Saturday, February 18, 2012

Oh-so overwhelming!

Facebook, Blogger, Pinterest, Soopsee, Etsy, Flickr, Yahoo, Google!  Did I get them all?  Well, if I didn't I'll just have to update it later...
These are all the ways to find my Stuff N Junk by Heidi.  That doesn't even include the ways to reach me personally or through MD Services!  So what does all of this mean?  Where am I going with all of this?  Are we getting too overwhelming when we are trying to market ourselves?  When we are trying to get our name out there?  When we are trying to be heard?
I recently joined up with a give away event.
Booty Buns *Go Green Give Charity* Cloth Diaper Giveaway Event

And thanks to Daily Mothering I was able to join a group of wonderful people and not only get new visitors to my site but also to check out some amazing new blogs!

But where does this all get me?  A bunch of new blogs to follow?  The hubby is going to love that!
Etsy suggests to get to know people out in the world, to let them get to know me...  Is that what I'm doing?  I'm not exactly the shy girl, I've just become much more of a home-body over the years.  I like my home.  I like hanging out with my kids.  I like sewing.  Sometimes being online feels like it takes me away from all of those things and not always in a good way.  Where is the balance?  How can I be a "good" mommy, and seamstress, and employee, and wife, and home-maker, and still get the word out to people that I'm a decent person and I make good stuff?  Not to mention how do I keep up with blogging and reading other peoples blogs!
If you're out there...  If you're reading this...  How do you do it?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I WON!!!

So, I have been posting a bit (more on Facebook) about Booty Buns Cloth Diapers and the give-away contests I've been entering.  I know if you are done with diapers this may be boring you a bit but they just sound really cool!  I got an email today, and a link on Facebook that I WON!!!  I am so excited!!!  I can't wait to get mine and I promise to let you all know how they work for us.  I just have to decide which kid to try them out on first! The great thing is, even though I have an (almost) 2 month old and an (almost) 2 year old, I can put this diaper on both girls!  Just not at the same time, tee-hee!
If you want the chance to win your own check out these blogs:
Booty Buns Cloth Diapers
Daily Mothering
Mommy Kat and Kids
Also, if you have a blog and want to join up or if you want to win even MORE diapers, click on the link below!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Ebb and Flow

You know, I've heard that saying a million times and I always thought I knew what it meant, but even though I felt it was a fitting blog title, I still Googled it just to make sure!
So, it refers to the movement of water, more specifically, the tide.  I think that's pretty fitting for me right now.  It's kind of how I am feeling about my sewing and projects.  Yes, I have a newborn at home that I am breastfeeding.  I just don't see why that should distract me from getting things done!  Oh, yeah, chasing my (almost) two-year-old, that takes some time too doesn't it?  Add in time for eating (and preparing food), sleeping, bathing/dressing, then I am answering phones for work, doing invoices and estimates as needed, scheduling jobs and going into the office a couple times a week, plus getting the every-day chores done at home, it doesn't leave much time left over for much else.
If I'm blogging I feel like I should be sewing.  If I'm sewing I feel like I should be doing a quick blog.  Then there's the time I spend looking into how to promote my Etsy shop and blog.  Not to mention keeping up with friends and family online.  I also record a bunch of shows during the week that I sneak in when I can.
So, where does that get me?  Well, right now, I'm watching some show (it's a hubby show) while writing this post.  I've got four tabs open right now to keep glancing at my Facebook page and Pinterest.
In more productive news...  I've joined up with a give-away group!
Is that my new thing?  I'm not sure yet...  I've always considered cloth diapers.  Hubby and I talked it out quite a bit before making decisions about it.  Financially, at least the upfront cost, cloth diapers didn't seem like the best route for us.  I've read a lot of reviews lately about cloth diapers, how far they've come, and I've been considering them more and more, especially with two kids in diapers right now!  I've considered making my own cloth diapers, after all, I do sew!  The thing is, after reading about and looking into Booty Buns Cloth Diapers I'm very interested in these diapers!  They grow with your kid!  So I've entered a give-away, or two, or five...  Haven't won yet but while I'm talking the hubby into the idea of switching from disposable maybe I will win one and can prove (and see for myself) if they are the better route for us!
So that's what I've been doing the last couple days, very little sewing and a bit more reading.  And entering contests!
Till next time!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Selling on Etsy

So, it's been almost a year since my first (and only) sale on Etsy.  I was so excited!  And then I was incredibly nervous...  What if they didn't like what they bought?  What if they complained it wasn't worth the price they paid?  What if they left me bad feedback?  What if I'm really not that good at sewing?
That's not what happened but it doesn't stop me from sitting back every now and then and thinking that what I do isn't good enough.  I'm sure we all go through it, right?  We get positive re-enforcement from friends and family and it builds us up.  But then what about strangers?
The first diaper bag I made myself was for a Disneyland trip.  We go every October.  Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, our house is mostly decorated with a Halloween (and Disney) vibe all year.  I found this great Disney Halloween fabric and couldn't wait to make my bag!  I had purchased an embroidery machine and this was my first "real" test to see how I could incorporate it in my bags.  I actually didn't even have time to finish it for the trip but brought it anyway, I still needed to put a zipper in!  Even without the proper closures, it was a great size for the trip.  I got compliments from others in our group but I was waiting to see what (if anything) strangers would say.  Cast members (when they check you in through the gates) were the first to notice and comment that they liked the bag.  It got a few glances here and there and finally I got a few people that asked about it.  The first lady asked if I had made it...  Is it wrong that I was a little crushed by that?  I don't know why.  I (hope I) acted as if it was meant as a compliment (it seemed to be) and happily replied "Yes, thank you."  I had a few more people comment on the bag and at least one other asked if it was hand-made.  In all the years that I have been sewing though I guess the comment of "hand-made" makes me think it's not good "enough."  Why is that?  Isn't that what people are looking for when they shop on Etsy?  Isn't that supposed to be what makes it better?  But in my head it just makes me think it's not good enough to look like something people would want and want to talk about.
Yes, this is a cry for attention!  I don't really need you to tell me what I do is good enough, I just need to let others know that if you feel like that, someone else does too!
So, as we come up on the anniversary of my first sale I will finally be adding bags and blankets back to my site.  I've been busy and I do think my bags are good enough.  I think they are sewn well and made of cute fabrics.  I think they make a statement that if you are carrying a Stuff N Junk bag that you are a fun person that likes pretty and functional things.  If it's a blanket, it says you love things cuddly and cute!  And if you have something Stuff N Junk you just can't help sharing it!
Don't forget to tell your friends to check out my sites and keep an eye out for those trend-setting and traffic-stopping styles!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2/7/12 Update

Have I been finding time to sew?  Yes I have!  I feel less guilty "sneaking" away to sew during nap time or when hubby is home and hanging out with our girls.  I've also gotten into a bit of a groove with feeding our newest Little (and myself) although there is still some nagging about the laundry and dishes that tend to pile up.  Any way you slice it, I HAVE BEEN SEWING!!!
Since my last "procrastination" post I buckled down and dug out a few projects.  I am still working to finish those pajamas for Big Sister but I must tell you, they are starting to frustrate me so I keep setting them back down.  Do you ever have a project like that?  Something that on paper looks so simple to put together and then when you are actually putting it together things just don't want to go together quite right?  Yup, that's where I'm at, nothing wants to go smoothly on that project, so it will just sit there patiently waiting for me now...
Anyway, back to my more productive moments!  I finished THREE diaper bags!  Only five more to go on my "to do" list!  Well, actually there are six more, but one is just for me and it's a new pattern, so I can give myself a break on that one, right?  Now please don't think I'm super human or that I am spending countless sleep-deprived hours huddled over my sewing machines...  I set my goal of eight bags because the fabric is all cut out and many of them have already been started.  Did I ever mention my inspiration for diaper bags?  I don't see it in a quick scan of older posts so I guess I will have to elaborate some day...  Anyway, I (think I) have enough fabric to make about 50-60 diaper bags.  Possibly more, I lost track a few years ago.  I didn't go crazy and buy everything to make them, but I have the fabrics and some of the "innards" to get them going, planning to buy other notions as I needed them.  Then I started cutting out the diaper bags...  That's where things started the downward spiral to Heidi-burnout!  I tend to do that.  A lot!  I get really excited about a project and go full-speed into it and then I get so sick of looking at the same thing I give it up.  Mostly it's that whole pinning and cutting thing.  You can only pin and cut fabric for so long before you want to wring someones neck!
Anyway!  I do tend to alter my patterns ever so slightly...  The pattern makes you believe these are diaper bags but when you boil it down they just don't have enough pockets!  I also have a love for diaper bags that are more messenger bag style with the option to be worn as a backpack, so I've made lot's of modifications on custom bags I've given as gifts.  The pattern I am working with?
New pattern to try!
Old pattern I've been using...

And here's what I've got so far:

I love my wedding gown...

So, I have become quite obsessed with Pinterest!  I pretty much check for new pins two or three times a day.  I love the ideas I can get there, for just about anything my wandering mind can think of...  And many things I never would have thought of!  I personally re-pin more jokes than anything but I love to look at the "everything" page to see what people are looking at in general.  I have noticed lots of women posting about weddings and it got me thinking...  Oh no!  Not me thinking again!!!
In case you didn't know, I got a diploma in Bridal Consulting in my early 20s.  Nothing fancy-schmansy, I took the class via the internet/mail correspondence, and it was not only wonderful fun, but it gave me so much more information than I could have ever imagined!  Cultures, religions, traditions!  So many interesting things!  A few years after getting said diploma, I ended up working for a Bridal shop.  A wonderful, local, "mom & pop" kind of place.  It was kind of a fluke that I ever applied.  My brother was getting married and it was the shop his fiance was purchasing her gown from.  I had sewing experience, consulting "knowledge" and was in need of some extra cash...  So I applied!  I was a bit shocked when I got the job, but excited non the less!  Very quickly I fell in love.  With the job and with my boss!  Mary was just what I needed and came into my life at just the right time.  I can't ever tell you what that job did for me, and words will never express how wonderfully Mary and her husband treated me and what an inspiration they both have been in my life, even now when we don't speak as often as we should!  But I have strayed from the point...
My first co-worker at the bridal shop was an older woman who never had a daughter...  Her husband was a vocal coach and you could tell the wife loved to dress up the girls for competitions.  I had never even contemplated putting on a wedding gown before and one day my co-worker decided she needed to see a particular gown, on a person, and I happened to be just the right size...
Now let me be clear, I wasn't that "girl" that dreamed every day about her wedding.  I had no desire to try  on tons of wedding gowns...  I didn't want to try any on.  But I was new and trying to make friends, so I let her play dress up with me.  It really was a pretty gown.  It was white and had a platinum trim around the top of the bodice and around the hem.  It wasn't really my style, but I really liked the idea of using colors.
Anyway, other than prom season, I loved working at that shop!  Eventually my part-time gig turned into a full-time position and I was happily "running" the shop while Mary got to spend a little extra time with her hubby and did the seamstress work for the brides.  Don't get me wrong, Mary was still there, a lot!  And I would remind her that she was there more than she needed to be.  I loved the way Mary taught me how to listen.  How to ask each bride just enough questions to get an idea of what she was looking for and then to explore the possibilities with each lady to find that "perfect" gown.  Of course, it wasn't always fun.  If you've ever watched one of those shows on t.v. where they show you the bride that goes to look at gowns with her whole "enterage" yes, I've been there, it's not a fun experience.  But you learn how to turn that friend or family member away from what "they" are looking for and make them see what the bride is looking for.  I didn't work on comission, so I only checked the price tags to keep the brides budget in line.  If I happened to find her something much less than what she intended on spending, it just made it a better day for the bride!  Of course, every once-in-a-while we would get someone that didn't think our gowns were high priced enough.  Mary and I would joke that we could always add a one to beginning of any ticket price!  Well, we thought we were funny...
That job also gave me a different perception of what "a lot" was.  To one bride, a $500 gown was "a lot" of money.  To another bride it might be $1500, or even $150!  It was about looking at it in perspective.  If she was having a $10,000 wedding, $500 on a gown may or may not break the bank...  I would always be a little off gaurd if I found a bride the "perfect" gown for less than her budget and then she would haw-and-hem about the price of accessories...  Mary taught me to explain that the savings from one budget could allow for some wiggle room on another budget.
I saw hundreds of gowns...  Thousands of gowns...  Both in the store and in the catalogs that would come in for Mary to order stock from.  Even in all of that amazing finery, I never had a doubt that I would simply make my own gown.  Not for lack of money...  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't exactly rolling in dough, I just always liked the idea of making my own wedding gown.
Then I got engaged...  Then I found my "dream" gown...  Well, almost.  You see, I looked in one of the new catalogs, I believe it was the Mon Cheri, Fall/Winter 2001 catalog, and it was an amazing gown!  We had a gown in the store that I think Mary believed would be the perfect gown.  It was also Mon Cheri.  An A-line gown with spaghetti straps and an amazing back.  We had the gown in what was called Ivory and Rum, and the train detached!  With the train off, it was almost like a completely different gown!  I did like the gown, I put it on more brides than probably any other, but the minute I saw the one in the catalog I knew what gown I wanted.  Sort of.  You see, the gown only came in solid white, ivory or ivory and rum.  I wanted white with platinum.  Little did Mary know how much I loved this gown.  And little did I know that Mary had already ordered a sample of that gown for the shop!  When shopping for my wedding gown I tried on two samples with only Mary and myself.  I purchased the one from the catalog, but in my own size, the one we had was a bit too small.  When we got in the gown I took it home, which we didn't normally "allow" and I took off the trim at the top of the bodice and the trim along the hem and back of the skirt and I set to work altering the gown to add my platinum.  It may not have been as perfect as Mary could have done, but I couldn't tell Mary what I was doing...  She would have talked me out of it.
I'm not a big one when it comes to hand sewing, but I had become quite good at it working for the bridal shop.  Boy did that come in handy!  I had to remove multiple pieces of lace and tons of beading from the original bodice and then sew it all back on!  But I had the gown I wanted, the gown of my dreams.  I didn't go into it thinking "Is this what's in style?  Will my future daughter(s) want to wear this?"  I didn't even think I would have daughters!!!  My thought (which was spoken verbally as often as possible) was that I want to be burried in that gown.  "And," I would tell people "If I'm too big for it just drape it over me in my casket!"
That is how a bride should feel about her gown.  Not selfish as if no one else should wear it, but love it so much that it doesn't matter if anyone else likes it.  Only a few customers knew which gown was mine.  And if it met the description of a bride I never had a problem putting the sample on someone.  Mine would always be different, one-of-a-kind.  I even had a friend from High School end up falling in love with the same gown.  Since she was invited to my wedding, I did feel obligated to tell her and re-enforced the fact that hers would be different from mine.  Other than our shared sister-in-law, no one knew we had the same gown.
So, as I look at Pinterest and see the ideas strangers have for their dream wedding gown I am able to reflect and know I got just that gown.  My perfect, one-of-a-kind, colorful, altered by me wedding gown.  And I love it.  Still...
Mary pinning my straps in place

The cathedral train detaches from under the platinum part of the skirt

The gown was not the only thing I wanted platinum!  All the leaves on my bouquet were spray-painted silver so that there was no "green" in my bouquet at all.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finding the time...

Have I told you before that I am a procrastinator?  Well, I am.  To be honest, I'm shocked that I got as much done at Christmas as I did and I fully believe it had everything to do with my "nesting" needs.  Yes, I know I have a toddler and a newborn and I started back up with work much too soon but isn't that the plight of all women?  To over schedule and always be tired but to be able to show off all the amazing things we do...  Well, I am definitely over booking myself and I can sure tell you I'm tired a great deal of the time but as to getting things done?  Well, my lack of posts and photos speak volumes don't they?
I am a Goddess at making lists!  I LOVE lists...  I love to write them up and think about when I will be crossing them off.  It's actually getting to cross things off that has me typing up this blog today.  No, this blog post is not on my list.  I should add it just so I can cross it off!  No, I have tons of sewing projects I want to get to, that is what my current "to do" list is full of.  It's just that I feel like I barely sit down at the machine when I am called away to feed one (or both) of the kids, answer the phone for work or do something work related, go to the bathroom (I actually have to remind myself to do that!) or get myself something to eat.  Showering?  Sure!  When the kids are sleeping or I can sneak away for five minutes.  Then when I get to my desk all that pinning and pressing and cutting and trimming!  Sewing shouldn't really be called "sewing" there has got to be a more accurate word for it!  All the prep that goes into "sewing", it deserves it's own label!  And then I get frustrated...  I'm frustrated that no one else can feed the baby because I'm breastfeeding.  I'm frustrated for feeling selfish for not spending every second with my girls.  I'm frustrated that something I think shouldn't take very long to do ends up taking two or three times as long to complete!
So, that's it.  That's what I've got.  I'm tired and I'm frustrated and I'm not getting things done they way I want to, in the order I want them done, on the timeline I feel they should be done in.  And what am I doing instead of sewing?  I'm procrastinating!!!  But I'm smiling as I do it.  I know that I have two well-fed and contented little girls.  I know that the mountain of dishes last night got done and that the mountain of dishes at the end of today will be done as well.  I know that what time I spend with my kids is amazing and when it starts getting tough it's generally nap-time, and I know that my big girl will take a couple books to bed with her and I can listen outside her door as she tells herself the stories until she falls asleep, turning a tantrum into a moment she doesn't even know I am having!  I know that my lists will get done...  Eventually.
I have lots to do!  I can't wait to update you as I go along!!!
Here are some pics of what I have going...