Thursday, October 29, 2009

The end...for now

I forgot to take my camera the day I started cleaning up my garden plot. It was a sight! I filled three and a half yard waste bags. But now it's ready for tilling and to settle down to sleep for the winter. And I have the winter to plan what to do with it next year!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Little Wooden People Set - Water Set

The water themed set of my little people! Next up, earth.

It's awfully pretty, if I do say so myself. Buy it here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Diaper bag: Laurie

And she's done! I have to say, the pictures do not do this bag justice at all. I think it's my favourite bag I've ever made, actually.

The combination of fabrics on the flap is really just terrific - sometimes getting the proportions right on the stripes is a little tricky, and you never know if you've got it right or wrong until you actually finish sewing it together. I'm thinking I might make up a few things with these fabrics, since I have more of each. Maybe a couple of sets of placements to be Christmas presents. of course, that would mean finding enough time in the day to sew things like that!

Back view. I find this long zippered pocket really handy on my bag, for my wallet and important papers and that sort of thing.

And she'll be off to her new home soon! I hope she has a long and useful life.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rain, rain, go away...

It is very frustrating to have an extremely productive evening, with all sorts of things nicely lined up to be photographed and listed in the store and/or blogged, and then have it rain, rain, rain. I take virtually all of my product and portfolio pictures outside because it's much easier to get nice pictures with natural light, but when it's raining, that's a big no go.

And since I have both kids home today, I can't experiment with my light box, either. That's just a recipe for disaster.

(I'm trying not to think too much about product photography in the winter - although the snow will probably reflect the light really well, I might actually get better pictures, even if it will mean freezing my ass off to take them)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Work in progress: BIG diaper bag continued

It's coming together. All that's left is making and then attaching the strap anchors, adding the lining, and then making the strap. I would have finished last night if I hadn't gotten distracted with working out the details on another project. This is going to be a really great bag, I think!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Work in progress: BIG diaper bag

It's almost like magic, how you can take a pile of fabric and transform it.

This is a bag I'm making for my friend L, who not only recently had twins, she also has a not-yet two year old. With THREE kids under two, she needs a BIG diaper bag. Really big.

So that's what I'm working on here!

The interior has four elasticized pockets - I actually wanted those to run all the way around the entire interior, but I ran into a slight issue of not having quite enough of the red lining fabric to pull it off. Dang. The fabric is a water resistant heavy nylon - this way the bag can easily be wiped out when those weird random spills that are inevitable with kids happen.

Not the best picture of the exterior, but you can get the general idea. This is the front with a pen pocket, and each side gusset has an elasticized pocket meant for bottles/sippy cups, car keys, cell phones, etc. I'm going to add a small pocket to the interior that is cell phone sized, I completely forgot to sew that in earlier. One of the side pockets also has a key loop, and the back has a zippered pocket for wallets/keys/whatever.

The rest of the bag - and the most important part, the flap! - is getting there. The flap is a strip pieced striped number that is almost done and features the black fabric of the bag body, black satin, black and silver brocade, and red dupioni silk. It's pretty awesome, if I do say so myself! Once the flap is together, all that's left is the strap, which is always the most annoying part of any bag (although easy and quick to make). I hope to have it finished up tomorrow night so I can deliver it by the end of the week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why you should always check your baby carriers

I've posted this picture before, my current favourite baby carrier. It's one I made when I was pregnant with my first daughter. And, to be honest, didn't really know what the hell I was doing.

I make a habit of checking the seams on my carriers almost every time I use them, just in case. Turns out that's a REALLY good idea:

EEEEEEEEEEK. Very, very glad I found it immediately, and it was an easy repair. I did NOT construct that seam correctly when I made the original carrier, although it is something of a testament that even the improperly sewn seam lasted as long as it did. The seam has now been triple stitched and the raw edges zig-zagged, and it should be fine, but you can bet I'll be keeping an extra close eye on it! Frankly there really shouldn't be a seam there at all - I should have used one long piece of fabric for the sling, but I now know enough to make the seam safe.

As an aside, this is why you should always be cautious when buying baby carriers as well. Safe construction requires a lot of research into technique, and unfortunately there are people selling carriers who really, really shouldn't be. I love buying stuff from work at home moms, and I don't want to discourage that, but baby carriers in particular can be tricky. Be cautious, especially buying anything where the price seems too good to be true. This is especially the case with Mei Tais, and goes double if you plan to use the Mei Tai to carry a baby or a toddler on your back.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swap diaper and wipe set

My final package for a swap I'm involved in! This is an all-in-one diaper, PUL outer, procool wicking inner, with removable snap-in soaker and doubler. I put crossover snaps on one wing because I have no idea how big the baby will be! My chunky waisted baby never needed that small a waist setting, but reportedly not all babies are the same. I know, who knew?

Shot of the inner. Doubler is hidden underneath the soaker.

And a set of cloth wipes to go along. I am SUCH a convert to cloth wipes, they make cleaning up after diaper changes way easier.

When I start receiving my packages back I will post pics - got some super neat stuff coming.

Welcome to the dungeon

I spent some time last night tidying and organizing my workspace - I really should have taken a before picture, it was...unpleasant, and was increasingly messing with my productivity because I couldn't freaking FIND anything with all the piles of crap on every available surface. Give me a week or two and I'll have it right back in that condition again, but for now, it's relatively clean and organized and I'm already feeling my fingers itching to get at that sewing machine!

Now I just want my best sewing machine back (yep, it's in for service again, thanks to some overly enthusiastic sewing over thick seams that threw the timing off, SIGH). Really glad I decided to hang on to old faithful there, since I hate being without a machine! Eagle eyes might spot my third sewing machine - it's in the picture, but if you don't know what you are looking for you might not see it. Do I need three sewing machines? No, no I don't. But I like having them, and they all come in handy for various things.

(for those thinking, huh, that's not much of a fabric stash, the tote bins full of fabric are in the crawl space. Like that would be my entire stash, ha!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trades #1: Pumpkin Hat

One of the things I have discovered over the last few months is that there are many many people out there who are happy to trade their hand crafted stuff for your hand crafted stuff. I'm going to start posting a few of the things I've gotten through trades, since I'm just so thrilled about the whole thing! Trades are a really great way to get your hands on stuff that you love but don't have the time or the inclination to figure out how to do it yourself.

First up, this very adorable pumpkin hat for the baby. Her birthday is Halloween, so I think a pumpkin hat is pretty much required! This is from the lovely 3DeesPlace on Etsy. She doesn't currently have the pumpkin hats listed, but I bet if you asked her she'd hook you up! And how cute is this hat?

Friday, October 16, 2009

More baby leg warmers

Yep. In the store, blah blah blah.

More interesting stuff coming tomorrow. Oh, well, I did do one thing - I bought a domain name! Right now I just have it set to forward to the store, but now I can get decent business cards printed with a sensible domain: I couldn't get the .com, someone else has it already. Boo. At some point I'd like to move the blog to the domain, if I had the foggiest idea how to do that. It's on the to-do list.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Doll diapers: new size!

By popular demand, I've created a second, larger size for the doll diapers (and the doll diaper pattern). If you've purchased the pattern previously, I'll be sending out the large size PDF later today, so watch your email for that file! I just want to print it off one last time and make sure it's perfect.

Sizing up turned out to be more of a challenge than I was really expecting - you can't just, say, blow the whole thing up 20%, because that changes the curves in strange ways. So it was a much fiddlier process than I was expecting. But now it's done and I can focus on other things for a while!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

FIRE (little people set)

Thanksgiving went off well (overcooked the turkey a tad, but with gravy that good, who cares?), and today we're off for thanksgiving part two at my sister in law's house. More turkey! Yay!

I finished off the first sets for my elements themed series. This one the people are natural; I will also have one set with stained orange/yellow/red people. The red orange and yellow are kind of appropriate to the whole thanksgiving thing, too.

I wasn't thrilled with my collection of blue fabrics for the water sets (most of my stash is muted colours), so I picked up a couple half meters of bright blue fabric. I think they'll be gorgeous! I'm debating doing some sets with applique on the outside, but I have a hard time with applique. It never comes out like it looks in my head.

Since the doll mei tais are proving to be good sellers, I cut four more out last night, including some out of the crazy blue and pink batik fabric I've had in my stash for years now. If they work out, I might have to start getting into dying. The idea of being able to start with white fabric and create my own patterns really appeals to me - marbled straps and tie-dyed center panels would be so neat on the doll carriers.

Like I need any more ideas! I can't keep up with my own brain.

More of the fire little people set:

Buy it here!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Still sewing

I am busy. Work, kids, getting ready to host my family for thanksgiving (turkey, YAY!), I have to get over to the garden and start cleaning it up, and, of course, sewing.

Nothing new and exciting to show, unfortunately, I'm just making stock for the store. Bit of a creative slump, frankly, nothing new is really working right so I'm just sewing my standbys (and people keep buying them, so hey, it works!). I am going to do some photos in the next few days of some of the wonderful and amazing things I've traded for recently, since I don't want this poor blog to languish unattended!

I also have the ubiquitous 'advice for etsy sellers' post brewing, now that I've been at this for a few months and am now TOTALLY an expert. But seriously, there are a few Etsy related issues I'd like to write about, if only to get my own thoughts straight. It's been a really interesting (and profitable!) experience so far.

Here's a recent item:

I'd tell you to go buy it in the store, but someone already did!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Little People

I have a real thing for rainbow colours. I'm always trying to move away from them, but with all the kid sewing I've been doing, I keep coming back to the rainbows.

But one cannot live by rainbows alone. Or something. Well, basically sewing the same thing over and over and over again gets really tedious. So here's some pink.

I did two pink ones last night. I'm thinking I'll do four more little wooden people sets, in an earth/air/water/fire type theme (if I can figure out how to differentiate air - earth, water, and fire are easy, but what colours to use for air? purple/blue/white, maybe), then call it a day on those except for custom orders. I need to get some more doll mei tais in stock as the Christmas gift buying season approaches. Also, I have a new size of doll diapers I have to finish testing out and add to the pattern (anyone who has previously purchased the pattern, watch your email - I will send you the PDF of the new size large as soon as it's ready!).

I had hoped to get my hairband pattern up in the store by the end of September, but that didn't work out - you wouldn't think something so simple would cause such headaches! It's almost ready, and I should have about a dozen or so hairbands to sell as well.

And, of course, there's L's long awaited diaper bag to work on! I'm really struggling with the flap design on it for some reason. Nothing I try is really working right, so I had to set it aside for a couple of days. I have a new idea to try tonight, hopefully it'll work!

Pink doll rolls are in the store.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I am not a photographer.

I take, maybe, one really great photo a year. Photography is so NOT my strong suit.

But part of being on Etsy is that your photos have to be good, if not great. It's immensely frustrating, frankly, because although my pictures are getting better, I have yet to work out the best way to take truly spectacular product photos!

The little people rolls are particularly problematic, because the pictures - especially the initial thumbnail that should hopefully entice potential buyers to click - just don't capture how neat they are. Fortunately this morning the baby took a nap while I had good light in the backyard, so I played around a bit and I think finally came up with a good initial photo composition:

Probably will tweak it a bit more, but for now I'm calling it good. One of the things I'm finding irritating about Etsy is there's a very specific aesthetic that the Etsy Monkeys like, and your product is only going to be chosen for within-site promotion if your photos meet that criteria. Lots of neutral colours, odd angles, white background. It's nice enough, but it means if you look at the front page of Etsy at any given time there's a certain...sameness to it all. I'm not sure it's a look I necessarily want to be trying for, but if I want to have any shot at on-Etsy promotion, well, there it is.