Friday, March 27, 2009

News + Fun Friday Links

I am sad to say I have seriously neglected blogging over the past week. Not just posting but reading as well. I think that might be why I haven't been motivated to sew for the past couple days, no crafty inspiration from my favorite blogs! Part of it might be the massive amount of crazy sewing I did last week in preparation for my show (which turned out to be a general waste of time) and the purse party I did (which went amazingly!).

Ok I guess the show wasn't that bad. People always take cards, although I wonder if they ever really look at my site after that. I usually don't go back to look online when I pick up cards at craft fairs, I'm sorry to say it. But, there were some great sellers next to us that offered some really good tips for wholesale options and upcoming shows! As my amazing assistant reminded me, you can't always judge a fair by the number of sales. It could be a total success as far as networking and advice, which could generate way more sales than you had on that day.

Plenty of new items came out of the mad sewing extravaganza that was last week. I've already posted the polka dot linen baskets and there are more on the way, and my sister made a ton of coasters similar to these (all by herself!) that I will put up some pictures of soon. A few mail holders, a ton of pillow cases, and some fabric wrapping paper round out the home decor items. New bags include 5 Kensingtons, 4 Sunburys, and 6 West end Clutches!

How cute is this hot pink clutch? The inside is an awesome green cotton with white polka dots. Reminds me of juicy watermelons :). Once I get some pictures snapped then I will post all of these amazing new items in the shop!

Onto what we've all been waiting for, the fun Friday links! I know I missed last week, but I barely stopped sewing all day. The boyfriend and I both took vacation that day and I was extremely upset with myself that I didn't hang out with him more. Well let's not dwell on the past, onto the links!

1. I've really been loving teapots lately. I think it's because I suddenly remembered my old tea kettle was lost in the move (as well as my copy of In Stitches...sad day) and I had to heat up my water in the microwave. So I've been shopping for a new kettle on Etsy. But are teapots only for water that's already hot? I found some great vintage enameled ones that I love, and also some handmade ceramic pots that are perfect for just one or two cups! I'm not sure if either of those can actually go on the stove. Can anyone help me out? Here are some of my favorites on Etsy though. Green is one of my top 3 colors right now :)

TEAPOT small leaf green vintage by Kalivoda

Chartreuse Teapot by utilemud

Teapot in Turqoise Green by sierraclayart

2. Although I really love decorating our house myself and finding unique ways to use ordinary objects, sometimes you just want a room straight out of a catalogue. Mostly, this happens to me with Ikea. But when the CB2 catalog came yesterday I could not put it down! I immediately fell in love with this outdoor sectional. If only I lived in a place where it didn't rain ALL THE TIME that would look great on our patio. Although I should be kind to Cleveland and let you all know that today it is sunny (after 2 days of chilly spring rain, and yes it definitely rained harder and colder every time I had to go outside).

3. An interesting quiz on portion control, and how portion sizes at restaurants and stores have become practically gargantuan over the past 20 years. Makes you wonder how anyone manages to stay slim and fit in this society! Of course taking the quiz totally made me want a big blueberry muffin. Go figure.

4. Ok I know I'm promoting someone who is already being promoted, but I absolutely love meganaumen's work! Someone's blog linked to it about a month ago and I fell in love with the pendant lamp but when I saw the price I decided not to even mention it to the boyfriend. She's now Etsy's featured seller and I have to look at her beautiful work every time I log in! Someday I hope...

And those are the links for this Friday! Hopefully this weekend I can get some photos snapped of my new items and put them in the shop!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pretty Linen Baskets

I just got the book Zakka Sewing by Therese Laskey and I love it! The first project I tried was super easy, the linen baskets. They rate it "two buttons" out of three on the difficulty scale, but I think experienced sewers would find it very simple. The most difficult part for me was figuring out the decorative stitches on my new machine, which I had never used before.

The baskets turned out so well that I made three! The actual pattern is for the smallest one, with the yellow polka dots. It turned out to be about a 4" cube. The green one is 6" and the blue is 8". Since I will be selling these at my next craft fair, I wanted to make them look unified in case someone wanted to buy the set, but not all exactly the same. I thought polka dots in different colors would be a fun pattern, and the decorative stitches are all the same style and color thread.

At my next craft fair I will be debuting some new items for the home (including the baskets!). Some of the other items are my fabric mail holder, patchwork coaster sets, and fabric "wrapping paper".

What is this show you ask? It's the Valley Forge High School 12th Annual PTSA Spring Craft Fair! Whew that's a mouthful. It's this Saturday, March 21st, from 9am-3pm at Valley Forge, my alma mater! Admission is free, so check it out if you're in the area! Ask me for directions if you need them!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bag of Luck Giveaway!

Instead of Friday Links, I'm promoting a giveaway I'm participating in as part of the Carried Away Etsy Team! Full rules are below, but basically you browse the member's shops hunting for hidden shamrocks or the phrase "bag of luck", and however many you find is how many entries you get for the various prizes. There are other ways to gain more entries, such as purchasing an item from one of the shops or promoting the giveaway via your blog or twitter!
Check it out and enter to win some fabulous prizes! I will be giving away a West End Clutch or a $25 gift certificate to my shop!

The Big Bag of Luck Giveaway
with Carried Away: The Etsy Bag Makers Team
GIVEAWAY RUNS March 13th - 23rd, 2009

Carried Away is celebrating the lucky season and the turning of Winter to Spring with a BIG BAG OF LUCK GIVEAWAY. Visit each of our participating SHAMROCK SHOPS to find the hidden Shamrocks (exactly like the image above) or the phrase "bag of luck" hidden somewhere in their listings. Email us your list and you're in!

You can earn additional entries by making a purchase from any Carried Away team shop or by promoting this giveaway via your blog, twitter or any other means that we can verify.

1 (One) Grand Prize winner. Participants must locate all 26 (twenty six) hidden shamrocks/phrases to qualify. Winner will receive their choice of 6 (six) prizes from the list below. Winner will also receive an actual Bag of Luck shopping tote, courtesy of team member Naughty Monkeys. Limit one entry per email address.

1 (One) First Place winner. Participants must locate at least 5 Shamrocks/phrases to qualify. Winner will receive their choice of 4 (Four) Prizes from the list below. Limit one entry per email address.

1 (One) Second Place winner. Participants must locate at least 3 shamrocks/phrases to qualify. Winner will receive their choice of 2 (Two) Prizes from the list below. Limit one entry per email address.

The 14 (Fourteen) Remaining Prizes:Earn one entry to win the the 14 remaining prizes by promoting our giveaway or finding at least one hidden Shamrock/phrase. The remaining prizes will be awarded singly by random number drawing from all entries that qualify as stated below. Prize won will be chosen randomly.

1) Submit the location of one or more Shamrocks/phrases to Make sure it is the URL of the listing, not the shop. Limit two entries per email address.

2) Twitter about this giveaway and post the URL in the Comments. Limit one entry per email address. While you're at it, follow the team on twitter.

3) Blog about this giveaway and post the URL in the comments below. Limit one entry per email address.

4) Sign up to follow our Carried Away Team blog. Both email and RSS feeds are available. Post in the comments below. Limit one entry per email address.

Rules of the Game

1) Visit one or all of the SHAMROCK SHOPS below and look for the lucky shamrock hidden in the listing (like the one above) or the phrase "bag of luck" in the item description. Make note of the ITEM URL, not the shop URL.

Find one shamrock/phrase for one entry.
Find at least FIVE to qualify for First Prize.
Find at least 3 to qualify for 2nd Prize.
FIND ALL 26 to qualify for the GRAND PRIZE.

2) Email your list of URL(s) for each Shamrock/phrase you found to Entries MUST INCLUDE your name, email address and mailing address. This information will not be shared. Entries lacking any/all requested information will be disqualified. The game runs from March 13th - 23rd, 2009. Winners for all prizes will be posted on our team blog by March 25th.3) Earn five additional entries for Grand Prize or First prize by making purchases from our team shops as noted below. YOU MUST send in the transaction URL/Paypal confirmation email to qualify. You can make as many purchases as you like and earn 5 extra entries for each purchase.

4) The included shipping is offered on the continent of the seller only. So, US sellers ship free to US only. European to Europe only. etc. Please keep this in mind as you redeem your prize.

5) The gift certificates have no cash value. Any balance remaining after the winner has selected the item must be spent or forfeited.


Earn FIVE ADDITIONAL ENTRIES TO THE GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY by making a purchase of at least $25 (twenty five dollars, including shipping) from any of the SHAMROCK SHOPS offering prizes in this giveaway.

1) You must email your payment receipt URL/or paypal confirmation email with your name, shipping address and email address to

2) You may make as many purchases as you like. Each one will award FIVE additional drawing entries.

EARN FIVE ADDITIONAL ENTRIES to the FIRST PLACE GIVEAWAY by making a purchase of at least $10 (ten including shipping) from ANY Carried Away team member's shop. A full list of shops is at the bottom of our team blog at

1) You must email your payment receipt URL/or paypal confirmation email with your name, shipping address and email address to

2) You may make as many purchases as you like. Each one will award FIVE additional drawing entries.


Visit these SHAMROCK SHOPS to find the hidden shamrock/phrases to enter the giveaway.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fabric Overload!

I keep getting news of all these new fabrics and I'm so excited! Brain...can'

Jessica Jones (my new favorite awesome designer!) is extending her Amusement Park Collection to include two more colorways and also a couple new designs! The original colorway is also coming back as "Candy" and will also be available in the new prints.

"Spa" colorway

"Earth" colorway

This fabric line has been picked up by Braemore, which means it should be available in stores! It's funny because I had just been saying how I was really hoping her fabric lines would take off because I love her designs and wanted to see more! And just a few hours later I saw that my wish came true, although I'm a bit behind on my blog reading because I think this was annouced a week ago. I'm so happy to be able to find it in stores! Not that I don't love ordering from jcaroline, but I don't want to wait for my fabric if I don't have to. If you'd like you can preorder though! Anyways, Go Jessica! I'm very excited for you!

My second piece of awesome fabric news is that cotton duck cloth, which I use for the Bloomsbury Messenger and its variations and accents on some other bags, now comes in a ton of new AWESOME colors! I saw them at the store last night, and when I inquired I heard they just came in last Thursday (nothing comes in at Jo-Ann Fabrics without me finding out within a week!). I thought they felt a bit thinner or less stiff than the original colors, but without sewing with them I can't be sure. They were definitely labeled duck cloth.

Well here are the colors as named by Jo-Ann or whoever: pastel pink, snap pink, fuschia, purple, yellow, grass, avocado, light blue, turquoise. I would really call the pinks baby pink, light pink and hot pink, and the purple could also be termed violet because it's a dark shade. I saw they also added some to the website that have been in stores for awhile.

These are all available on the Bloomsbury and my custom listing has been updated accordingly! I'm eager to start making some pink and purple messenger bags so please go ahead and order! Convo me if you're interested in the mini or the diaper bag, as those listings are not currently posted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Finally some progress!

Ok I lied about the Sunday shop update. But I did post three bags yesterday, and I will do two more tonight! The problem is just that I need to sleep at least a little bit. And apparently I don't do enough of that because I was waaaay too tired this morning.

Well these 5 Charing Cross Slings were complete as of Saturday and my photographer came over Sunday to take these beautiful photos of them!

You can see more about them and maybe even purchase one at my etsy shop here. I can't seem to pick a favorite because I spent time on each one so I love them all! But if I had to pick a best seller I'm totally calling that brown and aqua plaid one in the front. It is so stylish!

In other news, we got a ton of other work done Sunday as well! Instead of dragging my entire fabric collection to shows and purse parties (which is really becoming a problem because it never stops growing!), I will have a swatch book with samples of all my fabrics! Soo much easier right? And each time I buy a new fabric I can just snip a little swatch and add it to the book. This will also be a great help for inventory tracking and also taking custom orders. I don't have to get confused when I have written "black and white fabric with flowers" then I look at my stash and I have 3 of them!

I was thinking I can assign each swatch a number, then maintain a spreadsheet with inventory levels, designer info, pricing and reorder instructions. AND I can link it to photos of the fabric just in case I forget what Amy Butler's Wallflower in Mustard looks like (yeah right). How dorky is that, right? I love Excel too much.

So anyways we're almost done with all of my patterned quilting cotton (not doing solid cottons) and now there's only canvas, corduroy, and duck fabric. Thank goodness I have less of those at least!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fun Friday Links

So I know I missed last week's link roundup. A mini business trip meant I was not at my computer until after 10:30pm, and with the car issues there was no time for internet browsing. But we're back this week with 5 fun links on this glorious springlike Friday!

1. I'm sure children all over the country are rejoicing at this article on the most beneficial amount of homework - none!

2. Via Craftster's Tute Tuesday feature, I found this tasty looking daisy cupcakes tutorial! These would be great to share on Easter, I love the little ladybugs on there!

3. My niece's birthday is coming up on Monday, so I was wondering who else was born on her birthday and I found this site! Plug in your birthdate to see who else shares your special day. Haylie is lucky enough to have the same birthday as Chingy and L'il Bow Wow. I have always known that Bruce Springsteen and I share a birthday but apparently Jason Alexander is on the list as well. Can you guess my birthday?

4. With the upcoming time change, I was curious about the origins of Daylight Savings Time. Because I'm such a dork I found it fascinating and decided to share this article with you!

5. As a lover of both handmade glass items and Amy Butler, I find myself totally in love with these magnets!

And there you have it! Now for some shop news - I am slowly but surely working on a future shop update. Currently 5 new (and awesome!) Charing Cross Slings only need the lining attached and final topstitching. Pictures/item listings coming Sunday! Also 5 Kensingtons are about halfway I'd say. I've just got 4 more custom orders to do and then I can fully concentrate on building inventory...until my two purse parties and one craft fair this month!

Whew March is going to be intense, and April for that matter since I will be finishing the custom orders from March! I have a big list of things to do and bags to make before these events and not enough time on my calendar, so let's hope for motivation and efficiency in the coming weeks shall we?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scrappy projects!

How cute are these "scrapbooks"? This project is from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. What a great book, by the way. I love almost every project in there, although this is the first I have made. It's definitely my favorite book to flip through!

I ordered 15 of these Moleskine books so there are more to come! I love reusing scraps and I sort mine by color, so it's easy for me to select fabrics! Monochromatic looks are definitely my favorite, although I thought the purple/brown came out nicely too. I used brown thread for all of them.

I think I will do a trial run at my next craft fair on March 21st, then possibly add them to the shop for April! One detail I haven't had a chance to add yet is to stamp "diary" or "journal" at the top. I just haven't found that perfect alphabet stamp set yet! It would be cool to personalize them as well!

Each book measures 5" wide by 8 1/4" high, and it has 80 pages. Perfect for a diary or journal, day planner, or sketchbook for crafty projects! These particular ones are ruled. I think I will order some blank ones next time as well. I will sell them individually and offer a special for sets of 3. What do you think?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The face of evil?

Does this look evil to you? Mostly, it isn't. It's just a regular 2000 Focus ZX3 (hatchback) in a pleasant shade of autumn orange. Very spacious, handles nicely, and it's a stick shift, my favorite! There was a minor issue with the ignition last year (if you call $400 minor) but I've had it for about a year and a half with no huge problems...until the other day.

Friday night, it just stopped shifting. Not cool when you're flying down the road at 50 miles an hour. I was close to home so I continued to drive, stuck in 4th gear, running red lights because I was afraid to stop! Of course the time came when cars were crossing so I had to stop and so as if replacing the transmission isn't enough, I'm sure I burned up the clutch trying to come out of a dead stop in 4th gear. We shall find out the full extent of the damage sometime tomorrow.
If only I had one of these...

Taken at the car show today. Ohhh Camaro. You know, I've longed for one since I was 10 years old but after sitting in it, I was a little disappointed. Maybe because we sat in the cheapest model but the interior was not as nice as I expected. I will have to test drive the SS before I can decide!