August 30, 2007

From the Air

Today we were lucky enough to get a ride around the Cornish coast in a tiny little airplane. This was my first time on one of these planes and I was a little nervous. It was a beautiful view from up there, Gromit and Chico had a wonderful time. The color of the water was amazing, as you can see.

This last one is a view of St. Michael's Mount. It's an old monestary that you can actually see from the front windows in Nick's parents' house. I still haven't been there, but it was great to see it from above. I feel I'm really leading a charmed life at the moment.

August 29, 2007

Greetings from England

Hello from England. Gromit and Chico are having a great time here. Yesterday and Monday we had a wondeful time visiting Bath. It's a beautiful old city. We really enjoyed touring the Roman Baths and the Abbey. They have some nice shops too, but Gromit gets bored so we try not to stay too long. We took a nice cruise up the River Avon and we afterwards drove to a place called Exmouth to visit Uncle Bill and his new granddaughter Ella. She was very cute and slept a lot.

Now we're down in the far southwest corner of England. Nick's parents spend most of the summer down here so we thought it would be nice to stop by for a few days. The weather has been gorgeous for us so today we went for a long walk on the tops of the cliffs overlooking the sea.

Gromit and Chico were very tired by the time we got to the cliff by Logan's Rock, so we stopped for a sandwich and some water. Penberth Beach has been known to attract a few nudies, we decided not to ventre down there. The view was amazing and the water was so blue. Nick decided it would be a nice spot to pop the question and I completely agreed. Gromit held the ring, but I'm wearing it now. It's very pretty and sparkly too. I love it!

Tomorrow we've got a busy day planned with an airplane ride & visits with friends. We're off to Nick's sister's place in Southampton on Friday and to a wedding on Saturday. It's a busy vacation, but still relaxing.

August 27, 2007

Back in the UK

British Parliament with Big Ben
Originally uploaded by iSew
We've landed and slept. Hooray. I'm not a big fan of flying to the UK from California, but who is? Just happy to be here and settled in a bit.
We were able to spend the evening with friends last night and now we're on our way to beautiful Bath. Today's a bank holiday so the traffic should be just delightful, no it should be horrendous. Anyway, it's a nice day and I'm happy to be spending it with Nick. I've promised myself that I'll take more pictures on this trip, hopefully you'll see some soon. Have a great week.

August 24, 2007

UK or Bust

So much for going to bed early tonight. It's nearly 10:00pm now and I've still got a lot to do. I just had to say goodbye and wish everyone a great weekend. Our flight is at 6:15am so we'll be leaving here around 3:00am. Lucky us! I'll be sure to keep you all posted as much as possible.
When I was living in the UK last year, my sister came for a visit. We went to this gorgeous place, it's the Roman Bath. What a place. We took the tour at just the right time to see the sun set on the pool. Wow! I can't wait to go back with Nick. Looks like a great place for a guy to give a ring, oh, I mean watch to a girl. Doesn't it? haha

August 23, 2007

Trying to be Fair

I don't want to seem like a crazy cat lady, but I want to be fair to kitty #2. I've talked about Jody in the past and I've been feeling a little guilty about leaving poor Maple out. So, here she is in all her glory. We've recently discovered that she's probably of the Maine Coon persuasion. That would explain a lot of her weirdness. I've never had a cat that ate with her paws before, and she's pretty big, she towers over Jody. She's got fuzzy paws and loves a good cuddle. Just a lovely girl.
Okay, I feel better now. Back to the sewing room for me.

August 22, 2007

Etsy Love #10 - Jenn Maruska Design

I've been saving this one for a long time. Jenn is one of my favorite's. I love her blog and I love her shop too. I've made a few purchases from this girl and I have to say, she's so talented. Not only that, she's famous. I saw her pincushion & needle book set in Quiltmaker Magazine this weekend too. How cool is that?
I've got one of Jenn's sewing kits, and I love it. I keep my little polka dotted needle book in my monkey-making bag, and the matching pin cushion in my sewing room window. I love those polka dots. Jenn's got such a great style. After seeing these babies I just had to get a tasket too, so I've got a lovely pink
one on my sewing table right now.
And, as if that weren't enough, she made Chico for me when my kitty was sick. So, not only is she a great artist and seamstress, she's a great friend too. If you don't already know Jenn's work, please go check out her shop and her blog. This lady is a class act.

Keep an eye out for her upcoming plushie line and very cute Christmas ornaments. I was lucky enough to get a set of her hand embroidered snowmen. Too cute for words. Thanks so much Jenn, sorry it took me so long to let you know how much I love my new snowmen. Keep up the good work girl!

August 20, 2007

Lots of happy things

First, let me continue the saga of the engagement ring. No, I don't have one on my finger yet, nor has anyone asked me to marry them. What I will say is that we went to pick up something at the jewelry store yesterday. Let's just call it Nick's new watch. He's not admitting to anything even though we all know what's in that tiny box. And here's the best/worst part. After the jewelry store we went into Walnut Creek for some food and to look for a suit jacket for Nick. Of course we didn't want to leave the jewelry store bag in the back seat of the car, so I suggested placing it in the trunk. Do you think Nick was satisfied with this? No. I had to carry around "his watch" in my own backpack all afternoon. Do you understand me here? I was made to carry my own engagement ring on my own back, but I can't have it. That's just mean. Okay, I'm done venting.I had a great day at the market yesterday, thanks to a vinyl bib recall, I sold a load of bibs yesterday. Who knew? I finally sold some monkeys and a few other things too. It was definitely my best market yet. And today I was blessed by two wonderful gifts from the mail lady. I got this sweet button from my friend Beth over at Lemon Cadet. She dropped by My My's shop in PA recently and got it for me there. How sweet. Thanks so much, I love it! I also got my cool new Moo stickers and they're just awesome. I can't wait till my next market so I can stick them on my little brown bags. Neato! I finally got some new stuff on my website today too. A very good few days I guess. Have a great week.

August 18, 2007

Busy Saturday

Remember yesterday when I said I had lots of new things to put in my shops? Well, here's all that stuff I was telling you about. I've got one of the totes listed, and that's it. I guess I'll get back to the computer after tomorrow's market.
Nick & I went off to Walnut Creek this morning to check out some rings. We were there about two hours before I was asked to disappear for a while. I'm not exactly sure what transpired, but I know we have to go back tomorrow to pick something up. I consider that good news. :) I'll let you know what happens when we get back from England.
Have a lovely Saturday evening, do something fun for me. I've got 13 bibs to finish and a car to pack for the market.

August 17, 2007

A Little Random

How's everyone doing? It's Friday, but as you full-time crafters know, there's no Friday in crafting. I work every day. It kills me to take a whole day off, haha. I try though. Sometimes I do take a break on the weekend so Nick & I can go somewhere. I don't want to jinx anything, but tomorrow we're going to look at rings (if you know what I mean).
We'll be stopping in Oakland to scout the Farmer's Market there too. I hear my stuff would be "gone" if I sold there. Even though it's not in Marin, it's part of the Marin Farmer's Market Association. That means I can sell there if I can get a spot. Maybe when we get back from the UK. Oh yeah, I guess I didn't mention that we're off for England on the 25th. Just under two weeks, not too long. It'll be enough time for me to go to some of my favorite spots in London like this and this. We're over there for a wedding and to visit the family, I'm sure it'll be a great time. We're planning a little road trip to one of my favorite places while we there. I highly recommend Bath if you ever go to England. It's just beautiful. sigh. I can't wait to go with Nick. :)
In other news, I did a new market on Wednesday night. It was a complete waste of time, but now I know. My friend Julie came over from Yosemite to sit with me, thank goodness, I'd have perished if it hadn't been for her. I wouldn't have made a sale without her either. She bought a handbag & a monkey. Thanks for coming Julie!
I did actually take a partial day off yesterday. Julie and I walked over to th
e post office, I had oodles of orders to send out, and the farmer's market. It was a lovely walk, and on the way we fed the ducks. I thought this one was particularly handsome. Nick works from home on Thursdays so the three of us went down to Sausalito for lunch too. It was great to see a friend and take a quick breather. Now I'm back to the old sewing machine. I started to put together a huge stack of new bibs last night, so they must be finished today. I've got a quilt order to fill, and I want to make some more inexpensive kids' totes like the one Maple is using in this picture. She really likes the animal prints. I got the fabric at IKEA and I just love the bright colors. She loves it so much, I can't get her to put it down. Silly girlie.
I guess that's it for me today. I know I probably wrote too much.

Just one last thing, I was perusing some of my favorite blogs this morning and came across this new fabric line coming out next month. How cute! I can't wait to see it in person. Have a great weekend everybody.

August 14, 2007

Etsy Love #9 - Lemon Cadet

Today I want to feature my friend Lemon Cadet. She's very creative and makes the cutest stuff for little people. I've been coveting her onesies for a while now and I finally got one. No! I'm not pregnant, I'm not even engaged. My cousin and his wife are expecting their first little one in about a month (I've been stock piling baby gifts for ages now), so I had to go over to Lemon Cadet's Etsy shop and make my choice.
I decided to go with Ryan the Yeti, even more perfect because that's my cousin's name. He's just so cute, and I love the blue color of this onesie. I gotta tell you, he's even cuter in person. I want a t-shirt with this guy on it for myself. He even has a little comb for his crazy hair. Beth really did a great job packaging this little guy too. Not only does he have that comb, but she also attached a button and a postcard...I love that kind of stuff. All the little extras say a lot about buying handmade. It's the personal touch that does it for me.
Anyway, you'll find a lot more at Lemon Cadet than just yetis (what's the correct plural for yeti? hmm?). I love her beans and the kitties & bunnies too. This is great stuff, very original and very well made. Next time you have to go to a baby shower, stop by Lemon Cadet first.

August 13, 2007

The learning curve

One thing I've learned at the Farmer's Market is that the audience is completely different from the buyers on Etsy and my website. I've mentioned before that I haven't sold any monkeys, the one thing I expected to sell there. After my 4th market, I've still sold zero monkeys, unless you count friends. Also, I've been selling bibs, which don't do well on Etsy. I assume that's based on availability though. There are millions of bibs on Etsy and I'm not giving mine away like a lot of people are. So be it. I'm finding the differences to be a good thing. I like that fact that I'm selling different things in different venues. It's great.
My first, second and third actual quilt sales have been at the market. I always knew quilts would be something people would want to buy in person. I find it very difficult to photograph quilts well too. I discovered recently that clipping them to the kitchen window in the morning works well. It's the best way to capture the quilt straight on and in good light. This one's my latest. I had a customer who wanted one for a boy, but couldn't decide on the ones I had made up. I sent her to my site to check out these fabrics and she loved them. I've had this quilt ready to go for a long time. I'm glad someone finally wanted it. I think it turned out really nice, and very soft.
Glad to know that it's worth my time to have bought all that fabric to make quilts & bibs. And just a little update on the credit card situation. So far, I'd have to say it's a good thing I signed up to take them. Since I put up the sign, all but two sales have been credit cards. The account has already paid for itself. Cool.
I'll be trying a new market location on Wednesday, Fairfax. This one is another new audience. Lots of mommies. It's in a park under a lot of really tall trees. One of my good friends is coming to town to join me, should be a great time even if I don't sell anything. Life is good.

August 10, 2007

Holly Hobbie and Coffee Coasters

How many people at the Farmer's Market are lucky enough to have a handmade original from Misses Kwitty? I ask you. I might just be the only one. lol I have to say thanks to Misses Kwitty here and say that my new coaster is the best. Look at it just collecting all of the sweat from my iced coffee. Fantastic! I must admit, one of my neighbors was having a great time picking on me all day because I'm so organized. She thought it was pretty funny that I even had a coaster for my drink. She obviously doesn't know about Etsy. I guess my booth is a tad bit organized and anal. I hadn't really thought about it. I don't want to soil my handmade matchy matchy tablecloths, do I? They're just jealous. If you're in dire need of a pretty coaster for your next craft show, check Misses Kwitty's shop, she makes the prettiest ones you'll find!!
I'd also like to mention my luck at the Farmer's Market yesterday in sitting next to Jennifer. She makes really cute onesies, t-shirts, blankets and baby slings. She even has a sling for dolls. Now that's clever. We're not really in competition, she's way more granola than I am if you know what I mean. But the best part about Jennifer, other than how nice she is, is that she uses a big Holly Hobbie doll to demonstrate the slings!!! Holly Hobbie! I was sooo into that doll when I was little. I've even got a little one packed away somewhere. I gotta dig that doll out and use her to demonstrate my kids totes.

August 08, 2007

Now taking credit cards

I got my ProPay account sorted out, so now I can take credit cards at the Farmer's Market! Cool.
Nick says I'm AR. That's a nicer way of saying anal retentive. So. Sometimes it's a good thing.

Etsy Love #8 - The Cherry Stem

Yeah, you'd be excited if this was in your mailbox. What a great little drawing! Thanks so much miss LeeAnn. Not only did she send me the cutest and most ginormous tote bags, but she drew this on the package. I can't do justice to the tote bags, you'll have to check out the Mint Basil blog to see why I went instantly to thecherrystem on Etsy to grab them before anyone else could. These totes are just great. I love reusable bags, but they're usually not very big. These bags are even big enough for Target,if you can imagine that.
On top of the great totes and packaging I got lovely hand written card, always appreciated, and some fantastic vintage buttons. LeeAnn suggested they'd make great monkey eyes, but there's no way I can part with them. (She's right though, they'd make great glasses) I wear glasses, maybe I can use them to make a monkey for myself. There's an idea. lol
So, please go check out thecherrystem. Her shop is filled with lovely things, I love her mason jar pincushions. Makes me want to start a collection.

August 06, 2007

Feeling Special

First, thanks everyone for the very nice comments about the lack of love my little monkeys are feeling lately. :( But on a way better note...I've been featured on the Craft: Blog. You know? Craft Magazine. WOW! How cool is that???? Thanks so much to Little Thing aka Craft Pudding on Etsy, for talking about my homemade labels. Check out her labels, they're great. She used colored thread and it made a great little border.Thanks so much Magda!

Marin Farmer's Market - Round 1

Okay, okay, I know I've taken too long to report back to you on my farmer's Market experience. I just thought I'd wait a few days until I'd done two. I was super busy on Friday and Saturday with orders, I just didn't have time to blog. :)
You'll notice that my actual booth setup looks pretty much identical to the mock-up I did in the driveway a few weeks ago. I guess that's a good thing, I must have gotten it right the first time. (I used to do this type of stuff for a living, I better be able to do it right! lol) Anyway, Thursday's market was my first ever public sale of my handmade goodies. It's typically a pretty slow market for artisans so I'm pretty happy with my sales. I made a profit, so it was worth my time in the end. And of course, a great experience. Nick came along to help me set up and then left as soon as he could, haha. While manning my booth I was able to add three new monkeys to the basket, so I was able to do my usual multi-tasking. I'm hoping to get some photos taken today so I can fill my Etsy shop with them. For the Sunday Market, I used a larger basket to display my monkey friends. It was a lot easier to see their shining faces this way. You might be surprised to hear that in the two markets I've done now (seasoned vetran) I've sold ZERO Gadget Monkeys. Shows what I know about what people like, eh? I got a ton of, "Ohhhh, these are so cute", and "What a great idea!". But not one was adopted. I still am not able to take credit cards too, so that might hinder sales a bit.
All in all, I had a great time out there chatting with people. I made a possible contact for wholesaling in a boutique in the city and met a very nice wedding planner whom I'd love to work with in the future. So, two thumbs up. For now, Ihave no markets scheduled again until next Wednesday at another location. I got some great tips from other sellers this weekend about which markets offer the best business, so I'm trying to work more things into my schedule now. Here's hoping for some cancellations.

Now it's back to the sewing table for me. I have that custom quilt to finish and two custom bags too. phew. It's fun to be so busy. And on a final note, here's the custom bag I made and sent out this weekend. She liked a bag in my shop (which I sold yesterday), but wanted a larger version with a zipper pocket and closure. Here's the result, I may make more like this & add them to my shop. It turned out really well I think.
Have a great weekend, sorry for such a long winded post.

August 01, 2007

Just a Quick One

Sorry I've been so quiet this week. I finally got some dates for the Farmer's Market and tomorrow is my first one! Wish me luck, I'll take lots of pictures and give a full report tomorrow. Right now I gotta go to bed.