Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Years, and all that jazz...

In case you hadn't noticed, I took a little bit of a blog break. Both writing and reading.
I tend to get overwhelmed during the holidays. I'm busy, you're busy... we don't have to explain these things to each other. 
It's almost the new year, and we are all trying to reinvent ourselves, and make changes to be better people and all that, so I've got to focus a lot more on my writing. I'm starting school again in a few weeks, and since it will be my last semester, I'm going to have to make it a priority. 
Even if that means I don't update the blog as often, I promise that when I do, the content will be worthwhile. 
In the meantime, here's a little somethin' somethin' to keep you satisfied...
All this and more can be found here.
You're Welcome :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

More from Purse Week

Hi again! I'm really excited that I finished this purse in time to submit it for Purse Week! I slaved away all day, and this is what I've come up with.

...I know... I'm still all about the yellow and gray. I'll never get over it.

This is by far the most detailed bag I've ever made.  I used the flower motif from the print on the inside and embroidered it on the outside pocket.
That took quite a while. But time passes quickly when you've got the "Disney Song and Story" channel on Pandora. Seriously, it's like A Whole New World. Literally.
Anyway, I'm in love with the inside fabric. I got a tablecloth and a bunch of cloth napkins on clearance from Target awhile back, and I can't stop using them! It's from the Dwell collection, and I hope I can find more online because I'm almost out.
This zipper was pretty time-consuming... not just installing it, but figuring out the logistics of how it would work. I made a few sketches, measured endlessly, and finally made it happen. And now that I have it all figured out, they will be a breeze in the future!
I also lined the front pockets with the Dwell fabric. They are nice and big for all my junk.
Alright, I'm heading over to enter this puppy in the Flickr Group. Wish me luck...
Hope you have a nice weekend. I'll be breaking in my new bag!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Purse Week 2011

Hello there,
I thought I would pop in for a minute to share the new bag that I made for Purse Week 2011 over at A Lemon Squeezy Home. I participated last year, but didn't win. It was fun though... I love making bags.
This year there are some pretty sweet prizes, so I'm going at the competition hard.
Here's what I made...
I designed this messenger to be large enough to fit my latptop into, and made it extra padded and structured to keep my baby safe (this laptop is my baby, folks). I love the brown linen and the adjustable strap.
The inside is my favorite...
It has large roomy pockets that fit my laptop charger, my wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses... everything. AND This Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush print on the inside is like {insert angels singing}...
I totally love this bag, and I hope the judges love it too!
I have another purse in the works, but the deadline is tomorrow, so I'm not sure I'll finish in time.
I'll keep you updated :) 
If you're interested, go check out the Purse Week Flickr Pool to see the other entries :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Things

I know I have been mentioning--and in some cases-- shamelessly plugging my new shop Long Live. But I want to also let you know that my original accessory shop, Fancy Funky Fresh is still open and thriving. I'm continuing to come up with new products and designs for both shops. 
My goal is to have Fancy Funky Fresh be a place for cute, quirky, bright accessories that demand to be the center of attention, while giving me the opportunity to work with my favorite designer cotton fabrics. And at the same time also have Long Live, where I market a line of bags that is chic and low key, and can be paired with any outfit or accessory.
Having two shops is not as difficult as I thought it would be... it's just more important to keep myself organized and budget my time well.
So, that is just a little bit about my etsy shops, and why there are two, and what my goals are for each of them.
I also wanted to take this opportunity (since you're already here) to show you two new products now being offered at Fancy Funky Fresh.
First up are these quilted coaster sets:
I love these because every time guests come over, they always ask about them. They are so different from standard coasters that they become a conversation starter. Plus I can make them in just about any fabric (custom orders, y'all).

My second new product is a wallet... Not just a regular wallet but a cute petite little thing with big time storage. Designing this was not easy... I had an idea in my head, I just didn't know how to get it to work. I must have made like five prototypes. Totally worth it though. This is my new petite wallet:
It can hold just as much stuff as my larger Carry-It wallets, but it is more compact and fits into those tiny crossbody satchels that are everywhere these days.

Ok, so now you know what's up, and I hope to see some of you at the Cute Stuff Sale on Saturday the 17th, where you may or may not be able to purchase these pretty little things at a discounted price.

Monday, September 12, 2011

At it again

Well, I'm at it again! I joined up with NiceGirlNotes and a bunch of other great Etsy shop owners for another Cute Stuff Sale.
The sale takes place on the NiceGirlNotes Facebook page, and gives you an opportunity to get great deals on handmade stuff! All the items are at least 25% off, so it's great for gift buying (it's never too early for Christmas shopping, right?), or for treating yourself to something you wouldn't normally buy at full price. 
So go "like" NiceGirlNotes on Facebook, and check out this page for all the info you need. While you're there, snoop around and see how freakin' funny Roo is. She is the writer of the blog, and the woman behind the magic of the Cute Stuff Sale, and I want to be best friends with her.

Anyway, the sale is this Saturday the 17th, so this week I'm going to post a couple of sneak peeks of what I'll be offering! Soc check back soon :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Grand Opening

Well, September 1st is finally here...
My new Etsy shop opened today!!
Introducing my newest project, Long Live Handmade.
I linked to it on Facebook, and all of my wonderful friends have been showing their support. Many of them even shared the link with their friends, and so far today my Etsy site has had over 100 views. Wowza! 
Here are some of the items I have listed... 
This is the Foldover Bag. It converts from a tote to a messenger to a shoulder bag. Making up the pattern was a labor of love, but this is the bag that my friends and family have shown the most interest in. I already have requests for custom orders! I made a product video for this bag, and even though I think it's embarrassing, I put it on Facebook and the Long Live Handmade blog.
I guess I can share it here too.

 This is the Large Pocket Tote. It is a very simple tote with a big ole pocket on the outside. Ideally this would be a school bag or a tote to take to the library or bookstore. I'm obsessed with corduroy right now.
This is the Foldover Clutch... It's similar to the Foldover Bag but small enough to take on a night out. There is a detachable wristlet too!
The list is short for right now, but I'm working on new designs and translating them from paper to a real thing is sometimes daunting. But soon I will have some time to really get crackin' on this stuff.
For the grand opening sale, I'm offering 20% off. Just enter this code at checkout:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A more sophisticated me

I'm 23 years old.
I'm 10 units away from my bachelor's degree.
I live away from home.
I have a dog.
I'm a grown up.
I have no idea when that last thing happened, but whether I like it or not, it's the truth. I made some promises to myself that I was going to start making a few changes. Most of these promises stemmed from the new beginning, which I posted about recently.
I'm taking on a lot of new responsibilities on unfamiliar ground, and risk-taking is now something I'm doing daily. 
So why do I still roll out of bed every morning and throw on a tshirt and jeans? Because it's easy, it's familiar, and it's safe. Part of having a successful business is being mindful of how others perceive you... and haphazardly pulling on too-casual clothing is no longer going to cut it if I want to be happy with myself and say honestly that I'm trying my best.
Very recently I started filling in my eyebrows and wearing lip stain (not lipstick people, I'm nowhere near ready for that). I also started waking up early enough to apply it in front of my bathroom mirror and not while sitting at a red light on the way to work. It's going well so far.
But I'd still like to step it up a bit in terms of my appearance. I'm talking about outfit planning, accessorizing, and wearing my hair in styles other than a ponytail.
You can check out my entire style pinboard in Pinterest, but here are a few of my favorite items and outfits that I use to get inspired...
Source: via Amy on Pinterest
Source: via Amy on Pinterest
Source: None via Amy on Pinterest

Source: None via Amy on Pinterest

Well, we will just have to see where this goes. Baby steps folks.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Upside

I know, I'm blog lagging again. 
It tends to happen in the Summer. When you return from a trip and your mind stays on vacation. Yeah, that's me right now, and for the last week or so.

I'm writing today about a positive side to some bad news. And about new beginnings. And to wish my sweetie a happy 23rd birthday (love you, Bub... hope you're having a fantastic day!).
So, you may know this, you may not, but I've been working as a nanny for the same family for three years. Their youngest was three months old when I started, and now it seems like he's all grown up. The mother told me a couple weeks ago that he will be starting preschool sometime this year. It could be as early as September, or it could be pushed to January. Either way, I'm looking at a significant pay cut, or a complete career change. 
I was pretty sure I didn't want to go through this with another family, and I know that jobs in my field (creative writing) aren't always guaranteed steady income. So I had some thinking to do.
After sulking a bit, talking to my mom, my boyfriend, and some other wise folks, I found a positive solution that should keep me satisfied and allow me to keep making enough money to live on (or possibly more).
I'm going to stay where I am. I'll work afternoons when the little guy goes off to preschool, and I'll live knowing that my hours will be cut in half, and I'll watch these kids for as long as they need me to stay. 
With my new surplus of spare time, I'm going to work my little ass off building up my new Etsy shop. WHAT?!
That's right. 
I'm starting over from scratch.
Remember that new-ish and big-ish thing I was working on? It's a complete overhaul of my Etsy shop that will be totally focused on hadbags, purses, clutches, etc.
I'm going to sew, market, promote, sell, and build this thing so that it's a fully functioning business that will one day be my only job, and my only means of income. How scary is that?
I know it will be hard. Trust me, the loudest voice in my head telling me I can't is my own voice. And I can tell her to shut up any time I want.
Making bags is what I love to do, so I'm gonna go ahead and do it. Ok?
I'll have some more details on the new shop coming soon. And if its alright with you guys, I'd like to also post a little here and there about the process of building a [hopefully]successful online shop, and what I am dealing with along the way.

Cheers to new beginnings :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge

Hi there readers!
I just came across this fun photo challenge hosted by Oh So Lovely and Jenn & Tonic.
It looks super fun, and it will give me a chance to be extra photographic, and maybe get in the habit of taking more pictures.
I'll be on vacation the whole first week of August, but I will of course have my camera with me, so I can share when I get back.
Here's the list. All of these are super do-able and I can already see myself getting creative with them.

Well... wanna join? Let me know if you're participating too and I'll stop by your blog to see what you've got!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Nerd Alert: Harry Potter T-shirts

I'm sure I have mentioned it before, but it's worth saying again-- I am a huge Harry Potter fan. The books and movies have been a part of my life since they first became popular in like 1999. I was 11, Harry was 11. We grew up together, and the end has finally come. 
We're grown ups now, Harry.
But that doesn't mean I can't still express my love of magic through crafty projects.
For the midnight premier of The Deathly Hallows Part II, my mom and sister helped me make these t-shirts:

We used freezer paper stencils and fabric paint for the front, and free-handed the back. We were all pretty impressed with how well they turned out.I'll be using the freezer paper again.
Although we had a lot of fun, the whole night was very bittersweet. I can't think of any other time I will get dressed up and go to a midnight release for something. I've read every word of every book and watched every movie. I know the whole story from beginning to end. I don't know what to do with myself now... and I'm sure most of the Potter fans are having similar feelings.
This video describes it in a funny way. This girl speaks for a lot of us.

As for the movie, I was pretty satisfied. Since I read the books I had all the extra info that the movie never addressed, but that's ok. I understand that movie makers have limitations that our imaginations don't. I did get really emotional though... like from the moment Harry walked into Hogwarts until the credits... just about an hour of constant tear flow. 

Even though the movies and books are finished, I will always love Harry Potter. I will read the books to my children and grandchildren, and the magic will live on forever. And in the meantime, I'll just embrace all the real-life magic.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My First Guest Post!

Hey you guys, I'm guest posting today over at The Mrs. I'm sharing a quick little tutorial for this magnetic chalkboard. 

I'd love for you to go check it out, and let Megan know you stopped by!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blagging? And a Shop Update

I know, I've been blog lagging. We'll call it blagging.
I'm blagging because I've been extra busy. At the beginning of Summer I immersed myself in these awesome books...
Source: via Amy on Pinterest

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

I'd like for my Etsy business to be my full-time job. So I'm working on something new-ish and big-ish. You'll find out soon...

In the meantime I thought I'd give my shop a little bump, and offer free domestic shipping for the rest of the month. Enter the code FREESHIPJULY11 to get it!
Here are some of my best sellers:
Carry-It Wallets!
Coffee Cozies!
So stop by in July and pick out your favorite thing!
I hope everyone is enjoying their Summer... it is flying by.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What I Wore Wednesday {New Leather Belt}

So I got this belt at a thrift store over the weekend. I got some other great stuff too but this was the only wearable item I picked up. And boy have I been wearing it!
I paired it with this summery outfit on Monday:
Top: Target
Belt: Thrifted
Shorts" Forever 21
Sandals: Rack Room
This top works for any season... that's why I love it. I think it was on clearance when I got it at Tarjay too :)
I call these sandals my "Jerusalem Cruisers"... they are from a store at the Camarillo Outlets.

I wore my leather belt again last night to dinner and a movie with Brendan, but didn't get any photos..
Today I'm wearing it with this vest and skinny jeans.

Layering tank: Forever 21
Vest: Old Navy
Belt: Thrifted
Skinnies: Forever 21
Flats: Gap
Watch: birthday gift from Brendan
Ring: Great-grandma's engagement ring
Necklace: Made by my sister Jessica
I love this belt and I'm probably going to continue to wear it with everything!
I'm also really enjoying this summer weather, and already looking forward to the weekend :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Get Thrifty {Ventura, CA}

Downtown Ventura is a great place to go thrifting! 
I'm lucky to live so close... When I was in high school and I lived more inland my friends and I would drive out to the coast to go thrifting in Ventura. 
But now I live right around the corner and it's nice to stop by when I have a few hours.
They just put in a Goodwill downtown, and I know that they are not the best place to get great deals, (sometimes their prices are marked up way too much) but I managed to get these great home decor items on the cheap:
This tiny little chest doubles as a picture frame. I think I might use it too keep spare sewing needles or ribbons.

I also found this simple lampshade at the Goodwill. I'm planning on painting it and finding a fun, funky shade.
The other thrift shops downtown are always good for finding great deals!
...Like this leather belt. All the belts at this shop are only $.95!
And at the last shop I found this fantastic throw pillow.

I didn't realize until I got home, but it was originally from World Market, and I know how pricey their toss pillows can be.

So these are the treasures I found this time at my favorite thrifting spot. It was pretty crummy weather on Saturday, so hopefully next time I'll be able to get some good photos of the downtown area and he beach.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Did You Win?

The winner of the reader appreciation giveaway is...
She left this sweet comment:

Thanks again to all of you who entered and showed support for my little blog :)
Megan, I have your e-mail and I will be in touch with you soon
Hope everyone had a great weekend.
I'll be back tomorrow to show you all the great stuff I scored at the thrift stores.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Craft Fair Tips

{This Giveaway is now closed}

Hi everyone...
Today I want to share with you a few tips for selling your handmade items in a face-to-face venue.
If you sell on Etsy or any other online marketplace, you don't get a chance to actually meet your customers, and they don't get a chance to meet you or your products up close and personal. 
Selling at a craft show, street fair, or festival allows you to meet people and to introduce your products to the community. 
I have had booths at two local events, and both of them were learning experiences. Here are a few tips for what I have learned so far.
(these photos are from both events)
1. Plan Ahead. Trust me, you do not want to be up all night the night before the event still making inventory for the show. I did it the first time because I was paranoid about not having enough things to sell. The second time around, I made a list of all the items I wanted to have, and how many of each I planned to make. Then I made a schedule for the next few weeks to keep me on track. It never hurts to have too much inventory, so make as much as you possibly can. Stock up. If you have inventory leftover, you can save it for the next show or list it in your online shop.

2. Be Memorable. Have an eye-catching display so that potential buyers know you're there. If you make small products that aren't large enough to stand out (like my coffee cozies and key chains), use display items that pop, like a fun table covering or catchy sign. Smile a lot and make sure customers know that you handmade everything and can answer any questions they have. In addition, make sure everyone who comes to your booth leaves with a business card. Even if they don't buy at the show, they may visit your website or blog, or contact you for a custom order.

3. Have Helpers. I could not have done either show without my mom and my two sisters. Aside from the fact that they were there to help organize things and tell my customers how awesome my products were, some of my display items were just too heavy for me to handle on my own. You need to have at least one person to help you out. Some shows may only allow one helper to come in free of charge, but it may be worth it to buy admission for a few more friends if you think you might need more help. 
4. Label everything. If your items are each unique, then each item should have its own price tag. I use general labels and make sure they are front and center so that people aren't constantly asking "How much is this?" It also helps to tell what the item is if people aren't familiar with your products or if they have a special name.

5. Accept Credit Cards. You may be thinking that accepting credit cards is a complicated and expensive process with lots of paperwork and fees. But it's so simple. I use a service called Square. I signed up {for free} online, and they sent me a {free} card reader. Then I downloaded the app {for free} on my iPhone... it may be available for Droid by now, but I'm not positive. Basically how it works is that you plug the card reader into the headphone jack on your phone, and it allows you to accept credit cards. The money goes into your account after about 3 days, and Square takes only 2.75% of every purchase. That's about the same as Etsy and Paypal. No monthly fees, no contract, and no equipment to buy. I had this at my second craft show and my sales almost doubled. I had a little sign that let everyone know I accepted credit cards, and buyers were really impressed with my sweet card reader.
image source

6. Get Creative With Your Displays. I use household items for displaying my creations. I have colorful bowls, decorative trays, and a few purse racks that my boyfriend made for me. I also have a thread rack that I use for my leather cuff bracelets. All of these items were relatively inexpensive and can be found everywhere. If you're selling something like jewelry, try to create a display that is unique instead of using generic jewelry racks that can be found at every other booth. Choose something that is different but won't distract or take away from your products--you want them to stand out on their own.

I hope this helps if you are interested in having a booth at a craft event. I am by no means an expert, but I'm glad to offer any help I can. If you have questions or want to ask more about my experiences or my booth, feel free to ask!
The Mrs. will be hosting a link party to share tips and ask questions about craft fairs. I'll be linking to this post on July 21st!