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!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reader Appreciation {GIVEAWAY}

{This giveaway is now closed}
I never thought I would have 50 followers.
For me, blogging is casual and I often find myself wondering who really cares what I have to 
But apparently, there are 50 people who do care, and for that I'd like to say a big HUGE "thank you" in the form of a giveaway!
You may remember awhile back I shared this black vinyl crossbody bag that I made.

One of you is going to win it!
You must be a public follower of this blog to enter.
To enter just leave a comment on this post.
If you would like extra entries, here are your options:
*Like my shop Facebook page (1 extra entry)
*Blog, Facebook, or Tweet about this giveaway (2 extra entries)
Leave one comment per entry, and be sure to include your email address if it is not linked to your Google profile.
I'm so excited that all of you have helped this blog to grow, and I truly appreciate every ounce of support you have given me.
This giveaway will close Friday 6/24 at 9pm PST.
Good Luck!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Confessions of a Hoarder Part I

I've been sewing nonstop since January 2010. I made a lot of cute things, sold some stuff on Etsy, and everything was peachy.
In July 2010 I moved into a new house with a spare bedroom Which I dedicated to sewing, crafting, and hoarding. Oh yeah, it's a guest room too, but what guest would mind the tick tick tick of a sewing machine in the middle of the night? 
Anyway, when I get really into a project I create a hurricane of fabric, thread, and pins. And I never clean up after that hurricane.
Part of the hoarding habit is not only collecting things, but also not wanting to put those things away because the thought of them being out of sight is scary. 
So this is what my craft room looks like right now.
Don't judge. I have feelings.
It's a problem.
Normally, I just close the door to the room and go on my merry way.
But then I had these really great pillows that I wanted to sew, and I had to carefully maneuver around all this crap in order to get to the sewing machine. There is no way I can live like this. 
So before I run out and get professional help from a hoarding counselor, I'm going to try to take care of this thing on my own.
Step 1: Organize my fabric. 
I keep every single scrap of fabric that touches my hands. It's absurd the tiny pieces that I have kept from God knows when. So I purged the smallest scraps and attempted to organize the rest of them. I had four grocery bags full of scraps. It was a challenge, and the hardest part was figuring out how I was going to do it. By size? By designer? By pattern (flowers, stripes, etc.)? I decided it would be best if I organized them by color because it was the easiest and most general (read: took the least amount of time).
After a few hours I managed to condense my four grocery bags into one magnificent scrap bin.
Look inside!
I used gallon-sized freezer bags to hold the scraps of each color. I still can't believe it all fits in here. 
I've told myself that when I am finished with a project, I will gather up the scraps and put them in the appropriate color bags. And I will not hold onto anything that is too small.
Yikes, I guess it's all about implementation.
We'll see.
Stay tuned for another exciting installment of Confessions of a Hoarder.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Spoils of the Cute Stuff Sale

My winnings from the Cute Stuff Sale came in the mail this week!
I know that I bought them, so they aren't winnings per se... but if you participated in the CSS, then you know just how insane the competition actually is. And these are definitely wins.
From Linkel Designs, I got this purdy pink ring. Look at the adorable packaging!
I can't quite capture the light in a way that shows the true color. But just imagine a more vibrant pink with sparkly flecks.

And from Lilac Ave. I got this wonderful lotion bar. I wasn't quite sure what a lotion bar was, or how it would look/feel/smell... 

So here's the deal, that little flower is like a solid piece of lotion that you rub onto your skin. Mine is the aloha scent, and I just rub it in between my hands for a few seconds and it's the perfect amount of moisture. I suffer from "sweaty hands syndrome." That is a medical term that basically means my hands clam up, and lotion is usually a bad idea. But this lotion bar is amazing, and I can be more precise with where I put it as opposed to liquid lotion that goes everywhere.

I highly recommend both of these shops!
Look for them in the next Cute Stuff Sale
Have a great weekend :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gifts for the Bride

A friend of mine is getting married next weekend in Cabo San Lucas!
I'm not attending the wedding, but her bridal party asked if I would put together a few gifts for the bride, Michele.
I bought a plain boyfriend tee at Tar-jay and some fabric paint & went to work. I just printed the words out on paper and since the fabric was sheer enough, was able to trace the letters.

 For the hat, I couldn't trace the letters and I don't have the patience to make a stencil, so I just free-handed the letters.
 I also added the wedding date and a little heart on the back.
 The bag is my favorite part! I made a reversible tote in cream-colored cotton.
On one side it says "bride to-be"...

 ...and when you turn it inside-out it says "just married"!
All of the gifts turned out better than I had imagined. I will definitely use these Tulip fabric paints again!
I know the happy couple is going to have a blast in Cabo!
Have a wonderful weekend, and please follow my blog!
I have a giveaway planned when I reach 50 followers, so tell your friends :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

$55 Living Room Makeover

My boyfriend and I moved into our house almost a year ago.
We were (and still are) on a budget, and decorating hasn't really been a priority.
We got most of our furniture from garage sales, thrift stores, craigslist, and from our friends and family.
Our friend's father gave us these couches for free.
They are in really good condition, and I like the shape, but they are definitely not our style (if we even have a 'style').
My main problem is that the pattern is so bold that it steals the show. Everything we do to the room ends up being overshadowed by the green monsters, and all the throw pillows I've made totally clash.

We aren't ready to buy new couches yet, and slip covers can be crazy expensive.
So when I saw some simple, natural-colored slip covers at Big Lots for pretty cheap, I went home and measured our sofa and loveseat to make sure they would fit.
Side note: Do you have a Big Lots near you? I've been told they are only in a few areas. I'm glad I have one right around the corner because they some really great deals and LOTS of home decor items.
The sofa cover was $30 and the loveseat cover was $25.
And after wrestling with these puppies for a little while, I was very pleased with the final result:
 The covers need to be steamed to get the wrinkles out, I know.

It looks like a blank canvas. I can do anything to it without having to accommodate dark green leaves! It feels so refreshing to walk in and not feel so bombarded. 
Now that I have a clean slate, I've got a lot of ideas for spicing this space up.
Here are some rugs that I like 

Source: None via Amy on Pinterest

and if I can convince Brendan to part ways with his beloved recliner, I'd like to get an accent chair or two.

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

...and this lamp.

OH. MY. GAWD. This lamp... I've been admiring it forever. But I am on a serious Anthropologie boycott ever since the whole Urban Outfitters incident. This lamp looks like something I could possibly make, and customize to whatever colors end up in this room.
I'm making some pillows this week, so I will show photos of any progress that I make.

Also... any suggestions for what to do with that big empty wall? I know there are a lot of options, but the thermostat is smack dab in the middle of the wall. I'd like to have words with whoever made that genius decision...
Anyway, happy Wednesday :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This is what I do when I'm bored.

I go on Pinterest.
I'm addicted.
I have the app on my iPhone, and even though it crashes and freezes all the time, I still use it.
Because I want to love it.
This is why...
Source: via Amy on Pinterest

If you're not on Pinterest, you should be. GO. NOW!
& Look at my other pins and boards here.
Thanks for stopping by :)