Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

Graphic Leaf and Beads Bag

After I rested up from the three weeks of working outside my home office and after recovering from the trauma/drama of my son's travel experience to Germany Friday/Saturday, I can say I had a really great weekend.

First, I helped with the first indie craft fair I've ever been to. A local gal decided to arrange a craft fair like a Renegade fair. Debi isn't a crafter; she just wanted a local one to happen. She did such a fantastic job and dubbed our fair as Crafty Feast. I read about it a couple of months ago on Small Object, wrote to Debi, and asked if I could help out. i didn't want to have a table but just see the kinds of artists who would come and meet etsy vendors. Camille and I did some running and set-up work for her and then just enjoyed the day. The weather was perfect, and the vendors were wonderful. I especially wanted to meet etsy vendors, and I sure did. I'm surprised at how many live near me, including the DIL of my long-time friends. Kate has two cute little ones and knits fun hats at Tot Toppers.

I met Sarah of Small Object, and she was so nice to chat with us and let me go on about blogging and what things I've learned. We took a photo, but I don't look that marvelous in it - Camille and Sarah do, so, unless Camille photo-chops it and chops me out, I don't have the fortitude to post the picture!

There was a local vendor who sells screenprinted tees at Fox and Grapes. Really great quality tees and designs, and I bought one for Camille.

After the fair, I was just exhausted and pretty punchy, so I napped all afternoon and then sewed through the evening. I made this pretty purse and pouch for my shop as well as worked on other things. I was nice and relaxed, and it's another Harry Potter Weekend on the Family Channel, so that was on in the background. My kids and I can never get over the fact that I'm a 40+ lover of HP and can't get enough of it. Isn't that weird? It's the same with "You've Got Mail" and "When Harry Met Sally," etc. I never get bored with those.
So, it's HP4 tonight. It starts in a few minutes, and I've got one more etsy showcase to get ready for. I'm off to the studio for the evening to keep on sewing and do a little laundry while I'm there.

My Boy Has Gone International ...

Michael left for Germany on Friday. What was planned to be a direct, three-step flight to Berlin on Friday afternoon and arriving Saturday morning turned into a chaotic situation, and we were pretty frantic until we heard his voice Saturday at 10:30 AM (4:30 PM Berlin time) and knew all was well. Just pick your scenerio, and you know what happened. It all started with the bad weather in the US northeast, bumped flights, and my boy traveling through France unexpectedly ....

For those of you with teens and kids in this cellphone generation, remember to teach these lessons:

1. Collect calls. My boy didn't know that he could pick up a phone nearly anywhere in the world, press 0, and say, "Get my mother on the phone!" It's just never come up.

2. Pre-paid calling cards do work in the US. I spent so much time getting the instructions down how to use the card from Europe that I never really mentioned it's good in the US, too. Thus, my 19-year-old, nearly 20, was pumping quarters in a payphone in New Jersey trying to explain that he had to go by way of France and he was hungry and didn't get cash before he left ......!!!!!!!

Craziness. He didn't take his cell because it wouldn't work in Europe, and I didn't want him to have to worry about keeping up with it.
I called the teacher he is staying with in Germany 5:30 AM their time and told her what had happened. I just begged her to make sure he called me when he arrived so I could just hear his voice and know all is well. And it is, except his luggage is somewhere else in the world and he will hopefully have it by Tuesday. Thankfully, I did insist that he take a change of clothes and his toothbrush in his carry-on. Lucky, lucky!

He e-mailed us a few hours ago. He's been there for 24 hours, and I can tell he is in love with the country already. All is well.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fabric Find

Vintage-like barkcloth

On the upholstery and drapery remnant table at the fabric store, I found this vintagey barkcloth-like fabric last week. It was way discounted, so I bought it all, of course.

Vintage-Like Barkcloth purse

I made another slouch bag with it, and it's so pretty.

Vintage-Like Barkcloth pouch

Camille nabbed the first one, which does make me feel good, and I sewed up another along with a matching zip top pouch.

Kitty - Small Canvas Bag

I've got this little canvas bag in the shop, too. Perfect for a little one to carry around or to use as storage for books or toys in a child's room.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Work Is Hard ...

But great to have! Since beginning this contract working outside my home, a really quick two weeks have passed. Everything is new and I'm working with real people as opposed to e-mail and website clients and I have to think about what to wear each day. Trite, I know, as millions of people do this everyday, but a new habit is hard to form after ten years of working at home.
I don't even have "office" clothes to wear. I mean, I can look nice going out, Sunday church clothes, nice jeans and tees, but not career wear anymore. I'm not size 12, so finding things I think are appropriate is frustrating, too! I have three pairs of pants that I think fit well, all the same style and same label, one pair is jeans, one khaki, and one black. I can't wear the jeans to the office, so for two weeks - ten days now - I've alternated the black and the khaki with different tops EVERYDAY! I would never have done that when I was younger. I have some great closed toe shoes, black with a bit of a heel and brown clogs, so with cute socks, that part is easy. However, with the work I'm doing, I'm up and down and transcribing, so pants are good and the clogs because I'm always slipping my right shoe off to pump the pedal for the transcribing machine.
kids 051809

This weekend I'm less exhausted than last. I think knowing Monday is a Memorial Day holiday for us helps. We are using these three days to get my son ready for his month-long trip to Germany. Have I told you about that yet? He is flying to Berlin on Friday, arriving Saturday, and will be met by a teacher and her family who are housing him. With a program through his university, he is going to assist the teacher teaching and practicing English with the kids in her class. He will be staying in a town outside Berlin and spending weekends traveling to different areas.
Blessings of all, though, is that the German student, Viola, who stayed with us this spring lives about 100 miles from the area where my son will be. When Michael's program is finished, Viola's dad is going to drive and pick him up, and Michael will spend the next week or so with Viola's family running around the Frankfurt area and seeing all the sites. We are so pleased that he has these opportunities, and he is beside himself with excitement. This weekend, we are getting his things packed up and gifts ready to give to those he meets and is involved with at the school. It hasn't really sunk in yet that he is leaving the country (me!) next week. In this case, I'm glad I am busy with work.

milly wins photo contest 051809

Camille won a countywide photography award last week. The subject was substance abuse and consequences. We are so proud of her.

golden star

Her dad helped with the set and supervised the alcohol and drug shoot done out in the garage on the pool table. Frightening that we had all the stuff for a winning photo on this subject! It was pretty amazing to see the different views of substance abuse consequences the kids captured in film -- scary and awesome.

Flower Slouch Hobo Bag

I've been in the sewing room, too. I bought a pattern for this hobo slouch bag. The pattern designer gives license to sell the items, and she sells her finished bags for $34.00, lots of them, so I know gals like them. The pattern calls for sturdy interfacing. For this one, I put in my usual batting. I like batting in bags, but with the 21" strap, I think it sort of sits bulky against the body. So, I'm selling it in my calicodaisy shop for $18.00. It's completely well made, topstitched, etc., but not a perfect hang for me or Camille, so I thought I'd just discount the price.

Pink Elephants - Reversible Bonnet

You know what this is; I won't mention it, but do you see those pretty little elephants!

Monogrammed pillow cover

I bought spots on a few showcases on etsy. I was in the ultimate wedding shower showcase on Thursday. The listing for the monogrammed pillows above was the one that was pictured on the showcase. I had more than 100 hits into my shop, and today I've been in contact by phone with a potential customer that is interested in a personalized throw that I have listed in the shop.

I found a number of great shades of throws recently (just couldn't photograph the shades very well) and listed them in time for the showcase. Today, I'm in the etsy housewares showcase. The way it works is that if your item listed sells, your next item in that category of your shop pops in, so you can set them up in the order you would like them shown. I bought a spot in a baby shower showcase next month. The ultimate wedding spot was $15.00, and the others are only $7.00. For that little bit of advertising cost, the potential is pretty big. I had more than 100 hits, a number of folks adding me as a favorite, and a call from a potential customer for a personalized throw. Pretty good and affordable, I think.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shoe Lucky!

You have no idea how excited I've been to find a number of summer shoes that I love and that fit properly. It's just crazy that I have found them all in the last week! However, I snatched them up. I'm a pretty normal size at 8.5 and 9 for sandals, but I have high arches, so I can't always slip in to loafers, clogs, and slides. I have to look for ones with a bit of elastic gusseting on the sides. Some years lucky, some not.

Also, I've learned that, if I can swing it -- and even if I can't -- to buy more than one pair of a style that I love. Obviously, I'll be buying three to six more pair of sandals this summer, as seen above! Just in time, too, because last year, I didn't find any new sandals I liked, and the old ones were wearing out. The two black pair come from Kohls. Both were on sale for about $26.00, which is a great deal for the Naturalizers that I'm wearing up there. Both the black shoes come in brown as well, so I really want to pick those up.
The raspberry are from Walmart. I have had a lot of luck with the Walmart brand Earth Spirit. I'm not a Birkenstock-type dresser, so this shoe brand isn't always my style, but I have bought several pair from the line over the years. These raspberry sandals are so, so comfortable. Like air! The upper is soft and flexible but sturdy, and the straps are adjustable. The soles are so cushy. My store has the raspberry, a washed denim, and a tan. $25.00 and a really great deal. Too bad Walmart doesn't have layaway anymore; I'd have a few saved by for me.

Here is Fido The Cat coming up for a nosey look at what's going on and meowing for a little pet behind the ears. He's a gorgeous half-Persian man. However, in the spring, as you can see, he gets nearly plucked clean from all the birds guarding nests. He has no fear, and he means business. Thus, we find fur everywhere!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's A Boy!

Little Man's Cap / Bonnet

Well, it's for a boy anyway! I can't help myself. I keep making bonnets, and now these little ones with brims make a darling cap. Look at the tiny brim and the beach critters on the fabric:

I think I've enjoyed making these because babies-to-be are all around me among friends and family right now. A lot of them might be able to guess what kind of layette gifts I might bring to the showers or send their way. I thought I could applique a little design to a onesie and add a little play/nap/changing mat, and they will be all set for a little stroll and playtime outdoors.

Little Bird Bonnet

Here are some sweet little birds! Okay, enough already! Maybe I'll stop posting the bonnets now, but I had to show off these darling little fabrics.

So, I received a new contract for a medium-term project work last week. It was sort of all of a sudden but a very nice opportunity. Should all work out as planned, for the next 18 months I'm working with a law firm helping to prepare for a huge event in Charleston in 2010. The plan is I'll work 20+ hours a week in the office and hopefully a bunch of that time at home after a while. I'm hoping to teach the attorney to dictate to me digitally and get used to using me remotely, but, we'll see. He's an older gentleman and used to a large staff at his beck and call in the past, so I have to do a little retraining if I can!

I'm very grateful for the opportunity, but after ten years of working at home in front of my computer in my PJ's and sweats and just running after the kids and napping when I'm tired, the most arduous part of this new "job" is actually showering and dressing to look professional by 8:00 AM! The work is no problem; it's the looking as pretty as I can that's exhausting!

I have to rearrange my schedule for working on my other accounts and in the studio. My plan is to wake up early, shower, work in the studio while the hair dries. Then finish up, go to the law office. Home for lunch and a rest. Work on other accounts in the afternoon and/or run errands, housework, family duties. Dinner. Then work in the studio in the evening and line up the next projects to pick up in the morning and carry on. When one works for oneself, it is really 24/7. However, the autonomy over my schedule is worth every minute of the hard work and running around. No one to answer to but myself. I have to do a GREAT job or I don't get more work. That is quite the incentive when working for yourself. Especially in my business. If my work is done well, I continue to get work. If I blow it or miss a turnaround promise, my client may go shopping elsewhere. It keeps me on my toes but lets me move my schedule around as necessary or as I desire.

So, I've really been too strung out to read all my blog roll! I am going to do something I don't want to do. I'm going to hit the "Mark As Read" button and miss out on a week's worth of my favorite bloggers' words! I hope I don't miss any really important crafting information! I'll just have to catch up later -- Maybe Memorial Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh, Baby!

Reversible Bonnet - 6-12 months

It's been ALL about babies in the studio lately. I'm very into bonnets at the moment. The one up top is so sweet. While trying to get good bonnet photos but failing as they wobbled down unsupported, it occurred to me to use this candlestick as a prop. Nice!

Burp Cloths

I like having a stash of burp cloths on hand in my studio and calicodaisy shop, but it makes me crazy to get wonky corners on items I hope to sell. This contoured pattern came my way, and these cloths went together quickly. I either use a very nice toweling for the reverse side of the cloths or line the inside with a diaper or other padding for good coverage and absorption.

one year gift

My little niece, Savannah, will be one this week. I'm sending a birthday bib and initial shirts. Not sure what size she is, so, as usual, more is more in my book and I sent two shirts in two sizes. She'll be covered for sure!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wristlets and Pouches Are Flying Out Of Here!

Personalized Zip Pouch

First thing first: Recently, an "anonymous" reader left a message for me regarding basket liners. I am unable to answer because there is no link to get back to you. If you are still interested, please e-mail me at calicodaisy (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

I've got my zipper pouch skills going on after the last couple of weeks. I finally mastered - I think - the trick of having both ends of the zip look nice and finished on the little pouches. Actually, I nearly put my eye out last week. The needle hit the metal fixing on the bottom end of a zip, and, can you believe?, the broken part of the needle actually hit my eye! I may need to wear work goggles now. Pretty....

A personalized pouch like the one above went out today. I adore the "Frenchy Frame" monogram, as I have named it. I have also figured out the settings on my "good" digital camera, which I've been afraid to use for over a year, and am finally able to take nice, clear, close-ups again. Aaaahhh! It feels so good not to see a blurred or yellowed photo.

Fight Like A Girl - embroidery sew out

Here is a new embroidery design I picked up recently. Fight Like A Girl! What a great slogan for cancer awareness.

Fight Like A Girl - zip pouch

At the fabric store last week, a woman held up a t-shirt with the slogan, which I had not seen yet. I googled it and found that it's pretty popular. Then, this great design crossed my path, and I used the smaller version on these pouches. The larger design would be perfect on a t-shirt or totebag.

A Bridesmaids Set

A May bride contacted me through etsy's Alchemy section a few months ago requesting personalized wristlets for all her bridesmaids and a little bag for the flower girl. I was so suprised and pleased to be asked. I ended up ordering the designer's fabric through our local bridal shop so that the bags would be an exact match, Lavender and Victorian Lilac. The little butterfly on the flower girl bag is whimsical but so lacy and delicate, too. I'll be anxious to see the wedding photos.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dress Form Embroidery

dress form embroidery

I'm loving this darling wire dress form design. It can be sewn out in two sizes, 2" x 6.5" and 1.25" x 3.85". I sewed a couple out on this terrific "shot cotton," and made hanging decorative pillows or pin cushions. I like to hang a cushion on the wall near my sewing machine just for threaded needles. That way, the needles don't get lost among the pins on my "working" pincushion where they generally get smushed down so far into the fabric never to appear again.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sewn, Embellished, Sold!

Pilot Cap Bonnet with Flower

This little pilot cap/bonnet pattern was calling to me, so I cut a couple out in different sizes this week. I finished and embellished this one, took some modeling shots on a friend's baby boy (he grimaced but endured!), listed it in the shop yesterday afternoon, and woke up to a sold! e-mail. (05/03/09 edit: Another one is listed in the shop now.)

Pilot Cap Bonnet with Flower

This is one of the quickest items that has ever left me, except for my first listing of bias tape. The shape of the cap seems sort of medieval, doesn't it? I think made up in silvers or grays, it might pass for a baby knight's cap. Also, the bonnet is actually fully reversible, but I had to sew on the flower, as suggested in the pattern. It's so fun to mix all the calicoes up, isn't it? I wish I had a baby girl right now so I could sew a wardrobe of all the darling ideas I see around the internet. So, I'll pretend, I guess, and sew for my shop.