items”.  By frequently listing your items, customers will see your items come up first and then, hopefully, find themselves in your store.

You’ll need to have a PayPal account to accept payment and you’ll have to stock up on shipping supplies.  An excellent way to get repeat customers and word of mouth business is that “first impression”.  You can purchase inexpensive tissue papers and ribbons or use fabric scraps to wrap your customer’s purchases like a gift.  Include a little note and thank them for their business.  Who doesn’t love to receive a sweetly packaged little item in the mail?  Those personal touches go a long way for sustaining your craft addiction sales.

Arts and Crafts Shows

Sometimes, if you have created enough inventory, you might want to consider entering an Arts and Crafts show.  Typically, there is an entrance fee and that gives you a spot at the show to display your wares.  I personally have found these to be either great or a huge flop.  It depends on the weather, the customers of that one day, and who else you are competing with at that event.  They can be long hours but it can be a great way to introduce yourself to new customers in person.  People love to meet the person who crafted the item and so you may find wonderful success selling in this venue.  I have found that if you create a nice variety of items with a wide range of price points, you’ll have a little something for everyone.

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Selling your wares really can be quite simple and allow you to continue on with a guilt free addiction to crafting.  Rehab doesn’t have to be painful – it’s really rather exciting and satisfying to self support your hobby and maybe a bit more.  Who knows?  You could be a budding superstar like Martha Stewart or Amy Butler.  You’ll never know until you try!

Happy Crafting!

(ps I found another interesting article that you might enjoy if you want more info - check out indiefixx here.  Do you have a good experience or advice you'd like to share?  Please leave a comment to share with all of us...I'd love to hear what you are doing or trying in sales)

(pps  blog reader Denise who owns Feather Your Nest had some retailer insight...she left this in the comments but I didn't want anyone to miss this so here it is again.

Good article Trish. As a retail store owner, I’d like to comment on the consignment percentage, few retail store owners will put items in their shoppes and take only a 25% fee. There are many “hidden” costs in operating a brick and mortar store – credit card processing fees alone can be as much as 5% plus a per transaction fee so if the purchase is made with plastic (and 90% are these days) that’s 5%+ right off the top. then there is the tissue and bags to put it in, insurance, electric, heat and the cost of employees to sell it… it all adds up. Any product that is put out on the sales floor has to earn it’s keep for the square footage that it’s occupying. Generally, store owners that take on consignment do it because they don’t have the cash flow to purchase the product out right from the artist. Net profit on few products is 25% so any shop owner that takes a 25% consignor fee is not doing good business for themselves. That said, some places like a coffee shop, that is not in the retail business, might take a smaller percentage like 25% because it’s not space that would be allocated to retail sales anyway, they might use it as a draw to bring customers in, or as shop-ertainment for their customers.

If I were a crafter wanting to sell my product without selling at wholesale prices I’d look more at renting booth space at a craft mall. Those places are in business to make their money off booth rentals and a smaller percentage of the sale to cover processing costs.

Blowin' in the breeze...

Indian summer has made its way here finally. A light breeze has been blowing.  The kids have been able to go out without a coat.  And the farmer from across the street who passed away a few years ago, his boys have been harvesting all the corn lately and we can see their barn again and all the way across their field.

'Tis the season to count your blessings and I have been counting mine.

Blessed to have a healthy family (while I sit here and type this with a runny nose, cough and killer headache - but the kids, all but the littlest one who is sharing my goop, are all well).

Blessed to have a roof over my head today.

Blessed to have a refrigerator, well, not quite full of food.  I need to grocery shop.

Blessed to see the sun shining today.

Blessed to have a car that runs and places to go to.

Blessed to have a big backyard (5 acres - ahh!) to look out upon and enjoy, and enjoy, and enjoy.

Blessed to have friends and family who love me and who I love dearly.

Blessed to have a wonderful teacher for my girls this year who is helping them to make forward motion.

Blessed to have a God who forgives me when I screw up because I do it all the time.

Blessed to have a husband who cleans the kitchen without asking, takes care of kids constantly, and loves me unconditionally.  Very very blessed.

Blessed to have all of you who support me, cheer me on, and help me to reach my goals.  I sincerely appreciate you all so much - you'll never know how very much your support means to me.  I always feel the hand of God pushing me when my friends around me help hold me up.

And I've just been pondering those things lately.  And counting my blessings...

And I was thinking of all of that while I was looking at these, blowin' in the breeze...

Blessed.  Blessed.  Blessed.  Yes I am.

I think I'll add these aprons to the list of "things to make into patterns". Did I mention I have a new pattern out? And did I mention that if you blog about it and link back to me that I have TEN of these patterns I'm giving away.  That's a lot...just sayin...so if you want to enter the giveaway...just blog about the new Sprouts patterns, link back and leave me a comment that you did so.  On Sunday, November 22nd, we'll pick a random TEN winners to get a free pattern.  I would be so appreciative.

Or maybe you want to just leave me a comment about your blessings.  I sure would love to hear them.  Helps me have a better day to know you all are doing ok out there and enjoying your life and blessings.  Please, do share.

I'm really just rambling now...I think it has something to do with my half open eyes because my sinuses hurt so much so I'll just sign off.  I hope you all are enjoying this quiet and busy season.  Take the time to count your blessings.

xoxo,

Trish