Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The adventures of a "fifty something" in cyberspace...

What a year this has been! In April, I was laid off from a job I had had for almost four years. I decided to use the newly found time to concentrate on selling handbags I have been making. Little did I know all that would be involved in the world of cyberspace selling!! I had a few bags in a boutique store that were selling well. It is definitely easier to sell when your product can be touched and held in your hand, but the money aspect is not great when you consign. So I made the plunge into Etsy. Mind you, I am by no means an internet savvy youngster! I studied the site, studied my camera directions,(once I found them), studied blogging,....My head was exploding.. I set up my studio, my office, paypal, twitter, facebook, UGH... My old laptop crashed, my car was in the shop for 3 WEEKS, my camera broke. Sometimes I even found time to sew! There were times when I wondered if it was all worth it..  I never worked so hard for absolutely no pay! But I had way too much support from some good friends and family to quit!
I finally got everything in order and pressed the Etsy button, not knowing what would happen next. But there it was!! My store. It was pretty exciting. I lurked in the forums gleaning information about how to promote, how to sell, etc.etc. Then I got my first sale. It was custom, none the lest! I was terrified! But thanks to a wonderful, fellow Etsian, (and great jewelry artist),  Heather, who walked me through every step of the way, I completed my first sale and learned soooo much! I'll be eternally grateful for all the help she provided me, not to mention promoting my store.!
There is still so much to learn. First on my list is bookeeping. It is a mess right now. I'm still working on my cards, banner, and "branding".
It's going to be a great year though.With my business slowly growing, I can finally concentrate on my bags. I have so many ideas that I want to implement, I can hardly wait to start! There is still so much to learn, don't even get me started on Googleantics!! (or whatever it's called). Cyberspace.....not for the faint of heart...or "fifty-something" brains!! It's been quite a ride, that I've actually really enjoyed, and "it ain't over yet"!
I hope all of us have a great new year ahead!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lime Green?!?!

Looks like I've got a little color theme going this season! Do I have a little "Grinch" in me that I didn't know about?!? I was completely attracted to some of the lime green items out there this year, I even have a lime green garden hose from Smith and Hawkins! I started looking around and found more things in this color than I realized.  hmmm.... what's next?... maybe some lime green lights??

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Serene Scenes

Just some quiet little Christmas vignettes to enjoy during this hectic time. Hope you are having a great Holiday season! (small vignettes, courtesy of my friend, Ann, thank you for your friendship!!)

Finally, my not so quiet, favorite find from my Nevada City trip. The lime green, "Dr. Seuss" tree,complete with disco balls!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!! xoxox .....debi

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Side trip to a Victorian Christmas Wonderland

Nevada City California puts on a Victorian Christmas extravaganza every year in December. I've been wanting to get there for ten years now , but am usually too busy . I finally snagged a spot  with some friends of mine, who have made this an annual trek for a few years now and hopefully I will make it a new tradition too. The town dresses up to celebrate Victorian traditions, vendors sell their wares, people carol in the streets, Victorian homes are decorated to the nines. It was quite beautiful, in spite of the constant rain. We missed the snow by a few days, that must have been a site! We stayed at a little inn at the edge of town and had a great time, drinking mulled wine, indulged in great food and shopped till we dropped!!!! What a great place to get those creative juices flowing, can't wait to go back next year! Thanks Ann and Rene!!


Everyone got into the spirit!!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Printing on Fabric - Tutorial

Every year I help my husband choose gifts for his long time co-workers. This year, I was going to make handbags, but they are a very personal choice, as we all know. So I decided  to personalize an all-purpose tote instead. He chose a veggie label, from my collection, that would have meaning for each person.

Printing on fabric is a great way to add a personal touch to anything you can sew. A few tips I found are these:

  • Use 100% natural fabric, like cotton or silk
  • White fabric produces the brightest color, natural colored fabric lends and antiqued look
  • Anything you can scan onto your computer will work, as well as photos from your collection
  • Don't skip any steps!
To begin:
  • Buy "Bubble Jet Set", it is a liquid. I purchase mine online here:
  • Chose the fabric to prepare
  • Shake bottle well, pour solution into a container, soak fabric for 5 minutes. 
  • Hang fabric to dry, pour leftover solution back in bottle
  • Fabric pieces need to fit the printer, 8 1/2 x 11", so your need to cut accordingly
  • Iron prepared fabric to freezer paper, making sure there are no threads hanging over the sides
  • Print your image onto prepared fabric, as a normal print
  • Let dry for 30 minutes
  • Peel off freezer paper and wash fabric in cool soapy water, rinse, dry and iron
  • I usually use a double sided fusible interfacing to adhere onto my project and iron on, then sew around the image using a decorative stitch.

Since this process is a bit time consuming, I like to prepare alot of fabric ahead of time, so it is ready to use. The picture in the heart ornament (in a previous post) was done like this, I further "antiqued" that one by printing the pic in the sepia setting.
This is so much fun, you can come up with such great fabric designs that have meaning to you and your family! Have fun experimenting and please share what you have created with this method. I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Definition of Downsizing??

Cleaning out closets, finally giving away the favorite outfit you’ll really never wear again.No matter how many times you try it on, it is still hideous! Ok, let it go. The shoes you love and had to buy, they are so beautiful! Everytime you put them on, you can’t walk to the front door without wincing in pain and turning around to change into your comfortable old standbys.
I think its that time of life. Looking towards retirement. Just not wanting to deal with dusting or storing it anymore. And the thought of someday packing and moving it all to the “Condo”….UGH!
So this year we downsized the 8 foot Christmas tree. We actually made the decision last year when my husband and I ended up in traction, trying to lift it and put it away. My son gladly took it for his first new home and we bought a little 4 footer. Cute, easy to handle. After I realized I gave away half of the ornaments to the kids ( in a downsizing mood), I only have enough left to cover a 4 footer anyway!

Then my friend, Ann, and I went shopping. I found a pretty little pitcher that goes nicely with my collection, and I finished my place settings of my favorite rustic red dishes a purchased a few years ago.

As I proudly showed showed my husband my new purchases, he innocently asked "what  happened to downsizing?" Downsizing?? What does that really mean? I guess it's all in the was you look at it. Maybe its just a way of making room to add to the things you really love. Keeping only the things you truely enjoy, and praying that someday they will all fit into that "Condo".......

Friday, December 4, 2009

All That Glitters!!

I've been having so much fun doing something a little different than the normal handbag sewing lately! I wanted to make a few ornaments this season and came up with these. I love glitter!  This heart was made with a photo copied onto fabric. It was sewn onto some beautiful wool felt. I added bits of antique lace and beads and yes....glitter! I stuffed it with fiberfill and some lavender buds.

I also made this tag (had to block out faces on request).

To make these labels, I bought some premade tags, antiqued them with ink. Copied a photo in sepia, glued on, stamped and glittered! I love the Holidays!! Maybe next year I'll start making stuff on January 1!!! So much glitter, so little time!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Stocking Tutorial

I’ve decided to make some new Christmas stockings this year after my son suggested that I make and sell them on etsy. Well that didn’t happen! I made them for my kids instead! So in case you guys are looking…….STOP! (like they ever do!, look that is!) Anyway, the last time I made them stockings, I think they were about 6 years old. They are in their 20’s now, with new homes, so its about time for new ones.
Stockings are easy to make, if you sew at all, so I’ll just give some simple ideas. First, make a template of your size and style. I just did a basic shape.IMG_1747
Cut out your fabric. Decide a basic design theme before you sew the two sides together. Decorate the front of the stocking. I did a button initial on this one.
Then I sewed it to the front of the stocking with a decorative stitch.


Finish your decorating and sew the two sides together and zigzag the edges. Next step is the cuff. Using the original pattern, decide the cuff style and cut to fit the pattern. Sew side seams together and turn right side out.

Now, turn the stocking inside out, pin the IMG_1754cuff, RIGHT side down, and sew on.

Turn the whole thing right side out, and voila!! A beautiful stocking! Finish decorating to your hearts content! This glue is great.
Here are my finished stockings.Get sewing, I’d love to see what you’ve come up with!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Baby Toes......

Remember them? The softness, the heavenly smell? The wonderful giggles that are produced while tickling them? Baby toes...In anticipation of my new grandson, I've been perusing  the esty catagory of baby shoes. Unfortunately those precious feet need to be covered sometimes, but very fortunately I've found some of the cutest coverings around!! Here are a few of my choices, so difficult to decide! Which are your favorites?





So many shoes, so little time!!!!! Check out these shops and more for the most beautiful things you'll find anywhere for the special baby in your life!  huuuummmm, next we need hats??

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Reflections

I’ve been reading a few of my favorite blogs this morning, while trying to wake up and face the day. There is alot of reflections going on in people this time of the year. I got to thinking, this year I’m having a “split” Thanksgiving dinner. My son and his girlfriend and my good friend, Ann, are coming for dinner on Thanksgiving. My daughter and her husband are coming down from Portland on the day after, for leftovers. Hopefully, the family will all get together on Saturday.
 Anyway, I found this picture from 1991, of my sweet kids on a very special Thanksgiving day, when we all celebrated together!  I made her costume for a school program, were she read to the kindergarten kids. (Too cute!) It sure is fun to look back and realize how long I've been crafting and sewing! And still loving it.

Times are changing, kids are growing, soon I'll have a grandchild !
Reflections are a good thing!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Roasted Tomato Appetizer

The Holidays are coming up quickly, don’t they always?  I am always looking for a new appetizer that it quick to serve and delicious, of course!! My friend, Ann, came up with this recipe, and is one of my favorite standbys of all time. It is a great way to use tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and degree of ripeness. Hope you enjoy it too!
Set oven to 300*
line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, this keeps the tomatoes from browning too fast
2- 16 ounce containers of cherry tomatoes (cut each in half)
Toss with about 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar, and roughly chopped garlic (to your liking)
Bake for about 1  1/2 hours
They should look all shriveled and somewhat dry.
At this point, adjust the oil and vinegar, if more is needed, and salt and pepper to taste. Store in a jar in fridge. Should keep for about a week or two. LOL!!! Mine don’t make it that long before I eat them!
I love to serve these with goat cheese on crackers or toasted baguettes. 
crackers with cheese

 Enjoy and have a great Thanksgiving!!