{burlap wreath}

Last fall, my friend Lydia and I, did some craft shows around town.  One of the items we made up that were well loved was burlap wreaths. So simple to make and I love the versatility!

:: Here's the how to ::

:: One grapevine wreath ::  Easy to find - hunt down a coupon for Michaels or Hobby Lobby or JoAnn's - and get a nice sized wreath.

:: Burlap :: - I found mine at JoAnn's.  Cut 2" wide strips roughly 10" - 12" long.  Tie the burlap strips on your wreath adding as many as you would like.  Cover the whole wreath.  Cover part of it.  But if you're going to cover ALL of it - then I'd find a wreath form that is as inexpensive as possible since it won't be seen.

:: The accents ::  I made 2 rolled roses and layered them together and added a pretty rose button on top.  I also added a metal number plate found in the scrapbook section at the store.  In addition to that, I used a paper punch and an old book destined for the neighbors garbage, and punched some pretty shapes and added those around my rolled roses.  I propped up a metal star inside the wreath once I had it on the wall.  And I used a long strip of fabric to make a bow to hang the wreath on the wall.

Pretty.  Perfect for Winter.  Or anytime of the year.

{homegrown holiday barter party}

 

This Christmas, I really want to focus on everything BUT gift giving.  I really hate that part of Christmas honestly.  Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my kids smile and all the excitement of Christmas morning.  But I hate the shopping.  I hate the spending.  I hate the pressure on getting "the perfect gift".  The whole commercial aspect of Christmas gives me the hives.

We've told our kids that Christmas gift giving is about celebrating the birth of Jesus where we all get to celebrate in that special day and exchange birthday gifts.  They get it.

But I really hate the race to get everything in order.  Do I sound like a total bah-hum-bug?

I love going to holiday craft shows.  I love going to our little towns holiday festival and parade and watching Santa ride in on the fire truck.  I love going on a drive through the neighborhoods and looking at the lights.  I love sharing a meal with friends and co-workers and giving thanks for our blessings.  I love fires in the fireplace and our tradition of cooking s'mores on Christmas eve while watching Polar Express.

It's all great stuff.  I just hate the spending part.  I hate the pressure of feeling like I have to spend this wad of change at this time of year.  I'm just not going to do it.

And I don't know about you but, this economy has me worried.  I have watched the cost of food go up a lot this last year.  Have you noticed?  Like a block of cream cheese last year was $1.19.  Now, it's over $2.00.  It's like that across the board.  I'm just afraid to spend money because I don't know what is going to happen next.

Currently, my big girls are cleaning out under their beds.  Old toys they have outgrown they are stashing away in a bin I gave them for storage.  From that, I told them to find something special they would like to give to their baby sister.  That way, she gets a surprise - something brand new to her that she has never seen or played with.  The big girls get the joy in sharing something that had been theirs and letting their sister love it.  It's green, recycling at its best and easy on the wallet.

Bah-hum-bug?  I don't think so.

 

It isn't about how much you spend but the thought behind the gift.  Which got me thinking...about this handmade community.  How cool would it be to barter for gifts - it's a great way to save money.  For instance, if you have a service or an item you've made - to offer it up and make an exchange with someone else for an item.  I love to barter.

It could be ad space on your blog, it could be design services, it could be handmade items...what are your thoughts?  If enough people are interested - I think we could pull this off!

I've opened up a Flickr page where you can post items for trade.  Post your contact info and let the trading begin!  I'll leave this open just for 2 weeks, through November 21st.  Hopefully, in that time, you'll find at least a few items that will ease up your holiday list.

I've posted ad space on my blog - view my listing to see how it works.  I've posted my contact info, exactly what the item is and its value.

Spread the word, share this on your blogs, facebook, etc with your crafty friends.  The more that participate, the more fun it will be.  Grab the button - link to the Flickr page and happy trading!  (and saving!)

{my handmade holiday list}

   

I am making my list.

My handmade holidays gift making list.  Have you got yours together yet?

You know what happens, every year, without fail, December 10th or so hits and suddenly I am sewing maniac - staying up late - making all kinds of things for teachers and friends and family.

Not this year.  I promise.  I'm going to start early!  (and if you are already done with all your making and it's still October - I don't even wanna know!!  LOL!)

So I have some Two Peas ideas to share with you AND some serious discounts too!  Sale ended Oct 31st

Teachers

  1. How about a patchwork lanyard?
  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Schoolhouse Clutch pattern.  It holds a full size notepad and it's just cute!
  3. These patchwork wristlets are perfect especially with a little gift card from oh, let's say Starbucks, inside!

For Friends and Family
  1. My favorite go to that my sisters and friends love, Sprouts Scarf(lette)
  2. I am making my Mom one of these table runners this year but with a winter theme in blues and neutral colors and the words "let it snow"
  3. The Hazel Hipster and the Mary Beth Messenger are both favorites of my nieces.
And for all your holiday baking...you can't go wrong with this adorable apron for YOU.
I already have some fabulous holiday prints picked out and on my cutting table to make Patsy Ann Apron tops for my girls for our cookie baking this year.  These are quick and SO easy!!  One of my peas even made one herself this summer to wear as a top - but I'm anxious to make them a few Patsy Anns just for Christmas!  AND Extra fun because you can wear it both IN the kitchen and OUT shopping!  Bonus!
So, along with some free tutorial help here - I have pattern discounts to share with you too!   To help you with your handmade gift giving.  One of my non-sewing friends a few years ago bought me a fat quarter bundle, a new pattern and a gift card to a local quilt shop.  Best gift ever!
ALL OF THE PATTERNS in my shop RIGHT NOW are 15% off. AND on top of that, buy any 3 patterns and get a 4th pattern free. Buy 6 patterns, get the 7th and 8th pattern free.  (Limit of 2 free.).
Sale ends October 31st.
(Be sure to mention in the comments your free pattern selection)
There are tons of handmade holiday ideas out there - do you have one to share?  Leave your ideas in the comments section...and get busy on that crafting list so you can be done early and enjoy the holidays!
Linking up with Today's Creative Blog

Happy Harvest

In case you didn't already know, I love this time of year.  I love especially Halloween!  I love hosting parties and having campfires in the backyard and roasting marshmallows, and eating candy apples and drinking cider.  All of it.  I.  Love.  It.

How about you?  Love it?  Well, I was messing around with trying to create some kind of rustic handmade printable that maybe you could use...for a party invite, to accompany a little harvest gift to a friend, or maybe, if you have an etsy shop, to use as your thank you notes to your customers.  Anyway, I'm new at it.  So not sure that it will quite work out perfectly BUT...you can give it a go, right?

Click on the Happy Harvest Printable 2010 link to open the pdf document.

There you will find two different versions on one sheet.  You should be able to print them off, cut them down, and fold them to use as cards.  Your inside will be totally blank so if you're savvy, create a word doc to fit and then you can print on the inside if you'd like.

What might you use these for?  Let me know if they actually work for you!  I hope they do!  Have fun!

xoxo,

Trish

Me? Hip? Not SEW much...

Ok...well maybe I'm a little hip.  Like SEW HIP...oh, really bad introduction, huh? Well, I've been busy writing patterns, sewing orders and taking care of a million other things going on with our family lately.  But little Sprout and I did manage a quick morning run last week to our local Barnes and Noble.

How lame, right?  Yes, I DID take a picture of Sprout and I actually getting the latest issue of Sew Hip magazine.  This is the first time I've been published and well, I'm tickled pink.

I'm even more tickled to find out that the project I submitted...well, they decided to run it as a series.

It's called a Pocket Full of Posies.  Have I already told you all this before?

So not only do I have a project in this issue but I'll also have features in the next two issues.

And the 3rd in the series...I got a note the other day from the editor.  My project made the cover.  YIPPEE!  That's just so cool...I can't wait to show my Mom.  Seriously...if you recall from previous posts, my Mother mostly displays my work (patterns, art quilts, etc) in her bathrooms.  She claims nobody will miss them in there.  Well, ok.  So I'm sure next time we visit I'll find my article probably framed and hanging over the toilet somewhere.  :>)

The Two Peas took a few photos of me while I was putting together the flower banner that's in the current issue...

I'm kind of anxious to get the banner back...I'm going to hang it in the Two Peas room I think...they love it and it would match their room perfectly.

Hip or not, I'm SO excited.  I would LOVE to know if you get a copy and make any of the projects.  Please share and I'll be glad to highlight you here on my blog.

Busy week ahead...St. Patricks Day is Wednesday!  Big day for our family...can't wait to see them all.

xoxo,

Trish

Junior Ranger Party

The Two Peas recently turned 9 and we had a hard time deciding what to do for a party.  We finally were able to come up with the idea to have a "Jr. Ranger Party" and invite all of their friends to come along on a winter hike, etc. You could do this theme anytime of year and gear it for boys or girls.  We were lucky in that the two peas Dad happens to be a park ranger and the boss at the park where he works so we had "built in expertise!" for our event.

Invitations

A scrapbooker I am not.  I did have some scrapbook paper on hand and a few other do-dads.  I cut the paper and added some cardboard to the inside.  We decided we would stick to a nature theme.  I sewed on scraps to make a butterfly on the front and used some tags to write the number 9 and the two peas names.  We also personalized each invitation and put an initial sticker with the name of the girl being invited on the cover.

Cakes and Cupcakes

We had two parties.  One at home with family.  One at the park with friends.  For our friends party, we had cupcakes that I decorated with owls.  Yes.  Those are owls.  Kind of goofy looking.  I used gumdrops sliced in half for the eyes.  I put a chocolate chip in the middle of each one for the eyeball.  Then I sliced a candied fruit wedge thing in half for the wings.  And used Twizzlers rope for the talons and beak.

For our family party, we had owl cakes.  I used oreo cookies and chocolate chips for the eyes and the Twizzlers rope for the rest.

Decorations

For our family party, I just used some paper lanterns we had from our party last year. I found these in the wedding stuff from Martha Stewart  at Walmart in the craft section.  Near the scrapbook stuff.  I use them alot for parties.  I found the butterflys at our dollar store and pulled one inside of each lantern.

At our friends party, the ranger station was full of cool critters.

A balloon on each childs chair, bowls full of gummy worms on the table and we were all set.  Kept it simple.

Activities

For our friends party, the two peas Dad took everyone on a winter hike to look for signs of wildlife in the snow.  They were lucky enough to come upon a deer that was nestled down, they saw lots of birds and squirrels.  Hikes are easy to do.  You could ask your local park if their naturalist would offer a special hike for your group.  Or you could do it yourself.  Nature bingo is one fun hike theme.  Make a bingo card for each child and they have to search for what is on the card: a bird call, a large tree leaf, a small tree leaf, a nut that has been eaten on, something shiny, a bark rubbing, etc.

Once inside, we had some fun crafts to make.  Sticking with our nature theme...we used those fuse beads to make critters.  I had an owl, snake, flower and more as patterns for them to follow.  

We also made some pins to wear.  I twirled some crafty fur things (I'm not sure what they are called) into a circle, hot glued on a pin on the back and a little stick.  The girls then glued on the eyes, wings and a beak to make owls.

We planned our party to last for 2 hours.  We barely got it all in.  Another half hour would have been good.  By the time they hiked, crafted, ate cupcakes, rootbeer floats and yogurt tubes and opened gifts...we started to run out of time.

Party favors

I made a field bag for each girl.  A very simple bag.  Serge stitched and folding the top down to the outside, I put a decorative stitch around the cuff.  I put each childs name on the strap and appliqued and owl to the bag.  Each child got a monogrammed notebook to take on their hike and record their sightings.

It was a great party with very little preparation.  Easy to do, loads of fun.

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? Me? Why yes, yes I do. You?

Some of you sew.  Some of you don't.  But if you don't...is it fair to say you wish you did?

I hear it all the time.  "I wish I knew how to sew!".  Seriously - anyone can sew!  And so, I've been teaching a few classes about once a month on some original and other projects.  Fun for beginners.  Fun for those advanced sewers.

Last week, we had our TOTES! class.  The idea was that I would share how I draft...ha!  How I "draft" a bag pattern.  Um, a tote bag is a rectangle basically.  Add straps.  Boom!  You're done.

With a few patches and a basic pattern, I introduced them to using offset blocks and a little no sew trick.  Two different ways to make the gussets and how to make the straps.  How to create pockets from whatever scraps you have.  How to use interfacing.  How to insert a snap.  I think that about sums it up.  Wanna see what they came up with?

February, we are sewing up some fabulous accessory bags and learning how to make little rolled roses and more to pin on or attach to barrettes.

March, we are getting ready for Spring with some home dec sewing.  Pillow covers and table runners.  I love making the table runners actually into placemats which you can use on an end table too.

April, preparing for Mother's Day we will be making aprons.

May, end of school year so we will be making teacher thank you gifts.  Notebook covers and coffee cup cozies.

June, ready for the summer - we will be making a classic, pillowcase dresses.

Want to join us?  If you sign up for any 3 classes and pay in advance, you'll receive a $20 discount.  If you've taken a class with me - I'd love to hear what you think and share with everyone.  I love seeing what you all create!  Thanks for sewing with me!

xoxo,

Trish

Baby legs - oh baby!

Why am I the last one on earth to find out about baby leggings?  Seriously?  They are so cute!

I was off in blog sphere somewhere and commented about these cute little leggings and "oh, where did you get those!?".  Handmade.  From a pair of ladies socks.  For serious.  So cute.  So easy.

I found a couple of tutorials I liked here and here.  And you don't need a sewing machine to make them.  You could do this by hand if you must.

And I made some.  Even just bought a pair of St. Paddy's Day socks to make more - ya know, for the Irish in me.  (it'll make my Dad happy to see my girl in shamrocks!).

Yep, there ya go!  Go make ya some baby leggings for the baby you love!  (and add a hat too! )

xoxo,

Trish

Zipper Critters

Looking for a fun afternoon project?  Cute birthday gift for anyone - of any age, heck they are so cute! Over Christmas break, my girls were looking for something to do and so we wandered up to our local fabric store and found this fun little pattern from Indygo Junction.

It is about an hour or less project and really simple.  My girls loved designing it and they use it to store their little MP3 players but they aren't really made to use I don't think.

They are more of a sit on the shelf kind of thing.

It's definately encouraged us to make some softies...the girls have been working on names, stories and all kinds of drawings to make up their own dolls.  I have a few ideas of my own too.  :>)  Not everything has to have a purpose - sometimes you can make something for no reason - just for the sheer cuteness of it!

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

Ahhh-choo! Sniff! Sniff! Oh my, a post FULL of photos!

Sorry about that!  Didn't mean to sneeze all over ya! We seem to have a bit of the crud going around here.

About every two days since right before Christmas, seems like somebody else comes down with the goop.  We've been passing around a wonderful strep bug and colds and goop and ear infections.  Yuck!  We were all doing so well for so long and then kapooey!  Down we all came - sick on Christmas day even.

Yesterday, we FINALLY got to visit with my parents for Christmas.  And I wanted to share some of my Mom's pretty decorations.  See...when we were all growing up - a house of 6 of us - we had a house that was like 2200 square feet.  Give or take.  My parents retired, all the kids left, and my parents built themselves a house that is over 4500 square feet.  Seriously?  I believe this was to hold all of my Mother's pretty little displays.  Well, look here...but be warned - VERY heavy photo post...

I bet you think I'm done right?  Oh...no, that's just downstairs...I grew up antiquing most weekends with my parents.  Explains why I do love vintage stuff so much.  I love this display she has with some paint gear belonging to family...

There was plenty of snuggling with the wee pea who was still sick and hanging out in her jammies.  This girl - no nap all day.  Just wouldn't.  Not a peep.  Not a tear.  Not a whine one.  Fever and all - the girl is one tough cookie and a sweet angel.  She just smiled, snuggled and played when she could all day.

And there was of course ice cream sundae's but this is all I got a photo of...

But before we left...I always tell my kids, please use the potty before we go.  It's a 2 hour drive back home.  I take my own advice and head to the potty.  And, I'm a little confused.

So I ask my Mom..."Um, Mom?  Why is one of my patterns sitting in a basket on the back of the toilet?"  I mean, this is a completely legitimate question, is it not?  My Mom's response, "I wanted to put it somewhere I could look at it".  Huh?!  Is this a compliment...I'm not quite sure.

But I do know that my Mom was quite happy with all of her gifts I gave her.  All handmade - and my favorite I think was the bag I made her and I added one of my little flower pins I made...

And I know...you were expecting a tutorial for that little patchwork wristlet I made for the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway...

If I didn't have a head full of snot, I would have been all over this and had this tutorial done.  Hot tea, vicks vapor rub, vitamins...I'm on it!

Next time, eh?  I'll try...

Happy New Year!!

xoxo,

Trish

Day three just blended right into day four...still, trying for nothing

Day three just blended right into day four of my tour of nothingness before Christmas.  Here's what I'm liking best - I have time to craft for ME!  I have time to try new things - like these flowers I've been eyeing.  Love the vintage look of them and now that I practiced making a few - everyone on my Christmas list will be getting one as a hair pin or a corsage.  Ok, not everyone.  Like, I'm sure my husband wouldn't care for one although he did help me figure out the process for making these beauties.  I know my sister reads and yes...I have one for you too!  Can't wait to give it to you!

And thus day three...

  • I went to work at my big university job.  It's finals week and I've seen some mighty stressed out students this week.  One even cried after sitting down after just a minute...lack of sleep and the pending reality of the "real world" will do that to ya.  Remember those days?
  • I had to stop at the grocery for a few staples before going home.
  • And then hugs and kisses to all as the peas were all headed to bed.

And then I was able to start crafting these precious blooms

Day four isn't even done yet but I can tell you this...work, work, work.

Tomorrow, a meeting with Suann and laundry on the to do list.

Might actually need to do some Christmas shopping for the kids too.

I have some cash finally from my craft shows so I can get them a few things.  This year, things are quite tight.  Will do my best to make it special for them.  They are easy to please and I'm a pretty thrifty shopper.  I do have one big surprise up my sleeve.  Maybe two.  Lots of handmade goodies will be under the tree.  Maybe a few thrifted items but things they will love.  The greatest gift has already been given to us.

Snow fell beautifully outside my office window today.  I think we shall have a white Christmas.  Yippee!

Listening to the "MercyMe Christmas" station on Pandora - very good.  I love Steven Curtis Chapman's version of Away In a Manger.  What miracles came to us that day - and continue to swirl around us each day.

Day five...I'm beginning to like doing nothing.  (but I do have a deadline still for submitting pattern text for the magazine feature...that's hardly a chore)

Wishing you a wonderful nothing kind of day.  What do you have planned for this weekend?  What are you crafting up for the holidays for gifts?  (I did just get a few blooms listed to my etsy  shop - I have MANY more, I just get tired of listing them!)

xoxo,

Trish

PS STILL A FEW DAYS ON THE GIVEAWAY LEFT AND RIGHT NOW, HECK, YOUR CHANCES ARE PRETTY GOOD!  THERE IS A LOVELY LITTLE HAT WITH YOUR NAME ON IT - GO SEE AND LEAVE A COMMENT TO ENTER TO WIN HERE!

The 12 Days of Christmas...

We are in give away heaven here...scroll down below to enter the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway and don't forget to stop by over at Where Women Create on December 4th - you'll find a great prize package over there from our studio - heck, visit all 12 days because there are LOADS of wonderful things being gifted there.

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

Sewin' with my hands tied...

...well, not exactly tied, but let's say very full.  Here's where being a twins Mom comes in handy.  I have a plethora of experience of doing things one handed or no handed and gettin' stuff done.

I'm often asked, "How on earth do you do all that you do?!".  And my answer is...I do not know.  For serious.  For one, I have a super helpful husband who cooks dinner without being asked, cleans my kitchen, um, quite frequently, and spends a whole heck of a lot of time with our kids.  The rest of my house...yeah, that...not so much organized, or clean.  As my Mother said last week when she was here helping, "your house is clean...underneath all the stuff that's laying around".  You know, the 7...oh yes ladies, SEVEN tubs of clean laundry in my bedroom that are folded but not put away.  Yeah, that's "how on earth I do all that I do" (wink! wink!).  It's called, just shut the door when company comes and hide the messes.

SOOOOO....I was prepping for this "craft show" on Sunday...one of my first.  And prepping lots of product and conferring with SuAnn, a fellow crafter who teams up with me frequently on events, and giving myself a serious ulcer in trying to get EVERYTHING done.  Let me backtrack...

Thursday before this event, I had the GREAT idea that we should go to the Zoo for the Wildlights preview night for zoo members.  (I HEART our Columbus Zoo!)  It was a school night, sort of raining and I thought, nobody will be there.  This will be great!  Um, apparently, EVERYONE else had this exact same thought because it was wall to wall people.  Kind of a bummer.  We got our photo taken with Santa.  Well, little pea is barely in the frame as she has this terrified look on her face and is trying to escape.  You can see my hands in the picture holding her back trying to get her to stay next to her sister for a quick photo.  I love it!  It's so funny!  Traumatic for her?  Oh, maybe slightly :>)  No!!  I'm just kidding!  She was fine so long as Santa was a good 10' away or so...close up, not so much.

Many people that night left their manners at home.  That was a bummer too.  Case in point.  We went in to sit with our little ones and eat some packed dinner as well as a couple of things we bought there.  No tables.  Packed.  One table was getting up to leave and we went over and asked to have their table.  They were very nice, said yes, and we sat our two older kids down and then some grown adult, his wife, and their 3 teenage children came over and LITERALLY took the seat out from under me and my husband and said they were sitting there.  I was dumbfounded.  What do you say?  This guy was clearly a jerk.  He's teenage daughter said, Ma'am, would you like this seat?  She saw what her Dad had done but I was too ticked.  I said no thank you and we stood behind our kids and just took care of them.  I can only imagine what must be going on in this guys life for him to think that he would bully some woman with a baby in stroller and two small children for a table.  Really?  But you know what?  Coming home in the car, for as much as my husband and I were "not happy" about our experience, our kids were talking about how they got to touch a sea star, see a shark, and they loved the "real" toy soldier that was marching around and posing for photos.  They didn't even notice it was crowded or the bad manners from others.

They just knew they got to go to the zoo on a school night and see the lights.  That made all my anger go away...they are such good kids.  With no prompting they both said, "thank you for taking us to the zoo".

Spending time with family comes first but that also meant my window for prepping was smaller.  But get it done, we did!  And here it is...

Well...that's pretty much it for this post.  I'm mush brain with thoughts of turkey and family all coming here for four days and...did I mention my house is a mess?  Oh, I must go start loading up bins and hiding my mess!  Happy Turkey week...

ps Up for a giveaway?  Kaye over at Miss Print is giving away a Hazel Hipster pattern...and her blog is fabulous.  Go check her out and follow her adventures.  You'll be glad you did!

xoxo,

Trish

Don't sneeze when you're hiding

1) Spy on people who are acting weird and looking suspishise.  (I love the spelling here!)

2) Don't sneeze when you're hiding.

3) If criminals are being nice to you, stop walking and run away.

4) If you're moving, pick a house with a mystery.

5) If you want to know about someone, go on the internet.

I found of all of those things written on a piece of paper lying in a heap of toys and other junk.  Written in colored pencil by one of the Two Peas.  I'm sure it was copied from a book - I think.  But it totally made me giggle when I found it.

Don't sneeze when you're hiding.

You know, because, then you'll be found out.  This really struck me because one of the things I've been wanting to do with this blog is to get some of YOU out of hiding.  I have found so many new and fun blogs through my readers and I'd love to highlight some of the fun and wonderful things you are creating.  Would you like to be included here on my blog roll?  Start sneezing!

I have a new link section called "Crafty Friends".  I'd love to include your blog there.  Leave me a comment with a link to your blog and a short description about your blog.  Once in awhile, I'm going to highlight some of you right here!  That way, we can all find new blogs to visit and enjoy.  Sound good?

 

Alrighty then...would you like to come and visit with me in person?  I have some craft shows coming up and I'd love for you to visit.  Print off a page from the blog or pull it up on your phone and bring it to any of the shows.  I'll extend to you 10% off any one item!

 

Go here to see where I'll be in November and December.  I'll have some kids shirts and skirts.  Upcycled jeans too.  Key fobs, pocket tissue covers, wallets, accessory bags, scarves, lanyards and of course, purses.

What are you making for Christmas gifts?  Do share your ideas...we could all use a little inspiration.

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.

Christmas come early...

Remember this?

And this?

And this?

Boy, do I sure remember it.  Our very first vacation with our little pea.  A trip with my Mom and Dad.  Sun.  Fun.  And sweet memories.  And lots of rest.  Oh, sweet rest.  How wonderful it was to get away for a bit.

So much rest in fact that I was able to cross off some of those things on my "dream list".  One of those things was to start writing articles and producing projects to submit to magazines.  So I did.  I wrote an article while we were on our trip.  It was about selling your crafts and supporting your craft addiction.  I thought it was pretty funny.

I sent it into an international publication.  They weren't sure what to make of it.

And that's ok.  I'll share it with all of you next post.  I think you might enjoy it.  Especially if you are trying to take that next step into selling your crafty-ness to help pay off that huge fabric stash you have ...yeah, selling off a few things might be helpful.

Anyway.  Where was I?

Oh yes, so I sent it to just one magazine and they weren't sure what to do with it.  But, they liked my blog.

They liked some of the projects I have shown.

And they commissioned me to do three special projects for their Spring issue.  They are brand new - never before seen - super cute, cottage style, fun projects that I hope you will just love.  I've been very busy sketching up these new ideas and drafting out the instructions.  I can't share anything with you yet but when I can - believe me, I WILL!

That was my big news.  I told you - probably a much bigger deal to me than to anyone else but my hubby, the gardener and I were pretty darn excited.

So the family has all been called in to help me meet my deadline.  All of the peas grandparents, the gardeners Aunt, my sister...I've been asking for loads of help to keep an eye on the littlest pea for me so I can sew and design and make some progress.

Tuesday, it was Aunt C.  Aunt C. just retired from being a buyer for a MAJOR retailer.  She used to be in Paris, Milan, Rome etc about every 6 weeks for work and now, she's home and finding her passions.  She and her husband have always gardened but now they are planning on "farming".  And Aunt C - she is an amazing A.MAZ.ING cook.  And she's writing a cookbook.  I won't share the theme with you until she's, you know, published, but it's unique and you will love it!

When she came to watch little pea - she brought all of this.  Just a taste of her gourmet goodness...

I hear ya...yum, I know.  Serious yum.  And Friday, my parents will be here.  Think my Mum might bring something good too?  I sure hope so because my cooking skills have sort of dropped off lately.

For instance, tonight, dinner was homemade broccoli soup (ok, that was pretty good) and tomato toasts.  My kids love these little toasts.

Tomato toasts, as I call them, is just french bread sliced, butter with a little garlic salt on top and some cheese -swiss or jack.  I toast them then add a slice of tomato and more cheese and toast again.  That's all it is and they love them.  And that's about as fancy as it's gettin' around here lately.

So that's my Christmas come early.  A contract to contribute my projects to a magazine feature.  And a load of homemade goodness and even more kindness from family.

Aunt C. told me this the other day, and it really lifted me up and made me remember how I got *here* in the first place...

Just keep remembering that God is guiding you, His ideas, His love is propelling you forward! The more you trust that, the less pressure you will experience...not easy, but definately big rewards.

Big rewards.

Hope all is well with you...

(ps don't forget - I still have a bunch of THESE to giveaway!  All you have to do is blog about them - announce them, whatever - and link back here.  Then leave me a comment that you did so.  And for that, 10 of you will get a pattern for the Hazel Hipster)

xoxo,

Trish