New year, new look, new plans…

It turns out that starting a business, even a tiny one, is really hard to do while also moving to another state. My elves went on strike.

While they were on strike, it did give me the chance to reconsider what, exactly, I wanted to be doing craft-wise and potentially Etsy-wise.

You may have noticed a slightly new look to the blog. It describes in broad strokes what I’m interested in making…in some ways, it’s much broader and more experimental than before, and in others a lot more clearly focused.

The shop is on hiatus while I figure more of this out and do some R&D and potion-brewing, so the blog will mostly be about things I’m working on, or aspire to work on, someday.

Stay tuned!

Too many ideas!! (with addendum)

I have deep familiarity with analysis paralysis. I had no idea there was a non-information based equivalent when there are SO MANY shiny ideas ping-ponging in your brain leaving little trails of “I should TOTALLY make that.” Even though you KNOW the smart decision is to pick ~4-5 types of things to focus on (each having a little variety in sizes or styles) and see what does or doesn’t do well first.

But SHINY.

But I am ONE person.

But SHINY.

But I have NO STORAGE SPACE.

But SHINY.

This inner dialogue could continue for quite some time. I am at my weakest late at night and think, “well, it couldn’t hurt to make just ONE of these….”

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Speaking of shiny.  My dad and I visited with some dear family friends this weekend, and one of them (Hi Debbie!) gave me some lovely cross-stitch and needlepoint magazines/books that she’s been saving.  It was so thoughtful of her.  And yet–did you see the picture of my head exploding?

I want to make ALL of these.  Plus items that you can’t see, but I found while browsing through the magazines.  Last Christmas, I haunted Etsy looking for 12 Days of Christmas ornaments for my tree, and I couldn’t find any I liked and it just didn’t even occur to me to make them myself.  And now I can.

Except, the point is kind of to make things for OTHER people to buy, not to keep for myself.  Hmm.  I can see that this may be a slight flaw in my business model.

Addendum:  Spending four hours doing laundry to pre-wash, dry, and fold all the fabric has put a tiny dent in my enthusiasm.  This dent is much smaller than the dent caused by the prospect of ironing all of the fabric.

On the other hand, those four hours gave my plenty of time to think of MORE ideas.  It’s a vicious (virtuous?) cycle, clearly.

 

Remember that baby?

I decided to take off a bunch of hats and actually return to that new baby quilt I mentioned a while ago that was under a pile of fabric.  It’s been about 90% finished for several months.  All that’s left is sewing about half of the border binding, a final wash, gift wrapping and popping it in the mail.  Hmm.  Could even take care of it this weekend and get to the mom-to-be-again before the baby arrives.

The new baby’s big sister LOVES giraffes, or at least went through a giraffe phase, so the blanket has some on one side, and elephants on the other (mixed in with assorted shapes and patterns).  I’m told that big sis is campaigning for baby’s middle name to be “toast” or “door” or “window.” Any of the three would be acceptable. A couple of 6 and 7 year olds I know are advocating “flower power water shower,” “shimmy fizzle pop fizz” and “cocoa pop.”

I started a quilt for big sister, too, thinking it wasn’t fair for the new baby to get all the gifts and attention, but, well, that’s just not going to happen anytime soon… I’m going to hell on my path of good intentions.

I have to admit, a tiny bit (say, 5%?) of my motivation for finishing it is my dire need for storage space and the mental relief of getting items OUT OF MY APARTMENT.  The other 95% is entirely love.

Now my challenge is another friend who just announced her first pregnancy.  Problem:  she’s a better crafter than me.  And she has a long-arm quilting machine.  And more storage space.  What’s a long-distance Fake Auntie to do?  (FYI, we’re calling the baby Office Supply, as the first description of his/her size was “a post-it note with arms and legs.”)

So many hats…

To be perfectly clear:  I do not make hats.  Well, I occasionally knit hats.  But these are metaphorical hats.  As in, I am wearing all of them, such as the:

  • Accounting and finance hat
  • Procurement and inventory hat
  • Graphic design hat
  • Laundry hat (running out to the ATM so I can pre-wash fabrics)
  • Market research hat
  • Pricing hat
  • Social media hat
  • Product design hat
  • “Manufacturing” hat
  • Cleaning, storage and organization hat

I do not enjoy some of these hats.  I seem to need an Executive Function hat, one that says “take off that graphic design hat and put on the accounting hat.”  It was quite fun (and a time sink) to design those little business/branding cards you get in an Etsy package.  Perhaps not as immediately useful as recording all the fabric and accessories I’ve been ordering.  Not to mention actually creating items.

My apartment is FILLED to the rafters (if I had rafters) with holiday fabric.  It is everywhere, on nearly every conceivable surface as they await their laundry experience (in plastic zip bags for protection from the vicious four-legged creatures who also live here).  Have I mentioned my need for storage?

It’s Thursday, September 27.  I won’t name today’s soundtrack, just say that it’s very upsetting and it’ll take a lot of crafting to get through it.

If you are U.S. citizen, please be sure to register to vote.  Every vote counts.

Is there a statute of limitations on 9th grade geometry?

Last night I started making fabric templates.  Of course, I could have bought them online, but after poking around the internet thought, “Heck no, I’m not spending $20 for a glorified ruler!”  I already have the basics of quilting paraphernalia as far as rulers and mats go with angles marked and such, so I shouldn’t need to buy another just to make shapes that aren’t squares or rectangles.  I definitely refuse to buy a compass or a protractor.

I went to a Quaker school for high school, and have very distinct memories of my 9th grade geometry teacher, Kaye.  (In my experience, Quaker schools don’t go for the whole “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Ms.” Last Name for teachers/administrators–first names, all the way.  It was such a transition from a very proper English-modeled primary school.  I think I spent months trying to avoid addressing teachers directly.)  I really liked the math problems that had these seemingly abstract piles of shapes with only some of the angles filled in, and you had to figure out the rest of them based on all the rules about “side angle side,” the Pythagorean theorem, and so forth.

hexagonmessedupYou’d think that drawing a hexagon–on graph paper, no less–to use as a fabric-cutting template would be easy.  Well, apparently I forgot stuff.  Because I did end up with a hexagon. It just wasn’t symmetrical in all directions–which is problematic, when you want to cut a million of them and sew them together like a honeycomb.

equilateral

So I tried again this morning, this time actually using the rulers marked with angles that I have and being a bit more meticulous about hypotenuses.  Turns out, when I thought I was being clever about adding a seam allowance, I was also messing up the proportions of the shape on some sides.  This time around, I went old school:  One equilateral triangle, traced six times next to itself.  Success!  I wonder if some Mod Podge would help thicken the paper and make it easier to trace on fabric?

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

You know how irritating it is when stores decorate for Christmas 🎄 before Halloween 🎃? I complain about it ever year. Time to eat crow.  (Also, I have to make a Halloween costume for my dog.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Last year she was a mad scientist.)

I have a degree and transcript and everything to prove I went to business school, but rather than doing a ton of market research and business planning yesterday I just decided to try a variety of products on Etsy and see what happens.

And yes, I’m starting with Christmas-themed items. Specifically, some very cool (if I do say so myself) Christmas tree skirts, and some other secret goodies.

Here’s a snap of the skirt I made for my tree lasts couple years ago year–fully reversible!

 

 

Poor lighting notwithstanding, doesn’t a pretty skirt look SO much nicer than the ugly plastic bag that will dispose of the tree after the holidays? Not to mention the hideous tree stands? Yup, that’s all under there!

Now I have some fun ideas to get creative with the skirt pattern (and size, of course), and am eagerly awaiting some amazing holiday fabrics to get started.

 

Some will be available as solid, single-color tree-skirts, and others will only be available as special piecework skirts, due to limited supply of fabric. (All will be reversible!)

So please keep an eye out for the opening of my Etsy store–better yet, sign up to be emailed when the grand day arrives. There will be more goodies, and doesn’t everyone like goodies?

I promise all that stuff about privacy.

Defying basic economic principles?

I received new fabric ordered online today!  Isn’t it pretty?

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I’ve no plans for it yet, but saw it and couldn’t resist adding it to my stash. I’m sure it will be useful for something.  Someday.  Did I mention I really need more storage space?

I’m also fairly sure that’s not the most economically sound way to operate a business.  On the other hand, this is really more of a hobby as long as I want it to be, so I can do what I want, right?

I suppose the least I can do is startup some kind of accounting system to keep track of COGS (oooh, I DID learn something in business school!) and all that.  How else will I know if I ever turn a profit or (blech) pay taxes?

Project Frankenstein, interrupted

Did I mention my honorific of Fake Auntie?  It comes with all the privileges of spoiling kids, dosing them with sugar, and returning them to their parents.  Also, I don’t change diapers.

I do make excellent baby gifts.  They’re just a little…late… sometimes.  My friend is having baby #2 any day now, so I need to step on it to finish her baby blanket.  It’s 90% done.  The challenge is that what’s left is boring: just sewing on the edge binding.  This blanket has been 90% finished for about 5 months.

So Frankenstein will have to wait a bit until this is done, gift wrapped, and in the hands of USPS.

…On the other hand, Baby #2 will hardly know the difference of a few days, and I am/was on a roll.

Two-thirds of side two of the Frankenstein pillow, still in pieces

I’ve got both sides assembled now, and am dithering over The Great Button Conundrum of 2018. One option would be to make it fasten like a duvet cover. I just really don’t like making buttonholes. Another would involve fabric ties instead of buttons, but I worry that’d look weird/kitschy and be annoying. Hmm.

Maybe now would be a good time to finish that baby present.

Project Frankenstein, Part 1

(I know, I know, Frankenstein wasn’t the monster.)

I decided to make a semi-random/irregular patchwork throw pillow cover out of the scraps from my roses and green quilt (still in pieces and progress).

Just for fun, my rule is that I can only use the true “scraps”: the odds and ends left from cutting the squares and rectangles from the original yardage. I have a fair amount of some fabrics left, enough for a “real” project, so those are off limits. I don’t have any zippers, so I’ll be figuring out how to close the cover with buttons, without making it lumpy and uncomfortable, and without making buttonholes. (I just don’t like making those.)

With those ground rules, here’s most of what I have to work with (minus the striped fabric), some of which has been ironed already:

These ironed out pieces that I’ve started pinning will be one side. I’ll make a piece of fabric big enough to cut what I want out of it–probably on the diagonal, just to be interesting. The green “limes” fabric wasn’t quite wide enough, so I inserted a bit of what I’m calling the green and white “feathers” pattern.

In case you’re interested, the pattern of the pink fabric is called “quatrefoil,” I’m guessing due to the bastardization of the French spelling for “four leaves” (quatre feuille) but I could be wrong.

I’ll repeat the process for side two, but try to include more pink for contrast. I think that side will also have a flap or something that tucks over the pillow opening and fastens inside the cover. I guess that means buttons either on the flap or on the inside of side one. Hmmm.

To be continued…