Monday, March 12, 2018

Guest Blogging for Gypsy Spoonful!

I am so excited to be guest blogging for Gypsy Spoonful!  As a Gypsy Spoonful shop owner and Facebook group admin, our focus is not just about running our own shop, but also building a community of American handmade businesses.
Click the pic to read some of the tips I have learned about product photography!

If you are interested in purchasing the lighting set up I have, feel free to check it out here:

Please be advised, this is an affiliate link.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hi there! Heidi here...

Well hello there! Long time no see!  I'd apologize for my disappearance from blogging but let's be honest, sometimes life just gets to be too crazy and we have to cut back.  So here I am, getting back on the blog thing and working on all things Stuff N Junk by Heidi.

Some difficulties I have been working around when it comes to blogging have been content and time.  I don't want to bore you with the same old song and dance, so I am constantly starting blog posts and then they are saved into my draft folder, rarely to bee seen again.  Side note, this post was started in December 2017.

Of course the other struggle is time.  Back when I was blogging more consistently I had smaller children that took naps!  Now I have two school-age children that I have taken on the crazy challenge of homeschooling!

So what direction do I want to go?  I have thought a lot about this blog and where I want it to be, what would I enjoy writing about?  It was a long journey of brain-dumping and scratching out ideas, but I really kept coming back to sewing.  Because I love to sew.  I'm not necessarily talking about the embroidery that I do for my business, don't get me wrong, I really love that I am able to do what I love for work, I just don't do enough selfish sewing. 

Over the last few years, I have been purchasing fabric from different online sellers, as well as diving into the world of digital patterns.  I have stockpiled quite the stash of fabrics and patterns with the intention of creating things for myself and my kids.  You know, cause when underwear costs more than a hamburger, it's time to learn to make the chones!

So that is my welcome back!  I am jumping back on the wagon and working on stitching up some bloggy-style posts of fabrics and patterns, even the occasional favorite sewing tools, like my go-to scissors, finding and using binding clips, all wrapped up in my charming sense of humor and creative use of pop culture references!  I will add links to where I purchase these gizmos and gadgets a-plenty (see what I did there?) and as so many professional bloggers do, you will start finding affiliate links in my posts and sidebar because let's be honest, time is money and Heidi's gotta pay the bills...   So I can buy more fabric!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your favorite pattern designer, fabric shop, tools and tips and I will do my best to check them out and include them in future blog posts!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Trying to write a blog with two kids in the house

So, apparently I wrote down this title on 6/4/16, and here is it 7/10/16 (cause yeah, I'm writing this at midnight) and this is actually the first sentence...  That should tell you quite clearly what it's like trying to write a blog with two kids in the house!

Well, it's summer here.  We are still doing workbooks with the kids (off and on) to get through the summer hours.  It's busy for me because my "day job" is office manager (cool title right?) for my dad's HVAC company, and in California, we get some nice hot summers!  Needless to say, between my day job, my family, trying to build my sewing business, there's not a lot of time left in my day for blogging.  I have realized in the last few weeks though, that not only do I miss blogging, I need it.

I don't have a lot of interaction with people at work.  I mean, I talk to a lot of people on the phone, but mostly it's me and the kids; my dad and my step mom, but it's not really "social".  When I'm not working, I'm still working, so trying to get me out into the world becomes difficult for various reasons.  So I have taken to the computer when I can.  Don't get me wrong, most of the time I am trolling Facebook in my machine embroidery groups, or if I need a break from things I find some random movie on t.v., but for the most part, it's a lot of working and I still need somewhere to go to just get it all out...  Sorry, hahahaha.

I did plan ahead this year and put in my purchase order for Samie's school books on the very first day.  Hoping we get those before school "starts" but it sounds like when we order with the Charter school that things tend to get delayed, so that is unfortunate because I can't really create a lesson plan without the books...  Next year I will do it differently.

So, what are we doing?  Well, we will be trying Excellence In Writing this year.  My dear cousin, Sarah, has been recommending it for years.  Have you checked out her blog, Amongst Lovely Things?  She has such a beautiful way of writing, it would make you jealous of how amazing she is if she wasn't telling you all the time how amazing she's not...  Don't let her kid you though, she's pretty darn amazing.

We will be using Math In Focus, and for this year we will be using borrowed books from the Charter school for Science and Social Studies.  If you know of some good, secular lessons for any of these please feel free to comment below.  I really didn't like MyWorld Social Studies.  I guess because of the way we purchased it (via that we didn't end up with access to all of the online features, but I don't think that would have helped, it just wasn't a great fit for us.  I'm not sure if I will try something different for Evie this year or just use the curriculum because we already have it.  Maybe I will like it better the second time around?  I am also planning to add in lessons from Confessions of a Homeschooler for both Social Studies/Geography and Liturature.  I really love her blog as well and her printables are fabulous!

We do have curriculum for music, art, Latin and etiquette.  Yes, that might be an odd mix of lessons, but I figure I'm an odd bird, so it works!

I also realized recently that I haven't read anything in a long time, so I'm going to be working on that as well.  I mean, it's not like I'm busy, right?  I'm not going to go crazy like I normally do, but on days that I can get up early enough before the kids and just have some quiet-brain moments, well those are much better days.

So yeah, busy summer at work, busy sewing up all kinds of goodies for Stuff N Junk, busy playing with my kids and my planner and this new paper crafting memory keeper kind of thing that I will post about soon, but you know, just keeping busy!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Revisiting, Revamping, Putting Together A Game Plan

Greetings Stuff N Junkies!  It's been a while, how have you been?  Life can get crazy, right?

You know me, I'm hanging in, doing my thing.  I don't think I've found a "rhythm" to life but something drew me back to the computer, so here I am.

It's been almost a year since my last post, so much has happened!  We are finishing up Samie's first year of Kindergarten homeshooling, both girls are excited to be spending lots of the summer poolside at Papa's house while mommy works, my Etsy shop took off like a rocket around September leaving me crashing somewhere in January!  I know other things happened that I just can't think of, but school, work and Stuff N Junk has really been driving the year in top speed for us.

So, what's next?  Well, this year I am working on taking a step back with my business, going over things that I definitely sped past last year and I'm working on how to grow my business, my creativity, my spirit.  I'm learning new things about not just my business, but also my own sewing, my photography skills, and certainly my organization; or lack thereof!

I can't promise that I will post as regularly as I once did, at least not at first, but that will be my goal; to reconnect with all of you Junkies (I think there are ten of you now, Hi Mom!) and not just to push what I'm selling but what I'm actually doing, what I'm learning.

For the rest of this month, I will be learning about all those steps I skipped when setting up my Etsy shop.  Let me tell you, there is tons and tons of information out there, but it can get so overwhelming!  I'm so glad I found some youtube videos of Renae Christine last year!  I actually was searching for creative ways to package my orders (yup, that's totally a thing and blew my mind how detailed some people get!) but I just loved the way she explained things, her quirky personality got me to click the "subscribe" button and I'm so glad I did!  Now I'm following along a webinar series and going back through her earlier youtube videos to hone in on details I never even knew I missed!

As always, if you have tips, tricks, inspiration, feel free to comment or link a blog, video, article that is sewing related!

Talk to you soon Junkies!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Super Old Post About My First Experience Making Bias Binding!

I've been meaning to write up this post for a while now!  Ah life, how it comes and goes...
One weekend event, forever ago, I saw these adorable little girls wearing cute little red, white and blue petti-skirts and I thought "What a crappy mom I am, I don't make cuter clothes for my kids!"  In fact, I don't really make much for the girls.  I made a Christmas dress and coat for Sam in 2011, but I never even finished her Belle costume from March the same year!  I had a plan, I was going to make something for my girls to wear  for 4th of July 2012!  I even had matching outfit panels that I bought (mumble) years ago.  Cut out the panels, started sewing, needed bias binding.  Generally that is no problem, I just "run on" down to the store and grab some up, right?  Well, wanted something cuter than the "norm", something that might match a bit better.  And then I remembered this post from Pinterest!  Sure, doesn't sound too difficult, right?
Well, I wasn't about to invest the buckaroo's into the machine until I knew how hard it really was to make this stuff by hand, not to mention the over-all cost.  Went to my local fabric store armed with coupons.  According to the instructions, I should have been able to get about five yards of tape with just a fat quarter!  For those of you non-sewers, a fat quarter is a pre-cut piece of fabric, cotton, that is 18"x22".  Now what I didn't pay attention to was the difference in the width of my strip, so I bought two fat quarters, they were on sale for 40% off.  I also bought the tape "maker" which is a little metal triangle thingy that sort of "folds" the fabric and then I run a hot iron over it to set it all in.  I had a 50% off coupon for that, and then got 15% off the whole purchase!  Bias tape in the package costs $1.99 regular price and my directions said I needed two packages per outfit!  Basically I bought everything (with the help of my coupons) for the price of the regular tape, but I can keep making more tapes because the "maker" can be used over and over again!  I felt I got a deal at least on that part.  Then I started freaking out about how much time it was going to take me to make it all!  Well, it didn't take much time at all!  It might have taken me just over an hour to cut, sew, press, then measure and cut my strip.  The pressing the bias using the machine may have taken about 30-45 minutes.  But take into consideration, this was my very first time making bias tape!  Best news though, because I was making such a small about of bias tape I only ended up needed one fat quarter!  I loved the way the final product turned out and I can't wait to make more tapes!  Instead of using the plain-old solid kind, now I can use complementary fabrics that add a little pizzazz!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In the Hoop

I have taken a little break from blogging, you know, in case you haven't noticed.  And some of you, like the one or two of you that read my blog, may have been wondering, "What happened to Heidi?"  Well, I've been around.  I'd love to say that I've been "busy" but that hasn't completely been the case.  Mostly, I ended up taking a break from blogging because I simply did not have enough time in my day for everything going on.  Not that it was all that much, but between working, homeschooling Samie, Evie's lack of wanting to sleep, and my "new" obsession with in-the-hoop embroidery, I just didn't have enough time (or thoughts left in the day) to get down in print.
Thanks for hanging out while I got my stuff together!
So, I am in the process of re-vamping my Etsy shop.  Eventually I will get back on track making baby items, cause I do really love those!  For now though, my shop is filling up with super-fun, in-the-hoop embroidery items.  Don't know what ITH (in-the-hoop) embroidery is?  Well, in short, it is projects that are mostly or entirely made in my embroidery machine hoop!  Go have a look at my Etsy shop, go on, I'll wait...
Tee-hee, yup, masks, tic-tac-toe boards, felt puzzles, even non-paper dolls!  They are almost as much fun to make as they are to play with!

So what prompted me to come out of the shadows and share all of the happenings with you?  Well, I just finished a project for contest I entered, and while I may not have won, it's really just another example of how machine embroidery has really got me stitching out of my comfort zone!  If you have an embroidery machine or are thinking of getting one, be sure to check out Whimsy Willow Designs!  Super cute embroidery designs and they stitch out beautifully!  The owner, Sara, also has a Facebook group, be sure to check it out if you are on Facebook, for freebies, updates and special sale info!  WWD has an amazing monthly membership, for one low price, you get ALL of the designs released that month!
It was the fan group and the monthly membership that started me getting crafty in a whole new way!  The challenge was, take the WWD ITH Feather design, stitch it out, and make something super creative with it!  Let me tell you, those judges may have had a more difficult challenge than the contestants!  Be sure to check out the fan group for the creative ways other ladies used this design!

Once I saw the feathers, I had a few ideas.  I really liked the idea of doing a headdress, a feather necklace, or some dream catchers for my girl's room.  Someone else posted the most beautiful headdress I could have ever imagined!  I knew I just didn't have the idea well enough in place to do a necklace, and after searching how to make a dream catcher, I knew that was the direction I wanted to go in.  Evie is obsessed with blue and anything Frozen themed, Samie loves pink and her favorite movie is Sleeping Beauty, so I took those two "themes" and I ran with them!  For Evie's feathers I did shades of blue thread and Samie got shades of pink.  I embroidered the feathers on white cotton calico with a white-on-white, tonal vine print.  I used this video tutorial for directions, as I have never actually made a dream catcher before.  I learned from the video that I would "need" something to represent the "spider" for my dream catchers, so I went back through the WWD website and found a few designs I wanted to add to my projects, a snowflake, for the Frozen theme and a rose, for the Sleeping Beauty theme.  I had a bunch of yarn that I knew I could use, glow-in-the-dark thread that I wanted to use for the spider web, all I needed was a ring.  BAM, found some left-over glow sticks with the adapters, and I was ready to roll!
Sorry ya'll, no tutorials, just used the video, the materials listed and a hot glue gun!

Okay, gotta run.  I can't promise any routine in my posts, but I'll do my best to keep you more in the loop, or should I say "in-the-hoop"!

Have a super-craftastic day!

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Love Overalls!

Seriously, I have always loved overalls!  I would wear them as often as I could when I was younger.  I even got a couple pairs when I was pregnant with my kids, although I didn't end up wearing those ones much.  I love overalls!  They are comfy and who doesn't adore all those pockets, right?
Years ago I bought some adorable blue corduroy fabric with little cows on it with the intention of making overalls for my then-pre-school-aged cousins.  Yeah, there's a serious age difference going on!  So I cut my tissue paper patterns, laid out the pieces "just so" and cut my fabric, then I put it all away to work on when I had more time to devote to putting them together.  Fast forward, um, well, let's just say it's been more than ten years and those overalls are still sitting in a bag, waiting to be made.  I did actually pull the fabric out about a year ago, thinking they might fit my own kids, but honestly, the directions to put them together were just more than I wanted to deal with.  I think I actually got the pockets on the fronts, maybe the backs, but they never looked quite lined up, and I just didn't want to keep going if they were going to be crooked.
Recently I found Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop and when Amy, the owner/designer, started posting previews of her overall jumper, I was smitten!  It was exactly the look I wanted to make for my kids!  The great thing about PAB is that she offers a few free patterns on her website to try out.  I can't even imagine what it takes to figure out and put together a paper pattern but these are amazing!  What I didn't realize was that I have actually been wanting to pick up her Classic Footed Pajama pattern for about a year now but never thought to really look at her site, I had no idea what I was missing out on!
First of all, you get the pattern for an incredibly reasonable price and most patterns come in sizes 3 months to children's size 10!  You can't get a single tissue paper pattern in that many sizes!  Plus, since it is a digital file, you can print it off as many times as you need!  For me, I print the pattern in black-and-white, then I use pattern tracing paper to trace the size I need.  I prefer using the pattern paper (similar to interfacing) over printing a new pattern only because my printer uses up ink very quickly.  I am planning to purchase some accordion files to store the original printed pattern and each traced size in the same area.

The directions for the patterns (well, for every one that I have gotten so far) comes not only with detailed instructions but lots of photos for easy reference.  The photos are great because they are not those black-and-white diagrams of what some manufacturer thinks the items should look like, PAB instruction photos are full color, actual project photos, some include additional markings.  Again, in a effort to not allow my printer to force me into bankruptcy, I actually use my Adobe Reader on my tablet to scroll through instructions.  I am even able to "mark up" my notes using Reader, so if I decide to go out of order (which is something I do a lot) I can mark what steps I have done so I don't miss a thing!

I have to say though, one of the greatest things about these patterns is the support from not only the designer but also from her testers and other sewists!  Amy has a blog where she shares tutorials for patterns, updates followers on new patterns or news, offers free tutorials (and patterns) for designs not in her store and also shares mash-up tips where you can take patterns and mash-them-up to make your own hybrid patterns!  There is also a Facebook page and group (this is a closed group and you must request to join) to get help with patterns, ideas, even great places to purchase fabric!
So!  When the Oopsy Daisy Overalls Jumper was being released, I just knew I had to have it!  The great thing is, there are lots of ways to get a discount!  I not only got the jumper during a Thrifty Thursday special sale, when I added the Okie Dokie Overalls (pants/shorts) there was a coupon code for $3 off!  I did happen to have twill fabric that I wanted to use for these patterns, and in the Facebook group, Amy was doing a sew-along, which is fabulous because it helps to break down the pattern and addresses any issues people might be having with making the patterns.
I had every intention of sewing along with everyone else, up until I found out my iron was broken.  I was so bummed!  At the end of the sew along, people were encouraged to post their completed photos for a chance to win a store credit!  Even though I didn't finish in time for the "contest" I was able to borrow an iron in order to get the overalls made.  After making them, I will never (well, at least in my foreseeable future never) buy another tissue-paper pattern again!  Even as a work-at-home-mom of two little girls, the jumper took me about four or five hours, including cutting time, although it was spread out across a couple days.  When I was ready to make the overalls, they took me significantly less time to put together!

 I seriously can't wait to make my next patterns!  In the next week I have plans to make Halloween costumes for my kids!  Be sure to check that out here.
I have about a dozen patterns now from PAB, and I love the variety.  Since Samie loves dresses so very much, I have a feeling my next few projects are going to be for her.  I also bought patterns to make snow pants and jacket, a zippered hoodie and a camisole and panties pattern, since Samie is so hard to shop for when it comes to undergarments!  I have to admit, my wishlist includes pretty much every pattern on the site, but from what I have seen in the Facebook group, most of these patterns go together incredibly quickly!
Happy crafting!