Monday, 11 July 2011

Bzzz Goes The Bee!! (part 3 - memory pillow)

I have a "create" list that I'm finally making a start on, mostly because I finally decided to write it down instead of trying to keep it in my head.  I've made a good start on it this past week, which is good because it can make up for all those days of non-motivation! This pretty embroidered memory pillow comes from my personal & business list (yes, I have 2 lists; I blame the Virgo in me).

That being said, my Virgo self didn't mind making this "on-the-fly" without a whole mess of measurements and thought.  Basically, I measured another pillow cover I have and away I went to patching.  I was so excited to finish the patchwork to get to the embroidery, which is something I haven't done for years!  Here's the material lowdown for anyone that is interested:  patchwork was done using 5 different high quality pink and vibrant cottons, the embroidery patch and the back are an upcycled curtain, also cotton, and the embroidery is done using DMC cotton floss.

I love making things that beautify or are practical for my own home that will ALSO work as an item to sell on my facebook fan page or etsy/folksy.  Needless to say, I'm accepting orders on facebook for this latest creation of mine.  Can you tell how swollen with pride I am? ;-)

I am so proud in fact, that I'm going to add this to a link party.  This is my first time joining a link party, so if I've done it wrong, please correct me!  If I've managed to do it correctly, then woohoo!!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Bzzz Goes The Bee!! (part 2 - coasters)

First off, welcome to our new followers!!  *wave*

In May, when I decided to integrate sewing for fun and sewing for profit, the first things I decided to make were placemats.  I hoped to add matching coasters to the mix, so I've started working on a "pattern".  I'm the type of person that does a lot of trial and error when creating, and my coasters are no different!  Let me tell you, the 1st coaster I made was definitely the error.  This picture shows it in even worse shape because it's been well used by Big S and in need of a wash.

I used a diagonal pattern for the quilting, but it just ended up making it too thin in the center intersection, and really, when you're making a coaster, you want at least a little bit of thickness.  Also, mitered corners are IMPOSSIBLE for me on such a small working space.  Lastly, I tried to do a fancy stitch to secure the binding to the front and there was just too much fabric to go through for a decorative stitch.

The next version kept the diagonal quilting, but changed shapes from square to round, thus removing an obstacle from my coaster happiness.  The 3rd and final version is the one I'm happiest with and I fortunately have 2 of these.  This was my 1st attempt at freehand quilting.  If you have ever considered using a freehand quilt foot, DO IT!!  It's a total blast!!  I simply drew on the swirly pattern that I wanted to try out, turned off the feed dogs on the machine, and got started!  It's not perfect, because it requires a fair bit of practice to have even and fluid stitches, but I'm so pleased with the outcome:  a unique quilting design and nice puffy quilting to cushion our lovely cups of tea.

So, in general, I have my pattern/plan established for future matching coasters.  The only change that I intend to make is creating a slightly larger circle so that more fabric peeks out from underneath your cuppa.  I'm strongly thinking of making my 1st tutorial to cover making these coasters, so any input or requests are always welcome.

Go go, be crafty!  Be well and have fun!  ~Cecily

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bzzz Goes The Bee!! (and other zippy matters)

I haven’t made much time for blogging recently, or facebook for that matter (gasp!) because I’ve been trying to be productive with the sewing machine and finish up some projects that I’ve had going.  I’ve also been busy with Little S, as well as Big S who has been down with a nasty virus for nearly 2 months (don’t worry, he’s on the mend after 2 days in the hospital having nearly every test under the sun done).

My mom started teaching me how to sew when I was about 8 years old.  I used to help her make our Renaissance costumes and the 1st things I was allowed to sew were the straight seams on circle skirts.  I then graduated to rolled hems and I was absolutely thrilled with this new responsibility.  My mom showed me everything she knew how to do…but she didn’t really “do” zippers.  1st off, zippers weren’t period, but I can remember my mom slaving away at the sewing machine using curse words that, to this day, I don’t believe exist…all over a silly zipper.  As a result, I’ve ALWAYS had an aversion to zippers.  I’ve considered trying to conquer them from time to time, but would change my mind when I walked past them in the store and heard them laughing and mocking me.  WELL, I have finally done it; I have befriended the zipper.  I can hear them cheering me on now as I pass their little display unit in the store.  If you are like I was, and have a hate-hate relationship with zippers, please have a look at the tutorial that rescued me and be sure to let me know how it works out for you.  For my zippy pouch, I chose to use a fabric with metallic flecks that reminds me of the ocean.  It is lined with an upcycled pair of boxer shorts (yes, I washed them 1st).

That’s all I have time for tonight, but I have a few more projects to share with you, so stay tuned to this space!  As always, be good and have fun!                 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Facebook Fan Page Tabs Tutorial

I have seen a few people ask recently how to add a Review and Contact tab on facebook, so I thought I'd write this up to assist anyone that needs it.  I'm also including how to add a Welcome tab just to try and cover all bases :).  Right, before we get started, I want to mention that the Contact and Welcome tab are the ones that I chose to use, but if you do a search through the available apps on facebook, there are several more available.  Ok, here we go!!!

Reviews Tab
1st, do a search for "reviews" in the facebook search bar.  Click on "Reviews" to go to the application page.

2nd, click "Add to my page".

When you do this, a new window opens up and asks you to choose which page you wish to add the application to.  I don't have a picture of the new window as I already have Reviews installed.  After you have clicked to add it to your page, you are done and it should appear in the tabs area under your picture on your fan page.  Whew, 1st one down :).

Contact Tab
So, you can either use your handy-dandy search bar again and put in "ContactMe", or you can just click on this link (yes, I'm helping to encourage laziness).  Follow the instructions on the page and you're good to go!!

Welcome Tab
I had the most fun adding this tab to my fan page, but it was also the trickiest because I had to come up with even MORE ways to describe my shop and what I make.  You can use the search bar again, but you may as well go directly to Pagemodo since their facebook page sends you there anyways.  There are a variety of templates available here, so I won't go into much detail as it's all down to personal preference.  If you don't see the button within the pink box, double check that you're signed into facebook with your personal account.

Woohoo, we're all done!  I hope this has helped you if you were struggling with any of these 3 tabs.  If you discover any errors or anything is unclear, please don't hesitate to contact me on my facebook page or just leave a comment.  Be good!!


I love Paypal!!

In my ever so humble opinion, Paypal has really made life easier for the small/cottage business.  Just think about would I have taken payment in the past?  Cash or cheque only, unless I wanted to pay heaps of money to a credit card company for the use of one of their terminals.  That being said, if I go to a craft fair I'm still only able to accept cash as I won't accept cheques (the whole bouncing thing in payment for a product that I've spent time and love making makes me an unhappy panda).  So nothing has really changed for face-to-face exchanges, but yippee for the internet option available to us!!

N.B.  I suppose with all those smart phones out there, the option to have money sent to your account and verify it's arrived is a possibility for those that still want to utilize Paypal even when in a "cash" environment.

For those of you that don't use Paypal yet, the reason I love it as a seller is that I have the option to send an invoice, refund payments and create shipping labels from within their program, allowing me to receive funds and take the shipping funds straight out of it (helps to keep it separate from my personal finances, if that makes sense).

As a buyer, I love, and have used, the refund option when I didn't receive an item that I have paid for.  You fill out a form with them and they take care of the rest, thus making it much easier to not lose your hard-earned money.

I love Paypal!!  But I suppose the moral of the story is: I love teh interwebs and our ability to sell our wares in the virtual universe.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

This Little Blog of Mine...I'm Gonna Let It Shine...

Forgive the title, but that song has been stuck in my head today (with the correct words of course).  I've really been putting in some time on my facebook fan page lately trying to drum up business for my budding WAHM (work at home mom for those not "in the know") business.  Today though, I haven't been scouring "teh interwebs" to find a new person to "like" so that I can get a return "like" and boost my fan numbers, I haven't been marching or cruising to the numerous pages that are promoted through various pages designed just for that task.

Instead I've had a ponderous day (ok, I also went shopping and bought some crafty bits, including a pair of pinking shears that will work for lefties, but that's neither here nor there).  I've remembered how much I loved Irish dancing until being an Irish dance teacher took away some of that love because now it was a business and I was on offer.  I've pondered the vast numbers of crafty-type pages I've come across on facebook in the past few days, many of them selling the same things as me, and I wonder if the economy is partially to blame for people being out of work and trying their hand at home-based businesses.  Mostly, I've pondered if I can make this work...and I think I can.  I recommend this blog post and the links within it to anyone that is getting caught up in the fervor of promoting their pages on facebook as it really helps to point out what should be most important to us.

I will have to remind myself to read this paragraph every now and then when I feel down because I don't have any orders/sales or I don't think my homemade products are as good as the next person's.  Cecily, remember that you love to sew and you make high quality stuff!  This adventure gives you the chance to sew and not fill your house to the brim with the results of your fun!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Sorry it's been so long since I posted, but the hubby hasn't been feeling well for a few weeks, including a couple of days in the hospital for tests (no...they're not back yet *sigh*).  Anyways, I've been trying to keep busy!!
I have finished 2 projects since I last posted: 1) a larger fabric storage basket and 2) a nappy clutch

I 1st made a smaller storage basket, but felt that it might not sell as well or be AS useful as a larger storage basket.  Being a newish mom, I'm always thinking of things that I would like for myself or Little S, which is why I ended up making a larger storage basket with dimensions that would work to store nappies and wipes.  This basket was put up on instead of Etsy to gauge if there's a difference.  So far, the only differences I've noticed are 1) commission is 3.5% at Etsy and 5% at Folksy, 2) people are more familiar with Etsy (in my humble opinion), and 3) I have had more views on my Folksy basket than the Etsy one, but this might be due to colours, picture quality, etc.

I've been trying to find 1 or 2 things that are fun to make and have a good chance of selling as a useful product.  I think I have found my 1st option, but only time will tell, so keep your fingers crossed!

Well, this has been such a serious and business oriented post that it's probably not overly interesting, but oh well, life can't be ALLLL fun and games once you're an adult...well, maybe if you're independently wealthy, but anyways...

Oh yeah, I now have a Facebook fan page for TheCraftyBox and have been steadily gathering "likes" and I'm considering giving away a prize to either my 100th "like" or to the person that generates the most "likes" in a given time period.  Just today I started my 1st contest: to create a catchy name for my nappy clutch.  The winning name gets a free nappy clutch as a reward!

That's all for now, so be well and be good ;-)!