Monday, May 30, 2011

Craft Project #7 and #8 - Dust Cover and Pillowcase Dress

Ok, I guess the poodle skirts got me started on a sewing kick. I put the sewing machine away in the closet (I don't make a habit of sewing and therefore do not have a place to use it other than my kitchen table) after the skirts were finished completely intent on forgetting it again for a while. A few months ago there was a small incident with my 4 yr old getting her finger stuck in an opening on my vinyl cutter. I decided a cover would help to keep her away from it (out of sight out of mind kind of theory)and it would also keep the dust out of it when it wasn't being used. I did a few searches on Etsy (of course) and only found similar covers for Cricut machines or sewing machines, which of course brought to mind MY sewing machine and my newly acquired confidence in using it. I then changed my search criteria to tutorials.

BINGO! I found an easy one for making a Cricut machine cover and I just altered the measurements to fit my vinyl cutter. I then went back to the closet and pulled out my sewing machine for the second time in a month and dug around in my closet for some material. I found quite a bit left over from a past sewing kick more than 5 years ago. I had the bright idea to sew clothing for my son when he was a toddler, but when faced with the challenge of chasing a 2 yr old to try to measure him, then trying to figure out how to cut the pattern while balancing that squirming 2 yr old on my lap my once bright idea quickly became a half-hearted attempt and the project never was completed.

In that moment I felt lucky that I have the occasional tendency to keep things simply because "I may need it someday". So, here is my newly created vinyl cutter dust cover which turned out great.

While I was searching the web for tutorials I also ran across the cutest little pillowcase dress, which I bookmarked for later. Once I had the dust cover done I decided to attempt the dress for my daughter. Then I promised myself I would put the sewing machine back in the closet... again. I bought this really cute pink floral material and some contrasting green ribbon then by chance ran across a little headband and flower clip that matched perfectly ( I love Hobby Lobby!). I was completely pumped up about this little project but I made myself put it off until the weekend when I had a bit more time. Then I revisited the dress tutorial , sat myself down at the kitchen table and started sewing.
My first mistake was not leaving enough material allowance for folding over the top hem. My second mistake was buying single fold bias tape instead of double fold. Lesson learned- I now know there is a difference and yes, it does matter. Since I was already knee deep in the middle, I jimmy-rigged it the best I could and made it work, and although the stitching around the trim shows and the dress ended up about 2" shorter than planned, I think it turned out pretty good for my first attempt at dress making. My daughter loved it, and that's really all that matters anyway!

Now the sewing machine is back in the closet and I am over my little sewing kick for a while. Now it's on to the busy month of June. This weekend is the long awaited dance recital (putting those poodle skirts to good use!) then I am off to my very first sign industry trade show. Loads of interesting things I'm sure will come of it!

Until next time ~

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I love animals, but I especially love dogs. They are all unique individuals, just like us, but very different in the fact that they are honest and have an unwavering loyalty to their human counterpart that goes far beyond almost any other relationship. As an adult, I have been lucky enough to have two wonderful dogs. A small Yorkie Poo named Sadie was my first chosen canine friend. I searched for just the right kind of dog until I found what I was looking for and when I first met her, I knew we were a great fit. I was blessed to share almost 13 years with my sweet Sadie, before she passed away last summer from heart problems.

My second dog, although not officially chosen, has also been a blessing and a wonderful fit within my family. Rex is a Border Collie mix that showed up on my back porch one night with a very sad face. I suspected someone had dumped him off, unwanted, and he wondered up to our house. I once again had that feeling that he was a good fit for me and that he should stay. I did have to work a bit to convince my husband of this fact, but he eventually came around. :)

They say kindness begets kindness and loyalty begins with kindness. Both of my dogs became loyal companions quite easily within a very short amount of time. They quickly learned to trust and rely on me to meet their needs on a regular basis and my trust and affection for them also grew. They were, and Rex continues to be, a loyal and trustworthy friend and that bond will continue for many years.

I like to believe that there can be business relationships that also have some of these same great qualities. Loyalty must be earned, like in any relationship, but if you are honest, and continuously meet the needs of your customer in a friendly and helpful manor they will appreciate it and are likely to return to you for future orders if the need arises. They may even recommend your business to others, bringing new customers to your door. Over time, a good customer relationship develops and becomes a steady force to help your business grow.

At my day job, one of my daily responsibilities is to answer the phone. I can't tell you how many times I have been greeted with "Hello! Your company was recommended to me by..." or "I have ordered plaques from you for many years..."
Each time I hear this, I feel proud to work for a company that has high standards for meeting the needs of their customers and selling high quality products. I also enjoy being able to help our customers with their questions, and directing them to the right product for their needs. Oh, and we have a few loyal dogs that regularly visit work as well. One of my employers brings his dog to the office sometimes and she waits patiently for him to return. :)

Show kindness, help others, and be honest. I believe these qualities are the root of a great business, as well as a great relationship and are the building blocks for gaining loyal customers to support your business. Oh, and If you don't have a business, then I definitely recommend getting a dog.

Until next time,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Internet Swap

I have finally found some quiet time to sit down and write. I have tried several times but with kids, and work, and life, I've easily gotten distracted and put it off yet again, but now I have something I really want to share.

I have just finished with a very fun internet swap on Etsy. I have never participated in any kind of trade agreement over the web, but I was browsing one day and ran across a listing in a shop (Little Goat's Natural Soaps) that sells handmade soaps and bath products for a Barter/Trade/Swap with other Etsy shop owners. In the description she had a list of items that she was interested in trading her handmade soaps for and I was very happy to see that wall decals was one of the items! I contacted Karly and we went back and forth for a few days with the details of what we wanted to trade.
Once we had the details worked out, we made a custom listing for each other with a description of our item for trade. I chose 4 different bars of her handmade soaps...

and she chose a custom wall decal...

When purchasing a trade listing on Etsy, you have to be sure to accept other payment types in your shop settings. This allows for the listing to be purchased without any monetary exchange and feedback can still be left for each shop.

I can't wait for my new soap to arrive, and now thanks to Karly, I think I may have to create a trade listing in my own shop!

Have you ever participated in an Etsy Swap? I would love to hear about your experience!!