Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Operation: Easter Dresses...

You know, I have been sewing for a VERY.  LONG.  TIME...  And I have a horrible addiction to fabric and patterns!  Even before I had my own two girls, I was buying fabric and patterns on the off chance that I had a girl of my own or nieces.  Then the real world interferes and I have to earn that paycheck that helps to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs.  But oh, wouldn't I love to be able to SEW those clothes!  I always believed I would sew for my kids, especially if I had girls.  I'll be honest though, it is really hard just to keep up with the day-to-day!  I'm lucky, most days I get to work from home, and my kids get to be with me whether I'm at my office or at home.  I have been able to take care of them when they are sick and not miss out on work.  I am able to play with them in between my other tasks.  I just can't make it to the sewing room as often as I need to in order to get the big projects done.
This year I made a list of the things I really wanted to do.  So far I have done none of them.  In January I wanted to whip up some felt "paper" dolls for the girl's Valentine's Day surprise, you know, instead of candy.  I got one done, on Valentine's Day!  For St. Patrick's Day I thought I might make them some embroidered shirts, since I have that fabulously fun machine.  Nope, I don't even think I dressed them in green that day!  Then I got busy with some other sewing projects, a paid project even, and I didn't end up making anything for Samie's 4th birthday like I wanted.
I vowed to make the Easter dresses.  I bought the fabric too many years ago to remember.  I lucked into purchasing the pattern and just enough fabric for two dresses in the sizes I need.  Now, here we are, five days from Easter and I hadn't even started yet!  But I am a machine when it comes to being under-the-gun, so we are going to give it a try!
First step, I have to trace the patterns...  I have one pattern and need to make two dresses in two different sizes!  I have been watching some sewing shows and learning a bit, even took a Craftsy sewing class, so I knew I wanted to transfer the pattern from the store-bought tissue type to something more stable.  I got this from Joann Fabrics.  So, that is pretty much where I am right now...  I have about half of the pattern traced and labeled, which took about half an hour.  By tomorrow I am hoping to have my pattern pieces all traced and cut and my fabric washed, dried and pressed.  The goal is to have all of my fabric ready for sewing by Friday.  I have a lot to get done, especially since we offered to have Easter dinner at our house and we still have a lot of housework to do to be ready!  And of course I don't really have dress shoes for the girls, and I hate buying them at this time of year because they won't wear them again, so I did find a pattern I am dying to purchase to make matching fabric sandals!
Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Switched Store Sites

I had an Etsy shop...  Actually I still do, and I may plan to still list small items there, but I just get so overwhelmed by fees!  You see, everyone wants to charge me in order to sell my Stuff N Junk, which makes it so much harder for me to figure out how much to charge!  Etsy has fees, Paypal has fees, Ebay has fees, shipping costs fees...  There is an upfront fee and a percentage fee, and sometimes the percentage fluctuates depending on the amount of purchase or transfer.  Confusing?  Yeah, I agree!
You see, right now I am not making items to get "rich".  I am making items from the heart and selling them in order to be able to put money back into my business.  I am not making much profit on my sales, definitely not making oodles of extra cash on labor, that's for sure!  I even looked into creating my own online store, but I simply don't have the kinds of sales to support that.  If nothing else, I can be completely honest about that!
Recently I came across a website called Storenvy and I couldn't believe what I found!  NO FEES!!!  No listing fee, no percentage of my sale, no randomly hidden fee once I made a sale.  They do offer additional options if you want to pay for your store/site/marketing but that should be expected, after all, they are providing a service!  How did I come across this fantastical site?  Well, I know someone that sells hairbows...  Lely's bows has both an Etsy store and a Storenvy shop and it is very important for those of us just starting out to show some support and put up links, you see, even for those sites that charge fees, they don't advertise for you, you really have to promote yourself.
The benefit to changing over, I don't have to stress out about raising prices to make money on my Stuff N Junk!  You see, I save receipts, check online prices of my materials as well as competitor products and I try really hard to keep my prices fair and reasonable.  I put a lot of love and time into each item I make and while I always consider my time precious, I also value my prospective customers.
So, feel free to check me out over at Storenvy and check back often because over the next few weeks/months I will be doing my best to list new items!

New Year, New Stuff N Junk!

I know, it's been a while since we have chatted...  Well, actually, if you are out there in the cyber world still chatting, I am listening (or reading) about all of your amazing adventures, I just haven't been sharing much of my own.  What have I been up to?  Oh, I wish I could tell you that I have had so many exciting adventures!
I got pretty busy just before summer arrived, with the news of a niece arriving in the Fall, I got to work planning and preparing for the projects I would make!  Of course I over-planned and did not finish every project, I think I had a dozen projects planned, I did complete a LOT of those lovelies!

I had a goal of making outfits for a November trip to Disneyland but did not end up making even one outfit.  Sadly I just didn't have the funds to be able to create new vacation wardrobes for my little girls, but we did have a grand time at the Happiest Place on Earth and followed-up the fun by taking a trip to Arizona to visit my Grandmother and family for Thanksgiving.

The happiest news of the year was the message that my brother and his family would be making a trip home for Christmas!  I hadn't seen my brother in about a year-and-a-half and I was incredibly excited to meet my niece for the very first time!  I finally finished a travel bag I had started for my nephew, made a Raggedy Ann doll for a Christmas present and finished out the year by making a special blanket "friend" for my niece's dedication!

All-in-all it was not as productive a year as I had hoped it would be but I did finish on a high note!  I have even kept up a minimal amount of sewing into the new year!  We aren't even through the first month and I have completed some potty training pants to assist in the adventure of finally getting my oldest out of diapers!  Over the last couple weeks I have switched my shop over to storenvy, have new business cards and finally took the leap and even launched my own website!  I have BIG plans this year to truly (and finally) get my sewing business out there and I am so happy for all those that have stuck with me this far, as well as any new passengers that want to join the ride!

This year my ultimate goal is to have regular stock in my online store.  I plan to keep an inventory of hand made bags, blankets, nursing covers, pillow covers, cart covers and will be introducing my cloth diapers and training pants once I have them adequately tested.  I will be working on my photography and photo editing skills this year.  I used to love taking pictures and over the years have found it to be such a chore I ultimately gave up.  Don't even get me started when it comes to photo editing, I'm a complete novice!  So that will be a fun adventure to take with you all!  My goals also include blogging a bit more than I have been, so while I may not overwhelm you with my weekly endeavors I will do my best to keep you up to date on anything new and exciting!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter 2013 Sewing!

Once upon a time, many years ago, I thought I would be the kind of mom that would make TONS of clothes for my kids, especially if I had a little girl!  Then reality kicks in, I ended up having two girls and very little time for sewing.  Alright, so that's not completely true.  Truth is I make very little time for sewing...  Yes, for my older daughter I have been able to make a few things, but some of the play-clothes, the costumes, I have never finished!  So I sat back and made a decision, I don't have to make tons of clothes for the kids but I do want to make special clothes for them!  I told my husband that from now on I at least want to make special outfits for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, if I can squeeze in some extra projects-all the better!  Then I started to panic because I made this decision three weeks before Easter and we just went on a trip to Arizona and had a trip planned to visit family in Northern California and between bills, the cost of the trips, and limited time I wasn't really sure I would be able to pull it off.  I dug through my patterns and fabric that I have been storing up.  I have been trying to find uses for my fabric stash for years!  Downside to working for a fabric store is buying up bolts of fabric thinking someday you will use them!  I had some pretty cute fabrics, and some adorable patterns, but I was trying to be realistic about time and materials so I picked this pattern from my collection:
I didn't have any cute pillowcases, but this pattern gives directions on how to make the outfits out of fabric-by-the-yard.  I happened to have a yard of some pretty pastel boarder print and half a yard of a coordinating plaid.  I checked the measurements and decided to make my older girl a top with shorts and my younger girl the dress.  I was a bad girl and I did not match up my plaids.  I was a little worried I would run out of fabric, and I needed enough left over to also make some bias binding.  I got up on a Saturday morning, got myself and the kids fed, then told my husband I would be sewing the rest of the day.  I was able to cut out all the pieces I needed, including the extra square for binding!  I always refer back to this tutorial for binding, it's the best one I've found so far!  I did alter the pattern just a little because after making my super cute binding I realized the directions want you to hide it by rolling it back and sewing it down!  I got the shorts completely done and the dress for my younger daughter only needs the ribbon ties.  The top for my older girl also needs ribbon for the straps and I have to do something to hem it.  Can't wait to take some pictures!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My November Sewing Challenge

I created a challenge for myself because I do not sew enough for my kids.  I don’t sew enough in general, well, to be honest I just don’t finish enough, but either way, I have two little girls and pretty soon they are going to be big enough to tell me they don’t want to wear clothes their mommy made them!  I figure I better take advantage now, while I still can.
Every year we plan multiple trips to Disneyland.  We generally have an annual trip in October and then go back every few months for shorter trips.  Now that we have kids, Christmastime at Disneyland is a big deal!  This year we are considering taking a week off before Thanksgiving, go a bunch of days to Disney and then head to my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.  It’s going to be quite the adventure, ten days total.  Right now I am in the process of making cloth diapers for my younger daughter.  She has bad skin reactions to most disposable diapers so the hubby finally let me go hog wild and buy the stuff I need to make up my own diapers.  My first goal is going to be making 18-24 diapers by November.  This will give me three days of diapers before I need to do laundry and a day for drying.  Second goal?  To have 12-18 cloth leak-proof training pants for the older girl.  We have been working towards potty training.  I think we are being held back by the diaper.  She’s too comfortable in diapers and disposable training pants.  By changing to leak-proof, she will feel the wetness and hopefully want to get out of it!  Alright, so far not too bad, right?  Today my ideas achieved Blue Sky record levels!  Every day I see these amazing mom’s posting pictures of outfits and dresses they have made for their kids.  Not only that but they are also making dresses and outfits for sale!  Want to see a few?  Check out Gorgeous Girls Boutique or My Kids Drawers both on Facebook.  Their designs have inspired me to want to create a vacation wardrobe for my own girls!  Yes, you heard me right, a vacation wardrobe!  You can see my ideas form on my Pinterest board called November Sewing Challenge.
So far I have come up with nine different themed outfits, all Disney inspired of course!  Princesses, fairies, Pixar and even villains will make their mark on my designs!  After hours of planning general ideas I will continue to “Pin” my ideas and inspiration until I am able to start purchasing fabrics and digging in to this challenge!
In the mean time, I do plan on getting some sewing and posts done regarding my adventures in cloth diaper sewing, training pants sewing and the usual bit of randomness I tend to do.

Don’t forget to check out GGB and MKD on Facebook!  Or scan through Stuff N Junk by Heidi on Facebook to see what else I have been up to!

FYI, I have no intention of copying styles of clothing created by the two ladies mentioned in this post.  I respect their art and their talent and while I may use embroidery designs purchased by common vendors, their designs inspire me to create my own items and in my opinion their original designs cannot be imitated.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This Isn't My First Rodeo...

Ever heard the saying "This isn't my first rodeo"?  That's kind of the way I am feeling today, and not in the best way either!
You see, it is less than four days until Halloween and I had planned to make my girls their costumes.  Notice I said "planned"?  Yeah, well, I bought the fabric to make my two-and-a-half-year-old a Rapunzel costume, and I bought my ten-month-old some of the fabric needed to make her a Pascal costume.  Yes, I am dressing my baby girl as a boy character and I'm totally okay with that!  Well, other than cutting out the pieces for Rapunzel's dress, I haven't done any other work on the costumes.  Not only that, I still have to get more supplies to make the costumes!
Well, this isn't my first time at this particular rodeo...  You see, many moons ago, I really wanted to make a witch costume for myself.  I had great fabric and a terrific pattern.  I really can't remember if I had gotten much of a start early in the month of that October, but I do know that the majority of the work was done the day before, even staying up til the wee hours of the morning to finish the costume before work!  I think I may have even taken the costume to work with me to get it finished!
I am definitely known throughout my family as a procrastinator.  I remember finishing some sewing on my wedding gown after the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding!  Even now, while I could be sewing, I am blogging!
So, since we all now know that when it comes to late-night and last-minute I am a sewing pro, let's see what I can really do!
Happy Halloween ya'll!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dude, I'm a Slacker!!!

Okay, so just a quick update...  No, I did not fall off the face of the earth!!!  And I would love to tell you have been so busy working on projects...  But no, I'm just a slacker!  But have faith, dear followers!  I have plenty of crazy stored up in my noggin!  And I have TONS of projects I am trying to get going so I do plan to post more soon!

Just a quick glimpse...

We're going to have a Rapunzel named Sam...

And I'm going to alter the lizard to make Evie into Pascal!

I will also be creating (from scratch) a Captain America costume for my bestest Mushu of a nephew!!!