Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fabric Love - Lotta Jansdotter's Bella

I've really been getting into fabric recently .. as in the last six months or so. There are so many cute collections, so many things you can do with it, so many new things to learn .. ugh, love it. Did I tell you that I'm now thinking I'd like to open a fabric and yarn shop in my hometown or nearby? Yep, it's that serious. Serious enough to go to a business class and start writing a business plan serious. I'm going to start showing you some of my favorite collections that inspire me to create on the blog. Not so into fabric? It'll give you something cute and sweet to look at. :)


This collection is not really new anymore in the world of fabric .. It's been out the last couple months. I've been itching to get my hands on some, but the frugal, "you don't have anything to make with this" side of me pushed me back until a couple weeks ago. Alas, I caved. And thankfully so. I wish I could've bought the whole collection (minus the bird ones .. I don't really see where those fit in with the rest) but my frugal side was there to hold me back again. Look at this pretty:

Now what to do with it? My first quilt, maybe? A pretty tote? I'll figure something out. If you're looking for somewhere to purchase this collection, the blog Fabric Shopper Online has a list at the bottom of this post. On that list, the only one I've purchased from is Contemporary Cloth, and I don't know if it was because they were having a sale or what but it took almost two weeks to ship my fabric (and three more days to arrive) with no notification about the delay .. wouldn't recommend. I would recommend Hawthorne Threads, who's not on that list, but I've had a good experience getting fabric from them and they even sent me some advice for starting my own fabric shop.

You can also read all about the Bella collection from its designer here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Michigan Football + Picnic/Rainy Football Game Blanket Tutorial

My sister and I got tickets for the UM football game last Saturday in Ann Arbor from her boss. When we looked at the weather, we were trying to decide if we wanted to go (there was a 90% chance of rain the entire time we were there), but decided to tough it out with some rain gear and a cool blanket I made from a tutorial on The Mother Huddle. See the photos below. The tutorial is towards the bottom.

My purdy sister

It rained a lot ..
.. But we were still happy. :)
The blanket in use

I was planning on making this as a picnic blanket over the summer, like it's intended to be, but never made it and with the imminent rain, thought it would be perfect to flip over and use the vinyl side as rain protection. Here's how it's done.

Picnic or Rainy Day Blanket

A vinyl tablecloth (mine was purchased at Wal-Mart)
A fleece blanket (I reused an old one from around the house)
Scissors, thread, sewing machine

1. Lay your vinyl tablecloth right side down on the floor. Lay your blanket on top. If any dimensions are significantly bigger than the other, cut it down so there's about a three inch border all the way around your blanket. In the original tutorial, her blanket was larger than her tablecloth so she cut that down to match. My tablecloth was too big for my blanket so I cut it down (see below).

Chopped blanket
2. Fold the extra table cloth over to create a border around the blanket and pin. The nice thing about vinyl tablecloths is they have a finished edge. If you cut your tablecloth like me, you should double fold over the edge of the tablecloth that has been cut to hide the unfinished edge.

3. Add an elastic strap by measuring to the center of one of the short sides and pinning a length of elastic there.

4. Sew all the way around, going back and forth over the elastic a few times.

5. That's it! Enjoy your non-wet-butt picnic and cozy sitting-in-the-rain blanket!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Business Cards on the Cheap

Look what I got yesterday:

Hello, cute box. The envelope even had a "Yay!" sticker on it, which is exactly what I said when I saw it was in the mail. They know me so well already.

Mini business cards! I love anything miniature and these are just so sweet. They're from Moo, a printing company I came across from a blog I just started reading, megan E sass. If you have an Etsy shop, you can take advantage of an offer they have going to get 100 of these little cards for free (though there's a $5 shipping/handling fee). If you ask me, $5 is totally worth it for these high quality, front and back printed cards. 

I'll give you a look at a couple other cheap things I've taken advantage of to get the word out there. In the past, I've ordered business cards from Vistaprint, which I purchased a deal on (I can't remember if it was Groupon or LivingSocial), so if you're looking to get a deal on business cards, keep an eye on the deal sites. At the time, I didn't know what I really wanted to specialize in, so I designed some generic ones in Illustrator with my logo and info that were pretty versatile.

A picture's worth a thousand words, huh? The minicards do a much better job of showing what I do, but you can add photos to the ones in Vistaprint if that's what you'd like to do too.

There are lots of websites now that show DIY business cards. For the sales I make in my shop, I don't like using my fancy cards to attach to packages, so I often make quick tags with my website info on there and tie them on the item with some matching bakers twine.

For these, I use scrapbook paper I've had around forever cut into 2"x4" rectangles, a corner punch, a slot punch for the hole (or just a regular hole punch), and a stamp kit I found at a garage sale. The kit is one of the best things I've found at a sale and it can be used on a lot of different projects. It's similar to this one that I found at a flea market. Both were under $5 each:

I also designed a stamp and had it made into a self inking stamp on Vistaprint using that deal. I use it to stamp random things, like the outside of packages.

So there you go! A few ideas that I use to promote my shop. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Strong Bad Crochet

Have any of you seen Homestar Runner before? My sister and I used to watch it all the time on the computer growing up and thought it was hil-a-ri-ous! Strong Bad was mine and my sister's favorite character. 

So when she randomly suggested one day that I crochet a Strong Bad and sell it for mad money, I decided to make one for her for her birthday. Given the limited number of Strong Bad crochet patterns on the interwebz, I made this up from scratch. I'm kicking myself now for not writing down the pattern, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway. :)

Doesn't the light in the background look like the backdrop from a 90's school photo? An ode to the 90's popularity of this little guy. I totally did that on purpose ..

Yay for geeky crochet! Hope you're having a great week!