March 27, 2007

I'm still here

Just wanted to say hello & tell my millions of readers (not!) that I'm on a quick little trip to California. I'll only be here for a week and will hopefully be able to find Nick & I a place to live this weekend. When I get back, I'll have 2 weeks to pack up the house & hop on a plane. Wish me luck...more later when I can get online on my own computer.

March 22, 2007

Another Newbie

I call this one Maggie, after my little cousin. I saw a really cute bag in a book I have & decided to make one sort of like it. I know, I'm losing everyone's respect now because I was inspired by a pattern book. That's life. I only used the book for the idea, okay? I made this bag from scratch, by myself, no help. I hope you like it.

I used a few of my 1930's reproduction fabrics for this bag. I have about a gazillion of them, in boxes I've had for years. Seriously, years. I've been buying these prints since they first came out. I just see them & get a yard here & there. I think this bag really suits the prints. I may go crazy & make another one in a different color scheme. Whoa! Actually, I have some great leftover fat quarters from April Cornell's Sonnet Collection. I might whip one up with those fabrics...aqua, coral,'ll have a completely different look.
I want to use them for a Catie Diaper Bag too. I just sold the Dick & Jane one I made. Well, I think I sold it - they haven't paid. I hope it's not a fake sale, that would be poo. I need to make a Catie bag from something, I keep selling them. I make one, I sell one. Good stuff though, that's what I'm here for. Hooray.
Anyway, the new Maggie bag is available on my website and on Etsy.

March 20, 2007

A New Catie Diaper Bag

I Thought I should make some more diaper bags, so here's the result. I already had this one cut out so it took a lot less time than usual. Even working fast, these bags take ages to make, there are just so many pieces.
I'm pretty happy with it, the colors are great. I've got a few more sets of fabics I can use to make more of this style. Catie is my favorite diaper bag style because I like using all the different colors for one bag. It's a bit different too. There are so many diaper bags out there these days, it helps to do one that's not the same as all the rest. And these babies are one of a kind, I can't duplicate them.
Take a look at my website or my Etsy shop to see more images of this bag.

March 18, 2007

It's a New Week

Well, I finished 2 custom bags & packed them up last night for shipping. I feel so free to do what I want now that I can't decide where to start.

I took a look at the views in my Etsy shop and have decided I should focus a bit on making some more diaper bags. Considering the number of shops on Etsy, I'm surprised that there aren't more available. These two bags were converted to be used as diaper bags. I have one diaper bag for sale on my website that I haven't added to the Etsy mix yet too, that'll be a good start to a Monday.
We had a busy weekend so I didn't get to do a lot of sewing. I've been spending way too much time on the coputer lately as well. I'm starting to experience a lot of pain in the old wrists. A problem I haven't had since I left my job a year ago - this week! I'm afraid I'm going to cause damage to my hands & not be able to sew at all. A bit of sewing & cutting will do me some good.
Speaking of injuries, I listened to a Podcast this weekend called "Driven to Quilt" by Nadine Ruggles of Dreamweaver's Quilts. It was the first episode, and she spoke a bit about the problem she has with her hands and a book she got that could have helped her if she'd taken the advice. Anyway, I ordered the book for myself. It's called "Pain Free Quilting" by Carole LeRoy. The book has all sorts of tips about avoiding repetative stress injury, and I can't wait to receive it. I will definitely let you know what I think of it when it arrives.
I guess I need to get to work now. I have some more new monkeys to put in my shop and cupcakes to bake today for Nick's birthday. Busy busy.

March 17, 2007

UK Experience

I've probably mentioned a few times that I'm curently spending some time in England. I've been here almost a year and have just 4 weeks left before I move to San Francisco with my Brit. For the most part, I haven't really liked being here much. A large reason for that is likely the fact that I'm pretty much stranded in the house all the time. I can take the train to London, or to some other towns, but it's expensive and there isn't a lot to see by going somewhere else. All the towns I've been to have the same shops, they're just arranged differently. I really enjoy going to London, but that's really expensive, about $40 American. That's a lot to spend just to get out of the house.
What I do like about England though, is the weather and the air quality, among other things. I'm from Southern California and have grown used to the haze and smog, and the HEAT! I'm not a hot weather person at all, and I don't miss it. People always ask me if it rains every day in England. It might rain a lot in some parts of the country, but the rainfall here is only high in comparison with SoCal. As a matter of fact, until this moment, it hasn't rained in the last week. It's been beautiful around here. When it does rain, it lasts a day or two & then goes away. Just enough to give you some variety. Anyway, I think the weather's almost perfect.
One of the best things is that I live near an actual castle. Not like the one at Disneyland either, a real one. Colchester Castle was re-built by the Romans, it's very very old. There's a nice park surrounding the castle & I have to pass it to go into town. As much as I don't like the fact that it's a 30 minute walk to the nearest post office, it's made a little better when I pass the castle. Spending this past year here has definitely made me appreciate how good I had it at home. I think I'll be a lot happier in California than I used to be.

March 16, 2007

New to the Family

Over the last week I've sold 6 of my little gadget monkeys, so I decided to bring a few new ones into the family. Meet Rupert & Steve. Rupert is pretty cool because he comes with a strap so you can hang him from the handle of a bag. He's perfect for an iPod or cell phone. And Steve is a slightly smaller monkey, great for a phone as well. He'd be good at holding an iPod mini, but he's a bit small for the video ones.
Anyway, these two guys will be moving into my shop and will be available on Etsy too. If I have time tomorrow, I've got another new monkey to introduce as well. He's got a button loop on his hat like Steve, and he wears a nice purple hat. Keep your eyes peeled for new monkeys, there moving in all the time.

March 13, 2007

Tools of A Trade

I'd like to make a small recommendation to anyone who's ever used a spool of thread, or a can of beans to trace a curve. These handy little plastic thingy-bobs are called "Quick Curves". They're actually made for woodworkers, but I use them all the time.
I found them a few months ago while looking at a woodworking website for boyfriend gifts. I use the 2 yellow ones to make nice rounded corners at the base of my diaper bags. They're so cool. You can get yourself a set at for $19.99.

March 12, 2007

Etsy Love #1 - The Little Magpie

Like I said in the beginning, I'd like to do a quick little shout out for some of my favorite sellers on Etsy.

Here's my first installment, The Little Magpie. She has a nice little variety of items in her shop and they're very reasonably priced. Here are a couple of my favorites...
The first thing I noticed in The Little Magpie's shop was her pincushions. So cute and simple. I love that this one has a button that looks like a coffee bean.
This chainmaille bracelet is made with silver and rainbow colored aluminum rings and is great for people like me who don't do jewelry much. I prefer discreet jewelry, and pretty much will only wear bracelets or earings. So this is a great find for me. Nice work Little Magpie, good luck!

March 10, 2007

Nice nice nice

I'll start today by talking about the cool Etsy notebook I got in the mail from another Etsy seller the other day. Her shop is called "from Belgium with Love". All of her stuff is great, but I just bought this cute little notebook. I seem to have a notebook for everything these days, so this one will be handy for my Etsy related notes. I really love the Pantone strip down the side and the hand binding. So cute. And thanks Eenig, for enclosing the cute little button with your business card. As soon as I got that little flower button, I got right on Etsy & ordered some for myself as promos. I can't wait to get them and send them out with orders.

Speaking of orders, I can't believe I sold 3 items in one day this past week, and another the next day. A serious record for me. I listed a new monkey last night, that I had planned on showing off here, but he sold too. It's been a lucky few days for me. And thanks to JennMaruskaDesign, I have another custom order for a gadget monkey to work on. And I'm very pleased that she was happy to receive her custom gadget monkey, Daisy, whom you can read about in her Blog. Daisy looks like she's fitting in well, I'm so glad. (Thanks for saying such nice things about me Jenn)

I had a Showcase on Etsy today, but haven't sold anything as yet. Lots of looks though. I did get a chance to list a second new monkey today, and he's making his apperance on the Showcase page now. I really need to make some more of those little guys.

It's getting late over here, and I've had a fairly full day. Nick & I went for a drive to a village called Halstead today & had some lunch. It was a nice time, but it feels like it's been a long day. I haven't done any sewing, but I worked a bit more on my new Flickr account. I uploaded a lot of my fabrics to it so I can send folks there to pick their favorites. I just started the Flickr thing yesterday. Another time consuming computer job. I hope that's it, I need to do some sewing. I put a little ad for it over there on the left. I don't actually know the address. I'll figure that out later.

Nighty Night

March 08, 2007

Liberty of London

Yesterday I took a trip into London to visit my favorite shop, Liberty. It can be incredibly expensive, but also a beautiful place to look around. The company has been in business for something like 130 years and is apparently famous here in England. I'd never heard of it until I came to England to stay, but it's a great place to check out if you're ever in London. I'm not going to go into a lengthy review of the store, I'm just not that good. Let me just say that it's about 5 or 6 stories high, and in a very impressive and old timber framed building. Just what you'd expect as an American in England, it's gorgeous, inside and out. They have everything too, clothing, handbags & scarves, lots of very fine stationery items, rugs, furniture and the best part...yarn and fabric! Hooray!

This brings me to the reason I went to "Liberty's" yesterday. I have one of those frequent shopper cards for the store, like I ever buy anything, ha, and they were having a sale on everything. 15% off EVERYTHING. I get these postcards all the time about sales, and this is the first time I've been in town for one. So I hopped on the train in Colchester & headed to London to check it out.

Whenever I go to Liberty, I tend to want nearly everything in the fabric department, but am never willing to pay the minimum £19.95 per metre to get anything (that's $38.60 to us poor Americans - ouch). Hey, a metre is like 3 extra inches though. But since I am spending £'s and not $'s, and everything's on sale - it was ever so slightly easier to convince myself to get something this time. And I mean, ever so slightly, it's only 15% off. I feel really guilty buying things too, but I forced myself to get something as I will only be here another month or so.

"Cut to the chase Kippi", you say. Right, so here's what I got...
I only got a half metre of each, and I'll have to charge a fortune for anything I make from these, but aren't they special? You should feel this fabric. It's cotton that feels like silk, amazing. They sell shirts made from this fabrics, but they're £75.00 That's a bit steep for an incredibly frumpy looking button-down. I'll just sit here & be happy I came home with a tiny purple bag from my favorite store.

March 07, 2007

Slightly Productive

I'm pretty proud of myself right now. I have 3 new bags to put in my shops on the web and on Etsy! Not bad. I think I'm going to give myself the afternoon off.

The only one I'm going to make a big deal of, is Jenny. It's a new design for my handbags section. Jenny is a roomy little messenger bag with loads of pockets and a really long strap. You can wear it over your shoulder or across your body. Pretty handy, huh? Anyway, I think it turned out pretty nice. There's only one on my website right now, but I've listed some other fabric options for it. More coming soon, including a version with a flap closure & no zipper.

As for the other new items, look over there on the left side & you can see them on my site. Only one of these newbies has been listed on Etsy so far, I have too many things for sale over there right now. I don't want to get into too many pages. Good news, I sold another one of my monkey cozies today, that made room for another item. Hooray. So long Burt, have a nice time in New Zealand, lucky monkey.

March 06, 2007

The Raspberry Bullet

Every day, I pretty much do the same thing. Get up, make breakfast, walk to the train station with Nick, come home, make coffee, go upstairs & get to work. I usually spend an hour or two on the computer, sometimes more, then get to the sewing machine. Pretty standard stuff, eh?
Well, it seems that I have developed a bad habit when it comes to my morning coffee. I can't seem to finish it, certainly not while it's still hot. I'm pathetic. I must run downstairs & heat up my coffee three times a day. I always end up throwing half of it away in the end.
So yesterday I decided to give my fancy Starbucks thermos (a velentine's Day gift from Nick) a try. It's really cool looking, kind of irridescent. Anyway, it's not the kind you drink out of, it's just to keep the coffee hot for a while. It has a great pouring spout with a button thingy, and it doesn't even leak. I pour a tiny cup of coffee, drink it down, pour another one, drink it down - still hot. Remarkable! So glad I decided to give an invention a shot at solving my problem, & thank you Starbucks for selling cool looking thermoses.

p.s. I posted another Etsy Treasury list today...check it out. It's all about polka dots.

March 04, 2007

Yet another

So I've just listed my 3rd Catie Diaper Bag today, both on Etsy and I got a chance to use my long awaited Dick & Jane fabrics, and I still have enough left over to make a few bibs, hooray! I'm pretty happy with this bag, you can't say it's dull, it's really bright! A lot of mom's don't seem to want the baby pastel stuff these days. This one will appeal to them, it's downright loud. It'd be great for a baby shower gift for someone who doesn't know the sex of the baby yet too, it's pretty gender-neutral. I enjoy using lots of fabrics to make these bags, but it takes ages. The cutout time is way longer because of the multiple fabrics. It's a different look compared to most diaper bags so I think it's worth it.

In other news... I've been having a lot of trouble with my sewing machine lately. Well, let me rephrase that, it's been a real pain in the neck since I got it. I find this particularly disturbing because I've only had it a year, and it cost a fortune. It's a PFAFF 2144, a very nice machine. It does embroidery too, or it would if I could get the software to work for me. Don't get me started on that. Anyway, I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I can't seem to get this machine to do a simple straight stitch sometimes. This is rediculous! Every time I go to topstitch something, or stitch up anything on the small side, I get all worked up because I know the machine may not do it. Sad, no? My old $89 Brother that I got in like 1989 was better than this. Even more frustrating, is the fact that I was absolutely in love with my last PFAFF. What the heck is the deal with this thing? I'm looking forward to going back to California so I can get it serviced. It's not like I can just go without a sewing machine, it's kinda what I do.

What I'm trying to say is this... I would have had another bag done today if I hadn't had to pull the topstitching out 4 times. I ended up taking part of the machine off & cleaning it out as much as I could (this includes a good swipe with the vacuum). It seems to have helped, but I'm still not impressed. Even a less AR (anal retentive, as my boyfriend calls it) person would not accept the stitching my PFAFF is doing these days. It's criminal what I paid for this machine, it should work properly.

March 02, 2007

A few things today

First of all, I got another Showcase on Etsy today. This one is all things game related. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, but it doesn't seem to be getting a lot of views yet. That's okay though, it's fun to create the list. And hopefully, someone will sell something too. If you want to check it out, just click HERE. I happen to be in 2 Treasury lists myself as well, and proud of it. I think it's really cool, but one of the items sold last week. I hope it gets replaced with something else I made. He He

My second bit of business is that I finished off a nice quilt yesterday. I've had the top done for ages, but just haven't been working on quilts much lately. I like the way it turned out, the colors are great. I may be inspired to do another one next week, we'll see how the weekend goes. The main reason I haven't been working on any quilts lately, is that I want to offer an embroidery option for them. But once they're done, I can't embroider them or it will show through on the back side. Eugh, who'd want that? Once I figure out a good way to price embroidery, and Nick figures out a good way to add it to the site, maybe I will. For now, I'll just let people know if it's an option I guess. No one's bought any quilts from me yet, so I don't consider this a great and important issue.

And last but not least, I've got a spot in the Etsy Showcase tomorrow. It's my first time, I've never been able to get a spot before. I think I'm usually asleep when they go on sale! Anyway, I moved my featured items around in my shop, trying to figure out what would appeal to most people and get them to click in. I settled on one of my handbags that has a lot of views. I'm hoping it will attract enough attention that someone will click it, and then get inspired enough by the little thumbnails to actually go take a look in the shop...and of course, buy something. This is my only income right now, I need the money. If it weren't for Nick, I'd be homeless, and starving. I wouldn't have such a nice website either. So what I'm trying to say is, please check me out on the Etsy Showcase tomorrow (and next Saturday too).
One more thing, thanks to all who have actually read my blog and made comments, it makes me feel all warm inside.